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Word For You Today

God your Father 1



'And by him we cry, "Abba, Father."' Romans 8:15 NIV

Whatever our experience of our earthly father is, God is the perfect Father for each one of us. He knows us intimately: 'You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me' (Psalm 139:1-5 NIV). He never leaves us to deal with anything on our own.

His love for us is unconditional: 'There is nothing in all creation that will ever be able to separate us from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord' (Romans 8:39 GNT). He is always looking out for us: 'God will command his angels to protect you wherever you go' (Psalm 91:11 CEV). And he has only the best planned for us: 'Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us' (Ephesians 3:20 NIV).

It therefore makes perfect sense that we trust him completely. 'Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight' (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV).

So what now? Listen to 'Good Good Father' by Chris Tomlin. After you've listened, thank God for being your perfect Father.

Soulfood: Matt 28:16-20 2 Cor 13:14 John 1:18 John 15:18-26,

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Our home then and now



'We are citizens of Heaven.' Philippians 3:20 NLT

Ever had a really rough, tiring day, when you don't have a scrap of energy left, and you're so mentally drained that it almost hurts to think? The sort of day when you crave home? When you finally do get home and curl up in your pyjamas with a hot cup of tea, you experience that great feeling of peace and relief.

The Lord's prayer says, 'May your will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven' (Matthew 6:9-13 NLT). We are meant to find joy and contentment on earth as we work our way towards fulfilling the assignment God's given us for our life, but it's still nothing compared to the joy that's waiting for us in Heaven. Paul put it this way: 'We are citizens of Heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Saviour. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control' (Philippians 3:20-21 NLT).

We have an inbuilt craving for our heavenly home. But until it's time for us to join him in Heaven, let's make the most of our earthly life by being 'at home' with him. When we do that, we'll find joy and delight in following his will and his plan for our lives.

So what now? At the end of your day, spend some time with God, thanking him that he is your home, in Heaven and now on earth.

Soulfood: Hosea 6-10 Mark 14:43-52 Ps 139:7-12 Pro 13:24,

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Words pleasing to God



'Let your conversation be always full of grace.' Colossians 4:6 NIV

Our words have incredible power. They can lift people up or bring them down. They can heal or they can hurt. They can speak God's truth or the enemy's lies. And we have the ability to choose, every day, how we use our words. The Bible says: 'May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight' (Psalm 19:14 NIV).

Are our words, towards others and ourselves, pleasing to God? Controlling what we say is something we all struggle with, which is probably why the power of words is mentioned so many times in the Bible. 'No human being can tame the tongue... with the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God's likeness' (James 3:8-9 NIV). And when we don't use wisdom when speaking, our words can have negative consequences. Once we've criticised someone, we may quickly forget what we've said to them, but those words may stay with that person for their whole life. It may take years to break off things that other people have spoken over us. 'The tongue is a flame of fire. It is full of wickedness, and poisons every part of the body' (James 3:6 TLB).

Bottom line from God's Word: 'Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone' (Colossians 4:6 NLT).

So what now? Think about the things you've said to others this week. Ask God for forgiveness for any words that haven't been pleasing to him.

Soulfood: Hosea 1-5 Mark 14:27-42 Ps 139:1-6 Pro 13:21-23,

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Be a great role model



'He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father...had done.' 2 Chronicles 26:4 NIV

When we were children, we looked up to others - a parent, sibling, teacher, youth leader - to show us how to live. The bonus was if they modelled a faith in God, and set an example of how to live close to him and follow his ways. Timothy's faith was wonderfully cultivated. Paul says: 'I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also' (2 Timothy 1:5 NIV). And back in the Old Testament, Uzziah followed the example set by his father. The Bible says: 'He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father...had done' (2 Chronicles 26:4 NIV).

Even as we grow older, we still need good role models in our lives, who can encourage us in our faith. People who can mentor us. And we, in turn, need to be good role models to others, especially those younger than us.

We don't need to be superhuman to be great role models. All we need to do to model a great life is simply live in a Christlike way. The Bible tells us to 'let the message about Christ completely fill your lives, while you use all your wisdom to teach and instruct each other. With thankful hearts, sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to God' (Colossians 3:16 NIV).

