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“When you do things for the right reason, it gives you inner strength when things go wrong.”

A thought by John C Maxwell, (2012-10-02) from his book, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential (p. 24). Center Street. Kindle Edition.
I feel at this time of the year it is important to do some reflection, reevaluation and then some refocus and repentance before the New Year starts.If I am living for the right reason then I can face anything.The right reason gives me confidence.
You see, if you are doing something from a wrong motive there is an undercurrent of guilt which causes me to believe that I don’t deserve any good to happen in my life.So when things go wrong I believe that it’s because I am being punished.I don’t deserve anything good so I am always waiting for the bad things to happen.
But with right motives I see the things that will go wrong as learning times or strengthening times that will eventually help me to reach my goal.The wrong things are not enemies but friends.
Wrong reasons can breed discouragement and right reasons can breed encourag…

“Each one of us is a new telling of God’s unending love story.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet, (2012-03-13) in his book, What Matters Most: How We Got the Point but Missed the Person(Kindle Location 1562). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
We are headed into one of the most positive days in the world.It doesn’t matter your belief in what it stands for or your understanding of it, is a great day because of all the gifts.It is a day that we are the most like God because God is a giver.
Now one of the greatest gifts He gave you and me was our opportunity for life.We are a new telling of God’s unending love story.He gave us the potential of life because He loved us.
This past year has been an unending story of God’s love for Margaret and me.I mean, we got to live on Long Island, New York, then Seminole, Florida and now Pasadena, California.It has been unbelievable.And we also added a new member to our family, Harper Olivia Cole.Over and over, God has weaved His love story in our lives.
And if you looked at your life with that fact in mind, you would see Go…

“Christian love is a form of plagiarism: We repeat and copy God’s love.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet, (2012-03-13) in his book, What Matters Most: How We Got the Point but Missed the Person(Kindle Location 597). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
This is a form of plagiarism that we don’t seem to be using.
Notice how we respond when someone wants to wish us a happy holiday instead of a merry Christmas.Or how we’ve handled the just past election and those who were on the other side.Or those who are on one side or the other on the gun issue, or those who love Fox News and those who don’t.
I’ve just noticed that I’m not showing much of God’s love in what I just wrote.It had a judgment tone to it, didn’t it?The truth is, love shows its truest form in dealing with someone who disagrees with me.Didn’t Jesus say something in His hillside sermon about loving your enemies?
Our stands that we make in Jesus name goes a long way to show how weak or strong our relationship is with Jesus.They show how much we really know Him.
I am making a greater commitment to 2013 to learn…

“Healthy doses of fear can serve to propel us out of binding circumstances and into positive action.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet, (2012-03-13), from his book, Viral: How Social Networking Is Poised to Ignite Revival (p. 29). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
From what I gather, we are headed into a very fearful time for our nation.It is some kind of a cliff or something.And it seems like those who are CHRIST followers are some of the most outspoken and the most fearful.
I wonder if God may allow it to happen so we would quit putting our trust so much in our government, our economy, our jobs, our political party, our circumstances and more in Him.He has a plan and He wants to fulfill it through us.And fear can be one of His means of waking us up to His plan and His possibilities and to wake up our creativity to solving the mess we in our self-centeredness have gotten us into.
What do you think?

“Your crisis is your greatest opportunity to see God’s glory and goodness revealed—and to have the high honor of revealing him to others.”

A thought by Steven Furtick, (2010-09-21) from his book, Sun Stand Still: What Happens When You Dare to Ask God for the Impossible (p. 148). Multnomah Books. Kindle Edition.
An unexpected crisis can be such a horrible experience or a tremendous opportunity. 
I really believe that this financial crisis that our nation has been going through is a tremendous opportunity for us as Christians to show nonbelievers what a difference Christ makes in our lives.  He is great and He is good.  He can change the circumstance or He can change us in the circumstance if we let Him.  in either way,  I don’t want to waste this opportunity.
All of us go through these unexpected tough times.  They are a part of life.  As the Bible says, “It rains on the just and the unjust.”   The difference is in how we view it and how we use it.
Margaret and I have gone through, are going through, and will go through tough times.  And our experience has taught us that He can be trusted.
So how are you doing?

