Eloise 10:00-2:00pm

Word For You Today

Clean slate

'Cleanse me from my sin.' Psalm 51:2 NIV

King David let his passions run away with him and then covered it up. For a while he thought he was ok, but he didn't get away with it for long. David did something that took him down a path not mapped out by God, lost his sense of closeness with God, lost his peace of mind, and lost the respect of others. There are always consequences!

David's sin dragged his name through the mud, caused pain to Bathsheba and death to her husband but, first and foremost, David's sin was against God. Listen to David's prayer: 'Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O God...make me willing to obey you' (Psalm 51:9-12 NLT).

Is God highlighting an area of disobedience in your life? Get it right with him today and you will feel so much better! Your obedience to God frees you; he only puts boundaries in place to protect you. Like a fireguard stops a baby reaching into the fire and getting burnt, God sets guards in your life so you don't get unnecessarily hurt. When David finally said sorry to God, Nathan the prophet said, 'The Lord has taken away your sin' (2 Samuel 12:13 NIV).

So what now? God's forgiveness is awesome. He not only takes away the stains of your mistakes but chooses to forget that you sinned in the first place, 'I will forget the wrongs you have done' (Isaiah 43: 25 CEV). He offers you a clean slate!

Soulfood: 2 Kings 5:1-27, Matt 6:19-34, Acts 5:1-11, Acts 5:1-11


The original superhero

'This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.' Hebrews 4:15 NLT

Many of us grew up idolising superheroes. Batman, Spiderman, The Hulk; every boy wanted to be them and every girl wanted to be rescued by them. But did you notice that the heroes were flawed in some way? Hulk had anger issues, Spiderman had girl trouble and Batman was moody and spent a lot of time in a cave! The truth is, even superheroes need saving.

Do you really think that it was one person's job to save you? News flash, it was! Jesus Christ is the original superhero. He healed sick people, kicked the devil's backside and saved humanity from being condemned for eternity. And, to top it all off he made a way for you to know his Dad, G.O.D!

Jesus was flawless. In the Bible it says he was tempted to make bad choices (Matt 4), but he didn't! He chose to obey his Father in Heaven in everything he did. Because of that he was able to die for us and in so doing break the power of sin, death and all the stupid decisions we have ever made in our lives. Because he was perfect, death and sin had no legal right to him, so they couldn't keep hold of him. Two days after he died, he came alive again! Not a ghost, but real flesh and bones (see John 20:27).

So what now? Jesus, the ultimate superhero, was willing to pay the ultimate price and forgive all your mistakes. You have been saved, forever, through love. Think about that!

Soulfood: Rom 3:21-6:23, John 8:31-41, Ps 83:1-8, Prov 29:19-22


Learn from it and move on

'God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God.' Romans 8:28 NLT

One day seven-year-old Walter noticed an owl sleeping on a branch. Thinking it would make a great pet he approached quietly and grabbed its leg. In a panic, the bird fought so much that the boy threw it down and stamped it to death. Horrified by his actions, he ran away. When he returned later to bury it, each shovelful of earth was mixed with tears. The incident haunted him and he told no one about it until years later when it had created in him a fresh appreciation for life. All the regret in the world couldn't bring back that one owl, but through its death a world of animals was born. The boy's name was Walter Elias... we know him as Walt Disney.

Famous English writer Charles Dickens said, 'Reflect on your blessings of which every man has plenty, not on your past misfortunes of which all men have some.' Learn from your past, absolutely, but don't live in it. Use the things you've been through, good and bad, as a springboard to the future.

Can you really do that? If you don't think it's possible, pick up your Bible and find stories from Genesis to Revelation of characters used by God. Over and over you'll find amazing ways in which 'God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God' (Romans 8:28 NLT).

So what now? God can repaint your past in the light of his grace that got you to where you are today. So choose to learn from it... and move on.

Soulfood: Rom 1:1-3:20, John 8:12-30, Ps 133, Prov 29:15-18


Someone needs what you've got

'We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands.' 1 John 1:1 NLT

Today, someone you'll meet needs what you've got. They may not know it or even want it but they need it. What is it they need? Jesus! The great apostle John encouraged young Christians, 'We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own we you that he is the one' (1 John 1:1-2 NLT). John was speaking from his own first-hand experience and you can do the same. Your words will be even more effective if people also see proof of Jesus working in your life. If the way you deal with life is confused and chaotic, why would they bother to show interest?

The apostle Paul recalls the words he heard during his life-changing vision of the risen Jesus: 'I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and my witness...tell the world about this experience' (Acts 26:16 TLB).

