John 3:16 Arrow For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life ^DREAM interpretation ministry

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The Word For Today-A Daily Update

Learn to Take Care of Yourself (2)
‘You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.’

Psalm 23:5
The UCB Word for Today - 3 Feb 2016

There are two kinds of people who’ll never understand your need to take care of yourself: 1) Legalists. They never stop trying to measure up to certain perfectionistic moral, ethical, and religious standards. 2) Serve-a-holics.

They sacrifice themselves on the altar of endless church activity, believing it’s the only way to please God. Some of Jesus’ disciples did this.

When a woman poured expensive oil on His head they got upset. How come? Had they never read the words, ‘You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows’?

In Bible times oil was used for different purposes such as soothing, massaging, and refreshing the body after a long journey or a hard day’s work. ‘So God thinks it’s okay for me to take a break?’ you ask.

Yes, but since serve-a-holics have a need to be needed, like the disciples they think, ‘This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor’ (Matthew 26:9 NIV 2011 Edition).

Their belief system is: ‘Others matter - I don’t!’. Understand this: When you take care of others but not yourself, you a) become spiritually and emotionally drained; b) end up resentful because your needs go unrecognised and unmet; c) start looking for relief in the wrong places.

That’s what drove Samson to Delilah’s house. She gave him a place to relax and let down his hair; then she exploited it for his destruction.

When we look to the wrong people and things rather than learning to care for ourselves, we give a foothold to the Enemy. Don’t let that happen to you. Start taking care of yourself spiritually, physically, and emotionally.

Ex 21-22, Matt 19

‘Deep Inside You’
‘These words … Get them deep inside you.’

Deuteronomy 11:18
The UCB Word for Today - 4 Feb 2016

How do you get God’s Word ‘deep inside you’? 1) By meditating on it each day. The psalmist said the way to succeed in life is by meditating on God’s Word ‘day and night’ (Psalm 1:2 NLT).

But you must slow down in order to do it. Ever watch a cow chewing cud? The more it chews, the more it gets out of it.

So when God impresses a thought on you, think about it throughout the day. Make it your first thought in the morning and your last thought at night.

Do this for 365 days and you’ll be amazed how you grow spiritually. 2) By allowing it to convict you of sin and cleanse you daily. ‘How can a young man [or an older one] keep his way pure? By living according to your word’ (Psalm 119:9 NIV 1984 Edition). His fellow monks used to ask Martin Luther why he spent so much time in the confessional.

After all, he lived in a monastery so what on earth could he have to confess? Chanting off-key? No, Luther was aware of his own aptitude for self-justification.

And he knew God’s Word was the only detergent strong enough to get down into the deepest recesses of his thoughts, imaginations and motives and cleanse him. 3) By putting what you learn into practice.

Your Bible knowledge may be a hundred times greater than someone else’s.

But if you’re not a hundred times more loving, patient, joyful, gracious, forgiving, etc., what good is it? A head full of doctrine and a heart devoid of love will just turn people away from Christ. Today get your theology off the drawing board and start putting it into practice.

Ex 23-24, Matt 20:1-16

In the Eye of the Storm
‘There is a place near me where you may stand.’

Exodus 33:21
The UCB Word for Today - 5 Feb 2016

If you’ve ever been caught in a hurricane, you know it’s one of the most powerful natural forces known to man.

Wind gusts of up to 155 miles an hour; rain up to 5 inches an hour; the ability to create waves 10 storeys high, with surges up to 25 feet wide. It’s been known to level entire cities in minutes.

Two components of a hurricane are especially interesting. One is the eye - that relatively calm centre in which sinking air inhibits cloud and thunderstorm development.

And immediately surrounding the eye is the eyewall, which contains rising air and powerful rain clouds.

In sharp contrast to the calm eye, the eyewall houses the most powerful elements of the hurricane, including the strongest winds and heaviest rains.

If you could hover above this force of nature you’d see that the strongest part of a hurricane takes place near its centre, while the centre itself remains relatively calm.

There’s a lesson here for all of us. God doesn’t take away all our troubles - at least not as quickly as we’d like Him to - but He promises us peace in the midst of them. Few people had more trouble than Moses.

His job was to feed, lead, and protect two million people. And no matter what he did, they constantly complained.

So one day God said to him, ‘There is a place near me where you may stand … I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand’ (vv. 21-22 NIV 2011 Edition). And if you ask Him, today God will bring you to that place of peace too!

Ex 25-26, Matt 20:17-34

God Never Wastes an Experience
‘In all things God works for the good of those who love him.’

Romans 8:28
The UCB Word for Today - 6 Feb 2016

No experience is ever wasted if you use it wisely. God can use what you’ve been through to develop you into the person He intended you to be. Moses grew up in a foster home.

