Nights with Josh
7-12am

Word For You Today

Whatve You Got?

Its brilliant when you get a direct answer to prayer through another person. But, have you ever considered the fact that you could actually be the answer to someone elses prayers? Seriously, think about what you have to offer. God equips each one of us with gifts to bless other people. Find yourself on your knees in prayer fairly often? Great! Sometimes, when you get up and walk back into the world, youre a walking answer to prayer (see Isaiah 52:7 for further details). Maybe youre pretty good at just listening or perhaps youre great at cheering people up.

In Luke 6:38 KJV Jesus said: Give, and it shall be given unto you. Now, that doesnt mean that youll always get a good deal. There will be people who let you down and take more than they give. But, God promises that when you commit to serving others, He will honour you. John 12:26 NIV says: My Father will honour the one who serves Me. And as long as youre seeking Gods honour (rather than the selfgratification of being praised for being an amazing friend), youre on the right track.

So what now? Sit down with a Christian friend and chat about what you think they bring into peoples lives (even if its just that they can make you laugh till you cry wait, that shouldnt be just thats an awesome gift). Then ask them to tell you what you bring into peoples lives. You might be surprised by how much of a blessing you truly are.

Soulfood : Ezra 9-10, Mark 2:1-12, Ps 78:32-39, Prov 20:1-3

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Give Up(wards)

Matthew 6:24 NIV says: You cannot serve both God and money. Buying a few new tshirts, when we already have a full wardrobe, isnt serving money, is it? Possibly not. Theres nothing wrong in buying stuff. But we would ask you this Did you ask God what He wanted you to do with that cash before splashing it? Now, this is not a guilt trip. Promise. Its a reality check. Some inspiration to move forwards with. And its inspiration that we all need. Weve all got to get our priorities straight. Everything we have is a gift from God anyway. Our very lives, and everything in them, are given by Him, so we have a definite duty to invite Him to shine through them.

That means offering everything back to Him, as soon as it lands in our hands. Whether its the $100 birthday money from granny, or the $2 you just found on the floor, God loves it when you give it back to Him. He wont necessarily tell you to give $102 to charity/church/the homeless guy in town. He may just ask you to give a regular amount to one of them, though. But, if you take it all to Him, you accept the risk that He may tell you to give away all that you dont need for bills. In fact, scratch that, you dont just accept that risk. Youll learn to delight in the Godgiven hazard of generosity.

So what now? Tithe. Easy peasy. Your disposable income (what youd spend on cappuccinos or chinos) prayerfully give 10% of it away, to something on your heart.

Soulfood : Ezra 6-8, Mark 1:35-45, Ps 78:17-31, Prov 19:27-29

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Super Power

Ever watched a superhero film and been convinced you must have superpowers you havent discovered yet? No? Oh come on, you know you have. As much as we can close our eyes and convince ourselves we can teleport from our desk to New York, we usually can feel pretty weak. In fact, the latters the more common. Weve all had moments of sheer helplessness, where its almost impossible to get out of bed because were physically/emotionally exhausted.

As hard as life can be sometimes, you can trust Him. If youre willing to step out, His power goes with you. Isaiah 40:29 NIV says: He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Thats pretty incredible encouragement! We may not have teleportation powers but this verse from Isaiah tells us that, even in our weakest moments, we have power that God will build on. It means that we dont have to live in exhaustion and weakness. God has the amazing power to take everything that wears us down, and free us from it. Hes ready and willing to help you, if youll bring it all to Him. That also goes for when youre not allowing yourself to feel weak. When youre convincing yourself that you can do it alone, youre denying God the right to carry you and strengthen you. Allow Him in, He knows what Hes doing.

So what now? Every time you see a picture of a superhero, remember the super(natural) power that goes before you and the strength that God provides.

Soulfood : Ezra 3-5, Mark 1:21-34, Ps 78:9-16, Prov 19:24-26

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Bogus Slogans

You only live once. Its easy to be cynical about this and other nice tshirt slogans like: Live for today, When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, Carpe Diem etcetera. But, hold up, maybe theres something a bit deeper in this whole seize the day message that we shouldnt so casually dismiss. Ecclesiastes 9:9 NIV says: Enjoy life with your wife. (Now that we can see on a tshirt, mainly because it rhymes). But it goes on to say: For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labour under the sun. Wow. Not so t-shirt friendly after all? In Luke 9:62 NIV, a man says, I will follow You, Lord, but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family. Jesus replies, No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of God. Theres a seize the day message if ever there was one.

