Days with Sherryn

Word For You Today

Church Health (2)

In John 5:1-15 a man was laying paralysed by a pool in Jerusalem, waiting for 'an angel of the Lord [who] came down to the pool and stirred up the water. After the angel did this, the first person to go into the pool was healed from any sickness he had' (John 5:4 NCV). Great situation, right? Great place to wait, and a good amount of hope that he might get healed. He'd been waiting 38 years! When Jesus met him, the man explained 'I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me' (John 5:7 NLT). So close but so far. No friends helping him and no help from the religious leaders (see John 5:9-10). The story went pretty well after he met Jesus though - the man was miraculously healed.

If you've been struggling in church, for whatever reason, you can still have hope. Even if it's been years, if you've been in the right place but haven't got any help, there is hope. Jesus can meet you, even in that same church.

If you can answer His 'Do you want to get well?' (John 5:6) and His 'Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk' (John 5:8) with an obedient, faith-filled step toward Him, you can get well even where you've been sitting waiting for years.

So what now? Next time you have some alone time, pray through anything that you may need healing for. If you're ready, tell Jesus that you want to be well.

Soulfood : Ex 25-27, John 4:13-26, Ps 89:38-52, Prov 26:23-26


Church Health (1)

Even though the Church is a reflection of God here on earth, we can still let each other down. If there is serious, negative stuff going on inside of a church, it's important to seek help or (safely, and graciously) call out the wrongs. Definitely.

But sometimes it's the little things that make up most of our irritations with church. You know, things like the quality of the coffee, that song that the worship leader played again, or the preacher that never quite gets to the point. But... actually, let's remember that we're a part of those things. As a Christian, you've become part of the broader Church (the Body of Christ) and, because of that, part of an individual church. We're made to be involved in the wider community of Christians, and if our preferences separate us from that, we're missing something.

Paul wrote that the Church is the 'Body of Christ' and that 'each one of you is a part of it' (1 Corinthians 12:27 NIV). He also wrote that we all 'fall short of the glory of God' (Romans 3:23 NIV). Together, those two verses tell us that, exactly like a body, the eternal Church and each individual church here on earth take work and understanding to keep it healthy. All of us, then, should be working to build churches that look more and more Christ-like.

So what now? Take it back to the basics. Grab some Christian friends, get together to worship, chat through some Scripture, and share a meal together. That is where the Church starts.

Soulfood : Ex 22-24, John 4:1-12, Ps 89:15-37, Prov 26:20-22


We have good works to do

As Christians our desire should be to become more like Christ in our day-to-day lives. This might sound like a mammoth task; but we're not asking you to get busy forming planets and putting the sun in place or performing miracles everywhere you look. God isn't asking you either, but rather, He made you to be just like Jesus.

Our good friend Paul writes about how God 'created' us for good works. King David marvels at God: 'You knit me together in my mother's womb' (Psalm 139:13 NIV). Before you were even a thought in your parents' mind, God knew who you were and what great things you would do on earth.

How do you know how God created you to be? Galatians 5:22-23 is a good indicator. When God is working in and through you and you see these sorts of things in your life, you know you're doing the 'good works' that God created you to do. Also, remember: God believes in you. He created you to be this way. If you're willing to become more like Him, He'll never leave you or leave this work 'unfinished'. That's a promise.

So what now? Philippians 1:6 says that 'He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.' Thank God for His plan for you and for what He has already done in you. Ask Him to give you more 'good works' to do.

Soulfood : Ex 19-21, John 3:22-36, Ps 89:1-14, Prov 26:17-19


Bible FAQ

There is a lot of soul-changing goodness in your Bible. If you know this already, and are a frequent Bible reader, keep going. If you're unsure of where to start reading, many people say it's good to start with the Gospel of John (or use the SoulFood readings below each day's reading in Word For You Today to read through the Bible in a year). The point is, once you start reading, we reckon that's half the battle tackled. A closed Bible helps to keep God's truth from you.

Why's is God's Word so important? Psalm 19 can help us with that. David was writing about how God uses His Word to help us. Time for a David-inspired Bible FAQ: Feeling down? God's Word will revive your soul (Psalm 19:7). It also brings 'joy to the heart' (Psalm 19:8). And why should we follow what God says? We'll benefit from it - His ways of living are 'sweeter than honey' (Psalm 19:10), and there's a 'great reward for those who obey them' (Psalm 19:11).

