★ Re|Engage – Humility ★

ReEngage - Lesson 04

“Humility is such an elusive virtue.
Once you think you have it, you don’t,
or you wouldn’t think you did.”
Max Lucado 

Go back and re-read that quote slower…(really…re-read it and think about what it says.)  If you think you are humble, then you really are not!  The main idea of Lesson 4 was:

“Follow the example of Christ until you love yourself less than you love your spouse.  You cannot be a godly spouse if you are focusing on yourself.”

That seems to be obvious but how many couples do you know that are focused only on themselves and thus troubles follow.  So many people have an issue practicing humbleness.  But I love what C.S. Lewis said,

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.”

Humility is not allowing yourself to be a doormat but it is placing the needs of others above your own.  How different would this world be if spouses did this?  Instead pride gets in the way.  James 4:6 (NLT) says,

“And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say,
‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’”

This is repeated over and over throughout scripture (1 Peter 5:5, Proverbs 3:34, Proverbs 29:23 to name a few.)  Ron Deal made this interesting parallel…

“God opposed the proud and so do spouses.” 

Good point huh?  It doesn’t a rocket scientist to realize that!  Here is the antidote though from Philippians 2:3-4:

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

The book of Proverbs is a great book to read for wisdom, instruction and direction for life.  One of the most famous verses on Pride is from Proverbs 16:18 (ESV) which instructs that

“Pride goes before destruction and a haughty [arrogantly superior and disdainful] spirit before a fall.”

Here is the verse in visual form:Marty Collier made reference to this by making this great point:

“Pride leads to sin and sin equals death.  Notice that “I” is at the center of pride and sin.” 

You see, when you are focused on “I” and not “WE,” that is the root of all of our marital problems.  This fourth lesson made this statement:

“Humility could be defined as having an accurate understanding of who you are, which leads to treating others as more important than yourself.”

I love this quote…

ReEngage - Lesson 04 - Humility is Shy
“Humility is so shy.  If you begin talking about it, it leaves.”  Timothy Keller

As we just celebrated Christmas, and are about to enter into a new year, it’s appropriate to acknowledge the greatest example of humility…Jesus Christ who was the epitome of humbleness as He selflessly layed down His crown and become a man to die for our sins.  The book made this observation:

“Jesus’ life was the ultimate expression of humility and serves as our example. While everyone around him was striving to be great Jesus told his followers that the way to greatness was through humble service.”

Easier said than done!

“Humility is risky. There are times when your humble service will go unnoticed, will be unappreciated or will be used for someone else’s gain. Jesus is not asking us to do anything He Himself did not go through and experience.”

Great point, as we look to act in humility in our marriage it is important to realize that

“Humility doesn’t take something from you; it does something for you.”

And I love this at the end, what will result if you do…

“Embracing humility is one of the quickest ways to change your marriage.”

So let’s make this New Year’s Resolution that as we enter into 2015, we will follow the example of Christ and treat our spouses with Humility!

If you would like to read the next installment to the re|engage class, click here…★ Re|Engage – Forgiveness ★

If you want to read previous re|engage lessons click here…

https://dailydependence.wordpress.com/category/reengage-class/?order=asc

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★ Act Like Men – “Truly – As Good As It Gets” ★

Day 6 - Truly – As Good As It Gets

Daily Dependence - Section 1 - Act Like MenGreat lesson from James MacDonald, straightforward and right on the mark!

“Only God is perfect!  None of us comes within the country, not a country mile, but a whole country, and proximity to perfection.”

Amen!!  For me I would say a whole universe! It is hard to imagine how a perfect God could love such an imperfect man as me, and yet He does!  This passage really got me…

“Shouldn’t our first promise to God and those we love be our determination to fulfill the role established by God for each and every man?  To do that job to the best of our ability is the essence of what it means to be a quality man.”

That is what I want to be true of me!  How about you?

My favorite part was this reminder…

“The quality if a man is not measured by notoriety or success.”

 

Here is the next installment. . .★ Act Like Men – “Disneyland Quality” ★

or

If you want to read previous Act Like Men posts click here.

★ Thought for the Day – Christmas or X-Mas? ★ 

63 - Daily Dependence - Chirstmas or X-MasLast night we were watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, which today is still my favorite cartoon to watch!  It is amazing to me that back in 1965, when this first aired, how much materialism that Charlie Brown saw amongst everyone during the Christmas season.  It was so pervasive that if you remember, even the Christmas trees he picked out did not meet the standard.  What is shocking to me, 49 years later, the same spirit of consumerism prevails.  I wonder though, what the cartoon would be like if it was re-done today??

My favorite part has always been Linus’ citation of what the real meaning of Christmas is.

So we know where Linus stands…what do you think Christmas is all about?  I am sure by the title of this Thought for the Day, you probably have an inkling to what direction this will be going in, but I pray that though you may know what the answer is, that the Holy Spirit will make the truth penetrate your heart…And that this Christmas season will be more meaningful than it ever has been in the past.

Hypothetically speaking…if an alien just landed on Earth and saw the yuletide craziness in Wal-Mart, or constant the barrage of an advertising through TV, emails and old fashion mailings, what do you think they would believe that Christmas is all about?  I think definitely about shopping, a fat man in a red suit, and about putting trees in your house and decorating them.

It is not too hard to get lost in the “stuff that needs to get done,” and fulfilling “wish lists,” but if we are not careful, we can easily get one-off track.  Christmas should not be about getting stuff.  There needs to be an intensive effort on our part to combat against the “get me this bug,” and try to reverse the impact of the heavy marketing that is confusing the meaning of Christmas.  Don’t get me wrong, I want my children to enjoy all the fun things of the season, but at the same time I don’t want the true meaning of Christmas to be lost on my daughters.  Take a look at this cartoon, I think it makes Charlie Brown’s point well!  63 - Daily Dependence - Tree Comic

“I hate to ask you nice folks to move, but the inn’s marketing department figures that it will only be a matter of time before this tree gets better recognition than your son”

So how about it?  What do you think, is it Christmas or X-mas?  Does it matter?  Do you see a difference between the two?  For many years I didn’t.  In fact I still have storage totes with “X-mas” written on them.  Have you ever wondered where X-mas came from?  I mean how did that evolve to be an abbreviation for Christmas?63 - Daily Dependence - Evolution of X-mas

Well the word “Christmas means the “Mass of Christ.”  It was later shortened to “Christ-Mass.” Then further shortened during the 1500’s in Europe to “X-mas” which is derived from the Greek alphabet, in which X is the first letter of Christ’s name: “Xristos,” therefore “X-Mass”.  That is how X-mas is a derivative for Christmas.  But in today’s culture and how the term is used, I believe there is a big difference between the two words.  X-mas is no longer a short version of Christmas but a replacement.  You don’t have to look far, to see how modern-day consumerism and marketers have completely “X”-ed Christ out of Christmas.

Christmas is now a franchise, a holiday that is marketed in a million different ways, none of which have to do with Jesus.  Just take notice of all the printed advertising and commercials that are on TV this time of year.  There is very little mention of Jesus if any.  We have removed the part of the holiday that is the true “reason for the season”.  And all that we are left with is whatever products store owner’s can convince us that we need to have.

Christmas is not about getting stuff but about Jesus.  It is the Birthday of Jesus, the day that God was manifested into flesh and blood.  It is about a King.  Not a King that rode into battle to conquer his enemies but a King who laid down His crown, humbling Himself to become a man. 63 - Daily Dependence - King Size BedIn doing so, He surrendered His majesty and position and sacrificed Himself for us.  So the answer to the question “what is Christmas all about”, well it is about SACRIFICE and HUMILITY!  You don’t really consider that when you think about Christmas, but when you look at what had to happen in order for Jesus to open the gates of heaven for us, it is crystal clear that the baby in the manger was born to be the sacrificial lamb to die as the payment for our sins once and for all.  W.J. Cameron once said that,

“There has been only one Christmas – the rest are anniversaries.”

I love that!   Jesus became human and then gave up His life for us so that we could gain eternal life.  He had to lose His life so we could keep ours!  Through His Sacrifice, out past, present and future sins are forgiven!  And we are Redeemed!  Redemption, what an awesome word.  It is defined as

“The act of delivering from sin or saving from evil” or “Purchasing back something previously sold.”

We have been delivered through His death on the cross.  The greatest gift will not be delivered by the man in the red suit, the best gift is Jesus!  Jesus63 - Daily Dependence - The Real Gift paid the ransom, paid the price for our sins to save us from the evil one so that the lost could be found, the sick…healed, the broken…repaired and the captives set free.  Because Jesus came into the enemy’s territory (by coming to Earth), we are redeemed and reconnected to our Father in Heaven.  We are the children of God as it says in Galatians 4:6-7:

“Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”  So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.    

