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Showing posts from September, 2014

Pass it on

The Law of Moses existed in times past - the gospel of Christ is the "marching orders" for the church of today.  Yet we don't discount the many lessons taught in the Law of Moses, nor do we tout as superior the gospel of Christ.  One points to the other - the Law pointing the way to the coming of Christ and the accomplished work of his cross.  One thing remains true through the ages - God loves his kids enough to give them direction on how it is they are to live their lives.  He loves them enough to guide their steps and prepare their hearts for great and majestic things.  The gospel message is plain - all who will believe in their hearts and confess with their mouths that Jesus is Lord will be saved.  The Law pointed to the one who would fulfill every manner of sacrifice needed in order to make the gospel message of salvation a reality.  In the giving of the Law to the people of Israel, there was one instruction which rang true over and over again - pass it on!  Pass it…

Run, hide - change is coming!

Every point of transition in our lives is an opportunity to leave a legacy of some kind.  It can be positive or negative, uplifting or kind of a bummer.  Either way, we leave some kind of legacy as we move from one point in our lives to another. When transitions occur, we have an opportunity to take them in stride, or we can go through them kicking and screaming all the way.  Transition is just a big word for change - moving from one position to another, passage from one state into another, etc.  The old adage certainly holds true - there is one constant in life and that is change.  Sometimes change doesn't come in easy, lulling waves, but in ominous, crashing ones.  When we face those times of transition which are a little frightening and overwhelming to us, we need to know we have an opportunity to not take them alone - Christ walks at our side, even leading the way so we have a clear pathway through even the most difficult of change.
A good reputation and respect are worth much …

Choosing the right focus

Only - a small word, but rich in meaning.  It carries the idea that there will be no other worthy of out attention, or that something is exclusively for our use and enjoyment.  I like to think of it as single in distinction or superiority with nothing else being able to compare to it.  When I get the "only" great buy at the store, I feel like I have scored big time.  It is like I have won the jackpot!  When I gain the attention of one who I desire to spend time with, I feel like I also have scored big time!  I wonder if God feels that way about us?  When he gets our attention and holds it just long enough for us to connect with him, he is probably saying something like, "I only have you in my thoughts right now".  In essence, when we make God our only focus in life, we are saying we only have room for him in our lives.  The moment we make this our claim in life - living it out in our daily actions - we cross over from living vague and meaningless lives into the vas…

Whatcha thinking?

Thoughts are something people may not know unless you are willing to share them, right?  Not necessarily - if you have ever had someone say something and you find yourself saying "I was just thinking that!" then you know what I mean.  It was as though that person was "inside your brain" at that moment in time and just figured out what you were saying.  Most of the time, you do keep your thoughts "inside your brain" without anyone figuring them out, though - they are only known if you desire to share them.  There are a variety of thoughts - as vast as the stars in the heavens.  Some are deeper thoughts, pertaining to tough decisions, life-critical moments, etc.  Others are kind of "fleeting" - here today and gone tomorrow.  Learning to discover your OWN thoughts can be enough of a challenge, right?  Learning the thoughts of another is astronomically harder, but given enough time and commitment toward each other, that discovery may yield tremendou…

Words which bring blessing and grace...

As a kid, mom occasionally retrieved the bar of soap, directing us to stick out our tongues while she proceeded to wash our mouths out with it.  It was usually the result of some form of backtalk or just totally "naughty" words we were not supposed to be saying.  Lest you think it is time to call the authorities on my mom, let me assure you a little Ivory soap in the mouth doesn't kill the child!  I made it all these years and never suffered anything but a little bitter taste to remind me the words I choose to use actually do matter.  Definitely, without a doubt, curse words were forbidden.  We just didn't say them.  Yet there were other types of words just as damaging - like disrespectful words said in anger against an authority in our lives.  I daresay there are times when our words are less than desirable - kind of like greasy dishwater in the kitchen sink.  You could get by with them, but they don't leave you feeling very clean - they leave a "film"…

Cart before the horse?

