The Morning Wake-Up with Bjorn & Josh
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Word For You Today

Visualeyes



'...The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.' Matthew 6:22 NIV

You're at the cinema watching the latest blockbuster... there's a moment when everything goes quiet then 'Aaaaaagh!'... the bad guy suddenly appears on the screen and you jump out of your seat! Why? Because our eyes are wired right into the core of our brain and we have built-in reactions over which we have very little control.

We live in a hugely visual culture. Everywhere we look there is an advertising display unit or TV screen. We only have to scan the shelves of magazines briefly to see that the publishers do all they can to appeal to the most basic human impulses. You see, pictures work like a springboard to a new level of thought. Once we've seen something, our mind has captured it in its memory bank.

Even more amazing thing than this ability is that the brain God has given us allows us to 'see' with our minds - to create mental 'movies'! It's called visualisation, and we visualise using what we have stored in our memory banks. With this in mind, as followers of Jesus, we are called to store up good images in our memory banks. The Apostle Paul told his mates, '...Think about the things that are true and honourable and right and pure and beautiful and respectful' (Philippians 4:8 NCV).

So what now? What will you visualise today? Jesus said '...If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light' (Matthew 6:22 NIV). Choose to keep your eyes healthy.

Soulfood: Eph 4:17 - 6:24, Matt 24:36-51, Ps 109:1-15, Prov 17:27-28

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Deal with your fears



'Say to those who are fearful-hearted, "Be strong..."' Isaiah 35:4 NKJ

An old man was asked what had stolen most of his life's joy. He replied, 'Things that never happened!' Our fears are the worst liars; we should never make decisions based on them.

Instead we should: (1) Tackle them head-on. King David did: 'When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you' (Psalm 56:3 NLT). Bill Hybels is pastor of one of the world's biggest churches. As a kid he was timid, but his dad kept challenging him. Bill says, 'He'd take me down to our produce company and bark out, "Billy, reverse that lorry!" ...I'd drag myself into the cab of that 40-foot artic, shaking with fear. Sometimes it would take me 45 minutes and the lorry would be half jackknifed...but when I crawled out, dad would say, "Good job." And next time...it would be easier.' How do we conquer fear? By confronting it! (2) Hang out with brave people. Solomon said, 'Walk with the wise and become wise...' (Proverbs 13:20 NIV). Don't hang out with people who habitually cave in or play it safe. Hang out with brave people. Read up on brave Bible characters, like Daniel, Deborah, Esther and Peter. (3) Go for it. Dealing with fear isn't optional, it's foundational. We need it to live each day for Jesus, to build better relationships, to reach the lost and care for the broken.

So what now? Today God says to you, 'Be strong,' whatever you are facing. But you can't expect him to do all the work; you've got to deal with your fears!

Soulfood: Exodus 20:1-17, Matt 5:1-12

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Godfocussed prayers



'...God will hear our prayers when we ask for what pleases him.' 1 John 5:14 CEV

Reality check: are your prayers ever self-centred? Too many prayers are about our human wishes, not God's holy plans. '...God will hear our prayers when we ask for what pleases him' (1 John 5:14 CEV).

Three examples of our self-centred prayers: (1) The trivial. We pray for good weather for our day out when maybe it hasn't rained for ages and the farmer down the road needs water! If we remember that our lives are part of God's bigger picture, then our prayers will become stepping stones to wisdom and maturity. (2) The selfish. Listen: '...your prayers are not answered, because you pray...for selfish reasons' (James 4:3 CEV). One young woman at a prayer group said, 'My boyfriend's army unit just got called to the Middle East. Please pray he won't have to go.' It's easy to understand her worries, but her request is a bit selfish. He's a soldier who has signed up for a very dangerous job. Our lives often include risk and hardship, so God promises peace and protection, not immunity and comfort. (3) The controlling. Jesus taught us to pray '...your will be done...' (Matthew 6:10 NIV). Let's not bargain with God. Why ask God to make the people in our lives conform to our wishes, when he doesn't even force them to conform to his? God always answers when we ask 'for what pleases him' (1 John 5:14 CEV).

So what now? God loves you so much and has a great plan for your life. Pray for his will to be done in your life.

Soulfood: Eph 1:1 - 4:16, Matt 24:26-35, Ps 79, Prov 17:24-26

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You do measure up



'...Do not worry about anything, but pray...' Philippians 4:6 NCV

Striving to do better is a good thing, but perfectionism isn't. A mother of three children complained to her doctor, 'I just can't get the house cleaned the way I like it before everyone leaves in the morning.' She was so stressed out, he put her on antidepressants. But why? Nobody was holding a gun to her head saying, 'Every dish must be put away and every towel folded - or else!' Life had become one big 'to-do list' and she could never get to the bottom of it. Yet no one but herself had created the stress she was experiencing - and passing on to her family!

Answer these questions: (1) Have my ambitions become so all consuming that I've forgotten how to chill and be happy? (2) Have I made 'having everything under control' a condition for my happiness? (3) Do I beat myself (or other people) up when I can't meet my own stupidly unrealistic expectations?

