Andrew 10:00-3:00pm

The Word For Today

When someone attacks you

'Endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.' 2 Timothy 2:3 NKJV

There are two kinds of criticism: constructive criticism and destructive criticism. One builds you up and the other tears you down.

Be wise in how you respond to unfounded criticism and gossip. When your critic wants to remain anonymous, they're not worthy of your response. The story's told of a pastor who received a letter that contained only one word - Fool! Next Sunday he held it up and said to the congregation, 'I received the strangest letter this past week.' He read the one-word text and said, 'Somebody wrote it and forgot to sign it!' You say, 'But they are attempting to hurt my reputation.' D.L. Moody said, 'If I take care of my character, God will take care of my reputation' (see Isaiah 54:17). Any time you're involved in a worthy cause, people will not only try to beat you down, but keep you down. In training Timothy for ministry, Paul told him to 'endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ' (2 Timothy 2:3 NKJV).

Difficult people are placed in our path not to defeat us, but develop us. Leaders know this, so they stay and finish the job regardless of the cost. Just like the captain goes down with the ship, the true leader stays until the work is done. You say, 'Then how should I respond?' By praying for them! Jesus said, 'Bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you...and you will be sons of the Most High' (Luke 6:28, 35 NKJV).

Soulfood: Isa 53-57 Luke 3:21-38 Ps 84 Pro 2:16-19,


When someone irritates you

'Don't yell at one another or curse each other or ever be rude.' Ephesians 4:31 CEV

Some of us excel in our careers, but act like a bull in a china shop when it comes to our relationships. Then we rationalise it by saying, 'I didn't mean any harm,' or 'That's just my way.' Sorry, God doesn't let us off the hook that easily.

When someone irritates you, God requires you to do two things: (1) Be the first to reach out. You may be right, but if you're resentful, what good is it? Instead of nursing a grudge or waiting for the other person to apologise, be first to reach out. Someone else's response neither validates nor invalidates your decision to forgive. Think about it: if you had only a year to live, would you give such things another second of your time? No! The Bible says, ' God...has forgiven you' (Ephesians 4:32 NLT). God made the first move in forgiving us so we'd know how to do it for others. (2) Be understanding. When some of us argue our point, we bulldoze everybody and everything in our way. Purpose-driven, time-conscious, goal-oriented people can be guilty of this. The Bible says, 'Don't yell at one another or curse each other or ever be rude... forgive others, just as God forgave you because of Christ' (Ephesians 4:31-32 CEV). Chances are the people who get under your skin aren't trying to complicate your life; they're struggling to cope with their own. Once you understand there's no ill will intended, you begin to feel compassion for them. That's how it is with God. 'He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle' (Isaiah 42:3 NLT).

Today, ask him to help you show his love towards those who irritate you.

Soulfood: Isa 49-52 Luke 3:11-20 Ps 81 Pro 2:11-15,


Turn it over to God

'Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you.' Psalm 55:22 NIV

Sometimes the best thing to do is - turn the situation over to God. 'Yes, but what about all those go-getters who rise with the sun, skip breakfast, and break records while I'm just "giving it to God"?' you ask. Good question. Look at Jesus; he didn't get started until he was 30. What about all those 'wasted' years? He left them to God. And how did he react to those who heard his message, shrugged, and walked away? He left them to God. And what about those nitpicking Pharisees who gave him so much grief? He left them to God as well.In The Finishing Touch, Charles Swindoll describes a time in his ministry when he felt driven and drained by never-ending demands. He writes: 'If folks weren't changing, I felt responsible. If some drifted, somehow I was at fault. If there wasn't continual growth, I acted as if I needed to make it happen. If a sermon failed to ring with clarity and power, I struggled all of Monday and half of Tuesday. Talk about wasted energy! Time has helped; so has age. Virtually all of the things that once stole my joy and assaulted my motivation - I just leave to God. Don't I care? Of course I care. But those cares are now placed in the hands of One who can handle them. What once bothered me, I've learned to give over to him who doesn't mind being bothered. Whereas criticism used to cripple me for days, I now do my best to sift, shift, and sail. I learn what I can - and turn the rest over to God.'

Soulfood: Isa 42-44 Luke 2:41-52 Ps 74:12-23 Pro 2:7-8,

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