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Friday, August 30, 2013

My Spiritual Growth Is a Collaborative Effort

In summary of Philippians 2:13 it says, “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”

Bottom Line:
God is at work within you, helping you to obey and work doing what he wasn't done through me

What this means to me:
God is always at work within me.  He helps direct my desire and gives me the power to do what his will is.  As I follow Christ, I gravitate more and more each day to act a new way.  I slowly let go of old routines and develop new habits and ways of thinking.  Spiritual growth is a collaborative effort between myself and the Holy Spirit.  God is working in me, but I must also work out.  God has given me a new life; now I’m responsible to develop it "with fear and trembling." This means I am to take my spiritual growth seriously, because it will determine my role in eternity.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Commitments I Make Will Shape My Life

In summary of 2 Peter 3:11 it says, “Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live”

Bottom Line:
Everything around us will eventually be destroyed.  We should then be holy and God-like, dedicated to Him.

What this means to me:
I have a spoiler alert.  I know how the world will end.  God has already told us in His.  Knowing this however doesn’t ruin life, if fact knowing how it ends helps me to endure.  Everything will eventually be destroyed.  So until then I should live my life for His goals, not mine.  When I responded to his invitation, I made a commitment to follow Christ.  It is my commitments that shape my life more than anything else. Commitments can develop me or they can destroy me, but either way, they define me.  It’s been said, “Tell me what you're committed to and I'll tell you what you'll be in twenty years.” I’ll become whatever I’m committed to.  In general there are three ways most people to respond to commitment.  First, are those who are afraid to commit to anything and just drift through life. Second, they make half-hearted commitments to competing values, which lead to frustration and mediocrity.  Thirdly there are those who make full commitments to worldly goals, such as becoming wealthy or famous, and end up disappointed and bitter.  Every choice has eternal consequences so I’ll want to choose mine wisely: "Since everything around us is going to melt away, what holy, godly lives you should be living!" (2 Peter 3:11 LB)  Christlikeness in my life will come from making Christlike commitments.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Danger in Anger

In summary of Proverbs 20:3 it says, “Any fool can start arguments; the honorable thing is to stay out of them.”

Bottom Line:
The foolish will start or participate in arguments. Avoiding arguments is honorable.

What this means to me:
It is much more honorable for me to stay out of an argument than to be in one.  Wise people are peacemakers, not troublemakers. A wise person won’t carry a chip on his shoulder. They are not always looking for a fight, and they don’t intentionally antagonize others.  If I have  been around some for any length of time, I’ll usually know what irritates them, and I can potentially use it aa tool when I get in an argument. It can be a weapon of mass destruction! When I get in an argument, and that person says something that hurts, offends, or slights me in any way, then I’m apt to pull out the big gun.  The Bible calls that? Stupid!  I’m not getting any closer to the resolution and I’m certainly not helping the relationship.  It is not wise. Today’s verse Proverbs 20:3 says this, “Any fool can start arguments; the honorable thing is to stay out of them” (TEV).  My default reaction will likely be to use all the tools, tricks of the trade, and skills in relationships that will actually be counter productive. They’re hurtful, they’re harmful, and they won’t get me what I want out of relationships. In fact, they will get me the exact opposite.  Proverbs 14:29 says, “A wise man controls his temper. He knows that anger causes mistakes” (LB). When I get angry, my intelligence goes out the window. When I get angry, I say and do stupid things that are actually self-defeating.  In summary, I need to keep my cool, be patient and avoid arguments or pushing people's buttons.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Learning To Mentor Others

In summary of Job 8:8 it says, “Ask the previous generation. Pay attention to the experience of our ancestors.”

Bottom Line:
Ask those who are older, pay attention to their experiences.

