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Word For You Today

The Invisible Woman 1



'...I served you for Rachel... why have you deceived me?' Genesis 29:25 NIV

If a girl's self-worth is shaped by her father's influence, Leah was out of luck, because her father Laban didn't think that much of her. After making a deal with Jacob, who wanted to marry her sister Rachel, Laban tricked him and he ended up with Leah. If you've ever struggled with low self-image you can guess how Leah felt. Here she was getting ready for her wedding, knowing she was the 'second prize.' Imagine waiting all your life to get married, only to discover that your dreams will never come true, because your husband loves somebody else. It gets worse. Jacob spent the wedding night with Leah, and didn't even recognise her until the morning. Then he complained to Laban, '...I served you for Rachel...why have you deceived me' (Genesis 29:25 NIV)? Even after discovering he'd slept with Leah, Jacob still wanted her sister! Leah was with someone who couldn't appreciate who she really was.

Today, if you're in a relationship with someone (romantic or not) who doesn't really know you and makes no effort to find out, you can relate. But the good news is, while Leah spent years being invisible to Jacob, she wasn't invisible to God. And neither are you!

So what now? If you are feeling pushed aside, pulled back or put down in any area of your life, talk to God. He has given you amazing unique gifts and, if you let him, he'll draw them out of you, to reveal the treasure that is in you.

Soulfood: Mt 21:1-16, Mk 11:1-11, Ps 118:19-29, Ps 118:19-29

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Know Him



'...his sheep follow him because they know his voice.' John 10:4 NIV

Is your mind so full of thoughts that you can't tell what's you, what's God or what's rubbish? Here are some tips from God's Word to help you know what's what!

Tip 1: know his voice. Listen: 'His sheep follow him because they know his voice' (John 10:4 NIV). If you've said yes to God you are one of his sheep. Jesus himself promises that his sheep will know his voice. How? Tip 2: know his spirit. When Jesus went back to Heaven he sent his spirit to live in his people so they could know the will of the Father and live their lives not being confused. Tip 3: know his Word: the Bible isn't just a nice book that Christians read. It's our manual for life. It tells us how to live right. It helps us understand confusing situations. But best of all it is like a blueprint of God's character. If you want to identify God thoughts, get to know when he is talking to you. Tip 4: know him. This is the tip to top all tips! You see, the more time you spend with your mates, the more you know them. It's the same with God; the more time you spend getting to know him, the easier it is to recognise him, and the easier it is to pick out his voice in a crowd or in a mind full of random thoughts.

So what now? Just get to know him! It will clear up any confusion.

Soulfood: Jer 49-50, Luke 22:54-62, Ps 50:16-23, Prov 10:11-13

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Learning to be Content



'Whenever people are jealous or selfish, they cause trouble...' James 3:16 CEV

Shakespeare calls it 'the green sickness.' The poet Horace said, 'Tyrants never invented a greater torment.' But envy's sneaky. It recognises that openly 'trying to...get the better of others' is wrong, so it looks instead for socially acceptable (and spiritual sounding) ways to express itself. Like the 'Yes...but,' approach. That's where you say something nice about somebody, but put a sting in the tail. For example, 'She's a pretty girl but it's a shame she's too big for that outfit'. Another favourite is questioning people's motives. 'He's only being generous to totally show off' Or, 'If I was less generous I could afford to indulge myself', and how about the old unflattering comparison: 'If you think he can sing, you should hear my mate.' Sadly one-upmanship is more common among than we like to admit, or even realise. For whatever reason, we sometimes seem to have trouble acknowledging the gifts and contributions of others.

Early in scripture God says, 'Do not covet...anything...' (Exodus 20:17 NLT), because most of what we get upset about won't matter in eternity. And since we '...cannot carry anything with us when we die' (1 Timothy 6:7 NLT), all those goals and achievements aren't worth forfeiting your peace over, are they?

So what now? Paul says that '...true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth...' (1 Timothy 6:6 NLT). Give up any obsession and torment with being better than others or having more. Be content with who you are, and what you have, right now.

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Open Your Eyes



'If...a Christian...sees a brother in need, and won't help him - how can God's love be within him?' 1 John 3:17 TLB

Eleanor Bradley was shopping in New York City when she fell and broke her leg. For 40 minutes she begged for help before a cab driver stopped and drove her to hospital. Kitty Genovese was murdered on a suburban street one night while 39 people watched from their windows. Andrew Morille was repeatedly stabbed on the underground as 11 passengers looked on. These are shocking examples of turning a blind eye to someone's pain.

