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Saturday, April 29, 2006

Who You Trying To Please?

Given September 4, 2004
If something you're doing or about to do isn't going well, think about who you think you're doing it for. Does that make sense? We think we know who we're doing a job for or who will see the results but who all is really looking? Here's my example.

It was my week to mow the church grass and a couple of young people were supposed to come help me. Well, guess what? They didn't show up! So I started on the job by myself, no big deal, right? Well, after about 2 1/2 hours, I was getting pretty worn out and realized I had another hour to go before I could finish. I started griping about having to do ALL this myself. People I knew were driving by, waving, going to eat or something. I was hungry too but I had to finish this job before I could have my supper. I was railing on the kids who didn't show up and getting myself pretty steamed about the whole thing. Then....

That small, still voice on the inside said, "Bill, who are you doing this job for anyway? Are you doing it for the pastor, for yourself....who are you mowing MY church grass for?" Oh man! I was convicted big time! I then realized I should be doing this job for the Lord. If the church grass looked good, then all those people driving by might have a better impression of the church. I repented on the spot and asked forgiveness.

After that, even though I was almost exhausted, my frame of mind was that if God was pleased with what I was doing and my attitude about it, then that's all that mattered. Even on the side of the church where no one would ever see, I weed-eated, (is that a word?), anyway. God was watching!

"And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, Colossians 1:10". Since then, I have often remembered this lesson and tried to have the right attitude about anything I'm doing. If for no one else, I'm doing it for the Lord and I want Him to be pleased.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Moses' Job Interview

Given April 28, 2006
I was reading my devotion this morning and it was about Moses and the burning bush. You know, Moses wasn't too cooperative in this job interview with God. Our school system has been conducting interviews recently for various openings and I thought about that as I contemplated Moses' responses.

When someone goes into a job interview, they, first, have chosen to be there then they will do and say anything they can to convince the interviewers that they're the one for the job. But Moses was just the opposite. God sort of tricked him into coming to the interview to start with, (the burning bush), then He told him what He wanted him to do and that he already had the job. But instead of saying, "Thanks", Moses told God how he wasn't qualified and couldn't do the job! But God's response is the key.

"...God called to him from within the bush, "Moses! Moses!" And Moses said, "Here I am." ...So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt." But Moses said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?" And God said, "I will be with you. Exodus 3:4, 10-12" "I will be with you." God called Moses in, gave him a job, not caring whether he was qualified or not but said He's go with him on the job. What a boss!

It would be awesome in the workplace if the boss picked you out, called you in, gave you the job, then said, "Now, let's you and I go do it." God HAS done this to us. He's called us to do a job and He's ready to go out with us. And that will insure the job will get done successfully! "Here I am, God, let's go!"

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Walk In The Light

Given April 25, 2006

"For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: Ephesians 5:8 " This is what I've tried to do for many years, walk as a child of light. Because, being in education, I know that students, parents, and others are watching me all the time especially if I'm known as a Christian. Many times I've failed and people see that but they're still watching to see how I respond in failure. You wonder if you've ever made any difference in anyone's life.

Well, the other day I got an email from a young lady who ran track for me back in the 80's. It was great hearing form her and learning about her life in Texas. But you know, she made a statement that warmed my heart. She said I was her FAVORITE, (and that's how she wrote it), teacher and that she really looked up to me. Wow!

As we go through life and do the best we can, we need to be aware that we ARE affecting those around us; our light IS shining. I want it to be positive, don't you? God bless you Pam.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Who's In Your Wheelbarrow?

Given April 22, 2006
Recently I attended a conference on Early Childhood Education at the local college and heard a wonderful speaker who brought up several good points. Although he was speaking about how we treat children in school and as parents, I found myself saying "Amen" to many of his comments.

One of them was the picture of us walking a tight rope pushing a wheel barrow and the question was, "Who wants to ride in my wheel barrow?" Well, to trust someone enough to let them push you across a tight rope in a wheelbarrow is true trust. You have to have laid the groundwork and portrayed yourself as someone who can be trusted before anyone will get in.

This reminds me of the scripture, " Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:16". People are watching us and forming opinions about us; our light is shining. If we're witnessing to someone, (asking them into our wheelbarrow), and they've seen our negative light, they won't get in. This brother even asked, "Would your kids or spouse get in?". It's something to think about.

And, he also reminded us that we often will only invite the clean, good smelling, "acceptable" types into our wheelbarrow. Shame on us!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Guard Your Words

Given August 25, 2005
The other day, a delivery guy brought me a package and presented me with a receipt to sign. It didn't have my name on it, (it was my wife's), but I accepted it anyway and signed the receipt.