What this means to me:
I’m am to inquire of those who are older, I’m to pay attention to their experiences and consider what they searched out and found.  I’m at the age now where I’m considered an older generation to the younger folks in my congregation.  God would want me to use my experiences to mentor others.  What I’m finding is that mentoring is far more intentional than simply ministering to somebody when he’s hurting or motivating him when he’s down or giving him an example. Mentoring is when I actually take an interest in a person’s life and commit to helping him along.  1 John 1:3 says, “We saw it, we heard it, and now we’re telling you so you can experience it along with us” (MSG).  A mentor is simply an experienced, trusted counselor or guide. When I look for a mentor, I look for experience, perspective, and somebody who I can trust.  A mentor is my like a personal coach. Everybody needs a personal coach and needs to be a personal coach. A Personal coach would bring out the best in me. They would see things in me that I don’t see in yourself. A mentor would help you with three areas: role, goal, and soul. What do you do in life? What are you accomplishing in life? And, what are you becoming in life?  A Mentor helps you become what you can become.  The Bible says in Proverbs 25:12, “A warning given by an experienced person to someone willing to listen is more valuable than gold rings or jewelry” (TEV).  Rick Warren in his one of his daily devotions says this about mentors.  “No matter how successful you are or how successful you think you are, you always need a mentor. You’ll need one the rest of your life. It’s how you get to the top. You’ve got to have people who are speaking into your life.”  Job 32:7 says, “Age should speak and experience should teach wisdom” (GW).  In summary, I’m at that age now where I should be teaching others, sharing my experiences. I should seek out those younger to help mentor.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Learning To Confiding In God, All My Fears and Temptations

In summary of Matthew 6:13 it says, "And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one."

Bottom line:
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil

What this means to me:
If I’m not careful I’ll easily yield to temptation, so I ask God to deliver me from it and the one who is behind it.  Area’s of my life in which I need more self-control or have the most fear are the ones Jesus wants me to talk with him about.  I can rest in knowing that Jesus understands my fears and temptations: Our High Priest is not one who cannot feel sympathy for our weaknesses. On the contrary, we have a High Priest who was tempted in every way that we are, but did not sin. (Hebrews 4:15 TEV)  His word tells me that Jesus came to earth and experienced every temptation known to man, the same ones I experience, yet he didn't give in. It is not a sin to be tempted; the sin is when I give in to temptation. When I pray -- "Jesus, I'm struggling in this area. I keep stumbling. I keep failing" -- Jesus understands because he's been there. He knows what it's like.  His Word says we can have "confidence, then, and approach God's throne, where there is grace. There we will receive mercy and find grace to help us just when we need it." (Hebrews 4:16 TEV)  In summary, I should ask for help each day and not be afraid to admit my struggles and fears.  I can talk to Him about these and He will understand.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Using My Own Experiences For Remembering and Encouragement

In summary of Deuteronomy 11:2 it says, “Remember today what you have learned about the Lord through your experiences with him.”

Bottom Line:
Remember what you have learned so far though your experiences with the Lord.

What this means to me:
I should remember often, what I have learned about the Lord from my experiences with him. What I do today and how I live my life will impact those around me and those who I may impact in the future. To do so, I must embrace the experiences of my life — the good ones, the bad ones, the shameful ones, the right ones, the wrong ones, the happy, and the sad ones.  God is going to use it for good in my life.  Galatians 3:4 says, “Were all your experiences wasted? I hope not” (NCV).  God can use every experience in my life for good. This verse reminds me that it’s important to remember the lessons I have been taught.  Every time I have an important lesson, I write it down so I’ll not  forget it. Journalizing these things will help me look back and remember what God taught me so I can be encouraged in the dark times of your life and know that God is still working for your good.  In summary, keeping journal will help me remember important lessons.  Part of my journal is what is recorded in this blog.  I can use it to search back key topics and remember what God has taught me.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

When I Pray, I’m committing myself to his will

In summary of Matthew 6:10 it says, “May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”

Bottom line:
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

What this means to me:
Jesus is saying that when I pray, I should commit myself to God’s will.  After I give God my love, I give Him my life.  God has a specific will for my life.  When I connect with God in my quiet time, part of it is asking and committing to what His will is for me today. True success in my life will be knowing what the will of God is and getting right into the center of it.   My attitude should be one of “your will be done, because I know it is the best for me” and this is what I want for my life.  I should be careful to not commit in resentment, I’ll do it, but I won’t like it or I’ll do it because I can’t help or do anything about it. I need to remember that my Heavenly Father knows best.  In summary, I’ll check in with God and ask/commit to “Anything you want to do in my life today, anything you want to tell me." I’m willing to do it.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Heart-Mouth Connection

In summary of Proverbs 14:23 it says, “Work and you will earn a living; if you sit around talking you will be poor.”

