The Morning Wake Up with Bjorn & Tiff

Word For You Today

Close-Range Pain (1)

Ever been paintballing? It's the close-range shots that hurt the most. And it's the same with life stuff. We get wounded if something close to our hearts, or someone that we trust, turns out to be not quite how we thought, or wanted. Betrayal, man. It stings (King David felt it - read the whole story in Psalm 55). Even if we're not the type to admit to feeling 'wounded' when stuff goes wrong, it still affects us. Betrayal, and other messy life-stuff, throws us out of balance. And, truth is, not dealing with it properly affects our relationship with God. This might feel like a tough idea, but not taking time to work through those it separates us from the fullness of God's grace. Matthew 6:14-15 brings that home.

Also, not dealing with hurt can lead us into a new sense of not-quite-full-trust towards God. The likelihood is that we might not be yelling at the sky, raging at God, but perhaps just feeling slightly... off. We're not saying that it's a conscious act, but the stuff that sits on our heart changes its landscape. And there's only one thing that fixes it. Honesty. With God, and ourselves. It's ok to feel hurt. It's not un-Christian. It's not petty. It's human. And, guess what, we are human.

So what now? We need to learn to hand over the deep stuff to the Holy Spirit. Go for a 30 minute prayer walk today, and assess whether anything is sitting, undealt with, in your mind. Talk to God about it, 100% honestly. Keep nothing back. Invite Him to heal you.

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


Nope. No. No Can Do.

Believe it or not, even people who have decided to live generously are allowed to say the word 'no'. Wow. Great, we can get out of stacking the chairs at church now? Not exactly, let's have a look at when it's appropriate. We've been looking at God-filled change and desire over the past few days, and now it's time to think about how those things can get crowded out sometimes.

Often we find ourselves in the Christian habit of saying 'yes' to just about everything we get asked to do, especially when it's at church. Let's get one thing straight, making ourselves available to serve isn't a bad thing: in fact, the Bible says God honours anyone that serves Jesus (John 12:26). But when we start to say 'yes' to too many things, we're in danger of giving a half-hearted effort, and our God-filled desires often begin to get cut short. We end up confused about our priorities, and it's our own time with God that usually suffers the most.

If we really do want to 'press on' towards godliness (Philippians 3:14 style), we have to make sure that we're not going to burn out. Reaching forwards takes effort. Let's use our Spirit-led desires (remember them from yesterday?) to discern what we need to say 'yes' to, and what we need to put on a back burner, or even turn down completely.

So what now? Encourage a generous friend today. Take someone out for coffee and steer the conversation towards how they're doing. Make sure they're not saying 'yes' more than they should.

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


Renovate Good Times (2)

Yesterday we looked at change in us from God. Today we're looking at desires for us from God: the desires that are for God's masterplan for creation. In Philippians 2:13 NIV it says God works in us ' order to fulfil His good purpose.' Inviting Jesus into our lives opens us up to being ambassadors, the ones in this world to translate God's will into action.

The more we seek God, the more we desire Him and His purpose. His desires become ours, and they're achieved through the individuality and unique talents He's given to us. In John 15:5 NIV Jesus said 'I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.' Our desires must stem from our desire for God. When we seek God, whether it's through His Word, time spent in worship, or in prayer, we learn to listen to God's heart.

In Psalm 37:4 NIV it says, 'Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.' When our heartbeat gets in step with God, amazing, powerful stuff happens, and the world learns what Christians are really about.

So what now? Think about which of the world's problems you'd solve if you could. Plan two actions to do something about that issue. Make one action practical (e.g. if you want to help with homelessness, pray for or give to someone homeless), and one political (e.g. then, write a letter to your MP about improving homeless facilities in your area).

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


Renovate Good Times (1)

Ever watch those daytime TV shows where they try to decorate a house before the owners arrive back? They're always the same, you get the stressful middle bit, the overly emotional ending, and at least two garish 'feature walls'. And sometimes our lives are the same: that bit in the middle where everyone stresses out, followed by an emotional fallout.

When we're so keen to see ourselves change (to quit that habit, to be more Christ-like, to pursue what's holy - all good things) we can forget that it's only possible with God's Spirit. We try it alone, we stress and pressure ourselves to improve, which can send us crashing into all sorts of negative places.

