Morning Wake Up
Bjorn and Josh 6:00-10:00am

Word For You Today

Lasting impressions 2

'Who is wise...among you? Let him show it by...wisdom.' James 3:13 NIV

Sometimes 'bad first impressions' may seem so unfair! 'Why should people judge me based on our first meeting?' Sadly, it's a truth that is hard to shift - people develop impressions and stubbornly stick to them, even when they're wrong.

But we can work at creating 'good first impressions'. One way to do that is by showing people that we are available and vulnerable to them when we meet them, even before we've got to know them. So how can we do that? One communications expert has this to say: 'We remember 85 to 90 per cent of what we see, but less than 15 per cent of what we hear... If you're wise you'll ask your family and friends if you're inclined to display nonverbal cues that capture their attention and take the focus off what you're trying to communicate.' We could get a second opinion or two. And try to make changes to take valid comments on board.

If we want to make it our life's goal to share God's love with people, they'll see it first on our faces and perhaps even more so in our body language. People easily discern when someone is feeling detached, especially those who have learned to guard their emotions. If our face and body are going to talk - and they are - we can work to make sure they're saying the right things.

So what now? Have a think about how you may come across to others. Ask someone you trust to help you present the lovely, loving person you are to the world.

Soulfood: Gen 42-43 Luke 10:25-37 Ps 33:1-12 Pro 5:7-14,


Lasting impressions 1

'Let your light shine before others.' Matthew 5:16 NIV

Imagine you're in a dark room, and someone carrying a torch walks in. You see the light before you see the person carrying the light, right? Jesus said, 'Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven' (Matthew 5:16 NIV).

First impressions are powerful. Some studies show that people evaluate us pretty quickly. They may decide they don't want to hear anything we have to say, or they may be struck by how much they're drawn to us. One communications expert says: 'You've got just seven seconds to make the right first impression. As soon as you make your entrance, you broadcast verbal and nonverbal signals that determine how others see you.' And if we're spending time with God in the quiet place, that will show on our faces and in our body language.

Henry Ward Beecher said: 'There are persons so radiant, so genial, so kind, so pleasure-bearing, that you instinctively feel in their presence that they do you good, whose coming into a room is like bringing a shining lamp there.' This is literally true of Jesus, who came down from time with his Father with his face and clothes shining like the sun (see Matthew 17:1-2). As his friends spent time with him, we can be sure this radiance showed in them too.

So what now? Do you know someone who 'shines' like this? Ask them what their quiet times with Jesus are like. Draw from them what they carry and be a blessing to others.

Soulfood: Exo 20:3 Acts 14:1-18 1 Sam 5:1-5,


Find your joy

'Your words...were my joy and my heart's delight.' Jeremiah 15:16 NIV

People in the Bible experienced low moods - it's not a modern phenomenon. Elijah said, 'I have had enough, Lord...Take my life' (1 Kings 19:4 NIV). Job said, 'I loathe my very life' (Job 10:1 NIV). David wrote, 'My soul is downcast' (Psalm 42:6 NIV).

There are times when your drive and mood are completely sapped. (Please note: we're not talking about clinical depression here - that's when you should get professional help.) Here are some possible causes: (1) Sin. Sin's like a stone in your shoe: you'll have no peace until you remove the stone. (2) Greed. King Ahab's obsession with owning Naboth's vineyard made him angry (see 1 Kings 21:4). (3) Comparison. Comparison kills joy. It will just depress you (see 2 Corinthians 10:12). (4) Speaking negatively. 'The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences' (Proverbs 18:21 NLT). (5) Fatigue. Jesus called his disciples to rest, because he knew that when fatigue walks in, faith walks out (see Mark 6:31). (6) Unforgiveness. When you refuse to forgive someone, it's like a dead weight around your neck.

So what's the fix to low moods? Are you reflecting in prayer and Bible-reading? Let God's words sink to your core and do their work. Jeremiah, who battled depression, wrote, 'When your words came, I ate them...they were my joy and my heart's delight' (Jeremiah 15:16 NIV).

So what now? God loves to bring the best out of a bad situation. Trust him to help you 'be of good cheer' when life seems terrible (John 16:33).

Soulfood: Gen 40-41 Luke 10:13-24 Ps 28 Pro 5:3-6,


The freedom of selfdiscipline

'Learn to recognise and treasure what is excellent...and of real value.' Philippians 1:10 AMP

Self-discipline is about learning what's important in life and being deliberate about protecting it. To enjoy better self-discipline (because it is a positive thing to have), have a try of these four things:

(1) Start your day well. You'll protect the value of work and integrity. There are some absolute basics that help you get a good start to your day: acknowledge God first thing, make your bed, pick up your clothes. You'll notice the difference if you start well. Don't jump into several projects at once: the feeling of 'getting something done' will help you grow in self-discipline and self-respect. (2) Make a commitment to be punctual. You'll protect the value of other people. To break lateness, call it what it usually is - disorganised and inconsiderate.