Bottom line:
Work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty!

What this means to me:
I need to put forth effort and work hard.  When I do, then it will be profitable, I’ll be able to make a living.  This verse bring a caution, just mulling around and talking about something without action doesn’t mean much.  I must put it into practice for it to be of any profit.  Also, what comes from my mouth, is always related to what’s really in my heart, there is a direct connection.  So whatever my heart is filled with is going to come out of my mouth. The Bible says in Mark 12:30, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength” (NLT). For me, another way to say this is, I need to love God with all my talk, all my feelings, all my thinking, and all of my acting.  This verse reminds me stop talking about something, and to start doing it.  Being idle and full of ideas is ok for a bit, but in order to be useful, I would need to do something.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Learning To Reflect On My Schedule, Do The Right Things And To Rest

In summary of Psalm 127:2 it says, “It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone. Don’t you know he enjoys giving rest to those he loves?”

Bottom line:
You rise up early, and go to bed late, and work hard. The Lord gives rest to His loved ones.

What this means to me:
It’s useless for me to work hard for things that are of my own making or desire.  I can get busy working all night and day, getting up early and going to sleep late.  However, if I’m not doing the things of God because I’m so busy, I’m just wasting a lot of time for not.  God wants me to do his will in the world around me.  I need to be careful to not work so much on my own things that I don’t have time for his work, and more importantly that I’m not getting enough rest.  God wants me to get my proper rest.  In this verse God says, “It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone. Don’t you know he enjoys giving rest to those he loves?” (Psalm 127:2, MSG)  Since I’m busy most of the time I need to keep this verse close at heart.  This may mean that I need to do less, but not less for God, but less in other areas so I’ll have more time to do what matters most.  In summary, I need to continue to review my schedule and all the things that I’m involved with.  Some things may need to go, others I just may need to do differently or more efficiently.  I also need to plan in / schedule proper rest.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Keeping My Priorities Straight

In summary of Matthew 11:28 it says, “Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.’”

Bottom line:
If you are tired and weary, Jesus says to come to him.  He will provide you rest.

What this means to me:
I shouldn’t be carrying heavy weary’s, worry’s or burdens.  These often come from trying to do too much and control everything on my own.  Jesus is saying that when I come to Him and follow his way, it frees up my life.  He never intended my life to burdened with such things.  I often let my live get real busy doing way too much.  I feel that way today.  However, I’m at a season in life at work, where things are real busy and will be for a few more months.  I need to be cautious about doing too much.  One way to tell if I’m doing too much is too is if I’m always tired.  It is not God's will for my life to always be tired. God never intended for me to go around with that heavy a load.  In Matthew 11:28-30 (TEV), Jesus said: "Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying your heavy loads and I will give you..." ... more loads? Is that what He says? "I'll just dump more on you. We'll add to your schedule." No, He says, "I'll give you rest." The yoke I will give you is easy and the load I will put on you is light.'  I need to evaluate what has me burdened the most.  Often the yoke of burden that I've put on myself is because of unrealistic expectations. I'm trying to prove that I matter. I don't have to prove I matter to God. I simply do.  In summary, I need to review my schedule and remove things that don’t really matter in the long run.  I need to get my priorities straight and concentrate on those things that matter most.  My priorities should be to love God, (learn more, spend time, apply what I learn to life), care for my wife/family, and to love and serve people, (with the gifts He has given me.)  I should concentrate my time on those things that will last forever.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Right Perspective Will Protect Me

In summary of Colossians 3:1-2 it says, “1 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.”

Bottom Line:
You have now been raised to a new life with Christ.  Focus your life based on the things of heaven, where Christ sits at the right hand of the Father. Set your minds on the things that are above, not things that are here on earth.

