THE WORD FOR TODAY DEVOTIONAL CONTENT Archives - The Word For Today by Vision https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/category/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/ Helping you look to God daily Fri, 27 Jan 2023 14:00:00 +0000 en-AU hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/07/cropped-V_Logo-32x32.png THE WORD FOR TODAY DEVOTIONAL CONTENT Archives - The Word For Today by Vision https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/category/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/ 32 32 Start your day with God https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/start-your-day-with-god/ Fri, 27 Jan 2023 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92412 ‘My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord.’ Psalm 5:3 NKJV

Develop the habit of starting each day with God. When you do, you will have a source of strength to draw on all day long. Psychologists say it takes up to three weeks to become familiar with a new habit, and another three before it takes root. That means you need to get beyond the six-week barrier. So, do these:

(1) Make a strong resolution. If you begin half-heartedly, you will never succeed. The Bible says, ‘Encourage one another daily.’ (Hebrews 3:13 NIV) If it helps, become accountable to someone. Ask them to encourage you and remind you of the promise you made to God.

(2) Never allow an exception. A habit is like a ball of twine: every time you drop it, some of the strands unwind. So don’t allow just this once thinking to creep in. Every act of yielding weakens your will and causes you to lose ground.

(3) Use every opportunity to practise your new habit. Whenever you get the slightest urge to read your Bible and pray, do it. Don’t wait; use that moment to reinforce it. It doesn’t hurt to overdo a new habit when you’re first starting.

(4) Rely on the power of God. You’re in a spiritual battle, and you can only succeed with God’s help. Depend on Him to aid you in developing the habit for His glory. Write down the following words, sign your name at the bottom, and keep them before you constantly: ‘Lord, I commit myself to beginning each day with You no matter the cost. And I’m depending on You to help me be consistent.’ That’s a prayer He is sure to answer.

SoulFood: Gen 10-12 Luke 6:27-36 Ps 107:1-9 Pro 3:13-18

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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The blessed hope https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/the-blessed-hope-2/ Thu, 26 Jan 2023 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92411 ‘Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ.’ Titus 2:13 NKJV

Trusting in Christ’s soon return and our ultimate victory is what will sustain us in these days of disillusionment with some of our national leaders, the devaluing of our money, and the devastation of wars being fought on various continents at the same time. And don’t let some television talk-show host play on your fears in order to promote his or her ratings.

Jesus said, ‘Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.’ (Matthew 24:42 NASB) Admiral James Stockdale was a prisoner of war for eight years in Vietnam. What sustained him? He said: ‘I never lost faith in the end of the story. I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.’ When asked, ‘Who didn’t make it out?’ Stockdale replied: ‘Oh, that’s easy. The optimists… they were the ones who said, “We’re going to be out by Christmas.” And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they’d say, “We’re going to be out by Easter.” And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart.’

The courage needed to stand between the two extremes of current trouble and ultimate triumph is found in these words of Scripture: ‘Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.’ (Hebrews 12:2 NKJV) The One who gave you your start has guaranteed you a glorious finish.

SoulFood: Gen 7-9 Luke 6:17-26 Ps 104:24-35 Pro 3:11-12

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Help for your marriage https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/help-for-your-marriage-2/ Wed, 25 Jan 2023 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92410 ‘He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him.’ Proverbs 18:13 NKJV

Author Jean Kerr quipped: ‘Marrying a man is like buying something you've been admiring for a long time in a shop window. You may love it when you get it home, but it doesn't always go with everything in the house.’

The Bible gives good marital advice: ‘Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, according to Christ Jesus.’ (Romans 15:5 HCSB) That means doing these three things:

(1) Keep an open mind. The Bible says, ‘He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him.’ So don’t form your response while your spouse is still talking. And never become so entrenched in your opinion that you’re unwilling to consider your spouse’s viewpoint. Listening is about connecting and acknowledging where the other person is coming from. ‘Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.’ (Philippians 2:3–4 HCSB)

(2) Learn to laugh at yourself. ‘A joyful heart makes a face cheerful, but a sad heart produces a broken spirit.’ (Proverbs 15:13 HCSB) When you’re experiencing money woes, family problems, illness, or plain old exhaustion, humour can ease the tension and help restore your perspective.

(3) Eliminate the ‘D’ word from your vocabulary. Although God permits divorce under certain circumstances, it’s never His ideal. When you commit to work on your relationship, no matter how things ultimately end up, you will never regret your efforts.

SoulFood: Gen 4-6 Luke 6:1-16 Ps 104:1-23 Pro 3:9-10

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Advice on dating https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/advice-on-dating/ Tue, 24 Jan 2023 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92409 ‘Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?’ Amos 3:3 NKJV

There is no definitive test that can predict how a date will ultimately work out, but here are five questions you should always ask yourself:

(1) What’s my first impression of this person? For example, who do they hang out with? What kind of events do they enjoy? Do they lie? Steal? Swear? Do drugs? This kind of information can save you untold heartache down the road. And, not to judge a book by its cover, until you really get to know somebody, what else can you go by?

(2) How well do I know them? Isn’t it wiser to date someone you have known for a while instead of a stranger?

(3) Are they gracious towards others? Nothing is worse than a man who brags about his previous conquests, or a woman who constantly criticises her ex. Would you trust that kind of person with your reputation and your heart?

(4) Do we share the same values? The Bible says, ‘Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?’ Opposites may attract, but that’s not a good rule when it comes to values. You need to know that your date is a committed Christian who lives by his or her convictions. What kind of standards do they have about things like money, morals, and films?

(5) Can I trust them to keep their word? In previous relationships did they flirt, cheat, or remain loyal? Count on it, a promise-breaker will inevitably become a heartbreaker. If you’re dating, here is some sound advice: ‘In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.’ (Proverbs 3:6 ESV)

SoulFood: Gen 1-3 Luke 5:27-39 Ps 100 Pro 3:7-8 Pro 3:7-8

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Connecting begins with caring https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/connecting-begins-with-caring/ Mon, 23 Jan 2023 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92408 ‘May the Lord make your love increase and overflow.’ 1 Thessalonians 3:12 NIV

One of America’s most successful telephone companies created a TV advert using the slogan, ‘Can you hear me now?’ It shows a man talking on the phone, but the person on the other end can’t hear him. So, he repeatedly asks, ‘Can you hear me now?’ The ad was designed to convey the message that this particular phone company delivers a high-quality signal and doesn’t drop calls. When your phone drops a call, you know it. And what’s your immediate reaction? Annoyance? Frustration? Anger?

In his book, Everyone Communicates, Few Connect, Dr John Maxwell writes: ‘When I interact with people… I know I’ve connected when I sense extra effort—people go the extra mile; unsolicited appreciation—they say positive things; unguarded openness—they demonstrate trust; increased communication—they express themselves more readily; enjoyable experiences—they feel good about what they’re doing; emotional bondedness—they display a connection on an emotional level; positive energy—their emotional “batteries” are charged by being together… unconditional love—they are accepting without reservation. Anytime I interact with people and I see evidence of these signals, I know I’m connecting. I’ve learned what it takes to connect… and… to gauge when I’m succeeding. How are you doing when it comes to connecting? When you interact one-on-one with someone important in your life, do you receive these signals? Even if connecting with others isn’t something you’re good at today, you can learn how to do it and become better tomorrow.’

But first, you must genuinely care about the person you are trying to connect with. That’s why Paul writes, ‘May the Lord make your love increase and overflow.’

SoulFood: Ecc 9-12 Luke 5:12-26 Ps 96 Pro 3:5-6

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Handling change at work https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/handling-change-at-work/ Sun, 22 Jan 2023 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92407 ‘To everything there is a season.’ Ecclesiastes 3:1 NKJV

When change happens in the workplace, we often feel threatened. We get used to the personalities of our co-workers and bosses, and we want them to remain in place, stay the same, and require nothing more from us than what we have given in the past. We fail to prepare for instability, uncertainty, and surprises because of our desire for stability, security, and predictability. How ironic! If we were willing to adjust our expectations and be more realistic, we wouldn’t be so traumatised when change comes. Things can change overnight. It may be the loss of a parent, or a job, or your health.

Change is the only constant in life. And it has the potential to move you on to better things or flatten you like a steamroller. The choice is yours. ‘To everything there is a season.’ The truth is, God is your only secure anchor in life, so if you’re wise, you will build a strong relationship with Him. Ultimately, He will never allow you to depend on anything but Him.

Here is Elijah’s story: ‘The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning… and he drank from the brook. And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.’ (1 Kings 17:6–7 NKJV) Elijah may have panicked, but God didn’t. ‘The word of the Lord came to him, saying, “Arise, go to Zarephath… and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.”’ (1 Kings 17:8–9 NKJV)

Notice what God used to provide for Elijah: ravens, a brook, and a penniless widow. So, enjoy your job, excel in it, but depend only on God!

SoulFood: Ecc 5-8 Luke 5:1-11 Ps 91 Pro 3:3-4

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Temptation https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/temptation/ Sat, 21 Jan 2023 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92406 ‘Jesus was…tempted by the devil.’ Matthew 4:1 NIV

The Bible says, ‘Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.’ Notice who led Jesus there: God! You’re in training for your destiny, and a good trainer has one thing in mind—turning flab into muscle. So he takes you into the gym and increases the weights until you break a sweat and start thinking, ‘I don’t know how much more of this I can take.’ But God does. It’s only when you look back that you realise you’re handling situations today you couldn’t have handled a year ago. Sometimes old temptations will return with a vengeance. They’ll hound you until you think you need some new, novel, quick–fix strategy. Like the Israelites at the Red Sea, just when they thought they were finally free from a life of slavery, here comes Pharaoh. At that point they cried out to God in fear, saying, ‘It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians…’ (Exodus 14:12 NIV) ‘Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water…”’ (Exodus 14:15–16) God used Moses’ rod—again! Victory over the Egyptians didn’t come from discovering something new; it came from using what God had already given them. You have the power inside you today to overcome the temptation you’re facing right now. You just need to tap into it. Paul said, ‘Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.’ (Ephesians 3:20 NKJV)

SoulFood: Gal 5:13-26 1 Sam 17:4-51

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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In training for better things https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/in-training-for-better-things/ Fri, 20 Jan 2023 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92405 ‘And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God.’ Romans 8:28 NKJV

When Joseph was thrown into prison, it was hard for him to see how this road would lead to the fulfilment of his dream, but it did. That’s because God had a plan for his life. And He has one for yours too! Your current job may just be preparation for the job God really has in mind for you. Perhaps not today or tomorrow, but, if you stay faithful, there will come a time when you look back and realise how God directed your steps (see Psalm 37:23). Refuse to embrace any concept of victimhood that would steal your contentment. Your job, in spite of its difficulties, would have been the dream of some of your ancestors.

Didn’t you pray for this job you’re now complaining about? As difficult as this may be to accept, you’re where you are for a reason—and for a season. So, study, do the coursework, take the tests, graduate, and move on to what God has for you next. There are certain qualities you need to take with you from your present position into your next one. Things like skill-building and character development. You may need to learn computer and social media skills—plus patience and gratitude. You may need to learn how to manage an office—plus how to manage your moods. When you’re led by God, no experience is ever wasted because ‘we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to [His] purpose.’ (Romans 8:28 NKJV) God knows what He is doing, so trust Him; He uses every experience to bring about His will and fulfil our joy.

SoulFood: Ecc 1-4 Luke 4:31-44 Ps 89:38-52 Pro 3:1-2

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Forming healthy relationships https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/forming-healthy-relationships/ Thu, 19 Jan 2023 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92404 ‘He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.’ Psalm 147:3 NASB

If you’re recovering from a bad relationship, it’s a mistake to rush into another one. Unhealthy people make unhealthy choices. Some wounds take longer to heal than others, but you can count on this promise: ‘He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.’ All God asks is that you give Him a chance. Start by taking time to search His Word to find out how He feels about you. His opinion is the only reliable foundation on which to build your self-worth. If a perfect God with full knowledge of your struggles and shortcomings can love you, the message is—lighten up on yourself!

You can only love, or be loved again, with the same wholeness with which you love yourself. Next time make sure your choices aren’t predicated on need or the fear of being alone. And be careful: when you don’t value yourself, you attract people who won’t value you either; people who will use you for their own ends. You deserve better, so hold out for it.

You train others how to treat you by how you treat yourself. And as you become spiritually and emotionally whole, you will start seeing how unhealthy some of your former choices have been. If some people walk away, so be it. Sometimes you have to give up less in order to have more. The God who said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone’ has new relationships in mind for you. But He is waiting until your values and self-perception line up with His. So, take it step by step, one day at a time. And remember to rejoice—your best days are still ahead!

SoulFood: Isa 63-66 Luke 4:14-30 Ps 89:15-37 Pro 2:21-22

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Blending two families https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/blending-two-families/ Wed, 18 Jan 2023 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92403 ‘Live in peace.’ 2 Corinthians 13:11 NKJV

The Brady Bunch was a popular television show where a mum and dad with six kids created one big happy family without conflict or rivalries. The problem is it seldom happens that way. So here are three challenges you will need God’s help with:

(1) It’s common for kids to see a new step-parent as a usurper. Their loyalty to the memory of their departed mother or father can be intense. For them to welcome a newcomer feels like an act of betrayal. This can place the step-parent in a real bind.

(2) It’s common for one child to move into the power vacuum left by the departed parent and see themselves as a surrogate spouse. The status and power that come with this supportive role is very strong, and a youngster can be unwilling to give it up.

(3) Each of us is irrationally committed to our flesh and blood while being merely acquainted with others. So, when conflict arises in the family, parents are almost always partial to those they brought into the world. And when children sense this tension between parents, some of them will try to exploit it to their advantage. That’s why, statistically, second and third marriages have a higher failure rate than first ones. But there is good news: ‘With God all things are possible.’ (Matthew 19:26 KJV)

What should you do? Seek professional counselling as early as possible. Yes, it costs, but a divorce will cost you even more. And include God; He can give you the patience, wisdom, and love you need. ‘Live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.’ (2 Corinthians 13:11 NKJV)

SoulFood: Isa 58-62 Luke 4:1-13 Ps 89:1-14 Pro 2:20

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Handling temptation Christ’s way (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/handling-temptation-christs-way-2/ Tue, 17 Jan 2023 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92402 ‘After the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from Him for a time.’ Luke 4:13 HCSB

Observe this:

(1) Temptation comes when you’re alone without support. Just as a wolf looks for the sheep that wanders from the safety of the fold, the Enemy rejoices when you neglect Christian fellowship and cut yourself off from other believers. You may think the Lord is always with you, but that doesn’t mean the devil won’t tempt you. The Bible teaches us how to overcome temptation: ‘A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.’ (Ecclesiastes 4:12 NLT)

We are born, and born again, to walk this journey with others. United we stand, divided we fall is a popular motto. ‘They all were continually united in prayer, along with the women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and His brothers.’ (Act 1:14 HCSB) Paul writes, ‘For the body is not one part but many.’ (1 Corinthians 12:14 NASB) Walking in step with other believers increases your protection against Satan.

(2) Your greatest weapon in the hour of temptation is knowing God’s Word. Jesus repelled Satan’s attacks by quoting it. Satan is rendered powerless when he is confronted by a believer who declares, ‘It is written!’ You must decide to take a stand, but it’s your stance on God’s Word that makes the Enemy retreat. When Satan approached, Jesus didn’t go looking for a Bible; He quoted the Word He knew by heart. That’s your key to victory. John says, ‘I have written to you who are young in the faith because you are strong. God’s Word lives in your hearts, and you have won your battle with the evil one.’ (1 John 2:14 NLT)

SoulFood: Isa 53-57 Luke 3:21-38 Ps 84 Pro 2:16-19

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Handling temptation Christ’s way (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/handling-temptation-christs-way-1/ Mon, 16 Jan 2023 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92401 ‘For forty days He was tempted by the devil.’ Luke 4:2 NIV

Here are some practical pointers from Jesus for handling temptation:

(1) Your temptations are like the ones He faced.For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin.’ (Hebrews 4:15 HCSB) You say, ‘But you don’t understand how bad my temptations are.’ No, but Jesus does. The fact that He was tempted in every way, means He has been there, felt the urge, and understands your vulnerability first-hand. You can turn to Him when temptation hits, confident He has walked the same path and He will help you.

(2) Temptation often comes after spiritual victory. Jesus had just been baptised, the Holy Spirit descended on Him, and God declared His pleasure in His Son—then Satan struck full force (see Matthew 3:16–17;  4:1–11). High spiritual moments can leave you with your guard down, susceptible to attack. Paul says, ‘Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.’ (1 Corinthians 10:12 NKJV) People often crash and burn after big accomplishments. Ministers, for example, can be prone to temptation after delivering a great sermon.

(3) Temptation comes when you’re exhausted. Forty days without eating had left Jesus physically depleted. When your resources are drained, you’re a target for attack. Lack of sleep, unhealthy diet, stretching yourself too thin, no exercise, anxiety, and discouragement can open the door to temptation. When you feel down, your focus blurs, your awareness is dulled, your spiritual edge diminishes, and you’re not on guard against the Enemy’s approaches and schemes. The Bible says, ‘Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.’ (1 Peter 5:8 NASB)

SoulFood: Isa 49-52 Luke 3:11-20 Ps 81 Pro 2:11-15

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Beware of an elitist attitude (3) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/beware-of-an-elitist-attitude-3/ Sun, 15 Jan 2023 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92400 ‘Humble yourselves under the mighty power of God and at the right time He will lift you up in honour.’ 1 Peter 5:6 NLT

Have you ever looked down on someone because they didn’t share or possess the advantages that you enjoy in life? Do you feel superior to others in any aspect of your life? Do you believe that being part of a particular denomination puts you in a special class? Maybe your well-toned physique makes you feel superior to the overweight multitudes. And what if you are renowned in your community? Do you think you should always be escorted to front-row seats at public meetings? If so, it’s time to submit your attitude to the Holy Spirit.

But when it comes to elitism, there is another side to the coin. It’s possible to label a person or a group as elitist merely because they enjoy a particular advantage that you find intimidating and alienating due to your own self-doubt, or to try to improve your image in others’ eyes. Politicians do this. A candidate may accuse his opponent of elitism simply because of access to family wealth, or a diploma from a prominent university, or a high profile, or influential friends. As a result, that opponent accuses the other of reaching out to blue-collar workers and being disingenuous about how regular and down-to-earth they are.

In the final analysis, it’s not what you do but what you believe that establishes whether you have an elitist attitude. The truth is, it’s easy to spot pride in others and hard to see it in yourself. That’s why Peter writes, ‘Humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honour.

SoulFood: Isa 45-48 Luke 3:1-10 Ps 79 Pro 2:9-10

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Beware of an elitist attitude (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/beware-of-an-elitist-attitude-2/ Sat, 14 Jan 2023 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92399 ‘It was not I but God who was working through me by His grace.’ 1 Corinthians 15:10 NLT

Anytime you think less of someone because they’re not a member of your race, denomination, gender, or social group, you’re displaying an elitist attitude. Elitism is rooted in pride, and ‘God opposes the proud but shows favour to the humble.’ (James 4:6 NIV) Here are two Bible examples of the elitist they are not one of us attitude:

(1) When God poured out His Spirit upon the seventy elders who led Israel, they all prophesied. Two of them were not present when it happened. Later, Joshua saw them prophesying and reported it to Moses. ‘“My lord, forbid them!” Then Moses said to him, “Are you zealous for my sake? Oh, that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them!”’ (Numbers 11:28–29 NKJV) Joshua believed that only a select group were qualified.

(2) ‘John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he wasn’t in our group.” “Don’t stop him!” Jesus said. “No one who performs a miracle in My name will soon be able to speak evil of Me. Anyone who is not against us is for us.”’ (Mark 9:38–40 NLT)

If you exclude others or feel superior to them in any aspect of life, read these words from Paul: ‘But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out His special favour on me—and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by His grace.

SoulFood: 1 Cor 13 Dan 6:1-24

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Beware of having an elitist attitude (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/beware-of-having-an-elitist-attitude-1/ Fri, 13 Jan 2023 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92398 ‘Don’t think you are better than you really are.’ Romans 12:3 NLT

Paul writes: ‘Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. In His grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.’ (Romans 12:3–6 NLT) Paul is teaching us this important principle: ‘Don’t have an elitist attitude.’

If you are an elitist, you must deal with the truth that every advantage or favour you enjoy is a gift from God (see 1 Corinthians 4:7). Whatever God has given you or allowed you to accomplish must never be used for personal exultation. Even if you think you achieved each of them on your own, read these words and take them to heart: ‘Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being… He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honour and gave Him the name above all other names.’ (Philippians 2:3–9 NLT)

SoulFood: Isa 42-44 Luke 2:41-52 Ps 74:12-23 Pro 2:7-8

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Don’t be self-righteous https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/dont-be-self-righteous/ Thu, 12 Jan 2023 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92397 ‘Do not think of yourself more highly than you should.’ Romans 12:3 GNT

Jesus told this story: ‘Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: “I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.” But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to Heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, “O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.” I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.’ (Luke 18:10–14 NLT)

The lesson in this story is that God has more tolerance for an honest sinner than a self-righteous Christian. When the Pharisee was congratulating himself for the sins he didn’t commit, he was guilty of the sin of spiritual pride. Ask yourself what good behaviour is a source of pride to you? Do you measure others by your performance and mark their scorecard accordingly? The only performance that makes any of us acceptable to God is based on Christ’s performance on the cross. ‘God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.’ (2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT)

The righteousness that saves us is imputed—not earned. So don’t be self-righteous!

SoulFood: Isa 38-41 Luke 2:34-40 Ps 74:1-11 Pro 2:6

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Meditate—percolate (5) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/meditate-percolate-5/ Wed, 11 Jan 2023 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92396 ‘The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart.’ Psalm 19:8 NKJV

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.’ (Psalm 19:7–8 NKJV)

More to be desired are they than gold… sweeter also than honey… by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward. Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and I shall be innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.’ (Psalm 19:10–14 NKJV)

This prayer shows that the psalmist regarded meditation as an utter necessity to his spiritual life. And if that was true for him in his day, how much more vital is it for you today! You need to bathe your mind each day in the waters of God’s Word so that your words and thoughts are pleasing in His sight. Choose a time during your day, whether it’s the start of the day, at coffee break, during your lunchtime, coming home from work, or before falling asleep at night to reflect upon the truth of God’s Word. The greatest changes in your life will come through the process of meditating on the Scriptures—just letting the Word of God filter and percolate through your mind and into your life. First-class Bible reading calls not for snapshots but for timed exposures.

SoulFood: Isa 34-37 Luke 2:21-33 Ps 71:17-24 Pro 2:3-5

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Meditate—percolate (4) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/meditate-percolate-4/ Tue, 10 Jan 2023 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92395 ‘Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.’ Psalm 119:97 NKJV

Bible meditation is different from meditation as we know it in our society. Meditation, as popularly taught by the Eastern philosophies, tells you to empty your mind. That’s the exact opposite of what the Scriptures say! Bible meditation means filling your mind with the truth God has revealed. David was a king. Imagine the pressures and problems, demands and decisions he faced each day. Yet he said, ‘Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.’

Have you observed that we waste so much time doing mundane things such as waiting on hold on the phone, queueing, or driving to work? Some city dwellers often spend an hour or more commuting to work. If this adds up to ten hours a week, that’s forty hours a month and four hundred and eighty hours a year. That’s an extraordinary amount of time! The question is, what are you doing with your mind during this time? Will you drive along with your mind in neutral or listen to the radio, or get angry at all the drivers around you?

Instead, think of it as a great opportunity to get your mind into gear to grow spiritually and mentally! What exercise does for your body; meditation does for your soul. The Bible says, ‘For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.’ (Proverbs 23:7 NKJV) An office sign reads: ‘You are not what you think you are. But what you think—you are!’ If you want your life to be different, start thinking differently; meditate on God’s Word!

SoulFood: Isa 30-33 Luke 2:8-20 Ps 71:1-16 Pro 2:1-2

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Meditate—percolate (3) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/meditate-percolate-3/ Mon, 09 Jan 2023 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92394 ‘You shall meditate on it day and night.’ Joshua 1:8 NASB

Bible meditation has fallen out of favour. Why? Because we live in an instantaneous society, and a preoccupied society. We have so much stuff coming at us from TV, mobile phones, email, texts, snail mail, satellite links, cable news feeds, and podcasts that we hardly have a moment to react—much less reflect.

Get real! You can’t download spiritual maturity by hitting a few keys on a computer. That’s why the Scriptures speak so often about meditation. God, the author of the Bible, gave Joshua the formula for succeeding in your career and prospering in whatever you put your hand to: ‘Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.’ (Joshua 1:8 NIV)

To succeed in life, you must do something. Do what? Meditate in God’s Word! How often? Day and night. So, what portion of Scripture were you thinking about this morning as you started your day? Or while driving to and from work? For that matter, when was the last time you consciously reflected on any Bible truth or principle? If you can’t remember, start making some changes right away. Paul told Timothy: ‘Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.’ (1 Timothy 4:15 NKJV) And that’s still the rule!

SoulFood: Isa 26-29 Luke 2:1-7 Ps 46 Pro 1:32-33

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Meditate—percolate (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/meditate-percolate-2/ Sun, 08 Jan 2023 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92393 ‘I meditate on Your precepts and consider Your ways.’ Psalm 119:15 NIV

Let’s take this meditate-percolate idea a step further. (If you’re a tea drinker, substitute the word brew.) Maybe this will help you ease into meditation instead of feeling overwhelmed by the thought that you don’t have the time or discipline to do it. This is not an all-or-nothing challenge. Take small steps. If you have only ten minutes, maximise each one of them. You don’t have to read ten chapters of your Bible. You’re not doing a book report for school, and you’re not going to be graded on a test.

God’s Word is so rich with truths that you can take one verse, one phrase or one idea and let it percolate and brew in your mind, whether you have ten minutes or two hours. Instead of watching TV or constantly checking your phone for messages, just sit still, drink your coffee or tea, and let God’s indwelling Spirit interpret, enlarge, and enrich His Word as you roll it over and over in your mind. Think about it when driving or during lunch or coffee breaks. Some days you will feel like you have hit the jackpot spiritually; other days you will feel like you have added a little more to your basic Bible knowledge. Consistency is the key. Move slowly from one verse to the next, meditating and considering God’s ways as you go. Do this for one year, and you will have 365 Scriptural insights to draw on. Can you see how this could change your life for the better?

SoulFood: Isa 22-25 Luke 1:67-80 Ps 42:6-11 Pro 1:28-31

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Meditate—percolate (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/meditate-percolate-1/ Sat, 07 Jan 2023 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92392 ‘Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.’ Colossians 3:16 NKJV

Meditating in Scripture is one of the great keys to spiritual growth. In the first psalm, David writes, ‘In His law he meditates day and night.’ (Psalm 1:2 NKJV) But the word meditation is not one that a text-and-Twitter generation relates to very well. We imagine sober-faced monks wearing hairshirts and chanting on bended knees as the sun rises every morning. As a result, we want to run in the opposite direction. We admire such people, think God has to call us to such a thing, and conclude that He certainly hasn’t called us to do it. Or we think meditation is a discipline that requires hours of uninterrupted time, and time is the one thing we don’t have in surplus. And the result? We live busy but spiritually barren lives.

Some of us think meditation is fine, but we believe there are other spiritual growth and character development areas we need to work on first. So, what’s the problem? We don’t understand what it means to meditate, or the rich benefits it will give us. A spoon of instant coffee is okay if you just want the basic taste of coffee. But if you want more—if you want to enjoy the flavours of the coffee in all their richness—you have to let it percolate. So, we could paraphrase the Scripture this way: ‘In His law, he percolates day and night.’

That is what Paul meant here: ‘Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.’ Today, enjoy the aroma, taste the flavour, and experience the strength.

SoulFood: Ecc 11:7 – 12:1 Acts 9:1-25

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Are you critical of others? https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/are-you-critical-of-others/ Fri, 06 Jan 2023 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92391 ‘We have done foolishly and have sinned.’ Numbers 12:11 ESV

If you think criticising others is just exercising your right to free speech and it’s no big deal, stop and consider these three things:

(1) God saw it as a sin when Aaron and Miriam criticised Moses for marrying an Ethiopian woman. He smote Miriam with leprosy, and Aaron was quick to repent, admitting they had sinned and acted foolishly. God healed Miriam, but not before she had been publicly embarrassed.

(2) A critical attitude will hurt you relationally. ‘Then the Lord said to Moses, “…Let her be shut out of the camp seven days, and afterward she may be received again.”’ (Numbers 12:14 NKJV) Leprosy was contagious, and those who had it were isolated from others. There is an important lesson here. People will distance themselves from you and avoid you when you become known for a critical attitude. It’s a trust issue; they know if you talk to them about others, you will talk to others about them.

(3) A critical attitude hinders everybody’s progress. ‘So, Miriam was shut out of the camp seven days, and the people did not journey till Miriam was brought in again.’ (Numbers 12:15 NKJV) Have you ever been part of an organisation where one fault-finding person destroyed the effectiveness and hindered the entire group’s progress?

(4) A critical attitude hurts your relationship with God. ‘Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord? Who may enter Your presence on Your holy hill? Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts. Those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbours or speak evil of their friends… Such people will stand firm forever.’ (Psalm 15:1–3, 5 NLT)

SoulFood: Isa 17-21 Luke 1:57-66 Ps 42:1-5 Pro 1:20-27

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Learn to manage your emotions https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/learn-to-manage-your-emotions/ Thu, 05 Jan 2023 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92390 ‘He comforted them and spoke kindly to them.’ Genesis 50:21 ESV

If you have read the story of Joseph, you realise he had every reason to be angry, bitter and vindictive for the despicable way his brothers treated him. But what does he do? He doesn’t get enraged. He doesn’t even get even. He helps Egypt, the land that enslaved and falsely imprisoned him, to survive famine. He feeds his family when they come begging for food. He forgives, and in doing so, he is freed from his negative emotions. He resolves past issues, does not allow them to deter his destiny, and stays in God's favour.

As second-in-command in Egypt, Joseph held the power of life and death over those who had hurt him. Yet he told them: ‘But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Now, therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spoke kindly to them.’ (Genesis 50:20–21 NKJV) We all have emotional reactions in our relationships; the problem isn’t the anger or the disappointment—unless your emotions control you. Whenever anger causes you to damage the things God has given you charge over, your emotions are being mismanaged. You give territory to the devil when you fail to manage your anger.

And “Don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.’ (Ephesians 4:26–27 NLT) So, the word for today is—learn to manage your emotions.

SoulFood: Isa 12-16 Luke 1:39-56 Ps 10:12-18 Pro 1:17-19

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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This year think ‘possible’ (3) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/this-year-think-possible-3/ Wed, 04 Jan 2023 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92389 ‘Then he had another dream.’ Genesis 37:9 NIV

Joseph had two dreams. The second was bigger than the first. His first dream was a field of sheaves; the second dream was a sky full of stars. So, the word for today is—dream one size bigger! Henry Curtis said: ‘Make your plans as fantastic as you like because twenty-five years from now, they will seem mediocre. Make your plans ten times as great as you first planned, and twenty-five years from now, you will wonder why you did not make them fifty times as great.’

There is only one way to keep growing: make your goal a step beyond what makes you comfortable. That will force you to keep growing! And it will also set you up to believe God for greater things. Most people want their lives to keep improving, yet they value peace and stability at the same time. They forget that you can’t improve and stay the same. Growth means change, and that means challenging the status quo. Thinking possible means you can’t settle for what you have now. There will always be people around you who want you to give up your dream and embrace the status quo. Love them, but don’t be led by them.

As you begin to believe God for greater things and others try to throw cold water on you, remember that right now, as you read this page, other people around the world are thinking about curing cancer, developing new energy sources, feeding the hungry, improving the quality of life, and winning whole nations for Christ. They are beating the odds and challenging the status quo—and you must, too.

SoulFood: Isa 8-11 Luke 1:26-38 Ps 10:1-11 Pro 1:10-16

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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This year think ‘possible’ (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/this-year-think-possible-2/ Tue, 03 Jan 2023 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92388 ‘Without faith it is impossible to please Him.’ Hebrews 11:6 NKJV

The Bible says, ‘But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.’ (Hebrews 11:6 NKJV) Here is something God can’t do: be pleased without faith!

Twelve spies entered the promised land, but only two came back and said, ‘We are well able to overcome it.’ (Numbers 13:30 NKJV) God had promised it to them, but the majority thought it couldn’t be done. People who think possible not only create forward-looking, optimistic pictures of the future in their own minds but also in the minds of others. And the opposite is true. Nothing is more embarrassing than watching someone do something that you said couldn’t be done. Now, believing you can doesn’t guarantee you will, but believing you can’t guarantees you won’t!

So, how’s your approach to life? When you face the unknown, the undone, or the untried, do you focus on all the things that can go wrong or all the things that can go right? Aerospace engineer, Wernher von Braun, said, ‘I have learned to use the word impossible with the greatest caution.’ He was the scientist who made it possible for the first man to walk on the moon!

John Andrew Holmes said: ‘Never tell a young person that anything cannot be done. God may have been waiting centuries for somebody ignorant enough of the impossible to do that very thing.’ If you want to achieve something, give yourself permission to believe it is possible—and trust God for success.

SoulFood: Isa 4-7 Luke 1:11-25 Ps 90:7-17 Pro 1:5-9

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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This year think ‘possible’ (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/this-year-think-possible-1/ Mon, 02 Jan 2023 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92387 ‘With God all things are possible.’ Matthew 19:26 KJV

Read these two Scriptures: ‘With God all things are possible.’ (Matthew1 9:26 KJV) ‘Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.’ (Matthew 13:58 NKJV) Those two verses mean this: many things that are possible remain undone because of doubt and unbelief. So, this year, think possible. If God’s Word says you can succeed, but you’re failing, it may mean that you don’t really believe what He says, or you’re not willing to do your part. When you think ‘possible’, it increases your energy level. Who gets energised at the prospect of losing? If you know something can’t succeed, how much time and energy are you willing to give it? Nobody goes looking for a lost cause. You only invest yourself in what you believe can succeed.

So, when you think possible and trust God for success, your faith becomes the energising force. Some people believe that possibility thinkers are naive or foolish. If you’re one of them, answer this question: how many highly successful people do you know who are continually negative? How many impossibility thinkers are you acquainted with who achieve big things? None!

The first step to thinking possible is to stop yourself from searching for and dwelling on what’s wrong with each situation. People with an it-can’t-be-done mindset have two choices: they can expect the worst and continually experience it, or change their thinking. And that begins with eliminating the negative self-talk you hear in your head before you have even opened your mouth. ‘The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.’ (Proverbs 18:21 NLT) In order to think ‘possible’, you must believe and speak ‘possible’.

SoulFood: Isa 2-3 Luke 1:5-10 Ps 90:1-6 Pro 1:3-4

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Enjoy each day of this New Year (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/enjoy-each-day-of-this-new-year-2/ Sun, 01 Jan 2023 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92386 ‘I have told you these things, that My joy and delight may be in you.’ John 15:11 AMPC

You need to enjoy each day of your life for Christ’s sake because He paid a very high price for you to be able to.

Jesus said, ‘I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.’ (John 10:10 NKJV)

Jesus said: ‘These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.’(John 15:11 NKJV)

He said, ‘Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.’ (John 16:24 NKJV) Jesus actually prayed that you would have joy: ‘But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.’ (John 17:13 NKJV)

With Jesus Himself praying such powerful words about His desire for you to have joy, how could you ever doubt that God wants you to be happy and enjoy your life? As a redeemed child of God, you’re a walking advert for Christianity! Don’t go around looking severe, stern, strict, sour, and censorial, believing that you’re coming across as spiritual. No, that’s a turnoff to non-Christians! You need a new mindset; a Scriptural one that will enable you to enjoy life and make you a more enjoyable person to be around.

SoulFood: Isa 1 Luke 1:1-4 Ps 1 Pro 1:1-2

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Enjoy each day of this New Year (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/enjoy-each-day-of-this-new-year-1/ Sat, 31 Dec 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92385 ‘Let’s celebrate and be glad today.’ Psalm 118:24 CEV

Each day is a gift from God. Apart from your salvation, today is the most valuable gift you will ever receive. When you receive a gift, what do you do? Thank the giver, unwrap it, and enjoy it. Getting the idea? Make an effort to focus on and enjoy every moment of your life. If you tend to be a planner, take care that you don’t start planning the next project while you’re still doing the current project. Otherwise, it will steal the present moment from you.

Although being focused is good, it’s easy to get so focused on your work that you fail to enjoy the magic of the moment. For example, don’t get so focused on your work that you find it difficult to stop for a moment and enjoy the things that are going on around you. If your children are still little it’s particularly important to enjoy the cute things they say or do because if you miss these precious moments, you will never get them back. We should celebrate life and the people God has placed in our path. Life is to be enjoyed, not dreaded or regretted.

Solomon wrote: ‘Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labour. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God.’ (Ecclesiastes 2:24 NKJV) Note these two phrases:

(1) ‘From the hand of God’ means it’s God’s will for you to enjoy every day.

(2) ‘That his soul should enjoy good in his labour,’ means you must look for things to celebrate each day. And you can start doing this—today!

SoulFood: Rom 13:12 – 14:19 John 1:1-14

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Five resolutions to work on https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/five-resolutions-to-work-on/ Fri, 30 Dec 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92384 ‘Run with perseverance.’ Hebrews 12:1 NIV

Susan Alexander Yates suggests five resolutions to work on.

(1) Reach someone who doesn’t know Christ. God commands us to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13–16); that won’t happen if we spend all our time with believers. While reaching out feels scary, you’ll see God work through you when you take the risk.

(2) Be more grateful. ‘I used to wake thinking about all the things I had to do and the people who needed me. I got depressed before I got out of bed! So I started meditating on God’s character traits, thinking about how awesome God is, and my perspective changed.’

(3) Spend quality time with your spouse. ‘I used to have a raspberry patch. In the early years, I tended it, and it produced prolific crops. Then I got busy, and weeds took over. The same thing can happen in your marriage. We get busy with kids, our careers and church. We think about spending time together when life calms down. The problem is life never does. Don’t let the weeds choke your marriage. You’re raising future husbands and wives who need to know a happy marriage takes time.

(4) Say no to something. Maturing means you postpone something you’d like to do to focus on something more important. In 10 years, what will matter most—that you signed your child up for another activity or said no and had family dinners together?

(5) Pursue Christ with fresh vigour. David prayed, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation.” (Psalm 51:12 NIV) Vary your routine, pick a new topic for Bible study, or begin a new journal. If you still feel stale, ask God to show you the reason.’

Let us throw off everything that hinders and… run with perseverance the race marked out for us.’ (Hebrews 12:1 NIV)

SoulFood: Isa 43:9–21 John 21:15–25 Ps 139:13–24 Pro 31:28–31

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Don’t look back (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/dont-look-back-2-2/ Thu, 29 Dec 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92383 ‘Do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!’ Isaiah 43:18–19 NIV

We should not be boastful about our successes. That doesn’t necessarily mean we must forget the great projects we have completed. We are to work and live with excellence unto God, and He takes pleasure in our successes when they are offered to His glory. But we should forget past successes if they have defined our identity or caused us to be complacent, smug and self-congratulatory. We’re not to fondle the past, dwelling on past glories.

Similarly, we must make sure our stories of God’s work and grace in our lives are not all old. If we can only point to instances of God’s faithfulness from five years ago but none from the last few weeks, our connection with Christ isn’t very current. Paul warns the Philippians against those who would put their confidence in human criteria and accomplishment: ‘If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more.’ (Philippians 3:4 NIV), he said, citing his power that many in his day would have coveted.

But his focus wasn’t on his past: ‘Whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ… But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 3:7, 13–14 NIV)’ The good news is that God doesn’t analyse your past in order to determine your future. He says, ‘Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!’ Learn from the past, leave it, and don’t look back!

SoulFood: Malachi 1–2 John 21:1–14 Ps 139:1–12 Pro 31:25–27

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Don’t look back (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/dont-look-back-1/ Wed, 28 Dec 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92382 ‘Do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!’ Isaiah 43:18–19 NIV

Don’t look back. It is fruitless. You can’t change the past. Paul says, ‘I focus on this one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.’ (Philippians 3:13 NLT)

(1) We must forget our sins. Obviously, we must remember our sins in order to confess them. But having done so, we must let them go. The fact that God forgets is like calling Heaven and being told that there is no record of any offence. They have been erased as if they never existed. Satan would lure us to live in guilt and fear. He pulls us into the shadowboxes of memory so that our worst sins continually replay on the walls of our minds. We need to be very clear here, or we’ll miss the liberating point. It’s not as if forgiveness is real only if we experience some kind of holy amnesia. It’s not up to us. It’s up to God. And the Scriptures say that God forgets our sins (see Hebrews 8:12).

(2) We must forget our shame. Paul could have been a prime candidate for shame. He had presided over the harassment, imprisonment, torture, and murder of innocent human beings. But God’s grace is stronger than our shame. We can forget our slithering shame, for Jesus took it when Jesus died and rose again. He scorned it, beat it, broke it. We need not take it back.

The word for today is—‘

Do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing.’

SoulFood: Zech 10–14 John 20:19–31 Ps 97 Pro 31:22–24

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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What do you see? (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/what-do-you-see-2-2/ Tue, 27 Dec 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92381 ‘I am doing a new thing. Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?’ Isaiah 43:19 NIV

Your life will manifest what you continually keep in front of you. Paul says, ‘We have the mind of Christ’ (1 Corinthians 2:16 NIV), and creativity and vision are part of the package. You need a vision to look forward to if you want to change the circumstances in your life. If you have problems, you’re in debt, or lonely, create a vision for what you’d like your life to be. See yourself stronger and healthier, in a good financial position, in a wonderful relationship. Once you’ve created a vision, you need to take steps to move towards making it a reality. You need to change the way you think. Let the image of victory take hold. Remind yourself of these Scriptural truths:

(1) ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ (Philippians 4:13 KJV)

(2) ‘We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.’ (Romans 8:37 NIV)

(3) ‘Surely, Lord, You bless the righteous; You surround them with your favour.’ (Psalm 5:12 NIV)

(4) ‘Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;’ (Psalm 23:6 NKJV).

In Bible times wine was stored in leather wineskins, but as the wineskins aged, they lost their flexibility. New wine always required new wineskins. And just as ‘you can’t pour new wine into old wineskins’ (see Matthew 9:17), God can’t give you a new vision until you change the old attitudes you’re carrying around in your head.

God says, ‘I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?’ He is ready to do something new in your life today. Are you ready to change your old way of thinking and make room for it?

SoulFood: Zech 6–9 John 20:10–18 Ps 117 Pro 31:18–21

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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What do you see? (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/what-do-you-see-1/ Mon, 26 Dec 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92380 ‘Look up into the sky and count the stars, if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!’ Genesis 15:5 NLT

Vision is the God-given ability to see the invisible. Without it, people stumble all over themselves. When God told Abraham he would be the father of many nations, he and Sarah were old and childless. Naturally speaking, it looked impossible. So, God took Abram outside and told him to look up into the sky and try to count the stars. God told Abram that’s how many descendants he would have. It wasn’t enough to hear what God said: Abraham needed to see it in his mind’s eye. And although the promise wasn’t fulfilled for years, every night when Abraham looked up at the heavens, the stars were a constant reminder of God’s faithfulness.

To give birth to something, you must first conceive it by seeing it through the eyes of faith and burning the image on the canvas of your mind. Jesus said, ‘If your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.’ (Matthew 6:22–23 NASB)

Legend has it, that when Michelangelo looked at a chunk of marble the owner told him was worthless, Michelangelo said, ‘It’s priceless to me. There is an angel locked inside, and I must set it free.’ What you see will change the direction of your life. Like a thermostat, it dictates how high you rise or how low you fall. And the good news is, no matter how dark things look on the outside, today God can give you a fresh vision and a new future.

SoulFood: Zech 1–5 John 20:1–9 Ps 113 Pro 31:14–17

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Love Your Church—Jesus Does! https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/love-your-church-jesus-does/ Sun, 25 Dec 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92379 ‘Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.’ Ephesians 5:25 NKJV

The church isn’t made up of people who are better than everybody else. It’s made up of people who want to be better than they are, and who know that, by the grace of God, they can be. Have church leaders sometimes failed us? Yes, but Jesus Christ, the Head of the church, hasn’t failed us—and He never will! Christ’s church, of which your local church is a part, was planned by God before the world began (Ephesians 1:4). It was paid for in the crimson cash of Jesus’ blood and has been sustained through history by the sacrifice of the martyrs. It is prophesied to be more glorious in its ending than its beginning and is being prepared right now as a bride for her Husband. John the Revelator describes it this way: ‘Rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.’ (Revelation 19:7 NKJV) So before you attack the leadership, withdraw your membership or withhold your stewardship, remember that nothing on earth is dearer to the heart of God than His church. The truth is, when you hurt any part of the body you also hurt the Head. And here’s something else to keep in mind: the only thing on earth that has a future is the church; all the rest is going up in smoke. And the church’s insurance policy is guaranteed by Jesus Himself, Who said, ‘I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.’ (Matthew 16:18 NKJV) So love your church—Jesus does!

SoulFood: 2 Tim 1–4 John 19:31–42 Ps 128 Pro 31:10–13

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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God’s gift is indescribable! https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/gods-gift-is-indescribable/ Sat, 24 Dec 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92378 ‘Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.’ 2 Corinthians 9:15 NKJV

Paul says that the gift God gave each of us that first Christmas is indescribable. The Living Bible says it’s too wonderful for words. Consider this: Isaiah says, ‘Unto us, a Child is born, unto us, a Son is given.’ (Isaiah 9:6 KJV) Jesus was both God and man. As a child, He was born, but as the Son of God, He could only be given, because He always existed.

So, He is the perfect solution to our sin problem because He understands both the claims of divinity and the struggles of humanity. Today let’s examine this indescribable gift.

First, He is our mediator! Job said, ‘Nor is there any mediator between us, who may lay his hand upon us both.’ (Job 9:33 NKJV) A mediator is someone who was more than just an umpire; they could actually join the game and bring both sides together. So, when you mess up, Jesus keeps one hand on you and the other on God so that the connection is never broken.

Second, He is our intercessor! The Bible says, ‘He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.’ (Hebrews 7:25 NIV) If you had to remember and confess all the sins of omission and commission you commit each day, you would never sleep; you would live on your knees. But Christ’s death covers all the wrong you have done, and His life covers all the good you have left undone. So, He is fully qualified to represent you before the throne of God. God’s gift is indescribable.

SoulFood: Isa 11:1–10 Luke 2:1–20

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Your provision is on the way! https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/your-provision-is-on-the-way/ Fri, 23 Dec 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92377 ‘Then they opened their treasures and presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.’ Matthew 2:11 NASB

The Bible tells us: ‘When Jesus was born in Bethlehem… [astrologers] from the east came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is He Who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east… and have come to worship Him.” …and behold, the star… went before them until it came and stood over the place where the young Child was… And on going into the house, they saw the Child with Mary His mother, and they fell down and worshipped Him. Then opening their treasure bags, they presented to him gifts—gold and frankincense and myrrh.’ (Matthew 1:11 AMPC)

We all remember the Christmas story of how the Wise Men followed a star that led them to the Holy Child, and they worshipped Him, laying before Him precious gifts. Mary and Joseph didn’t go out seeking gifts. Although they were forced to spend the night in a stable, they didn’t send out messages asking for gifts. But because they were in the middle of God’s will, He sent them Wise Men on camels, loaded with provisions. If we are in the will of God, He will bring our provision to us. We don’t have to try to chase it down; it will seek us out. We don’t have to try to make things happen; God will bring them to us. We can only expect provision by being faithful to where God has placed us. When we begin to believe this, we are free to cast our care upon Him. We don’t have to stay up all night fretting and worrying.

SoulFood: Isa 9:1–7 Micah 5:2–5

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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When it doesn’t feel like Christmas https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/when-it-doesnt-feel-like-christmas/ Thu, 22 Dec 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92376 ‘He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted.’ Isaiah 61:1 HCSB

At this time of year, it’s tempting to buy into the myth that everybody else is enjoying a picture-perfect Christmas. The truth is, there are thousands whose lives have been forever altered by death, divorce, sickness, and financial problems.

One woman who was recently divorced described how she got through that first Christmas. ‘It was five days until Christmas day, yet there was no hint of Christmas at my house. Usually, our tree and all the decorations were up at the beginning of the month. The house would be filled with Christmas music and the aromas of Christmas cooking would greet you when you opened the front door. My twenty year marriage had just dissolved. My budget was stretched, and my spirit was downhearted. Some days I could barely get out of bed. My adult children were expecting Christmas dinner as usual. When they came to visit, I heard one of them grumble, “This is really depressing,” and my heart broke again. “I’ll get a tree tomorrow,” I told them half-heartedly. The next day, one of my children took me Christmas shopping. When we got back home, my other children had put up a Christmas tree and all the decorations, including their childhood ornaments. It was beautiful. I was happy and overcome with gratitude that they had gotten together to set everything up for me.’

If you’re having a tough Christmas, don’t beat yourself up. Remember, God will give you strength for the day (see Deuteronomy 33:25). Jesus understands. He came to heal the heartbroken, so turn to Him this Christmas and ask Him to restore your peace and joy.

SoulFood: Micah 5–7 John 19:17–30 Ps 47 Pro 31:6–9

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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He gave His most precious possession https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/he-gave-his-most-precious-possession/ Wed, 21 Dec 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92375 ‘Thank God for His gift that is too wonderful for words!’ 2 Corinthians 9:15 CEV

One afternoon a little girl stood outside Pete Richardson’s antique shop studying the treasures in the window. Then she went in and asked to see a string of blue beads. When Pete set them on the counter, she said: ‘They’re perfect. Will you gift wrap them, please? They’re for my sister. She takes care of me. This will be our first Christmas since Mum died, and I’ve been looking for the perfect present.’

‘How much do you have?’ asked Pete cautiously.

Pouring a stack of coins on the counter, she said, ‘I emptied my bank.’

Pete picked up the necklace. The price tag was visible only to him. ‘What’s your name?’ he asked, walking into the back room.

‘Jean Grace,’ she replied. Pete returned with a beautifully wrapped package, and the little girl thanked him and left.

On Christmas Eve when the last customer had left and he was locking up, a young woman rushed into the store and handed him a familiar package. ‘Do you remember who you sold this to?’ she asked.

‘A girl called Jean bought them for her big sister,’ he replied.

‘How much are they worth?’ she inquired.

‘The price,’ Pete replied, ‘is always confidential between the seller and his customer.’

Her sister asked, ‘But how could she pay for them?’

Carefully rewrapping the present, Pete handed it back to her and said, ‘She paid the highest price anyone can ever pay. She gave everything she had.’

When ‘God sent forth His Son’ (Galatians 4:4 KJV) to redeem us, He gave everything He had. ‘Thank God for His gift that is too wonderful for words!

SoulFood: Micah 1–4 John 19:1–16 Ps 12 Pro 31:1–5

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Speak to the Enemy https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/speak-to-the-enemy/ Tue, 20 Dec 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92374 ‘We are wrestling with rulers, authorities, the powers who govern this world of darkness, and spiritual forces that control evil.’ Ephesians 6:12 GWT

In her classic book, War on the Saints, Jessie Penn-Lewis writes, ‘The chief condition… for the working of evil spirits in human beings, apart from sin, is passivity.’ That’s why the apostle Peter urges us, ‘Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.’ (1 Peter 5:8 NLT) Have you ever seen a hungry lion devour its prey? That’s a picture of what Satan is out to do to you. And he will use things like pleasure, power, pressures, possessions, passions, and people to do it.

Paul tells us to be on guard ‘so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.’ (2 Corinthians 2:11 NLT) How can you defend yourself? Neil Anderson says, ‘Our defence against direct attacks by the evil one is to speak aloud God’s truth.’ The Word of God is a sword to protect us against the evil one. (See Ephesians 6:17) So, when you’re in Satan’s crosshairs, remember James 4:7 KJV: ‘Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.’

Take these two powerful steps: First, talk to God before engaging the Enemy. ‘Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you.’ (Psalm 50:15 NKJV)

Second, talk to—but not with—the Enemy. And keep it short and authoritative! ‘Satan, in the irresistible name of Jesus, cease all activity against me now. Leave and don’t return!’

Will he obey? You have submitted and resisted—he has no option.

SoulFood: Neh 11–13 John 18:25–40 Ps 67 Pro 30:29–33

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Let God settle it for you https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/let-god-settle-it-for-you/ Mon, 19 Dec 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92373 ‘Dear friends, don’t try to get even. Let God take revenge.’ Romans 12:19 CEV

When someone has hurt or betrayed you, it goes against your grain to resist the instinct for revenge, especially when there is an opportunity to settle the old score and your friends urge you to capitalise on it. Before you decide, consider the story in 1 Samuel 24. King Saul, consumed by jealousy, took every opportunity to try and destroy his God-ordained successor, David. Driven by a desire to eliminate him, Saul took three thousand soldiers to find him and kill him. By divine appointment, Saul stopped to rest in a large cave where David and his men were hiding.

David’s men said, ‘Now is a perfect opportunity to kill him and take the throne.’ Instead, David just cut off a corner of Saul’s robe and showed it to Saul later as evidence he had spared the king’s life. David’s men probably considered his strategy ludicrous, but David lived by a different code—God’s Word! He told his men, ‘Don’t kill him. For who can remain innocent after attacking the Lord’s anointed one?’ (1 Samuel 26:9 NLT) And God hasn’t changed His mind.

The Bible says don’t take revenge. That’s God’s territory—stay out of it! (See Romans 12:17–21.) So, what should you do? Be prepared to act contrary to your instincts! The Bible says, ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink… overcome evil with good.’ (Romans 12:20–21 NIV) Will that change your enemy? Maybe, and maybe not. But it will change your attitude, and God will bless you for it.

SoulFood: Neh 8–10 John 18:12–24 Ps 57 Pro 30:24–28

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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God is enough! https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/god-is-enough/ Sun, 18 Dec 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92372 ‘He gave us His Son—will He not also freely give us all things?’ Romans 8:32 GNT

Do you like to collect Bible promises for challenging times? When your collection seems inadequate, do you add to it, thinking, ‘I just haven’t found the right promise yet’? Claiming the promise without understanding the all-sufficiency of the Promiser can disappoint you. Since there is no lack in God, He is all you need. And He is all you will ever need! The Bible says He can do ‘immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.’ (Ephesians 3:20 NIV)

American author, Hannah Whitall Smith, born in 1832 was no stranger to difficult times. For starters, only three of her seven children survived to adulthood. She faced many difficulties and after searching for answers on how to overcome them, and finding none, she turned to God. It was then she discovered that God alone was enough for all her needs! She writes: ‘Once I knew what it was to rest upon the rock of God’s promises, and it was indeed a precious resting place, but now I rest in His Grace. He is teaching me that the bosom of His love is a far sweeter resting place than even the rock of His promises.’

