Played: 2 | Download | Duration: 00:02:53
You Are Special
Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10
Chinese missionary John Bentley distributed a book written by Max Lucado, entitled You Are Special, to children who lived in a Chinese orphanage. In China, male children are favored over female ones. Healthy babies outrank impaired ones. Indeed, children who cannot speak or hear stand little chance of a healthy, productive life. Every message of history and culture tells them, ‘You don’t matter.’ The story in Lucado’s book describes Punchinello, a wooden person in a village of wooden people. The villagers had the practice of sticking stars on achievers and dots on strugglers. Punchinello had so many dots that the people gave him dots for no reason at all. But when he met Eli, his maker, Eli affirmed him, telling him to disregard the opinions of others. ‘I made you,’ he explained, ‘and I don’t make mistakes.’ Punchinello had never heard such words. When he did, his dots began to drop off. And when the children in the orphanage heard such words, their worlds began to change. John Bentley describes reading the story to these children and the incredible effect it had on each as they sat, glued to every word. ‘When the idea came through in the reading that they were special, simply because they were made by a loving creator... everyone started crying—including their teachers! It was wild.’ Today open your Bible, get God’s opinion of you and build your life on it; it’s the only opinion that counts! ‘‘‘Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken”... says the Lord.’
Heavenly Father, thank you for making me unique. Help me focus on You and not on what others may think or say. In Your Precious Name, Amen
Played: 38 | Download | Duration: 00:02:50
Getting Serious About God – Part 4
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another -- and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25
They took God’s Word seriously. ‘They spent their time learning the apostles’ teaching... ’ (Acts 2:42). Researchers tell us that, today, personal Bible reading is less common among Christians than prayer. Instead of a Word from God that fortifies us for the challenges of the day, we’ve substituted exercise and cappuccino. Our Bible reading is confined to the pastor’s Sunday sermon. The early disciples were so committed to the Word that they ‘spent [invested, paid the price with] their time, learning [studying to understand and master] the apostles’ teaching.’ God’s Word not only enabled them to withstand life’s challenges, but when persecution made them fugitives, they took the Word with them and planted new churches around the world (Acts 8:4). Are you growing in God’s Word so that it fortifies you against tough times and prepares you to influence your world for Christ? They took worship and praise seriously. ‘They stayed continually at the temple, praising God’ (Luke 24:53). For many of us, the word ‘worship’ has come to mean the Sunday morning service—a place we attend rather than the voluntary act of devoted hearts glorifying God. Being a spectator at the Sunday service isn’t worship. The New Testament believers understood the Psalmists instruction: ‘Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise... ’ (Psalms 100:4). Do you want to be a serious worshipper? Enter His presence focused exclusively on His goodness, focused on His mission of what He wants you to do, and wholeheartedly express to Him your appreciation for all He is!
Heavenly Father, thank you for Your church, Your people, who are there for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Played: 54 | Download | Duration: 00:02:58
Getting Serious About God – Part 3
They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:42
They took prayer seriously. The New Testament church was conceived in the womb of prayer. After ten days of united prayer in the upper room, ‘Everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit... ’ (v. 4). What happened next? They launched a church that’s still impacting the world after two thousand years. Did their prayer-life diminish once the church was established? Not in the least! ‘All the believers devoted themselves... to prayer.’ It remained a prayer-conditioned fellowship. It was born, bathed and brought to fruition in prayer. They bequeathed us the empowering biblical principle that nothing important and lasting happens without prayer. Today if you want to get a small crowd in church, call a prayer meeting! Question: How much do you pray? What makes you a stranger to the place of prayer? Is it the myth that prayer is hard work? It’s not—if your priorities are right. Do you wear yourself out, worrying about things as though everything’s up to you? Prayer will make the hard bits of your life easier, and more fruitful. Consistent prayer lifts you to a higher, positive place where you learn how to accomplish more while experiencing a deep peace of heart and soul. Jesus said: ‘Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me... I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly’ (Matthew 11:28-30). Seriously, can there be a better way to live?
