Mid-Afternoons
Nerida 1:00-3:00pm

The Word For Today

What Happened to Demas? (1)

Paul writes one of the saddest verses in Scripture: 'Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world.' The runner has stumbled. The lights have gone out in the life of a believer.

Why? (1) Did he resent his minority status as a Christian? It's been said that there wasn't just one, but two Martin Luthers in church history. And they both received the same revelation of justification by faith as the way to salvation. But the first wrote it down and hid it in a monastery wall because he feared the authorities. The second nailed it to the door of Wittenberg All Saints Church and started the Reformation. Christ promised that our message would be a powerful one, but not always a popular one: 'Do not fear, little flock...' (Luke 12:32 NKJV) Wear your minority status as a badge of honour! (2) Was he cut down by the doctrinal sword? We have the message people need to hear, but don't always want to listen to. Even some Christians don't want to hear it. 'Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, "This is a hard saying; who can understand it?"...From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more' (John 6:60;66 NKJV). You say, 'But if we're too strict with people we'll lose them.' If we're legalistic we will, but if we're Scriptural, we'll build men and women of God, who shine like lights in a dark world.

Jesus said, 'You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free' (John 8:32 NKJV). Sometimes, before the truth sets people free, it puts them through the wringer! But we must preach it nonetheless.

 

Soulfood : Judg 12-15, Mk 9:1-13, Ps 97, Prov 13:9-10

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Get Back Up, God Is on Your Side

If you're going through a hard time, read these words: 'Then Jews...came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city' (Acts 14:19-20 NKJV). Notice two phrases: 'supposing him to be dead' and 'he rose up.' Paul was stoned but not silenced; beaten but not defeated. 'We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed' (2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NKJV). Imagine Satan standing over Paul like a referee standing over a boxer who's on the canvas. On the count of nine Paul gets up and says, 'I may be down, but I'm not out!' He was a defiant optimist, a self-encourager who knew how to lift himself and those around him.

One day in the heat of battle, Lord Nelson's enemies flashed him a signal to surrender. Picking up his telescope and placing it to his blind eye, he announced, 'I can't see any sign of surrender!' During World War II, Churchill warned the French that, if necessary, Britain would fight on alone. Their generals sent him a telegram saying, 'In three weeks, England will have her neck wrung like a chicken.' Undeterred, Churchill took to the airwaves and announced, 'We shall never, never surrender!' He lifted Britain up by its bootstraps! After the war, Churchill addressed the Canadian Parliament. Wearing his hallmark, bulldog expression and waving the telegram, he announced, 'Huh! Some chicken, and some neck!'

The word for you today is - get back up, God is on your side.

Soulfood : Judg 9:34-11:40, Mk 8:27-38, Ps 129, Prov 20:25, Ecc 5:4-6

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How's Your Work Ethic? (2)

'Drink, and I'll water your camels too.' Genesis 24:46 NIV

When Abraham's servant arrived in the town of Nahor, a young woman named Rebekah offered to give him a drink of water. When he had finished drinking, Rebekah said, 'I'll water your camels, too.' We are told that she 'quickly' emptied her jar into the trough and ran back to the well. It all sounds fairly unremarkable, until you read between the lines: 4 litres of water weighs 4 kg. A thirsty camel can drink up to 120 litres of water and there were ten camels. Do the maths. Rebekah is drawing 1,200 litres - over a tonne! - of water for a stranger. She does all that could be reasonably expected of her - and then some. This was a pivotal moment in her life.
Because of her act of service, Rebekah became the wife of Isaac and went on to the adventure of a lifetime, becoming part of sacred history. To this day, her name is remembered and revered by people of faith. Rebekah did not know all that was at stake that day. She did not offer to draw 1,200 litres of water because she knew what the reward could be. It was simply an expression of her heart. Rebekah proved the truth of Scripture: 'Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper' (Proverbs 13:4 NLT).
Where did we get the idea that it is wrong to give, expecting a return, or serve, expecting a reward? Certainly not from the Bible! Some of our rewards will come in this lifetime, others in the next one. But, 'You know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does' (Ephesians 6:8 NIV).

SoulFood: Judg 7:1 - 9:33, Mark 8:14-26, Ps 93, Pro 13:7-8

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