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Word For You Today

GOD OF RESTORATION (4)

'Blessed are those who recognise they are spiritually helpless. The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them' (Matthew 5:3 GWT). It may not feel like a blessing to be totally helpless, but God has an excellent track record of giving blessings in those times. With your best intentions exhausted, it's perfect for God's best intentions to come into the picture. When you've run out of your own strength, God can more easily point you to His. Are you all out of steam today? Read this: 'Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are fearful-hearted, "Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense [restoration]...He will come and save you''' (Isaiah 35:3-4 NKJ).

If you've got little to show for your best efforts, God will elevate you at the right time. If everything has just come crashing to the ground, God will re-attach wings to your hopes and throw them back into flight. He will grow things from your dust. He says so: '...And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; it shall blossom abundantly...' (Isaiah 35:1-2 NKJ). Take heart: God is the God of restoration. The moment that you become empty of your own power, He'll remind you that His is much greater.

So what now? If you're feeling 'spiritually helpless', kneel in prayer and ask for God's strengthening power to flood you. Sometimes the physical act of kneeling before God can help re-adjust your mental attitude.

Soulfood : Ezek 20-21, Mk 13:1-11, Ps 48, Prov 14:33-35

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GOD OF RESTORATION (3)

The Bible has a running theme of ruin and restoration. Adam and Eve mess up - and the rest of the story is God restoring what was lost in Eden. The world grows into a cesspit of sin and flood waters destroy it; God restores the earth through Noah. Abraham is on track to be a forgotten name in pre-recorded history; God gives him a child and restores him as the father of nations. Joseph is trafficked into slavery; God elevates him to a place of governmental power and restores his family to him. The Israelites are strangers in a strange land; God leads them to a Promised Land and restores their inheritance. The Philistines tower over the Israelites; God restores the balance of power through David.

The Old Testament is jam-packed with stories of God's restoring hand. And then Jesus arrives. God's own son is abandoned to a cross. Three days later a restoring power like none seen in history before or since is unleashed. Resurrection runs as a theme through the New Testament. The power of life over death is still refreshing and revitalising the world today. Whatever mess we find ourselves in, God's hand of restoration is reaching in. When situations look dead and buried, God's resurrection power speaks life. And life abundantly.

 

So what now? Do you know someone in a desperate situation? Why not share these readings of the last few days and encourage them that God can, and wants to, restore what has been lost or stolen.

 

Soulfood : Ezek 16:53-19:14, Mk 12:28-44, Ps 1, Prov 14:29-32

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GOD OF RESTORATION (2)

Before David became king, he returned to his hometown one day to find it burned to the ground. The Amalekites had come raiding and kidnapped all the people as slaves. His men were stunned and, in their despair at losing their families and needing to find someone to blame, they talked about stoning David.

David found a quiet place and poured his heart out to God. And then God spoke through a priest who was part of David's company: 'Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all' (1 Samuel 30:8 NKJ). The Lord was about to return what was taken and more.

Are you ashamed of the years you've wasted? Talk to God about them. Ask Him what to do. Remember this: whatever you've lost in the past, God can restore it. He promises: 'I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten... You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you; and My people shall never be put to shame' (Joel 2:25-26 NKJ).

Ever since Adam and Eve 'blew it' in Eden, God's desire and plan has been to restore to us what we have lost. So come to Him today and let the restoration begin.

So what now? Read 1 Samuel 30. It's the story of David's journey from desperation to victory. Let it be an encouragement to you in times when you need restoration in an area of your life.

Soulfood : Lev 23:15-22, Acts 2:1-21

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GOD OF RESTORATION (1)

Jesus told many illustrative stories (parables) that did not make sense and had outcomes that were usually very opposite to what we would expect, or even want.

Here's just one of those stories. Jesus is telling the gathered crowd, 'Imagine a son is reading his dad's last will and testament,' He begins. 'Only the dad isn't dead yet!' The crowd erupts with laughter. They enjoy a good laugh. And this story sounds very intriguing. Jesus tells the tale with all its absurdity. The son makes a moonlight dash with his portion of the inheritance. He spends it like a glutton, and finds himself down-and-out, chomping on pig swill. The crowd is really enjoying this comical comeuppance - the prodigal reduced to scoffing an unclean animal's slops! Quite right too! They think they know exactly where this tale is going.

