Thursday, April 24, 2014

“If God created us to be successful at something, then He has called us to work hard at it.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2014-02-25) from his book, The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art (p. 130). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

It is so easy to leave the fulfillment of a God-given task to God to do through us.  I mean if He wants it then He will do it.  But the truth is He has given us the dream, the call, the potential and then expects us to ask for strength and courage and then to go do it. 
Erwin says, “It is not incidental that when David calls Solomon to build the temple, he says to his son, ‘Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.’” [1 Chronicles 28: 20 NIV)].

What potential, call, opportunity or dream is God waiting on you to set out to do?  He believes in you and He knows how hard it will be for you to do.  But He will give you strength and courage to do it if you ask and then set out to do it.

So when are you going to start?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

“…living our lives based on the opinions of others will only cause us to lose our souls and our way.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2014-02-25) from his book, The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art (p. 115). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

I was walking back from one of my coffee shops to home listening to a podcast by Erwin and stopped listening and starting thinking.  I started thinking about what really matters to me.  Not what matters to others about me but what really matters to me.  In other words I was thinking about what makes me unique.  God created me to be me with a unique thought in His mind. 

And He did the same thing with you.  Who you are is not based on what other people’s opinions of you are but who you are. 

I had a little song that I wrote when my son Brett was very little.  The first part goes like this:  Brett is so neat and he is so sweet and he is so “special” and before I would say the word “special” I would tickle him and eventually I would stop and hold my hand over him until he would say, “special” then I would tickle him and go one with the song.  The word “special” was in the song three times.  I wanted him then my daughter, Stefanie to know that they were “special.”

Do you know that?  Do you know that you are so unique and “special” that God made only one you?  Don’t lose your way and try to be someone else.  Be you.  Love being you.  God made you to be you and also understand that He does not make junk.

So how does this thought make a difference in your day?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

“I became painfully aware that far too often good sense had replaced imagination in my own life.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2014-02-25) from his book, The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art (p. 92). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

That is so true for me.  I was telling a friend of mine this morning of something that I was dealing with.  It was a dream that I had to live in a RV and travel when Margaret retires and I said but it doesn’t make sense because I will be in my seventies.  That is what happens when you get old.  Your imagination and your dreams give way to making sense.

Erwin continues, “You don’t have to be Einstein to know that imagination is more powerful than knowledge, yet practical, everyday life seems to press us into an imaginationless reality. The longer we live, the more we become practical and reasonable.”

I think the problem is I have come to the conclusion that I am old and therefore my potential to realize a dream is becoming more nonexistent.  But that isn’t true.  I like how Leonard Sweet in his book, The Well-Played Life puts it.  “In the First Age, we swim in pools we did not dig; in the Third Age, we dig pools in which we will probably never swim.” 

What that says to me is, buy that RV and maybe you will get to use it but for sure your kids will.  So let your imagination go wild.  Just below our skin is a young boy and a young girl who is alive with dreams.  Let them out to live in your life. 

So what is your dream?

Monday, April 21, 2014

“The church has too often been a ‘No’ place filled with ‘No’ people. But to truly follow Jesus is to rattle off ‘Yes,’ not ‘No.’”

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. 221). Tyndale Momentum. Kindle Edition.

I have said that when it comes to my three granddaughters that anything they ask for the answer is “Yes”.  And then I say that it is the best way to get back at my kids but the truth is I do all I can to say “Yes” to them too.  I love them and I want to give, give, give and God is the same way.  He wants to give live, He wants to give joy, He wants to give forgiveness.  He also wants to say, “Yes.”

You probably heard yesterday the part in the Easter Story where Mary Magdalene after she had come out of the empty tomb saw this man and she thought he was a gardener when in fact it was Jesus.  The key is John the writer of this was going back to the fact that Jesus had created us in a Garden.  That He is a Gardener.  He created us in a Garden and it was for our enjoyment.  It was sin that brought the no in not God.

As Leonard says it, we are to “say ‘Yes!’ to God, yes to play, yes to forgiveness, yes to challenge, yes to life.” 

Let’s get out of the no business and into the yes.  Life is to be enjoyed not endured.  Say yes to His life.

So is life and “No” or a “Yes” for you?

Friday, April 18, 2014

“We are never fully free until we have fully forgiven.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2014-02-25) from his book, The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art (p. 86). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Today, Good Friday is the day when we remember the greatest injustice that has even been done to an individual.  And it is a day that we see how it is to be handled.

