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It is written by Bob and Debby Gass in the USA, prepared by the team at UCB Asia Pacific in Australia and we are delighted to be able to make it available to you.

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Find out more about Bob Gass

Author of The Word for Today. Click here

The Word for Today is available in Samoa, thanks to your support and our partnership with UCB Asia Pacific…and THAT’s good news!

 

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Learn to set boundaries

‘Follow the Lord’s rules for doing His work.’ 2 Timothy 2:5 TLB

Are you so eager to stay in everybody’s good graces that you comply with their every demand? You’re not alone—good people burn out every day because they can’t set boundaries. And once that happens, it’s hard to fix because none of us, not even those ordained by God, can break His natural laws without suffering.

Ray Comfort writes: ‘Once when I was complaining about my heavy schedule, I heard God’s Spirit say, “You’re the one who makes the schedule; if you don’t like it, do something about it!”’ Paul told Timothy, ‘Follow the Lord’s rules for doing His work… just as an athlete… follows the rules or is disqualified.’ (2 Timothy 2:5 TLB)

Not every problem is spiritual, some are physical. Furthermore, you can’t blame the devil for things that are your own fault. We resent people who pressure us, yet we keep doing what they want, which feeds our silent anger. You’re allowing yourself to be pressured by not taking responsibility for your own life. The fact is, many well-intentioned people are walking around each day stressed out and depressed because they can’t say no. They forget that Jesus is their example, and that He had regular times of rest and renewal. The answer lies in:

(1) putting your life under the guidance of the Holy Spirit

(2) learning to put first things first

(3) realising you, too, have needs

(4) not expecting everybody to understand when you set boundaries.

The Bible says, ‘A friend loves at all times’ (Proverbs 17:17 NIV), not just when you comply with their wishes. So to fulfil God’s will for your life, you must learn to set boundaries.

SoulFood: Jer 31–32, Luke 4:1–13, Ps 98, Pr 14:34

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright ©

Memorising Scripture and conquering worry

‘Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all day.’ Psalm 119:97 NRS

One of the most powerful tools God has given you for conquering fear and worry is memorising Scripture. Your memory is like a muscle; the more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes. Seneca, the ancient Roman teacher of rhetoric, would impress his class of 200 by asking each student to recite a favourite line of poetry. He would then recite all 200 lines from memory—in reverse order. Saint Augustine had a friend who could recite all the poet Virgil’s words—backwards!

Ok, maybe those guys were particularly gifted—but there are lots of things most of us can recite from memory too. Things like birthdays and anniversaries, addresses, phone numbers, bank account details and certain passwords. These items have two characteristics in common: we use them frequently, and we need them constantly. In other words, we have memorised them because we use them so often, and we can’t get along without them.

Similarly, you can begin to conquer your worries by confronting them each time they arise with a Scripture you have memorised. It’s powerful! It’s effective! It works! Why? Because God’s power is greater than your problems, and God’s Word is greater than your worries. Understand this: God is committed to keeping His Word. So when you speak Scriptural words instead of anxiety-filled words, God goes to work on your behalf. He has made you this promise: ‘I will hasten My word to perform it.’ (Jeremiah 1:12 KJV)

So if you’re serious about wanting to conquer stress and worry, begin to memorise and verbalise God’s Word each day.

SoulFood: Jer 28–30, Luke 3:21–38, Ps 95, Pr 14:29–33

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright ©

‘Casting’, or ‘keeping’

‘Casting all your care upon Him.’ 1 Peter 5:7 NKJV

When it comes to dealing with your fears and worries, you have two choices; cast them on the Lord, or keep them and try to handle them yourself. When the communists came to power in China, missionary Isobel Kuhn decided to escape on foot across the snow-covered mountains into Burma. There she was—stranded in unknown territory, with no money and no way to get home.

‘I cannot tell you the dismay and alarm that filled me,’ she wrote. But she made two decisions. ‘The first thing is to cast out fear,’ she said. ‘The only fear a Christian should entertain is the fear of sin. All other fears are from Satan, sent to confuse and weaken us.’ So Isobel prayerfully trusted God, and rejected panic. Second, she sought His guidance as to the next step, and eventually she arrived home safely.

Here’s an important key to victory: instead of living with your fears and allowing them to take root within you, identify them and confront them the moment you become conscious of them. Next, turn each fear into a prayer and give it to God, refusing to take it back, confident that He will handle it for you. And don’t just do it with some of your fears and worries, do it with all of them.

‘Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.’ (1 Peter 5:7 AMPC) You’ll never be entirely free of fear and worry, but by God’s grace you can do a lot better than you have in the past.