Christmas is about the sacrifice of Jesus and the redemption that resulted from His selfless act.  And through it all we have become heirs to the riches of heaven.

You know, there is nothing wrong with all the holiday preparations, but we need to keep in focus what we are celebrating on December 25!  Our Biblical or Christian Worldview needs a little fine-tuning.  Like everyone else, I have a long list of things-to-do associated with the Yuletide season, from decorating to getting a Christmas tree to shopping for gifts.  There are many things to plan for and to pull you in different directions and to distract you…BUT I love how Henri Nouwen defined Christmas…he said that

“Songs, good feelings, beautiful liturgies, nice presents, big dinners, and sweet words do not make Christmas.  Christmas is saying yes to something beyond all emotions and feelings.  Christmas is saying yes to a hope based on God’s initiative, which has nothing to do with what I think or feel.  Christmas is believing that the salvation of the world is God’s work and not mine.” 

Christmas is my favorite holiday.  Not only for the significance of Jesus’ birth but also for the other stuff as well.  I love all the holiday preparations and the warm fuzzy feeling you get during this time of year.  But as we just read, Christmas is much more than that.  We need to check ourselves and where our biblical worldview is, not only in regards to this one day but also for the other 364 days a year.  So the proper biblical worldview of Christmas is all about Sacrifice and Humility!  Philippians 2:5-7 says that:

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” 

Christmas is a time to remember the birth of Jesus and the coming of God’s salvation for His people.  Jesus was born and walked on this Earth to show us the way to heaven through His example.

“He became what we are that He might make us what He is.”  Saint Athanasius

 Verse 8 of chapter 2 of Philippians finishes this though with:

“And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!”

So I want to challenge you to really understand the Reason for the Season, and not allow consumerism to “X” Christ out of Christmas.  Follow Jesus’ example, and be a servant to your “fellow man.”  Look for ways to impact the people around you…family members, co-workers, friends or even strangers.  Serve food to the homeless or buy a present for a child who will have nothing under the tree this year or be a shoulder to cry on for a depressed friend.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”  Galatians 6:9

Don’t let season passed by without letting it penetrate your heart!  Be Jesus for the people who are around you.  Be the miracle in their life.

63 - Daily Dependence - Merry Christmas

★ Act Like Men – “What Are You Looking At” ★

Day 5 - What Are You Looking At

Daily Dependence - Section 1 - Act Like MenIn the reading for today, James MacDonald covered the segment of “Satan’s Lie” with what he screams in our minds of how we don’t “Act Like Men.”  It was so powerful in pointing out the need to be aware of the Devil’s work in our life.

“Man’s greatest enemy is most present when we are certain he is not. He comes as an angel of light. Satan is working his deception through disguise.”

Romans‬ ‭14‬:‭12‬ (NLT) gives us this sobering reminder…

“Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God.”  
 

And in the reading MacDonald gives a strong admonition to follow that.

“God does not grade on the curve. The fact that you are a better man than some of the worthless guys you rub shoulders with will mean nothing on the day you stand before your Creator to be judged by his Holy Spirit.”

We need to be careful about comparing ourselves to others because…

“…you can begin to think you are a quality man when in reality you are not – not by God’s standard, not to the degree that you could be, that He longs for you to be.”

The best advice…

“We must silence the lies of our enemy and discipline our minds to remember that God is not comparing us to other men. God has declared…”
 

“You shall be holy, for I am holy.”  1 Peter 1:16 (NLT)

The Apostle Paul gave some advice about “silencing the lies” from 2 Corinthians 10:5-6 (ESV)

“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.”

Taking captive the thoughts the enemy screams is key to being the “Man of God” He calls us to be!  The lies can come in many different forms but I never thought of the lie of making you feel superior to others…

“As long as the enemy of your soul can have you feeling superior to the next guy, he has successfully insulated your heart from evaluating your own actions and priorities according to God what it means back like a quality man.”

What are your thoughts??  Pleased comment as I would love to have a dialogue with you.

Here is the next installment. . .★ Act Like Men – “Truly – As Good As It Gets” ★

or

If you want to read previous Act Like Men posts click here.

★ Re|Engage – Grace ★

ReEngage - Lesson 03The next two chapters focused on this Principle:  EMBRACE HUMILTY.

Lesson 3 was on Grace…The main idea was:

You are in need of God’s grace.

Ephesians 2:4-5 (ESV)

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved”  

The definition of Grace as it pertains in Christian belief is:

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

47 - Daily Dependence - Grace is the BridgeEphesians 2:8-9 (NLT)

“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.” 

The lesson made this powerful parallel between this verse and how our interactions with our spouse should be.

“Just as your relationship with God is grounded in grace, so must your relationship with your spouse be grounded in grace.  It’s the foundational pillar to any healthy relationship.”

Have you ever thought about extending grace to your spouse as being critical to a healthy marriage?  It spouses could grasp this concept the “self-help” industry would plummet!

“The bottom line is that we are not good enough and neither is our spouse…That’s why grace is essential to your relationship.”

What my wife and I really love about this class is how practical the counsel is and it’s application.  I love this on What grace in action looks like in action in marriage:

  • Grace does not focus on the faults of your spouse.
  • Grace is choosing to believe the best about their words and actions.
  • Grace is not shocked or angry when your spouse’s actions are not perfect.
  • Grace is not bringing up the ways your spouse has disappointed or hurt you in the past.
  • Grace responds kindly to a harsh word or a cold shoulder.
  • Grace causes you to be an advocate for your spouse rather than build a case against them.
  • Grace is loving your spouse, not because of their actions, but in spite of their actions.

And here is the flip side of What Grace is Not?

“But extending grace doesn’t mean that you grant your spouse permission to continue to hurt you.  And it doesn’t mean that the feelings of pain they have caused you are now invalid.  However, to re-engage with your spouse, you must follow Christ’s example as an initiator.  He initiates again and again because His love for you is perfect, and His love for you perseveres – even when you’re most unlovable.”

A friend of mine told me this and I will close with this…

“God is not looking for a perfect Christian but a persistent one.”  Gene Winterhalter

None of us are perfect but God desires us to chase after Him and be persistent in extending grace to the one that He blessed us with.

 

If you would like to read the next installment to the re|engage class, click here…★ Re|Engage – Humility ★

If you want to read previous re|engage lessons click here…

https://dailydependence.wordpress.com/category/reengage-class/?order=asc

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★ Act Like Men – “And The Gold Goes To” ★

Day 4 - And The Gold Goes To

Daily Dependence - Section 1 - Act Like MenJeremiah ‭17‬:‭9‬ (ESV) says,

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”

James MacDonald starts off commenting on this verse with this…

“Do you realize what this means? It means we are so bent toward lying to ourselves that we can’t solve our deepest problem or even recognize its magnitude.”

I once heard a pastor make this great point that supports this statement…He said that you don’t have to teach a child to lie or misbehave, they just instinctively do.  Instead we have to continually redirect, and teach our children to tell the truth.  Here is a great quote that every man need to realize…

“All change begins with a change of mind the Bible calls repentance…Christ calls us to a continuous and even constant state of repentance.”
 

During the Act Like Men Conference James MacDonald made this awesome statement…

James MacDonald - Repentance “Repentance is not a place where we visit. Repentance is where we are supposed to live.”
 

This hit me like a ton of bricks because most people think of repentance as a once in a while or turning point in one’s lifetime rather than what Jesus is really looking for is constant state of submission.  Here is the best part of this lesson…

“The purpose of continuous repentance in the life of a quality man is not a return to the crisis of salvation but part of what the Bible calls sanctification.  Repentance is the choice to embrace the Holy Spirit’s daily work of convicting us about ongoing sin.”
 

Will you embrace the Holy Spirit’s work in your life?

Here is the next installment. . .★ Act Like Men – “What Are You Looking At” ★

or

If you want to read previous Act Like Men posts click here.

★ Act Like Men – “Not A Quality Man” ★

Day 3 - Not A Quality ManDaily Dependence - Section 1 - Act Like MenHere is a great way to start off your day!

“Worthless men! They do exist both then and now and their defining characteristic starts with an inability to say no to themselves, but in the end becomes a stubborn refusal to say yes to God.”

As a man, I appreciate the way James MacDonald just says it how it is and has no problem calling men out on the mat.  But on the flip side, he gives clear insight on what is  the target to strive for…

“Quality men are under authority. Quality men listen and yield to the collective counsel of the wise and godly men around them. Whether your father was good or bad, loving or lecherous does not, in the end, give you license to do as you please.  Our Daddy is God the Father and He expects that we will live in submission to His Word and His will for our lives.”

Is this the first time hearing something like this?  This is not the conventional thought process.  Most men operate with the M.O. of overpowering the competition and never yielding to anyone.  There is plenty of conventional thought that will make excuses for bad behavior but I love how MacDonald calls “foul” on those excuses and reminds us what God expects from us.  I love this final thought on how we overcome.