God showed me how similiar situations might play out in the spiritual realm. Satan is constantly trying to get you to give up on something you're believing for; to create doubt and make you say,"Oh, what's the use. This isn't going to work." If you say that, it's like signing the receipt and accepting the package of defeat! Don't do it! The Bible says, "You are snared with the words of your lips, you are caught by the speech of your mouth. Proverbs 6:2" Our words create the atmosphere in which we live. God created the universe by the words of His mouth. It says in Romans that God, "...speaks those things which are not as though they were." Romans 4:17.

We are made in the image of God and I believe we should talk like Him as well. The devil listens to what we say so we should never say things that would encourage him. Guard your words and speak words of faith. Don't give up and allow doubt to contaminate your faith.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Looking In The Wrong Place

Given February 4, 2006
My wife sent me to the store recently to get a certain grocery item. I had it in my mind that it came in a blue box and that's what I was looking for, but couldn't find it. As frustration began to mount, I thought, "Maybe it's not in a blue box. Focus on the name." Well, right there it was, in a red box! I had focused so much on blue that I missed what I was looking for, the real thing.

Could it be, in the same way, we're looking for God in the bonfire but He's in the candle? We're listening for the shout and He's speaking in a whistper? Or, we're looking for God in the world and He's in our hearts? It happened to Elijah too. "And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. 1 Kings 19:11-12"

I try to see God in many things; nature, music, the Word, people. He reveals himself in many ways but it's not usually the way we're expecting. Look in some different places and see what you find.

Have a blessed day!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Church Work

Given April 1, 2006
We are called to be doers of the word, "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. James 1:22" Jesus said, ".... I must be about my Father's business. Luke 2:49". Some of us are called to leadership positions in the church and all of us are called to tell the Good News in various ways. But how much is too much?

I was reminded this day of the Father's love for me and His desire to fellowship and talk with me. But sometimes I get so busy, I can hear the Father asking, "Son, where are you today? And I answer, "I'm rght here Dad but I've got to take care of some church business right now. I'll talk to you later." I don't know if God gets sad but, as a father of four sons, I get sad if one of my boys doesn't have time for me.

It reminds me of the 1974 song by Harry Chapin, "Cat's In The Cradle", in the last chorus it says, "When you coming home, son?" "I don't know when, But we'll get together then, dad. You know we'll have a good time then." We surely don't want this scenario to unfold with our kids and God doesn't want it either. Go talk to Him now.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

"All these Things...."

Given March 25, 2006
As humans, we are a needy people. As Christians, we are a needy people. It seems we pursue lots of things we think we need, and many of them, we do. On this day, I got this picture of the things we pursue.

Picture us on a road making our way toward Jesus who is up ahead. We are sick and need a healing but the healing is off to the side of the road. So, we take the exit and pursue the healing. Or we are controlled by something and need a deliverance but our deliverance is off on the other side of the road. So, we move off the road to pursue our deliverance. Or, we might even be seeking blessings and see a sign to them on exit 3A.

In each of these cases, we are seeking the healing and not the Healer; the deliverance and not the Deliverer; the blessings and not the Blesser. Is this what we do? Do we take our eyes off Jesus in pursuit of what we need? Think about it.

But the final frame of this picture shows the right way. If we turn from our pursuit of the things we need, focus on Jesus and fall into His loving arms, I see Him holding us close to His chest but motioning to the healing, the deliverance, and the blessings saying, "Come on over here. My son needs you." " But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33" Oh, it's goose bump time!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

What Are You Full Of?

Given March 29, 2006
" A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. Luke 6:45." This verse is pretty clear. What is in your heart, is usually what you're going to be talking about. But, some people are good at saying the right things according to who they're around. You know anybody like that? They cover up what's in their heart pretty good.

I heard this analogy the other day that made it more clear to me. This guy said, "Whatever you're full of is going to spill over when you get bumped." Now, I can see that! If a glass is full and you bump it or shake it, it's going to spill over and everyone around will know it. When we, as Christians, are bumped, jostled, hit, jolted or in some way tested, whatever we're full of is going to dictate the reaction we'll display. If we're full of God, we'll react correctly, we'll be a good witness to those around us and God will be pleased. If we're full of something else, we'll probably embarass ourselves, be a bad witness and have to repent.

Think about it; how do we react when someone doesn't move right away when the light turns green? Or when we hit our toe on the couch leg? Or when someone falsely accuses us or wrongly mistreats us? If we're sloshing junk over on those around us, we need to repent and ask God to empty our dirty vessel, clean it up and refill it to overflowing with Himself. That's what I'm doing!