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The Word For Today


'You will come to the grave in full vigour.' Job 5:26 NIV

Author Norman Cousins said, 'No disease is more lethal than the boredom that follows retirement.' Here's a true story of a lady in her eighties who went to her doctor for a check-up. He asked if she stayed active. She gave him a big smile and said, 'I jog about four or five miles every day.' Surprised, he told her she needed to be careful and not overdo it. 'Take it easy,' he suggested. She took his words to heart and decided to slow down. She reduced her jogs to slow walks, and cut back to one or two days a week. Within a year she was dead. After hearing about her death, the doctor who'd given her such advice told a friend, 'Never again will I tell a patient who's doing so well to take it easy.'The Bible is filled with the stories of people who lived on because they had something to live for! Remember Caleb? At 85 he attacked the giants in the hill country, drove them out, and became a land developer (see Joshua 14). And how about Noah? He began building the ark when he was 500 years old. And a hundred years later he helped to start the world all over again.Age means nothing unless you're cheese! And wrinkles, grey hair and spots on your hands mean less than nothing. As long as God chooses to leave you on this earth, don't just exist - live! Claim the promise: 'You will come to the grave in full vigour' (Job 5:26 NIV). Keep dreaming. Accept new challenges. And don't even think about taking it easy!

Soulfood: Gen 50 Hag 1-2 Jn 20:1-18 Ps 105:1-7 Ecc 5:13-16,


Keep believing God and it will happen

'Wait patiently, for it will surely take place.' Habakkuk 2:3 NLT

Has God promised you something and humanly speaking you see no way it can come to pass? Are you having a hard time waiting? Read this Scripture: 'If it seems slow...wait patiently, for it will surely take place' (Habakkuk 2:3 NLT). God does things on schedule, and your appointment is still on his calendar. Be assured that nothing the enemy does can pre-empt the plan of God for your life. When he gives you a promise, it's like a seed. First it must fall into the fertile soil of faith and be given time to grow. Then it must be watered regularly through prayer and the Word of God. It won't come to pass because you push and try to manipulate: '"[It's]...not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit", says the Lord' (Zechariah 4:6 NKJV). If God has promised you something, stand on his Word and remind yourself, 'My life can't end before this comes to pass.'The story of Joseph's life could be summed up in this Scripture: 'Until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him' (Psalm 105:19 NKJV). Why test something? To reveal its strength; to see if it holds up or falls apart under pressure. What has God promised you? Do you believe him? How strong is your faith? If it's weak, God will put you back into the school of faith so you can learn the lessons, pass the tests, and graduate. 'Without faith it is impossible to please [God], for he who comes to God must believe that he is...a rewarder' (Hebrews 11:6 NKJV).The word for you today is: keep believing God, and it will happen.

Soulfood: Gen 47-49 Jn 19:25-42 Ps 150 Ecc 5:10-12,


The great designer

'The heavens are telling the glory of God; they are a marvellous display of his craftsmanship.' Psalm 19:1 TLB

Whether you look at the universe through a telescope or a microscope, you discover that God is the great designer.Let's look at three of the things he designed: (1) Temperature. The sun's surface is 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and we're nearly 150 million kilometres away from it - just the right distance. If the earth's temperature was 50 degrees hotter or colder all life would cease. Think about it: why wasn't the earth placed twice as far away, or half as close? (2) Rotation. We rotate 365 times a year as we pass around the sun. Suppose we only rotated 36 times? Well, our days and nights would be ten times as long. We'd be terribly hot on one side, unbearably cold on the other, and life as we know it would cease. (3) Air. Oxygen constitutes 21 per cent of our atmosphere: the precise balance of air we need to breathe. Why not 50 per cent? Because the first time somebody lit a match we'd all be toast!So ask yourself, is the 21 per cent by accident or design? And if there's a design then it follows that there must be a designer. And there is. Would you like to know him? You can. At creation he revealed his great power, but at the cross he revealed his great love (John 3:16). Through Jesus his Son you can know the great designer personally and receive the gift of eternal life. If you don't, you'll enter a lost eternity. Any chance you'll be an exception? None! The people in Heaven will be those who got there by choice, not chance.

