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Below is a compilation of the more recent The Word for Today daily devotionals on one page


October 19, 2020

Always Carry A Book With You

‘Give attention to reading.’
1 Timothy 4:13 NKJV

What you read and study is what you become. When you carry the right books with you, you maintain a continuous flow of truth and information into your heart and mind.

(1) Reading discourages unproductive conversation. You should always be ready to share your faith and minister to the needs of others. But have you ever sat beside someone who couldn’t stop talking? Many times people who love to talk don’t require anything significant to energise them. They talk just to avoid silence; when you keep a book handy, it solves that problem.

(2) Keep a list of books you want to read each month. This prevents unwise selections in moments of boredom, temptation, or fatigue. At the beginning of each year, select fifty-two books you’d like to read by the end of the year—one per week. Reading twenty pages a day will take you through a 140-page book every week.

(3) Carry books when you travel. When you’re away from the busyness of your daily schedule, you can withdraw into your own private world: you can dream, focus, and plan. In mentoring Timothy, Paul wrote: ‘Give attention to reading… Do not neglect the gift that is in you… Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.’ (1 Timothy 4:13–15 NKJV)

The first book you should read is your Bible—and it’s also the one you should read most. But read other books too, because God is the source of all true wisdom and knowledge. To quote Solomon: ‘Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.’ (Proverbs 4:7 NKJV)

SoulFood: 2 Sam 17:14–19:43, John 4:39–54, Ps 41, Pro 24:5–6
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Monday, October 19, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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October 18, 2020

Learn To Think ‘Right’

‘The thoughts of the righteous are right.’
Proverbs 12:5 NKJV

Your mind can work for you or against you. When it works for you, it helps you to stay positive, reach your goals, and enjoy each day. But when it works against you, it can make you negative and discouraged, hold you back, and cause you to think thoughts that result in self-sabotage. So teach your mind to work for you instead of against you.

An important way to do this is to make an intentional decision that you’ll begin to think positively—in terms of faith and not fear. Now, your brain won’t be able to fulfil this new role overnight. You may be asking it to undergo a radical transformation, and that takes time. But determine that with your diligence and God’s help, instead of working against you, your brain will go to work for you and become a positive force in your life.

Dr Caroline Leaf, a cognitive neuroscientist, points out that the brain takes decades to grow, and a lifetime to mature. Don’t miss this point! While every organ in your body was fully formed when you were born and got bigger as your body grew, your brain actually takes a full twenty-five years to grow. And once it’s fully formed, it continues to mature until the day you die. That means no matter how old you are, your brain is still growing. This is great news, because it means you don’t have to stay stuck in old or wrong thought patterns. Your brain is still maturing, which means you can still improve in your thinking.

As the Bible says, ‘The thoughts of the righteous are right.’

SoulFood: Matt 21:18–22, Matt 8:5–13, Mark 6:1–6
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Sunday, October 18, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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October 17, 2020

Laugh More!

‘We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy.’
Psalm 126:2 NLT

God created every human emotion you feel. He designed you to cry when you are sad and laugh when you are happy: ‘For everything there is a season… A time to cry and a time to laugh.’ (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4 NLT)

Jesus said, ‘These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.’ (John 15:11 KJV) Question: how often do you laugh? Doctors say laughter has incredible healing effects on your body. It also has incredible healing effects on your mind and soul. Stop and think about the days you laughed, even though you really didn’t have anything to laugh about. You were far from God and bound by sinful habits, but He set you free, didn’t He?

In the Old Testament we read: ‘When the Lord brought back His exiles to Jerusalem, it was like a dream! We were filled with laughter and we sang for joy… And the other nations said, “What amazing things the Lord has done for them.” Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us! What joy!’ (Psalm 126:1–3 NLT)

If God has set you free, then you truly have something to laugh about. Stop being so ‘heavy’ about everything! Expecting perfection from yourself; your slow growth in God; your deficient prayer life; your failure to memorise more Scripture verses; your fear of sharing your faith with others, etc. We carry around such heavy burdens. If you’re ‘laughter impaired’ you may have to work at it. It’s easy to find plenty to worry about, but to be happy, you sometimes need to work at it a little.

So the word for today is—laugh more!

SoulFood: 2 Sam 14:21–17:13, John 4:27–38, Ps 87, Pro 24:1–4
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Saturday, October 17, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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October 16, 2020

Stop ‘Awfulising’!

‘Do not worry.’
Matthew 6:31 NIV

No matter what happens in life, try to keep things in perspective. When you don’t, you end up viewing minor problems as major ones. Or you do the opposite, treating significant situations as ‘no big deal’. Either tendency—‘awfulising’ or ‘minimising’—leads to problems. So do your best to see things as they really are and don’t let them get blown out of proportion. Develop the habit of looking at the big picture, instead of dwelling on the one issue that’s upsetting you.

Thinking excessively about your problems makes them appear larger than they really are. When you run up against a situation that upsets you, deal with the panic before you try to deal with the problem. Sit down quietly, calm yourself, and take time to purposely recall the good things you enjoy also. The truth is, worry never goes away. When you resolve one issue, another one is waiting to take its place. It’s a fact of life; you can’t change it. So what should you do? Change your perspective! Instead of focusing on your worries, factor God into the equation. Has He ever failed you? No, and He never will! The grace of God that sustained and brought you through the last worrisome situation will be with you in this one—and the next one!

Notice what Jesus said about the things we worry over most: ‘Do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?”… For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.’ (Matthew 6:31–33 NKJV)

SoulFood: 2 Sam 12:1–14:20, John 4:13–26, Ps 32, Pro 23:29–35
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Friday, October 16, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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October 15, 2020

Try Bird Watching!

‘Look at the birds.’
Matthew 6:26 NLT

You may not like the political party that’s in power, but you’re much better off than the Jewish people Jesus was speaking to here. Their country was occupied by the Romans, and they paid extortionate taxes to keep them in power. They lived as slaves—so they worried a lot. Then Jesus came along and said: ‘Look at the birds. They don’t plant… harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?’ (Matthew 6:26–27 NLT)

In other words, if you worry a lot—try bird watching! Birds don’t know where their next meal is coming from, yet you never see one sitting on a branch having an anxiety attack. So here’s the question: ‘Aren’t you far more valuable to God than they are?’

A man who was out of work, despondent, and worried about feeding his family noticed some birds eating strawberry shortcake from a bin. All at once it dawned on him—‘If God can feed the birds strawberry shortcake, surely He can take care of me too!’

Even if you suffer from a poor self-image and think you’re not worth taking care of, aren’t you still more valuable than a bird? So look at how well your heavenly Father takes care of them, and remind yourself that He will take care of you too. If anxiety is robbing you of happiness during the day and sleep at night, make up your mind to live by this Scripture: ‘Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.’ (1 Peter 5:7 NLT)

SoulFood: 2 Sam 7:18–11:27, John 4:1–12, Ps 100, Pro 23:22–28
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Thursday, October 15, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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October 14, 2020

Stay Calm!

‘Keep your head in all situations.’
2 Timothy 4:5 NIV

A woman was sitting in her lounge when a small black snake suddenly appeared, slithered across the floor, and made its way under the sofa. Being deathly afraid of snakes, she ran to the bathroom to get her husband, who was taking a shower. He came running from the shower with just a towel around his waist, grabbed an old broom handle from the cupboard, and began poking under the sofa.

At this point the family dog awakened. Curious to see what was happening, the dog came up behind the husband and touched his cold nose to the back of the man’s heel. The man, thinking the snake had bitten him on the heel, fainted. The wife concluded that her husband had collapsed with a heart attack, so she ran from the house to a hospital just a street away. The ambulance drivers promptly came to her house and placed him on a stretcher. But as they were carrying him out, the snake reappeared from underneath the sofa. One of the drivers got so frightened that he dropped his end of the stretcher and broke the man’s leg. Seeing her husband’s twisted leg, the wife collapsed on the spot. Meanwhile, the snake slithered quietly away!

An old African proverb says, ‘There are forty kinds of lunacy, but only one kind of common sense.’ Acting impulsively usually means things will get worse before they get better. So before you panic, calm yourself and ask God for wisdom and help, even in the simplest things.

SoulFood: 2 Sam 3:22–7:17, John 3:22–36, Ps 89:38–52, Pro 23:19–21
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Wednesday, October 14, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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October 13, 2020

Doling Out God’s Grace (2)

‘Do not nullify the grace of God.’
Galatians 2:21 NASB

Chuck Swindoll says as believers we’re often intolerant ‘of those who don’t fit our mould—an attitude that reveals itself in the stoic stare or caustic comment. Such reactions will thin the church ranks faster than fire in the basement or flu in the pew. Paul rebuked the Galatians for “deserting Christ” (see 1:6), “nullifying the grace of God” (see 2:21), and becoming “bewitched by legalism” (see 3:1)… Sure, there are limits to freedom. Grace does not condone licence… The opposite of legalism isn’t “do as you please”. But the limitations are broader than most of us realise. I can’t believe, for example, the only music God smiles on is highbrow or hymns… Nor do I believe the necessary garment for entering the Veil is a suit and tie… Let’s remember who gets wrought up over outward appearances. It’s not God! He “looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7 NASB)… Jesus reserved His strongest and longest sermon… for… legalists—present-day Pharisees. When it came to self-righteous showing off, Jesus pulled no punches. He found it was the only way to deal with those who hung around places of worship disdaining and despising others. No less than seven times He pronounced “Woe to you”, because that’s the only language a Pharisee understands…

Two final comments:

(1) If you tend towards Phariseeism in any form, stop it! If you’re the type who bullies and looks down on others… you’re a twentieth-century Pharisee.

(2) When modern-day Pharisees try to control your life, stop them. Remind those religious phonies that the splinter in your eye is between you and God, and they should pay attention to the tree trunk in their own eye.’

SoulFood: 2 Sam 1:1–3:21, John 3:1–21, Ps 89:15–37, Pro 23:15–18
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Tuesday, October 13, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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October 12, 2020

Doling Out God’s Grace (1)

‘You would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.’
John 4:10 ESV

When the woman at the well offered Jesus a drink of water, He replied, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, “Give Me a drink,” you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.’ Jesus routinely showed mercy to the people who least deserved it, and this woman was no exception. How do you measure up when it comes to extending God’s grace to others? Are you generous, or do you take it upon yourself to dole it out sparingly?

Jon Walker says: ‘Grace allows people to make choices… it’s free… flowing… unencumbered by guilt or shame. It says, “I know all about you, and I still love you”… Most of us, if we’re honest, function as if God were stingy with His grace. We fear His punishment… we think He is like the school head teacher walking the corridors, taking down names… but God already knows who did what and who’s to blame, and He loves us anyway. His interest is in redeeming us, not in keeping us on the hook for our sins. Unfortunately, many of us Christians live our lives as if we’re still on the hook… therefore we have to keep everyone else on the hook. We use weapons of the flesh—the sarcastic comment, the angry stare—to get people to straighten up and live right. By contrast, when the woman at the well went back to her village, she said, “Come see a man who [told me everything I’ve ever done!]” …Nothing was hidden from Jesus, yet He communicated in such a fashion that she left feeling loved and accepted. That’s God’s grace!’

SoulFood: Eph 4:17–6:24, John 2:12–25, Ps 89:1–14, Pro 23:10–14
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Monday, October 12, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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October 11, 2020

Avoid ‘Whelks’

‘Don’t befriend angry people.’
Proverbs 22:24 NLT

Ever seen an oyster shell without an oyster inside, and wondered how the oyster got out? Look for a small hole in the top of the shell made by a whelk. This little ocean creature has an appendage that works like a drill bit. With it the whelk bores into the shell and sucks the oyster out through the hole, little by little, until it has devoured it.

Don’t allow somebody’s angry outbursts or critical remarks to bore a hole in your good nature and rob you of your sunny disposition. If you aren’t careful, you can become irritated to the point where anger and bitterness begin to seethe in you. And that can be dangerous to your health. There’s a mountain of medical evidence to support the fact that certain kinds of depression are simply anger turned inward. Remember the old adage, ‘It’s not what you’re eating, but what’s eating you that’s making you ill.’

The Bible says, ‘Don’t befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people, or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul [and emotions].’ (Proverbs 22:24–25 NLT) If you’re wise, you’ll try to avoid people you find continually negative or habitually angry at life, as well as those who seem to delight in needling you.

In other words—avoid whelks! John Mason writes: ‘One way to be free of unwanted baggage is to take your mind off the things that seem to be against you. Thinking about negative factors simply builds them into a power they truly don’t possess. Talking about your grievances merely adds to those grievances. Attach yourself to God’s forgiveness, plan, and Word. Then watch yourself become loosed from former “sticky” situations.’

SoulFood: Luke 1:26–38, Luke 2:25–35, Luke 2:41–51, Acts 1:13–14
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Sunday, October 11, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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October 10, 2020

Use Your Talents

‘Do not neglect the gift you have.’
1 Timothy 4:14 RSV

Luigi Tarisio was born in Italy in 1796. A collector of violins, he took great pride in scouting out rare finds, and purchasing only instruments of the finest quality. No one really knew about Tarisio’s passion, however, until after he died. It was while his estate was being appraised that some 246 valuable violins were discovered in his attic! One of the most expensive, hidden in the drawer of an old dresser, was a Stradivarius he’d purchased from someone who had also bought it solely as a collector’s item.

Commenting on the matter, Dr WY Fullerton, the gifted Baptist preacher, noted that in preserving the instrument Tarisio ‘had robbed the world of all that music’. And others before him had done the same. In fact, by the time the greatest Stradivarius in his collection was finally played, 147 years had elapsed!

Henry Van Dyke said: ‘Use what talents you possess. The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.’ If you wait until you can perform perfectly, you’ll never do it at all.

Jesus said: ‘You are the world’s seasoning, to make it tolerable. If you lose your flavour, what will happen to the world? And you yourselves will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the world’s light—a city on a hill, glowing in the night… Don’t hide your light! Let it shine for all; let your good deeds glow for all to see, so that they will praise your heavenly Father.’ (Matthew 5:13–16 TLB)

Understand this: God will hold you accountable for discovering your talents, developing them to the fullest, and using them to glorify Him and bless others.

