Josh B 7:00-12:00am

Word For You Today

Persist in doing good

'Let us not become weary in doing good.' Galatians 6:9 NIV

When we commit to God's calling for us, it can be demoralising when it doesn't seem to be working out. We wonder if we really heard God or if we're doing something wrong, and can be tempted to give up. But the Bible says: 'Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up' (Galatians 6:9 NIV).

Nehemiah was someone who could easily have given up (see Nehemiah 3). He had a pretty big task: rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. He enthusiastically sought God through fasting and prayer. He went to ask the king for permission to go and start the task, and for safe travel and materials. The building work began and everyone in his team pitched in. But then problems arose. 'When Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the people of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem's walls had gone ahead...they were very angry. They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it' (Nehemiah 4:7-8 NIV). Nehemiah could have given up. But instead, they 'prayed...and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat' (Nehemiah 4:9 NIV). He also said: 'Should a man like me run away?...I will not' (Nehemiah 6:11 NIV).

In spite of the all the obstacles, Nehemiah refused to give up. And God wants us to keep going too.

So what now? Over this week, read the book of Nehemiah and ask God to help you have the same persistent spirit as Nehemiah had.

Soulfood: S of Sol 5-8 Matt 26:1-16 Ps 39 Pro 21:9-13,


Prejudice is out

'[Jesus] is... chosen to judge the living and the dead.' Acts 10:42 CEV

Prejudice is pre-judging. It's seeing those who don't endorse our viewpoint or behave contrary to us as enemies. It's attributing admirable qualities to those we wish to associate with, and negative ones to those we don't. That's not what Jesus did. He made friends and spent time with sinners and societal outcasts - without compromising who he was or approving of their lifestyle. The Bible reminds us that Jesus 'is the one [God] has chosen to judge the living and the dead' (Acts 10:42 CEV).

So, where we have pre-judged, let's be brave and follow this advice: (1) Face our prejudice. List those we don't count as friends or those we make no effort to have a relationship with, and start loving them 'by...actions and true caring' (1 John 3:18 NCV). (2) Drop the mask. Let's look inside our heart and ask ourselves what it is about the other person that bothers us so much - are they actually quite similar to us?! (3) Get to know the other person. Paul said, 'I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some' (1 Corinthians 9:22 NLT). How people are in private can be different to how they present themselves in public. When we get to know people, we're in a better position to share Jesus' love and freedom with them.

So what now? Today's challenge: choose someone you have 'pre-judged' and make an effort to reach out or get to know them better - stop and say hello, give them a word of encouragement, buy them a coffee.

Soulfood: S of Sol 1-4 Matt 25:41-46 Ps 3 Pro 21:4-8,


God's Spirit in you

'I pray that...he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit.' Ephesians 3:16 NIV

The world around us is not perfect. Neither are we. But, as followers of Jesus, God's Holy Spirit is alive in us. When we live for Jesus, believing for the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, we will see his power. We can easily forget this in the day-to-day of our lives, but it really is true.

God is with us. If we position ourselves to receive the Holy Spirit, he's there in any given moment, or season of our life. Sometimes the Spirit is doing huge miraculous things, like Jesus' birth to Mary (Matthew 1:18) and filling people with so much power and joy that they appeared drunk (Acts 2). But, more often, he is working in the quiet moments, changing our hearts and minds as we go about our daily lives. We're told that he is the one who helps us feel and show God's love (Romans 5:5). He teaches us truth, helps us to understand, and keeps our focus on Jesus (John 14:26). He comforts us when we need to know that God is with us (John 14:16).

We need to remember to look for God's Spirit, and thank him, for the small things, as well as chase him in the bigger miracles. When we do, we'll see him at work all around us.

So what now? Make a list of the ways, big and small, that the Holy Spirit has been evident in your life over the past few weeks. Say a prayer of thanks. And pray for his power to be more evident in your life.

Soulfood: Gen 24:1-51 2 Cor 6:14-18 2 Cor 7:1,


Living at peace

' at peace with everyone.' Romans 12:18 NIV

'Live at peace with everyone' seems an overwhelming expectation! The apostle Paul explains it a bit more: 'Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord' (Romans 12:17-19 NIV).

What Paul is encouraging us to do is to take responsibility for our own actions. We can think of peaceful living as an idyllic world where everyone is happy and loving towards each other, but Paul describes living 'at peace' as having everything to do with how we personally respond to actions committed against us. It's about choosing to live at peace with those who make life difficult for us, whether they regret their actions or not. That is how peace depends on us, and also how we can avoid the mentality that someone else's wrongdoing entitles us to react in the same manner.

