Mid-dawns with Rosemary

The Word For Today

When Jesus prayed 2

'He went...to a solitary place; and...prayed.' Mark 1:35 NKJV

By failing to pray - you set yourself up to fail. The reason Jesus never failed is because he never failed to pray. Note the times when he prayed: when his heart was heavy. During his ministry on earth, his cousin John the Baptist was arrested and publicly beheaded for confronting a king about his sin. 'When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew...privately to a solitary place' (Matthew 14:13 NIV). Disappointment, desertion, divorce and death will write their chapters in the book of our lives. Thank God for therapists and doctors, but ultimately there's no one who can heal a broken heart like God. 'He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power' (Psalm 147:3-5 NIV).

Whether placing stars or healing scars, no situation is too big or too small to get the attention of our loving God. To understand God's healing expertise, look at the life of Job. Possibly no one in history lost more than Job did, yet God brought him through it all. In Job chapter 11 we read: 'You will forget your misery; it will be like water flowing away. Your life will be brighter than the noonday. Even darkness will be as bright as morning. Having hope will give you courage. You will be protected and will rest in safety. You will lie down unafraid, and many will look to you for help' (Job 11:16-19 NLT).

Are you sad and heavy-hearted today? Do what Jesus did. Take time to pray about it.

Soulfood: 1 Sam 1-3, Matt 21:33-46, Ps 59:9-17, Prov 16:23-26


When Jesus prayed 1

'Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.' Luke 5:16 NIV

If you want to know about prayer, examine the life of Jesus: (1) He prayed when the pressures of life increased. 'News about him spread...so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed...But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed' (Luke 5:15-16 NIV). It's when you think you don't have time to pray, that you need to pray most. Spending time with God is the secret to having power with him. (2) He prayed when important decisions had to be made. When it came to picking his closest friends, Jesus sought his Father's guidance. He 'went out to a mountainside...and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve...[as] apostles' (Luke 6:12-13 NIV).

When you really think about it - the truth hits you up the side of the head! We can spend a year, not to mention a small fortune, planning a wedding. Yet amazingly we won't seek God's guidance when it comes to choosing a mate to spend the rest of our life with.

God is not just the creator of the universe; he's the CEO who runs it. Can you imagine what he knows about operating a successful business? His r?sum? reads: 'I am the Lord...who teaches you to profit, who leads you by the way you should go' (Isaiah 48:17 NKJV). Before you hire an employee, form a partnership, formulate a plan, or invest a penny, God invites you to discuss it with him and get his input. 'Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take' (Proverbs 3:6 NLT).

Soulfood: Song 5-8, Matt 21:18-32, Ps 59:1-8, Prov 16:20-22


What will you be remembered for

'Those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever.' Daniel 12:3 NLT

Dr. James Kennedy wrote: 'Consider the great pyramid of Giza, one of the world's most massive structures. Someone built it as a memorial to himself...King Khufu, not exactly a household name! The Shah of India built the Taj Mahal as a tribute to his wife, yet he too built in vain; after all, who knows the name Arjumand? And how about the Great Wall of China? Astronauts can see it from space, yet no one remembers Qin Shihuang, who was initially responsible for the largest manmade structure in the world. While these people are all forgotten, you can make a permanent imprint on the world. How? By leading others to Christ!'

The Bible says, 'Those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever' (Daniel 12:3 NLT). Louis Pasteur, the pioneer of immunology, lived at a time when thousands of people died every year from rabies. He had worked for years on a vaccine, and just as he was about to experiment on himself, a nine-year-old boy named Joseph Meister was bitten by a rabid dog. The boy's mother begged him to try the vaccine on her son. So Pasteur injected him for ten days - and he lived. Decades later, out of all the epitaphs Pasteur could have chosen, he asked for three words to be etched on his tombstone: JOSEPH MEISTER LIVED!

Your greatest legacy can be those who live eternally because you shared Christ with them. Jesus said, 'The words...I speak to you are spirit, and...life' (John 6:63 NKJV). What moves hearts? What changes lives? The words of Jesus!

Soulfood: Esther 4:9 - 5:3, Heb 4:7-16


Complaining doesn't help

'In everything give thanks.' 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV

The Bible has one thing to say about complaining - don't do it! You say, 'If you'd my problems you'd complain too.' If that's how you feel, read on: 'Do all things without complaining' (Philippians 2:14 NKJV).

