Words to Live By in Troubled Times (3)

Featured

‘The Word of our God stands forever.’
 Isaiah 40:8 NKJV

Here are some more wonderful promises from the Bible that you can rely on when trouble comes:

(1) ‘Because you have made the Lord… your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.’ (Psalm 91:9–11 NKJV)

(2) ‘The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them.’(Psalm 34:7 NIV)

(3) ‘I will take refuge in the shadow of Your wings until the disaster has passed.’ (Psalm 57:1 NIV)

(4) ‘The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.’(Psalm 34:18 NIV)

(5) ‘The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayer.’ 
(1 Peter 3:12 NIV)

(6) ‘He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me… He rescued me because He delighted in me.’ (Psalm 18:16–19 NIV) 
(7) ‘Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.’ (Micah 7:8 NIV) (8) ‘You will have courage because you will have hope. You will take your time and rest in safety. You will lie down unafraid, and many will look to you for help.’ (Job 11:18–19 TLB) 
(9) ‘Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.’ (Ephesians 3:20 NIV)

Words to Live By in Troubled Times (2)

Featured

‘The Word of our God stands forever.’
 Isaiah 40:8 NKJV

Are you ready for more of God’s wonderful promises?

(1) ‘Let all those who…put their trust in You rejoice…because You…defend them; let those also who love Your name…be in high spirits.’ (Psalm 5:11 AMPC)

(2) ‘The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms; He will thrust out the enemy from before you.’ (Deuteronomy 33:27 NKJV)

(3) ‘The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him.’ (Nahum 1:7 NKJV)

(4) ‘Fear not… for I am with you… I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you… I will hold you up… with My [victorious] right hand.’ (Isaiah 41:10 AMPC)

(5) ‘You protect them by Your presence from what people plan against them. You shelter them from evil words.’ (Psalm 31:20 NCV)

(6) ‘Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.’ 
(Psalm 23:6 NLT) (7) ‘The Lord stood at my side and gave me strength… The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom.’ 
(2 Timothy 4:17–18 NIV) (8) ‘Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You.’ 
(Psalm 9:10 NIV) (9) ‘This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.’ (Lamentations 3:21–23 NKJV) (10) ‘In peace I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.’ (Psalm 4:8 NIV)

Words to Live By in Troubled Times (1)

Featured

‘The Word of our God stands forever.’
 Isaiah 40:8 NKJV

For the next few days let’s renew our minds with some of the wonderful promises God has given to us through His Word. Let’s not just read them casually, but process them slowly, deeply, prayerfully and repeatedly, letting the truth of them change our thinking and strengthen our faith.

(1) ‘No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord.’(Isaiah 54:17 NKJV)

(2) ‘The Lord… is with you; never again will you fear any harm… He is mighty to save. He will…deal with all who oppressed you.’ (Zephaniah 3:15–19 NIV)

(3) ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king… With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us… fight our battles.’ (2 Chronicles 32:7–8 NIV)

(4) ‘My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my… fortress, I shall never be shaken.’ (Psalm 62:1–2 NIV)

(5) ‘Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.’ (Philippians 4:6–7 TLB)

(6) ‘For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Romans 8:38–39 NKJV)

Keep Your Spiritual Glasses Clean

Featured

‘Be clean, you who bear the vessels of the Lord.’
 Isaiah 52:11 NKJV

One day a man was getting his windscreen washed at a petrol station. When the attendant finished, the man said, ‘That’s a terrible job. Re-do my windscreen―it’s as dirty as when you started.’ So, the attendant wiped it again. The man looked it over and in frustration said, ‘That window hasn’t changed a bit.’ The man’s wife was sitting next to him in the car. She reached over, pulled off his glasses, wiped them, and gave them back to him. The attendant had been doing his job correctly. The man himself was the problem all along.

Spiritually speaking, the glasses you’re looking through determine what you see, and how you see it. When you look through the lens of jealousy and envy, you become resentful of the blessings of others. When you look through the lens of judgmentalism, you speak and act without mercy and grace. When you look through the lens of fear and unbelief, you limit God and forfeit what He can do for you. When you look through the lens of selfishness, you put yourself first and your loved ones suffer. When you look through the lens of negativity and cynicism, people begin to avoid you because you’re not enjoyable to be around. ‘Be clean, you who bear the vessels of the Lord.’ Just as your glasses need to be wiped clean from the contamination around you, so do your heart and mind. How does this happen? Jesus said, ‘You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.’ (John 15:3 NIV) Through prayer and daily Bible reading, your perspective on life is kept right.

