The Morning Wakeup
Leanna, Bjorn & Josh 6:00-10:00am

Word For You Today


No matter how bad we feel, God is the great redeemer. Being overly self-focused on our mistakes can be our greatest weakness; our Achilles Heel that sends us tripping over our every self-doubt. We've all felt it on our worst days: a string of nervy 'oh, what have I done wrong now...?' questions that keep us looking inward.

But the court's adjourned. God's judgment has come in. Paul the apostle wrote: 'I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me' (1 Corinthians 3:3-4 NIV). If we trust in Jesus we are given His spotlessness, and God's judgment on us is, 'This one's all good. I've got them. I'm for them.' Paul knew it, so he didn't even judge himself when he messed up.

That doesn't mean ignoring our problems, or that there won't be consequences if we're constantly acting out a sin we know we shouldn't. But when we make mistakes and start a little internal storm, feel deserted by others or judged by them, we can say with Paul that '... the Lord stood with me and gave me strength ... All glory to God forever and ever' (2 Timothy 4:18 NLT)!

So what now? Do you remember this verse from two days ago: 'God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble' (Psalm 46:1)? God wants more than anything to be your storm shelter. He is with you wherever you go. So, take His help and get through the storm.

Soulfood : Gal 1-3, Mk 9:38-50, Ps 128, Prov 13:17-19



Christianity isn't just for sunny days. In fact, your faith shines all the brighter in the middle of a storm. God's Word stands around you like an impenetrable barrier; it's tougher than the storms that surround you. Matthew 7:24 (NIV) says that if you '...hear these words...and put them into practice...' you'll be able to out-weather the nastiest downpour.

Look at Job. He went through the stormiest of storms, and only conversation with God kept him standing. He said: '...I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food' (Job 23:12 NKJ), which quite conveniently brings us onto the topic of fasting.

Now, food-fasting is a big issue, and we're not going there today, but there is a point to make. The word 'fasting' means so much more than not eating food. Fasting is really the ability to 'to hold yourself in firm control', 'to hold fast', an ability that we can gain by fasting from habits and activities, which may include holding back on food!

Scrolling down our newsfeeds whilst instagramming our breakfast can become just as 'necessary' to our lives as eating that breakfast. Challenge: wouldn't that Facebooking-Tweeting-Instagramming-Pinning-Tumblring time be better spent getting to know God better?

So what now? Think about the things in your life that keep you busy, and preoccupied. Why not replace some of that time with building yourself up in conversation with God - seeking His presence and reading His Word. This is the shelter for the storms of life when they come.

Soulfood : Judg 19:16-21:25, Mk 9:30-37, Ps 45, Prov 13:13-16



God doesn't pretend that we're never going to have trouble in our life. In fact He even uses the word 'when', not 'if': 'When you meet trials of various kinds...' (James 1:2), 'when we run into problems and trials...' (Romans 5:3 NLT). Hmm. That might not sound very comforting to us, but coming right up behind it is some good news.

God doesn't lie about Himself either. 'The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe' (Proverbs 18:10 NIV). God's 'name' speaks of His character, His reliability and His faithfulness. People without God are forced to be their own god (and that's a pretty terrifying thought, on many levels), relying on their own strength and wisdom to get them through life's turbulence. Those who love God can say, 'God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging' (Psalm 46:1-3 NIV).

If God won't lie about who He is (a safe place to hide), then He definitely isn't going to hold back who He is (our safe place to hide) when we need Him.

So what now? Think of someone going through a tough time. Chat to them and offer to pray, full of faith that God promises, and is willing, to be a storm shelter for them.

Soulfood : Gal 5:23, 1 Jn 2:15-17, Prov 29:18, Gen 39:1-23



Today's verse is a pretty intense one! It sounds like God is hemming us in, locking us off, sealing us away from the world. One of the more literal Bible versions even says that God is 'besieging' us!

And... yes, that is what He's doing. When we make a commitment not to sin, when we say 'God, I reject evil and choose Your path', we start an agreement with Him. For the rest of our lives (for better or worse, richer or poorer, etc...) we are asking Him to wash us of our sin and lift us up to live a better life. It's going to be tough sometimes. If we start down a thought-route or action that is against His principles, we are asking Him to help us deal with it in His way. His ways are never to oppress us, nor to abuse us, but only ever for our good and our true freedom.

