Word For You Today

Joseph's coats 2

'He left his [coat] in her hand, and fled.' Genesis 39:12 NKJV

The second coat Joseph wore was: the coat of temptation. Joseph was young, handsome, far from home and tempted by his boss' wife! The Bible says: 'She caught him by his cloak and said, "Come to bed with me!" But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house' (Genesis 39:12 NIV). Joseph resisted her advances, saying, 'How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God' (Genesis 39:9 NIV)? He realised that he couldn't live with himself if he said yes. Remembering how God had loved, preserved and blessed him stopped him from giving in to the temptation in front of him.

David was a different story. After his affair with Bathsheba, he wrote: 'Against you, you only, have I sinned, and done this evil in your sight' (Psalm 51:4 NKJV). When we sin, it's against God - he's the one observing us. God forgave David, and he'll forgive us too. But David's story proves that sometimes we have to live with the consequences of our actions, and they can devastate not only us but those around us.

Paul the apostle acknowledged this truth: 'I treat my body hard and make it my slave so that I myself will not be disqualified after I have preached to others' (1 Corinthians 9:27 NCV). We have to discipline ourselves, and strengthen ourselves, so that we can stand against temptation and keep ourselves effective in God's Kingdom.

So what now? What's tempting you right now? Ask God to help you be strong, stand firm and resist it.

Soulfood: 1 Chr 7:20-40, 1 Chr 8, 1 Chr 9:1-44, John 8:31-41, Ps 30, Pro 25:13-17


Joseph's coats 1

'Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons... he made Joseph a special robe.' Genesis 37:3 GWT

Let's look at three different 'coats' Joseph wore - they present a picture of our lives as Christians. The first coat is the coat of salvation. It was a complete 'love gift' from his father. This sounds a lot like the story of our salvation. The Bible says, 'For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast' (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV).

Motivated by jealousy and resentment, Joseph's brothers threw him into a pit. Then they dipped his coat in goat's blood to convince their father he'd been killed by a wild animal. The Bible says: 'The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin' (1 John 1:7 NKJV). In Old Testament times, when someone sinned they brought a sacrificial lamb to the altar and the priest shed its blood as payment for their sins. The priest did not examine the person, he examined the lamb. If the lamb was 'worthy', the person was accepted and their sins were atoned for.

So the moment we acknowledge our sin (separateness from God) and pray, 'Father, I come in the name of Jesus, the Lamb of God,' we're totally forgiven and accepted. 'Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need' (Hebrews 4:16 NKJV).

So what now? Thank God for your gift of salvation. Thank him for accepting you and forgiving you.

Soulfood: Gen 5:22-24, Heb 11:5, 2 Ki 2:1-12, Acts 1:9-11


Seek God's revelations

'He made known to us the mystery of his will.' Ephesians 1:9 NIV

When we teach someone something, we impart some of our wisdom to them. This gives that person a new understanding of something or reveals something that was once unclear or a mystery. This is exactly what God loves to do for us, only God-sized! We will never fully understand him or his ways, but he longs to reveal himself to us and impart some of his infinite wisdom into our lives.

It can be scary or confusing when we don't know which path or direction to take: for our relationships, career or spiritual life. But when we ask God he promises to show his purpose for our lives. He loves revealing things about his good and abundant character; he delights in revealing promises, breakthroughs and blessings. And he imparts this by his Spirit and through his Word, the Bible. He also reveals his will through the encouraging or kind words or actions of others, or we may wake up one morning with a different perspective about something.

God's will for our lives is amazing and big picture. He has 'made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfilment - to bring unity to all things in Heaven and on earth under Christ' (Ephesians 1:9-10 NIV).

So what now? Ask God to reveal his will for your day, a new thing about his character, or a promise he has for your future. Seek his revelations! They are for a great purpose.

Soulfood: 1 Chr 6, 1 Chr 7:1-19, John 8:21-30, Ps 86, Pro 25:8-12


He is here to help

'Turn to me and have mercy, for I am alone and in deep distress.' Psalm 25:16 NLT

When everything in our lives is falling apart, do we try and solve it on our own by living in denial or turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms? In Psalm 25:16 David called out: 'Turn to me and have mercy, for I am alone and in deep distress.' David went to God. He realised that he was in a bad situation, that no one else was going to help, and that he needed God. David knew who to trust. He says: 'I trust in you, my God' (Psalm 25:2 NLT)!

When we don't let God into our lives and rely on our own strength, we live using our own ways to cope. But we're not designed to live like that; we're designed to be dependent on our heavenly Father. We're designed to go to him, ask him for help, and allow his strength to sustain us. We generally only confide in people we trust, so if we're avoiding confiding in God, we need to have a look at our hearts and ask ourselves what's stopping us from trusting him. It might be a seemingly unanswered prayer, a disappointment, or a lie about God's character that we're believing.

