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Archive for the ‘God’s leading’ Category

I love the promise of Psalm 32:8.

When I embrace it as my own, my life is so much better.

The same better future can be yours, too.

“The Lord says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.’

I know very well of my random failures that can be traced to thinking I don’t need God’s guidance on a particular matter.

Invariably, I eventually realize that I should have paid closer attention to His Word and His Spirit’s voice.

The older I get, the better I listen.

Better late than never, right?

Listen well, my friend.

And live more successfully, more joyfully and more fruitfully.

It’s what God wants for us, according to Jeremiah 29:11.

As always, I love you
Martin

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There are 12 words in Psalm 141 that can revolutionize our lives if we’ll apply them.

The fact is that many of our headaches in every aspect of our lives can be traced to our not doing what the words say.

“Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips.” (Psalm 141:3)

Oh my.

We can’t rewrite history and expunge the pain and loss caused by our loose lips.

We CAN write a better future, though, if we’ll invite the Holy Spirit to guide our thoughts and words.

We CAN make greater progress toward our potential in Christ if we’ll commit to saying only words that build up rather than tear down, words that reflect the compass of faith and not the corruption of the flesh.

Let’s allow God’s Word and Christ’s example to lead our lips.

Life will be better for everybody in our world as we do.

As always, I love you
Martin

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“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the wine would burst the wineskins, and the wine and the skins would both be lost. New wine calls for new wineskins.” (Mark 2:22)

It’s one of scriptures most vivid metaphors and applies to so many situations.

Don’t put new wine in old wineskins or you’re going to have a big mess.

New wine ferments, produces gas that fills the wineskin that then is stretched.

The new wineskin, made of leather or an animal belly, is flexible and stretches fine.

Old wineskins don’t adapt, though, and most often rupture because of the pressure for change.

We see this dynamic played out in all sorts of ways in life.

A manager comes into the workplace with new ideas and long-time employees — biding their time until retirement — might resist the call to adapt.

A principal tries to persuade students and faculty to change the classroom culture to promote learning and not simply emotional survival, yet the principal’s initiatives prompt a blow-up of conflicts rather than a coalition for improvement.

It happens in families, too, when a remarriage occurs and a blended family deteriorates into a powder keg of a new parent seeking to provide disciplinary consequences for previously unrestrained children.

The examples could go on and on but the point is clear, both involving the way of faith and just everyday life.

In the church, new ideas for enhancing ministry impact are sometimes seen as threats by those who are set in their ways of doing this or doing that.

And those promoting the new ideas are sometimes seen as troublemakers who don’t understand “how life really is.”

Let’s resist the temptation to criticize and reject ideas that are new and different than our own. It’s possible that an established strategy is still the best strategy but we must be willing to honestly and humbly evaluate if there’s a more effective way to serve at church or to succeed at work or to promote harmony in the home.

The best way to remain flexible, to not become a stiff, old wineskin, is to keep God’s love and Truth and power flowing through us day by day.

That way, we remain flexible and adaptable.

That way, we can embrace good ideas that are new to us and can help us enjoy new blessings and victories for the Kingdom.

This is SO much better than having a blow-up because we wouldn’t change.

As always, I love you
Martin

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If you had a several kids in your car and, because of recurring nausea, you weren’t able to finish driving the curvy, mountainous roads between your destination, would you pull into a restaurant and ask just anybody to get behind the wheel while you rode with eyes closed and stomach in knots?

Of course not. If you had to resort to such a desparate move to get home for the evening, you’d certainly be careful to make sure that the person was a competent driver who took instructions well.

Failure to be careful could lead to tragedy for all.

You see, we have to be careful about how our lives are steered.

If we’re not, bad things can — and sometimes do — happen.

This is particularly true with respect to who is steering our hearts.

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” (Proverbs 4:23)

Who influences your heart?

Who do you allow to steer your values on issues of morality? Of theology? Of patterns for emotional intimacy?

Who do you turn to for advice on family relationships?

Who is your mentor when it comes to workplace attitudes and behaviors?

Is there a role model for you who is plugged into the Word of God?

You’ve heard the phrase, “Garbage in, garbage out.”

This is absolutely true with respect to the heart.

We’ve all seen it in others’ lives and we’ve unfortunately experienced it periodically in our own.

Let’s be careful to allow only those people surrendered to the Lord to be on the list of those allowed to give us directions for the journey of life.

Test everything.

