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Even though _______________, I will have joy!

Is life challenging for you today?  Not necessarily in a bad way.  Life can feel heavy whether we are facing unfortunate things or really great things.

smile

The Lord recently led me to this passage during our church staff prayer time.  At the time it seemed kind of random.  Then it appeared again two days later in a devotional book I had not picked up in a while.  I’ve learned over the years that when things like that happen it’s more likely to be God trying to get our attention than simply irony.  So I felt I should write about it.

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
The Sovereign Lord is my strength!     – Habakkuk 3:17-19  (NLT)

Do you see how many times the author says, “Even though?”   3 times.

Even though (insert negative situation)….YET I will rejoice in the Lord!

I wanted to share mine with you today.

“Even though God is calling me to something overwhelming…..”

“Even though I find myself falling short at home, work, and in my health…..”

“Even though despite my best efforts, I cannot seem to get caught up…..”

In the midst of all that, YET I WILL REJOICE!

I’m sharing this to be authentic, hoping it might encourage others.  Now it’s your turn.  Take a minute to complete 3 of these for your self.  “Even though __________________________

So…if you are feeling overwhelmed by either horrible or great things today, let me encourage you.  Our God is our strength!  Period.  End of story.  Our circumstances are always changing.  God, however, does not.

Leave me a comment below.

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3 Motivations For Your Work

I-Love-My-Job-handsIf you hate your job or position in life today, you’re not alone.  A recent Gallop poll found that only 30% of Americans are engaged and inspired with their work.  But this can change for you.

Three things that motivate my work in ministry.

1.  Obedience – This part is so important.  If I’m not doing what God wants me to do, I’m not in his will.  Its as simple as that.  When we have received the gift of salvation through his grace and mercy we should want to do the work he has for us.  Not only that, I’ve come to realize that we can never really be fulfilled and happy with our lives until we’re fully in line with what he has called us to do….at home, work, and with everyone around us.

2.  Love for Jesus – That’s right.  When our motives are good and we are focused on pleasing the right person, it changes everything about how we view our jobs and responsibilities.  Any time I’ve ever found parts of my job unpleasant, I start thinking about the fact that I really am doing this work to please him…not my boss or co-workers.  Just him!

3.  Love for others – For me, this includes church people and non-believers.  For you, this might be a spouse, employer, customers, co-workers, etc.  When we become focused on others we are better able to lose sight of the things we personally find troublesome or lousy in our own lives.  Our attention is now being directed outward instead of inward.

So, let’s recap.  Are you doing what you’re supposed to be doing?  Is what you’re doing putting a smile on Jesus’ face?  And are you keeping in mind the benefit of others while you do your thing?

What have you done to stay motivated in what you do?

As you enter into 2014, may you know and experience what it’s like to experience joy in your work.

Comments are welcome below, or you can leave me a voice message HERE.

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Don’t Peek Inside My Car

photo by: cindybultema.blogspot.com

photo by: cindybultema.blogspot.com

Ok, be honest. You’ve peered into total strangers’ cars before…at least once…right? No? Are you afraid to admit it?

Well, I experienced this today. (Don’t judge me)

Here’s what happened.

I pulled up at Starbucks to get some uninterrupted work done. (yes, I’m one of those people)  As I am getting out of my car, a fairly large note on the console of the car next to me caught my eye. The interior was pretty dark so the 3×5 ‘white’ card kind of stood out. Anyway, I noticed hand writing on it. I didn’t want to appear like a total creeper, so here’s what I could make of the note in the 1.497 second glance I took.  It was a Bible verse, including the referance.  It might have been from Romans.  (No, I did not take this picture with my phone. Who do you think I am?)

Here are 3 things I learned from this moment:

1.  If you look close enough, you will find evidence of other believers around you every day.  This made me smile.

2.  Similar to this person, don’t be afraid to make your faith visible in public.  Who knows who you will encourage… even unintentionally.

3.  Refrain from trying to figure out whose car it is while you are sitting in Starbucks.  It will drive you crazy.

Important tip:  I do not advise looking into stangers cars.  However, if you do, be sure there isn’t anyone sitting in the back seat before you take second glances inside the vehicle.  #AwkwardMoment 

Leave a comment or similar experience below.

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Humanity in unity…while very separate

Equality– Gay rights / marriage equality

– Abortion

– Legalized marijuana 

– Gun ownership

– War v. Peace

– Immigration

– Super-sizing your Coke

…and the list goes on!

I’m writing this to all Christian believers, but also for all who have seen only judgement, hypocrisy, hate, and separation in those of us who call ourselves Christians.  

For dedicated Christians, the Bible is believed to be the ‘inspired Word of God’ to all of humanity.  That said, we aspire to live our lives according to its guidance.  It’s simply called Faith.

