Word For You Today

Look ahead 1

'He burned the plowing equipment.' 1 Kings 19:21 NIV

God told Elijah that Elisha would take his place as prophet. And Elisha's ministry started like this: 'He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people ...Then he set out to follow Elijah' (1 Kings 19:21 NIV). It sounds pretty drastic. Destroying his old way of life meant he could never go back to it. But it symbolised the end of Elisha the farmer, and the beginning of Elisha the prophet.

When we start something new or different, it's not only about stepping forward into the future; we may have to remove what could lead us back into the past. To begin a new chapter, we may have to end an old chapter. Elisha didn't have to burn his equipment to follow Elijah - but it was his statement of faith that there was no turning back.

Whether in our relationships, lifestyle or something else, we may need to end a chapter before we fully move into the new one. When God told Lot and his family to leave Sodom, the angels warned them: 'Don't look back, and don't stop anywhere in the plain' (Genesis 19:17 NIV). They needed to keep their eyes on what was ahead, not on their old life. And we need to do the same.

So what now? What's been holding you back from moving forwards? Write it on a page. Ask God to help you move on. Then, on the other side of the page, write your hopes and dreams for the future.

Soulfood: Deut 1-2 Matt 11:20-30 Ps 42:6-11 Pro 16:17-19,


Make the first move

'Every husband must love his wife as he loves himself, and wives should respect their husbands.' Ephesians 5:33 NLT

'Every husband must love his wife as he loves himself, and wives should respect their husbands' (Ephesians 5:33 NLT). This verse applies to every kind of relationship, not only to marriage. A good relationship is about growing an environment that helps both parties become better people, and draws each closer to God. And this environment needs a heap of love and respect - not only when we feel like it, but also when we don't feel like it.

Jesus' commandment to 'love your neighbour as yourself' (Matthew 22:39 NIV) sums it up perfectly. It means asking God to soften our sharp edges, and provide us with strength, patience and opportunities to show his love to those around us.

Want to work out a difficult relationship, make long-lasting friendships or even just feel loved? Make the first move. When we're prayerfully proactive in a relationship, and willing to drop our own grievances for the sake of keeping relationship, God will add to it. That doesn't mean we allow ourselves to be walked over by someone who isn't willing to show love back. Sometimes, there's good reason to move out of a relationship (and if you do feel as though you need to get out, then listen to yourself, you know your situation best), but it's first of all worth considering if we can bless the other person in some way.

So what now? Next time you have a disagreement with someone, make the effort to make the first move to let it go and apologise.

Soulfood: Acts 27-28 Matt 11:10-19 Ps 42:1-5 Pro 16:16,


Jairus 4

'"Your daughter is dead," he said. "Don't bother the teacher anymore."' Luke 8:49 NIV

While Jairus was asking Jesus to come and heal his daughter, someone said to him, 'Your daughter is dead...Don't bother the teacher anymore.' But Jesus responded: 'Don't be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed' (Luke 8:50 NIV). Jairus heard two conflicting voices. Would he listen to the human voice telling him all hope was lost, that he shouldn't bother Jesus anymore, that nothing more could be done? Or would he listen to Jesus' voice telling him to have faith, that there was still time for a miracle?

We can hear two conflicting voices as well. When things in our lives seem beyond fixing, will we listen to the voice that tells us to stop hoping and stop praying? Or will we listen to God's voice telling us to believe that he can do the impossible. Even when things are pronounced 'dead' in our lives, he can bring new life.

We needn't feel that we're 'bothering' God. He's always willing to listen to our prayers; he even asks us to 'pray continually' (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NIV). We can turn to him first with all our problems, even when a resolution seems beyond what's possible. So, in our situations, when we're hearing, 'Don't bother the teacher anymore', we need to listen to the voice of Jesus saying, 'Don't be afraid; just believe'.

So what now? Is there something in your life you've given up praying for? Start to pray again for restoration, healing and new life in this situation today.

Soulfood: 1 Sam 5:1 - 6:16 Rev 11:15-19,


Jairus 3

'Just have faith, and she will be healed.' Luke 8:50 NIV

When Jairus first went to Jesus, his daughter was critically ill but still alive. Then while he was with Jesus, he was told: 'Your daughter is dead' (Luke 8:49 NLT). Jesus then looked at Jairus and said, 'Don't be afraid. Just have faith, and she will be healed' (Luke 8:50 NLT). While Jesus was making his way to Jairus' house, Jesus performed another miracle. A woman who had been bleeding for 12 years had reached out and touched the edge of his robe, believing that she would be healed. Jesus took the time to find her in the crowd, affirm her identity and then heal her. While this healing was taking place, Jairus may have been becoming desperate. His daughter was seriously ill and Jesus was taking the time to deal with someone else. And then, a messenger came to tell him that his daughter had died!

