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Word For You Today

Desire Attractiveness

'Your body is a temple where the Holy Spirit lives.' 1 Corinthians 6:19 CEV

The Bible tells us to eat, drink, celebrate, sing, dance and make music - all things we do with our bodies, and all ways to celebrate how good God is. Our physical lives are not separate from our spiritual lives. After all, it's God's Spirit who makes our bodies come to life.

But if we're not careful, our priorities can shift from God to what we look like. We can become obsessed with our appearance, our weight and our health. God made us with a love of beauty, but the Bible reminds us that: 'Don't be concerned about the outward beauty... Be beautiful inside, in your hearts, with the lasting charm of a gentle and quiet spirit that is so precious to God' (1 Peter 3:3-4 TLB). The Bible says: 'God does not see as humans see. Humans look at outward appearances, but the Lord looks into the heart' (1 Samuel 16:7 GWT). Our character is the thing that will last. 'Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting' (Proverbs 31:30 NIV).

The Bible never tells us that wanting to care for our bodies is wrong. In fact, it says: 'Your body is a temple where the Holy Spirit lives' (1 Corinthians 6:19 CEV). We should respect, care for and honour that temple, but remember that God is more focused on how beautiful we are on the inside.

So what now? Write out 1 Samuel 16:7 and stick it on your mirror. Every time you check how you're looking, read the verse out loud. Be attractive on the inside!

Soulfood: 2 Ki 13-15 Mark 13:1-11 Ps 143 Pro 13:9-10,


Desire Friendship

'A man who has friends must himself be friendly.' Proverbs 18:24 NKJV

Jonathan and David had a very strong friendship. The Bible says: 'David finished talking to Saul. After that, Jonathan became David's closest friend. He loved David as much as he loved himself' (1 Samuel 18:1 GWT). Jonathan was heir to the throne, but he voluntarily gave it up because he knew David was God's choice for king. Jonathan desired to be a friend more than he desired to be a king. Friendship and God's ultimate plan were more important to Jonathan. And their friendship ended up changing the course of Israel.

Whether we're introvert or extrovert, shy or outgoing, friendship is an important part of our lives. We need other people for support, advice and prayer. God can use our friends to bless us.

But in order for us to have strong and godly friendships we need to be prepared to be strong godly friends to others. The Bible says: 'A man who has friends must himself be friendly' (Proverbs 18:24 NKJV). Friendships, like Jonathan and David's, don't just happen. They have to be worked at and grown. Developing strong friendships requires the investment of quality time. It means being deliberate about making them special. It involves putting people above our own personal gains, just like Jonathan did in his friendship with David.

So what now? Have a think about your friendships. Are you treating your friends well enough, and giving them priority over your own personal gain? Celebrate and honour them for the place they have in your life. Together you can change the world for God.

Soulfood: 2 Ki 10-12 Mark 12:28-44 Ps 132:11-18 Pro 13:7-8,


Desire Achievement

'God made us to do good works.' Ephesians 2:10 NCV

We all have the desire to achieve to some degree. This is good, as long as we want to achieve in the right things. The apostle Paul was very motivated by achievement. He said: 'My life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned to me by the Lord Jesus' (Acts 20:24 NLT). God didn't take away Paul's desire to achieve; and Paul used it fulfil God's plans for his life.

Being motivated, with a desire to learn and achieve, can be good. The Bible says: 'Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters' (Colossians 3:23 NIV). But it's not good if it leads us to overwork, neglect God or manipulate others. If this happens, we need to re-evaluate our motivation.

We can use our motivation to achieve to help us grow in God. We can use our skills to accomplish good things for others. We can be like Paul and be completely focused on doing what God's called us to do. The Bible says: 'In Christ Jesus, God made us to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to live our lives doing' (Ephesians 2:10 NCV). We're made to do good works. So let's use our motivation and our desire to achieve to do great things for God.

So what now? Before every task, talk to God about what you're wanting to achieve. Pray for strength, focus and opportunities to glorify him in whatever you're doing.

Soulfood: 2 Ki 7-9 Mark 12:13-27 Ps 132:1-10 Pro 13:4-6,


Desire Wealth

'It is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth.' Deuteronomy 8:18 NIV

Making money and working hard at our job are things that can bring glory to God. In Acts 16, we're introduced to Lydia, a businesswoman who dealt in textiles. She was one of Paul's first converts to Christianity and was so successful she owned her own home. It was large enough to become the first recorded meeting place for the church in Europe. Her desire to succeed in business led her closer to God.

