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Friday, June 29, 2012

Trusting In God For Guidance, Not My Own Understanding Or Desires

In summary of Proverbs 3:5-6 it says, "Trust in God with all our heart, don’t try to figure out everything on your own or depend on your own understanding of it.   Submit yourself to him, seek, listen to his voice in everything you do or everywhere you go; he will show you which path to take and keep you on track."

Bottom Line:
Trust in God with all you have (don’t waver in your trust.)  Don’t try to figure it all out on your own depending on your understanding of it.  Seek and submit first to him, listen to his voice for anything you do.  He will guide you and show you a safe and productive path.

What this means to me:
God gave me a brain and wants me to figure things out, however, to not get initial guidance from him and to proceed based on our own understanding/desires can lead to unwanted consequences.  So instead of being “big-headed” I need to seek and listen first his Word (what he says about something), then the guidance he will provide will lead me in a safe path and ultimately serve to further his kingdom and work here on earth.  This of course will require a deep dependence / trust in God knowing that he always intends the best for me (and will not rip me off.)  So moving forward, I need to continue to work on scripture memory for key areas / decision points in life.  I can use his word in my memory to help guide and understand his take on things.  I can also use short burst prayers that can ask for his wisdom on the spot.  In the next several days I will seek out verses that deal with life’s decision points and how to handle situations.  I will work first to study in my quiet times and then incorporate them into memory verses.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Learning To Be Patient With Growth

In summary of Ecclesiastes 3:1 it says, "There’s an opportune time to do everything, a right time for every activity, matter or purpose on the earth (under the heavens.)"

Bottom Line:
Everything that happens or that I do or learn has its own opportune time and its own season.

What this means to me:
God is never in a hurry, he is always on time.  He will use my entire life to prepare me for my ultimate role in eternity.  Through this verse, I need to remind myself and believe that he is work in my life, even when I don’t feel it.  My spiritual growth will not happen overnight, it happens one small step at a time.  I need to get rid of my Microwave (in an instant) mentality.  I should learn to just expect gradual improvements as the norm.  There will be seasons in my spiritual life, some will be short, intense bursts of growth followed by periods of stabilizing and testing.  Best thing for me to do is to continue to keep a journal of lessons learned like I’m doing here.  What I record here is not just a diary of events, but a record of what I’m learning, my insights and lessons God teaches me about him, my life and everything else.  For me, I’m sure one of the reasons that I must continually relearn things is that I too easily forget.  I can use my spiritual journal to help remind myself.  I have to remember not to be frustrated with what seems like slow progress in my life.  God has his perfect timing for everything.  What seems to frustrate me the most right now is my slowness in meeting folks and sharing about him.  I need to learn to slow down.  My life always seems to be based on the clock and the next event or meeting, I’m trying to get to.  I need to factor in times of just casual enjoyment where I can meet others and get the opportunity to develop relationships in which I can share.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Reconciliation: Being An Agent Of Peace

In summary of Matthew 5:9 it says, "God blesses the ones who work for peace (show others how to cooperate instead of compete or fight.)  That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family (called one of his children.)"

Bottom Line:
God will bless those who are showing others how to cooperate instead of compete or fight (working for peace.)  When you do this you’ll discover who you really are and the place you have in God’s family (to be called one of his children.)

What this means to me:
God will provide blessings to me when my goal is to work with others to cooperate / reconcile instead of fight / compete.  The peace alone from the lack of conflict is a blessing in and of itself, as all can rest easier and not be preoccupied with selfish desires.  God tells me that when I conduct myself in this manner I’ll begin to discover who he really made me to be and the place he has for me in his family.  Of course if I’m not focused on God’s peace always then my natural reaction is quite the opposite.  So with God’s help each day (having daily time with him in prayer and his word) I need to stop and reflect when I’m facing a conflict situation.  I should concentrate on reconciliation rather than resolution.   A reconciliation will re-establish a relationship that would otherwise be torn down.  Resolution may not always be possible as each of us is wired differently, so we won’t always agree.  We can however disagree without being disagreeable.  Scripture points out that is wise to compromise in order to preserve the relationship.  So I need to focus more on the relationships, when I do so, the actual issue will likely be more insignificant.  In a world where everyone wants their own way I need to commit to becoming an agent of reconciliation.  It will always be more rewarding for me to resolve a conflict that it would be to see a relationship get dissolved.  Currently at work, I’m facing a situation where two of my direct reports are at odds with each other.  I am currently working on helping each of them see each others side and style.  They can disagree without be disagreeable.  They can use their differences to benefit the organization.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

