Category Archives: A Fresh Word For Today

December 2 On the Way to Carmel

Now bring all the people … to Mount Carmel.
(I Kings 18:19, TLB)

Elijah’s destiny was to stand on Mount Carmel and call down fire out of heaven. But he could only get there progressively—for that’s how God works. First, God sent him to a brook at Cherith, which means “covenants.” At some point in your spiritual journey, you’ve got to learn that your God is a covenant-making, covenant-keeping God. To do it, He’ll dry up rivers, make axe heads swim, and order fish into a net, but He’ll keep His promise to you, come what may. Note, God told Elijah, “… I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there” (1 Kings 17:4). Had he gone anywhere else, God wouldn’t have met his need, for a covenant is two-sided. You must fulfill your part! Take a moment and ask yourself honestly, “Have I? Am I where God wants me to be?”

Next God sent Elijah to Azrephath saying, “… I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee” (1 Kings 17:9). God uses ravens and widows and whatever He likes—so stop trying to second-guess Him. One day, Sarah Utterbach said to me, “Bob, since your steps are already ordered of the Lord, why are you trying to figure it out?” (See Psalm 37:23.) Good question! Zarephath means “the melting pot.” It’s where metal was refined. If you’re “going through the fire” today, rejoice. God’s just separating the gold from the impurities in your character.

 

Hang in there! When you’ve passed the tests at Cherith and Zarlphath, then you’ll be ready to go to Mount Carmel.[1]

 

[1] Gass, B. (1998). A Fresh Word For Today : 365 Insights For Daily Living (p. 336). Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers.

December 1 Failing

Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart … on the inside … not a day goes by without his unfolding grace.
(2 Corinthians 4:9, TM)

Successful Christian people recognize that defeats can lead to even greater victories! Trying is more important than not failing! When I make mistakes I ask, “What did I do wrong, and how can I do it better next time?” Failure affects some of us so negatively that it stops us permanently. Don’t let that happen to you! Edison tried thousands of experiments before he was able to produce an acceptable light bulb. Look at your failure as a fresh opportunity—not a final defeat. When Paul was shipwrecked, he used it to preach the Gospel. When he was thrown into prison, he wrote books that are still being read 2,000 years later. He said to those who were so concerned about him, “Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the Gospel” (Philippians 1:12, NIV).

Failing to try is the greatest failure anyone can experience, for if you don’t make the attempt, you’ve failed already! This can be seen in the life of baseball player Ty Cobb. In 1915, he set the record for stolen bases in a season—96 steals. Seven years later, Max Carey set the second-best record with 51 stolen bases. What is remarkable is that while Carey failed only twice in 53 attempts. Cobb failed 38 times in his 134 attempts. If Carey had tried more times, he may have set a record that would still be unbeaten today!

 

Attempt great things without worrying about the possibility of failure. If you persevere, with God’s help you’ll succeed.[1]

 

[1] Gass, B. (1998). A Fresh Word For Today : 365 Insights For Daily Living (p. 335). Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers.

November 30 Lies and False Impressions

And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that … maketh a lie … (Revelation 21:27)

When you create an impression you know is not true, the Bible calls it “making a lie.” That’s a tough verdict, especially if all you had in mind was making an extra dollar, or sparing somebody’s feelings. No human being would have set such a standard, but God did. Is He serious? Check out Ananias and Sapphira. When they tried to create false impressions about their giving, God slew them—right in the middle of a church service. Then we read, “No one else dared join them …” (Acts 5:13 NIV). Would you have? Peter said, “… thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God …” (Acts 5:4). Now that puts a whole new slant on things—wouldn’t you say?

The other day I heard about a guy who went fishing and caught nothing, so he stopped by a market on his way home and bought three big fish. Then he said to the shop assistant, “Throw them to me, then when I get home I’ll be able to tell my wife I caught them.” I smiled as I recalled how often I’ve rewritten the rules of golf, inflated the numbers in my audience, and done other things I won’t mention. The worst lies are the ones we tell ourselves and end up believing. You see, a liar’s biggest problem is that he can’t believe anybody else, for as you live your life, you judge your neighbor. Today I read again that, “The Lord detests lying lips, but He delights in men who are truthful” (Proverbs 12:22, NIV).

 

I think God’s trying to say something to me.
How about you?[1]

 

[1] Gass, B. (1998). A Fresh Word For Today : 365 Insights For Daily Living (p. 334). Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers.

November 29 Invest It!