But then comes the punch line. Only it's not funny. It's peculiar. It's surreal. The father throws a party and spends extravagant amounts of money on the son's return. He brings him back into the family as a full son. Say that last bit again, Jesus!

The crowd can't believe this ending. Why does the father not only forgive his son but also give him everything back he lost? Because that is the way God treats His children.

So what now? You know what the great thing is! God is still in the business of restoring. So, if you feel particularly bad about something you've done or you've walked away from your loving Father, come home, and be restored!

Soulfood : Ezek 14:1-16:52, Mk 12:13-27, Ps 129, Prov 14:25-28

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GOD OF RESTORATION (1)

Jesus told many illustrative stories (parables) that did not make sense and had outcomes that were usually very opposite to what we would expect, or even want.

Here's just one of those stories. Jesus is telling the gathered crowd, 'Imagine a son is reading his dad's last will and testament,' He begins. 'Only the dad isn't dead yet!' The crowd erupts with laughter. They enjoy a good laugh. And this story sounds very intriguing. Jesus tells the tale with all its absurdity. The son makes a moonlight dash with his portion of the inheritance. He spends it like a glutton, and finds himself down-and-out, chomping on pig swill. The crowd is really enjoying this comical comeuppance - the prodigal reduced to scoffing an unclean animal's slops! Quite right too! They think they know exactly where this tale is going.

But then comes the punch line. Only it's not funny. It's peculiar. It's surreal. The father throws a party and spends extravagant amounts of money on the son's return. He brings him back into the family as a full son. Say that last bit again, Jesus!

The crowd can't believe this ending. Why does the father not only forgive his son but also give him everything back he lost? Because that is the way God treats His children.

So what now? You know what the great thing is! God is still in the business of restoring. So, if you feel particularly bad about something you've done or you've walked away from your loving Father, come home, and be restored!

Soulfood : Ezek 14:1-16:52, Mk 12:13-27, Ps 129, Prov 14:25-28

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PRAYER MATTERS

Exodus 17:10-13 goes: 'So Joshua fought the Amalekites ... and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses' hands grew tired ... Aaron and Hur held his hands up ... So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army.

This story is about intercessory prayer. What's an 'intercessor'? Job said, 'My intercessor is my friend...on behalf of a man he pleads with God as a man pleads for his friend' (Job 16:20-21 NIV). So, someone who prays to God for other people. Who knows what went on at the top of that hill? Perhaps, as Moses prayed, God gave the Israelites battle strategies? Perhaps prayer caused confusion and disunity in the Amalekites' camp? Perhaps, the spiritual realms changed through prayer allowing goodness to overcome evil? Truth is, we don't know exactly how prayer won out that day. We only know it did.

It is the same for you. God wants you to pray for others because it matters. God wants you to intercede because it will win. God wants you to 'take up' and 'put on' His mind and perspective. Perhaps that's why Jesus told us to pray for our enemies. Prayer reveals to us what God believes for them. Prayer matters.

So what now? Pray, and ask God to pop a person into your thoughts. Make the commitment to pray for them every day, and look out for the consequences in their life.

Soulfood : Ezek 10-13, Mk 12:1-12, Ps 124, Prov 14:21-24

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SHARING IS CARING (2)

Jerusalem 2,000 years ago was no stranger to infection. Leprosy was far more prevalent than it is today. In order to prevent the disease spreading, the community created certain rules: lepers were ordered to wear a sign, ring a bell (like a cow - yes, just a bit demeaning), keep their distance. This way, it was thought, the threat of catching and passing on the illness could be contained.

Jerusalem 2,000 years ago also feared the dangers of moral infection. Or teachings from another faith. Or other people's world views. Don't mix with non-Jewish types! Don't eat with a tax collector! Don't trade ideas with a Roman. Avoid the 'sinner' (like you would a leper). This way a good Jewish person could remain a good Jewish person.

And then Jesus came. He broke bread with tax collectors. He hung out with prostitutes. He touched lepers. Actually touched them! Jesus went in search of the outcasts. He seemed to be a law unto Himself. Instead of being infected Himself; He infected others. He infected the forgotten with dignity and humanity. He infected those who has messed up with second chances. He infected sinful people with the holiness germ.

So what now? Who are the outcasts, forgotten and lepers in your circles? How can you reach out to them and infect them with dignity and the love of Christ? Ask God to show you someone.

Soulfood : Ezek 5-9, Mk 11:27-33, Ps 4, Prov 14:17-20

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