God’s peace

2021-06-05
Isaiah 55:12 NCV

God reveals His will to us in several ways. One of them is by giving us a sense of ‘peace’ that we are doing the right thing. Paul wrote, ‘Let the peace of God rule in your hearts’ (Colossians 3:15 NKJV), and ‘God’s peace, which is so great we cannot understand it, will keep your hearts and minds In Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 4:7 NCV).

Having peace means that we’re trusting God’s guidance. We don’t need all the answers to have peace about something, and having peace doesn’t mean things are going to be easy and comfortable. When Mary was visited by an angel who told her that she was going to have a baby, she must have had some worries, as being unmarried and pregnant put her in a very difficult situation in her culture. But she simply said: ‘I am the servant of the Lord. Let this happen to me as you say!’ (Luke 1:38 NCV). She trusted God, accepted His plan, and had peace about it.

When we need peace, we should cry out to God. Before Jesus was crucified, even though He knew His part in God’s plan and why He had to die, He said, ‘If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me’ (Matthew 26:39 NLT). But then He continued, ‘Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.’ His peace came from trusting God and doing His will. Whenever we’re faced with a difficult situation or an important decision that could have lasting effects, we need to pray, trust God for guidance, ask Him for peace, act, and trust Him for the right result.

Rev 19-22; Mark 14:27-42; Ps 129; Prov 12:27-28

God is faithful

2021-05-30
2 Thessalonians 3:3 NIV

Most of our worries can be summed up in two words: ‘What if?’ What if my exam results are bad…what if I can’t get into university…what if I get ill…what if I can’t get a job…the list is endless. The Bible says: ‘If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not experienced his perfect love’ (1 John 4:18 NLT).

When we focus on our worries, we lose sight of God’s perfect love and faithfulness. But we don’t have to let our worries take over. Jesus tells us, ‘Don’t let your hearts be troubled or afraid’ (John 14:27 NCV). Paul says, ‘Do not give the devil a way to defeat you’ (Ephesians 4:27 NCV). And Solomon writes: ‘Every day is hard for those who suffer, but a happy heart is like a continual feast’ (Proverbs 15:15 NCV).

Whenever we’re afraid of what lies ahead, we should stop and look back at God’s faithfulness and love. ‘Faithful and absolutely trustworthy is He who is calling you’ (1 Thessalonians 5:24 AMP). When we’re overwhelmed by worry, here are some Bible promises to stand on. ‘Praise…the LORD, who has given rest to his people…just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave’ (1 Kings 8:56 NIV).

We might think God won’t help us if we’ve failed or turned away from Him in the past. But He will, because even ‘if we are faithless, he remains faithful’ (2 Timothy 2:13 NIV). The truth is that before God saved you and made you His child, He knew of all your faults, flaws, and failures. But he’s still ‘faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.’

Exo 16:1-35; John 6:30-40

Work-in-progress

2021-05-18
Philippians 1:6 NCV

Each one of us is a work-in-progress, and our stories are not finished yet. Maybe you’ve experienced a tragedy that has left you feeling indifferent about the future, or a heartbreak that’s still as painful as the day it happened. You might have tried to rationalise it by telling yourself, ‘As long as I don’t care, it won’t hurt.’

Whatever the cause of our pain, the fear of being hurt again is very real. God understands this, and He doesn’t want us to live the rest of our lives in fear. He wants to help us start again, to trust Him, and to allow Him to walk with us into something better.

Job lost his health, his wealth, and his children in a single day. But he got through his pain by choosing to praise God. He said, ‘You gave me life and showed me your unfailing love. My life was preserved by your care’ (Job 10:12 NLT). Job’s story ends with these words: ‘The Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before’ (Job 42:10 KJV).

And God can do the same for each one of us. He’s still at work within us, and He’ll restore what we’ve lost and lead us to a better future: ‘If you devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to him, if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, then, free of fault, you will lift up your face; you will stand firm and without fear. You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by’ (Job 11:13-16 NIV).

Heb 9:1-11:16; Mark 9:38-50; Ps 75; Prov 11:23

Dealing with fear (3)

2021-03-17
Job 4:14 NKJV

Fear can be devastating. Why? Because it breeds more fear! And the most insidious thing about fear is its ability to exaggerate. C. Everett Koop, former surgeon general of the United States, observed, “People just have an inappropriate sense of what is dangerous.”

Do you fear flying? The fact is, you’re more likely to die from choking on a piece of food than in a commercial airline crash. Are you afraid of dying in a robbery? You’re twice as likely to be killed playing a sport than you are to be stabbed to death by a stranger. Are you afraid of sharks? Every year farmyard pigs slay more people than sharks do. Are you worried about having surgery? You’re sixteen times more likely to die in a car crash than you are from surgical complications.

Seldom do the things we fear come to pass. In our minds we conceive coming disasters that will likely never happen. And when they don’t occur, we think, “That was a close one!” The truth is – our thoughts were the only things creating potential danger for us.

So how should you deal with your fears? By practicing the truth of this Scripture: “You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You. So trust in the Lord (commit yourself to Him, lean on Him, hope confidently in Him) forever; for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages]” (Isaiah 26:3-4 AMPC).

Soul food: Job 15-17; Matt 23:23-39; Ps 19; Prov 8:6-7

Dealing with fear (2)

2021-03-16
Psalm 118:6 NKJV

Finances. Worrying about money is something that most of us will do at some point in our lives. We might be afraid that we don’t have enough of it, that we won’t have enough to pay the bills or meet our basic needs, or we might live in fear of an unexpected expense coming along that we won’t be able to handle. We may also live with the fear that what we do have could be taken away from us, our credit cards could be stolen, or our source of income could disappear.

The first thing we need to remember when dealing with money is that it’s not ours, but God’s. 1 Chronicles 29 says: ‘Riches and honour come from you. You rule everything…Everything comes from you’ (NCV). We might think that He’s only interested in spiritual things, but if money ultimately belongs to Him, we can be certain that He’ll want to help us work through any financial worries we have. That doesn’t necessarily mean He’ll suddenly give us plenty of money, but He will give us wisdom in how to best use what we have.

We also need to remember what Jesus said in Matthew 6:26-34. In these verses, Jesus assures us that just as God provides for every bird and flower, He’ll provide for us, His beloved children. Psalm 118:6 says: ‘The LORD is on my side; I will not fear’ (NKJV). Whether we’ve made bad decisions and mismanaged our finances, or whether something external has created fear where our money’s concerned, God’s still with us, He’s still for us, and He’s still fighting on our side. We just need to turn to Him, trust Him, and follow His guidance.

Job 11-14; Matt 23:13-22; Ps 11; Prov 8:4-5