Ephesians 1:11 NLT
The Bible says, ‘The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right’ (Psalm 84:11 NLT). Sometimes we pray for a certain thing, thinking it’s good for us, or simply because it’s what we’d like. But God, who has a plan for each of our lives, knows what’s right for us and what will keep us on the path He’s chosen for us. That means He’ll sometimes say to us, ‘Not that way. If you trust Me, I’ve got something better for you.’ We can get upset when God says no to us, not realising we might have been even more upset if He’d said yes, and we’d got exactly what we asked for. That’s why it’s so important for us to pray that we’ll be in line with His will. Even if it’s not what we think we want, and even if it’s uncomfortable for a while, we need to trust Him. Trusting God and following His plan can be like walking down a misty lane. The mist hides whatever’s at the end, and you can only see a couple of steps ahead of you. But as you go further along that lane and venture into the mist, more of the goal is revealed and comes into focus. When Paul was in prison, he said, ‘I have learned to be satisfied with the things I have and with everything that happens’ (Philippians 4:11 NCV). His contentment didn’t come from his surroundings – he was in prison during most of his ministry. His contentment came from trusting God and knowing that He ‘makes everything work out according to his plan.’ Paul didn’t understand every detail of God’s plan, but he trusted God with every step he took. And that’s what we need to do too.
Col 1-2; Mark 11:1-11; Ps 78:9-16; Prov 23:22-25
Ephesians 1:11 NLT
The Bible says, “The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right” (Psalm 84:11 NLT). Sometimes we pray for a certain thing, believing it’s good for us. But God, who has a plan for your life, knows what would be “good” and what wouldn’t be. Billy Graham’s wife, Ruth, said if God had answered all her prayers when she was young, she’d have married the wrong man – several times. Two teardrops were floating down the river of life. One asked the other, “Who are you?” The second replied, “I’m the teardrop from the girl who loved a man and lost him. Who are you?” The first teardrop replied, “I am the teardrop of the girl who got him.” That’s the way life goes, isn’t it? We cry over what we don’t have, not realizing we might have cried twice as hard if God had given it to us. The expression “walking by faith” means trusting the plan God has already worked out, and will reveal to you on a need-to-know basis. Paul said, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” (Philippians 4:11 NKJV). Clearly his contentment didn’t come from his surroundings, since he spent all but seven years of his ministry in prison. So where did it come from? The knowledge that God “makes everything work out according to his plan.” Does that mean Paul understood every detail of God’s plan? No, but when he didn’t understand the plan, he trusted the Planner! And that’s where Paul’s peace, joy, and contentment came from. The same goes for you.
Soul food: Col 1-2; Mark 11:1-11; Ps 78:9-16; Prov 23:22-25
Joshua 1:9 NIV
Every problem introduces you to yourself. The way that Joshua responded to the challenge of leading God’s people told him what he needed to know about himself. When it came time for Joshua to take the place of Moses, God said to him, ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.’ And today God’s saying the same to you. He wants you to pursue the dream He’s put in your heart. And He wants you to push through the challenges you’ll meet with courage and strength. As you go out, pursuing what God has for you, you’ll grow. One of the main ways this happens is as you meet obstacles. In 2 Corinthians 12:7, Paul talks about having a thorn in his side, some sort of problem he was facing. He pleads with God to remove it, but God replies: ‘My grace is enough for you. When you are weak, my power is made perfect in you’ (v. 9 NCV). When you encounter obstacles, you discover things about yourself you never knew. You discover the depth of your faith in God, and confidence in yourself. Every problem introduces you to yourself. And yet you realise that, in yourself, you aren’t up to the task. You need God to inspire you with courage. You need the Spirit to be with you wherever you go. As you realise the task of being strong and courageous is beyond you, you see that God is the one who is your strength and courage. God is the one who makes you fit to the task. God is the one who helps you push back against obstacles, producing in you joy unspeakable and full of glory.
Gen 11:1-9; Phil 2:1-11; Ps 133
Joshua 1:9 NIV
When it came time for Joshua to take the place of Moses, God said to him, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” And today God is saying the same to you. He wants you to pursue the dream He has put in your heart! Alfred D. Souza wrote: “For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, and a debt to be paid. Then, life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.” When you encounter obstacles, you discover things about yourself you never knew. You discover the depth of your faith in God – and in yourself. Every problem introduces you to yourself. Obstacles are merely a call to strengthen your position, not surrender your dream. When you look back on your life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did. So when your dream looks impossible, trust God and act as though it’s impossible to fail. Why? Because “with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27 NKJV). That means if you’re going to climb Mount Everest, make sure to bring the flag with you. Don’t listen to those who tell you, “It can’t be done that way.” Or to those who say, “You’re taking too big a chance.” Ignore what people say can’t be done and focus on what God says can be done.
Soul food: Gen 11:1-9; Phil 2:1-11; Ps 133
James 5:11 CEV
Observe these six things about persistence: (1) You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great. (2) The first two letters in the word goal are “go.” (3) Some people dream of doing great things; others wake up and actually do them. (4) Anybody who brags about what they’re going to do tomorrow, probably did the same thing yesterday. (5) You’ll never be what you ought to be, until you’re doing what you ought to be doing. (6) If you’re having trouble thinking outside the box, it’s time to get out of the box. When Lester Wunderman was fired from his advertising job, he felt he still had a lot to learn from the head of the agency, Max Sackheim. So the next morning he went back to his office and continued working as he always had, talking to co-workers and clients, and sitting in on meetings – all without pay. Sackheim ignored him for a month. Finally he walked up to Wunderman and said, “Okay, you win. I never saw a man who wanted a job more than he wanted money.” Well, guess what? Wunderman went on to be one of the most successful advertising men of the century. He’s credited with having invented pre-printed newspaper inserts, plus subscription cards like those used by Time-Life Books and the Columbia Record Club – ideas that produced millions of dollars in profit. Now, advertising may not be your thing, but action must be. What are you willing to do to achieve your dream? Work without pay? Refuse to quit? Success belongs to those who trust God – and stick with it.
Soul food: 3 John; Jude; Mark 8:27-38; Ps 84; Prov 22:24-26