When Facing Conflict, Remember To Look Inward First

In summary of Matthew 7:3-5 it says, "Why do you notice and worry about a speck (a little piece of dust) in someone else’s eye, but yet not notice and see the big piece of wood in your own eye.  How can you say, let me help you get rid of that speck, when you can’t see past the big piece of wood in your own eye.  Don’t be a hypocrite!  First get rid of the big piece of wood in your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with someone else's speck."

Bottom Line:
Why notice and worry about a speck in someone else’s eye, but not notice or deal with a bigger piece of wood in your own eye.  You certainly can’t point out things when you aren’t seeing clearly enough about yourself.  First deal with the big piece in your eye, then you may be able to see clearly enough to deal with someone else’s issues.

What this means to me:
God is good and he understands my selfish nature.  He has provided his word to help guide me.  In it Jesus tells me that I need to deal with my own issues before I can try  dealing with those of others.  Jesus tells us that the small speck is nothing compared to the large plank that we need to deal with that is keeping us from seeing clearly.  It is so easy to see a smudge on your someone else’s face and yet be oblivious to the ugly smear on my own.  It’s often easier for me to play a holier-than-thou part instead of just considering and living as God suggests.  I really need to be cautious in conflict situations.  Instead of me accusing, attacking, or blaming the other person God’s Word tells me I am to begin with humility, even if I think it’s their fault.  I have blind spots and responding wrongly will contribute towards increasing the conflict.  I need to be frank with myself and ask, “how much of this is my fault?”  I need to be honest and admit my part (when I’m wrong - admit it.)  Also it may be prudent just to stay quiet and remember the verse, “when words are plenty, sin is not absent.”.  Moving forward some things I can consider is to ask, am I being: unrealistic, insensitive, over-sensitive, demanding or ungrateful?  My default nature is to be self-centered and stubborn, unwilling to change.  So instead, I need to lead with humility, think through my part and ask for forgiveness for my part.  It is real easy for me to get caught up in conflict at work as I work with my client (our competitor) and dealing with their personalities and ways of thinking.  I pray God that you help me to stop and consider your guidance and look at myself and my shortcomings before I even try to deal with those of others.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Using Words To Benefit Others

In summary of Ephesians 4:28-29 it says, "Watch the way you talk; don’t be foul, dirty, abusive, unwholesome or harmful in what you say.  Let everything be good and helpful, building up according to, or saying what they need.  They should be words that help them to be stronger or be of an encouragement / benefit to them.  Make each word a gift."

Bottom Line:
We need to watch the way we talk to others, especially in how we provide correction..  Don’t be foul, dirty (or unwholesome), abusive or harmful in what you say.  Instead, let your words be good and helpful, ones that will build them up, saying what they really need.  Your words should be help them be stronger.  Let them provide encouragement.  Be of a benefit to them.  

What this means to me:
God wants me to use what I say to others to be a benefit to them.  My words need to be full of grace and be helpful.  They need to be ones that will build up instead of tear down.  Unfortunately in times of anger or disappointment, or even if I’m trying to make myself look better, what comes naturally are selfish harsh words that tend to tear down.  If I can learn and remember to correct others in a loving way it can really make a positive difference in their lives.  If I do this the way God wants me to it will build that person up, If I don’t do this correctly it will just tear them down.  The biggest thing for me to watch out for is my attitude.  If my focus is on only pointing out faults or respond out of anger or hurt then before speaking I need to stop myself and ask what my motive is in this interaction.  Am I correcting them for my benefit (ego) or for theirs.  I need to proceed by with correction by first affirming the person and their worth, letting them know their value, then presenting the behavior that needs some adjusting in a kind way (adding in what impact they are having with their behavior to others or to the group.)   I really need to keep this in mind as I am completing my mid-year reviews with my team this coming week.  When I come across behaviors I feel need correction, I should stop and ask God for guidance.  After consulting with him on the situation and my attitude I can then proceed in way that will help them out.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Putting The Goals And Interests Above My Own

In summary of Philippians 2:4-5 it says, "Each of you should put yourself aside and not be interested in only in your own life / interests (things to your own advantage), but to the life and interests of others (learn to lend a helping hand.)  Your attitude should be the same as Jesus, thinking and acting like him."

