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

Word For You Today

Personal provider

'I am the good shepherd.' John 10:11 NIV

In Bible times (and actually still in some regions today), a shepherd had a very close relationship with his flock: he kept them safe and led them to places where they could eat and drink. He cared about the whole flock yet knew each individual sheep.

At the beginning of Psalm 23, David says: 'The Lord is my shepherd' (Psalm 23:1 NIV). By saying this, he was affirming that he had an intimate relationship with God. He goes on to say, 'I lack nothing', and then worshipped God for leading, caring for and protecting him.

In the New Testament, Jesus said 'I am the good shepherd' (John 10:11 NIV). He says to each one of us: 'Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they' (Matthew 6:25-26 NIV)?

Wherever we go throughout our day and our lives, we have a shepherd, a personal provider: Jesus is looking out for us and after us. He cares for us an individuals with individual needs, and desires to have a close and unique relationship with each of us.

So what now? Read through Psalm 23 and Matthew 6:25-34 sometime today. The promises in these passages are for you, so you need not fear. You have a personal provider!

Soulfood: Jer 18-21 Matt 1:1-25 Ps 59:1-8 Pro 14:21-22,


Love God's Word 5

'Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.' John 13:17 NIV

Reading, remembering, and reflecting on God's Word are important, but we must also respond to it. John 13:17 reminds us: 'Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them' (NIV). It's not enough to just know the truth. God blesses us when we apply that truth to our own lives.

In James 1:22, we're encouraged to be 'doers of the word' (ESV). Satan will attempt to stop us putting God's Word into action; and we often avoid 'doing the Word' because it demands we make changes. Jesus said, 'The truth will set you free' (John 8:32 NIV), but first, it might make us uncomfortable. As we read God's Word, we are made aware of our own flaws, mistakes and failings, which is a painful process. But if we stick with it, it's a process that brings about change for the better. The evangelist D. L. Moody put it like this: 'The Bible wasn't given to increase our knowledge but to change our lives.'

One of the best ways for us to start putting God's Word into practice is to write down an action plan. It should be personal (involving you), practical (something you can do), and provable (with a target or deadline). Jesus said, 'Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock' (Matthew 7:24 NIV).

So what now? Have a go at writing an action plan for yourself - remember to make it personal, practical and provable.

Soulfood: Exo 20:17 Ps 10 Jam 4:1-3,


Love God's Word 4

'How I love your teachings! I think about them all day long.' Psalm 119:97 NCV

Here are some ways to develop and deepen our love of God's Word: (1) By researching it. Our Bible study should give us insight, not just information. A great way to start is to write down thoughts and ideas that come to us while we're reading. Let's ask God questions about what we're reading and about what he's revealing to us.

(2) By remembering it. There are enormous benefits to memorising Scripture: it helps us resist temptation, make better decisions, reduce stress, build confidence, stretch our thinking, and share our faith. Memory is like a muscle; the more we use it the stronger it becomes. It's helpful to write down a verse or make a note on our phone, and carry it with us wherever we go, reviewing it throughout the day.

(3) By reflecting on it. Reflecting on what we've read in God's Word is a great way to mature spiritually. As we do, the Holy Spirit works on us, and we're 'transformed into his likeness' (2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV). God called David 'a man after my own heart' (Acts 13:22 NIV). And David loved to reflect on God's Word: 'How I love your teachings! I think about them all day long' (Psalm 119:97 NCV). Let's be like David and learn to love God's Word.

So what now? Choose one Bible verse. Read it, write it down, memorise it and then write down and reflect on any ideas or thoughts that God's giving you as you read.

Soulfood: Jer 14-17 Mark 16:1-20 Ps 21 Pro 14:17-20,


Love God's Word 3

'Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives.' Colossians 3:16 NLT

As we fill our minds with God's Word, the Holy Spirit will use it to transform us.

So, how can we be transformed? (1) By committing to reading God's Word as a priority every day. Most of us wouldn't miss a day without checking what our friends are up to via social media. What if we treated reading the Bible this way: we couldn't wait to read it and see what God had to say to us each day? If we read our Bible for just 15 minutes a day, in one year we'd have read through it completely! Daily Bible reading keeps us within range of God's voice. (2) By being open and receptive to God's Word. In the parable of the sower, Jesus talks about three unreceptive attitudes: a closed mind (hard soil), a superficial mind (shallow soil) and a distracted mind (soil with weeds) (see Luke 8:5-15). He then goes on to say, 'Consider carefully how you listen' (Luke 8:18 NIV). When we feel we're not learning, let's check our attitude, especially for pride. God can speak to us through the most boring teacher if we're humble and receptive. James says, 'Humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you' (James 1:21 NIV).