Heavenly Father, help me to turn things over to You in prayer, to talk to You in prayer, to have daily conversation with You in prayer so that I stay connected to the only source that makes a difference. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Played: 55 | Download | Duration: 00:02:50
Getting Serious About God – Part 2
All the believers were together and had everything in common. Acts 2:44
They took fellowship seriously. We are more than a common-interest-based social club. We’re a family—birth-children of our heavenly Father, blood relatives. The cross made it so. ‘... We have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit... ’ (1 Corinthians 12:13). Those early disciples valued their relationship. It went beyond merely singing hymns and hearing sermons. They ‘met together... shared everything they had... sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need’ (Acts 2:44-45). Do we have such selfless love, caring enough to share everything we own with our brother and sister in need? How many of them shared what they had? ‘All the believers.’ How much did they share? ‘Everything they had.’ God’s Word describes His church as a body. Its members exist individually but they can only function properly in connection with one another. Arms, hands, legs, shoulders, etc. cannot live separately; they must be joined to a body with a head to accomplish their purpose. The early church survived incredible persecution and achieved amazing things. Why? Because they understood the need to value each other, and to sacrifice personal interest for the sake of the whole. As isolated, self-reliant, self-promoting individuals they would have been destroyed by the overwhelming force of their enemies. As a believer, you may survive apart from other Christians, the church, but you can’t thrive. Your God-given potential will never be realized until you commit wholeheartedly to a local fellowship and invest yourself in serving God’s vision for his people.
Heavenly Father, in community with the people of God I can grow. Keep me connected to that community and strengthened by it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Played: 55 | Download | Duration: 00:02:54
Getting Serious About God – Part 1
Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, Acts 2:46
It’s estimated that there are over half a billion practicing Christians in the world. But the church wouldn’t even exist today if it hadn’t been for a small group of disciples who were sold on Christ. The things of God were not a part-time interest or a convenience-based commitment to those early Christians but their highest priority. If you want to be serious about God, stop and reflect on what they took seriously. They took church seriously. ‘The believers met together in the Temple courts every day.’ Question: Are you a hit-and-miss person who gathers with other believers? Do you get upset if the service exceeds an hour or the minister takes an extra ten minutes? Is once-a-week your limit? Not for these New Testament Christians! So what drew them? The temple’s orchestra and choir? Cutting-edge media or youth programs? Did they have more time and less responsibility than we have? No, everything about their life was harder, took longer, and was less convenient. Yet their encounter with Jesus so transformed their priorities that, ‘Every day they continued to meet... ’ (v. 46). They hungered to gather in the presence of the Lord, believing His promise, ‘Where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them’ (Matthew 18:20). Taking God seriously requires regular involvement with other Christians, experiencing this unique aspect of His presence, hearing His Word together, and encouraging one another (Hebrews 10:25). You need that special dimension of fellowship with God that happens only when His family gathers together with Him.
Heavenly Father, keep me or get me plugged in with other believers so that we can support and uplift one another for the Mission of God. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Played: 35 | Download | Duration: 00:02:37
Deal With It Now
The swift will not escape, the strong will not muster their strength, and the warrior will not save his life. Amos 2:14
Sorry, but problems don’t magically solve themselves because you refuse to deal with them. Actually, they multiply, and ‘no matter how fast you run, you will not escape.’ Kristin Armstrong says: ‘We become…adept at running…We try to flee from our pain, our past and our issues. The problem is, we can’t run or hide or push things away forever. Eventually we’ll tire…and have to slow down. And when we do, all our junk will come rolling behind…headed straight for us at top speed. All the time we’ve been fleeing, our junk has been snowballing…picking up size and momentum. If we aren’t brave enough to face it when it’s “small,” it’ll run us over later. Now’s the time to…deal with it…as fast and as strong as you are, you can’t keep this up much longer.’ So what problem are you running from today? What issues are causing you to ‘lose your strength?’ Make up your mind to stop right now and deal with them. ‘Do not give the devil a foothold’ (Ephesians 4:27) by spending one more day on the run. It doesn’t matter how badly you’ve failed in the past, ‘…The blood of Jesus…cleanses us from all sin’ (1John 1:7). Whether it’s a stubborn habit, or someone you fear confronting, ‘step up to the plate.’ The thing that’s chasing you will lose its power when you face it down in the name of Jesus. Paul says, ‘…Having done all…stand’ (Ephesians 6:13). And you do that through the power of God, not in your own strength.