Have you ever answered before you totally listened?  I think this is a plight common to mankind - we get ahead of ourselves and others on occasion.  Whenever we do, the natural outcome is to either to jump to conclusions before we have all the facts we need, or to think we know the solution when we have no idea we are really aiming at.  To this end, I find myself often "backing the boat up" to start over again when I find I have jumped ahead!  I need to regroup - something which can be costly, to say the least, because we expend our energies and often harm relationships when we have put the cart before the horse.  The core reason we suffer from this common ailment of "acting before listening" is this idea of pride.  This "superior" impression we have of ourselves, our abilities, and our stance in life often gets in the way of us really hearing!  When it does, we find the issues multiply - they don't seem to decrease!
Pride leads to destruction; humilit…

What "nest" do you find yourself in today?

If you are like me, your conversation sometimes doesn't match your actions! You say something, but you do another.  It is a common problem we all face - getting this "doing" to match our "saying".  As I get a little bit older, wiser, and just closer to Jesus, I find the distance between the two narrows.  This is good news!  Yet, there still come times when there is a lack of congruence between the two.  Ephesians 5:1 says we are to "do as God does" - because we are his kids.  Kids emulate the actions they see in their parents.  This is why the saying, "Don't do as I do, but do as I say" doesn't make any sense to kids.  We follow examples, don't we?  We see something modeled and that is what we think we should do.  Even little goslings may be hatched into a nest of a mother chicken and before long, the goslings "emulate" the chicken - they don't know they are geese because they have only been around chickens!  Someti…

Clams have hard shells

The opportunities to be beaten down by this world and the stuff we have to face in it are innumerable.  We find ourselves constantly on the alert for the next "attack" - hoping it will not catch us unaware or gawking at something meaningless.  When the attacks come from someone we are in relationship with, and they will come, our attitude toward those who are attacking us makes a huge difference in the outcome!  All we see is the attack - what we need to see is the one behind the attack.  All we deal with is the attack - we forget about the force behind it - whether it be jealousy, bitterness, or fear (to name only a few). All attacks within relationship stem from some form of emotion - the one attacking is experiencing something which they respond to in a way which is less than honoring or holy.  In turn, your response is a little bit outside of the perspective you should be maintaining in the moment.  This is natural - we respond in a defensive manner because we are being …

How do we love God?

Have you made confession with your mouth of one thing only to act an entirely different way when push came to shove?  I guess we all have at one time or another - pledging to do one thing, but when the rubber meets the road, we do another.  It is just like us to act a little "fickle" once in a while!  It is just human nature to "preserve" our self when the times get a little tougher to deal with than we first imagined them to be.  When it comes to loving another individual, we want to save face, come out on top, and not be "found out" for the cowards we really are.  Yep, I used a pretty strong word there - coward.  When it comes to loving another individual, we are pretty cowardly at times - not willing to face danger, difficulty, opposition, or pain within the relationship.  Face it - relationships can get pretty messy!  When it comes to facing them without fear, we don't do a very good job with this unless we rely upon Jesus within us to actually he…

Crops which require deeper watering

In the face of troubling circumstances which seem to be going from bad to worse, I have frequently heard people say something like, "I thought I did everything right".  They equate where they are at with something they did or did not do.  In time they may come to realize they did everything "right", but still faced some troubling or uncontrollable circumstances.  Man thinks he can control what he faces - but indeed he cannot.  We live in a world which comes at us in unparalleled force and speed these days - to think we can control it is absolutely silly.  When these things come which set us on our fannies and leave us a little stunned, God isn't caught by surprise.  In fact, he knows they are coming and has often prepared our hearts for them long before they do.  What we can do is ride them out - not in our own strength - but in the power and strength God places deep within.  He knows what is in our hearts - we just have to trust him to bring in out when we nee…

