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The Word For Today

Inner Beauty

A lady flew across the country to tell a talk show host how her husband had left her for another woman. The lady, who was young, vibrant and beautiful, pulled out a photograph and said, 'Just look at her. He left me for that!' The host concluded, 'Sadly, we've been conditioned to think that "looks" are all-important, when, in fact, they're not.' Nevertheless we keep measuring, comparing, and beating ourselves up because we fall short.

If you can't enjoy who you are because of what you're not, you'll never be happy. Advertisers spend billions getting us to decorate a shell that's in a losing battle with Mother Nature and Father Time - all in an effort to create what we think will attract others. And when it doesn't work, we get depressed and wonder what went wrong. Of course, it's important to look your best but, when you're obsessed with your appearance, you become superficial. And others lose respect for you because they discover that although the box is beautifully wrapped, it's empty.

If you want to know what ultimately wins hearts and attracts the right people, read these words: 'I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God's love...And may you have the power to understand...how long, how high, and how deep His love [for you] is...Then you will be made complete' (Ephesians 3:16-19 NLT). That's the secret to inner beauty!

Soulfood : Lk 10:38-42, Jn 11:1-44, Jn 12:1-3

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Choose the Right Friends (2)

Take the initiative. Don't wait to be introduced. Say 'hello' and get the other person's name. If you're naturally shy, it can be hard taking the first step. But the chances are that the other person feels the same, and when you start talking you'll find things in common. Take a risk. If you like somebody, go a little deeper and mention a small struggle, fear or disappointment you've experienced. It's called 'manageable risk' and it lets you gauge how the other person responds. If they're caring and identify with what you're saying, that's a good sign. If they shut down, try to fix you or respond critically, it may be time to move on. But if everything else works out, exchange phone numbers and invite the other person for coffee or lunch. Then go for a second meeting and give it a little time; that way you'll know if it's a friendship worth developing. Find out where people go to spend time. There are lots of places to get to know new people - like church, the gym, school, a play group or volunteer service. Be willing to leave your comfort zone and try new situations.

Remember that God uses all kinds of friendships to fulfil His purpose. Jesus chose Judas as a friend and that relationship accomplished the purposes of God. Even the least affirming of your friends, the people who hurt and betray you, play their part in bringing God's ultimate blessing into your life.

Ask God for a friend, then go out and make one!

Soulfood : Gen 24:1-25:18, Jn 14:15-25, Ps 118:19-29, Prov 31:14-17

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Choose the Right Friends (1)

Author Charlie 'Tremendous' Jones said, 'You're the same today as you'll be in five years...except for the people with whom you associate and the books you read.'

When it comes to choosing friends, Dr Charles Townsend says look for: (1) People who influence you to be the person God intended. 'As iron sharpens iron, friends sharpen the minds of each other' (Proverbs 27:17 CEV). Relationships are the tools God uses to do this. When you're with somebody, ask yourself, 'Do I like who I am when I'm around this person? Am I more open, loving and honest? Or do I not like what I see in myself?' Choose people who make you a better person. (2) People who provide grace for the energy drain. When you're empty you need to be refuelled physically, spiritually and relationally. So surround yourself with friends who will listen, encourage and be there for you. (3) People who let you be real. 'A friend loves at all times' (Proverbs 17:17 NKJV). The best relationships are those where you know you're loved, you're free to be yourself, you don't have to put on an act and you can be honest about the difficult aspects of life. There's comfort and normality in friendships where you can be authentic. (4) People who help you grow in faith. You need friends who encourage you to pray, read the Bible and help you to see the 'big picture' concerning what's important in your life.

Ephesians 4:16 NCV talks about operating as a body: 'All the parts of the body are joined and held together. Each part does its own work to help the whole body grow and be strong with love.' Don't try to do it alone. Reach out to friends who'll reach back.

Soulfood : Gen 20-23, Jn 14:1-14, Ps 118:10-18, Prov 31:10-13

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