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Sherryn 2:00-7:00pm

Word For You Today

HIDE, OR SPEAK?

 



Hey you! Come out from behind that plant. Metaphorically speaking. In Genesis 3:8, Adam and Eve knew they'd done wrong. They were so terrified of the consequences that they went and hid behind some trees. It didn't work too well, though. God's a pretty good finder.



So, why do we still try to hide? When that 'sin' happens, we can often try our very best to avoid God. We don't want to face telling Him about it, or dealing with the aftermath. We don't want to experience His disappointment in us. Or our own disappointment in ourselves. It's easier to just keep our mouths shut, and hope that we can carry on without having to face Him.



But that's not God's plan. Life with Him isn't some sort of monstrous game of hide and seek. Take a look at Genesis 3. When God found Adam and Eve, He started a conversation. He dealt with their mess. Then (in the first verse of chapter 4), He still helped them. You see, there are always going to be consequences for our mistakes. But, when we take them to God and ask Him to deal with them, there's still life with Him in and after those consequences.



 



So what now? Trust God's justice. Be honest with Him about your mistakes. Deal with the consequences. And watch Him still make something beautiful out of your life.

Soulfood : Lev 16, Lev 23:26-32 , Heb 9:1-14, Heb 13:11-16

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CLICHÉ? NO. PRAY.

If you've ever met Christians (we're guessing you have :)), you've probably heard the 'I'm praying for you' response to a rough situation. Maybe you've even said it yourself. The problem is, 'I'm praying for you' can be a good conversational filler (a cliché) when we don't know what else to say, and we may not even end up saying a prayer for them. Next time, instead of saying those words, we could pray for the person right there and then.

There's something so supernaturally powerful about praying for others. In 1 Samuel 7:5, Samuel prayed for the people around him, and it made such a difference (read the full story in 1 Samuel 7:3-12). You see, when we stand by someone in prayer, God takes note. And He acts. We don't always know how He's going to sort a situation out, but we can bank on the fact that He will.

While we're talking about prayer, it's good to be thankful to the people who say they are praying for us and who actually do! They are going out of their way to take up the weapon that God offers and stand alongside us.

So what now? There's a fairly strong possibility that someone in your life is facing something really difficult. Call them, or send them a text or an email, and tell them you're praying for them, and actually put the time in to pray! Prayer will help them.

Soulfood : Ex 1-3, Lk 24:45-53, Ps 51, Prov 25:23-25

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GOLD STANDARD?

Take a look at today's verse (we couldn't fit it all - definitely a good excuse for you to crack open your Bible, though... hint...). We human beings are all too quick to compare ourselves with others and think that we are not good/smart/good looking enough. But, can our comparisons go the other way? Is it sometimes a little too easy to be comfortable in our own skin?

Here it is: what about when we know we really excel in a particular area? When we know we've got a skill/ability/physical attribute that our friends/peers/colleagues don't have, it can get a bit too easy to be happy with ourselves. Today's verse, in Biblical context, was written in reference to those high up in society, and the (uber-celebrity) athletes of the time. They knew they were good at what they did, and pretty much nobody could touch them. Yet the writer Paul is using it to warn us not to assume that we're the standard to measure by.

So, how is it possible to really be good at something, but not compare yourself negatively with others who aren't so good? 2 Corinthians 10:17 says: 'Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.' Don't let your self-esteem hinge on that winning ability you have? Acknowledge that it's God-given. It's meant to build others up, not put them down.

So what now? It's good to acknowledge the positive areas in your life. Write down a list of your strengths. Now, thank God for them and ask Him to maximise them for His glory and for the benefit of others.

Soulfood : 1 Cor 15-16, Lk 24:36-44, Ps 60, Prov 25:21-22

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THE ACTUAL PRODIGAL SON (4)

Last one. Let's wrap this thought-provoking story up with three points: (1) Anger holds you back. You won't learn or grow if you take up the 'older brother' attitude - becoming critical and resentful whenever you see something positive happening in someone else's life. We've all been there. The only way to receive and appreciate our full inheritance is to forgive and move on.

(2) '...Son...all that I have is yours' (Luke 15:31 NKJ). There it is, plain and simple: there was enough to go around for the prodigal son and his older brother. When you notice God rocking someone's life, He's not forgotten you. And He certainly won't hold back from abundantly blessing you too.

