Words of Wisdom: Who Can You Trust?

Words of Wisdom: Who Can You Trust?

Hallelujah! My soul, praise the Lord. I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing to the Lord as long as I live. Do not trust in nobles, in man, who cannot save. When his breath leaves him, he returns to the ground; on that day his plans die. Happy is the one whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them. He remains faithful forever, executing justice for the exploited and giving food to the hungry. The Lord frees prisoners. The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord raises up those who are oppressed. The Lord loves the righteous. The Lord protects foreigners and helps the fatherless and the widow, but He frustrates the ways of the wicked. The Lord reigns forever… Psalm 146

When you read through this testimony to the Lord in the life of the psalmist, is this the Lord that resides in your life as well? Is the Lord the only reliable person that you know you can count upon? Even the best intentions of godly friends and family members have limits because none is perfect. We must learn to trust others, just as we should learn to love others, but we realize that deep down even the most faithful and trusting friend or family member will not always be there for us, all the time and forever. Only the Lord can be the recipient of our absolute faith and trust, and only God will always and forever be the One we can count upon in good or bad times.

Does your testimony about your relationship also reveal your witnessing the Lord’s His faithful love as He has provided for, protected and preserved the helpless, hopeless, and the homeless? When no one else rises up to care for those who cannot help themselves, the Lord will always be found. Is this the kind of person you desire to place your trust upon?

Love others as God has commanded us to love, but realize that placing your trust on all those you love in this world has temporal limits, even for the most godly people that you know. Only the Lord is worthy of your love and your trust…

Coach

“What sign then are You going to do so we may see and believe You?” they asked. “What are You going to perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, just as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” Jesus said to them, “ I assure you: Moses didn’t give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the real bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the One who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Then they said, “Sir, give us this bread always!” “I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in Me will ever be thirsty again. But as I told you, you’ve seen Me, and yet you do not believe. Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me,and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me: that I should lose none of those He has given Me but should raise them up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:30-40 (HCSB)

Special Message About Genuine Friends…

Psalm 55

Faithless Friends versus Faithful Friends Even in the Church

In this world today we rush to gather around ourselves a circle of people who we call our friends. However, when they let us down or turn against us we feel so betrayed. Well, is the problem the person we called our friend or with us because we included them in our circle of friends?

This psalm today speaks of the reality that just because someone is friendly to us, or they share common interests with us, or they speak well of us, they qualify to be our friend. Even in the church, being friendly externally among the so-called fellowship of the church does not mean there are genuine bonds of friendship being created between two or more people. Sadly, but true, often the church fellowship is the loneliest place for many people. In a church you would think there would be the ideal opportunity to develop lasting, genuine friendships. However, in reality our churches are full of imperfect people with their own worldly agendas, just as it is in among the world. So I urge you, as God’s Word speaks, pick your friends wisely and realize that the bonds of friendship are to flow both ways equally and without expecting anything in return from one another except friendship built on a common faith in God.

Psalm 55 is another lament psalm of imminent danger surrounding the psalmist, but unlike the other laments, this speaks of the deep hurt caused by enemies because in this case, they were supposedly dear friends of the psalmist… and, church buddies at that! Listen to some of the key verses of this lament psalm:

God, listen to my prayer and do not ignore my plea for help. Pay attention to me and answer me. I am restless and in turmoil with my complaint, because of the enemy’s voice, because of the pressure of the wicked. For they bring down disaster on me and harass me in anger. My heart shudders within me; terrors of death sweep over me. Fear and trembling grip me; horror has overwhelmed me.

Now, it is not an enemy who insults me— otherwise I could bear it; it is not a foe who rises up against me— otherwise I could hide from him. But it is you, a man who is my peer, my companion and good friend! We used to have close fellowship; we walked with the crowd into the house of God.

He acts violently against those at peace with him; he violates his covenant. His buttery words are smooth, but war is in his heart. His words are softer than oil, but they are drawn swords.

Friendships are busted up over the hurt of words exchanged. Reputations have been ruined and relationships irreconcilably damaged between friends because of slander, gossip and words of anger. And it is sad that like the psalmist says, if only they were just some natural enemy, I would endure and be patient with their assaults, but these attacks are coming from someone who claimed to be a friend in Christ to me. How can it be? Well the Lord responds to this dilemma through the Word of God when He declared:

Psalms 15:1-5 (HCSB) Lord, who can dwell in Your tent? Who can live on Your holy mountain? The one who lives honestly, practices righteousness, and acknowledges the truth in his heart— who does not slander with his tongue, who does not harm his friend or discredit his neighbor, who despises the one rejected by the Lord, but honors those who fear the Lord, who keeps his word whatever the cost, who does not lend his money at interest or take a bribe against the innocent— the one who does these things will never be moved. (God has established the conditions of who will be His friend and thus who should our friend as well.)

Prov 18:24 (HCSB) A man with many friends may be harmed, but there is a friend who stays closer than a brother. (In other words, value the quality of your friendship relationships not the quantity of friends.)

James 4:4 (HCSB) Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? So whoever wants to be the world’s friend becomes God’s enemy.

(Likewise, do not value friendships as the world values them. We are to never place our friendship with others above and before our relationship with God.)

Consider in selecting friends, we can mistake Christian activity with becoming like Christ. They are not the same things. We must not assume that because our friend attends church and reads their Bible, they are growing as a Christian. Christian friendships are bonded by a genuine relationship with Christ, genuine fellowship through the Holy Spirit and genuine worship towards the Father.

As a Christian friend, God wants you to develop into the kind of friend who can strengthen others by your relationship with them. The words you share and the things you do should always lift up and bring comfort and encourage your friends.

Finally Christ said this in John 15:12-17: This is My command: love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this that someone would lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from My Father. You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. This is what I command you: love one another.

Our first and foremost friend should be Christ Jesus. Through our relationship with Him we will uncover genuine Christian friends built on God’s love. What a testimony if our churches would not just be friendly places but a place of genuine friendships that everyone can depend upon. What a beacon of light and hope we could send to a world looking for a friend. Father, help me and everyone listening to become the kind of Christian friend we are called to be, beginning with You, Our Lord and Savior. Amen

Words of Wisdom #90: Worship should be 100% Praise!

Hallelujah! Praise God in His sanctuary. Praise Him in His mighty heavens. Praise Him for His powerful acts; praise Him for His abundant greatness. Praise Him with trumpet blast; praise Him with harp and lyre. Praise Him with tambourine and dance; praise Him with flute and strings. Praise Him with resounding cymbals; praise Him with clashing cymbals. Let everything that breathes praise the Lord. Hallelujah! Psalm 150

First and foremost: when we enter the sanctuary to worship, whose sanctuary is it? Is the sanctuary meant to suit our needs? Is the sanctuary meant for the people or to honor the Lord? As we file into the sanctuary, who should we realize is already there watching our actions and attitudes as we enter to worship? Yet, where is our focus as we enter the sanctuary in most cases?

