Showing posts with the label Honesty

Another "unsafe" prayer

Are we guilty of praying 'safe' prayers? Prayers that are kind of mamby-pamby at best - working our way AROUND the real need without ever really hitting the nail on the head! These types of prayers are prayed more times each day than we might realize - with some of them coming from our own mouths! Why? "Safe" prayers are easiest because we don't have to 'expose' too much - we can just 'hint' about the need and hope God gets the point. And when you pray, don’t be like the people who don’t know God. They say the same things again and again. They think that if they say it enough, their god will hear them. Don’t be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. So this is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, we pray that your name will always be kept holy. We pray that your kingdom will come— that what you want will be done here on earth, the same as in heaven. Give us the food we need for today. Forgive our sins, just as we h

Remove that lid

No man for any considerable period can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true. (Nathaniel Hawthorne) Scripture reminds us 'honesty lives confident and carefree', while 'shifty is sure to be exposed'. (Proverbs 10:9) There are lots and lots of us who go through life 'wearing one face' at home and another out in public. Sometimes we don't always know we are doing it, but we find ourselves acting as though life is perfect when deep down in side we are crumbling to pieces. We cannot 'act' before God - he sees behind the scenes and knows when there is nothing more than a cleverly prepared backdrop being portrayed! There is a confidence that comes when we are first honest with ourselves, then with God, and finally with others. We must come to terms with ourselves before we can actually do this, though. We have to realize we aren't all that we want to be - we get thing

Invitation NOT accepted

Oscar Wilde once quipped, "I can resist everything except temptation." He may have more telling in his words than we may first want to admit! Temptation can give the lot of us a huge headache - if not for the temptation we pursue, then for those that others pursue that affect us in the end. We don't commonly speak about temptation in our communications today, especially if it will 'meddle' in our personal business. We might admit we are tempted to eat something we should not, or to make a purchase that is probably not the wisest. Temptation is really to be lured into something, so it is more common than we think. It might begin with a little bit of what we call "fascination" with something we really should not indulge in, but then it becomes something that we have to put a great deal of effort into if we are to resist it. Why is it that the simplest "fascination" can have such a big "pull" on us? Simply put, it is because we don't

Prayer Worrier or Prayer Warrior

You might think that is a play on words, but it isn't! Many times we enter into our moments of talking with Jesus like intimidated little kids, head hung low, shuffling our feet, and dancing around the truth of what it is we really are there in need of at that very moment. We don't want to 'impose' on God, or maybe 'tick him off' with our constant asking, so we just dance around the subject, grazing on it from time to time. Prayer worriers - those who fret over how to say it, what to say, or in just being honest about what they are feeling - the end is always going to be the same...we won't feel like our time in prayer has accomplished very much! Why? We never really got to the meat of what needed to be shared - and God didn't get a chance to take care of whatever it was that was on our heart in the first place! If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask fo

The heart of the healer and the mercy of a Savior

Ever hear that saying, "This may be your BIG chance", then thought, "Yeah, maybe this will be THE time"? THE time, THE chance, THE anything is kind of hard to predict - we are really saying it has all been up to chance and it continues to be right up into the present. Our BIGGEST opportunity comes not in the 'chances' we encounter, but in who it is we trust. We can trust the circumstances to bring our reward - like throwing the dice or spinning the wheel on the slots. We can trust in some 'lucky' thing to bring us the reward we hope to receive. Luck is really a two-sided coin - look it up! It refers to the 'force' that either operate 'for' you or 'against' you! I'd much rather be trusting in one that is continually 'for' me! He asked the boy's father, "How long has this been going on?" "Ever since he was a little boy. Many times it pitches him into fire or the river to do away with him. If you

Truly honorable

The man who tries to be good, loving, and kind finds life, righteousness, and honor.  ( Proverbs 21:21   TLB ) How does one live in a manner that expresses the goodness of God? This is probably one of the hardest questions for us to answer in life because goodness, true goodness, often evades the human mind and heart. "Good" expresses the meaning of moral excellence - virtue taken to the 'nth' degree. This is why it is sometimes hard for us to truly grasp this type of behavior - because it is motivated in a heart not corrupted in any manner by sin - or with a sin nature at the core of all its actions. Indeed, we need an exchanged heart, for ours is incapable of this type of 'moral excellence' or goodness. A loving and kind disposition is what stems from this goodness of heart. Honestly, if we struggle at times to act in a way that expresses the love of Christ, it is probably that we haven't connected in some time with the heart of Christ! We need mo

Be not the hypocrite

" Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist but the ability to start over ." (F. Scott Fitzgerald)  Many times we focus on whether we have what it takes it to make it to the finish line when all the while what we are probably more likely to need is a fresh start!  Mom has a plant on the patio she has been watering faithfully, taking good care of, but recently it began to show us it was not too happy with something - the environment, the heat, or maybe even the pot.  Even a little bit of fertilizer added to the water didn't seem to perk it up.  Last night I had to ask her if she was willing to let it go.  Nope....she wants to see if it can be nursed back to vibrant life once again.  There are probably lots of things which could replace that withered and anemic looking plant right now, but she won't let go of it.  I don't think it has what it takes to come back to the life it once had, so I am more inclined to just start over with the pot and go for somethin

Honesty and Humility - hand in hand

Blessing in life is a matter of choice.  Choice is a matter of considering our options and then selecting the one which comes the closest to what we hoped to accomplish or obtain.  Sometimes the thing we "settle on" as a matter of choice is not the "exact" thing we hoped for, but it is close enough to meet our expectations.  Our action or behavior determines the course of our lives - this course goes a long way in determining the blessing or curse we experience in the journey.  It is important to remember that every wrong choice comes with a way of escape - either before we make the choice, or once we realize we are traveling down the wrong path, we turn around.  The point at which we experience the "escape" is important - most of us would rather not make the wrong choices and suffer even one-tenth of the consequences of those choices.  We'd like to consistently make the best choices - experiencing the full one-hundred percent blessing! The integrity

Honesty opens doors to healing

Wise words come from people of understanding.  People of understanding are able to speak of a situation in a completely different manner because they grasp the meaning of the situation.  The fool just cannot get the same grasp on the circumstances of life - they might babble on a lot, but the things they speak really don't bring clarity, or shed much light on the matter.  A fool cannot size up the situation because a fool seldom learns from his past experiences.  As if to point out the difference between the fool and the wise, the writer of Proverbs pens these words:   The road to life is a disciplined life;   ignore correction and you’re lost for good. (10:17 MSG)  In order to walk in the pathway of life, we must accept discipline (correction).  The fool has a hard time with this - so they repeat the mistakes they've made over and over again.  If we want to live "rich" lives, we need to embrace discipline - for discipline is the road to true "richness".

Honesty of Soul

3   God  won't starve an honest soul,    but he frustrates the appetites of the wicked.  (Proverbs 10:3) The book of Proverbs was written by Solomon to his sons.  He desired nothing more than to have his sons know the truths God had taught him over the course of his life.  Throughout the book, he writes about various relationship issues, how to be a good spouse, what value words have, and how not to live your life as a fool.  The instructions of a father to his sons - how fortunate that we can benefit from the lessons of a life of such a wise man.   God won't starve an honest soul - the thought provokes us to consider what it is to "starve".  What is it that Solomon could have been referring to when he spoke of the "starvation" of a soul?  First, let me say that starvation is more than the effects of a lack of food in the natural sense.  There are many forms of starvation - emotional, spiritual, intellectual, etc.  I think we'd do well to consider the

Hey, God! I messed up again!

