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

Keys to Bible study (3)

‘Everyone who hears these words of mine.’
Matthew 7:24

The UCB Word for Today - 6 Jan 2018

Certain products carry a label that says: ‘Warning! This can be hazardous to your health.’ Instead of helping you, certain kinds of Bible study can actually hurt you.

The Bible says, ‘Knowledge puffs up’ (1 Corinthians 8:1 NIV 2011 Edition). The Greek word for ‘puffs’ contains the idea of being inflated, like a hot air balloon.

By the time a Pharisee was ordained, he could quote hours and hours of Old Testament law. Yet Jesus said the Pharisees were like beautifully painted gravestones: filled with dead men’s bones.

Satan knows the Scriptures so well that he was able to quote them to Jesus in the wilderness temptation. And what is Satan’s chief quality?

Pride. It’s the sin that got him thrown out of heaven. The whole point in studying the Scriptures is to make you more dependent on God and give you the right approach to life.

People mainly read the Scriptures for three reasons: 1) To find proof texts that support their views.

2) To find promises that apply to their particular needs.

3) To discover principles to live by.

If you’re wise you’ll be a member of this third group. Jesus said, ‘Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.’ When the storms of life came, the wise man’s house stood firm while the foolish man’s – the one who didn’t practise what he knew – came crashing down.

Added knowledge brings added responsibility. So if you’re not planning on applying the knowledge you’ve received from your Bible study, you’d be better not to study it at all.

Gen 16-17; Matt 5:27-48

Get closer to God

‘Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world.’
James 1:7-8

The UCB Word for Today - 7 Jan 2018

The planet Mercury is hot, whereas Pluto is cold. That’s because Mercury is close to the sun and Pluto is a long way off.

A planet’s temperature and climate are determined by its proximity to the sun. There’s an important spiritual principle here.

As a redeemed child of God, your spiritual temperature is determined by how close you are to Jesus. You say, ‘I wish I were closer to the Lord.’

The truth is that you are as close to Him as you desire to be, decide to be, and discipline yourself to be. Your pursuit of God reveals your passion for God – or the lack of it.

To experience true intimacy with someone, you must be willing to sacrifice other things and give yourself fully to that person. The psalmist wrote: ‘You have said, Seek My face [inquire for and require My presence as your vital need]. My heart says to You, Your face (Your presence), Lord, will I seek, inquire for, and require [of necessity]’ (Psalm 27:8 AMPC).

You’ll notice that the psalmist didn’t say you were to seek God’s gifts, but His face! Not the gifts, but the Giver of the gifts!

And a wonderful thing happens when you do that: ‘Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord [roll…each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass’ (Psalm 37:4-5 AMPC).

Luke 1:1-20; Ps 1-3
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Dippers and dwellers

‘Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you.’
John 15:4

The UCB Word for Today - 8 Jan 2018

There’s an art to making good tea. You can dip your teabag up and down in the hot water and then pull it out.

Or you can let it dwell there so that you can experience the tea’s full strength and flavour. Jesus said: ‘Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.]

Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me. I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit.

However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing’ (vv. 4-5 AMPC). The secret of victorious Christian living is not ‘dipping’ in God’s presence once a week in church, but ‘dwelling’ in it every day.

That’s why this devotional is a helpful tool for your spiritual growth; it causes you to get into God’s Word each day, meditate on it, and ask, ‘Lord, what are You saying to me?’ When you’re a dipper, you’ve got to ‘make things happen’ by your own effort.

You’ve got to move the bag up and down, wrap the string around the spoon, then pull, etc. That’s a lot of effort – and that’s not how God wants you to live the Christian life.

No, He wants you to be a ‘dweller’. It’s the depth and duration of your dwelling that determines the strength and richness of your spiritual life. So the word for you today is: don’t be a dipper, be a dweller.

Gen 18-19; Matt 6:1-15
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Keep morphing!

‘Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle.’
Hebrews 11:34

The UCB Word for Today - 9 Jan 2018

The word metamorphosis means to be changed from one form into another. In Hebrews chapter eleven, we find famous people such as Moses and David.

Did they have weaknesses? Yes. Did they sometimes struggle? Absolutely.

But: ‘Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle.’

Picture a caterpillar morphing into a butterfly. It starts out slow and slimy, and takes hours to crawl two or three feet.

When it undergoes the process of metamorphosis, however, it becomes a beautiful butterfly that can fly long distances by simply riding the air currents. The butterfly’s wings developed as a result of struggling in the cocoon until it broke free.

