Word For You Today

It's about him not us

'God...appointed him [Christ] to be head over everything ...' Ephesians 1:22 NIV

Until Copernicus proved us wrong in 1543, we were able to claim, 'The universe revolves around us.' And what Copernicus did for the earth, God does for our souls. He points us to his Son as ... 'head over everything...' (Ephesians 1:22 NIV).At a time when the theme of many preachers is 'what God will do for you,' Paul points out that God doesn't exist to make a big deal out of us; we exist to make a big deal out of him. Max Lucado writes: 'We struggle with this idea because we've been demanding our way since infancy. "I want a spouse who makes me happy, co-workers who respect me, weather that suits me, a government that serves me, and a God who gives me everything I want."' It's all about me! What if an orchestra followed that approach, each artist clamouring for self-expression? Tubas blasting non-stop, percussionists pounding to get attention, the trumpeter standing on the conductor's stool tooting his horn. Harmony? Hardly. Who enjoys confusion, or contributing to a cacophony?What would happen if we each took our place, played our part, followed the score he gave us, and made his song our song? What if there was less 'Here's what I want' and more 'What do you suppose God wants?' So what now? When you fix your eyes on Christ, it changes you. The apostle Paul says you will, 'be transformed into the same image from glory to glory...' (2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJ). What do you suppose God wants for your life? Ask him.

Soulfood: Judg 7:1 - 9:33, Matt 10:32-42, Ps 97, Prov 13:9-10


Biddy Chambers

'I served the Lord with great humility...' Acts 20:19 NIV

My Utmost For his Highest by Oswald Chambers is the world's bestselling devotional book. Oswald died as a result of complications following surgery in Egypt where he'd been ministering to the British Troops. Thousands mourned his death at 43. So well loved was he by those he ministered to that, in spite of the fact that he wasn't part of the military, he was still given a full military burial in the old British cemetery in Cairo.Yet without his wife, Gertrude Chambers, the unrecognised force behind Oswald Chambers' writings, we wouldn't have this devotional. In the foreword of the book, she tells how the selection came from his various speaking engagements. She signed off her foreword only with the initials 'BC'.Who was Biddy Chambers? Her husband affectionately called her 'Biddy'. They were married for just seven years when, at age 34, Biddy became a widow and the single mother of a little girl. Before she met Oswald, Biddy was a stenographer. She could take shorthand faster than many of us could talk. So she began listening to her husband's messages and took shorthand notes - hundreds of them - never thinking that one day they'd be transcribed into books and that she would become the publisher of them. So, she made her husband famous after his death!The world owes a debt of gratitude to this humble and generally unknown woman whose efforts are still blessing so many today. So what now? When you serve God with humility, not worrying about getting the credit, he'll use you to bless so many.

Soulfood: Judg 4-6, Matt 10:21-31, Ps 93, Prov 13:7-8


Big goals small steps

'Do not despise these small beginnings...' Zechariah 4:10 NLT

Do you feel like there's a huge gap between your present job and your ultimate career destination? You say, 'Yes, I'd like to be a teacher, but that means going back to school and finishing my degree. That would take years!' 'Sure, I'd love to switch careers, but this job has security; I don't think I could take the risk.' 'It would be fun to try and market my own product, but I don't know how to get started.'The excuses pile up like dirty dishes; it feels like it would take too long, cost too much, require too many sacrifices to get from point A to point B. Whether it's going back to school, starting your own business or going on the mission field, the temptation is to always put it off 'until later'. 'Maybe when I have more experience, maybe when I have more money, maybe when I retire.' Maybe, maybe, maybe!How do you overcome the fear of starting? You reach big goals by taking small steps! While it's tempting to think that the amount of time required is too long, that time will pass - whether you're pursuing your goal or not! God wants you to heed his call, to show up for duty and leave the provisions - including the time, money, open doors, favourable relationships and material resources - to him. So what now? Trust God and take the first small step! If you do your part, he'll do his. The Psalmist writes: '...no good thing will he withhold from those who walk uprightly' (Psalm 84:11 NKJ).

Soulfood: Judg 1-3, Matt 10:11-20, Ps 88: 9b-18, Prov 13:4-6


Thinking about Heaven 3

'...His servants will serve him...and they will reign for ever...' Revelation 22:3-5 NIV

In the Bible Heaven is pictured as a garden, a city and a home. All three require skill, work and maintenance. Is that why we're told we'll serve God in Heaven? Service is active, not passive. Seems like Heaven will involve lasting accomplishment, unhindered by decay and fatigue, enhanced by unlimited resources. The Bible says we'll reign with Christ, exercising leadership, making important decisions (see Luke 19:16-19). That means we'll set goals, devise plans and share ideas.Actually, our best workdays on earth are just a foretaste of the joy our work will bring us in Heaven. Indeed, our service to Christ now will determine our position then. Jobs that depend on aspects of our fallen world probably won't exist - such as dentists (decay), police officers (crime), funeral directors (death), and many others. But that doesn't mean we'll be unemployed. What's an interest or hobby now may become our main vocation then. Others however may continue with work similar to what they do now, whether it's gardeners, engineers, builders, artists, scientists, crafts people, or hundreds of other vocations. The difference is, we'll work without the hindrances of toil, pain, corruption and sin (Revelation 21:4-5). So what now? Put some time aside to imagine what your future in Heaven may be like? Write down some of the images and ideas that come into your mind; God may give you a glimpse of the wonder of your final stop in life.

