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The Word For Today

THE LIFE GOD WANTS YOU TO LIVE

Here are three important truths to help you enjoy the life God wants you to live: (1) Believe God wants you to succeed. Give up the unscriptural notion that this life has no value. God has a special work for you to do - here and now (Jeremiah 29:11). You ask, 'What defines success?' Answer: the progressive achievement of a God-given goal resulting in feeling good about yourself. 'Carefully follow the terms of this covenant, so that you may prosper in everything you do' (Deuteronomy 29:9 NIV).

(2) Consult God before you set your goals. The Bible says, 'We should make plans - counting on God to direct us' (Proverbs 16:9 TLB). If you're constantly stressed out and confused, you may be on the wrong track. Go back and check with God; what has He told you to do? It's His will for you to succeed in these six areas: (a) spiritual; (b) relational; (c) physical; (d) mental; (e) social; (f) financial. 'Whatever he does shall prosper' (Psalms 1:3 NKJV).

(3) Invest in yourself. 'Though it cost all you have, get understanding' (Proverbs 4:7 NIV). If you're willing to spend money at fine restaurants but not on good books, your future is already determined. And the first book you need to invest in is a Bible. John writes, 'And the Word was God' (John 1:1 NIV). That means each time you read God's Word, you're depositing more of God into you. Wow! Think how that affects your life! Cultivate a teachable spirit. 'Let the wise listen and add to their learning' (Proverbs 1:5 NIV). This is the life God wants you to live!

Soulfood : Ex 16-18, Jn 2:1-11, Ps 23, Prov 26:10-12

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THE IMPORTANCE OF PATTERNS IN MARRIAGE

We focus on individual incidents, but the God of the big picture focuses on patterns. He determined twenty-four hours in each day, seven days in each week, four seasons in each year, two people in each marriage, etc. Birth is followed by infancy, childhood, youth, adulthood, old age. Imagine how different your life would be without these patterns!

God created us to need patterned lives. Patterns provide predictability, and predictability provides comfort, control and security. Simply knowing that Saturday follows Wednesday helps you get through an exhausting work week. Many of our relational issues would be resolved if we paid less attention to our negative patterns and concentrated on establishing positive ones. Does this conversation sound familiar? The husband asks, 'Why do you always bring things up just when I'm falling asleep? Can't you find a better time?' The wife returns fire, 'There's never a better time to get your attention!' The use of words like 'always' and 'never' only intensifies the problem. Until you understand and change your patterns, you'll forever be attempting to put out relational fires. Establishing a simple pattern of spending an hour or two together each week (date night?) assures your wife of a set time to be heard, and your husband an opportunity to listen when he's alert and responsive.

Patterns are God's idea. The predictability and promise they bring help defuse reactive emotions and establish an environment where you both feel loved and valued!

Soulfood : Ex 13-15, Jn 1:43-51, Ps 131, Prov 26:7-9

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TAKING COMMUNION

Taking communion can be a meaningless ritual, or an intimate time spent in the presence of Jesus. Read the story of Cleopas and his companion. They were travelling home to Emmaus when Jesus suddenly appeared and walked along with them. First He opened their eyes to see that the crucifixion wasn't the tragedy they thought, but a fulfilment of prophecy and God's way to redeem a lost world; something to celebrate and not be sad about. Later, as He sat in their home and ate supper with them, 'He took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they [knew] Him' (Luke 24:30-31 NIV).

Are you battling fear and doubt today? Are you wondering if God will keep His promise to you? He will! Earlier that day, Cleopas and his companion met some women who had just been to the empty tomb and reported that Jesus was alive. But try as they might, they couldn't believe it. This story proves that Jesus loves doubters enough to walk with them, take away their fears, and strengthen their faith. And guess when He did it? As they broke bread.

So next time you're taking communion, stop and pray, 'Lord, speak to me. Show me Your will and Your way.' That's a prayer He will answer. Your mind may be confused and your anxiety great, but if you're spiritually hungry He will show up and meet you at the point of your need.

Soulfood : Lev 23:33-44, Jn 7:1-40, Zech 14:16-21

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