Lizzie 10:00-3:00pm

The Word For Today

Cool Thoughts for Hotheads (1)

'...A hot-tempered person commits all kinds of sin.' Proverbs 29:22 NLT

Righteous indignation is the capacity to get aroused when it matters. When you see people mistreated and don't feel concerned, you're either in denial or lacking compassion. God designed anger to move us to action. The Bible says, '...God is angry with the wicked every day' (Psalms 7:11 NKJV); it motivates His actions against man's wickedness. When Jesus saw His Father's house being desecrated His anger drove Him to make a whip, overthrow the money tables and chase out the loan sharks. His '...passion for God's house [consumed Him]' (John 2:17 NLT). He couldn't remain passive or be part of compromise. The world needs people who'll take action when the weak and vulnerable are 'used and abused'.
Hot temper, however, isn't the fruit of godly motivation. It's driven by our lower nature. Like Balaam who got angry when he was challenged by the truth, our pride gets hurt (Numbers 22:29). Or like Cain, who was jealous because his brother's gift was accepted and his wasn't, we get resentful when someone else seems blessed more than us (Genesis 4:3-7). Like Haman, who was enraged that Mordecai wouldn't bow before him, we selfishly desire to have our way (Esther 3:1-6). Like King Saul, who was envious over David's popularity, we get jealous when someone else has accomplished more than us (1 Samuel 18:8). Like King Ahab, who was confronted with the truth he'd rather not hear, we refuse to face our sinful ways and failures (1 Kings 22:15-27).
The Bible cautions us: 'When you are angry, do not not give the devil a way to defeat you' (Ephesians 4:26-27 NCV).

SoulFood: Ezek 24:1 - 27:24, Mark 13:24-37, Ps 132:11-18, Pro 15:5-7


Serving Requires Faithfulness

In His dealings with people, the Bible says of Christ: 'Having loved His own...He loved them unto the end' (John 13:1 KJV). And when it came to His dealings with God, He could say, 'I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me' (John 5:30 NKJV).

Can God count on you? Can others? When you make a commitment, do you keep it? Do you quit on a whim, or break your word because you get a better offer? 'In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called him in a vision, "Ananias!" "Yes, Lord," he answered' (Acts 9:10 NIV). God knew where to find Ananias. Does He know where to find you? Pastor Eric Hulstrand was preaching one Sunday when an elderly woman, Mary, fainted and struck her head on the end of the pew. They called for an ambulance and, as they put her on the stretcher, she regained consciousness and motioned for her daughter to come near. Everyone thought she was summoning her strength to convey what would be her final words. Her daughter leaned over until her ear was at Mary's mouth. 'My offering is in my purse,' she whispered. God's work shouldn't go lacking because you've gone on holiday and taken your tithes and offerings with you. 'Honour the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce' (Proverbs 3:9 NLT).

Your faithfulness shouldn't be contingent upon economic conditions, but upon your commitment to Christ. Remember the US Marine Corps motto, 'Semper Fidelis', the Latin for 'Always Faithful'.

Soulfood : Ezek 22-23, Mk 13:12-23, Ps 132:1-10, Prov 15:1-4


Serving Requires Obedience

'I desire to do Your will, my God.' Psalms 40:8 NIV

If you're upset over giving up your 'rights' and 'privileges' to serve others, consider what Christ gave up to serve you. '...He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death...' (Philippians 2:8 NKJV). When you're tempted to remind others of the sacrifices you've made, hear Christ's Words: '...When you have done all things which you are commanded, say, "We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do"' (Luke 17:10 NKJV).
Have you ever observed a dog that graduated from obedience school? It's a source of pleasure to its master because it has learned to respond to a word, sometimes even a look. God says, 'I will guide you with My eye' (Psalms 32:8 NKJV). God wants to bring you to the place where you don't have to be begged, badgered or browbeaten to serve. One look from Him and you do it without question. As a servant you can't change your master's orders! Dr JR Miller said, 'It is a great deal easier to do that which God gives us to do, no matter how hard it is, than to face the responsibilities of not doing it.' God doesn't want foot-dragging compliance, He wants willing obedience. And when He gets it, He blesses it. 'If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land' (Isaiah 1:19 NIV).
God's best is reserved for those who say yes. You ask, 'How will I know when I arrive at that place?' Because you'll be able to say, 'I desire to do Your will, O my God.'