HOWEVER!

The Bible should not (and was not meant to be) a solid brick wall that separates Christians and non-Christians. Quite the opposite.

Lately, the marriage equality symbol (above) has been representing social media profile pics.  Hey….it’s America.  Freedom of speech.  But let us not allow these kinds of statements be something that further separates us as a society.

Will I be taking this symbol as my profile pic? No.  I do not believe that same-sex marriage is God’s intended best for His people.  BUT, I also have no problem simply doing life in general with those who do.  Agreeing to disagree, yet holding polor opposite views on major issues, does not translate to me trying to force my beliefs on anyone.

Even if you don’t believe in any validity in the Bible, I ask that you at least take a look at how it tells us (believers) to posture our lives around everyone.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.  Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.   Ephesians 4:31-32

This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.    John 15:12

Don’t rejoice when your enemies fall;  don’t be happy when they stumble.   Proverbs 24:17

Never pay back evil with more evil.  Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.  Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.   Romans 12:171-8

Three things will last forever — faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.   1 Corinthians 13:13
So, to all the Christians:  It is possible to love and do life with those who share a much different lifestyle than us, while NOT compromising our faith and the standard of living put before us in the Bible.  For Christians to continue separating themselves from the non-believing world around us is to be simply rejecting the scriptures listed above.  We don’t have the privilege of picking and choosing what we like and don’t like in the Bible.  It’s not a social issues buffet!
And to the non-Christian community…I ask this.  Simply do not place all of us (Christians) in one generic category of legalistic, hyper-religious preachers.  Try entering into discussion on these topics with us.  Attempt doing life side by side with us.  Some may pleasantly suprise you!
Comments are welcome!

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Daddy…how should I vote?

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The other day, I was walking through the parking lot at the grocery store as I heard these exact words from behind me.

“Daddy…am I being good?”

I don’t know about you, but most of the time that’s not what is observed at the store between kids and their parents. Usually the scene is a screaming child hanging from a parent’s arm. But as I turned around I noticed what must have been a 4 or 5 year old little girl, gazing into her Daddy’s eyes, asking her question in a very cute and heart-felt manor.

After my heart was warmed by this incredibly sweet moment, a simple but profound thought came over me. Regarding her actions, this well-meaning child looked to her father for approval. She was not looking at other kids in the store to see how they were acting. She was also not concerned about doing her own thing or what she wanted. She was obviously wanting to please her father.

Christians all across America will get to cast their vote for the next President of the USA this week. If we are obedient and wanting to stay true to our faith, we will prayerfully consider God’s agenda and character when voting. As Christian believers, we absolutely cannot base the direction of our vote on what general society says is good and right. We also cannot allow our personal feelings, desires, and wishes to influence our vote…especially when those influences are clearly contrary to the Bible.

Let me recap.

Christians should vote from a solid Biblical worldview. Period!

More important, however, is what happens after the election. Believers all across our country really do need to check their character (public & private) despite who wins this presidential race. Romney or Obama…we must commit to pray for our president and support him as much as possible. Its a huge matter of character. Are we portraying God’s character in our society, or are we acting selfishly while hiding behind the title of ‘Christian?’

At the end of the day, all of us should be looking to our Heavenly Father for approval of our voting intentions and attitude. And just like that little girl, we will find ourselves asking, “Daddy…am I being good?”

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Everything

Mary DeMuth has just released her new book titled, “Everything.”  I encourage you to click HERE to check it out.

Also, she’s got a pretty cool approach to getting the word out about her new book.  Take a look at the info below for your chance to win a KitchenAid stand mixer!

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Who doesn’t like fresh-cut grass?

My son recently informed me that he does not like the smell of fresh-cut grass.

What?  I thought everyone loved that smell.  Everything I’ve previously known to be true is now crumbling.

We were walking across the lawn on our way to play some tennis at our apartment complex.  You could still hear lawnmowers across the way.  I said, “Hey, you smell that? Man I love the smell of fresh-cut grass.”  My son turned around with a slight frown on his face and replied, “I don’t!”

photo by: it.wikipedia.org

Upon digging a bit deeper I found that for him this smell was related to a negative early childhood experience.   My two oldest boys started playing little league football at ages 7 & 9.  He informed me that they would cut the grass right before a game, and that the smell only brought back memories of sweat, exhaustion, and pain.  Now, this is still very curious to me because all 3 of my boys still play football today….and they do cut the grass on the field here too!

I have an odd one for you.  I think of my first day of school any time I smell cool, Fall air blowing through an old, dusty window.  Upon writing that last sentence I realize that I’m as goofy as my son.

So…..what is a smell, taste, scenery, or experience that vividly reminds you of another time?  Good or bad?  Share your experience here.

 

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