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Word For You Today

Being there 4

'Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.' Romans 12:15 NIV

Some of us are natural fixers. We want to help people feel better and take away their problems. But there are some things we just can't fix. 'Being there' for others is not the same as fixing things for others. Being there may involve giving some practical help, but doesn't mean we have to get everything solved.

When those around us have lost their hope, it can be tricky to know what to say or do to help. Sometimes we just have to sit there and listen, and allow people to express their emotions. The Bible says: 'Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn' (Romans 12:15 NIV). And sometimes 'being there' means we stay there for them, even after the worst of the situation appears to be over. God's healing is a process. We may need to keep on being there for people.

God is the ultimate fixer, the one who truly mends bad situations, heals brokenness and provides lasting comfort. When we're struggling, God helps us work through the emotions we're experiencing and gives us manageable steps to rebuild our hope. God promised Israel that he'd 'make the Valley of Achor a door of hope' (Hosea 2:15 NIV). Achor means 'trouble'. God says he turns trouble into hope.

So what now? Next time someone is going through a tough time, give them space to talk and express themselves before you try and fix their problem. Just 'be there'.

Soulfood: Rev 1-4 Mark 10:13-22 Ps 117 Pro 12:20-22,


Being there 3

'He comforts that we can comfort others.' 2 Corinthians 1:4 CEV

When we're trying to 'be there' for someone, we can be sympathetic or, better, empathetic. While sympathy shows compassion and kindness, empathy involves understanding where they are at. And true empathy comes from having gone through the same, or similar, experiences.

Throughout the New Testament, we're reminded that Jesus faced suffering: temptation from the devil, betrayal by a friend, grief over the death of a friend, and the shame and pain of his own death. So when we're facing temptation, loneliness, grief, betrayal or death, we know Jesus has been there and understands. The Bible says that God is 'the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. And why does he do this? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them this same help and comfort' (2 Corinthians 1:4 TLB). The things we go through can be used to help other people.

So when we're going through hard times, we can remember that not only does Jesus fully understand how we're feeling, but that we're also being equipped to be the best people to 'be there' for others.

So what now? Think of a tough time you've had to face. Write down any encouragement you had from others and things that God may have told you. If you come across someone who's going through a similar thing, get out what you've written and share the encouragement with them. There's great joy in truly 'being there' for others.

Soulfood: 1 Ki 21-22 Mark 10:1-12 Ps 82 Pro 12:18-19,


Being there 2

'Carry each other's burdens.' Galatians 6:2 NIV

'Being there' for people is what the Kingdom of God is all about. We're told to 'carry each other's burdens' (Galatians 6:2 NIV). Sometimes, we just need to be someone who listens and gives someone a safe space to express their emotions. Maybe we commit to praying for them, either in our own prayer time, or by meeting up with them. Other times we may offer practical help and advice to help them cope and grow through a situation.

When we are there for others we: (1) Help them to see a different perspective. A change of perspective can help reduce people's anxiety and the size of the problem in their minds. (2) Encourage them to move forward. When we concentrate on living 'one day at a time' (Matthew 6:34 TLB), problems seem surmountable. We can also encourage them to focus on God and his faithfulness: 'The Lord is faithful and will strengthen you and protect you against the evil one' (2 Thessalonians 3:3 GWT).

Sometimes though, it is hard to discern when help is needed. Sometimes people are hurting so they push us away, or don't ask for help. We have to be ask God to help us discern the best way to be there for them.

So what now? Send 2 Thessalonians 3:3 to encourage someone in an area they're struggling with. And if you're in a tough situation, write the verse out for yourself. Read it to remind yourself that God is best at 'being there' for you.

Soulfood: Exo 20:15 Exo 22:1-4 Pro 6:30-31 Luke 19:1-10,


Being there 1

'Look out for one another's interests, not just for your own.' Philippians 2:4 GNT

'Being there' for others is a biblical principle. The Bible says: 'Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased' (Hebrews 13:16 NIV). Being there for other people is the practical application of God's love. When someone else is facing a crisis, we may say, 'It's not my responsibility. I don't want to get involved'. Sometimes it's because we're not willing to put ourselves out, or we may be dealing with a lot, or it may be inconvenient timing. Or we may be so wrapped up in our own 'crises' that we don't notice when others need support.

There are three usual types of crisis: (1) Situational crises like illness, the death of someone we love or problems in our relationships. (2) Developmental crises that happen over the course of life, like leaving home, going to university or adjusting to married life. (3). Self-awareness crises, where we discover things about ourselves. All through the Bible, we see people struggling with crises. Job faced many situational crises, Abraham and Sarah had developmental crises and Jonah had a self-awareness crisis.

