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“When you lose something, you have to backtrack.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2006-11-14) from his book, Soul Cravings: An Exploration of the Human Spirit (p. 238). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

When you have a friend that you now don’t have a relationship with and it hurts you, what do you do? If you want to make it right just backtrack to where you got off track.There probably will be some asking for forgiveness and some giving forgiveness.
When you are having trouble with your credit and you’re having trouble buying a house, what do you do? You just backtrack to those bills that you maybe didn’t pay and you pay them.You don’t gripe because the bank won’t work with you or feel sorry for yourself because things don’t ever go right for you.No, you go back and take care of the problems.You clean up where you messed up.
When you’re having trouble with your faith, what do you do? Usually there is a situation in your life where you asked God to help you and it seemed He didn’t hear you and He didn’t give you what you wanted.  So …

“Sometimes the worst thing for you is to get what you want.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2006-11-14) from his book, Soul Cravings: An Exploration of the Human Spirit(p. 226). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

That is so true for me.I’m afraid I got what I wanted this weekend and I am feeling it this morning.My daughter and her family were in this weekend from Las Vegas so there were nine of us in our apartment.And before church yesterday we all of course had to eat so I brought home two dozen donuts from Winchell’s.I love donuts.
Now I don’t eat them very often because it is one of the worst things for me to eat.I can’t just have one so I just have none.  You might say, “But you are an adult and you can have what you want” and that is true.But I also want, really want to be healthy and live a longer life so I just don’t get all I want.
Now, we are free moral agents.We have the freedom to do what we want but we are not free from the consequences of our choice.I chose yesterday to eat a bunch – not one – a bunch of donuts and today I am feeli…

“When life doesn’t make sense, it becomes all about trust.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2006-11-14) from his book,Soul Cravings: An Exploration of the Human Spirit(p. 215). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

When you have lived life for any amount of time there is always a chance that you will go through a time that life doesn’t make sense.Maybe that is where you are today.
I have been fortunate to have lived with a father that I could trust.I knew I could trust what my dad said, what he believed and what he taught.I knew he wasn’t perfect but I trusted him.And that was so important as a son living life.I wasn’t ready to take on all the responsibilities of life but I knew I could trust my dad.
Some of you haven’t had that privilege. You had a father that couldn’t be trusted so in life’s not making sense times you can have real trouble.  Having had someone you trust is so important in living through those times.
Now my dad wasn’t perfect in all things but he did lead me to someone who was perfect, someone I could totally trust in all times.  …

“Whatever I would come to believe in, it could not simply change my mind; it had to change my life.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2006-11-14) from his book, Soul Cravings: An Exploration of the Human Spirit (p. 192). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

I was reading this morning in the Gospel of Luke in the New Testament and I came across something that Jesus said that I underlined.He was talking about someone who He had just healed who had come back to thank Him and He said, “And he was a Samaritan.
Now the Samaritans were a people that the Jews looked down on.In other words, they were prejudiced against them.And here Jesus it seems was highlighting their prejudice.Over and over He did this in the Gospels. And Peter, Paul and James did the same throughout the rest of the NT.
One of the first great battles in the new Church after Jesus’ time here on earth was over whether they were going to accept Gentiles into the Church.A Gentile was someone who wasn’t a Jew.But Peter and Paul showed that to follow Jesus was to let go of our prejudices, to accept those who were different.They s…

“If he could change us, he could change the world.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2006-11-14) from his book,Soul Cravings: An Exploration of the Human Spirit (p. 189). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

We somehow have come up with the idea that we can change the world.I’ll be honest I am having some problem with the two side’s views of the outcome of the trial in Florida.It seems to all revolve around the issue of whether I’m a caring liberal or a conservative who cares.But in looking at this situation of a white older man killing a young black man it never comes down to the fact that God loves them both and He hurts for them both.
Now we even as Christians are quick to get on Facebook or Twitter and let the world know what we think but never seeing how what we think has some real animosity and even hatred toward the opposite view.That is not the way Christ works.Change to Him doesn’t come from power but from forgiveness.And so much of how we respond must break His heart.
You see the answers to the world’s problems are not in politic…

