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Word For You Today

Having the right attitude

'You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.' Philippians 2:5 NLT

Ever had to work in a group with someone with a bad attitude? Even if they did their fair share, it somehow made the task harder. A bad attitude can negatively affect everything, like relationships, chances of getting a job or being trusted with more responsibility.

Let's be honest, we all have days when our attitude is off. But, an attitude isn't set; it's actually a choice. Author Chuck Swindoll writes: 'Attitude, to me, is more important than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It's more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company...a church...a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we embrace for that day. We cannot change our past...we cannot change the fact that people act in a certain way... The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude...I'm convinced that life is 10 per cent what happens to me and 90 per cent how I react to it. And so it is with you...We are in charge of our attitudes.'

Paul writes, 'You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had' (Philippians 2:5 NLT). He approached people with love, grace, acceptance and a heart to serve rather than be served.

So what now? If your attitude hasn't been too good lately, move on with this prayer: 'Father, give me a Christlike attitude towards everyone I meet.'

Soulfood: Ezek 40:10-42:20 Lk 1:26-38 Ps 73:17-28 Pro 15:22-24,


Sons and daughters

'You will be my sons and daughters.' 2 Corinthians 6:18 NIV

2 Corinthians 6:18 (NIV) tells us that God says, 'I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters'. Maybe you've had a great relationship with your own father, so it's easier to grasp the immense love God has for you as his son or daughter. Or maybe your relationship with your father was unhealthy, and the idea of seeing God as a good father is difficult for you.

Whatever the relationship with our earthly fathers, we get a clear picture of God as a perfect father from the story in Mark's Gospel, when Jesus healed a paralysed man. When the man was brought to Jesus for healing, before Jesus forgave and healed him, he called him 'son'. That word 'son' was Jesus' way of telling the man that he was precious and accepted. There were no conditions to fulfil, the man wasn't shamed or condemned before Jesus would help him. He established a relationship with the man by showing him love, compassion and acceptance.

And that's what our heavenly Father wants to do with us - he wants to invite us into a relationship where we're loved unconditionally, where we're accepted and valued, and we don't need to be afraid to come to him just as we are, with all our flaws and weaknesses. When God calls you his son or his daughter, you're being welcomed with open arms into his family.

So what now? You are a son or a daughter of a good Father. Press in and accept it wholeheartedly today.

Soulfood: Ezek 37:1-40:9 Lk 1:11-25 Ps 73:1-16 Pro 15:18-21,


Lose that baggage

'Let us strip off every weight that slows us down.' Hebrews 12:1 NLT

We all have things in our lives we hold on to - fear, insecurity, perfectionism, past hurts, offences - things that slow us down or prevent us from moving forward at all. If we don't let them go, we build up too much 'baggage'. The baggage can become something we use to justify why we can't do what God's calling us to do. When Saul was to be proclaimed as king, the people couldn't find him. 'So they inquired again of the Lord, "Is there a man still to come?" and the Lord said, "Behold, he has hidden himself among the baggage"' (1 Samuel 10:22 ESV). We can hide ourselves among our baggage too.

But Jesus came so that we 'may have life, and have it to the full' (John 10:10 NIV). And we can't experience this fullness of life if we're dragging our baggage around and using it to hide from God's future for us.

So how can we get rid of this excess baggage? Well sometimes it means spending time handing things over to God, other times we might need to work through the process of forgiveness and sometimes we need other people to help us out. When we leave our baggage behind, we can step into all that God has for us, and we're able to 'run with endurance the race God has set before us' (Hebrews 12:1 NLT).

So what now? Write down three things that are holding you back (on separate bits of paper). One by one ask God to help you remove them from your life.

Soulfood: Mt 5:4 Is 51:1-16 Ps 30 2 Cor 1:3-7,



'My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.' Exodus 33:14 NIV

What images and feelings come to mind when you think of the word 'peace'? A world without war, sitting by a calming stream, lying on a beach, enjoying the sun. As lovely as these images are, they don't come anywhere close to describing the peace that God can give us.

The Hebrew word for peace is shalom. It can also mean 'wholeness' and 'completeness'. That tells us a lot about the nature of God-given peace. It isn't just a nice warm feeling or the absence of problems; it's the presence of God in the midst of our problems. We might make the mistake of looking to others to find peace. Or we might shut ourselves off from others, deciding that they're the cause of our discontent and we'd have a much more peaceful existence without them. But perfect peace can only come from a perfect peace-giver, and the only one who meets that qualification is God.

