Wednesday, 30th June 2021
Ecclesiastes 5:4 – “When you make a promise to God, keep it as quickly as possible”.
As you start the second half of the year, you may be making some resolutions. Some might be commitments to yourself, your career, or your family. Others may be promises to God.
If you make a promise to God, you should be quick to keep it. Just like delayed obedience is disobedience, a delayed promise is an unfulfilled promise.
Ecclesiastes 5:4 says it clearly: “When you make a promise to God, keep it as quickly as possible”.
Another promise to keep is to run quickly from temptation.
With temptation, you need both preventive and emergency tactics. _Preventive tactics mean that you work to keep yourself out of tempting situations. But today let’s focus on emergency tactics, what to do when you are being tempted.
The Bible clearly says what to do with temptation: “Run from all evil things” (1 Timothy 6:11a).
That’s right. When you feel tempted to do something self-defeating or dishonoring to God, you should move out of the situation rapidly.
Don’t argue with temptation. If you’re watching something on television that tempts you to lust, change the channel. If you struggle with alcohol, run far away from it.
No matter what your temptations are, the strategy is clear: Run away. Don’t argue. Don’t fight. Run. If you don’t want to get stung by the bees, get away from the hive.
So as you enter the second half of the year, resolve to do two things quickly: Keep your promises to God, and run from temptation.
Thursday, 24th June 2021
Hebrews 11:24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.
When you don’t know who you are, you live for other people’s approval. But God offers you so much more. He wants you to live in the true identity that He’s given you.
The Bible tells a famous story of a great leader who chose to live in his God-given identity, the story of Moses.
Moses led the Jews to freedom after 400 years of slavery in Egypt. He received the Ten Commandments from God. He’s credited with writing the first five books of the Bible.
But Moses started life as a slave. As an infant, he was placed in a river basket as his mother tried to save him from genocide. He was found by Pharaoh’s daughter and raised as a prince.
So how did moses transform from slave into prince? How did he become willing to leave it all behind to lead God’s people? Well, in short, he grew up. He grew up physically, but he also grew up spiritually (read Hebrews 11:24-27)
As he was growing up, Moses asked all the questions that everyone asks: Who am I? Where did I come from? What is my life all about?
Eventually, he settled on the answer. He “refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.” He grew up and refused to keep living a lie.
So how can you know your God-given identity? By getting to know God better. The closer you get to God, the more you understand your Creator, and the more you understand yourself because you are His creation.
Like Moses, you face a choice: Will you pretend to be someone you’re not for the rest of your life? Or will you choose to live as the person God created you to be?
If you choose to live as God made you, some people may not approve of you. But that won’t really matter. You’ll know who you are and where you’re going. And you’ll have the approval of God.
Monday, 21st June 2021
Luke 2:4-6 – So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born.
God’s plan for your life is good. It’s for your benefit. It’s a loving plan. But it doesn’t mean it’s painless, and it doesn’t mean that it’ll always be convenient.
This was particularly true with Jesus’ birth. The circumstances were hardly convenient for Mary and Joseph. At that time, Emperor Augustus ordered a census of the Roman Empire. So Joseph went from Nazareth to Bethlehem to register with Mary. While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have her child (Luke 2:1, 4-6).
In the middle of trying to deal with being future parents of the Son of God, Mary and Joseph hear that Caesar has issued a census, and everybody has to go back to their ancestral town.
Let’s put that in perspective: If tomorrow the government made a rule like that, and every single person had to go back to the town they were from at the same time, it would be chaos. Every plane, train, and automobile would be booked. Every highway would be filled. It would be incredibly frustrating and remarkably inconvenient.
Now try navigating that chaos with a nine months pregnancy. Imagine how inconvenient it would be to travel by donkey to another city when you’re ready to give birth at any moment. Then, when Mary gets to Bethlehem, she has to deliver her own baby without the help of her mom or a midwife, in a barn, surrounded by a bunch of animals.
None of the circumstances around Jesus’ birth were convenient. But they were part of God’s plan. It had been long foretold that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem. The inconveniences to get them there were part of a bigger plan for Joseph and Mary, one that was better than they could have ever dreamed.
Joseph and Mary trusted God through their discomfort and fear. You, too, can trust that a lot of the things God does in your life are because He knows best. He might use some inconveniences to get you where you need to be, but He is always working for your good and working out his purposes in your life (Romans 8:28).
HAVE A SPLENDID WEEK
Friday, 18th June 2021
Job 1:21 – “The Lord gave me everything I had, and they were His to take away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
What would happen if every single thing in your life went bad? Would you still trust God if your plans didn’t work out? If everything fell apart? If you lost it all? Would you be able to honor God even in your pain?
The whole book of Job in the Bible is about answering that one question: Will you worship God when everything in your life goes wrong? For Job, almost everything that could go wrong, did, but he was faithful. He worshiped God by honoring Him, even when he was wounded.
So how do you honor God when you don’t understand what’s going on in your life? How do you keep your eyes on God when they’re full of tears?
You honor God, not by thanking Him for your problems but by thanking Him in the middle of your problems. You do what Job did.
Job 1:21-22 tells us how Job responded: “‘I came naked from my mother’s womb,’ he said, ‘and I shall have nothing when I die. The Lord gave me everything I had, and they were His to take away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.’ In all of this Job did not sin or revile God”.
At each point in your life, you can find reasons to praise God. Life is never all good, and life is never all bad. In every moment you have good and bad together.
Throughout the book of Job, Job finds the good for which he can praise God, even in the middle of the bad. You can use this list to help you praise God, no matter what’s going on. Here’s what you can praise God for:
– That He is good and loving (Job 10:12)
– That He is all-powerful (Job 36:22, 37:5, 23)
– That He notices every detail of your life (Job 23:10, 31:4)
– That He is in control (Job 34:13)
– That He has a plan for your life (Job 23:14)
– That He will protect you (Job 5:11)
Whatever is going on in your life today, choose to honor God in faith.