Nights with Sherryn

Word For You Today

Point of View 2

'Do you look at things according to the outward appearance?' 2 Corinthians 10:7 NKJ What is the answer to the question in 2 Corinthians 10:7? If we're honest, it's often... well, 'Yes'. But that can be so, so dangerous. Take a look at David. When Samuel paid a visit to David's family looking for a king for Israel, he wanted to take a look at all of the sons of Jesse. But David wasn't even asked by his father to join them. Left to tend the sheep, Jesse had assumed that his age and seeming unimportance compared to his older brothers made him a write-off. Not a chance. David was top-notch for the job: 'glowing with health' (1 Samuel 16:12 NIV) and filled with courage. In reality, he was not the scrawny kid his father saw. David was always going to be king. Similarly for you: God has your opportunities lined up, despite anything that anyone might say about you not making it. So it's always worth praying for patience, and bravery, with people who make you feel inferior. Love them, but don't believe their put-downs. Know that God's already given His life for you, so that you can know His approving welcome. So what now? Think: who's put you down? Whether a past thing or current thing, it's time to pray for a patient and forgiving spirit. Write it down, pray over it and share it with a wise Christian friend if you need to talk. If it's a current thing, pray for change. Being filled with grace and love doesn't mean we have to accept something that's outright-wrong.

Soulfood: Josh 1-4, Mark 10:1-12, Ps 103:1-12, Prov 22:27-29


Point of View 1

'So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view.' 2 Corinthians 5:16 NIV What does it mean to not look at people from a 'worldly point of view'? First up, some context. In the previous few verses, Paul has explained that we're waiting on a new body that God will give us in 'our heavenly dwelling' (2 Corinthians 5:4 NIV). That changes how we could (and should) relate to others. When God gets in, and starts to re-furb us into a 'new creation', these changes make us more and more free to live for Him (2 Corinthians 5:17). We do have to remember that it's a process. We're all still in an earthly form that isn't completely Christ-like. Easy enough to accept about ourselves, but we must remember that others are 'under construction' as well. We need to give grace to others; they are on a journey with God just as we are. The same goes for those who aren't yet Christians. Who knows what God is doing in the deepest places of their heart? The best response with someone you wish God was 'working on a-little-bit-faster-please', is to make the most of the good you see. God holds fast to you despite any pain you cause. When you're open enough with Him to accept that, and live 'for Him who died for them and was raised again' (2 Corinthians 5:15 NIV), you'll treat others with the same grace. So what now? Jot down five godly-qualities that you love in others. Then today, when you see someone living one of them out, compliment them on it.

Soulfood: 3 Jn, Jude, Mark 9:38-50, Ps 84, Prov 22:24-26


Hey Jude

'Others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire.' Jude 1:23 NKJ The book of Jude. You should read it; it's short and sweet. Down at the bottom of the only chapter, Jude gives us a sliding scale of the way we should approach others, including those who doubt and those who need 'snatching ... from the fire' (Jude 1:23 NIV). If this seems very street-preachy-ish to you, you're not too wrong. Whether or not that method seems appropriate, the kind of outreach that requires a quick, urging approach shouldn't be cast away. Imagine 'snatching' someone from a literal fire. No second guessing or skirting round the edges. Quite a direct approach, but what about when we see someone flirting with spiritual/mental danger? Perhaps our response shouldn't be one of waiting around. Now, we aren't commissioning each of you to find your nearest street corner and don the 'end is nigh' sign. But, do pray for a chance to speak into people's lives. Sometimes, Jesus speaks so clearly that there's no need for opening gags, three-point sermons or even a coffee meet. There are moments to 'arrest' someone who's putting themselves in danger right now and/or in eternity. Don't believe us? In Mark 5:1-35, Jesus' responses to a sick woman and a demon-possessed man are quite different. The woman needed more space and gentleness, whereas the guy wasn't going to listen to anything except a real in-the-moment truth. Heaps of discernment is very necessary, and prayer is key. So what now? Read Jude. Hey, we aren't letting it go... even if you've read it already, pay a return visit.

