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The Word For Today

Stand on God's Word 1



'I am ready to perform my word.' Jeremiah 1:12 NKJV

When you are facing danger. David said: 'This I declare about the Lord: he alone is my refuge, my place of safety...my God and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armour and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you...If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up...so you won't even hurt your foot on a stone...The Lord says, "I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honour them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation"' (Psalm 91:2-16 NLT).

Note the phrase, 'This I declare about the Lord.' When you speak God's Word over your life, you release the power contained in it. So stand firm today, and expect God to honour his Word!

Soulfood: Exo 33-35, Matt 8:28-34, Ps 89:15-37, Pro 2:21-22

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Make your relationships a winwin



'Look out...for the interests of others.' Philippians 2:4 NKJV

If your only motive for giving to someone is to see what you can get back, you will be disappointed. The Bible says, 'Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others' (Philippians 2:4 NKJV). When you give yourself to another person for that person's development and well-being, you are truly giving and God will bless you for it.

If you're married or a parent, you know this from personal experience. What does your husband or wife value most highly? Money in the bank, or your time freely given? What would your children rather have? A toy, or your undivided attention? The people who love you would rather have you than what you can give them. It's wise to invest in yourself and your career, but never at the expense of those who matter most. If you succeed in your career but fail with your loved ones, your success will be hollow and your regrets real.

Solomon was famous for his wealth and wisdom. Yet he wrote, 'As I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless - like chasing the wind' (Ecclesiastes 2:11 NLT). Learn from his mistakes. Don't invest in things, invest in relationships. Here is how most relationships often play out: 'I win, you lose - I win only once. You win, I lose - you win only once. We both win - we win many times.' When you seek the good of others, God promises that good things will come to you (see Ephesians 6:8).

Soulfood: Exo 30-32, Matt 8:18-27, Ps 89:1-14, Pro 2:20

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A humble offering



'The Lord respected Abel and his offering: but he did not respect Cain.' Genesis 4:4-5 NKJV

Cain cultivated the ground, planted the seed, gathered the harvest and offered God the fruits of his labours. He thought God would be impressed, and that he would feel obligated to bless him. But that's not how it works! Abel, on the other hand, told God something like, 'I did nothing. You created the lamb I'm offering. I'm just giving you back what's yours, and asking you to bless it.' And God did!

You can tell a lot about somebody by how they approach God. Some of us act like God owes us something. Others among us are so impressed with our spiritual status and accomplishments that we feel the need to approach him with lofty phraseology and high-sounding 'thees' and 'thous'. But God isn't impressed, so let's get real! 'The Lord respected Abel and his offering' (Genesis 4:4 NKJV). That's because unlike his brother, Abel wasn't seeking credit for anything. He wanted God to have all the glory. That's the kind of offering that moves God's heart and invites his richest blessing upon our lives.

So what are you offering God today? Your achievements? Your denominational credentials? Your self-reliance? Your shallow emotion? If you are, don't bother! The only thing he asks is that you humbly open your heart and let him recreate you in the likeness of Jesus. When you do that, something wonderful happens. By downplaying your own self-interests and giving God an acceptable offering, not only will he receive and respect it, he will bless you and equip you to bless others too. That's how it works!

Soulfood: Luke 2:8-20, Pro 3:13-18, Ps 119:161-168

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How to raise a secure adult



'The children of your people will live in security.' Psalm 102:28 NLT

When you ask parents about their future hopes for their children, you'll hear words like happy, secure and self-confident. Those are nice sentiments, but not guarantees. But what makes that kind of adult? A childhood filled with trophies and good grades? A life in the country, far away from the crime-ridden city? Enriching pastimes like travel and music? The truth is, not one of these things predicts later happiness. That doesn't mean you shouldn't encourage children to study and excel; having parents who value knowledge makes a difference.

The important qualities, however, aren't external, they're internal. Psychologist Dr Edward Hallowell says to feel secure, your children need to develop two crucial skills: (1) The ability to overcome adversity. (2) The capacity to sustain joy. He says, 'Life is full of disappointments. Only by failing the first time and learning to try, try and try again will a person get the most out of their abilities.'

