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Word For You Today

21 Icons

Icons are what you click on when you want to open a programme on a computer a little picture of a disc, a sheet of paper, a fox snuggling the earth (yes, we know, other internet browsers are available). You go through icons to get to the programme you want.

You, and we, are icons. Were shortcuts to God. Of all the wonderful things in this universe fiery stars in the sky, giant sea beasts that churn up waters, the booming and rumble of mighty storms you, and we, are what God looks like most. Look through the New Testament for clues. It says that we are made to be like Gods Son (Romans 8:29). Not the stars, not the sky, not the earth. We are the ones called to be like Gods Son.

So if we look closely at you, or you look closely at us (all savedbygrace people) we all get to see beyond ourselves, to a bit of God. If you hear our stories, or we hear yours, Hes bursting through them; more so than He does through the mightiest waterfall or biggest cosmic storm.

So what now? So, you are not perfect and youre flawed round the edges. But, in Gods eyes you are made perfect through Christ and therefore He can use you to help others big time! Thank Him, look to Him and be the icon youre meant to be!

Soulfood : Judg 7:1 - 9:33, Matt 12:15-21, Ps 129, Prov 13:9-10

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No More Scare Tactics

Jesus doesnt want us to spend our lives worrying. During His Sermon on the Mount, He essentially writes it off it as useless: Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life (Matthew 6:27 NIV)? Hes right of course. It is useless to continue worrying.

But we cant always do that so easily. Pauls advice to worriers in his letter to the Philippians is pretty standard Christian advice, but its still megauseful: pray. Replace bad habit with good habit. Dont hold back the things youre stressing about from God. Hes big enough, and wise enough, to handle anything youve got swirling around your head. In fact, one of the names for the Holy Spirit is Counsellor, so helping us when we feel overwhelmed is one of His specialties.

Praying about worry can sometimes feel like just the Christian task to do, but its actually how we put ourselves in the hands of the Father who comforts us. Its no meaningless task.

The next time you feel particularly worried about something, take Pauls advice and just hammer out a prayer. You dont have to feel guilty about not having had your eyes fixed on Him since the word go. Obviously the ideal is for us to ask God into everything from the getgo, but even if we turn to Him at the last minute, He will still smile, kneel and pick us up.

 

So what now? Every time you worry about something today, even the smallest thing, write it down. Then, say a prayer about it. Cross the worries out once theyre dealt with.

Soulfood : Judg 4-6, Matt 12:1- 14, Ps 93, Prov 13:7-8

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Your Financial Future

People who put their trust in money often learn about the risk in a financial crisis. History, anyone? In 1923 German money became practically worthless due to a series of catastrophes. The cost of a loaf of bread shot to 200,000,000,000 marks: thats about 10 billion per slice! People lost everything.

Looking back over the last 100 years you can see plenty of financial crises which left lives devastated. Money isnt the answer to lifes problems; it doesnt love you or free you and it isnt reliable.

It can be tempting to trust wholeheartedly in providing for ourselves but we are called to completely trust in God, in all things, no matter how uncomfortable that can make us. It can feel incredibly awkward stepping out into places or careers that Gods called us to, not knowing where the support will come from. But He says: I will never leave you nor forsake you. That certainly doesnt mean lie back and do nothing because God will make money rain from the sky generally we are called to work in some way. It does mean, however, that you can completely trust God with your whole financial future, no matter what crises hit. It also means that everything were given is His in the first place; its never really ours to hold onto, which is a pretty good springboard thought to help us get our hearts around living generously.

So what now? Ask God to help you to live contentedly where you are right now. Thank Him that He has your financial future in His hands.

Soulfood : Judg 1-3, Matt 11:20-30, Ps 88: 9b-18, Prov 13:4-6

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Just Do You

Jesus said: A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, For three years now Ive been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and havent found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil? Sir, the man replied, leave it alone for one more year, and Ill dig around it and fertilise it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down (Luke 13:69 NIV).

How long have you been a Christian? Figured out yet that its more than being good? Like we said in yesterdays reading, God really does have a plan for us, which is definitely exciting. And, it tends to mean engaging with the world around us and doing stuff, rather than hiding away. God made you with a specific set of skills and there will be heaps of ways you can use those skills to worship Him. This parable warns us about being lazy and not doing what God made us to do. Its the fig trees job to make figs. Thats its thing. But also notice: the man looking after the tree believed that it would flourish. God wants to help you fulfil your potential and Hell look after you until (and when) you do.

