Saturday, April 9, 2011

GPS UPDATE NEEDED

The GPS systems that have come out in recent years are great but there is one little catch with the earlier models.  You had to go online to download updates to the maps and many times, the companies wanted to charge you about as much for the map update and they did for the original GPS unit.  I think many times our individual lives can be the same way.

YOUR DESTINATION
Sometimes I think we can be so focused on where we are going we lose track of how we go about getting there.  In the last 7 months, there have been EXTREMELY DRAMATIC changes in my life.  Commitment to my work for God, changing jobs, tackling some health issues and dealing with helping family members that look to me for help.  Really, for the last 30 years I have felt as though I knew "where" I was going with my life and for the most part, how I was going to get there.  But, I have to admit, the last 7 months have been the "map update" that I had not anticipated.  My destination is the same, but how I am getting there has somewhat changed.

GOD FIRST 
For the last 30 years of my life, I said God was first.  When I looked closer at my actions, I am not sure that I can say that He has been.  Not to say I have done anything bad or wrong as we as Christians would see bad or wrong but God just has not gotten the attention He desired and deserved.  I also think God expects a lot from me as He does from all of us.  The bible says, "all things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose," Romans 8:28.  While I have certainly loved Him and was called by Him, my actions have been more about my purpose than His purpose.  I think we should all examine our lives and see what our purpose is today.

A NEW MAP
In all that has happen over the last 7 months, God gave me a new GPS.  It has lifetime map updates much like the new units you can buy in stores today.  He started with getting my attention in a way that I could understand.  He helped me to see what I could not see by myself.  He helped me to see that I was putting other things before Him and the time that He wanted and deserved from ME He was going to get.  It brought about some very humbling experiences for me in the last 7 months.  It made me realize pride, ego, internal self-arrogance and self-will can get in the way of being what God wants me to be.  It made me realize that the only way my life here on earth would be fulfilling was to absolutely put God first.  Matthew 6:24 says you can't serve two master, you either choose God and service to Him or you choose service to the ways of man and yourself.  God has the map I need and that you need, it is His word the Bible.  The destination we all desire is heaven and the only way to get there is through God and His word.  My map or your map won't work.  Things of this world will go away (Matt. 6:19-20) but God wants us to spend eternity with Him.  I am trying to better follow Him with my GPS and use the lifetime update maps that can only be found in the Bible, His word.  Make sure your direction is the way He would have you go no matter what changes you need to make in your life today to make God pleased with you.  While the changes might be a challenge, the short and long-term benefits are unmeasurable.    

THE BARRIER IS ME


Well, I am trying to get back on the horse again.  I have gotten behind with my writing over the course of the last 30 days.  I could make lots of excuses about lots of things that got in the way of the writing but the bottom-line would be I just haven’t gotten it done.  So that is what this writing is all about, getting in the way of yourself. 

PRO-CRASTINATION
The origin of the word is from the late 16th century.  The building blocks of the word are a combination of “deferring until tomorrow” or “waiting until tomorrow”.  Unfortunately, when we procrastinate, we usually don’t get back on the job with whatever  the task, job, goal or whatever it is until something happens to create pressure directed at the “deferred action”.  I have talked some about procrastination before, even recently and I think it is a big problem for all of us.  The goal here should be, “choose not to defer”. 

LOOK NO FURTHER
Really, when things get put off, we can’t really look any further than ourselves.  We many times (almost always) want to blame someone, something or circumstances for our, “delay of action” but the reality is look in the mirror.  The hard truth is admitting you have let something slide or have abandoned a responsibility ALWAYS falls squarely on your own shoulders. 

PRESS THE RESET BUTTON
We have all heard it be said that our minds are like a computer.  I guess I have never thought about how that thought and getting past procrastination could work together but I think it makes sense.  When you reboot a computer by pushing the reset button, it might be because the computer has, “froze up”.  The same can sometimes be said for my, “smart phone”.  Sometimes it “locks up” and requires a reboot to get back to functioning the way it was designed to function.  I’m thinking that our minds and heart are the same say.  Maybe sometimes we need a, “soft reset or reboot” to get back to how we were designed to function.  Pushing reset, I think is a bit of a process but it should not hurt too bad.  Here is how to make it happen. 

