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Word For You Today

WAY AHEAD OF YOU

Nobody likes to be the first to arrive at a party, and it's a brave thing to show up alone to an event where you might not know anyone. Most of us chicken out and try to pitch up with at least one other friend (or lurk in the doorway till we see a familiar face...). What is it we're so afraid of? Looking like a fool or a Nigel-no-mates? Maybe it's the fear that our friend might not show up at all.

If we're honest, we sometimes think God might leave us hanging too. What if I go and You don't come through for me? But if God's called you to go, you can be sure He will show. In fact, He won't just turn up, He'll get there before you do.

Abraham discovered this to be true: 'By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going' (Hebrews 11:8 NIV). And God always went ahead of him, working things out for him and his family, rearranging circumstances to his advantage (his story is in Genesis 12-23, so you'll need a few days to read the whole story, but it's an amazing account).

So what now? Be encouraged by this verse from the Bible: 'I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go' (Isaiah 48:17 NIV). ?

Soulfood : Is 4-7, Jn 5:31-47, Ps 5, Prov 27:13-16

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WAITING GAME (2)

Sometimes the most helpful advice for living our lives comes from the natural world (though not always - mosquitoes and personal space? :)). A mud-covered and unnoticed seed becomes a giant, fruit-bearing plant after weeks in the dark, suffocating underground. Then the shoot that forms must force its way out to be seen by everyone for its beauty.

It's not quick, and it's probably not much fun for the seed. The same is true for your life in God: when you don't rush His purpose in your life, the results will be powerful, and unexpectedly good.

Perhaps you're thinking, 'I can't wait for this (school term/illness/loneliness/unemployment) to be over.' That's understandable - Job couldn't either. He said, 'All the days of my hard service I will wait, 'til my change comes.' But by God's grace he made it, and ended up with twice as much as he lost.

Twice as much. So hold on, your change is coming. God won't give up on you, so don't give up on Him. He's working through you as we speak, you know... Perhaps something is ending that has to end, so that something better can come through. God never disappoints; don't look at what's going around you without seeing it through His eyes.

So what now? Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, 'Everything on earth has its own time and its own season.' This applies to your life too - including waiting! Be encouraged - your waiting is never in vain with God.

Soulfood : Is 1-3, Jn 5:16-30, Ps 15, Prov 27:10-12

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WAITING GAME (1)

There's one very good word you could use to define the Christian life: 'waiting'. This whole amazing yet fragile creation is waiting for the day Jesus returns and sets things straight once and for all. But in our own lives too, there's often an agonising amount of waiting. Perhaps you're waiting for an answer to a prayer? A breakthrough in a painful situation you're facing? Mr or Mrs Right?

Well, you're not the first person to struggle with waiting, and you won't be the last. God said to the prophet Habakkuk, 'The revelation awaits an appointed time...and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay' (Habakkuk 2:3 NIV). Why did God say that? Well, it was a direct answer to Habakkuk's question, 'How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but You do not listen?'

Waiting is never easy. So what should we do? Make it active waiting: pour yourself into the job at hand; otherwise you'll short-change your own future. Even if it feels like all you're doing is standing on God's promises, waiting for change, keep at it. Sighing and resorting to twiddling your thumbs won't help towards anything. James writes, 'Be patient ... See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm' (James 5:7-8 NIV).



 



So what now? Next time you're in a queue, make use of that time. Pick a person out: silently pray for them while you're waiting, or leave them with an encouraging word. It will encourage you too!

Soulfood : Ex 39-40, Jn 5:1-15, Ps 41, Prov 27:7-9

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THE WOE FACTOR

It's absolutely impossible to have a real encounter with God and not be changed by it. After meeting with God, Isaiah said 'Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King' (Isaiah 6:5 NKJ). Heavy, yes. But the point is, Isaiah's entire outlook turned around after one encounter with God. The guy was 'undone'!

You see, as soon as Isaiah gets a glimpse of God's holiness, he immediately understands himself and his own mistakes. In his book 'The Pursuit of the Holy', butcher-turned-Godly-writer Simon Ponsonby puts it like this: 'God doesn't tell Isaiah he is sinful - he doesn't need to. As light reveals darkness, God's holiness exposes man's sinfulness...he never saw it before, but then he had never seen God before'.