The reason many of the people are not comfortable with worship settings is they are most often not ready to worship as they enter. They do not have praising God on their mind or heart. They only want to sit and be entertained with the music and songs, and then hopefully engaged with the message from the preacher. They desire to be the passive audience, rather than recognize in worship there is only an audience of one present. We all are suppose to be praise participants in a genuine worship service. Of course when the message is over, some have been inspired in the presence of God, but there are others who remain more worried about dinner plans or needing to meet family or simply getting to the rest room before the mad rush.  It is most often obligation that brings most to church and it is obligation that is on their mind when they leave. How do you think the Lord feels in His sanctuary as He watches the people come in, go through the motions, and then race to leave for their various obligations? How would you feel if it was you who was to be praised, but most of the people only focused on themselves and not you?

What would happen if you had a birthday party for you planned, but once everyone showed up all they did was ignore you and talk about their plans after the party, or gossip about how the party decorations and festivities could of been better to suit their tastes. How would feel as the one of honor when they could not agree how to sing happy birthday to you, and most just stood there looking uncomfortable while a few made a feeble effort to sing? How much love from family and friends would you feel?

The Lord of the Universe, the Lord who gave us everything we have and we are, the Lord who came to earth as Jesus to demonstrate His love and praise for us, and the Lord who loves us even when we are down right unlovable; this is the Lord that is worthy of all our praise, 100%! It is His sanctuary, not our sanctuary! The Lord does not wait to be invited to worship time, He is there waiting for us to show up and to be inspired, encouraged, and engaged through the offering of heartfelt praise to Him. The Lord wants to smile upon us and applaud our praise to Him.

In a matter of fact: if we listen to His Word in this psalm – there is no exclusion of worship style or instruments in the worship time designed to praise the Lord of the heavens and earth! Every instrument is called into the praise music time to worship the almighty, all-loving, all-deserving God. The psalmist declares that genuine worship time is a time of blended music, orchestrated in harmony to inspire everyone to praise the Lord with no exceptions! There should not be a duel between the different worship styles and types of music. When a divinely inspired worship leader is found he can and does bring together all the available talents and styles and instruments into one harmonious worship experience, where everyone responds with the appropriate praise to the Lord. Divided and diverted hearts are mended and molded into engaged grateful hearts of praise for what God has done for them. All other obligations are dismissed because hearts are brought together as one in such a sanctuary that praises the Lord for what He has done.

Why cannot we just accept our unique differences and preferences, and recognize God is the focus of our worship time, and He has the capacity and desire to hear unity and harmony from the diversity of His people seeking to praise Him as one body.  All men need to do to accomplish that kind  of worship is take themselves out of the equation, and allow everyone to participate under the leadership of one God-gifted, divinely inspired worship leader. God will be best praised in such a setting of praise and worship, and the people best served and influenced as well.

Coach

Knowing their thoughts, He told them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is headed for destruction, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. Matt 12:25 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom #89: And the Next American Idol is?

Hallelujah! Sing to the Lord a new song, His praise in the assembly of the godly. Let Israel (all His Covenant People) celebrate its Maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their King. Let them praise His name with dancing and make music to Him with tambourine and lyre. For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He adorns the humble with salvation. Let the godly celebrate in triumphal glory; let them shout for joy on their beds. Let the exaltation of God be in their mouths… Psalm 149:1-6a    

Why is all the emphasis in our churches about entertaining the people who have come to worship? Where in the Bible, God’s Word, does it declare that that is the purpose of worship: to be entertained. We fight over the style of worship, the types of sings to sing; whether we should play the organ or electric guitar. We fuss over whether we should stand or sit while we sing. We have projection screens that show us in worship as if the song leaders or those on one of the many screens are the to be the focus of the worship time. We applaud the performers on the platform or in proper terms to our mindset, the stage. In a matter of fact, pastors and worship leaders have been dismissed over these issues!

So, what is wrong in our churches today? Is it possible we have lost the true purpose and focus of our worship? Have we forgotten worship is our time to honor and revere the Lord of lords, the King of kings, the one and only true God of the universe? Have we forgotten it is our time to offer our praise and thanksgiving towards the Maker of heaven and earth, and that He sent Jesus, His unique Son to bring us the Gospel Message of hope and salvation by faith, and that He died on the Cross so that we could gather together as His people without guilt any longer. Have we forgotten in genuine worship that is illustrated time and time again in His Word that God alone is the focus of our worship! He alone is the audience we are to sing to, and to play music to, and to offer not only our songs and music, but also our prayers and praise of adoration in thanks for all He has and is doing in our lives individually and corporately! Our tithes and offerings should be a part of the worship experience because it is part of thanksgiving offering for the many blessings He has poured down upon us, so that we can share those blessings with others through the ministries and mission activities of the church. On all the screens should not be pictures of ourselves, but God applauding us! However, if we could have God’s image on the screens how would He respond to the attitudes and actions found in the worship in our churches?

Church music and songs are indeed to have but two purposes: first, prepare are hearts and minds and souls to exalt God in Christ during the worship experience; and secondly, offer our songs and music of praise to Him alone! He does not care the style of music, only the attitudes and actions that are engaged in worshiping Him. He has no preference over contemporary, traditional, or blended service styles. He does not have any concern how the words of the songs are sung, as long as they are sincere and heartfelt. God did not publish the hymnal, but He did inspire the words of the songs in it, as He inspired the words of many great praise and worship songs. God inspired music to be played from the organ, the lyre, the tambourine, and the guitar, as well as on the drums.

Who are we seeking to truly worship when we fight over the worship style? Is our true focus upon God or ourselves? I pray the only image we will focus upon will not be projected upon a screen hanging from the rafters, but the one within us in our minds-eye. It must be focused upon the Savior and Source of our faith alone. If He is smiling we have done rightly, if not, then re-look at at the focus of the worship we claim we are participating in.

As the psalmist states at the end of Psalm 149, “this honor is for all His holy people. Hallelujah!” 

Coach

“Sir,” the woman replied, “I see that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, yet you [Jews] say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.”  Jesus told her, “Believe Me,  woman, an hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You  Samaritans worship what you do not know. We worship what we do know, because salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship Him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:19-24 (HCSB)

 

 

Words of Wisdom #88: Give Praise Where It is Due!

