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Word For You Today

Being trustworthy

'Those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence.' Proverbs 11:13 NLT

We all have weaknesses, habits, struggles, dreams, childhood memories, unspoken needs and longings that we keep hidden deep inside. We don't want the world to know about the painful memories we hold on to, or for anyone to find out about the things we battle with. But the truth is, we can't keep any of these things a secret from God. He sees everything. 'He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him' (Daniel 2:22 NIV). But even when he knows our worst secrets, he still loves us and invites us into a relationship with him.

We all have a yearning for someone to confide in and trust, and God provides that safe place for us to confess our hidden thoughts and sins. But God also provides trustworthy people who we can talk to, to help us work through our battles and keep us accountable to overcome them.

And we can be dependable and trustworthy friends for others. We can do that by: (1) offering them a space where they can safely be vulnerable and open (see Proverbs 3:29); and (2) refusing to reveal something we're told in confidence (see Proverbs 11:13) - there are a few exceptions, such as if the person is going to harm themselves or others, so we also need to pray for wisdom to know when we can't keep something confidential.

So what now? Ask God for trustworthy friends, and strive to be a trustworthy person yourself, who others know they can depend on.

Soulfood: 1 Ki 8-9 Mark 8:14-26 Ps 47 Pro 12:4-6,


Walk out of the storm

'In all things God works for the good of those who love him.' Romans 8:28 NIV

When we're going through a challenging time, it can be easy for God's voice and leading to be drowned out by the wind and waves of the 'storm' we're facing. Feelings of fear, disappointment and bitterness may seem more powerful than God. But the truth is, we can't avoid 'storms', and sometimes we have to go through them to reach good outcomes or achieve great success.

In Deuteronomy 8, the Israelites were told: 'The Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with rivers and pools of water...a land where you will have plenty of food, where you will have everything you need' (Deuteronomy 8:7-9 NCV). But the blessing of the good land came out of the trial of the wilderness. In a previous verse, it says: 'Remember how the Lord your God has led you in the desert for these forty years, taking away your pride and testing you' (Deuteronomy 8:2 NCV). It's summed up in these words: 'We went through fire and flood, but you brought us to a place with good things' (Psalm 66:12 NCV).

So when we're going through challenging situations, we can be confident in knowing that God's desire is that good comes out of them for us and for his glory. In Romans 8:28, we're told that 'in all things God works for the good of those who love him' (NIV).

So what now? Look back over a time that was really tough in your life. Write down the good things, however big or small, that came out of it.

Soulfood: Exo 20:14 Pro 6:23-35 Matt 5:27-28 John 8:1-11,


Obedience leads to blessing

'Because you have done this thing...I will bless you.' Genesis 22:16-17 NKJV

Isaac was the lifelong dream of a barren woman named Sarah and her husband Abraham; the biggest blessing they could have imagined. But God had an even bigger blessing in store. And that blessing came through Abraham's obedience in a time of testing. 'Because you have done this and have not withheld... your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me' (Genesis 22:16-18 NIV).

God always has more in store for us, and sometimes we can only get to that by walking faithfully and obediently through a really testing situation. And this testing time may be to show us where we've put things before God or allowed the blessing to overtake our love for the one who blessed us.

In Psalm 139 it says: 'Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting' (Psalm 139:23-24 NIV). We can ask him to show us where we've failed to keep him as the priority in our lives. And then we can step into the 'more' he has for us.

So what now? If there's anything in your life that has taken priority over God, be obedient to hand it back to him. You will be blessed for your obedience.

Soulfood: 1 Ki 6-7 Mark 8:1-13 Ps 97 Pro 12:1-3,


At the altar

'He bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar.' Genesis 22:9 NKJV

To Abraham, Isaac was a special gift from God. If we're not careful, we can end up loving the gifts God's given us more than we love God himself. We may do things in our own strength and forget we need God. Everything we're gifted with, and everything we do, should point to God, not to us. Our gift for teaching should point people to God, not to our ability. Our gift for music should be used to lead people into worship, not to have people admire us.

What are our God-given gifts and God-ordained opportunities? What God-sized dreams has the Holy Spirit given us? Those things shouldn't take the place of God in our lives. If they become more important to us than God, we have to sacrifice them for the sake of our souls. We have to put them on the altar and be willing to lay them down, just like Abraham had to be willing to lay his son Isaac on the altar and sacrifice him. 'Abraham...bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood' (Genesis 22:9 NIV).

