Focal Point

Focal Point
Focal Point is more than a blog. It's purpose is to help us stay focused on Christ through Gods Word as we navigate through life and today's culture.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Name of Jesus

I have five grandchildren and one on the way. For the months that lead up to their birth, my wife and I wondered what their name would be or will be. My children and their spouse went through a variety of names for a variety of reasons until they settled on a name they both liked. For some parents they search through a baby book trying to find a name that has a good meaning to it. For others, it is a name that is connected to another family member. For others, they picked a Biblical name. Then there are those like the lady years ago whose last name was Dah who had a son and named him Zippity Do…Yes, that is the truth. My wife and I watched it on the news one night and the reporter asked her why that name. And she said she wanted her baby to be happy and then her and her mother began singing the song, “zippity do dah, zippidy aye….” Hm..I wonder if that baby will be happy now that he is a teenager. Or how about the late Texas Governor Jim Hogg (1895) who named his daughter Ima Hogg? Wikipedia says, “She endeavored to downplay her unusual name by signing her first name illegibly and having her stationery printed with "I. Hogg" or "Miss Hogg".” It’s obvious that some people put great thought into a name while others ..well.. makes one wonder.

But what is it about the name ‘Jesus’ that is so significant? What is it about His Name that is so profound and so inspiring that even today, 2,000 years removed from the events of Bethlehem that we are singing, preaching and praising His name?

When God sent His messenger to Mary declaring that she had found favor in the eyes of the Lord and she would give birth to the Son of God, God also gave instructions as to what name He was to be given. "You are to give Him the name Jesus."

Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew Joshua, Jeshua or Jehoshua. Each means "God (Yahweh) will save" or "God is salvation." Now that's some name. If that didn't convey to Mary the overarching purpose and fundamental reason for Jesus to be born, her husband-to-be had no doubts. As Joseph wrestled with what to do after finding out Mary was with child, and we are told in scripture that a angel appeared to him in a dream. Joseph was instructed to take Mary as his wife. Then, almost as if to insure both understood the importance of naming Him Jesus, the angel tells Joseph, "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21).

The entire purpose of His coming was that He might save His people from their sins. Separated from God, mankind needed a Savior. We needed someone able to remove our sin once and for all. Jesus Christ was on a mission to save all of humanity by offering Himself on the cross for our sin. The manger may seem sweet and innocent, but the cross was in clear view from that barn on that first Christmas night. He came to us and for us. He loved us so much He gave Himself. He is the most expensive gift and the perfect gift. He's the gift for all people. You might buy me a crossbow for Christmas and that wouldn't quite fit me. For someone else it would be perfect. But Jesus is perfect for all because He died for all. And His name carries that message. He is called Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.

Christmas is a celebration of Jesus. His name is wonderful. His name is great. His name is matchless. His name is above every human philosophy. His name is good. His name is great. His name is majestic. His name is glorious. His name is holy. His name is near. His name is Jesus. "God will save" because God sent His Son Jesus to save us. He was born, lived a perfect life, died for our sin and rose again. And all who "believe in the Lord Jesus Christ" will know the salvation and peace of God.

What should be our response to His name? We should praise His name, honor His name, proclaim his name, trust His name and love His name.

There truly is ‘something about that name.”

Monday, November 28, 2011

God's Faithfulness

Today I am in Springfield, Missouri visiting my daughter, her husband and our sweet granddaughter for Thanksgiving. A couple of nights before thanksgiving we were told by our son Ryan and his wife that we were going to be grandparents for the sixth time and that they were having their third child and then we found out its going to be a boy. We are so excited, and this has been a great thanksgiving.

God is so good!

But as I think about Gods goodness my mind goes directly to His greatness and faithfulness. God is Faithful! The bedrock of faith is the reality that God keeps all His promises according to His truthful and faithful character. Gods faithfulness is not some minor or secondary part of Gods character. To say that God is faithful goes to the core of who God really is.

There is no question we live a world of broken promises. People break their promises all the time. Wife to husband, husband to wife, parents to children, employer to employee, friend to friend. People break their promises, but God is true, faithful, dependable and loyal. And because God is truth, everything he says and does is certain. He is 100% reliable, 100% or the time. He does not fail, forget, falter, change or disappoint.

How many people do you know who no matter what the circumstances and no matter how they feel, always do exactly what they say they will do every single time and do it with the same thoroughness and perfection that you never have to worry about anything they say or do, because you know if they say it, they will definitely do it without fail, without change and without excuse? And, they will always do it on time? Well if you are like me, not too many people. But I do know of one and it’s the Lord.

