★ Thought for the Day – Crippled By Doubt ★

The other night I was testing my daughter for her U.S. History test and it brought me back to when I was in eighth grade.  History was always one of my favorite subjects in school, next to recess that is, hahaha!  The time period around the 1930’s through the 1940’s was always interesting to me.  There was so much conflict and change going on from the Great Depression to the “New Deal” Programs to World War II.  One of the most influential figures of that time was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, also know as FDR.  As the 32nd President of the United States (from 1933-1945), he is best known for leading the U.S. through the Great Depression via his New Deal, and for playing a significant role in a grand coalition that defeated Nazi Germany, Italy and the Empire of Japan in World War II.Roosevelt was both loved and hated in his day, but regardless of what people may have thought of him, much was achieved during the 4 terms that he served as50 - Daily Dependence - Franklin Delanor Roosevelt in wheelchair president.  As I looked into this iconic president, I was surprised to find out these facts as well: FDR was the first President to make full use of the radio, the first to fly in a plane, the first to appoint a woman to his Cabinet, the first to appoint a Press Secretary, and the first to leave the country in a time of war upon his death in 1945.  And was part of creating the United Nations.  Through all the turmoil of his presidency, coupled with a debilitating disease that placed him in a wheelchair, do you think he ever had doubts?  Without a doubt!  Hahaha!

50 - Daily Dependence - Artist J. Howard Miller - We Can Do ItI have always loved this “work-incentive poster” from Artist J. Howard Miller that he did for the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company…”We Can Do It!”  This poster has become one of the most famous icons of World War II and really captures the strength of the America Spirit.

Regardless of economic hardships, political conflicts and personal physical limitations FDR overcame them all.  At the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial in Washington D.C.’s National Mall, this bold proclamation from 1945 is etched in stone for all to see:

 

“The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith.”  

50 - Daily Dependence - The only limit are the doubts of today

This truly is a capstone quote for a man who faced great adversity in both his presidency and his personal life.  FDR had a strong and active faith which was demonstrated in numerous speeches, inaugural addresses, his “Fireside Radio Chats,” and even he wrote a personal prologue to a special edition of the New Testament, which was distributed to millions of U.S. soldiers.  It is amazing when you have a “I Can Do It” attitude and the faith to combat the doubts in your mind…the extraordinary can be achieved!  Someone once said:

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will!”

This is so true!  Today’s thought “Crippled by Doubt” is all about overcoming the battle in your mind, but how do you do that?  The answer is found in the last part of FDR’s quote…a “strong and active faith.”  That is the key.  I saw this comic and it made me laugh so hard because it is so indicative of how our faith can be so weak.  This reminds me of Matthew 14:27-33 (NLT) about what happened when Peter took his eyes of Jesus…50 - Daily Dependence -Sometimes we just miss the point

“But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.

But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.

Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,”Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.”

Doubts are going to come.  Circumstances will be bleak, there will be financial hardships, conflict with those around you, and physical impediments but what will you anchor yourself to and trust in?  Something as useless as an inner tube to keep you afloat or “someone” who promises to never leave you or forsake you?  (See Deuteronomy 31:8 and Hebrews 13:5).  What our 32nd President knew and what we need to realize is the God is in control, and if we just take captive every thought that comes in our mind, anything is possible!  2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NIV1984) says:

50 - Daily Dependence -Take Captive Every Thought“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

How different would our life be if we did that?  If we did “take captive every thought?”  Not only pushing out the negative thoughts, but also holding onto the life affirming, positive thoughts that will build us up and not tear us down.  I  quote this all the time from John Wooden because it is so profound…

“There is a choice that you have to make, in everything you do. So keep in the mind that in the end, the choice you make, makes you.”

The choice is yours…will you be crippled by doubt?  Or will you take captive your thoughts and with a strong and active faith believe that you can do it!

 “Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”  William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

 

 If you would like to read more on the subject, check out:

★ Thought for the Day – Mastering Fear ★

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★ Thought for the Day – What’s Your Bottom Line? ★

48 - Daily Dependence - Dilbert - LeadershipI love this Dilbert comic on Leadership because it so poignantly portrays how good intentions tend to slip between the cracks as busyness increases.  Working in a corporate environment myself, I have found this to be true of myself more times then I would like to admit, and have also had it happen to me from time to time.  It is the desire of any person to have strong leadership and to genuinely feel like their manager or boss cares about their well being.  Too often, if we are not careful, the bottom line can crush the very people who are the company’s greatest asset!  William Arthur Ward stated it perfectly when he said:

"Wise are those who learn that the bottom line doesn't always have to be their top priority."
“Wise are those who learn that the bottom line doesn’t always have to be their top priority.”