“When we stop dreaming, we start dying.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2006-11-14) from his book, Soul Cravings: An Exploration of the Human Spirit (p. 82). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

I have had a dream to live in California for over 30 years.I did everything I could to make it happen but it didn’t happen until this past year.I look in my wallet at my driver’s license and look at the plates on both our cars and realize that I am now living in California and so does my son and his family.
Now they have moved here from Colorado for him to go to law school and they have dreamed to live in the little town of South Pasadena.They have great schools for their girls, it is close to the train for Brett to take to his law school in downtown LA and it is such a great place to raise their family.It was their dream but up until last Sunday it didn’t looked like it was going to happen.Well today they are putting their security deposit down on their new apartment in South Pasadena.Their dream has come true.
As I was thinking abou…

“Take a deep breath. Enjoy it. It’s an act of faith, you know.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2006-11-14) from his book, Soul Cravings: An Exploration of the Human Spirit (p. 173). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.


That is true isn’t it?And it is a type of faith that comes natural.I need oxygen to breath so I do it.I may be a baby and have no idea what it is called but I just do it.Having faith seems to be as natural as breathing.
So why is it so hard to live by faith in other areas of our lives?What area are you having trouble with faith in?Finding a meaningful relationship?Finding a job? Finding confidence?Finding hope?Finding a school?Finding a place to live?Finding an answer to a difficult problem?Finding the answer to some of the major “whys” in your life?Finding what you are to do next? Finding the meaning for your life?Finding your purpose?
Why not "Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you." [Matthew 6:33 (NASB)]?Of course that takes faith but so does breathing.
Why not start there?

“Even if you choose not to believe, that in itself is a HUGE leap of faith.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2006-11-14) from his book, Soul Cravings: An Exploration of the Human Spirit (p. 159). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

We all live by faith.What we have chosen as our world view is lived out by faith.Now I have chosen a world view that God is to be loved, served, and He will reward me with eternal life.Is it a view that can be proven without faith?Of course not but I still believe it.
John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son so that anyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”I have chosen to believe that and I live each day controlled by that belief.It gives me hope.Can I prove that it is totally true without any doubts?No, I accept it by faith.My faith will be proven true or false one second after I have died and the same is true of you.
Now let’s say you believe that I am wrong.You live with the world view that there is no God and that there is no afterlife.This is it.You are banking on th…

“If you were meant to fly, not even running really fast is that impressive.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2006-11-14) from his book, Soul Cravings: An Exploration of the Human Spirit (p. 143). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

There is so much in life that tempts us to settle.Someone breaks your heart and you settle for never risking having another relationship because you don’t want to be hurt.You hear that a plane crashed in San Francisco and you settle for never flying because of fear.Your parents or some teacher tell you that you will never accomplish anything worthwhile and you settle for mediocrity because you believe them.God says you were meant to fly but you settle for running or even walking because you don’t believe Him.It is so easy to settle.
There are so many different voices inside of us that cause us to settle.What is it that has kept you from really living?It may be that voice of being rejected or that parent’s voice that wants to protect you from being hurt or that voice of fear or that voice of just being lazy.But there is a still small …

“To be a follower of Christ is to believe that everyone’s life can be different.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2006-11-14) from his book, Soul Cravings: An Exploration of the Human Spirit(p. 129). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

I believe that.That’s why I write two blogs.It’s not just because I want something to do now that I’m retired but because I retired so I could be more effective in letting people know that their life can be different.It is my life message that comes from my relationship with Christ.
Let, me ask you, are you satisfied with whom you are or would you like to be different?Maybe it’s who you are in your job or your marriage or your relationship with your kids, your parents, your friends.If that is true, what are you doing to make you different?
The Bible says that you can be a new creation, a new person.I know that is true because I am different.I’m not totally there yet but I am different in a good way.It all comes from my relationship with Christ.
On my other blog, bill’s front porch, I have started a new topic.It is about how God sees you…

“When you give up on hope, you become paralyzed in the present and begin to live in the past.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2006-11-14) from his book, Soul Cravings: An Exploration of the Human Spirit(p. 115). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

