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Showing posts from June, 2013

Pack your bags - - - here comes the guilt trip!

Guilt:  The feeling of responsibility or remorse for an offense, wrong, or violation of rule - whether real or imagined.  This definition certainly hits the nail on the head, doesn't it?  Some of our guilt is quite real - we did something wrong and now we feel the "remorse" and "responsibility" which are an outcome of the wrongdoing.  At other times, our guilt is really not "real" - it is a thing of "memory" - almost like it is imprinted into the fibers of our brain and we cannot get free from it.  Genuine or real guilt is a normal response to wrong behavior.  On the other hand, imagined guilt (false guilt) is sometimes "put upon" us by another - we really aren't responsible for the outcome, but another person is making us feel like we are.  What do we do with this kind of guilt?

Count yourself lucky—God holds nothing against youand you’re holding nothing back from him.  When I kept it all inside,my bones turned to powder,my wor…

My mind keeps messing with my faith!

Hesitation:  A delay due to the uncertainty of mind or fear; a state of doubt.  We all struggle with uncertainty, don't we?  Some of us more than others.  At times, fear has a paralyzing effect - keeping us from moving in one direction or another just because we cannot break the grip of uncertainty.  Truth be told, we struggle with this more than we think - battling in our minds the desire to just stay put and the knowledge we need to move on.  There is often more danger in staying put than in moving on, but because of our "blindness" caused by our fear, we cannot see it.
He said, “Come ahead.”  Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!”  Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, “Faint-heart, what got into you?” (Matthew 14:29-31 MSG)
Okay, now tell the truth - how many of us would have jump…

Useful or Useless?

Useless:  Not serving the purpose; of no practical good.  I think there is nothing else more frustrating than to feel "useless" as we go through life.  I think this is the struggle of the elderly - they feel their past accomplishments and abilities beginning to no longer count or be called upon.  They feel of "no practical good".  They no longer see themselves as serving any purpose, so they often feel lonely, like their remaining days don't matter, and unproductive.  I daresay, the elderly are not the only ones who struggle with feeling a little useless at times.  How is it we can come to recognize a sense of usefulness in our lives?  I think the answer lies in what it is we are doing and not how much of it we do!

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.  (I Corinthians 15:58 NLT)

Paul wraps up his first letter to the Corinthian church with…

Moved to give

Give:  to present voluntarily and without expecting compensation; to place in someone's care; provide or contribute.  There are various ways we are called to "give" of ourselves everyday - from out time to our talent, from our money to our mentoring, from our treasure to our trust.  The scripture is plain about the attitude which should be behind our giving.  The attitude we exhibit may not be the genuine one we feel, though.  If you don't believe me, remember when you put the last "gift" in the offering plate at church or wrote out the last donation check to the local charity you supported.  Now, honestly, was your heart "moved" in that moment of giving, or was it kind of just because you felt a little tug on the emotions?  Most of the time, we give because we are "moved upon" by our emotions - so we need to make sure our emotions are in line with what God has in mind, right?  Why do you think there are so many commercials with sad look…

Sing, shout, get connected!

Rarely do we find ourselves telling everyone we meet the good things God has done.  In fact, we are sometimes more than a little "reserved" in our praises to God.  We think others will "judge" us as odd, a little out there, or just too much of a "holy roller" for them to hang out with.  So, we rein it in on occasion.  I wonder just what might happen if people actually began to express their appreciation for God's graces in their lives just a little more and enjoy his presence just a little longer?  Maybe this world would begin to see a little more of Christ's action and a little less of ours!

Thank God! Pray to him by name!Tell everyone you meet what he has done!  Sing him songs, belt out hymns,translate his wonders into music!  Honor his holy name with Hallelujahs,you who seek God. Live a happy life!  Keep your eyes open for God, watch for his works;be alert for signs of his presence.  Remember the world of wonders he has made,his miracles, and th…

Leaking Dams

Ever start something you wish you didn't have to finish?  I have - lots of times.  The truth is, we all do.  If you don't believe me think about the last time you opened your mouth, allowing words to escape which would have been better off not said at all!  What happened with just that tiny escape of words?  It opened up the floodgates, didn't it?  Yep, our words have a way of creating more than just a little "flux" in our lives!  

The start of a quarrel is like a leak in a dam, so stop it before it bursts. (Proverbs 17:14 MSG)

Solomon was known as the wisest man in his time.  I daresay, even with all the technological advances of this day and age, he probably still would bear that title today.  How do you suppose he "learned" all this stuff?  Do you think he was "born smart"?  If you think that, you are probably a little deluded, because if you study his life, you will see he was pretty much learning this stuff as he went!  It is exactly how mo…

You reading my mind?

If you have ever used the term, "You must have read my mind", then you probably had someone show up with just the right thing you needed at that moment, coming through for you without you even having to ask for their assist, etc.  Truth be told, they didn't read your mind - they anticipated your needs, did the neighborly thing, or just listened to the voice of God!  Man does not read man's thought - God does!  Wouldn't it be great if we could read God's mind?  To truly figure out this whole mess we call life and know the end from the beginning?  Well, according to what he told Jeremiah, we can! For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.  Then you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and heed you.  Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me [as a vital necessity] and find Me when you search for Me …

Hammer or Fire?

