Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tired? Give it to GOD.

Matthew 11:    28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

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There are times that I get tired of the whole “good” versus “evil” thing. I mean it seems like I come up wrong most of the time and my efforts seem to go unrewarded. When I try to serve people they blow it off, troubles seem to still come my way and those I have been praying for don’t seem to be getting better (at least from where I see it).
  • The reason I get tired is I am trying to do things my way, not GOD’s way.
  • The reason I get tired is I think “I” have the answer when it is really up to GOD.
  • The reason I get tired is I try to manipulate GOD and change HIS direction rather than going with HIM.
GOD told me to “Come to HIM” which means I have to stop running away scared of the consequence HE has for me because of my sin. HE then told me to “learn from HIM” which means I have to drop my know it all ways and trust HIS plan.

HE also told me that HE is “gentle” “humble in heart” and that HE would “give me rest.” GOD took on the burden of sin and HE gave me an easy job. All HE wants me to do is be at peace with HIM and tell others why I am peaceful.
  • Rest comes when I see things GOD’s way.
  • Rest comes when I learn from GOD and I understand how gentle HE truly is with me.
  • Rest comes when I can finally give up the fight I have with GOD trying to get my way.
I have noticed I rest better when I trust GOD to do HIS thing. I get nervous when I am trying to do something and GOD’s answer may be “no.” Learning from GOD and doing HIS tasks are easy when I truly ask HIM “LORD what do YOU want?”
  • Are you tired?
  • What battle are you fighting?
  • Are you trying to get “your way” or have you asked GOD “what do YOU want?”
  • Can you say to GOD “YOU will be done” today?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Am I being called to “go?”

Matthew 9:  35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

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As I sat and listened to the preacher request for volunteers to go on trip with him, something different went through my mind and heart that day. My mind began racing, thinking about the poor conditions I would face.

“What would I eat,” “How would I sleep” “what if something goes wrong?” were all the questions that plagued my decision. My heart had the answer that defied all logic, “Don’t worry GO!”
  • Humans are not “evolving” rather they are “degrading.”
  • Humans scoff at the return of our LORD and savior JESUS.
  • Humans are too busy looking at their own situations to help others.
There are many reasons I can think of that would keep me from telling others about the greatness of JESUS. My coworkers would think I’m weird or the global company I work for won’t accept my views or everyone is going in the opposite direction and I don’t want to be singled out. BUT GOD feels different.
  • There are so many people out there who need some “good news.”
  • There are so many people out there who could use a little “hope.”
  • There are so many people out there who want a “loving relationship with GOD.”
When I went on my first trip abroad, many people said “there are plenty of people here who need to hear the same message.” When I got “there” I saw the same need but more people who were willing to listen to the great message of CHRIST. They came in droves as we taught, prayed and cried with them over their plight.

The harvest is truly plentiful and I am glad I listened to my heart.
  • Is GOD asking you to speak up about HIS SON?
  • What is holding you back from doing more for GOD?
  • Can you deliberately be an example or use your mouth to tell someone about GOD?
  • Do you have compassion for GOD's humans?
  • Isn’t there someone that comes to mind who you can tell about CHRIST?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Feeling Helpless?

Matthew 8:  1 When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2 A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

 3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.

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Being all alone with an injury was one of the many fears I had to face in life. Sitting in my apartment I clutched my chest in riveting pain. I couldn’t breathe and I was too scared to move. This was different than a pulled muscle or gas. I felt helpless.

I called on the LORD and made empty promises of the sins I would never do again. After a while the pain subsided enough that I could drive myself to a friend’s apartment who promptly took me to the doctor. Looking back, there was nothing I could do to make myself better.

  • Sin in my life is like a physical ailment, I can’t remove it.
  • No matter how hard I try, my sin condition permeates my soul and I need someone else to remove it.
  • When I look at my sinfulness I feel helpless because I feel that GOD has the right to ignore me.

Just like a physical ailment sin is a deadly condition that leads me to eternal separation from GOD.  My thoughts and actions are sinful and I need help with my condition. Fortunately for me I have someone I can call on.