Psalm 89:1 I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever, with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Reasons to be Thankful

This week is Thanksgiving..if there is any doubt of what we can be thankful for here is a list of reasons from Psalm 111

1 Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.

2 Great are the works of the Lord,
studied by all who delight in them.

3 Full of splendor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.

4 He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered;
the Lord is gracious and merciful.

5 He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.

6 He has shown his people the power of his works,
in giving them the inheritance of the nations.

7 The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy;

8 they are established forever and ever,
to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.

9 He sent redemption to his people;
he has commanded his covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is his name!

10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever!

Friday, November 18, 2011

How to make a new day a good day

It’s a new day, and with it comes new opportunities and possibilities. Yet like new weeks our days are often reminders of yesterday and the chance to repeat the same mistakes. I feel the same stress, same burdens, have the same decisions to make, that problem area or person is still there, that bill is still waiting to be paid and the check book is still in the red. What? My account didn’t automatically increase overnight while I was sleeping? We climb out of bed and our loved one says ‘good morning” and we respond with a grunt and before we can ever pour our coffee this new day has already started off wrong. We go to work and the first question we hear is “ how is your day going?" You respond with "Don’t even ask!"

So what can I do? Because how we start our day is up to us. I can choose to be very intentional about how I begin each day. The Bible says in Heb 12:2 ‘Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” The NIV says “Fix our eyes on Jesus..” I like that because it refers to a concentrated gaze on Jesus..our eyes are fixed, set on Him, just as a mariner or pilot has their eyes fixed on their equipment in the middle of the storm so that they stay on course.

So, it’s a new day and a new day of ministry. This is the day the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it....the question then is - ‘what can I choose to do that will make it good’?

He is a suggested list of ideas that I came across that we might start off with. I share them with my added comments.

1. Today, I will begin my day by focusing on God. He is greater than my frustrations, my disappointments, and my worries. As a result, I choose to begin my day reading my Bible and praying before I go to work. Start off with your focus on Jesus (eyes fixed on Him) rather than the mounting problems. It is very difficult to see Jesus when we are focused on the circumstances of life.

2. Today, I will begin the day with the "end in mind." I need to keep the big eternal picture in front of me. Life is so much more than whatever frustration I am experiencing at the moment. We need to live with eternity in view, not just for the temporal things of this world. Remember God has a purpose for your life and there is a life to live that is bigger than ourselves and bigger than our problems.

3. Today, I will choose to make someone else’s day just a little brighter. Smile at a person. Remember and use that person’s name. Show interest in another person’s life. I will choose to focus on someone besides myself and what is happening to me.

4. Today, I will contribute to building a more positive environment wherever I am. I will be very slow about being critical or saying something that is negative. I will be quick to point out what is good and right. We have a tendency to focus on the negative far more than the positive things in life. Make Thanksgiving day an everyday experience.

5. Today, I will say "thank you" to people who contribute in some way to my day. I will especially look for opportunities to express appreciation to people who don’t expect to hear it.

6. Today, I will choose to have an attitude that reflects the goodness of God. I will not allow circumstances or other people to change my attitude. After all, my attitude reflects who I am as God’s child and not the circumstances around me. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude in every aspect of life.

7. Today, I will in some way communicate to those who are nearest to me, my family and my friends, that I love them. Perhaps it might be in person, by sending a card, or making that phone call.

What we focus on makes a huge difference in our life.

Monday, November 7, 2011

It's a new what

It is Monday morning a beautiful cool fall day on the northern coast of California. The shades to my office window are open, I am sitting here with my Mocha and thinking about the goodness of yesterday when we were able to be in Gods house with Gods people. But that was yesterday and here we are now at the start of a new day and a new week. However, have you asked yourself, “why do they call them new days and weeks?”. I mean really, doesn’t each day and week give us the opportunity to simply repeat the day and week before, (complete with all the previous mistakes and hardships)? We get out of bed and basically say. “here we go again” - same job, chores, homework, laundry, lawn to be mowed, bills paid, on and on, over and over. Then for some there is the house cleaning and we say, “didn’t I just clean that room last week?” And, for the person who worked the night shift or the one who lost sleep tending a sick child, the new day presents another whole list of difficult things to be tackled with a tired mind and body.

Well when we allow ourselves to focus on the weekly problems we have a tendency to lose sight of God.  We face the same difficult circumstances over and over, day after day, week after week. Then what happens is, we begin to let those difficulties become our focal point. And as a result, we find it ever more difficult to see God and realize He is present.  But God’s presence prevails everywhere and in everything. God inhabits the ordinary and transforms its character into extraordinary. Whatever our crises or celebration, our boredom or adventure, God is present. To find God sometimes requires a change in attitude of heart. Choosing not to concentrate on our problems but instead choosing and realizing God is ever present is the key.

Perhaps you are looking at this new week with a bit of pessimism. Perhaps you are expecting once again as you found out last week that every bump in the road seems to steer you off course. If so, realize God is with you, He is faithful, His mercies truly are new every morning. Woodrow Wilson said, “Without God the world would be a maze without a clue.” How true that is.

This is the day that the Lord has made, rejoice and be glad in it.

Stay focused on Him

Friday, November 4, 2011

Secret to Winning in Life

Often times when watching a sporting event between two teams emotion can play a huge roll at the beginning of a game. The underdog is playing at home, emotion and excitement is running high and the team not expected to win is in fact winning. But then it happens, the tide turns, the emotion plays out, and the more experienced team begins to take over and eventually wins the game. And the question becomes of the losing team, what could we have done to sustain our edge and win? What would have been the secret to winning?

I think the same could be said of us as Christians at times in our life. What can I do to sustain my heart for God? What is the secret to Christian living and victory? Well, perhaps there is no greater verse in the Bible that actually contains the secret to Christian living than Psalm 16:8 “I have set the Lord always before me, because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved”

The Psalmist describes a practice and a result of that practice.. The practice is “setting the Lord always before me”… the result is…”I shall not be moved or shaken”. The whole point in this simple logic is we can not have this blessing of steadfastness and strength apart from the discipline of setting the Lord continually before us.

The message of this verse is that as we go down the road of life as a Christian we continually set the Lord before us in our daily walk. You see, the trends and circumstances of life constantly flow and change do they not? But the key of all spiritual life is to keep the Lord in His proper place. And something I must continually remember is that this is not something the Lord did, it is something the Psalmist did and I must do. I must constantly set the Lord before me in my heart and mind.

Now you might say, “well Steve, isn’t the Lord always around me? Isn’t He omnipresent?” Yes He is, there is no escaping God. But that is not what David is talking about in this verse. The idea is setting the Lord continually before me so that, it’s His will and His desires that are out front and not my own.

But I also see something else that is very important to daily Christian living. David said that he “always” set the Lord before him. That does not mean a one time event. It means continually – daily – repeatedly I set the Lord before me. David knew that his heart must never lead his thoughts, feet or hands in any other direction until God is established as the controlling reference point of his life – the Focal Point if you wll. And neither can I.

When out in the woods and not knowing which way to go, there is one thing I should not do: I shouldn’t go right or left until I know exactly what is north. When the compass is set to the north then I can make a proper decision. And, It’s only when the Lord is in His proper place in my life that I can then make the proper life decisions.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Do you like Chocolate?

I love chocolate, and thanks to my wife I now like dark chocolate more than milk chocolate.  But, thanks to diabetes I can't eat too much of it...bummer...however, I like chocolate candy, chocolate cake, chocolate muffins, hot fudge, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate and more chocolate.. are you with me?  Can I have an 'Amen'?

Nothing seems to taste better than when you find the perfect chocolate. And nothing is better spiritually for us than when we come across that perfect passage that speaks directly to our need.

Psalm 119: 103
How sweet are Your words to my taste,
Sweeter than honey to my mouth!

Proverbs 16:24
Pleasant words are like a honeycomb,
Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.

The Psalmist compared the Word of God to honey.  However, I have a feeling that if Chocolate had been as common in those days as it is now the word chocolate would have appeared instead.  One thing I have found that I am sure you can relate to is that when I taste that great piece of chocolate I want just one more bite (well maybe a couple more).  As I study the Word of God often I find a tasty morsel. The Word is sweet and pleasant to the taste. Finding a morsel is what I am looking for as I go through the Bible. The morsel will lead to more.  And, the more I take in of Gods Word, the better off spiritually I will be.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What's in your wallet?

