Tag Archives: spirituality

You’re Not Your Shortcomings

At some point or another, we all feel unworthy. Of our job. Our friends or family. Someone else’s affection. Of God’s love.

I experience this whenever I let my shortcomings define me. I focus on my weaknesses–ignoring my God-given skills, talents, and blessings–and start to think “that’s all there is to me: flaws.”

The Bible calls those shortcomings something else: flesh (as in “the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit”; Galatians 5:17). Which seems to confirm that we’re all just big wads of failure. After all, we’re made of flesh, right? So if flesh is weak and sinful, and flesh is what I’m made of, then I’m made of weaknesses, faults, shortcomings, and sin.

Except that’s not true: we’re not just flesh. We’re souls, made by Almighty God the Creator, who inhabit flesh while on this earth. Continue reading

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Identify Your Wins

Are you the slightest bit competitive?  I think everyone has a bit of a competitive streak deep down inside.  I would say I’m extremely competitive.  I like to win.  I like to succeed.  I like to reach goals.

When people know they are “winning” at something, they feel good about being a part of the cause.  When people know they are losing, the stands tend to clear out.

What’s a win for you as an individual?

What’s a win for your family?

Pastor, what’s a win for your church?  Identify the wins for your people.  Because if you don’t, they will.  And what they call a win, may actually be a loss.  Keep the flock heading in ONE direction. (Just a side note)

I recently had some time to speak to the students (5th – 12th graders) at our church.  I shared with them what the wins are for our student ministry.  I have noticed them clearly setting their sights on the things that help us win.

It’s important that we identify the wins in our lives.  If we know we are winning, then we know we are heading in the right direction.  When our identified wins are not being accomplished, then we know it’s time to sit down and go back to the drawing board.

7  Wins that Lauren and I have identified for our family…

  1. Individually spend time in God’s word daily
  2. Open communication and prayer with one another
  3. Serve one another
  4. Out do one another in showing honor
  5. Attend church together regularly
  6. Give faithfully to our local church
  7. Attend a small group (provided by our local church) regularly
Do we succeed at each of these every day?  Nope.  We’re far from perfect people.  But we STRIVE to win.  Take time to identify the wins in different areas of your life.  It’s a lot easier to stay motivated when you know you’re winning.
P.J.

Walk It Out

“I…urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called” Ephesians 4:1

Growing up playing football there was a common saying when a teammate would fall to the ground with an injury…Get up and Walk It Out.

In practice and in games our bodies were challenged physically and mentally to get better and better at the position we played.  And obviously football is a high contact sport.  So occasionally whether it be in practice or in a game, some one was going to fall with an injury.  But before any one was allowed to walk off the practice field or leave the game, they were strongly encouraged to get up and walk it out.

As believers we have been called to a high calling by our Lord Jesus Christ.  We have been called to live differently from the rest of the world.  Raise our children to walk according to his ways.  Manage our money in a manner that honors him.  Love our wives the way Jesus loves his church.  Which by the way, was a radical love that went all the way to the cross.  Wives are called to honor their husbands, in a world where the normal thing is to tear down ones husband.  We are called to live as light in a dark world.  We are called to humility in a world of pride.  We are called to love where love isn’t exactly deserved.  I could list things all day long to which you and I have been called as believers.

The path we have been called to walk down as believers isn’t exactly easy (Matthew 7:14).  We are going to fail at times.  We are going to struggle with sin.  We are going to fall down injured.  We are going to feel like walking off the field and giving up.  It’s in these moments that you and I must dig deep for the power of the Holy Spirit, get back up, and Walk It Out!

Don’t allow the enemy to hold you down when you fall.  Reach for the healer and his mercy (Matthew 9:12-13).   He can and will give you the courage to get back up and walk it out (Phil. 4:13). As disciples of Jesus Christ and leaders in his kingdom, we have been urged and called to walk (live) in a manner worthy of  the calling we have received.  Let’s walk it out!

