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Word For You Today

BUSTING SOME MARRIAGE MYTHS

 



Unless you've got a specific calling to be single all your life, you're probably hoping to get married at some point. And that's totally fine, because in the first book of the Bible God establishes that 'It's not good for [wo]man to be alone' (Genesis 2:18).



There are two unhelpful schools of thought about marriage running rampant in Christian culture right now: (1) That God wants you to be perfectly happy being single and then (and only then) He'll present you with the man/woman of your dreams and (2) That you must find 'the right person' or 'be the right person' before you get married.



The first is wrong because although the Bible teaches us to learn contentment in all situations, God knows our hearts' desires and He isn't a mean dad who withholds good things just for kicks. There is no magic formula that your singleness will 'unlock'. There is only His will, and the command for you to seek it. The second is wrong because your walk with God doesn't end the moment you meet your future spouse. You must work to be the 'right person' every single day, primarily for God, but also because if both of you are doing that, your relationship will thrive.



You don't have to be a perfect person when you get married. Your spouse won't be, that's for sure.



 



So what now? Give thanks to God that He is working on your life and in your life to prepare you for when you do meet that special someone. Give thanks that He has the best plan for your life in every area, including your life partner.

Soulfood : Heb 11:22, Gen 39:1-23, Gen 45:1-11, Gen 50:15-26

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A SATNAV THAT WORKS!

 



'I told you to turn at the top of the road!' 'But the SatNav said...' 'Forget the SatNav. We've ended up in the river!'



When it comes to your life's direction, you don't want to rely on a dodgy SatNav to steer you. Here are a few navigation systems to avoid:



(1). Your emotions: Very rarely will raw feelings about something point you down the right path. These powerful little hormone combos make up a large part of who we are, but emotions are also very changeable. Handle with care. (2). Your mind: Sometimes God's direction just doesn't seem logical at all. Rub mud into a man's eyes and he'll see (John 9:11). Throw your net down for the thousandth time, and this time you'll catch some fish (John 21:5-6). Sounds a bit crazy, right? Except, God says clearly, 'My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts...My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine' (Isaiah 55:8 NLT). (3). Well-meaning people: When someone starts a sentence with 'God told me to tell you that...' resist the urge to take everything at face value immediately. Whilst God absolutely does use people to deliver His messages, sometimes people get things wrong. Ask God yourself.



There's a lot of stuff out there promising to show us the right way, when really what we need is a solid, close relationship with God and a hunger for his Word.



 



So what now? Thank God that He is the perfect 'SatNav'. Check out Proverbs 28:26 and contemplate what it means to 'walk in wisdom'.

Soulfood : Ex 16-18, Jn 2:1-11, Ps 23, Prov 26:10-12

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HOW SWEET THE SOUND

You may not believe that your ten minutes of wailing 'Amazing Grace' in the shower does a whole lot, but the Bible says that worship packs quite a punch. Ever heard the story of Jehoshaphat? His people were about to be smashed to bits by a huge enemy army. Jehoshaphat didn't hang about. He went straight to God and reminded Him 'You are so powerful that no one can defeat You' (2 Chronicles 20:6 CEV), and God - through a prophet called Jahaziel - replied, 'You will not have to fight...the Lord will be with you' (2 Chronicles 20:17 NIV).

Jehoshaphat led his army out to the battlefield, and told the worshippers to get right out there in front and sing praises to God. As soon as they started to sing, God did all the fighting on their behalf. He confused the opposition, and they began to wipe each other out. Nobody in Jehoshaphat's army raised a weapon. Pretty soon 'every soldier in the enemy's army was lying dead on the ground' (2 Chronicles 20:24 CEV).

As soon as you see an enemy on the horizon - whatever that might look like to you - don't waste time. Seek God and worship Him. Worship requires you to look up to God and, if you're looking up, you can't navel-gaze. When you focus on His power instead of your problem, He moves on your behalf.

So what now? Next time you're singing 'Amazing Grace' in the shower, focus on using it as a weapon to defeat a problem in your life, or in the life of someone else.

Soulfood : Ex 13-15, Jn 1:43-51, Ps 131, Prov 26:7-9

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WITHSTAND BULLETS

In the film The Matrix, Neo discovers that his mind has the ability to create and affect the world around him. He can withstand bullets, jump 100ft gaps, and bend spoons - just by focusing every ounce of his mental energy on the 'truth'. He learns the hard way that the moment he loses sight of that truth, the world around him has the ability to crush him. The battle is primarily in his mind.

