Today God is with You

‘But they were not able to recognise who he was’ Luke 24:16 MSG

When you face a crisis it’s easy to lose perspective. It happended to two of Christ’s disciples on the Emmaus Road. Discouraged about His death, they were ‘going over all these things that had happened. In the middle of their… questions, Jesus came up and walked along with them. But they were not able to recognise who he was’ (vv 14 – 16 MSG). When you take your eyes off Jesus, you start to feel helpless about your situation. Dr Michael Youssef says: ‘Facing a major crisis, I tend to be the kind of person whose vision becomes blurred. My perceptions are shot. My contemplations are one-sided. I often shut out the very people who can deliver me, just like the two disciples… Their vision was blurred about the person who was walking with them and talking to them. The one whose death they were mourning was alive… but they didn’t realise it because their focus was on the wrong thing’. But everything changed the minute they recognised Jesus. ‘Within the hour they were on their way back to Jerusalem. There… the two… told… how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along… and how they had recognised him as he was breaking the bread’ (vv 33-35 NLT). Note the words ‘within the hour’. In an instant they went from fear to courage, pain to joy, and despair to hope. Paul wrote, ‘I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened’ (Ephesians 1:18 NIV). When you stop focusing on the problem and fix your eyes on Jesus, you get 20/20 vision and you’re filled with hope.

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Living in a Peaceful State of Mind

‘You will keep in perfect peace…all whose thoughts are fixed on you’ Isaiah 26:3NLT

Who are you trusting to solve your problems, God or yourself? Before you answer, read this: ‘You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you…whose thoughts are fixed on you!..for those who are righteous, the way is not steep and rough. You are a God who does what is right, and you smooth out the path ahead of them (vv 3, 7 NLT). What a great promise! If you want to maintain a peaceful state of mind, live by this principle: ‘Do your best, and trust God with the rest.’ Some of us grew up with the notion that it’s wrong to enjoy ourselves when we have problems. We’ve been conditioned to think that if we can’t do anything else – at least we can worry and be miserable. Paul addresses this: ‘Do not (for a moment) be frightened…for such (constancy and fearlessness) will be a clear sign…from God’ (Philippians 1:28 AMPC) Satan doesn’t know what to do when he can’t get you upset; you’ve taken a powerful weapon out of his hands. By trusting God completely, you’re no longer at the mercy of circumstances, other people, or your own emotions and limitations. Broadcaster Paul Harvey once quipped, ‘In times like these, it’s helpful to remember there have always been times like these!’ The question isn’t ‘Will trouble come?, it’s How will you handle it?’ The Bible says, ‘We which have believed do enter into rest’ (Hebrews 4:3 KJV). When things go wrong – don’t go wrong along with them. Follow God’s leading, stand on His word, then rest in Him and trust Him to work on your behalf.

This is reproduced with kind permission from United Christian Broadcasters (UCB) Word for Today. Copies can be obtained from them at UCB Operations Centre, Westport Road, Stoke on Trent, ST6 4JF
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It is well with my Soul

‘My peace I give to you…Do not let your hearts be troubled and… afraid’ John 14:27 NIV

The peace Jesus gives brings a sense of assurance that no matter what happens you know ‘it is well with my soul’. He says to us: ‘My peace I give you, I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and … afraid’. The peace Jesus gives doesn’t depend on conditions and circumstances. It comes from knowing you’re God’s child and that your Father controls the universe, loves you and always has your best interests at heart. That’s why people who’ve lost everything will often tell you they wouldn’t trade what they’ve learned, even if it meant recouping all their losses. Joni Erikson Tada discovered a supernatural peace when an accident confined her to a wheelchair, and Corrie Ten Boom found it in a Nazi death camp. Missionary Elisabeth Elliot found it ministering to the Indian tribe who massacred her husband. She wrote, ‘Only in acceptance lies peace…not in resignation’. There’s a big difference! Author Creath Davis points out that: ‘Resignation is surrender to fate. Acceptance is surrender to God. Resignation lies down quietly in an empty universe. Acceptance rises up to meet the God who fills that universe with purpose and destiny. Resignation says, ‘I can’t.’ Acceptance says, ‘God can’. Resignation paralyses the life process. Acceptance releases the process for its greatest creativity. Resignation says, ‘It’s all over for me.’ Acceptance says, ‘Now that I’m here, what’s next, Lord? Resignation says, ‘What a waste.’ Acceptance says, ‘In what redemptive way will you use this mess, Lord?’ Resignation says, ‘I’m alone’. Acceptance says, ‘I belong to you, Lord’.

This is reproduced with kind permission from United Christian Broadcasters (UCB) Word for Today. Copies can be obtained from them at UCB Operations Centre, Westport Road, Stoke on Trent, ST6 4JF
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Don’t Just Pray – Believe

‘Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them’. Mark 11:24 NKJV

One of the dangers in praying is not expecting God to answer. The Bible says, ‘Without faith no one can please God. We must believe…God is real and… he rewards everyone who searches for him’ (Hebrews 11:6 CEV). The only currency God trades in is faith, and ‘faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God’ (Romans 10:17 KJV). As you immerse yourself in Scripture, faith takes root and begins to grow. And faith is what makes your prayers effective. But what if your faith lines up with God’s word and the answer is delayed? Keep praying and believing! ‘Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised’ (Hebrews 10:35 NIV). When a rural farming community was hit by severe drought the local church called a prayer meeting. Almost everybody in the town showed up (interesting how trouble has a way of getting our attention). As the minister stands before a packed church he noticed an 11 year old girl beaming with excitement in the front row. Lying on the pew beside her was a bright red umbrella poised and ready for use. The beauty and innocence of that sight made him smile, as he compared the child’s faith with that of all the others in the church. Looking at the congregation, he announced: ‘The rest of us came to pray for rain, but she came expecting God to answer! So don’t just pray – believe!

