Whoever isolates himself pursues his own desire; he resists all sound advice
Sometime when life gets hectic & overwhelming our mind starts looking for an escape. Our imagination takes us to a deserted tropical Island where there is nothing but a palm tree, hammock and a cool drink. We live like a castaway with no pressure, people or things to do. This Island getaway is simply a trap. Isolating ourselves is not the answer to our problems or to the pressures of life.
Today’s verse says that isolation isn’t God’s way. God created each of us and He knows what’s best for us. God said at creation [Genesis 2:18] that it isn’t good, beneficial or pleasing for us to be isolated. Today’s verse explains why. When we separate ourselves from others we’re breeding selfishness. We are seeking our own desire rather than God’s. Isolating ourselves will not solve any problem or release any of life’s pressure. We’re simply trapping & hurting ourselves.
Our verse continues on to reminds us that if we selfishly persist in isolation, we will end up resisting all sound advice & wisdom. This includes the rich treasure of wisdom from God’s Word and also input from His counsel in our lives [Proverbs 15:22]. Isolation will take us on a road to destruction that is not intended for the born-again believer.
This week let’s getaway from the Islands of isolation that we have escaped to. Let’s reconnect with Godly people who we may have carelessly pulled away from. Let’s build some new bridges with other Christians who are reaching out to help us. Let’s be vigilant not to repeat our destructive past by isolating and separating from others. Then let’s get ready because in no time at all our life will flourish.
The Lord makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside peaceful waters
Have you ever had an overwhelming day? A day where everything demands your attention and nothing seems easy to complete. As your day progresses you feel like throwing your hands up in the air and giving up on everything. For some people this isn’t just a day it’s a reflection of their whole life. God doesn’t intend His Children to live this way
Today’s verse provides a solution to this problem. It tells us that God has a place for us to lie down, stretch out & receive peace rather than giving up. God provides a place for every believer but it’s not always easy to enter. We’re told that God has to make us lie down, stretch out and enter His peace. It’s vitally important that we do this and stay there to be refreshed and re-energized for the season ahead.
How do we enter our place of refreshing? Psalm 23:1 says that it’s simply by making the Lord our Shepherd. In other words, we’re able to lie down, stretch out and receive peace by doing things God’s way; the way He says in the Bible. When we struggle on trying to make our own lives less overwhelming, life always seems to get worse. God’s desire is to lead us away from the turmoil and into His place of peace & refreshing.
This week don’t throw your hands up and surrender to your circumstances. Instead let’s receive from God by letting go of our own agendas and our own way of doing things. God’s Word must be allowed to guide us to His place of peace. A place where we can lie down, stretch out and receive His refreshing. As we do this, we’ll soon discover our future is clearer, our path is brighter, and our tomorrow is so much greater than our yesterday.
And God has placed in the Church…
1 Corinthians 12:28
In 1st Samuel 17 we are told about a young boy named David. He took 5 stones from a brook and placed them in his shepherd’s bag. He later took a single stone from this bag to kill a giant named Goliath. If there had been nothing in his bag Goliath would have triumphed. But 1 stone in David’s sling killed a giant that was tormenting a whole nation.
Today’s verse lets us know that God has armed us with weapons for victory. They’ve been placed in our shepherds’ bag, which is His Church. He has specifically located them there so when a giant problem presents itself, we’ve got just the right stuff to conquer it. God has placed in the shepherd’s bag, the Church Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, Miracle Workers, Healers, Helpers, Organizers & Diversities of tongues [1 Corinthians 12:28]
So, no matter what giants stand before us, threatening to kill us, God has already placed gifts in the church that we should use. God provided them for our victory. Many believers carelessly disregard how necessary these gifts are to winning so they never access God’s gifts and they seldom ever walk in victory. God placed these gifts in His Church before we needed them so we can win daily.
This week connect afresh to your local church. It may not seem perfect but it is the shepherds’ bag that contains the gifts that we need to have victory over every giant problem we face. Access these gifts in your Church and not only will you have victory over your problems but you’ll also be solving problems for the whole nation.