If it’s something Jesus would allow into His heart, then it’s something that we can allow into ours.

If He wouldn’t accept an idea or behavior because it’s ungodly, then we shouldn’t, either.

How can you know what Jesus would allow into His heart?

Read the gospels.

It will do your heart good.

And the course of your life just might change for the better.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Nobody enjoys the consequences of making the wrong choice.

At work, at home, at the sports park, at church or wherever, the wrong choice can lead to physical or emotional or financial injury — or a combination of all three.

Spiritual injury somtimes happens because of carelessness or rebelliousness.

Injury to ourselves or to others — or both.

So often, the troubles that follow wrong choices are the natural consequences of neglecting what God has taught in His Word.

This is the case in my life and I imagine the same is true in your life.

For example, we can become careless with for our financial health by letting desires trump good stewardship of tithing to God and giving generously to the needy. Neglecting the call to a humble lifestyle, we can fall victim to the “termites” of misfortune and, in addition, misplaced priorities can begin to eat at our net worth.

God sees that we sometimes don’t care what He thinks about how we use the financial provision from His hand and so often He allows circumstances to enter our lives that prompt a rush to His feet for help. It is at such times that the discipline of difficult circumstances can wake us up from spiritual slumber and re-focus our priorities.

“I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference.” (Revelation 3:19)

There are many other ways that God lovingly corrects us for the purpose of refining us into better vessels of faith and recipients of blessing.

Join me in learning more from the Bible about how God wants believers to live.

For it’s more enjoyable to be making the right choices and experiencing blessings than it is to make the wrong choices and experience stressing.

As always, I love you
Martin

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One day, they wanted to stone him.

Just two days later, he was their hero and they wanted to enrich him.

Ah, the fickle nature of David’s followers.

I Samuel 30 reminds me of what all of us in leadership positions encounter from time to time. Even if your leadership role is that of a parent or guardian or some other oversight role, you will still encounter the ups and downs of working with sometimes-unpredictable people.

I encourage you to click the link above in order to read the chapter since it would take too much space here to adequately explain the diverse story.

Simply stated, David was blamed for something that wasn’t his fault and he was praised for something that was actually God’s doing.

David knew that God was in control and that it was his job as leader to just keep his nose pointed in the right direction — the direction of faith.

Even in emotionally hostile moments when the unity of his troops was threatened, David stuck to the principle of fairness and fellowship and to what was in the long-term best interests of the group rather than the individual.

To David, “we” was more important than “me.”

This is what set David apart.

This is part of why he was such a good leader.

As a workplace manager or a sports team coach or a classroom teacher or an adoptive parent or a ministry team leader, make sure that others see your belief that “we” is more important than “me.”

Yes, those following you might still be upset with you sometimes through no fault of your own, but good leadership is not about doing what’s popular but instead about what’s proper.

If the crowd determines your path, is that really leadership?

Jesus went to the cross, in part, to cure me of “me” thinking.

Please join me in pursuing more “we” thinking.

We’ll both become better leaders at home, at work, at church or wherever else as we do.

As always, I love you
Martin

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The godly are directed by honesty” (Proverbs 11:5)

Everybody follows a compass.

But not every compass has an accurate needle.

In fact, most compasses are off-target because there is no absolute North in terms of truth established apart from human whim and opinion.

You know how a compass works — a magnetized needle points to the North Pole because that’s where the magnetic pull emanating from the earth’s mass is most pronounced.

And so people can go here and there with directional confidence because their compass has an established reference point that is reliable. If they head 180 degrees from where they are standing one day and then turn around two days later and take a path heading 180 degrees in the opposite direction, they’ll make it back home.

If only it were that predictable when there is no fixed reference point of truth.

This is why most people in the world are off-course spiritually.

Even if they and others tell them that they’re just fine.

After all, this argument goes, if most people are heading down a certain path that doesn’t follow God’s True North, then those people have to be right, don’t they?

Jesus didn’t think so and that’s why He taught that many people follow the path that leads to destruction, not eternal life.

It is very important that we consider what compass we are trusting and if it points at God’s True North as taught in the Bible with passages such as Philippians 4:8-9. Please click on the passage citation to read this centering text.

Listen, make sure that you are led by the Lord as you chart a course based on spiritual conviction. Life will be so much better that way for everyone in your life. Particularly for those whom you invite to walk the straight and narrow with you.

As always, I love you
Martin

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