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Friday, March 29, 2013

When Tempted, Humble Yourself Before God and Change the Channel

In summary of James 4:7 it says,
“So humble yourselves before God, let him work his will in you. Resist the devil, yell a loud “no” and he will flee from you”

Bottom line:
When tempted, gain strength from God and his will in your life.  Tell the enemy “no” and watch him leave.

What this means to me:
When tempting situations come I need to be humble and refocus myself on something different.  When I resist the enemy, he will run away from me.  At times a temptation seems very overpowering and something I’m unable to not given into, but that's a lie from the enemy. God has promised never to allow more on me than he puts within me to handle it. He will not permit any temptation that I could not overcome. However, I must do my part too by practicing biblical methods for defeating temptation.  When the temptation comes, I should refocus my attention on something besides the temptation thought itself. His Word doesn’t tell me to "resist temptation" instead I am to "resist the enemy," and that is very different.  Refocusing works because trying to resist a thought simply doesn't. To resist the thought will only intensifies my focus on the wrong thing and in turn strengthen its allure.  Whatever I resist, persists! Temptation always begins with a thought, so the quickest way to neutralize its allure is to turn my attention to something else. Don't fight the thought, just change the channel of my mind and get interested in another idea.  The battle for sin will be won or lost in my mind.  Whatever gets my attention will get me. That's why it appear Job said, "I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust upon a young woman." (Job 31:1 NLT)  And even David prayed, "Keep me from paying attention to what is worthless." (Psalm 119:3a TEV)  Today Father I ask for the Holy Spirit within me to bring these methods to mind next time I’m tempted.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Understand Your Vulnerability

In summary of 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 it says,
“12 If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. 13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”

Bottom line:
Don’t be so naive and self-confident. No one is exempt.  You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else when it comes to temptations.. Forget about being self-confident; it’s useless.  But you can trust God.  He’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you with a way out.

What this means to me:
I really need to be careful and not overly confident as I can fall victim to my vulnerabilities.  I need to remind myself that what I come across is no different than what others have faced over the centuries (it’s not something unique to me.)  So instead of trying to do it all on my own, I can trust God.  He will never let me be tempted beyond the point that I could not overcome it.  In fact if I look to him, he will always provide a way out so that I can endure.  So when I’m tempted, I need to keep my vulnerabilities in mind and work out ways to protect myself.  In this passage God warns me to never to get cocky and overconfident about my ability to handle temptation; if I do, then I have a sure-fire recipe for disaster.  Given the right circumstances, I am capable of any sin. So I must never let down my guard and think i’m beyond temptation: "Don't carelessly place yourself in tempting situations. Avoid them." (Proverbs 14:16 TEV)  It is much easier for me to stay out of temptation than to get out of it.   I should always remember his promise,  "And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can't stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it." (1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Following And Serving In Humility

In summary of 1 Peter 5:5 it says,
“In the same way, you younger men must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, serve each other in humility, for “God opposes the proud but favors the humble.”

Bottom Line:
Willingly submit to leaders / elders above you.  All should serve each other in humility.  God opposes the proud but gives grace and favor to the humble.

What this means to me:
I must be willing to submit to any leader or elder above me.  I am to give them due respect and yield to their counsel.  I am to serve all others (whether I’m a leader or not) in humility.  I need to clothe myself with it each day - to put on, as it does not come naturally. God opposes and will go against those who are proud and that includes me, I’m not an exception.  He will give grace, favor and blessing to those who display humility.  So as a real servant who is humble, I should maintain a low profile and not promote or call attention to myself  In addition, instead of acting to impress, I am to put on the apron of humility and serve. If I am recognized for my service, I am to just humbly accept it but not allow it to go to my head.  Also, I’m not to serve in order to impress people with how spiritual I am.  As a servant, I should not do it for the approval or applause of others. I am to be content quietly serving in the shadows.  I need to realize that at times I may be serving in obscurity in some small place, feeling unknown and unappreciated. I need to remember that God put me where I’m at for a purpose!  He has every hair on my head numbered, and he knows right where I’m at.  So today I ask the Holy Spirit to help me to clothe myself in humility and to serve.  I need to obey and follow leadership above me.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Letting God's Word Activate My Faith

In summary of Romans 10:17 it says, “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word about Christ.”

Bottom Line:
So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.

