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Word For You Today

Suddenly



'...I'm going to do a brand-new thing...' Isaiah 43:19 TLB

God says he wants to '...do a brand-new thing...' (Isaiah 43:19 NLT). That means that the 'old' stuff in your life will need to move out of the way for it. If you haven't noticed yet, God first works in us and then through us. For amazing new things to start happening in our lives, new things have to happen deep in our own hearts. Sometimes these 'new things' happen in amazing mountain-top moments. Sometimes they only come as we are brought through the valley.

Let's look carefully at this verse: '...I'm going to do a brand-new thing. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?...' From our perspective, it may feel like we've been waiting for ever. That's because we don't see what God has already started doing! To make the most of all the awesome things God plans to do in us and through us we've got to be sensitive to his voice, alert to his movements and live in expectation.

After praying and waiting in their prayer room for ten long days we read, 'Suddenly, there came a sound from Heaven...' (Acts 2:2 NKJ), and the Holy Spirit touched the crowd of frightened disciples and gave them power that would change the world. When God miraculously brought Paul and Silas out of prison we read, '...suddenly there was a great earthquake...and immediately all the doors were opened...' (Acts 16:26 NKJ).

So what now? God may be getting ready to do a 'brand new thing' for you - make sure you're ready because it could happen suddenly!

Soulfood: Gen 5:22-24, Heb 11:5, 2 Kings 2:1-12, Acts 1:9- 11

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Satisfaction from God



'He gives power to the tired and worn out...' Isaiah 40:29 TLB

We will self-destruct if we don't know how to take care of ourselves spiritually. Samson is a prime example. He was a fighter with amazing strength and courage but his personal life was a mess. His weakness was women. He couldn't handle the loneliness that so often follows great victories. In his story we find no evidence of a life of prayer or worship; only the numbness and inner void of a violent man. In contrast, King David, who was also a fighter, loved to be in God's presence. But David also went through a time in his life when he fell out of step with God and let human passions take over. Are you in danger of that happening to you?

There's all sorts of stuff that can divert your attention away from God. An attractive girl or guy giving you the eye. A bad habit that's becoming an addiction. An important project that's becoming an obsession. Watch out! What delights you tonight might destroy you tomorrow.

'He gives power to the tired and worn out, and strength to the weak. Even the youths shall be exhausted, and the young men will all give up. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint' (Isaiah 40:29-31 TLB).

So what now? Get real about your life today. Don't build your life on sand; build it on rock (see Matthew 7:26). Look for satisfaction from God, not anywhere else.

Soulfood: Hab 1-3, Matt 27:11-26, Ps 1, Prov 19: 9-11

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Deal with it



'...So turn to God! Give up your sins, and you will be forgiven...' Acts 3:19 CEV

It could be by thought, word or action, but we all sin more than we care to admit.

There are three ways of dealing with sin and, heads up, only one of them is right! (1) Brush it off. Don't think about it. Bury it in all sorts of distracting experiences. Just keep on running; maybe the past won't catch up with you. (2) Accept the burden and get used to it. This means living with an increasing weight of guilt, where life will get slower and slower as the burden gets heavier and heavier. That's a recipe for depression. (3) Deal with it. Many of us spend our lives feeling bad about our habits and hang-ups, but never do anything about them! We need to learn about 'repentance'; deciding to 'change your ways'. Jesus told a story about a young guy who left home with a load of his dad's money. He made a total mess of his life. When he reached his lowest point, he admitted that he was lost: 'How many of my father's servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will...go back to my father and say to him: "Father, I have sinned against Heaven and against you"' (Luke 15:17-18 NIV). He was scared that his dad wouldn't accept him back but his father opened his heart and arms and welcomed him back home. And God will do that for you too, if you'll just be brave enough to repent.

So what now? You got it! 'Deal with it' is the right answer!

Soulfood: Nah 1-3, Matt 27:1-10, Ps 65, Prov 19:5-8

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Shelter



'Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.' Psalm 91:1 NLT

So there you are, out and about in your coolest T-shirt and suddenly you feel it - splat! - a raindrop dribbles down the back of your neck. You were having such a great time with your mates but now the rain intends to spoil your fun. First of all, get real! People in other parts of the world have to deal with monsoons and tornados!

Secondly, listen: 'Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare of the Lord: "He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him"' (Psalm 91:1-2 NLT). This Psalm is saying that in the storms of life - not rain and sleet and snow - but storms of family problems, health issues and all that stuff, God wants to offer us shelter.

