Saturday
Leanna 10:00-2:00pm

Word For You Today

TEMPER TEMPER (2)

When you look through the lens of misguided anger, what you choose to focus on tends to end up being all you actually see. Being blind to reality is dangerous, because it causes you to go to extremes. At one point David was a young shepherd who played the harp. He played for Saul and kept him calm. Yet when it was clear that God had chosen David to take lead the nation, starting with the defeat of a giant named Goliath, Saul got bitter.



The people sang 'Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands' (1 Samuel 18:7 NIV). Saul saw David as a threat to his throne. Don't they realise this boy was nothing until I took him in, Saul thought. Who was it that saw him promoted to the highest ranks? Me! What next - my throne? Is that what he wants? To be king? And from that day on Saul kept a jealous eye on David; an angry fire burned in his veins.



If you read the story of this pair's relationship, one thing becomes clear - David is one of the best friends that Saul could ever have had. Letting anger manipulate us, even in subtle ways, is always dangerous. Let's not allow it to happen.



So what now? Is there anyone in your life who stirs up anger in you? Don't allow it to build up; nip it in the bud and set yourself free from anger possibility destroying your life.

Soulfood : Luke 1:26-56, Lk 2:1-40, Lk 2:41-52, Jn 2:1-12

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TEMPER TEMPER (1)

In Genesis 4:3-7, we read that Cain was jealous that his brother's gift was accepted and his wasn't. He let resentment build up. He hadn't found a way of dealing with his forceful emotions, and his feelings had swayed his thinking. When he murdered his brother, a timeless truth rang out, '...A hot-tempered person commits all kinds of sin' (Proverbs 29:22 NLT).



Anger can be Godly when used to move us to righteous action. We are right to feel angry about human trafficking, for instance. When we see injustice, it can be a Godly reaction to want to say something and make a difference. But often anger is destructive, leading to terrible consequences. Jesus said that when you let anger build up against someone in your heart, you're already making a big mistake (Matthew 5:21-22). Anger can be a seriously damaging thing. Controlling it and asking God to keep it in check is a huge deal.



So, there's a right way and a wrong way to be 'angry'. One of the most helpful passages is: 'In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold' (Ephesians 4:26-27 NIV). When you can feel something stirring up within you, take a deep breath first and ask - is this going to create more pain rather than lead to healing?



So what now? Analyse your own anger: is it righteous or destructive? How are you going to deal with it? Begin by talking to God about it.

Soulfood : Est 1-4, Jn 20:19-31, Ps 105:8-22, Ecc 7:1-4

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REAL SERVICE

Can God count on you? Can other people? Are you (tick one): always reliable, kinda reliable (when it suits you) or mostly unreliable? The Bible describes Jesus like this: 'Having loved His own...He loved them to the end' (John 13:1 NKJ). Yes, other people could count on Him. And when it came to God, He could say, 'I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me' (John 5:30 NKJ). Yes again, God was able to count on Him.



When you make a commitment, do you keep it? Do you quit on a whim, or break your word because you get a better offer? Do you let people down? 'In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called him in a vision, '"Ananias!" "Yes, Lord," he answered' (Acts 9:10 NIV). God knew where to find Ananias. Does He know where to find you? And when He calls you, are you ready to stand up and be counted? Or is it: 'I hear you, God, but what You're asking is inconvenient right now. Would You mind asking again when my circumstances are better?' Your faithfulness shouldn't depend on convenience or affordability. It should depend only on your commitment to Christ.



So what now? The US Marine Corps motto, 'Semper Fidelis' is the Latin for 'Always Faithful'. It's a good motto for a disciple of Christ too. Have a think about how you're doing on the 'being counted on' front.

Soulfood : Gen 50, Hag 1-2, Jn 20:1-18, Ps 105:1-7, Ecc 5:13-17

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SECOND SERVICE

Imagine if Jesus came in the twenty-first century and not the first: He could have been a celebrity chef with the way He turned a couple of loaves and fish into a feast. Or got a TV series with the way He could heal the sick and raise the dead. But, despite having all of time to choose from, He came 2000 years ago. He's obviously more interested in people than in making a name for Himself.



Jesus doesn't just think it is a good idea to serve, He expects it: 'When you have done all things which you are commanded, say, "We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do..."' (Luke 17:10 NKJ). Key words - 'Our duty'. It isn't always easy to decide every day to keep in God's will. But as we stop dragging our feet to follow God, the obedience will pay off. Being ready to say 'yes' to that nudge He'll gives us when it's time to avoid that temptation / speak to that person / read the Bible / whatever He wants, it gets easier.



