Sunday, September 25, 2022

Mind Your Words

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“Mind Your Words”

Proverbs 18:20-21 NLT

Wise words satisfy like a good meal; the right words bring satisfaction.  The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.


I forget where I first heard this illustration and may not remember it verbatim, but I read a story about a grandfather who took his grandson up to a higher elevation and had a bag of feathers.  He opened the bag of feathers and he and the boy watched them all blow every which way.  He looked at the grandson and said, “Okay, now go find them all, pick them up and bring them back.”  The grandson of course replied, “That’s going to be impossible, I won’t be able to find them all.”  The grandfather then replied back, “Exactly!  This is just like the words we say.  Once they leave our lips, they are most likely gone and we can never get them back!”  


I have remembered this story for many years as I consider the words that I use each and every day with my wife, kids, co-workers, boss, friends, church family and extended family.  No matter who I come into contact with, I have to remember that my words need to be spoken with wisdom and not with hurt. 


You’ve heard the phrase “Mind your manners”.  Well, the same goes with our words.  We definitely need to learn to be careful with the words we speak.  There are many Scriptures dealing with the words we use and how we need to be wise in what we say and how we say what we do say. 


I am so guilty of letting words fly from my mouth that I should never say.  Sometimes it happens unintentionally and sometimes I get frustrated and feel I have the right to let them fly!  No matter the situation, I need to let my words be wise.  I tend to let my words fly when I’m in traffic and I have really annoying drivers around me!  I’ve been working on my road rage for many years, but I still get very frustrated often at how people make dumb choices and have no common courtesy on the road.  However, I need to remember that I have 2 girls who are watching my every move and learning from what I do and say.  That’s HUGE to me!  I blow it so often and need to remember that my words need to be wise and encouraging.


I encourage all of us from this day forward, to focus on using wise and encouraging words.  As the saying goes, “If you can’t say anything good, don’t say anything at all”.   Let our words be wise and full of satisfaction to those who hear them! 

Monday, September 5, 2022

Sharp Enough To Penetrate

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“Sharp Enough To Penetrate”

Hebrews 4:12 NLT

For the word of God is alive and powerful.  It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow.  It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.


I used to watch a lot of crime shows years ago.  I found myself so intrigued by how detectives asked the right questions and spent enough time digging into clues to finally solve a case.  I remember when the original CSI show came out.  I was hooked on that show and watched it every week.  It was like a rush when the theme song “Who Are You?” came on and I was ready and pumped for the rest of the show!  Through the years, I’ve gotten into other crime shows that I’ve enjoyed as well. 


What always baffled me was how the detectives would carefully work through the cases and uncover what they needed to prove what happened.  I just found myself intrigued by the end results.  I often found myself thinking, “How did they do that???”  If they could uncover the truth, that brought light to the whole story and set the record straight.


As I think about our lives of faith, I cannot help but think of this passage from Hebrews.  God’s Word is very powerful!  We often take this for granted and sometimes think what lies beneath in our lives won’t become uncovered.  We let things go in our lives, thinking some things we do or say are no big deal.  However, in order to grow and become stronger in our relationships, God has to penetrate deep within us to uncover things that need to come to light.  It’s often only in this way that we can truly heal and move forward.


We shouldn’t take His Word for granted.  His Word is far more powerful than anything we can possibly imagine!  We can’t live life thinking we can hide our secrets and live like we want to.  So often we think we can, but then our secrets somehow get uncovered by Him in some way.  He will somehow break through and wake us up to reality that we need to let go of these things that separate us from Him.  His Word penetrates hard and will bring us to our knees. 


Just like the detectives in crime shows dig hard and deep to uncover the truth, God’s Word will penetrate hard and deepest and will uncover the ugliness in our lives that needs to be exposed.  We all have these moments in life when things need to become exposed so that we can heal and live life for Him fully. 


My encouragement is for all of us to let God’s Word penetrate hard into our lives each day so that we can get rid of the ugliness that keeps us hindered from growing in Him. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Are We Really Thrilled?

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“Are We Really Thrilled?”

Psalm 92:4 NLT

You thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me!  I sing for joy because of what you have done.

We get thrilled about a lot of things in life, don’t we?  Just take a few moments and think about some of the times in life when you found yourself getting really thrilled and psyched up about different things.  We all get excited, pumped up and thrilled about a lot of things in life.  It’s a great feeling when we get excited about certain events coming up, people we are going to see and places we may visit. 