God has given us our gifts to lead people to his love and salvation. So we need to be prepared to take them to the altar and allow him to work with them.

So what now? David said: 'In the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly' (Psalm 5:3 NIV). So today, lay out all the parts of your life on the altar and surrender them to God.

Soulfood: 1 Ki 3-5 Mark 7:24-37 Ps 93 Pro 11:30-31,



'I have overcome the world!' John 16:33 NIV

There can be no doubt, life presents us with many challenges. Jesus told his disciples, those who loved him most: 'In this world you will have trouble' (John 16:33 NCV), so we know that applies to us as modern believers too. We are not immune to death, illness, relationship conflict or financial challenges.

But, as believers, the crux of the matter is how we respond to life's challenges and trials in the light of whom we claim to trust and follow. The trials of life show us where, and in whom, our trust lies, and they are the major ways through which our character and spiritual maturity are developed, if we allow them to. Trials remind us of how much we need God. And they reveal to us and others where our true identity and security are found.

Yes, Jesus did tell his disciples, 'In this world you will have trouble' (John 16:33 NCV), but the next part of that verse says, 'But take heart! I have overcome the world.' We have a Saviour, both for eternity and for our time here on earth. And, we can be assured that, 'in everything we have won more than a victory because of Christ who loves us (Romans 8:37 CEV). No matter what trials we go through, we are victorious because we have God to trust in.

So what now? In times of trials, check your trust levels. Then position yourself 100% in God - he will protect you, lead you, and take you through. Because of him, you are an overcomer.

Soulfood: 1 Ki 1-2 Mark 7:14-23 Ps 88:9-18 Pro 11:27-29,


What to do with your freedom

'Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!' Luke 23:18 NIV

Barabbas was a 'notorious prisoner' (Matthew 27:16 ESV), guilty of insurrection and murder. Imagine how he must have felt, guilty in prison, about to face his punishment, but then suddenly released. We may not be notorious criminals, but we all fall short of God's best. We all make mistakes, are tempted and sin. Just like Barabbas, we don't deserve freedom. But, like Barabbas, we are presented with freedom.

God's enemy, the devil, wants us to think that our sin means we're imprisoned and doomed. But, like Barabbas, we've been released, because of Jesus. Jesus' death means forgiveness for all our sins. He took them to the top of a hill called Calvary. He died on a cross, and our sins died with him. The Bible says: 'They [that's us] receive God's approval freely by an act of his kindness through the price Christ Jesus paid to set us free from sin. God showed that Christ is the throne of mercy where God's approval is given through faith in Christ's blood' (Romans 3:24-25 GWT).

It is unknown what Barabbas did with his freedom. Did he go back to his notorious ways, or did he recognise that this pardon meant a new start in his life?

So what now? We suggest you embrace this release from captivity through Jesus. Romans 8:1 says, 'So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus' (NLT). And John 8:36 says, 'if the Son makes you free, you will be truly free' (NCV). What will you do with your freedom?

Soulfood: Heb 11:17-40 Heb 12 Heb 13-13:25 Mark 7:1-13 Ps 88:1-9a Pro 11:24-26,


Bring them to Jesus in your way

'The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and...brought him to Jesus.' John 1:41-42 NIV

The apostle Andrew was passionate about bringing people to Christ. First he brought his brother, Peter. Then he brought a boy with five loaves and two fish to Jesus (see John, chapter 6). And in John 12, he was involved in introducing a group of Greeks to Christ.

Jesus said to his disciples: 'Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all I have commanded you' (Matthew 28:19-20 NIV). And we're called to do the same. Telling others about our faith could make us feel anxious. But Jesus assures us: 'And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age' (Matthew 28:20 NIV). We may not be anxious about evangelising; we may just 'not get round to it'. When Jesus called Andrew to follow him, the Bible tell us that before Andrew did anything else he found his brother and took him to Jesus. When we experience something new about God, or have an answer to prayer, do we make telling others a priority?

Telling others about Jesus is powerful! Andrew brought Peter to Christ, and Peter ended up bringing multitudes to Christ. The person we share our faith with today, or bring to church next Sunday, may be used by God to do things we never dreamed possible.

So what now? So, bring people to Jesus, just by being yourself! And let Jesus show them who he is.

Soulfood: Heb 9:1-28 Heb 10 Heb 11:1-16 Mark 6:45-56 Ps 75 Pro 11:23,

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