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Showing posts from November, 2014

“When we reach out to God, we are lifting our souls up to be nurtured and healed.”

A thought by John Ortberg (2014-04-22) from his book, Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You (p. 104). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

This season of the year has so much potential to bring pain.We didn’t get invited to that party.We didn’t get that gift that they know we really wanted.We don’t have enough money to get home for Christmas.So many things that can bring us pain but it all comes down to what we are reaching out to for our happiness.
John says, “A soul centered in God always knows it has a heavenly Father who will hold its pain, its fear, its anxiety. This is spiritual life: to place the soul each moment in the presence and care of God. ‘My soul cleaves to you, your right hand upholds me.’ It is much harder than it sounds to keep our souls centered on God. We hold on tightly, but often to the wrong things. But staying centered on God — his word, his ways — is the essence of life for the soul.”
He then says,…

“The soul needs a future.”

A thought by John Ortberg (2014-04-22) from his book, Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You (p. 112). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

I think that is an important thought for us to realize on this Thanksgiving Day.I like how John puts it, “God planted eternity in our hearts so that we would not stop seeking life beyond ourselves.”That is why the act of giving thanks no matter your situation is so necessary in handling life.Our soul wants you to understand that this is not the end, we have a future.
We are going to spend time with one set of our kids today.Now I don’t think that Margaret will remember all the pain that had happened when Brett was born or our daughter in-law, Marissa will think about the pain when Ashlyn and Addison were each born.Yes there was great pain in the moment, terrible pain but as John says, “What starts in pain, ends in joy.”I know they are so thankful for the lives through their pain that t…

“There are two main enemies that lead to a soul disconnected from its center.”

A thought by John Ortberg (2014-04-22) from his book, Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You (p. 105). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

John says, “One is sin. Sin cannot coexist with a soul centered on God. If I choose to live in bitterness, or to indulge lust, or to deceive my wife, I am choosing to keep God out of my thoughts.”
And then he says, “The other disconnect is what might be called the ‘troublesome thought.’ This soul-enemy is actually much more pervasive. It’s not necessarily a sin. It’s simply a way of thinking that does not take God into account. The troublesome thought begins with any normal concern you might have. For example, you open your quarterly statement from your 401K and notice that instead of gaining, your fund lost a few hundred dollars. Certainly reason to be concerned, but then you begin a succession of thoughts that practically consume you: Will I have enough to retire? What if the next qu…

“A soul without a center lacks patience.”

A thought by John Ortberg (2014-04-22) from his book, Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You (p. 101). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

We are one month away from Christmas.Talk about a time that we need to keep our soul centered on God.This is not usually a time that we are patient but a time that we can be in a total rush.And that is so true in the church.
I used to be a Youth and Music Pastor.I usually during this season would be working toward a major Christmas concert in my music area and working toward a major activity for Christmas Eve in my youth area.What that meant was I got sick between Christmas and New Year’s.
So I also think it is important for us to put Christ into our Christmas as Christians.
We had a fun time Thanksgiving night last year.We went shopping.It was a mess but it was a great time to get deals and we did.But it was total chaos.
But I think if we really put Christ into our own Christmas, we may …

“The difference between talking to yourself and talking to your soul is that the soul exists in the presence of God.”

A thought by John Ortberg (2014-04-22) from his book, Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You (p. 92). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

We hear a lot about the need for positive self-talk.But John shows the need for soul talk and he shares, “you will see in the Psalms and elsewhere people speaking to their souls because when you speak to the soul, it naturally turns to prayer because in the soul God is always present.”
I like what John said earlier that “Habits eat willpower for breakfast.”We need more than will power, we need God’s power in so many areas of our like and that comes through prayer.
John says, “The next time you blow something — when you’re frightened, when you’re dissatisfied — instead of mindless self-talk, speak to your soul: ‘Why are you afraid, O my soul?’ At first it might seem a little silly, but remember, you are the keeper of your soul. Only you.”
He continued, “Not long ago I got really angry at s…

“Our capacity to live in denial about the law of consequences is huge and is damaging to the soul.”

