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Word For You Today

BRING IT (2)

 



There's a part of Florida covered with wiry trees called Caribbean Pines. They thrive in really deadly environments. They hold their own against drought, fire and hurricanes. If trees were super heroes these guys would have 20 sequels. In fact, if you plant them in the sort of setting trees should love, they're so hardcore they just shrivel and die rather than live on like a normal tree.



God led the children of Israel through the wilderness: 'to prove [their] character, and... find out whether or not [they] would obey His commandments'. They could choose to give up and shrivel up there, or trust Him to bring them safely to the Promised Land.



When things get too comfortable, your faith actually shrivels. The odd blast of wilderness can be genuinely good for it. Sometimes, then, God allows the fiery draught of very difficult times in order for us to see what's in our faith (is it made of the good, solid stuff that trusts in God?), and to mature it, to chip away at the raw material of our life to get to the true and better person inside. God leads you through the wilderness to prove your character. That also means that He's in control. Your 'wilderness', if you've given your life to God, is both for a purpose (the best there can be: His loving plan for you) and it's safe - in His hands.



So when rough times look like they're about to sweep in, bring it on!



So what now? What hard times have you been brought through lately? What good things have come from them that couldn't have happened otherwise?

Soulfood : Jn 10:1-18, Rev 7:13-17, Ps 23, Lk 15:1-7

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BRING IT (2)

 



There's a part of Florida covered with wiry trees called Caribbean Pines. They thrive in really deadly environments. They hold their own against drought, fire and hurricanes. If trees were super heroes these guys would have 20 sequels. In fact, if you plant them in the sort of setting trees should love, they're so hardcore they just shrivel and die rather than live on like a normal tree.



God led the children of Israel through the wilderness: 'to prove [their] character, and... find out whether or not [they] would obey His commandments'. They could choose to give up and shrivel up there, or trust Him to bring them safely to the Promised Land.



When things get too comfortable, your faith actually shrivels. The odd blast of wilderness can be genuinely good for it. Sometimes, then, God allows the fiery draught of very difficult times in order for us to see what's in our faith (is it made of the good, solid stuff that trusts in God?), and to mature it, to chip away at the raw material of our life to get to the true and better person inside. God leads you through the wilderness to prove your character. That also means that He's in control. Your 'wilderness', if you've given your life to God, is both for a purpose (the best there can be: His loving plan for you) and it's safe - in His hands.



So when rough times look like they're about to sweep in, bring it on!



So what now? What hard times have you been brought through lately? What good things have come from them that couldn't have happened otherwise?

Soulfood : Jn 10:1-18, Rev 7:13-17, Ps 23, Lk 15:1-7

Read more...

BRING IT (2)

 



There's a part of Florida covered with wiry trees called Caribbean Pines. They thrive in really deadly environments. They hold their own against drought, fire and hurricanes. If trees were super heroes these guys would have 20 sequels. In fact, if you plant them in the sort of setting trees should love, they're so hardcore they just shrivel and die rather than live on like a normal tree.



God led the children of Israel through the wilderness: 'to prove [their] character, and... find out whether or not [they] would obey His commandments'. They could choose to give up and shrivel up there, or trust Him to bring them safely to the Promised Land.



When things get too comfortable, your faith actually shrivels. The odd blast of wilderness can be genuinely good for it. Sometimes, then, God allows the fiery draught of very difficult times in order for us to see what's in our faith (is it made of the good, solid stuff that trusts in God?), and to mature it, to chip away at the raw material of our life to get to the true and better person inside. God leads you through the wilderness to prove your character. That also means that He's in control. Your 'wilderness', if you've given your life to God, is both for a purpose (the best there can be: His loving plan for you) and it's safe - in His hands.



So when rough times look like they're about to sweep in, bring it on!



So what now? What hard times have you been brought through lately? What good things have come from them that couldn't have happened otherwise?

Soulfood : Jn 10:1-18, Rev 7:13-17, Ps 23, Lk 15:1-7

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HELP FOR STRESS (2)

About 300 years ago, minister Matthew Henry rifled through the Bible and wrote cool footnotes (otherwise known as a commentary) on all the pages. Here's what he had to say about today's verse: 'The world's comforts give little delight to the soul, when hurried with melancholy thoughts; but God's comforts bring that peace and pleasure which the smiles of the world cannot give, and which the frowns of the world cannot take away.'

