11 Nov

THE CHARMING CUNNING CONNIVER

BEWARE OF THE CHARMING CUNNING CONNIVER

Cunning: having or showing skill in achieving one’s ends by deceit or evasion.

Conniver: to cooperate secretly; especially to conspire.

Do you know a charming cunning conniver?

BEWARE: Cowardly connivers aren’t always easy to discern. They are masters of deception. Don’t let their friendly smiles and righteous facade fool you!

The opposite of conniving is being honest and straightforward.

Conniving usually occurs in secret.

Conniving is considered dishonest and cowardly.

King David was fully aware of the state of the human heart and mind.

He provided a warning of his own!

If you are a charming, cunning conniver, heads up, you are running out of time. Your time is up. What you have done in the dark will be revealed by the light. Life has a way of making wrongs right in the end.

“O God, listen to my complaint. Protect my life from my enemies’ threats. Hide me from the plots of this evil mob, from this gang of wrongdoers. They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim their bitter words like arrows. They shoot from ambush at the innocent, attacking suddenly and fearlessly. They encourage each other to do evil and plan how to set their traps in secret. “Who will ever notice?” they ask. As they plot their crimes, they say, “We have devised the perfect plan!” Yes, the human heart and mind are cunning. But God himself will shoot them with his arrows, suddenly striking them down. Their own tongues will ruin them, and all who see them will shake their heads in scorn. – Psalm 64:1-8 NLT

07 Nov

LIFE TIP

Accept the reality that life is hard. Expect to be offended, disappointed, delayed, interrupted, cheated, betrayed, misunderstood, hurt, broke, burdened, frustrated, bothered, angered, confused, abused, used, unappreciated, discredited, unrecognized, blamed, accused and lied about.

Then remember, being alive is better than the alternative, there are some things worse than dying and we should all do our best not to contribute to the life we have come to expect.

30 Oct

SWEET!

“Oh what joy to live and operate within your sweet spot, that life-giving place of fulfillment found only in the discovery of your true calling. You owe it to yourself and the world to reside there. Satisfaction is guaranteed!”

“Give me happiness, O Lord, for I give myself to you.” Psalm 86:4

-RaySanders.com

27 Oct

Warriors of Love

It is fair to say David’s soldiers were very dangerous men.

David’s elite mighty men are profiled in 1 Chronicles 11.

The traits of his warriors are notable in chapter 12.

These were no doubt dangerous men.

How dangerous are we?

We have a Divine commander. We are among his troops. What traits would be noted among us?

Would we be considered as dangerous as David’s men?

Note the traits of David’s warriors, especially in Ch 12!

1 Chronicles 12:

Experts – v2

Brave – v8, v21, v30 (3x’s)

Experienced – v8

Fierce as lions – v8

Swift as deer – v8

Strong – v15

Able – v21

Highly respected – v30

Aware – v32

Skilled – v33

Armed – v35

Prepared – v35

Single-minded purpose – v38

We aren’t called to be safe. The world needs dangerous men and women who are ready to fight for the better good of mankind and the greater good of the Lord.

No where in scripture do we find a person God used that was called to safety, security or comfort.

The person God uses walks in faith, embraces uncertainty and walks into the darkness knowing the risk as a soldier of the light.

We have grown too soft. We have become too vulnerable. We must encourage one another to be strong in the faith as we seek to be all that we can be without compromise. We have come too far. Too much is at stake. Together we can hold the line and take new ground in the name of love.

23 Oct

Great leaders smell like sheep.

Great leaders smell like sheep.

He took David from tending the ewes and lambs and made him the shepherd of Jacob’s descendants, God’s own people, Israel. He cared for them with a true heart and led them with skillful hands.

– Psalm 78:71-72 NLT

What can we learn from King David’s call to leadership?

THE LEADER GOD USES:

1. LEAST LIKELY. He was called from the sheep pen. He smelt like sheep! Few leaders truly walk and live among the people.

2. MOST CARING. He led from the heart. Without love it is impossible to lead well. Power fades. Love endures.

3. WELL EQUIPPED. He was prepared in the praire to serve in the palace. Experience and wisdom come with time. Patience and timing is everything.

What a great example of the leader God calls.

Do you know of such a leader?

Does he smell like sheep?

15 Oct

Moments like these

This photo of the sunset was my last night on the beach for this season.

Notice the star, the moon and the sunset?

It is easy to lose focus on all the good and let the enemy creep in with silly distractions.

Shared experiences are the best! I loved having the love of my life at my side as we took it all in.

How special to have shared moments like these with those you love.

How awesome to share perfect moments with imperfect people.

We must hold the line, love more, extend grace often and realize the potential we all have to lay a rotten egg in the middle of a beautiful sunset.

No one is perfect. Certainly not me. Love is a choice.

I choose to focus on the sunset, not the darkness.

Life is too short. I can reflect on the sunsets that I missed or chase those that are left to be captured.

Worst of all would be to give up on looking for the best in the world and in others.

There are people in this photo. They kept it from being perfect. It would have been nice to have had the sunset all to myself. But life is to be shared and that means things don’t always go exactly the way I want them to go.

I can focus on the people who nudged into the frame of my perfect shot or I can focus on the grandeur that is set before me.

The following passage caught my attention this morning.

I am so grateful to have shared moments like these with those I love.

These are the memories I live for!

When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars you set in place, what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them? Yet you made them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor. You gave them charge of everything you made, putting all things under their authority, the flocks and the herds and all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, and everything that swims the ocean currents. O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! – Psalm 8:3-9 NLT

13 Oct

Set free!

What is holding you back?

Worry?