As the adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter he spent forty years learning the language and ways of the Egyptians.

What better preparation for understanding your enemy than being raised among them? But Moses needed to learn a few personal lessons too. So God took him into the desert for another forty years to tend sheep.

The grandson of Pharaoh became a lowly shepherd. Nothing will humble you like having to take a job for which you’re overqualified, especially when your own failure put you there.

But during those years on the poor side of town God taught Moses how to identify with hurting people.

Finally, at eighty years old, he was ready to fulfil his calling. ‘God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”’ (Exodus 3:4 NIV 2011 Edition).

At this most unlikely place God revealed to Moses his calling as Israel’s deliverer.

And even though he was afraid, made excuses, and raised objections, he ended up doing a brilliant job. The point is this: Moses’ eighty years in training weren’t wasted.

Forty years in a palace prepared him to deal with Pharaoh, and forty years as a shepherd prepared him to lead God’s people through the wilderness to their destiny.

So even though you’d rather be someplace other than where you are right now, remember, God never wastes an experience. Never! He will use it all for your good and His glory.

Ex 27-28, Matt 21:1-22

God’s Guidance System (1)
‘I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you.’

Psalm 32:8
The UCB Word for Today - 7 Feb 2016

Before talking about what divine guidance is, let us be clear about what it’s not: 1) A last resort. We don’t think much about spiritual guidance until we face major questions like who to marry, what house to buy, and which stock to invest in.

Spiritual guidance isn’t a hot line! The key to knowing whether you really desire God’s will lies in asking, ‘How often do I seek His guidance when I’m not facing difficulties?’. 2) Only for a privileged few. In the Old Testament, God made a donkey speak (see Numbers 22:28).

Now, what if the donkey had put on airs and considered itself an exalted spiritual class above all the other quadrupeds? 3) An excuse to do nothing.

One man said he decided not to seek a certain job, because it would be a sign of God’s will if he got it without trying.

So does that mean whatever happens as a result of our passivity is God’s will? That’s like sitting in the middle of the motorway and saying, ‘If I don’t get run over by a car, I’ll know it’s God’s doing, and not me acting in the flesh’. 4) Playing it safe.

Sometimes we don’t really want guidance; we want safety! Decision-making can be scary - and lonely. Even small decisions can create anxiety.

God wants us to develop good judgement, and there’s no way to do that without making choices, taking risks, and occasionally failing.

He wants mature children, not robots. His purpose isn’t just to get us to perform the right actions, but to become the right kind of people.

Luke 2:25-52, Ps 16-17
God’s Guidance System (2)
‘He guides the humble in what is right.’

Psalm 25:9
The UCB Word for Today - 8 Feb 2016

How can you learn to be guided by the Lord? In three different ways: 1) Through prayer. Thomas Kelly wrote: ‘There’s a way of ordering our mental life on more than one level at once.

On one level we may be thinking, discussing, seeing … but … at a profound level, we may also be in prayer … and have a gentle receptiveness to divine breathings.’ 2) Through obedience.

What use is God’s guidance if you’re not willing to follow it? And what about the guidance you’ve already received through the Scriptures but haven’t acted on? Frank Laubach, whose life was an experiment in listening to God, wrote: ‘I never lived … until I reached the place where I wholly … resolved and then re-resolved, that I’d find God’s will, and that I would do that will though every fiber in me said no, and that I would win the battle in my thoughts. It was as though some deep artesian well had been struck in my soul … Money, praise, poverty, opposition - these made no difference, for they will all alike be forgotten in a thousand years, but this spirit which comes to a mind set upon continuous surrender, this spirit is timeless life.’ 3) Through faith. Have the words, ‘I believe the Lord told me’, been abused? Yes, they have! Some religious leaders have used them as a ploy to get what they want. But don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater!

The truth is, you won’t grow spiritually if you close yourself off from the guidance of the Holy Spirit. You must believe - mind-blowing as it sounds - that God really can and does speak to us.

Ex 29-30, Matt 21:23-46

God’s Guidance System (3)
‘I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go.’

Genesis 28:15
The UCB Word for Today - 9 Feb 2016

How come when someone talks to God we say, ‘They are praying’, yet when someone claims that God talks to them we think they are ‘flaky’? Has God suddenly stopped speaking to His children? Would you stop speaking to yours? John Calvin described God’s guidance as ‘the inner testimony of the Holy Spirit’. And Saint Ignatius called it ‘movements of the soul - thoughts, feelings, or desires … given to us by God’. They may come as a conviction of sin, an assurance of God’s love, or the call to do a certain thing, but they’re a ‘must’ for the spirit-guided life.