Jesus, the only perfect man who has ever walked this earth was crucified as a common criminal.  No way was His death justified.  But do you know how He handled it?  Luke 23:34 (NLT), “Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.’”  Jesus forgave them and asked God, His Father to forgive them.

Now of course we want justice for injustice.  We want to throw the book at people.  No way am I going to forgive them.  They don’t deserve it” and that is true but we also don’t deserve to be forgiven either but we more times than not demand it.  Listen it was our sins, not just the Jews and Pilot who killed Him.  If justice were served we would be on that Cross but because of Him we can be freed.  But “we are never fully free until we have fully forgiven.”

So who do you need to forgive?   

Thursday, April 17, 2014

“Our experiences are not nearly as powerful as our memories.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2014-02-25) from his book, The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art (p. 85). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
I was thinking after reading this of a bad experience in my life that was a good memory.  It happened different times in my life.

My father was a minister and for half of my home life he was an evangelist.  In other words, we as a family traveled from church to church holding meetings.  For a big part of the time we lived in a house trailer, that’s what they were called back then and we would leave one church on a Sunday night and travel to the next one and start services there on Wednesday.  We would be there from Wednesday through two Sundays. 

Sometimes it would take all of the money we were given at the last church to get to the next one and somewhere in that next week we would run out of food if the church we were holding meetings in didn’t give us a food allowance.  Now that could have caused me to be angry at God and turn my back on the Church.  I mean we were out there doing all this good work and we were hungry but that is not what happened.  That bad experience is a good memory to me. 

What I remember is that my mom had the ability to go into a kitchen that had nothing in it and make a meal.  She was awesome.  I learned by that bad experience how to survive and to roll with the flow and of how God would always provide.  A bad experience but a powerfully good memory.  God used it to show that He would take care of us no matter what.

Erwin shares, “What has happened to us is not nearly as powerful or as formative as our interpretation of why it happened. Our most destructive emotions, such as bitterness and forgiveness, root deeply into the human soul not because of what happened to us but because we haven’t resolved the issues of why. Why would someone hurt you? Why would someone betray you? Why would God allow this?”

I am so thankful that God gave me parents who knew God and knew that He could be trusted and that He would take care of us.

Connie, my sister and I were with mom a few weeks back celebrating her 90th bd.  It was such a special time.  On our last night together we were reminiscing about our time together and Connie and I both shared with mom of how we loved our life.  Yes, we didn’t always have our own house but we always had a home and we loved it.  Some bad experiences, sure but a whole lot of good memories.

What are you holding on to?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

“Prayer for Jesus is not about techniques, but trust.”

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. 186). Tyndale Momentum. Kindle Edition.

I know that people who don’t know me but who see me out walking the streets everyday think I am a homeless schizophrenic.  Now I am neither but I do walk a lot and I do talk to someone while I am walking.  I do a lot of praying while I walk.  I had two occasions today when I was praying out loud and someone passed me.  They didn’t look back but they did seem to walk a little faster.

Now that may not be the best technique but it works for me.  I love walking and talking to my friend, Jesus.  I found it very meaningful today.  While I was walking and praying the first time I worked through an attitude I was having toward someone who was very hurtful and critical of my Pastor.  God helped me through that time and gave me the assurance that He would encourage my Pastor and his family during this situation.  I find conversing with God puts things in perspective. 

And the other walk time I had I was praying for another extremely important person in my life and the stress of their day.  I asked God to sustain them, to strengthen them and to guide them.  He even encouraged me, letting me know that He was working in and through me and that He would use me in the tasks He has for me today. 

Do you even take time to pray to your best friend, to let Him know your concerns, your bad attitudes, your hurts emotionally and physically?  Do you trust Him like that or are you so concerned about doing prayer right? 

I like how Leonard says it, “Jesus revolutionizes the practice of prayer, not by introducing new forms of prayer, but a new focus for praying. Prayer for Jesus is not about techniques, but trust. If we are to experience God as Jesus experiences God, which he instructed us to do, then Jesus’ experience of God was not one of Absolute Other or Ground of Being or even as Creator of the Cosmos. Jesus experiences God as the loving Parent who has entered into this unique relationship with humankind and delights in our presence.”

So what do you need to tell your Heavenly Father today?