God's Word can change our life - so let's make it a priority.

So what now? Challenge time! When you're going to check your social media for the first time each day, stop yourself, and use those few minutes to read a chapter or two of the Bible first. Go on, you'll love God's Word.

Soulfood: Jer 10-13 Mark 15:33-47 Ps 17 Pro 14:13-16,


Love God's Word 2

'If you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed.' John 8:31 NKJV

The apostle John wrote, 'I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit' (3 John verse 2 NLT). To ensure we're 'strong in spirit', we need to make God's Word our number one priority each day. Jesus said, 'If you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed' (John 8:31 NKJV). 'Abide' makes us think of a place we love to be, where we feel safe and find joy, acceptance, encouragement, support, protection, purpose, identity and rest. Abiding in God's Word means accepting it as our highest authority and guide when we make decisions, and our standard for the way we live and behave.

We run into problems when we base our choices on things like: culture ('Everyone else is doing it...'); tradition ('We've always done it this way...'); logic ('It's the rational thing to do...'); or emotions ('It just feels right...'). All these guides are flawed because they come from within us, not necessarily from God. That doesn't mean we can't use them to help us make decisions, but we should make sure we're testing what they're telling us against what God's Word says.

Proverbs 30:5 reminds us that 'every word of God is flawless' (NIV). The Bible gives us a perfect standard to live by that'll never lead us in the wrong direction.

So what now? Next time you feel yourself relying on culture, tradition, logic or emotions too much, use that feeling as a reminder to turn to the Bible for advice.

Soulfood: Jer 7-9 Mark 15:21-32 Ps 8 Pro 14:9-12,


Love God's Word 1

'I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.' Job 23:12 NIV

When we really study the Bible, we'll find that all kinds of new ideas start to form in our minds, which then resonate in our heart, and help to bring the truth of the Bible to life. God's Word is powerful, because the Holy Spirit uses it to speak to us and transform us into more Christlike characters.

Job said, 'I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread' (Job 23:12 NIV). Let's reflect on that thought - imagine having a hunger for reading the Bible that's greater than our hunger for a delicious meal at the end of a long day. It's what we should all be aiming for.

So how do we get there? We'll take a look at some ideas this week, but a great starting point is to commit to reading the Bible every day. God's Word is compared to milk, bread and honey (see 1 Peter 2:2, Matthew 4:4 and Psalm 119:103) - the first food we experience that keeps us alive during the first months of life; a staple food we use each day; and a sweet, delicious food with incredible healing properties. They're the very basics that we need. And that's how we should think of God's Word too - the most important things we need for a healthy life.

So what now? Have toast and honey with a glass of milk for your breakfast one day this week. As you eat, read the day's SoulFood verses (at the bottom of this reading). Give thanks that God's Word nourishes you spiritually.

Soulfood: Jer 4-6 Mark 15:1-20 Ps 144:9-15 Pro 14:5-8,


Seek wisdom

'My child, if you are wise, then I will be happy.' Proverbs 23:15 NCV

When God said to Solomon 'ask for whatever you want me to give you' (1 Kings 3:5 NIV), he chose something many of us may not have considered asking for: wisdom. Solomon said: 'Give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong' (1 Kings 3:9 NIV). God was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom rather than wealth or a long life; in fact he was so pleased he gave Solomon these as added extras anyway. And Solomon's wisdom was demonstrated when two women came to him, both claiming to be a child's mother - he determined the real mother very cleverly (see 1 Kings 3:16-28).

The book of Proverbs is dedicated to giving us wisdom and emphasising the importance of seeking it. In chapter 3, we're told: 'Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her' (Proverbs 3:13-15 NIV).

How often do we ask God for wisdom? Finding wisdom doesn't have to be hard. We can read the Bible and ask God for his wisdom through revelation. The Bible says: 'The wisdom that comes from Heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere (James 3:17 NIV).

So what now? Ask God for his wisdom in a situation you're going through, and expect him to give it to you through revelation, his Word or through others.

Soulfood: Jer 1-3 Mark 14:66-72 Ps 144:1-8 Pro 14:1-4,

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