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Word For You Today

Chosen



'You did not choose me, but I chose you...' John 15:16 NIV

God knows everything about you, the good, the bad and the ugly - but he chose you anyway. How amazing is that? It's also a truth that's very difficult to hold onto when you're having a bad day or feel far from God.

So what does it mean to be chosen? (1) You are considered totally individual and unique! Have you ever felt like just a face in a crowd? Each one of us has a desperate desire to be special, to be noticed, to be the most important person to someone else. With God, everybody is a somebody. To him there are no misfits, rejects or second class citizens. (2) You have something individual to contribute. Chosen people are significant. In sports teams those picked first are chosen for a good reason, because they will make most difference. You have been chosen because there is a job which you will be best at. (3) You are wanted by God. You are chosen because God wants you. No matter what others think or what you've been told, the unchanging, everlasting God has chosen you.

So what now? In God's plan, you are chosen to be in relationship with him, and to be part of serving in his plan for humanity. You are chosen so that all other lives are changed for the better. What a privilege! So, when you're having a bad day, say out loud, 'I am chosen, loved and here to do a great job!'

Soulfood: 1 Sam 5:1 - 6:16, Rev 11:15-19

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The Most Real Thing



'I denied myself nothing my heart desired...' Ecclesiastes 2:10 NIV

Read these words from a man who had everything. 'I amassed silver and gold... I acquired male and female singers, and... the delights of a man's heart. I became greater by far than anyone... I denied myself nothing...I refused my heart no pleasure.... Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless...' (Ecclesiastes 2:8-11 NIV).

Delicious food, lots of sex, world-wide fame, massive wealth, unlimited power; Solomon worked for and achieved it all, but it turned out to be a life of trivial pursuit, chasing after meaningless things.

So why does all this 'stuff' leave us so empty? Like a big, greasy fry-up it all feels great at the time but it doesn't take long before we begin to regret it and actually feel worse than we did before. The reason we are left feeling so empty is because we're not filling ourselves up with the right stuff.

Yes, God wants you to have a great time, but any missing part in you is actually a cry for relationship with him. He is the only one who can fill that hunger, and it leaves you feeling great afterwards!

So what now? When you go after a relationship with God (which is the most real thing you can ever pursue), everything else you need gets thrown in as a bonus! Jesus said, 'put God's work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well' (Matthew 6:33 CEV).

Soulfood: 2 Ki 7-9, Luke 16:1-18, Ps 135, Prov 7:21-23

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He Knows Your Future



'...don't be anxious about tomorrow...' Matthew 6:34 TLB

When it comes to the future, people tend to fall into two categories: those who panic about the future and those who don't think about it enough.

We are constantly faced with the future and having to make decisions, many of which may well affect the rest of our lives. But the reality is, most of us don't really know what we want to do, where we want to go or who we want to be! The fantastic thing about God is he has it all in hand. He knows where he wants us, he knows what he's planned and he knows who we will be! The key is to trust him.

We are free to plan out the next 50 years of our lives, but much of this planning will be a waste of time because he probably has something in store that we never even thought of!

So what now? Well, you don't have to worry, for starters. Don't panic about your decisions, just ask God to make sure you make the right choices at the right time. Focus mostly on who you are, not on what you do. You may be the best person in the world at something, but if you don't develop the character God needs he will raise up someone else for the job. Be flexible - you may be totally certain about your future or what you are going to be, but if God calls you to something else, be ready to roll with it. Remember, you can't see the bigger picture, but he can.

Soulfood: 2 Ki 4:18 - 6:33, Luke 15:11-32, Ps 27, Prov 7:10-20

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Bless to Forgive



'...forgive anything you may have against anyone...' Mark 11:25 GNT

In the Bible, Peter was Jesus' main man. He wasn't the sharpest tool in the box and often got it wrong, but he really loved Jesus. Peter was the one who walked on water; yes, he nearly sank, but at least he got out of the boat. Peter promised Jesus he would be with him; he even promised to die with him. Later that same night Jesus was arrested and Peter denied that he knew Jesus three times. Imagine how Jesus felt; his best mate, his main man, the one he would build his church on, saying he didn't even know him.

A little time after his death Jesus appeared to Peter and the others on a beach. Was he annoyed? No, and he blessed them by cooking them a fry-up! Jesus had already forgiven Peter in his heart; he didn't hold anything against him.