Live—making the most of every opportunity.
(Ephesians 5:16, NIV)

Here are some keys to help you make your time count. Try to plan your day, for if you don’t, somebody else will! Make each hour productive by deciding what’s really important in your life. Look again at the life of Jesus; there’s not one wasted hour in it! Schedule time for learning and growing in God’s Word, for the level of your faith will be determined by the time you spend there. Schedule time for fellowshipping with the Lord, and be aware that the devil will do everything in his power to keep you from it.

Schedule time for exercise and good health. God gave you a body—maintain it properly! Schedule a time for your family; don’t sacrifice them on the altar of your ambition. There are some opportunities you won’t get a second time, so sow lots of love on this end, and you will reap it on the other. Schedule some time for restoration and relaxation; take a nap, a walk in the park, or watch a video. Don’t be a workaholic—even God took one day a week off. Unclutter your life; eliminate the things that God didn’t tell you to do.

 

When you learn to have one good day, practice until you are able to have one good week, and before you know it you’ll have one good life![1]

 

[1] Gass, B. (1998). A Fresh Word For Today : 365 Insights For Daily Living (p. 333). Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers.

November 28 Get Into the Word

Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
(2 Timothy 2:15)

Don’t “surf the net” of God’s Word, study it! Always come to it like you are coming to it for the first time. Meditate on it! Memorize it! Discuss it! Ask yourself, “What is God saying to me in this?” If there is a promise, what are the conditions? Have I obeyed them? Do the words I speak agree with what God has said? Don’t read words of life and then speak words of death. Remember, faith cometh by “hearing,” not “having heard,” or you’d have to hear it only once. (See Romans 10:17.) If there’s no faith present, it is usually because there’s no Word proclaimed. Many of us cannot believe that God will heal us or meet our needs, because we have not heard enough of the Word!

Jesus said, “Take heed what you hear” (Mark 4:24). No matter how good they may be, the people in your life can’t give you faith if they don’t have any of their own. In Ephesians 6, Paul says, “Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” If you’re going to win this battle, you’d better know your weapon, its range, its penetrating power, and how to use and maintain it. The devil came at Jesus three different ways, and each time He answered, “It is written.” He had the Word in His Spirit! When you’re sick, you can’t say, “He took my sickness and bore my infirmities” (Matthew 8:17) if you don’t have it in your spirit!

 

So today get into the Word, and get the Word into you![1]

 

[1] Gass, B. (1998). A Fresh Word For Today : 365 Insights For Daily Living (p. 332). Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers.

November 27 Two Natures

Why am I thus?
(Genesis 25:22)

Has your “flesh” been acting up lately? If so, welcome to the Kingdom of God! We all deal with it. Walking in the Spirit is a choice you’ll have to make every day, and some days will be harder than others! We see an illustration of this at the birth of Jacob and Esau. Listen: “And Rebecca his wife conceived. And the children struggled together within her, and she said, ‘Why am I thus?’ ”

Have you been asking that? If so, read on: “And the Lord said unto her, ‘Two nations are in thy womb … and the one … shall be stronger than the other’ ” (Genesis 25:22–23). The battleground will always be between the flesh and the Spirit. What you feed will grow; what you neglect will die—it’s that simple! Take another look at your greatest areas of defeat, and nine times out of ten you’ll find an unopened Bible and an empty prayer closet.

Even Paul said, “My new life tells me to do it right—but the old sin nature … still loves to sin. Oh, what a terrible predicament I am in! Who will free me from my slavery to this deadly lower nature? Thank God! It has been done by Jesus Christ our Lord. He has set me free!” (Romans 8:23–25, TLB). There it is in black and white—the secret of victory: Jesus Christ!

 

Spend time with Him! Draw closer to Him!
Feed on His Word, and “Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it!” (John 2:5).[1]

 

[1] Gass, B. (1998). A Fresh Word For Today : 365 Insights For Daily Living (p. 331). Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers.

November 26 God’s Economy

I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread … so that you will never be able to say, “I made Abram rich.”
(Genesis 14:23, NIV)

Tithing is not about money, it is about obedience. Will you obey His Word, and will you trust Him to take care of you? (See Malachi 3:10; Proverbs 3:9.) The first man in the Bible to tithe was Abraham. When the King of Sodom tried to give him riches for helping him in battle, Abraham replied, “I will accept nothing belonging to you, so that you will never be able to say, ‘I made Abraham rich’ ” (Genesis 14:22–23). Instead, Abraham tithed and trusted God with his future. My friend John Tonelli says, “Abraham hooked up to God’s economy!”

