Sunday, March 1, 2015

Looking over your shoulder!

Do you see how many people Have it in for me? How viciously they hate me? Keep watch over me and keep me out of trouble; Don’t let me down when I run to you. Use all your skill to put me together; I wait to see your finished product. GOD, give your people a break From this run of bad luck. (Psalm 25:19-22 MSG)

I've continued to study a Chuck Swindoll series called "What if......." It continues to be a fascinating study. My life, right now, is a true blessing from God. Trust me when I tell you, I don't deserve my life. I am a sinner and have not been righteous in any sense of the word. But I have found favor with the Lord and my life is truly a display of Gods amazing grace.

So, when I listened to the message today, I had to look back in my life to relate to David. Yes, I have enemies. You can't live for 55 years without upsetting someone or enduring some hate. I also have had phases in my life where my haters were quite numerous. A former principal of mine said, "Your list of enemies or people that hate you, never gets smaller." I have truly found this to be true. I'm not sure I've ever heard someone tell me,or someone else, they used to hate me and now they love me! It just doesn't happen. But, if my detractors are near me, I'm unaware of their hatred. I praise God for his love and protection. He alone is the reason the haters in my life don't impact my day. So, let me give you advice from someone who has endured some hateful people. It may be an overly simplified approach, but I have found the greatest defense from you haters is just to turn them over to the Lord.  If I could tell you how to live, I would say, do not spend your life in fear. Do not spend your days looking over your shoulder. Eliminate distrustful thoughts, shut out those who do not lift you up and only wish to tear you down. Love your enemy. Trust in the Lord to protect you from evil and hate. 

We, which means you and I, can overcome our haters. Yes, we can ignore the life of a hater if we can just radically and unwaveringly follow Jesus. Praise God for his wondeful love and amazing grace. Thank you Lord for isolating me from the hatred surrounding me. I am honored to follow you and renew my commitment to serving you. Amen!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Blessing things!

When you enter the home, give it your blessing. (Matthew 10:12 NLT)

Today my CMA, Christian motorcyclist Association, family are going out to do our first "Blessing of the Bike Shops". It always seems strange to me to claim to bless THINGS. But, it is not without some biblical parallels. Yet, even when you bless a home you are not blessing the building but you are blessing the people in it. When we bless a "bike" we are not blessing the bike but the biker. Today we will ask Gods blessing on these businesses, but we are really asking blessings of the owners, managers, employees and their families. 

I really enjoy bike blessings and this opportunity today is a thrill for me also. Whenever I get the chance to pray for people i myself feel extremely blessed. So many people say they are praying for someone or something, but most of the time those are done in private. I'm not down playing that prayer. But, taking the time to stop and actually physically pray for someone with them is a special moment. 

Praise  God for the opportunity to pray for others. Lord, I know you hear our prayers. I am honored that you truly listen to the prayers of your servants. I ask that you be with us today as we share your call to prayer. Give us the words and the actions as we travel the area today. Be with us and provide my Chapter with a special blessing throughout this day. Amen!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

You're not that important!

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important. (Galatians 6:2-3 NLT)

This is such a profound and key message from God. In order to live a life of obedience to Christ we MUST share the burdens of others. No one is exempt. You can not thumb your nose in the air. You are NOT above the fray! You are not so important that you are not expected to serve. 

What can I do? One of the obvious steps we can take is to know the needs of others. It seems so simple, but so rare. At CMA we always emphasize building relationships. It's a foundation of ministry. We can't serve to the fullest until we know the needs. God chooses to serve through us and our actions.

It is also our responsibility to be aware of resources. We need to know what resources are available and how to access them. We need to prepare for the day of need before the need arises. Our knowledge of free food sources, jobs, medical help, financial help, housing, and more are critical to our service. We need to love out of Gods own heart. We need to have genuine compassion and an attitude of "no rest" until all the needs are met.

 As Christians, our focus should be on serving people. We shouldn't rely on someone else to do it. We shouldn't rely on a faceless government, we shouldn't rely on godless agencies, we should lead the efforts to help those that need it. 