Heavenly Father, help me deal with the things I have been running from so I can move on knowing that I do not have things in the past following me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Played: 40 | Download | Duration: 00:02:32
Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Romans 12:13
Making others feel loved and valued is a hallmark of discipleship (John 13:34-35). Welcoming newcomers was important in the early church, and it’s just as important today. Social customs may change, but God’s Word doesn’t. Jesus said, ‘Anyone who receives you receives me…’ (Matthew 10:40). As a follower of Christ it’s your job to make new people feel like part of ‘the household of faith’ (Galatians 6:10). Established friendships within churches can easily become religious cliques where we smile and speak to newcomers, but spend all our time with a select group of people we already know. Most of us are satisfied with our existing circle of friends, so we need to be looking for ways to include others. People come to church hoping for love and acceptance, and if they don’t find it within a month or two they move on. So keep your spiritual antennae tuned to people who seem uncomfortable and out of place. Most people have had at least one negative experience in church, so they need some extra T.L.C. (Tender Loving Care). The Bible says, ‘Carry each other’s burdens…’ (Galatians 6:2). Genuine warmth and caring attract people. First impressions count. Church should be a place where our love for people who are hurting is evident from the minute they walk in the door. And remember, God doesn’t just use these relationships to meet the needs of those coming out of difficult situations—He uses them to mature us too.
Heavenly Father, help me to be more sensitive to people who have not fit in with others and need someone to be their friend. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Played: 44 | Download | Duration: 00:03:14
Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so? Amos 3:3
A successful marriage is based on two things: ‘finding’ the right person, and ‘becoming’ the right person. And the second thing is harder than the first. Just because two people share the same bed and the same name, it doesn’t guarantee harmony. Here are some practical suggestions based on the word E-V-A-L-U-A-T-E: Enjoy. Do you enjoy the same things? Maybe it’s not a big deal now, but later when your husband is glued to the big match on TV and you want a little conversation, it will be. Values. The Bible asks, ‘Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?’ Are you able to agree on major issues such as intimacy, parenting, finances, in-laws, goals, and your relationship with God? You may disagree over many things, but these are make-or-break issues. Accessibility. Are you both emotionally accessible, or is he the strong silent type who doesn’t communicate—or understand your need to? Love. Do you really love each other? Not the Hollywood version but the kind that listens to your spouse’s opinions and concerns, overlooks their faults and failings, values them, and expresses itself through kindness? Understanding. As surely as God doesn’t make two snowflakes alike, He doesn’t make two people alike. So, can you understand and handle each other’s differences? Appreciation. Your partner can’t read your mind, so get into the habit of expressing your appreciation for one another. Temperament. If you’re naturally upbeat but they’re moody and introverted, you may have an oil-and-water mix. How will you handle this? Environment. If you’re from different backgrounds, are you comfortable in the same social and spiritual settings? If you want a happy marriage, E-V-A-L-U-A-T-E these things.