  • When troubles get to difficult for me I can call on the LORD and HE is willing to rescue me.
  • When I am feeling low and nothing is going right I can call on the LORD and HE is willing to pick me up.
  • When I am broken by wrong choices, bad decision or misguided plans, I can call on the LORD and HE is willing to heal me.

It feels great to be able to call on the LORD and ask “If you are willing…” HE is faithful and willing to help me with my needs!

  • What difficult thing are you facing in life?
  • Have you reached out to ask GOD if HE is willing to help?
  • Do you have the faith to know HE will do just as HE says HE will?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I’m due for a “crash.”

Matthew 7: 24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

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School troubles, girl troubles, parent troubles, money troubles were just a few troubles that year.  I hadn’t prayed much, but when I did things seemed to clear up. “I got it from here LORD” I said but I went on my own plan.

A year later, car troubles, money troubles, health troubles arose. I hadn’t prayed much… I guess I got too busy doing my plan. I prayed and things cleared up again. “I got it from here LORD” I said but I went on my own plan again!
  • Following my own plan does not take foundational faith in the LORD.
  • Following my own plan usually excludes GOD and winds up in some variety of lust.
  • Following my own plan makes me miss some crucial elements that would get me through problems.
  • Following my own plan leaves me to depend only on me and when I get into trouble I “crash.”
It truly takes faith to follow the words JESUS said and if I don’t depend on this “foundation” then life will truly get to me.  People will attack my character, money will ebb and flow and my body will have aches and pains. Now what will I do? Will I depend on GOD or fall apart?
  • Depending on GOD means I understand and agree with HIS word.
  • Depending on GOD means I put into practice the same grace, mercy and love HE has shown me.
  • Depending on GOD means I reduce complaining, reduce sin and reduce retreating from GOD.
GOD wants me to have a true relationship with HIM which means in spite of my sin I will humbly bow to HIM daily. My prayers will change from demanding HIM to do things the way “I” want them to be done, to asking HIM “what would ‘YOU’ like me to do?” This is a foundation that won’t let me “crash.”
  • Are you following your own plan?
  • Do you get disappointed at GOD for not doing things “your” way?
  • Have you asked GOD “what would YOU like me to do?”
  • Do you “Believe” HIS plan is the best plan for you?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What will my legacy be like?

Matthew 7: 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

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As I sat in my apartment all alone I guess it was a time in my life where I started taking inventory of “where I was in life.” I was single, fresh out of school, on my own and not following the LORD. I mean I was “good” because I wasn’t committing any crimes. 

I just wanted to have some “fun” on the weekends, maybe go to a bar, give my number out, buy some clothes and do it all again next week. Something felt empty about my life. What had I accomplished? Fortunately, GOD had a different answer than humans.

  • People tell me to climb the ladder of success and step on others to get there BUT GOD doesn’t like when I mistreat HIS humans.
  • People tell me that titles are important BUT GOD isn’t impressed with my humanly title.
  • People tell me that it’s alright to live as wild and free as I want BUT GOD tells me I will reap what I sow.

It really never dawned on me that there is more to life than living for my pleasure. That empty hole in my heart could only be filled with “love”, a special kind of love that only comes from GOD.

  • The more I serve others the fuller my heart becomes.
  • The more I serve others the more my life becomes “abundant.”
  • The more I serve others the more exciting my days grow.

GOD said “you will recognize HIS children by the fruit they bear.” I can use and abuse others but that’s not HIS fruit.  HE wants me to serve them in secret and humbly move to the next act of kindness. My wake should leave waves of greatness not splashes of destruction.

Now I guess I live with a certain motto, “leave a person better than I found them.”

  • Are you bearing good or bad fruit?
  • By not doing anything for GOD, do you think this is “good” fruit?
  • Can you do more to serve GOD’s humans strictly as an act of worshipping HIM?
  • What will people say about your entire life when you are gone? (Hurt me, helped me, did nothing?)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

It’s not just “how” I judge but “who”.

Matthew 7:  1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
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 Matthew 7:  6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

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Misery was the tone in the department. Our boss was a blowhard who thought his insults were valiant. I figured he needed to be fixed so I took it upon myself to “soften” him up a bit. Wow this was frustrating but patience was required.

Meanwhile at home the slightest breach in “the rules” would bring on my wrath. Back at work my plan backfired and the guy began lashing out on me. “Is anyone in my corner?” I wondered.

  • When I judge others, I am saying to GOD treat me the same way.
  • When I judge others, I bring judgment on myself.
  • When I judge others, I have to remember my own sin.

It’s not just “how” I judge but “who”. GOD says we should correct each other in love and in this passage HE also wants me to choose “who” I try to correct. I must look at my own sin and ask GOD for forgiveness then humbly turn to the person “who is willing” to accept correction and help them with their problem.

  • Trying to correct the wrong person will bring on a battle I’m not ready for.
  • Trying to correct the wrong person is a waste of time.
  • Trying to correct the wrong person means I think I know better than them and GOD may allow their wrath to fall on me.
I have spent my share of time with the greedy and the lustful. Their thoughts are not GOD’s thoughts and they are not willing to change anytime soon. GOD wants me to take the lust and greed out of my “eye” then help those who are struggling with life to do the same. HIS sacred words are not to be wasted on the unwilling.

  • Are you wasting your time trying to be buddies with upper management in hopes to get a raise or promotion?
  • Are you sinning because they are sinning?
  • Can you reduce or stop the sins you are doing that “they” are doing as well?
  • Will you take your lesson about your sinfulness to the people who are willing to change?

Monday, May 23, 2011

LORD help me with my priorities.

Matthew 6: 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

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Sitting in class distracted because the guys were talking about the latest gym shoe that I couldn’t afford. Going on interviews in college with the one suit I had since my high school graduation, hoping it still fit enough to get the job. Getting a well-paying job, but having so much school loan debt that I wondered how I was going to eat.

The dream was to get educated so I could get a well-paying job so I could attain a certain amount of wealth. Sounds nice doesn’t it, but this path comes with its price.

  • When the goal is to have more stuff I lose focus on needs versus wants.
  • When the goal is to have nicer stuff I get into debt feeding my lusts.
  • When the goal is to have the best meals I can’t sacrifice my expensive pallet to bland distasteful food.

I have lived the dream of getting educated and attaining a nice salary. This brings on a desire for better cars, bigger houses, finer garments, nicer trips and taster foods. BUT GOD wants my dream to be different.

  • My goal should be to help others and if wealth comes with it then so be it.
  • My goal should be to worship GOD the way HE wants to be worshipped whether I am rich or poor.
  • My goal should be to ask GOD “what does HE want me to have” rather than demanding for things and worrying about not getting them.

GOD wants me to seek HIM and to try my best to have others do the same. The junk on this earth will continue to change. There will always be new technology, new styles, new ways to prepare food, but if GOD’s kingdom is my primary focus, I will never worry over what I have or do not have.

  • Why are you worried?
  • Is it because you do not have something?
  • Do you have CHRIST in your life?
  • Are you seeking HIS way or your way?

Friday, May 20, 2011

I will do anything for money!

Matthew 6: 19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
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“I’ll bet you two dollars you won’t climb on top of the school.” This was the bet that was placed in front of us. Notice I said “us.” We raced towards the school and began climbing. Fortunately my nerdish build prevented me from getting no more than two feet off the ground. 

The more daring guys climbed their way to the top of the two and a half story structure. When they climbed down, the principal was there to meet them. No one got the two dollars!

  • My love of money will make me do some extreme things.
  • My love of money will make me work extreme hours and leave my family on their own.
  • My love of money will make me stab someone in the back and justify it in my mind by thinking “they deserve it.”
  • My love of money will make me question the person who is trying to get close to me in hopes that they won’t want any of my money.

Many times I have thought what crazy thing I would do for money. I see the reality shows with people racing around the world or eating bugs or living on islands to gain a few dollars. Then I thought, “I wouldn’t do that” but would you work for thirty six hours straight? I did!

More money and trinkets has been a driver in my life when I got “more money and trinkets.” It seemed like the more I got the more I had to have. It also seemed like “the more I had” “the more I had to lose” and the harder I had to fight to keep what I had. What I had was “no peace.”
  • It’s alright to have money but don’t store it up rather distribute it.
  • It’s alright to have nice things but don’t cherish them because they will get broken, stolen or worn.
  • It’s alright to have plans and goals to attain wealth but only on GOD’s plan and timing.

JESUS walked the earth without a dime. John the Baptist was declared the greatest human outside of JESUS and he didn’t have a dime either. GOD isn’t impressed with my earthly wealth because HE owns everything. HE is quite impressed when I share my wealth for the specific purpose of growing HIS kingdom.

  • What’s in your heart?
  • Are you sad or depressed because you don’t have enough money?
  • Would you do “anything” for money?
  • What amount of time do you spend getting money and how much time do you spend giving money?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Take time to go “fast.”

Matthew 6: 16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.


17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

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“Will I pass out?” “How will I make it an entire day without food or liquid?” “What is the purpose of fasting anyway?” These were the questions that ran through my mind the first time I actually “heard” about fasting. Mind you I had been told about fasting for years, but I never “heard” it for myself.

Giving up food and liquids seemed a bit harsh. Doesn’t the body need these things to remain alive? Will fasting make me holier? I was confused.

  • Fear made me question fasting so I tried to downplay its purpose.
  • Fear intensified my doubt that fasting is necessary for worshipping GOD.
  • Fear kept me away from another block of time I could have spent with GOD.

Fasting doesn’t make me special or holier or supernatural from what I have read. When I take time to give up food for a day, my body tells me to spend time with GOD in prayer. My stomach growls and the smells of food seem to be everywhere. When these moments hit I pray.

  • Fasting lets me know the “body” GOD created is so much more than a food to energy converter.
  • Fasting reminds me that I need GOD as much as I need food.
  • Fasting gives me a moment to slow down my busy life and spend time with GOD.

GOD wants me to focus on HIS heavenly kingdom and nothing should be as important as this, not money, jobs or even food. HE wants me to have control over my self-indulgent life for just a little while and trust HE will take care of me. HE wants me to have a secret time with HIM and HIM alone.

  • Have you tried to fast?
  • What are you afraid of?
  • Can you ease into it by missing a meal then two then three?
  • What will you pray for during this time?
  • Can you do this as an act of worshipping GOD and not to get something?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I need a bad "memory."

Matthew 6: 14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
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Which box are you in, box number one or two? You are probably in a box because I put you there. Either you did something bad or good to me. Funny, if you are in the “did something bad to me” box then it’s very hard to get you out of that box. My memory is clear and the malefaction is brought top of mind.

The other box is a nice box that I put you in which is the “you did some nice things for me” box. It’s filled with good memories and sometimes raises the person up on a pedestal that maybe they don’t deserve.

  • When I remember the sin the other person did, I cannot fully forgive.
  • When I replay the details of the sin over and over, then my mind adds details from other sins.
  • When I retrace the steps of the person’s sin I find myself in the trap of their sin.
Humans will do wrong things. I am human and I will do something wrong. My reaction to sin, blatant or not, is what GOD looks at to determine my consequence. “Consequence?” you ask. Yes consequence. I am saved from eternal separation through belief in JESUS which is an “ultimate” path, but what about the “relative” path?

  • If my “relationships” are not healed then I will have turmoil on earth.
  • When my “relationships” suffer my words are weakened and I spiral downward into more sin.
  • If I allow their sin to get in the way of my “relationship” with the person then GOD will allow the full consequence of “my” sin to hit me hard.

GOD put me here to “relate well” with others in order to draw them back to HIM. I must model the mercy, grace and love HE models toward me. I must admit this is quite difficult, especially with close loved ones BUT GOD gives me help.

In my prayers I can ask for GOD to forgive them as HE has forgiven me for (insert sin here). I can also purge my memory of the event and practice remembering good things.
  • Are you good at holding grudges?
  • Someone has to show grace and mercy first, can it be you?
  • What sin have you done recently that GOD may show full consequence?
  • Can you remember what good things the other person has done?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I’m giving! Please tell the news!

Matthew 6: 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
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As I developed my business plan, “giving” was going to be one of my headlines in the press release. People feel good about a business that gives and I wanted my business to grow so I developed a plan that would get that crowd of generous people.

I could just see the headlines, “He gave a boatload!” This of course would be followed by applause and excessive back patting.
  • Giving with the wrong intent does not move GOD.
  • Giving with the motive of getting something here on earth does not move GOD.
  • Giving with the loudest bragging only brings attention to me and does not move GOD.
Anytime I’m giving in public I draw all the fanfare towards me when it really should be going to GOD. HE truly loves when I give in secret because many things change.
  • When I give in secret my motive is pure.
  • When I give in secret, the more I give the more GOD rewards me in heaven.
  • When I give in secret the recipient and others praise GOD and not me.
Unfortunately I like the praise and honor from humans but when I take a moment to stop bragging GOD says “well done” “thank you for serving one of MINE.”
  • Do you like the recognition for your efforts?
  • Can you do the things you do only for GOD instead of being recognized?
  • Is there someone you can give to in secret?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Brother can you spare...

Matthew 5: 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

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It seems like they were everywhere.  People had their hand out asking for stuff and I only had so much to go around.  I mean I wanted my new house, furniture, car, clothes and vacation. Can’t these people just pull themselves up by their “boot straps” and get it together? “All they have to do is…” Wasn’t my na├»ve young mind in a strange direction?


·         I don’t understand why there is an inequity of wealth, BUT GOD wants me to have compassion.
·         I don’t understand why it seems like the selfish get richer, BUT GOD wants me to be generous.
·         I don’t understand why someone who seems to be following GOD can be broke, BUT GOD wants me to share my wealth with them to show HIS generosity.


One way GOD wants to show humans HIS love is for me to be generous.  I’m not talking about selective generosity, I mean an overwhelming generosity that permeates every aspect of my life. In lean times HE wants me just as generous as times of plenty.


Generosity takes practice.  I can always find a reason not to give. “They aren’t organized” or “They don’t know what they want” or “they are not trying to help themselves” or “My bills are crawling all over me.” These are all reasons to zip up my wallet and hold back.

·         GOD gives me plenty so I can give plenty.
·         GOD loves when I am not selfish with the wealth HE has given me.
·         GOD desires that I spread the wealth to those in need to draw them closer to HIM.
 

My prayer for others has to be adjusted. Instead of praying for money to fall out of the sky for them and me, I pray the LORD meets our needs and draws us closer to HIM to be used as HIS instruments. A generous heart makes a great servant of GOD.
 
·         Are you questioning the plan of the person asking you for money?
·         Can you give to “that” person without complaining?
·         Is there someone you have in mind you can give to right now?

Friday, May 13, 2011

I probably lied to you!

Matthew 5: 33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.


36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

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Many times people would say “please pray for me” and I would say “I will” but I rarely followed through. It seems like the events of the day would bring something greater in my life that would distract me from following through with my promise.


“I’ll call you” or “I’ll come over” or “I’ll do it” have been empty words that have easily come out of my mouth but to make it worse I added the dreaded words “I promise.” Why did I go and do that?  I have even said to GOD, “I promise I’ll NEVER do that again if YOU would only…”

  • A promise is a form of worship for GOD can never break HIS promises.
  • A promise is a commitment that GOD expects me to keep.
  • A promise is a way of changing the direction my life is going to do something special.

There is something quite special about GOD’s Bible that I have just recently noticed. HE has bound HIMSELF to HIS own words. Quite honestly, If I were GOD with all of HIS amazing power, I would try stuff and if it didn’t work out then I would tell everyone, “I changed my mind, we are going in a new direction.”

GOD never changes HIS mind like a leaf blowing in the wind, so HIS promises are ultra-dependable. HE expects me to behave the same way or recognize my limitations.

  • When someone asks me for a favor I can say “Yes” or “No” if my limitations permit.
  • When someone asks me for a deadline I can say “Yes” or “No” if all conditions are met.
  • When someone asks me to pray for them I can say “Yes” and pray right away instead of failing my promise.
A double minded person can never be trusted. I have to keep my commitments knowing I am limited by GOD’s plans. My new statements should be “I will do this or that if GOD says the same.”
  • Are you bound by your words or do you make empty promises?
  • How many promises have you made recently that you have broken?
  • Can you change some of your empty way of talking and keep your commitments?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

How many times have I committed adultery?

Matthew 5: 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
 
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It seems to be all around us these days. Sex is as prevalent as the leaves on the trees. Throughout my life television, movies and fashion have been a nemesis to my pitiful attempt at remaining mentally pure as GOD states in this passage.

 
A glance at a scantily clad woman or an accidental peek at nudity isn’t the problem. It’s when I linger, wonder or discuss it with the fella’s that causes problems between me and the LORD.
 
  • Lust leads me away from serving my wife and family.
  • Lust leads me away from treating the person I’m lusting after with GOD’s respect.
  • Lust leads me away from asking GOD for purity of mind and toward complaining about HIS rules.
“You mean my lustful glance is a problem with GOD” I would ask myself. I mean I haven’t acted on the glance, what’s the problem? The “lustful” glance says to my wife “you are not enough.” GOD put our union together to form a “spiritual triangle”, HIM, her and me.
 
I find it takes practice to remain pure of mind especially in today’s society of sensual sludge that pours into our family rooms even on commercials. I wonder how many times I fell into a trap of lustful adultery over the course of my marriage. I probably don’t want to know the number.
  • GOD wants me to remain pure of mind so I must keep reducing the ways it can enter my lenses.
  • GOD wants me to remain pure of mind to keep my thoughts focused on HIM.
  • GOD wants me to remain pure of mind so I must focus on the spiritual triangle HE has set up.
I must admit purity of mind is difficult and I have discussed this many times with many men who struggle with a one mate for life concept. The conclusion that I came up with is GOD wants me to realize that my judgmental ways of accusing those who have committed adultery is the “same” as my lustful glance. I require mercy just as much, if not more than the one who went through with their fantasy.

  • Do you believe GOD forgives your lustful heart?
  • Can you admit out loud that you have followed your lusts instead of GOD’s love?
  • Do you believe that confession to GOD set’s you free from your lustful trap?
  • Can the person you have flirted with hear GOD’s message from you “after” you have lusted with them?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

You're and "idiot," or is it me?

Matthew 5: 21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.


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“Look at that doofus driving with his turn signal on” I said to my family as I expressed my impatience with driving. When the promotions came out and “that” person was on the list I thought “that idiot?”


When questioning my parents for not letting me go to the party or event I mumbled and grumbled and muttered under my breath “stupid!” Notice I wasn’t “stupid” enough to say it out loud.

When I corrected a person for not hearing what “I” said even when they may have been distracted, or I may have said it the wrong way or at the wrong time or in the wrong tone, I may have thought that person was a little, uh, off “their” game and I wasn’t to blame.

  • Calling someone a fool is insulting to GOD who made them.
  • Calling someone slow insults GOD and raises me higher than HIM.
  • Calling someone dumb slaps GOD’s face because I don’t know the whole plan.

At one time I thought this verse was a little harsh.  I mean doesn’t the Bible point out “foolish” “slothful” people? In my examples there is one thing in common, “I’m not getting my way.”

  • When I am not getting my way I pout and call the other person names.
  • When I am not getting my way I think the other person is stupid and they need “my” help into “better” thinking.
  • When I am not getting my way I believe my plan is better and I discount the other person’s method of doing things.
GOD wants me to appreciate the differences HE made in people. HE wants me to value opinions of others while humbly adding my “two cents.” A weak leader tries to prove their value by downplaying others, a strong one doesn’t have to.


  • Do you think “that” person is stupid?
  • Are you questioning a person’s intelligence?
  • They may be insulting your intelligence, do you have the right to do the same to others?
  • Can you pray for “that person” instead of criticizing them?
  • Have you ever thought “maybe I’m the idiot” in this situation?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Some good home training.

Matthew 5:

 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.



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JESUS has called us to “follow HIM” and to do HIS will but how? How am I supposed to do HIS will when life is upside down or sideways or some other off direction?


HIS answer is simple:
  • Be “poor in spirit” and stop fighting GOD’s will for a moment to see what HE will do.
  • Be in a “mournful” state over the sins that easily gets to me and watch the FORGIVER work.
  • Be “meek” instead of bragging about gifts and abilities so GOD can get the credit, not me.
  • Be “hungry and thirsty for righteousness” wanting real and perfect worship of GOD instead of my sometimes worship attitude.
  • Be “merciful” because my list of sins is long, wide and in need of GOD’s repair.
  • Be “pure in heart” because lust is the opposite direction of love and poor motives are selfish.
  • Be a “peacemaker” because people are repelled by hatred, prejudice and malice but drawn by GOD’s love for one another.
  • Be “persecuted” and different than the world, proclaiming GOD’s SON as my savior even if friends, family or foes don’t bow to HIM.
  • Do you feel you are at “odds” with GOD?
  • Can you believe HE will forgive you even for “that” sin?
  • Can you change your heart today?
  • Will you bless someone with one of these words of comfort?


Monday, May 9, 2011

Looking for somebody?

Matthew 4: 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”
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“Need a job? Network” I was told. “Want to grow your business? Network” I was told. “Want more out of life? Network” I am told. Networking has become this thing that seems great for the political and gross for the average person.


“You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” is a growing self-serving attitude that I don’t quite feel comfortable with. How can I be successful if that isn’t my personality?

  • I can’t follow JESUS when I am arrogant.
  • I can’t follow JESUS when I am fearful.
  • I can’t follow JESUS when I am lustful.
  • I can’t follow JESUS when I am doubtful.
  • I can’t follow JESUS when I am lazy.
JESUS told HIS disciples to follow HIM meaning “Do what I do.” HE tirelessly gave of HIMSELF while keeping a peaceful attitude. HE had to show HIS disciples how to serve people and how to have the right attitude while doing so.


Humans are flawed. We are selfish even when we serve, BUT JESUS was pure in all of HIS intentions. HE showed me how to serve others just for the sake of serving HIM. Now when I do something “nice” for someone, I know it brings the person one more step closer to GOD.

  • Networking for GOD always yields profit in my life.
  • Networking for GOD always feels like the right thing to do.
  • Networking for GOD always works when my motive is purely focused on HIM.

GOD doesn’t need me to manipulate, coerce, or entangle people to have a relationship with HIM. HE simply wants me to share the great news about the things HE has done for me over the years. That’s it. My net “heavenly worth” goes up each sincere moment I share. GOD will take care of my earthly needs when I focus on HIS heavenly kingdom.

  • Why do you meet people?
  • Is it difficult for you to “network?”
  • Are you meeting people to serve yourself or to serve GOD?
  • Can you serve someone today even if it is as little as a smile?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Words are very important.

Matthew 4: 1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”


4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

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One word can make a huge difference in how I am perceived. Let me try an experiment on a short sentence. “I love you” or “I hate you.” It’s pretty obvious what the difference is in this simple sentence but it’s not always obvious to me when I goof and put my foot in my mouth.

In other words I make mistakes in the use of my words and so do others. Sometimes my words can escalate into small tiffs and enrage into huge battles of the will. Other times my words can bring peace and ignite the heart.
  • I find it amazing that GOD has shackled HIMSELF to HIS own words written in the Bible that I can read.
  • I find it amazing that words are more powerful than physical needs.
  • I find it amazing that GOD’s words are supreme and there is no judge or jury higher than HIS words.
Fortunately there is a remedy for me and my sometimes awkward use of words.  I can use more words but they must be coupled with action.

