July 31, 2016

Be Considerate of the Weak

‘Uphold the weak.’ 1 Thessalonians 5:14 NKJV Every school has boys and girls who are at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Some of them are physically unattractive, some are slow learners, and some are simply unable to make friends and find a comfortable place in the school environment. (The same is true in the workplace and the church.) The key question is: what should teachers do when they see one of these children being ridiculed and taunted by their peers? Some would say, ‘Kids will be kids. Stay out of the conflict and let the children work out their differences […]
July 30, 2016

Your Core Values

‘We have wronged no one.’ 2 Corinthians 7:2 NKJV Life coach Douglas Woods says: ‘Each of us holds many values … Some … superficial, transitory, or fitting solely the moment in which we find ourselves. Others are more fixed and stay with us through our life; these are our “core values”.’ Paul could adapt to any culture in order to reach people for Christ, but when it came to his core values he could say, ‘We have wronged no one.’ Your core values are: (1) Your friends and lifelong companions. Abraham Lincoln said, ‘When I lay down the reins of this […]
July 29, 2016

What Causes Discouragement? (4)

‘Our enemies said … “We … will kill them and put an end to the work.”’ Nehemiah 4:11 NIV Cause number four: Fear. ‘Our enemies said, “Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work.”’ Why did Israel’s enemies not want the walls of Jerusalem to be rebuilt? Resentment! A wall around a city guaranteed its protection and prosperity. So first they criticised the Jews; then they threatened them. But notice who got discouraged first: ‘Then the Jews who lived near them came and told […]
July 28, 2016

What Causes Discouragement? (3)

‘We cannot rebuild the wall.’ Nehemiah 4:10 NIV Failure. The third reason we become discouraged is reflected in the Israelites’ complaint: ‘We cannot rebuild the wall.’ In essence what they were saying is, ‘We’re too tired. It’s not possible. It’s foolish to try. We give up.’ Because they were unable to finish the job as quickly as planned, their confidence plummeted; they lost heart and became discouraged. Question: How do you handle failure in your life? Do you sit down and hold a pity party? Do you say, ‘Poor me! I can’t get this job done’? Do you start complaining, ‘It’s impossible. […]
July 27, 2016

What Causes Discouragement? (2)

‘There is so much rubbish that we are not able to build the wall.’ Nehemiah 4:10 NKJV Cause number two: Frustration. The Jews were building a new wall, but old, broken rocks were strewn everywhere, along with dirt and dried-out mortar. And when they looked at ‘so much rubbish’ they became discouraged and lost sight of their goal. There was so much junk in their lives they didn’t know how to get on with the real business of living. Any time you undertake an important project there’ll be rubbish to remove, and sometimes it gets frustrating. You can’t avoid this, but […]
July 26, 2016

What Causes Discouragement? (1)

‘The strength of the labourers is giving out.’ Nehemiah 4:10 NIV The story of Nehemiah highlights four major sources of discouragement. Let’s look at the first of them: Fatigue. The people in Judah said, ‘The strength of the labourers is giving out.’ In other words, they’d worked themselves to exhaustion. They were worn out physically, mentally and emotionally. Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that discouragement is strictly a spiritual problem. We say, ‘Maybe I need to recommit my life to God,’ when in fact the real problem is we’re burned out. We need rest and renewal. Indeed, sometimes the […]
July 25, 2016

What Do You ‘See’?

‘Where there is no vision, the people perish.’ Proverbs 29:18 KJV What do you ‘see’ in your future? What’s your ‘vision’? In 1862 Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, yet one hundred years later African-Americans were still victims of segregation. During a speech at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, Dr Martin Luther King Jr expressed his vision in these now famous words: ‘I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a […]
July 24, 2016

Your Child of Promise (4)

‘Time would fail me to tell of …Jephthah.’ Hebrews 11:32 NKJV Your child of promise may be far from perfect today, and their transition into God’s Kingdom may be anything but smooth. ‘Time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of aliens.’ (Hebrews 11:32–34 NKJV) When you […]