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Word For You Today

Faith in hand

'The Lord said..."What is that in your hand?"' Exodus 4:2 NIV

If you've ever thought 'I wish I had what they've got', you're not quite grasping the importance of what you already do have. It's like the time when God asked Moses what was in his hand (see Exodus 4:2). What Moses saw was the same old, scabby walking stick he'd carried around for years. But, that same old, scabby walking stick became the rod used to dry up a path through the Red Sea! God can take something you've had all your life (which you've always thought of as useless or inadequate) and use it to do 'out-there' things. All you have to do is believe that God can do it. There's nothing like a bit of faith.

It takes faith to move home to a country you've never even seen; but Abraham did it. It takes faith to believe that by marching around looking like crazies in Jericho, walls would come tumbling down, but Joshua did it. It takes faith to believe a stone in a slingshot could turn your nation into a mighty world power; but David did it.

Faith is that crazy, out-there idea in your head, that believes this is not just a useless walking stick, this is not just a slingshot and stone, this is in my hand for a reason.

So what now? What is in your hand? Is it an artistic talent, a heartfelt passion for a cause or group of people, is it the ability to create wealth? Give it to God and see what happens?

Soulfood: 1 Ki 14-15 Mt 18:21-35 Ps 58 Pro 6:12-15,


'Get over it' and move forward

'Be thankful in all circumstances.' 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT

What kind of a future would a murderer, known as public enemy number one, on the run and living in the back end of nowhere, have? Apparently, a God-filled one. This pretty much sums up 40 years of Moses' life and, if God can use Moses, despite his dodgy past, God can certainly use you.

Sometimes with the past it's best just to get over it. Don't let your history haunt you; get over it! Don't let your hurts rent brain space; get over it! Don't take a 'round the world' guilt trip; get over it! Paul writes, 'Be thankful in all circumstances' (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT). In everything? Surely not. Are we to give thanks when a close mate hurts us? Are we to be thankful when we're feeling desperately lonely? And what about when someone close to us dies?

Something surprising happens when we focus on thanking God for working good into the situation, despite how we're feeling. God meets us, and our circumstances may not change but our hearts towards them do. The Bible is full of stories of broken people in nasty situations who come out the other side doing pretty amazing things.

So what now? Allow your situations to move you closer to God. Give thanks in order to get over your past. Like the apostle Paul, say, 'but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus' (Philippians 3:13-14 NAS).

Soulfood: 1 Ki 12-13 Mt 18:10-20 Ps 53 Pro 6:9-11,


Confidence 3

'Do not throw away your confidence.' Hebrews 10:35 NIV

Confidence has a knock-on effect.

How many giant-killers were in Saul's army? None! When Goliath loudly taunted Saul's army, the soldiers shrunk back in fear. Yet David, small in stature but massive in faith, knew what the big bully didn't have: God on his side. We know that David triumphed and later became king, but what many of us probably didn't know is the knock-on effect his triumph had in the army's ranks. Check this out: '... then Sibbecai... killed Sippai, one of the descendants of the giants, and they were subdued. And there was war with the Philistines again and Elhanan... killed Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver's beam. Again there was war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature who had twenty-four fingers and toes, six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot; and he also was descended from the giants. When he taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea, David's brother, killed him. These were descended from the giants in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants' (1 Chronicles 20:4-8 NAS). Now that's a team you wouldn't mess with!

Saul had never touched a giant, so neither had his army. But David was fearless, so his crew was fearless. Why? Because confidence is catching.

So what now? Find yourself a godly friend who is not afraid to go after the 'giants': fear, oppression, lack of self-worth, injustice. And become a giant-killer yourself.

Soulfood: 1 Ki 10-11 Mt 18:1-9 Ps 40:9-17 Pro 6:6-8,


Confidence 2

'Do not throw away your confidence.' Hebrews 10:35 NIV

Yesterday we learned that we can face any situation in life with Jesus. He gives us our true strength.

Here are three ways to help you be more confident about yourself (remembering that God is the source of all your effort): (1) Rely on what's inside you to give you your worth. There's nothing wrong with wearing nice clothes and looking good, but what gives you true worth is how you see yourself on the inside. It's essential to know you are valuable because you are made in the image of God, and that image is righteous, creative, kind, strong... the list goes on. These qualities give you real worth. (2) Get yourself a good friend and improve your confidence: The company you keep is so important. A good friend will believe in you despite the odds, build you up and be there to share the struggle - so get yourself a good one. (3) Stop comparing yourself with others. Comparing is no help to you; in fact, it makes you feel worse about yourself. There'll only ever be one you. Make a list of the mix of gifts, talents and unique ways that make up you - it may feel weird doing it, but it will be very helpful - and put your energy into developing and appreciating those, rather than rating yourself according to someone else's mix.

