Slow down! (1)

2020-11-28
Philippians 3:13 NLT

We live in the day of multitasking. We talk on the phone, apply makeup, drink coffee, eat lunch, feed the kids, and even read text messages while barreling down the highway. Dr. Richard Swenson says: “In some instances we are more productive…some people crochet while watching the news. And in certain jobs it’s considered necessary; clerks on the Stock Exchange floor are required to run around doing five things at once. But isn’t it bizarre that when a 48-year-old broker drops dead, his colleagues keep working around the lifeless body receiving CPR?

The dramatic escalation of busyness has given us too much to do in a short time. The standard strategy…instead of refusing to take on more…is to do two, three, or four things at once. It’s an extension of the do-more-and-more-with-less-and-less philosophy. But someone forgot to do the math! By doing two things at once you divert 30 percent of your attention from the primary task; you sacrifice quality for quantity, which leads to more errors. You may end up finishing more tasks, but with poorer products and frazzled nerves. The downside of multitasking isn’t well-advertised…so we keep experimenting to see how far we can push the envelope.

However, when it comes to relationships, multitasking can be disastrous. We don’t listen…it takes too much time. Families need focus…babies need what they need when they need it. You either parent them or you don’t.

Paul didn’t live like that. He focused ‘on…one thing,’ which was the person in front of him.” A dog has four feet, but it doesn’t try to walk down four roads! So slow down and establish a pace that’s sane and sustainable.

Soul food: 2 Chr 32-34; John 14:15-25; Ps 118:19-29; Prov 28:5-8

Learning from Moses (1)

2020-10-24
Hebrews 11:24 NIV

The life of Moses can teach us many things about what it means to live a life that’s successful in God’s eyes. Over the next few days, we’ll be taking a look at some of them.

First: you must know who you are. ‘Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.’ Moses was born a Hebrew, but he was raised as an Egyptian by Pharaoh’s daughter. Even though he was being trained and prepared to be second-in-command in Pharaoh’s kingdom, Moses knew God had called him to free his people and lead them out of Egypt.

Moses had every comfort he could wish for in the palace, and he could have stayed there, but he knew that working for Pharaoh wasn’t who he was meant to be. Moses made the right choice to follow God’s purpose for him, but it also meant spending the next eighty years of his life in the desert.

Every one of us must come to grips with our identity. We all have a deep need and desire to accept who we are. Accepting our God-given identity isn’t always easy, but trying to be who we’re not is stressful and puts us under immense pressure. Moses recognised this, and decided to stop pretending.

Choosing to accept God’s plan for our life frees us from the burden of pretending, and releases us into the unique identity and purpose God’s given us.

If Moses had stayed in Pharaoh’s court, we might only remember him as an Egyptian mummy in a museum, or maybe not at all. But he made the right decision, and from an eternal perspective, it was the best one.

Hab 1-3; John 6:25-34; Ps 98; Prov 24:15-18

You’re in God’s waiting room (2)

2020-07-09
Psalm 27:14 KJV

God gave His people an interesting command: “Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Sovereign Lord, the God of Israel. I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory, and no one will covet your land when you go up three times each year to appear before the Lord” (Exodus 34:23-24 NIV). Imagine that! Three times a year they were to stop working and spend time with the Lord worshiping Him, seeking His guidance, and getting direction for the future. Can you imagine what would happen if you did that? Note the words “I will enlarge your territory.” Instead of losing – you’ll gain, and instead of going backward – you’ll go forward. Note also the words “I will drive out the nations before you.” While you worship God and wait on Him, He will fight your battles. And the difference between you and God is that you risk losing, but He’s never lost a battle. Note also the words “No one will covet your land.” You don’t have to worry about the competition getting ahead of you. God used this three-times-a-year pilgrimage to teach His people this principle: “If you wait on Me in worship, I will work on your behalf.” His Word says, “Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31 NKJV). So here are your choices: Keep stressing out, or draw the strength and strategy you need from God by spending time with Him.

Soul food: Jer 36:27-40:16; Luke 6:17-26; Ps 79; Prov 15:18-21

Learning the hard way (3)

2020-06-19
Judges 13:7 NCV

The angel who announced Samson’s birth said he was to ‘be a Nazirite,’ which meant that he was to be dedicated to doing God’s will. But Samson was careless about his spiritual life. He prayed only when he was in trouble. He was impulsive; he did whatever he felt like doing. How often can we be like that too? We can end up refusing to follow God’s plan for our lives because our plan seems better. And we can easily fall into the habit of only praying when we need something. God can become just an afterthought and a convenience to us. We turn to Him in desperation when things get tough, but when everything’s all right we ignore Him. Only when Samson was captured by the Philistines, his eyes gouged out, and he was grinding grain at a mill like an ox, do we read that he turned to God and prayed. He said: ‘Sovereign LORD, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more’ (Judges 16:28 NIV). Why did he wait until everything fell apart before turning to God? Just imagine what Samson could have achieved if he’d turned to God right from the start. God shouldn’t be our last resort. We should be turning to Him with everything, all the time. He’s the One who can bring change to our situations, and He’s the One who loves us more than we can ever know. The psalmist said, ‘Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in obedience to him. You will eat the fruit of your labour; blessings and prosperity will be yours’ (Psalm 128:1-2 NIVUK). We’d save ourselves so many problems and spare ourselves so much pain if we’d take time to invite God into the situation.

2 Kings 18:17-20:21; Luke 1:57-66; Ps 139:13-24; Prov 13:25

Everything

2020-06-13
2 Peter 1:3 NIV

Ever felt stressed out because you don’t think you have what it takes to live like Jesus? Maybe you’ve felt under pressure because, however hard you try, you don’t feel good enough for God? The good news is that God’s already ‘given us everything we need for a godly life.’ Everything we might possibly need to be able to live God’s way, we already have access to. These are things like wisdom, strength, peace, courage, and love. He equips us to be able to do the things He’s called us to. The Holy Spirit lives within us to guide, instruct, and transform us. The Bible says: ‘Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?’ (1 Corinthians 6:19 NIV). We just need to listen to the Spirit’s promptings rather than doing the things we want to do. God hasn’t left us to do everything on our own. He cares about each of us, and provides us with what we need. Paul encouraged the church in Philippi by saying: ‘My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 4:19 NIV). And that can encourage us too. It’s worth remembering that God’s given us ‘everything we need’, not ‘everything we want’. There will be things we pray for that we don’t get. They might not actually be good for us, even though we think they would be. So when we’re worried that we can’t live God’s way or we’re frustrated because God’s not giving us the things we want, let’s remember that God sees the bigger picture and He’s already provided everything we need.

2 Kings 4:18-6:33; Mark 16; Ps 80:12-19; Prov 13:13-16