Romans 14:12 NIV
Ever seen a flamethrower in a film? It’s a fiery torch designed to destroy people. ‘Blame-throwers’ do the same. When life doesn’t go their way, instead of taking responsibility for their decisions and actions they blame others. We can often become blame-throwers, blaming others for things that happen, and don’t happen, in our lives. It often sounds something like this: We reacted in anger because someone wound us up too much. We can’t change because this is how we’ve been brought up. We failed at our task because we weren’t given enough support. But the Bible says: ‘Each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.’ We will have to explain our thoughts, actions and words. Not with lots of excuses and blame-shifting but with truth and integrity. The problem with shifting the blame is that it stops us from taking constructive action and moving on with our lives. It’s true that not everything is our fault. Sometimes other people are to blame for the things in our lives. But there’s something we’re always responsible for, and that’s our reaction. How we react to a circumstance or a person, is up to us. In Proverbs, it says: ‘Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy’ (28:13 NIV). We need to admit to God when we’ve gone wrong. Let’s not blame others and find excuses for why we reacted the way we did. We all make mistakes. Sometimes we stumble and fall. But we always have a God who’s ready to pick us up, forgive us and give us the strength to go forwards again.
Exo 10-12; John 1:29-42; Ps 29; Prov 26:4-6
Exodus 3:4 NKJV
Moses had all the potential in the world at forty, but felt like a lost cause at eighty. Instead of doing God’s will God’s way, he tried to speed up God’s will and ended up delaying it. At some point in our lives most of us will probably feel like life has passed us by. Our dream seems like a lost cause. At that point we can give up, or we can get ourselves back in the game. Many of us give up on our dreams because we feel like God has given up on us. But we serve a God of restoration. In the book of Joel, God says: ‘I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten – the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm – my great army that I sent among you’ (2:25 NIV). The life of Moses proves that no matter how many wrong turns we’ve taken, it’s God’s grace that gets us back on track. Moses thought his past had disqualified him, but God used it to prepare him for his future. No one knew the protocol of the palace like Moses did. After all, he grew up in it. And after tending sheep for forty years he knew the ways of the wilderness. Moses got it wrong before he got it right, and we may too. But God can use our past failures to grow our character and equip us with the strength and wisdom we need, to do what He put us on this earth to do. There’s a popular saying: ‘It’s wonderful what God can do with a broken life when you give Him all the pieces.’ And it’s true. He’ll restore us when we let Him in to our brokenness.
1 Cor 1-3; Luke 23:35-43; Ps 54; Prov 25:1-3
Exodus 3:4 NKJV
Moses had all the potential in the world at forty, but felt like a lost cause at eighty. Instead of doing God’s will God’s way, he tried to expedite God’s will and delayed it for four decades! At some point in our lives most of us feel like life has passed us by. Our dream seems like a lost cause. That crisis presents us with a choice: Throw in the towel, or throw our hat back in the ring. Many of us give up on our dreams because we feel like God has given up on us. But we serve a God of restoration (See Joel 2:25). The life of Moses proves that no matter how many wrong turns we’ve taken, it’s God’s grace that gets us back onto the parade route. Moses thought his past had disqualified him, but God leveraged it to prepare him for his date with destiny. No one knew the protocol of the palace like the Prince of Egypt. After all, he grew up in it. And after tending sheep for forty years he knew the ways of the wilderness – the wildlife, the watering holes, the weather patterns. Moses got it wrong before he got it right, and you may too. And here’s the good news: God can use your past failures to fertilize your character and equip you with the strength and wisdom needed to do what He put you on this earth do to. The saying is true: “It’s wonderful what God can do with a broken life when you give Him all the pieces.”
Soul food: 1 Cor 1-3; Luke 23:35-43; Ps 54; Prov 25:1-3
Jeremiah 23:6 NLT
The name Jehovah-Tsidkenu: The Lord our righteousness, was given by God through Jeremiah, announcing the coming of Jesus the redeemer: “I will raise up a righteous descendant from King David’s line…And this will be his name: ‘The Lord Is Our Righteousness'” (vv. 5-6 NLT). Before Jesus came, our righteousness lay in our own efforts. “We will be counted as righteous when we obey all the commands…God has given us” (Deuteronomy 6:25 NLT). We absolutely failed that righteousness test! But “The Lord our righteousness” became our solution. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV). Notice: It’s only “in Jesus” that we “become the righteousness of God”! You’re not to try to do right so you can feel righteous before God, or to generate a supply of good works to draw from when needed. You’re to draw continually from the “righteousness” deposited in your account by Christ. It’s useless to look within yourself for humility, patience, kindness, love, etc. They’re not there! You must take them by faith from the supply stored up for you in Jesus. Guilty hearts can draw forgiveness, anxious spirits can draw peace, and weary souls can draw strength from Jehovah-Tsidkenu. You received salvation by faith alone. And in the same way you must draw righteousness, and everything else you need, by faith in what God has accomplished and stored up for your use in Jesus, The Lord our righteousness!
Soul food: Josh 16:1-19:23; Luke 20:9-19; Ps 20; Prov 23:10-12
Ephesians 5:33 NLT
Two of the most famous ‘marriage advice’ type of verses can shed some real light on how all relationships, not just the relationship between husband and wife, can work better: be considerate (1 Peter 3:7) and be worthy of respect (1 Timothy 3:11). In any kind of relationship, it’s about growing an environment where the relationship works to help both people become better people, and draw closer to God. And to build that kind of environment means giving a lot of encouragement and support. Not only when we feel like it, but also when we don’t feel like it. Jesus’ commandment to ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ (Matthew 22:39 NIVUK) sums it up perfectly. It means asking God to soften our sharp edges, and provide us with the strength, patience, and opportunities to show His love to those around us. Want to work out a difficult relationship, make long-lasting friendships or even just feel loved? Make the first move. When we’re prayerfully proactive in a relationship, and willing to drop our own petty disagreements or dislikes for the sake of blessing someone, God will add to it. That doesn’t mean we should let ourselves be walked over by someone who isn’t willing to show love back. Sometimes, there’s reason to find the way out of a relationship (and if you do feel as though you need to get out, then listen to yourself, you know your situation best), but a few steps before that, it’s worth considering if you can bless the other person in some way.
Matt 5:9; Rom 12:17-21; James 3:17-18; Matt 26:51-52