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Word For You Today

Deep to deep praise

'We should worship God in a way that pleases him.' Hebrews 12:28 NCV

In John chapter 4, a woman with a chequered past tried to argue with Jesus about how to worship. Jesus made it clear to her that these issues were irrelevant.

Where you worship God isn't as important as why you worship God. What you get out of it isn't as important as what you put into it. Listen: 'His worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth' (John 4:24 NLT). Worship is your spirit responding to God's spirit; 'Deep calls to deep' (see Psalm 42:7). Praise that isn't from deep down isn't praise at all. Jesus called thoughtless worship 'babbling' (see Matthew 6:7). You can have a lot of fun when you worship, which doesn't mean you don't take worship seriously.

If God intentionally made us all different why would we all be expected to express our love for him in the same way? There's no 'one-size-fits-all' way. The best style of worship for you is the one that is authentic and enables you to express your love for God, without denying your culture and personality. You don't glorify God by trying to be something he doesn't need one more of. God wants you to be yourself! The Bible says, 'true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth... the Father... is actively seeking such people to worship him' (John 4:23 NCV).

So what now? When it comes to true worship, be yourself, whether that be noisy and demonstrative or quiet and pensive. But, dig deep and give God your unique praise today!

Soulfood: Num 22-24 Mt 12:38-50 Ps 108 Pro 3:31-32,


You are protected

'I will protect those who trust in my name.' Psalm 91:14 NLT

A few years ago, Volkswagen ran a TV advert that showed a city full of people going about their lives. Sitting on top of all the cars and walking alongside all the pedestrians there are angels busily doing their job of looking after people, cleverly preventing them from having accidents. However, one angel looks bored, he's wandering around aimlessly getting funny looks from the other angels. Only at the end of the advert do we find out why; the person he's looking after doesn't need help because she's driving a Volkswagen Polo!

God himself takes a personal interest in looking out for you, even when you don't know you're in danger! King David says: 'This I declare about the Lord: he alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armour and protection' (Psalm 91:2-4 NLT). These words flow from a heart that has found complete security in God.

Even the Bible makes it clear that life will get tough at times but in those times there is no safer place than in God's arms.

So what now? The Bible says, 'For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go' (Psalm 91:11 NLT). That's a promise to be sure of. As you go about your day, rest assured that you are protected.

Soulfood: Num 19-21 Mt 12:22-37 Ps 111 Pro 3:29-30,


Laws for life

'Do everything written in it. Then you will be...successful.' Joshua 1:8 NIV

People in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament, often refer to God's Word as his law. Why? Well laws govern, guide and guard us. Without laws, all you have is confusion. Imagine living in a world where 100cm no longer makes one metre and 2+2 doesn't make 4. God's Word creates the boundaries within which the world works. When people start operating outside of the limits set by God's Word, the result is chaos. Just watch Police Ten 7 and see the proof!

Once again, we can find a lesson here from Joshua. At the time he was taking over the leadership of the nation from Moses, God spoke to him about his law: 'Do everything written in it. Then you will be...successful' (Joshua 1:8 NIV). Did you get that, everything. God's laws are not like a McDonald's menu; you can't pick what you like and leave the rest. You have to have the lot! You can't just pick up your Bible and skim over the bits that sound painful or difficult. Paul said to Timothy, 'All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realise what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right' (2 Timothy 3:16 NLT).

So what now? 'As for God, his way is perfect: the Lord's Word is flawless' (Psalm 18:30 NIV). If your life is confusing and chaotic, start living by God's laws, and really live!

Soulfood: Ex 20:12 Jer 35:1-19 Pro 1:8 John 19:25-27,


Big shoes 2

'Be careful to obey all the law.' Joshua 1:7 NIV

Do you know the story of Alice in Wonderland? At one point Alice meets the Cheshire Cat and asks him: 'Would you please tell me which way I ought to go from here?' 'That depends on where you want to get,' the cat replies. 'I don't care much where,' she answers. 'Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' the cat responds. People with no clear direction in life are like tumbleweed - never settling and not bearing much fruit.

Joshua wasn't like that. He had a clear sense of direction. Let's take another look at his story. God said: (1) 'Get ready to cross...into the land' (Joshua 1:2 NIV). The frustrating thing about preparation is that sometimes it takes more time than the actual event you're preparing for. There's an old saying: 'You can claim to be surprised once; after that, you're unprepared.' (2) 'Your territory will extend from...' (Joshua 1:4 NIV). You have to know the boundaries that God has set for you so that you don't step outside his blessing. (3) 'Be careful to obey all the law...that you may be successful...' (Joshua 1:7 NIV). Your spiritual values are principles to be lived by every day. They give stability and structure to your inner world. When that world is in order, you can step out and face anything.

