Nights with Josh
7-12am

Word For You Today

End of an Era

Soooo here we are halfway through 2015. Time to take stock. Feel as though youve taken some good steps forward so far? Maybe some of its been hard. Know what? Every day is perfect for a fresh start. ...His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22 23 NIV). Messed up? God knows. His arms are still wide open. Been hurt? God heals. Every morning Hes waiting with new refreshment, new strength for the day, new compassion.

Yet its frustrating when you feel like youve done your bit, and... nothing. Youve sent up prayers but nothings changed. Still you can be sure of this: God has heard every prayer. Psalm 56:8 NLT goes as far to say, You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book. God feels your pain. He meets you in your pain. But He knows why sometimes He gives a yes, sometimes a wait, and other times a no. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right (Psalm 84:11 NLT). God hasnt overlooked you or preferred someone else. 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 (Romans 8:28 NIV).

So what now? Leave the hurts of the first half of the year to history. And now look forward to the rest of 2015.

Soulfood : 1 Sam 8-10, Matt 23:13-22, Ps 95, Prov 16:31-33

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Different Sinners

The sum of Jesus teachings adds up to this: love God, love others. Everything else is a working out of that. Loving God is hard enough we pick up all kinds of mess and shame along the way, which can warp our picture of Him if we leave it unattended. But loving others, with their bad attitudes and selfishness and inconsistencies no way! How can you love someone who stabs you in the back and doesnt seem to think theyve done anything wrong? How can you like someone who believes stuff you know is wrong? How can you love someone who wont forgive you but expects you to forgive them? How can you accept someone who lives like they do?

Were all sinners. So maybe the question should be turned around: How can they love someone who lives like you do? We are all fallen. We all fail. Our struggles may be different to others, but none of us is perfect. Only Jesus lived a life without sin and yet He accepts you, despite yours (yes, even your worst and most recent sins). Isnt the best response to accept others, despite theirs? Jesus said, I give you... freely, so help other people freely (Matthew 10:8 NCV). Live generously with your material stuff, yes, and live generously in spirit with one another.

So what now? You know that person who you wouldnt spit on, even if they were on fire? (Be honest) Ask God to show you how God sees them. Ask God to help you love and accept them. Then, do one encouraging thing for them in the next week.

Soulfood : 1 Sam 4-7, Matt 23:1-12, Ps 64, Prov 16:27-30

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Drained?

Ever been there you need to make an urgent call but no! youve bled your battery dry checking Facebook / listening to music / watching animals make ridiculous noises on YouTube? We can get caught by a similar pothole with our minds, actually. Maybe we prioritise Netflix or gaming to a point where weve stayed up late, and dont have time to read the Bible.

You were designed to check in with God first everything else is mere add ons. While daytoday stuff on your phone may be a proper part of life, its really just a secondary bolton to the soulstuff we get from God. Its a risky business running your phone on 10% charge, hoping your battery doesnt die before you make it home. But its far riskier running your spirit on 10% time with God reawakens our lives, enabling us to inhabit the fullness He promises. When we run on low were susceptible to damage. Our thoughts can darken, temptation can brighten. We may turn in on ourselves or on others, nitpicking and faultfinding.

Tiredness has a way of bringing out the worst in us, whether its physical tiredness or spiritual tiredness. When you feel so drained you cant lift yourself up, tap into prayerpower; let God lift you up. Repair, restoration and recommissioning all happen in the quiet place. Instead of seeing prayer as an obligation, see it as a vital powerup.

So what now? Choose a time to turn your phone off and charge it. While its charging, spend time in prayer and worship.

Soulfood : Exod 34:29-35, Mk 9:2-27, 2 Cor 3:7-18

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Converter Obscura

Rodney Smith was born in a tent, raised in a travelling community, and never attended a school not even for one day. Yet, despite the fact his beginnings werent stable or glamorous, God used him to influence the lives of millions around the globe. In 1876, General William Booth (the founder of the Salvation Army) saw potential in this humble man and put him to work as an evangelist. By the time of his death in 1947, he had preached in the United States and Britain for over 70 years.

He once said, I didnt go through your colleges and seminaries. They wouldnt have mebut I have been to the feet of Jesus where the only true scholarship is learned. God loves to lift the humble, the hidden, the obscure: David went from shepherd boy to king; Joseph went from prisoner to prime minister; Abraham went from childless to father of nations. You may feel like a nobody right now, but God sees a somebody.