(3) Plan ahead. You'll protect your time. Things usually take longer than you think, so don't wait until the last minute and end up working under unnecessary pressure. (4) Accept correction, without sulking or retaliating. You'll protect your humility. The Bible says, 'Wisdom is found in those who take advice' (Proverbs 13:10 NIV), so if you're wise you'll smile when you hear valid feedback (even with gritted teeth), and you'll take on counsel. Face the truth even if it hurts and refuse to feel sorry for yourself. In other words: 'Learn to understand what really matters' (Philippians 1:10 NLT).

So what now? Which of those four things cuts to your heart the most? Focus on improving just that one thing, and begin to experience the freedom of self-discipline.

Soulfood: Gen 37-39 Luke 10:1-12 Ps 5 Pro 5:1-2,


Live in your strengths

'God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.' Romans 12:6 NLT

'God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well' (Romans 12:6 NLT). Which means, there are some things that are built in to our make up, that are just for us, that come naturally and flow easily. Often we focus too much on the things we're 'bad' at, insecure about all the stuff we can't do. Leadership expert John Maxwell suggests that we work best when we spend 80 per cent of the time working where we're strongest. Then, 15 per cent of the time working on where we're learning. And finally, 5 per cent of the time working where we're weakest.

So, why not focus in living in your strengths. Firstly, be secure about where you're not so strong. If you allow your insecurities to dominate more head space than they should - 'I'm useless because I can't do this one thing!' - you're sabotaging your own growth.

Not sure what your strengths are? First up, ask yourself: Where am I strongest? What drives me? What things do I love doing? What do other people see in me and compliment me on? Those are probably strengths. Ask trusted, wise friends and leaders to share the strengths they see in you. Try things, take risks, reflect, learn from your failures and successes, and discover what God has gifted you to do.

So what now? Time to invest in yourself... be deliberate about discovering your God-given gifts and strengths and be prepared to live an exciting, fulfilled life.

Soulfood: Gen 35-36 Luke 9:57-62 Ps 149 Pro 4:25-27,


Being purposeful with finances 3

'The godly love to give!' Proverbs 21:26 NLT

The level of blessing God's prepared to trust us with depends on: (1) Our maturity to handle the blessing. (2) Our willingness to sow it into the Kingdom. (3) Our level of generosity. God knows we can't all give the same amount. Jesus honoured a widow for giving her last two coins, saying: 'Others put in what they had to spare of... she, poor as she is, put in all she had' (Mark 12:44 GNT). On the other hand, businessman Barnabas 'sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles' feet' (Acts 4:37 NIV).

The more God blesses us with, the more he holds us accountable for. Jesus said, 'When someone has been given much, much will be required in return' (Luke 12:48 NLT). We're not all called to give equally but we're all called to sacrifice equally. Ever visited a friend who doesn't have a lot, but their hospitality is so amazing that we feel like royalty? That's because they were willing to share whatever they had, even if it meant giving something up. In order to be really generous, we usually have to sacrifice.

When God trusts us with blessing, his heart is for us to give out willingly and generously. So, let's learn to be generous with whatever he entrusts us with, and sow it back into his Kingdom.

So what now? In what area you could be more generous? It may not be financially, but could you give more of your time or encouragement to a friend or good cause?

Soulfood: Gen 32-34 Luke 9:46-56 Ps 145:14-21 Pro 4:23-24,


Being purposeful with finances 2

' the good years...Otherwise this famine will destroy the land.' Genesis 41:35-36 NLT

Joseph gave Pharaoh some great advice when Egypt was facing a famine: 'Gather all the food produced in the good years...That way there will be enough to eat when the seven years of famine come...Otherwise this famine will destroy the land' (Genesis 41:35-36 NLT). The value of this advice was recognised: 'Joseph's suggestions were well received by Pharaoh and his officials' (Genesis 41:37 NLT).

This idea of preparing for the bad times during the good times is something to apply to our own lives, especially when it comes to managing our money. It can be tempting to spend any money we have straight away. But we won't always have a warning, like Pharaoh did, that difficult times are coming. So it's wise to prepare for whatever may lie ahead.

Here are a couple of ways to be prepared: (1) Start saving. Discipline yourself to save regularly. It doesn't matter if it's only a small amount at first, just get into the habit of putting something away regularly. (2) Pay off any debt, as soon as you can. Have you borrowed money, or is your credit card bill growing bigger? Debt is like a huge weight on your back that stops you moving forward freely; regularly putting money aside to pay it off will help to lessen the load.

So what now? Ask God to guide you in deciding on a regular amount to set aside as savings. And ask him to give you wisdom to clear any debt as soon as you can.

Soulfood: Gen 30:25-43 Gen 31:1-55 Luke 9:37-45 Ps 145:1-13 Pro 4:20-22,

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