So what now? God has given you clear direction for your life. If you're not sure what or where it is yet, ask him to show you... and listen to hear. Walk in your own shoes.

Soulfood: Num 16-18 Mt 12:15-21 Ps 107:33-43 Pro 3:27-28,


Big shoes 1

'I will never leave you nor forsake you.' Joshua 1:5 NIV

'Filling someone else's shoes.' It's a funny saying if you imagine it literally. It's really saying: 'The person you're following is so great; you'll have to try really hard to match up to them.' This is the situation Joshua found himself in after 40 years of serving as assistant to Moses the great deliverer, law-giver and close friend of God. 'Do I have what it takes?' Joshua asked himself.

God must've heard him because the beginning of the book of Joshua is filled with amazing words from the God to the new recruit. God told him: (a) 'I will give you every place where you set your foot' (Joshua 1:3 NIV). God promises success to those who have the faith to take the first step, and to keep walking with him. (b) 'No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life' (Joshua 1:5 NIV). Expect opposition; people will try to get in your way but they can't stop God's promises! (c) 'Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people...' (Joshua 1:6 NIV). When the job feels too big and you feel too small don't be ashamed to ask God for a word of hope. He'll remind you of your calling so that you can stand in his power.

So what now? Are you in the same place as Joshua, asking, 'Do I have what it takes?' The answer is 'Yes, you do!' Like Joshua, you have God's promises at your disposal. Take hold of them.

Soulfood: Num 14-15 Mt 12:1-14 Ps 107:23-32 Pro 3:25-26,


Deal with people issues well

'Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners... you will not grow weary and lose heart...' Hebrews 12:3 NIV

Today we're looking at the best way to handle 'issues' with people! Firstly, make sure the issue you're dealing with is worth your time and energy. Ask yourself, 'Have I got myself worked up by something petty?' Remember: it's always easier to be critical than creative, so don't get involved unless you really need to be. Secondly, if you are sure that you do need to be involved, remember your aim is to find God's perfect way ahead with that person. Avoid being critical and stay away from statements like 'you always' or 'you never'. Focus on and be practical about how they can do things better next time... that's what God does with you! Finally, deal with people as unique individuals; it's a bad idea to start comparing them to others.

If the situation does feel like it's getting out of hand and the conversation becomes a confrontation you probably need to call time-out before you end up in a major no-win situation. Your goal should be to leave the other person with three things: (a) A clearer understanding of the issue; (b) The complete assurance of your love and support; (c) Encouragement and confidence that with God's help the issue can be turned around.

So what now? Dealing with people issues is not generally easy, for anyone. But, using faith and Holy Spirit wisdom, you can do it! Living the Jesus life means getting involved in people's lives so that his amazing transforming power can be displayed again and again.

Soulfood: Num 11-13 Mt 11:20-30 Ps 107:17-22 Pro 3:21-24,


He can make it up to you

'If my father and mother leave me, the Lord will take me in.' Psalm 27:10 NCV

Most of us at have lost someone close to us. It may be a friend who moved a long way away, a family member who walked out on the family, or someone close to us who passed away before their time. Or maybe a family has felt the isolation of divorce. Each of these losses can lead to us feeling alone.

We all need support in times like this, in order to help us get through the struggle and help us understand who we are now since the loss. It is important to reach out to people we trust to help us, or to go for professional help if need be.

David said, 'Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close' (Psalm 27:10 NLT). Who is our greatest support? God. He can hold you and heal your pain. When you're hurting, he'll be your 'Wonderful Counsellor' (Isaiah 9:6). When you feel like an orphan, he can be to you an 'Everlasting Father' who doesn't abandon his kids, no matter what.

With God, you're always safe and protected, because that's what loving fathers do. You're his child, which means if something's important to you, it's important to him! What's more, he can send people into your life who'll be to you the father, mother, brother, sister or friend you never had. Listen, 'God sets the lonely in families...' (Psalm 68:6 NIV).

So what now? When you feel alone, don't stay alone. Call on God first of all, and on those you trust.

Soulfood: Num 8-10 Mt 11:10-19 Ps 107:10-16 Pro 3:19-20,

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