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Showing posts from August 31, 2014

Gratitude

When was the last time you said "thanks" to someone? When recently have you expressed your feelings of gratefulness to a person who has said or done something for you? It seems we are in an ungrateful era. We assume we are due the things we are given and don't need to be grateful about them; they are the work of our hands not another. This attitude extends to expressions of ungratefulness to God for the food, clothing, work, roof over our heads, transportation, His mercy, grace, goodness, faithfulness, presence in our lives, direction, and wisdom. Thanking a person or God is a way of honoring them. The Psalmist inspired by God said, "He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God." (Psalm 50:23) Further from being a way to honor God it is also a way to prepare our hearts to accept His guidance. God is always desirous of showing us His salvation. He does it in many ways but ingratitude blocks th…

One Misstep

Gael Monfils, a French tennis star, is recognized as one of the most athletic men in the professional tennis world. At the 2014 U.S. Open he cut a swath through several players making it to the quarter finals to face Roger Federer. September 4th at 9:30pm the two met in front of 23,000 fans in New York's Arthur Ashe Stadium and millions watching by television around the world. Monfils was playing his best match ever, jumping out to a two set lead over what seemed a frustrated Federer. Monfils then lost the third set and was two points from winning the fourth set and the match when Federer climbed back out of a 15-40 score to even the set at 5-5 and go on to win it 7-5. That left the fifth and final set. Federer won the first two games breaking Monfils serve and then Gael won game three to make it 1-2 Federer. But in game four Gael did something that caused concern. At 15-0 Federer returned a volley directly at Monfils but instead of stepping to the side and hitting a forehand, he…

Awe Struck

Many are in awe of celebrities, politicians, sports figures, smart people, rock stars and the like. They hang their pictures on their walls, seek to be in their audience, buy their books and music, and may even be a little like a stalker toward them. It is crazy to feel this way about another human being who is "just fortunate," "incredibly gifted," or "magnetic." If we are not to be awe struck by them, then what should we be awe struck by? The author of Ecclesiastes makes it very clear, "stand in awe of God." (Ecclesiastes 5:7) This could be translated "fear God" which means to have the proper attitude towards God; respect Him, reverence Him, honor Him. Previously, the author has been talking about the prayers, sacrifices, and vows of insincere people, he calls them fools, who after their crises were averted chose not to fulfill their promises to God given through prayer, a sacrifice or a vow. He stress that "God must be taken w…

Good Intentions

After having long discussions with his four friends about why he was suffering and then a final discussion with God Himself, Job ends his verbal journey by saying, “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.” Job 42:2 He had suffered much physically, suffered emotionally by losing his children, suffered financially by losing possessions and livestock but in all of it he does not blame God. Instead, he worships God, praises His unbounded power and ability to implement any plan that He chooses. What can we learn from Job’s attitude about life and his confidence in God? Job believed that God was always worthy of worship. He believed that even in his hardest of times God was there, concerned, and working out good for those who love Him. The lesson we learn from Job is that it is better to worship God and draw close to Him, whatever your circumstances, than to rail at Him, run from Him and remake your life on your own. Joseph, who experienced the highs and lows…

Noble Character

How would you like to be called a person of "noble character?" Ruth is the only woman identified as having noble character in the Bible. (Ruth 3:11) She left her homeland to go back with Naomi to Israel after both had lost their husbands. She finds a place to work in the fields so that Naomi and her can eat and exhibits persistence, determination, loyalty and responsibility. This ultimately turns the head of Boaz and they marry and she becomes the great-grandmother of King David. Character is not developed randomly. It is either forced on you by a parent, a leader or disciple/mentor, or military officer. Character has virtue as its roots and actions as its fruits. It is a process and as Romans 5:4-5 states it requires "perseverance." So, understanding this, what would you need to do to develop a specific character trait? 1)You have to know what you want, so, begin by identifying a word that describes the character trait you are seeking to develop. That helps you foc…