COMMIT YOURSELF TO GROWTH !

Let the wise listen and add to their learning. Proverbs 1:5 NIV

Here are 3 reasons why growth should matter to you:

( 1) Gifting without growth produces ineffectiveness. Albert Schweitzer said, “The secret of success is to go through life as a person who never gets used up.” But how do you do that? The answer lies in how you approach talent. If you draw on your talent but never sharpen it, you’re headed for trouble because nobody’s that talented. But if you take the time to sharpen your axe, God can call on you at a moment’s notice.

(2) Growth prevents stagnation. Do you feel stuck spiritually, relationally; career wise, or at home? You won’t get unstuck by making external changes, looking for a different job, leaving your family or changing churches. The truth is, nobody’s keeping you down but yourself. The lid on your life-is you! In

order to do more, you’ve got to grow more. So, if you’re serious about getting unstuck, stop looking for quick fixes, take a long hard look at yourself, accept responsibility for what you see, pray, then commit yourself to doing something about it.

(3) Continuous improvement guarantees success! The Tartar tribes of central Asia used to pronounce a certain curse over their enemies. They didn’t hurl words calling for their enemy’s swords to rust or their people to die of disease. No, they said, “May you stay in one place forever.” If you don’t work on improving yourself every day that could be your fate. You’ll be stuck in the same place, doing the same things, hoping the same hopes, but never gaining new ground or developing spiritually. So, commit yourself to growth!

Taken from the Best of Word for Today, 2007



“BE THERE!”

 

We can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received/rom God. 2 Corinthians 1:4 NIV

The most loving thing we can do when someone is in pain is to share the pain-to “be there,” even when we’ve nothing to offer except our presence, even when being there is painful to ourselves. Paul says that God “comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we

ourselves have received from God.” One of the fastest and surest routes to spiritual health, is taking the focus off ourselves and helping others. In fact we were born with a natural empathy for those who are hurting. Ever notice that babies in a nursery start crying when other infants cry? Compassion, which literally means, “to suffer with” is the ability to be moved by the troubles of others. When we reach out from our own pain to help others it comes back to us in healing, fulfillment and a sense of worth.

Jack Canfield says, “You take it all in. You let the pain touch your heart and you turn it into compassion. What a splendid way to go through life, bringing blessing to all we touch.” One cancer patient said, “What helps me most is just to have somebody try and understand what I’m feeling.” Another said, “Just sit here and let me hold your hand. It helps when someone’s close.” Today ask God to make you more sensitive to the needs and hurts of those around you. And when lie answers your prayer and puts someone into your path, don’t be too busy to care. In other words, “be there!”

Taken from the Best of Word for Today 2007



TAKE GOD TO WORK (2)

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4: 13

Whether it’s doctors in surgical scrubs or fire- fighters in heat-resistant uniforms, proper attire is required to do certain jobs. And as Christians, we also have to dress for work. We don’t necessarily need to fuss with our outward appearance (although how we’re perceived can go a long way toward helping us achieve) but we must dress up our character by “putting on the Lord Jesus Christ” (See Ro 13:14). After all, we’re His representatives!

Secular society is confused about who Christians actually are. And these misconceptions are fed by our inability to step out in our true colors. Your workmates probably don’t need another sermon, they can get that in church. Your job is your pulpit! How you conduct yourself should reflect what you believe and who you belong to. You may protest that it’s difficult to maintain Christian integrity when you have to deal with backstabbing, unfair criticism and the misuse of power. Actually, we Christians are supposed to be at our best under pressure (See Isa 59:19). God’s power is released in our lives by enemy encroachment. Sometimes we just have to get more creative as challenges enlarge or intensify. You may have to step outside of the situation and remind yourself Who put you there. Leave your office, take a break, or simply go to the restroom and talk to God-your real Boss. God is very present in times of trouble, and learning to call on Him instead of falling into the trap of the enemy is what wins spiritual wars! When adversity and challenges come-as they surely will-remember this, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Taken from The Best of Word for Today 2007



TAKE GOD TO WORK (1)

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you.  Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV

Surely God would only send those He could trust into enemy territory. Understand this: God cares about where you are. He has selected you for your work environment. He has already, or is currently equipping you. You wouldn’t send your child off to camp without packing his bags or making provision for everything he would need while he’s away. And God wouldn’t either. Sometimes hostile environments can be overwhelming – but by God’s grace we can thrive in them! If you’ll take God to work with you and keep your identity intact, the enemy will lose ground. Don’t let him keep you focused on everything that’s problematic: gossip, office politics, the too-heavy workload, the too-low pay, the micro-managing supervisor, the injustice of a system that seems to promote based on who you know, than what you know. The danger is that you’ll focus on the discomfort of the moment and miss the blessing’s that lie beyond it. While you’re praying for God to change your circumstances and take away your stress, He’s saying “If only you knew what awaited you. Your purpose and destiny are only moments away, and, though not wrapped in shiny paper, they contain all you’ll ever need to reach your goal and bring Me glory.” God understands us so well. He realizes our tendency to stay too long when things become comfortable, to lean on the arm of flesh. Often He has to trouble the waters so that we’ll reach out to Him in desperation, and as a result, tap into strength and success we never knew possible.

