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Friday, December 28, 2012

Committing To Regular Exercise

In summary of 1 Timothy 4:8 it says, “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”

Bottom Line:
It is good to train, both physically and spiritually.  Training for godliness is much better, the promise of the benefits from this will last in this life and the life to come.

What this means to me:
It is best for me to have discipline in both physical and spiritual training.  One way for me to train for godliness is to maintain my physical health.  God created me to be active and not a couch potato.  While I am thoroughly convinced of this it doesn’t always translate to being committed to it.  I need to reorganize my life such that I can include this into my day, along with quiet time, work and family time. I need to get back into the routine of walking daily.  I still need to make time each day to have a disciplined life in God.  Maintaining both will make me fit both today and in eternity.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Best News Of All!

In summary of Luke 2:11 it says, “For to you is born this day in the town of David a Savior, Who is Christ (the Messiah) the Lord!”

Bottom Line:
Today is the anniversary of our Savior, who is Christ the Lord!

What this means to me:
Today is an important reminder of what God did for me.  He loved me so much and made a way for me to be re-united with him.  God knows all about me and he wants a chance for me to know all about him.   Christ is my Messiah, My Lord.  This is the best news of all time and it’s not just for me but for all of the world.   I’ll keep this in mind as I meet with family today and communicate this.  Thanks God for the most wonderful gift anyone could ever give me.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A New Life, No Longer Living For Self

In summary of 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 it says, “Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. 15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.”

Bottom Line:
The Love of Christ controls and urges us because of our belief that he died for all, we also believe we have all died to our old way of life.  He died so that everyone who receives him has a new life, no longer living for themselves.  Instead they live for Christ.

What this means to me:
I truly believe that Christ died for everyone, it was God’s way to bring us back into a right relationship with him.  Because Christ died for me and I have accepted him as leader for my life, I have a new life.  In my new life I now live for him rather than for myself.  This is a completely different way of life in which I put others interests above my own.  It is difficult to break the chains of selfishness.  The best way is through the help that he wants to provide me each day.  Keeping attached to him via study of his word and prayer are the connection points that make this easier.  Today I ask God to infuse me with more concern for those around me (the ones God loves) and to stay in obedience to him which keeps me safe.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Christmas Story Reveals My True Value

In summary of John 3:16 it says, “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

Bottom Line:
God cares about us so much he gave up his son so that those who believe in him will not perish in separation from God but have eternal life with him.

What this means to me:
God loves and dearly prized me so much that he gave his only unique Son.  My faith, trust and reliance in him provides me now with an everlasting life with him.  God did this because on my own, I was lost.  Before committing my life to Christ I was lost, I was not connected to God.  But God still saw me as valuable and valuable enough to pay the price of his Son.  I mattered so much that he put together a rescue mission to come and get me.  This rescue mission started when He came to earth as a little baby who eventually would die on a wooden cross to pay the penalty of my sins (past, present and future.)  At this time of year, I’m reminded that the Christmas story reveals my real value.  God loved me enough to send his very best - Jesus.  This week I need to consider how my family get togethers will reflect the eternal significance of Jesus’ birth.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Giving Praise and Thankfulness To Our Lord

In summary of Psalm 95:1-2 it says, “Let’s sing to the Lord!  Let us shout joyfully to the Rock who saved us!.  Let’s come to him with thankful hearts and songs of praise.”

Bottom Line:
Sing and shout joyfully to the one (the Rock) who has saved us!  We should come to him with thankful hearts.

What this means to me:
Jesus is the Rock (unchangeable, steadfast) who has given his life to save me.  I should always be singing and joyfully shouting my appreciation for him and what he has done.  I will give thanks to him always for what he’s done.  While this verse tells of the Loud and joyful praise of him, I can also praise and bring glory to him in how I go about my everyday tasks.   Jesus is my real leader (no matter who I report under at work.)  I will conduct myself in a way that brings indicates my thankful heart and my joy.  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

God’s Everlasting and Unchanging Love

In summary of Jeremiah 31:3 it says, “In the past, the Lord appeared to us saying:  “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”

Bottom Line:
The Lord has told us that he has always loved us with a love so strong (unfailing.)  Because of this he is patient and kind.  What we can always expect is love from him.

What this means to me:
I should never forget that God is on my side.  He is not out there to crush me when I fail (and boy am I grateful for this because I fail all the time.)  He word reveals that he has always love me with an everlasting love that can never change.  God is so patient and kind in his dealings with me.  This gives me courage to move on and give my life for his purposes.  Today, I will remind myself that God loves me more than I can even fathom.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Guidance For The Day

In summary of Psalm 143:10 it says, “You are my God, teach me to do your will, show me what you want me to do.  Let your gentle Spirit lead me in the right path.”

Bottom Line:
God, teach and show me what to do.  Let your gentle Spirit lead me in all I do.

