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Word For You Today

Giantkillers 2

'If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones.' Luke 16:10 NLT

It's really important to remember that giant-killers usually don't start out as giant-killers. David was a musician, humble shepherd and overlooked son; Matthew started as a tax collector; Peter as a fisherman; and Elisha as a farmer. And Jesus spent more years as a carpenter than he did as a preacher.

The common characteristic of these spiritual achievers is faithfulness. They were faithful in the little things, which opened doors for God to trust them with bigger things. Luke 16:10 says: 'Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much' (NIV). The same applies to us: when we can overcome smaller responsibilities, we'll be trusted with more, preparing us to face and overcome giants. Giant-killers also know that the reward is always greater than the risk. Satan specialises in whispering words of fear and anxiety in our ears to try and stop us achieving great things. But we must believe the promise is greater than the problem, the objective is greater than the objections, and God is greater than our giant. The belief that 'God is greater' is the essence of a faith that persists in the face of fear.

So, let's be a generation who depends on God, challenges the giant, and joins the ranks of God's giant-killers.

So what now? Ask God for faith in the face of your fears. Ask him to help you depend on him and believe that he's greater than the giants you face. With him you are a giant-killer!

Soulfood: Josh 1, Ps 27:11-14, 2 Cor 5:6-10


Giantkillers 1

'So David triumphed over the Philistine.' 1 Samuel 17:50 NIV

1 Samuel 17 is the setting for the story of David and Goliath - the shepherd slays the warrior; the boy conquers the giant. God gives David victory over his giant to inspire us to confront our own giants. Giants can be tangible or intangible: the things we can't overcome because, gripped by fear, we think we can't. They can be seemingly unattainable goals, unfinished projects or unfulfilled dreams. A giant is anything or anybody keeping us from being or doing what God wants us to be or do. Giants can be internal or external, real or imagined, physical or emotional. A giant could be an attitude, a habit, a belief, a philosophy or a memory. It could be a person who stands between who we are and who God wants us to be; between where we are and where God wants us to go; between what we believe and what God wants us to believe. Giants have one goal - to stop our progress and prevent us from reaching our destiny.

But giant-killers perceive each battle as an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive. To them conflict is growth, and facing an enemy is what happens before we get to advance. Giants serve to expose hidden strengths, help us measure our growth, and feed our confidence in God. Giant-killers see opportunity in opposition, potential in problems and victory in the shadow of defeat.

And with God's help we can become a giant-killer.

So what now? Re-read 1 Samuel 17. Write down any verses that stand out to you.

Soulfood: 2 Chr 16-18, John 11:38-57, Ps 81, Pro 27:1-3


Strength for the battle

'You armed me with strength for battle.' Psalm 18:39 NIV

We all face battles in life. We always have a choice as to how we respond: we can keep fighting or allow the struggle to become all-consuming. In order to keep fighting, we need to have a faith that refuses to quit.

King David had many struggles. But he understood the importance of maintaining the right perspective. He said, 'You armed me with strength for battle' (Psalm 18:39 NIV). We're not built to handle everything on our own. God will always give us strength when we ask him for it. In Isaiah 41:10, God says: 'So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand' (NIV). When we realise that God is there to take our burdens and give us the strength we need to make it through, we won't feel despondent and overwhelmed. We'll develop an 'overcomer' attitude - after all, 'we are more than conquerors through him who loved us' (Romans 8:37 NIV).

Once we've made it through to the other side of the battle, we need to realise that we got through by God's strength. In Psalm 18, David pursued his enemies and didn't give up, but he acknowledged God's help and strength. It's great to celebrate our victories when we've overcome a battle, but we also need to acknowledge and glorify God.

So what now? Think of a hard situation that you've been through. Then thank God for giving you the strength for the battle.

Soulfood: 2 Chr 12-15, John 11:28-37, Ps 50, Pro 26:27-28


Understanding others

'Nothing about me is hidden from you!' Psalm 139:15 CEV

It's impossible for us to know other people (or even ourselves), to the same level as God knows us. But, it's really important for us seek to understand them. Everyone's different. We have different personalities, skills and callings, and different ways of reacting and coping. Even people in the same family are different: Cain was a farmer and his brother Abel was a shepherd; Jacob and Esau were twins, yet they couldn't have been more different; and there was the 'Prodigal Son' who left home and became a 'party animal', while his older brother stayed home and became self-righteous and judgemental.

As we do life with our family, friends, spouses or workmates, we need to remember that they are individuals who may not perceive, think about and respond in the same way we do. It's easy to get frustrated when people don't react as we expect, or when they're afraid of things that we're not, or when they make decisions we wouldn't have made. But, if we take a step back and consider their individuality, it's a good start towards learning to be patient with each other.