Bottom Line:
Each of us needs to learn to put the goals and interests of others above our own.  We should think and act like Jesus, his attitude was one of putting others first and helping them accomplish their goals.

What this means for me:
God tells me to get beyond myself, I can’t just look at my viewpoint or my desires, I need to look at and consider the other persons viewpoints or desires.  Of course this does not come naturally to me.  To think like this will require an intentional shift, where I focus from looking at my needs to looking at someone else's needs.  It will also take God’ actively working in my life.  In retrospect, I find that things always work better when I understand where people are coming from.  It can lead to less conflict overall.  A key to understanding for me is too truly listen.  I actually need to learn to listen more than I talk.  To do so effectively, I’ll need to hold back and not be so anxious to make my point, or tell my side of the story or defend myself.  If I don’t listen I can often miss what they are saying. This reminds me of one of the Steven Covey’s Habits of Highly effective people - “Seek first to understand, then be understood.”   I can strive to be more like Christ when I ask “what is their needs and how can I meet them?”  So today’s verse and study is good example for me as I deal with conflict between two of my team members.  I need to coach them on seeking to understand and how to listen to each other.  I think both have preconceived notions of each other and infer upon each other what they think should happen.   For me, I’ll want to focus on really listening and then seeing what I can do to help others achieve their goals.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Producing Good Fruit In Life

In summary of Galatians 5:22-23 it says, "When we live God’s way the Holy Spirit produce a specific type of fruit in our lives; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  With these things we develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people.  We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needed to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.  There is no law against these things."

Bottom Line:
When we live God’s way he uses his Spirit within us to produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  These are things that all help us stick with it and have compassion with others.  It provides a conviction that will permeate the things and people in our lives.  Given this we find more loyal commitments in our relationships, we are able to direct ourselves wisely and we don’t really need to force our way in life.  There exists no law against these things, they are all good.

What this means to me:
God will use my relationship with him to produce good things.  It’s a different kind of life that allows me to direct myself wisely and not have to force my agenda in life.  These qualities don’t always come naturally to me, but God’s Word tells me that they are intended for me, It's a birthright that comes from the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life.  I find the best ways to let these qualities permeate is to spend daily time with Him and his Word.  When I do, I get daily reminders of his goodness and mercy.  His Word provides the directions on how he intended life to be led.  When I follow his direction and leadings, I truly experience much better relationships and can conduct my actions wisely.  I ask God daily to work through me and allow me to serve, or be of assistance or communicate well in my interactions / specific meetings of the day.  I have found that if I don’t spend time with him each day, I tend to revert back to my automatic mode - which is more selfish and demanding.  I Praise God for the work he does with me daily as I choose to follow the way he guides me.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Taking The Initiative

In summary of 2 Timothy 1:6-7 it says, "You are to fan into flames and keep ablaze the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid hands on you.  God doesn’t want us to be shy, fearful or timid with his gifts or people but instead he wants us to be wise, strong, sensible and loving."

Bottom Line:
Take the spiritual gifts God has given you and fan them into flames, keep them ablaze.  God doesn’t want you to be shy, fearful/timid with his gifts or in dealing with people.  Instead he want you to be wise, strong, sensible and loving.

What this means to me:
God has given me gifts to use, I need to do what I can to use and build them them up (keeping them alive, not wasting them.)  God doesn’t want me to be shy with the use of them, instead I am to move in confident wisdom, be strong, be sensible and loving in how I deal with people, this especially relates to dealing with conflict.  I need to learn to take courage from God’s Spirit in my life.  The Holy Spirit (God’s gift to me) doesn’t want me to be afraid of people but to be wise and strong (courageous) and to love / enjoy being with them.  So my starting point should be to pause and pray “God, help me to take the first step.”

Monday, June 18, 2012

Learning To Not Retaliate

In summary of Romans 12:17-19 it says, "Never pay back evil with more evil.  Do things in a way that everyone sees you as honorable.  Do what every you can to live in peace with everyone.  So, don’t insist on getting even or take revenge into your own hands; that’s not for you to do.  Leave that to God, for scripture tells us that God will take revenge and pay them back."

