Thank God for your job

Thank God for your job

Proverbs 13:4 NLT

Charlie “Tremendous” Jones tells the story of a man who dreamed he’d inherited a million dollars. In the dream he tried to take a shower, but the shower wouldn’t work. He tried to shave, but his shaver wouldn’t shave. He tried to make breakfast, but the coffee wouldn’t perk and the toaster wouldn’t toast. He went to get a newspaper, but the newspaper box was empty. He went to catch the bus to work, but the bus didn’t come. Finally, after waiting an hour, he asked somebody, “What’s going on here?” They replied, “Haven’t you heard? Everybody has inherited a million dollars and nobody’s working anymore.” Suddenly the man woke up, discovered that it was all a dream, and said, “Thank God!” So he went and had a tremendous shower, a tremendous shave, a tremendous cup of coffee, and a tremendous piece of toast while he was reading a tremendous newspaper. Finally he caught a tremendous bus to a tremendous job! Thank God today for the job He has given you, and put your very best into it. Your position and paycheck would most likely have been a dream-come-true for some of your ancestors. You may not be called to “the ministry” per se, but if your job affords you the privilege of being a solution to somebody’s problem and offers you the dignity of making a difference in life, be grateful. Imagine what your life would be like without it! “Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.”

Soul food: Nahum 1-3John 4:39-54Ps 41Prov 24:5-6

Advertisements
 

Make it a personal growth experience

Make it a personal growth experience

Ephesians 4:15 NIV

Before you confront someone over an issue, stop and examine your motives. Is your goal to help or humiliate them? Jesus was in the business of lifting and restoring people, and you should be in that business too. Ask yourself, would you approach things differently if you weren’t so personally involved? Are you confronting this person to make yourself look better? Cutting someone else down in order to lift yourself up is the lowest form of ego gratification. Poet Kahlil Gibran said, “To belittle, you have to be little.” Don’t do it! It’s a sign of insecurity. Remember Nehemiah’s response to those who tried to discourage him from rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls? “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?” (Nehemiah 6:3). Don’t allow your critics to break your stride. Don’t give more credence to the sentiments of a critic than you would to the encouragement of a friend. Before you put somebody else’s life under the microscope, stop and examine your own. Are you grappling with the same issue, or one just as bad? Have you succeeded where you’re accusing somebody else of failing? In other words, have you earned the right to be heard? Paul writes, “Speaking the truth in love we will grow…in every respect.” Could it be that the situation you’re dealing with right now is an opportunity to measure your own maturity and make it a spiritual growth experience?

Soul food: 2 Pet 1-3John 4:27-38Ps 87Prov 24:1-4

 

A formula for successful living

A formula for successful living

1 Peter 5:5-7 NLT

Somebody quipped, “The trouble with success is that the formula is the same as the one for a nervous breakdown.” The Bible gives us the real formula for successful living. It encompasses three areas: authority, attitude, and assurance. “Accept the authority of the elders…humble yourselves under the mighty power of God…Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” Let’s look at each of the three areas: (1) Submit yourself to those who are wise. Listen to their counsel, become accountable, accept reproof, take suggestions, respect experience, and follow a worthy example. Only when you can take advice will you be qualified to give it. Only when you respect and submit to leadership will you be qualified to lead others. (2) Humble yourself. In Scripture the “hand” of God symbolizes two things: His discipline and His deliverance. When you humble yourself before Him, you’re accepting His discipline as being for your good. You’re also acknowledging His willingness to answer your cry for help and deliver you by whatever means He chooses. (3) Throw yourself on God’s mercy and care. Trouble and disappointment will surely come, and when they do you need to throw yourself on the Lord. The situation may be too big for you, but it’s never too big for Him. Does that mean there’s no place for planning, goal-setting, and hard work? No, it just means you’re willing to do things God’s way, which is always best.

Soul food: 1 Sam 27-31Matt 28:11-20Ps 63Prov 22:17-23

 

Pull down that stronghold!

Pull down that stronghold!

