Andrew 12:00-7:00pm

The Word For Today

God loves them you must too

'God... doesn't think anyone is unclean or unfit.' Acts 10:28 CEV

From a Jewish point of view Cornelius, a Gentile, was a bad guy. He ate the wrong food, hung out with the wrong crowd, and swore allegiance to the wrong leader: Caesar. He didn't quote the Torah or descend from Abraham. He was uncircumcised, unkosher and unclean. Yet he did two things that got God's attention. He prayed for spiritual enlightenment, and he was generous to the poor and needy. The Bible says he was 'one who feared God with all his household... gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always' (Acts 10:2 NKJV).

Up until this point the Gospel had been preached only to the Jews. But God was about to change that. And to do it he used Peter, one of the most religiously-biased people you'd ever meet. In a vision, God showed Peter a sheet being let down from Heaven; it was filled with all kinds of food Jews are forbidden to eat. Peter protested, 'Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean' (Acts 10:14 NKJV). And since Peter was slow to understand, the sheet was let down three times. Finally a voice from Heaven said, 'What God has cleansed you must not call common' (Acts 10:15 NKJV). As a result, Peter went to Cornelius' house and preached the Gospel. And before he could issue an invitation, the Holy Spirit fell on all who were present, confirming that this was God's will. At that point Peter declared, 'God has shown me that he doesn't think anyone is unclean or unfit.'

Let God show you that too!

Soulfood: Gen 10-12, John 11:38-44, Ps 118:1-9, Prov 31:6-9


Practise humility

'Clothe yourselves with humility.' 1 Peter 5:5 NASB

The Bible says: 'Clothe yourselves with humility... for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble... humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you' (1 Peter 5:5-7 NAS).

Let's break this Scripture down into four parts: (1) 'Clothe yourselves with humility.' In this context the word clothe refers to a white scarf or apron that was typically worn by servants. Does that mean you have to conform to everybody's wishes? No; if you do that everybody else may like you but you won't like yourself. Just be who God called you to be, and be willing to serve others as the opportunity arises. (2) 'God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.' Humility isn't thinking less of yourself; it's thinking of yourself less and putting others first.

(3) 'Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you at the proper time.' Throughout Scripture 'the mighty hand of God' symbolises two things: God's hand of discipline and his hand of deliverance, and you need both. So submit to his discipline and you'll experience his deliverance. (4) 'Casting all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.' Here Peter addresses one of our core human concerns: that if we don't look out for ourselves nobody else will. But if we really believe God 'cares' for us we needn't worry about serving our own interest. We're free to focus on the needs of others, confident that God will spare nothing when it comes to meeting our needs.

Soulfood: Gen 7-9, John 11:28-37, Ps 114, Prov 31:1-5


Small things matter

'Who has despised the day of small things?' Zechariah 4:10 NKJV

When God gave Gideon victory over the Midianites, he used an army of just three hundred to defeat an enemy that swarmed like an uncountable cloud of locusts (see Judges 7). That wasn't because there weren't more soldiers available; it was because God wanted to demonstrate his power in 'the day of small things' (Zechariah 4:10 NKJV). Jesus could have chosen any number of followers, but he handpicked twelve to reach the world with the Gospel. One day he fed five thousand people with five bread rolls and two small fish from a child's lunchbox. He compared God's Kingdom to a mustard seed - a tiny speck, yet it grows into a sprawling bush. He also likened his Kingdom to yeast that's barely discernible, yet it can raise an entire batch of dough. Then he went on to say, 'Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much' (Luke 16:10 NIV).

So, if you're asking God to make you bigger instead of better, you may be disappointed. All the prayers in the world won't pressure him into giving you what you are not ready to handle. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, 'Most people would succeed in small things if they weren't troubled with blind ambition.' Your drive to be bigger can give you ulcers, keep you awake at night, and stop you from enjoying the blessings God has already given you. Better may be harder to measure and not as glamorous, but the inner stability that comes from gradual success is more valuable and lasting.

So if you're in 'the day of small things', rejoice and be confident that God has bigger and better things in mind for you.

Soulfood: Gen 4-6, John 11:17-27, Ps 150, Prov 30:29-33

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