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Word For You Today

Why not



'...Be zealous...and...be so always...' Galatians 4:18 NIV

Admiral Hyman Rickover, who was once head of the United States Nuclear Navy, personally interviewed every officer on board his nuclear submarines. Among them was former President-to-be Jimmy Carter.

This is Carter's account of the interview: 'He looked straight into my eyes. He never smiled. I was saturated with cold sweat. Finally he asked a question and I thought I could redeem myself. "How did you stand in your class at the Naval Academy?" I had done very well so I swelled my chest with pride and answered, "Sir, I stood fifty-ninth out of a class of eight hundred and twenty!" I sat back waiting for congratulations - which never came. Instead, the question: "Did you do your best?" I started to say, "Yes, sir," but I...recalled several times at the Academy when I could have learned more about our allies, our enemies, weapons, strategy, and so forth. I was just human. I finally gulped and said, "No, sir, I didn't always do my best." He looked at me for a long time, then turned his chair around to end the interview. He asked one final question, which I have never been able to forget - or to answer. He said, "Why not?" I sat there for a while, shaken, then slowly left the room.'

So what now? That's a question to ask yourself at the end of each day: 'Did I do my best?' You can be certain it's a question you'll face when you stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ to be evaluated and rewarded. If you can't answer yes, the question then will be, 'Why not?'

Soulfood: Col 3-4 + Philem, Mark 11:12-26, Ps 78:17-31, rov 23:26-28

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Make prayer a habit 2



'...Lord, teach us to pray...' Luke 11:1 NIV

Many Christians struggle with prayer. You set aside time, you start talking, but before you know it your mind has wandered and instead of praying you are wondering 'what's the collective noun for hamsters' (it's a 'horde' of hamsters, by the way). Sometimes after two minutes you have run out of things to say. Or you give God a list of things you want him to do and that's it!

The disciples needed help with prayer - 'Lord, teach us to pray...' (Luke 11:1 NIV). And so do we.

Here are three helpful tips: (1) Ask for help. Ask the Holy Spirit to come and help you focus your mind, guide your thoughts and draw you close to Jesus. Jesus called the Spirit 'the helper'. (2) Try using some structure. Look at The Lord's Prayer in Luke 11 - we covered it last month (check out August 19th-27th). Take each line and use it as spring board for your prayers. Another structure to use is A.C.T.S. A=adoration, C=confession, T=thanks, S=supplication (which means asking for things). Try and spend five minutes on each letter. (3) Write stuff down. Buy a notebook and start to write your prayers out instead of saying them. It can really help stop your mind from wandering. Also it's a really good thing to look back on and see how God has answered your prayers.

So what now? God doesn't give you points for prayer. You don't pass or fail. He just loves it when you are praying. See if any of these tips can help your prayer this week.

Soulfood: Col 1-2, Mark 11:1-11, Ps 78:9-16, Prov 23:22-25

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Make prayer a habit 1



'Pray without ceasing.' 1 Thessalonians 5:17 NKJV

Today we're talking about prayer. Paul says, 'Pray without ceasing' (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NKJV). You can pray anywhere, anytime, about anything. Your prayers can be out loud or silent, long or short, public or private. 'Pray without ceasing' just means to be chatting with God wherever and whenever.

If you find your daily prayer life waning, ask yourself: (a) Has my love for Jesus grown cold? (b) Do I believe I can handle life on my own? (c) Have I forgotten how much God longs to spend time with me?

'But I'm so busy!' That's the lamest excuse you can offer; how you spend your time reveals what's important to you! The truth is, if you don't pray it's because you don't realise its potential, or you're unaware of the condition of your heart. Prayer puts the situation into God's hands, otherwise whose hands is it in? Yours? Now that's a scary thought!

So what now? Does your prayer life need a tune-up? Answer these three questions: (1) How often do I pray? If you can't remember when, you're living undirected, uncorrected and unprotected. (2) How's my faith level? Do you wonder if prayer really changes anything? John Wesley (a famous old school preacher) said, 'God does nothing except in answer to prayer.' If you don't pray the best thing that can happen - is nothing. (3) How's my sincerity? Are you just going through the motions? Maybe you need to rethink about who you're talking to, and how he feels about you.

Soulfood: Josh 22-24, Mark 10:35-52, Ps 78:1-8, Prov 23:19-21

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Be a generous giver



'You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion...' 2 Corinthians 9:11 NIV

Check out what Paul says about giving to his mates at the church in Corinth: 'He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver' (2 Corinthians 9:6-7 NKJV).

Be honest, how generous are you really with what God has given you? When was the last time you got really excited about giving? Remember, it's not just about money. Do you have time or talents that you can give as well as your money? Have you ever sat down and got creative, planning and thinking about outrageous ways to bless people? Paul says that giving shouldn't be something we only think about when the offering comes round and we check what's in our jeans' pocket. God wants us to be considerate and cheerful givers.

