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Andrew & Nerida 7:00-9:00pm

Word For You Today

Jesus our only foundation



'God has already placed Jesus Christ as the one and only foundation.' 1 Corinthians 3:11 GNT

The apostle Paul wrote, 'God has already placed Jesus Christ as the one and only foundation' (1 Corinthians 3:11 GNT). This verse was written in the context of division within the church. The people in Corinth were arguing about who to follow. Paul said to them: 'You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not mere human beings' (1 Corinthians 3:3-4 NIV)? They weren't behaving like their foundations were in Christ.

We can also fall into the trap of founding our lives on other things: others' opinions, success, fame, wealth, or something else. Our foundation won't hold in the storms of life unless it's based on Jesus, the Rock (see Matthew 7:24-27).

In 1 Corinthians 3:12-13, Paul goes on to say, 'If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light' (NIV). How we live our lives, and the way we've built on our foundations, will show on Judgment Day. So let's make sure our foundations are in Jesus - the only true foundation.

So what now? Find a large stone. Write on it: 'Jesus is my Rock'. Then keep it somewhere where you'll be reminded that Jesus is your firm and only foundation.

Soulfood: Matt 21:1-16, Ps 118:19-29,

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Keep going



'God...will...provide a way out.' 1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV

When we've been going through a tough situation for a while, we may feel discouraged and hopeless. While Jesus never promised us a 'problem-free life', he did promise that he would always be with us and that his power would help us overcome our difficult circumstances.

Rather than complaining about our situations, we need to change how we think about them. Paul says, 'Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will' (Romans 12:2 NIV). When we renew our mind with God's Word, he'll show us his will and strengthen us to get through whatever we're facing. Paul says: 'We live by faith, not by sight' (2 Corinthians 5:7 NIV). We might not actually see our situations changing immediately, but by trusting God, depending on him and moving forward, we can know that he has everything in his hand and that he is working it out for good.

In Psalm 23:4, David said: 'Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me' (NIV). The dark valleys will come, but we can keep going until we reach the other side because we know that God is with is.

So what now? If you're going through a tough time, say Psalm 23:4 out loud to yourself often. Keep going; God will provide a way out.

Soulfood: 2 Thes 1-3, Matt 27:1-10, Ps 32, Pro 9:10-16

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Gospel power



'The Gospel... is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.' Romans 1:16 NIV

The Greek word for 'power' is dynamis, and we get our word dynamite from that. We can so easily forget how much power the Gospel (God's 'Good News') has. We can view it as a nice story of God's rescue, and forget that it's actually truth that brings complete transformation in our lives. When we hear the Gospel, it has the power to lead us to Jesus and his promise of eternal life. It has the power to change how we live our lives and set us on a new path. It can change our hearts. The Bible says: 'Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here' (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)!

The Gospel changes people profoundly. And we shouldn't keep it to ourselves. The people around us need to hear it, so let's make sure we're looking for opportunities to share it with them. Jesus told his disciples: 'Go and make disciples of all nations' (Matthew 28:19 NIV). That's what we're called to do too.

We might worry we don't have the right words to share the Gospel, but the Gospel has all the words we need. And we don't have to remind people where they're going wrong; when they truly understand the Gospel for themselves they will naturally want to make a change. Our job is simply to share the Gospel, and let God do the rest.

So what now? Share about the Good News of Jesus with someone this week. Offer them the opportunity to experience Gospel power.

Soulfood: Est 5-10, Matt 26:65-75, Ps 18:1-29, Pro 26:24-27

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Be expectant



'For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land.' Deuteronomy 8:7 NIV

Waiting for God's promises in our lives to be fulfilled can be hard. If we've been waiting a long time, we may wonder whether anything's going to change.

When the Israelites were in the wilderness, God told them: 'For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land' (Deuteronomy 8:7 NIV). The words 'is bringing' show that God's promise to them about entering the 'good land' hadn't yet been fulfilled. After 40 years of wandering in the desert, it wouldn't be surprising if some began to doubt God's promise. The description of the land (in Deuteronomy 8:7-9) might have seemed unlikely, or too big a promise, after experiencing the wilderness for so long. But he did bring them to the land.

