Workdays with Josh

Word For You Today

Good Enough For Him

'We have been justified [that is, acquitted of sin, declared blameless before God] by faith.' Romans 5:1 AMP Do you ever worry that you're not good enough to be a Christian? You're not alone. Being a Christian can be tough at times. And the truth is, however hard we try, we all fall short somewhere. Even King David, who God called 'a man after My own heart' (Acts 13:22 NIV) made some monumental mistakes. We are all a work-in-progress (remember, only God is perfect), but that doesn't mean we're going to lose our place in Heaven. Romans 4:24 NLT assures us that 'God will also count us as righteous if we believe in Him.' Because we thank Jesus for what He did, and do our very best to live in a way that shows that, we'll have God's forgiveness, even if we mess up sometimes (or even a lot). As part of His family, He wants us to stay close to Him. It's all about us giving Him all we can, even when that's far less than perfection. Read 2 Corinthians 5:21. Now, imagine God looking at you through a screen that makes you appear completely pure and sin-free... well, that screen was constructed by the cross. Because Jesus died, with all the stuff you've done put on Him, God sees you as being righteous enough to be His family, too. So what now? Prophetic action: find the most tarnished coin you can. Drop it in a glass of Coke and watch it get all shiny-clean. Keep it as a reminder of how God sees you, because of Jesus.

Soulfood: Is 17-21, John 6:52-59, Ps 127, Prov 27: 25-27


Patient As

'Love is patient and kind.' 1 Corinthians 13:4 ESV Today, many of the tasks that used to take hours, or even days, can now be completed at the push of a button. Everything's at your fingertips, so you can cram even more into your already-busy day. But you know the bad side-effects, right? We can get so used to having things instantly that it makes us really impatient if we have to wait more than 2.71 seconds. Ever messaged a friend and then got strangely annoyed with them when they didn't reply immediately? Yes, us too. If smartphones had been around when Jesus was, how would He have handled it? Well, we know He was big on love (Mark 12:30-31 for a reminder), and the Bible tells us 'Love is patient and kind ... it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way' (1 Corinthians 13:4-5 ESV). When we're impatient and expect something now, we've pretty much decided that our needs and wants are more important than anyone else's, and that we know what the best plan of action is, above everyone (even above God's plan). This doesn't really fit with God's definition of love. When we choose to be followers of Jesus, with that comes the responsibility of representing Him on earth, and that means being patient, kind, and considerate at all times. No exceptions.. So what now? When you're waiting for a website to load or a reply to a message, use that time to pray and talk to God (perhaps ask for an extra drop of patience).

Soulfood: Is 12-16, John 6:35-51, Ps 98, Prov 27: 23-24


Sharp Friends Are Good Friends

'As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.' Proverbs 27:17 NLT Have you ever watched a chef sharpening a knife on one of those sharpening steels? The chef is using one piece of metal to take the rough edges off another and improve it. Now, it only works if the chef does it in the correct way. If he does it the wrong way, the knife becomes more blunt. No slice of roast beef for you today. Now, imagine you're having a disagreement with a friend. If you approach the problem with anger and blame, you'll exaggerate the problem to something far worse. It's super-easy to get defensive and fall into a blame game that only ends up hurting everyone - no slice of friendship for you today. But when we prayerfully approach our issues with love and honesty, it opens the door to a calm discussion and possibly a stronger, 'new improved' relationship. Take a look at these wisdom-pearls on the matter: Proverbs 20:3 NLT says, 'Avoiding a fight is a mark of honour; only fools insist on quarrelling,' and Proverbs 15:18 NIV says, 'A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.' No two ways about it, then. It's time to drop your pride and look at what's best for the long term. As long as you live, you're not going to avoid having disagreements, but when they do happen, you can pray to make them constructive. So what now? Today, thank a friend who keeps you sharp.

Soulfood: 2 Kings 6:8-23, Matt 5:43-48, Luke 6:27-36


Judgement No

'In the same way you judge others, you will be judged.' Matthew 7:2 NIV Many religious leaders in Jesus' day were hyper-judgmental. They had a fixed idea of the correct way to behave, but Jesus and His disciples didn't play by their human-made rules. Jesus and His followers were too busy trying to share real, truthful peace with everyone. The leaders were quick to call them out on their behaviour, but Jesus flipped their criticisms over. He pointed out that they were more worried about breaking traditions created by man than breaking God's commandments (Matthew 15:1-9). The leaders were so fixated on the actions they saw and didn't like that they completely missed the world-changing, world-fixing heart of Jesus. They judged Him for breaking rules without taking a second to figure out why He wanted to do it. But He knew their hearts, and He called them on it. Jesus reminded them: 'You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. But if I do judge, My decisions are true, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent Me' (John 8:15-16 NIV). We can only see someone's actions, but God can see what's going on in their heart as well. Only God knows all the facts, so let's go to Him first before we form an opinion on someone. So what now? Is someone doing something that's easy to judge? Instead of making comments or even just silently judging them, pray for the person. Then, and only then, if God asks you to chat to them about it, do so.

