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The Word For Today

FORGIVE THEM, AND LET IT GO!

'Pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.' Matthew 5:44 NKJV

An unforgiving attitude can keep you from moving forward in life. So isn't it time you got serious about forgiving the one who hurt you? You say, 'But then they'll have got away with it.' They're not getting away with anything! God is qualified to judge; you're not. Remember, your critics are making decisions about you based on limited information, but God knows the truth and He will deal with your detractors in His own time. By trying to defend yourself and prove them wrong, you're stepping into territory that belongs exclusively to God.
The Bible says: 'Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honourable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone...never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, "I will take revenge; I will pay them back," says the Lord. Instead, "If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads." Don't let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good' (Romans 12:17-21 NLT). Satan's goal is to get you all tied up in knots and steal your peace. Don't play into his hands!
Christ, your example, prayed for those who drove the nails into His hands: 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do' (Luke 23:34 KJV). Your enemies may think they're smart, but often they're acting in ignorance. Don't come down to their level by retaliating. Forgive them, and let it go.

SoulFood: 2 Chron 8-11; Luke 15:1-10; Ps 119:89-96; Pro 21:20-23

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TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE

'He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.' John 6:15 NKJV

The Bible says: 'When Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him King, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone. Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, got into the boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum...Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing. So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid. But He said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid." Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going' (John 6:15-21 NKJV).
Notice three things in this story: (1) The control Jesus exercised. People wanted to plan His life for Him. Sound familiar? When that happened, 'He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.' Note the word 'again'. Spending time with God was something He did regularly. Do you? (2) The criticism Jesus evoked. When the crowd wants to make you 'King', it's hard for your ego to walk away. But Jesus did. Others couldn't impose their will or agenda on Him. Why? Because He was committed to doing the will of God and nothing else. (3) The communion Jesus enjoyed. He emerged from a night of prayer empowered to walk on the water and subdue the storm.
If you want to succeed in life, there's only one source you can go to for strength and guidance: God. Do you want to take control of your life? That's how you do it!

SoulFood: 2 Chron 5-7; Luke 14:25-35; Ps 119:81-88; Pro 21:17-19

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LOVE YOUR CHURCH - JESUS DOES! (8)

'...after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.' 1 Peter 5:10 NKJV

It took seven years to build Solomon's temple. In Scripture the number seven represents completion. So when it comes to your 'position' in Christ, you're as saved right now as you'll be when you stand in Heaven. When Jesus cried, 'It is finished', everything required to reconcile you to God was completed. The word 'complete' means 'lacking nothing'. And when you put your trust in Jesus, that's how God sees you. When He positions you in Christ, 'You are complete in Him' (Colossians 2:10 NKJV).
You say, 'But I still sin.' The Bible says, 'We all...beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image...by the Spirit of the Lord' (2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJV). Did you get that? The Holy Spirit is at work in your life every day, in every way, moulding you into the image of Jesus. God's ultimate plan for you is greater than you can comprehend. Jude writes, 'Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy...be glory and majesty' (Jude 1:24-25 NKJV). Note the words 'Him that is able'. This is something Christ does for you, not something you do for yourself!
And one of the tools He uses to bring about your perfection (maturity) is trouble. Peter writes, 'May the God of all grace, who has called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.' It may take a while, but you'll get there!

SoulFood: 2 Chron 1-4; Luke 14:15-24; Ps 119:73-80; Pro 21:14-16

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LOVE YOUR CHURCH - JESUS DOES! (6)

'The Lord will lift up a standard [shield of defence].' Isaiah 59:19 NKJV

Notice what Solomon prayed for at the dedication of the temple. 'If there is famine in the land...if Your people's enemies are in the land...whatever disaster or disease there is...hear from Heaven...Then they will fear You and walk in Your ways as long as they live' (2 Chronicles 6:28-31 NLT).
When you're functioning in your rightful place in church you can: (1) Pray with confidence in times of economic difficulty. One of the names by which Israel knew God was 'Jehovah Jireh', which means 'the Lord will provide'. Your security isn't in the Beehive, the stock exchange or any other physical place! It's in God's unfailing goodness (Psalms 23:6). (2) Pray with confidence in times of sickness. God's promise to you is this: 'Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up' (James 5:14-15 NKJV). (3) Pray with confidence when you're facing disaster. 'He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust"' (Psalms 91:1-2 NKJV). (4) Pray with confidence when the devil is attacking you. 'When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard [shield of defence] against him' (Isaiah 59:19 NKJV).
As a redeemed member of Christ's church, these are your 'rights', so exercise them!

