Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Proverbs 29:11 NLT
Writer Carol Kuykendall writes: 'My very pregnant daughter got her hair cut...from long to stylishly short. She was trying to get used to her new look when we ran into one of her friends. "Oh no!" her friend wailed..."I don't like it!" Then as if to rationalise her words, she quickly added, "You know me. I'm a Truth-Teller!" As we walked away my daughter told me she could've done without the truth that day!...It made me more aware of that critical moment in conversation when I'm faced with a choice: Do I say what I'm thinking? Or do I zip it?' I believe God's choice would be to zip it. The old adage if you can't say anything good don't say anything at all holds true. I keep hearing that "telling it like it is" and "being real" is good for relationships. But here's what I know about myself: if I say everything I think, I can slay people in my path. And just because I think something - doesn't make it true...A good question to ask is: Is it helpful - or hurtful - to the person or our relationship? What about the timing and tone? [For example] a comment about a spouse's appearance is hurtful when they can't do anything about it, and will only make him or her self-conscious the rest of the evening. The biggest challenge with this is when we think we've been wronged. We want to attack everyone in our path. When that happens ask yourself the question: is this truly how God wants me to act? The Bible says, 'Fools vent...the wise quietly hold it back. Knowing when not to speak is often more important than knowing what to say. That's what Paul had in mind: 'Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up...that it may benefit those who listen.' (Ephesians 4:29 NIV) You are loved!
Monday, June 17, 2013
Proverbs 22:6 NKJV
I loved this article I read years ago and thought I'd pass it on to you....
"A mathematics teacher, who agreed to babysit while her friend went shopping, left her this note: 'Dried tears 11 times...tied shoelaces 15 times...blew up balloons, five per child... warned children not to cross the street 26 times...children insisted on crossing the street 26 times. Number of Saturdays I'll volunteer to do this again - zero!'
The following Beatitudes for Parents were written nearly 50 years ago by Marion E. Kinneman when her daughters were raising her six grandsons. They're still spot-on! 'Blessed are those who make peace with spilled milk and mud, for of such is the kingdom of childhood. Blessed is the parent who engages not in the comparison of his child with others, for precious unto each is the rhythm of his own growth. Blessed are those who have learned to laugh, for it's the music of a child's world. Blessed and mature are those who without anger can say "No," for comforting to a child is the security of firm decisions. Blessed is the gift of consistency, for it brings heart's-ease in childhood. Blessed are they who accept the awkwardness of growth, for they are aware of the choice between marred furnishings and damaged personalities. Blessed are the teachable, for knowledge brings understanding and understanding brings love. Blessed are the men and women, who in the midst of the unpromising mundane, give love, for they bestow the greatest of all gifts to each other, to their children, and, in an ever-widening circle, to their fellowmen.'" One successful entrepreneur said, 'I may be a self-made man, but the blueprints came from my mom and dad.' Bottom line: Children learn from their parents. What are you teaching yours? You are loved!
Friday, June 14, 2013
Acts 18:9-10 NIV
When Paul tried to share his new faith with his old friends, 'They opposed him.' (Acts 18:6 NKJV) It hurts to be rejected by those you love. It seems like Paul was so hurt by their rejection that God had to encourage him, saying, 'Do not be afraid...I am with you, and no one is going to...harm you.' Even when Paul reached out to some of the apostles, they were wary of him. They saw him as too Jewish to be Christian and too Christian to be Jewish. Throughout his ministry, Paul suffered disappointment and rejection at the hands of those he loved. One of the biggest things a pastor walks through from time to time is the these feelings of rejection. But what I've learned is when people fail you it drives you into the arms of God. Being rejected by others can actually bring a greater intimacy with Him. When they stoned Paul and left him for dead, 'he got back up' and went on to greater things (Acts 14:19-20). Being rejected makes you lean on God like never before, because you've nowhere else to turn! In fact, at times like that, unless you hear from God, there's no other word of hope coming! When others reject you, God has a way of opening doors to new levels of blessing you'd otherwise miss. Your greatest spiritual growth will generally result from your greatest trials. The Psalmist wrote: 'You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies [vindication]: you anoint my head with oil [daily empowerment]; my cup runs over [greater blessing].' (Psalms 23:5 NKJV) The truth is, without some pain and opposition, you wouldn't get to sit at God's table and enjoy His best. You are loved!