This is reproduced with kind permission from United Christian Broadcasters (UCB) Word for Today. Copies can be obtained from them at UCB Operations Centre, Westport Road, Stoke on Trent, ST6 4JF
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This Year recognise your Calling

‘It is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose’ Philippians 2:13 NIV

By recognising and fulfilling your God-given assignment in life you free yourself from a sense of failure, and are able to stop worrying about what others think. Why? Because your self-worth no longer depends on people but God! However, you must do these three things:
1 Be honest about your gifts, and recognise your limitations. Don’t go through life as a stranger to yourself. Honestly assess your strengths and limitations; ask the hard questions and be willing to live with the answers, even if it means letting some things go. Michael Novak writes, ‘God knows what’s in us for He put it there. And He intends us to do something with it’. Each of us has been given a calling in life, and happiness belongs to those who find and fulfil that calling.
2 Allow God to work on you. Sometimes amateur potters limit the potential of clay by seeing it only as a flowerpot. But a master potter sees much more – he or she knows what it can become. Watch them; they don’t merely impose a shape on it, they release the shape that’s already within. And that’s what God does with us.
3 Recognise your source. Fulfilling your life’s assignment begins with identifying the desires God has placed within you. ‘It is God who works in your to will and to act according to his good purpose.’ Who’s at work within you? God! Where do your abilities come from? God! Make knowing God and walking in step with Him be your highest priority this year.

This is reproduced with kind permission from United Christian Broadcasters (UCB) Word for Today. Copies can be obtained from them at UCB Operations Centre, Westport Road, Stoke on Trent, ST6 4JF
They can be reached on 0845 6040401 or at http://www.ucb.co.uk

When you Pray

‘While He prayed…heaven …opened’ Luke 3:21 NKJV

When Jesus was baptised the Bible says, ‘While He prayed…the Holy Spirit descended… upon Him… and a voice…from heaven…said, ‘You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased’ (vv 21-22 NKJV). After the crucifixion the disciples ‘prayed with a single purpose’ (Acts 1:14 CEV) and ‘the place…was shaken. They were… filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke God’s word without fear’ (Acts 4:31 NCV). Make no mistake, prayer can be hard work, but our most rewarding moments will come from time spent in prayer. God used prayer to accomplish things that won’t happen any other way. Henry Blackaby says: ‘As we pray our attention is turned towards God and we become more receptive to aligning our lives with His will. He won’t equip us with His power while we’re racing off to our next appointment! His Spirit won’t empower us if we’re oblivious to what He’s saying. He requires our complete attention…’Jesus told his disciples… they should always pray and not give up (Luke 18:1 NIV 2011) If you’ll commit yourself to spend sustained time in prayer… God will work in your life as He did in the lives of Jesus and His disciples… The fervent prayer of the people at Pentecost didn’t induce the Holy Spirit to come upon them. Prayer brought them to where they were ready to participate in the mighty work God had already planned’ The Bible says ’Before daylight, (Jesus) went…to a solitary place; and… prayed’ (Mark 1:35 NKJV). And before He chose His disciples, ‘he spent the night praying’ (Luke 6:12 NCV). If it took a whole night for Jesus to determine His Father’s will, what makes you think you can do it in a few hurried moments?

This is reproduced with kind permission from United Christian Broadcasters (UCB) Word for Today. Copies can be obtained from them at UCB Operations Centre, Westport Road, Stoke on Trent, ST6 4JF
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Start Looking Forward

‘Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead’ Philippians 3:13 NLT

There are things inside you that must be dealt with before you can move ahead. Every experience you’ve had from birth until the present moment has helped shape who you are. The things that happen to you, good and bad, are instrumental in determining how you’ll act and react for the rest of your life. Paul talks about ‘forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead’. You ask, ‘What did Paul have to forget?’ A lot! On Paul’s orders Stephen, the first Christian martyr, was stoned to death while he looked on. Before he met Christ on the Damascus road, Paul routinely imprisoned and put Christians to death. The fact is, if he hadn’t overcome his past he would never have written half the New Testament and helped establish a church that would last two millennia. Was Paul perfect? Not even close! That’s why he said: ‘I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all the Christ saved me for and wants me to be… I am still not all that I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us’ (vv12-14 TLB). The only place the past can live is in your memory; and the only power it has over you is the power you give it. So the word for you today is: Start looking forward.

This is reproduced with kind permission from United Christian Broadcasters (UCB) Word for Today. Copies can be obtained from them at UCB Operations Centre, Westport Road, Stoke on Trent, ST6 4JF
They can be reached on 0845 6040401 or at http://www.ucb.co.uk