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The Word For Today

Put Your Heart into It! (2)

Solomon says there's '...a time to keep silence and a time to speak' (Ecclesiastes 3:7 NKJV). Now, you shouldn't interrupt the church service and draw attention to yourself, but when it's time to praise God you should give it 100 percent: 'I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart' (Psalms 9:1 NKJV).

The story's told of an old man named Joe, who'd been a drunk and a derelict most of his life and, as a result, he could barely make ends meet. During a Sunday morning service he gave his life to Christ and the transformation was so radical that everybody in the congregation noticed it. Joe had a problem, however; he was so thrilled with Jesus that he sang louder than everybody else. And when the pastor made a point that touched his heart, he'd jump up and shout, 'Hallelujah!' Concerned that the dignity and decorum of the church were at risk, the pastor said, 'Joe, you've got to be quiet. As a matter of fact, if you'll just sit in church next Sunday and say nothing, I'll buy you a new pair of boots.' Joe needed the boots, so he said he'd try. But after restraining himself through several high points in the sermon, he couldn't stand it anymore. He jumped up and shouted, 'Boots or no boots, I'm gonna praise the Lord!'

You say, 'But I'm the quiet, reserved type.' Sorry, there are no exceptions based on personality types. 'Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!' In other words, unless you're dead, you're supposed to praise the Lord!

Soulfood : Deut 8-10, Mk 4:13-25, Ps 37:8-15, Prov 11:27-29

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Put Your Heart into It! (1)

If you shout your lungs out at a ball game on Saturday, but sit silent and subdued when it's time to worship God on Sunday, maybe you're more excited about sports than spiritual matters. Ouch!

A great definition of worship is 'worth-ship'. What worth do you place on God and on your relationship with Him? You say, 'But sometimes I don't feel like praising God.' Feelings have little to do with it! A good relationship isn't based on emotion but on commitment. The Bible says, '...Let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name' (Hebrews 13:15 NKJV). Note the words 'continually' and 'sacrifice'. With God, the praise that costs is the praise that counts! Imagine someone with a good job, a good family and good health praising the Lord in church. Now imagine somebody living alone, shut in by sickness, who raises his or her feeble arms and lifts their voice in praise. Which of them is making the sacrifice?

The Psalmist said, 'From the rising of the sun unto its going down, the Lord's name is to be praised' (Psalms 113:3 NKJV). This Psalmist scheduled praisebreaks throughout his day: 'Seven times a day I praise You' (Psalms 119:164 NKJV). We have tea and coffee breaks; he had praisebreaks! If you want to change your environment and your attitude, start praising God throughout the day. Not only will you bless the Lord, He will bless you in a hundred and one different ways. Don't take anybody else's word for it - try it and see!

Soulfood : Gal 5:22, Lk 6:27-36, Ex 23:1-9, Rom 12:14-21

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Hooked on Urgency

Urgency is stressful. It's also addictive and, if you find yourself habitually reacting to outside demands, you may be 'hooked'. Like any addiction, urgency temporarily meets your need to feel needed. It creates a sense of 'getting things done', falsely enhances your self-esteem, yet tends to make problems worse because mostly 'haste makes waste'.

If you're hooked on urgency, here are two things to consider: (1) In today's society, busyness equals status. People expect you to be in demand. But while constantly abandoning your goals to help others accomplish theirs may make you feel appreciated, it can sidetrack you from your real purpose and create in you a false sense of importance. The Bible says, 'God gives ability to all for their particular service' (1 Corinthians 12:6 GNT). The lion's share of your time should be spent doing what God called you to do, not fulfilling the demands and expectations of others. (2) Identifying your response pattern can help set you free. Sometimes it's hard to say 'no' because as a Christian you feel obligated. But not every 'need' is a directive from God to jump in and meet it! Try to be discerning. Your decision to get involved should come from God, so before you react, pray for wisdom and guidance. The Bible says, 'In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths' (Proverbs 3:6 NKJV). If you're a 'fixer' you probably enjoy solving problems, meeting needs, and influencing behaviour as well as outcomes. That's not necessarily a bad thing. You just need to recognise you're vulnerable to the urgent, and become more priority-minded.

Soulfood : Deut 5-7, Mk 4:1-12, Ps 37:1-7, Prov 11:24-26

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