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Psalm 78:52 NKJV
As I was looking for a picture today this one jumped out at me. Your picture of a wilderness maybe different but they all have the same thing in common, they are a place where you can die. The wilderness is a place where growth is difficult, water is scarce, and you plod on when there's no end in sight. But wilderness experience's can happen anywhere. You can have a wilderness experience: at a graveside, at the Job Center, or in a divorce court. In the wilderness: (1) There seems to be no way out. In Scripture, the number forty represents struggle. Noah experienced storms for forty days. Moses spent forty years alone in the desert. Jesus was tempted by the Devil for forty days. (2) You begin to think the worst. The wilderness weakens your resolve. It makes you look for an easy way out. A troubled marriage can make you look the wrong way at somebody else's husband or wife. It's the breeding ground for dishonesty, depression, even pornography - things you normally wouldn't find appealing. 'Jesus...was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where he was tempted by the devil...' (Luke 4:1-2 NLT) Notice: going face to face with the devil was God's idea. Jesus, the last Adam, came to succeed where the first Adam failed. 'Because one person disobeyed...many became sinners. But because one righteous person obeyed...many will be made righteous.' (Romans 5:19 NLT) Jesus overcame the devil by using God's Word. Three times He said to Satan, 'It is written.' (Luke 4:4, 8, 12 KJV) And God's Word is still your wilderness-survival guide. After using it, Jesus left the wilderness clothed in the power of God's Spirit, ready to launch His ministry. And God can do the same for you. 'He...guided them in the wilderness...He led them on safely, so that they did not fear...' (Psalm 78:52-53 NKJV) You are loved...
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
1 Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV
I love what author Barbara Johnson wrote in a recent article. She says 'she was frazzled; she was running late, and on the bus to work she had to stand. Her attitude was going downhill fast when a cheery voice from the front of the bus announced, 'Beautiful day, isn't it?' She couldn't see the man, but she listened to his commentary as he described the lovely scenery...this church...that park...a cemetery...a firehouse. His grateful attitude lightened the mood of everybody around him. Then as Johnson got off the bus she caught a glimpse of the speaker: an average-looking man wearing dark glasses and carrying a white stick!'
Paul said, 'In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God.' We don't thank God for trials, we thank Him in them. That is a hard to do sometimes, but it is essential in the process of giving thanks in all things. Gratitude is like a boomerang. It blesses the recipient, enables a 180-degree turn and blesses the person who gives thanks. Whatever the crisis in your life, God is prepared for it and has made sure you are equipped to endure it. Many other people have experienced exactly what you're going through. Some have made it through victoriously. No matter what the temptation God promised to '...make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.' (1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV) Every trial has its escape route. They are inseparable. But the devil doesn't want you to know that. Every time you're in the middle of a test, he insists there's no way out. So when the devil is really on your case, piling on the pressure, that's an indication the way of escape is close at hand. We need to do what God says: rejoice! Remember: '...The joy of the Lord is your strength.' (Nehemiah 8:10 NKJV) When you continue to give thanks and have His joy, it gives you strength for the journey. You are loved!
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
'...Be careful to do what is right...' Romans 12:17 NIV
Paul is right when he writes, "be careful to do what is right." That's honesty in its highest form. Jeremiah writes, 'Like a partridge that hatches eggs it did not lay is the man who gains riches by unjust means...in the end he will prove to be a fool.' (Jeremiah 17:11 NIV) Don't think that you can do whatever you like in small things, and be ok as long as you've no major lapses. Whether you steal ten cents or a million dollars, you're still a thief. The Oxford Dictionary defines integrity as - honesty. Every time you break a moral principle it becomes harder, not easier, to act with integrity. Everything you've done in the past, including the things you've neglected to do, comes to a head when you're under pressure. That's why developing integrity requires constant vigilance. John Morley observed, 'No man can climb out beyond the limitations of his own character.' And that's particularly true when you're a leader. So: (1) Keep your promises. When you make a promise you create hope. When you keep a promise you create trust. (2) Acknowledge your mistakes. When your decisions don't turn out the way you intended, you owe people an explanation. (3) Apologise and try to make amends. When your actions hurt others, you need to admit that what you did was wrong and say you're sorry. This is usually very painful in the moment. But not only is it the right thing to do, it can actually shorten the agony and help you to put the incident behind you. It's also the biblical application that will change your life to a new direction. You are loved!
Monday, June 10, 2013
2 Samuel 7:28 NIV
Yesterday in service I mentioned living our lives by faith. Each of us should strive each day to 'walk by faith, not by sight.' (2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV) But it doesn't come easily and it takes effort on our part to believe in God. It also takes a mind saturated in Scripture to make a faith choice when you're staring down the barrel of a situation that seems impossible. So how do you develop that kind of faith? For a relationship to thrive, both parties must invest time and energy into getting to know one other. Lasting connections are based on trust, and an intimate knowledge of the other person's habits and character. And it's the same with God. Over time, as you prove His faithfulness it becomes easier to let go of your fear and replace it with trust. Getting to know God means walking with Him, spending time in His Word, getting to know His spotless character and the countless examples of His unfailing love illustrated in His ironclad promises. It means praying, talking, sharing all the details of your life and the inner workings of your heart. He knows it all already, but He enjoys the intimacy of the conversation. And like any balanced relationship, we can't always be the one talking. We have to make time to listen, to come before the Lord and get quiet, by silencing the noise of our thoughts and the rush of our emotions. Remember, the only place fear has to work is in the empty space where your faith should be. Fear is based on what you see and hear. Faith is based on knowing that God's Word is reliable, and that He has promised 'good things' to those who believe Him for them! You are loved...