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Saturday, December 8, 2018

Quiet Time: Keeping An Even Keel

Keeping An Even Keel

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense. (Proverbs 19:11)

even keel (Noun) A situation in which the boat is level and balanced for a smooth ride.

My daughter and I like to have lunch together on Fridays. At the end of one of our outings she turned to me as I parked the car and said, "Dad, you're one of the most patient men I know."  Then she added, "But, you're a whole different person when you drive!" And, she didn't mean "different" in a good way. We both laughed but inside I knew she was right and felt ashamed.

We said our good byes, then, I immediately asked the Lord to forgive my aggressive attitude and asked Him to help me change. No sooner did I pray that prayer than He brought today's bible verse to mind (Prov. 19:11).  

As I meditated on the Proverb I realized I was acting like a storm tossed boat without a keel. You see, the weight of the keel is what makes a ship self righting. A Christ follower has an incredibly heavy keel; it is the presence of Christ.  I'd forgotten that.

Paul's words to the Philippians is another scripture that I've now committed to memory. We should be "anxious for nothing...because the Lord is near" (Phil. 4:5)

Note to self: You can cave in to the pressure or lean in to Christ; it's a choice.


Monday, November 26, 2018

Quiet Time: Wind Watchers Won't Work

Wind Watchers Won't Work
Just get on with it! 

He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap. (Ecclesiastes 11:4)  

According to Psychology Today, a top cause for procrastination is an "absence of structure".  In other words, remove impulsive distractions (Facebook) and just get to work. Psy Today

Facebook didn't exist then; but, I'm sure old testament folks had their personal distractions. After all, the wisest guy in history was inspired to write "Industry provides profit - idleness produces poverty"  -Doug's translation-  (Proverbs 12:24)

Note to self: Stop thinking about what needs to be done; just start doing it. 

Andy Stanley, one of my favorite leadership coaches, is pretty blunt in his assessment: "Recruit doers, not thinkers. It's much easier to educate a doer than it is to motivate a a thinker, hire a doer." A Stanley

Musicians will relate to the following quote from the maestro, Tchaikovsky: “There is no doubt that even the greatest musical geniuses have sometimes worked without inspiration. This guest (inspiration) does not always respond to the first invitation. We must always work, and a self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood. 

Got it?   Now, get to it!

Work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty (Proverbs 14:23)

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Quiet Time: Evangelical Not Political

Evangelical Not Political
Not Fake News - Good news

But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don't be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you. (2 Tim. 4:5)

The cartoon reads "Right Wing Evangelical Church"  the two terms are simply incompatible.

Christ followers "Do not turn to the right or the left: (Proverbs 4:27)
We "do everything we can to spread the Good News" (1Corinthians 9:23)
and certainly we  gather in fellowship regularly (Acts 2:42).
But none of that has anything to do with politics, patriotism, or skin color.

Paul, encouraged Tim (a first century evangelist) to "keep a clear mind in every situation and not be afraid of suffering for the Lord"  (2 Timothy 4:5) That doesn't sound like he expected Timothy to be politically correct!

Bottom line, being a Christ follower has nothing to do with the color of your skin, unless black and blue is acceptable; and, it certainly has nothing to do with politics; for "all have sinned and fallen short" (Romans 3:23) However, it has everything to do with believing on Christ alone for salvation (Acts 16:31).

The Good News is simply this: Christ died for our sins, was buried, and three days later He rose again from dead showing that He overcame both sin and the grave (1 Cor. 15:3-4) Those who believe this, live for one purpose alone; that is, Christ alone (2 Cor. 5:15).

The Gospel isn't politically correct nor does it promote patriotism or ethnicity; but, it is Good News!

Friday, November 23, 2018

Song Series: Grateful Verse 2

Grateful Verse 2
The miry mud and me

He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.
(Psalm 40:2)

 I was one of the few high school teens with a car, so, a request for a late night ride home wasn't unusual.  Jessica, lived in one of those old Tampa neighborhoods where the driveway ran along side the house and the cars all parked in the back. She told me it would be okay to turn around in her back yard. But, halfway through the turn my car got stuck in the rain saturated grass. It was pitch black dark,  still drizzling, and there was no way I was getting unstuck without help. Her dad finally came home and helped me pull the vehicle out of the mud. Then, he abruptly turned and demanded, "What were you doing with my daughter in the backyard?" He burst out laughing at my stuttering answer, ", SIR!" 

The second verse of the song "Grateful" by Elevation Church reminded me of this muddling mishap:

When I was down, You brought me out
You set my feet on higher ground
So here I stand, You are my God
Your faithfulness, my Solid Rock

 I think we do well to include verse 1:

I waited and waited and waited for God. At last He looked; finally He listened. The Message (Psalm 40:1)

I'm not a good waiter. But, I'm better at it when there's confidence that the answer is worth the wait.

Confidence takes courage. It's an assurance that God's way is better than my way; that, His truth is better than my best hunch, and, it keeps me coming back to Him again and again.

God makes mud matter (double entendre)


Thursday, November 22, 2018

Song Series: Grateful Verse 1

by Elevation Church

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 
- Philippians 4:4

The song "Grateful" reminds us to refocus our thoughts from the problem to the person of Jesus Christ. 

