Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Art Of Success

Proverbs 3:1-3 (New International Reader's Version)

1 My son, do not forget my teaching. Keep my commands in your heart.
2 They will help you live for many years. They will bring you success.
3 Don't let love and truth ever leave you. Tie them around your neck. Write them on the tablet of your heart. 

Isn't it amazing the number of programs that are out there claiming to have the key to success?

The majority of these programs tout a secret formula that you can obtain, for a price, allowing you to unlock the door to success beyond your wildest imagination. Usually the only successful result is the money that the author earned from their book royalties and your wallet is a few dollars emptier. This may sound rather cynical on my part but these get rich quick schemes rarely work and usually require some sort of moral compromise on the part of the user to achieve its intended monetary goals.

Success is defined as: the achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted.
Art is defined as: skill arising from the exercise of intuitive faculties.

There are actual keys to success that are already available to you and you may even own the book. The main difference from the other type is that these require a dissimilar set of goals and attitudes before we can even begin to apply them. The book that I'm referring to is the Bible and the process is better described as an art because we practice it rather than instantly receive the wisdom behind it. The most unusual aspect is that we benefit from their initial application and the results are eternal.   

If I were to derive a description of the art of success from the above definitions, it could be written as:

The skills learned from applying the commandments of God in our lives to achieve His desired goals for us.

This could never be accomplished without the love of God and truth of His Word, which we should always carry with us. He writes it on the inside, through the Holy Spirit, so that we can wear it on the outside. People should see God's love in us, it should be apparent, especially to those who are around us every day, our families.

I don't believe that I'm covering any new ground here, but we often overlook the obvious when it's right in front of us. God has already painted the picture, now it's time to admire His artwork.

The art of success.

Let's give the Artist His due.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Would You Tell Them to Their Faces (What You Would Say Behind Their Backs)?

 Proverbs 26:20-23 (Contemporary English Version) 

20 Where there is no fuel a fire goes out; where there is no gossip arguments come to an end.
21 Troublemakers start trouble, just as sparks and fuel start a fire.
22 There is nothing so delicious as the taste of gossip! It melts in your mouth.
23 Hiding hateful thoughts behind smooth talk is like coating a clay pot with a cheap glaze. 

Isn't it amazing how little we really know about a situation that we believe we have an expert opinion on?

We have a natural tendency to judge things based on they way they look or by what we have heard about them. The less we know the more we want to support our opinion so that we can remain the experts that we appear to be. We've seen this behavior countless times and the term know it all comes to mind when we see it in practice. Irritating, isn't it? It's not only that, it's wrong!

All lies are developed this way. The first example occurs with Eve and the serpent. God said, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."(Gen 2: 16-17) The serpent told Eve, "You will not surely die, for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Gen 3: 4-5)

You can argue that God told Adam about the tree before He created Eve but she still knew that she shouldn't eat the fruit of the tree. The serpent supported its opinion by lying and covering it up. "Hey, Eve. Did God really say you can't eat from any tree? You won't die, you'll know what He knows." Eve said, "It looks good to me." Then she shared it with Adam.

Now what does this have to do with gossip, you may ask? The serpent started trouble. It fueled the fire by telling a lie and concealing it in a pretty package, selling it by presenting it as something that it was not. This is the process that is used when gossip forms.

"Have you heard about Mr. X's new car, I don't know how he can afford it with that low salary that he makes? I heard that he may run drugs because Ms. Z saw him take money from someone she didn't know last week, when she was at the diner eating. I'm just looking out for the community." or  "I never liked him anyway because he yelled at my kids last year and I think he beats his wife, but she's nice, she has a lovely smile, poor thing, etc."   

It's over the top, I know, but it happens very easily and the damage is hard to repair. You can say it as nicely as you want to, and even give a good reason for saying it, but it was never part of God's plan for us.

Facts are not speculation, don't say what you don't know. Think before you say anything. Does what you say hurt or does it heal? Everything the serpent said was meant to hurt, no matter how good it looked. Don't be like the serpent, don't put new paint on an old lie. Think on the truth of God's Word.

After doing all that, remember this question:

Would you tell them to their faces, what you would say behind their backs?

Think about it, God does.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

What Part Of Know Don't You Understand?

