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Word For You Today


Isaac and Rebekah flicked through their book of baby names and meanings. (If you know your Bible, you'll know they're Jacob's parents... ohhh... did we give the story away there?). 'How about Matthew?' Rebekah asked. 'Hmm. Depends.' The book said Matthew means 'Gift from God.' 'Wouldn't want our son to grow up big-headed,' they both agreed. 'What about Aaron?' Rebekah asked. 'It says here it means Strong Mountain.' 'Bound to get him into fights,' answered Isaac. 'How about Joshua instead?' But they both agreed a name meaning 'God is salvation' would lead to a messiah complex.

It was nearly nine months now and still no name. In desperation, Isaac stopped on a random page and pointed blindly with his finger. Whatever name it landed upon would be the boy's name. 'Jacob.' Hmm. 'Jacob ... yes ... I like it. What does it mean?' 'Deceiver?!'

And so 'Jacob the deceiver' grew up into his name. He ducked and dived and lied and cheated until his family broke down. And then one day God wrestled with him. And he emerged from the fight with a limp and a new name: 'Israel' which means 'a prince of God'.

The moral of the story: God determines your identity.

So what now? Have people called you hurtful names? Or, do you have names for yourself - Useless, Thick, Ugly, Loser? These names are not true according to God. Thank Him that He calls you a treasured member of His Kingdom.

Soulfood : Mt 5:4, Is 51:1-16, Ps 30, 2 Cor 1:3-7



A Swedish company claims to have designed a device that recharges phones using just water. Yes, good old H2O. The device allows ten hours of phone life per tablespoon. Imagine that - a few drops of the clear stuff and you can talk on and on.

David prayed: 'My soul longs for You, as a parched land... Teach me the way in which I should walk' (Psalm 143:6 & 8 NAS). Circumstances were dry for David and his soul was thirsty. (Would his prayer have been different if he was living in luxury surrounded by servants, do you think?) Not knowing where his next meal was coming from and sleeping outside every night radically changed his perspective. When life goes well, we can start to think that we're self-sufficient and forget God. But when we're running on empty, our souls cry out in thirsty desperation.

Prayer, church, Bible study, singing praise, meditation and reflection - they're all designed by God to recharge our spirit. God uses them to pour the soul-quenching water of Himself into our aching spirits. If we starve ourselves of the charge-up time, we risk a Spiritual and emotional (maybe even physical) blow out. Taking the time to replenish yourself in God is vital.


So what now? If you're feeling Spiritually dry and in need of replenishment, the 'Water Source' has not moved! So, today pick up your Bible, listen to your favourite worship music and re-charge your soul.


Soulfood : Ezek 24:1-27:24, Mk 13:24-37, Ps 132:11-18, Prov 15:5-7



Dr Alexander Maclaren was a great Scottish preacher. He believed the power of his preaching came from a regular habit: spending an hour each day alone with God. Sometimes he allowed others into his study, but they were never allowed to speak. Dr Maclaren would sit in a well-worn armchair with his Bible lying across his knees. Sometimes he'd read its pages, but mostly he'd just sit with his hand over his face. If he did read the Bible during that hour, 'he read it as a child would read a letter from an absent father, or your heart would drink in the words of a loved one from far away' an observer noted.

How long do you spend with God? You can't expect God to whisper His secrets in the five minutes before your head hits the pillow. He deserves more of your time than that, and knows that none of us human-brains can process His information in that timeframe and in our sleepy-headedness.

Psalm 27:8 says, 'When You said, "Seek My face," my heart said to You, "Your face, Lord, I will seek."' Seeking takes patience and, guess what, time. Time when your brain's on top form. Sometimes, God wants that period of silent waiting before He speaks.


So what now? Try out Dr Maclaren's technique. Separate out your you-and-God time into two. Keep one of them as your regular Bible study, but keep the other one to use in the way that he did. Just spend some time resting in God's presence with open ears.


Soulfood : Ezek 22-23, Mk 13:12-23, Ps 132:1-10, Prov 15:1-4



'Blessed are those who recognise they are spiritually helpless. The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them' (Matthew 5:3 GWT). It may not feel like a blessing to be totally helpless, but God has an excellent track record of giving blessings in those times. With your best intentions exhausted, it's perfect for God's best intentions to come into the picture. When you've run out of your own strength, God can more easily point you to His. Are you all out of steam today? Read this: 'Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are fearful-hearted, "Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense [restoration]...He will come and save you''' (Isaiah 35:3-4 NKJ).