Most people don't hurt us on purpose; often they don't even know they have. If you've been hurt by someone, refusing to forgive will do you far more harm than it will them. We're all human and Jesus knew that. Don't fall into the mistake of kidding yourself you have forgiven someone when really you've just buried the issue somewhere for later. You know you've forgiven someone when you: (a) stop telling people what they did; and (b) stop trying to hurt them back.

So what now? Want a little secret to forgiveness? Pray for God to bless those who have hurt you - it's amazing how doing that will help you forgive them!

Soulfood: 2 Ki 1:1 - 4:17, Luke 15:1-10, Ps 112, Prov 7:6-9

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Getting what YouDon't Deserve



'...you love to be merciful.' Micah 7:18 TLB

This sign was outside a convent: Absolutely No Trespassing! Violators Will Be Prosecuted to the Fullest Extent of the Law. Signed - The Sisters of Mercy! Doesn't sound quite right, does it? Thankfully Jesus proved on the cross that '...Mercy triumphs over judgment' (James 2:13 NIV).

In the book Hosea, the prophet Hosea married a woman called Gomer. After having three children with him, shady Gomer deserted the family to live with another man. Later she worked as a prostitute and that was when God said to Hosea '...Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is...an adulteress' (Hosea 3:1 NIV). Even though Gomer was unfaithful to her husband, Hosea showed her mercy and love, and welcomed her back as his wife!

Loving people who have wronged us is very difficult to do. It goes against our natural instinct to fight back and defend ourselves. Remember the Bible doesn't say 'Do for others as they have done for you'; it says 'Do to others as you would like them to do to you' (Luke 6:31 NLT) - there's a big difference!

So what now? If today you're struggling with unforgiveness, think about all God has forgiven you on the cross. You have been shown love and mercy far beyond anything you can imagine or understand. No matter what you've ever said or done to hurt God or people, he's totally forgiven it! We have all been unfaithful in many ways. God has chosen to show you his love again and again. Like Gomer, you have got what you... don't... deserve.

Soulfood: Rev 19-22, Luke 14:25-35, Ps 106:24-48, Prov 7:3-5

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Letting Go



'There is a time for everything...' Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV

Have you ever pushed a relationship so far that it's all just gone totally pear shaped? As humans we have a terrible habit of rushing in and forcing the issue, instead of having the patience to know when to back off. The Bible says there's 'a time for everything' (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV). There's a time to stop pushing someone and just let God do his work, otherwise you risk creating scars that might take years to heal.

As painful as it is, letting go of people and situations you can't control is normally the wisest course of action. If you've put your foot in it, hurt someone, made a mistake or just been downright annoying, then apologising and backing off is often the hardest but definitely the wisest thing to do! Just remember; manipulation, emotional blackmail and trying to get attention is just going to make things worse. A relationship won't work unless both parties want it to.

Choose your battles carefully. If you've hurt someone they often need a little time to get over it and really forgive you - so give them that space! Before you jump on every little comment or action think, 'Can I let this one go?'

So what now? Think about your current relationships. Are there any situations where a more prayerful but 'hands off' approach would be the best way? Letting go doesn't mean you stop caring. It's actually a sign of maturity, giving God space to work through the situation.

Soulfood: Rev 15-18, Luke 14:15-24, Ps 106:1-23, Prov 7:1-2

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Your Worth Comes from God



'...I will build you up again...' Jeremiah 31:4 NIV

When we read the early chapters of Genesis we find that Adam had a relationship with God before he had a relationship with Eve. That's really important. Why? Because nobody but God can tell you who you really are, or what you're worth! Until you totally get that, you'll keep looking for someone to love you so much that you'll finally start feeling good about yourself.

The trouble is, when you think you've found that someone, you'll cling to them like velcro. You'll agree with everything they say and do and have no opinions of your own. You'll feel jealous and threatened if they do or enjoy anything without you. No relationship can survive that kind of dependence!

Adam could only learn to love and understand Eve after he really knew God. It's in God's presence, free from what others think, that you really see yourself in the right way; the way God sees you as the person you were made to be. It's only once you're in that place that you're ready for a relationship. In relationship with God you'll learn what you're worth and you will only give yourself to someone who thinks as much as God does.

So what now? If you've ever been abused, abandoned, betrayed or feel like you're just not good enough, check out these words. They're from a God whose opinion of you never changes: '...I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. I will build you up again...' (Jeremiah 31:3-4 NIV). Yes, he means you!

Soulfood: Rev 10-14, Luke 14:1-14, Ps 136:13-26, Prov 6:32-35

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