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Word For You Today

Getting what YouDon't Deserve



'...you love to be merciful.' Micah 7:18 TLB

This sign was outside a convent: Absolutely No Trespassing! Violators Will Be Prosecuted to the Fullest Extent of the Law. Signed - The Sisters of Mercy! Doesn't sound quite right, does it? Thankfully Jesus proved on the cross that '...Mercy triumphs over judgment' (James 2:13 NIV).

In the book Hosea, the prophet Hosea married a woman called Gomer. After having three children with him, shady Gomer deserted the family to live with another man. Later she worked as a prostitute and that was when God said to Hosea '...Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is...an adulteress' (Hosea 3:1 NIV). Even though Gomer was unfaithful to her husband, Hosea showed her mercy and love, and welcomed her back as his wife!

Loving people who have wronged us is very difficult to do. It goes against our natural instinct to fight back and defend ourselves. Remember the Bible doesn't say 'Do for others as they have done for you'; it says 'Do to others as you would like them to do to you' (Luke 6:31 NLT) - there's a big difference!

So what now? If today you're struggling with unforgiveness, think about all God has forgiven you on the cross. You have been shown love and mercy far beyond anything you can imagine or understand. No matter what you've ever said or done to hurt God or people, he's totally forgiven it! We have all been unfaithful in many ways. God has chosen to show you his love again and again. Like Gomer, you have got what you... don't... deserve.

Soulfood: Rev 19-22, Luke 14:25-35, Ps 106:24-48, Prov 7:3-5

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Letting Go



'There is a time for everything...' Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV

Have you ever pushed a relationship so far that it's all just gone totally pear shaped? As humans we have a terrible habit of rushing in and forcing the issue, instead of having the patience to know when to back off. The Bible says there's 'a time for everything' (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV). There's a time to stop pushing someone and just let God do his work, otherwise you risk creating scars that might take years to heal.

As painful as it is, letting go of people and situations you can't control is normally the wisest course of action. If you've put your foot in it, hurt someone, made a mistake or just been downright annoying, then apologising and backing off is often the hardest but definitely the wisest thing to do! Just remember; manipulation, emotional blackmail and trying to get attention is just going to make things worse. A relationship won't work unless both parties want it to.

Choose your battles carefully. If you've hurt someone they often need a little time to get over it and really forgive you - so give them that space! Before you jump on every little comment or action think, 'Can I let this one go?'

So what now? Think about your current relationships. Are there any situations where a more prayerful but 'hands off' approach would be the best way? Letting go doesn't mean you stop caring. It's actually a sign of maturity, giving God space to work through the situation.

Soulfood: Rev 15-18, Luke 14:15-24, Ps 106:1-23, Prov 7:1-2

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Your Worth Comes from God



'...I will build you up again...' Jeremiah 31:4 NIV

When we read the early chapters of Genesis we find that Adam had a relationship with God before he had a relationship with Eve. That's really important. Why? Because nobody but God can tell you who you really are, or what you're worth! Until you totally get that, you'll keep looking for someone to love you so much that you'll finally start feeling good about yourself.

The trouble is, when you think you've found that someone, you'll cling to them like velcro. You'll agree with everything they say and do and have no opinions of your own. You'll feel jealous and threatened if they do or enjoy anything without you. No relationship can survive that kind of dependence!

Adam could only learn to love and understand Eve after he really knew God. It's in God's presence, free from what others think, that you really see yourself in the right way; the way God sees you as the person you were made to be. It's only once you're in that place that you're ready for a relationship. In relationship with God you'll learn what you're worth and you will only give yourself to someone who thinks as much as God does.

So what now? If you've ever been abused, abandoned, betrayed or feel like you're just not good enough, check out these words. They're from a God whose opinion of you never changes: '...I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. I will build you up again...' (Jeremiah 31:3-4 NIV). Yes, he means you!

Soulfood: Rev 10-14, Luke 14:1-14, Ps 136:13-26, Prov 6:32-35

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Living Together and Enjoying It



'...Take delight in honouring each other.' Romans 12:10 NLT

It's so easy to forget about other people, until we need them. And we do. A few years ago the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded on take off due to a little part called an 'O-ring' not quite working as it should have done. Out of all the millions of parts that were needed to work together, just one failed and resulted in disaster. So what's the point? Basically, we need one another! We were made to function together, so let's learn to live together and love one another!

