Overnights
12:00-6:00am

Word For You Today

LOVE YOUR CHURCH (6)

Solomon had some serious confidence in God. Check it out in 2 Chronicles 6:26-31. He's pretty confident that life won't be easy for God's people, so he doesn't wait around; he brings the issues before God.

Then what? He recognises the need for God's people to bring everything before God together. 'When a prayer or plea is made by anyone among your people Israel' (1 Kings 8:38 NIV). And he trusts that God will keep them close, so that they can '...fear you and walk in obedience to you' (2 Chronicles 6:31 NIV)). Quite a nice little pray-obey-pray cycle there. See, God wants us to rally together with other Christians and pray. Does it grab God's attention and remind Him to 'lift up a shield' (Isaiah 59:19) for you? Possibly not (God is not forgetful). But how much stronger and life-impacting can faith be when we remember we're not alone?

Prayer solidifies a higher-than-just-church friendship bond: regardless of what you're praying for, it's been a fact through the ages that 'He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty' (Psalm 91:1 NKJV). So, when we dwell in that prayer-place at the same time as others, we're drawn together under God's protective shadow. Praying together keeps you vulnerable to each other and protected by God, and your faith is stronger when shared.

So what now? If your church runs a regular prayer meeting (the chances are good), go along. If there's not one, start one. There's always something to pray about - whether it's thanks, or prayer in a time of need.

Soulfood : Heb 5-8, Luke 10:1-12, Ps 5, Prov 5:1-2

Read more...

LOVE YOUR CHURCH (5)

So, we've established that church is a place for not-perfect people, that you've got a part to play, and that it's all about God. So, how do we get the right balance at church? If a church is doing well, and is full of the glory of God, then the only way it will keep itself from an ego-overload is by passing that glory straight back to Jesus. All of it.

In the book of 2 Chronicles, God promises to carry on working with the people (and us) to 'forgive their sin and heal their land' (2 Chronicles 7:14), if they (we) do a very important thing: get humble. The Hebrew word used for 'humble' in this context is 'kana', meaning 'to bring low'. We can bring ourselves low by, first up, praying: thanking and praising God, praying for others, then for ourselves. Saying sorry (out loud, to those we have wronged) and not holding people's pasts against them are two more humility top-ups. Knowing how much God has done on our part already (giving His Son Jesus) is the key to keeping humble or 'lowering' ourselves.

Humility isn't just a way to put others first, it's also a way to protect yourself when things are going really well for you.

So what now? 'God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble' (James 4:6 NKJV). Today, look for a way to delight in a situation where someone else is being blessed.

Soulfood : Isa 9:1-7, Luke 2:1-7, Matt 4:12-16, Matt 4:12-16

Read more...

LOVE YOUR CHURCH (4)

So, the Church is a body (Have a read of 1 Corinthians 12:12-31). Heard it before? Well here is some deeper stuff to take note of in that body analogy:

(1)We need each other. People can offer stuff you can't, and you can offer stuff other people need. We need to be inter-dependent (1 Corinthians 12:21-22). (2) Unity is major. That doesn't mean we have to all like the same stuff or even agree on every topic. It does mean we need to be willing to work together. (3) All body parts are important. Without ears we can't hear, but if the whole body were an ear it wouldn't be a body anymore (1 Corinthians 12:17-20). It would just be one gigantic mutant ear - useless. And weird. (4) We need to be more like a real body. Paul is chatting about stuff that could never happen in a physical body - a foot couldn't get jealous and wish it was a hand. And yet, in the body of Christ it happens. How do we guard against it? We choose to love the diversity in the Church and we exercise whatever our particular body part is.

When we stretch our body and get on with serving we will be growing and strengthening the Church. Individual but working inter-dependently...mutant ear avoided.

So what now? Grab a friend and (with their permission...) tie your legs together, like a three-legged race. Have a go at walking. It's a joint effort, right? We've got to get in step with others and be willing to work together as one body.

Soulfood : Heb 1-4, Luke 9:57-62, Ps 149, Prov 4:25-27

Read more...

LOVE YOUR CHURCH (3)

Have a read of 1 Kings 8:1-21. Let's set the scene: King Solomon has built this incredible temple. If temples were cars, this one would be a Ferrari. Having taken seven years to build it, it's worth having a bit of a celebration, so he invites lots of important people to bring the ark of the covenant (the holy box with the Ten Commandments in it) inside. They put it in the inner sanctuary, the Most Holy room (1 Kings 8:6). And BOOM, God shows up. This time His glory comes in a cloud and He fills the temple (1 Kings 8:10).

