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Word For You Today

JESUS-LIKE: HUMILITY

'Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.' Philippians 2:5 NIV

We know. You have rights. You deserve to be happy. And live freely. (And sarcasm aside, we do actually hope you know that!) But, sometimes, we can cling to our 'rights' until our fingers turn blue and we're kicking and climbing on others to keep hold of what we think we're entitled to. That is not Jesus-like. Think about it. Then check out Philippians 2:1-11. That's right. Jesus 'was like God in everything. But He did not think that being equal with God was something to be used for His own benefit. But He gave up His place with God and made Himself nothing. He was born as a man and became like a servant....' (NCV).

He took on the status of a servant. A humble servant. The King of the universe didn't see Himself as too entitled to anything to step right down onto this messy, ignorant earth. And He didn't step down onto a comfy, shiny, gold throne; He placed Himself in a rough old animal trough. More than that - He died the death of a criminal. He definitely didn't deserve that. And that's our example to follow. If stuff that we don't deserve comes our way (and we're guessing it probably will, at some point), Jesus shows that it's our job to deal with it gracefully. We're called to find the balance between living healthy lives for ourselves, and putting others (appropriately) first. Tricky, but it's definitely doable. That's the way that Jesus lives.

So what now? Hold some doors open today. See how many people you can allow to go first through them, before you do. Stand back and be humble. (But please, if you're at all concerned you're being taken advantage of, chat to someone older and wiser, even if just to check. There is a fine line between serving and being taken advantage of.)

SoulFood: 2 Tim 1-4; Luke 22:54-62; Ps 19; Pro 24:19-22

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BEING ACTIVELY GOOD

'We know that all things work together for good...' Romans 8:28 NKJ

Romans 8:28. All things work together for the good of God-lovers. We've all probably heard this, a lot. But, when you really look at it, that verse packs a punch. It calls for actively doing good in our lives. Read it again, slooowly, and out loud. 'And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose' (NIV).

Try the same with John 14:21 (NIV): 'Whoever has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me. The one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love them and show Myself to them'.

So, those who do what God teaches love Him. And they will have everything in their lives positioned for their good. If we want the 'all things working together for good' bonus, we're called to live like God wants. We have to actually 'do' loving God in our actions and thoughts, not just sing it in songs and tell Him in prayers every now and then. Re-reading Romans 8:28 with that thought in mind feels a little punchier. It's no longer something nice to say when someone's had a bad day. It becomes a call to act in the way that Jesus teaches us to, in order to have a truly good life.

So what now? Matthew 25:34-40 gives a good overview of actions that are important to God. In every situation, look for what God would have you do for Him, to bring about good.

SoulFood: Micah 5-7; Luke 22:39-53; Ps 24; Pro 24:15-18

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WHO IS IN YOUR PATH?

'...Through love serve one another.' Galatians 5:13 NKJ

To be our most effective for God it's best to have the right people around us, giving us the necessary pointers, handing us the necessary materials or just cheering us on when we need it. And God makes sure that happens. Whatever He's planning for you, He'll drop you in exactly the right situation to make it happen how He wants. That means He'll steer you into the right place, at the right time, with the right group of people around you. That's pretty good of Him, huh?

Any of the people in your life could be there because God wants them to be. Seriously. If you carry the person of Jesus in you (like... by being a Christian) then God will be arranging things around you. He'll put people in your path. And they might just be the key to God's next step for you, whether that's by developing some part of your character, or by sending an opportunity your way. So take your relationships to God, the good along with the bad, and ask Him for the strength and maturity to recognise God-given people and opportunities. And make sure to be patient with, and grace-full to, every single person in your life. Who knows what role they may end up playing in the future?

So what now? Write down three names - the person you absolutely love to be around; a person you find difficult to be around; and a person who you miss being around. Ask God to help you unravel the reasons they are (or are no longer) in your life, and to give you peace about that. And hey, while you're at it, pray for those people too!

SoulFood: Micah 1-4; Luke 22:24-38; Ps 78:65-72; Pro 24:11-14

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BE (A GOOD) CHEEKY

Luke 11:5-8 tells the story of a guy who knocks on his neighbour's door in the middle of the night to ask to borrow some bread. The neighbour mutters to himself something along the lines of 'Ugh. I was in bed. And I have to be up at six to wash the goats...'. Then he graciously gets up, opens his door and gives the guy some bread. All because he had the sheer cheek to knock in the first place.