Paul reminds us, ‘Everything is yours, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.’ (1 Corinthians 3:22–23 CSB) You will get what you need because you are His redeemed child.

SoulFood: Neh 5–7 John 18:1–11 Ps 105:37–45 Pro 30:20–23

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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All you will ever need https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/all-you-will-ever-need/ Sat, 17 Dec 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92371 ‘Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.’ Psalm 62:8 NKJV

Life can feel overwhelming when you’re responsible for mortgage or rent payments, maintenance bills, clothes for the family, escalating food and fuel expenses, university fees, plus the reality of preparing for your retirement! And the pressure is even greater if you’re underemployed or unemployed. Where can you turn? Surrounded by enemies, David turned to God. ‘My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation… I shall not be moved.’ (Psalm 62:5–6 KJV)

Where does your expectation lie? In the hope for an improved economy or job market? Or the promise of better times to come? David’s hope was more certain. He expected the answer to be found in God's unchanging character and faithfulness. When anxiety arises, we sometimes resort to our ‘what if?’ list. We focus on our fears, feel inadequate, and give in to despair.

Being aware of your needs is being responsible but being overwhelmed by them is evidence you’re looking to the wrong source for answers. Some people look to God as their last resource. They only turn to Him when they have nowhere else to go. After they have exhausted themselves and turned to God, they find that instead of the storms of life driving them onto the rocks, they end up in the desired haven.

Remember David? ‘My soul, wait silently for God alone; for my expectation is from Him.’ God is your adequate source. Since He gave us His Son, you have all the evidence you need that He will also ‘freely give us all things.’ (Romans 8:32 GNT)

SoulFood: Ps 103:8–18 John 3:16–18

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Who advises you? (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/who-advises-you-2-2/ Fri, 16 Dec 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92370 ‘Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers, they succeed.’ Proverbs 15:22 NIV

A good mentor does three things. They:

(1) Observe you.

(2) Instruct you.

(3) Motivate you.

At first, the thought of having someone evaluate you may be intimidating. But think about it; people are watching you anyway, so why not have a good adviser among the crowd? Here is a list of some areas where you might invite a mentor to evaluate you. These things are essential: spiritual development, personal discipline, family relationships, decision making, handling finance, conflict resolution, picking the right people, breaking bad habits and establishing good ones, goal setting and planning for the future. If you’re serious about succeeding, look for an environment where you will be mentored, not just paid. Initially, what you learn is more important than what you earn because what you learn early determines what you earn later. What you don’t know can hurt you and limit your potential. You owe it to yourself and to those who depend on you to open the doors to evaluation. And don’t let it stop with you. Pass on what you’ve been given to somebody else.

Jesus said, ‘Freely you have received, freely give.’ (Matthew 10:8 NIV) You might think you’re too young, and nobody is going to take you seriously, but remember what Paul told Timothy. ‘Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example.’ (1 Timothy 4:12 NIV) You’re not responsible for knowing everything; you’re just responsible for sharing what you know with others. They will advance farther and more quickly as you pour into them what God and others have put into you. So, ask God for a good mentor and then become one for somebody else.

SoulFood: Neh 1–4 John 17:13–26 Ps 105:23–36 Pro 30:15–19

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Who advises you? (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/who-advises-you-1/ Thu, 15 Dec 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92369 ‘Wisdom is found in those who take advice.’ Proverbs 13:10 NIV

To succeed in life, you must become a lifelong learner. And learning requires submission; a quality of character we sometimes think doesn’t apply to us. We think submission is just for others who need to be led. Reaching for a good mentor requires a humble heart. If you’re not teachable, your future is already decided! The more you think you know, the less likely you are to place yourself under the influence of those who really know and can help you. This is especially true when you view yourself as more capable, passionate, and talented than others. The wise always seek counsel. If you’re wise, you will acknowledge your limitations; only a fool believes he or she has none. Only the naive are foolish enough to believe they can make all the right decisions without good input. But they can’t.

Here are three Scriptures from the book of Proverbs you need to stop and consider today:

(1) ‘The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.’ (Proverbs 12:15 NIV)

(2) ‘Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers, they succeed.’ (Proverbs 15:22 NIV)

(3) ‘Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end, you will be counted among the wise.’ (Proverbs 19:20 NIV)

It’s not just what your mentor knows; it’s what they see that makes them valuable to you. They are an extra set of eyes and ears. Why would you want to live without them?

SoulFood: Col 3–4 Philemon John 17:1–12 Ps 105:16–22 Pro 30:10–14

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Flee, fight, or forgive https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/flee-fight-or-forgive/ Wed, 14 Dec 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92368 ‘Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.’ John 13:1 NKJV

We all handle our relationship problems in one of three ways: flee, fight, or forgive. Some choose to flee. They leave the relationship and start again elsewhere, though they are frequently surprised when the problem resurfaces in the new relationship. Others fight. As a result, their relationships become combative, and stress becomes a way of life. Wise people choose the way of Christ: ‘Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.’ (John 13:1 NKJV)

Was it difficult for Jesus to stay so dedicated to His disciples? Was it difficult for Him to love Peter, knowing he would someday curse Him? Was it tough to trust Thomas, knowing he would someday question His resurrection? How did Jesus resist the urge to recruit a new group of followers? John wanted to crush one enemy, and Peter sliced off the ear of another. Only days before Jesus’ death, His disciples were fighting about which of them was the best!

How was He able to love people who were sometimes difficult to like? The answer is that Jesus didn’t measure them by their looks, IQ, talent, possessions, or personality. He measured them by their potential. And ultimately, they changed and lived up to His expectations. Not in all things or at all times. But when that happened, He forgave them and taught them that love is a commitment we make to ourselves first and then to others.

SoulFood: Col 1–2 John 16:19–33 Ps 105:8–15 Pro 30:5–9

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Believe in what you do https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/believe-in-what-you-do/ Tue, 13 Dec 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92367 ‘Showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve.’ Daniel 1:4 NIV

When Daniel arrived in Babylon, he was a slave. But he rose to the top. The king gave these orders about those to be brought into the court: ‘Make sure they are well versed in every branch of learning, are gifted with knowledge and good judgment, and are suited to serve.’ (Daniel 1:4 NLT) To be promoted in any job, you must first prove yourself.

The Bible says, ‘Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings.’ (Proverbs 22:29 NIV) Unless you believe in what you’re doing, you won’t give yourself entirely to it; therefore success may be elusive. Have you ever walked into a room and felt love, energy, and excitement? Your thoughts have a presence; they’re like currents moving through the air, capable of drawing people to you or driving them away. That’s why in order to succeed, you must believe in what you do. If you don’t—pray and ask God to relocate you somewhere you can put your whole heart into. Jesus told the woman at the well, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’ (John 4:13–14 NIV)

Take the time and make an effort to know your business. Jesus spent time praying in order to renew His understanding of His purpose. So, the word for today is—pray and believe in what you do!

SoulFood: Josh 22–24 John 16:12–18 Ps 105:1–7 Pro 30:1–4

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Build people up https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/build-people-up/ Mon, 12 Dec 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92366 ‘The lips of the godly speak helpful words.’ Proverbs 10:32 NLT

How do you feel when someone puts you down? Consider this, so you don’t do it to others. ‘Kind words bring life, but cruel words crush your spirit.’ (Proverbs 15:4 GNT) You can crush someone with what you say, so be careful. Some of the people you meet each day need an emotional lift, so encourage them. ‘The lips of the righteous know what is appropriate, but the mouth of the wicked, only what is perverse.’ (Proverbs 10:32 CSB)

Don’t be the kind of person who pounces on another person’s weakness. Maybe you do it in a joking way, and you even enjoy it. In the cartoon, Charlie Brown is talking on the phone to a girl who says, ‘Guess what I’m running for? The Queen of the May at our school.’ Charlie Brown says, ‘That’s very interesting. Lucy has always been chosen at our school.’ The girl on the phone responds, ‘Your school has pretty low standards, huh, Chuck?’ After Charlie Brown hangs up, he looks at Lucy and says, ‘She says, “Congratulations!”’ Now, that’s diplomacy!

It’s also supportiveness. How supportive are you? If God gave you a dollar for each kind word you said and took away a dollar for each unkind word you said, would you be wealthy or poor? When the brothers who betrayed Joseph knelt before him in Pharaoh’s palace, he held the power of life and death over them. But he forgave them, was gracious towards them, and promised to take care of them. Supportive words can build a bridge in a strained relationship. So, the word for today is—build people up!

SoulFood: Josh 19:24 – 21:45 John 16:1–11 Ps 150 Pro 29:22–27

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Be sensitive to others https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/be-sensitive-to-others/ Sun, 11 Dec 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92365 ‘Not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.’ Philippians 2:4 NIV

Often, we are unaware of the other person’s needs in a relationship or friendship. We become calloused. We stop listening. We’re oblivious to the pressure they’re under. Simply stated, the root of many problems in a relationship is insensitivity. Everyone you meet needs kindness. The people who sit around you in church have major hurts; you’re just unaware of them.

We find a great example of sensitivity in the life of King David. David’s friend, Jonathan, Saul’s son, had been killed. Now, safely enthroned for several years, David made a rare request. He asked if anyone was left in Saul’s family that he could help. He discovered Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth, who was crippled in both feet. When David sent for him, Mephibosheth almost certainly thought he was going to be killed because he was a member of the enemy’s family from the old dynasty. But David said to him, ‘Don’t be afraid… for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father, Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.’ (2 Samuel 9:7 NIV)

Mephibosheth felt like a dog and expected to be treated like one and replied, ‘What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?’ (2 Samuel 9:8 NIV) One of the dangers of success is that the pressures that accompany it can make you insensitive towards others. David was gracious and sensitive to Mephibosheth’s needs. Ask yourself if there is anyone you need to become more sensitive towards, and then ask the Holy Spirit for help to do it.

SoulFood: Josh 16:1–19:23 John 15:18–27 Ps 148:7–14 Pro 29:16–21

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Be kind to others https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/be-kind-to-others/ Sat, 10 Dec 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92364 ‘Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness.’ Colossians 3:12 NIV

When you get up in the morning, you must not only clothe yourself physically but spiritually and emotionally as well. As we gear ourselves up mentally, we all too often are choosing an attitude from a wardrobe of possibilities. Will we deck ourselves in the glamour of smiles or the serious tone of a frown? Now you might think that when you’re kind, people will constantly take advantage of you. That may sometimes happen, but here are two reasons to be kind:

(1) ‘For it is by grace you have been saved.’ (Ephesians 2:8 NIV) Grace and kindness always go together. Poet Robert Burns said, ‘The heart that is generous and kind most resembles God.’

(2) If you want people to be kind to you and treat you right, take Jesus’ advice; ‘Do to others what you would have them do to you.’ (Matthew 7:12 NIV) If you are rude, people are going to be rude to you. But if you are kind, most people will desire to respond the same way.

Be kind and honest and you will live a long life; others will respect you and treat you fairly.’ (Proverbs 21:21 GNT) And here is another reason to be kind: ‘Your own soul is nourished when you are kind; it is destroyed when you are cruel.’ (Proverbs 11:17 TLB) When you are kind to others, you are obeying God. ‘As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.’ (Colossians 3:12 NIV)

Try living that way every day!

SoulFood: Lev 27:30–33 Num 31:48–54

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Instant gratification leads to long-term misery https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/instant-gratification-leads-to-long-term-misery/ Fri, 09 Dec 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92363 ‘My God shall supply all your need.’ Philippians 4:19 NKJV

God promised to supply your need, not your greed. When you get into debt by buying things you shouldn’t, don’t expect Him to bail you out. No responsible parent would do that, and God is a responsible parent. He gives you choices, and He points out consequences. He told Adam and Eve not to eat the forbidden fruit. Then Satan came along and said, ‘God doesn’t really mean it, you can do what you want and be okay.’

Sound familiar? Advertisers do the same thing. One furniture company offers a house full of furniture with no monthly payments for two years. This is a trap that will get you deeper into debt. If you can’t afford it now, how will you pay for it two years from now? The Bible says:

(1) Don’t be greedy for the things of this life, for greed is a form of idolatry. (see Colossians 3:5). Instead of craving things you don’t need, enjoy the things you have.

(2) If you’re not sowing into God’s kingdom, start now! You will be exchanging the world’s economy for God’s economy. When you give back to Him, He promises to protect your interests and bless you. ‘There shall not be room enough to receive.’ (Malachi 3:10 KJV)

(3) Before you spend money, try praying. Ask God about what you need, then wait for Him to respond.

(4) Start sharing some of what you have. ‘One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.’ (Proverbs 11:24–25 NIV) Obey God. Be patient and watch what happens.

SoulFood: Josh 14–15 John 15:5–17 Ps 148:1–6 Pro 29:11–15

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Don’t neglect your faith https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/dont-neglect-your-faith/ Thu, 08 Dec 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92362 ‘God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.’ Romans 12:3 NKJV

You can’t sit back and do nothing, believing God will do everything for you. You have a part to play. Apostle Paul says God gives each of us a measure of faith. Jude says you develop spiritually ‘by building yourselves up in your most holy faith.’ (Jude 1:20 NIV) Faith under attack is just faith under construction. It’s in the battles of life that you discover whether you have nurtured faith or neglected faith.

In Biblical times, many Roman soldiers used a scutum, a shield that protected them from head to toe. It was made of wood and upholstered with thick layers of canvas and leather. Its curved shape meant the enemy’s flaming arrows would glance off and fizzle out before they could harm the soldier. Now you understand what Paul meant: ‘Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.’ (Ephesians 6:16 NIV) Satan’s arrows can’t penetrate your heart when it’s pure, saturated in Scripture, and fortified by faith.

That’s why Jesus told Peter, ‘Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail.’ (Luke 22:31–32 NKJV) It’s your faith that’s under attack! It’s your faith that needs to be fed! It’s your faith that sustains you in life’s battles! Jesus told us to have faith in God. (Mark 11:22 KJV) It’s the time you spend with God in prayer and the Scriptures that strengthens your faith to win life’s battles.

SoulFood: Josh 11–13 John 14:26–15:4 Ps 147:12–20 Pro 29:6–10

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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The importance of sleep https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/the-importance-of-sleep/ Wed, 07 Dec 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92361 ‘I awoke and looked around, and my sleep was sweet to me.’ Jeremiah 31:26 NKJV

Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is get to bed earlier and wake up refreshed and ready to fulfil God’s purposes for the day. When you constantly run on empty, it shows up in your attitudes, relationships, performance, and health. That’s why the Bible talks about the importance of sleep.

(1) ‘It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to His loved ones.’ (Psalm 127:2 NLT)

(2) ‘In peace I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.’ (Psalm 4:8 NLT) Sleep is an act of trust: when you go to sleep, you acknowledge that the world is in God’s hands, not yours. And it will get along very well, even if you’re not awake to control things. And when you awaken tomorrow morning, just like God giving Israel fresh manna, He will provide what you need for the day.

I woke up and looked around. My sleep had been very sweet.’ (Jeremiah 31:26 NLT) Have you ever tried to pray when you were suffering from sleep deprivation? It’s hard to do. Before Elijah was able to spend prolonged time in prayer, the angel of the Lord made him take not one but two long naps. Contrast that with the disciples in Gethsemane who couldn’t pray because they kept falling asleep. It’s hard to think, feel, and act like Jesus when you’re lacking sleep.

That’s why the Bible says, ‘God gives rest to His loved ones.’ (Psalm 127:2 NLT)

SoulFood: Josh 8:30–10:43 John 14:15–25 Ps 147:1–11 Pro 29:1–5

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Seven Scriptures you should stand on https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/seven-scriptures-you-should-stand-on/ Tue, 06 Dec 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92360 ‘His faithful love endures forever.’ Psalm 118:2 NLT

Do yourself a favour and read the whole of Psalm 118!

(1) ‘In my distress I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me.’ (Psalm 118:5 NLT) What are you battling today? A destructive habit? A crippling fear? A sense of worthlessness? God wants to set you free.

(2) ‘The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear.’ (Psalm 118:6 NLT) Your future doesn’t rest in the hands of people, but God—a good God who has good plans for you.

(3) ‘He will help me. I will look in triumph at those who hate me.’ (Psalm 118:7 NLT) God will raise you up when people try to put you down. When they withhold from you, He will supply all your needs.

(4) ‘I will not die; instead, I will live to tell what the Lord has done.’ (Psalm 118:17 NLT) We will all die someday, but you don’t have to die before your assignment is complete and you have brought glory to God.

(5) ‘The Lord has punished me severely, but He did not let me die.’ (Psalm 118:18 NLT) Is God correcting you? Rejoice! His correction is not rejection. It’s protection against future mistakes.

(6) ‘This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.’ (Psalm 118:24 NLT) Whether yesterday was a triumph or a tragedy, God is giving you a new day. Seize it. Rejoice in it!

(7) ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever.’ (Psalm 118:29 NLT) You will never experience a day without God’s mercy. These seven Scriptures are for you, so stand on them today.

SoulFood: Josh 5:1–8:29 John 14:1–14 Ps 2 Pro 28:25–28

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Never forget those who helped you https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/never-forget-those-who-helped-you/ Mon, 05 Dec 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92359 ‘Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.’ Philippians 1:3 NLT

Paul often acknowledged those who helped him. ‘Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God… for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News.’ (Philippians 1:3–5 NLT)

You Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help…No other church did this. Even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent help more than once. I don’t say this because I want a gift from you. Rather, I want you to receive a reward for your kindness.’ (Philippians 4:15–17 NLT) He writes to the believers in Thessalonica: ‘We can’t help but thank God for you, because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing. We proudly tell God’s other churches about your endurance and faithfulness in all the persecutions and hardships you are suffering.’ (2 Thessalonians 1:3–4 NLT)

Author Barbara Glanz tells about a man who remembered his eighth-grade literature teacher. He wrote to her and received this reply: ‘You will never know how much your letter meant. I’m 83 years old and… living all alone. My friends are all gone. My family’s gone. I taught school for 50 years, and yours is the first thank you letter I have ever gotten from a student. Sometimes I wonder what I did with my life. I will read and reread your letter until the day I die.’ Ironically, she was the teacher students talked most about at class reunions, but nobody ever told her. Showing appreciation costs so little in terms of time and money, but it can mean the world to somebody.

So today, who do you need to express your appreciation to?

SoulFood: Josh 1–4 John 13:31–38 Ps 130 Pro 28:21–24

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Having the right mindset (3) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/having-the-right-mindset-3/ Sun, 04 Dec 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92358 ‘For as he thinks in his heart, so he.’ Proverbs 23:7 NKJV

Every family struggles with generational issues. These are things our parents and grandparents have passed down to us. Often, we say, ‘It runs in my family, I can’t do anything about it.’ Yes, you can! You may not be able to do anything about your family’s past but, by God’s grace, you can change the future for yourself and your children.

The Bible says, ‘If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.’ (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV) Note the words ‘in Christ.’ You can’t change your family’s dysfunction by yourself, but ‘in Christ’, you receive the power needed to go in a new direction. If your computer can be reprogrammed, your mind can be too.

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’ (Romans 12:2 NKJV) You say, ‘How do I renew my mind?’ By saturating it in the Scriptures! Just like soaking your body in water removes dirt, soaking your mind in the Scriptures cleanses and corrects your thinking. The old saying goes: ‘Watch your thoughts for they become your words. Watch your words for they become your deeds. Watch your deeds because they become your habits. Watch your habits because they become your character. Watch your character because it becomes your destiny.’

God told Gideon, ‘Tear down the altar of Baal that your father has...’ (Judges 6:25 NKJV) In its place, Gideon built a new altar to the Lord, and his life and that of his family were changed forever. You can do the same by programming your mind with God’s Word!

SoulFood: 3 John Jude John 13:18–30 Ps 65 Pro 28:17–20

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Having the right mindset (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/having-the-right-mindset-2/ Sat, 03 Dec 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92357 ‘We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.’ 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV

How would you describe yourself? Are you naturally positive or negative? Are your decisions driven by faith in God or by fear? Do you feel good about yourself, or do you put yourself down? Whatever your answer, this much is certain: the patterns and attitudes that rule your life were not formed overnight—so don’t expect an overnight cure. But you can make a start by obeying these Scriptures:

(1) ‘Set your minds and keep them set on what is I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called.’ (Ephesians 4:1 NKJV)

(2) ‘We walk by faith, not by sight.’ (2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV)

(3) ‘Let us also walk in the Spirit.’ (Galatians 5:25 KJV)

(4) ‘Walk in love.’ (Ephesians 5:2 KJV)

Notice, walking is the slowest mode of transportation there is! God doesn’t invite you to fly with Him but to walk with Him. Just put one foot in front of the other and keep walking day by day. When are we most likely to slip and fall?

(1) When we are learning to walk.

(2) When we are facing circumstances we have no control over.

(3) When we feel drained, tired, and weak.

(4) When we get careless and don’t keep our eyes open and stay focused.

Your challenge is twofold: adopting the right mindset and maintaining it. And if you seek God faithfully, He will help you to do both these things successfully.

SoulFood: 1 Kings 17:17–24 Mark 5:21–43

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Having the right mindset (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/having-the-right-mindset-1/ Fri, 02 Dec 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92356 ‘Set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things).’ Colossians 3:2 AMPC

What’s your biggest challenge right now? Breaking a bad habit or putting a new one in place? Launching a new business or turning an old one around? Recovering from a bad marriage or making a good one better? Getting out of depression or keeping yourself from falling into it? Paul gives us two powerful keys:

(1) Set your mind in the right direction.

(2) Keep your mindset in the right direction.

Setting your mind is the easy part, keeping it set calls for a daily commitment. Anybody can make a start, but you need the heart of a finisher. ‘Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.’ (Hebrews 12:2–3 NKJV)

The word souls could be translated as feelings and emotions. That’s where you’re susceptible to ‘become weary and discouraged. What’s controlling your mindset, feelings, impulses, and moods? Here are two life-changing Scriptures:

(a) ‘We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.’ (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV)

(b) ‘Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things… And the God of peace will be with you.’ (Philippians 4:8–9 NIV)

SoulFood: 2 Chron 35–36 2 John John 13:1–17 Ps 14 Pro 28:13–16

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Weathering the seasons https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/weathering-the-seasons/ Thu, 01 Dec 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92355 ‘For everything there is a season.’ Ecclesiastes 3:1 NLT

When God gives you a vision, be prepared because with every vision comes a sacrifice. The road to triumph is full of tests and trials. But God has promised that there will be a harvest: ‘Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.’ (Psalm 126:5–6 NLT) That Scripture teaches us two things:

(1) There is a season for weeping. This is not an excuse for passivity or a posture of weakness that reduces you to tears because life is not fair, and things are tough. Nehemiah was moved to tears over Jerusalem’s ruins. Then he developed a plan, put together a team, and rebuilt it. What moves you? What do you feel passionate about?

(2) There is a season for reaping. Everything in life has a reason and a season (see Ecclesiastes 3:1–8). When you understand the reason and maximise the season, you become ‘like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season.’ (Psalm 1:3 NIV) Fruit won’t grow before its time. That’s why you must discern your life’s changing seasons and adjust to them.

That’s particularly true when it’s harvest time. You need to know when it’s time to stop weeping and start reaping; otherwise, you will miss your harvest. Tears are for the sower, but joy is for the reaper. So, when your season changes, harvest your fields with joy. You have paid your dues; now it’s time to enjoy what God has promised you.

SoulFood: 2 Chron 32–34 John 12:37–50 Ps 146 Pro 28:9–12

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Self-control or controlling? https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/self-control-or-controlling/ Wed, 30 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92354 ‘The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives… self-control.’ Galatians 5:22–23 NLT

Are you self-controlled, or controlling? Let’s find out.

Controlling people blame things like the devil, people, or circumstances for their problems and respond by blaming, resenting, or projecting frustration. They manipulate people and circumstances to their advantage. But it doesn’t work—their attempts intensify their pain and turn their relationships into power struggles. The more they try to control, the worse they feel, and the worse they feel, the more they try to control. God doesn’t want you to live that way.

The self-controlled understand that the devil can do nothing to you without your cooperation, and you don’t have to give it (see Luke 10:17). They understand that people and circumstances aren’t the problem either—how we deal with them is. So, they respond by reminding themselves of three things:

(1) The person I need to control is myself.

(2) Sometimes, I must turn people and circumstances over to God and allow Him to deal with them.

(3) I must draw daily on the Holy Spirit’s power in order to control my reactions and follow the sound mind principles of Scripture for staying in charge of my life (see 2 Timothy 1:7).

Self-control helps us avoid blame games, self-inflicted pain, and turning relationships into battle zones. Knowing that the Holy Spirit produces self-control, they understand that the Spirit won’t control them or help them to control others, but He will empower them to control themselves. Spirit-empowered people go from being part of the problem to part of the solution.

SoulFood: 2 Chron 29–31 John 12:20–36 Ps 118:19–29 Pro 28:5–8

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Don’t forget to say thank you. https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/dont-forget-to-say-thank-you/ Tue, 29 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92353 ‘As they went, they were cleansed.’ Luke 17:14 NLT

Ten men with leprosy stood at a distance, crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy. One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!”’ (Luke 17 12–15 NLT)

We can confidently take our problems to Jesus. He can restore what you have lost and give you back your peace and joy. Cry out to Him. Forget about looking dignified; desperate people do desperate things, and God responds to desperate prayers: ‘You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.’ (Jeremiah 29:13 NIV) Do whatever He tells you to do. Don’t lay down terms to God. And don’t seek an identical experience to somebody else. Jesus told these ten lepers to go and show themselves to the priests. Why didn’t He just heal them immediately like He did to others? Faith doesn’t demand explanations! Be prepared to walk it out as your prayer can be answered in the process.

And as they went, they were cleansed.’ Sometimes when God gives you the answer, you have to walk it out in faith, each step bringing you closer to your deliverance. But nothing happens until you take that first step. Most importantly, don’t forget to thank Him. Jesus noticed that only one of the ten lepers returned to give thanks. You can go to Him confidently when you are next in need when you’ve remembered to thank Him for your last request.

SoulFood: 2 Chron 25–28 John 12:12–19 Ps 118:10–18 Pro 28:1–4

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Ask God for wisdom https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/ask-god-for-wisdom/ Mon, 28 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92352 ‘If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God.’ James 1:5 NIV

Solomon said: ‘Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honour you.’ (Proverbs 4:5–8 NIV) There are many ways to gain wisdom:

(1) Gleaning from the collective knowledge of others. ‘By pride comes nothing but strife, but with the well-advised is wisdom.’ (Proverbs 13:10 NKJV)

(2) Thinking outside the box. Statements like, ‘This is the way we have always done things around here,’ warrant scrutiny when they’re used to defend ways that no longer work.

(3) Writing down and reflecting on what you have learned through experience.

(4) Not rushing to closure. Growth is always a work in progress. Creativity is untidy and can be unnerving. The ability to stay focused and faith-filled in the midst of change is a hallmark of growth and maturity. But the ultimate source of wisdom is God’s Word!

For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.’ (Proverbs 2:6 NKJV)

The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.’ (James 3:17 NKJV)

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you.’ (Psalm 32:8 NKJV) Refuse to live an unexamined life. Refuse to live an uncommitted life. Refuse to live an unguided life. Today, ask God for wisdom.

SoulFood: 2 Chron 21–24 John 12:1–11 Ps 118:1–9 Pro 27:23–27

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Never compromise on God’s Word https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/never-compromise-on-gods-word/ Sun, 27 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92351 ‘We must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.’ Hebrews 2:1 NKJV

We must constantly reaffirm our Scriptural foundations. What are these foundational truths on which the church of Jesus Christ is built? The infallibility of the Bible; Christ’s virgin birth; His sinless life; His atoning death; His bodily resurrection and mediatory work on our behalf; our need to be saved, baptised, and filled with the Holy Spirit; and the commission to carry the Gospel to the four corners of the earth and announce the soon return of our Lord Jesus Christ to rule and reign. These truths are non-negotiable!

You say, ‘But won’t we come across as being narrow–minded?’ The law of gravity is narrow-minded! The law of mathematics is narrow-minded! Paul was narrow-minded: ‘But even if we, or an angel from Heaven, preach any other Gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.’ (Galatians 1:8 NKJV)

Cancer begins with one unidentified, unchecked cell, but it can destroy your whole body. That’s why Jude writes: ‘Contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.’ (Jude 1:3–4 NKJV) Note the words ‘the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.’ Our methods of reaching the world may change, but our message must never change.

You say, ‘But aren’t we supposed to love everybody?’ Yes, and that’s why we must never compromise on God’s Word.

SoulFood: 2 Chron 18–20 John 11:45–57 Ps 114 Pro 27:20–22

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Are you in an abusive relationship? https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/are-you-in-an-abusive-relationship/ Sat, 26 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92350 ‘He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.’ Psalm 147:3 NIV

Please don’t suffer alone. Take the following steps today.

(1) Get help. Solomon said, ‘A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.’ (Ecclesiastes 4:12 NLT) Be careful who you seek help from. It’s best to seek professional help, group support or a mediator for an intervention.

(2) Separate. If you or your children are in danger, seek a safe place to stay once you have a safety plan in place and a support group to help you. It’s not your job to change the person. And it’s not a failure on your part if they don’t change when confronted with God’s love and the truth. Hold on to God’s promise that says, ‘I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.’ (Hebrews 13:5 NLT)

(3) Get prayer support. Have someone pray for you until you are healed enough to begin the process of forgiveness and can pray for your abuser. A study into the theory of a cycle of abuse discovered that approximately 35% of perpetrators had been abuse victims themselves. Often, they’re reacting out of their unhealed wounds and undealt with issues. And while this in no way excuses them, it gives you insight into how to pray for them. Satan loves to use things like alcohol, drugs, anger, pornography, and other counterfeits to destroy relationships. So, pray for your abuser to become the person God intended. ‘For our struggle is not against flesh and blood… but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.’ (Ephesians 6:12 NIV)

SoulFood: 1 Kings 17:1–7 1 Kings 18:41–46

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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You can defeat this giant https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/you-can-defeat-this-giant/ Fri, 25 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92349 ‘This is the Lord’s battle, and He will give you to us!’ 1 Samuel 17:47 NLT

To defeat giants like addiction, resentment, fear, lust, pride, envy, or anger, you must understand these three Scriptures:

(1) ‘The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.’ (1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT) Goliath was born a baby, but he grew into a giant. Our giants are often little sins we overlooked and indulged until they assumed a life of their own and came back to haunt us. So, as you begin to say no to small impulses, you will gain the strength to say no to bigger ones.

(2) ‘As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran out to meet him.’ (1 Samuel 17:48 NLT) David faced Goliath head-on. You must force your giant out into the light, and not let him back into your life. Establish boundaries! And if necessary, make yourself accountable to someone who can strengthen and encourage you. Stay out of the wrong company. And above all, don’t view God in the light of your problem, view your problem in the light of God.

(3) ‘This is the Lord’s battle, and He will give you to us!’ You’re not in this fight alone. God wants to help you to overcome old habits and establish new behaviours. His will for you is ‘to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.’ (Ephesians 4:1 NIV) When you repent, which means to do an about-face, turn, and resolve to walk with God, He will give you the strength to conquer the giant you’re facing. God has never lost a battle yet, and when you invite Him to join you, you will win.

SoulFood: 2 Chron 13–17 John 11:38–44 Ps 95 Pro 27:17–19

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Rekindle your love for Jesus https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/rekindle-your-love-for-jesus/ Thu, 24 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92348 ‘You have forsaken the love you had at first.’ Revelation 2:4 NIV

Jesus told the church at Ephesus three things:

(1) Remember. ‘Remember, therefore, from where you have fallen.’ (Revelation 2:5 NKJV) Instead of focusing on the depth to which you have fallen, think about the height you once knew. Not the worst of times, but the best. Recall when spending time in prayer and reading the Scriptures was the highlight of your day. What were you doing then that you’re not doing now?

(2) Repent. This word means to change your mind, your direction, and your actions. You can’t solve a problem with the same thinking and behaviours that caused it; new thinking and actions are required. When the Prodigal Son reached the pigpen, he realised he had hit the bottom. That’s when he said, ‘I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against Heaven and before you.”’ (Luke 15:18 NKJV) And his father forgave and restored him. How does his story end? He exchanged his rags for the robe of sonship and took his rightful place at the family table. And that can happen for you too.

(3) Repeat.Do the things you did at first.’ (Revelation 2:5 NIV) Make a list of the things you did when your relationship with the Lord was great, then prayerfully commit yourself to doing them again each day. And don’t wait until you feel like it. Do it until you feel the joy of your first love reigniting. Do you doubt that God will be gracious to you? Read this: ‘You are a God of forgiveness, gracious and merciful… rich in unfailing love. You did not abandon them.’ (Nehemiah 9:17 NLT)

SoulFood: 2 Chron 9–12 John 11:28–37 Ps 102:18–28 Pro 27:13–16

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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How to know your calling https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/how-to-know-your-calling/ Wed, 23 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92347 ‘He has created us anew in Christ Jesus so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.’ Ephesians 2:10 NLT

When God called Moses to deliver Israel from Egypt, Moses first tried doing it his own way. Killing an Egyptian to save an Israelite’s life, he winds up a fugitive for forty years. After living in the wilderness and learning his lesson, he returns to do God’s will, God’s way. All of us, not just church leaders, are called to do God’s will, God’s way. You say, ‘But how can I know what I’m called to do?’ You begin by answering these questions:

(1) What are your spiritual gifts? ‘God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts.’ (1 Peter 4:10 NLT) Let God show you those core competencies where you’re best suited to serve Him.

(2) Do you have a mentor who can train you? That’s part of your pastor’s job. ‘Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ.’ (Ephesians 4:12 NLT). Acknowledge that you need help. You can’t get there by yourself!

(3) Are you involved in your local church?Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.’ (Romans 12:4–5 NLT)

(4) Are you willing to serve wherever there is a need? If you want to know your calling, start serving and God will reveal it to you.

SoulFood: 2 Chron 6–8 John 11:17–27 Ps 102:12–17 Pro 27:10–12

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Don’t let go of your vision! https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/dont-let-go-of-your-vision/ Tue, 22 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92346 ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish.’ Proverbs 29:18 KJV

God has a plan for your life, one that will help you see what’s truly important. When God gives you a vision, you begin to see things as He sees them. Otherwise, things get blurred, and you end up not knowing where you’re supposed to go. Committing to your vision sometimes means sacrificing relationships, pastimes, and pleasures.

Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.’ (Proverbs 29:18 NIV) Moses saw the promised land while everybody around him only saw wilderness and wanted to give up and return to Egypt. (see Numbers 14:1–3). Moses understood that he would get there on God’s schedule, according to God’s plan, one step at a time. Sometimes your vision can feel overwhelming. That’s when you break it down into small steps and visualise yourself taking the next one. You will be surprised at your progress. But until you take the first step, a vision is just a daydream.

What do you see in your future? Do you think God is just going to drop success into your lap? No, you must energise your vision with faith and give it momentum through hard work.

After working all night and catching no fish, Jesus told His disciples, ‘Launch out into the deep.’ (Luke 5:4 NKJV) When they obeyed, they caught their biggest catch ever. Bottom line: the world doesn’t control your supply, God does!

SoulFood: 2 Chron 1–5 John 11:1–16 Ps 102:1–11 Pro 27:7–9

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Don’t keep your love in a box! https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/dont-keep-your-love-in-a-box-2/ Mon, 21 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92345 ‘She broke the jar and poured the perfume on His head.’ Mark 14:3 NIV

What will you be remembered for, a life of service or self-centredness? Jesus experienced a kind, selfless act that will always be remembered. ‘A woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume… She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold… and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly. “Leave her alone,” said Jesus… “She has done a beautiful thing to Me. The poor you will always have with you… But you will not always have Me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on My body beforehand to prepare for My burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.’’’ (Mark 14:3–9 NIV)

Nicodemus brought about 30 kg of aloes and myrrh to anoint Jesus after He was dead, and not a word of praise is spoken about it in Scripture. This woman brought half a kilogram and poured it on Him while He was still living, and Jesus pointed out two things:

(a) ‘She did what she could.’ Acts of kindness are usually not about doing great things, but about doing small things with great love.

(b) ‘What she has done will also be told, in memory of her.’

How do you show people you care about them? Do you go out of your way to fill their lives with joy while there’s still time. Those expressions of appreciation, those words of forgiveness, that special gift you’ve had in mind, give it while you can. Don’t keep your love in a box!

SoulFood: 1 Chron 26:20–29:30 John 10:34–42 Ps 76 Pro 27:4–6

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Obey God, regardless (3) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/obey-god-regardless-3/ Sun, 20 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92344 ‘So that it might go well with them.’ Deuteronomy 5:29 NIV

What God commands you to do, He will give you the grace to do. But that doesn’t mean it will be easy. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were ordered by the king to be burned alive for refusing to worship his golden image. Their faith in God was so strong that they trusted Him to deliver them from being burnt alive. (Daniel 3:17–18) They never doubted God’s ability to deliver them.

How did their story turn out? King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished when instead of seeing three men bound up in the fiery furnace, he saw four. ‘“Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”’ (Daniel 3:25 NKJV) When Nebuchadnezzar saw that not even a hair on their head was singed, he acknowledged the mighty power of God and promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon.

Rest assured that when God asks you to do something you don’t want to do or feel you can’t do, He has your best interests in mind. When your children tell you they can’t do something because it’s too hard, instead of letting them off the hook, insist they do it because it’s for their good and will make them stronger. ‘Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear Me and keep all My commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!’ (Deuteronomy 5:29 NIV)

SoulFood: 1 Chron 23:21–26:19 John 10:22–33 Ps 81 Pro 27:1–3

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Obey God, regardless (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/obey-god-regardless-2/ Sat, 19 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92343 ‘We thought we would never live through it.’ 2 Corinthians 1:8 NLT

Job describes the rewards of obedience: ‘If they obey and serve Him, they shall spend their days in prosperity.’ (Job 36:11 NKJV)

John adds, ‘Whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.’ (1 John 3:22 NKJV)

But Paul describes the cost of obedience: ‘We think you ought to know… about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And He did rescue us from mortal danger, and He will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in Him, and He will continue to rescue us.’ (2 Corinthians 1:8–10 NLT) Notice Paul says, ‘He did rescue us… He will rescue us again… He will continue to rescue us.’ God didn’t lift Paul out of his trouble; He walked with him in it and brought him through it. If you have asked God to help you understand a situation and He hasn’t, understand that God doesn’t owe us an explanation, but He promises us an exit strategy.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.’ (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV) So, the word for today is: obey God, regardless.

SoulFood: Exo 17:1–7 John 4:1–42

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Obey God, regardless (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/obey-god-regardless-1/ Fri, 18 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92342 ‘Though Jesus was God’s Son, He learned obedience from the things He suffered.’ Hebrews 5:8 NLT

The rewards of obedience are awesome, but sometimes the process is agonising. ‘Even though Jesus was God’s Son, He learned obedience from the things He suffered. In this way, God qualified Him.’ (Hebrews 5:8–9 NLT) Before God promotes you to a position of usefulness in His service, He qualifies you. We admire the faith of Abraham who took his son Isaac up Mount Moriah and laid him on the altar.

But the story doesn’t make sense until you read the first verse in the chapter: ‘Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith.’ (Genesis 22:1 NLT) After Abraham passed God’s test of his faith and obedience, God told him, ‘I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies.’ (Genesis 22:17 NIV)

Understand this: when you pray and ask God for success, you’re inviting Him to test your faith and obedience. God probably won’t test you at the same level He tested Jesus or Abraham. But it’s the smaller tests that prepare you to handle the bigger assignments in God’s kingdom. In his book, The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis’ senior devil talks to his nephew Wormwood about their mutual enemy, the Lord. ‘Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.’

The obedience God desires from you today is obedience that rises above your feelings and circumstances and says, ‘Yes, Lord!’

SoulFood: 1 Chron 19:1–23:20 John 10:11–21 Ps 50 Pro 26:27–28

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Meeting Jesus at the Communion table https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/meeting-jesus-at-the-communion-table/ Thu, 17 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92341 Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Luke 24:30 NKJV

Just before Jesus went to the cross, He instituted what has become known as The Lord’s Supper, or Holy Communion. He said that the cup represented His shed blood and the bread represented His broken body. Then He ended by saying: ‘Do this in remembrance of Me.’ (Luke 22:19 NKJV)

Now fast-forward to the house of Cleopas and his companion, following the resurrection. Jesus had walked and talked with them on the Emmaus road, explaining to them that all that had happened was a fulfilment of prophecy. ‘But they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” And He went in to stay with them. Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and, they knew Him.’ (Luke 24:29–31 NKJV).

In a sense, this too, was a communion service. But notice what happened to the people who attended it.

(1) Jesus met with them there.

(2) Their eyes were opened and they recognised Him in a way they never had before.

(3) They were deeply moved. ‘Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us?’ (Luke 24:32 NKJV)

(4) Then they went out and told others. ‘So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord is risen indeed!”’ (Luke2 4:33–34 NKJV)

If you have ever wondered how you’re supposed to feel or think when you take Communion, now you know.

SoulFood: 1 Chron 16–18 John 10:1–10 Ps 105:1–15 Pro 26:23–26

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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God has redeemed you (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/god-has-redeemed-you-2/ Wed, 16 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92340 But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You. John 11:22 NKJV

Here are three more things we learn from the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead:

(1) Whatever you have lost, God can restore. One of the great promises in Scripture is that God can restore to you the years that life has stolen (see Joel 2:25). Claim that promise; take it back to the place where you lost so much, and ask God to replace, restore, and renew. He will do it.

(2) Whatever you’re bound by, God can set you free. Jesus cried out for Lazarus to come forth. ‘And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes… Jesus said…“Loose him, and let him go.”’ (John 11:44 NKJV) Today, God’s power is greater than any habit, hang-up, or circumstance that has you bound. Even though your mind doesn’t fully comprehend it, let your faith respond to Him. ‘Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it.’ (Psalm 119:34–35 NKJV) When you pray that prayer, your faith will grow, and circumstances that seem impossible to you right now will be changed by God’s power.

(3) No matter how bad you feel, God understands. At Lazarus’ funeral, Jesus wept. ‘Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”’ (John 11:36 NKJV) This story proves we serve a God who cannot only give you back what you have lost but who cares about what you’re going through (see Hebrews 4:15). So, if you’re hurting today, turn to Him and let Him help you.

SoulFood: 1 Chron 12:23–15:29 John 9:24–41 Ps 8 Pro 26:17–22

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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God has redeemed you (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/god-has-redeemed-you-1/ Tue, 15 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92339 But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” John 11:4 NLT

Observe: (1) God has a plan in mind that you don’t see. Why did Jesus wait two extra days after hearing Lazarus was sick before going to visit the family? He waited for two reasons:

(a) That your faith may be strengthened. Jesus said, ‘I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe.’ (John 11:15 NKJV) In life, crises come and go. Your next crisis will be different from your last one, but the thing that must remain strong is your faith.

(b) That God may be glorified. The Pharisees believed your spirit left your corpse on the fourth day. Had Jesus arrived earlier than the fourth day, they may have said Lazarus wasn’t really dead. Hence Jesus said, ‘This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God.’ It’s in looking back that you see God’s wisdom and will at work in the situation.

(2) God will make you deal with issues you’ve tried to bury. When Jesus told them to take away the stone, Martha replied, ‘Lord, by this time, there is a stench.’ (John 11:39 NKJV) Are you praying for an answer in one area while God is telling you to take away the stone and deal with an issue you have buried in another area? When your heart is right with God, your prayers will be answered (see 1 John 3:21–22).

(3) God will make you an example of His grace. Picture Lazarus after his return to life. Without speaking a word, his life declared to everyone that Jesus is Lord. And the same can be true of you. God has redeemed and raised you up to be a testimony of His grace.

SoulFood: 1 Chron 10:1–12:22 John 9:13–23 Ps 83:9–18 Pro 26:13–16

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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You’re perfect while being made holy. https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/youre-perfect-while-being-made-holy/ Mon, 14 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92338 ‘He forever made perfect those who are being made holy.’ Hebrews 10:14 NLT

Stop putting yourself down by saying, ‘I keep failing, so I’m no good. I never do anything right.’ If you keep telling yourself that, you will find evidence to prove it. Richard Carlson says: ‘Putting yourself down reinforces rather than corrects your imperfections by placing unnecessary attention and energy on everything that’s wrong, rather than what’s right with you. Why would you do this knowing the only possible result is a negative outlook, more negative feelings, and less appreciation for the gift of life? People who regularly put themselves down are seen as complainers, not to mention the example they set. Everyone has aspects of themselves they’d like to improve, but this doesn’t mean you should beat yourself up.’

The Bible says, ‘For by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.’ Hebrews 10:14 Underline the word perfect. The word is not better or improving. God doesn’t improve; He perfects. He doesn’t enhance; He completes. There is, of course, a sense in which we’re imperfect. We still make mistakes. We still stumble. We still do exactly what we don’t want to do. That part of us is being made holy. But when it comes to our position before God, we’re perfect. When He sees each of us through the eyes of Jesus, He sees someone who has been made perfect through the One who is perfect—Jesus Christ. Yes, you should continue to work on improving yourself, but go easy; stop often and remind yourself that you have ‘put on the new self, which is being renewed in the knowledge and image of its Creator.’ (Colossians 3:10 NIV)

SoulFood: 1 Chron 7:20–9:44 John 9:1–12 Ps 83:1–8 Pro 26:7–12

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Instead of worrying, stand on God’s Word https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/instead-of-worrying-stand-on-gods-word/ Sun, 13 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92337 ‘Be strong and courageous. Be not afraid or dismayed.’ 2 Chronicles 32:7 AMPC

Have you lost your sense of peace? Is your mind besieged with worry? If so, begin to program your thinking with these Bible promises—write them down, carry them with you, and read them regularly:

(1) ‘The Lord Himself watches over you… stands beside you… keeps you from all harm… watches over your life… keeps watch over you as you come and go.’ (Psalm 121:5–8 NLT)

(2) ‘Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You.’ (Psalm 9:10 NIV)

(3) ‘Our fears for today… worries about tomorrow… even the powers of hell… nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God.’ (Romans 8:38–39 NLT)

(4) ‘They will fight against you, but… not prevail… for I am with you to save you and deliver you.’ (Jeremiah 15:20 NKJV)

(5) ‘You will be secure because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety.’ (Job 11:18 NIV)

(6) ‘I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.’ (Psalm 4:8 NKJV)

(7) ‘In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33 NKJV)

(8) ‘Be not afraid or dismayed… for the battle is not yours, but God’s.’ (2 Chronicles 20:15 AMPC)

(9) ‘Fear not… When you pass through the waters… they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned.’ (Isaiah 43:1–2 NKJV)

(10) ‘I will rescue you… declares the Lord; you will not be given into the hands of those you fear.’ (Jeremiah 39:17 NIV)

SoulFood: 1 Chron 6:1–7:19 John 8:42–59 Ps 133 Pro 26:1–6

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Do You Love God’s Word? https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/do-you-love-gods-word-3/ Sat, 12 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92336 ‘Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.’ Matthew 24:35 NIV

One of the first books to come off the printing press when it was invented was the Bible. And it’s still the world’s best-selling book.

An anonymous author has written: ‘It contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the fate of sinners, and the happiness of believers. It is a light to direct you, food to nourish you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveller’s road map, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s weapon, and the player’s game plan. It’s a mine of incredible wealth; and a river of genuine joy. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Christ is its grand subject, and the glory of God is its end. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be spiritually healthy. Read it slowly, frequently and prayerfully. Let it fill your memory, rule your heart, and guide your steps. It is given to you in life, will be opened at the judgment, and be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labour, and judge those who trifle with its sacred contents.’

Most of us respect the Bible; the trouble is we don’t read it daily and put it into practice. After hearing what the anonymous author had to say about it, why would you not delve into it and discover it for yourself? ‘The Word of the Lord endures forever.’ (1 Peter 1:25 NIV)

SoulFood: Deut 9:13–29 Luke 4:1–13

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Learn to unplug and unwind https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/learn-to-unplug-and-unwind/ Fri, 11 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92335 ‘Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a little while.’ Mark 6:31 NASB

Don’t you find it interesting that the most high-tech generation in history is also the most medicated generation? The Bible predicted this. God told Daniel that in the last days ‘many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.’ (Daniel 12:4 NKJV) That’s us!

Research has shown that we have trained our brains to constantly flit around the universe of messages and information, seeking brief hits of excitement. Grazing ceaselessly, we never dig too deeply before moving on to the next distraction. This increases our stress levels in ways we are only starting to understand. When was the last time you enjoyed some uninterrupted downtime without feeling guilty and unproductive? Do you even take time to reflect and recharge? Avoiding burnout requires these:

(1) Recognising the signs. If you tweet and text people all day and yet you’re still lonely, technology may be dominating your life.

(2) Doing something about it. Make yourself unavailable for short periods and see what happens. The world won’t come to an end!

(3) Realising you have a choice. People who think they should be available twenty-four hours a day exaggerate their own importance, or the control others have over them.

(4) Establishing boundaries. Monitor your emails and text messages. Do you really need the constant notifications?

(5) Telling people, unless it’s truly urgent, you answer emails at designated times throughout the day.

(6) Setting a schedule and sticking with it. After a few minutes of surfing the internet, ask yourself, ‘Should I be doing this now?’ Jesus said, ‘Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest.’ Why? Because when you don’t rest, you fall apart!

SoulFood: 1 Chron 3–5 John 8:31–41 Ps 99 Pro 25:26–28

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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You will get through this https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/you-will-get-through-this-2/ Thu, 10 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92334 ‘I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me.’ Psalm 16:8 NLT

When praying doesn’t seem to bring the answer, the question becomes, ‘How do I get through this?’ The Bible addresses this by telling us, ‘We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame.’ (Hebrews 12:2 NLT) The reason Jesus was able to endure His suffering was because He focused on the joy of pleasing the Father, building the church, and reaching the world.

Here is how David got through hard times: ‘I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety.’ (Psalm 16:8–9 NLT) So instead of denying reality or trying to white-knuckle your way through it, realise that the Lord is with you and draw from Him the strength you need.

It’s difficult to endure hardship at the best of times, but when you don’t understand why it can be frustrating. God doesn’t give us lengthy explanations about how He works. Continue to seek an answer in His Word, or through prayer and the counsel of others and remember God promises that He will never leave you nor forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5) So be encouraged; you will get through this!

SoulFood: 1 Chron 1–2 John 8:21–30 Ps 115 Pro 25:23–25

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Let’s care for each other https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/lets-care-for-each-other/ Wed, 09 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92333 ‘There were no needy people among them.’ Acts 4:34 NLT

When we think about the New Testament church, we tend to focus on its power and growth. In Acts 2, three thousand people are won to Christ after Peter preaches. In Acts 3, a paralysed man who sat begging at the temple gate was healed through the ministry of Peter and John. In Acts 4, we read: ‘Many of the people who heard their message believed it, so the number of men who believed now totalled about 5,000.’ (Acts 4:4 NLT)

Preaching! Soul winning! Miracles! Growth! Exciting stuff.

But here is part of their story you must not miss: ‘All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need. For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus. He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles.’ (Acts 4:32–37 NLT)

Yes, our top priority must be winning people to Christ and bringing them into spiritual maturity. But if we are to follow in the footsteps of the New Testament church, we must remember that we are called to take care of each other too.

SoulFood: 1 John 3:11–5:21 John 8:12–20 Ps 15 Pro 25:21–22

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Learn to listen https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/learn-to-listen/ Tue, 08 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92332 ‘You should be quick to listen and slow to speak.’ James 1:19 CEV

In order to build good relationships, you must become a good listener. And in order to be a good listener, you must do these:

(1) Listen without interrupting. And that’s true, even when you know more than the person talking to you! Respect them enough to value what they say and listen attentively until they’re finished.

(2) Try to understand their point of view, feelings, thinking, and needs. In other words, listen to understand. Good listening is hearing what people actually think, mean, or feel, not what you imagine they should think, mean, or feel. Instead of guessing, politely ask, ‘Am I understanding you correctly? Do you mean…? Are you feeling…?’ Don’t assume—verify.

(3) Avoid rushing to conclusions. Listen without judging. If what they say doesn’t quite add up, keep listening. ‘He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him.’ (Proverbs 18:13 NKJV) When you hear more, it may make sense.

(4) Refrain from putting them on the defensive. Listen without correcting, countering, or devaluing. Saying, ‘That’s not the way it was,’ or ‘What did you expect?’ or ‘You’re just being silly and too sensitive’ breaks real communication.

(5) Accept their perceptions and feelings as valid expressions of a valued person. Validate the speaker. By saying, ‘If I understand you correctly, you’re thinking… feeling… am I right?’ Ask them to help you get on the same page with them. Saying, ‘Given what you have told me, I can see why you would feel that way,’ will increase their willingness to consider your thoughts and accept the solutions you offer.

If you want to win people and influence them, learn to listen.

SoulFood: 1 John 1:1–3:10 John 8:1–11 Ps 123 Pro 25:18–20

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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S.H.A.P.E. (5) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/s-h-a-p-e-5/ Mon, 07 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92331 ‘Then you will learn to know God’s will for you.’ Romans 12:2 NLT

The letter E stands for experience. How can you know God’s will for your life? Paul answers, ‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is.’ (Romans 12: 2 NIV) The word transform means to change in shape. How is a diamond formed? It’s the result of unrelenting pressure over a long period of time. Your life’s experiences will point you towards your life’s purpose. God never wastes pain!

I used to wander off until You disciplined me; but now I closely follow Your word… My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to Your decrees.’ (Psalm 119:67,71 NLT) How do we learn to do what’s right? By experiencing the pain of doing what’s wrong. Paul said, ‘Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.’ (Philippians 1:12 NIV) Then he adds: ‘I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.’ (Philippians 1:20–21 NIV)

The reverse side of a tapestry looks like a tangled mess of threads. But that’s what it takes to produce a picture of beauty, order, and value. Getting the idea? Re-examine your life’s experiences.

