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Your Doubts Don't Disqualify You

Monday December 16
“Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” Jn 20:27 NKJV

The Bible says: “Now Thomas…one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ So he said to them, ‘Unless I see in His hands…and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.’ And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, ‘Peace to you!’ Then He said to Thomas, ‘Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.’ And Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’” (vv. 24-28 NKJV). The miracle in this story is not that Christ could walk through a closed door and suddenly materialize in their presence. That’s impressive. What’s even more impressive is that Christ would show up to talk to a doubter! The fact is, Jesus was not even in the room eight days earlier when Thomas expressed his doubts to the other disciples. But “The Lord knows the thoughts of man” (Ps 94:11 NKJV). Some of us would have looked at Thomas and thought, “Write him off, he’s not qualified to be a disciple.” Not Jesus. He recognized an honest heart and a seeking soul, and He showed up to answer his questions. Your doubts don’t disqualify you! Just take them to the Lord in prayer, and when you leave His presence you’ll be saying, “My Lord and my God.”

When God Puts You on Hold (1)

“…Be patient in trouble, and prayerful always.” Romans 12:12 TLB

We’ve been dubbed ‘the microwave generation’ for good reason - we charge through life like we’re on fire! But God has His own timetable and it can’t be rushed. So when He puts you on hold: Watch your words. Like a small rudder on a big ship, what you say determines your direction and helps stop the wrong thoughts from infiltrating your mind. Mel Weldon said, ‘My mind is a garden, my thoughts are the seeds; my harvest will be either flowers or weeds.’ Ask God to help you control your emotions. Paul says, ‘Be glad for all God is planning…Be patient in trouble…and prayerful always.’ Complaining magnifies the problem. Prayer turns negative energy into a powerful force for good. Look for the humour in it. Solomon said, ‘…he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast’ (Proverbs 15:15 NKJV). Laughter dispels tension, lightens the burden and fills your soul with joy. Appreciate the chance to learn. The Chinese view problems as prospects; in their culture the character/symbol for problems and opportunities is the same. Solomon said, ‘…the diligent make use of everything…’ (Proverbs 12:27 NLT). Learn from your experience regardless of how hard it is, and remember, some of the world’s greatest discoveries and breakthroughs resulted from crises. Love unconditionally. Problems are caused by people, and under pressure it’s tempting to lash out. The bottom line is: we all make mistakes, and nobody is beyond redemption! Aren’t you glad about that? Learn to see people through God’s eyes. ‘…Overcome evil with good’ (Romans 12:21 NIV). Be courteous, and maintain your dignity when you’re under pressure (Romans 12:10).

Your Storm Shelter (2)

Tuesday November 26
“You have been…a shelter from the storm…” Isaiah 25:4 NIV

To be prepared for life’s storms you must: 1) Know your storm manual. The hymnist wrote: ‘Standing on the promises that cannot fail, when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail, Standing on the living Word I shall prevail, standing on the promises of God.’ Emotion-based faith is like a broken crutch; it won’t support you in life’s storms. It’s fair-weather Christianity and it doesn’t work. God’s Word stands sure; it’s greater than surrounding conditions and will enable you to outlast any storm. ‘Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…’ (Colossians 3:16 NIV). Keep a rich deposit of Scripture within you at all times so you can make a withdrawal when you need it. Withstanding life’s storms depends on your willingness to ‘…hear these words…and put them into practice…’ (Matthew 7:24 NIV). So, memorise the Scriptures; read them until, if you’re cut, you bleed Scripture. Meditate on God’s Word until it fills and shapes your consciousness. When the storm came, Job said, ‘…I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food’ (Job 23:12 NKJV). 2) Storm-proof yourself through prayer. Many of us treat prayer like a visit to the emergency room; until then we neglect it. Imagine where Daniel would have been if he’d held off praying until he was staring down the lion’s throat? Not a smart move. Instead, in his time of crisis Daniel drew on faith built by a lifestyle of daily prayer. And in your crisis, you too can make withdrawals from your account - as long as you’ve been faithful to make regular deposits.

ARE YOU FEELING INSECURE? (3)

"The Lord…said to me, ‘Now, I have put my word in your mouth.’" | NOVEMBER 6, 2013 | READ: Jer 1:9 NIV

The people God calls usually start out feeling ill-equipped and insecure. Indeed, if you jumped up and said, “No problem, Lord, I can handle that,” He wouldn’t call you at all. You say, “But I’ve made so many mistakes.” Everybody falls; the winners are just the ones who get backup again. “The Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand” (Ps 37:23-24 NIV). When Jeremiah told God that he had neither the competence or confidence needed to do the job God said to him what He says to us: (1) You are not going in your own authority. “You must go to everyone I send you to” (Jer 1:7 NIV). Who’s sending you, sponsoring you, and sustaining you? God! What more do you need? (2) The message is not yours. “You must…say whatever I command you” (v. 7 NIV). Do not agonize, compromise, rationalize or apologize. Just say what God told you to say and He will do the rest: “For I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled!” (v. 12 NIV). (3) When God touches you, you’re qualified. “Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, ‘Now I have put my words in your mouth’” (v. 9 NIV). Be yourself; you can’t be anybody else! You’re not who others say you are; you’re who God says you are! So you can do what God says you can do. Just get in agreement with Him.

Are You Feeling Insecure? (1)

Monday November 4

“Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you.” Jer 1:8 NKJV


Jeremiah writes: “Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you [set you apart]; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.’ Then said I: ‘Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.’ But the Lord said to me: ‘Do not say, “I am a youth,” for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you,’ says the Lord. Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and…said: ‘Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant…I am ready to perform My word’” (vv. 4-12 NKJV). Does the job you’ve been called to do seem too big for you? On your own, it is, but not when you include God! You’re not working alone, God is with you. Whether it’s to pull down or build up, the One who called you will equip you, empower you, and give you success. He didn’t make a mistake when He picked you. You say, “If only I had the education, talent and experience of so-and-so.” If God wanted them, He’d have chosen them, but He chose you. Just be yourself, trust God, and everything will go well for you.

Knowing God's Voice

Saturday October 26
“His sheep follow him because they know his voice.” Jn 10:4 NIV

Here are seven occasions when knowing God’s voice is all-important: (1) Hearing from God before you entertain the ideas of others. Why? Because their ideas are not His commands. Don’t make commitments and end up bound by promises you can’t keep. You must love others, but be led only by God’s Spirit. (2) Hearing from God before you listen to the complaints of others. Why? Because you are not responsible for their happiness. Your need to “fix” others in order to feel good about yourself is called “co-dependency.” Give them to God! (3) Hearing from God before you consider the needs of others. Why? Because their needs are driving them; only the plan of God should be leading you. (4) Hearing from God before you respond to the requests of others. Why? Because you must discern what’s behind their requests. Check the soil before you sow your seed. (5) Hearing from God before you share your dream with others. Why? Because it’s not enough to have a dream, you must have a team. You need people to help you, cheer you on and lift you to a higher level. The right people motivate you to grow stronger, think better, work harder and risk more. They compel you to continue! (6) Hearing from God before you seek the approval of others. Why? Because people with an agenda will flatter and manipulate you. Hearing God’s voice will keep you from falling into their trap. (7) Hearing from God before you make significant changes. Why? Because it’s not your job to decide what God wants you to do, but to discover it and do it.