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Word For You Today

'My precious'



'We are God's masterpiece...' Ephesians 2:10 NLT

Most girls love diamonds, and many would love to get a diamond from someone they love. If a girl gets given a diamond engagement ring, she admires it and each time she looks at it she is reminded of her fianc? and their precious love for one another.

Did you know that you're precious to God? Like the diamond is admired by the newly engaged girl, God admires you. He thinks you are magnificent. (Yes, if you're a guy, it includes you too!). It says in the Bible that 'we are God's masterpiece' (Ephesians 2:10 NLT). If you go to an art gallery and look at a Van Gogh or Rembrandt painting, whatever your opinion of the picture is, you won't be able to deny that the one who painted it was the master of his craft. You may look in the mirror and think your nose could do with shrinking, you could be taller, smaller, have thicker hair, etc, but... know this: you were created by the Ultimate Designer, the Master of his Craft, and he is captivated by you!

Next time you look at yourself, put your own opinion aside and remember: you're a masterpiece; an expression of your heavenly Father's heart. He has given you the ability to love, to create, to express and to be yourself. No one else contributes to this world in the way you do. There's no other like you.

So what now? Next time you go to criticise yourself, see beyond the flaws to the precious masterpiece.

Soulfood: Ecc 4-6, John 10:11-21, Ps 76, Prov 30:15-17

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'Salvation'



'Jesus is not ashamed to call them his family.' Hebrews 2:11 GNT

What is salvation? Well, if you're drowning and you can't keep your head above water for a second longer and, as you take your last breath someone reaches into the water and pulls you to safety, you'd say that person had saved your life. If you've accepted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, you've not only been saved from an eternity without God but you've been given the inheritance of Jesus Christ himself.

Here are a few things you can expect if you let Jesus be your Saviour: (1) 'His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life' (2 Peter 1:3 NIV). You have all you need because you're God's child. Ask God for what you need, it's yours in Jesus. (2) 'Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ' (Ephesians 1:3 NIV). Everything that Jesus is you have access to! He is the healer so you can access healing; he is the champion so you can live in victory...the list goes on. (3) 'We are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago' (Ephesians 2:10 NLT). He didn't just save you so you can share Heaven with him. He saved you because he has purpose for you, to live your life to the max, loving God and sharing his life with others.

So what now? Don't waste a minute: thank Jesus for saving you!

Soulfood: Ecc 1-3, John 10:1-10, Ps 81, Prov 30:11-14

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Not fear but faith



'After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.' Acts 4:31 NIV

Do you feel like you're having a hard time today? If so, notice four things that God told Jesus' followers to do when faced with a difficult situation:

(1) Get God involved. 'Lord, consider their threats' (Acts 4:29 NIV). Have you talked to God about your situation yet? If it's not big enough to be a prayer, it's too small to be a problem! God should be the first person you discuss your problems with. Praying is like opening the door of your life and giving God full access into your situation. (2) Pray for more faith. 'Lord...help us to speak your word without fear' (Acts 4:29 NCV). Fear, worry and doubt will always try to poke their ugly noses into your business. If you want to beat fear, you must starve it and feed your faith instead (see Romans 10:17). (3) 'Stretch out your hand' (Acts 4:30 NIV). They expected God to step in and help. The disciples had been through a terrible storm with Jesus so they knew what he could do: 'About three o'clock in the morning Jesus came to them, walking on the water' (Matthew 14:25 NLT). And he still works the nightshift. He's available 24/7; all you need to do is talk to him! (4) Be filled with the Holy Spirit (see Acts 4:31). There's the key; they stayed energised and directed by the Spirit of God. It's ok to use your gifts, as long as you fully rely on God!

So what now? Fear not! Allow God to help you build your faith to get through the tough stuff.

Soulfood: Rom 15-16, John 9:24-41, Ps 50, Prov 30:7-10

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Needed a new birth



'You must be born again.' John 3:7 NLT

The Bible says that 130 years after Adam first sinned, he had a son who was 'just like him' (Genesis 5:3 NIV). As Adam's descendants, we have all been born with a human nature that sins without even trying. Sometimes people say, 'He's just like his dad,' or we say, 'My dad had a nasty temper, now I've got his temper!' 'My dad couldn't stay with my Mum; I bet I end up divorced too.' 'My dad was an alcoholic, now look how much I drink!' 'My dad didn't show love to me, now I don't know how to show love to others.' History can repeat itself over and over through our sinning nature.