SoulFood: Jer 25–27, Luke 3:11–20, Ps 64, Pr 14:25–28

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright ©

How to handle disagreements (2)

‘Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.’ Matthew 5:9 KJV

Lesson one: sometimes the best resolution to a conflict is a separation, even if it’s temporary. When emotions run high, you need space to think clearly. And God can use this time of separation for His glory. Because Paul and Barnabas parted, the Gospel was preached in even more cities. But when a temporary separation is the best option, you need to agree on how long it will be. In some friendships, one person may have outgrown the relationship. But this should be handled with love and wisdom, realising that we can all learn from our mistakes and grow through them. Later Paul wrote, ‘Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry.’ (2 Timothy 4:11 NKJV)

Lesson two: when you realise that you’ve been wrong, you need to acknowledge it. For a single-focused leader like Paul, this called for humility. Indeed, it’s a comfort to us to know that someone as anointed and brilliant as Paul could rethink his position and come to a different conclusion. Mistakes may be bad; but they’re not as bad as the pride that seeks to defend them and not change.

Lesson three: you must learn to disagree without being disagreeable. It’s noteworthy that nowhere in Scripture do we find a time when Paul talked publicly about their disagreement. Both Paul and Barnabas focused on their respective missions. The only behaviour you have the power to change is your own. And this should be your reason for doing so: ‘We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ.’ (Ephesians 4:15 NLT)

SoulFood: Jer 22–24, Luke 3:1–10, Ps 59:9–17, Pr 14:23–24

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright ©

How to handle disagreements (1)

‘Barnabas agreed and wanted to take along John Mark. But Paul disagreed strongly.’ Acts 15:37–38 NLT

Paul and Barnabas were a great missionary team. On their first tour, a young man named John Mark had joined them. But for some personal reason, he left and returned to Jerusalem. On their second missionary tour, Barnabas wanted to take John Mark with them again, but Paul said thought he was unreliable and said no. ‘Their disagreement was so sharp that they separated. Barnabas took John Mark… Paul chose Silas.’ (Acts 15:39–40 NLT)

Can you imagine it; two spiritual giants couldn’t resolve their conflict! Yes, it happens in the best of circles. Paul was the totally focused, no-nonsense type. Barnabas, whose name means ‘son of encouragement’, was the long-suffering and lovable type who believed in reconciliation and refused to strike anybody off his list. There are two valuable lessons in this story about handling disagreements.

(1) When it comes to our friends and family members, we all have blind spots. Rare is the leader who has the objectivity to look beyond a blood bond and focus on what is best for the organisation. As a result, the vision God gave them often suffers.

(2) Sometimes you need a wise and trusted third party to help resolve the problem. When it comes to trouble in the church, Jesus laid down clear guidelines. First, you must go privately, one on one, and deal with the issue. Second, if that doesn’t work, you should take one or two others with you and try to resolve it. Third, you must take the situation to mature spiritual leaders and get their input (see Matthew 18:15–18). That’s the Scriptural way to handle disagreements, and it must be our way too.

SoulFood: 1 Kings 17:17–24, Mark 5:21–43, John 11:1–45

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright ©

Answering the big questions (5)

‘Without faith it is impossible to please God.’ Hebrews 11:6 NIV

Some sceptics like to say, ‘Which “god” are you talking about: Thor, Zeus, etc.?’ The inference in this question is, ‘These were mythical gods, and so is yours.’ Atheists are correct about these gods being myths. Man gravitates towards idolatry like a moth does to a flame. There are millions of false gods. Hinduism has about 330 million.

But there is only one Creator, and that’s the God who revealed Himself to Moses and gave us His moral law. That’s the God who became flesh in the person of Jesus Christ, died and rose for us, and provided salvation. And that’s the God you will have to face on judgment day. You say, ‘I don’t believe in judgment day!’ What if you are wrong?

Another argument atheists use is that they can’t prove God doesn’t exist, just as you and I can’t prove the tooth fairy doesn’t exist. This is pseudo-intellectual and a condescending way of equating belief in God with belief in the tooth fairy. It’s true that we cannot disprove the existence of either one. However, as Ray Comfort writes, ‘Belief in the existence of the tooth fairy is inconsequential. Belief in and therefore obedience to God has eternal consequences.’ Irrevocable ones!

The Bible says: ‘For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: “As surely as I live,” says the Lord, “every knee will bow before Me; every tongue will acknowledge God.” So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.’ (Romans 14:10–12 NIV) Today accept Jesus as your Saviour, and you’ll meet God in peace.

