Tuesday, April 15, 2014

“Some things need to die in our lives.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet, (2014-02-21) from his book, The Well-Played Life: Why Pleasing God Doesn't Have to Be Such Hard Work (p. 175). Tyndale Momentum. Kindle Edition.

As I was walking back home after doing some reading at the local Peet’s Coffee I was thinking about some of the things that worry me here at 66 going on 67.  They are things that haven’t really bothered me but they do now with my getting older.  And I was wondering what it was in my past that is causing me to be bothered about not having enough money to live on after Margaret retires too.  I never have been concerned about money but now I am.  Why?

Of course some would say that I need to be concerned.  I understand that but why is my faith lacking now when I have always lived my life with faith that God would take care and He always has?  And the thought went back to those weeks when we were really close financially and we had to be very careful and remembering how I felt trapped in those times.  I was very anxious and I was hard to live with and I don’t want to live that way.  And this thought brought me to the task of letting those memories and fears die.  They don’t need to be the controlling memories but the times that God always brought us through and supplied our needs can be and must be the controlling memories. 

Leonard continues the thought, “Some things need to die in our lives: giving up a bad relationship that is dragging us downstream, giving up a bad career that is slaying our souls, giving up a bad grudge that is hanging on and hanging us up, giving up a dream when its pursuit causes untold health problems.”  Somehow by God’s help we need to let them go.  Find those memories that give you hope and faith and courage and let them control you. 

There is a renewing of our minds by God's Spirit that gives us a new perspective of our life that God wants us to have.  Ask Him to do that in you.

So what needs to die in you?

Monday, April 14, 2014

“People only become slaves when they have lost their dreams.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2014-02-25) from his book, The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art (p. 54). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

What is your dream?  What is it that keeps you going every day and that energizes you each week to deal with for some the monotony of life?  Yes the monotony of life has within it the potential to enslave us.  I‘ve got to get up and do it all again but if you are getting up to fulfill a dream then you are not enslaved but you are free.

I hurt so much for people who are enslaved by the worries, the cares, the aloneness and monotony of their lives. I understand that and I have to fight that every day that I get up.  And I see even at 66 almost 67 the need for a dream.  The battle happens when I tend to be malnourished emotionally and spiritually.  If I haven’t spent enough alone time with God for Him to reinforce and rekindle the dream that He has for my life even at 66 going on 67 then I will start to focus on things that will bring me down emotionally and spiritually.  We cannot be enslaved to our situations.  That is what Satan wants to do.

That’s what Satan did to Adam and Eve in the Garden.  He enslaved them to look at what they couldn’t do and caused them to takes their eyes off of the dream life that they had.  What is he using to rob you of the dream life that God has for you?  It is the feeling of rejection, of being alone, your health, your finances, your age?  What is keeping you from the dream life that God has for you? 

Why not spend some time with Him and give Him your laments, your pain, your loneliness and let Him refocus your life on the dream that He has for you and He has one.   Even if you are 66 going on 67.  It may take some work and effort but it will be exciting and worth it. 

Also why don’t you go up to the title of this book I am reading, click on it and go to Amazon.com, buy it and start reading it?

So when you are going to spend some alone time with Him?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

“To find our own voice, we must first wrestle with the voices inside our brains.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2014-02-25) from his book,  The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art (p. 43). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

There are so many voices in us clamoring for attention and control.

I have spent my morning at Starbucks reading two newspapers and spending time with my friends.  I sat there in my spot with my Dodgers’ hat on reading about how they lost last night and then talking with my friends about what happened.  That is a voice that is inside of me.  It is a voice that has been a part of me since I was a child and it is a voice that at some points has to be controlled.  I used to get so upset when they lost.  It would affect my mood but hopefully I have matured.