A thought by John Ortberg (2014-04-22) from his book, Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You (p. 91). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

It is so easy to live in a state of denial isn’t it?Such as…
…I can eat a dozen Cinnamon Rolls from Winchell’s and it won’t affect my weight. …I can have an affair but it won’t hurt my marriage. …I can let my temper fly and it won’t hurt my relationships. …I can have an attitude at work and get away with it. …I can spend, spend, spend and I won’t get into debt. …I can never go to church or never read my Bible and it won’t hurt my relationship with Christ.
But no matter how much you believe those statements your denial of the law of consequences will be huge and damaging.
Now there is also a positive side to this law of consequences.If I live by or use the law of consequences for my good then it will have a positive effect in my life.Such as…
…If I eat healthy, watch the amount I eat and exercis…

“When my mind focuses on that which is good, the integrating power of the soul calls to my will to choose it, and my body to live it.”

A thought by John Ortberg (2014-04-22) from his book, Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You (2014-04-22). Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You (p. 77). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

Here we see the importance of focus and how it can make such a difference in our behavior and how we handle life.
John tells of an experiment with 450 students at UCLA.“Researchers divided them into two groups and asked one group to remember some trivial memory: ten books you had been assigned to read in high school. They asked the other group to try to remember the Ten Commandments. The students in the ten books memory group engaged in typical widespread cheating. The students in the Ten Commandments group did not cheat at all. Merely the act of trying to remember the Ten Commandments made them think, ‘I was made for something better.’ This despite the fact that not a single student in the Ten Commandments group was …

“The greatest predictor of mortality among senior citizens in our day ends up being their grandchildren…”

A thought by John Ortberg (2014-04-22) from his book, Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You (p. 74). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

Here is the end of this thought, “…ends up being their grandchildren’s GPAs.Let me show you what he is talking about.“Sin’s ability to disintegrate the soul is the subject of a book by a Duke professor named Dan Ariely. In The Honest Truth about Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone — Especially Ourselves, Ariely is astounded by how widespread people’s tendency is to cheat, be self-centered, lie, and be deceitful. He discovered that we are driven by two primary motivations. One, we want to receive selfish gain. We want to avoid pain. We want it so much that we are willing to lie or cheat or deceive for it. We want what we want, and we’re willing to cheat to get it. Two, we want to be able to look in the mirror and think well of ourselves. That means we all want to view ourselves as basica…

“If the Devil can’t make you sin, he will make you busy, because either way your soul will shrivel.”

A thought by John Ortberg (2014-04-22) from his book, Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You (p. 59). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

John continues, “Our world will divert your soul’s attention because it is a cluttered world. And clutter is maybe the most dangerous result, because it’s so subtle.”And then, “The busy soul gets attached to the wrong things, because the soul is sticky. The Velcro of the soul is what Jesus calls ‘desire.’ It could be desire for money, or it could simply be desire for ‘other things.’”
Oh I know there are situations, priorities that takes time to do.But the key is, do we use them as an excuse and in turn let them slowly rob our soul of its closeness to God.“I’m too busy to have a quiet time.”“I work so hard during the week so I don’t have time to spend in a focus time at church.” And our soul slowly shrivels even without us realizing it.
“I am working so hard to provide for my family.I’m s…

“We mistake our clutter for life.”

A thought by John Ortberg (2014-04-22) from his book, Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You (p. 59). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

I understand that.I was talking with a friend today about the difference in my life today.The fact that I am retired means that I have more control over my life.I now do what really matters to me.What about you?Are you doing what really matters to you?You can do that and still get paid.It is all about priority.
As John puts it, “If we cease to be busy, do we matter? A person preoccupied with externals — success, reputation, ceaseless activity, lifestyle, office gossip — may be dead internally and not even recognize it. And our world has lots of ‘other things.’ You can get them from infomercials; you can buy them online; you can collect them in your garage and put them in your will. It takes a little, such a tiny little uncluttered space to give the seed some room to grow. The cluttered …

“I am so wrapped up in the hurt I have received that I do not notice the hurt I inflict.”

A thought by John Ortberg (2014-04-22) from his book, Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You (p. 55). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.(Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

I appreciate John’s honesty in this thought.The total thought is, “The world diverts my soul-attention when it encourages me to think of myself more as a victim than as a human. I am so wrapped up in the hurt I have received that I do not notice the hurt I inflict.”And I know if we are also honest we could say the same thing about ourselves.
We get so self-focused but there are little things that we can do that can change this focus.He says, "A friend of mine sent me a few sentences from an article she saw online on 'How to Stay Christian in College': . . . make small sacrifices. Make a vow to wake up and go to breakfast every morning, even if your first class isn’t until eleven a.m. Choose a plain cheese pizza rather than pepperoni. You’ll be surprised how these tiny sacrif…

“Despite the rise of the mental health profession, people are becoming increasingly vulnerable to depression.”