SoulFood: Eph 1:1–4:16, John 2:1–11, Ps 110, Pro 23:6–9
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Saturday, October 10, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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October 9, 2020

Be Slow To Anger

‘A wrathful man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger allays contention.’
Proverbs 15:18 NKJV

Solomon repeatedly advises us to be ‘slow to anger’ (Proverbs 14:29; 15:18; 16:32). Take your Bible and read those Scriptures slowly, thoughtfully, and prayerfully. Pay close attention to the occasions in Scripture when Jesus got angry (which are few), and something will immediately jump out at you. He never became angry over what someone did to Him. He never retaliated or lashed out at people who wronged Him. Even as His executioners nailed Him to the cross, He prayed, ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.’ (Luke 23:34 KJV) Pretty amazing, isn’t it? So if you’re serious about following Jesus, you must learn to follow suit!

The Bible says, ‘A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.’ (Proverbs 15:1 NKJV) Have you ever noticed how professional firefighters almost never fight fire with fire? Most times water is a much better tool. In the same way, a soft reply to an angry comment is like pouring the cool water of calmness on the fire of a hot temper.

A Kenyon College speech research unit confirmed through a series of experiments that, when people are yelled at, they almost always yell back. The research also proved that you can control another person’s tone of voice, depending on the tone you adopt. If you keep your voice soft, not only will you avoid becoming angry, but most likely you will prevent the other person from getting upset too. Do you want to be more Christlike and more successful in dealing with others? Then the word for today is—‘Be slow to anger.’

SoulFood: 1 Sam 27–31, John 1:43–51, Ps 23, Pro 23:4–5
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Friday, October 9, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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October 8, 2020

The Transforming Power Of Gratitude (2)

‘Rejoice always.’
1 Thessalonians 5:16 NKJV

Ever find yourself asking, ‘Why me, Lord? How come You don’t answer my prayers? Why doesn’t Your Word work for me like it does for others?’ Well-meaning friends tell you to keep your chin up, things will get better, but you can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. And just when you think things can’t get any worse, you pick up your Bible and read, ‘Rejoice always… in everything give thanks’ (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 NKJV), as if you’re supposed to enjoy your situation!

Alexander Maclaren said, ‘Seek to cultivate a buoyant, joyous sense of the crowded kindnesses of God in your daily life.’ The fact is, however, when life overwhelms you the last thing you feel like doing is giving thanks, right?

But as Nancy Leigh DeMoss observes: ‘Unless you just love the way duty feels when it wakes you at three in the morning, or hijacks your plans for your day off, or hands you an unexpected bill that wasn’t in the budget… don’t try living the Christian life without gratitude. By sheer willpower and effort you may succeed at “gutting out” right responses, but your Christianity (so-called) will be hollow, hard-edged, and uninviting… If all our faith had to offer were words that only fit in a theological textbook, it would be unkind to extend them to someone struggling to survive. True Christ-centred, grace-motivated gratitude fits life’s most desperate moments and difficult situations. When there are no answers, it gives hope. It transforms overwhelmed strugglers into triumphant conquerors… Gratitude is a hard-fought, grace-infused, Biblical lifestyle… and [its] transforming power is reserved for those who know and acknowledge the Giver of every good gift, and who are recipients of His redeeming grace.’

SoulFood: 1 Sam 24–26, John 1:29–42, Ps 131, Pro 23:1–3
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Thursday, October 8, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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October 7, 2020

The Transforming Power Of Gratitude (1)

‘In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God.’
1 Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV

Giving thanks infuses joy and resilience into your daily life. British theologian John Henry Jowett said, ‘Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road.’ Without gratitude your faith becomes a hollow religious practice, and your love for others crashes and burns, leaving you feeling drained of joy and acting like a martyr.

When Paul says, ‘In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God,’ he’s not saying every circumstance you encounter is necessarily God’s will. He’s saying that thanksgiving is God’s will. Bill Salier observes that you’ll see in the fine-print of many insurance policies a let-out clause about an ‘act of God’. The Bible affirms that God is sovereign over all of creation, he says, and points out that it’s a very hard truth for us but many disasters are wake-up calls to a world that thinks it is in control. God is reminding us, ‘No, you’re not in control,’ and when we realise that, then we may actually come to look to and depend on the One who is in fact in control.

In fact, we begin to realise that in and through even the worst of circumstances God is working out His plan of redemption. Despite the disasters humanity causes by going our own way, God is still able to make all things work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. (See Romans 8:28). And we should give thanks for that!

Bottom line: in any given set of circumstances you can choose to whine or choose to worship—and you can’t worship without giving thanks!

SoulFood: 1 Sam 20:30–23:29, John 1:14–28, Ps 29, Pro 22:26–29
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Wednesday, October 7, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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October 6, 2020

Should You Invest?

‘Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.’
Ecclesiastes 11:4 NIV

Should you risk investing, or wait for a ‘lucky break’ that could make you rich overnight? Solomon answers, ‘Ship your grain across the sea; after many days you may receive a return.’ (Ecclesiastes 11:1 NIV) That means invest prayerfully and wisely, and be patient because it may take ‘many days’ before you’ll get a return. The get-rich-quick mentality isn’t Scriptural. ‘Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.’ (Ecclesiastes 11:2 NIV)

So invest, but diversify; allow for market fluctuations. This is a play-it-wise approach, not a play-it-safe one. Be faith-driven instead of fear-driven. Fear allows the unpredictable to determine your actions. Godly wisdom, plus faith, is the key to investing. Waiting for ‘the ideal time’ will keep you paralysed. Success isn’t in the absence of challenges, it’s having the wisdom to manage them and keep moving forward.

The Bible says, ‘Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.’ If you let the odds immobilise you, you’ll never sow—which means you’ll never reap. The bottom line is this: life is full of unknowns, and just ‘as you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb… you cannot understand the work of God.’ (Ecclesiastes 11:5 NIV) You don’t have to know it all or be able to predict the outcome. Just seek God, then act on the wisdom He gives you (see James 1:5). You don’t have to understand how He’s going to work on your behalf—you only need to believe He will!

SoulFood: 1 Sam 18:1–20:29, John 1:1–13, Ps 92, Pro 22:24–25
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Tuesday, October 6, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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October 5, 2020

What To Expect On Life’s Journey (5)

‘That I have not run in vain or laboured in vain.’
Philippians 2:16 NKJV

You must give up short-term gratification for long-term fulfilment. Paul bottom-lines his life and ministry in this verse: ‘That I have not run in vain or laboured in vain.’ Nothing is more important in life than the choices you make.

The Bible says, ‘Lot moved his tents to a place near Sodom’ (Genesis 13:12 NLT), and for a while he prospered. But in the end, everything he worked for went up in smoke. Next we read: ‘The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you.”’ (Genesis 13:14-15 NKJV) Lot chose the wrong direction and lost. Abraham chose the right direction and won.

Choices! Choices! Choices! When it comes to choosing, make a habit of asking yourself, ‘How will this choice affect my character, my sense of self-respect, and my confidence when I approach God in prayer? How will it affect my influence and respect with other people? How will it affect my family, and those who are following in my footsteps?’

The Bible gives us the answer: ‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, 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. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.’ (Hebrews 12:1–2 NLT)

SoulFood: 1 Sam 16–17, Luke 24:45–53, Ps 63, Pro 22:17–23
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Monday, October 5, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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October 4, 2020

What To Expect On Life’s Journey (4)

‘Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.’
Hebrews 12:1 NKJV

Here are two more things you need to know:

(1) The wrong people will hurt you. There are two groups of people you should never be influenced by. The first is composed of VNP people: Very Needy People, Very Negative People, and Very Needling People. The second contains VDP people: Very Draining People, Very Doubting People, and Very Distracting People. Love them and help them any way you can, but never be influenced or led by them. Encourage them, but when they start to pull you down instead of lifting you up, disconnect graciously and turn them over to God.

(2) The right people will help you. When God has a job to be done, He calls a man or woman to do it. But He seldom calls them alone. He calls others to stand with them and support them. That means your willingness to reach for help isn’t a sign of weakness, but strength.

Paul spent an entire chapter in the New Testament acknowledging the people who helped him fulfil his vision. Here’s what he said to the Philippians: ‘Every time I think of you, I give thanks… Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now.’ (Philippians 1:3–5 NLT) If you’re wise, you’ll acknowledge the things God hasn’t gifted you to do, delegate them to qualified people, and work from your core strengths. That takes humility on your part, but in the long run it pays great dividends!

SoulFood: Est 4:9–5:3, Heb 4:7–16
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Sunday, October 4, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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October 3, 2020

What To Expect On Life’s Journey (3)

‘You ran well. Who hindered you?’
Galatians 5:7 NKJV

You must take responsibility for your life instead of blaming others. In the Garden of Eden when God asked Adam why he had eaten from the tree, he blamed his wife: ‘The woman You gave me… gave me the fruit, and I ate.’ (Genesis 3:12 NLT)

Then we read, ‘The woman said, “The serpent deceived me.”’ (Genesis 3:13 NKJV) Eve blamed the devil. So did God accept their excuses? No. He said to Adam: ‘Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and… eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, “You shall not eat of it,” cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you.’ (Genesis 3:17–18 NKJV)

And God told Eve, ‘I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.’ (Genesis 3:16 NKJV) After those words were spoken, Adam and Eve were banished from Paradise.

‘Since God is all-knowing,’ you ask, ‘how come He got angry with Adam and Eve?’ Because neither one would take responsibility for their actions! When you sin, God will readily forgive you (see Nehemiah 9:17). What He won’t accept, however, is obfuscating, rationalising, justifying, excusing, and blaming. His Word says, ‘He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.’ (Proverbs 28:13 NKJV) So if you want to move forward, you must take responsibility for your life!

SoulFood: 1 Sam 14–15, Luke 24:36–44, Ps 51, Pro 22:12–16
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Saturday, October 3, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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October 2, 2020

What To Expect On Life’s Journey (2)

‘I have finished the race.’
2 Timothy 4:7 NKJV

Not everyone who starts the race finishes it. Paul writes: ‘Don’t you realise that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step… I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.’ (1 Corinthians 9:24–27 NLT) Paul isn’t talking about his salvation; that was a settled issue. He’s talking about his heavenly reward, and these particular words should make us stop and think: ‘I myself might be disqualified..’ Here are some things that will cause you to stumble on your journey:

(1) Failure to read God’s Word and pray every day.

(2) Saying no to God when He deals with you about a specific area in your life.

(3) Moral failure stemming from wrong habits and relationships.

(4) Allowing doubt and fear to cripple you.

(5) Wasting time on frivolous pursuits instead of focusing on the ‘one thing’ God has called you to do.

(6) Succeeding in your career and failing at home.

(7) Not sowing your treasure, talent, and time into God’s Kingdom, resulting in a lack of resources to fulfil His will for your life. The list could go on ad infinitum.

Make this your prayer today: ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart… see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.’ (Psalm 139:23–24 NKJV) That’s the kind of prayer God loves to answer!

SoulFood: Lev 23:33–44, Zech 14:16–21, John 7:1–40
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Friday, October 2, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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October 1, 2020

What To Expect On Life’s Journey (1)

‘He went out, not knowing where he was going.’
Hebrews 11:8 NKJV

The Bible tells us, ‘By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.’ For the next few days let’s look at some things you should expect on your life’s journey.

(1) Opportunities and opposition. Paul wrote, ‘A great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.’ (1 Corinthians 16:9 NKJV) Indeed, if you don’t encounter obstacles and opposition, you should pray and ask God if you’re on the right track. The size of your God-given assignment usually determines the magnitude of the attack. But here’s the good news: attack is a sign of respect. It means the enemy considers you a high-value target and a threat to his plans.

(2) Setbacks meant to derail you. ‘A righteous man may fall seven times and rise again.’ (Proverbs 24:16 NKJV) Who is Solomon describing? ‘A righteous man.’ How often does he fall and get back up? ‘Seven times.’

Failing doesn’t make you a failure—but giving up does, not learning from it does, refusing to change your methods does, refusing to take advice does, refusing to try again does! If sin caused you to stumble, repent and renounce it, then get back on track. If you fell because you’re trying something new and unfamiliar, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, draw on God’s grace, resolve to do better, and keep moving forward.

To quote Dr John Maxwell: ‘Fail early, fail often—and always fail forward!’

SoulFood: 1 Sam 11–13, Luke 24:25–35, Ps 60, Pro 22:7–11
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Thursday, October 1, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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September 30, 2020

Declare: ‘This Is Working For Me’

‘Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.’
2 Corinthians 4:17 NIV

In a survey carried out in the USA, pollster George Barna reported that two out of three Americans call themselves ‘casual Christians’. It’s an interesting term that, in essence, means uncommitted… hit-and-miss… when I feel like it.

But here’s how Paul describes the Christian life: ‘We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.’ (2 Corinthians 4:7 NKJV) Note the word ‘treasure’. Paul treasured what God had put within him; he protected it, rejoiced over it, and maximised it. Does that mean the Christian life will be easy or trouble free? No, Paul continues: ‘Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing… the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.’ (2 Corinthians 4:16–18 NKJV)

Notice that ‘our… affliction… is working for us’. God uses life’s experiences—good and bad—to enrich, sharpen, deepen and stabilise us. Here’s another important truth: what we believe and speak during difficult times determines the quality of our spiritual life and future. ‘Since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak.’ (2 Corinthians 4:13 NKJV)

So instead of seeing your situation as working against you, stand up in faith today and declare: ‘This is working for me!’

SoulFood: 1 Sam 8–10, Luke 24:13–24, Ps 68:24–35, Pro 22:5–6
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Wednesday, September 30, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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September 29, 2020

You Are ‘Righteous’ In God’s Eyes

'Unskilled in the word of righteousness.'
Hebrews 5:13 NKJV

Paul writes, ‘Everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness… he is a babe.’ Righteousness isn’t a condition you achieve through human effort, it’s a position God places you in when you trust in Christ. From then on, God wants you to see yourself as ‘righteous’, which is how He sees you.

