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The Word For Today

Say 'God bless you'

'Whenever [you] bless...people...in my name, I myself will bless them.' Numbers 6:27 NLT

God's Word is impregnated with life, wisdom, truth, power and potential. When he created the world, he simply said, 'Let there be.' Every word he speaks - contains the power to create whatever he says. Every promise he makes - contains the seeds of its own fulfilment. Those seeds have a scheduled season for fulfilment in your life, and when they're watered with confident, faith-filled prayer, standing squarely on the Scriptures and patiently awaiting God's timing - his Word cannot fail. Once you grasp this truth, the words 'God bless you' become loaded! Speaking them releases God's blessing into our lives. When you say, 'God bless you,' God backs you up. 'Whenever [you] bless...people...in my name, I myself will bless them' (Numbers 6:27 NLT).

So if you want to bless your loved ones, speak these words of blessing to them: 'The Lord bless you and protect you...and be gracious to you...show you his favour and give you his peace' (Numbers 6:24-26 NLT). Asking someone, 'How are you?' is an expression of courtesy and care. And when you say, 'Have a nice day,' you sincerely mean it. But when you say, 'God bless you,' and understand the scriptural truth behind those words, God's blessing can change that person's life!

Author Kate Nowak says: 'It should be a habit, this business of blessing others...I've come to realise it's one of the most powerful and practical ways for reconnecting with each other, our world and life itself...the most phenomenal way possible to lead us to happiness and success. A blessing is a sweet release from pain...an ancient key to a successful and fulfilling life.'

Soulfood: 2 Chr 8-11, John 11:17-27, Ps 8, Pro 26:23-26


God tells you who you are

'His mother called his name Jabez.' 1 Chronicles 4:9 NKJV

The name Jabez means 'pain and trouble'. Can you imagine walking into a room and hearing someone say, 'Here comes trouble,' or someone describing you as 'a pain'? And what's more, Jabez' mother labelled him that way the day he was born because 'she gave birth to him in pain'. But Jabez refused to wear the label or let that name define him. Instead of looking back at his past and listening to his critics, he turned to God and prayed: '"Oh, that you would bless me...and enlarge my territory, that your hand would be with me, and that you would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!" So God granted him what he requested' (1 Chronicles 4:10 NKJV).

The label on the outside of a bottle tells you what's on the inside. And when you let others label you, invariably they make your world too small. And once you accept the label they place on you, you start to believe that's who you are and that you'll never amount to anything more than that. No, only God can tell you who you are! So do what Jabez did - go directly to the source: God. He created you. He redeemed you. He calls you. He equips you. He empowers you. He rewards you.

So when people try to limit you by putting labels on you, God steps in and says, 'Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine' (Isaiah 43:1 NKJV). The truth is that God loves and accepts you, and his approval trumps everybody else's disapproval!

Soulfood: 2 Chr 5-7, John 11:1-16, Ps 83:9-18, Pro 26:17-22


Come back to God

'When he was still a great way off.' Luke 15:20 NKJV

The Bible says concerning the Prodigal Son: 'When he was a great way off, his father...had compassion...ran...fell on his neck and kissed him' (Luke 15:20 NKJV). The truth is, you're not beyond the reach of God's grace, so your future can be greater than your past! When he was 'a great way off', his father ran to him. Why? Because his relationship with his son wasn't based on performance, but on the fact that he'd given him life and brought him into the family.

When you think about the things his father gave him that day, you realise the significance of each item. (1) The robe. That confirmed his identity as a son. God doesn't see you in your weakness; he sees you clothed in the righteousness of Christ (see 2 Corinthians 5:18-21 NIV). (2) The ring. This was a signet ring with the family seal that gave him back authority to do business in his father's name. (3) The shoes. Household servants didn't wear shoes, only family members did. He returned home thinking the best he could hope for was a job in the servants' quarters. But his father not only restored his identity and authority, he restored him to full son-ship in the family. (4) The party. Back then when you rebelled against your father's authority and left home, they conducted 'a ceremony of shame', which meant you could never return. Not this father - he threw a party! The point? Because Jesus took our shame! 'For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ' (2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT).

The word for you today is - come back to God!

Soulfood: 2 Chr 1-4, John 10:22-42, Ps 83:1-8, Pro 26:13-16


Resistance training

'Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.' James 4:7 NKJV

Have you ever watched someone doing resistance training? They get stronger every day as they press against more and more weight. That's how to view the verse 'resist the devil'. Satan is out to do three things: 'Steal, kill and destroy' (see John 10:10). Destroy what? Everything God has given you! And he doesn't play fair. Using a whole arsenal of weapons, he'll attack your mind, your health, your marriage, your children, your finances and your character. And if you're a spiritual weakling, he'll crush you! Satan studies you. He knows your quitting points, and he'll push you to the brink every chance he gets.

