Word For You Today

Wisdom when working

'Happy is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gets understanding.' Proverbs 3:13 NCV

The Bible often encourages us to gain or use wisdom. One important place to exercise wisdom is when we're working. We might think it's honourable to be constantly occupied, but that isn't using good judgment.

Here are a few things to bear in mind: (1) Know what to say yes to. We might be tempted to do many things in our day-to-day lives. And we say yes, because it's considered being helpful. But we can end up getting burned out. So, it's a good idea to ask God which tasks we should prioritise our energy on. (2) Take time to stop and recharge. In Genesis 2:2, God took time to rest. In Luke 5:16, we're told that 'Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed' (NIV). We should follow these examples and make sure we take time to refresh ourselves and be alone with God. (3) Reflect on accomplishments. When God finished Creation, he 'saw all that he had made, and it was very good' (Genesis 1:31 NIV). When we've completed a task, it's good to take stock: to see what we've done well, what we could have done better, and how much we've learned in the process. It's a time to thank God for giving us the strength and resources to complete the task. God thought it was worthwhile to look back on what he'd done, and so should we.

So what now? Learning to say yes to the important things? Taking time to rest? Reflecting on what you've accomplished? What changes can you make to show wisdom in the way you work?

Soulfood: Gen 1-3 Jn 12:12-19 Ps 102:1-11 Pro 30:18-20,


Confess and be free 5

'The Lord looks at the heart.' 1 Samuel 16:7 NLT

Why do we hide our sins? We might feel ashamed, afraid of the consequences, afraid to reveal that we're not as perfect as we appear. Much of the time, it's about the fear of revealing the difference between our public image and our private one.

We can also be uneasy about revealing our sins to God. We might avoid spending time with him because we know we're hiding things. But, actually, those are the times when we should be running to him and clinging more closely to him. The Bible tells us that 'the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought' (1 Chronicles 28:9 NIV). God knows our best and our worst. And he knows the motives behind our words and actions. For many of us, that's a very scary thought, but we need to remember this: God knows the worst about us, yet he still wants a relationship with us. 1 John 4:10 says 'This is real love - not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins' (NLT).

There's no need to hide our sins from God. He already knows about them, and has already paid the ultimate price to release us from them. He wouldn't do that and then turn away from us.

So what now? Next time you feel ashamed about the way you've behaved or reacted, use those feelings as your personal reminder to draw close to God. Thank him for his love and salvation, confess what you need to and ask for forgiveness.

Soulfood: Ecc 9-12 Jn 12:1-11 Ps 76 Pro 30:15-17,


Confess and be free 4

'You forgave me! All my guilt is gone.' Psalm 32:5 NLT

Let's be clear about this: nobody is perfect. Ecclesiastes 7:20 says, 'Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins' (NLT). Only Jesus can claim never to have sinned. And yet, when we've done something wrong, we feel like the only person in the world who's made that mistake. Guilt makes us feel lonely. We don't want to open up to anyone, so we isolate ourselves. We think others will judge us or reject us for what we've done. (If we're honest, we may have avoided someone when we discovered some less-than-great fact about them!)

So we put on the 'everything's fine' mask, while secretly carrying that guilt inside us. It's humbling and uncomfortable to own up about the things we've done wrong. But the Bible says, 'A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in times of need' (Proverbs 17:17 NLT). If we decided to open up about our mistakes, maybe some would turn away from us. We might also be surprised to find out who would stick with us.

We can be certain that God won't turn away from us. He's told us, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you' (Hebrews 13:5 NIV). God is our truest and most faithful friend. Even if it is intimidating to confess to our perfect God, we can be confident he'll welcome us and draw us close to him when we do.

So what now? As you pray today, talk to God as if you're talking to your most trusted friend. Because that's who he is.

Soulfood: Ecc 5-8 Jn 11:38-57 Ps 81 Pro 30:11-14,


Confess and be free 3

'Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt.' Psalm 32:5 NLT

When we've done something wrong, or even many things wrong, we may think that we've made too many mistakes for God to ever want us to do Kingdom work for him. But, actually, when we confess to him, it makes a massive difference. When we choose to confide in him, we can experience freedom from the guilt we've kept bottled up. The psalmist wrote: 'When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away...My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat...Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt...And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone' (Psalm 32:3-5 NLT).

