Set the Right Example

‘He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father…had done’ 2 Chronicles 26:4 NIV

The punch line in a cartoon reads, ‘No matter what we teach our children, they insist on behaving just like us!’ We smile, but it’s a very serious matter. One expert says, ‘We teach what we know, but we reproduce what we are.’ Your children may sometimes doubt what you say, but they will always believe what you do. So;

1 If you want them to have a quiet time with God, you have one.
2 If you want your children to be in church, take them, don’t send them.
3 If you don’t want your children using foul language, watch what comes out of your mouth.
4 If you don’t want your children to smoke, drink, or do drugs, you leave them alone.

When you say one thing but do another your children may still love you, but eventually they’ll lose respect for you. And what’s worse, they’ll think, ‘If the principles you preach don’t work for you, why should I try them?’ Your example will have more impact than all your exhortations. Read these two scriptures carefully. The first is found in the Old Testament: ‘He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father…had done.’ The second is found in the New Testament: ‘I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.’ 2 Timothy 1:5 NIV. Thousands of years separate those two scriptures, but the truth they teach is timeless: set the right example.

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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Try to See People as God sees Them

‘You are a letter from Christ’. 2 Corinthians 3:3 NIV

When you consider some of the people Jesus called to be His disciples, the word ‘dysfunctional’ comes to mind. But Jesus wasn’t put off. Like finding treasure in the trash, He was able to see their potential, draw it out and develop it. And that’s your story too, isn’t it? Paul writes, ‘You are a letter from Christ…written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God.’ Other people don’t write your story. Even you don’t. ‘The Spirit of the living God’ is writing it. That means your best days are still ahead! An old Bible lay on a bargain table along with hundreds of tattered books. A lot of people had picked it up and thumbed through its pages. It wasn’t in very good shape – certainly not worth £2 – so it was cast aside. Then a man picked it up, stifled a shout, and rushing to the counter he paid the paltry asking price. Turns out it was an original Gutenberg estimated to be worth more than a million pounds! How many times did that old book change hands before it was redeemed? How many times did the world cast it aside, unaware of its value? The truth is, we were all passed over until Jesus saw value in us. But rather than paying bargain price, He paid the highest price possible. ‘While we were still sinners, Christ died for us’ (Romans 5:8 NIV). So when you’re having a bad day, look in the mirror and remind yourself, ‘God loves me Calvary-worth!’ Then go out and try to see others as treasures God couldn’t live without; sinners Christ died to redeem.

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

Have You Prayed about it?

‘Pray and ask God for everything you need’ Philippians 4:6 NCV

Can you imagine walking into a restaurant and asking if your order is ready? ‘When did you call it in?’ the waiter asks. ‘Oh I didn’t, you reply, ‘I just thought perhaps you might have something with my name on it.’ That’s as ridiculous as expecting God to answer prayer requests you haven’t made – or haven’t made in faith. The Bible says, ‘The reason you don’t have what you want is… you don’t ask God’ (James 4:2 TLB). Will God give you everything you ask for? No. ‘Even when you do ask you don’t get because… you want only what will give you pleasure’ (v 3 TLB). Your request must be in harmony with God’s will. ‘If we ask anything according to His will… He hears’ (1 John 5:14 AMP). Jeremiah said, ‘The Lord is good to those who wait… expectantly for Him’ (Lamentations 3:25 AMP). Expectant prayer demonstrates confidence in God’s goodness. So instead of fretting, or talking about it to everybody but God, or taking matters into your own hands, say ‘Lord, I’m going to trust You with this regardless of the outcome,’ and He will honour your faith. Paul writes, ‘Pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks.’ Do you need a job? Help overcoming a problem? The salvation of a loved one? A deeper spiritual walk? Physical or emotional healing? Guidance? Jesus said, ‘it gives your Father great happiness to give you the (benefits of) (His) Kingdom’ (Luke 12:32 NLT). God wants to be good to you, so tell Him the ‘desires of your heart’ (Psalm 37:4 NKJV). Then thank Him and believe the answer will come – in His time!

