Three biblical rules for success (1)

Three biblical rules for success (1)

Joshua 1:8 NIV

God told Joshua: “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and…have good success” (v. 8 NKJV). God views success as simple to achieve, and equally simple for Him to measure. If we are going to succeed in things that really matter, we must follow the instructions for life found in Scripture. So here are three biblical rules for success: First, look it up. “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth.” Or as the American Express credit card company likes to say, “Don’t leave home without it!” Success entails making the study of God’s Word a constant part of your life. This may mean a radical change for you. Ninety percent of Americans own a Bible. Fifty percent never read it, including 23 percent of all followers of Christ. And only 18 percent of those read it every day. Imagine going to a doctor when you’re sick and getting a prescription that can make you well. But you only take it once a week, or when you feel like it, or never at all. Would you blame the doctor for not getting well? Some of us do that with God: “Lord, why has this happened to me? I don’t understand it.” Would you say the medicine doesn’t work? Not if you don’t take it. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). So the word for you today is: Get into God’s Word and get it into you!

Soul food: Jer 22-24Matt 2:1-15Ps 59:9-17Prov 14:23-24

 

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Share it with them

Share it with them

John 4:14 NKJV

One day the Pharisees asked Jesus, “Why do you eat and drink with such scum?” (Luke 5:30 NLT). Such contempt – and from those who should have been the first to show love and compassion! Jesus loved people; look how He dealt with the woman at the well. First, He broke the rules. Jews didn’t mix with Gentiles, and they certainly didn’t associate with her kind. (She’d been divorced five times.) Jesus walked for miles to meet this woman. He went into her world to bring her into His. He mixed with her not to take advantage of her or become like her, but to reach, rede em, and restore her. That’s why He’s called “a friend of…sinners” (Matthew 11:19). Could people say that about you? Second, He broke the ice. Jesus talked about what she was interested in – water. You must start where people are, not where you think they should be. You must use words they understand. And get over your fear of rejection. You may lose face if they say no, but think what they’ll lose if they never have a chance to say yes to the gospel. Third, He broke the news. He offered her living water instead of dead religion. How can you say you love someone and not share with them the greatest thing you ever found – salvation? Everybody you meet is hung up on the past, anxious about the future, or in need of a real friend. Once you find which door they’re behind, walk through it with love and sensitivity. They’re thirsty for “the living water.” Share it with them.

Soul food: 2 Kings 24-25Mark 14:12-26Ps 73:17-28Prov 13:20

 

Your Father’s got you!

“Your Father’s got you!”

John 10:28 TM

On a hot Florida afternoon, a little boy swimming in the lake behind his house didn’t see the alligator that was following him. His father, who was doing yard work, saw it and yelled to his son to turn back. Too late! Just as the boy reached his dad, the alligator reached the boy. In an incredible tug-of-war the father grabbed his son’s arms while the alligator snatched his legs. The alligator was determined, but the father was too passionate to let go. A farmer driving by heard the screaming, leaped from his truck, and shot the reptile. Remarkably, the boy survived, and after weeks in the hospital he was interviewed by the local paper. He showed the reporter the terrible scars on his legs, then with obvious pride he added, “I’ve got great scars on my arms too because my dad held me and wouldn’t let go!” Jesus said, “[You] are protected from the Destroyer…No one can steal [you]…out of my hand.” It’s not that the Enemy won’t try. He’ll make you think you’re so far from God that there’s no way home. He’ll send others to attack you with discouragement and guilt. He’ll tempt you to walk away from God. You may even make poor choices that leave you spiritually and emotionally scarred, but when you belong to God no one can have you! No circumstances can take you away from His love (See Romans 8:38). No consequence can steal you from the hand of your Father. “Your Father’s got you!” Let those powerful words of assurance give you peace today.