“In God’s strength and for His glory, a quality man denies himself for a higher purpose and says yes to the Lord. Every time you make a hard choice, take the higher road, or do the right thing, especially when your flesh and fans are calling out for you to do the opposite, right then, as you choose what honors God and not yourself, you are acting like a man, a quality man.”
 

The key is saying no to self and submit ourselves to God’s authority!

Here is the next installment. . .★ Act Like Men – “And The Gold Goes To” ★

or

If you want to read previous Act Like Men posts click here.

★ Re|Engage – Brokenness ★

ReEngage - Lesson 02The second lesson was on Brokenness which furthered the teaching about the need to RECOGNIZE YOUR INABILITY TO LOVE.

The main idea of Lesson 2 was:

“Your marriage is broken because it is made up of two broken people.  You fall short of God’s standard.” 

We enter marriage with the idea that everything will be perfect but when you really think about it, that is a crazy belief.  It is impossible for 2 imperfect people to come together and the result be a perfect marriage.

But even though your marriage will never be perfect, it can be great!  And it is all about involving God!  One of the recurring themes in the class is based on this idea:

For me this is probably one of the best pieces of advice I have ever heard which can apply for not only your marriage but with any aspect of your life.  It reminds me of what Jesus taught in Matthew 7:3-5 (NLT)

“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.

Paul David Tripp once said, “I am my biggest marital problem” 

Do you see that as being true?  Or are you operating in the mindset that “if I could just fix my spouse, then everything would be great.”  If you are, then I promise that your marriage will never get better.  The book nailed it when they said

The problem isn’t primarily your circumstances or your spouse; it is the selfishness and sinfulness within your own heart.  You are broken and have a part in why your marriage isn’t where it should be.  Yes, you are a part of your marriage problem.” 

Wouldn’t that make a great bumper sticker or Twitter post huh?  Not so much right?  But here is the great thing…Once you realize your part in the conflict, then there is hope.  There is something you can do.  Draw the circle and WORK ON YOURSELF!  Let God take care of your spouse.

“You are powerless to love your spouse the way you promised you would, the way they dreamed you would and the way God designed that you should.”

Make this personal…as you read this, insert your name:

You are powerless to love your spouse the way you promised you would,

You are powerless to love your spouse the way they dreamed you would and

You are powerless to love your spouse the way God designed that you should.

This is the reality that we all face.  The question is, do we accept it or do something about it?  Here is the final thought from the book…

“Until you acknowledge the brokenness in your own heart and turn to the One who is ready and willing to help you, your relationship will remain broken.”

ReEngage - Lesson 02 - Build Your Marriage on the RockThe key is Building our relationships on a Solid Foundation which is Jesus.  Matthew 7:24-26 says,

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.  Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.  But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand.”

We may all be broken but when we center our marriage on God’s principles and invite Jesus to be in the center of our marriage, anything is possible!!

Today, my pastor shared this incredible diagram that illustrates the brokenness that we all have without Jesus

ReEngage - Lesson 02 - Jesus is the Bridge

Our sin is a barrier between God and us.  To bridge that barrier God sent Jesus.  We have two choices on what we do with Jesus, either we repent of our sin or we continue in our rebellion.  If we repent, then salvation will be granted, if not, we will face judgement.

Reflect on this…Psalm 139:23-24

“Search me, O God, and know my heart!  Try me and know my thoughts!  And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”

We need to recognize our brokenness and trust in Jesus.  I will close with this final advice on how to improve your marriage from the book!

ReEngage - Lesson 02 - How To Change Your Marriage

If you would like to read the next installment to the re|engage class, click here…★ Re|Engage – Grace ★

If you want to read previous re|engage lessons click here…

https://dailydependence.wordpress.com/category/reengage-class/?order=asc

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★ Act Like Men – “Quality Man” ★

Day 2 - A Quality Man

Daily Dependence - Section 1 - Act Like MenA Quality Man, something that every man wants to be. This day’s reading surprised me and I was surprised by the realization that both fear and anger have been present in me but as James MacDonald said Fearful men and angry men are not quality men.  We need to defeat the Twin Dangers…

“Acting like a man means getting victory over fear and anger. Fear is a self protection we used to insulate ourselves from her by pulling back. Anger is self protection we used to insulate ourselves from her by striking out. In both instances the answers to face and forget of the hurt that expresses itself in fear and anger or both.” 

It takes a real man to overcome the fear and anger that so easily trips us up!!  You want to be a quality man?  Then we need to follow this advice from MacDonald and more importantly the Word of God!

“We must face the fact that a quality man overcome his fear. Such a man refuses to be mastered by his anxiety and embraces the assurance that ‘God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.’ (2 Timothy 1:7). A quality man examines his heart, exposing the fears that generate the lies that lead to sin.” 

“To be successful in relationships, we must fully embrace the biblical observation that in all instances ‘the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.’ (James 1:20)”. 

‭Proverbs ‭14‬:‭29‬ (ESV) says:

“Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.”

In Charles Stanley’s Life Principles Bible, he had this Life Lesson from this verse that he referenced James 1:20 as well…

“It may feel good for a short while to vent out fury at someone but “the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” (James 1:20) Responding to bitterness with more bitterness leads only to a combative and even more explosive situation.”

If you are reading this, then it is clear the desire to be a quality man is there, now you just need to work on overcoming fear and anger!

Here is the next installment. . .★ Act Like Men – “Not A Quality Man” ★

or

If you want to read previous Act Like Men posts click here.

★ Act Like Men – “Acting Like Men” ★

Day 1 - Acting Like Men

ATTENTION WOMEN:  Please read this ONE part…
 
If you have a male friend, brother, husband, father, cousin or any other male acquaintance, please, please, please forward this blog to them each day!  I think you will enjoy reading it as well…
You will be amazed at the change you will see!

Daily Dependence - Section 1 - Act Like MenAs I am reading through the book, I have found James MacDonald’s “straight shooter” say it like it is approach incredible!!  I love how Day 1 starts,

“Men and women are designed by their Creator to complement and complete, not compete with one another.  Each is to become more because of the other than they could ever become alone.”
 
“[Women] need their man to be a source of strength, stability, and leadership…Listen to her, learn from her, but don’t fail to lead her. Not many things are sadder than a passive man acting like a woman while his wife is allowed to dominate and usurp the role God has called him to fulfill.”

“Failing to lead is failing to act like a man.”

Ouch!!  That is strong but it is all too familiar to see families broken by divorce or by men who are passive and not stepping up to fulfill their God-given role!  1 Corinthians‬ ‭13‬:‭11‬ (ESV) reminds us of what God is looking for,

“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.”
 

MacDonald continues the point,

“Acting like a man means developing a non-anxious presence that sees the big picture, remains calm in a crisis, and won’t cave in under pressure.  Godly men respond; they don’t react.”

“Every man needs a place to be open and vulnerable with brothers leaning together upon the Lord…open your life up and see the seek the strength of numbers focused on a common goal.”

My favorite part is this…

“Acting like a man does not mean “acting.”  The term actually means “conduct yourself.”  It’s the idea of intentionally choosing your behavior to reflect the best of what God calls us as men to be.”

As you read these blogs, keep that in mind, that we are not called to “Act” or pretend to be, but to “Conduct” ourselves as a Man of God ought to!  Now that is powerful!!

Here is the next installment. . .★ Act Like Men – “Quality Man” ★

or

If you want to read previous Act Like Men posts click here.

★ Re|Engage – Love ★

ReEngage - Lesson 01

My wife and I went to a class offered at our church call “Re|Enagage.”  Watermark Church’s Marriage Ministry created this class that is offered in churches all across the country.  If you live near Dallas, TX, you can attend the class, here is the website for more information on how to find where it is offered:

http://marriagehelp.org

You many be thinking to yourself another marriage class no thank you but please continue reading because Re|Enagage made a huge impact on our marriage.  And before you dismiss this by saying “our marriage is not in crisis or turmoil so I don’t need this;” our’s wasn’t either, we just wanted to go from a good marriage to a great one!  And just to debunk another lie that the enemy will try to get you to believe…Don’t look at this class as “our marriage will appear that it is bad”… but look at it like “we want to continue to have a great marriage”…and so we are going to get new tools to improve it.  Just like you perform regular maintenance on your car, we need to do the same for our marriages. As part of the class, there was a small group time which the purpose is to build biblical community so that people realize that every marriage has issues, regardless of how it appears, no marriage is perfect.  Hebrews 10:24-25 (NLT) describes it this way:

“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”

The small group helped “sharpen one another” as we opened up to share (Proverbs 27:17 – Iron sharpens iron).

The primary focus of the class was to work on yourself and what you learned in the lessons instead of pointing out what your spouse is not doing.

The first two chapters focused on this Principle: RECOGNIZE YOUR INABILITY TO LOVE.

