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Posts Tagged ‘accomplishments’

Priceless

March 21st, 2018

Many things are prized; Christ alone is priceless.

 “Everything is worthless when compared with knowing Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:8 NLT

My thoughts today are about things that are, “priceless.”

Priceless things do not always come with a price tag. Yesterday, I received a few digital copies of old family photographs. The originals from which they were copied were tattered by time, but immeasurably valuable to me. They were glimpses of our family history and heritage, my paternal grandparents, including my sister and I with our New York cousins. And a photo of my uncle Ralph, a proud marine who never returned from WW2. Another was of my parents as a young couple, apparently taken before I was born.  And one of my sister on her first birthday. Those pictures would be noteworthy to no one other than our family and myself. But to me, they are priceless.

Everyone has some things that hold special meaning tucked away safely or secretly somewhere. Such objects are rarely viewed as costly or valuable to anyone else. But to that one to whom they belong they are prized possessions. Usually, our valuable things are tucked securely in safe deposit boxes or may be paraded proudly and publicly before friends and neighbors as signs of our success, such as houses, cars, jewelry, college degrees, awards of recognition, expensive recreational toys, and things like that. None of those are bad on their own; none of them good enough on their own.

The Apostle Paul listed many proud achievements about which he could brag and boast. “I once thought all these things were so very important, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Read Philippians  3:7-8 NLT.

Paul successfully checked off all the required boxes of religious, social, and political success. Those prized accomplishments identified who he was, how well he had done, and how important he was. But when he added it all up, he saw the inadequacy and emptiness of all that. “For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.” 2 Corinthians 10:18 NIV.

“Breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples,” Saul asked for and received letters of authority from the High Priest to imprison those troublesome followers of the recently crucified Jesus. Read Acts 9:1-5 NIV. While enroute to Damascus, Saul dramatically encountered the Risen Christ and viewed everything that he once counted as his life’s net worth, as worthless. Many things are prized; Christ alone is priceless. After his traumatic encounter with Christ, Paul’s singular, surpassing purpose became his passion to know Jesus personally and intimately.

Paul wrote, “Everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord . . that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:8-10 NLT/NKJV. While in college, “That I may know Him and the power of His Resurrection,” became my life-verse; it still remains so today.

What prized possessions do you hold in a tight grip, or those that hold you in an even tighter grip? There are things that money cannot buy. Can anything at all actually compare with the true wealth of knowing Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord? “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, Who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” 1 Timothy 6:17-18 NIV. Christ alone is priceless.

Today I pray for you to allow nothing and no one to become as important to you as Jesus.

 

Christian Communications 2018-4610

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Affirmation and Expectations

August 19th, 2017

Affirmation is more powerful than expectation. 

 “Look for the best in each other and do your best to bring it out.” 1 Thessalonians 5:15 MSG

My thoughts and comments today are about,

“Affirmation and Expectations.”

In my observation, a person’s reasonable expectations of others are typically proven to be true, whether for the better or worse. Usually, a child or teen lives up to what is communicated as expected. Of course, there are times that generality may fail to apply, just as happens with adults. But people who look for good in others usually find good. Conversely, people who have lower expectations for others ordinarily find what they’re looking for, as well.

When people truly like people and themselves strive to be their best, they typically assume goodness in others also. This seems supported by the Apostle Paul’s description to Titus, “Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are corrupted.” Titus 1:15 NLT. If you expect people to disappoint, they probably will. Check your own heart first. Sometimes, what you readily see in others may merely be a reflection of your own heart.

Faults ignored in yourself can seem glaring in others. With deliberate exaggeration, Jesus highlighted the folly of ignoring your faults while judging another’s faults. “Why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye . . when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? . . first, get rid of the log in your own eye, then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” Luke 6:41-42 NLT. Specks and logs. Take care of the worst first.