What this means to me:
I have been raised now to a new life with Christ.  I should focus my efforts and desires on the things of heaven, where Christ sits at his Fathers side.  I need to set my focus on the things and realities of heaven.  As I follow Christ and learn more in God’s word, I gain helpful perspective of how he has shaped life.  It is this perspective that helps to protects me from errors.  I live in a society that rejects absolute truth and accepts every opinion as equally valid. It is extremely important that I remain grounded in the truth.  The world I live in, believes everything.  God intends for me to have his wisdom and perspective. This can result in me being ROCK solid: "Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth." (Ephesians 4:14 LB)  In summary, I need to avoid getting caught up in the worlds patterns.  Instead I need to look and set my mind on the eternal future.  If I do this, then I won’t get off-track.  There is much protection for staying within the boundaries God has established.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Learning To Serve Based On My Design, Not Out Of Duty

In summary of Romans 12:3b it says, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you should. Instead, be honest in your thinking, and judge yourself according to the amount of faith that God has given you.

Bottom Line:
With humility, be honest in your estimate of yourselves.

What this means to me:
I should not think more highly of myself than I should.  I need to be humble.  I need to be honest in my assessment of myself.  I should do that all by the amount of faith God has given me.  I can get myself into trouble when I’m moving really fast.  When I do, I don’t have time to really listen to the heart God has given me.  He wants me to look at what I’m made to do, and then I’ll know what he wants of me. But in order to know this, I need to slow down.  I need to stop speeding without direction.  Part of Romans 12:3 says, “Be honest in your estimate of yourselves” (NLT).  I need to spend alone time with God and ask, “What do I love to do? What do I dream of doing? What fascinates me? What can I talk about, think about, and study all day and not get bored? Where have I been most effective in my life?”  I need to serve God out of my design and the way he shaped me. I serve God not out of duty but because I love him. When I do what he wired me to do, it will bring glory to him.  I should strive to serve him out of delight and gratitude. I’ll need to make time to do a careful exploration of who I am and the work I’ve been given.  In summary, be humble and slow down.  Evaluate my passions and gifting.  Serve from these.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

When I’m Discouraged, Realize That The Lord Is Close

In summary of Psalm 34:18 it says, “The Lord is near to those who are discouraged; he saves those who have lost all hope.”

Bottom Line:
When you feel discouraged, The Lord is close by.  He will save those who have lost hope.

What this means to me:
God is closer than I think.  He is especially close when I’m discouraged or have some type of heartbreak.  He will save those who have lost hope.  This is very comforting, because everybody has had their heart broken in some way — maybe by disappointment, fear, shame, rejection, or ridicule. God cares about it. He’s hurt with me. While I’m weeping, He is weeping, too.  It is in my pain that God is closest to you, whether I realize it or not.  God saves us by giving us a heart transplant. God says, “For the heart that’s guilty, I’ll give you a heart that’s forgiven. For the heart that’s resentful, I’ll give you a heart that’s full of peace. For the heart that’s anxious, I’ll give you heart that’s confident. For the heart that’s lonely, I’ll give you a heart full of love. That heart that has been bitter and angry? I’ll give you a heart that is forgiving and loving and generous instead. I just need to let him do a heart transplant in me. When I do, he sets me free.  I need freedom, because I allow myself to be a slave to the expectations of other people. I’m a slave to past memories. I’m a slave to future fears. I’m a slave to current pressure. I’m a slave to the opinions of society, and on and on and on.  All I need to do is open my heart to Jesus Christ.  In summary, I will open my heart to him, and let him transplant it for his own.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Don’t Be Lukewarm, Get Enthusiastic About God

In summary of Revelation 3:20 it says, “Listen! I stand at the door and knock; if any hear my voice and open the door, I will come into their house and eat with them, and they will eat with me.”

Bottom Line:
Jesus stands at the door and knocks.  If any hear his voice and open their doors, he will come in to their home and share a meal together as friends.