Here's why: (1) Complaining usually makes things worse. The cycle goes like this. You have a problem so you complain and stay stuck. You feel bad, so you complain even more and end up with stress, but not a solution. (2) Complaining won't get you where you need to go. Instead of committing the situation to God, you doubt his wisdom and provision. Thousands of Israelites died in the wilderness for doing that. Paul writes, 'Do not grumble, as some...did - and were killed...These things...were written down as warnings for us' (1 Corinthians 10:10-11 NIV). When you overlook your blessings and dwell on your problems, you lose your joy. (3) Complaining can lead to stress-related illness. 'A calm and undisturbed mind and heart are the life and health of the body' (Proverbs 14:30 AMP). Be honest; how many 'calm and undisturbed' complainers do you know?

Instead of complaining, start counting your blessings. Author Barbara Johnson gives us this tongue-in-cheek example. 'A hand-lettered sign nailed to a telephone pole read: "LOST...three-legged dog, blind in left eye, missing top of right ear, recently castrated...answers to the name of Lucky."' As a redeemed child of God 'luck' has nothing to do with it - you're blessed! So the word for you today is: 'In everything (not necessarily for everything, but in everything) give thanks; for this is the will of God...for you' (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV).

Soulfood: Song 1-4, Matt 21:1-17, Ps 21, Prov 16:16-19


Break out of the box

'He will bring us safely into that land and give it to us.' Numbers 14:8 NLT

When others saw giants in the Promised Land and wanted to return to Egypt, Caleb said, 'The Lord...will bring us safely into that land and give it to us' (Numbers 14:8 NLT). At that point two things happened. 'The whole community began to talk about stoning Joshua and Caleb. Then the glorious presence of the Lord appeared to all the Israelites at the Tabernacle' (Numbers 14:10 NLT). When the people around Caleb said no, God said yes - and all you need is his approval! When you have that, you can disregard the nay-sayers and move forward. If you wait for everyone to approve, agree with you and applaud you, you'll get nowhere.

There was a time when people thought the earth was flat, and that man would never walk on the moon. In 1899 the U.S. Patent Office almost closed because the commissioner, Charles H. Duell, said, 'Everything that can be invented has been invented.' In retrospect this statement is ridiculous, but some of us have this same mindset. We stop learning because we think we're too old. We're afraid to change careers in case we jeopardise our pension. We don't pursue our dreams in case we fail or get ridiculed. We're so used to self-imposed limitations and telling ourselves, 'I can't do that,' we think we can't do anything. In essence, we've built a box, crawled inside, and now we're looking for something or someone to blame for our lack of faith.

God didn't box you in - you did - and you need to take the initiative for breaking out. Today decide to do it - and God will bless your endeavours.

Soulfood: 2 Cor 11:16 - 13:14, Matt 20:29-34, Ps 17, Prov 16:12-15


Rock your box

'He...increases the power of the weak.' Isaiah 40:29 NIV

A little boy was crippled and the doctors said there was nothing they could do to help him. So his mother took an orange crate, put him in it, tied a rope around it, tied the rope to her waist, and pulled him around with her. After a while the boy developed a habit his mother didn't like: he began to rock his box. Sometimes he rocked it to the point that it tipped over and he fell out. No matter how many times she put him back in, he kept doing the same thing. Eventually he rocked his box until he was finally able to get out of it. Then to everyone's amazement, he learned how to walk and ended up with a great life. That little boy did something the doctors and not even his mother believed could happen. He refused to settle for life inside a box someone had put him in.

Has someone put you in a box today? If so, keep rocking your box until you're free! Other people are self-appointed 'experts' at telling us what we can and can't do. They don't always celebrate anything 'out of the box,' which is something 'out of the ordinary'. One of the great promises in the Bible is: 'He...increases the power of the weak.'

Start reading 'rock your box' Scriptures. Here's one: 'But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord' (Micah 3:8 NIV). Here's another: 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible' (Matthew 19:26 NIV). Today declare, 'Lord you promised it, I believe it, and that settles it!'