God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love – like Christ in everything
Have you ever had a potted plant that used to flourish but now seems to be struggling for survival? When originally planted it grew quickly but now very little seems to be happening. It’s probably a pot-bound plant. This means that the roots have filled the pot, leaving them no room to expand. The plant can’t grow any further unless we expand the pot so it can flourish again.
Today’s verse lets us know that God wants us to flourish. He doesn’t want us pot-bound and struggling in life. Many believers’ lives are so constricted by their past experiences and opinions that every day is a battle to simply survive – let alone grow. God wants us to expand, grow & become greater each and every day of our lives.
To do this we need to be a seeker of truth every day. Our Bible contains every truth that we need to know to experience a life that flourishes. Any life that’s constricted & root-bound isn’t for us. We should read & study God’s Word daily to enlarge our understanding and grow up in God continually.
This week let’s challenge ourselves to break loose from our past, expand beyond our comfort zone and get growing in God. As we read & study God’s Word, we’ll be able to express them with the love of God to others. Christ will become the centre of everything we do and everything we do will be centred around Christ. Any area in our life that were previously constricted will soon break down and we’ll have a life that’s expanding and flourishing like never before.
Come, let’s climb God’s Mountain
Climbing a mountain can be a solo or a group sport. Generally, it’s more fun and safer to climb with others rather than alone. Scaling a mountain can be hard work but as we climb together, we eventually get to celebrate together when we reach the peak. It’s a shared experience that everyone benefits from.
Today’s verse invites us to do the hard work of climbing with others. It encourages us to unite and push deeper into the revelation and understanding that God has for us. Just like climbing a mountain in the natural it’s not easy but it’s a whole lot more enjoyable doing it with others rather than struggling on alone.
As we climb higher into God our verse follows on to explain that God will show us the way He works so we can live the way we’re made. That is the mountain peak we’re heading to… living life God’s way! Each one of us has been fearfully and wonderfully made [Psalm 139:14] and when we do things God’s way our life becomes prosperous and flourishing.
This week let’s gather together some company to climb further towards God. Let’s pray with a friend, read a book, listen to some preaching or someone sharing their journey of life. As we do this, we’ll quickly learn from them. Then, in no time at all, we’ll conquer a peak on God’s Mountain, celebrate together and still have the strength to push on and climb even higher together in God.
I can do ALL THINGS through Christ who strengthens me
Have you ever made a recipe and inadvertently omitted a vital ingredient? The result can be something horrible rather than something wonderful. It may have looked bad, smelt bad or tasted disgusting. It was simply because a vital ingredient was missed out. An ingredient that was necessary for a successful outcome.
Today’s verse lets us know a vital ingredient for a successful life. We’re instructed to do ALL THINGS through Christ. When we do this Christ strengthens us. Many believers today live weak lives because they only ever do some things, rather than ALL THINGS, through Him.
When life seems unsuccessful & weak rather than giving up let’s change. If we just keep doing what we’ve always done nothing alters. Change is the key. Get into God’s Word, the Bible, and discover His way of doing every part of your life. Then do what the Bible says. This is how we do ALL THINGS through Christ and that’s how He is able to strengthen us and cause us to be successful.
So, this week let’s remember that doing nothing is giving up. Don’t give up. Get into God’s Word and start bringing a different area each day under His Word. Live His way rather than yours and Christ will bring His strength into your life. Before long discouragement will leave as His strength replaces it. God’s Word always leads us to a successful and prosperous future.
Jesus is not here
Have you ever lost or misplaced something? Even continued searching in familiar places yields no result. Ultimately you go back and re-check the same places you’ve already looked even though it was clearly not there. Eventually you discover your lost treasure in a completely different place. You have it back, you’re happy again and you take care not to repeat the experience.
In today’s verse the 2 Mary’s have just returned to keep vigil at Jesus tomb. This was the place where Jesus was meant to be. On their arrival an angel tells them Jesus is not there. Then the angel tells them 3 very important things… “Jesus is risen from the dead”, “Jesus is going on ahead of them” & “They’ll see him there”
It would’ve been useless for Mary to stay and keep checking the same old tomb in the hope that Jesus would suddenly appear. If she truly wanted to see Jesus again, she’d have to follow Him because He was now ahead of her. Jesus was in her future. As believers, we often look to our past in the hope we’ll find Jesus where He used to be. The truth is Jesus has moved ahead of us. He’s now in our future and when we follow Him, we’ll see Him. Standing at the tomb of our past failure, defeat or hurt will not produce a result. It’s when we get up, get on and follow Jesus that we receive what we need.