GET PAST IT AND GO
So, getting past procrastination means getting past yourself.  How do you fix the problem?

1.  Problem me.  Admit that you have a problem and the problem is you.
2.  Don’t lie to yourself.  Admit that it is about procrastination instead of not having time, you just have not made time and have let other things get in the way of the task or goal.
3.  Focus.  There are lots of distractions in life and nothing is more important than having direction in your life to make you feel fulfilled.
4.  Suck it up.  Make the effort, give something the energy it deserves for the outcome you desire to achieve.  Don’t let ANYTHING get in the way of what is right for you, your family and for me most importantly my service to God. 

It is very easy to get off track.  That is what has happen with me over the course of the last month but I am getting back on the saddle.  I have refocused on my writing and will be making up for lost ground over the course of the next week so be patient with me as I am being patient with myself.  But, not so patient that I fall into the trap of procrastination!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

PROBLEMS

LAWNMOWER MAN
Do you ever notice sometimes we make problems bigger than they have to be?  I think it is human nature or the way we are wired or something.  I have done it before and I am sure I will do it again.  When I do it, I always "catch myself" in that situation.  Case in point.  I like to think of myself as a "fix-it" kinda guy.  I have always had some degree of luck with lots of things I have tackled so I am usually willing to try about anything.  Recently, I was preparing my lawnmower for the spring season.  I brought the 42" cut riding mower into my workshop, pulled the cutting deck out from under the bottom of the mower and began to clean away some of last year's clippings.  I noticed the main drive belt from the motor to the transmission needed to be changed.  I have had the mower probably 10 years and I knew it had never been changed before.  After closer inspection, I could tell it was barely holding on.  So, I began to explore how to REMOVE the belt.  As usual, when you start trying to remove something like that, you can tell the engineers that designed the parts around this circumstance of "changing the belt" were not planning on changing the belt on their personal mower!  I once had a classic car and to change the oil pan gasket, you had to take the engine loose from the frame of the car.  Come to find out, the SAME was required on changing the belt on this mower!  (Could it have been the same engineer?)  I did get the belt off and my wife picked up a new one.  I was "away" from the project for a couple of weeks due to other obligations and then a bigger problem set in on getting the repair completed.

DOUBT
So, the Saturday comes when I have no other obligations but the basketball games at hand.  I have the morning to myself prior to the games I want to listen to and watch around the noon hour.  I have the new "Saturday morning tradition breakfast", review the paper and then THINK about getting started on putting that belt on.  But, it has been several weeks since I took off the bad belt.  Will I remember how I took the old one off?  Will the sun be in my eyes?  Will I remember where all of the parts go back on?  Will I have bolts/parts left over?  Of course, the bolts thing is never a good sign.  And you can see what has happen to me, I have let DOUBT find a place in my head and my heart.  How does doubt get into our heads?  I don't usually feel like I put it there but it gets there.  I think doubt is of the devil.  Seriously.  And, there is a fine line between doubt and self-confidence.  I don't know about you but DOUBT for me can be a brick wall that is 20 feet tall and 3 feet thick......if I LET IT BE.  Doubt can be the downfall of individuals, organizations or even a whole country.  Japan is experiencing one of the worst natural disasters I have ever seen in my lifetime.  Do you think that people in that country have had their confidence shaken?  I don't think there is any question they have.  But, there are people in that country and from all over the World that believe they can help the people of Japan get on the other side of the situation and circumstances caused by it.  Hopefully, this will help them overcome the doubt they are experiencing about their futures right now.

