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Word For You Today

The power of words



'Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.' Proverbs 15:4 NLT

'Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.' Right? So wrong! Words have so much power. They can build up or tear down, heal or hurt. The Bible says: 'Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit' (Proverbs 15:4 NLT). And, 'Don't say anything that would hurt another person. Instead, speak only what is good so that you can give help wherever it is needed' (Ephesians 4:29 GWT).

Words have the power to shape people's entire lives: how they act, what they choose to do and, most importantly, what they think about themselves. So, let's check that our words are not tearing down, spreading rumours or damaging reputations.

Negative words are always superseded by God's truth. God's words are positive and life-giving: words that encourage, strengthen our faith and keep us going. Any words of condemnation, guilt or negativity don't come from God. If we've experienced the power of negative words, we are more able to value the power of positive words. And we're in a good place to share God's life-giving words with those who need to hear them most.

So what now? If you've been hurt by someone's negative words, it can be hard to break free from the effects on you. The hurt you feel is real. Try this: (1) Write the negative words on a piece of paper. (2) Ask God to help you forgive the person. (3) Throw away the paper and replace those words with God's truthful words about who you are.

Soulfood: Judg 19:16-21:25 Mk 11:27-33 Ps 45 Pro 13:13-16,

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Foundations



'Anyone who hears and obeys these teachings of mine is like a wise person who built a house on solid rock.' Matthew 7:24 CEV

When building a house, it's vital that the foundations are solid. And that often requires concrete. Concrete is made by mixing cement, sand, gravel and water. If the mix isn't right, the cement can't become concrete. It's the same with the foundations of our faith life; we need to build it on solid foundations. Jesus used the example of the man who built his house on a rock and the one who built his house on the sand. The house built on the rock obviously survived the storm while the house on the sand didn't.

When our foundations are strong, our faith will help us through tough times, and then we can survive the storms we go through.

How do we make sure our foundations are strong? Just as we need food for our bodies to survive, we need God's Word as food for our souls. But there's more to it. Jesus said: 'Anyone who hears and obeys these teachings of mine...' (Matthew 7:24 CEV). We can't just read the Word of God, we need to obey it too. We need to be living it out. We're told: 'Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says' (James 1:22 NIV). The Bible is alive and active (see Hebrews 4:12). Reading it should change us; we should act differently because of what we've read.

So what now? Get your faith foundation strong! Read God's Word and live it out. Then you will be able to withstand the storms when they come.

Soulfood: Gal 5:23 Is 40:9-11 Isa 42:1-4 Ps 18:31-35,

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You have an inheritance



'Lord...you guard all that is mine.' Psalm 16:5 NLT

If we don't recognise and remove envy in our lives it can become a 'stronghold'. We can end up feeling resentful of others and avoiding them because of their successes. The Bible says, 'Envy rots the bones' (Proverbs 14:30 NIV) and the New Living Translation paraphrases it this way: 'Jealousy is like cancer in the bones.'

Basically, envy says to God, 'You made a mistake when you made me like this. I want to be like that other person, and have what they have instead'. But God has a unique calling and destiny for each of us. So instead of giving in to envy, be motivated to become the best possible version of you - the person God intended you to be.

If you're struggling with envy, you need to be reminded that God is particularly interested in you: 'I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope' (Jeremiah 29:11 TLB). You have not been forgotten or been given less than others. His goodness and his plans are just as available and real for you as they are for others. 'Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine. The land you have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance' (Psalm 16:5-6 NLT)!

So what now? Write down everything God promises you, put in an envelope and label it 'Inheritance'. When you feel envy rising, open your envelope and claim that inheritance.

Soulfood: Judg 16:1-19:15 Mk 11:12-26 Ps 47 Pro 13:11-12,

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Share your story



'Let the Lord redeemed of the Lord tell their story...' Psalm 107:2 NIV

Psalm 107 is full of examples of God restoring people: those who were imprisoned, those who were destroying themselves, those going through storms. The Psalm says God delivered them from their distress (Psalm 107:6, 13, 19, 28 ESV). Then it goes on to encourage each group to thank and praise God for what he'd done for them.We have all experienced some form of restoration in our lives. Maybe it was freedom from what was holding us back, forgiveness for a past sin, a calming of the storm we were facing, or something else. When that happens, we need to praise God. But we also need to share our story with others. 'Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has saved you from your enemies' (Psalm 107:2 TLB). We may feel fearful, uncomfortable or embarrassed telling the world, but we can tell those we're closest to, or people who are going through the same things.Telling your story is powerful. When you tell someone what God's done, it can make a difference in their lives. It may start them off on their journey of healing and restoration. Or it may simply encourage them to keep trusting, keep believing and keep going. Your story matters. What God's done in your life, however big or small, is significant. So what now? Share your story with someone today. Or send your story to us: we'd love to hear how God's been working in your life. Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Soulfood: Judg 12-15 Mk 11:1-11 Ps 97 Pro 13:9-10,

