Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Worth Repeating

"The real test of being in the presence of God is, that you either forget about yourself altogether or you see yourself as a small, dirty object."
~ C.S. Lewis

Monday, April 20, 2015

Worth Repeating

"The cost of living your dream should never be at the price of your soul."
~ Ronald LaCombe

Friday, April 17, 2015

Worth Repeating

Satan doesn't need to steal your concept of truth; he just needs to take your love for it.
~ Brian Kinsey

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Worth Repeating

What you are blaming on the devil may actually be God trying to get your attention! If you rebuke it you are rebuking the will of God.
~ Gregg Stone

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Worth Repeating

Out of 100 men, one will read the Bible, the other 99 will read the Christian.
~ D. L . Moody

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Worth Repeating

"Start with what you've got. Before David had a sword he had a sling, before he watched over a kingdom, he watched over a flock."
~ Ronald LaCombe

Monday, April 13, 2015

Worth Repeating

Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves - regret for the past and fear of the future.
~ Fulton Oursler

Friday, April 10, 2015

Worth Repeating

Play the "Reverse Gossip Game" and say something kind, positive and edifying behind someone's back.
~ Bob Burg

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Waters Around You

My daughter came in last night, laughing as she related how a little girl that she was babysitting described her inevitable plight. She stated, with a pathetic little sigh, that “with all the cancer and heart disease and diabetes that runs in my family, I’m much more likely to get knocked off by that before I get a chance to get old.” At the age of ten, she has already weighed her mortality in the scales of longevity and determined them to be lacking!
"...we must swim in the waters
around us."

Of course, we all shared in the laughter but I think this is similar to the way we view our life and it’s circumstances. Like we’ve lost the game before we start playing. Like we’ve been "given a time” before the doctor calls. Like we’ve failed before the results are in.

Our typical answer to this is wishing we could live in other circumstances. If we could, we would kick out cancer and heart disease and diabetes. We’d also get rid of the flu and chicken pox and measles. And while we’re at it we’d knock out mortgage payments and hydro bills and marriage problems and job layoffs and church issues and family issues and sibling rivalry and jealousy and…

But, alas, we cannot. As Kevin deYoung, in his book Crazy Busy states, “Everyone has to live somewhere and we must swim in the waters around us.” I can be discouraged with my place, but I don't get to swim in anyone else's waters. I can only swim in the waters that are around me. This is why one of my favorite Scriptures is found in Deuteronomy 33:25, “Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.”

So... I may not have control over my circumstance, but this I know: The waters around me are no match for the Strength that is IN me.

Worth Repeating

"The push of passion without the balance of principles is dangerous. Reach for the stars with both feet on the ground."
~ Nathan Porter 
(via Twitter)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

On Being Willing...

Here’s something to think about: you don’t always have to be knowledgeable to accomplish the plan of God in your world, but you DO have to be willing to be used.

Gladys Aylward
How many times have you pushed through your fear of witnessing or speaking comforting words to someone and found that verses “you didn’t even know you knew” just came pouring out of you? How does that work?? It’s pretty simple actually. You can do it because you have “fed” those verses into your life through daily habits. Then, the willingness to break through those barriers of fear and personal doubt will always provide immensely rewarding results because God loves to use the willing!

Gladys Aylward (click on her name for more information), a young lady who followed the call of God to the country of China and made a difference in thousands of lives, made a profound statement about the “usability” of a willing vessel. She said, “I wasn’t God’s first choice for what I’ve done for China… I don’t know who it was… it must have been a man… a well-educated man. I don’t know what happened. Perhaps he died. Perhaps he wasn’t willing… and God looked down… and saw Gladys Aylward… And God said, “Well, she’s willing.””

Give us the heart of Isaiah, who heard God call: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”

May his answer be echoed in our own spirit: “Here am I; send me.”

Worth Repeating

"Surely what a man does when he is caught off guard is the best evidence for what sort of man he is."
~ C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Worth Repeating

"Those determined to be unhappy cannot be encouraged."
~ Dan Rockwell 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Worth Repeating

You are not born a winner.
You are not born a loser.
You are born a chooser.
~ Anonymous

Voices of Value

There is something I heard years ago that I have tried to incorporate into my everyday life: “There is a grain of truth in every criticism.” This tells me that whenever people state how they feel about me, or my actions, there is usually a reason for why they feel that way. And for the sake of my personal development, I need to step back and take a look.

In doing so, I have sometimes found it IS me and my actions, and sometimes it is THEIR PERCEPTION of me and my actions. Either way, I cannot ignore it. If I am wrong, I want to change me. If I am right, I need to attempt to change their opinion of me (if possible).

It isn't what they say about you,
it's what they whisper.
~ Errol Flynn
But, while it’s a good idea to hear the critics, be balanced in your “listening”. Dave Ramsey says, “Before you take feedback to heart, be sure you don’t make changes based on someone whose voice outweighs their value!” Some are going to criticize no matter what you do! Their words may hold a measure of truth, but their motive is not to help. 

So, take a moment to weigh their judgment, but continue to forge ahead and be blessed. Save your introspection and improvement for those who love and care about you and who share your passion to further the kingdom of God. Their admonitions will be seasoned with grace and will inspire you to grow! They will pray for you, and with you, and encourage you in your journey. 

That, my friend, is a voice that has value. And you can’t go wrong in giving it credence in your life.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Worth Repeating

"The more grace you experience, the less judgmental you become..."
~ Mark Batterson

Help Yourself

Zig Ziglar, motivational speaker extraordinaire, tells a story about a man who was hiking alone in the mountains. As he moved along the rugged terrain, he was surprised to find himself in a snow storm, completely lost. He was smart enough to realize that he needed to find shelter right away or he would, in all likelihood, freeze to death in the elements.

