LET’S PRAY FOR OUR NATION

I will forgive their sin, and 1 will heal their land.   2 Chronicles 7: 14 NCV

In 1888 a noted chess master named Paul Morphy attended a dinner party in Richmond, Virginia. During the dinner his attention was drawn to a painting on the wall. The scene portrayed a young man locked in an intense chess match with the devil. The devil’s next move would surely claim victory-entitling him to the young man’s soul. The devil wore a triumphant expression. After dinner the chess champion walked over to the painting, studying the board and the pieces portrayed on it. Suddenly he turned to his host and said, “I can take the young man’s game and win!” “That’s not possible!” his host replied. “Not even you can retrieve that game.” The chess master answered, “Yes, I think I can. Suppose we place the men and give it a try.” To the surprise of everyone Morphy bested the smug opponent in the painting. Victory was snatched from the devil and the young man was saved.

Sometimes we feel like that young man. We see Satan poised to claim victory. We feel something near despair as we watch our nation make wrong turn after wrong turn. Yet in the darkest moment God whispers, “I have good news for you. He hasn’t won yet. If my people who are called by my name are sorry for what they have done, if they pray and obey me and stop their evil ways, I will hear them from Heaven, I will forgive their sin and I will heal their land.” God gets the final move. And we can urge Him to take it-when we pray!

Taken from the Best of The Word for Today 2007



GROWING IN 4 AREAS

Jesus grew in wisdom and stature,

and in favor with God and men.  Luke 2:52 NJV

Growing is something even Jesus did. He grew in 4 areas: (1) He grew “in wisdom”-intellectuaI development. (2) He grew “in stature”-physical development. (3) He grew “in favor with God”-spiritual development. (4) He grew “in favor with men”-social and emotional development. Your spiritual growth should not be compartmentalized, but integrated into every other aspect of your life. This is where we’ve been missing it! You cannot neglect one of these areas without endangering your growth in all of them. So don’t limit Jesus to some religious compartment of your existence and say, “A chapter a day keeps the devil away.” Wake up to the realization that you can give the Lord of your life greater control over every aspect of your being. This is what makes the Christian life dynamic, not static.

But notice something: this is a highly individualized process. We are each in different stages of our development. That’s why comparison is foolish. Don’t spend your life comparing yourself to others, because you’re not them. You are you! Each day examine these 4 major areas and ask, “Lord, how am

I doing?” In some areas you’ll show up well, in others you’ll have a long way to go. When it comes to your values and your habits you’ll discover that: (a) some are good and just need to be reaffirmed; (b) some are inconsistent and need to be reinforced; (c) some are underdeveloped and need to be refined;

(d) some are harmful and need to be repented of. Bottom line? You’ll grow if you commit yourself to it!

Taken from the Best of The Word for Today 2007



INTOXICATED

Do not get drunk on wine … Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5: 18 NIV

A drunk man doesn’t get that way by just talking about alcohol, or looking at advertisements for liquor. No, he gets drunk by drinking! And the more he drinks the more the alcohol controls him. We say he’s “under the influence.” Another power takes over which transforms him into someone he was not before. One minute he’s nice and quiet, the next he’s loud and boisterous. He may even think he’s Pavarotti and start to sing. When a police officer stops him and tells him to walk a straight line he can’t do it. Why? Because something else is running the show. And what alcohol is to your body negatively,

the Holy Spirit is to your new nature positively. When you’re under His control He makes you walk in ways you wouldn’t normally walk, and talk in ways you wouldn’t normally talk. That’s why, rather than spending our time and energy trying to change, we need to concentrate on being-and staying-filled with God’s Spirit. A sober man doesn’t have to try and stagger, all he has to do is get drunk; the alcohol will take care of the staggering. Now you see why Paul drew the analogy between someone who’s drunk and someone under the Spirit’s control. But a word of caution: those under the influence of the Holy Spirit will not be offensive or rude, self-serving or “show- boating” in an attempt to impress others. No, the Holy Spirit is a gentleman. The power He provides is controlled and channeled towards a life that’s not possible by any other means. And that power is available to you today.

Taken from the Best of Word for Today, 2007



A DAILY DOSE OF SCRIPTURE

 

It felt like a fire burning in us when Jesus … explained the Scriptures to us. Luke 24:32 NCV

The two Emmaus-bound pilgrims discovered the power of the Scripture that first Easter Sunday. They were broken-hearted from the crucifixion: “Sadness [was] written across their faces” (Lk 24: 17 NLT). They allowed their pain to blind them to the presence of Jesus. He’d risen from the dead, and though they didn’t yet recognize Him, He’d come to take their sorrow. How would He do this? “Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself’ (Lk 24:27 NLT). He opened their eyes, lifting their heavy hearts with the Scriptures. He chose the one thing that never fails-God’s Word! Did it make a difference? For those two it did: “It felt like a fire burning in us when Jesus talked to us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us.” Trying to live a victorious Christian life without a daily dose of the Scriptures is like trying to run your car on an empty tank, work all week on an empty stomach, or pay your bills on an empty checking account.

