The Word For Today

Small things matter

'Who has despised the day of small things?' Zechariah 4:10 NKJV

When God gave Gideon victory over the Midianites, he used an army of just three hundred to defeat an enemy that swarmed like an uncountable cloud of locusts (see Judges 7). That wasn't because there weren't more soldiers available; it was because God wanted to demonstrate his power in 'the day of small things' (Zechariah 4:10 NKJV). Jesus could have chosen any number of followers, but he handpicked twelve to reach the world with the Gospel. One day he fed five thousand people with five bread rolls and two small fish from a child's lunchbox. He compared God's Kingdom to a mustard seed - a tiny speck, yet it grows into a sprawling bush. He also likened his Kingdom to yeast that's barely discernible, yet it can raise an entire batch of dough. Then he went on to say, 'Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much' (Luke 16:10 NIV).

So, if you're asking God to make you bigger instead of better, you may be disappointed. All the prayers in the world won't pressure him into giving you what you are not ready to handle. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, 'Most people would succeed in small things if they weren't troubled with blind ambition.' Your drive to be bigger can give you ulcers, keep you awake at night, and stop you from enjoying the blessings God has already given you. Better may be harder to measure and not as glamorous, but the inner stability that comes from gradual success is more valuable and lasting.

So if you're in 'the day of small things', rejoice and be confident that God has bigger and better things in mind for you.

Soulfood: Gen 4-6, John 11:17-27, Ps 150, Prov 30:29-33


Use your common sense

'God blesses everyone who has... common sense.' Proverbs 3:13 CEV

The key to success lies in doing the right thing at the right time. Theologian Tryon Edwards said, 'Have a time and place for everything, and do everything in its time and place... you'll not only accomplish more, but have far more leisure than those who are always hurrying.'

If you're tired of living with constant stress, theology professor Dr Howard Hendricks draws our attention to four major sources: (1) Saying yes to far too many things. Dr Lewis Sperry Chafer once said, 'Much of our spiritual activity is little more than a cheap anaesthetic to deaden the pain of an empty life.' All our 'going and doing' fails to address our core emptiness. (2) Not stopping to recharge our batteries. We dutifully pull out our day planner and fill the spaces between activities. But let's not fool ourselves; avoiding overlapping activities isn't planning. As a result, we're a stressed-out, short-tempered crowd, commuting between poorly planned activities that add little to our spiritual well-being. (3) Failure to enjoy what we accomplish. 'A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul' (Proverbs 13:19 NKJV). With always too much to do, we dash off to the next obligation, often without finishing the previous one or taking time to stand back and savour a job well done. No wonder we worry that our existence seems meaningless. (4) Owing more than we can repay. Next time you're faced with a credit card purchase - wait! Don't necessarily say no. Just present your so-called 'need' to God and see what he says about it.

If you're serious about developing your spiritual life, use your common sense and put these four principles to work.

Soulfood: Gen 1-3, John 11:1-16, Ps 102:18-28, Prov 30:24-28


Confessions of a secret sinner 5

'The Lord looks at the heart.' 1 Samuel 16:7 NLT

Pastor and author John MacArthur says:

'Jesus' exposition of the law is a devastating blow against the lie that image is everything. Secret sin is especially abhorrent because: (1) God sees the heart. In fact, if we realised he's the only audience we'd be less inclined to write it off. It's folly to mitigate sin by keeping it private... it's double-folly to think you're better than others because you sin privately... and it's the height of folly to conceal it. "He who covers his sins will not prosper" (Proverbs 28:13 NKJV). (2) Sinful thoughts originate from the same source as sinful deeds. When Jesus said hatred carries the same guilt as murder, and that lust is essentially adultery, he wasn't saying there's no difference in degree... he was saying that a lustful person has no right to feel superior to a fornicator. The fact that somebody thinks such thoughts proves they're capable of immoral acts, and someone who hates his brother already has murder lurking in his heart. (3) Hypocrisy compounds hidden sin. Why? Because it means covering it up. Jesus called hypocrisy "the leaven of the Pharisees" (Luke 12:1 NKJV) because it compounds itself like leaven. It sears your conscience and paves the way for other character-damaging sins... When somebody tries to tell you appearances are everything - don't buy it! Your secret life is a litmus test of your character: "As he thinks within himself, so he is" (Proverbs 23:7 NASB). If you want to know who you really are, look at your private life. Then gaze into the mirror of God's Word and let him disclose and correct the thoughts and intents of your heart.'

Soulfood: Ecc 10-12, John 10:34-42, Ps 102:12-17, Prov 30:21-23

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