Thursday, September 13, 2018

Thoughts to grow on ...

If you allow yourself to live for the praises of people, you will also die from their criticisms.

You are the average of the 5 people that you surround yourself with.

People too weak to follow their own dreams will always find a way to discourage yours.





Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Do I even want to know ...

Is it right?  “Whatever is right … think about such things.” The word “right” here means thinking thoughts that are in conformity to God’s standards. News Flash! Not everyone thinks nice thoughts. I am so glad that I cannot read people’s minds. What thoughts have you thought this morning and do those thoughts need shaped to fit Godly standards? Do your thoughts and your “testimony” mesh? What are you thinking right now? Do I even want to know? One of the most important things in this life is the thoughts we choose to frame because framed things are usually displayed for all to see! Do not frame thoughts that are not holy in nature because the world will see what is on your mind. Yikes! If your thoughts were broadcast for the world to hear, would you be ashamed and or embarrassed? If others knew what you were thinking, what would they think of you?

Let me remind all of us of something right to think about. God cares about every detail of our lives. God cares about: your house payment, your health, your successes and failures, your children, your money, your marriage, your job, your discipleship class and your church! Think right thoughts and hear God’s voice more clearly.


Something that matters ...

Is it noble?  “Whatever is noble … think about such things.” The word noble means “honorable, worthy of reverence, something that matters.” Do you think on things that matter or do you dwell on the frivolous and trivial? Few things are as frustrating to God as the distractions that exist within the kingdom over stuff that matters not. We waste far too much energy arguing with other believers over silly and petty things that aren’t even on God’s radar screen! Let us all think about noble things. The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. The main thing is that Jesus is the Son of God, Jesus died a “substitutionary” death on the cross for you and for me and that Jesus is still the only way to get to the only God. The main thing is winning souls! The main thing is keeping people out of hell! Everything else is small potatoes. And it’s All … Think noble thoughts and hear God’s voice more clearly.

Flaming Arrows ...

Is it true? “Whatever is true … think about such things.” Focusing in on the truth rules out thinking about anything that is dishonest, untrue and unreliable. Here is the truth! We must think correctly about ourselves! The enemy desires to bombard our minds with lies about who we are. In Ephesians 6:16, Paul calls them, “flaming arrows.” However, when it comes to the truth about you and about you and about you, you must think about the truth! Sure, you are not perfect, and neither am I, but David tells us in Psalm 139:14 that we are, “… wonderfully made …” We are God’s children, let us think like it! God does not make any junk. Let us think like it! You are a person of worth and value. Think like it! Jesus was pierced for your transgressions. Do yourself a favor, think like it! The devil is most happy when God’s people think negatively about themselves because it cripples self-esteem! Think true thoughts and hear God’s voice more clearly.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Self-Pity?

There are those days when it is easy to think that somehow, life has dealt us an unfair hand. While our neighbor is basking in the sunshine, we are living in a perpetual downpour. Ultimately, self-pity comes from a preoccupation with self, thus the name, self-pity. Paul speaks to this in Romans 12:3, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment…” It is next to impossible to hear God’s voice of encouragement when you are drowning in thoughts of self-pity.

Resentment?

Resentment describes thoughts that stem from a grievance. Resentment is poorly channeled anger that a person suppresses over a long period of time and allows that anger to quietly smolder upstairs. Resentment does not blowup, but instead, it clams up. As resentment is nurtured inside of a mind, it produces bitterness. Resentment damages the human personality, destroys relationships and cripples a person’s witness. That is why Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:31 to, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” It is next to impossible to hear God’s voice of encouragement when your thoughts are filled with resentment. 

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

The Blame Game ...

Playing the blame game is an attempt to find a scapegoat for your problems. Thoughts actually enter the mind that try to convince us that it is all so and so’s fault. However, blaming how you feel on something or someone will not make you feel any better about how you are feeling. What the blame game does do is this. It leads to perpetual victimhood or victimization where a person sees themselves as a victim of everything and everyone … … a victim of society, a victim of their upbringing, a victim of the weather, a victim of the state, a victim of the moon, a victim of the stars and the list goes on and on! There is no reason for God’s children to ever feel victimized. Why is that?   Well, Paul tells us this in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” It is next to impossible to hear God’s voice of encouragement when you are consumed with thinking that constantly blames others. 

10,000 ...