SoulFood: Ezra 9–10 John 7:45–53 Ps 30 Pro 25:13–17

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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S.H.A.P.E. (4) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/s-h-a-p-e-4/ Sun, 06 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92330 ‘May He equip you with all you need for doing His will.’ Hebrews 13:21 NLT

The letter P stands for personality. Before a company hires a leader, they often do a personality profile to identify their strengths and weaknesses. Are you compassionate or competitive towards people? Do you have a hard-driving type personality, or do you have a more nurturing temperament? The worst thing you can do is envy someone else’s personality type and wish you were just like them. God didn’t make a mistake when He made you. God will help you to change your conduct and strengthen your character, but you can pray until you’re blue in the face and He won’t change your personality. Instead, He will help you to recognise it and maximise it. Before God assigns you, He designs you. He gives you the right personality to fulfil His plan for your life.

But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where He wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body… In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary.’ (1 Corinthians 12:18–22 NLT)

So instead of putting yourself down or wishing you had a different temperament, remember what Psalm 139:13–14 NIV says; ‘For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

SoulFood: Ezra 6–8 John 7:33–44 Ps 86 Pro 25:8–12

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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S.H.A.P.E. (3) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/s-h-a-p-e-3/ Sat, 05 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92329 ‘I take joy in doing Your will, my God.’ Psalm 40:8 NLT

The letter A stands for abilities. The Bible says, ‘God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.’ (Romans 12:6 NLT) What is your dominant gift? You might think you don’t have any gifts, but we all have gifts. Your gift may be undiscovered, undeveloped, unused, underused, or even misused, but you have a gift. Have you ever heard the saying, ‘There is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come?

When you put together the right opportunity with the right gift at the right time, the results can literally blow your mind. It may seem like you’re spending your life just surviving. Then suddenly, a crisis arises, a situation occurs, or a door of opportunity opens, and you discover abilities that have lain dormant within you for years. Today you may feel locked into a situation with no way out, but God is a way-maker.

Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were Jews who were taken as slaves to Babylon. Talk about being locked into a situation with no way out! But the Bible says: ‘God gave these four young men an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom. And God gave Daniel the special ability to interpret the meanings of visions and dreams.’ (Daniel 1:17 NLT) Does that mean you can just sit around and wait for success to be dropped into your lap? No, the old saying ‘opportunity knocks’ is actually not true. Opportunity awaits those who open the door and go out and look for it.

SoulFood: 2 Kings 5:1–27 Matt 6:19–34

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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S.H.A.P.E. (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/s-h-a-p-e-2/ Fri, 04 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92328 ‘As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart.’ Ephesians 6:6 NLT

The letter H represents your heart. What do you have a heart for or feel passionate about? As a Jew, Paul was passionate about reaching the Jewish people: ‘The longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with Himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in Him are made right with God.’ (Romans 10:1–4 NLT)

You say, ‘Does that mean I must be in the ministry to know and do God’s will?’ No. Nelson Mandela was so passionate about freeing his people from the evils of apartheid that he was willing to spend twenty-seven years in prison to bring it about. When your heart begins to ask, ‘What can I do to change this situation?’ you may be discovering God’s will for you.

The people who have made this world a better place all asked that question. Thomas Edison answered it by giving the world incandescent light. Henry Ford answered it by giving the world the car. First, Nehemiah wept over the ruins of Jerusalem; then he rebuilt its walls. What moves you? What’s in your heart? In answering that question, you may discover God’s will for your life.

SoulFood: Ezra 3–5 John 7:25–32 Ps 96 Pro 25:1–7

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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S.H.A.P.E. (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/s-h-a-p-e-1/ Thu, 03 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92327 ‘Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God.’ Psalm 143:10 NKJV

In order for you to understand God’s will, for the next few days, let’s use the word S.H.A.P.E. as an acrostic. S represents your spirit. Your regenerated spirit is the part of you that’s capable of connecting with God and responding to Him.

The Bible says: ‘People who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them, and they can’t understand it, for only spiritual people can understand what the Spirit means. Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things.’ (1 Corinthians 2:14–15 NLT)

You can know something in your spirit without understanding it in your brain. Does that sound strange? It’s not: ‘But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.’ (1 John 2:20 NKJV) Sometimes a Scripture leaps off the page you’re reading in the Bible and you know it’s God speaking to you and giving you direction. At the time, it may not seem to make sense to you, but it resonates in your spirit as being right. We use different words to describe this experience, such as a leading or a prompting. Will you sometimes get it wrong and make a mistake? Yes. The most mature Christians among us do.

In his youth, God spoke to Samuel the prophet four different times before he finally recognised His voice. Just as you exercise your body to make it stronger, you must exercise your spirit to make it sharper and more sensitive to God: ‘Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognise the difference between right and wrong.’ (Hebrews 5:14 NLT)

SoulFood: Ezra 1–2 John 7:14–24 Ps 9 Pro 24:30–34

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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In Christ, you are beyond condemnation https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/in-christ-you-are-beyond-condemnation/ Wed, 02 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92326 ‘I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over Me.’ John 14:30 NIV

The Bible says that Satan is the accuser. Satan holds sin over our heads to make us feel unworthy and trapped in our sin. If we refuse to repent of our sin, we give Satan an opportunity to condemn us. Now you understand why you feel so bad when you harbour unconfessed sin. By doing it, you are giving Satan power over you.

Notice what Jesus said: ‘I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world (Satan) is coming. He has no hold over Me.’ (John 14:30 NIV) Satan couldn’t point to a single sin in the life of Christ; therefore, he had no power over Him. The good news is that when you are in Christ, Satan loses his power to condemn you too. ‘Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.’ (Romans 8:1 NIV)

Will you still sin from time to time? Yes, but when you repent, God will cleanse you, work with you, and give you victory. As long as you are positioned securely in Christ—the One in whom there is no sin—Satan’s condemnation falls on deaf ears, and you live with the joy of knowing God fully accepts you. So, when Satan tries to make you think that you’re not a Christian because you’ve sinned, don’t believe him. Be confident knowing that you can take a powerful weapon out of Satan’s hands simply by confessing your sins and repenting.

SoulFood: Zeph 1–3 John 7:1–13 Ps 104:24–35 Pro 24:28–29

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Where do you stand with Jesus? https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/where-do-you-stand-with-jesus/ Tue, 01 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92325 ‘What then shall I do with Jesus?’ Matthew 27:22 NKJV

When it comes to Jesus, we have three choices. Let’s look at them:

(1) Reject Him. That’s what the Pharisees did. ‘Pilate said to them, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said to him, “Let Him be crucified!”’ (Matthew 27:22 NKJV) Why? Because His grace and power exposed their lack of both. His truth exposed their error. And when you don’t like the message, you reject the messenger.

(2) Avoid Him. That’s what Pilate’s wife did: ‘While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of Him.”’ (Matthew 27:19 NIV) Why do people avoid Jesus? Because He forces a reaction in our hearts. He calls you to make a choice between living for yourself or living for Him. The chief priests accused Jesus of stirring up the people. And they were right! Before Jesus delivers you, He will disturb you. And some of us don’t want to be disturbed.

(3) Accept Him. That’s what Paul did: ‘…Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.’ (Galatians 2:20 NKJV) Pilate tried to wash his hands of the whole thing and avoid making a decision about Jesus. But it can’t be done.

Jesus said, ‘He who is not with Me is against Me.’ (Matthew 12:30 NKJV) So if you have not accepted Christ as your Saviour, here is the question you must answer: ‘Where do you stand with Jesus?’

SoulFood: 1 Tim 4–6 John 6:60–71 Ps 104:1–23 Pro 24:26–27

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Are you doing God’s will? https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/are-you-doing-gods-will/ Mon, 31 Oct 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=92324 ‘Whoever does the will of God lives forever.’ 1 John 2:17 NIV

The thing that should matter to you most is doing God’s will. And here is why: God’s will is the only thing that will last forever. God has a plan for your life, and that plan constitutes His will for you. So how can you know God’s will? Try to imagine these two things:

(1) A Polaroid picture. Remember those? They’re back again! You take the shot, and out pops a picture. At first, it isn’t clear, so you have to wait. But as you continue to wait, the picture becomes clearer. That’s like God’s will. ‘The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble. My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight; keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.’ (Proverbs 4:18-22 NIV)

(2) A scroll. If God showed you His entire will for your life at one time—you would be overwhelmed. But like unravelling an old-fashioned scroll, He reveals His will to you little by little as you become mature and able to handle it. And since it’s God’s will, you need His power to fulfil it. You also need the assurance of His presence with you. And He promises this in His Word: ‘Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 1:6 NIV)

SoulFood: 1 Chron 16:8–36 Heb 11:4–12:3 Ps 18:20–29 Pro 4:18

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Never be part of a clique https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/never-be-part-of-a-clique/ Sun, 30 Oct 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16199 ‘You are all one in Christ Jesus.’ Galatians 3:28 NKJV

In order to have a clique, you must exclude certain people. And to feel excluded hurts deeply. David experienced it: ‘The one who shared my food, has turned against me.’ (Psalm 41:9 NLT) Cliques are made up of weak people who are afraid to be different. They believe that as long as they’re with others who think and act like they do, they won’t be surprised or required to change. It may be human nature to crave this kind of consistency, but it’s dangerous. Cliques in the workplace create dissension, resulting in a miserable atmosphere for others. People are no longer regarded as individuals but as being ‘on this person’s side’ or ‘in that person’s corner’. Such cliques become nothing more than centres for gossip, backstabbing, affairs, and every imaginable mess people can create.

Satan tempts us with the security of ‘the group’ to prevent us from discovering our individual gifts and purposes and from doing God’s will. If you’re in a clique, break free as quickly as you can! Reject the pressure to conform to groupthink. This mentality can have you unexpectedly doing things you never thought you would do—whether it’s lowering your principles or remaining quiet while the group criticises someone. You may even fear being turned against by group members if you stand up for what’s right. Cliques facilitate racism and sexism, age discrimination, and the biased behaviour accompanying them. They gain their strength from excluding those who are different. And no matter how you justify it, it’s prejudice! You are God’s child—as are your colleagues and other church members—and you should treat them right.

SoulFood: Deut 18:9–18 Dan 2 Isa 47:5–15 Acts 16:16–34

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Healthy compromise https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/healthy-compromise/ Sat, 29 Oct 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16198 ‘Seek peace and pursue it.’ 1 Peter 3:11 NKJV

Read these Scriptures:

‘Pursue peace with all people.’ (Hebrews 12:14 NKJV)

‘The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield… the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.’ (James 3:17–18 NKJV)

‘He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.’ (1 Peter 3:10–11 NKJV)

Healthy compromise doesn’t mean giving up what you truly believe or who you truly are. It doesn’t mean taking shortcuts and relinquishing yourself to second- or third-best because you are impatient or fearful. No, healthy compromise is about discovering how to negotiate a win-win position for both sides. It calls for trying to see things through the eyes of the other person involved in the situation or problem. And healthy compromise is the characteristic of healthy relationships. It’s tempting to write off someone as ‘wrong’ or ‘selfish’ and refuse to see any other perspective except your own. But this is when it’s critical to abandon your pride, to step outside the role you are playing, and to try to understand where the other person is coming from.

A meat cleaver is required when you want a meal, but a fine surgical instrument is required when you want to heal. Haven’t there been times when you yourself needed patience, love, and understanding? Yes? Then be willing to extend the same grace to others. Sometimes all that’s required is a little give-and-take to make the relationship work and for things to turn out better for everyone involved.

SoulFood: 2 Kings 6:1–7 Matt 14:22–33

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Eight principles to live by https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/eight-principles-to-live-by/ Fri, 28 Oct 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16197 'Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity.' Proverbs 21:5 NLT

People who set goals accomplish much more than people of equal education and ability who don't. With that in mind, build these eight principles into your life.

(1) Decide what you want. But first consult God. 'Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.' (Proverbs 19:21 NIV)

(2) Think on paper. Writing your goals down gives them a sense of permanency, plus it energises you. 'Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity.' Wishy-washy objectives won't get you where you want to go.

(3) Establish a deadline. Without a definite beginning and ending it's easy to procrastinate and get nowhere.

(4) Make a list of what you need to do to. Keep it before you at all times; it'll give you a track to run on.

(5) Convert your list to a plan. Decide what you need to do first and what you can do later. An organised plan is always better than trying to carry stuff around in your head.

(6) Act immediately. 'Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.' (Ephesians 5:15–16 NIV) Do something! A mediocre plan that's implemented beats a brilliant one that's not.

(7) Do something every day to move you forwards. Build it into your schedule. For example, read systematically through your Bible, call a specific number of clients, engage in physical activity for a given time.

(8) Have a goal you're willing to devote your life to. And keep your eye on that goal at all times. 'Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.' (Psalm 90:12 NIV)

SoulFood: 1 Tim 1–3 John 6:52–59 Ps 114 Pro 24:23–25

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Your stage and your standing https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/your-stage-and-your-standing/ Thu, 27 Oct 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16196 ‘I am writing to you, dear children.’ 1 John 2:12 NIV

John says, ‘I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of His name.’ (1 John 2:12 NIV) When you’re born again, the only thing you know is that your sins are forgiven and you’re in right standing with God. But you have a lot more to learn. The Greek term for ‘children’ refers to toddlers. And toddlers keep tripping and falling. Until they learn to walk, they need someone to pick them up and reassure them that falling down doesn’t mean they will never walk or they’re not part of the family.

In spiritual childhood, it’s essential that you understand two things: the difference between your stage of growth and your standing before God. Don’t get them mixed up! Trusting in the finished work of Christ gives you right standing with God as a fully accepted, redeemed child of His. If you forget that, every time you fall, the devil will make you doubt your salvation. When you sin, it doesn’t mean that your standing before God is altered; it means your stage of spiritual growth needs work. The forgiveness you receive at the new birth is a judicial act, making you a member of God’s family in good standing. But the forgiveness you receive on a daily basis is a relational act.

For example, when you enter some wrong numbers into your calculator, what do you do? There is a little button called ‘clear entry’ that lets you erase your mistake and start over again. That’s what the blood of Jesus does. Repentance allows you to override sin by triggering God’s forgiveness, so that the flow of His grace continues. And when grace flows, growth follows.

SoulFood: Habakkuk 1–3 John 6:35–51 Ps 49 Pro 24:19–22

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Communicate with your mate https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/communicate-with-your-mate/ Wed, 26 Oct 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16195 ‘I pray that your love will keep on growing and you will fully know and understand .’ Philippians 1:9 CEV

Ever notice when you’re dating somebody, you can talk effortlessly for hours, but if you have been married a while, unless you work at it, conversation can become superficial and even lead to disagreements? The Bible says, ‘Be willing to listen and slow to speak.’ (James 1:19 NCV) There is an art to communicating.

(1) Look for opportunities to compliment one another. You may think your partner is wonderful, but they need to hear you say it frequently. It takes twelve compliments to neutralise the effect of one criticism, so when life beats your mate down, build them up.

(2) Don’t try to change them by nagging. Questions like, ‘Why can’t you?’ or ‘Why do you always?’ can sound more like parenting than partnering. Tell your partner once—not a thousand times—what’s bothering you. And before you speak, ask yourself, ‘Would I say this to a valued friend?’ If not, don’t say it!

(3) A marriage can only stand so much ‘soul-baring’. As a rule, shorter is better. ‘Honey, can we talk for a few minutes?’ is less threatening than the ominous, ‘We need to talk’ announcement. People can only stand so much ‘soul-baring’; pressuring them just gets the wrong result. If your spouse is unresponsive on an issue, discuss it with a trusted friend or counsellor. Then give your spouse the condensed, less emotional version.

(4) Let your mate lead. When your spouse is talking about things you’re not particularly interested in, remember the Scripture, ‘Submit to one another.’ (Ephesians 5:21 NIV) Sometimes that means asking, ‘What would you like to talk about?’ If you want a good marriage, use those four principles every day.

SoulFood: Nahum 1–3 John 6:25–34 Ps 98 Pro 24:15–18

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Help for your marriage https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/help-for-your-marriage/ Tue, 25 Oct 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16194 ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, they labour in vain who build it.’ Psalm 127:1 NKJV

Nobody knows more about marriage than God. He not only thought up the idea—He put the first couple together. And His Word says, ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, they labour in vain who build it.’ So let’s turn to His Word and see what kind of help He has to offer your marriage.

(1) Be willing to take advice. Solomon says, ‘Pride leads to conflict; those who take advice are wise.’ (Proverbs 13:10 NLT) So before the argument reaches a stalemate and the stalemate becomes a full-blown crisis, get input from a trusted friend or counsellor. That takes humility, but it pays great dividends.

(2) Don’t stop talking. Even though something seems obvious to you, don’t assume your mate can read your mind. And don’t resort to ‘the silent treatment’. Tell your husband or wife what’s bothering you, even if it means working through a disagreement. It’s when you don’t care enough to disagree that things fall apart.

(3) Keep your love alive. Building a strong marriage means falling in love over and over again—with the same person. Paul writes, ‘I pray that your love will keep on growing and you will fully know and understand.’ (Philippians 1:9 CEV).

It’s impossible to escape marital stress, but you can control it by scheduling breaks away from the daily grind. Take a walk together, watch a film you both enjoy, go for coffee, do whatever reconnects you. And let your children know you’re taking time out to be together. Not only will they learn to appreciate it, it will help them build a good marriage of their own later on.

SoulFood: 2 Pet 1–3 John 6:16–24 Ps 85 Pro 24:11–14

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Building good relationships https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/building-good-relationships/ Mon, 24 Oct 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16193 ‘Not looking to your own interests, but each of you to the interests of the others.’ Philippians 2:4 NIV

Paul writes, ‘Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with others, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 2:34 NIV). That means do these five things:

(1) Be genuinely interested in others. ‘Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn.’ (Romans 12:15 NIV) And you can only do that when you take the time to find out what’s going on in someone else’s world.

(2) Be upbeat. ‘A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.’ (Proverbs 15:13 NIV) Though it can be helpful, try not to vent to others all the time. Make sure you remember to take your problems to the Lord in prayer.

(3) Be careful what you say, and always say less than you think. ‘Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm.’ (Proverbs 29:11 NIV) And since how you speak is just as important as what you say, always be kind and courteous.

(4) Be reliable. The Bible says, ‘In the last days… men shall be… trucebreakers.’ (2 Timothy 3:1–3 KJV), but you don’t have to fulfill that prophecy. When you say you will do something, do it. Character is measured by actions, not words. So strive to be a person whose word has meaning.

(5) Be an encourager. Barnabas was known as a motivator because he ‘encouraged the believers.’ (Acts 11:23 NLT) Ever notice what happens when you push a child on a swing? Eventually they start gaining some momentum and doing it themselves; they just needed a little help to get going. Even a smile can work wonders. Job said, ‘When they were discouraged, I smiled at them. My look of approval was precious to them.’ (Job 29:24 NLT) Sometimes it’s that simple!

SoulFood: 2 Sam 22:31–24:25 John 6:1–15 Ps 126 Pro 24:10

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Night-time experiences (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/night-time-experiences-2/ Sun, 23 Oct 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16192 ‘Before you were born, I chose you to speak for Me to the nations.’ Jeremiah 1:5 CEV

When God blesses you, get ready for the complainers who think He should have blessed them instead—or at least as much as you. When a dispute arose about the position of the high priest, God told Moses to have each candidate write his name on his staff and place it overnight in the tabernacle. Then God said, ‘The man I have chosen… buds will grow on his rod! Then at last this murmuring and complaining against you will stop!’ (Numbers 17:5 TLB) Imagine an old stick with no roots or sap blossoming in the dark!

The truth is, faith can’t grow without hardship; it must incubate in the darkness of adversity. There is a stage at which you don’t even know you have been chosen by God; only He knows. He told Jeremiah, ‘Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you.’ Before you were a beep on a monitor, God had plans for you. The reason you didn’t die on the operating table or in that car accident is because God had His hand on you. Furthermore, He didn’t choose you because you’re so virtuous and wonderful. No, ‘He chose what the world thinks is unimportant… so that no one can brag.’ (1 Corinthians 1:28–29 NCV)

When God created the heavens and the earth, the Bible says, ‘Darkness covered the face of the deep.’ (Genesis 1:2 NRSV) Then God spoke and said, ‘Let there be lights… And it was so.’ (Genesis 1:14–15 NIV) And today God can bring light out of your darkness and hope out of your despair. He is not intimidated by the darkness—it’s where He does some of His best work!

SoulFood: 2 Sam 20:1–22:30 John 5:31–47 Ps 5 Pro 24:8–9

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Night-time experiences (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/night-time-experiences-1/ Sat, 22 Oct 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16191 ‘Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.’ Psalm 30:5 NKJV

The earth is continually revolving, which means when it’s light in one continent, it’s dark in another. While one person is experiencing midnight, another is rejoicing because daybreak has finally come.. Both people live on the same planet, but they’re in very different places. So when you’re having a night-time experience, if you can just hold on a little longer, things will change. God guarantees it.

The same way you rotated into the darkness, you will rotate out of it again. God works the night shift, and He will turn your darkness into light if you just keep trusting Him. Notice: certain significant events in the Bible happened at night. For example, while Adam was sleeping, God reached in, performed surgery, and made Eve. At midnight, while the other prisoners slept, Paul and Silas sang praises to God and He delivered them. When Peter was locked in the inner prison, at midnight God sent an angel to liberate him. When Jesus was crucified, the earth was plunged into darkness, but on Easter morning the light came on—forever.

You have to expect some night-time experiences; it comes with the territory. God’s ‘darkroom’ is where He develops you into the image of Christ. Enduring is what gives you the credentials to walk out into the daylight, having earned the right to be there. This kind of faith is tenacious, radical, and relentless. When it’s backed into a corner, it stands its ground and declares, ‘I’ve lost my job, my mortgage is overdue, my symptoms don’t look too good, but I still believe God.’ That kind of faith gets results every time!

SoulFood: 2 Kings 6:8–23 Matt 5:43–48

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Use your God-given gift https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/use-your-god-given-gift/ Fri, 21 Oct 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16190 ‘Fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you.’ 2 Timothy 1:6 NIV

Other people may not think you’re important, but God does. And His opinion is the one that counts most. Remember David? Before he became king, he had to overcome two obstacles.

The first obstacle was his family’s inability to see his potential. When Samuel the prophet came looking for a king among Jesse’s sons, David wasn’t even considered. Maybe that’s because he was the youngest, or his brothers seemed more qualified, or his father wanted to impress the prophet.

The second obstacle was Samuel’s inability to recognise God’s call on his life. When Samuel the prophet saw the oldest brother, Eliab, a general in the king’s army, he said, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here.’ (1 Samuel 16:6 NIV) But God set Samuel—and the rest of us—straight with these words: ‘People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’ (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV)

David’s problem is a common one. Many of us don’t believe in ourselves because we weren’t recognised or encouraged by our parents. Perhaps you have the potential to be a great musician, but because nobody cared enough to give you music lessons when you were young, you have given up on yourself. Or you may be a budding entrepreneur who was criticised for your ‘foolish ideas’ about how to do business, and you have given up the dreams of your youth. If that’s the case, it’s time to rise up and reclaim who you are; to start praying that God will open your eyes and put someone in your life who will validate and ‘fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you.’

SoulFood: 2 Sam 17:14–19:43 John 5:16–30 Ps 15 Pro 24:7

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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George Müller’s thoughts on meditation https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/george-mullers-thoughts-on-meditation/ Thu, 20 Oct 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16189 ‘I will delight myself in Your commandments.’ Psalm 119:47 NKJV

George Müller was a man of great faith. He rescued thousands of homeless children in England. Sometimes when they gathered at the table for supper there was nothing to eat, so he would pray and thank God for supernatural provision. No sooner had he said, ‘Amen’, than a baker would show up at his door with bread, or a greengrocer with vegetables, or a farmer with milk. Here is an entry from his journal, dated 9 May, 1841: ‘I saw more clearly than ever that the first great primary business to which I ought to attend every day was… not how much I might serve the Lord… but… how my inner man might be nourished. For I might seek to set the truth before the unconverted, I might seek to benefit believers… and yet, not being happy in the Lord, and not being nourished and strengthened in my inner man day by day, all this might not be attended to in a right spirit. Before this time my practice had been… to give myself to prayer after having dressed myself in the morning. Now, I saw that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the Word of God, and to meditation on it, that thus my heart might be comforted, encouraged, warned, reproved, instructed; and that this, by means of the Word of God, whilst meditating on it, my heart might be brought into experimental communion with the Lord.’

For over forty years, Müller walked in the power of God and saw miracles. What was his secret? Taking time each day to meditate in God’s Word.

SoulFood: 2 Sam 14:21–17:13 John 5:1–15 Ps 41 Pro 24:5–6

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Conquering bad habits https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/conquering-bad-habits/ Wed, 19 Oct 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16188 ‘You shall conquer them utterly destroy them.’ Deuteronomy 7:2 NKJV

American author Henry Van Dyke says, ‘As long as habit and routine dictate the pattern of living, new dimensions of the soul will not emerge.’ Habits are like machines; they consistently turn out the same product. They can’t do anything else; they’re designed to produce that specific result. Change requires new behaviours, thoughts, relationships, and a willingness to do battle with old ways of thinking. And that calls for a strong relationship with God!

Upon entering the Promised Land, God told His people to ‘utterly destroy’ their enemies; otherwise, their enemies would live to eventually destroy them. So when God tells you it’s time to declare war on your bad habits, don’t say, ‘Everybody’s doing it,’ or ‘It’s no big deal.’ Anything that keeps you enslaved and prevents you from enjoying the freedom Jesus purchased for you at Calvary is a very big deal.

Instead of resisting and making excuses, pray, ‘Lord, show me the root of this problem and how to deal with it. I’m ready for positive change in my life today.’

Have you ever noticed that whenever you have had a mountaintop experience with God, the Enemy is always waiting for you at the foot of the mountain? After their experience on the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus’ disciples were approached by a man whose son was caught in a cycle of self-destruction where ‘frequently he [fell] into the fire and… water.’ (Matthew 17:15 AMPC) Anytime you keep falling into the same traps, making the same mistakes, jumping into the same relationships, getting hooked on the same habits, it’s time to take your problem to Jesus and ask Him to help you. And He will!

SoulFood: 2 Sam 12:1–14:20 John 4:39–54 Ps 87 Pro 24:1–4

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Feed your faith daily https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/feed-your-faith-daily/ Tue, 18 Oct 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16187 ‘God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.’ Romans 12:3 NKJV

It’s easy to give in to negative thoughts and fears about how things will turn out based on your past experiences. As Jesus pointed out, we live in a ‘faithless’ generation. (Matthew 17:17 NKJV) That means you must constantly fight the defeatist attitude portrayed by the culture, the media, the educational system, the workplace—and sometimes your own friends. Unless you recognise this, it can wear you down by diluting your faith. That’s why you need to feed your faith daily with God’s Word.

Jesus said, ‘If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move”…and it will.’ (Matthew 17:20 NKJV) Notice, Jesus isn’t referring to a mountain you encountered years ago. He said, ‘Say to this mountain.’ He wants you to exercise your faith today! He said, ‘If you have faith as a mustard seed… nothing will be impossible for you.’ (Matthew 17:20 NKJV)

A mustard seed is so tiny, it can get stuck between your teeth. But Jesus said although it’s ‘the least of all the seeds,’ it grows into a tree big enough for the birds to nest in. (See Matthew 13:32 NKJV).

You say, ‘I don’t have any faith.’ Yes, you do. Paul says, ‘God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.’ And when it’s activated, miracles happen. Even if you have only a pinch of faith left, you have what you need to prevail. But faith only works when it becomes the language you speak and the attitude you maintain. The Enemy doesn’t want you to know that, because when you do, you won’t just think about what’s happening, you will start thinking about what’s possible!

SoulFood: 2 Sam 7:18–11:27 John 4:27–38 Ps 32 Pro 23:29–35

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Be a cheerful giver! https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/be-a-cheerful-giver/ Mon, 17 Oct 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16186 ‘Try it! Put me to the test!’ Malachi 3:10 NLT

Guard your heart against believing that your money is something you earned all by yourself. If you struggle to give to God, it might be time to ask yourself if you have become more attached to the gift than the Giver. If you have never committed yourself to regular giving, read this: ‘Bring all the offerings into the storehouse… If you do… I will open the windows of Heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put Me to the test!’ (Malachi 3:10 NLT)

A pastor received this letter from a couple in his church: ‘We were behind with our rent and car payments. We were $40000 in debt, with no food in the fridge, and we’d just started a construction business. So when you challenged us to give a regular offering as part of our commitment to God, we thought, “How can we give what we don’t have?” Nevertheless, we decided to go ahead and honour God by giving sacrificially. The very first week we met a contractor who asked us to build a house, with more to follow. Now we no longer questioned how we’d fulfil our commitment to God; in fact, we increased our giving! And if the story ended there, it would still be a good one. But you can’t outgive God. Through a series of divinely orchestrated events, we went from being renters to being homeowners. Today, we’re enjoying financial blessing. And even though this story is all about trusting God, on reflection we’re still trying to answer one question: “What exactly was it that we sacrificed?”’

SoulFood: 2 Sam 3:22–7:17 John 4:13–26 Ps 100 Pro 23:22–28

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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How to live wisely and well https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/how-to-live-wisely-and-well/ Sun, 16 Oct 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16185 ‘Wisdom belongs to the aged, and understanding to the old.’ Job 12:12 NLT

An elderly lady says, ‘One benefit of living so long is sharing what I’ve learned. So make my day by letting me share three secrets that can make your life better.’ Then she offers us some great counsel:

(1) ‘Time is precious; don’t waste it. After my husband died, I was staying with friends. One evening they started arguing and eventually stopped speaking to one another. Now, I know arguments happen; my husband and I had several doozies. But at that moment, I understood as never before that the time we have together is precious. Don’t waste it bickering about things that won’t matter when your loved one is gone. Do everything you can to live in harmony and show your love. Why? Because no matter how long you have together, it’s never enough.

(2) You’re making memories; make them good ones. Looking back, I thank God for so many unforgettable moments. The day my husband died we kissed (as we always did when we parted), at noon. By five-thirty that evening, he was dead. I’ve always been glad about that final kiss. So create memories —not regrets!

(3) It’s not what happens, but how you respond that counts. Every day holds new challenges that will test your love and resolve. You have the power through Christ to make each test an occasion for growth. Life is full of seemingly unpleasant events. Try to handle them in such a way that when you’re old, you will be able to look back and say, “I thank You, God, for that experience; it helped me grow.”’

And that’s how to live wisely and well!

SoulFood: 2 Sam 1:1–3:21 John 4:1–12 Ps 89:38–52 Pro 23:19–21

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Walking by faith https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/walking-by-faith-2/ Sat, 15 Oct 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16184 ‘For we walk by faith, not by sight.’ 2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV

Jesus said: ‘I have told you this, so that you might have peace in your hearts because of Me. While you are in the world, you will have to suffer. But cheer up! I have defeated the world.’ (John 16:33 CEV) Life keeps handing us problems that test our faith. How do you know how much weight a bridge can handle? By testing it.

Daniel’s success made him a target. Knowing he prayed regularly, his enemies persuaded King Darius that all prayers should be made to him as the king. Yet Daniel kept praying each day—in front of an open window, no less. When the king heard about it, he threw Daniel into a lions’ den. But God turned the tables. The next morning when Daniel came out, his enemies were thrown in. Then the king announced, ‘Daniel’s God… is the living God.’ (Daniel 6:26 CEV)

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to worship the king’s idols. Even when they were warned to bow or burn, they said, ‘God… is able to deliver us… But if not… we will not serve your gods.’ (Daniel 3:17–18 ESV) And because they walked by faith, God delivered and promoted them.

Facing Goliath, David refused to wear the king’s armour. He said, ‘I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them.’ (1 Samuel 17:39 KJV) So what did he go with? ‘The name of the Lord’ (1 Samuel 17:45 KJV), and the rest is history.

The chances are you will never find yourself in a lions’ den, a fiery furnace, or facing a giant, though some days it will feel like it. But when you’re under attack:

(1) pray and claim God’s power

(2) walk by faith, and

(3) go in ‘the name of the Lord.’

SoulFood: Isa 61:1–9 Luke 4:16–30

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Problem solving (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/problem-solving-2/ Fri, 14 Oct 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16183 ‘By my God I can leap over a wall.’ Psalm 18:29 NKJV

John Maxwell writes: ‘When you come face-to-face with a problem, how do you react? Do you ignore it and hope it will go away? Do you feel powerless to solve it? Have you had such bad experiences trying to solve problems in the past that you’ve just given up? Or do you tackle them willingly? The ability to solve problems effectively comes from experience facing and overcoming obstacles. Each time you solve another problem, you get a little better at the process. But if you never try, fail, and try again, you’ll never be good at it.’

Author George Matthew Adams stated: ‘What you think means more than anything else in your life. More than what you earn, more than where you live, more than your social position, and more than what anyone else may think about you.’

Most of King David’s problems were enemies who wanted to defeat him. But he had confidence in God: ‘For by You I can run against a troop, by my God I can leap over a wall.’ (Psalm 18:29 NKJV) To improve your problem-solving abilities, do the following:

(1) Find the right strategy. Sometimes we have a hard time solving a problem because we don’t know how to tackle it. Try using the acronym T.E.A.C.H.: Time– take the time required to discover the real issue. Exposure– find out how others have solved similar problems. Assistance– don’t try to do it all alone, let others help you. Creativity– brainstorm numerous solutions. Hit it– execute the best solution.

(2) Surround yourself with problem solvers. ‘He who walks with wise men will be wise.’ (Proverbs 13:20 NKJV)

SoulFood: Eph 4:17–6:24 John 3:22– 36 Ps 89:15–37 Pro 23:15–18

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Problem solving (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/problem-solving-1/ Thu, 13 Oct 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16182 ‘When we are knocked down, we get up again.’ 2 Corinthians 4:9 CEV

Every problem you face in life introduces you to yourself. It shows you how you think and what you’re made of. People basically respond to problems in three ways:

(1) they refuse to accept them

(2) they accept them and then endure them, or

(3) they accept them and try to improve things.

Which of the three people are you?

Paul was a problem solver. He knew that with God on his side, he would prevail. ‘We are like clay jars in which this treasure is stored. The real power comes from God and not from us. We often suffer, but we are never crushed. Even when we don’t know what to do, we never give up. In times of trouble, God is with us, and when we are knocked down, we get up again.’ (2 Corinthians 4:7–9 CEV)

So when it comes to having problems, what should you do?

(1) Anticipate them. Since problems are unavoidable, prepare for them spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. If you pray for God’s best and anticipate Satan’s worst, you will find yourself in a good position to solve the problems that come your way.

(2) See the big picture. You can’t afford to be overcome by emotion or get bogged down and lose sight of what’s important.

(3) Handle one thing at a time. Richard Sloma said, ‘Never try to solve all the problems at once—make them line up for you one-by-one.’ And if you’re facing lots of problems, try to solve the one you’re working on before moving on to the next one.

SoulFood: Eph 1:1–4:16 John 3:9– 21 Ps 89:1–14 Pro 23:10–14

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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First, you must care about others https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/first-you-must-care-about-others/ Wed, 12 Oct 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16181 ‘Love does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:5 NIV

When you focus on what you have to offer instead of the needs of others, they discern it and quickly lose interest. Even in an endeavour as noble as sharing your faith, you can become so engrossed in your presentation and in ‘getting results’ that you leave the other person cold.

In his book Presenting to Win, Jerry Weissman points out that when people communicate, they focus too much on the features of their product or service instead of answering the question, ‘Can you help me?’ The key, says Weissman, is to focus on the benefits, not the features. He writes: ‘A feature is a fact or quality about you or your company, the products you sell, or the idea you’re advocating. By contrast, a benefit is how that fact or quality will help your audience. When you seek to persuade, it’s never enough to present the features of what you’re selling; every feature must be translated into a benefit. Whereas a feature may be irrelevant to the needs or interests of your audience, a benefit, by definition, is always relevant.’

Caring about the other person must always be your motive and starting point. Paul writes: . ‘If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.’ (I Corinthians 13:13 NIV)

Bottom line: first, you must care about others.

SoulFood: 1 Sam 27–31 John 3:1–8 Ps 110 Pro 23:6–9

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Signs of the times https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/signs-of-the-times/ Tue, 11 Oct 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16180 ‘He Who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”’ Revelation 21:5 NIV

It’s said that the Titanic sank because of cheap rivets and poor planning. Faced with a shortage of quality bolts, the shipbuilders used substandard ones that popped when the ship hit the iceberg.

So, how sturdy are the bolts of your faith? Reinforce them daily with God’s Word, seasons of in-depth prayer, and fortifying fellowship. Describing signs of the end times, Jesus said, ‘All these are the beginning of birth pains’ (Matthew 24:8 NIV), and birth pains signal the onset of the final push.

The midwife says, ‘This will hurt for a while, but it’s going to get better,’ and Jesus offers us the same assurance about end-time events. We’re in the final hours—just a few pushes away from delivery. John said: ‘I saw “a new Heaven and a new earth,” for the first Heaven and the first earth had passed away, and… the new Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be… their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”’ (Revelation 21:1–5 NIV)

People everywhere are searching for answers. So don’t isolate, engage! Your goal isn’t to get out of this world in one piece; it’s to take as many people as you can to Heaven along with you.

SoulFood: 1 Sam 24–26 John 2:12–25 Ps 23 Pro 23:4–5

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Thoughts on good leadership https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/thoughts-on-good-leadership/ Mon, 10 Oct 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16179 ‘If a bugle call isn’t clear, how would you know to get ready for battle?’ 1 Corinthians 14:8 CEV

No matter how great your vision is, if you’re not someone people are willing to follow, it will never be realised. Who you are matters! Here are six thoughts on good leadership:

(1) Trust connects people to a leader’s vision; without it, they will be disconnected. With it, they will get on board and help move the vision forward.

(2) Leadership isn’t just about what you do; it’s about inspiring and encouraging others. Good leaders bring out the best in people by sharing the best of themselves.

(3) Just because you’re the leader, don’t run people over! Abraham Lincoln said, ‘Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.’ With power comes the responsibility to serve, develop, and empower others. By helping them grow, you grow.

(4) Rules without relationship lead to resistance. You can have all the rules you want, but if you don’t invest in people and develop a relationship with them, they will rebel.

(5) Paul says, ‘If a bugle call isn’t clear, how would you know to get ready for battle?’ So lead with optimism, enthusiasm, and positive energy, and weed out pessimism and negativity. Focus on solutions, not complaints. Philosopher Nicholas Murray Butler said, ‘Optimism is essential to achievement, and it is also the foundation of courage and true progress.’

(6) Good leaders don’t have all the answers, but they build a team that does—or can find them. Success is a process, not a destination. Winning is a by-product of teamwork, focus, and commitment. To succeed, focus on the people and the process, not the outcome.

SoulFood: 1 Sam 20:30–23:29 John 2:1–11 Ps 131 Pro 23:1–3

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Set your mind https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/set-your-mind/ Sun, 09 Oct 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16178 ‘Set your minds on things above.’ Colossians 3:2 NIV

Setting your mind is similar to setting the temperature of your aircon, it determines the climate you live in. So, set your mind on God’s Word! Instead of trying to stop thinking wrong thoughts—which immediately brings to mind the very thoughts you’re supposed to stop thinking—fill your mind with God’s Word. Jesus told His disciples that the Holy Spirit would remind them of what He had taught them (see John 14:26).

So when you file the Scriptures in your memory bank, God’s Spirit will pull those files when you need them. Picture an amateur pilot navigating through his first storm. He can’t see any landmarks around which to fly because they’re locked in a fog. But then a voice comes from the controller in the tower saying, ‘Just listen to me, and I’ll guide you.’

Jesus said, ‘I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33 NIV) Paul writes: ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 4:6–7 NIV)

For example, what should you do when the economy is bad? Recognise that neither the Australian Stock Exchange nor the Reserve Bank decide your security—God does. What should you do when someone criticises you? Take what’s good and let no one but God determine your worth. By keeping your mind on God’s Word, you’re at peace in any situation.

SoulFood: Lev 23:33–44 John 7:1–40 Zech 14:16–21 Heb 11:8–16

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Hearing, understanding, and receiving https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/hearing-understanding-and-receiving/ Sat, 08 Oct 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16177 ‘So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak.’ James 1:19 NKJV

To have a good relationship with someone, you must have good communication. And good communication is based on two things: talking, and listening. Stop and consider some of your recent conflicts and try to identify behaviours and attitudes that may have contributed to them. Fear. Insecurity. Jealousy. Stubbornness. Arrogance. Greed. Sin. Rebellion. Unexpressed or unmet expectations. Unrealistic expectations. Undefined roles and responsibilities. Differing standards, beliefs, philosophies, or views. Competing desires. Ineffective systems and processes. Power struggles. Contradictory goals and objectives. Breach of boundaries (spoken or unspoken). Inadequate or sparse resources (time, money, space). Language barriers. Lack of information. Lack of understanding of the needs of different personalities. Poor relational skills.

James writes, ‘So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak.’ This Bible verse is crucial to good communication. By listening, we create an atmosphere where people feel they have been understood and their views and feelings have been validated. This is half the battle in settling any conflict. And listening is not passive! It requires considerable effort to discern what’s really being expressed or even unexpressed. But there is good news: if you’re serious about it, God will help you to become a better listener!

Isaiah writes: ‘The Lord God has given Me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. He awakens Me morning by morning. He awakens My ear to hear as the learned.’ (Isaiah 50:4 NKJV) Note the words ‘tongue’ and ‘ear’, and ask God to help you with both.

SoulFood: Joel 2:23–32 Acts 2:1–21

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Can you be corrected? https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/can-you-be-corrected/ Fri, 07 Oct 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16176 ‘David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”’ 2 Samuel 12:13 NKJV

God sent the prophet Nathan to confront King David over his affair with Bathsheba. As king, David had the power to have Nathan put to death. But he didn’t. He humbled himself, received correction, repented, and was restored to his throne and God’s favour.

Question: can you be corrected? If you can, your future is bright and your potential is great. But you must be discerning. Not all correction is constructive and therefore does not have to be accepted. Someone may desire to tear you down, diminish your self-esteem, or manipulate you into accepting their way of thinking. You must make it a habit to analyse the motives of the person who is correcting you. Ask yourself these questions:

(1) In the past, has this person shown a genuine concern for my personal well-being and development?

(2) What does he or she gain personally if I accomplish the behaviour they are recommending? What do I gain? What do I lose?

(3) Is their attitude one of kindness, or am I feeling attacked and demeaned? (Be careful; don’t confuse a person’s irritation over your behaviour as a personal attack.)

(4) After they criticise me, do I feel like a hopeless failure, or do they communicate faith in my capacity to change?

(5) Are they dedicated to sticking with me through the change? The Bible says, ‘Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.’ (Proverbs 27:6 KJV) Since God loves you enough to send people into your life to correct you, receive them because they have your best interests at heart.

SoulFood: 1 Sam 18:1–20:29 John 1:43–51 Ps 29 Pro 22:26–29

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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You need adequate sleep https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/you-need-adequate-sleep/ Thu, 06 Oct 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16175 ‘You will lie down and sleep soundly.’ Proverbs 3:24 NLT

How are your sleep habits? Do you go to bed at a certain time and get up at a certain time? Or do you allow events, people, deadlines, or other circumstances to dictate your sleep schedule? It’s wise to allow yourself adequate time to wind down in order to sleep when you go to bed. We think of sleep as some passive process in which we drift off into oblivion and wake up several hours later well-rested. But sleep is an active state. Metabolic and other restorative processes occur during the various stages of sleep. If we don’t sleep long enough for our system to be rejuvenated, we find ourselves irritated by the smallest things, and we tend to overeat. Excess hunger is our body’s cry for the energy that was supposed to be supplied by a good night’s sleep.

David said, ‘I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.’ (Psalm 4:8 NKJV) It’s hard to sleep when you have pressing matters on your mind. So if you want to ‘lie down in peace and sleep’, give your worries to God and trust Him to take care of them.

If you’re unable to, try this: get a small box with a lid, write down what’s bothering you and put it into the box, put the lid on it and set it up on a shelf in your wardrobe. By that simple act of faith, you’re saying, ‘Lord, I’m giving this to You. When I awaken tomorrow, You will give me the strength and wisdom to deal with it.’ Try it; it works!

SoulFood: 1 Sam 16–17 John 1:29–42 Ps 92 Pro 22:24–25

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Fight your fears with God’s Word https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/fight-your-fears-with-gods-word/ Wed, 05 Oct 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16174 ‘Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.’ Psalm 56:3 NKJV

Fear and faith are both powerful forces. And the one you surrender to will control you. So here are some Scriptures to fight your fears: ‘Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord…will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.’ (1 Chronicles 28:20 NKJV)

‘The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust.’ (Psalm 18:2 NKJV)

‘In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’ (Psalm 56:11 NKJV)

‘He will not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.’ (Psalm 112:7 NKJV)

‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me.’ (Psalm 23:4 NKJV)

‘My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’ (John 14:27 NKJV)

‘Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 4:6–7 NLT)

‘Nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.’ (Romans 8:38 NLT)

Bottom line: fight your fears with God’s Word!

SoulFood: 1 Sam 14–15 John 1:14–28 Ps 63 Pro 22:17–23

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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The truth about giving https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/the-truth-about-giving/ Tue, 04 Oct 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16173 ‘He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed.’ 2 Corinthians 9:10 NIV

Here is what the Bible teaches about giving:

(1) You cannot outgive God. ‘He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.’ (2 Corinthians 9:10 NIV) When Paul talks here about ‘seed’, he’s talking about resources. Notice, some of the resources God gives you is to be used for your own needs, and some is to create ‘a harvest of righteousness’. What does that mean?

Paul explains: ‘They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.’ (2 Corinthians 9:9 NIV) In other words, you must show compassion towards those who are hurting and give generously to those who are unable to provide for themselves. The Bible says that when you give to the poor, you actually lend to the Lord, and He will repay you (see Proverbs 19:17).

Jesus said: ‘Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.’ (Luke 6:38 NIV).

(2) You should be a cheerful giver. You say, ‘If I get more, I’ll give more.’ No, you have the cart before the horse. It’s the level of your giving that determines the level of your receiving, not vice versa. So break through your barrier of fear and watch what God does. He won’t disappoint you. Once you have experienced His blessing, you will never want to live any other way.

SoulFood: Lev 16 Lev 23:26–32 Heb 9:1–14 Heb 13:11–16

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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The benefits of meditating on God’s Word https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/the-benefits-of-meditating-on-gods-word/ Mon, 03 Oct 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16172 ‘I will consider all Your works and meditate on all Your mighty deeds.’ Psalm 77:12 NIV

What does the word meditate mean? ‘To engage in contemplation or reflection or to focus one’s thoughts on.’ David said, ‘I will consider all Your works and meditate on all Your mighty deeds.’ Question: until you meditate on God’s Word, what can you say that will make any real difference? All you will be doing is sharing your opinion, which is just one of many. You will not be able to speak convincingly or make any real difference in the life of the person to whom you are speaking. It’s God’s Word that changes people’s lives, not yours! Here are ten benefits of meditating on God’s Word:

(1) It cultivates within you a love for God and His Word.

(2) It gives you new insights and spiritual understanding.

(3) It’s a source of reassurance and strength.

(4) It empowers you to be a genuine witness for Jesus Christ.

(5) It renews your mind.

(6) It protects you from sin.

(7) It restores your soul and your emotions.

(8) It enables you to trust in the Lord with all your heart.

(9) It causes your spirit to come alive.

(10) It assists you in understanding God, others, and yourself. There is great power in God’s Word, and Bible meditation gives you access to that power.

‘We have everything we need to live a life that pleases God. It was all given to us by God’ s own power, when we learned He had invited us to share in His wonderful goodness. God made great and marvellous promises, so His nature would become part of us. Then we could escape our evil desires and the corrupt influences of this world.’ (2 Peter 1:3–4 CEV)

SoulFood: 1 Sam 11–13 John 1:1–13 Ps 51 Pro 22:12–16

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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The need for connectedness (3) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/the-need-for-connectedness-3/ Sun, 02 Oct 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16171 ‘For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function.’ Romans 12:4 NIV

Paul writes: ‘For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.’ Romans (12:4–13 NIV)

Unhappiness can often begin with the absence of connection. It’s not in having a mobile phone with a lot of numbers in it; it’s in sharing your life with those who live for causes greater than themselves. Where should you start? By visiting a lonely, forgotten person in the nearest nursing home. By volunteering to work in a food bank once a week. By saying to your pastor, ‘Please give me a job that involves helping others.’ These are small steps, but you will be amazed how they enrich your life.

SoulFood: 1 Sam 8–10 Mark 16:9–20 Ps 60 Pro 22:7–11

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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The need for connectedness (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/the-need-for-connectedness-2/ Sat, 01 Oct 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16170 ‘They shared everything they had.’ Acts 4:32 NIV

When you read the story of the New Testament Church, you tend to get caught up in its amazing miracles. But here’s a component you shouldn’t miss: ‘No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had… There were no needy persons among them… those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money… and it was distributed to anyone who had need.’ (Acts 4:32–35 NIV)

You say, ‘If I just had more money I’d be happy.’ You might feel more secure and have fewer worries, but you wouldn’t necessarily be happier. In the Journal of Happiness Studies, researchers looked at what distinguished quite happy people from less happy people. One factor consistently separated those two groups. It’s not about how much money you have; it’s not about your health, security, attractiveness, IQ, or career success. What distinguishes consistently happy people from less happy people is the presence of rich, deep, joy-producing, life-changing, meaningful relationships.

Social researcher Robert Putnam writes: ‘The single most common finding from a half-century’s research on life satisfaction… is that happiness is best predicted by the breadth and depth of one’s social connections.’ But you can know a lot of people without really being known by any of them, and end up lonely. Those people in the New Testament Church got it right: it’s in sharing with one another spiritually, emotionally, financially, and relationally that you achieve your highest level of joy.

SoulFood: Exo 17:8–16 2 Cor 1:3–7

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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The need for connectedness (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/the-need-for-connectedness-1/ Fri, 30 Sep 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16169 ‘It is not good for the man to be alone.’ Genesis 2:18 NIV

At creation, God looked at everything He had made and said, ‘That’s good.’ Then there came a time when He realised man was lonely, unfulfilled, and incomplete. That’s when He said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone,’ and He made Eve, the first woman. The fact is, none of us can develop to our highest potential unless we’re plugged into nurturing, life-giving relationships.

Here is an example: in twelve-step recovery programmes, the counsellor only does 10% of the work by offering guidance. 90% of the recovery process takes place because the people in the group challenge, comfort, and strengthen one another. The truth is—we’re shaped by people! The right people help you to become the best version of yourself, and you get to do the same for them. They see a ‘you’ you can’t see at times, they cheer you on as you move towards it, and they ‘get in your face’ when you move away from it.

The highest and best form of this relationship is referred to in Scripture as the ‘fellowship of the Spirit’ (see Philippians 2:1; 2 Corinthians 13:14 and 1 John 1:6). It’s not just a social, relational, or intellectual connection, but a deep spiritual link that causes us to thrive. It’s like the difference between bees and butterflies. Butterflies cover more territory, but bees gather more honey. Why? Because they don’t just land on a flower briefly, they stay there and extract the life-giving nectar. God gave David the gift of a Jonathan, and Naomi the gift of a Ruth. And He has people He would like you to meet. So talk to Him today about it.

SoulFood: 1 Sam 4–7 Mark 16:1–8 Ps 68:19–35 Pro 22:6

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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The blessing of repentance (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/the-blessing-of-repentance-2/ Thu, 29 Sep 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16168 ‘Create in me a clean heart.’ Psalm 51:10 NKJV

Sometimes believers think that God will get frustrated and impatient with them if they don’t shape up to a model Christian life. They don’t like to excuse their behaviour, because God hasn’t smacked them down, they secretly wonder if He has a tolerance level. And if you go beyond it, you’re in trouble. Is there, they think, a safety limit for impurity, such as the Therapeutic Goods Administration has? Is the standard for purity high like that for homogenised milk, or is the threshold lower like that for meat pies, with lots of room for junk additives?

The danger isn’t that God won’t respond to our honest repentance. The danger is that we might become so trapped in the dangerous thoughts of apathy that sin inevitably produces, we become callous, complacent, and simply unable to repent! It’s because of this that sin must be taken seriously. Missionary Frank Laubach preached the gospel to a tribe that had a lengthy history of bloodshed. The chief was so moved, he repented and accepted Christ on the spot. Then he turned to Laubach in appreciation and said, ‘This is wonderful! Who do you want me to kill for you?’

That was his beginning point. Only God knows what everyone’s beginning point is. What’s yours?

SoulFood: 1 Sam 1–3 Mark 15:33–47 Ps 68:1–18 Pro 22:1–5

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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The blessing of repentance (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/the-blessing-of-repentance-1/ Wed, 28 Sep 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16167 ‘The kindness of God leads you to repentance.’ Romans 2:4 NASB

When you find yourself on the wrong road, repentance allows you to make a U-turn and head back in the right direction. What a blessing. Now, repenting doesn’t increase God’s desire to be with you; it just increases your capacity to be with Him. Sometimes we think we need to repent because God is mad at us and needs time to cool off. Or we think of repenting as a way of punishing ourselves so that God will be less severe with us. That’s not repentance, that’s low self-esteem! Low self-esteem causes you to believe that you have so little worth that your response doesn’t matter. With repentance, however, you understand that because you’re worth so much to God, your response is important.

Paul says, ‘The kindness of God leads you to repentance.’ When you love God, your greatest concern isn’t that God will hurt you, but that your actions will hurt Him. When David murdered Uriah after having slept with his wife, he went a year without repenting. He had to force his mind not to think about it. What a miserable way to live. In his penitential prayer, he said, ‘My sin is always before me.’ (Psalm 51:3 NIV) Then he cried, ‘Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow… Create in me a pure heart, O God… Restore to me the joy ofYour salvation.’ (Psalm 51:7, 10, 12 NIV) As a result, God forgave him and wiped his slate clean. God will do the same for you. You see, repentance isn’t merely for God’s benefit—it’s for yours!

