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The Word For Today

God wants to set you free



'There is a way that seems right...but its end is...death.' Proverbs 14:12 NKJV

Ever noticed how zoo keepers handle an injured animal? Even though the keeper is only interested in helping, the animal doesn't understand because it is focused solely on the pain. As a result, it strikes out at the very one who's trying to help. Is that what's happening in your life right now? Perhaps people who call themselves Christians have hurt you. You didn't expect them to be the ones inflicting the pain. You may have been hurt to the extent that you no longer trust anybody - not even God. You haven't actually said, 'Lord, I don't trust you,' but your actions speak louder than your words. You avoid reading his Word to find an answer. You won't pray, or allow anyone to pray for you. You try to bury yourself in your job. You move from one relationship to another. You try alcohol or mood-altering chemicals. You spend hours watching television and surfing the internet, and some of the things you're watching violate your conscience and leave you feeling worse.

What's the answer? (1) Turn to God. Give him 'all your worries and cares...for he cares about you' (1 Peter 5:7 NLT). Give him your pain, your failures, your hang-ups and your challenges. (2) Forgive the person who hurt you. Obsessing over what they did and trying to make them pay just keeps you chained to them. But forgiveness breaks the chain and sets you free.

In your own strength you may be able to do something to alleviate your pain. But God can destroy the root of the pain and cause you to walk victoriously into the future.

Soulfood: Eph 1:1 - 4:16, Matt 24:26-35, Ps 79, Prov 17:24-26

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Don't let jealousy destroy your marriage



'Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear.' 1 John 4:18 NLT

Solomon writes, 'Jealousy is cruel as the grave' (Song of Solomon 8:6). There are many practical applications for this verse, and one of them is that jealousy can cause the death of a marriage. When you're jealous of your partner, you distrust them and try to control their every move. And that's doubly true when someone in your past has betrayed you. Your fear of it happening again can make your spouse feel like his or her feet are always being held to the fire. And if you keep doing it long enough you'll create the very thing you fear; you'll end up driving them away. Even if they do stay, they may live in emotional isolation without ever fully giving themselves to you.

With that in mind, here's what the Bible has to say: 'We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them...as we live in God, our love grows more perfect...Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear' (1 John 4:16-18 NLT). When you know that God loves you in spite of your imperfections, your sense of self-worth grows and you start believing you are worthy of love. And when that happens, it's easier to accept that your spouse loves you too and will be faithful. That's like getting out of prison - a prison of your own making called 'jealousy.'

Today God wants to set you free from jealousy and give you the relationship you've always longed for. Talk to him about it.

Soulfood: 1 Sam 27-31, Matt 24:15-25, Ps 137, Prov 17:22-23

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Recognise when Satan is at work



'He had astonished them with his sorceries.' Acts 8:11 NKJV

Just as the apostles worked astonishing miracles through the power of God, Simon the sorcerer was able to do astonishing things through occult power. So how did the apostles handle the situation? Did they sidestep it? Coexist peacefully with it? Say, 'It's no big deal'? No, Peter confronted Simon, saying, 'Repent...[that] your heart may be forgiven' (Acts 8:22 NKJV).

Today the forces of evil are real and you must know how to deal with them. Jesus said, 'Behold, I give you the authority...over all the power of the enemy' (Luke 10:19 NKJV). The Bible tells us two important things about the demon-possessed man in Gerasa whom Christ healed: (1) The forces of evil within him introduced themselves as 'Legion...for we are many' (Mark 5:9 NIV). A legion was a well-trained, fully-equipped division of the Roman army that took orders from Caesar. (2) They 'begged Jesus...not to send them out of the area' (Mark 5:10 NIV). That's because they'd established a stronghold within him. Understand this: You can't win spiritual battles with natural weapons. True, blaming Satan for all your problems can be a cop-out. But failing to see him at work gives him the advantage every time.

You must be wise and know when you're dealing with natural, human, psychological problems. But you must also be discerning when you're dealing with 'principalities...powers...the rulers of the darkness...spiritual hosts of wickedness' (Ephesians 6:12 NKJV). How can you overcome them? By taking up 'the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day' (Ephesians 6:13 NKJV).

Soulfood: 1 Sam 24-26, Matt 24:1-14, Ps 122, Prov 17:18-21

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