You see, God admires guts. It's not that He wants us to be rude, He wants us to know the love He has for us, and what He invites us to ask for. He makes it pretty clear - 'Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you' (Matthew 7:7 NKJ). A wise preacher said: 'the battle shall not go to the strong, nor to the smart, but to the cheeky'. If you ever put sweets into your parent's supermarket trolley whilst they watched your cheeky grin, you know what we're talking about.

If you want to hear from God, start up the conversation. Ask Him to speak. He's always on the other side of the door waiting to answer. Just make sure you're ready for Him to speak. It's no good asking anything of God if you don't make space and silence to hear back.

So what now? Have you ever trusted that God would answer any prayer you asked? Remind yourself of that feeling of trust, then, with 'good cheekiness' ask Him for something else that you need an answer for. He is waiting to be asked.

Soulfood : Neh 11-13, Lk 22:14-23, Ps 78:56-64, Prov 24:5-10

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FORGIVENESS FOR FREEDOM

It's normal (and right) to go through the process of healing from being hurt. But, the forgiveness thing still has to happen. Have a look back at yesterday's reading. Jesus stepped in to fix things between us and God, which hurt Him, in the form of metal nails, whip-lashes, spears and a crown of thorns. And it came with its own soundtrack of the careless laughter of His enemies, alongside the heartbroken cries of His family. But He faced the experience, full of forgiveness. Jesus shows that there is a healthy way to get over hurt. That forgiveness is not about staying the victim, but about taking control through loving-but-strong action. He did it so that we could be let off for all our past, present and future sins.

Wow. We think that should be enough inspiration to forgive the people who've acted really terribly towards us. It may not practically make it much easier to do, we know, but it provides the best reason to forgive. And, incidentally, the whole beautiful plan of what Jesus did on the cross for us provides a bridge back to God's power. And if anything can help you to forgive, it's God's power. Just ask Him.

So what now? Matthew 6:12 (NLT) says 'Forgive us for our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us'. Give thanks to Jesus that He taught you how to forgive, providing a way for us to forgive others. Then forgive anyone who has wronged you - let them off what they have done... it will actually set you free as well!

Soulfood : Neh 8-10, Lk 22:1-13, Ps 78:40-55, Prov 24:1-4

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DEMOLITION JESUS

 



You're a professional brick layer. We all are. We spend our days adding bricks to the wall that separates us from God. Most Christians call that wall sin. Call it what you will, it's built to separate us from any sort of relationship with God-the-Father. And we would've got away with finishing the wall if it hadn't been for that Jesus character.



He came, He gave Himself up and tore down all the walls we had built (and will try to build) between us and the love of God. That's what 1 Timothy 2:5 means - Jesus is the one that stands alongside humankind and God the Father at the same time. He communicates across the gap between us and God, and makes things right - He even prays on our behalf (see John 17 for details).



When Jesus said 'No one comes to the Father except through Me' (John 14:6 NIV), that's exactly what He meant. No one can kneel, stand, sing, whisper, cry or anything before God if they don't go to and through Jesus first. He fought and died for our right to be on good terms with God. And that's the absolutely vital importance of Jesus in Christianity. If it wasn't for The Master-Plan of His sacrifice, we'd have no place before God. We'd have no Heaven to look forward to. We'd have, well, a very dark eternal future.



 



So what now? Think about a particular wall (sin) that you have been building between you and God. Give it to Jesus, stand back and ask Him to demolish the wall and to open the way to your Father.

Soulfood : Heb 11:23-28, Ex 3, Ex 33:7-23, Ex 34:29-35

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THE WORD OF GOD - THE FOUNDATION OF THE LAW

 



Psalm 119 is kind of incredible. It's a really impressive poem that constantly refers back to the words of God. Every single thing that this Psalm says about God, or asks of Him, comes from the Torah (the old Hebrew word for law). It's veeeeerrrryyy obvious that this particular writer is extremely focused on the Torah; he's clearly read it a lot, knows a lot about it, and is constantly referring back to it.



There's something we can (and should) learn from this. We modern-day Christians always seem to stress that it's the relationship with God that's the important thing. And that's true. But, over the centuries, it may be possible that we've lost touch with the fact that some of this relationship is built through following the Bible's instruction. We can get to know a ton about God's personality through the pointers that He gives us on how to live. When we understand 'how' to live as God wants, we automatically get to 'know' Him better. Psalm 119 proves it.



When we read the Bible in a way that changes us and our actions, we open ourselves up to being pulled a whole lot closer to Him.



 



So what now? Take some time today to read Psalm 119. It is pretty long, so take a break every few verses to let the words sink in. It gives such practical steps on how to develop your relationship with a God who loves you.

Soulfood : Neh 5-7, Lk 21:25-38, Ps 78:32-39, Prov 23:29-35

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