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The Word For Today

'Congratulations on your new location'



'I go to prepare a place for you.' John 14:2 NKJV

A lady ordered two bouquets of flowers, one for a friend who was relocating his business and the other for the funeral of a friend who had just died. Unfortunately, the florist mixed up the orders. As a result, the friend relocating his business received flowers with a note saying, 'In deepest sympathy', while the deceased's flowers came with a card saying, 'Congratulations on your new location!'

Redeemed child of God, one day you'll hear the words, 'Congratulations on your new location.' Heaven isn't 'a state of mind' or celestial cyberspace. It's a prepared place for a prepared people. The Bible talks of 'the whole family in Heaven and earth' (Ephesians 3:15 NKJV). Perhaps someone you've loved and lost is waiting for you there and you're looking forward to seeing them again. Perhaps you're wondering if we'll know each other. Yes! Would we know less in Heaven than we knew on earth? No. Paul says, 'Then shall I know them just as I also am known' (1 Corinthians 13:12 NKJV). Not only will we know each other, but we'll eat together and enjoy one another for all eternity. Imagine fabulous food with no cholesterol! No disease. And best of all, no heartache, for God himself will 'wipe away all tears...and there shall be no more death...sorrow...crying, nor pain. All of that...gone forever' (Revelation 21:4 TLB).

Have you come to the place in life where you know for sure that if you died today you'd go to Heaven? You can have that assurance by placing your trust in the One who paid for all your sins - and offers you the gift of eternal life.

Soulfood: Deut 32:29-52 Deut 33 Deut 34:1-12 Matt 14:13-21 Ps 119:17-24 Pro 17:7-10,

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Take the lid off your thinking



'For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.' Proverbs 23:7 NKJV

Until Roger Bannister came on the scene in 1954, some experts said it was physically impossible to break the four-minute mile record. The thinking was, if it hasn't been done, it's because it can't be done. But Bannister not only did it, he started a new trend. History continues to prove that records are made to be broken. And with God on your side, your chances for success go through the roof! Paul said, 'I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ' (Philippians 4:13 TLB).

Have you ever seen trained fleas in a jar? You don't need a lid to keep them in. That's because when the trainer first places them in the jar, he puts the lid on it, and the fleas jump up and down frantically hitting their heads against it. Finally, after a lot of headaches, they stop jumping and settle in to enjoy their newfound comfort. Now when the lid is removed the fleas are held captive by a mindset that says, 'So high and no higher.' What a picture!

Jesus said he came to 'set free those who are oppressed [...bruised...]' (Luke 4:18 AMP). Bruised by what? By past mistakes, by harsh criticism, by crippling fears, by wrong teaching, by physical, emotional, mental and spiritual handicaps. In other words, Jesus came to help you take the lid off your thinking! No matter how bad your past is, the future he has in mind is better - and it is worth pursuing and fighting for.

Soulfood: 1 Sam 17:4-51 Eph 6:10-18,

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God's presence sets us apart



'Your presence...sets your people...apart.' Exodus 33:16 NLT

The world expects Christians to be different from those who don't profess to know Jesus, and that's as it should be. Believers should set an example when it comes to serving others and showing love. Jesus said, 'People will know...you are my followers if you love each other' (John 13:35 NCV). In the Old Testament when the Israelites broke God's covenant by worshipping a golden calf, Moses pleaded with God not to give up on them. His argument was this: 'How will anyone know that you look favourably on...your people - if you don't go with us? For your presence among us sets your people...apart' (Exodus 33:16). What made Israel unique among the nations was the evidence of God's presence as he journeyed with them. And God's presence should set you apart too!

When Jesus told his disciples, 'I will be with you always' (Matthew 28:20 NCV), he demonstrated his presence through the Holy Spirit who dwelt in and empowered them. So much so, that their enemies said they had 'turned the world upside down' (Acts 17:6 NKJV). But as pastor and author Mark D. Roberts observes: 'This doesn't give us grounds for pride or boasting. God's presence is an expression of his grace, not our worthiness. In fact, our confidence in God's presence...gives us a strong conviction of our high calling to serve him in every capacity of life. It gives us courage to live according to his Kingdom...to serve others in his name...if God is with us on our side, what do we have to fear?'

So today thank God for his presence in your life, and decide never to take it for granted.

Soulfood: Deut 30:1-20 Deut 31 Deut 32:1-28 Matt 14:1-12 Ps 119:9-16 Pro 17:4-6,

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The importance of good communication



'Teach these truths to other trustworthy people...' 2 Timothy 2:2 NLT

Here's a bit of time-tested wisdom that will help get you the results you want in life: become a good communicator. Whether you lead in the church, the workplace or the home, you must take the time to communicate clearly with people in order to succeed.

