Afternoons with Dan

Word For You Today

Accept Jesus' offer 100

'...It was heard that he was in the house.' Mark 2:1 NKJ

When Christ enters your life: (1) He'll rearrange things! Your well-ordered existence will probably get turned upside down. When you meet Jesus you'll never be the same again. When he showed up at this house in Capernaum 'it was heard.' As a result, the house packed out with people. Four men carrying a paralysed friend, hoping Christ would heal him, had to break up the roof and lower him to the feet of Jesus. Miracles can cause upheaval.(2) You'll get two kinds of reaction! The religious crowd will be threatened. When Jesus claimed to have power to heal, and to forgive sins, the Pharisees said, '"Who can forgive sins but God alone"' (Mark 2:7 NKJ)? The danger of religion is that often we love the rules more than the individuals we are called to serve. So expect some flack, and don't back down! Whatever it takes to get to Jesus, do it; he won't disappoint you. He makes this standing offer, '...the one who comes to me I will by no means cast out' (John 6:37 NKJ).(3) All get what they come for! Those who come to mock, criticise or defend their religious viewpoint leave more lost than ever, and more convinced that they're right. But those who come for help, get it. Listen: 'Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled' (Matthew 5:6 NKJ). So what now? Christ asks you to humbly acknowledge your need of him, and the faith to reach for and accept, 100%, what he offers you.

Soulfood: Deut 3-4, Matt 5:1-12, Ps 37:1-7, Prov 11:24-26



'They are strong, like a tree planted by a river. The tree produces fruit in season, and its leaves don't die.' Psalm 1:3 NCV

God describes his kids like this: 'They are strong, like a tree planted by a river. The tree produces fruit in season, and its leaves don't die' (Psalm 1:3 NCV). When God looks at your life he doesn't see some withered old tree that is so dry it has no potential to produce anything good. No way! He sees something magnificent that is constantly producing the fruit that comes from a life that is rooted in him.

In the Bible it talks about us having the fruit of God...not apples and oranges, but: 'love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control' (see Galatians 5:22-23).

Every day you meet different people. Some of them are easygoing and fun to be around; others really test you - they take a huge bite out of your patience or chew into your self-control. So when that fruit has been eaten, how do you grow more? Get your roots in God's steaming compost! It's a sticky mixture made of: a daily dose of his Word; a good regular chat with him; and a heart that daily thanks him for how patient and kind he is with you. All this helps grow more fruit so that when you come in contact with someone who needs your patience you find that your branches are loaded with the stuff.

So what now? Roll up your trousers and squidge your feet into God's compost today. Produce wonderful fruit!

Soulfood: Gen 6:9 - 8:4, Matt 24:37-51


Excuses or Results

'I can do all this through him who gives me strength.' Philippians 4:13 NIV

W Page Pitt should have failed, but instead he succeeded. After losing 97% of his eyesight at age five, he refused to attend a school for the blind. He was accepted into public school where he played baseball and football. Remarkably, he went on to complete college and become a top-notch journalism professor with a reputation for demanding excellence. A student once asked Pitt which he thought would be worse: blindness, deafness, or not having arms and legs. He replied, 'None of those things! Laziness, irresponsibility, lack of ambition or desire: they're the real handicaps. If I don't teach you anything but to want to do something with your lives, this course will be a magnificent success.' Often he told his students, 'You are not here to learn mediocrity, you're here to learn to excel. If I send you on a story and you don't get it because you've a broken leg, call me from the ambulance and I'll forgive you. But don't give me excuses! They wound me, and your explanations pour salt in the wound.'

Our biggest enemy is not the challenges we face; it's complacency, negativity, self-imposed limitations and self-pity. We have many excuses for not doing more with our lives. If only we'd better eyesight or were taller or our parents were richer. Excuses! Two millennia ago Paul wrote, 'I can do all this through him who gives me strength' (Philippians 4:13 NIV).

So what now? With God's help you can rise above circumstances. So, excuses or results. What's it going to be for you?

Soulfood: Deut 1-2, Matt 4:12-25, Ps 2, Prov 11:22-23


An Audience of One

'Love the Lord your God with all your heart...' Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV

Is your life like a set of drawers: one for each interest, opinion and pastime? One for work, one for play, one for God; each one running to a different set of values and standards? We're good at playing different roles, saying the right things in different places or to impress our mates. We put on an act because we are afraid that if our real personality was on show people might not applaud.

