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Showing posts from February, 2013

“God allows us to experience the low points of life in order to teach us lessons we could not learn in any other way.”*

A thought by Les Parrott, (2012-08-02) from his book,You're Stronger Than You Think: The Power to Do What You Feel You Can't(p. 72). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

There is something to be said about self-awareness that shows us that we may need to change some areas in our self.
I had just turned on my laptop to start writing and looked away and then looked back and it was shutting down.I then realized that is was updating some program and it needed to shut down for a moment in order for the change to happen.Last night as I was plugging in my iPhone before going to bed I saw that it had a couple of apps that needed to be updated.So I took the time to do it.The laptop and the smart phone have within them the capacity to get better.
But we as humans believe that we have arrived and don’t need to change.I mean we don’t even want to be honest enough to believe we may have weaknesses and therefore need to do something about them.But that is one of the purposes of difficult…

“Take inventory of what you are hoping for.”

A thought by Les Parrott, (2012-08-02) from his book,You're Stronger Than You Think: The Power to Do What You Feel You Can't(p. 57). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Dr. Parrot is dealing here with the strength and power that comes from expectancy in your mind.And one way to start this is to make a list of ten things that you hope for.
It is all about focus.Have you ever thought about the power of light?A light bulb turned on has the power to light a room but when it is focused into a laser it has the power to cut through steel.
God has given our mind the potential to accomplish unbelievable things.But we don’t use it the way He has created it to be used.We fill it with so much useless negative self-talk that it loses its ability to accomplish anything.Somehow we need to fill it with the hope of expectancy.
After I read this thought this morning I stopped and took out my iPhone and went to the Notes app and started a list of top ten hopes.That was really exhilarating and…

“Unfinished business of any kind pulls us into the past and keeps us from being fully engaged in the present.”

A thought by Les Parrott, (2012-08-02) from his book, You're Stronger Than You Think: The Power to Do What You Feel You Can't (p. 55). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

There are things in our past that keep us from really being focused and being successful in the present.Somehow we need to tie up those loose ends so that we don’t struggle with thinking for the solution for our present situation.
God has given us a tremendous tool to help us in solving life’s problems.It is our mind.But when it is cluttered with so much stuff it can get stuck and one of the things that keep it cluttered is unfinished things that we need to take care of.
For example, I had set aside this afternoon to write this blog.That is what I usually do but I had some unfinished business that was getting in my way of writing today.It was a Spring Training game between the Dodgers and the Giants.I started listening to it and I then set it aside to write but I kept going back to it checking the score.…

“For too long we have accepted the popular notion of a faith that is just for us.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus from his book, Chasing Daylight: Seize the Power of Every Moment (Kindle Locations 1105-1106). Kindle Edition.

Somehow we have to understand that life is a relationship.First it is a relationship with our Creator, God, and then it is a relationship with those around us.God is love.
I like that Lis the first letter of love.True love has an upward part to Godbut if there is no outward part to others then the L becomes an I which means self-center and that is not what God came to earth for.His love to us spills out to others. That kind of loves shows that our faith is real.
Our faith is to have both an upward and an outward part to it.The upward only is religion and the upward and outward is relationship.If we have a relationship with Him then we also will have a relationship with others.
So is your faith a religion or a relationship?

“Hope-filled optimism about our future, when bolstered by faith, moderates our anxiety about the present.”

A thought by Les Parrott, (2012-08-02) from his book, You're Stronger Than You Think: The Power to Do What You Feel You Can't(pp. 39-40). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Does that make sense to you?it does to me?The way I handle the situations of today comes from my belief that my best days are ahead.I live that way.
Let’s say I am going through a very bad situation right now.My faith says that God is out ahead of me working things out for my good.Because He is so good He will make good out of all things that I face no matter what they are.They may not be easy to handle but they are for my good.I believe that and I have experienced that.
Now I wake up every day with that optimism.Life is good because God is good.He is not only working on my life here on earth but He is also preparing me a place in Heaven.That helps me face each day with a hope-filled optimism.To me today is the best day I’ve lived but it is not the best day I will ever live.
And I was born a pessimist.