Philippians 3:8-11 (Contemporary English Version)

8 Nothing is as wonderful as knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have given up everything else and count it all as garbage. All I want is Christ
9 and to know that I belong to him. I could not make myself acceptable to God by obeying the Law of Moses. God accepted me simply because of my faith in Christ.
10 All I want is to know Christ and the power that raised him to life. I want to suffer and die as he did,
11 so that somehow I also may be raised to life.

Have you ever met a person who said that they knew something or someone yet the more they spoke about it the more you realized that they had no idea what they were talking about?

The word know by definition means:

1. To be convinced of the truth of; to be fully assured of; as, to know things from information.
2. To be acquainted with; to be no stranger to; to be more or less familiar with the person, character, etc., of; to possess experience of.

In order to know someone or something you have to convinced of the truth of it by the information that you have of the subject or be acquainted on a personal level.

If you don't have either one of these things going for you then you don't have knowledge of the subject.

I don't believe that Paul had that problem.

Here was a guy who had many reasons to brag about his accomplishments. He did all the earthly things that the Pharisees told him to do in order to satisfy the organized Hebrew faith. Paul worked hard to show them that he was worthy.

When he met Christ those things didn't mean anything to him. Paul only wanted to know Jesus and nothing more. That takes more than words, it takes a spiritual rebirth. God saved Paul through his faith in Christ, not because of the works that he did. Paul was willing to suffer as Jesus did and die for what he believed in. He was convinced of the truth of Jesus and acquainted with Him on a personal level, he took the time to get to know Him.

What's stopping you?

Nothing, I hope and I think you know what I mean.

From My Bookshelf

A Review:
The Hole In Our Gospel by Richard Stearns

This is a personal story about one man’s journey from the top of the business world to the feet of Jesus. Richard Stearns shares his account of what it is like to “have it all” and still not have enough. We experience, with him, the process that led him to become the head of World Vision which in turn leads us to his compelling case for our involvement in real Christianity.

I felt that this book was a reminder that we practice what Stearns calls the Great Omission. Our personal success oriented gospel doesn’t work well when we are charged to be our brother’s keeper and the Church as a whole suffers greatly for it. This book will both make you think and motivate you to do something with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I offer two challenges, read this book and then do something about it.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Shifting Shadow?

James 1:16-18 (New Living Translation)

16 So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters.
17 Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.
18 He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.

Isn't it ironic how little people think of God when things are going great in their lives, when the real reason things are going great is because of Him?

People seldom think about where the good comes from because they get preoccupied with the bad.

Over our lifetime it is possible to develop a "waiting for the other shoe to drop" mentality from personal experiences. We get the feeling that, even though something good happened, something bad will always follow. Studies have also shown that it takes several good experiences to overcome one bad one. This information could only disturb the already disturbed, however, things aren't always as they seem to be from our human perspective.

Of all the things that God created, He made us His prized possession and that never changes. What He gives us is good, whole, perfect and can't be bad, because He doesn't change. If it is whole and it came from God, than it can't be part bad either. He gave us a new birth through His Word and made us good through Him, so how can that be bad?

When will we stop looking for the bad part of things? If we look for God in everything, our eyes will be on the right things. He never changes and He wants us to realize that when He saves us, He keeps us. He is the reason.

Every day is a great day when we see it through God.

A shifting shadow? No.

A Glorious View.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My Bad, Not!

Proverbs 21:23 (Contemporary English Version)

Watching what you say can save you a lot of trouble.

Simple advice, big dividends.

How many times have you said something, without thinking, and immediately saw the damage occur?

You let the bombs fly and didn't think about the aftermath. The results were not good and the rebuilding took time. Kind of like a war only with words.

Much of this thinking comes from the school of "it's better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission". Just do it and hope that there are no consequences. Now that really sounds like God, doesn't it?

Being sorry is another difficult part of this formula. There is no sorrow because it's just "my bad" and that's enough. My bad _______ (you caught me, you didn't look the other way, you were offended, etc.) you fill in the blank.

Solomon made a great observation, "think before you speak, it will save you a lot of problems". I'm sure it came from his mistakes.

How about you?

The time to practice it is,


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hope Is A Three Letter Word

Hebrews 11:1-3 (New Living Translation)

1 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
2 Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.
3 By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.