So what now? You are a very valuable human being! God really did break the mould after he made you. So do not throw away your confidence, because the world will be robbed if you do.

Soulfood: Ex 20:15 Josh 7:1-26 Tit 2:6-10 Eph 4:28,


Confidence 1

'Do not throw away your confidence.' Hebrews 10:35 NIV

Why are we so in awe of celebrities? Who gave them a double dose of confidence? Who put the sass in their attitude? Unlike us mere mortals, were they just born to do it? It's because most of them have expensive PR people working behind the scenes, making them look good. Now, you probably don't earn enough pocket money to hire your own ace PR department, but don't worry, God is well up for the job.

God's always working behind the scenes. Check this out: '... I have learned [during a lifetime of walking with God] the secret of being happy at any time in everything that happens, when I have enough to eat and when I go hungry, when I have more than I need and when I do not have enough. I can do all things through Christ, because he gives me strength' (Philippians 4:12-13 NCV). Paul didn't need some high-flying PR guru working behind the scenes; he had Jesus working through him! Knowing that gave him the ability to handle everything that came his way.

Confidence is taking your present situation - whatever's limiting your life or dreams, messing with your head or bringing you down - and then facing the fear and giving it to God. If you think you can't cope, remind yourself who can by reading Philippians 4:12-13 again.

So what now? Guess what! You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength! Face any situation with God as your confidence.

Soulfood: I Ki 8-9 Mt 17:14-27 Ps 40:1-8 Pro 6:1-5,


Buff on the inside 3

'God's wise plan... made for our benefit.' 1 Corinthians 2:7 TLB

Bobby Jones was winning golf tournaments by age 12. But he had a temper. His nickname was 'Club-thrower'. An older bloke called Grandpa Bart recognised Jones' talent and his character issues. He said. 'Bobby, you're good enough to win, but you'll never win big until you control that temper of yours.' Jones did master his temper, and went on to win his first Open Championship at 21. Grandpa Bart said, 'Bobby was 14 when he mastered golf, but he was 21 when he mastered himself.'

One of the key ways to overcome your issues and grow that much-needed character is to have a clear sense of purpose. So, where do you find your life's purpose? By turning to what God has revealed about life in his Word. By reading about God working in the lives of all those Bible people, we find amazing insights into how life works, we see what to avoid, and get clues about what to expect in the future.

The Bible says, 'Our words are wise because they are from God, telling of God's wise plan to bring us into the glories of Heaven. This plan was hidden in former times, though it was made for our benefit before the world began' (1 Corinthians 2:7 TLB). Our benefit. That's what God is focused on for us. He sees us from the inside out and wants to help us get into tip-top condition.

So what now? It's true; God wants you to be buff! Do you accept the challenge?

Soulfood: I Ki 6-7 Mt 17:1-13 Ps 36 Pro 5:21-23,


Buff on the inside 2

'The integrity of the upright guides them.' Proverbs 11:3 NIV

A writer called Margaret Mead once stated, 'What people say, what people do, and what people say they do, are entirely different things.' She's talking about the need to have integrity, and integrity is an essential part of being buff on the inside. The word integrity simply means 'to integrate, to become one with.' It requires having your values, thoughts and actions all lined up, not zig-zagging all over the place.

People of integrity always stand out. Author Pat Williams tells of Gandhi's trip to England to speak before Parliament. The British government had opposed India's independence and, as a result, Gandhi had often been threatened, arrested and jailed. Gandhi spoke passionately for two hours, after which the packed hall gave him a standing ovation. Afterwards, a reporter asked Gandhi's assistant how he'd been able to deliver such a speech without notes. 'You don't understand Gandhi,' he responded. 'What he thinks is what he feels. What he feels is what he says. What he says is what he does. What Gandhi feels, thinks, says and does, are all the same. So he doesn't need notes.' Now, that's integrity!

Some people just want to make a 'good impression' but impressions are like shadows; they disappear when a strong enough light is shone on them. Integrity is the genuine article - the more you shine the light on it, the more detail you can see.

So what now? Do your values, thoughts and actions line up? Be a person of integrity in all you do.

Soulfood: I Ki 3-5 Mt 16:13-28 Ps 33:13-22 Pro 5:15-20,

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