All of us have to decide what will be most important in our lives.  Whatever you value, will have the highest priority in your company, organization and personal life.  Here is a great illustration of the difference between being a “boss” and being a “leader!”

48 - Daily Dependence - Leader vs BossWe have all had a boss like this, that believes “cracking the whip” on the “subordinates” is the only way to accomplish the goal.  But a true leader gets in front, and helps “shoulder the load” with the rest of the team!  If the latter could be the rule, instead of the exception, employees would stop feeling like they are in bondage, and instead feel valued, empowered and ready to work their heart out…Which ultimately will increase the bottom line!

So the question is, how does a company achieve success which keeps everyone employed, while also bringing fulfillment and satisfaction to those who are performing the work?  John Maxwell has what I think is probably the best way to develop the people who you lead called the “The 101 Principle”…

The 101 Principle – Finding the 1 percent you can affirm, and give 100 percent of your attention. Leadership rule #1 is this: Affirmation comes before confrontation. Good leaders look for the good in people and affirm it. Only then do they address the problems. (From the “John Maxwell Leadership Bible”)

So the question is…when power comes your way, what approach will we take?  Will you be a “boss,” and drive those under you to perform or will you be a “leader,” treating people with respect and making them feel as part of a team?  Ultimately, you will either devalue or add valueThat’s the bottom line!  

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★ Thought for the Day – All About The Big Ten ★

45 - Daily Dependence - About the Big 10

What do you know about the Ten Commandments?  Is this what you think of when you hear these two words?45 - Daily Dependence - Charlton Heston with Ten Commandments  Moses with the Stone Tablets as played by Charlton Heston in the movie the “Ten Commandments?” Or do you think of them as an antiquated list of rules of everything that you should not do from your childhood Sunday School Lesson?  Do you know any of them…Can you list all 10 Commandments?  When was the last time you read the “Big 10”…Bigger question, how often (if at all), do you read the Bible?  I just read an article that stated:

“The number of people in America who do not identify with any religion may be at an all-time high, but the Bible still holds an important place in the lives of many Americans, a new report suggests.

According to a study, “The Bible in American Life,” conducted by the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture, 50% of Americans read some form of scripture in the past year, and 48% of those read the Bible.  Four in 5 read it at least once a month, and 9% of Americans say they read the Bible daily.”

Source: “American Bible Reading Statistics Reveal Who Is Studying The Good Book And Why,” Posted: 03/14/2014

This is a sad statistic when you think that only 9% of Americans read the Bible daily, it is no wonder that people don’t have a knowledge of the bible.  The purpose of the study was to understand better how Americans use the Bible in their personal daily lives and how other influences, including religious communities and the Internet, shape individuals’ use of scripture. You can download the report here.

Are you part of the 9%?  This “Thought for the Day” is not intended to condemn you for not reading the Bible, rather it is intended to emphasis the importance of knowing the Bible for yourself and not relying on passed down information from your parents or forgotten Sunday School lessons or just flat-out misinformation to stop you from reading the Bible for yourself.  I know that the thought of reading the Bible at all, let alone everyday can ne intimating but it is so worth it for it is the blueprint for life!  There is incredible wisdom the pages that can help you in your marriage, connecting with your children, your finances…you name it, it’s in there!  I am not going to lie to you, some weeks are better than others but I try read hard to read some amount of scripture each day.  Just recently, I read about the Ten Commandments which is outlined in Exodus 20:3-17 which are listed below from the New Living Translation (NLT).