A thought by John Ortberg (2014-04-22) from his book, Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You (p. 46). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

A Study in The Journal of the American Medical Association showed that in the twentieth century, people who lived in each generation were three times more likely to experience depression than folks in the generation before them.
Now why is that?John writes, “Martin Seligman, a brilliant psychologist with no religious ax to grind, has a theory that it’s because we have replaced church, faith, and community with a tiny little unit that cannot bear the weight of meaning. That’s the self. We’re all about the self. We revolve our lives around ourselves. Ironically, the more obsessed we are with our selves, the more we neglect our souls.”
Now there are chemical imbalances that bring about depression.That needs to be checked but a self focus goes a long way to bring it on.So many people live in…

“Somebody said that if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.”

A thought by John Ortberg (2014-04-22) from his book. Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You (p. 21). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
We want so much to impress other people.To show them that we are the smartest but in reality that is a waste of time.The key is to learn, to be challenged to grow not for us to impress or to bring others down.
John spent some time with Dallas Willard who was a philosophy professor at the University of Southern California and a great Christian writer.Dallas told him that, “Toward the end of one of his philosophy classes a student raised an objection that was both insulting toward Dallas and clearly wrong. Instead of correcting him, Dallas gently said that this would be a good place to end the class for the day. Afterward, a friend approached Dallas: ‘Why did you let him get away with that? Why didn’t you demolish him?’ Dallas replied, ‘I was practicing the discipline of not having to hav…

“If you don’t get the answer you prayed for, it’s not a fail.”

A thought by Mark Batterson (2014-09-02) from his book, The Grave Robber: How Jesus Can Make Your Impossible Possible (p. 258). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Some have the mistaken idea that answered prayer is all in our faith and in what we do. If we don’t get the answer we’ve prayed then something is wrong with us.But Mark says, “If you don’t get the answer you prayed for, it’s not a fail. After all, the answer is up to God. Prayer is the way we put the ball in God’s court. The only way you can fail is by failing to ask.”
Now in many ways timing is the key.We may pray that it happens now but now may not be the way God sees it.Mark says, “I’m a lifelong asthmatic, and albuterol has literally saved my life countless times. And while I continue to pray for the elimination of all symptoms via miraculous healing, I will thank God for every other miracle along the way! Even if God chooses not to heal me while on this earth,…

“Let’s not forget that the laws of nature— physical, biological, and astronomical— are miracles in and of themselves.”

A thought by Mark Batterson (2014-09-02) from his book, The Grave Robber: How Jesus Can Make Your Impossible Possible (p. 51). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
I remember hearing the story of this house being in a flood.The people in it started praying for God to deliver then.Some people came in a rowboat and asked them to get in but they said, “The Lord will provide.”They must have prayed that God would provide in a certain way.The waters got to the point that they had to climb up on the roof and a helicopter came to rescue them and they didn’t get in and they said, “The Lord will provide.”Of course they died and when they got to heaven they asked God why He didn’t take save them, why He didn’t provide and He said, “But I sent you a rowboat and a helicopter.”But it wasn’t what they were looking for.
God does provide in so many ways but it isn’t what we believe a miracle looks like.
I know some would say why aren’t there mi…

“The only question on God’s final exam is: Do you believe this?”

A thought by Mark Batterson (2014-09-02) from his book, The Grave Robber: How Jesus Can Make Your Impossible Possible (p. 262). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

Jesus when He came to the tomb where His good friend Lazarus was buried asked Martha, Lazarus sister a question.He had just talked about the fact that He was the resurrection and the life and He asked Martha this point blank question, “Do you believe this?”Mark says, “Remember: Jesus hadn’t called Lazarus out of the tomb quite yet, so Martha was still in the depths of despair. Hope was four days dead. Yet Martha responds with her simple profession of faith: ‘Yes, Lord.’” (John 11: 27 NLT)
Mark continues, “One little yes can change your life. One little yes can change your eternity. The litmus test is the same now as it was then. The only question on God’s final exam is: Do you believe this? It’s not a multiple-choice question. It’s true or false. And it’s the most …