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The Word For Today

Spiritual Adventures

Think being a Christian isn't exciting? Check out these headlines: 'Man in desert discovers burning bush that can't be extinguished'; 'Sea opens and thousands walk through on dry land'; 'Giant who threatened a nation killed by teen with slingshot'; 'Jewish girl saves her people from destruction'; 'Three young rebels survive blazing furnace'; 'Man brought back from the dead after four days'; 'City walls mysteriously fall'; 'Preacher swallowed by giant fish and lives to tell the tale'; 'Prophet caught up to Heaven in a fiery chariot'. These aren't from the tabloids; they're from Scripture.

Adventure means 'exciting and dangerous undertakings'. When you embark on the spiritual adventure Paul mentions, you can expect God to test your faith in ways you never imagined. The Bible talks about those 'who through faith conquered kingdoms... shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength' (Hebrews 11:33-34 NIV). John Eldredge says: 'Adventure, with all its requisite danger and wildness, is a deeply spiritual longing written into the soul of man... Moses doesn't encounter the living God at the shopping centre. He finds him in the deserts of Sinai... Deep in a man's heart are fundamental questions that cannot be answered at the kitchen table... it's fear that keeps [him] at home where things are neat and orderly and under his control.'

When God wants to do something wonderful through you, He has to get you from where you are to where He is. How about it: Are you ready to embark on a spiritual adventure with God?

Soulfood : Jn 14:6-11, Acts 4:8-12, Acts 16:22-34, Mt 1:18-21

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Words or Actions?

We must care about people's spiritual and practical needs. It's hard for someone to grasp the concept of God's love when they don't know where their next meal is coming from, or where they'll sleep tonight.

Food banks worldwide are seeing a dramatic upsurge in emergency requests. Volunteer Cindy Crosby writes: 'Each client is as different as the patterns in a kaleidoscope: the retired, the mentally ill, single mothers, young men fallen on hard times... And not everyone is grateful. Some are angry...some refuse eye contact...some leave without saying more than a few words... If you volunteer just to feel good about yourself, you'll give up. Lofty ideals shatter like stained glass pelted by rocks... It's the success stories that stick... The refugee mother whose son went on to Harvard on a scholarship...the woman who thanked me more times than I could count...the mother of six who showed palpable relief because that month she could feed her family...I remember Jesus' words, "I was hungry...you gave Me something to eat...I was a stranger...you invited Me in" (Matthew 25:35 NIV). Now when I think of hunger, I see faces. And that has made all the difference.'

It's easier to love in theory than reality, especially when it comes to people who are difficult or different. But genuine love isn't defined by what feels good or bad; God's already set the standard. 'If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?...Let us not love with words...but...actions' (1 John 3:17-18 NIV).

Soulfood : Job 15-17, Lk 1:67-80, Ps 12, Ecc 9:17-18

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Mind Management (4)

Here are two more examples of mind management. A thought knocks on the door of your mind and says, 'You're so wonderful, the world is lucky to have you.' Typically it's the kind of thought you'd welcome, but you don't do things the typical way. You submit it to the authority of Christ, and as you unsheathe the Sword of the Spirit, His Word, you learn that pride doesn't please God. 'Don't cherish exaggerated ideas of yourself.' As much as you'd like to embrace an exalted image of yourself, you can't. You only allow what Christ allows.

Here's another example: this time it's temptation. If you're a male, the thought comes in a low-cut red dress. If you're a female, it comes in the form of the hunk you've always admired. Temptation whispers, 'It's all right, you're both consenting adults.' If you aren't under Christ's authority you throw open the door but, if you are, you say, 'Not so fast.' Then you take this steamy thought before Jesus and ask, 'Yes or no?' And nowhere does He answer more clearly than 1 Corinthians: 'You cannot say that our physical body was made for sexual promiscuity; it was made for God, and God is the answer to our deepest longings... let every man have his own wife and every woman her own husband' (1 Corinthians 6:13; 7:1-2 PHPS).

Now, armed with the opinion of Christ and the Sword of the Spirit, what do you do? Unless the tempter or temptress is your spouse - you slam the door shut. End of story!

Soulfood : Job 11-14, Lk 1:57-66, Ps 67, Ecc 9:10-12

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