Big 10 - #1Big 10 - #2Big 10 - #3
Big 10 - #4Big 10 - #5Big 10 - #6
Big 10 - #7Big 10 - #8Big 10 - #9
Big 10 - #10

#1   “You must not have any other god but me.” Exodus 20:3

#2   “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea.  You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.”  Exodus 20:4-6

#3   “You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.” Exodus 20:7

#4   “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you.  For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.”  Exodus 20:8-11

#5   “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12

#6   “You must not murder.” Exodus 20:13

#7   “You must not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14

#8   “You must not steal.” Exodus 20:15

#9   “You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.” Exodus 20:16

#10  “You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.” Exodus 20:17

Many people view God as some sort of “cosmic killjoy,” and believe that Christianity is all about what you cannot do…but if people only knew what the bible says, that is the farthest thing from the truth.  Yes we study and learn what the Old Testament says, like the Ten Commandments, but when Jesus came to earth to restore the relationship between us and our Heavenly Father, everything changed!

Big 10 - SummarizedIn the New Testament Book of Matthew, it recounts when an expert in religious law, tried to trap Jesus with this question: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”

“Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”  (Matthew 22:37-39 NLT)

You see the Ten Commandments can be summarized with these two mandates which all centered on love.  If you love God with everything you have within you, and you love your neighbor as yourself, then the “Big 10” will be fulfilled automatically!  When you believe in Jesus and have a relationship with Him everything changes.  How do you develop a relationship with Him you may ask?  Well just like making friend on the playground or when you started dating, you get to know to know them.  The same is true here, by reading God’s Word (the Bible), you will get to know your heavenly father, all that Jesus did when He came to earth and so much more!

Do you see how different the Bible can be when you know it?  I highly recommend that you get yourself a Bible and start reading today.  You can even get it electronically.  I use the “YouVersion” App (www.youversion.com) which is a free Bible on your phone, tablet, and/or computer.  YouVersion is a simple, ad-free Bible that brings God’s Word into your daily life anywhere you go.              45 - Daily Dependence - YouVersion App 45 - Daily Dependence - YouVersion App - Screen
You can jump to anywhere in the bible, highlight passages that are important to you, and start Bible Reading Plans.  My 10-year-old daughter has discovered that she can actually listen to it being read to her as she reads along…It has made reading the Bible so easy.

45 - Daily Dependence - Dusty BibleHow are you on your Bible Reading?  It doesn’t matter how much or how often you read, just start today and earnestly seek to know God and His Word better.

So dust off your Bible and get reading…you will never regret the time investment, it will pay dividends for generations to come!

If you would like to read more on the significance of reading the bible check out:

★ “Back to the Basics” – Pursuit #2 – What Are a You Feeding On? ★

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★ Thought for the Day – Is There Such a Thing As a Free Lunch? ★

In the 1960’s and 70’s there was the Classic TV game show ‘Let’s Make A Deal’ with host Monty Hall where audience members would try to win cash and prizes by making wacky deals. 47 - Daily Dependence -Let,s Make A Deal CBS has since revived the show in 2009 with host Wayne Brady.  I have not seen the new version but as a child, I remember my parents watching the original in syndication.  What was so much fun about the show was that audience contestants were picked at random, dressed in ridiculous costumes, trying to win cash or prizes by choosing between curtain number 1, 2 or 3.  Before the contestant could decide, Monty would tempt them with something from within a small box, or flash cash in front of them and then they chose between what they knew or what was behind the curtain which could be a new car or a farm animal.  The interesting part was always…will they take what they know or risk losing it for the chance for something better?  The success of the original and the subsequent sequel, is that at the core of every person is the desire to get a deal!
47 - Daily Dependence -Deals

Whether it is BOGO, clearance sale, or straight out free gift, ever single person wants to stretch their dollar a little farther and maximize their buying power.  And if we are honest with one another, what we really want is to get something for nothing!  But there’s no such thing as a “free lunch” or is there?

There is one thing that is absolutely free…and that is GRACE!  The definition of Grace as it pertains to Christian belief is:

“the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.”

Let that sink in….“the free and unmerited favor of God.”  It is so hard to comprehend the true meaning of this reality.  For hundreds of years, people have tried to express the truth of God’s Grace in songs, poems, and sermons.  But the Bible describes it best…One of the most incredible verses on Grace is from Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT) which proclaims…

“God saved you by His grace when you believed.  And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”

In Charles Stanley’s Life Principles Bible, he made this commentary on these powerful verses:

“If our salvation were dependent upon our actions – if we could be redeemed by doing good works, keeping the commandments, and refraining from sin – we would always be in danger of losing it whenever we stumbled.  However, because salvation is a gift given to us freely – and not in exchange for anything we can do – it is completely secure.  Our salvation therefore magnifies the awesome love and grace of God alonesince He blesses us not because of our merit but because of His goodness.”  

I love that, God “blesses us not because of our merit but because of His goodness.”  This is especially important because our sin separates us from God.  Here is a incredible picture of what Grace means.

47 - Daily Dependence - Grace is the BridgeThe old testament prophet Isaiah said to the people:

“But your iniquities have separated you from your God;
And your sins have hidden His face from you,
So that He will not hear.”  Isaiah 59:2 (NKJV)

This true for us today, our inequities or inward bent toward sin has separated us from God.  Isaiah said because of our sins, God is hidden from us, or another way to say it, our sin pushes God away from us.  BUT Grace, changes everything because it bridges the gap between our sin and God.  Many people have a hard time believing that God’s grace, His favor and His love is free to anyone through belief in Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection for all of our sins over 2,000 years…You cannot earn your salvation, or do enough “good deeds” to make it to heaven but it is a free gift, as Acts 15:11 (NLT) says:

"We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.”
“We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.”

The grace we receive is undeserved and is solely based on “who God is” and not on anything we do.

One of my all time favorite hymns is from John Newton called “Amazing Grace.”  Hillsong Worship just released their 23rd album called “No Other Name” which I have been listening to it over and over…just absolutely incredible!  The stand out song for me off the new album is a revitalized version of my favorite hymn called “Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace)“.

How beautiful is that picture?  God takes our failures, our weaknesses and forms something beautiful out of the broken mess that each of us are.  So back to the question at hand, is there such a thing as a free lunch?  NO, THERE IS NOT…because even though Grace is free to us through faith in Jesus, it came at a heavy price for God.  So how will you respond?  Will you accept God’s Grace?  Will you accept Jesus as your savior?

Make this your prayer today:

God take this broken vessel and forgive my sins.
I am wretched and in need of a Savior.  I believe that Jesus came to die for my sins and that He is the bridge that brings me to eternal life with you forever.  Please forgive all my sins.  I accept the free gift of salvation and know that I can never do enough good deeds to earn that salvation.  So take this heart Lord, I’ll be your vessel so that the world can see Your life in me!  In Jesus Name I pray!  Amen!

If you earnestly prayed that prayer, you are a new creation (see Romans 10:9-10 and 2 Corinthians 5:17)!  God will honor that prayer of surrender and will do incredible things in your life!  Please contact me if you have any questions about your new life in Jesus Christ, I would love to discuss your decision more.  God Bless!

 

To finish this Thought for Today, check out this incredible short film about the life, death and love of what OUR savior Jesus Christ did for EVERY PERSON!

 

★ Thought for the Day – We Will Never Forget ★

My family and I had the honor to pay our respects to the men and women who died that fateful Tuesday morning on 9/11/2001.  Words cannot express the impact that the two enormous reflecting pools set in the footprints of the original Twin Towers.

911 Memorial Pools_Port AuthorityUnited States, New York, Manhattan, 9/11 Memorial designed by Israeli architect Michael Arad involving a forest of trees around two bodies of water with two large Square holes in their center at the exact spot where the formers towers stood

Each pool is about an acre in size with 30-foot waterfalls cascading down all sides. Very powerful and humbling.  As I think about that horrific day in our nation’s history, I can’t help but think about what Jesus said in John 15:13:

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

9-11 We Will Never Forget with Verse

Truer words have never been spoken. Thank you to all the men and women who laid down their lives on that dark day on 9/11/2001.

366_1firemen_photo_best_1a Cross at Ground Zero

Thank also to all the first responders who answer the call every day! May God richly bless you!  Our thoughts and prayers are with those left behind…We will never forget!

9-11 - We will never forget hands

 

May God Bless America!

 

★ Thought for the Day – You Are Chosen! ★

Your skin isn't paper, don't cut it. Your face isn't a mask, don't cover it. Your size isn't a book, don't judge it. Your life isn't a film, don't end it. You are beautiful.
Your skin isn’t paper, don’t cut it.
Your face isn’t a mask, don’t cover it.
Your size isn’t a book, don’t judge it.
Your life isn’t a film, don’t end it.
You are beautiful.

This quote is so powerful and critical for people to not only know these truths but to believe them!  I recently read an article that stated…

“An estimated 13 million students are bullied annually, according to government statistics.”

Let that set in…13 million!  Bullying is a major issue that does not end once a student gets home, but continues on through social media, long after the final school bell rings.  Any type of bullying, whether verbal, physical or in cyberspace should never be tolerated and needs to end!  October is “National Bullying Prevention Month.”  I want to encourage everyone to Speak Up and Stop Bullying if you see it going on because the ramifications can be enormous!  At a minimum, feelings of inadequacy because of a lack of friends will result, but more than likely, depression will set in.

Just look at the what happened the other day when an incoming high-school freshman named Hannah reached out to Taylor Swift on Instagram, (Sunday – 9/7/14) to share her heartbreaking fears of being bullied in the new school year.  The 24-year-old singer responded so compassionately to her High School fan that it made headlines.  You can read the article here that shares the exchange.

Taylor Swift has a new single called “Shake it Off” which the main chorus makes this declaration:

‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off

It is a catchy song but the message is that bullying IS going to happen and we need to take hold of our feelings and “shake it off.”  I agree to a point but there is more that we need to do but let me know get ahead of myself…

Depression and hopelessness are real, and if you are suffering from this, know you are NOT alone!  Beside millions of other people who are experiencing some form of depression, God is with you always, even if you do not have a relationship with Him, God is just one prayer away…All you need to do is take one step in the His direction and just like a Daddy running to His child that is hurt, so your Heavenly Father will come running to you!  God is just waiting for you to make a move in His direction.  But sometimes that is so hard to conceive of a loving father in heaven right?  Do you know why that is?  Because of the war that we are in.  What war you ask?  The war for our mind, for our life, for our eternal soul…we are in a spiritual battle with a very real enemy…the Devil tries very hard to cause doubt, confusion, and disillusionment about God’s character and about our identity as a “Child of God.”  That is why allowing depression to continue is so dangerous.  So many people suffer from it but never talk about it because of the stigma that society places on it.  Whether it is from fear of people minimizing your feelings or not wanting to appear weak or ________ (you fill in the blank)…The silent killer of souls continues to rage on.

DO NOT ALLOW the depression you feel to keep you isolated, because this is the Devil’s greatest tactics…He works hard to isolate us from God, from other people and ultimately destroy us with our own negative thoughts of hopelessness.  This is called Spiritual Warfare (see Ephesians 6:11-17 for more detail)…It is real and depression is a bi-product of the battle.  So how do you overcome depression…easier said than done right?  In His mercy and love, God gave us His Word (the Bible) to be a road map that can help you navigate out of your depression.  You have heard the saying…“You are what you eat,” well the same is true for your mind and emotions, they will be focused on whatever you feed them, (or don’t feed it.)  Reading the Bible is not something for religious fanatics or weirdo’s, it is for anyone who wants to live a life of peace and joy, which only will come when you understand your Identity in God.  You can choose to remain angry and rebellious, refusing to trust God, but I guarantee you that you are not going to achieve peace or joy trying to handle your problems on your own…We were never created to do that.  We were created to having fellowship with God and Jesus and they will carry the burden…see Matthew 11:28-30 for proof.  One verse that has given me comfort in times of trouble is Psalm 27:13–14 (NLT) which says…

“Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.  Wait patiently for the Lord.  Be brave and courageous.  Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.”

Wait patiently, be brave and courageous through this season and know that regardless of anything you have done, God will always love you and be with you.  You are His child and He Chose you from before time existed!  You may be thinking, how do I know that, well I am glad you asked…

46 - Daily Dependence - Ephesians 1 - 3-4 - Blessded by AdoptionEphesians 1:3-6 (NIV) says…

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.  In love He predestined us for adoption to sonship [daughtership] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One He loves.”

God says we are CHOSEN!  You are an adopted child though Jesus Christ!  All you need to do is make the decision to release the guilt, the shame, the hurt, whatever it is, and accept the free gift of Grace and Salvation through faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection for the payment of ANY past, present and future sins!  (See Romans 10:8-13 to read more).

Maybe you are a Christian already, but still struggle with depression or insecurities or guilt, James MacDonald made this profound statement during his “I AM: Finding your Identity in God” series that I pray will wash over your spirit and that you will receive the grace of God.