Soulfood: Gen 44-46 Jn 19:1-24 Ps 148:7-14 Ecc 5:4-6,


Facing opposition

'Consider him who endured such opposition.' Hebrews 12:3 NIV

Do you remember the line from the hit song by Elvis Presley, 'Don't you step on my blue suede shoes?' You won't get too far in life before somebody does that very thing, and steps on your toes.But before you get discouraged and throw in the towel, take another look at the life of Jesus. Though he was perfect in all ways, he was criticised continually. His enemies called him a 'glutton and a drunkard' (Matthew 11:19 NIV). They even accused him of being possessed by a demon (see John 8:48). Yet he never allowed bitterness or discouragement to defeat him. To him, every obstacle was an opportunity to demonstrate grace and grit. His heart was broken by those he loved, yet he understood and comforted others. He saw disease as an opportunity to heal those who were sick; hatred as an opportunity to love his enemies; temptation as an opportunity to overcome the carnal impulses we all deal with; and offences as an opportunity to forgive. He went through life turning trials into triumphs - and he's our example. The Bible says, 'Consider him who endured such opposition...so...you will not grow weary and lose heart.'Pick up your Bible and reread his teachings. In his famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said: ' You have heard that it was said, "Love your neighbour and hate your enemies." But I say to you, love your enemies. Pray for those who hurt you. If you do this, you will be true children of your Father in Heaven... be perfect, just as your Father in Heaven is perfect' (Matthew 5:43-48 NCV). That's how Jesus lived - and that's how he wants you to live too.

Soulfood: Gen 42-43 Jn 18:19-40 Ps 148:1-6 Ecc 5:1-3,


Don't live in the spite house

'Let all bitterness...be put away from you.' Ephesians 4:31 NKJV

In 1882 a New York businessman named Joseph Richardson owned a narrow strip of land on Lexington Avenue. It was five feet wide and 104 feet long. Another businessman, Hyman N. Sarner, owned a normal sized plot adjacent to Richardson's skinny one. He wanted to build apartments that fronted the avenue, so he offered Richardson a thousand dollars for the slender plot. Richardson was deeply offended by the low offer and demanded five thousand dollars. Sarner refused, and Richardson called him a miser and slammed the door on him. Sarner assumed the land would remain vacant and instructed the architect to design the apartment building with windows overlooking Richardson's land. But when Richardson saw the finished building, he resolved to block the view; no one was going to enjoy a free view over his plot! So 75-year-old Richardson built an apartment building on it, five feet wide, 104 feet long, and four storeys high. Upon completion he and his wife moved in. Only one person at a time could ascend the stairs or pass through the hallway. The dining table was eighteen inches wide. A newspaper reporter of some girth once got stuck in the stairwell, and after two tenants were unsuccessful in pushing him free he exited only by stripping down to his undergarments. The building was dubbed 'the spite house'. Richardson and his wife spent the last fourteen years of his life there. In 1915 it was torn down.Bitterness builds a lonely house with only enough space for one person. The lives of its tenants are reduced to one goal: make someone miserable. They do. Themselves!

Soulfood: Mt 4:21-22 Mt 17:1-9 John 19:25-27 John 21:20-24,


Use what God's given you

'Having gifts (faculties, talents, qualities) that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them.' Romans 12:6 AMP

God has given you certain relationships, skills, experiences and attributes that he wants you to use to fulfil his purposes. He used a beauty pageant to position Esther as Queen of Persia and stop the genocide of the Jews. He used Nehemiah's diligence as the king's cupbearer to position him for royal favour that would parlay into rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem. He used David's musical ability to give him access to the king of Israel. He used Joseph's imprisonment and his ability to interpret dreams to save two nations from famine. He used the zeal of a mass murderer named Saul of Tarsus to spread the gospel via three missionary journeys while writing half the New Testament.And if God used them, he will use you too. And he wants to. In fact, he's cultivating talents within you that will serve his Kingdom purposes in ways you are unaware of right now. It may be your God-given athletic abilities or music proclivity that God uses to give you a platform to give him praise. It may be your creative genius. It may be your idiosyncrasy. It could just be your good old-fashioned work ethic. No matter what it is, it's a gift from God that is to be used for God.Success is doing the best you can, with what you have, where you are. It's not based on circumstances, wealth, power or platform. It's not based on past experience or future potential. It's stewarding every opportunity, in every way, every day. So today, use what God has given you.

Soulfood: Gen 40-41 Jn 18:1-18 Ps 147:12-20 Ecc 4:9-12,


Stay focused on what's important

'I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will.' Isaiah 50:7 NLT

In a small Wisconsin town on the southern shore of Lake Superior, the annual dogsled derby was about to begin. The racers were all children - from older boys with several dogs and big sleds, to one little boy who had only a small sled and a dog. On the signal, the sleds took off and the little fellow was soon so far behind that he hardly seemed to be in the race at all. Then about halfway through the race, when the second-place team tried to move into first place, the sleds got too close and the dogs began to fight. As each of the other sleds in the race came upon the fight, more dogs got involved. The scene was soon one big seething knot of kids, sleds, and dogs. All thought of racing had vanished from the minds of the racers. However, the one little guy and his dog managed to skirt the others and went on to win the race.RightPath founder and business coach Jerry Mabe tells employers that when they hire managers, they should look out for 'shiny object' people. Why? Because like children, they are easily distracted by other things and the job suffers under their watch. To succeed you must stay focused on what's important, and pursue your goals without wavering or hesitating.Keep your eyes on the finish line, trusting God to help you. He will. His Word says so: 'Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will not be put to shame' (Isaiah 50:7 NLT).