Now after I left Starbucks I walked about a mile to Peet’s Coffee & Tea where I pulled out my Kindle and did some reading preparing for sharing some thought on this Blog today.  I read and then pulled out my phone and ear phones and started my walk to home listening to Erwin McManus share from his new book and he was talking about this section on finding our voice.  It was very challenging and very inspiring and I was ready to write until I got home and opened up an email from my cable company telling me why they weren’t yet carrying the new Dodgers’ network and my inner voice changed from inspiration to frustration.  And a wrestling match of competing voices started inside of me.  But I realized what was happening so I went to my computer and found this quote and started writing.  There are so many voices within our brains clamoring for attention.

Erwin continues, “Some of those voices could hold us captive the rest of our lives. Some of those voices, if we choose to give them power over us, will make us become less and less as we listen to them more and more. Some voices inside will silence our souls and leave us without a language to express who we really are.”

Now I realize that the voice of the Dodgers’ has great sway over me and I have to keep it in its place and it does have its place.  But it doesn’t compare to the voice to share with you something that will make a difference in your life.  That is the voice that God has placed in me that controls me that fulfills me but there still is this wrestling match that goes inside of me.  And that voice needs to be cultivated and fed and nurtured and listen to. 

You and I were created by God with a unique voice that other voices strive to take captive and control.  The voice of the Dodgers is a voice that can take me captive and control me.  It has to be constantly wrestled with but it will never win as long and I keep God’s voice of who He created me to be at the forefront of my life.

So what are some of the voices you wrestle with?    

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

“All too often… the voices that speak early and deep into our souls are more destructive than constructive.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2014-02-25) from his book, The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art (p. 42). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

That is so true for so many adults today.  Erwin says, “I meet so many people who carry an internal narrative that they have no value and no worth, and are not worthy of love. Some forty-year-old men are still fighting off voices that spoke to them when they were four years old.”

What voices inside of you are you listening to?  Maybe it is the voice of an unpleasable parent who listened to their unpleasable parent and lived with that voice inside them and carried it through to you.  Maybe it was a teacher or a coach.  Maybe it was someone who believed in you.  That voice of mom or dad who did all they could to make you feel special resounds inside of you every time you face something new.  What voice are you listening to?

Erwin continues, “What others think of us, what others have said about us matters, has power, only when it becomes what we think of ourselves and what we say to ourselves about who we are.”

So there is a choice for us.  If it is a negative, put-down voice then we need to do all we can to ignore that voice.  And that can be very tough but it can be done. 

I have for many years spent a lot of time in the book of Psalms in the Old Testament.  It has a way of being honest about the laments of our lives and then turning them into praises.  Psalm 109:30 & 31 (NLT) says, “But I will give repeated thanks to the Lord, praising him to everyone. For he stands beside the needy, ready to save them from those who condemn them.”   Do all you can to break the negative voices of your past and listen to the positive voices of the present and of your future.  Change the deconstructive into constructive.   

Psalm 126: 1– 2 says, When the LORD brought back his exiles to Jerusalem, it was like a dream!  We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy.”  Let Him start to change the voice inside of you to hope, dreams and joy.

What voice do you listen to?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

“Anything good in life puts risk into play.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet, (2014-02-21) from his book, The Well-Played Life: Why Pleasing God Doesn't Have to Be Such Hard Work (Kindle Locations 2219-2220). Tyndale Momentum. Kindle Edition.

But we want security and safety.  No way do we want risk. 

Our son, Brett’s 35th bd was this week and he was a very good thing in our life.  But he was a risk.  I spent time with my oldest granddaughter, Ashlyn, yesterday.  Of course she is a very good thing along with Addison and Harper but they each one were a risk and they still are.  But oh how they were worth the risk.  The truth is you wouldn’t even be here if your parents wouldn’t have taken a risk.

“In fact”, Leonard says, “recent scientific studies have concluded that humans and organizations endure and mature, not in spite of their willingness to take risks, but because of their risk taking.  For safety’s sake and security needs, we want to make the next moment like the one before it.  Hence, the power of the status quo, the challenge of change, and the need to defuse our deep-seated squeamishness about risking anything at all.”  But “Anything good in life puts risk into play.  

A group of older folks were asked the question in looking back on their lives, “what would you have done differently?”  And one of the top answers was, “I would have risked more.”