His ways are always to help us live better and get wiser. The hand that holds us up is the same hand that keeps us out of destruction's path - He is always there to help when we teeter on its edge.

So what now? Imagine yourself going into an old abandoned house. Open the front door, brush the cobwebs off your face, and switch on your torch. Watch the rats scurry away to the walls and through the floorboards. This is what happens when the light of Christ shines into your life. Thank God that He 'besieges' you!

Soulfood : Judg 16:1-19:15, Mk 9:14-29, Ps 47, Prov 13:11-12



Sometimes we think we're superheroes - riding in on a white horse to save our friends/city/world, on an assignment from God. But we need to hear from God for these assignments. We all want to hear from God, but when we don't the temptation can be to run off on our own terms. When we feel like God's put us on hold, patience in prayer and persistence in looking out for His messages will get us where we want to be: closer to Him.

Our personal visions or dreams and even our own discipleship-process can be lured into self-gazing mode. But when God takes that place as the worshiped-One at the centre of our lives, as the Highest King and the only jewel worth being gazed at, everything falls into place as it should - we know we're not the Saviour, we're just blessed into being helpers, privileged to be guides for those around us.

Being over-enthusiastic isn't the issue, and neither is running off with our own ideas. The problem comes when we start making our own vision, dream or entrepreneurial spirit the centre of our lives and stop being sacrificial and God-and-others-centred.


So what now? Draw (or stick a picture of) a small cross in the corner of the mirror that you use every day (the one you brush your teeth in front of?). Every time you use that mirror, refocus your eyes from yourself to the One whom that cross represents.


Soulfood : Judg 9:34-11:40, Mk 8:27-38, Ps 129, Prov 20:25, Ecc 5:4-6



It's been said that all of the human experience can be found in the Psalms. Every emotion, every need, every cry of the heart. Every kind of prayer that people might pray is there. The Psalms give us reassurance that we're allowed to express ourselves. In fact they give us permission to be honest before God about whatever we're feeling. One of the most common prayers in the Psalms is an impatient question: 'How long, O Lord?'

We all go through difficult times, and genuinely difficult times bring out genuinely difficult emotions. If a member of our family was seriously ill and we tried walking around with a fixed grin on your face, we'd be lying to ourselves and hurting our family too - dealing with hard stuff doesn't mean we need to put on a tough exterior of 'everything's ok.' Not at all. It's important not to hide our emotions but to ask God to help us handle them. The Psalms are our guide to the 'how'.

But more than that, the Psalms give us hope. Hope that someone else has been here before - and come out the other side. Hope that God is listening, and is big enough to take the worst we've got to throw at Him.


So what now? Start at Psalm 1 and skim read each Psalm, until you find one that reflects what you're feeling. There is at least one that will beautifully capture where you are at.


Soulfood : Judg 7:1-9:33, Mk 8:14-26, Ps 93, Prov 13:7-8





Very often, if people were force fed certain food growing up (e.g. broccoli), they may always have a gag reflex to that particular food! Same in our day-to-day lives. If people have only experienced judgment from Christians and been Bible bashed in every argument or conversation, it's hardly likely they'd want to 'taste and see that the Lord is good'. They'll not want to have anything to do with 'those Christians', much like broccoli haters will avoid anything with broccoli in it.

Too often Christians make the mistake of presenting the Gospel without the love of God. The Bible's clear about us taking the message to the world, but we're called to do that as real followers-of-Christ, not as holier-than-thou Christians. We're called to share our lives with people and to love others. That provides the best soil for the seeds of salvation to grow in.

If God's in our lives, we can't help but share Him, too. When we're led by the Holy Spirit and we ask Him for opportunities to speak about God, everyday conversations can open up to bigger opportunities than we can imagine.

However, sometimes we may be called to share God's Gospel in a louder, bolder, indirect way. If that's the case, pray, check with Scripture, make sure it's love-based and do it.


So what now? Next time you're spending time with a group of non-Christian mates, tell them just one good thing that God has done for you recently. That way, they get to hear about God without the focus being on them and their 'non-Christian'-ness.


Soulfood : Judg 4-6, Mk 8:1-13, Ps 88:9b-18, Prov 13:4-6

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