The Bible says that the truth (salvation, rather than sci-fi) sets you free (John 8:32 NIV). And this is an ongoing event. Your mind is a battleground, and knowing Jesus doesn't make you immune to very real attacks of despair, fear or self-pity. Sometimes, we just don't have the mental energy, and that's ok. But the ability to remind yourself of His truth in the middle of the turmoil is the difference between 'withstanding bullets' or not.

There are many verses in the Bible that exist to make you strong when the world tries to crush you. One example is in Exodus 14:13-14 (NKJ): 'Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today... The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.' Did you feel your faith bubble up when you read it? That's the kind of truth to build your life on.

So what now? Lay your battles - your hopelessness, fear, hurt, discouragement - out before God today. Declare with certainty: 'I will not be afraid. The Lord God Himself will fight for me'. Withstand those bullets using God's truth.

Soulfood : Lev 23:33-44, Jn 7:1-40, Zech 14:16-21

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RECOGNISING TROUBLE WHEN IT WALKS IN

'I knew you were trouble when you walked in'. No, this Taylor Swift lyric isn't in the Bible, but - hey - at least she had her eyes open wide enough to spot trouble when it was headed her way. Do you? We're told not to worry about our lives (Matthew 6:25), but it's also vital not to be naïve. Wearing a WWJD wristband does not make you exempt from life's issues - and if Jesus says trouble is a certainty, you can bet you'll have your very own Taylor Swift lyric-worthy moments.

You could encounter any number of testing scenarios - health issues, relationship breakdowns, money worries - things that could potentially stare you out and threaten to take you down. But the second half of today's verse in John 16:33 is the ultimate save-the-day line. Jesus says: 'But take heart! For I have overcome the world.'

Note: Jesus doesn't say that all the trouble will evaporate. Instead, He's pointing you out to the bigger picture - a picture of the end game. You don't need to sit there paranoid and wondering when the next battle is coming, because He told you 2,000 years ago that it's already taken care of. And just in case there's any doubt about the outcome, here's a hint: you in Him = win.

So what now? Read Ephesians 6:10-20 to remind yourself of the spiritual weapons you have at your disposal when you are with God. Armour up and beat that trouble!

Soulfood : Ex 10-12, Jn 1:29-42, Ps 29, Prov 26:4-6

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LUCKY DIP LIVING (2)

If you type 'The Bible or the Bard' into an internet search engine, you'll find a number of quizzes testing your knowledge on the origin of well known phrases: either from the Bible or Shakespeare works. They are fun to do, but also a reminder as to whether we've spent more time in the sonnets or the psalms.

So here's where we level up and get serious. The Bible is so much more than just a collection of snappy catchphrases. Paul says to Timothy, 'Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analysing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skilfully teaching] the Word of Truth' (2 Timothy 2:15 AMP). That's a tricky verse to get your head around, but it basically says 'Get your head in the Bible. Know it. Understand it. Tell others about it.' That doesn't mean just memorising the bits of the Word that give you the warm fuzzies. It means studying the bits you'd rather skip. Why? Because time and again we're told that God's Word - all of it - is a 'light', and not only for us, but for those around us too.

So what now? This week, choose a book of the Bible to study. Work through it from start to finish, perhaps making notes as you go. How does it differ from dipping in and out of Scripture? Does it help to put verses into a wider context?

Soulfood : Ex 7-9, Jn 1:14-28, Ps 92, Prov 26:1-3

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LUCKY DIP LIVING (1)

There's a hilarious bit in Adrian Plass's book, 'The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass, aged 37', where Adrian opens up his Bible at random in search of some encouragement, and lands on 'The dogs licked up the blood' (1 Kings 21:19, in case you wondered...). Not exactly the words of promise he'd hoped for!

Do you ever do that? - wait until you're upstream without a paddle and then go frantically scrambling for random scriptures? Do you ever treat the Bible a bit like a lucky dip? "Must find a verse - ANY VERSE - to make me feel better!" Psalm 19:8 tells us that God's Word 'makes our hearts glad', that His commands 'give us light'. But why wait until you're in the middle of darkness to go lucky dipping for light?

Instead, the Psalms say things like 'store up the word' (Psalms 119:10-11) and Job says 'I have treasured the words...' (Job 23:12). Storing and treasuring take time and dedication, but it's totally worth it for the sake of not getting into a flap when trouble comes.

So what now? How many Bible verses do you know off by heart, not including John 3:16? Have you counted more than three? It's not a crime to not know the scriptures word-for-word, but there will be times when it helps heaps to have those promises already stored in your head. Writing them down or saying them out loud might help you to memorise them.

Soulfood : Ex 4-6, Jn 1:1-13, Ps 63, Prov 25:26-28

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