Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The last ingredient to getting my way!

John 15: 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

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We arrived at the cancer center for children. I kept looking at my watch keeping track of my time. “Finally” I said to myself as my boss walked in late. “Now that I have officially been seen by my boss, I can get out of here and go do what I want.” I mean he was the one who set this thing up in the first place! Looking back on that, I don’t even remember why I was trying to leave so quickly.

  • People with problems should never be an inconvenience to me.
  • People with problems should never be viewed as a disruption to my schedule.
  • People with problems should never be avoided so I can get “my way.”

Time after time I have seen the weak left behind, the broken trampled and the bothered left alone. It isn’t easy to have patience with a person who has problems and hasn’t got it all together. Why do I know that? Because I finally realized I am one of those weak, broken bothered people.

  • GOD wants me to empathize with the weak and hampered so HIS love can shine.
  • GOD wants me to show compassion to the weary in order to help them remember HE loves them in spite of their circumstances.
  • GOD wants me to serve the underserved to show them GOD hears their prayers and desperately loves them.

What about getting “my” way while I’m doing all this giving and serving? GOD specifically made me for HIS purpose to bear fruit for HIM. The more I make HIS way “my way” the more I can ask in the name of JESUS and get “my way.” Only GOD knows when I am “bearing fruit” because HE is the ONE who keeps track of what I do.

It’s up to me to “ask” for things GOD wants me to have and HE will give it to me in abundance. HE wants me to actually “love” people so that I can know what to ask for.

  • Are you frustrated because you are asking GOD for things and not getting your way?
  • Have you assessed the things you are asking for to see if it is “all about you?”
  • When is the last time you have shown compassion, empathy and love for the underserved?
  • Are you planning to bear fruit for GOD the way HE wants you to, knowing it may take you out of your comfort zone?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Trying too hard to please GOD

John 15: 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

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Recalling my past sins seemed to fuel my drive to please GOD. I remember going to church early in the morning and leaving in the evening exhausted because I had volunteered for everything. From trustee chair to janitor, this church was not going to fail. I wonder what my family thought about that.
  • I should not seek “acceptance” that I already have from GOD.
  • I should not assume that my sin controls GOD’s actions.
  • I should not believe GOD is disappointed with me so I may as well sin.
It’s amazing how complicated I think it is to follow GOD and HIS ways. I dream up this false belief that when things are going well for me HE is pleased with me and when things seem bleak, HE must be punishing me for my sins. I try to get back on the straight and narrow but I fail over and over. How discouraging!
  • GOD says “Come to ME with your heavy hearts and learn of ME for MY yoke is easy and MY burden is light.”
  • GOD says “I want peace and joy to overfill your hearts.”
  • GOD says “Remain in ME and let my words guide every part of your life, then you will bear fruit.”
GOD has already packaged my life nicely.  HE doesn’t just let it be mundane and without problems, rather HE placed HIS words in me and allows me to go through the adventure of life. HE enables me to bear fruit in spite of my sins, trials and troubles. I don’t have to force GOD to love me because HE has already shown HIS love by dying for me.
  • Do you think GOD is not pleased with you?
  • Do you have the false notion that you can be good enough to make HIM pleased?
  • Can you believe HE loves you, especially with your flaws?
  • Will you take a moment to share with someone how GOD loves you in spite of your flaws?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Peace

John 14: 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

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Talking too much escorted me to detention once. Climbing on a factory and being forced to jump into a tree as the only means to get down left bruises. Smashing a brick to the ground enabled me to get seven stitches in my finger. I can still see the scar.

  • Reflecting on my past sins can really get me down.
  • Reliving my past over and over can cause me to get stuck.
  • Reviewing what I could have done better only makes me more anxious.

Stupid decisions seem to precede me when the choice of sin is involved. I mean if you ask me whether I would choose GOD’s way or my way, I’m going to choose my way which always leads to the wrong way. Once I find myself in trouble and without “peace” then I come running to GOD asking HIM to fix things.

  • JESUS says “I allowed people to murder me on purpose to save you from eternal death.”
  • JESUS says “I sent you an Advocate who is the Comforter so you will never have to be worried.”
  • JESUS says “I love you so much that I only want what’s best for you, so I give you the HOLY SPIRIT to remind you of MY words.”

So many stupid decisions which led to my sin have caused me to get in a world of trouble. Some of the consequences of my past sins took decades to surface. My past along with my present caused me to worry about my future. GOD says “the past, present and future are MINE.” “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

In other words, GOD says “I got this one.” “Don’t you waste any time worrying, because I am stronger than any person, bigger than any situation, and more powerful than any plot against you.” “In fact no one can thwart MY great plans I have for you if you believe in ME.” That gives me peace!

  • Are your past sins catching up with you?
  • Are you busy blaming others and not focused on strengthening your own faith?
  • Won’t you put your trust in GOD and expect great things from HIM?
  • Will you give GOD your worries and accept HIS peace by saying “I accept whatever YOU give me in this situation LORD?”

Friday, November 25, 2011

Just ask.

John 14: 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

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Sleep eluded me as the excitement built higher and higher.  I woke up several times during the night and crept into my parent’s room. “Is it Christmas yet?” I would agonizingly ask. I just wanted to see if I got the “stuff” I asked for.
  • GOD says that I should not love of money because it will make me forget who HE is.
  • GOD says I have the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life working against me.
  • GOD says do not set my heart on anything material because that thing will control me.
Nervous and full of agony, Solomon asked GOD for wisdom to lead the people of Israel. GOD said “good choice” and not only made him the wisest man who ever lived, HE also made him rich beyond compare simply because he didn’t ask for wealth.

GOD knows where my “treasure” is that’s where my heart is going to be. If I am full of greed then the first thing I ask HIM for will be something material. If I am full of lust then I will ask for a different mate. If I am full of pride then I will ask for a title and crave control over my life and others. That’s not what GOD wants me to ask for.
  • LORD please expand my heart to include mercy for my judgment abounds.
  • LORD please expand my heart to include grace because I can’t see what YOU see in people.
  • LORD please expand my heart to include generosity because the lust for things makes me want more things instead of giving.
  • LORD please expand my heart to include love especially for those I don’t like.
GOD wants me to ask for things “I don’t want” if you ask me. HE wants me to love my enemies, give to the poor and give instead of getting. HE wants me to ask for peace, wisdom, knowledge, understanding, kindness, faith and character. Above all HE wants me to ask that HIS SON be discussed by everyone who I come in contact in a way that glorifies HIM.
  • What is in your heart?
  • Is your heart troubled because you have not asked GOD for the right things?
  • Are you busy “naming and claiming” more and more material things when you should be asking for compassion?
  • Won’t you seek what GOD wants you to ask for?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Just wait and see what’s next!

John 14: 1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?

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Sitting at my desk I toiled through piles of e-mails fretting the team meeting we were about to have. My boss poked his head in my cubicle with a grin on his face which did not diminish my work. He invited me to join everyone in the meeting. Upon entering the room everyone began applauding. Then I turned my head and my family was there.

“What is going on?” I thought to myself. My boss could hardly contain himself as they presented me with a very prestigious award. “I almost slipped up several times” he said with a grin!
  • Many times I think GOD is only a disciplinarian.
  • Many times I feel GOD only wants HIS goody-goody way that I can’t live up to.
  • Many times I believe GOD doesn’t even like me so HE is constantly doing a makeover on me.
My strange perception of GOD has tainted me into believing that HE is a mean perfectionist who really doesn’t love me but is always disappointed with me. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
  • The same GOD who built all universes is taking HIS time to build a place specific to my liking.
  • The same GOD who created beauty and pleasure is toiling over building an everlasting place for me.
  • The same GOD who designed love, peace, kindness and wisdom is using them to build a place where HE and I can have a pure relationship without pain and misery.

GOD is running over with love and can hardly wait to do something great for me in heaven and on this earth.  HE doesn’t like to see me miserable and HE really doesn’t like when I turn my back on HIM as HE extends HIS hand of peace and love to me. 

So why doesn’t HE just zap everything into pleasure mode for me? Well, that question is bathed in selfishness and sin. HE wants me to understand HIS pure unadulterated love for me and accept HIM being GOD on HIS terms. This includes understanding I am a sinner and I need JESUS to save me.

JESUS says “Do not let my heart be troubled.” I believe HE is telling the truth when HE says HE is taking care of everything, even the stuff I am going through!

  • When is the last time you got excited about doing something for “that” person?
  • Are you bubbling over getting ready to serve someone?
  • Can you get excited about preparing something for people you want to show love to?
  • Will you extend your service to someone with excitement, strictly for GOD’s purpose?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Why is following GOD so hard?

John 13: 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

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Crying was my way of saying “I am not getting my way.” I cried when I didn’t get my favorite toy. I cried when I couldn’t go over someone’s house to cure my boredom. I cried when I was told to finish my work before going out to play. “Why do my parents have so many rules? Can’t they just loosen up?”
  • When Satan chose to stop following GOD he pouted and was thrown out of heaven.
  • When Satan chose to stop following GOD he no longer wanted to have rules or structure.
  • When Satan chose to stop following GOD he wanted total control over his life and wanted to ruin what GOD made.
GOD cursed galaxies and the Earth because Satan caused humans to sin. Every human born has the deadly disease of sin that can only be cured by pure blood. JESUS provided that pure blood by becoming a human, dying for my sins and being raised from the dead to rule over everything. But life seems tough.
  • Life is difficult so GOD wants me to love people through the tough times.
  • Life is tough so GOD wants me to love people to show HE still cares.
  • Life is troublesome so GOD wants me to love others which not only helps them but gives me purpose.
When I get troubled it usually is caused by me focusing in on me. When I love someone as GOD wants me to then my trouble doesn’t feel like trouble. In fact my trouble seems to be an obstacle to completing my mission which is to serve those whom GOD has delivered to me.

GOD has given me a purpose in life namely to “love” as HE has loved. When I act blind and deaf to this purpose then I get troubled. When I love, I hear GOD clearly!
  • What troubles are you facing?
  • Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?
  • Are you seeking pleasure on your own terms?
  • Can you love people the way GOD wants you to love them?
  • Will you love “that” person for the sole purpose of bringing them back to CHRIST?

Monday, November 21, 2011

You mean I have to serve them?

John 13: 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

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Snobbery was the tone that my neighbor constantly spoke. He would mention “they” and “them” all the time, unaware that his tone was offending me. “Serve him” was the message from GOD to me. “What?” “Serve the one person who definitely does not deserve to be served?!” “LORD YOU have got to be kidding!?”
  • My thoughts about who “deserves” to be served are born out of judgment.
  • My desire to serve those “I” choose is born out of sin.
  • My pattern of “not” accepting the way someone serves me shows I am too proud to be served.
Throughout the years I have arrogantly gone on trips to “help those people,” putting them in the poor and needy box. Maybe I was serving them with my action, but not my attitude. JESUS showed me that serving people is just like breathing, it’s necessary and should be done all the time.

HE willingly washed the feet of the person who would betray HIM, now that’s mercy!
  • GOD wants me to serve people without wanting something in return.
  • GOD wants me to serve others in spite of lack of resources or lack of time.
  • GOD wants me to serve those who seem to tap dance on my last nerve and HE wants me to want the best for them.
I wondered why GOD has me serving people who don’t deserve to be served. Then it hit me, because I don’t deserve to be served. In the middle of my sins, JESUS loved me. HE served me by sacrificing HIS life and wanted nothing in return but my feeble faulty belief. All HE asks is that I do the same, knowing I could never repay HIM, but out of delight that HE cares for me.

  • Are you willing to serve “that” person?
  • Does “that” person cause you to look at yourself and see things you don’t like about “you?”
  • Will you stop picking and choosing who and how you will serve people?
  • Can you accept the way people serve you without judgment?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Do I believe a little or a lot?

John 12: 44 Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45 The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

   47 “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.

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Being a follower of GOD is tough sometimes. The occurrences of JESUS happened over two thousand years ago and while well documented, take faith to truly believe all of the things HE did. Over the years my broken faith has led me to ponder GOD and HIS relationship with me.

Wrong or right for testing HIM, I did check to see if HE was there and I concluded with a resounding YES!
  • I looked at science who says my creation came from a large collision and the fragments on this planet were just right to start the chain of evolution.
  • I looked at groups who don’t quite believe in science, but they somewhat believe in a higher being, and they somewhat believe in their field of study.
  • I looked at “religion” and there were so many conflicting views over what a deity truly is.
These tests were done with filtered thinking because my parents had taught me the ways of CHRIST, but I had to see for myself. Here is what I found.
  • It’s easier to believe GOD was always here rather than gasses and minerals colliding by happenstance.
  • It’s easier to believe GOD created humans in HIS image with love embedded in them than cells evolving to the point where love happened to appear.
  • It’s easier to believe GOD’s rules are so pure that only HE could save me from the consequences.
The more I read the Bible, the more it makes sense. No science, self-help or coincidence can explain what is truly going on. It boils down to this, I am a sinner and I need GOD not only to save me eternally but to guide me through this murky thing called life. HE even knows my faith is faulty, yet HE loves me!
  • Do you believe in science more than GOD?
  • Is your comfort zone in your field of study or can you step out on faith and add GOD to your thoughts?
  • Do you believe in some things about GOD or all things GOD says?
  • Is JESUS just a myth to you or is HE GOD who became a human to die for you?
  • Are you avoiding learning more about GOD because you don’t want to change?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

It wasn’t me!

John 12: 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

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“Who broke that” my parents would ask us. My immediate response “It wasn’t me.” “Who made the mess in the dorm” the resident assistant asked. “It wasn’t me” was my quick response though I was present at the small gathering. At work I was asked “Who was supposed to be responsible for watching over this large issue” my usual dodge came out “It wasn’t me.”

A funny thing happened when someone spoke up and took the heat at work. They were promoted! “Wait it was me!” Aw man, too late!
  • Self-preservation makes me try to hide my sins.
  • Self-preservation makes me jealous when someone is getting all the attention.
  • Self-preservation makes me cautious about who and when I talk about CHRIST.
Dodging responsibility for wrongs is one thing but what is worse is hiding my relationship with GOD in order to preserve my wealth, status or lusts. The statement “I like my life” has a major flaw, namely sin.
  • GOD wants me to tell the powers that be I will follow HIM before I follow a human.
  • GOD wants me to make sacrifices to HIM that may include giving up a status or some wealth or power just to show HE is in control.
  • GOD wants me to not be afraid to travel to the unknown because my life is HIS and HE can do as HE pleases with it.
I have a choice in life, serve others for GOD or serve myself. Many times I choose me over GOD, but there are those moments when I choose to serve GOD’s humans just because I love GOD. While those moments are rare, HE definitely honors me when I follow HIM.
  • Are you desperately trying to hold onto your life?
  • Could it be that GOD wants you to let go of your lifestyle so HE can do some marvelous things in your life?
  • Has GOD given you a solid purpose that you can tell people?
  • Do you realize GOD has a wonderful plan for your life that includes HIS promises for you?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What direction does my heart point?

John 12: 4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

   7 “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

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Many times I have given to “causes” that I didn’t even know what they were.  I wanted to maintain a relationship so I halfheartedly gave some amount to fulfill my “obligation.” “Well at least it was a tax deduction” I would think to myself.
  • Many times I am so focused on my world that I am not focused on “giving” to someone else.
  • Many times I am so focused on what I can get that I lose track of what I can give.
  • Many times I am so focused on trying to keep what I have that I justify not giving to those in need.
As a consummate provider, I abhor wasteful spending but a flaw in my accounting is that in many cases it does not include GOD’s style of generosity. Giving for a “tax break” protects and shelters my funds which one could argue is wise because I can give more, but my motivation isn’t truly focused on helping.

Judas’ words were actually wise. Mary could have sold the expensive perfume and given it to the poor, BUT GOD said something different.
  • When I pray for wealth my reason for wealth cannot be based on greed.
  • When I pray for wealth my reason for wealth cannot be based on fear.
  • When I pray for wealth my reason for wealth cannot be based on lust.
Mary anointed the most HIGH GOD with a valuable gift, prior to that she cleaned dirt and animal feces from JESUS feet with her hair. She recognized the valuable thing that was right in front of her. Now when I give maybe I should consider who and what I am giving and be excited about who I am serving.
  • Are you so worried about your situation that you cannot give generously?
  • Do you do things for GOD out of love or obligation?
  • Is it lack of faith that keeps the “poor” in poverty?
  • If GOD has blessed you with plenty, what are you doing with it?
  • If your desire for wealth has not been realized, then have you tried to be generous anyway?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I’m going to take you down!

John 11: 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.

   “What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”

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“It’s not personal, it’s business” was the lesson taught to me by many leaders. We purposefully excluded someone so we could discuss taking over their project. First the transition plan was built in secret then the communication as to why the leader of the project was no longer leading the project. It wasn’t personal as I effectively built a smear campaign to take the person down.
  • It’s easy to hurl insults at others.
  • It’s easy to get a group together to drag someone down.
  • It’s easy to whine and moan about someone to get sympathy or to get my way.

The same tactics were used to eliminate our positions as well. In business and politics, credibility must be attacked and we were not excluded from this truth. Many would say it has made me a better leader and they are probably right, but I would say it has made me a better follower.
  • Business says point out flaws, GOD says build people up.
  • Business says keep attacking their weaknesses; GOD says strengthen those who can’t do for themselves.
  • Business says make them look bad and me look good, GOD says whoever calls someone an idiot, they will have to deal with ME.
The Pharisees wanted to kill JESUS for helping people, healing people and mostly, raising people from the dead. Their wealthy lifestyle was at stake so they created the best smear campaign they could imagine. It wasn’t personal, just business! When I behave like this, GOD accounts for all my actions.
  • Do you think your sin is smaller than someone else’s sin?
  • Do you think that just because someone’s sins are in the news, your hidden sins are not being watched?
  • Have you developed a smear campaign of your own for “that” person?
  • Won’t you take GOD’s example and build “that” person up

Monday, November 14, 2011

JESUS is for heaven, but what about now?

John 11:  21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

 24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

 27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

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“Trust in the LORD”, my parents would say.  These were the words I would grow to be tired of. I mean how does trusting in the LORD help me right now?  JESUS seems like HIS only concern is heaven and my situation is right here in front of my face. Believing in JESUS is just ensures that I don’t go to hell right? Wrong!
  • Sometimes I think GOD is only there to prevent me from going to hell.
  • Sometimes I think GOD is only concerned with the afterlife and not focused on this life.
  • Sometimes I think GOD is just sitting on HIS throne watching me make mistakes, waiting to hit me over the head when I do so.
JESUS said to Martha, “Your brother will rise” knowing the miracle HE was about to perform. Martha’s response was paraphrased as “Yeah, yeah, I know he will be in heaven because I believe in the afterlife.” At least this is the response I would have given.

I sometimes think GOD is not really concerned about “my concerns.” It seems like HE just wants me to live naked in the desert preaching about HIS SON while looking crazy. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
  • GOD is concerned about every hair on my head for HE grows them.
  • GOD is concerned about every situation because HE made a plan for me that will not fail.
  • GOD is concerned about every little thing I do for when I am faithful with small items HE will give me larger matters to handle.
JESUS gave me HIS HOLY SPIRIT as a comforter and guide “through” life, not around it. When I take life’s adventure and focus it on GOD, I am greatly rewarded in “this” life and the next!
  • Do you believe in JESUS only for some matters and not for others?
  • Do you think your sins are only “small” sins so there is no need for JESUS right now?
  • Won’t you open your eyes to HIM and follow HIS ways today so you can see how he is working in your life right now?