As a kid, I really got into roller coasters as theme parks.  I loved the thrills of going fast, going long and going upside down!  The adrenaline rush of going on rides lasted all through my young life.  I don’t do this as much anymore, but would still like to.  I also think about going to different restaurants where I know I’m going to get a great meal.  Or how about coffee shops I go to with excitement to get a blended iced or hot drink?  Starbucks and Caribou, here I come!!!  There are certain places we go as a family and I’m so excited to get there.  One of my favorite destinations is Duluth, MN.  It’s absolutely breathtaking each time we go and it never gets old!

I or we could all list so many different ways we get thrilled about things in life.  While there’s nothing at all wrong with getting excited about different things, places, foods, drinks, people and such, sometimes we need to reconsider how thrilled we are getting about these things compared to our thrill about God.  It’s so easy for us to get thrilled about different things of this world, but so often we tend to get less thrilled about our relationship with God. 

I read about, watch movies about and see video clips of others who get totally worked up and thrilled about God and all He is doing in their lives.  Just from the reactions and ways they are, I can tell they are really psyched about God.  Often I think to myself, “Am I like that?  Do I get that excited?”  Too often, I cringe at my answer of “Ummm….maybe…not as much”. 

I am reminded that every single day, I should be the most thrilled, excited, worked up and psyched about following God!  He should be the biggest thrill of our lives.  Nothing else should even come close!  However, too often other things do.  Maybe in the coming days, weeks and months, we should all be reminded about this when we get excited about something in life.  Just take a few moments and consider if you would get this excited or even more about God?  Just something for us to consider as we move forward in our lives.

Are we really thrilled about God?  I hope we all are!

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

What Would You Do?

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“What Would You Do?

Daniel 3:6 NIV

“Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”


The past few Sundays our pastor has been going through Daniel and as he shared Sunday morning, I was convicted of so many instances of my life where I have given in and compromised to go along with the crowd.  I tend to think of the show “What Would You Do?” that has been on ABC in the past.  My family and I have enjoyed many episodes of this in the past.  If you’re not familiar with it, scenarios are set up with actors and then others who have no idea what’s going on are surrounded with the feeling of “What am I going to do”?


It’s very interesting to see what people will do in situations that make them uncomfortable.  Unlike this show, oftentimes in life we are faced with situations that come up that are real and people get very pushy to try getting us to do things we shouldn’t do.  Peer pressure isn’t just for young people growing up.  Adults struggle with this all too often as well.  Actually, it doesn’t matter what age you are, it’s tough to go against the flow.


What would you do if you were faced with a blazing furnace and were told to bow down to a statue or you will die?  That’s pretty blunt!  Either fall down and worship this idol or lose your life.  However, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did not give in and they stayed strong. 


I know I’ve written about this story in the past, but it came back to me.  I think about how so often it’s hard for me to stand up for what’s right because it REALLY makes you stand out in the crowd. 


We have to really ask ourselves what is more important, obeying man or God?  When faced with certain situations, it’s downright hard to be different.  Our face may turn pale and we may feel lightheaded just with the situation at hand.  It’s uncomfortable!  However, God often asks us to go against the flow and be strong, just as these 3 men were.  They were faithful and would not go with the flow.  Their faithfulness paid off and God was praised!


Ask yourself, “What Would I Do?”  How would you react?  It’s not something we need to get all freaked out about and scared about it happening, but we do need to be prepared and ask God to give us wisdom whatever situation might arise.  We need to be prepared and pray for constant guidance to be a light when we get surrounded by darkness. 


It’s in these situations where we have an amazing opportunity to be a light for God!

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Don't Miss The Moments

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“Don’t Miss The Moments”
Luke 10:41-42 NLT
But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Anytime I’m at home or out and about somewhere and I see a sunset, I know I have to get to a good place to view it quickly because there is very limited time to take in the moment. You can’t wait very long and still expect to see the majestic display of God’s glory! Sunsets are one of the most beautiful types of scenery ever! If you don’t act quickly, you miss it. The glow of the sky as the sun is just setting is one of the most beautiful sights ever!

Just like these limited time moments with sunsets, there are so many other moments in life that we must act fast and take in because they don’t last long. I think about the moments I have at home with my daughters or when we’re out and about. There are times when they want to share something with me and I find myself wrapped up in something else and I tell them to hang on for a bit. Instead of dropping whatever it is I’m doing (which is usually not as important!), I continue on and I end up missing the moment with them. The excitement wanes a bit and my heart breaks because I know I have missed yet another moment.

