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Word For You Today

SEE THE GRACE, NOT THE SIN

 



When it comes to any of our 'relationships' with others (any friendships, siblings, colleagues you kind-of-don't-want-to-but-kind-of-have-to be sat next to, marriage, parents), there's a simple acid-test we should be checking. Ready? Here it is: 'Am I going in the right direction?' Nice sat-navving, but what does that mean for navigating a world populated with friends and strangers? Well, all our thoughts, plans and decisions are either heading in our own direction, or away from ourselves and to God's direction. And God's direction is always towards the wellbeing of the other person. Guess it's kind of obvious.



We all have relationships we wish we could handle better: what about when they just keep getting it wrong, and we have to get all defensive? Or when they're so full of gossip that's it's impossible not to join in (and maybe backchat about them too)? Or when both people have messed up, but the easiest thing to do is just pass the blame on? Hmm.



When we take the trouble to bring about the best for the other person, and not to focus on their problems or mistakes, we're doing it right. Joseph Phillips said, 'Any idiot can point out sin. It takes "eyes that see" to see the rhythms of grace at work in a person.'



 



So what now? Think about those relationships that need fine-tuning or a better perspective - look past the hindrances to the grace that God has extended into those people and your relationship with them.

Soulfood : Josh 19:24-21:45, Lk 20:20-26, Ps 112, Prov 23:13-15

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SEE THE GRACE, NOT THE SIN

 



When it comes to any of our 'relationships' with others (any friendships, siblings, colleagues you kind-of-don't-want-to-but-kind-of-have-to be sat next to, marriage, parents), there's a simple acid-test we should be checking. Ready? Here it is: 'Am I going in the right direction?' Nice sat-navving, but what does that mean for navigating a world populated with friends and strangers? Well, all our thoughts, plans and decisions are either heading in our own direction, or away from ourselves and to God's direction. And God's direction is always towards the wellbeing of the other person. Guess it's kind of obvious.



We all have relationships we wish we could handle better: what about when they just keep getting it wrong, and we have to get all defensive? Or when they're so full of gossip that's it's impossible not to join in (and maybe backchat about them too)? Or when both people have messed up, but the easiest thing to do is just pass the blame on? Hmm.



When we take the trouble to bring about the best for the other person, and not to focus on their problems or mistakes, we're doing it right. Joseph Phillips said, 'Any idiot can point out sin. It takes "eyes that see" to see the rhythms of grace at work in a person.'



 



So what now? Think about those relationships that need fine-tuning or a better perspective - look past the hindrances to the grace that God has extended into those people and your relationship with them.

Soulfood : Josh 19:24-21:45, Lk 20:20-26, Ps 112, Prov 23:13-15

Read more...

SEE THE GRACE, NOT THE SIN

 



When it comes to any of our 'relationships' with others (any friendships, siblings, colleagues you kind-of-don't-want-to-but-kind-of-have-to be sat next to, marriage, parents), there's a simple acid-test we should be checking. Ready? Here it is: 'Am I going in the right direction?' Nice sat-navving, but what does that mean for navigating a world populated with friends and strangers? Well, all our thoughts, plans and decisions are either heading in our own direction, or away from ourselves and to God's direction. And God's direction is always towards the wellbeing of the other person. Guess it's kind of obvious.



We all have relationships we wish we could handle better: what about when they just keep getting it wrong, and we have to get all defensive? Or when they're so full of gossip that's it's impossible not to join in (and maybe backchat about them too)? Or when both people have messed up, but the easiest thing to do is just pass the blame on? Hmm.



When we take the trouble to bring about the best for the other person, and not to focus on their problems or mistakes, we're doing it right. Joseph Phillips said, 'Any idiot can point out sin. It takes "eyes that see" to see the rhythms of grace at work in a person.'



 



So what now? Think about those relationships that need fine-tuning or a better perspective - look past the hindrances to the grace that God has extended into those people and your relationship with them.

Soulfood : Josh 19:24-21:45, Lk 20:20-26, Ps 112, Prov 23:13-15

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IT. IS. WORTH IT.

 



Mark's gospel records the story of a Jewish woman who, for twelve solid years, had been suffering from what could be referred to as 'woman's problems'. For this lady, it had a huge impact on her life. She was totally broke, having spent all her money on (useless) medical bills. Her husband couldn't go near her. Babies were totally off the cards. Everything she touched was considered 'spiritually unclean'. The law meant that she couldn't even go to worship God in the temple. She was completely worn out, and not even allowed to go to God's house to be refreshed.



