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The Word For Today

Seeing the Hand of God in It

Jesus looked at Judas in Gethsemane and said, 'Friend, do what you came to do.' It's hard to imagine what Jesus saw in Judas that made him worthy to be called 'friend'. But Jesus sees something good in every bad situation. And it would help if we did the same. How? Again, Jesus gives us guidance. He didn't place all the blame on Judas. He saw another force at work: 'This is...the time when darkness rules' (Luke 22:53 NCV). Judas wasn't acting alone - and neither are your attackers.

Paul says, 'Our fight is not against people on earth but against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world's darkness, against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly world' (Ephesians 6:12 NCV). Those who attack and betray us are victims of a fallen world. We can't place all the blame on them. Jesus found enough good in Judas to call him a friend, and He can help us do the same with those who hurt us. Even though Judas didn't understand or intend to, he played a vital role in ushering Christ into His destiny. Of the 98 words Christ spoke at His arrest, 30 were about the purpose of God. 'It must happen this way to bring about what the Scriptures say..."All these things have happened so that it will come about as the prophets wrote"' (Matthew 26:54-56 NCV).

Jesus understood that His immediate struggle was part of a greater plan. He saw the hand of God at work in it. And if you pay attention, you'll see His hand at work in your struggle too.

Soulfood : Gen 17-19, Jn 13:31-38, Ps 118:1-9, Prov 31:6-9

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Seize the Present

We spend too much of our lives in the junkyard of regret. We focus on what might have been, could have been and should have been. Maybe we think that by replaying it enough we can change the outcome. But we can't. The only thing you can control is what you do in the present. The more you replay yesterday, the further you get from today's opportunities. And the further you move from today's opportunities, the tougher the road back becomes.

Opportunities never look as good coming as they do going. And they wait for no one, so you need to be attentive and grab them. They come in many forms, and they can come from any direction. But one thing's for certain: they can be seen and seized only in the present. Whatever has happened in your life, has happened. And since you can't undo it no matter how hard you try, wipe the slate clean and go on to what's next. We all make mistakes. Jonah's mistake caused a storm that threatened the lives of everybody around him, and ended up taking him all the way to the bottom. But that's not the end of his story: 'From inside the fish Jonah prayed to...God...And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land. Then the Word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time' (Jonah 2:1 and Jonah 2:10 - 3:1 NIV). He's a God of second chances - and third, fourth, and fifth ones too! 'They are new every morning' (Lamentations 3:23 NIV).

Today is a gift - that's why it's called 'the present'. So repent of the past, seize the present and start living again!

Soulfood : Gen 13-16 , Jn 13:18-30, Ps 114, Prov 31:1-5

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You're a 'Priest' at Work (3)

'His God instructs him and teaches him the right way.' Isaiah 28:26 NIV

Lottery winners often make the same comment: 'Winning all that money isn't going to change my life.' But it seldom works out that way. Six months later they have left their job and bought a new house. A survey of lottery winners confirmed these two things: (1) The majority were more unhappy after than before winning. Why? Unfulfilled demands and unmet expectations on the part of family and friends led to disappointment and resentment. (2) None of them would give up the money they'd won. When you've had more money, you tend to be miserable with less. But having more money doesn't give you more self-worth. It's notable that the song Take This Job and Shove It was recorded by a man named Johnny Paycheck!

Isaiah wrote: 'When a farmer ploughs for planting, does he plough continually?...Does he not plant wheat in its place?...God instructs him and teaches him the right way...All this...comes from the Lord' (Isaiah 28:24-29 NIV). That means whether you're a farmer or a fireman - God gave you your job! It's your 'calling', and it was designed to do more than simply provide financial security. It was designed to give you dignity and worth, and to fulfil God's purposes on earth.

Theologian Miroslav Volf says: 'All human work, however complicated or simple, is made possible by the operation of the Spirit of God in the working person; and all work whose nature and results reflect the values of the new creation is accomplished under the instruction and inspiration of the Spirit of God.' So, 'Whatever you do, work...with all your heart...for the Lord' (Colossians 3:23 NIV).


SoulFood: Gen 10-12, John 13:1-17, Ps 95, Pro 30:29-33

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