Word For You Today


'And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one.' Matthew 25:15 NKJV

In the Bible there was a man named Moses, whose amazing career spans four Old Testament books, and another guy Paul, who wrote half the New Testament. Wow, what heroes!

You are called to be a hero of a different kind, an 'iHero!' That's 'i' for 'invisible but important'. Invisible because you are one of 7.5 billion people on the planet and that's a very big crowd! Important because your value was established at the cross. When people overlook you, remind yourself 'God values me so highly he thought I was worth dying for.'

Have you heard of the one-note musician? She took her seat in the orchestra, arranged her music and tuned her violin. As the concert began the conductor cued one group of musicians after another until her moment arrived, the time for her one note to be played! The conductor signalled, she played the note and the moment was over. Just like that! The orchestra played on and the one-note player sat quietly for the rest of the concert; not disappointed that she'd played only one note but with a sense of fulfilment she'd played it in tune, on time, and with style!

So what now? Have you heard of Ananias? There are a few mentioned in the Bible, but this one shows up to lead Paul to Christ, then we don't hear of him again (see Acts 9:10-19). He's a one-note player, but what a note! Take your lead from him, iHero!

Soulfood: Lev 8-10 Mt 5:13-26 Ps 42:1-5 Pro 1:20-23,


Care enough to confront

'Giving an honest answer is a sign of true friendship.' Proverbs 24:26 CEV

It's tempting not to say anything when your mates are messing up, but keeping quiet isn't always the loving thing to do. Many people have no one in their lives who loves them enough to tell them the truth, so they continue going the wrong way, making bigger and bigger mistakes. If you ever find yourself wondering whether to say something or not, remember this proverb: 'An honest answer is the sign of true friendship' (Proverbs 24:26 CEV).

Paul writes, 'If someone in your group does something wrong, you who are spiritual should go to that person and gently make him right again' (Galatians 6:1 NCV). That's what 'spiritual' people do! When an issue pops up that might cause tension it's easier to gloss over it to preserve the peace. But, if we try not to 'rock the boat' to keep everyone happy, feelings of frustration remain and the issue is never resolved.

'Tell each other the truth, because we all belong to each other in the same body' (Ephesians 4:25 NCV). But, let's make sure we tell the truth with love and thoughtfulness. Whether in a friendship, a family or even a church, until we care enough to confront and resolve the real issues, we'll never grow close to each other!

So what now? Are you willing to be that friend who cares enough to confront? It's the only kind of friend to be. Usually you know what needs to be said but fear keeps you from saying it.

Soulfood: Ex 20:1-3 Deut 6:1-9 Mark 12:28-34 Rev 2:1-7,


Times of testing

'Until the time came to fulfill his word, the Lord tested Joseph's character.' Psalm 105:19 NLT

It's hard to watch God bless others when you are struggling. But before you shout, 'It's so unfair!' remember, it's God's calendar, your time will come. We talked about Joseph's life a few days ago, and once again his story is relevant. His faith was tested by the massive promises God gave him. You can almost hear him thinking: 'I thought the dream said I'd be sitting on a throne. Why am I in prison? God doesn't care about me.' But Joseph never gave in to negativity. He held on to those dreams. He knew God keeps his promises, so he focused on that!

When you follow where God leads you could find yourself in weird, unhelpful and negative places. But there's always a reason. God told the prophet Elijah to hide himself in a dusty ravine by a brook where his only friends were birds (see 1 Kings 17:3). Only later was the importance of this time revealed. Time hidden with God focused him on the challenge ahead: defeating a twisted queen and her evil priests.

Listen: 'The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right' (Psalm 84:11 NLT). His delays are not denials. He's never said anything he couldn't back up or promised anything he wouldn't deliver.

So what now? Take your focus off what you don't have yet and place it on what the Word of God says about fulfilling the promises he has made you.

Soulfood: Lev 5-7 Mt 5:1-12 Ps 10:12-18 Pro 1:17-19,


Those who matter

'I thank my God every time I remember you.' Philippians 1:3 NIV

There's a true story of a little boy, Johnny, whose sister needed a blood transfusion. The doctor explained to him that she had the same disease he had recovered from two years earlier. Her only chance of recovery was a transfusion from someone who'd beaten it, so he was the perfect donor. 'Would you give your blood to Mary?' the doctor asked. Johnny paused, his lower lip trembled, and then he smiled and said, 'For my sister, yes I will.' The two children were wheeled into the hospital room. Neither spoke, but when their eyes met Johnny grinned. But as the nurse inserted the needle into his arm Johnny's smile faded. He watched the blood flow through the tube. After a little while Johnny's voice, slightly shaky, broke the silence. 'Doctor, when do I die?' Only then did the doctor realise why Johnny had been hesitant when he agreed to donate his blood. He thought that giving his blood to his sister meant giving up his own life. In that brief moment he'd made an incredible decision.