“What makes on ordinary man, extraordinary is that he didn’t quit!” Ed Young


God Size Perspective (Part 3)

“And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” Philippians 1:14 esv

Our perspective in life determines so much.  Obviously it determines how we see our circumstances.  It determines how we respond to our obstacles.  It determines the influence or lack there of we will have in the lives of those around us.  It determines how we respond to God.  Which our response to God determines everything for our lives.

As I mentioned in the previous posts of this series, Paul possessed a God Size Perspective.  He looked past his unfavorable circumstances and looked up to God to gain a healthy perspective.  He realized his problems were being leveraged for God’s purposes.  But the part I love the most is that Paul realized that his obstacles were giving others much needed confidence in their own lives.

I’m not real sure what your perspective tends to be in life.  I’m not sure if you see the glass half empty of half full.  I don’t know if you are a pessimist or an optimist.

What I do know is that God can work through your greatest burdens to give others boldness. 

Paul’s time in prison gave other believers confidence in the Lord and enabled them to speak the word boldly and fearlessly.

How can your burdens equal confidence and boldness for the Lord? Continue reading


God Size Perspective (Part 1)

A couple of weeks ago Lauren and I laid down to go to bed one night.  As usual Lauren fell asleep in no time. I laid there for about 45 minutes unable to fall asleep.  Frustrated at my inability to sleep, I decided to grab my bible and turned to Philippians.  I know many would argue, but I believe Philippians may be Paul’s best letter.  If I did not have a bible reading plan, I’m afraid I would spend all of my time reading Philippians.  Anyways, to the point.

As I was reading Philippians I noticed that Paul possessed a God Size Perspective.  Take a look at the verses below.

“12I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel13so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ14And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” Philippians 1:12-14 

What is a God Size Perspective? Continue reading


Uncommon: Clarity

“When there is a prophet among you, 
   I, the LORD, reveal myself to them in visions, 
   I speak to them in dreams. 
But this is not true of my servant Moses; 
   he is faithful in all my house. 
With him I speak face to face, 
   clearly and not in riddles; 
   he sees the form of the LORD. 
Why then were you not afraid 
   to speak against my servant Moses?”  (Numbers 12:6-8 NIV)

Last fall I read a bible study that focused on the topics of faith and clarity.  The author wrote about how we pray for clarity, but that God has not called us to live with clarity but by faith. He went on to say that instead of praying for clarity we should pray for faith.  I have never forgotten about that one particular devotion.  Why?  Mainly because I agree and disagree with what the writer says.

I do believe and understand that God has called us to live and walk by faith (Hebrews 11:6).  However, Continue reading


RADICAL (Ehud: Removing The Obstacles)

“Again the Israelites cried out to the LORD, and he gave them a deliverer—Ehud, a left-handed man, the son of Gera the Benjamite….At the idols near Gilgal he himself turned back and said, “I have a secret message for you, O king.” Ehud then approached him while he was sitting alone in the upper room of his summer palace and said, “I have a message from God for you.” As the king rose from his seat,  Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king’s bellyEven the handle sank in after the blade, which came out his back. Ehud did not pull the sword out, and the fat closed in over it.”  Judges 3:15 & 19-22

When was the last time God showed you something wrong in your life and you took radical action to remove it?

In other words what are the obstacles in your life that need to be removed in order for you to get where God wants you to be? Continue reading


RADICAL (Ehud: A Deliverer)

“Again the Israelites cried out to the LORD, and he gave them a delivererEhud, a left-handed man, the son of Gera the Benjamite. The Israelites sent him with tribute to Eglon king of Moab.  Now Ehud had made a double-edged sword about a foot and a half  long, which he strapped to his right thigh under his clothing.  He presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab,…. After Ehud had presented the tribute, he sent on their way the men who had carried it. At the idols near Gilgal he himself turned back and said, “I have a secret message for you, O king.” Ehud then approached him while he was sitting alone in the upper room of his summer palace and said, “I have a message from God for you.” As the king rose from his seat,  Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king’s belly. Even the handle sank in after the blade, which came out his back. Ehud did not pull the sword out, and the fat closed in over it.”  Judges 3:15-22

Ehud: A fearless leader, man of vision, and a RADICAL DELIVERER.