What this means to me:
My faith develops when I hear the Good News (Message.)  The more I hear and see in example from His Word and from other Christian, coupled with my own experiences of trusting in what he said, the more my faith grows.  People will hear the Good News (Message) only when someone tells them about Christ.  If the Word isn’t told, then there’s nothing really to hear.  This is a reminder for me to be sharing my faith and the Message with others.  In my own life, taking a step in faith can sometimes be a scary thing.  Left to my own, I am not very courageous, I often fear taking risks, afraid of failing.  What I have learned over time is that a person of faith walks confidently in life.  I become a person of faith when I let God’s Word be activated in my life.  Daily I am encouraged when I read.  There are times and passages in which  I find myself saying, “I can do this!”  So unlike traditional self-help books who can only tell you a course of action, God’s Word not only gives me the course but also gives me the power to do it.  As I follow and obey His Word my faith grows.  I can look to the thousands of promises in the Bible to continue to give me confidence.  They remind me that If I do what God asks of me, he has promised a certain result.  Today I will consider what I think God wants to accomplish in my life.  I will claim his promises and follow his Word.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Do Every Task With Equal Dedication

Luke 16:10
“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.”

Bottom Line:
If you can be trusted with small things, you will trusted with larger things.  However, if you are dishonest with small things you will be dishonest with the larger things.

What this means to me:
How I handle smaller and minor things is a true indicator of how I’ll handle larger and more trustworthy things.  When I trusted with small tasks and prove myself over time then I will be given larger tasks.  So as a servant for Him I need to do every task I get (small or big) with equal dedication. Whatever I do, I need to "do it with all my heart." (Colossians 3:23 NIV)  I need to remember that I will never arrive at the state in life where I’m too important to help with menial tasks. God will never exempt me from the mundane. It's a vital part of my character curriculum. The Bible says, "If you think you are too important to help someone in need, you are only fooling yourself. You are really a nobody." (Galatians 6:3 NLT)  It is in these small services that I grow more like Christ. Jesus himself specialized in menial tasks that everyone else tried to avoid: washing feet, helping children, fixing breakfast, and serving lepers. Nothing was beneath him, because he came to serve. It wasn't in spite of his greatness that he did these things, but because of it, and he expects us to follow his example. (John 13:15)  There will always be more people willing to do "great" things for God than there are people willing to do the little things. The race to be a leader is crowded, but the field is wide open for those willing to be servants.  Today I will server with my whole heart whatever it is God gives me to do.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Learning To Serve, Even When It’s Inconvenient

In summary of 2 Timothy 2:4 it says,
“No soldier when in service gets entangled in the enterprises of civilian life; his aim is to satisfy and please the one who enlisted him.”

Bottom Line:
Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them.

What this means to me:
If I am to be a true follower and soldier for Christ then I should avoid getting tied up and occupied with the worldly things that don’t really matter.  If I allow myself to get occupied with these things then I won’t have time to do the things God has planned for me.  My ultimate goal is to bring honor to God in what I do.  So like a soldier who has dedicated himself to serving, I will attempt to not become occupied with outside things.  I will concentrate on carrying out orders in order to please the one who has enlisted me.  In practicality, as a servant for Him I need to make myself available to serve and not fill up my time with other pursuits that could limit my availability.  I need to leave a margin so that I can be ready to jump into service when called on.  And much like a soldier, I must always be standing by for duty and not only when it's convenient for me.  A real servant will do what's needed, even when it's inconvenient. So today I ask myself, am I willing to be available to God anytime?  Will I allow him to mess up my plans without becoming resentful? I want to remember that I belong to him and I don't always get to pick and choose when or where I will serve.  I also need to remember that I need to give up the right to control my schedule and allow God to interrupt it whenever he needs to.  I will add to my Q.T and prayer list a reminder that I’m God's servant, so his interruptions won't frustrate me.  I will make my agenda to be willing to do whatever God wants to bring into my life.  I will strive to see interruptions as divine appointments for ministry and to be thankful for the opportunity to serve Him.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Jesus Measures Leadership by Service

In summary of
Mark 10:42b-3 it say,
“They let leadership go to their heads and lord/power over others.  But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant”

Bottom line:
Don’t let leadership go to your head thinking that you’re better than others, instead you serve the rest just like a servant.