“In some ways, negative self-talk can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

A thought by Craig Groeschel, (2012-04-24) from his book, Soul Detox: Clean Living in a Contaminated World(p. 65). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
This is so true for so many people.  They burn their toast in the morning and they say inside, “Well this is going to be a horrible day” and with that thought they set out to prove they were right.  All they would have had to do was throw the burnt toast away and start over.
My day today was great.  Just like yesterday and the day before. 
How about yours?

“If you show me a struggling relationship, I’ll show you one filled with toxic words.”

A thought by Craig Groeschel, (2012-04-24) from his book, Soul Detox: Clean Living in a Contaminated World (p. 64). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
Toxic, negative, put down, angry words tear down relationships.  And up-lifting, reinforcing, positive, encouraging words build up relationships.  If you want to know why your relationship is struggling then you need to check out your own words.  Not your mate’s words but your words.
Why are you so negative?  Where is it coming from?  Is the problem in you?  Remember, you have no control over them; you just have control over you and your attitude toward them.  Start saying loving words to them and then see if it kindles a spark inside of you.  As the old song said, “It only takes a spark to get a fire going.”   
Now I know this is simplistic but why don’t you give it I try?

“Every time you think something positive, give it life with your words.”

A thought by Craig Groeschel, (2012-04-24) from his book, Soul Detox: Clean Living in a Contaminated World (p. 63). Zondervan. Kindle Edition
What a great thing to do.  The world does everything it can to put negative things into our mind especially now at election time.  But what if someone needs an encouraging word; they are just about to drop emotionally so God puts a positive thought into your mind to lift them but you let it pass.  What if you had shared it?  What would have happened?  How would they have felt and how would you have felt?
Oh we think we are God’s tool to condemn them because they are so down and we are God’s voice to tell them what they should be or could be doing.  We are too quick to be that kind of person because it makes us feel important.  Maybe that thought is not from God but from our pride.  Maybe they don’t need a critic but a fan.  They may need someone who believes in them, who wants to lift them up.
Let’s be quick to put our positive thoughts into words …

“Prayer is the arena where our faith meets God’s abilities.”

A thought by Steven Furtick (2010-09-21) from his book,Sun Stand Still: What Happens When You Dare to Ask God for the Impossible (p. 153). Multnomah Books. Kindle Edition.

That is so encouraging in our times of discouragment and frustration.  Yes prayer is a place of battle but it is where our faith connects with God.  And there is nothing that we bring to God that is bigger than His capacity.

We need to spend more time in looking at who God is in order to have our faith strengthened.  He can do it.  Believe it.  What is it that is bigger than you are?  It is not bigger than HE is.  Just connect to Him through prayer.

God is good and He is great.  And He wants to be a part of your situation but He won't force His way on you.  It is up to you to ask Him.

So are you going to ask Him?

“Timid prayers are a waste of time.”

A thought by Steven Furtick (2010-09-21) from his book, Sun Stand Still: What Happens When You Dare to Ask God for the Impossible(p. 153). Multnomah Books. Kindle Edition.
That is a real soul searching thought.  And it leads me to the question, am I timid with God and if I am then why?
First of all being timid may mean I don’t really know the person.  I mean, I am not timid with Margaret my wife.  I know her better that I know any other person.  I know how she reacts to things, I know what she likes, what she is good at and whether I can trust her or not.  I know that I can because I really know her.  I am not timid with her and I am not timid with God because I have an authentic relationship with them.
Now timidity can also come from guilt on my part.  Maybe I really need Him to help me in a definite way but I have been doing some stuff that I know He has asked me not to do.  That would make me timid.
Maybe I just don’t believe Him when He said that if I ask He would give.  So my lack of…

“You’d never see how strong God is if there were no opponent for him to overcome in your life.”

A thought by Steven Furtick (2010-09-21) from his book, Sun Stand Still: What Happens When You Dare to Ask God for the Impossible(p. 142). Multnomah Books. Kindle Edition.
We really don’t realize this or appreciate this but crisis can very much be your friend.  It is in crisis that God can become very real to you because of your great need of Him.  We don’t it seems look to Him in our good times.  We look to ourselves as the reason for our good times.  Success builds confidence in ourselves and crisis kills it but the opposite can be true toward God.  Our confidence in God can grow in our crisis.  He has to do it or we will fail.
I remember when 9/11 happened, people came to church seeking God but when the crisis seemed to fade then our need of God also went by the wayside.  Crisis is the enemy of security but the great friend of faith.
So how strong is your God?

