Word For You Today

Success in God's eyes

'Do you see someone skilled in his work? They will serve before kings.' Proverbs 22:29 NIV

Here's a prayer we can all pray, whoever we are and however we are called to serve God:

'Lord, thank you for the way you've made me, for all the gifts and talents you've given me. I trust I'm the best person for the task you've assigned me. I'm grateful for the people I work with and connect with, even the ones I don't really like or understand. Help me keep my focus on accomplishing the goals you've set for me. Give me wisdom and discernment, especially in difficult situations. Help me to learn what you want to teach me, and give me patience as you prepare me for the future. Help me to do my best, and to always remain positive and hopeful. Soothe the complaints and disappointments of my heart with your perfect peace. Help me to bring you glory and share your love through whatever I'm doing. Allow me to know my true identity and walk in your favour. Keep me on the path you've laid out for me. Help me to be a peacemaker in times of conflict or argument. When others around me are being deceitful or untrustworthy, help me speak only the truth. Help me bring hope, faith and joy to places where there is despair, fear and sadness. Help me be a light in the darkness. I ask these things in Jesus' name. Amen.'

So what now? Make this prayer for success in God part of your daily routine, adding in specific details for your personal work, tasks and relationships.

Soulfood: 1 Ki 16:1-34 1 Ki 17 1 Ki 18:1-15 Mark 9:30-37 Ps 108 Pro 12:14,



'Give your servant a discerning heart.' 1 Kings 3:9 NIV

When God asked Solomon what he wanted, Solomon gave a surprising answer: the gift of wisdom. He prayed: 'Give your servant a discerning heart...to distinguish between right and wrong' (1 Kings 3:9 NIV).

We all need wisdom. From decision-making to solving conflicts, we need to be able to make wise choices. And discernment fits in with this. Being able to discern between right and wrong, the truthfulness of a statement or the character of a person, helps us make those wise choices. The apostle Paul mentions that each person is given a main spiritual gift (see 1 Corinthians 12:10) - some specifically the gift of discernment. But for those who aren't, we can still ask God to help us be discerning in our everyday decisions, faith, relationships and workplaces. 'If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault' (James 1:5 NIV). And when we're filled with God's wisdom, the decisions we make will bring peace, justice and goodness. And that will bring glory to God.

When Solomon received the gift of wisdom, he was soon put to the test when two women approached him both claiming to be a baby's mother. He managed to discern who the real mother was and we're told that the people were in awe of God's wisdom in him (see 1 Kings 3:28). Can people see the same in us?

So what now? Ask God to give you wisdom and discernment in whatever decisions you need to make at the moment.

Soulfood: 1 Ki 14-15 Mark 9:14-29 Ps 101 Pro 12:12-13,


Freedom 2

'He brought them out of their gloom and darkness and broke their chains.'Psalm 107:14 NCV

Throughout the Bible, we see people being set free. When the Israelites were in captivity, 'they cried out to the Lord. He saved them from their troubles' (Psalm 107:13 GWT). When people were trapped in their sin, Jesus forgave them and set them free. He still frees today and, 'if the Son sets you free, you will be absolutely free' (John 8:36 GWT).

So, how do we access that freedom? Firstly, we have to want freedom and realise we need God's help to get it. Freedom starts with becoming totally dependent on God. The Bible says, 'cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you' (1 Peter 5:7 NIV). We can get so caught up in trying to find freedom and fix ourselves that we forget to turn to God. But it's not about fixing ourselves, it's about devoting ourselves to him.

And devoting ourselves leads on to the second point. We need to be feeding our souls. Jesus said, 'I am the living bread...whoever eats this bread will live forever' (John 6:51 GWT). As we feed on God's Word and share our feelings in prayer, he'll lighten our burdens and nourish our souls. He came to declare 'freedom for the prisoners...to release the oppressed' (Luke 4:18 NIV). So, let's take time to gain our freedom by meditating on God's Word and reflecting on how to apply it to our lives.

So what now? Spend time feeding your soul. Find a quiet space, grab your Bible and get reading. Meditate on any verses that stand out to you, and find your freedom!

Soulfood: 1 Ki 12-13 Mark 9:1-13 Ps 128 Pro 12:10-11,


Freedom 1

'I have come down...to bring them up.' Exodus 3:8 NIV

For 400 years the Israelites were enslaved by Egyptian taskmasters who oppressed them and 'made their lives bitter' (Exodus 1:14 NIV). We may relate to their feelings of helplessness in areas in our own lives that we struggle with. Whether long-term bad habits, difficult relationships, or something else, we've probably all felt a little powerless and hopeless about finding freedom. We could even be tempted to choose to give up and give in to being 'enslaved'.