We all have seen the Capital One card commercial that says “What’s in your wallet?” I especially remember the commercial when the Vikings a storming upon this poor guy when at the last minute he pulls his Capital One card out of his wallet and the rushing attackers just go away. Well wouldn’t that be great if that were true spiritually. That when the forces of hell come charging at us with all types of temptations we can simply pull out our spiritual one card and they all go away. Boy I sure wish I could at times don't you? Well unfortunately we can't and that’s why we need to ask the question not “what’s in your wallet?” but rather “what’s in your mind?” Because the thoughtlife is one of the great battlefields of the Christian life. Satan knows that if he can win this battle, he will most likely win the war in our life

Several years ago fifteen college professors concluded after their study on the brain that: what the mind attends to, it considers; what the mind does not attend to, it dismisses; what the mind attends to continually, it believes; and what the mind believes, it eventually does. Simply put, whatever we think about is what we become and do. This is why Solomon said in Prov 23:7 “For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” And as another anonymous author wrote:

Sow a thought,
Reap an act,
Sow an act,
Reap a habit,
Sow a habit,
Reap a character,
Sow a character,
Reap a destiny.

Whatever we dwell on in our minds will eventually be displayed in our life. Attitudes becomes actions. There is nothing any of us has ever done that the decision was not first made in our minds. What we do in life is the sum total of our thoughts. That is why the Apostle Paul address this subject in Philippians 4:8-9. Paul knew the importance of the mind, the importance of our thinking in regards to having the right perspective in life, living and acting right.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Connected to God

A word that I got today from God is that sometimes we connect with God, we get the experience and we think that is enough. Enough to get by our day, we think that it is enough because we encountered God. It's good but its more than the encounter we get in the room, it goes beyond the church, the connection we get in the room/church. Its turning the connection we get from an experience to a relationship. If we go to God just for the connection to make us feel good then we are using God for an unworthy purpose.
The fruit of the encounter should cause us to love Jesus more, not a life of discipline going 'oh I must love God more, I have to pray, I must read my bible' but rather these disciplines are the result of the heart being set on fire from God. You see when someone loves you, our response is to love them back.  A one way love is not a relationship at all but it takes two party loving, connecting and communicating with one another.

I just want to encourage you to turn your experience to a relationship. Loving Jesus, Loving people more. Being set apart for Him and eat the goodness He has for you from the word

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. " John 15:5-6

Friday, May 13, 2011

The need for personal revival

While I was having my devotions, I came across the lyrics to this song called ‘Times of Refreshing’.

Well, I thank You Lord, that You are my Saviour
You’re my strength and You’re the rock on which I stand
You give me life and a grace that greater
When I humble myself beneath your mighty hand.

You bring times of refreshing
You bring times of refreshing
You bring times of refreshing to my soul
When I’m weary from the fight
And trying to do what’s right
You bring times of refreshing to my soul.

I thought how true that song is and how I often need those times of refreshing. How about you? I know we all do. We need those times that our soul is refreshed and made new. But not only do we need those days when our spirit is refreshed but often we need a revival in our heart, I know I do. Revival is the sovereign work of God that God's people must desire. The need for renewal and refreshing is always a significant need among God's people. We need daily revival. As a body of believers in the Church of our Lord we also need seasons of revival.

Psa. 85:6-7 Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? 7 Show us your unfailing love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation.

Revival is the refusal to hide, cover, excuse, deny and ignore the corruption within us called sin. It is being honest about our sinful condition along with the renewed desire to be clean and wholly surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Psa. 51:10-11 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.

Revival is the restoration of joy of the salvation that is God's precious possession shared generously with us. It is the granting of a willing spirit.

Psa. 51:12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Revival is the renewed desire to obey the word of God in the practical expressions of our daily living.

Psa. 119:9-11 How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. 10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. 11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

Revival is the restoring of the reverence for God. It is a longing for the perfecting holiness of the Lord Jesus.

2Cor. 7:1 Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

Revival is the refreshed reality of being cleansed from besetting sin.

John 15:3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.

Revival is renewed obedience.

Psa. 119:16-17 I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word. 17 Do good to your servant, and I will live; I will obey your word.

Revival is the revelation of deception in our lives. It is the clear and simple desire to obey the word of God. It is the longing to please and honor the Lord.

James 1:22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

Revival is a renewed disgust for worthless things.

Psa. 119:37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.

Revival is the rekindled desire to put away the old nature and experience the new life in Christ with is holiness and power.

Eph. 4:22-24 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Revival is the releasing of the resilience of God's Spirit within us. It is the God-given ability to not surrender to defeat. It is the renewal of our spirit daily. It is not instant anything except the touch of God upon our lives. This is out of His grace and love for us and His bride, the Church.

