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Peter 10:00-3:00pm

The Word For Today

Jairus 1

'Jairus, a leader of the local synagogue, came and fell at Jesus' feet.' Luke 8:41 NLT

Jairus enjoyed the social status of a mayor or bishop. But when your child is in a crisis, all the celebrity status in the world won't help you. And Jairus wasn't the only parent to run to Jesus when trouble came knocking on the door of their home. A mother stormed out of the Canaanite hills, crying, 'Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter has a demon' (Matthew 15:22 NCV). The father of a seizure-tormented boy also sought help from the disciples. When they failed to provide it, he turned to Jesus. In tears, he said, 'Lord, I believe; help my unbelief' (Mark 9:24 NKJV)! In each case Jesus responded. He never turned one away.

And he won't turn you away either! After all, your kids were his kids first. The psalmist said, 'Children are a gift from the Lord; babies are a reward' (Psalm 127:3 NCV). Next to the gift of salvation, your children are 'God's best gift' to you. And even though they are yours, they are still his. And what he owns, he protects and provides for. Like the Prodigal Son, they may have broken every one of God's laws and broken your heart. But your prayers are what gives God an invitation and an entry point back into their lives.

The love of the father that drew the Prodigal back home, will bring your wayward child back too. What Jesus said to Jairus, he is saying to you today: 'Don't be afraid. Just have faith, and [he] she will be healed' (Luke 8:50 NLT).

Soulfood: 2 Sam 14:21-17:13 Lk 7:36-50 Ps 118:19-29 Pro 18:10-12,


A prayer for knowing God's will

'You saw me before I was born.' Psalm 139:16 NLT

The psalmist wrote: 'You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God' (Psalm 139:16-17 NLT).

If you want to know God's will for your life, pray this prayer: 'Lord, you knew me completely before I was born, and you shaped me and destined me for a purpose. Give me a clear vision of all you want to do in and through my life. I desperately need to understand what the "hope of my calling" (Ephesians 4:4 NAS) is, and "the exceeding greatness of his power" (Ephesians 1:19 NKJV) to enable me to fulfil your purpose (see 2 Corinthians 9:14). Show me the gifts you have put in me, and how I can develop and use them for your glory (see Romans 12:6). Help me to think big and pray with boldness (see Ephesians 3:20). I want to be open and available for whatever you have for me, and not miss your blessings by being unprepared to receive them. Help me not to hold on to things or relationships that are not of you. I want to do your will with my whole heart (see Psalm 40:8). Only you know what and who is right for me. Help me to hear your voice, and give me the grace and courage to follow your leading when I am afraid (see John 10:4). May the desires of your heart become the desires of my heart. Enlarge my capacity to believe that you can take what I have and multiply it beyond what I can imagine. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.'

Soulfood: 2 Sam 12:1-14:20 Lk 7:24-35 Ps 118:10-18 Pro 18:7-9,


Your hiding place

'You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.' Psalm 32:7 NIV

Have you ever fantasised about running away from all the stresses of today's high-tech world? Surely there's a place somewhere on the globe where the pace is slower and the living is easy. That dream motivated a family in 1940 to move to an island called Guadalcanal in the Coral Sea. But two years later war broke out in the Pacific, and the couple found themselves witnessing a battle - in their front yard. Obviously, they had chosen the wrong place.

Where can you go to escape the noise and hubbub of city life? How about a small island in the Caribbean called Grand Cayman? Vacationers to this resort say it is the closest thing to paradise on earth. The residents there pay no taxes. The water around them is calm and warm, and there are orchids growing everywhere. Sounds good, doesn't it? But there's a catch. Medical studies revealed that the two major ailments suffered by the citizens of Grand Cayman are hypertension and anxiety neurosis. Life on a tropical beach is not always what it appears to be.

Could it be that the stresses and pressures with which we struggle, actually come from within? Yes. And they will plague us no matter where we live, until we learn to deal with circumstances as they are. Here's how the psalmist did it: 'You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you' (Psalm 32:7-8 NIV).

Soulfood: 2 Sam 7:18-11:27 Lk 7:11-23 Ps 118:1-9 Pro 18:4-6,


Avoiding the doldrums in marriage

'And, behold, Isaac was caressing his wife Rebekah.' Genesis 26:8 NAS

Back in the days when wooden ships depended on the wind to drive them, sailors had much to be concerned about: pirates, storms and diseases. But often their greatest fear was 'the doldrums' - an area near the equator characterised by calm and very light shifting winds. It could mean the death of the entire crew. The ship's food and water supply would be depleted as they drifted for days, or even weeks, waiting for a breeze to put them back on course.