SoulFood: S of S 5–8 Mark 15:21–32 Ps 91 Pro 21:28–31

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Knowing who belongs in your life https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/knowing-who-belongs-in-your-life-2/ Tue, 27 Sep 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16166 ‘A friend loves at all times, and is born, as is a brother, for adversity.’ Proverbs 17:17 AMPC

Wherever you live and whatever your profession, ‘butcher, baker, or candlestick maker’, you will have to deal with these three kinds of people:

(1) The critic. Let’s face it, most people are comfortable with the status quo. They not only fear change but will often attack it. So if you dare to be different, prepare to sail through some rough seas. The apostle Paul’s critics referred to him as a madman, a fool, and a babbler. So why would you expect the same crowd to treat you any better?

(2) The cautious. These people won’t point an accusing finger, but neither will they extend a helping hand. When you get into trouble, they will distance themselves from you, fearing they may be tainted by your perceived liabilities. Basically, they will wait to see if you make it through the tunnel and come out the other side. Then they will wait to see who else accepts you and if you can be of benefit to them. Then they may reconnect with you. These people are users. They are not bad; they’re just self-serving. So love them, but don’t lean on them.

(3) The committed. ‘A friend loves at all times, and is born, as is a brother, for adversity.’ Even when they hear the worst about you, the committed still believe the best about you. They value you for your strengths and show grace in handling your weaknesses. These people are priceless because they will love you ‘at all times’. So when God puts such a person into your life, protect and nurture your relationship with them.

SoulFood: S of S 1–4 Mark 15:12–20 Ps 13 Pro 21:22–27

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Cultivating a taste for God’s Word https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/cultivating-a-taste-for-gods-word/ Mon, 26 Sep 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16165 ‘How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!’ Psalm 119:103 NIV

The fact that we now enjoy the vegetables we hated as children indicates that, as we mature, we can cultivate a taste for healthy, life-giving food. And since the Bible is soul food, you can cultivate a taste for that too. Scripture nurtures followers of Jesus as food nurtures the body. We don’t simply learn or study it; we assimilate it in ways that energise us into acts of love.

Consumer research indicates the average Bible owner has nine Bibles and is looking for more. What’s wrong with this picture? The unexpressed secret is that many people find the Bible boring. This is quite a recent problem—and a serious one. Ancient Greek, the language of the New Testament, has no word for boredom. The word didn’t acquire its current meaning in English until the last few centuries. When we consider the ancient world—no television, internet, movies, and virtually no books—we’re inclined to think how boring it must have been. But the ancients weren’t bored.

We’re the generation that gets bored, because capacity to focus our attention and delight our minds in prolonged thought has been diminished by dependency on external stimuli. We have too many tempting alternatives. That’s why becoming a faithful Bible reader begins as a discipline, continues as a duty, and finally becomes a delight. ‘How sweet are Your words… sweeter than honey to my mouth!’ And that can be your experience, too, when it comes to reading God’s Word. You just need to get serious about it.

SoulFood: 2 Cor 11:16–13:14 Mark 15:1–11 Ps 54 Pro 21:18–21

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Are you at the end of your rope? https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/are-you-at-the-end-of-your-rope/ Sun, 25 Sep 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16164 ‘Wait on the Lord. Be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart.’ Psalm 27:14 NKJV

David said: ‘I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart.’ (Psalm 27:13–14 NKJV) The word ‘wait’ originates from a Hebrew word used in making rope. Every rope starts as a thread, and every added strand increases its strength. So each time you wait on the Lord, you add another thread to the rope; you become a little stronger and a little more able to cope.

Are you hanging on by a thread? Spend more time with God and watch Him turn the thread into a rope. Now, waiting is not always passive; sometimes it’s active, like waiting on a customer and seeing that their needs are met. In this case, waiting is not so much a position as it is a focus. The Bible says, ‘You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.’ (Isaiah 26:3 NIV) Whether it’s sitting prayerfully in God’s presence or actively serving Him, you have the assurance that your strength will be renewed.

If you are at the end of your rope today, grab hold of these promises: ‘Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.’ (Isaiah 40:31 NKJV)

‘As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters… so our eyes look to the Lord our God.’ (Psalm 123:2 NKJV)

SoulFood: Num 29:1-6 Matt 24 Rev 11:15-19 1 Cor 15:50-58

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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How to keep a good attitude https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/how-to-keep-a-good-attitude/ Sat, 24 Sep 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16163 ‘I will praise You seven times a day.’ Psalm 119:164 TLB

A bad attitude is like a flat tyre; you won’t get anywhere until you change it. Few things in life are more important than your attitude, and here are four ways to help you keep a good one:

(1) Realise your attitude needs to be constantly adjusted. Anything you don’t maintain eventually deteriorates. The stronger your natural inclination is towards doubt and negativity, the more you will have to work at it. Begin each day with an attitude check, and throughout the day, look for red flags signalling that you’re not doing so well.

(2) Pray because you will need God’s help to maintain a good attitude. The Bible says: ‘Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him, and He will help you.’ (Psalm 37:3–5 NLT)

(3) Look for what’s good, and you will find it. Australian author and evangelist Nick Vujicic says, ‘If you can’t get a miracle, become one.’ If God can use a man without arms and legs to be His hands and feet, He can use any willing heart. Including yours!

(4) Look for people with faith and spend time with them. Where are they? You will find them soaring above the doubters like eagles. If you’re having a bad day, get close and ‘draft’ behind them the way racers do. If they’re having difficulty, you be the one to get out in front and make things easier. Seven times a day David paused to praise God. Can you imagine what that would do for your attitude?

SoulFood: Eph 5:21– 33 S of S 2:1–7

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Seek God’s approval, not people’s https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/seek-gods-approval-not-peoples/ Fri, 23 Sep 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16162 ‘Fearing people is a dangerous trap.’ Proverbs 29:25 NLT

If your life’s goal is to have the approval of people, you will never really feel secure. Why is that? Because the time will come when you do something they disapprove of; then what? The Bible says, ‘Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety.’ (Proverbs 29:25 NLT) A trap is just another word for a prison. If someone other than God can determine your worth as a person, that someone can make you feel like a prisoner anytime they decide to. When a critic’s opinion becomes your own opinion, you’re living in a prison of your own making. Face it: some of the people you’re trying so hard to impress will never be impressed. And you must accept this: from God’s perspective, it doesn’t matter. Knowing that enables you to work alongside people without allowing yourself to be controlled by their moods and governed by their opinions.

Each time Paul went to another town, people were meeting and hearing him for the first time. Some of them liked him, and some didn’t. He writes, ‘For some say, “Paul’s letters are demanding and forceful, but in person he is weak, and his speeches are worthless!”’ (2 Corinthians 10:10 NLT)

So how did Paul handle this? He writes, ‘Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.’ (Galatians 1:10 NLT) In order to feel secure in life and fulfilled in what you’re doing, you must reach the place where you can look in the mirror and say, ‘I’m loved and approved by God, and that’s what matters!’

SoulFood: 2 Cor 9:1–11:15 Mark 14:66–72 Ps 52 Pro 21:17

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Feed your mind good stuff https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/feed-your-mind-good-stuff/ Thu, 22 Sep 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16161 ‘I have taught you in the way of wisdom.’ Proverbs 4:11 NKJV

Every day we are bombarded with messages from the media, employers, co-workers, people we meet, books, music—and from our own thoughts. Satan works in two ways.

First, he tries to feed you with stuff like temptation, depression, and worry.

Second, he tries to keep you from noticing what you’re putting into your mind.

A healthy mind feeds on healthy thoughts. Jesus said He came to give us ‘life more abundantly’ (see John 10:10). Instead of constantly striving for self-worth, peace of mind, joy and happiness, your mind can overflow with these things. But first you must pay attention to what your mind is focused on. Jeremiah said, ‘When Your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight.’ (Jeremiah 15:16 NIV)

One of the greatest gifts God has given us is Scripture—but we frequently turn it into a burden. ‘Do I have to read the Bible every day?’ That’s the wrong question. You need to ask, ‘What can I feed my mind on today so that it will flourish?’

The psalmist said that when you delight in God’s Word, you will prosper in whatever you do (see Psalm 1:1–3). In order to have what successful people enjoy, you must first do what successful people do. And according to the psalmist, successful people delight in the Word of God, day and night.

SoulFood: 2 Cor 5–8 Mark 14:53–65 Ps 34 Pro 21:14–16

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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You belong to God https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/you-belong-to-god-2/ Wed, 21 Sep 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16160 ‘You are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people.’ Ephesians 2:19 NIV

’His purpose was to create in Himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.’

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of His household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone. In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.’ (Ephesians 2:15–21 NIV)

If your children stood outside your house pleading to get in, what would you think? Wouldn’t you say, ‘Come in, you’re my flesh and blood. I love you, you don’t need to beg’? God is building a house, and you’re part of it. You can come before Him at any time with any need, knowing you will be received with love. God is the loving Father you always hoped for, and you’re the child He always wanted. If you have any doubts about that, look at the cross; that’s how much God loves you. Today you belong to God!

SoulFood: 2 Cor 1–4 Mark 14:43–52 Ps 39 Pro 21:9–13

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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God has placed you where He wants you https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/god-has-placed-you-where-he-wants-you/ Tue, 20 Sep 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16159 ‘You were made queen for just such a time as this.’ Esther 4:14 NLT

The story of Esther teaches us two important truths:

(1) You need mentors to guide you. Because she was willing to listen to Mordecai, Esther discovered that her calling wasn’t just to be a queen but a deliverer of her people. So, who is your Mordecai? Who knows you well enough to clarify and confirm your calling in life? Who loves you enough to challenge you when you get off track or strengthen and encourage you when you want to give up and run? Where we have blind spots, we need people with 20/20 vision to speak into our lives. Joshua listened to Moses. Timothy listened to Paul. Ruth listened to Naomi. Who are you listening to?

(2) You need to know you’re in the place God wants you to be. Mordecai, Esther’s cousin, challenged her and changed her life by saying, ‘Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?’ Esther didn’t set out to be queen. But once she was, she had to decide between her comfort and her calling.

It’s a choice you must make too. You say, ‘What’s my calling?’ It could involve your job, your marriage, your tasks as a parent, your friendships. It could involve the neighbourhood where you live or volunteering at your church. One thing is certain: when God calls, it’s your ‘time’. You may be tempted to think you’re just treading water right now, waiting for some other time or more important opportunity. No, you don’t get to choose your time; God does that! The psalmist said, ‘My times are in Your hands.’ (Psalm 31:15 NIV)

SoulFood: Ezek 46–48 Mark 14:27–42 Ps 3 Pro 21:4–8

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Go overboard for the Lord! https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/go-overboard-for-the-lord/ Mon, 19 Sep 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16158 ‘He jumped into the water.’ John 21:7 CEV

‘At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who He was. He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?” “No,” they replied. Then He said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it. Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he… jumped into the water, and headed to shore. The others stayed with the boat.’ (John 21:4–8 NLT) Peter had to decide whether to leave his fish and go to Jesus or stay behind and enjoy what he had worked hard for.

It’s a test we all face when we have accomplished our life’s objectives, when our nets are full and we have finally ‘made it’. Your challenge is, ‘Do I stay and guard my blessings or go overboard for the Lord and commit myself fully to Him?’

Paul refers briefly to his career’s success: ‘I am from the nation of Israel…from the tribe of Benjamin…I strictly obeyed the law of Moses.’ (Philippians 3:4–6 CEV) But listen to him straight after that: ‘Christ has shown me what I once thought valuable is worthless… all I want is Christ.’ (Philippians 3:7–8 CEV). Paul realised his true identity lay not in his accomplishments but in his relationship with Jesus. Do you feel that way too? That night Peter may have felt like he was forfeiting everything, yet when he reached the shore, he found Jesus busy—cooking fish! The point is, whatever you need, God has it. Whatever you give up, He will repay many times over.

SoulFood: Ezek 43–45 Mark 14:12–26 Ps 19 Pro 21:3

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Overcoming discouragement (3) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/overcoming-discouragement-3/ Sun, 18 Sep 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16157 ‘Be doers of the word, and not hearers only.’ James 1:22 NKJV

To identify the source of your discouragement, it’s helpful to talk to someone who can offer you insight and guidance. But be careful—you can talk your problems to death and get nowhere! That’s why the Bible says, ‘Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.’ So,

(1) Always do what’s right. Few things increase discouragement like regret or a guilty conscience. It’s tough to apologise, admit your faults, forgive, restrain your temper, bear a deserved blame, or start over. But deciding to do these things when they’re appropriate always pays off. Be willing to view your life realistically, see yourself as you are, and accept what’s true.

(2) Remember, timing is important. Often, we look for relief in the valley instead of waiting for the clarity that comes from standing on the mountaintop. That’s because it takes a lot of effort to get to the top of the mountain! When we’re experiencing the darkness of the valley, it’s tempting to make changes we hope will relieve our discomfort. But as Dr Robert Schuller said: ‘When you are on top of the proverbial mountain… is the time to make decisions. Here’s why: You… see your situation more clearly. You are moving to something, not just from something. You decide using positive data, not negative. You are more likely to move from peak to peak instead of valley to valley.’

On the other hand, if you keep persevering while you’re in the valley, not only will you make it to higher ground where you can make wiser decisions, but you will have developed character, which will serve you well throughout life.

SoulFood: Ezek 40:10–42:20 Mark 14:1–11 Ps 24 Pro 21:1–2

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Overcoming discouragement (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/overcoming-discouragement-2/ Sat, 17 Sep 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16156 ‘He will have whatever he says.’ Mark 11:23 NKJV

To overcome discouragement, here are two things to help:

(1) Speak the right words. One of the main causes of discouragement is negative self-talk. In his book Spiritual Depression, Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones, one of Britain’s finest heart surgeons, writes, ‘Most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself.’ By that he means we allow negative messages from our past to affect our thinking instead of actively telling ourselves good things that will assist us in thinking more positively (see Philippians 4:8).

Jesus said: ‘Assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain [problem], “Be removed and be cast into the sea,” and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.’ (Mark 11:23 NKJV) Words are powerful. They can reinforce your fears or strengthen your faith. The choice is yours.

(2) Maintain the right expectations. Clergyman J. Wallace Hamilton once observed, ‘Every person’s life is a diary in which he or she means to write one story and is forced to write yet another.’ Haven’t you found that to be true in your own experience? So often, life turns out differently from what you planned. But here is the good news: the story you write can actually be better than the one you imagined—but you might have to adjust your expectations.

Bill and Gloria Gaither wrote the uplifting song lyrics, ‘I anticipate the inevitable, supernatural intervention of God. I expect a miracle!’ What are you anticipating? Before you answer that question, pick up the Bible and see what God has promised you—then claim it!

SoulFood: 1 Kings 3:4–28 Jam 1:2–8

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Overcoming discouragement (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/overcoming-discouragement-1/ Fri, 16 Sep 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16155 ‘Ah, Sovereign Lord, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for You.’ Jeremiah 32:17 NIV

If the issue you’re wrestling with has discouraged you and got you down, here are some things to do:

First, take a short look at the problem. Someone once said, ‘To hatch despair, just brood over your troubles.’ Many people who experience setbacks ask why. But they never move beyond the question to the answer. Certainly, you can’t solve your problems by ignoring them, but you can’t solve them by becoming fixated and immobilised by them either. Once you recognise and analyse the problem, you need to focus on the solution.

Second, take a long look at the possibilities. Sometimes the problem you face can help you see possibilities you didn’t know existed. When Louis Waterman needed to sign a document to close a deal, the fountain pen he was using wouldn’t write. As a result, Waterman worked to develop the now-famous fountain pen that bears his name worldwide. A culture Dr Alexander Fleming was working on in St Mary’s Hospital in London was altered when mould was accidentally introduced into it. But the result gave birth to the miracle drug penicillin, saving millions of lives.

If you’re facing something negative today, there may be an opportunity contained in it somewhere, somehow. It may not be easy to find, and it may not lead to a major breakthrough like it did for Waterman and Fleming. But then again—it might—especially if it causes you to turn to God for answers.

In the words of Jeremiah, ‘Ah, Sovereign Lord, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for You.’

SoulFood: Ezek 37:1–40:9 Mark 13:24–37 Ps 78:65–72 Pro 20:26–30

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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All the charges are dismissed https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/all-the-charges-are-dismissed/ Thu, 15 Sep 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16154 ‘He cancelled the record of the charges against us.’ Colossians 2:14 NLT

When someone is arrested for a crime and brought into court, the prosecutor will say, ‘The charges against you are…’ At that point, they hope their lawyer can get the charges dismissed. Well, God has a record of every sin you have committed from the womb to the tomb. It details all the bad decisions you have made, the hateful acts, the unforgiving attitudes, the prejudice, the greed, the lust, the lies; He has recorded them all. But you have never seen that record, nor has anyone else. That’s because ‘He forgave all our sins. He cancelled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.’ (Colossians 2:13–14 NLT) Knowing full well that the price for our sins was death, ‘Christ suffered for our sins once for all time… He died for sinners to bring you safely home to God.’ (1 Peter 3:18 NLT)

Notice the words ‘forgave’ and ‘cancelled the record’ of the sins you have committed. The cross is like a trading post. There, at the point of believing faith, God takes all your sins and puts them on Christ’s account, while at the same time taking all Christ’s righteousness and putting it on your account.

Is there a limit to God’s love? If there is, David the adulterer never found it. Nor Paul the persecutor of Christians. Nor Peter the liar. Nor the thief on the cross. And you won’t find it either. When Jesus cried from the cross, ‘It is finished,’ God wrote ‘Paid in full’ over every sin you would ever commit. The word ‘justified’ simply means ‘just-if-I’d-never-sinned’. How good is that?

SoulFood: Ezek 34–36 Mark 13:12–23 Ps 78:56–64 Pro 20:25

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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The joy of the Lord is forever https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/the-joy-of-the-lord-is-forever/ Wed, 14 Sep 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16153 ‘Now that you know this truth, how happy you will be if you put it into practice!’ John 13:17 GNT

Jesus summed up His teaching on happiness this way: ‘Now that you know this truth, how happy you will be if you put it into practice!’ The Bible gives us three keys that are vital to happiness.

(1) Be content (see 1 Timothy 6:8). A man who tried everything to get rid of dandelions called a garden centre and asked, ‘What can I try next?’ The shop owner said, ‘Try getting used to them!’ In life, you get what you focus on. Paul writes, ‘Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honourable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.’ (Philippians 4:8 NLT)

(2) Be grateful (see 1 Thessalonians 5:18). Look around and be grateful for what God has given you. And if you can’t, thank Him for what He has protected you from. The devil doesn’t have to steal anything from you, just make you take it for granted. ‘From His abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.’ (John 1:16 NLT).

(3) Learn to appreciate your loved ones. ‘Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others.’ (1 Corinthians 10:24 NLT) George Eliot wrote: ‘Oh… the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.’

SoulFood: Ezek 31–33 Mark 13:1–11 Ps 78:40–55 Pro 20:22–24

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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When you’re disappointed https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/when-youre-disappointed-2/ Tue, 13 Sep 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16152 ‘I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember You.’ Psalm 42:6 NLT

Max Lucado says: ‘When God doesn’t do what we want it’s not easy; it never has been, and it never will be. Faith is the conviction that God knows more than us… and He’ll get us through. Disappointment is caused by unmet expectations… and it’s cured by revamped expectations… Don’t panic… don’t give up… be patient… God’s in control. It ain’t over till it’s over.’

So, when you’re disappointed:

(1) Look inward. David asked, ‘Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad?’ (Psalm 42:5 NLT) Admit how you feel. You can’t deal with what you don’t acknowledge. Ask God to show you the root of the problem. Is it pent-up anger? Envy? Unforgiveness? Pride? Lust? Physical and mental fatigue? Be open to what He reveals.

(2) Look upward. David said, ‘I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him.’ (Psalm 42:5 NLT) Instead of focusing on your discouragement, focus on the One who knows the way out.

(3) Remember God’s past faithfulness. David said, ‘I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember You.’ Through every trial Joseph clung to the assurance that God still controlled his destiny. Recalling God’s faithfulness builds your confidence that He’ll continue to provide.

(4) Remember, you don’t have to understand. Just because you can’t figure out what God’s doing right now, doesn’t mean it won’t make sense later. He ‘causes all things to work together for good to those who love [Him].’ (Romans 8:28 NASB)

(5) Don’t give in to bitterness. When your hopes are dashed, resentment can set in. ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’ (Romans 8:31 NKJV) Regardless of how deep the pit may seem, God is on your side!

SoulFood: Ezek 27:25–30:26 Mark 12:28–44 Ps 78:32–39 Pro 20:20–21

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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God is still on the throne (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/god-is-still-on-the-throne-2/ Mon, 12 Sep 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16151 ‘My thoughts are not like your thoughts.’ Isaiah 55:8 NCV

God said, ‘My thoughts are not like your thoughts… Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My… thoughts higher than your thoughts.’ (Isaiah 55:8–9 NCV) Until you come to terms with the fact that God doesn’t think like you, you will question His ways and even doubt His love. We try to avoid pain, but often God uses it to bring us peace. We want comfort, but He is more interested in character. We pursue stuff that doesn’t last, whereas He tells us to build our lives on that which endures for eternity.

The fact is, God dwells in a dimension we can’t begin to fathom. Solomon said, ‘No one can really build a house for our God. Not even the highest of heavens can hold Him.’ (2 Chronicles 2:6 NCV) What controls you doesn’t control God, and what worries you doesn’t worry Him. Ask yourself: is an eagle agitated by traffic? No, he soars above it. Is a whale disturbed by a hurricane? Of course not; he dives beneath it. Is a lion flustered by a mouse standing in his way? No, he walks over it. How much more is God able to soar above, dive beneath, and walk over the troubles of earth?

What is impossible with man is possible with God (see Matthew 19:26). God can be everywhere at once, and He can hear and answer all the prayers that come to Him. Think about it: God works according to a plan and a purpose, He’s on the throne and in control of everything—yet He still watches over every detail of your life. Let that truth comfort you today.

SoulFood: Ezek 24:1–27:24 Mark 12:13–27 Ps 78:17–31 Pro 20:15–19

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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God is still on the throne (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/god-is-still-on-the-throne-1/ Sun, 11 Sep 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16150 ‘The Lord sits on His throne in Heaven.’ Psalm 11:4 NCV

The psalmist asked, ‘When the foundations for good collapse, what can good people do?’ (Psalm 11:3 NCV) Then he goes on to answer his own question: ‘The Lord sits on His throne in Heaven.’ When sickness comes, when your marriage fails, when your children suffer, when death strikes, what are you to do? Remember that God is still on the throne, and He is watching over you. No detail escapes His notice or care. He works according to a plan, and it’s not usually a plan we can understand when we’re going through hard times. Only in looking back do we realise that His goodness and mercy have followed us all the days of our lives (see Psalm 23:6).

Joseph landed in prison. Moses spent forty years in the desert. Daniel ended up in exile. These were dismal moments. Who could possibly have seen any good in them? Who could have known that Joseph the prisoner was only a single promotion away from becoming Joseph the prime minister? Who would have thought God was providing Moses forty years of wilderness training in the same desert through which he would lead the people? Who would have imagined that Daniel the captive would soon become the king’s counsellor?

God carries out His plans like that. He did it for Joseph, Moses, and Daniel—and He will do the same for you—so trust Him. He will give you the grace you need to get through this situation. When you ask, ‘God, where are you?’ He answers, ‘Wherever you go, I will watch over you… I won't leave you—I will do all I have promised.’ (Genesis 28:15 CEV)

SoulFood: Ezek 22–23 Mark 12:1–12 Ps 78:9–16 Pro 20:11–14

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Don’t ‘chop off’ people’s ability to hear https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/dont-chop-off-peoples-ability-to-hear/ Sat, 10 Sep 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16149 ‘Those who speak rashly will come to ruin.’ Proverbs 13:3 NIV

Harsh words can ‘chop off’ a person’s ability to hear what you’re saying. When Jesus was betrayed by Judas, He didn’t retaliate even though He could have called twelve legions of angels to His defence (see Matthew 26:53). Then the mob came, laid hands on Him, and arrested Him. At that point, Peter drew his sword and chopped off the high priest’s servant’s ear. He was probably thinking, ‘We don’t have to take this!’ But Jesus said that’s not how you handle things! Then, ‘He touched the man’s ear and healed him.’ (Luke 22:51 NIV).

Peter had a tendency to talk when he should have been listening and got into things he had no business getting into. He needed to learn how to wait on God and exercise humility and discernment. God had great plans for him, but if he wanted to fulfil them, he couldn’t do it by chopping off peoples’ ears when they upset him.

There is a lesson here. You can’t fly off the handle whenever you feel like it. You must become sensitive to God’s Spirit: if He tells you, ‘Say nothing,’ then you must stand there quietly even if it means letting someone think they’re right when you know they’re not. You must learn that God doesn’t owe you an explanation. You can hinder your spiritual growth or God’s blessing in your life when you don’t control what you say. Perhaps you think that compared to adultery or stealing, this is no big deal. Think again: ‘Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.’ (Proverbs 13:3 NIV)

SoulFood: 2 Kings 6:8–20 Eph 1:15–23

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Three things a leader shouldn’t do https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/three-things-a-leader-shouldnt-do/ Fri, 09 Sep 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16148 ‘If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously.’ Romans 12:8 NLT

As a leader, here are three things you shouldn’t do:

(1) You shouldn’t be afraid to try something new. (See Isaiah 43:19). When you put someone into a new role, they will make mistakes; it’s inevitable, but it’s how they learn. While locking them into the same routine takes the wind out of their sails, being a leader means risking their failures and biting your lip as you let them toddle out into the unknown. Like a parent who prays harder when their teen takes the family car out for their first drive, you must accept that the challenges which frighten you are actually liberating to others.

(2) You shouldn’t confuse individual loyalty with team building (see 1 Corinthians 3:9). It’s good to work closely with key individuals, but it’s also important to stay ‘connected to each other.’ (Romans 12:5 GWT) You must make sure that everybody gets to be on the team, feels valued, and learns how to interact with one another.

(3) You shouldn’t try to micromanage people. (See 2 Corinthians 7:16 GWT). There is a difference between managing people and leading them. Managing people requires an eye for detail, whereas leading them involves vision sharing, goal setting, and motivating. And you must know the difference. When you micromanage rather than lead, morale plummets, because people need clear objectives and the freedom to figure out how to reach them. Don’t micromanage; it diminishes the sense of ownership those under you and around you need for good team dynamics and problem-solving.

Former Prime Minister John Howard used to joke that he encountered a lot of people who would say to him, ‘I can’t stand you, but at least I know what you stand for’. In his opinion, that was the single most important commodity in a leader.

SoulFood: Ezek 20–21 Mark 11:27–33 Ps 78:1–8 Pro 20:7–10

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Never lose your passion for God https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/never-lose-your-passion-for-god/ Thu, 08 Sep 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16147 ‘Passion for Your house has consumed me.’ Psalm 69:9 NLT

Question: are you passionate about God, or merely passive? Notice the steps that led to Peter’s denial of Jesus.

Step one: ‘Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to Me again, strengthen your brothers.’ (Luke 22:31–32 NLT) Jesus warned Peter he was a target, but Peter didn’t take him seriously.

Step two: ‘They arrested Jesus and led Him to the high priest’s home. And Peter followed at a distance.’ (Luke 22:54 NLT) Peter was one of Christ’s closest disciples, but you’ll notice, now he is following Him ‘at a distance’.

Step three: ‘A servant girl… said, “This man was one of Jesus’ followers!” But Peter denied it. “Woman,” he said, “I don’t even know Him!”’ (Luke 22:56–57 NLT)

Step four: ‘That moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know Me.” And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly.’ (Luke 22:61–62 NLT)

Here is how it works: first you assume you won’t fall, so you’re unprepared for Satan’s attack when it comes. Next you allow the problems and pressures of life to make you forget that your first commitment must always be to the Lord. Finally, you end up spiritually defeated. You say, ‘That will never happen to me.’ That’s what Peter said! The reason Satan has ‘desired to have you’ (Luke 22:31 KJV) is because he knows when you become passionate about doing God’s will, you will be unstoppable. So, never lose your passion for God.

SoulFood: Ezek 16:53–19:14 Mark 11:12–26 Ps 27 Pro 20:5–6

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Don’t lose your peace https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/dont-lose-your-peace/ Wed, 07 Sep 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16146 ‘The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace.’ James 3:18 NKJV

Satan knows that God’s Word can only be received by a heart and mind that are at peace, so he will do everything he can to keep you upset. He loves it when you get into an argument just before church and spend the entire service feeling bad. That’s why you must do whatever it takes to keep your peace. There is power in peace! If the devil can’t get you upset, he has no power over you. He only ‘gains’ control when you ‘lose it’. He keeps you upset in order to steal your peace, confuse you, and make you run in circles. Don’t let him do it!

Next time you get worked up about some issue, stop and ask yourself, ‘What’s the Enemy trying to do here? If I give in to these emotions, what will the result be?’ When you’re stressed out, you lose your joy. And when you lose your joy, you lose your strength, because ‘the joy of the Lord is your strength.’ (Nehemiah 8:10 KJV) So it’s essential that you exercise self-control and try to keep your peace. James writes, ‘The wisdom that is from above is… peaceable.’ (James 3:17 NKJV) More than that, the tells us that the wisdom that comes from Heaven is pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. (See James 3:17–18 NIV). So, while getting along with others can be hard work, it’s worth it to have peace.

SoulFood: Ezek 14:1–16:52 Mark 11:1–11 Ps 112 Pro 20:1–4

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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How to be saved https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/how-to-be-saved/ Tue, 06 Sep 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16145 ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.’ Acts 16:31 NKJV

Have you heard of the ‘Romans Road’ to salvation? It’s based on four simple steps found in the book of Romans.

Step one: ‘For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’ (Romans 3:23 NKJV) We are all sinners to the core, desperately in need of a Saviour.

Step two: ‘For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.’ (Romans 6:23 NKJV) The gospel means ‘good news’. And here it is: all of your sins from the cradle to the grave have been paid for by Jesus.

Step three: ‘While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’ (Romans 5:8 NKJV) You can’t earn salvation by good works; God gives it to you freely. All you have to do is receive it by faith.

Step four: ‘If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For… “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”’ (Romans 10:9–13 NKJV)

Does your life feel empty? Do you long for peace; to know your sins are forgiven and you have an eternal home in Heaven? Today, place your trust in Jesus, and make Him Lord of your life. Just pray these words: ‘Lord Jesus, I surrender my life to You. Come into my heart. By faith I receive the gift of eternal life. Thank you for setting everything right between you and Me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.’

SoulFood: Ezek 10–13 Mark 10:35–52 Ps 20 Pro 19:24–29

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Keep standing, keep believing, keep fighting https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/keep-standing-keep-believing-keep-fighting/ Mon, 05 Sep 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16144 ‘Patient endurance is what you need now.’ Hebrews 10:36 NLT

Satan studies you. He understands your strengths and weaknesses and knows how to push you to your limits. But when you keep standing, keep believing, and keep fighting, the Bible says, ‘Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown.’ (James 1:12 NKJV) The word ‘approved’ means that victory qualifies you for greater things. The word ‘endures’ means your character and tenacity are being tested.

You say, ‘How long will this trial last?’ Only God knows. Goliath defied the armies of Israel for 40 days (see 1 Samuel 17:16). Satan hindered Daniel’s prayers for 21 days (see Daniel 10:13). Satan is relentless, so you must be too. When it comes to prayer, your persistence overcomes his resistance. ‘Do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord… Patient endurance is what you need now… Then you will receive all that He has promised.’ (Hebrews 10:35–36 NLT)

David didn’t get into trouble with Bathsheba until he left the battlefield (see 2 Samuel 11:1). So keep fighting, and God will come to your aid. He did it for Joshua. When Joshua needed extra time to defeat his enemies, God made the sun stand still and time stop (see Joshua 10:12). It seemed God was saying to him, ‘As long as the sun doesn’t go down, you won’t either, for the same power that’s holding it up is holding you up!’ When Jesus healed ten people with leprosy, the Bible says, ‘As they went, they were cleansed.’ (Luke 17:14 KJV) They were probably wondering, ‘When will it happen, and how will it happen?’ Faith doesn’t demand details and explanations; it just keeps moving forwards, believing God for the right result.

SoulFood: Ezek 5–9 Mark 10:23–34 Ps 142 Pro 19:21–23

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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You can decide your legacy https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/you-can-decide-your-legacy/ Sun, 04 Sep 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16143 ‘He did not turn away from doing what was right.’ 2 Chronicles 34:2 NLT

When Josiah became king, he cleansed Israel of idolatry and began rebuilding the temple. That’s when a priest discovered some long-lost scrolls containing God’s Word. As Josiah heard what they said, he was deeply moved upon realising his people had drifted far from God. So he sent word to the prophetess Huldah asking what would become of the people. She told him that since he had repented when he heard God’s Word, his nation would be spared while he lived (see 2 Chronicles 34:14–27).

An entire generation received grace because of the integrity of one man. And that one man had a lot to overcome. Josiah’s grandfather, Manasseh, was like the Hitler of the Old Testament. He filled Jerusalem ‘from one end to the other with innocent blood.’ (2 Kings 21:16 NLT) And Josiah’s father died at the hands of his own officers. ‘He did what was wrong’, most likely reads his epitaph.

Josiah was only eight when he ascended the throne. Immediately he chose righteousness and didn’t stop doing what was right all his life. What’s the point? You can’t pick your parents, but you can pick your role models. You can’t change your past, but you can rise above it. Your parents may have given you your DNA, but Jesus will give you a new beginning.

‘Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children.’ (Ephesians 5:1 NIV) Your past doesn’t have to be your prison. You have a say in your life, you have a voice in your destiny, and you have a choice in the path you take. So choose well, and someday—generations from now—others will thank God for your legacy.

SoulFood: Ezek 1–4 Mark 10:13–22 Ps 111 Pro 19:18–20

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Dad, Start a Tradition https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/dad-start-a-tradition/ Sat, 03 Sep 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16142 ‘Bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.’ Ephesians 6:4 ESV

Dad, your children deserve a father who will model the Christian life before them, teach them the truth of God’s Word, and show them how to receive the gift of eternal life. And it could be that in your family this beautiful tradition will begin when you commit your life to Jesus Christ.

Author and Bible teacher Gordon MacDonald tells the story of three mediaeval stonemasons who were working on a building project, when a passer-by asked them what they were doing. ‘The first replied that he was laying bricks. The second described his work as that of building a wall. But it was the third stonemason who demonstrated genuine esteem for his work when he said, “I’m raising a great Cathedral.” Pose that same question to any two fathers concerning their role in the family and you are liable to get the same kind of contrast. The first may say, “I’m supporting a family.” But the second may see things differently and say, “I’m raising children.” The former looks at his job as putting bread on the table. But the latter sees things from God’s perspective: he’s participating in the shaping of lives.’

R.A. Torrey, the great Bible teacher, once said, ‘A man’s success as a Christian leader cannot be determined until one sees his grandchildren.’ Dad, think about that—you’re not just raising sons and daughters, you’re raising future fathers and mothers. You’re shaping lives today that tomorrow will be shaping the lives of generations to come. And in order to succeed, you must take God with one hand and your children with the other.

SoulFood: Dan 6:1–24 Acts 12:1–19

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Deal with your unresolved issues https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/deal-with-your-unresolved-issues/ Fri, 02 Sep 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16141 ‘No one who has a defect.’ Leviticus 21:18 NLT

To help someone with their unresolved issues, you must first deal with your own. If the medicine you’re offering hasn’t made you whole, you will have no credibility when you try to apply it to the lives of others. Does that mean if you have unresolved issues, God won’t use you? No, it’s the broken who become masters at mending. But first, you must take time to be healed.

It’s hard to talk about victory when you’re experiencing defeat. When you’re bleeding spiritually and emotionally, you can’t treat people’s problems with the same kind of aggressive faith you would have if you had already worked through the problem. Is it wrong to have a broken heart? No, for God ‘heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.’ (Psalm 147:3 NKJV) So let God make you whole so He can use you. In Old Testament times, you could not serve as a priest if you had an unhealed wound. This is why:

(1) You wouldn’t be up to par spiritually.

(2) You couldn’t get close to others in case they bumped into you and knocked your wound.

(3) You couldn’t be at your best because the pain was sapping your strength.

(4) You would be afraid to talk about your wound in case people rejected you. You’d conceal it and, most likely, you’d become insecure, hypocritical or controlling in case someone suspected your secret.

(5) Worst of all, you would be so busy working for God and taking care of others, you wouldn’t have time to stop and take care of yourself. So, deal with your unresolved issues.

SoulFood: Amos 5:18–9:15 Mark 10:1–12 Ps 103:13–22 Pro 19:17

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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God will back you up! https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/god-will-back-you-up/ Thu, 01 Sep 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16140 ‘Whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven.’ Matthew 18:18 NIV

God told Joshua, ‘Stretch out the spear that is in your hand toward Ai, for I will give it into your hand.’ (Joshua 8:18 NKJV) It’s amazing how courageous you feel when God is backing you up. When you know He is on your side, you can say, ‘No weapon that is formed against me will prevail’ (see Isaiah 54:17).

But overconfidence is self-confidence that’s not based on God-confidence. Our problem is, we plan, say, and do things without first checking to find out if God is behind us. Do you remember what the evil spirit said to those trying to mimic Paul’s ministry when they weren’t empowered by God’s Spirit? ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?’ (Acts 19:15 NKJV) When you’re under attack, you need to know that:

(1) you’re in right standing with God (see 2 Corinthians 5:19)

(2) it’s God’s fight as well as yours (see 2 Chronicles 20:15), and

(3) ‘Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven.’ (Matthew 18:18 NIV) There must be agreement in both realms. If it’s not approved where God is, it shouldn’t be approved where you are.

Your confidence comes from knowing you’re operating in His will. The Bible calls us ‘labourers together with God’ (1 Corinthians 3:9 KJV), so you can’t go off and do your own thing. Don’t try moving any mountain the Lord doesn’t want moved or raising anybody from the dead except the Lazarus He calls forth. We do on earth only what He has declared to be His will in Heaven. And He backs us up!

SoulFood: Amos 1:1–5:17 Mark 9:38–50 Ps 103:1–12 Pro 19:12–16

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Don’t be dismissive https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/dont-be-dismissive/ Wed, 31 Aug 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16139 ‘By pride comes nothing but strife, but with the well-advised is wisdom.’ Proverbs 13:10 NKJV

Why do we dismiss input that could help us? Sometimes it’s to protect our ego against a painful truth. When we have an entrenched opinion, we can easily adopt a dismissive approach towards the thinking of others. And not only do we hurt them, we hurt ourselves.

‘Better a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who will be admonished no more.’ (Ecclesiastes 4:13 NKJV) Yes, you have areas of expertise. But you also have areas where you need advice. The day you decide to stop listening is the day you decide to stop growing. Thomas Carlyle said, ‘Every man is my superior in that I can learn from him.’

Even if what you learn is negative or a lesson in what not to do, it’s still valuable information that can protect and enrich you. Dr John C Maxwell says: ‘What is the one thing—more than any other—that will determine the growth of an organisation? The growth of the people in the organisation. And what determines the people’s growth? The growth of the leader! As long as people are following you, they will be able to go only as far as you go. If you’re not growing, they won’t be growing—either that, or they will go somewhere else where they can grow.’

The story is told of an old breeder who entered his horse in the Melbourne Cup. ‘Your horse has no chance of winning against all those thoroughbreds,’ a race official told him. ‘I know,’ he replied, ‘but I thought the associations would do him some good.’ To grow, you need the right associations and the right input.

SoulFood: Lam 3:40–5:22 Mark 9:30–37 Ps 84 Pro 19:11

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Build your life on God’s Word https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/build-your-life-on-gods-word/ Tue, 30 Aug 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16138 ‘The Lord has not chosen any of these.’ 1 Samuel 16:10 NLT

David had seven brothers. When it came time to pick a king to replace Saul, Samuel thought any one of them would make a better king than David. But God rejected them all. Why? Because:

(1) They had the looks but not the spiritual core. God explained to Samuel, ‘People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’ (1 Samuel 16:7 NLT) David’s spiritual core was formed by years spent with God. His heart’s cry was, ‘As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God.’ (Psalm 42:1 NKJV)

(2) They had no personal experiences with God to fall back on. The lion and the bear were big, and Goliath was bigger yet. But David wasn’t intimidated. ‘The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.’ (1 Samuel 17:37 NKJV) There are no insignificant battles. The little ones equip you for the big ones that shape your destiny, so stand on your ‘God experiences’. How you respond in a crisis is determined by the experiences you have had with God.

(3) They were easily influenced by others. David’s brothers allowed the fears of those around them to erode their faith. Fear is contagious; if you listen to it long enough, you will get infected. No, you shouldn’t be isolated from the world, but you must be insulated against its negative influences. Listening to Goliath frightened David’s brothers, but it didn’t frighten David. Who are you listening to today? Get God’s opinion and build your life upon it; allow His Word to settle every issue.

SoulFood: Lam 1:1–3:39 Mark 9:14–29 Ps 119:169–176 Pro 19:9–10

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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You can’t change people https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/you-cant-change-people/ Mon, 29 Aug 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16137 ‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick.’ Proverbs 13:12 NKJV

You say, ‘Surely a man or woman can change when they meet the right partner?’ No. Only God can change people—and you are not God! Plus, when you ‘need to be needed’, it can cause you to make disastrous relationship choices in life. Perhaps you have heard stories of people who have experienced massive change through their marriage. But the truth is, the power to change must come from within the person themselves, not from you. When you try to change your spouse, it doesn’t work, and eventually your ‘hope’ for change makes you ‘sick’.

The Bible tells us that deferred hope makes us heartsick. When you keep longing for and envisioning something that never materialises, your heart is torn with disappointment. Then you start making excuses for what’s not working in the relationship, even as it becomes obvious to those around you. Sound relationship decisions are not based on hope alone—especially hope that is blind to ‘red flag’ behaviour.

People of faith often try to spiritualise every issue. In the name of ‘faith’, they downplay their instincts and ignore their sense of unease. That’s not having faith in God! Faith in God should be just that—faith in God. We must not place our faith in fallible men and women, because they will fail us.

God gives each of us a will, but He doesn’t force us to change. Change must come from within each of us as we accept the grace that God extends to us each day. ‘The Lord opened [Lydia’s] heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.’ (Acts 16:14 NKJV) Here is a better option: pray for them, and let God change them!

SoulFood: Gal 4–6 Mark 9:1–13 Ps 119:161–168 Pro 19:3–8

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Has your love for God grown cold? https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/has-your-love-for-god-grown-cold/ Sun, 28 Aug 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16136 ‘You don’t love Me or each other as you did at first!’ Revelation 2:4 NLT

One of Paul’s letters was to the church at Ephesus. They were spiritual, doctrinally sound, and exemplary in their love for Christ. Then Jesus says to that same church years later, ‘You don’t love Me or each other as you did at first! Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to Me and do the works you did at first.’ (Revelation 2:4–5 NLT)

Has your love for God grown cold? Then you must go back to where you first met Him and seek Him again like you did before you had heard so much and seen so much; before the pressures of life had worn you down. ‘But I’m busy doing the Lord’s work,’ you say. Beware; busyness and barrenness go hand in hand!

Three times Jesus asked Peter, ‘Do you love Me?’ And hesaid to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that[the extent to which] I love You.’ (John 21:17 NKJV) Oswald Chambers said, ‘Beware of anything that competes with loyalty to Jesus Christ. The greatest competitor of devotion to Jesus is service for Him.’

When Peter decided to go fishing that night, he may have been making a decision to get away from everything and go back to where he first met the Lord. That’s a good move if you also seek the Lord there! When you get discouraged, you will either go back to the One who can save, keep, and satisfy, or you will go back to whatever was going on in your life before you met Him. That’s not a good move! Why? Because the Bible says Peter fished all night and caught nothing.

SoulFood: Gal 1–3 Mark 8:27–38 Ps 119:145–160 Pro 19:1–2

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Start your day right https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/start-your-day-right/ Sat, 27 Aug 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16135 ‘Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord.’ Genesis 19:27 NKJV

Abraham was known as ‘the Friend of God’ (James 2:23 KJV) What an honour! But the secret of his greatness is easy to overlook: ‘Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord.’ He started his day with God. Do you? The way you get up in the morning sets the tone for your day.

So try this: first thing tomorrow, get alone with God for a few minutes and go over your plans for the day. As you’re going over them, you will have some concerns. Just hand them over to Him. Maybe you will notice a particular problem you’re worried about. Ask Him for wisdom. The Bible says He will give it to you gladly (see James 1:5). If He doesn’t give you an immediate answer, realise it’s because He wants you to trust Him. He has something in mind, something that you haven’t thought of yet.

So many of us start our day anxious, hurried, fearful, or rushed. But you don’t have to. You’re going to start your day anyway; why not start it with God? You’re going to have a first thought , so why not let it belong to God before whom all our anxieties flee? When you’re having a bad day, pause and ask yourself, ‘Did I start this day with God, or did I forget to include Him?’

Here are two Scriptures for you to consider: ‘In the morning I lay my requests before You and wait expectantly.’ (Psalm 5:3 NIV)

‘Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.’ (Psalm 90:14 NIV)

SoulFood: Gen 11:1–9 Phil 2:1–11

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Find a mentor. Become a mentor. https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/find-a-mentor-become-a-mentor-2/ Fri, 26 Aug 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16134 ‘The works that I do he will do also.’ John 14:12 NKJV

Jesus was the perfect mentor. He told His disciples, ‘He who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also.’ If you want to reach the fullness of your God-given potential, ask God for the right mentors. You will always go further with a good mentor coaching and pushing you. Some mentors are given for a short season, others for a lifetime, so you must know the difference. How do you recognise a mentor? In eight ways. The credo of the true mentor is this:

(1) I am willing to spend the time it takes to build a close relationship with the learner;

(2) I commit myself to believing in the potential of the learner, to telling them the exciting future I see ahead for him or her; to visualising and verbalising the possibilities for their life;

(3) I am willing to be vulnerable and transparent before the learner, I’m willing to share not only my strengths and successes, but also my weaknesses, failures, brokenness, and sins;

(4) I am willing to be honest yet affirming in confronting the learner to re-examine their unproductive habits, the learner’s errors, faults, and areas of immaturity;

(5) I am committed to standing by the learner through trials of any kind;

(6) I am committed to helping the learner set goals for his or her spiritual life, career, or ministry, and to help the learner activate his or her dream;

(7) I am willing to objectively evaluate the learner’s progress toward his or her goal;

(8) Above all, I am committed to faithfully living out everything I teach.

SoulFood: Judg 19:16–21:25 Mark 8:14–26 Ps 119:137–144 Pro 18:22–24

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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: ‘Pause and calmly think about it.’ https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/pause-and-calmly-think-about-it/ Thu, 25 Aug 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16133 ‘God will establish it for ever. Selah.’ Psalm 48:8 KJV

Seventy-one times in the book of Psalms we read the word ‘Selah’ at the end of a Scripture. What does it mean? To ‘pause and calmly think about it.’ You can’t rush into Bible revelation. You can’t skim the surface and discover the treasure hidden within it. That’s why David wrote, ‘With my whole heart I seek You; let me not wander from Your commandments! I have stored up Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.’ (Psalm 119:10–11 ESV)

When you hide God’s Word in your heart through meditation and memorisation, you’re able to stand on it when you have a particular need. Meditation involves taking time to reflect; to ‘pause and calmly think about it.’ It’s a time-tested method God put in place for you. He wants you to learn to pray the Scriptures and meditate on them because these habits will help you to experience all He has for you. The most important thing you can ask yourself when you face life’s challenges is, ‘What does God say about this in His Word?’

Why is asking that important? Read these two Scriptures, and you will find the answer: ‘Your Word is settled in Heaven.’ (Psalm 119:89 NKJV)

‘The word of our God stands forever.’ (Isaiah 40:8 NKJV) God’s Word is His will!

When God called Jeremiah to leadership, Jeremiah had reservations about his ability. So God said, ‘I have put My words in your mouth.’ (Jeremiah 1:9 NKJV) Then He told Jeremiah, ‘I am ready to perform My word.’ (Jeremiah 1:12 NKJV) The only thing you can count on for sure is that God will keep His Word. Selah!

SoulFood: Judg 16:1–19:15 Mark 8:1–13 Ps 119:129–136 Pro 18:21

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Develop a joy workout (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/develop-a-joy-workout-2/ Wed, 24 Aug 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16132 ‘I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with My joy.’ John 17:13 NLT

Here are two more ways to increase the level of your joy:

(1) Start serving others. As long as you live with a sense of entitlement believing that others should serve you, your joy gauge will be reading ‘empty’. Jesus said it’s in giving away your life to others that you find abundant life (see Mark 8:35). Paul reminds us: ‘Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do.’ (Ephesians 6:7–8 NIV) The happiest people are typically too busy helping others to ask themselves, ‘Am I happy?’ Find a cause greater than self-interest, and pour your life into it. If you do, your legacy will be much greater than your life span.

(2) Share your faith with someone. ‘There is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.’ (Luke 15:10 NLT) Your greatest joy in life will be the result of trusting in Christ as your Saviour. And your second-greatest joy will come from introducing others to Him. Imagine sharing your faith with someone. They may not respond at the time, but you have still sown the seed of God’s Word. Later, they commit their lives to Christ. Perhaps you didn’t know it. But imagine them meeting you in Heaven and saying, ‘I want to thank you for taking the time. I’m here because you cared enough to tell me about Jesus.’

You say, ‘I’ve lost my joy.’ Question: when was the last time you shared your faith with someone or led them to Christ?

SoulFood: Judg 12–15 Mark 7:24–37 Ps 119:121–128 Pro 18:13–20

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Develop a joy workout (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/develop-a-joy-workout-1/ Tue, 23 Aug 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16131 ‘My heart leaps for joy.’ Psalm 28:7 NIV

Joy is like a muscle; the more you develop it, the stronger it becomes. Here are two exercises to help you develop inner joy:

(1) Try to show more gratitude. ‘Give thanks in all circumstances.’ (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV) Note, it doesn’t say be thankful for all circumstances, but in them. Hans Seyle, known as ‘the father of stress research’, says gratitude produces more emotional energy than any other attitude. So look for more ways to express gratitude. Send an email or make a phone call to someone to tell them how much they have meant in your life.

Remember to express gratitude to God. The psalmist says, ‘With my song I praise Him.’ (Psalm 28:7 NIV) If you’re not naturally a joyful person, start singing praises to God and watch your attitude change.

(2) Look for ways to give. ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ (Acts 20:35 NIV) Someone has jokingly said, ‘When it comes to giving, many people will stop at nothing.’ What does the Bible reveal? ‘God loves a cheerful giver.’ (2 Corinthians 9:7 NIV) Why? Because you are most like God when you give, and He doesn’t give grudgingly. Your giving actually determines how much you receive from God! The Bible says when you give to Him first from your income, not last, He will ‘throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.’ (Malachi 3:10 NIV) You cannot outgive God.

As the old farmer said, ‘I shovel it into God’s storehouse, and He shovels it into mine—but God has a bigger shovel.’

SoulFood: Judg 9:34–11:40 Mark 7:14–23 Ps 119:113–120 Pro 20:25 Ecc 5:4–6

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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How to be blessed at work (4) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/how-to-be-blessed-at-work-4/ Mon, 22 Aug 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16130 ‘Ill-gotten gains do not benefit.’ Proverbs 10:2 NASB

In order to be blessed on the job, you must practise this: honesty. It’s unwise to steal, even if you’re never caught. ‘Ill-gotten gains do not benefit.’ You may steal and get away with it, but you won’t benefit by it. ‘Wealth obtained by fraud dwindles.’ (Proverbs 13:11 NASB) You can’t do the wrong thing and finish up with the right result. Not only will you have trouble, you will bring trouble on those who love you and depend on you. ‘He who profits illicitly troubles his own house.’ (Proverbs 15:27 NASB)

Think about it: you could lose your job, damage your reputation, be humiliated, face costs and legal consequences your whole family pays for, and end up in shame, all of which will negatively affect your children. Your spouse deserves an honest partner. Your children deserve an honest role model, confident that the path you walk is safe for them to follow. Sydney Morning Herald journalist Caroline James says that workplace theft costs Australian businesses about $1.5 billion a year according to AFP statistics and many people feel justified in doing so.

They rationalised it by saying: ‘Everybody’s doing it, why shouldn’t I… The boss can afford it, they won’t miss it… It’s only small stuff, it won’t make any difference… The company owes me, and I’m just taking what’s mine… I deserve it, I’ve worked hard and never been acknowledged.’ What does God have to say about this? ‘The wicked earns deceptive wages.’ (Proverbs 11:18 NASB) When you deceive your employer, the Bible says you are ‘wicked’. Of all people, employers and customers should be able to trust a follower of Christ to be honest, earn their wages, and provide quality service.

SoulFood: Judg 7:1–9:33 Mark 7:1–13 Ps 119:105-–112 Pro 18:10–12

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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How to be blessed at work (3) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/how-to-be-blessed-at-work-3/ Sun, 21 Aug 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16129 ‘In honour preferring one another.’ Romans 12:10 KJV

Here is another important key to being blessed on the job: thoughtfulness. That’s true whether you’re the company president or the overnight shiftworker. The nameplate on your office door may say that you deserve respect, but you have to earn it every day through your work ethic and your attitude.

In the Old Testament, most people earned their living by farming and raising cattle, so Solomon offers this advice: ‘Know well the condition of your flocks, and pay attention to your herds.’ (Proverbs 27:23 NASB) Good leaders make it their business to know the needs, strengths, weaknesses, potential, and motivational levels of those who work with them. As a result, employee sick time is reduced, morale improved, and quality and production soar.

Believe it or not, a pay increase isn’t always the best motivator. Sometimes your thoughtfulness, understanding, and interest in an employee is also a powerful motivator. Putting people down or taking them for granted just guarantees resentment. When you truly care about people, you try to bring out the best in them. And if you’re an employee, God promises, ‘Whoever protects their master will be honoured.’ (Proverbs 27:18 NIV) If you keep criticising those above you, those around you will begin to distrust you. Why? Because they know that at some point you will do the same to them! As long as you resent your position as a follower, you will never become qualified to be a leader. The Bible says you’re supposed to speak well of those in authority over you (see Titus 3:1–2). Ask God to help you know if it’s time to speak up, or if you should hold your tongue and move on to another job. You will be blessed by first of all seeking to be a blessing.

