WON BY LOVE

The kindness of God leads, .. to repentance. Romans 2:4 NAS

Ever notice that most organizations insist that you earn your way? For example, airlines compensate frequent fliers with free miles, sports franchises reward players who score goals and win games. Some corporations even grade their employees on a scale where they can earn a private office or their own parking space. But God’s not like that; you can’t earn salvation. Paul says, “The kindness of God leads … to repentance.” Notice, he didn’t say the scare tactics of a preacher or the legalistic requirements of some church that you keep their standards before God will accept you. No, genuine repentance is our response to the unconditional love of a perfect God. A God who delights in reaching down and restoring the cracked pots and damaged vessels society wants to throw on the garbage heap. When you encounter a Savior like that, you want to please Him. It’s impossible to experience the unfailing love of a God who stands by you when others fail you, and keep on abusing His love.

The very idea that God’s love comes with no strings attached goes against every human instinct. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life” (In 3:16), Love is the force that draws us to Him. To know Him is to love Him. And to walk with Him is to experience “joy unspeakable.” To the hopeless and hurting our God says,

“Come. Your past doesn’t disqualify you; your problems are not too big for Me–I’ve handled bigger. Maybe you’re not welcome anywhere else, but today you’re “accepted in the beloved” (Eph 1 :6).

From “The Best of the Word for You Today”



A SOUND MIND (2)

G.K. Chesterton once said of Abraham Lincoln: “This great man had one secret vice that was far more

unpopular among his followers than the habit of drinking. He had the habit of thinking.” Cultivate the company of good thinkers: Solomon says, “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise” (Pr 13:20). When we submit ourselves to Christ He doesn’t tell us to abandon our minds, He tells us to “renew”

them (See Ro 12:1-2). How do we win someone to Christ? By attacking what they think? No, that alienates them. We must do 3 things:

(1) Convince them that we truly care about them.

(2) Convince them that God truly cares about them.

(3) Find their wounded area and apply the healing balm of God’s Word to it.

When it comes to sharing our faith a lot of us are only comfortable talking to “down-and-outers,” Hey, who’s going to reach the “up-and-enters?” Paul said, “I continue … witnessing both to small and great” (Ac 26:22). When Paul visited Athens he ended up on Mars Hill where he addressed some of the city’s

better minds. His words are a brilliant display of a spirit sharpened mind at work. Paul was not a small parochial man, but a man in touch with his world. He was comfortable in a backwater town like Derbe, a business community like Ephesus, a political capital like Rome, and an intellectual center like Athens. “I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (l Co 9:22). So discipline your mind, dedicate it to Christ’s purposes and use it to attract others to Him.

From “The Best of the Word for You Today”



A SOUND MIND (1)

God hath … given us … a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

  1. Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, there’s a line regarding the priest Myriel, who “was fated to undergo the lot of every newcomer to a little town where there were many mouths that speak, but few heads that think.” The undisciplined mind becomes a lazy mind. And that’s dangerous because it easily succumbs to the culture and influences around it. Little of value is ever Iearned through one-way monologue, be it a

sermon or a lecture. There are many eloquent speakers today who are relentless in offering their opinions on just about every issue, who weave a spell of thought that relieves the individual of exploring things for themselves.

In the Book of Acts we read that the Bereans “examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Ac 17:11 NIV). Asking, “Why? How? Who says so?” is not an act of rebellion, it’s godly wisdom! One walks around today knowing full well that an inappropriate response to a political comment, a doctrinal issue or a matter of social policy can lose you friends, a reputation, or even a job. The godly mind, however, resists this cookie-cutter approach to thought. It weighs every question and asks if Scripture speaks directly Of indirectly to the matter. It examines it in the light of history; how have God’s people faced this before? It measures the matter in terms of its ability to reflect the redeeming love of Christ. It enquires, “Will this bring credibility or shame to the Kingdom of God which I represent?”

From “The Best of the Word for You Today”



LIVING THE DISCIPLINED LIFE

You … know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance. 2 Timothy 3: 10 NIV,

Living the disciplined life does 3 things for you:

( 1) It strengthens your will! Discipline doesn’t make you rigid, it makes you resilient. It provides you with shock absorbers for the potholes of life. And there will be lots of them. It enlarges your capacity to summon up courage when life gets tough. Look at Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who refused to bow to a pagan king’s idol even when threatened with a fiery furnace: “The God we serve is able to save us from it. .. But even if he does not. .. we will not serve your gods” (Da 3:17-18 NIV). All of their lives these guys had toughened themselves through discipline in order to face such a supreme moment of testing. And you’ll face that moment too!