To hear from God you must be receptive, and sometimes - desperate! During a very bad time in Jacob’s life God appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go’. When Jacob awoke the next morning, he said, ‘Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it’ (v. 16 NIV 2011 Edition). ‘Not aware’ - does this describe you? As you read these words your thoughts are being guided by a human being: a writer.

Don’t you think God can do the same, or better? In truth, God can guide your thoughts without the influence of intervening sounds or images.

Look what happened to Samuel when he was a boy. God spoke to him one night in the temple, but he didn’t know it was God speaking.

He needed the help of Eli the high priest to recognise the voice of God. But once he did, his life changed dramatically - and yours will too.

Ex 31-33, Matt 22:1-22

Negative Ions
‘Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.’

Proverbs 22:6
The UCB Word for Today - 10 Feb 2016

Sometimes raising teenagers can be like sending an astronaut into space. Early space probes launched from Cape Canaveral in the 1960s created anxiety for the safety of the astronauts.

It was especially intense when the spacecraft was re-entering the earth’s atmosphere.

At the most dangerous part of the journey, negative ions would accumulate around the heat shield and interfere with radio contact for about seven minutes.

Seven-very-long-minutes! Finally the reassuring voice of Chris Kraft would break in and say, ‘We’ve made contact with Colonel Glenn again.

Everything is A-OK’. In a very real sense, adolescence can be like that spacecraft. After the training of childhood, a thirteen-year-old is blasted into space with a flurry.

Then something like ‘negative ions’ begins to interfere with communication just as the adults want to be assured of the child’s safety.

Why won’t he or she talk to them? Why has he or she disappeared behind a wall of silence? It’s a confusing and terrifying time.

Fortunately, in a few years the first scratchy signals will begin to come through again and contact will be re-established.

The negative environment will gradually dissipate, and the ‘splashdown’ during the early twenties can be a wonderful reunion for both generations.

What should you as a parent do during this time? First, you must pray for them and stand on the truth of God’s Word: ‘Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it’. Second, you must exercise patience. ‘Let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing’ (James 1:4 NKJV).

Ex 34-45, Matt 22:23-46

Try Less and Trust More!
‘He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.’

Philippians 1:6
The UCB Word for Today - 11 Feb 2016

If you want God’s will to be done in your life, don’t rush things. Sarah, Abraham’s wife, did that. As a result Ishmael was born, and that brought all sorts of strife and family complications.

Remember: ‘Flesh gives birth to flesh … the Spirit gives birth to spirit’ (John 3:6 NIV 2011 Edition), so be sure your plans are conceived by God’s Spirit.

Don’t try to salvage anything flesh-based. God said, ‘My covenant will I establish with Isaac’ (Genesis 17:21 KJV).
Isaac was born as a result of God’s will, done God’s way, in God’s time.

Everything that’s conceived in you comes from one of two sources: the flesh or the Spirit.

So be careful. People will try to involve you in all kinds of schemes to promote yourself. God doesn’t need anybody’s help to bless you; He can do it all by Himself!

That’s why whenever Satan attacks you, you need to be able to point him to your spiritual birthplace and remind him that you didn’t begin this project and you don’t have to finish it. ‘He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.’ And here’s another thought.

If God’s dealing with you about carnality, pride, or some other obstacle in your path, don’t resist, don’t run, and don’t get in His way.

Like a drowning man frantically trying to save himself - until you stop flailing around God can’t do anything for you. So the word for you today is: ‘Try less and trust more!’.

Ex 36-38, Matt 23:1-22

The Measure of Your Generosity
‘When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them.’

Matthew 9:36
The UCB Word for Today - 12 Feb 2016

In spite of economic challenges, the UK is still in the top percentile of global wealth. But prosperity has little to do with generosity.

You say, ‘If I ever get a lot of money I’ll be generous’. Who are you kidding! Jesus said, ‘Where your treasure is [invested], there your heart will be also’ (Matthew 6:21 NIV 2011 Edition).

Research from the University of Manchester affiliated Institute for Social Change showed that in the UK in 2010 to 2011, the poorest 20% of people gave 3.2% of their income to charity, while the richest 20% of people only gave 0.9%.

Financial expert Daniel Levin says, ‘Prosperity isn’t in what you’ve attained, but rather in what you give away’. The truth is, if you want to become a more generous person you can’t wait for your income to increase; you must allow God to change your heart. That means looking for a reason to give every day, and finding a compelling cause or a worthy ministry.

And you won’t have to look far; they’re all around you. The Bible says of Jesus, ‘When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless’.

When it comes right down to it the recipients of our generosity aren’t really churches, causes, or institutions.

They’re people - people loved and valued by God; people for whom Christ died. So what are you doing for others? How you answer that question is the measure of your generosity!

Ex 39-40, Matt 23:23-39