Have you ever wondered why some things seem worse for you than they do for others, even when they are good things?

Hope: To place confidence; to trust with confident expectation of good.

Hopeless: Destitute of hope; having no expectation of good; despairing.

Our thoughts have a lot to do with the way we perceive things. Even a blessing can seem like a curse if we have the wrong point of view. This is the difference between hope and despair. There doesn't have to be a crisis to prove this out.

All the people that are mentioned in this chapter had the best outcome in mind even when they went through hardship. When times were tough they made it through because their viewpoint was not tainted by their trials. We judge things by what we see and what we see may not always be true. They lived for something that they couldn't see and believed that there was always something better for them.

Every day is a blessing and should be viewed that way. We accumulate them over time and that mounting quantity should make us realize how large a blessing that we have. I may be an eternal optimist but our expectation should be that there are always better days ahead.

After all,

hope is a three letter word...


Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Do Over Day

Lamentations 3:22-24 (New Living Translation)

22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.
23 Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”

Have you ever had a day that started out promisingly and ended up extremely miserable?

We've all had those days once or twice (a week). I'm sure that we can all relate to the disappointment associated with those experiences. It's hard to get them out of our heads.

I had one of those days recently and this morning the thought occurred to me that I needed to take a different view of that day. Returning from a walk I looked at the sky and felt a gentle breeze as I sat there in the shade. The longer I sat there the more I thought about this day.

Why can't we all look at each day the same way?

I thought about how amazing it would be to get up every day and walk outside, if only for a few minutes, and think about how God has allowed us all to experience His love without any restraint in our hearts. While I sat there a calm came over me that I hadn't experienced in a while. It felt good to be alive!

There really isn't any difference between a bad or good day. The only thing that makes them different is how we view them. God makes every day the same because He loves us, He's merciful and every day is a new day in Him. When He gives us something it has to be good.

I decided that everyday would be

a do over day

because in Him they will all be all right.

Monday, July 6, 2009

A Great Respect

Acts 10:33-35 (Today's New International Version)

33 So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us."
34 Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts those from every nation who fear him and do what is right.

The KJV says that God is no respecter of persons in the place of does not show favoritism. It means that God doesn't esteem any one person above another.

Come on, He has to love some people and hate others, what about those third world idol worshipers? Well, He loves them too. Peter thought that the Jewish Nation was the only group that was worthy of hearing the Good News. God showed him otherwise.

If we don't approach the people that we have deemed unworthy, and tell them about the Lord, we've missed the point. Do we really think that we know better than God?

Every person that we meet is a potential believer, we just need to show them God's love. Isn't it amazing how good God is to all of us?

Why can't we just show Him...

a great respect?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

It's All Relative.

Mark 3:31-35 (New Century Version)

Jesus' True Family

31 Then Jesus' mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to tell him to come out. 32 Many people were sitting around Jesus, and they said to him, "Your mother and brothers are waiting for you outside."
33 Jesus asked, "Who are my mother and my brothers?" 34 Then he looked at those sitting around him and said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 My true brother and sister and mother are those who do what God wants."

relative: something having a relation or connection to something else.

Jesus recently started His ministry and had just chose twelve of His disciples to be apostles and gave them power to do Gods' work. He returned to His hometown and a large crowd gathered to hear Him. The religious leaders there were angry with Him and His teachings and tried to slander Him. His family felt that it was necessary to save Him from the situation; and that's where we pick up on this passage of Scripture.

The thing that was relative to the situation was the will of God and not the will of His family. Jesus let the people around Him know what was important to God. In order to do Gods' will our bond to Him should be stronger than our bond to man. It wasn't that which was relative to man that's important but what is relevant to God.

We need to tap into the Spirit of God so we can do Our Father's will. The Holy Spirit is stronger and more powerful than anything a person can muster on their own. The most pertinent thing in our lives is our relationship with God.

If you really think about it;

it's all relative ... to God.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

You Think You Have Problems?

Romans 8:35-39 (New Living Translation)

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.” 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Have you ever had something happen to you and felt that God must hate you because of it?

We do things or have things happen to us that make us think that God doesn't love us. God must hate me because; my car won't start, my kids won't listen, I don't have any money, I'm sick and can't get well, the list goes on and on. We equate God's love with things and situations and we pull away from Him.