“God’s goodness means that all his greatness is meant to work in your life for your good.”

A thought by Steven Furtick (2010-09-21) from his book, Sun Stand Still: What Happens When You Dare to Ask God for the Impossible (pp. 101-102). Multnomah Books. Kindle Edition.
I have been holding for the past few months on to the fact that God is good.  Oh I know and believe that He is great but His goodness makes Him more personable to me. 
Do you really realize that as a committed Christ-follower everything that happens to you must first go through God’s goodness?  His greatness changes all the bad that is targeted for you by the evil one, He changes it for your good.  He has to because He is good.  That is who He is.  You say, “But it is bad for me.”   No it’s not, it’s good for you.  It has to be good for you because He is good.  And that fact changes our perspective on all of our life. 
So is His goodness real to you?

“His faithfulness is your hope in every defeat and failure.”

A thought by Steven Furtick (2010-09-21) from his book, Sun Stand Still: What Happens When You Dare to Ask God for the Impossible(p. 123). Multnomah Books. Kindle Edition.
Are you defeated?  Do you feel like a failure?  Do you realize that God has not turned His back on you?  He hasn’t quit.  He is still at it.  He is still faithful in His love for you, His belief in you, His availability to you.
Just reach out to Him and grab hold of His faith in you, of His faithfulness, of His being involved in making a difference in your life.  His faithfulness can make something out of your failure.  It just might be an opportunity for a miracle. 
So what are you going to do?

“Until you believe God is with you and for you, fear and hesitation will characterize your life.”

A thought by Steven Furtick (2010-09-21) from his book, Sun Stand Still: What Happens When You Dare to Ask God for the Impossible(p. 102). Multnomah Books. Kindle Edition.
Have you ever thought about the fact that if you didn’t have confidence in the ability for a certain chair to hold you, then you would hesitate to sit in that chair?   I mean, you might fall.  What if you had that fear about every chair then your fear would make it difficult for you to ever sit down?
That would be a very frustrating way to live. 
I am at Starbucks right now and I’m sitting in a chair.  I sat down with no hesitancy, no fear because I knew it would hold me up.  I have sat in hundreds of Starbucks’ chairs and not once has one let me down.  I believed that this chair could be trusted and I was right.
I believe in a greater measure that GOD can be trusted with my life.  HE has never let me down even when life has thrown some unexpected things in my path.  I was confident because I trust in HIM.  One of my l…

“The more you do, the more you fail.”

A thought by Seth Godin (2011-03-01) from his book, Poke the Box (Kindle Location 220). AmazonEncore. Kindle Edition.
In other words if you are afraid to fail then you will never do anything.  Failure is a part of the process of success and learning and doing.
There are many people who are still single because they are afraid of marrying the wrong person.
There are many couples who have no children because they are afraid of the pain of a miscarriage.
There was a time that I moved out of the secure job that I had as a staff minister.  I had been a part of music almost all of my life, had a lot of success.  I also had great days as a Youth Minister and then as the Associate Minister in charge of the Adult ministry for a large church.  But I remember the day that I sensed there was something more and I moved with my family to Austin, Texas to start a new church.  The truth is I didn’t know what I was doing.  I had only preached five times and I knew I was in trouble but I knew it was w…

“Faith should have a story attached to it.”

A thought by Kyle Idleman (2011-05-24) from his book, Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus(p. 106). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
I read a chapter in the book of Psalms every day and I found a verse that really spoke to me this week.  The New Century Version says verse 7 of Psalm 112 this way, “They won't be afraid of bad news; their hearts are steady because they trust the Lord.” 
The story behind how you handle bad news goes a long way to prove you have faith.  How you handle bad news shows that your faith makes a difference more than how much you go to church.  Now feelings go a long way to show your lack of faith but your actions goes a long way to show your faith. 
Are there stories in your life that shows you putting your trust in God through difficult times?  Now remembering those stories and retelling them during a difficult time also strengthens your faith.  It shows where God has taken care of you in your past.  And will help you during that difficult…

“When following the rules becomes the principal focus of a church, then you can count on guilt being the primary motivator.”

