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The Word For Today

Live by your convictions 1



'Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.' Daniel 1:8 NKJV

The Bible says, 'Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank' (Daniel 1:8 NKJV). This particular food and wine was offered to pagan gods as an act of worship, and for Daniel that was unacceptable. He was being asked to compromise his character, and he wouldn't do it. Daniel had good reasons if he had chosen to say yes. He was far from home and could do as he pleased. Nobody back home would ever know it. Plus, if he didn't eat it, he would be insulting the king - not a good career move!

But, Daniel knew God's Word was clear when it came to idol worship, and God blessed him for it. He ended up being protected, preserved, promoted and prospered in unthinkable ways. His philosophy was: 'When God says yes, I say yes. And when God says no, I say no.' And he had established his convictions before he got to Babylon. Question: have you decided what your core convictions are? Have you spent the good times determining what you will and won't do during the hard times? If not, you need to. Daniel's friends probably told him, 'Nobody will know.' But his thinking was: 'God will know, and so will I. I don't have to live with you, but I've got to live with me.' Your thoughts and ideas must always be open to change and improvement, but your core convictions must be non-negotiable.

So, live by your convictions.

Soulfood: Job 32-34, Matt 26:14-25, Ps 69:19-36, Pro 8:30-31

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Focus on what matters



'I press towards the goal for the prize.' Philippians 3:14 NKJV

Part of Paul's amazing success was because he was so focused. 'I press towards the goal for the prize of the upward call' (Philippians 3:14 NKJV). Focus can bring energy and power to almost anything, whether spiritual, mental or physical.

Sociologist Robert Lynd observed that 'knowledge is power only if a man knows what facts not to bother about'. The birthing of a potential breakthrough often results from sharing many good ideas. But to take ideas to the next level, you must shift from being expansive in your thinking to being selective. A good idea becomes a great idea when it's given focused time. It's true that focusing on a single idea for a long time can be very frustrating, but your perseverance will pay off. The mind will not focus until it has a goal. But the purpose of your goals is to focus your attention and give you direction, not identify a final destination.

As you think about your goals, make sure that they are: (1) clear enough to be kept in focus; (2) close enough to be achieved; (3) helpful enough to change lives. Paul described his goal as 'the upward call'. When you think only of yourself, you're thinking 'downward', but when you think of others, you're thinking 'upward'. These three guidelines will get you going. And be sure to write down your goals. If they're not written, you can almost be guaranteed that they're not focused enough. And if you really want to make sure they're focused, take the advice of theatrical producer David Belasco, who said, 'If you can't write your idea on the back of my business card, you don't have a clear idea.'

Soulfood: Job 29-31, Matt 26:1-13, Ps 69:1-18, Pro 8:27-29

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Work on your selfimage



'You saw me before I was born.' Psalm 139:16 TLB

Inspirational speaker Iyanla Vanzant said, 'Everything that happens to you is a reflection of what you believe about yourself. We can't...draw to ourselves more than we think we are worth.' That means how we see ourselves determines the kind of relationships we establish. Many of us harbour a low sense of self-esteem. We deem everyone else as being more important than ourselves and think meeting their needs is more important than meeting our own needs. We compare ourselves and allow others to determine who we are, and become dependent on their approval to prop up our identity.

But it's a slap in the face to God to look at another person and say, 'I wish I were like them.' God made you for his own purpose, that you might reflect a unique aspect of his glory. As believers in Christ, we've been given a new identity as children of God. We weren't created to live dependently on any other person. Rather, God is restoring us to the image of his Son and making us whole (see 2 Corinthians 3:18). In him we don't ever need to be afraid to be who we really are. It's time to develop a true opinion of yourself based on the truth that God made you exactly, precisely, intricately, wondrously and uniquely you - a one-of-a-kind creation for which there's no comparison.

The psalmist wrote: 'You...scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe...How precious it is, Lord, to realise that you are thinking about me constantly' (Psalm 139:16-18 TLB)!

Soulfood: Job 24-28, Matt 25:31-46, Ps 38:13-22, Pro 8:24-26

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