One of the things virtually every employee wishes he or she had with superiors is better communication. Unfortunately, when those employees become managers, they forget to communicate with those they manage. This isn't the case of Sally Frame Kasaks, who became CEO of the Ann Taylor clothing store franchise. She placed a new emphasis on quality products and on 'more and better communication with employees at all levels'. Within a year, sales rose over 30 per cent. Paul Kahn had a similar agenda when he became chairman and CEO of Safeguard Services. He had his head of operations, Richard Interdonato, change the internal company strategy to emphasise three things: (1) Open doors. Leadership became more accessible to employees. (2) Visibility. Interdonato spent about 40 per cent of his time 'just talking with people'. (3) Sharing information through a daily newsletter and frequent open forums with employees. It worked. Within a year, earnings increased by 13.1 per cent.

When you're on top, always remember the issues that are important to those below you. Why? Because no matter how great your vision may be, without the cooperation and commitment of those below you, your vision will never be fulfilled. Paul, who was a great communicator, wrote, 'Teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others' (2 Timothy 2:2 NLT).

Soulfood: Deut 28-29 Matt 13:47-58 Ps 119:1-8 Pro 17:3,

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God's remedy for depression



'Why, my soul, are you downcast?' Psalm 43:5 NIV

According to the New Zealand Health Survey 2016/2017, one in six New Zealand adults has been diagnosed with a common mental disorder at some time in their lives. This includes depression and bipolar and anxiety disorders. Many will not reach for assistance because they believe mental health is a personal weakness.

Now, let's make an important distinction here. If you're clinically depressed it could be due to a chemical imbalance in your body, and a doctor can help you. But the Bible can help. If you're feeling sad or hopeless, it provides wisdom on how to recover. Your situation won't be solved with a few clich?s or a good pick-me-up lecture from a friend. What you need is 'the wisdom that is from above' (James 3:17 NKJV). After calling down fire from Heaven, Elijah 'sat down...and prayed that he might die' (1 Kings 19:4 NKJV). Fortunately, he turned to the right source. 'All at once an angel touched him and said, "Get up"' (1 Kings 19:5 NIV). Now, God may not send you an angel, but he will answer you, lift and restore you.

The psalmist said: 'Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.' Who is David talking to? Himself! First, he talked to God about his problem; that's what you do in prayer. Next, he listened to God about his problem; that's what you do when you read the Scriptures and speak them over your life. That strategy works. It worked for David - and it will work for you too.

Soulfood: Deut 25-27 Matt 13:36-46 Ps 78:65-72 Pro 17:1-2,

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Consecrate yourself to God



'Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.' Joshua 3:5 NIV

On the threshold of the Promised Land, God said to his people, 'Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you' (Joshua 3:5 NIV). When you consecrate yourself to God he will do things in you, with you, for you and through you that will amaze you. We want to do amazing things for God, and that's noble. But we've got it backwards. God wants to do amazing things for us. That's his job, not ours. Our job is consecration. And consecration is more than going to church, keeping the Ten Commandments, tithing, sharing your faith, repeating the sinner's prayer, volunteering for a ministry, raising your hands in worship and going on a mission trip. All those are good things, but that isn't consecration.

The utensils used in temple worship were considered 'consecrated'. In other words, they were set apart for the exclusive use of God. They were devoted to his service. Consecration means dethroning yourself and enthroning Jesus as Lord of your life. It's the complete divestiture of all self-interest. It's giving God veto power. It's surrendering all of you to all of him. It's a simple recognition that every second of your time, every ounce of your energy, and every penny of your money is a gift from God and for God. Consecration is an ever-deepening love for Jesus, a childlike trust in your heavenly Father and a blind obedience to the Holy Spirit.

So the word for you today is - consecrate yourself to God.

Soulfood: Deut 22-24 Matt 13:24-35 Ps 78:56-64 Pro 16:33,

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Are you feeling threatened



'When they had prayed, the place...was shaken.' Acts 4:31 NAS

Are you in an intimidating situation? If so, notice four things the disciples did when they felt threatened by the religious authorities of their day.

(1) They brought God into the picture. 'Lord, take note of their threats' (Acts 4:29 NAS). Have you talked to the Lord about it? If it's not big enough to be a prayer, it's too small to be a burden! God should be the first person you discuss it with, not the last. Prayer is the door through which he enters your situation, so be sure you invite him in. (2) They prayed for greater faith. 'Grant to your servants...boldness' (Acts 4:29 NKJV). It's unrealistic to think all your questions will be answered and all your fears will disappear. Faith and fear will always be at work in your life. To be an overcomer, you must learn to starve your fear and feed your faith on God's Word (see Romans 10:17).