Laugh a little - it is okay

The times we make fun of or joke about the things which are probably more important than we might first think often end up being the times we do more harm than good. If we go through life making light of everything we encounter - as though life had to be filled with jokes and humor at all times - we will miss out on so much of what may have come if we avoided the sarcasm.  Sarcasm actually "demotes" or causes something to have a lesser "degree" of importance.  It is good to laugh and make light when times are stressful and you just need to unwind.  It is another to make light of what another may be feeling very deeply.  It is still another to cover over the depth of your anxiety, guilt, or regrets with sarcasm directed toward yourself.  Wisdom calls for us to be men and women of integrity - having fun with life - but not making light of what life entails. 
Make fun of wisdom, and you will never find it.  But if you have understanding, knowledge comes easily.  Stay a…

Teeny-tiny seeds

I am not much of a gardener myself, but I try. I had to chuckle when my daughter shared a story about how my youngest grandson and his daddy planted some seeds in their garden the other day.  In examining the packages of seeds, there were some with larger seeds in them, taking up much space in the package.  These impressed him because he could see and touch each one. Then there were the radishes.  The wee seeds in the bottom of the package just did not impress him as much.  In fact, he told her to look at the meagerness of the contents and announced that this was a waste of her money! All he could see was the seeming emptiness of the package, not the volume of tiny seeds he was planting.  If he had taken the time to spread them out one by one on the table, he'd have seen there were probably a hundred or more seeds in there - they were just tiny!  It made me chuckle because he saw it as a waste of his momma's money - like she had been ripped off by receiving a tiny bit of seed …

Follow the Leader

In my youth, I tended to be a follower.  Everything I did was based on some insecurity I had formed within which almost demanded that I do things to please others.  In order to "feel" accepted, I did what they asked - even when what they asked would be contrary to what common sense, learned values, and/or sound advice would have warned against.  My choices landed me in many a predicament which required either my attempts at covering it up (when what I did was clearly wrong and would land me in trouble), or resulted in me being "accepted" but all for the wrong reasons entirely.  Being a follower is not always the best thing - unless the one you are following is Christ!  Yet even as we follow Christ, he doesn't want us to do so blindly or without purposeful intention.  To this end, he gives each of us a mind and expects we will use it!

The Lord gave us each a mind, and nothing we do can be hidden from him.   (Psalm 33:15 CEV)

As I was listening to the radio on the …

No bit needed

If you have ever been loaded up with so much guilt because you didn't do something you were supposed to do, or you did something totally wrong, you probably know what it is to feel weighted down, filled with conflict, and just totally down on yourself.  This load of guilt will do more to keep us "anchored" to our past than anything else.  Yet, the moment you share your guilt by making an acknowledgement of your misguided actions or overlooked intentions, you find something amazing happening - the load seems to lift.  At least this is the case when your confession of guilt is made to the right person - God himself.  When we attempt to simply confess our sins to another, we may find we don't get quite the same reception as we do with God - for we humans have a lot to learn about "wiping the slate clean" when another asks for their "misses" to be no longer counted against them!  Scripture supports us sharing the burden of our sin with another and ask…

God's got your back!

Today's entertainment line-ups often leave much to be desired.  With everything from the zombie apocalypse to the walking dead among us, those seeking nightly entertainment can have their filled with all kinds of questionable stuff. Don't get me wrong - I like a good movie for a day of relaxing or just to pass a little time.  The stuff we have to choose from these days leaves much to be desired, though.  I find myself gravitating back to the oldies - for though they may lack the same "pizzazz" of the present dramas, they at least don't leave me with this sick feeling someone is going to suck my blood or brains out of me in my sleep!  Our "appetites" have changed over the years, haven't they?  The fun-loving movies made by such stars as Doris Day, Bob Hope, and Lucille Ball just seem to be gone.  In fact, if a few churches across America and Canada weren't making some movies, there wouldn't be much wholesome to go to! This change in appetite …