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The Word For Today

CHANGE YOUR RESPONSE!

Are things in your life falling apart? Your finances look uncertain, the career you worked to build is floundering, your health is failing, the people you trusted have let you down. Nobody enjoys such times, but if you live long enough you'll go through them. And they have a way of making you re-examine your responses.

When the things the prophet Habakkuk counted on started to crumble, he was forced to discern between what's truly important and what's merely temporal. It's a re-evaluation we all have to make at some point. Here's what Habakkuk said: 'Though the fig tree does not bud...there are no grapes on the vines...the olive crop fails...the fields produce no food...there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord...The Sovereign Lord is my strength...He enables me to [go on]' (Habakkuk 3:17-19 NIV). Habakkuk realised he had no control over certain things. So he chose to control his response by rejoicing in the Lord regardless of what happened, and drawing from God the strength to 'go on'.

What can you learn from this man? That you have a choice! That you can decide to praise God regardless of the hand life deals you. God doesn't promise to take you out of your situation; He promises to bring you through it. So change your response and begin to praise God for His faithfulness, for your salvation, for your health, for your friends and family, and all the other blessings He's given you. If you look for reasons to rejoice, you'll find them!

Soulfood : 2 Tim 1-4, Lk 22:54-62, Ps 19, Prov 24:19-22

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LISTEN MORE, SAY LESS

Talking instead of listening - will get you into trouble. Two geese were preparing to fly south when a frog asked if he could go along. They questioned how he could do it. 'Easy,' he said. 'You guys hold a stick between your beaks and I'll hang on with my mouth.' Off they went as people looked up, admiring their teamwork. The trio was making great progress until somebody below shouted, 'Great idea! Whose was it?' That's when the frog opened his mouth and yelled, 'Miiiiiiiine!' Every time you open your mouth there are consequences! So learn to listen.

Plutarch said, 'The talkative listen to no one, for they are ever speaking. And the first evil that attends those who know not how to be silent is that they hear nothing.' Listening without having to air your knowledge or interject your opinion is a quality of character that proves you're mature. Television host Larry King once said, 'I remind myself every morning: nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I'm going to learn, I must do it by listening.' Jesus was a great listener, and as a result He attracted people like a magnet. Doubtless there were times He was tired and didn't feel like it - but He listened anyway. When the disciples fussed among themselves, and the Pharisees grumbled and caused trouble, Jesus focused on the important things. He listened, He spoke, and people followed.

Listening is often more effective than talking. In fact, there's a point in every conversation where you need to say less and listen more. In those moments you not only hear what others are saying, but what God is saying to you!

Soulfood : Mic 5-7, Lk 22:39-53, Ps 24, Prov 24:15-18

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HARD WORK

The story is told of a jockey who won more races than anybody else. When asked how he did it, he said before every race he went into the stables and read this poem to his horse: 'Roses are red, violets are blue; horses that lose are made into glue!'

Fortunately, God doesn't take that approach with us! But since He was the first employer in the universe, His Word has a lot to say about the responsibilities and rewards of hard work. 'Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favour when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people... And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that He who is both their Master and yours is in Heaven, and there is no favouritism with Him' (Ephesians 6:5-9 NIV).

If you're the boss, Andrew Carnegie offers the following insights: (1) Organise. Always make sure you have the right person in the right slot. (2) Deputise. Don't micro-manage. Give a man or woman full authority to do the job you hired them to do, then give them the freedom to do it. (3) Supervise. You don't get what you expect; you get what you inspect. (4) Recognise. Good workers are hard to find. If you want to keep the ones you've got, recognise and reward their efforts.

Soulfood : Mic 1-4, Lk 22:24-38, Ps 78:65-72, Prov 24:11-14

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