Things happen, and most of them are out of our control, but God's love for us doesn't change. Paul tells us that no matter what the situation is, God loves us. Even the things that we can't see won't separate us from God's love. He loves us and He's there for us, we just need to reach out to Him.

I guess what I'm trying to say is:

think about the solution.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Sweet Land Of Liberty

1 Peter 2:11-17 (The Message)

11-12 Friends, this world is not your home, so don't make yourselves cozy in it. Don't indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they'll be won over to God's side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives.
13-17 Make the Master proud of you by being good citizens. Respect the authorities, whatever their level; they are God's emissaries for keeping order. It is God's will that by doing good, you might cure the ignorance of the fools who think you're a danger to society. Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government.

Do you think that your liberty in Christ allows you the freedom to do anything that you want to do?

We are in this world but not of it and it is something that we easily forget. We want to make our mark in the world anyway we can and oftentimes at the expense of others. God wants us to be blameless. He doesn't want us to say that we're blameless and then live anyway that we care to.

Peter did an excellent job of describing what this liberty is all about. Our lives should be examples of Christ in us. This example that we live should be enough to show the world the difference that God makes in our lives. He goes on to say that we should respect the world's authorities because God put them there for His reasons. Our freedom comes in serving God, not breaking the rules.

We should also love and respect our fellow believers. They seem to take the biggest hit from us because it's easy to take them for granted (they understand, it's ok). It's never right to take advantage of anyone. True liberty is walking out our Christian lives. We enjoy the freedom to do that.

Love God, pray for our leaders, respect each other and let this truly be a

sweet land of liberty.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Plans Anyone?

James 4:13-17 (Today's New International Version)
Boasting About Tomorrow

13 Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money."
14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
15 Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that."
16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.
17 So then, if you know the good you ought to do and don't do it, you sin.

Have you ever made arrangements to do something and at the last minute everything changed and those plans were ruined?

It happens all the time. We make elaborate plans, and convince ourselves of the outcome ahead of time, only to be disappointed when they don't turn out our way.

We are all guilty of this, even if we have the best of intentions, because we don't consult with God about the plans we make. The height of arrogance is believing that we know our lives better than He does, and it is sin. We don't ask Him for His guidance and then we blame Him when things don't go our way. How would you feel if someone did that to you? Now multiply that several times and you'll get a vague idea of what God experiences with us, His children.

Now the good news is that God shows us the things that are beneficial to us, we just have to take the time to look for them. We miss too many of God's good things by ignoring His guidance. This puts the Lord's will into a new perspective; what He wants, not what we want, thy will be done.

That is pretty simple but it still leaves us with one remaining thought:

Plans anyone?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Moving Day?

Luke 10:30-34 (Contemporary English Version)

30 Jesus replied:
As a man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, robbers attacked him and grabbed everything he had. They beat him up and ran off, leaving him half dead.
31 A priest happened to be going down the same road. But when he saw the man, he walked by on the other side.

32 Later a temple helper came to the same place. But when he saw the man who had been beaten up, he also went by on the other side.
33 A man from Samaria then came traveling along that road. When he saw the man, he felt sorry for him
34 and went over to him. He treated his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put him on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him.

This story, that Jesus told, was an example of compassion. An expert in the law tried to trick Jesus by asking Him to define the meaning of the word neighbor. Jesus painted a vivid picture of what it takes to be one. This story can easily be overlooked if we don't put ourselves in those same situations.

Now excuses can be made for the priest and temple helper. They may have been preoccupied or in a hurry, but that doesn't minimize the fact that they both saw the robbery victim. The difference was whether they were moved by what they saw.

The Samaritan was moved and he did something about it. He could put himself in the victim's place and feel his pain, could you do the same?

Ignoring a situation is not a neutral position, you are either part of the problem or part of the solution. We are God's hands extended but sometimes our spiritual hearing has been dulled. I pray that the Holy Spirit would open our eyes and hearts so that we would know when it's

Moving Day.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Fare well?

Acts 4:32-35 (New Living Translation)

The Believers Share Their Possessions

32 All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had.
33 The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all.
34-35 There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need.

This is one of the most amazing Bible passages describing the Body of Christ (The Church). They had one aim and walked as one, directed by God, to serve His purpose and spread the Gospel. If they saw a need they met it with their own means. This was God's Word in action and they had His favor.