Steve Farrar writes: “I need to be reminded of what is true. God’s Word gives me a dose of reality. My morning briefing in the Word gives me a perspective that I don’t get in the world. I need God’s commentary on my life every day. A Christian .. .in this society is swimming upstream. Without the

constant nutrition of the Word, he will soon tire and be dragged off by the sheer force of the current.” So, spend time each day in the Scriptures!

Taken from the Best of Word for Today, 2007



AMNESIA

 

Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord. Deuteronomy 8: 11 NLT

A Spider dropped a single strand down from the rafter of an old barn and began to weave his web. Months went by and the web grew. Its elaborate maze caught flies, mosquitoes and other small insects, providing the spider with a rich diet. Eventually it became the envy of all the other spiders. Then one day the spider noticed a single strand stretching up into the rafters. “I wonder why it’s there? It doesn’t catch me any dinner.” Concluding it was unnecessary, he climbed as high as he could and severed it. In that moment the entire web began to fall in upon itself, tumbling to the floor, taking the spider with it.

Could we as a people make that same mistake? Can a country spin a great web, then sever it? Can we grow so successful, so smug, so self-sufficient that we forget the strong strand that supports us? Could we look at our prosperity and respond not with gratitude, but with arrogance? Recent actions make us

wonder. A movement to remove God from all public life is gaining momentum. An emboldened portion of our population stares at the strand of faith upon which our country hangs and asks: “Why is that there?” Are we forgetting the hand that holds us? We’re not the first nation to suffer from amnesia, Israel did it too, and Moses warned them: “Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands .. .I assure you of this: if you ever forget the Lord your God … you

will certainly be destroyed” (Dt 8: 11 & 19 NLT).

Taken from the Best of Word for Today, 2007



“IT’S ALREADY IN THE SAUCE!”

I will … put a new spirit in you.  Ezekiel 36:26 NIV

When a woman becomes pregnant she has cravings she never had before. And when God saves you, He places within you new desires and appetites. This new nature craves fellowship with God; it desires to please Him above all else. These are intense cravings, which is why, when we sin, we can’t enjoy it. Oh, you’ll still “blow it,” but it will cause an intense struggle in your soul because now you have to try and ignore your new appetites. Paul writes: “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Gal 5:16 NAS). The order is crucial here, because a lot of us get it backwards. We think that if we can just stop fulfilling the desires of our flesh, then we can begin walking in the Spirit. But it’s just the opposite. The Holy Spirit working on the inside produces spiritual victory on the outside. All that we need to walk in victory- is already present within us! One television commercial for spaghetti sauce shows a mom cooking spaghetti. As the aroma fills the house her son asks, “Hey Mom, where are the mushrooms?” “They’re already in the sauce” she says. “What about the sausage?” “It’s in there too.” “And what about the tomatoes’?” Once again the mom says, “They’re already in the sauce.”

Are you looking for victory? It’s already within you. Are you looking for strength to obey God? It’s in there too. Need grace to endure the trial? It’s already in the sauce! Everything required for victorious Christian living has already been deposited within you. Just tap into it!

Taken from the Best of Word for Today, 2007



FAITH SAYS ‘IT’S SO”

Without faith it is impossible to please God.  Hebrews 11:6 NIV

Tony Evans writes: “A practical definition of faith I like, is acting like it’s so even when it’s not, in order that it might be so, just because God said so.” Maybe you’re saying, “That sounds like I’m supposed to pretend something’s real when it isn’t.” No. We’re talking about believing that what God says is true, even when there’s no evidence available. And the way you know you believe-is when you act on it. Maybe you think people like Noah and Moses had it easier than we do because God spoke to them directly. True, God did speak to them, but that didn’t make their obedience any easier. Remember, Noah worked for 120 years with no water around him, and kept announcing a coming flood based solely on what God had told him. Moses didn’t get to attend a showing of The Ten Commandments and find out how the Red Sea would part. Actually, we have the advantage because we have God’s completed Word. But we still experience the turbulence of life. Ever been on an airplane when it started shaking or dropped? Remember how you felt when the captain spoke over the ntercom, calmly explaining that this was no big deal. Your options were to have faith in the captain-or believe what you saw and felt. Depending on your choice, you either white-knuckled the rest of your flight, or relaxed and enjoyed it. Faith takes you beyond the limits of your logic, reason and senses. It enables you to believe that if God said it, it’s true. Simply put, faith is acting as if God is telling the truth.

