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Ross 7:00-12:00am

The Word For Today

Tap into God's Creativity

'He...reveals His thoughts to man.' Amos 4:13 NIV

Robert Schuller writes: 'A while back I bought an interesting torch. Before I decided to buy it I asked the saleslady how long the battery would last. "As long as you do," she replied. "What do you mean?" I queried. "You are the battery," she explained. "There's no battery inside. You have to pump the handle at the bottom of the flashlight to make it light up." I tried it, and sure enough I generated the power needed to make it light up! As soon as I stopped pumping the light went out... If you make the right commitment to an idea but it seems impossible...pray...and keep pumping. Bright ideas will come your way - ideas that come from God' (Isaiah 48:17).

Albert Einstein said it's important that we never stop asking questions, or lose our holy curiosity. God's Word says He 'forms the mountains...creates the wind, and reveals His thoughts to man.' Imagine tapping into the resources of a God Who knows you and can fill your mind with imaginative, inspired, innovative 'thoughts'. Jesus knows the mind of God, the plans of God, the will of God and the purposes of God because He is God. And Paul says, 'We understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ' (1 Corinthians 2:16 NLT). Ted Engstrom says, 'Creativity has been built into every one of us. Each of us lives less of the life God intended when we choose not to release the creative powers we possess.'

When you tap into God's creativity, He helps you see things not as they are, but as they can be. And that can change your life!

SoulFood: Lev 15-17, Luke 2:1-7, Ps 46, Pro 1:32-33


When Fatigue Threatens You (3)

Brenda Jank identifies guilt as the driving force behind much of our weariness: 'Every guilt-driven "Yes" means a "No" to something important. Every day holds twenty-four hours, and as gifted as we are at multi-tasking, there are concrete limits to what we can get done in any given day... We routinely neglect the top priorities of our lives. We're irritable and impatient with those we love. We forfeit our need for sleep. We pass through many days oblivious to the presence of God.' Can you recognise these things in yourself?

When word got out that Jesus had healed Peter's mother-in-law, a crowd gathered and He ministered to them late into the night. Early the next morning when He slipped away to a quiet place to pray, the disciples went looking for Him. 'When they found Him, they exclaimed: "Everyone is looking for you!"' But note Jesus' response: 'Let us go somewhere else.' He chose to be Spirit-led, not guilt-driven. Before assuming you've been called to meet every need that arises, it's ok to say, 'Let me pray about it and get back to you.' Then pray, listen carefully and make your decision based on how you answer this question: Will saying 'yes' to this request mean having to say 'no' to something else that's important?

It's essential to recognise what you've been called to do for the season of life you're in; it takes honesty, humility and courage to take a consistent line. When you face a situation you know will put you on overload, even if you're willing to pay the price, are you willing to commit your family to pay the price with you? Think about it.

Soulfood :


It's Time To Move On

'You will forget your water gone by.' Job 11:16 NCV

No matter how bad things look, always remember the words, 'it came to pass', not 'to stay'. Life doesn't stand still; there will always be challenges. Don't let them destroy your confidence; instead, use them as opportunities to grow. Once you've grown in the areas where God thinks you need additional maturity, the season you're in will pass. Nothing lasts forever. Although it's hard to believe at the time, 'You will forget your trouble and remember water gone by.'

Forgetting doesn't mean losing a block of memory. It means reaching the point where the memory is free of pain, just as poison is pulled from a snake bite. As healing begins, the mind's continual replay of the event reduces and the memory becomes like 'water gone by'.

Kristin Armstrong says: 'When someone died in Old Testament times, those who were in mourning marked their faces with ashes. They allotted a specified season, after which they scrubbed up and moved on. How much healthier is that than our society? We put on make-up, or a happy or stoic face, and prohibit people from having compassion and respecting the limits of where we are. We're so busy hiding, we're buried under ashes on the inside. God will call us to arise and shine when our light has come (Isaiah 60:1). Ask Him to set your time limit, and be ready to wash your face.' Then move on.

SoulFood: Lev 5-7, Luke 1:26-38, Ps 10:12-18, Pro 1:17-19


You Must Exercise Faith

God answers prayer in a manner directly related to our level of faith. 'According to your faith, let it be to you' (Matthew 9:29 NKJV). Yet sometimes in spite of our doubts and human reasoning, He comes through for us anyway. The believers praying for Peter's release from prison were amazed when he suddenly appeared on their doorstep (Acts 12). When Jesus returned to His home town and began to teach in the local synagogue, the people were amazed by His wisdom. Because He lacked formal education and credentials they wrote Him off as 'just a carpenter' (Mark 6:3 NLT). And the result? 'Because of their unbelief, He couldn't do any miracles among them except to place His hands on a few sick people and heal them.'