Let's get into God's presence and hand all our situations over to him. Let's surrender to him and ask him to help us get through whatever we're facing.

So what now? Take a five minute break sometime today and, like David, pray, 'Show me...Lead me... teach me' (Psalm 25:4-5 NLT). If you're struggling to know how to give things over to him, why not start by just saying 'Help!'

Soulfood: 1 Chr 17:1-20, Heb 11:4 - 12:3, Ps 18:20-29, Pro 4:18


Who am I 11

'Speak the truth in love, growing in every way.' Ephesians 4:15 NLT

Let's celebrate Reformers, Servers, Achievers, Artists, Thinkers, Loyalists, Enthusiasts, Commanders and Peacemakers! Each one has such an important role for God, and is blessed with such incredible qualities for bringing about change in the world.

Recognising the particular sin habits of our personality type helps us know what we need to work on. For example, if we're a Reformer we need to be aware of our tendency towards self-righteousness. However, it's also important to recognise that we've been wired by God with a passion for justice - and that's a great thing. There are positives and negatives to every character. We'll all have things we need to work on and things that help us do amazing work for God's Kingdom. And when we're aware of other people's patterns, it helps us to empathise and live in harmony with them. As we learn about their weaknesses we become more encouraging towards those who are wired differently.

Our goal is to take off our religious masks, strengthen one another in our areas of struggle, and do it in a gracious, non-judgmental way. When we know and accept ourselves and others, we can walk together in love. 'Speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ' (Ephesians 4:15 NLT). It's about becoming the best version of ourselves - God's unique creation.

So what now? Ask a few people which type of person (of the 9 we've looked at) they're most like. Ask God to help you strengthen others and yourself to be able to become who God's created you to be.

Soulfood: Deut 18:9-18, Dan 2, Isa 47:5-15, Acts 16:16-34


Who am I A Peacemaker 10

'Speak truthfully to your neighbour, for we are all members of one body.' Ephesians 4:25 NIV

Peacemakers: Peacemakers thrive when life is calm. They love the verse: 'How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity' (Psalm 133:1 NIV). They make excellent counsellors and mediators, and can usually bring reconciliation to families, neighbourhoods and workplaces. Peace is an excellent thing to work for. It's one of the fruits of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23) and Jesus even said 'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God' (Matthew 5:9 NIV).

But sometimes Peacemakers are inclined to seek peace at any price, use their relational skills to blend in, and avoid taking initiative or risks. Peacemakers can suffer from 'terminal niceness' when courage is what's really required in a situation. They tend to stay away from conflict, or their desire for everything to be peaceful can get in the way of speaking the truth.

When someone has hurt us, we don't have to keep quiet. We can speak the truth in a kind and non-confrontational way. The Bible says: 'Speak truthfully to your neighbour, for we are all members of one body' (Ephesians 4:25 NIV). We need to have integrity. Even if we have good intentions, we need to be acting in a moral and truthful way.

So what now? If you're a Peacemaker, ask God to help you act with integrity, as in Ephesians 4:25. If you're not, pray for Peacemakers for the courage to speak out when they have to.

Soulfood: 1 Chr 3-5, John 8:1-20, Ps 6, Pro 25:1-7


Who am I A Commander 9

'We were very gentle with you.' 1 Thessalonians 2:7 NCV

Commanders: Commanders were created to understand power and leadership They know how it works, and feel a natural pull towards it. They want to portray an image of strength. Opposition actually energises them. Every team, church, workplace needs a commander personality. Leadership is important in society, and we need people who are willing to take on the challenge of leading others.

But power can become an end in itself, and Commanders can become frustrated if not getting their own way. People may feel intimidated to speak up to them. Leadership gifting comes with huge responsibility and Commanders need to ensure they are regularly evaluating how they're doing, and how those they are leading are faring. Leaders may have people doing what they need them to do, but if they don't have love, loyalty, or respect from the people then something is not working well in their leadership style.

Responsibility without accountability produces instability. If we're Commanders, we need to find people who can hold us accountable and regularly 'check in' with us to see how we're getting on. Paul, a great leader, wrote: 'We were very gentle with you, like a mother caring for her children' (1 Thessalonians 2:7 NCV). When it comes to great leadership, these two words go hand in hand - 'gentleness' and 'greatness.'

So what now? If you're a Commander, then 1 Thessalonians 2:7 is a verse for you to repeat often when you're feeling 'over-powerful'. If you're not, pray for Commanders to work gently alongside the people they are leading.

Soulfood: 1 Chr 1-2, John 7:45-53, Ps 9, Pro 24:30-34

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