YOU’RE NOT HOME YET

I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. Psalm 23:6

Where will you live forever? In the house of the Lord. So what does that make your present house? Temporary accommodation. “Our homeland is in heaven” (Php 3:20 NCV). This explains the homesickness you’ve felt ever since your husband or wife died, you learned about the lump in your breast or the spot on your lung, or when your family fell apart. The twists and turns of life have a way of reminding us-this world is not our homeland. We aren’t fluent in its language. Its culture confuses our heart. Its stress disrupts our sleep. It promises much but delivers so much less. But that’s okay-we have an eternal address fixed in our hearts: “[God] has … set eternity in the hearts of men” (Ecc 3:11 NIV). But even though our eyes are fixed on heaven, for some of us the journey has been long, very long and stormy. We’ve been robbed of lifelong dreams. We’ve been given bodies that can’t sustain our spirits, or

spouses who can’t tolerate our faith, or bills that outnumber our pay checks, or challenges that outweigh our strength-and we get tired. It’s hard to see the city in the midst of the storms. The

desire to pull over to the side of the road and get out, entices us. We want to go on, but some days the road seems so long. Remember this: God never said the journey would be easy, but

He did say the arrival would be wonderful. So trust Him. He’ll get you home. Soon the trials of the trip will be forgotten in the joys of the feast.

Taken from the Best of the Word for Today, 2007



THINK LIKE A FARMER (2)

this most generous God … gives you something you can then give away. 2 Corinthians 9:11 TM

The thing you want to reap, must be the thing that you sow. Why? Because the seeds you plant will reproduce after their own kind, whether for good or for bad. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal 6:7). Notice, you don’t necessarily reap when you sow or where you sow, but you

always reap what you sow. Some of us want to plant weeds and get roses. We’re quick to judge others, yet we ourselves are the first to plead for mercy and understanding when we mess up. A farmer doesn’t sow com and expect to reap potatoes. Sometimes we shake our heads and wonder why God isn’t blessing s with a harvest, forgetting that we haven’t sown the right seed in the first place.

And there’s one more principle of sowing and reaping we need to understand. We not only reap what we sow, we always reap more. “For God, who gives seed to the farmer to plant, and later on, good crops to harvest and eat, will give you more and more seed to plant [not to hoard] and will make it grow so

that you can give away more and more fruit from your harvest. Yes, God will give you much so that you can give away much” (2Co 9:10-11 TLB). Some people live by the philosophy “get all you can, can all you get, then sit on the can.” But why would you want to do that when God has offered you something much better, backed up by the warranty of His Word?

Taken from The Best of Word for Today, 2007



THINK LIKE A FARMER (1)

He who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully, 2 Corinthians 9:6 NAS

You’ll never see a farmer who refuses to plant seeds, sitting around expecting a harvest. He may go to church regularly, be a good family man, have his devotions every day and share his faith with others, but he’s not going to get a harvest without first planting. That’s because the law of sowing and reaping is built into creation. “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest. .. will never cease” (Ge 8:22 NIV).

And there’s something else a farmer won’t do; he won’t eat the seed he should be planting. He knows he must start with his seed, not his need, if he’s to reap a harvest. Some of us approach God from a need standpoint, “I can’t give to the Lord because I have to pay these bills.” That’s like a farmer saying, “I

can’t plant this seed even though it’ll yield a good crop, because I’m hungry right now.” This is where your faith must kick in. When a farmer plants his seed instead of eating it, it’s an act of faith that his seed will turn into a harvest. Now, he won’t get his harvest right away. He must wait for the right season. But he’s putting his faith in an unfailing law that God’s placed in the universe, the law of sowing and reaping. Are you getting the idea? When you give, you’re demonstrating faith in God’s Word. When He tells you to sow generously so that you can reap generously, your Willingness or reluctance to do what He says, tells you whether or not you hold God and His promises in high esteem.

Taken from The Best of Word for Today, 2007



WE HAVE ONE!

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  Psalm 23:1

Jesus said, “Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it?” (Lk 15:4 TM). Do you recall when you were that one lost sheep? Do you remember when Jesus found you? Where would you be without Him?

Eighty percent of Jesus’ listeners made their living off the land. Many were shepherds living on the mesa with their sheep. No flock ever grazed without a shepherd, and no shepherd was ever off duty. When the sheep wandered the shepherd found them. When they fell he picked them up and carried them. When they were wounded he healed them. Sheep aren’t smart; they tend to stray into running creeks for water, then their wool grows heavy and they drown. They need a shepherd to lead them to “still waters” (Ps 23:2). They have no natural defense -no claws or horns. They need a shepherd with a rod and staff to protect them (Ps 23:4). They have no sense of direction. They need someone wise enough to lead them “in paths that are right” (Ps 23:3). So do we. We tend to drown in circumstances we should have avoided. We have no natural defense against our enemy who goes about as a “roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (IPe 5:8 NAS). We, too, lose our way, don’t we? No doubt about it, we need a shepherd. We don’t need a cowboy to herd us, we need a shepherd to care for us and guide us-aren’t you glad we have one!