I often think about the story of Mary and Martha when Jesus comes to visit. It’s one of my most favorite stories because it shares a powerful message. (As I was typing this, my youngest daughter walked in the room and wanted to share a moment with me in showing me something. I actually paid attention!) Martha is all bent out of shape because her sister is taking time to chill and take in the moment with Jesus. While Martha is flipping out, Mary just takes the moment in and chills for a bit.

This is a fascinating story because it’s powerful in sharing a simple concept, but one that many of us fail to live up to. We get so busy with so many things and we fail to take the time to stop and smell the roses. We forget what’s often really important. Taking care of life stuff is vital, but we have to make time for moments that pop up. We have people around us that need us and these limited moments are important to take in.

We all need to be a little less like Martha and more like Mary to take in precious moments that won’t last. Just like the sunsets that don’t last long, take in the precious moments you have with people you love. Chores and other duties will always be there, but sometimes we just have to stop and take in these moments that are truly a gift from God.

Don’t miss these moments!

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Show And Tell

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“Show And Tell”

1 John 4:9 NLT

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.


Do any of you remember having “show and tell” in school when growing up?  I remember how excited I was to bring something from home to show off to my class and explain the uniqueness of whatever it was.  Many of us probably recall special times when we brought something that was of value and showed it off to our classmates.  We were proud and excited to share our treasure, whatever it might have been.


Through the years, I think of the numerous times that I’ve been really excited and proud of something I made or did and wanted to share it with others.  There’s just something about showing and telling other people about a completely project or treasured item that we get excited about.  Sometimes, we go to great lengths to show others cool things we think are neat and are proud of.  We take time to tidy up and present the project we’ve completed or item we just purchased and show it off to family and friends. 


It’s great and fun to show off things we are proud of to others.  It’s exciting to see their reaction and hear their responses about what they think.  While thinking about this, I cannot help but think if we are always this excited and even more to show and tell others about God when we have opportunities to do so?  Think about how much God loved us so much that He sent Jesus to die for us.  That’s the great act of show and tell ever!  Nothing could compare to that! 


I have to wonder how excited and anxious we actually are to share with others what God has done for us.  Do we carry an excitement with us at all times ready to tell and show others what God has done and continues to do in our lives?  Are we anxious and excited to share His love and what He can do for others when we get into conversations?  Do we look forward to showing and telling others of the wonderful things He has done in our lives that only He can do?


I hope that our desire to show and tell others about God’s love far outweighs anything else we may get excited about in our lives.  Unfortunately, all too often, this is not the case and we get more excited about other things of the world rather than God.  It isn’t wrong to get excited about different things in life, but when that excitement outweighs our excitement to share God’s love more than anything else, then we have a problem.


Are we ready and excited for show and tell about all that God has done for us for others to see and hear?

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

We Need Wise Company

YouTube Channel Video Devo “We Need Wise Company”

“We Need Wise Company”

Proverbs 13:20 NLT

Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get into trouble.

I remember numerous times while growing up how my parents warned me about not hanging out with people who would influence me in wrong ways.  As a kid, you often want to be accepted and noticed by others so badly and are willing to go to great lengths to be liked.

I am very grateful for my parent’s advice and guidance to help me through choosing good friends that would encourage me rather than get me into trouble.  That didn’t always keep me from trying to make friends with people who were troublemakers, but I learned through the years that I needed to be wise in who I hung out with. 

Wanting to be accepted and liked isn’t just for kids or teens, it’s for adults as well.  We so often want to surround ourselves with people who will accept us and like us.  There’s nothing at all wrong with wanting to be accepted and liked.  Who wouldn’t want that, right??  However, we have to be very careful in what company we surround ourselves with.  This proverb is very clear that if we walk with the wise and surround ourselves with wise people, then we ourselves will become wiser and learn great things.  However, if we associate with fools who are troublemakers, we will be influenced and find ourselves falling into temptations to be troublemakers as well.

Just as our parents warned us to not get into trouble by hanging out with people of bad influence, God wants us to be wise in who we surround ourselves with.  We definitely need to make choices to be around those people who will mentor, encourage and help us become better people.  Through experiences and connections, we can learn better to surround ourselves with people who truly care about us and want us to become better people.  We definitely don’t want to surround ourselves with people who just like us when we do want they want us to do.

Walk with the wise and become wiser, but walk with fools and we get into trouble.  Trouble can bring some nasty consequences that could last a lifetime.  But, walking with wise people will bring great experiences to last a lifetime. 

We all need wise company.  Question is do we seek wise company out?