Word For You Today


'Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.' James 4:10 NIV

Self-esteem means placing our confidence in ourselves and in our own successes. Placing emphasis on self-esteem means we can end up quite self-focused. We can begin to think we don't need God, and that we can manage perfectly well on our own. We end up celebrating what we have achieved. This is different to placing our identity in Christ, having confidence in who he is and then giving the glory back to God.

The Bible says: 'Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up' (James 4:10 NIV). Our lives don't work as well if we focus on promoting ourselves and striving to be the best on our own merits. We should never forget that we're only who we are because of who God is. We're only called because God chose to call us. We're only accepted because of God's unfailing love and Jesus' sacrifice. We're only strong because God is our strength. We're only wonderfully made because we're created by the ultimate Creator, who made us in his likeness.

It's vital for us to know who we are, but also to have the humility to recognise that we're only who we are because of God. And let's have the confidence to believe that everything God says about us is true, that he is good, and that we can trust him with our lives.

So what now? Spend time reflecting on how amazing God is. Have confidence in him first, rather than in yourself. You'll find it takes a lot of pressure off how you view and do life.

Soulfood: Isa 42-44, Matt 12:22-37, Ps 108, Pro 3:31-32


Help in the storms

'Such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up' Jonah 1:4 NIV

On its way to Rome, Paul's ship ran into a storm. When Jonah was sailing away from Nineveh, he hit a storm. When Jesus' disciples were crossing a lake, a storm arose. These were physical storms. Mostly, the storms we experience in our lives are circumstantial, emotional or relational. But we can still apply these biblical stories of storms to our situations.

Firstly, our disobedience can cause storms. This does not mean that every time something bad happens, it's our fault. But sometimes when we hear God's call and choose to go a different way, life can become challenging. The captain of Paul's ship didn't heed Paul's warning, and ended up shipwrecked. Jonah's rebellion against God's instructions led him directly into a huge storm. God's path for our lives is far better than any of our own plans. When we hear him call, it's for our own good to obey.

Secondly, we can know without doubt that we're not alone in the storm. God promises to never leave us, and this includes when we're facing tough times. In the middle of Paul's storm, an angel spoke to him and said: 'Do not be afraid, Paul' (Acts 27:24 NIV). When the disciples cried out to Jesus, who was sleeping during the storm, he calmed the wind and the waves. When we have God on board, there's no storm powerful enough to take us under.

So what now? Draw some storm clouds and write down a storm you're currently facing. Spend time thanking God for guiding you through the storm.

Soulfood: Isa 38-41, Matt 12:15-21, Ps 111, Pro 3:29-30



'Carry each other's burdens, and...you will fulfil the law of Christ.' Galatians 6:2 NIV

Everyone we meet is struggling with something. If someone is reacting badly, cold or angrily, it might be because they're going through a really hard time. Maybe someone has hurt them, or they're feeling lost in life, or they're hiding a sin they can't break free from. When we realise this, it makes it easier to have compassion for others.

When people react badly, it can be tempting to become upset, or even give up on them. But that's not what Jesus did. Jesus saw the best in people and went out of his way to be gracious to them and remove their burdens. When a man with a skin disease came to him, he was met with compassion. Other people would have refused to go near the man, because the law at the time forced those with leprosy to live alone (see Leviticus 13). But Jesus, 'moved with compassion,...reached out and touched him...instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed' (Mark 1:41-42 NLT).

The Bible says: 'Carry each other's burdens, and...you will fulfil the law of Christ' (Galatians 6:2 NIV). This doesn't mean we need to fix people's situations for them; it means we help where we can and carry their burdens to the arms of our Father - he is the ultimate burden-lifter.

So what now? Simply reminding someone you're praying for them, or giving them a hug, or offering to listen to their story is sometimes all someone needs to ease their troubles. You might be the only person they encounter today who has compassion for them. Be a burden-lifter.

Soulfood: Isa 34-37, Matt 12:1-14, Ps 107:33-43, Pro 3:27-28


Having 'just enough'

'Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.' Proverbs 30:8 NLT

Ever bought something, enjoyed it for a while, and then wanted something better? We may think we'll be happier when we get the latest phone, car, home, etc, but possessions don't bring lasting happiness. Neither does money. Money can help us live a good life, but having too much of it can cause problems, just like having too little can.

