Sunday Arvo with Holly

Word For You Today

Being a solid example

'...Honour one another above yourselves.' Romans 12:10 NIV

Many people like being given respect, being listened to and being in charge. But there's more to being a leader than getting your own way or the buzz of wearing the captain's band on your arm.

Jesus said some serious sit-up-and-listen things about leadership when he was lecturing at one of his training and development seminars for emerging leaders (in other words, when he was hanging out with his mates, a bunch of flimsy followers who one day would end up being the world leaders of his church!). Jesus said: 'You know that the rulers of the heathen have power over them, and the leaders have complete authority. This, however, is not the way it shall be among you. If one of you wants to be great, you must be the servant of the rest' (Matthew 20:25-26 GNT). The best leaders focus on putting others first.

Paul, who wrote massive chunks of the Bible, had great responsibility as a leader. But he knew that leading is not just about telling people what to do. He said: 'I beg you, then, to follow my example' (1 Corinthians 4:16 GNT). Paul knew that part of leadership means being a solid example to those who are following you.

Bottom line: Leadership is more about showing respect than getting it, and more about listening than being listened to.

So what now? If your heart is to serve and you're a solid example, God will use you to lead others - whether you're called to lead, or even if you don't consider yourself a leader.

Soulfood: Josh 11-13, Mark 9:38-50, Ps 142, Prov 23:7-9


He loves you Believe it

'...His unfailing love... is as great as the height of the heavens above...' Psalm 103:11 NLT

No matter what the other disciples told him about the resurrection, Thomas wanted to see for himself. He needed firsthand evidence. And Jesus gave it to him. '"Put your finger here and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don't be faithless any longer. Believe!"' (John 20:27 NLT). And Thomas did; '"My Lord and my God"' (John 20:28 NLT)! Only God could come back from the dead. Only a God of love would come back for a doubter.Did you know that your doubts don't separate you from God's love! Listen: 'For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above...' (Psalm 103:11 NLT). The mind-blowing news of the Bible is not that you love God; but that he loves you! He says your name is engraved on the palm of his hand (see Isaiah 49:16). His thoughts of you outnumber the grains of sand on the beach (see Psalm 139:17-18). He sees the worst in you yet still believes the best. Your sins and mess ups from the last few weeks - and even your failings in the future - don't put him off.God's not like someone blinded by love, unable to see the real deal. He knows all about you and he's reached his verdict: 'I love you!' No discovery will disillusion him, no rebellion dissuade him. He loves you with an unfailing love, and that knowledge can lift you, restore you and put you back on your feet. So what now? He. Loves. You. Believe it!

Soulfood: Josh 8:30 - 10:43, Mark 9:30-37, Ps 111, Prov 23:4-6


Holy in his sight

'...holy and blameless in his sight...' Ephesians 1:4 NIV

The word 'holiness' is a turn-off to a lot of people. It possibly reminds them of finger-pointing religion and negative experiences they've had in church. Nothing could be further from the truth. Holiness is not what we do; it's what God sees. God has a picture of the perfect you and, as you focus on him, every day he brings you opportunities that, if you take them, will make you a bit more like that perfect you. That's when his vision for your life starts becoming your vision for your life too.

In the Old Testament, the priests used knives, forks, jugs and basins for the temple sacrifices. They were just ordinary kitchen utensils until they were set aside for God's use, then they became holy knives, holy forks, holy jugs and holy basins! But check this out: contamination disqualified them from being used, so they had to be looked after properly.

True holiness is having the faith to look after every aspect of your life, and focus on God's perfect vision for you. You work out what pleases God and what offends him. Put simply, you decide that your life will only be used for one purpose: for God.

So what now? Are you getting the idea? When God chose you he had a specific vision of you, and for you. You might think that you're just Jo/Joe, but now you're holy Jo/Joe, perfect in his sight! Once you understand that and fully accept it, the word 'holiness' will become the most beautiful word.

Soulfood: Josh 5:1 - 8:29, Mark 9:14-29, Ps 103:13-22, Prov 23:1-3


Live with confidence and caution

'...A great door...has opened to me...' 1 Corinthians 16:9 NIV

Yesterday we looked at Moses chatting with God in the tent. Here's another important part of that conversation: Moses told God: '...If your presence does not go with us, do not send us...' (Exodus 33:15 NIV). This is still so important for us today; we need to know that the things we do in life are not us going off on a tangent, but that they reflect God's heart and character. Sometimes we need to stop and say 'Oops, that was me, not God.'

So, does this mean that as long as you pray the right prayers it'll all be plain sailing? No. Even when God is right at the heart of your mission you may still deal with delays, discouragement and setbacks. Then there's the other extreme. Rather than blissfully assuming God's in everything you do, you ask too many questions. 'Does God love me? Has he really chosen me? Am I in his will?'