Romans 12 calls us to live by godly standards - extending peace, patience, love and forgiveness - even when those around us aren't. We're told 'not be overcome by evil, but [to] overcome evil with good' (Romans 12:21 NIV). This is the key to 'living at peace' and spreading peace.

So what now? Think of the last person who annoyed you. Ask God for peace for yourself and pray for that person, that God will bless them.

Soulfood: 2 Cor 11:16-33 2 Cor 12 2 Cor 13:1-14 Matt 25:31-40 Ps 19 Pro 21:3,


No more comparisons 2

'I have come in order that you might have life - life in all its fullness.' John 10:10 GNT

When we compare ourselves with others we lose sight of... Jesus in our own lives. 'When they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding' (2 Corinthians 10:12 ESV). We miss the point that we're supposed to be becoming more like Jesus. If we're too busy looking at others to determine how we measure up, we'll never be looking at him for his leading in our lives.

Why would we want to hold ourselves up against earthly imitations when, through grace, we have the chance to have a relationship with Jesus himself? He is the only one we can healthily fix our eyes on when it comes to learning to live in the best way possible. We know that we'll never be able to be exactly like him through our own deeds; it's about striving to grow in his love and then experiencing great things with and for him.

So, let's drop the comparisons and focus our energy into our own, very personal, journey with God. Instead of getting caught up analysing what he's doing in someone else's life, let's focus on what he's doing in our lives. This frees us up to discover the abundant life that Jesus longs to give us if we trust him enough.

So what now? Stop comparing yourself to others! You are only robbing yourself of what God has planned for you: 'life in all its fullness (John 10:10 GNT). He has unique plans for you because you are created with a unique personality and gifts.

Soulfood: 2 Cor 9:1-15 2 Cor 10 2 Cor 11:1-15 Matt 25:22-30 Ps 24 Pro 21:1-2,


No more comparisons 1

'Don't compare yourself with others.' Galatians 6:4 CEV

'If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else' (Galatians 6:3-4 NIV).

Comparisons to others are never helpful. The original Greek word used here for 'someone else' is 'heteros', which at its basic level means 'something completely different'. So, when we compare ourselves to those around us, we are measuring ourselves against someone who's completely different to us, with a different purpose and design to ourselves. Whichever way that goes, it can't end in anything good. We either end up feeling superior or inferior and, either way, it results in a distorted view of ourselves. Allowing ourselves to be deceived like that gets in the way of examining our own thoughts and actions in a constructive way. If our eyes are always fixed on those around us, we'll never have a chance to turn that gaze inward and take stock of where we're at ourselves.

The best thing to do, then, is to commit to focusing on our own journey. We are becoming more like Jesus at our own pace, in our own way, and with our own plan tailor-made by him. Our time is best spent finding out more about that, by focusing on our own relationship with him.

So what now? Every time you notice something positive about someone today, tell them. Then, mentally find something positive about yourself and acknowledge it in your mind. Remember, no comparisons, only encouragement!

Soulfood: 2 Cor 5-8 Matt 25:14-21 Ps 78:65-72 Pro 20:26-30,


The 'upside down' Kingdom

'He took the humble position.' Philippians 2:7 NLT

Things in God's Kingdom are often an upside-down version of the way society expects them to be. Jesus demonstrates this truth. At the time of his birth in Bethlehem, most of Israel was imagining a Saviour who would come galloping triumphantly into the picture on a chariot, ready to win a decisive military victory against the Romans. Instead, Jesus grew up to ride peacefully into Jerusalem on an old borrowed donkey, giving his own life for victory over death. He saved everyone, but not in the way they imagined.

One major thing that Jesus' life on earth teaches us is how to serve. Philippians 2:7 tells us that Jesus 'made himself nothing, by taking the very nature of a servant' (NIV), even serving his own followers by washing their feet (see John 13:1-20). Jesus' decision to live such a humble life, and eventually die in the biggest act of service known to mankind, is such an important lesson. He shows us how to disregard our own ranking and simply love and serve those around us, which is exactly what makes God's plan work.

In God's Kingdom, the servants win the victories that change the world. When we usher in God's Kingdom by casting our own ego aside and putting others first, we'll find ourselves at his right hand, making the difference he wants in the world.

So what now? Spend time reading John 13:1-20, reflecting on how Jesus showed such an act of service, even to those he knew would betray him. How can you reflect that in your own life today?

Soulfood: 2 Cor 1-4 Matt 25:1-13 Ps 78:56-64 Pro 20:25,

Subscribe to this RSS feed