Peace isn't something we suddenly discover; it finds us when we surrender our lives to the one who said, 'my presence will go with you, and I will give you rest' (Exodus 33:14 NIV). Notice the words 'my presence'? Only God's presence can bring us peace: the assurance of him being there is what takes the stress out of living, even when things are going wrong. When we choose to surrender our lives to Christ, we'll 'experience...peace...far more wonderful than the human mind can understand' (Philippians 4:7 TLB).

So what now? Today, choose 'shalom' by asking God to fill you with his presence.

Soulfood: Ezek 34-36 Lk 1:1-10 Ps 80:12-19 Pro 15:15-17,


God's goodness

'The Lord is good.' Nahum 1:7 NIV

The Bible says, 'When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, "Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don't know what has happened to him"' (Exodus 32:1 NIV). Why did they make a golden calf? Because they wanted a god they could see. It was hard to relate to an invisible God and Moses, God's representative, stayed on Mount Sinai so long that they felt helpless and abandoned. So they did what we do when we're scared - resorted to things that were familiar.

Stepping out in faith through change and uncertainty in our lives can be draining. We pray for God to strengthen and help us but we can start to doubt his goodness and end up longing for the things we know.

But, however we're feeling and however unsettled everything seems, the goodness of God is unchanging. The Bible says, 'The Lord is good...he cares for those who trust in him' (Nahum 1:7 NIV). In Psalm 100:5 (NIV) we're told: 'For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations'. Whatever we're facing and feeling, however much doubt is creeping in and we're longing for the familiar, he's good, loving and faithful. Always.

So what now? Choose a Bible verse that reminds you of God's goodness. Every time you're in a situation or place that feels uncomfortable and new, revert to that verse as your 'familiar' thing.

Soulfood: Ezek 31-33 Mk 16:1-20 Ps 80:1-11 Pro 15:11-14,


Forgiveness sets you free

'Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another.' Ephesians 4:32 NKJV

Years after her horrors in a Nazi concentration camp, Corrie ten Boom was speaking at a church. She found herself face to face with a man who had been one of the cruellest guards in the camp. He had humiliated and degraded her and her sister, jeering at them and visually 'raping' them as they stood in the delousing shower. Now he stood before her with outstretched hand, asking, 'Will you forgive me?' Corrie said, 'I stood there with coldness clutching at my heart, but I knew that the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. I prayed, "Jesus, help me!" Woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me, and when I did I experienced an incredible thing. The current started in my shoulder, raced down into my arm, and sprang into our clutched hands. Then this warm reconciliation seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes. "I forgive you, brother," I cried with my whole heart. For a long moment we grasped each other's hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I have never known the love of God as intensely as I did in that moment.'

The Bible says, 'Be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you' (Ephesians 4:32 NLT).

So what now? Are you struggling to forgive someone? Today, picture Christ forgiving you, rise above your feelings and forgive that person. When you do, you'll be setting yourself free.

Soulfood: Ezek 27:25-30:26 Mk 15:33-47 Ps 143 Pro 15:8-10,


Recognising Jesus

'Although they saw him, they didn't recognise him.' Luke 24:16 GWT

When we face a crisis it's easy to lose perspective. It happened to two of Jesus' disciples on the Emmaus Road. Discouraged about his death, they were 'talking... about everything that had happened. While they were talking, Jesus... began walking with them. Although they saw him, they didn't recognise him' (Luke 24:14-16 GWT). When we take our eyes off Jesus, we can start to feel helpless about our situation. And even when we're trying to keep focused on Jesus, we can't always see him clearly. Our situation and emotions cloud our vision and we get a distorted picture.

But God can help us to see things clearly, to have perspective and to not become overwhelmed. When the disciples on the Emmaus Road were focused on their problems, they didn't recognise Jesus. But everything changed the minute the disciples did recognise him. 'Within the hour they were on their way back to Jerusalem. There...the Jesus had appeared to them...and how they had recognised him as he was breaking the bread' (Luke 24:33-35 NLT). They went from fear to courage, pain to joy, and despair to hope.

Paul wrote, 'I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened' (Ephesians 1:18 NIV). When we have that Emmaus Road experience of recognising Jesus in what we're going through, we get 20/20 vision and are filled with courage, joy and hope to get through the situation.

So what now? Go for a walk. As you're walking, ask God to help you recognise Jesus in a difficult situation you're facing.

Soulfood: Ezek 24:1-27:24 Mk 15:21-32 Ps 132:11-18 Pro 15:5-7,

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