USE YOUR TIME WISELY!

I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. John 17: 4 NIV

Commenting upon the undisciplined life of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Barclay writes: “Never did so great a mind produce so little. He left Cambridge University to join the army; he left the army because he could not rub down a horse; he returned to Oxford and left without a degree. He began a

newspaper called The Watchman, which lived for ten editions then died. It could be said of him ‘He lost himself in visions of work to be done, that always remained to be done,”

Jesus understood His mission and He never deviated from it. He refused to be the victim of peer pressure or the expectations of others. He sought the approval of one person only- His Father! Just before He assumed public ministry He spent 40 days in the wilderness consulting with His Father. And don’t forget the night He spent in prayer before choosing His 12 disciples. Finally, there was Gethsemane. Because Jesus was spiritually sharpened by moments alone with the Father, it was never difficult for Him to say “no” to invitations and demands which might have looked good or acceptable to us. Here’s a life-changing insight: you always have the time to do what God wants done. And you don’t bum out in the process. You may not get done what you want done, or what others think needs done. But so what? Your goal should be to reach the end of life and say like Jesus, “I have brought You glory on earth by completing the work You gave me to do.”

From “The Best of the Word for You Today”



REFUSE TO SETTLE

You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion. 2 Corinthians 9: 11 NIV

Your enemies can’t stop God from blessing you. “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies” (Ps 23:5). God will honor you while your critics look on in amazement. Not everybody is going to celebrate your success. Success breeds contempt. People who hate success are often people who don’t believe they’re going to have any themselves. Keep your spirit free of competitiveness and

resentment. The acid test of character is our reaction to another man or woman’s blessing.

Before you criticize someone’s level of blessing, examine their seed. How much did they sow in terms of giving, preparing, serving and loving? You’re looking at their harvest today, but you don’t know the whole story until you know about the seed they sowed yesterday. Where does seed come from? Paul

answers: “[God] supplies seed to the sower” (2Co 9: 10 NIV). Seed comes from God and He only gives it to sowers. So, are you a sower or a hoarder? The answer may be in your check-book. If you’re a sower God says He’ll “increase your store of seed” (2Co 9: 10 NlV). When you sow into God’s kingdom He promises, “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion” (2Co 9:11). Rich? Yes, rich in relationships, rich in wisdom, rich in health, rich in finances. Why does God prosper us? For one reason, and only one: so that we may become His instruments to bless others. Jim Elliott said: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.”

From “The Best of the Word for You Today”



DEAL WITH IT!

When 1 refused to confess my sin, I was … miserable. Psalm 32:3 NLT

Are you harboring sin? Are you refusing to deal with your unresolved issues? David did, and he slipped into hell-deep depression. After committing adultery with Bathsheba he arranged to have her husband killed, then he married her- nd his world caved in! “I was … miserable:’ What stops good people from cleaning up their act? Spiritual misconceptions! Damaging beliefs! See if you recognize any.

(1) “Negative consequences are just the result of fate; they’re not connected to my choices.

(2) God’s much too forgiving to permit escalating consequences or allow me to experience pain just to get me to stop sinning.

(3) The enjoyment I get from my so-called sin outweighs the benefit of stopping. Anyway, my sin isn’t really hurting anyone.

(4) I can’t help myself. The problem goes back to my childhood, so why wouldn’t God extend grace rather than impose discipline?

(5) Just because I sin doesn’t mean I can’t do something for God. Hey, God uses crooked sticks-we can’t all be the Apostle Paul, you know,

(6) Anyway it’s not a sin, it’s just a part of my personality that I struggle with.”

Do you see what you’re really saying? “My sin doesn’t have consequences. God won’t pursue this. I like my sin too much to give it up. I’ve convinced myself that I can’t quit. My sin won’t diminish my effectiveness. My problem isn’t even a sin.” If this describes you, embrace the truth, disregard the lies that have kept you stuck in unnecessary pain and repent. Yes, repent and renounce it! The moment you do you’ll receive God’s forgiveness-and the heaviness you’re living under will lift!

From “The Best of the Word for You Today”



OVERCOMING THE GRASSHOPPER MENTALITY (2)

We were in our own sight as grasshoppers. – Numbers 13:33

When you come up against a giant, either your faith will cause you to soar or your fear will cause you to sink. The Israelites died 21 miles from the Promised Land, going in circles. Why? “We saw the giants … and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers.” If you’re to see (and seize) what God’s promised you, you’ll have to conquer your giants. Now you have the power to, but do you have the will to? Joshua and

Caleb stood alone. Faith will place you in the minority! “The whole congregation … said … would to God that we had died … in the land of Egypt” (Ex ] 6:2-3). In order to go where God wants to take you, you’ll have to rise above the opinions of others. So, who are these good folks with grasshopper mentalities? (1) They constantly talk about life’s injustices, about how they’ve been mistreated and misunderstood. To them Paul answers, “Endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2Ti 2:3).