What this means to me:

Jesus is always there; listen, look, see, behold his presence.  He will never barge his way in.  He simply knocks at my door.  It’s up to me to let him in.  If I do, he’ll enter into my life and make a real difference.  He will share my life together as a friend, a counselor, a helper.  God gave me a heart, and within it he has placed all of my passions, desires, and dreams.  But unless I submit them to his control, I’ll misuse, misapply, misdirect or abuse them; thus letting them just waste away.  All around me are passionate folks with interests, dreams, and ambitions that are being misused and abused.  In spite of their talent and their passion, many are unhappy.  When our passions are misused, it can make one miserable.  When I get plugged into God and fulfil his purpose for me I will become passionate.  As I reflect on my life, I don’t feel passionate in this manner.  I believe this means I’m not fully plugged into God and what he would want.  God wants me to really care about people.  With my busy schedule, I often work towards accomplishing tasks and not really being relational.  Several verse before this passage, Jesus states, 15 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! 16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!” (Rev. 15-16, NLT.)  This appears to be me, neither hot nor cold.  I need to refocus today.  My God is a passionate God. The only reason I have emotions is because I’m made in his image. God is emotional. God gets jealous when he sees me ignoring him for something else. God loves me with an everlasting love. No matter what I’ve done, he will always love me. Now that’s passion!  When I spend time with God on a daily basis and I get plugged in. I need to concentrate on continuing to develop God’s heart for the world.  The closer I get to God, the more energy, vitality, and passion I’ll have in life. The further away I get, the more bored and apathetic I will become with life. I’ve got to open your heart to Jesus.  Jesus Christ is standing at the door of my life.  But he’s a gentleman. He’s not going to bust the door down. I’ve got to open it up.  In summary, I need to focus less on things/tasks and more on people and relationships.  I need to ask God to fill me with his passion.  I do not want to be lukewarm.  I want my life to serve God’s will.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Using My Gifts Is An Act Of Worship

In summary of John 15:8 it says, “When you give much fruit, My Father is honored. This shows you are My followers.”

Bottom Line:
When you produce much fruit, My Father is honored and glorified.

What this means to me:

When I am following Jesus, one of his true disciples, I will produce much fruit.  This bring glory to God.  One way of doing this is to use the gifts that God has given me (small group leadership and mentoring.)  When I do this is it an act of worship.  God smiles when I use the gifts that he’s given you. The Bible says, “When you produce much fruit, My Father is honored and glorified” (John 15:8a AMP). When I use my gifts correctly, God gets the glory. And I certainly can’t please God with gifts I don’t have. God doesn’t expect me to be talented or gifted at everything. He just wants me to use what he’s given me.  The greatest feeling in the world I can get will come from using my gifts for God’s purpose.  I need to continue to develop the spiritual gifts that I have so that I can enjoy my life and bring glory to God.  In summary, I need to use my gifts to serve.  I should never hold back.  No matter how busy I am, I need to take time to use what he has gifted me for.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Maturity is a Process

In summary of Colossians 3:10 it says, "Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him."

Bottom line:
Don’t default to the way you were, put on your new nature.  Be renewed as you learn and become more like your creator.

What this means to me:
When I decided to change from going my own way and to commit my life to Christ he gave me a new nature.  It’s easy for me to default to my old self, but this verse reminds me to put on my new nature, become renewed as I learn to walk with and become more like him.  Becoming like Christ is my eventual destination.  This does not come overnight, but rather in the journey of my lifetime.  This journey involves believing (through worship), belonging (through fellowship), and becoming (through discipleship). Every day Jesus wants me to become a little more like him: "You have begun to live the new life, in which you are being made new and are becoming like the One who made you." (Colossians 3:10a NCV)  I am so used to and maybe even obsessed with speed.  However God is more interested in strength and stability than my swiftness.  I want the quick fix, the shortcut, the on-the-spot solution. I want a sermon, a seminar, or an experience that will instantly resolve all problems, remove all temptation, and release me from growing pains.  What I need to realize is that real maturity is never the result of a single experience, no matter how powerful or moving. Growth will be gradual. The Bible says, "Our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him." (2 Corinthians 3:18b Msg)  In summary, this means I need to put on my new nature every day and not default to my old ways.  I need to constantly renew myself as I spend time with Jesus.  My spiritual maturity is a process that will last my whole life time.  

Thursday, August 8, 2013

My Spiritual Growth Will Take Time

In summary of Philippians 1:6 it says, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”

Bottom line:
God began doing a good work in you, he will continue doing it and won’t finish until Christ returns.