I’m not sure why I have been drawn to deal with the subject of despair and of hope.It may be because you need to have the message of hope reinforced within you because you are about to give up on hope.You are about to be paralyzed in your present.
There is a way of looking at your past and living in your present and believing in your future that makes life worth living.  It is a connection with God that makes this true.  Prayer goes a long way to making it happen.If you have a relationship with God prayer is a privilege and a vital part in that relationship making a difference in your life.
Here is a simple idea in having prayer relieve your despair and enhance your hope.It is the three pronged approach of praise, thanks, and request.
First of all, start your prayer with praise.Praise is focusing on who God is not what He’s done.  God…

“Despair not only takes us to the wrong place, but it keeps us from going forward.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2006-11-14) from his book, Soul Cravings: An Exploration of the Human Spirit(p. 106). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Have you found that to be true?You have let something rob you of your hope and your joy and you’re not sure if you want to go on.That is a horrible place to be but it is not a place you need to stay.There is always hope.
Now if it is something that you can do something about then set out to do it. There is always, always something that can be done.You must understand that and believe that.For the most part despair is a focus problem. We get our eyes on the negatives of life; those circumstances that we think can’t be changed.But in every negative there is always something that can be changed.Even if it is just my attitude, change that and your perspective changes.
The purpose of despair is to keep you from doing anything.I love the Psalms in the Old Testament of the Bible.I read one every day.One of the reasons why I read one is to keep…

“We’re all born with an expiration date.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2006-11-14) from his book,Soul Cravings: An Exploration of the Human Spirit(p. 105). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Now you might say, “Bill, that is a horrible thought to focus on heading into my weekend”.And I guess that can be true.But I think it also has great value and motivation.
I have just turned this month 65+1.That is how I am expressing my age now.Because of my age there are some things that are now more important to me.For one is the amount of sleep that I have.I don’t stay up as late as I used to so I can I get up earlier the next day.I want to experience as much as I can each day, to accomplish as much as I can each day, and to enjoy as much as I can each day.I seem to value what opportunities I have more than I did when I was younger.I really value each minute of my day.I don’t want to waste it by sleeping.
I also want to make sure of my preparation for what the next phase of life will be or I should say where our existence will have no…

“Our souls are not designed for despair.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2006-11-14) from his book, Soul Cravings: An Exploration of the Human Spirit(p. 99). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Have you read the story in the gospels about where Jesus came to the grave of His friend Lazarus and saw the grieving of the people there and of how Jesus wept?We think it is because of His friend’s death but He a few moments later raised Lazarus from the grave.No that wasn’t it.
What it seems to be is that Jesus was feeling His love for these people and He saw their pain, their grief and that this wasn’t His plan.Death wasn’t His plan.He had a better plan but our representatives back there in the Garden muffed it up by disobedience and going against His plan for their own plan and death then came into existence.They were driven out of the Garden and could no longer eat from the Tree of Life.He had a better plan than this.
We were not designed for death.We were not designed for despair.He had a better plan but we chose to not live it.Hi…

“If you no longer believed in the future, you would lose all hope.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2006-11-14 from his book, Soul Cravings: An Exploration of the Human Spirit (p. 99). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

I start each day with exciting anticipation.The reason is because I start my day reading the Bible and in prayer.My faith is strengthened by the Bible and my anxieties are given to God through prayer.It is a great way for me to start my day.
How do you start your day?Some turn on CNN, Fox News or their local news station and get all discouraged and fearful. The task of those outlets of information is to get you hooked on them so they push the negative to keep you involved. It plays on your fears, your anxieties to an unbelievable level.It tells you that things in life are getting worse and that kills our hope
But the Bible pushes hope.It tells you that God has a wonderful plan for your life.It says that you are loved by God.It says if you need anything just ask.It says that everything in your life as a Christ-follower works out for you…

“Anticipation ignites a thrill in the present caused by nothing more than a possibility in the future.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2006-11-14) from his book,Soul Cravings: An Exploration of the Human Spirit (p. 90). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

