Word For You Today

Muscle Memory Prayer (1)

Lets pray. Hands together. Sound like a familiar instinct? If you were taught to pray as a kid, its probably muscle memory. You likely also felt that rush of rebellion as you sneakily took a peek around the assembly hall to see if anyone wasnt praying right. But youve probably realised that God doesnt care if your hands are together, at your sides, or raised in the air. Prayer isnt about hand placement.

Theres a cool thought by William Ward: We stamp and address an envelope and send it on its way with complete confidence that it will reach its destination. Yet we wonder and even doubt if our prayers will be heard by an everpresent, everloving God. When Peter told a man who couldnt walk to get up and go, it didnt happen because he thought, halfheartedly, Oh well, might as well give it a go. It happened because he knew that God has real power, and would answer his prayer. God rewarded Peters sincere faith.

We can get caught up in the words of a prayer or the length of it. It can be hard to remember that prayer is just a way of telling God that were ready and believing. Peter simply said, In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk (Acts 3:6 ESV), and it happened.

So what now? God knows already what we want to say. So pray how youre comfortable, in faith, and keep an eye out for answers.

Soulfood : 2 Sam 12:1 - 14:20, Matt 26:47-56, Ps 118:19-29, Prov 18:10-12


Wait for it

When youre a Christian its lessthangreat not knowing how God wants to use you. When people all around are talking about their callings and alls quiet on the Heavenfront for you, it can be disheartening. But remember that story about the colt Jesus rode into Jerusalem? That colt had never been ridden and was tied to a tree, overlooked and underestimated by people. But Jesus had need of him and knew the right time to call for him. Now, youre not a baby horse, but the same applies in your life.

Youve heard that God has a plan for you and you may be wondering what that is (if you already know, then thats prettyyyy cool). However we have to remember that plans run on a schedule and, unlike ours, Gods plans tend to stay on schedule. Hes going to call you when He knows the time is right. That can be difficult to accept but, lets face it, Gods plan is better than anything you could come up with.

Jesus was never influenced by others opinions of those He used. It didnt matter that the colt was overlooked or the prostitute was looked down upon or that everyone hated the taxman, Jesus still loved them and had a purpose for them. He knows your value better than others do, and better than you do.

So what now? Try this: when youre making tea tonight, stop cooking halfway through and see if youd want to eat it at that stage. Bet youd rather wait until its cooked properly. Some things you just have to wait for.

Soulfood : 2 Sam 7:18 - 11:27, Matt 26:36-46, Ps 118:10-18, Prov 18:7-9


Doing vs. Being

Jesus tells us straight up that our successes lie in Him. End of story. Unless were doing things in His name and with His backing, its not going to work out. We have a problem when we try to emulate Jesus without Jesus. When we get to a certain point in our church life, we might think about helping out. Thats brilliant. Its a great thing to want to use our talent with technology to set up the sound equipment, or our awesome coffeemakingandsmilingatthesametime skills in joining the refreshment team. Sometimes, though, we can get caught up in wanting to help. Suddenly, were on twelve different rotas and we never actually get to sit and listen to a sermon. Were doing all these things for God, but if were not building our relationship with Him, we can lose track of why were doing those things in the first place.

James 2:26 famously says that faith without works is dead. But works without faith arent alive, either. They become a faade, sometimes even an attempt to buy favour with God! It doesnt matter if we look like Super Christian outwardly if were not right with God inwardly. When we stop doing things in Him, we cant succeed, and our efforts become meaningless.

So what now? Spend an hour today not doing anything but waiting on God. No matter how much work you have to do, clear your schedule just for one hour. Sit with your Bible and a pen, and maybe some Spiritfocussed music. Just be in that hour, dont worry about doing anything.

Soulfood : 2 Sam 3:22 - 7:17, Matt 26:26-35, Ps 118:1-9, Prov 18:4-6


Kin, Not Clones (1)

Truth time. We may not like to admit it, but sometimes we can subconsciously believe that were better than someone else because our grades, our job, our social class, even our denomination. John 17:23 tells us that God wants His children to be unified, and unity doesnt allow for judgment. We can tolerate seeminglysilly ideas, with a forced smile, but our opinion of that other person has gone down. When this happens, immediately weve separated ourselves in spirit because of a difference of opinion. Yes, God made us different, and He does want His children to be unified but not by all being clones of each other.

Lets be honest: complete unity seems a tall order. It isnt so easy to be unified with that guy whos always oneupping you. Weve all heard talks or sermons about accepting peoples differences. We (probably) all agree with that rationally, and even in practice. What were likely to neglect is making accommodation in our mind for those who have different way of thinking to us (ever got frustrated with someone who doesnt do things your way?) Thats harder. But unity demands we learn to make room for others and respect their convictions. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind (Romans 14:5 NIV).