So what should you do? Push back - and keep pushing! Use every spiritual weapon God has given you - prayer, praise, his Word and fellowship. It's time to turn the tables on the enemy and start using him as your spiritual gym! The Bible talks about 'God's Word as the sword that the Spirit supplies' (Ephesians 6:17 GWT). When you're filled with God's Spirit, he will fight in you, through you and for you. When that happens, Satan reaches the place where he knows he can't defeat you on a particular front, so what does he do? He attacks you on a different one! But with victory after victory being chalked up, you develop the boldness and strength to defeat him on that front too.

With enough resistance training under your belt, you'll experience the joy of walking in the truth of this wonderful promise: 'God...will soon crush Satan under your feet' (Romans 16:20 NIV).

Soulfood: 1 Chr 26:20-32, 1 Chr 27, 1 Chr 28, 1 Chr 29:1-30, John 10:11-21, Ps 133, Pro 26:7-12


Anger management 3

'He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty.' Proverbs 16:32 NKJV

The Bible says, 'He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city' (Proverbs 16:32 NKJV). As a Christian you have the Holy Spirit living within you, and one of the fruits of the Spirit is 'self-control' (see Galatians 5:23). That means as a Christian you can control your temper, and as a Christian you must control it.

You say, 'I get mad easily because I was born with that nature!' You're not supposed to live according to your old nature, but your new one! Anger is like a river. Controlled, it can generate enough electricity to power an entire city. Uncontrolled, it can overflow its banks and become a raging flood that destroys everything in its path. And as surely as a river can be controlled, so can your temper. Have you ever been in a big argument at home with your spouse or one of your children? Suddenly the telephone rings; instantly you pick it up and answer in a soft, controlled tone, 'Hello-o-o-o. May I help you?' What just happened? You proved that your anger can be controlled and tamed. The Bible says, 'People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness' (Proverbs 14:29 NLT).

The more calmly you see a situation, the more clearly you'll see how to handle it. So if you have a quick temper, here's some good advice. When you're angry, count to ten before you speak. And when you're really angry, count to one hundred - then don't say anything.

Soulfood: Gen 14:18-24, Ps 110, Heb 5:5-10


Anger management 2

'A quick-tempered man acts foolishly.' Proverbs 14:17 NKJV

The truth is that when your temper gets the best of you, it reveals the worst of you.

The Bible says three things about unrighteous anger that you need to keep in mind: (1) It's stupid. 'A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, and a man of wicked intentions is hated' (Proverbs 14:17 NKJV). Benjamin Franklin wrote in Poor Richard's Almanac: 'Take this remark from Richard poor and lame; Whate'er's begun in anger ends in shame.' (2) It's divisive. 'A hot-tempered person starts fights; a cool-tempered person stops them' (Proverbs 15:18 NLT). Occasionally we may become angry for good reason. But most of the time it's because we're selfish, impatient, irritated or hurt about the way we have been treated. Humourist Will Rogers once said, 'People who fly into a rage seldom make a good landing.' Instead of solving the problem, anger only makes it worse. (3) It's destructive. 'Hot-tempered people must pay the penalty. If you rescue them once, you will have to do it again' (Proverbs 19:19 NLT). That means when you keep losing your temper, you keep losing. You will lose friends, you will lose the love and respect of your family, you will lose your business associates, and it can even cause you to lose your health.

John Hunter, a psychologist who had a severe heart condition, said, 'My life is at the mercy of the person who can make me angry...the first scoundrel who gets me angry can kill me.' And guess what? That scoundrel can be you! So ask God to help you control your anger.

Soulfood: 1 Chr 23:21-32, 1 Chr 24, 1 Chr 25, 1 Chr 26:1-19, John 10:1-10, Ps 99, Pro 26:1-6


Anger management 1

'Don't sin by letting anger control you.' Ephesians 4:26 NLT

The first mention of anger in Scripture is when Cain got so angry with his brother Abel that he murdered him. In 2017, investigation showed that over half of all homicides in England and Wales were the result of some type of anger. But anger not only kills others, it can kill you. Dr Redford Williams, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioural Science at Duke University, states: 'The hostility and anger associated with Type-A behaviour is a major contributor to heart disease. People who struggle with anger are five times more likely to suffer coronary heart disease, and people with heart disease more than double their risk of a heart attack when they get angry.'

Of course, there's a difference between anger and mere aggravation. A little girl asked her father to explain that difference. So he picked up the phone, dialled a number, allowed his daughter to listen in, and when the other person answered, he said, 'Hello. Is Melvin there?' Back came the answer, 'There's no one here named Melvin. Why don't you look up numbers before you dial them?' The father waited a moment, then re-dialled the number. 'Hello. Is Melvin there?' The man yelled, 'I just told you there's no Melvin here! Don't call this number again!' then slammed down the receiver. The father looked at his daughter and said, 'Honey, that was anger. Now let me show you aggravation.' He dialled the number again and when a voice roared back, 'Hello!' her dad calmly said, 'Hi. This is Melvin, have there been any calls for me?'

