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Word For You Today

Are You in a Hurry



'But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.' Luke 5:16 NIV

If you're serious about getting serious with God, you can almost guarantee one of the battles you'll face is with hurry. It's part of our culture nowadays - so many things to get done and achieve, by a certain time... there's no time for apathy. Many are so focussed on fighting apathy that everything has to be done at warp speed. While this super-sonic way of living starts to get the job done, the pit-falls can be: (a) you get worn out; (b) you get frustrated at what seems like apathy from anyone going slower than you; (c) you become so focussed on getting the job done you actually forget to have a relationship with God!

Nobody was in more demand than Jesus but he always knew that there was a time for hurry and a time for rest. Have you ever noticed that despite living a hectic lifestyle Jesus never got stressed out? In his three years of ministry he never felt the need for a little holiday; not even a day trip!

The truth is, as much as we complain about it, most of us love hurry. It keeps the adrenaline pumping and makes us feel important. Jesus never hurried. He had time for people and his diary was flexible. Nothing was so important that he couldn't change his plans for someone. And what's the secret? Solitude. Jesus took time out, away from busyness, to be with his Father.

So what now? Make sure booking time out for God has the highest priority in your diary this week.

Soulfood: Num 6:1-21, Mt 4:1-17, Mk 2:18-22, Lk 9:23-26

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The Special Ingredient



'...let the godly rejoice. Let them be glad in God's presence. Let them be filled with joy...' Psalm 68:3 NLT

After teaching his disciples, using an image of the vine and the branches, Jesus told them, 'I have told you this so that my joy may be in you' (John 15:11 GNT)! He's saying that his important life-teaching results in something you can't buy at Countdown - joy! Nehemiah writes, '...the joy of the Lord is your strength' (Nehemiah 8:10 NIV). Did you hear that: joy gives you strength.

Imagine you're a curry (just go with this ok!)... you're in the chef's pan, the customer has asked for extra-strong, extra-hot, and extra-spicy so... in goes the special ingredient: joy powder. You have just become the most talked about dish in the restaurant. :)

Joy never comes to people who walk around with their eyes closed, because getting it is about 'seeing' God in action. When we use our 'faith-eyes' - our ability to see and feel God's goodness in things - our capacity for joy increases.

So what now? The first step to joy is to start looking for God in action. If you think that joy might find you 'someday' if you just stand in the same place and wait long enough, you'll be waiting for eternity. Instead, lay down your ambitions and agendas and take up God's. Admit that your own plans lead to frustration and ask for his. That's what the Bible calls being humble. And guess what? 'The humble shall see their God at work for them. All who seek God shall live in joy' (Psalm 69:32 TLB).

Soulfood: 1 Ki 18:16 - 20:43, Luke 12:35-48, Ps 66:13-20, Prov 6:23-25

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A New Page



'Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life...' Psalm 23:6 NLT

You'll miss what God's planning for you next if you're looking back to the past, whether it was a positive or negative one. When a new page in your life is turned, the temptation is to stay stuck in the past or wish for things to be the way they used to be. Listen to the Apostle Paul's words: '...Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day' (2 Corinthians 4:16 NIV). Don't limit your life by the past. Keep your mind fresh by having expectations that go beyond 'what happened back then'.

Maybe in your family there are people who seem a tough act to follow. Well don't you think Joshua had a similar problem stepping out of Moses' shadow! Learn from everyone; copy no-one, you are a unique person destined to make a unique impact. Maybe your family is the opposite. Perhaps you're the first one to ever blaze a trail for God in this world and you feel starved of support and encouragement.

Listen: 'The Lord God is my strength, my source of courage, my invincible army...' (Habakkuk 3:19 AMP). God is your first resource and your last resort. When you need people to help you on your journey, he'll bring them across your path. But every step of the way you can be sure that 'goodness and unfailing love will pursue you all the days of your life'.

So what now? A new page can be scary, but press on, step by step. God has your back.

Soulfood: 1 Ki 16:1 - 18:15, Luke 12:22-34, Ps 66:1-12, Prov 6:20-22

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I'm a Palm Tree



'The righteous will flourish like a palm tree...' Psalm 92:12 NIV

Palm trees. They are amazing trees. For starters... the nutrients that most trees need to survive can be found just below the bark, so when you cut them they die. But not the palm tree; its life comes from its heart, so it thrives even under attack. Don't let surface issues faze you. Stay focused on what God promised you!

Monsoon storms and hurricanes can blow most trees away, but not the palm tree. It is flexible and can bend all the way to the ground. When the storm is over it straightens up again and is actually stronger. You were made to bend, not break. God promises that you will be '...filled with his mighty, glorious strength so that you can keep going no matter what happens - always full of the joy of the Lord' (Colossians 1:11 TLB). The unfolding of God's amazing plan for your life will happen as you show your ability to endure.