Hallelujah! How good it is to sing to our God, for praise is pleasant and lovely… He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds, He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them.: Our Lord is great, vast in power; His understanding is infinite. The Lord helps the afflicted but brings the wicked to the ground. Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; play the lyre to our God, who covers the sky with clouds, prepares rain for the earth, and causes grass to grow on the hills, He provides the animals withtheir food, and the young ravens what they cry for. He is not impressed by the strength of a horse; He does not value the power of a man. The Lord values those who fear Him, those who put their hope in His faithful love. Psalm 147:1,3-11

What complaint might you have against God? Is there anything that He does that disappoints or fails to satisfy your needs? Well, it may seem that way from time to time…we are a fairly spoiled people that He created. We have come to expect life to be easy and without any issues or challenges, but is that what God had intended?

When it seems that God has turnded His back on you or someone you know, why does it appear that way? Who has most likely turned their back on whom? If God is the Lord He claims to be, and He is that and more, then who has the problem with remaining faithful and trusting in His will, His ways, and the wisdom of His Word?

Often it is an issue of giving or receiving praise. We often want the praise (the credit) for overcoming situations and challenges, rather than giving praise or credit where it is due. However, for those who truly love the Lord and have a right relationship withHim there is no hesitation in giving praise to Him. What have we been able to do on our own? Where does our strength come from? Where does our wisdom come from? Where does our courage and faith come from? Who created us in our mother’s womb to make us who we are? God is truly the only one worthy of praise and honor and our worship! In return, what does the Lord offer us? Look around you and discover the many blessings He has provided to you! His blessings are His love offering in return for your faith in Him, and lifting your praise to Him.

Remember, He needs nothing from you, but He does enjoy flowing His blessings upon His creation, especially to you personally. Jobs come and go. Money could always be more plentiful. Our situations we will always make us desire something different. However, the Lord sends us the blessings we need when we need them the most. So always remember, give praise where it is due and do so not to expect blessings, but to realize the blessings He has already given to you but failed to see before.

Coach

And on this matter, Jesus said: “This is why I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the sky: they don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? Can any of you add a single  cubit to his height by worrying? And why do you worry about clothes? Learn how the wildflowers of the field grow: they don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these! If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t He do much more for you—you of little faith? So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matt 6:25-34 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom #87: Who Can You Trust?

Hallelujah! My soul, praise the Lord. I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing to the Lord as long as I live. Do not trust in nobles, in man, who cannot save. When his breath leaves him, he returns to the ground; on that day his plans die. Happy is the one whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them. He remains faithful forever, executing justice for the exploited and giving food to the hungry. The Lord frees prisoners. The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord raises up those who are oppressed. The Lord loves the righteous. The Lord loves the righteous. The Lord protects foreigners and helps the fatherless and the widow, but He frustrates the ways of the wicked. The Lord reigns forever… Psalm 146

When you read through this testimony to the Lord in the life of the psalmist, is this the Lord that resides in your life as well? Is the Lord the only reliable person that you know you can count upon? Even the best intentions of godly friends and family members have limits because none is perfect. We must learn to trust others, just as we should learn to love others, but we realize that deep down even the most faithful and trusting friend or family member will not always be there for us, all the time and forever. Only the Lord can be the recipient of our absolute faith and trust, and only God will always and forever be the One we can count upon in good or bad times.

Does your testimony about your relationship also reveal your witnessing the Lord’s  His faithful love as He has provided for, protected and preserved the helpless, hopeless, and the homeless? When no one else rises up to care for those who cannot help themselves, the Lord will always be found. Is this the kind of person you desire to place your trust upon?

Love others as God has commanded us to love, but realize that placing your trust on all those you love in this world has temporal limits, even for the most godly people that you know. Only the Lord is worthy of your love and your trust…

Coach

“What sign then are You going to do so we may see and believe You?” they asked. “What are You going to perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, just as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”  Jesus said to them, “ I assure you: Moses didn’t give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the real bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the One who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Then they said, “Sir, give us this bread always!” “I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in Me will ever be thirsty again. But as I told you, you’ve seen Me, and yet you do not believe. Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me: that I should lose none of those He has given Me but should raise them up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:30-40 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom #86: Gracious About God’s Greatness

I exalt You, my God the King, and praise Your name forever and ever. I will praise You every day; I will honor Your name forever and ever. Yahweh is great and is highly praised; His greatness is unsearchable. One generation will declare Your works to the next and will proclaim Your mighty acts. I will speak of Your glorious splendor and Your wonderful works., and I will declare Your greatness. They will give a testimony of Your great goodness and will joyfully sing of Your righteousness. The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and great in faithful love. The Lord is good to everyone; His compassion rests on all He has made. Psalm 145:1-9

This timeless passage speaks volumes of the goodness, greatness and graciousness of our ever-faithful Lord and God. It echoes the effect that God has had upon the lives of generations upon generations of His creation since the beginning of time itself. No religion can offer this testimony of everlasting love through all the ages. Man has tried to divert their worship in other directions to other idols and gods, but none have survived the passage of time, because there is but one God, and one true Lord who genuinely works within the hearts of all people. Even those whom struggle to admit their relationship and the existence of God have been impacted by our Lord and Savior.

Now, the question I offer to you this day: How have you testified to the Lord’s compassion and goodness in your life? Have you taken the time to praise His holy name? Have you shared how God has impacted your life to others? Is He evident in your life by the choices you make and do you have Him clearly exalted above all other things and priorities in your life?

Express your love this day to the eternal, everlasting Lord who loves you beyond all understanding.

Coach

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life. “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His  One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.  Anyone who believes in Him is not judged, but anyone who does not believe is already judged, because he has not believed in the name of the  One and Only Son of God. John 3:14-18 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom #85: Anyone Can Sing a Love Song!

May the Lord my Rock be praised, who trains my hands for battle and my fingers for warfare. He is my fortress , my stronghold and my deliverer. He is my shield, and I take refuge in Him; He subdues my people under me. Lord, what is man, that You care for him, the son of man, that You think of him? Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow. Lord, part the heavens and come down. Touch the mountains, and they will smoke… God I will sing a new song to You; I will play on a ten-stringed harp for You… Happy are the people with such blessings, Happy are the people whose God is the Lord. Psalm 144:1-5, 9, 15

Many of us desire the blessings of the Lord and certainly the benefits the Lord offers to His chosen people, but how many would actually desire the kind of relationship that would encourage the Lord to come down and reside with us? What would happen if our lives were held accountable to His presence each and every day? If the Lord was to come and spend a couple days at our house, what would we change before He arrived? Would we put away things in our home that we may want Him not to see? Would we erase the history on our Internet search engines? Would we hope that some of lour friends may not stop by while He was with us?

Would you change some of your normal routine because the Lord with joining you for a couple of days? What would you have to do different if the Lord came to visit you for a couple of days?

In a true love relationship, should it matter what He would find or discover about you? Should your life reveal a life already changed because of the changes He has done for you and that your love for Him has really made a difference in your life?