So what now? When you hear someone air an idea that opposes one of yours today, consider whether youre actually listening, or if youre just planning a lecture (even a silentmentallecture) entitled: This is why youre wrong. Really listen to what they say, and turn it into a fair conversation. You might learn something.

Soulfood : 2 Sam 1:1 - 3:21, Matt 26:14-25, Ps 109:16-31, Prov 18:1-3


Primed For Transformation

Romans 12 tells us to let the Holy Spirit transform us by renewing...your mind. We can sometimes baulk at the notion of doing something that isnt me. We tend to carve out a comfortable little niche for ourselves and thats how the world comes to see us. And we buy into the worlds view! So when God comes along and tells the person who could never speak in class to preach to a large congregation, its hard to think anyone will take that seriously. Sometimes, though, were asked to challenge those expectations.

God made us with loads of potential, for Him to step in and change us. Its practically a necessity if were going to let ourselves fulfil His purpose in us. When we dont have the power or energy to change our own selfimage, God does.

In fact, whenever He calls us to do things we dont see ourselves being capable of, He transforms us into a version of ourselves that can do whatever is needed. Like Optimus Prime, we can be renewed and restored, and will come back kicking, with new Energonlike energy and power (perhaps minus the paintedon flames, though?)

Its not always easy to change others first impressions of us. And, it can be even harder to change our own impression of ourselves. With God, though, real change happens. And those changes will eventually shine through.

So what now? Give yourself a Transformers name. No, really. Think of something that God has made you to be, and turn that into a Prime-esque moniker. Then ask God to transform you.

Soulfood : Eph 4:17 - 6:24, Matt 26:1-13, Ps 109:1-15, Prov 17:27-28


Created to Create

God is a creative God. He created something as delicately precise as atoms, neurons and quarks. He created something as grand and supersized as the IC1101 galaxy, which is estimated as 100 thousand light years across. God created Shakespeare and Picasso and your next door neighbour. The Piano Key butterfly gets its name from a stunning keyboard design on its wings again the work of Creator God. The shark, the wombat, jelly trifles, soap bubbles they were all modelled at the hand of God. You get the idea: God is creative.

Well, the Bible teaches we are made in the image of God so if God is creative yes, good guess, so are we. Ok, maybe you tend to colour outside the lines, sing like a strangled bullfrog or run like a crab but in other unique ways you will reflect Gods creativity. Styling hair could be your thing. Or unravelling an equation. Or curling a freekick. Or dissecting an aneurysm. Or turning over a sentence. Creativity doesnt just happen in the art room. To some, God reveals beauty in mathematical sequences and scientific formulae; to others, He shows up in drama or paintings. However weve been wired, weve all received creativity. Not sure about that? You dont have to class yourself as a creative type to be able to bring ideas up that will bless people we all have ways to reflect Gods creativity.

So what now? When you tap into Gods creativity, He helps you see things not as they are, but as they can be. Today, do three creative things, in your own Godgiven way.

Soulfood : Eph 1:1 - 4:16, Matt 25:31-46, Ps 79, Prov 17:24-26


Tireder than Tired

Recognise any of these symptoms? You get irritated and edgy often. You desperately need sleep yet you cant stop your mind from keeping you awake. You know you need God but you dont seem to have the time. Ever. Maybe youre prioritising the wrong things. Youre saying yes out of guilt or obligation, and the knockon effect is saying no to something or somebody important.

Throughout the Gospels, Jesus didnt seem to utter a single guiltridden yes. When Jesus had healed Peters motherinlaw, a crowd gathered and He ministered to them late into the night. Early the next morning when He slipped away to a quiet place to pray, the disciples went looking for Him. When they found Him, they exclaimed: Everyone is looking for You! But note Jesus response: Let us go somewhere else (Mark 1:38 NIV). He chose to be Spiritled, not guiltdriven. Its not up to you to meet every single need out there. If you have difficulty saying no, its ok to say, Let me pray about it and get back to you. Then pray, listen carefully, and make your decision. God wants us to keep a focus on Him, and occasionally well have to leave some things for others, in order to keep following His plan.

So what now? Again we are advising you spend time with God (do you think we think its a good idea?). Why not wrap up warm and take a walk outside in silence, without any headphones? Whatever you do, the important thing is intentionally to make the effort to meet with God.

Soulfood : 1 Sam 27-31, Matt 25:14-30, Ps 137, Prov 17:22-23

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