‘By the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed… to all and on all who believe.’ (Romans 3:20–22 NKJV) If you’re struggling to be righteous to get into Heaven, read this: ‘He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.’ (2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV) In the same sense that God made Jesus ‘to be sin’, the moment you believe in Jesus, He makes you ‘to be righteous’.

Will you still sin because you live in an unregenerate body? Yes. And until you get your new body, that will always be so. Ever hear of phantom pain—a sensation stemming from a body part that’s no longer there? As believers, we have phantom pains we need to get rid of. How? By understanding the difference between our position and our condition. Our position ‘in Christ’ is what gives us confidence towards God. Here’s an important Scripture: ‘The Kingdom of God is… righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.’ (Romans 14:17 NKJV) Note the order. Because we know we’re deemed righteous in God’s eyes, we have peace, and because we have peace—we have joy.

SoulFood: 1 Sam 4–7, Luke 24:1–12, Ps 68:12–23, Pro 22:3–4
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Tuesday, September 29, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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September 28, 2020

How To Walk By Faith

‘Walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had.’
Romans 4:12 NKJV

The Bible talks about those ‘who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had.’ How do you walk like that?

(1) Abraham believed ‘God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did.’ (Romans 4:17 NKJV) When God makes you a promise, He has the power to bring it to pass, even when all the evidence and surrounding circumstances run contrary to what He said.

(2) ‘Who, contrary to hope, in hope believed… [and] he became the father of many nations.’ (Romans 4:18 NKJV) When all reason for hope was gone, Abraham still hoped. Why? Because his hope was in God! If you’re feeling hopeless today, think about these words: ‘Return to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope. Even today I declare that I will restore double to you.’ (Zechariah 9:12 NKJV)

(3) ‘Who… believed… according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.”’ (Romans 4:18 NKJV) Note the phrase ‘according to what was spoken.’ When God makes a promise, it contains the self-fulfilling power to bring it to pass. ‘So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and… prosper in the thing for which I sent it.’ (Isaiah 55:11 NKJV)

(4) ‘He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith.’ (Romans 4:20 NKJV) The word ‘waver’ tells us Abraham didn’t dither, vacillate, argue within himself, or let other people’s opinions influence him. Instead, he remained resolute and steadfast. That’s how you walk by faith!

SoulFood: 1 Sam 1–3, Luke 23:50–56, Ps 68:1–11, Pro 22:1–2
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Monday, September 28, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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September 27, 2020

The Truth About Money

‘Do not overwork to be rich.’
Proverbs 23:4 NKJV

Having more money can give you more opportunities to do good in the world. Jesus said, ‘This Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.’ (Matthew 24:14 NIV) And fulfilling that Commission will require money—lots of it. But money by itself will never make you happy or secure.

Solomon, one of the world’s richest men, writes: ‘Do not overwork to be rich; because of your own understanding, cease! Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle towards Heaven.’ (Proverbs 23:4–5 NKJV)

When one of the world’s wealthiest men died, a reporter asked a family member, ‘How much did he leave?’ The relative replied, ‘All of it!’

No matter how much money you make, save, invest, or keep, eventually your money will leave you or you will leave your money. It’s been wisely observed that there are seven ages of man. First, a child sees the earth. Second, he wants it. Third, he hustles to get it. Fourth, he decides to be satisfied with about half of it. Fifth, he decides he’d be satisfied with less than half. Sixth, he’s now content to possess a one-by-two metre burial plot. Seventh, he gets it!

There are lots of things you can live without—and great wealth is one of them. What you can’t live without, however, is peace with God, a family filled with love, a lifelong friendship with your kids, and a life well-lived for the glory of God.

SoulFood: Lev 16, Lev 23:26–32, Heb 9:1–14
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Sunday, September 27, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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September 26, 2020

How To Fight—And Win

‘Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called.’
1 Timothy 6:12 NKJV

Here are six proven Bible strategies for defeating the enemy when he comes against you.

(1) Think boldly. ‘Fight the good fight of faith… to which you were also called.’ Plan and calculate like a general preparing for battle; study how to engage and defeat your enemy the devil.

(2) Pray boldly. We are told to approach God’s throne ‘boldly’ (see Hebrews 4:16). Don’t be bashful with God. He’s your ‘Abba’, which means ‘Daddy’. And you’re His redeemed child, so approach Him with confidence and ask for what you need.

(3) Speak fearlessly. The apostle Peter writes, ‘Speak as though God Himself were speaking through you.’ (1 Peter 4:11 NLT) In other words, use a commanding, authoritative tone when you resist the forces of evil. ‘Be strong in the Lord.’ (Ephesians 6:10 KJV)

(4) Give generously. The level at which you give is the level at which you receive. ‘Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.’ (Proverbs 11:24–25 NLT) No offering is too small, and none too great.

(5) Work intently. The Bible says whatever you put your hand to, do it with all your heart (see Ecclesiastes 9:10). Don’t approach your tasks with dread and a desire to escape. Stir yourself up in the Holy Spirit and get the job done (see 2 Timothy 1:6).

(6) Love unconditionally. As a follower of Christ, you must endeavour to love others as He loves them—unconditionally and sacrificially.

SoulFood: Song of Songs 5–8, Luke 23:39–49, Ps 91, Pro 21:28–31
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Saturday, September 26, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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September 25, 2020

Be Resilient (2)

‘In all these things we are more than conquerors.’
Romans 8:37 NKJV

If you conclude that your best days are over—they are. If you think they’re ahead—they are. After losing his job with a Fortune 500 company, Leonard was fearful and depressed. Then it occurred to him that if he gave up, what would he be teaching his son? If he didn’t overcome his challenges, his son would learn to let his challenges beat him. Leonard was determined to show him that although his dad got knocked down, he could get back up. So he dug out his CV and called his friends to tell them he needed a job. Several months and many interviews later, he had four job offers, and now works for a company that values his talent.

When harvesting potatoes, Idaho farmers would sort them according to size: small, medium, and large. Yet a particular farmer who didn’t follow this practice made more money than the rest. Puzzled, a neighbour asked, ‘What’s your secret?’

‘Simple,’ he replied. ‘I load my wagon and take the roughest road to town. During the trip the small potatoes fall to the bottom, the medium ones settle in the middle, and the big potatoes rise to the top.’ The same is true of people. On the bumpy road of life, big potatoes rise to the top.

Jon Gordon says: ‘Regardless of the adversity you face, your purpose must be greater than your challenges. Instead of focusing on your problems, focus on your purpose. Instead of seeing yourself as a victim, see yourself as a hero. Heroes and victims both get knocked down, but heroes get back up, and armed with faith, they create a positive future.’

SoulFood: Song of Songs 1–4, Luke 23:32–38, Ps 13, Pro 21:22–27
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Friday, September 25, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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September 24, 2020

Be Resilient (1)

‘We may be knocked down but we are never knocked out!’
2 Corinthians 4:9 PHPS

Like trees that bend in the wind, resilient people gain strength from adversity because they know how to do these five things:

(1) Stay connected. Solomon said, ‘Two are better than one… If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.’ (Ecclesiastes 4:9–10 NIV) When Barbara Smith’s son was killed, she started a bereavement group to unite others. ‘We’ve saved each other,’ she says.

(2) Monitor their self-talk. Watch how you ‘spin’ your situation. Catch yourself speaking negatively and reframe it in light of Scripture. God’s Word says, ‘What you say can mean life or death.’ (Proverbs 18:21 NCV) Instead of sitting around wallowing in fear and anger, and whining about how you got here, focus on what you can control—your words!

(3) Look for life’s lighter moments. Solomon said, ‘A happy heart is like good medicine but a broken spirit drains your strength.’ (Proverbs 17:22 NCV) When Donna Goldman was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, she continued to teach. ‘I let the kids play with my walking canes—as long as they don’t use them for weapons!’ she quips. And her car licence plate says, ‘Get Back Up’.

(4) Give back. God ‘comforts us… so that we can share that same comfort with others.’ (2 Corinthians 1:4 CEV) Renee Weinhouse, who survived stage IV lymphoma and runs a support group, says, ‘Nothing makes me happier than giving a patient hope.’

(5) Take care of themselves. A healthy diet and regular exercise help repair brain areas susceptible to stress. When Deborah Robinson’s husband developed Alzheimer’s disease, she realised, ‘If I was going to be good for him, I had to be good to myself.

SoulFood: 2 Cor 9:1–11:15, Luke 23:13–25, Ps 52, Pro 21:17
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Thursday, September 24, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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September 23, 2020

God Wants You To Succeed (4)

‘For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.’
Joshua 1:8 NKJV

In Scripture the word ‘success’ simply means knowing and doing God’s will for your life. It’s that simple! For Joshua, success meant entering the Promised Land, conquering it, living there, and enjoying all its blessings every day.

Listen to what God told him: ‘Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and… you will have good success.’ (Joshua 1:7–8 NKJV) True success involves these three things:

(1) Becoming what God wants you to be.

(2) Doing what God wants you to do.

(3) Having what God wants you to have.

And as you achieve the goals He has set for your life, you become successful. As the renowned author Dale Carnegie once observed, ‘Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.’ In their endless quest for achievement, some people become so greedy and grasping that they are never satisfied. And because they are always wanting more, they fail to enjoy what God has already given them.

Real success isn’t a destination; it’s a journey. It’s joy created by progress. It’s knowing that you’re ‘on schedule’ when it comes to God’s assignment for your life.

SoulFood: 2 Cor 9:1–11:15, Luke 23:13–25, Ps 52, Pro 21:17
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Wednesday, September 23, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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September 22, 2020

God Wants You To Succeed (3)

‘You made them rulers over the works of Your hands; You put everything under their feet.’
Psalm 8:6 NIV

How can you know God wants you to succeed in life? Three reasons:

(1) Because He created you. In Genesis He said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.’ (Genesis 1:26 NKJV) The words ‘image’ and ‘likeness’ are important. Think about it: we sometimes tell a child, ‘You’re the image of your mother/father. You’re just like her/him!’ Because you are God’s supreme creation, He poured into you His mind, His power, His wisdom, and everything else you need to succeed. Once you grasp the truth of that and begin to act on it, your outlook will be transformed. You will start thinking like a ‘no-limit person’.

(2) Because you have worth. Actress Ethel Waters, who used to sing at the Billy Graham crusades, said, ‘I am somebody, ’cause God don’t make no junk!’ As the crowning achievement of God’s creation, you are the object of His attention and affection. The psalmist wrote, ‘How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them.’ (Psalm 139:17–18 NLT)

(3) Because everything God made was for you. ‘You made them rulers over the works of Your hands; You put everything under their feet.’ Does that mean God will simply drop success into your lap? No, ‘God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.”’ (Genesis 1:28 NKJV) God has given you His authority and creative ability to succeed in whatever He calls you to do. So instead of thinking like a victim—start thinking like a victor!

SoulFood: 2 Cor 5–8, Luke 23:1–12, Ps 34, Pro 21:14–16
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Tuesday, September 22, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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September 21, 2020

God Wants You To Succeed (2)

‘I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.’
3 John 1:2 NKJV

Jesus said, ‘What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?’ (Mark 8:36 NKJV) And to drive home His point, He told the story of a rich man who died and went to hell, while a poor man on his doorstep went to Heaven. Bottom line: nothing is more important than your salvation!

But God also has a plan for your life, and He wants you to succeed. John writes, ‘I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.’ Note the phrase ‘in all things’. That includes your health, your mental and emotional well-being, your family and relationships, your career and finances.

‘All things’ means—all things! There’s not an area of your life that God is not interested in or that He won’t get involved in when you seek Him, obey Him, and honour Him. In the Old Testament, He said, ‘Keep the words of this covenant, and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do.’ (Deuteronomy 29:9 NKJV) And in the New Testament, Jesus said, ‘But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.’ (Matthew 6:33 NKJV)

Aren’t you totally invested in the success of your children? When they succeed in life, don’t you celebrate with them? Well, as His redeemed child, your heavenly Father is invested in your success and celebrates it with you. So start praying and believing Him today for success in all your endeavours.

SoulFood: 2 Cor 1–4, Luke 22:63–71, Ps 39, Pro 21:9–13
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Monday, September 21, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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September 20, 2020

God Wants You To Succeed (1)

‘All these things shall be added to you.’
Matthew 6:33 NKJV

Some people think that God’s sole purpose is to save their soul, help them become as morally upright and as spiritually mature as possible, and one day take them to Heaven to live with Him. And in a sense that’s true.

But here’s what isn’t true—that God is not interested in your job, your health, your relationships, your finances, or your dreams and goals because somehow those things are carnal, worldly, and temporal. When you think like that, you ‘spiritualise’ every promise you read in Scripture, and when you pray, you believe the only thing God wants to do is help you become more spiritual.

Let’s look into the Scriptures and see what God really says about this. The truth is, in fact, the exact opposite (see Joshua 1:8; Isaiah 48:17; 3 John 2). By maintaining that God plays no part in your achieving career success or financial security, you’re contradicting His Word. And when you do that, you’re on dangerous ground, because you’re making yourself the sole source of your success, and the Bible calls that—pride!

What Jesus taught is this: ‘Do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For after all these things the Gentiles [who do not serve God] seek… For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.’ (Matthew 6:31–33 NKJV) So let’s be clear: God wants you to succeed in life for the right reasons, and He wants you to have all the things you need to do it.

SoulFood: Matt 17:1–9, John 19:25–27, Rev 1:1–11
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Sunday, September 20, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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September 19, 2020

Change Your Attitude!

‘Having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude.’
Ephesians 4:23 AMPC

We can learn a lot about the importance of a good attitude by looking at the children of Israel. It’s estimated that about 1.5 million Israelites came out of Egypt. God delivered them from slavery and led them to the Promised Land. The trip should have taken about eleven days, but instead it took forty years. Why? Because they were constantly complaining about everything!

They complained about the food God sent them each day. And any time something difficult crossed their path they were ready to give up and go back to Egypt—back to slavery. What’s astounding is that out of the 1.5 million people who left Egypt, only two from the original group made it into the Promised Land. And today there are many Christians who have also escaped from ‘Egypt’ (their former life of slavery to sin), believers who are always looking forward to the Promised Land, yet they end up wandering in the wilderness their entire lives, dealing with the same old problems and issues.

