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Showing posts from April, 2014

Got any jewels on display?

Do you own any custom made jewelry?  I am blessed to have one ring which I designed.  It is a small pinkie ring, but it has special meaning.  After my divorce, I had my wedding ring and engagement ring, but they were not going to be worn.  Mom and dad knew I wanted to have them remade into something I could use for a lifetime.  They had a couple of diamonds which they wanted me to have - three, in fact.  Small stones, but with great meaning because they came from "family" jewelry.  So, I designed the small ring and they assisted by giving me the stones and paying to have it custom made.  This was about 25 years ago now.  The ring carries significant meaning to me - because it was made with the gold from my rings and the stones graciously given.  It is small, but with great meaning.  I wear it one finger removed from where my wedding band once was and the three stones represent what was left of our family (two children and their mom).  We may not still be a "whole family…

You missing something?

Have you seen those shows where people do these really weird things like jumping from one slippery object turning or spinning out of control onto the next moving object in hopes of getting to the end of the course without ending up in the waters below?  The idea is to be named the winner with the best time.  The idea in pursuing it is a moment of fame, but the senselessness in it is a pretty hard beating to your body!  Those slippery and moving objects appear harmless, but the players don't count on the speed at which they are turning, causing them to fall out of control, even when they land a "solid leap" onto the object.  What we don't know can hurt us, right? It can also land us in some places we'd rather not end up!  Jumping onto these moving, slippery objects is kind of like jumping to conclusions - it can land us in the "drink" and before we know it, we are in over our heads!
Don’t jump to conclusions—there may bea perfectly good explanation for wh…

Stand up for justice

Injustice - any form on inequity which violates the rights of others.  We observe much injustice in this world, but probably don't do much with the injustices we observe.  The silence we portray against injustice isn't an "outward" manifestation of us "going along with it", but it does portray a heart either unmoved by injustice, or too afraid to do anything about it.  Sometimes it only takes someone speaking out - at others it may take some form of action or investment of our time, energies, and talents to address it.  When another suffers injury or wrong, our reaction and action toward that injustice reveals a lot about our heart.
It’s wrong, very wrong,to go along with injustice.  Whoever whitewashes the wickedgets a black mark in the history books, but whoever exposes the wickedwill be thanked and rewarded.  (Proverbs 24:23-25 MSG)
Wicked - morally bad in practice and principle; distressingly severe; unjustified.  A wicked individual is considered to be &…

Principle 30: Drop Those Reins

James Dean starred in a 1955 movie, "Rebel Without A Cause", depicting a bunch of emotionally confused and morally rebellious youth.  Dean portrayed a youth arriving at a new high school, falling for a girl, fighting with others who bullied him, and totally rebellious to both his parents and school officials. It was "cutting edge" back then, pointing out the secret desires of the teenage youth of the time, the "not so perfect" relationships of those 50's parents who didn't have a home life as perfect as June and Ward Cleaver, and the shift in social "norms" just about to bust out into full force in the 60's.  Defiance and emotionally charged "bad choices" are observed repeatedly throughout the film, but the truth portrayed on the screen in the death of his friend is really a reminder to all that without warning life can turn upside down.  In truth, your life is not your own - it is merely on loan.  Life choices may be made …

Principle 29: Know Your Future

If someone were to ask you today to describe what you see as your "future", what might that be?  Do you know where your future lies?  Today's decisions impact tomorrow's outcomes, but we don't control ALL the possibilities of the "what if", do we?  We can "manage" as much as possible, but there are just "unknowns" we cannot really plan for.  Knowing our future is important - especially in terms of where we are headed spiritually.  If we haven't really made an "about-face" from doing things our own way, under our own terms, and for our own benefit, we might just be "play-acting" at this "Christianity" thing.  Our future is as secure as our focus - that which we set our eyes on the most becomes the direction we head and it also becomes what fills our "head".  
Don’t bother your head with braggartsor wish you could succeed like the wicked.  Those people have no future at all;they’re headed down…

Principle 28: Deal Kindly With Your Enemies

It is part of human nature to want to see some harm come to your enemy. After all, the very word "enemy" suggests someone who is your opponent - there is some type of antagonistic behavior that makes the two of you adversaries.  To want good for your enemy just is counter-intuitive.  They are out to harm you - so why should you be out to bless them?  Our instruction today is to not revel in their fall, nor celebrate their collapse.  Instead, we are to leave their "outcome" to God - something harder said than done!
Don’t laugh when your enemy falls;don’t crow over his collapse. God might see, and become very provoked,and then take pity on his plight. (Proverbs 24:17-18 MSG)
Enemies can be personal adversaries - such as someone bent on making your life miserable - all attacks aimed at you alone.  They can also be public - such as public officials who don't represent the needs, wants, or beliefs of the public they are designed to serve.  Either way, the instructions…

