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Word For You Today

No separation



'Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love?' Romans 8:35 NLT

Paul asked the big question: 'Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love' (Romans 8:35 NLT)? When we don't know why God loves us in the first place, it's easy to doubt his love at times. When we feel like we're too messed up or broken for people to help us, we can question God's love for us. When we've made mistakes, been tempted or hurt others, we wonder if God still loves us. When we go through hard times, we may doubt God's goodness to us.

But the truth is that nothing can separate us from his love. There's nothing we can do, say or go through that makes God love us any less. Paul reassures us: 'I am convinced that...Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow - not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. No power...above or...below - indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God...in Christ Jesus our Lord' (Romans 8:38-39 NLT). The Bible tells us: 'God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them' (1 John 4:16 NIV).

We may feel unlovable, we may never have experienced real love from others, love may have been taken away from us, but there is one love that is ours, at all times - the unfailing love of God.

So what now? Write out 'Nothing can separate me from God's love' and carry it around with you to remind yourself throughout the day.

Soulfood: Job 5-7 Luke 1:1-10 Ps 67 Ecc 7:19-22,

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How to pray for others



'May God...give you grace, mercy and peace.' 1 Timothy 1:2 NLT

How many times have we said we'd pray for someone and then forgotten to? Or been so preoccupied with our own lives that we don't realise when someone needs prayer? Praying for others can be a challenge, and we can battle with what to say or what to ask for.

When Paul wrote to Timothy, he began by asking God to give Timothy three things: grace, mercy and peace. And when we're praying for others, we can pray for those three things too.

Firstly, let's pray for God's grace. In the Bible, the word grace implies two things: God's extra, sometimes unmerited, favour and help to face whatever we're going through. The Bible says: 'God, who gives all grace, will make everything right. He will make you strong...support you and keep you from falling' (1 Peter 5:10 NCV). Secondly, God's mercy. We all do things wrong, but God doesn't judge us as we deserve, but shows us kindness instead. 'The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness' (Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV). Thirdly, God's peace. 'The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds' (Philippians 4:7 NIV). The peace God gives can sustain us through all circumstances. Other things may seem to offer temporary relief but it's God's peace we really need.

So what now? Think of someone you know who needs prayer. Pray God's grace, mercy and peace for them; and then see if there's any other way to encourage them.

Soulfood: Lev 27:30-33 Num 31:48-54 1 Cor 16:1-3,

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Obeying God 6



'You need to persevere.' Hebrews 10:36 NIV

Imagine what life on the ark must have been like for Noah. He probably didn't get much sleep. He was feeding, cleaning, and caring for thousands of smelly, messy animals around the clock. It was a full-time, full-on vision! It's a pretty accurate picture of what obedience to God often looks like. It requires commitment, diligence and hard work. The task may take longer and be harder than we imagined. Sometimes, obeying God can complicate our lives. But it also brings joy and fulfilment that we won't get from any other source.

So, we need to persevere. Noah had to build a massive ark from nothing (being ridiculed by others while he built it), then look after all the animals, then wait for the flood waters to disappear. The Bible doesn't tell us how long it took Noah to build the ark, but we can work out that he and his family were on the ark for just over a year (see Genesis 7 and 8). If we had to face those conditions for that amount of time, most of us would want to give up. But Noah persevered, and God blessed him (see Genesis 9:1).

When we say yes to God, we then need to trust him to give us the strength, resources and perseverance to finish the task. But in the end, all the hard work is worthwhile when we see the vision or task completed in God's way.

So what now? Is there a task that you've given up on? Ask God for renewed strength, energy and perseverance to complete it.

Soulfood: Job 1-4 John 21:1-25 Ps 57 Ecc 7:13-15,

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Obeying God 5



'God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise.' 1 Corinthians 1:27 NCV

When we rely too much on the approval of others, God's limited in what he can do through us. Having faith often means we'll look foolish or illogical to the world. Think about how faithful biblical characters would have appeared from the world's perspective: Noah built a boat in the desert; 90-year-old Sarah believed she could have a baby; Moses asked Pharaoh to let his slaves go; the Israelite army marched round Jericho blowing trumpets; David took on Goliath with just a slingshot; Peter stepped out of a boat in a storm. And to those who didn't understand, it made no sense for Jesus to be hanging on the cross. But the results speak for themselves: Noah survived the flood; Sarah gave birth to Isaac; Moses delivered Israel out of Egypt; the walls of Jericho fell; David defeated Goliath; Peter walked on water. And Jesus rose from the dead and bought our salvation.