  11-14   God  answered the People of Israel: "When the Egyptians, Amorites, Ammonites, Philistines, Sidonians—even Amalek and Midian!—oppressed you and you cried out to me for help, I saved you from them. And now you've gone off and betrayed me, worshiping other gods. I'm not saving you anymore. Go ahead! Cry out for help to the gods you've chosen—let them get you out of the mess you're in!"   15  The People of Israel said to  God : "We've sinned. Do to us whatever you think best, but please, get us out of this!"   16  Then they cleaned house of the foreign gods and worshiped only  God . And  God  took Israel's troubles to heart. (Judges 10:11-14) A lot has happened in a few short chapters.  Gideon defeated the Midianites by doing things God's way.  The people are at peace in the land during his lifetime. The final verses that sum up his life are that he had lots of wives, fathering him many sons.  He leaves about 70 sons - all would be

Sermon Lessons: Contentment

  5 "You're blessed when you're content with just who you are—no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought." (Matthew 5:5) 13-16 Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here's what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It's the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts. Mean-spirited ambition isn't wisdom. Boasting that you are wise isn't wisdom. Twisting the truth to make yourselves sound wise isn't wisdom. It's the furthest thing from wisdom—it's animal cunning, devilish conniving. Whenever you're trying to look better than others or get the better of others, things fall apart and everyone ends up at the others' throats. (James 3:13-16) Contentment is a lost art!  We live in a world of discontent.  We cannot balance our national or state budget because we cannot come to agreement on how to do it.   We find fault with our nei

Edit away

1-6   God , investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand.    I'm an open book to you;   even from a distance, you know what I'm thinking.    You know when I leave and when I get back;   I'm never out of your sight.    You know everything I'm going to say   before I start the first sentence.    I look behind me and you're there,   then up ahead and you're there, too—your reassuring presence, coming and going.    This is too much, too wonderful—I can't take it all in!   (Psalm 139:1-6) Without reservation, most of us would admit that there are "chapters" in our lives that we'd like no one to read.  We have some failures we'd rather no one really knew about, dreams that seem kind of silly when considered by others, and problems with memories that we just cannot seem to let loose of no matter how hard we try.  These "pages" of our lives are inscribed through the passage of time and the events of the days gone by.  David does what

A Principled Life

3  The integrity of the honest keeps them on track; the deviousness of crooks brings them to ruin.   4  A thick bankroll is no help when life falls apart,    but a principled life can stand up to the worst.   5  Moral character makes for smooth traveling; an evil life is a hard life.   6  Good character is the best insurance; crooks get trapped in their sinful lust.  (Proverbs 11:3-6) A "principled" life can stand up to the worst life throws at it.  Principles acts as our "rudder" - giving us the guidance for right conduct.  They give us the fundamental truths by which we make our decisions.  Solomon tells us that a life that is governed by the right principles will withstand the toughest conflicts and disappointments in life.  To that he offers moral character and integrity as companions of "principles" - each bringing the balance we need to "stay the course" when the worst is upon us. Over and over again, Solomon has emphasized the importanc

Honesty opens the hearing

11-12 "Get up and go over to Straight Avenue. Ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus. His name is Saul. He's there praying. He has just had a dream in which he saw a man named Ananias enter the house and lay hands on him so he could see again."   13-14 Ananias protested, "Master, you can't be serious. Everybody's talking about this man and the terrible things he's been doing, his reign of terror against your people in Jerusalem! And now he's shown up here with papers from the Chief Priest that give him license to do the same to us."   15-16 But the Master said, "Don't argue. Go! I have picked him as my personal representative to non-Jews and kings and Jews. And now I'm about to show him what he's in for—the hard suffering that goes with this job." (Acts 9:11-16) Saul of Tarsus is best known to us by the name Paul.  As the story unfolds before us this morning, we see that Saul of Tarsus was out on a mission - dest

Closely Attended Words

  29   God  keeps his distance from the wicked;    he closely attends to the prayers of God-loyal people.  (Proverbs 15:29) There are times when we feel that our prayers are seemingly unanswered - just spoken words into a void.  Then there are other times when it seems that the words are no sooner spoken and they are answered - life's catastrophes avoided, circumstances changed, hearts mended.  Regardless of the "timing" of the answer, the promise we want to hold onto is that God closely attends to the prayers of his kids. His attention to the "details" of our life is not accidental - it is purposeful and intentional.  I cannot fathom with my human mind how God keeps all the details of my life, the lives of my friends and family, not to mention the other several billion people who live on this earth in his sight and constant attention.  I don't have to understand the "abilities" of God to know whole-heartedly that I can count on them!   The pro