2Cor. 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

Revival is God's desire. Is it yours? Ask Him to bring revival to your life.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Text messages, Facebook and Jesus

What a world of technology we live in today. The ways to connect with people is absolutely amazing. Now, I have not seen the movie, but I recall the line from the movie “He’s just not that into you” where Drew Barrymore says “I had this guy leave me a voice mail at work so I called him at home and then he e-mailed me to my Blackberry and so I texted to his cell and then he e-mailed me to my home account and the whole thing just got out of control. And I miss the days when you had one phone number and one answering machine and that one answering machine has one cassette tape and that one cassette tape either had a message from a guy or it didn't. And now you just have to go around checking all these different portals just to get rejected by seven different technologies. It's exhausting” Yes things have changed that is for sure. So while there are in fact more ways to be rejected, there are so many ways to stay connected. And that we do, and we do it well. From facebook, myspace, youtube, text messages, skype, twitter, iphones, blackberry, and every other type of cell phone and device. Not only do we have these means of communication but we use them fervently, religiously. We text while we drive (though in some states it’s against the law), walk, watching TV, eating, working, and exercising. Facebook? Well that speaks for itself how often we are all on that. Cells phones are surgically attached to our bodies and people with a Bluetooth headset protruding from above their ear. The malls, airports and sidewalks are filled with people walking around as it would seem talking to themselves. Oh, how we communicate today. We put people on hold when our cell phone goes off. We check our ‘incoming messages’ while talking to someone personally, sitting in a meeting, or church. After all, we have to look at and answer all these messages and do so now. And what is amazing and sometimes rude is that it actually takes the priority over the person we are talking who is standing right there in front of us. The line we give is …“I gotta take this call”. I want to say, “wait a minute, I was here first”.

Now, I wonder what the Lord thinks about all this? Personally, I have no idea. But I do have an idea of what He thinks when he sees us put Him on hold. When He sees himself not having the same priority in our life like these devices we faithfully use and messages we frequently get. I wonder if He would say to us, “do MY WORDS have the same priority in your life as your text messages, facebook posts and incoming cell calls? ….You stop what you are doing, you excuse yourself from others, it’s the first thing you check in the morning – afternoon – and evening so that you can communicate with others, so…why do I not have that place in your life. Why are you so busy that you don’t have time for me? You communicate so well with others, please communicate with me and let me communicate with you.”

You see, I am not just writing a blog to you, I am writing what God is speaking to me about. God is saying, “Steve, you sure don’t have a problem finding time to check facebook so how about finding more time to spend time with me?....Steve, you like to stay connected with people, so how about staying connected with me. Steve, how about putting me at the top of your priority list too”

We are going through a series on crazy love at church that is based on Francis Chans book. One of the things that God is challenging me with is this realization that God wants me to pursue Him everyday. And the way I pursue Him is by connecting with Him everyday, keeping Him on my mind as I am on His ..every moment. See, as a Pastor and simply as a husband and a man, I find myself so drawn away by so many distractions. Yet, I seem to find the time for facebook, and text messages….don’t you?...Lord, help me to spend time with you… I want to stay in constant communication with you Lord…I need you, I need your wisdom and direction.. We might say, If the Lord would send me a text message I would take it and read it..well, you know He did, it is in His Word and our communication comes by taking the time to read it daily and spending time with Him in prayer.

See - We can get so busy that we put off the most important things in our life and the most necessary things. It happens me, and I know it can happen to you

Friday, February 4, 2011


I love the line in White Christmas when Danny Kaye is trying to convince Bing Crosby they should go to Vermont because as he puts it "it should be wonderful this time of the year, all that snow".  I especially like it right now because as I sit in our sons home in Murfreesboro, Tn the forecast for tonight is snow.  However, while I would love to wake up to all the white stuff on the ground in the morning, it will keep my dad from traveling from Georgia tomorrow to see us and I dont want it still on the ground come Monday when Karen and I need to make our way to Springfield, Missouri to see our daughter and her family where they have already an abundance of snow.

Then as I was driving to pick up my granddaughter from school today I passed a church that had one of those supposedly 'witty' sayings on their church sign.  I have seen it everyday and and everyday it reminds me why I do not want a church sign that has the ability to post those 'witty' sayings because those sayings turn into 'corny' sayings.. This sign said "Jesus loves you 'snow' much"  ...