Friday, November 11, 2011

I am “sure” everything will be alright!

John 10: 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

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Sleep hid from me as the excitement of my first camping trip went through my mind. What was going to happen? It was the unknown. Sleep escaped me the day before my first day of school, my first day of college, my first day on the job or moving to a new city.

Why was my mind racing? Was I sure this was the right thing to do? What if something bad happens to me?
  • When new things happen it makes me unsure.
  • When bad things happen it makes me more cautious in the future.
  • When I sin it only makes matters worse and shakes my faith in GOD.
I wish I had the faith of Abraham who seemed to do things for GOD without question. It seems like I have this habit of trying to predict the future based on past experiences. The tougher my experiences, the more nervous I get and the more I question GOD’s intentions with me.
  • GOD knew my faith would be weak so HE grabbed onto my life.
  • GOD knew I would serve sometimes and sin sometimes, yet HE holds my life in HIS hands.
  • GOD knew fear, worry and doubt would be my comfort zone, that’s why HE put a grip on my life that no one can touch.
GOD is all seeing, all knowing all and all powerful. No one can force HIM to release HIS grip on me. HE made me exactly how HE wanted me to be made. Anyone who has a problem with me has a problem with GOD. That goes for me as well, if I have a problem with someone I have a problem with GOD.

I can be sure, that I am sure, that I am positive, that I am sure that no height, nor depth, nor obstacle can keep me away from the love of GOD. I can’t even get in my own way, that’s how much GOD loves me!
  • Do you believe GOD is all powerful?
  • Why do you doubt HIS strength to hold onto your life once you believed in HIM?
  • Are you making an effort to hear HIS voice?
  • Are you “sure” you know HIM and more importantly, HE knows you?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I can’t see!

John 9: 39 Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

 40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”

 41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.

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“Please come speak to our group” was the request of one of the business owners. Arrogantly, I accepted the invitation thinking they wanted to hear my greatness. When I stepped to the podium, I was met with questions not pertaining to the agenda, nor had I prepared for. It was a trap! How did I not see this coming?

  • When I think more highly of myself, I become blind.
  • When I think I am doing better than others, I become blind.
  • When I think I have arrived, I become blind.

Blindness is my weakness and arrogance is my blind-guide. When I assume someone is stupid or weak or prejudiced or flirty or dangerous, I am acting in a “blind” fashion. I guess it’s self-preservation.

  • JESUS came into the world to lead me to HIS kingdom.
  • JESUS opened my eyes to my fallen state and showed me there is no way to save myself.
  • JESUS volunteered to die specifically for me and you in order for us to “see” HIS power.

Going through life blind and deaf to GOD’s ways has been a problem of mine since birth. HE yearns for me to learn about HIM, teach about HIM and live with HIM in peace not adversarial. Blindness causes me to run towards things I can touch and “see” which unfortunately are not items of faith.

JESUS says “Have faith in ME” and you will see.

  • Are you trying to live by your own power?
  • Do you get nervous easily?
  • Won’t you trade your worry for faith that GOD has a wonderful plan for you?
  • Can you accept your purpose in life telling more and more people about the great news of JESUS’ salvation?
  • Does the last question leave you blind?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

You won’t be right no matter what you do.

John 8: 57 “You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”

   58 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” 59 At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.

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When I get mad at people it seems like they can’t do anything right in my eyes.  Just ask my wife and kids. It seems there are times when I’m waiting for them to do something wrong rather than catching them in the act of doing something right. What am I missing?

