Thursday, May 26, 2011

Keeping Up Appearances

In life we often have a side of us that we show in public, and another side that might be seen in private. We like to ‘keep up appearances’ so that others will think good of us. We don’t like others to see our faults and weaknesses. We want to appear strong, capable, and independent, even though inside we often feel weak and in need of help.

The apostle Paul helps us with these words from 2 Corinthians 11:30, “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” And also these from

2 Corinthians 12:10, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” How could he say this? Because he knew that he had weaknesses, and that God could not only help him in and through his weakness, but bring about something wonderful through them!

Today when I was in prayer I was able to let down my guard to the Lord, and let the Lord know that I needed His presence, wisdom, and power in my life. In this time of prayer He gave me the word RESTORE. As I thought about this word I realized that there are many ways that I need to be restored by God. As God restores me, He fills me with His presence, wisdom, and power.

How is it that I need to be restored? I need God to restore my focus, as I can easily become unfocused. I need God to restore my energy as the ministry I do often drains me. I need God to restore my spirit so that I can connect to His Spirit. I need God to restore my desire to serve Him. I need God to restore my perspective, as I get lost in an earthly perspective and need to again have an eternal perspective. I need God to restore my ability to live in the ‘now’ instead of always thinking about what I need to do in the future.

There are so many ways that life can drain me, leading me to need restoration. How wonderful it is that God is a restoring God. How wonderful it is that I can be real with God and admit where I need help. How wonderful it is that I can trust God to love me in the midst of my being weak. God will not put me down for being weak, but all the more will lift me up into His presence and provide me what I need to carry on.

Praise be to God for His love and presence. Blessings.

Friday, May 20, 2011

What is Seen in the Light

When I was in college I worked during a summer as a Junior High summer counselor for a Day Camp. I had about 8-12 Junior Highers 5 days a week, 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., for the whole summer! If you know anything about Junior Highers you know they have trouble entertaining themselves. So in a desperate moment one day I decided to create a game. We were in a small classroom with several long tables. The kids hid under the tables, then I turned off the lights. I then threw a penny, you could hear it bounce around, and then drop to the ground. The point of the game was to find the penny in the dark! (I know, I know, I was desperate to keep them occupied). Anyway, sometimes we would find the coin, sometimes we couldn’t find it until we turned the lights on. We were able to see the penny in the light.

Many people live their lives thinking that what they do in the dark cannot be seen; that their bad deeds can only be seen in the light. That is why crime increases when it gets dark. We think the darkness hides what we do.

But the truth is, God can see what we do in the darkness and in the light. In Psalm 139:7, 11-12, we read: “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?… If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.”

You need to live your life as if you are always living in the light. Character is about how you behave even when others aren’t looking. At your job, you work hard whether your boss is there or not. If you work with money, you make sure you are always responsible with it. When you are talking about someone else, and they are not there, you make sure you don’t slander them. And on and on it goes. Live as though everything you do is seen in the light!

How are you doing with this? Where might you need to adjust your living? Your thinking? Blessings.

Sunday, May 08, 2011


A couple of months ago I did a sermon on being generous, and how when we are generous we have a much more thankful attitude. The idea of being generous comes from giving back from what we have been given. To do this we have to be aware of all that we have, and be thankful for the many blessings in our lives. More often than not, it comes from believing that we have all that we need, and can share from our abundance.

However, when we talk about being generous, I believe it needs to include our words. We need to be generous in giving words of encouragement to others. We live in a world that is so faced paced, and so concerned with individuality, that we often forget to be encouraging to others. We are so focused on what we are trying to accomplish that we forget to let others know of the good job they are doing.

I coach my son’s 13-14 year-old baseball team, and as a coach my job is to help them be the best baseball players they can be. I try and evaluate their current skill level, and then try and help them progress in their ability. Sometimes I do this by challenging them to not make mistakes. But I need to also remember that I can do this by being encouraging to them. I need to let them know what they are doing well before I tell them what they are doing wrong. Then I need to encourage them and instruct them in how to do it right!

Wouldn’t it be nice to have people experience your mere presence as an encouragement? In Ephesians 6:22 the Apostle Paul said: “I am sending Tychicus to you for the purpose of telling you of how I am doing, to let you know how we are, and to encourage your hearts.” Tychicus’ presence was going to bring encouragement to the church in Ephesus. In 1 Thessalonians 5:11 Paul said, “Therefore, encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.”

Encouragement is a wonderful attribute to possess. It is such a blessing to build others up and help them believe in themselves. It is powerful to let others feel words of encouragement, and lead them on to great things. It is freeing for someone to break the barrier of self-doubt and unbelief because they have been encouraged to do so.

So, my challenge to you is to search for your gifts, talents, and abilities. What are you capable of doing? Probably more than you might already believe now. Know that God has created you with great abilities and potential. Let yourself believe in yourself, and do not let the negative voices of the world hold you down. Start doing great things today, and learn to encourage others as well. Blessings.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Your Favorite Disney Movie

Disney started making movies in 1937 with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Their movies have set the bar for imagination and creativity. While I believe Pixar has now surpassed Disney in the making of quality movies, Disney set the standard for movies that entertain both kids and adults alike.

As I was thinking about the many Disney movies, I started to wonder which one I would choose as my favorite. There are so many good ones that I find it difficult to choose. So I’m not going to choose one, but list several: Pinocchio (made in 1940), The Jungle Book (1967), and Toy Story (1995), are my favorite animated movies.

I also like several non-animated movies: National Treasure (2004), The Chronicles of Narnia series (2005, 2008, 2011), and Bridge to Terebithia (2007). Without going into great detail into all these movies, what I like best is how you can be drawn into a world of adventure and fun, but also experience the reality of conflict and resolution. In each movie, in their own unique way, they teach us about friendship, love, and sticking together. They challenge us with the idea that life should and can be enjoyed.

In 1 John 4:8 we are told, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” The overriding theme in all of the Disney movies is love. Love helps to conquer all situations. This is so true to scripture, because God, who is love, is how we are empowered to excel and thrive in this life. Love is what leads us past our struggles and gives us the reason to believe in a better life and a better world.

I would love to hear from you about what your favorite Disney movie is, and why. But most of all, let the love of God dwell richly in you. If you do, your life will be so much better for it. It might even have a “happily ever after.” Blessings.