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Word For You Today

Talking about Talking



'For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.' Psalm 36:9 NIV

Feelings are often hurt because people don't talk to each other. Friendships go pear-shaped because people don't communicate their thoughts properly. We hide our worries and live believing something that is totally false because we've made assumptions about a situation. And that's how the devil wants it to be. He knows that as soon as we bring our worries and anxious thoughts into the open it shines a spotlight on the lies he has been whispering to us. A nickname can tell you a lot about someone's character. In the Bible Satan is called '...the father of lies' (John 8:44 NIV), so we know what to expect when he opens his mouth.

We serve the God of communication. He invented it and created us so that we could chat with him every day and get him involved in every aspect of our lives. God knows that if we bring our fears to him and allow his light to illuminate our life, we won't be plagued by thoughts like, 'What do they say about me when I walk out of the room?' and 'They think I'm rubbish'.

Imagine a life with less confusion and fewer unanswered questions, a life based on truth and clarity! If you look closely at the names of God it shows you what you can expect from him. Prince of Peace, Healer, Deliverer, Provider, Restorer, our Father....to name a few!

So what now? Do yourself a favour: talk to God, and get clarity on the relationships in your life!

Soulfood: Acts 18-19, Matt 1:18-25, Ps 144:1-8, Prov 11:10-11

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Real Love



'...love is as strong as death...it burns like a blazing fire...' Song of Songs 8:6 NIV

There is so much fake love nowadays! It looks really appealing, like a plate of your favourite food. But, as you eat and eat, you realise that your hunger isn't satisfied and it's leaving a bad taste in your mouth! Fake love is like an email you get from a source you don't know, but it catches your eye. You open it and see there's an attachment - you click on it and all of a sudden your computer starts to flip out...the attachment had a virus and now everything else is ruined!

Love that comes with conditions isn't real love. If loving someone is dependent on money, street cred or even being loved back, it's not real love.

God's love busts open all our ideas of what true love is. Listen: '...for love is as strong as death...it burns like a blazing fire...' (Song of Songs 8:6 NIV) and 'Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trust, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails...' (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV).

So what now? The world is crying out for a touch of God's real love, and he has chosen you to help him. The challenge for you is: will you truly love in the face of shallowness and hatred, or if there is nothing in it for you?

Soulfood: 2 Chron 7:12-16, Matt 6:5-15, Luke 18:1-8, Luke 18:1-8

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Made Right

Soulfood: Rom 13:12 - 14:19, Jn 1:1-14

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Give Your Cloak



'...He gave up his place with God and made himself nothing...' Philippians 2:6-8 NCV

In Bible days, coats were more than just a covering. Men wore a lightweight inner garment next to their skin and a heavier cloak on top. The outer garment functioned like a winter coat during the day, at night as a blanket against the cold. Men's garments were normally held as a deposit in business deals, and it was the inner garment that was usually forfeited. This garment was protected by law and had to be returned to the owner by sunset. Knowing this was the law, Jesus said, 'If anyone wants to...take your coat, give your cloak as well' (Matthew 5:40 NRS). In other words, don't just do what's legally required, go further. Say, 'I'm entitled to keep what's mine, but I'm giving it up in order to bless you.'

Our attitude should be the same as Jesus. 'He gave up his place with God and made himself nothing...' (Philippians 2:6-8 NCV). This is the kind of thinking many people don't get. Who in their right mind would give up what's theirs to help somebody else?

But it's what Jesus suggests. It's not just what you say, it's God's love in action through you that gets people's attention. This kind of love gets you out of your comfort zone, and makes you rely on God even more. It is truly humbling.

So what now? Whatever God asks you to do, he won't leave you to do it alone; he's got your back when you humbly 'give your cloak'!

Soulfood: Acts 14-15, Luke 24:50-53, Ps 7:1-9, Prov 11:3-6

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Never Stop Learning



'My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge...' Hosea 4.6 NIV

You might be one of those people who loves studying: good grades come naturally to you, you get excited in libraries and can't wait for your next exam! Or you might be like most people who struggle to retain the right information, sweat at the thought of a sit-down test and know that the library is that ugly brown building right near the skate park! Whether you fall into the first or second category of people, God doesn't want you to walk around clueless!