Taken from The Best of Word for Today 2007



SPIRIT FILLED LIVING

They were all filled with the Holy Spirit.   Acts 4:31 NIV

The Holy Spirit can fill your cup until it overflows, or be like a river flowing through you. It’s a matter of capacity, availability, and spiritual hunger. When the disciples were first filled with the Holy Spirit we read that He “sat upon each of them” (Ac 2:3). And doesn’t He still work that way? When we were about to show off, He sat on us. When we were about to give in to the flesh, He sat on us. When we were about to throw in the towel, He sat on us. When we were about to have a nervous breakdown, He sat on us. The Holy Spirit can keep us in balance, in peace, and on track.

Here are 3 life-changing things that the Holy Spirit does for us: (a) He gives us direction when we feel lost: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Ro 8:14). (b) When others put us down, He reminds us who we are. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Ro 8:16). (c) He steps in when we don’t know how to pray about the situation: “We don’t even know what we should pray for. .. but the Holy Spirit prays for us .. .in harmony with God’s own will” (Ro 8:26-27 TLB).

So what should our attitude be toward the Holy Spirit? “Do not grieve the Holy Spit;t” (Eph 4:30 NIV). The Bible likens the Holy Spirit to a dove, and a dove is gentle. It will not land on a nest that’s out of order. Think about it!

Taken from The Best of Word for Today 2007



BECOMING MORE TRANSPARENT

Confess your faults one to another. James 5:16

When a Sunday school teacher asked her class to define “sins of omission,” a little boy replied, “That’s easy, they’re all the sins we should’ve committed, but never got to!” How’s that for honesty? Until you’re willing to share your shortcomings as well as your successes, others who are struggling will always wonder, “What’s wrong with me that I can’t overcome my problems too?” Notice: God didn’t tell us to confess our sins to each other; we should confess those only to Him and let Him put them under the blood. He said, “Confess your faults … [weak areas where we struggle].” We’re not as different as we think. Like the old Irish preacher said, “Flesh is flesh is flesh, no matter whose bones it’s on!”

Adam was stripped of his covering and forced to stand naked before his wife and his God. Why? Because it’s honesty in both areas that leads to wholeness. After all, if we can only love somebody when they’ve attained a certain level of perfection, is it real love? On the other hand, if you have people in your life who love you despite your flaws you’re blessed. Many relationships thrive only as long as the parties meet one another’s expectations. But when one falls short, look out! You need to love others the way God loves you. And what way’s that? (a) He loved you while you were still a sinner (Ro 5:8 NKJV). (b) He made you part of His family, giving you value and identity (11n 3:1), (c) Nothing can ever change that

(Ro 8:35). In other words, He loved you while you were unlovable, so that unlike Adam, you wouldn’t have to hide in the bushes!

Taken from The Best of Word for Today 2007



ICEBERGS

ICEBERGS

Each tree is recognized by its own fruit.   Luke 6:44 NIV

The Titanic received 5 iceberg warnings just before it went down. When the 6th message came during the wee hours of the morning: “Look out for icebergs;’ the operator wired back “Shut up! I’m busy!” Thirty minutes later the great vessel-whose captain said, “Even God couldn’t sink this ship”-was sinking fast. What happened? They forgot the truth about icebergs. What they saw above the water couldn’t have sunk the great ship. But unfortunately most of an iceberg is below the water. Do you know what? That iceberg represents your life! The 10 above the water is your reputation, the 90 below is your character. And it’s what’s below the surface that sinks your ship. What is character? (a) Self-discipline-

the ability to do what’s right, even when you don’t feel like it. (b) Core values-principles you live by in spite of the pressures around you. (c) Sense of identity-a self-image based on who God, not others, says you are. (d) Emotional security-the capacity to be emotionally stable and consistent. Your life’s greatest impact doesn’t come from what you own, but from what you are. Jesus said, “Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. .. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart” (Lk 6:44-45 NIV). Whatever’s happening today on the outside of your life comes from what’s happening on the inside. God puts “being” before “doing.” He prioritizes taking care of the inside (your heart) because that will determine what takes place on the outside (your behavior). Think about it!