OVERCOMING DOUBT    
Our story about the belt continues.  Well, I did jump into the job of getting the belt changed.  The grass was getting high and really needed to be cut, I had no choice.  My son wanted me to come to Bowling Green and play golf.  It would have been a great day for that and it would have been lots of fun.  It was also an excuse for me to not have to tackle fixing the mower.  But, I buckled down.  I tacked the job.  I was victorious over the obstacle and I overcame the doubt I had created in my mind about being able to get the job done.  I remembered where every part went.  I remembered how the belt went back on the mower.  I didn't have any parts left over, although I thought I was going to have two nuts!!!  But I persisted.  I thought, I looked closely at the situation, I examined.  I didn't get in a hurry, I thought the situation through, I found where the two nuts went and then I re-examined the entire job to make sure something was not going to come flying off to injure myself or someone else.  And, when the job was finished, I mowed the yard.  I still got to listen to and watch the ballgames, but I did not get to play golf.  Next week for the golf.  With the lawnmower fixed and the yard cut.  And you know, I will probably feel better about my drives, my shots in the fairway and my putting as a result of fixing the mower.  I will probably have more confidence in my shots because I overcame doubt.

DON'T GIVE DOUBT A HOME
If we are not careful, doubt can take up residence in our minds, in our hearts and in our lives.  Our hearts and minds is not a place where we should give doubt a place to reside.  And, probably the reason we let doubt have such a prominent place is because there is room in our head and heart for doubts' occupancy. Romans 8:28  says, "all things work together for good for them that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose".  I want to be a God-purpose person in my life everyday.  I want to please God and I know He is with me if I let Him be there.  If you and I would give God the place He deserves in our heads and our hearts there will be less room for doubt in our lives about everything.  If I make God more of who you are through your character and your choices and there will be less doubting and more doing.

WIN OR LOSE

We are in the thick of basketball season.  Winning is everything and losing is, well losing.  So many times we can only see that winning is what happens to winners.  After the day we experienced yesterday, it helps me realize that sometimes winners lose too.

CHAMPIONS
I have been watching with great anticipation several basketball teams over the course of the last few weeks.  I also have been close enough to some of those teams that I have had a chance to get involved in putting together some ideas to help create some "motivation" for the players.  Here is one I know that was used a couple of times.


CHAMPIONS CHOOSE THEIR FUTURE
With each shot you take, 
With every pass you make, 
Champions choose their future.
Winning happens with every play, every pass, every shot.  
Determine you WILL WIN and you CANNOT LOSE.  


As I more carefully consider the outcome of at least two teams I was following and cheering for yesterday, I need to make some clarification.  Two teams I was cheering for did not have the highest score at the end of the game, but they were still certainly champions.  And, I think we can also take the thoughts in the poem above and apply them to life.  In a ball game, the shots and plays all ultimately have impact on "THAT" individual game, but it does not ultimately determine if you are a winner or a loser.  In life, every choice we make has impact on our daily lives but those choices don't determine if we are winners or losers.    In the ballgame, the score at the end of the game might determine who wins the game, or the tournament, but how you deal with your score determines if you are a winner or a loser.  And, you know really our daily lives are the same.  Choices we make might not always be the best choices.  But, it is how we deal with the choices we have made when we see the outcome that determines if we are a winner or a loser.

BELIEVE
While your team may not still be in the tournament, don't stop believing in your team.  Your team lives to play another day.  And, if you were a senior, you did the best you could right?  But you didn't win the game.  Well, get over it.  Welcome to life 101.  That is the way it goes.  If you haven't learned by now that not everything works out exactly the way you want it to, then it is time to LEARN THAT.  Lots of things in life don't work out exactly the way you intended but life goes on.  Learn from the circumstances you were in and and the choices that were made.  True in basketball, true in life.  If you are a coach, ditto.  There is a next year coaches.  And, if there is not a next year and you lose your job maybe you need to consider a different profession.  We need to learn to learn from things that happen in life instead of letting those things take us out or keep us down.  We need to persevere no matter if we win or lose.  We need to realize that things don't always work out the way you want them to, but you can learn from everything that happens.  Believe that there is something good that comes from everything that happens whether a win or a loss.

