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Sherryn 10:00-2:00pm

Word For You Today

Resent or rejoice



'Don't rejoice when your enemies fall.' Proverbs 24:17 NLT

When someone achieves something, we may feel resentful. Maybe we want that success for ourselves, or maybe we feel they're not deserving of the success. But that's not how God expects us to react. The Bible tells us to, 'rejoice with those who rejoice' (Romans 12:15 NIV).

We need to be celebrating people's success, not resenting them because of it. And that includes celebrating the successes of those who've hurt us or the people we really don't get on with. That can be pretty challenging. When we're feeling hurt, betrayed or disappointed, it can be tempting to want that person to fail. There's something in seeing them fail that seems to make us feel better.

That's not how we're called to live. Proverbs 24:17 (NLT) says: 'Don't rejoice when your enemies fall; don't be happy when they stumble.' And in Romans 12:14 (NIV) it goes as far as to say, 'Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.' We shouldn't be wishing failure on those who've hurt us, instead we should be praying that they'd be blessed. We shouldn't be wanting others to fail, or refusing to celebrate their success, but instead setting ourselves free from bitterness and resentment by forgiving people and asking God to bless them. That may seem unfair. But God knows the whole situation, he sees everything, even the behind-the-scenes parts, so we can hand everything over to him.

So what now? Is there someone who's hurt you who has achieved something amazing? Ask God to bless that person today.

Soulfood: 3 John Jude Lk 18:31-43 Ps 119:169-176 Pro 22:20-23,

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Abiding not earning



'As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.' John 15:9 ESV

The word 'abide' implies connection, dependence and continuance; in this case, connecting, depending and continuing in God's love. You never have been and never will be loved by anyone as much as God loves you. Nothing could make God love you more than he does right now, and nothing could make him love you less.

The great irony is that we try to earn his love, when it can only be received by faith. John says: 'The Father has loved us so much that we are called children of God. And we really are his children' (1 John 3:1 NCV). You may have grown up with parents who withheld their love, or weren't capable of expressing their love. God isn't like that. Throughout Scripture he repeatedly tells us, 'I love you. I love you. I love you!'

C. S. Lewis wrote: 'God created us to be the objects of his love! Sometimes our actions make us unlovely, but we're never unloved. And because God loves us - we have value. And nobody can take that value away. God's love revealed at Calvary fastens itself onto flawed creatures like us, and for reasons none of us can ever quite figure out, makes us precious and valued beyond calculation. This is love beyond reason. And this is the love with which God loves us.'

So what now? Abide in God's love. This could mean relaxing on the sofa with your Bible and a journal. Or it could mean getting outside, into a forest or nature spot you enjoy. Go there with him.

Soulfood: 2 Chr 35-36 2 John Lk 18:18-30 Ps 119:161-168 Pro 22:17-19,

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Enduring for not through



'We praise the ones who endured the most.' James 5:11 CEV

Struggling to get through a relationship issue? Battling against people who don't understand you? Roughing it through a health problem? All these challenges require patience. In today's verse, James gives us role models for patience. Who? James 5:10-11 tells us to learn patience from people who were driven out of cities, kidnapped, slandered or left with nothing and nobody: Job, and the prophets. These were people pushed to the edge. But, it's how they responded that James wants us to focus on. They endured. Not stoically or because it 'made them better people', but because they endured for something. They trusted that God would come through.

So often we think patience is about blankly sitting through something. But patience is about sticking true to the God who said he'd come through. Patience is about holding out for something positive, not about enduring through something negative. 'You remember how patient Job was and how the Lord finally helped him. The Lord did this because he is so merciful and kind' (James 5:11 CEV.) What did the Lord finally bring about? The return of everything Job lost, times two.

So, when James tells us to look to these guys as examples, he's telling us: the Lord is full of mercy and kindness; look ahead to what you're being patient for.

So what now? What are you being patient for? Look for a promise from God in Scripture that relates to it. Hold the promise close as something to be patient for, not just something to endure through.

Soulfood: 2 Chr 32-34 Lk 18:1-17 Ps 119:145-160 Pro 22:14-16,

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What does God want 3



'For it is by grace you have been saved.' Ephesians 2:8 NIV

God wants us to know his grace: it is a gift from him to bring us to salvation and to help us in walk with him daily.

Xu Yonghai worked tirelessly to make house churches legal in China. The government responded by locking him up in a Beijing prison cell for two years. Yonghai survived execution through prayer, meditation and writing. Using a bar of soap to write on the walls of his cell, he outlined the major points of a book about God. When he was finished, he committed the thoughts to memory, and upon his release he turned his prison notes into a fifty-thousand-word book called God the Creator. The apostle Paul, attributed with writing a fair proportion of the New Testament, was imprisoned for his faith too. Paul writes: 'I don't care about my own life. The most important thing is that I complete my mission, the work that the Lord Jesus gave me - to tell people the Good News about God's grace' (Acts 20:24 NCV).