What this means to me:
Being a leader doesn’t give me the privilege to kick back, not work hard and power over others.  Instead Jesus explains that a leader is one who serves the needs of the ones they lead.  So for me this means that I need to be careful to not be selfish and lord / power over others.  To do a leadership job that pleases Jesus, I need to have a servants heart and be willing to serve in the way that I lead.  Our culture / world defines being a leader or greatness in terms of power, possessions, prestige, and position. When you can demand service from others, you've arrived. In our self-serving culture with its me-first mentality, acting like a servant is not a popular concept.  Yet God will determine my greatness by how many people I serve and not by how many people serve me.  If I’m not careful (not keeping in mind a having a servant's heart) I can easily be tempted to misuse my God-given SHAPE (spiritual gifts, heart, abilities, personality, and experiences) for my own personal gain. While knowing my SHAPE is important for serving God, having the heart of a servant is much more important.   My shape will reveal my ministry, but my servant's heart will reveal my maturity. No special talent or gift is required to stay after a meeting to pick up trash or stack chairs. Anyone can serve. All it requires is character. The best evidence I can have of a servants heart is to look at the results of what I do.  Jesus said, "You can tell what they are by what they do." (Matthew 7:16 CEV)   Today I will think through my attitudes and be sure I am putting on the heart of a servant especially as I lead others at work today.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cures for Procrastination

In summary of
Philippians 4:13 it says,
“I have the strength to face all things or any condition by the power that Christ gives me.”

Bottom Line:
I can do anything through Christ, He is the one who gives me the strength.

What this means to me:
When it comes down to it, I can gain the strength to face anything that comes my way.  This is all through the power that Christ will give me if I ask Him.  With his assistance I can be ready for everything.  God’s word provides me with several actions I can do to cure procrastination:
  • Stop making excuses - stop with the “one of these day’s or when things settle down” phrases.  Its highly likely that things will never settle down. Instead I need to make a choice and prioritize  what is important and get after it.
  • Start today - Not next month, next week, or tomorrow. I can do this by simply jotting down three things I know God wants me to do, then choose one and start.
  • Establish a plan and a schedule - as the saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you're planning to fail.” I need to at least put out a simple plan, then designate some specific time slots each week for the things I need to do.  I find it helpful in planning to “start with the end in mind” , getting a clear picture of what it will look like when it’s done.  Then working backward to figure out what was needed to get there.  This will give me the basics of a plan.
  • Face my fears - Its hard to admit that I have fears.  Often our culture sees this as a sign of weakness. However fear is just part of life. Only a fool is not afraid.
  • Focus on what I can gain, not the pain - There are very few things in life that are easy. I must push through the frustration and look at the gain beyond the pain.

A key is to not ask myself "What I feel like doing" but rather "What does God want me to do?"  Jesus never said life would be easy. There will be sacrifice and commitment on my part. But if I push through there is tremendous reward in doing the things he calls me to do.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The True Costs of Procrastination

In summary of Proverbs 15:19 it says,
“If you are lazy, you will meet difficulty everywhere, but if you are honest, you will have no trouble.”

Bottom Line:
Being lazy will block your way and cause you problems, but being upright will put you on a smooth path.

What this means to me:
If I’m lazy about what I do then my way will be blocked with difficulty, much like working my way through a field of thorns which will prick, entangle and slow me down - I might even give up!  If I choose the path of being diligent and doing what’s right with no delay, I’ll find that my way will be much easier, like driving down a well paved and smooth highway.  This speaks highly to my tendencies toward procrastination.  When I procrastinate, I’m essentially saying one of two things; “It’s easier for me to avoid this than to face it” or “It will be easier to handle this tomorrow (or later),” both of which are wrong.  This scripture reminds me that there are true costs to procrastination in my life.  First it causes me problems as it take something that may have been easier and makes it a crisis later either because of a timed commitment that I may not be meeting.  In addition the longer I wait to start something the harder it will be to get it started and going.  Secondly it wastes potential opportunities. I need to take the advantage of a situation when comes and while I’ve got it.  If I don’t, I’ll end up missing out.  Lastly it hurts the people God has placed around me.  Laziness on my part prevents me from being loving to others as loving requires commitment, energy and work on my part.  This morning I need to prayerfully consider the price I’m paying when I procrastinate.  As an example, for work related items It might be better for me to get a jump start on projects and tasks even if it just jotting down major ideas and small sentences / paragraphs.

Monday, March 18, 2013

What To Do About Procrastination In My Life

In summary of Proverbs 13:4 it says, "Lazy people want and crave much but will get little, but those who are diligent and work hard will prosper and have something to show for their lives."

Bottom Line:
The lazy will not get what they want, but those who work hard will.

What this means to me:
No matter how much a lazy person will want something, even crave it, their appetites will never be satisfied and they will never get what they want.  However, those who work hard and diligently will prosper and have something to show for their lives.  Procrastination is probably one of my key weaknesses.  God's word points out that procrastination occurs for one of five reasons.

  • Indecision - "A double minded man is unstable in all he does." (James 1:8 LB) Indecision causes me to postpone taking action against something.
  • Perfectionism - "If you wait for perfect conditions, you'll never get anything done!" (Ecclesiastes 11:4 LB) If I wait for all things to be perfect, I'll end up waiting a very long time. 
  • Fear - "The fear of man is a trap." (Proverbs 29:25 LB) This is where I postponing doing something important; seeing a doctor/dentist, getting the counsel I might be needed (I may just need to ask myself "What am I afraid of?")
  • Anger - "A lazy person is as bad as someone who is destructive." (Proverbs 18:9 GNT) Procrastination is passive resistance. I don't want to do it because I don't like you telling me to do what I have to do. Anger causes me to put things off.
  • Laziness -"Lazy people want much but get little, while the diligent are prospering." (Proverbs 13:4 LB) One of the most popular words in our culture is "easy." If it's easy, we like it. If it's hard, we don't like it. 

The next time I find myself procrastinating, I'll stop and ask myself why. Then ask God to help me overcome it so I can move forward and do what I need to do.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

God Builds Faith by Giving a Dream

In summary of Ephesians 3:20 it says, "Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think."

Bottom line:
With God’s power working in us, God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or imagine.

What this means to me:
It is God who by means of His power working in me who can accomplish so much more that I can even ask for or think about doing.  He does this gently, not by pushing me around but rather by working within me through His Spirit within me.  All credit goes to Him!  What I’m learning is that when God wants to work in my life, he'll give me a dream - about myself, about what he wants me to do, about how he's going to use my life to impact the world.   God did this for Noah (dream of building an ark), Abraham (dream of being the father of a great nation) and Nehemiah (dream of building the wall around Jerusalem.  Study of his word tells me that when the dream is from Him (rather than from myself) it will be one so big that I can’t possibly do it on my own and it would never contradict His Word.  I’m afraid he may be speaking to me now, but I’m not recognizing it for what it is.  I suspect it’s the dream or notion I have had for a while about doing more with the “Truth Project” study information I was exposed to that would be of real benefit to other people.  There is so much the world is missing out on because of their adoption of worldly ways that are in stark contrast to God’s Truth.  I believe God wants me to take this material to heart and absorb it more and then lead out in communicating to everyone in my life.  God will start with a dream as he builds my faith.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

God Specializes in Impossible Dreams

In summary of 2 Corinthians 1:8-9 it says, “8 We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. 9 In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.”

Bottom Line:
Trouble comes, and it may be to a point where you don’t think you can endure.  But we stopped relying on ourselves and instead learned to rely only on God to bring us through (why not, He’s one who could do anything, including raise the dead.)

What this means to me:
Just because I follow Christ does not mean that I’ll have it easy.  Being a follower of Jesus does not automatically eliminate all problems, however it does give me a better understanding of what’s going on and what to do next.  So in my life I will face trouble and it may even result in harm to me or those I love and be hard to endure.  But God puts these things in my life so that I can learn to not trust or just rely upon myself.  Instead these situations drive me closer in putting my faith and hope in the one who can do anything. I should not be surprised when the pursuit of my dream deteriorates from difficult to impossible, I’m in good company as even Paul went through dead ends: "At that time we were completely overwhelmed, the burden was more than we could bear, in fact we told ourselves that this was the end. Yet we believe now that we had this experience of coming to the end of our tether that we might learn to trust, not in ourselves, but in God who can raise the dead." (2 Corinthians 1:8-9 PH)  If God can raise people physically, he can also raise people who are dead emotionally, resurrect a dead marriage, provide guidance in a troubled career and help with health problems.  God may very well let problems become impossibilities for me alone to resolve.  My best response to this is, "He has delivered us from such a terrible death, and He will deliver us; we have placed our hope in Him that He will deliver us again." (2 Corinthians 1:10 HCSB)

Monday, March 11, 2013

When God Says Wait

In summary of Habakkuk 2:3 it says, “This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.”

Bottom Line:
The message will come true about the future.  If it seems slow in coming, be patient, it’s on it’s way and will arrive at the right time.

