Wednesday, October 28, 2009
As I was thinking about writing my blog today, I came across a file on my computer entitled "How Am I Doing Today?" On this paper, was simply the days of the week with blank spaces underneath each day. It is a file designed to keep track of accomplishments. As I thought about this page, I thought it would be good to reflect on how I (and you) answer this question.
Now, if we were to compare ourselves to God, and think about how much of creation God created in a day, then we might feel a little sheepish, like our lives don't accomplish that much. But God doesn't want us to compare ourselves to God. God doesn't even want us to compare ourselves to others. God wants us to compare ourselves with what God wants us to accomplish each day.
Now this then leads us to ask the question, how do we know what God wants us to accomplish? And the answer to this is not one that is too specific. I'm not sure God makes a list of things to do (like we might do) for us each day. I believe God has more general goals for us. Goals like "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and mind, and soul, and strength." "Love your neighbor like yourself." "Forgive others as God has forgiven you." The Bible is full of really important goals that we should live by.
So, getting back to the question how am I doing today leads me to think that it is not about asking this question to judge myself, but to motivate and energize myself. If I know that God wants me to love others, and forgive others, and do good with my life, then I think I can get excited about the day. But when I have a long "to do" list, I could get overwhelmed before the day starts.
SO, how are you doing today?
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Life is full of choices; full of us trying to discover God’s best for us. One of the challenges, but I think joys as well, is that God often brings about surprises, blessings, and new possibilities. We can be like Humpty Dumpty was at first and feel like we have to give in to our circumstances./ OR, we can be like apostle Paul in the Bible and follow the call of God on our lives. And what a rich life it was for Paul. While it was true that Paul had trouble in Jerusalem, he let the Lord turn it into an opportunity. He was arrested, but in all things, when he spoke, whether it was to the tribune, or the council, or to Felix the Governor, or to King Agrippa, or in Rome, Paul had many opportunities to tell of his faith and to share the good news of Jesus Christ with others!!
Trouble did not concern Paul like it might concern you and me. Instead of it causing him to worry, Paul knew that trouble was where God’s glory could shine, and where he could preach about Jesus. Paul was committed to living his life for God, NO MATTER WHAT. As Paul said in Acts 20:24, “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.”/ For Paul, it was all about being faithful to the end. He also said it this way in 2 Timothy 4:7- “…But I have finished the race and I kept the faith, and the day is coming when my Lord will raise me up. I have pleased him.”/ God is not pleased with selfishness. God is not pleased with materialism. God is not pleased with lack of commitment./ God is pleased when we seek Him, and trust Him, and let Him work in and through us, and when we let Him walk us through the trouble that lies ahead.
What is your trouble? Trust God to lead you through. Shine the light of Christ in the midst of your trouble, and see how the trouble becomes a blessing!
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Many people are bored with their lives. I believe people get bored easily because they allow their lives to be mundane. They do the same things each day, every day. They have their habits (when they get up, how they get ready, what they eat, etc...). They go to their jobs, do their work, and then go home. So many people live very predictable lives. The older we get, the more we tend to slow down and plan less and get into a rut in the way we live. Now this isn't true for everyone, but I believe it is true in many ways for those who feel boredom.
To avoid this, we need to keep life fresh. But the question is: How can we keep our lives fresh? I think we can do this in a couple of ways. First, we can learn how be content with what we have. As the familiar verse, Philippians 4:12 says, "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation..." How many days a week do we wake up not feeling content? How often do we get to the end of the day not feeling content? The answer is often. When we are content with our life, even the simplest of activities can be exciting. For me, just being with my kids, being with my family is exciting; we don't have to do anything special.
Our world pulls us into the thinking that we are lacking something. That is what sales is all about, getting you to think that you need something that you don’t have. And when you get to this place, it is hard to be content. Contentment is being okay with what you have, not thinking that you need something new. We often think we need to have new “things, gadgets, toys” in our lives. What we need is the “newness” of God in our lives more and more each day. This is what will keep us feeling content. Once you go down the road of not feeling content, there is nothing material, nothing even in THIS world that will bring you contentment. Only in God can we be content.
Thursday, October 08, 2009
We have all heard the phrase "the glass is half full." When this phrase is used, it is referring to the fact that we are to stay positive; we are to look for the good in every situation. And while there are negative things that happen in this world, it doesn't help to allow our minds to become negative. All that happens when we are negative is we get depressed, or lose motivation, or feel like quitting. Have a "glass is half empty" approach darkens our outlook on life.
As a Christian, I know that the Bible is full of teachings in the regard of living a positive life. In the book of Philippians, chapter 4, verse 4, the writer, the apostle Paul says: "Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again, rejoice." Now Paul says these words not because his life is perfectly wonderful, but because Paul knows that God is walking with him in all aspects of life; the good and the bad. Paul has done some bad things in his life (like killing Christians before he was one himself), but Paul knows that God has given him a second chance, and called him to make a difference with his life.
The truth is, if we don't look for the good in all aspects of our lives, then we will not be able to make a positive difference. We will get caught up in the drama that exists around us, and lose our focus. We will lose perspective of how things can work out for the good. We will fail to put forth the energy that needs to put forth to move forward and live the life God has called us to live.
Life is full of good times, and bad times; up times, and down times. What we do with these experiences will make or break this life we have. If you want to make the most of your life, then you need to follow the example of Jesus Christ, and Paul, and other followers of Jesus, who were able to rejoice always, and who were able to make the most of what they were given. I hope you can do this as well. I know that it is my goal every day.
Let me know what you think!