Archive for April, 2013


Distracted

“Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.”
(Proverbs 4:25, 27 ESV)

Traffic accidents cause a significant number of injuries and fatalities every year. US government statistics indicate that “11% of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted. About 40% of all American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger.” (1) Not paying attention to where we are going is hazardous to our physical health but this also applies to our spiritual health. Spiritual distractions can come in the form of excessive entertainment or socializing with the wrong friends. These meaningless activities have no eternal relevance and ultimately lead us on the road to destructive sinful behaviors. Fixing our eyes on Jesus keeps us focused on the road to eternal life.

http://www.distraction.gov/content/get-the-facts/facts-and-statistics.html

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Joyful Changes

“Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!”
(Psalms 30:5,11-12 NLT)

Almost everyone has felt sorrow at some time in their life. The wrong romantic relationship turned sour is enough to make most people cry themselves to sleep. Anyone can feel disappointed as life always seems to find a way of letting us down. Tears may flow as the darkness of despair smothers us with its shadow but first experiencing sorrow makes joy taste that much sweeter. Only the Lord can replace a frown with the smile of a clown. He changes the rags of our dreary perspective into a wardrobe of bright anticipation and we will praise God in thankfulness dancing over our tears that once dropped on the floor.

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The Rings of Change

“Let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God—what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect.”
(Romans 12:2 GNT)

I was hiking in the forest recently and I came across a tree that had been cut down. As I approached the tree trunk I couldn’t help notice the very distinct tree rings on the cut surface. Tree rings are a permanent record of annual growth expansion as a tree changes over time. Without this inward developmental change the tree would not mature. Our character also matures over time but most people do not like changes. Security is found in a similar routine but without change there would be no advancement. The Lord promotes people who are flexible enough to submit their personal agenda to him. Having a schedule subject to Spirit led change makes room for the blessings of growth and development. Since God created our future he plans the details of our lives in accordance with the end results. The Lord knows best so his plan is better then the rest and the end result is perfect. God’s growth rings always involve inward change.

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The Five Things We Need

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
(Matthew 6:33 NLT)

We all have things that we want in life. Some want a higher paying job or to save money for retirement. Others want to have more free time or to improve their physical appearance. Usually what we desire to have and what we actually need are two different things. God has promised to supply all of our needs but all that we truly need is Jesus. According to the Fivefold Gospel Jesus is our Savior, Sanctifier, Healer, Spirit Baptizer, and coming King. Jesus first saves us from our sin. Then he gives us the Holy Spirit who cleans up the mess and heals us from the affects of sin. He does this all to prepare a people for his return when he will reign as King of kings. God gives us these Fivefold gifts to meet his needs and what God needs is for us to embody his kingdom in the material world as we lovingly meet the needs of others.

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Clean Up The Clutter

“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.”
(Psalm 68:19 NIV)

Cleaning out an old basement is no fun. Years of junk just seems to multiply on their own. The piles of useless items will grow higher and higher unless someone takes the time to clean up the clutter. Like an old basement our thoughts can get a little messy. The many burdens of daily existence can be overwhelming and it is difficult to even know where to start the clean up of all the useless worries and concerns. God wants to help us with all of our burdens if we give them up to him. The Lord says “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”(Psalm 32:8) Out of chaos God brings order as he cleans up the clutter and tidies the unkept areas of our lives.

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“I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’”
(Luke 12:18, 20 NLT)

The business news is filled with investment strategies to become financially independent. Many people purchase stocks, bonds, commodities, and real estate to get rich. They strive to accumulate wealth on the earth in an effort to establish security for their future but true freedom is putting our trust in the Lord. Money devaluates and assets depreciate but only God’s benefits will last. Knowing the Lord guarantees our eternal security for “a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” (Luke 12:21) Life is not measured by how much we own but by how much we are known by the Lord who gave us life.

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Move Your Burdens

“Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.”
(Psalms 55:22 NLT)

The majority of the patients I treat come to me with low back pain. Low back pain is the most common injury sustained at work and usually it is a result of lifting a heavy load. We often attempt to move heavy burdens with our own effort but there is a risk of getting injured. Fatigue sets in and we are unable to continue. The Lord instructs us to give him our burdens and he promises to give us rest. (Matthew 11:28-30) While we rest in the Lord he inspires us with a better plan. The burden might remain but God will provide us with wisdom to find a more efficient vehicle to carry it. He will send help to move our burdens for us. Give your burdens to the Lord and watch him work.

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Walls Come Down

“For he (Christ) himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility.”
(Ephesians 2:14 ESV)

People spend much time and effort securing their personal possessions using theft prevention measures. Installation of walls or fences are made to prevent valuable items from being stolen. Forbidding people from entering the property would entirely eliminate the risk but eventually visitors are trusted enough to be invited inside. If we could take all of our valuables with us then no one could steal them. We build secure walls around our hearts so that there is no risk of intruders “breaking and entering”. From previous relationships that have gone sour, hearts break and valuable love is stolen. Defensive avoidance behaviors develop to protect against future loss of treasures of the heart but in God’s eyes our value remains within us everywhere we go. No one can steal our value in Christ so let our love flow from us as the walls come down.

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“The God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
(2 Corinthians 1:3, 4 NIV)

After a long and busy week a Sunday afternoon nap is very welcome. It is a nice feeling to rest on a comfortable sofa surrounded by pillows. What makes a sofa comfortable is the cushions. If the undersurface of a sofa was not hard there would be no need of cushions. In life everyone goes through some hard times. Financial difficulties, relationship conflicts or health problems at some point can make us very uncomfortable. Troubles are a part of life making existence on earth painfully hard but if there were no troubles then we would not require the comfort of God’s holy Word to cushion our burdens. We first receive comfort ourselves so we can be a cushion to comfort others.

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Good As Gold

“The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart.”
(Proverbs 17:3 NIV)

In life hardship is inevitable. Being alive is the only prerequisite for feeling pain. There was a man in the Bible named Job who suffered through incredible pain. He was wealthy but lost his fortune. He was loved but lost his family. He was popular but lost the respect of his friends and he was healthy but became ill. His pain was so great that he questioned his very existence asking; “Why is life given to those with no future, those God has surrounded with difficulties?” (Job 3:23) After much thought Job realized that the flames of adversity had come to test and purify his character. As the goldsmith bears the heat of the furnace to separate the worthless impurities from the pure gold the Lord works through the heat of tribulation to refine the quality of our character. If the Lord did not recognize our value he would not waste time in front of the furnace. God sees the precious end result to justify the process. “He knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10)

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