Things are much different for the church of today. This passage no longer seems relevant because of our fast food style of religion. You can drive in to each outlet and have it your way. Most of the menu is overladen with sugar, has no real substance and is detrimental to your health and well being. If you are truly needy, from the governments perspective, they even have welfare programs. Unfortunately, they never seem to lift a person any higher than where they started initially, but at least they're doing something.

Don't get me wrong, we all play a part in this and at some point we stopped doing our job. The truth is that before we had welfare we had The Church and it worked on the basis of "see a need and meet it". They were of one heart, acknowledged God's ownership, shared as the need arose and had His favor. This is what kept The Body of Christ healthy, and it still does.

I chose the word farewell for my title because it's an old english term that literally means to travel with favor. That's what The Church had, God's favor.

So tell me, in this life do you fare well?

Friday, June 19, 2009

What's Your Pleasure?

Hebrews 11:6 (Worldwide English (New Testament))

If a person does not believe God, he cannot please Him. Anyone who comes to God must believe that God is real. And he must believe that God will bless those who try to find Him. God will reward a person, if he really tries to find God.

Has anything ever seemed so simple to you that you thought that there had to be more to it?

We usually think that these type of things are too good to be true because we humans are skeptics at heart. There is a paradox in this passage. In order to please God we must believe in Him. In order to be blessed by God we must search for Him. There is the act of giving on our part to someone that we cannot see, to receive something from that same someone who you can't see.

We live in a world that tells us to take what we can get and get it while we can get it. Spend your time on you, so to speak. Do whatever you please. Don't waste your time on anything that you can't see an immediate result from.

God tells us to give our lives to Him, pursue Him and He will reward us because it pleases Him to do it. We pour out of ourselves so that He can pour Himself into us. This is pretty simple but it goes against human logic. Please Him because it will please you. So tell me:

What's your pleasure?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What Is It To You?

John 21:20-22 (Contemporary English Version)

Jesus and His Favorite Disciple

20 Peter turned and saw Jesus' favorite disciple following them. He was the same one who had sat next to Jesus at the meal and had asked, "Lord, who is going to betray you?"
21 When Peter saw that disciple, he asked Jesus, "Lord, what about him?"
22 Jesus answered, "What is it to you, if I want him to live until I return? You must follow me."

Have you ever wondered why some other people appear to get treated better than you do?

Maybe you're just being paranoid but it seems that's how it is.

Peter was more than paranoid. He was just told how he would be a captive, and against his will, eventually die. This is how Jesus said that Peter would bring honor to God. The only thing Peter could think about was how his end compared to the other disciple that was with them.

How would you like that?

That's not the trip you thought you signed up for! Well you did, when you decided to follow the Lord.

I'm not belittling Peter for thinking the way that he did. We have a natural tendency to worry about what someone else has, believing that their situation is better than ours. If we lived in their situation and walked in their shoes, would it really be that much better? Each person has problems of their own. It's where we get our help that makes the difference.

God gives us what we need and He makes things happen for each one of us individually. That's what Jesus told Peter, don't compare yourself to John, I have your life under control. He really does and we should take comfort in that fact.

What is it to you?

Nothing if you worry about what you don't have, everything if you follow Gods' will.

Monday, June 15, 2009

How Do You Spend Your Mind?

Matthew 6:25-27 (New Living Translation)

25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?
26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?
27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

What we spend our time thinking about determines how we live our lives.

We spend a lot of time thinking about what we don't have. This isn't any new revelation. Jesus talked about it because they worried about what they didn't have. That wasn't the real issue, though, it was an issue of trust. Did they trust that God could take care of them?

Jesus pointed out that if the birds are taken care of, how much more will we be. God is in control but we fight Him with our worry. It won't make us live any longer. God wants us to talk to Him and meditate on His Word. There are too many good things there that we don't want to miss. If we really believe that God is going to take care of us then we have more than we need.

Friday, June 12, 2009

What's On Your Menu?

John 4:30-33 (Worldwide English (New Testament))

30 While they were on the way coming to Jesus, the disciples asked him, `Teacher, will you please eat.'
31 Jesus said to them, `I have food that you do not know about.'
32 So the disciples asked one another, `Has anyone brought him food to eat?'
33 Jesus said to them, `My food is to obey the one who sent me and to finish his work.