Broken and crushed, the Israelites cried out to God and he responded, 'I have...seen the misery of my people... I have heard them crying out...and I am concerned about their suffering' (Exodus 3:7 NIV). God extended compassion toward them: 'So I have come down to rescue them... and to bring them up out of that land into...a land flowing with milk and honey' (Exodus 3:8 NIV). God came down to bring them up - and he promises to do the same for us.

The idea of God coming down to bring us up gives us hope. It means we don't have to work for freedom by ourselves. Our habits and sins are not too much for him. When we admit that we need help and ask him, he loves to step down into the situation and help us loosen the chains that have held us. The Bible says: 'The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom' (2 Corinthians 3:17 NCV).

So what now? What do you need freedom from? Invite God to come down into your situation today.

Soulfood: 1 Ki 10-11 Mark 8:27-38 Ps 45 Pro 12:7-9,


Being trustworthy

'Those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence.' Proverbs 11:13 NLT

We all have weaknesses, habits, struggles, dreams, childhood memories, unspoken needs and longings that we keep hidden deep inside. We don't want the world to know about the painful memories we hold on to, or for anyone to find out about the things we battle with. But the truth is, we can't keep any of these things a secret from God. He sees everything. 'He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him' (Daniel 2:22 NIV). But even when he knows our worst secrets, he still loves us and invites us into a relationship with him.

We all have a yearning for someone to confide in and trust, and God provides that safe place for us to confess our hidden thoughts and sins. But God also provides trustworthy people who we can talk to, to help us work through our battles and keep us accountable to overcome them.

And we can be dependable and trustworthy friends for others. We can do that by: (1) offering them a space where they can safely be vulnerable and open (see Proverbs 3:29); and (2) refusing to reveal something we're told in confidence (see Proverbs 11:13) - there are a few exceptions, such as if the person is going to harm themselves or others, so we also need to pray for wisdom to know when we can't keep something confidential.

So what now? Ask God for trustworthy friends, and strive to be a trustworthy person yourself, who others know they can depend on.

Soulfood: 1 Ki 8-9 Mark 8:14-26 Ps 47 Pro 12:4-6,


Walk out of the storm

'In all things God works for the good of those who love him.' Romans 8:28 NIV

When we're going through a challenging time, it can be easy for God's voice and leading to be drowned out by the wind and waves of the 'storm' we're facing. Feelings of fear, disappointment and bitterness may seem more powerful than God. But the truth is, we can't avoid 'storms', and sometimes we have to go through them to reach good outcomes or achieve great success.

In Deuteronomy 8, the Israelites were told: 'The Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with rivers and pools of water...a land where you will have plenty of food, where you will have everything you need' (Deuteronomy 8:7-9 NCV). But the blessing of the good land came out of the trial of the wilderness. In a previous verse, it says: 'Remember how the Lord your God has led you in the desert for these forty years, taking away your pride and testing you' (Deuteronomy 8:2 NCV). It's summed up in these words: 'We went through fire and flood, but you brought us to a place with good things' (Psalm 66:12 NCV).

So when we're going through challenging situations, we can be confident in knowing that God's desire is that good comes out of them for us and for his glory. In Romans 8:28, we're told that 'in all things God works for the good of those who love him' (NIV).

So what now? Look back over a time that was really tough in your life. Write down the good things, however big or small, that came out of it.

Soulfood: Exo 20:14 Pro 6:23-35 Matt 5:27-28 John 8:1-11,


Obedience leads to blessing

'Because you have done this thing...I will bless you.' Genesis 22:16-17 NKJV

Isaac was the lifelong dream of a barren woman named Sarah and her husband Abraham; the biggest blessing they could have imagined. But God had an even bigger blessing in store. And that blessing came through Abraham's obedience in a time of testing. 'Because you have done this and have not withheld... your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me' (Genesis 22:16-18 NIV).

God always has more in store for us, and sometimes we can only get to that by walking faithfully and obediently through a really testing situation. And this testing time may be to show us where we've put things before God or allowed the blessing to overtake our love for the one who blessed us.

In Psalm 139 it says: 'Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting' (Psalm 139:23-24 NIV). We can ask him to show us where we've failed to keep him as the priority in our lives. And then we can step into the 'more' he has for us.

So what now? If there's anything in your life that has taken priority over God, be obedient to hand it back to him. You will be blessed for your obedience.

Soulfood: 1 Ki 6-7 Mark 8:1-13 Ps 97 Pro 12:1-3,

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