Question: How often does your unbelief tie God's hands? The truth is: (a) sometimes our faith is so weak that we don't expect Him to answer at all; (b) we fail to pray with confidence; (c) we don't prepare ourselves for what He wants to do for us. You can't ask God for forgiveness, then continue to live under condemnation over sins He has put under the blood. Or pray about your financial situation, then worry yourself sick about how He's going to meet your needs.

You can choose to live by your feelings, or in a way that reflects total trust in God. The Bible says, 'Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that a rewarder' (Hebrews 11:6 NKJV). So you must exercise faith.

Soulfood :


Get to Know God

God says: 'Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows Me' (Jeremiah 9:23-24 NIV). The truth is, if you don't know God it doesn't matter how much money you have in your bank account, or what diplomas hang on your wall, or what position you hold in the company.

Until you have a relationship with God, you haven't really begun to live! And part of getting to know Him is learning the truth about yourself. After witnessing the miracle-working power of Christ, Peter acknowledged, 'I am a sinful man' (Luke 5:8 NIV)! When the prophet Isaiah saw the Lord sitting upon His throne, he cried, 'Woe is me' (Isaiah 6:5 NKJV)! But God doesn't tell you the truth about yourself and then leave you that way. No, like a good doctor, He tells you you're sick so that you can get the proper treatment. And the proper treatment for sin is salvation through the blood of Jesus.

You will never know God until you are related to Him through Jesus Christ. So if you've never accepted Him as your Saviour, start this New Year by praying: 'Lord, I repent and turn from my sin. I place my life in Your hands, trusting You as my Lord and Saviour. By faith I receive the gift of eternal life. Starting today, I ask You to lead and guide me and fulfil Your will through me. In Jesus' name I pray: Amen.' Happy New Year!

Soulfood :


God Has Something Better for You

When God knows something is good for you He says 'Yes', and when it's not He says 'No'. Why would God say 'no' to you? Maybe the timing is wrong, or He has something better in mind. Gratitude comes when you realise what could have happened, but didn't because God intervened. Stop trying to break loose from the loving grip of the One who holds you for your own protection. The Bible says: 'Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart's desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him, and He will help you... Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for Him to act' (Psalm 37:4-7 NLT).

Looking back on her life, Billy Graham's wife, Ruth, said, 'If the Lord had said "Yes" to all my prayer requests I'd have married the wrong man - several times.' What you're so upset about now, you may be thanking God for later. The more spiritually mature you become, the more you begin to see how wise your heavenly Father is, and the more you learn to trust Him. The Psalmist wrote, 'The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want' (Psalm 23:1 NKJV). What a picture: God leading you, God feeding you, God protecting you, God watching over you. Like a lifeguard at a beach, in order to save you, God will sometimes interrupt your life, risk embarrassing you in front of your friends, and maybe even bruise a rib or two. That's because He loves you too much to let you drown in the thing you thought was so good for you.

The main thing is: God has something better for you!

Soulfood : Job 40-42, Mt 3:1-12, Ps 116, Ecc 12:13-14


Accepting Others

Sometimes people don't make it easy to accept them. They can be bad-tempered, selfish, critical, irritating, dismissive, aggressive and pompous. Sometimes you want to give them a piece of your mind; give them what they deserve - anything but acceptance. The command, 'accept one another', is inconvenient. And if Paul had stopped there we might dodge the directive by saying he obviously meant good, reasonable, acceptable people. Alas, he goes on, 'just as Christ accepted you'. Were you good, reasonable and acceptable? No, but He accepted you - flaws and all - and He still does! You say, 'Somebody has to straighten these people out and require them to act right!' You mean like Jesus required before He accepted you?

Roman Christians had difficulty accepting their less experienced brothers, and Paul corrected them: 'Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment... for God has accepted him' (Roman 14:1-3 NIV). Straightening people out isn't our department; accepting them is. God calls us to accept messed-up, unspiritual, carnal, obnoxious, doctrinally misled, 'just plain wrong' people. You don't have to approve of, like, or agree with them, but accepting them isn't optional. There's no elite, privileged, insider class. We occupy level ground because of two realities: our sin and the cross! Jews and Gentiles despised each other, even after salvation. Each wanted the other to change and become like them. But Paul took the axe to the root of that tree: 'For Christ Himself...reconciled both means of His death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death' (Ephesians 2:14-16 NLT).