“The courage we often need to engage our greatest challenge can be found only in the midst of engaging that challenge.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus from his book, Chasing Daylight: Seize the Power of Every Moment(Kindle Locations 1884-1885). Kindle Edition.

That is so true.The courage I needed to write this new post didn’t come until I took the risk and copied the quote and put it on a blank Microsoft Word document and started writing.Then it started happening.If I would have just searched and not made a decision to do it I would never have started.Courage comes from the action.
There is an old movie called The Ten Commandments that has Charlton Heston playing Moses a major character from the Old Testament.It shows some slaves coming out of Egypt who are chased by the leader of Egypt with his army and these people come up to the Red Sea and they are trapped.Now Moses tells them that God has told him that if they step into the Red Sea everything will be OK.They did it I think more out of fear than courageBut as they walked into the Sea the water started making walls on both sides of them and their…

“Prayer can be a religious form of rebellion.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus from his book, Chasing Daylight: Seize the Power of Every Moment (Kindle Locations 2186-2187). Kindle Edition.

I know that may not sound right but check this out.Sometimes we may be reading through the Scripture and we don’t like what it says.It is saying specifically that we are not to do something that we are doing and so we say, “I’m not going to accept what it says; I’m going to pray about it.”When you do that, you are rebelling against God, against what He has already said.
Prayer is not a place to strive to change God’s mind but it is a time to connect with God.Now if you connect with Him and tell Him that you are having problems with doing what He says and you ask Him for help in understanding and doing what He says then prayer is not rebellion.Or you ask Him to change your actions to do it His way with the right attitude then prayer is an act of obedience.
The key is to not use prayer to get your way when you know that it is not God’s way.F…

“Live out what God has already spoken, and you will not find God silent.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus from his book, Chasing Daylight: Seize the Power of   Every Moment(Kindle Locations 2144-2145). Kindle Edition.

It is so interesting how people want to know God’s direction for their life.  But they haven’t spent time reading the Bible or going to church and hearing God’s word through His messenger or opened a book that some Godly inspired writer has written.  And they are saying they don’t know what God wants.  It seems that they are waiting for a direct voice from God to them personally but the problem is they are looking in the wrong place.
Now I have had God speak to me directly today.  It was as I was reading in the Acts of the Apostles early this morning.  He then spoke to me as I was reading from the Gospel of Matthew.  It was also from my time of prayer and then as I was reading this book by Erwin MacManus. I heard Him personally because I was spending time in the areas where He has already spoken and He applied it personally to my life.
There …

“The augmentation of text messaging is leading willy-nilly to the amputation of cursive writing.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet, (2012-03-13) from his book,Viral: How Social Networking Is Poised to Ignite Revival (p. 54). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Change can be a difficult thing for people.We get use to certain ideas and think they will never change.Like, who would ever think that our kids or grandkids would never have the need to learn to write?I know.It’s called cursive now.For me it was print or write.How we say it has even changed.
In thinking about this change I had a little anxiety.Why in the world don’t they want my grandkids to learn to write in cursive (see I can change)?That would be horrible.But then the thought came to me, why did we need to learn to write in cursive in the first place?I mean we first took all that time with just learning how to print and then along the way they showed us another way to do the same thing.Why?
I haven’t done any research on the why but my first thought was because cursive is a little faster than printing.But isn’t texting faster…

“The number one problem in the world is people’s living disconnected lives.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet, (2012-03-13) from his book, What Matters Most: How We Got the Point but Missed the Person(Kindle Location 155). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Today is Valentine’s Day.We buy that just right card that says what we wish we could say to the one we love then we go out to eat just the two of us and at some point there will be a kiss.But how many people today don’t have anyone who will give them a card.Today is a day that highlights our being connected and highlights our being disconnected.
For some, today is the only day that they feel connected and then the loneliness sets in just like the other disconnected people.
Now Margaret and I don’t really have that problem.We moved to Pasadena, California a little over three months ago because of Margaret’s new job.She is now the Director of the 65+ person QI department of a large health care insurance company. She has an office but she doesn’t stay in it.One of the first things she does every day is to walk around …

“When your mind is filled with the clutter of overthinking—ask God for wisdom.”