Principle 27: Don't stay down long

God keeps a special eye on his people - not letting them stay down too long if they trip up or stumble.  This should give most of us (if not all of us) a whole lot of encouragement each time we find ourselves with skinned knees and a wounded bit of pride!  Sometimes, we find ourselves "tripped up" because of things of our own doing - like willful disobedience, compromise, and outright wrong choices.  At other times, we find there has been someone in our path who purposefully sticks their foot out in hopes we will stumble and fall. Now, that may seem a bit harsh to state, but I think there are those who relish the idea of creating a little bit of havoc in the lives of others.  A word of warning to these folks - God won't let us stay down long - his hand is already outstretched even before the foot crosses our path to trip us up!
Don’t interfere with good people’s lives;don’t try to get the best of them. No matter how many times you trip them up,God-loyal people don’t stay …

Principle 26: Eat honey

Honey in scripture often is used to describe all that is sweet and pleasing - both in the natural and spiritual sense.  Therefore, when scripture declares we should eat honey, it is saying we should pursue those things which will bring delight and satisfaction to our spiritual man.  There are definitely some things which are better to pursue than others - especially as it applies to being "built up", encouraged, or finding peace.  These are the things God wants us to become "acquainted" with in our daily "intake".  It is important to note that honey in the Old Testament region of Palestine was not harvested from bee farms, but rather had to be dug out of crevices in the rocks and the hollow of trees.  As such, we receive a word picture of having to "mine" the bountiful goodness God has prepared for us.  It requires some effort on our part, but it well worth the investment!
Eat honey, dear child—it’s good for you—and delicacies that melt in your m…

Principle 25: Someone is always watching

Do you think you can do things in a vacuum - as though whatever you do or don't do just won't affect anyone else?  If you believe this, you have believed a lie - for every action or inaction on our part not only affects another, it is observed by many, but especially one person - God himself.  The times of inaction as just as significant as those of our immediate action.  Why?  We have been commanded to be "active" on behalf of those who need us to step in and help - inaction on our part is actually disobedience.  What we do with the opportunities we miss are maybe more important than those we actually embrace! 
Rescue the perishing;don’t hesitate to step in and help.  If you say, “Hey, that’s none of my business,” will that get you off the hook?  Someone is watching you closely, you know—someone not impressed with weak excuses. (Proverbs 24:11-12 MSG)
The most telling thing within our passage today is the idea of God knowing and understanding our hearts - he sees into…

Principle 24: Don't Let Crisis Overwhelm

By definition, a crisis is a "turning point" in a set of circumstances where the future outcome is determined.  As such, the point of crisis in any issue we face is pivotal to where we will end up.  So, understanding how to hold up in the midst of the "turning point" can be the most important part of actually making it through.  Most of us just think of a crisis as something ugly happening to us at the moment and it is a little difficult to endure.  If we begin to see it as a "turning point", we might just handle it differently.
If you fall to pieces in a crisis,there wasn’t much to you in the first place. (Proverbs 24:10 MSG)
As we face crises, the things we focus on make all the difference.  For example, if all we see is the insurmountable odds, we will tend to see only the difficulties and not the possibilities.  Even insurmountable odds have possibilities.  We think of crisis as a point of instability in our lives - when things are just about to cave in…

Principle 23: Avoid the Schemers

Do you know any troublemakers?  You know, the kind of people who just love to sit around, planning some kind of misbehavior, waiting for the moment to spring it on someone?  In the most literal sense, a troublemaker is anyone who causes difficulties, distress, or worries - kind of out of habit and with a desire to bring injury, harm, or suffering to another.  The point here is that this individual makes a habit of living to life miserable for others.  These are definitely not the kind of people we want to associate with on a regular basis! Another word for this individual is "instigator" - wherever trouble seems to be brewing, you can pretty much be assured they had something to do with it! So, out of respect for yourself, you might want to learn how to avoid these individuals as much as possible - because the end they desire differs from the end God desires for your life!
A person who plans evilwill get a reputation as a troublemaker.  The schemes of a fool are sinful;everyo…

Principle 22: Seek Counsel Wisely

In times gone by, men would gather at the gates of the city and engage in serious conversation.  It was a place of more than just meeting - it was a meeting of the minds.  Issues were settled there and wisdom was passed down.  The leaders of the city would often meet there to settle disputes, pass judgments on behalf of a wronged party, and just give insight into life decisions.  It was a place were "wisdom" was spoken and people left usually feeling pretty good about the things they had experienced.  At the gate of the city, a fool was not to be the one engaged in the conversations of giving advice or passing on a judgment for the wronged party.  Why?  They were clueless as the intent of the heart and this rendered them "useless" in making such decisions.  At the gate, they were to remain silent - for their "advice" would only muddle the matter.  In fact, they would often not even grasp the meaning of the conversations of the wise.  I wonder how much &qu…

Principle 21: Know Your Advantage

Ever heard two kids square off in the play yard with words resembling, "My dad can beat your dad any day"?  What is going on when they announce this confident statement is a little bit of one child trying to prove something - that he or she has an advantage.  Advantage is something we have been trying to "get" ever since we breathed our first breath.  It is any opportunity or circumstance we can "work our way" to that will ensure success or a particular desired end.  Every time we took the little toy into our tiny clutches and proclaimed, "Mine!", we were taking or proclaiming the advantage.  Each time we postured so as to say, "Don't mess with me", we were posturing to declare we had some advantage.  I remember learning some hand-to-hand combat maneuvers in the military, somehow thinking knowing the maneuvers would give me some advantage over another if the situation arose.  Ummm...I doubt if I would have any advantage over a blac…