What this means to me:
You are everything to me, you’re my God, therefore I want you to teach me to do your will.  Teach me how to please you. Show me daily what it is you want me to do.  I’m relying on God’s Holy Spirit to lead me forward in the right path and with the right decisions.  It’s important for me to relinquish my own will and really look to see if God has something in mind for me to accomplish.  If I don’t get anything specific then I will do his general will.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Having God’s Word Readily Available

In summary of Psalm 119:11 it says, “Your word have I laid up in my heart, that I might not sin against You”

Bottom Line:
I have memorized your word and have it close at hand so that it will remind me and keep me from sinning.

What this means to me:
What I hold close to my heart, what I allow to permeate my thoughts will affect my perspective and values.  Scripture recommends that we memorize God’s word so that we can quickly recall it when feelings come or things happen.  In the past I had done scripture memory, however lately I have not done this (even the verses I had learned before are not easily recalled.)  I need to refocus / practice on prior verses, then introduce new ones.  The value of having God’s word close to my heart will come when I need encouragement or feelings/promptings come.  It is truly the sword of our spiritual armour.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Faith in His Son Brings Eternal Life

In summary of John 3:36 it says, “Everyone who has faith in the Son has eternal life.  However anyone who rejects and doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but instead will remain under God’s angry judgment.”

Bottom Line:
Having faith in the Son brings eternal life, ignoring him and or refusing to accept him will result in eternal separation and God’s angry judgment.

What this means to me:
When I put my faith and reliance in His Son I received God’s gift of eternal life.   And in this I am extremely grateful.  I have a sense of peace regarding what will happen to me after I pass on.  Because of my faith in him, I look to see what he has taught and then absorb it and put it into practice in my life.  I strive to obey what he has provided.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

God’s Love Fills The Earth

In summary of Psalm 119:64 it says, “O Lord, the earth is filled with you love; teach me your ways.”

Bottom line:
God fills our world with his love.  Please show me your ways.

What this means to me:
God’s love abounds even in the world around.  He holds all things together.  Our society may look like it’s crumbling, but God is always there and will show his love to those who turn to him.  I too must look to God and what he is doing around me.  I need to keep my eyes and heart open and join him.  I want to met with him each day and soak up what his word shows me.  I want to learn to do this his way so that it will go better for me and for my family.  God show me today your love and what you are doing in the world.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Humility Leads To Blessings

In summary of Matthew 5:3 it says, “God blesses those people who depend only on him.  They belong to the kingdom of heaven!”

Bottom Line:
God will bless those who depend on him, they are part of his family.

What this means to me:
God provides blessings when I’m humble and voluntarily take a lower position in relation to others.  When I humble myself, I show that I belong to the kingdom of Heaven.   God will truly bless those who depend on and realize their need for him.  I need to remember that with less of me there is more of God and his rule.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Being Ready For The Things God Wants To Accomplish Through Me

In summary of 1 Corinthians 2:9 it says, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”

Bottom Line:
No one has conceived fully what God has prepared for those who love and follow him wholeheadedly

What this means to me:
God has plans that He wants to accomplish through me.  There are things that my mind can’t even fashion that He wants to do.  God has made and keeps ready this plans, however I need turn away from my own selfish desires in order to hear him.  Hearing him requires that I relate with him daily, thanking him for the blessing he has bestowed upon me and obeying his promptings.  In order to do this, I need to check in daily with him to see if I have any particular marching orders for the day.  If I don’t hear anything, then I’m to go about doing that which he has already told me (us) to do generally.  Today I will review all that I do in this light.  I will be ready for anything he wants to accomplish through me.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Characteristics For Success At Work

In summary of Colossians 3:23 it says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people.”

Bottom Line:
Do your work wholeheartedly and as if you were working for the Lord rather than your boss.

What this means to me:
That whatever work I do, be it in the workplace, at home or in ministry, I am to willingly work as though Jesus was my boss.  When I make Jesus my boss, then I do everything I can to do the best possible work.  I am not to just do the minimum to get by, I am to do my best work always.  I want him to be pleased with what it is I do.  Ultimately, my real reward will come from him and not my earthly leaders.  There are five key characteristics I need to excel at to be successful in my work.  

I need to:
  • Work with enthusiasm, regardless of the type of work, big or small.  I am to give it my best.
  • Sharpen my skills.  I should never stop developing, growing, learning and improving.  (It’s never a waste of time to sharpen the “ax”.)
  • Keep my word and be reliable always
  • Maintain a positive attitude, even when put under pressure or in the midst of change or unrealistic demands (I need to do everything without complaining or grumbling.)
  • Do more that what is expected of me, not just what is required.  
When I find myself tempted to cut corners (thinking, no one will ever know), I need to remember that God is looking down and sees everything I do.   I need to give him my best this week and the weeks to come.  I need to spend some time looking at some long overdue to do's that have been on my list.  I either need to get rid of them (they don’t really need to be done) or I need to pick up enthusiasm and get them accomplished.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Walking With Integrity, Keeping A Straight Path

In summary of Proverbs 10:9 it says, “The man who walks uprightly walks securely, but he who takes a crooked way shall be found out and punished.”