SoulFood: Judg 4–6 Mark 6:45–56 Ps 119:97–104 Pro 18:9

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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How to be blessed at work (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/how-to-be-blessed-at-work-2/ Sat, 20 Aug 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16128 ‘Hard work will reward you.’ Proverbs 13:4 CEV

Here is another key to succeeding on the job: hard work. ‘Hard work will reward you with more than enough.’ Ask any employer and he or she will tell you that their biggest challenge is finding and keeping good people. ‘ Hard-working hands lead to wealth.’ (Proverbs 10:4 ISV)

Being diligent and hard-working means being self-disciplined, motivated, alert, dependable, and following through on something when you start it. And it is priceless because it’s so hard to find (see Proverbs 12:27) The Bible teaches that your boss is responsible to pay you a fair day’s wage, and you are responsible to give them a fair day’s work. The story is told of a man who went for a job interview and was asked if he was responsible. He replied, ‘Yes, every time something went wrong on my last job, the boss said I was responsible!’

Seriously, do you want to prosper? See that your employer prospers! Hard work, not politics and manipulation, is the way forward. ‘Work hard, and you will be a leader; be lazy, and you will end up a slave.’ (Proverbs 12:24 CEV) Instead of looking for ways to improve themselves, lazy employees might try to find fault with their bosses, with the systems they have to use, and with their more diligent colleagues. These people want the privileges others get to enjoy, but they’re not willing to work for them.

The Bible says that ‘the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.’ (Proverbs 13:4 NIV) They get it all; the satisfaction of a job well done, a sense of self-worth, a reputation for integrity, the trust of others, job security, profit, promotion, and most importantly, God’s ‘Well done!’

SoulFood: Josh 1:7–8 2 Tim 3:14–17

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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How to be blessed at work (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/how-to-be-blessed-at-work-1/ Fri, 19 Aug 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16127 ‘Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings.’ Proverbs 22:29 NIV

Solomon writes, ‘Someone skilled in their work… will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank.’ (Proverbs 22:29 NIV) But skilfulness isn’t genetic; you have to work at it. Sometimes that means burning the midnight oil, stretching to your limits, and refusing to settle for less. As you watch true artisans, your esteem for them rises. You notice their attention to detail, refusal to cut corners, patience, dedication, and pride in their work. They inspire confidence and respect. There is not a more practical demonstration of true Christianity! When they speak, people listen. If you doubt that, try sharing your faith with those who see you being dishonest, shoddy, and careless. It would be better to remain silent until you earn the right to be heard.

The Bible says that whatever your work, ‘do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.’ (Colossians 3:17 NIV) Because you represent Christ and His Spirit lives within you, you should set the industry standard for excellence. Your employees and customers should have confidence that they will get nothing from you but the best. A skilful worker can’t lose—because God promises that their work will inevitably attract the attention of people who will promote and reward them (see Proverbs 22:29).

They may start at the bottom, but like cream they rise to the top. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego started out as slaves in Babylon. But they ended up as the king’s closest advisers. Why? ‘Whenever the king asked for advice, he found their wisdom was ten times better than that of any of his other advisors.’ (Daniel 1:20 CEV)

SoulFood: Judg 1–3 Mark 6:30–44 Ps 119:89–96 Pro 18:6–8

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Ways to develop resilience https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/ways-to-develop-resilience/ Thu, 18 Aug 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16126 ‘Though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again.’ Proverbs 24:16 NIV

Like any skill, mental, emotional, and spiritual resilience can be learned. Here’s how:

(1) Redefine setbacks as the gateway to something greater.

(2) Remember successful people don’t just face adversity, they embrace it.

(3) Tune out the critics and focus on doing your best.

(4) Wake up every day remembering that prayer and gratitude create a fertile environment for faith.

(5) Increase your faith-talk when you’re afraid.

(6) Learn from failure, and remember the many times you’ve succeeded.

(7) Visualise victory before going into battle.

(8) Refuse to dwell on the past or worry about the future; today is where you have the most influence.

(9) Identify a solution instead of complaining.

(10) Replace self-doubt with faith-talk.

(11) When things look hopeless, remember ‘with God all things are possible.’ (Mark 10:27 KJV)

(12) When you feel alone, think of all those who have helped you and who love and support you.

(13) Pray for guidance when you’re in over your head (see James 1:5).

(14) Rest when you’re tired, but don’t give up. Finish strong in everything you do.

(15) Remember you ‘can do all things through Christ’ when you think you can’t. (Philippians 4:13 KJV)

(16) Recognise what you can’t control, focus on what you can, and surrender the rest to God. (17) Exercise physically if you can, to give yourself a sense of control and help lift your mood. (18) Laugh to reduce stress, strengthen your immune system, and improve arterial blood flow. (19) Be grateful. Research shows that people who sent a letter or email of thanks to somebody who helped them, stayed in a better mood for up to a month.

SoulFood: Ruth 1–4 Mark 6:14–29 Ps 119:81–88 Pro 18:1–5

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Use your gift! https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/use-your-gift-2/ Wed, 17 Aug 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16125 ‘God has given each of you a gift.’ 1 Peter 4:10 NLT

The Bible says: ‘God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God Himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God.’ (1 Peter 4:10–11 NLT)

Some people think that you must have an epiphany, a Damascus Road experience such as Paul had, in order to know you are ‘called’. No, the gift God gave you is the key to knowing what He wants you to do. You can’t always be what you want to be, but you can be what God calls you to be. What do you love doing, and do well? Is music your forté? Crunching numbers? Working with kids? ‘The Spirit has given each of us a special way of serving.’ (1 Corinthians 12:7 CEV) That means some of the things other people find boring will actually energise and enrich you.

The Bible says that God is building a ‘spiritual house’. (1 Peter 2:5 KJV) And there is a place for you in it. That dispels the misconception that you’re not valuable because you don’t have the same talents other people do. It also defines your actual responsibility by doing away with the myth that you’re supposed to do everything. Your goal should be to stay within the boundaries of God’s plan for you (see 1 Corinthians 12:27). So today, instead of apologising for skills you don’t have, unpack the gift God has given you and put it to work.

SoulFood: Obadiah Mark 6:1–13 Ps 119:73–80 Pro 17:27–28

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Pray God’s Word https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/pray-gods-word/ Tue, 16 Aug 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16124 ‘Strengthen me according to Your Word.’ Psalm 119:28 NKJV

The old saying, ‘Prayer changes things,’ takes on new meaning when you use the Scriptures in prayer. Such prayers move God to act on your behalf. More importantly, they change you. When you pray God’s Word, here is what happens:

(1) Your faith increases and enables you to receive more of what God has promised.

(2) Your mind is renewed, and it causes you to see things differently.

(3) You know God’s perfect will.

(4) You are able to walk in the truth.

(5) You grow into spiritual maturity.

(6) You draw closer to the Lord and have a more intimate relationship with Him.

(7) You learn God’s ways, and they become your ways.

(8) You understand God’s answers to your prayers.

(9) You change in positive ways.

(10) You behold the Lamb of God who is the very centre of your Bible.

Here are some examples of Scriptures you can pray: ‘Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.’ (Psalm 119:18 NKJV)

‘Teach me Your statutes. Make me understand the way of Your precepts; so shall I meditate on Your wonderful works.’ (Psalm 119:26–27 NKJV)

‘Strengthen me according to Your word.’ (Psalm 119:28 NKJV)

‘Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; for they are ever with me.’ ( Psalm 119:97–98 NKJV)

‘For I will keep the commandments of my God! Uphold me according to Your word, that I may live; and do not let me be ashamed of my hope.’ (Psalm 119:115–116 NKJV)

‘Give me understanding, and I shall live.’ (Psalm 119:144 NKJV) Today, pray God’s Word.

SoulFood: 1 Pet 3–5 Mark 5:31–43 Ps 119:65–72 Pro 17:23–26

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Don’t worry, God will take care of you https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/dont-worry-god-will-take-care-of-you/ Mon, 15 Aug 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16123 ‘I have not seen the righteous forsaken.’ Psalm 37:25 NKJV

If you’re worried about making ends meet, start leaning on God: ‘The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand.’ (Psalm 37:23–25 NKJV)

Stop trying to figure everything out and start relying on God and not on your own strategies and plans. ‘Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him, and He will help you.’ (Psalm 37:3–5 NLT)

God may not give you everything you want, but He will give you everything you need: ‘Don’t worry about these things, saying, “What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?” These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.’ (Matthew 6:31–33 NLT)

‘Give your burdens to the Lord, and He will take care of you.’ (Psalm 55:22 NLT) Don’t worry, God will take care of you!

SoulFood: 1 Pet 1–2 Mark 5:21–30 Ps 119:57–64 Pro 17:22

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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How to handle disappointment (3) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/how-to-handle-disappointment-3/ Sun, 14 Aug 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16122 ‘So I gave up in despair, questioning the value of all my hard work.’ Ecclesiastes 2:20 NLT

When you’re disappointed in those you work with. You won’t succeed in life without the right people. But when the people you count on fail you, it’s painful. Imagine Moses’ disappointment. He leaves his brother Aaron in charge while he spends forty days on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments. When he returns, what does he find? Israel worshipping a golden calf—made by Aaron. When Moses needs him most, Aaron fails miserably.

But watch Moses: true leadership shines in disappointment. He confronts Aaron, takes the mess to God, and prays for the forgiveness of Israel. God responds, then reminds Moses of his assignment. ‘Go, lead the people… My angel will go before you.’ (Exodus 32:34 NIV) Disappointment doesn’t cancel your assignment—or God’s presence. So do what God has told you to do!

When you’re disappointed in those you have poured your life into. Let’s check in again with Moses, founding pastor of the church in the wilderness. His congregation is made up of former slaves who have been delivered, blessed, and who are en route to the Promised Land. However, they do not have a shred of loyalty or gratitude for the man who put everything on the line to make it possible. Fresh out of Egypt, they turn on Moses, accusing, blaming, and berating him (see Exodus 14).

Was Moses disappointed and hurt? Yes. But each time he wanted to give up, he would discuss it with God, pray for his complaining flock, get fresh orders from headquarters, and follow them as he returned to work. That’s what God-called men and women do when they’re disappointed and feel like giving up. And it’s what you must do, too.

SoulFood: Deut 32:29–34:12 Mark 5:11–20 Ps 119:49–56 Pro 17:18–21

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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How to handle disappointment (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/how-to-handle-disappointment-2/ Sat, 13 Aug 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16121 ‘When I waited for light, then came darkness.’ Job 30:26 NKJV

When you’re disappointed in leadership. It would be reasonable to assume you could trust Eli, the high priest in Israel. That’s what Samuel’s mother thought when she entrusted her son to him, confident he would mentor him for God’s service. But Eli had a serious character flaw. He was a weak parent, one who stood by while his sons abused their priestly privileges through taking bribes and consorting with prostitutes. Who would have blamed young Samuel for taking a nosedive, when the man he looked up to failed so badly?

But no, he fielded his disappointment and kept his eyes on God: ‘Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him.’ (1 Samuel 3:19 KJV) As a result, he became one of Israel’s greatest prophets. How do you handle disappointment in your leader? By keeping your eyes on the Lord!

When you’re disappointed in your family. Ask Joseph. When God gave him a vision of future success, he thought his brothers would rejoice. Instead they responded with resentment, selling him into slavery. Far from friends and home, he languished in prison for years for a crime he didn’t commit. What an invitation to bitterness, to rehash the wrongs done to you while plotting your revenge. But if Joseph had done that, he would have died an unknown convict in a foreign prison. Instead, he allowed God to vindicate him. And—ultimately—God will do that for you, too. ‘No weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the Lord; their vindication will come from Me. I, the Lord, have spoken!’ (Isaiah 54:17 NLT)

SoulFood: Jer 31:31–37 Heb 8:1–13

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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How to handle disappointment (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/how-to-handle-disappointment-1/ Fri, 12 Aug 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16120 ‘The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.’ Proverbs 24:16 NLT

For the next few days, let’s look at five different types of disappointment.

Disappointment in yourself. This is the most debilitating kind of disappointment because it can put you into a downward spiral that’s hard to recover from. Peter experienced it. He swore loyalty to Christ saying, ‘Everyone else may abandon You but not me. I’m Yours until death!’ (see Matthew 26:33). Yet he denied Christ three times. Later he remembered Christ’s words: ‘Before the rooster crows, you will disown Me three times.’ (Matthew 26:34 NIV) Peter, heartbroken by his failure, ‘went outside and wept bitterly.’ (Luke 22:62 NIV)

Is that how you feel today? Are you thinking, ‘Lord, how could You possibly use someone like me?’ Jesus wasn’t shocked. He was well aware of Peter’s flaws when He called him. But He also knew that His outspoken disciple had a tender heart, so He chose to extend grace to him rather than cast him aside. When Christ gave His post-resurrection orders to ‘tell His disciples and Peter’ to meet Him in Galilee, He reaffirmed His choice of His failed disciple (see Mark 16:7). The rest of Peter’s story is one of victory.

So when you sin, or fail and disappoint yourself, what should you do?

(1) Humble yourself and repent. Confess your sin; don’t excuse, rationalise, or blame circumstances and people.

(2) Receive God’s grace and forgiveness by faith, not feelings. Don’t let Satan convince you that you are beyond God’s reach and grace. You’re not.

(3) Don’t add insult to injury by letting disappointment mire you in hopelessness and despair.

(4) Get whatever help you need to get back on track—sooner, not later.

SoulFood: Deut 30:1–32:28 Mark 5:1–10 Ps 119:41–48 Pro 17:17

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Be ‘wise’ with your money https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/be-wise-with-your-money/ Thu, 11 Aug 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16119 ‘There is desirable treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise.’ Proverbs 21:20 NKJV

God’s Word says you’re to do two things with your money.

(1) Sow some. The Bible says, ‘Whoever sows generously will also reap generously.’ (2 Corinthians 9:6 NIV) You say, ‘But things are a bit tight for me right now.’ Don’t withhold because you are afraid of not having enough. Give God a seed to work with, and He will make sure you have a harvest when you need it. His ability to provide is not limited by the world’s economy. Do what Isaac did: ‘There was a famine in the land…Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the Lord blessed him.’ (Genesis 26:1, 12 NKJV) Who blessed Isaac financially? The Lord! When God tells you to give, do it in faith, confident that at the right time, in the right way, and in exactly the right places, you will receive. You say, ‘I’ve never tried that.’ Just give it a go!

(2) Save some. ‘There is desirable treasure, and oil in the dwelling of the wise. But a foolish man squanders it.’ (Proverbs 21:20 NKJV) Learn to live within your means. Remind yourself that you can live happily without most of the stuff advertised on television. Before you make a purchase, stop and pray. Just because the bank approves the loan doesn’t mean God approves the expenditure. Joseph instructed Pharaoh: ‘Gather all the food of those good years that are coming… Then that food shall be as a reserve for… seven years of famine.’ (Genesis 41:35-36 NKJV) Live by the ‘Joseph principle’, and save. And one more thought: there are consequences for how we spend our money. We should always try to be good stewards of everything God has given us.

SoulFood: Deut 28–29 Mark 4:26–41 Ps 119:33–40 Pro 17:16

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Keep trusting God; He will intervene https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/keep-trusting-god-he-will-intervene/ Wed, 10 Aug 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16118 ‘He looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act.’ Exodus 2:25 NLT

‘The Israelites continued to groan under their burden of slavery. They cried out for help, and their cry rose up to God. God heard their groaning, and He remembered His covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act.’ (Exodus 2:23–25 NLT) Just when the Israelites thought life couldn’t get worse, Pharaoh withdrew their straw and ordered them to produce the same daily quota of bricks. That’s when they reached their breaking point! Is that where you are today? If so, here are three things you need to know:

(1) Sometimes it helps to share your feelings. Especially when you do it at the right time, in the right way, to the right people. It can be therapeutic and healing. But often the help you need cannot be found in people, so

(2) There comes a time when you must cry out to God. God saw them struggling to get through another day. But since they talked to everybody but Him, nothing changed. Question: have you prayed about it? Prayer must be your first option, not your last resort. David said, ‘I called on the Lord in distress; the Lord answered me and set me in a broad place.’ (Psalm 118:5–6 NKJV) David’s prayers got him out of a tight spot and into God’s spot.

(3) God will always keep His promise. ‘He remembered His covenant promise… and knew it was time to act.’ (Exodus 2:24–25 NLT) God works according to His plan, not ours. He has a set schedule for answering your prayer and delivering you, so keep praying and believing Him.

SoulFood: Deut 25– 27 Mark 4:13–25 Ps 119:25–32 Pro 17:11–15

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Thoughts about the Bible (3) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/thoughts-about-the-bible-3/ Tue, 09 Aug 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16117 ‘God will bless you in everything you do, if you listen and obey.’ James 1:25 CEV

Your life must be governed by the Word of God, not your impulses, or your thoughts, or the opinions of those around you. The Bible is not God’s attempt to offer you interesting insights or good advice for your consideration; it’s His fixed opinion. Jesus said, ‘Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock.’ (Matthew 7:24 NKJV) This builder’s foundation withstood life’s storms.

On the other hand, Jesus said, ‘Everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them’ is foolish and the storms of life will sweep them away. (Matthew 7:26–27 NKJV) Now, Jesus didn’t condemn the second man for building an inadequate structure or failing to hear, understand, and believe His words, but for failing to act on them.

James writes, ‘Obey God’s message! Don’t fool yourselves by just listening to it… God will bless you in everything you do, if you listen and obey, and don’t just hear and forget.’ (James 1:22, 25 CEV) If you think reading, knowing, and even believing God’s Word fulfils your obligation to it, you are mistaken. Because it’s God’s Word, His instructions must be obeyed. That requires not just believing it but behaving according to it. James didn’t say you would be blessed because of what you believe, but because of what you ‘do’.

When Moses read God’s Word to the Israelites, they said, ‘All that the Lord has said we will, do, and be obedient.’ (Exodus 24:7 NKJV) And that must be your rule for living, too.

SoulFood: Deut 22–24 Mark 4:1–12 Ps 119:17–24 Pro 17:7–10

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Thoughts about the Bible (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/thoughts-about-the-bible-2/ Mon, 08 Aug 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16116 ‘Your Word is settled in Heaven.’ Psalm 119:89 NKJV

God’s Word must be a ‘settled’ issue in your life. Heaven is the Supreme Court; when it rules on a matter, it’s settled. Now, since God’s Word is a settled issue in heaven, the question is, ‘Is it a settled issue in your life?’

Jesus said, ‘Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.’ (Mark 13:31 NKJV) The Bible never needs updating; it’s perfect and can’t be improved upon. That’s why Jesus instructs you to let His ‘words remain in you.’ (John 15:7 NIV) In other words, program your mind with the Scriptures. How do you do that?

(1) Give it permanent residence, not visitor status. ‘Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.’ (Colossians 3:16 KJV) Take it in richly, meaning copiously and abundantly. Call it Operation Saturation! Read the Bible, meditate on it, speak it out loud. Yes, and even sing its words; ‘Teach them to each other and sing them out in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.’ (Colossians 3:16 TLB)

(2) Keep it before you at all times. ‘Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night… do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.’ (Joshua 1:8 NIV) Talk it out, think it out, walk it out!

You say, ‘But my memory doesn’t retain things too well.’ No problem. Jesus said, ‘The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name… will remind you of everything I have said to you.’ (John 14:26 NIV) As you meditate on God’s Word, the Holy Spirit will come to the aid of your less-than-perfect memory.

SoulFood: Deut 18–21 Mark 3:20–35 Ps 119:9–16 Pro 17:4–6

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Thoughts about the Bible (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/thoughts-about-the-bible-1/ Sun, 07 Aug 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16115 ‘You received the Word.’ 1 Thessalonians 2:13 NKJV

‘When you received the Word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God.’ (1 Thessalonians 2:13 NKJV) Here are four things you must believe about your Bible:

(1) It is life changing. In the parable of the sower, Jesus said, ‘The seed is the word of God’ (Luke 8:11 KJV) You may not understand the power within a seed, but you know that when you sow it in receptive soil, it will spring to life. It won’t just sit there and do nothing, it will produce fruit.

Likewise, your Bible is ‘the Word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.’ (1 Thessalonians 2:13 NKJV)

(2) It works. ‘My word…will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.’ (Isaiah 55:11 NIV) Note the word ‘sent’. Every word God speaks is on a mission and is guaranteed to accomplish it in accordance with His will, His strategy, and His timing.

(3) It is creative. ‘By God’s Word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed.’ (2 Peter 3:5 NIV) God’s Word was powerful enough to create all that exists. He didn’t strive or sweat, He just spoke, and it was accomplished. So, speak God’s Word!

(4) It is authoritative. ‘They were astonished at His teaching, for His word was with authority…they were all amazed… saying, “What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.”’ (Luke 4:32, 36 NKJV) The forces of darkness around you today must recognise and submit to God’s Word, so stand on it!

SoulFood: Deut 14–17 Mark 3:7–19 Ps 119:1–8 Pro 17:3

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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When you’re in the dark (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/when-youre-in-the-dark-2/ Sat, 06 Aug 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16114 ‘About the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea.’ Mark 6:48 NKJV

‘About the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea… when they saw Him… they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out… But immediately He… said to them, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased.’ (Mark 6:48–51 NKJV)

Darkness isn’t always the work of the Enemy; sometimes it’s one of God’s best teaching tools. You get to know the Lord best by going through storms with Him; by reaching the place where you think, ‘If God doesn’t come through for me, I’m sunk.’ Then He comes, ‘walking on the sea’.

Jesus said to His disciples, ‘What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight.’ (Matthew 10:27 NIV) It’s in your darkest moments that God gives you some of your greatest insights. The psalmist said, ‘To You the night shines as bright as day.’ (Psalm 139:12 NLT) So instead of running from your problems, ask God to develop your night vision and show you ‘treasures of darkness and riches hidden in secret places.’ (Isaiah 45:3 NRS)

And one more thought: When the darkness you’re experiencing is God-ordained, don’t try to create your own light. ‘If you are walking in darkness, without a ray of light, trust in the Lord and rely on your God. But watch out, you who live in your own light… you will soon fall down in great torment.’ (Isaiah 50:10–11 NLT) When you’re in darkness by divine design, you don’t have to be afraid; God has promised to bring you through.

SoulFood: Eccl 11:7–12:1 Ps 39:4–13

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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When you’re in the dark (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/when-youre-in-the-dark-1/ Fri, 05 Aug 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16113 ‘Even in darkness light dawns for the upright.’ Psalm 112:4 NIV

Faith is like film; it’s developed in the dark. Dark days make you lean on God. The truth is, if your faith was never tested, you wouldn’t be motivated to draw closer to Him. Hymnist Edward Mote wrote: ‘When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace… When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.’

It’s easy to praise God when your health is good and your bills are paid. But it’s during the dark days that you discover what your faith is made of and where your trust truly lies: in yourself, in others, or in God. When your days feel as dark as your nights, here is a Scripture you can stand on: ‘Let the one who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on their God.’ (Isaiah 50:10 NIV)

Job lived an exemplary life, yet he lost everything. Troubled and perplexed, he cried, ‘He has blocked my way so I cannot pass; He has shrouded my paths in darkness.’ (Job 19:8 NIV) Job could see no way through or around the situation. Then he discovered that when you can’t find the reason, you can trust the relationship.

‘My ears had heard of You but now my eyes have seen You.’ (Job 42:5 NIV) When he made that discovery, everything changed: ‘The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part.’ (Job 42:12 NIV) What God did for Job—He will do for you.

SoulFood: Deut 11– 13 Mark 2:23–3:6 Ps 78:65– 72 Pro 17:1–2

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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When life seems too hard https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/when-life-seems-too-hard/ Thu, 04 Aug 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16112 ‘Is anything too hard for the Lord?’ Genesis 18:14 NKJV

Much of our stress is brought on by our need to know everything ahead of time—to be in control. Even after we pray with the intention of turning the problem over to God, we live by the philosophy ‘hope for the best and plan for the worst’! You don’t put your money into the bank and then stay awake all night worrying about it, right? Well, have at least that much confidence in God!

When you find yourself in the downward spiral of ‘How? What? When? Where?’ stop and give it to God. Not the limited God of your understanding, but the unlimited God whose track record speaks for itself, whose faithfulness never fails, and who has earned the right to ask, ‘Is anything too hard for the Lord?’ Jesus never suffered from the fear of failure like we do. Why? Because He never entertained the thought that He couldn’t do something that His Father had assured Him He could do. And He didn’t suffer from the fear of lack, either. Even though He lived a simple life, He was responsible for supporting Himself and a team of others.

How did He do it? The Bible says He prayed morning, noon, and night, staying in constant touch with His heavenly Father. Consequently, He knew how to catch fish when they weren’t biting, and even find tax money in a fish’s mouth when He needed it. Now, God may not provide for you in exactly that way, but He has promised to take care of you. Here is a promise you can live by today: ‘God cares for you, so turn all your worries over to Him.’ (1 Peter 5:7 CEV)

SoulFood: Deut 8–10 Mark 2:13–22 Ps 78:56–64 Pro 16:33

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Are you coming up empty? https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/are-you-coming-up-empty/ Wed, 03 Aug 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16111 ‘That night they caught nothing.’ John 21:3 NKJV

When Jesus first called His disciples, He told them, ‘I will make you fishers of men.’ (Matthew 4:19 KJV) Yet after hearing Him promise to rise from the dead and actually seeing Him alive, they went back to what they were doing before they met Him: fishing. Now, God will use your past experiences to teach you, but He always leads you forward—never back. When fear and uncertainty make you want to go back to the security of what you know, you end up like the disciples: ‘That night they caught nothing.’

But there is good news: if God has called you, you’re still called. Notice how Jesus addresses them: ‘Children, have you any food?’ (John 21:5 NKJV) In spite of your lacklustre performance, you’re still God’s redeemed child.

Next, He tells them: ‘“Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!”’ (John 21:6–7 NIV) Notice what Jesus did next. He ate breakfast with them, renewed fellowship, removed their doubts, and empowered them to change the world.

There is an important lesson here. When you work outside God’s will, it’s like fishing on the wrong side of the boat; you wear yourself out and end up having little to show for your efforts. Are you struggling? Maybe it’s because you’re fishing on the wrong side of the boat! Things will start to change when you submit to Christ, renew your fellowship with Him, and allow Him to direct you.

SoulFood: Deut 5–7 Mark 2:1–12 Ps 78:40–55 Pro 16:32

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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You are commanded to love (3) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/you-are-commanded-to-love-3/ Tue, 02 Aug 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16110 ‘Love one another as I have loved you.’ John 15:12 NKJV

Picture in your mind the person you find hardest to love. How can you learn to love this kind of person? First, before you can love them, you must feel and understand how deeply God loves you.

Paul writes: ‘I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts, living within you as you trust in Him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvellous love; and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high His love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves.’ (Ephesians 3:17—19 TLB) Notice the words ‘feel… understand… experience’. God wants you to feel His love, and He wants you to understand His love. Why?

1 John 4:19 says that we love God because He first loved us. Why is it important to feel loved by God? Because unloved people are often unloving people. When you do not feel genuinely loved, you do not feel like giving love. So, first, you must experience God’s love for yourself. Jesus said, ‘Love one another as I have loved you.’

During your worst acts, and in your lowest moments, Jesus loves you. Knowing you are loved by Christ gives you value and security; it also enables you to risk loving others. All God asks is that you be willing to love, and He will supply the power to do it. ‘The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.’ (Romans 5:5 NKJV)

SoulFood: Deut 3–4 Mark 1:35–45 Ps 78:32–39 Pro 16:31 The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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You are commanded to love (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/you-are-commanded-to-love-2/ Mon, 01 Aug 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16109 ‘Walk in love.’ Ephesians 5:2 NKJV

The Greeks used four words to distinguish different types of love:

(1) Storge, which means natural affection;

(2) Eros, which means sexual attraction;

(3) Philia, which means emotional affection or friendship;

(4) Agape, which means unconditional giving, sacrificial love. When the Bible tells of God’s love for us and the type of love we are to have for Him and others, the word is always ‘agape’, indicating a commitment to act.

Do you know it’s possible to love someone you don’t even like? Indeed, if God is going to educate us to love, He will bring certain hard-to-love people into our lives. The truth is, our lives are full of people we don’t like. We do not like the way some people speak. We do not like the way some behave. We do not like what some people wear. But most of all, we tend to dislike people who don’t like us. If you think about it for a minute, you can probably produce a list of people you don’t like. They would probably be people with whom you have difficulty getting along. Everyone is hard to love sometimes—even you—but some are hard to love at any time.

Jesus never demanded that we have a tender fondness for everyone. He did not feel warmth for the Pharisees. We don’t have to like everyone—isn’t that a relief?—but we must love them. What does the Bible mean when it says, ‘Walk in love’? Like physical walking, this unconditional love

(a) requires effort,

(b) moves in a certain direction, and

(c) is something you do every day.

SoulFood: Deut 1–2 Mark 1:21–34 Ps 78:17–31 Pro 16:26–30

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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You are commanded to love (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/you-are-commanded-to-love-1/ Sun, 31 Jul 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=16108 ‘A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another.’ John 13:34 NKJV

Love is almost certainly the most misunderstood word in the world. We dilute its meaning by overuse: ‘I love my wife, I love my country, I love pizza.’ Giving and receiving love is difficult when we don’t even comprehend what it is. So, we need to clear up a couple of misconceptions. We think love is a feeling—a sentimental knot in your stomach. True love does create feelings, but it is more than a feeling.

A second misconception is that love is uncontrollable. Have you ever said, ‘I fell in love’—as if you had stumbled? We say, ‘I can’t help it if I’m in love,’ or the opposite, ‘I can’t help it; I just don’t love him (or her) anymore.’ The fact that Jesus commands us to love one another means that we do have control over whom we love and whom we do not. Love, at its core, is two things.

First, love is a matter of choice. ‘Over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.’ (Colossians 3:14 NIV) Notice those two small words, ‘put on’. Like you choose the clothes you wear each day, you choose the attitude you will display. So, love is controllable.

Second, love is a matter of behaviour. ‘Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.’ (1 John 3:18 NIV) It works like this: when you reach out towards someone with genuine love and concern, your feelings towards that person change. And even if they don’t return your love, God is pleased with you. That’s reward enough.

SoulFood: Acts 27–28 Mark 1:9–20 Ps 78:9–16 Pro 16:25

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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It’s An Inside Job (4) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/its-an-inside-job-4-2/ Sat, 30 Jul 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15864 ‘The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.’ Romans 8:26 NLT

The twin pillars of a believer’s daily life should be prayer and Scripture. But, while praying may be simple, it’s not always easy. We lack motivation, we’re easily distracted, and we are not always sure what we should be praying for. So, recognising our human inadequacies, God provides help for us in the form of the Holy Spirit.

Paul writes: ‘The Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father… knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us… in harmony with God’s own will.’ (Romans 8:26–27 NLT) That means, no matter how you feel when you pray, the Holy Spirit is in prayer with you and for you, transforming your feeblest prayers into powerful appeals to the Father.

And when it comes to the second pillar, namely the Word of God, the Holy Spirit’s role is equally dynamic. Jesus said, ‘When He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth… He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come.’ (John 16:13 NIV) Note, the Holy Spirit does three things.

(1) He guides us as we study the Word of God and seek to understand it.

(2) He takes what Jesus wants us to know and reveals it to us.

(3) He opens our understanding about things that are still to come. No question about it, good reference books, Scripture-based resources and skilled Bible teachers are necessary and helpful, but they’re no substitute when it comes to hearing from the Holy Spirit for yourself and listening carefully to what He wants to tell you.

SoulFood: Josh 1, Ps 27:11–14, 2 Tim 2:1–15

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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It’s An Inside Job (3) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/its-an-inside-job-3-2/ Fri, 29 Jul 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15863 ‘I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever.’ John 14:16 KJV

In the New Testament account, Jesus told His disciples, ‘I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever.’ The Greek source for the word ‘Comforter’ is parakletos, which means ‘one who comes alongside’ to strengthen, encourage, and advise you. How good is that? When you feel discouraged, confused, and powerless, you have access to a wise, compassionate, competent Helper who will show up to support you and supply you with what you need. So instead of struggling to go it alone, learn to lean on Him, draw on His power, and trust Him to do His mighty work in you.

Paul also tells us, ‘He [the Holy Spirit] will tell you where to go and what to do, and then you won’t always be doing the wrong things your evil nature wants you to.’ (Galatians 5:16 TLB) The battle of the Spirit versus the flesh is unrelenting. And our fleshly nature can never be subdued by human thinking; that just produces defeat and discouragement.

What’s the answer? The Holy Spirit ‘will tell you where to go and what to do.’ And here is another wonderful benefit the indwelling Holy Spirit will bring you: ‘All who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.’ (Romans 8:14 NLT) Praying and taking your best guess isn’t God’s way. The Holy Spirit’s guidance—not our guesswork—should direct our lifestyle.

So, the word for today is—remember ‘it’s an inside job’.

SoulFood: Acts 24–26, Mark 1:1–8, Ps 78:1–8, Pro 16:23–24

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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It’s An Inside Job (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/its-an-inside-job-2-2/ Thu, 28 Jul 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15862 ‘It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you.’ John 16:7 NKJV

Even as the disciples’ hearts ached about Jesus’ departure, He assured them it was to their advantage because it would bring them a new era of power and authority (see John 14:12). Being ‘under new management’ wasn’t the end but a continuation of Christ’s ministry as the Holy Spirit took the baton from the Son’s hand and placed it in theirs. The Son would leave, but the Spirit would ‘abide with you [them] for ever.’ (John 14:16 KJV) This was their ‘advantage’. The Spirit would enter their human bodies and live permanently in them!

This is no tentative, vague connection. It’s God’s Spirit choosing us as His permanent dwelling place. Have you ever considered the advantage this gives you? For example, you might awake tomorrow feeling stressed, weary, and irritated, and, humanly speaking, these feelings could easily dictate your day. But because the Spirit lives in you, these things don’t have to control you.

Paul writes, ‘Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you?’ (1 Corinthians 6:19 NKJV) Once you accept that promise by faith, you become God’s temple. You can be at work, driving the kids to school, walking the dog, waiting for biopsy results, or attending the funeral of your best friend, and as you go about your everyday life, God’s Spirit is living in you. Can you see now why Jesus told the disciples it was good for Him to leave and send the Holy Spirit? Whatever you do, don’t let this life-changing truth slide by you!

SoulFood: Acts 22–23, Matt 28:11–20, Ps 46, Pro 16:20–22

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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It’s An Inside Job (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/its-an-inside-job-1-2/ Wed, 27 Jul 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15861 ‘He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever.’ John 14:16 KJV

Remember dinner without mobile phones, voice mail, texts, and brain overload? Friends and family enjoying each other’s company, uninterrupted by technology? We’re a generation that’s losing the art of communication and intimacy—and it’s impacting the time we spend alone with God. Although Jesus preceded the high-tech age, He was in constant demand; multitudes pursued Him at all hours of the day and night.

Nevertheless, the Scriptures tell us: ‘Rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He departed and went out to a desolate place, and there He prayed.’ (Mark 1:35 ESV) Jesus made time to be alone with His Father.

It requires spiritual discipline to eliminate life’s noise and racket and be still and listen. But if you practise it, you will discover a heart-satisfying intimacy and fellowship with God. Invest a few minutes reading John chapters 14–16, and let your spirit absorb Jesus’ message. Notice, He wants His disciples to have peace, and He comforts them with the assurance that they’re never left alone. These are blessings He wants you to share too.

So, how can you find this peace and comfort? Answer: ‘It’s an inside job,’ because the Holy Spirit lives in you. Jesus told His disciples, ‘I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever.’

It may be Christianity’s best-kept secret, that the Holy Spirit indwells every believer and is available to provide everything we need to handle life’s difficulties. The Comforter was promised by the Son, sent by the Father, and today He is ours by faith. Embrace Him, trust His power, experience His peace, and follow His unfailing guidance.

SoulFood: Acts 20–21, Matt 28:1–10, Ps 42:6–11, Pro 16:17–19

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Let God’s Peace Be Your Yardstick https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/let-gods-peace-be-your-yardstick/ Tue, 26 Jul 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15860 ‘The peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’ Philippians 4:7 NIV

You can have peace today regardless of your circumstances: ‘The Lord of peace Himself [will] grant you His peace… at all times and in all ways [under all circumstances and conditions, whatever comes].’ (2 Thessalonians 3:16 AMPC) Think about it: God has no worries or problems because He controls everything. And as you learn to trust Him, ‘the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ.’

Jon Walker put it like this: ‘If you lived in a town constantly harassed by enemy raids, one option for the military would be to send troops to actually live beside you. They wouldn’t just provide protection during an attack, they would dissuade the enemy from launching future attacks. This is the implication in Philippians 4:7. The Holy Spirit has set up a garrison [a stronghold… a defence army… an occupying force] within us. And God’s garrison of peace will indwell your heart and mind, protecting you, and healing the wounds of worry and fear that threaten to invade your life. It’s the kind of peace that transcends human understanding because it’s God-powered and Spirit-connected. “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” (Romans 5:1–2 NIV)’

Are there areas in your life where you lack peace? Give them to God. The psalmist said, ‘He speaks peace to His faithful people.’ (Psalm 85:8 NLT)

Diane Eble observes, ‘When God speaks, peace is the message… never settle for any course that’s not characterised by peace… it’s not God.’

SoulFood: Acts 18–19, Matt 27:57–66, Ps 42:1–5, Pro 16:16

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Zip It! https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/zip-it/ Mon, 25 Jul 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15859 ‘They will start gossiping and become busybodies, talking about things that are none of their business.’ 1 Timothy 5:13 CEV

The Bible says gossip is nothing less than meddling in other people’s business. Jon Zens says: ‘I have watched friends and families suffer untold pain because of gossip… the information someone dumps on you without your consent and consent of the person involved. It can be true, partially true, or completely false. It can be motivated by good intentions, but it always contains negative information and colours people’s perceptions of someone unjustly. The person being torn down is out of the loop because talebearers usually avoid speaking directly to the one they are demeaning.’

Fred Gage said, ‘The Christian army is the only one that shoots and buries its wounded.’ So set the standard for your own life by evaluating people based on your experience with them, not on what somebody else says. Second-hand information is notoriously unreliable and misleading, and it violates Christ’s command to ‘treat people the same way you want them to treat you.’ (Matthew 7:12 NASB) When you have been hurt by tittle-tattle, you can relate to the wisdom of those words.

Rumours and innuendos may seem innocent and come to you subtly, but even if someone isn’t operating in malice, their motive is irrelevant. Spreading gossip defies walking in love and looking for the best in others. AW Tozer said, ‘Never pass anything on that will hurt somebody. “Love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8 NIV), and the talebearer has no place in God’s favour. If you know something that would hurt one of God’s children, take it out, bury it and say, “Here lies in peace the story about my brother.” God will take care of it.’

SoulFood: Acts 16–17, Matt 27:45–56, Ps 1, Pro 16:10–15

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Give It All You’ve Got! https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/give-it-all-youve-got-2/ Sun, 24 Jul 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15858 ‘The rest of the apostles were Simon, known as the Eager One…’ Luke 6:15 CEV

When Ohio State University Buckeyes and the University of Michigan Wolverines met in the 1968 college American football championships, Ohio soundly defeated their arch-rivals 50–14. The game will long be remembered because of what happened minutes from the end. With a commanding lead of 44–14, the Buckeyes pressed heroically to win a final touchdown. Instead of opting for the normal one-point conversion, the legendary Woody Hayes pushed unsuccessfully for a two-point conversion. After the game when he was asked by the press why he had opted for two points when the game was already won, Hayes replied, ‘Because I couldn’t go for three!’

Giving it your all results in victory not defeat; in satisfaction not regret. Enthusiasm is at the core of every worthwhile accomplishment. Paul writes, ‘It is good to be zealous in a good thing always.’ (Galatians 4:18 NKJV)

Among the disciples, one in particular was known for his enthusiasm: Simon the ‘Eager One’. Before his conversion, Simon belonged to a militant nationalist party committed to Jewish liberation from Rome. By grace, Simon the political zealot became a spiritual firebrand whose passion was channelled into the Gospel of Christ and His Kingdom.

The word enthusiasm comes from the two Greek words en Theos, meaning ‘God within’. Christian enthusiasm is God-inspired passion, driven by the Glory of God, directed by the Word of God, dedicated to the Son of God, and derived from the Spirit of God. When it comes to loving and serving Christ, giving it everything you’ve got is the only way to go! Today strive like Simon to be known as the ‘Eager One’.

SoulFood: Acts 14–15, Matt 27:33–44, Ps 65, Pro 16:8–9

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Three ‘Cheers’ https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/three-cheers/ Sat, 23 Jul 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15857 ‘Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ John 16:33 KJV

In the mid-eighties, Steven Patrick Morrissey, better known as ‘Moz’, dominated the British rock charts. Known for his melancholy as much as for his music, Morrissey’s songs had predominantly depressive themes. They dwelled on fractured relationships, lonely nightclubs, and the hopeless weight of the past. In short, Morrissey was a singer who lived a cheerless life in a minor key.

How different from the life Jesus called His followers to live! On three different occasions He encouraged His disciples to ‘be of good cheer.’ Bible teacher Philip De Courcy calls them ‘the three cheers of the New Testament.’

The first reason to be cheerful is because your sins are forgiven and forgotten in Christ (see Matthew 9:2). Because of Calvary, your faults and failings will never be used in judgment against you (see John 5:24).

The second reason to be cheerful is because we’re not fighting for victory but from the vantage point of victory. ‘In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33 NKJV)

And the third reason to cheer is because Jesus will be with you no matter what life throws at you or who comes against you. Like the terrified disciples on board a storm-tossed boat, He will be there when you need Him. You have His word on it: ‘They were troubled… But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”’ (Matthew 14:26–27 NKJV)

Peace isn’t the absence of storms. It’s knowing Christ is with us and ‘nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God… in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Romans 8:39 NLT)

SoulFood: Gen 14:18, Ps 110, Heb 5:5–11

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Science Recognises The Power Of Prayer (3) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/science-recognises-the-power-of-prayer-3/ Fri, 22 Jul 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15856 ‘Pray for each other so that you may be healed.’ James 5:16 NLT

Paul writes, ‘Never worry about anything. But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks. Then God’s peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 4:6–7 GWT)

Here are three final thoughts on the power of prayer:

(1) Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan found that when prayer and religious practices are important to people, their stress levels plummet and they experience much less anxiety.

(2) University of Texas researchers determined that people who regularly attend church take a more active role in maintaining their health. They’re more likely to get regular check-ups and take vitamins, and less likely to abuse alcohol and tobacco. They also tend to exercise daily and get a good night’s sleep. Consequently, they live longer, healthier lives. The Bible says your body is the home of the Holy Spirit… it doesn’t belong to you (see 1 Corinthians 6:19), so you must respect and take care of it.

(3) Research on Aging published study results from three major universities showing that people who hold meaningful religious beliefs and live accordingly are less likely to suffer from heart disease. The key lies in the critical role of blood pressure and heart disease. People who described their perspective as, ‘My religious beliefs are what lie behind my approach to life,’ had healthier blood pressure readings and weren’t negatively affected when they experienced stress.

It’s important to note that all these research reports were published by secular, non-religious institutions. The truth is, daily prayer enriches and enhances every aspect of your life.

SoulFood: Acts 12–13, Matt 27:27–32, Ps 14, Pro 16:6–7

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Science Recognises The Power Of Prayer (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/science-recognises-the-power-of-prayer-2/ Thu, 21 Jul 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15855 ‘The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.’ James 5:16 NLT

Seven more thoughts to consider:

(1) When it comes to praying and getting involved in church, a University of Michigan study found that it reduced the emotional toll of financial stress.

(2) A respected gerontologist reported that following heart surgery, private prayer can improve your overall state of well-being and make you feel less anxious.

(3) A National Survey of Children’s Health confirms that kids who get involved in church have higher educational expectations and do better in maths and reading. And kids who went to church as little as once a month are less likely to repeat a year in school.

(4) Psychiatric Services journal cites several studies showing how positive religious beliefs play an important role in recovery from alcohol and/or drug abuse, and greatly reduce the rate of recidivism.

(5) When researchers at Yale School of Medicine studied 2000 people over sixty-five, they found that the ones who attended church were less likely to lose their mental faculties in future years.

(6) Anger puts your stress reaction into overdrive, and raises your blood pressure. Ohio State University studies confirm that praying for the person you’re angry with can calm your anger and foster positive emotions like compassion, which improves your overall health.

(7) And Sociological Quarterly reports that teens who find meaning and importance in their faith have better relationships with their parents, which leads to a more satisfying experience for the whole family.

SoulFood: Acts 10–11, Matt 27:11–26, Ps 146, Pro 16:4–5

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Science Recognises The Power Of Prayer (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/science-recognises-the-power-of-prayer-1/ Wed, 20 Jul 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15854 ‘Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God.’ Philippians 4:6 CEV

God’s Word clearly tells us to ‘pray about everything.’ Today, science is beginning to recognise the value and the power of prayer. Researchers investigating the role of faith in health are discovering evidence that’s hard to refute. For example, a 2014 study conducted by The Mind Health Report confirmed that people who engage in private prayer, intercessory prayer, and church activities are healthier and live longer. Here are some additional benefits:

(1) Florida State University researchers found that praying for somebody increases your readiness to forgive them. When a group of men and women prayed for the well-being of a close friend every day for four weeks, they were more willing to forgive not only the friend but people in general. Forgiveness is associated with better overall health and satisfaction with life.

(2) University of Miami researchers discovered that prayer and religious practices improve your ability to pursue and achieve long-term goals. Prayer affects regions in your brain that improve self-control, and people who view their goals as sacred are more determined to attain them.

(3) A research study conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison concluded that victims of abusive relationships recovered a positive self-image and reduced their emotional pain when their lives included prayer.

(4) Columbia University researchers found that people who value religion and regularly attend church are 90 per cent less likely to suffer from depression than their non-religious peers.

That’s pretty strong evidence in favour of prayer, wouldn’t you say?

SoulFood: Acts 8–9, Matt 27:1–10, Ps 140, Pro 16:3

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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When You’re Tested https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/when-youre-tested/ Tue, 19 Jul 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15853 ‘Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.’ Genesis 22:10 NKJV

We are not all tested in the same ways, but we’ll be tested on the same issues. Consider Abraham. After waiting for twenty years, God gave him a son destined to ‘father of many nations.’ (Genesis 17:5 KJV) Then God told him to sacrifice that boy on a remote wilderness altar. It didn’t make sense because it contradicted God’s promise, yet Abraham obeyed.

Now, it’s unlikely you’ll be called to face the same challenges as Abraham, but, rest assured, you’ll be tested on the same issues. For example, you’ll be tested on your level of commitment. When the going gets tough, will you stay committed to God and obey His Word, or will you look for a way out? When it doesn’t make sense, isn’t fair, and you don’t deserve it, will you trust God and remain faithful to Him?

You’ll be tested on the issue of who is in control of your life. When you can see the hand of the Enemy at work or identify the person responsible for your predicament, pressure, or pain, will you remember that ‘all things work together for good’ and God is still running the show? (see Romans 8:28.)

Another area where you’ll be tested is on the issue of your faith. When it looked like God was reneging on His promise, yet ‘by faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac.’ (Hebrews 11:17 NKJV) How could a loving father do such a thing? Because he never doubted that God could raise Isaac up, ‘even from the dead.’ (Hebrews 11:19 NKJV)

So when you’re tested, ‘continue to hold firmly to [your] declaration of faith. The One who made the promise is faithful.’ (Hebrews 10:23 GWT)

SoulFood: Acts 6–7, Matt 26:57–75, Ps 133, Pro 16:2

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Getting Older, And Better https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/getting-older-and-better/ Mon, 18 Jul 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15852 ‘For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of My people; My chosen ones will long enjoy the work of their hands.’ Isaiah 65:22 NIV

In 1968 a scientist discovered a six-hundred-year-old necklace in a Native American grave. It was made up of seeds which had been strung together. He planted one of those seeds, and guess what happened: it sprouted and grew. Although the seed had been dormant for six hundred years, it still had the potential for life.

Maybe you have been a Christian for years and have been spiritually dormant for most of that time, but now you would like to be productive. You desire to be fruitful. The good news is, it’s not too late! You can begin right now. ‘The righteous will flourish like a palm tree… planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; He is my Rock.”’ (Psalm 92:12–15 NIV)

Did you know that a palm tree produces its greatest harvest of fruit in its final years? That can be your destiny too. ‘For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of My people; My chosen ones will long enjoy the work of their hands.’ That Scripture means bunions, bifocals, and baldness notwithstanding, your last season of life can be your greatest season of life. It may take you longer to do what you do, but fuelled with the wisdom of God’s Word and the years you have walked with Him, you can still make a mark for God in this world.

SoulFood: Acts 3:11–5:42, Matt 26:47–56, Ps 123, Pro 16:1

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Everybody Needs Somebody https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/everybody-needs-somebody/ Sun, 17 Jul 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15851 ‘Two are better than one.’ Ecclesiastes 4:9 KJV

Sportswriter Rick Reilly gave rookie professional athletes this advice: ‘Stop thumping your chest. The line blocked, the quarterback threw you a perfect spiral while getting his head knocked off, and the good receiver drew the double coverage. Get over yourself!’

During twenty-seven years coaching his ten-time national-champion UCLA basketball teams, Coach John Wooden reminded them, ‘It takes ten hands to score a basket.’

His message lines up perfectly with Solomon’s counsel: ‘Two are better than one’! No one realises his or her best potential on their own. God’s Word and life itself teach us that living is designed to be a team sport. In the very beginning, God established this principle: ‘It is not good for the man [or woman] to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’ (Genesis 2:18 NIV)

Being the ‘lone ranger’ was never God’s intention for us. Loneliness is a killer. Companionship is the elixir of life. In Ecclesiastes 4:1–12, Solomon talks about the value of human relationships in a challenging and difficult world. And teacher Philip De Courcy tells us that Biblical wisdom embraces ‘a theology of we’ and ‘rejects a theology of me’ (see Philippians 2:4). To win in life, we need to commit ourselves to:

(a) resisting the ‘go-it-alone’ spirit that often characterises our culture;

(b) cultivating meaningful relationships and learning to treasure our friends; (c)

staying closely connected to the members of the body of Christ;

(d) reaching out to the lonely and the fallen; and

(e) going out of our way to demonstrate the nature of real friendship (see Proverbs 17:17; Hebrews 10:24–25; Luke 10:25–37; John 15:13).

Blazing your own trail is a dead-end street. Life shared is life fully lived!

SoulFood: Acts 1:1–3:10, Matt 26:36–46, Ps 118:19–29, Pro 15:33

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Stress Dots https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/stress-dots/ Sat, 16 Jul 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15850 ‘You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!’ Isaiah 26:3 NLT

Have you heard of stress dots? They are little pressure-sensitive dots that you place on your hand. As adrenaline changes in your body, the dots change colour and reveal if you are under stress. Wouldn’t it be great if we had a tiny internal warning light that informed us every time our focus was off the Lord? Or if we had a small beep or signal light that cautioned us we were out of tune with God? We do! It’s known as tension.

Becoming tense is a sure indication that we have taken our eyes off the Lord and set them on circumstances. We are staring at the problem rather than the solution. And when we do that, we are going to get tense. When you think about it, stress can be God’s way of saying, ‘Get your focus in line: look at Me.’ The Bible says, ‘You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!’ You have the choice of focusing on your troubles or focusing on the One who holds the solution.

Corrie ten Boom wrote: ‘The blacker the night around us grew, the brighter and truer and more beautiful burned the Word of God. If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. But if you look at God, you’ll be at rest.’

It’s what you concentrate on that decides your amount of peace. So when trouble comes, focus on God’s presence; He is with you, and He has promised that He will never leave you (see Hebrews 13:5).

SoulFood: Gen 5:22–24, Heb 11:5, 2 Kings 2:1–12, Acts 1:9–11

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Are You Producing For God? https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/are-you-producing-for-god/ Fri, 15 Jul 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15849 ‘I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit— fruit that will last.’ John 15:16 NIV

Ever wonder how some people are able to accomplish so much? What makes them so productive? Fast-forward to the end of your own life. What will it take for you to be able to say, ‘I led a productive life. I accomplished what I set out to do’?

What do you consider to be a productive life? More importantly, do you know God’s definition of a productive life? Let’s consider what it means to be a fruitful Christian. The word ‘fruit’ occurs sixty-six times in the New Testament. Three different kinds of fruit are referred to: the kind we eat—figs and grapes; biological fruit—infants; and spiritual fruit—Christ-like character. The Bible defines this spiritual fruit as nine things: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (see Galatians 5:22–23).

Now you know the kind of fruit that God wants produced in your life. That’s how He defines a productive life. Jesus said, ‘This is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples.’ (John 15:8 NIV) The proof that you are a disciple of Jesus is that you bear spiritual fruit.

Perhaps you’re a good ‘fruit inspector’ when it comes to examining the lives of others. But what kind of fruit is growing in your own life? Are you growing more carnal or more Christ-like? To know how fruitful you are, examine what’s growing in your life. If you like what you see, keep doing what you’re doing. If you don’t, get down on your knees and pray, ‘Father, help me to bring forth fruit that glorifies You.’

SoulFood: Joel 1–3, Matt 26:26–35, Ps 118:10–18, Pro 15:31–32

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Responding Like Jesus https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/responding-like-jesus/ Thu, 14 Jul 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15848 ‘He did not retaliate.’ 1 Peter 2:23 NIV

When someone disappoints or upsets you, what do you do? Pull out your big guns and react? Do you say, ‘You make me so mad!’? When you say that, you’re admitting someone else is controlling your emotions. You’re acknowledging you have given that person the power to determine your feelings and reactions. No one can take control from you—you give it away the moment you start reacting!

The Bible says, ‘Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.’ (Romans 12:21 NIV) To retaliate is to react. But to forgive is to act. It’s saying, ‘I choose the way I respond.’ Do other people control your emotional state? Do you let them raise your happiness level or plunge you into worry, fear, or anger?

‘Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city.’ (Proverbs 16:32 NLT) The person who can control their moods and reactions is stronger than a walled city. But a person who cannot control their own spirit is defenceless, like a city with no walls around it. That person has no defence; they are at the mercy of whatever anyone wants to do to them.

Strength is found in gentleness, and gentleness has the ability to handle hurt without retaliating; it can absorb the blow without needing to strike back. Jesus called it ‘turning the other cheek’ (see Matthew 5:39).