SoulFood: Ezek 20-21, Mark 13:1-11, Ps 48, Pro 14:33-35


Serving Requires Humility

'Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.' Philippians 2:5 NIV

Paul writes: 'You must have the same attitude that...Jesus had. Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up His divine privileges...took the...position of a slave...humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal's death on the cross. Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honour and gave Him the name above all other names...' (Philippians 2:5-9 NLT).
The world teaches an expectation that others are to serve us, but being a Christ follower means we are called to serve others. There's a big difference, isn't there? Christ modelled servanthood before His disciples. On the social totem pole, the lowest servant in the house washed feet. Try to picture God washing the feet of common fishermen, then saying, 'As I have served you, now go and serve one another.' Download that picture the next time you view somebody as a burden, or beneath you or an obstacle to your success. You'll never serve as Christ served if your focus is on building your own image. 'Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands and that He had come from God and was going to God ...began to wash the disciples' feet' (John 13:3-5 NKJV).
Jesus had settled three big issues: (1) He knew Who sent Him. (2) He knew Who sustained Him. (3) He knew Who was going to reward Him. Therefore He was liberated from the fear of people, the fear of failure and the fear of rejection. JL Massed said it so well: 'Service can never become slavery to one who loves.'

SoulFood: Ezek 16:53 - 19:14, Mark 12:28-44, Ps 1, Pro 14:29-32



'Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope...' Hebrews 10:23 NLT

Some of the people around you today are living without hope. Look at them; they smile, but their eyes are dead. They talk, but the music has left their voice. They're like mannequins: all dressed up and going nowhere because they feel hopeless. But as a follower of Christ, you don't have to live that way. 'Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise.'
Our hope isn't luck, like winning the lottery. No, it's confidence that God will do what He said. No one knew the truth of this better than David. He had every reason to lose hope. After Samuel anointed him to be Israel's next king, he had to wait for seven years while a paranoid ruler occupied the throne. He had to flee for his life and hide in caves, surrounded by enemies. He saw Israel devastated, his friends killed and his family taken captive. But he never wavered or threw in the towel. Faced with circumstances that would wipe many of us out, he sang, '...My hope is in You' (Psalms 39:7 NKJV). '...Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning' (Psalms 30:5 NKJV). In other words, 'It's going to get better!' You can't lose with an attitude like that. David became king because he never lost confidence in the promises of God. They kept him focused; they kept him on top of the circumstances; they kept him going!
What has God promised you? Stand on His Word and declare, 'If God promised it, I believe it, and that settles it!'

SoulFood: Ezek 10-13, Mark 12:1-12, Ps 124, Pro 14:21-24


We Must Be Christ-Centred!

'You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power.' Revelation 4:11 NJKV

In the book of Revelation, Christ stands knocking on the door of the last of the seven churches, asking them to let Him in. Amazing! Did the people inside not miss Him? Here's a frightening thought: it's possible to build a large institution, call it a church, and yet for Jesus to be marginalised in its emphasis and activities.
The measure of a ministry is how it treats Christ. Even in emphasising the importance of Spirit-filled living, we can produce believers who are Spirit-filled but not Jesus-thrilled! We can reduce Christianity to principles that work as effectively in the secular marketplace as they do in the church. John the Revelator saw Christ sitting upon a throne. Next he heard the voices of a multitude singing, '...Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honour and glory and blessing' (Revelation 5:12 NKJV)! And it was a mixed multitude. 'Every creature which is in Heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: "Blessing and honour and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb, forever and ever"' (Revelation 5:13 NKJV)!
London once had two great preachers. When a lady went to hear the first, Dr Joseph Parker, she left saying, 'What a preacher!' When she went to hear the second, Charles Spurgeon, she left saying 'What a Christ!' Do you love the Lord supremely? Is His name written on your heart?

