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The Word For Today

Celebrate yourself God does

'He celebrates and sings because of you.' Zephaniah 3:17 CEV

Some of us think so little of ourselves that we'd rather be in a bad relationship than none at all. Being around people doesn't guarantee you won't feel lonely. Actually, being with the wrong people guarantees you'll end up feeling empty and used. Until you overcome your fear of being alone and wait for God to give you the right relationships, you'll continue to feel lonely. Sometimes loneliness is more about not liking yourself than about not having people around who like you. Otherwise, why would you spend so much energy avoiding rejection instead of building healthy relationships? Perhaps you think if you don't get involved you won't get hurt. Or you're afraid to open up in case people criticise you for sharing anything personal. Such anxieties just contribute to your sense of isolation.Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar said, 'What you picture in your mind, your mind will go to work to accomplish. When you change your pictures, you automatically change your performance.'So: (1) You need a true picture of how God sees you. Paul says, 'Because of what Christ has done we have become gifts...God...delights in' (Ephesians 1:11 TLB). Zephaniah 3:17 (CEV) says, 'He celebrates and sings because of you, and he will refresh your life with his love.' (2) You need a true picture of yourself. David said, 'You...put me together inside my mother's body, and I praise you because of the wonderful way you created me. Everything you do is marvelous!' (Psalm 139:13-14 CEV). Having these two pictures clearly in mind stops you from operating with a devalued self-image, and enables you to ask for what you need in a relationship.

Soulfood: Lev 23: 33-44, Jn 7:1-40, Zech 14:16-21


Stop worrying about it

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

Author John Mason writes: 'I couldn't feel at peace. Unless I had everything figured out, I became anxious, restless, nervous, worried and grouchy...similar to a drug addict who needs a fix. The severity wasn't the same but the symptoms were. I was a Christian and supposedly walked by faith. I trusted Jesus for salvation, but in other areas I trusted myself.' Are you living that way? Inspirational author William Ward wrote: 'Worry is faith in the negative, trust in the unpleasant, assurance of disaster, and belief in defeat. It's a magnet that attracts negative conditions. Faith is a more powerful force that creates positive circumstances. Worry is wasting today's time, and cluttering up tomorrow's opportunities with yesterday's troubles.'

When an old man was asked what had robbed him of joy in his life, he replied, 'Things that never happened.' Do you remember the things you worried about a year ago? Didn't you expend a lot of energy on them? And didn't most of them turn out to be fine after all? Almost 99 percent of the things we worry about don't happen. Did you know that a dense fog covering seven city blocks thirty metres deep is composed of less than one glass of water? Just one glass! But it can blot out practically all vision. And a cupful of worry can do the same thing. The Bible says, 'People's lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps' (Jeremiah 10:23 NIV).

Stop trying to control every possible outcome. Life goes better when you decide to stand on God's Word and trust him to take care of you.

Soulfood: Ex 4-6, Mark 16:9-20, Ps 92, Prov 26:1-3


Treat your enemy with kindness

'You will heap coals of fire on his head.' Proverbs 25:22 NKJV

It's not enough to simply leave your enemies alone; you must demonstrate God's love toward them. 'If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for so you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the Lord will reward you' (Proverbs 25:21-22 NKJV).

What does it mean to 'heap coals of fire on his head'? Charles Swindoll explains that in ancient days, homes were heated and meals were fixed on a small portable stove, somewhat like our outside barbecue grills. Frequently, a person would run low on hot coals and need to replenish his or her supply. The container was commonly carried on the head. So as the individual passed beneath second-story windows, thoughtful people who had extra hot coals in their possession would reach out the window and place them in the container atop their head. Thanks to the thoughtful generosity of a few people, they would arrive at the site with a pile of burning coals on their head, and a ready-made fire for cooking and keeping warm. 'Heaping burning coals on someone's head' came to be a popular expression for a spontaneous and courteous act one person would voluntarily do for another. When you treat an enemy this way, the Bible promises, 'The Lord will reward you' (Proverbs 25:22 NKJV).

You have a choice. You can experience the short-term satisfaction of retaliating and get into trouble with God for doing it, or show mercy and kindness and be rewarded by God for doing it. So the word for you today is treat your enemy with kindness.

Soulfood: Ex 1-3, Mark 16:1-8, Ps 63, Prov 25:26-28

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