When we confess, then ask for and accept God's forgiveness, we're taking responsibility for our actions while acknowledging that he's greater than us, and far greater than our sins. It releases us from the prison of guilt and regret that we've built up around ourselves, cleanses us and restores our relationship with him.

God can use all our experiences for his purpose, even if those experiences are bad ones. Think about it - who would be better placed to reach others and tell them about God than someone who's also battled in a certain area and then gone on to experience God's grace and forgiveness?

So what now? When you've done wrong, confess it quickly to God, accept his forgiveness, and experience freedom from guilt and shame. Then ask him how you can turn that mistake into something positive for his Kingdom.

Soulfood: Ecc 1-4 Jn 11:28-37 Ps 50 Pro 30:7-10,


Confess and be free 2

'Whoever confesses and abandons [sins] receives compassion.' Proverbs 28:13 GWT

Ever done any decorating? Maybe the wall plaster has a couple of cracks. Nothing too big, but they ruin the surface and don't look good. So you fill them in and paint over them. It all looks fine, but you know there are problems below the surface. Eventually, a quick fix just isn't enough and you have to completely re-plaster the wall and start afresh.

It can be like that with hidden sin. We might feel ashamed of the things we've done wrong, or think that nobody else can have done anything as bad. So we cover over our sins to appear to be the righteous, perfect people we wish we were. But it's only a quick fix, and sooner or later we're going to be hurt by the guilt of what we've kept hidden. Proverbs 28:13 says: 'Whoever covers over his sins does not prosper. Whoever confesses and abandons them receives compassion.' (GWT).

So, our best option is to bring our wrongdoings into the open. The Bible tells us: 'If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness' (1 John 1:9 NIV). God promises to forgive us if we admit what we've done wrong, and he always keeps his promises.

So what now? Have a good heart-to-heart confession time with God. Although it might be painful to open up and tell him, you can be sure of his forgiveness. And when you do, you'll feel freedom and enjoy a fresh, new start.

Soulfood: Dan 1:3-21 Dan 3:7-30 Dan 5:10-12 Dan 9:1-19,


Confess and be free 1

'Everything that is hidden will be shown, and everything that is secret will be made known.' Luke 12:2 NCV

We often feel under pressure to be perfect Christians. We may feel that people are waiting for us to make a mistake so they can point out we're no better than them. And we're not. We all make mistakes. We all have things we're not proud of or would prefer to hide. So we put on a public face that makes us look good and disguises our flaws and mistakes.

But Jesus said: 'Everything that is hidden will be shown, and everything that is secret will be made known' (Luke 12:2 NCV). God knows the things we do wrong and the unhealthy attitudes we have. But more important to him is the potential he sees in us. But until we acknowledge and confess the things we struggle with, we won't feel free to walk in openness in relationship with God.

Have you ever kept something hidden from your family? The thing you've done wrong weighs on your mind and affects your relationship with them. It's the same with God when we don't admit our wrong behaviour or attitude to him. So to restore that relationship, we need to open up to him and bring our sins from the darkness and into the light where God can help us work on those areas and reach the potential he sees in us.

So what now? Is there anything you haven't confessed to God yet? Be completely open with him, so that you can be set free and move on to be all you were meant to be in God.

Soulfood: Rom 15-16 Jn 11:17-27 Ps 8 Pro 30:5-6,


Our perfect Father

'Bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.' Ephesians 6:4 NLT

'Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord' (Ephesians 6:4 NLT). For those of us who aren't parents, we might think this verse doesn't apply to us. But when we look deeper, it's teaching us a lot about God's character, as our Father.

In Greek, the word for 'discipline' is paideia. Other ways to translate paideia are training, instruction, correction and nurture - just about everything needed to bring up a child, and everything we'll experience from God when we choose to let him be part of our lives. He nurtures, guides, loves, encourages and protects us. He instructs us on his plan for our lives and trains us to fulfil that plan.

And God disciplines and corrects us when we need to be guided back onto his path. We may think that discipline's a negative thing. But the Bible reminds us that 'God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it' (Hebrews 12:10-11 NIV).

God disciplines us from a place of love, not from a place of revenge for disobeying his instructions. Ephesians 6:4 is a picture of the perfect father. And that's what God is to us.

So what now? Thank God that he is a perfect Father, who wants you to be the best version of yourself.

Soulfood: Rom 12-14 Jn 11:1-16 Ps 105:1-15 Pro 30:1-4,

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