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The Word For Today

Accepting Others

Sometimes people don't make it easy to accept them. They can be bad-tempered, selfish, critical, irritating, dismissive, aggressive and pompous. Sometimes you want to give them a piece of your mind; give them what they deserve - anything but acceptance. The command, 'accept one another', is inconvenient. And if Paul had stopped there we might dodge the directive by saying he obviously meant good, reasonable, acceptable people. Alas, he goes on, 'just as Christ accepted you'. Were you good, reasonable and acceptable? No, but He accepted you - flaws and all - and He still does! You say, 'Somebody has to straighten these people out and require them to act right!' You mean like Jesus required before He accepted you?

Roman Christians had difficulty accepting their less experienced brothers, and Paul corrected them: 'Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment... for God has accepted him' (Roman 14:1-3 NIV). Straightening people out isn't our department; accepting them is. God calls us to accept messed-up, unspiritual, carnal, obnoxious, doctrinally misled, 'just plain wrong' people. You don't have to approve of, like, or agree with them, but accepting them isn't optional. There's no elite, privileged, insider class. We occupy level ground because of two realities: our sin and the cross! Jews and Gentiles despised each other, even after salvation. Each wanted the other to change and become like them. But Paul took the axe to the root of that tree: 'For Christ Himself...reconciled both groups...by means of His death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death' (Ephesians 2:14-16 NLT).

Our job is to accept people - and let God adjust them.

Soulfood : Job 38-39, Mt 2:16-23, Ps 139:13-24, Ecc 11:7-10

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God Can Lift You Up (2)

In order to access power, you have to go to the outlet and plug in to the source of it. That's what happens when you pray in faith; you plug in to God's power. Picture a boat trapped in mud and stuck on the bottom. If you can get it to the dock, you can repair it and send it back out to sea. The trouble is you can't move it. So what's the answer? Bring in high-powered tugboats, connect steel cables to the sunken craft and wait for the tide to rise. Are you getting the idea? When you feel so low that you can't lift yourself up, tap into God's power and let Him lift you up to the place where He can repair, restore and re-commission you.

If you keep that picture in mind, you'll never think about prayer the same way again. Instead of seeing it as an obligation, you'll start seeing it as an awesome power that works for you in all circumstances of life. And you'll see reading the Bible in a different light as well. Paul says, 'So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up' (Acts 20:32 NKJV). Your problems may be great, but the tide of God's Spirit is greater, and if you let it, it'll lift you out of your troubles. Will they suddenly vanish overnight? No, but you'll be above them looking down instead of underneath them looking up. At that point you'll be operating from a position of faith instead of a position of fear.

It can happen for you. God can lift you up: 'All things are possible to him who believes.'

Soulfood : Job 35-37, Mt 2:9-15, Ps 139:1-12, Ecc 11:4-6

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God Can Lift You Up (1)

The Bible says, 'Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.' It works this way: when you try to exalt yourself, God brings you down, but when you humble yourself in His sight, He lifts you up. He does it because you're His child and He loves you. You may feel like a nobody right now, but in God's eyes you're a somebody.

Who but God could reach behind a hedge, find a Rodney 'Gipsy' Smith and use him to win multitudes to Christ? Who but God could go to Old Comiskey Park in Chicago, find a baseball player called Billy Sunday and use him to impact the world? Who but God could look in a Galilean fishing boat and find Peter, call him, transform him and use him to build the church? God loves to do things like that. And since He 'does not show favouritism' (Romans 2:11 NIV) you've every right to believe He will do it for you too. The Bible says, 'the kind of person...always thinking about the cost...but his heart is not with you' (Proverbs 23:7 NIV). When that little voice inside you whispers, 'You've no talent and you'll never amount to anything in life,' that's not God. It's Satan - and the Bible says he's a liar (John 8:44)! That's why you need to tell him, 'I don't believe a word you're saying. You can't put me down because God is raising me up.'

God's plan for you was established long before you were born, and He hasn't changed His mind. So you need to discover His plan, then make sure your feelings, thoughts, actions and words line up with it.

Soulfood : Mt 6:5-15, Mt 26:36-46, Jas 5:13-18, 1 Th 5:16-18

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