Category Archives: Hope

Old Habits Die Hard (And So Does Sin)

For thirty plus years, my parents kept the kitchen trash can in the pantry. After remodeling the kitchen a few years ago, they moved the location of the trash can. That hasn’t stopped me (even years later) from going to the pantry to throw something away at least once when visiting. It’s maddening! It does make it easier to see why we sometimes continue to struggle with the same sins over and over again. Just like old habits, sin becomes almost ingrained in us. Romans 7:17-19 says, “ As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.”

I do manage to find the trash can. Actually, it even seems to get easier to take my garbage to the right place the more that I do it. Old sins die hard, but they do die! Do not be discouraged––your sins of yesterday cannot defeat your Savior of today!

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. ~Galatians 6:9

Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.  And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. ~2 Corinthians 12:8-9

Jesus saves me all at once but he changes me little by little. ~Pastor Steven Furtick

It’s better to break out little by little than to stay in chains for eternity. ~Pastor Steven Furtick

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23 or Bust

resolution

That is, the 23% Club, those who tend to keep their New Year’s Resolutions each year. About 35% break their resolutions by the end of January. So how are you doing? Have you already steered off course? Did you even make a resolution? Do you feel like it’s too late?

It’s not too late. Whoever said you needed a celebration to jump-start your goals anyway? Life change is time-sensitive. It is rarely done out of convenience but out of necessity, that is, when you realize you need it and your committed to fixing it. We don’t choose to lose weight [or enter own flaw here] because it’s New Years. We choose to lose because we’re plump and need to make a change. Who needs the new year to roll around to realize that your rolls make you round? You only need a mirror and a decision. Stop beating yourself up about falling off the wagon. Lord knows there are plenty of other people out there waiting to do it for you. (By the way, nobody is perfect; shouldn’t “Mr. Negativity” be on his own freakin’ wagon anyway?)

If you fell off the wagon, don’t just lay there, get back up! If you’ve already missed your wagon, don’t get discouraged. There’s another one coming whenever YOU’RE ready. And when it does, it’ll be a better one anyhow because it will be on YOUR time with YOUR commitment––it’ll be YOUR wagon, not the party bus that comes around when the bell tolls 12.

For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. ~1 Peter 2:15

Giving up is what makes defeat permanent. ~Stacy Allison, first American woman to climb Mt. Everest

You can’t go back and make a new beginning, but you can start today and make a new ending. ~Unknown

A bend in the road is not the end of the road. . . unless you fail to make the turn. ~Unknown

And our assignment for the day is to permit the courage of Christ to override the condemnation of the critic. ~Steven Furtick

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Practical Advice

Get the 3 C’s:

Commitment: If you don’t commit, you will quit!
Cheering Squad: To help you celebrate your victories and conquer your setbacks.
Christ: With Him, nothing is impossible! He’s the confidence you need.

Make SMART goals:

Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Realistic
Timely

Some Things Just Don’t Seem To Add Up

I was checking Megan’s math homework the other night and came across some problems that seem to go against conventional wisdom. She is learning about multiplying integers. What fascinated me was that two negatives actually make a positive when multiplied together. Where else in life do two negatives ever equal a positive? Then it occurred to me. A world dead in sin and the crucifiction of God’s Son resulted in eternal life; damnation and crucifixion yielded a resurrection and salvation. It turns out that when you serve a God that is the ruler, your circumstances never measure up–ALL things work together for good to those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

Next time things just don’t seem to be adding up in your life, remember that Jesus is the answer.

Romans 6:23 NIV ~ For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 4:25 NIV ~ He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

John 10:10 NIV ~ The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Yes We Can!

The 2008 Presidential election is over; history has been made; the mantle has been passed from . . . one man . . . one political party . . . one ideology . . . and most notably, one race to another. From the back seat of a bus fifty-three years ago to the highest, most honorable seat in the land, this singular giant step in history will surely not erase the painful past of oppression and injustice but will hopefully represent a turning point in which the two become history. As the day of discrimination and disenfranchisement begin to fade, the dawning of a new day will be the mark of a promising future of equality and justice for all. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of “a dream that one day . . . every hill and mountain shall be made low.” This past Tuesday was that day. A day when a longtime dream gave way to a long-awaited reality. A day when the playing field for a people victimized for so long, is leveled with a victory of promise and hope. This day, November 4th, 2008 constitutes the election of the first African American to the office of President of the United States, Barack Obama.