At first that does not seem so positive, does it?  But it is critical to understand how flawed we are so that we look at our spouses through the correct lens, and not expect them to do what we are incapable of doing.

Lesson 1 was on Love…The main idea was:

God’s Standard of love is the way He loves.  1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV) defines love biblically:

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

You cannot meet this standard.  THIS IS PERFECT LOVE!

In the reading they made this statement…“While love may be blind, marriage is a real eye opener.”

We all entered our marriage with expectations of what it was going to be like. I am a firm believer that you get what you put into your marriage. “Garbage in, garbage out”…or you can look at it that you put in love, respect, sacrifice; you will get those in return.

The lesson was broke down What Love Really Is…

Love is patient and kind.

Not about instant gratification, Encourages instead of condemns.

Love doesn’t envy or boast.     

Celebrates when another is celebrated, Admit failures instead of giving excuses.

Isn’t rude or insisting on its own way.

Not demanding/manipulative to get its way, put the needs of the other first.  Studies the needs and wants so they can meet them. 

Is not irritable or resentful.

Can handle shortcomings/disappointments, Gladly overlooks small offenses and graciously forgives larger ones w/o bringing them up later.

Bears and endures all things.

Takes on the others hardships as their own, Committed regardless of feelings and what they are receiving in return.

Believes and hopes all things.

Acts in trustworthy manner with no secrets which eliminates suspicion.  It believes the best about the other and does everything it can to make the relationship work.

Love is thinking about the other person’s needs over your own, giving everything you have to the other person.  Love in God’s perspective is sacrificial and selfless commitment.

“Jesus was the ultimate model for what love is (Romans 5:8 – Christ died for us while we were sinners.)  – Real love puts the other person first!”

 

If you would like to read the next installment to the re|engage class, click here… ★ Re|Engage – Brokenness ★

If you want to read previous re|engage lessons click here…

https://dailydependence.wordpress.com/category/reengage-class/?order=asc

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★ Thought for the Day – Where Have I Been? ★

It has been a while since my last post…2 months, 3 days to be exact.  God has have doing amazing things in my life through a marriage class called Day 0 - Re-EngageRe|Engage” that was developed by Watermark Church.  The easy to understand, straightforward, Christ-centered material has reinvigorated my marriage.

Also, I recently attended an incredible Men’s event called the “Act Like Men Conference” which has set my walk with God on a new trajectory!  Back in June of this year, I posted this ★ Thought for the Day – What Does It Mean To Be A Man? ★  that gave a high level view of what the conference was about…It would be good for you to read, if you want to see where we are going.

Time has flown by, which has kept me from sharing a Thought for the Day, but I plan to share what God has been speaking to me through these two conduits.  Day 0 - Act Like Men Book CoverSince the conference, I have been reading a devotional on Biblical Manhood that James MacDonald wrote called “Act Like Men” which has been revolutionary in sharpening me!

The book is brilliantly broken up based on the theme verse from 1 Corinthians 16:13-14:

“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.  Let all that you do be done in love.”  

 Day 0 - 1 Cor 16 - 13-14

Here you can see the topics that are covered here:

Day 0 - Act Like Men - Book Matrix

I hope you will enjoy the journey and that you are blessed as much as I have been!  Please forward this to any man that you know!  God bless!

Here is the first in a series of posts from the “Act Like Men” Book called. . .
★ Act Like Men – “Acting Like Men” ★

or

If you want to read all the posts on “Act Like Men” then click here.

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★ Thought for the Day – The Will of God is… ★

Many people ask this question…”What is God’s will?”  There are tons of books written on the subject, and an endless amount of sermons, but all you really need to do is look in God’s Word, the Bible for the answer.

In John 6:35-40 (NLT),

Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life.  Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.  But you haven’t believed in me even though you have seen me. 

However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them.  For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will.  

And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those He has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. 

For it is my Father’s will that all who see His Son and believe in Him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.”

God’s will is easy to know, He wants every single person to accept and believe in His son Jesus, and to spend all of eternity with Him in Heaven.  What an incredible picture of a loving father this is…God loved us so much that He sent His son to earth to create an easy way for us to be reconnected to Him.  He does not want to see even one person lost.  That is what we, as followers of Jesus, we should be actively looking for ways to reach lost people, who are far from God.  Stephen Furtick stated it this way…

 “The will of God is really very simple…when I walk in His ways, I will always be in His will…When you’re in God’s ways, you’re in His will.”

That is the key!!  Walk in God’s ways and you will be in His will.  The problem is when we try to do things our way, that is when we stray off course and become lost.  The decision is cut and dry, black and white, there is 52 - Daily Dependence - God's Way Vs My WayGod’s Way and My Way.  When I chose the latter, I then have to deal with the consequences.

Jesus came down from Heaven and became a human being to show us God’s will and He walked in His ways, always doing God’s will, not His own, even to the point of death.  If Jesus could do that for us, could we not at least extend an invitation to someone to come to church with us, or pray for the people in our lives that we know are far from God, or share with someone our testimony of what God has done in our life?  You never know, you may be the only person in their life to share with them about the love of God and the saving power of Jesus Christ.

I will finish this thought from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NLT),

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”

52 - Daily Dependence - 1 Thessalonians 5-16-18

Check out ★ Thought for the Day – Anxious to Do the Will of God? ★ that is a great followup to this post.

★ Thought for the Day – Grief is a Passage, Not a Place ★   

“Grief never ends…But it changes.  It’s a passage, not a place to stay.  Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith…It is the price of love.” Unknown

In John 11:35, it simply says:51 - Daily Dependence - John 11-35 - Jesus wept

“Jesus wept.” 

Jesus wept.  The shortest verse in the Bible, but shows that even the Son of God understands what we go through during the loss of someone we care about.  Go to God in your grief and draw comfort from your Heavenly Father.

“But a key truth on which we can stand is this—our God is a good God! Psalm 34:8 says, “Taste and see that the LORD is good.” God is a good God. We must begin here. Though we don’t understand His actions, we can trust His heart!”  Max Lucado, Traveling Light

Will you believe that God is good?  He is big enough to handle any problem you bring His way.  Trust God with your pain and grief.

 

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★ 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 ★

★ 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.  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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★ Thought for the Day – Childlike Humility ★ 

Have you seen the movie “HEAVEN IS FOR REAL”?  It is based on the true story of a small-town father who must find the courage and conviction to share his son’s extraordinary, life-changing experience with the world.  IT WAS INCREDIBLE!

There is much debate on the validity of whether Colton really went to Heaven or not…this Thought for the Day is not intended to open that discussion but rather to explore the idea of Childlike Humility which I think we can all agree our culture desperately needs to develop.
The film showed how Todd Burpo went through every imaginable storm a person could go through…financial, personal illness and injury and worst of all almost losing his four-year-old son, Colton who claims to have visited Heaven during a near death experience.  Todd and his family are then challenged to examine the meaning from this remarkable event.  The movie realistically depicted the struggle that they all went through to process this extraordinary experience of their little boy’s trip to heaven and back.  Well worth the price of admission!  My kids said the book is even better!  I love this quote from the book that describes what childlike humility is:

38 - Daily Dependence - Tod Burpo - What is childlike humility

 “What is childlike humility? It’s not the lack of intelligence, but the lack of guile. The lack of an agenda. It’s that precious, fleeting time before we have accumulated enough pride or position to care what other people might think. The same un-self-conscious honesty that enables a three-year-old to splash joyfully in a rain puddle, or tumble laughing in the grass with a puppy, or point out loudly that you have a booger hanging out of your nose, is what is required to enter heaven. It is the opposite of ignorance—it is intellectual honesty: to be willing to accept reality and to call things what they are even when it is hard.”

I think that Todd Burpo nailed it!!  The debate may go on whether Colton really went to heaven or not but it is for sure that Heaven is for Real!!!  And the scriptures are clear that we need to have “faith like a child” which is the key to eternal life!  In Matthew 18:3 (NASB) Jesus said,
“Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven."
“Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Be humble enough to accept that God is so much bigger than you and that you will never “know everything”…just have faith and trust Him, for God loved you so much that He sacrificed His own son Jesus so that you and I would have eternal life in heaven!  Embrace childlike humility and accept Jesus as your savior. 

★ Thought for the Day – What Are You Focused On? ★

Life has a way of knocking you down but there is a way to navigate the storms that come our way and that is in trusting in Jesus!  In Matthew 14:27-33 (NLT) it shows what happened to Peter when he took his eyes of Jesus…

37 - Daily Dependence - Matthew 14-27-33 - Fix Eyes on Jesus“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.”

Are you despairing today?  Feeling hopeless?  Do you feel like you are stuck?  Just like Peter, when you focus on the wrong things, you will start to sink and will remain trapped.  To further the point, look at what David, a man well acquainted with persecution and adversity said in Psalm 40:2…

“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and the mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”

The New Living Translation states it this way:

“He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.”