We talk about something 'taking the wind out of our sails', meaning we've lost our momentum and we need something to get us back on course again. Your marriage doesn't lose its momentum overnight, but over months and years of insensitivity and neglect. But it doesn't have to be that way for you. Author Doug Fields, in his book Creative Romance, writes: 'Romancing your spouse can change those patterns, and it can be a lot of fun. There's no quick fix to a stagnant marriage, of course, but you can lay aside the excuses and begin to date your sweetheart again.' God brought this charge against the church at Ephesus: 'You have left your first love' (Revelation 2:4 NKJV). Then he told them how to remedy it: 'Repent and do the first works' (Revelation 2:5 NKJV).

Fearing King Abimelech would kill him and take his wife Rebekah, Isaac lied and said she was his sister. What gave him away? King Abimelech looked out a window, and, 'Behold, Isaac was caressing his wife Rebekah' (Genesis 26:8 NAS). Romance saved his life and his marriage, and it can do the same for yours.

Soulfood: Mt 5:8 Ps 24:3-6 Ps 18:17-26 1 John 3:1-3,


Your setback can lead to a comeback

'Thank God for letting Jesus... give us the victory.' 1 Corinthians 15:57 CEV

What seems like a setback is often a setup for a comeback! There's no greater illustration of this than Good Friday. On the Saturday between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, it seemed all was lost. But it's not over until God says it's over! The greatest spiritual victory in history was won on the heels of its seemingly greatest defeat. All was lost, but not for long. Three days after his crucifixion, Jesus walked out of his tomb.

And as a redeemed child of God, that same power lives in you today. 'If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you' (Romans 8:11 NKJV). In God's kingdom failure is never final. Not if you believe in the resurrection! You won't win every spiritual battle, but the war has been decisively won. The victory was sealed two thousand years ago when Jesus broke the seal of his tomb. It was the death blow to death itself. Paul writes, 'Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us' (Romans 8:37 NKJV).

Today you are more than a conqueror (in all these things) because of what Christ accomplished for you. Yes, you'll experience setbacks. But remember this: without a crucifixion there can be no resurrection. So when you have a setback, don't take a step back, because God is preparing your comeback.

Soulfood: 2 Sam 3:22-7:17 Lk 7:1-10 Ps 109:16-31 Pro 18:1-3,


Getting people to listen to you 2

'The Lord gave him success in everything he did.' Genesis 39:3 NIV

The second credential you need when it comes to getting people to listen to you is: success. Credibility doesn't come from knowledge alone; it comes from results. When people want to succeed, they seek advice from those who have actually accomplished something. When you're successful, there will always be those who want to listen to you. And if you have a proven track record in an area where they want to succeed, your credibility goes through the roof.

So what does it take to be a success? Many different things. Here are a few: (1) Habits. Everybody wants to succeed, but few are willing to pay the price. You don't determine your future; you determine your habits and your habits determine your future. The secret lies in your daily routine. To succeed you must make a habit of doing what those who are unsuccessful don't do. (2) Opportunity. A successful person makes hay from the grass that grows under the other person's feet! They don't restrict their efforts to the hours when the sun shines. They recognise that success takes aspiration, inspiration and perspiration. (3) Persistence. Success means getting back up each time you fall. Scientist and inventor Louis Pasteur said, 'Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity.' (4) God. Abraham Lincoln said, 'I believe the will of God prevails; without him all human reliance is vain; without the assistance of that divine being I cannot succeed; with that assistance I cannot fail.'

God gave Joseph 'success in everything he did' (Genesis 39:3 NIV), and he wants to do the same for you!

Soulfood: 2 Sam 1:1-3:21 Lk 6:37-49 Ps 109:1-15 Pro 17:27-28,


Getting people to listen to you 1

'The common people heard him gladly.' Mark 12:37 NKJV

The Bible says concerning Jesus: 'The common people heard him gladly' (Mark 12:37 NKJV). Why? Because his words were backed by these all-important things: his character, his conduct and his concern for others. In short, Jesus earned the right to speak. Have you?

Getting people to listen calls for: insight. When what you say truly helps somebody, you form a connection. Benjamin Franklin, one of the most admired figures in American history and known for his homespun wisdom, had a remarkable career. Interestingly, he had little formal education. He attended school for only two years, yet he was highly respected because of his knowledge and keen insight. A voracious reader and an intellectually curious man, he became expert in a remarkable number of areas: printing and publishing, politics, civic activism, the sciences and diplomacy. He was an innovative inventor who secured the support of France during the Revolutionary War, founded the first public library in America, served as the first president of the American Philosophical Society, and helped draft the Declaration of Independence. Biographer Walter Isaacson called Franklin 'the most accomplished American of his age and the most influential in inventing the type of society America would become'. People felt a sense of connection when Franklin shared his wisdom.

