1 John 4:19 NIV
It can be really frustrating to try to give a gift to somebody who keeps refusing it. Insecurity and feelings of unworthiness keep many of us from being good ‘receivers’. We think we must earn or deserve everything we get. We even go so far as to mistrust the giver and think: ‘Why would you want to do that for me? What’s your real motive?’ If we feel that way about giving a gift, imagine how God feels when He extends His love and we refuse it because we feel undeserving, or think we are being humble by telling ourselves we shouldn’t have it. We can even question His motives. The truth is, none of us deserve God’s love. But through His love, He’s attempting to establish a cycle that will bless us as well as others. His plan is simple. He wants us to: 1) Receive His love. 2) Learn to love ourselves in a balanced and healthy way. 3) Love Him in return. 4) Extend His love to those He sends into our lives. Learning to do these things takes time – it’s a journey. God will help us to conquer our insecurities ‘little by little’, just as He did when the Israelites entered the Promised Land (take a look at Exodus 23:30). Change happens gradually as we continue to pray, read His Word, and act on it. The Bible says God initiated this work in our lives and He will complete it (have a read of Philippians 1:6). So today let’s ask Him to help us receive and embrace His unconditional love for us.
Ezek 31-33; Matt 23:13-22; Ps 27; Prov 20:5-6
1 John 4:19 NKJV
We know how frustrating it is to try to give a gift to somebody who keeps refusing it. Insecurity and feelings of unworthiness keep many of us from being good “receivers.” We think we must earn or deserve everything we get. We even go so far as to mistrust the giver and think: “Why would you want to do that for me? What’s your real motive?” Now if we feel that way, imagine how God feels when He extends His love and we refuse it because we feel undeserving, or we’re harboring a false sense of humility. Or worse, we question His motives. The truth is, none of us deserves God’s love. But when He reaches out to you in love, He’s attempting to establish a cycle that will bless you as well as others. His plan is simple. He wants you to: (1) Receive His love. (2) Learn to love yourself in a balanced and healthy way. (3) Love Him in return. (4) Extend His love to those He sends into your life. And learning to do those things takes time – in most cases, lots of it! And just as God did when the Israelites entered the Promised Land, He will help you to conquer your hang-ups “little by little” (See Exodus 23:30 NKJV). Change happens gradually as you continue to pray, read His Word, and act on it (See 2 Corinthians 3:18 NLT). He’s “the author and finisher of our faith” (See Hebrews 12:2). The Bible says God initiated this “good work” in your life and He will complete it (See Philippians 1:6). So today ask Him to help you receive and embrace His unconditional love for you.
Soul food: Ezek 31-33; Matt 23:13-22; Ps 27; Prov 20:5-6
Luke 6:23 TM
When you’ve been treated badly, always ask yourself, “What can I learn from this experience? How do I respond in a more Christlike manner? Am I willing to acknowledge my mistakes? How can I grow wiser and handle similar experiences better in the future?” When all is said and done, the answer to misunderstanding is forgiveness. Now, forgiveness doesn’t mean you necessarily agree with or want a close relationship with the person who mistreated you. But it does mean that you let it go. When you bury the hatchet, don’t leave the handle sticking up! In other words, don’t just forgive – choose to forget! Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “To be great is to be misunderstood.” And here’s an even better statement: “To be greater is to forgive the one who has treated you badly.” Paul refers to the Christian life as “the high calling of God” (Philippians 3:14). So take the high road! What does that road look like? Jesus tells us: “Count yourself blessed every time someone cuts you down or throws you out, every time someone smears or blackens your name to discredit me. What it means is…the truth is too close for comfort and that that person is uncomfortable…be glad when that happens…all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company; my…witnesses have always been treated like this” (vv. 22-23 TM). By living this way, you also take back your power by refusing to let another person dictate your mood and your outlook, and you keep your joy.
Soul food: Rev 10-14; Mark 10:35-52; Ps 4; Pro 12:25
1 Corinthians 2:16 NKJV
The Bible says: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit’ (1 Corinthians 2:9-10 NKJV). We shouldn’t limit ‘spiritual things’ to prayer, Bible reading, and church activities. God’s promise to reveal things to us in the Spirit applies to every area of our lives including our family, our finances, and our career. The Bible says, ‘We have the mind of Christ.’ That means when we face a problem, we can pray, ‘Lord, help me to see this the way You do.’ When we need to make an important decision we can pray, ‘Lord, reveal to me what I don’t know and teach me what I need to learn so that my decision is in line with Your will and what’s best for everyone concerned.’ Instead of restricting God to church and ‘spiritual activities’, we can ask for His help in every area of our lives. We can often think that we should be constantly on the move, constantly working, constantly doing something, and underestimate the importance of simply being still for a while. Psalm 46:10 says, ‘Be still and know that I am God’ (NKJV). That means we must be still long enough for Him to put His thoughts into our mind. And when that happens – and it will – we’ll never want to think any other way. The Bible says: ‘If people’s thinking is controlled by the sinful self, there is death. But if their thinking is controlled by the Spirit, there is life and peace’ (Romans 8:6 NCV). So let’s be people who let the Spirit guide our thinking.
Num 8-10; Mark 2:1-17; Ps 35; Prov 10:28-29
James 1:8 NKJV
If you’re afraid to make a decision in case it’s wrong, read this Scripture: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally…and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (vv. 5-8 NKJV). President Reagan enjoyed telling the story of how he learned to make firm decisions. When he was a boy, his aunt sent him to a cobbler to have a new pair of shoes made for him. When the shoemaker asked, “Do you want a square toe or a round one?” he hemmed and hawed, so the cobbler said, “Come back in a day or two and tell me what you want.” Later the cobbler saw Reagan on the street and asked what he had decided about the shoes. “I haven’t made up my mind yet,” he answered. “Very well,” the cobbler said, “your shoes will be ready tomorrow.” When Reagan got the shoes, one had a round toe and the other a square toe! Reagan said, “Looking at those shoes every day taught me a lesson. If you don’t make your own decisions, somebody else will make them for you.” Worst case: If you get it wrong, you’ll learn what not to do next time. Bottom line: To succeed in life you must pray for wisdom, and then make a decision.
Soul food: Eze 47:1-12; Rev 21:22-22:5