  • Expectations of what GOD should do sets HIM up for failure in my mind.
  • Expectations of what GOD should solve makes HIM look like HE isn’t listening to me when HE doesn’t do it.
  • Expectations of what GOD should give me makes GOD my genie and not my GOD.

The Pharisees knew the Bible very well and walked around telling others how they should live. They were so full of themselves that they could not even see the good right in front of their eyes. They had an expectation of what GOD should be in their mind and were quite disappointed when JESUS appeared.

Love cannot exist when the expectation of the people around me are of “my” perfection.  They just won’t live up to it and inevitably disappoint me.

  • JESUS was accused of doing everything wrong but the truth was HE did everything right.
  • JESUS was accused of being a demon but HE is GOD and my savior.
  • JESUS was accused of being lower than a human but the FATHER has placed HIM above everything.

GOD doesn’t seem to act like I expect HIM to, look like I think HE does nor does HE do things when I expect HIM to. BUT GOD does act in pure love, HIS transformed appearance is glorious and HE is always right on time with HIS plan!

  • What expectations are you setting for others in your mind?
  • Are the failures in your mind or do you still see the potential?
  • Can you drop your accusations about them and help them become the best they can become?
  • Won’t you help them see CHRIST through your grace?

Monday, November 7, 2011

GOD is that you?

John 8: 47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”

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My life has been riddled with events that most would just brush off as “coincidences.”  A “coincidence” is the explanation of an event that happened by “chance” in a surprising or remarkable way. What I call a “miracle” some would say “the situation was supposed to happen that way.” What is the explanation for the events that happen in my life?

  • There are no coincidences in my life, but many times I believe GOD is not involved.
  • There are no coincidences in my life, but I try my best to set myself up to make coincidences happen.
  • There are no coincidences in my life, but I brush off the smallest thing as a random event rather than GOD speaking to me.

I can go into a laundry list of tiny events and circumstances that makes me very aware that GOD is speaking daily. Delays in traffic, words from a stranger, seeing a person that looks very familiar all have some purpose that seems random. BUT GOD uses each event to steer me to HIS purpose.

  • Once I opened my eyes, I could see GOD working in all events.
  • Once I opened my ears, I could hear GOD telling me to serve others in spite of my sins.
  • Once I opened my heart, I could feel GOD’s love every day and HIS motivation consumes me.

I’m no better than the next person.  I have no special powers, rather GOD has all the power. But I can listen to GOD speak every day and HE says, “Serve even though the service won’t be seen.” He says, “Give even though no one will say thanks.” He says “Forgive and I will forgive you.” Yes, GOD speaks and it’s up to me to hear what HE has to say.

  • Is GOD speaking to you?
  • Does it disturb you that GOD hasn’t spoken to you if you haven’t heard HIM?
  • Are you too busy listening to yourself?
  • Are you trying so hard to get your way that you can’t hear GOD?
  • Won’t you try asking GOD “what do YOU want me to do?”

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I want to be free!

John 8:  31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

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Sitting next to the window I could see a bird soar. How I dreamt I could be outside again enjoying the warm weather but my daydream was cut short when the teacher asked me a question.

Later in life I walked to work after class one summer and I saw everyone gathering to have some fun. I longed to be with them but the punch-clock said different. Even later, I sat in a high pressured meeting with blame and accusations being tossed around and I remembered days with no responsibility. “I just want to be free!” I thought to myself.
  • My definition of freedom is missing an ingredient.
  • My definition of freedom is slightly off kilter.
  • My definition of freedom doesn’t always include GOD.
The way I define freedom means I am free “from” responsibilities, free “from” blame, free “from” doubt, free “from” worries. That sounds good until I add more. I want to be free “to” do what I want, free “to” run wild, free “to” have what I want to have, free “to” say what I want to say.