Just like the makeover shows, though, God wants to 'renovate' you. Take a look at what's on offer in Philippians 1:9-11 NIV: '...depth of insight', 'pure and blameless', 'filled with the fruit of righteousness.' Sounds kind of huge. But God's a renovation pro. The Holy Spirit is the only one who can renovate and refresh you, and make you more like the Christian you desire to be. When you allow God's Spirit to work on the stuff that you can't, you'll begin to see change.

So what now? When you're done pondering over the things that might need renovating in your own heart, find something to renovate for someone else. Clean up something that you don't use - a techie gadget you don't use anymore, some decent clothes that you never wear - and give it to someone who really will use it. Think big, and get creative.

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


Bubble-wrap socks

A stubbed toe as we go to the bathroom, an empty milk bottle as we get breakfast, and by lunchtime we realise we've been in a foul mood all morning. Sometimes, the little things that go wrong can make us massively grumpy. That's without even getting onto the more serious stuff that goes wrong.. So how on earth did Paul manage to say that he '...learned the secret of living in every situation...' (Philippians 412 NLT)? Had he created a bubble wrap sock that protected his toes from ever getting stubbed? Or maybe he'd taken to hiding the milk to ensure there was enough left for his bowl of Weetbix?

Doubt it! We reckon it's probably more to do with the spiritual choices he was making. He was choosing to spend time praising God, even when things were looking bleak. He believed in a God that was greater than his circumstances and more powerful than his emotions. So...the secret? Take a look at Philippians 4:4...Yep. Rejoicing. The original Greek for rejoicing, 'chairo', is often translated as meaning 'to experience God's grace', or to be 'conscious of His favour'.

Let's stay conscious of that grace today and make like Paul; let's go out there, rejoicing.

So what now? Sing! Seriously. Sing the most cheerful worship song you can think of, out of doors (!), today. Even better, grab some friends and have a little worship session somewhere in the open. Remember, the key is to share your 'chairo' with the world, so joyful head bob dances get extra points.

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


Family: not perfect but real

White picket fence, cute little porch, dinner table laughs and not an argument in sight. Ahh family. And that's the end of today's reading. What! That's not how it goes? Yes. Family life can be tough. In fact, every family is different. Maybe you actually do have a picket fence, or perhaps your reality is far from picket-fence perfect. Whatever your experience of family, your choice to become a Christian is the choice to adopt, and be adopted into, another (huge) family.

In John 1:12 we're described as 'children of God.' Now this definitely still isn't a 1950's advert family with little Jimmy and his Dad playing catch in the back yard. There will still be times when we get frustrated, upset and disappointed by other 'new family members'.

Being part of God's family means reflecting God's character. We're expected to honour and respect others (have a look at 1 Timothy 5:1-2), and we need to look out for one another (Galatians 6:10). Being a part of God's family is always going to be a challenge, but when we work together to see lives changed we learn to reflect the heart of God.

So what now? Think about someone who's made a difference in your life over the past few years. Maybe someone who isn't even a huge part of your life anymore. Figure out the best way to get in touch with them, and thank them for whatever-it-is they've done for, or given to, you. Ask them if there's anything you can do to show your appreciation, and give back to them.

Soulfood : 2 Chr 22-24, Mark 8:14-26, Ps 119:129-136, Prov 22:8-10


The Dog Ate My Kingdom Work...

Proverbs is a good 'go-to' book in the Bible. Full of all that wisdom and verses short enough for handy encouragement texts. But every now and again, we read a Proverb that makes us say 'Oops', and makes us just a little bit uncomfortable. That, friend, is conviction - when we spot something that God tells us to do or not do, and our minds instantly flick to a particular situation, person or thing that's going on in our lives.

Here's one of those convicting Proverbs: 'Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbour, "Come back tomorrow and I'll give it to you" - when you already have it with you' (Proverbs 3:28 NIV). Being a Christian is tough, we want to help people but it can take so much time, money and energy. Have a look at Luke 9:57-62 to see how Jesus reacted to people's excuses. Oops.

So, here's a gutsy thought: what if we stopped making excuses and started seizing those opportunities to build God's Kingdom?

So what now? Today, as much as possible, do everything reasonable that you're asked to, right away. And while you're at it, do the same for the stuff you're not directly asked to do. If your gran asks you to call her, drop what you're doing, and phone her right then. If someone in your house uses the last of the sugar, replenish it right away. You get the idea? No more excuses!

Soulfood : Ex 17:8-16, 2 Cor 1:3-7

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