Taken from The Best of Word for Today, 2007



CONTROL YOUR EMOTIONS (3)

He had compassion on them and healed their sick. Matthew 14: 14 NIV

Before you congratulate yourself on having your emotions in check, understand that there’s another side to the coin-control but no compassion, moral indignation over human suffering yet no corresponding action. James talks about these folks. And they were church folks too. They see the

pain and unmet needs of others. They have the ability to do something about it. But they lack the willingness or care, so they walk away muttering about being too busy. Or they try to assuage their conscience with a token gift. James asks, “How dwelleth the love of God in him?” (Lln 3: 17). How indeed? If we are not responsible, who is? If we don’t do something, who will? “Faith without works is dead” (Jas 2:20).

You’re truly disciplining your emotions-when you translate them into responsible action. And your “somebody ought to do something about this” sentiments won’t get you off the hook. William Barclay wrote: “There is nothing more dangerous than the repeated experience of a fine emotion with no attempt to put it into action. It is a fact that every time a man feels a noble impulse without taking action, he becomes less likely ever to take action. In a sense it is true to say that a man has no right to feel sympathy, unless he at least tries to put that sympathy into action. An emotion is not something in which to luxuriate; it is something which at the cost of effort and of toil, of discipline and of sacrifice, must be turned into the stuff of life.” That just about says it all-doesn’t it?

Taken from the Best of Word for Today, 2007



CONTROL YOUR EMOTIONS (2)

Refrain from anger … it leads only to evil.   Psalm 37:8 NIV

Mike Singleterry, who played for the Chicago Bears football team, was a star player-and a Christian. One

day, however, while they were losing, the hometown fans became ugly and threw insults at him. He didn’t like it. The TV cameras trained on Singleterry’s face as he glowered at the crowd. Suddenly he lost his temper and started toward the stands, shouting back. It wasn’t his finest hour. But after the game may have been one of Mike’s finest hours. That’s when he met with the press and apologized. No excuses, no blaming: just an apology. His emotions had gotten out of control and he took responsibility. Perhaps Singleterry had read these words: “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to over-

look an offense” (Pr 19: 11 NIV). As you go through life people will offend you. Sometimes it will be deliberate, other times it will be inadvertent. The question is-what are you going to do about it?

Spiritually mature people discipline their emotions and make sure they accurately reflect reality. They can be sad, joyful, angry or elated in appropriate ways at appropriate times. They refuse to allow their emotions to determine their conduct, attitude, or choices. One Christian author writes: “When I feel

things going against me, when feelings of anger and resentment begin to rise, it’s time to stop and ask what’s happening. Is this for the greater good, or not? Is God speaking to me, or isn’t He? Will my flesh rule this moment, or my spirit?” That’s good advice for you too!

Taken from the Best of Word for Today, 2007



CONTROL YOUR EMOTIONS (1)

Cain, Why are you angry? Genesis 4:6 NIV

Unless you learn to discipline your emotions you’ll lose credibility, alienate others, and miss great opportunities. Your emotions are like a car: properly understood and directed it can take you places; out of control it can destroy you. When God asked Cain, “Why are you angry with your brother?” He was

saying: “Listen up, Cain! Your emotions are sending you a message. If you don’t get a handle on this you’ll create a mess you won’t be able to live with. Yes, you’ll repent and regret it, but you won’t be abJe to undo it:’ But Cain wouldn’t listen. The situation seemed unfair; he felt unappreciated. He thought his

brother’s blessing had come at his expense. What emotions were at work here? Jealousy. Resentment. Competitiveness. A sense of victimhood. These unchecked forces caused him to murder his brother Abel and cross a line he couldn’t come back from. Most of us have an inner response mechanism that isn’t

necessarily controlled by the rational side of our brain. It reacts to people and events, and like a sudden storm rises with strength from within, sometimes overwhelming us. Gordon McDonald writes: “I used to pride myself on the fact that I kept my emotions to myself. I never saw myself as an angry person … Then I got married and my wife informed me that I had plenty of anger after all While it rarely came out in words it showed itself in full color in facial expressions (the gift of glare, we called it) I never knew I had. I had work to do. I had emotions that needed to be disciplined.” How about you?

Taken from the Best of Word for Today, 2007



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




 

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