And he will fulfil the promises he's made to us too. He wants us to wait expectantly. Just because something's not immediately evident doesn't mean it won't happen. It's like if we asked God for an oak tree, and he gave us an acorn. At that point we may think God didn't hear and answer our prayer. But the oak tree is in the acorn; it's just a matter of time before what's inside bursts out. Whatever God has promised us, the seeds are already within us. We need to water them, nurture them, and refuse to let anyone uproot them.

So what now? Plant a seed and then nurture it. As you're waiting for the plant to grow, ask God to help you wait expectantly for his promises in your life to be fulfilled.

Soulfood: Est 1-4, Matt 26:57-64, Ps 72:12-20, Pro 9:7-9

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All things for good



'And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.' Romans 8:28 NIV

There are many things in life we don't know. We don't know if we'll get that job, marry that person, or fulfil that dream we have. Sometimes, we don't even 'know what we ought to pray for' (Romans 8:26 NIV).

But we can 'know' these four things: (1) 'God works.' Even though we can't see him, he's busy behind the scenes. He's tireless and he never stops working. (2) 'God works for the good.' Not for our comfort, pleasure or entertainment, but for our ultimate good. Sometimes we may not see how things are being worked out for good, especially when we're in the middle of horrendous circumstances. But even then, we need to trust that he will bring good out of what we're going through. (3) 'God works for the good of those who love him.' When we make his story our story, by loving him and surrendering to him, our story takes on a good ending. (4) God works 'in all things'. God works not just in a few things, or the good, best or easy things. he works in 'all things'.

And he doesn't make the plan up as he goes along. The Bible says, 'In him we were also chosen...according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will' (Ephesians 1:11 NIV). And the best part is - God's plan includes us. Once we understand that, all our unknowns will be less daunting.

So what now? Thank him that he makes all things work together for your good. And believe it!

Soulfood: Job 40-42, Matt 26:47-56, Ps 72:1-11, Pro 9:1-6

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Learning from Hannah



'I was pouring out my soul to the Lord.' 1 Samuel 1:15 NIV

There are many examples of faithful, godly people in the Bible. Like Hannah, mother of Samuel who was a prophet in the Old Testament. There are things to learn from Hannah's story.

Firstly, it teaches us to show compassion towards others, even when we don't understand what they're going through. Hannah was unable to have children and grieved about it. Her husband Elkanah said: 'Why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons' (1 Samuel 1:8 ESV)? And Elkanah's other wife Peninnah provoked and teased her. There are many people suffering pain and grief and, although we might not be able to fully identify with their particular grief, we can react with compassion and sensitivity. Secondly, it shows us where to take our sadness. Hannah went to God to tell him everything. When Eli the priest found her, she told him 'I was pouring out my soul to the Lord' (1 Samuel 1:15 NIV). Like for Hannah, when we face overwhelming emotions and desperate situations, God is there to listen and comfort us. Finally, it teaches us about keeping our promises to God. When praying for a child, Hannah made a promise to God: 'When the boy is old enough to eat solid food...I will give him to the Lord' (1 Samuel 1:22 NCV). When she gave birth to Samuel, she remembered her promise. She is a wonderful example of someone devoted to God.

So what now? Read Hannah's story in 1 Samuel 1 and 2. Ask God to teach you powerful lessons for your life from hers.

Soulfood: Job 38-39, Matt 26:36-46, Ps 31, Pro 8:34-36

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Fight fear with God's help



'The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.' Psalm 118:6 NIV

Anxiety is a natural response to circumstances that take us out of our comfort zone. Things like exams, job interviews, meeting new people and health issues can all cause us to feel anxious or become fearful.

But, sometimes fear can control our lives and keep us from living to the full. Fear can stop us from branching out and doing new things which, in turn, cause us to fear those things even more, creating a cycle. There are many verses in the Bible to help us break this cycle: (1) 'You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you' (Isaiah 26:3 NIV). (2) 'Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid' (John 14:27 NIV). (3) 'Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation...present your requests to God' (Philippians 4:6 NIV). (4) 'In God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me' (Psalm 56:4 NIV)? (5) 'For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline' (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV).

Fear need not overcome us. God's presence is greater than any fear, giving us the peace and courage we need to live free of the power of fear.

So what now? Choose a verse from today's reading. Write it out, memorise it, say it out loud, and ask God to help you use it to deal with fear.

Soulfood: Job 35-37, Matt 26:26-35, Ps 6, Pro 8:32-33

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