Our job is to accept people - and let God adjust them.

Soulfood : Job 38-39, Mt 2:16-23, Ps 139:13-24, Ecc 11:7-10


God Can Lift You Up (2)

In order to access power, you have to go to the outlet and plug in to the source of it. That's what happens when you pray in faith; you plug in to God's power. Picture a boat trapped in mud and stuck on the bottom. If you can get it to the dock, you can repair it and send it back out to sea. The trouble is you can't move it. So what's the answer? Bring in high-powered tugboats, connect steel cables to the sunken craft and wait for the tide to rise. Are you getting the idea? When you feel so low that you can't lift yourself up, tap into God's power and let Him lift you up to the place where He can repair, restore and re-commission you.

If you keep that picture in mind, you'll never think about prayer the same way again. Instead of seeing it as an obligation, you'll start seeing it as an awesome power that works for you in all circumstances of life. And you'll see reading the Bible in a different light as well. Paul says, 'So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up' (Acts 20:32 NKJV). Your problems may be great, but the tide of God's Spirit is greater, and if you let it, it'll lift you out of your troubles. Will they suddenly vanish overnight? No, but you'll be above them looking down instead of underneath them looking up. At that point you'll be operating from a position of faith instead of a position of fear.

It can happen for you. God can lift you up: 'All things are possible to him who believes.'

Soulfood : Job 35-37, Mt 2:9-15, Ps 139:1-12, Ecc 11:4-6


God Can Lift You Up (1)

The Bible says, 'Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.' It works this way: when you try to exalt yourself, God brings you down, but when you humble yourself in His sight, He lifts you up. He does it because you're His child and He loves you. You may feel like a nobody right now, but in God's eyes you're a somebody.

Who but God could reach behind a hedge, find a Rodney 'Gipsy' Smith and use him to win multitudes to Christ? Who but God could go to Old Comiskey Park in Chicago, find a baseball player called Billy Sunday and use him to impact the world? Who but God could look in a Galilean fishing boat and find Peter, call him, transform him and use him to build the church? God loves to do things like that. And since He 'does not show favouritism' (Romans 2:11 NIV) you've every right to believe He will do it for you too. The Bible says, 'the kind of person...always thinking about the cost...but his heart is not with you' (Proverbs 23:7 NIV). When that little voice inside you whispers, 'You've no talent and you'll never amount to anything in life,' that's not God. It's Satan - and the Bible says he's a liar (John 8:44)! That's why you need to tell him, 'I don't believe a word you're saying. You can't put me down because God is raising me up.'

God's plan for you was established long before you were born, and He hasn't changed His mind. So you need to discover His plan, then make sure your feelings, thoughts, actions and words line up with it.

Soulfood : Mt 6:5-15, Mt 26:36-46, Jas 5:13-18, 1 Th 5:16-18


Accepting Yourself

Studies show that many of us don't like ourselves. A poll of college students confirmed that over 50 per cent suffered from low self-acceptance, with the majority citing their looks as the source of their unhappiness. 'My nose is too long. My eyes are too small. I'm too fat here - too thin there. I'm too short - too tall. I've got freckles.' And the beauty industry is more than willing to darken it, lighten it, accentuate it, lift it, tuck it and cover it up in an attempt to sell us a self-image we can accept. A little improvement might indeed be beneficial, but not as a basis for self-worth.

Here's how God sees the issue: 'Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, "Stop, you're doing it wrong!" Does the pot exclaim, "How clumsy can you be"' (Isaiah 45:9 NLT)? You are God's personal creation. And He makes no mistakes, overlooks no details and leaves nothing unfinished. You need to accept yourself because He created, redeemed and accepts you. In an age of media overload, we're bombarded by images of perfect-looking people, with the inference that we need to look like them if we hope to amount to anything. But Paul says: 'We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise' (2 Corinthians 10:12 NIV)?

The God Who made you who you are has a plan for perfecting you. You're perfectly acceptable, if not yet acceptably perfect. You're 'predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.' So you're a work in progress!

Soulfood : Job 32-34, Mt 2:1-8, Ps 97, Ecc 10:20 - 11:3

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