What this means to me:

I am a work in process and I will continue to be for the rest of my life.  The verse that proceeds this verse says, “For you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now.”  Part the work I am to complete is spreading the Good News about Christ.  This is something I am to do for the rest of my life.  God will continue to build my character and develop in me Christ’s qualities.  As much as I’d like it be a quick course, becoming like Christ cannot be rushed.  God views my life from and for eternity, so he is never in a hurry.  When I opened myself to Christ, Jesus began his work in my life.  Each day I’m learning parts of myself that I haven’t completely surrendered to him.  Getting with Jesus daily will help.  The more time I spend with him the more of my life he’ll help grow.  I will experience struggles and battles, but the outcome will never be in doubt. God has promised that "he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion." In summary, I should not become discouraged that I haven’t made it yet.  I am a work in progress. The promise from God is that he will not give up on my.  He will continue to grow me.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

People Are Valuable To God

In summary of 1 Samuel 16:7 it says, “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Bottom Line:
God does not look at people like we do.  People will judge others by outward appearances.  God doesn’t, He looks at the heart.

What this means to me:

God looks a mans heart.  He’s not concerned with the way we, humans tend to view others.  We look toward outward appearances and make judgements based on that.  We tend to think some people are more important than others.  But God looks inwardly at the heart, and in my case, my heart.  All life is sacred to God.  However, in our culture today, the women’s right to choose is a paramount issue that is hotly debated.  Couples who learn that their unborn children have birth defects, begin to consider terminating the pregnancy.  In reality, we all have defects, emotional handicaps (idea that we are not as smart, we have aches/pains and physical issues), and fears that we are not willing to tell others.  We all have problems.  The Bible says that God loves the weak, the infirm, the special needs person. We need them in our lives to learn unselfishness.  I must protect the sanctity of life whenever I can.  It reveals God’s purpose and shows God’s glory.  We are valuable, no matter who or what we are.  The genetic weaknesses that I have are all part of your SHAPE.  In this verse, the Bible says, “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” 1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV).  God accepts responsibility, he has a bigger perspective than any human. He can see what I can’t see. And he loves each person he made for their potential to do the great things he has planned for us.  More importantly, God isn’t going to compare me with anybody else. However, he will compare me with my potential. I can’t be the best husband, father, manager and small group leader in the world. It can however be my goal to be the best I can possibly be given the talent, background, opportunities, and gifts that God gave me. That’s what he’ll evaluate me on.  In summary, I need to be the best I can, given how he has equipped me.  When I do, I can fulfil God’s purpose for me.  I also need to keep an eye on my selfishness and my natural tendency to judge others.  Everyone is important to God.  I need to look more toward what God sees in others and appreciate it.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Learning to Accept Myself — Flaws and All

In summary of Romans 9:20 it says, “My friend, I ask, ‘Who do you think you are to question God? Does the clay have the right to ask the potter why he shaped it the way he did?’”

Bottom Line:
Who are you to talk back to God? A pot being made does not talk to the one making it and say, “Why did you make me like this?”

What this means to me:

God made me a certain way, for his purpose.  I should never question the way I was made (all the good and the flaws as well.)  I can discover what he has in mind for me by looking at my spiritual gifts, my heart, my abilities, my personality and even my experiences.  Accepting the unique way that God made me will bring glory to him.  It means that I believe that God knows best. So it all comes down to the matter of trust. Will I think he made a mistake with me or will I trust him knowing that he has a plan for my life.  When I say, “God, I don’t like this about myself” I’m basically telling God that I think he blew it with me.  If I reject myself, then I in essence reject God, my creator.  Its a form of rebellion, its me saying I think I know better.  I need to remember that God made me exactly who I am with all of my strengths and weaknesses.  Both can give glory to him, if I just start doing what He made me to do.  If I doubt God’s love and wisdom, I’ll end up getting into trouble. The root behind my problems is that I don’t trust God. I don’t believe God really loves me. I don’t believe that he really has my best interest at heart. An underlying spirit of bitterness is present that will keep me frustrated and keeps you from being all the man God intends for you to be.  In summary I need to believe that God has me the way I am for my best interest and to serve a purpose he has in mind for me.  When I do, I’ll be bringing glory to him accepting myself and being used by Him.  