SoulFood: 1 Chron 26:20 - 29:30; Luke 14:1-14; Ps 119:65-72; Pro 21:10-13

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LOVE YOUR CHURCH - JESUS DOES! (5)

'If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves.' 2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV

Can you imagine God's presence being so real in a Sunday morning service that the pastor doesn't get to preach, the choir and special singers don't get to perform and the deacons can't attend to their duties? It happened in Solomon's temple.
Observe the elements at work in church that day: (1) They confessed their sins. John Owen said, 'He that hath slight thoughts of sin, never had great thoughts of God.' Things that trouble you nowhere else will trouble you profoundly in the presence of God. What kinds of things? Politics without principle, pleasure without conscience, reputation without character, and knowledge without conviction. (2) They humbled themselves. The Bible says, 'God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble' (James 4:6 NKJV). Humility means saying, 'Lord, I don't have a thing You didn't give me. And everything I'll ever need comes from You.' (3) They prayed; not formal, poetic prayers, but heartfelt prayers of repentance. Here's how God responded: 'If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place' (2 Chronicles 7:14-15 NKJV). (4) They gave sacrificially. The people brought 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep, the largest sacrifice recorded in the Bible. When you open your hand to lift the name of God up, He opens His hand to lift you up. But here's the thing: God has a bigger hand!

SoulFood: 1 Chron 23:21 - 26:19; Luke 13:18-35; Ps 119:57-64; Pro 21:7-9

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LOVE YOUR CHURCH - JESUS DOES! (4)

'The many parts make up one whole body.' 1 Corinthians 12:12 NLT

The Bible says, 'The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body.' Let's use what may seem like a ridiculous illustration. Imagine your foot no longer wanting to be part of your body and when you ask why, it starts saying things like, 'I'm tired of getting walked on and dragged through the mud. Other parts of the body get off easy, but I have to do the heavy lifting. Nobody appreciates me. They talk about beautiful eyes and hair and lips, but nobody writes songs about feet. So I'm leaving.' When you enquire what your foot's future plans are, it says, 'I'm just going to sit at home and watch Christian TV.'
Now, Christian broadcasting has a very important role in society, especially for those who are shut in and can't get out to church. But when you leave a church without God's permission, you no longer function as He designed you to. You may have peace for a while, but you'll have no fulfilment. And because you are cut off from your spiritual food supply - you won't grow into maturity. 'Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, "I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand", that does not make it any less a part of the body...God has put each part just where He wants it...In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary' (1 Corinthians 12:14-22 NLT).
Why should you come back to church? For fellowship, food, function and fulfilment.

SoulFood: 1 Chron 19:1 - 23:20; Luke 13:1-17; Ps 119:49-56; Pro 21:4-6

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LOVE YOUR CHURCH - JESUS DOES! (3)

'The glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.' 1 Kings 8:11 NKJV

Only when the Ark of the Covenant was brought into the temple and set in its rightful position, which was the central place, did God's glory fill the temple. 'Then the priests brought in the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord to its place...[And] the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord' (1 Kings 8:6, 10-11 NKJV).
There's a lesson here for all of us, particularly those in church leadership. Christ alone must have centre stage! Programmes and promotions are fine but only when Jesus is honoured as Lord, His Word preached and His presence reverenced and relished, will His glory fill the church. Next time you're standing in God's house singing His praise, pause and remind yourself: it's about Him, not me! One day the telephone rang in the clergyman's office at the Washington church President Franklin Roosevelt attended. A voice enquired, 'Do you expect the President to be in church on Sunday?' The pastor answered, 'That, I cannot promise. But we expect the Lord to be there, and that should be incentive enough for a reasonably large attendance.'
Hymnist Fanny Crosby wrote these words: 'Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a present far too small. Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.' Next Sunday don't just fill the pew, fill God's house with your heartfelt praise.