WINNERS AND LOSERS
Ultimately, you decide which one is you.  In basketball and in life.  Win or lose, the way you take what the score is determines which ONE YOU ARE.  I have seen game winners that are losers and game losers that are winners.  Again, the same is true with life.  If we lose one day in a choice or decision we make, don't be a loser, be a winner.  The score at the end of the game doesn't always reflect your effort so don't let it control your life.  Choose to be a winner in basketball and in life and with every shot you take, and with every pass you make, you can choose your future.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

YOU ARE WHAT YOU THINK

YOU ARE WHAT YOU......EAT
Remember the old saying, "you are what you eat?"  Well, to a great extent that seems to be true.  The food that you put in your mouth seems to certainly have impact on how your body uses it as either "fuel" or "a spare tire....or two".  Fuel for the body can help make us stronger and more vibrant or it can slow us down or even "put us in the shop" for repairs or sometimes a complete overhaul.  Really, if you give this much thought and consideration, the fact of the matter is that there is a lot of truth to this thought.  And while food does not completely control what happens with our bodies, it certainly does have "weight" in the matter of good physical health.

.....WHAT YOU THINK
More or MOST important to who we are is what we think over what we eat.  Why?  Well, because ultimately what we think can impact what we eat.  And what we think can impact so many other things in our lives too.  What we THINK is at the very core of who and what we are as individuals.  The problem today is too many people let OTHER PEOPLE (or the news or society or whatever is popular at the time) THINK FOR THEM and that is why we are in the "shape" we are in today.  When is the last time you every really spent any time in contemplation, thought, meditation, whatever you want to call it.  I am talking about time when you did not have on the TV, radio, your iPod, something (electronic) or someone (people, noise) blaring in your ears or eyes.  Peaceful quiet, time for the mind to unwind and consider all things.  The problem is people do not want to consider all things, because they usually do not want to consider the realities of their lives.  So, challenge yourself to the following.

THINK AND GROW
There was a book many years ago by Norman Vincent Peale called, "Think and Grow Rich".  This was a very popular book and it sold well over a million copies.  It was intended to be a "self-help" book also included many biblical thoughts.  One of the most powerful thoughts in the book is very simple and can also be very empowering for us today.  The thought comes from the Bible and it is the scripture Philippians 4:13.  It says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,".  Recently, in one of my times of thought, I came to this conclusion about who I am and what God has done in my life.  In probably the last year, God has touched my life in some very powerful ways.  At times, I was open to, "being touched" by Him.  At other times, He used a 2X4.  In the end, I relearned what I already knew:

-God is in control, not me.
-When I start thinking that I have the answers, I really do not.

Proverbs 3:5-8 (really the whole chapter) makes it pretty clear.  Trust in the Lord and He will help make life make sense.  Give careful time and contemplation to strengthening your relationship with Him and what "you are" will be what HE wants you to be.  And if I am what God wants me to be in the skin He has made that is ME, then how could my life be any better?  Be yourself, but let the "yourself" be guided by our creator that has had every thought we could ever imagine and He alone has the wisdom to guide us in the way we should go.

Make a commitment today to yourself, your family, your friends and most importantly to God that you will spend time thinking about what matters in life and how you get there in yours.  Be committed to THINK about what matters and then do something about it!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

GETTING PAST THE PAST

Have you ever noticed how many songs out there talk about time?  Every style of music has tackled the issue of time.  They put it in a bottle, they say the secret to live is enjoying the passage of time, many writers over time have had their spin on time.  Well, with the writing of this week's blog being late, it seemed even more appropriate to talk about time.

THE PAST
The past is something that for the most part, always seems like it is better to leave it where it was.  We should learn from it, we can enjoy thinking about it and we can reflect on it.  But, one thing is for sure, the past IS the past.  The past means behind you.  But unfortunately, some people pull the most unpleasant parts of the past into today.  When I think about the past being pulled into today, I think about dragging something with me that creates extra weight that I have to pack.  Or how about thinking about the past as out of date milk or other food products.  High school or other "like" reunions can also fall into this category.  It amazes me how when people get together for those events, instead of talking about today and the future, they want to talk about what was behind them instead of the here, the now and the future.  In Philippians 3:13-14 Paul is talking about the past and the future.  He says he does not dwell on the past but, "...one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind me and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus".  Did Paul have a perfect life?  NO.  Did he make mistakes?  YES.  Did he get past the past?  YES.  And how did he do it?  Through Christ.

