Primate’s Blog

God’s Word for 1st – 3rd September from Bob Gass

THURSDAY 1 SEPTEMBER

‘Who works out everything in conformity with…his will.’ Ephesians 1:11 NIV (2011 Edition)

Your Personalized Road Map

The Bible says before you were born: ‘Every day of [your] life was recorded…Every moment…laid out before a single day had passed’ (Psalm 139:16 NLT). God personalized a road map for your life ‘in conformity with…his will.’ And it’s your job to discover it and walk within its confines. A respected pastor says: ‘You may know your ultimate destination, but need guidance on how to get there. First and foremost, “God’s Word is a lamp for your feet and a light for your path” (Psalm 119:105). He sees the big picture…the shortcuts and pitfalls…Don’t look for external guidance…the Holy Spirit lives inside you, and it’s from within that you’ll get the inside track.’ Meditate on these Scriptures and make them personal prayers: ‘God has made us what we are…to do good works, which [He] planned in advance for us to live our lives doing’ (Ephesians 2:10 NCV). ‘The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives’ (Psalm 37:23 NLT). ‘You clear the way for me, and now I won’t stumble’ (Psalm 18:36 CEV). ‘Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take’ (Proverbs 3:6 NLT). ‘Behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or…left’ (Isaiah 30:21 NLT). At the end of his life Paul could say, ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith’ (2 Timothy 4:7). Notice, sometimes Paul had to ‘fight’ to stay on course, but by God’s grace he made it – and so will you!

FRIDAY 2 SEPTEMBER

‘The children God has graciously given your servant.’ Genesis 33:5 NIV (2011 Edition)

Dad, Treasure Your Children

We live in a day when kids have never been given more of the things they want, and less of the things they need. What do they need? You! Not trinkets, treasures, and toys, but your love and your time. Read these unsettling words in a Newsweek column entitled, ‘Dear Dads, Save Your Sons,’ by psychologist Christopher Bacorn. He tells about an anxious mother in her mid-thirties who came to his office with her fifteen-year-old son. The boy’s dad had left four years before. Since then the teenager had descended into alcohol, gang membership, and violence. The mother had nowhere else to turn, and it was obvious the boy was at best a hostile participant. After attempting for thirty minutes to crack the steel vault of this boy’s heart, Dr. Bacorn realized the futility of it all. He wrote these poignant and sad words: ‘I’ve come to believe that most adolescent boys can’t make use of professional counseling…What a boy can use, and all too often doesn’t have, is the fellowship of men – at least one man who pays attention to him, who spends time with him, who admires him. A boy needs a man he can look up to. What he doesn’t need is a shrink…As a nation we’re racked by youth violence, overrun by gangs, guns, and drugs. The great majority of youthful offenders are male, most without fathers involved in their lives in any useful way.’ In Genesis we read that Jacob was a successful businessman, but he discovered that his greatest earthly treasure was ‘the children God has graciously given to your servant.’ Dad, have you discovered that?

SATURDAY 3 SEPTEMBER

‘God…comforts us…so that we can comfort [others].’ 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV (2011 Edition)

Ministering to Others (1)

Years ago a lady visited an orphanage and asked the matron, ‘Is there a child here nobody has offered to adopt?’ The matron replied, ‘There is. She’s ten years old, not much to look at, and she has a hunchback.’ The lady said, ‘That’s the child I want!’ Thirty-five years later the director of the Orphanage Inspection Department in Iowa submitted the following report on a state-run facility: ‘This home is outstanding. It’s clean, the food’s good, the children are well-cared-for, and the atmosphere is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. The matron, Mercy Goodfaith, has a soul that oozes love; she has such beautiful eyes I forgot how homely her face was – or that she was a hunchback.’ Because a Good Samaritan had the courage to love and nurture a little girl others overlooked, Mercy Goodfaith went on to share that same love with hundreds of other orphans. Paul says, ‘God…comforts us…so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we…received.’ And Billy Graham adds: ‘Those who have suffered the most are best able to comfort others …to empathize with [their] afflictions because of what they’ve experienced…Our sufferings may be hard to bear, but our goal should be to learn all we can from what we’re called to endure so we can fulfill a ministry of comfort as Jesus did. “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18 NIV 2011 Edition). The sufferer becomes the comforter in the service of the Lord.’

