Word of the day

Have Little Foxes

 “Catch…the little foxes that spoil the vines.” SS 2:15 NKJV

Michelangelo once sculpted a figure out of marble while a friend watched. Later his friend went away on business and when he returned he said, “I see you haven’t worked on your sculpture.” The great artist replied, “I’ve been working constantly on it since you left.” His friend asked, “How’s that possible?” Michelangelo replied, “I’ve softened a line here, straightened the lip there, defined the muscles more clearly, polished this and sharpened that.” His friend said, “But those are trifles!” Michelangelo replied, “Trifles they may be, but trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle!” Solomon writes, “Catch…the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes.”
 
One Bible teacher put it this way: “Small things that seem unimportant can spoil ‘tender grapes,’ like a relationship, a career, or a life dedicated to Christ. How many marriages fail because spouses paid no attention to the little things? How many athletes lost competitions because of tiny missteps? Many of us can see the big picture of our lives and our relationship with God, but we neglect the details necessary for bringing it all into focus. We must attend to ‘trifles’ if we hope to succeed. As we act faithfully in the little things God will bless us with greater opportunities. We’ll develop the faithfulness and obedience to conquer the great issues in life.” Only when you’re faithful in small things will God entrust you with greater things (See Mt 25:21). So, what “little foxes” do you need to catch today? Little resentments, little habits, little areas of dishonesty? Nip them in the bud. Deal with them, and watch how it changes your life.


Word of the day

Playing the Lesser Part

 “Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead.” Php 2:3

Frances Green was an elderly lady living on a pension. Every year she sent a dollar to the Republican National Convention. One day she received an invitation to meet President Reagan. Not realizing the RSVP should include a generous donation, she scraped up every cent she had and took a four-day train ride across America. She slept sitting up because she couldn’t afford a sleeper. When she arrived at the White House and found her name wasn’t on the guest list, she was heartbroken. Overhearing her story, a Ford Motor executive contacted a presidential aide and got clearance to give Frances a tour and introduce her to the president the next day. But the following morning there was a military uprising overseas and the president was in high-level meetings. When Frances showed up at the White House the executive showed her around and walked her past the Oval Office hoping she’d at least get a glimpse of the president. As they passed he looked up, stood up from his desk and announced, “Frances! Those darn computers fouled up again! If I’d known you were coming I’d have come out to get you myself!” The little woman from California had nothing to give the president that day, but there was something he could give her, so he made time in his busy schedule.

Paul says, “Don’t push your way to the front…Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead.” In other words, be willing to play second fiddle. Remind yourself that God sees, God evaluates, and God rewards. So, today go out of your way to help somebody.


Word of the day

Focus on what lasts, not on what doesn’t.

 “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Mt 5:3 NKJV

Let’s look at the Beatitudes (what our attitudes should be). Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Now Jesus wasn’t saying He’s against you having money, He was saying He’s against money having you. He will actually prosper you so that you can finance and fulfill His purposes in the earth. But He doesn’t measure the size of your faith by the size of your bank balance. In one of His parables Jesus called a wealthy man a “fool.” That wasn’t because the man was rich, it was because he wasn’t “rich toward God” (Lk 12:21 NKJV). Old John D. Rockefeller once said, “I’ve made many millions but they brought me no real happiness. I’d barter them all for the days I sat on an office stool in Cleveland and counted myself rich on three dollars a week.” Having more money may give you social status, but serving God gives you kingdom-significance. Big difference! So keep your focus on what matters and live for what lasts. In Kemi, Finland, they supposedly built a sprawling ice castle that featured a theatre, a playground, an art gallery and a chapel. The castle walls were 13 feet high and stretched for 1,650 feet. The chapel was a popular wedding venue and the theatre could seat 3,000 people. In it they held rock concerts, musicals, modern dance and opera recitals. The problem was, its upkeep cost millions of dollars, and it all melted in the spring. Are you getting the idea? Focus on what lasts, not on what doesn’t.