It all starts with seeing, with light being shone into darkness. That's why it's good to confess our mistakes to God and, in some circumstances, to other trustworthy Christians - asking God to shine that light, and allowing others to see it can help a whole lot. This is one of the (not-so-secret) secrets of finding a way past sin, and making positive changes in order to become more like Jesus.

So what now? We all prefer others to see our 'wow' rather than our 'woe', but letting God shine a light into our darkest places, using others, is essential for our holiness. Who's helping you walk in the light?

Soulfood : Ex 36-38, Jn 4:39-54, Ps 87, Prov 27:4-6

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WAR OF WORDS

 



We say around ten thousand words every single day (... each of us individually!). Words that can cheer up and bless, or divide and put down. They can start wars, or heal hearts. Just look at soap operas, where most of the plots are based around this particular part of broken humanity. Chances are, of those ten thousand words you speak, at least one or two may not be very well thought through. The Bible says, 'If you claim to be religious but don't control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless' (James 1:26 NLT). Wow!



So, how can you gain a bit more control over your mouth? (1) Encourage: Encouragers are God's frontline against lies of the enemy that rob people of hope and joy. Use your words to lift the mood. (2) Ask for wisdom: 'Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips' (Psalms 141:3 NLT). Be quick to listen and slow to speak, asking God to guide you when choosing your words - including those you speak about yourself. (3) Speak truth and life: Jesus is '...the way, the truth and the life' (John 14:6 NLT). As His family and followers, our speech should reflect this. Talk truthfully and you'll speak words which, like a '...life-giving fountain' (Proverbs 13:14 NLT), point others to God.



 



So what now? Psalm 141:3 (CEV) says: 'Help me to guard my words whenever I say something'. Write these words out and stick them somewhere to remind you to use your words wisely.

Soulfood : Acts 13:21-22, 1 Sam 16, 1 Sam 17:32-51, 1 Sam 24:1-17

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MAKE SOMETHING WONDERFUL OF IT ALL

 



The Bible tells us that there is a 'time for everything' (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NCV). What are you going to do with the time given to you?



In the third stage of its life, a caterpillar forms a chrysalis and, inside, mushes all its body parts into gross bug goo (yeah, don't google 'inside a chrysalis'...). When it's strong enough, the 'goo' pushes its way out of the shell as a butterfly. Rush this process, try to help the butterfly out by opening the chrysalis early, and you'll be releasing an underdeveloped bug hybrid with teeny wings. Also you'll be killing it!



We must be wise with our time. It's tempting to take shortcuts even when you sense a chance to grow, but rather than trying to rush through everything, play the long game. Put the slow work into character-forming and you'll make something great out of your life. When life gives you lemons, give them to God and make a delicious lemon cake. Some learning experiences we choose, and others, both good and bad, are thrust upon us. The story of who you are is written in your scars as well as your good experiences. They're not coincidences. God is using them to craft you - Almighty God! . So don't shrink back; make something wonderful out of it all.



 



So what now? God has '...made everything beautiful in its time' (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NLT). Think: have you even considered that this might be you?

Soulfood : Ex 33-35, Jn 4:27-38, Ps 32, Prov 27:1-3

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MAKE SOMETHING WONDERFUL OF IT ALL

 



The Bible tells us that there is a 'time for everything' (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NCV). What are you going to do with the time given to you?



In the third stage of its life, a caterpillar forms a chrysalis and, inside, mushes all its body parts into gross bug goo (yeah, don't google 'inside a chrysalis'...). When it's strong enough, the 'goo' pushes its way out of the shell as a butterfly. Rush this process, try to help the butterfly out by opening the chrysalis early, and you'll be releasing an underdeveloped bug hybrid with teeny wings. Also you'll be killing it!



We must be wise with our time. It's tempting to take shortcuts even when you sense a chance to grow, but rather than trying to rush through everything, play the long game. Put the slow work into character-forming and you'll make something great out of your life. When life gives you lemons, give them to God and make a delicious lemon cake. Some learning experiences we choose, and others, both good and bad, are thrust upon us. The story of who you are is written in your scars as well as your good experiences. They're not coincidences. God is using them to craft you - Almighty God! . So don't shrink back; make something wonderful out of it all.



 



So what now? God has '...made everything beautiful in its time' (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NLT). Think: have you even considered that this might be you?

Soulfood : Ex 33-35, Jn 4:27-38, Ps 32, Prov 27:1-3

Read more...
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