(2) They make excuses for not conquering in life. Sometimes they even put others down because they’re walking in victory. To them Paul writes, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Ro 8:37 NIV).

(3) They complain about what they don’t have instead of focusing on what they do. To them Peter writes, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us” (2Pe 1:3 NIV). Translation? Get to know God better. Relationships thrive on

quality time together. That’s how to move from a grasshopper mentality to a giant killer mentality!

Taken from “The Best of The Word for Today”  2007



OVERCOMING THE GRASSHOPPER MENTALITY (1)

We were in our own sight as grasshoppers.  -Numbers 13:33

You’ll never know what you’re made of spiritually until you come against something too big to handle alone. That’s when you discover what you really believe. When Moses sent twelve scouts to check out Israel’s new homeland, they all saw the same thing: a land rich in honey, milk-and giants! Yes, Joshua and Caleb saw them too. Faith isn’t ignoring the obvious, that’s denial. Acknowledging a problem isn’t

an expression of doubt. And it’s not a sin. Paul said, “We would have come unto you … but Satan hindered us” (lTh 2:18). You can’t control what you won’t confront. The difference between the scouts was in how they saw the problem. Ten said, “We saw the giants … and we were in our own eyes as grasshoppers,” but Joshua and Caleb said, “Do not fear the people of the land. For they are but bread for us to eat! The Lord is with us” (Nu 14:9 TLB). Real faith feeds off the stuff the enemy throws at you. It says, “Bring it on! The Lord is with me. He has robbed the enemy of his power to hurt me.”

The negative report of the ten spies caused 3 reactions in the people.

(1) Fear. Fear is irrational. It can make you forget every good thing God’s promised or done for you.

(2) Retreat. Some wanted to go back to Egypt-back to how things used to be. Hello!

(3) Settling. Others wanted to settle in the wilderness. But you can’t, You’ve got to move with the cloud,

otherwise today’s manna is the last you’ll see. So, is the God you serve bigger than the giant you see? He says He is.

Taken from “The Best of The Word for Today”  2007



STEWARDS – NOT OWNERS

He must increase, but I must decrease. – John 3:30

When the crowds left John the Baptist to follow Jesus, he said: “This is the assigned moment for him to move into the center, while I slip off to the sidelines” (In 3:30 TM). John thought like a steward. A steward simply manages something for the owner until he comes to take it back. John knew that the crowd leaving him for Christ was never his to begin with. God had simply placed them under his care for a period of time to accomplish certain purposes. With John this was apparently just fine.

John’s view of stewardship presents us with an important principle. For his crowds may be our careers, our assets, our natural and spiritual gifts, etc. Are these things owned or merely managed in the name of the One Who entrusted them to us? Your answer depends on whether you’re called or driven. Driven people consider them owned; called people don’t. When driven people lose things it’s a major crisis; when called people lose them, nothing’s changed. Why? Because their calling is not to a position, it’s to a person-the person of Christ. Knowing who he was not, was the beginning of John knowing who he was. And who was he? A steward! And he didn’t aspire to any- thing beyond that What is success, as God counts success? It’s when others hear you, but follow Jesus. It’s when others see some quality in you that causes them to fall more in love with Him. Only when that happens and you feel like you’ve lost nothing in the process, can you truly say, “Father, I’ve done what You called me to do.”

Taken from “The Best of The Word for Today”  2007



DO YOU KEEP YOUR WORD ?

Keep your word even when it costs you.  Psalm 15:5 TM

In 1942 as war threatened the Pacific, Douglas MacArthur told the people of the Philippines, “I shall return.” In a speech in Australia 9 days later, the 62-year-old statesman reaffirmed his promise saying, “I shall return.” Two and a half years later when he went back to the Philippines he announced, “This is … General MacArthur .. .I have returned!” Despite overwhelming odds the old soldier kept his promise. That kind of integrity is hard to find these days. In fact the Bible tells us, “In the last days … men … shall be … trucebreakers” (2Ti 3:1-3). Nowadays we question the promises of politicians, business can no longer be conducted on a handshake, parents have good reason to doubt their kids, and even Christians don’t do what they say. Solomon says it’s “better not to vow than to … not fulfill it” (Bee 5:5 NIV). And Paul adds: “Whatever you do in word or deed, do .. .in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Col 3: 17 NAS). In Psalms David asks: “Lord, who may .. .find refuge … on your holy hill?” Here’s the answer: “Anyone who

leads a blameless life .. .is truly sincere … and keeps a promise even if it ruins him” (Ps 15:2 TLB). So how about it, do you keep your word even when it costs you? For example, when you promise to pray for somebody-do you? When you say you’ll be somewhere on time-are you? When you tell people they can depend on you-s-can they? When you agree to repay your financial obligations on time-do you? Granted, nobody’s perfect. But when you fail, do you admit your mistake without making excuses? As Christ’s disciple you should.