2 Corinthians 10:4 NKJV

The story of Joseph the prisoner becoming Joseph the prime minister teaches us that we can rise above the circumstances, overcome the challenges, and live in the fullness of our God-given potential. His journey was a long one, and yours may be too. But if you don’t take the first step, you’ll remain stuck where you are. Sometimes your “stronghold” was established early in life. Family pain is the deepest pain, because it’s inflicted so early and involves people who should have been trustworthy. You were too young to process the mistreatment. You didn’t know how to defend yourself. Your dad, mom, uncle, big brother – they towered over you, usually in size, always in rank. When they judged you falsely, you believed them. All this time you were operating on faulty data: “You’re stupid…slow…dumb like your daddy…fat like your mama…” Decades later those voices of defeat still echo in your subconscious. But they don’t have to! “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.” Use the “reject and repeat” strategy and you’ll win the victory in your thinking. When negative, fearful, guilt-ridden, inferior, condemning thoughts arise, reject them and begin to repeat what God says about you in His Word. As God’s Word comes to life within you, your old thoughts will begin to die and lose their control over you. Today pull down that stronghold and let your healing begin.

Soul food: 1 Sam 24-26Matt 28:1-10Ps 51Prov 22:12-16

 

Establish your core convictions

Establish your core convictions

Daniel 1:8 NIV

What was Daniel’s problem? What was wrong with eating the best food in the country? Most people lived on a meager diet. Daniel was going to have the opportunity to eat, literally, like a king. Why the hard line? When you dig down into the cultural realities of the situation, more seems to be at stake. A Babylonian feast was always eaten in honor of the gods. So whenever you sat down to a meal, it wasn’t just dining that you participated in, but an act of worship. This food had previously been sacrificed to a pagan god. For a Jewish teenager who took his faith in God seriously, participation would mean compromising who he was called to be. By eating their meal, he would be worshiping their god. And for Daniel, that was a bridge too far. It was about compromising his character, and that he would not do. You don’t discover your convictions when the pressure is on; you decide them in advance. It’s during the good times that you determine what you will or won’t do during the hard times. The psalmist said: “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:9-11 NIV). Victorious Christian living is encapsulated in these three statements: (1) “By living according to your word.” (2) “I seek you with all my heart.” (3) “I have hidden your word in my heart.”

Soul food: 1 Sam 8-10Matt 26:47-68Ps 54Prov 21:18-21

 

Overcoming stress (2)

The Word for Today

  2019/09/13

Overcoming stress (2)

John 5:30 NIV

Know who you are trying to please. Jesus didn’t try to please everybody, so isn’t it foolish for you to try to do something even God doesn’t do? It was a settled issue with Jesus: “I’m going to please God, period!” And God replied, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). When you lose sight of who you’re trying to please you’ll always cave in to three things: Criticism, because you’re overly concerned about what others think of you. Competition, because you’re afraid somebody will get ahead of you. Conflict, because you’re threatened by anyone who disagrees with you. Jesus said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things [that you’re stressed out over] shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). By focusing on God’s will you simplify your life! You’ll always be doing the right thing, the thing that pleases Him, regardless of what anybody else thinks. We love to blame stress on other people and on our obligations: “You made me do…I have to…I’ve got to.” Actually, there are few things in life apart from our jobs that we must do. So what we’re really saying is, “I choose to [you fill in the blank] because I don’t want to handle the consequences.” Rarely does anybody make us do anything, so we can’t blame other people for our stress. When we feel pressured, we’re choosing to let others put us there. The fact is, we’re not victims unless we allow ourselves to be pressured by outside demands.

Soul food: 2 Cor 9:1-11:15Matt 25:22-30Ps 24Prov 21:1-2

 

 

Overcoming stress (1)

Overcoming stress (1)

John 8:25 NLT

Jesus was constantly under pressure. There were grueling demands on His time. He rarely had personal privacy, and He was constantly interrupted. People repeatedly misunderstood, criticized, and ridiculed Him. He was under enormous stress, yet He remained at peace under pressure. How did he do it? He based His life on eight sound principles of stress management. So for the next week let’s look at them and see what we can learn. Know who you are. “‘Who are you?’ they demanded. Jesus replied, ‘The one I have always claimed to be.'” If you don’t know who you are, ot hers might try to tell you who they think you are. If you don’t know who you are, you’ll subconsciously let other people pressure you into believing you’re somebody you’re not. A lot of stress comes from our hiding behind masks, living double lives, being unreal with others, and trying to be somebody we’re not. Insecurity always produces pressure in our lives; when we’re insecure we feel coerced into performing and conforming. We set unrealistic standards for ourselves, and even though we work, work, work, we still can’t meet them. So what should you do? You must know who you are, and Whose you are! You’re a redeemed child of God, put on this earth not by accident but for a purpose. You are deeply loved and fully accepted by God. He has a plan for your life; therefore you are significant. To overcome stress you must know who you are, and until you deal decisively with this issue you’ll be plagued by it.

