20 Jan

Content with the content?

PEACE AND CONTENTMENT WORK HAND AND HAND

I. THE KEY TO PEACE?

(The Big 8)

THINK ON WHATEVER IS:

  1. TRUE
  2. HONORABLE
  3. RIGHT
  4. PURE
  5. LOVELY
  6. ADMIRABLE
  7. EXCELLENT
  8. PRAISEWORTHY

Philippians 4:8-9 NLT

[8] And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. [9] Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me— everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

II. THE KEY TO CONTENTMENT?

(Dependence)

Know where your strength comes from. Truly, supernatural power.

CONTENT WITH or WITHOUT

Philippians 4:11-13 NLT

[11] Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. [12] I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. [13] For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

III. THE BOTTOMLINE?

DON’T WORRY

  1. Tell God:

(invite Him into the equation)

  1. Thank God:

(remember he has and will again)

Worry is a prompt to pray.

Trust. Have confidence (Faith) God is at work in your life.

Without faith it is impossible. Faith is a requirement for God to act. Otherwise it is on us. God only does what God can do. Everything else, he leaves to you.

Pray like it depends on God.

Act like it depends on you.

At the end of ourselves, we find Him.

Philippians 4:6-7 NLT

[6] Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. TELL GOD what you need, and THANK GOD for all he has done. [7] Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

 

18 Jan

A reflective perspective

The beauty of age is a reflective perspective.

The older we get the more we realize how much we still have yet to learn.

The more we know the more we realize we don’t.

I love what Paul said as a man who had learned a lot from life and was willing to make the much needed adjustments in his perspective. “I once thought,” were the words he used to describe his humble retraction regarding his former way of thinking.

As a pure-blood citizen of Israel and former zealous Pharisee, his culture,  heritage and life experiences had led him in one direction but a divine encounter set everything on end.

In coming face to face with Jesus, reality set in and something had to change. The truth had set him free to forget what had lied in the past and then to press on to what waited ahead in the future. Paul was a new man with a new outlook on life. Nothing would ever be the same again.

The older we get the more stubborn we become. We have worked hard to collect our vault of knowledge. Learning some of the files are corrupt or might be out of order can upset the whole operating system.

Some would rather live in denial than face the reality that the system is flawed. It takes a good measure of humility to admit you were wrong.

Thankfully, while opinions change, people change and the way things get done change, the truth never changes. The key is making the necessary changes when we realize the truth. To do otherwise is to live as an arrogant fake as if we are somehow an exception to the rule.

Don’t believe it, it is in fact possible to teach an old dog new tricks, especially if they are true!

Perhaps it is time for a little reflection. Is your operating system outdated? Is it possible what you thought was, really isn’t? It is worth an ask. Like Paul, is it possible for you to say, “I once thought.”

What did you once think? What changed your mind or convinced you otherwise? Is your perspective rooted in truth? A personal experience or encounter? Is your belief a mere opinion or premonition or is it based on truth?

Take some time to reflect but like Paul, don’t spend too much time there or the paralysis of analysis will set in and you will be stuck!

Make the necessary adjustments, ask for forgiveness, accept some much needed grace and then press on for what lies ahead! More insight. More enlightenment. More truth!

Let us begin again each day with our sights set on learning, for it is within this journey that we ultimately arrive.

 

13 Dec

Are you a dreamer?

Are you a dreamer!

What do you dream about?

Maybe it is time to start visualizing your dreams. Write them out. Clip out images of them. Create a dream board. Share your dreams with a friend. Share them with the Lord!

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12

“It is pleasant to see dreams come true, but fools refuse to turn from evil to attain them.” Proverbs 13:19

What is keeping your dream from coming true?

Trust? Faith? Fear? Initiative? Habits? Courage?

Sleep on it and then … dream big!

04 Dec

Who’s your daddy?

Who’s your daddy?

Do you love your kids?

Would you do anything in the world for them?

Do you want the best for them?

Do you sometimes have to correct and disciple them?

Could they do anything to make you love them more?

Do you desire for them to trust you?

Do you desire for them to be with you?

No doubt.

Now, remember.

You are God’s kid.

Does he love you?