THE TODAY
Where are we today?  Paul lived in today and in the future through Christ Jesus and the relationship that would develop with God.  Too many times today, I think people that are and are not Christians can get pre-occupied with the past.  I am a lot like Paul from a past standpoint.  I am not perfect and I have made plenty of mistakes.  How about you?  I don't dwell on the past, my past, other people's past, my plight in life in the past, really none of that.  It makes no sense and accomplishes nothing but pain.  So, here is my challenge to me and to you.  Get past the past and live in today.  Look at the day which the Lord has made today.  Too many times we fail to stop and enjoy God's creation.  It is absoultely amazing no matter what the season or the weather.  Be happy and rejoice in whatever you can in today.  Don't get preoccupied with things that don't matter and are "water under the bridge".  Focus on making your life the best it can be through a close walk and relationship with God.  If we live more in today and less in the past, tomorrow looks a whole lot better.    

Finally, the only way we will find contentment in today and tomorrow is to find peace in God through Christ Jesus.  I was recently asked to define peace in my Bible class study material and for me, this is the definition of peace.  "Peace:  Being content through Christ in a discontent world".  Some days I do better than others but one thing is for sure.  My today's and tomorrows are a lot better than the past because today, more than ever before I have contentment through my relationship with God in Christ Jesus.  If you are holding on to the past, let it go.  Contentment and peace are found in today and tomorrow through giving your life to God through Christ Jesus, Romans 12:1-2.  The past should stay where it is because there is too much to be gained from getting closer to God today.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

THE NEED TO DREAM

When I was a kid, I use to have the reoccurring dream about flying (no plane or wings needed) and I would fly to this tree with all of the hats "hung" in the tree.  I would gently float up under one of the hats and try it on.  There were all types of hats from firemen, to policemen, to chefs hats and the list goes on.  I guess subconsciously, I was "trying on" who I might be.  Well, I never became any of the things that were "hats in the tree" but I certainly have at this point had a very diverse and enjoyable business career.

FLYING
The part about flying in dreams is something I have enjoyed into my adulthood.  As an adult, I don't fly to the tree with "hung hats" but I do still fly.  The context of the flying has changed and I cannot say I have "taken flight" in my dreams recently.  I think it is about time to spread my wings again.  I think we all need to dream in our sleep, but we all need to dream while we are awake.

DREAM IT REAL
Too many times we let the low expectations of others get in the way of the dreams we have for ourselves.  When you dream a dream while you are awake, you have to figure out the action necessary to make the dream become reality.  If dreams have actions associated with them, then these dreams can become realized  and you might also consider them as goals.  But, in reality I think it is better to think of them as dreams because people sometimes do not want to be accountable to goals.  That is another problem with people that do not want to have any dreams.  Without dreams of things we want to see, feel or experience, life can become pretty dull and boring.  You know someone or people who only live to work and work to live.  They have no hobbies or no passion.  They have no relationship with God.  Maybe that someone of some parts of that someone is you.

THE PLAN
Take charge of your life.  Take charge of your dreams.  Know what you want and set a course toward making those things happen.  I believe all of this and have tried to apply those principles to my life.  But, also realize that if you set course for a destination and you have an ill-founded map, you may encounter problems before the ship ever leaves the harbor.  Or you might find that after you get out to sea, your compass has gone haywire.  I have been reminded of all of this in recent months.  So, here is what I have recently been reminded of and I hope it will benefit you.

1.  When your map is being made, let God be the author.
2.  Let your compass be His word, the Bible.
3.  When God talks, listen.
4.  Put Him first and your dreams will be what they should be.

Do not let materialism or anything of this world be the most important parts of who you are or what you dream to experience or have.  Dream of things that give your life happiness and pleasure but also dream (have goals) of being the person God would have you to be in everything you think, do and say.  If you and I make those dreams or goals, we will certainly take flight and have the chance to enjoy everything this world has to offer and be prepared for the next life too.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

HUMILITY

Most people would probably say they have a pretty good handle on their character traits.  Take just a minute and make a list of what you think reflects your character.  Now, talk with someone that you respect and consider them to be a good friend.  Ask them to make a list of what they think reflects your character.  Now compare the two list.  Do you see any surprises on the list you made about yourself?  How about the list your friend made of you?  Now compare the two list.