A thought by Kyle Idleman (2011-05-24) from hid book, Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus(p. 80). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
Back when I was a Minister of Youth and Music in a church in Phoenix, Arizona I had with a group of friends season tickets to Arizona State University football games.  The football coach at that time was a very negative coach.  He used fear as his motivator.  It seemed his team was always looking over their shoulder wondering if they were doing it wrong so they were just a half a step behind.
And that is the way it is when the church uses guilt to motivate.  It seems they are always living in fear and looking over their shoulder wondering what they are doing wrong.  But that is not the motivation of the New Testament.  Through Christ’s death on the cross we have been forgiven of our load of guilt.  That is why He came.
We no longer live by rules but by a relationship which is fueled by love.  We serve Him out of love not out of guilt.  We a…

“There’s something more important than the letter of the law: the person.”

A thought by Kyle Idleman (2011-05-24) from his book, Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus(p. 80). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
Kyle tells the story of a man who came into a bank to finalize a business transaction and he had jeans on.  The teller let him know that the person he needed to see wasn’t there and he would need to come back the next day.  The man then asked the teller if she would validate his parking and she said she couldn’t because bank policy said that you hadn’t technically completed a financial transaction.  The man, whose name was John emphasize that it wasn’t his fault that the man wasn't in but the teller wouldn’t budge.
So John whose last name was Akers decided to make a financial transaction.  John who was at the time the chairman of IBM decided to close his account and he withdrew one-and-a-half millions dollars.  And he then asked if the teller was then able to validate the parking ticket.
That is when rules become more important than peo…

“When we feel overwhelmed with disappointment it often reveals something that has become too important.”

A thought by Kyle Idleman (2011-05-24) from his book, Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus(p. 62). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
Kyle gives an illustration that really emphasizes this point. 

Let’s say you are taking your son fishing.  He is going to be with you and he is so excited.  But as the day goes by the fish aren’t biting and you slowly grow frustrated and disappointed.  As you are going home you are quiet and clearly upset.  Now what that shows is that catching fish not spending time with your son is clearly more important to you.  That is clearly a wrong priority.
What your disappointments show is clearly a priority to you?  Is it a misplaced or a correct priority?

“If you’re not making a difference, it’s almost certainly because you’re afraid.”

A thought by Seth Godin (2011-03-01) from his book, Poke the Box(Kindle Location 915). AmazonEncore. Kindle Edition.
I was sitting this weekend at my local Starbucks talking to a new friend about life.  I do that a lot.  It is kind of what I do now to make a difference. 
I used to be afraid to talk individually with people to strike up a conversation with someone because I was socially shy.  Oh I could get up in front of 100’s of people and sing but one on one scared me.  I was immature socially.  Now please understand that it is a risk to step out of one’s comfort zone in order to make a difference.  Making a difference doesn’t just happen.
There was a time that I moved out of the secure job that I had as a staff minister.  I had been a part of music almost all of my life, had a lot of success.  I also had great days as a Youth Minister and then as the Associate Minister in charge of the Adult Ministry for a large church.  But I remember the day that I sensed there was something more a…

We must always remember that God's greatest moments for us are never for us alone.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus from his book, Chasing Daylight: Seize the Power of Every Moment (Kindle Location 1105). Kindle Edition.
When we use the phrase personal relationship that can cause us to believe our relationship with God is just for us.  The reality is that any personal relationship is a two way street.  My relationship with my wife, Margaret, has some personal benefits for me but it also has some personal responsibilities for me to do toward Margaret.  My life is no longer a self-centered existence.  I now have a relationship with someone who has needs and desires and my love wants to fulfill them. 
Now our personal relationship with God is also one that is not singular.  He does stuff for me and it could be easy to think that is it.  It is me and Him and no one else.  But if you really have a personal relationship with Him then you will do all you can to know Him.  And if you really know Him you know that it is not me and Him and no one else.   It is He does for me…

“How many no’s have to be surmounted before you get to a yes?”

A thought by Seth Godin (2011-03-01) from his book, Poke the Box (Kindle Locations 129-130). AmazonEncore. Kindle Edition.
Have you ever thought about the fact that you have to learn to get past the no’s in your life to get to the yes?  With every yes there are going to be no’s. 
Do you realize how many different thoughts that I said no to before I said yes to this one that I am writing about right now?  I could not find one today that really gripped me to start writing about until I got to this one by Seth Godin.  Now I could have stopped at one point and said, I guess I’m not in the mood today so I’ll go do something else but I didn’t.  I changed my location from the Seminole Library to Starbucks and continued looking in my Kindle to different thoughts that I had highlighted in my reading until I came to this one.  Something about it clicked and here I am writing.
I didn’t get married until I was 27.  There were a bunch of no’s both from me and from them until I came to the right one …

“When we manipulate, we deceive those who trust not only our words, but also our intent.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus from his book, Chasing Daylight: Seize the Power of Every Moment (Kindle Location 1102). Kindle Edition.
Manipulation has at its core a desire to change situations and people for the manipulator’s good.  It is a self-centered act.  That is why when I know someone is striving to manipulate me and they say it is for my good that it isn’t.   The act of manipulation is for the good of the one manipulating not the one being manipulated.
The Bible tells us that the person who doesn’t have God in their life is a selfish being.  David in the Psalms said that in sin did my mother conceive me.  We came into this world living for ourselves and striving to manipulate the world to take care of us and to do what we want. 
Have you noticed how a baby when it is hungry does all it can to manipulate you to feed them.  They do not stop and think of how it might not be the best time for you, they are hungry and they want it now.  And that carries over into adolescence an…

“You cannot do something with your life if you walk away from tough situations before God tells you to.”

A thought by Miles McPherson (2009-11-01) from his book, DO Something!: Make Your Life Count (p. 44). Baker Books. Kindle Edition.
That is the truth! 
I had a period in my life for three years that I was a real jerk.  It was a tough time for my wife, Margaret but she stuck with me and we are still together living some of the best days of our life.  God has used our life together in so many different unbelievable ways.  We have been able to help so many other marriages in their tough times. 
I remember the day that we found out that Margaret had the C word, Cancer.  That was a tough time for us but we held steady and didn’t run from God.  We have made it through with God’s sustaining grace.   She went out this morning and walked 1 ½ hours with my sister.  She is Cancer free after all these years.  She is a survivor.
There was a Sunday in my life as a church planter when a good friend of mine came and told me that he was going down the street from our church to plant a new church. And he …

“Turn toward God and speak candidly about your pain and disappointment.”

A thought by Jeff Manion (2010-07-14) from his book, The Land Between: Finding God in Difficult Transitions(Kindle Location 1785). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
I really like the Psalms in the Old Testament.  I read one every day.  I love them for a lot of different reasons but for one, I like people’s honesty.  They tell God what they feel and He lets them because He understands.
In our times of pain and disappointment He knows that we need to see how desperate we really are.  We need help.  We are at the end of the rope and we feel like we are about to slip off the rope.  We can’t make it on our own.  And we want to tell someone. 
Now we can tell everyone else that but it won’t make a lot of difference.  It will just be a time that we spew it all out and maybe feel a little better but that is it.  But when we tell Him and we really come to Him in total trust and total dependency and total confidence of His love for us then something more will happen.  It is in our time of desperation and…

“Not simply the hardship, but also our reaction to the hardship, is forming us.”

A thought by Jeff Manion (2010-07-14) from his book, The Land Between: Finding God in Difficult Transitions (Kindle Locations 311-312). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
On my other blog, bill’s front porch, I dealt with today the fact that we are never going to be problem free.  Problems are inevitable and the same is true of hardships.
I think that may come as a surprise to some Christians.  They believe that because they have asked Jesus to come into their life then there will be no hardships in their life but what that means is they haven’t studied too much about the life of Jesus.  One of the reasons why He came to earth was to show us how God would handle hardships.  They will come.  They are a part of His plan to cultivate our dependency on Him and to strengthen us in our resolve and our character. 
Now our reaction to the hardship is of major importance.  What do you do?  How do you react?  Do you whine or complain?   Those reactions show a definite immaturity.  God wants you to be …

“Even when people do hurtful things to you, God has a plan to turn the experiences into something positive in your life.”

A thought by Miles McPherson, (2009-11-01) from his book,DO Something!: Make Your Life Count(p. 33). Baker Books. Kindle Edition.
If we could really believe and live that but we usually whine at God and gripe at why He is letting this happen to me.  But if we really understood that God will work all the bad in a Christian’s life into good.
You see, Satan throws these things at us to hurt us and to hurt Him but before it gets to us it goes through God’s love and He changes the purpose.  The purpose was to hurt us but God changes the purpose for our good. 
Not all things in your life are good.  There is a lot of rotten stuff out there.  God has the power to change them, to protect you from them but He may have a different plan.  Now you can fight Him and not trust Him and it will truly hurt you.  You have a choice and God will not force His way on you but if you trust Him.  If you trust Him He will strengthen you in your area of weakness, He may move you in a total different direction, a …

“You look a bit silly now because you are taking steps to avoid something later. To the wise, later is now.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2009-03-31) from his book, The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be(p. 49). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
I live by the principle of time that you are either late or on time, that being early just means being on time so I usually am early.  That way, I am always assured of being on time and not late.
I wish I could say the same thing about doing things that I’d rather not do.  All my term papers in school were usually put off to the last minute.  I always said that I worked best under pressure but as I’ve gotten older I don’t think that was true.  I just think I was avoiding what I didn’t want to do and waiting till the last minute meant I couldn’t avoid it any longer so I did it.  But it would have been the wise thing to have started it earlier without all the stress, all the pressure.
It’s like the person who files an extension for his income tax and finds it doesn’t get any better later so why not do it now.   Or th…

“Life is at its best when it involves other people.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet (2012-03-13) from his book, Viral: How Social Networking Is Poised to Ignite Revival (p. 20). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
I understand the need for meditation and solitude for short periods of time.  I really do but life has so much more enjoyment and more meaning when you live it with someone else. 
Now relationships are risky.  There can be pain involved but it is worth the risk.  The more pain can mean more fear and more needed courage and confidence.  Where do you get courage and confidence?  Well you get it from a good friend.   So how do you get a good friend?  You get one by being one no matter what.
I love the story in the Old Testament of the close friendship of David and Jonathan.  David thought that Saul was also his friend but because of the jealousy of Saul, who was Jonathan’s father, David became Saul’s enemy.  But David and Jonathan still remained close friends.  Jonathan’s courage and commitment helped David through a very difficult tim…

“Incubating within us is the desire to reach out in order to fill our biological and relational needs.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet (2012-03-13) from his book, Viral: How Social Networking Is Poised to Ignite Revival (Kindle Locations 136-137). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
We were created by God for relationships.  We have this need built within us to connect.  As God said when He created Eve for Adam, “It is not good for man to be alone.”   He created us for a relationship with Himself but He also knew that we would need a physical relationship with someone else. 
But Satan started in the beginning to do all he could to sever the relationship of man to God and to damage the relationship between Adam and Eve.   And he has been doing his best at continuing to keep us from having meaningful relationships.  So we need to do everything in our ability to stop Satan’s plan.  As Ruben Welch in his book said, “We really do need each other.”  We need a relationship with God and a relationship with each other.
Satan uses so many methods to keep us alone.  He uses abuse, rejection, pain, anger…

“A useful crisis creates a situation that cannot be resolved by incremental change.”

A thought by Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch (2011-04-15) from their book,The Faith of Leap, (Shapevine) (p. 41). Baker Books. Kindle Edition.
Have you noticed that when you are driving straight you still make small incremental changes in your direction to keep headed on the road ahead?   We do that in our lives too but we also need to be prepared for that unexpected situation or crisis that many times comes on our path which means a total directional change.  Sometimes we need to make changes in our direction that only a useful crisis with make the difference.
A heart attack can be a crisis that will force us to make the physical changes in our lives that will set us on a new healthier path of eating right, exercise and learning how to handle stress.  If we would do the changes without the crisis that would be better but sometimes it only happens when we are forced to change.
Sometimes we need to change jobs because we are frustrated because we are not in our gifted area but we are fear…