Ephesians 4:2 says: 'Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love' (NIV). It's essential that our love wins out over our frustrations. This means making sure we work on trying to understand people, and learning to see them as God does.

So what now? Think of someone who you have a hard time trying to figure out. Ask God to help you understand them better.

Soulfood: 2 Chr 8-11, John 11:17-27, Ps 8, Pro 26:23-26


Becoming whole and healthy

'Let us examine our ways...and...return to the Lord.' Lamentations 3:40 NIV

We may pray, 'Lord, make me a better person.' But, we need to be willing to examine each area of our lives, and allow God to reveal which areas we need to be healthier in.

To start the habit of becoming whole, answer these questions carefully and prayerfully: (1) Am I honest and careful with my finances? Do I avoid debt and give generously to others? (2) Do I expose myself to inappropriate situations or material I know I shouldn't be? (3) Do I spend enough time with my family, and would they say that I do? (4) Do I tell the truth even when it brings me hurt or criticism? (5) Do I find it easy to say, 'I was wrong. I'm sorry'? (6) Am I compromising any area of my life, or refusing to face the consequences of my actions? (7) Have I formed habits that are detrimental to my health, job, family or faith? (8) Am I proud, selfish or arrogant? (9) Have I taken credit for things that others did? (10) Have I failed to confess something to someone? (11) Have I been insensitive or offensive to anyone? (12) Am I spending enough time with my heavenly Father?

The Bible says: 'Let us examine our ways...and... return to the Lord' (Lamentations 3:40 NIV). It is totally for our own good!

So what now? Get real with God as you answer these questions. Which areas need some attention and work? It's not about being 'a better person' - it's about being whole and healthy, which is God's desire for you.

Soulfood: 2 Chr 5-7, John 11:1-16, Ps 83:9-18, Pro 26:17-22


Seeing God's goodness

'I have done nothing here that they should put me into the dungeon.' Genesis 40:15 NKJV

When we're going through a tough time, it can be easy to ask 'Why?' and question where God is. We can analyse everything to see if we're being punished for something, or feel hopeless.

Many great Bible heroes faced really tough situations. They must have wondered where God was in those times. Joseph ended up in prison, as did Paul. John was exiled on a remote island. Lazarus faced illness, then death! But God used all this suffering for good. The imprisoned Paul wrote the Epistles. The banished John saw Heaven. Lazarus' death led to Jesus performing one of his greatest miracles (see John 11). The prison in which they placed Joseph became his stepping-stone to the palace for which God had destined him.

The thing is, unless we believe that God didn't cause our suffering, then we won't see the good that he can bring out of it. Looking back, Joseph could say, 'You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish... the saving of many lives' (Genesis 50:20 NIV). When we look for God's goodness and purposes in our situations, we'll stop blaming him and see those situations differently. We'll see them as stepping-stones to blessing, and opportunities to learn and grow. We'll see them as ways for God to be glorified.

So what now? God will use the circumstances you're in to strengthen you, draw you closer, and accomplish his will for your life. So, look for his goodness in whatever you're facing.

Soulfood: 2 Chr 1-4, John 10:22-42, Ps 83:1-8, Pro 26:13-16


Fully committed

'I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.' Philippians 3:8 NKJV

Nowhere in the Bible does God say he's going to send us to safe places to do easy things. But he does promise that we will be safe in him and that he'll never leave us to do challenging things on our own. He says he'll always be with us (see Deuteronomy 31:6).

Paul was fully committed to God: He wrote: 'Those things were important to me, but now I think they are worth nothing because of Christ... I think that all things are worth nothing compared with the greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord...I want to know Christ and the power that raised him from the dead. I want to share in his sufferings and become like him in his death' (Philippians 3:7-10 NCV). He said, 'to live is Christ and to die is gain' (Philippians 1:21 NIV).

Faced with the cross, even Jesus prayed the ultimate prayer of commitment: 'Yet not my will, but yours be done' (Luke 22:42 NIV). This may seem pretty extreme, but God's looking for 'all-in' faith. He's looking for followers who'll put him above everything else in their lives.

So what now? In order to do life with God, and to walk in his ways, it's best to be fully committed, because his way is perfect and all his promises prove true (see Psalm 18:30). It's okay when your commitment is lower than you'd like - God is always committed to you. Ask God to help you be fully committed to him. It is totally worth it!

Soulfood: 1 Chr 26:20-32, 1 Chr 27, 1 Chr 28, 1 Chr 29:1-30, John 10:11-21, Ps 133, Pro 26:7-12

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