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Word For You Today

GROWING THROUGH DISCOURAGEMENT

No one's life is a bed of roses/free-coffee-vouchers/whatever-your-idea-of-perfect-is. So, when we pretend that we're ok when, for whatever reason, we're not, we help to form this image of perfect lives. It doesn't do anything but, if we're honest, inflate our pride a bit. But, despite what our pride-nature wants us to think, we actually can't get through life and all its discouragements on our own. Proverbs 28:26 says that 'those who trust in themselves are foolish' (NCV). We need God, and we need each other.

Psalm 48:14 declares 'for this God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end' (NIV). This whole Psalm has a lot to teach us about how to deal with discouraging times. The psalmist looks back on how God has already protected them, and they use that to fuel their faith to believe that God will bring them through whatever else will come their way. Wherever we are, God has brought us this far, and He will guide us forward if we depend on Him.

If you're dealing with something, talking about it with someone you trust is really important. Yes, God is your number one, always, but He made you to live in community with others. We are meant to support each other - Paul tells us to 'carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ' (Galatians 6:2 NIV).

So what now? Pick a coffee shop (or milkshake or other delicious hangout place). Make two appointments for the week ahead. One you-and-God-date, one with someone you can talk toughstuff with.

Soulfood : Josh 2:1-24, Acts 9:20-30

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GROWING THROUGH DISCOURAGEMENT

No one's life is a bed of roses/free-coffee-vouchers/whatever-your-idea-of-perfect-is. So, when we pretend that we're ok when, for whatever reason, we're not, we help to form this image of perfect lives. It doesn't do anything but, if we're honest, inflate our pride a bit. But, despite what our pride-nature wants us to think, we actually can't get through life and all its discouragements on our own. Proverbs 28:26 says that 'those who trust in themselves are foolish' (NCV). We need God, and we need each other.

Psalm 48:14 declares 'for this God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end' (NIV). This whole Psalm has a lot to teach us about how to deal with discouraging times. The psalmist looks back on how God has already protected them, and they use that to fuel their faith to believe that God will bring them through whatever else will come their way. Wherever we are, God has brought us this far, and He will guide us forward if we depend on Him.

If you're dealing with something, talking about it with someone you trust is really important. Yes, God is your number one, always, but He made you to live in community with others. We are meant to support each other - Paul tells us to 'carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ' (Galatians 6:2 NIV).

So what now? Pick a coffee shop (or milkshake or other delicious hangout place). Make two appointments for the week ahead. One you-and-God-date, one with someone you can talk toughstuff with.

Soulfood : Josh 2:1-24, Acts 9:20-30

Read more...

GROWING THROUGH DISCOURAGEMENT

No one's life is a bed of roses/free-coffee-vouchers/whatever-your-idea-of-perfect-is. So, when we pretend that we're ok when, for whatever reason, we're not, we help to form this image of perfect lives. It doesn't do anything but, if we're honest, inflate our pride a bit. But, despite what our pride-nature wants us to think, we actually can't get through life and all its discouragements on our own. Proverbs 28:26 says that 'those who trust in themselves are foolish' (NCV). We need God, and we need each other.

Psalm 48:14 declares 'for this God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end' (NIV). This whole Psalm has a lot to teach us about how to deal with discouraging times. The psalmist looks back on how God has already protected them, and they use that to fuel their faith to believe that God will bring them through whatever else will come their way. Wherever we are, God has brought us this far, and He will guide us forward if we depend on Him.

If you're dealing with something, talking about it with someone you trust is really important. Yes, God is your number one, always, but He made you to live in community with others. We are meant to support each other - Paul tells us to 'carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ' (Galatians 6:2 NIV).

So what now? Pick a coffee shop (or milkshake or other delicious hangout place). Make two appointments for the week ahead. One you-and-God-date, one with someone you can talk toughstuff with.

Soulfood : Josh 2:1-24, Acts 9:20-30

Read more...

GROWING THROUGH DISCOURAGEMENT

No one's life is a bed of roses/free-coffee-vouchers/whatever-your-idea-of-perfect-is. So, when we pretend that we're ok when, for whatever reason, we're not, we help to form this image of perfect lives. It doesn't do anything but, if we're honest, inflate our pride a bit. But, despite what our pride-nature wants us to think, we actually can't get through life and all its discouragements on our own. Proverbs 28:26 says that 'those who trust in themselves are foolish' (NCV). We need God, and we need each other.

Psalm 48:14 declares 'for this God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end' (NIV). This whole Psalm has a lot to teach us about how to deal with discouraging times. The psalmist looks back on how God has already protected them, and they use that to fuel their faith to believe that God will bring them through whatever else will come their way. Wherever we are, God has brought us this far, and He will guide us forward if we depend on Him.