If you've got little to show for your best efforts, God will elevate you at the right time. If everything has just come crashing to the ground, God will re-attach wings to your hopes and throw them back into flight. He will grow things from your dust. He says so: '...And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; it shall blossom abundantly...' (Isaiah 35:1-2 NKJ). Take heart: God is the God of restoration. The moment that you become empty of your own power, He'll remind you that His is much greater.

So what now? If you're feeling 'spiritually helpless', kneel in prayer and ask for God's strengthening power to flood you. Sometimes the physical act of kneeling before God can help re-adjust your mental attitude.

Soulfood : Ezek 20-21, Mk 13:1-11, Ps 48, Prov 14:33-35



The Bible has a running theme of ruin and restoration. Adam and Eve mess up - and the rest of the story is God restoring what was lost in Eden. The world grows into a cesspit of sin and flood waters destroy it; God restores the earth through Noah. Abraham is on track to be a forgotten name in pre-recorded history; God gives him a child and restores him as the father of nations. Joseph is trafficked into slavery; God elevates him to a place of governmental power and restores his family to him. The Israelites are strangers in a strange land; God leads them to a Promised Land and restores their inheritance. The Philistines tower over the Israelites; God restores the balance of power through David.

The Old Testament is jam-packed with stories of God's restoring hand. And then Jesus arrives. God's own son is abandoned to a cross. Three days later a restoring power like none seen in history before or since is unleashed. Resurrection runs as a theme through the New Testament. The power of life over death is still refreshing and revitalising the world today. Whatever mess we find ourselves in, God's hand of restoration is reaching in. When situations look dead and buried, God's resurrection power speaks life. And life abundantly.


So what now? Do you know someone in a desperate situation? Why not share these readings of the last few days and encourage them that God can, and wants to, restore what has been lost or stolen.


Soulfood : Ezek 16:53-19:14, Mk 12:28-44, Ps 1, Prov 14:29-32



Before David became king, he returned to his hometown one day to find it burned to the ground. The Amalekites had come raiding and kidnapped all the people as slaves. His men were stunned and, in their despair at losing their families and needing to find someone to blame, they talked about stoning David.

David found a quiet place and poured his heart out to God. And then God spoke through a priest who was part of David's company: 'Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all' (1 Samuel 30:8 NKJ). The Lord was about to return what was taken and more.

Are you ashamed of the years you've wasted? Talk to God about them. Ask Him what to do. Remember this: whatever you've lost in the past, God can restore it. He promises: 'I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten... You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you; and My people shall never be put to shame' (Joel 2:25-26 NKJ).

Ever since Adam and Eve 'blew it' in Eden, God's desire and plan has been to restore to us what we have lost. So come to Him today and let the restoration begin.

So what now? Read 1 Samuel 30. It's the story of David's journey from desperation to victory. Let it be an encouragement to you in times when you need restoration in an area of your life.

Soulfood : Lev 23:15-22, Acts 2:1-21



Jesus told many illustrative stories (parables) that did not make sense and had outcomes that were usually very opposite to what we would expect, or even want.

Here's just one of those stories. Jesus is telling the gathered crowd, 'Imagine a son is reading his dad's last will and testament,' He begins. 'Only the dad isn't dead yet!' The crowd erupts with laughter. They enjoy a good laugh. And this story sounds very intriguing. Jesus tells the tale with all its absurdity. The son makes a moonlight dash with his portion of the inheritance. He spends it like a glutton, and finds himself down-and-out, chomping on pig swill. The crowd is really enjoying this comical comeuppance - the prodigal reduced to scoffing an unclean animal's slops! Quite right too! They think they know exactly where this tale is going.

But then comes the punch line. Only it's not funny. It's peculiar. It's surreal. The father throws a party and spends extravagant amounts of money on the son's return. He brings him back into the family as a full son. Say that last bit again, Jesus!

The crowd can't believe this ending. Why does the father not only forgive his son but also give him everything back he lost? Because that is the way God treats His children.

So what now? You know what the great thing is! God is still in the business of restoring. So, if you feel particularly bad about something you've done or you've walked away from your loving Father, come home, and be restored!

Soulfood : Ezek 14:1-16:52, Mk 12:13-27, Ps 129, Prov 14:25-28

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