Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Last night as we sat at our table I noticed a book - You Know You Reached Mid-Life When. It was a very funny book. "You know you have reached Mid-Life when all your baby pictures are in black and white." "You know you have reached mid life when you spend 6 months researching to spend $29.95 on the best coffee maker." The book actually said toaster but Connie and I have been researching the Internet for about 6 month to decide which coffee maker we should buy so I substituted coffee maker to make it more relevant to us.
I found the book hilarious but then again that's where I am in life. So on the way home I thought of a new book title. "You know it's the Christmas season when . . . " Here is your chance. Send me your comments.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
1. Contentment doesn’t come from what I have but WHO I HAVE IN MY HEART.
Matthew 6:33 NLT Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.
Hebrews 13:5 ESV Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
2. Contentment doesn’t come from what I have but it is the product of HOW I THINK.
People think if they have certain things they will be content. In reality that only leads to an ever lengthening list of things necessary to help me be content.
1 Timothy 6:9-10 ESV But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
Philippians 4:11 MSG Actually, I don't have a sense of needing anything personally. I've learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances.
Paul Yancy wrote in ‘Prayer; Does It Make Any Difference?’ about a person who was a spiritual seeker. This person stopped his busy ‘acquiring stuff’ life to spend a few days in a monastery. The monk that welcomed him said, “I hope your stay is a blessed one.” As the monk showed him to his cell, a very, very simple living quarters he said. “If you need anything let me know and I we’ll teach you how to live without it.”
4. Contentment does not come from physical comfort but from SPIRITUAL COMFORT know as PEACE.
Hebrews 13:5-6 ESV Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." 6 So we can confidently say, "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?"
To be at peace is to not be afraid. Not to be afraid of what someone could do to me. Not to be afraid that someone will take what I have. Not to be afraid that someone has something I do not have. To be content is to be at peace with your surroundings. To be content is not, not working to improve but it is to not be at war with your surroundings.
I know a man who is not rich by most standards and actually is fighting a few physical aliments. He works hard to help improve on the life his family has, continues to believe God for healing as he does what he can to easy the aliment and speed his recovery and yet he is content – he is at peace. He is not at war, he is at peace. He is content.
At this holiday season with the message of peace on earth I pray that you find the gift of contentment. It is differently one that keeps on giving.
Luke 2:14 NLT "Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased."
Thursday, November 22, 2007
The digital camera is a wonderful thing and has made such a hobby for my wife possible. No developing charges. Funny thing, there are many young folks that never had to take a roll of film to be developed. Times change fast!
Connie has the ability to see a neat picture in some funny things. Some I see and think are very cool and some I don't. But you know the ability to see images and beauty in something is like the old saying goes "beauty is in the eyes of the beholder." Marcel Proust, a french novelist, essayist and critic, once wrote, "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."
I guess that is what makes it interesting for me to go around with my wife. I never know what she is going to view as something of value. From prints in sand to railings on a cabin porch, there she is adding pictures to her collection.
It is, however, great fun to look at them when we get home. It has turned every outing and every trip into a special moment in time for us. We look at the pictures and remember. I can feel the sun and the wind and the cold and the heat and the joy of just being there with her. Amazing things pictures are, instant fix of the past, lived moments pulled forward in time to the present to be visited again.
James 4:14 NASB Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.
Moments of time are spent. You can't save them. Time seems to drag on and it also seems to melt away faster than we would like. Yet it never truly goes any faster or slower than it has since God created time. Time is gift that some of us turn into a hardship. Time (your life time) should be lived not endured. Not all moments are great fun. Sickness, loneliness, unemployment, you can make a list. Time is what you make of it. The time it took to take one of the pictures that you see above was less than a second in a day of 86,400 seconds. Yet my wife with a camera has the ability to save that less than a second moment and record it so I can recall it later. I then choose to look at that moment and think, "WHAT A GREAT DAY WE HAD." Even though I know there a few difficult moments in that very same day. I must make a decision to remember the good. I can even train myself to find the good moments.
Deuteronomy 30:19 NLT "Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!