Today, most people sense that there must be something deeper to how we feel than 'just getting through' from day to day. To stay in touch with our humanity we have to look out for God's comforts. As you walk around today, notice what God puts in your path. The old clichés are to watch a sunset, or to lie on a beach. But you might have to train yourself up to look out for the beauty of God in everyday places too. To appreciate a conversation with a friend. To make a small gesture of kindness to someone in your family that you take for granted. To stop being hurried and find that deeper comfort that the world can't take away.

When you do this, you might even find that the Author of beauty Himself sneaks up on you to delight in it with you. Nothing we know restores your soul more.

So what now? When you find yourself on autopilot today, take a breath in and be present in (put your attention back on) the world around you. Ask God to show you His beauty and comfort.

Soulfood : 2 Chr 16-18, Lk 16:1-18, Ps 119:105-112, Prov 21:28-31

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HELP FOR STRESS (1)

'Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.' Proverbs 12:25 NIV

Your stomach's in knots, you feel like an elephant's sat on your chest, your thoughts are running amok. Where can you find relief? In stressed-out days it's hard to remember that you are, as you are, with all your weakness and tired thoughts, enough to God. He has said that you are His beloved. Even when you come down harshly on yourself, He does not change how He thinks about you.

When you forget that God has said that you are enough, it's important to have friends who will come and show you that. There's a kindness that you would show to others when they are struggling, but that you don't always show to yourself.

One of the wonderful things about being part of Christ's family is that other Christians can 'be' Christ to you in those moments. They can show you what God thinks of you, in patience, quiet listening, in some well-placed humour at the right time. These are really important ways that we experience the love of God through our friends who carry His Holy Spirit. Do you have those sorts of friends?

So what now? If you're going through a stressful patch, it could be helpful to venture out and connect with friends who've proven to be good listeners before. Or, if you're feeling pretty on top of things at the minute, look out for a friend who needs some help in a stress-filled situation.

SoulFood: 2 Chron 12-15; Luke 15:11-32; Ps 119:97-104; Pro 21:24-27

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FACEPLANTING OUT OF FREEDOM

'Blessed are they... who walk according to the law of the Lord.' Psalms 119:1 NIV

Have a read through Psalm 119, and you'll see that the writer really, really liked getting stuck into God's law. This is not just a hobby. So, why should we choose to focus only on what God wants for us, and not on instinct or what others are saying?

You start to understand the Psalmist's enthusiasm about hard moral codes if you think about kids playing on a cliff edge. Without a fence you're counting the seconds until one of them makes a fatal faceplant. With a fence, there are no worries. God's law is a fence that brings incredible freedom.

Maybe it's only a matter of time until one of the kids starts wondering what's on the other side of the fence. If they don't know or trust the fence builder, they hop over the fence - and kerplonk! If they survive, they come back saying, like the Psalmist, 'I used to wander off until You disciplined me; but now I closely follow Your word' (Psalms 119:67 NLT).

The Ten Commandments start with the words, 'I am the Lord your God... ' (Exodus 20:2 ESV). All the don't kill, steal, etc. bits come after that; God speaks about the relationship first, then about the rules that keep it on safe ground. It's when we get that the Fence Builder absolutely loves us and wants the best for us that we're happy to stay on the right side of the fence.

So what now? In your prayer time with God today, ask to notice where He's put up important fences in your life that you might have not seen yet.

SoulFood: 2 Chron 8-11; Luke 15:1-10; Ps 119:89-96; Pro 21:20-23

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A THUMBS-UP THAT MATTERS

'Who is he who condemns?...' Romans 8:34 NKJV

When it comes to an area of your life that needs improvement, it's good to be concerned about it, but not consumed with it. You'll always be working on some area of your life, so learning that who you are in Christ is not going to change is going to be pretty important if you want to sleep at night: 'There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus...' (Romans 8:1 NKJ).

Because God has chosen to see you 'in Christ', He finds you acceptable, every day (more than that, He's downright thrilled to know you. Really.) and you always have access to Him. Your 'who' is not based on your 'do'.

God's not about shaming and blaming. Yes, He'll convict you, and when you stop resisting His goodness (hint - 'Repent') He'll get you back up on your feet, but He won't be shaking His head and glaring while He does it. You do that to yourself. God never will. 'Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who makes intercession for us' (Romans 8:34 NKJ). Jesus gives you His thumbs-up, and it is the only thumbs-up that matters.

So what now? You are you. God is really quite chuffed with you. So when somebody hits out at you, or you feel condemned, stand on this Scripture: 'Surely the Lord God will help me; who is he who will condemn me? Indeed they will all grow old like a garment; the moth will eat them up' (Isaiah 50:9 NKJ).

SoulFood: 2 Chron 5-7; Luke 14:25-35; Ps 119:81-88; Pro 21:17-19

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