Who’s Your Saul?

Featured

‘Go! This man is My chosen instrument to carry My name.’
 Acts 9:15 NIV

Saul of Tarsus was the last person on earth you’d ever have expected to become a Christian, much less the author of half the New Testament. Describing his life before he met Christ, he wrote, ‘I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it.’ (Galatians 1:13 NKJV) So, during this persecution, when God called Ananias to go and pray for Saul, Ananias wasn’t too keen on the idea: ‘“I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on Your name.” But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is My chosen instrument to carry My name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.”’ (Acts 9:13–15 NIV)

Ananias knew what Saul had done to the church. What he was about to learn, however, is that God was at work in Saul’s heart. Within a few short years God would use Paul to touch the world, but first He used Ananias to touch Paul. Has God given you a similar assignment? Has He given you a Saul? If so, don’t give up on him or her. When other people write them off, give them another chance. Ananias didn’t know about Paul’s encounter with Christ on the Damascus Road. God can go where you can’t, and get through to a person when you’re unable to reach them. Always remember: God never sends you where He hasn’t already been. So, by the time you reach your Saul, who knows what you’ll find?

Forgiveness and Inner Healing

Featured

‘Who forgives all your iniquities.’
 Psalm 103:3 NKJV

The psalmist wrote, ‘Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases.’Notice which comes first: the consciousness that all your sins are forgiven precedes the healing of all your diseases. Note also the words ‘all your iniquities’. Some of us are comfortable with receiving partial forgiveness, but we refuse to allow God’s forgiveness to touch some dark areas we can’t let go of, and that we refuse to forgive ourselves for. Whatever those mistakes may be, allow God to forgive all your sins, and receive healing for all your diseases. Let the past go. Let the mistakes go. Allow yourself to be free, and learn to forgive yourself by receiving with an open heart God’s total and complete forgiveness. Stop hurting yourself, because Jesus was hurt for all your sins. Stop beating yourself up, because Jesus took all your beatings at the cross. Stop punishing yourself, because Jesus has received all the punishment due on your behalf. It’s time to stop asking yourself if you’ve done enough to earn God’s forgiveness and acceptance. They are undeserved―they cannot be achieved by struggle and self-effort; they can only be received by faith. If you gave someone you loved a birthday gift and they insisted on paying for it, how would you feel? Hurt? Upset? That’s how God feels when you try to ‘earn’ His forgiveness, healing, and righteousness. The more you let the waterfall of God’s grace and forgiveness wash over you every day, the more you’ll receive His health for your body and His soundness for your mind.

‘How silently the wondrous gift is given’

Featured

‘You will find a baby… lying in a manger.’ Luke 2:12 NIV

One Christmas in London Phil Yancey went to hear Handel’s Messiah. He says: ‘I’d spent the morning viewing remnants of England’s glory—crown jewels, a gold mace, the Mayor’s gilded carriage… such images must have filled the minds of Isaiah’s contemporaries who heard the promise, “The glory of the Lord shall be revealed.” (Isaiah 40:5 KJV) No doubt the Jews thought back to the glory days of Solomon when “silver and gold [were] as common as stones.” (2 Chronicles 1:15 NIV) The Messiah who showed up, however, wore the glory of humility… The God who could order armies and empires like chessboard pawns emerged as a baby who… depended on a teenage couple for shelter, food and love. In London I caught glimpses of the way rulers stride through the world: with bodyguards, trumpet fanfares… bright clothes… flashing jewelry. Queen Elizabeth II had recently visited the US with 2000 kg of luggage… 2 outfits for every occasion… her own hairdresser… and a host of other attendants… God’s visit to earth took place in an animal shelter with no attendants and nowhere to lay the newborn King but a feed-trough. A mule could have stepped on him! The sky grew luminous with angels, yet who saw that spectacle? Illiterate hirelings who watched the flocks of others, “nobodies” who failed to leave their names.’