A thought by Les Parrott, (2012-08-02) from his book, You're Stronger Than You Think: The Power to Do What You Feel You Can't(pp. 21-22). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.
I know what he is talking about. That happens when my mind is cluttered with overthinking, when I am facing a writing deadline and I am feeling the pressure.So many ideas are going through my mind but none of them really grip me and the pressure is building.
It is so easy to rely on our own ideas, our own abilities and for the most part it is the reason why God gave them to us.But sometimes all of that gets in the way and we need to stop and ask God for wisdom in the midst of all the clutter.He said if we ask Him, He would give it to us.
So in that situation that you are facing right now, how’s it going?Are you getting confused and desperate?Do you have so many thoughts running through your mind but none of them make sense?So why don’t you get up, go for a walk, look at all the beauty of nature, relax,…

“In relationships, these are defining moments; we either push through emotion to transparency, or retreat to opinions.”

A thought by Darren Whitehead, Jon Tyson, & Bill Hybels, (2011-07-19) from their book, Rumors of God: Experience the Kind of Faith You´ve Only Heard About (Kindle Locations 1725-1726). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
I had today, three of those defining moments with three of my Starbucks' friends.Each one was a very special situation that I value very much.
Now as you know I am a retired minister.Ministers have opinions about everything.We know what is right and wrong about every situation and are tempted to let you know how smart we are and how important we are.But I have found in life that opinions do not build relationships but many times hinder them and I am into relationships.That is why I spend so much time in Starbucks.
I know that many people have been hurt in relationships and that brings a certain wall between them and people but when you share who you really are to them, little by little your walls come down and so do theirs.And in each relationship there is that tim…

“Allowing us to fail is not a punishment from God, but a part of God's process for shaping who we are.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus from his book, Chasing Daylight: Seize the Power of Every Moment (Kindle Location 1500). Kindle Edition.
That thought can be a tough one to deal with.I mean in the America way, failure is failure.It means you failed at what you were doing and there is no good in that but from a God perspective failure is a tool.
Now to be honest, this is a hard one for me.I still have some failures that hit me at my self-worth and that can be a problem, the focus on self, on self-worth.Now God is interested in my worth but He is more interested in my character.He wants my worth to come from Him and what He has done for me and through me but this self-stuff can get in the way.That’s where His working on my character comes in and His using of failureeHe.
Now that puts failure on a positive plain instead of a negative one.And that is a choice.Do I get better or bitter?If I think it is a punishment I don’t learn the lessons and grow but I get defeated and discouraged.But if…

“We have put so much emphasis on avoiding evil that we have become virtually blind to the endless opportunities for doing good.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus from his book, Chasing Daylight: Seize the Power of Every Moment (Kindle Locations 329-330). Kindle Edition.
It is all a matter of focus.If I am always looking down trying to keep from tripping over a crack in the sidewalk then I miss all the beauty that is around me.
Yes there is a lot of temptation out there to do evil and we must be careful but if I make looking for good things to do then the evil goes by the wayside. I don’t see it.
It is all about focus, what you are looking for is what you are going to see.
I am reading right now in Luke in the New Testament of that horrible, evil Thursday night and Friday that Jesus went through before He was killed.To any of us looking at it there was nothing good in it.But Jesus had a focus on the reason why He had come to earth and this horrible day was all a part of His coming and He never wavered.What would have happened to us if He would have decided to avoid the pain, the evil of this particular day?Then w…

“We are either away from God but drawing near, or we are near to God but drawing away.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet, (2012-03-13) from his book, What Matters Most: How We Got the Point but Missed the Person(Kindle Locations 2977-2978). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
The direction we are headed seems to me to be the key.One of the attributes of God is that He is everywhere so our focus seems to be the important key here.He is always near us.
I love my reading through the four Gospels in the New Testament and I read an interesting response of Jesus to His disciples.In the New International Version He says, “Are you so dull?” and He says to them in another place, “Do you still not understand?”And I thought I wonder how they felt and it came to me, He probably could say the same thing to me.But He also could say it to the smartest person on the earth and all the angels in heaven.Compared to Him we are all dull, we have so much to learn and so much to experience with Him.
But I’m sure there are some who would really be upset if He said that to them.I mean they know it al…

“It is amazing how often the very ones who are supposed to encourage us to move forward are the ones who hold us back.”