The Lord loves us enough to forgive us when we wander from time to time, and He will defend us when we find ourselves surrounded by the enemies of this world, but how much do you love Him? Is your life testimony of the love you have for Him?

What kind of song will you sing for your Lord today? Will you sing it publicly to all who will listen?

These are a lot of questions to challenge and encourage us in all our love relationships. Will you love the Lord and others in your life without reservation or hesitation. Will you love the same whether they are with you or away from you.

Love should never waiver or wander. Love should have no rivals, no competition, no alternatives, no degrees!

Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength…and all the others in your life likewise.

Coach

One of the  scribes approached. When he heard them debating and saw that Jesus answered them well, he asked Him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” “This is the most important,” Jesus answered: Listen, Israel! The Lord our God, The Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.  “The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28-31 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom #84: Reflections offer Directions

Lord, hear my prayer. In Your faithfulness listen to my plea, and in Your righteousness answer me. Do not bring Your servant into judgment, for no one is righteous in Your sight. For the enemy has pursued me, crushing me to the ground, making me live in darkness like those long dead. My spirit is weak within me; my heart is overcome with dismay. I remember the days of old; I meditate on all You have done; I reflect on the work of Your hands. I spread out my hands to You; I am like parched land before You. (Selah- reflect carefully on this…) Psalm 143: 1-6

Our worst enemy is not around us, but most often within us – our “self.” What keeps us from being righteous before God is not our enemies, but how we respond to everyone around us. Sin is when we focus upon our selfish needs and we actually become the enemy of others by the way we act and respond to others. Pride, arrogance, greed and envy attack us daily from within and keep us from ever arriving as righteous before God, even when we are seeking to humble ourselves before the Lord in prayer time. For that reason, we must reflect back when the Lord revealed this to us and yet forgave us and helped us to overcome our selfish desires. Admitting the reality of “self” as a stumbling block in our life is the beginning to be declared righteous by God. Being willing to respond to God’s will, God’s ways, and the wisdom of God’s word helps us to overcome the misdirection our “self” sends us on when we allow “self” to control our actions, attitudes and words.

Can you remember when there was a time of peace within you when your admitted to the Lord that your “selfish desires” were the cause of the misdirection in your life. That is what “sin” actually refers to…”sin” means we have gone astray and missed the mark that the Lord intended for us in our life. However, because He created us He knows our challenge with overcoming “self” and He is there for us. That is why we must sacrifice our “self” to accept the presence and reality of the Lord as our “Savior”. The Lord will place a new “Spirit” within us that will redirect our actions, attitudes, and words. When we arrive at that point in our life we find our prayer life offers us clear directions for our life and uncertainty is removed. So if you still think prayers are meaningless, it is not God that is the problem!

I pray Lord today that You will always be by my side and Your Spirit within me so that I have the confidence to know my “selfish sin nature” will not be able to redirect my life again. May I remain always righteous in Your sight and be surrendered to Your will, Your ways, and the wisdom of Your word.

Coach

Summoning the crowd along with His disciples, He said to them, “If anyone wants to be My follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his  life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me and the gospel will save it. For what does it benefit a man to gain the whole world yet lose his life? What can a man give in exchange for his life? For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the  Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:34-38 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom #83: Alone I am Nothing!

I cry aloud to the Lord; I plead aloud to the Lord for mercy. I pour out my complaint before Him; I reveal my trouble to Him. Although my spirit is weak within me, You know my way. Along this path I travel they have hidden a trap for me. Look to the right and see; there is no refuge for me; no one cares for me. I cry to You, Lord; I say, “You are my shelter, my portion in the land of the living.” Listen to my cry, for I am weak. Rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. Free me from prison so that I can praise Your name. The righteous will gather around me because You deal generously with me. Psalm 142

In spite of whatever we believe about our own abilities, in the real battles of life, we will discover we fall well short of the strength to overcome the enemies that surround us each day. When our arrogance and pride stand in the way, we discover too late that the victory is not ours but our enemies. And sadly too late we learn the strongest adversary and foe is within us – our SELF is our worst enemy in life’s struggles. The greatest issue we can come to grips with is the fact that “Alone I am Nothing!”

There are not forces on earth or in heaven that God cannot overcome, but He will not subdue our SELF for us. That is something we must do. We must surrender and submit to the Lordship of God’s Will, God’s Ways, acknowledge and seek daily the Wisdom of God’s Word. SELF must die so that the Savior may reign within us. We must become crucified like Christ so that we may live like Christ, free from the prison if SELF and the SIN that controlled our life, and though we felt strong in our arrogance and pride, we were weak trying to stand upon our own two feet alone.

Today, stop and ask yourself a simple question: Am I better off without any help from the Lord, or am I my worst enemy? Your response if searched honestly and earnestly should be a resounding – Alone I am nothing! Lord, I surrender to Your care and accept you as my refuge and shelter. It is no longer “I” that desires to live within me, but “You” who will set me free from my burdens and attacks of my enemies.

Who has your back? Who will walk side by side with you? And, Who can you look face to face as a true friend in a time of need? Hopefully, you will claim the Lord.

Coach

I have been crucified with Christ; and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Gal 2:19-20 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom #82: Never Defend Yourself Alone Again!

I say to the Lord, “You are my God.” Listen, Lord, to my cry for help. Lord God, my strong Savior. You shield my head on the day of battle. Lord, do not grant the desires of the wicked, do not let them achieve their goals. Otherwise, they will become proud. As for the heads of those who surround me, let the trouble their lips cause overwhelm them, let the hot coals fall on them… I know that the Lord upholds the just cause of the poor, justice for the needy. Surely the righteous will praise Your name; the upright will live in Your presence. Psalm 140:1-10a, 12-13

 

Once we accept the Lord as our Savior, we enter His covenant care. The covenant is the Lord’s promise for His chosen people that He will always protect, provide and preserve us. He even manifested himself in Jesus, His anointed Son, to assure us of this promise and to demonstrate what He expected from us in return for living within His covenant care. It is pointed out that once we are in the Lord’s care, no one or nothing can remove us from His care either. The only way we can be removed from His covenant care is by us seeking to walk away from His care. Yet, the Lord will go as far as to warn us when we do of the consequences should we make that choice to remove ourselves from the shadow of His care. Assuredly, once a person has lived by faith under His care, that person surely would have no second thoughts about leaving the Lord’s care. But also, the Lord will never coerce or keep you against your will. His love demands our commitment to Him and His care is by faith alone, and then we receive His promises by His grace alone.

 

In this world we will have enemies! And there will be times when those enemies are attacking us not for whom we are but for whom we represent, the Lord Himself. It is for that reason the Lord is our protector in those times. He will defend us and keep us. There will be times when “faith” will be our only shield, “His Word” our only weapon, “salvation” our helmet to protect our head, “truth” wraps around us as our belt, and “righteousness” our armor. (Eph. 6:14-17) Are you ready for the battles that will come because of your relationship with the Lord? Is His name the name you call upon and claim for yourself? Then stand ready and stand confident knowing the Lord is your mighty Savior and Defender, just as He is for those who are defenseless and are in need of His help too.

 

May the Lord keep you, protect you, and guide you in all you do this and every day…

 

Coach

 

Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. Eph. 6:10

Words of Wisdom #81: What Can You Keep from God?

Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I stand up; You understand my thoughts from far away. You observe my travels and my rest; You are aware of all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, You know all about it, Lord. You have encircled me; You have placed Your hand on me… God how difficult Your thoughts are for me [to comprehend]; how vast their sum is! … Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way. Psalm 139:1-5, 17, 23

In the Bible we are told to enter our closet to have private conversations with God; that we are able to have one on one time with the Father of Creation. That is awesome and the kind of quality time we all should take advantage of to get to know God better, because that is the purpose. Many of us feel we need to tell God things that He certainly has no knowledge about! How naive’ that thought is in reality! What could we tell the omniscient Lord of the Heavens? Where could we go where the God of Creation would be blind to what is there? What place in our mind could we hide our thoughts that the Lord would not have knowledge?

So what is the purpose of prayer time? Getting to know the Lord personally is our purpose during prayer time. Prayer time is asking God to give us clarity of mind in the ways we should go and how to handle situations in our life so that we may seek His perfect, pleasing and good will.

Therefore, I offer this thought about many who spend their prayer time laying out issues before the Lord as if He needs to hear about them, and then walking away believing that they have satisfied their prayer requirement. They believe God supernaturally deal with the issue without their help. This is just not so! The Lord works His responses and His miracles through the faithful obedience of His servants who offer themselves to be used. Look at the prayers in the Bible and the results; each prayer is seeking an understanding of God’s Will, God’s Ways, and/or Wisdom from God’s Word on matters that affect individuals and groups of people.

Think about your prayer life, and if you want to get to know the Lord better and see Him act within your life and those you are concerned about, offer to stick around and listen for His response. Be willing to be His vessel for His purpose and you will discover more about God than ever before. Begin this day opening your heart, mind and soul to the Lord seeking to know Him better than ever before in your prayer time. Seek His will, not your will in your prayer time, just like Jesus!

Coach

Then they came to a place named Gethsemane, and He told His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 

He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be deeply distressed and horrified. Then He said to them, “My soul is swallowed up in sorrow —to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake.” Then He went a little farther, fell to the ground, and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said, “ Abba, Father! All things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me. Nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”

Mark 14:32-36 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom #80: Is His Love Your Love?

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love is eternal. Give thanks to the God of gods. His love is eternal. Give thanks to the Lord of lords. His love is eternal. He alone does great wonders. His love is eternal. He made the heavens skillfully. His love is eternal. He spread the land on the waters. His love is eternal. He made the great lights: His love is eternal. the sun to rule by day, His love is eternal. the moon and stars to rule by night. His love is eternal… He remembered us in our humiliation, His love is eternal. and rescued us from our foes. His love is eternal. He gives food to every creature. His love is eternal. Give thanks to the God of heaven! His love is eternal. Psalm 136: 1-9, 23-26

It does not matter the circumstances and challenges we face in this life, God’s love never fails and everything around us testifies to the simple fact that His love is eternal.  We may fall out of love, cease to love, and try to change the way we love, however God’s love is the absolute statement, the original love. His love is eternal. The Lord has demonstrated His love over and over throughout the history of mankind, even when we did not deserve His love and even ran from His love offering to us. His love is eternal.  He has communicated His love for us through prophets, priests, kings and even angels because His love is eternal. The Lord personally revealed His love through the hatred and jealousy of mankind’s cruelty on a cross. His love is eternal.

The church has one basic purpose: demonstrate that His love is eternal. Christ is the head of the church, not man, because His love is eternal. The church has endured and thrived beyond the struggles and infighting of men within its walls. His love is eternal. God’s salvation is for all and is free to all who will receive it by faith alone. His love is eternal.

Our love stumbles and fails, but His love is eternal. The love of others around us fall short and has limits and conditions, however His love is eternal. God is patient and persistent, seeking all to be saved. His love is eternal.

If we claim to be a Christian, thus an imitation of Christ, a son or daughter of God, then what must our lives testify? His love is eternal. God’s love surrenders, sacrifices, submits and serves the needs of others for the common good that is defined and secured by God’s will, ways, and the wisdom of His Word, so that all may realize that His love is eternal. Whose love do we lift up in all that we say, do and think? Selfish love is temporal, limited and defined, selfless love reveals that His love is eternal! Your love testifies loud about your relationship with the Lord of the heavens…

Coach

For while we were still helpless, at the appointed moment, Christ died for the ungodly. For rarely will someone die for a just person—though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us! Romans 5:6-8 (HCSB)

“As the Father has loved me, I have also loved you. Remain in My love. If you keep My commands you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love.” John 15:9-10 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom #79: Unity in Diversity through One Lord!

Lord, Your name [endures] forever, Your reputation, Lord, through all generations. For the Lord will judge His people and have compassion on His servants. The idols of the nations are of silver and gold, made by hands. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. They have ears, but cannot hear; indeed, there is no breath in their mouths. Those who make them are just like them, as are all who trust in them. House of Israel, praise the Lord! House of Aaron, praise the Lord! House of Levi, praise the Lord! You who revere the Lord, praise the Lord! May the Lord be praised from Zion; He dwells in Jerusalem. Hallelujah! Psalm 135: 13-21

When the church becomes focused upon the idols of their own creation there lies the risk of the Lord’s judgment. The Lord requires absolute loyalty. Where there is but one Lord in the vision of the people in the church there is unity through the diversity that God has brought together within that particular church body. The Lord will use the many gifts and talents, the multiple experiences and backgrounds, the many ethnic and racial opportunities to reach more and to grow more, but only as long as there is one common vision – that is the vision of worshiping and serving One Lord in all that the church establishes to do. When the church begins to serve the needs and desires of the people in the church, idols are taking precedence over the Lord’s ways. Segregation is saying separate can be equal, but history says that is a big lie, and the Lord clearly has stated that unity exists in diversity through integration of all the unique mixture and make up of the church. Only God can bring it all together under one common vision and purpose – worshiping and honoring the Lordship of our Savior. Our methods and manners may differ, but the message of the vision never changes in a church that the Lord blesses. As the psalmist concludes in this passage, everyone comes form different roles to accomplish one common vision – Praising the Lord! 