SoulFood: 1 Chron 16-18; Luke 12:49-59; Ps 119:41-48; Pro 21:1-3

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LOVE YOUR CHURCH - JESUS DOES! (2)

'You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house.' 1 Peter 2:5 NIV

We don't go to church, we are the church! If we met for worship in the parking lot, we'd still be the church! Consider Solomon's temple. It was planned by David the father, built by Solomon the son, and at its dedication filled with the Holy Spirit.
Here are three ways your church is just like Solomon's temple: (1) It was built on redemption ground! Mount Moriah, the scene of Solomon's temple, is where Abraham took his son Isaac to offer him as a sacrifice. Guess what? Two thousand years later God led His only begotten Son up that same mountain to die for our sins. As G. D. Boardman said, 'The cross is the only ladder high enough to touch Heaven's threshold.' (2) It was the most unique building ever constructed. It was built from stones made ready before they were brought together. They were washed, then fashioned, then fitted together. And that's our story too, isn't it? 'You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house...offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.' (3) The building materials came from many nations. We aren't saved by race, but by grace. It's not the blood that flows in your veins that saves you; it's the blood that flowed from Christ's veins that makes you righteous and accepted before God.
Two unique phrases are used to describe Solomon's temple: 'exceeding magnificent' (1 Chronicles 22:5 NKJV); 'famous everywhere for its greatness and beauty' (1 Chronicles 22:5 NCV). That's how God feels about His church, and you should too!

SoulFood: 1 Chron 12:23 - 15:29; Luke 12:35-48; Ps 119:33-40; Pro 20:28-30

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LOVE YOUR CHURCH - JESUS DOES! (1)

'Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.' Ephesians 5:25 NKJV

The church isn't made up of people who are better than everybody else. It's made up of people who want to be better than they are, and who know that by the grace of God they can be. Have church leaders sometimes failed us? Yes, but Jesus Christ, the Head of the church, hasn't failed us - and He never will! Christ's church, of which your local church is a part, was planned by God before the world began (Ephesians 1:4). It was paid for in the crimson cash of Jesus' blood, has been sustained through history by the sacrifice of the martyrs, is prophesied to be more glorious in its ending than its beginning, and is being prepared right now as a bride for her Husband. John the Revelator describes it this way: 'Rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready' (Revelation 19:7 NKJV).
So before you attack the leadership, withdraw your membership, or withhold your stewardship, remember that nothing on earth is dearer to the heart of God than His church. The truth is, when you hurt any part of the body you also hurt the Head. And here's something else to keep in mind: the only thing on earth that has a future is the church; all the rest is going up in smoke. And the church's insurance policy is guaranteed by Jesus Himself, Who said, 'I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it' (Matthew 16:18 NKJV).
So love your church - Jesus does!

SoulFood: 1 Chron 10:1 - 12:22; Luke 12:22-34; Ps 119:25-32; Pro 20:25-27

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LIVING FOR THE RIGHT REASONS

'Life is not measured by how much you own.' Luke 12:15 NKJ
 
It is said that in 1923, seven of the world's most successful men met at a Chicago hotel: the president of the largest independent steel company, the president of the largest utility company, the greatest wheat speculator, the president of the New York Stock Exchange, a member of the President's Cabinet, the president of the Bank of International Settlements and the president of the world's greatest monopoly. Collectively these tycoons controlled more money than there was in the United States' Treasury.
Now, fast forward 25 years and let's see what happened to them. Charles Schwab, president of the largest independent steel company, lived the last five years of his life on borrowed money and died a pauper. Arthur Cooger, the greatest wheat speculator, shot himself. Richard Whitney, president of the New York Stock Exchange, spent three years in prison. Albert Fall, a member of the President's cabinet, went to prison for bribery. Leon Fraser, president of the U.S. Bank of International Settlements, shot himself. Ivan Kreuger, head of one of the world's largest monopolies, also committed suicide. If the recent economic upheaval has taught us anything, it's that money brings neither security nor happiness.
Yes, God will bless you with money (Deuteronomy 8:18). And He will do it for two reasons: (1) Because He delights in seeing His redeemed children walk in His blessings (Psalms 35:27). (2) Because He expects you to use your money to reach a hurting world with God's love. If you keep those two things in mind, you'll be living for the right reasons.
 
 
SoulFood: 1 Chron 7:20 - 9:44; Luke 12:13-21; Ps 119:17-24; Pro 20:22-24
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