Taken from “The Best of The Word for Today”  2007



UNDERSTANDING THE LORD’S PRAYER (9)

Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,for ever, Amen.  – Matthew 6:13

When Christ taught us to pray, “Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory” He was pointing us to:

His pre-eminence. As we come to the close of The Lord’s Prayer the danger is that we’ll skim the surface, miss the truth, think it’s a nice ending and dismiss it. “Thine is the Kingdom,” reminds us that if Jesus is not Lord over all, He’s not Lord at all. When you wake up in the morning you should pray: “Father, help me to paint a compelling picture to everyone I meet this day, of how much better life works when it’s lived according to the rules of Your Kingdom.” “Thine is … the power” reminds us that the purpose of God for our lives can only be fulfilled through God’s power at work within us. Self-help is no help!

Paul says, “They that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Ro 8:8), Then he adds, “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (GalS:24-2S). “Thine is … the glory;’ reminds us that the credit for all our achievements must be passed on to the One Who deserves it. Queen Victoria once said that her greatest joy was not to live in a palace or be loved by devoted subjects, but to one day lay down her crown at the feet of Jesus. Do you feel that way? These words simply mean “Lord, You are in charge, not me; You have the power, I don’t. And You alone will receive all the glory.”

Taken from “The Best of The Word for Today”  2007



UNDERSTANDING THE LORD’S PRAYER (8)

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  -Matthew 6:13

~n Jesus taught us to pray “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,” He was teaching us to

pray for:

His protection. Protection from what’? “The evil one.” Does Satan have power? Look back. Haven’t you played into his hands more than once’? His agenda is still to “kill, steal and destroy” (In 10: 10). Satan would rather you never hear these words: “God’s Spirit, who is in you, is greater than the devil, who is in the world” (IJn 4:4 NCV). God told the first century church in Smyrna, “Do not be afraid of what you are

about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer for ten days. But be faithful, even if you have to die, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev 2: 10 NCV). Notice, God tells them how long the attack will last (“ten days”), the reason for the attack (“to test you”), and the outcome of the attack (“a crown of life”).

Every time Satan tries to score-we win! When Satan knocks us down, God picks us up. David, who’d experienced more than his fair share of slips, writes, “The steps of the godly are directed by the Lord … Though they stumble, they will not fall [stay down], for the Lord holds them by the hand” (Ps 37:23-24 NLT). The Lord’s Prayer teaches us to pray for protection because the walk is too treacherous to make alone. So we place our small hand into God’s big hand and say, “Father, keep me from evil.”

Taken from “The Best of The Word for Today” 2007



UNDERSTANDING THE LORD’S PRAYER (7)

Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  -Matthew 6:12

This is a risky part of the Lord’s Prayer. It takes away our right to exact revenge, harbor resentment, or even talk about the situation to others. Here Jesus points us to:

His pardon. Have you been overlooked? Betrayed? Misunderstood? Do you keep giving to others but it never seems to come back? Jesus said, “Offenses will come.” So where are you going to go? To the cross. Christ forgave His enemies when He had the power to destroy them. Think, if God: (a) were as selective in forgiving as you are; (b) took His time so you could suffer; (c) told everybody who’d listen what you’ve done to Him; (d) forgave, but refused to give you another chance; (e) made up His mind to distance and avoid you; (f) next time you were in trouble, refused to help you saying, “Huh, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer person,” could you live with that? No? Then extend to others the same forgiveness God extends to you. When you pray “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors”

you’re asking for a change of heart! Nehemiah writes, “Thou art a God ready to pardon” (Ne 9:17). Aren’t you glad he didn’t write, “Thou rut a God ready to put us on probation.” No, pardon is God’s fixed attitude toward us. The pardon was in place before the offense was committed. Wow! That unburdens us and sets us free. The only place bitterness can live is in our memory. The only power it can have over us, is the power we give it. Remember that, next time you pray The Lord’s Prayer.

Taken from “The Best of The Word for You” 2007




 

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