(3) The Father always listens: It seems obvious, but the older brother didn't think so. But God says: 'Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need' (Hebrews 4:16 NIV). If the older brother just asked for help to overcome his bitterness, life would have far easier for him.

So what now? If any one of those points resonates, make yourself a cup of tea, sit down and be honest with God about it. Come Home!

Soulfood : 1 Cor 12-14, Lk 24:25-35, Ps 68:19-35, Prov 25:17-20

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THE ACTUAL PRODIGAL SON (3)

The last couple of days we've focused on the older brother in the parable of the prodigal son. Today, we thought we'd address the main character in the parable, the younger brother. Like his older sibling, he didn't fully grasp the nature of his father, but for different reasons. When he walked away from his home, he left all the good he could have freely had. Who in their right mind would do that? Everything he needed for a full life was right under his nose.

His 'dumb' move definitely sunk in later. The younger brother got up and chose to admit his mistakes, and his father was waiting for the son with open arms. And, like the prodigal son, when we look back in hindsight at a good thing we've left behind, it's easy to admit that we've been stupid (think of the robes! think of the inheritance! think of the cake!). Finding ourselves stuck in a rut with no strength left and nowhere to turn is often when we realise we should have stayed in the house, where God's got everything we need.

Messing up is never the end of the story with our Father in Heaven. But turning back to God does take real humility - we can either stick it out alone, or run back home with nothing to show for what we've done. Yet, coming back home is what matters.

So what now? Re-read the prodigal son story. Which son are you most like? What is the Father like? Consider: do you need to return home or take a new look at the home He has provided for you?

Soulfood : 1 Cor 10-11, Lk 24:13-24, Ps 68:1-18, Prov 25:13-16

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THE ACTUAL PRODIGAL SON (2)

To fully understand exactly who God is, it might be that we have to reach a low point. Our own personal pig-sty can put the love of God that we're missing back into perspective, leading us to 'repentance' (turning back to God). So, it took a lot for the younger son in the Prodigal Son story to finally come to his senses, after walking out on all his father had for him.

But, what about the older brother in the story: was he guilty of something just as bad? In a house with his loving father, completely cared for and supplied with everything he needed, he still hadn't come to his senses. Check this out: '...This son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him' (Luke 15:30 NIV)! Ouch. He didn't think the younger son deserved it... true, but neither did he. Unlike the younger son, he wasn't aware of his problem: judgmentalism. He built himself up by tearing his 'unholy' brother down.

As Christians, one of the first things we need to accept is that God, our Father, loves us and that we don't have to do anything to earn His love. And be thankful for it! When we do this, it will make accepting others a lot easier. The younger rule-breaker son realised this truth and returned 'home'; the older brother had yet to come to his senses.

So what now? Think about what God gives us freely. Acceptance? Freedom? Now, show some of that to someone who needs it - invite them into your life or friendship group and get alongside them.

Soulfood : 1 Cor 7-9, Lk 24:1-12, Ps 91, Prov 25:9-12

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THE ACTUAL PRODIGAL SON (1)

 



Here's a story in the Bible you may have heard before. A father. Two sons. The younger brother wants out of the house. He leaves and messes up. On his return, he is welcomed with open arms.



Is this about leaving for uni? Nope. It's about walking out on what our 'father' God wants. He has an awful lot in store for His 'children', but sometimes we don't want to live under His care.



Now, let's look a bit closer at the Bible story: Both sons had their faults: one was miserable, but obedient. The other, younger one was a classic rule-breaker. It's hard to say who was the worse, deep down. See, both of them were self-centred. You might not be the problem child, but (and we know this is rough to consider) do you have any traits of the jealous older brother? In the parable, the father says '...Everything I have is yours' (Luke 15:31 NIV) to the tearaway. The older brother didn't like the sound of that. He didn't want the younger boy to get a share of what the father was undeservingly giving to them both. Sometimes, even though we're right in front of the Father, we can be so focused on the faults of others that we forget to look at Him for guidance.



 



So what now? Whether a rule-keeper or a rule-breaker by nature, keep your heart and motives right with Father God. That'll set you straight for the good stuff and plans that God has in store for you.

Soulfood : Heb 11:7, Gen 6:9-22, Gen 8:18-22, Mt 24:36-41

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