Have you ever been caught up into something so intensely that you even forgot to eat?

You might say no, because you have to eat.

The disciples were like that, they begged Him to eat. Maybe they were hungry and needed an excuse, I don't know. It's possible! They even thought someone might have slipped Him something when they weren't looking.

It wasn't any of those things. Jesus was on a mission, what about you? Some things satisfy for a moment and then the taste fades away and you still feel empty. When God feeds you with His Word it sustains you in a way that makes people wonder how you keep going.

So take some thought about,

what's on YOUR menu.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Who Are You Thinking About?

Philippians 2:3-4 (Worldwide English (New Testament))

3 Do not try to prove you are better than others. Do not be proud of yourselves, but be humble. Think of other people as being better than yourselves.
4 Each one of you should not think only about himself, but about other people also.

Have you ever listened to someone and heard the word "I" used repeatedly?

Hopefully that someone isn't you.

We do a lot of things to build ourselves up. We fight for position, one up others and put people down all in the name of Christ. This is contrary to God's Word. We think we have a right or a privilege, but we really don't because God made us all the same, His children.

God wants us to be righteous because righteousness requires our actions; in this case thinking of others and humbling ourselves. The "I" becomes a "We" because our focus and actions change. God will prove His Word whether we live it or not. We will prove ourselves by living His Word.

That brings us back to the original question:

Who are you thinking about?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

That Looks God To Me

Proverbs 16:1-3 (Contemporary English Version)

1 We humans make plans, but the LORD has the final word.
2 We may think we know what is right, but the LORD is the judge of our motives.
3 Share your plans with the LORD, and you will succeed.

Have you ever grabbed a piece of fruit that looked good on the outside but on closer examination was actually rotten on the inside?

Our natural inclination is to go for the things that look good. When we make plans we make them for our own benefit. We do what we like because if it feels good do it. These things are centered around us, what we want. They may be even be good things, but they may not be God things and we might not get what we expected.

God wants us to take all our plans to Him because He already knows what the right answer is anyway. This is not a control issue with God because we can do whatever we choose to do. It's an issue of what is right for us.

What motivates you, the good thing or the God thing?

Share your plans with the Lord so you can say:

That looks God to me!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Peace Of Your Mind

Philippians 4:6-7 (Worldwide English (New Testament))

6 Do not worry about anything. Talk to God about everything. Thank him for what you have. Ask him for what you need.

7 Then God will give you peace, a peace which is too wonderful to understand. That peace will keep your hearts and minds safe as you trust in Christ Jesus.

Have you ever known someone who had so much peace that you couldn't understand it?

They seem to never be rattled by anything. If you could just have that kind of peace you think you would have it made. You can and you will.

God gave us His blueprint for peace.

1. Don't worry about anything.
2. Talk to Him about everything.
3. Thank Him for what you have.
4. Ask Him for what you need.

Put it into practice in your life. It's all about God. Do you believe Him, love Him, trust Him? God can astound you with His peace if you let Him. You may not understand it but you'll thank God for it. When you have His peace you should share it with others and amaze them by giving them:
a peace of your mind.

A dear friend of our family died of cancer this morning. The disease was very hard on her physically but she had that amazing peace throughout the ordeal. She entered into His arms and is now with Him. Thank you, Jeannette for being that example of Whose you are.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

You Have The Right To Remain Silent.

James 4:11-12 (New Living Translation)

Warning against Judging Others

11 Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you.
12 God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?

How many times have you felt that another Christian wasn't living the way that you thought they should, and then told someone else about it?

We slander people all the time and it's wrong. We see only the bad in others and then condemn them as if we know them better than God does. That's not the way that God intended it to be.

We are to love one another and do it in the same way that we want to be loved. God knows what's best for us and He tells us what to do, not the other way around. God makes the law and we obey it. It's very simple. The next time you feel compelled to talk bad about your brothers or sisters, remember:

You have the right to remain silent!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Get Over It.

Ephesians 4:26 (New International Reader's Version)

26 Scripture says, "When you are angry, do not sin."—(Psalm 4:4) Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.

We live in an day and age where the word entitlement is ingrained in our vocabulary. We believe that we have certain rights because our laws say that we do. The right that we seem to exercise the most is the right to our own opinion, because we want our own way. We say what we want when we want to because we feel like it. This is an easy way to get into trouble and it's sin.