Soul food: 2 Cor 5-8Matt 25:14-21Ps 78:65-72Prov 20:26-30

 

 

When you have a vision

When you have a vision

Acts 26:19 NIV

When God gives you a vision for your life, you need to know how to: (1) Hold it. Your vision is governed by a time frame: “The vision is…for an appointed time…though it tarry, wait for it” (Habakkuk 2:3). Some of us can conceive a vision, but we can’t carry it to full term because we’re not willing to endure the stretching and discomfort involved. We rush ahead of God and our vision is stillborn, or too weak to survive. Jesus said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). When your vision is bor n of the Spirit, it’ll be sustained by the Spirit. But when it’s born of the flesh, you’re on your own! (2) Hide it. It’s a mistake to share your vision with those who can’t appreciate it. Joseph did that, and he landed in a pit. Not everybody will celebrate your success, especially if your light shines brighter than theirs. So ask God for discernment. Judas may seem like your friend right now, but inevitably he’ll betray you. (3) Water it. Read these two Scriptures carefully and prayerfully: “David encouraged himself in the Lord” (1 Samuel 30:6); “Building up yourselves on your most holy faith” (Jude 20). You must know how to encourage and build yourself up spiritually and how to water your vision. God told Habakkuk, “Write the vision, and make it plain” (Habakkuk 2:2). Write your vision on a three-by-five card and carry it with you. And start acting like the person you expect to be when it becomes reality – and it will!
Soul food: Ezek 24:1-27:24; Matt 22:34-46; Ps 20; Prov 19:24-29

 

Spiritual yet still carnal

Spiritual yet still carnal

Galatians 4:19 NIV

When you become a Christian you discover that part of you wants to walk “in newness of life” (Romans 6:4), while another part wants to walk “after the flesh” (Romans 8:5). And you would, if it weren’t for God’s Spirit who lives in your divided house and “groans” when you do certain things, challenging you with God’s Word (See John 16:7-14). The truth is, your new heart is still living in your old body. One author writes: “When I first came to Christ I thought others had mastered a level of holiness that always eluded me. So I attacked my carnality with passion! I didn’t realize that everything that’s born needs time to grow. I was expecting an immediate, all-inclusive metamorphosis that would make me the kind of person God could really love. I now realize His love isn’t doled out on a merit system: If you do well, He loves you, and if you don’t, He doesn’t.” God doesn’t want do-it-yourself righteousness. The Bible says, “He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). Paul writes, “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.” God alone knows the process it will take for the Christ who saved you to be formed in you! We each travel our own paths at our own pace, but our goal is the same: to bear a greater resemblance to our heavenly Father. And getting us there is God’s job – so let Him do it. Your job is to keep walking with Him day by day as He does it.

Soul food: Ezek 14:1-16:52Matt 21:33-46Ps 103:1-12Prov 19:12-16

 

Success on God’s terms

Success on God’s terms

Deuteronomy 29:9 NIV

Two men were talking and one said, “Do you know the secret of success?” The other replied, “No, what is it?” The first man said, “I can’t tell you.” His friend asked, “Why?” The first guy said, “Because it’s a secret!” Success, as God defines it, is not a secret. He repeatedly says in His Word that He wants us to be successful in life. But as our faces differ, so does God’s plan of success for each of us differ. Success is simply discovering God’s will for your life and doing it. Consider high definition television (HDTV). This technology makes possible an additional hundred lines of resolution on a screen so that the picture is virtually lifelike. The industry calls it “super clarity.” Whether you stand ten feet away or two feet away, the picture looks perfectly clear – no fuzzy lines, no distortions, no shadows. What would a successful life look like in high definition? In order to find that level of clarity, you need to dig into God’s Word and find out what He thinks about success. “Carefully follow the terms of this covenant, so that you may prosper in everything you do.” When God created man, one of the first things He told him to do was “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:22). In the book of Job we read the words, “Though your beginning was small, yet your latter end would increase abundantly” (Job 8:7 NKJV). But God-ordained success comes with a caveat, and it’s non-negotiable: God will bless you – in order to make you a blessing to others.

Soul food: Amos 1:1-5:17Matt 20:17-28Ps 119:137-144Prov 18:22-24