Sunday Night with Charlie

Word For You Today

Sacrificial Love 2

'Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ... a sacrifice... a pleasing aroma to God.' Ephesians 5:2 NLT

We can't live our lives in our own strength: we need God's help. Listen: 'We know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love' (Romans 5:5 NLT). Notice the word 'given': we can't earn it, but it's always available.

Love is not a mood, a magic feeling or reaction. Too many of us are expecting to walk down the street one day and have God's love come and hit us in the face. From that moment on we'll automatically feel more love and be full of grace and patience and kindness and won't be able to help but hug every sad looking person we see. Sorry, but that's not going to happen. You're not suddenly going to get smacked with love and float through life with a big smile and kind heart.

The truth is that the greatest sacrifice you can make is choosing to love the unloveables. That kind of love involves forgetting what you want and showing love to them, regardless of what they're like or how you feel at the time. Love is a choice.

So what now? Even if you don't want to, or you have other places to be, or you just don't really like them, choose to show Jesus' love, to all. Be a friend. Provide for their needs, pray for them and give them your most precious gift, your time. Only then can we really know the full power of God's sacrificial love.

Soulfood: Jer 18-21, Luke 20:27-40, Ps 6, Prov 8:32-33


Sacrificial Love 1

'Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ... a sacrifice... a pleasing aroma to God.' Ephesians 5:2 NLT

You'll never become 'like sweet perfume' to God without sacrifice, which means paying the price to love others. Loving others doesn't mean a whole lot if we only love the people we choose, on our own terms, at a convenient time, place, occasion and in a cosy room with big cushions and the right temperature. Loving people who are different to us - a little weird, funny looking, less confident, more confident - but loving them despite all of this, now that's the challenge! To love people the way Jesus did goes right against the grain of what we experience in life.

It's easy to think that some people are naturals when it comes to loving. We think they're just 'nice' and wish we could be more like them. Anyone who thinks along these lines is just using it as an excuse to not be loving. They think it's ok and that they don't need to change because, 'That's just the way I am, can't help it. Always have been, always will be.'

Jesus made it very clear how we are supposed to love: 'A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you...' (John 13:34 NIV). Notice the words 'As I have loved you'. Jesus loves us no matter who we are or what we've done or how weird we behave! He knows the worst about us and believes the best, and that's how we should love one another.

So what now? 'Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ' (Ephesians 5:2 NLT).

Soulfood: Jer 14-17, Luke 20:20-26, Ps 69:19-36, Prov 8:30-31


Make Today a Masterpiece

'Teach us how short our life is, so that we may become wise.' Psalm 90:12 GNT

Often we get very distracted by things we have no control over. One worry is the future - but we do have some control over that. The Bible teaches us to reap what we sow, which basically means if we work hard and think about what we're doing, the future will reflect that. If we sit around and watch TV, we can't expect too much for our lives.

Did you ever get given a presentation project in school? Take for example a model bridge. The idea is for your bridge to safely hold as much weight as possible. During the presentation you could guarantee two things: the kids who messed around with two tubes and a piece of paper which could hold nothing; and the kids who put the time in, carefully planned and worked hard so that their bridge could hold weight.

In order to plan for the future you need two things: decisions; and the discipline to follow through on them. Decide what you want to achieve and what God has called you to achieve and work until you get there! Many of us never admit that stuff goes wrong because we didn't prepare properly in the first place. In fact, some actually decide not to do what's right in the first place! Good decisions aren't usually easy but they are essential if you want to be successful.

So what now? Plan your bridge! Make today a masterpiece that can hold weight.

Soulfood: Jer 10-13, Luke 20:9-19, Ps 69:1-18, Prov 8:27-29


Thanks 'Mum'

'Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.' Proverbs 31:29 NIV

What makes a mum? Someone who gives birth to you or someone who takes care of you? Today we're honouring mums and mum-figures (even though it is not Mother's Day!), those fantastic people who have sacrificed so much to make you the person you are today.

The person who went without sleep to feed you through the night. The person who comforted you as a toddler and rubbed it better each time you fell and scratched your knee. The person who cooked for you and taught you to tie your own laces. The person who cheerfully waved goodbye on your first day of school and went home and secretly cried. The person who stuck your pieces of 'art' on the fridge door and who cheered like crazy as you raced down the playing field with a tennis ball on a spoon. The person who made your outfit for the Christmas play and never laughed when you accidentally bought the baby Jesus gifts of gold, 'frankenstein' and myrrh. The person who ferried you around like a mad taxi driver. The person who you asked, 'Did you see me?' and who honestly replied 'I wouldn't have missed it for the world'. The person who secretly went without so that you didn't have to.