We may have prayed over something in our lives, only to see God answering everyone's prayers but ours, even when our problems seem to have reached the point of no return. But Jesus has time for us all. He can perform miracles at any point. He still raised Jairus' daughter back to life, an even bigger miracle than healing her from her sickness.

Remember, 'with God all things are possible' (Matthew 19:26 NIV).

So what now? Every time you make your own prayer requests to God, take the time to thank him for what he's doing in the lives of your friends and family. Jesus has time and solutions for us all.

Soulfood: Acts 24-26 Matt 11:1-9 Ps 1 Pro 16:10-15,


Jairus 2

'I urge you...to pray for all people.' 1 Timothy 2:1 NLT

When Jairus asked Jesus to come to his house because his daughter was dying, he was interceding for his daughter. And we can come to Jesus with other people's needs too. Paul said: 'I urge you to pray for all people' (1 Timothy 2:1 NLT). We can ask for things for people we know and those we don't know. Sometimes when we're praying, we're so focused on listing off all our problems to God, we lose sight of the fact that others need prayer too. We need to make praying for others a habit in our lives.

Jesus prays for us! The Bible says: 'Christ died and was raised to life, and now he is at God's right side, speaking to him for us' (Romans 8:34 CEV). What an amazing thought. Jesus is speaking to God on our behalf. Jesus even prayed for us when he was approaching his death. He prayed: 'for those who will believe in me through their word; that they all may be one, as you, father, are in me, and I in you; that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that you sent me' (John 17:20-21 NKJV).

If Jesus could pray for us knowing that his cruel death was ahead, we can pray for others no matter what's going on in our lives.

So what now? Choose five people to pray for and write their names on sticky notes. Put them up in your room and commit to praying for them every day for a week (or longer!).

Soulfood: Acts 22-23 Matt 10:32-42 Ps 65 Pro 16:8-9,


Jairus 1

'Jairus, a leader of the local synagogue, came and fell at Jesus' feet.' Luke 8:41 NLT

When Jairus' daughter was ill, he knew that Jesus could heal her. The Bible tells us that when Jairus reached Jesus, he 'fell at his feet, begging him to come to his house' (Luke 8:41 NCV). And, when something happens in our lives, we can take them to Jesus' feet too. Once Jairus had told Jesus about his daughter, Jesus responded.

God never turns us away. When we bring something to him, he responds. It doesn't matter how far we've walked away from God - when we run to him with a problem, he welcomes us back. Jesus told the story of the 'Prodigal Son'. When this son left his father and tried to do life his own way, he ended up in a mess. He decided to head home, but was worried what his father would say. He needn't have worried. His father ran to him with open arms (read the full story in Luke 15). Even if we've tried to do life our own way, God welcomes us back with open arms. The Bible says: 'Righteous people cry out. The Lord hears and rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is near to those whose hearts are humble. He saves those whose spirits are crushed' (Psalm 34:17-18 NIV).

If we're feeling broken-hearted over something today, we can run to him, cry out to him, knowing that he'll always respond.

So what now? If you know someone who's broken-hearted at the moment, why not send them Psalm 34:18 and remind them to take their problems to the feet of Jesus.

Soulfood: Acts 20-21 Matt 10:21-31 Ps 14 Pro 16:6-7,


God's plan for you

'You saw me before I was born.' Psalm 139:16 NLT

If you want to know God's purpose for your life, pray this:

'Lord, you knew me completely before I was born, and you shaped me and destined me for a purpose (see Psalm 139:16-17). Make clear to me what you want to do in and through my life. I need to understand what the "hope of my calling" (Ephesians 4:4) is, and need "the exceeding greatness of your power" (Ephesians 1:19) to enable me to fulfill your purpose (see 2 Corinthians 9:14). Show me the gifts you've given me, and how I can develop and use them for you (see Romans 12:6). Help me think big and pray with boldness (see Ephesians 3:20). I want to be open and available for whatever you have for me, and not miss your blessings by being unprepared to receive them. Help me not to hold on to things or relationships that are not of you. Help me do your will with my whole heart (see Psalm 40:8). Only you know what and who is right for me. Help me to hear your voice, and give me the grace and courage to follow your leading when I'm afraid (see John 10:4). May the desires of your heart become the desires of my heart. Enlarge my capacity to believe that you can take what I have and multiply it beyond what I can imagine. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.'

So what now? Pray this prayer daily for the next week. Have a notebook handy to write down anything you feel God's saying back to you.

Soulfood: Acts 18-19 Matt 10:11-20 Ps 146 Pro 16:4-5,

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