God may use other people to bless you and meet your needs, but He will always be your source! The Bible says, “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17)—not by their bank account, or the stock market, or their real estate holdings, or their government pension. God is your source! James says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father” (James 1:17, NIV). God told His people, “Carefully follow the terms of this covenant, so that you may prosper in everything you do” (Deuteronomy 29:9, NIV). Paul says, “God gives us richly all things to be enjoyed” (1 Timothy 6:17). Solomon says, “Every man to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 5:19).

 

Child of God, your Father wants only the best for you![1]

 

[1] Gass, B. (1998). A Fresh Word For Today : 365 Insights For Daily Living (p. 330). Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers.

November 25 The Right Place

You have circled this mountain long enough.
(Deuteronomy 2:3)

I’ve seen very gifted people struggle because they were in the wrong place, and I’ve seen less-talented people thrive because they were in the right place! Jesus knew that geography matters. “And he must have needs go through Samaria” (John 4:4). Why? Because there was a woman there who needed Him, and an entire city that would be reached. Abraham was instructed to leave his father’s house and set out for a new land. Five hundred were instructed to go to the Upper Room. Only 120 obeyed, but they got the promised blessing. Are you getting the idea? You can’t work on the wrong job, for the wrong boss, doing the wrong things forty hours a week, and wonder why two hours in church doesn’t sort you out! God will not bless you just anywhere, He’ll bless you if you’re where He wants you to be.

Have you noticed that when you’re with certain people you laugh at certain jokes, and the topic of your conversation changes? In other words, where you are determines what grows within you—weeds or flowers, strengths or weaknesses. God has promised you favor, but sometimes He has to change your address to get it to you! It was when Ruth moved to Bethlehem that she met Boaz, and her life was filled with blessing. Blind Bartimaeus went to where Jesus was—and he got his miracle. Where you are matters. It controls the flow of favor in your life.

 

Never forget, “One day of favor will do more than a thousand days of hard labor.”[1]

 

[1] Gass, B. (1998). A Fresh Word For Today : 365 Insights For Daily Living (p. 329). Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers.

November 24 Katy’s Testimony

Despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
(Matthew 18:10)

When three-year-old Katy Reardon fell into the pool in her back yard, she was fully clothed and couldn’t swim. Her dad was at work, her mom was in the kitchen, and there was no one to help her. They had warned her not to go near the deep end of the pool, but on that sunny day in May 1996, she reached over to get her doll, and fell in head first. No one knows how long she was in the pool.

When her mother, Barbara, heard the scream, she froze in terror and then ran toward the back door. She saw Katy crying, moving toward her in dripping wet clothes with her arms extended. When Barbara asked her what happened she said, “I was playing, and I fell into the deep end, and I couldn’t swim, so I asked Jesus to help me, and a hand came down out of the clouds and pulled me out of the water.” When her mother asked her again, she repeated the story several times without missing a word. Finally, her mother asked her, “What did the hand look like?” Katy simply replied, “You know, Mom—like a cloud.”

Today I talked with Katy’s dad on the phone, and he told me that every time there’s a baby dedication in church, he sits in tears of joy as he remembers what God did for his little girl. Jesus said that our children have angels assigned to watch over them. Perhaps you think I am a simple soul, but I believe it with all my heart.

 

I claim it for my children and my grandchildren, and I thank God for it. Furthermore, I think you should too.[1]

 

[1] Gass, B. (1998). A Fresh Word For Today : 365 Insights For Daily Living (p. 328). Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers.

November 23 Grace and Peace

Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord.
(2 Peter 1:2)

This verse is not just a greeting, it’s a promise! One of the best definitions of grace is “all of God you’ll ever need for anything you’ll ever face.” God told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee” (2 Corinthians 12:9). When you have Him, you have it all! And what about His peace? It’s a state of “being” where you are not anxious or afraid anymore. You stop striving because God has everything under control. You may be surrounded by circumstances, but you are not controlled by them. David said, “Great peace have they which love Thy Law; and nothing shall offend them” (Psalms 119:165).

You’ll notice God didn’t say He will add these things to you, He said he would multiply them. God doesn’t add—He multiplies! You may ask, “How do grace and peace come?” Through the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ our Lord. There’s the key: getting to know Him better. You may say, “I need to find myself!” I can assure you, there’s no peace in that. Jesus said, “The flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life” (John 6:63). He told the woman at the well, “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him, shall never thirst” (John 4:13).

 

The way to know someone is to spend time with them! Have you spent time with Him today![1]

 

[1] Gass, B. (1998). A Fresh Word For Today : 365 Insights For Daily Living (p. 327). Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers.