Showing posts with the label Actions

Be wiser than your former self

We have perhaps one or two truly close friendships in the course of our lifetime, those marked by true intimate knowledge of each other and a depth of commitment which spans all the hurdles of how silly we can act on occasion.  These relationships matter so much to us - we work to preserve them, defend them, and even bolster them whenever things are a little shaky. Try hard to do right and you will win friends - scriptural instruction - not scriptural "advice".  The difference between the two - one is just an opinion which we can take or leave; the other is a promise based on truth. Some of us don't always "do right", though. In the realm of our "best friends", there is some amount of grace which just keeps us together and might even bind us closer together when we don't always "hit the mark" when it comes to "trying to do right". Do right; Live right; and Act wisely - three truths we need to explore if we are to maintain those

Will they always understand?

Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong! (I Peter 3:13-17) Have you ever done the 'right thing' only to have others criticize your efforts, or worse yet, not even notice that you did it? We can 'do right' and have all the 'wrong' motives for doing it. We can 'do right' with the 'right motives' and still be misunderstood by others, or not have our efforts acknowledged or appr

Acting a little inconsistent lately?

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. (Proverbs 17:9) Let's face it, we act 'faulty' at times. We make dumb decisions because we like what we see and don't read the reviews very well. When we don't listen to wise counsel of others, we are prone to make mistakes. We might ACT faulty at times, but that doesn't make US faulty. It makes our decisions unwise, but it doesn't make US less in God's eyes. The sooner we separate the 'faulty act' from who we ARE, the better. We don't always think through our actions, but that doesn't change the fact that we are redeemed, blood-bought, clean and whole IN CHRIST JESUS. If we begin to look at the person as 'faulty', we are seeing them inaccurately. I know too many individuals who somehow equate the entire 'worth' or 'value' of a person based on some action they may have taken. It as though that one act made the whole person 'faul

More than deep sentiment

" All the beautiful sentiments in the world weigh less than a single lovely action. " (James Russell Lowell) I know a lot of people that reveal a whole lot of nice sentiment, but all that sentiment is rarely backed by any kind of action. Sentiment is a mental emotion - a feeling that is supposed to be tied to an action, but many times it stops right there with the 'thought' of taking a particular action. God calls his children into action - not just into 'mental thought' of right and loving actions. Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. (I John 3:18-19) Show the truth of God's love by the actions of love in our lives. So, how does that work? Truth gets worked into our hearts not just by osmosis - it gets worked into the fibers of our hearts by the actions we take based upon the truth that has been

A heart willing to be directed

I’m determined to watch steps and tongue so they won’t land me in trouble. (Psalm 39:1) If you have ever tried to "watch your steps", you might just have tripped over your own two feet! Worse yet, you are actually paying so close attention to your steps, you miss the post in front of you and run smack-dab into it! You probably notice this the most whenever you are trying to watch what you say - for words can be the toughest things to keep a rein on. At the moment we determine to watch our words, we can almost count on something slipping past our lips, out into the open space between us and the ones who will hear them, never to be in our control again! Determining we are going to influence our steps or control our tongue is silly because of our total inability to do either! We definitely need some influence outside of our own effort to get this stuff right, don't we? "But as I stood there in silence—not even speaking of good things—the turmoil within me grew wor

I am not thinking straight

The actions of men are the best interpreters of their thoughts. (James Joyce) How do people around you appear to be acting these days? If you have a circle of friends like mine, their actions are pretty consistent, loving, and kind. If you look around you today, you may observe there are a whole lot of unkind actions being taken against individuals. There seems to be a lot of anger amongst people these days - leading to actions that are just not all that good around us. Actions are the direct result of what we think about the most. If fear is your main mode of operation, chances are you are allowing your thoughts to continually dwell on things well outside of your sphere of control. If you want to know what a man is thinking - just observe his actions! Do not act like the sinful people of the world. Let God change your life. First of all, let Him give you a new mind. Then you will know what God wants you to do. And the things you do will be good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2)


God's goal for each of us is that our love would flourish – not just be evident, but be overwhelmingly, undeniably present in all our actions, speech, and emotions. We get the emotional part of love, but it is the words of love and actions of love that oftentimes don't quite measure up. Flourishing love is contagious love. Flourishing love is an active love – producing byproducts of its action in the lives of those it touches. This type of love is not in word only, but is a daily lived, sacrificial, unconditional reaching out of our lives for the benefit and well-being of others. We are encouraged to not only love, but to do it well - there is no 'half-way' when it comes to love. How many of us can truly say that we have learned to love well? We may be able to say that we have loved much, but loving well is a totally different story.  So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You

Your actions say???

Ghandi said, "Action expresses priorities." That being the case, what are your actions revealing about your priorities? Who do they say is "Number One" in your life? What do your actions reveal about your purpose and intent in life - focus, determination, and commitment? Right now I am planning on another fishing trip with my BFF, so I am pretty intent on getting the tackle box and rods all ready, gearing up for what we hope will prove to be a successful week of relaxation and angling. Mind you, it is more than five weeks away yet, but I am getting focused on it anyway! I also want to make some time to take my grand boys out into the great outdoors to do some fishing and just hanging with each other - so I am being purposeful about how to plan that since I need to do it at a time when someone is available to be with mom. I need renewal - so I take occasional periods of respite from care giving. I need to pour into the lives of these young men whatever wisdom they wi

Is your tank full?

Remember upon the conduct of each depends the fate of all. (Alexander the Great) People may be right in their own eyes,  but the Lord examines their heart.   The Lord is more pleased when we do what is right and just  than when we offer him sacrifices. (Proverbs 21:2-3 NLT) I wonder if we'd live our lives any differently if we really stopped to consider someone else's fate may be the result of either our actions or inactivity? If we had to do over the things we ended up seeing as "bad results" in our lives, would we? Or would we head aimlessly down that same path again at some point? Most of us would say that we'd definitely not make the same mistakes again - we'd do things quite differently if we were given a "second chance". The most unfortunate fact is that most of the time we don't get "do-overs" in this lifetime! This might actually mean we need to pretty much get it right the first time around! There are times when g

Learning to Love

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "The giving of love is an education in itself." Oh, so true!  If you don't believe that then just try to love someone who has been acting "unlovely" for even a tenth of the time and you will see just how much YOU have to learn in order to do just that!  When another offends, the immediate response for most of us is to get our feeling hurt and maybe even to want to offend them right back. We want them to hurt as much as we are hurting - this is human nature. What a huge volume of education we receive from the Holy Spirit's still small voice reminding us that love is not always reciprocated, nor does it always respond immediately or in the ways we would desire! Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. (Hebrews 10:24 NLT) Let me just assure you that I am still in the "learning mode" when it comes to this whole "love" thing. I don't have this all figured out, and I don&

Alert and Thinking Straight

In medical assessment, one of the skills you are taught is to evaluate the mental "alertness" of your patient.  It goes a long way in assessing if the data is consistent with what you glean in the review of other information you might find in your assessment.  A patient who is less alert than their baseline assessment had been at a previous point might be under the untoward influence of a sedative, or perhaps have suffered a life-altering event such as stroke or bleed into their brain.  To be alert, one is to be fully awake and able to direct full attention toward something.  If the patient is awake, but drifts easily back to sleep, without being able to focus or concentrate on what you are asking them to do, the medical provider will begin to look for causes of this "drift" in attentiveness and alertness. It is this faculty which gives us our ability to make decisions, engage in thoughtful process, and even follow along with a train of thought someone else may be

Yielding to the signs

We are in the midst of monsoon season in Arizona, bringing strong winds, sheeting rains, and all the damage these two create.  Coming home the other night was a little challenging as I found myself dodging downed trees, broken tree limbs, and lots of debris in the roadway.  I had to call the township to report the damage on two of the streets I traveled, hoping all other motorists would be able to navigate past these downed objects before they could get them cleared.  It would soon be dark and the damage was significant all around our area.  There were even downed street signs - some larger than life ones which mark the turn off on the freeways.  Now, that took some mighty strong wind to sheer them off at the base of their posts!  What happened to all those people counting on those signs to let them know they were at an intersection which required them to turn, or take a new path to get safely to their destination?  The signs served a purpose, but they were impeded by the storm.  As l

Heard or applied?