A thought Erwin Raphael McManus from his book, Chasing Daylight: Seize the Power of Every Moment (Kindle Locations 1760-1761). Kindle Edition.
There is a person who is one of my heroes.After she had gone to college, she decided to leave her home town of Denver, Colorado and to move to Los Angeles to live her dream to be an actress.Her parents went with her as far as Phoenix and then she went the rest of the way by herself.
She lived with a friend in one of the toughest parts of LA and each day she would head out into the city to a movie or TV studio to work.She also found a very good church that met on Sunday night in a night club in downtown LA. She would drive there by herself at night.That is also where she met a young guy from Las Vegas who was in seminary.By the way she married that guy who happens to be my son.
Now that is a story of someone who had people who encouraged her, who didn’t hold her back but that is not true of so many people.If her parents would have discouraged her f…

“If you start confessing your sins to the people you’ve sinned against, odds are that you’re not going to go back and commit those same sins again.”

A thought by Andy Stanley, (2009-08-22) from his book, It Came from Within!: The Shocking Truth of What Lurks in the Heart(p. 116). Multnomah Books. Kindle Edition.
We many times are confused over the fact that confession of an action doesn’t always end with our confession to God.That is a part of confession but there is also the part of confessing to the people that you’ve sinned against.You see, our desire needs to also be to not commit the same sin again.
Let’s say, you cheat on a test and you confess to God but if you then confess to your teacher that you cheated, there is a great chance that you won’t cheat again.
Let’s say it another way, the thought of you facing your spouse, or facing your kids and confessing to them that you cheated sexually with someone else may be a way of keeping you from giving in to the temptation to cheat sexually.Anything to keep us from giving in to the temptation will be a good thing.
Another thing to see is that some people think that if they confes…

“Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, suffering, and injustice when He could do something about it. But, I’m afraid He would ask me the same question.”

A thought by Brandon Hatmaker, (2011-10-18) from his book, Barefoot Church: Serving the Least in a Consumer Culture(p. 34). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
The truth is He has.  Take food for example.  There is enough food in the world to feed everybody in the world.The problem with most all the problems of the world is that when God created us He gave us a free will and He is not going to go back on that.Some people are so afraid to not have enough food that they choose to hoard it and so others are deprived because of it.
I like an illustration that Pastor Scott Daniels at Pasadena First Nazarene Church gave yesterday.He bought out one roll of toilet paper and also a package of 30 rolls of toilet paper.He said that so many people have a one toilet paper view of life and they are so afraid that they will run out so they do all they can to make sure they don’t run out.
Back when Johnny Carson was on the Tonight Show he made a joke in his opening monologue one night that there was a toilet pap…

“Christianity is meant for lovers, not experts.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet, (2012-03-13).from his book, What Matters Most: How We Got the Point but Missed the Person(Kindle Location 773). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
I am in the process of reading the Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – the first four books of the New Testament.I am reading them 13 times in 2013.I do not want to get to know Jesus better but to experience Him more.I want a deeper relationship with Him.That’s why I am spending this year in reading and picturing His story through the eyes of these four writers and the nudging of the Holy Spirit.
I just finished reading of His birth for the sixth time and it finally got through to me how much God really loves me.He wanted me to really know how much He loved me and He showed that by living as I live and it starts by His being a baby.
We as a family are experiencing three gifts of love.Harper is three month’s old, Addison is three years old and Ashlyn is six years old.They are the loves of our lives.I mean, Face…