Saturday Night with Prisca

Word For You Today

When the grace lifts

'My grace is sufficient for you...' 2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJ

When God has 'graced' you, you can handle just about any situation! Listen to Paul: 'Three times I called upon the Lord...begged that it might depart from me; but he said to me, "My grace (My favour and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for my strength and themselves most effective in [your] weakness"...So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak [in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful in divine strength)' (2 Corinthians 12:8-10 AMP).There's something you should understand: when the grace lifts, it's God's way of getting you to recognise that things are changing, that it's time to consult him on your next move. Pay attention! Why? Because when the grace lifts we tend to become 'ungracious' toward others, and risk tearing down valuable relationships we've spent time building. Don't let that happen. We're not talking about having a bad day in which you're irritable and impatient. We all have those. No, we're talking about reaching the place where your attitudes and actions consistently hurt others, not helping. So what now? Has the grace you've experienced lifted? Has a season or relationship ended? Are you now hurting the situation more than helping? Ask God for fresh direction. Search his Word for wisdom as to your future. When the grace lifts - it's time to say, 'Lord, what do you have in mind for me now?'

Soulfood: Deut 8-10, Matt 5:27-37, Ps 37:16-24, Prov 11:30-31


Filling big shoes

'Direct my footsteps according to your Word...' Psalm 119:133 NIV

Have you ever seen a small child trying to walk in adult shoes? It's funny to watch. It's also significant: some day those tiny feet will grow up and fill those big shoes - or bigger ones.Do you feel like you're trying to fill some big shoes today; like you need to grow up fast because you've no option? Life doesn't wait until we're as mature as we'd like to be before handing us greater tests of faith. Most of our training is 'on the job' and, like a little one trying to fill big shoes, at first we do it badly, then awkwardly, but never stumble-free.Another thing about filling big shoes: it makes us more understanding toward others trying to walk in them too. 'How could you do such a thing?' is a question we don't tend to ask, because we already know the answer from personal experience. Ever see a parent holding the hand of a child trying to walk in shoes that are too big, beaming with pride and delight simply because they attempted it, steadying them up, encouraging them to keep going, picking them up when they trip and bump their head? That's what our God does with us! So what now? The only thing that can stop you from growing into those big shoes - is the fear of putting your feet into them! The grace comes with the assignment. Grace is immediate, but growth takes time. Don't be discouraged: 'He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion' (Philippians 1:6 NIV).

Soulfood: Deut 5-7, Matt 5:13-26, Ps 37: 8-15, Prov 11:27-29


Accept Jesus' offer 100

'...It was heard that he was in the house.' Mark 2:1 NKJ

When Christ enters your life: (1) He'll rearrange things! Your well-ordered existence will probably get turned upside down. When you meet Jesus you'll never be the same again. When he showed up at this house in Capernaum 'it was heard.' As a result, the house packed out with people. Four men carrying a paralysed friend, hoping Christ would heal him, had to break up the roof and lower him to the feet of Jesus. Miracles can cause upheaval.(2) You'll get two kinds of reaction! The religious crowd will be threatened. When Jesus claimed to have power to heal, and to forgive sins, the Pharisees said, '"Who can forgive sins but God alone"' (Mark 2:7 NKJ)? The danger of religion is that often we love the rules more than the individuals we are called to serve. So expect some flack, and don't back down! Whatever it takes to get to Jesus, do it; he won't disappoint you. He makes this standing offer, '...the one who comes to me I will by no means cast out' (John 6:37 NKJ).(3) All get what they come for! Those who come to mock, criticise or defend their religious viewpoint leave more lost than ever, and more convinced that they're right. But those who come for help, get it. Listen: 'Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled' (Matthew 5:6 NKJ). So what now? Christ asks you to humbly acknowledge your need of him, and the faith to reach for and accept, 100%, what he offers you.

Soulfood: Deut 3-4, Matt 5:1-12, Ps 37:1-7, Prov 11:24-26



'They are strong, like a tree planted by a river. The tree produces fruit in season, and its leaves don't die.' Psalm 1:3 NCV

God describes his kids like this: 'They are strong, like a tree planted by a river. The tree produces fruit in season, and its leaves don't die' (Psalm 1:3 NCV). When God looks at your life he doesn't see some withered old tree that is so dry it has no potential to produce anything good. No way! He sees something magnificent that is constantly producing the fruit that comes from a life that is rooted in him.

In the Bible it talks about us having the fruit of God...not apples and oranges, but: 'love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control' (see Galatians 5:22-23).