Here is one character trait we might find missing from our list, humility.  If you look up the definition of the word humility is says, "a modest or low view of one's own importance, humbleness."  Today, really the world that we live in thinks humility is the LAST THING we should have as part of our character.  Too many times today, people are so busy pushing the self-everything buttons that we fail to stop and recognize that humility is the very basic foundation of being a solid human-being!  If you think about what you see in the world and what the world characterizes as "cool, with it, rock-start status", humility dares not rear its head.  Let's take a little closer look at the definition, break it down and then figure out how to proceed.


MODEST
How strong is modesty in the world that we live in today?  Do we dress, talk, act, or think modestly?  The world that we live in certainly is not usually modest about any of those things.  Modesty in and of itself does not "fit" very well with the society that we live in.  The society we live in is ALL OUT, let me show you I am here, LOOK AT ME!  In order for our lives to be a reflection of humility we must take on the character of modesty in everything we think, say and do.  Modestly should be reflected in our dress, how we treat others and how we even THINK about ourselves.  The road to modesty is not paved with telling people how great you are.

SELF IMPORTANCE
Again, we have to be very careful when it comes to how important we think we are in the scheme of things.  The reality is, as important as we think we are, how long would we be missed if we were really gone?  We will all die one day for sure but what have we done while we were here?  There are certainly important people and we might be "important people" to some other people too, but we should NEVER think of ourselves in that way.  We should adapt the attitude of, "service to others" and with this will come modesty and humility.  Jesus Christ was the greatest example of humility in his life of service to others from leaving the right hand of God to come to this earth and then finally to die on the cross for our salvation.

LOOK BACK
If I am honest with myself, I cannot say that I have always been as humble as I should have been.  I am working on this and I hope you will too.  I want to live, act, talk and reflect humility in my life to please God and do the best for Him every day of my life.  I want to have positive impact in this life so I will be ready for the life to come.  Take the test.  See what you say about yourself and then see what others say about you.  Listen, apply, repeat.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

GIVING UP or GIVING IN

The two kinda sound alike, huh.  Giving up or giving in.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Let me further explain.  The idea came from a sermon our preacher, Shawn Bain preached a few weeks ago.  He said these specific words.  When I asked him to further explain, here was the context that he described.  The idea is that we either give up to God OR we give in to the world.  This really follows along with many of the things I have already talked about in this blog.  In life, we make lots of choices.  We either make informed choices OR we make choices "on the fly" with very little knowledge.  When Shawn was talking about this concept, he also referred to one of my favorite passages in the entire Bible, Romans 12:1-2.

GIVING UP TO GOD
This whole concept goes along well with what I wrote about earlier in this blog.  I said, "the only way to get control is to give it away".  Giving up to God is the same concept.  In order for us to make our lives what God wants them to be, we have to surrender our lives to God in the way we live, think and act every day of our lives.  People of the world might think that "giving up" is a sign of weakness.  Men in particular might think giving up is weakness.  The reality is that giving up to God will provide a strength for us that is not attainable any other way in our lives.  If we are willing to give up to God, then truly we are surrendering our spirit, our drive our motivation and who we are everyday of our lives.  These changes and actions in our lives truly reflect what Romans 12:1-2 are all about.  So giving up to God is about making our lives what HE wants them to be, not focused on self or job or any other things that are of this world.

GIVING IN TO THE WORLD
This is happening SO MUCH that we don't even recognize it for what it is.  Really, sin has become so "homogenized" that for the most part today people don't even recognize it for what it is.  Now I am not just talking about people of the world, I am taking about Christians too!  When sin becomes as common place as it is today, all dressed up and acceptable to so many people the tolerance for it becomes very easy.  If I am going to be the person that God expects me to be, I must diligently work at separating myself from sin and from the world instead of giving in to the world.  God expects me to take a stand for the truth and for His word in my life every day.  I must decide every day what the reality is of how I will live my life for Him and not give in to the world.