We Americans stand united not only in celebrating this milestone but on many fronts: The President we serve, the desire for change, the issues of the day (like the economy, the war, and energy independence, among others). Unfortunately, though, that is where our common ground ends and uncertainty begins. The history has yet to be written on what’s to come. So how do we bridge the divide? How do we overcome the “partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long?” To paraphrase a leader in the woman’s suffrage movement, give yourself to the wrongs that need resistance, the right that needs assistance, and the future in the distance. In other words, like gold, we should submit our policies and provisions to the refining fire of careful scrutiny, taking captive every idea in order to refute any vain argument or pretension that threatens to jeopardize “truth, justice, and the American way.” This is necessary for the survival and perpetuation of freedom here and all over the world. “So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder . . . This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time.” “In this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.” Can we do it? “Yes We Can!

See You At The Polls

What a blessing it is to live in a country where our opinion matters. If you haven’t already voted (or even if you have), here’s a prayer for you to say today:

 

Father God,

 

I thank you for the privilege of living here in America and having the freedoms that I do, one of which is to affect public policy through my vote. I pray that you help me to not take those freedoms for granted but to use them as a platform to advance your kingdom. As I go out today, give me the wisdom and guidance to make the right choice, choosing a candidate that conforms to your eternal Word, my core convictions, versus temporally conforming the candidate to fit your Word. Lord, we are in some seemingly rough waters here in America with the end uncertain. We know that you calm the raging seas Lord. Appoint the candidate that is more capable of helping America navigate into calm waters where the financial burden is lifted and the pain is eased. And God, no matter the result of today’s election, let me be a continual channel of your peace and love.

 

In Christ’s Name,

Amen

Endorse Truth

Since starting this blog, I have always attempted to deliver the Truth as I know it. Some opinion has managed to slip in from time to time as I am human (The Steelers really are God’s team despite their Judas owner––but that’s for another post). Opinion, though, can be sound doctrine as long as its founded in the Truth. With the upcoming election, there is a lot of opinion out there, most of it in the media where very little, if any, is based on the Truth. Deciphering the Truth from the lies can sometimes be difficult, unless of course, you know the source of all lies and, more importantly, the source of all Truth.

Well, during the course of this election, and even more so, over the past few days, I have seen some disturbing accounts regarding a particular candidate for President. If you’re not a Christian, this may have little relevance to you and you may chalk it up to bogus propaganda; that’s your prerogative. However, Christians do not get off so easily; a true follower of Christ knows that God and His Truth is paramount.

With that, I urge all fellow believers to petition the Lord for wisdom, direction, and discernment in this tumultuous time. Pray that He give you the strength to overcome the emotional euphoria of following popular culture or making history for the sake of itself; this emotion will quickly fade but its disastrous repercussions will be far-reaching and won’t be so quick to fade. Finally, ask God to give you the peace that passes all understanding and the confidence in knowing that the only real source of hope is not in any man on Earth but in Christ.

I will leave you, not with opinion, but with Truth straight from the source at the top of the ticket, God’s Word:

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. ~Matthew 7:15-20 (NIV)

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. ~Ephesians 5:6-7 (NIV)

Amen! Amen!

Pocket Change

I used to have this favorite pair of jeans that had holes in the pockets. I didn’t realize it until I heard change hitting the floor and felt my keys working their way down my pant leg. Of course, it took a few times of wearing them before either remembering to pitch them or being burdened with picking loose change off the floor and misplacing my keys. Thankfully, I didn’t lose anything too valuable before changing my strategy, that is, I replaced those jeans with a different pair.

Well, maybe it’s time for a “pocket change” here in America too; maybe we have been trying to “wear the pants” in the house but unfortunately have been trying to wear them in the wrong house. Check out how timely the Lord’s 2,500 year-old words are for America and even the world as a whole:

5Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 6You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”

7This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 8Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the LORD. 9“You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the LORD Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house. 10Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. 11I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the oil and whatever the ground produces, on men and cattle, and on the labor of your hands.”

Haggai 1:5-11 (NIV)

(emphasis mine)

The Christian foundation on which this nation was built is continually being chipped away only to be replaced by a house of cards. We have seemingly gambled our values for valuables that “moth and rust destroy, and thieves break in and steal.” Consequently, the world around us appears to be “going to hell in a hand-basket.”

What do you think–is this global recession more of a spiritual problem or an economic one? Whose house have you been building on a personal basis? What can we do corporately to switch the focus to building the right house here in America and abroad?