Are you one of them? Do you feel like you’ve been circling the same mountain for too long? (See Deuteronomy 2:3.) If so, here’s your answer: ‘Strip yourselves of your former nature [put off and discard your old unrenewed self] which characterised your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion; and be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude], and put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God’s image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness.’ (Ephesians 4:22–24 AMPC)

In other words—change your attitude!

SoulFood: Eze 46–48, Luke 22:54–62, Ps 3, Pro 21:4–8
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Saturday, September 19, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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September 18, 2020

Keep Building Up Your Faith

‘But without faith it is impossible to please Him.’
Hebrews 11:6 NKJV

We usually think of faith in terms of getting answers to our prayers and receiving from God the things that He alone can provide. And that’s ok. But there’s a more important reason for building up your faith.

Faith is about pleasing God! ‘Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.’ What pleases God? Your faith! What displeases God? Your lack of faith!

In the past, Christians sometimes described praying passionately as ‘storming the gates of Heaven’. It was a sincere sentiment, but it wasn’t completely accurate. The battle isn’t between you and Heaven! You have a red-carpet welcome to approach God at any time. ‘Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.’ (Hebrews 4:16 NKJV) If there’s a battle, it’s between you and the forces of hell (see Ephesians 6:12–18).

Why are our prayers sometimes not effective? The Bible says, ‘The Word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.’ (Hebrews 4:2 NKJV) Yes, God is moved by your needs, but He responds to your faith. That is why nothing is more important than building up your faith. And how do you do that? ‘Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.’ (Romans 10:17 NKJV) It works like this: get into God’s Word, get God’s Word into you, pray, and things will begin to change for the better in your life.

SoulFood: Num 29:1–6, Rev 11:15–19, 1 Cor 15:50–58, Matt 24
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Friday, September 18, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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September 17, 2020

You Can’t Always Trust Your Feelings

‘The human heart is the most deceitful of all things.’
Jeremiah 17:9 NLT

We all know well-intentioned people who, when they agree to do something you ask, are unlikely to follow through. As nice as they are, they’re unreliable. Your feelings are like that; much of the time you can’t count on them because they’re not attuned to what’s best for you. They’re more interested in having their own way.

For example, our feelings can get us excited about going shopping when we don’t have the money to spend. They entice us to eat cheesecake when we’re trying to avoid extra calories. They lead us to stay up late at night working or watching a movie, when we know we need to get up early the next day. In short, our feelings are fickle. They change like the wind. Yet it’s amazing how much power we give them in our lives.

As believers, we have something wiser and more dependable to rely on than our feelings, and that’s the Word of God. When we feel strongly about something, it’s not always easy to determine whether or not we’re in agreement with God about it. Jeremiah tells us, ‘The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows… it? But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives.’ (Jeremiah 17:9–10 NLT) And He does it through His Word, which ‘is sharper than any two-edged sword… exposing and sifting and analysing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.’ (Hebrews 4:12 AMPC)

Here’s the score: if you’re truly interested in rising above your feelings, you’ll let the Word of God be the determining factor in all your decisions.

SoulFood: Eze 43–45, Luke 22:39–53, Ps 19, Pro 21:3
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Thursday, September 17, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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September 16, 2020

Life to the Full

‘We all stumble in many things.’
James 3:2 NKJV

Striving to do better is a good thing, but try to have realistic expectations. Everything in life isn’t black or white; there are grey areas and some ‘in-betweens’. Everything can’t be perfect all the time, and everything isn’t horrible all the time.

Deciding to skip a meeting or social event because you’re running five minutes late or have a blemish on your face, or cancelling an entire trip because a flight is delayed, or feeling like a terrible human being over one innocent mistake, is sometimes referred to as ‘polarising’. This leads to frustration and negativity.

To maintain your joy in life, you must accept that you won’t be perfect all the time, and neither will the people or things around you. When you expect perfection from life, you tend to expect the same from other people. And that kind of unrealistic thinking not only meets with a great deal of disappointment when your expectations aren’t met, it puts unbearable pressure on the people you care about and can eventually destroy those relationships. Why not give people a break and stop demanding something from them that they have no ability to give you?

The apostle James said we all stumble, fall, and offend in many things. So if we all make mistakes—and we do—learn to accept that it’s just part of the human experience, and relax! Question: in what specific ways do you need to be more accepting of the ‘imperfect areas’ in your own life, or in the way someone else’s imperfect areas affect you? And before you answer, think about this: ‘Love is patient, love is kind.’ (1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV)

SoulFood: Eze 40:10–42:20, Luke 22:24–38, Ps 24, Pro 21:1–2
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Wednesday, September 16, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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September 15, 2020

Find Your Place In The Body Of Christ (2)

‘God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be.’
1 Corinthians 12:18 NIV

Do you feel like joining a different church where people are ‘more like you’? A team of missionaries to Kenya were being driven across the plains to their destination by a Masai tribal escort. En route their attention became riveted on the herds of wildebeests and zebras migrating together. Their escort explained why two massive herds of such different species would travel together. He said that, while wildebeests have poor eyesight, they have a keen sense of smell, whereas zebras have good eyesight and a poor sense of smell. So together they were less vulnerable to attack because their differences compensated for their weaknesses.

Paul writes, ‘If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?’ (1 Corinthians 12:17 NIV) That reminds you of those zebras and wildebeests, doesn’t it?

When we join a club, we usually choose to be with people who are more or less like us. But membership in Christ’s Body throws us together with people who are as different from us as a hand is from a nose. And while those differences can rub you the wrong way at times, they are differences God designed to benefit you. Zebras and wildebeests don’t have to like each other, but their survival and success depend on getting along together. Your spiritual growth doesn’t depend on agreeing with everybody, but it does depend on loving them enough to live together agreeably!

SoulFood: Eze 37:1–40:9, Luke 22:14–23, Ps 78:65–72, Pro 20:26–30
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Tuesday, September 15, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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September 14, 2020

Find Your Place In The Body Of Christ (1)

‘He did this to make all parts of the body work together smoothly, with each part caring about the others.’
1 Corinthians 12:25 CEV

When it comes to finding a church home, your options are unlimited. Traditional, contemporary, you name it—you can probably find it! But your individual place in the Body of Christ is another matter entirely; that’s not determined by you, but by God.

The Bible says, ‘By one Spirit we are all baptised into one body.’ (1 Corinthians 12:13 NKJV) When you accept Jesus as your Saviour you become a member of His redeemed family and a ‘miracle of placement’ takes place in you. It isn’t a choice you get to make; it’s God’s choice—and it determines your spiritual identity.

Paul says: ‘By one Spirit we were all baptised into one body. Whether we are Jewish or Greek, slave or free, God gave all of us one Spirit.’ (1 Corinthians 12:13 GWT) That means anybody anywhere in the world who names Jesus as their Saviour and Lord is more connected to you than your hand is to your wrist. And you have a role to play in relation to each and every one of them. God not only placed you in His Body, He determined your unique role when He arranged ‘the parts… just as He wanted them to be.’ (1 Corinthians 12:18 NIV) He also gave you certain ‘gifts’, and He expects you to use them to fulfil His purposes (see Romans 12:6–8). When you ask God to show you your gifts, He will. And when He does, you must take every opportunity to use them for His glory.

SoulFood: Eze 34–36, Luke 22:1–13, Ps 78:56–64, Pro 20:25
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Monday, September 14, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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September 13, 2020

Murphy’s Law or God’s Law?

‘Don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile.’
Philippians 4:8 CEV

It’s said that in 1949 Captain Edward Murphy, an engineer working on a project for the United States Air Force, became angry because of a wrongly wired transducer. Scolding the technician responsible, Murphy said, ‘If there’s any way to do it wrong, he’ll find it!’ Over time such thinking became known as Murphy’s Law.

Basically it states, ‘Nothing is as easy as it looks. Everything takes longer than you expect, and if anything can go wrong, it will—at the worst possible moment.’ How negative! Who would enjoy life if they lived it according to that philosophy? Because they always expected the worst—they’d get it!

God’s law disagrees completely with Murphy’s Law. The world may expect Murphy’s Law to operate in their lives but, as a redeemed child of God, you need to resist that kind of thinking and embrace God’s law. In essence, here’s what it says: ‘If anything can go right, it will. Nothing is as difficult as it looks. Everything is more rewarding than it appears, and if anything good can happen to anybody, it’ll also happen to me.’

Think how much more you could you enjoy life if your thoughts agreed with God’s law, and not Murphy’s. The fact is, God has a great life for you—one He wants you to enjoy to the fullest. So instead of blowing everything out of proportion and contradicting God’s Word, stand on this promise: ‘We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.’ (Romans 8:28 NKJV) That’s what it means to live by God’s law—not Murphy’s!

SoulFood: Luke 10:38–42, John 11:1–44, John 12:1–8
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Sunday, September 13, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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September 12, 2020

Don’t ‘Suffer Fools Gladly’

‘Fools despise wisdom and instruction.’
Proverbs 1:7 NKJV

Three Hebrew words are used to define the word ‘fool’ in Proverbs.

(1) ‘Kesil.’ This refers to a hard-headed person who thinks he or she needs no advice.

(2) ‘Ewil.’ This word has a root meaning of ‘thickening of fluids’. It refers to a thick-headed person who mocks even the idea of sin and refuses to listen to counsel.

(3) ‘Nabal.’ This refers to an empty-headed person who demonstrates his or her lack of wisdom through a foolish lifestyle.

So the fool is an empty-headed, thick-headed or hard-headed person who gets a failing grade when it comes to the school of wisdom. They may be intellectually brilliant, financially successful, and socially admired, but they’re morally and spiritually bankrupt.

Solomon warns, ‘Fools die for lack of wisdom.’ (Proverbs 10:21 NKJV) Just as a body will die from lack of oxygen, a man or woman will ultimately and eternally die from a lack of wisdom. Then Solomon bottom-lines it: ‘Go from the presence of a foolish man, when you do not perceive in him the lips of knowledge.’ (Proverbs 14:7 NKJV) The message is clear: only a fool hangs around with fools! So when you’re forming a friendship, here are some questions to which you need answers: Does the other person bring out the best or the worst in you? Do they have a positive or a negative attitude? What other kinds of friends do they keep? Are they involved in things that violate your values? Do they exercise restraint and control their temper? Do they draw you closer to God or drive you further from Him?

SoulFood: Eze 31–33, Luke 21:25–38, Ps 78:40–55, Pro 20:22–24
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Saturday, September 12, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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September 11, 2020

An Honest Question

‘How long will You hide Your face from me?’
Psalm 13:1 NIV

When Kelly James and two climbing buddies died on Oregon’s Mount Hood in the USA, his brother Frank, a professor of theology, admitted: ‘It’s one thing to talk about death in the abstract. It’s another to cope with the death of someone you love… Death is ugly. We can’t—and shouldn’t—try to make it palatable with pious platitudes… One question haunts me, “Where was God when Kelly was freezing to death?” For me not to ask would be a failure to take God seriously… I’m not suggesting mere mortals stand in judgment of God… God doesn’t report to me. But an honest question from a broken heart is a good and righteous thing.’

David wasn’t afraid to ask God, ‘How long will You hide Your face?’ Then a few verses later the same distressed David declares, ‘But I trust in Your unfailing love.’ (Psalm 13:5 NIV)

Frank James continues: ‘Amid all the spiritual consternation God manifested Himself in my grief. Somehow He’s found in the disappointment, confusion, and raw emotions. This doesn’t exactly make sense to me, and I don’t like it. But my concept of faith has become Abrahamic… I must trust God even when I don’t understand… as Christians have confessed for centuries, “We look for the resurrection of the dead” (see 1 Corinthians 15:42)… Amid enough tears to fill an ocean… we’ve had to bury loved ones. But we bury them with this promise, “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22 NIV) It doesn’t indemnify us against grief… It does, however, take faith to depths where hope begins to poke through the heartache, like a sunbeam piercing a cloudy sky.’

SoulFood: Eze 27:25–30:26, Luke 21:12–24, Ps 78:32–39, Pro 20:20–21
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Friday, September 11, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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September 10, 2020

Radical Commitment (2)

‘Give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow Me.’
Luke 9:23 NLT

Here are three Bible examples of radical commitment:

(1) Commitment on the job. In the past, employers appreciated their workers, and workers valued their employers and their jobs. Today’s workplace is often adversarial, with employees criticising their bosses and doing the minimum required to get by, while many bosses have become increasingly demanding, taking their workers for granted. This isn’t God’s way. His way calls for mutual commitment between management and labour. Paul says: ‘Obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord, rather than for people.’ (Ephesians 6:5–8 NLT)

(2) Commitment at church. Many Christians have adopted a cafeteria-style approach towards church. We pick what we like and leave what we don’t. But membership in Christ’s church involves a covenant relationship with a body of believers who watch over, cherish, and pray for one other, and fulfil the Great Commission together (see 1 Corinthians 12:12–31).

(3) Commitment to Christ. Christ is not looking for wishy-washy, ‘lukewarm’ followers (see Revelation 3:16). He told the crowd, ‘If any of you wants to be My follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow Me.’ That means you no longer follow your own wishes and will, you follow Christ and His will. That’s radical commitment, and you are called to it.

SoulFood: Eze 24:1–27:24, Luke 21:1–11, Ps 78:17–31, Pro 20:15–19
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Thursday, September 10, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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September 9, 2020

Radical Commitment (1)

‘I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.’
Galatians 2:20 NIV

Many people today want to get as much as they can for themselves while giving as little in return as possible. They want to be there for their friends in the good times, but absent in the not-so-good ones. Sadly, national statistics confirm this lack of commitment. Volunteering for worthy causes has been declining steadily. Why? Partly because people don’t want to put themselves on the line, or be pinned down by responsibility. And then there are the people don’t want to do something for free when they could be paid for it. In addition, there are the folks who mostly view opportunities to serve others as obligations, and therefore avoid them.