To make life work the way God made it to, we need to learn how to lean on one another yet know how to support one another. We need to be generous enough to give, but humble enough to receive; be honest enough to share our faults, but always be willing to forgive others.

Loving and accepting people is not optional. Sorry to burst your bubble but you don't get to opt-in or opt-out of love, acceptance, tolerance, understanding or patience - not if you expect that from others! The Bible says, '...take delight in honouring each other...Be patient in trouble, and prayerful always. When God's children are in need, you be the one to help them out...' (Romans 12:10-13 TLB).

So what now? Why should you love one another in all circumstances? Because that's what God does for you. Despite what you may think, no-one is a strong, capable, independent, cool hot-shot, so stop acting like you are. Life's hard enough without playing that game. Live well, with others!

Soulfood: 1 Sam 21:1-6, Hosea 6:4-6, Matt 12:1-14, Matt 12:1-14

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Living in God's Peace



'The Lord keeps watch over you... both now and forever.' Psalm 121:8 NLT

During a terrible thunderstorm one night, a mum rushed to her son's room knowing he must be terrified. The house flashed and she ran into the room to find him standing at the window. Excited, He shouted 'Mummy, guess what, I was standing at the window and God took my picture!' The little boy was convinced that God was at work, so his world was a totally safe place to be.

Ask yourself, 'What would life be like if I was so certain of God's love and care that this world is a totally safe place for me to be?' You wouldn't get as stressed. You wouldn't worry about not being good enough. You wouldn't have to hurry, even when you're busy, due to an inner-peace. You wouldn't speak without thinking and you could risk obeying God because you totally trust him! Of course you need to be wise, but with your life totally in God's hands as he promised, you don't need to worry! If you're following his plan, doing as he has asked and living a life worth living you don't need to stress over things, not even the results of your actions. It's all in his loving hands.

The theory is great but do you think living this way is really possible? 'The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever' (Psalm 121:7-8 NLT).

So what now? What more proof do you need that he's got your back?

Soulfood: Rev 5-9, Luke 13:18-35, Ps 136:1-12, Prov 6:30-31

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The Path to Your Destiny



'Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.' 1 Samuel 16:19 NIV

King Saul is regularly being taken over by an evil spirit. As a solution, he is advised to call for someone to play the harp for him, to dispel the evil spirits. David, a shepherd boy, is summonsed. Unbeknown to King Saul, David has just been anointed to be the next king!

If you are serious about fulfilling the plan God has for you, understand: (1) When the time is right and you are ready, God will send for you. He will open the right doors and give you favour with the right people. Who notices a shepherd boy looking after a few sheep? God does! Do whatever God has asked now and that's all the qualification you need for the next thing. Don't get impatient or give up, God knows where to find you! (2) God needs talent and character! David got the job because of his harping skills but it was his honesty and passion for God that let him not only keep it but grow, even in a dodgy environment! You don't know how important the lessons you're learning now will be in the future, but God does. (3) God gives us jobs that feel uncomfortable. God picked David to serve a king who was jealous, insecure and troubled by an evil spirit. Why? Because if you can do that you can do anything. You learn to love the unlovable, understand grace, grow in patience and complete God's plan.

So what now? Ask God to be the director of your life. He knows the path to your destiny.

Soulfood: Rev 1-4, Luke 13:1-17, Ps 77, Prov 6:29

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What Will You Leave Behind



'...righteous...will be remembered forever...' Psalm 112:6 NIV

Have you ever wondered how you will be remembered? This isn't something most young people need to think about but it's important because what you want to leave behind will affect how you live your life.

Here are five things you will be sure to leave behind: (1) What you invest in others - so make sure you invest as much time as possible; (2) Your prayers - they will never be forgotten by God and may be answered long after you're gone; so pray like crazy; (3) Your life's story - it has potential to inspire others, so make it a good one; full of God, faithfulness, excitement and a great example for others to follow; (4) Your giving - the impact of the money you give to God's work now could have a massive effect on the future, so be generous and give money where God tells you; (5) Multiplication - it's a big word but think of it this way: if in your life you pray for and see five of your friends become Christians, then they each see five, then they each see five, in no time at all that's 155 Christians just because of your prayers!

Thinking about how you will be remembered might sound a bit morbid but it's actually about life not death!

So what now? The way you live your life now will have an effect long after you're gone, so make the decision today to invest for the future in the way that God wants. You can change the world for the better!

Soulfood: 1 Ki 21-22, Luke 12:49-59, Ps 70, Prov 6:26-28

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