Well..with the forecast for snow and a sign that reads like that, I got thinking about what the Bible says about snow.  I would encourage you to do a search for the word snow in the Bible. You will find some really neat uses of the word. Psalm 51:7 speaks of the kind of cleansing that David desired from God. Isaiah 1:18 declares that though God's people's sins were as red as scarlet, God would make them white as snow. Isaiah 55:10-11 describes how Gods word doesn't return void, but accomplishes what it intends, the way snow waters the earth.

So in many ways, snow preaches the Gospel! All of these verses were written before Jesus was crucified, how much more do they ring true with the perfected work of the Word made Flesh applied to our lives?! His blood, His suffering, His pain, His death, washes us and cleanses us so that we are whiter than snow and this word, this Gospel, will not return void, but will accomplish what God intends. We now not only stand forgiven in God's sight, but righteous, white, clean, pure, blameless, justified.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Overcoming Disappointments

Everyone knows disappointment sooner or later. Friends break their word, marriages end in divorce, our children move away, colleagues betray us, the company lays us off, doctors, can’t cure us, our investments disappear, our dreams are shattered, the best-laid plans go astray, other Christians disappoint us, and very often, we disappoint ourselves. We live in a world of disappointment, and if we don’t come to grips with this truth, we are doomed to be unhappier tomorrow than we are today. John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the U.S. wrote in his diary: “My life has been spent in vain and idle aspirations”. We all want to do something, we all make certain assumptions and have expectations about life. But if those expectations are not met, we are disappointed. There is a strong correlation between good mental health and having assumptions that match reality. And there is a high correlation between misplaced assumptions and having a variety of emotional problems, including depression. Put simply, we are disappointed when things don’t go the way we thought they were going to go. Wrong expectations lead to disappointment, and disappointment leads to despair.

Now, with all that said. Don’t let your discouragement keep you from doing what you know you have to do in life. If you can’t follow the big plan, follow the small one. If you can’t see ten steps into the future, then take two or three steps. Or just take the next step in front of you. I posted on facebook last week this quote from John Maxwell. “The smallest act of obedience is better than the greatest intention” You know, he is right. Better to do a little than sit around dreaming about doing a lot. If you cannot obey God in some grand gesture, then obey Him in the small things of life. Do what you know needs to be done and do it for the glory of God.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

God's Will

God’s will usually guides us into areas of life where we are gifted, have strengths, passions, and desires. If you are trying to figure God’s will out, start with these questions:

What am I gifted to do? What am I passionate about? What stresses me out? What breaks my heart? What motivates me to action? Where do I fit in? Where do I excel? What doesn’t feel like work to me? What does feel like work to me? What brings me peace? What do others see in me (strengths/weaknesses)? What do I think needs to be changed?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Imitators of God

God has blessed me with 5 grandchildren. I love watching them grow up and learn new things even if it is at times from afar. And the more I watch them I realize they are becoming more like their parents. I see little things they do that is just like their mother and father. The more they grow, the more they will imitate them  – as my children did with me and I with my parents.

Now my prayer as a Grandfather is that my sons and daughter and their spouses will live in such a way that my grandchildren will want to imitate those God like things they see in them. And, I might add, the godly qualities they see in their grandparents as well.

It has been said that people become like the people whom they admirer and spend time with. So if we are spending time with our children and they admire us, then they will become like us…so that means we better be spending time with the Lord and becoming more like Him-so that they ultimately become like Jesus.

One of the ways we can become imitators of God is to let the Lord Jesus live His life through us in the power of His Spirit. And, when you live by the power of the Holy Spirit He will open your eyes so that you can see yourself more clearly. The more your eyes are opened to yourself, you will become aware of the things in your life that are so not like Him.

Have you ever looked at a pond out in a field? You walk by it one day and the water seems clear, you walk by a day or so later and the pond is muddied or filled with debris. What happened? Well it started months before when leaves and twigs fell to the surface, floated for awhile then sank to the bottom and out of sight. Then something stirred the waters and all the debris rose to the surface once again reminding you just how unclean the pond really was. Well this is what happens in our life. We allow things to fall in on our life, hang around for awhile then settle to the bottom. Then we wonder what is wrong with us, why are we acting like we do? Well if we will allow the Holy Spirit to do His work, He will stir our hearts and brings to the surface of our life those areas that should not be there. We may not like what comes up and what we see. But if we will deal with them by confessing, repenting and turning from those things, we will begin to walk in such away where we ourselves are becoming imitators of God.