Saturday, June 29, 2019

My favorite person's favorite verse.


My wife is my favorite person in the world. One of her favorite verses from the Bible is Philippians 4:8. Therefore this in one of my favorite verses.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8 NIV

When Paul says “finally” he is saving the best for last. I was recently chatting with a friend and he said that life is about 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent your attitude about it. I believe he is correct. There is always a reason to be negative, critical, frustrated, discouraged. But there is always a reason to be thankful, hopeful, appreciative, encouraged. Both are true in every area of our lives – our careers, our relationships, our finances, our church…

I think for most of us it is easy to dwell on the bad. Most of our time spent on ‘what ifs’ don’t lean toward the good. But the Apostle Paul continues his instructions –

“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” – Philippians 4:9 NIV

He uses the word ‘practice’. People who want to become better at something practice. People who want to become great at something practice and practice and practice. Some of us have practiced worry for years. We have become quite exceptional at it. God is willing and able to help us renew our minds, after all He is the ‘God of peace’.

There is always a reason to be positive because there is always GOD. In every situation He is always in control, He always has a purpose and He always loves you. Will you purpose in your heart today to join me on a journey of practicing a positive life? Let’s take our negative thoughts captive, make them obedient to Christ and choose to focus on good and Godly things! It may not be easy, especially at first, but I promise it will be worth it.

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NIV

Friday, June 21, 2019

THRIVE!


“Beloved, I pray that in every way you may succeed and prosper and be in good health [physically], just as [I know] your soul prospers [spiritually].” – 3 John 1:2 AMP

What an amazing passage of Scripture. I believe that God wants to touch EVERY area of our lives. He is not just a spiritual Savior that will one day deliver us at death into glory. He cares about our physical, emotional, relational, financial AND spiritual well-being today.

So why are so many of us walking around sick and tired of being sick and tired? Well some of it has to do with the impact of sin on our world, but some of it might have to do with our lifestyle choices. Here are four areas that can cause us to live beneath our God given potential -

  1. Exercise – Most of us don’t get near the amount of movement that our bodies were created for. Think of how much our lives have changed in the last couple hundred years. We built our own houses from trees we cut down by hand and ate food that we hunted, gathered or grew. Every day required hours of physical activity just to live. I’m not advocating that we go off the grid but we do need to find ways to move more. I’ve heard people tell me that they walk 5 miles a day at work. That is certainly better than sitting behind a desk but just to put that into perspective the average turtle walks at just over 1 mph and can ‘run’ at 3-4 mph. So in an 8 hours shift the turtle is leaving you in the dust. My suggestion is that you find something you enjoy doing and sweat for at least 30 minutes a day.
  2. Food – Much of what we eat isn’t actually food. It’s highly processed frankenfood that is basically devoid of any nutritional value. You can’t put garbage in the magnificent machine that God created and expect it to perform at peak levels. Drink more water, eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean proteins. Shop primarily from the perimeter of the supermarket. Plan your meals ahead of time and avoid the dreaded drive thru. Full disclosure – This is one of the areas I am working on to do better! 
  3. Rest – Did you know that many pro athletes sleep 10+ hours per day when training? They know that sleep is necessary for optimum health. We are chronically sleep deprived and it affects us more than just physically. If you wake up tired on a regular basis and need coffee/energy drinks to keep you going throughout the day you need more sleep. Now God may not sleep but even he set aside a day a week to rest! Make it a priority. Try setting an alarm to go to bed, monitor your caffeine intake and how it affects you, limit screen use in the evenings and turn your phone off at night! 
  4. Stress – Speaking of phones I have a love/hate relationship with mine. It allows us to stay connected with family and friends and increases productivity but it also makes it really easy to take work home with you. People expect to be able to get a hold of you 24/7/365. That isn’t reasonable. That bears repeating. It is not reasonable to work 7 days a week. You need downtime. Find something that helps you de-stress. Exercise, sew, read, fish, whatever helps you relax and schedule time to do it. Caring for your soul isn’t selfish. It’s hard to effectively help others if your life is a wreck. Listen to what Jesus said –


“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

Is it possible that we are carrying and caring about burdens that God hasn’t called us to?

“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:31-33 NIV

One last passage I want to share with you to lighten your load.

“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” – 1 Timothy 4:8 NIV

So if you are sick and tired of being sick and tired don’t despair. There is ALWAYS hope in Jesus. My suggestion is that you find one small thing in each of these areas to change and start there. Don’t sign up to run a 5K this weekend, go vegan, turn off the internet and throw your phone away. My guess is the wheels would come off that bus in less than a week. Maybe park farther away when you shop, pack a salad for lunch two days a week, go to sleep 30 minutes earlier, do something you enjoy and spend some time with God each day. You’ll be amazed at how little changes can make a big difference.

I love you, God loves you and we both want to see you THRIVE.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Distressed or De-stressed?


My oldest daughter has been on a mission trip for the past month to Greece and this morning left for her next assignment in France. She had to catch an early morning flight from Athens so she got everything ready the night before. She grabbed her bags, left her key to the apartment on the desk, locked the door behind her and headed downstairs to meet her ride. Except her ride was late – 15 minutes, 30 minutes, she started making phone calls, knocking on the door, downloading a taxi app. Here mom and I started reaching out to everyone we could think of through Messenger, Skype, texting, carrier pigeon… 45 minutes late and no word.

Now mind you it is the middle of the night in Greece and everyone is fast asleep. We were all becoming increasingly concerned that she is going to miss her flight. With each passing minute and every failed attempt to contact someone the stress level was swelling. So with our daughter on speaker phone the three of us stopped to pray. I reminded my girl, my wife and myself that God was in control when we weren’t and that the worst case scenario, missing her flight, wasn’t really that big of a deal. We could buy another ticket for later today or tomorrow for less than a hundred bucks. That brought everything into perspective and we were able to collectively exhale. We shot out a quick message to our friends asking them to join us in prayer.

Within a minute or two the phone rang, my friend in Greece was making calls and her ride was 5 minutes away. We started checking travel times, boarding times and when the gate closed and she had JUST enough time to make her flight. Then we checked the flight. Wouldn’t you know that it was delayed by about 30 minutes and she had plenty of time?

God is in control of all things, well almost all things.

See he has given us control of our own perspective and that makes all the difference in the world. We can’t always control what is happening around us but we can control whether we react or respond. In the chaos of life we have the choice to become distressed or de-stressed.

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” – Jeremiah 17:9 NIV

Sometimes things don’t go according to our plan, but rest assured they always go according to God’s.

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:12-13 NIV

Depression and the Bible.

Men and women throughout Scripture dealt with real problems including struggles with mental health. Elijah, king David and Jonah just to n...