We’re a sound-bite generation with a short attention span, accustomed to fifteen-second advertisements and fast food. We want our sermons simple, entertaining, and ‘feel-good’. Yes, radical commitment is rare—but it’s what God requires of you. Commitment means your promise is binding whether it’s convenient or not. Let’s look at a few examples today and tomorrow.

Commitment to marriage. Marriage, as God sees it, isn’t a fifty-fifty arrangement. It’s a mutual agreement to give 100 per cent of ourselves. It’s a lifetime covenant between you and your spouse: ‘for better or worse; for richer or poorer; in sickness and in health; until parted by death.’ And that covenant is a lot easier to live up to when both partners have learned, like Paul, to say, ‘I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.’ That means dying to self-interest is the key to great relationships.

SoulFood: Eze 22–23, Luke 20:41–47, Ps 78:9–16, Pro 20:11–14
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Wednesday, September 9, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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September 8, 2020

God Has Promised To Bless You!

‘The Lord your God will bless you as He has promised.’
Deuteronomy 15:6 NLT

Sometimes life beats you down so much that you give up hoping and believing that anything good will ever happen for you. If that’s where you are today, read these words: ‘“I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good… to give you a future and a hope.”’ (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT)

God has a good plan for each of us, but not all of us experience it. Why? Two reasons:

(1) We don’t realise we have rights and privileges. We believe God can save us and take us to Heaven when we die, but don’t think He can do anything about our past, present, or future.

(2) We live far below the level He intended because we see ourselves in the wrong light. We believe He can bless anybody—except us—because we’re not worthy. God has clothed you in the righteousness of Christ, so you’re worthy in His sight and He has plans to ‘bless you as He has promised’.

In Bible days when a new king came to the throne, he made sure the old king and his family were put to death; that way nobody could rise up against him. So when David replaced King Saul, Mephibosheth, Saul’s grandson, fled to the wilderness in fear. But David was a different kind of king. Instead of seeking to wipe out his predecessor’s family, he asked, ‘Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?’ (2 Samuel 9:1 NKJV)

‘Why would God bless me?’ you ask. The answer is simple but clear: for Christ’s sake!

SoulFood: Eze 20–21, Luke 20:27–40, Ps 78:1–8, Pro 20:7–10
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Tuesday, September 8, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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September 7, 2020

Guidelines For Parenting (3)

‘Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent].’
Proverbs 22:6 AMPC

The Bible says, ‘Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent], and when he is old he will not depart from it.’ The truth of the matter is that while certain universal principles apply to all children, no two are alike, and it’s a mistake to treat them as if they were. In fact, here are two of the most common blunders you can make as a parent:

(1) Trying to mould your child into what you used to be. Just because you were a star athlete in school doesn’t mean your children will want to follow in your footsteps. And just because you got straight A’s in school doesn’t necessarily mean your children are capable of a set of top results. While you should never tolerate or reward laziness, you need to accept that not all children are equally gifted athletically or intellectually.

(2) Trying to make them into what you want them to be. Don’t try to relive your life through your kids. You had your chance, and just because you didn’t make the grade in your chosen profession doesn’t mean you should force your son or daughter in that direction.

The Bible says, ‘Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent],’ not necessarily the way you would go, or want him or her to go. There are three hallmarks of healthy self-esteem you should continually strive to teach your children:

(1) Know who you are

(2) Like who you are

(3) Be who you are.

SoulFood: Eze 16:53–19:14, Luke 20:20–26, Ps 27, Pro 20:5–6
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Monday, September 7, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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September 6, 2020

Guidelines For Parenting (2)

‘If you correct your children, they will bring you peace and happiness.’
Proverbs 29:17 CEV

When it comes to discipline, your primary concern should never be your own comfort, but the ‘soul’ [mind, will and emotions] of your child! Discipline, or Some years ago, sociologists and child psychologists made an interesting discovery. Contemporary thought assumed that putting fences around playgrounds made children feel restricted in their recreation. And based on that theory it was decided to remove the fences so children wouldn’t feel confined. To the astonishment of the experts, the opposite effect occurred. Researchers found that children became more inhibited in their activities. They tended to huddle towards the middle of the playground and exhibited signs of insecurity. Interestingly, when the fences were replaced, the children once more played with great enthusiasm and freedom.

What’s the lesson here? We all need boundaries—something to define the limits of safety and security. Whereas the ‘experts’ theorised that boundaries restrict creativity, children on the playground proved that we need a clear understanding of what’s safe and acceptable in order for ingenuity and inventiveness to flourish. That means your children will flourish and you’ll function better as a parent when guidelines are clearly communicated, and the consequences for not following them are completely understood.

There’s a humorous story of a father who gave his sixteen-year-old son his first car. Before handing him the keys, he said, ‘This is a magic car, Son.’

‘Really?’ the boy replied.

‘Yeah,’ answered his dad. ‘One speeding ticket—and it will disappear!’

And if you buy a car for your child, it should be a ‘magic’ car too.

Bottom line: God sets the rules for success in life, and He rewards those who honour them. In the words of Scripture: ‘Study this Book of Instruction continually… obey everything written in it… then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.’ (Joshua 1:8 NLT)

SoulFood: Matt 16:13–23, Matt 26:69–75, John 21:15–19
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Sunday, September 6, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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September 5, 2020

Guidelines For Parenting (1)

‘Do not withhold correction from a child.’
Proverbs 23:13 NKJV

When it comes to discipline, your primary concern should never be your own comfort, but the ‘soul’ [mind, will and emotions] of your child! Discipline, or the lack thereof, can set off a good or bad chain reaction. If your children don’t respect authority in the home, they won’t respect it in the school, the government, the church, or ultimately even Heaven itself. It’s just a small step from rebelling against the parents God gave them, to rebelling against the God who gave them their parents.

Discipline should begin sooner rather than later. When a child is old enough to be told to do what’s right and they choose to do what’s wrong—that child is ready to be disciplined. The Bible doesn’t specify an age limit in its definition of the word ‘child’. Just because your child is old enough to drive, shave, and date, doesn’t mean they’re beyond correction. They may be too old for a time-out or for confiscating toys, but there are other, more effective ways to discipline an adolescent or teenager.

If you read the book of Proverbs carefully, you’ll find that Solomon was talking to a son who was old enough to join a street gang, be tempted by sexual sin, patronise prostitutes, go into debt, and get drunk. He wasn’t necessarily talking about primary school children. Bottom line: as long as your children are under your roof, they are under your jurisdiction, and you will give an account to God for how you used—or didn’t use—your authority.

SoulFood: Eze 14:1 –16:52, Luke 20:9–19, Ps 112, Pro 20:1–4
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Saturday, September 5, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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September 4, 2020

Reason For Hope

‘The Valley of Achor will become a doorway to hope.’
Hosea 2:15 ISV

Biblical references to valleys generally symbolise a state of hopelessness. The Valley of Achor [‘Trouble’] got its name when Achan’s family was stoned to death and Israel’s armies were defeated (see Joshua 7:25–26). Feeling hopeless is part of the human condition, and many of history’s most notable heroes experienced it. William Penn said, ‘There is scarcely anything around us but ruin and despair.’ Lord Shaftesbury announced, ‘Nothing can save the British Empire from shipwreck.’ Benjamin Disraeli declared, ‘In industry, commerce, and agriculture there is no hope.’ And Lord Grey lamented, ‘The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see the light again in our lifetime.’

There are naysayers and prophets of doom everywhere and, if you buy what they’re selling, you’ll end up convinced there’s no hope for your situation. Nothing could be further from the truth! Paul said, ‘Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.’ (Hebrews 10:23 NKJV)

God can transform your ‘Valley of Achor’ into ‘a door of hope’. It’s the same promise He made to His people even after they’d turned their backs on Him. He said in Isaiah 65:10 GWT, ‘The Achor Valley will be a resting place… for My people who search for Me.’

As Henry Blackaby observes: ‘Optimists don’t ignore the difficulties, but the knowledge of God’s presence prevents them from becoming discouraged… It’s impossible to stand in His presence and be a pessimist. If we focus on our problems they’ll seem gigantic. But as we focus on God we see our situation in perspective and are assured that all things are possible.’

SoulFood: Eze 10–13, Luke 20:1–8, Ps 20, Pro 19:24–29
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Friday, September 4, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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September 3, 2020

Your Dream House (4)

‘There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’
Revelation 21:4 NKJV

Dave Dravecky pitched for the San Francisco Giants baseball team in the 1980s. In 1988 doctors discovered a tumour in his pitching arm, and in 1991 his arm had to be amputated. In his book When You Can’t Come Back, he writes about his sense of loss.

‘I miss doing things with my own two hands, and—of course—I really miss baseball. There’s a scene in the movie Field of Dreams where Shoeless Joe Jackson—one of the eight Chicago White Sox players banned from baseball for conspiring to lose the 1919 World Series—said, “Getting thrown out of baseball was like having part of me amputated. I’d wake up in the night with the smell of the baseball park in my nose and the cool of the grass on my feet. Man, I did love this game. I’d have played for food money… The sounds—the smells. I’d have played for nuthin’.”’ Dravecky continues, ‘That scene had a powerful effect on me. I missed those feelings too. The feeling of stitched seams as you cradle a new ball in your hand… the sound of a bat cracking out a base hit. I’d have played for food money. I’d have played for nuthin’.’

We live in a fallen world where we lose limbs and lose loved ones. But Heaven will make up for all we’ve lost. We’ll be reunited with our redeemed loved ones, and we’ll have bodies free from sickness, pain, and every form of limitation. ‘There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’ One day you’ll live in your dream house!

SoulFood: Eze 5–9, Luke 19:41–48, Ps 142, Pro 19:21–23
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Thursday, September 3, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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September 2, 2020

Your Dream House (3)

‘They are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night.’
Revelation 7:15 NKJV

When you think about your dream house, two more questions arise. How close is it to where I work? Have you ever wondered what we’ll actually do in Heaven? Since Heaven will be Paradise regained, read this: ‘God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion… over every living thing that moves on the earth.”’ (Genesis 1:28 NKJV)

The Bible doesn’t provide specific job descriptions for what we’ll do in Heaven, but the first Paradise gives us two important clues.

(1) ‘Be fruitful and multiply.’ You won’t struggle to make ends meet. You won’t live with crushed hopes and disappointments. Every dream and creative idea you have will be fulfilled.

(2) ‘Have dominion over… every living thing that moves.’ The word ‘dominion’ means ‘to rule over’. So we’ll be promoted to positions of leadership and management. But here’s the difference! In Paradise Lost, God said to Adam, ‘Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life.’ (Genesis 3:17 NKJV) But in Paradise Found, God said, ‘There shall be no more curse.’ (Revelation 22:3 NKJV)

Gazing up at the stars one night, a little boy said to his dad, ‘If the wrong side of Heaven is so wonderful, what must the right side be like?’ So here’s the question: Are you going to Heaven when you die? Are you sure? You can be. (See page 19). John said, ‘These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know… you have eternal life.’ (1 John 5:13 NKJV)

SoulFood: Eze 1–4, Luke 19:28–40, Ps 111, Pro 19:18–20
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Wednesday, September 2, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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September 1, 2020

Your Dream House (2)

‘I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number.’
Revelation 7:9 NKJV

When it comes to moving into your dream house, here’s another important question: What kind of people live in the neighbourhood? Describing the joys of Heaven, John the Revelator wrote: ‘After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb [Jesus]!”’ (Revelation 7:9–10 NKJV)

Author Max Lucado tells the story of his friend, Joy, who was a Sunday school teacher and had a timid nine-year-old girl named Barbara in her class. She was an underprivileged child from an impoverished area of town. Lucado writes: ‘Barbara’s difficult home life had left her afraid and insecure. For the weeks that my friend was teaching the class, Barbara never spoke. Never. While the other children talked, she sat. While the others sang, she was silent. While the others giggled, she was quiet. Always present. Always listening. Always speechless. Until the day Joy gave a class on Heaven. Joy talked about seeing God. She talked about tearless eyes and deathless lives. Barbara was fascinated. She couldn’t release Joy from her stare. She listened with hunger. Then she raised her hand. “Mrs Joy?” Joy was stunned. Barbara had never before asked a question. “Yes, Barbara.” Nine-year-old-Barbara asked, “Is Heaven for girls like me?”’ The answer is yes! Heaven was made for Barbara—and for you.

SoulFood: Amos 5:18–9:15, Luke 19:11–27, Ps 103:13–22, Pro 19:17
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Tuesday, September 1, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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August 31, 2020

Your Dream House (1)

‘We have a building from God, an eternal house in Heaven.’
2 Corinthians 5:1 NIV

Few things in life compare to the excitement of moving into your dream house. But if you’re a redeemed child of God, here’s the score: no matter how beautiful your dream house on earth may be, it’s nothing compared to the one you will have in eternity. That’s why Jesus said, ‘In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.’ (John 14:2 NKJV) When it comes to the house we want to live in, certain questions arise.

First, what’s the price? Answer: more than you could ever afford! In order to redeem you and take you to Heaven, God gave ‘His only begotten Son.’ (John 3:16 KJV) Nobody in Heaven will ever say, ‘Look what Jesus and I accomplished.’ That would make you a co-redeemer with Christ. It would be an insult to the cross. You’d be guilty of a level of pride that would make it impossible for you to live there.

Hymnist Horatius Bonar wrote, ‘Upon a life I have not lived, upon a death I did not die; another’s life; another’s death, I stake my whole eternity.’ The Bible speaks of ‘labouring’ and ‘working’ for God, but don’t get it mixed up. You don’t work to be saved; you work because you are saved. You don’t labour for your redemption; you labour for your reward.

That’s so ‘God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of His grace and kindness towards us.’ (Ephesians 2:7 NLT)

SoulFood: Amos 1:1–5:17, Luke 19:1–10, Ps 103:1–12, Pro 19:12–16
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Monday, August 31, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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August 30, 2020

How To Negotiate Well (2)

‘Both riches and honour come from You.’
1 Chronicles 29:12 NKJV

To negotiate well, you should do these three things:

(1) Talk to God before you talk to others. Involve Him in all your decisions. The Bible says, ‘Both riches and honour come from You, and You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.’ (1 Chronicles 29:12 NKJV) ‘Also, every man to whom God has given riches and possessions, and the power to enjoy them and to accept his appointed lot and to rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God.’ (Ecclesiastes 5:19 AMPC) If God can negotiate the price of our salvation at the cross, don’t you think He’s qualified to help you negotiate successfully in business?