What this means to me:
I can always trust in what He tells me about the future.  His messages will always come true.  They are not there to deceive or disappoint me.  He fulfills what He says.  If I think its slow in coming, I just need to learn to be patient.  What He shows me will come true and will arrive just at the right time.  So as I make the decision to follow dreams/plans God places in my heart I can expect that delays will occur.  God will not fulfil my dreams/plans immediately because delays are a step he uses to build my faith.  In this passage of scripture God is saying "These things I plan won't happen right away, but slowly, steadily, surely, the time will approach when the vision will be fulfilled."  Its natural for me when I encounter delays to I ask “When Lord or was I correct in asking?”   Naturally I don’t like waiting, but I need to realize that the waiting teaches me to trust in God and not myself.  It helps me to remember that He is in control (not me.)  Over these periods of waiting I slowly learn that his timing is perfect.  I need to keep in mind that God's delay will never destroy his purpose and a delay is not a necessarily a deny.  So I need to realize that He is likely not saying "No," but instead saying, "Not yet."  I need to meet with God regularly, continue to do my part in faith and wait on his timing.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Learning To Listen Before Reacting In Relationships

In summary of Proverbs 19:11 it says, “Good sense makes a man restrain his anger, and it is his glory to overlook a wrongdoings or an offense.”

Bottom Line:
A wise and sensible person controls their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs.

What this means to me:
Often when I hear something that rubs me wrong or someone is upset with me, I can easily get angered.  His Word reminds me that it is wise and sensible for me to control my temper / hold my tongue and then to be as patient as possible with others.  This change in focus will go a long way toward assisting and restoring a strained relationship.  It shows sympathy and care when I take time to see things from the other person’s point of view.   The overall concept is for me to listen more than I speak.  I should focus on how they feel, just listen and let them unload emotionally without me being defensive.  It’s is better to acknowledge that I understand.  This doesn’t mean that I always have to agree.   True listening communicates, "I value your opinion, I care about our relationship, and you matter to me."  People won't care what I know until they know I care.  When I can control this, I will earn respect from the individual and likely from others around who witness it.  This process is consistent with one of Steven Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” which states, “seek first to understand, then be understood!”  I have found this to be true in my life time after time.  This simple principle even makes running routine meetings go well.  It is much better to listen so that they feel they are understood.  Once they feel they are understood they are much more open to listening to alternate options I have or I may even have a clear enough mind to perhaps change my position.  God, I ask you to help me in my quest to be wise in controlling my anger, and to listen more than I speak..

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Don’t Think More Highly Of Yourself Than You Should

In summary of Proverbs 3:7 it says, “Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.  Instead, fear the Lord and, take him seriously, then then turn away from evil.”

Bottom Line:
Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God!  Run from evil!

What it means to me:
I need to look to the Lord for guidance and wisdom instead of thinking that I know it all.  I can get big headed at times and proceed like I know exactly what to do.  This verse reminds me that I shouldn’t be impressed with my own wisdom (being wise in my own eyes.)   In order to truly follow this I need humility.  Scripture reminds me that I should instead of my automatic, know-it-all attitude, I need to “fear the Lord”, which means literally to take Him and what he teaches seriously and simply obey.  When I do this it is much easier to turn away from and refuse to do wrong.  In order to do this, each day I need to choose to “clothe myself with” and put on humility (take a humble attitude), and not go into automatic mode thinking more highly of myself than I should.  As I practiced this over the last few days (putting on humility), I have noticed a positive effect I’ve had in meetings and with relationships with others.  I will continue to put on humility and keep away from jumping to my automatic mode.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Don't Just Read But Receive God's Word

In summary of James 1:21 it says, “So get rid of every filthy habit and all wicked conduct. Submit to God and accept the word that he plants in your hearts, which is able to save you.”

Bottom line:
Get rid of the things that hold you back (filthy habits, wicked conduct.)  Then submit to God and in humility accept what he plants in you.  He has to power to save you.

What this means to me:
I am to remove from my life any remaining filthy habits, evil things or wrongdoing that makes me unclean.  Instead humble myself and open up/accept the Word/Teaching he can implant into my heart.  What he provides has the power to change my life for the good.  I can really receive God’s Word when I listen with an open and receptive attitude (ask myself what can I learn, or what promise can I claim.)  As Jesus had pointed out in the parable of the sower, my receptiveness determines whether or not God’s Word will take root in my lives and allow me to bear fruit. Jesus identified three unreceptive attitudes — a closed mind (hard soil), a superficial mind (shallow soil), and a distracted mind (soil with weeds) — and then he said, “Consider carefully how you listen” (Luke 8:18a NIV).   Anytime I feel I’m not learning from a message or a study, I need to check my attitude (especially for the presence of pride.)  As we have been talking about in my small group (based on our weekly message series), pride can block the ability to hear (it shuts down my sensors.)  I also need to be aware of common distractions that often block my focus (ie.. getting up late and running behind, having too much on my mind and not slowing down to spend quality time with him.)  I ask you God to help me be more humble in general, especially when it comes to those who are teaching me and in my interactions with others (I need to stop and really listen to what they are telling me.)  I need to go into study time with an open and receptive heart.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Learning To Control My Reactions Is Good For Me

