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Showing posts from November, 2013

Creativity at its best

Creative lives are productive lives.  When we stop to think about this, we find there is something quite powerful in creativity - we bring into existence something which would otherwise not really be there.  My daughter is exceptionally creative and has her own blog which is gaining more and more popularity all the time.  At her website, TheCraftedSparrow.com, her creativity is on display.  What amazes me most is when she is given opportunities to bless others with her creativity.  She is sponsored by many large businesses now, including The World Market.  She has done a couple of feature presentations for them, being asked to take some of their products and create a "blessing" for another person or family, the latest being their "Share The Joy" campaign.  As I read about their wonderful challenges to "gift" your creativity to another, I find it heartwarming to see we haven't lost this idea of using what we have to bless others.  This is what life is …

Since is a powerful word

Some of us have a tendency to deal too much in the "past tense" of our lives. There is this intense focus on the "what ifs" and the "should haves" instead of the stuff which makes up our current picture.  Maybe it is because our minds have this way of capturing those moments in living memory - "scrapbooking" the sadness of our past and continually dragging it out to dredge up these old memories in our present.  There is one part of "past tense" we don't realize - what has been done doesn't need to be done again!  Perhaps this is why God thought it so important for us to recognize the futility of continually living in sin when we have ALREADY died to it!
Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace?Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death?Fo…

Happy Thanksgiving!

I don't get into the Facebook fads like sharing ten things about yourself no one else knows, or the one which surfaces each year around Thanksgiving season when everyone tries to focus on what they are thankful for everyday. It isn't that there aren't things you don't know about me, or that I am not a thankful individual.  In fact, as today is Thanksgiving Day in the U.S., I just wanted to take a moment or two to just focus our attention on what it is we are truly grateful for.  The most profound post I saw this month about thanksgiving read:  "If material things are what you are talking about when you say 'I am blessed', you have no idea about blessings."  If we stop long enough to chew on this one, we might just have to agree with the person writing this post.  What we choose to focus on, make the object of our affection and attention, will often become the thing or individual we learn to count among our greatest treasures.

Be cheerful no matter what…

Unless....

Have you ever had one of those nights when you just couldn't sleep?  You tossed and turned, just barely getting in some "naps" along the way.  I usually sleep the first four hours pretty soundly and get a great deal of my rest within those four hours.  Then I find myself sleeping "lightly" for the remainder of my night - usually another three hours.  God gives rest to his kids - the secret is to stop long enough to understand and enjoy the rest.  I actually do very well on seven hours of "physical" rest, but there are times when it seems like I don't take the time to get the "spiritual" rest I need.  I am setting myself up for a huge crash whenever this occurs.  You might just say I experience one of those "unless" moments - unless I stop, I will run headlong into something I'd probably not want to face!  How about you? Experienced any of those "unless" moments in your life lately?

If God doesn’t build the house,th…

Getting worship into perspective

Maybe you have never really stopped to consider why it is you rejoice over certain things in your life, or perhaps you haven't really stopped to rejoice in a long while.  Either way, you are missing the point of praise - it is an expression of your heart, and it is in response to something or someone. Therefore, it has to be intentional and purposeful in order to really be called praise - anything else is really just flattery!

Rejoice out loud to God, our strength!  (Psalm 81:1 CEB)

Strength comes from God and is found in him.  It is a two-way gift.  It comes FROM him - a provision in a time of need.  It is also found IN him - a provision which keeps us when we are just plain unaware a need even exists.  As we place ourselves at his disposal, in purposeful and intentional worship, we exchange our strength for his.  We are moving from a place of weakness to a place of victory - for nothing can stand against what is provided by him!

For this is required by the decrees of Israel;it is a…

Aligning purpose and timing

Some of the actions we take in life just don't come out right, do they?  We might plan one thing, but in the course of living out the details of the plan, something quite different actually begins to blossom.  We have a pretty good idea we are headed in a direction we will actually benefit from, but in the end, we almost lose something in the venture.  What's going on here?  In the simplest terms, we can plan all we want, but unless we submit those plans to God's purpose and his timing, we can have all the right plans but miss the timing or purpose he has for us.  Therefore, we need to have some pretty well understood "tests" which will help us to determine of the action we are planning will actually fit into both God's purpose and his timing for our lives.

Honesty lives confident and carefree,but Shifty is sure to be exposed. (Proverbs 10:9 MSG)

These aren't rocket science by any means, but if we will keep them in mind, they should answer the "purpose…

Default or Design - which are you living by?

If you have ever stopped to consider how your life is going, you might just come to the conclusion of having been 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 God has worked into our temperament and character.  In truth, whenever we settle for living in the "default" mode, we are simply saying we are content with someone other than us designing how we should live and respond - kind of like following a sc…

May I have a word with you?

Monty Python once said, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will make me go in a corner and cry by myself for hours."  Sure, he wasn't a great theologian or deep-thinking philosopher of our time, but these words are profound nonetheless.  The old adage "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" really is not true, is it?  Sticks and stones may do physical harm - injuries which are apparent on the "outside" of a man. Words have a way of doing emotional and spiritual damage - injuries which are not as apparent because they occur "within" the man.  Maybe this is why there is repeated reminders about the importance of our words - for what gets spoken has a potential of leaving us broken.  You can quote me on that!

Words satisfy the mind as much as fruit does the stomach;good talk is as gratifying as a good harvest.  Words kill, words give life;they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.  (Proverbs 18:20-21 MS…

Wedges and Walls

There is much power which comes as we learn to walk together in unity.  I think we all know how truly difficult it is to actually be and stay in unity, though.  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 kind of tells us a little bit about what we may actually invest into and take away from them.  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 …

Waiting vs. waiting upon

Do you ever find yourself complaining that God seems to be looking the other way when you need his attention right now?  Or perhaps you think he has abandoned you to some state of misery?  I think we all have pretty much been there at least once, and if we were honest, we'd admit we come to this place a little too often before we realize God never abandons us.  We may not hear him as clearly, see how he is moving in the muddle we are in, or be strong in our faith that he is right there beside us, but he never lets us walk through stuff alone.  There were times when my kids were little that I'd suddenly realize I couldn't hear them anymore, knowing this sudden silence meant they were likely into some type of mischief!  In my losing track of what they were doing, they took full advantage of getting into something they knew they weren't supposed to be into - like pulling the toilet paper all off the roll in a huge pile around them on the floor, or dumping out all the baby…