Bottom Line:
Never pay back evil done to you will more evil.  Instead do things in a way that keeps you living at peace with everyone.  Don’t insist on getting even or taking revenge on someone; it’s not our role, we are to leave it to God.  God has told us that he will be the one to take revenge or inflict payback, but we must realize that God will do this in his own timing and not likely ours.

What this means to me:
God does not want me to take matters of revenge or payback for offenses done to me into my own hands.  Instead he asks that I live in peace and harmony with others.  I’m to leave the wrath, revenge and payback to Him.  But it’s important for me to realize that He will handle it in his own timing and not in mine. This is a very difficult thing to do without God help.  My natural tendency is to retaliate when I’m attacked or hurt.  This means that I must learn that I can’t please everybody (even God doesn’t please everyone.)  I need to say no to unrealistic expectations and instead seek to speak the truth in love to them or even to myself.  God makes it pretty clear that I should never retaliate.  What I can do is pray for them.   When I do this it will help adjust my thoughts and perhaps be an influence to them in their lives.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Learning To Deal Appropriately With Anger

In summary of Ephesians 4:26-27 it says, "Don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge or cause you to sin by letting it control your actions.  Do what you can to not stay angry.  The enemy uses anger to get a foothold in your life."

Bottom Line:
Don’t let anger be a catalyst for making you sin (fueling revenge or letting it control your next steps.)  Do whatever you can to not stay angry.  The devil will use anger in gain a foothold into your life and steer you off-course.

What this means to me:
God’s Word cautions me on the danger that can occur from my anger if not dealt with appropriately.  I need to not let it fuel revenge or to let it control my actions.  Instead God tells me to quickly rid myself of anger.  If I stay angry and continue to dwell on what is making me angry, the enemy will use it to his goals and advantages.  So I need to realize that there are more helpful ways to deal with and release my anger.  First I need to not deny it, but rather be realistic with myself and admit it for what it is.  Anger is not always wrong, it is how I choose to react to it that makes it inappropriate or destructive.  I have found that expressing anger in-appropriately ends up producing the opposite of what I intended.  For instance, me blowing up at a person will never produce a positive lasting change, in fact is may produce more anger and alienation.  I need to also realize that anger is not usually the root problem, but often a result of either a hurt, a fear or a frustration in my life.  So instead of getting angry and blowing up or using it to fuel revenge, I’ll stop, admit it and with God’s help cool down.  I’ll look to identify if I feel I’ve been hurt, or if I’m afraid of something, or if I feel threatened, or think I’m losing something valuable or frustrated. Once I can correctly id this, then I’m much better off in dealing with the root cause.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Realizing The True Cost Of Anger

In summary of several verses in Proverbs 14:17, 29:22, 15:18 and 11:29 it says,

Proverbs 14:17
"Short or quick tempered hot headed people do foolish things they’ll later regret.   A wiser person remains claim.  One’s who devise evil scheme are hated."

Proverbs 29:22
"An angry person will stir up a lot of discord, stir up quarrels / trouble and end up committing all kinds of sin."

Proverbs 15:18
"A hot tempered person will start a fight; a cool tempered or calm person (patience) will stop them or keep the peace"

Proverbs 11:29
"One who provokes his family to anger or resentment (brings trouble) will have nothing worthwhile left.  Common sense tells you it’s a stupid way to live."

Bottom Line:
Those who have a short fuse or hot headed will end up doing foolish things that later they’ll regret.  They will be quick to stir up discord, quarrels and even start a fight, ultimately committing all kinds of sin.  Likewise one who provokes his own family to the point of anger or resentment will having nothing worthwhile left.  Common sense tells you this is a stupid way to live.   On the flipside a wiser person will remain calm and through their patience will keep the peace (stop the fight.)