“To follow Jesus is to enter the unknown, to relinquish security, and to exchange certainty for confidence in Him.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus from his book, Chasing Daylight: Seize the Power of Every Moment(Kindle Locations 938-939). Kindle Edition.
Now some people want to say they are following Jesus but they want to know because they need security in their life.  But that is not what it means to follow Jesus.  It means that you have put your faith and your security and your confidence in Him not in your knowing. 
Solomon in his Old Testament book of Proverbs in chapter 3 verses 5 and 6  (Msg) says, “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own.  Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He's the one who will keep you on track.  Don't assume that you know it all.”
So who do you trust?

“All the blessings of God without urgency to live for His purpose become a terrible waste.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus from his book, Chasing Daylight: Seize the Power of Every Moment (Kindle Location 577). Kindle Edition.
That is so true.  God has really blessed Margaret and me with a beautiful place to live.  We are right across from the pool, it is bigger than we really need but it also fits our needs.  God has been so good but He also has placed us right where we are for a purpose. 
God has used both of us in such a special way to elevate the lives of the people who live close to us.  They have told us that we are an answer to their prayers.  Now what if they had been praying that God would help them?  He would watch out for them. He would protect them; He would be their encouragement and their friend so He sent us to do that.  He blessed us so we could be a blessing but let’s say we would move in and decide that we were not going to make friends, not get involved.  I mean we’re retired.  We have ministered all our lives now it is time for us to rest and enjoy the…

“It's important to realize that fear and faith often go hand in hand.”

A thought by Andy Stanley from his book, Fields of Gold (Kindle Locations 98-99). Kindle Edition.
Fear is always where faith is. 
When we had the opportunity to step out in faith and move from Long Island to Florida I had many days of unrest.  It wasn’t so much the moving but the buying of a home.  If you are renting and you don’t like it you just wait out the year and then move.  But I thought owning was so permanent and I had some fear in that.  For many people it takes great faith to risk but for me the fact that I was saying this was it had some anxiety attached to it. 
The day the peace came was a day that I was at Jones Beach on Long Island praying my anxieties out to God and He let me know that He wanted me to come to Florida to be near my mother and we stepped out in faith and made the move.  I had been seeing in His word that we as God’s children are to take care of the poor and the widows and God reinforced in me that this was my time to do that with my mother who is a widow.

“Without the element of the unknown, there could be no faith.”

A thought by Andy Stanley from his book, Fields of Gold (Kindle Locations 99-100). Kindle Edition.
There are so many different tools that Satan uses in his desire to get at God through us.  He knows he can keep us from stepping out and risking because of our fear in the unknown. 
Now one of the best areas that can open up God’s blessing on our lives is through giving, giving to Him and giving to other people.  But it is also a great area for Satan to use fear and He does it all the time.  He doesn’t want you to be blessed and your faith strengthened by giving so he sets up all these roadblocks of fear that keep you from giving.
Giving is something you do out of faith.  And fear is the antithesis of faith.  It is faith’s enemy. 
For instance, you believe it is the right thing to give to a person who is in need then everything starts going wrong in your life.  It isn’t just one thing but compounded things.  Satan then in your mind says that if you wouldn’t have given then all this bad wou…

“A beautiful day is out there to be seen and experienced, but you will be tragically unaware of it if you're stuck in a moment you can't get out of.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus from his book, Chasing Daylight: Seize the Power of Every Moment (Kindle Locations 153-154). Kindle Edition.
We are really enjoying our move to Florida.  It is so beautiful.  I am sitting right now outside looking at a beautiful park filled with green grass, unbelievable trees and flowering plants.
But in this beauty there are many critters that live here.  It is their home.  So in this beauty, you will possibly see snakes, alligators, squirrels, roaches, and lizards, lots and lots of lizards. 
I don’t like snakes.  I really don’t.  Well we had one come visit us last week at our backdoor.  He kind of disrupted our beauty.  We each one have those things that mess up the beauty in our lives.  They have a tendency to tempt us to lock the doors and stay inside but there is so much beauty to experience outside.
What is it in your life that is striving to keep you from experiencing the beauty that God has for you in your life?  Maybe it is a divorce or some f…