Spirit-led thinking

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

Friends with God (2)

Exodus 33:12 NIVUK

Yesterday we started to look at how Moses could talk with God like a friend, saying what he truly felt and thought. That’s how God wanted it to be. When Moses said, ‘You have been telling me, “Lead these people”…You have said, “I know you by name and you have found favour with me”‘ (v.12), he was mirroring back to God what God had just said to him. He was reminding God of His own words. The truth is, God wants us to remember His promises and speak them in prayer. Not because He needs reminding, but because we do. All His promises will be fulfilled – even if it doesn’t seem like God’s doing anything, and even if the timing is different from what we expected. Joshua said to the Israelites: ‘You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed’ (Joshua 23:14 NIV). And we can say the same. God’s promises will not fail us. When we speak out God’s promises in prayer, we’re praying in His will. So when we’re facing challenging circumstances, we need to be memorising Scriptures that relate to our situations and feelings. Then we can include them in our prayer times. For example, we can pray, ‘Lord, You said whatever I ask for in prayer, believing that I have received it, You will do it for me’ (see Mark 11:24). That’s one of God’s promises, and by speaking it out we can increase our faith. The more we learn of God’s Word, the more our prayer time will line up with His will and the closer our friendship with Him will be.

Dan 3-4; Luke 22:39-46; Ps 130; Prov 10:12

Look for a true friend

Proverbs 18:24 MSG

One day two cows looked over a fence and saw these words on a passing milk truck: “Pasteurized, Homogenized, Vitamin A added.” One cow said to the other, “It makes you feel a bit inadequate, doesn’t it?” Seriously, is that how you feel today? There’s too much to do, and not enough of you to do it? Or you don’t think you have the skill or resources? Remember the old Beatles song: “When I was younger, so much younger than today, I never needed anybody’s help in any way…Help me if you can, I’m feeling down, and I do appreciate you being round. Help me get my feet back on the ground; won’t you please, please help me?” In a perfect world Adam still couldn’t make it by himself, so God said, “I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18 NIV). Sometimes the solution requires more than prayer or counseling; it requires a friend who understands – especially one who has fought the same battles and won. In Acts chapter three God used Peter and John to bring about the healing of a lame man sitting at the temple gate. But there was another miracle earlier that day. Peter had just denied Jesus, fallen flat on his face, and decided to return to his old fishing job. But John refused to let go of him. As a result, Peter was restored, a lame man was healed, and three thousand people were won to Christ. You don’t need a lot of people in your life; you just need the right people. So ask God for a “true friend” who will stick by you; then you do the same for someone else.

Soul food: Gen 13-16; John 13:18-30; Ps 114; Prov 31:1-5

Get real with God

Lamentations 3:40 NIV

When you pray, “Lord, make me a better person,” in what specific areas do you want to change, grow, and mature? In order to get real with God, you must answer these twelve questions carefully and prayerfully: (1) Am I honest and above reproach in all my financial dealings? That includes giving God a tithe of your income. (2) Do I put myself in sexually inappropriate situations, or expose myself to harmful material? (3) Do I spend enough time with my family, and would they say that I do? (4) Do I tell the truth even when it brings me hurt or criticism? (5) Do I find it easy to say, “I was wrong. I’m genuinely sorry,” or do I hold grudges? (6) Am I knowingly compromising any area of my life, or refusing to face the consequences of my actions? (7) Have I formed habits that are detrimental to my health, my job, my family, or my walk with Christ? (8) Am I proud, selfish, or arrogant? (9) Have I taken credit for things that others did and should have been rewarded for? (10) Have I failed to confess something to someone who should know of my wrongdoing? (11) Have I been insensitive or abusive to my loved ones? And if I have, what am I willing to do about it? (12) Am I spending enough time in prayer and in the Scriptures? “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.” The word for you today is: Get real with God!

Soul food: Rom 3:21-6:23; John 10:1-10; Ps 133; Prov 29:15-18

What’s in a name? (4)

Judges 6:16, 23 NIV

The name Jehovah-Shalom: The Lord our peace, was discovered by Gideon when God told him to lead Israel against the Midianites – a position he felt was far beyond what he could do. He said to God: ‘How can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest…and I am the least in my family’ (v.15 NIV). Here’s how God responded: ‘I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites…Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.’ Even though Gideon was frightened he believed God and before the battle was even fought or the victory won, he had peace. So he built an altar to God and called it ‘the Lord is peace’ (have a read of Judges 6:24). We often assume we’ll only have peace when our situation changes. But, like Gideon, we can learn that inward peace doesn’t depend on altering our outward circumstances; it depends on believing God is with us and experiencing His inner peace. Jesus promises: ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you…Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid’ (John 14:27 NIV). We can go to God with all our fears and problems, and He’ll give us peace. ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV). However inadequate we may feel, we can remember Jesus’ words: ‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace…take heart! I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33 NIV). So let’s ‘take heart,’ and trust Jehovah-Shalom to handle the rest.

Josh 14-15; Luke 20:1-8; Ps 142; Prov 23:7-9