Tuesday, July 31, 2012

When you wonder if it is worth it, remember...


"The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it." 
~Henry David Thoreau

Monday, July 30, 2012

I posted part of this on my Facebook...

Everyone has an opinion. We are blessed to live in a free society where we are allowed to share those opinions. I have some, you have some. Over time I have learned the hard way that just because you have the right to say what is on your mind, doesn't mean that you should. Words have far reaching consequences. What we say, forward, type, post, share or text can have an impact far beyond we think at the time. Before we click, let's think: Does this build people up, benefit others and speak the truth in love? We will save ourselves a lot of hurt feelings, heartaches and grief.

Hope you have a great week!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

True...

"Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more.  If you concentrate on what you 
don't have, you'll never, ever have enough."
~Oprah Winfrey

Saturday, July 28, 2012

So true...

"What is true happiness? It's not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose."
~Helen Keller

Friday, July 27, 2012

Humorous but true

"Always and never are two words you should always remember never to use."
~Wendell Johnson

Thursday, July 26, 2012

It's good to be reminded...

 “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God."
~Jesus recorded in Luke 18:27

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

In life...

"If you don't like something, change it.  If you can't change it, change your attitude."
 -Dr. Maya Angelou

Monday, July 23, 2012

Now that I think about it...


"Anything I've done that was ultimately worthwhile initially scared me to death."
-Betty Bender

Sunday, July 22, 2012

No condemnation


Recently, I attended two different Gospel Meetings in our area on consecutive nights.  One verse that appeared in both lessons was Romans 8:1 that says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”  This verse is a great reminder of one of the great blessings we have in Christ: freedom from punishment and fear.  This blessing, according to this verse, is contingent on three factors: being in Christ Jesus, not walking in the flesh and walking in the Spirit.
Being in Christ is the only place of spiritual safety and security.  Ephesians 1 tells us that all spiritual blessings are found in Christ.  One of these blessings is the freedom from condemnation Paul talks about in Romans 8.  In avoiding the lure of the flesh, the Christian manages to avoid the pitfalls and problems that a fleshly existence is sure to bring.  Heartache and sorrow follow quickly on the heels of the passing pleasures the worldly life offers.  By walking in the Spirit, we as Christians are lead into a closer relationship with God.  As the deeds of the Spirit fill our lives, the draw of the flesh will begin to fade.
Do you want to be free from judgment?  As long as you are in Christ and walking in the Spirit, there is truly no condemnation and true life and freedom will be yours.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

For thought

“If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” 
~E.B. White

Friday, July 20, 2012

Humor for Friday

“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other 
room and read a book.”
~Groucho Marx

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The future...

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
~Corrie Ten Boom

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Love and Faithfulness

“Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”
~Mother Teresa

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

In life...

"To be a success, you must decide exactly what you want to accomplish, then resolve to pay the price to get it."

Monday, July 16, 2012

What About Your Heart?


It would be silly for any of us to believe that our hearts will never stray from God’s truth.  As humans we are prone to wander in life, but the question becomes what do we come back to when we return from our wanderings.  Ask yourself: is your heart a believing heart?  Do you want to believe even when your natural inclination is to doubt?  What does your heart rest on?  Are you resting in the temporary pleasures of the world or are you securely settled on the things of God?  Where does your heart find comfort?  Are you comforted by possessions and human relationships or does your comfort come from a deep and abiding communion with God? Do you desire holiness in your heart?  Do you covet conversation and comradeship with God?  Are you satisfied with satisfying the passing desires of the moment or does your heart cry out for something eternal?
Hopefully, our heart is resting in the presence of God’s Spirit.  When our hearts are full of the things of God, temporary temptations lose much of their power to persuade us.  We must each search our own hearts and allow God to come to us with the searchlight of His word and the conviction of conscience in order to know if we are truly dedicated to Him in our innermost person.

Friday, July 13, 2012

A bit of truth, a bit of humor

“The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people.”
~G.K. Chesterton

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Truly...

"One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation."
- Arthur Ashe

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

When you suffer...

"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."
~Paul in his Epistle to the Romans (8:18)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Perspective

“What has he found who has lost God?
And what has he lost who has found God?”
~Ibn 'Ata' Allah Al-Iskandari 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Real life


“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” 
~Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Analyze and Adjust


Last week I was able to spend a couple of days with some of my dearest friends on earth at Sardis Lake Christian Camp.  I have known many of these people for half my life and they have been great sources of encouragement and good examples of faith to me.  We share a common bond in Jesus Christ and a common interest in spiritual things.  We have all grown older over the course of the years, but our increased age has not dampened our enthusiasm for God’s service.
The theme of this year’s camp session was centered around the ability we have as Christians to analyze and then adjust areas of our lives that may need changes.  Truly, we as Christians should be involved in both of these processes every day.  We must make an honest analysis of our lives by taking stock of where we stand spiritually.  When we see areas that need improvement, we must be willing to adjust our behaviors in order to bring our lives into the pattern of God’s will.  
Why not take a few minutes today to analyze where you stand spiritually?  Be honest in your assessment and take a thorough look at where you are in your relationship to God.  When you see areas that need improvement, be willing to adjust your attitude, actions, thoughts and words to conform to the pattern of God's will.
When we make needed changes, we are demonstrating that we are capable of self-assessment and self-adjustment.  Allow God to show you what changes need to be made and allow Him to help you implement those changes in your life.
Repeat this process often to be sure to maintain your focus and your drive in serving God.
Have a great week.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Even so...