So what now? Who has been, or is, a great role model in your life? If you can, do something to thank them.

Soulfood: 2 Ki 24-25 Mark 14:12-26 Ps 73:17-28 Pro 13:20,

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Rest in God's strength



'He gives power to the weak.' Isaiah 40:29 NKJV

As human beings we often like to do things in our own strength, either because we don't trust God enough or we think we'll do a better job. This can lead to burn out.

God knows we get tired. He says: 'Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall' (Isaiah 40:30 NIV). But he has the answer. 'He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak...those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint' (Isaiah 40:29-31 NIV).

When we're feeling discouraged, tired or hopeless we can find strength in God. He's always ready to refresh us and breathe new life into us: 'I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint' (Jeremiah 31:25 NIV). He reminds us that he is all-powerful and can sustain us, so we don't keep trying to do everything in our own strength. He reminds us that he loves us and wants the best for us, so we don't have to keep trying to strive and impress. He reminds us that he knows more about us, and our situations, than we do. He knows how many hairs are on our heads (see Luke 12:7), so it makes sense that he knows every detail of what we need.

So what now? If you're feeling discouraged, tired or hopeless today, set aside time to just rest in God's presence and allow his strength to restore you.

Soulfood: 2 Ki 21-23 Mark 14:1-11 Ps 73:1-16 Pro 13:17-19,

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A cure for heartsickness hope



'Hope deferred makes the heart sick.' Proverbs 13:12 NKJV

When we've been praying for something for a long time, we can become discouraged when nothing seems to change. We can start expecting nothing to happen and lose hope. The Bible says: 'Hope deferred makes the heart sick' (Proverbs 13:12 NKJV).

Jesus went to visit Mary and Martha when he heard that their brother Lazarus had died. These sisters had two different encounters with Jesus. When Martha saw him, she said: 'Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you anything you ask' (John 11:21-22 NCV). Mary's reaction was different: 'Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died' (John 11:32 NCV). Martha acknowledged that Jesus could still do something amazing. She was looking ahead with hope. Mary was looking back at the fact that Jesus hadn't prevented her brother's death.

It can be easy to lose hope and to cry out to God that if he'd done something it wouldn't have happened. But we need to remember that with God everything is possible and that we can still expect him to perform a miracle. Mary and Martha knew that Jesus could have saved their brother, but he did an even greater miracle by raising him from the dead. Let's keep looking ahead like Martha and trust God has it under control.

So what now? What's your 'Lazarus'? What's happened in your life that you've lost hope about? Pray for the strength to trust God and look ahead with hope. Allow hope to cure your heartsickness.

Soulfood: 2 Ki 18:17-37 2 Ki 19 2 Ki 20:1-21 Mark 13:24-37 Ps 80:12-19 Pro 13:13-16,

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Push through to victory



'Problems...develop endurance...strength...hope.' Romans 5:3-4 NLT

When we're facing problems, we can sometimes feel despondent and be tempted to give up. But Paul says: 'We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know...they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope...And this hope will not lead to disappointment' (Romans 5:3-5 NLT). This is an amazing list of benefits God provides us when we face problems.

When we view our problems as ways for us to grow, learn and become more like Christ, then it's easier to rejoice, despite the problems. According to the quote from Romans, three ways we grow in our times of troubles are: endurance, character and hope. Endurance means we'll develop a commitment to draw on his grace and keep moving forward regardless of circumstances. Our strength of character will develop because we'll learn how to maintain integrity through what we're facing. And we'll also be able to confidently hope that, whatever it takes, ultimately we'll make it. And, an extra fourth growth bonus - we can hold onto the fact that 'this hope will not lead to disappointment.'

When we're struggling with what we're going through, and we can't see or understand how it can grow us, we need to keep pushing through until we reach victory - victory is what God promises!

So what now? If you're struggling through something tough, why not start each day this way: put on a worship song and thank God for the goodness that he promises to bring out of this hard time.

Soulfood: 2 Ki 16:1-20 2 Ki 17 2 ki 18:1-16 Mark 13:12-23 Ps 80:1-11 Pro 13:11-12,

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