When the voice within whispers, Who are you? What can you do? Youll never amount to anything, thats not God. Its the deceiver, trying to throw you off course. Thats why its so important to spend time in prayer, renewing yourself in what God says about you.

So what now? Mull over these words tonight, before you go to sleep: So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honour. Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you (1 Peter 5:67 NLT).

Soulfood : 1 Sam 1-3, Matt 22:34-46, Ps 59:9-17, Prov 16:23-26

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See Yourself

Want to look hot the Elizabethan England way? Simply mix white lead and vinegar together and apply to your face. Youll look great until the lead poisoning kicks in. (Advice: do not to do this at home. Or anywhere else for that matter. Lead poisoning. Not good.) Weve luckily moved a long way in cosmetics since the 16th century. Every cosmetics brand has its own science lab, and hopefully none of them will be slipping deadly chemicals into your shower gel.

Yet despite the sheer volume of stuff out there that promises to make us look good, we all tend to be more insecure than wed actually like to admit. Its heartbreaking. Especially when our value just doesnt change because of whats on the outside. Theres nothing wrong in (healthily) trying to look good, but not as the beall and endall for our selfworth. ...because of Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for He chose us from the beginning, and all things happen just as He decided long ago (Ephesians 1:11 NLT).

Jesus loves you, even when you dont. Thats really important. And, if you ask, Hell slowly start to help you see it. When you learn to see yourself as God sees you, confidence soars and purpose roars. Its what God says that makes the difference.

So what now? If youre someone who really struggles with how you see yourself, talk to someone. Seriously. Today. Get some support from a trusted member of your church or family.

Soulfood : Song 5-8, Matt 22:23-33, Ps 59:1-8, Prov 16:20-22

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To Die For

Ever sent a friend request on Facebook and regretted it for fear that theyll hit ignore? Itll be awkward next time they see me, so theyll have to accept, right? Acceptance can be a tough one. Much of our world today is more about how popular we are and less about who we are. The social media world often measures our worth based on how many Twitter followers we have, how many times our cat meme gets reblogged, or how many likes on our Thanks for the bazillion birthday wishes Facebook post.

Now, truth is, Jesus likes us and wants us as we are now, not just the idea of what we might be some day. That should be enough for us to draw our selfesteem from. He actually lived out the youre worth dying for concept. Ephesians 1:6 NKJ says, He made us accepted in the Beloved. Amazing, so were good, yes? Not quite. God loves us enough to accept us, just as we are. But He loves us too much to leave us just as we are. Titus 2:1112 NIV says Gods grace teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live selfcontrolled, upright and godly lives. We cant earn Gods love, but we can let that love impact the way we do life. We can use that amazing acceptance as a motivation, a lifelong well of joy that helps us make Godfilled choices.

So what now? Text Ephesians 1:6 to a Christian friend today. It might be just what they need to hear.

Soulfood : Song 1-4, Matt 22:15-22, Ps 21, Prov 16:16-19

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Wasted Hours Given Back

The Prodigal Son story is really about God (through the character of the father) and His accepting us (His children) back and His forgiveness, even when we treat Him like dirt. Its a story that continues to be played out today. We sometimes still try to go it alone for whatever reason. And God accepts us back. Youd think Hed get tired, but this story is one Hes happy to write (and re-write) in each of our lives.

As Christians, we might be saved, but in our stillsin-filled life, the story of the prodigal son echoes through our decisions. We damage others. We still get tangled up in hurtful situations and wound others. We waste friendships, we waste the wealth of our new lives in Christ. We might feel like weve put wasted hours into friendships, relationships even into church... only to see them burned up, often by our own decisions. But. He. Doesnt. Waste. Anything. Even though the loss is real, God can make beauty from ashes. He makes good use of all that happens. Not only will He welcome us back and hold us in our selfinflicted hurt, but He will also turn the situation around for good.

So what now? Are there times that have ended in calamity, or times youve left others in pain? These things are hard and people arent always around to say sorry to. Ask God for the calm and stillness that will help you to trust in Him, and to trust that He will make all things turn out for good (Philippians 4:7 and Isaiah 26:3 style).

Soulfood : 2 Cor 11:16 - 13:14, Matt 22:1-14, Ps 17, Prov 16:12-15

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