What this means to me:
God’s word tells me that there will always be a price tag to uncontrolled anger (fights, discord, loss of family or loss of reputation.)  The key thing for me to remember is that whenever I lose my temper, I actually “lose.”  Anger can be very dangerous, it could lead to a loss of my reputation, wife, job, health, and just about anything else.  If I’m not careful, anger will alienate me from others.  I need to be cautious and ask the Holy Spirit to remind me when I start to get angry.  Even mild anger can change the course of relationships.  As I think back about an incident yesterday afternoon in which I started to get angry about a position I thought someone was taking.  I was getting all worked up about it and it was only a perception I had and not what the person had said or was doing.  With me spouting off, I’m sure it made the folks I work with wonder where I was coming from, affecting my reputation.  I need to be careful, just a little anger can mess things up.  I need to make sure I go back and let them know I was wrong to jump to conclusions.  It’s interesting, when I started this review of God’s word this morning on these passages I thought that I”m pretty good about not getting angry, but then God brought to mind my incident late yesterday.  I know I can get caught up at anytime.  I am so glad that I have my daily time with God and his Word to help correct me and keep me closer to his path.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Living By A Different Standard

In summary of Ephesians 4:17-19 it says, "Paul tells us with the insistence and the Lord’s backing that we must no longer live as the crowd does; empty-headed, mindless, futile and with the confused hopelessness of their thinking.  Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God provides because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts against him.  They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself.  They have no sense of shame, having lost all sensitivity, they live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed."

Bottom Line:
Paul tells us with insistence and authority that we should no longer live just as the crowd (world) does.  The crowd (world) has wandered far from the life that God provides, they have hardened their hearts against him.  They have refused for so long to deal with it that they have lost touch with reality, accepting self fulfillment and selfishness as the norm, thus giving into lustful pleasures, impurity and greed.

What this means to me..
God wants me to live a different kind of life.  Paul is tells me with a sense of insistence and backing from the Lord that I am to no longer live like the crowd or world does (confused and now hopeless in thinking.)  It’s easy for me to get off track if I’m not having regular time with him.  If I began to ignore God and forget he is part of the picture then I too would end up having a hardened heart and pursue self fulfillment as my goal (this is just natural for me.)  This would eventually lead to believing that lustful pleasure, impurity and greed are normal and ok.  I need to remind myself and keep vigilant as I know that this is easy for me to get to, especially in absence of being reminded daily of the life God wants for me.  It is important for me to continue to pursue a different kind of life from the norm.  God wants me to engage and understand his will by reading his Word and listening for his promptings.  Doing so I learn to live by a different standard.  When I put this at the forefront of my thinking and live my life this way I can make a difference in the world around me.  Today I ask God to use me for his purposes and to make a difference for others and to protect me from the lies of the enemy which makes pursuing self fulfilment sound so good.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sometimes God Says Not Yet

In summary of Hebrews 10:36-37 it says, "Don’t cut and run, quitters will lose out.  Patient endurance and perseverance is what you need, stay and survive trusting all the way so that you will continue to do God’s will.  Then you will receive all that he has promised.  For in a while the one who is to come will be here."

Bottom Line:
You must never give up, a patient endurance / perseverance is what you will need.  You need to stick with it and trust all the way so that you can continue to do God’s will.   If you do this you will receive all that he has promised.  It won’t be long before the one who is to come will be here.

What this means to me:
God has good things in store for me.  He wants me to receive all that he has promised.  But he’s also interested in training me.  This will include trials, tests and delayed answer to prayers along the way to build my perseverance and faith.  My natural tendency when things get tough or not the way I want is to bail, however when I stick it out and learn to practice patience I do experience the good stuff God has in mind for me.  Scripture reminds me that the time is coming quickly in which Jesus will return for me.  So part of my maturity in faith includes learning the difference between ‘no’ and ‘not yet.”  I need to understand that a delay to prayer does not always mean a denial from God, it could just mean ‘not yet’.   The delay may very well be a test of my patience.  I can be patient from time to time, however I need to learn to be patient over and over again so that I can learn to know my level of faithfulness and commitment over time.  I just need to remind myself that God teaches me patience during all delays.  If I find myself getting discouraged I need to ask him to help me turn it to patience instead.  One area I find myself in need of more patience is seeing the bigger picture of what God wants me to be involved with in the future (should I stay in the area I live in today or should I be open to perhaps see things I may be blocking just because it’s comfortable.)  So I’ll ask God for continued patience in this area and trust in his sovereignty and timing.  He will reveal to me in his timing and I'll trust that when that time comes it will be clear.  Until then I will do what he has already outlined for me in scriptures.