God’s Word for 16th 17th August by Bob Gass

Why are you so fearful?’ Mark 4:40 NKJV

Don’t Be Afraid (1)

Notice how the disciples reacted to the storm on the Sea of Galilee, and see if you recognize any of the same traits in yourself: 1) Fear makes us doubt God’s care. The disciples asked Jesus, ‘Do You not care that we are perishing?’ (v. 38 NKJV). They didn’t ask about His strength: ‘Can you still the storm?’ Or His knowledge: ‘Are you aware of the storm?’ Or His know-how: ‘Do you have any experience with storms?’ Instead they voiced doubts about His character: ‘Do you not care?’ If you let it, fear will erode your confidence in God’s love and make you forget His faithfulness. 2) Fear makes us reach for control. Jesus was asleep, so the disciples woke Him and said, ‘Do something, quick!’ Fear comes from a perceived loss of control. When we’re afraid, we grab for a component of life that we can manage – like our diet, or our job, or the neatness of our house, or in many cases – people. The more insecure we feel, the more controlling we tend to become. 3) Fear makes us forgetful. The Bible says, ‘He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick’ (Matthew 8:16 NKJV). What a résumé! But fear gives us spiritual amnesia; it makes us forget what Jesus has already done and how good He has been to us. And what was Jesus’ response? ‘Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?’ Faith doesn’t eliminate fear; it silences it, robs it of its power, and draws us closer to God. And when that happens things begin to change for the better.

WEDNESDAY 17 AUGUST

‘Oh, that [we] would give thanks to the Lord for his goodness.’ Psalm 107:8 NKJV

Don’t Be Afraid (2)

When you’ve been through hard times, it can make you want to cut back on trusting God, and start playing it safe. When you’ve been through back-to-back storms, the security of the harbour starts looking good. Now it’s okay to rest and regroup, but don’t settle for safety and miss what God has planned for you. The Bible says: ‘Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters…see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep. For He commands and raises the stormy wind, which lifts up the waves of the sea. They mount up to the heavens, they go down again to the depths; their soul melts because of trouble. They reel to and fro…stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end. Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm, so that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet; so He guides them to their desired haven. Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness’ (vv. 23-31 NKJV). Where do we see God’s wonders? In life’s storms! Jesus issued 125 recorded commandments. Twenty-one of them are ‘Don’t be afraid’ or ‘Have courage.’ The second most common commandment, to love God and your neighbour, appears on only eight occasions. That means the one statement Jesus made more than any other was ‘Don’t be afraid!’ Why? Because He wants you to trust Him more!

God’s Word for Monday 15th August from God

‘When the Spirit has his way with us.’ Galatians 5:17 TLB

Spirit-Filled Living

Always remember that no matter how long you walk with God, your carnal nature never improves. It never becomes more like Jesus, even over time. That’s why we’re told to ‘crucify’ it daily (See v. 24). Even the apostle Paul struggled with his lower nature: ‘We naturally love to do evil things…opposite from the things that the Holy Spirit tells us to do; and the good things we want to do when the Spirit has his way with us are just the opposite of our natural desires. These two forces within us are constantly fighting…to win control over us, and our wishes are never free from their pressures…But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control’ (vv. 17, 22-23 TLB). You ask, ‘Is such a lifestyle even possible?’ Yes, but you must do these four things: 1) Remember that Satan never takes a day off. You’re constantly in his crosshairs, so you must protect yourself with God’s Word and prayer. 2) Identify the sin you’re most prone to. The Bible says, ‘Lay aside…the sin which so easily ensnares’ (Hebrews 12:1 NKJV). Why? Because the area of your greatest weakness is the one in which you’ll constantly be attacked. 3) Keep your spiritual tank full. ‘The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace’ (Romans 8:6 NIV 1984 Edition). 4) Walk in God’s strength, not your own. Does the fight ever end? No, but God’s power plus your choice to obey and keep fighting, always lead to clear and lasting victory.