Soulfood: Ruth 1-4, Matt 10:1-10, Ps 88:1-9a, Prov 13:1-3


Thinking about Heaven 2

'Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.' Colossians 3:2 NIV

How come as Christians we generally talk so little about Heaven?Listen: 'The beast opened its mouth to blaspheme God...and his dwelling place and those who live in Heaven' (Revelation 13:6 NIV). Satan slanders three things: (1) God's person; (2) God's people; (3) God's place - Heaven. After being evicted from Heaven (Isaiah 14:12-15), it must be maddening for Satan to know we're now entitled to the beautiful home he was kicked out of. What better way for him to attack us than to whisper lies about the place Paul tells us to set our minds on? If we believe his lie we'll set our minds on this life, not the next. And we won't be motivated to take others with us when we go.CS Lewis writes, 'The Christians who did the most for this world, were those who thought most of the next. The apostles, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the middle-ages, the English evangelicals who abolished slave trade, all left their mark on earth - precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of any other world, that they have become so ineffective in this one. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth "thrown in," aim at earth and you will get neither.' So what now? The apostle Paul says: 'Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things' (Colossians 3:2 NIV). Let these words motivate you in your walk with God and when telling others about him.

Soulfood: Obad + Mal 1-4, Matt 9:27-38, Ps 18:30-50, Prov 12:25-28


Thinking about Heaven 1

'We...would prefer to be...at home with the Lord.' 2 Corinthians 5:8 NIV

The sense that we will live forever has shaped every civilisation in history. In the pyramids of Egypt, the embalmed bodies had maps placed beside them as guides to the future world. In AD 125, a Greek named Aristides wrote, 'When a Christian passes from this world, they rejoice...and escort his body with songs of thanksgiving as if he were setting out from one place to another nearby.'In 1952 young Florence Chadwick stepped into the Pacific, just off Catalina Island, determined to swim to the mainland of California. She'd already been the first woman to swim the English Channel; both ways. The weather was foggy and chilly; she could hardly see the boats accompanying her. Still, she swam for 15 hours. When she begged to be taken out of the water, her mother, who was in a boat alongside, told her she was close and that she could make it. But, exhausted, she stopped swimming and was pulled out. It wasn't until she was on the boat that she discovered that the shore was less than half a mile away. At a news conference the next day she said, 'All I could see was the fog...I think if I could have seen the shore I would have made it.'Heaven is not a myth; it's a magnet that pulls us in the direction of home. A home, which Paul describes as 'better by far' (Philippians 1:23 NIV). So what now? No matter how tough life gets, keep your eyes on the heavenly shore; draw strength each day from God, and you'll make it!

Soulfood: Jonah 1:10 - 2:10, Matt 12:38-42


Be yourself

'He chose us...before the foundation of the world.' Ephesians 1:4 NAS

Ruth Lee writes: 'It was the last day of a writers' conference and we gathered in one of the dormitories. In our pyjamas we all looked alike. One by one we shared. After the introduction of two authors with published books, and others with claim to fame, it was my turn. "My name is Ruth," I said, "and I feel so inferior, I think I'll just go back to my room." Everybody laughed, so I ploughed ahead. "I guess you could call me a producer. In the last 30 years I've produced a well-adjusted respiratory therapist, a machinist and another happy homemaker. I'm also involved in the co-production of seven grandchildren." I told them how full my life was. Full of checking on cows, helping to fix fences and praying it would stop raining. I told them of busy hours spent babysitting and contending with my household. Then I told them how hungry I was. Hungry for the type of spiritual and emotional food I received at this conference. From the far corner of the room a quiet girl spoke up. "Would you please turn so that I can look at you?" she asked. I did, and she continued. "I want to remember your face when I write," she said, "I want to write for people just like you." Suddenly I had no need of title or degree. I served a purpose. With her words she helped me realise what I should have known all along: God doesn't make nobodies - everybody is somebody important to him!' So what now? Dare to be yourself. After all, who's better qualified?

Soulfood: 1 Pet 1-5, Matt 9:14-26, Ps 18:1-29, Prov 12:23-24

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