Taken from the Best of The Word for Today 2007



LIVING UNSELFISHLY

Give without expecting a return.  Luke 6:35 TM

If you’re serious about becoming like Jesus, pay careful attention to His words: “Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them … give without expecting a return. You’ll never-I promise- regret it” (Lk 6:31 ~35 TM). Love, expecting nothing in return. Give, though they’ll never say thanks. Forgive, even though they won’t forgive you. Come early, stay late, invest everything

you’ve got even though nobody notices. Paul calls this “the high calling” (Php 3:14). And there’s a reason: none of us would set such a standard for ourselves’ If you think some people are just naturally more loving than others, think again. Love is a choice –one that costs! You can’t love others while you’re staring into a mirror or give to others while you’re clinging to what you’ve got. Love will cost you your time, your money and your preoccupation with self. If you think you’ll just go to church some Sunday morning, read a book or attend a 7-step seminar and turn into the kind of person we’re talking about-good luck!

There are no pre-packaged saints; no “add-and-stir” formula that makes God’s love gush forth. To be loving you’ve got to take up your cross, deny yourself and make others your priority. Remember the woman caught in adultery? Jesus stooped down to reach her, stood by her under attack, then sent her

home redeemed and refocused. Do you want to be like Him? Go and find people who are hurting, hopeless, and even wrong. When you do, minister to them until they’re redeemed, restored and right. That’s living unselfishly!

Taken from the Best of The Word for Today 2007



LEARNING TO BE STILL

Be still, and know that I am God.  Psalm 46:10

Former CBS anchor Dan Rather found himself unprepared for a television interview with Mother Teresa. Ron Mehl described the encounter this way: ”All of Dan’s standard approaches were inadequate. And the little nun from Calcutta didn’t seem inclined to make his task easier. “When you pray,” asked Dan, “what do you say to God?” “I don’t say anything;’ she replied. “I listen.” Dan tried another tack. “Well, okay … when God speaks to you, then, what does He say?” “He doesn’t say anything. He listens.” Dan looked bewildered. For an instant, he didn’t know what to say. ”And if you don’t understand that;’ Mother Teresa added, “I can’t explain it to you.”

It’s in the place of silence that the Holy Spirit boils the truth we receive from Scripture down to its essence, reveals specific insights that are pertinent, and then applies them to our most perplexing problems and our most stubborn misconceptions. As He transforms our heart to beat in sync with His,

our decisions begin to accomplish His will and we begin to reflect His character. Go ahead, try it. Open the Word of God in a peaceful place and sit in quietness before Him. In time, the Holy Spirit will illuminate a passage and it will come to life in your mind. Before you know it the knotty situation that drove you to distraction will unravel. As you learn to “be still” in God’s presence, your greatest problems will suddenly become more manageable. He will reveal Himself to you. He will calm your emotions and relieve your mind. You’ll discover new direction, freedom from worry, and a fresh sense of peace.

Taken from the Best of The Word for Today 2007



SIMPLY YOUR LIFE

Let us lay aside every weight.   Hebrews 12: 1

A stressed-out traveler at an airport was worried about missing his plane so he asked a guy, “What time is it?”  The man set down 2 big heavy bags, looked at his watch and said, “Exactly 5:09, the outside temperature is 73°, and it’ll rain later. In London the sky is clear with a high of 28° Celsius. And let’s see, in Singapore the sun is shining brightly. And … oh, this is interesting, the moon will be full over Los Angeles tonight.” “Your watch tells you all of that?” asked the traveler. “Sure. In fact it tells me much more. You see, I invented this watch and I assure you there’s no other timepiece on earth like it.” The man said, “I simply must have that watch. I’ll give you $10,000 for it.” “Okay,” said the inventor, “it’s a deal,” and held out his hand for the money. The traveler grabbed the watch and put it on, smiling with delight. But before he could take a step the inventor stopped him. “Wait!” Then he reached down for the 2 big heavy bags and said, “Don’t forget the batteries!”

We hope the latest hi-tech gadgetry will be the very thing that will set our schedule free. But in the end it weighs us down, it increases our dependency on something that will eventually break or become obsolete with the next marvel of modem science. It’s time we counted the hidden cost before investing

more time, money and confidence in the next does-it-all watch. Those batteries get awfully heavy once the novelty has worn off. What’s the message? “Lay aside every weight.” Simplify your life, get back on track, focus-and run!

Taken from the Best of The Word for Today 2007




 

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