WE HAVE ONE!

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  Psalm 23:1

Jesus said, “Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it?” (Lk 15:4 TM). Do you recall when you were that one lost sheep? Do you remember when Jesus found you? Where would you be without Him?

Eighty percent of Jesus’ listeners made their living off the land. Many were shepherds living on the mesa with their sheep. No flock ever grazed without a shepherd, and no shepherd was ever off duty. When the sheep wandered the shepherd found them. When they fell he picked them up and carried them. When they were wounded he healed them. Sheep aren’t smart; they tend to stray into running creeks for water, then their wool grows heavy and they drown. They need a shepherd to lead them to “still waters” (Ps 23:2). They have no natural defense -no claws or horns. They need a shepherd with a rod and staff to protect them (Ps 23:4). They have no sense of direction. They need someone wise enough to lead them “in paths that are right” (Ps 23:3). So do we. We tend to drown in circumstances we should have avoided. We have no natural defense against our enemy who goes about as a “roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (IPe 5:8 NAS). We, too, lose our way, don’t we? No doubt about it, we need a shepherd. We don’t need a cowboy to herd us, we need a shepherd to care for us and guide us-aren’t you glad we have one!

Taken from The Best of Word for Today, 2007



CONTROL YOUR EMOTIONS (3)

He had compassion on them and healed their sick. Matthew 14: 14 NIV

Before you congratulate yourself on having your emotions in check, understand that there’s another side to the coin-control but no compassion, moral indignation over human suffering yet no corresponding action. James talks about these folks. And they were church folks too. They see the

pain and unmet needs of others. They have the ability to do something about it. But they lack the willingness or care, so they walk away muttering about being too busy. Or they try to assuage their conscience with a token gift. James asks, “How dwelleth the love of God in him?” (Lln 3: 17). How indeed? If we are not responsible, who is? If we don’t do something, who will? “Faith without works is dead” (Jas 2:20).

You’re truly disciplining your emotions-when you translate them into responsible action. And your “somebody ought to do something about this” sentiments won’t get you off the hook. William Barclay wrote: “There is nothing more dangerous than the repeated experience of a fine emotion with no attempt to put it into action. It is a fact that every time a man feels a noble impulse without taking action, he becomes less likely ever to take action. In a sense it is true to say that a man has no right to feel sympathy, unless he at least tries to put that sympathy into action. An emotion is not something in which to luxuriate; it is something which at the cost of effort and of toil, of discipline and of sacrifice, must be turned into the stuff of life.” That just about says it all-doesn’t it?

Taken from the Best of Word for Today, 2007



CONTROL YOUR EMOTIONS (2)

Refrain from anger … it leads only to evil.   Psalm 37:8 NIV

Mike Singleterry, who played for the Chicago Bears football team, was a star player-and a Christian. One

day, however, while they were losing, the hometown fans became ugly and threw insults at him. He didn’t like it. The TV cameras trained on Singleterry’s face as he glowered at the crowd. Suddenly he lost his temper and started toward the stands, shouting back. It wasn’t his finest hour. But after the game may have been one of Mike’s finest hours. That’s when he met with the press and apologized. No excuses, no blaming: just an apology. His emotions had gotten out of control and he took responsibility. Perhaps Singleterry had read these words: “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to over-

look an offense” (Pr 19: 11 NIV). As you go through life people will offend you. Sometimes it will be deliberate, other times it will be inadvertent. The question is-what are you going to do about it?

Spiritually mature people discipline their emotions and make sure they accurately reflect reality. They can be sad, joyful, angry or elated in appropriate ways at appropriate times. They refuse to allow their emotions to determine their conduct, attitude, or choices. One Christian author writes: “When I feel

things going against me, when feelings of anger and resentment begin to rise, it’s time to stop and ask what’s happening. Is this for the greater good, or not? Is God speaking to me, or isn’t He? Will my flesh rule this moment, or my spirit?” That’s good advice for you too!

Taken from the Best of Word for Today, 2007



CONTROL YOUR EMOTIONS (1)