God’s Word for Monday 15th August from Bob Gass

‘When the Spirit has his way with us.’ Galatians 5:17 TLB

Spirit-Filled Living

Always remember that no matter how long you walk with God, your carnal nature never improves. It never becomes more like Jesus, even over time. That’s why we’re told to ‘crucify’ it daily (See v. 24). Even the apostle Paul struggled with his lower nature: ‘We naturally love to do evil things…opposite from the things that the Holy Spirit tells us to do; and the good things we want to do when the Spirit has his way with us are just the opposite of our natural desires. These two forces within us are constantly fighting…to win control over us, and our wishes are never free from their pressures…But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control’ (vv. 17, 22-23 TLB). You ask, ‘Is such a lifestyle even possible?’ Yes, but you must do these four things: 1) Remember that Satan never takes a day off. You’re constantly in his crosshairs, so you must protect yourself with God’s Word and prayer. 2) Identify the sin you’re most prone to. The Bible says, ‘Lay aside…the sin which so easily ensnares’ (Hebrews 12:1 NKJV). Why? Because the area of your greatest weakness is the one in which you’ll constantly be attacked. 3) Keep your spiritual tank full. ‘The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace’ (Romans 8:6 NIV 1984 Edition). 4) Walk in God’s strength, not your own. Does the fight ever end? No, but God’s power plus your choice to obey and keep fighting, always lead to clear and lasting victory.

God’s Word for Sunday 14 August by Bob Gass

‘The measure [of thought and study] you give [to the truth you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you.’ Mark 4:24 AMP

Bible Study: Make It Personal

Martin Luther said studying the Bible was like picking apples. First you shake the trunk, then you shake the limb, then you shake the branch, then you shake the twig, then you look under every leaf. There’s no other book in the world like it. You can read the same Bible verse a dozen times and get a dozen different insights. That’s because it’s ‘God-breathed’ (2 Timothy 3:16 NIV). Here’s what Jesus said about studying God’s Word: ‘[Things are hidden temporarily only as a means to revelation.] For there is nothing hidden except to be revealed, nor is anything [temporarily] kept secret except in order that it may be made known’ (Mark 4:22 AMP). Then He adds: ‘Be careful what you are hearing. The measure [of thought and study] you give [to the truth you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you – and more [besides] will be given to you who hear.’ Do you want to grow spiritually? Build better relationships? Succeed in your career? Conquer anxiety and find peace? Break a bad habit? Be healed from the emotional wounds of your past? Then meditate on, ponder, think about, practice mentally, and verbalise the Word of God. Instead of living off someone else’s spiritual insight, study God’s Word for yourself and allow the Holy Spirit to bless you with life-transforming insights. Jesus said, ‘The Spirit takes my message and tells it to you’ (John 16:15 CEV). And you’ll experience the truth of those words when you personalise the Scripture you’re reading.

God’s Word for 13th August by Bob Gass

Do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.’ Romans 6:12 NIV (2011 Edition)

Pray for Self-Control

Self-control is one of the great keys to success in life. And since God’s Word has a lot to say about it, if you ask Him He will help you to cultivate it. What you struggled with when you were young will be different from the things you struggle with when you’re older, but you’ll face temptation in one form or another as long as you live. Self-control is one of the nine fruits of the Spirit listed in the Bible (See Galatians 5:22-23). It calls for bringing every aspect of your life under the mastery of the Holy Spirit. It’s a lifestyle characterized by discipline, not impulse. The Greek word for ‘self-control’ comes from a root word meaning ‘to grip.’ It calls for getting a grip on your spending so that you don’t go into debt for things you don’t need and can’t pay for. It calls for getting a grip on your temper and not saying things you’ll later regret: ‘Better…a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city’ (Proverbs 16:32 NIV 1984 Edition). It calls for getting a grip on your desires. If Joseph had failed to say no to the repeated advances of his boss’ wife, he’d never have seen his life’s dream fulfilled and sat on the throne of Egypt. Understand this: Satan has discerned your destiny and he’s out to stop you from reaching it. So pray for self

God’s Word for Wednesday 10th August from Bob Gass

‘The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.’ Exodus 18:18 NIV (2011 Edition)

