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The Word For Today

The rewards of generosity



'Be generous, and someday you will be rewarded.' Ecclesiastes 11:1 CEV

The Dead Sea has such high mineral concentrations that even non-swimmers can stay afloat in it. The only problem is the smell. Because it has no outlets, any fresh water that comes in quickly becomes contaminated. There's an important Biblical principle at work here: 'The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed' (Proverbs 11:25 NLT). God never intended you to be a reservoir that just takes in, but a river of blessing that flows out to others.

The Bible says: 'A farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure. "For God loves a person who gives cheerfully." And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others' (2 Corinthians 9:6-8 NLT). So if you need a job, volunteer at a soup kitchen while you're looking for work. If you're praying for an increase in your business, pour your best into someone else's business and ask God to prosper them.

Solomon writes, 'Give generously, for your gifts will return to you later. Divide your gifts among many, for in the days ahead you yourself may need much help' (Ecclesiastes 11:1-2 TLB). Even if you don't have a specific need right now, sow a seed of kindness anyway. God knows what the future holds and, one day when you need it most, it will come back to you as a harvest.

Soulfood: Is 49-52, John 7:25-32, Ps 123, Prov 29:1-3

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A prayer for selfcontrol



'It is God's will that you should... avoid sexual immorality.' 1 Thessalonians 4:3 NIV

When God created Adam and Eve, he told them to 'multiply and replenish the earth' (Genesis 1:28 KJV). That helps explain why sex is one of our strongest drives. But it can also propel you into making decisions that mess up your life and destroy your relationships. The Bible says: 'It is God's will that you should... avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honourable, not in passionate lust like the pagans' (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 NIV).

Why did God say this? Because when there's physical intimacy without true commitment, somebody's going to get hurt. You need to heed what God says on this issue. And you need to do it now, before you get into situations where you're tempted to compromise your character, because by then it's too late. We all struggle with our sexuality, particularly in a culture where 'sex sells'.

Sex is such an integral part of us, and guilt about it has a way of making us feel separated from God like nothing else can. In order to determine your values and establish some ground rules, you need to pray: 'Lord, I'm not going to allow my impulses to dictate to me, or sin to separate me from you. I choose to keep your standards, to rely on your Spirit to give me strength day by day. And if I do sin, to seek your forgiveness, get back up, and move closer to you.' That's a prayer God will answer!

Soulfood: 2 Kings 6:1-7, Matt 14:22-33

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Be a Shamgar 3



'Shamgar...saved Israel.' Judges 3:31 NIV

If Shamgar had focused on the fact that he was going up against six hundred Philistines, he would probably have given up before he even started. Understand this: Satan will try to discourage and defeat you by making you feel overwhelmed by the problem. That's when you need to counterpunch, by breaking down your goals into smaller steps. You will not be able to overcome your addiction, anxiety, or anorexia for the rest of your life in one day, but with God's help you can win one small battle today.

Don't worry about next week or next year. Live in day-tight compartments. Can you resist temptation for twenty-four hours? Can you win the battle for one day? You know you can. And so does the enemy. So take it one day at a time. We spend far too much energy focusing on the very thing we can't control - the outcome. You say, 'What if I fall back into my bad habit? What if my romantic efforts aren't reciprocated? What if I don't hit my target weight or get my dream job?' Jesus said, 'Don't be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time' (Matthew 6:34 TLB).

The manna the Israelites received in the wilderness arrived daily, not weekly or monthly. Why? Because God wanted them to live in total dependence on him. God's grace, not your own works, is the key to victory. The word for you today is: 'His compassion never ends. It is only the Lord's mercies that have kept us from complete destruction. Great is his faithfulness; his loving-kindness begins afresh each day... therefore I will hope in him' (Lamentations 3:21-24 TLB).

Soulfood: Is 45-48, John 7:14-24, Ps 30, Prov 28:25-28

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