This week's theme

Rejoice always

Today's reading

Philippians 3:17 4:1

Today's prayer

Fix my gaze on your cross, Lord Jesus. Let me see, in your wounds and agony, love reaching out to find me, embrace and save me, filling me with the joy and freedom of abundant life.

Fresh From the Word

For further thought

Reflect on what your daily life would be like if you were able to live moment by moment in the depth of Christs self-sacrificing love, knowing that you are precious, beloved and saved.

Life demands that we make it, be successful, get to the top and all of that, supposedly without help from anyone. Reflect today on the dangers of being arrogantly self-sufficient.

How intentional are you about nurturing your Christian friendships? Are there people in your community who could use a friend?

Are there ways you could invest in your spiritual growth perhaps going on a retreat, reading a helpful book or joining a Bible study group?

What five words would you use to describe the culture of your church or Christian community? Would people from other social, ethnic, age or interest groups fit within this?

Business guru Stephen Covey suggested, The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. What practical steps could help keep Jesus your main thing?

Big changes are made up of lots of small ones! Take one action today to make a difference to a situation youre concerned about.

Where, when, and in whom will you encounter the unexpected God today?

In what ways is Jesus like a comic book hero? In what ways is he very different?

The calling, purpose and good work God has called you to will affect others, as with Emmet and Nehemiah. Let the resistance to these God-given plans drive you forward.

How often do we ask Jesus whom you should pray for, rescue, lay hands on, bless or befriend?

Despite the persecution against the Church, in just over 2,000 years it overcame, with my fellow Church rebels all over the planet!

Gods word the Bible is 70 per cent narrative. Why do you think God chooses to communicate his truths through one connected collection of stories?

Do you ever really think about what God sees in our lives? If we believe this, how do we then live life?

Where is there division in your own society? What could you or your church do to help break down walls?

Research some examples of violence seemingly done in Jesus name and seek to educate others in what true discipleship is.

Is there anyone in your life from whom you are exiling yourself? Bring the situation before God in prayer.

Think over those lines from the Lords Prayer. What are the temptations in your life?

Where is there inequality in the news this week? Pray for these situations.

Watch Boyhood. Who are the people in your life that the stories bring to your mind? Pray for them.

As you begin a year reading the Bible, where is your faith? Share honestly with God.

What do you hope might take root in your community? How might you sow that seed yourself?

Do you think your Bible reading this year can be a source of beauty and sweetness in your day, like the ylang ylang flower?

What unlikely person around you might be the one for some particular task?

What cries for healing do you hear around you today?

Give thought to the kind of stable foundation you would like to build for your life in your Bible reading this year.

Reflect on the world-defining actions of Jesus we have read this week. What does it look like and feel like to live in a world with these values?

How can you find rest in the knowledge that God creates and liberates? How does this affect what we value, and impact who we are?

What groups have been marginalised by our cultures? How can we challenge how people are labelled through our use of language and our actions?

Check out Tearfunds Learning website for videos, pictures, blogs, the Footsteps magazine and stories of what Jubilee in practice can look like: learn.tearfund.org

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International Community

'Not-withstanding the stiff competition with other devotional guides, Fresh from The Word, has a unique feature in that it comes in the local languages as well. This makes it more accessible to people who are not literate in the English Language'.

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This week's writer

Bruce is Rector of All Saints Anglican Church, Durbanville, in Cape Town, and Senior Priest of the Diocese of Saldanha Bay. After 26 years in the USA he served at St Georges Cathedral, Cape Town. He chaired the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music o

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Celebrating 135 years!

Join us in celebrating 135 years of the work of IBRA!
To mark this auspicious occasion we have a special celebration edition available.

Read about our rich history and the origins of our founder Charles Waters, bank manager and Sunday School teacher – not a scholar, preacher, or public speaker – who had a gift for organisation and a vision for making the Bible accessible to all.

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