(2) It brings your gifts to their highest level of effectiveness. “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” asks the tourist of a New Yorker. Answer: “You practice, man, you practice.” David’s first victory wasn’t over

Goliath. His years of practice as a shepherd defending his sheep against wolves, a lion and a bear, had prepared him for this moment. It had given him the spirit and the skill needed to take on the Philistine champion.

(3) It inspires others. Paul writes to Timothy, “You … know all about my teaching, my way of life [living it is harder than teaching it], my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings” (2Ti 3: 10 NIV).

Paul’s greatest gift to Timothy was the example of a disciplined life. Now Timothy had something to copy-a straightedge of excellent living. And there’s no better gift!

From “The Best of the Word for You Today”



WRING IT OUT !

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19 NIV

After thoroughly washing their clothes, the old timers would wring as much water out of them as possible so they would dry quickly. There’s a lesson there: growing in character and maturity calls for more than just “letting life happen.” No, it calls for “wringing the wisdom” out of each experience by asking, “What’s to be learned here? How could it have been done differently?” Great chess players win because they think several moves ahead. Wisdom asks, “Where does this lead? what are the possible unintended consequences’!” Wise people realize that what they do today will affect tomorrow. They’re

aware that most things are interconnected. Wisdom comes from figuring out where things are going. Talk to people whose lives are lived purely on the surface and ask, “Have you thought about. .. “?  No, they haven’t. “Well, what do you think this will do to … ? ” They have no idea. “Have you ever asked yourself what God … ?” Never thought of that. “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered

them in her heart.” This is a picture of someone who takes the time to wring out events and tests them for insight and understanding. Sooner or later Mary may have something to say, but when she says it her words will have substance. In days to come her family will have to flee from Herod’s thugs and spend years living in exile in Egypt. All of this win demand courage, depth of spirit, and trust in the purposes of God. And that’s what comes to a person like Mary, who takes time to “wring” the

wisdom out of the event.

From “The Best of the Word for You Today”



SAVE THE CHILDREN (3)

God’S grace is amazing! “By an act of faith, Rahab, the Jericho harlot. .. escaped the destruction that came on those who refused to trust God” (Heb 11 :31 TM). Rahab didn’t just save herself, she saved her entire household. Single parent, don’t let what you’ve done, or what was done to you, keep God from blessing you and your children. Refuse to carry the unresolved issues of your past into your future. Draw a line in the sand! God’s promise is: “All your sons [and daughters] will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children’s peace” (Is a 54: 13 NIV). Go ahead, claim that promise. Walk with God and take your children with you: “Teach what you’ve seen and heard to your children” (Dt 4:9 TM). Your children need to hear you say Who brought you through the dark places. Why? So that when they encounter them they’ll have confidence in God. What better testimony can there be than a testimony derived

from the lips of parents whose scars became stars as they overcame trauma by God’s grace. Your wisdom will last them a lifetime. Don’t lose faith in yourself because of your past failings. You have an opportunity to bring right out of wrong by pouring strength and wisdom into your child. This is your

chance-don’t miss it by clinging to guilt, bitterness, pain or hopelessness. Let go of your past and seize your tomorrow. That child is your tomorrow. They are destiny being shaped in your palm. Your fingerprint will be left on his or her soul. So mark them well, and mark them for God!

From “The Best of the Word for You Today”



SAVE THE CHILDREN (2)

Arise, lift up the lad … hold him in thine hand … for I will make him … great. Genesis 21:18

In a jealous rage Sarah told Abraham: “Cast out this bondwoman and her son” (Ge 21:10). That’s when God intervened. He met Hagar at her lowest point and gave her 4 steps every single parent should take:

(1) “Arise” =raise your own self-esteem. You can’t lift others while you yourself are down. Get God’s opinion of you. Allow His Word to pull you out of every slump you’ve fallen into.

(2) “Lift up the lad” -give your children positive reinforcement. Regardless of your regrets, your pain or your personal state, God will empower you to lift your children. Many people are mere fragments of what they might have been if someone had lifted them up. This is so important. No one can come from the outside and tear down your child if you’ve truly lifted them up.