In Proverbs 30:7-9, we find this prayer: 'O God, I beg two favours from you; let me have them before I die. First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, "Who is the Lord?" And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God's holy name"' (NLT). It's interesting that the writer says 'enough to satisfy my needs' - not enough to satisfy his wants, desires, or dreams - just his needs.

Honestly, how much more stuff do we really need? Could we happily live off what we already have? True satisfaction comes from God. The Bible says that it's God who 'satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things' (Psalm 107:9 NIV). He knows our needs and will meet them (see Matthew 6:25-34). He can provide 'enough to satisfy' our needs.

So what now? Buy a bar of chocolate and eat one piece. Take time to appreciate that piece and be satisfied with it. Keep the rest of the bar for another day. Watch how it's 'just enough' chocolate for that day.

Soulfood: Luke 6:27-36, Exo 23:1-9, Rom 12:14-21


Looking forward to everlasting life

'The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.' John 11:25 NIV

The end of our life generally isn't something we'd prefer to think about. For most of us, it seems way off in the distant future. But, as followers of Jesus, it's important to prepare now for spending the rest of eternity with God in Heaven.

When Jesus' good friend Lazarus was sick, his sisters Martha and Mary sent a message to Jesus to let him know. By the time Jesus got to their house, Lazarus had died and had been lying in a tomb for four days. But Jesus tells Martha, 'the one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die' (John 11:25-26 NIV). He asks her if she believes this, and she replies, 'I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God' (John 11:27 NIV). Later, Jesus goes to the tomb and calls to Lazarus, who comes out wrapped in grave clothes, but fully alive. Just like his own death and resurrection later, Jesus shows that he has power over death for those who believe in him. We don't need to fear it because, just like Lazarus emerging from the tomb, it's a new beginning, and we'll be reunited with Jesus.

We can't avoid death, but when we believe in him, we can be sure that, for us, death means eternal life.

So what now? Give thanks to Jesus that, through him, you can look forward to eternal life. And thank him that your life with him now can be amazing too.

Soulfood: Isa 30-33, Matt 11:20-30, Ps 107:23-32, Pro 3:25-26


The most beautiful story

'They shall see his face...they shall reign forever and ever.' Revelation 22:4-5 NKJV

In order to know how a story ends, it's good to read until the end of the book. And the greatest story on earth, found in the Bible, has the most exciting ending!

In Revelation 22, the final chapter of the Bible, we're told that we 'shall see his [Jesus'] face.' One of the greatest joys of Heaven is that we'll see the face of Jesus, the one we love most. The Bible says: 'Now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is' (1 John 3:2 NIV). We will see him, we will be like him, and we will be with him forever. What an incredible thought. We're also told: 'And they [we] shall reign forever and ever.' Wow, we will reign with Christ in the next stage of life! And, amazingly, the end also includes: 'He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away' (Revelation 21:4 NIV). It's comforting to know that we will never face trials, pain, sickness or grief in this beautiful place of Heaven.

Let's read God's beautiful story through his Word, the Bible. Let's get to know him, in this life and the next.

So what now? Thank God for his beautiful story of redemption. Enjoy your life here with him, looking forward to the next.

Soulfood: Isa 26-29, Matt 11:10-19, Ps 107:17-22, Pro 3:21-24


Use your money well

'Tell them to use their money to do good.' 1 Timothy 6:18 NLT

Money: we all need it and enjoy its benefits. God never says that we shouldn't have money, or that we shouldn't spend it. But he does encourage us to manage it well and not be a slave to it.

Saving money is a great, and necessary, way to make sure we have enough for the future. But we shouldn't save to the point of never relying on God to provide for us, or at the expense of being generous givers. Matthew 6:19-20 says: 'Don't store treasures for yourselves here on earth... But store your treasures in Heaven where they cannot be destroyed by moths or rust and where thieves cannot break in and steal them' (NCV). We can't take our money with us when we die, so let's make sure we're sensible in the way we're saving. We also shouldn't be spending our money only on ourselves. God calls us to be generous and sacrificial with our giving. When we see people in need, and have the means to help, let's help them out, using God's wisdom. Let's give what we can to our churches and communities to help them reach and help more people.

In 1 Timothy 6:18 it says: 'Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others' (1 Timothy 6:18 NLT).

So what now? How are you managing your money? Whatever stage of life you are at, be deliberate about using it for good. It really is freeing to do so.

Soulfood: Isa 22-25, Matt 11:1-9, Ps 107:10-16, Pro 3:19-20

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