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Word For You Today

What will you be remembered for

'Those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever.' Daniel 12:3 NLT

At funerals, there's usually a time when people pay tribute to and share memories of the person who died. When we die, what do we want people to say, and remember, about us? Hopefully not about how much money we made, how clever we were or the amount of 'stuff' we owned. Our legacy should be about how close our character was to Christ's, how strong our faith was, who we shared God's love and redemption with and the positive influence we had on our communities.

As Christ followers, our life on earth is meant to be about becoming more like him and living as he did. It's about having an impact on others and using our lives to glorify God. The Bible says: 'Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your work in the Lord is never wasted' (1 Corinthians 15:58 NCV).

The work we do for God today has eternal value. It's not a waste of time. When we feel like we're not making any difference for Jesus, we mustn't give up. It isn't about people thinking how great we were or how good a life we led; it's about the difference we made on earth when God's Kingdom broke through into our communities and into people's lives. Let's be people who leave this kind of legacy so that those after us will praise God 'from generation to generation' (Psalm 79:13 NIV).

So what now? It's never too late to start building your legacy around Jesus. Start living as he did today!

Soulfood: 2 Cor 9:1-11:15 Lk 2:8-20 Ps 144:9-15 Pro 16:4-7,


Quit that complaining

'Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.' 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV

When things don't go the way we're expecting, or circumstances seem to be against us, it's easy to fall into the trap of complaining. It can temporarily make us feel better. But the cycle goes like this: we have a problem so we complain and stay stuck. We feel bad, so we complain even more and end up with a whole load of stress, rather than a solution.

The Bible says: Do everything without complaining or arguing' (Philippians 2:14 NCV). So, it's definitely something we shouldn't be doing. But why? Not only does it make things worse, it also means we're doubting God's wisdom and provision. It's easy to forget what God's done for us, the blessings he's given us, and complain because our current prayers haven't been answered yet. And when we get trapped in the cycle of complaining, and we forget what God's done for us, we lose our joy.

So instead of complaining, we need to be counting our blessings and thanking God. 'Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus' (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV). The word 'all' is key. We shouldn't just be thankful when things go well and turn out how we were expecting, we should be thankful in all situations. It will change our perspective completely.

So what now? Every time you complain today, make a mark on some paper. At the end of the day, next to every mark you made, write down something you're thankful for.

Soulfood: Mt 5:5 Num 12:1-15 Ps 37:1-9 Phil 2:5-11,


Break out of the box

'He will bring us safely into that land and give it to us.' Numbers 14:8 NLT

We often put limits on ourselves. We might not even realise we're doing it. It might be something as simple as seeing a job advert, and immediately thinking 'I couldn't apply, they probably want someone with more experience.' Or we have a dream or idea, but people tell us it can't be done, so we just give up on it.

The problem is, we can get so used to self-imposed limitations and telling ourselves, 'I can't do that,' we may start to store up all that negativity and used it to build a box we can't escape from. This happened to the Israelites. When others saw giants in the Promised Land, they wanted to give up and return to Egypt. But Caleb refused to be limited by their opinions, and said, 'The Lord...will bring us safely into that land and give it to us' (Numbers 14:8 NLT). At that point two things happened. 'The whole community began to talk about stoning Joshua and Caleb. Then the glorious presence of the Lord appeared to all the Israelites at the Tabernacle' (Numbers 14:10 NLT). God said yes to Caleb, and that was all the approval he needed.

The truth is, God never tries to box us in - we just need to make the decision to break out and follow his guidance.

So what now? Make a note of how many times you say, 'I can't' today. Tonight, think back over each one, and honestly ask yourself if it was legitimate, or if you said it because of self-imposed limits.

Soulfood: 2 Cor 5-8 Lk 2:1-7 Ps 144:1-8 Pro 16:1-3,


Power in our weakest moments

'He...increases the power of the weak.' Isaiah 40:29 NIV

We've all experienced moments of complete helplessness: times when we felt powerless to help others or ourselves. It might be our own thoughts or the words of others chipping away at us until we believe we can't do something.

But we're not powerless or helpless, because we have God to help us through it. If we're willing to step out in faith, his power goes with us. One of the greatest promises in the Bible is: 'He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak' (Isaiah 40:29 NIV). This verse promises us that even in our weakest moments, we have power that God will build on. He can build on the minutest bit of strength we possess. It means we don't have to live in exhaustion and weakness. God has the power to take everything that wears us down or breaks us down, and free us from it. We just need to bring it all before him and trust him. This also goes for when we're not allowing ourselves to feel weak and when we convince ourselves that we can do it alone - we're denying God the right to carry us and strengthen us.