Word of the day

The Touch of the Master’s Hand

 “Jesus…touched him.” Mk 1:41 NKJV

It was battered and scarred and the auctioneer thought it hardly worth his while, to waste much time on the old violin so he held it up with a smile. ‘What am I bidden for this old violin? Who’ll start the bidding for me? A dollar, a dollar, who’ll make it two? Two dollars, and who’ll make it three? Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three,’ but no; from the back of the room a gray haired man came forward and picked up the bow. Then sweeping the dust from the old violin, and tightening up all the strings, he played a melody pure and sweet, as sweet as the angels sing. The music ceased and the auctioneer, with a voice that was quiet and low, said, ‘What am I bid for the old violin?’ and he held it up with the bow. ‘A thousand dollars, and who’ll make it two? Two thousand, and who’ll make it three? Three thousand once, three thousand twice, going, and gone,’ said he. The people cheered, but some of them said, ‘We do not quite understand. What changed its worth?’ Then came the reply, ‘The touch of the Master’s hand.’ And many a man with his life out of tune, battered and scarred with sin, is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd, much like the old violin. A mess of pottage, a glass of wine, a game, and he shuffles along: going once, going twice, he’s going and almost gone. But the Master comes, and the thoughtless crowd never can quite understand, the worth of the soul, and the change that’s wrought, by the touch of the Master’s hand.”



Word of the day

Give Them Another Chance

 “Mark…is profitable to me for the ministry.” 2Ti 4:11

Paul, who demanded 100 percent commitment from himself and those he worked with, was angry with Mark for wanting to take a break and go home and spend time with his family. But later, after reconsidering the whole thing, Paul gave Mark a second chance, saying, “He is profitable to me for the ministry.” God sees potential in people, even flawed people, and we must too. When we believe in people and encourage them, they can move from the loss column to the profit column. Some years ago in a manufacturing town in Scotland, a young lady gathered a class of street kids to teach them God’s Word. To keep them coming back, the superintendent bought each of them a new suit. But after a few weeks, Bob, the most unpromising boy in the class, was missing. When she went looking for him she found him with his clothes torn and dirty. So the superintendent bought him another suit and invited him back again. After a few weeks he dropped out of Sunday school once more. Disgusted, the teacher wanted to give up on him. But the superintendent said, “I’ll buy him a third suit if he will promise to attend regularly.” Bob did. He kept coming, committed his life to Christ and studied for the ministry. That discouraged, forlorn, ragged, runaway boy was Robert Morrison, the great missionary to China who translated the Bible into the Chinese language and opened the kingdom of heaven to countless millions who live there. So, who are you thinking of giving up on? Don’t do it! Give them, and God, another chance!



Word of the day

Do you still believe God even when you can’t believe what just happened?

When something really awful occurs, you may use the word “unbelievable” to describe it. During those times, even if what happened may have shaken your life, it is very important to maintain your faith. Circumstances are volatile, but God is never-changing—the solid rock.

You can’t depend on your outward surroundings; however, you can depend on God. That’s the purpose of faith. Hebrews 11:1 describes faith as being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Then, the rest of Hebrews 11 goes on to discuss great men and women in the Bible who exhibited faith. So, when your circumstances are unbelievable—whether good or bad—be sure to maintain your faith, your confident assurance of God’s love for you.

All the people mentioned in Hebrews 11 went through difficult circumstances, yet they still believed God even in the midst of their tough trials. Follow the examples of Abraham, Noah, Joseph, Moses, and countless others: live by faith. It is important that you still believe God even during unbelievable circumstances.



Word of the day

MEASURED VISION

God’s power is not subject to human will. Hebrews 7:25 says Jesus is “able to save to the uttermost.” Be careful if you have a tendency to use society’s measure to judge people it says are no good. God can shake nations with people He pulls out of the dirt and mud. We also need to be careful not to pull out our measuring stick regarding people who have fallen. You don’t know how many times they resisted. You don’t know how many times they fought. God says, “I’m not going to let your past limit you. I’m not going to allow the measure of what you did in that failure stop My will from being done in your life. I reward not for performance, but for effort.”