Jesus showed us what this looks like: 'For even the Son of Man did not come to be served. But to serve and give His life as a ransom for many' (Mark 10:45 NIV).



So what now? A challenge. There's real joy in serving God, but you'll need to put the willpower in. Up for it? In your prayer time today, have a look at your plan the day, and jot down the opportunities to serve someone in it. Ask Jesus to open some up and step up to them.

Soulfood : Gen 47-49, Jn 19:25-42, Ps 150, Ecc 5:10-12

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FIRST SERVE

We're regularly told that status matters - that the best thing you can be in this world is a celebrity. The fame. The wealth. The fans. The award ceremonies celebrating your existence. What is it that makes us hanker after respect and power? Fame is like the shiny fruit hanging in Eden. We'd all love a bite but we're half-sure we've been warned against it.



Ok, well what about spending a day walking like Mother Teresa? She set up schools for street children, held the dying in her arms, and cared for the disabled. Francis of Assisi traded his vast family wealth in order to live with outcasts and lepers and the homeless. This is the kind of fame that delights Heaven. This is the fame that Jesus is known for. Paul writes: 'You must have the same attitude that... Jesus had. Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up His divine privileges... took the... position of a slave... humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal's death on the cross. Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honour and gave Him the name above all other names' (Philippians 2:5-9 NLT).



So what now? Being a celebrity means we expect others to serve us; being a Christ follower means we are called to serve others. Start to practise serving others this week. It's as easy as popping on the kettle for gran or washing the car for a neighbour. Try it!

Soulfood : Gen 44-46, Jn 19:1-24, Ps 148:7-14, Ecc 5:4-6

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ROCKIN' WORSHIP (2)

'...His praise will always be on my lips.' Psalm 34:1 NIV

Keith Hudson is a preacher who made waves on the internet, speaking about a Katy Perry concert. He said '...there were twenty thousand people... they were going at it. It almost looked like a church... I stood there and wept and kept on weeping and weeping... they're loving and worshipping the wrong thing.' It seems a fairly unremarkable thing to say until you learn that Keith Hudson is Katy Perry's dad!

Yes, the rant may sound a little old-fashioned. But here's something we can take away: it's sad we can get so excited about stuff that means so little. There's no reason to feel guilty about enjoying music that you like. But the thrills and lights of stadium tours and promo videos can cut in on our search for the electrifying presence of God - something we're designed for, something we're supposed to be satisfied by. They give us an easy second best to get caught up in.

God lived happy as a community of Father, Son and Spirit long before anyone strummed 'Bless the Lord oh my soul.' And yet He is pleased when we sing and praise Him and, on top of that, it cheers us up. We need to worship far more than God needs to hear it.

So what now? Have a go at adding some more worship songs to your music mix this week and work at keeping His praise always on your lips.

SoulFood: Gen 42-43, John 18:19-40, Ps 148:1-6, Ecc 5:1-3

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ROCKIN' WORSHIP (1)

'...If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.' Luke 19:40 NIV

Rocks worshipping? And you might also have also sung about trees clapping their hands, or mountains bowing down. What does it all mean? All of creation is designed to show how worthy God is of praise. Because it demonstrates how much worth God deserves; it 'worships' (shows 'worth'-ship of) Him. Just by existing - and doing what it's supposed to do as a rock or a tree or a whatever.

And as God's followers, we should follow suit. Just by existing as people of God, we worship God. 'Let my prayer be set before You as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice' (Psalm 141:2 NKJ). It's pretty much what you were made for: worshipping God is core to being part of God's creation. Without inviting God's presence to be with us and fill us up, worship becomes dry. And probably half-hearted.

At one point in history, the Philistines had taken the Ark of the Covenant from God's people. The ark symbolised the presence of God for His people back then. When they lost that, they lost everything. Now, we don't have time for the full story, but what happened when they got the Ark of the Covenant back? 'David and all the Israelites were celebrating with all their might before God, with songs and with harps, lyres, timbrels, cymbals and trumpets' (1 Chronicles 13:8 NIV).

So what now? Ask God to gift you with His presence next time you're about to start singing at church (or whenever you do worship).

SoulFood: Gen 40-41, John 18:1-18, Ps 147:12-20, Ecc 4:9-12

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