Bottom Line:
People with integrity walk securely, but those who take crooked paths will eventually be found out.”

What this means to me:
When I practice integrity in what I do in life, I can walk securely.  With honesty I can live confident and carefree.  Being shifty or side stepping integrity and taking an easy path to get what I want will eventually catch up with me.  I’ll either slip and fall and cause harm to myself or those around me or I’ll be found out.  I must be honest in all dealings and at all times. Doing so provides safety and reflects well on the one I really serve (God.)  To me, living with Integrity means:

  • I am to live by fairness, even if it seems to put me at a disadvantage or causes me more work or effort.
  • I fight fair, even when those around me are not.
  • My word needs to be my bond.  My “yes” means “yes” and my “no” means “no”
  • I am authentic and act the same no matter who is present.  What you see is what you get.
  • I am straight forward in my conduct.  I don’t hide what I’m doing and don’t say one thing and do another.  
  • I explain facts in an even-handed manner, and not in a way that makes me look better than others.
  • I am respectful, helpful and gracious to everyone.
  • I am to go the extra mile, with a smile and not begrudgingly.
  • I am to do more that is required of me
  • I am not afraid to ask for help or to let God be my strength.
  • I handle tough situations knowing that God is at work in me.
  • I focus on “whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable.” (Phil. 4:8)
Today I will review my recent actions and consider my future dealings to ensure that I am being in line with Integrity in my life.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Show Your Faith By Obedience

In summary of Matthew 11:29-30 it says, “Take my yoke upon you, put it on your shoulders.  Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Bottom Line:
Walk with him and take his yoke, watch how he does it.  He won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.  

What this means to me:
When I decide (and this is a daily decision) to walk with him and take his yoke / learn from him, he teaches me to be gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart.  I then find much better relief, ease and refreshment for my soul.  For what Jesus teaches me is useful, good, gracious, pleasant and comfortable.  The actual burden of the day becomes much lighter and easy to bear.  Jesus calls me to a level of intimacy with him that can only be fulfilled by his constant presence in my life.  I can’t just say I have faith, but rather I must show faith by checking in with him daily and doing what he tells me to do.  (“Faith is only real when there is obedience, never without it, and faith only becomes faith in the act of obedience.”)  I can’t just follow a formula or set of tasks, I must simply follow him and do what he says daily.  Real faith is true obedience even when I’d rather just do what pleases me.  Today I need to substitute my own desires for his.

Friday, November 9, 2012

We Are Only Fully Alive When We’re Helping Others

In summary of Romans 14:12 it says, “And so, each of us must given an account to God for what we do”

Bottom Line:
In the end, each of us will have to give a personal account to God for what we did with our lives.

What this means to me:
No matter what I do, it is to God alone that I must ultimately have an answer for my actions.  When my life ends, I will stand before God and he is going to evaluate how well I served others with the life he gave me.  This means that one day in the future God will compare how much time and energy I spend on myself compared to what I invested in serving others.  As I reflect on that, no excuse for my self-centeredness will be solid up against that question.  God had created, saved and called me to a life of service.  God has already accepted me into his family, I don’t believe I’ll be punished but It will likely mean a loss of eternal rewards that he had planned for me.  Various scriptures reminds me that I’m only fully alive when I’m helping others.  Thus, If I’m not serving, then I’m just existing.  Life as God intended it for me is a life meant for ministry and ultimately God wants me to learn to love and serve others unselfishly.  i think the best thing to do moving forward is to remember this and not just at the end of my life but each day provide an account to God for what I do.  I also have to remember that my service must be done in love for others and not be-grudgingly or in a pouting mode because I would have rather just checked out and vegged.   Life will come alive when I help others.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

We Find Our Significance In Service

In summary of Romans 12:5 it says, "That’s how it is with us. There are many of us, but we each are part of the body of Christ, as well as part of one another.”

Bottom line:
Each of us will find our meaning and function as a part of his body and part of one another.

What this means to me:
Real significance in my life will be found as I function as part of his body, part of his church where I’m at and serving.  I’m part of the others, we belong to together to accomplish more than we can on our own.  Even though I’m just a part, together we make up one body we are dependent upon each other.  As I serve together in God’s family, my life takes on eternal importance.  I know that God wants to use me to make a difference in his world.  He wants to work through me.  What matters most is the donation I make of my life.  I need to not forget that what I’m doing as part of my congregation is of vital importantance (leading a Life Group, participating as part of the worship team.)  God will use my donation done in service to him.  It’s also a reminder to me of a theme that is coming up over and over again.  I am not to think more highly of myself than I should.  I need to be careful to not be too proud in what I do.  I want to change my outlook today to being a humble servant in what I do and that what I’m doing with others makes up a part of a body that is needed to function.  Until now I hadn’t quite thought how this relates to my job and work team.  Together we make up a body that has a function.  If we function separately we will never really accomplish what we need.  I need to also remember that I’m part of a larger team within my company and that myself and my team are not as much of an island as I was thinking we were.  Today I will re-consider acting as part of a larger team within my organization and not a unique island.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Learning To Humble Yourself

In summary of 1 Peter 5:6 it says, “So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.”