When you love people, work hard, study, develop and share your expertise in a given area, they will learn to respect and listen to you. And when it comes to listening, you don't get what you demand, you get what you earn.

Soulfood: Eph 4:17-6:24 Lk 6:27-36 Ps 79 Pro 17:24-26,


Learn to work with others

'Be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.' 1 Corinthians 1:10 NLT

There's a legend about a covey of quail that lived in a forest. The birds were happy there, apart from their enemy, the quail catcher. He would imitate their call, and then when they gathered together he'd throw a net over them, stuff them into his hunting basket, and carry them off to market. Finally a wise old quail said, 'Brothers and sisters, I have a plan. When the quail catcher throws his net over us, we should all put our heads into a section of the net together and start flapping our wings. That way we can lift it as one and fly off with it.' The birds all agreed, and the next day they did exactly that, making a successful escape. When the quail-catcher's wife asked him, 'Where are the quail to take to market?' he replied, 'When they all got together there was no stopping them!'

Writing to the Corinthian church, the apostle Paul said, 'Some members of Chloe's household have told me about your quarrels' (1 Corinthians 1:11 NLT). He told them, 'Live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions...Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose' (1 Corinthians 1:10 NLT).

Success in any venture calls for the death of individual ego and self-interest. So when a mistake is made, refuse to place blame. Be forgiving, and don't allow an offence to develop into bitterness. Offer praise for other team members' strengths, and offer help in their areas of weakness. Be conscientious and dependable and stay focused on the bigger goal. When we learn to work together there's no stopping us!

Soulfood: Eph 1:1-4:16 Lk 6:17-26 Ps 137 Pro 17:22-23,


Join Christ's victorious church 3

'If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.' 2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV

Nothing in history compares to what has been accomplished by Christian missionaries. Over one hundred years ago, a writer returning from a trip around the world discovered that missions and missionaries were being bombarded with criticism in the London newspapers. So he wrote a letter to the papers defending missions. In it he said that the transformation of wild savages in the isles of the South Seas was something to behold, and that to make light of this was a heinous crime: 'In a voyager, to forget these things is base ineptitude; for should he chance to be at the point of shipwreck on some unknown coast, he will most devoutly pray that the lesson of the missionary may have preceded him.' The author of that letter was none other than Charles Darwin. And after his return from his around-the-world trip he was transformed.

Consider the Papuans, one of the aboriginal tribes of New Guinea. Missionaries from Holland began to work with them and, in 1860, the first fruits of the New Holland Mission were seen when a man named Nathaniel Pepper, one of the aborigines, accepted Christ. Some years later, when thousands had been converted, the Papuan school won first prize in academic competitions among the twelve hundred colonial schools in New Holland. Quite a feat!

Sceptics may have built a few leprosariums, hospitals and orphanages, but by far it's been the followers of Jesus Christ who have made the greatest impact on this world.

Soulfood: 1 Sam 27-31 Lk 6:1-16 Ps 122 Pro 17:18-21,


Join Christ's victorious church 2

'Receive him...no longer as a slave but...a brother.' Philemon 1:15-16 NKJV

What finally brought about an end to slavery? The gospel of Jesus Christ. Note the small letter Paul wrote to Philemon. A runaway slave was thrown into a Roman prison along with Paul, and Paul converted him to Christ. And when the slave was released, Paul sent him back to his owner, Philemon. The custom at that time was to kill escaped slaves after they'd been recaptured. But now Philemon had also become a Christian, another convert of the apostle Paul, who instructed him to 'receive him...no longer as a slave but...a brother' (Philemon 1:15-16 NKJV). And in that new brotherhood slavery found its death knell.Now, fast forward to the days of William Wilberforce, who was convicted of his sin and converted under the preaching of John Wesley. Wilberforce, a slight, hunch-backed man, became one of the most powerful members of Parliament. Consumed by the Gospel and the freedom that Christ offered, Wilberforce devoted all his energies and eloquence to overthrowing the obnoxious African slave trade. And his success in abolishing it throughout the British Empire led to agitation for similar action in the United States. In fact, it was through the proclamations that thundered from pulpits throughout the northern states that abolitionist parties came into being and succeeded in destroying slavery once and for all. So it was through the church that slavery was eradicated.Jesus came 'to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives' (Luke 4:18 NKJV). Are you a member of Christ's redeemed church? If not, you can sign up today!

Soulfood: 1 Sam 24-26 Lk 5:27-39 Ps 110 Pro 17:15-17,

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