Lord help us to serve you through serving others. We need to take the focus on our selves and turn it to helping the homeless, poor, and the lost. We need to put others needs ahead of ours.Amen!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Open honesty in love!

So the LORD sent Nathan the prophet to tell David this story: “There were two men in a certain town. One was rich, and one was poor. The rich man owned a great many sheep and cattle. The poor man owned nothing but one little lamb he had bought. He raised that little lamb, and it grew up with his children. It ate from the man’s own plate and drank from his cup. He cuddled it in his arms like a baby daughter. One day a guest arrived at the home of the rich man. But instead of killing an animal from his own flock or herd, he took the poor man’s lamb and killed it and prepared it for his guest.” David was furious. “As surely as the LORD lives,” he vowed, “any man who would do such a thing deserves to die! He must repay four lambs to the poor man for the one he stole and for having no pity.” Then Nathan said to David, “You are that man! The LORD, the God of Israel, says: I anointed you king of Israel and saved you from the power of Saul. (2 Samuel 12:1-7 NLT)

Talk about an awkward moment, this confrontation between David and Nathan is truly an uncomfortable spot for both men. But, the confrontation had to occur. 

I have had some of those moments in my life. I have had to fire people. I've had to punish a wrong. If had to discipline my children, students, and employees. Every single time it occurs, it's grossly uncomfortable. But, confrontation of a fellow believer about sin would make me more squeamish than any other situation I've encountered. Our society says it's really none of my business. The bible says differently. As a matter of fact it is our duty!

The word "confrontation" is ugly. It sends visions of hatred and meanness. I have never seen a vicious confrontation, even if for noble reasons, end well. Our approach , especially with fellow believers, must be out of love and done with a pure heart. We must let our love shine through stronger than the hatred. We also need to approach any confrontation as a way to earn respect, not domination. An attitude of tears is great, an attitude of joy is not great. If we would just approach every battle of wills as a gentle rebuke instead of a blatant war, we would all be better off. 

Dear Lord' help me with my relationships with my fellow believers. Help me to be honest with them and they be honest with me. If I am do ping something wrong, sinning, or hurting my ministry, I want to know. If my friends, or family are doing the same thing, give me strength to let them know. We need to make each other better. We can not do that without you directing our lives. Thank you Lord for your wonderful love and the joy of living a life for you. Amen!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Doing right things for the right reasons!

But Elisha replied, “As surely as the LORD lives, whom I serve, I will not accept any gifts.” And though Naaman urged him to take the gift, Elisha refused. (2 Kings 5:16 NLT)

I've been listening to a series of messages from Chuck Swindoll at Insight for Living called "What if.......".This verse was a part of my recent study. Mr. Swindoll concluded the message with the thoughts we need to always ask ourselves: Am I doing the right thing? And What are my motives?

Elisha was doing the right thing and he had a pure heart. God honored that with the power to heal Naaman. Elisha knew it was not his power that healed, but the power of God. So, he refused the gifts for the healing. He didn't seek glory, he just followed the calling of the Lord. Oh, if I could be that strong and pure.

We live in such a "me" society. Even as christians it's easy to take credit for the wonderful blessings of the Lord. It's easy to be caught up in successes. It's easy to rest in our own power ignoring the creator of that power. At school, I want to be responsible for the student successes, but blame the failures on the students. People have such a hard time accepting failure. It's so easy to blame others. I need to examine my own heart. 

Am I doing the right thing for the right reasons? Is my heart focused on the Lord. I need to make sure I examine my successes and failures. We can always examine them through those two questions: Am I doing the right thing? What are my motives? 

Dear Lord help me do the right thing. Help me to make good decisions, accept mistakes, and to listen to your guidance. I am not perfect. I will fail. I need your help acknowledging both my successes and failures. Help me to examine my life on a daily basis looking for ways to improve. I love you and know you deserve all the glory for my exceptional life. I praise your holy name, Amen!