Listen: every experience you've had with Jesus has one purpose - to make you his 'servant' and his 'witness'. That's your job! If you're serious about your job, watch your mouth and actions! You'll never win people to Christ if all they hear coming out of your mouth is negative and all you ever do is mope around looking miserable.

So what now? You have the amazing privilege of being a servant and witness, to introduce someone to Jesus, the one you've had a personal encounter with. Why not take a minute right now to pray and ask Jesus to make you more aware of who needs what you've got - Jesus!

Soulfood: Is 63-66, John 8:1-11, Ps 99, Prov 29:11-14


Church Why bother

'I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the Lord."' Psalm 122:1 NLT

A university did a survey looking at whether being part of a church has any effect on a person's quality of life. They found that people who belong to a church are happier, enjoy better health and live longer than those who don't.

We can describe church using the image of a house. A house is the centre of family life. It's where lifelong relationships are formed. It's a place where every member feels valued just for being themselves. It's a place to belong, to love and be loved. And that's exactly the kind of place God wants his house to be. If you've ever watched the TV series Wife Swap you'll know most homes aren't perfect but when people are willing to follow new rules of living they feel better. In the same way, when a church follows the rules of living as Jesus taught they are amazing places.

In the time of King David people worshipped God in a massive tent. Reading his writings in the Psalms, it's pretty obvious it was David's favourite place to be: 'One day in your courtyards is better than a thousand anywhere else. I would rather stand in the entrance to my God's house than live inside wicked people's homes' (Psalm 84:10 GWT). There was nothing special about the tent to get David praising like that. No, he just wanted to be there to offer God the worship he deserves.

So what now? Have you found yourself a 'tent' to worship God in yet? If not, give it a go. It's good for you!

Soulfood: Is 58-62, John 7:45-53, Ps 115, Prov 29:7-10


Break through for others

'When Jesus saw their faith.' Mark 2:5 NIV

The book of Mark describes a crazy day in the life of Jesus: '...four people came up, carrying a crippled man on a mat. But because of the crowd, they could not get him to Jesus. So they made a hole in the roof above him and let the man down in front of everyone' (Mark 2:3-4 CEV).

When you're bringing someone to Jesus (in prayer, and possibly on a mat!), remember:

(1) Break through the barriers! Nobody said bringing people to Jesus would be easy. These four men had to get through a crowd and a roof. But they refused to give in or get discouraged. If what you've tried hasn't worked, ask God to show you the way. Doctors can treat people but only the Lord can heal them within and without, so get them to him. (2) Flex your faith; it's what moves God! Mark writes, 'Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralysed man, "My child, your sins are forgiven"' (Mark 2:5 NLT). Even if you're praying for someone who has little or no faith of their own, God will honour your faith, so put it into action! (3) Don't go it alone. Carrying someone else's load for them can be a heavy work. Find someone who'll agree with and support you in prayer: 'If two of you...agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in Heaven' (Matthew 18:19 NIV). What a promise!

So what now? Go ahead, bring people to Jesus expecting to receive; he won't disappoint you!

Soulfood: Is 53-57, John 7:33-44, Ps 15, Prov 29:4-6


Rush your giant 3

'The battle is the Lord's.' 1 Samuel 17:47 NIV

As he stepped out to fight Goliath, David began to flow with faith-talk, 'You come against me with sword and spear...but I come against you in the name of the Lord...[He] will deliver you into my hands...all those gathered here will know...there the Lord saves...for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give all of you into our hands' (1 Samuel 17:45-47 NIV). Not one of the soldiers around him gave him encouragement so David just got on with encouraging himself. He let his enemy know that he wasn't stepping out alone - the living God was with him. The same goes for you - if everyone around you is being negative, just ignore them!

If you're in a hopeless situation where there seems to be no way out, instead of wasting time and energy focusing on your weaknesses, focus on God's power. When you focus on the enemy you stumble but when you focus on God the enemy stumbles. You'll never win if you fight in your own strength; so don't even go there!

God's already 'given you authority...over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will...harm you' (Luke 10:19 AMP). Paul writes, 'Put on the full armour of God...that you may be able [successfully] stand... against all the... strategies...of the devil' (Ephesians 6:11 AMP).

So what now? Don't keep your coat of armour hanging in the wardrobe - put it on! And remember, the armour comes complete with the most powerful weapon in the universe; the sword of the Word of God; perfect for rushing giants!

Soulfood: Is 49-52, John 7:25-32, Ps 123, Prov 29:1-3

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