Pretty cool, but what does it all mean in our modern day Church? It means that if we want to be people filled with God's presence (you know, now that we're (you are!) the walking, talking temple of the Holy Spirit... see 1 Corinthians 6:19-20) we've got to ensure that God takes centre stage in the Church. Not a model worship leader/preacher. The ark of the covenant was less about the objects it contained and more about the fact it meant that the presence of God was with them.

So what now? Get a bit arty and cut a cloud shape out of some paper, write 1 Corinthians 6:19 on the back and put it in your purse/wallet as a reminder that God's presence lives in you. You are meant to make a difference wherever you go, as you carry God's glory.

Soulfood : I Th 1-5, Luke 9:46-56, Ps 145:14-21, Prov 4:23-24

Read more...

LOVE YOUR CHURCH (2)

Right, so we go to church but we are the Church? The Oxford English Dictionary describes 'church' as 'a building used for public Christian worship'. But not everyone will set foot into a church building in their lifetime (some people actively avoid it), so we need to take Church to them. We're like a motorhome of worship. Which kind of puts today's verse into a bit more context - being living stones, we can take 'church' past the four walls of the building. Great, but do we have the authority and ability to do that?

Well, 1 Peter 2:9 describes us as 'royal priests' and 'a holy nation', which basically means that, having been the recipients of God's mercy, we're now accredited trainers (authorised) in God's love. That's quite a big deal.

What about the ability part, though? Are we strong enough to be Church in the real world? Yep, God's got that covered too. We're 'living stones' (1 Peter 2:5) because life's been breathed into us through the Holy Spirit. Think of that as super-powered Spirit-petrol in the tank. We go out in Christ-led, Spirit-filled power, and we have a pretty amazing example to follow in Jesus, the cornerstone: take a look at Ephesians 2:20. The cornerstone is the first stone set in the foundation of a building. It's super important, because all other stones are arranged around this particular stone.

So what now? Ask God how you can be a 'living stone' to build the body of Christ - the Church, remembering that Jesus loves His Church.

Soulfood : Tit 1-3, Luke 9:37-45, Ps 145:1-13, Prov 4:20-22

Read more...

BEES, WHERE IS THY STING?

Here's a question: what are you afraid of? Bees, spiders, maybe even just the dark? Here's an even bigger question: are you afraid of using your God-given abilities? Ouch. That last one might have had more sting than a bee, because it's often something we struggle with.
The 'but I'm not good enough at it' culture makes its way around the church. A lot of the time we naturally strive to be the best we can be at stuff; we love to succeed. But there's a difference between serving God and striving for ourselves.
God isn't after the world's view of 'success'. He's after a sincere heart and a disciple ready to use their gifts for His glory. 2 Chronicles 16:9 says 'For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the Earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.' Wow, sounds pretty big, right? It is. And we don't get left with a flat-pack and a confusing manual. God encourages us through His Word (the Bible), and we're told to use our gifts to benefit others and to bring glory to His name (take a look at Romans 12:6-8). So, next time you feel a bit hesitant about your abilities, remember whose strength you're relying on, and be encouraged to start to use them.
So what now? Get a wise friend or older Christian to pray with you about the desires and passions God is putting on your heart. Write them down and ask God to use them in the right way. Let go of your fear!

Read more...

A BARN FULL OF CLOTHES

Why does it seem like God is so against us wanting the good stuff in life? Well, maybe He's not. Sometimes we get caught up in chasing the stuff that we believe is good, and neglect the real, Godly, 'good stuff'. Since God made us, He alone knows what can, and will, truly satisfy us.

Jesus' parable in Luke 12:16-21 talks about a guy who goes after all the best stuff (in this case, crops), and thinks if he stores it all up he'll be fine. But here's the problem, if we do like this guy and go filling up our metaphorical barns with crops/clothes/other delicious but worldly stuff, we leave little room for God (look at verse 21).

With no room for God, we push away the opportunity for Him to fill, renew and change us. And we miss out on sharing the truly good stuff with others. Let's put it like this, if you had a barn full of clothes, you'd have decent threads for a lifetime (especially if you're not sharing them...). But fill it with God and you'd not only have an abundance of His deep-joy bringing presence, but it's the sort that only increases when you share Him with others.

So what now? Having 'stuff' isn't wrong; in fact, God can bless others through it. Open up your barn and have a look at what you have stored there. What has taken the place of God and what can be shared with others?

Soulfood : Num 32:25 - 33:56, Luke 9:1-17, Ps 134, Prov 4:5-13

Read more...
Subscribe to this RSS feed

Social