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The Word For Today

Encouragement for trials



'Do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial.' 1 Peter 4:12 NKJV

The Bible tells us: 'Do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when his glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy' (1 Peter 4:12-13 NKJV). In The Message, Eugene Peterson paraphrases Peter's words: 'Friends, when life gets really difficult, don't jump to the conclusion that God isn't on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.'

Times of trial feel 'strange', but they are normal and necessary! They are how you grow in grace. They are how God equips and prepares you to do great things in his Kingdom. God never afflicts us, but he most assuredly allows us to go through tests. And these tests measure us, reveal us, strengthen our faith, purify us and cause us to grow spiritually. To quote the apostle Paul: 'All of this has been done for you, so that more and more people will know how kind God is and will praise and honour him. We never give up. Our bodies are gradually dying, but we ourselves are being made stronger each day. These little troubles are getting us ready for an eternal glory that will make all our troubles seem like nothing' (2 Corinthians 4:15-17 CEV).

If you could see the blessing that's waiting for you on the other side of this fiery trial, you'd cancel your pity party and start planning your promotion party.

Soulfood: Job 40-42, Matt 26:47-56, Ps 72:1-11, Pro 9:1-6

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Stand up to the enemy



'An enemy has done this.' Matthew 13:28 NKJV

The Bible says: 'Another parable he put forth to them, saying: "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and...when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop...the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?' He said to them, 'An enemy has done this'"' (Matthew 13:24-28 NKJV).

We all need a spiritual wake-up call from time to time. Sometimes the problem we are dealing with isn't of human origin. Jesus said, 'While men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.' Yes, it's foolish to blame everything on the devil, but it's even more foolish not to recognise when he is at work. Paul writes: 'Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but...against the powers of this dark world and...spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground' (Ephesians 6:11-13 NIV). He goes on to say, 'Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one' (Ephesians 6:16 NIV).

So the word for you today is: recognise when Satan is at work, stand up to him, and he will flee (see James 4:7)!

Soulfood: Job 38-39, Matt 26:36-46, Ps 31, Pro 8:34-36

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Let God comfort you



'God is...the source of all comfort.' 2 Corinthians 1:3 NLT

When you lose someone you love, you go through a grieving process. And God will comfort you and walk you through it. Jesus said, 'Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted' (Matthew 5:4 NIV). Grieving is the healthy way to process your emotions, to express your pain and move beyond it. Recovery doesn't happen overnight; it happens in proportion to the size of your loss. Only small losses are healed quickly.

Zig Ziglar says: 'The longest twenty hours of my life were those right after my daughter's death. When making her funeral arrangements, I had to listen to a salesman who was an incessant talker, and who told me thirty times that he wasn't a salesman. Twice I had to leave the room; I simply couldn't handle him. The night before, half asleep and half awake, I kept thinking my daughter was wondering when her daddy was coming to get her. The next morning I took a walk, praying and crying the whole way. When I returned, the Lord spoke to me in such a distinct way: "She's fine. She's with me, and you're going to be fine too. I'm all you need. Keep walking. Keep talking. Keep praying. Keep crying."'

Grief and loss can't be solved, but they are experiences you don't have to go through alone. The best-known Psalm in Scripture says, 'Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me' (Psalm 23:4 NKJV). The sun will shine again. 'Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning' (Psalm 30:5 NKJV). Your joy will return - God promises it!

Soulfood: Job 35-37, Matt 26:26-35, Ps 6, Pro 8:32-33

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