Days
Eloise 10:00-2:00pm

Word For You Today

WHEN GOD PUTS YOU ON HOLD (2)

Sometimes we think we're superheroes - riding in on a white horse to save our friends/city/world, on an assignment from God. But we need to hear from God for these assignments. We all want to hear from God, but when we don't the temptation can be to run off on our own terms. When we feel like God's put us on hold, patience in prayer and persistence in looking out for His messages will get us where we want to be: closer to Him.

Our personal visions or dreams and even our own discipleship-process can be lured into self-gazing mode. But when God takes that place as the worshiped-One at the centre of our lives, as the Highest King and the only jewel worth being gazed at, everything falls into place as it should - we know we're not the Saviour, we're just blessed into being helpers, privileged to be guides for those around us.

Being over-enthusiastic isn't the issue, and neither is running off with our own ideas. The problem comes when we start making our own vision, dream or entrepreneurial spirit the centre of our lives and stop being sacrificial and God-and-others-centred.

 

So what now? Draw (or stick a picture of) a small cross in the corner of the mirror that you use every day (the one you brush your teeth in front of?). Every time you use that mirror, refocus your eyes from yourself to the One whom that cross represents.

 

Soulfood : Judg 9:34-11:40, Mk 8:27-38, Ps 129, Prov 20:25, Ecc 5:4-6

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WHEN GOD PUTS YOU ON HOLD (1)

It's been said that all of the human experience can be found in the Psalms. Every emotion, every need, every cry of the heart. Every kind of prayer that people might pray is there. The Psalms give us reassurance that we're allowed to express ourselves. In fact they give us permission to be honest before God about whatever we're feeling. One of the most common prayers in the Psalms is an impatient question: 'How long, O Lord?'

We all go through difficult times, and genuinely difficult times bring out genuinely difficult emotions. If a member of our family was seriously ill and we tried walking around with a fixed grin on your face, we'd be lying to ourselves and hurting our family too - dealing with hard stuff doesn't mean we need to put on a tough exterior of 'everything's ok.' Not at all. It's important not to hide our emotions but to ask God to help us handle them. The Psalms are our guide to the 'how'.

But more than that, the Psalms give us hope. Hope that someone else has been here before - and come out the other side. Hope that God is listening, and is big enough to take the worst we've got to throw at Him.

 

So what now? Start at Psalm 1 and skim read each Psalm, until you find one that reflects what you're feeling. There is at least one that will beautifully capture where you are at.

 

Soulfood : Judg 7:1-9:33, Mk 8:14-26, Ps 93, Prov 13:7-8

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FORCE FEEDING THE GOSPEL

 

 

Very often, if people were force fed certain food growing up (e.g. broccoli), they may always have a gag reflex to that particular food! Same in our day-to-day lives. If people have only experienced judgment from Christians and been Bible bashed in every argument or conversation, it's hardly likely they'd want to 'taste and see that the Lord is good'. They'll not want to have anything to do with 'those Christians', much like broccoli haters will avoid anything with broccoli in it.

Too often Christians make the mistake of presenting the Gospel without the love of God. The Bible's clear about us taking the message to the world, but we're called to do that as real followers-of-Christ, not as holier-than-thou Christians. We're called to share our lives with people and to love others. That provides the best soil for the seeds of salvation to grow in.

If God's in our lives, we can't help but share Him, too. When we're led by the Holy Spirit and we ask Him for opportunities to speak about God, everyday conversations can open up to bigger opportunities than we can imagine.

However, sometimes we may be called to share God's Gospel in a louder, bolder, indirect way. If that's the case, pray, check with Scripture, make sure it's love-based and do it.

 

So what now? Next time you're spending time with a group of non-Christian mates, tell them just one good thing that God has done for you recently. That way, they get to hear about God without the focus being on them and their 'non-Christian'-ness.

 

Soulfood : Judg 4-6, Mk 8:1-13, Ps 88:9b-18, Prov 13:4-6

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GOD (VERY MUCH NOT) IN A BOTTLE

Today's verse is so amazing and encouraging. But, did you notice that there are some key words at the beginning (and words at the beginning of a sentence can often be the ones we need to pay most attention to): 'If you remain in Me....'