Heavenly Father, help me E-V-A-L-U-A-T-E my relationships. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Played: 50 | Download | Duration: 00:03:00
Adapting To Change
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. Isaiah 42:16
Change forces us out of our comfort zone and into the discomfort of the unfamiliar. And while it can turn your world upside down, it makes you face your greatest fears and deal with the things that steal your joy, peace, and confidence. Change can be your friend or foe, depending on how you use it. Running away turns it into an enemy; embracing and learning from it makes it one of your greatest allies. C. Neil Strait said: ‘Change is always hardest for the man who’s in a rut for he has scaled down his living to that which he can handle comfortably, and welcomes no change or challenge that would lift him up.’ When you are facing the unknown, instead of automatically going into resistance mode, ‘…Fix your eyes on what lies before you…stay on the safe path’ (Proverbs 4:25-26). Ask yourself: What is God trying to teach me? How can I become stronger and wiser? What opportunities does it hold? John Mason says: ‘Correction and change always result in fruit…One change makes way for the next, giving you the opportunity to grow. Every time you think you’re ready to graduate from the school of experience, somebody thinks up a new course…If you can figure out when to stand firm and when to bend, you’ve got it made.’ You don’t have to fear what lies ahead. ‘…Along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth…I will not forsake them.’ God never closes a door without opening another one—but you must be willing to walk through it.
Heavenly Father, help me see that change occurs and it can be a good thing – depending on how I adapt and embrace it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Played: 54 | Download | Duration: 00:02:46
Whenever one comes to see me, he speaks falsely, while his heart gathers slander; then he goes out and spreads it abroad. Psalms 41:6
A man approached Socrates one day to share some gossip. The wise philosopher asked, ‘First, are you certain it’s true? Second, is it something good? Third, is it something useful?’ When the man said, ‘Not really,’ Socrates replied, ‘Well, if it’s not true, good or useful, why talk about it?’ Gossip can feel like a form of intimacy, but it’s actually a false bond motivated by the desire to diminish another person and make yourself look good. David said, ‘They visit…as if they were my friends, but…they gather gossip, and…spread it…’ Solomon said, ‘Gossip separates…best…friends’ (Proverbs 16:28), and it can cause you to lose ‘your good reputation’ (Proverbs 25:10). Kevin Miller says: ‘A challenge in ministry is confidentiality—how open can you be? The following questions can help you decide: Are you telling someone who can do something about the problem by helping, or offering discipline or correction? Are you talking to someone wise enough to help you process your feelings and courageous enough to make you do the right thing by confronting the other person, or confessing where you’re at fault? Is this news approved for sharing? Are you breaking a confidence, and if so, is it strictly because the person is endangering someone’s life, including their own? Are you willing to divulge your source so it can be checked? When you say this, does it break your heart? Have you examined your own life and confessed where you’ve sinned in similar areas? Are you praying for the person? Would you be comfortable if someone was saying this about you?’
Heavenly Father, help me to be a friend to others, a confidential friend to others and not fall into the trap of gossip. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Played: 51 | Download | Duration: 00:02:50
Spiritual Maturity Comes By Degrees
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18
How would you describe someone who is spiritually mature? Leonard Wedel says: ‘A mature person does not take himself too seriously…keeps himself alert in mind…does not always view with alarm every adverse situation that arises…Is too big to be little…never feels too great to do little things, and is never too proud to do humble things…never accepts either success or failure in themselves as permanent…is one who is able to control his or her impulses…is not afraid to make mistakes…has faith in themselves which becomes stronger as it is fortified by their faith in God.’ So, measured by that standard, how well are you doing? Are you able to evaluate your progress, without getting discouraged or feeling condemned? Can you look at how far you still have to go, yet be able to appreciate and celebrate how far you have already come? The Bible says we are changed ‘from one degree of glory to another.’ Notice, spiritual maturity takes place by degrees. In small steps, not giant leaps. You must learn to live by God’s Word, not by how you feel, for His Word states that as long as you believe, God is working in you, ‘…The Word of God…is effectually at work in you who believe [exercising its superhuman power in those who adhere to and trust in and rely on it]’ (1Thessalonians 2:13). There is a direct connection between your daily intake of God’s Word and your maturity level. And the good news is, God hasn’t left us to do it on our own. ‘We…are being transformed…from glory to glory…by the Spirit…’ (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Heavenly Father, help me grow daily into the mature Disciple you want me to be. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Played: 58 | Download | Duration: 00:02:33