The first step toward recovering your peace is to make sure that none of the stress in your life is self-inflicted. The second is realising that life pays no attention to your fancy plans anyway. So don't risk losing your friends or making yourself ill. Whether it's obsessing over your looks or performance, the roots of perfectionism grow in the soil of insecurity.

So what now? Don't listen to any voice that whispers, 'You'll never measure up!' That's a lie; don't believe it. You are loved, approved and accepted - by God! Your worth comes from him, and his opinion of you never changes!

Soulfood: 1 Sam 27-31, Matt 24:15-25, Ps 137, Prov 17:22-23

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Standing in the gap



'...I searched for someone to stand in the gap...but I found no one.' Ezekiel 22:30 NLT

When Chris Milbrath went to work with Co-Mission in the Ukraine, the last thing he envisioned was being hospitalised. He had a constant hardcore stomach-ache. His doctor diagnosed a ruptured appendix and told him that without surgery he'd die. Infection set in. Then halfway across the world one of Chris' prayer supporters woke suddenly during the night. She didn't know why, but she knew she had to pray for him. Within 24 hours a missions group in Moscow heard about the situation. A small jet 'just happened to be available' to airlift Chris to Geneva where one of Switzerland's best surgeons 'just happened to be available' to perform additional surgery that saved his life. Later, comparing notes and factoring in the time zones, they discovered that her prayer-burden 'just happened to coincide' with the time he was clinging to life. Chris said, 'I can't help wondering what would've happened to me if that woman had just rolled over and said, "I'll pray for Chris tomorrow.'' God says, '"I searched for someone to stand in the gap...but I found no one"' (Ezekiel 22:30 NLT).

Prayer can be a lonely business with very anti-social hours! Prayer warriors realise what's at stake and stay on their knees until they sense they've broken through any barriers. James writes, '...When a believing person prays, great things happen' (James 5:16 NCV).

So what now? When God prompts you to pray for somebody, don't wait - do it! Your prayers may be the solution to that person and a tough situation.

Soulfood: 1 Sam 24-26, Matt 24:1-14, Ps 122, Prov 17:18-21

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Be an 'Amy' for God



'...A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.' Proverbs 31:30 NIV

Amy Carmichael was born in Ireland in 1867. She didn't fit the mould. Her unconventional outlook was a problem for those more dedicated to maintaining tradition than to reaching a lost world. During her early years as a missionary, a 'Get-Amy-out-of-India' movement was started by people who didn't understand her unwavering obedience to what she believed to be God's will for her life. In her book, Roots, she writes: 'It's not that we think...ours is the only way of living, but we are sure...it's the way meant for us.' Amy served God in Japan, China and Sri Lanka before being called to India where she spent her time working with children, especially young girls forced into temple prostitution. Tenderness marked her life, but not weakness. Burning with holy anger she'd storm into a mob to rescue a little girl, then weep openly about the child's situation. When she died in 1951 she was buried under a tamarind tree in a grave marked by the Indian word for mother: Amma.

Have you ever noticed how often single women are called to do some of the toughest jobs? Did you know that the majority of missionaries are women? The Bible says, 'Charm is deceptive, and beauty...fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised' (Proverbs 31:30 NIV).

So what now? If God's calling you to be another Amy Carmichael (or 'Anthony' Carmichael :)), don't be scared of saying 'yes', because the safest place in the world is being in the centre of his will.

Soulfood: 1 Sam 20:30 - 23:29, Matt 23:23-39, Ps 110, Prov 17:15-17

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BAAAA



'...We are his people, the sheep he tends.' Psalm 100:3 NCV

Sheep are not the cleverest of animals; so it's not very flattering when the Bible compares us to them! But we can learn from sheep. Just for now, get creative and imagine you're a sheep, living in Bible times. Thorns prick. Rocks cut. Mosquitoes bite. So the shepherd regularly inspects his sheep searching for wounds. He doesn't want today's wound to become tomorrow's infection. King David, who was a shepherd as a teen, writes: 'We are [God's] people, the sheep he tends' (Psalm 100:3 NCV). God cares more for you than he cares for actual sheep! God, the shepherd, has so many soul-remedies that heal and protect. Like a sheep, you need to stand still and let the shepherd do his work. Peter writes, 'Be humble under God's powerful hand so he will lift you up when the right time comes' (1 Peter 5:6 NCV).

Are you one of those people who asks lots of questions, to work things out? That's great, as long as that doesn't stop you simply trusting God. God knows what is best for his people (see Luke 18:7 NCV). Sheep don't understand how the smelly ointment repels mosquitoes or heals wounds. All the sheep know is that something happens in the presence of their shepherd, that doesn't happen anywhere else. And we need to know that too as God's children.

So what now? Like sheep, you need to just trust your shepherd (that's God), without asking too many questions. He does know better.

Soulfood: 1 Sam 18:1 - 20:29, Matt 23:13-22, Ps 102:18-28, Prov 17:11-14

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