If you're dealing with something, talking about it with someone you trust is really important. Yes, God is your number one, always, but He made you to live in community with others. We are meant to support each other - Paul tells us to 'carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ' (Galatians 6:2 NIV).

So what now? Pick a coffee shop (or milkshake or other delicious hangout place). Make two appointments for the week ahead. One you-and-God-date, one with someone you can talk toughstuff with.

Soulfood : Josh 2:1-24, Acts 9:20-30

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WHEN PRAYER'S HARD WORK (1)

'...always struggling on your behalf in his prayers.' Colossians 4:12 ESV

It's perfectly ok, part of human nature, to struggle in prayer. But sometimes, instead of struggling through it, we let the struggles keep us from praying at all. Unfortunately, that's Satan's main plan for us: to keep us from God.

Our prayers, however much we stumble and struggle through them, can have serious power. Look at John 15:7: Jesus says that if we 'remain in Him and His words remain in us' we can 'ask whatever we wish, and it will be done for us' (NIV). But, God is not a cosmic ATM. And prayer is not a punch-in-your-number and hold-out-your-hand kind of deal. We have to let His Spirit fill us with Jesus-desires. And as we read in the Gospels, Jesus' main desire was to bring honour and glory to His Father (John 15:8, for example). When we pray for God's awesomeness to be revealed through us/through our situation, He will always honour that (oh, and that does bring good things for us too, btw. God likes us.).

Not only can our prayers have power to change things around us; they have power to change how we see God. The more time you spend with someone, the easier it is to know how they're feeling or how they'd respond to a certain situation. Our relationship with God works the same. The more time we spend with Him, the easier it is to hear the Holy Spirit tugging at us when we're about to mess up, or to notice Him in the day-to-day stuff.

So what now? Set aside 'listen to God' time today. Give it a go?


SoulFood: Acts 6-7; Matt 2:19-23; Ps 130; Pro 10:24-26

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INVEST IN YOURSELF

'Come to Me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.' Matthew 11:28 ESV

We're going to overprotective-parent you for a moment: Are you eating well? Are you getting enough sleep? Have you exercised recently? Seriously! Taking care of ourselves is really important. When life gets less than wonderful, we can get so caught up in dealing with whatever it is (or burying whatever it is and not dealing with it?) that we lose sight of what's going on around us, or inside us. But how we take care of ourselves affects every other part of our lives. When we let things slip it makes it harder to deal with other things in life.

When Elijah was struggling with depression (check out 1 Kings 19:1-18), an angel appears with food (wish we had that kind of delivery service...) and tells him to 'get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you' (1 Kings 19:7 NIV).

That doesn't just apply to us literally but also figuratively. We have the Word of God, which we can open to find comfort and hope for anything we're dealing with. It's been provided for us, but it's up to us to 'get up and eat'. The journey of life is just too much for us to not take the time to breathe, be in God's presence, eat, sleep, get out of the house and go for a walk, etc. If we don't stop, we'll busy ourselves into flat-out exhaustion.

So what now? Time for an early night. Spiritual and physical rest are related, you know. Take a 'sabbath' evening, with Bible, hot chocolate and duvet. You'll thank us tomorrow. 'Goodnight'.


SoulFood: Acts 3:11 - 5:42; Matt 2:13-18; Ps 75; Pro 10:22-23

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THE IMPORTANCE OF PATTERNS

'Make everything according to the pattern I have shown you...' Exodus 25:40 NLT

More often than not, the best way to make something good is to follow a good pattern. In the Bible, God gives the pattern for living life well. Sometimes these rules can seem ridiculous, considering the culture we currently live in, but God doesn't give us these patterns to trap us. Actually, they are to free us.

We might not see the benefits now (like when we forgive someone who doesn't even care that they hurt us...) and we might not even see the benefits in this life. But making the decision to follow God's pattern for our lives is always the right decision. Let's be honest, 'you only live once' isn't applicable to us as followers of Christ - and what we do in this life matters in the next (Matthew 16:27). Serious (and really difficult and actually impossible to do on our own) stuff. But, breathe a sigh of relief, because the Holy Spirit helps us to follow the pattern in order to produce the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control.. (read Galatians 5:13-26).

How do we do this? We have to surrender our life-patterns over to Him, choose to obey His Word over what we're tempted to do and be sensitive to His voice. In return, the Spirit works in us to follow God's pattern and reveals Jesus through us. Brilliant.

So what now? What patterns of anti-God's-way do you need to let Him burn off to make room for new, Jesus-glorifying, fruit? Write them out, throw it in the fireplace, and light 'em up...


SoulFood: Acts 1:1 - 3:10; Matt 2:1-12; Ps 127; Pro 10:19-21

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