Change Your Self-Talk
What you decide on will be done, and light will shine on your ways. Job 22:28
It’s not what others say to you or about you that determines your future; it’s what you say to yourself when others have finished speaking! The Bible says, ‘Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit’ (Proverbs 18:21). You say, ‘I’d love to have a better relationship but I’m afraid that if I make the first move and they don’t respond, I’ll feel rejected.’ Or, ‘I’d like to pursue my education but I’m afraid if I register for classes and can’t do the work, I’ll feel stupid.’ These kinds of words become self-fulfilling prophecies. Until you replace your negative self-talk with faith-talk you’ll always live in fear. Your mind is like the womb of your spirit; it nurtures each seed you sow until the time of delivery. If you don’t want what a seed will ultimately produce, you must stop sowing it, or feeding it. Your first step in breaking fear’s hold over you is in recognizing the self-talk that got you into trouble in the first place. This is not easy to do. It takes vigilance, self-awareness, discipline and scriptural reprogramming. But by changing your thoughts you’ll begin to change your life. Job says, ‘You will…declare a thing, and it will be established for you.’ And the amazing part is, at times you may not feel like you believe the particular Scripture you’re standing on. That’s okay; your inner self accepts what it’s consistently fed and begins to act accordingly. So starting today, serve an eviction notice to every negative thought that’s holding you back and begin feeding your mind with God’s Word.
Heavenly Father, help me to correct my inner speaking to myself. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Played: 50 | Download | Duration: 00:02:53
Keep Your Eyes on Jesus – Part 2
how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. Acts 10:38
The Bible says: ‘Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshipped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God’’’ (Matthew 14:28-33). The main message for you in this story is—where to stare in a storm. We cannot choose whether or not storms come, but we can choose where we stare during a storm. When you are staring into the face of cancer, heart disease, or some other life-threatening illness, some of the first questions that come to mind are: ‘Who is the doctor? What is his experience? Is he able? Is he available?’ Yes, He is! ‘God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.’ Note the word ‘all.’ He can meet all your needs. So keep your eyes on Jesus and draw strength from Him. The One who ‘went about doing good and healing all’ is on your side today.
Heavenly Father, it is so easy to get focused on the circumstance rather than on You in the midst of circumstance. Keep me focused! In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Played: 57 | Download | Duration: 00:02:33
Keep Your Eyes on Jesus – Part 1
but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Matthew 14:24
Jesus had accompanied His disciples in a previous storm and calmed it. But now He was up on a mountain praying, and they were alone, ‘tossed by the waves.’ Why? Because sometimes the teacher has to step back in order to see how much the pupil has learned. Is that what’s happening in your life at the moment? The Sea of Galilee was only about thirteen miles long and seven and a half miles wide. But when the wind sweeps down from the Golan Heights it can churn those waters into a blender for two or three days, and it could sink a fishing boat like the one the disciples were in. Note the words, ‘tossed by the waves.’ Is that where you are today? In the middle of a divorce, tossed by guilt. In the middle of a home foreclosure, berated by creditors? In the middle of an illness, tossed by pain, and an even more painful prognosis? ‘Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him... they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid’’’ (vv. 25-27). Here are words worth writing down and recalling often: ‘... Take courage. I am here!’ (v. 27). You will never go where Jesus cannot reach you. Look over your shoulder; that’s Him following you. Look into the storm; that’s Him coming toward you. Today, open your eyes and recognize Him.
