Don’t Long For Greatness

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It’s been said, “The surest sign that a man is not great is when he strives to look great.”  Every man has a craving to be great, but the man who grows in Christ learns that these cravings for greatness are rooted in the flesh.   For once a man comes to a saving relationship with Christ; he finds that all of life is no longer about him.  He now lives in the reality that it is all about Jesus.  So whether he becomes a man widely known in the community or he remains a man of obscurity, his eternal goal is to make Jesus great and not himself.  This is the idea of glory.  The natural desire is to keep glory for ourselves, but it is the Christian’s responsibility to reflect glory forward to Jesus Christ.  This is not easily done, yet it is our true responsibility.  We must remember that being great in the temporal means nothing in the eternal.  It really is all about Him!

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Would You Be Your Own Friend?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASomeone once asked, “If you were another person, would you like to have yourself for a friend?” That is a very good question.  True friendship is one of the most valuable gifts on the planet.  To have someone who truly cares for you, that is not obligated because he is a relative or because he owes you anything, is truly one of life’s great blessings.  Yet how many times have pushed our friends away due to our own selfishness or pettiness? The Bible teaches us that true friendship is an act of love. “A friend loves at all times” – Proverbs 17:17a (ESV).  But we can’t sit around and wait for our friends to show love to us first.  No, we are called to love “at all times”, which means we are to show love to our friends even when they aren’t that lovely.  So if you find that all your friends are letting you down or disappearing, then it might be time to take a long look in the mirror.  After all, you are the one who is in control of how you treat those precious jewels called friends.

See The Faults

mirror-1548409Someone once pointed out, “Nature couldn’t make us perfect, so she did the next best thing; she made us blind to our faults.”  While I don’t particularly think “nature” in the physical since causes this condition of thinking, I do believe the sin nature does do that very thing.  We are each born with a sin nature and from that, we have an ingrained bent towards selfishness and pride.  The Scriptures make it clear that those who trust in Christ are freed from sin and are even considered dead to sin.  However, ask any Christian and if he were honest he would tell you that he still struggles with what the Bible calls the “flesh.”  When we give into the cravings of the flesh, we are prone over look our faults, while at the same time, fool ourselves into thinking that those around us are worse off.  This type of behavior is wrong and hypocritical.  We are not perfect, but believers are called to follow our perfect Lord.  In order to do this faithfully, we must have some honest self-evaluations.  We must be willing to look at our lives through the lenses of Scripture and when we find anything that doesn’t line up with the Word of God, we must repent of it and change course.  So friends don’t become blind to your faults, but instead, allow the Holy Spirit to polish off your rough edges so that you can be the masterpiece God desires you to be.

Don’t Tear Down Those Who Aren’t Around

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Years ago someone observed, “There isn’t much to talk about at parties these days until one or two couples go home.”  Now as you read that you may chuckle, but it also has a stinging truth to it as well.  We have all given into the temptation of talking about other people when they aren’t around.  Sharing the faults of others gives us an unsettling delight.  For in those brief moments we set ourselves in a high and lofty position over those we are talking about.  Pointing out their flaws, makes us feel a little higher on the perfection latter.  However, if we were truly honest, we would see that our high self-regard is really only true in our own eyes.  Those “friends” that we are sharing juicy judgmental comments with are prone to share juicy judgmental comments about us behind our backs.  Sadly, many of their comments may very well be true.  Yet we must remember that it is not our place to find glee from our friends and fellow Christians’ short comings.  We have been called by God to edify or build up on another in the Lord, however pointing out others’ specks while ignoring the logs in our own eyes only brings damage.  So the next time a conversation drifts to throwing stones at other, turn to the old adage “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Get More Done Than Said

more-to-do-1176945Someone once said, “When all the affairs of life are said and done, there is more said than done.”  At the end of it all, what we achieve is far more important than what we dream.  Good intentions are fine, but proven results are what makes a difference and what lasts.  Yes, failure to plan is foolish, but only planning is even worse.  This applies to all areas of our lives; our private lives, our professional lives, and our spiritual lives.  Too many times we hear a message from God’s word and we think, “I ought to put that into practice.”  Sadly, however, that is as far as we get to accomplishing God’s word in our lives. We must take up the charge from James when he tells us, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” – James 1:22 ESV.  So don’t be deceived by just thinking about doing good things with your life, get busy doing it!