(2) Think long-term. When someone feels ‘burned’ in business dealings with you, you may make a sale but you’ll lose a repeat customer. Billionaire Sam Walton said he rarely invested in a company because of where it would be in eighteen months. Instead he invested in companies that would still be successful ten years ahead. You may be irreplaceable today—but you won’t always be. And if you pressure your boss for a raise by threatening to leave, your short-term gain may result in long-term loss.

(3) Don’t be pressured. Run from the salesperson who insists, ‘This is the last day of this sale!’ Generally speaking, when you return a month later they’ll still do a deal! Many times they need your purchase more than you need their product. Your opinion deserves to be heard and respected. Just make sure it’s at the right time, in the right atmosphere, and with the right attitude.

SoulFood: Dan 1:1–20, Dan 6:1–28
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Sunday, August 30, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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August 29, 2020

How To Negotiate Well (1)

‘To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under Heaven.’
Ecclesiastes 3:1 NKJV

In order to negotiate well, it helps to understand what’s happening on both sides of the table. People seldom buy a product for the reason you want to sell it. If you show more interest in making a profit than meeting their need, you’ll fail. So here are a few things to keep in mind when negotiating with someone:

(1) The right attitude. Nobody likes being taken for granted, coerced, and pressured.

(2) The cost involved for others. There’s a world of difference between negotiating with someone who has so much money that whatever the cost they can afford it, and someone who is sacrificing because they really need your product. If you want a long-term customer rather than a short-term sale, practise the Golden Rule: ‘Whatever you want others to do for you, do for them.’ (See Matthew 7:12).

(3) The proper timing. Solomon tells us there’s ‘a time to gain, and a time to lose.’ (Ecclesiastes 3:6 NKJV) Whether you’re asking for a raise or trying to sell a product to a customer, timing is all-important. When someone is hungry, lonely, angry, tired, stressed or in a crisis, you risk losing out, whereas if you’d waited for the right time, chances are you’d have won. Does God really care about stuff like that? Yes. ‘The Lord watches to see if we are fair or if we cheat others.’ (Proverbs 16:11 CEV)

As a follower of Christ, you want both sides to walk away feeling they were treated fairly.

SoulFood: Lam 3:40–5:22, Luke 18:31–43, Ps 84, Pro 19:11
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Saturday, August 29, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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August 28, 2020


‘When Jesus heard him, He stopped.’
Luke 18:40 NLT

Is there room in your schedule for interruptions? Author Jon Walker writes: ‘Jesus stopped when people needed help. He saw interruptions as opportunities to show God’s love. Woe to those who are so busy saving the world that they ignore the perceived interruptions of those in need. Like the Good Samaritan, we should be ready to stop for someone who’s hurting. “Whoever… sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” (1 John 3:17 NKJV)’

When Jesus acted out of love, people recognised ‘God has visited His people!’ (Luke 7:16 ESV)

Chuck Swindoll writes: ‘The One who said, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) must hurt when He witnesses our frantic, compulsive, agitated motions. In place of a quiet, responsive spirit, we offer Him an inner washing machine—churning with anxiety… activity… resentment and impatience. But you can change. Here’s how.

Admit it. Acknowledge that you’re too busy and something must be done—NOW. I did that recently, and through tears my family and I cleared some bridges the thorns had overgrown.

Stop it. Starting today, refuse every activity that isn’t absolutely necessary. Sound ruthless? So is the clock. So is your health…

Maintain it. It is easy to start fast and fade quickly. Paul told the Galatians, “You were running… well. Who… held you back from following the truth? It certainly isn’t God… He is the one who called you to freedom.” (Galatians 5:7–8 NLT)

Share it. Once you start gleaning the benefits from reordering your priorities… tell other “activity-addicts.” They’d love to stop—if they only knew how.’

SoulFood: Lam 1:1–3:39, Luke 18:18–30, Ps 119:169–176, Pro 19:9–10
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Friday, August 28, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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August 27, 2020

Praying According To God’s Will

‘You do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives.’
James 4:3 NIV

When you pray for the salvation of a loved one, you never have to wonder if it’s God’s will. His will is clearly spelled out in Scripture: ‘God… wants all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.’ (1 Timothy 2:3–4 NIV) However, when it comes to praying for things that aren’t clearly promised in Scripture, you should say, ‘If it is Your will.’ Why?

Because the Bible says, ‘When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives.’ Sometimes we have a hard time accepting this truth because we’re convinced our petitions are justified. But unless your heart is pure towards God and your will is lined up with His, your motives for asking can be tainted by self-interest. John says: ‘This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears—whatever we ask—we know… we have what we asked of Him.’ (1 John 5:14–15 NIV)

When you pray for something you’re not sure is in keeping with the mind of God, you should pray, ‘If it is Your will.’ This doesn’t mean you’re weak in faith. Rather you’re submitted to God when you say, ‘Lord, I want this—if fits in with Your plan, is Your best for me, and it’s in Your timing.’

Paul says, ‘We can see and understand only a little about God now.’ (1 Corinthians 13:12 TLB) We see only a partial picture, but God has complete knowledge of the situation from beginning to end. So pray in faith, and trust God for the right results.

SoulFood: Gal 4–6, Luke 18:1–17, Ps 119:161–168, Pro 19:3–8
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Thursday, August 27, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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August 26, 2020

Love Them For Who They Are

‘Love never fails.’
1 Corinthians 13:8 NKJV

The words of an old song go, ‘I love you for a hundred thousand reasons, but most of all I love you ’cause you’re you.’

There’s great truth in that song, particularly when it comes to children. Christian psychologist Dr James Dobson writes: ‘When the birth of a first child is imminent, the parents pray that he will be normal—that is, average. But from that moment on, average will not be good enough for them. Their child must excel. He must succeed. He must triumph. He must be the first of his age to walk or talk or ride a tricycle. He must earn a stunning report card and amaze his teachers with his wit and wisdom. He must star in little league, and later be quarterback or senior class president. His sister must be the cheerleader or soloist or the homecoming queen. Throughout the formative years, some parents give their children the same message day after day: “We’re counting on you to do something fantastic. Don’t disappoint us.” Unfortunately, exceptional children are just that—exceptions. Seldom does a five-year-old memorise the King James Bible, or play chess blindfolded, or compose symphonies. The vast majority of our children are not dazzlingly brilliant. They’re just plain kids, with an oversized need to be loved and accepted as they are. Most parents have average kids. To expect more sets the stage for considerable disappointment for parents, and puts unrealistic pressure on the younger generation.’

Now let’s recall the song lyrics: ‘Most of all I love you ’cause you’re you.’ If you take that message to heart, one day your children will rise up and call you ‘blessed’. (See Proverbs 31:28).

SoulFood: Gal 1–3, Luke 17:20–37, Ps 119:145–160, Pro 19:1–2
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Wednesday, August 26, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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August 25, 2020

Develop An Attitude Of Gratitude

‘Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you.’
1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT

God is crystal clear on this issue: we are all called to be thanks-givers. Who? You! When? In all circumstances! Why? Because it’s God’s will for you! Whatever else you may be confused about concerning God’s will, this part is clear. It’s not a suggestion—it’s a commandment. And since there are more commands in Scripture about thanksgiving than anything else, God evidently enjoys receiving thanks.

The psalmist said, ‘I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the Lord better than an ox or bullock.’ (Psalm 69:30–31 KJV) Why does God need to remind us to give thanks? For the same reason you remind your child to do it—it’s considerate and, until it becomes habitual, we forget!

David, a man after God’s own heart, prodded his often-forgetful soul into thanksgiving: ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.’ (Psalm 103:2 KJV) When you feel ungrateful, stop and read David’s ‘benefit list’ in your Bible—it will fire up your attitude of gratitude. Even when circumstances don’t look good, God can turn them around for your benefit. In all things He deserves your thanks. Even at his lowest point in the belly of a whale, Jonah recognised the need to thank God, and cried out from ‘the belly of hell’ (Jonah 2:2 KJV), raising his voice in ‘shouts of grateful praise… “Salvation comes from the Lord!”’ (Jonah 2:2 NIV)

So make a habit of ‘always giving thanks to God the Father for everything.’ (Ephesians 5:20 NIV) In other words, develop an attitude of gratitude.

SoulFood: Judg 19:16–21:25, Luke 17:11–19, Ps 119:137–144, Pro 18:22–24
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Tuesday, August 25, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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August 24, 2020

Stay Out Of Harm’s Way

‘Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts.’
2 Timothy 2:22 NLT

The Bible sets the scene for us: ‘“You’re the one I was looking for! I came out to find you, and here you are! My bed is spread with… coloured sheets of Egyptian linen… Come, let’s drink our fill of love until morning. Let’s enjoy each other’s caresses, for my husband is not home. He’s away on a long trip… and won’t return until later this month”… He followed her at once, like an ox going to the slaughter… like a stag caught in a trap, awaiting the arrow that would pierce its heart… like a bird flying into a snare, little knowing it would cost him his life.’ (Proverbs 7:15–23 NLT)

Let’s modernise the setting. The bed could be a poolside spa or the back seat of a car. The linens could be plush carpet in front of a fireplace. The spices could be beer and pizza accompanied by soft background music. Today we call such liaisons ‘friends with benefits’. It means each person has all the benefits of sexual intimacy without a shred of commitment or concern for the other person’s well-being. And experts can document a growing mountain of evidence that it always ends the same way: with guilt, depression, and devastated lives.

Solomon pleads: ‘Listen to me… pay attention to my words. Don’t let your hearts stray away towards her. Don’t wander down her wayward path. For she has been the ruin of many; many men have been her victims. Her house is the road to the grave. Her bedroom is the den of death.’ (Proverbs 7:24–27 NLT)

In other words: remove yourself from harm’s way before you get in over your head!

SoulFood: Judg 16:1–19:15, Luke 17:1–10, Ps 119:129–136, Pro 18:21
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Monday, August 24, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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August 23, 2020

Be Content With Your Calling (2)

‘We make it our goal to please Him.’
2 Corinthians 5:9 NIV

Paul writes: ‘We make it our goal to please Him… For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due to us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.’ (2 Corinthians 5:9–10 NIV) If pleasing people is your main goal in life, you’ll be disappointed. The moment you stop pleasing them, chances are they’ll criticise you or leave you. Plus, they won’t be with you when you stand at the judgment seat of Christ to be evaluated and rewarded!

Bottom line: you’re not assigned to everybody! So once you discover your God-given gift, ask, ‘Lord, to whom are You sending me?’.

‘One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the Word of God.’ (Acts 18:9–11 NIV) To whom has God sent you? As surely as a plant only thrives in the right kind of soil, you’ll only succeed in the place to which God has assigned you. Peter did well preaching to the Jewish people, whereas Paul writes, ‘God… was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles.’ (Galatians 1:15–16 NIV)

You must love people, and listen to the right people. But when it comes to your calling—you must be led by God! So go where He sends you and trust Him to take care of you.

SoulFood: Job 2:7–10, Job 40:1–5, Job 42:7–17, Jam 5:10–11
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Sunday, August 23, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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August 22, 2020

Be Content With Your Calling (1)

‘There are different kinds of service to God, but it is the same Lord we are serving.’
1 Corinthians 12:5 TLB

One of the biggest mistakes you can make in ministry is to compare yourself to someone else. In fact, it’s been said that if any two of us are identical, one of us may be unnecessary! The apostle Paul writes, ‘There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.’ (1 Corinthians 12:5 NKJV)

It’s true that without help from others, you’ll never become all you can be, but God wants you to be mentored, not cloned. He has called each of us to emphasise certain truths at different times. For example, John emphasised love, Solomon emphasised wisdom, and Paul’s major emphasis was grace over law. The need determines the emphasis. If God calls you to be a pastor or church leader, it’s like being a general practitioner. If He calls you to be an evangelist or a teacher, He’s calling you to be a specialist.

‘For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.’ (1 Corinthians 12:8–11 NKJV)

Not everyone will understand or appreciate your style of ministry. And that’s ok—it’s not a popularity contest. You’re called to be a servant, not a star. And a major prerequisite for ministry is ‘that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.’ (1 Corinthians 4:2 NIV)

SoulFood: Judg 12–15, Luke 16:19–31, Ps 119:121–128, Pro 18:13–20
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Saturday, August 22, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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August 21, 2020

Overcoming Rejection (4)

‘If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive.’
Luke 17:3 NLT

Sometimes you are called upon to confront behaviour that negatively affects you. Jesus said, ‘If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive.’ Now, that doesn’t give you the right to vent your anger or charge in like a raging bull. Jesus also said, ‘And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, “I repent,” you shall forgive him.’ (Luke 17:4 NKJV)

And here’s another thought: respect the other person’s decision not to pursue a relationship with you. They may not belong in your life, and you may not belong in theirs. Think about the last time you went shopping. Did you purchase every single item you examined? Of course not. Did you reject them because they were inferior? Surely not. You simply decided they were not for you.

Of course, if you experience a pattern of rejection and you’re baffled about the cause, you may want to consider finding out why. ‘Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.’ (Proverbs 27:6 KJV) Sometimes it’s wise to ask, ‘I’d like to get some feedback from you for my personal development. My objective here is not to resume our relationship. I would just like to ask what it was that made you decide to terminate it. I’d really appreciate your honest feedback.’

Be sure to project an upbeat attitude, not a negative one. Listen objectively, and don’t be defensive. You are gathering information. And be willing to change if there is merit to what they say.