So what now? Consider what you can afford. Be honest with how much you spend on yourself: what you really need and what you could do without. Consider whose world could be rocked by your gift. Think about what God has been saying to you recently - what or who has he highlighted? Then make a decision about what you are going to give. Once you've decided make sure you enjoy it! Be cheerful. (Think on this... you could get a huge buzz bless by blessing someone secretly!) Don't hold back! Go for it!

Soulfood: Josh 19:24 - 21:45, Mark 10:23-34, Ps 27, Prov 23:16-18

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Overcome the grasshopper mentality 2



'...next to them we felt like grasshoppers...' Numbers 13:33 NLT

When you come up against a giant, either your faith will cause you to soar or your fear will cause you to sink. The Israelites who had wandered in the desert for 40 years never got to see the Promised Land. Why? Because they let their fear get the better of them: 'We even saw giants there... We felt like grasshoppers next to them' (Numbers 13:33 NLT).

This is someone with a 'grasshopper mentality': (1) They constantly talk about life's injustices; about how they've been mistreated and misunderstood. To them Paul answers, '...endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ' (2 Timothy 2:3 NKJV). (2) They make excuses for not conquering in life. To them Paul writes, '...in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us' (Romans 8:37 NIV). (3) They complain about what they don't have instead of focusing on what they do have. To them Peter writes, 'His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us...' (2 Peter 1:3 NIV).

If you're to see (and seize) what God's promised you, you'll have to conquer your giants. Now, you have the power to, but do you have the guts to? Can you, like Joshua and Caleb, look upwards with eyes of faith?

So what now? How do you move from a grasshopper mentality to a giant killer mentality? Get to know God better. You have everything you need in you because you have God in you.

Soulfood: Josh 16:1 - 19:23, Mark 10:13-22, Ps 112, Prov 23:13-15

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Overcome the grasshopper mentality 1



'...next to them we felt like grasshoppers...' Numbers 13:33 NLT

You'll never know what you're made of spiritually until you come against something too big to handle alone. That's when you discover what you really believe. Moses sent twelve spies to scout out the land promised to the Israelites. They all saw the same thing: a land rich in honey and milk - and giants! It literally was a big problem!

Acknowledging or knowing there's a problem isn't lack of faith. And it's not a sin. The issue with the spies was in how they reacted to the problem. Ten said, 'We saw the giants...and we were like grasshoppers in our own eyes' (Numbers 13:33 NIV), but two spies called Joshua and Caleb said, '...do not fear the people of the land...The Lord is with us...' (Numbers 14:9 TLB). Real faith feeds off the stuff the enemy throws at us and beckons, 'Bring it on! The Lord is with me'

The negative report of the ten spies caused three reactions in the people: (1) Fear. Fear is irrational. It can make you forget every good thing God's promised you or done for you. (2) Some wanted to go back to Egypt - back to how things used to be. 'Um, hello?!' (3) Others wanted to settle in the wilderness. You can't settle in a problem. You've got to move with the cloud, otherwise today's manna is the last you'll see (read it in Exodus 16).

So what now? Is the God you serve bigger than the giant you see? He says he is. Believe him and face your problems head on!

Soulfood: Josh 14-15, Mark 10:1-12, Ps 20, Prov 23:10-12

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Do you keep your word



'...keeps a promise even if it ruins him...' Psalm 15:4 TLB

There's a print company that sells notepads, and the company states: '100% satisfaction or 100% of your money back!' Now, most people would not be dissatisfied with a notepad. But if the pages were made of thin layers of jelly instead of paper it's good to know that you'd feel confident that the company would fulfil their 'money back' promise, even if it was only a couple of dollars.Unlike companies, keeping our promises usually doesn't lose us cash. But keeping promises can be costly: we may have to miss out on something more 'exciting,' or put ourselves out in order to keep our word.Solomon says it's '...better not to vow than to...not fulfil it' (Ecclesiastes 5:5 NIV)! God doesn't want us to avoid making promises, he just wants us not to make them lightly and to be committed to keeping them. In Psalms David asks: 'Lord, who may...find refuge...on your holy hill?' Here's the answer: 'Anyone who leads a blameless life and is truly sincere...[and] keeps a promise even if it ruins him' (Psalm 15:2-4 TLB). So what now? Do you keep your word even when it costs you? For example, when you promise to pray for somebody - do you? When you say you'll be somewhere on time - are you? When you tell people they can depend on you - can they? When you agree to repay that cash you borrowed on time - do you? Now, nobody is perfect but when your word fails, admit your mistake without making excuses. As a follower of Christ, your word should be your bond.

Soulfood: Gen 11:1-9, Phil 2:1-11, Ps 133, Ps 133

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