Cain, Why are you angry? Genesis 4:6 NIV

Unless you learn to discipline your emotions you’ll lose credibility, alienate others, and miss great opportunities. Your emotions are like a car: properly understood and directed it can take you places; out of control it can destroy you. When God asked Cain, “Why are you angry with your brother?” He was

saying: “Listen up, Cain! Your emotions are sending you a message. If you don’t get a handle on this you’ll create a mess you won’t be able to live with. Yes, you’ll repent and regret it, but you won’t be abJe to undo it:’ But Cain wouldn’t listen. The situation seemed unfair; he felt unappreciated. He thought his

brother’s blessing had come at his expense. What emotions were at work here? Jealousy. Resentment. Competitiveness. A sense of victimhood. These unchecked forces caused him to murder his brother Abel and cross a line he couldn’t come back from. Most of us have an inner response mechanism that isn’t

necessarily controlled by the rational side of our brain. It reacts to people and events, and like a sudden storm rises with strength from within, sometimes overwhelming us. Gordon McDonald writes: “I used to pride myself on the fact that I kept my emotions to myself. I never saw myself as an angry person … Then I got married and my wife informed me that I had plenty of anger after all While it rarely came out in words it showed itself in full color in facial expressions (the gift of glare, we called it) I never knew I had. I had work to do. I had emotions that needed to be disciplined.” How about you?

Taken from the Best of Word for Today, 2007



BE SPIRITUALLY DISCIPLINED

Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness. 1 Timothy 4:7 NAS

Disciplined people don’t need cheering crowds to feed their hunger for excellence. Jascha Heifetz, perhaps the greatest violinist of the 20th century, practiced 4 hours every day, until his death at 87 years of age. That’s more than 100,000 hours of practice, punctuated by occasional public

performances! The great painter, Leonardo da Vinci, desired nothing less than anatomical perfection for his paintings. He spent countless hours studying the human body. For one commission he became so frustrated by his inability to paint the body as he wished that he drew thousands of hands until he felt it was just light. Centuries later we gaze in awe at his work but forget the hours of preparation. We’re barely aware of the diligent training of da Vinci’s hand, mind and heart for the sake of those magnificent canvas images. It’s easy to forget that it’s the discipline we didn’t see, that made our most gifted people the best at what they did.

And what’s true of them is also true among the godly. If there’s an individual you respect because of their spirituality, you can be certain that person has cultivated certain disciplines. They weren’t born that way. The life you respect and hope to emulate didn’t automatically come with age, or a promotion to some position. No! They paid dearly for their spiritual depth hours of trying, failing, and trying again; suffering through hardship; learning to rely on God; yielding to the spiritual disciplines because they found life works better that way. This is why Paul encouraged Timothy, his protege, “Discipline your-

self for the purpose of godliness.”

Taken from the Best of Word for Today, 2007



WE ARE MANAGERS, NOT OWNERS

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.  Psalm 24:1 NIV

It seems like the last part of us to surrender to God is our checkbook. The extent to which this is true explains why more of us are not growing into maturity faster than we are. Your attitude towards giving is like the lights on your car’s dashboard. When one of those lights comes on, something under the hood needs attention before there’s a breakdown. When God turns on the indicator light of money and giving in your life, it’s not because He’s hurting for cash. No, He’s looking at something in your heart that you can’t afford to ignore. And He wants to deal with it. Many Christians suffer from a disease Dr. Tony Evans calls “cirrhosis of the giver.” It’s been around since the earliest days of the church, first diagnosed around 34 A.D. in a couple named Ananias and Sapphira who became greedy with God’s gifts and suffered some really bad consequences (See Ac 5:1-11). It’s an acute condition. Those who have it show symptoms that include sudden paralysis and inability to reach for their purse or wallet at offering time. This strange symptom often disappears in stores, on golf courses, or when dining in fine restaurants. Some have attempted to treat this condition by offering tax deductions for charitable giving. But judging from the prevalence of the problem this incentive has not had great effect. What’s the answer?

Realizing that you are a manager-not an owner. You’re simply overseeing what belongs to God. So when He asks you to give, regardless of how much, remember, He’s just asking for what He already owns.

 

Taken from the Best of Word for Today 2007



SEED-FORM BLESSINGS

That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. Matthew 1 :20

You must learn to recognize seed-form blessings. Why? Because for a period of time it may not be clear to others (or even you) that the Lord is with you. Look at Mary: “In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel. .. said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’ Mary was greatly

troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.’ … ‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’ The

angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you … So the holy one to be born win be called the Son of God … For nothing is impossible with God.’ ‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May it be to me as you have said'” (Lk 1:26-38 NIV).

Notice the following things about Mary: (a) She was capable of conceiving what God wanted. (b) She could carry it full-term. (c) She could deliver it in health. (d) She could trust God with her unanswered questions. (e) When the time came she could release it to fulfill God’s plan, even though it meant

the breaking of her heart. The seed that went into the ground on Good Friday sprang to life on Easter Sunday and produced a harvest that changed the world. So, learn to recognize your seed-form blessings.

