Good gifts

2018-08-14
Matthew 7:11 NIV

Some people are really great gift givers. They know exactly what to buy to make the person feel understood and loved. God is the ultimate gift giver. He always knows what we need. He always knows what the desires of our heart are. He always knows the right time to give us the gift. And He always knows when the gift we are asking for isn’t going to be the right thing for us. The Bible tells us that ‘every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows’ (James 1:17 NIV). God’s love for us is unchanging and He wants to give us ‘good and perfect’ gifts. We have the ability to enter into God’s presence and ask Him for what we want. Jesus said, ‘How much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!’ And if we are walking in obedience and seeking to please Him, we can be confident when we come before Him. The Bible says: ‘If our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God’ (1 John 3:21 NIV). But if we are approaching with selfish motives or sin that we haven’t confessed, we will probably feel uncomfortable in God’s presence and struggle to confidently believe that God will provide for us. So let’s make sure we are dealing with sin and seeking His will at all times. We are told that ‘He does not hold back anything good from those whose lives are innocent’ (Psalm 84:11 NCV). And if God’s saying no, it’s because it wouldn’t be good for us. We just need to trust Him – He has something better in mind for us.

1 Chr 16-18; Luke 12:49-59; Ps 119:41-48; Prov 21:1-3

Believe God for “Good Things”


Matthew 7:11 KJV

The cross proves how much God loves you. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not…freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32 KJV). And “all things” means all things! If it’s promised in God’s Word, it’s God’s will – so refuse to settle for less. But you must be single-minded in your approach or it won’t work (See James 1:6-8). The Psalmist said, “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after” (Psalm 27:4 KJV). Tell God exactly what you want. And if you’re walking in obedience and seeking to please Him, be confident when you come before Him. “If our heart condemn us not …we [have] confidence towards God” (1 John 3:21 KJV). But be careful; guilt undermines faith! When you permit sin into your life you become uncomfortable in God’s presence, and it’s hard to believe for the results you want. So deal with it immediately. Miracles happen to the believing – so get back into a position where you can confidently believe God for the thing you need. He hasn’t changed His plans for your life. Circumstances and seasons change, but “God’s word of promise…is for ever settled in heaven and is always fulfilled” (See Isaiah 40:8). Jesus said, “How much more shall your Father…give good things to those that ask him.” Note the words “good things.” That sounds like another Bible promise. “No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11 KJV). And if God says no, it’s because it wouldn’t be “good” for you. Trust Him – He has something better in mind for you.

Soul food: 1 Chr 16-18; Luke 12:49-59; Ps 119:41-48; Prov 21:1-3

How to overcome fear (5)

2018-08-09
Romans 10:17 NKJV

Every day fear and faith will arise inside you, and you get to decide which one will prevail. Somebody wrote, “Two natures beat within my breast; the one is foul, the other blessed. The one I love, the other I hate; the one I feed will dominate.” Fear and faith will always be present in your life, and the one you feed will come out on top. You can’t expect fear to simply disappear. If you focus on your fears, entertain them, and give in to them, they’ll increase. The way to overcome them is to starve them. Don’t give them your time or energy. Don’t feed them with gossip, negative news reports, or frightening movies. Focus on your faith, and each day feed it through God’s Word (See Romans 10:17). The more energy and time you devote to your faith, the stronger it will become. Anytime you feel afraid of something but do it anyway, you reprogram your attitude. In other words, when you feel afraid, it means “go” instead of “stop”; it means “fight harder” instead of “give up.” The most important step you can take to overcome fear is trusting God to do the thing you think you can’t do. No matter how strong a hold fear may have on you, it can be overcome. That’s because fear is in your mind, and your mind can be renewed by the Word of God. Here’s the key: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2 NKJV).

Soul food: 1 Chr 6:1-7:19; Luke 12:1-12; Ps 119:9-16; Prov 20:19-21

Fear (5)


Romans 10:17 NKJV

Every day fear and faith will rise up inside of us, and we get to decide which one will shape our day. The one we feed will come out on top. We can’t expect fear to simply disappear. If we focus on our fears, think constantly about them, and give in to them, they will increase. The way to overcome them is to starve them. If we stop giving them our time or energy, and we focus instead on God’s Word, then faith will be stronger in our lives than fear. The Bible says: ‘Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ’ (NIV). The more energy and time we devote to thinking about God’s Word, the stronger our faith will become. We can also learn to change the way we think and respond to things. Paul tells us that we should ‘take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ’ (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV). God doesn’t want us to fear. So many times in the Bible, we are told ‘do not be afraid.’ No matter how strong a hold fear may have on us, it can be overcome. That’s because fear is in our mind, and our mind can be renewed by the Word of God. The Bible says: ‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will’ (Romans 12:2 NIV). So let’s allow God to transform the way we think and let’s immerse ourselves in God’s Word, so that faith comes far above fear in our lives.

1 Chr 6:1-7:19; Luke 12:1-12; Ps 119:9-16; Prov 20:19-21

Fear (2)

2018-08-06
John 10:10 NIV

When fear takes over our lives, we can’t fully live. We become paralysed by our fears, afraid to move forward into the future or experience our present. But the truth is that many of our fears don’t come to anything. A lot of the things that we worry about never happen, yet we’ve spent hours, even days and weeks, agonising over them. God doesn’t want us to be living like this. Jesus said: ‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full’ (John 10:10 NIV). God wants us to live life to the full. And that means a life without fear. When we’re struggling with fear and anxiety, it can seem impossible to us that our lives could ever be free from it. How can we stop worrying and live our lives to the full? Firstly, we need to immerse ourselves in God’s Word and learn exactly who He is. When we read Scriptures about God, we see that He is a faithful, trust-worthy, loving God who cares for us and wants to provide for our needs. Once we’ve done that, we can put our trust in Him and hand our fears over to Him. And if anxiety is really stopping us living life to the full, there’s no shame in asking for help from a professional. While trusting in God doesn’t exclude us from difficulties, we can know we’ve always got God right there with us, facing everything alongside us. The question is, are we willing to choose faith over fear each day?

1 Chr 1-2; Luke 11:14-28; Ps 78:56-64; Prov 20:7-10