Dan
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Word For You Today

The Everyday You Cant See (1)

Story time: There are these two young fish swimming along and they meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, Morning, boys. Hows the water? And one young fish looks over at the other and goes: What is water? That story was told in a graduation speech by a guy called DF Wallace, whose point was: that the normal, the everyday, the clichd parts of our lives can have colossal value that we skip over because we know them so well. Sometimes we have to defend the value of the totally obvious to ourselves.

How much more so with Gods grace the everyday truth of our lives that we cant always see? Gods grace simply means God giving us more of Himself than we have any right to. For our days work. For talking to other people about Jesus. For our emotional wellbeing. For the people around us. For our healing. For their healing. God will always give us more of Himself than we hope or deserve. He wants to build you up and give you an inheritance.

We forget this. The worship songs get overlearned and the sermons get stale unless we remind ourselves. You are not just a spring of Gods grace that pops up in a desert youre part of Gods great river of grace, rushing through history, carrying every believer. Hes our water. And He wants to flow through us.

So what now? If you can: have a deliberately boring day. Really. Dont do anything outside of your ordinary routine. And every hour, look out for something new that youve never spotted before.

Soulfood : 1 Sam 14-15, Matt 24:1-14, Ps 102:1-11, Prov 17:4-6

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Buddy Up

Know what God wants most from you? Not a tally of names youve helped convert. Not a list of good deeds youve ticked off. Not an indepth knowledge of the Old Testament minor prophets. Nor does He want your songs most, nor your church attendance, nor your good intentions. All of those things are great, but most of all, He wants your friendship. God wants the deepest part of you; the part that defines you: your heart.

When everyone is busy doing something for Him, few want to know Him. Theyll talk about Him, write about Him, sing about Him; and yet ignore Him. He wants more than to just be an item on your todo list or a Sunday obligation or guilty mustpraymore feeling in your conscience; He wants you. pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV) means an ongoing dialogue. Friends dont chat out of obligation; they want to share life together. God wants to share your life; to be right in the centre of involvement, and to share Himself with you: The Lord confides in those who fear Him; He makes His covenant known to them (Psalm 25:14 NIV). Will you get to know Him better by the end of this year?

So what now? What can you do to help yourself speak and listen to God? Will a journal help? A regular prayer time? A Bible commentary? Make a commitment today to something of that sort, and write your commitment on paper to remind you.

Soulfood : 1 Sam 11-13, Matt 23:23-39, Ps 98, Prov 17:1-3

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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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