Bottom Line:
You need to realize your place and humble yourself before God.  When you do, he will lift you up at the appropriate time.

What this means to me:
I should not think so highly of myself.  I need to remember that I am only a servant and a steward of what God has given me and as such I need to realize my place and continually humble myself before him.  Whenever I try to elevate myself and think more highly of what it is I do, I need to step back and look at things from his perspective.  If I humble myself I’m more in tune with counseling and instruction I’m given.  I am not higher than anyone else and I don’t get to dictate my own ways.  God promises that if I do this then in the right time he will lift me up.  In summary this morning, I need to realize that I’m only his servant and no more.  What I have is what he has given to me.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Everyday Living

In summary of Ephesians 2:10 it says, “God planned for us to do good things and to live as he has always wanted us to live. That’s why he sent Christ to make us what we are”

Bottom Line:
God has a plan and purpose for us.  He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does.

What this means to me:
I am part of God’s masterpieces.  He made me who I am and has given me a new life from Christ Jesus; now I can be on track to do his will and help others in the way he has planned long ago.  God has called me to a service far beyond anything I could ever imagine.  He has me here, where I’m at to make a contribution.  I am to make a difference with my life. I am to serve.  When I serve, I’m actually serving God and fulfilling his purpose for me.  God has intended for me to accomplish His goals.  This morning I pray that I remember that I need to listen to and follow His guidance each day.  I need to check in and see what he may specifically have planned for me.  If I don’t hear any specifics, then I’m to execute His general will.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Your Business Is God's Business

In summary of Proverbs 16:11 it says, “God cares about honesty in the workplace; your business is his business.”

Bottom Line:
God doesn’t care for cheats, he cares about honesty in your work; he sets the standards for fairness.  What you do is his business.

What this means to me:
God’s standard is what really matters most; he demands honesty in my dealings especially as I represent him to others.  God greatly dislikes those who cheat and thus won’t bless those who are dishonest.  If I want God’s blessings, I need to be honest.  I will always reap what I sow.  There is no hiding or not being caught, it will eventually catch up with you.  Today I will consider this and verify that I am honest in my dealings with others.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Dedicate Your Job To The Lord

In summary of Proverbs 16:3 it says, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans”

Bottom line:
Commit yourself to the Lord in whatever it is you do, he will help you establish your plans and help you to succeed.

What this means to me:
I need to commit, trust and share what I do or intend to do to the Lord.  If I do so, he will help my thoughts become agreeable to His will.  This will help establish my plans and enable me to succeed.  Whatever it is I want God to bless, I must first give it to Him.  He will help me get involved with decisions and guide me in what to do.  Furthermore If I do then this can become a platform for His glory.  I become an ambassador of Him to others around me.  Today, I thank God for all he has blessed me with and I will take some time this morning to dedicate my job to the Lord.  I will ask him for the courage and diligence to work hard and to honor Him with what I do.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

God Blesses You When You Give Your Best

In summary of Colossians 3:22 it says, “Slaves/Servants, obey your earthly leaders (masters) in everything you do.  Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you.  Honor the Lord and serve your masters with your whole heart.”

Bottom Line:
Your are to obey your leaders in everything you do and don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best even when they aren’t looking.  Honor the Lord and serve with your whole heart.  Do this as a sincere expression of your devotion to Him.

What this means to me:
I am to obey my leaders here on earth.  This is for everything I do.  It should be my goal to please them all the time and not just when they are looking at me or watching what I do.  My service should be whole hearted and in reverence to the Lord.  I should do this out of a sincere expression of devotion to Him.  All leaders (good and bad) are put in place by God.  They are here to bless, punish or teach us.  I am to follow unless they are leading me to do unethical things.  God will bless me if I’m exceeding what is normally expected of me, this is why I have adopted the ethic to do more than is expected.  So today I will consider if I am truly living what I believe.  Am I exceeding the expectations of my leadership/client above me?  Am I taking pride in work well done?  I need to remember that as a christian I represent Christ and as such I want to reflect his true character that lives within me.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Turn Your Work Into Worship

In summary of Colossians 3:23-24 it says, “Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. The Lord will provide you with an inheritance as your reward, and the Master you are serving is Christ.”

Bottom Line:
Whatever you do, put your whole heart and soul into it, do it willingly and as though you were serving the Lord himself, and not just your boss.  It is the Lord Christ that you are really serving, and you know that he will reward you

What this means to me:
I need to constantly remember that any work I do is ultimately for the Lord regardless of who I report to here on earth. My boss is not my boss, my real boss is Jesus.  Because of this I work with a higher standard.  The Lord sees everything, even when no one else is looking.  I always want to do my best for him.  Also what I do is a reflection of my relationship with Him and the visible part that others can see and notice a difference in.  It is much easier for me to approach my day when the focus of my work is in doing it for the Lord.  It would make even the mundane tasks better, even a form of worship.  Today I really need to shift my focus with this reminder and perhaps knock out those long overdue tasks which have been lingering and procrastinating on for a while.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Be Enthusiastic About Your Work!

In summary of the first part of Ecclesiastes 9:10 it says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might”

Bottom Line:
Whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability

What this means to me:
All the things I do in this life (work, serve, play), I ultimately do for God.  So I need to do them with the best of my ability knowing that even though I might be doing for someone else right now, that He is the one I ultimately serve.  Knowing who I serve should make me always want to do my best.  I need to remind myself that If I want what I do to be blessed that I must work enthusiastically.  The enthusiasm should not be based on fun or pay but rather on why I’m doing what I’m doing.  I have to admit that I often struggle with this.  I must remember first that all work I have is a test from God (Whoever can be trusted with little can also be trusted with much... If you’ve not be trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own.)  Secondly that God is watching what I do (even when no one else is around.)  I need to work hard.  Thirdly that my attitude determines my joy (the diligent find freedom in their work; while the lazy are oppressed by their work.)  I won’t succeed in life until I change my attitude about the work I’m doing right now.  I definitely needed this reminder as I’m finding my job and long overdue tasks to be a drain.  I need to remember that I’m doing these in service to God.  Changing my attitude and enthusiasm towards them will do wonders in approaching the day and getting them accomplished (I need to think right then do... I can’t wait to feel right before doing.)

Friday, October 19, 2012

How To Maintain Peace In Life

In summary of Isaiah 26:3 it says, "“The Lord give perfect peace to all who place their trust and whose thoughts are fixed on Him.”

Bottom Line:
The Lord provides perfect peace to those whose faith is firm.

What this means to me:
I can obtain a lot more peace by fixing my thoughts and placing my trust in Him.  When I do so, he can guard my heart and mind much better.  Peace comes from knowing, its not all on me to make my way.  When I seek him and make him a priority in my thoughts He will always provide a path that will lead to peace.  I need to take his path and follow him, putting my trust in him.  Doing so will give me confidence and put my mind at ease.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

God’s Ways And Thoughts Are Much Higher Than Mine

In summary of Isaiah 55:8-9 it says, ‘“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.  “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.  For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than yours and my thoughts higher than yours.”’

Bottom Line:
God tells us, that He doesn’t think the way we do.  The way we work isn’t the way He does.  For as the sky is high above earth, so is the way His work surpasses the way we work, and the way He thinks is beyond the way we think.

What this means to me:
God doesn’t think the way I do.  My view of things are very limited as compared to his.  His ways are far beyond anything I could even imagine and are higher than what I could ever think of.  His ways will always be better.  My tendency is to shrink God down to my level of thinking assuming that he thinks just like me.  It is important for me to be realistic and remember he knows the whole picture, he designed it and he knows what will be best.  Things may not always go the way of my selfish desires.  I just need to make sure that try to fit God into my box.  He is full of wonderful surprises. I need to learn to think more about how God thinks.  As such I will continue to strive for having a quiet time with him in which his words can speak to me.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Don’t Be Impressed With Your Own Wisdom

In summary of Proverbs 3:7-8 it says, “Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.  Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones.”

Bottom Line:
Don’t assume that you know it all.  Instead take God and what he says seriously.  Run from evil!  When you do so your body will glow with health, your very bones will be strengthened.

What this means to me:
I shouldn’t think that my initial thoughts are always the best, because what comes automatic may be from my own selfish desires and thoughts.  I should also not think my highly of myself or think I know it all.  Pride comes just before a fall.  It is always better for me to be humble and wait before blurting out anything.  I need to reverently fear and take God seriously constantly.  There is protection and blessings when I stay within his guidelines and danger when I don’t.  I should strive for the confidence that comes from my trust and obedience in him.  His word tells me that if I do, then I won’t be stressed and I’ll have better health.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Principle Of Replacement

In summary of Proverbs 4:23 it says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows and is shaped by it.”

Bottom line:
Be careful how you think; your life is going to be shaped by your thoughts, it will determine the course of your life.

What this means to me:
I need to be careful as to what I’m letting into my heart (guidance system.)  It can come from media influences, popular opinion and my own selfish desires.  I find that what I fill my mind with becomes my course of direction.  This verse reminds me that above all else (it’s the most important thing), I need to guard tightly and be vigilant as to what gets into my heart.  It’s somewhat impossible to not be exposed to some form of media or other opinions.  I can however set-up a filter system in which to accurately access and discard what’s not good for me.  Keeping close to Christ and being in God’s words help this filter system to be strengthened.  This is also a way to get the better things into my life, feed them with those that can change my perspective and values.  I also need to be careful about what I say or talk to myself about.  Statements I think to myself like “i’m tired” is not always accurate.  There are times I hear myself saying this to myself because I don’t necessarily want to do what’s coming up more than that I’m really tired.  But I also need to keep from using negative talk about myself and my character.  There are things that need to be worked on, however, God isn’t expecting me to be perfect.  Saying negative things about myself is like telling God he blew it when he made me.  One way I can eliminate negative self talk is to fix my thoughts on what is true, good and right.  Then also I can think about all the things I can thank God for and then be glad in it.  I need to just focus on who God wants me to be and what He wants to do with my life.  To focus on who God wants me to be, I need to continually read and get into God’s word each day.  I need to study it and apply it to my life (even memorize if.)  I also need to remind myself what God says about me.  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

When I Do Right I Feel Right

In summary of James 1:25 it says, “But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.”

Bottom line:
One who looks carefully into the revealed counsel of God, and not forgetting what it says but is faithful to do it, they will find delight and affirmation in the action.

What this means to me:
God has provided the guidance I need for living life.  It is the law that actually will set me free (not bind me.)  However, this guidance is not just something to hear and be better by.  I need to apply it / do something with it / make it part of my natural inclinations.  So I remind myself today through this passage that I must never stop looking at His perfect law that sets me free, because each time I look at it, it has more meaning or different things within it are revealed to me that I never saw before.  God will bless me through my obedience in following it.  Doing things on my own puts me in dangerous ground where outcomes can vary.  God provides his protection when I do things his way.  Just hearing alone doesn’t do it for me.  I must listen, obey and take the next steps in faith.  When I do right, the feelings of being right will follow especially as I see His blessings that come as a result of it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Living A Relaxed Life In God’s Grace

In summary of Psalm 103:13-14 it says, "As a father is kind to his children, so the Lord is kind to those who honor him. He knows what we are made of; he remembers that we are dust."

Bottom Line:
Just as parents are kind to their children, the Lord is kind to all who have fear, worship and honor him. For he knows and remembers what we are made of, how weak we can be and that we are only dust.

What this means to me:
God understands me completely.  He is fully aware of my humanity.  Furthermore he knows all my faults, fears, failures and frustrations.  I’m glad he is not expecting me to be a Superman.  This passage reminds me that I didn’t wait to love my daughter until she was mature, I loved her at every state of her development.  God loves me in the same manner, so I don’t need to listen to my unresolved guilt or unrealistic expectations.  Today I remind myself of what I know about God from before in that there is nothing I can do that will make God love me more or less than he does right now.  God’s love is always unconditional, it’s not based on what I do or don’t do.  Even as a child is learning to walk, they get up, stumble and fall, yet we don’t scold them from stumbling or falling.  God is the same, he knows that we will stumble and fall from time to time, however that doesn’t stop him from loving and providing the best for us.  When I live in union with Christ Jesus, God no longer sees my sin and holds it against me; he sees Jesus at work in my life.  When I gave Christ my life, Jesus wrapped me with his love.  God looks at Jesus and sees that Jesus is perfect; and since I’m wrapped in Him, he doesn't see your sin. This is what I believe it means to live a relaxed life in God's grace.  Today’s quiet time is very helpful considering that I did something incredibly stupid yesterday in a interaction with a business associate over a past incident (that evidently I had not forgiven him for.)  This brought me into a direct experience with the content of last Sunday’s message “The Center of Gravity” which is also the topic for the next few weeks of the Life Group I am leading.  This issue became the focus of my thoughts as the night progressed.  I did take action in the late afternoon after this happened to speak with this person.  I was not able to clear it up one-to-one, but I did leave a message asking for forgiveness for my behavior (I will still try to link up with this individual one-on-one.)  Even though I was wrong in my behavior and I know that God forgives, especially when we seek to clear it up, the enemy tried to use this situation to bring me down with guilt and feeling of not being good enough.  I laid it at God’s feet and reminded myself of the positive, I knew that I should not dwell on the negative aspect of this as that would further direct my behavior.  So today, I will remind myself that God will not love me anymore or any less for what I do.  He knows that Christ living in me will help bring about maturity.  I know this example will live on in my mind as a reminder and has helped me realize that there is some things that I have not forgiven others for.  I need to seek these things out so that I can forgive and let them go.  I really don’t want them to affect my moving forward.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Don’t Conform to the World, But Rather Be Transformed

In summary of Romans 12:2 it says, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."

Bottom Line:
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but instead let God change the way you think and to transform you into a new person.  Then you’ll learn what God’s will is for you, which is good, pleasing and perfect.

What this means to me:
I should not let the world around me squeeze me into its mould, instead I need to let God re-mould my mind from within, so that I will prove in practice that God’s plan for me is good and it will move me toward the person he wants me to be.  This will require that I fix my attention on God.  As I do he will change me from the inside out.  Once I have have his way of thinking it will be much easier for me to recognize what he wants from me so that I can quickly respond to it.  Without direct input from God, I will tend to follow the prevalent thinking and culture around me which will drag me down to its level of immaturity.  So I need to let God bring the best out of me.

Where To Fix Your Thoughts

In summary of Philippians 4:8 it says, “One last piece of advice, fix your thoughts on the things which are true, honorable, just, beautiful, good and whatever is commendable, it there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Bottom line:
Direct and keep your thoughts and thinking on the things which are true, pure, honorable, just, beautiful and commendable.

What this means to me:
A last piece of advice Paul had for the Philippians was to have them change what filled their minds as it was a key to move forward.  Like them I don’t need to be a victim of my circumstances or my initial thoughts that come to mind.  The focus of my thoughts will direct the way I conduct myself (it becomes my mental center of gravity.)  So God shows us what the right focus for our “mental center of gravity” should be.  I am to direct and keep my thoughts and thinking on the things which are true, pure, honorable, just, beautiful and commendable.  This will be the key to changing from where I am to where I’d like to be.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Something That Everyone Can Count On

In summary of 1 Timothy 1:15 it says, "This statement is completely reliable and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am worst."

Bottom Line:
Here’s a statement you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners and I am proof, being one of the worst.

What this means to me:
There is wonderful news in this statement, I join in with countless many before me who have found this to be completely true and reliable.  I am living proof of this, being a sinner.  Jesus came into the world to testify to the truth and to save us all from what should be our true judgement.  He is my Messiah.  I am an example who can come from an unmerited favor that comes from my king.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Facing Faults With Courage

In summary of 1 John 1:8 it says, “If we say that we have not sinned, we are only fooling ourselves and the truth isn’t in our” hearts.

Bottom Line:
If you think you haven’t sinned, you’re not thinking clear - you’re fooling yourself and the truth he has taught is not imbedded in your heart.

What this means to me:
Thinking that I don’t have any sin in my life (refusing to admit it), will only delude and lead myself astray.  If I do so then the truth presented by his word is not something that my heart has adopted.  In reality his word can be more like a mirror which reflects where I’m missing the mark.  God is gracious and will forgive my sins if I come to him and confess/admit how I’ve been off-track and ask for his forgiveness.  What I need to be careful of is masking a habit and not seeing it for what it is - sin.  I need to be careful not to blame my circumstances on others or try to take the focus off of myself instead of admitting my own faults.  I also need to be careful to not make excuses or pretend there is nothing wrong.   As mentioned above, I need to face it head on and own it without any “but’s” at the end.  This verse this morning is great reminder that my life is filled with things that miss the mark and that I’d only be fooling myself to think they are not there.  There are some big areas I’m working on with him to change and the key for me is to not sweep it under the carpet but to bring them out and deal with them.  I do realize this life is a training ground for eternity  I’ll be a work in progress till the time he calls me to be with him.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Courage To Serve With The Best I Have

In summary of Ecclesiastes 11:4 it says,
“Those who wait for the perfect weather will never plant.  So get on with it or you’ll never have a harvest.”

Bottom line:
If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.

What this means to me:
If I spend my time waiting for the right conditions before I act, I’ll end up never getting anything accomplished.  If I worry about the weather or right environment/atmosphere, I won’t harvest a crop.  I need to get on with what I know needs to be done.  I believe that God expects me to do what I can with what I have and wherever I’m at when he asks it or I know that it needs to be done.  A less than perfect service will always be better than any of my best intentions.  I shouldn’t worry that I’m not good enough to do what God wants from me.  As a servant I need to do the best with what I have.  I need to remember that a servant doesn’t make excuses, procrastinate or wait for a better circumstance or time - they just do what needs to be done.  While I should strive for excellence, I need to be obedient and act when he requests.  It doesn’t have to be perfect for God to use and bless it.  I’ve had a plan in mind for a while now getting some of the older guys from my congregation together for a more routine fellowship time.  The idea is to start with just fellowship then eventually grow that get together time into things to help us build our character, leadership and faith.  I will plan for a Saturday evening get together either the 20th or the 27th.  I’ll bring it up as topic in my “Life Group” that I’ll be leading this coming Monday.  In the words of Larry the Cable Guy, I need to “Get’r Done!”

Thursday, September 27, 2012

God Requires Risky Obedience

In summary of Luke 19:26 it says, “To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given to them.  Those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.”

Bottom Line:
Risk you life and use well what you are given, if you do you’ll find even more is given to you.  However if you do nothing and play it safe then even what you have will be taken away.