Soul food: 2 Kings 18:17-20:21Mark 13:24-37Ps 80:12-19Prov 13:13-16

 

Being there in the crisis (1)

Being there in the crisis (1)

Romans 12:8 TM

You say, “It’s not my responsibility. I’m not getting involved!” Psychologists call this “compassionate disengagement,” the tendency to avoid helping someone in trouble. Whether your motivation is inconvenience, self-protection, or indifference, it’s wrong. “Being there” is how you demonstrate your love for God and your neighbor. And helping requires recognizing three kinds of crises: (1) Accidental or situational crises. These involve things like sudden threats to our well-being, disruptive events, unexpected losses, the discovery of a serious illness, the death of a loved one, a family breakdown, the loss of livelihood or security. Job experienced all these events together and wondered why God allowed so many bad things to happen to him. (2) Developmental crises. These occur in the course of everyday life. Moving houses, going away to college, adjusting to marriage, parenting, retirement, aging, declining health, and the loss of friends. Abraham and Sarah moved many times. They also endured years of childlessness and family stress, including the challenge of sacrificing Isaac. (3) Existential crises. These are when we face disturbing truths about ourselves. We may see ourselves as failures, grapple with being divorced or widowed, learn that our illness is incurable, experience rejection because of our race, class, age, or gender, or realize we may be getting too old to fulfill our life goals. True “helpers” understand, get involved, and encourage. They keep their eyes open, and are quick to “give aid to people in distress.”

Soul food: 1 Kings 1-2Mark 7:14-23Ps 88:9b-18Prov 11:27-29

 

Restoring damaged people (2)

The Word for Today

  2019/05/11

Restoring damaged people (2)

1 Timothy 1:15 NKJV

The apostle Paul writes, “I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it” (Galatians 1:13 NKJV). Paul had a criminal record. He had the blood of innocent men and women on his hands. Yet God used him to write half the New Testament, establish the church, and carry the name of Jesus into the courts of Caesar. But would you have trusted him to be the leader of your denomination, or envisioned him teaching great truths and introducing you to revelations he received from heaven? The Bible says, “God’s gifts and his call are irrevo cable” (Romans 11:29 NIV). God never cancels our calling and He never withdraws the spiritual gifts He gives us. And if He does not, we must not. How should we handle a brother or sister in Christ who goes astray? With gentleness! “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:1-2 NKJV). Is restoring people sometimes messy? Yes. Is it easy? No. Paul says it’s a “burden,” especially when they’ve brought embarrassment to God’s redeemed family. But that’s the point – they are still our spiritual family! And the world is watching to see how we treat them. If we throw away those who stumble, why would the world believe we wouldn’t do the same to them? Think about it. If you can’t find grace in the family of God, where are you going to find it?

Soul food: Heb 1-4Mark 6:14-29Ps 18:1-29Prov 11:19-21

 

Spirit-led thinking

Spirit-led thinking

1 Corinthians 2:16 NKJV

The Bible says: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10 NKJV). Do you “love” God? If so, He will reveal His thoughts to you. What an advantage! Paul writes, “These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (v. 13 NKJV). Don’t make the mistake of limiting “spiritual things” to prayer, Bible reading, and church activities. This promise applies to every area of your life including your family, your finances, your career, etc. The Bible says, “We have the mind of Christ.” That means when you face a problem, you can pray, “Lord, help me to see this the way You do.” When you need to make an important decision you can pray, “Lord, reveal to me what I don’t know and teach me what I need to learn so that my decision is in line with Your will and what’s best for everyone concerned.” Instead of confining God to church and so-called “spiritual activities,” ask for His help in every area of your life. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God” (NKJV). That means you must be still long enough for Him to put His thoughts into your mind. When it happens – and it will – you’ll never want to think any other way.

Soul food: Num 8-10Mark 2:1-17Ps 35Prov 10:28-29

 

 

God is at work in your life

God is at work in your life

Job 23:10 NIV

It’s a mistake to compare yourself to other people, because God has a plan for you that’s unique and personal. His methods may sometimes seem strange and His training laborious, but His results are always worth waiting for. Without scams and games He accomplishes His purpose in our lives, and all He asks us to do is trust and obey. It’s that simple. In the midst of unspeakable heartache and trouble, notice three things Job said about God: (1) “He knows the way that I take.” The path you are on today is the one God chose for you, and He never makes mistakes. And even when you don’t know where He is, God knows where you are because He never takes His eye off of you. (2) “When he has tested me.” The word “when” means God has established a set time for testing you, and a set time for bringing you out of the test. Aren’t you glad He’s the One who’s testing you, and not people? Would you trust anyone other than Him to take you through this learning curve? Of course you wouldn’t. (3) “I will come forth as gold.” When God gets through refining you and removing the impurities from your life, you will shine like pure and precious gold. The process always precedes the promise. When the dross has been discarded and the fear removed, some people may wonder how such a vessel could have been made from such poor material. They may even ask if you’re the same person. When they do, just say “No!”

