Word For You Today

Which Weapons?

When we feel under attack or threatened, God wants us to call on Him. He doesnt want us to call our attacker names or switch over to human manipulation. In the surrounding context of todays verse, Paul is responding to other preachers criticism of him: theyve been saying hes a dodgy speaker, only brave on paper. Worse, they seem to have been muddying and distorting the Gospel message Pauls been so painstakingly preaching. Pauls response? He doesnt defend himself, or call the competition names, but points to the power of God to fight for His own Gospel, and defend His faithful speakers whilst Hes at it.

What if we told you that the weapons we usually use in arguments did more harm than good? That reflex we have on sniping back, or resorting to a personal jibe when someone criticises us, dont achieve much but wounded souls on both sides (and unfixed problems).

So, what about us? Romans 8:9 NIV says we are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit God wants us close enough to reach for Him as our default, not for human weaponry. ...pray in the Spirit on all occasions (Ephesians 6:18 NIV). If our response under threat is to ask God to sort things out, Hell move behind the scenes, and Hell equip you for more Godflavoured encounters when youre challenged.

So what now? Today, when anyone talks to you, send up a silent, instant prayer: Jesus! in your head. In that moment, ask Him to be with you in that, and every conversation. See what difference it makes.

Soulfood : Esther 4:9 - 5:3, Heb 4:7-16


Act Loud

Lets kick todays reading off with a disclaimer: actions arent a replacement for words. Todays verse isnt suggesting we shouldnt speak love, its suggesting that our love should crank out some actual acts along with the speech. Expressing your love for people through words is really important. But if all you ever do is say, I love you, and thats the end of it, then your love hasnt covered the distance from your mouth to your heart, let alone got any further.

Ok, what stuff can we do that will really make a difference in our world? Jesus gives us some pretty good ideas in Matthew 25:3536. There, He lists a couple of needs (hunger, thirst, visiting the sick and prisoners) and then tells us how to meet them. In true Jesusstyle, its stuff we already know but often fail to do. Hes pointing out the obvious and prompting us to do it. Now, your calling might not be to visit people in prison, maybe your calling is to be a friend to that person at school/college/uni/work who doesnt seem to be included very much. Whatever it is, you can be sure that, if Gods prompting you, Hes giving you the opportunity to act like Jesus, to act in love. Not the wordy type? Your acts can speak as true as any words could if not more.

So what now? So, while it may seem a bit of a clich, perhaps its time to ask yourself What would Jesus do? And then start doing whatever He would do.

Soulfood : Ezek 46-48, Matt 20:29-34, Ps 139:13-24, Prov 15:31-33


Positively, No

Do not think of yourself more highly than you should Romans 12:3 GNT

Positivity. It can be hard to find sometimes. In todays world its very easy to find a load of negative stuff that clogs up our ability to say yes to things that are worldchanging, or even mildly uplifting. But, when we want to ground ourselves in God, we have to prepare ourselves to say no to whatever doesnt match up to His ways. It may seem nave, but its all about focussing on the positive, especially in our thoughts. See, the renewing process that we talked about in yesterdays reading is a process that replaces selfbooing thoughts with selfaffirming thoughts. Things like being Gods children (Galatians 3:26 NIV). Hes given us the freedom to be free from hypercriticism about ourselves.

Heres a thing: were worth dying for. Because God loves us. In His eyes, we really, really matter. God wants to use us to make a real difference. The best thing we can do is to head back to June 15 and recall how to take captive (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV) those thoughts that would say otherwise. Which, by the way, shouldnt end up with us being full of ourselves. No. Knowing who we are in God will mean were full of Him, not full of ourselves. We should be ready to point others His way.

So what now? Ask God to show you how positively He sees you, then make a list of your ten best qualities. (Awkward but good for you). Keep the list safe as you learn how to use them for Him.

SoulFood: Ezek 43-45; Matt 20:17-28; Ps 139:7-12; Pro 15:28-30


Mind Yourself

Recap: your mind matters. In case you hadnt picked up on it by now, its a serious business, this whole doesGod havethekeystomymind chat.

And, truth be told, we need to be aware theres a spiritual war going on around (and within) us. Sometimes, it can feel like were pulled in two directions: to stay faithful to Gods thoughts on us, or to leave room for doubts. Weve all been there at some point, whether its gossip/ lust/anger/whatever. To add to the list, theres an especially damaging item: selfnegativity.

