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Word For You Today

Check your ego



'Moses was...more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.' Numbers 12:3 NIV

It took 40 years of living in the desert to sort out Moses' ego. Only then, at age 80, was he ready to live on God's terms. The Moses who emerged from the desert was very different from the Moses who entered it.

It's our desert experiences that keep our egos in check. Without them, we believe our own hype and get into trouble. God told King Saul, '[When]...you were [little] in your own eyes [I was able to use you...]' (paraphrase, see 1 Samuel 15:17 NIV). When Colonel Samuel Logan Brengle of The Salvation Army was once introduced as 'the great Colonel Brengle' he wrote in his journal: 'If I appear great in their eyes, the Lord is most gracious in helping me to see how absolutely nothing I am without him. He does use me. But I'm so conscious that he uses me, and that it's not of me that the work is done. The axe cannot boast of the trees it has cut down. It could do nothing without the woodsman. He made it, he sharpened it, he used it, and the moment he throws it aside it becomes only old used iron. Oh, that I may never lose sight of this.'

A young Englishman came to live in the community led by Gandhi. When assigned to clean toilets, he protested, 'Don't you know who I am? I have great things to do.' Gandhi replied, 'I know you can do great things; what I don't know is if you can do little things.'

So what now? Check your ego!

Soulfood: 1 Cor 7-9, Mark 15:1-11, Ps 68:1-18, Prov 25:13-16

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Discipline your emotions 3



'...he had compassion on them and healed their sick.' Matthew 14:14 NIV

Before you congratulate yourself on having your emotions in check, understand there's another side to the coin: you can have control but no compassion; you can get worked up about human suffering but not do anything.

James talks about the people who are churchgoers, who feel sorry for others but don't act. They see the pain and unmet needs of people. They have the ability to do something about it. They feel sorry but they walk away muttering about being too busy. Or they try to relieve their conscience with a token gift. James says, '...faith without works is dead' (James 2:20 NKJV) If we are not responsible, who is? If we don't do something, who will? You're only disciplining your emotions if you translate them into responsible action.

William Barclay wrote: 'There is nothing more dangerous than the repeated experience of a fine emotion with no attempt to put it into action. It is a fact that every time a man feels a noble impulse without taking action, he becomes less likely ever to take action. In a sense it is true to say that a man has no right to feel sympathy, unless he at least tries to put that sympathy into action. An emotion is not something in which to luxuriate (enjoy as a luxury); it is something which at the cost of effort and of toil, of discipline and of sacrifice, must be turned into the stuff of life.'

So what now? Now that you've learnt to discipline your emotions, take responsible action!

Soulfood: 1 Cor 4-6, Mark 14:66-72, Ps 91, Prov 25:9-12

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Discipline your emotions 2



'Don't be angry or furious. Anger can lead to sin.' Psalm 37:8 CEV

Mike Singleterry, who played for the Chicago Bears American football team, was their star player - and a Christian. One day, however, they were losing, and the hometown fans got really aggressive and started dissing him. The TV cameras trained on Singleterry's face as he glowered at the crowd. He lost his temper and started toward the stands, shouting back. It wasn't his finest hour. But after the game was one of Mike's finest hours. He met with the press and apologised. No excuses, no blaming: just an apology. His emotions had got out of control and he took responsibility. Perhaps Singleterry had read these words: 'A wise man restrains his anger and overlooks insults. This is to his credit' (Proverbs 19:11 TLB).

Spiritually mature people discipline their emotions and make sure they accurately reflect reality. They can be sad, joyful, angry or elated in appropriate ways at appropriate times. They refuse to allow their emotions to determine their actions, attitude or choices.

One Christian author writes: 'When I feel things going against me, when feelings of anger and resentment begin to rise, it's time to stop and ask what's happening. Is this for the greater good, or not? Is God speaking to me, or isn't he? Will my flesh rule this moment, or my spirit?' That's good advice for you too!

So what now? As you go through life people will offend you. Sometimes it will be deliberate, other times they won't even realise. The question is: what are you going to do about it?

Soulfood: 1 Cor 1-3, Mark 14:53-65, Ps 13, Prov 25: 4-8

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Discipline your emotions 1



'...Cain, 'Why are you angry?' Genesis 4:6 NIV

Learn to keep your emotions in check or you'll lose credibility, push people away and miss great opportunities. Emotions are like a car: properly understood and directed it can take you places; out of control it can destroy you. God asked Cain, 'Why are you angry' (Genesis 4:6 NIV)? He was saying: 'Cain! Your emotions are sending you a message. Get a handle on this or you'll create a mess you won't be able to live with. Yes, you'll repent and regret it, but you won't be able to undo it.'But Cain wouldn't listen. He thought his brother Abel's blessing had come at his expense. Jealousy. Resentment. Competitiveness. Feeling like the victim. These unchecked emotions caused him to murder his brother and cross a line he couldn't come back from.When we have a knee jerk reaction to people or events, it isn't controlled by the sensible side of our brain. Like a sudden storm, emotions rise with strength from within, overwhelming us. The author Gordon McDonald writes: 'I used to pride myself on the fact that I kept my emotions to myself. I never saw myself as an angry person...Then I got married and my wife informed me that I had plenty of anger after all. While it rarely came out in words it showed itself in full colour in facial expressions (the gift of glare, we called it) I never knew I had. I had work to do. I had emotions that needed to be disciplined.' So what now? What emotions do you need to discipline?

