The Morning Wakeup
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Word For You Today

Hospitality for Jesus



'Some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.' Hebrews 13:2 NIV

'Hospitality' from a Christian perspective works on a much deeper level than just inviting someone for a meal. In Matthew 25:35-40, Jesus said: 'Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me' (Matthew 25:40 NIV). When we show hospitality to others, we're actually helping Jesus.

Another passage in the Bible says that 'some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it' (Hebrews 13:2 NIV). 'Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground...Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree' (Genesis 18:2-4 NIV). These men were actually angels, in fact one of them is believed to be God himself, and they bought the news that Sarah would have a son (see Genesis 18). The word for angels in Hebrews 13:2 can be translated as 'messengers' or even 'pastor'. The angels we meet may not be angels as we imagine them; they may be other Christians.

The Bible says: 'Share with God's people who need help. Bring strangers in need into your homes' (Romans 12:13-14 NCV). So, whether we show hospitality to Christians and 'non-yet Christians', we are showing them Jesus.

So what now? This week, invite someone around for dinner or coffee? Share Jesus and his love through your hospitality.

Soulfood: Rom 12-14, Matt 15:1-14, Ps 5, Pro 5:1-2

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Morning is coming



'Rejoicing comes in the morning.' Psalm 30:5 NIV

Are you facing setback, betrayal or denial? Are you wondering how you'll face tomorrow? Are you dreading the next stage of a situation? Are you worrying about how your future is going to look? It might be the literal night time you're struggling to get through, or a season of your life that feels like a never-ending, difficult night. But even after the darkest and hardest of nights, morning comes. In God's Word we are promised: 'Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning' (Psalm 30:5 NIV).

We may feel knocked down, but by God's grace we can get back up. When we're going through a tough time, we can rise again and rejoice again. No matter what we're going through right now, we need to hold on to the hope that we'll see the morning.

One of the greatest promises in the Bible is this: 'Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning...The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him' (Lamentations 3:22-25 NIV). God has brought us through difficulty in the past, and he promises to be with us every day of the future. He offers us the promise of waking up ready to sing a new song of praise to him.

So what now? Set your alarm for early tomorrow morning - get up, make yourself a hot drink and watch the sun rise. As it's rising, thank God that the morning always follows the night.

Soulfood: Rom 9:17 - 11:36, Matt 14:22-36, Ps 149, Pro 4:25-27

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Radical commitment 2



'Take up your cross daily, and follow me.' Luke 9:23 NLT

We know that God wants us to be people who are fully committed in all areas of life. Here are three areas we can look at:

(1) Commitment at work. 'Obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ... Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people' (Ephesians 6:5-7 NLT). Whether we are an employee or an employer, we need to remember that we're ultimately working for God. (2) Commitment at church. We may sometimes have a casual approach to church. We may pick what we like and leave what we don't like. But when we're committed to our church, we commit to encouraging, nurturing, protecting, cherishing and praying for each other, to fulfil our mission together (see 1 Corinthians 12:12-31). We can make more of an impact outside of the church when we're committed inside the church. (3) Commitment to Christ. Jesus made a radical commitment to us through his birth, life, suffering and death, and he asks us to commit radically to him. 'Then he said to the crowd, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me"' (Luke 9:23 NLT). This means we no longer follow our own wishes or will, but God's. That's radical commitment.

So what now? Think of one of these areas: work, church or Christ. Think of one way you could improve your commitment in that area, and then put it into practice.

Soulfood: Isa 40:9-11, Isa 42:1-4, Ps 18:31-35

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Radical commitment 1



'I have been crucified with Christ.' Galatians 2:20 NIV

We live in a time that is so full and busy we can find it hard to commit. We may tend to prefer meetings, sermons and appointments to be simple, entertaining and, above all, short. We may find it easier to take than to give back, to be there for others in good times but not in the bad times, to avoid responsibility and obligation because it demands too much from us. This may seem extreme, but maybe we relate to it to some degree? And, quite possibly, maybe this lack of commitment is not bringing us peace?

The Bible says, 'It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfil it' (Ecclesiastes 5:5 NIV). How many times have we felt let down by others? And how many times have we been the one to not stick to a commitment?