Would he do anything in the world for you?

Does he want the best for you?

Does he sometimes have to correct and discipline you?

Could you do anything to make him love you more?

Does he desire for you to trust him?

Does he desire for you to be with him?

No doubt.

Who’s daddy are you?

Who’s your daddy?

You know how much you love your kids.

Do you know how much God loves you?

Rest and trust in these truths. Fear not. Why worry? Why doubt? Your daddy has got this. Act and live like a King’s kid with Jesus as your Lord.

Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

Let Daddy know what’s up. He’s got really big muscles.

29 Nov

The Lump

The clay is put into the potter’s hands, and then lies passive there, submitting itself to all the turnings and overturnings of the potter’s hands upon it. There is really nothing else to be said about the clay’s part. But what must the potter do?

The potter takes the clay and begins to mold and fashion it according to his own will. He kneads and works it; he tears it apart and presses it together again; he wets it and then suffers it to dry. Sometimes he works at it for hours together; sometimes he lays it aside for days, and does not touch it. And then, when by all these processes he has made it perfectly pliable in his hands, he proceeds to make it up into the vessel he proposed. He turns it on the heel, planes it and smooths it, and dries it in the sun, bakes it in the oven, and finally turns it out of his workshop, a vessel to his honor and fit for his use.

The clay is not expected to do the potter’s work, but only to yield itself up to his working.

What can be said about man’s part in this great work but that he must continually surrender himself and continually trust?

The lump of clay could never grow into a beautiful vessel if it stayed in the clay pit. But when it is put into the hands of a skillful potter it grows rapidly, under his fashioning, into the vessel he intends it to be. And in the same way the soul, abandon to the working of the Heavenly Potter, is made into a vessel onto honor, sanctified for the Master’s use.

Having taken the step of faith by which you have put yourself wholly and absolutely into His hands, you must now expect Him to begin to work. His way of accomplishing that which you have entrusted to Him may be different from your way; but He knows, and you must be satisfied.

Maturity can not be reached in a moment, but is the result of the work of God’s Holy Spirit. We cannot hope to reach this maturity in any way other than by yielding ourselves up, utterly and willingly, to His mighty working.

The lump of clay, from the moment it comes under the transforming hand of the potter is, during each day and hour of the process, just what the potter wants it to be at that hour. Or on that day, and therefore pleases him; but it is very far from being matured into the vessel he intends in the future to make it.

The apple in June is a perfect apple for June but it is very different from the apple in October, which is a perfected apple.

By an act of faith we put ourselves in the hands of the Lord, for Him to work in us all the great pleasure of His will, and then, by a continuous exercise of faith, keep ourselves there. This is our part in the matter. And when we do it, and while we do it, we are, in the Scripture sense, truly pleasing God, although it may require years of training and discipline to mature us into a vessel that shall be in all respects to His honor, and fitted to every good work.

Our part is the trusting; it is His to accomplish the results. Trust is the beginning and the continuing foundation; but when we trust, the Lord works.

Just as the potter, however skillful, cannot make a beautiful vessel out of a lump of clay that is never put into his hands, so neither can God make out of me a vessel into His honor unless I put myself into His hands.

(Excerpts abridged from Hannah Whitaker Smith’s book, The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life) Written in 1875.

 

 

15 Nov

Browns and Steelers Fight

Browns and Steelers Fight

Take a few minutes to watch this series of clips from last night’s Browns and Steelers game.

It was awful. Guys so mad that they blacked out. Can you relate?

Notice the apologies. The regret.

As adults, I think this level of outrage helps remind us of a child’s perspective when we lose control. God help us that it is not physically abusive but there is no question as to why the Lord says man’s anger does not produce His righteousness.

Our pasts don’t have to dictate our futures.

Having grown up in a home where domestic violence was prevalent, I can relate too well to the emotions present in these clips.

I am also grateful that it is possible for the apple to fall far from the tree with the help of others and the power of God’s love to transform lives.