You say, ‘That’s not easy to do.’ No, it’s not; sometimes it’s almost impossible.

You say, ‘To respond that way is not natural.’ You’re right, it is supernatural; it is the fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22–23).

You need God’s power to live this way.

SoulFood: Jer 51–52, Matt 26:14–25, Ps 118:1–9, Pro 15:27–30

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Making Wise Decisions https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/making-wise-decisions/ Wed, 13 Jul 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15847 ‘Listen to the words of the wise.’ Proverbs 22:17 NLT

Think about the major decisions we make over our lifetime: choosing a mate, deciding where to live, and what career to pursue. Looking back, can you say you have consistently made the wisest choices?

Jennifer Winquist writes, ‘We make choices based on what feels best, what’s easiest… fastest… makes our kids happy… shuts up the boss… stops our problem for the moment… We buy wants instead of saving for necessities. We marry Mr Right-Now instead of waiting for Mr Right. We eat a bag of chips instead of a bag of carrots… We don’t plan to fail, but unless we plan to win by making wise choices, we can end up getting the short end of the stick… Wise choices aren’t usually quick fixes, selfish, or short-term; they involve planning, hard work, sacrifice, and resilience. But the rewards are huge.’

James says, ‘If any of you lack wisdom… ask… God… and it shall be given.’ (James 1:5 KJV) The world spends billions of dollars seeking wisdom but, as God’s children, we have the wisdom of the Creator of the universe at our disposal. Furthermore, when you develop the patience and maturity to make the wise choice instead of the easy one, you never have to live in fear of the outcome.

John Mason says growing in wisdom means fearing God, pleasing Him, hearing from Him, looking to Him, choosing His way, staying humble before Him, taking His advice, receiving His correction, maintaining a prayer connection with Him, and knowing His Son personally (see Psalm 111:10; Ecclesiastes 2:26; Proverbs 2:6; 3:13; 8:10–11; 11:2; 13:10; 29:15; Ephesians 1:16–17; 1 Corinthians 1:30).

So… how are you doing with that so far?

SoulFood: Jer 49–50, Matt 26:1–13, Ps 109:16–31, Pro 15:23–26

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Be Strong In The Lord https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/be-strong-in-the-lord-2/ Tue, 12 Jul 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15846 ‘Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.’ Ephesians 6:10 NIV

The Bible says, ‘Be strong—not in yourselves but in the Lord, in the power of His boundless resource. Put on God’s complete armour so that you can successfully resist all the devil’s methods of attack. For our fight is not against any physical enemy: it is against organisations and powers that are spiritual. We are up against the unseen power that controls this dark world, and spiritual agents from the very headquarters of evil. Therefore you must wear the whole armour of God that you may be able to resist evil in its day of power, and that even when you have fought to a standstill you may still stand your ground. Take your stand then with truth as your belt, righteousness your breastplate, the Gospel of peace firmly on your feet, salvation as your helmet and in your hand the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. Above all be sure you take faith as your shield, for it can quench every burning missile the enemy hurls at you. Pray at all times with every kind of spiritual prayer, keeping alert and persistent as you pray for all Christ’s men and women.’ (Ephesians 6:10–18 PHPS)

The way to make a comeback is to get back up and move forward. Winning consists of getting up one more time than you were knocked down. Booker T. Washington said, ‘Success is not measured by the heights one attains, but by the obstacles one overcomes in its attainment.’

The God you serve is bigger than the obstacles you face. The strength He provides is greater than the forces arrayed against you. So be strong in the Lord!

SoulFood: Jer 45–48, Matt 25:31–46, Ps 109:1–15, Pro 15:22

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Keep Your Conscience Clear https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/keep-your-conscience-clear-2/ Mon, 11 Jul 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15845 ‘I always try to maintain a clear conscience before God and all people.’ Acts 24:16 NLT

It’s been said that our conscience was given to us after the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden. In other words, our desire to know the difference between good and evil was granted through the mechanism God placed within us known as a conscience. So we must not ignore its promptings, silence its voice, or allow it to become calloused, because it’s a built-in warning system that protects us from danger and harm. That means you shouldn’t be troubled when your conscience bothers you; you should be troubled when it doesn’t.

Here are ten principles for keeping your conscience clear:

(1) Always pay attention to the inner nudging that makes you stop and question your decisions.

(2) Think of your conscience as a God-given filter that helps keep your heart pure.

(3) Examine your motives in all ‘giving’ situations.

(4) If you think you may have hurt someone’s feelings, ask for forgiveness.

(5) Invite God to examine your heart and reveal changes that need to be made in your attitudes and actions.

(6) To the best of your ability, don’t knowingly involve yourself in compromising situations.

(7) Consider others first, and honour them with your words and actions.

(8) Remember that your conscience is your moral compass.

(9) Establish ethical guidelines in all your business dealings.

(10) When a thought leaves you feeling unsettled, take time to pray and talk about it with someone you trust.

The word for today is—always maintain a clear conscience before God.

SoulFood: Jer 41–44, Matt 25:14–30, Ps 79, Pro 15:18–21

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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The Sin Of Omission https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/the-sin-of-omission-2/ Sun, 10 Jul 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15844 ‘To him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.’ James 4:17 NKJV

We tend to focus on sins of commission—the wrong we do. But what about sins of omission—the good we fail to do? In Christ’s parables, when someone was condemned, it was often over a sin of omission. A man was put out of a wedding because he had no wedding garment (see Matthew 22:12). Five virgins were excluded from the wedding party because they’d no oil in their lamps (see Matthew 25:3–11). A servant who buried his talent in the ground instead of using it, forfeited it (see Matthew 25:25–28). A rich man who failed to care for his neighbour was condemned for it (see Luke 16:19–24). A barren fig tree that failed to produce fruit was cursed and died (see Mark 11:20–24).

You say, ‘But I’m interested in a deeper spiritual life.’ Well, the deepest spiritual life is one spent doing good to others! And it’s the basis on which you’ll be judged and rewarded. ‘Then the King will say… “I was hungry, and you didn’t feed Me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give Me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite Me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give Me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit Me.” Then they will reply, “Lord, when did we ever see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help You?” And He will answer, “I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these My brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help Me.”’ (Matthew 25:41–45 NLT)

So when you’ve a chance to do good—do it!

SoulFood: Jer 36:27–40:16, Matt 25:1–13, Ps 137, Pro 15:15–17

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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A Key To Answered Prayer https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/a-key-to-answered-prayer/ Sat, 09 Jul 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15843 ‘Don’t refuse to help.’ Isaiah 58:7 GWT

Max Lucado writes: ‘Ours is the wealthiest generation of Christians ever. We are bright, educated, and experienced. We can travel around the world in twenty-four hours or send a message in a millisecond. We have the most sophisticated research and medicines at the tips of our fingers. We have ample resources. A mere 2 percent of the world’s grain harvest would be enough, if shared, to erase the problems of hunger and malnutrition around the world. There is enough food on the planet to offer every person twenty-five hundred calories of sustenance a day. We have enough food to feed the hungry… When your grandchildren discover you lived during a day in which 1.75 billion people were poor and 1 billion were hungry, how will they judge your response?’

More importantly, what will God say? When the Israelites complained that God wouldn’t answer their prayer, He told them: ‘Let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke. Share your food with the hungry, take the poor and homeless into your house, and cover them with clothes when you see them naked. Don’t refuse to help your relatives. Then your light will break through like the dawn, and you will heal quickly. Your righteousness will go ahead of you, and the glory of the Lord will guard you from behind. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer. You will cry for help, and He will say, “Here I am!”… The Lord will continually guide you and satisfy you.’ (Isaiah 58:6–11 GWT)

So instead of focusing on your own needs, focus on the needs of others. That’s a key to answered prayer.

SoulFood: Num 9:15–23, Exo 24:15, Matt 17:1–8

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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God Will Help You To Succeed https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/god-will-help-you-to-succeed-2/ Fri, 08 Jul 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15842 ‘All his companions were astonished at the catch of fish.’ Luke 5:9 NIV

‘[Jesus] said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because You say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signalled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch… Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they… left everything and followed Him.’ (Luke 5:4–11 NIV)

Here are seven life-changing truths you need to learn:

(1) Jesus will come to where you work and help you;

(2) When what you are doing is not working, He will show you a better way;

(3) Even though it may not make sense at the moment, do what He tells you;

(4) The success He has in mind for you is greater than anything you can envision for yourself;

(5) Your existing systems may not be able to handle what He has in mind, so be willing to change how you do things;

(6) When you experience His goodness, you’ll fall at His feet and acknowledge Him as your Lord;

(7) When you realise what He has in mind for you, you’ll leave everything and follow Him.

SoulFood: Jer 33:1–36:26, Matt 24:36–51, Ps 122, Pro 15:10–14

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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An Apology That Works https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/an-apology-that-works/ Thu, 07 Jul 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15841 ‘If you have sinned, you should tell each other what you have done. Then you can pray for one another and be healed.’ James 5:16 CEV

A genuine apology can help heal and restore a strained or broken relationship. But as Dr Gary Chapman tells us, it doesn’t end there. Observe these:

(1) Saying ‘I’m sorry’ isn’t enough! It’s a good and necessary start, but it’s not a good finish. For example, ‘I’m sorry you took it that way’ isn’t an apology; it’s a covert attack! You need to specifically confess what you’re remorseful about. ‘I’m so sorry that what I said insulted you’ acknowledges what you did and affirms the wounded person.

(2) Take full responsibility for your behaviour. Without that, there is no healing or reconciliation. ‘I was wrong to speak to you like that’ is honest, humble, concrete, and responsible. It helps the injured party see your apology as genuine. Genuineness diminishes anger and encourages others to trust and accept your words.

(3) Offer to make amends where possible. Ask, ‘Is there anything I can do to make things better?’ Putting yourself on the line to do everything you can do makes your apology heartfelt and sincere. James puts it like this: ‘Tell each other what you have done. Then you can pray for one another and be healed.’

(4) Ask for forgiveness—don’t take it for granted. ‘Will you please forgive me for what I did?’ You need to say it and the other person needs to hear it before healing and restoration can start. When you ask for forgiveness and it’s been granted, you have ‘signed on the dotted line’ together. You’re recording your mutual commitment to move beyond the hurt and work towards a healthier relationship.

SoulFood: Jer 31–32, Matt 24:26–35, Ps 110, Pro 15:8–9

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Control Your Tongue https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/control-your-tongue-2/ Wed, 06 Jul 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15840 ‘My inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right.’ Proverbs 23:16 NIV

Never underestimate the power of a spoken word. Only one man in American history ever resigned from the presidency: Richard Nixon. Have you ever considered what brought President Nixon down? Traditional thinking says it was the tapes of his private conversations. But it wasn’t the tapes, it was his tongue. It wasn’t the tapes but what he said on the tapes that determined his demise.

The words tongue, mouth, lips, and words are mentioned in the book of Proverbs almost 150 times; roughly five times in each of the thirty-one chapters. The fact that so much importance is placed on our words tells us we had better take care of what comes out of our mouths. Stop and consider this: in a period of fifty years, the average person says enough words to create twelve thousand volumes of three hundred pages each. If that’s the average, think about the libraries you’re filling and the legacy you’re leaving behind. And sadly, some of the words you speak will never be forgotten!

William Norris wrote, ‘If your lips would keep from slips, five things observe with care: To whom you speak, of whom you speak, and how, and when, and where.’

Solomon wanted his children to grow up with a heart of wisdom, so he said, ‘My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad indeed; my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right.’ (Proverbs 23:15–16 NIV) So today, control your tongue.

SoulFood: Jer 28–30, Matt 24:15–25, Ps 102:18–28, Pro 15:4–7

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Before Your Window Of Opportunity Closes https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/before-your-window-of-opportunity-closes/ Tue, 05 Jul 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15839 ‘Come, my children, listen as I teach you.’ Psalm 34:11 CEV

Your children will grow up fast, and before you know it, your window of opportunity will close at supersonic speed. What they want from you now is as much time and attention as they can get, and there will come a time when they won’t want it. Here is an eye-opening poem entitled ‘To My Grown-Up Son’ by Alice Chase. You might want to take a deep breath before you read it.

‘My hands were busy through the day. I didn’t have much time to play the little games you asked me to. I didn’t have much time for you. I’d wash your clothes, I’d sew and cook, but when you’d bring your picture book and ask me, please, to share your fun, I’d say, “A little later, son.” I’d tuck you in all safe at night, and hear your prayers, turn out the light, then tiptoe safely to the door. I’d wish I’d stayed a minute more. For life is short, and years rush past, a little boy grows up so fast. No longer is he at your side, his precious secrets to confide. The picture books are put away, there are no children’s games to play, no good night kiss, no prayers to hear. That all belongs to yesteryear. My hands once busy, now lie still, the days are long and hard to fill. I wish I might go back and do the little things you asked me to.’

When Joseph brought his sons to visit his father, Jacob, the old man said, ‘Bring them to me so I may bless them.’ (Genesis 48:9 NIV)

Mum, Dad, get involved before your window of opportunity closes.

SoulFood: Jer 25–27, Matt 24:1–14, Ps 102:12–17, Pro 15:3

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Keep Exercising Your Faith (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/keep-exercising-your-faith-2/ Mon, 04 Jul 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15838 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ Revelation 2:29 NKJV

It’s not enough to simply listen to a sermon, you must try to hear what God is saying to you. You can hear something totally different from what the person sitting beside you in church hears. Why? Because God is personalising the message for you. The Bible is called ‘the living Word’ (see Hebrews 4:12) because certain Scriptures suddenly come to life and take root within you. Sometimes you will hear what nobody else hears. You may even miss several of the sermon points and still come home with the answer you need.

Paul says, ‘Faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.’ (Romans 10:17 NLT) When you can say, ‘I get it, it’s mine,’ the faith that comes by hearing is doing its special work within you. Before Israel went into battle, the prophets would consult God to be sure He was leading them. That’s because God honours faith only when it’s based on what He promised. So what you should fight for is what God has promised!

Remember, you can’t say God failed you if He didn’t promise it to you in the first place. And you shouldn’t get upset when your own misguided desires make you reach for what He gave to somebody else. The old-timers used to sing, ‘Every promise in the book is mine, every chapter, every verse, every line,’ and that’s true inasmuch as God loves us all equally. But there are specific promises He wants to fulfil in your life because your calling is different from others. That’s why you must always seek God for clarity and confirmation.

SoulFood: Jer 22–24, Matt 23:23–39, Ps 102:1–11, Pro 14:35–15:2

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Keep Exercising Your Faith (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/keep-exercising-your-faith-1/ Sun, 03 Jul 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15837 ‘If you have faith.’ Matthew 17:20 NKJV

Paul writes, ‘Now faith is the substance of things hoped for.’ (Hebrews 11:1 NKJV) Observe the words ‘now faith’. Thank God for the faith of our fathers, but to move the mountain that stands in your way, you need ‘now faith’.

Jesus said, ‘If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move… and it will move.”’ (Matthew 17:20 NKJV) Your grandmother’s faith may have moved her mountain, but it’s going to take your own faith to move ‘this mountain’.

We all have mountains in our lives, and God is willing to move them. So what’s the problem? Doubt! Other people’s opinions! Failure to understand God’s Word! Even though Jesus gave His disciples power to heal the sick, they were rendered helpless by a demon-possessed boy. ‘Why could we not cast the spirit out of him?’ they asked (see Matthew 17:19).

Notice what Jesus told them:

(1) Be willing to start small. A tiny ‘mustard seed’ can grow into something much bigger. So start where you are and believe God for ordinary, everyday things, and when He honours your faith, thank Him and build on it.

(2) Watch what you say. ‘If you have faith… you will say to this mountain, “Move… and it will move.”’ Your words release the life-giving force of God’s Word. So line up what comes out of your mouth with what’s written in Scripture.

(3) Be willing to do what’s needed. Some mountains need a little extra prayer, or in the case of this demon-possessed boy, the power that comes through fasting. The bottom line is this: when you do what God’s Word says, you will see mountains moved in your life.

SoulFood: Jer 18–21, Matt 23:13–22, Ps 98, Pro 14:34

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Try To Slow Down (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/try-to-slow-down-2/ Sat, 02 Jul 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15836 ‘Whoever believes will not act hastily.’ Isaiah 28:16 NKJV

Every time you get in a hurry mode, you send a ‘state of emergency’ signal to your body. And it responds by releasing the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol that prepare you to deal with danger. The body cannot distinguish between physical danger, or the danger of losing your job, or any other form of stress and pressure. It only knows that action has to be taken and that it must energise you to deal with it. Now, this is a good thing if you’re indeed physically threatened. But to live with your body constantly on high alert is like fighting a fifteen-round nonstop boxing match. Sooner or later, you pay the price in the form of heart disease, ulcers, forgetfulness, and a multitude of other conditions. What’s the cure?

A-B-C: Awareness, Belief, Change.

Become aware of your continual high-gear mode and what part you play each time you hurry. Ask yourself, ‘How could I have prevented this?’

Believe that the Holy Spirit will give you victory if you ask Him and begin to change your behaviour.

Change—consciously slow down. Talk slower, move slower. ‘Haste makes waste.’ Haste causes duplication of work, accidents, and other things that result in wasted time. Question: are you speed-reading today’s devotion? If so, this is the word for you today: try taking twice as long to read and meditate on what you’re reading, and ask God, ‘What are You saying to me? What changes do You want to bring about in my life? In what ways do You want me to improve?’

God is not in a hurry, so slow down and get in sync with Him.

SoulFood: Exo 20:1–17, Matt 5:1–12

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Try To Slow Down (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/try-to-slow-down-1/ Fri, 01 Jul 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15835 ‘You will not leave in a hurry, running for your lives. For the Lord will go ahead of you; yes, the God of Israel will protect you from behind.’ Isaiah 52:12 NLT

Have you heard of ‘hurry sickness’? Those who have it zoom in and out of lanes in congested traffic; try to be the first off the plane, even though they must wait forever at baggage claim; honk at you if you don’t take off like a rocket when the traffic light turns green; tap their fingers against anything they can find when they have to wait; punch the lift button repeatedly in an attempt to move it faster.

They remind us of hummingbirds. These tiny birds can fly forward, then hover in mid-air going nowhere. Their tiny wings can move up to seventy-five times each second! The trouble is, their average life span is only three years compared to an eagle that lives thirty years. What’s the difference? The eagle has learned to conserve its energy by riding the God-given wind currents. The message here is simple: when you draw on the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, you last longer and go higher than you ever dreamed.

One pastor said he was a ‘stress-distributing machine’ when he was younger, and everybody around him felt it. One day one of his kids said to him, ‘Daddy, I’ll try to hurry up and tell you this.’

He replied, ‘It’s okay, honey, you can speak slowly.’

After a long pause, he had an ‘aha’ moment when his child said, ‘Then—listen—slowly!’

Deciding to move at a slower pace will definitely improve the quality of your life and your relationships.

SoulFood: Jer 14–17, Matt 23:1–12, Ps 95, Pro 14:29–33

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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God Will Provide ‘All Things’ You Need https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/god-will-provide-all-things-you-need/ Thu, 30 Jun 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15834 ‘Will He not also with Him freely give us all things?’ Romans 8:32 NASB

The Bible says, ‘He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?’

Author Max Lucado gives this analogy: ‘Suppose a man comes upon a child being beaten by thugs. He dashes into the mob, rescues the boy, and carries him to a hospital. The youngster is nursed to health. The man pays for the child’s treatment. He learns that the child is an orphan and adopts him as his own and gives the boy his name. Then one night, months later, the father hears the son sobbing into his pillow. He goes to him and asks about the tears. “I’m worried, Daddy… about tomorrow. Where will I get food to eat? How am I going to buy clothes to stay warm? And where will I sleep?” The father is rightfully troubled. “Haven’t I shown you? Don’t you understand? I risked my life to save you. I gave my money to treat you. You wear my name. I’ve called you my son. Would I do all that and then not meet your needs?” Honestly, now. Did God save you so you would fret? Would He teach you to walk just to watch you fall? Would He be nailed to the cross for your sins and then disregard your prayers? Come on! Is Scripture teasing us when it says, “He has put His angels in charge of you to watch over you wherever you go”? (Psalm 91:11 NCV)’

You know better, don’t you? So stop worrying, and stand securely on His promise that He will ‘freely give us all things’ you need

SoulFood: Jer 10–13, Matt 22:34–46, Ps 64, Pro 14:25–28

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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How Are You Treating Your Family? https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/how-are-you-treating-your-family/ Wed, 29 Jun 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15833 ‘Is it not my family God has chosen?’ 2 Samuel 23:5 NLT

Whether in church or in the workplace, if you’re ‘the person in charge’, here is a question you need to seriously address: if you don’t love and take care of your own family, why should the people who look to you for direction think you will love and take care of them?

Does that question make you uncomfortable? Does it cause you to react by saying, ‘My personal life is nobody else’s business’? Well, that’s where you’re wrong! You lead by example. And while the people around you may not feel free to tell you what they think of you, that doesn’t keep them from thinking it or voicing it to others. In your quest for success, are you taking your family with you or are you leaving them behind? Are you giving them the time and attention they deserve, or are they routinely subjected to your frustrations at the end of a trying day? Are they more important to you than your career, your success, or your personal happiness? They should be. If you win every accolade and award available in the workplace and fail on the home front, what have you gained? Who will celebrate with you?

Psychologist William James said, ‘In every person there is a deep craving to be appreciated.’ And the shallow comments of fellow workers who praise your talent and accomplishments won’t meet that need. It can only be met in a home where acceptance, love, and encouragement bond each family member together. Your home should be your haven—the place where you find shelter from the storms of life. What are you doing to make it like that?

SoulFood: Jer 7–9, Matt 22:23–33, Ps 59:9–17, Pro 14:23–24

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Mind Your Mind https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/mind-your-mind/ Tue, 28 Jun 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15832 ‘For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.’ Proverbs 23:7 NKJV

When we’re young, we’re told, ‘Mind your manners.’ When we launch out into a career, we’re told, ‘Mind your business.’ Well, here is some wise counsel that applies to all of life: ‘Mind your mind!’ When you lose out in that arena, you lose out everywhere else! In Proverbs 23, Solomon outlines six principles to live by when it comes to thinking:

(1) Your thoughts determine your character. ‘For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.’ Before you tell a lie, you first entertain it and think like a liar. Before you commit adultery, you first entertain a fantasy. So if you don’t want to do something, stop dwelling on it!

(2) Don’t waste your thoughts on people who don’t value them. ‘Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words.’ (Proverbs 23:9 NKJV)

(3) The first person you must learn to lead is yourself. ‘Apply your heart to instruction, and your ears to words of knowledge.’ (Proverbs 23:12 NKJV) As long as you keep growing, you can keep leading.

(4) Be sure your role models are people of principle and integrity. ‘Do not let your heart envy sinners.’ (Proverbs 23:17 NKJV)

(5) Remain confident that the vision God has given you will come to pass. ‘Be zealous for the fear of the Lord all the day; for surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off.’ (Proverbs 23:17–18 NKJV)

(6) Remain steadfast in what you know is right. Don’t get side-tracked. ‘Hear and be wise; and guide your heart in the way.’ (Proverbs 23:19 NKJV)

Bottom line: Mind your mind.

SoulFood: Jer 4–6, Matt 22:15–22, Ps 59:1–8, Pro 14:21–22

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Wait On God! https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/wait-on-god/ Mon, 27 Jun 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15831 ‘Wait on the Lord.’ Psalm 27:14 NKJV

When we become impatient and react without thinking, we can do damage to ourselves and others. Sometimes when we pray and God doesn’t respond quickly enough, we decide to take matters into our own hands and things get worse as a result. When God tells you to wait, He is saying, ‘Trust Me with the timing, the ways and means, and you will get a better result.’

David wrote: ‘I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!’ (Psalm 27:13–14 NKJV) It can be tough to wait on the Lord. It’s much easier in the heat of the moment to lose your calm. Stop and look back. How did the hasty and prayerless decisions you made in the past turn out? Do you think this situation will be different? Not a chance!

What do you want? Temporary relief or a permanent solution? Haste makes waste! When you act in haste, you do things you end up regretting and having to apologise for. Or worse, justifying! Impulsiveness got King Saul into serious trouble. Instead of waiting for the prophet Samuel to arrive and the priests to offer a peace offering to God ensuring their victory over the Philistines, Saul grew impatient, usurped the role of a priest, and offered the sacrifice himself. When Samuel asked him why, he replied, ‘I felt compelled.’ (1 Samuel 13:12 NKJV) And the result? ‘Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly… now your kingdom shall not continue.”’ (1 Samuel 13:13–14 NKJV) So, wait on God.

SoulFood: Jer 1–3, Matt 22:1–14, Ps 21, Pro 14:17–20

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Jesus Knows Your Potential https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/jesus-knows-your-potential/ Sun, 26 Jun 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15830 ‘I have come that they may have life.’ John 10:10 NIV

Have the experiences you have been through made you a different person from the one God intended you to be? Have the people, pursuits, and pleasures you chose resulted in a feeling of hopelessness about your future?

When you lose your sense of worth, it’s hard to believe God could love you—but He does. He knows that hidden inside you is a person who can do great things for Him. That’s why He is stirring your heart and letting you know He is moving in your life. So respond to Him in faith. Dare to believe that He can make you ‘a new creation.’ (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV) Shift your confidence from your own weakness to His power. Trust in Him rather than in yourself. Whether your wounds were self-inflicted or caused by others, Jesus will heal you and raise you up again.

You say, ‘But you don’t know the things I have done, and the people I have hurt.’ Jesus does. And He wants to straighten out the crooked places in your heart and make you whole. But you must allow Him access to every area of your life. When He comes into your heart, you will never be the same broken person again.

David’s sins became a national scandal. But when God forgave and restored him, he wrote: ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, who satisfies your mouth with good things.’ (Psalm 103:2–5 NKJV) Notice the potential benefits of committing your life to Christ: forgiveness, healing, freedom from destructive habits, mercy, and satisfaction.

SoulFood: Hosea 11–14, Matt 21:33–46, Ps 17, Pro 14:13–16

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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When You Fail, Jesus Prays For You https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/when-you-fail-jesus-prays-for-you/ Sat, 25 Jun 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15829 ‘I have prayed for you.’ Luke 22:32 NKJV

‘Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.’ (Luke 22:31–32 NKJV)

Are you involved in things you never thought yourself capable of doing? You never thought you would have an affair. You never thought you would cheat, steal, and lie to get ahead. You never thought you would become jealous and resentful of someone else’s success. You never thought you would neglect or mistreat your family. You never thought you would get hooked on pornography. You never thought you would become addicted to drugs and alcohol. You’re not alone! Peter swore that he would never deny Jesus, but he did. And not just once but repeatedly.

Did Peter love the Lord? Absolutely. But because he was weak, he turned his back on Him. What a load of guilt to carry. No wonder he ‘went out and wept bitterly.’ (Luke 22:62 NKJV) But Jesus knew in advance it would happen and told Peter that He would be praying for him. Here is an amazing thought: when you sin, Jesus prays for you! ‘Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.’ (Hebrews 7:25 NKJV)

Picture this: you’re struggling with a sinful habit, while at the same time, Jesus presents His cleansing blood to the Father and petitions Him for help and mercy on your behalf. Will Jesus’ prayers on your behalf be answered? Of course. And like Peter, however long it takes, He will work with you until you’re restored.

SoulFood: Exo 34:29–35, Mark 9:2–27, 2 Cor 3:7–18

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Sparrows https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/sparrows/ Fri, 24 Jun 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15828 ‘Your heavenly Father feeds them.’ Matthew 6:26 NKJV

Jesus said: ‘Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?… These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.’ (Matthew 6:26–33 NLT)

If you need some more Scriptural promises to stand on, here they are:

‘Fear the Lord, you His godly people, for those who fear Him will have all they need.’ (Psalm 34:9 NLT)

‘Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who delights greatly in His commandments. His descendants will be mighty on earth; The generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches will be in his house… He will not be afraid of evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.’ (Psalm 112:1–7 NKJV)

God recorded these promises in His Word so that you could read them over and over, and in reading them, rise above worry and live your life with joy and confidence.

SoulFood: Hosea 6–10, Matt 21:18–32, Ps 8, Pro 14:9–12

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Don’t Withhold It—Give It! https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/dont-withhold-it-give-it/ Thu, 23 Jun 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15827 ‘He makes you this solemn promise, “I will bless you.”’ Genesis 22:16–17 CEV

God won’t ask you for what you don’t have, but sometimes He will ask for the thing you really want to keep. Why? To see if there is anything you value or depend on more than Him. Abraham was tested many times in many different ways. But he passed the tests and was blessed like very few others in the Bible.

Imagine God saying to you, ‘Take now your son, your only son… whom you love… and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.’ (Genesis 22:2 NKJV) Can you envision the questions that would swirl through your mind? Little wonder Abraham was called ‘the friend of God’ (James 2:23 NKJV) and ‘the father of all who believe.’ (Romans 4:11 NIV)

And when the test was over, God said this: ‘Because you have done this thing, and have not withheld… your only son… I will bless you, and… multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore… In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.’ (Genesis 22:16–18 NKJV)

So here is the question: what is God asking of you? Are you wrestling with it? Are you withholding what He wants, or are you ‘all in’? Isaac was the hardest seed Abraham ever had to sow. But that seed produced a harvest of blessing greater than anything Abraham ever dreamed or thought possible.

What is God asking you to do today? When you say yes to Him, you will experience a whole new level of blessing in your life. Try it and see.

SoulFood: Hosea 1–5, Matt 21:1–17, Ps 144:9–15, Pro 14:5–8

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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How To Be Financially Secure https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/how-to-be-financially-secure/ Wed, 22 Jun 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15826 ‘The righteous give generously.’ Psalm 37:21 NIV

Your desire for financial security can discourage you from giving. Why? Because each dollar you give away feels like it’s no longer available for your protection. But the opposite is true. Our sense of freedom and security actually increases when we give, because giving is a declaration that our security rests someplace other than the bank or our own earning capacity. Giving is an act of confidence in God, and it’s the only way to overcome financial insecurity.

Think of all the things in life over which we have little or no control. Illness. Accidents. Job losses. Economic conditions. No wonder we’re insecure! The Bible says: ‘One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.’ (Proverbs 11:24–25 NIV)

To the rational mind it sounds counterintuitive, but to the Kingdom mind it makes good sense. Paul writes: ‘“A few seeds make a small harvest, but a lot of seeds make a big harvest.” Each of you must make up your own mind about how much to give. But don’t feel sorry that you must give and don’t feel that you are forced to give. God loves people who love to give. God can bless you with everything you need, and you will always have more than enough to do all kinds of good things for others.’ (2 Corinthians 9:6–8 CEV)

In your hand, a dollar will never be worth more than a dollar. But when you sow it into God’s Kingdom, it begins a harvest you can reap when you have a need. Giving is truly the key to financial security.

SoulFood: 2 Kings 24–25, Matt 20:29–34, Ps 144:1–8, Pro 14:1–4

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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You Need A Support System https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/you-need-a-support-system/ Tue, 21 Jun 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15825 ‘Share each other’s burdens.’ Galatians 6:2 NLT

God created our physical bodies with internal systems that support each other. And it’s the same in our relationships. Everybody needs a support system. Sometimes when others disappoint us, we say, ‘From now on it’s just going to be God and me!’ That’s a big mistake! It’s the sheep who strays from the fold that gets eaten by the wolf. Satan will isolate you in order to destroy you.

‘A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.’ (Ecclesiastes 4:12 NLT) Studies show that people who have caring support live longer, recover from illness faster, and find life more meaningful. Support gives us a sense of connection and acceptance, which are core human needs. It provides an arena in which you can be vulnerable; a place where you can feel safe in saying, ‘I don’t know,’ or ‘Can you help me,’ or ‘I need a hug.’ This is support—God’s way. And if you can’t find it in your own family, turn to the family of God.

And one more thought: don’t forget to express your appreciation to those who support you. Tokens of gratitude go a long way in saying, ‘I’m grateful for your help.’ Support is not a one-way street: ‘Share each other’s burdens.’ Don’t get so engrossed in your own problems that you forget others have problems too. Take the time to inquire about their concerns. No one likes a taker. It’s in the give-and-take of mutual support that we grow and fulfil our God-given potential in life.

SoulFood: 2 Kings 21–23, Matt 20:17–28, Ps 139:13–24, Pro 13:25

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Like Seeds Growing Within You https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/like-seeds-growing-within-you/ Mon, 20 Jun 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15824 ‘This Word is at work in you believers.’ 1 Thessalonians 2:13 GWT

When you read God’s Word and believe it and act on it, it’s like seeds growing inside you. Those seeds have life! In the natural world, you don’t have to understand the process by which seeds grow; you just have to water, nurture, and protect them. And it’s the same with Scripture.

Paul writes, ‘You welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.’ (1 Thessalonians 2:13 NKJV) Note the phrase ‘effectively works in you.’ God’s Word is self-sustaining; it doesn’t require others to validate it.

In the New Testament account, when Jesus was walking on the water towards His disciples, Peter said, ‘Lord, if it’s You… tell me to come.’ (Matthew 14:28 NIV) Jesus gave him one word, ‘Come,’ (Matthew 14:29 NIV) and Peter started walking. The other disciples probably didn’t believe Peter could do it. That’s because they didn’t understand Who was speaking to Peter. ‘They thought [Jesus] was a ghost!’ (Mark 6:49 NIV)

There is a lesson here for us all. When God speaks to you through His Word, don’t expect everybody to understand, agree, or support you. It’s only human to want certain people to see what you see and believe in what you do. But in this Scripture, God prepares us for rejection by those who don’t understand what God has told us. If you’re not careful, people’s opinions can make you doubt what God has said. Sometimes He confirms what He told you through others, and sometimes He doesn’t. But as long as you feed on His Word and believe it, it ‘effectively works in you.’

SoulFood: 2 Kings 18:17–20:21, Matt 20:1–16, Ps 139:7–12, Pro 13:24

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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God Speaks To You Through His Word https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/god-speaks-to-you-through-his-word/ Sun, 19 Jun 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15823 ‘The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.’ John 6:63 NKJV

God will speak to you through His Word. Jesus said, ‘The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life,’ but don’t go cherry-picking for feel-good Scriptures. To grow in faith, you must spend time each day reading through your Bible. You can’t arbitrarily decide that one verse applies to you while another doesn’t. ‘All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realise what is wrong in our lives… God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work.’ (2 Timothy 3:16–17 NLT)

To profit in business, you must know your business thoroughly, otherwise you will be out of business. And the way to succeed in your Christian life is to make it your business to know your Bible. It’s like the analogy of the sperm and the egg. Neither the male sperm nor the female egg is capable of reproduction. It’s only when the sperm impacts and is embraced by the egg that conception occurs, leading to life and birth.

And it’s the same with your spiritual growth. When God’s Word and a receptive heart get together, something is going to happen! You can’t beat prolonged exposure to Scripture. Without it, you won’t hear what God is saying to you. You will always be dependent on somebody else’s interpretation. Can you imagine communicating with your husband or wife on that basis? How long do you think your relationship would last? The same principle applies to your relationship with God. Today let God speak to you personally through His Word.

SoulFood: 2 Kings 16:1–18:16, Matt 19:15–30, Ps 139:1–6, Pro 13:21–23

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Be A Father To Your Children https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/be-a-father-to-your-children/ Sat, 18 Jun 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15822 ‘As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’ Joshua 24:15 NKJV

The beloved radio commentator, Paul Harvey, wrote: ‘At a time when being a buddy to one’s son is popular, I am going to stay a FATHER… If a gap exists between my sons and daughters and myself, I am going to work hard to understand, but I am also going to work hard to be understood… when they tell it like it is, I will listen, even if I like it better the way it was. If old-fashioned things such as prayer, Bible study, worship and faith in God ever seem to my children to be out of date, square, or whatever—I trust God’s help to have faith enough to yet pray for them, and I pledge with the patriarch Job to offer additional sacrifices for them. With love in our home, I will answer their questions about the facts of life, but at nudeness and lewdness I refuse to wink… If experimentation with drugs or marijuana is ever a problem, it will be in violation of my every prayer and request… I want my children to know that I make mistakes, that I am foolish, proud and often inconsistent. But I will not tolerate that as an excuse for my hypocrisy. I will ask them to help me change… and to expect me to help them change… Others may look to the under-thirty crowd for the wisdom to throw away the past, and to say what will remain for future generations; others may let the offspring in the house determine the foods, the music, and the spending of the household, but I am going to stay a FATHER.’

SoulFood: Est 4:9–5:3, Heb 4:7–16

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Today, Deal With The Clutter https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/today-deal-with-the-clutter/ Fri, 17 Jun 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15821 ‘Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old.’ Isaiah 43:18 NKJV

We all have emotional attics and basements where we store our ‘clutter’. And it’s the same in our relationships. It’s hard for a relationship to thrive when either party hasn’t processed their mental and emotional clutter. We are talking about:

(1) regrets we have over past mistakes;

(2) grudges we hold on to when we feel we have been wronged;

(3) hurts we hide under clouds of anger, scepticism, and isolation.

If you’re the type to hold grudges and hang on to past mistakes, even your own, you know the feeling of being weighed down by your mental and emotional clutter. Clinging to hurts and nourishing grudges will eat your soul, consume your happiness, and rob you of all progress. Like blame, this junk keeps you trapped in the past.

If a former sweetheart hurt you and you have never let it go, every time your mate does something like it, you will react with unjustified intensity, as if they were the original person who hurt you. As a result, your mate is left upset and baffled at your excessive reaction to a slight problem that on its own is insignificant.

You won’t know what you have in your life, let alone what you need, until you clear out the clutter of the past so you can experience the blessings of the ‘here and now’. It all comes down to obeying these two Scriptures:

(1) ‘Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors’ (Matthew 6:12 NKJV), and

(2) ‘Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing.’ (Isaiah 43:18–19 NKJV)

Today, deal with the clutter.

SoulFood: 2 Kings 13–15, Matt 19:1–14, Ps 73:17–28, Pro 13:20

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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The Godly Art Of Letting Go https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/the-godly-art-of-letting-go/ Thu, 16 Jun 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15820 ‘By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac.’ Hebrews 11:17 NKJV

In Genesis 12, God told Abraham to leave his country, his family, and his security. When he said yes to God, he travelled an unfamiliar path to an unknown destiny based on the strength of a promise. Without hesitating, the seventy-five-year-old patriarch ‘went, as the Lord had told him.’ (Genesis 12:4 NIV)

Now fast-forward twenty-five years and Isaac is born; the miracle son who would fulfil God’s promise that through Abraham’s descendants ‘all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; because Abraham obeyed My voice.’ (Genesis 26:4–5 NKJV) Then God makes a heart-wrenching demand: ‘Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering.’ (Genesis 22:2 NIV) And in obedience to God’s Word, ‘the next morning Abraham got up and… took with him… his son Isaac.’ (Genesis 22:3 NIV) God’s promised blessing was contingent upon Abraham’s willingness to let go of what he loved most. Holding on to Isaac would have been natural and understandable, but it would have short-circuited the promised blessing.

So, what are you clinging to that’s blocking God’s blessing in your life? Is it your children, friendships, reputation, power, possessions, comfort, habits? Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac was the supreme act of faith. ‘By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac.’ How could he do it? ‘Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life.’ (Hebrews 11:19 NLT) Abraham believed that, with God, letting go never means losing but getting back something better. And you will too!

SoulFood: 2 Kings 10–12, Matt 18:21–35, Ps 73:1–16, Pro 13:17–19

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Speak Words That Promote Wholeness https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/speak-words-that-promote-wholeness/ Wed, 15 Jun 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15819 ‘You have been trapped by what you said.’ Proverbs 6:2 NIV

Stormie Omartian says: ‘Early in my walk with the Lord I spoke many negatives… “I’m a failure,” “I’m ugly,” “Nothing ever goes right,” “Nobody cares about me,”… Then the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart… “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” (Proverbs 18:21 NKJV) I had been speaking words of death, not life. One clear example had to do with my speech problems. I’d had them since childhood and was teased about them all through school. When I was old enough to afford professional help, I worked with a speech therapist… I practised day after day, year after year, to gain… little improvement… I still lost my voice… halfway through each speaking engagement… “I’ll never be able to speak right,” I cried… But as I spoke those words… the Lord said “You’re bringing death to your situation because you’re not speaking the truth… Do not speak what you think… or what seems to be truth… speak what you know to be the truth of My Word… ‘The stammering tongue will be fluent and clear’ (Isaiah 32:4 NIV)… ‘I have put My words in your mouth.’” (Isaiah 51:16 NKJV)… Soon after, when I was asked to speak at a women’s meeting, I took my fears to God and spoke His truth instead of voicing my own negative opinions. My talk went so well… an entire speaking ministry opened up… The Bible says, “You are snared by the words of your mouth.” (Proverbs 6:2 NKJV) That includes your self-talk… wipe out words of hopelessness, doubt, and negativity from your vocabulary. They may seem harmless but they affect your body and soul… Speak words that reflect the wholeness you desire.’

SoulFood: 2 Kings 7–9, Matt 18:10–20, Ps 80:12–19, Pro 13:13–16

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Unconditional Joy https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/unconditional-joy/ Tue, 14 Jun 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15818 ‘Be completely filled with joy.’ 1 John 1:4 GWT

When joy is absent from your life, power is also missing (see Nehemiah 8:10). Our happiness shouldn’t be based on what’s happening around us; it should be dependent on our relationship with Jesus. John says, ‘We can be completely filled with joy.’ (1 John 1:4 GWT)

Pastor Reimar Schultze notes: ‘John did not say this when all was well, but when… everything had turned to shambles.

(1) All his fellow apostles had been murdered.

(2) Rome had destroyed the temple [so]… not one stone was left upon another. Flavius Josephus, an eyewitness wrote, “The multitude of those that… perished exceeded all the destructions men or God ever brought upon the world.”

(3) Many Jews and Christians became refugees. Average life expectancy was about forty years and 25 per cent of the people in Rome were slaves.

(4) John himself lived as a condemned criminal on the Isle of Patmos. He had no earthly comforts… no assurance of living another day. When the cup of misery was full, God commissioned him to show the world the absolute power and triumph of Christianity over everything… His writings, in reference to our daily walk, put a capstone on all that Heaven intended to reveal in the Word: if we have apostolic fellowship, our joy will be full. You do not need pleasant circumstances for this to happen.’

The psalmist said it best: ‘In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.’ (Psalm 16:11 NKJV)

SoulFood: 2 Kings 4:18–6:33, Matt 18:1–9, Ps 80:1–11, Pro 13:11–12

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Who Advises You? https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/who-advises-you-2/ Mon, 13 Jun 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15817 ‘Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.’ Proverbs 19:20 NIV

You may be good at what you do. Indeed, you may be better than most, but without the help of others you will never be as good as you could be. You will never reach your highest potential without a good adviser. It’s impossible.

Why would a world-class tennis player need a coach, especially one who is not as good on the court as he or she is? André Agassi answered the question this way: ‘Tennis requires subtle adjustments crucial to winning and my coach, Gill, is the best at making them. The older I get, the more valuable he becomes.’ Why is that? Because age and experience don’t necessarily make you better; often they just deepen the rut you’re in. In life, as in sports, you never reach the point where you don’t need good input. Yet many of us operate under the misguided assumption that, because we lead, we don’t need to be led. We make the mistake of measuring ourselves against others instead of our own God-given potential and in the end we never become what we could have been.

Self-evaluation is important, but the evaluation of others is crucial. A good coach measures your performance against your strengths, not somebody else’s. That’s because he or she knows what you’re capable of and they will push you to your limit. And by the way, good coaches are constantly on the scene observing, not back at the office waiting for a report. That’s because they are personally invested in your success; a win for you is a win for them. Ruth needed Naomi and Timothy needed Paul. Who advises you?

SoulFood: 2 Kings 1:1–4:17, Matt 17:14–27, Ps 143, Pro 13:9–10

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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How To Build A Great Marriage https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/how-to-build-a-great-marriage-2/ Sun, 12 Jun 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15816 ‘Place yourselves under each other’s authority out of respect for Christ.’ Ephesians 5:21 GWT

If you want a great marriage, you’ve got to work at it every day. The Bible gives us God’s blueprint for one: ‘Place yourselves under each other’s authority out of respect for Christ. Wives, place yourselves under your husbands’ authority as you have placed yourselves under the Lord’s authority. The husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the Head of the church. It is His body, and He is its Saviour. As the church is under Christ’s authority, so wives are under their husbands’ authority in everything.

Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave His life for it. He did this to make the church holy by cleansing it, washing it using water along with spoken words. Then He could present it to Himself as a glorious church, without any kind of stain or wrinkle-holy and without faults. So husbands must love their wives as they love their own bodies. A man who loves his wife loves himself. No one ever hated his own body. Instead, he feeds and takes care of it, as Christ takes care of the church. We are parts of His body. That’s why a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two will be one. This is a great mystery. (I’m talking about Christ’s relationship to the church.) But every husband must love his wife as he loves himself, and wives should respect their husbands.’ (Ephesians 5:21–33 GWT)

That’s how to build a great marriage!

SoulFood: Rev 19–22, Matt 17:1–13, Ps 132:11–18, Pro 13:7–8

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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God’s Faithfulness To You https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/gods-faithfulness-to-you/ Sat, 11 Jun 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15815 ‘If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.’ 2 Timothy 2:13 NIV

Here is something you should be very glad about: God’s faithfulness to you doesn’t depend on your faithfulness to Him. The Bible says, ‘If we are faithless, He remains faithful.’ Your mistakes may take you out of God’s will, but they will never place you beyond His reach.

Catherine Marshall tells of a great personal struggle she experienced after writing a novel titled Gloria. She began the book in 1969 and abandoned the project two-and-a-half years later. To her, the shelved manuscript was like ‘a death in the family’. Attempting to reconcile her conflicting thoughts and feelings, she spent time at a retreat house. And while there, she reread the Bible story from Numbers about a time when poisonous snakes filled the Israelite camp. The people recognised the snakes as punishment for their sin, and cried out in repentance. The Lord told Moses, ‘Make a [bronze] snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.’ (Numbers 21:8 NIV)

Catherine realised that just as the Israelites took that which had hurt them, lifted it up to God, and were healed, we can take our mistakes and sins, lift them up to God in prayer, and trust Him to heal us. She writes, ‘When any one of us has made a wrong (or even doubtful) turning in our lives through arrogance, lack of trust, impatience, or fear—God will show us a way out.’

Even when you stray, God loves you so much that He will draw you back to Himself again. ‘If we are faithless, He remains faithful.’

SoulFood: Ezek 37:1–14, Matt 27:50–53, 1 Thes 4:13–18, Eph 1:19–20

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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You Must Tell Your Children https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/you-must-tell-your-children/ Fri, 10 Jun 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15814 ‘Tell it to the generation following.’ Psalm 48:13 KJV

Here is a sobering verse: ‘Another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord.’ (Judges 2:10 NKJV) How did it happen? Their parents failed to tell them. Read these three Scriptures carefully and prayerfully:

(1) ‘Tell it to the generation following. For this God is our God for ever and ever: He will be our guide even unto death.’ (Psalm 48:13–14 KJV)

(2) ‘We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord.’ (Psalm 78:4 NKJV)

(3) ‘One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.’ (Psalm 145:4 NKJV)

You say, ‘We need better government.’ Perhaps, but governments don’t raise children, parents do. You say, ‘We need better school systems.’ Maybe, but schools don’t raise children, parents do. As a parent, you’re called to govern your own home. As a parent, you’re called to educate your children in the ways of the Lord. You get the first bite of the apple! So give your children deep spiritual roots, starting as early as possible.

Will they rebel? Possibly; the Prodigal Son came from a good home and he rebelled. But he ‘came back’, because he had memories and values to return to. Approaching the end of his life, Joshua called the nation’s leaders together and said, ‘You yourselves have seen everything the Lord your God has done.’ (Joshua 23:3 NIV) Then he instructed them to tell their children. Did they do it? No. And what was the end result? Their sons and daughters ended up adopting a sinful lifestyle. Don’t let that happen to your children.

SoulFood: Rev 15–18, Matt 16:13–28, Ps 132:1–10, Pro 13:4–6

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Prove Yourself Faithful https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/prove-yourself-faithful/ Thu, 09 Jun 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15813 ‘There is no other god who can deliver like this.’ Daniel 3:29 NKJV

The story of the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace teaches us these four lessons:

(1) Doing God’s will can land you in trouble. Don’t expect the world to appreciate you. Look at Jesus: ‘In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.’ (John 1:4–5 NKJV)

(2) God will be with you in your trouble. When Nebuchadnezzar looked into the fire, he said, ‘I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.’ (Daniel 3:25 NKJV) Instead of destroying them, the fire destroyed the ropes that bound them, setting them free. Be encouraged! It may look like circumstances have you locked in, but God is going to vindicate you and bring you out victoriously.

(3) It’s your trouble that produces your testimony. People are watching you. The things they’re trusting in don’t work, and they’re wondering if what you’re trusting in does. Your faithfulness to God and His intervention on your behalf will touch their lives in ways your theology never will. Everyone in Babylon knew what the Hebrew children believed. But they wanted to know, ‘Does it work when you’re in the fire?’ It does!

(4) The greater your trouble, the greater your blessing. ‘Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego in the province of Babylon.’ (Daniel 3:30 NKJV) Here is a Scriptural principle you can count on: when you prove yourself faithful in times of trouble, God will promote you to higher levels of blessing.

SoulFood: Rev 10–14, Matt 16:1–12, Ps 48, Pro 13:2–3

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Will You Wish You Had Given More? https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/will-you-wish-you-had-given-more/ Wed, 08 Jun 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15812 ‘God loves a cheerful giver.’ 2 Corinthians 9:7 NKJV

The film Schindler’s List tells the story of one man’s efforts to do good in a desperate situation. As the director of a munitions factory in Poland, Oskar Schindler decided to use his position to save Jewish lives. By employing them in his factory, Schindler rescued many condemned Jews from the gas chambers. But keeping them employed was costly, and little by little he liquidated his personal property to keep his business afloat. At the end of the story, the Nazis are defeated, and the full impact of Schindler’s efforts is revealed as the dead are counted and the living stagger back to freedom. In one scene, kneeling by the railroad tracks that had carried thousands to their deaths, Schindler had a startling realisation. He could have saved a few more! Overwhelmed with regret, he laments keeping the few personal assets he still owns. If only he had known when the war would end, he would have done more. Now it was too late.

Oskar Schindler was a hero. He saved over a thousand Jews during World War II. But interestingly, all he could think about was what he didn’t do. He wished he had done more. A powerful lesson in Schindler’s story is this: even joyful givers will look back on their lives and wish they had done more. There are also others who gave less than they could have given, or who never gave at all. Can you imagine their thoughts as they stand before God, giving an account of how they used their resources and to be rewarded accordingly?

‘God loves a cheerful giver,’ so today look for opportunities to give.

SoulFood: Rev 5–9, Matt 15:29–39, Ps 16, Pro 13:1

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Keys To Answered Prayer (4) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/keys-to-answered-prayer-4/ Tue, 07 Jun 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15811 ‘Let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.’ Hebrews 4:16 NLT

Boldness. Boldness isn’t arrogance, presumption, or a sense of entitlement. It’s confidence based on who you are in Christ. Paul writes, ‘Let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find His grace to help us when we need it most.’ (Hebrews 4:16 NLT) As God’s redeemed child, you have a right to approach Him at any time. And understanding that enables you to overcome Satan’s attempts to make you feel unworthy. It removes your natural inclination to say, ‘I know God can do it, but it’s hard to believe He will do it for me.’ You think like that when you feel unworthy. But the glorious truth is—Jesus has made you worthy! (See Colossians 1:12.)

Note also, ‘We will find grace to help us when we need it most,’ and grace is simply undeserved favour. In other words, God will give you what you don’t deserve when you’re confident enough to ask Him. Plus, you’re asking in Jesus’ name, not your own. You’re presenting to the Father all that Jesus is, not all that you are. And here is another thought: when you have hidden sin in your heart, you can’t pray with confidence. Unconfessed sin locks you in and shuts God out (see Psalm 66:18).

But the good news is, when you ask God to reveal your sin, He will. And when He does, you must deal with it if you want to keep the lines of communication open. If God reminds you of a situation in which you didn’t do the right thing, don’t try to sweep it under the rug. Acknowledge it, receive His forgiveness, and then you can pray with confidence.

SoulFood: Rev 1–4, Matt 15:15–28, Ps 129, Pro 12:27–28

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Keys To Answered Prayer (3) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/keys-to-answered-prayer-3/ Mon, 06 Jun 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15810 ‘When you do pray, your prayers are not answered, because you pray just for selfish reasons.’ James 4:3 CEV

Right motives. The reason you pray is much more important than the words you say. The motive is the why behind the what. And having a pure heart that loves God and loves people is always acceptable to the Lord. On the other hand, selfishness is unacceptable, revenge is unacceptable, manipulation and control are unacceptable, jealousy is unacceptable, pride is unacceptable, and praying to win the lottery is unacceptable. In fact, anything that’s selfishly based is an unacceptable motive.

Somebody once asked a little boy if he said his prayers every night. He thought about it for a second and replied, ‘No, some nights I don’t need anything.’ Sound familiar?

The first and foremost reason for prayer is to develop an intimate relationship with God. Think about it: how long do you think your marriage would last if you only came home to see your spouse when you needed clean laundry, a good meal, and a little loving? Not very long, right? The same principle applies to prayer. Jesus said, ‘If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.’ (John 15:7 NKJV) When you focus on ‘abiding’ in Christ, you will get a response to your ‘asking’.

James writes, ‘Your prayers are not answered, because you pray just for selfish reasons.’ The truth is, we’re innately self-centred. That’s why we need to purify our hearts on a regular basis—and that calls for examining our motives. It may be painful at first, but you must do it if you want to see your prayers answered.

SoulFood: 1 Kings 21–22, Matt 15:1–14, Ps 124, Pro 12:26

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Keys To Answered Prayer (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/keys-to-answered-prayer-2/ Sun, 05 Jun 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15809 ‘If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.’ 1 John 5:14 NIV

Knowing God’s will. John writes: ‘This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him.’ (1 John 5:14–15 NIV)

One of the surest ways to know you’re praying according to God’s will is to pray according to His Word. Use the Scriptures to back up what you’re praying for. Say, ‘Lord, You promised it in Your Word, and I’m believing You for it.’