The apostle Paul said: 'I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me' (Galatians 2:20 NIV). That's Paul completely committing to Jesus. He surrendered to God's will for his life; he let Jesus take control.

Radical commitment is what God wants from us. It means allowing Jesus to have all of our lives, so that he can teach us the true meaning of commitment to God and people, in all areas of our lives.

So what now? When you're chatting to someone today, give them your full attention. Do not be distracted by those around you, or your phone! Ask God to help you be a person of radical commitment.

Soulfood: Rom 7:1 - 9:16, Matt 14:13-21, Ps 145:14-21, Pro 4:23-24

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Encourage your pastor



'Honour...your leaders in the Lord's work.' 1 Thessalonians 5:12 NLT

God's Word says: 'Encourage one another and build each other up' (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV) - and that includes encouraging and building up our pastors and leaders. In fact, the verse straight after says: 'Honour those who are your leaders in the Lord's work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance' (1 Thessalonians 5:12 NLT).

First up, we need to stop criticising. If a particular sermon doesn't speak to us, it might just be that somebody else needed to hear it. It's not all about us. If we go to church expecting to be given something, we'll probably be disappointed. Pastors can't meet everyone's needs - they are not God. We need to be going to church with an open heart and asking God to speak to us, whatever the topic of the sermon. Secondly, we need to be praying for our pastors. They work on the frontline of the Kingdom, sharing God's Word every week. They face struggles, temptations, exhaustion and stress just like the rest of us. We can use our gifts and skills to help the pastor, and the church, out: whether that's offering to put the chairs out, using our musical gifts in the worship team, or inviting people round for a meal.

Let's stop speaking negatively about our leaders. Let's be people who counter negative talk with positive comments, and who correct misinformation with truth. Let's be encouraging and build up our leaders.

So what now? Write or email a letter to your pastor, encouraging them and thanking them for what they do.

Soulfood: Eph 5:21-33, S of S 2:1-7, Ps 45, Pro 5:15-19

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Make abiding your top priority



'Remain in me, as I also remain in you.' John 15:4 NIV

Jesus used the analogy of grape vines to explain what he meant when he told his disciples to 'abide in him'. He said: 'Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing' (John 15:4-5 NIV).

Abiding in Jesus simply means to stay with him. When we're connected to him, we can do far more than we can do alone. We are connected to his strength, his love and his wisdom. And that will make us fruitful - read about the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. When we are producing these fruits in our lives, we're living more like Jesus. Abiding in Jesus also means remaining in his presence. It's in his presence that we find rest, courage and peace. In the Psalms, David said: 'One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple' (Psalm 27:4 NIV).

Abide in Jesus: it is the source of our existence.

So what now? Make abiding in God's presence your top priority. From his presence will come everything you need for your life and for your day-to-day life.

Soulfood: Rom 3:21 - 6:23, Matt 14:1-12, Ps 145:1-13, Pro 4:20-22

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His grace abounds



'Where sin increased, grace increased all the more.' Romans 5:20 NIV

Sometimes we worry that God won't accept us because we've made too many mistakes, or have gone too far off his path for us. But we don't need to worry. Paul could identify with this: before his 'Damascus Road' conversion (see Acts 9), he was 'Public Sinner Number One' (1 Timothy 1:15 The Message version). And then... God used him to reach the world with the Gospel! He said, 'Where sin increased, grace increased all the more' (Romans 5:20 NIV).

'Grace' was so central to Paul's message that he mentions it in all his letters. God's grace means that we have his favour, even though we've done things that don't deserve favour. And on top of that, God's Word says that we don't have to do anything to earn this grace: 'You have been saved by grace through believing. You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God' (Ephesians 2:8 NCV). When we try and make ourselves right and pure before God it will always feel impossible; but when we believe that God's grace covers us, and all our mistakes, we can stop striving to be perfect and allow our perfect God to sort things for us.

We're God's redeemed children and he sees us through the blood of Jesus, which cleanses all our sins (see 1 John 1:9). There's nothing we can do to make God love us more, and nothing we can do to make him love us less.

So what now? Stop striving to earn God's acceptance. You have his favour. Thank him for his gift of grace.

Soulfood: Rom 1:1 - 3:20, Matt 13:47-58, Ps 141, Pro 4:18-19

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