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The Word For Today

Be a Finisher

Unfinished business drains your energy without you even realising it. William James said, 'There is nothing so fatiguing as an uncompleted task.' And the internet has made the problem worse, because now you get more 'messages' in one day than you used to get in a month. When you don't focus on something, you don't finish it. So you end up frustrated, feeling like 'nothing is getting done'. If you don't take control of your time, the most forceful people and most urgent situations in your life will.

Before Christ picked His twelve disciples or calmed the storm on Galilee, He spent all night in prayer. 'He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone' (John 6:15 NKJV). Note the word 'again'. Jesus regularly retreated from the pressures of the crowd in order to determine His priorities.

Mac Anderson says: 'Something magical happens when we accept personal responsibility for our behaviour and results. But it's not easy...it's human nature to "pass the buck". As I've become older (and wiser), when things go wrong...I can always find the culprit...in the mirror. In every instance it comes back to choices I've made that put me exactly where I am today. Adopting an attitude of personal accountability means you've more control over your destiny...you become a contributor instead of a passive observer...others look to you for leadership...you gain a reputation as a problem solver...You experience the satisfaction that comes from getting things done...there's less anger, frustration and helplessness, which in turn leads to better physical health...There's a positive spillover into your personal and spiritual life. Sometimes winning isn't about finishing first, it's about finishing - full stop!'

Soulfood : Est 1-4, Jn 20:19-31, Ps 105:8-22, Ecc 7:1-4

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Trade-Offs (2)

As you climb higher and accumulate more, you'll discover that it's harder to let go of what you've worked for. That's why so many of us climb part-way up the mountain of our potential, and stop. We're unwilling to give up what we have, in order to obtain the next thing. And as a result we stall - sometimes permanently!

You must be willing to make concessions, like trading: (1) What's acceptable for what's excellent. People don't pay for average. They're not impressed by anything that's merely acceptable. If it's worth doing, give it your best or don't do it at all. Solomon writes, 'Hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.' If you want to shine, you've got to 'burn the midnight oil'. (2) The first half for the second half. In his book Halftime, Bob Buford says most people who are successful in the first half of their life often try to live the second half in the same way. And that's a mistake. If you're in the second half, you've probably spent much of your time paying the price for success. Don't waste it. Move from success to significance. Do things that will live on after you are gone. Don't just leave a will, leave a legacy. (3) Your work for God for your walk with God. No matter how much value your work has, it can't compare to having a relationship with God. One of the great traps of ministry is working for God, but not spending enough time with Him. Make sure that doesn't happen to you.

Soulfood : Gen 50, Hag 1-2, Jn 20:1-18, Ps 105:1-7, Ecc 5:13-17

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Trade-Offs (1)

No matter how hard you try, you can't 'have it all'. Life's too short! There are trade-offs you must be willing to make. In Matthew chapter 19 we read the story of the man who wanted to follow Christ, but he didn't want to give up his lifestyle. Paul, on the other hand, said, 'I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ.'

Let's look at some trade-offs in life that are worth making:

(1) Approval for accomplishment. For people-pleasers and approval-junkies this means realising that accolades are like smoke; they evaporate quickly. Awards turn to rust. Financial gain is quickly spent or lost. You must come to the place where 'doing good' means more to you than 'looking good'. (2) Security for significance. Greatness doesn't lie in what you earn or own; it lies in what you give your life to accomplish. Instead of merely focusing on making a living, ask God to help you make a difference! (3) Exploration for expertise. Too many of us like to dabble, but the problem with dabbling is that you never really become great at anything. True, when you're young you should try new things and see where your strengths and interests lie. But as you get older you must become more focused. You will go far in life if you 'specialise' in something.

If you study the lives of great men and women, you'll find that they were single-minded and tenacious. So once you have found what God created and called you to do, stick with it and let the rest go.

Soulfood : Gen 47-49, Jn 19:25-42, Ps 150, Ecc 5:10-12

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