"There's no reason in the universe for a follower of Jesus to be living under Behavior Insecurity.  That's what the cross is all about, that's what the empty tomb is all about...You're forgiven!  You're forgiven!  Stop letting the enemy drag you through the mud of your past!"
“There’s no reason in the universe for a follower of Jesus to be living under Behavior Insecurity.  That’s what the cross is all about, that’s what the empty tomb is all about…You’re forgiven!  You’re forgiven!  Stop letting the enemy drag you through the mud of your past!”

Kick the negative thoughts and the enemy to the curb!!  You are loved and forgiven!  God is just one prayer away.  What will you do?

 

If you are interested in reading more on this topic check out this post called:

★ Thought for the Day – What Does The Love of God Mean? ★ 

44 - Daily Dependence - Love of GodWhat does the love of God mean?  God’s love is infinite and beyond comprehension.  His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts (see Isaiah 55:8-9).  Last summer our family was introduced to Lyme’s Disease, a debilitating disease that affects the neurological system when my wife contracted the awful disease.  For those that are not familiar with what Lyme’s Disease is….It is a bacteria that enters your body from a deer tick bite and wreaks havoc on your body, that left untreated can cause paralysis and in some cases death.  As I think back on last summer, and the sickness that we went through as a family, I see how our Heavenly Father was there with us, providing everything we needed, every step of the way.  It is hard to understand the reality that God is not linear…He is not constrained to time as we are.  God functions in the past, the present and the future simultaneously, which means He knew what we would be going through, what we would need and ultimately what would be born out of the adversity our family went through.

Our church started a sermon series based on a book called “Draw the Circle” by Mark Batterson.  It was July 10, 2013, the day our family started to read the “Draw the Circle,” 40 Day Devotional, which the author, warned would be filled with spiritual warfare and boy was he right!  I see now that God knew that the tick bite my spouse received was going to start to have it‘s effect and that we were going to have to press into His presence and His Word more than we have ever done in the past…so He provided a conduit to do that within the pages of this powerful devotional!

The amazing thing about God’s love is, that it is always there, it only needs to be asked for…We did a whole lot of asking, seeking and knocking as the Jesus said to do in Luke 11:9.  We have seen so much fruit produced out of this adversity in each one of us from the smallest to the biggest.  What the enemy meant for harm, God used it to draw our family and I closer to one another and more importantly closer to Him!  We also got to see Proverbs 17:17 (NASB) in action…

A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.”

…as Family and Neighbors came alongside of our family to provide prayer, all-day care, meals, plumbing repairs, lawn service, and many other “little things” that were lifesavers.  You always “wonder,” if you were in a tight spot, whether people will come to help you, but now we “know!”  We were even blessed by having our Senior Pastor just a text, a Facebook message or call away.  God provided for us from the smallest need to the biggest of needs!  Psalm 27:13–14 (NLT) says…

"Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord."
“Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.”

We did a lot of “waiting for the Lord” as my spouse struggled with the terrible side effects of the Lyme’s disease.  We also waited for something to break loose in my job situation.  At the time, the job I was at, was a terrible place to work at, (probably the worst I have even been at), and the “white-knuckle commute was unbearably long and arduous.  As each day, each week, and each month passed by, we wondered why nothing was happening with either the job conditions improving, or some other opportunity to come about.  The job never changed (but got worse) and the long commute remained the same, but I changed.  The “Draw the Circle” Devotional is one of the best books I have ever read, which God used to help me considerably.  My attitude has radically been changed and God has helped me to refocus my attention on what really matters rather than my circumstances.

As we waited for healing, and a job change…something changed in our family, we truly started to stand on God and His Word and have lived out Philippians 4:4-7 (HCSB)…

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.  Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

We felt that the Lord was near, and we experienced His peace in the midst of the storm.  God knew the storm was coming, so He orchestrated resources like the Draw the Circle devotional and the companion sermon series at our Church, prayer intercessors and helpers for our physical needs, a renewed frequency and fervency of reading the Bible, and ultimately a new level of Faith that we would have never experienced had our family not gone through this with Lyme’s Disease and my work conditions.   Through this season in the “wilderness,” we have become completely different people.  I can honestly say that we truly understand James 1:2-4 (MSG)…

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.  You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.  So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely.  Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”

The pressure at times, was more than we thought we could bear, but as we pressed into God’s presence through prayer, God sustained us, carried us and loved us through this terrible season and has produced maturity and birthed into our spirit a new faith-life in our family like never before!