“What is so bad with all that?” you ask. My definition of freedom is bathed with selfishness. I don’t want to be bothered with “life” and I want to just check out from problems without facing them, this turns to blaming others and even worse blaming GOD for constraining me so much.
  • GOD wants me to serve people the way they need to be served.
  • GOD wants me to tell people I sin and JESUS took my punishment.
  • GOD wants me to continue to learn of HIS ways so I can truly be free.
Freedom is telling people I have lied. Freedom is telling people I have broken promises. Freedom is telling people I have fallen to many other sins. Now that my life is an open book, I am free to live without guilt. What a weight lifted off my chest. I have chained my life to JESUS and HIS truth has set me free!
  • Are you trying to hide something?
  • What sins are you committing that seem to hold you in captivity?
  • Do you realize GOD forgave you for “all” your sins?
  • Won’t you try to reduce your “sin diet” even though GOD set you free from death?
  • Do you know GOD’s truth instead of your own “truth?”

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My path is bright!

John 8: 12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

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Life seems so murky and unclear at times. When it was time to apply to college the road was dark and unsure. My counselor was no help and my parents had never travelled down the road laid before me.

I naively applied to one college which happened to be one of the top schools. I didn’t expect to be rejected so I never built a contingency plan. I had no money, no guidance to keep me successful and no plan. How in the world did I make it?
  • Sometimes the future seems impossible.
  • Many times I have no idea what is going to happen so I fret and get myself worked up.
  • Sometimes I review my accomplishments and wonder how in the world I made it.
Looking back on my life, I should have never reached where I reached nor achieved what I have achieved. All odds were against me and the misguided would say there is something special about me that enabled me to accomplish things others couldn’t. Little do they know I had someone lighting the path.
  • Even though the path may be dark at times, JESUS lights the way.
  • Even though life may be unsure, JESUS lights my path.
  • Even though I may get anxious about the future, JESUS shines before me and calms my nerves.
There is no confusion following JESUS. HE wants me to tell the world about HIM whether I am standing or sitting, working or unemployed, happy or sad. It’s very simple. No matter what the circumstance, I should focus my attention to HIM. HE deserves credit for lighting my path; all I have to do is tell others about HIM.
  • Is your path unclear?
  • Are you worried about the future?
  • Can you calm yourself down by thinking about how JESUS is lighting your path?
  • Will you realize HE is there during this difficult time?
  • Won’t you trust HE has a great plan for you that is truly exciting?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

"That’s pretty judgmental of you"

John 8: 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

   But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

   9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.

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One defining moment of my life that told me I was on the wrong track was a conversation I had with my wife. Well actually she was my fiancĂ©e at the time. It was about a friend or relative deciding to “live” with someone.

By this time I was in the middle of study at a seminary and I quickly retorted to the position by saying “they shouldn’t be doing that.” She responded, “That’s pretty judgmental of you.” Wow! Was I on the wrong path?
  • GOD does not like when I go on a hunt looking for sinners to clean up.
  • GOD despises when I certify myself as being cleaner than someone else.
  • GOD loathes any act of tripping someone else up just to look better.
Many times I get confused with eradicating sin. Yes, I am supposed to teach others what GOD wants from me and that includes letting go of sin however the main message I need to say is JESUS died for the multitude of sins I commit daily!

Judging others who have not sinned against me is so easy to do. The news parades mean nasty people who deserve sentencing in front of me daily. My once positive outlook on life turned into blanket statements like “they shouldn’t be doing things like that!”
  • Instead of looking at the sin others commit, I need to seek the good GOD sees in them.
  • Instead of finding who to blame, I need to find who needs grace.
  • Instead of being very aware of GOD’s message of judgment, I need to become familiar with HIS message of mercy.
JESUS quietly bends down and writes my sins on the ground. “Cast a stone at that person you don’t know, I dare you” is what I hear. Now this doesn’t mean I should be a pushover and let a people sin against me without repercussion rather as I tell the person I must remember how I sinned against GOD and possibly them.
  • Are you ready to judge that person?
  • Have you admitted the sin you have committed?
  • Are you busy comparing yourself to someone else trying to look good to GOD?
  • Won’t you look at your own sins for a change and openly admit them to GOD and others?