There are two ways to go through a storm: in panic or in peace. When a storm suddenly threatened their boat the disciples screamed, '...don't you care if we drown' (Mark 4:38 NIV)? Where was Jesus? Chilling out on a cushion in the back of the boat! That's because he understood: (a) to get to where God wants to take you, you have to go through storms; (b) when you're on God's business he will get you through; (c) when it's over you come out knowing God better, with a story that will inspire and encourage other people.

So what now? Are you going through a storm? Trust in God and ride through the waves in peace.

Soulfood: 2 Pet 1-3, Matt 26:57-75, Ps 14, Prov 19:1-4

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'Be quick to listen slow to speak' James 119 NIV



Want to become a good leader? Become a good listener!

Here are two stories of leaders who didn't take time to listen. The first is from a young woman hurt by a manager who constantly cut her off: 'I expected he would wait and give me answers to serious questions about my work. Many times he walked off when I was in mid-sentence, having heard nothing.' The next is from a church youth leader who was fired: 'After serving God there for two years, I was called into an elders' meeting. They took out a list of all the things I'd done wrong in the past two years. Most of what they said was true, after all, I was brand new in this work. Then they called for my resignation. But not once did one of them care enough to coach or shepherd me.'

Why is it so hard for leaders to listen? Leaders have been blessed with vision and wisdom, and they generally love to talk but sometimes, as they gain more authority, they think they have less reason to listen. Leaders must constantly listen to those who are out there in the real world and rely on that information to make wise decisions.

So what now? When James advised, '...Be quick to listen, slow to speak' (James 1:19 NIV), he was speaking to everyone. You will have a leadership role in some area of your life, even if it's because you are an older sibling. Two ears, one tongue; it makes sense really doesn't it!

Soulfood: 2 Sam 22:31 - 24:25, Matt 26:47-56, Ps 146, Prov 18:23-24

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Big up your relationships



'...you have a special place in my heart...' Philippians 1:7-8 CEV

Think back to your best moments: your highest highs, your greatest achievements, your biggest obstacles overcome. How many happened to you alone? Not many, right? When you understand that being connected to other people is one of life's greatest pleasures, you realise that life's best comes when we invest in solid relationships.

Of the people you know, who seems to enjoy life more - the negative, suspicious and anti-social? No way! The Scrooges of life don't enjoy much of anything. People who alienate themselves have a hard time. Here's why: (a) if people feel like they're being ignored, they'll ignore them back; (b) if no relationship exists they're less likely to help them out; (c) if they think they're selfish they'll hope they don't succeed.

On the other hand, people who love God and love people live with a smile on their face. Jesus summed life up like this: 'Love the Lord...with all your heart...Love your neighbour as yourself' (Matthew 22:37-39 NIV). If you love God and people you'll find friends wherever you go. And you'll get further in life too! There's no substitute for a positive friendly attitude when it comes to getting on in life.

So what now? If you want to get on in life, start investing in solid relationships. Make it your goal to build friendships like the Apostle Paul did, people about whom he could say '...you have a very special place in my heart...I love you...with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus' (Philippians 1:7-8 NLT).

Soulfood: 2 Sam 20:1 - 22:30, Matt 26:36-46, Ps 140, Prov 18:21-22

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Learn to pace yourself



'...be determined to run the race that is ahead...' Hebrews 12:1 CEV

It was the 2004 Olympics in Athens - Britain's Paula Radcliffe was certain to bring home a medal from the marathon. But, at about 1,000m short of the 10,000m race, her body gave up on her. You could see the distressed look on her face as she struggled to come to terms with the fact that she couldn't go on. She wouldn't even be able to finish the race, never mind win a medal. The race just got the better of her.

The lesson for us all is - it doesn't matter how spiritually fit or experienced we think we are, the harsh conditions of life can affect us adversely. When the heat is on it's hard to 'do business as usual'. We must learn to pace ourselves so that we reach the finish line and don't end up left by the roadside. We don't want to ruin great opportunities because we underestimated what it would take to get us to our destination.

Let's us not get so spiritual that we overlook the simple things that God has established for us to live healthy lives - the basics like food, sleep, and exercise. Some of us take better care of our dogs and cats than we do of ourselves. Too often we don't see the link between sleep and exercise and the quality of our relationship with God. It's really hard to pray or worship when we are tired or ratty.

So what now? If you want to reach your destiny, you must pay attention to your running conditions and learn to pace yourself.

Soulfood: 2 Sam 17:14 - 19:43, Matt 26:26-35, Ps 133, ov 18:17-20

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