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The Word For Today

Keep plodding and you'll succeed



'Dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable.' 1 Corinthians 15:58 NLT

When William Carey first began considering the possibility of going to India as a pioneer missionary, his father pointed out that he possessed no academic qualifications for the job. Carey answered, 'I can plod.' And he did. When he went to India this was his typical day: he arose at 5:45 a.m. to read a chapter in the Hebrew Bible and have private devotions. At 7:00 a.m. he led family prayers in Bengali, read Persian with a tutor, and a portion of Scripture in Hindustani. After breakfast he translated Sanskrit into English. At 10:00 a.m. he went to college to teach until 2:00 p.m., then translated into Bengali until dinner time. After an early supper, he translated into Sanskrit and studied the Telugu language until he preached to an English congregation at 7:30 p.m. About 9:00 p.m. he returned to translating for two hours, wrote to a friend in England, read a chapter from his Greek New Testament, and then finally went to bed. Carey is credited with doing more than anyone else in taking the message of Christ to India and establishing the church there. And he did it because he was a plodder!

Here are two Scriptures plodders stand on: (1) 'Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart' (Galatians 6:9 NKJV). (2) 'My dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless' (1 Corinthians 15:58 NLT). These Scriptures could be reduced to five words: keep plodding and you'll succeed.

Soulfood: Judg 1-3 Matt 15:29-39 Ps 119:49-56 Pro 17:18-21,

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In spite of the circumstances God is with you



'I will never leave you nor forsake you.' Hebrews 13:5 NKJV

Several times in one chapter, Genesis 39, the Bible tells us that the Lord was with Joseph. But that didn't exempt him from jealousy and betrayal, or the advances of Potiphar's wife, or her lies that sent him to prison. The Bible says, 'They bruised his feet with fetters and placed his neck in an iron collar. Until the time came to fulfil his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph's character' (Psalm 105:18-19 NLT). Joseph didn't know it, but he was in training for reigning. God wanted to see if he would choose trust over lust, and obedience over expedience.

It's in looking back that you realise why one of God's names is 'Redeemer'. He can redeem everything you've been through - the good, the bad and the ugly. The lesson Joseph learned is this: God is with you even when there is no evidence he is. He is walking alongside you. He is working with you. He is going ahead of you to rearrange circumstances in your favour. His Word says, '"I will never leave you nor forsake you." So that we may boldly say: "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me"' (Hebrews 13:5-6 NKJV)?

But sometimes in the plan of God things get worse before they get better. That's when you must tighten your grip and lean harder on God: 'Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise' (Hebrews 10:35-36 NKJV).

Soulfood: Ruth 1-4 Matt 15:15-28 Ps 119:41-48 Pro 17:17,

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What is godliness



'My soul thirsts for God.' Psalm 42:2 NIV

What comes to mind when you think of the word godliness? Religious rules and regulations? Christians who point fingers and say, 'Thou shalt not'? Little wonder so many people avoid us! Is godliness even possible in an age of motorway drivers and internet shoppers? Or do we need to return to slower and simpler times in order to be godly? The fact is godliness isn't a culture, it's an attitude of the heart. It has little to do with how a person looks (although that's hard for some of us to see beyond), or what they drive or own. It has nothing to do with our personal preferences and the standards some of us would like to impose on others. The Bible says, 'People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart' (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV ).

Godliness is an inside job. And the longer you think about it, the more convinced you become that a truly godly person is one whose heart is sensitive to God, who takes God and his Word seriously, and who desires more of him. David cried, 'My soul thirsts for God' (Psalm 42:2 NIV). That's it! You can be rich or poor, young or old, urban or rural, follower or leader, active or quiet, married or single, Labour or National - none of that matters. What matters is having a longing to know God intimately, to obey him and walk with him.

So ask yourself, 'Do I want to be godly?' And if you don't like the answer, get down on your knees and ask God to change your heart and attitude.

Soulfood: Obad 2 John Matt 15:1-14 Ps 119:33-40 Pro 17:16,

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Your God is unlimited



'Nothing is too hard for you.' Jeremiah 32:17 NIV

God can solve any problem because he is not bound by human limitations:

(1) He is not limited by time. God can do in an instant what would normally take years. 'He sends his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly' (Psalm 147:15 NIV ). He can speed up the natural process of your healing; he can accelerate your harvest of blessing so that you'll be sowing with one hand and reaping with the other (see Amos 9:13). (2) He is not limited by lack. When the Israelites left Egypt, God instructed them to borrow the silver and gold of their taskmasters. That's because the Egyptians owed them 400 years' back pay with interest! And when they obeyed God, he broke their chains of lack and they got back everything that had been stolen from them. Whatever Satan has taken from you, God can restore and more (see Zechariah 9:12). (3) He is not limited by the enemy. Moses told the Israelites, 'The Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever' (Exodus 14:13 NKJV). How does God deal with Satan's power? By increasing yours! 'He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world' (1 John 4:4 NKJV). Satan took Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple, but he couldn't push him over - and he can't push you over the edge either. So use God's Word and stand up to him! (4) He is not limited by anything but doubt. he made an axe-head float, a donkey talk, and a corpse come back to life after four days, so you don't have a problem he can't solve.

So rise up and declare, 'Nothing is too hard for you.'

Soulfood: 1 Pet 1-5 Matt 14:22-36 Ps 119:25-32 Pro 17:11-15,

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'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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