Today, enjoy the moments. Look for the joy contained in each day. The bad pictures my wife takes we choose to just delete. So delete the bad moments if nothing scriptural can be learned from them - file the best moments of the day away to be remembered later and look forward to tomorrow with anticipation for good things yet to come.
Jeremiah 29:11 NLT For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
We did run into a VERY colorful character. Colorful for a couple of reasons. One reason was that he was tattooed from the neck down. Not every spot was tattooed but he was definitely working on it. The other reason he was colorful was his language. He knew about Jesus but only from the standpoint that 'Jesus' was a word used when you were upset. He dropped the 'F' bomb like we use the word 'the' in our sentences. I could have gotten upset and OFFENDED. It was a little difficult being around a guy like this. Not because of his tattoos - they didn't bother me. In fact, some of them were a tremendous display of artistic talent. But the language and the things he and his buddy talked about and found funny was actually disgusting. But let me ask you this. WHO IS SUPPOSE TO AFFECT WHO? As followers of Jesus - Jesus is a word I know but as a name for my saviour - we are supposed to affect the world and not be affected by it. As all conversations go between two men he asked me my occupation. When I told him I was a minister on staff at a church his language changed. Not as foul but he dropped the 'D' and 'H' word once in awhile. He did clean up his talk. The other guy just disappeared.
Jesus said - Mat 5:13 - 14 "You are the salt of the earth; . . . v14 "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. " Matthew 5:16 NKJV Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Well I did my best. I let my light shine and attempted to be salt to season this guy. I must admit, it was not easy. I don't know if I made any impact on this guy or his buddy. The experience did remind me that the world is dark and full of disgusting things (sin)and dying. My job is to be light and salt and let the world hear the gospel message through me. My job is not to hide out in my home or church or Sunday school class where I feel comfortable. Jesus made the greatest impact on people when He was the most uncomfortable. Hanging on the cross is uncomfortable but I rejoice because He did and now I have eternal life.
John 3:16 MSG "This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Luk 10:41-42 NASB v41 But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; v42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her."
2. Re-check your Position. You may be in some place you should not be. We often allow ourselves to get into places that we have no business being. Being in a wrong position cause us to do the wrong things and waste our time. We never get what needs done, done.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Which brings me to this. What lessons do we learn from Noah? Here are four that I learned.
1. Don't be afraid to do something God tells you to do for the first time, even when it had never been done before.
I can't imagine what Noah was thinking when God told him to build an ark. In Old Testament days it had never rained before -according to the bible. God gave this one man and his family a HUGE task. It took GREAT faith to build something that had never been built before because something no one had ever seen before was going to happen.
2. In troubled times God always provided an Ark for His righteous people.
In the movie God knew a dam was going to break. God knows what's going on in our lives better than we do. He is like the person in the stands watching the game. He can look down field & see the defense and the offense of the teams. He can better call the plays than we can. We just need to listen. There are a two general 'Arks' He has provided. The first one is The Bible, His Word will rescue you. The second one is a GOOD church, a group of people who can help you when you need it. Like the ark, if you don't get on board you can't get help. If you don't read the bible and use it or if you don't go to church and take advantage of the resources it provides you will not receive the help you need.
3. One person can make a difference.
... for your family - help your spouse to be all they can be. Spend time with your children and don't work all the time. Stay in touch with your family even when it is hard and busy.
...for God's creation - improve your corner of the world. This goes from keeping it clean to conserving energy to taking care of animals. God told us to guard it and keep it and He never took back this responsibility.
... for future generations - mentor the guy or gal coming behind you in this world, taking you place.
4. Don't be afraid to stand out or stand up in a crowd and do the right thing.
Here is something someone sent me in an email a long time ago. It still has power.
- People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Love them anyway.
- If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
- If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
- The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
- Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
- The biggest people with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest people with the smallest ideas. Think big anyway.
- People favor underdogs but follow top dogs. Fight for one underdogs anyway.
- What you spend building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
- People really need help but may attack if you help them. Help people anyway.