That is exactly what Jesus can do for you today!  All you need to do is change your perspective and look up to our Heavenly Father…God is just waiting to come to your rescue!  He sent Jesus as part of that rescue plan and He is willing and able to pull you out of any mess you find yourself in.  So the answer to our question today is to…Keep Your Focus on Jesus!

I will close with this foundation truth from Hebrews 12:1-2 (NASB) that I pray will bring you great comfort! 

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” 

If you would like to read more on this subject, check out 2 posts:

★ Thought for the Day – Unfathomable Payoff of Faith ★

★ Thought for the Day – Overwhelmed or Overcoming ★

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★ Thought for the Day – Stand Up for What is Right ★

“Be a Leader, Not a Follower,” is something I have tried to pour into my daughters’ lives.  For obvious reasons, I have taught them this, so they would not get mixed up with the wrong people, but also because they will never be great or successful, if they ride the coattails of other people.  Albert Einstein said it perfectly:

"The one who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The one who walks alone, is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been."  
“The one who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The one who walks alone, is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been.”

To be successful in business and more importantly in life, you need to be a leader, even if that means walking alone at times.  It is not easy, but a life of mediocrity and following the status quo is far worse!  Or a life in pursuit of financial gain or power will leave you empty inside in the end.  There is another benefit to walking alone and that is being a person of integrity and truth who not only knows what is right and wrong but also does it.  We have strenuously taught our children to always stand up for what is right which is impossible when you are a mindless follower!

Edmund Burke once said,

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

It was Hamburg, 1936; during the celebration for the launch of a ship.  In the crowd, one person refused to raise his arm to give the Nazi salute.  The man was August Landmesser, seen in this photo which was published in a German newspaper in 1991.  It is a truly polarizing image to see the courage and boldness of one person, who refused to participate in what he did not believe in.

36 - Daily Dependence - August Landmesser - Be This Guy

I hope to never be in the same extreme situation as this man was, but every day I do face decisions at work or with friends where I need to decide whether I will participate in what I know is wrong in order to fit in or will I be a person of integrity who will stand up for what is right?  Compromise is a slippery slope, once you make an exception to violate your beliefs the next time will be that much easier to fail to make the right decision.  Integrity is everything!


What will you choose?

 

If you would like to read more on this topic, here is something I posted that you may like, called:

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★ Thought for the Day – Who Are You? ★

I think this is a question everyone asks at some point or another.  Knowing who you are and what you are about is key.  I read this quote from Thomas Jefferson that is amazing:

"Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you."
“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.”

I love that thought, ACTION will delineate and define you!  Did you know that Thomas Jefferson is referred to as “America’s Renaissance Man” because he was one of the most accomplished presidents in American History. Thomas Jefferson was a president, politician, inventor, author, educator, lawyer, architect, and philosopher.  If anyone would know the key to success he would!!

35 - Daily Dependence - Pablo Picasso - Action is the foundational key to all successI will close with this final thought from Pablo Picasso,

“Action is the foundational key to all success.”

You want to know who you are, you want to be successful?  Then don’t waste time polling those around you…ACT!

 

 

 

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★ Thought for the Day – Extra Grace Required ★

Have you ever heard of the abbreviation “EGR “?  I just recently was introduced to the term, which is short for “Extra Grace Required.”

34 - Daily Dependence - Extra Grace Required

I did some research and found this definition…

EGR n. Abbreviation for Extra Grace Required. 

“A person in church whose ongoing spiritual and emotional needs frustrate the efforts of others to interact with that person or minister to that person.” (Source: http://www. dictionaryofchristianese.com/)

We have all met someone like this…A person who requires a lot of effort on our part to help. Sometimes, if we are being honest, it is a challenge just listening to what they are going through, but as I read the definition, I felt the Lord convict me and say to me that: “You require EGR too!”

We all do.  We are all sinners.  We all have fallen way short of the mark and we are all in need of God’s grace!  I love how Max Lucado put it about the grace that God offers us…

“He gave us grace. Not just mercy, mind you, but grace.  Grace goes beyond mercy.  Mercy gave the prodigal son a second chance. Grace threw him a party.  Mercy prompted the Samaritan to bandage the wounds of the victim.  Grace prompted him to leave his credit card as payment for the victim’s care.  Mercy forgave the thief on the cross. Grace escorted him into paradise.  Mercy pardons us.  Grace woos and weds us.  Grace does this!  Grace is God walking into your world with a sparkle in his eye and an offer that’s hard to resist.”

It is all about Grace!  So before we say, “Extra Grace Required” for someone else, remember we all require extra grace!

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★ Thought for the Day – Burnt Out? ★ 

32 - Daily Dependence - Burn outIf you have spent any amount of time on earth, at some point or another you have felt burnt out, whether it be excessive school work, managing the kids’ schedules, or a huge project deadline at work.  Burnout is not just physical exhaustion, as some may think it to be, it can also cause emotional and spiritual fatigue as well.  In a Psychology Today article, Dr. Sherrie Bourg Carter stated that,

“Burnout is defined as a state of chronic stress and frustration that leads to:

  • Physical and emotional exhaustion;
  • Feelings of cynicism and detachment; and
  • A sense of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment.”

In another article, I read that a new cause of employee burnout is always “Being On”.  Social media, smart phones and access to work emails pressures people to be “on,” even after hours.  Burnout is a serious issue, one which many people ignore, but to the detriment of themselves, and everyone around them.  Someone once said that,

“Burn out is what happens to you when lose your purpose.”  

I think that is such a great observation.  The times in my life when I have felt burnt out, I was at my lowest point, finding myself going through the motions, aimlessly adrift with no purpose and no hope.  John Maxwell put it this way,

32 - Daily Dependence - John Maxwell - Burn Out
“When I lose my purpose, I lose my passion. When I lose my way, I lose my will. Nobody helps anybody, when they can’t help themselves because they are burnt out.”

Burn out can have serious consequences on every aspect of our lives including our will to help others.  It can affect out family lives and our health.  If your answer to the question is “yes,” that you are burnt out, then I encourage you to take a break from the hectic schedule, and pressures of life and get some much needed R&R.  The time you take to just “stop and take a breath” well pay dividends!

Here is a final word from Steven Furtick from his incredible sermon series called “Moodswingers.”

“Burnout is when the demand placed on you is greater than the resource available to you.  Could it be that if God’s presence is inside you that you have unlimited resource.  But just when your lights go out, you no longer can access what’s available to you?”  

Watch the rest of the sermon recap below.

 

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★ Thought for the Day – The Price Tag of Your Dream ★ 

33 - Daily Dependence - Jiminy Cricket - Wish Upon A Star

Do you remember the classic song from Disney’s Pinocchio, “When You Wish Upon a Star”…Jiminy Cricket sang these lyrics oh so long ago…

When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you

Like a bolt out of the blue
Fate steps in and sees you through
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true

Anything your heart desires will come to you.”  Growing up we all had dreams and aspirations…whether it was to walk on the moon, cure cancer, or score the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl.  But sadly, some people along the way, give up their dreams and settle for what was easily achievable.  The problem is, when you let go of that thing that fills you with passion, a piece of you goes away as well.  Or maybe you are rationalizing in your mind that this job is just temporary, “one day” I will make a move and purse my dream job.  But is you are not careful “one day” can become a lifetime of excuses to not begin.  Jeremy Riddle made this profound statement,

"Every dream has a process and a price tag.  Those who embrace the process and pay the price, see the fulfillment of the dream.  Those who don't, just dream."
“Every dream has a process and a price tag.  Those who embrace the process and pay the price, see the fulfillment of the dream.  Those who don’t, just dream.”

Whether you have “settled” or have yet to “start,” it is clear that the fulfillment of your dreams will not come just by “Wishing Upon A Star,” you need start and pay the price, aka “put in the work” to make it happen!  

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★ Thought for the Day – What’s In Your Sponge? ★

I remember growing up in Pennsylvania as a kid, I wanted to make some extra money; so I made a pitcher of lemonade and set up a folding table and got to work.  The problem was, I lived off a small country road and there was very little traffic, whether by foot or vehicle.  Needless to say, I did not make much that day…hahaha!  You’ve heard the old adage…

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade

Which is a phrase used to encourage optimism and a “can-do attitude” in the face of adversity or misfortune.  Though it is put on bumper stickers and feels played out, there is tremendous truth that we can use in our lives when we are squeezed!

I once heard a great analogy contrasting the pressures of life with a sponge.  Bishop O.W. Prince compared it this way:

“What is really inside of us will come spilling out of us when life puts the squeeze on us.  Crisis will usually reveal what is really in our hearts.  It is easy to do and say the right things when life is calm and everything is going right, but what we say and do when chaos hits and the pressure is on tends to paint a more accurate picture of who we really are.”

