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



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




 

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