No fight, no flight! Getting the idea? Are you struggling with something today? Are you in a spiritual battle?

It’s your struggles that develop your strength, and your battles that bring your victories. Satan doesn’t want you to know that. He hopes the battle you are in will destroy you instead of develop you, so he keeps pouring on the pressure.

When Paul’s life became so hard that he thought he couldn’t stand another day of it, God told him, ‘My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness’ (2 Corinthians 12:9 MSG).

How did Paul respond? He writes: ‘It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size – abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks.

I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become’ (vv. 9-10 MSG).

Gen 20-22; Matt 6:16-34
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God wants to set you free

‘If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.'
John 8:36 NKJV

The UCB Word for Today - 10 Jan 2018

When you become a prisoner of war, the enemy controls all your movements and decides what each day of your life will be like. Has the enemy captured you?

Perhaps you’ve tried over and over again to be free from your addiction but you are still imprisoned by it. There’s good news: ‘If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.’

Whether you are addicted to drugs, lust, alcohol, gambling, food, or anything else, your answer is not natural – but supernatural. Your addiction is a ‘symptom’ of a deeper spiritual condition that Jesus the Great Physician wants to heal.

At the core of every twelve-step programme is this truth: it’s only by turning to a power greater than ourselves and developing a relationship with Him, that we can get free and stay free.

And we know who that ‘power’ is – Jesus! When you feel ‘restless, irritable, and discontent’, His presence is what brings peace and serenity.

When you’re tempted to turn to your addiction to find relief, His presence fills the emptiness within you and enables you to say no. When you experience ‘euphoric recall’ and begin to think about the best times of your addiction rather than the worst ones, His Word renews your mind and reframes your attitude, showing you the right path to take at that moment:

‘By your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path’ (Psalm 119:105 MSG). Peter said, ‘The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations’ (2 Peter 2:9 NKJV).

Today, God wants to set you free.

Gen 23-24; Matt 7
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Stop doing things that don’t work

‘Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.’
Colossians 3:16

The UCB Word for Today - 11 Jan 2018

The story’s told of a couple who decided to go duck hunting together. They heard that they needed a good duck hunting dog, so they went to a kennel and got one.

They heard that they needed a good shotgun, so they went to the store and bought one. Then they went hunting.

At the end of the day they hadn’t got a single duck. The husband said to his wife, ‘Honey, we’ve got to be doing something wrong here.’

His wife replied, ‘Well, maybe if we throw the dog up a little higher he could catch a duck this time.’ When it comes to the Christian life, we try to accomplish things with tools that don’t work or don’t make sense.

A dog is not the right weapon to get ducks – you need firepower to bring a duck down. Why did Paul write, ‘Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom’?

Because when the word of Christ dwells richly in your heart, you’re equipped with God’s wisdom. You can’t solve a problem by using the very elements that caused it.

You need God’s wisdom, and it’s found in His Word. Less than 30 per cent of Christians read their Bible daily. Think about that: 70 per cent of Christians look for the answer in the wrong places.

When you have a problem, the first thing you should ask is, ‘What does God’s Word say about this?’ ‘The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple’ (Psalm 119:130 NKJV).

Instead of doing things that don’t work – turn to God’s Word.

Gen 25-26; Matt 8:1-17
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Don’t label people – love them

‘We have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view.’
2 Corinthians 5:16 NLT

The UCB Word for Today - 12 Jan 2018

If you tend to associate only with ‘your own kind’, think about this: ‘We have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view.’ Jesus went miles out of His way to meet a Samaritan woman at a well.

From a cultural and religious point of view, it was a bad move. First, she’d been divorced five times so she had a tarnished reputation.

Second, she was a Gentile. And in those days a Jew couldn’t drink water drawn by Gentiles or eat their food.

Jewish physicians couldn’t attend to non-Jewish patients. Jews actually referred to Gentiles as ‘unclean’, believing that by mixing with them they too would become unclean.

But Jesus was all about including people, not excluding them: ‘The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood’ (John 1:14 MSG). Jesus touched lepers, loved foreigners, and spent so much time with partygoers that religious leaders called him a ‘lush, a friend of the riffraff’ (Matthew 11:19 MSG).

Jesus didn’t label people; He loved them. And when you follow Him, He puts His finger on your prejudices and makes you deal with them. That’s because He wants to change the way you look at people, not seeing them as Jews or Gentiles, insiders or outsiders, liberals or conservatives, etc.