YOUR CHOICE
Ultimately, every day we have to decide.  Will we give in to the world OR will we give up to God?  What matters more, things of this world or things of God?  Physical life is short and eternal life is, well, eternal so which is more important?  Do you choose things of this world or do you choose things of God?  Our actions reveal the choices we have made in our lives while on earth and will determine our eternal destination.  Give up or Give in.  For once, I am for giving in.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

PERSPECTIVE

It never fails to amaze me how much I continue to learn about perspective. What is perspective? Well, I think perspective is how you see things. The second part of that thought is how do you see things? Well, for me, I almost have to experience some things first-hand. Until in recent years when I had to start dealing with some surgeries and other aches and pains, I had no idea what other people were going through in the aging process. Today, after shoulder surgery a few years ago and several other procedures that require your personal space being violated, I understand a little more than I use to be able understand. Have you ever had a hip replaced? How about a knee? Ever had heart surgery? I'm a big no on those three thankfully. But you know what I am trying to do? Be more sensitive to folks that are going through those situations in life. And, ultimately, I think that type of position in life is what helps us to have a better perspective. I think trying to be aware of other people and their situations in life will help us show more compassion toward other people. I think it will also better prepare us if we ever get in the same situation.


Compassion
I don't think I have always been as compassionate as I should be. I am trying to do better. As a Christian, I am suppose to be more Christ-like and has there ever been anyone more compassionate than Christ? Think of His example throughout the Bible. He WAS compassion and love and understanding. I need to try and be the same way. I know sometimes I really have to watch myself to make sure what I reflect us Christ. That is not always easy to do but all things are possible through Christ (Phil. 4:13).


Application
Everyone I encounter, I need to respect who they are and what they do. I need to try and see the situation I am in from their perspective. I need to show them who I am (a transformed human Romans 12:1-2) and what is important to me. They need to SEE Christ in my life, how I live, what I say and how I treat them. If we could all start treating each other this way, life on earth would be a lot better for everyone and we would all be better prepared for what's next!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I CAN DO ALL THINGS....

CONTROL
Most people don't like to feel like their lives are out of control.  It is a sense of not knowing what is going to happen, when things are going to happen or how things are going to happen.  It is very discomforting to experience these feelings.  I like to be in control.  I like to feel like my life is in control.  I like to feel like I am in control of my life.  When you face personal challenges in life whether health, family, work or other relationships, that sense of control can certainly feel lost.  So how do you deal with these situations?  Well, this next part is going to be hard for some people to swallow.  I want to suggest that you give control of your life away.  Wait a minute, is this not a contradiction?  How do you get control by giving it away?  Well, honestly I have come to believe over the years that the only way you can ever really have control in your life is to give it away.  


WHO IS IN CONTROL
Generally speaking as people, we usually don't have any problem giving control of our lives away.  What?  That's right!  We let television, friends, newspapers, whatever is popular, rockstars, soap stars, TV stars, professional atheletes, I mean basically you name it and we give it control of US.  If the world thinks people are cool, then too many times people want to "fashion" themselves after those people.  So, if you give control of your life away to those influences of the world that we live in, basically they control and direct your life.  So you have to make a decision.  And the answer should be, "well then, don't give control of my life away to those influences", do the job yourself, right?  Sorta, indirectly.  Again, as stated earlier, if we think us being in control of our lives is being in control we are sadly mistaken.  I used to think I was in control and then I came to the realization that I had no control over my life whatsoever.  And, I still get reminders and when I think I am in control I find out, (SURPRISE) that I am not! 


STRENGTH
We live in a complicated world.  Just because we live in this world does not mean we have to conform to the world.  If we want control of our lives, we have to give that control to the one that knows us better than we know ourselves, God.  Galatians 2:20 says, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me."  Can you or I let the life of Christ be revealed in us?  Absolutely.  We are of God as His created beings and His love for us can help us reveal Him in our lives and provide purpose for us that we could never experience otherwise.  And, Phillipians 4:13 says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  To me, that means no matter what the task we have to deal with in this life, God can help us with it.  Do you need to lose weight?  Having problems with your marriage?  Don't feel like you are the father, mother, husband or wife you could or should be?  


