Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Don't Copy Cool

“Don’t Copy Cool”

Romans 12:2 NLT

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.  Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about working with computers is using the copy code.  I’ve used this so many times through my life and it saves so much time from having to write things out each time.  I can just copy and paste.  I’m sure many of you as well really enjoy using this feature.  I have used it many times with various jobs I have and I use it daily in my current office job. It is so convenient just copying the info I want to move to a different place instead of taking the time to type everything out all over again.

While this copy feature is amazing, I cannot help but think how this carries over into my life and walk with God.  I have so often become so accustomed to copying so much over into my life that seems way easier than doing what God asks me to do.  I see so many things in life that look way cool and I just copy and paste it into my walk with God.  However, many of these things He does not like.  I tend to copy a lot of customs and behaviors from the world into my life that I shouldn’t. 

I find myself so often copying what the world does and then I wonder why my walk with God doesn’t improve.  This is a daily challenge and I’m sure it is for so many of you as well.  It is so much easier to just copy what the world does instead of going against the flow and being transformed as God wants us to be.  We all know it is much wiser to do what God wants, but our flesh often wins over and we slip the customs and behaviors of this world into our daily lifestyle.  We do what we shouldn’t do, go where we shouldn’t go and say things we shouldn’t say.  We just blend right in and we copy the world’s version of “Cool”.

Friends, we are called to not copy the “cool” of this world, but instead being transformed and set apart.  We cannot just mimic what the world does because it’s more convenient to fit in.  God wants our lives to be dramatically different than the world.  Our lives need to look totally separate from the rest of the world. 

As much as I like the copy and paste feature of computers and it brings much efficiency to my daily work, this should never flow into my walk with God as I’m so often tempted to just copy and paste the worldly values and fit in. 

Don’t copy “cool”.  Instead, be transformed and renewed. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Running With A Purpose

“Running With A Purpose”

1 Corinthians 9:25-27 NLT

All athletes are disciplined in their training.  They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.  So I run with purpose in every step.  I am not just shadowboxing.  I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.  Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified. 

This past Sunday in our small group Bible study, we were discussing how we need to be missional in life and get things done instead of just talking about doing them.  It was a powerful lesson we all took in and as we read this passage, I was focused on the part of ”So I run with purpose in every step”.  I thought about all the things I do each and every day and why I do them. 

I thought about all I do each day from the time I get up in the morning to the time I lay down to go to bed at night.  What is my purpose behind each thing I do and each place I go?  Am I living to just get the day of work over with to get home to be with my family?  Don’t get me wrong that it’s great to look forward to being home with my family each night.  But, there’s more to each day of life.  Whether I am at work, at home with my family or going somewhere, I am called to live and run with a purpose. 

I used to be a cross-country and track runner and I remember how focused I was on doing the best I could.  I remember the pain I often went to in order to get my body in shape.  It was so challenging, but I was determined to stay in shape so that I could run my best.  I needed to stay determined and committed so that I could run the best I could.  I ran with a purpose to do my best and achieve my best. 

Friends, this is why we need to train each and every day to be the best God wants us to be.  We are living and running each day from this to that.  Do we ever really stop to consider what we are doing and why we are doing it?  I sure hope so.  And, if we’re not….we need to START! 

I want to be missional in my life to not just live each day in a normal routine.  I want to be the best God has asked me to be and take advantage of every opportunity to do what He has called me to do. 

Are you and I living and running with a purpose?

Thursday, November 4, 2021

The Greatest Imitation

“The Greatest Imitation”

Ephesians 5:1-2 NLT

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.  Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ.  He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.

I’ve always been impressed when I hear people try to imitate an actor or actress.  Some people I’ve heard are pretty good at it, while others really need some work!  I’ve watched many comedians throughout the years imitate different people and some of the imitations are mind-blowing!  It’s amazing when your jaw drops as you say, “Wow, that is a great impression!”  I’ve also heard different friends, family members and others who have tried impersonating someone else and it sounded very genuine!

I think we all enjoy hearing someone do a great impression of someone else.  It’s quite entertaining to hear these impressions and often times we want them to keep going and going to keep us laughing!  So often we or other people put much effort into imitating others and getting that talent down just because it’s so impressive.

The other day, when I read over this passage as I have so many times, it reminded me of how it is so important to imitate God.  It’s quite funny to witness good impersonations and gives us a good laugh, but I can’t help but think about our effort in imitating God.  How much effort do we actually put into imitating what God wants us to do? 

The greatest imitation we could ever put on is to do exactly what God wants us to do.  He calls us to be just like Him in everything we do.  Think about the first part of this passage of Paul’s words, “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do”.  Doesn’t that say it all???  Everywhere we go, everyone we talk to and whatever we do, we are called to imitate God.  When we do this, we will live a life filled with His love.  That is exactly what God calls us to do. 

That is the greatest imitation! 

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Create In Me, O God

 “Create In Me, O God”

Psalm 51:10

NIV- Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

NLT-Create in me a clean heart, O God.  Renew a loyal spirit within me.

 

Father God, create in me a pure and clean heart when I…..

Treat my wife and daughters in ways that do not honor You.

Say things to my wife and daughters that I really regret later.

Think things that are not appropriate and tempted to be immoral.

Say things and treat my co-workers in ways that are not Godly.

Say things about other people that do not glorify You.

Lose my temper and sometimes let words fly that I shouldn’t say.

Get upset in traffic and treat others in a very non Christ-like way.

Get so wrapped up in my own ways and neglect to love on my family as I should.

Get so focused on what I want that I forget to show Your love to others.

Become so self-centered that I forget to serve others and meet their needs.