May we remove our selfish interests and idols that disrupt the unity in diversity that God desires in our churches. Compromise means setting aside selfish attitudes and desires for the good of church and God’s kingdom purposes, knowing that in the end we will all benefit when the whole body of the church thrives and is blessed by the Lord for His purposes. How does that begin: everyone, Praise the Lord! Accept there can be but One Lord, One Body, One Spirit that binds us together as One Church!

Coach

Knowing their thoughts, He told them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is headed for destruction, and no city or house divided against itself will stand.

Matt 12:25 (HCSB) (this is echoed in Mark & Luke as well… thus an important message for us to hear clearly!)

Words of Wisdom #78: Iron should sharpen iron

How good and pleasant it is when brothers can live together! It is like fine oil on the head, running down on the beard, running down Aaron’s beard, on his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon falling on the mountain of Zion. For there the Lord has appointed the blessing – live evermore. Psalm 133

Why can’t we just decide to get along with one another in our country, our community, even the church? Rivalries crop up for power, prestige and position, and those influences between men have not changed for centuries or even millennia. It seems men have the need to prove they are better, they are right, and they are more than they truly are in life, even if it costs relationships and fellowships among brothers. Yet, to what advantage and purpose does man struggle with one another because we were not created to resist one another but to coexist with one another?

Harmony and peace exist only in the absence of malice and envy. We must learn to submit to one another recognizing humility exalts! The world would be a better place when men would seek to aid one another rather than dominate one another. How does this begin? One godly man begins the process by sacrificing his pride for the good of the country, the community or even the church. It has been well established that when each individual submits to the overall good of the group, he benefits as well; this is called civic virtue in philosophical circles. This is based upon the theory that we all influence each other by our actions: no one is an island unto themselves, as it has been said. Our actions and attitudes influence others around us. Therefore, in God’s plan for man, we are to be a positive influence anointing each other for mutual benefit, not individual profit.

Think upon your influence today. How are you influencing others around you? Is it for the good of others or for selfishness sake? What would the Lord want you to do?

As iron sharpens iron, likewise so must a man sharpen his fellow man. Proverbs 27:17 

Coach

Words of Wisdom #77: His Undeserved, Unmerited, Unearned, Unequaled Gift

Out of the depths I call to You, Lord! Lord, listen to my voice; let your ears be attentive to my cry for help. Lord, if You considered my sins, Lord. who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that You nay be revered. I wait for the Lord; I wait, and put my hope in His word. I wait for the Lord more than the watchmen for the morning – more than watchmen for the morning. Psalm 130:1-6

Who am I and who are you that the Lord would accept us into His kingdom? Are any of us without fault, without imperfections, without sin? On what ground could we approach the God of the Universe for acceptance into His realm of grace and mercy? What hope does anyone have to expect to walk in the presence of our Holy Lord? We can cry to Him daily and we can build altars and shrines to seek to impress Him, and we can accomplish unbelievable acts of goodness and kindness hoping to please Him, but none would merit or earn our way into His temple.

The only hope we have is His grace – the unmerited and unearned gift of His love – that forgives and forgets forever our shortcomings and sins so that we can be in fellowship with the Father of the Universe. So how can we enjoy the fruits of this fellowship? The first step is simple “FAITH” that says within us, God’s Grace is Sufficient for My Salvation.” The second step is merely and wholeheartedly “LOVE” Him without reservation. The third step is unashamed “FOLLOWSHIP” or earnestly seek to “OBEY HIM” – Accept His Lordship over your life. Seek His will, His ways, and the wisdom of His word in everything that you do.

God came to us when all our human efforts fell short. God in Christ became man to express His love for mankind by the life He led, the message He left for us to follow, and the sacrifice He manifested for Himself to pay the debt for our sins that we could never cover. A love that great is worth seeking after no matter how undeserving we may feel we are. Put your faith in the Lord and He will help you do the rest, and your life will never be the same.

Coach

“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His  One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Anyone who believes in Him is not judged, but anyone who does not believe is already judged, because he has not believed in the name of the  One and Only Son of God.” John 3:16-18 (HCSB)

For while we were still helpless, at the appointed moment, Christ died for the ungodly. For rarely will someone die for a just person—though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us! Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath. For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, [then how] much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life! And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Romans 5:6-11 (HCSB)

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you previously  walked according to this worldly age, according to the ruler of the atmospheric domain, the spirit now working in the disobedient. We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and by nature we were children under wrath, as the others were also. But God, who is abundant in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the  Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. By grace you are saved! He also raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavens, in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace in [His] kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are His creation—created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should  walk in them. Eph. 2:1-10 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom #76: Family Happiness is…

How happy is everyone who fears the Lord, who walk in His ways! You will surely eat what your hands have worked for. You will be happy, and it will go well for you. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house, your sons, like young olive trees around your table. In this very way the man who fears the Lord will be blessed… and will see your children’s children. Psalm 128:1-4, 6a

Fathers, the burden of happiness and blessings in your household rests upon your shoulders. The Lord states plainly that family happiness and blessings flow from the fact that the father fears, or more accurately lives a life in reverence to, the Lord. He lives his life in the light of the Lord’s Will, the Lord’s Ways, and in the Wisdom of the Lord’s Word. When the head of the family is on the path of righteousness the Lord smiles down upon him and blesses his family with the Lord’s covenant care. The wife is honored and blessed, and the Lord enlarges the home with sons and daughters who will be guided by godly parents.

The sad truth today is that many men have fallen from their role of responsibility in the home and the family has suffered. Mothers cannot serve the role of mother and father successfully, and the children lose out and are adversely affected. The Lord will step in and provide godly men through the church and community to help fill the role, but there can be but one father and husband in a godly home. So I urge all young men to consider wisely their role as not only the husband of their future wife but also their responsibility before God of their role and responsibility as the father in the home they will have. There is no room for self-centered male egos in the home, the husband and father understands what submission means because he submits to the needs of his wife and children daily. In return, the wife and children honor the husband and father with their love and adoration.

Family happiness begins with fear of the Lord, and is maintained as the Lord’s blessing upon the home of a godly man! Rise up and stand firm as God’s man and reap His blessings for you and your family.

Coach

Words of Wisdom #75: Who Built Your Foundation?

Unless the Lord builds a house, its builders labor over it in vain; unless the Lord watches over a city, the watchman stays alert in vain. In vain you get up early and stay up late, eating the food earned by hard work; certainly He gives sleep to the one He loves. Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord, children, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons born in one’s youth. Happy is the man who has filled his quiver with them. Such men will never be put to shame when they speak with their enemies at the city gate. Psalm 127

Building a family alone is such a challenge, why would anyone think they could handle the challenges without the help and direction from Originator of the family – the first institution God created long before kingdoms and nations. Fathers and mothers should not take their responsibilities lightly as it takes a lot to build the foundation for a family to grown upon successfully. And the foundation that God intended is not built using money, fame or pride. The foundation is not secure without the proper guidance and support offered by the Lord. The Rock allows families to prosper without risk of an unstable foundation causing the walls to crumble as the family grows and faces the tough challenges of today’s world. Storms will come to any family and winds will tear against the structure of the home, waters may even rise to threaten the stability and security of the home and those who seek to find peace and comfort within it, however when the home is built upon the solid foundation of the Lord, His Son becomes the conrnerstone that holds the home together and His Spirit serves as the gatekeeper to defend the home. And, certainly the Heavenly Father channels the love that binds the family together so that no one can tear it apart.