SoulFood: Jer 14–17, Luke 2:34–40, Ps 21, Pr 14:17–20

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright ©

Answering the big questions (4)

‘Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.’ Romans 9:5 NIV

Some people say that Jesus Christ never existed. Ray Comfort writes: ‘While sceptics may choose to reject the Bible’s moral message, they cannot deny its historical accuracy. Over 25,000 archaeological finds demonstrate that the people, places, and events mentioned in the Bible are real and are accurately described. No archaeological finding has ever refuted the Bible. In fact, the descriptions in the Bible have often led archaeologists to amazing discoveries. Non-Christian journalist Jeffrey Sheler, author of the book Is The Bible True?, concluded, “In extraordinary ways, modern archaeology is affirming the historical core of the Old and New Testaments, supporting key portions of crucial Biblical stories.”’

Jesus’ birth, ministry, death and resurrection are irrefutable historical facts. Josephus, among the most renowned of Jewish historians, is attributed as writing this in the first century: ‘Now, there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works—a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this date.’

Jesus not only lived, but He died that you might have eternal life. Receive Him today as your Saviour. See page 200.

SoulFood: Jer 14–17, Luke 2:34–40, Ps 21, Pr 14:17–20

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright ©

Answering the big questions (3)

‘All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.’ 2 Timothy 3:16 NKJV

How can we trust the Bible when human beings wrote it? Answer: Do you write the letter or does the pen? The pen is merely the instrument you use. In the same way, God used men as instruments to write His ‘letter’ to humanity.

That’s why Sir Isaac Newton said, ‘I find more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible, than in any profane history whatsoever.’

That’s why Billy Graham said of Scripture: ‘If I didn’t believe that the Bible and the Gospel of Jesus Christ held the answer to this world’s baffling problems, I would go back to the farm and the rural life that I love and spend my days in peaceful solitude.’

There’s a reason why Abraham Lincoln said, ‘I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man.’

Josh McDowell, a Christian apologist says: ‘Here’s the picture: 1,500 years, 60 generations, 40 authors, different walks of life, different places, different times, different moods, different continents, three languages, writing on hundreds of controversial subjects. Yet when they are brought together there is absolute harmony from beginning to end… There is no other book in history to even compare to the uniqueness of this continuity.’

You can trust your Bible. Its prophecies have been fulfilled, its promises have been time-tested, and its principles for living really work. Do you know why the Bible was written? John gives us the answer: ‘These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.’ (1 John 5:13 NKJV)

SoulFood: Jer 10–13, Luke 2:21–33, Ps 17, Pr 14:13–16

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright ©

Answering the big questions (2)

‘Can’t you see that His kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?’ Romans 2:4 NLT

Isn’t the church full of hypocrites? The word hypocrite comes from the Greek word for ‘actor’. Hypocrisy is ‘the practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold’. The true church of Jesus Christ is made up of true believers; hypocrites are ‘pretenders’ who sit among God’s people. Jesus even had one among His twelve disciples—Judas. Let’s be honest; people have left the church because of hypocrisy. And ‘yes’ there are far too many ‘actors’ in the church. Hypocrisy runs rampant in our modern church—but be careful if you judge it.

Remember the old bumper sticker: ‘Christians are not perfect, just forgiven’? Before you take it upon yourself to pass judgment upon people who make mistakes and struggle with weaknesses, read these words: ‘You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things. And we know that God, in His justice, will punish anyone who does such things. Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things? Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that His kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?’ (Romans 2:1–4 NLT)

Don’t worry about the hypocrites in the church; God will sort them out, and will separate the ‘wheat’ from the ‘tares’ (see Matthew 13:30).

SoulFood: Jer 7–9, Luke 2:8–20, Ps 8, Pr 14:9–12

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright ©

Answering the big questions (1)

‘We are looking forward to a new Heaven and a new earth.’ 2 Peter 3:13 NIV

What about suffering—doesn’t that prove there isn’t a loving God? Adam was given a choice: to obey God or disobey Him. He chose disobedience, and God said, ‘Cursed is the ground [earth] because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.’ (Genesis 3:17 NIV) Note the word ‘painful’. Think how many people are living with cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, emphysema, Parkinson’s disease, and another life-changing illnesses. Did God ‘blow it’ when He created humanity? Sadly, many use the issue of suffering as an excuse to reject any thought of God, when its existence is the very reason we should believe in Him.

In the beginning God created perfect humans, and they lived in a perfect world without suffering—it was Heaven on earth. When sin came into the world, death and misery came with it. What’s the ultimate answer? ‘We are looking forward to a new Heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found… at peace with Him.’ (2 Peter 3:13–14 NIV)

Suffering reached its height when Jesus said from the cross, ‘It is finished.’ Those words mean ‘paid in full’. They mean when you accept Jesus as your Saviour, you will go to Heaven when you die, and you will live in a glorious earth made new without sin or suffering. ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.’ (1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT)

If you’re not sure whether you’ve accepted Jesus yet, today put your trust in Him. See page 200.

SoulFood: Jer 4–6, Luke 2:1–7, Ps 144:9–15, Pr 14:5–8

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright ©