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Showing posts from 2012

RESOLUTE PURPOSE

Bruce Springsteen is all but retired now, but in the 80's he was one of the hardest working people in the entertainment business. His concerts typically last 4 hours—and whether he is playing to 20,000 people in an outdoor arena, or just a few hundred people in a small room, he gives 100% of himself to every performance. The encore alone lasts 45 minutes. At one point in every performance the band dramatically stops playing and Springsteen shouts into the microphone, "I'm just a prisoner of rock and roll!"

All his life he's been obsessed with playing music. He is, indeed, a prisoner of rock and roll. Nothing could stand in his way. Springsteen pursued his career in music with unbridled enthusiasm, and ultimately became the biggest name in rock music. Only then did he decide to settle down, get married, and start a family. Till that moment, he gave his life to rock and roll. In the very same way, the Apostle Paul gave his life to preaching the gospel. In Romans Pau…

Christmas Grows Your Heart Three Sizes

In the classic Christmas tale How the Grinch Stole Christmas, written by Dr. Seuss’, the central figure Mr. Grinch suffers from having a small heart. The fundamental issue of his heart problem is his lack of understanding the meaning of Christmas. As the story unfolds, the Grinch attempts to put a stop to Christmas, however, in the end, he comes to understand what Christmas is all about and his heart grows three sizes! The Grinch’s enlarged heart makes a big difference in his life.

The Grinch has the feel of a Christian parable. This may not have been Dr. Seuss’ intentions in 1957 when he wrote this children’s book, but it suggests to me a parallel of the change that takes place in a person’s life when they come to understand the true meaning of Christmas which proclaims the birth of Jesus, God’s Son, who was born to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). When the light of the Gospel according to Christmas dawns upon the heart of a person, God replaces the old heart of stone,…

JUST BE YOU

You are different from every other person on this planet ... and that's exactly what God had in mind all along. God always knew that you would be you, and that was fine with him. In fact, you were exactly what he wanted. As Rick Warren says in Purpose Driven Life, "Long before you were conceived by your parents, you were conceived in the mind of God."

In Psalm 139:16 King David put it this way: All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

The Apostle Paul laid it out like this in Acts 17:26: From one man He has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live. 

You may sometimes wonder… "God, why did you put me here? Why this place? Why this family? Why these limitations?" The answer is that God placed you here and now because he has a plan for you — something only you can do. 

In Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye asks the Lord, "Would it spoil s…

Give The Gift of Forgiveness

When another’s actions hurt you, what is the first thing that crosses your mind: forgiveness, or exacting your pound of flesh? Most of us want the people who have caused us pain to experience a bit of their own discomfort or suffering. For most of us, we understand the idea of forgiveness, but at this point it seems absurd because we’re caught up in our own anger or resentment. 

A story is told of a man in Spain who had a teenage son. Like a lot of relationships with teenagers, this one was strained. It finally deteriorated to the point where the son ran away from home. His father, though, moved with deep and passionate love, began a desperate search to find his son.

After many months went by, he finally decided to put an ad in the “personals” section of the local newspaper. The ad read, “Dear Paco, meet me in front of the newspaper office, Tuesday at noon, all is forgiven. I love you. Your Dad.” On Tuesday, the man showed up at the newspaper office to discover that 800 “Pacos” had come…

DIG IN!

For just a moment imagine that you have been invited to a special Christmas dinner at a good friend’s home. Your friend has prepared a feast and you are the guest of honor. All of your favorite foods are sitting around the table. All of the food looks great. Everything smells delicious. 

Everyone sits down at the table. “Help yourself,” your host says. People begin to pick up bowls and platters and pass them your way. You hold a bowl and say, “Mmmmm, it smells so delicious.” Then you pass the plate without taking any food. Then a platter is passed to you. Again, you comment as you pass the plate on to someone else, “This looks scrumptious!” You keep passing the plates never taking any of the food.

Imagine your friend’s response. “What are you doing? Why won’t you take anything? I’ve worked so hard! Don’t you care for it? I thought these dishes were your favorite!” Finally, you reply, “Well yes, they are my favorites foods, but no, I don’t actually eat the food. I just look and breathe i…

B-LAME

Lou Holtz an ESPN college football analyst and former coach said something once that rings true both on and off the field of play — The one who complains about the way ball bounces is likely the one who dropped it.

I've also noticed that when many people drop the ball, their first reaction is not, "Oops, I dropped the ball." Their first reaction is, "Who can I pin this on? Whose fault is it? There must be something wrong with the ball. There must be something wrong the way the quarterback handed it to me. There must be something wrong with the coach. There must be something wrong with the rules of the game..." And in an election year, it's the Republicans' fault or it's the Democrats' fault. But it never seems to be the fault of the guy who dropped the ball.

There are those who spend their entire lives this way— every dropped ball is a reason to complain and a reason to place blame. I think we all have this tendency. In fact, this tendency goes a…

POINT of REFERENCE

When I was preparing to graduate from seminary, I began working on my resumé. As a graduate, I was proud of my education, my honors and achievements, and of the experiences I had accumulated. I was ready to meet the lost world and for the lost world to meet me! I had every intention of landing the perfect church situation after the first interview and beginning my life as a pastor.

I only faced one small obstacle: I wanted a letter of reference from one of the hardest professors in my department. This particular professor was happy to be a reference if the student wrote his own letter describing his or her strengths, weaknesses, areas of growth, and personal assessment of future potential. He would read the letter, make any suggestions for change and then sign the finished product. It was a daunting task and one that made me nauseous.

I don’t remember what I wrote in my letter, but I do remember his comment. “You have a good grasp of Romans 12:3.” At the time I had little understandi…

GOD I’M NOT

I have always tried to comply with the saying: “I am thankful that God is God and I am not.” While reading the story of Joseph, this cornerstone phrase hit me with a new insight.

As a boy, Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers. He was bought by an Egyptian, who learned to trust him and put him in charge of his entire household; however, his master’s wife plotted against him and he was thrown into jail. Joseph spent a number of years in prison, but while there, he successfully interpreted the dreams of two of Pharaoh’s workers. Two years later, when Pharaoh finally heard of this, he called for Joseph to interpret his dreams. Pharaoh saw great wisdom in Joseph and knew God was with him, so he put Joseph second in command over all of Egypt. 

Years later, Joseph’s brothers came looking for food because of famine in the land. Joseph has the perfect opportunity to pay back the wrong inflicted on him by his brothers, but he does not. He embraces them, gives them gifts and calls fo…

Seasonal Judgment

Ask a person to describe a fruit tree during each of the four different seasons and you’ll receive four very different answers. In winter, a barren tree exists. In spring, the tree will have leaves and colorful blossoms. In summer, a tree full of fruit is seen. And, in autumn, the tree is fading in color and its leaves are falling. If a person is asked to describe the tree at a certain time of the year, he or she will describe it based on its current condition; however, that description, although accurate at the time, is not the whole story. The tree changes through the different seasons and the person would have to be patient in order to see the tree in all its seasons and capture a complete description. 

Many times, the same concept can be applied to how we judge people in times of conflict. What we may describe at any given point may be an accurate description, but may not reflect the whole story. Both circumstances and people change. 

The specific situations in which people find t…

SMILE!

Have you ever noticed how people respond when they are in front of a camera? Take weddings for example. A lot of pictures are taken to capture the moment for the bride and groom to treasure for years to come. A new trend that has emerged at these events is a photo booth. You get into the booth and put on a variety of costumes for three rapid-fire poses then pick the best one to paste to the new couples memory album. It’s a lot of fun.

Looking over some of those snap shots it’s easy to see that some people know how to “turn it on.” Someone could be having a bad day, emotions all over the place, but when you hold a camera in front of them and say, “cheese,” they will flash one of the biggest, brightest smiles you have ever seen. It makes for great pictures, but I can’t help but think how often I do this myself. Instead of letting those close to me know how I feel and what is happening in my life, I simply put on the smile everyone wants to see. I don’t think that is always what God …

TIME TO STAGE A COMEBACK

Last week’s Monday Night Football featured an AFC West divisional game pitting the Denver Broncos against the San Diego Chargers. Peyton Manning and the Broncos overcame a 24-0 halftime deficit to beat San Diego 35-24. 

The four-time league MVP and 2006 Super Bowl winner completed 13 out of 14 passes for 167 yards and three scores in the third and fourth quarters hitting everything in a Denver jersey with precision. The result eclipsed Manning’s previous best second half turnaround of 21 points and equaled the second biggest halftime comeback in the Super Bowl era. It also tied for fourth as the greatest comeback from any point in a game in NFL history.

Peyton will never forget this game. And we should never forget the lesson it teaches. “You're never too far behind to stage a comeback."

Yeah, we desperately need to remember this fact. No matter how many times you have fallen, no matter how far from victory you may appear to be, there's still time to stage a comeback. 

It…

GOD SMILES

A little boy wanted to meet God but didn’t know where God lived.So the boy packed his backpack with Twinkies and a six-pack of root beer and started out on his quest. When he had walked a few blocks, he met an old woman who was sitting in the park watching some pigeons. The boy sat down next to her and opened his backpack. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old lady looked hungry, so he offered her a Twinkie. She gracefully accepted it and smiled at him. Her smile was so appealing that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered her a root beer. Once again she returned the favor by smiling at him. The boy was delighted! Together, they sat all afternoon eating and smiling.  As darkness fell, the boy realized it was time to go home, after taking a few steps; he turned around, ran back to the old woman and gave her a hug. She gave him her biggest smile ever. When the boy arrived back home a short time later, his mother was curious about the look of …

PERFECT LEADER

The English art critic and social thinker John Ruskin said, "The highest reward for a person's toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it." 

In what ways is your work transforming you? Since WORK is not without its difficulties, some who are gainfully employed let the long hours; low pay, unseen results, and undeserved criticism make them bitter and unproductive—just in it for the pay check. 

The book of Hebrews says that Christ was made perfect through his sufferings. This is not referring to Christ's sinless perfection; he had already achieved that. "Perfect" here refers to his fully realizing his potential — fully accomplishing the mission that God had given him. How was this accomplished? Through suffering. His suffering brought many to salvation. 

And it was only right that God — who made everything and for whom everything was made — should bring his many children into glory. Through the suffering of Jesus, God made him a perfect lead…

MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE

In Fast Company Magazine there was an article that articulates a conversation that took place between the sculptor Henry Moore and the literary critic Donald Hall. Hall said to Moore, “Now that you’re 80 years old, you must know the secret of life. What is it?” 

This great artist thought for a moment and he said, “The secret of life is to have a task, something you do your entire life, something you bring everything to, every minute of the day, for your whole life. And the most important thing is: It must be something you cannot possibly do.” 

Paul talks about the ‘one thing’ in his life: preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. He says... “Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16) Sharing the gospel was the one thing that motivated Paul. It drove him forward day after day.

What about you? 

Is there something of which you can say, "Woe to me if I do not do this"? What one thing do y…

HEART GLADNESS

Christ-followers are to have a heart of gladness; however we must take care that the source of our gladness be found in the Lord Jesus Christ. We should sing like David, “To God—the source of all my joy.” (Psalm 149:2) Every attribute of God should become a fresh ray of sunshine for our gladness. After all, our Lord reigns and is King of Kings! We are so blessed that He sits on the throne and rules over all things. Knowing that He is wisdom should make us glad because on our own we get into all kinds of foolishness. Our God is mighty. We are weak. He is everlasting.We wither like grass under the pressures of life. Jehovah is unchanging.We chase every new idea in hopes that the change will be just what we longed for when in reality it leaves us more unstable than before. What really should make you glad is God is full of grace. He is overflowing with it! Grace is His covenant He has given us. It is here to cleanse us to sanctify us, to protect us to bring us to His glory. If that doesn’t …

NEW CHAPTER

On December 9, 1914, fire swept through the factories owned by Thomas Edison in West Orange, New Jersey. The damage totaled millions of dollars. Practically everything of Edison's was destroyed, including journals and records of works in progress. Edison was not a young man at the time this happened. Many people sent condolences and notes of sympathy, expecting that this tragedy would prompt his retirement. Edison's response? "I am 67, but I'm not too old to make a fresh start."
It's not too late for your fresh start, either. It doesn't matter how old you are. Neither does it matter how much you have lost in the fires of the past. Today is a new day, a fresh start is yours for the taking. I have friends who entered the mission field in their sixties. I also have friends who have launched new businesses after retirement. Chuck Swindoll planted a new church in Frisco, TX at the age of 64. My point however isn’t about age. It's about never losing the capaci…

ORDINARY DOING EXTRAORDINARY

What are you doing right now that you could not do without the help of our supernatural God? When we think of the word faith, we often think of the most incredible miracles we've ever heard about. I don't know about you but I believe in those kinds of miracles of faith. Sometimes God chooses to heal a person with cancer or other health issues. In fact, I've even heard of God giving a van supernatural extra gas mileage when a group of people were smuggling Bibles into a country where Bibles were forbidden. There are other times when people have just as much faith but God chooses not to heal or do a miracle. 

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.... And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him (Hebrews 11:1, 6).

Faith is also ordinary people doing extraordinary things with their lives. Faith is... Bob Wieland walking across…

SET FREE

In the movie Bonnie and Clyde one scene depicts the couple at a hideout, not able to leave because the cops are on their trail. It has become obvious to them that this life of crime isn’t as glamorous as they had once imagined.

Bonnie Parker is dreaming of a new life somewhere, a clean life, a second chance where they could start over and live as other people do. She asks Clyde, “What would you do if some miracle occurred and we were able to walk out of here clean, with no record, and nobody after us? What would you do?"
Clyde Barrow thinks for a moment and says something along the lines of, “I guess I'd do things different. First, I wouldn't live in the same state where I pulled my bank jobs, and when I wanted to rob a bank, I'd go to another state..." Bonnie’s body language showed great disappointment. This isn't at all what she had in mind. 

This is just how some people get confused about grace. 

The Bible tells us that “There is now no condemnation for thos…

REPRESENT

But He answered, “You give them something to eat.” They said to Him, “That would take eight months of a man’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?” “How many loaves do you have?” He asked. “Go and see.” (Mark 6:37-38)

Jesus on the shore of the Sea of Galilee with his disciples some two thousand years ago, while standing in the midst of hungry people, asked a most penetrating question,

“How many loaves do you have?”

The twelve disciples, astonished at the question, essentially replied, “We don’t know. And even if we did, would it really matter?” They were so blinded by the need that they could not even begin to acknowledge that the solution was right before them, perhaps even within their very hands.

What Jesus said to His disciples, He says to us: “Go and see.”

Perhaps what you are looking for—the very solution—is closer than you ever imagined. It might be in your own two hands. It may sound trite, but it’s profoundly true. As Christians, we are…

DON’T GIVE UP!

There is a story about a writer, in his fifties, who had written a manuscript for a book and sent it to several publishers without success. He grew so discouraged that he threw the manuscript into the wastepaper basket. As his wife tried to salvage the manuscript, he told her sternly. "We've wasted enough time on it. I forbid you to remove it from the wastebasket!"

Well, you know how well that works. She decided the manuscript should be seen by at least one more publisher. When she arrived at that publisher's office she pulled out the most unusual looking package that the publisher had ever received as a manuscript. Underneath a wrapping of brown paper was a wastepaper basket still holding the writer's manuscript. This way, she reasoned, she was not technically going against her husband's wishes. She did not retrieve the manuscript—the publisher did it for her. And when he read it, he loved it.

The writer in this story is Norman Vincent Peale; the manuscript wa…

TEENS NEED PARENTS

In the September 10, 1997 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association one of its articles shed light on a federally funded study of 12,000 teenagers. The research yielded an unexpected finding— teenagers still need their parents. It may seem to us that everything we say goes in one ear and out the other, but the fact is—according JAMA—parents play a significant role in their lives.

The study revealed that teenagers, who don't smoke, drink, have sex, take drugs, or commit acts of violence, refrain from doing these things because of two basic factors. The first, was feeling loved by their parents. The second was feeling comfortable in their school.

Researchers also found that if parents expect adolescents to get good grades and refrain from sex, teenagers tend to be influenced by those expectations. Moreover, the study showed that it doesn't matter about the family's income, or their race, or whether both parents work, or whether there is only parent at home—the m…

RELAX ENJOY

What can you say? It’s just plain hot in our part of the world right now. I guess most are wondering if we will ever see another drop of precipitation. Is it ever going to rain? Considering our propensity to complain no matter what the weather conditions, there are two lessons to learn. First, we often have to wait a long time for the things we enjoy most in life. Second, waiting matures us and creates a greater sense of appreciation and value for the blessings of life.

So, as you pray for our dry parched land to receive those sweet drops of liquid refreshment from heaven and cool off a bit, thank God for what you do have rather than complaining about what you don’t have. And as you wait during these dog-days of summer, relax and enjoy some of my favorite t-shirt one-liners.

Change is inevitable except for a vending machine.

Sometimes I wake up grumpy — other times I let her sleep.

Women who aspire to be equal with men lack ambition.

Ever stop to think and forget to start again?

It is as ba…

Work Matters

God has uniquely wired you (Psalm 139) and placed you (Acts 17:26-27) with intrinsic abilities and gifts to make a difference at your place of employment. There is an importance in the work you do. You must walk into work with a sense of calling. Knowing that what the Lord has given you to do does matter. It can be worship. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people. (Colossians 3:23-24 GNT)

The Bible makes no division between the secular and the sacred. “Slaves, obey your masters here on earth with fear and respect and from a sincere heart, just as you obey Christ. You must do this not only while they are watching you, to please them. With all your heart you must do what God wants as people who are obeying Christ. Do your work with enthusiasm. Work as if you were serving the Lord, not as if you were serving only men and women.” (Ephesians 6:5-8 NCV)

Every task we undertake whether paid or unpaid is to be done unto the …

LORD OVER THE LITTLE THINGS

We all have days when the wheels fall off and every little thing that can go wrong does go wrong. Often our biggest problems are those little problems that keep adding up to frustrations, irritations and then a very bad attitude.

The apostle Paul says dealing with these frustrations is actually and acid test for your Christianity; it is what separates believers and unbelievers in the eyes of others. Philippians 2:14 states, “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.”

If Jesus isn’t Lord of the little things in your life, then, he’s not really Lord. Your faith isn’t as much determined by what do or how you perform in service to the Lord, but it is how you act on Monday morning.

If you’re sinking in the pool of frustration ask yourself first, “Am I to blame?” The Bible declares in Galatians 6:7, “A man reaps what he sows.” O…

MEDIOCRITY CHECK

In a few weeks the Dallas Cowboys will begin training camp in preparation for the 2012 NFL season. Every year there is talk about making it to the Super Bowl only to discover for one reason or another they fail in their attempt. I’m not an official sports analyst but if I were I would describe the past sixteen years this way: They have a tendency to play at the level of their opponents. Because of that they find themselves coming up short on the score board in games that make a critical difference in their season. If this doesn’t change I would say that their mediocrity will catch up them and they won't be serious contenders for the Super Bowl this year. That’s my two cents ;(

Mediocrity is a curse convincing us that a partial effort — 80 % if necessary, 50% when we can get away with it — is always good enough. Mediocrity does what it can to avoid a bad showing, but rarely concerns itself with an excellent showing.

This is a great danger if it is allowed to creep into the church. If…

WORK A LITTLE HARDER

Simply looking at the ratings Jay Leno is at the top of late night TV. Leno has twice as many viewers as Letterman and four times as many as Conan and Jimmy Kimmel. But early on there was a time when it didn’t look so promising for him.

It was in 1992 when Jay first took over the job from Johnny Carson. It was at the same time a disappointed David Letterman left to start his own show on CBS. The first couple of years Jay lost in the ratings and there were times when his future at NBC was uncertain. So how did he climb to the top? Bob Wright, CEO of NBC, said "Jay put his head down and wrote three more jokes every night. Talent by itself is not necessarily reliable. He has talent, and he is willing to work long hard hours at it." In an online article from of Fortune Magazine, Leno’s comment was, "Show business is not hard. It’s all just basic Dale Carnegie stuff." 

I get motivated when I read stories about success that come from hard work. One reason is that those who…

BE HAPPY IF YOU’VE A MIND TO

Do you remember the witty and talented country/folk singer Roger Miller? He was born January 2, 1936 in Fort Worth and died on October 25, 1992 of lung cancer at the age of 56. He sang such memorable songs like, Chug a Lug, Dang Me, and King of the Road. And who could forget, You Can’t Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd — here are the words:

You can't roller skate in a buffalo herd You can't roller skate in a buffalo herd
You can't roller skate in a buffalo herd,
BUT YOU CAN BE HAPPY IF YOU'VE A MIND TO.
You can't take a shower in a parakeet cage
You can't take a shower in a parakeet cage
You can't take a shower in a parakeet cage
BUT YOU CAN BE HAPPY IF YOU'VE A MIND TO.
And the chorus goes...
All you gotta do is put your mind to it
Knuckle down, buckle down, and do it do it do it. 
(Here is a link to the song on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skFWsc_-i14 )
If you were alive in the sixties, chances are you've heard it. That tune has been going around a…

GUIDANCE

If you are not guided by God, you will be guided by someone or something else." (Eric Liddell) 

The majority of folks get their sense of direction, as well as their general sense of right and wrong, from their peers. I would say that this applies to most believers as well. We let the group do our thinking for us: what we should want, what we should like, what we should do, and where we should go. This is why sins such as racism, gossip, and greed are overlooked in some circles, while "sins" such as voting the wrong way or listening to the wrong music are accentuated and considered central.

Getting guidance from God means that you'll often stand alone, but it also means that you'll see more clearly than the rest. As David said, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." (Psalm 119:105)

Our challenge is to look to God, not culture for guidance — not even the evangelical Christian subculture. Let God's Word establish your steps and dictat…

COMPLETE THE HANDOFF

Bryan Wilkerson in his book, From Generation to Generation, relates this story. In the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, the American women's 4 x 100 relay race was favored to win the gold medal. The team featured Marion Jones, a sprinter who had won four gold medals at the previous games in Sydney. The American team was already off to a strong start when Jones took the baton for the second leg of the race. She gained ground as she ran her 100 meters and approached Lauryn Williams, a young speedster who would run the third leg.

Williams began running as Jones drew near, but when she reached back to receive the baton, they couldn't complete the handoff. Once, twice, three times Jones thrust the baton forward, but each time it missed William's hand--she couldn't seem to wrap her fingers around it. Finally, on the fourth try, they made the connection. But by that time, they had crossed out of the 20-yard exchange zone and were disqualified. Everyone knew they w…

SELF-ENCOURAGEMENT

I was walking out of the grocery store the other day, deep in what you might call self-conversation, not really paying attention to anything or anyone around me. Suddenly, a man behind me began screaming at the top of his lungs. It scared the life out of me. I turned around to see where the noise was coming from. It was a wild-eyed man in raggedy clothes talking to no one but himself. My first thought was, "What a pity. This poor, disenfranchised homeless person is standing on the street talking to himself." And then I realized that before he started making noise, I had been doing the very same thing: talking to myself. The only difference between him and me was volume. Well, maybe that wasn't the only difference. Maybe the content of the conversation was different.

Some people think that talking to yourself is a sign that you're going crazy. Actually, research indicates that the act of using personal verbal clues can help an individual function more effectively. In o…

EVERLASTING WAYS

What God has done at one particular time, He will do again. Man's ways are inconsistent, but God's ways are everlasting. That is the statement made by the prophet in Habakkuk chapter three and verse six. There are many reasons why this is a comforting truth. Let me list a few.

First, the Lord's ways are the result of wise thought. He has ordered all things according to the direction of His own will. Our actions are frequently the hasty result of passion, or fear, and are followed by regret and a change of heart. In contrast, nothing can take the Almighty by surprise, or happen otherwise than He has foreseen. 

Second, His ways are the outgrowth of an unchallengeable character. These ways are fixed and settled attributes of God and can be clearly seen. Unless the Eternal One Himself can undergo change, His ways, which are Himself in action, must remain for ever the same. Is He eternally just, gracious, faithful, wise, and tender? Then His ways must always be distinguished for …

PROCESSING the GOAL

Countless books and articles have been written about the need for specific goal setting. Someone once said that without goals there can be no achievement — so we’re encouraged to make a detailed list of everything we want, from professional achievements to material acquisitions. 

The problem with this way of thinking is that it gets us focused on the wrong thing. We become successful not by eyeing the destination, but by tending to the details of the journey. Yes, it’s good to know where you’re going, so goal-setting has its place. More important, however, is the route we take in getting there. 

In the last several years I've changed the way I go about setting goals. Mine are no longer defined by the target, because I can’t control the target. Targets tend to move and moving targets have a way of being missed. But I can control the process; I can control the steps I take.

It’s this way in all phases of life. A salesman can’t control his income, but he can control how many calls he m…

WORDS LIKE HIS

Our words can collide with people and condemn them, or our words can confirm them. Words are like honey; they fill you up but without the calories. The Bible says in Proverbs 16:24 that, “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.” In those days, honey was a remedy for sickness such as a sore throat. It was also an energy booster, a total “pick-me-up.”

Jesus said in Matthew 15:18 that our words are an overflow from our heart. What is on the inside will come out in our words.

Two brothers were getting on in years, and one was envious of the other. The older of the two asked God, “Why has my brother been blessed with wealth and happiness and I have nothing? All my life I’ve never missed a single day without saying my morning and evening prayers. My church attendance has been perfect. I’ve not made a single decision without first calling Your name. And now as I’m nearing my final days, I’m in church every day and almost every night. Yet, I can hardl…

AMAZING GRACE

“Amazing Grace,” chances are you sang it before, but do you know the story behind this amazing hymn of the church? It was authored by a man named John Newton. He was a English sailor who worked on slave ships involved in human trafficking between Africa and England. 

Newton and his fellow crew mates would pick up men, women and children who had been captured in tribal raids in Africa. They would trade arms and other goods for the finest of the prisoners. They would then chain them to prevent suicides, and lay them below deck side by side. As many as 600 people were crammed together on the ship as it made its three week voyage. Due to the inhumane conditions, at times, up to 20% of those captured would die. During such a journey the ship he was on began to flounder in a raging storm and it was at this time he found faith in Jesus Christ.

After becoming a Christian, Newton left the sea for good and became a priest. He then wrote this hymn. Read these words carefully knowing now why he w…

GRATITUDE EFFECT

At the beach a grandmother was watching her grandson digging in the sand when a huge wave came and took him out to sea. Patiently she pleads, "Please God, save my only grandson. I implore you, bring him back." And a big wave comes and washes the boy back onto the beach, good as new. She looks up to heaven and says: "He had a hat!"

Now, that's gratitude for you, isn't it? Have you noticed that some people just can't be satisfied? Some people — and I'm talking about you and me, not someone else — have a hard time expressing gratitude — much less even feeling it.

Stephen Post, a medical school professor of bioethics, in 2001 created a research group called the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love. It was dedicated to testing and measuring the effects of love, gratitude, and other positive caring emotions in human life.

The research that Dr. Post uncovered was that spending 15 minutes a day focused on things you're grateful for can have the follo…

IT’S A MIRACLE

Have you ever heard someone say, “It’s a miracle!” Do you believe in miracles? I do. However, I don't believe that everything called a miracle really is a miracle. In fact, I've been frustrated more than once with someone who counterfeited a miracle. But miracles happen all around us every day. Though some miracles are super-natural; many others, like a sunset, the human body or the true love of a man and woman, are accepted as ordinary to the point that we hardly call them a miracle even though that's exactly what they are.

What is a miracle? A miracle makes an opening in the wall that separates this world and another. A miracle is a phenomenon, a hint of God's supernatural power inserted into history. A miracle is a situation that is unexplainable in terms of ordinary life.

There are at least thirty-five miracles performed by Christ recorded in the Bible. Miracles like: turning water into wine, walking on water, healing the sick, multiplying loaves and fish, and the …