The Word For Today
The Secret of Lasting Happiness
Lasting happiness isn’t found in money or career success. Does that mean these things are wrong? No. When you put God first He will actually give you these things! (Matthew 6:33). But you must never let anything God gives you rob Him of first place in your life. The Psalmist said: ‘Happy is the man who delights in doing His commands. His children shall be honoured everywhere, for good men’s sons have a special heritage. He himself shall be wealthy, and his good deeds will never be forgotten. When darkness overtakes him, light will come bursting in. He is kind and merciful—and all goes well for the generous man who conducts his business fairly. Such a man will not be overthrown by evil circumstances. God’s constant care of him will make a deep impression on all who see it. He does not fear bad news, nor live in dread of what may happen. For he is settled in his mind that Jehovah will take care of him. That is why he is not afraid, but can calmly face his foes. He gives generously to those in need. His deeds will never be forgotten. He shall have influence and honour” (Psalms 112:1-9 TLB). Somebody said that the best things in life aren’t things. Happiness isn’t determined by what you own; it lies in relationships, and the first relationship you need is with God because every blessing in life flows from Him. In a world of urgency and confusion, God will give you values and priorities to live by. ‘Happy is the man who delights in doing His commands.’
If You're a Wife
Some people use this Scripture to treat women like a doormat, and rob them of their voice and right to any leadership role. Read the Bible! Deborah led the nation of Israel. Huldah the prophetess spoke the Word of God to kings. Let’s read the Scripture again: ‘Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.’ As a wife you are called to submit to ‘your own husband’, not to all men. In God’s eyes men and women are equal (Galatians 3:28). Paul is not speaking about your ‘person’; he’s speaking about your ‘role’ in the home. As a human being, a general is not more important than a sergeant. But for an army to function successfully there must be a respected chain of command where one leads and the other follows. God doesn’t want you to squirm under your husband’s leadership, but snuggle up into the security that it should afford you. You can excel in your career yet still allow yourself to enjoy being nurtured, loved, and protected by your husband. Properly understood, your husband’s love and leadership do not rob you of your strength, they simply keep you in balance by allowing you to reconnect with your softness and femininity. But a word of caution: if you’re looking for a man to be ‘your everything’, forget it! God’s the only one who can be everything. By expecting perfection from your husband, you’re asking more from someone else than you can provide yourself. Here’s God’s plan: ‘…she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered’ (1 Peter 3:7 NLT).
If You're a Husband
‘Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.’ Many men wrestle with the fear of intimacy. Masculine emotions have become the twenty-first century version of ‘Pandora’s box’. We don’t know all that’s in it, but we have a feeling that we’d better not open it. But if we hide our true selves from our wives, they will only love what we do—not what we are! As a husband, you don’t have to be a ‘10’. You just have to be a man of God. He wants strong men who lead, instead of weak men who follow. No woman wants to be in submission to a man who isn’t in submission to God and led by His Spirit. ‘…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…’ (Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV). A woman feels secure with a man who has these qualities, and will gladly say to him, ‘Lead the way.’ Men are masters at giving ‘things’. Where they have big problems is when they are asked to give themselves! Jesus Christ, the greatest lover the world has ever known, gives Himself openly and unashamedly. His love is exemplified in His coming, but consummated in His dying. The truth is, your wife doesn’t need more things—she just needs you to give your love to her completely. Jesus is described in the book of Revelation as a Lion and a Lamb (Revelation 5:5-6). That’s a picture of strength and tenderness, and that’s what your wife needs from you. You say, ‘How long will it take me to accomplish this?’ A lifetime, so get started!