Help is available for anger management. If you need to talk let me know.

https://youtu.be/eef-l5pcEIk

https://youtu.be/NXF2vqGej_8

https://youtu.be/KWF3cGKO9VQ

https://youtu.be/SpuWBD-n8E4

https://youtu.be/6Fv1d4bWlrI

10 Nov

In the moment

The view from my study reminds me a lot of life. The temperature in Oklahoma City will be 70 today and 17 by tomorrow night.

What a great opportunity to live in the moment and to appreciate the life I have today.

Tomorrow will have enough worries of it’s own. But as for today, I will  live in the sunshine. I will take it all in and as the cold hard days roll in, I will remember the good times rather than anticipate and worry about the cold front to come.

I will certainly do my best to be prepared and yet not be robbed of the joy of today.

Who knows, it is Oklahoma after all. Like life, things can change in a moment for better or worse regardless of the forecast!

Never a dull moment for sure. The spice of life is variety!

Did you notice the condensation trails jets left in the sky? What a great reminder to live free and reach for the stars as we fly towards our futures!

 

26 Oct

Out smarted?

Are we being out smarted?

Give some thought to this passage.

I am taken by the last line that basically says :

We can’t let the enemy outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.

Surely we are aware of his schemes. Together we can help each other not be outsmarted by the enemy.

Are we being outsmarted?

Love isn’t always easy.

I heard recently that our quality of life is built on the quality of our relationships.

Relationships get really messy. Often times those we love the most hurt us the deepest.

Nonetheless, we have to move on. Enough is enough. We have to reach out. Try again and be ready to be disappointed, yet committed, to loving unconditionally.

Stupid is one thing. Being stubborn and bull headed is another. Boundaries are good and sometimes walls are required. Here on the Praire we like to say that good fences make for great neighbors. But let’s not get punked by the enemy and miss out on precious years and memories that can never be regained simply because we were outsmarted by evil.

Pick up the phone. Make the call. Send the text. Begin again. Say you’re sorry. Those three words are often the best way to say, “I love you.” These are the words the enemy hates the most! Let’s turn the table on him!

2 Corinthians 2:5-11 NLT

I am not overstating it when I say that the man who caused all the trouble hurt all of you more than he hurt me. Most of you opposed him, and that was punishment enough. Now, however, it is time to forgive and comfort him. Otherwise he may be overcome by discouragement. So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him. I wrote to you as I did to test you and see if you would fully comply with my instructions. When you forgive this man, I forgive him, too. And when I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven, I do so with Christ’s authority for your benefit, so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.

22 Sep

Peace by piece

It seems at times that peace is ever illusive.

Just about the time your heart is at rest something creeps in and gives you a wet willy.

Out of nowhere, as you are minding your own business, influences outside your control, right or wrong, pick and poke at your peace of mind.

Is it possible to protect ourselves from the never ending cascading turmoil? Is peace possible?

It’s a big deal. A lack of peace leads to all kinds of ancillary issues. Stress, anxiety, worry, frustration, fatigue, confusion and anger are just a few of the side effects that a lack of peace produces.

So what is an otherwise peaceful person to do? What is the key to tranquility?

Somewhere, someone once said, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” In other words, practicing peace by piece is the secret to serenity. We must be selective.

Rather than wear yourself out fretting over every little issue that pops up like the pesky varmints at the “Whack a Mole” game at the local arcade, we need to be selective when we decide which piece disturbs the peace.

Certainly, some things warrant a disturbance. There are times when we need a wake up call. But let’s be honest, most of the things that ruffle our feathers aren’t worth the dust they disturb.

Time takes care of the majority of the peace busters and selective hearing nearly takes care of all the rest. It’s time we holster the feather duster! Quit stirring it up!

Like my mother use to say, “In the word ignorance is the word ignore. Ignore ignorance.”

We would do well to ignore a large portion of the ignorance that seeks to disturb the peace, those pesky little pieces of stupidity that threaten to rattle our peace of mind.

We can gain peace by piece. Pick the piece that is truly threatening the peace and let everything else simply trickle away like water off a duck’s butt.

Swatting at flies has little effect on stopping the insanity. Stop waving and flapping your arms! You look like a scarecrow in a wind storm! Isolate the stinky piece and remove it. Peace by piece!

When we do, “peace by piece”, we gain back the calm we so desire, one piece at a time.