‘We have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view.’ Today you may come across some discarded people like the woman at the well.

They may have been thrown out of church, or just turned off by church – and you’ll have a chance to label them or love them. Honour God – and love them!

Genesis 27-28, Matthew 8:18-34

God’s definition of ‘rich’

‘The blessing of the Lord – it makes [truly] rich, and He adds no sorrow with it [neither does toiling increase it].’
Proverbs 10:22 AMPC

The UCB Word for Today - 13 Jan 2018

When the famous publisher William Randolph Hearst read about a certain painting, he became very interested in acquiring it for his collection. He sent people all over the world to search for it, but they couldn’t find it anywhere.

A year later, out of the blue, one of his employees came to him and told him that the painting had been found. Excited about the discovery, Hearst asked where it had been all this time.

His employee said, ‘It was in your basement. You owned it all the time.’

The problem was, Hearst had never read the ledger that had the record of everything he owned. Your Bible is a ledger filled with blessings God wants you to experience.

Now, none of these blessings are greater than salvation, but it’s not the only blessing. ‘The blessing of the Lord – it makes [truly] rich, and He adds no sorrow with it [neither does toiling increase it].’ John D.

Rockefeller once said he’d exchange his fortune for a chance to go back and work as a clerk in his old Cleveland, Ohio, office. Why? Because stress caused him to suffer bouts of insomnia, ulcers, and depression.

The blessing of God brings success – without stress! God tells you about it in His Word. He wants you to be ‘rich’ in your relationships, in your health, in your peace of mind, in your career, and in everything that concerns you.

So get to know what God has promised you, then begin praying and believing Him for it.

Genesis 29-30, Matthew 9:1-17

The virtue of diligence

‘The hand of the diligent makes rich.’
Proverbs 10:4 NKJV

The UCB Word for Today - 14 Jan 2018

The word diligent means ‘to cut or sharpen’, It describes a worker who’s sharp, decisive, and keen. He or she wants to work, make a difference, and contribute to their families and to society.

Life ‘owes’ you nothing except an opportunity to succeed. And you’ll have to work for that success.

One day two teens were talking when one said to the other, ‘I’m really worried. Dad slaves away at his job so I’ll never want for anything.

He pays all my bills and sends me to college. Mum slaves every day washing, ironing, cleaning up after me, and even takes care of me when I’m sick.’

Puzzled, his friend asked, ‘So, what’re you worried about?’ He replied, ‘I’m worried the slaves might escape!’

If you’re a parent, teach your children the virtue of diligence. And don’t just preach it – live it!

You’ll know you’re succeeding when they no longer feel ‘entitled’ to an allowance, and stop seeing you as a human cashpoint machine with the words ‘Give me!’ stamped on your forehead. Your children will spend over half the waking hours of their prime adult lives working, and they need to know that it was God’s idea and not a form of punishment.

Some people think work was the result of the curse in Eden, but it wasn’t. God gave Adam the job of tending the garden before sin came on the scene (see Genesis 2:15).

Jesus was a carpenter (see Mark 6:3). And Paul, one of the greatest Christians in history, was a tentmaker (see Acts 18:1-3).

There’s nothing dishonourable about work worth doing, and work done well.

Luke 1:21-38, Psalm 4-6

Give God your ‘firstfruits’

‘Honour the LORD with…the firstfruits of all your increase.’
Proverbs 3:9 NKJV

The UCB Word for Today - 15 Jan 2018

Solomon writes: ‘Honour the LORD with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine’ (vv. 9-10 NKJV). The people who heard these words lived off their land and their livestock.

Whenever they reaped a harvest or birthed new cattle, they’d take the first sheaf or the firstborn calf to the temple and offer it to the Lord. These were called ‘firstfruits’.

By doing this they acknowledged that ‘everything I have comes from God, and belongs to God. And everything I’ll need for the future depends upon God’s goodness to me’. There’s not a more important money management principle you’ll ever hear than this: give God your ‘firstfruits’, not your leftovers!

Businessman Arthur DeMoss was a spiritual giant and benefactor who gave millions to God’s work and left behind a foundation to carry on his legacy. Mr DeMoss said that to be successful you should give God the first dime out of every dollar, the first hour out of every day, and the first day out of every week.

You ask, ‘Does that mean God won’t love me if I don’t tithe?’ No; you can’t do anything to earn God’s love. However, giving our tithe willingly demonstrates our obedience and love for God.

Genesis 31-32, Matthew 9:18-38