The Bible provides a clear objective. “Look for the best in each other and always do your best to bring it out . . this is the way that God wants you who live in Christ Jesus to live.” 1 Thessalonians 5:15/18 MSG. Do you consistently look for the best in others? Inclination, interest, attention, and a listening heart are essential relational skills to see the best when others are too preoccupied elsewhere to notice. God asks you to see the good in others that might otherwise be overlooked. You can reinforce that good with your benevolent expectation and sincere affirmation. In children and adults alike, what is affirmed is repeated. God’s grace in another’s life deserves to be affirmed. Affirmation is more powerful than expectation. You may not always get what you expect from others, but you will likely see what you affirm.

Along my spiritual journey, there have been many gracious people who saw things of God in me that I dared not assume for myself. They affirmed those qualities and abilities, and then tirelessly supported their further growth and development. My friend, Don, reminded me of once saying to him years earlier, “Thank you for not letting me be what I would have been without your friendship.” My words were accurate; his expectations and affirmation prompted my desire to be better and encouraged my efforts to do better. I really hope, in some measure, I have been that kind of friend for others.

To my parents, teachers, friends, and especially my remarkable wife and family whose affirmation and companionship make me better, thank you. Consider whose friendship makes you a better person than might have happened without them. Whatever credit accrues to you for character or accomplishments is rightly shared with them. Thank God for them, and be sure to thank them. And do better than tell them; write them so they can read it again and again and be continuously encouraged.

Today, I pray for you to recognize the many contributors to your achievements.

Christian Communications 2017

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Accomplishments

July 1st, 2013

“I have glorified You on the earth.” John 17:4 NKJV.

Accomplishments only matter when they have eternal importance and consequence.

My thoughts and comments today are about “accomplishments.”

In one degree or another, you will be measured by your accomplishments. The Sunday paper evidences who and what society considers important. On the front page are the news makers, notable for their public contributions, or notorious for their public failures. The Financial section acknowledges those of acquired wealth and business success. The Sports section boasts the prowess of athletes who excel beyond others. The Social pages portray the enviable lifestyles and social connections of the wealthy and well known. The Entertainment section showcases the fleeting fame of celebrities. Your accomplishments may seem less worthy of public acclaim.

People wrongly measure themselves and others by arbitrary and inaccurate standards. The important thing you must decide is the qualifying standard by which you and your accomplishments will be measured. Jesus held little concern for people’s evaluation of His ministry. His words reveal His accomplishments, “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do” John 17:4 NKJV. Simple standards, easily evaluated, eternally consequential.

Jesus glorified God on earth. Everything Jesus did was to glorify God – Jesus’ manner of life, “I always do what pleases [the Father].” (John 8:29 NIV) – His words, “I speak to the world those things which I heard from [the Father].” (John 8:26 NKJV) – His actions, “The Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing.” (John 5:19 NIV) – and His values and priorities, “I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.” John 5:30 NKJV. Such accomplishments are exemplary.

Jesus accomplished His assignment. Jesus looked to Father God with perfect confidence, “I have finished the work which You gave me to do.” John 17:4 NKJV. May it never be said of you as has been said of some, “When all is said and done, more was said than ever had been done.” Live to have no regrets. Promises are made but fewer fulfilled; plans considered but not implemented; eager beginnings yet meager completions; unfinished tasks defining uncompleted lives.

Accomplishments only matter when they have eternal importance and consequence. Invest your time, effort, money, and influence in people, not things; people matter eternally. What are you doing that will make the world a better place when you are gone? When you stand before God, every other accomplishment will pale in comparison, except for what was done according to His will, in His name, and for His glory. Jesus’ advice? “Lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven . .“ Read Matthew 6:19-21 NIV.

At the end of life, others’ opinions matter little; God’s true evaluation matters entirely. May you hear God’s benediction of your accomplishments and benevolent welcome into His eternal fellowship, “Well done, good and faithful servant . . enter into the joy of your Lord.” Matthew 25:23 NKJV. John glimpsed a bit of Heaven and described those there with these words, “Happy are those who die in the service of the Lord! Yes, indeed. They will enjoy rest from their hard work, because the results of their service go with them.” Revelation 14:13 TEV.

My prayer for you today is that your accomplishments please God more than people.

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