Taken from the Best of The Word for Today, 2007

That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. Matthew 1 :20

You must learn to recognize seed-form blessings. Why? Because for a period of time it may not be clear to others (or even you) that the Lord is with you. Look at Mary: “In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel. .. said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’ Mary was greatly

troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.’ … ‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’ The

angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you … So the holy one to be born win be called the Son of God … For nothing is impossible with God.’ ‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May it be to me as you have said'” (Lk 1:26-38 NIV).

Notice the following things about Mary: (a) She was capable of conceiving what God wanted. (b) She could carry it full-term. (c) She could deliver it in health. (d) She could trust God with her unanswered questions. (e) When the time came she could release it to fulfill God’s plan, even though it meant

the breaking of her heart. The seed that went into the ground on Good Friday sprang to life on Easter Sunday and produced a harvest that changed the world. So, learn to recognize your seed-form blessings.

Taken from the Best of The Word for Today, 2007



SURRENDER IT!

 

Trust in the Lord. Proverbs 3:5 NAS

Ever notice how much energy it takes to keep a tight grip on something? Come on, you know what you’re holding on to, don’t you? You’re in turmoil because you can’t control the people or circumstances in your life. Hey, release your grip. Go ahead: surrender it to God. You’ll be amazed at how much more

energy you’ll have, and how much easier life will be. Once you make the choice to surrender it to God, your hardest days become your easiest. A.W. Tozer wrote: “Father, my cowardly heart fears to give up its toys. I cannot part with them without inward bleeding, and I do not try to hide from you my tenor of

the parting. I come trembling, but I do come. Please root from my heart those things which I have cherished so long and which have become a very part of my living self, so that you may enter and dwell there without a rival.” You say, “Surrender what?” (1) Your position! Place it all before your God. Find your security, your identity and your contentment in Him. (2) Your plans! Plan wisely, but be ready for God to rearrange things and take you along paths that may be uncomfortable for you. (3) Your relationships! Nothing this side of Heaven is permanent, including relationships. Enjoy the time you have with your loved ones, but avoid the temptation to cling. (4) Your anxieties! If your emotions are wrapped around some issue involving a possession, a job, a particular expectation or a relationship, you

aren’t fully relying on God. No, you’re still clinging to lesser things. Stop. Let it go! You’re delaying the surprise God has waiting for you.



DISCOVER WHAT’S INSIDE OF YOU

Let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be. Romans 12:6 TM

Forty years ago The Golden Buddha was discovered in the city of Bangkok, Thailand. For years a huge, ugly, concrete Buddha sat in the middle of town. Visitors put empty soda cans and other trash on it. Then one day a priest decided to take the old statue to his temple. In the moving process it cracked. As the pieces crumbled the priest noticed something underneath the concrete shell. He gathered some helpers. They pulled the shell away and inside they found the world’s largest chunk of sculptured gold, standing 8 feet high. For years it had been there-but no one knew it. And you are a lot like that statue. Your real value is inside, if you’d only stop and take inventory of it. You cannot consistently perform in a manner that’s inconsistent with the way you see yourself. You’ll perform at a level that reflects your perspective of yourself. If you think you’re average, you’ll perform in an average way. Once in a while you may have a really great day and perform higher. You might even think, “That was awesome, I really outdid myself!” However, unless you discover your God-given gifts, value and potential, you’ll retreat to your old level of living because you think: “That’s not the real me.” What a loss. Paul writes, “Since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t” (Ro 12:6 TM).



“SEEING IT”

How many loaves do you have? he asked. Go and see. Mark 6:38 NIV

Learn to look for the extraordinary, within the ordinary moment! Opportunities for growth and blessing are constantly coming your way-or passing you right by. James writes, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given him” (Jas 1:5 NIV). Before you act, stop and pray: “Father, show me what I’m not seeing. Your Word says You can turn a

curse into a blessing. If I can’t change this right now, how can I use it to grow wiser and do better next time? Have You permitted this problem because You have the solution, and You want me to seek You and draw closer to You before You reveal it to me’?”

Before Jesus fed the five thousand He told His disciples (who’d decided to send the crowd away to find their own food), “You give them something to eat” (Lk 9:13 NIV). They replied, “That would take eight months of a man’s wages!” (Mk 6:37 NIV). That’s when Jesus asked, “How many loaves do you have? .. Go and see” (Mk 6:38 NIV). Sending the problem away is the easy way out. He’s challenging them to look

for the extraordinary, within the ordinary moment. When you do that you invite God into your situation-and with Him all things are possible! The key to this miracle was Christ’s words, “How many loaves do you have? .. Go and see.” They already had the solution; they just didn’t know it. When you consult God you begin to see things in a new light, and find answers you never dreamed possible.

Taken from The Best of The Word for Today, 2007




 

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