The average person thinks 10,000 separate thoughts every day. That works out to be 3.5 million thoughts a year. If you live to be 75 years old, you will think over 26 million different thoughts in your lifetime. Each one of those 26 million thoughts represent a choice ~ a decision to think about this, and not about that. Our thoughts make it easier or more difficult to hear God speak. His voice is muffled when our minds are filled with negative thinking. Let us think in such a way that our hearts are fertile soil for vertical words of encouragement.

Why is that?

Exodus 19:16-19 intrigue me.

Let us look at the lightning and the thunder! The lighting represents God’s presence and the thunder represents His voice. As God’s people were preparing to move onward and upward toward the Promised Land, they needed to hear God’s voice and be reminded that He was able to meet their every need along the journey. As we move forward, as individuals and as a church, we will need to hear from God as well. There will be those times when we will need to be reminded that God is able to meet our needs as we make our way toward our Promised Land.

In these days, it is so important to hear God speak and not necessarily each other speak. There are those times when it is more than appropriate to tune out all the horizontal voices in our lives and tune in to God’s vertical voice. Why is that? Well, when we tune into God’s voice … and not human voices … our awesome, incredible and titanic God becomes the main influential factor in the formulation of our expectations and not the molehills that men like to turn into mountains. In these days, we must not allow negative horizontal thinking to smother God’s desire to vertically encourage us.

How can we live in the world and still maintain a positive outlook? How can we give our self a chance to think good thoughts in a world that sometimes thinks wrong? Is our thinking something that we need to think about?

When it comes to hearing God’s thunderous voice clearly, our thinking either enables us or hinders us.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

A Root Canal ...

In Haggai 2:1-5, the work of rebuilding God’s temple had begun. However, the Israelites allowed themselves to get discouraged by memories of Solomon’s beautiful and perfectly built temple that once existed on that very same ground. In comparison, their efforts to rebuild God’s new temple seemed embarrassingly small and insignificant. Because God’s people were worried about what other people would think, they grew disheartened and all work ceased. God’s people worried about pleasing other people. Have you ever been there and done that?

In 2018, if we want our spiritual tanks to remain full, we must quit worrying about what everybody thinks and focus in more on what God thinks. God is to be pleased, not man!

Jesus knew whom He was trying to please! What does Jesus say in John 5:30, “…I seek not to please myself, but him who sent me.” Jesus knew whom He was trying to please. Do we?

Here is what I have discovered. You cannot please everybody. Even God could not and still cannot please everybody so isn’t it foolish to attempt to do something that even God could not and cannot do? Jesus sought to please God! Let us all do likewise.

Folks! Trying to satisfy everybody produces pitiful results and drains one dry!

If your strategy in life is nothing more than pleasing people, your life will seem like one long lasting root canal. Let us all focus in on what God expects – not on what everyone else expects! It does not matter what the majority thinks, it matters what God thinks.

Monday, July 30, 2018

This is powerful ...

Jesus knew what He was trying to accomplish. However, Peter tried to distract the Lord! Look at what Peter says to Jesus in Mark 1:37, “Everyone is looking for you!” In other words, “Jesus, it is time to be seen by the crowd!” Look at how Jesus responded in verse 38, “Let us go somewhere else – to the nearby villages – so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” When you know your purpose, you are empowered to say no to all distractions and that is exactly what Jesus did! What was the Lord’s purpose? Kingdom Things!

Kingdom things were the Lord’s #1 priority.

Now, let us bring this home! The Bible is very clear. Jesus is to be our primary example. If that is true, and we know that it is, we must take on the same purpose of Jesus, which is a celebration of all things kingdom. Oh sure, noble and urgent demands will come into our lives and scream for our attention. However, urgent things must never be allowed to push away the important. Secular things must never be allowed to smother the spiritual. Our goal is not to do everything, but instead, to do what Jesus wants us to do. Sometimes, regarding our daily schedules, a little blessed subtraction is a must. However, we must be sure that when we are subtracting things from a schedule, we are not cutting out all things kingdom while our secular life runs wild. People talk about living lives of balance, but that is not appropriate for the follower of Jesus. Balance means that the spiritual things and secular things are equal. For the follower of Jesus, we are looking for imbalance where kingdom things tip the scale.

Keeping the main thing the main thing keeps our tanks full. Chasing every rabbit down every trail leaves us worn out and frazzled. When you try to be all things to all people, you end up being no one to everybody. Let us all save the best of ourselves for Kingdom things.

Matthew 6:33 hits the nail on the head, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.”

Considering all that God has done for us, shouldn’t our priorities match up with His priorities? What are God’s priorities?