So what does God’s love mean?  In the simplest terms, He will never leave us, never forsake and will always be there to help us through whatever season we find ourselves in, just like any good Daddy would do!

If you would like to read more on this topic, check out:

★ Thought for the Day – STRENGTH FOR THE STRUGGLE ★

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★ Thought for the Day – Are you a Child? ★

39 - Daily Dependence - Are you a ChildThis may seem to be an odd question to ask, especially if you are an adult, but it is one that we all need to think about whether you are single, married, or have children of your own.  The movie “Moms’ Night Out” has a lot of great illustrations of characters reflecting on this question…if you haven’t see it, I highly recommend you get it on Netflix or Redbox, it is incredible!!  The movie captures the lives of 3 moms, with children of of all ages, and the struggles that comes along with that age bracket.  The main character, Allyson wants to have a peaceful, grown-up evening of dinner and conversation with her friends . . . a long-needed moms’ night out. But in order to have their night out, they need their husbands to watch the kids for three hours —what could go wrong?  To avoid a spoiler alert, I will just say things went horribly wrong!

The movie beautifully conveyed how absolutely necessary and important the roles that Moms have!!! It also captured when Husbands are not leaders, but are passive and childlike, how much chaos can ensue and how much harder they make the Mom’s job. Husbands and Fathers need to be the leaders of the home and need to heed the advice of 1 Corinthians 13:11 (ESV):

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” 

Throughout the movie, the misadventures underscored the absolute necessity that men need to give up their “childish ways” and realize that their God-given role is not to have more “me-time,” but to to love and serve their wife and children as Jesus loved and served the church. Ephesians 5:25 (NIV 1984) says it quite clearly:

How much greater would marriages be if Men would be men and live out this verse?

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★ Thought for the Day – Mastering Fear ★

Many times I have been wracked with fear.  Afraid to say the wrong thing.  Afraid to fail.  Afraid to move.  Do you know what is the most common statement in all the Bible that we are told?  “Do not be afraid!”  In fact here’s a “coincidental” fun fact…

I say “coincidental” but with God nothing is by accident.  He knew that we would need reminding because we all wrestle with insecurities and uncertainties…many people end up making decisions that are a direct result of their fear but making decisions based on fear can have disastrous results…

On a “A Minute With Maxwell,” John Maxwell made this profound statement concerning fear…

“The problem with fear, is it causes us to be inactive, it causes us not to go forward…I do have fears in my life, but I also have belief and faith.  And I have found that if I nurture my faith and belief and make it a more positive emotion than the negative emotion of fear that the positive emotion will help me to take action.”  (You can watch the rest here…http://johnmaxwellteam.com/fear)

Believe in yourself and nurture it…Don’t let fear paralyze you from making that decision whether it is a new career opportunity, a cross county move or the new business decision.  Remember not taking action is still a decision, it is deciding to allow fear to win.

"Courage is not the absence of fear but the mastery of it."  Mark Twain
“Courage is not the absence of fear but the mastery of it.”  Mark Twain

Easier said then done right?  Do you ever have trouble trusting God in difficult times?  Stupid question…who hasn’t experience worry, anxiety, and fear at one time or another.  It is natural, but all though the Bible we are told “Do not be afraid.”  In fact it is written 365 times, one for each day of the year.  I was reading Exodus about the escape of the Israelites from Egypt, and the subsequent chase by Pharaoh and his massive army; and though I have not been faced by certain extinction, there had been many times that fear has gripped me.

Exodus 14:10-14 (NLT) says,

As Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. They cried out to the Lord, and they said to Moses,

“Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness?  Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt?  What have you done to us?  Why did you make us leave Egypt?  Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt?  We said, ‘Leave us alone!  Let us be slaves to the Egyptians.  It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!’”

But Moses told the people,


“Don’t be afraid.  Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today.  The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again.  The Lord Himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”

Here is a great parallel verse from Psalm 46:10 (NLT),

“Be still, and know that I am God!  I will be honored by every nation.  I will be honored throughout the world.”