(3) “Hold him in thine hand” -initiate personal contact. A warm hug, a touch, it seems simple but it’s powerful, Your hand scents them like sheep are scented by the shepherd. They know his scent. They recognize his voice. They respond to his touch. If the only time your child hears your voice is in criticism they will shy away from you. Psychologists call it “bonding.” If our children don’t get it they become dwarfed in their personal, spiritual and mental well-being. It’s amazing what a touch will do.

(4) “I will make him … great. ” Never think that you’re not raising great children just because you’re

raising them alone. God is with you. Your mistakes needn’t prevent your children from being great in God’s kingdom!

From “The Best of the Word for You Today”



SAVE THE CHILDREN (1)

And its new shoots will not fail. Job 14:7 NIV

In divorce, children often become weapons used by brokenhearted people who have nothing left that the other person wants, except a visit from a child. Sadly, this visit is withheld because the warring parties are interested in causing as much pain to their now-estranged lovers as they have felt themselves. What they don’t realize is, whenever a weapon is fired the ammunition doesn’t just destroy its target; the ammunition itself gets destroyed too. Job writes, “There is hope for a tree: If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail. Its roots may grow old in the ground and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth shoots like a plant” (Job 14:7-9 NIV).

Job says that a new shoot can grow out of a dead stump. Please don’t destroy the shoot because you’ve lost the stump! Your destiny is in your seed. If you lose your children you cut off your future. God has entrusted them to you. You are rich and you are blessed because you have them. Perhaps you cannot

save the relationship, but if you cannot or will not, at least save the children. They don’t deserve to become casualties of your war. In the midst of your pain stop and realize that you have a child who needs you, a child entrusted to your care. Providing food and shelter is very good-but don’t forget Jove, and stability, and spiritual guidance. Without these things your pain can become their life-long pain. Don’t let that happen-save the children!

From “The Best of the Word for You Today”



“WELL DONE, MOM!”

Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.  Proverbs 31 :29 NIV

The emotions of motherhood are universal, from new mothers stumbling through night feeding and sleep deprivation, to seasoned mothers learning to let their grown children go. Today we honor all the Moms who sit up comforting sick toddlers and crying infants; who turn up at work with shadows under their eyes, stains on their blouses and diapers in their handbags; who organize car pools, bake cookies and sew costumes. Mothers who give birth to babies they’ll never see, and mothers who give these children homes. Moms whose only priceless rut hangs on refrigerator doors, who brave the cold to sit on hard benches at ball games. Who, when a child asks, “Did ya see me, Mom?” can honestly say, “I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.” Mothers who go without, so that their family doesn’t have to. Moms who taught their children to tie their shoelaces before they started school-and those who opted for Velcro! Mothers who bite their lip when their teens dye their hair green; who automatically turn around when a little voice at the mall shouts, “Mom,” even though they know their own children are safe at home or away at college. Mothers who never stop praying for their kids no matter how old they get. What makes a good mother anyhow? Patience? Compassion? The ability to nurse a baby, cook a meal and sew on a button all at the same time? It’s all those things-plus the God- given assurance that you’re doing the most important job in the world. The Bible says, “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” “Well done, Mom.”

From “The Best of the Word for You Today”



FULFILLING YOUR GOD-GIVEN ASSIGNMENT

I gave them a mission in the world.   John 17:18 TM

Every  day you live you’re in the process of becoming. What you become, however, depends on what you give yourself to. So consider these 7 steps:

(1) By making a commitment to grow daily, it won’t be long before you begin to see real change.

(2) Value the process more than the product. Certain events may be helpful in making your decision, but it’s going through the process that matures you into what God wants you to be.

(3) Don’t wait for inspiration. Sometimes you can run on excitement, but most times only commitment will carry you through.

(4) If you’re willing to pay now you’ll enjoy the rewards later, and those rewards always taste sweeter.

(5) Don’t limit God. By focusing on your limitations you magnify them. The God who lives within you is

able to do “exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think” (Eph 3:20).

(6) Learn to master your time. Since you can’t recover lost time, make every moment count. What differ-

ence does a few minutes make? A lot! If you save 5 minutes each day by streamlining your morning routine, 10 by eliminating things you do to keep from starting your day, 5 by avoiding talkers or other distractions, and 10 by taking a shorter lunch break-you’ll gain an additional 125 hours a year. That’s three 40-hour work weeks to use for anything you want. And you can double that by watching 30 minutes less of television each day.

(7) Life is filled with decisive moments when you have to trade one thing for another. Always trade up, not down. Want to fulfill your God-given assignment? Follow these steps!

From “The Best of the Word for You Today”




 

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