- Give the world the best you have got, and you will get kicked in the teeth, Give the world the best you have anyway.
- When no one will stand with you for what you believe is right, Stand anyway.
Friday, November 9, 2007
As I see it there are two goals in competing.
First Goal of COMPETITION is to WIN.
1 Corinthians 9:24 GNB 24 Surely you know that many runners take part in a race, but only one of them wins the prize. Run, then, in such a way as to win the prize.
I never enter any competition with the though of loosing. My chances of winning may have been slim but I fought like crazy to win anyway
PROBLEM: Win ONLY attitude leads to envy and jealousy and bitterness and hatred and PRIDE and ARROGANCE.
Jam 3:16 NLT For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. [MSG things fall apart and everyone ends up at the others' throats.]
Pro 16:18 GNB Pride leads to destruction, and arrogance to downfall.
Pro 29:23 NLT Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor.
Remember just winning doesn’t not mean you are a success in life. Remember also that not winning does not make you a looser. John Ortberg in his book Everything Goes Back in the Box, writes “Merely winning doesn’t mean we have always achieved our inner excellence, and losing doesn’t mean we have neglected it." Most of my WINS in life were built on lessons I learned from a number of my loses.
Philippians 3:13 NASB Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
COMPETITION involves more than just challenging others. It involves challenging ourselves.
Second Goal [the more important Goal] of COMPETITION is Self -IMPROVEMENT
COMPETITION is not just the opportunity to win but it is also the opportunity to achieve, to improve, to push ourselves to new levels. COMPETITION – good healthy competition should:
- Cause you to move when you only want to stop.
- Push pass old limits.
- Study when you think your mind is unable to take in one more piece of information
- Push when you feel you can’t push anymore.
If you didn’t push yourself, if you don’t even try then you will never become strong, better, more disciplined for the next battle. If you never push the envelope of your present day limits you will never reach into the realm of victory although you may experience some success
Hebrews 12:1 GW Since we are surrounded by so many examples of faith, we must get rid of everything [Weight] that slows us down [Encumbrance], especially Sin that distracts us. We must run the race that lies ahead of us and never give up [Endurance].
So what are some of the things that good competition should develop in is. I wrote an acronym from the the words FAST TRACK to help you remember my suggestions.
F aithful - Commitment, Diligence, Trustworthy
A ttitude - Positive, Contentment, Not Greed or Envious
S ubmissive - Humble, Peaceful
T eachable - Willing to Listen, Obey, Change
T ruthful - Honesty, Transparent
R epentative - Forgiving, Willing to Change
A vailable - Servant’s heart, Giving
C ompassion - Mercy, Grace Oriented
K nowledgeable - Wisdom, Understanding
Competition can be as healthy as clean fresh air or a toxic as poisonous gas. Competition can build us build or tear us down. Competition can launch us to new levels of hope or sink us down into a deep pit of despair
Colossians 3:12-17 NLT
v12 Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
v13 Make allowance for each other's faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
v14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.
v15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
v16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. . . ..
v17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
So go out this weekend and hit the playing fields. But come Monday have you improved as a person from your experience (experienced some type of character development) or do you just have another mark in your win or lost columns.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
· Baby - Toddler - Adolescent -Teenager - Young Man, etc.
· Single - Married - Family - Empty Nest - Single
· Elementary – High School – College – Career
· Career changes · Spiritual Life is a Cycle of Growth (Colossians 1:9-10)
So what are some things to remember when we face the Seasons of life:
1. We must learn to experience the changing of life's cycles.
2. We must make a constant and conscious effort to improve ourselves in the face of changing Seasons.
3. We need to maintain the correct attitude in the face of the seasons.
4. We basically choose the outcome of US in any kind of season. (Notice I didn’t say the outcome of the situation – although we do, )
5. Ultimately our ATTITUDE DETERMINES OUR CHOICE AND OUR CHOICES DETERMINES RESULTS.
There are lessons to learn during each seasons. Since we are in fall let, me give you a couple of things to think about.
FALL Lessons to Remember
- Learn how to reap without apology or excuse if you have done well and without complaint if you have not. Galatians 6:7 NASB Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.