How often do we look away from helping others? Even in the little things: it may mean a minute of our day but it might make theirs. James says that if we know someone's hurting and all we say is, '..."God bless you; stay warm and eat well" - but then you don't give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do' (James 2:16 NLT)? John goes even further. 'If someone who is supposed to be a Christian...sees a brother in need, and won't help...how can God's love be within him' (1 John 3:17 TLB). Good question!

People say 'ignorance is bliss,' what they really mean is, 'if I close my eyes, I can pretend it's not there.' It's one thing to say you care. It's another to roll your sleeves up and maybe risk putting yourself out for someone else.

So what now? Open your eyes today and ask God to show you who needs your help. The question is - how will you respond?

Soulfood: Jer 41-44, Luke 22:24-38, Ps 25:16-22, Prov 10:4-7

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Lend Your Shoulder



'We who are strong... bear the weaknesses of those without strength.' Romans 15:1 NAS

A young man who committed suicide left this note: 'Mum and Dad, I never did develop into a real person, and I can't tolerate this false, empty life I've created with no connection to family or friends...I've led a detached existence. I'm a bomb of frustration and...it's best to defuse the bomb harmlessly now.' In New Zealand, about 500 people end their own lives every year. It's the final form of self-rejection for those who battle loneliness, insecurity, hopelessness and unattainable perfectionism. And it happens at every level: young mothers, businessmen, professors, retirees, and, yes, even church ministers who look like they've got it together.

What's sadder is, these people are crying out to be rescued. They leave clues, like: (a) talking about suicide; (b) sudden personality changes; (c) depression and constant fatigue; (d) drastic weight loss; (e) actual suicide attempts. Many have experienced the death of a loved one, a family or relationship breakdown, terrible debt or long term unemployment. They see suicide as the only way out of their pain.

God tells us 'who are strong...bear the weaknesses of those without strength' (Romans 15:1 NAS). Often all it takes is somebody who'll listen and provide a shoulder to lean on.

So what now? Could you be someone's shoulder? If you're reluctant to get involved because you're afraid you'd be out of your depth, get help from a counsellor, pastor or a suicide prevention hot-line. You could really become someone's lifeline!

Soulfood: Jer 36:27 - 40:16, Luke 22:14-23, Ps 25:8-15, Prov 10:1-3

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What Will You Do About It



'When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them...' Matthew 9:36 NIV

During WWII, while visiting a missionary school outside Tibet, Bob Pierce noticed a little girl on the steps. She was malnourished, ragged, and her eyes revealed a lifetime of suffering. When he asked about her, one of the teachers said, 'Oh, she sits there every day. She wants to attend school but we've no room.' Troubled, Pierce replied, 'Can't you make room for just one more?' The teacher replied, 'We've made room for "just one more" so often that our food's stretched to the limit. We've got to draw the line somewhere.' Refusing to accept this brutal reality, Pierce exclaimed, 'A child needing help shouldn't be turned away. Why isn't something being done?' Quietly the teacher picked the little girl up, plunked her in Pierce's arms, and asked, 'What are you going to do about it?' That day Bob Pierce reached into his pocket to buy rice for one little girl, and it led to the founding of World Vision, which is now a massive international relief agency!

When you ignore suffering often enough, eventually you won't notice it at all. The Bible says that when Jesus, 'Saw the crowds, he had compassion on them' (Matthew 9:36 NIV). Looking at the needs around you can be overwhelming but, remember, they come one person at a time. Because you can't do everything doesn't mean you can't do something.

So what now? When you give what you have (even though it may not seem much), God multiplies it and miracles happen!

Soulfood: Jer 33:1 - 36:26, Luke 22:1-13, Ps 25:1-7, Prov 9:17-18

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Nothing to Prove



'Don't let anyone look down on you because you're young.' 1 Timothy 4:12 NIV

Timothy was a young hardworking guy. At the time Paul wrote the letters to Timothy he was diligently preaching about God and helping to build his church. Paul warned him not to let anyone look down on him because he was young. Have you ever been afraid to say what God's asked you to say, or be who God's called you to be, because you think you'll be dismissed because you are 'just a kid'.

Listen: some of the top dogs in the Bible were picked out by God when they were really young; David was probably about 16 years old when God had him chosen as king. Samuel must have been even younger when God came and chatted to him for the first time.

Paul tells Timothy to live a life that will make it clear to others that God is totally involved with his life - not by loudly banging a drum or forcing himself and his beliefs on people. Paul understood that respect doesn't come through a load of words or big promises that never get me. He says '...but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity' (1 Timothy 4:12 NIV).

So what now? Respect comes when people see that the life you live matches up to the words you speak. So, just get on with being yourself and living the life that represents God to the max. God will show you for who you truly are anyway, so just enjoy today!

Soulfood: Jer 31-32, Luke 21:25-38, Ps 32, Prov 9:10-16

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