Soulfood: Gen 11:1-9, Phil 2:1-11


Saved Through Faith

'You have been saved through faith.' Ephesians 2:8 NKJ Ephesians 2:8 says you have been saved through faith. How does faith work? You are not saved by a feeling. Nope. Not the feels. Rather by getting to grips with the simplicity, challenge and complexity of the Gospel of Jesus. Then accepting it. (Hint: reminding yourself of the Gospel/'Good News' of Jesus every day will give you a long-term faith root. You need to remember how much God loves you every day.) Romans 10:17 tells you not to wait for a bolt of lightning to ignite your faith. If you've ever found yourself waiting for your experience of God to kick off, like the guy five seats away who always lifts his hands in worship, you don't need to. When someone's truly close to God, they've been spending quality time with Him. It's about listening to God, and not trying to force anything by yourself. Hebrews 11:6 encourages you that to truly 'hear' the word of God you need to receive it with an open heart. Even the best sermon, on its own, can't bring you closer to God. Believing that God is alive and willing to meet with you will greatly help that: 'anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him' (Hebrews 11:6 NIV). So what now? Have you been taking faith into your own hands, trying to find a way to get closer to God without stopping to listen to His voice? Take 10 minutes, as soon as possible, to drop everything to be with Him.

Soulfood: 2 Chr 35-36 + 2 Jn, Mark 9:30-37, Ps 119:169-176, Prov 22:20-23


Our Hope is in Him

'Where do I put my hope? ... in You.' Psalm 39:7 NLT Take a look at Psalm 39:4-7. It sounds a lot like David's hit a pessimistic speed-bump in his psalm writing. His life is just a moment, a breath, a tiny speck of insignificance. Is that true? People have depth to them. It's hard to imagine our fellow-human-beings as shadows that 'end in nothing' (Psalm 39:6 NLT). Our friends, family, the Hollywood big-shots, those we look up to in our lives, or on the news. People do make a difference. The thing is, however huge an impact we make, we are only here for the short-term. Our time on earth is insanely small in comparison to eternity. All the hard work and effort we put in on earth won't heap up to a lot unless it helps point people to God. How can we ensure our time on earth makes a difference? Without God, we can only stay within the bounds of this earth and everything that comes with being imperfect. Let's go to the One who brought us to eternity in the first place. Let's give our good ideas, our fears, our work/study life, even our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9) over to the God who gave everything for us. He'll show us how we can use everything to bless Him and others. So what now? Where do you put your hope? Spend time going through each thing you put hope in, commit it to God, and ask Him to be in it. Ask Him to re-direct all of your hope to Himself.

Soulfood: 2 Chr 32-34, Mark 9:14-29, Ps 119:161-168, Prov 22:17-19


Love Beyond Measure

'A bruised reed He will not break, and a smouldering wick He will not snuff out.' Matthew 12:20 NIV When a loved one dies by suicide, along with grief comes an extra load of unanswerable questions. 'What should I have said or done differently?' 'Didn't they appreciate how much this would hurt us?' Those feelings and questions take time, and God's grace, to resolve. Those who have lost a loved one through suicide wrestle with these questions, so we hope this reading might help. 'How does God feel about people who commit suicide?' God's plan is not suicide... for anyone. But equally, nobody understands better than He the pain and despair that could lead someone to want to escape their suffering. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus is constantly 'moved with compassion' for people. And today's verse describes how God feels about those who are feeling like a snapped plant-stem, or a faint glow where there was once a proud flame: He is for us, not against us. 'Are those who commit suicide not allowed into Heaven?' In Matthew 12:31-32, the Bible lays out the only 'unforgivable' sin, and it isn't suicide. As we said before, God's plan is not suicide. He has more for each of us than that. But He loves every person beyond suicide, too. Those who are grieving don't need to add that worry to our loads. Read Romans 8:38-39. Suicide can't stop God's overflowing love, or undo the salvation His love bought. So what now? Make prayer time today for those who have lost loved ones through suicide, and for those struggling with thoughts of suicide. Come, Lord Jesus, to each of them, we pray.

Soulfood: 2 Chr 29-31, Mark 9:1-13, Ps 119:145-160, Prov 22:14-16


Reconcile 2

'Leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them.' Matthew 5:24 NIV We'll comfortably assume that everyone reading this today has someone they need to make amends with in some way: a friend, a work colleague or a family member. The longer it's left alone, the more it swells up into something worse than it should be. Good news: Jesus has a simple, useful approach to setting us free from a grudge. Uncomfortable news: to be close to God, we need to recognise the link between knowing Him and forgiving others. Check out the verse at the top, and while you're at it, here's the full in-context version: 'Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift' (Matthew 5:23-24 NIV). What does that mean for you? Worshipping, drawing near to God, and being filled to go out and serve Him - there's something that needs to happen before that: reconciling. It's a humbling experience to make the first move, even if you haven't caused the problem. Check out what Ephesians 4:26-27 says on anger. Today, before the sun goes down, is the best time to make the move and set things straight. That's the way to freedom with them, in yourself, and with God. So what now? If you need to reconcile with someone, make a start today. Ask God to make the situation at least a little better by the time you meet with them.

Soulfood: 2 Chr 25-28, Mark 8:27-38, Ps 119:137-144, Prov 22:11-13

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