  • To show grace, I can make up first but my action needs to include forgetting the incident.
  • To show mercy, I can tell the person the wrong but my action needs to include no punishment or retribution.
  • To show faith in someone, I can say “I believe you” but my actions should be in a manner that follows that belief.
I can say “GOD I believe you will take care of my situation” but act like HE isn’t and I won’t like the result. I can say “LORD help me follow YOUR plan” and if I am open to the changes HE will make then I will be amazed at the wonderful adventure HE will take me on.
  • Are you a man or woman of your words?
  • Do you say stuff and not follow through on your promises?
  • Can you try to understand GOD’s words by reading HIS Bible more often?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Is GOD pleased with me?

Matthew 3: 16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
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“Life is too short to walk around angry” I said to myself as I pouted for not getting my way. My rage had stirred up and its full fury was ready to be unleashed because “those” people were absolutely going crazy with their sneaky deceitful ways.

When I looked in the mirror I realized some of the sneaky, deceitful things I have done over the years. Maybe this time I should handle things differently. Maybe I should use “grace” instead of “gotcha.” GOD was definitely “pleased” with that decision.

This passage is written in the Bible a couple of times and is extremely special.  It documents three distinct beings of GOD yet somehow they are one. They are equal. They are together.

I don’t know how they operate. Are they one because they agree with each other or are they physically one? All I know is they hung their entire plan on the ONE who chose to become human, namely JESUS.

  • JESUS was baptized to show HIS agreement with the plan of dying for my sins.
  • GOD the HOLY SPIRIT descended on JESUS showing HIS agreement with the plan to live inside my filthy body.
  • GOD the FATHER said to HIS SON “YOU can do it” by stating “I am well pleased.”
I truly don’t know what is/was at stake when JESUS volunteered to become a human and walk in a way to never sin during HIS humanity. Did the FATHER bet HIS throne and put all of HIS trust in JESUS? Well… the Bible doesn’t say that, but it must be something so significant that the devil will stop at nothing to thwart their holy plan.

  • The FATHER is pleased with JESUS and by my belief HE is pleased with me.
  • The HOLY SPIRIT is pleased with JESUS, lives inside of me and begs the FATHER for forgiveness for me daily.
  • JESUS is pleased with me because in the middle of the act of my sin, HE died for me.

No human can take me away from JESUS, not even myself. HE is with me always.
  • Is GOD pleased with you?
  • What are you trying to hide?
  • Can you focus a small part of your life for GOD today?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I am special.

Matthew 2: 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

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Our neighborhood was typical in the big city. Houses, families, dogs and a car was what you would find for block and blocks. I was oblivious to the future and never really thought about “what I would become.”  I was just a kid in a neighborhood going to and from school.
I never would have imagined the adventure GOD had for me in the ride called life. With uncombed hair and tattered clothes I just never thought I would be someone special. BUT GOD thought differently.
  • It doesn’t matter to GOD what neighborhood I lived in, I am special to HIM.
  • It doesn’t matter to GOD what social status I’m in, I am special to HIM.
  • It doesn’t matter to GOD what clothes I wear, car I drive or gadget I use, I am special to HIM.
More and more I see people who consider themselves special by their job titles, social standing or cumulative wealth. When any of these things get out of whack, they don’t feel as special, I know I felt this way. GOD on the other hand started me off special as a child.

I had no possessions entering the world and will leave with nothing. What makes me special is GOD has placed HIS HOLY SPIRIT inside me and now I am able to speak about HIS SON in generous amounts without guilt of yesterday’s sin.

  • JESUS entered the world as a humble servant.
  • JESUS came from a modest town.
  • JESUS walked the earth with no wealth.
GOD knows human wealth and human titles are no match for HIS wealth or HIS title. When HE declares something special, no one can change that decree. HE has declared you and I special, that’s all that matters!
  • Do you believe GOD made you special?
  • Do you think GOD has a bigger plan for you?
  • Can you drop your fears and follow GOD’s leading?