Wow!  That is convicting!  God has been showing me that I have some work to do!  Just like a sponge, when we are squeezed, what is in us will come flowing out!  The question is, will it be sour like lemons or sweet like lemonade?  In James 19-20 (NLT), we are given this word of advice…

“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters:  You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.  Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.”

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So I ask you…What’s in your Sponge?

When you are squeezed, what comes out?  WILL it cause a mess and hurt those around you, or WILL it be full of grace and uplifting?  Here is a promise of what will happen if you choose the latter…

“God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.”  James 1:12 (NLT) 

If you are interested you can read a related post called ★ Thought for the Day – The Storms of Life ★

 

 

 

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★ Thought for the Day – Opposition Will Come ★

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines opposition as: action that is done to stop or defeat someone or something.”  Have you experienced opposition in your life?  Better question would probably be, has anyone not experience some amount in their life.  Whether that was from a neighborhood bully or student in school or a boss at our job, everyone at some point or another has faced it.  But what I want to talk about is the defiance that comes as a result of being a Christian.  Being associated with Jesus is going to cost you.  If you look at the book of John there are numerous occasions that people were persecuted just for their association with him…

  • The Pharisees expelled a man who was cured of blindness from the synagogue just because Jesus was the one who cured him. (See John 9:1-34)
  • Thomas, nicknamed the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go, too—and die with Jesus.”  (See John 11:16 NLT)
  • The Leading Priests decided to kill Lazarus just because Jesus raised him from the dead and they were losing followers.  (See John 12:10-11)

This opposition did not stop in the time of Jesus life…Though it is not widely broadcasted in the nightly news, Christian are being persecuted all over the world today.

“According to The Pew Research Center, over 75% of the world’s population live in areas with severe religious restrictions.  Many of these people are Christians.  Also, according to the United States Department of State, Christians in more than 60 countries face persecution from their governments or surrounding neighbors simply because of their belief in the person of Jesus Christ.” (Source www.opendoorsusa.org/persecution/about-persecution)

Following Jesus has great rewards, but hardship will come.  We wonder why we get ridiculed and face animosity for being a Christian, but John 15:18-20 (NLT) is very clear the reason for the World’s Hatred:

“If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. 

Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you.  And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you.”

Mark Driscoll said something that really stuck out for me…

"The Christian life is the best life, but it’s not the easiest life, and sometimes the closer you are to Jesus, the more resistance you receive, just as Jesus did."
“The Christian life is the best life, but it’s not the easiest life, and sometimes the closer you are to Jesus, the more resistance you receive, just as Jesus did.”

Whenever you start serving God in a new way, you are breaking into territory that the enemy wants to keep.  The Apostle Paul said in I Corinthians 16:9 (NKJV) that:

“For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there  are many adversaries.” 

Opposition will always come when we try to do the Lord’s work, just expect it because the enemy does not want you to take away his territory!  Press on through and trust that God is Sovereign!  And most importantly pray!  Prayer changes circumstances and people.  In the book, Draw the Circle, Mark Batterson gives this profound statement that will revolutionize our lives if we can grasp this:

30 - Daily Dependence - Mark Batterson - Power of Prayer

Opposition is inevitable but the enemy is ineffectual when counteract the attacks with prayer!  I will close with the truth from 1 John 4:4 (NASB)

“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He [Jesus] who is in you than he [Satan – our enemy] who is in the world.”

 

★ Thought for the Day – Carpe Diem ★

The world lost the comedic genius of Robin Williams on August 11, 2014.  Besides inducing laughter and smiles to people around the world, he was an incredible dramatic actor who brought characters like Dr. Hunter “Patch” Adams (Patch Adams)
29 - Daily Dependence - Patch Adams
Sean Maguire (Good Will Hunting)
29 - Daily Dependence - Good Will Hunting
and my personal favorite John Keating (Dead Poets Society) to life.
29 - Daily Dependence - Dead Poets Society
As I think about the joy that Robin Williams brought to his audiences, I am saddened to the core that he could not find enough for himself to prevent the depression from consuming him.  Life is fragile and at times like this it is natural to reflect upon our own mortality and take inventory.  Too often we take for granted that we have all the time in the world to tell people how we feel about them or to reconcile with a friend or family member that we are estranged from.  It is critical for us to realize that life is brief… James 4:14 (NASB) gives this somber reminder…

“Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow.  You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”

That may be the case, but rather than despair, I think this should trigger us to make some changes….and to live life with purpose.  In the 1989 classic, Dead Poets Society, Robin William’s portrayal of Professor John Keating, inspired me to be more than I was, and to live life to the fullest!  In one of the most iconic scenes, Robin Williams gives this life lesson…

"Carpe diem.  Seize the day, boys.  Make your lives extraordinary." John Keating, Dead Poets Society.
“Carpe diem.  Seize the day, boys.  Make your lives extraordinary.” John Keating, Dead Poets Society.

Make your life extraordinary!  Our lives may be a vapor, here today and gone tomorrow, but we can leave an impact that lasts for generations to come.  It is time to stop wasting time…seize the day and make an impact!  I endeavor to that with my wife and children, as well as friends and pretty much anyone I come into contact with.  I am far from hitting the mark but I am always striving to do better.  As the new school year approaches, I have been encouraging my daughters to look for that person who is being left out or just doesn’t fit in, and be a friend to them.  The late great motivational speaker Zig Ziglar made this profound statement…

“You never know when a moment and a few sincere words can have an impact on a life.”
“You never know when a moment and a few sincere words can have an impact on a life.”

And that is so true!  People who know me today would probably be surprised to hear this, but I was that kid that was in need of kindness and a friend.  Living an extraordinary life is not about acquiring power or about monetary wealth or living in an extravagant house or driving a luxury car, but by making a difference in the lives of the people in your sphere of influence.  John Maxwell has one of the best definitions of success which is my mantra and what I would call living an extraordinary life…

“Success means having those closest to me love and respect me the most.”

If you asked those closest to you, what would they say?  I love how Anna Quindlen put it…

"When in doubt, choose the kids.  There will be plenty of time later to choose the work."  
“When in doubt, choose the kids.  There will be plenty of time later to choose the work.”

This Thought for the Day is all about making an impact on the people who are around you.  Take the time to spend with your children, (and your spouse) instead of working late, you will never regret that!  The very last command that Jesus made to the disciples in Matthew 28:19 was about making an impact, He said:

Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” 

Life is fragile.  Life is brief.  Make an impact!  Seize the Day! 

So what does that mean for you?  What habits or routines do you need to break?  Do you need to start leaving work on time so that you are there for the people in your lives that need you to be around more?  What opportunity or decision are you hesitating on to make that could make an impact?  The choice is yours…


For those unfamiliar with the Dead Poets Society, check out this inspiring scene…Carpe Diem!

 

 


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★ Thought for the Day – Trial to Triumph! ★ 

Are you suffering today?  Aching from being hurt by someone’s betrayal or persecuted for something you did not do?  You are not alone, the Bible recounts in Genesis how Joseph was betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery, only to then be wrongly accused of attempted rape and thrown into prison…BUT God used these horrible betrayals that people inflicted, and elevated Joseph to second-in-command of all of Egypt.  Take comfort from Genesis 50:20 (NLT) that God turn any trial into a triumph!!!

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.”

I love that, what was :intended to harm me,” was used by God to “save the lives of many people.  We cannot see the whole picture, God is always working and you never know how what God will turn a bad situation around.

Only God can turn A MESS into a MESSAGE, A TEST into a TESTIMONY, A TRIAL into a TRIUMPH A VICTIM into a VICTORY!
Only God can turn
A MESS into a MESSAGE,
A TEST into a TESTIMONY,
A TRIAL into a TRIUMPH
A VICTIM into a VICTORY!

There is no situation TOO BIG for God, NOTHING is impossible for Him!  Trust God today with everything!  He will never leave you or forsake you!!

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★ Thought for the Day –  Our Tongues Should Point People to Jesus ★ 

The whole purpose of our lives is to point others to Christ, not to ourselves.
Check out this awesome Instagram account http://instagram.com/undeservedgrace__

“The whole purpose of our lives is to point others to Christ, not to ourselves.”  Kristen Clark

As I have been reading through the Book of James, God has been showing me areas that I can improve on, so that I help point people to Jesus.  (I highly recommend you read it for yourself.)  One of the ways is in “Controlling My Tongue.”  My prayer and suggestion is for God to help us NOT TO BE LIKE what it says in James 3:7-10…

“People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue.  It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison.  Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God.  And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!”

Nothing will turn people off from Jesus faster than hearing someone who professes to be a Christian, gossip, tell lies or use profanity.  INSTEAD we need TO BE LIKE what it says in James 3:13-17 which tells us that True Wisdom Comes from God…

“If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.  But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying.  For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom.  Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic.  For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.