Soul food: Num 7Mark 1:21-45Ps 94:12-23Prov 10:27

 

Take time to reflect (3)

Take time to reflect (3)

Deuteronomy 32:29 NKJV

If your goal is personal growth, then you must make time for reflective thinking. So: (1) Remove yourself from distractions. Reflection and distraction don’t mix. Reflection requires solitude. It’s not the kind of thing you can do well near a television, while the phone’s ringing, or with children in the same room. You say, “But I don’t have time to spend in reflection.” We all have 168 hours each week. If you spend just one of them reflecting, you’ll be amazed how your life will be enriched. (2) Regularly review your calendar or journal. Most people use their calendar as a planning tool, which it is. But few use it as a reflective thinking tool. What could be better, however, for helping you to review where you have been and what you have done – except maybe a journal? Those two things remind you of how you’ve spent your time. They show whether your activities match your priorities. They help you to see whether you are making progress. They also offer you an opportunity to recall activities you might not have had time to reflect on previously. Some of your most valuable thoughts may have been lost because you didn’t give yourself the reflection time you needed. (3) Ask the right questions. The Bible says, “Oh, that they were wise…that they would consider their latter end!” Ask yourself, “Am I growing personally and in my walk with God? Am I strengthening my relationships with the people who matter in my life? Am I using the gifts and sharpening the skills God has given me?” Reflecting on such questions can change your life for the better.

Soul food: Num 4:34-6:27Mark 1:14-20Ps 94:1-11Prov 10:24-26

 

Stand firm!

Stand firm!

Hebrews 11:27 KJV

The life of Moses can be summed up in two words: “He endured.” He endured despite the contempt of Pharaoh, the mightiest monarch on earth. He endured despite the stubbornness of the Hebrews, who grumbled, blamed, and rebelled. He endured despite the criticism of Miriam and Aaron, his own family. He endured despite the negative report of the ten spies who came back from the Land of Promise saying, “The giants are too big, and we are too small” (See Numbers 13:33). How did Moses do it? Answer: “By faith…he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.” He kept his eyes on G od – not people! Paul gives us the secret to victory in the battles of life: “Having done everything…stand firm” (Ephesians 6:13 NAS). Stand firm when your enemies seem to prosper. Stand firm when the wicked seem to be winning. Stand firm when big people act small and little people demand authority they don’t deserve. Stand firm when no one would ever know you compromised. Spiritually speaking, where are you today? Are you feeling shaky in areas where you once stood strong? Are you giving in to temptation, fear, mood-swings, or the opinions of others because you’re tired of their disapproval? Stand firm! Moses endured even when he was in his eighties “because he saw him who is invisible” (NIV). He kept his eyes on the Lord. He continually reminded himself that his sole purpose in life was to please the Lord, obey Him, glorify Him, and gain His approval. So the word for you today is: Stand firm!

Soul food: Lev 23:26-25:55Luke 21:29-38Ps 50:16-23Prov 10:4-7

 

Cry out to God!

Cry out to God!

Psalm 18:6 NLT

There are times in life when the best thing you can do is cry out to God from the depths of your being. Don’t worry about looking undignified, or having people think you have no faith. The psalmist said, “In my distress I cried out to the Lord…[and] He heard me.” Every parent knows that cry. It’s different; it’s not a temper tantrum or a whine for attention, it’s a cry of distress. And though it comes in the dead of night, before you know it your feet hit the floor and you’re at your child’s side holding them, changing them, feeding them, and comforting them. That’ s how God feels about you. When you get so low that you’re reaching up just to touch bottom, cry out to God! David said: “He reached down…and drew me out of my great trials. He rescued me…On the day…I was weakest, they attacked. But the Lord held me steady. He led me to a place of safety, for he delights in me” (vv. 16-19 TLB). David discovered that God was his “high tower” (v. 2). In Bible times a high tower was a place of safety where the enemy couldn’t get to you. Proverbs 18:10 says, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe” (NKJV). It represents a place of security in God where you’re lifted above the threat and the circumstances. It’s where you regain your perspective; a place where you can look ahead and know this trial will soon be over. Go ahead, cry out to God and He will answer you.

Soul food: Job 24-28Luke 18:31-43Ps 13Prov 8:14-16