Soulfood: Is 8-11, John 6:25-34, Ps 85, Prov 27:20-22


Little Ones Say Yes

'I ... am like a sparrow alone on the housetop.' Psalm 102:7 NKJ The Bible is full of examples of one person making a massive difference. Quite often, they're little guys who don't really fit into the shoes of a 'big-shot hero'. Young David was the only person who stood up to Goliath (1 Samuel 17). One little boy gave up his lunch, and then watched Jesus turn it into an all-you-can-eat buffet for 5,000 (John 6:9-11). And while we're on the subject, there was only one Son of God. He made a pretty big difference, too. Problem is, God's plans for us have a habit of taking us out of our comfort zones. It can be tempting to say, 'Sorry God, I can't do it. You've picked the wrong person for this.' The psalmist must have been feeling like this when he wrote today's title verse: He compares himself to a sparrow - powerless, small, alone. But God's brilliant at turning our weaknesses into strengths. Is God calling you into a place where you don't feel entirely safe, at ease or strong? God's prepared the path for you. He wants you to know that 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness' (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV). One of the main messages throughout the Bible is simply this: God wants to use your weaknesses. It's not a case of 'He'll even use you, but He'd rather use stronger people for better things'. No! He wants to take you to places you've never been with Him, and all He needs is a 'yes'. So what now? 'Yes Lord!'

Soulfood: Is 4-7, John 6:16-24, Ps 126, Prov 27:17-19


No Whinge or Grumble

'So Moses brought their case before the Lord.' Numbers 27:5 NKJ Let's be honest, we all moan about things. But it doesn't fix much. We'd probably all agree that complaining doesn't lead to a healthy soul. Have a read of Numbers 27:1-11. The laws prevented Zelophehad's five unmarried and brotherless daughters from inheriting their father's money. The sisters could have gone around grumbling and becoming bitter. But instead, they kept their hearts positive and got pro-active. They went to see Moses and explained their problem to him. Moses took the problem to God, and He agreed and instructed Moses to give them their inheritance. Instead of complaining about their problem to anyone who'd listen and never getting it sorted out, the sisters explained it to people who could actually do something about it - to God, who could tell Moses to change the law, and to Moses, who could put the change into action. Where would you be in this grumbling case? Next time something goes wrong, think constructively. It takes genuine effort to avoid getting into a flap and moaning about the problem, but it will be worth it. Figure out who can help you, and go to them. Explain what's going on, what needs to happen, and ask for help. Oh, and obviously, before that happens, take it to God. So what now? Next time you feel a bit of a whinge coming on, stop yourself. Take yourself out of the situation, and into a quiet space. Tell God first, out loud if you can, before you tell anyone else. Let Him change your approach.

Soulfood: Is 1-3, John 6:1-15, Ps 5, Prov 27:13-16


Don't Be A Hoarder

'This day is a day of good news, and we remain silent.' 2 Kings 7:9 NKJ The Samarians were pretty desperate. The Aramean army had surrounded their city and was trying to starve them into surrender. Between the city wall and the Aramean camp, four lepers were living in quarantine. They decided that, because they were starving to death anyway, they'd go over to the Aramean camp and give themselves up. They were willing to risk capture on the off-chance they'd be kept alive and fed. So off they went, only to find the Arameans had run away, leaving all their food and belongings behind. They had this amazing hoard to themselves. But, before too long they realised that, while they were gathering treasure, their city was still in despair, starving and completely oblivious to their freedom. 'They said to each other, "What we're doing is not right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves"' (2 Kings 7:9 NIV). They'd started off in dire need and found real hope that they knew needed sharing. Guess what? You're in the middle of people who don't know Jesus. People who are spiritually starving, completely oblivious to the freedom they could have in Christ. You have the amazing privilege of knowing Jesus and the hope He brings to the world. Don't hoard it for yourself. So what now? The next person that tells you they're hungry, buy them a snack (or even invite them for proper food). While you're at it, find a natural way to tell them about something that God gives to you. Sharing truly is caring.

Soulfood: Ex 39-40, John 5:31-47, Ps 15, Prov 27:10-12

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