Today we honour the 'mums'.

So what now? No matter who did those things for you, your natural mum or someone who loved you in her place, make sure you honour them today. Remember to tell them 'Thank you.'

Soulfood: 1 Sam 17:4-51, Eph 6:10-18


Promise Keeping

'Say only yes if you mean yes...' Matthew 5:37 NCV

In the story of Ruth, Ruth lost her husband before she could have any children. Having lost her husband and two sons, Ruth's mother-in-law Naomi decided to travel back to the land she was from, alone. Ruth insisted on going with her, saying '...Where you go I will go...' (Ruth 1:16 NIV), promising that she would be with Naomi until the end. Naomi argued because she knew that meant Ruth would probably never marry again. God blessed Ruth for the promise she made to Naomi. Ruth not only found someone to love and marry her, but she had a child whom Naomi helped to raise. It must have been hard for Ruth to make and keep that promise - sacrificing her own future for Naomi - but God blessed her for it.

Promises can be hard to keep, especially when circumstances change. A marriage vow can seem easy to make but supposing your husband or wife gets sick and needs to be cared for 24/7? That's when a promise can seem hard to uphold.

The Bible says 'let your "yes", be "yes"' (Matthew 5:37 NKJ). Don't promise something you don't mean and you can't deliver. Even if you just promise to try, keep that promise. Either let your 'yes' be a 'yes' or don't say it in the first place. God will bless you for keeping a promise if it honours him, particularly if it involves sacrifice.

So what now? If you're struggling to keep a promise today, ask God for strength and wisdom to help you.

Soulfood: Jer 7-9, Luke 20:1-8, Ps 38:13-22, Prov 8:24-26


Watch Your Pride

'Pride brings a person low...' Proverbs 29:23 NIV

A British newspaper once sent a questionnaire to several of the nation's top writers - including Jeanette Winterson. Among the questions was: 'Whom do you consider to be the greatest living English writer?' Jeanette Winterson replied 'Jeanette Winterson.' Pride is not a good thing, yet it's something that each of us struggles with some of the time. It can take many forms and can make us boastful, jealous, selfish, snobby, nasty, arrogant, demanding and downright rude, to name just a few.

Writer CS Lewis believed that pride leads to every other bad thing. He thought that if we wanted to know how much pride is in us, think about how much we hate it in others. Let's ask ourselves: 'How much do I hate it when others ignore me or fob me off?' The more we hate it, the more it's probably our own pride that others should notice us! Solomon says a man's pride will bring him low because it's easy to fool someone who thinks they are clever. All you have to do to bring them down is suck up a bit to their enormous ego.

Pride can blind you to your own faults and to what the Bible clearly says.

So what now? Pride can cause many problems but worst of all it can be the biggest barrier between you and God. Don't be too proud to admit you're wrong, too proud to say sorry, too proud to admit you can't do without God, too proud to admit you're, well, too proud!

Soulfood: Jer 4-6, Luke 19:41-48, Ps 38:1-12, Prov 8:22-23


Become More Generous

'Some people give much but get back even more...' Proverbs 11:24 NCV

A church leader once stood before his church when speaking on giving. He told the church 'Each month I go through the accounts and see what everyone gives. If anyone gives more than me, I increase what I give.' Generosity is a wonderful thing. This leader's commitment to make sure he gave the most was good, but did he really need to announce it?

Jesus teaches us loads about generosity. We learn from him that generosity is great because it: (1) Turns our focus outward. When we're focussed on helping others we forget to be selfish! (2) Blesses other people. When we are generous, others benefit. (3) Helps us - the giver. Ever given generously to someone who really needed it, even if you had none left for yourself? It feels great.

Someone once said 'You have not lived a perfect day, even though you have earned your money, unless you've done something for someone who'll never be able to repay you.' That's why Solomon wrote, 'Some people give much but get back even more...' (Proverbs 11:24 NCV).

So what now? Do you want to be blessed? Become more generous! If you're worried about your motives and don't want pride to get in, simply keep it quiet! Do others need to know how much you give and to what? Not at all. If you really want everyone to know what you did for someone you seriously need to consider why you gave. God sees everything you do and everything you sacrifice, and you will be rewarded.

Soulfood: Jer 1-3, Luke 19:28-40, Ps 55:12-23, Prov 8:19-21

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