Monday, August 5, 2013

You Were Made for God's Glory

In summary of Isaiah 43:7 it says, “Bring to me all the people who are mine, whom I made for my glory, whom I formed and made.”

Bottom line:
We are God’s own people, and He created us to bring him glory.

What this means to me:
God wants me to come to him, I am part of his family and can be recognized to be part of his family.  God created me for a purpose, which will ultimately bring Him glory.  God has wired me a certain way.  Every area of my life is influenced by the way I’m shaped.  Spiritual gifts, heart, abilities, personality, experiences — these are the five things that make me, me. In that combination of spiritual gifts, I have heart, passion, and interests. I have these interests because God gave them to me.  He wired it into your system. I am unique, there’s no one else like me.  This matters because:
1. My SHAPE reveals God’s purpose for me.
The way I find out what God wants to do with my life is to discover how he shaped me. God won’t force me to do his plan. Which means I can waste my life. I can use it on all kinds of personal, self-centered things and totally miss God’s plan and purpose for my life.
2. My SHAPE equips you to serve God.
There is a life mission that God has for me that nobody else on this planet can do. If I have missed it so far, its not too late to “start today.”  I can make the rest of my life the best of your life.” God will never ask me to do anything in life that he hasn’t already given me the ability to do. So when I look at my abilities, I can say that  “I’m good at that. That’s what God wants me to do.”
3. Because life is a test.
This life is preparation for the next life in Heaven. God says, “This is a test. He’s testing me to see what I’ll do with what I’ve been given on Earth. Based on that, He will determine what He give me to do in Heaven for eternity.”
4. Because it shows God’s glory.
When I use my SHAPE and I do what God made me to do, it not only feels good, but it also makes God smile. Iranaeus was a great Christian leader in the first century who said, “The glory of God is a human being fully alive.” You know what makes God smile? When he looks down and sees someone using the talents that God gave him for God’s glory.
Isaiah 43:7 says, “Bring to me all the people who are mine, whom I made for my glory, whom I formed and made” (NCV). If I didn’t bring glory to God, I wouldn’t be alive. God made me to enjoy you!

I need to use what God has gifted me to do to serve him and others.  When I do, I’ll bring glory to him.  If I ignore this, then I’ll miss out on what God had for me to do.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Serving Will Define My Life

In summary of Matthew 20:28 it says, For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Bottom line:
Jesus came not to be served, but to serve others and to give his life a ransom for many.

What this means to me:

I should strive to serve above all other things I do and remember that this is what Jesus did.  So for me service will not something I tack onto my schedule, if spare time is available. It is the heart of my Christian life. Jesus came "to serve" and "to give" - and those two verbs should define my life as well.  I must act on what I know and practice what I claim to believe. Study of his word without service, will lead me to spiritual stagnation.  Serving is the complete opposite of my natural tendencies. Most of the time I’m more interested in me being served than providing service.  In my congregation,I'm looking to serve and be a blessing.  A mature follower of Jesus will stop asking, "Who's going to meet my needs?" and start asking, "Whose needs can I meet?"  In summary, I’m to make serving my natural goal in everyday life.  When I do this, I’m taking on the characteristics of my savior.  I need to fight the urge to being served and look for ways to serve others, regardless of the situation.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

God Is Good All the Time

In summary of 2 Corinthians 4:8b-9 it says, “We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. 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 surrounds us, and we believe we are beyond our breaking point.  We think we will never make it through it.  We learned to stop relying on just ourselves and instead learning to rely on God.

What this means to me:

There are many times when I pressed on all sides, mainly with deadlines, commitments, and new problems surfacing everyday.  But If stop relying on just myself to get through it and instead rely on God, I can make it through anything.  God has told me that he will never leave me.  I need to keep the perspective that God is developing within me the character of Christ.  To do this, he must take me through circumstances in life, just like he did with Jesus.  God will use the dark and stressful times in my life for God.  He’ll use them to teach me to trust in him, to show me how I can help others and to draw his body of believers closer together.  So when I’m in difficult times, I need to refuse being discouraged.  God is with me, I just need to rely on him for protection and guidance.  In summary, troubles and pressures will come, I just need to rely on God, not myself.  God will never leave or abandon me.  I just need to give it to him.