SoulFood: Judg 9:34–11:40, Luke 16:1–18, Ps 119:113–120, Pro 20:25, Ecc 5:4–6
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Friday, August 21, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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August 20, 2020

Overcoming Rejection (3)

‘She perceives that her merchandise is good.’
Proverbs 31:18 NKJV

The mistakes you have made may be big, bad, and frequently repeated. But they haven’t changed God’s mind about you. ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. I will build you up again, and you… will be rebuilt.’ (Jeremiah 31:3–4 NIV) Yes, God will correct you when you need it. But His correction is not rejection—it’s proof of His love. ‘The Lord disciplines the one He loves.’ (Hebrews 12:6 NIV)

God’s purpose in discipline is to develop you to your highest potential. So don’t let anyone put you down. Be your authentic self when you’re with others. Focus on what you have to give, rather than on how others perceive you. Don’t put on airs, brag, or name-drop in an attempt to level the playing field. You are already equal—even if you don’t have a similar education, experience, financial status, social standing, or background.

Since when did such things make anybody inherently superior to another—especially in the eyes of your heavenly Father? If your goal in life is to please everyone and have them speak well of you, your self-worth will always be at their mercy.

Solomon describes the qualities of a virtuous woman. Here’s one of them: ‘She perceives that her merchandise is good.’ This woman wasn’t prideful, she was just confident in who God had made her to be and the assignment He had given her to fulfil. Her confidence came from within, not from without. Solomon ends the chapter in these words: ‘Honour her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise.’ (Proverbs 31:31 NIV)

SoulFood: Judg 7:1–9:33, Luke 15:11–32, Ps 119:105–112, Pro 18:10–12
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Thursday, August 20, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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August 19, 2020

Overcoming Rejection (2)

‘I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.’
Psalm 139:14 NIV

In order to overcome fear of rejection, you must firmly believe that God designed you physically, intellectually, and temperamentally, and gave you an assignment no one else can fulfil. Putting yourself down may seem humble, but it’s actually a form of pride because it’s causing you to reject God’s design and plan for you. So begin to emphatically declare with the psalmist: ‘Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvellous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God.’ (Psalm 139:14–17 NLT)

Where did you get the idea that you are ‘less than’? Whether it started with critical parents, condemning clergy, unwise teachers, cruel classmates or a verbally abusive spouse, remember that Satan is the ‘father of lies’. (John 8:44 NLT) He used someone to lie to you about your worth and potential. Repeat: ‘It was a lie! It was a lie! It was a lie!’

Decide to reject that lie now. In other words, reject rejection! Make a list of every God-given gift, asset, advantage, or other benefit you possess that is, or could be, a blessing to others. Don’t use worldly systems in developing your list. Focus on character issues such as integrity, loyalty, generosity, discernment, wisdom, and patience. Think of ways you can use each one of these features to glorify God and be a blessing to others.

SoulFood: Judg 4–6, Luke 15:1–10, Ps 119:97–104, Pro 18:9
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Wednesday, August 19, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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August 18, 2020

Overcoming Rejection (1)

‘You are precious and honoured in My sight.’
Isaiah 43:4 NIV

Jesus experienced rejection: ‘He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.’ (John 1:11 NKJV) But He didn’t sit around and lick His wounds; He moved on to where people gladly received Him. And He told His disciples, ‘If anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town.’ (Matthew 10:14 ESV)

Repeated rejection tends to validate the fear that we are inadequate. This is particularly so when it comes to the opinions of those we place value on. But the irony in operating out of the fear of rejection is that it ultimately results in the very rejection you were trying to avoid. When people realise you hold yourself in low regard, they deal with you accordingly. You teach people how to value you by how much you value yourself. If you never express a preference, a boundary, or any other limitation on how others interact with you, they will assume you have none, and behave towards you in that manner.

Notice, even though Jesus was rejected He never responded in a way that encouraged continued rejection. He didn’t stay where He was tolerated; He went to where He was celebrated. In other words, He went to where people recognised and received His person, His purpose, and His power. He had God’s full acceptance; therefore, He did not fear man’s rejection. And you have God’s full acceptance too. ‘You are precious and honoured in My sight, and… I love you.’

The first step to overcoming rejection is to keep God’s opinion of you in your mind at all times.

SoulFood: Judg 1–3, Luke 14:25–35, Ps 119:89–96, Pro 18:6–8
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Tuesday, August 18, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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August 17, 2020

Practise Visionary Thinking

‘I, the Lord, would reveal Myself in visions.’
Numbers 12:6 NLT

If you ask God, He will give you a vision for your life—one that will enable you to see the end goal, get excited, and move progressively towards it. When parents are exhausted with potty training, poor grades, teenage tantrums and car bumps, and you remind them that it’s only a temporary season—you are practising visionary thinking.

Visions aren’t limited to pastors, politicians, and business tycoons—they are for everybody. Visionary thinking gives you a bigger perspective. It’s like enlarging a picture; it expands not only what you can see, but what you believe you are able to do. Visionary thinking calls for three things:

(1) Learning. Be sure of what you know and value it—but never settle for it. Form new relationships, read new books, and learn new skills. Become a lifelong learner.

(2) Listening. Seek out those who have expertise in areas where you don’t. Partner with people who can do things you can’t. Ask questions that enlarge your understanding and thinking, and then listen carefully and record what you hear.

(3) Looking. It’s hard to see the picture while you’re inside the frame. There’s a world outside your own, so you must get outside of yourself and see it through the eyes of others. To meet people’s needs, you must first find out how they think. That calls for humility, getting over your personal agenda, and trying to understand the other person’s point of view. The Bible puts it this way: ‘Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.’ (Philippians 2:4 NKJV)

SoulFood: Ruth 2–4, Luke 14:15–24, Ps 119:81–88, Pro 18:1–5
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Monday, August 17, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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August 16, 2020

It’s Time To Change Direction

‘To win the contest you must deny yourselves many things.’
1 Corinthians 9:25 TLB

Responsibility requires us to make a living and support our family. But deep down, do you feel you’ve been ‘called’ to do something different? It was when Jesus told His disciples to leave the security of the shore and launch out into the deep, that they landed their greatest catch of fish.

Here’s a modern-day story to encourage you. Jerry Richardson faced an important decision in 1961. In those days he played American football for the Baltimore Colts, a job that was considered glamorous and secure. But when he was turned down for the raise he requested, he felt it was time to take a risk and do what he’d always wanted to do—start his own business. He and his family moved back to South Carolina, where an old college friend invited him to buy into a hamburger stand.

Richardson took the plunge and bought Hardees’ first franchise. He went from catching footballs to flipping hamburgers twelve hours a day. He scrubbed stoves and mopped floors. His wages? Only about $600 a month. But tired and frustrated as he was, he refused to give up. He employed the same discipline he’d used on the football field to focus on making his restaurant more efficient, his employees the friendliest in town, and his prices affordable. Before long his business boomed. Eventually he went on to head up one of the largest food service companies in the United States, with $5.3 billion a year in sales.

Oh, and one more thing. He also became an owner in the National Football League and established the Carolina Panthers franchise, which he owned for twenty-three years.

SoulFood: 2 Cor 11:21–33, 2 Cor 12:7–10, Acts 16:16–40, Acts 19:11–12
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Sunday, August 16, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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August 15, 2020

Always Try To Serve Others

‘Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people.’
Ephesians 6:7 NIV

A reporter once asked the famous American singer, Marian Anderson, to name the greatest moment in her life. She could have talked about the private concerts she gave at the White House, or her command performance for British royalty. Instead, she shocked the reporter by saying, ‘The greatest moment in my life was the day when I was able to go home and tell my mother that she wouldn’t have to take in washing anymore.’

We are all innately self-centred, thinking first about our own interests. That’s why we must be ‘transformed by the renewing of [our] minds.’ (Romans 12:2 NIV)

Psychologists talk about natural behaviour and learned behaviour. When you’re naturally negative, you must learn to be positive. When you’re naturally fearful, you must learn to be courageous. When you’re naturally selfish, you must learn to be generous. God wants you to go through life looking for opportunities to bless others: ‘Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.’ (Galatians 6:10 NKJV)

And you’re not just to do it to people, you’re supposed to do it through people and unto the Lord. ‘Obey… not only… when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do.’ (Ephesians 6:6-8 NIV) That means what you make happen for others, the Lord will make happen for you!

SoulFood: Obadiah, Ruth 1, Luke 14:1–14, Ps 119:73–80, Pro 17:27–28
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Saturday, August 15, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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August 14, 2020

When You Don’t Understand, Trust God

‘The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble.’
Nahum 1:7 NKJV

As Louisa Stead and her family were enjoying a seaside trip, she noticed a youngster struggling in the surf. When Mr Stead rushed in to help, he was pulled under by the terrified child. He was drowned as Louisa watched helplessly from the shore.

A time of grief and dire poverty followed. One day, when she had no money or food, Louisa went out and found a basket on her doorstep with both food and money inside. Putting pen to paper, she wrote this beloved hymn: ‘’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His Word, just to rest upon His promise, just to know “Thus saith the Lord.” I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee, precious Jesus, Saviour, friend; and I know that Thou art with me, wilt be with me to the end.’ Trusting Jesus, Louisa went twice as a missionary to Africa, where she served the Lord for twenty-five years.

If you’re struggling to trust God today, stand on these Scriptures:

(1) ‘The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him.’

(2) ‘You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.’ (Isaiah 26:3 NKJV)

(3) ‘As for God, His way is perfect; the Word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.’ (2 Samuel 22:31 NKJV)

(4) ‘Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You in the presence of the sons of men!’ (Psalm 31:19 NKJV)

SoulFood: 1 Pet 1–5, Luke 13:18–35, Ps 119:65–72, Pro 17:23–26
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Friday, August 14, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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August 13, 2020

Press Through And Touch Jesus

‘All the sick people eagerly pushed forward to touch Him.’
Mark 3:10 NLT

Jesus healed a woman who had suffered twelve years from a condition society discreetly referred to as ‘an issue of blood.’ (Luke 8:44 KJV) And medical science had no cure. Observe how her miracle took place. She pressed through the crowd, ‘touched the hem of His garment’ (Matthew 9:20 NKJV), and immediately she was healed. As a result, people started talking about it and a trend began.

Four chapters later we read that they ‘brought to Him all who were sick… that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well.’ (Matthew 14:35–36 NKJV) If you are battling affliction or addiction today, press through and touch Jesus. Keep praying and believing His Word. Be tenacious!

There’s a difference between the facts and the truth. The fact may be that your prognosis is not good. But the truth is, ‘the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise [them] up.’ (James 5:15 NKJV)

You say, ‘I know people who prayed for healing and didn’t get it.’ Yes, and if they were trusting Christ as their Saviour, then they received the ultimate healing: ‘to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.’ (Philippians 1:23 NKJV) When it’s our time to go, we all die of something. Until then, God’s Word tells us the same back that carried the cross to take away our sins, bore stripes that take away our sickness.

‘He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.”’ (Matthew 8:16–17 NKJV)

SoulFood: Deut 30:1–32:28, Luke 12:49–59, Ps 119:49–56, Pro 17:18–21
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Thursday, August 13, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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August 12, 2020

Forgive And Move On (2)

‘Anyone who starts ploughing and keeps looking back isn’t worth a thing to God’s Kingdom!’
Luke 9:62 CEV

If you’re wise, you’ll do four things:

(1) Focus on the road ahead. By looking in the rear-view mirror instead of what’s up ahead, you’ll end up in a ditch. Focus on the fact you’ve survived the past, and learned from your experience. God kept you around for a reason; find it and pour your life into it.

(2) Stop looking for easy answers. Visit any bookshop and you’ll find shelves lined with titles promising ten easy steps to financial achievement, five trouble-free keys to success, or twelve simple strategies for health, wealth, and fulfilment in life. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. Life is hard, and deep inside we know all those simplistic approaches don’t work. But the fact your life is difficult doesn’t mean you’re on the wrong path. As the old country preacher said, ‘If you don’t come face to face with the devil sometimes, you must be going in the same direction he is.’

(3) Stay on your path—not everybody will go with you. Some of your closest friends will never change, and they don’t like those who do. Your decision to change doesn’t mean they’ll do the same. Nevertheless, you must be committed to growing, expanding your knowledge and experience, and moving to the next level in life.

(4) Believe in your abilities—God does! When someone tells you you’ll never amount to anything, smile and keep going. God alone knows your potential because of the gifts He’s given you. If you’re willing to trust Him and work hard, He’ll help you to fulfil your calling. In the final analysis, godly fruit is an argument your enemies and critics can’t refute.

SoulFood: Deut 30:1–32:28, Luke 12:49–59, Ps 119:49–56, Pro 17:18–21
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Wednesday, August 12, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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August 11, 2020

Forgive And Move On (1)

‘Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on.’
Philippians 3:13–14 NIV

The greater the offence, the harder it is to forgive—but you must. Because whatever you refuse to forgive and let go of, you carry with you. And it will be like a concrete block strapped around your neck.

Has someone mistreated you, cheated you, lied about you or fired you? Have you failed yourself? Are you asking, ‘How can I get beyond my past mistakes and become successful again?’ Whatever your particular hurt, the solution isn’t feeding it or denying it. You have to forgive and let it go, or you will continue to hurt yourself.

It’s often said that choosing not to forgive somebody is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. In order to move forward, you have to ‘let go’ and be at peace with the past. Paul could easily have allowed the memory of the Christians he put to death before meeting Christ to destroy him and rob him of his destiny. But he refused to do it.

Instead he wrote: ‘Dear brothers [and sisters], 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.’ (Philippians 3:13–14 TLB) And here’s one more Scripture: ‘If you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in Heaven may forgive you your sins.’ (Mark 11:25 NIV)

So the word for today is—‘Forgive and move on.’

SoulFood: Deut 28–29, Luke 12:35–48, Ps 119:41–48, Pro 17:17
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Tuesday, August 11, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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August 10, 2020

Saved By Grace Alone

‘By grace you have been saved through faith.’
Ephesians 2:8 NKJV

In a sense there were two prodigal sons, and both grew up in a religious culture that praised rule keepers and punished rule breakers. Notice how this chapter begins: ‘All the tax collectors and sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners”… So He spoke this parable to them.’ (Luke 15:1–3 NKJV)

Here Jesus talks to two different groups:

(1) Rule breakers like the Prodigal Son, who know it’s only through God’s grace we are saved.

