Andrew + Di 10:00-1:00pm

The Word For Today

Focus on forgiveness

'Do not give the devil an opportunity.' Ephesians 4:27 NAS

The Bible says, 'Do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity' (Ephesians 4:26-27 NAS). The word translated 'opportunity' is the Greek word topos, the same term from which we get the English noun topography. It means territory or ground. And anger gives ground to the devil. Bitterness invites him to occupy a space in your heart. And when you do, he will move in and stink up the place with things like gossip, slander, temper - any time you see these, you have given ground to Satan.

What should you do? Evict him. Don't give him the time of day. In the name of Jesus tell him to pack his bags and hit the road. Begin the process of forgiveness. Keep no list of wrongs. Pray for your antagonists rather than plot against them. Hate the wrong without hating the wrongdoers. Turn your attention away from what they did to you and begin to dwell on what Jesus did for you. Outrageous as it may seem, he died for them too. And if he thinks they are worth forgiving, then they are.

Does that make forgiveness easy? No. It comes in fits and starts, has good days and bad. Some days when you think your old wound has healed and you're over it, someone will knock the scab off it and the pain will return. This is okay. When it comes to forgiveness all of us are beginners. As long as you are trying to forgive, you are forgiving. It's only when you no longer try that you give ground to the devil.

Soulfood: Job 32-34 Luke 19:11-19 Ps 55:12-23 Pro 8:19-21,


We're all on the same team

'The way you treat others is the way you will be treated.' Luke 6:38 CEV

Jesus said, 'Don't criticise, and then you won't be criticised. For others will treat you as you treat them' (Matthew 7:1-2 TLB). Think about it. Do you really want to live your life judging and being judged?

One Christian author puts it this way: 'We were created to be in community...[Not] treat each other with a spirit of judgment...There's something in us that permits us to vie for a better impression of ourselves by belittling someone else. It rages through the teenage years, and should end when we "grow up", but instead it mutates...We judge each other's relationships when our own are crumbling ...or their parenting skills when our own are hanging by a thread...Someone who never exercises is "lazy"...Someone who hides their feelings is "cold"...we judge who has what job, who's busier, who has more stress, who has it "rougher". Someone tells us bad news and we secretly rejoice that it's not us...someone shares good news and we call them arrogant. But no one wins because we're all on the same team.'

Instead of judging and criticising, Paul says, 'When we have the opportunity to help...we should do it' (Galatians 6:10 NCV). So: (a) Look for a way to bless somebody who is not in a position to reciprocate. (b) Identify someone you can encourage today. (c) Go out of your way to make someone feel special. Jesus said: 'If you give to others, you will be given a full amount in return...The way you treat others is the way you will be treated' (Luke 6:38 CEV).

Soulfood: Job 29-31 Luke 19:1-10 Ps 55:1-11 Pro 8:17-18,


Cry out to God

'In my distress I cried out to the Lord.' Psalm 18:6 NLT

There are times in life when the best thing you can do is cry out to God from the depths of your being. Don't worry about looking undignified, or having people think you have no faith. The psalmist said, 'In my distress I cried out to the Lord...[and] he heard me' (Psalm 18:6 NLT). Every parent knows that cry. It's different; it's not a temper tantrum or a whine for attention, it's a cry of distress. And though it comes in the dead of night, before you know it your feet hit the floor and you're at your child's side holding them, changing them, feeding them and comforting them.

That's how God feels about you. When you get so low that you're reaching up just to touch bottom, cry out to God! David said: 'He reached down...and drew me out of my great trials. He rescued me...On the day...I was weakest, they attacked. But the Lord held me steady. He led me to a place of safety, for he delights in me' (Psalm 18:16-19 TLB). David discovered that God was his 'high tower' (Proverbs 18:2 NKJV). In Bible times a high tower was a place of safety where the enemy couldn't get to you. Proverbs 18:10 says, 'The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe' (NKJV). It represents a place of security in God where you're lifted above the threat and the circumstances. It's where you regain your perspective; a place where you can look ahead and know this trial will soon be over.

Go ahead, cry out to God and he will answer you.

Soulfood: Job 24-28 Luke 18:31-43 Ps 13 Pro 8:14-16,

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