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Andrew 10:00-3:00pm

The Word For Today

Generosity Pays Off

Dr William DeVries, the surgeon who pioneered the artificial heart, is the kind of doctor who shows up at the hospital on Sunday, just to cheer up discouraged patients. He even changes dressings and if a patient wants him to stick around and talk, he always does. His friends say he's 'an old shoe' who fits in wherever he goes. He wears cowboy boots with his surgical garb and repairs hearts to the music of Vivaldi. 'He's always got a smile lurking,' says friend Dr Robert Goodin, 'And he's always looking for a way to let it out.' DeVries believes that 'arriving' is not a place where others serve you, but where you get to serve them.

Chuck Swindoll writes, 'We occupy common space, but we no longer have common interests. It's as if we're on an elevator with rules like 'No talking or smiling or eye-contact allowed without written consent of the management.' We're losing touch with one another! The motivation to help, to encourage, yes, to serve our fellow man is waning. Yet it's these things that form the essentials of a happy, fulfilled life. That's what Jesus meant when He said, 'The greatest among you will be your servant' (Matthew 23:11 NIV).

Everything God gives you is first a gift to enjoy, then a seed to sow. Got a good education? Leadership ability? More money than you need? You've got seeds - sow them! Read God's promises regarding generosity, then start giving to others what He's given to you. That's the way to find happiness!

Soulfood : Acts 6-7, Matt 2:19-23, Ps 130, Prov 10:24-26

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Hurt by Christians (2)

Getting hurt in life is inevitable; staying hurt is a choice. You can decide to remain a victim by dwelling on how things should have been or use the experience to grow stronger and wiser. At the Pool of Bethesda Jesus met a man who'd been lying paralysed on a mat for 38 years. When Jesus discovered how long he'd been there, He asked, 'Do you want to get well?' After 38 years, the chances are this man saw his handicap as part of his identity. He'd been incapacitated for so long that he thought like a victim: '...I don't have anybody here to put me in the pool...' (John 5:7 GNT). Translation: 'Nobody cares.' But Jesus did, and He commanded him to get up and walk.

Now, it took faith for this man to overcome those old ingrained feelings of hopelessness and self-pity but when he obeyed Jesus he was healed on the spot. God never forces healing on you, even when you're hurting. You must want to get well and make a conscious decision that by God's grace you can. Let's face it, the church is made up of flawed human beings who sometimes speak without thinking and hurt others. But that's no reason for leaving the church! '...You're part of the body of Christ...' (Colossians 3:15 CEV). Apart from it you've no function, no food supply and no fulfilment, so you begin to die spiritually.

The truth is, it takes the same energy to choose healing as it does to choose helplessness - but the results are very different. One leaves you paralysed by events, the other gives you hope for the future. Which one will you choose?

Soulfood : Acts 3:11 - 5:42, Matt 2:13-18, Ps 75, Prov 10:22-23

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Hurt by Christians (1)

Have you been hurt by a Christian who chose to condemn you instead of showing compassion and helping you? Or by someone who neglected you when they should have sought you out, restored you spiritually and returned you to your rightful place in the family of God? Most people who've been hurt by other Christians could easily convince a jury that it should never have happened. And the truth is, it shouldn't. But it does - and reliving it won't change things, or change you, for the better.

Stop and think: if you were mugged and taken to the hospital, you wouldn't spend all your time obsessing about the person who beat you up. No, your main objective would be to recover as quickly as possible and move on. Ironically, with physical wounds we seek help immediately, but with emotional ones we're inclined to focus on the problem instead of the solution.

So what are you going to do? Here are your options: (1) Rehearse it. By constantly talking to others about what happened, you empower your pain and keep it alive. (2) Repress it. David did that: 'When I kept silent...my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer' (Psalm 32:3-4 NIV). (3) Process it. That means being willing to uncover the areas where you were wounded and opening yourself to receive God's grace. That's when you discover that 'He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds' (Psalm 147:3 NKJV). (4) Share it. The Bible says, 'Confess your sins to each other, and pray for each other, that you may be healed...' (James 5:16 NIV). If you're wise you'll choose options (3) and (4).

Soulfood : Acts 1:1 - 3:10, Matt 2:1-12, Ps 127, Prov 10:19-21

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