SoulFood: Ezek 5-9, Mark 11:27-33, Ps 4, Pro 14:17-20


What Has God Said About You? (4)

'...He did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise...' Romans 4:20 NIV

If your vision is simply to be a great parent, that doesn't mean your faith is inadequate. It just means you understand your calling. All Moses' mother did was give birth - but what a baby! God protected her son when she couldn't do a thing to help him. Then He arranged to have him raised in Pharaoh's royal courts. And when you discover God's purpose for your life, He will provide for you, too!
Some days your vision won't look like it's coming together. As a child, Joseph dreamed of being a great leader, but before he could get to the palace, he had to go through the prison. Pastor James Petrow says, 'You can't build a foundation in a storm, so God will prepare you in advance.' Sometimes your vision will seem to die before it springs to life. That happened to Abraham. 'Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations...he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead - since he was about a hundred years old - and that Sarah's womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised' (Romans 4:18-21 NIV).
Paul wrote, 'We are fools for Christ...' (1 Corinthians 4:10 NIV). God uses radical people who don't care how they look: people who've survived difficult pasts, defied the odds, held onto their vision, and declared, 'My God is able!' And you can be one of those people!

SoulFood: Ezek 1-4, Mark 11:12-26, Ps 121, Pro 14:13-16


What Has God Said About You? (3)

'...In all things at all times, having all that you need...' 2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV

When God tells you to give of your finances in order to fulfil someone else's vision, you must realise:
(1) He's testing your faith and your willingness to obey in difficult circumstances. When Elijah the prophet asked a widow to share her last meal with him, the timing seemed strange. There was a famine in the land and people were dying. Who would have blamed her for saying 'no'? But by putting God's interests before her own, she connected herself to a divine, unending source of supply. The Bible says: 'Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly and whoever sows generously will also reap generously ...God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work' (2 Corinthians 9:6-8 NIV).
(2) He's giving you an opportunity to sow into another's life and reap in your own. We love to quote, 'My God will meet all your needs...' (Philippians 4:19 NIV), but do you remember who this promise was made to? It was written to those who supported Paul's ministry. 'When I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again, when I was in need' (Philippians 4:15-16 NIV). Then Paul added these words: 'My God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.' When you give, you invest in an account you can draw on when you have a need yourself.

SoulFood: Amos 5:18 - 9:15, Mark 11:1-11, Ps 117, Pro 14:9-12


The Finger of God (4)

'...Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger...' John 8:6 NKJV

The finger of God in cleansing. One day the Pharisees brought a woman to Christ. She'd been 'caught in the act' of adultery and they expected Him to condemn her. But instead, 'Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.' This is Jesus at His best! He stooped down to identify with the victim in her shame, refusing to listen to the words of her accusers. Then He scattered them with a single statement: '...He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first' (John 8:7 NKJV). Ouch! Then the One Who came not to tear us down but to build us up, said to her, '...Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more' (John 8:11 NKJV).
The question is, where would she find strength to live such a life? Through Christ! His commandments are His enablings. He said, '...I am the light of the world, He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life' (John 8:12 NKJV). Jesus sees every weed as a potential rose, every doubter as a potential believer and every sinner as a potential saint. Stop listening to the voices that condemn you. Stop beating yourself up over your failures.
Come to Jesus today; He will cleanse you, make you whole and give you the life you've always longed for. You don't have to live under Satan's control anymore. Jesus said, '...If I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come' (Luke 11:20 KJV).

SoulFood: Lam 1:1 - 3:39, Mark 10:13-22, Ps 108, Pro 13:24-25


The Finger of God (3)

'...And He gave to Moses...tablets of stone, written by the finger of God.' Exodus 31:18 ESV

The finger of God in stone. Why do you think God wrote the Ten Commandments in stone? Because His principles are permanent and unchanging. You say, 'But what about all those people who have never heard God's Word? How will He judge them?' Paul answers: 'Even Gentiles, who do not have God's written that they know His law when they instinctively obey it...They demonstrate that God's law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right' (Romans 2:14-15 NLT).
Your conscience acts like a compass. If you let it, it'll guide you right. But when you reject its warnings, its voice gets quieter and quieter until you can no longer hear it. That's a dangerous condition to be in. Paul writes, 'Having faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected, concerning the faith, have suffered shipwreck' (1 Timothy 1:19 NKJV).
Picture yourself standing on a bridge, dropping pebbles into a pond and watching the ripples go out to the edge. It's just a little pebble, but look at the effect it has! Yet in winter, when that same pond freezes over, you can drive a truck across it. Your conscience is like that. When you keep disobeying God, your heart becomes calloused and hardened and you no longer hear Him speaking to you. Paul writes, '...I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man' (Acts 24:16 NIV). That's a good rule of thumb for you to live by!

SoulFood: Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:1-11, Eph 4:7-10 (Ascension Day)

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