Despite his best efforts, his hands and feet soon began to feel the effects of the cold and numbness set in. Reflexes dulled by his condition, he literally stumbled over another man who was nearly frozen in the snow. A decision had to be made quickly: Should he stop to lend assistance to his fellow-traveller or should he stumble on and hope to simply save himself?

He set aside his misgivings and threw off his wet gloves, exposing his freezing hands to even more cold, and began to massage the arms and legs of the fallen man. After several minutes of vigorous effort, the fellow began to respond and soon was able to find his footing. Together, these two strangers, leaning on each other for support, found help.

The first hiker was later told that the help he provided to the stranded traveller on the lonely mountainside had meant salvation, not just for the other man, but for himself as well. His own numbness was relieved by the act of massaging the others arms and legs. The very actions that were taken to save another had increased his circulation and brought critical warmth to his own endangered limbs.

How many people are lost because all they can see is their own problems? Their focus is so narrow, their vision so short-sighted, that they become useless to their fellowman. I wish I could say that this has never happened to me. But it has...

So for today, I pray that I may be able to redirect my own attention to those who are in need of the message I have been entrusted with. No, my life isn't perfect, and neither am I. But I am forgiven and they can be as well!

If we are going to become all that God intended us to be, we must help others become all He intended them to be as well. Paul wrote to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:16, "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee."

Don't allow the irony of the man who, when he lost sight of his own impossible situation, focused on someone else and solved his own problem be lost on us. It is critical that we forget about ourselves and help others if we want to survive these "present distresses".

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Worth Repeating

"One compromise here, another there and soon enough the so-called Christian and the man in the world look the same."
~ A.W. Tozer

The Power of a Grand Gesture

If I then, your Lord and Master, have
washed your feet; ye also ought to wash
one another's feet. For I have given you
an example
, that ye should do
as I have done to you.
(John 13:14-15... KJV)
A Grand Gesture is an act that is uncharacteristically demonstrative or spectacular, made in order to prove one's love or win back a lover's affections. Often, such gestures are spoken of dismissively because they exist in the greatest numbers in fictional, romantic storylines.

In any case, Jesus himself showed the world, beginning with his disciples at the Last Supper, that such a gesture is more powerful, and timeless, than a verbal declaration. Throughout his ministry, He was constantly teaching. He taught that the way the world would know they were his disciples was because of the love that they had one for another. He taught them about love and prayer and fasting and sacrifice. He was always teaching.

But on the night in which he was betrayed, he chose to move beyond the articulate phrasing of parables and stories and instead "took a towel" to give them a visual that would forever be branded into their mind. Earlier in the week, they had each been present when Mary had broken the alabaster box and anointed Him "for his burial". This extravagant gift had been criticized by Judas as too costly, but was, in a sense, justified by Jesus because of it's powerful demonstration of selfless love. This is a lesson that in centuries to come would be repeated "wherever the gospel is preached" and was one of the only times when Jesus allowed himself to be ministered to in such an intimate and powerful way.

Here, in these last poignant moments, filled with the stress of impending betrayal, suffering and death, he turns the attention away from himself and onto others. Others who would betray, disavow and abandon Him. Others who would only later realize that when he could have been making demands on their affections to strengthen him in His desperate hour, he instead poured forth all the love he had in a "grand gesture" of servanthood!

So when life leaves us with the choice to remonstrate or demonstrate... always demonstrate! It's what Jesus did. And it was His way of "leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:"

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Worth Repeating

Gratitude is thanking God AFTER it happens. Faith is thanking God BEFORE it happens.
~ Mark Batterson

The Cure for Thanatophobia

Many, if not most, people are afraid of dying. Some people fear being dead. Others are afraid of the actual act of dying. However, if the fear is so prevalent as to affect your daily life, then you might have a full-blown case of what the experts call Thanatophobia, or the fear of death. Unlike many phobias that are triggered by specific incidents, thanatophobia may be constantly gnawing on the back of your mind. Many who suffer with this phobia report that their fear is worse at night, when they are alone in the dark and not distracted by day-to-day events.

I think it is fair to say that few people "welcome" death. Our physical bodies are such that they resists the efforts of death to rob us of life us and we fight valiantly to catch our breath though we may be suffering nearly unbearable pain. Such fear can become a bondage that keeps us from truly living!

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
1 Corinthians 15:55
The story is told of a powerful man who was a Communist leader during the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. A newspaper editor and member of the the Politburo, he was an author of works on economics and science that are still being read today. One day in 1930 he addressed a large crowd in the city of Kiev on the subject of atheism, using insults and arguments to prove his convictions.

After one hour he completed his speech and looked across the crowd that had gathered.
"Are there any questions?" he asked.
It was quite for a moment but then one man approached the dias and shouted a well-known Russian Orthodox greeting: "Christ is Risen!"
The crowd, which had fallen silent during the speech, rose to it's feet and responded in the classic answer to the greeting: "He is Risen Indeed!"

I guess you can tell a man whatever you want, but you can't squelch the faith that grows in the heart! So, as we approach this April weekend with its memorials of the first Easter, we take time to honor the visitation, some 2000 years ago, of that man named Jesus. He didn't just come to die; his death was for a purpose. He was God wrapped in flesh and he came to "deliver them who through FEAR OF DEATH were ALL THEIR LIFETIME subject to bondage."

He didn't just conquer death, but also the grave. He came to set you free! He came to take the victory out of death and the sting out of the grave. He IS the cure for thanatophobia!