(3) They expected God to intervene. 'Stretch out your hand' (Acts 4:30 NIV). Don't just sit in the seat of 'do-nothing' and expect God to move. Go on the offensive. When the disciples were in a storm the Bible says, 'About four o'clock in the morning Jesus came to them, walking on the water' (Matthew 14:25 TLB)! Jesus works the night shift! He's available any time you call. (4) They were filled with the Holy Spirit. 'When they had prayed...they were all filled with the Holy Spirit' (Acts 4:31 NAS). There's the key! They were strengthened and energised by God's power - you can be too.

Soulfood: Deut 18-21 Matt 13:10-23 Ps 78:40-55 Pro 16:32,

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God accepts you so accept yourself



'God looked at everything he had made, and he was very pleased.' Genesis 1:31 GNT

You can't deal with anything effectively until you first accept it for what it is - including yourself! Dictionary definitions for 'accept' include: (1) to receive willingly; (2) to view as right; (3) to agree with. First, acceptance involves your will. You can choose to accept yourself or not; it's up to you. Second, when something is acceptable it's viewed as being 'right'. We tend to reject ourselves because we see only what's wrong with us, rarely what's right. Often this attitude was instilled in us early in life by those who focused on our weaknesses instead of our strengths, and we still carry their opinions with us. Third, the word 'accept' means 'to agree with'. If you're having a problem accepting yourself, you need to get into agreement with God's Word. He says you're 'righteous', so start saying the same thing (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). That can take a while to sink in, but over time it will take root within you. The Bible says, 'Can two walk together, unless they are agreed' (Amos 3:3 NKJV)? To walk with God you must agree with him. He says he loves you and accepts you 'in Christ', so start to agree with him and stop putting yourself down.

When God made us, he said, 'It was very good,' and he hasn't changed his mind. But be patient - he's not through with his creative work in your life. And he wants you to see yourself as he sees you and learn to love yourself while you're still 'under construction'.

Soulfood: Deut 14-17 Matt 13:1-9 Ps 78:32-39 Pro 16:31,

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Leave a legacy



'Well done, good and faithful servant.' Matthew 25:21 NKJV

You don't get to choose the moment of your arrival and departure here on earth, but you get to choose what your legacy will be, what you will be remembered for.

At five, he wrote an advanced concerto for the harpsichord. Before he was ten he published several violin sonatas and was playing Handel and Bach from memory. Soon after his twelfth birthday he composed and conducted his first opera. He was awarded an honorary appointment as concertmaster with the Salzburg Symphony Orchestra, and within a few years was hailed as the pride of Salzburg. When he died at age 35 he had written forty-eight symphonies; forty-seven arias, duets, and quartets, with orchestral accompaniment; and more than a dozen operas. He's credited with some 600 original compositions in all. Even so, Mozart lived most of his life in poverty and died without fanfare. He was buried in a standard unmarked grave, as was usual practice for the time. No shrine marks his resting place. Today, what is Mozart remembered for? What is his legacy? Not the modest life he lived, but the music he gave the world that still enriches our lives.

When your life's sole focus is self-interest, you won't be missed when you are gone, or missed for the right reasons. So find a cause greater than yourself, one that will outlive you, and pour yourself into it. Don't just leave a will, leave a legacy that fulfils God's will.

Soulfood: Lev 24:17-22 Deut 15:7-11 Matt 5:38-48,

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Strive for intimacy in your marriage



'Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?' Amos 3:3 NKJV

The Bible teaches us that the basis for a good marriage isn't just sharing the same bed every night, but the same values and goals every day. Without those, it will be like talking to each other in a foreign language. Now, you won't always agree, and you must accept that. But if you want to reach the same destination you've got to follow the same road map. Like building a house, you need to work from an agreed-upon set of blueprints.

After a while you discover that physical intimacy alone isn't enough. That might get you through the night, but it takes genuine friendship and shared faith in God to get you through the years. We're talking about husbands and wives who communicate without saying a word because the same purposes and principles govern their lives. And when problems arise, as they invariably do, they seek solutions from the same source - God. When life fell apart for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, they came before God together because they had both had a relationship with him. After all, how can you correct the problem if one of you doesn't think there is a problem?

True intimacy comes when the sex is over and the commitment is stronger than ever. It allows you to be with someone without always needing to impress them. One author puts it like this: 'When we know we're loved because of who we are, we become healthier in mind and more intimate in expression. We're freed from the fear of rejection and loosed from the anxiety of having to perform.'

Soulfood: Deut 11-13 Matt 12:38-50 Ps 78:17-31 Pro 16:26-30,

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