As with most of the proverbs, contrast is the tool by which life responses are evaluated.  Pride enters, destruction is close on its heels.  Haughtiness results in a fall; humility results in an increase in one's life.  Pride or haughtiness are set out as "wrong" paths for a Christian's life.  Wisdom and insight are presented as better than all the wealth we could accumulate. Trust in God and listening to wise instruction outweighs doing things our own way. God commends the wise, because they have come to the place of doing more than appreciating good teaching - they embrace it, putting it into application and then seeing the results of its application born out in the reputation they form.  Two paths may lead to the same destination - but only one is right. Contrasts are set forth in order to get us to evaluate our choices.   Get wisdom—it’s worth more than money;   choose insight over income every time.   The road of right living bypasses evil;   watch your step an

A truly "plumb" heart

Nothing is more elusive than the approval of man.  Try as we might, we often fall short of what another expects of us - leaving us feeling like we haven't measured up and them experiencing disappointment.  Since it is so elusive, why do we spend so much time trying to "measure up" to some other man or woman's approval?  The approval of another is kind of like a well disguised snare in the path - we get caught up in it without even noticing we were headed in that direction!   The pathway to man's approval is pretty demanding, though.  It demands our time - often time we don't have to give. It demands our attention - often attention which is diverted from something which also requires our attention, but which will go without while we pursue something completely opposite.  It demands our energies - sucking us dry of that which really would be best utilized on a task designed by God for us. To the faithful  you show yourself faithful,   to the blameless you show

Overalls anyone?

I saw a sign the other day which read, "Love is faith in overalls".  Let that one sink in a little, but don't lose sight of the image it conjures up, as well.  Think of you in overalls.  When I thought about overalls for a moment, I envisioned two types - the ones made of denim worn as the replacement to pants by a farmer, and the ones which slip over your clothes.  They are different, aren't they?  One is actually the "clothing" you wear - without them, you'd be a little naked.  The other is only a covering "over" our clothes - we don't actually take off our clothes, but are protecting what is underneath by this outer layer of cloth.  Now, back to our quote - which type of "overall" would you equate with love?  The type you wear "over" yourself, or the type which becomes what you might refer to as what really "clothes" you? For in Christ, neither our most conscientious religion nor disregard of religion amou


Bankrupt:  Unable to satisfy any just claim made upon an individual; lacking in a particular thing or quality.  Today, as our economy tanks and our finances seem to be the focus of so many conversations, I'd like to take a moment to really focus on something we seldom spend much time thinking about - love.  We throw the word "love" around like it was a "thing" rather than a quality, or an outflow of a person's life.  For anyone who has been around a while, it is not uncommon to have heard some familiar passages quoted from the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians.  One of the best known:   " And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love."  I'd like us to back up a little and focus on the third verse this morning. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.  (I Corinthians 13:3 MSG) I think we have this concept of love which focuses more on some emotional exper

Preparing for Tomorrow Today

The preparation of today makes us ready for tomorrow. Without the work of today, the events of today won't matter when tomorrow comes.    2-3  Every time we think of you, we thank God for you. Day and night you're in our prayers as we call to mind your work of faith, your labor of love, and your patience of hope in following our Master, Jesus Christ, before God our Father.  (I Thessalonians 1:2-3 The Message) When others look at your life, do they see evidence of your faith?  Do they see us laboring in love, or resisting every move we make?  Do they see us patient in our waiting, or chafing in anticipation? Paul calls to mind three things about the believers at Thessalonica for which he thanks God.  These things are not arbitrary.  In fact, they speak volumes about the work which has begun in their lives. First, their have evidence of their faith.  In James 2, Paul reminds us of the important fact of faith and actions working together - our actions making our faith com

Salvation 101 - Part IV - Sin nature vs. sin action

7-9  Really! There's no such thing as self-rescue, pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. The cost of rescue is beyond our means, and even then it doesn't guarantee life forever, or insurance against the Black Hole. (Psalm 49:7-9) We have been exploring the scriptures that address our salvation experience and the fact that it is nothing we can earn or "work our way up to".  The keeping of commandments as outlined in scripture is not a system of works - do this and you will be like by God; don't do this and God will have no use for you.  The obedience of our heart, mind, and spirit is evidence that we love God and trust him - plain and simple.  When a parent tells a child not to touch the hot stove because it will hurt them - that is similar to a commandment.  It is shared with the child because the parent doesn't want to see the child hurt.  The same is true of the commandments (boundaries) established in scripture - they are God's plan to keep us from g