Know this - your life is like a stage and many people will come in and out and watch for a while; but there is one person who remains a constant observer: Jesus. You should live your life performing for an audience of one. No one else's opinion matters. He doesn't see your life as a set of drawers or a collection of separate performances. He sees you as a whole person. The person you are when no one's looking is just the same to him as the person you are on display.

God asks for integrity (wholeness) in our lives. Why? Because it doesn't work any other way! God made us with one will, one mind, one heart and one spirit. It's Satan's lie that 'we can have it both ways,' which leaves us fractured and paralysed. What's the answer? Listen, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength' (Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV).

So what now? Make life easier for yourself. One drawer, one life, one show! For an audience of one: Jesus!

Soulfood: Acts 27-28, Matt 4:1-11, Ps 35, Prov 11:19-21



'For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works...' Ephesians 2:10 NIV

A hotel guest called room service one morning and ordered two undercooked eggs, cold bacon, burned toast and lukewarm coffee. The waiter replied, 'That could be difficult, sir.' 'Well,' the man replied, 'It's been no problem so far!' Seriously, the quality of your work matters. The famous newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, says, 'Value to society comes when someone says, "Let me see your work."' Your charm may open a door or two...but the real test comes when people see the care, or lack thereof, you give to your work.

Maybe you've an essay to write, a song to sing, a picture to paint, a website to design. Give attention to details. Care about the small stuff. We serve a God whose name is called 'excellent.' Consider the workmanship in a blade of grass, a fingerprint or the stars that hang in the sky. You just have to look around to see the beauty of God's imagination and his eye for detail!

One Christian leader writes, 'What's true of grand music, writing, art and construction, is true of the way some still practice medicine, law, architecture, teach, type, preach, play instruments, cook, fix cars, coach, sell insurance, run a business, a home, a school, a restaurant, or a ministry. It makes them stand out, a cut above the average. It's not for the money, glory or fame it may bring. It's a matter of pride and commitment. Nothing less satisfies.'

So what now? You are made in God's image, so strive for quality in everything you do.

Soulfood: Acts 24-26, Matt 3:1-17, Ps 94:12-23, Prov 11:16-18


He's There!

... do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come.' 1 Peter 4:12 NLT

In the space of a few months Fred Whiteman went through more pain than most of us do in our lifetime. His best mate died of cancer. Then his mum died and his wife was killed. Next, he had to have a heart transplant. And, while he was still getting over that, he had to deal with cancer and a court battle. You wouldn't blame this guy if he reacted badly! But, did he get bitter and cynical? No, he did what King David said: ' heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the towering rock of safety' (Psalm 61:2 NLT). When you're overwhelmed it's easy to jump to the conclusion that 'God isn't on the job.' But Fred says, 'When we can't figure it out, we have to faith it out.'

What did Fred learn through all this: (a) How much we need God. Life's troubles are harsh reminders that we're only human and our lives could change in an instant; (b) Troubles build character, purify our heart motives and get rid of the desire to play games; (c) Handling trouble well demonstrates to others that in their darkest hour he is there.

Paul says that nothing will separate us from the love of Jesus (See Romans 8:35). So when you start wondering, 'Why did God let this happen?' remember that he never said there wouldn't be pain and challenges. No. He said he'd always care for you.

So what now? Don't judge God's love based on your circumstances; instead look for him in the middle of them.

SoulFood: Acts 22-23, Matt 2:13-23, Ps 94:1-11, Pro 11:14-15


Talking about Talking

'For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.' Psalm 36:9 NIV

Feelings are often hurt because people don't talk to each other. Friendships go pear-shaped because people don't communicate their thoughts properly. We hide our worries and live believing something that is totally false because we've made assumptions about a situation. And that's how the devil wants it to be. He knows that as soon as we bring our worries and anxious thoughts into the open it shines a spotlight on the lies he has been whispering to us. A nickname can tell you a lot about someone's character. In the Bible Satan is called '...the father of lies' (John 8:44 NIV), so we know what to expect when he opens his mouth.

We serve the God of communication. He invented it and created us so that we could chat with him every day and get him involved in every aspect of our lives. God knows that if we bring our fears to him and allow his light to illuminate our life, we won't be plagued by thoughts like, 'What do they say about me when I walk out of the room?' and 'They think I'm rubbish'.

Imagine a life with less confusion and fewer unanswered questions, a life based on truth and clarity! If you look closely at the names of God it shows you what you can expect from him. Prince of Peace, Healer, Deliverer, Provider, Restorer, our name a few!

So what now? Do yourself a favour: talk to God, and get clarity on the relationships in your life!

Soulfood: Acts 18-19, Matt 1:18-25, Ps 144:1-8, Prov 11:10-11

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