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The Word For Today

Who knows God knows

'The secret things belong to the Lord our God.' Deuteronomy 29:29 NKJV

The Bible says: 'Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding' (Proverbs 3:5 NKJV). That Scripture is easy to quote but hard to live by, especially when tragedy and loss touch our lives and we don't understand why. There are times when we pray and God gives us answers, and there are times when we pray and he gives us peace. '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).

In times of pain and loss, here are two Scriptures you can stand on: (1) 'The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us' (Deuteronomy 29:29 NKJV). When it comes to understanding things - we have our territory and God has his. And ours is limited to what he decides to reveal to us. Paul, who wrote half the New Testament by divine revelation, acknowledged, 'We know in part' (1 Corinthians 13:9 NKJV). At best, we will always be limited in our understanding. (2) 'And 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). Sometimes God explains things to us, and other times he stamps them 'Will explain later.' So, when you're tempted to throw up your hands in despair and say, 'Who knows?', remind yourself, 'God knows!' And today remind yourself that he's working things out for your good and his glory.

Soulfood: Acts 8-9 Mk 3:28-35 Ps 130 Pro 10:24-26,


Experiencing fear and faith

'Be strong and of good courage.' Deuteronomy 31:6 NKJV

Any time you attempt something for the first time, or something you've failed at before, or something you think is too big for you, you'll experience both fear and faith. They go together. One will win out over the other, but they never go away. Because Israel had no idea what challenges awaited them or what life would be like in the Promised Land, God told them, 'Be strong and of good courage...for the Lord your God, he is the one who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you' (Deuteronomy 31:6 NKJV). And today that's his promise to you too! It's fear of failure that stops us most of the time. Yet as you look back, you realise that most times failure doesn't do permanent damage at all; you actually grow through it.

Dr Joan Borysenko writes: 'When I was admitted to Harvard, I was sure there had been a computer error and I'd be exposed as a fraud. A lawyer friend of mine stops short of terror every time she has to give a final argument before a jury. Even when you're an expert, fear doesn't necessarily go away. It's accepting fear as part of the journey, instead of running from it, that helps you to conquer it.' To go anywhere, you must launch out from somewhere, or you'll get nowhere. American essayist Hamilton Wright Mabie said, 'The question for each man to settle is not what he would do if he had the means, time, influence and educational advantages, but what he will do with the things he has.'

So, confront your fear, step out in faith, and believe God for success.

Soulfood: Acts 6-7 Mk 3:20-27 Ps 75 Pro 10:22-23,


Beware of flattery

'Man is tested by the praise he receives.' Proverbs 27:21 NIV

The English word flatterer comes from a French term that means 'to pat, smooth, or caress'. So a flatterer is someone who will pat you on the back with one hand, and in some cases, knife you in the back with the other. Flattery is something a person will say to your face but will not say behind your back. It's insincere praise from an insincere motive. And the Bible warns us to beware of it: 'Those who give false praise to their neighbours are setting a trap for them' (Proverbs 29:5 NCV).

Flatterers will do you no good. In fact, Solomon says that in the long run you're better off with a person who will criticise you than a person who will flatter you. 'He who rebukes a man will find more favour afterward than he who flatters with the tongue' (Proverbs 28:23 NKJV). When it comes to flattery you should always keep these two things in mind: (1) Give praise sparingly but sincerely, with nothing but the best in mind for the other person. (2) Receive praise wisely, without taking yourself or the person giving the praise too seriously. Always remember that flattery was the weapon that Satan used to bring Adam and Eve down in the Garden of Eden: 'You will be like God' (Genesis 3:5 NKJV). That's why Solomon writes, 'The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but man is tested by the praise he receives' (Proverbs 27:21 NIV).

So, the question you should always ask yourself when someone praises you is this: does this make me more big-headed or more big-hearted?

Soulfood: Acts 3:11-5:42 Mk 3:13-19 Ps 127 Pro 10:19-21,

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