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Be still



'Be still, and know that I am God!' Psalm 46:10 NLT

God's able to speak to us at any time. But it's so much harder for us to hear him, remember what he's said and understand it when we're really busy. God says: 'Be still, and know that I am God' (Psalm 46:10 NLT). When we're still and quiet, we can hear what God's saying to us. We give him space to speak and, if we do this regularly, we begin to recognise his voice and hear more and hear it so much clearer.

Life gets busy and stopping for some quiet time with God can slip down our priority list. But Jesus had his priorities in order despite the busyness. He would often go off by himself to a quiet place to talk to God. 'The next morning he was up long before daybreak and went out alone into the wilderness to pray' (Mark 1:35 TLB). Even ministry came second to quiet times with his Father. 'But he often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer' (Luke 5:16 TLB). And we need to do the same.

When we stop we can block out all distractions and truly focus on God. And, amazingly, God desires to speak to us too. The creator of the world wants to spend time with us and show us things. So, he deserves our full attention. Let's choose to give him our undivided attention each day and listen to what he wants to say to us.

So what now? Sometime today, find a quiet spot and sit in stillness for 10 minutes. Focus on what God wants to say to you.

Soulfood: Judg 9:34-11:40 Mk 10:35-52 Pro 20:25 Ecc 5:4-6,

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Change happens 5



'The man asked him, "What is your name?" "Jacob," he answered.' Genesis 32:27 NIV

Change happens through challenge. The name Jacob means 'he grasps the heel' which was also interpreted to mean 'cheater' or 'deceiver'. This name was given to him at birth, and the label seemed to stick. His brother Esau, complained, 'Isn't he rightly named Jacob? This is the second time he has taken advantage of me: he took my birth right, and now he's taken my blessing' (Genesis 27:36 NIV).

People can label us because of what we've done or what's happened to us. We may even label ourselves. And those labels can stick. And, if we believe the label is true, we can behave in a way that matches that label. But this doesn't have to be. Our label can be changed. We just have to challenge it rather than accept it. When Jacob was wrestling with the man of God, it ended with God changing his name. 'Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome' (Genesis 32:28 NIV). God removed Jacob's label.

The Bible is full of truths about our real identity in God and examples of how he uses people, whatever their background. We don't need to be hindered by these labels in life. Instead we need to challenge them with God's truth. He says that we're his children; and God's label is the only label that matters.

So what now? Write down positive things that people have said about you. Every time you feel negative about yourself, pick one and challenge that negativity.

Soulfood: Judg 7:1-9:33 Mk 10:23-34 Ps 93 Pro 13:7-8,

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Change happens 4



'Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, "It is because I saw God face to face."' Genesis 32:30 NIV

Change happens through cooperation. Jacob named the place where he wrestled with the angel 'Peniel', meaning 'the face of God'. Each of us will eventually come face to face with God, and when we do he will change us.

In today's society, we've developed an attitude of 'I must be independent and do everything myself'. We're not very good at asking for help, and we are afraid of looking like we've failed. We put high expectations on ourselves, especially in our spiritual lives. We think, 'If I just try harder, I'll be better'. But God doesn't ask that of us. He doesn't say, 'Try hard and use your willpower to become perfect.' God's the one who brings about real change in us, and who transforms us to be more like him. We can't do it on our own; if we do, we can end up burnt out and disillusioned.

When we have a personal encounter with the living God, he changes us. And he doesn't do a bit of change and then leave us. Paul says, 'he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ' (Philippians 1:6 ESV). But he doesn't force change on us. We need to be open to what he wants to do and then cooperate with him.

So what now? If you're inclined to try to do everything on your own, make the choice to ask for someone's help on a task today. Or find someone you could help instead.

Soulfood: Judg 4-6 Mk 10:13-22 Ps 88:9b-18 Pro 13:4-6,

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