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Potential and Possibilities

October 24th, 2017

“Small things can have vast potential.”

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed which is smaller than all the seeds on earth.” Mark 4:31 NKJV.

My thoughts and comments today are about,

“Potential and Possibilities.”

No good thing that is said or done is inconsequential. Things that may appear small at first are not always as small as they seem. A simple, small seed can hold a world of potential. Jesus taught that, “[The Kingdom of Heaven] is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth; but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade.” Mark 4:31-32 NKJV. God places high value on small things when they are the right things.

Every enterprise begins small, appearing insignificant at its early stages, except to those who see potential others do not see. Small things can have vast potential. They should not be disparaged. The Bible cautions, “Do not despise these small beginnings for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” Zechariah 4:10 NLT. And Jesus noted that, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.” Luke 16:10 NIV. Faithfulness is learned in small things and responsibilities grow in proportion to reliability.

Little things are not necessarily little in value. By that I mean, some little things have amazing potential and could produce big results. For instance, a small seed holds disproportionate potential; a small idea can produce a profitable business; a small kindness can begin a long friendship; a wise word can change a life’s direction. “Now may He Who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.” 2 Corinthians 9:10-11 NKJV.

But also, I must warn that little things can also have big, unwanted, and unintended repercussions as well. While describing the effect of a small bit in a powerful horse’s mouth and a small rudder to turn a large ship, the Bible warns that, “Even so the tongue is a little member that boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles . . and the tongue . . defiles the whole body.” Read James 3:2-12 NKJVWords mean something. Words can heal; words can harm. They hold vast potential, both for the person who speaks them as well as those who hear them. An ill-advised word can disparage ideas, diminish incentive, or destroy hope.

Solomon addressed this negative potential with the image of a vineyard, “Catch the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes.” Song of Solomon 2:15 NKJV. The vine is where growth and fruit are to be found; those represent your future possibility and productivity. Solomon knew that small things could cause great damage. Such causes are often unnoticed until after irreparable damage has been done. Most of us are not undone by big things. Those are more easily recognized and readily avoided. Small things are often our undoing: such as the road not taken, the opportunity overlooked, the omission unrecognized, the little temptation embraced, or lesser failure indulged.

The Bible says, “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.” Proverbs 3:27 NKJV. A special moments can be spoiled by inaction – an achievement not celebrated, an anniversary forgotten, a thank you unspoken, a kindness unappreciated, a person’s efforts not valued, and many other similar opportunities for good that are just overlooked. Such things happen every day. Small things as simple as one’s countenance, tone of voice, body language, attitude, or mere words can assist or resist progress, build or dampen enthusiasm, and develop or disparage an idea. Protect the vines; secure the fruit of blessing; determine to use whatever you have to bless others positively.

Today, I pray for you to celebrate the great and Godly potential in yourself and others.

Christian Communications 2017

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Bless This Mess

January 13th, 2017

Blessing is restored where grace is received

“The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it.” Proverbs 10:22 NKJV

My thoughts and comments today are about, “bless this mess.”

Life can be messy; it frequently is. Mrs. Cook, a fourth-grade teacher at Blair Elementary, North Venice, Illinois, taught me to love words and use them properly. Messy is not the classiest of words, but I find it descriptive. Messy is defined as: chaotic, disheveled, disorganized, littered. When you hear the word, you know what it describes. It defines some measure of disarray, a time and place when life is in disorder. Some people live in serial messes until they don’t even recognize the chaos in which they live. The abnormal becomes their normal. I saw a plaque, like one my wife may want to place in my garage or closet, that simply read, “Bless this mess!” I smiled because I could envision closets, kitchens, and houses – as well as some marriages, families, and lives – for which those wistful words could be appropriate.

The problem is this: God doesn’t make a mess, neither will He bless a mess. He will walk with you in your mess. He will love you despite your mess. And He will redeem your mess, if you bring it to Him in sincerity and humility. Blessing is restored where grace is received. “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” Psalm 34:8 NKJV. Sometimes, you are forced to deal with messes you make. And sometimes, others’ messy drama encroaches on your life. You must deal with the first; you cannot always do much about the latter, except what little is in your control. Procrastination is never a good option.

A mess ignored worsens. When I lay one thing on my desk that belongs elsewhere, the mess soon multiplies. Usually, I was busy and intended to deal with it later. One thing, whose proper place is elsewhere, becomes the excuse for an accumulation of things temporarily left in the wrong place. Is there a mess you are allowing? Spiritual life? Personal habits? Broken relationships? Troubled marriage? Broken promises? Negligent spiritual practices? Procrastinated obedience? There are both sins of commission and omission that clutter lives.

The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is the story of people whose lives were a mess and the grace of God they experienced when they called out to Him for mercy and forgiveness. I think of Adam, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Samson, David, Simon Peter, Paul – as well as Allen, Bob, Bill, Steve, Joe, John, Mary, Betty, Anne, and (insert your name here). “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Read 1 John 1:8-2:2 NIV. I love the words the aged and beloved John wrote to people just like you and me, “Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from Jesus Christ.” 2 John 3 NIV. Grace adorns our lives; mercy spares our lives; and peace abides with and within our lives.

Today, I pray for you to love righteousness and live uprightly before God and man.

Christian Communications 2016

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Words

May 20th, 2013

“A word out of your mouth . . can accomplish nearly anything – or destroy it.” James 3:5 MSG.

You possess the power to bless or curse; you can do either but you cannot do both.

My thoughts and comments today are about “words.”

Words have a longer life span and far greater importance than you may realize. The Bible says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Proverbs 18:21 NKJV. James gave good advice when he wrote, “Be swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.” James 1:19. I always thought that a strange pairing of words, until I observed how anger fuels how you hear and what you say before you realize the havoc and hurt your words can cause. Choose words well; use words wisely.

You possess the power to bless or curse; you can do either, but you cannot do both. Choose words wisely. James wrote, “No one can tame the tongue . . sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it breaks out in curses against those who have been made in the image of God. So blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth – this is not right!” James 3:10.

Every time you use words positively you enhance their power; used improperly, you devalue their meaning. Sometimes slang and definitely profanity or vulgarity devalue the importance and strength of everything else you say. Their destructive power touches the one who speaks them and those who hear them – long after their sounds fall silent. That is true of the words you hear and read, as well as the words you speak. See Matthew 15:18 NLT. You live in a vulgar culture, increasingly profane. Civility and propriety are discounted as unimportant. Promises are defaulted; truth is compromised. Be decidedly different from the culture surrounding you.

Words have power. They strengthen or harm friendships, inspire or dishearten, encourage or discourage. Words of affirmation empower dreams in the heart. Words of doubt and disbelief predict fear and failure. All words have power; the more important you view person speaking them, the deeper and more lasting their effect on you. Jesus said, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.” John 6:63. Let that be your objective as well. There is unimagined authority within your spoken words. John writes of those who “overcame the devil by the word of their testimony.” Revelation 12:11.

My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Cook, taught me appreciation for words in a book about the origin of words. My Dad taught me the practical integrity of words, “A man is only as good as his word. Don’t say something you don’t mean.” The words of my Mom and Dad influence my life long after they were spoken; words can endure beyond lifetimes. The Bible taught me the enduring quality of Godly words, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words will not pass away.” Matthew 24:35.

Life taught me the double-edged potential in words, “A gentle answer turns away wrath; but a grievous word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1-2 NIV. Make every word count; weigh them carefully; share them gently. Here’s how God says this should work, “God wants you to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love – like Christ in everything . . watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.”  Ephesians 4:15/29 MSG. Each word can be a gift from God through you. My prayer is as David’s, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength, and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14. See Ecclesiastes 5:1-7 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that your heart will be pure and your words pleasing.

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