January 17: Proverbs 6:1-3
Key Verse: Proverbs 6:3
So do this, my son, to free yourself, since you have fallen into your neighbour’s hands: Go - to the point of exhaustion - and give your neighbour no rest!
How many times have you let a friend down by going off and doing something with someone you have just met, or a complete stranger! I wonder if you have done that to your family members; maybe gone off with a so called friend and done something against your family just to please your “friend”.
I know I have done that before, made up some sort of excuse about what I was going to do so I could go off and have fun with a friend – a friend who was leading me away from my family! It's only when you look at it from the outside you can recognise what you have done & then you know it is time to go back to your family and make things right... starting with an apology!
Maybe you have done something you should not have... Or maybe your friend has, and you were with them... Then along comes someone to blame your friend for doing whatever it was, and they turn around and lie blatantly saying it was not them. Then they turn around to you and ask you to lie for them too to get them out of trouble... Worse still, your mother comes around the corner and gets involved. Now you have to continue with the lie because of what you have started, always digging a deeper and deeper hole!
Then when you get home your dad turns round and says “now don't lie to me, or you're going to be grounded for a year!” Ok, so do you lie and get grounded, or tell the truth and still get grounded! God wants us to tell the truth from the beginning, to live in the truth, not in a pit of lies. God wants us to make a covenant with Him, just as He has made a covenant with us.
Points to Ponder:
How many times do you lie a day... even to yourself?
God sees us from the inside and knows our thoughts, you can't lie to Him!
January 17: Proverbs 6:1-3
January 16: Genesis 21:1-7
Key Verse: Genesis 21:5
Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.
As I grow older I begin to relate more to this situation Abraham found himself in and I draw strength in my faith in reading how God was able to do this for him and Sarah. Nothing is impossible for God and this is just one of the stories we can hold on to realising just what God can do. As I recover from my illness last year I find all sorts of things which I used to do without thinking now need a bit of forward planning!
But this was not the case for Abraham and Sarah; though they doubted and tried to fix things themselves, God continued to carry out His promises. He gave strength to both of them to be able to cope with childbirth at their age and also to bring up the child – what use would they be if they could not bring their promised child up in the ways of the Lord?
Because they kept a hold of their faith – even though they had doubted and probably still did to a certain extent, God was willing and able to make it all possible. Abraham had remembered the promise and held on to it with faith. Sarah held onto her faith alongside Abraham. Together they strengthened each other and were able to hold onto God in their old age.
We may doubt dates and wonder whether Abraham was actually so old, but this fact is upheld by other people and recorded in history. We know this to be true, but still we have our doubts… We need to be a bit more like Abraham and Sarah and support each other in having faith in God. Christ came up uphold His promises and we should hold on fast to all God has done for us over the years.
Both Abraham and Sarah celebrated their life with God and were able to spread happiness and be witnesses to others showing all of us just what God can do when we believe in Him!
Points to Ponder:
Do you like to believe others?
Will you tell someone this story and encourage them?
January 15: Genesis 17:1-8
Key Verse: Genesis 17:1
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless.
Abraham was promised he would have a son by his wife Sarah many years before this time and both Abraham and Sarah had had their moments of doubt and disbelief, but now God was going to remind him of this promise. It is most likely God appeared to Abraham in human form to make sure he stopped and listened. Previously Abraham had listened to his wife and had taken Hagar in order to have a child – but that was not what God had promised!
There are going to be times in our lives when we do have doubts because things are not happening in the timescales we have laid down or because we have imposed our own limits instead of listening to God and waiting on Him alone! We may not get the same treatment by having God appear before us to remind us to wait on Him, but wait is what we need to do.
When God is ready to use us, we should be ready and willing to obey His commands; it is not up to us to impose restrictions on God whether they are limits on what we think He can do or time constraints we think things should be done within. Trusting in God and waiting on Him becomes a huge test of faith for us…
When we do stop and listen, God can guide us properly and we will end up giving the glory back to Him as He accomplishes His will in our lives. The people around us will be encouraged by the faith we have displayed and their doubt will be lifted when they see God answering our prayers or fulfilling His promises!
Points to Ponder:
Do you like waiting?
How long will you wait on God?
January 14: 1 Corinthians 7:21-24
Key Verse: 1 Corinthians 7:24
Brothers and sisters, each person, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.
In his first letter to the churches of Corinth, the apostle tries to encourage people not to try and become something they are not just to be more of a Christian! God comes to find us in the situations we are in so He can get the most out of us; unless He is telling you to radically change your life, the only thing you should be doing is trying to be a bit more like Christ. This does not mean suddenly becoming middle class or changing to act like you are working class – God wants you to simply trust and obey where you are.
The apostle likened this to people who were not Jews trying to become Jewish by being circumcised and changing their lifestyle to be more Jewish in nature. God chose you where you were and how you are. He wants to use you the way you are and not the way you think you should be. I found this hard to accept in the beginning, but by talking to others and encouraging them to be themselves I began to realise I was uplifting my own status beyond where it was – I was no longer the person God chose but something I thought He wanted.
By being myself again and living with the people God has called me to reach made me realise I was more like them than I realised. God brought me back to be the original design He chose and the one which he wanted to work with Him. Yes it was hard to accept in my mind until I did accept it; then I realise just how natural it should have been in the beginning!
When God calls us, He changes our spirit to be a little more like Him so we can hear His instructions and live with Him in our lives. This means we taste the freedom of life when we have been slaves to life beforehand or becoming slaves to Him when we have led a privileged life. This is His choice for you and one we all need to embrace with open arms.
This does not mean we have to become slaves to the people around us – God has not chosen us for that. Yes He wants us to be more loving and accepting of the people around us, but not to become slaves to their worlds just as they are; we are to show them the freedom God has granted us and allow them to see they too can accept this freedom in their lives. Be yourself. Be normal. Love and be loved where you are called.
Points to Ponder:
Do you struggle trying to be a good Christian?
Will you accept the life God chose you in and live with Him?