God warns that destruction comes from lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6) and he tells us to cry out for understanding (Proverbs 2:3). Listen '...I do not want you to be ignorant' (1 Corinthians 12:1 NKJ). Ignorance is dangerous ground to be walking on, because it breeds prejudice and narrow-mindedness which can be the spark that starts fires of racism, religious hatred and all sorts of messy misunderstandings.

During his last days in prison, Paul asked Timothy for three things: (1) a cloak to stay warm; (2) a parchment so he could keep writing; (3) books so he could keep learning (see 2 Timothy 4:13). When you leave school, qualify at college or graduate from any course, make sure you don't stop learning.

So what now? Every day carries a new lesson, so keep your eyes and ears open. And when those lessons come, it'll be so exciting to be able to apply what you have learnt to your life!

Soulfood: Acts 12-13, Luke 24:45-49, Ps 16, Prov 11:1-2

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Misfits Made Fit



'In the past, some of you were like that, but... you were made right...' 1 Corinthians 6:11 NCV

Jephthah was the son of a prostitute. Raised in a hostile, abusive environment he was eventually chucked out of the house and became a rebel gang leader. But things changed when the Israelites needed a guy with guts to defeat their enemies. They told Jephthah, 'Come...be our chief...and [you may] become head over...Gilead' (Judges 11:6, 8 NAS). So, true to form, he gave the Ammonites a good kicking, led them to victory and became their leader. You can read his story in Judges, chapters 11 - 12.

Talk about a turn-around! Jephthah had no right to be on a throne, except for one thing - God's grace! God loves to take what's dragging us down and use it for his glory. He turns losers into winners. He lifts 'the poor...from the dust and puts them in places of honour' (1 Samuel 2:8 GNT).

Paul says, '...Don't fool yourselves! No one who is immoral...will share in God's Kingdom. Neither...any thief...greedy person...drunkard or anyone who curses and cheats...Some of you used to be like that. But...Jesus...washed you and made you...acceptable to God' (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 CEV). In God's eyes we were all misfits until he reached down and saved us.

So what now? The story of Jephthah's turn around is a very encouraging one! Like him, you are not at the mercy of your past. When you said 'Yes' to God he dealt with all your mistakes and made you perfect in his sight. Pssst... tell your friends who need to hear that.

Soulfood: Acts 10-11, Luke 24:36-44, Ps 103:13-22, Prov 10:30-32

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Lessons from the Cross 5



'...Father, I put myself in your hands...' Luke 23:46 CEV

Lesson 6: Give it to God. Sometimes our struggles seem to go on forever: making enough money, family stresses, just doing life...Even when life is going smoothly we may wonder how long the good will last.

If we want real peace, we need to give our worries to God. When Jesus cried, '...I place myself in your hands...' (Luke 23:46 CEV), it wasn't a cry of defeat or failure. No way - it was pure trust - surrendering all to his heavenly Father. Jesus had done what he had been sent to do. For Jesus to be able to give his life fully, he had to want God's will above his own. 'Not my will, but yours be done' (Luke 22:42 NIV) - in other words, 'Father I trust you with how it ends'.

We may sometimes ask, 'God, why didn't you do what I wanted? I don't get it!' But did we check with him that what we asked for was his will for our life? So often we want to have our cake and eat it. We forget it's God we're talking to. We can't behave like spoilt brats, stamping our feet when we don't get our way. He is God, and he stubbornly wants the best for us. He will only agree with his word in our life - '...the words of the Lord are flawless...' (Psalm12:6 NIV).

So what now? Whatever is stressing you out right now, give it up, right now, to God. Take that step of trust - you'll see that you can take him at his word!

Soulfood: 1 Cor 15, Luke 24:1-12, Mt 28:1-10, Mt 28:1-10

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