  • But the wisdom from above is first of all pure.  
  • It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others.  
  • It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds.  
  • It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.”

So if the whole purpose of our lives is to point others to Christ, then we most learn to control our tongues!!  If we don’t then we will turn people away from what the point of our lives is all about.  We need to live our lives “mission-minded,” to see every moment, of every day as an opportunity to show the love of Christ to others.  In Matthew 28:19, Jesus tells us to “go and make disciples.”  We cannot do that if we are NOT CONTROLLING OUR TONGUES!  

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★ Thought for the Day – Are you Lukewarm? ★  

Mediocrity has to be one of my biggest pet peeves, it frustrates me beyond words because I can’t understand why anyone would settle for anything less than excellence.

In the Bible, the book of Revelation chapter 3, verses 15-16 even addresses this issue:

“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold.  I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!”

I am a firm believer that being a hard worker pays dividends and this quote from Zig Ziglar supports what I have always thought.

26 - Daily Dependence - Are you Lukewarm
“When you do more than you’re paid for eventually you’ll be paid for more than you do.”

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★ Thought for the Day – How Important is Jesus? ★      

Many people debate this question but if you look at what it says in John 14:6, the answer is clear:

"Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

If Jesus is the gate that we must go through to go to heaven, I would say He is really important! Romans 10:9-10 (NIV1984) is a great reminder of the simplicity of “getting right” with God and how important Jesus is!

“That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”

If you want to learn more about this check out our previous post called ★ Thought for the Day – I Hate Religion and I’m a Christian… ★ that will help you on the path to connecting with God!!

Trust Him today!

★ Thought for the Day – STRENGTH FOR THE STRUGGLE ★

I am excited to have a special guest share how God gave her strength during a season of struggle.  Thanks, Kim from facebook.com/FitFamilyFaith.

Have you ever heard the quote, “I am thankful for my struggle because without it I would not have stumbled across MY strength.”  I’d like to edit it just a bit.

24 - Fit Family - Strength Struggle
“I am thankful for my struggle because without it I would not have stumbled across God’s strength.”

Health and fitness were always a passion of mine and my health was not something I worried about. I felt physically strong, ate the right foods and exercised 5 times a week.  However, my life and my family’s life were completely turned upside down when I went through a season of illness as a result of Lyme’s Diseases. The illness left me physically at my weakest point in my life. However, through this season, my family and I craved God and His Word like never before. We were completely dependent on Him. Although I grew up going to church, I believe that I grew stronger in the Lord during that season than in all the years preceding that. It was only God’s strength that carried me through those difficult days. I often tell others that though I was at my weakest physically, I never felt stronger spiritually. I praise God for the works He did in me and my family through that time.

We ALL go through seasons of struggle in our lives.  They come in different forms, but the best way to get through them is the same. GOD’S STRENGTH.  Here are some things I learned that I pray can help you to hold onto if you are in the midst of a difficult season:

  • God promises to never leave us or forsake us. He is right there beside us, whatever we go through. How comforting!  Deuteronomy 31:6 says:

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

  • God can bring something good out of the situation. As it says in Romans 8:28, God causes ALL things to come together for good to those who LOVE Him and are called according to His purpose. Trust God because He is using your current situation to mold you into something beautiful!  What was meant for harm, God can turn around and use for His good!  Genesis 50:20a says:

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good…”

  • God uses trials to refine and mold us to make us more like Him.  I came through this storm a much different person than the one I was going into it.  I have a stronger faith, a deeper compassion for others and try to make the most of every opportunity because I know each day is a gift and my priorities are very different now.
  • The things we go through in this life are temporary, but we can have hope in eternal things. John 16:33 says

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  

Whatever you are going through today, lean into God and rely on His strength.  Arm yourself with Bible verses that you can speak out loud and pray when doubts and worries creep in. (Below are some verses that helped me.)

Praise God, He has restored my health and I am able to resume my passion of fitness again, but my goals are very different now.  I view it a gift that I must steward and use for His glory.  My mission is more about forming relationships and using my story to help others who may be going through struggles of their own.  I can say with confidence that I am thankful for my struggle because without it I would not have stumbled across GOD’S STRENGTH.

Be Blessed!

Kim

http://www.facebook.com/FitFamilyFaith

INSTAGRAM: @fitfamily_faith

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

★ Thought for the Day – What Does God’s Love Mean? ★

 

★ Thought for the Day – Are you a Good Listener? ★

If you asked someone close to you if you were a good listener, what do you think they would they say? Do you think you are a Good Listener?  Stephen Covey made a profound statement about this, he said:

22 - Daily Dependence - Stephen Covey - Most People do not listen with the intent to understand_ they listen with the intent to reply.jpg
“Most People do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

Part of any good relationship is being a good listener; the same applies for a projects.  I have always likened Architecture to being less about building buildings and more about listening to, and understanding the different agendas of the project stakeholders.  A truly successful architect, is one that can create beautiful spaces suitable for human habitation while balancing the owner’s need for a building along with the various consultant’s desire to accomplish their individual piece of the project in the shortest possible way (which typically is not aesthetically pleasing) with the contractor’s desire to make the most amount of money in the cheapest way possible.  In addition doing this while defending and maintaining the original design intent as value (or “de-value”) engineering suggestions from both the end users and contractor threaten the integrity of the design.

Every project is like constructing a puzzle, but without the picture on the box…You need to listen to all the stakeholders in order to understand how to achieve the project.  I read this once and thought this nailed it…

“Look for a good listener and you’ll find a good architect.” Unknown 

Regardless of your vocation, this Thought for the Day is for you too.  Start today with the purposeful intention to listen to other to understand and not just respond with your viewpoint.

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★ Thought for the Day – Got Values? ★

21 - Daily Dependence - Dilbert - Values

 

Values are an integral part of “who you are.”  I love this Dilbert comic strip because it is clear that the management have none, and that their whole reasoning behind establishing company values is not really to empower the employees, but to eliminate raise requests.

Do you know who you are and what you stand for?  You can’t wait for management to tell you what your values should be, you need to decide that for yourself.  It is vital to know who you are and what you stand for before you are in a compromising situation, otherwise when the pressure comes, whether from a boss or a colleague, you will fail the test…Proverbs 10:9 says it perfectly…

“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.”

You have heard the expression “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”  It is really true, eventually a lack of integrity will catch up to you and your true character will be found out.  So I ask you…Got values?

 

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★ Thought for the Day – What Defines You? ★    

20 - Daily Dependence - Lego MovieLast night we rented from Redbox, “The Lego Movie” with the kids and it was great the second time around!  Besides cuddling with my 10 year daughter who was thrilled when I came home with the DVD, it is so good.  I initially was skeptical about the movie but I came out singing this highly addictive song “Everything is Awesome!”  If you have not heard this song, you can watch it at the bottom of this post…you will be singing it within minutes…you can thank me later when you are driving everyone around you crazy…hahaha!

20 - Daily Dependence - Lego Movie - EmmitThe Lego Movie is about Emmet, an ordinary LEGO figure, who lives an ordinary life – without much consequence / achievements whatsoever.  As it unfolds, he is mistakenly thought to be the “extraordinary MasterBuilder” and is recruited to join a quest to stop the evil LEGO tyrant from gluing the universe together.  The movie chronicles the Emmet’s transition from ordinary to extraordinary, but it was not a result of new powers, imparted intelligence or added tools…instead it was from a change to of attitude!  When Emmit started believing in himself nothing was impossible!

There are a lot of great nuggets that can be gleaned from this movie for our professional and personal lives.  You have heard the cliche, “Attitude is Everything”…well it really is true.  But if I am being honest, just because you say “everything is awesome” (or sing it in the case of the Lego Movie), does not make it true.  There are plenty of things in life to weigh you down and stop you from reaching your potential.  But the key is what your attitude or response to the circumstance that will define you.  I have seen this time and time again in my life, that when I have focused on the positives (which there are many), and pushed through the negative aspects, it was amazing what I achieved.  The same is true for believing in yourself…that attitude can take you a lot further than your natural talent or skills ever can.  Plus it is infectious!  No one wants to be around a “Debbie Downer”…(you may remember the Saturday Night Live character portrayed by Rachel Dratch).  A positive attitude can change not only whether a project is successful, but more importantly, whether a team will “gel” together and build the comradery that is necessary to keep a company moving forward.  W. Clement Stone once said:

“Like success, failure is many things to many people. With a Positive Mental Attitude, failure is a learning experience, a rung on the ladder, a plateau at which to get your thoughts in order and prepare to try again.”
“Like success, failure is many things to many people. With a Positive Mental Attitude, failure is a learning experience, a rung on the ladder, a plateau at which to get your thoughts in order and prepare to try again.”

I’m not sure what is defining you today…but I want to encourage you to focus on the positive aspects in your life and watch what will happen!