Ask God for a Mountain (3)
When Rich Stearns became engaged, his fiancée wanted to order some china. But he said to her, ‘As long as there are children starving in the world, we will not own china, crystal, or silver.’ Rich had remarkable gifts of leadership. He loved strategic thinking, team building, and mission achievement. Twenty years later he became the CEO of Lenox, the top producer of fine china in the country. One day he received a phone call from World Vision, asking if he would consider getting involved with them. So Rich went to Rakia, Uganda, the area considered ground zero for the AIDS pandemic. In that village he sat in a thatched hut with a thirteen-year-old boy called Richard. A pile of stones outside the door marked the place where they had buried the boy’s father, who had died of AIDS. Another pile marked the place where they had buried his mother, who had also died of AIDS. Rich talked for a while with the boy—now the head of the household, trying to raise two younger brothers - and asked him at one point, ‘Do you have a Bible?’ The boy said, ‘Yes,’ went into another room and brought back the one book in their house. ‘Are you able to read it?’ Rich asked, and at that the boy’s face lit up. ‘I love to read the gospel of John because it says Jesus loves children,’ the boy said. Deeply moved, Rich Stearns left his job, his house and his title and asked God for one more mountain. If you haven’t done it yet, ask God for one.
Ask God for a Mountain (2)
God has a mountain with your name on it. Do you know why? Because you only flourish as you face challenges! Joshua and Caleb both brought back a good report, yet only Joshua was promoted to leadership when Moses departed. Caleb could have withdrawn and sulked, but instead he invested himself in the lives of the people around him. As an older man whose generation was dying off, he had to develop a whole new circle of friends and he did it. He became a mentor, guide, and cheerleader for an entirely new generation. He did it with such gusto that they all wanted the eighty-five-year-old Caleb to lead them when they went up to the hill country. Challenges undertaken for the greater good bind us to people, whereas the pursuit of comfort leads to isolation, and isolation is terminal. You say, ‘I’m too old to make a difference.’ God doesn’t think so. ‘Even to your old age…I will carry you; I will sustain you…’ (Isaiah 46:4 NIV). So start making plans. Dare to dream! Life isn’t about comfort, it’s about saying, ‘God, give me another mountain.’ Somebody said that when everything’s coming your way—you’re on the wrong side of the road. Living the adventure God planned for you isn’t just another pursuit; it’s the reason you were born! How will you recognise your mountain? There’s no precise formula and like every other area of growth in your life, your mountain won’t look exactly like anyone else’s. But you’ll recognise it, because it lies at the intersection of your greatest strengths and your greatest passions.
Ask God for a Mountain (1)
Why would someone ask God for a mountain? Because when you tackle something bigger than yourself: 1) you grow; 2) you learn to depend on God; 3) you get to celebrate big victories. Caleb said: ‘…here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, with the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as He said’ (vv. 10-12 NIV). Anybody can occupy the flat ground, but it takes faith in God to tackle a mountain. What’s more, that’s where the Anakites—the giants—lived. These guys were so big they caused ten of Moses’ spies to say, ‘…Next to them we felt like grasshoppers ...’ (Numbers 13:33 NLT). You’d think at eighty-five Caleb would have asked for a nice cottage in Shalom Acres! But no, he wanted another battle and another victory before he checked out. Stop asking God for a problem-free life, otherwise you might die of boredom. It’s in working to solve problems and overcome challenges that you become the person God wants you to be. So ask Him for a task that will keep you learning, growing, uncomfortable, and hungry for significance. When you pray, ‘God, use me,’ be prepared to encounter four things: adventure, danger, risk, and reward. How about it—are you up for a little excitement?
Take a moment to consider these two questions. Question one: How do you respond when you’re treated badly? A man stopped by a news-stand every morning to pick up a paper. The man behind the counter was always nasty, yet the customer was always nice to him. When a friend asked him why he remained so kind in the face of such rudeness, he replied, ‘Why would I let his attitude dictate my attitude?’ Question two: How do you respond when you’re tempted? You say, ‘I’m in love with him. He’s married and I know it’s wrong, but I can’t help it.’ Actually, you can. You can spend an hour listening to stories from women who lost their husbands to infidelity. Look into the eyes of their children. Hear the betrayal, and see the broken promises in their eyes. When you do, you’ll think new thoughts! The Bible says, ‘…Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh’ (Galatians 5:16 NKJV). At any moment you can turn your mind to God and your thoughts will change. Feelings are like spoiled children; they can take a little longer to come round, but if you keep your mind ‘fixed’ on God, your feelings will eventually line up with your thoughts. Looking back, you’ll be glad you were guided by God instead of your impulses. It’s as if there’s a little network called HSN (Holy Spirit Network) where you can tune in at any time. When you ask God to guide your thoughts, then pause and listen to what He says—He will guide you.