- We must remember that in all areas of the human existence, what we put into this world, we get back from it. It is nature's way of evening the score.
- So regardless of the results, take full responsibility for your crop. One of the highest forms of human maturity is accepting full responsibility for our lives.
- Which brings me back to the beginning of our discussion. We must remember that life is constantly recycling itself
Monday, November 5, 2007
I realized I had total control over what I was going to think about. That was scary. As I roamed through the pages of my mind I realized more troubling things began to find their way to the forefront than good ones. Things that didn’t go so well or as planned. People I was troubled or challenged by. Moments in time that was not the best. BUT – I had control over my thoughts. I could drive them or just take my hands off the wheel so to say and let my thoughts drive themselves where ever they wanted to go. Kind of like driving your car, foot to the floor but with you hands in your pocket. I can guarantee you, you will wreck. Somebody is going to get hurt.
Philippians 4:8 MSG Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious--the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.
Everyone needs to have quiet time to think things through. Make plans, work through situations and happenings. So what do you need to know before you enter into the quiet room of your mind? Here are a few things to consider.
1. You never enter the room alone. – God and the Devil come with you.
2. The mind is the Devils favorite battlefield. He loves to go mano-a-mano with you right there in the middle of your thoughts. And remember the devil is really good at thought-fighting. 1 Peter 5:8 NASB Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
3. Confess you sins at the door. I John 1:9 - This will remove the devil's weapons.
4. Be rested before you enter – No one enters a battle exhausted and expects to win. Remember the mind is the devils battlefield so when you enter the quiet room it is a battle over your thoughts. A battle you want to win.
5. Have a plan before you go in. Go in with things you want to think over. Don’t go in with your hands off the wheel – you will wreck. A plan gives you control over your thoughts.
Friday, November 2, 2007
Psalms 51:10 NASB Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Psalms 51:10 NLT Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.
Psalms 51:10 GNB Create a pure heart in me, O God, and put a new and loyal spirit in me.
Hebrew word for heart in this verse speaks of feelings, the will, the intellect. Mainly the inner man – the mind - the will - the emotions.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 NASB 23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
To the GREEKS the heart was made up of three things. Logos – Words that you spoken. Pathos – Emotions you expressed. Ethos – Character that you displayed.
Jesus spoke of the heart,
Matthew 5:8 NASB "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Matthew 5:28 NASB but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Mat 6:20,21 "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; v21 for where your treasure [the thing you place your highest value on] is, there your heart [thoughts – feelings – emotions] will be also.
Matthew 15:18-19 NASB "But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. 19 "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.
Luke 6:45 NKJV A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Luke 6:45 NLT . . . . What you say flows from what is in your heart.
Psa 63:1-3 NASB . . . O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water. (2) Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. (3) Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You.
2. A pure heart is one that doesn’t run with lust after physical pleasure.
1Jo 2:15-17 NASB Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (16) For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. (17) The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.
This verse speaks of - A heart that takes no pride in the flesh - A heart that never boasts about what it has or what it has done. (Pro 27:2 NASB Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips.) - A heart that knows no greed when it looks upon wordly treasues
3. A pure heart is one that OBEDIENTLY refuses what God rightly and wisely fences away as sin.
1Sa 15:22 NASB Samuel said, "Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.
SITUATIONAL ETHICS - Whatever fits the moment must be correct. Foolish thinking. It is what God's word says that we should follow not what we think.
4. A pure heart doesn't insist on its own way.
Eph 4:32 NLT Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Pro 3:27 NASB Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.
5. A pure heart argues for love and fairness and righteousness.
6. A pure heart walks humbly, not trying to appear more important than it is.
Luk 14:8 NASB "When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him, Jam 4:6 NASB But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, "GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE."
Here are six things that we all need to reflect on. REMEMBER: Who you are, is really a heart issue and not what is happening to you issue. Proverbs 4:23 GW Guard your heart more than anything else, because the source of your life flows from it.
1Co 12:22 NLT In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary.
1Co 12:26 NLT If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, . . . .