Psalm 118:5 NKJV
At age twenty-six, Thomas started a publishing company and founded the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses in America. He worked with some of the greatest singers in the history of Gospel music, including Mahalia Jackson. But one night after singing to a Saint Louis audience, he was handed a telegram that said, “Your wife just died.” She had passed away in childbirth. Thomas hurried back home to Chicago, where his newborn son died the following day. He plunged into depression, avoided people, and grew angry with God. “I felt God had done me an injustice. I didn’t want to serve Him anymore or write Gospel songs.” Then a friend took him to a neighbourhood music school. That evening Thomas sat down at a piano and began to play…and pray. He poured out his heart to God, and what wonderful words they were: “Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, let me stand, I am tired, I am weak, I am worn; through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light: Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.” Thomas A. Dorsey testified that the Lord healed him that night as he sat at the piano. He went on to pen more than a thousand songs and become one of the most influential Christian songwriters of all time. All because he reached out to God for help. The psalmist did that too: “I called on the Lord in distress, and the Lord answered me.” So the word for you today is – turn to God; He will not disappoint you.
Soul food: 2 Kings 24-25; Luke 2:1-7; Ps 144:9-15; Prov 14:5-8
Matthew 25:45 NIV
Throughout the Bible, we see God’s heart for the poor and needy. The Bible says: ‘When the poor and needy search for water and there is none, and their tongues are parched from thirst, then I, the LORD, will answer them. I, the God of Israel, will never abandon them’ (Isaiah 41:17 NLT). And God doesn’t want us to abandon them either. He calls us to provide for those who don’t have enough. It’s important for us to pray for those in need, but it’s also important for us to provide for them practically. James said: ‘Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?’ (James 2:15-16 NIV). By providing for people in a practical way, we can show God’s love to them. The Bible says: ‘If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?’ (1 John 3:17 NIV). It’s not always possible for us to provide for people, but if we can do something practical to help them then we should. Jesus teaches that when we help others, we’re actually helping Him. He said: ‘Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ So if we choose to ignore the needs of others and refuse to provide for them, then we’re refusing to provide for Jesus. Whenever we see someone in need, we should be asking God to show us what we can do to help them.
2 Kings 10-12; Luke 1:11-25; Ps 73:17-28; Prov 13:20
Isaiah 54:13 NKJV
Few things in life can break your heart like a child on drugs, or running with the wrong crowd and being involved in activities you know can destroy their lives. As a parent, what can you do? First and foremost, pray for them and speak God’s promises over them. You may not be able to change them, but God can. His Word says, “All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.” What if your child is out of control and living at home? Then you have a big challenge that requires God’s help. Sometimes your “problem child” is a child of destiny with a great future, and Satan knows that. God has a calling on their life, and that’s what the battle is all about! As a parent, you need God’s wisdom when it comes to: (1) Setting clear boundaries with appropriate and consistent consequences. The Bible says, “Young people are prone to foolishness and fads; the cure comes through tough-minded discipline” (Proverbs 22:15 MSG). (2) Overcoming the fear that your child will reject you when you make an unpopular, but wise decision. Satan will try to convince you that you’ll lose them if you discipline them. The truth is that you’ll lose them if you don’t! Remember: “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7 NLT). Prayer and standing firmly on His Word are two of the greatest weapons God has provided when it comes to engaging Satan over your child’s future. And if you stay true to God – you’ll win.
Soul food: Rev 5-9; Mark 14:53-65; Ps 48; Prov 13:2-3
Proverbs 13:20 NKJV
Let’s look at arrested relational development. God’s plan for your life requires connecting with the right people – and disconnecting from the wrong ones. Sitting beside Jesus at the Last Supper were John, who loved Him, and Judas, who betrayed Him. It’s imperative to know who is sitting at your table! So to that end pray: “Lord, I pray for the people You’ve brought into my life and placed on my heart. Bless the healthy relationships, and give me wisdom to handle the difficult ones in a way that pleases You. If there are friendships I need to walk away from, ones that will be harmful no matter what I do, show me what to do and give me the grace and courage to do it. If there are relationships that are draining and distracting me from Your plan and purpose, I trust You to bring them to an end or change them for the better. And when I’m the one who needs to change, show me, and work in my life by Your amazing power. I need Your wisdom to recognize the friends and associates I should choose. Help me to steer clear of relationships that lead me away from the path You’ve laid out for me. Send people into my life who are godly and wise, and help us to bless, encourage and contribute to the quality of each other’s lives. Show me the friendships that are worth fighting for, and I’ll gladly do it. Be Lord of all my relationships so that they will be what You want them to be. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”
Soul food: Rev 7:13-17; Ps 23; Luke 15:1-7
Proverbs 13:20 NCV
Finally, we need to develop relationally. God’s plan for our lives requires us to connect with the right people – and disconnect from the wrong ones. Sitting beside Jesus at the Last Supper were John, who loved Him, and Judas, who betrayed Him. We can have people around us who love and support us, but also people who bring us down and go behind our backs. We need to be aware of who is influencing us and who is speaking into our lives. The Bible says: ‘Spend time with the wise and you will become wise.’ The relationships we choose to invest in have a direct effect on how we live and how we develop in our faith. So here’s a great prayer to pray: ‘Lord, I pray for the people You’ve brought into my life and placed on my heart. Please bless the healthy relationships, and give me wisdom to handle the difficult ones in a way that pleases and honours You. If there are friendships I need to walk away from, show me what to do and give me the grace and courage to do it. If there are relationships that are draining and distracting me from Your plan and purpose, I trust You to bring them to an end or change them for the better. And when I’m the one who needs to change, show me, and work in my life by Your amazing power. I need Your wisdom to recognise the friends I should choose. Help me to avoid relationships that lead me away from the path You’ve laid out for me. Send people into my life who are godly and wise, and help us to bless and encourage each other. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.’
Rev 7:13-17; Ps 23; Luke 15:1-7