Days
Andrew and Di 10:00-1:00pm

The Word For Today

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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The Person You Were Made to Be

God created you and He knows what you were intended to be. He has 'good works' for you to do, but they're not necessarily the kind of things we put on our 'To Do' lists at home or work. They're signposts to your true self. Your spiritual life isn't limited to certain devotional activities. It is about being empowered by God to become the person He envisioned when He created you.

But just as nobody becomes happy because their goal is to be happy, becoming the person God intended you to be won't happen if your focus is always on yourself. Flourishing is tied to a nobler vision; it doesn't happen by 'looking out for Number One'. People who flourish bring blessing to others, and they do it in unexpected and humble circumstances. Every once in a while you catch a glimpse of the person you were made to be. You say something inspirational. You express compassion. You forgive an old hurt. You give sacrificially. You refrain from saying something you'd normally blurt out. And as you do, you glimpse for a moment the reason God made you. Only He knows your full potential and He's always guiding you toward the best version of yourself. He uses many tools, He's never in a hurry - and that can be frustrating. But even in our frustration He's at work producing patience. He never gets discouraged by how long it takes and He delights every time you grow.

Only God can see the 'best version of you' and He's more concerned with your reaching your full potential than you are.

Soulfood : Joel 1-3, Matt 1:18-25, Ps 43, Prov 10:17-18

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Are You Flourishing? (2)

Inside you there's a battle between your flourishing self - the person you were created to be - and your languishing self. 'What's that?' you ask. Your languishing self feels uneasy and discontent. You're drawn to bad habits like mindlessly watching TV, drinking too much, misusing sex, excessive spending - things designed to temporarily anaesthetise pain. Your thoughts automatically drift in the direction of fear and anger. Learning doesn't feel worthwhile. You think about yourself most of the time.

Whereas flourishing [thriving, blossoming, and prospering] takes place: (1) In your spirit. You sense you're beginning to receive ideas and energy from an outside source. And you are. You're being empowered by God's Spirit. We talk about being inspired, which literally means 'God breathed'. God breathes into you; you come alive and feel like you've a purpose for living. (2) In your mind. Your thoughts are marked by joy and peace. You have a desire to love and to learn. You're literally being transformed by '...the renewing of your mind...' (Romans 12:2 NIV). (3) In your time. You wake each day with a sense of excitement, and you realise you're never too young to flourish. Mozart was composing brilliant music when he was five. Paul told Timothy, 'Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young...' (1 Timothy 4:12 NIV). You also realise you're never too old to flourish. Grandma Moses was 69 when she took up painting, and artist Marc Chagall did some of his best work in his nineties.

It's humbling to acknowledge you can't be anything you want. But once you accept that and seek to maximise what God created you to be, you start flourishing.

Soulfood : Jer 49-50, Matt 1:1-6, Ps 50:16-23, Prov 10:11-13

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