What this means to me:
If I’m willing to risk my life in obedience to what He asks of me, he will provide more than I can ever dream of.  If instead, I try to play it safe, then what I do have will be taken away and I’ll end up holding the bag.  If God is asking me to take a step of faith, but I hesitate to take it (waiting until he shows me the steps afterward), I’m actually not waiting on God, rather he’s waitin on me.  God wants to use risks of obedience in my life to push me deeper in faith.  I need to step toward faith even when I don’t know what the next step will be.  The not knowing is what requires my faith and it compels me to rely on God to guide me forward.  What seems to be a no-guarantee situation actually comes with the greatest guarantee of all - a God-guarantee; that he’s working in my life.  With this I can enter into the risky obedience know that God will provide the strength to do it.  That he will help change my priorities to match his, (sacrificing in faith), what I cannot keep for the things that can never be taken away.   I can engage in the risky obedience of making disciples of people I encounter and teaching them that a risky obedience of following Jesus comes with a God-guarantee. Today I will consider tasks that are before me that at this point seem impossible.  I’ll think about how my approach to it can change if I believe it comes from God and he is wanting me to move forward in risky obedience.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Faith Involves Taking Risks

In summary of 1 Thessalonians 5:24 it says, "The one who chose you can be trusted, and he will finish what he has set out to do.”

Bottom Line
The one who called you is completely dependable.  If he said it, he’ll do it!

What this means to me:
God, who has chosen me, is completely faithful and dependable.  In Him I can fully trust.  Because of this, he will finish what he sets out to do.  As I follow him, he will move me deeper in faith by asking me to take risks.  I am certain that they will never be a “leap of faith” into darkness; rather they will be specific risks he asks of me.  Each risk, taken in faith helps to show exactly how he will take care of me (just as he promised.)  Each step of faith I take will help me get away from living by sight and closer to living in a life of faith, where I truly believe I’m secure in God’s promises.  So for me taking risks do not come naturally.  I’m the one who always feels better seeing it laid out on a map before I proceed.  What this passage tells me is that If he asks it, he will provide.  It’s up to me to take the step, perhaps without seeing a full map.  Today, I will consider if there are some steps God is asking me to take that seem risky and how I can move forward with them in faith.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Being An Influence For God’s Glory

In summary of Matthew 5:14-16 it says, “Your are the world’s light - it is impossible to hide a town built on top of a hill.  No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket.  Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your your light shine before others that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, novel and good deeds.  Then they can recognize, honor, praise and glorify our Father who is in heaven.”

Bottom line:
You’re here to be light, bringing out God’s goodness in the world.  A light is not something you hide.  Instead it is put in a high spot so that it can provide light to every.  So let your light shine before others.  Then they can recognize and praise the Father who is in heaven.

What this means to me:
I’m here in this life to be a vehicle for God to use.  I’m am to show others the difference it makes to have God working in one’s life.  God is not a secret to be kept.  I’m to go public with this (as public as a city on top of a hill.)  I should not hide under a bucket, instead I should give light to others.  I’m to be generous with my life, serving others and showing what the grace of God has done for me.  By opening up to others, It will prompt people to also open up to God who is our generous Father.  By myself, I cannot make myself the light of the world.  It is only because of my relationship with him, that I become that light, that reflection of him in me, a real life.  He calls each of us to follow him, and he tells us that “whoever follows me will have the light of life and will never walk in darkness.  My focus therefore must always be on the light; humbly trusting Jesus to reveal the light through me.  My influence and visibility is a result of who is living within me, and not because of what I do.  God is the one who will put me in a place of influence and visibility.  I’m just a steward, so I must get out of the way (my way) and let Jesus work through me.  Today I ask God to humble me and help me consider how he has placed me in a place of influence for his glory alone.  I ask for wisdom and discernment as I follow the example of Jesus and his direction for my life.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Tell God Exactly How You Feel

In summary of Job 7:11 it says, “I cannot keep from speaking, I must express my anguish and distress, so I cry out to you.  My bitter soul must complain.”

Bottom Line:
I can't be quiet! I am angry and bitter. I have to speak.

What this means to me:
Often I think that I should not complain to God, he has given me so much.  Part of me is holding back and not being honest with God.  But God already knows what's in my heart.  But this passage from Job tells me that Job felt comfortable enough with God to speak what was on his heart.  I too should not refrain from speaking what’s on my heart to God.  God can handle my emotions.  It’s ok to be honest; tell it all to God, get it off my shoulders.  God completely understands me and my hurts and he won’t be surprised by my emotional state.  So I don’t just need to “grin and bear it,” I can tell God exactly what I feel. It’s in this process that I come to understand more about him and his will for me.  Life was never meant to be easy.  It’s important to note that even though Job questioned God’s actions, he never stopped trusting God.  I know that this life is all a training ground for what he wants to do through me in this life and beyond.  Therefore, I will remember its ok not to restrain my real feelings before him.  I can speak and let God know of my disappointments, bitterness and fears.  I’m going to lay it all out on the table and then know that he will work in my heart for what is best because God can handle it.  Today I will think about those things I may be holding onto, the “gin and bear” it stuff.  I’ll take it to God in prayer.