Heavenly Father, I am feeling tossed but I know you are there. Thank you Jesus. Amen
Played: 59 | Download | Duration: 00:02:40
The Power of Forgiveness – Part 2
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13
In Restoring Your Spiritual Passion, Gordon MacDonald writes: ‘One memory that burns deep within is that of a plane flight on which I was headed toward a meeting that would determine a major decision in my ministry. I knew I was in desperate need of a spiritual passion that would provide wisdom and submission to God’s purposes. But the passion was missing because I was steeped in resentment toward a colleague. For days I had tried everything to rid myself of vindictive thoughts toward that person. But try as I might, I would even wake in the night thinking of ways to subtly get back at him. I wanted to embarrass him for what he had done, to damage his credibility before his peers. My resentment was beginning to dominate me, and on that plane trip I came to a realization of how bad things really were... As the plane entered the landing pattern, I found myself crying silently to God for the power both to forgive and to experience liberation from my poisoned spirit. Suddenly it was as if an invisible knife cut a hole in my chest and I literally felt a thick substance oozing from within. Moments later I felt as if I’d been flushed out. I’d lost negative spiritual weight, the kind I needed to lose. I was free. I fairly bounced off that plane and soon entered a meeting that did in fact change the entire direction of my life.’ Forgiveness: 1) Frees you from the grip of a negative force. 2) Positions you where God can bless you. 3) Teaches little people how to be big people.
Heavenly Father, cut out those things in me that I have left unforgiven. Help me forgive. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Played: 66 | Download | Duration: 00:02:40
The Power of Forgiveness – Part 1
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
The power of forgiveness is an awesome thing. No relationship can survive without it, much less thrive. Whatever the issue, forgiveness sets both sides free, takes a weapon out of Satan’s hands, and opens the door for God to go to work in the situation. This is never more so than in your family. The truth is, it’s easier to forgive an enemy you seldom see than a loved one you have to live with every day. But you must do it. George Herbert said, ‘He who cannot forgive others, breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself.’ Paul writes: ‘... Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love... ’ (Colossians 3:12-14). Teach your children how to forgive. If you expose them to your anger, make sure that they’re also around when you show grace. Teach them how to deal with the issue, without attacking the person. Let them know that a difference of opinion can lead to a decision that makes things better for everyone, and that as a family member you can be ‘wrong’ and still be treated right. This may mean teaching them things you were never taught. If so, learn from your parents mistakes and don’t pass them on to your children. ‘... Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold’ (Ephesians 4:26-27). In other words, forgive when you are hurt, and don’t take your resentments to bed.
Heavenly Father, help me to learn from You the art of forgiveness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Played: 57 | Download | Duration: 00:02:44
Have Realistic Expectations – Part 2
He did not need man's testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man. John 2:25
Here are three areas in which you must learn to have realistic expectations: 1) You must have realistic expectations of yourself. When you do things poorly you usually feel bad. That sets in motion a never-ending cycle of reaching for things that are out of reach, hoping to prove something you don’t have to prove in the first place. You think you should be able to do what others do, yet if you are not similarly gifted you cannot excel in it. You don’t need to prove anything! Just obey God, and allow Him to take care of your reputation. As long as you expect to excel outside your gifting and calling, you will always end up disappointed. 2) You must have realistic expectations in your relationships with others. To make yourself responsible for someone else’s happiness, or them for yours, leads to a life of frustration. Abraham Lincoln said, ‘Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.’ If people don’t have the right outlook in life, you, and a hundred others like you, won’t make them happy. 3) You must have realistic expectations concerning life. Jesus said, ‘... In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33). As long as you’re in this world you’ll have problems. Nobody gets a free pass. But don’t worry; the Lord’s got everything under control. Just learn to be realistic. You will always have to deal with unpleasant situations, stubborn problems and difficult people. But your attitude (not theirs) is what determines whether or not you enjoy life.