We all go through one or more of these crises. But we shouldn't let that stop us from noticing when others are facing crises. Even when we're struggling, we can still be there for others. It's what we're called to do.

So what now? Know someone who's facing a crisis today? Why not send them a message of support, pray for them or give up some time to 'be there'.

Soulfood: 1 Ki 18:16-46 1 Ki 19 1 Ki 20:1-43 Mark 9:38-50 Ps 113 Pro 12:15-17,


Success in God's eyes

'Do you see someone skilled in his work? They will serve before kings.' Proverbs 22:29 NIV

Here's a prayer we can all pray, whoever we are and however we are called to serve God:

'Lord, thank you for the way you've made me, for all the gifts and talents you've given me. I trust I'm the best person for the task you've assigned me. I'm grateful for the people I work with and connect with, even the ones I don't really like or understand. Help me keep my focus on accomplishing the goals you've set for me. Give me wisdom and discernment, especially in difficult situations. Help me to learn what you want to teach me, and give me patience as you prepare me for the future. Help me to do my best, and to always remain positive and hopeful. Soothe the complaints and disappointments of my heart with your perfect peace. Help me to bring you glory and share your love through whatever I'm doing. Allow me to know my true identity and walk in your favour. Keep me on the path you've laid out for me. Help me to be a peacemaker in times of conflict or argument. When others around me are being deceitful or untrustworthy, help me speak only the truth. Help me bring hope, faith and joy to places where there is despair, fear and sadness. Help me be a light in the darkness. I ask these things in Jesus' name. Amen.'

So what now? Make this prayer for success in God part of your daily routine, adding in specific details for your personal work, tasks and relationships.

Soulfood: 1 Ki 16:1-34 1 Ki 17 1 Ki 18:1-15 Mark 9:30-37 Ps 108 Pro 12:14,



'Give your servant a discerning heart.' 1 Kings 3:9 NIV

When God asked Solomon what he wanted, Solomon gave a surprising answer: the gift of wisdom. He prayed: 'Give your servant a discerning distinguish between right and wrong' (1 Kings 3:9 NIV).

We all need wisdom. From decision-making to solving conflicts, we need to be able to make wise choices. And discernment fits in with this. Being able to discern between right and wrong, the truthfulness of a statement or the character of a person, helps us make those wise choices. The apostle Paul mentions that each person is given a main spiritual gift (see 1 Corinthians 12:10) - some specifically the gift of discernment. But for those who aren't, we can still ask God to help us be discerning in our everyday decisions, faith, relationships and workplaces. 'If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault' (James 1:5 NIV). And when we're filled with God's wisdom, the decisions we make will bring peace, justice and goodness. And that will bring glory to God.

When Solomon received the gift of wisdom, he was soon put to the test when two women approached him both claiming to be a baby's mother. He managed to discern who the real mother was and we're told that the people were in awe of God's wisdom in him (see 1 Kings 3:28). Can people see the same in us?

So what now? Ask God to give you wisdom and discernment in whatever decisions you need to make at the moment.

Soulfood: 1 Ki 14-15 Mark 9:14-29 Ps 101 Pro 12:12-13,


Freedom 2

'He brought them out of their gloom and darkness and broke their chains.'Psalm 107:14 NCV

Throughout the Bible, we see people being set free. When the Israelites were in captivity, 'they cried out to the Lord. He saved them from their troubles' (Psalm 107:13 GWT). When people were trapped in their sin, Jesus forgave them and set them free. He still frees today and, 'if the Son sets you free, you will be absolutely free' (John 8:36 GWT).

So, how do we access that freedom? Firstly, we have to want freedom and realise we need God's help to get it. Freedom starts with becoming totally dependent on God. The Bible says, 'cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you' (1 Peter 5:7 NIV). We can get so caught up in trying to find freedom and fix ourselves that we forget to turn to God. But it's not about fixing ourselves, it's about devoting ourselves to him.

And devoting ourselves leads on to the second point. We need to be feeding our souls. Jesus said, 'I am the living bread...whoever eats this bread will live forever' (John 6:51 GWT). As we feed on God's Word and share our feelings in prayer, he'll lighten our burdens and nourish our souls. He came to declare 'freedom for the release the oppressed' (Luke 4:18 NIV). So, let's take time to gain our freedom by meditating on God's Word and reflecting on how to apply it to our lives.

So what now? Spend time feeding your soul. Find a quiet space, grab your Bible and get reading. Meditate on any verses that stand out to you, and find your freedom!

Soulfood: 1 Ki 12-13 Mark 9:1-13 Ps 128 Pro 12:10-11,

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