Maybe youve noticed: any Instagram filteredposterpic type slogans that we can grab from the Bible tend to be paired with some real kickers. Theyre not just nice platitudes or motivational quips. Yes, God is all for the seize the day mentality, but look again at the reason we cant put Gods Kingdom off until later. We have to be prepared to step up today. To make today (and the direction of our lives) more about God than ourselves, to serve in whatever immediate way we can. Lets not put it off.

So what now? Simple. Choose one little thing you can do today that will grow Gods Kingdom. Go for it.

Soulfood : Ezra 1-2, Mark 1:9-20, Ps 78:1-8, Prov 19:21-23

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Servant Heart

We see so much of people serving in church (in welcome teams, in coffee rosters, handing out hymn books on the way in and so on) that we can sometimes lose touch with the word servant. We become desensitised to the whole idea and just end up assuming that its all about how often we stack the chairs. But being a servant in Gods eyes is less about the actual acts we do (though they are important), and more about the attitude we bring. You see, if we stack the chairs at church but get home and whinge about it, weve completely missed the point. Cut to a great verse in Pauls letter to the people of Philippi: Do everything without complaining or arguing (Philippians 2:14 GWT). Everything? Yes. Can you imagine Jesus saying I really dont feel like doing that today, God.? Jesus was willing to be a servant, willing to do as the Father asked Him, even if that meant a rough deal. Its tough, but its what God calls us to be too.

Galatians 5:13 NIV says: You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. God made you free so that you could serve. Use that freedom.

So what now? Grab someone who looks like they might be in charge at your church, and ask what jobs need doing. Even the smallest of oddjobs is an opportunity to exercise your Godgiven freedom.

Soulfood : Zeph 1-3, Mark 1:1-8, Ps 46, Prov 19:18-20

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Almighty Wisdom

The book of Proverbs contains many pearls of wisdom. But, heres the thing its only full of wisdom when you read it, use it and do something about it. Gods Word was never meant to be a bunch of letters on a page shoved in a bookcase somewhere. It was always intended to be full of truth, wisdom and promise, to be used. Wisdom may seem like a theoretical thing, but its totally not. Its a basis of real, solid understanding an understanding that equips us to live out Gods plans and commands.

You wouldnt expect a vacuum cleaner to keep your house clean when its left in the cupboard under the stairs; its the same with your Bible (not sure why weve mentioned vacuums two days in a row). If you want to get the most out of your Bible and start living out your faith, youve got to get it out daily. In Proverbs 1:5 NIV it says: Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. The original word for learning used here is leqach, which is connected with the idea of taking something. Basically, Proverbs is about us taking wisdom from God. Hes the Almighty source of wisdom, He embodies wisdom itself, so anytime were struggling with something, Hes the one to go to.

So what now? Remember memory verses? Its old school, but its a good way of allowing Scripture to permeate your life and impact the way you see things. Learn a (useful for you) verse from Proverbs by heart this week.

Soulfood : Num 9:15 ?23, Exodus 24:15, Matt 17:1-8

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Excuses

Im washing my hair, Im doing my homework, Im vacuuming my cat. All excuses weve used before to get out of a variety of things. (Maybe not the cat one, people wont believe you). But what about when were trying to get out of taking responsibility for something? When weve hurt a friend, left someone out or made a really bad choice? It can be so hard to hold up our hands and say, You know what? My bad. But sometimes, its the only way to move on.

Proverbs 12:22 ESV says: Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are His delight. God actually delights in seeing us do the right thing. That doesnt mean that doing the right thing will be an easy ride, but it does mean that when weve messed up and we are willing to take responsibility we are bringing honour to God. On the flipside, when we use I didnt know as our script for sticky situations, no matter how many people believe us, God sees our motivation for excuses. When were willing to swallow our pride and own up, we are pointing our lives in a Godward direction everyones a winner.

So what now? Ephesians 4:26 NIV says: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. Use that as a challenge: seek to put things right with your family and friends before you go to bed tonight. It might be tough, and it might be a long time before a relationship is repaired, but take the first step towards it today.

Soulfood : 1 Tim 4-6, Matt 28:11-20, Ps 42:6-11, Prov 19:15-17

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