Sometimes there are things we want to pray for, but we aren’t sure whether those things are God’s will for us according to Scripture. In that case, you need to ask God to give it to you if it’s His will—and to help you be satisfied with His decision. Augustine of Hippo prayed, ‘Grant that I may do Thy will as if it were my will, so that Thou mayest do my will as if it were Thy will.’

DL Moody put it this way: ‘Spread out your petition before God, and then say, “Thy will, not mine, be done.” The sweetest lesson I have learned in God’s school is to let the Lord choose for me.’

Now you may have to wait, because God’s timing is part of His will. Be patient; it will happen. You may not see it yet, but God has promised and it’s on the way. And remember, if He doesn’t give you what you asked for, He will give you something better when you walk in faith and keep a good attitude.

SoulFood: 1 Kings 18:16–20:43, Matt 14:22–36, Ps 116, Pro 12:25

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Keys To Answered Prayer (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/keys-to-answered-prayer-1/ Sat, 04 Jun 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15808 ‘We must believe that God is real and rewards everyone who searches for Him.’ Hebrews 11:6 CEV

Just as the right key opens the door, there are Scriptural principles that act as keys to prayer. For the next few days, let’s look at them. Faith. ‘Without faith no one can please God. We must believe that God is real and rewards everyone who searches for Him.’ (Hebrews 11:6 CEV) God doesn’t necessarily respond to your need. Look around and you will see that everyone has unmet needs. So what does God respond to? Your faith!

But Satan will try to fill your mind with doubts. And when he does, you need to examine your heart and see what it says. You can believe God’s Word in your heart even when your mind questions it. So stand on what’s in your heart instead of what’s in your head. Sometimes doubt begins with distraction. When you’re distracted from God’s promises, you start to doubt. And as you focus more and more on your problems, your faith begins to waver. When that happens, you must refocus like a laser on God’s promises—and merely glance at your problems. Don’t try to deny them, but don’t give them undue attention.

The Bible says: ‘When you ask for something, you must have faith and not doubt. Anyone who doubts is like an ocean wave tossed around in a storm. If you are that kind of person, you can’t make up your mind, and you surely can’t be trusted. So don’t expect the Lord to give you anything at all.’ (James 1:6–8 CEV)

Stay anchored to God’s Word, and don’t drift all over the place when your circumstances begin to change.

SoulFood: Lev 23:15–22, Acts 2:1–18

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Intimacy With Jesus—The Secret To Victory https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/intimacy-with-jesus-the-secret-to-victory/ Fri, 03 Jun 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15807 ‘I want to know Christ.’ Philippians 3:10 NLT

Paul said, ‘I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised Him from the dead. I want to suffer with Him, sharing in His death.’

Let’s take an in-depth look at this verse.

(1) ‘I want to know Christ.’ In Scripture, the word ‘know’ indicates physical intimacy between two people who love one another. For example, ‘Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain.’ (Genesis 4:1 NKJV)

(2) ‘And experience the mighty power that raised Him from the dead.’ What’s dead in your life that needs to be raised? There is no problem that Christ’s resurrection power can’t handle. And how do you access it? When you make intimacy with Christ your top priority, you tap into His power.

Some of us would be more comfortable if the verse ended after the words, ‘the mighty power that raised Him from the dead.’ But the truth is, if you want intimacy with Christ, you must be willing to ‘suffer with Him.’ Here, the word ‘suffer’ isn’t referring to a bad allergy season or a losing streak on the stock market. For Paul, it meant being beaten, betrayed, and bullied. But it brought a level of intimacy with Jesus that can’t be experienced any other way. If you have ever suffered deeply with another person, you understand this principle. You will never experience true intimacy with somebody by telling them, ‘I only want to share the good times with you.’ Often, the strongest relationship bonds come from the suffering we go through together; trials that cause us to know, love, and trust each another in a newer, deeper dimension.

SoulFood: 1 Kings 16:1–18:15, Matt 14:13–21, Ps 121, Pro 12:23–24

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Recognise Your Triggers https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/recognise-your-triggers/ Thu, 02 Jun 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15806 ‘Do not lose your temper—it only leads to harm.’ Psalm 37:8 NLT

A weapon can either protect or destroy; it all depends on who is using it. Anger works the same way; that’s why it’s wise to know what triggers or sets you off. Some of the most common triggers surface at these times:

(1) When your rights have been violated. Is it always bad to get mad? No, sometimes the problem that infuriates you most is the one God has called you to help solve. This world is a better place because of men and women who devoted their lives to fighting disease, poverty, corruption, and injustice. That’s what Jesus did when He purged the temple of extortionists. The Bible says, ‘If you are angry, be sure that it is not out of wounded pride or bad temper… don’t give the devil that sort of foothold.’ (Ephesians 4:26–27 PHPS)

(2) When you’re frustrated because things aren’t going right for you. A recent news report told of a man who went hunting on his mountain bike. When it broke down, he got mad and shot it to pieces. That makes no sense! Robert Ingersoll observed, ‘Anger is a wind which blows out the lamp of the mind.’

(3) When you’re under constant stress. Paul writes, ‘Have a sane estimate of your capabilities.’ (Romans 12:3 PHPS) By cramming too much activity into too little time, you set yourself up for stress. Like a violin string that’s pulled tighter and tighter, you end up snapping. Then you feel guilty and think you’re not spiritual enough. Anticipate challenges and allow time for the unexpected. Bottom line: ‘Do not lose your temper—it only leads to harm.’

SoulFood: 1 Kings 14–15, Matt 14:1–12, Ps 117, Pro 12:20–22

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Begin To Say What God Says https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/begin-to-say-what-god-says/ Wed, 01 Jun 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15805 ‘Death and life are in the power of the tongue.’ Proverbs 18:21 NKJV

Don’t speak without thinking. And don’t say things that contradict God’s Word. Those aren’t easy principles to live by, but they’re life-and-death issues. The Bible says, ‘Death and life are in the power of the tongue.’ That means you can bless yourself by what you say. ‘He who invokes a blessing on himself… shall do so by saying, “May the God of truth… bless me… because the former troubles are forgotten.”’ (Isaiah 65:16 AMPC)

Notice two important things in this Scripture:

(1) Your own words have more power to influence you than anyone else’s words. In the final analysis, it’s not what others say that matters, it’s what you tell yourself when they’re finished talking. Bottom line: you always have the last word!

(2) You will never enter into what God has planned for your future while you’re still living in the past. You can’t undo your past, so don’t relive it over and over in your head. God said, ‘Don’t remember the former things; don’t dwell on things past. Watch! I’m about to carry out something new!’ (Isaiah 43:18–19 ISV)

It’s time to come into agreement with God and start saying what He says about you. That’s no small matter. What you say from the time you get up in the morning until you go to bed at night not only influences your day; it influences the entire outlook and direction of your life. If you have been praying and asking God for specific answers, you can affect the outcome by making sure what you say lines up with what He says. So when you speak, always keep that in mind!

SoulFood: 1 Kings 12–13, Matt 13:47–58, Ps 82, Pro 12:18–19

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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When You Die! (6) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/when-you-die-6/ Tue, 31 May 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15804 ‘Longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling.’ 2 Corinthians 5:2 NIV

Dr Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, a leading authority on death and dying, and Dr Raymond Moody Jr, a well-known psychiatrist, examined the case histories of over five hundred people who came back to life after being pronounced dead by their physicians. Their research convinces anyone with an open mind. The people in the study described either a location of beauty, marvel, joy, and peace, or they described something dreadful. And although their bodies were real, they reported floating outside them. After being confirmed ‘dead’, some who were blind were able to see. They talked about people who came into the room, what they looked like, and what they did while they were there. Yet when these people were brought back, the ones who were blind could no longer see.

In his book Life After Life, Dr Moody writes: ‘A doctor told me of his experience in attending a man who had been pronounced clinically dead. He succeeded in resuscitating the man, who then sued the doctor for bringing him back into this miserable existence from the glory he had experienced. One woman, describing her situation after she had suffered a respiratory arrest, reports that the doctors trying to resuscitate her were pounding on her body trying to get her back while she was over them, looking down, and saying, “Leave me alone!”’

The apostle Paul explains why: ‘For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in Heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling.’ (2 Corinthians 5:1–2 NIV)

Bottom line: when you die—you really come to life!

SoulFood: 1 Kings 10–11, Matt 13:36–46, Ps 113, Pro 12:15–17

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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When You Die! (5) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/when-you-die-5/ Mon, 30 May 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15803 ‘He set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.’ Hebrews 2:15 NLT

The Bible says: ‘Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could He die, and only by dying could He break the power… of death… He set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.’ (Hebrews 2:14–15 NLT)

Adolf von Harnack had doubts about the gospels but still admitted: ‘Christ’s grave was the birthplace of an indestructible belief that death is vanquished and there is life eternal. It is useless to cite Plato… useless to point to the Persian religion and the ideas and literature of later Judaism. All that would have perished; but the certainty of the resurrection and of a life eternal which is bound up with the grave in Joseph’s garden has not perished; and on the conviction that Jesus lives we still base those hopes of citizenship in an Eternal City, which make our earthly life worth living and tolerable. He delivered them “who, through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage”.’

Good news: you don’t have to be in bondage to the fear of death! Dr Simon Greenleaf, world-renowned authority on legal evidence, shone the searchlight of his immense knowledge on the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and revealed every thread of that evidence to the most probing critique. And when he did, he concluded that the evidence was so tremendous that in any unbiased courtroom on earth, it would be proclaimed a historical fact. So what does all this mean for us as believers? Simply this: Christ’s resurrection guarantees ours!

SoulFood: 1 Kings 8–9, Matt 13:24–35, Ps 108, Pro 12:14

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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When You Die! (4) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/when-you-die-4/ Sun, 29 May 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15802 ‘As for me, justified, I will behold Your face; when I awake, Your presence will satisfy me.’ Psalm 17:15 ISV

There has never been a race of mankind that didn’t believe in some kind of future life; whether it’s reuniting with ancestors as some Native Americans believe, or the sensual abode of bliss of the Muslim. How do you explain that?

Long before any evidence for this worldwide belief had been gathered, Cicero said, ‘In everything the consent of all nations is to be accounted the law of nature, and to resist it is to resist the voice of God.’ On the night Socrates died, Crito asked him, ‘In what way would you have us bury you?’ He replied, ‘In any way that you like, only you must get hold of me, and take care that I do not walk away from you.’ In his Phaedo, Plato presented powerful arguments in favour of immortality.

Others argued for it, too; great thinkers like Thomas Carlyle, Thomas Jefferson, and the German poet Heinrich Heine. Alfred Lord Tennyson’s most famous poem goes like this: ‘For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place the flood may bear me far, I hope to see my Pilot face to face when I have crossed the bar.’

And Byron writes, ‘I feel my immortality o’ersweep all pains, all tears, all fears, and peal, like the eternal thunders of the deep, into my ears this truth—“Thou liv’st forever!”’

All these great minds shared the conviction of the psalmist: ‘I will behold Your face; when I awake, Your presence will satisfy me.’ When you think about it, ‘good night’ here just means ‘good morning’ over there.

SoulFood: 1 Kings 6–7, Matt 13:10–23, Ps 101, Pro 12:12–13

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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When You Die! (3) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/when-you-die-3/ Sat, 28 May 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15801 ‘I desire to depart and be with Christ.’ Philippians 1:23 NIV

In his Analogies of Nature, William Jennings Bryan wrote: ‘Christ gave us proof of immortality, and yet it would hardly seem necessary that one should rise from the dead to convince us that the grave is not the end. If the Father stoops to touch with Divine power the cold and pulseless heart of the buried acorn and to make it burst forth into a new life, will He leave neglected in the earth the soul of man, made in the image of his Creator? If He stoops to give to the rosebud whose withered blossoms float upon the autumn breeze, the sweet assurance of another springtime, will He refuse… words of hope to the sons of men when the frosts of winter come? If matter, mute and inanimate, though changed by the forces of nature into a multitude of forms, can never die, will the spirit of man suffer annihilation when it has paid a brief visit like a royal guest to this tenement of clay? No, I am as sure that there is another life as I am that I live today!’

Paul tells us: ‘If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labour for me. Yet what shall I choose?… I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.’ (Philippians 1:22–24 NIV) So no matter how difficult or blessed your life is here and now, your best days are ahead; days without end, experiencing the joys of Heaven. Make sure you’re ready to go when your time comes!

SoulFood: Gen 1:1–2:3, John 1:1–18

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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When You Die! (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/when-you-die-2/ Fri, 27 May 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15800 ‘When we die and leave this earthly body, we will have a house in Heaven.’ 2 Corinthians 5:1 NLT

When you die, you simply leave one form of life and enter another. Consider the first law of thermodynamics: neither energy (as in your soul and spirit) nor matter (as in your body) can be destroyed. They can be transformed into other forms, but they can’t be annihilated.

Burris Jenkins said it this way: ‘No single atom in creation can go out of existence, according to the scientists; it only changes in form. We cannot burn up anything; we simply change it from a solid to a gaseous state. Neither is any energy or force ever destroyed; it is only changed from one form to another.’ If a person actually ceased to exist, they would be the one thing in the world that does.

So when you die, what happens? The Bible says: ‘We know that when this tent we live in—our body here on earth—is torn down, God will have a house in Heaven for us to live in… which will last forever. And now we sigh, so great is our desire that our home which comes from Heaven should be put on over us; by being clothed with it… it is not that we want to get rid of our earthly body, but that we want to have the heavenly one put on over us, so that what is mortal will be transformed by life. God… gave us His Spirit as the guarantee of all that He has in store for us.’ (2 Corinthians 5:1–5 GNT)

Think of it like this: your last day on earth will be your best day ever! How awesome is that?

SoulFood: 1 Kings 3–5, Matt 13:1–9, Ps 128, Pro 12:10–11

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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When You Die! (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/when-you-die-1/ Thu, 26 May 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15799 ‘If someone dies, will they live again?’ Job 14:14 NIV

After AD 616, the first Christian missionaries came to the court of King Edwin in Northumbria, England. In his great hall, ablaze with the light of numerous torches, they presented the Gospel. The king listened, then consulted his advisors.

One nobleman said: ‘Life is like a banquet hall. Inside is light… fire… warmth and feasting, but outside it is cold and dark. A sparrow flies in through a window at one end… and out through a window at the other end. That is what life is like. At birth we emerge from the unknown, and for a brief while we are here… with a fair amount of comfort and happiness. But then we fly out into the cold… dark… unknown future. [Can] this new religion… lighten that darkness for us?’

We who believe in the resurrection can answer, ‘Yes!’ A faulty heartbeat, a malignant cell, or a tragic accident can end life as we know it. But that’s not the end. And unless you believe that, here is what you’re left with: ‘If Christ has not been raised, then your faith is a delusion and you are still lost in your sins… believers in Christ who have died are lost. If our hope in Christ is good for this life only and no more, then we deserve more pity than anyone else in all the world. But the truth is that Christ has been raised from death, as the guarantee that those who sleep in death will also be raised.’ (1 Corinthians 15:17–20 GNT)

For the believer, the end of life on earth is the beginning of a glorious life with Christ in Heaven!

SoulFood: 1 Kings 1–2, Matt 12:38–50, Ps 45, Pro 12:7–9

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Conquering Selfishness https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/conquering-selfishness/ Wed, 25 May 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15798 ‘Consider others more important than yourselves.’ Philippians 2:3 CEV

Paul writes, ‘Consider others more important than yourselves. Care about them as much as you care about yourselves and think the same way that Christ Jesus thought.’ (Philippians 2:3–5 CEV) That kind of thinking goes against our natural instincts, but Jesus showed us how to do it. Hanging on the cross, He took time to care for the condemned criminal hanging next to Him (see Luke 23:39–43).

As he was being stoned, Stephen prayed for those who were killing him, asking God not to lay the sin to their charge (see Acts 7:60). Beaten and wrongly imprisoned, Paul and Silas took time to minister to their jailer. Even after God sent a powerful earthquake that broke their chains and opened their prison doors, they stayed for the sole purpose of ministering to their captor. How tempting it must have been to escape while the opportunity was there. How easy it would have been to look out for themselves and not worry about anybody else. But their act of love moved the jailer to ask how he might be saved, and as a result, he and his entire family were won to Christ (see Acts 16:25–34).

In a world whose philosophy is ‘look out for number one,’ selfishness is an instinct you will need God’s help to overcome every day. And when you do, people will take notice. You will never win others by being just like them, so here is the question you need to answer: how many of your friends and loved ones may come to know Christ if you demonstrate that you genuinely love them instead of ignoring, judging, and rejecting them? Go ahead—try it! ‘Consider others more important than yourselves.’

SoulFood: Heb 11:17–13:25, Matt 12:22–37, Ps 47, Pro 12:4–6

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Use Your Faith https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/use-your-faith/ Tue, 24 May 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15797 ‘Your faith has made you well.’ Luke 8:48 NKJV

The Bible says: ‘Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years… touched the border of His garment. And immediately her flow of blood stopped… Jesus said, “Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me.” Now when the woman saw that she was not hidden… she declared… she had touched Him and how she was healed immediately.’ (Luke 8:43–47 NKJV)

There are three important lessons here:

(1) Recognise and seize your moment of opportunity. This woman understood that Jesus was visiting her town and might not be back. There are ‘God moments’ in life when you must rearrange your priorities, overcome your fear, and exercise your faith. If you don’t, you will miss God’s best.

(2) Be willing to try a different approach. Since she couldn’t get Christ’s attention because of the crowd, this woman touched the hem of His garment and was healed. Many times, faith calls for stepping into the unknown, doing something you have never done before, and discovering God’s grace at work in ways you never expected.

(3) Be a role model. This woman’s faith was an example for others to follow. ‘People brought all their sick to Him and begged Him to let the sick just touch the edge of His cloak, and all who touched it were healed.’ (Matthew 14:35–36 NIV)

The fact is, God is looking for people who are willing to break with tradition. And when He finds them, He uses them to unlock new dimensions of His power so others can be blessed and made whole.

SoulFood: Heb 9:1–11:16, Matt 12:15–21, Ps 97, Pro 12:1–3

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Feeling Good About Yourself https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/feeling-good-about-yourself/ Mon, 23 May 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15796 ‘We have this treasure in earthen vessels.’ 2 Corinthians 4:7 KJV

When you don’t feel good about yourself, you live with a sense of insecurity. You keep looking to others for approval, and when you don’t get it, your sense of worth shrivels. As a result, you can spend your life living far short of your God-given potential. You are the only person you can’t get away from, and until you learn to accept yourself based on the fact that God loves and accepts you as you are, you will always battle insecurity.

Stop and think about the last time you were around somebody you didn’t particularly enjoy. How did it feel? Not too good, right? Good or bad, we project onto others the thoughts and feelings we have about ourselves. So if you want people to think well of you, you must have a good opinion of yourself—one based on God’s Word. Now, the Bible cautions about having an over-inflated opinion of yourself—but don’t go to the other extreme. Living in continual self-rejection is an open invitation to Satan, whom the Bible says is like a roaring lion who goes about looking for someone to devour (see 1 Peter 5:8).

You say, ‘But didn’t Paul write, “Nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature”?’ (Romans 7:18 NLT) Yes, but that means the good qualities you do possess are evidence that God is at work in your life.

The Bible says, ‘We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.’ (2 Corinthians 4:7 KJV) Today, instead of focusing on your flaws and feeling bad, recognise the ‘treasure’ of God’s presence, power, and potential that live within you.

SoulFood: Heb 5–8, Matt 12:1–14, Ps 93, Pro 11:30–31

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Dress For Success https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/dress-for-success/ Sun, 22 May 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15795 ‘Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ.’ Romans 13:14 NIV

Since first impressions are important, we’re encouraged to ‘dress for success’. But as a redeemed child of God, your first concern shouldn’t be how you look to others, but to God. Just like a mirror reflects your physical appearance so that you can make adjustments, the Bible reveals your spiritual condition and tells you what to do about it.

James writes: ‘Anyone who listens to the Word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.’ (James 1:23–25 NIV)

You must spend time each day in the Scriptures; otherwise, you will run around spiritually bare. Paul writes, ‘Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.’ (Romans 13:14 NIV)

As Chuck Swindoll observes: ‘The number one enemy of change is the hard-core, self-satisfied sin nature within you. Like a spoiled child, it has been gratified and indulged for years, so it will not give up without a violent temper tantrum… The flesh dies a slow, bitter, bloody death—kicking and struggling all the way down.’

Lasting change takes place in first gear, not overdrive. So expect occasional setbacks, and don’t let them derail you. When you feel like throwing in the towel, get down on your knees and ask God to help you get back on track. He will do it.

SoulFood: Heb 1–4, Matt 11:20–30, Ps 88:9b–18, Pro 11:27–29

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Intercede With God For Them https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/intercede-with-god-for-them/ Sat, 21 May 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15794 ‘I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.’ 1 Timothy 2:1 NLT

Paul writes: ‘pray for all people… intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Saviour, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.’ (1 Timothy 2:1–4 NLT)

Intercession means ‘to mediate between parties with a view to reconciling those who differ or contend.’ It happens every day in the court system when lawyers intercede on behalf of their clients. It also happened in Scripture. When Israel made a golden calf and worshipped it, Moses interceded with God on their behalf, saying: ‘These people have committed a great sin… Yet now, if You will forgive their sin—but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written.’ (Exodus 32:31–32 NKJV)

God then told Moses, ‘Go, lead the people to the place of which I have spoken to you. Behold, My Angel shall go before you.’ (Exodus 32:34 NKJV)

Later when Israel turned again to worship false gods, Samuel said, ‘Gather all Israel to Mizpah, and I will pray [intercede] to the Lord for you.’ (1 Samuel 7:5 NKJV) As a result, the Lord sent a loud thunder upon the Philistines that day, and so confused them that they were defeated before Israel (see 1 Samuel 7:10).

Interceding can be a lonely business, and it’s also hard work: ‘Always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.’ (Colossians 4:12 NKJV) But when nothing else works, intercessory prayer does!

SoulFood: Gen 24:1–51, 2 Cor 6:14–7:1

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Understanding God’s Love For You https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/understanding-gods-love-for-you/ Fri, 20 May 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15793 ‘Perfect love casts out fear.’ 1 John 4:18 NKJV

Question: since we’re naturally drawn to people who love us, why is it so difficult for us to go to God in prayer?

Answer: because we need a fresh revelation of His love for us!

Paul prayed that the Ephesian church would ‘be able to understand how wide, long, high and deep His love is.’ (Ephesians 3:18 GWT) It’s multi-dimensional, going to the ends of the universe and back, above and beyond all that we deserve. The truth is, God couldn’t love you more than He does.

What’s His love like? Look at the cross. Had you been the only person who ever lived, Jesus would have died just for you.

What does His love cost? Nothing! It comes with no strings attached. You didn’t do anything to deserve it, and when you mess up, you don’t forfeit it. ‘Nothing in all creation can separate us from God’s love.’ (Romans 8:39 CEV) Once you accept that, you can acknowledge your weaknesses, seek God’s help, grow strong, and use the talents He has given you.

When you believe God loves you based on who you are in Christ, you have the ultimate self-esteem—born of God’s esteem for you. And since His is the only ‘perfect love’, it removes your ‘fear’. So, what are you afraid of? That you won’t get what you need? That you will lose something you have? John tells us: ‘His perfect love for us eliminates all dread… If we are afraid, it… shows… we are not fully convinced that He really loves us.’ (1 John 4:18 TLB) Ask God today for a fresh revelation of His love for you, bearing in mind that what He loves, He prizes, protects, and provides for.

SoulFood: Jonah 1–4, Matt 11:1–19, Ps 88:1–9a Pro 11:24–26

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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A Love For God’s Word https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/a-love-for-gods-word/ Thu, 19 May 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15792 ‘Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.’ Psalm 119:105 NKJV

The Psalmist highlights two important things Bible reading does for you:

(1) It shows you your spiritual condition. In Bible times there were no paved roads, so when guests entered a house, they paused to wash the sand, dirt, and grime from their feet. That’s what Bible reading does. The psalmist said, ‘How can young people [and older ones] keep their lives pure? By obeying Your commands.’ (Psalm 119:9 GNT)

(2) It shows you the direction you need to go. When you’re faced with an important decision and you don’t know which way to go, God will be a light to your path and guide you through His Word.

David, who loved God’s Word and meditated on it constantly, prayed, ‘Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness.’ (Psalm 143:10 NKJV) Many of the mistakes we make could be prevented if we stopped long enough to seek God’s guidance. He knows what lies ahead; we don’t. So ‘commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.’ (Psalm 37:5 NKJV) Just like children need to be taught to cultivate a taste for healthy food instead of junk food, you need to cultivate a taste for God’s Word.

The psalmist said, ‘I will delight myself in Your commandments, which I love.’ (Psalm 119:47 NKJV) ‘Your Word is very pure; therefore Your servant loves it.’ (Psalm 119:140 NKJV) Today ask God to give you a love for His Word. That’s a prayer He will answer!

SoulFood: Titus 1–3, Matt 10:32–42, Ps 75, Pro 11:23

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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What Does It Mean To Meditate? https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/what-does-it-mean-to-meditate/ Wed, 18 May 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15791 ‘I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways.’ Psalm 119:15 NKJV

Another word for meditation is rumination. Rumination is what a cow is doing when she chews her cud. The cow eats grass, chews all she can, and then swallows it. It sits in one of her stomachs for a while, and then a little later, she burps it up—with renewed flavour. The cow chews on it some more and swallows it again. This process continues in all four stomachs. That’s rumination. The cow is pulling every tiny bit of nourishment from the grass. And meditation is simply thought digestion.

Meditation doesn’t mean putting your mind in neutral and thinking about nothing. On the contrary, it’s thinking seriously about what you’re reading. For example, you dwell on one verse of Scripture and ask, ‘What does this mean for my life?’ You talk to yourself about it and talk to God about it.

The Bible says this: ‘Keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise… And God, who gives peace, will be with you.’ (Philippians 4:8–9 CEV) Notice that we are to ponder different categories of things and, by implication, to avoid thinking about the opposite kind of things.

Colossians 3:16 KJV says, ‘Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.’ You need to spend time every day—a minimum of ten to fifteen minutes—where you sit down, read a portion of the Bible, and think deeply about what you have just read. Then talk to the Lord about it in prayer.

That’s the starting point for spiritual change and growth.

SoulFood: Num 34–36, Matt 10:21–31, Ps 72:12–20, Pro 11:22

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Think Right, Live Right https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/think-right-live-right/ Tue, 17 May 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15790 ‘Your life is shaped by your thoughts.’ Proverbs 4:23 GNT

William James said, ‘You’re not what you think you are, but what you think—you are.’ Lasting change always begins with new thinking.

How do you become a Christian? By repenting of your sin and placing your trust in Christ. The Greek word for repentance is metanoia, and it means to change your mind. We’re not changed by willpower, but by the transforming power of God’s Word when we use it to renew our minds each day. The Bible clearly teaches that the way we think determines the way we feel, and the way we feel determines the way we act. So if you want to change your actions, you have to return to the source and change the way you think.

At times you may act resentful. Why? Because you feel resentful. And do you know why you feel resentful? Because you are thinking resentful thoughts. The same is true of anger, worry, lust, and other destructive thought patterns. Jesus said, ‘You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ (John 8:32 NLT)

When you base your life on truth—when you live with the right kind of thoughts, not misconceptions or false beliefs, and you base your life on thinking from God’s Word—you will be set free. You will find your old habits, feelings, and actions beginning to fall away. When you focus solely on removing bad thoughts, you create a vacuum into which the bad thoughts can return. But when you replace bad thoughts with good ones—Scriptural ones—you are empowered by God to live the life of blessing He wants you to enjoy.

SoulFood: Num 32:25–33:56, Matt 10:11–20, Ps 72:1–11, Pro 11:19–21

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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How God Changes Us (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/how-god-changes-us-2/ Mon, 16 May 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15789 ‘Beatings purge the inmost being.’ Proverbs 20:30 NIV

Another way God changes us is through circumstances. Problems, pressures, sorrows, hardships, and stress always get our attention. C.S. Lewis said, ‘Pain insists on being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures… but shouts to us in our pain.’ The J.B. Phillips translation of Romans 8:28–29 reads: ‘To those who love God, who are called according to His plan, everything that happens fits into a pattern for good. God… chose them to bear the family likeness of His Son.’ Nothing can come into your life without your heavenly Father’s permission; it must be ‘Father-filtered’.

The interesting thing about how God uses circumstances is that their source makes no difference to Him. We often bring problems on ourselves. Sometimes they’re caused by other people. Other times the Enemy causes things to happen to us. But the source of the circumstances is irrelevant.

God says, ‘I will make it fit into My plan for your life, to make you like Jesus Christ.’ That means there is no circumstance from which we can’t learn if we maintain the right attitude. Why did Solomon say, ‘Blows and wounds scrub away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being’? Because we change only when our fear of change is surpassed by our pain.

If you want to become more like Jesus, think about this: ‘Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.’ (Hebrews 5:8 NKJV) If God used the challenges, conflicts, and circumstances of life to prepare His Son for His destiny, won’t He do the same in our lives? So instead of trying to escape your circumstances, learn from them and grow stronger.

SoulFood: Num 30:1–32:24, Matt 10:1–10, Ps 22, Pro 11:16–18

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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How God Changes Us (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/how-god-changes-us-1/ Sun, 15 May 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15788 ‘It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.’ 2 Timothy 3:16 NLT

One of the ways God changes us is through His Word. Paul tells us: ‘All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realise what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work.’ (2 Timothy 3:16–17 NLT)

The tale is told of a converted cannibal in the South Sea islands. He was sitting by a large pot reading a Bible when an anthropologist approached him and asked, ‘What are you doing?’

The man replied, ‘I’m reading the Bible.’

The anthropologist scoffed and said, ‘Don’t you know that modern, civilised man has rejected that book? It’s nothing but a pack of lies. You shouldn’t waste your time reading it.’

The man looked him over from head to toe and slowly replied, ‘Sir, if it weren’t for this book—you’d be in that pot!’

The Word of God had changed his life—and his appetite. If you’re serious about changing your life, you have to get into the Bible. You need to read it, study it, memorise it, meditate on it, speak it, and apply it. ‘But my faith is weak,’ you say. Are you reading your Bible regularly? Are you studying it? Are you memorising it? No? Then how do you expect your faith to grow?

The Bible says, ‘Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.’ (Romans 10:17 NKJV) Bottom line: the Spirit of God uses the Word of God to make us more like the Son of God.

SoulFood: Num 27–29, Matt 9:27–38, Ps 62, Pro 11:15

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Work It Out https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/work-it-out/ Sat, 14 May 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15787 ‘Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil His good purpose.’ Philippians 2:12–13 NIV

The Bible says, ‘Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose.’ This Scripture almost sounds like a contradiction, doesn’t it? But instead, it is a paradox. And GK Chesterton described a paradox as ‘truth standing on its head to get attention.’

The key to understanding this particular paradox lies in the little word out. Notice that the Bible doesn’t say, ‘Work for your salvation.’ To work for something means to earn it, deserve it, merit it. And the Bible plainly teaches that salvation isn’t something we have to work for or earn. It’s a free gift of God’s grace (see Ephesians 2:8–9). When Paul says, ‘Work out your salvation,’ he is talking about a ‘spiritual workout’.

What do you do during a physical workout? You develop and tone the muscles God has already provided you. To ‘work out’ means to grow and make the most of what you have been given. What Paul is saying here is this: develop your spiritual life! God has a part in our spiritual growth, and we, too, have a part. He provides the power, but we must access it, flip the switch, and let it flow through our lives to fulfill His will for us. Practically speaking, how do we do that? By spending time praying and reading God’s Word each day. By sharpening and strengthening one another through fellowship. By exercising the gifts God has given us. The fact is, He has already done His part; now it’s up to you to do yours.

SoulFood: Gen 2:7–25, 1 Cor 15:39–55

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Do It Today! https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/do-it-today/ Fri, 13 May 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15786 ‘He said, “Tomorrow.”’ Exodus 8:10 NKJV

Every plague God sent on Egypt mocked one of their gods. For instance, the Egyptians worshipped a goddess with the head of a frog, so God sent them a lot of frogs. Finally, Pharaoh called for Moses and basically said, ‘All right, I give up.’ But when Moses asked him, ‘When do you want me to get rid of the frogs?’ Pharaoh’s response was classic; he said, ‘Tomorrow.’ He must have been insane! Why would you wait any longer to have the frogs removed?

But we do the same, don’t we? We procrastinate by putting off the changes we know would be good for us. Maybe we’re unconcerned. Maybe we’re too lethargic to change. Maybe we’re fearful because we don’t know what the changes will entail. Maybe we’re just too proud and stubborn. Whatever the reason—we procrastinate.  NASA space engineers tell us most of the fuel that is used in a rocket launch is burned during the initial few seconds of lift-off. It takes enormous energy and thrust to move the rocket off the launching pad. Once it’s moving and headed for orbit, it needs much less fuel and is simpler to control and direct. It has conquered inertia.

It’s one thing to know God can solve your problem and change your life. It’s another matter to overcome your inertia and let Him begin to do it now! We keep saying, ‘One of these days…’ The truth is, Jesus Christ has the power to make changes in your life today. He will give you the power to begin and the power to keep going. It’s not too late. So the word for today is—do it today!

SoulFood: Num 25–26, Matt 9:14–26, Ps 57, Pro 11:14

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Good Leadership https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/good-leadership/ Thu, 12 May 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15785 ‘The Lord spoke to Moses.’ Numbers 1:1 NIV

A good leader is like a ship’s good captain; they plan the whole trip in their mind before they leave the dock. They have a clear vision of their destination, they understand what it will take to get there, they know who needs to be on board for the trip to be successful, and they recognise obstacles long before they appear on the horizon. And because they prepare well, good leaders can take their people just about anywhere.

Moses was such a leader. He spent forty days praying and fasting on a mountain, refusing to leave until he understood what God wanted him to do. Then he came back and communicated it to the people so they could participate in the vision. In Leadership Promises For Your Week, Dr John Maxwell writes: ‘As a good leader, Moses methodically arranged the tribal camps in the wilderness (see Numbers 2:34). We would do well to… organise as he did.

(1) Give time for planning and organising. Determine your primary purpose.

(2) Understand where you are before trying to develop a strategy.

(3) Prioritise the needs and goals of the team by asking the right questions.

(4) Write goals that are realistic, measurable, and convicting.

(5) Clarify goals and communicate with your team.

(6) Identify possible obstacles. Have an open system approach to your planning.

(7) Budget your cost and time by scheduling everything you can and setting deadlines.

(8) Study the results. Evaluation prevents stagnation and exaggeration.’

If you want God to bless your plan, you must have a plan He can bless. And it must come from God Himself. So, talk to God today about His plan for your life.

SoulFood: Num 22–24, Matt 9:1–13, Ps 44:17–26, Pro 11:12–13

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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God’s DNA Is In His Word https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/gods-dna-is-in-his-word/ Wed, 11 May 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15784 ‘All Scripture is God-breathed.’ 2 Timothy 3:16 NIV

On a cold day, have you ever tried breathing on your hands to restore warmth and life? That’s like what happens when you meditate on God’s Word, because ‘all Scripture is God-breathed’. Imagine yourself at a party where people are blowing up balloons and popping them with pins. A scientist could figure out which balloon was yours because your DNA (the genetic configuration that makes you unique) is in the lung cells expelled with your breath. Now apply that principle to reading the Bible, and you will understand how vital it is to your spiritual life.

John tells us ‘the Word was God’ (John 1:1 NKJV), so anytime you ingest God’s Word, you’re ingesting His attributes. That’s why the Enemy will try to keep you so busy that you have no time to read your Bible. The truth is, many of the issues we struggle with could be resolved or eliminated altogether if we developed a hunger for God’s Word. Job said, ‘I have not departed from His commands, but have treasured His words more than daily food.’ (Job 23:12 NLT)

Jeremiah, who was so dejected that he became known as ‘the weeping prophet’, said, ‘Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.’ (Jeremiah 15:16 NKJV)

Jesus experienced every test and trial known to man; He even went toe-to-toe with the Tempter. What was the secret of His strength? He said, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”’ (Matthew 4:4 NKJV) Today get God’s Word into you—it’s His DNA.

SoulFood: Num 19–21, Matt 8:18–34, Ps 44:9–16, Pro 11:10–11

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Be Faithful https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/be-faithful-2/ Tue, 10 May 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15783 ‘You were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.’ Matthew 25:21 NKJV

In Scripture, to be faithful means to be steady, stable, dependable, and consistent. Do those attributes describe you? They should, because faithfulness pays big dividends with God. ‘A faithful person will abound with blessings.’ (Proverbs 28:20 NASB) Jesus said, ‘Many are called, but few chosen.’ (Matthew 20:16 NKJV) Why is that? Because talent may open the door and get you the job, but character and faithfulness will keep you there. When it comes to faithfulness, God will test you in two ways:

(1) Your faithfulness in someone else’s vision. ‘If you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?’ (Luke 16:12 NLT) If you’re critical, caustic, complaining, competitive, or constantly comparing yourself with others, you will be disqualified for what God has in mind for you. Faithfulness calls for serving with love and humility.

(2) Your faithfulness in small things. ‘His lord said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things… For to everyone who has, more will be given… but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.”’ (Matthew 25:23, 29 NKJV)

God wants to know He can trust you. You prove that by how well you serve others and by your faithfulness in small things. These are proven Biblical principles that don’t just work in spiritual matters, but in everyday life. So today, take a few moments to prayerfully ask yourself the question, ‘Am I faithful?’ When you are, God will bless you.

SoulFood: Num 16–18, Matt 8:1–17, Ps 44:1–8, Pro 11:9

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Aim For The Mark https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/aim-for-the-mark/ Mon, 09 May 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15782 ‘I press toward the mark for the prize.’ Philippians 3:14 KJV

Paul writes: ‘I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 3:14 KJV) Paul describes the Christian as a marksman. ‘All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.’ (Philippians 3:15 NIV) In Paul’s day, the mark would have been hit by an arrow, but in our day, the mark could also be hit at a firing range.

If you have ever fired at a target, you know this:

(1) Your aim must not be distracted. When you have the bulls-eye in view, even taking a breath at the wrong moment can make you miss the mark. So what’s Paul saying? Simply this: ‘Forget what’s around you and stay focused on winning the prize.’ He is not referring to your salvation. Jesus already purchased that and gives it to you freely by grace. No, he is talking about fulfilling your God-given destiny and obtaining the reward that waits beyond it.

(2) Your bullet has to have the right amount of powder. Otherwise, it will drop off before it hits the mark. Get the idea? Your powder is your power! And where does your power come from? The Holy Spirit! Jesus said: ‘You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem [at home], and in all Judea and Samaria [on the job and in your relationships], and to the end of the earth.’ (Acts 1:8 NKJV)

So the word for today is—aim for the mark.

SoulFood: Num 14–15, Matt 7:15–29, Ps 37:32–40, Pro 11:7–8

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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The Smell Of Sin https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/the-smell-of-sin/ Sun, 08 May 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15781 ‘Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God.’ 2 Corinthians 2:15 NLT

When food in your fridge goes bad, you know it the moment you open the door. And your life is like that. When there is something wrong inside, the people who come in contact with you often sense it. Jesus spoke some of His harshest words to Peter: ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are… not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.’ (Matthew 16:23 NKJV) What was Peter’s sin? Pride. He openly contradicted Jesus (see Matthew 16:22).

There are sins of the spirit and sins of the flesh. Peter’s was a sin of the spirit. David’s actions of adultery and murder were sins of the flesh. Later David wrote, ‘Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me.’ (Psalm 19:12–13 NKJV) Now, God doesn’t want you to become self-absorbed and introspective to the point where you live in condemnation. But He does want you to be sensitive to sin and deal with it immediately.

Scripture gives us three ways to stay clean in a spiritually polluted world:

(1) Walking in the light (see 1 John 1:7). That means striving to be honest before God and man.

(2) Being accountable. That can mean having someone in your life who is mature enough to deserve your confidence, gracious enough to put up with your inconsistencies, and honest enough to confront you (see Ecclesiastes 4:9).

(3) Dealing with your sin right away (see Psalm 32:3–5). The moment that brings consciousness of sin should lead to confession of sin resulting in cleansing of sin. Then you must get back up and go on with God!

SoulFood: Num 11–13, Matt 7:1–14, Ps 37:25–31, Pro 11:5–6

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Thank You, Mum https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/thank-you-mum/ Sat, 07 May 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15780 ‘Give your mother a reason to be glad.’ Proverbs 23:25 NCV

There is no assignment on earth that requires the array of skills and understanding needed by a mum in fulfilling her everyday duties. Stop and think about what her job involves. She must be a resident psychologist, doctor, theologian, educator, nurse, chef, taxi driver, fire warden, and occasional police officer. Try to imagine what it would cost you to go out and hire all those skill sets. And even if you could, how would you know you could trust them?

Go ahead, join Mum on a mid-morning visit to the doctor’s surgery. After sitting for forty-five minutes with a fussy, feverish toddler on her lap, she and her baby are finally ushered into the examining room. The doctor checks out the sick child and then tells the woman with a straight face, ‘Be sure you keep him quiet for four or five days. Don’t let him scratch the rash. Make certain he keeps the medicine down, and you’ll want to watch his stools.’

‘Yeah, sure, Doc! Any other suggestions?’

‘Just one. This disease is contagious, so keep your other kids away from him, and I’ll see you in a week.’

The amazing thing is that most mothers would get this job done—and they would do it with love and wisdom. That’s because God made them good at what they do. And He gave them a passion for their children. They would, quite literally, lay down their lives to protect the children entrusted to their care. And that’s why they are deserving of our admiration—on Mother’s Day, and all the other days of the year. So the word for today is: ‘Give your mother a reason to be glad.’

SoulFood: Jonah 1:10–2:10, Matt 12:38–42

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Be Passionate About It! (3) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/be-passionate-about-it-3-2/ Fri, 06 May 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15779 ‘He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but not wholeheartedly.’ 2 Chronicles 25:2 NIV

The enemy of passion is indifference. You go through the motions, but your focus is broken by other things. It’s not that you have said no to God; it’s that you haven’t said a resounding yes! In the Old Testament account, King Amaziah ‘did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but not wholeheartedly.’

Think about it: at what point does the passion leave a marriage? It doesn’t happen overnight. It happens when you neglect and take each other for granted. Maybe you think your lack of zeal is no big deal. Think again! Jeremiah warns about ‘a curse on anyone who is lax [negligent, slack, slipshod] in doing the Lord’s work!’ (Jeremiah 48:10 NIV)

You say, ‘How does it happen?’ The Bible tells us, ‘This people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.’ (Acts 28:27 NIV) The word ‘calloused’ depicts a steady build-up of hard, dead skin on the soles of your feet until you can’t walk right or without pain. Note what Jesus told the first and last two churches in Revelation:

(1) ‘I hold this against you: you have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.’ (Revelation 2:4–5 NIV)

(2) ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm… I am about to spit you out of My mouth.’ (Revelation 3:15–16 NIV) With that in mind, the word for today is—be passionate about it!

SoulFood: Num 8–10, Matt 6:19–34, Ps 37:16–24, Pro 11:4

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Be Passionate About It! (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/be-passionate-about-it-2-2/ Thu, 05 May 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15778 ‘I felt a fire burning inside.’ Psalm 39:3 CEV

David wrote, ‘I felt a fire burning inside, and the more I thought, the more it burned, until at last I said: “Please, Lord, show me my future.”’ (Psalm 39:3–4 CEV) Passion is like fire; unless you feed it and stoke it, it will die.

Question: on a scale of one to ten, how wholehearted are you about serving the Lord? Before you answer, think about these Scriptures:

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.’ (Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV)

‘Blessed are those who keep His statutes and seek Him with all their heart.’ (Psalm 119:2 NIV)

‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.’ (Proverbs 3:5 NIV)

‘You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.’ (Jeremiah 29:13 NIV)

‘Fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you.’ (2 Timothy 1:6 NIV)

‘“Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.’ (Luke 8:39 NIV)

‘Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.’ (1 Corinthians 14:12 NIV)

‘To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.’ (Colossians 1:29 NIV)

‘Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 3:13–14 NIV)

All these Scriptures can be reduced to one sentence: be passionate about what God has called you to do.

SoulFood: Num 7, Matt 6:1–18, Ps 37:8–15, Pro 11:3

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Be Passionate About It! (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/be-passionate-about-it-1-2/ Wed, 04 May 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15777 ‘Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them.’ 1 Timothy 4:15 NKJV

‘Elisha said, “Pick up the arrows and hit the ground with them.” Jehoash grabbed the arrows and hit the ground three times, then stopped. Elisha became angry at the king and exclaimed, “If you had struck it five or six times, you would completely wipe out the Syrians. Now you will defeat them only three times.”’ (2 Kings 13:18–19 CEV) Elisha had given Jehoash, the king of Israel, a plan from God for not only defeating his enemy but eliminating him permanently as a future threat. But the plan depended on two important things.

First, being fully obedient.

Second, being passionate.

Jehoash passed the first test but failed the second. He was obedient to what the man of God told him to do, but he didn’t go far enough, and he didn’t put his heart and soul into it. In short, he settled for less than God had planned for him. Maybe he was tired or distracted… maybe he didn’t listen carefully to the prophet’s instructions… maybe he thought ‘token obedience’ would be as effective as wholehearted obedience. The Bible doesn’t tell us. But this much we do know: he forfeited God’s best because he wasn’t passionate enough.

Don’t miss the lesson here. It’s not enough just to say, ‘I’ve obeyed the Lord.’ You must obey Him wholeheartedly; otherwise, you can end up compromising your future and failing to experience the fullness of what He has in mind for you.

Paul bottom-lines it to Timothy in these words: ‘Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them.’ In other words, when God tells you to do something, be passionate (zealous and enthusiastic) about it.

SoulFood: Num 4:34–6:27, Matt 5:38–48, Ps 37:1–7, Pro 11:1–2

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Monitor Your Mind (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/monitor-your-mind-2/ Tue, 03 May 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15776 ‘We have the mind of Christ.’ 1 Corinthians 2:16 NIV

There is a natural mindset, and there is a spiritual mindset. To live victoriously, you must develop a spiritual mindset. The Bible says: ‘The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God… and cannot understand them because they are [spiritually] discerned… But we have the mind of Christ.’ (1 Corinthians 2:14–16 NIV) As you programme your life in accordance with God’s Word and consciously submit yourself to do His will every day, He will plant His thoughts in your mind. What an advantage!

For example, someone criticises you and your feelings get hurt. In that moment the Lord speaks to you and says, ‘Yes, your feelings are hurt, but part of it is just wounded vanity and we can deal with that. I love you despite all your baggage. Your standing with Me isn’t at risk. The person who criticised you may see a flaw. But nobody thinks you’re perfect anyway, and it’s better not to pretend. Here is a chance to grow. Use it!’

Even though there are elements of pain in these kinds of thoughts, instead of paralysing you, they energise you. They’re true, they give you ground to stand on, and you realise that if you can keep your mind centred on them, the right feelings and actions are more likely to flow from them. Now you’re starting to live out the promise, ‘You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.’ (Isaiah 26:3 NKJV) Instead of focusing on your critics, focus on God, on your spiritual growth, and on what you can learn from the experience.

SoulFood: Num 3:1–4:33, Matt 5:27–37, Ps 2, Pro 10:30–32

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Monitor Your Mind (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/monitor-your-mind-1/ Mon, 02 May 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15775 ‘We take captive every thought.’ 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV

If thieves came to your door, would you invite them in? No, you’d call the police and have them arrested. And that’s what you need to do when wrong thoughts come to your mind! Take them captive—before they take you captive. And you must do it the moment the first one tries to enter your mind. When you entertain a thought, you empower it, and it will overcome you.

The Bible says, ‘Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.’ (James 4:7 NIV) On your own you don’t have the power to resist Satan, so don’t try it! But the moment you call on God and submit your will to Him, you’re more than a match for Satan. You get to decide who will control your mind: ‘The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.’ (Romans 8:6 NIV)

When a thought keeps turning over and over in your mind, ask yourself, ‘What direction is this thought leading me in? Is it towards spiritual death, or towards “life and peace”’? Think about it: you don’t buy insurance after a storm has flattened your house. If you’re wise, you do it before the storm comes. So instead of failing and saying, ‘I’ll never be any different,’ look back and ask yourself, ‘What was I thinking that led to my failure? Was I in the wrong company, or the wrong place, or the wrong mindset? Have I been reading God’s Word and praying regularly? Have I built my life around people who strengthen me?’ In the long run, monitoring your mind pays great dividends!

SoulFood: Num 1–2, Matt 5:13–26, Ps 35, Pro 10:28–29

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Who Are You Depending On? https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/who-are-you-depending-on-2/ Sun, 01 May 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15774 ‘My God shall supply all your need.’ Philippians 4:19 KJV

How can you tell when you’re depending on people rather than God? When you get upset with your boss because you didn’t get the raise you think you deserve. When you become angry with loved ones because they turned you down for a loan. When you do things like that, you’re sitting at the wrong door waiting for your blessing! Yes, it hurts when your efforts aren’t acknowledged. But you must understand this: God will use people as instruments to bless you, but He alone must always be the source of all your blessings!

Ponder these Scriptures: ‘You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth.’ (Deuteronomy 8:17–18 NIV) ‘When God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them… this is a gift of God.’ (Ecclesiastes 5:19 NIV) ‘She has not acknowledged that I was the one who gave her… silver and gold.’ (Hosea 2:8 NIV)

What is the problem? Simple: people ignore God and forget He was their true source. We generally pursue and nurture relationships that are rewarding—and that’s important information. Why? Because only when you recognise God as the source of all your blessings will you commit to nurturing your relationship with Him.

That’s why Jesus said, ‘Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.’ (Matthew 6:33 NIV) When you pursue God, sow generously into His Kingdom, and expect Him to meet your needs, your efforts will—in His timing—be blessed.

SoulFood: Jam 3–5, Matt 5:1–12, Ps 94:12–23, Pro 10:27

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Look Before You Leap! https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/look-before-you-leap/ Sat, 30 Apr 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15773 ‘Don’t make rash promises.’ Ecclesiastes 5:2 NLT

When it comes to making commitments and keeping them, Solomon doesn’t mince any of his words: ‘Think before you speak, and don’t make any rash promises to God. He is in Heaven and you are on earth, so don’t say any more than you have to… So when you make a promise to God, keep it as quickly as possible… Better not to promise at all than to make a promise and not keep it. Don’t let your own words lead you into sin.’ (Ecclesiastes 5:2–6 GNT)

That means don’t be impulsive, listen as much as you speak, get as much information as you can, then consult God in prayer before you make a commitment. People often say what they think others want to hear, but that can get them into a lot of trouble. Don’t promise something you can’t deliver. And don’t make excuses. Nothing diminishes your influence like trying to reverse a mistake with a lame excuse. When you make a commitment based on emotion, you will only follow through if you feel a certain way. True commitment doesn’t work like that. It’s not a feeling; it’s a character quality.

Human emotions constantly fluctuate, but commitment has to be rock solid. Real dedication shines through in times of trouble and adversity. It doesn’t depend on gifts or abilities, but on integrity. It’s a result of choice, not conditions. And it only lasts when it’s based on values. Bottom line: ‘Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God.’ (Ecclesiastes 5:2 NKJV) So look before you leap, and think before you commit.

SoulFood: 2 Kings 4:42–44, Mark 6:30–44

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Teach Your Children https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/teach-your-children/ Fri, 29 Apr 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15659 ‘That things will go well for you and your children.’ Deuteronomy 4:40 NCV

As a parent, you’re constantly transmitting your values to your children, so do these:

(1) Let them see you pray. Help them to understand that prayer is how we build a lifelong friendship with God. And they will need His friendship when you’re not around to help them. God said, ‘When they call on Me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honour them.’ (Psalm 91:15 NLT)

(2) Show them what God is like. Your child’s concept of God is formed by you. Whether you’re loving and protective or distant and cold, they will grow up understanding God through the interactions they have with you. Some examples are that God is never too busy to listen, He constantly tells us He loves us, and He is never abusive. Getting the idea?

(3) Help them to see God in others. When kids are encouraged to see God at work in their own lives, they begin to discern Him at work in the lives of others too. When that happens, they will value and respect others and be valued and respected in return. That will help them to be secure and successful in life.

(4) Don’t send them to church; take them. Children need to believe—and belong. Teach them that, just like a limb dies that’s disconnected from a body, we die spiritually unless we are connected to a local church. ‘Belonging’ means they will always have a place to go. The Bible says, ‘Obey His laws… that things will go well for you and your children.’ (Deuteronomy 4:40 NCV) Helping your kids to find the right path is the greatest gift you can give them.

SoulFood: Jam 1–2, Matt 4:12–25, Ps 94:1–11, Pro 10:24–26

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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The Benefits Of Being Unselfish https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/the-benefits-of-being-unselfish/ Thu, 28 Apr 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15658 ‘Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.’ Philippians 2:4 NLT

Unselfishness does three things for you:

(1) It improves the quality of your life. It gives you an appreciation for life and a comprehension of its higher values. Seeing people in need and giving to meet those needs sets a lot of things into perspective. John Maxwell writes: ‘There is no life as empty as the self-centred life. There is no life as centred as the self-empty life.’ If you want to enhance your world, focus your attention on assisting others.

(2) It makes you part of something greater than yourself. In the mid-1980s, Merck & Company, the global pharmaceutical corporation, developed a medication to cure river blindness, a disease that infects and causes blindness in millions of people, mainly in developing countries. While it was a good product, potential customers couldn’t afford it. So, what did Merck do? It produced the drug anyway and announced that it would give it free to anyone who needed it. As a result, they gave away more than 250 million ivermectin tablets. George W. Merck says, ‘We try never to forget that medicine is for the people. It’s not for the profits. The profits follow, and if we have remembered that, they have never failed to appear.’ The lesson to learn? Simple. Instead of attempting to be great, be part of something greater than yourself.

(3) It creates a legacy. Jack Balousek, former president of True North Communications, said, ‘Learn, earn, return—these are the three phases of life.’ When you think unselfishly and invest in others, you gain the opportunity to create a legacy that will outlive you. And that should be your goal.

