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The Word For Today

Withdrawing in Order to Draw

The secret to success lies in knowing what God has assigned and gifted you to do. Once you discover those two things, delegate the rest or let it go. This isn't easy, because others will place demands on your time and energy that aren't in line with your calling. Work out what activities drain you and, unless they're essential, avoid them. Then, work out the things that energise you and fill your tank, and make them an essential part of your life.

'But there are so many demands on my time,' you say. Nobody was busier than Jesus. John speaks about His workload: '...There are...things that Jesus did, which if they were written...the world itself could not contain the books that would be written...' (John 21:25 NKJV). Question: How did Jesus stay on track and keep from burning out? Answer: He knew the secret to spiritual rest and renewal. The Bible says, 'When Jesus perceived...they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone' (John 6:15 NKJV). The word 'again' tells us that Jesus made a regular daily practice of withdrawing from the crowd in order to pray, consider His plans and priorities, and recharge His batteries. Understand this: to be effective with others, you must learn to be comfortable alone with yourself.

Novelist Louis Auchincloss said, 'The only thing that keeps a man going is energy, and what is energy but liking life?' If you can carve out moments to do what energises you, you'll have reserves you can draw on when it's time to give to others.

Soulfood : Acts 27-28, Matt 5:27-37, Ps 35, Prov 11:19-21


Are You in a Storm? (2)

Matthew records: 'Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, "Lord, save us! We are perishing!" But He said to them, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith"? Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. So the men marvelled, saying, "Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him''' (Matthew 8:25-27 NKJV)?

You'll never really know Jesus, or what He can do for you, until you go through a storm with Him. That's why He plans your storms as part of the journey. Jesus asked, 'Why are you fearful?' He was teaching us that fear will suck the life out of you and drain you dry of joy. When fear rules your life, safety becomes your God. And when safety becomes your God, you seek a risk-free life. But those who are fear-filled cannot love deeply because love is risky. They cannot give to the poor because, humanly speaking, benevolence is no guarantee of return. And the fear-filled cannot dream. What if their dreams shatter and fall from the sky? No wonder Jesus wages such a war against fear.

The Gospels list some 125 Christ-issued imperatives. Of these, 21 are to 'not be afraid'. The second most common command, to love God and your neighbour, appears only eight times. If quantity is any indicator, Jesus sees fear as one of our biggest issues. That's why the one statement He makes more than any other, and the one He is making to you today, is: 'Don't be afraid.'

Soulfood : Acts 24-26, Matt 5:21-26, Ps 94:12-23, Prov 11:16-18


Are You in a Storm? (1)

Matthew records, 'Jesus got into a boat, and His [disciples] went with Him. A great storm arose...' (Matthew 8:23-24 NCV). In the Greek language the words 'a great storm' are one word - seismos. A seismologist studies earthquakes and a seismograph measures them. So the storm the disciples were in must have shaken them to the core.

There's an important lesson here. Getting on board with Jesus doesn't mean you will never go through a storm. Jesus said, '...In the world you will have tribulation...' (John 16:33 NKJV). In spite of God's promise to protect and prosper us, you'll still have to deal with things like disease, lack and fear. The difference is: the unbeliever faces the storm without Christ, but as a believer you go through the storm confident that all will be well because Jesus is on board. Does that mean you will never experience panic? If only it were so! But it isn't. Looking at the swelling waves and the sleeping Saviour, the disciples asked, ' You not care that we are perishing' (Mark 4:38 NKJV)? This is why fear is so deadly. It corrodes your confidence in God's goodness. It unleashes a swarm of doubts. It deadens your recall. By this time the disciples had witnessed Jesus '...healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people' (Matthew 4:23 NKJV).

Fear creates a form of spiritual amnesia. It dulls your miracle memory. It makes you forget what Jesus has done and how good God is. That's why you must starve your doubts and feed your faith on God's Word, for faith is what will take you through the storm.

Soulfood : Acts 22-23, Matt 5:13-20, Ps 94:1-11, Prov 11:14-15

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