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The Word For Today

Pray for them



'Remember... those who are mistreated.' Hebrews 13:3 NIV

The Bible tells us, 'Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters' (Hebrews 13:1 NIV). Then it gets specific: 'Remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering' (Hebrews 13:3 NIV).

On 18 April 2007, three Christians in Turkey were killed for their beliefs. Necati Aydin was one of them. He was a 35-year-old pastor in the city of Malatya, and Max Lucado tells his story: 'By the time Necati reached the office, his two colleagues had already received visitors; five young men who'd expressed an interest in the Christian faith. But the inquisitors brought more than questions. They brought guns, bread knives, ropes, and towels. The attackers brandished their weapons and told Necati to pray the Islamic prayer of conversion: "There is no God except Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet." When Necati refused, the torture began. For an agonising hour the assailants bound, interrogated, and cut Christians. Finally, with the police pounding on the door, they sliced the throats of their victims. The last word heard from the office was the cry of an unswerving Christian: "Messiah! Messiah!" Such stories have a way of silencing us. This morning's traffic jam is no longer worth the mention... Such stories make us ask ourselves: "Would I make the sacrifice? Would I cry out, Messiah! Messiah? Would I give up my life?"'

When we complain about frivolous things, you have to wonder. The Bible says you're to pray for your fellow Christians around the world who are suffering 'as if [you yourself] were suffering' (Hebrews 13:3 NIV).

Soulfood: Rom 9:17-11:36, John 9:1-12, Ps 23, Prov 30:1-4

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Overcoming your fears 3



'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.' Hebrews 13:6 NIV

Let's look at two more common fears: (1) Fear of not being good enough. It's not about being as good as others; it's about being yourself! Stop comparing yourself to other people and instead spend your time discovering your God-given strengths. You were born for a purpose, and that purpose may be unlike anything you've ever encountered.

(2) Fear of not being accepted. This is one of the greatest sources of loneliness in society today. And the internet hasn't solved the problem because deep down we all long for intimacy, not information. You'd be surprised at how many people go home to an empty house, eat dinner for one, watch television, and climb into bed alone. Even when we're surrounded by a crowd we still feel isolated - like an island in the middle of the sea. But, in truth, it doesn't have to be that way - particularly if you're a member of God's redeemed family. The key to being accepted is to reach out and accept other members of your family. When you allow them into your private world, you'll find they welcome you into theirs.

Take a look at your life today. Nobody's looking, and the person who'll benefit most from it is you! Insecure people can be the most difficult to reach because they're desperate to hide what they perceive as inadequacies and failures. If you need the help of a professional counsellor, doctor, or pastor, reach out and get it! You owe it to yourself! Rise up today and say, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid of rejection, or of not being good enough.'

Soulfood: Rom 7:1-9:16, John 8:42-59, Ps 83:9-18, Prov 29:23-27

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Overcoming your fears 2



'They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.' Psalm 112:7 NIV

Let's take a look at some of our most common fears and how we can overcome them.

Fear of failure. This is the most common fear of all, and it keeps us from fulfilling any vision God may give us. If you look closely at the actual consequences of failure, chances are you'll laugh at the power it wields. Not only are your mistakes survivable, they're teaching tools that sharpen and make you a better person. So what if you make a mistake during your presentation? Nobody's going to shoot you, right? So what if you miss the mark on the project, or make a mistake in your calculations? We all want to be perfect, but the fact is we're all flawed. In reality, your irrational fear of failure and your refusal to embrace mistakes create far more errors in the long run. When people refuse to accept the possibility of making a mistake, often they're reluctant to have someone else check their work or review the project they're working on. Consequently, they end up making more poor choices and mistakes, which in turn feeds their existing insecurities.

The path to success is through multiple failures. Failing doesn't make you a failure, quitting does; not learning from it does; refusing to get back up when you fall does. The psalmist says, 'They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord' (Psalm 112:7 NIV). Using the gifts God has given you, step out and take a risk based on faith, trusting him for success. If you do, 'You will have good success' (Joshua 1:8 NKJV).

Soulfood: 2 Kings 5:1-27, Matt 6:19-34, Acts 5:1-11, Acts 5:1-11

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