Posts Tagged ‘strength’

We’ve all faced skeptics who told us we were crazy for considering a bold plan to go for a certain job or a certain team or a certain relationship or a certain address or, yes, a certain act of Christian ministry.

“Get serious!” they told us, adding that we’d be out of our league in pursuing the plan.

Who likes hearing “You’re not smart enough” or “You’re not attractive enough” or “You’re not tall enough” or “You’re not cool enough” or “You’re not spiritual enough” or some other verbal bucket of ice water down the back?

I certainly don’t and I’ve heard all of these and many other variants during my years.

Just as you have.

Sadly, sometimes I listened too closely to small-minded voices and scrapped my plans.

I was wrong to do so and I regret it.

This is not about ignoring godly, Bible-based wisdom from Kingdom-minded people. Such counsel should always be welcomed and given deep consideration.

But much of what we hear from others is rooted in the flesh, not in faith.

And so, when some skeptic says to us “Get serious!” and we pause to reflect, let’s make sure that the voice that carries the most weight is the Lord’s.

I’m so glad that young David didn’t listen to King Skeptic when the teen said he was fed up with Goliath’s foul, blasphemous boasting and was going to do something about it.

Here’s a snippet from I Samuel 17:32-33 —

“Don’t worry about this Philistine,” David told Saul. “I’ll go fight him!”

“Don’t be ridiculous!” Saul replied. “There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth.”

Aren’t you glad that David didn’t listen when King Saul pulled the “Get serious!” thing?

I sure am.

When we’re considering a plan that we know advances God’s will because it helps other people to receive blessings from God and displays our confidence in God’s ability to use us for good, the Devil is not going to like it.

He’ll prompt others to discourage us so that we’ll give up.

That’s when others telling us to “Get serious!” actually creates a testimony opportunity as we explain that we ARE quite serious about serving God and helping people and walking in His power to do what the world thinks we can’t.

As always, I love you

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We’ve all done it.

We shouldn’t have.

But we did.

Thank God for His gracious decision to give us another chance.

I’m talking about not following through on commitments we made to volunteer at church or to tithe weekly or to keep forgiving that irritating co-worker or to maintain a daily devotional life.

The list of commitments that you’ve made to God over the years is far more comprehensive than the above, I’m sure.

It certainly is with me.

Let’s do our best to abide by Jesus’ command to always have the transmission of our lives in drive rather than reverse.

It’s about living for Him and doing what He wants and not putting our faith gear into reverse, slipping back into our old ways and old reasons for living.

“Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)

Spring is a busy time in the church calendar. Let’s look for ways to volunteer and to give and to be vigilant to reject the temptations to skip out on our commitments.

We are profoundly grateful that Jesus didn’t pull His hands off the plow when He was working the field that was white unto harvest for Him. We’d have no eternal hope if He had not followed through.

There are people in our lives who need us to follow through with planting and watering of gospel seeds if they are to learn about the eternal hope we’ve already found.

Plow on, my friend. Break up the fallow soil of your worker or neighbor or relative as you love and plant and shine.

After all, our King died for His subjects.

As always, I love you

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Let’s do what Joseph of Arimathea did on Good Friday.

Let’s leave our comfort zone for God’s sake.

Let’s take a glorified risk.

Joseph of Arimathea took a risk and went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.” (Mark 15:43)

Joseph understood what was at stake socially, financially and spiritually when he decided to place godly faith ahead of earthly status.

His heart was convicted to do the right thing, the worshipful thing, without regard to how his peers might squawk.

I’m so glad he did.

I need to have the same determination to do the right thing to honor Christ.

In whatever circumstance I find myself.

It’s all about honoring the One who died for me.

Take a risk today.

Do something that shows everybody that Jesus is first in your life no matter what hassles you might face.

Say “yes” to godliness when the world says “no.”

Say “no” to ungodliness the world answers “yes.”

Forgive when the world would vindictively punish.

Love when the world would hate.

Living like Jesus — and for Jesus — is risky.

But, man, the rewards are sky high….

As always, I love you

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My computer just ate my original Morning Devotion effort for the day and I don’t have another 45 minutes to spend trying to re-create it just now. That’s why I want to share a Morning Devotion that I wrote nearly 10 years ago, one that appropriately describes the important of persistence when things aren’t going the way we’d like.

We all need the reminder from time to time of the truths contained in 2 Peter 1:5-8.

God is the One who provides the increase.

When the time is right, if we are patient, He will.

I heard of a missionary and his family who served in a place for nine years and saw one baptism. They didn’t give up, though, and more than 100 people were baptized the next year.