Friday, June 8, 2012

From Condemnation to Confidence

In summary of Romans 3:23-24 it says, "All have sinned and fall short of God’s glorious standard.  Yet God, with undeserved kindness and sheer generosity declares us ‘not guilty’ and has put is in a right standing with himself (makes us righteous again) if we trust in Jesus.  This is a pure gift.  He got us out of the mess we’re in and restores us to where he always wanted us to be.  He did it by means of Jesus Christ and his redemptive work."

Bottom Line:
All of us seriously fall short of God’s standard.  Yet God provides us with an undeserved kindness and generosity and will declare us ‘not guilty’ if we trust in Jesus.  This is not something we can earn or work towards, it is a pure gift from him.  He did this by means of his son Jesus Christ’s redemptive work.

What this means to me:
God cares for me so much he developed a plan to make me right again with him.  It is not something I could have ever earned, it is purely a gift.  His plan included the use of his son here on earth to testify to the truth and to act as my (our) ultimate redemptive sacrifice and take the penalty for my (our) wrongs.  So daily I can come to God and simply ask him to forgive me for the things I’ve done wrong and to look straight ahead with an honest confidence of his forgiveness and grace.  When past failures come to mind, I will ask you to help me to remember that you’ve already forgiven me for these.  When old wrongs come to mind, I will turn those feelings into a prayer of gratitude.  Today I will focus on the joy that comes from being forgiven and right with him, a son of his who will ultimately enjoy fellowship with him through eternity.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Allowing Christ To Live Through You

In summary of Philippians 2:12-13 it says, "Friends, as you had always done when I was with you, continue to do even more (double your efforts) in my absence.  Responsively and obediently work hard to show the the results of your salvation.  Do so with reverence, fear and trembling obeying God.  For it is God who works within you giving you the desire and power to act in order to fulfill what pleases him (his good purposes.)"

Bottom Line:
As you have in the past, do so even more (double your efforts) to continue being responsive in showing the results of your salvation.  Do so with reverence and obedience to God.  For it is God who works within you, he gives you the desire and power to act in in order to fulfill what he has planned for you.

What this means to me:
God is the one who is at work through me to do what pleases him.  He wants to do things that he can only do through me.  I understand what he guides me in by spending time with him daily in prayer and in his Word.  As I do so, I am motivated to live my life no longer for myself but for him who is deserving of having all of myself.  God uses the Holy Spirit’s power to make changes in my life, becoming more like Christ.  What I’m learning is that becoming like Christ is more than  imitation, its inhabitation (allowing Christ to live through me.)  Doing so affects the choices I make.  I choose to follow Jesus and trust God’s Spirit to give me his power, love, faith and wisdom to do it.   God reveals to me various aspects of who he and what he desires is each day as I read his word.  These verses today remind me I need to allow the Spirit to infuse Christ living in me to affect any choices I have today.  Also, I need to live my life in a way that I can be an example.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

God’s Load Is Light and Leads To A Much More Fulfilling Life

In summary of Matthew 11:29-30 it says, "Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  Walk with me and work with me -- watch how I do it.  Learn unforced rhythms of grace.  For the yoke I will give you is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.  I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on your.  Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly."

Bottom Line:
Jesus tells us to take his yoke, learn from him.  Jesus is humble and gentle at heart.  In doing so you will find rest for your souls.  So walk with and work with him.  What Jesus will give us is easy to bear, its burden will be much lighter.  Keep company with him and you’ll learn to live a free and lighter life.

What this means to me:
Jesus is telling me there is a much better way to live life.  When I accepted Jesus’ offer and took on his yoke he began teaching me a much better way and I find I much more at peace.  He promises me a much easier burden and when I do follow it has turned out to be that way.  The key for me is to remember this and to daily take on his yoke.  Often I go into automatic mode, doing things in my own strength and by carrying a yoke of my perceived notion of others (my team members, co-workers, family members) expectations or unrealistic expectations of myself in trying to prove that I matter or that I’m important.  What i’m learning is that God has already told me that I am important.  He created me to be with him and fulfill a unique mission with my life.  Given this Jesus would intend for me to take his yoke (follow his purpose for my life.)  When I work to do that, things work out a whole lot better.  I almost always hit a brick wall when I do things my way. What I need to realize is that living in the center of God’s will is a much lighter load than to live outside of God’s will.  It is a much more relaxing and enjoyable load that any way I can choose.  Moving forward, I need to take inventory of the things I’m doing in life and ask God to help me identify the things that God never intended for me to do.  So that I can live completely in his will and to experience his lighter load daily.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

You Don’t Need To Please Everyone

In summary of Proverbs 29:25 it says, "Fearing peoples opinion of you is a dangerous trap, it disables you.  Trusting in the Lord provides you with a layer of protection."

