The Word For Today

Take time to reflect 2

'In the day of adversity consider.' Ecclesiastes 7:14 NKJV

The digital age has great advantages. Through emails, texts and tweets we can communicate quickly. The disadvantage is that it doesn't cultivate in us a desire to think about things deeply. You can't microwave personal growth; it requires a slow cooker. The Bible says, 'In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: surely God has appointed the one as well as the other' (Ecclesiastes 7:14 NKJV).

By taking time to reflect: (1) You gain confidence in decision making. Ever made a snap decision and later wondered if you did the right thing? Reflective thinking can help to defuse that doubt. It also gives you confidence for the next decision. Once you've reflected on an issue, you don't have to repeat every step of the thinking process when you're faced with it again. You've got mental road markers from having been there before. (2) You clarify the big picture. Reflective thinking encourages us to go back and spend time pondering what we have done and what we have seen. To keep from making the same mistake over and over, you must stop and examine the process that led to it. In other words, reflection helps you to see the big picture. (3) You take a good experience and make it a valuable experience. They say we learn by experience. No, we learn from evaluated experience. An experience becomes valuable when it informs and equips us. That's why daily prayer and Bible reading are so essential. You'll understand things in God's presence that you won't understand any other way.

Soulfood: Matt 27:62-66 Mark 1:9-13 Ps 6 Deut 21:22-23,


Take time to reflect 1

'In it he saw...honey.' Judges 14:8 NIV

One day Samson encountered a lion and slew it. The Bible says, 'Some time later, when he went back...he turned aside to look at the lion's carcass and in it he saw...some honey. He scooped out the honey with his hands and ate as he went along' (Judges 14:8-9 NIV). There's a lesson here for you. When you take time to stop and reflect, you discover 'honey' in your experiences that you can eat and grow stronger and wiser. When you reflect, you are able to put things into perspective; you gain new appreciation for things you didn't notice before.

Few of us have clear perspective in the heat of the moment. Most of us who have survived a traumatic experience usually avoid similar situations at all costs. This can leave us with unresolved issues that leave us tied up in knots. Reflective thinking enables you to distance yourself from the intense emotions of an experience and see it with fresh eyes. Indeed, this process is one of the first steps to getting rid of our emotional baggage. President George Washington observed, 'We ought not to look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dearly bought experience.'

Each of us has been shaped by the experiences, good and bad, that we've had in life. What we refuse to deal with deals with us, and often in harmful ways. We 'act out' of our unresolved issues. But when we bring them into the light and ask God for the grace to face them squarely, they lose their power over us.

Soulfood: Num 3:1-51 Num 4:1-33 Mark 1:1-8 Ps 144:9-15 Pro 10:22-23,


The unique resurrection of Jesus 2

'Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection, and the life."' John 11:25 NKJV

Why is Christ's resurrection unique? (1) He's the only one who didn't die again. In Scripture all others who rose from the dead, died again. Jesus was the glorious exception. Consequently, 'He was made a priest...through the power of a life which has no end' (Hebrews 7:16 GNT). His testimony stands: 'I was dead...I am alive for ever' (Revelation 1:18 NIV).

(2) He alone ascended into Heaven to represent us before God. Other priests died and ceased to serve. But Jesus was 'declared...a priest forever' (Hebrews 7:17 NIV). And he's not sitting around awaiting the second coming; he's representing us before God. 'He entered Heaven itself...to appear for us in God's presence' (Hebrews 9:24 NIV). That means no accusation against us can stand. 'Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died...is at the right hand of God...interceding for us' (Romans 8:34 NIV).

(3) He has the power to resurrect you when you die. Jesus comforted his disciples with this awesome promise: 'Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live' (John 14:19 NIV). And that promise applies to you too! 'For the Lord himself will come down from Heaven...the dead in Christ will rise first...we who are still alive...will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever' (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 NIV). What a day that will be!

Soulfood: 1 Cor 15 Luke 24:1-53,

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