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The Word For Today

HOW TO BE HAPPY (1)

Holiness brings happiness, but sin never can. Sometimes we find this hard to believe. The story's told of a mother saying to her son, 'Be good, and have fun.' He replies, 'Please make up your mind!' How revealing!

Today the word 'holiness' has got a bad reputation. Some see it as a list of all the things the church says you can't do. Others recall those who claimed to practise holiness, but came across as rigid, joyless, narrow and judgmental. So let's define it: 'Holiness is the whole of Christ in the whole of life.' Furthermore, holiness vanishes when you talk about it; it only becomes attractive when you live it. 'The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it' (Proverbs 10:22 NKJV). The only thing that adds no sorrow is the blessing of the Lord. James writes, 'When desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death' (James 1:15 NKJV). When we're immature we think we can sin and get away with it, but as we grow wiser and more mature we know better. You'll never meet a smoker who recommends his or her habit. And you'll meet very few who shipwrecked a marriage, recommending an affair.

The law of the harvest is: 'Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap' (Galatians 6:7 NKJV). Sin destroys your capacity for happiness. A loving parent doesn't want to see their children get hurt - and God is a loving parent. David, who tasted the bitter fruits of sin first-hand, wrote, 'Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness' (Psalms 29:2 NKJV). Holiness is a beautiful thing when you fully understand and practise it.

Soulfood : Ex 4-6, Jn 1:1-13, Ps 63, Prov 25:26-28

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YOU CAN BEGIN AGAIN

When you haven't accomplished what you'd hoped for, regret can become a major pastime. The computer analyst wishes he'd become an accountant, the accountant wishes he'd become a doctor, etc. Maybe you planned to leave a legacy, but to date all you've left is a trail of unfilled aspirations.

It's not too late; you can begin again! You just have to be prepared to pursue your dream and pay the price. 'To win the contest you must deny yourselves many things that would keep you from doing your best' (1 Corinthians 9:25 TLB). Don't listen to the critics and complainers who've settled for less. Your goal shouldn't just be to live long, but to make a difference in your world and glorify God. Aviator Charles Lindbergh said, 'I feel I lived on a higher plain than the sceptics on the ground...Who valued life more highly, the aviators who spent it on the art they loved, or these misers who doled it out like pennies through their antlike days?...If I could fly for ten years before I was killed in a crash, it would be a worthwhile trade for an ordinary lifetime.' Look at Moses. Look at Paul. They both began again. Look at Winston Churchill: instead of retiring after World War II, he went on to win the Nobel Prize in literature. When Heinrich Schliemann retired from business to look for Homer's legendary city of Troy - he found it.

Here's a Scripture you can stand on: 'Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion...therefore I hope in Him' (Lamentations 3:22-24 NKJV)! That means you can begin again.

Soulfood : Lev 16, Lev 23:26-32 , Heb 9:1-14, Heb 13:11-16

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MAKE YOUR TIME COUNT

If there aren't enough hours in your day to get everything done, chances are you can relate to David's lament: 'All our busy rushing ends in nothing.' Mark Roberts writes, 'It's hard to think of a more relevant insight for our time...we're seeing our nest eggs dry up and our economic hopes dashed...We feel as if we've been rushing about "[like] moving shadows" (Psalms 39:6 NLT), without substance.'

To maximise your time, Mary M. Byers says: 'Make lists: what do you want to accomplish this week? List work-related tasks on one side and home-related on the other. That way you won't have to struggle to remember everything. Consult your schedule first: understanding your current workload is essential to maintaining realistic goals. Are you booked solid, or is this a more relaxed week? If it's the latter, you can tackle more than you could during times when you're constantly on the go. Prioritise: highlight what has to be done this week, and put everything else on a secondary list. Focus on your highest priority and work on the rest as time permits. Delegate: is there a colleague who can assist at work? The same applies to home-based activities; let your kids pitch in. It'll help you, and instil a sense of pride and responsibility in them. Identify extenuating circumstances: are you running yourself ragged caring for a loved one, or doing double duty while your spouse is away? At particularly challenging times, give yourself permission to let some things slide without feeling guilty that you're not accomplishing as much as usual. Learn to let go: the longer something is on your list, the less important it's likely to be.'

Soulfood : Ex 1-3, Lk 24:45-53, Ps 51, Prov 25:23-25

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