Bottom Line:
It is dangerous to be concerned or to fear about what others think of us.  To do so disables you.  However, putting your trust in the Lord will provide you with a layer of protection.

What this means to me:
God wants me to trust him.  I’m to look to him for approval.  Doing so will provide protection. I have to admit, that  I do find this to be difficult as I really like receiving approval from others and knowing that they think highly of me.  What I need to realize is that if I worry about what others think, then in essence I’m letting them control me.  It's really just a waste of time/energy trying to figure out what other people would want me to be and then trying to be it (something that deep down inside really isn’t me.)  Pursuing what others think will likely lead me to cave in to their criticism or worldly ways.  This can lead me down a path where I may not be always doing the right thing.  Doing so would keep me from missing out on God’s best for me.  It would be more productive for me to stop and think about what God would want me to do (God knows what’s best for me.)  I just need to remind myself that I can’t please everyone (even God doesn’t please everyone) and that it’s not really necessary for me to please them.  My happiness doesn’t come from pleasing them but more from God.  Moving forward I need to keep in mind what I have been learning; nothing I do will make God love me more or less.  He loves me completely just as I am.  I just need to be the person he wants me to be and to do what he has in mind for me.  The only way to find that out what he wants for me is to spend time daily in prayer and in his Word.  I will strive to do this each weekday and to continue to journal what He has taught me.

Monday, June 4, 2012

God Really Understands You

In summary of Psalm 103:13-14 it says, "Just as a father is kind to his children, so the Lord is kind to those who honor him.  He knows us inside and out and what we are made of (essentially just dust.)"

Bottom Line:
God is just like your father, kind to his kids; those who honor him.  He really knows every bit about us and still provide his kindness (grace.)

What this means to me:
God is extremely kind to me.  It's only through my close relationship with him that I can recognize this.  He is fully aware of my humanity, he know what makes me tick.  He knows my faults, my fears, my failures and all of my frustrations.  Still he doesn’t expect me to be perfect.  God loves me at each stage of my life. What he has told me through his word over and over again, there is nothing I can do that will make him love more that he does right now and there is nothing I can do that would make him love me less.  God’s love for me is unconditional; it’s not based on what I do or don’t do.  God no longer sees my sins, he just sees Jesus at work in my life.  I know that today and into the future I can relax in knowing that I will always have God’s grace.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Learn To Think Like Jesus

In summary of 1 Peter 4:1-2 it says, "Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, arm yourself with the same attitude he had, learn to think like him, and be ready to suffer.  This way you won't’ spend the rest of your lives chasing your own passions and desires, but instead anxious to do the will of God."

Bottom Line:
Jesus lived a human life and when through everything we are experiencing and more.  We should arm ourselves with the same attitude he had and learn to think like him.  He was ready to suffer, readily give up all for God’s purposes.  If we do so, we won’t spend the rest of our lives chasing after things only for ourselves, but instead ready to do what God has in store for us.

What this means to me:
God has a plan for me and what he wants to accomplish with my life.  Looking to Jesus as an example; he went through everything I’m experiencing and more.  I am to learn to think like him, adjust my attitude and be ready to suffer to do what God has in mind for me.  This means I need to give up going after what is my own personal desires or passions.  My goal is to ready myself each day to do the will of God.  In order for me to do this, I need my daily time in prayer and in his word to continue to allow me to focus on him and learn what his will is (without this I will stray to my own desires.)  I have found that what ever occupies my mind is what will consume me, so I must make it a habit and a priority to spend this time with him each morning.  Each morning (and throughout) the day, I should ask God to help me turn my mind from worldly things and instead be filled with what he desires; a relationship with him, and loving/serving others.