Everyone has a destiny, a vision that God has given us. Your “promised land” may be your family being saved. It may be having a successful business or a ministry where God can use you to impact people’s lives. Don’t limit His purposes with your measuring stick.

 



Word of the day

Victory Unfolding

Joshua understood the words of Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue
.” God instructed him to tell the people of Israel to be quiet. Joshua knew that if they didn’t remain silent, they would whine and complain their way out of a crucial victory.

The cost of whining and complaining wasn’t new to Joshua. About 40 years before the battle of Jericho, a young Joshua returned from spying out the Promised Land. He and Caleb were confident that the people of Israel could take the land, just like God had said. But the other spies disagreed. They told everyone there were giants in the land who couldn’t be defeated. And soon, the people began to talk themselves out of the victory that God was ready to give them.

They refused to step into the greatest victory God had ever given His people. He already had crops and vineyards planted, herds of cattle fattened, wells dug and homes built for the Israelites to inhabit. All they had to do was be quiet and receive God’s victory. Instead, their murmuring and negative talk got them a 40-year camping trip in the desert.

Today, you need to know, if God has told you He’s unfolding a victory in your life — BE QUIET! Because there’s a victory in progress. In every problem, in every home, in every marriage, with every child, just because you aren’t seeing change doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. If God has made a promise over your situation, the worst thing you can do is to open your mouth and begin to talk doubt and unbelief into it. Speak life into all of your problems!

There is a victory unfolding in our homes, in our Church, in our finances, in our future, in our children. The only time you need to speak is when you’re saying, “Thank You, Lord You’re going to work it out. Thank You, Lord that victory is unfolding in my life.” Other than that, BE QUIET! There’s a victory in progress.

 



Word of the day

WHOSE “REPORT” WILL YOU BELIEVE?

 “Who has believed our report?” Isa 53:1 NKJV
 
An oil spill pollutes the Gulf of Mexico, devastating marine life and the livelihood of millions of people. Day after day we watch it on TV, in real time. An earthquake hits Haiti, 200,000 die, and the world’s poorest people are left hungry and homeless. An American-born terrorist flies home from an Al Qaeda training camp with a bomb in his underwear and tries to destroy not only the plane, but much of Detroit. Bankers, car makers and oil executives we trusted sit in front of a Congressional committee and say they have no idea how we got into this mess. The reports keep coming 24/7. Talking heads in the media milk each moment and sensationalize each event because it increases their ratings, sells advertising and makes money. Indeed, some of the news reporters have become celebrities. Fear sells! It’s a major industry. Paradoxically, we are the most prosperous generation in history, and the most fearful one too. In the past you had to get your daily dose of anxiety from the evening news; today you get it around the clock on your Blackberry or iPad. Now you can’t bury your head in the sand. But if you’re not selective in what you listen to, you can lose your peace of mind. God knows this, so His Word asks, “Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” In Scripture, the “arm of the Lord” speaks of His power to deliver and His providential care over every event in our lives.
 
So whose report are you going to listen to, internalize, and respond to?


Word of the day

Are you so hungry to own more money that your money owns you?
 

In Matthew 13:44-46, Jesus says, “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”

Jesus tells about two men, both of whom sold everything for the kingdom of heaven. To those men, God’s eternal kingdom was so valuable that they were willing to give up everything they had in order to invest in it.

That’s exactly the same attitude God wants us to have toward wealth. Money is an excellent servant but a terrible master. Unfortunately, many people in society are mastered by their money, unable to control their greed.

Yet God is more important than all these things in the world. He requires that we be willing to sell all for Him.

Mark 10:17-22 tells the story of a rich man’s encounter with Jesus: As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good — except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'”

“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

He owned great wealth, but really his wealth owned him. Remember that where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:21).

This man’s heart was so attached to his money that his money owned him. His attitude is very different than that of the two men, who sold everything for the kingdom of heaven.

If, like this man, you become so hungry to own more money, be aware that really your money will own you.




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