Monday, January 30, 2012

Submission Means Focusing on God, Not on Ourselves

One of the things I talked about yesterday was the idea that submission requires us to focus on Go rather than ourselves. This morning, I just want to throw out a very practical way you can work toward that.

I think most of our Calvary family recognizes the value of spending time with God on a regular basis. Some might call this a devotional time. My recommendation is to set aside time once or twice a week to have "devotions" that are solely focused on God, rather than ourselves.

Here's how this might look:

Focus on God's work. Take a few minutes to simply praise God for His work in the world (creation, sustaining us, the weather, gravity, etc.). Then take a few minutes to thank him for the work he has done on your behalf. Think Bout everything good in your life, and then contemplate the work God has done to make that possible. If you are really willing to do this, you shouldn't have enough time to finish.

Focus on God's word. Take time to read the Bible (use any plan you like). However, instead of reading to simply find an application for yourself, read so that you can know God better. Don't read yourself into the pages of Scripture, rather let them speak to you about who God is. Determine that through your time in His Word, you will come to a better understanding of the nature and character of God.

Focus on God's will. Sometimes we conclude our devotional times by seeking a personal application. Instead, simply take time submitting yourself to God's will. Perhaps you simply need to take a deep breath and say "God, whatever happens today, I will trust that you are in control." Maybe you need lot spend some time talking to yourself and reminding yourself that God's control is much more trustworthy than your own. It may be that you simply need to surrender an area of your life in which you are relying on yourself instead of God. Whatever it is, focus on what God is doing, not on what your own plans are.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

8 Things I Didn't Say On Sunday

Here's what I said...

Church YouVersion Link

Here's where you can listen/watch it...


Here's what I didn't say:

1. King Nebuchadnezzar statue was inspired by his dream. He liked being the head of gold, but wanted more. Be careful not to think more of yourself just because someone says something nice about you.

2. Pride and poor self-perception will drive us to a bad place.

3. The statue was a representation of the King. Idolatry is when we let anything created represent the god of our life.

4. The fourth man in the fire changed everything for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. The incarnation of Christ changed everything for mankind.

5. The three men were unwilling to compromise even when their lives were at stake. How often do we compromise our values simply because we don't want to be inconvenienced.

6. The Babylonian officials were motivated by jealousy. The longer we hold on to jealousy and envy, the more likely it is that it will impact the way we treat others.

7. Consider Job's words that mirror the sentiment of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego: "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him." (Job 13:15)

8. Isaiah 43:5 says, "Fear not, for I am with you." The three men probably knew this verse and were clinging to this truth... But to see something really cool, read the first four verses of Isaiah 43.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Giving Honor To Whom It Might Not Be Due...

As Christians one of our primary desires should be to regularly focus on publicly honoring and appreciating the "least of these".

When the same people are always receiving encouragement and back pats, they will often become entitled and begin believing they are somehow "better" or "more important" than those around them.

When people who normally don't receive pats on the back are publicly honored, not only do they receive a boost of encouragement but everyone else is forced to reconsider their opinion of that person!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

50 Steps To Becoming A Ninja!

I borrowed this list from the time-management ninja. (that's right, he's a ninja!) It's a pretty good list of the things about which we tend to procrastinate. I'm not going to get them all done today. But if I put forth the effort, I could probably get them all done by maybe the end of the month? Which of the items on this list do you need to do TODAY?

  • Doing the #1 task on your todo list.
  • Making that phone call.
  • Getting the car maintenance done.
  • Fixing something that is out-of-order.
  • Going to the doctor.
  • Getting enough sleep.
  • Pursuing your dreams.
  • Reading a book.
  • Spending time with someone you care about.
  • Going for a walk.
  • Going to see the person you need to talk to.
  • Exercising.
  • Telling the truth.
  • Confronting something from your past.
  • Doing something for your future.
  • Saving money.
  • Learning something new.
  • Answering that email.
  • Getting your degree.
  • Working on your resume.
  • Finding a new job.
  • Doing something that you are passionate about.
  • Putting yourself first.
  • Getting a life… yours.
  • Facing a fear.
  • Starting your hobby.
  • Losing weight.
  • Taking time off from work.
  • Helping someone who needs it.
  • Appreciating your family.
  • Setting goals for yourself.
  • Testing and stretching your limits.
  • Eating a healthy meal.
  • Enjoying some quiet time.
  • Traveling someplace you have never been.
  • Doing something you have never done.
  • Talking to someone you don’t know, but want to.
  • Starting a new habit.
  • Stopping a bad habit.
  • Cleaning up your desk.
  • Donating something to charity.
  • Writing in your journal.
  • Going to see a friend.
  • Emptying the garage.
  • Talking the dog for a walk.
  • Playing with your kids.
  • Taking your spouse on a date.
  • Doing something on your bucket list.
  • Standing up for yourself.
  • Telling someone you love them.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Dog's Life. Not So Bad After All

This, from Reader's Digest:

There are numerous studies that attest to the stress-relieving benefits of pets. In one analysis researchers evaluated the heart health of 240 couples, half of whom owned a pet. Those couples with pets had significantly lower heart rates and blood pressure levels when exposed to stressors than the couples who did not have pets. In fact, the pets worked even better at buffering stress than the spouses did.

I have to admit, I didn't see this coming. I do think, however, that this is more about dogs than cats. I can't imagine a cat that didn't raise tension/blood pressure.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

3 Things You Can Do to Exhale Every Night

Exhaling is an important part of breathing. It's pretty necessary to expel air from your lungs before you inhale oxygen. Breathing (exhale/inhale) is one of life's rhythms that is not often considered, but is crucially necessary.

I've been thinking about the rhythms of life and how we might apply the same principles to our spiritual life. Just as exhaling and inhaling is necessary to sustain life, I wonder if we might not better sustain our own days if we took the time to exhale every night and inhale every morning.

Here are some thoughts I have on exhaling:

1. Breath out the deadly toxins.
Every day we are confronted with the reality of sin. Whether it be our own mistakes, the hurt of relationships, persecution by enemies, or just the consequences of a fallen world; by the time we close our day, our lives are full of deadly toxins. We need to exhale by breathing those out to our Father. Don't take your pain out on your wife or children or friends. Don't bottle it up inside. Take it to God. You can trust that His shoulders are big enough to carry your load for you.

2. Breathe out a sigh of relief.
God has brought you through another day. Whether it was a great one or just ok, God has carried you and sustained you through it. Thank him for that. Be relieved that the sun also rises, and rest well knowing if He carried you through today, He will carry you through tomorrow.

3. Breathe out gratitude.
Did you know that when you laugh you are exhaling? Breathing out joyfully is one of life's greatest experiences. Before you nod off to sleep, let your final thoughts be thanksgiving for the many blessings God has given you. As you close your eyes on another day, search your mind to remember the many places where God intervened on your behalf (sometimes we don't realize it at the time and it isn't until later reflection that we see what He has done for us).

In the morning, you can inhale. But I'll say more about that later.