Soulfood: 1 Kings 3:4-28, James 1:2-8

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Walk in humility



'He must become greater... I must become less.' John 3:30 TLB

The Bible describes the call of God as '...the high calling...' (Philippians 3:14 KJV). Yet the higher your calling takes you the lower you must become in your own eyes. That means taking all the big-ups and praise that comes your way and passing them on to God. Jesus said of John the Baptist, '...there is not a greater prophet...' (Luke 7:28 NKJV). Yet John said of Jesus, 'He must become greater... I must become less' (John 3:30 TLB).

Paul had something tricky in his life that he struggled to cope with; he called it '...a thorn in my flesh...' (2 Corinthians 12:7 NIV). We are not told what the 'thorn' in Paul's life was but we know why he had it. Essentially, he admitted, '...to keep me from being conceited...' (2 Corinthians 12:7 GWT). Paul also writes: '...not that we think we can do anything of lasting value by ourselves. Our only power and success come from God' (2 Corinthians 3:5 TLB).

Being humble isn't saying, 'Oh I'm rubbish, I can't do anything' It's when we know that our gifts come from God and that we need his help with those gifts. If we do things without God, even the things we are good at, it doesn't take long before we can't handle it. 'Pride leads to destruction; a proud attitude brings ruin' (Proverbs 16:18 NCV).

So what now? Be humble and needy - this will force you to rely on God for strength. When you put your pride aside, you will be totally effective at whatever you do.

Soulfood: Zech 12-14, Mark 14:43-52, Ps 54, Prov 25:1-3

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You have the victory



'Put on the full armour of God...' Ephesians 6:11 NIV

The enemy, the devil, isn't going to send you a congratulations card because you've decided to live for Jesus. No, every chance he gets he'll try to attack you. 'Attack me where?' In your areas of vulnerability, like your emotions, your relationships, your faith!

Paul writes, 'Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes' (Ephesians 6:11 NIV). Notice the words, 'that you can take your stand.' The armour is God's; the stand is yours! God's armour is for those who are willing to stand for what's important; like the salvation of your family, the success of your friendships, your walk with God, or anything else of value to you.

Pay attention to Paul's words in Ephesians 6:17: 'Take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.' The sword referred to here is a large dagger used for fighting at close range. Understand this: some days you'll have to go toe-to-toe with the enemy's ways. To defeat him you'll need to know how to use God's Word, which is described as '...alive...sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates...it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart' (Hebrews 4:12 NIV). When you come face to face with the devil, God's Word renders him powerless.

So what now? Remember: 'My dear [child], you belong to God and have defeated them; because God's Spirit, who is in you, is greater than the devil, who is in the world' (1 John 4:4 NCV). Take your stand. You have the victory already, through Christ!

Soulfood: Zech 9-11, Mark 14:27-42, Ps 52, Prov 24:32-34

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Learn to rest in God



'I will personally go with you, Moses, I will give you rest...' Exodus 33:14 NLT

Has success brought pressures you can't cope with? Is what got you excited yesterday stressing you out today?We think we know what we want - usually because we see it in someone else's life. But God knows what we need. Children don't know what they don't need. Their favourite words are 'Give me...' When we're young and don't get what we want, we stomp our feet and throw a fit. When we're in our teens and don't get our own way, we rebel and scream, 'You're ruining my life!' When we're older and wiser we start to understand why Mum and Dad said 'No'. When God says 'No' or 'Later' it's because he sees where it could end.Here are tough words for want-it-alls: '...they believed what he said...They quickly forgot...they did not wait...They had an unreasonable desire... In the desert they tested God. He gave them what they asked for. He also gave them a... disease' (Psalm 106:12-15 GWT). They got what they wanted, but they didn't grow spiritually. That's a battle you'll fight too if you want it all right now!Do you feel empty? Or spiritually dry? Are you so busy thinking about what you can get that you are forgetting the 'real giver'? Sometimes you need to wait. So what now? Don't rush ahead trying to get what you want without hearing what God has to say. He does know best.

Soulfood: Num 29:1-6, Mt 24, Rev 11:15-19

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