We usually behave this way because someone said or did something that we didn't like and we want retribution. It's personal and we're going to get them back. We do this most often to the people that we know and love. They know where to hit us and those kind of wounds are even worse. Don't fall into that trap.

We have to get past our hurt or it will never heal. It's like picking a scab, the more we play with it the worse it gets. God wants us to forgive and forget so we can move on. The sooner the better. We can be angry but retribution is not the answer. When this day is over tomorrow will be a new day with new challenges. Don't carry the old ones over, let them go and give them to God, you'll sleep better at night.

Get over it.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I Love You, Man.

Proverbs 27:5 (Darby Translation)
5 Open rebuke is better than hidden love.

Proverbs 27:5 (Contemporary English Version)
5 A truly good friend will openly correct you.

Our friends and loved ones do hurtful things and don't even realize that they are doing them. This often leads to misunderstandings that if left alone become even bigger problems for all those involved. We often see the problem and hope that ignoring it will make it go away. We don't want to confront our friends because we're afraid to hurt them.

We hurt our friends even more when we don't confront them.

People don't know that they are wrong unless someone shows them because they always assume that they are right. If no one tells them otherwise then their position is reinforced. We all need correction or we will go on doing things the wrong way without any thought about it.

This cycle will only stop if we stand up for the truth. Correction is always done in the spirit of humility and love. Don't try it any other way because that's the only way that people will listen. We want them to know that we really care, because we really do. Then they will know that these words are true.

I love you, man!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Mother Lode.

Proverbs 31:28-31 (Contemporary English Version)

28 Her children praise her, and with great pride her husband says,
29 "There are many good women, but you are the best!"
30 Charm can be deceiving, and beauty fades away, but a woman who honors the LORD deserves to be praised.
31 Show her respect--praise her in public for what she has done.

There is not much more that can be said than what is in this passage. When God blesses us with someone we should treat them as the blessing that they are, everyday. Honor your mothers and wives today.

After all, you've hit The Mother Lode.

Melinda, I Love You, Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

I've Got You Covered.

Psalm 61:3 (New American Standard Bible)

3 For You have been a refuge for me, A tower of strength against the enemy.

Life can feel like we are in the path of a tornado with no place to hide. Things fly around us and we try to dodge them, but it all seems hopeless. We try to outrun the tempest when we should really be running for shelter.

Some things are just too big for us to handle but we still try to deal with them on our own terms. We like to think we have control or that it will never get to us, but that's not always the case.

Now the weather service tells us that the basement or the inner most room on the bottom floor is the safest place in a storm. I know of one that is safer, a place in God.

Imagine a place where you have layers of protection that are stronger and stronger the further you enter. The type of place that could withstand the force of a nuclear explosion. God's place is much stronger than that. He even invites you in, just accept His invitation.

And you'll hear Him say, "I've got you covered."

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Are You Lookin' For Trouble?

Matthew 6:34 (Worldwide English (New Testament))

34`So do not be troubling yourself about tomorrow. Tomorrow will have its own trouble. Today's trouble is enough for today.'

Do you ever worry about some future things that keep you from doing what you need to do today?

Sometimes we worry about these things and they paralyze us with fear. We may even worry about being worried about them. What we're really doing is looking for trouble. This keeps us from doing what we need to do, trust in God.

We can only live one day at a time. We need to make the best of today and stop trying to live in the future. It doesn't mean that we can't make plans, but living for today means taking each day as it comes. We put our faith in God to make it work out and He will make a way for us.

You might say that it's too simple.

I say, "Are you lookin' for trouble?"

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Do You Understand?

Proverbs 3:5-6

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

Have you ever thought about a situation and had it all figured out, only to have it turn out completely different than what you imagined?

It's our nature to control things, we have remote controls for everything. We push a button and we can quickly change things. Pretty easy.

It's not as easy when it comes to people and situations. If we can't change it then we want to understand it. If we can't justify it with our own wisdom then it won't ease our minds. If the situation seems impossible then there is no hope from our point of view.

God's way is much different. Trust Him with all that you are, your heart mind and being, and He will take care of you.