A close friend recently shared how hard it is to develop, let alone, discover meaningful relationships with the opposite sex. Mid-fifties, and single again, he often feels lonely and wonders if God wants him to stay single or be married; although, the latter is his personal preference.

I commented how the bible seems to offer a hopeful prescription for anxious perceptions: 
Make the choice to rejoice "in the Lord" regardless . (Philippians 4:4)

Or, as one writer puts it, "Peace is within reach, not for lack of problems, but because of the presence of a sovereign Lord. Rather than rehearse the chaos, rejoice in the Lord's sovereignty". 

I like the first verse of the song Grateful:

This is the day that You have made
Whatever comes I won't complain
For all my hope is in Your name
And now Your Joy awaits my praise

Did you get that last part? God's joy awaits our praise!

When we make the choice to rejoice, our focus changes from the scenario to the Savior.

Here's a promise worth memorizing:

You reveal the path of life to me;
in your presence is abundant joy;
at Your right hand are eternal pleasures. (Psalm 16:11)

Grateful, Live, Elevation Worship 

Make the choice to rejoice! 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Song Series: Everything and Nothing Less

Everything and Nothing Less
"No Comfort" Zone

And He was saying to them all, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.It's okay to be uncomfortable. Christ followers should actually expect to be challenged? - Luke 9:23

 Believers have gifts and talents that God grants so that we can minister within the church. But, none of us would dream of utilizing those gifts and talents only in the areas where we feel most comfortable.

In other words, if I've been given the gift of teaching and I like being with adults, does that mean I only teach adults. Or, if I've been given the gift of helps should I only care and empathize with those in the body of Christ? Of course not. We understand that Jesus is our Lord; therefore, He gets to choose when and where we use our gifts and talents.

 Comfort zones are good things, in that, they offer us a time to build confidence and momentum; but, they're also dangerously elegant at lulling us into a sense of self-satisfaction and sufficiency.

So, if we sometimes find ourselves being challenged on a foreign mission trip, or a local prison ministry, or in simply sharing Christ with guy or gal next door because it's "outside of our comfort zone" praise God!

What I’m getting at, friends, is that you should simply keep on doing what you’ve done from the beginning. When I was living among you, you lived in responsive obedience. Now that I’m separated from you, keep it up. Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure. - Philippians 2:12-13 (The Message)

No, crosses aren't built for comfort; but they get us where we need to be; surrendered.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Song Series: The Whole Thing (Here I Am to Worship)

Altogether Lovely by Margie Chapman
the whole thing
  While practicing the classic song "Here I am to Worship" by Hillsong Publishing I moved through the chorus and got to the part that says,

"Your altogether lovely altogether worthy, Altogether wonderful to me"

It struck me that the word "altogether" isn't a common everyday word. So, I did a quick Lexicon study and one particular scripture verse stood out to me.

His mouth is most sweet, and he is altogether desirable. This is my beloved and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem. - Song of Solomon 5:16

I am so convicted by the passion in this verse. 

Is God's word still sweet and desirable to me today?
Does my love for God  prompt me to praise Him even when no-one is around?
Is God my friend?

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Quiet Time: Your Kingdom Come

Your Kingdom Come
Even so come

10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven. - Matthew 6:10

READ:  (Matt. 6:9-13) 

    (1)   We are to pray for His Kingdom to come. (verse 10)
a.      The Kingdom of God was promised with Abraham’s covenant.
                                                              i.      I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; (Matthew 8:11)
                                                            ii.      In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being thrown out. (Luke 13:28)
                                                          iii.      In ages past God determined His kingdom would come.
b.      The Kingdom of God is present within the heart of every believer.
                                                              i.      nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or, 'There it is!' For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst." (Luke 17:21)
                                                            ii.      for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)
                                                          iii.      Today, God, the Holy Spirit, makes the kingdom evident to this fallen world through those who die to self and live for Christ.
c.       The Kingdom of God is prospective with the soon coming King.
                                                              i.      Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. (Rev. 21:1)
                                                            ii.      But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. (2 Pet. 3:13)
                                                          iii.      One day faith will be sight. Jesus will abolish all evil and establish His righteous kingdom with a new heaven and earth.
d.      Today, we can ask God to let His kingdom come with us wherever we go and be evident in our lives through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit with full knowledge that one day Jesus, will,  in person, come again! “Even so Lord Jesus come” (Rev. 22:20)  

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Quiet Time: Why Pray 2

Why Pray 2
     Because prayer is the only way to get things from God
     You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask    (James 4:2)

In this passage,  James first rebukes, then exhorts us regarding prayer

                                   You lust, commit murder, are envious, and quarrelsome: Selfishness starts in the soul (Matt. 5:22) So, that’s where the battle begins.  Ask God first for an unselfish spirit. Selfish prayer is an oxymoron.

                                                             You do not ask: Prayer becomes powerful when we allow God to change our will to His will. We know we are in His will when we walk according to His Word. (1 John 3:21-22) 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.

According to Christian Counselor, Dr. Gary Collins, "There is a distinction between jealousy and envy. To envy is to want something which belongs to another person (Exodus 20:17). In contrast, jealousy is the fear that something which we possess will be taken away by another person."

Do you know what I find shameful in myself? 
I've  never envied someone else's walk with God