Every day you meet different people. Some of them are easygoing and fun to be around; others really test you - they take a huge bite out of your patience or chew into your self-control. So when that fruit has been eaten, how do you grow more? Get your roots in God's steaming compost! It's a sticky mixture made of: a daily dose of his Word; a good regular chat with him; and a heart that daily thanks him for how patient and kind he is with you. All this helps grow more fruit so that when you come in contact with someone who needs your patience you find that your branches are loaded with the stuff.

So what now? Roll up your trousers and squidge your feet into God's compost today. Produce wonderful fruit!

Soulfood: Gen 6:9 - 8:4, Matt 24:37-51


Excuses or Results

'I can do all this through him who gives me strength.' Philippians 4:13 NIV

W Page Pitt should have failed, but instead he succeeded. After losing 97% of his eyesight at age five, he refused to attend a school for the blind. He was accepted into public school where he played baseball and football. Remarkably, he went on to complete college and become a top-notch journalism professor with a reputation for demanding excellence. A student once asked Pitt which he thought would be worse: blindness, deafness, or not having arms and legs. He replied, 'None of those things! Laziness, irresponsibility, lack of ambition or desire: they're the real handicaps. If I don't teach you anything but to want to do something with your lives, this course will be a magnificent success.' Often he told his students, 'You are not here to learn mediocrity, you're here to learn to excel. If I send you on a story and you don't get it because you've a broken leg, call me from the ambulance and I'll forgive you. But don't give me excuses! They wound me, and your explanations pour salt in the wound.'

Our biggest enemy is not the challenges we face; it's complacency, negativity, self-imposed limitations and self-pity. We have many excuses for not doing more with our lives. If only we'd better eyesight or were taller or our parents were richer. Excuses! Two millennia ago Paul wrote, 'I can do all this through him who gives me strength' (Philippians 4:13 NIV).

So what now? With God's help you can rise above circumstances. So, excuses or results. What's it going to be for you?

Soulfood: Deut 1-2, Matt 4:12-25, Ps 2, Prov 11:22-23


An Audience of One

'Love the Lord your God with all your heart...' Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV

Is your life like a set of drawers: one for each interest, opinion and pastime? One for work, one for play, one for God; each one running to a different set of values and standards? We're good at playing different roles, saying the right things in different places or to impress our mates. We put on an act because we are afraid that if our real personality was on show people might not applaud.

Know this - your life is like a stage and many people will come in and out and watch for a while; but there is one person who remains a constant observer: Jesus. You should live your life performing for an audience of one. No one else's opinion matters. He doesn't see your life as a set of drawers or a collection of separate performances. He sees you as a whole person. The person you are when no one's looking is just the same to him as the person you are on display.

God asks for integrity (wholeness) in our lives. Why? Because it doesn't work any other way! God made us with one will, one mind, one heart and one spirit. It's Satan's lie that 'we can have it both ways,' which leaves us fractured and paralysed. What's the answer? Listen, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength' (Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV).

So what now? Make life easier for yourself. One drawer, one life, one show! For an audience of one: Jesus!

Soulfood: Acts 27-28, Matt 4:1-11, Ps 35, Prov 11:19-21



'For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works...' Ephesians 2:10 NIV

A hotel guest called room service one morning and ordered two undercooked eggs, cold bacon, burned toast and lukewarm coffee. The waiter replied, 'That could be difficult, sir.' 'Well,' the man replied, 'It's been no problem so far!' Seriously, the quality of your work matters. The famous newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, says, 'Value to society comes when someone says, "Let me see your work."' Your charm may open a door or two...but the real test comes when people see the care, or lack thereof, you give to your work.

Maybe you've an essay to write, a song to sing, a picture to paint, a website to design. Give attention to details. Care about the small stuff. We serve a God whose name is called 'excellent.' Consider the workmanship in a blade of grass, a fingerprint or the stars that hang in the sky. You just have to look around to see the beauty of God's imagination and his eye for detail!

One Christian leader writes, 'What's true of grand music, writing, art and construction, is true of the way some still practice medicine, law, architecture, teach, type, preach, play instruments, cook, fix cars, coach, sell insurance, run a business, a home, a school, a restaurant, or a ministry. It makes them stand out, a cut above the average. It's not for the money, glory or fame it may bring. It's a matter of pride and commitment. Nothing less satisfies.'

So what now? You are made in God's image, so strive for quality in everything you do.

Soulfood: Acts 24-26, Matt 3:1-17, Ps 94:12-23, Prov 11:16-18

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