Here are some basic promises you can always trust: (1) He always loves you (see Jeremiah 31:3); (2) He chose you before the creation of the world (see Ephesians 1:4); (3) He assures you that if you resist the mindsets of the world, you will know what he wants for you (see Romans 12:2).

So what now? Live with a healthy mix of confidence and caution. Don't think that every good idea you have is a direct download from God. But don't go the other way and get paralysed at the pants drawer because God hasn't revealed whether he wants you to wear black or white today!

Soulfood: Josh 1-4, Mark 9:1-13, Ps 103:1-12, Prov 22:27-29


Get in that tent

'...anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent...' Exodus 33:7 NIV

Moses did something we can learn from today: 'Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the "tent of meeting"...Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent...' (Exodus 33:7 NIV). What would happen in that tent? 'The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend...' (Exodus 33:11 NIV). Face-to-face time with God! That's what we need. So, buy a tent! Or... underneath your duvet will work as well SYMBOL 74 \f "Wingdings" \s 11.

So what did they talk about in the tent? Moses prayed: (a) '...Let me know whom you will send with me...' (Exodus 33:12 NIV). Some of the problems you're experiencing are because of the people influencing you; (b) '...teach me your ways...' (Exodus 33:13 NIV). Your way of doing things may be good, but's God's is always better! (c) ' I may know you...' (Exodus 33:13 NIV). This word 'know' isn't a 'casual mates' thing; it's real intimacy between two people; (d) ' I may...continue to find favour with you...' (Exodus 33:13 NIV). You need God's favour because it opens doors, gives you the edge and influences people before you speak a word.

And what did God say back to Moses in that tent? '...I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name' (Exodus 33:17 NIV). Wow, awesome!

So what now? Would you like to be on a first name basis with God? Get in that tent!

Soulfood: 3 Jn + Jude, Mark 8:27-38, Ps 84, Prov 22:24-26


Holy Spirit power

'...The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives...' Galatians 5:22 NLT

We all like our gadgets... mobile phones, iPods, Fitbits! But, these gadgets are useless without power. You can say the same about Christians - it's the power of the Holy Spirit that charges us up and helps us function.

Here are three ways in which the Holy Spirit works:

(1) He moves us. When Jesus was born it was the custom to have children blessed at the temple. Mary and Joseph didn't know it but an old priest called Simeon had been waiting his whole life for them to arrive. 'That day the Spirit led him to the Temple...Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God saying, 'Lord, let your servant die in peace! As you have promised, I have seen your salvation...' (Luke 2:27-30 NLT). The Holy Spirit will help you experience those 'destiny moments'! (2) He comforts us. Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as the 'comforter' who would never leave us (See John 14:16). When you wake up worried about your day he whispers, 'I've got everything under control.' When you feel you can't go on, he says 'I'm right here with you.' You're not alone; you have God's help! (3) He protects us. Paul said to Timothy 'When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit' (Ephesians 1:13 NIV). When the enemy moves against you to 'steal, kill or destroy' (see John 10:10), pray, 'Holy Spirit, be my seal.'

So what now? Give thanks for Holy Spirit power to keep you charged in life!

Soulfood: 2 Chr 35-36 + 2 Jn, Mark 8:14-26, Ps 119:169-176, Prov 22:20-23


The Lord's Prayer 9

'...yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen.' Matthew 6:13 NKJV

This is the great big 'Kaboom!' at the end of the prayer.

'Yours is the Kingdom' reminds us that if Jesus is not the boss of all, he's not boss at all. When you wake up in the morning you should pray: 'Father, make my life like an advert for you to everyone I meet. Let them see how much better life works when it's lived in your Kingdom.' 'Yours is...the power' reminds us that God's destiny for our lives can only be fulfilled through God's power at work in our lives. The Apostle Paul explained the tug of war that goes on in human beings. He put it like this: '...people who are ruled by their sinful selves cannot please God' (Romans 8:8 NCV). Elsewhere he expands on that saying, 'Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their own sinful selves. They have given up their old selfish feelings and the evil things they wanted to do. We get our new life from the Spirit, so we should follow the Spirit' (Galatians 5:24-25 NCV). 'Yours is...the glory' reminds us that the credit always goes to the one who truly deserves it - the one who gave us this fantastic life in the first place!

This final line of The Lord's Prayer simply means 'Lord, you are in charge, not me; you are infinitely strong, I'm not. And I will live my life to make you famous'.

So what now? That's the end of our look at The Lord's Prayer. Make sure you pray it, again and again and again.

Soulfood: Jos 1:7-8, 2 Tim 3:14-17, Ps 119:1-16, Ps 119:1-16

Subscribe to this RSS feed