Reach for Help

God has placed people within your reach who are willing to help you. If you don’t accept their help, you will be frustrated and they will be unfulfilled because they’re not using their gifts. God hasn’t called you to do everything, for everybody, in every situation. You can’t be all things to all people all the time! You yourself have legitimate needs, and when they are not met you suffer and so do the people around you. There’s nothing wrong with needing help and asking for it; in fact, it’s wrong to need help and be too proud to ask. Because the children of Israel looked to Moses for everything, he tried to be ‘all things to all people.’ And that’s when he reached a breaking point. So his father-in-law suggested he delegate some of his authority, and let others make the less important decisions while he made the more important ones. It worked! Moses did what Jethro suggested and it enabled him to succeed in his assignment. Plus, those under his leadership got to enjoy a sense of accomplishment too. It was a win/win, and the job got done right! Question: Are you complaining that people are placing too many demands on you, and you’ve too much to do? Are you reluctant to let others help because you don’t think anyone can do the job as well as you? Look out! The Scriptures caution about developing ‘an exaggerated opinion of your [own] importance’ (Romans 12:3 AMP). Reach for help. You’ll last longer and enjoy life more if you do!

God’s Word for Tuesday 9th August from Bob Gass

‘Do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them.’ Ephesians 6:4 NLT

Parenting and the Battle for Control

If your teenagers don’t like you telling them what to do, relax; they’re normal. And it’s not peculiar to teenagers; it starts much earlier. One psychologist tells about the mother of a tough little four-year-old girl who was demanding her own way. The mother said, ‘I’m your boss, I have the responsibility to lead you, and that’s what I intend to do!’ Little Jenny thought over her mother’s words for a minute, then said, ‘How long does it have to be that way?’ Already, at four years of age she was yearning for the day when nobody could tell her what to do. That’s a God-given instinct. One of the first things God said to Adam and Eve was, ‘Take control over the earth.’ So the task for you as a parent is to hang on to the reins in the early days, and gradually begin to grant independence as maturity is demonstrated. This is one of the most delicate responsibilities of parenting. Power granted too early produces folly, but power granted too late brings rebellion. Knowing when to let out the rope, and by how much, requires wisdom, and God is the giver of wisdom (See James 1:5). If you pray, observe, and listen carefully, you’ll begin to see the critical milestones in your child’s life. Paul writes, ‘Do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.’ And as a parent, that’s some of the best advice you’ll ever get.

God’s Word for Thursday August 4th by Bob Gass

‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him.’ Romans 15:13 NIV (2011 Edition)

Trusting God Brings Joy and Peace

Trusting God is so much simpler than not trusting Him. When you doubt God, His Word, and His promises, you’re left to your own devices and reasoning when it comes to working things out. And as a result you get stressed out. Take a moment and read the following three verses, then think carefully about what they mean: ‘But the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. Now we who have believed enter that rest’ (Hebrews 4:2-3 NIV 1984 Edition). ‘He who has once entered [God’s] rest…has ceased from [the weariness and pain] of human labours’ (Hebrews 4:10 AMP). ‘Come to Me, all you who labor and are…overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]’ (Matthew 11:28 AMP). How are you supposed to approach God? In faith! The Bible says: ‘Without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that… He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out]’ (Hebrews 11:6 AMP). That means when you come to God, you must do the believing. And when you do, you’ll receive His joy and peace. These two things are God’s will for you; they were bought and paid for at the cross. Christ’s work is already finished, and the only thing that remains to be accomplished is for you to believe. When you do that, God will respond and bless you every time!

God’s Word for 3rd Aug by Bob Gass

‘Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.’ Philippians 3:13 NLT

Start Looking Forward

There are things inside you that must be dealt with before you can move ahead. Every experience you’ve had from birth until the present moment has helped shape who you are. The things that happen to you, good and bad, are instrumental in determining how you’ll act and react for the rest of your life. Paul talks about ‘forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.’ You ask, ‘What did Paul have to forget?’ A lot! On Paul’s orders Stephen, the first Christian martyr, was stoned to death while he looked on. Before he met Christ on the Damascus Road, Paul routinely imprisoned and put Christians to death. The fact is, if he hadn’t overcome his past he would never have written half the New Testament and helped establish a church that would last two millenniums. Was Paul perfect? Not even close! That’s why he said: ‘I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ saved me for and wants me to be…I am still not all that I should be but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us’ (vv. 12-14 TLB). The only place the past can live is in your memory; and the only power it has over you is the power you give it. So the word for you today is: Start looking forward.