Soulfood: 2 Cor 9:1 - 11:15, Matt 20:17-28, Ps 8, Prov 16:8-11


Know your calling 2

'He who believes in me, the works that I do he will do also.' John 14:12 NKJV

Your calling will always be connected to an unmet need or an opportunity to do good. It was in listening to the cries of an enslaved people that Moses discovered his calling. So did William Wilberforce. He devoted his life to seeing slavery eradicated in England. Nelson Mandela was a lawyer with the potential to make money. But he chose a different path - one that involved years of imprisonment. And when he was finally set free he didn't seek vengeance, he sought justice and equality for his people, and changed his country. Ezekiel writes: 'I came to the exiles...And there, where they were living, I sat among them for seven days - overwhelmed. At the end of seven days the Word of the Lord came to me' (Ezekiel 3:15-16 NIV).

If you want to discover your calling, start praying about situations that trouble you deeply. Usually we try to avoid discomfort, but if you sense that your calling involves helping the poor, spend time around those in poverty. Allow your heart to be moved; carry within you the conviction that things must change, and keep praying, 'Lord, make me a change agent.' When Jesus called his disciples, he chose people from different backgrounds: a doctor, a government worker, a group of fishermen. In essence he told them, 'I believe in you. What I know I'll teach you,' and promised them that 'he who believes in me, the works that I do he will do also' (John 14:12 NKJV).

Bottom line: Jesus empowered his followers to go out and live like he did. And today that's what he's calling you to do.

Soulfood: 2 Cor 5-8, Matt 20:1-16, Ps 144:9-15, Prov 16:4-7


Having the right attitude


What's slowing you down

'Let us strip off every weight that slows us down.' Hebrews 12:1 NLT

The Bible says, 'Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us' (Hebrews 12:1 NLT).

What's slowing you down, or tripping you up? In life you only get to run once, so run to win. To avoid stumbling and losing your place in the race, don't look back. You can't change the past but you can learn from it. Don't be anxious about the next lap, just focus on the next step. If you miss that, you may fall and not get up again. Keep going, and before you know it you'll have more laps behind you than ahead of you. Make every one count. Many of us carry the weight and worry of burdens. But older and wiser people have come to understand their burdens are of no real importance. We waste our strength extinguishing fires that if left alone would burn out on their own. Time is your most valuable resource. Save it, and you've increased your assets and decreased your liabilities. Travel light. Ditch the baggage of self-sabotaging habits and pointless fears. There are enough painful trials in life; why endure the ones you can 'strip off'?

When blind Bartimaeus heard that Jesus was within reach, he threw off his coat so it wouldn't trip him up, and ran toward him. And his faith paid off: 'Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus' (Mark 10:52 NKJV). You'll never know how successful you can be until you get rid of the things that slow you down and trip you up.

Soulfood: Ezek 43-45, Matt 18:21-35, Ps 139:7-12, Prov 15:28-30



'My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.' Exodus 33:14 NIV

The Hebrew word for peace is 'shalom'. And apart from God it will always remain a pipe dream, a philosophical fantasy or a tantalising fish that is just beyond your bait and hook. Marriages go awry and fall apart because we look to an imperfect mate to give us the perfect peace we're searching for, and then discover they can't. The story's told of a woman at a cocktail party who was trying her best to look happy. Noticing the massive sparkling rock on her finger, a guest exclaimed, 'Wow! What a beautiful stone!' She replied, 'Thank you. It's the Callahaune diamond.' The onlooker said, 'I wish I had one!' The woman replied, 'No, you don't.' 'Why not?' he asked. 'Because it comes with the Callahaune curse,' she replied. 'The Callahaune curse - what's that?' asked the questioner. She sighed and said, 'Mr. Callahaune!'

Perfect peace can only come from a perfect peace-giver, and the only one who meets that qualification is God. Peace isn't the absence of problems; it's the presence of God in the midst of those problems. What's more, nobody ever finds peace by looking for it. Peace isn't something you find; it finds you when you surrender your life to the one who said, 'My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.' Note the words 'my presence.' Only God's presence can bring peace. The assurance of God's love, God's help and God's presence is what takes the stress out of living.

Are you longing for peace today? When you surrender your life to Christ, you'll 'experience...peace...far more wonderful than the human mind can understand' (Philippians 4:7 TLB).

Soulfood: Ezek 40:10 - 42:20, Matt 18:10-20, Ps 139:1-6, Prov 15:25-27

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