The palm tree's depth exceeds its height. The roots of a palm tree go much deeper than other trees' roots in search of water. David said this about people who trust in God, 'They are strong, like a tree planted by a river...' (Psalm 1:3 NCV). God's plan for you is to go deep, stay connected to him, and never be uprooted, or blown away.

So what now? If you're facing attack, or a storm, or a dry season don't ask 'Why me?' Instead, remember, 'God has made me like a palm tree'.

Soulfood: Ruth 1:3-18, John 6:41-69

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Forgive and be Free



'...forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ.' Ephesians 4:32 GNT

Do you know that forgiveness has very little to do with the other person; it's a decision you make, like expelling carbon dioxide from your lungs because you know that holding on to it will only poison you. So release it. Let all that bitterness out and breathe in the oxygen of God's love.

The test of love is to forgive the guilty. That's what God did for you - and it's what he expects you to do for others! Not suggests, expects! Here's a little test to do right now - are you refusing to forgive some things that aren't any worse than something you've done to other people? Forgive them, or you'll never be free to enjoy the relationship God wants you to have with them; and with him.

Whatever you don't forgive, you relive. That's what makes you keep striking out at others, and robs you of the joy of loving and being loved in return. Unforgiveness is an umbilical cord that keeps you tied to the past. When you forgive, you cut that cord. When you refuse to, you remain connected to memories that can distort your personality. That's how issues pass from generation to generation.

So what now? Take charge today by saying, 'This ends here and now, and it ends with me!' Learn to receive forgiveness from God - and from those you've hurt - then offer it out to those who've hurt you. Do it so that your heart will become tender, your spirit lighter, your mind freer, and your vision clearer.

Soulfood: 1 Ki 14-15, Luke 12:13-21, Ps 61, Prov 6:16-19

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When the Truth Stands Up for You



'...everyone, including truth itself, speaks highly of Demetrius...' 3 John 1:12 TLB

When other people say cool things about you, you have acceptance; but when the truth itself stands up for you, you have character. Demetrius had it; do you? As you read these words today, take time to ask yourself, 'Do I have character?'

Character is confidence dressed in humility. It keeps its word, its temper and its friends. It has a steady eye, a steady nerve, a steady tongue, and steady habits. It's silent when it has nothing to say, thoughtful and compassionate when it does speak. Character is always first to make amends when something's wrong. Character doesn't run scared; it's surefooted, brave, and handles whatever comes along. Character has a sense of humour. It knows that a good laugh is the oil in the engine of relationships. Character never makes excuses. It learns from its mistakes and becomes wiser. Character knows that respect and good manners are small things that make a big difference. Money can't buy character. A billionaire can be totally without it while a busker may have it oozing out of every pore. Character can walk with kings and eat with tramps. Everyone is equal, and equally loved through the eyes of Character. Character is a journey, not a destination. The path is rarely broad or flat but the way is certain, marked by a set of footprints left in the earth 2000 years ago. Character leads, only as it follows.

So what now? Do you have character? Does the truth stand up for you?

Soulfood: 1 Ki 12-13, Luke 12:1-12, Ps 58, Prov 6:12-15

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He'll be Waiting



'...after I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back...' John 14:3 GNT

Born during the 1880's, John Todd was six when his parents died. His wealthy auntie offered him a home, and when her servant Caesar went to get him the conversation went like this: John: 'Will I like living there?' Caesar: 'You'll be in good hands.' John: 'Will she love me?' Caesar: 'Yes, she's got a big heart.' John: 'Will I have my own room and a puppy?' Caesar: 'Everything's all set.' John: 'Will she go to bed before I arrive?' Caesar: 'No, she'll be waiting for you.' Sure enough, as they approached he saw a candle in the window and his auntie in the doorway. She kissed him and welcomed him. Over the years she became a true mother to him.

Years later, when his auntie's health was failing, she wrote to him, wondering what would become of her. Todd wrote back: 'My dear aunt: Years ago I left a house of death not knowing where I was going, whether anyone cared, or if that was the end of me. The ride was long but your servant encouraged me. Finally I arrived to your warm embrace and a new home. I was welcomed; I felt safe. You did all this for me, now it's your turn to go. I'm writing to let you know someone will be waiting up for you. Your room's ready, the light's on, the door's open, and they're expecting you. I know, because once, long ago, I saw God standing in your doorway.'

So what now? Good news: you need not fear death because Jesus went ahead; and he'll be waiting for you.

Soulfood: 1 Ki 10-11, Luke 11:45-54, Ps 53, Prov 6:9-11

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