Dan 6:00-12:00pm

The Word For Today

Are You a 'Stephen'? (1)

'...And they chose Stephen...' Acts 6:5 NKJV

The New Testament church grew so fast that the administrative aspect of it became overwhelming. The apostles weren't getting enough time to pray and study the Scriptures, so they picked seven men to handle the business side of things.
Stephen was one of them. For the next few days let's examine his qualifications: financial integrity. '...Seek out from among you seven men of good reputation...whom we may appoint over this business' (Acts 6:3 NKJV). Now, it goes without saying that if you're going to handle the church's finances, you must first have a proven track record in handling your own. That calls for saving, sowing and spending wisely. It also means putting God first in your finances. Here's a Biblical question you need to think about: 'Will a man rob God?' Apparently, yes. God said, '...You have robbed Me! But you say, "In what way have we robbed You?" In tithes and offerings' (Malachi 3:8 NKJV). Tithing isn't a matter of money, but of priorities. God doesn't want your leftovers, He wants your 'first-fruits' (Proverbs 3:9). Tithing is also a matter of obedience. 'If they obey and serve Him, they shall spend their days in prosperity...' (Job 36:11 NKJV). When it comes to leadership in God's work, if you're not 10% behind it, how can you be 100% behind it?
If you're not already doing it, try tithing on your income for one year. It's like going into partnership with God. Loving the Lord our God with all our heart and mind and soul and strength (Mark 12:30) must impact the priorities we display with our money.

SoulFood: 2 Sam 3:22 - 7:17, Luke 6:1-16, Ps 109:16-31, Pro 18:1-3


Like Water off a Duck's Back

'...If you suffer for doing good...this is commendable...' 1 Peter 2:20 NIV

Have you ever watched water run off a duck's back? That's how you should treat unkind comments. 'But they hurt my feelings,' you say. Stop and think about that: if they are really your feelings, others have no control over them, other than what you give them. The truth is, almost everybody is more preoccupied with themselves than with you; therefore, you know more about yourself than they will ever know. It's not what others say about you that counts. It's what God says about you and what you say about yourself that counts. When you know who you are, you won't allow others to define your worth.
Jesus knew that His accusers were ignorant; that's why they feared Him. People fight what they don't understand. The mind tends to resent what it cannot master. Jesus never begged anyone to believe in Him. Why? Because He knew that integrity cannot be proven, it must be discerned. So He stayed focused on His goal. His enemies accused Him of being possessed by devils, but He paid no attention. He just continued to cast out devils. He didn't try to look good, He was good. He didn't try to be truthful, He was truthful.
It's human to want to be loved, valued and admired, but your enemies will never leave your reputation untarnished. You must rise above that and not allow what others say about you to change your opinion of yourself. Be like the New Testament believers. 'The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name [of Jesus]' (Acts 5:41 NIV).

SoulFood: Eph 4:17 - 6:24, Luke 5:12-26, Ps 79, Pro 17:24-26


The Importance of Fellowship

Nathaniel Hawthorne said, 'No man, for any period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which is the true one.' We like to wear masks in public, yet, only as we open up to one another can we truly change and grow. '...If we live in the light...we can share fellowship with each other...' (1 John 1:7 NCV).

The world promotes the idea darkness is needed for intimacy, but the Word tells us the opposite: it occurs when we live in the light. We can keep hidden sin a secret in the dark but in the light it can be exposed to healing truth. We're afraid of transparency, yet it's the only way to become spiritually and emotionally whole. None of us is as strong individually as all of us are collectively. We're more consistent in our faith when others walk with us and encourage us.

Over and over in the New Testament we're told to be devoted to one another, submit to one another, forgive one another, bear one another's burdens, honour one another, accept one another, teach one another, serve one another, encourage one another, pray for one another and love one another. You're not responsible for everyone in your church, but you are responsible to them. God expects you to do whatever you can to serve them. Paul challenged the believers in Rome, saying, '...I want us to help each other...Your faith will help me and my faith will help you' (Romans 1:12 NCV). That's what it's all about!

Soulfood : Eph 1:1-4:16, Lk 5:1-11, Ps 137, Prov 17:22-23

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