I have a friend who can look at a menu and taste each item on it in anticipation.He can enjoy his food without eating it.His food pallet is that refined.
Have you ever stood in a line to ride a rollercoaster?Now you were either scared to death or excited and ho you anticipated it went a long way to whether your thrill was exciting or not.
I was watching the US Open in golf this past weekend and Phil Mickelson was looking at a very difficult shot that he had to make and he was picturing or anticipating the outcome.Now many people would look at the shot and anticipate missing it and of course they would.But Phil was anticipating how he was going to make it.He didn’t make it but it was an impossible shot and he came very close.
I read a Psalm every day in the Old Testament in the Bible.David is one of the main writers and I like how he face…

“We may not be able to accomplish everything we can dream, but we will not accomplish anything without our dreams.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2006-11-14) from his book, Soul Cravings: An Exploration of the Human Spirit (p. 89). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

I found that to be true.I was driven in Las Vegas by a dream that wasn’t accomplished but it held me steady for 15 years so other things could be accomplished.Dreams are very important.God knows us and knows we need them.He built us that way.
I am today living out the benefit of living 15 years in Vegas.I had never lived more than five years in any one place until Las Vegas.Because of my dream we stayed 15 years there and we needed to stay there that long for the other things in our life to be accomplished.He used it for His purpose and for our betterment and other people’s betterment.
Now I did have to deal  emotionally for a period of time with the dream not being accomplished.I didn’t go back to Vegas for over four years but I now see what has been accomplished because of the dream.It is different but it is unbelievable.God has a pla…

“We are designed to learn, to adapt, to grow, to change, to develop, to progress, to become.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2006-11-14) from his book, Soul Cravings: An Exploration of the Human Spirit(p. 79). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
I know some people that all they hunger for is to retire.To just stop working so they can do nothing.Now i did go through a time of real adjustment when I retired because I loved what I was doing so I decided to adapt and to keep at it but without pay.
I have found that deep inside me is a hunger to grow, to learn, and to do.The reason why it is there is because that is the way I was built and that is the way you were built.I am so glad that I had parents who understood that.My mom still at 85+ craves to learn and to do. I love that about her.I know it is frustrating sometimes to those around her.They wish that she would just sit down and sleep and stay out of their way but I love it.That’s not my mom.
You see to stop doing what you are designed to do means you’ve died. I’ve met some people who have died before they have died.They just w…

“It seems failure is no match for the person who believes in the future.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2006-11-14) from his book, Soul Cravings: An Exploration of the Human Spirit(p. 76). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Does that make sense to you?It does to me.
I am reminded in myself some times of what I have failed to accomplish or where I blew it.The truth is there is pain there.I also know that if I stay there my potential to live life at its fullness is over.
I was reading today the last few chapters of Matthew in the New Testament of the Bible of Jesus death on a cross.Can you imagine how those who had followed Him were feeling?I mean everything they believed in was hanging on that Cross as a failure.What fools were we to believe that He was more than a man.But that was Friday and so many of us live in the Friday’s of our lives.We are fired, our marriage falls apart, we gave in again to that temptation, we followed the wrong person, we failed.It is horrible to live in the Friday existence of failure.
But Sunday was just two days away and their lif…

“A healthy community is not a place of perfect people.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2006-11-14) from his book, Soul Cravings: An Exploration of the Human Spirit(p. 54). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

That is the truth.Health from a Spiritual standpoint means that I am honest and also accepting but not perfect.The truth is, I cannot be honest and perfect.Because in all honesty I know I am not perfect.I can have God’s perfect love inside me but my actions are still not going to be perfect.That is what growing in the Spirit is all about.
I like what he also says right before this quote, “We are all hypocrites in transition. I am not who I want to be, but I am on the journey there, and thankfully I am not whom I used to be.”
Somebody says, “I don’t want to go to church because there are so many hypocrites there” and that is the truth.We are all hypocrites but hopefully in transition.”Now the problem is if I am using someone who I believe is a hypocrite to keep me from God.If I am doing that then that person is closer to Him than I am.