In summary of Proverbs 29:11 it says, “Foolish people express their anger openly, but a wise and sensible person will be patient and hold their anger back.”

Bottom Line:
“Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back”

What this means to me:
A foolish person will lose their temper and vent (letting it all hang out), but a wise person learns (based on experience) to hold their anger back.  In life, I can’t always control what happens to me, but I can control my reaction to it.  God’s Word shows me that maturity and responsibility will be evident in my life when I can handle the pressures and pains that come my way without becoming stressed out or angry.  I need to remember what Jesus said,, “On judgment day, people will have to give an account for every careless word they've said." (Matthew 12:36 GWT.)  So to be responsible I need to put my mind in gear before I put my mouth into motion, in other words “think before I speak.”  I also need to keep in mind that my verbal response isn't’ all that I need to watch.  I need to be conscious of my actions and motives as they are key indicators of my true feelings.  So instead of letting an issue get the best of me, I need to counter and conquer it by doing good, "Don't let evil get the best of you, but conquer evil by doing good." (Romans 12:21 LB)  Its also key for me to not attempt to get even with those who might hurt me, as I would be no better off than the person who did me wrong.  Forgiving that person is a great way of returning good for evil.  Then I trust and let God settle the score in his own way and his own timing.  The key is for me to control my reactions to what is occurring to me.  I need to show show love the way He would.  Today God I ask you to help me control my reactions and to handle things the way you have pointed out to me in your word.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Admitting My Mistakes Allows Him To Help Me Overcome Them and Bring Good

In summary of Proverbs 28:13 it says, “You will never really succeed in life by God’s standards if you try to hide your sins. God will show you mercy if you if you confess and turn from them”

Bottom Line:
Harboring/keeping sin in your life will prohibit you from obtaining God’s best for you.  God will provide mercy if you choose to confess and turn from them.

What this means to me:
There is no way I can simply just hide or conceal (even whitewash over) sin in my life and get by with it.  Instead its best for me to choose to admit my sins to God and then turn from them.  When I do God offers his me mercy.  I’ve been irresponsible in my life, however God doesn’t want me to go around with a heavy guilt trip about this.  Instead he’d rather I went around with a  sense of promise and hope.  He tells me in his word that He will help me overcome my sins and can even bring good out of a stupid decision I’ve made if I simply just give them to Him.  I just need to use my savior to forgive my sins and clear my conscience.  Here's the good news for me to hold onto today; "All of us have fallen short, yet now God declares us not guilty if we trust in Jesus Christ who freely takes away our sins." (Romans 3:23-24)  I’m not alone in this.  So today I need to just review my life and consider if there is any lingering guilt or shame that is keeping me locked in a lifestyle of irresponsibility that is holding me back.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Being Responsible to Live Within My Means and Saving

In summary of Proverbs 21:20 it says, “Wise people store up the best and most precious treasures, but fools waste everything they have.”

Bottom Line:
The wise store up and maintain what’s valuable, but a fool spends whatever he gets

What this means to me:
A wise person will store up (not hoard) for the future and are careful in how they spend and use it.  A foolish person will waste and spend everything they have.  Rick Warren has pointed out that “the average American saves less than 5% of his or her income, because they have bought into this instant gratification society that says, ‘I've got to have it now!’ spending more than they make.”  God says that's foolish.  Furthermore he has pointed out that statistics indicate that fifty-four percent of the divorces in America occur over financial pressures, and most baby boomers are going to be flat broke in retirement. They're going to live in abject poverty because they're not saving anything.   I need to be more serious about dividing up what I bring home into at least three boxes: one for spending, one for tithing, and one for savings.  Many look to me for guidance since we had gone through a large problem a while ago.  I just need to keep this at the for font on my mind and continue to practice and model this approach in my own life.  I do have times when everything goes out the door?   So, moving forward regardless I need to learn to live on a margin. Living on less than you make and then putting some put away to save. God says that's being responsible.