Doubt?

Fear?

The past?

Your job?

A bad relationship?

Maybe it is time to recognize you have actually been set free and are being held captive by invisible ropes.

Often times when slaves were set free they were uncertain what to do with their new found freedom.

Many returned to their slave masters for comfort and security. Freedom was simply more than they could imagine or comprehend. Bondage had become a way of life.

Psalms 129:4 tells us that the Lord has cut the ropes on the evil that is holding us back from the freedom he has granted us.

You are free!

The ropes that have held you back have fallen at your sides!

Set your feet to flight! Run like the wind! Discover the world in a whole new way. Explore the joys of freedom.

Don’t hold back! You have been set free!

01 Oct

Lonely Laughter

The words are heavy.

You can feel the weight in them as the future King is asked by the spiritual leader, “Why are you alone? Why is no one with you.”

What a penetrating question.

Look around you. Are you surrounded by people but utterly alone?

You were not designed to go it alone. From the beginning it was clear, “It is not good for man to be alone.”

Isolation leads to idleness and idleness leads to idolatry. It is an old fashioned word but basically idolatry is substituting what is real for what is fake. There is no need to accept substitutes. You were built for community.

Even the most introverted introvert longs for human interaction.

People aren’t perfect. They are messy, rude, stupid and down right mean at times, but we need each other.

Perhaps it is time we find each other. Live and let live but live together, walk together, laugh together, cry together and change the world together.

Want a friend? Start by learning to be a friend. Somebody, just like you is waiting out there looking for someone just like you to hang out with and do life with.

Don’t make it harder than it is. Share a coffee, break some bread, go for a walk, take a hike, hit the open road but whatever it is, a shared experience is always better because nobody is meant to laugh alone.

Why is no one with you? Maybe it is because you aren’t with them. Pick up the phone, make the call, send the text and make the first move into friendship.

Let’s put an end to lonely laughter.

(Inspired by 1 Samuel 21:1)

20 Sep

Number 262!

I recently attended a men’s gathering in Estes Park, Colorado where door prizes were being raffled off. I was one among 250 men whose number was called.

I heard, “262!”

“That’s me! I won, ”I exclaimed as my buddies cheered me on.

I strutted. I pranced and I gave the victory sign as I made my way to the front to seize my prize in front of the energized crowd of men.

As I went to pick up my bounty, the facilitator sought to confirm my ticket.

My reply, “262!”

His response, “262? That number is on every ticket. Sorry man, you aren’t a winner.”

I was in shock, embarrassed and wanted to crawl under anything that would spare me the joy of walking back to my seat empty-handed.

It was an honest mistake that was founded in the idea that I simply heard what I wanted to hear.

I thought one thing but the facts revealed reality. Not everyone is a winner. Not everyone gets the prize. Ignorance isn’t always bliss.

Here is the truth. I didn’t need a blue raffle ticket to inform me that I had won. Truth is, I had already won. I had taken a private jet to the mountains of Colorado, slept with the coolness of the mountain air dancing at my toes, viewed amazing wildlife within a stones throw, and enjoyed time with a group of guys who desired to get back to nature and get closer to God. I was a winner and so were they.

I’m going to keep this coupon. The number 262 will forever remind me that sometimes in life we need simple reminders that we have already won even when we lose, especially when walking through life with a Band of Brothers!

Who walks through life with you and cheers you on even when you come back empty-handed looking like a fool?

13 Sep

Nervous Nellies!

In those days messages from the Lord were rare and visions were quite uncommon.

Can you relate?

Have you ever been found anxiously awaiting for direction from the Lord?

The silence is sometimes all too deafening!

Have you ever said,“ Say something Lord! Anything! The quiet is killing me!”

And then out of no where, suddenly, the Lord called out! Such was the case for young prophet to be, Samuel.

He was so surprised when the Lord spoke that the Lord had to repeat himself not once but four times!

Let’s agree on one thing. The Lord is never late. He is always on time. But that doesn’t mean we still aren’t a bunch of nervous Nellies!

What can we learn from Samuel?

1. There is a big difference in hearing and listening.

Samuel heard the Lord but he wasn’t listening. His mentor, Eli, shared an important principle with Samuel. It is the second lesson.

2. Be still! Lie down. Quit running around. Slow down and put yourself in the position to listen. Psalm 46:10 is great advice. Be still and know!

It is hard to know, when you are always on the go. You have to be still in order to be filled!

3. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. The passage indicates that a word from the Lord was rare.

Was God not speaking or were the people not listening?

Either way, we have to have eyes to see and ears to hear in order for the Lord’s message to come through.

The Lord is known to speak in at least three ways.

1. WORD. Most of what we need to know is already found in the scriptures. The Lord often speaks to us through his word. We need to seek him there. It is there that he can be found.

2. WORSHIP. In the stillness of prayer and praise the Lord often speaks to our hearts by the Spirit. All to often we are so rushed that the Lord can’t get a word in edgewise. Slow down. Whisper a prayer and he is there!

3. WORLD. The scripture assures us that wisdom cries out in the streets. Sometimes we put God in a box and limit his communication by applying a supposed formula for success. If God wants to speak to you, be ready. He may use a billboard, a song, the mountains or a blue jay. Whatever it is, be prepared to discern when the Lord is doing his best to get your attention.

The real bonus is when all of the “W’s” speak in unison. One thing we do know for certain. The Lord will never ask us to do anything that goes against his Word.

Let us take a cue from Samuel when he said, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”

It is in that setting and attitude of heart where the Lord is known to speak.

Be still. I think I hear something. Are you listening?

(Inspired by 1 Samuel 3)