(2) Rule keepers like the older brother, who think they can earn or contribute to salvation by doing good works. That makes rule keepers judgmental towards rule breakers.

The older brother refused to attend his brother’s homecoming party. Why? Basically: ‘Father, unlike him, I have served you and kept your commandments. This isn’t right or fair.’ (See Luke 15:29). Sound familiar?

Here’s what the father told him: ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.’ (Luke 15:31 NKJV) Observe the word ‘son’. Jesus was teaching that we’re saved by ‘relationship’, not ‘rule keeping’. The older brother thought his father’s acceptance depended on his performance. Yes, there’s a place in God’s Kingdom for performance. Your rewards in Heaven are based upon your performance on earth.

But your redemption depends on Christ’s performance only: ‘By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.’ (Ephesians 2:8–9 NKJV) Yes, God will challenge, chastise, and cleanse you in order to change you into the person He wants you to be. But you are saved by grace alone.

SoulFood: Deut 25–27, Luke 12:22–34, Ps 119:33–40, Pro 17:16
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Monday, August 10, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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August 9, 2020

How To Deal With Difficult People (5)

‘Turn to him the other cheek.’
Matthew 5:39 NCV

Jesus said, ‘If someone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other cheek also.’ In Jesus’ day, society was built around shame and honour. The left hand was considered unclean; it was not to be used for eating—or for hitting. So a blow to the right cheek would be done with the backhand. It was a way to publicly insult someone. A backhanded slap was something done only to a social inferior, such as a slave or a child. So when someone insults you, what should you do? Everyone expects one of two responses: retaliation or cowering.

Jesus is saying, ‘Your safety and your honour are in the hands of your heavenly Father.’ So now we get creative. One possibility is that we could turn the other cheek. Our enemy can’t backhand our left cheek. Either he has to fight you as an equal, which he doesn’t want to do, or he has to find a nonviolent way to resolve the conflict.

So, who do you get insulted by? ‘Slaps’ often take the form of barbs, digs, and ‘backhanded’ comments. Someone demeans your idea at work. Someone accuses you falsely at home. A relative says something judgmental about you. What is your first instinct—retaliation, fear, or both? With the Holy Spirit helping you, there’s a new possibility. Don’t run and hide. Don’t strike back. Confront the other person with honesty and strength. Be creative, patient, and active. Lovingly work towards reconciliation. It is the reason the Bible calls the Christian life a ‘high calling’. (Philippians 3:14 KJV)

So, the next time someone upsets you, ‘Take the high road!’

SoulFood: Ruth 2:5–12, Ruth 3:1–6, Ruth 4:9–17
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Sunday, August 9, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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August 8, 2020

How To Deal With Difficult People (4)

‘Do not take revenge.’
Romans 12:19 NIV

Jesus said, ‘You have heard that it was said, “Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.” But I tell you… If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.’ (Matthew 5:38–39 NIV) Though the ‘eye for an eye’ statement sounds harsh to us, it was actually an enormous step forward in the ancient legal world, where powerful people could kill you for the slightest injury. This law limited retribution by teaching proportional justice.

But it still leaves us with a problem. Instinct says if someone hurts you, you hurt them back—and the pain you experience always seems worse than the pain you cause the other person. In an experiment, a group of subjects was paired up, and each person received pressure against their finger. Then they were told to exert the same amount of pressure on the other person’s finger. When it was their turn, they always inflicted more pain than they received. Always. The result is an eye ‘plus-a-little-something-extra’ for an eye.

You say, ‘But this person hurt me and they should pay for it.’ How much should they pay? God alone is capable of answering that question fairly! And His Word says: ‘Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is Mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.’ (Romans 12:19–21 NIV)

SoulFood: Deut 22–24, Luke 12:13–21, Ps 119:25–32, Pro 17:11–15
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Saturday, August 8, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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August 7, 2020

How To Deal With Difficult People (3)

‘He did not retaliate.’
1 Peter 2:23 NLT

No one mastered the art of dealing with difficult people better than Jesus. Herod ridiculed Him, Pilate washed his hands of Him, the religious leaders tried to trap Him, His family thought He’d lost His mind, His townspeople wanted to stone Him, Thomas doubted Him, Peter denied Him, Judas betrayed Him, soldiers beat Him, the crowds shouted for His crucifixion, and His closest followers ran out on Him. Yet Jesus never prayed for God to remove the difficult people from His life. If He had, there would have been nobody left.

Sometimes even prayer can be misused as a way of avoidance. Sometimes we ask God to remove a difficult person from our life because we’re not willing to confront that person honestly. And if God answered that prayer the way we wanted, we’d lose the opportunity for growth that is His great desire for us. Jesus’ teachings about dealing with difficult people flowed out of deep, intimate, painful experiences and wisdom. And they’ve influenced world leaders and movements like no other words that have ever been spoken—from Mahatma Gandhi to Martin Luther King Jr to Nelson Mandela.

Peter writes: ‘If you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you. For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in His steps… He did not retaliate when He was insulted, nor threaten revenge when He suffered. He left His case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.’ (1 Peter 2:20–23 NLT)

And you are called to follow His example.

SoulFood: Deut 18–21, Luke 12:1–12, Ps 119:17–24, Pro 17:7–10
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Friday, August 7, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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August 6, 2020

How To Deal With Difficult People (2)

‘Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger and give no opportunity to the devil.’
Ephesians 4:26–27 ESV

God designed us in such a way that in times of intense difficulty, we have a built-in moment to turn to Him for help. The primary place in your brain that processes strong negative emotions, such as rage and fear, is called the amygdala. And when it’s removed from certain animals, they become incapable of expressing rage and fear. Normally when input comes into your brain, it goes to the cortex for processing.

In about 5 per cent of cases, however, when something extremely emotional happens, it goes to your amygdala, and the thinking part of your brain gets short-circuited. But in between your brain’s intake and your body’s response time, there’s what researchers call the ‘life-giving quarter-second’. And that quarter-second—although it doesn’t sound very long—is huge. Paul writes, ‘In your anger do not sin… and do not give the devil a foothold.’ (Ephesians 4:26–27 NIV)

That quarter-second is the time when the Holy Spirit can take control. That’s when you can choose to give the foothold to the Holy Spirit, or you can give it to sin. That one quarter-second in your mind can be an opportunity to say, ‘Holy Spirit, I’ve got this impulse right now; should I act on it?’ It’s amazing how the desire to hurt someone you love can be so strong, then lead to such pain when you indulge it. But another piece of good news is that when you blow it—and you will blow it—God sends another quarter-second right behind the first one. He’s committed to you, and He will keep working with you until you get it right!

SoulFood: Deut 14–17, Luke 11:45–54, Ps 119:9–16, Pro 17:4–6
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Thursday, August 6, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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August 5, 2020

How To Deal With Difficult People (1)

‘Strive to do what is good for each other.’
1 Thessalonians 5:15 NIV

Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as ‘the Helper’. (John 15:26 ESV) And as you submit to Him, He’ll help you handle the difficult people in your life the right way. Paul writes, ‘Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.’ (Ephesians 4:30 NIV) Don’t offend, or inhibit, or block the Holy Spirit from working in your life.

You say, ‘How would I do that?’ Paul answers, ‘Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.’ (Ephesians 4:31 NIV) That’s a list of pretty nasty stuff! And Paul’s point is this: either you allow your responses to be ruled by that nasty list, or to be ruled by the indwelling Holy Spirit. The choice is yours.

The Bible says, ‘Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.’ (Ephesians 4:26–27 NIV) When you retaliate in anger, you give the devil a foothold in your life—a beachhead from which he can attack you in other areas. When that happens, not only do you have to deal with the hurt caused by the difficult person in your life, you have to deal with the added hurt that comes from giving the devil a foothold. So what should you do?

The Bible says, ‘Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.’ (Ephesians 4:32 NIV) In other words, remember the love, patience and grace that God has shown to you, and extend it to others. That’s a strategy that never fails!

SoulFood: Deut 11–13, Luke 11:29–44, Ps 119:1–8, Pro 17:3
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Wednesday, August 5, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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August 4, 2020

God Wants You To Become More Patient

‘You will have all the endurance and patience you need.’
Colossians 1:11 NLT

The older we get the more, the more experience of life we have. And the more we begin to realise what the really important things are. As we face trials and troubles, we should be maturing in wisdom and growing in patience. Our problems might not have changed, but our perspective should have.

Instead of worrying, we can be like Joseph and look back on experiences we thought we’d never get through and say to the opposition, ‘You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.’ (Genesis 50:20 NASB) Instead of complaining in bitterness, which only makes the problem worse and robs us of joy, we can see God’s hand at work and say: ‘His grace is sufficient.’ (See 2 Corinthians 12:9).

The word for today is—God wants you to become more patient! Patience is one of the nine fruit of the Spirit named in Galatians chapter five. But it’s a very slow-growing fruit that thrives best in the soil of troubles and trials. Some of us are like the lady who prayed, ‘Lord, give me patience, and I want it right now.’

James writes: ‘When your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete.’ (James 1:3–4 NLT)

When you think about it, patience is simply trusting God with things like ‘how’ and ‘why’ and ‘when’. As you look back on some of the things you wanted so badly, you realise God kept you from getting into some major messes. Impatience is one of the dominant characteristics of children; it’s spiritual immaturity. So be patient!

SoulFood: Deut 8–10, Luke 11:14–28, Ps 78:65–72, Pro 17:1–2
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Tuesday, August 4, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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August 3, 2020

Keep Praying And Believing (2)

‘Keep on asking and it will be given you.’
Matthew 7:7 AMPC

Observe three things:

(1) Jesus never said that following Him would be easy. ‘In the world you will have tribulation.’ (John 16:33 NKJV) So when you attempt great things for God, expect difficulties—and delays. When construction crews work on a road, they often put up a sign: ‘EXPECT DELAYS’. The walk of faith is littered with these signs. Abraham and Sarah waited twenty-five years for Isaac to be born, so why do you think your answers should be instant?

(2) You must persevere to receive. Waiting is an uncomfortable concept for us. We’re used to having everything ‘on demand’. If someone tells us to wait, we find an app on our phone and speed up the process. But there’s no shortcut when it comes to perseverance. Sometimes faith is painful because God is stretching your capacity to receive. So press through the pain—there’s gain on the other side! ‘Keep on asking and it will be given you.’

(3) The end result of faith is larger territory. Twice after Isaac dug a well, the Philistines laid claim to the water. But when he dug a third time, the conflict stopped, and he named the new well Rehoboth, which means ‘a broad place’ (see Genesis 26:18–22). Isaac kept on digging, and when the breakthrough came, he declared, ‘At last the Lord has made room for us, and we will be fruitful in the land.’ (Genesis 26:22 NASB) And the lesson Isaac learned is still part of our faith curriculum.

We must stretch our faith even when there’s no stretch left, and we must pray beyond delay.

SoulFood: Deut 5–7, Luke 11:1–13, Ps 78:56–64, Pro 16:33
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Monday, August 3, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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August 2, 2020

Keep Praying And Believing (1)

‘Pray without ceasing.’
1 Thessalonians 5:17 NKJV

During his lifetime, nineteenth-century British evangelist George Müller ‘prayed in’ more than £5.7 million to feed the orphans in his care—more than $174 million in today’s terms. He didn’t believe in broadcasting his financial needs, yet he always had enough to pay his bills—because God supernaturally provided.

However, Müller’s faith was stretched in other ways. For example, he prayed regularly over a list of five men he earnestly desired to see won to Christ. The first man gave his life to Christ after five years, the second and third after ten years, and the fourth after twenty-five years. But here’s the clincher: Müller prayed for the fifth man’s conversion for a whopping fifty-two years! In fact, the man made a profession of faith in Christ a few months after Müller’s funeral.

Would you pray about something for fifty-two years without some visible sign of an answer? You should, and you must! In Müller’s own words: ‘God delights to increase the faith of His children. We ought, instead of wanting no trials before victory, no exercise for patience, to be willing to take them from God’s hands as a means. Trials, obstacles, difficulties, and sometimes defeats, are the very food of faith.’

If you’re praying and asking God, ‘Will You?’ His answer is, ‘I will!’ Psalm 91:15 NLT tells us, ‘When they call on Me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honour them.’

And in Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV, God says, ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ So the word for today is—keep praying and believing.

SoulFood: 1 Sam 16, 1 Sam 17:32–51, Acts 13:21–22
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Sunday, August 2, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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August 1, 2020

Examine Your Ways!

‘Let us examine our ways.’
Lamentations 3:40 NIV

A guy rushed into a service station one day and asked the manager if he had a pay phone. The manager nodded, ‘Sure, over there.’

The guy inserted a couple of coins, dialled and waited for an answer. Finally someone came on the line. ‘Uh, sir,’ he said in a deep, gruff voice, ‘could you use an honest, hard-working young man?’ The station manager couldn’t help overhearing the question. After a moment or two the guy said, ‘Oh, you already have an honest, hard-working young man? Well, okay. Thanks all the same.’ A broad smile stretched across his face. He hung up and started back to his car, obviously elated.

‘Hey, just a minute,’ the station manager said, ‘I couldn’t help but hear your conversation. Why are you so happy? I thought the man said he already had someone and didn’t need you?’

The guy smiled. ‘Well, you see, I am that honest, hard-working young man. I was just ringing my boss to check up on myself!’

If you’re serious about walking with God, examine yourself regularly. Are you praying, reading God’s Word and renewing your mind daily? How about your attitudes? Are they slipping?

Your attitudes send a signal before you’ve said a word. They’re like traffic lights. Sometimes they flash red, which means: ‘Stop, don’t get in my way, I’m too busy to love, help, or care.’ Sometimes they flash yellow, which means: ‘I’m touchy and out-of-sorts, I could go either way.’ Sometimes they flash green, which means: ‘It’s go, I’m with you, you can count on me.’

The Bible says, ‘Let us examine our ways and test them and let us return to the Lord.’ What needs to be examined regularly? ‘Our ways!’

SoulFood: Deut 3–4, Luke 10:38–42, Ps 78:40–55, Pro 16:32
Original version of The Word for Today Daily Devotional for Saturday, August 1, 2020 by Bob and Debby Gass

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