 

Father, help renew a steadfast and loyal spirit within me when I want to give up and do life the easy way.  Father, I desperately need You to create in me a clean and pure heart so that I can stop focusing on the things of this world and my own selfishness and just totally focus on You.  Lord, as I heard this passage this morning in church, it reminded me how so much I need You to cleanse me from my sins and how I need to be renewed and restored.

Father, I need to be renewed with a steadfast and loyal spirit so that I may better serve You and completely surrender to You.  From this day on, I want to be more committed, no matter how challenging life becomes.  I want to show and lavish Your love in my home and encourage my wife and girls instead of hindering them as I so often do with my selfishness. 

Father, please create in me a very pure and clean heart and forgive me.  May others see You through me day in and day out. 

Amen.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Can't You See It?

 “Can’t You See It?”

Isaiah 43:19 NLT

For I am about to do something new.  See, I have already begun!  Do you not see it?  I will make a pathway through the wilderness.  I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

Do you all remember those pictures from years ago where you had to adjust your eyes and focus on what was in the “dots”?  It was pretty challenging and I often couldn’t focus my eyes just right to see the picture within the frame.  You had to adjust your eyes just right and then the image would just form or pop out at you!  If you remember those, you either remember the joy of actually seeing what you couldn’t see before or you remember the absolute frustration of trying to adjust your eyes, but to no avail! 

Some things in life are naturally easy to see.  We have hundreds, if not thousands, of things we have all seen easily in our lives.  Some things are very easy to point out and can be seen by almost anyone.  Then there are some things that you might have to actually take the time to stop and look for in a different way.  Maybe something is seen better in a certain angle or in the light or dark. 

Sometimes it’s good for us to have someone say, “Can’t you see it???” as we try hard to focus on what is in front of us or across the way a bit.  Sometimes we need the challenge of someone coaching us to look at things in a different way.  Sometimes it just takes a bit more focusing to see something.  A lot of things in life are this way and so many of us won’t or don’t take the time to see with a different perspective. 

As we are all going through tough and challenging times of life in various ways, we all need to be challenged as God often says to us “Can’t you see it??”.  So often He is working in some amazing ways, but we fail to see.  We are so wrapped up in our own ways and our own ideas that we just don’t take the time to look with a different perspective.  God is trying to show us things every day and we fail so often to see these wonderful new things.  So many different things can cause us to lose sight of these great and wonderful things. 

No matter what we might be facing, God is definitely working on something new and He wants you and I to see it!  Sometimes it’s easy to see, but often it takes looking from a different angle or perspective.  Then, when we do see what He wants us to see, it blows our minds! 

Next time someone asks you, “Can’t you see it?”, think of all the new things God is trying to show you as you live each day. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

I Trust Because He Is Still Good

“I Trust Because He Is Still Good”

Psalm 13:5-6 NLT

But I trust in your unfailing love.  I will rejoice because you have rescued me.  I will sing to the Lord because he is good to me.

Lord, I know You are good.  You have always been so good to me, no matter what is going on in life.  Some days, though Lord, I wake up and the stress just mounts up and hits me like a freight train and I’ve so overwhelmed by all the duties and responsibilities of what I need to do.  I know You are good, but I struggle many days Lord with all the challenges that continue to surround me.  I know You are good, but many days I’m just keeping my head above water in trusting You as I have so many unanswered questions about life and circumstances.

Father, I will continue to trust in Your unfailing love because I do believe that You are working in ways that I cannot see or even feel at the moment.  I trust in You because I know You are working and providing.  No matter how challenging life becomes, I still trust in You and will keep my hope in You.

Father, I pray for people who read this and are finding themselves asking so many questions and not getting answers.  I pray for peace for them and ask that You will give us all comfort like we’ve never had before.  In the midst of all that continues to happen in this world and the pain we continue to hear about, please help us to remember that You are in control. 

Father, I want to simply pray that You would continue to teach us to trust in You, even when we cannot understand and are overwhelmed with life.  Amen.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

He Is So Good, So Ready, And So Full

“He is So Good, So Ready and So Full”

Psalm 86:5 NLT

O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.

As I read this passage the other day, it filled me with hope and assurance just knowing that no matter what I’m experiencing or dealing with, God is so good to me and ready to forgive my sins and is so full of love for me.  It sounds simple, but if you really take a moment to let those words sink in, it’s really profound.  He is so good to us.  He is so ready to forgive us.  He is so full of unfailing love to us. 

All we need to do is ask for His help and He is ready to lavish this love upon us.  We all know He is good, that He forgives and that He is unconditional in His love for us, but sometimes just how a passage is written and what we are experiencing, it’s just what we need to hear to bring us comfort. 

I don’t know about you, but there are so many things in life right now that I’m just tired of dealing with and sick of experiencing.  I wake up each day thanking God for another new day and opportunity to live for Him, but I also go through my day with so many thoughts of how I wish things would get better in different ways with life.  I think we have all felt this way for a long time.  We may never get to a normal way of life again, but perhaps a new normal. 

My heart has been breaking as I have heard of different people experiencing loss and hard times.  There are some days and times when I just have to focus on and remember that God is so good, so ready to forgive me and is full of unfailing love for me.  It brings life back into perspective.  It helps me focus on what is really important and not focus on all the negative things in life. 

I hope and pray that no matter what you might be experiencing, never forget how good He is, how ready He is to forgive and how His unfailing love is just waiting for us as we come to Him to ask for help and guidance. 

I remember the words of a praise song I learned so many years ago and want to close with those.  “For You are good, for You are good, for You are good to me!”