King David knew that he needed God's help to 'Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don't let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt' (Psalm 19:12-13 NLT). There's power in your Bible - God will use it to change you for good.

So what now? Read the whole of Psalm 19. It's awesome! Do you feel encouraged to read more of your Bible? Bring your thoughts to God, and pray about how you can take in more of God's Word each day.

Soulfood : Joel 2:23-32, Acts 2:1-21



The Bible encourages us to do things like looking out for others, being patient, loving those who hurt us. Nowhere is it promised that it will always be easy. Sometimes, there's just hard work involved.

So why do it in the first place? Because as we do those things, we grow more and more into what God wants us to become - like Christ. And the more we become like Jesus, the more God can use us. God gives us amazing promises about what He has in store for us (Jeremiah 29:11, anyone?) and, working through us, the world can be completely transformed by His Kingdom. The best way He can do that for (and through) us is if we allow ourselves to become more like Jesus.

It might sound daunting, and we don't mean for you to become a clone robot; in fact, you'll find that the more you let Jesus mould you, the more you'll become 'you'. Jesus' picture of this is a grain of wheat. On its own, a grain isn't that impressive. But plant it, and it multiplies. Becoming like Christ isn't all your own work, but give God yourself as the grain, and you'll see amazing things come from that.

So what now? Find a small seed. Place it in your hand, and think about how small it currently is. How small is your life right now? Think about how big and useful the seed will become. How can your life be as large and productive for God as that seed becomes?

Soulfood : Ex 16-18, John 3:9-21, Ps 110, Prov 26:13-16


Court, In The Act

Little actions can tell a big story. Cutting in front of a driver who instantly honks and swears at us, tells us they weren't exactly a rose-garden of peace beforehand. (It may not say much for our driving, either...) Always being the first to be served food and never buying someone a coffee send signals to those around us about what the rest of our character is like. And worse, they're usually forming an opinion about God through our not-so-handsome character fails too. Not good.

Today's verse says: 'The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God' (Psalm 92:13). Our not-very-Godlike actions aren't exactly the 'flourishing' that the psalmist meant.

We've looked at palm trees, what about these courts then? A king's courts were the places important people gathered to talk business, and were nearby for the king to call in for a word when he wanted to. God wants us kept close. If we're in His 'courts', if our business is His business, and we're regularly popping in for a chat, then we'll find ourselves flourishing, big time. (And as a lovely little cherry on the flourish-cake, those around us will see something of our King in us too, which is only a good thing).

So what now? Look up Galatians 5:22-23. This verse gives a list of all the things we can expect to become more like as we draw closer 'in His courts'. Write them down and stick them up somewhere.

Soulfood : Ex 13-15, John 3:1-8, Ps 23, Prov 26:10-12


Palms Down

Palm trees are pretty awesome. As much as they might remind us of nice, sunny places, we can also learn a lot about ourselves and God from them. They're mentioned more than 30 times in the Bible, probably because there are a few of them around in that part of the world. They provide a pretty good example of the endurance God offers to us.

When there's a huge storm and wind is blowing everywhere, most trees are at risk of snapping or breaking. Not the palm trees. They're adapted to bend like the ultimate limbo competition and, afterwards, where that bend is becomes stronger than it was before. While God may not necessarily give us a supernatural ability to win a limbo competition, whenever we might face a 'storm' God will 'strengthen [us] by His glorious might with all the power [we] need to patiently endure everything with joy' (Colossians 1:11 GWT). He not only gives us the strength to get over whatever challenge is thrown our way, we're made stronger and 'bendier' by learning to be thankful and understanding that God is bigger than any 'storm'.

A final thing: A palm's roots can search hundreds of metres for water, making what it relies on for survival much deeper and bigger than what it actually is. Good analogy!

So what now? Find a big tree, and a little spade. See if you can dig all of its roots up in 30 seconds. Did you manage it? Roots are handy to have, and aren't easily destroyed. God offers you the chance to grow yours in Him.

Soulfood : Ex 10-12, John 2:12-25, Ps 131, Prov 26:7-9

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