SoulFood: Dan 11–12, Matt 4:1–11, Ps 144:9–15, Pro 10:22–23

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Have Confidence In Your Prayers https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/have-confidence-in-your-prayers/ Wed, 27 Apr 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15657 ‘We are confident that He hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases Him.’ 1 John 5:14 NLT

As a leader, Grover Cleveland, the only President of the United States to leave the White House and then return for a second term four years later, was remarkable. He would often personally answer the office phone in the White House, as well as opening the door for visitors himself. At the time, the people of America had a ‘direct line’ to the President.

It’s like that in your relationship with God. But it’s much better. You not only have a ‘direct line’ to Heaven to get straight through to the ruler of the universe, but when God is your Father, you can call ‘home’ anytime. He is never more than a prayer away!

Jesus said: ‘Ask, and God will give to you. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will open for you. Yes, everyone who asks will receive. Everyone who searches will find. And everyone who knocks will have the door opened. If your children ask for bread, which of you would give them a stone? Or if your children ask for a fish, would you give them a snake? Even though you are bad, you know how to give good gifts to your children. How much more your heavenly Father will give good things to those who ask Him!’ (Matthew 7:7–11 NCV)

We can talk to God without begging and grovelling, ‘confident that He hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases Him. And… He will give us what we ask for.’ (1 John 5:14–15 NLT) So, whatever is robbing you of your confidence in prayer, deal with it today.

SoulFood: Dan 8–10, Matt 3:1–17, Ps 144:1–8, Pro 10:19–21

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Strive For Integrity https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/strive-for-integrity-2/ Tue, 26 Apr 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15656 ‘The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.’ Proverbs 11:3 NIV

Jesus said, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ (Matthew 19:19 NIV) But in order to love yourself, you must first be able to respect yourself. And self-respect is based on personal integrity.

Author Ted Engstrom tells the following story in his book called Integrity: ‘For Coach Cleveland Stroud and the Bulldogs of Rockdale County High School [Conyers, Georgia], it was their championship season: twenty-one wins and five losses on the way to the Georgia Boys Basketball Tournament last March, then a dramatic come-from-behind victory in the state finals. But now the new glass trophy case outside the high school gymnasium is bare. Earlier this month the Georgia High School Association deprived Rockdale County of the championship after school officials said that a player who was scholastically ineligible had played forty-five seconds in the first of the school’s five post-season games. “We didn’t know he was ineligible at the time; we didn’t know it until a few weeks ago,” Coach Stroud said. “Some people have said we should have just kept quiet about it, that it was just forty-five seconds and the player wasn’t an impact player. But you’ve got to do what’s honest and right and what the rules say. I told my team that people forget the scores of basketball games; they don’t ever forget what you’re made of.”’

Every honest or dishonest word and action either adds to or takes away from your character. That’s what the Bible means when it says, ‘The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.’ So today, strive for integrity in all your dealings.

SoulFood: Dan 5–7, Matt 2:13–23, Ps 7:10–17, Pro 10:17–18

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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How To Keep From Falling https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/how-to-keep-from-falling/ Mon, 25 Apr 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15655 ‘Whoever does these things will never be shaken.’ Psalm 15:5 NIV

In Scripture we read, ‘If you get more stubborn every time you are corrected, one day you will be crushed and never recover.’ (Proverbs 29:1 GNT) King Solomon was reputed to be the wisest man who ever lived. He wrote these words, but sadly he didn’t live by them, so he ‘crashed and burned’. And if it could happen to Solomon, none of us are immune!

Character has become a crucial issue today because so many political, business, and religious leaders have fallen so publicly. As a leader, you don’t operate in a vacuum. You influence many others, and when you fall, they feel the repercussions. When a big oak tree falls, it takes the little trees with it. So how can you guard against falling? By not favouring gifts over character. Today we have an unhealthy tendency to celebrate and reward someone’s gift and overlook their character. Both must be developed. Character is the sum total of your daily habits. In Psalm 15, David gives us eight traits to look for in a leader worthy of respect:

(1) They have integrity.

(2) They don’t take part in gossip.

(3) They don’t harm others.

(4) They speak up against wrong.

(5) They honour those who walk in the truth.

(6) They keep their promise, even at personal cost.

(7) They’re not greedy to profit at the expense of others.

(8) They’re strong and stable.

David concludes his psalm by saying those who do these things ‘will never be shaken’. That’s how you keep from falling!

SoulFood: Dan 3–4, Matt 2:1–12, Ps 7:1–9, Pro 10:16

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Competence Doesn’t Compensate For Insecurity https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/competence-doesnt-compensate-for-insecurity/ Sun, 24 Apr 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15654 ‘From that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.’ 1 Samuel 18:9 NLT

One of the truest tests of leadership is how you respond to somebody else’s success. Do you rejoice, or secretly resent them? Do you feel like their blessing somehow came at your expense? King Saul sent David out to fight Goliath. When he succeeded and the Israelites began to sing David’s praises, Saul couldn’t handle it. ‘From that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.’ Leaders who lack confidence are a danger to themselves, their followers, and the groups they lead. That’s because leadership doesn’t camouflage your flaws; it puts them on display. Whatever negative baggage you’re carrying grows heavier when you attempt to lead others. Insecure leaders generally have four common traits:

(1) They don’t provide security for others. To be a good leader, you must make your followers feel good about themselves. Honour them. Reward them. Promote them.

(2) They take more than they give. Insecure leaders are on a continual search for validation, acknowledgement, and love. And because of that, their focus is on obtaining personal security, not instilling it in others.

(3) They continually limit their best people. Insecure leaders don’t see their best people as co-workers; they see them as potential competitors who might rise up through the ranks and threaten their position. Such leaders generally find ways to take the credit for work that was done by others.

(4) They continually limit their organisation. When followers are undermined and go unrecognised, they become disheartened and eventually stop performing to their potential. When that occurs, the whole organisation suffers. Today, examine your leadership style and see if any of these shoes fit you.

SoulFood: Dan 1–2, Matt 1:18–25, Ps 127, Pro 10:15

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Don’t Be A Slave To The Wrong Things https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/dont-be-a-slave-to-the-wrong-things/ Sat, 23 Apr 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15653 ‘You become the slave of whatever you choose to obey.’ Romans 6:16 NLT

Consider some of the people who are enslaved today through no fault of their own—children sold into the sex trade and immigrants sold into forced labour. That’s not the kind of slavery Paul is talking about when he writes, ‘You become the slave of whatever you choose to obey.’ When it comes to sin, the Bible draws a line in the sand and tells us not to cross it. Why? Because when you cross it once, it’s easier to cross it again.

Whether your ‘drug of choice’ is alcohol, illegal or prescription drugs, pornography, gambling, or overeating, you start out believing you’re the master and end up realising you’re the slave. One of the biggest lies we tell ourselves is, ‘I can stop whenever I want to.’ The Prodigal Son was forgiven and restored, but he still lost his inheritance.

Spiritually, you can lose your confidence before God.

Personally, you can lose your sense of self-worth.

Publicly, you can lose respect and influence with others.

And if you’re not careful, even ‘good’ things can hurt you. A strong work ethic can lead to neglecting your family and losing your marriage. Vegging out in front of the TV can stunt your spiritual growth. Even too much caution and thoughtfulness—normally good qualities—can prevent you from stepping out in faith and fulfilling your God-given potential. When God says no, He is not being a killjoy and trying to make your life difficult; He is protecting you! If something has the potential to enslave you, don’t do it. And if you’re already hooked, turn to God and He will set you free.

SoulFood: Gen 6:9–8:4, Matt 24:37–51

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Knowing When To Let Go https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/knowing-when-to-let-go/ Fri, 22 Apr 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15652 ‘As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother.”’ Ephesians 5:31 NLT

When our children are young, we’re so busy providing them with things like love, protection, discipline, training, and authority that it feels like these responsibilities will go on forever. But they don’t. When our children reach their late teens and early twenties, we must open the door for them to the world outside.

If you’re going through this right now and feeling anxious, try to realise that you’re in one of the most challenging and difficult parts of parenting. Your tendency to hold tightly to the reins of control in order to keep your children from making mistakes is natural. But your children are more likely to make good choices if they aren’t compelled to rebel in order to achieve their freedom. The simple truth is that responsibility and maturity flourish best in an atmosphere of freedom. ‘As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother.”’ The secret of success is in granting your child autonomy at the right time, in the right amount, and with the right attitude. Your goal should be to allow independence little by little through the years, as your children are able to manage new responsibility. The final release, then, should represent a small step in the direction of freedom instead of a tumble into anarchy.

In the final analysis, we all learn by trial and error. You did, and try as you may to avoid it, your children will, too. ‘So what should I do?’ you ask. Pray for them daily, release them into God’s care, and let them know that you will always love them and be there for them.

SoulFood: 1 Cor 15–16, Matt 1:1–17, Ps 103:13–22, Pro 10:14

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Don’t Lose Your Joy! https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/dont-lose-your-joy/ Thu, 21 Apr 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15651 ‘Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!’ Philippians 4:4 NKJV

Paul writes, ‘Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!’ Why did Paul repeat himself? Because joy is the fuel we run on, and unless we maintain it, we can run out. That means regularly checking your fuel gauge to make sure you’re not being sucked into negativity and doubt.

In the Bible, wine represents joy. In fact, Christ’s first miracle was turning water into wine—the best they had ever tasted. Jesus is a joy giver, and when you stay connected to Him, you experience His joy regardless of your circumstances. In John 15:11 NIV, He said, ‘I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.’ Think about this for a moment: how can you walk around saying your sins are forgiven, God guides and protects you, and you’re going to Heaven—but look like you have been baptised in pickle juice?

In prison, Paul had so much joy that his jailers were won to Christ and a church sprang up in the ‘household of Caesar’ (see Philippians 4:22). People are always more influenced by your attitude than your theology. Always! When they see you rejoicing in hard times, they’re apt to wonder what your secret is and to think, ‘Whatever that person has, I need it.’ They become more open and receptive to the truth.

The happiness this world offers is only a reaction to circumstances, whereas the joy that comes from living for Jesus lifts you above the circumstances. So, focus on His joy, draw on His joy, and demonstrate His joy to the world today.

SoulFood: 1 Cor 12–14, Luke 24:50–53, Ps 103:1–12, Pro 10:13

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Immediately Following Death—Glory! https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/immediately-following-death-glory/ Wed, 20 Apr 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15650 ‘Everyone who lives in Me and believes in Me will never ever die.’ John 11:26 NLT

At the graveside of His friend Lazarus, Jesus told his grieving sisters Mary and Martha two all-important things:

(1) ‘Your brother will rise again.’ (John 11:23 NASB)

(2) ‘Everyone who lives in Me and believes in Me will never ever die. Do you believe this?’ (John 11:26 NLT) So, what’s going to take you beyond death and into your heavenly home? Sterling character? Charitable giving? Going to church? No. While those are all commendable, only by placing your trust in Christ can you have the assurance of resurrection and eternal life.

You see, Jesus conquered death and the grave for you. You may be reading these words today fighting tears of sorrow. Perhaps you have lost your spouse of many years, or your child to a tragic accident, or a loved one to some dreaded disease. Like no other, Jesus understands your grief. He is touched with the feelings of our infirmities (see Hebrews 4:15).

Or perhaps you sense that death is near to you. If you haven’t placed your trust in Christ, you must take care of that right away. Don’t wait for a more convenient time. Do it today, and you will be saved; that means that when you breathe your last breath, you will pass from death to life—heavenly life. When you trust in Christ (click here), there is no reason to fear what lies beyond the grave. He is already there. And He has prepared a place for you. It’s ready! Inexplicable, unending joy will be yours forever, thanks to Jesus. You can exclaim with Paul, ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ (1 Corinthians 15:55 NIV)

Think about it: immediately following death—glory!

SoulFood: 1 Cor 10–11, Luke 24:45–49, Ps 130, Pro 10:12

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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It’s All About Getting Up Again! https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/its-all-about-getting-up-again/ Tue, 19 Apr 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15649 ‘Though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again.’ Proverbs 24:16 NIV

If you have ever seen a child learning to walk, you know that falling down is an important part of the process. Getting back up again is crucial to developing the child’s balance and muscle development. Likewise, a boxer isn’t disqualified because he gets knocked down; he’s disqualified because he doesn’t get back up. Boxers know they will go down, so they focus on the art of falling safely and getting up quickly. Children and boxers both learn this: it’s all about getting up again.

The Bible tells us that falling is common to both the righteous and unrighteous. It’s getting up again that sets them apart: ‘If good people fall… they will get back up. But when trouble strikes the wicked, that’s the end of them.’ (Proverbs 24:16 CEV) The unrighteous stay down—the righteous get up again!

In Scripture, some of God’s greatest servants fell into personal failure. Abram lied to Pharaoh about his wife, Sarai (see Genesis 12:11–17). Jacob deceived his father and stole his brother’s birth-right (see Genesis 27:17–29). In anger, Moses disobeyed God by striking the rock (see Numbers 20:7–12). Yet instead of being disqualified, they ‘were all commended for their faith.’ (Hebrews 11:39 NIV)

How come? Because they acknowledged their sin and received God’s forgiveness. In other words, they fell, but they got up again. And when you fall, you can get up again too. That’s the ‘faith’ part of your journey. Staying down is failure accepted—getting back up is faith activated!

SoulFood: 1 Cor 7–9, Luke 24:36–44, Ps 127, Pro 10:11

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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It’s Time To End The Standoff https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/its-time-to-end-the-standoff/ Mon, 18 Apr 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15648 ‘God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.’ 2 Corinthians 5:19 NIV

God created us to enjoy unbroken fellowship with Him and each other. That’s why Satan’s first ploy was to separate us from God—and from each other. Using things like pride, stubbornness, confusion, resentment, and selfishness, he drives wedges and polarises relationships. What starts out as a misunderstanding often ends in angry stand-offs or toxic silences that last for hours, days, and sometimes years. Furthermore, we delude ourselves by thinking it’s nobody else’s business. The fallout can’t be contained. It affects every relationship in our lives—all because we’re determined to prove we’re right and the other person is wrong. And it’s not just a psychological problem; it’s a sin problem in need of a divine solution! Here is how God handles polarised relationships.

Paul writes, ‘God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.’ Sin destroyed our relationship with God. Yet He took the initiative by giving Jesus ‘as a ransom [price paid] for many’ (Mark 10:45 NIV), in order to reconcile us to Himself. Reconciling means bringing back together what belongs together!

Notice this: God doesn’t count ‘people’s sins against them.’ Neither does He trivialise or ignore our sin debt. He cancelled it at the cross and stopped holding it against us. And it didn’t end there. He ‘made us agents of the reconciliation’ (2 Corinthians 5:19 PHPS) by calling us to ‘come back to God’ (2 Corinthians 5:19 NLT) and forgive each other.

Sometimes that means eating humble pie, becoming the reconciler, taking the initiative, and ending the stand-off. Are you ready to do that today?

SoulFood: 1 Cor 4–6, Luke 24:25–35, Ps 43, Pro 10:10

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Forgive And Bless https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/forgive-and-bless/ Sun, 17 Apr 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15647 ‘Put up with each other.’ Colossians 3:13 CEV

Building a successful relationship calls for focusing on the other person’s strengths instead of their weaknesses. Benjamin Franklin said, ‘Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards.’ It’s a mistake to rush into a lifetime relationship without taking time to get to know the other person. Without due diligence on the front end, you are sure to have problems on the back end. But an important relationship principle lies in learning to forgive and bless.

American politician Edward Wallace Hoch is attributed with saying, ‘There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it hardly behooves any of us, to talk about the rest of us.’ Blessing can be harder when the offence is great. Small offences can usually be forgiven quickly; big ones involve a healing process. But until you decide to forgive and bless, the process can’t even start.

Paul writes: ‘Be gentle, kind, humble, meek, and patient. Put up with each other… forgive anyone who does you wrong, just as Christ has forgiven you. Love is more important than anything… It is what ties everything… together.’ (Colossians 3:12–14 CEV) When it comes to facing facts about situations you can’t change, pray for grace and learn to live with them. Why do we need to forgive and bless? Because God says so! You are not designed to carry the physical and mental stress that comes with harbouring resentment.

Added to which, ‘Watch yourselves or you also may be tempted.’ (Galatians 6:1 NIV) In other words, we need to be careful not to do the same thing we’ve just found frustrating in someone else.

SoulFood: 1 Cor 1–3, Luke 24:13–24, Ps 56, Pro 10:8–9

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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The Resurrection Calls For A Decision https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/the-resurrection-calls-for-a-decision/ Sat, 16 Apr 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15646 ‘He was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.’ 1 Corinthians 15:4 NLT

Paul wrote: ‘Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and He was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, He was seen by more than 500 of His followers at one time… Then He was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all… I also saw Him.’ (1 Corinthians 15:3–8 NLT)

Some of history’s greatest intellectuals started as atheists and ended up putting their trust in Christ. Why? They examined the evidence! If Jesus was who He claimed to be, God incarnate, taking upon Himself human form, dying for our sins and rising again, then they knew they had a life-changing decision to make: either accept Him or reject Him. And you must make that same decision.

Peter told his listeners on the day of Pentecost: ‘You nailed Him to a cross… But God… raised Him back to life.’ (Acts 2:23–24 NLT)

They said, ‘What should we do?’ Peter replied, ‘Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God.’ (Acts 2:37–38 NLT) That day three thousand souls were won to Christ and the church was launched. Bottom line, Jesus died for your sins and rose again to represent you as your advocate before the throne of God. If you are wise you will accept Him as your Lord and Saviour—knowing that He will give you an abundant life now, and eternal life in Heaven.

SoulFood: 1 Cor 15, Luke 24:1–12

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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The Resurrection; God’s ‘Sting’ Operation https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/the-resurrection-gods-sting-operation/ Fri, 15 Apr 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15645 O Death, where is your sting?’ 1 Corinthians 15:55 NKJV

In a ‘sting’ operation, law enforcement agents set the bad guy up in order to bring him down. That’s what God did to Satan at the cross. For three days it seemed as though Satan had won. Then Jesus rose from the dead and turned his plans upside down: ‘He disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by His victory over them on the cross.’ (Colossians 2:15 NLT)

The thing Satan feared most, the birth of a church with the power to change the world through the Gospel, had come to pass. ‘The rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord.’ (1 Corinthians 2:8 NLT) Christ’s enemies even tried to stop the truth of the resurrection from getting out: ‘They decided to give the soldiers a large bribe… “You must say, ‘Jesus’ disciples came during the night while we were sleeping, and they stole his body’”… So the guards accepted the bribe and said what they were told to say.’ (Matthew 28:12–15 NLT)

Normally hatred for a person ends when they die. So why then do some people hate Jesus? Because the resurrection is the ultimate proof that He is Lord! Indeed, you cannot be saved unless you believe in the resurrection: ‘If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.’ (Romans 10:9–10 NKJV)

SoulFood: Lev 26–27, Luke 23:50–56, Ps 69:7–21, Pro 10:6–7

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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He Did It With You In Mind https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/he-did-it-with-you-in-mind/ Thu, 14 Apr 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15644 ‘They made a crown out of thorn branches and placed it on His head.’ Matthew 27:29 CEV

The hymnist Isaac Watts wrote; ‘See from His head, His hands, His feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down. Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown?’ Jesus wore a crown of thorns so you could wear a crown of glory. Thorns in Scripture represent sin.

In Eden when Adam and Eve disobeyed, God said, ‘Cursed is the ground because of you… both thorns and thistles it will grow for you.’ (Genesis 3:17–18 NASB) Later He told Israel that unless they purged the land of their enemies, ‘they will be like… thorns in your sides.’ (Numbers 33:55 NCV) Solomon cautioned: ‘Corrupt people walk a thorny, treacherous road.’ (Proverbs 22:5 NLT) And Jesus warned, ‘You can detect them by the way they act, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit. You need never confuse grapevines with thorn bushes.’ (Matthew 7:16 TLB)

Max Lucado writes: ‘The crown of thorns Jesus wore represented all our sins. As we were caught in the brambles of envy, anger, shame, discouragement, guilt, bitterness, and unforgiveness, so Jesus, who knew no sin, became “an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10 NIV) Not once did Christ use His supernatural powers for personal comfort. With just a word He could have transformed the hard earth into a soft bed… hurled the spit of His accusers back into their faces… and paralysed the hand of the soldier who braided the thorns. But He didn’t. Instead, “He cancelled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to Christ’s cross.”’ (Colossians 2:14 NLT) And He did it with you in mind. Amazing!

SoulFood: Gen 22:1–18, Luke 23:26–49, Ps 22, Isa 53

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Leadership Responsibility (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/leadership-responsibility-2/ Wed, 13 Apr 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15643 ‘Our competence comes from God. He has made us competent.’ 2 Corinthians 3:5–6 NIV

David was ‘on a roll’. He kept winning battle after battle. He had a golden touch. But success can go to your head, and David wasn’t exempt. He started wondering, ‘Just how strong are we?’ At that point, he conducted a census and discovered he had ‘one million one hundred thousand [fighting] men.’ (1 Chronicles 21:5 NIV) That could tempt any of us to think, ‘With an army this size, and a track record of success, who needs to pray for God’s help or ask Him for a plan?’ That was the point at which God stepped in and judged David, and seventy thousand Israelites died needlessly (see 1 Chronicles 21:14).

So here is another aspect of leadership you need to be aware of: your mistakes have the potential to hurt others. You’re not just accountable to those who are over you; you’re responsible for those under you. After all, if your good decisions have the ability to bless and guide people, your bad decisions have the potential to harm them. ‘David said to God, “Was it not I who ordered the fighting men to be counted? I, the shepherd, have sinned and done wrong… let Your hand fall on me and my family, but do not let this plague remain on Your people.”’ (1 Chronicles 21:17 NIV)

God graciously answered David’s prayer, and judgment was lifted from Israel. So, you need God’s guidance for your own sake, the sake of the people around you, and to give you the grace to accept responsibility when you fail. Don’t try to hide your failures, blame others, or run from God. Acknowledge them, grow through them, and go on to become wiser.

SoulFood: Lev 24–25, Luke 23:18–25, Ps 69:1–6, Pro 10:5

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Leadership Responsibility (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/leadership-responsibility-1/ Tue, 12 Apr 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15642 ‘Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census.’ 1 Chronicles 21:1 NIV

Fresh from a major victory over the Philistines, King David made a major mistake. Instead of trusting God for his next battle, he conducted a census designed to measure his military power and determine his chances of winning. As a result, seventy thousand Israelites perished. This story teaches us three very important lessons about leadership responsibility:

(1) As a leader, you’re Satan’s special target. He knows that in order to get to others, he must go through you, so he will use every strategy he has to bring you down. ‘Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census.’ The average board of directors would probably have considered it a good idea, but God saw it as an act of arrogance and unbelief.

(2) Don’t be presumptuous. Don’t let your last victory make you overconfident about your next battle. There will never be a time when you don’t need God! The fact that God had just granted David a great victory should have made him more, not less, dependent on God. Paul wrote, ‘Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent.’ (2 Corinthians 3:5–6 NIV)

(3) Listen to wise counsel. Joab, one of David’s generals, warned him he was making a grave mistake. ‘The king’s word, however, overruled Joab.’ (1 Chronicles 21:4 NIV) You may have great gifts, but you don’t have all the gifts. Where you have blind spots, others often have 20/20 vision. ‘In the multitude of counsellors there is safety’ (Proverbs 11:14 KJV), so listen to the people God put in your life to guide and protect you.

SoulFood: Lev 22–23, Luke 23:8–17, Ps 32, Pro 10:4

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Understanding Your Capabilities https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/understanding-your-capabilities/ Mon, 11 Apr 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15641 ‘Don’t cherish exaggerated ideas of yourself or your importance but try to have a sane estimate of your capabilities.’ Romans 12:3 PHPS

It can be hard to remain positive at times. Television, newspapers and social media can create such a climate of fear and depression, it clogs up your ability to say ‘yes’ to things that are uplifting. Yet when we treasure the ways of God, and decide to become firmly grounded in Him, we have to prepare ourselves to say ‘no’ to those things in life that don’t match up to His Word and His ways. In today’s world, that can be so difficult.

The Bible says: ‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’ (Romans 12:2 NIV) This ‘renewing of your mind’ is a process that only God can bring about in us. It is a work that enables us to ‘have a sane estimate’ of our capabilities. If we surrender to Him, God will replace the ‘exaggerated ideas’ we have about ourselves—whether they are overestimations or underestimations—with realistic and reasonable understandings of our own strengths and weaknesses. He provides us with the tools of freedom so we can be liberated from pride about ourselves and also from hypercriticism about ourselves.

God wants to use us to make a real difference in the world. But it’s important to learn to ‘take captive’ (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV) those thoughts that would say otherwise. This will never mean we should end up being full of ourselves. No. Knowing who we are in God will mean we’re full of Him; not full of ourselves. We should be ready to point others His way.

SoulFood: Lev 20–21, Luke 23:1–7, Ps 25:16–22, Pro 10:3

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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A Safe Place To Unload https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/a-safe-place-to-unload/ Sun, 10 Apr 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15640 ‘Bear one another’s burdens.’ Galatians 6:2 ESV

Have you ever said something you wish you could take back?

Chuck Swindoll writes: ‘We act impulsively and realise, after the fact, how foolish we were… On top of all that, we hurt the ones we love the most. All this stuff caves in on us… and we wonder how anybody could ever love us… especially God. When we start thinking like this, we need to turn our mind to the “one anothers” in the New Testament. Love one another, build up one another, live in peace with one another, confess your sins to one another, speak to one another, admonish one another, comfort one another, pray for one another. “Bear one another’s burdens.” (Galatians 6:2 NKJV) Imagine two mountain hikers. One… has a… light pack… while the other poor soul… is… loaded down… It could be a long-standing grudge… poisoning his insides… a broken relationship with his wife or one of his kids. That pack could be loaded with unpaid bills. The question is, Where can… [he] go to unload? By sitting in church alongside a… couple thousand other folks? Hardly. What he needs… is… a place where there is person-to-person caring and… authentic sharing. Where he will feel free, without embarrassment… to tell his secret or state his struggle; where someone will listen, help him unload, and give him fresh strength. Adult fellowships… are not miniature church services. They are pockets of people who love Christ and believe in helping one another. They don’t point fingers or preach or compare. They are your brothers and sisters in Christ… Are you involved in a… fellowship group? If not, consider joining or starting [one].’

Once you begin unloading, you will discover how much easier the journey seems.

SoulFood: Lev 18–19, Luke 22:63–71, Ps 25:8–15, Pro 10:2

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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What ‘Colour’ Is Your Tongue? https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/what-colour-is-your-tongue/ Sat, 09 Apr 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15639 ‘The mouth speaks the things that are in the heart.’ Matthew 12:34 NCV

When Mary Southerland came down with a raging fever, her doctor suspected viral meningitis. ‘How long have you had the solid white coating on your tongue?’ he asked. Mary was puzzled. Why did that matter? The doctor continued, ‘The health of the tongue is a very strong indicator of the health of the entire body.’ And spiritually speaking, the same principle applies.

‘The mouth speaks the things that are in the heart. Good people have good things in their hearts… so they say good things… evil people have evil in their hearts, so they say evil things.’ (Matthew 12:34–35 NCV) The problem is more serious than the tongue: it lies in your heart, your attitude, your outlook, and your temperament.

Southerland continues: ‘The tongue is a spiritual thermometer that reflects the condition of the heart… Words are power tools that can build… encourage… destroy and cause confusion. We have all been hurt and even defeated by words spoken in anger or words rising out of a wounded heart… If my words are boastful, my heart is insecure. If my words are filthy, my heart is impure and if my words are critical, my heart is filled with pride and anger… Solomon said, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver” (Proverbs 25:11 KJV)… The right word, spoken at the right time and in the right way can bring order in the midst of confusion and light on a very dark path. “Good people know the right thing to say.” (Proverbs 10:32 NCV) God gives us spiritual “radar” so we can assess a situation and speak the right word for that circumstance. We just need to check the “radar screen” before we speak.’

SoulFood: Matt 21:1–16, Ps 118:19–29

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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A Heart Of Flesh https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/a-heart-of-flesh/ Fri, 08 Apr 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15638 ‘I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.’ Ezekiel 36:26 NIV

When you have been hurt, it’s easy to put up barriers. But be careful—a protective shell can turn into a ‘heart of stone’: resistant, unreceptive, impenetrable even to God.

Kristin Armstrong writes: ‘The only thing more painful, and with… more serious ramifications than a broken heart, is a frozen one… Paul warns us [about]… allowing our hearts to harden. “They are darkened in their understanding… separated from the life of God… due to… hardening of their hearts.” (Ephesians 4:18 NIV) A soft heart is not weak or naive. To the contrary, wisdom, experience, and faith make for a strong heart, weathered by compassion and seasoned with mercy. A hardened heart is not protected, it’s merely encased in injury, and it is painfully obvious to everyone but you… After a weekend that felt like one painful test after another, I called my best friend in tears. “Why won’t this end? How strong does God want me to be? I can’t take it anymore!” Being a godly woman… she replied, “Perhaps it’s the other way around. You have been strong enough. God wants your heart to be soft and open.” I hadn’t thought of it that way. In response to heartbreak, betrayal, or shame, it is… easy to develop a heart of stone. We think this will protect us from… more pain. The problem with stone is… it feels nothing—no pain, but no love. It is a trap that feels like self-preservation, but it is actually self-destruction. [God] wants to give you a heart of flesh. With His love you can emerge from a painful season of loss with a heart that is yielding, porous, and ready to receive the gifts He has… for you.’

SoulFood: Lev 15–17, Luke 22:54–62, Ps 25:1–7, Pro 10:1

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Jesus’ Work Philosophy (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/jesus-work-philosophy-2/ Thu, 07 Apr 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15637 ‘I must work the works of Him who sent Me.’ John 9:4 NKJV

Like the rest of us, Jesus sometimes got tired (see John 4:6). But He was never stressed out by the job. He was led, but never driven. He knew what needed to be done and the amount of time required to do it, and He picked a team to accomplish it. Three of them—Peter, James, and John—were in His inner circle. It wasn’t that He showed favouritism; He just recognised the particular gifts of the people He worked with and what He needed from each of them to get the job done. An important step towards accomplishing something big is knowing the kinds of people you will need. In other words, you need to know who should be on your team.

Jesus spent three-and-a-half years training His disciples before delegating responsibility to them. Was He afraid they’d make mistakes, outshine Him, or make Him look bad? No, He told them, ‘He who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.’ (John 14:12 NKJV) Jesus was a team player who got things done through others. But even when you break a task down, strategically plan it, and recruit terrific people, you need one more component to succeed: teamwork! Teamwork is the glue that brings people together—and keeps them together.

There are more than a billion Christians in the world today. And it all started two thousand years ago with one man who had a vision, a man who recruited and trained a team to fulfil that vision. If you’re wise, you will study His work philosophy.

SoulFood: Lev 13:38–14:57, Luke 22:39–53, Ps 4, Pro 9:13–18

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Jesus’ Work Philosophy (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/jesus-work-philosophy-1/ Wed, 06 Apr 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15636 ‘I must finish the work that He gave me to do.’ John 4:34 CEV

Instead of confining Jesus to church on Sunday, let’s study His work philosophy (attitude, values, and beliefs) on how to get things done. The principles He lived by call for these:

(1) Being clear about your assignment. He said, ‘I must finish the work that He gave me to do.’ Jesus understood that focus maximises skill and opportunity. So if you’re talented, energetic, and active and you’re still not seeing concrete results, your problem may be lack of focus. When Nehemiah was rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls, his enemies said, ‘Come, let us meet together.’ (Nehemiah 6:2 NKJV) That’s when he sent back this message: ‘I am doing a great work, so… I cannot come down.’ (Nehemiah 6:3 NKJV)

(2) Prioritising tasks in the order of their importance. When you don’t do what has to be done according to its importance, jobs start to arrange themselves according to their urgency. And when that happens, you miss great opportunities. The Bible says Jesus ‘needed to go through Samaria.’ (John 4:4 NKJV) To the disciples, this probably looked like a diversion because it wasn’t the shortest route to where they wanted to go. But there was a woman in Samaria Jesus wanted to redeem; a vessel through which He reached the entire city with the Gospel. Bottom line: Jesus was clear about His priorities. Are you?

(3) Creating a definitive timetable. In other words, set deadlines and stick with them. Jesus knew He had only three-and-a-half years to get the job done, and He made every day count. One of the biggest lies we tell ourselves is, ‘I’ll get to it later.’ To succeed in life, let Jesus’ work philosophy become your master plan.

SoulFood: Lev 11:1–13:37, Luke 22:24–38, Ps 50:16–23, Pro 9:12

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Be Secure https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/be-secure/ Tue, 05 Apr 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15635 ‘God didn’t give us a cowardly spirit.’ 2 Timothy 1:7 GWT

The foundation of good leadership is security. Paul told Timothy, ‘God didn’t give us a cowardly spirit but a spirit of power, love, and good judgment.’ You must know with certainty that God called you, equipped you, and guaranteed your ultimate success. And you must keep this in mind when people stop liking you, when funding drops, when morale dips, and others reject you. If you feel insecure, fear will eventually cause you to sabotage your own leadership.

Confident leaders see what is, while maintaining their vision of what can be. They’re rarely content with things the way they are. As President Ronald Reagan once joked, ‘Status quo… is Latin for “the mess we’re in”!’ By definition, ‘to lead’ is to be out in front, breaking new ground, vanquishing new worlds, and proceeding away from the status quo. Dissatisfaction with the status quo doesn’t mean having a bad attitude or complaining; it has to do with a readiness to be different and to take risks. A person who won’t risk change is someone who fails to grow. A leader who loves the status quo is someone who soon turns into a follower.

Raymond Smith of Bell Atlantic Corporation once remarked, ‘Administrators are easy to find and cheap to keep. Leaders—risk takers—are in very short supply. And the ones with vision are pure gold.’ Many people are more comfortable dealing with old troubles than doing what it takes to find new solutions; risk seems dangerous to them. The secret lies in having a winning attitude—one that comes from being secure in who you are and what you have been called to do. Think about it!

SoulFood: Lev 8–10, Luke 22:14–23, Ps 50:1–15, Pro 9:10–11

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Be Courageous (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/be-courageous-2/ Mon, 04 Apr 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15634 ‘You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’ John 8:32 NKJV

Jesus said, ‘You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’ It takes courage to face a painful reality. It’s easier to bail out of a troubled marriage than to stay and work your way through to a better place. It’s easier to give in to despair and self-pity than go back to school and train for a new career. It takes guts to stand up for your convictions when you’re under fire.

It’s often said, ‘Unless you stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.’ The truth is, anytime you’re willing to stand for something or try something new, somebody will take a shot at you. The English word courage is derived from the French word cœur, meaning ‘heart’. Hence the phrase: ‘don’t lose heart’. It’s easy to be brave when you feel strong, but it’s much harder when you feel weak and inadequate. Yet, that’s when you need courage the most.

General Omar Bradley remarked, ‘Bravery is the capacity to perform properly even when scared half to death.’ And the courage he is referring to isn’t hollow hype. It has nothing to do with a ‘fake it till you make it’ mentality. Courage means saying, ‘If God promised it, I believe it,’ and moving forward despite the obstacles.

If you need an injection of courage today, read and meditate on these verses:

(1) ‘Be strong and do not give up… your work will be rewarded.’ (2 Chronicles 15:7 NIV)

(2) ‘Strengthen the limp hands and steady the feeble knees! Say to those with anxious hearts: “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come… He will come to save you.”’ (Isaiah 35:3–4 BSB)

Now that’s courage!

SoulFood: Lev 5–7, Luke 22:1–13, Ps 26, Pro 9:8–9

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Be Courageous (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/be-courageous-1/ Sun, 03 Apr 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15633 ‘Be strong and of good courage.’ Joshua 1:9 NKJV

Knowing the battles he would have to fight in order to conquer the Promised Land, God told Joshua three times: ‘Be strong and of good courage.’ Anytime you move forward, obstacles will block your path. Count on it!

H.G. Wells asked, ‘What on earth would a man do with himself, if something did not stand in his way?’ What did he mean? That adversity is your friend—even when it feels like your enemy. Every obstacle you face reveals your strengths and weaknesses, shaping you and making you wiser and more confident.

Poet Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: ‘Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.’ Anytime you leave your comfort zone and step out in faith to follow God, you will be tested. But you will also reach heights you thought were beyond you and go further than others with greater talent who settled for less.

Paul wrote of suffering in this way to the people of Corinth: ‘All this is for your sake so that, as His grace spreads, more and more people will give thanks and glorify God. That’s why we are not discouraged… This light, temporary nature of our suffering is producing for us an everlasting weight of glory.’ (2 Corinthians 4:15–17 ISV)

Courage can be defined as simply ‘not giving up’.

SoulFood: Lev 1–4, Luke 21:25–38, Ps 18:30–50, Pro 9:7

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Say No To Sin https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/say-no-to-sin/ Sat, 02 Apr 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15632 ‘You live under the freedom of God’s grace.’ Romans 6:14 NLT

If you want to grow roses, you must declare war on weeds; otherwise, they will run amok in your garden. In other words, you must beware of weeds! There is a spiritual parallel at work here, and it’s this: unless you deal decisively with sin, it will take over your life.

Paul tells us: ‘We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with Him. We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and He will never die again. Death no longer has any power over Him… now that He lives, He lives for the glory of God. So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus. Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.’ (Romans 6:6–14 NLT)

So, the word for today is—say no to sin!

SoulFood: Josh 2:1–24, Acts 9:20–30

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Choose Peace https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/choose-peace/ Fri, 01 Apr 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15631 ‘When the Holy Spirit controls our lives He will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace.’ Galatians 5:22 TLB

Panic and anxiety are often our first reactions to conflict and problems. In those initial moments, choosing peace seems impossible. Your subconscious whispers, ‘If you really care, you will worry.’ As panic begins to rise, it’s important to turn to the Holy Spirit and tap into the peace He offers. Panic is the enemy, not the situation. Anxiety just empowers and enlarges the problems we’re facing. Your best problem-solving resource is always peace.

Fear and anxiety block solutions; answers flow more easily and naturally from a peaceful state of mind. And God’s peace is always available to us—if we choose to use it. Paul writes, ‘When the Holy Spirit controls our lives He will produce… peace.’ Refuse to let your negative emotions run uncontrolled. Don’t let them decide your response.

Jesus said, ‘Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful… intimidated… cowardly and unsettled.’ (John 14:27 AMPC) That means you have options; you can choose between peace and inner conflict. In the same verse, Jesus also said, ‘My [own] peace I… bequeath to you’ (John 14:27 AMPC), and ‘bequeath’ relates to executing a will. When someone dies, they leave their most cherished possessions to the people they love. But just because Jesus left us His peace doesn’t mean it will automatically operate in us. Plus, when we lose our peace, it’s harder to hear from God.

When Paul says, ‘Let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule… in your hearts’ (Colossians 3:15 AMPC), the word ‘rule’ means ‘to govern and to control’. So instead of letting yourself get anxious and panicky today, choose peace.

SoulFood: Phil 3–4, Luke 21:12–24, Ps 18:1–29, Pro 9:4–6

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Living By Faith https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/living-by-faith/ Thu, 31 Mar 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15630 ‘The just shall live by faith.’ Hebrews 10:38 KJV

Living by faith is something you learn to do by practising it daily. Before you became a Christian, you trusted in your own ability and intellect. But those things only took you so far and no further, right? Now you’re trusting God for the wisdom, guidance, resources, and ability to fulfil His will for your life.

The Bible tells us, ‘By faith Noah… prepared an ark for the saving of his household.’ (Hebrews 11:7 NKJV) Think about it: when Noah built the ark, there was no sign of rain. Living by faith doesn’t always make sense. It doesn’t mean your problems will vanish into thin air. Sometimes faith changes your circumstances; other times it changes your perspective. How? By giving you the tenacity to hang in there when the money doesn’t arrive in your account, or the doctor says the condition is incurable, or your spouse asks for a divorce, or the kids are acting berserk, or the company where you have worked for the last twenty years closes its doors.

Faith gives you the fortitude to endure, confident that God will work things out on your behalf. Scripture tells us, ‘Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.’ (Hebrews 11:1 NIV) Living by faith means:

(1) obeying God and believing He will never let you down;

(2) following in the footsteps of ordinary people who did extraordinary things for God;

(3) using your faith because you know it’s the only currency Heaven recognises.

When the Bible says, ‘The just shall live by faith,’ it doesn’t mean little, sporadic bursts of faith; it means making faith a lifestyle.

SoulFood: Phil 1–2, Luke 21:1–11, Ps 31:14–24, Pro 9:1–3

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Yoked Together With Jesus https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/yoked-together-with-jesus/ Wed, 30 Mar 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15629 ‘Take the yoke I give you.’ Matthew 11:29 CEV

Jesus spoke to people who had given up on religion. People who were burned out trying—and failing—to observe a long list of rules and regulations. Here is what He told them: ‘If you are tired from carrying heavy burdens, come to Me and I will give you rest. Take the yoke I give you. Put it on your shoulders and learn from Me. I am gentle and humble, and you will find rest. This yoke is easy to bear, and this burden is light.’ (Matthew 11:28–30 CEV)

The ‘yoke’ Jesus spoke of was a harness that went around the necks of two oxen so they could pull the plough in the same direction. In each team of oxen, one was the leader and the other would follow. There is an important lesson here—don’t miss it. Jesus will take the lead, but you must stay in sync with Him to enjoy His blessing on your life. He promises His yoke won’t choke you; it won’t be wearisome or confining, and you won’t chafe under it. In fact, if you want to be truly free, you must let yourself be yoked to Jesus by submitting your will to His.

But it doesn’t work to accept Christ’s yoke for a while and then start pulling the other way when things don’t go the way you want. When you do, the load gets heavier and you start to feel worn out. Peace and rest come when you relax in the yoke and let Christ lead. Jesus said, ‘You will find rest.’ That means your options are to resist Him or to rest in Him! Which will it be?

SoulFood: Job 40–42, Luke 20:41–47, Ps 31:1–13, Pro 8:34–36

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Self-Control https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/self-control-2/ Tue, 29 Mar 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15628 ‘Do your best to improve your faith by adding goodness, understanding, self-control.’ 2 Peter 1:5–6 CEV

Ever notice how we tend to blame our circumstances for our character deficiencies? We attribute our problems to poor upbringing, financial difficulties, or other people’s shortcomings. Your circumstances may be beyond your control—but your character isn’t. You can no more blame your character flaws on circumstances than you can blame a mirror for how you look.

Integrity is always a choice, and every time you make a character-based decision, you take a step forward in your spiritual growth. Think about the times you have faced temptation and adversity. Jot them down, and beside each one, note your choice: to escape, excuse, capitulate, avoid, persevere or overcome. What problem areas can you identify? How can you do better?

If the things you listed were due to circumstances beyond your control, then choose to take greater control of your life. How? ‘By adding… self-control’ to your arsenal. Our lives resemble icebergs, in that 15 per cent is visible; that’s our reputation. The rest, our character, is hidden below the surface. Character is what we think but don’t necessarily share. It’s based on what we do when nobody’s looking, how we handle life’s little aggravations, how we handle failure—and success.

At the end of a brilliant career, Joshua challenged Israel with these words: ‘Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.’ (Joshua 24:15 NIV) Character is based on self-control, and self-control is about making the right choices. And the good news is, you don’t have to do it alone: ‘God is working in you to make you willing and able to obey Him.’ (Philippians 2:13 CEV)

SoulFood: Job 38–39, Luke 20:27–40, Ps 6, Pro 8:32–33

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Be A Restorer (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/be-a-restorer-2/ Mon, 28 Mar 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15627 ‘And that is what some of you were.’ 1 Corinthians 6:11 NIV

After listing some of the worst sins imaginable, Paul told the Corinthians, ‘And that is what some of you were. But you were… justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.’ (1 Corinthians 6:11 NIV) So, before you pass sentence on someone else, remember what God has lifted you out of! Many of us think a ‘good’ sermon is one that goes over our head and hits our neighbour squarely between the eyes!

In Scripture, the word restore has two shades of meaning. One is to remove a tumour. A tumour can kill you, and it needs to be removed. Paul writes, ‘If someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently… in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ.’ (Galatians 6:1–2 NIV) Make no mistake, sharing someone’s shame and humiliation can be a burden. Nevertheless, ‘we should… give special attention to those who are in the family of believers.’ (Galatians 6:10 NCV) If you tend to be quick to condemn others—something we have all done from time to time—ask yourself this question: if people don’t find grace among the people who preach it, where can they find it?

The other means to reset a broken bone. Scripture tells us, ‘Christ makes us one body… connected to each other.’ (Romans 12:5 GWT) In fact, your spiritual family is more important than your earthly family because it will last forever. By lifting a fallen family member, you help heal their pain and enable them to become a vital, functioning part of Christ’s body again. So, the word for today is—be a restorer.

SoulFood: Job 35–37, Luke 20:20–26, Ps 69:19–36, Pro 8:30–31

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Be A Restorer (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/be-a-restorer-1/ Sun, 27 Mar 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15626 ‘You who live by the Spirit should restore.’ Galatians 6:1 NIV

Sometimes when we fall we can get up by ourselves; other times we need someone to help us. And sadly, not all Christians are willing to help. Sometimes they feel that by extending grace to someone they are condoning their sin. But Paul knocked that argument down when he wrote, ‘Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.’ (Ephesians 4:32 NIV) Why should we be restorers?

(1) Because God tells us to. ‘If someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves… you also may be tempted.’ (Galatians 6:1 NIV) It’s pride that causes us to point an accusing finger instead of extending a helping hand to those who fall. It makes us think we’re better than someone else; incapable of falling like they did. You would be surprised what you would do in certain circumstances! Paul writes, ‘These things happened to them as examples for us… If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall.’ (1 Corinthians 10:12 NLT)

(2) Because Jesus is our example. Jesus had no time for the Pharisees who hid their sins behind a religious mask. But not one time did He condemn someone who was caught in sin and overtaken by temptation and failure. The minute they reached for Him, He willingly restored them. Someone has said the church is the only army that shoots its wounded. Today, others are watching us to see if the grace we preach to others is the same grace we extend to one another. Let’s not disappoint them.

SoulFood: Job 32–34, Luke 20:9–19, Ps 69:1–18, Pro 8:27–29

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Look For God’s Hand In It! https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/look-for-gods-hand-in-it/ Sat, 26 Mar 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15625 ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvellous in our eyes.’ Matthew 21:42 NIV

Sometimes the rejection of others, turns out to be ‘the Lord’s doing.’ After Joseph had been betrayed by his brothers and slandered by Potiphar’s wife, he said, ‘You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good.’ (Genesis 50:20 NKJV)

How often has something happened in your life, that you later realised was necessary? If you hadn’t sustained this, or walked through that, you wouldn’t be ready for the blessings you’re enjoying right now. It’s when you see the hand of God in it that you begin to understand what the enemy meant for your destruction, God used for your development.

Jesus, the Chief Cornerstone, was continually rejected. And His example shows us the way forward. To be more than a conqueror means to stand up and say, ‘Here’s how I see it. It took all I’ve been through to make me who I am today, and to teach me what I know. I choose to be better, not bitter. I trust the faithfulness of God more than ever. If faith doesn’t move the mountain, it will give me strength to endure until tomorrow. And if it’s not gone by tomorrow, I’ll still believe that God is able and trust Him to come through.’

Rejoice! Your steps (and your stops) are being arranged by God. They’re also being observed by Him. When you get through this, you’ll realise that ‘the worst thing that could have happened’ is, in reality, ‘the Lord's doing’ and it’ll become marvellous in your eyes.

SoulFood: 1 Sam 17:4–51, Eph 6:10–18

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Heaven Is Real https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/heaven-is-real/ Fri, 25 Mar 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15624 ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ Revelation 21:5 NIV

John the Revelator wrote: ‘I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is… among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then He said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”’ (Revelation 21:2–5 NIV)

When an atheist died and his friends filed by his casket, one of them remarked, ‘How sad—all dressed up and nowhere to go!’ Not so for the believer! As a redeemed child of God, you’re assured of a home in Heaven and citizenship in ‘the new Jerusalem’.

John continues, ‘The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city.’ (Revelation 21:15 NIV) The city is an exact square of about 2200 km (Revelation 21:16). It would stretch from Cairns to Melbourne or from Adelaide to Perth. It’s approximately 63% of the size of Australia. And that’s just the ground floor! It’s as tall as it is wide; six hundred thousand storeys high—more than enough room for billions of people to come and go. So here is the question: when you die, will you go to Heaven? To be sure, click here.

SoulFood: Job 29–31, Luke 20:1–8, Ps 38:13–22, Pro 8:24–26

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Have You Sinned? God Will Forgive You! https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/have-you-sinned-god-will-forgive-you/ Thu, 24 Mar 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15623 ‘He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.’ 1 John 1:9 KJV

The story of David and Bathsheba is the stuff movies are made of—lust, adultery, premarital pregnancy, murder, and cover-up. And it looked like David was home free, except for one important detail: ‘The thing that David had done displeased the Lord.’ (2 Samuel 11:27 NKJV) In the Bible, God refers to David as ‘a man after His own heart’ (1 Samuel 13:14 NLT), but the same Bible says, ‘Be sure your sin will find you out.’ (Numbers 32:23 KJV)

So God sent the prophet Nathan to tell David, ‘I anointed you king… Why then have you despised the Word of the Lord?’ (2 Samuel 12:7–9 NLT) Then God passed sentence: ‘I am going to bring calamity on you… before all Israel.’ (2 Samuel 12:11–12 NIV)

From that day on, tragedy and turmoil plagued David’s family. On many levels, ‘the way of transgressors is hard’ (Proverbs 13:15 KJV), not the least of which is that sometimes God takes away your peace so that you will acknowledge your sin. It took an unplanned pregnancy, the murder of an innocent man, a child’s death, a prophet’s persuasion, and the conviction of the Holy Spirit before David’s heart softened and he admitted, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’ (2 Samuel 12:13 NIV)

And when he prayed those words, God treated David’s sin the same way He treats ours: ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ (1 John 1:9 KJV) As long as you keep excusing, defending, and rationalising your sin, God can do nothing for you. But the minute you confess it to Him, He will forgive you. Isn’t that wonderful?

SoulFood: Job 24–28, Luke 19:41–48, Ps 38:1–12, Pro 8:22–23

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Listen To The Right Voice https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/listen-to-the-right-voice/ Wed, 23 Mar 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15622 ‘This is the way; walk in it.’ Isaiah 30:21 NIV

Joni Eareckson Tada tells of a group of friends who were on a mountaintop discussing which direction to go. One man said, ‘That’s south!’ Another countered, ‘No, that’s east.’ Everybody threw in their two-cents’ worth, until finally someone produced a compass and said, ‘We can settle this real fast.’ Within seconds the compass confirmed they were, in fact, facing due west!

The only reliable source had the final say, and nobody was about to argue with it. During the day, many voices vie for your attention, and some so-called ‘experts’ can be dead wrong. Bottom line: you had better know which voice to listen to, because if you look only at your circumstances, you will become disoriented. An unexpected phone call, a floundering relationship, a lost job, or a sick child can make north look like south and east look like west. When that happens, it’s easy to lose your bearings, jump to conclusions, and end up on the wrong path.

The Bible says, ‘Whether you turn… right or… left, your ears will hear a voice… saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”’ There is only one true source of wisdom and truth, and Peter recognised that when he asked, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’ (John 6:68 NIV)

You don’t need to know every detail in advance; that’s not how God works. Often, He doesn’t show us the big picture because we would be overwhelmed and think it was impossible. He wants to develop in you an unshakeable trust in His character and goodness; an acceptance that in order to fulfil His plan, you must depend on His strength.

SoulFood: Job 21–23, Luke 19:28–40, Ps 55:12–23, Pro 8:19–21

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Stick With God’s Plan (2) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/stick-with-gods-plan-2/ Tue, 22 Mar 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15621 ‘God is the one who began this good work in you.’ Philippians 1:6 CEV

Paul writes, ‘God is the one who began this good work in you, and I am certain… He won’t stop before it is complete.’ (Philippians 1:6 CEV) You will notice that Jesus regularly took time out of His busy schedule to pray. In fact, He sometimes prayed all night. And He tells us why: ‘The Son can do nothing by Himself. He does only what He sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows Him everything He is doing.’ (John 5:19–20 NLT)

Under the weight of our sins, He cried from the cross, ‘My God, why have You forsaken Me?’ (Matthew 27:46 NIV) And His words teach us three important things:

(1) We can be following God’s plan and still feel overwhelmed and alone at times.

(2) When God doesn’t answer, we must practise standing on the promises He gave us in His Word.

(3) The pain we’re feeling will eventually give way to the joy that awaits us on the other side of it.

So stick with God’s plan; as long as you do that, there is nothing the enemy can do to destroy you. The Bible says, ‘No weapon turned against you will succeed… These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the Lord.’ (Isaiah 54:17 NLT) When you feel like you have reached the end of your rope, do what Jesus did and pray, ‘Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ (Luke 23:46 NIV)

In other words, turn it all over to God. Trust Him to do what you can’t do and to bring you through in victory.

SoulFood: Job 18–20, Luke 19:11–27, Ps 55:1–11, Pro 8:17–18

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]

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Stick With God’s Plan (1) https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/associated-blog/the-word-for-today-devotional-content/stick-with-gods-plan-1/ Mon, 21 Mar 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://vision.org.au/the-word-for-today/?p=15620 ‘God always does what He plans.’ Ephesians 1:11 CEV

God said, ‘I am Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the beginning and the end.’ (Revelation 22:13 CEV) God determines the end result He wants, then starts at the beginning and works towards it. He ‘always does what He plans.’

Joseph discovered that even when your family turns against you, God’s plan is still in effect. Looking back, he said, ‘You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.’ (Genesis 50:20 NIV) But don’t confuse ‘good’ with ‘comfortable’. When God corrects or redirects you, it doesn’t always feel good. But it is good!

David said, ‘When You corrected me, it did me good because it taught me.’ (Psalm 119:71 CEV) If you’re not sure of God’s plan, seek Him until He shows it to you. Other things may seem more urgent, but nothing is more important. And if you already know God’s plan, rest assured that no human action can cancel it.

The psalmist wrote, ‘The Lord will vindicate me; Your love… endures forever.’ (Psalm 138:8 NIV) There is no situation Satan can devise for which God hasn’t already made ‘the way of escape.’ Paul reassures us: ‘God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted [tested] beyond what you are able, but with the temptation [testing] will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.’ (1 Corinthians