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The Word For Today

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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Are You Flourishing? (1)

Do you need motivation today? Take a look at the palm tree. (1) You can cut it, but you can't kill it! The minerals and nutrients most trees need to survive are found on the surface, just below the bark, so when you cut them they die. But not the palm tree. Its life comes from within, so it flourishes, even under attack. Listen: '...we have this treasure in earthen vessels...' (2 Corinthians 4:7 NAS). How wonderful; even though the earthen vessel without may be cut and wounded, the treasure within is secure, beyond the enemy's reach!

(2) It will bend, but it won't break. Tropical winds can blow most trees away, but not the palm tree. The stronger the wind, the further it bends - sometimes all the way to the ground. Yet when the storm ceases, it straightens up again and is actually stronger in the place where it bent. What a picture! We were made to bend, but not break, because God gives us '...glorious strength so that [we] can keep going no matter what happens - always full of the joy of the Lord' (Colossians 1:11 TLB).

(3) Its depth always exceeds its height! While the roots of the average plant go only a few feet under the ground, the palm tree's roots can go down hundreds of metres in search of water. David said, 'As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You...' (Psalm 42:1 NIV). Go deep, work on your own connection to God and you'll never be...uprooted...or barren...or blown away!

Soulfood : Jer 45-48, Luke 24:45-53, Ps 50:1-15, Prov 10:8-10

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