Fathers who know the Lord and live the life before their children will be blessed. And mothers who cherish their relationship with the Lord will be in the center of their families coming and going to nurture her children under the Lord’s care. In today’s society I urge all parents to have a home inspection done. Find out the stability and security of your foundation. Will it survive the storms will come against your family? If the Lord is not there as the Rock of your foundation, what do you need to do to protect and preserve your family? It is never too late to rebuild your foundation through establishing the right relationship with the Lord of the family, and He will bless you and your family!

Coach

Words of Wisdom #74: Look in the right direction for help

I raise my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; Your protector will not slumber…The Lord protects you; the Lord is a shelter right by your side. The sun will not strike you by day, or the moon by night. The Lord will protect you from all harm; He will protect your life. The Lord will protect your coming and going both now and forever. Psalm 121:1-3,5-8 

The best life insurance policy for your life costs you nothing and you do not need to read all the fine print of some legal document that excludes more than it includes. The Lord’s Covenant comes without cost and His Word makes it clear, the Lord’s offer of His care and protection is available to ALL who will place their faith in Him. However, where do we too often look for the kind of care we want? We look everywhere else first! We are always looking for more and better deals for our life, and we are never satisfied with what we have. However, peace and comfort with our life comes from within us when we recognize we need to search no further than the Lord who is standing right in front of us. His love and care comes when we cease looking for our own ways and seeking new horizons to place our hope. The Lord has been and is right now standing next to you and offering the Creator’s gift of grace. His Covenant is a lifetime insurance plan that protects, preserves, and provides benefits now and forever. It has no expiration date and no small print.

Quit looking down and out! Quit looking up and beyond for what is right in front of you. Once you accept His Covenant, the Lord seals your heart with His Spirit of truth and understanding. He will provide you with the peace and comfort that comes with knowing He is always with you in the good and the bad times. He will never quit on you! He will never lie to you! He will never walk away from you! He will never allow you to fall beyond His reach. Embrace the relationship you can count on and place your life within.

Are you ready to quit looking to have it your way, and accept the Lord’s way? Call to Him from your heart and let Him in today, and He will embrace you and reveal He is the only way for you, and His way will become your way.

Coach

Words of Wisdom #73: Your Word Changes People!

The Lord is my portion; I have promised to keep Your words. I have sought Your favor with all my heart; be gracious to me according to Your promise. I thought about my ways and turned my steps back to Your decrees. I hurried, not hesitating to keep Your commands. Though the ropes of the wicked were wrapped around me, I did not forget Your law. I rise at midnight to thank You for Your righteous judgments. I am a friend to all who fear You, to those who keep Your precepts. Lord, the earth is filled with Your faithful love; teach me Your statutes. Psalm 119:57-64

In this passage you can find the power of the Lord’s Word to empower you to be convicted of your wrong lifestyle choices, and then His Word can inspire you to turn from your wrong ways to discover the joy of living in the light of His will and ways. In a matter of fact, the passage says you even will discover yourself racing to follow His ways for you. Then His Word equips you to live your life as a testimony for others and to be surrounded by others who enjoy being identified as the Lord’s chosen children.

The relevance is simple! The Lord inspired men to write about their experiences and understandings about Him under the guidance of the Holy Spirit so that the Lord’s message to you can be found in the reading of His Word. The Bible offers a personal message to you no matter what is going on in your life. In reading the Bible with an open mind and open heart, pondering the words prayerfully, your life can find the voice of God speaking to you personally. The Words are alive and meaningful in the present situations of your life. Challenge yourself to let the Word of God speak to you so that you can become convicted and changed by the unchanging influence it can have on your life.

And one final point: What translation should you read? The translation that you feel God is talking to you through. Find the one you understand and feel connected with. Never make an apology for reading a particular translation if God is using it to talk to you as you read it.

Coach

Words of Wisdom #72: Knowing versus Living the Word

Teach me, Lord, the meaning of Your statutes, and I will always keep them. Help me understand Your instruction and I will obey it, and follow it with all my heart. Help me stay on the path of Your commands, for I take pleasure in it. Turn my heart to Your decrees and not to material gain. Turn my eyes from looking at what is worthless; give me life in Your ways. Psalm 119:33-37

It is truly one thing to know something versus being guided by the instruction you have learned. When it comes to the Bible far too many of us can quote passages and there are those who know all the names of the books in the Bible, and many know all the good stories told in the Bible, but there are also many of those who have not applied the instruction to their lives; they have not or refuse to see the application and relevance in their lives. That is where head knowledge and heart knowledge separates!

Where knowledge and wisdom is different is like the difference of trivial facts that one knows versus applied knowledge that one sees as applicable and reliable for practical use in one’s life. The world offers so much other advice about how to live your life, and most all of it sounds good but flies in the face of what the Lord tells us, so we are often having to decide for ourselves what is good instruction and what is bad advice. But how do we know? Well, we can determine what is worthy on our own, which is a pretty risky filter of truth; or, we can rely on the Lord’s filter: His Word read under the influence of His Spirit to reveal relevant truth to us. But, for it to be effective for our lives we must be willing to submit to the Lord’s wisdom and His loving care; otherwise, when His Word checks our hearts and minds we will refuse His wisdom as not applicable in that particular area of our lives. Yet, we either accept God’s Wisdom in total or not at all…we cannot pick and choose as if we are in control over God as if He was a genie in a bottle, or our personal assistant giving advice. Either the Lord is the master of your life, or you walk alone; and what a shame to know the Lord’s wisdom yet refusing it you choose your own way or the advice of the world.

This very day, stop and reflect on your life up to now! You may know the Bible and certainly know God, but have you surrendered your life to His wisdom, His instruction, His perfect, pleasing and good will for your life? When you do the head knowledge you may have about the Bible becomes heart knowledge and immediately becomes relevant to your life situations every day. Live the Word, not just know the word.