But how do you teach your kids to be joyful in the face of adversity? There's only one way to do it: introduce them to the source of joy. Isaiah said, 'My soul shall be joyful in my God; for he has clothed me with...salvation' (Isaiah 61:10 NKJV). David said, 'In your presence is fulness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore' (Psalm 16:11 NKJV). Jeremiah said, 'Your word was to me the joy...of my heart' (Jeremiah 15:16 NKJV). God never promised us a life without problems, but his Word says, 'The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives...joy' (Galatians 5:22 NLT).

Soulfood: Exo 28-29, Matt 8:10-17, Ps 84, Pro 2:16-19

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The right mindfuel



'Be changed within by a new way of thinking.' Romans 12:2 NCV

What we consume determines our performance. That's why you need to be careful what you feed your body, your children, your pets and even your car.

But what you feed your mind is equally important, especially when you consider these two laws that operate in life: (1) The law of cognition. Your thoughts influence your emotions and your behaviour. The Bible says, 'For as he thinks in his heart, so is he' (Proverbs 23:7 NKJV). Jesus said a good tree can't produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can't produce good fruit (see Matthew 7:18). In other words, good thinking can't produce bad results, just as bad thinking can't produce good results. (2) The law of exposure. The Bible says, 'Do not...be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking' (Romans 12:2 NCV). You'll always think about what you are exposed to the most. And given the violence, lust and greed portrayed by the media, it's not surprising that crime and immorality are on the rise. You can't just say, 'I'm going to read this magazine, watch this programme, listen to this music, but it won't affect me.' Social science now confirms what God said all along - it does affect you! Where you go, what you read (or don't read), what you watch and the dreams you entertain all shape your mind.

Paul writes, 'Remember what Christ taught, and let his words enrich your lives and make you wise' (Colossians 3:16 TLB). So when you need the right mind-fuel, remember: 'I entrust you to God and his care and to his wonderful words that are able to build your faith and give you all the inheritance' (Acts 20:32 TLB).

Soulfood: Exo 25-27, Matt 8:1-9, Ps 81, Pro 2:11-15

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Choosing a lifetime partner



'Don't be teamed with those who do not love the Lord.' 2 Corinthians 6:14 TLB

An ox and a donkey each have a tail, two eyes and four legs. But if you harness them together, they won't get along or work well together. Actually, they will pull in different directions. That's because God made them with very different natures and attributes! With that picture in your mind, here's some advice on dating you'd be wise to heed.

Looks soon fade, so choose someone who has other, less obvious attributes. For example: (1) Consider their manners and how they treat the waiter at the restaurant. (2) What type of interests do they have? (3) Do they share your spiritual values and beliefs? (4) Do they show genuine interest in what you have to say? (5) How do they treat people they're not trying to impress? Once the newness of the initial attraction wears off, there must be something more, or the relationship is doomed. And make sure you're the chooser, and not the chosen.

So, think about what you really want, and don't entrust your heart to someone without first ascertaining their suitability. The only way to do that is to ask questions and ask God for discernment so you can learn to read their motives through their mannerisms. If you're going to make an informed decision about sharing your life with this person, and share the most intimate, vulnerable parts of yourself literally and figuratively, you must open your eyes, along with all your senses, and really see the other person. Stop. Look. Listen. Pray. That's the Bible's formula for making a wise decision when it comes to choosing a mate for life.

Soulfood: Exo 22-24, Matt 7:15-29, Ps 79, Pro 2:9-10

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Try Less and Trust More



'He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.' Philippians 1:6 NIV

If you want God's will to be done in your life, don't rush things. Sarah, Abraham's wife, did: as a result Ishmael was born, and that brought all sorts of strife and family complications. Remember: 'Flesh gives birth to flesh but the Spirit gives birth to spirit' (John 3:6 NIV), so be sure your plans are conceived by God's Spirit. Don't try to salvage anything flesh-based. God said, 'My covenant I will establish with Isaac' (Genesis 17:21 NKJV). Isaac was born as a result of God's will, done God's way, in God's time.

Everything that's conceived in you comes from one of two sources: the flesh or the Spirit. So be careful. People will try to involve you in all kinds of schemes to promote yourself. God doesn't need anybody's help to bless you; he can do it all by himself! That's why whenever Satan attacks you, you need to be able to point him to your spiritual birthplace and remind him that you didn't begin this project and you don't have to finish it.