I’m reminded of the orange tree.

An orange tree really doesn’t start bearing productively for at least seven to eight years.

What if the tree were cut down at year 5 because it had just a few fruit in season?

All that might have been borne was instead burned because of impatience.

This is what missionaries must remember.

This is what missionary-supporting churches and individuals must remember.

Never forget that God uses changed lives as His tools for changing people.

He never relies on changed methodologies.

Change can be good, yes, but only as it allows changed lives to become more evident.

Want your church to grow? Let the characteristics of 2 Peter 1:5-8 grow within you.

Then people will be drawn to the power of God shining from your life rather than the power of well-intentioned, though imperfect human effort.

Oh yeah, and don’t forget the perseverance part.

As always, I love you

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Nobody likes going through hard times.

Losing your job stinks.

Losing a cherished relationship stinks.

Losing a physical capability — even temporarily — stinks.

Gaining a chronic illness stinks.

Gaining an abrasive, morally insensitive co-worker stinks, particularly when his or her desk is adjacent to yours.

The list could go on, of course.

But in each stinky situation there is the opportunity for a sticky lesson.

And that’s why God allows stinky situations to enter our lives.

He has a purpose for the stink because He has a lesson that needs to stick.

It’s not that He hasn’t tried to teach us lessons without the stink.

It’s just that too many times we haven’t listened.

If we always sought Him and His will with every breath, every thought and every action, we wouldn’t need refinement.

But we haven’t.

And so we do.

Need the refinement, that is.

As impure ore needs the fire.

In the midst of pain or frustration — or both — look for the opportunity to trust God more and serve others more.

You just might end up doing some very important things that can impact others’ lives in a marvelous way.

Check out today’s Old Testament section in the reading for the day from the One-Year Bible. You’ll read of how a really stinky experience for a guy named Joseph actually became an incredibly sticky lesson that God used to preserve the promise that the Messiah would eventually come from the line of Abraham.

It’s an amazing story of how a rotten, evil choice of others ultimately led to a redemptive, godly rescue of others.

All because of a faith-based commitment to honoring God even in the midst of horrible circumstances.

None of the parties involved in the story forgot the lessons, I’m sure.

Let’s do our best to look for sticky lessons even in the midst of stinky circumstances.

It’s the godly thing to do.

As always, I love you

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At one time or another, we’ve all felt like David did when people we counted on had let us down.

Fortunately, our lives haven’t been stuck in such sentiments.

When they have occurred for you, though, I pray that you’ve had the confidence to go to the One person who could help you through the darkness.

“You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life.” (Psalm 142:5)

David knew that the only relationship he really needed was with God.

People are important to us. Some human relationships have huge roles in our lives and can bring incredible satisfaction to our hearts.

But people are not our Creator. They are not our Redeemer. They are not our Provider.

People cannot do what God does.

He can comfort and heal in ways nobody else can.

He can lift us to heaven when humans can only point us in that direction.

God is to be all we really want in life.

Because with Him, we have all we really need for eternity.

Please see God as your refuge in the storms, in the droughts, in your weakness, in your loneliness, in your poverty and in your remorseful failures.

After all, He really wants you to spend eternity with Him and sent Jesus to the cross in order to prove it to you.

As always, I love you

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We’re all wired to be heroes.

Not like with the movies and the recurring rescues from beasts or thugs or natural disasters, but with real-life crisis threats.

I’m talking about the threat of emotional collapse when someone we know feels that nobody cares about him or her.

I’m talking about the threat of financial collapse when one is desperately needing help in finding a job.

I’m talking about the threat of physical calamity when one is in need of a kidney or bone marrow transplant or donated funds for a vital medical procedure.

We can all be heroes in one setting or another.

The greatest way we can be heroes involves the eternal soul.

The book of James shows us how:

My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.” (5:19-20)

If you have a relative or friend whose faith once burned brightly yet it is now barely flickering in the winds of worldly living, please ask God to show you how to take heroic action for that person.

Communicate your love.

Communicate God’s love.

Communicate what’s at the end of the road he or she is walking.

Remind them of the joy they once felt in Christ’s arms.

Remind them that Christ’s arms are still open and that His blood still cleanses.

Remind them that the father wanted the Prodigal son to come home and that God wants every wandering soul to come home.

There won’t be a whoopin’ for the one who returns, but instead a lot of Woo-Hoo!!!

God is a Daddy who wants His children to come home.

Let’s be children who want our wandering spiritual siblings to come home.

Let’s be heroes.

Let’s start looking for people to rescue.

As always, I love you

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