It's not wrong for us to want to make money, but if that desire stops us being generous, leads us into debt or causes us to be dissatisfied, then we need to re-evaluate what we're doing. When God told the Israelites that he was bringing them into a good land, he reminded them to thank him for what they would experience. 'When you become successful, don't say, "I'm rich, and I've earned it all myself". Instead, remember that the Lord your God gives you the strength to make a living' (Deuteronomy 8:17-18 CEV).

We should be glorifying him through all we do. 'So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God' (1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV). When our desire for financial success is to glorify God and bless others, he will help us succeed. The Bible warns, 'You cannot serve both God and money' (Matthew 6:24 NIV). We need to determine our reasons for making money.

So what now? Ask yourself: 'Am I making money for myself, or is my heart generous and glorifying God?'

Soulfood: 2 Ki 4:18-44 2 Ki 5 2 Ki 6:1-33 Mark 12:1-12 Ps 48 Pro 13:2-3,


It's great to read God's Word

'All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.' 2 Timothy 3:16 NKJV

Whether we think it's outdated, unhelpful, boring or something we can't fit in to our busy schedules, it can be easy for our Bible to be left unopened. But Paul wrote to Timothy: 'The whole Bible was given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realise what is wrong in our lives' (2 Timothy 3:16 TLB).

So, here are some important reasons to read our Bibles. Firstly, the Bible helps keep us on the right path. It shows us how God wants us to live. God will never say something to us through others, or our own thoughts, that doesn't line up with what he's clearly revealed in his Word. When we know the Scriptures, we can discern whether it's God speaking or not. Secondly, it helps us know we're truly saved. John writes: 'These things I have written to you...that you may have eternal life, and...continue to believe in the name of the Son of God' (1 John 5:13 NKJV). And thirdly, reading the Bible helps us to identify, and be equipped for, our calling. Paul says, '[The Bible] is God's way of making us well prepared at every point, fully equipped to do good to everyone' (2 Timothy 3:17 TLB).

So what now? Why not start a Bible reading plan - if you don't do one already. Check out the SoulFood Bible reading plan at the end of each day's reading of Word For You Today. It'll help you read the whole Bible in a year.

Soulfood: 2 Ki 1:1-18 2 Ki 2 2 Ki 3 2Ki 4:1-17 Mark 11:27-33 Ps 1 Pro 13:1,


Use your creativity

'They made an opening in the roof.' Mark 2:4 NIV

All of us are creative in some way. Maybe we like writing, baking, painting, drawing, making music or interacting with others. It's very handy to use our creativity to find a solution. That's what a group of people in the Bible did when they were trying to get their friend in to see Jesus. Their friend was paralysed and they believed Jesus could heal him. But the house Jesus was in was too crowded to even get through the door. So they had a creative thought. 'They made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on' (Mark 2:4 NIV).

Sometimes we can feel like we're stuck in a problem, and that we're not getting anywhere. But God has made us all with the ability to be creative. We are made in his image (see Genesis 1) and he's a creative God.

When we're feeling like we can't move forward, we may need to change our perspective and think outside of the box. This is particularly true in our relationship with God when we feel it has become mundane or a duty. It may mean having to go through the roof instead of the door. There are plenty of alternative, creative ways to connect with God: journal, read books, study theology, worship him through art, music, hospitality or nature. The creative possibilities, because of our creative God, are endless.

So what now? Why not investigate a new and creative way of connecting with your loving heavenly Father.

Soulfood: Rev 19-22 Mark 11:12-26 Ps 129 Pro 12:27-28,


Integrity wins 2

'Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue ninety feet tall.' Daniel 3:1 NLT

The statue of himself that King Nebuchadnezzar had built was the ultimate display of pride. Truth is, we all have a little of 'Nebuchadnezzar' in us. We can get upset when people don't do what we want or get angry when we don't get our own way. We want people to acknowledge the good in us.

We may not admit it, but part of us really likes being praised and worshipped. We wouldn't build a massive statue though; our monuments to ourselves are much more subtle. We might exaggerate on our CV, choose an edited photo for our profile picture, or hide the less-than-great areas of our lives. When we cover up our insecurities like this, it shows that we're not finding our identity and security in Christ for our lives.

When we understand what God thinks about us, and how much Jesus was prepared to sacrifice for us, we can be secure in who we are. Paul wrote: 'I no longer live, but Christ lives in me' (Galatians 2:20 GWT). Once we really take to heart the fact that God loves us and that he's delighted to put in the effort to help us work on our flaws and failings, we'll find that it doesn't matter so much what other people think about us. We won't crave praise and flattery. We'll crave God instead.

So what now? What things have you exaggerated or hidden to make yourself look good? Grab your integrity back. Ask God to give you a fresh awareness of his opinion and love for you.

Soulfood: Exo 20:16 Deut 19:15-20 Rev 21:8,

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