Life is a risk from the moment we arrive on this earth but God placed that aspect into our life so we would learn to depend on Him and to follow Him into the adventure of life. 

You got out of bed this morning never having lived this day.  For some they got out of bed with great dread and fear while others with anticipation and joy.  Let me ask you, which one enjoyed their day most and which one was most prepared to handle no matter what was in their day?  There are things that happen in each of our days that are not exciting and not fun.  In any adventure there are battles and difficulties but they don’t have to stop the adventure.  They just become a part of it, the part where we survive and learn and grow and keep on living and exploring.        

This is not heaven and it is not perfect but it is a place where we show we are worthy of going to heaven and it is a place where God has so many good things in it for us if we are willing to risk.

Well I risked your rejection by writing this today but “anything good in life puts risk into play.”

So what good is in your life that came about because you were willing to risk?

Monday, April 7, 2014

“Each one of us is a ‘fifth Gospel.’”

A thought by Leonard Sweet, (2014-02-21) from his book, The Well-Played Life: Why Pleasing God Doesn't Have to Be Such Hard Work (p. 160). Tyndale Momentum. Kindle Edition

What a great thought to start a new week. 

Leonard continues, “There are the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John . . . and you. We each continue the Jesus story on the pages of our own lives as the gospel becomes ‘my gospel’ and then ‘our gospel’ until it finally becomes a special edition ‘fifth Gospel,’ even perhaps a ‘third Testament’—the gospel translated into our lives and written between the lines on the pages of Scripture.”

You see, His Gospel is to be lived out through me and you.  We are Jesus to the people around us.  That is why many in this world have such a negative picture of Christ.  That is how we live.  He said that He didn’t come into this world to condemn the world but we do condemn so what He says to those we condemn cannot be heard.  It is not His words they hear but how they are lived out through us that shows who He is to our friends.

His Gospel truly is good news and our lives can show that to others.  Our task is to continue what He started.  Spend some time in the four Gospels to see how He responded, how He lived then just continue to do it with Him living in and through you.  His Word and His Comforter are available to us.  He wants to continue to live out His “Good News” through us.

So is your life good news?

Friday, April 4, 2014

“The nature of sin is not the violation of a moral code, but the tearing of a relationship.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet, (2014-02-21) from his book, The Well-Played Life: Why Pleasing God Doesn't Have to Be Such Hard Work (p. 158). Tyndale Momentum. Kindle Edition.

We are living in a world where the self-centered actions of one can bring so much pain on another.  What about the pain of a child when they are told that momma and daddy are breaking up?  Many of you remember and still feel that pain. 

I am discussing on my other blog, Bill’s Front Porch how to prevent an affair.  That self-centered act for sure can tear out the heart of a relationship whether it is a mate, a child, a parent and even God.  We each one have the freedom to bring great pain upon another don’t we?  But it doesn’t have to be that way.

I like how Leonard takes the game of Rock, Paper, Scissors, and shows it to be a Game of Life.  He says, “In the traditional RPS game, each gesture has a meaning, a function, and a consequence. Scissors cuts Paper; Paper covers Rock; and Rock breaks Scissors. Sin is our Scissors. Our lives (our stories) are Paper. Jesus is the Rock, the Rock of Ages. Our salvation is set in stone. Jesus is a rock solid reality. The most important journey we make in life is the journey from sin to salvation, the journey of Paper from Scissors to Rock.”

You see the relationships in our life make up our life story.  It can be one of great pain or a wonderful life.  Leonard says, “Sin slices and dices our lives into shreds, turning us into mere fragments of our whole selves, with deep bruises on our souls. The Scissors of sin separate, infiltrate, and negate our true selves and stories, leaving us dysfunctional and deaf, no longer on speaking terms with the universe. When Scissors cut into the stories of our lives, they can cut out everything good and beautiful that we know to be true about ourselves.”

Don’t let that be your life story. Don’t let your Paper cover the Rock but let the Rock of Ages come and break that power of sin in your life and create a life story that has Him at the center of it.  And if you do that it will make a positive difference in all of your relationships.

So how is your game of RPS effecting your relationships today?