Heavenly Father, help me have and set realistic expectations for myself and others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Played: 72 | Download | Duration: 00:02:44
Have Realistic Expectations – Part 1
He did not need man's testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man. John 2:25
Jesus saw the best in people and worked to bring it out. But He wasn’t naïve; He understood human frailty. When people disappointed Him, He didn’t retaliate in anger, or distance from them. What did He do? ‘... Many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man’ (vv. 23-25). Jesus constantly called people to a higher standard, but He understood that their best would still be imperfect. And you need to understand that about your loved ones too, and handle them accordingly. The perfect relationship, the perfect job, the perfect church and the perfect neighborhood doesn’t exist! God knows that, so He gave us instructions on how to deal with people who disappoint us: ‘Bear (endure, carry) one another’s burdens and troublesome moral faults, and in this way fulfil and observe... the law of Christ... ’ (Galatians 6:2). You say, ‘What is the law of Christ?’ Jesus said, ‘I give you a new commandment... Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another’ (John 13:34). To love as Jesus loved, you must love without condition and without pressure. It’s easier to talk about how to treat the irritating people in your life than it is to do it. But the Lord never commands you to do something that He won’t give you the grace to carry out. And the great thing is, in the process of carrying it out you become more like Him.
Heavenly Father, help me realize that no one is perfect but all are a gift from You and to treat them as a child of Your’s. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Played: 59 | Download | Duration: 00:02:43
Whatever It Takes
The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied. Proverbs 13:4
The word ‘diligence’ includes such qualities as hard work, honesty, persistence, and striving for excellence. The New Living Bible Translation puts it this way: ‘Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.’ One expert says, ‘Success doesn’t come from being a hundred percent better than your competition, but from being one percent better in a hundred different ways.’ Syndicated business columnist Dale Dauten says: ‘If you want to be creative in your company, your career or your life, it all comes down to one easy step... the extra one. When you encounter a familiar plan, you just ask one question: “What else could we do?’’’ To succeed you’ll have to do more—more than you may want, more than your competition, more than you think you’re capable of. The poet William Arthur Ward said: ‘I will do more than belong—I will participate. I will do more than care—I will help. I will do more than believe—I will practice. I will do more than be fair—I will be kind. I will do more than forgive—I will forget. I will do more than dream—I will work. I will do more than teach—I will inspire. I will do more than learn—I will enrich. I will do more than give—I will serve. I will do more than live—I will grow. I will do more than suffer—I will triumph.’ You can’t do whatever’s easiest and still reach your goal. You must do more. You must do ‘whatever it takes.’
Heavenly Father, Help me to do more – more of what it takes! In Jesus’ Name, Amen
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Learn To Be Tactful
To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 1 Corinthians 9:22
Tact is the knack of making a point without making an enemy. To win someone over, you must first do two things: a) understand them; b) become comfortable with diversity. Paul wrote, ‘…So I can bring them to Christ…I try to find common ground with everyone…’ (vv. 21-22). Paul wouldn’t yield an inch when it came to the truth, but his strategy was always one of love. Whether he was speaking to Jews, Greeks, Romans or barbarians his message never varied. But his approach did. When people know you respect them you’re more effective at helping them to change. Speaking to those who were willing to alienate someone over a fine point of theology, Paul writes, ‘In Christ’s family…you are all equal…in a common relationship with Jesus…’ (Galatians 3:28). Just think, when the saints of the ages gather round God’s throne to praise Him they will not only be from different continents and cultures, but different eras—the early church age and the space age. What a concert! But you won’t enjoy it if you’re so narrow that you only know one song, because they may not be singing that particular number over there. Some of God’s choicest characters were culturally diverse, like Moses, an Israelite raised in an Egyptian household to prepare him for his destiny. Or Peter, who was prejudiced enough to think that God only blessed Jews until God set him straight saying, ‘If I say someone’s acceptable, don’t you say they’re not’ (Acts 10:15 paraphrased). Evidently Peter got the message, for he wrote later, ‘Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth…love one another deeply…’ (1Peter 1:22). So, learn to be tactful.
Heavenly Father, help me use tact in talking with people about the truth of You and Your Word. Help me also use tact in just day to day dealing with people. In Jesus’ Name, Amen