So what now? Spend some time thinking and praying about what youre good at (maybe ask someone who knows you well what that is), then use it to worship God.

Soulfood : Ruth 1-4, Matt 11:1-19, Ps 88:1-9a, Prov 13:1-3

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No Sads, Ever?

Ever had someone at church try to cheer you up with Jeremiah 29:11? People often use that verse in a God has plans, so no sads, ever sort of way.

But, Gods plan wont always be what we want for our lives... The Israelites (who God was speaking to in this verse) had put their hopes and plans above Gods, and were unpleasantly surprised when they ended up in a place they didnt expect to be. They were taken captive by their enemies, the Babylonians. The verse before Jeremiah 29:11 (amazingly called Jeremiah 29:10) says: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfil my good promise to bring you back So the thing which the Israelites really wanted, to be freed and go back home, wouldnt happen for 70 years. 70 years! Thats 280 more issues of Word For You Today! Its a pretty long time to wait for something you want. They must have been gutted when they heard Jeremiah 29:10 (although they probably called it differently back then) But. God promises them that it isnt hopeless and that they can do well in their lives, even though theyre not where they expected to be.

If we trust God with whats in front of us, good things can come even out of our most unexpected disappointments.

So what now? Spend some time thinking about what youve had in mind for your life that hasnt lined up in the way you expected. Talk to God about any disappointment youve experienced because your ideas dont align with His. Then pray about changing your plans to line up with His.

Soulfood : Gen 2:7-25, 1 Cor 15:39-55

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Up All Night

Jacob was a sinner. He took what wasnt his. First he cheated his older brother, Esau, to get his fathers blessing. Then he cheated his fatherinlaw, Laban, so he could get wealthy. Even his name meant deceiver. He knew he didnt deserve goodness. So, he ran off in fear.

Then one night the Angel of the Lord showed up as Jacob was alone and trying to figure out how to deal with his furious brother. Jacob wrestled with the Angel all through the night until daybreak. As you do, right? Actually, its one of the weirder stories in the Bible. Its found in Genesis 32:2232 and tells us Jacob had the gall to fight and refuse to give up, despite injury, until God blessed him. Jacob was a sinner. Like you, and us. But he wasnt going to let go of God.

So God gave him a new name: Israel. (Yep, this is where the name comes from!) Israel meant prince with God or wrestles with God.

His identity was totally changed. No longer driven by fear, he turned to healing his wounded family relationships. This kind of transformation isnt only on offer to special guys who wrestled angels thousands of years ago its for us too! The Bible says, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)!

So what now? Have you ever asked God what unimaginable things He might have for your life? Or what family relationships He might want you to have a part in healing? Talk to Him tonight about them before you go to sleep.

Soulfood : Obad, Mal 1-4, Matt 10:32-42, Ps 18:30-50, Prov 12:25-28

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Some Sin With Your Anger, Sir? (1)

Pretty much everyone gets angry, including people we think are super holy Christians. There are thousands of reasons we get angry and a lot of them come from having to deal with other people. Ever since theres been a Church, there have been problems with members of Christs Body getting angry with one another. Thats why Paul wrote about how God wants His people to respond to their anger. Anger itself isnt bad, but its what we decide to do with it that can be seriously destructive. Thats why Paul says in Ephesians 4:26 NIV, In your anger, do not sin (quoting the Greek translation of Psalm 4:4). He meant: Sure, youll get angry sometimes, but when you do make sure you dont do anything stupid.

Anger makes a great mixer for sin. It has all the right flavours: the turning inwards, the impulse to only think about yourself, the rashness. Instead of letting our anger control us, Paul advises us to: Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger (Ephesians 4:31 NIV). Really easy to say, way harder to do. Choosing to let go of our anger when weve been hurt by someone doesnt always feel like the natural thing to do. Its difficult, but not only is it better for us in the long run, its what God has done for us. God doesnt hold His anger against us because He chose to let go of it and forgive.

So what now? Next time you get angry (or start to feel angry) at someone or something, its a good idea to leave the room. Pray about the anger and hand the situation over to God.

Soulfood : Lk 24:50-53, Acts 1:1-11, Eph 4:7-10

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