But, this is the good news: when you give your life to Jesus he breaks old and negative cycles! When you're 'born of the Spirit' you get a new heavenly Father and a new heavenly nature (see John 3:3-6). You don't have to give in to basic human cravings anymore and you can choose to create positive cycles, with Jesus' help. Instead you can walk like your heavenly Father and become more like him every day.

'Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun' (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT)! How awesome is that! Believe it and break free from your past.

So what now? Wanting to break some old and negative cycles in your life? Because you chose Jesus you are able to do so. Look to Jesus for new birth in every area of your life.

Soulfood: Rom 12-14, John 9:13-23, Ps 8, Prov 30:5-6

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See the best in the worst



'Share each other's troubles and problems.' Galatians 6:2 TLB

Everyone is hiding something painful. It's not because they're deceptive, it's just that some wounds are too raw. When someone is being insensitive and uncaring towards you, the pain can be too deep to talk about. When a friend wounds you with acid words, you sting inside but you can't show it. So you retreat to lick your wounds.

Is that where you are today, struggling with something too painful to talk about? Listen, other people are too! Their anger is a symptom. Sarcastic words hide their fear of being rejected because they've been hurt before.

Jesus saw the best in the worst of people and went out of his way to be kind and patient towards them. Do you remember how he treated the woman caught with another women's husband (see John 8)? When everyone else was after blood, Jesus saw someone worth saving, loved her, lifted her and gave her the strength to do better. You're asked to do that too!

So what now? Remind yourself today that other people are going through things you don't know about, crying tears you don't see and feeling alone in ways you can't imagine. Next time someone is harsh to you don't react in anger; take a deep breath and respond with words that will bring peace to the situation! When you do it will really help them! 'Help carry each other's burdens... if any one of you thinks you're important when you're really not, you're only fooling yourself' (Galatians 6:2-3 GWT). You might be the only one who is kind to them today.

Soulfood: Rom 9:17-11:36, John 9:1-12, Ps 23, Prov 30:1-4

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The right company



'They went to their own group.' Acts 4:23 NCV

Sometimes doing what God wants can make you popular; other times it can get you into trouble, especially with those who like 'keeping things the way they are.' In Acts, Chapter 3, Peter and John were used by God to bring healing to a man who'd been unable to walk for 38 years. Then we read, 'He went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God' (Acts 3:8 NIV). Around that time thousands of people were choosing to follow Jesus, and the religious authorities were really angry. They ordered the disciples not to mention the name of Jesus in their preaching. So the disciples went to their own group and held a prayer meeting saying, 'Help us...to speak your word without fear' (Acts 4:29 NCV).

Verse 23 says, 'they went to their own group.' Where did they go? Back to those 'filled with the Holy Spirit' (Acts 4:31); to those who were 'united in their hearts and spirit' (Acts 4:32); to those who were so committed to reaching the world for Christ that they sold all they had and invested it into God's work (Acts 4:32).

It's been said that your company determines your conduct, your conduct determines your character and your character can affect the choices you make, which will affect your destiny. Who do you go to for support and encouragement?

So what now? Ask God to lead you into 'the right company.' Hang out with people who are a good influence on you. You'll wonder how you ever made it without them.

Soulfood: Rom 7:1-9:16, John 8:42-59, Ps 83:9-18, Prov 29:23-27

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Clean slate



'Cleanse me from my sin.' Psalm 51:2 NIV

King David let his passions run away with him and then covered it up. For a while he thought he was ok, but he didn't get away with it for long. David did something that took him down a path not mapped out by God, lost his sense of closeness with God, lost his peace of mind, and lost the respect of others. There are always consequences!

David's sin dragged his name through the mud, caused pain to Bathsheba and death to her husband but, first and foremost, David's sin was against God. Listen to David's prayer: 'Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O God...make me willing to obey you' (Psalm 51:9-12 NLT).

Is God highlighting an area of disobedience in your life? Get it right with him today and you will feel so much better! Your obedience to God frees you; he only puts boundaries in place to protect you. Like a fireguard stops a baby reaching into the fire and getting burnt, God sets guards in your life so you don't get unnecessarily hurt. When David finally said sorry to God, Nathan the prophet said, 'The Lord has taken away your sin' (2 Samuel 12:13 NIV).

So what now? God's forgiveness is awesome. He not only takes away the stains of your mistakes but chooses to forget that you sinned in the first place, 'I will forget the wrongs you have done' (Isaiah 43: 25 CEV). He offers you a clean slate!

Soulfood: 2 Kings 5:1-27, Matt 6:19-34, Acts 5:1-11, Acts 5:1-11

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