Soulfood: Gen 37-39 Jn 17:1-26 Ps 147:1-11 Ecc 3:5-8,


It's a choice

'Yet I will rejoice in the Lord.' Habakkuk 3:18 NKJV

Pastor Jim Penner says: 'I'll never forget...as an eight-year-old sitting on the step when my mother opened the door to two men who handed her some papers...As tears rolled down [her] cheeks it didn't take me long to figure out what happened. Money was tight...the bank hadn't been paid and...our car was repossessed. I also carry with me another image I cherish to this day of my mother praying in her room. In the face of fear two words came through..."Thank you! Thank you!" I thought, "Thank you? You just lost your car; we have no money; what's going to happen to us?" Her prayer continued, "Thank you, God, for what you've provided...and that we have something to eat tonight"...So it went...fifteen minutes, maybe more. Looking back, I gained a lifetime of wisdom in those precious minutes. My mother taught me an attitude of gratefulness in the midst of adversity that I'll never forget...The tough times didn't end overnight...but in the years to come God blessed my mother for her steadfast faith.'Gratitude isn't a natural response to adversity; it's a discipline you develop. The psalmist said, 'Forget not all his benefits' (Psalm 103:2 NKJV). In the midst of trouble, when you don't think God has blessed you, sit down and recall his faithfulness and you'll end up filled with joy. Habakkuk said, 'Fig trees may not grow...there may be no grapes on the vines...no olives...no food growing in the fields...no sheep in the pens and no cattle in the barns. But I will still...rejoice in God my Saviour' (Habakkuk 3:17-18 NCV).When you take time to give thanks, it will change your outlook and attitude.

Soulfood: Gen 35-36 Jn 16:19-33 Ps 2 Ecc 3:1-4,


At the breaking point

'Let him have all your worries and cares.' 1 Peter 5:7 TLB

In the film Limitless, actor Bradley Cooper discovers a wonder drug that opens up the entire capacity of his brain. He can learn languages and complex maths in a fraction of the time it takes normal people. He can recall almost anything he's read or seen. He can analyse more quickly and more in-depth than the best financial gurus. He is limitless. And he leverages his ability to earn millions and achieve great success.Today many people are stressed out by their relationships or by their work. And even more are stressed out by money issues. If you're saying, 'I'm stressed by one (or more) of these!' here's the word for you today: 'Let him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you' (1 Peter 5:7 TLB). You say, 'If you saw my schedule, you'd know why I'm at the breaking point.' Who sets your schedule each day? One of three people will. Either somebody else is going to set your schedule, or you are going to set your schedule, or you can go to God and ask him to set your schedule.One of the reasons God allows us to reach the breaking point is to force us to come to him for guidance, for strength and for direction. There's plenty in life that you can't handle, but there's nothing in life you and God can't handle together. The secret is in handling only the things God wants you to handle, and entrusting the rest to him.

Soulfood: Gen 32-34 Jn 16:1-18 Ps 130 Pro 31:28-31,


It's an inside job 4

'The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.' Romans 8:26 NLT

The twin pillars of a believer's daily life should be prayer and Scripture. And while praying may be simple, it's not always easy. We lack motivation, we're easily distracted, and not always sure what we should be praying for. So recognising our human inadequacies, God 'helps' us through his indwelling Holy Spirit: 'The Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father...knows...what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us...in harmony with God's own will' (Romans 8:26-27 NLT). That means no matter how you feel when you pray, the Holy Spirit joins in prayer with you, and for you, transforming your feeblest prayers into powerful appeals to the Father. And when it comes to the second pillar, namely the Word of God, the Holy Spirit's role is equally dynamic.Jesus said, 'When he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will guide you into all truth...whatever he hears he will speak: and he will tell you things to come' (John 16:13 NKJV). Notice, the Holy Spirit does three things: (1) He guides you as you study the Word of God and seek to understand it. (2) He takes what Jesus wants you to know and reveals it to you. (3) He opens your understanding about things that are still to come.There's no question that good reference books, Scripture-based resources and skilled Bible teachers can be helpful, but they're no substitute when it comes to hearing from the Holy Spirit for yourself and listening carefully to what he wants to tell you.

Soulfood: Gen 30:25-31:55 Jn 15:18-27 Ps 65 Pro 31:25-27,

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