"I trust in His mercies, that if He calls me to do it, He will enable me to bear it."
~English martyr of the 16th century

Friday, July 6, 2012

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy Dependence Day!

Yesterday as we celebrated the 4th of July,  someone may have wished you a "Happy Independence Day" during the course of your celebration.  People are referring, of course, to the independence of our country.  We as Americans prize our liberty and our freedoms.  We like to believe that we are making our own way and that we are independent of any outside influences.  It may be said that our national belief is that America is exceptional and could get by just fine without any help from the global community.  We see the needs of others abroad and even here at home as being signs of weaknesses rather than as opportunities for service.  We seldom admit when we need help and are even less likely to admit when we as a nation are in the wrong.

It doesn't take much analysis to see that if these attitudes are carried over into our individual spiritual lives it can be dangerous for us as Christians.  To truly follow Jesus we must admit both our dependence on Him and our need for other people.  God has called believers to live in community and to create a world in which everyone is able to share burdens and blessings as equals.  Obviously, this ideal of the Christian community has not been realized fully in our world and indeed cannot be fully completed this side of Heaven.  Nevertheless, the goal of a society of believers that are dependent on God and committed one another is something we should strive for.

As we live our lives from day to day, let us use our freedom for the glory of God and the good of others.  When we do this, we are truly acknowledging that we belong to something greater than ourselves and demonstrating that we realize that with great freedom comes great responsibility.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Simple truth

"It's always your favorite sins...that do you in."
~Deanna Carter & Matraca Berg

The quote above comes from a hit country song that has been recorded by multiple artists (most recently Kenny Chesney and Grace Potter).  The song is a story of two affairs: one a romance and the other an alcohol addiction.  The song moves along the line that broken romances and unfulfilled addiction bring the same feelings of emptiness.
When we think about our own lives, we probably can attest to the fact that the majority of people are creatures of habit.  We each have routines that we participate in day in and day out and our weeks and months have a certain predictability.
The same can become true of our spiritual lives.  We often get in a pattern or habit of prayer or study or church attendance and find that before long our desire may have faded and we are active more out of routine than conviction.  These patterns can also be true of the inherently negative things we take into our lives.  When we first commit a certain trespass we may feel upset and uncomfortable.  If we continue to repeat the transgression, it can soon become habit and, depending on the type of issue, even addictive.  We all have some things that tempt us on a regular basis that may not even be an issue of struggle for our peers.  It is easy enough to become comfortable with sin.  Beyond that, we may even come to relish and enjoy the passing pleasure that sin offers.
To break the cycle of sin in our lives, we must first be willing to admit we have an issue with sin.  Then we must be willing to give up our sins.  To make this easier, we should avoid the tempting situation altogether.  Free time can be a spiritual enemy so staying active in God's service is vital to beating sinful tendencies.  Surrounding ourselves with people who are trying to live moral and godly lives is a great help in battling sin.  Spending time in God's word and in prayer will help drive out sinful desire in our lives.  Replacing evil desire with pure desire goes a long way in holding sin at bay.

We must learn to hate sin.  As long as we allow sin to have a place in our lives, sin in fact will rule our lives.  Once we allow God to remove the sin from our hearts, we must quickly fill the void with positive and godly desires.  When our hearts are full of the things of God, sin has no place to gain a foothold.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Posted this before but it's still true...

"I know God will not give me anything I can't handle.  I just wish that He didn't trust me so much."
~Mother Teresa

Monday, July 2, 2012

Just a thought...

"Your character is measured by how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Valuable Experience

"God never takes away anything that He doesn’t replace with Himself."
-Jacquelyn K. Heasley

The quote above is something that can only be understood through experience.  At one point in my life, I never thought much about the blessings that I had.  I was healthy, I was popular with my peers, I felt important, I had a seemingly significant friendships and romances.  To say that I took these things for granted would be an understatement.  Over the span of several years, each one of these external blessings was taken away.  As my health failed, my popularity and sense of importance faltered.  As those things died out of my life, many of my relationships passed away as well.  In the midst of this unraveling, I felt very alone, very isolated.  I believed that I was the only person that felt the way I felt.  I came to think that I was especially unfortunate.  I even came to believe I had been abandoned by God.  I reasoned however that God could not have gone far.  I began to read my Bible, to study and, even though I didn't feel like it, to pray.  Over the course of time it became clear to me that rather than simply losing those things, I had actually gained something better in their place.  Health had been lost, but I found the need to depend on God.  Popularity based on superficial accomplishments was replaced by the genuine care of a few close friends.  My sense of self-importance was destroyed so that a deeper sense of the needs of others could be born.  The self-serving and even petty relationships of the past were replaced with a much more fulfilling relationship with God and His people.  God used my misfortune to destroy my self-reliance and my self-assurandance.  He has given me instead a glorious dependence.
When bad things happen, it is easy to blame God.  It is easy to be angry and be filled with complaints.  These responses are natural although perhaps not all that helpful.  If we can, in the midst of trouble, see that something can be accomplished in it and from it, we will be better served by the experience.  The grace of God is refining and to do its work it must sometimes wound in order to heal.  God is not needlessly cruel or uselessly mean, but He will attempt to destroy anything that stands between you and your obedience to Him.  Don't miss the lesson.  If we can learn from loss, we can become more and more like Him.  When we are conformed to His image, we can look back over our lives and see His hand in our victories and even in our defeats.
May we have the strength to bear the hand of God on our lives so that we can grow into the people He always intended for us to be.