★ If you would like to hear this highly addictive song “Everything Is AWESOME!!!” click here…

 

 

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★ Thought for the Day – Anxious to Do the Will of God? ★

Chapter 4 of 1 Peter is really incredible because it talks all about how to live for God and what you can expect when you become a Christian. It starts out with…

“So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude He had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God.” 1 Peter 4:1-2 (NLT) 

What would things be like if, instead of being anxious about life, we were “anxious to do the will of God?” If instead of viewing Christianity through “Rose Colored Glasses,” we lived our lives “ready to suffer too?” We need to break those glasses and understand the truth that we will suffer for Christ, there is no “if” in that passage…but that there are benefits to the suffering for being a Christian. 1 Peter 4:12-13 (NLT) says

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“Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad — for these trials make you partners with Christ in His suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.

Verse 14 tells us what the result will be if we persevere…

“If you are insulted because you bear the name of Christ, you will be blessed, for the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you.” 

How many times are you surprised when trials come?? If we are honest, probably more times than any of us would care to admit to, I am sure…but I love what results…”trials make you partners with Christ in His suffering” which results in joy and that “you will be blessed.” My absolute favorite part is found in verse 16, which if we grasped this, it would forever change our perspective!

“But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name!” (1 Peter 4:16 NLT)

Repeat this over and over…

“Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name!” Instead of the “woe is me” attitude, because you were insulted or had to sit alone at lunch or lost a friend because of your faith; if we really saw it for what it is, a “privilege,” we would be completely on fire for God! I would like to encourage all of us to start this day in a new way…let’s be anxious to do the will of God!!

 

★ Thought for the Day – All the Time in the World ★ 

In the 1995 film, “The Usual Suspects,” the protagonist made this statement:

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“The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

Brilliantly delivered by Kevin Spacey, I have never forgotten the line and profound reality.  If you asked, most people would say that they believe in some sort of higher power or as I do, in an all-powerful and loving God; but ask how many believe in the Devil and the response will be quite different.  The Barna Research Group released findings from its nationwide survey of adults’ spiritual beliefs and found:

“Four out of ten Christians (40%) strongly agreed that Satan “is not a living being but is a symbol of evil.” 

From the Article: “Most American Christians Do Not Believe that Satan or the Holy Spirit Exist,” 4/10/2009

4 out of 10 people believe that the Devil “is not a living being but is a symbol of evil.”  In the past 10 years, there has been an enormous increase in the amount of Hollywood offerings focusing on the Devil, demons and other evil incarnations.  It is ironic that people will go in droves to watch about the Devil and his unseen activities on the silver screen, but then turn around and say that he does not exist.  Sadly, I would say that the “trick” is working quite effectively.  James MacDonald put it this way,

“Satan…Disguise, Divide and Destroy.  He comes to us as an angel of light.  He gets us isolated by ourselves, and then he takes us down.”

 

Much like Kevin Spacey’s deceptive portrayal of an ineffectual and innocent crippled man in “The Usual Suspects,” Satan’s activities are not obvious; he comes in unassuming forms and in unexpected ways.  That is why we need to “Be selfcontrolled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  (1 Peter 5:8 NIV84)

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“Satan’s greatest lie: You have plenty of time to get right with God!”

This haunting picture is a great reminder…People think they have all the time in the world to live their life however they wish, indulging in anything and everything.  Maybe tomorrow or next year or sometime in the future they will change.  In Matthew 24:36 (NLT) Jesus gives some insight about the end times:

“However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself.  Only the Father knows.”

No one knows the hour when the end will come; or to put it plainer, when YOUR END will come, so don’t wait, “get right with God” and accept Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for the redemption of your soul.

 

 

 

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★ Thought of the Day – What Difference Does a Daddy Make? ★

17 - Daily Dependence - Saving Mr BanksDisney’s “Saving Mr. Banks” pulls the curtain back to allow moviegoers to learn how the beloved 1964 classic “Mary Poppins” almost didn’t make it to the silver screen because of the author’s reservations and fears of what Walt Disney would do to her beloved book.  At first I was skeptical about watching a movie about Mary Poppins, but before the end credits started to roll, I was tearing up and feeling that this incredible film had made it to my top 10 list!  From the writing to the acting to the cinematography, there was not a single thing that I was not captivated by!

As they flashed back and forth from 1961 to P.L. Travers’ childhood, the director brilliantly illustrated what a difference a Daddy makes in the life of not only a child but also the entire family.  The film shows what an involved, tender and very loving man her father was (at first) and how she cherished and idealized him.  Unfortunately, decades later, the effects of alcoholism and a tragic event, plagued the author’s life and paralyzed her from living her life.

In his book “What a Difference A Daddy Makes,” Kevin Leman makes this bold statement:

Daddy’s have the God-given responsibility to support and train up their children in the way that they should go (see Proverbs 22:6) and to be the best earthly example of what their heavenly father is like…that is the difference a “Daddy” makes!

 ★ ★ Please share this blog with all the “Daddys” you know! ★ ★

And if you would like further study about being the man who your children need you to be, you can check out all the blogs that we posted from James MacDonald’s book called “Act Like Men, 40 Days to Biblical Manhood.”  A must read book!  

Here is the first in a series of posts from the “Act Like Men” Book called. . .
★ Act Like Men – “Acting Like Men” ★

or

If you want to read all the posts on “Act Like Men” then click here.

 

 

 

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★ Thought for the Day – The Benefit of Discipline ★   

When you hear the word discipline, what comes to mind?

Adversity?
Exhaustion?
Pain/Suffering?

All of those are probably true but what I try to look at is the benefits that will come from the adversity or exhaustion or pain that will result from being disciplined whether it be in my work ethic, my finances in what I buy or don’t by or in my time at the gym (…which honestly needs to be improved….hahaha!) I like what Jim Rohn once said:

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“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”

There is a clear result of how you get from goals to success! In the book of Hebrews, chapter 12, verse 11, I really like how it is stated:

“No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

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The question is will you accept the discipline and reap its benefits or fight against it?

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★ Thought of the Day – What are You the Architect of? ★ 

I once read this definition of Architecture:

“By the simplest definition, architecture is the design of buildings, executed by architects.  However, it is more.  It is the expression of thought in building.  It is not simply construction, the piling of stones or the spanning of spaces with steel girders.  It is the intelligent creation of forms and spaces that in themselves express an idea.” 

As an Architect by vocation, this quote beautifully captures what an architect is.  Ultimately though, before any piling of stones or spanning of girders, a tremendous amount of decisions and problem solving must occur.  In both architecture and in life, I believe to be successful, these skills are paramount.

And that leads us to, what are you the Architect of?  Life is a series of decisions that we have to make, so….what choices are you making in your career and in your personal life?

On A Minute with Maxwell,  the Word was “Choices.”  John Maxwell quoted one of my favorite John Wooden quotes….

“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.”
“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.”

“In the end, the choice you make makes you.”  I love that so much!  That goes far deeper than just what career direction to go in or where you spend your 40+ hours a week….it really speaks of the level of integrity that you will walk out in your everyday life.  And it puts the responsibility right where it belongs…on me.  And on you.  What choices are you making today that down the road you will be thankful for?  Are there choices you are making that will become regrets, or areas that you are compromising in?  I think that for many people this quote is unfortunately all to true…

 

“I’m the Architect of my own disaster.”

I would like to flip it around and look at it this way…that “I’m the Architect of my own success”….Each one of us has the power to choose a life marked by integrity and honesty, but of course just like in Architecture, you have to be intelligent in what decisions you make.  Nothing changes if nothing changes.  I will close with final quote…

“The choices we make, almost always determine the level of success we have.”  John Maxwell
 
 

★ Thought for the Day – To Complain or Not to Complain ★

Mark Twain once said:

"Don't complain and talk about all your problems. 80 percent of people don't care; the other 20 percent will think you deserve them." 
“Don’t complain and talk about all your problems. 80 percent of people don’t care; the other 20 percent will think you deserve them.”

That quote may seem harsh, but I am sure you know someone, who from the moment you say hello, they go off on a rant, complaining about anything and everything.  Lets face it…complaining is fun.  It feels good to vent out all the garbage that we are going through.  I know myself, I am guilty of this more times than I would like admit.

14 - Daily Dependence - 321 PenguinsWhen my daughters were growing up they use to watch this cartoon 3-2-1 Penguins and one of my favorites episodes was “The Amazing Carnival of Complaining” which taught about the perils of complaining.

The grandmother in the story quoted from the Bible, Philippians 2:14-16,

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’  Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.”

The apostle Paul challenges us with this “anti-complaining” statement because God often uses difficult situations to mold and shape our character to be more like Jesus Christ. Easier said then done right?  But don’t you want to be “blameless and pure?”

I want to challenge you that the next time you begin to grumble and complain, stop and ask yourself what may God be trying to teach me through this circumstance?