Taken from the Best of Word for Today, 2007



FAITH SAYS, “IT’S SO”

Without faith it is impossible to please God.  Hebrews 11:6 NIV

Tony Evans writes: “A practical definition of faith I like, is acting like it’s so even when it’s not, in order that it might be so, just because God said so.” Maybe you’re saying, “That sounds like I’m supposed to pretend something’s real when it isn’t.” No. We’re talking about believing that what God says is true, even when there’s no evidence available. And the way you know you believe-is when you act on it. Maybe you think people like Noah and Moses had it easier than we do because God spoke to them directly. True, God did speak to them, but that didn’t make their obedience any easier. Remember, Noah worked for 120 years with no water around him, and kept announcing a coming flood based solely on what God had told him. Moses didn’t get to attend a showing of The Ten Commandments and find out how the Red Sea would part. Actually, we have the advantage because we have God’s completed Word. But we still experience the turbulence of life. Ever been on an airplane when it started shaking or dropped? Remember how you felt when the captain spoke over the ntercom, calmly explaining that this was no big deal. Your options were to have faith in the captain-or believe what you saw and felt. Depending on your choice, you either white-knuckled the rest of your flight, or relaxed and enjoyed it. Faith takes you beyond the limits of your logic, reason and senses. It enables you to believe that if God said it, it’s true. Simply put, faith is acting as if God is telling the truth.

Taken from the Best of Word for Today, 2007



IDENTITY THEFT

Christ lives in me. Galatians 2:20 NIV

Your identity has great value not only to you, but also to the thief who wants your name and credit card to run up a stack of bills. Some of us will go to great lengths to try and gain an identity we think will make us more acceptable to a certain group-e-like wearing designer clothes or driving a certain car. Some think it’s in their looks and opt for plastic surgery. Some identify themselves by their profession or trade. Maybe you’ve heard about the guy who went to the psychiatrist with a severe identity crisis, saying, “Doctor, I’m convinced I’m a dog.” When the psychiatrist asked how long he had this problem, he blurted out, “Ever since I was a puppy!” Too many of us are confused or basically uninformed about our true identity as redeemed children of God. This leads to false growth, or no growth. Paul bottom-lined his identity like this: “Christ lives in me.” Then he added: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Php 4: 13 NAS). With the fingers of Mozart there’s no musical piece you couldn’t play.

With the brain of Einstein there’s no mathematical formula you couldn’t unravel. With the life of Christ within you there’s no victory you cannot win. Your new identity also solves your selfworth problem. When you understand who you are in Christ you realize that you’ve already been accepted by God-and

you can’t improve on that! So who are you? You’re a totally forgiven, fully accepted, deeply loved, daily-empowered child of God. Once you fully grasp that, you’ll have joy you’ve never known and grow like you’ve never grown.

Taken from the Best of Word for Today, 2007



MARRIAGE MYTHS (4)

May … God … give you a spirit of unity.  Romans 15:5 NIV

Nothing can fix our relationship. A woman asked her girlfriend, “How come you’re wearing your wedding ring on the wrong finger?” She replied, “Because I married the wrong man!” Sound familiar? The biggest mistake you can make is calling it quits because you think you married the wrong person, and that nothing short of a miracle can save your marriage, The good news today is, God is still in the miracle

business! With Him “nothing is impossible” (Lk 1:37 NIV). It’s when problems seem insurmountable that God comes through for you. Jeremiah said, “Lord, you … made the heavens and the earth by your great power … Nothing is too hard for you” (Jer 32: 17 NIV). The trouble is too many of us live in the realm

of the probable, thinking things probably won’t get better. .. that we’ll probably always have money issues … or we’ll probably get divorced. Instead, we should be living in the realm of the possible. Paul says, “Faith … is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen … the evidence of things we cannot yet see” (Heb II: 1 NLT). The Bible says God’s plans for you “are for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jer 29: 11 NLT). If you’re feeling discouraged about your

relationship, try praying, and fixing your thoughts on what God can do. The Bible says when you look earnestly for Him you’ll find Him (See 2Ch 15:2). He’s not some distant deity who’s far removed from the challenges of your everyday life. No, He wants to have an intimate relationship with you; to use His

power to transform your marriage into something lasting and wonderful.

Taken from the Best of Word for Today, 2007




 

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