It’s easy to read about the Israelite’s journey through out the Old Testament and think to our selves Continue reading


RADICAL (Ehud: At First Glance)

“Again the Israelites cried out to the LORD, and he gave them a deliverer-Ehud, a left-handed man, the son of Gera the Benjamite.” Judges 3:15

My current bible reading (www.dailyaudiobible.com) has me going through the book of Judges and the other day I read about this man (a deliverer and judge) named Ehud.  His story caught my attention.  I think for many reasons.  He was left handed, as am I.  He was brave, a man of direction, and an out front kind of leader.  Plus, his story is one of radical action.  He goes straight to Eglon king of Moab, tells Eglon he has a message from the Lord, the king leans in, and Ehud draws his sword (with his left hand!), and violently plunges the sword deep into the king’s belly to deliver his people from Eglon’s possession.  WOW!! My kind of guy!  Boldness!

At first glance, Ehud’s career as a messenger, leader, and judge for Israel may not appear to have any connection to us.  After all he did live in a world that was much different than our present day world.  What do we have to learn from a guy that took radical and violent action to free his people?  A lot!  Through out my next few posts, we will learn more about Ehud, how he is relevant to us, and I will elaborate on the points below.

1. We are exactly like the Israelites.  The Israelites would return to God for a season or seasons and obediently follow him.  Only to return to the world and not rely on God.  When times would get tough, they would cry out to God.  God would deliver them through delivers, like Ehud.  Who is our deliverer?

2. We have things in our lives that need to be radically removed.  King Eglon had to be removed for Israel to have peace.  Ehud took radical action to remove him (Judges 3:20-22).

3. Our obedience or lack of is an example to those around us. 

4. God can use us just the way we are.  There is a reason why God spoke through the writer of Judges to inform us that Ehud was left handed.  We all have unique abilities.  God can use us all right now, just the way we are.

Stay tuned! Next week we will continue to look at this Radical story and our need for a Radical deliverer.

P.J.


You Will Still Have A Difference To Make

“Now Joshua was old and advanced in years, and the Lord said to him, “You are old and advanced in years, and there remains yet very much land to possess.” Joshua 13:1 ESV

While you are here on earth You Will Still Have A Difference To Make. 

Far too many people reach a stage or stages in their lives where they begin to feel old, washed up, useless, without purpose, and believe the time has run out for them to make a difference.  I can kind of see why a non-believer could feel this way. But what burdens me even more is the amount of Christians that buy into this belief.

I see and hear about this in churches often.  People’s kids grow up, leave the nest, get married, start a family, and attend a new church.  And for some reason the parents of those who left, no longer serve in their church, attend services less often, and make excuses for why they can no longer be as involved as they once were.

People reach the age of retirement and instead of pouring their life and wisdom into the kingdom of God they begin to withdraw and say things like “That is for those young people, I am too old to do that, I have served my time.”

This is wrong.  As long as God allows you to walk on the earth, You Will Still Have A Difference To Make!

Just like the Lord told Joshua there was still land to be conquered, I believe he would tell you; I still have work to do through your life.   You too will still have land to conquer. 

The child has a difference to make in the lives of those he or she grows up playing with.  The teen has difference to make in their family, school, and extracurricular activities.  The college student has much strength and energy to pour into serving the Lord.  The young adult has a difference to make in their work place.  The young married couple has a godly marriage to build as an example to those around them.  As parents raise their children they have a responsibility to point their kids to God’s vision for their lives.  The empty nester has people to pray for and lives to touch with godly wisdom.  The old sage has a young warrior or king to lead along.  The grand parent has grandkids to show the love of God too.

You and I never reach the age where the Lord decides he is done using us.  Until we breathe our last breath the Lord still wants to work through us.  I don’t care what stage of the game you are at.  You are not too old to be used. You are not with out purpose.  The Lord is not done telling your story.  You are not too young to begin changing the world.  The Lord is eager to watch you fulfill the destiny that he desires for you.

“And now behold, I am this day eighty-five years old. I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming.” Caleb  (Joshua 14:10b-11 ESV)

Do not put your life in coast.

You have a difference to make and You will still have a difference to make. 

P.J.


 


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