If you remain in God, your desires and prayers will become increasingly geared towards wanting more of His good, flourishing growth in your life, and in the lives of those around you. God promises to provide all our needs, so if you really need something, believe God will provide. However, it is not as easy as it sounds. Think about it. If you really need that top-of-the-range fresh-out pro-computer, God will give it to you. But if you actually only need a pen and paper, that may just be what you get. (But He is a good God, and He may just give you more than you need - because He loves you.)

You've got to live knowing that whatever you get from God is the best for you at that time, and you'll learn to rejoice in being given (only) what you need. His hand will reach to you, and sort out your provisions. But always seek to look for His face first, and His hand second.

 

So what now? Tough question time: what do you want most in your life right now? Out with it. Does your need line up with what you've read today?

 

Soulfood : Judg 1-3, Mk 7:24-37, Ps 88:1-9a, Prov 13:1-3

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THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS (2)

Proverbs 4:11 says, 'I will teach you wisdom's ways and lead you in straight paths.'

Does this feel more like a straitjacket to you? The world lures us in with a bunch of keys that God doesn't want us to grab. And that's what the straight path is - not grabbing the world's shiny, empty things. God wants us to walk that path because it's the way to a full life in Him. Living for the shiny things of the world will damage your soul and rob you of that full life. And as Matthew 7:14 says: 'What do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?'

It's a 'you're either with Me or against Me' deal with God. That's not because He's a cling-on (or a Klingon) - it's because what this world offers is (a cling-on, not Klingon). And He's come to save us from it. The rich and famous don't have the answer. The 'anything goes as long as it makes me happy' student-flat-style living doesn't have the answer. Only God can satisfy your soul.

So what now? Go through Proverbs 4 and circle all of the benefits that God says will be yours if you walk that straight path. If you need a reminder of why it's worth being His, that'll do it.

Soulfood : Gal 5:23, Is 40:9-11, Is 42:1-4, Ps 18:31-35

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THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS (1)

Strap yourselves in. This might be a rough one.

Having the 'best of both worlds' sounds like a great life policy but, really, it depends on the worlds we're talking about. God's really clear on certain 'worlds' not mixing: '...you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons' (1 Corinthians 10:21 NIV). The thing is, our God is a jealous God. Not 'jealous' in the way that means God thinks 'Oh how I wish I had Mr. Smith's car'; He's 'jealous' in that He wants our full devotion, our whole selves. God deserves nothing less. And note, He wants it, at least in part, because He also knows that's the best possible solution for us.

If we give space in our hearts to His enemy (who's supposed to be our enemy too), He becomes jealous for that piece of our heart that should be His - for His glory, and for our protection...

Every time we give our best to something that is not of Him, we compromise - we compromise our love, our holiness, and our relationship with God. And why should God stand for that? For Him, compromising His love for us is not an option. He would never go there. The least we owe Him is our commitment to live our lives for Him, and only Him.

So what now? Get serious. If there's a certain sin that you know you need to leave behind, do it. Today. Each time it rears its ugly head pray out loud 'God, I choose You and Your ways.'

Soulfood : Ruth 1-4, Mk 7:14-23, Ps 18:30-50, Prov 12:25-28

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TV, YOUR PERSONAL IV?

TV's like a hospital drip. Drips are there to introduce fluids directly into the body: if a patient's dehydrated or if they've lost a lot of fluid, for instance. But if the patient receives too much fluid, it can be harmful. Fatal, even.

TV drip-feeds all sorts of things directly into your brain. Like adverts. They're there to convince you that your life could be better if only you had [insert name of sweet new product here]. Before long, you'll find yourself thoroughly discontented, forgetting the truth of Philippians 4:19, that 'God will provide all [your] needs.'

Or like sexy, sexy... sex. TV continually focuses on the physical appearance. Even in camera angles and scenes that linger on the desirability of other people (in a sense, even in models swishing their hair), they're training you where to focus your gaze. Don't be surprised if you find it much harder to, 'Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honourable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable' (Philippians 4:8 NLT).

When we stop enjoying the goodness of people and life as God intended and instead see nothing more than products or bodies, our lives shrink.

 

So what now? Think about your relationship with your TV. Are you basing your physical, material and relational perceptions on what's being portrayed in adverts and programmes? Is it time for you to unhook from the TV IV-drip and focus on what God considers beautiful, worthy and good?

 

Soulfood : Obad, Mal 1-4, Mk 7:1-13, Ps 18:1-29, Prov 12:23-24

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