Who in your life would give their life for you? Whoever they are, make time for them and show your appreciation for them right now. Some of the things you're striving for now will seem empty and the things you're upset over now will seem pointless if they are not there.

So what now? Squeeze the most out of every moment you get with those closest to you. Create memories you'll treasure with those who matter!

Soulfood: Lev 1-4 Mt 4:12-25 Ps 10:1-11 Pro 1:10-16,


Pray like Jabez

'God granted his request.' 1 Chronicles 4:10 NIV

Jabez is an ancient name that means 'a cause of pain'. Imagine growing up with a name like that! But this Jabez refused to wear the loser label and you should too! You don't need to wear any of the labels people try to stick on you. Your identity is that you are a unique child of the awesome God and nothing less. The Bible says that you were in God's mind before you were in your mother's womb (see Psalm 139:13-15).

Jabez wouldn't let his beginnings dictate his end. He refused to allow his family to keep him down and his boundaries to keep him in. Listen to his prayer, 'Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain. And God granted his request' (1 Chronicles 4:10 NIV). Ok, so at first it seems like a selfish prayer, a bit different from the prayer Jesus taught his disciples in Matthew chapter 6, but something about it obviously got through to God because he answered it.

The learning from this prayer is that God meets people who have a determined faith, and he grants what they ask him for. Today, God has not changed and he still responds to anyone who dares to believe that he has the power to do the things he has promised in his Word.

So what now? The question is, 'Do you dare to ask God for what Jabez asked?' Come on, get praying!

Soulfood: 2 Th 1-3 Mt 4:1-11 Ps 90:7-17 Pro 1:5-9,


Citizens of the Kingdom

'Your kingdom come, your will be done.' Matthew 6:10 NKJV

A couple of hundred years ago, before the British and the French imposed national boundaries on Southeast Asia, the kings of Laos and Vietnam already agreed on who was Laotian and who was Vietnamese. Those who ate short-grain rice, built their houses on stilts and decorated their homes with Indian-style serpents were considered Laotians. Those who ate long-grain rice, built their houses on the ground, and decorated their homes Chinese-style were Vietnamese. The kings taxed the people accordingly so they had no need for boundaries. It was simple; each person belonged to the kingdom whose values they shared and whose king they honoured!

There are two very clear spiritual kingdoms too: (a) the kingdom of darkness, whose leader is Satan; and (b) the kingdom of light, with its leader God. Each kingdom has its own distinct values.

So, how are citizens of God's kingdom identified? Jesus describes their values in this way: (a) they aren't big-headed, (b) they live by God's priorities, (c) they're hungry and thirsty for more of God, (d) they show compassion to others, (e) they have a pure heart, (f) they are peacemakers, (g) they stay positive, even in hard times, (h) they know their reward is waiting for them (see Matthew 5:3-12).

So what now? Part of Jesus' model prayer for us says: 'Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven' (Matthew 6:10 NKJV). Here at Word For You Today we recommend you choose God's values each time, because each time you do, the world becomes a better place.

Soulfood: 1 Th 4-5 Mt 3:11-17 Ps 90:1-6 Pro 1:1-4,


Trouble ahead talk to Joseph

'You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.' Genesis 50:20 NIV

The amazing story of Joseph is in Genesis chapters 37-50. In his life, Joseph was on the receiving end of loads of bad stuff. His brothers sold him to a gang. His boss's wife lied about him. His mate in prison turned his back on him. But God didn't abandon him! He arranged every step Joseph took, all the way to becoming Prime Minister. There's a special moment in his story when he stands face to face with his brothers and says: 'You intended to harm me; but God intended it for good' (Genesis 50:20 NIV).

Maybe, for some reason, you're not looking forward to 2018. Here are a few learnings from the story of Joseph for you to ponder: (a) Your future is in the palace, not in the pit! (b) Your future isn't in the hands of other people, it's in the hands of God. (c) Your future doesn't require the cooperation of everyone else, but it does require the cooperation of one person; you!

Get this: No one can prevent God from using you, blessing you and giving you success, except you. So keep your heart and your attitude right! Maybe you can't understand it at the moment, so just hold tight to what God's promised you.

So what now? Instead of looking for someone to blame, look for the hand of God in your situation. Remember: 'All that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans' (Romans 8:28 TLB).

Soulfood: 1 Th 1-3 Mt 3:1-10 Ps 116 Ecc 12:13-14,

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