There comes a point when we must stop listening to the world, and listen to God instead, even if it doesn't make sense to us or makes us look ridiculous. We need to step out in faith, obeying God and acting as if he's already answered our prayers. Jesus said, 'Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours' (Mark 11:24 NIV). The world doesn't know best. God does.

So what now? Have you been hesitating to do something for God out of fear of people's opinion? Pray for courage to obey him, despite what others may think. You can do it!

Soulfood: Est 5-10 Jn 21:1-25 Ps 18:1-29 Pro 26:24-27,

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Obeying God 4



'Noah found favour in the eyes of the Lord.' Genesis 6:8 NIV

The Hebrew word translated as favour is chen, which can also mean 'grace' or 'acceptance'. The first time the word 'favour' appears in the Bible is Genesis 6:8, telling us that 'Noah found favour in the eyes of the Lord' (NIV). God had decided to destroy the inhabitants of earth because they'd become so corrupted. The only people spared were Noah and his family, because Noah was 'a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God' (Genesis 6:9 NLT). Noah hadn't allowed the world to influence him, instead staying true to God and obeying him, so God used him to re-establish the human race.

Our ultimate example of obedience is Jesus, who 'grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man' (Luke 2:52 NIV). How can we find and grow in favour? It starts when we surrender our lives to Christ and accept God's grace and love, and it continues as we show obedience to God through the way we live. And as we do that, we'll notice God's blessing on us in all kinds of ways.

He wants to favour every area of our lives. But first, we have to position ourselves to receive that favour by being obedient. If we honour God for what he's doing in our lives, we'll see blessing beyond our ability and resources.

So what now? Have a think about how obedient you are to God. What one thing could you begin to do, or do differently, to demonstrate your obedience to him?

Soulfood: Est 1-4 Jn 20:19-31 Ps 105:8-22 Ecc 7:1-4,

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Obeying God 3



'Noah...walked faithfully with God.' Genesis 6:9 NIV

Can you imagine what must have gone through Noah's mind when God told him to build a massive boat in the middle of a desert? Maybe Noah wondered if he'd misheard. But we know that 'Noah did everything just as God commanded him' (Genesis 6:22 NIV). And he did it because he 'walked faithfully with God' (Genesis 6:9 NIV).

Walking takes place step by step. But we tend to want God to show us the second step before we've taken the first. We'll only trust God as far as we can see. Ever watched a horse jumping competition? The horse can't see where it's going to land on the other side, and may be scared or unsure. To tackle it successfully, the horse has to trust their rider, and be confident that the rider isn't going to make them do something they can't handle. It's a real test of their relationship. And that can be like our relationship with God. If we don't trust him completely, we hesitate to take the jump he's leading us to.

We're called to 'walk by faith, not by sight' (2 Corinthians 5:7 ESV). Even if we can't see the next step, God can. We just need to trust him.

So what now? What task is God asking you to do that you're unsure of? Start by asking him to show you the very first step you need to take. Then trust that he'll show you the next steps on a 'need to know' basis. It's actually easier for you to handle than knowing every step up front.

Soulfood: Gen 50 Hag 1-2 Jn 20:1-18 Ps 105:1-7 Ecc 5:13-16,

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Obeying God 2



'By faith Noah...built an ark.' Hebrews 11:7 NIV

Worshipping God includes prayer, praise, and singing worship songs. But, every activity we do, no matter how big or small, can be turned into an act of worship. Seeing worship from this perspective can have a huge influence on how we approach tasks, even the ones we don't like.

God trusted Noah with building the ark, and Noah was faithful to God. Sawing planks and hammering nails was an act of obedience. If Noah could be faithful in that enormous, daunting project, surely we can be just as faithful in smaller things. There's an old poem that goes: 'For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse the rider was lost. For want of a rider the message was lost. For want of a message the battle was lost. For want of a battle the kingdom was lost. And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.' We can be like that nail. We might do the task God's assigned to us half-heartedly, or with the wrong attitude. But if we do, then we lose out on much blessing, and so does God's Kingdom.

The Bible says, 'Whatever you do...do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him' (Colossians 3:17 NIV).

So what now? Even if you're stuck doing the most mundane, boring job ever today, do it wholeheartedly. Think about it as an act of worship instead. How does that change your attitude and enthusiasm for the task?

Soulfood: Gen 47-49 Jn 19:25-42 Ps 150 Ecc 5:10-12,

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