Today, let's resolve to allow him into every area of our lives. He knows what he's doing.

So what now? Read these Bible verses whenever you're feeling powerless: 'But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord' (Micah 3:8 NIV). 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible' (Matthew 19:26 NIV).

Soulfood: 2 Cor 1-4 Lk 1:67-80 Ps 139:13-24 Pro 15:31-33,


Know your calling 2

'Whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing.' John 14:12 NIV

Our calling will always be connected to an unmet need or an opportunity to do good. It was in listening to the cries of the Israelites in slavery that Moses discovered his calling. So did William Wilberforce, so he devoted his life to seeing slavery eradicated in Britain. Ezekiel writes: 'I came to the exiles...And there, where they were living, I sat among them for seven days - deeply distressed. At the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me' (Ezekiel 3:15-16 NIV).

If we want to discover our calling, we need to start praying about situations that trouble us. If we sense that our calling involves helping the poor, we should spend time around those in poverty. We need to allow our hearts to be moved, carry within us the desire to see change, and keep praying, 'Lord, make me a change agent.'

When Jesus called his disciples, he chose people from different backgrounds: a doctor, a government worker, a group of fishermen. He basically told them, 'I believe in you. What I know I'll teach you,' and promised them that 'whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing' (John 14:12 NIV). Jesus empowered his followers to go out and live like he did. And that's what he's calling us to do too.

So what now? Is there an unmet need that really touches your heart? Add it to your prayer list, and pray about it every day. Ask God if there's something he wants you to do about it.

Soulfood: Ezek 46-48 Lk 1:57-66 Ps 139:7-12 Pro 15:28-30,


Know your calling 1

'What is that in your hand?' Exodus 4:2 NIV

When God called Moses, one of the first questions he asked him was: 'What is that in your hand?' Moses was holding his shepherd's staff - used to protect his sheep. But God had a different plan for it - to use it to part the Red Sea and lead Israel into the Promised Land.

When God asks us, 'What is that in your hand?' he wants us to think about our talents, experiences, relationships, education, resources, our mind and our temperament. Added to these is psychologist Dr Martin Seligman's research on 'signature strengths'. They fall into six categories: (1) Wisdom and knowledge: things like curiosity, love of learning, sound judgement and social intelligence. (2) Courage: this includes perseverance and integrity. (3) Humanity: the capacity for kindness, and the ability to express mercy. (4) Justice: the ability to bring about fairness and leadership. (5) Temperance: qualities like self-control, prudence and humility. (6) Transcendence: appreciation for beauty, the expression of gratitude, the ability to hope, and the capacity for joy. We all have the capacity for each of these strengths, but the ones that resonate most deeply within us are our personal 'signature strengths'. Once we identify these, we begin to understand our calling.

God uses 'what we have in our hands' - not something that we have to seek for - to advance his Kingdom and to bring him glory.

So what now? Take another look through the list of signature strengths. See which strengths are your personal ones and ask God how you can use them for his glory.

Soulfood: Ezek 43-45 Lk 1:39-56 Ps 139:1-6 Pro 15:25-27,


Having the right attitude

'You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.' Philippians 2:5 NLT

Ever had to work in a group with someone with a bad attitude? Even if they did their fair share, it somehow made the task harder. A bad attitude can negatively affect everything, like relationships, chances of getting a job or being trusted with more responsibility.

Let's be honest, we all have days when our attitude is off. But, an attitude isn't set; it's actually a choice. Author Chuck Swindoll writes: 'Attitude, to me, is more important than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It's more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company...a church...a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we embrace for that day. We cannot change our past...we cannot change the fact that people act in a certain way... The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude...I'm convinced that life is 10 per cent what happens to me and 90 per cent how I react to it. And so it is with you...We are in charge of our attitudes.'

Paul writes, 'You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had' (Philippians 2:5 NLT). He approached people with love, grace, acceptance and a heart to serve rather than be served.

So what now? If your attitude hasn't been too good lately, move on with this prayer: 'Father, give me a Christlike attitude towards everyone I meet.'

Soulfood: Ezek 40:10-42:20 Lk 1:26-38 Ps 73:17-28 Pro 15:22-24,

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