This week let’s leave the tombs of death behind – Jesus isn’t there. It’s time to passionately pursue Him into our future by obeying God’s Word. As we take steps forward, leaving death behind, we’ll see Jesus. He is our life, future and hope but only if we decide to leave the tomb and follow Him!
No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him
1 Corinthians 2:9
A “double take” is when we look at something a 2nd time after looking at it a moment earlier. We’ve all done this at some time. It may be a colour, price, person or event. We didn’t expect to see it and so we look a 2nd time to make sure we can believe our own eyes.
Today’s verse lets us know about God’s double take. We’re reminded that as we love God, we enable Him to prepare things for us that will be hard for us to comprehend. They’ll be things we haven’t seen, heard or imagined before. They’ll cause us to double take and have a second look because they’re so amazing.
Now remember that everything God does is real. What He does will ultimately surprise us & we’ll probably double take when we see it. I know that when God’s prepares it, I’m going after it. God says He’ll provide as we simply love Him. So don’t allow anything ahead of your love for God. It’s only when we love Him first that we can love anything else we have.
This week let’s do a love inventory. Let’s ensure that loving God is our number 1 priority. Let’s make sure it’s ahead of loving our sports, cars, parties and people. When God is loved first, He prepares a future that’s better than we have ever seen, heard or imagined. It’s the future to go after so why not make it the one you’re pursuing. Loving God above everything else will produce the very best future!
How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!
For there the LORD has commanded his blessing, even life forevermore
Have you ever watched soldiers marching drill? As their commander yells out directions they obey instantly and completely. They move as one unit, at one time in one direction. When the next order is issued, they all turn as one and move as instructed. They’re in complete unity. This is why a drill almost becomes a beautiful work of art that we want to keep watching.
Today’s verse tells us about unity in God’s Kingdom. When believers live a life of unity with other believers it becomes a beautiful artwork. The Bible says that unity causes our lives to be both good and pleasant. We’re not a corrupt and antagonistic work of discord like the devil’s kingdom. Whenever believers are unified it is both good & pleasant and so God commands a blessing upon all those involved.
Whenever we’re in unity with our brothers & sisters in Christ, just like the soldiers marching drill, the next command will cause a rapid change of direction. Our very next heavenly command will lead us towards Blessing. This is a command that produces a greater life forevermore to all involved. But if we’re not unified, we’re neither good, pleasant or blessed of God.
This week let’s get unified with our brothers and sisters in the Lord. Let’s find the common ground that will take us into blessing rather than walking the destructive track of selfish opinion and disagreement. It takes both humility and grace to be able to do this but God promises that when we do, He sees our lives as good and pleasant. Then He commands a blessing on all involved. Get ready to be blessed again this week!
…nevertheless at your word I will…
As the race began at school the teacher would shout, “On your mark, get ready, go!” This meant to move to the starting point, get ready to move, then run. If we weren’t at the right place and prepared, we would run too early or late and not produce the best result. Success involved both listening & obedience to what was spoken.
Today’s verse includes both listening & obedience. Simon says that no matter what is happening [or has happened in the past], as soon as God speaks he’s going to obey. Circumstances, surroundings and opinions don’t enter in. As soon as God spoke Simon was ready to go.
There are many things that attempt to steal our focus from obeying God. People, media & wrong thought patterns are just a few. Disobedience turns what should be a brilliant victory into a foolish disaster. Always remember that God’s instructions are never wrong and it’s usually our lack of focus and obedience that causes dismal failure.
This week let’s be like Simon and prepare to enter a new realm of success. Let’s forget about the past, release any thinking that opposes God’s Word and then get ready to quickly obey what God says “Go”. Foolish disasters and dismal failure will fade away as we listen to and quickly obey God. We’ll step forward into a brilliant future that advances with every great decision that we make.