Most of us will not be imprisoned for our faith, but each day we face choices to do with reflecting God, or not. God's grace is the key to living a successful life for Christ. It's all about grace. Each day, as we seek his will, we can draw on his limitless supply of grace.

So what now? What's the greatest hardship you're facing today? Like Yonghai and Paul, learn to see how God's grace is working in your life to reflect his kindness and goodness through what you are experiencing.

Soulfood: 2 Chr 29-31 Lk 17:20-37 Ps 119:137-144 Pro 22:11-13,

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What does God want 2



'Teach me to do your will, for you are my God.' Psalm 143:10 NIV

When we look back on our lives, the thing that'll give us the most joy is knowing we've pleased God. It should be a pretty sweet moment. But to get there, we have to want to do what's important to God. If we've cultivated a real, deep desire to do his will, that'll help us to hear his voice clearly. If we're saying to God, 'I really am serious about doing what's important to you,' then we have the kind of inner heart towards God that he loves way more than actions (though those are important too). Then we'll hear his voice, and we'll know what to do with it. Jesus spoke about this. In John 17:17, he said those who really cared about doing God's will would be able to hear what was God's voice and what wasn't. So, if we really, honestly, want to live our lives for God, we'll tune in much faster and be able to recognise his voice more and more.

People who burn with a passion to do what God wants, tend to hear what he's saying more quickly. Let's test our passion and check our priorities. Let's do a check: 'Is doing God's will my main aim in every environment I walk into today?'

So what now? Today, if you're asking, 'How do I get to know God's will?', first ask yourself: 'Hang on, do I actually want to?' Figure that out. Then, push in. Tell God 'I'm up for this. I'm all in.' And listen out.

Soulfood: 2 Chr 25-28 Lk 17:11-19 Ps 119:129-136 Pro 22:8-10,

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What does God want 1



'Understand what the Lord's will is.' Ephesians 5:17 NIV

Today, the internet and social media make it so easy for us to know what our family, friends, acquaintances and even our favourite movie stars are doing on a day-to-day basis. We have relatively easy access to their daily habits, likes and dislikes, political and social views, thoughts and wants.

When we ask, 'What does God want?', our access is without boundaries. We actually know more about him than we do about any human being. Ephesians 5 is just one passage that tells us the way in which God wants us to live. It also reminds us that we are able to find out what his will is - we can do this by asking the Holy Spirit to show us, by reading God's Word, and through discussions with those in our church communities.

God wants you to pursue finding out about him and what he wants. It's called a relationship. Try it. Ask God for his thoughts on something that's important to you. Listen out among your own thoughts for his (often subtle and quiet) voice; be aware of conversations you have with people; be open to what he shows you as you read your Bible and your devotionals (including Word For You Today). He can answer you in any and many ways. It's the process of pursuing him that counts.

So what now? If you've been trying for a while to hear God's voice and it hasn't happened, keep pushing through. But remember, you have to be open and willing to hear what he has to say and what he wants.

Soulfood: Jn 10:1-18 Rev 7:13-17 Ps 23 Luke 15:1-7,

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Be wise and bring life



'The one who is wise saves lives.' Proverbs 11:30 NIV

The Bible says, 'Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them' (1 John 2:15 NIV). But some of us, strangely, act like loving God more requires us separating ourselves from those around us. We feel awkward around people, or lose touch with them, or give off signals that we're spiritually superior to them. The Bible says: 'If you act wisely, others will follow' (Proverbs 11:30 CEV). We are called to bring joy to people, not judge them. God's already established a time and a place for judging, and we won't be on the throne when he does it.

Jesus is called 'the good shepherd' (John 10:11), and the Greek word for good means 'engaging, attractive, fetching.' Christ was so magnetic that people were automatically drawn to him. Are they drawn to us? Jesus said we're to be salt and light. Salt makes food tastier, and light shows people the right way to go. Because they were wise and winsome, Isaiah the prophet spoke into the lives of kings, three Hebrew children changed the politics of Babylon, and Joseph the economist saved Egypt from famine.

Let's get out into our cities and communities, and do what the people of God have been called to do since the start: Bring life. Point to Jesus. Do it wisely.

So what now? Find it hard when telling someone about Jesus? Just love people, speak from your heart, and ask God to give you his wise words to share.

Soulfood: 2 Chr 22-24 Lk 17:1-10 Ps 119:121-128 Pro 22: 4-7,

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