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The Word For Today

Are you being stretched



'All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize.' 1 Corinthians 9:25 NLT

When you're being stretched spiritually, your faith in God grows. When you're being stretched mentally, your old ideas are challenged and replaced with new ones. When you're being stretched relationally, selfishness dies and love grows.So, are you being stretched right now? God allows us to have stretching experiences that prepare us for the race he has called us to run in life - and every so often your soul will 'hit the wall.' No amount of strength and no amount of pressing will move the problem. This is soul stretch! Often, these moments aren't the real test; they are just warm-ups that prepare us for future challenges. They are points of reference designed to keep us from panicking when we're in the midst of the real race. Remember that God never allows a person to run for him, or with him, who hasn't been stretched in their thinking, their faith, and their ability to live and love. So when you face a problem that just won't move, remember to take a deep breath and remind yourself that God is stretching you. It's the stretching of the soul that enables us to face situations we think will kill us, but don't; to endure times when we think we won't make it, but do. Sooner or later we will all face difficult times and relationships, but they are just the deep knee bends of life.So when it feels like you're being stretched to breaking point, don't quit. See it for what it is - preparation for running and winning your God-assigned race in life.

Soulfood: 2 Kings 6:8-20, Eph 1:15-23

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Become a good thinker



'For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.' Proverbs 23:7 NKJV

With practice, you can become a good thinker. Observe two things: (1) Good thinkers have foresight. 'The plans of the diligent lead to profit' (Proverbs 21:5 NIV). The word diligent means 'to work, study, and plan.' You don't stumble into success and figure it out afterward. Whether you're in business or ministry, your level of success will increase dramatically if you place a high value on good thinking.

Novelist Victor Hugo wrote, 'A small man is made up of small thoughts.' People who don't practice good thinking usually find themselves at the mercy of circumstances - or other people's thoughts. Unable to solve problems, they find themselves facing the same obstacles over and over. And because they don't think ahead they're habitually in reaction mode. An old German proverb says, 'Better an empty purse than an empty head.' Good thinkers overcome difficulties, including lack of resources, that often leave poor thinkers at the mercy of good thinkers.

In As a Man Thinketh, James Allen says, 'All that a man achieves, or fails to achieve, is a direct result of his thoughts.' Do you believe that? If you do, you'll place a high value on good thinking and make it a priority in your life. (2) Good thinkers look for the best, not the worst. They live by this scriptural principle: 'Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things' (Philippians 4:8 NIV).

Soulfood: Mic 5-7, Mark 13:12-23, Ps 19, Prov 24:19-22

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Redeemed by the blood



'The blood of Jesus Christ...cleanses us from all sin.' 1 John 1:7 NKJV

Going to church, doing your best, and subscribing to fuzzy notions about God won't get you into Heaven. Here's the testimony of those already in Heaven: 'To him who loves us...freed us from our sins by his blood, and...made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father...be glory and power for ever and ever' (Revelation 1:5-6 NIV)!

There's an interesting story behind a broken rope on display at the Matterhorn Museum in Zermatt, Switzerland. Some climbers who scaled the Matterhorn used it to rope themselves together for the return descent. But one climber slipped. The other team members braced for the shock on the rope linking them all together, expecting it to halt their companions' fall. But the tug came, and to everyone's horror the rope snapped, dragging the others with him into the abyss and plunging them to their deaths. Nobody knows why an inferior rope was used. But they do know it wasn't genuine Alpine rope, which is guaranteed and distinguished by a red strand running through it.

There's a lesson here. From Genesis to Revelation the Bible has a red strand running through it, and it represents the only thing that can save you - the blood of Jesus. Old Testament believers looked forward to the cross, and New Testament believers looked back to it. By trusting in Christ's finished work, you're accepted by God, and one day the door of Heaven will open and you'll live with him forever. And it's all based on this truth: 'The blood of Jesus Christ...cleanses us from all sin' (1 John 1:7 NKJV). No more is required, and nothing less will get you through the door!

Soulfood: Mic 1-4, Mark 13:1-11, Ps 24, Prov 24:15-18

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