The Christmas story inspired an Episcopal priest visiting Bethlehem in 1865 to pen the familiar words: ‘How silently, how silently the wondrous gift is given; so God imparts of human hearts the blessing of His Heaven. No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin; where meek souls will receive Him, still the dear Christ enters in.’

Smile, and Start a Chain Reaction

Featured

‘I smiled on them… my cheerful face gave them comfort.’ Job 29:24 GNT

If you think you’ve nothing to smile about, consider these words from a man who’d just experienced the death of all his children, the loss of his entire fortune, and was now covered from head to toe in boils. ‘I smiled on them when they had lost confidence; my cheerful face encouraged them. I took charge and made the decisions; I led them as a king leads his troops, and gave them comfort in their despair.’ (Job 29:24–25 GNT) That’s the power of a smile!

One Christmas a big department store posted this sign: ‘The Value of a Smile: it costs nothing, but creates much. It enriches those who receive it, without impoverishing those who give it. It happens in a flash, and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None are so rich that they can get along without it, and none so poor but are richer for its benefits. It creates happiness in the home, fosters good will in business, and is the countersign of friends. It is rest to the weary, daylight to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and nature’s best antidote for trouble. Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed or stolen, for it is no earthly good until it is given away. And if in the last minute rush of Christmas buying some of our salespeople should be too tired to give you a smile, may we ask you to leave one of yours. For nobody needs a smile so much as those who have none left to give!’

Start a chain reaction this Christmas! Walk around with a smile on your face and see what happens.

Respect, Don’t Reject

Featured

‘I try to find common ground with everyone.’
 1 Corinthians 9:22 NLT

For any relationship to work, we must accept each other’s differences. Within our family we must respect each other’s unique perspectives. We don’t need to agree on every issue, but we must always honor where the other person is coming from. Paul did that: ‘I try to find common ground with everyone.’

Some of us who claim to follow Christ have a hard time with views and values that differ from our own. We think ‘compromise’ is a dirty word. Some of us have turned from the most immoral lives to faith in Christ, yet after our conversion we won’t associate with anyone who doesn’t agree with us and adopt our newfound values. Sometimes our families fall apart because we try to force our opinions on the people we love, and set boundaries to keep nonconformists out. What a terrible misuse of Christianity!

Jesus didn’t condemn the people who crucified Him; He prayed, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ (Luke 23:34 NKJV) He didn’t view them as morally bad, but spiritually blind. He told His disciples, ‘No one can come to Me unless the Father… draws him.’ 
(John 6:44 NKJV) It’s your job to love people, and it’s God’s job to change them! So, stop trying to do what only God can do! If you invest patiently in your relationships, respect other people’s perspectives, and sow good seed, you’ll reap a pleasant harvest in the long term. Your love, not the force of your argument, can give hope to the most severely damaged among us that there’s healing for the broken places of the human soul.

Learning To Lead (4)

Featured

‘If it is leadership, let him govern diligently.’
 Romans 12:8 NIV

How will you know you have the gift of ‘leadership’? Because you’ll know where God wants you to go, and be able to show others the value of going with you. There are many talented people who never become effective leaders. Why? Because they’re more interested in themselves than in those they lead. What’s interesting, however, is once they go through the school of hard knocks, they become sensitized to other people’s needs. But good leaders don’t wait for that to happen. They realize that ideas are a dime a dozen, but people who can implement them are priceless. Legendary American football coach Bear Bryant used to say, ‘I’m just a plough-hand from Arkansas, but I’ve learned to hold a team together. How to lift some men up, how to calm others down, until finally they’ve got one heartbeat together. There are just three things I’d ever say: If something goes bad, I did it. If it goes semi-good, we did it. If anything goes really good, then you did it.’

When you have the gift of leadership, you’ll also be approachable. You won’t fly off the handle, you won’t let minor problems poison your outlook, and you’ll sandwich every slice of criticism between two layers of praise. Robert Louis Stevenson said, ‘Keep your fears to yourself but share your courage with others.’ There are people who knock the heart out of you, and people who put it back in. Paul was such a leader: ‘Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God… for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News.’ (Philippians 1:3–5 NLT) That’s the kind of leader you should aspire to be.