The word anger is only one letter short of the word danger. So ask God to help you manage your anger. He will!

Soulfood: 1 Chr 19, 1 Chr 20, 1 Chr 21, 1 Chr 22, 1 Chr 23:1-20, John 9:24-41, Ps 115, Pro 25:26-28


Forgive and set yourself free

'Forgetting what lies behind.' Philippians 3:13 ESV

The Bible says that the greater the offence, the greater the need to forgive your offender in order to go on with your life. Remember when you were growing up, how your parents would tell you to close the door? That's because in winter you were letting in the cold and in summer you were letting in the heat. Forgiveness shuts the door on your past! Paul, who martyred Christians before becoming one, writes, 'But one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching...to those things which are ahead' (Philippians 3:13 NKJV).

Only when you release your grip on the past can you secure your grip on the future. Forgetting is a decision, one you sometimes have to make, daily or even hourly. Bottom line: you need to forgive every time the issue that's hurting you rears its head (see Matthew 18:21-22). Complete healing can take months or years. When someone hurts you deeply, you must purpose in your heart to keep forgiving them until you're free from their influence. No matter what they took from you through abuse, abandonment, betrayal, manipulation or deceit, bitterness will take more!

Like making a rod for your own back, unforgiveness lets the person who hurt you keep doing it. So until the issue is resolved, you may have to get down on your knees every day and pray, 'Lord, by an act of my will, I forgive ________ and ask you to bless them. I'm turning them over to you and getting on with my life.' There's no shortcut - it's the only path to freedom!

Soulfood: 1 Chr 16-18, John 9:13-23, Ps 105:1-15, Pro 25:23-25


Look for teaching moments

'What do these stones mean?' Joshua 4:21 NIV

One of the most effective ways to teach is through 'teaching moments'. Jesus did that. When a fig tree didn't produce fruit, he cursed it and it immediately withered up. That got the disciples' attention (see Matthew 21:18-22 NKJV). Then he explained that unless you stay filled with God's Spirit, you won't be fruitful in his service. He could have taught this same lesson in the synagogue. But then his listeners would've had to imagine a fig tree, and the message would have been diluted depending on the ability of the hearer.

When three drunken high-school students crashed their car into a tree, the wreck sat in front of their school for several days. Every day the students had to look at it. That's called a 'high-impact teaching moment'. They say timing is everything. That's certainly true when it comes to learning the important lessons in life, so don't miss them! If you're a parent, it's futile to constantly 'preach' at your kids. If you're a leader, it's a mistake to keep 'lecturing' the people who are answerable to you. Let the experience speak! Then ask for their thoughts, and listen without interjecting! People learn more through discovery than dialogue.

That's why God instructed Joshua to build a monument of twelve stones on the other side of Jordan after he miraculously parted its waters so they could cross over (see Joshua 4:1-9). What he was really saying was, 'When your children ask what this monument is all about, use it as a teaching moment about my love and faithfulness.' So look for the teaching moments in life - and use them.

Soulfood: 1 Chr 12:23-40, 1 Chr 13, 1 Chr 14, 1 Chr 15:1-15:29, John 9:1-12, Ps 68, Pro 25:21-22


Don't brag about it

'We have done what was our duty.' Luke 17:10 NKJV

If you have a tendency to remind people of all the good things you do and the sacrifices you make, read what Jesus said: 'When you have done all those things which you are commanded, say..."We have done what was our duty to do"' (Luke 17:10 NKJV).

We all deserve recognition for the good we do, and we thrive on appreciation. But sometimes we don't get it; so we're left with three choices: (1) We can succumb to self-pity and go around complaining about how the world doesn't treat us right or give us a fair deal. (2) We can give way to resentment, walk around with a chip on our shoulder, and end up wondering why people don't want to be around us. (3) We can adopt the attitude Jesus taught and say, 'I'm only doing what God expects of me. And knowing he is pleased with me is reward enough.'

If you try to run on the fuel of other people's encouragement and praise, when it doesn't come you'll have no joy. And that's bad because 'the joy of the Lord [the joy that comes from knowing you walk under the smile of his approval] is your strength' (Nehemiah 8:10 ESV). Living this way will make you a self-starter and a successful finisher. And when that happens, you'll find favour at home and on the job, and end up with more friends than you know what to do with. Plus your real reward, the one that matters most, is guaranteed when you stand before the Master one day and hear the words: 'Well done, good and faithful servant' (Matthew 25:23 NKJV).

Soulfood: 1 Chr 10, 1 Chr 11, 1 Chr 12:1-22, John 8:42-59, Ps 49, Pro 25:18-20

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