What do fire and a hammer have in common?  First, both have an effect of changing what they touch, don't they?  Nothing touched by fire is quite the same - so it is with the hammer - they both can reduce to pieces that which are touched by their influence.  Second, there is a "heating" effect of both.  The hammer begins to "heat up" the nail as it drives it through the wood - repeated blows from the hammer actually change the temperature of the nail!  So, there are some commonalities between the hammer and fire. Why on earth does God compare his Word to fire or a hammer?  Perhaps it is for the reasons we have just stated - it changes what it comes into contact with and it has a way of changing the "temperature" of whatever it touches.

Is not My word like fire [that consumes all that cannot endure the test]? says the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks in pieces the rock [of most stubborn resistance]?  (Jeremiah 23:29 AMP)

It is important to see God does…

Tumbleweed or Tree?

Depend:  To rely, place trust; to be sure of.  We depend upon a lot of things, don't we?  We depend on getting to work on time just because we were on the road by our "usual" time today.  The hazards along the way may provide a later arrival than anticipated, but we still depended upon getting there on time because we did our part.  We depend upon our laundry detergent to remove the stains in our clothing, despite the fact the stains are set in and rather stubborn ones at that.  When the detergent doesn't "perform" as anticipated, we buy a different type the next time because we have to "depend" upon the detergent to do its job.  We get into trouble when our dependence upon something or someone is stronger than our dependence upon God.  I am not saying we should depend on God to get the stains out of our jeans, but he is pretty awesome at getting stains out of our "genes"!

Cursed is the strong onewho depends on mere humans, who thinks he …

Need a good mechanic?

Correction:  a substitute for what is wrong or inaccurate.  Sometimes we find ourselves in a little need of correction, huh?  Maybe it is not so much being completely wrong, but it is a sense of "inaccuracy" in our lives which gets us going in the wrong direction.  It is kind of like only seeing half of a room and then thinking the other half is a mirror image of the half we can see.  Wouldn't we be surprised to turn around and see the room we thought was filled with beautiful artwork also contained a few corpses?  Correction puts things in the right framework - gives us the right perspective when what we have been pursuing is just a little inaccurate.  It also gives us a swift kick in the seat when what we have been pursuing is totally and completely wrong!

I know, God, that mere mortals can’t run their own lives, that men and womendon’t have what it takes to take charge of life.  So correct us, God, as you see best.  (Jeremiah 10:23-24 MSG)

Jeremiah is pretty straight wi…

What's your trademark?

Have you ever stopped to consider what a trademark is?  It distinguishes something from all the other "somethings" which are in our midst, right?  You think of the red soda can with the white little swirl and what immediately comes to mind?  Coca-Cola, right?  If I were to have you picture a red sign with a huge yellow "M" on it, you'd immediately recognize it as McDonald's restaurant.  We distinguish something by its trademark - it sets it apart from the rest.  What happens when someone changes their packaging of their product?  People go nuts trying to find it!  They don't recognize it even though it is right on the shelf in front of them because the "remembered" symbol is no longer there!  This is why most manufacturers don't mess with a good thing!  Have you ever stopped to consider what God's trademarks are?  What is it which sets him out from the rest of the "gods" we could serve in life?  What is it which makes him &qu…

Even slag has a purpose

Yesterday I shared the truth about warnings - they are meant for our safety, but we need to have hearing ears and attentive eyes.  Today, we will look at the third characteristic related to heeding warnings - a responsive heart.  Remembering the heart is really the seat of our emotions, we can just imagine why God wraps the heart up into this picture of avoiding hazards by heeding warnings.  Our emotions can sometimes play tricks on us - making us see something totally different from what is really ahead of us.  Mom asked my sister last night why women choose losers.  I am not sure where this conversation came from, but I guess it was part of a story they were reading, so I just listened.  My sister's response was some women just do because they feel "needed" for the first time, or they feel "special" to someone and this is what they have wanted for so long.  I guess this kind of lends some credence to our discussion this morning - we cannot just listen to our …

Flashing red lights and clanging bells

A warning is designed to give us caution - we are to proceed very slowly, if at all.  When we come across the flashing railroad lights, does the conductor of the train expect to see us stop, or barrel on through?  He expects us the heed the warning lights, slow our car, and await the trains passing.  When do those lights begin to flash?  Is it right when the train is about to cross our path?  Nope, they flash early enough for us to avoid the train's impact!  Warnings help us avoid impact with things which have the capacity of doing irreparable harm in our lives.  The Book of Jeremiah is filled with all kinds of warnings.  Warnings to not pursue “satisfaction” for the sake of satisfaction because it really doesn’t lead to the outcomes we desired.  Warnings about rejecting God for anything else because whenever we give anything (or anyone else) the place in our lives he deserves, we end up serving that thing (or person).  Warnings of sin's effect such as being deprived of the bl…