How can you do that when you don't even trust yourself?

Talk to Him about everything and let Him show you what to do. It takes time and can't be rushed. You can't do it remotely, you have to meet Him where you are. When you put your trust in Him, you'll be astonished at what will happen.

Do you understand?

Monday, May 4, 2009

What Are You Afraid Of?

Matthew 10:28

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Have you ever experienced adversity so strongly that it caused you to fear for your life?

We can all feel this way when we have little control over the circumstances in our lives. When we lose our jobs, our homes, our bank accounts or even when someone threatens us with a gun. We have no control over the situation and we fear that lack of control. No one person really has control, even the one with the gun, only God has it all under His control. Our biggest problem is letting Him have control over our lives.

We fear all the wrong things, people and circumstances, when we should fear God. This type of fear goes beyond just being afraid of what He can do, which is like our fear of people. He loves us and He wants us to listen to Him. This is reverent fear, respecting Him for who He is and what He has done for us. This takes having a relationship with Him.

What are you afraid of?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Whose Are You?

Titus 3:1-2

1 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good,
2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.

Our natural tendency is to resist something or someone that we don't like. We want to use words like, I'll never do that or they won't make me. We may have strong opinions about our government officials, but the fact is that God put them there, period. They answer to the same One that we do. We would like them to share our opinions, but our citizenship is ultimately in heaven, not here on earth.

We have an obligation to influence the believer, and non-believer alike, with the things that set us apart as people who belong to Christ. When we do this we won't gossip, quarrel or act proudly but will exhibit a proper respect for others. This makes the difference that sets us apart.

Does what you do reflect whose you are?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Who Do You Love?

Luke 10:25-29

25 On one ocassion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
26 "What is written in the Law?" Jesus replied. "How do you read it?"
27 He answered: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
28 "You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"

Have you ever known the right thing to do and then gave yourself an escape clause so you could get out of doing it?

Isn't it just like people to always look for a way out? We get on an airplane and they show us the emergency doors. In theaters they always have the exits well marked. We want to be aware of them, just like this lawyer.

He answered the question with an unconditional statement, love God with your whole being. He could do the first part. But he added a condition to the second part, who is my neighbor? When we don't want to do something we add conditions to give ourselves a way out.

We have an obligation to love everyone, even the unlovable and the ones who drive us crazy. Our neighbors are everyone we come into contact with, not just someone who agrees with us or looks like us. We need to treat others the way we want to be treated with no conditions. If there was any thing that I could leave you with today it would be this question.

Who do you love?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

No Joke

Proverbs 26:18-19

18 Like a madman shooting firebrands or deadly arrows

19 is a man who deceives his neighbor and says, "I was only joking!"

Have you ever told someone something that wasn't true and then covered it up with the excuse that it was just a joke?

We often say things without thinking about the effect our words will have on people. When they get upset over it we try to cover it up and say we didn't mean it. The simple fact is that a lie is a lie and lies will hurt everyone involved. We should say what we mean and mean what we say. How hard can that be?

The consequences of these actions can be likened to a fire. A fiery arrow burns where it lands, and you can put out the flame, but the damage is done. It leaves a singe mark and pain. When you really think about it, it's no joke!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Waste of Mind

Proverbs 17:27-28

27 A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered.

28 Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.

How many times have you said something and as soon as it left your mouth you wished you never said it?

We say a lot of things in anger or react rashly to a situation by speaking our whole mind when we should have weighed all the facts. We all have a hair trigger mechanism in us that is just waiting to go off because we would rather react quickly to a situation than to offer a measured response to it.

Sometimes it's better to be quiet and think about it than to speak at all. After all, our mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Monday, April 20, 2009

What is in your heart?

Proverbs 21:2-3

2 All a man's way seem right to him, but the Lord weighs the heart.
3 To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

How many time have you done something that's a good thing but your motive wasn't right? Like offering your help to someone and really hoping that they will say no, or acting concerned about their problems only to talk about them behind their back.

God knows our thoughts and motives. We can do good things and pat ourselves on the back for it, but are we doing the right things?

It's hard to admit it when we're wrong but God wants us to do just that, to do the right thing with the right attitude. This will allow us to be at peace with Him and with others. To understand that this life we live is about Him is a big step in the right direction.