At the end of her tether, she took the matter into her own hands. She went out into a crowd that had scorned (and was probably afraid of) her, and she grabbed hold of God's coat-tails. And it worked. Her earnest faith did something amazing - it drew power from Jesus to her, and she was healed. She was freed from all of the laws that made her life difficult. She could enter God's temple, stand tall in her community again, not look in the mirror and see 'unclean'. And all of this, because she just grabbed Jesus' coat as He passed.



 



So what now? What would you do, if He stood in front of you now? Read Mark 5:21-34 a few times. Close your eyes. Imagine you're in the story. Who are you? What is Jesus like? 'Grab his coat' with the troubles of your heart. He will heal you.

Soulfood : Josh 14-15, Lk 20:1-8, Ps 142, Prov 23:7-9

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DO YOUR BEST!

Reality check: You're not always going to be amazingly passionate about the work that you have to do. Just because you're in the place that God wants you to be, doesn't guarantee that you'll always be chomping at the bit to do every task. Hurray if you do. But don't assume you need to grab the wheel and turn your whole life around if you're not 100% enthusiastic about the task at hand.

The best thing to do is this: 'Do not obey just when they are watching you, to gain their favour, but serve them honestly, because you respect the Lord. In all the work you are doing, work the best you can. Work as if you were doing it for the Lord, not for people. Remember that you will receive your reward from the Lord, which He promised to His people. You are serving the Lord Christ. But remember that anyone who does wrong will be punished for that wrong, and the Lord treats everyone the same' (Colossians 3:22-25 NCV).

The more you throw yourself into something, the more love you'll start to feel for it. And the more love and passion you grow towards your work, the more productive it will become. Win-win.

So what now? The thing that you don't particularly want to work on... give it a little bit extra oomph. The project that you can't be bothered with? Spend an extra hour researching it today. The errand that you don't want to run for that person? Do it, and pick up a coffee for them on the way. "Do your best...".

Soulfood : Josh 11-13, Lk 19:41-48, Ps 111, Prov 23:4-6

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BRETHREN, ASSEMBLE (1)

Grab a Bible and read Psalm 133. It's short. It'll probably take about half a second. Chances are you've heard that opening verse before. And yeah, it certainly is nice when we get along. But why? What is it about unity that's so special for us Christians? Is there something more to it than it just making us feel warm and fuzzy?

Well, verses two and three of that Psalm highlight oil and dew. Hmm. It might seem a bit poetic at first, but it's got real meaning. Oil being dropped on a person happened as a symbol of the Holy Spirit 'anointing' them, and the power that comes with that. More often than not, that 'anointing' was a sign of God giving someone the power to go and carry out one of His plans. And dew crops up in Isaiah 26:19. Interestingly (well, we think so), it's a symbol of that same power that gives new and after-death life to God's people. Oil = God's Spirit and power. Dew = God's Spirit and power.

So, what the Psalmist seems to be saying here is that, when we 'live together in unity' (Psalms 133:1 NIV), something mind-blowingly huge happens - as a community, we receive death-beating power that enables us to do what God wants. God comes to rest in a very real way over the collection of people who are brought together because of Him. Pretty good reason to do that 'fellowship-community' thing, huh?

So what now? Grab some friends. Worship together. Put some suitable music on shuffle, spend time praying for each other and just bask in God's presence.

Soulfood : Josh 5:1-8:29, Lk 19:11-27, Ps 103:1-12, Prov 22:27-29

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YOUR LIFE IS A TREE

 



Your life works in cycles and seasons. That means that some periods of our lives are all green grass, shiny newness and picnics. It also means that sometimes they'll be nothing but dead leaves, rain and sniffles. Whichever season you are in right now, God's on it. He's the one who decides when we get spring-like-growth seasons. And when we need a stretch of... being stretched... He brings us into (and through) it. As Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NLT) says 'For everything there is a season.'



That's not to play down how outright terrible those tough seasons can feel, but we've got to hold onto the fact that they're a necessary part of God's long-term plan. Think about a tree. The only reason it has space to grow strong, healthy, green leaves in spring is because it lost the leaves it'd finished with last autumn. And it only grew new ones after shivering, bare-branched, through winter. If everything looks barren and painfully cold around you right now, we 100% guarantee that it's only for a time. In that time, the best thing you can do is stick to God, and let the difficulty that He has allowed you to face do its work. When a new season comes around, you'll find yourself ready for it.



So what now? Seasons come and go. So it's important to have a stable centre to your life. Are there any places where you live that you can turn into 'prayer spaces'? It doesn't have to be a wooden bench to kneel at, it could even just be a beanbag.

Soulfood : Phil 2:5-11, Rev 19:11-16, Acts 3:1-16, Mt 1:18-21

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