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By your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path. I’ve committed myself and I’ll never turn back from living by your righteous order. Everything’s falling apart on me, God; put me together again with your Word. Festoon me with your finest sayings, God; teach me your holy rules. (Psalm 119:105-108) How is your life going? You might be living by default rather than by any particular design. When you buy a new electronic device, there is a "factory preset" for how the system should work. It is called the "default" operating system. As time goes on and you become more familiar with what the device can actually do when it gets off the "default" mode, you might actually find you can do some pretty handy things with the device. "Default" is only a beginning spot - it isn't where we are designed to live. When we settle for "default", we negate the purpose of being created with the various abilities Go

Inside the box?

Let's be frank here - we need to learn to walk together in unity. I think we all know how truly difficult it is to actually be and stay in unity. Deep, intimate relationships require a different commitment than mere acquaintances. Friendships help to sustain us and keep us on track. How we view each relationship tells us a little bit about what we may actually invest into and take away from those relationships. We may find some actually are an ordeal for us because they demand more than we want to really put into them, but does that make them unnecessary relationships? Some may seem like a big deal to us, but does that make them worthy of special attention while neglecting others? Other relationships seem like they are kind of ideal, almost making us want to be exclusionary within those relationships, but doesn't that isolate us from the other types of relationships which might actually help us chip away some of the rough edges in our character? I think we might just nee

Sometimes being 'grounded' isn't all that bad!

Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or whine, Israel, saying, “God has lost track of me. He doesn’t care what happens to me”? Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening? God doesn’t come and go. God lasts. He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind. (Isaiah 40:27-31) Complaining that God seems to be looking the other way when you need his attention right now? Do you think he has abandoned you to some state of misery or woe that you won't be able to overcome? We all have been there at least once, and if we were honest, we'd admit we come to this place a little too

This no longer 'fits'

A solid reputation requires a commitment to being honest. Deceitful people walk a treacherous, thorny path. Mom always said that my lies would "snowball". In other words, it was like rolling the tiny snowball into the bigger one which eventually became the biggest part of the snowman's body! The more you "roll around" in the lie, the more lies you attract and use to cover up the original one. Eventually, there is more effort in being dishonest than there ever would have been in maintaining your integrity and just coming clean about what it is you wanted to cover up in the first place. At the moment, a lie seems like an easy fix to a miserable situation, but in the end, the situation is made more miserable by the lies. No amount of "cover-up" actually stays covered up very long. Eventually some form of "heat" will cause the truth to surface - and when it does, the damage the lies have done to your reputation leave a bigger "hole" to

What a character!

A good reputation is better than much wealth; high esteem is better than silver and gold. The rich and the poor have this in common: the Lord made them both. Prudent people see trouble and hide, while the simpleminded go right to it and get punished. The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord is wealth, honor, and life. Thorns and nets are in the path of the crooked; those who guard their lives keep their distance. Train children in the way they should go; when they grow old, they won’t depart from it. The wealthy rule over the poor; a borrower is a slave to a lender. Those who sow injustice will harvest evil; the rod of their fury will come to an end. Happy are generous people, because they give some of their food to the poor. Remove the mocker and conflict disappears; judgment and shame also stop. (Proverbs 21:1-10) The overall quality of character is what determines if a man or woman will be known in a favorable light. We call this "reputation" - something which &qu

Credibility is earned

God loves the pure-hearted and well-spoken; good leaders also delight in their friendship. God guards knowledge with a passion, but he’ll have nothing to do with deception. Young people are prone to foolishness and fads; the cure comes through tough-minded discipline. (Proverbs 22:11-12, 15) A pure heart speaks of purity of emotions and intellect. Many of us struggle with this just because of all the "influence" we experience from the stuff working overtime to bombard our brains with "urgent" input. Guarding what gets IN affects what will indeed eventually come OUT. Gracious speech are the words which some might call "tactful" - marked by kindness, courtesy, and mercy. They reveal genuine compassion - pleasing and bringing "satisfaction" to the ears of the one hearing them. We see God speak often of the condition of the heart and the outflow of the mouth - linking the outflow to what has first been cultivated by what we take in. God gives th

Continual, Consistent, and Communicative

The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd. (Hebrews 11:1) If something is 'fundamental', it is an essential part - the foundation upon which everything else is built - underlying anything else in our lives. If the foundation of our lives is to be our 'trust in God' then how are we doing on keeping that foundation firm and without any breeches? If we want to see things of great 'value' and 'worth' built into our lives, it all begins with this fundamental trust in God. We cannot build upon a 'half-trust' - it must be continual, consistent, and communicative trust. Continual faith means we don't allow any interruption in this foundation. I have a few cracks in the foundation of my home - they were apparent when I changed the carpet