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The Word For Today

With determination and God's help you'll win

'It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect.' Psalm 18:32 NKJV

In her autobiography, singer Dolly Parton says: 'My high school was small, so during graduation each of us got a chance to stand up and announce our plans for the future. "I'm going to junior college," one boy would say. "I'm getting married and moving to Maryville," a girl would follow. When my turn came I said, "I'm going to Nashville to become a star." The entire place erupted in laughter. I was stunned. Somehow, though, that laughter instilled in me an even greater determination to realise my dream. I might have crumbled under the weight of the hardships that were to come, had it not been for the response of the crowd that day. Sometimes it's funny the way we find inspiration.'

Every hero in Scripture, without exception, overcame obstacles and opposition. David writes: 'They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my support. He also brought me out into a broad place; he delivered me because he delighted in me... For by you I can run against a troop, by my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; he is a shield to all who trust in him... It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on my high places... For you have armed me with strength for the battle; you have subdued under me those who rose up against me' (Psalm 18:18-19, 29-30, 32-33, 39 NKJV).

Soulfood: Hosea 6-10 Mark 14:43-52 Ps 139:7-12 Pro 13:24,


True humility

'[He] gives grace to the humble.' 1 Peter 5:5 NLT

There are two kinds of humility mentioned in Scripture: (1) False humility. Paul writes, 'Do not let anyone who delights in false humility...disqualify you' (Colossians 2:18 NIV). Whether it's in your manner of dress, your speech or your behaviour, anything that draws attention to you and away from Christ is displeasing to God. (2) True humility. Truly humble people don't take offence easily or fight back; they turn the other cheek. And yet their humility is not cowardice, for true humility requires courage. It makes you willing to take a lower place than you deserve, to keep quiet about your merits, and to bear slights, insults and false accusations for the sake of a higher purpose. True humility doesn't make you think less of yourself, it just makes you think of yourself less.

Peter addresses the subject of humility in these words: 'God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honour' (1 Peter 5:5-6 NLT). The story's told of a guy who entered a contest to see who was the most humble. When he won, he was given a badge of merit - but then he wore it and was disqualified!

Seriously, pride disqualifies you from enjoying the favour of God. That's why you need to remind yourself regularly: 'Everything I am, I owe to God; everything I have, came from God. To him be all the glory.'

Soulfood: Hosea 1-5 Mark 14:27-42 Ps 139:1-6 Pro 13:21-23,


Have you been treated badly

'The ancient prophets were treated that way too.' Luke 6:23 TLB

When you've been treated badly, always ask yourself, 'What can I learn from this experience? How do I respond in a more Christlike manner? Am I willing to acknowledge my mistakes? How can I grow wiser and handle similar experiences better in the future?'

When all is said and done, the answer to misunderstanding is forgiveness. Now, forgiveness doesn't mean you necessarily agree with or want a close relationship with the person who mistreated you. But it does mean that you let it go. When you bury the hatchet, don't leave the handle sticking up! In other words, don't just forgive - choose to forget! Ralph Waldo Emerson said, 'To be great is to be misunderstood.' And here's an even better statement: 'To be greater is to forgive the one who has treated you badly.'

Paul refers to the Christian life as 'the upward call of God' (Philippians 3:14 ESV). So take the upper road! What does that road look like? Jesus tells us: 'Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in Heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets' (Luke 6:22-23 NIV). By living this way, you also take back your power by refusing to let another person dictate your mood and your outlook, and you keep your joy.

Soulfood: 2 Ki 24-25 Mark 14:12-26 Ps 73:17-28 Pro 13:20,

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