Watch Those Sudden Stops

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It’s been said, “It’s never the fall that injures; it’s the sudden stop.”  While that is obviously true in the physical life, it is also true in the spiritual life as well.  Many times we don’t realize we are falling into temptation and poor choices until it is already harmfully too late.  In our present culture, society seems to salivate over the juicy stories of people, particularly Christians, who find themselves injured after a sudden stop with sin.  The natural reaction from the world is to point fingers, judge, and ridicule.  Yet this is not the ways of our great God.  Yes, sin does disappoint and break the heart of God, but like any loving father, our God is there to pick us back up.  He wants to lovingly dust off our dirty past and heal our brokenness.  While we are prone to run and hide from God when we fall, what we must really do is humbly seek His love and forgiveness.  Yes, we may bear scars for the rest of our lives from our sinful actions, but by God amazing grace, He can even use our broken past for His glory.  So if you have found yourself in the middle of a sudden stop, let God pick you back up.

 

Leading The Way

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A wise man said, “If a man has not been over the road himself, do not accept him as a leader to show you the way.” That’s good advice when it comes to directions, but it is also good advice for leadership as well.  We are all leaders in some area of our lives; at church, at work, in social settings, and even at home.  One of the lessons I have learned through the years is that a good leader will not ask someone to do something that he has neither done before or is not willing to do it himself.  A leader’s job isn’t to do everything, but a good leader doesn’t view any job as beneath him either.  Thus it is an issue of humility and respect.  If a leader is not too proud to jump in from time to time to help those he leads, it speaks volumes about his character.  If a leader can identify with his followers in whatever they are trying to accomplish, he will be more understanding in light of their productivity.  Thus, leadership takes more than experience; it also takes willingness and a proper attitude.

Disgusting Lips

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A wise person once said, “A liar is not believed even when he speaks the truth.” Oh, how precious honesty really is.  To be trusted by your word is one of the highest principles of integrity.  The Bible says, “Lips that lie are disgusting to the Lord, but honest people are his delight.” – Proverbs 12:22 (GW).  God finds dishonesty as a disgusting and detestable practice.  He is not the only one that feels this way.  If you look through the headlines each year there are people who lose their jobs, their families, and even their freedom due to dishonesty.  Lying is very tempting when we are faced with the deception that it will keep us out of trouble.  However, every lie will eventually be reveled.  Many times these revelations happen in this life, but rest assured even those that aren’t revealed are known by our Holy God.  So dear friends, if you follow Jesus as your Lord and Savior, follow Him with your lips as well.  Remember honest people are His delight!

It Is Getting Late

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Someone once humorously said, “It’s later than we think and most of us aren’t thinking.” How true that statement is for those realizing the days we live in.  Many people and sadly many Christians are living day to day like life will never end.  However, we are living closer today to the end of it all than we have ever been before.  Jesus left us with this promise: “Surely I am coming quickly” (Rev. 22:20 NKJV). Isn’t that an amazing statement by our Lord?  The last recorded message of Jesus to us in the New Testament is that he is coming soon.  At any moment, He is going to step out and call us home.  Oh, what a day that will be!  Yet, why is it that we live day in and day out like He is never going to come? I believe the answer is that we allow ourselves to become distracted.  We are distracted with the worries and cares and trinkets that occupy our attention.  What we need, though, is to fix our hearts to the times we live in.  It is drawing very late and we are running out of time to do the Lord’s service.  Let us each get busy about our Master’s work for tomorrow may be too late!

Know Where The Money Is Going

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    I read a great quote the other day that said the following: “A budget plan is one where you tell the money where to go instead of wondering where it went.”  The Bible speaks a lot about money and personal finances.  We are told that we are to be good stewards or managers of the riches that God provides for us.  After all everything that we own really belongs to God in the first place.  Therefore, if we are going to claim to manage God’s money well, then we must get in the habit of budgeting.  We have a responsibility to know where the money is going.  The Bible says, “Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds” – Proverbs 27:23 ESV.  In our current culture, there seems to be more talk about borrowing rather than budgeting, but remember if you are a follower of Christ, then He should be Lord of your pocketbook as well.