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

Don’t Give up – Go Through

‘Pursue…overtake…and…recover all’ 1 Samuel 30:8 KJV

When king David and his men returned home from battle, they discovered that the Amalekites had burned their homes to the ground and taken their families prisoner. They were devastated. They wept until they’d no tears left. Then God spoke to them and said, ‘Pursue…overtake…and…recover all.’ And with His help they did! So no matter how bad your situation looks right now, don’t give up. Cry if you have to, then dry your tears and go out in God’s strength and take back what the enemy has stolen from you. If necessary, take it an inch at a time, drawing on His strength and not your own. Paul writes: ‘Let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing what is right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint’ (Galatians 6:9 AMP Classic Edition). God won’t quit on you, so don’t quit on Him! He has promised in His word: ‘When you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God’ (Isaiah 43:2-3 NIV). Don’t give up – go through! It’s easy to quit, but it takes faith to go through. When your faith honours God, He honours your faith! And with Him on your side you’ll come out stronger than you were when you went in. So the word for you today is: ‘Pursue…overtake…and…recover all.

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

Don’t be Afraid

‘Why are you so fearful’ Mark 4:40 NKJV

Notice how the disciples reacted to the storm on the Sea of Galilee, and see if you recongise any of the same traits in yourself:

1 Fear makes us doubt God’s care. The disciples asked Jesus, ‘Do You not care that we are perishing?’ (v38 NKJV). They didn’t ask about His strength: ‘Can you still the storm?’ or His knowledge: ‘Are you aware of the storm?’ or His know-how: ‘Do you have any experience with storms?’ Instead they voiced doubts about His character: ‘Do you not care?’ If you let it, fear will erode your confidence in God’s love and make you forget His faithfulness.

2 Fear makes us reach for control. Jesus was asleep, so the disciples woke Him and said, ‘Do something, quick!’ Fear comes from a perceived loss of control. When we’re afraid, we grab for a component of life that we can manage – like our diet, or our job, or the neatness of our house, or in many cases – people. The more insecure we feel, the more controlling we tend to become.

3 Fear makes us forgetful. The Bible says, ‘He cast out the spirits with a sword, and healed all who were sick’ (Matthew 8:16 NKJV). What a resume! But fear gives us spiritual amnesia; it makes us forget what Jesus has already done and how good He has been to us. And what was Jesus’ response? ‘Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?’ Faith doesn’t eliminate fear; it silences it, robs it of its power, and draws us closer to God. And when that happens things begin to change for the better.

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

Forgiveness and Inner Healing

‘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.

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

‘At Home’ in God’s Love

‘Make yourselves at home in my love’ John 15:9 MSG

When someone says, ‘Make yourself at home’, it means you’re welcome and accepted. And that’s what Jesus means when He says, ‘Make yourselves at home in my love.’ You never have been and never will be loved by anyone as much as God loves you. The reason you have such a hard time grasping that concept is that you have nothing to compare His love to. Nothing could make God love you more than He does right now, and nothing could make Him love you less. The great irony is that we spend our lives trying to earn His love, when it can only be received by faith. John says: ‘What marvellous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it – we are called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognise us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he’s up to’ (1 John 3:1-2 MSG). You may have grown up with parents who withheld their love, or weren’t capable of expressing it. God doesn’t do that. Throughout Scripture He keeps saying, ‘I love you. I love you. I love you!’ CS Lewis wrote: ‘God created us to be the objects of His love! Sometimes our actions make us unlovely, but we’re never unloved. And because God loves us – we have value. And nobody can take that value away. God’s love revealed at Calvary fastens itself onto flawed creatures like us, and for reasons none of us can ever quite figure out, makes us precious and valued beyond calculation. This is love beyond reason. And this is the love with which God loves us.

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