ALL THINGS     
All things are possible by us as individuals as long as we have the right motivation.  And, all things are possible in us and through us if we give control of our lives away, to the only one that cares more than anyone else on this earth, God.  As we move forward through life we should learn from our past, but not let it be our future.  We should try and encourage one another as we receive encouragement from others.  We should know that in this life the greatest things we can accomplish are to let God reveal Himself through our lives, living in control through Him!  If you read this blog let me know what you think!  Your feedback and input for ideas and suggestions is very much appreciated.  

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

MORALITY & ATTITUDE

I cannot help but make an observation on the landscape of our country today.  I need and I think we as a people today need God more than ever before.  We live in a country and a world that has seemed to have lost regard for morality.  Our society has become so preoccupied with personal interest and total lack of regard for morality that we are losing who we are.  What can be done to make things better?  To make the world more of what it should be?  Start with yourself.

ATTITUDE
First, individually we have to make sure that our attitudes are what they should be.  We have to make sure that our attitudes are grounded in the moral character that is taught in God's word.  We have to live our lives everyday like we know who we are and be what God would have us to be.  We need to be morally strong people willing to stand up for the truth and reveal what is not.  If you are a Christian, you need to be wearing the armor of God, spoken of in Ephesians 6:10-17.  This scripture tells us that as Christians, we stand for the truth and that our life reflects defense of what is right, what is good, what is expected of those who love God.  I love God and I want to do His will.  If you love God, make sure your attitude is what it needs to be to please Him.

MORALITY
When my attitude is right about my responsibilities to God and how I should represent Him, then my morality will be right too.  To live a moral life, we must be moral people, dedicated to letting God's word direct our lives.  It is not enough to just be, "good people" it must be a life directed by the moral code as outlined by God in His word.  I could start right here and quote scriptures all day long but one of my favorites has always been 2 Peter 2:1-11.  In this scripture, Peter talks about the type of character those who follow God should have in their lives.  Character deeply seeded within our lives defines morals.  Parents, if you don't have any morals, what are the chances your children will have any morals.  And, apart from immediate family, who knows how much you might influence someone else in their individual lives?

THE BOTTOM LINE
For me and for you, everyday of our lives we must work at defining our moral character.  We must go into this world that we live in and have the attitude that is needed to please God.  We must look at all people we encounter and see the souls of men and women and work to be God's people.  I hope as this new year begins that you will, as I have, resolve to arm yourself with the truth, stand for it and be the person God wants us to be.  The world will be a better place for the truth that we stand for, but we must believe it will and then act on it.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

TOMORROW TODAY

I don’t know about you but it sure is easy to put stuff off.  Big stuff.  Little stuff.  Hum, it really does not seem to matter sometimes if it is big or little but sometimes things just get put off.  Why is that?  Let’s explore.

TOMORROW
We always think that stuff can wait until tomorrow.  Can it?  Should it?  The official definition for, “putting off today what can wait until tomorrow” is pro-cras-ti-nation.  I have always been told you can break a word down and find its true meaning so let’s do that with procrastination:

Pro- that means you are really good at putting stuff off, not a novice.  Even if something is really important, you find ways for things to get in the way of something that needs to be done.

Cras- that means that you put stuff off with attitude, and not good attitude, attitude that makes you believe what you are telling yourself.

Ti- lost in translation.

Nation- this means your efforts to avoid can be seen by all in epic proportion on the national scene but you can’t really see it yourself.  You are committed to making sure you don’t do what you know needs to be done for whatever reason.

TODAY
Get rid of procrastination and replace it with PROduction.  Get committed to doing what needs to be done today because it is important to you and to others.  Get committed to doing the very best you can at whatever it is you do.  Give your energy, your time, your heart and your mind to the things that can make your actions and your attitude a reflection of what you want to accomplish and who you are.  Know there will be stumbling blocks and barriers in life, but that they can be overcome.  Be committed to being a PROductive person, committed to burying procrastination and working toward what you know needs to be done today.  For today should always be the best day of our lives.