'He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion' (Philippians 1:6 NIV). And here's another thought. If God's dealing with you about carnality, pride or some other obstacle in your path, don't resist, don't run and don't get in his way. Like a drowning man frantically trying to save himself - until you stop flailing around God can't do anything for you. So the word for you today is: 'Try less and trust more!'

Soulfood: Exo 19-21, Matt 7:1-14, Ps 74:12-23, Pro 2:7-8

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Use the power of praise



'His praise shall continually be in my mouth.' Psalm 34:1 NKJV

You can praise God too little, but you can never praise him too much. David writes, 'From the rising of the sun to its going down the Lord's name is to be praised' (Psalm 113:3 NKJV). 'Seven times a day I praise you' (Psalm 119:164 NKJV). 'His praise shall continually be in my mouth' (Psalm 34:1 NKJV). When you are overwhelmed by circumstances, the last thing you feel like doing is praising God. But it's the first thing you should do, because praise gets your attention off yourself and onto God's miraculous power.Jehoshaphat faced an army he had no hope of defeating. But when he started to praise God, his enemies destroyed each other while he looked on in amazement. When Paul and Silas praised God in prison, their chains broke and the doors opened. It's normal to focus on the problem and forget to praise God, but praise solves problems. Peter writes: 'the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honour and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ' (1 Peter 1:7 NKJV).Start to acknowledge the power of praise and choose to exalt God regardless of how you feel. Praise brings you into God's presence and positions you for his favour and blessing. You say, 'But I don't understand how praise works.' Think about it like this: you don't have to understand aerodynamics in order to fly. You just get on the plane and the pilot takes you where you need to go. It's the same when you praise God - just do it and you'll get results.

Soulfood: Exo 16-18, Matt 6:19-34, Ps 74:1-11, Pro 2:6

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Receive God's forgiveness



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

When God forgave David for adultery and murder, he wrote: 'Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Finally, I confessed my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said..."I will confess my rebellion to the Lord." And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone' (Psalm 32:1-5 NLT).

Unconfessed, unforgiven sin will make you miserable. But after you've acknowledged it and received God's forgiveness, you shouldn't continue to feel miserable. So why do we feel miserable? Many times it's because of how we were raised. We grew up hearing words like, 'I hope you feel bad about what you've done!' or 'Shame on you!' And if our offence was great, like wrecking the family car, we may even have been put on probation! In other words, we're programmed for long-term guilt.

The good news is, God's forgiveness doesn't work that way. The moment that brings conviction and confession of sin also brings cleansing of sin, and leads to restored confidence before God. Don't let Satan keep condemning you. Refuse to walk around feeling guilty and ashamed. Today say with the psalmist, 'You forgave me! All my guilt is gone' (Psalm 32:5 NLT). Now go out and live freely, confidently and with joy!

Soulfood: Exo 13-15, Matt 6:9-18, Ps 71:17-24, Pro 2:3-5

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He can help you to stand



'To him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand.' Jude 24 NAS

Pick friends who respect your values; otherwise, you will end up under pressure to compromise your convictions to maintain their friendship. That's too high a price to pay! Joseph said no to the sexual advances of his boss' wife, and there's a lesson for you in his story.

There are people in the workplace who may push every button and probe every weakness you have, in order to bring you down to their level. And if they succeed, they'll attack you rather than appreciate you. What should you do? Turn to God for help! '[He] will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it' (1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV). When someone seeks to compromise your character, God promises to 'make a way of escape' so you don't have to succumb to temptation. Even if your decision results in your being penalised, alienated or terminated, ask God for courage to do the right thing. His promise to you is: 'Those who honour me I will honour' (1 Samuel 2:30 NKJV).

Remember, it's better to be alone and walk with God than give in to temptation, violate his Word and compromise your convictions by 'going along to get along'. When you stand tall and do the right thing, you bring honour and glory to God. Jude writes, 'to him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand... God our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever' (Jude 24-25 NAS).

Soulfood: Isa 61, Heb 12:2, Isa 35:3-10

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