Coach

Words of Wisdom#71: Words of Wisdom to Live Life

How happy are those whose way is blameless, who live according to the law of the Lord! Happy are those who keep His decrees and seek Him with all their heart…How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping Your word. I have sought You with all my heart; don’t let me wander from Your commands. I have treasured Your word in my heart so I might not sin against You. Lord, may You be praised; teach me Your statutes. Psalm 119:1-2, 9-12

The Lord’s will and His ways are found through the daily reading of His Word! His Words bring wisdom into the life that seeks to know and understand the Lord by the prayerful reading of His Word. It does not matter the translation you read, because God is the God of the universe and His truths are universal and transcend our human translations to reach the hearts and souls of mankind. There is no language of the angels that speaks only in the language of the king’s court in the early 17th Century. God speaks through modern translations in English, Chinese, German, Spanish, Slovakian, Russian, Arabic, and any of the hundreds of languages and dialects that men have communicated His Word to reach others.

The only way God’s Word has no power or influence is when it remains a closed book and only rests as an ornament on a book shelf. It is a shame because people are spending thousands of dollars daily purchasing and reading self-help books, and yet very likely they already have the most powerful self-help book in history on their book shelf. Imagine the wonder and power of the Bible on your life if only a few select verses can cause you to stop and reflect. Imagine what would happen if you actually read the whole Bible!

Here is the Good News! God inspired its content so that His Word would be relevant and applicable to all who would read it each day. It was written for a purpose…so that you could get to know God better and more intimately, and hear Him speak to youabout your life. I pray you will invest the time to know God better by reading His Words of Wisdom found in the Bible.

Coach

Words of Wisdom #70: Unswerving, Unyielding, Unending Faith!

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever…Let those who fear the Lord say, “His faithful love endures forever.” I called to the Lord in distress; and He answered me [and put me] in a spacious place. The Lord is for me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? Psalm 118:1,4-6

Our faith should mirror the Lord’s faithfulness, but can we be unswerving, unyielding, and unending with our faith as He is with His faithful love towards us? Only by allowing the Lord to guide and direct us each day is how. Our strength and dedication to the Lord must flow not from our strength and abilities but from the strength and capacity that the Lord provides us through His gift of the Holy Spirit.

Will there be times we struggle in our faith? Yes, but  we should immediately recall the faithfulness of the Lord to keep us faithful to Him in tough times. Yes, our faith may struggle and even bend a little but never shall it swerve or yield or end as long as we we trust in the Lord to protect, preserve and provide for us in the tough times we face.

In today’s world there are many reasons to fear what is going on. Stability and security are issues that cause us all to have some concern. There are local. regional and even international concerns that may affect us, but we are never to to cave in to the fears. Stand firm in the knowledge our faith is strengthened by the knowledge of the Lord’s faithful love.

Love the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul and strength; and go into each day full of confidence and assurance that He is with you. Know the Lord is with you, and there is absolutely nothing man can do to you that can change your relationship with the Lord.

Coach

Words of Wisdom #68: Be-attitudes are Right Attitudes!

Hallelujah! Happy is the man who fears the Lord, taking great delight in His commandments. His descendants will be powerful in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever. Light shines in the darkness for the upright. He is gracious, compassionate, and righteous. Good will come to a man who lends generously and conducts his business fairly. He will never be shaken. The righteous will be remembered forever. He will not fear bad news; his heart is confident, trusting in the Lord. His heart is assured; he will not fear. In the end he will look in triumph on his foes. He distributes freely to the poor; his righteousness endures forever. His horn will be exalted in honor. Psalms 112:1-9 (HCSB)

Long before Jesus spoke the more famous beatitudes that are recorded in the New Testament Gospel account, the Lord inspired this passage about right attitudes, which inspired the beatitudes hundreds of years later. Right living begins with right actions and right attitudes. What is right is defined by the standard of what is good and right – The Lord of Lords and King of Kings! Our Lord God. Before God became incarnate in this world His Spirit guided the souls of His anointed sons and daughters in the Old Testament about much of what He would later record for all of mankind in the words of Jesus, His uniquely anointed and manifested Son who revealed God Himself to the whole world.

 

These words should be like beacons and guideposts to direct how we live our lives, and right living begins by honoring and revering the Lord by dedicating our lives to love and obey His Will, His Ways, and the Wisdom of His Word. We should delight in how following the Lord’s direction will bless not only our lives, but also our children and their children. Likewise, our sphere of influence will rain down upon so many others by our generosity of time, talents and our treasures, because we recognize the source of those gifts we have been endowed and blessed with. In the end the motive of the righteous is not to be remembered individually, but as a Child of God who was used as a channel of blessings to others.

 

May we never forget religion is not right living, because it is and has been always man-made, and man is certainly not perfect. Right living is also not following traditions and rules and standards, but living for God and His purposes. And God’s purposes should be seen as reaching and revealing God’s love for all of His creation! Discrimination, segregation, intolerance and all other self-righteous attitudes are not what God had intended. If you believe that God created everything and everyone, on what grounds can we declare any of His creation a mistake or unlovable. (I strongly remind everyone to read the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man, Luke 16:19-31)

 

Being the church in the world means far more to God than building the church and congregating separated from the world behind walls and doors that exclude! The Hebrews and later Jews made that mistake and their temple walls were destroyed and they were exiled, dispersed into the world.

 

Living day by day with God is real worship! That is the beginning or right living and Jesus strongly echoed that repeatedly in His ministry among us. Being in church is not bad as long as we remember what the purpose of His Church is all about…

 

Coach

Words of Wisdom #67: What is the only thing we should fear?

Hallelujah! I will praise the Lord with all my heart in the assembly of the upright and in the congregation. The Lord’s works are great, studied by all who delight in them. All that He does is splendid and majestic; His righteousness endures forever. He has caused His wonderful works to be remembered. The Lord is gracious and compassionate… The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His instructions have good insight. His praise endures forever. Psalm 111:1-5, 10

What fear should haunt our very soul? What fear should make us tremble within our very bones? There is nothing that man can do to us that has eternal consequences! Even Satan has limits placed upon what He can do by the Lord of salvation and creation! So what should we fear the most? How about not fearing or never choosing to know the Lord, our God, personally and surrendering to His Will, His Ways, and the Wisdom of His Word?

If we fail to fear (revere) the Lord for who He is and what He has done for us, then our real fear is never knowing the wonders of the Lord and His covenant relationship. Facing life without the Lord’s covenant care means you would also face death without the Lord’s covenant care as well, and that should haunt any person.

What does it mean to fear the Lord the right way? It means seeking the wisdom that comes from studying the Lord, His works and His words. It is discovering how faithful and compassionate He truly is and how He loves you and me. It means being able to call Him by name and know He will answer your prayers and share His wisdom with you. To revere the Lord means wanting to intimately know Him more than any other person in your life because He makes all our other relationships truly meaningful.

The choice is for all of us: we can fear as in revere and worship Him, or we can fear and tremble the reality of being left out of His care and compassion. The choice  is yours to make! God will not make it for you or coerce you.

Coach