Matthew 11:28 (NLT) gives us this additional comfort for times of trouble,

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

Just like the Israelites, we need to remember to JUST stay calm and trust God.  If we do, then we will no longer be a slave to fear but rather Fear’s Master!!

43 - Daily Dependence - Just Keep Calm and Trust God

If you would like to read more on the subject, check out:

★ Thought for the Day – Who’s Chasing You? ★ 

★ Thought for the Day – Understanding is a Three-Edged Sword ★

200298344-001Do you remember playing the game “Telephone” when you were a kid?  As I think back on my elementary school days, I recall so vividly the excitement in the room as we played with a bunch of people; and as the message was passed on in a whisper by each person, how the anticipation grew about what the final version was going to be.  It never ceased to amaze me, how when the message was revealed, it was often radically different from the original word or phrase.  I think that understanding people is a lot like that.

As an architect, I need to coordinate with many different people in order to bring together a building project.  At times it is quite challenging trying to bring together the stakeholders to achieve a consensus on what direction to go in.  On one of my projects, the contractor sent me this hysterical pictorial of  a construction project as it is viewed by each member of the team.

I love this so much because it is a great illustration of how different people can view the same thing and understand it completely different.  I once heard this definition which I think defines it perfectly…

“Understanding is a three-edged sword.  Your side, my side, and the truth.”  J. Michael Straczynski

The key to understanding people in every situation is seeing all three edges…meaning there is your side, their side and the truthIn business and in life, many times the objective or information that is passed on by a number of people, just like in the game of Telephone, becomes distorted in the process…The Message is diluted because of a lack of understanding.

If you are lacking in understanding here is a great prayer to pray to God that requires wisdom from James 1:5 (ESV) says:

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

God bless!


If you would like to read more, check out ✴✴✴ My Favorites ✴✴✴ which will give you a good sampling of what Daily Dependence is all about!

 

★ Thought for the Day – Why to Love Mornings ★ 

There probably is nothing worse than the alarm clock breaking the silence of the room, wrenching you out a comfortable sleep.  Many people hate mornings but if you think about it, they are great…it’s like a “do-over,” like a free guy in PAC-MAN, a chance to turn the week around.  It is so easy for us to be consumed by the past failures and to get trapped in a rut.  Someone once said:

“A rut is a coffin with the ends kicked out.”

What an interesting visual!  I know many times without realizing it I have found myself in that “coffin with the ends kicked out!”  The Apostle Paul, considered to be one of the greatest Christians, who also wrote most of the New Testament, said this in Philippians‬ ‭3:12-14‬ ‭(NLT‬‬):

“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection.  But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.  No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”  To move forward, we need to forget the mistakes of yesterday…It’s a new day and a clean slate….make it great!

To read the continuation of this post go to ★ Thought for the Day – Accidental Existence? ★

 

To read more on perseverance, go to ★ Thought for the Day – Overwhelmed or Overcoming? ★.

 

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★ Thought for the Day – Value in Weakness? ★

When you read the name of this Thought for the Day, what did you think?  I think that there is probably a unanimous belief that weakness is not something to aspire to.  In every aspect of life, this is for the most part a true statement.  But in the Kingdom of God, that is not the case.  The Apostle Paul prayed over and over to be released from the pain in his side, but God’s response was far different than what Paul was expecting…2 Corinthians 12:9 and 10b says,

“But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”  Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me….for when I am weak, then I am strong.” 

2 Corinthians 12:9 and 10b are my life verses.  The idea of strength through weakness has always intrigued me.  Grace is such an incredible aspect of God’s love for us, He freely offers all that we need, even though we do not deserve it.  In Charles Stanley’s Life Principles Bible he made this profound statement…

“Regardless of your situation, you can trust this principle: Whatever brings you to your knees in weakness carries the greatest potential for your personal success and spiritual victory.”

“What the world views as strong is really nothing more than weakness under wraps.”

40 - Daily Dependence - What value could there possibly be in weakness
Excerpt from Charles Stanley’s Life Principles Bible

 

I love that, “What the world views as strong is really nothing more than weakness under wraps.”  but in the Kingdom of God that is the complete opposite.

So what value is there in weakness?  Tremendous value…when your are working in partnership with God!!

 

 

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