Making mistakes can result in pointing a steady blamefinger at ourselves. And in many cases, it stays there. Most of us have experienced it in some way. Internal self-blaming, rational or not, its not a good idea. Why? Jesus is all about peace. We have to let God clear the path for us to know weve been forgiven. Jesus is keen for us to know peace, and not as the world gives (John 14:27 NIV).

How do we let that forgivenandfree peace in (especially when weve settled into a negative pattern of thought toward ourselves)? Its a process of turning back. Most likely not an overnight one, but a process that takes long enough to learn how God sees us as handiwork, completely covered by Him. The renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2 NIV) is a process that only God can work in us.

So what now? Have a time of prayer right now, asking God not only to renew your internal voice but to settle only the peace Christ can bring in you.

Soulfood : Ezek 40:10 - 42:20, Matt 20:1-16, Ps 139:1-6, Prov 15:25-27


Mind your Thoughts

Your minds a pretty big door into your life. How you think about God/parents/ friends/anyone, and how you treat them, is rooted in what you let in and out of your mind. It is a conscious battle to keep ourselves in check; to let God always have the first and last words (and everything in between) in our internal conversations. Paul writes this: take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV).

So, this means that when youre tempted by negativity, its not wise to let it run its course (backchat a little, or let that not quiteappropriate lustful thought stick about) and then put it behind you before it affects your Christian life. You might think, Whats the harm?

Well, actually, the harm is all over it. In Matthew 5:2730, Jesus explains that tinytiny lustfulthoughts are no different to adultery. Before that in Matthew 5:2126, He mentions that hating someone is effectively murder. Leaving small thoughts free to linger is dangerous because of where they are heading... far away from God.

So stop thinking altogether? Not that either. When youre spending time with God, youll get to know what He does and doesnt enjoy. And so, when you find yourself slipping into thoughts that dont match His will, ask is this what God wants for me? By doing that, youre taking it captive. Thoughts might find their way in, but when theyre met with Jesus, they have to bow to Him.

So what now? Today, bow every time you catch yourself thinking something Jesus wouldnt and hand the thought to Him.

Soulfood : Ezek 34-36, Matt 19:1-14, Ps 73:1-16, Prov 15:18-21


Fight, Fight For Your Line

Back in the vintage days, the Romans had some sweet battle tactics. Each soldiers shield had a hook to attach it to the next guys. You move, they move. Like it or not, they fought with and for their entire line. Church? Its meant to be a similar deal. Paul made a point of getting us to share our lives with our fellow workers (Romans 16:3 NKJ).

Why should we look out for people that we might have only met in the Sunday coffee area once or twice? Look back to todays verse. The Church (or the temple back then), is where God dwells. We reckon there are a couple of things that will strengthen our relationships with/ increase our engagement with the Church: One: Tell people what things you like about them. Simple stuff. Godhonouring things. Just tell them. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV says Therefore encourage one another and build one another up We think its worth doing.

Two: Asking God to bless people. Ever had a spontaneous prayer session? The ones where youre so keen to see God breathed change that you didnt need an organised meeting or conference to seek God together? Brilliant. Now do it again. And, heres some extra news: God is always near to all who call on Him (Psalm 145:18 ESV). He listens.

So what now? Do you struggle to think of a way to unawkwardly approach people and have a simple interaction? Pick one positive thing about someone you know. And then go and tell them.

Soulfood : Josh 1, Ps 27:11-14, 2 Tim 2:1-13


Make God Known

Its really, really easy to slip into claiming the fame/honour/glory thats meant for God for ourselves. Its not always a conscious effort. In fact, the most dangerous can be the little thoughts that find their way into our actions: Saying these wise words will make me seem like more mature than you or Giving this time will make me look like a good Christian in (insert boss or friends name) eyes Instead of showing God off, were throwing fertiliser on our own pride.

So, what to do? As Christians, Jesus has paid the price for our freedom, so were His. In Galatians 2:20 NIV, Paul goes as far to say that I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. As Gods representatives (or ambassadors, 2 Corinthians 5:20) on earth, thats far more motivation to reflect praise back at Him (or, where applicable, avoid creating situations that werent meant for His praise).

Lets make sure people are getting a glimpse of God in us, not just us. Jesus had this nailed down from an early age. At twelve years old, He said, I must be about My Fathers business (Luke 2:49 NKJ). Sounds fairly posh, but essentially He didnt come to this world to do anything but make God known. And likewise, our work, play, study, younameit, is all His.

So what now? Even our worktimes can be used for God. No excuses. Wherever you are, what can you make a habit of doing that will help others see God in you?

Soulfood : Ezek 31-33, Matt 18:21-35, Ps 80:12-19, Prov 15:15-17

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