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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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Roots and Fruit

March 1st, 2017

Your influences determine your natural expressions

 May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love.” Ephesians 3:17 NLT

My thoughts and comments today are about, “roots and fruit.”

You gradually become more like the persons you admire and choose as companions. You may not intend to do so; you may not even notice when that is happening, but your relationships shape the process of who you are becoming. Unnoticeably, you will begin to think like, talk like, and act like the people you are most frequently with and most comfortable being around. The strongest influence you allow will eventually determine your most honest and natural expressions. Those influences could be the friends you seek, as well as the music you prefer, the books you read, the movies you attend, the television programs you watch, or the people you envy or admire. Regarding those things, what do you presently see expressed from your life, through your opinions, attitudes, vocabulary, choices, values, priorities, or lifestyle?

Now, consider the vast difference when God and His Word are the strongest influences in your daily life. Spend time with God. You will notice the difference. What about you could be – should be – different and better than you are now? The Apostle Paul offers a description of the sordid expressions of your natural enemies, the world, the flesh, and the devil. See Galatians 5:19-21 NLT. Paul contrasts that with the beauty the Holy Spirit brings into your life. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV.

Let those spiritual qualities describe what you really want your life to be. The Bible describes the process; “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your life will produce these evil results . . but when the Holy Spirit controls your life, He will produce this kind of (Christ-like) fruit in us.” Galatians 5:19/22 NLT. Your choice makes a difference, for better or worse. The worst expressions come from your carnal, unholy flesh. Christ-like expressions come from the Holy Spirit who dwells within you.

The problem is not as evident as it may at first seem. The root is the problem, not the fruit. For better or worse, fruit merely reflects the life that is at its source. Be clear about this. Symptoms are external and superficial; they only reflect the problem. The source is internal and always influential. You waste your time trying to control the fruit, when you should first choose the right Source. Jesus said, As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit.” See John 15:1-8 NKJV. Time spent with God’s Word and Holy Spirit is valuable beyond price, transforming everything about you in the best possible way.

Today, I pray “. . that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Ephesians 3:17-19 NLT.

Christian Communications 2017

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A Spiritual Heritage

April 16th, 2016

Your work produced by faith, labor prompted by love, and endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 1:3 NIV.

A meaningless life while you live is meaningless after you live.

My comments today urge you to value, “a spiritual heritage.”

Is death the end of everything? Really? Some people believe that it is, but even they wish they didn’t believe that. Such a belief certainly offers no consolation when facing death. The Bible is clear that death is inevitable, and a very real appointment with God awaits afterward. “Everyone must die once, and after that be judged by God.” Hebrews 9:27 TEV. That seems simple enough. As a follower of Christ, I believe there is an afterlife, an eternal life after death. If this life were all there is, that would not be enough.

There is an enduring hope for all who place faith in Christ as Savior that is asserted true by His own death, resurrection, and ascension to Father God. I cannot imagine everyday life without such an everyday faith; I certainly would not try living without that very real relationship and substantial hope. “We who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor of the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary, where Jesus, Who went before us, has entered on our behalf.” Hebrews 6:18-20 NIV.

Max Lucado, a local pastor and popular author, wrote a book with the intriguing title, “Outlive your Life.” Many are happy just to live their life, with little thought or regard to outliving those brief years. God meant for your life to “outlive” you. How? By an enduring impact on others’ lives that will extend beyond yours. Everyone will have a history; for some unfortunately, that will be all they have. They will leave little or nothing that will last after they are gone; nothing they are or do will outlive them. A meaningless life while you live will remain meaningless after you live.

I love the beauty, architecture, and history of our nation’s capital, Washington DC, a city filled with monuments and memorials like the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery that commemorate heroic, exemplary lives that have inspired generations who never knew them but still know of them. They call us back to what we’ve been to empower us to become what we should be. My personal goal is to leave a spiritual legacy for family and friends that lingers after my history has been written.

May it be said of you and me, “We continually remember . . your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 1:3 NIV. My Dad died too young. He didn’t leave much of worldly goods, but he left me an invaluable Godly heritage by his faith and example. I live so as to leave more than memories or inheritance; I purpose to leave a loving, Godly heritage. After life, what then? What will you leave that is lasting? Jesus said to His disciples, “I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce fruit that will last.” John 15:16 NLT. Fruit that will last. That’s how you, “outlive your life.” Leave an inspiring legacy of eternal worth.

Today, I pray for you to live and leave a Godly heritage for family and friends.

Christian Communications 2016

Dad and son with Bible

 

 

 

 

 

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Where Is Love?

May 14th, 2010

“Abide in My love.” John 15:9 NKJV

“Having the right kind of feeling for the wrong person or  wrong things is not where love is found.”

My thoughts today ask “where is love?”

Isn’t love a wonderful feeling? Maybe that’s why people talk about “falling in love,” only to later find themselves falling out of love. If love is just a feeling, however grand it may be at the moment, then you can lose it as readily as you felt it. Feelings are whimsical, changing with your moods and circumstances.

Thinking love is no more than a feeling may be the reason that some people find themselves having the right kind of feeling for the wrong person or the wrong things. If it’s love, they reason, it must be right. If it feels so right it must not be wrong. The problem is a dangerous misunderstanding of love. Be very aware of this; the right kind of feeling does not make it the right kind of thing.

Love does feel wonderful, and it should! Love does produce incredible feelings as it should, but those feelings are the fruit of love not the root of love. Love is rooted in your will, and then expressed in your emotions. For love to fully be what it can and should be, your will needs to be firmly anchored in God’s will and your love planted deeply in God’s love.

There is an insightful prayer of the Apostle Paul that is particularly relevant to my previous statement, “I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources He will give you mighty inner strength . . and I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in Him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Ephesians 3:16-19 NLT.

Where your love is rooted will evidence its reality and reliability. If it rests only on your feelings, what will be left when your emotions differ from now? When love resides in what is eternal, you discover that love is also eternal, not subject to yours or others’ transient moods and whims.

Love is a wonderful thing when you find it. Everybody is looking for that; not everyone finds it. You will only find your full capacity to give and receive love when you abandon your life to God’s will, and allow yourself to receive and give God’s love. That’s where real love is found. Your will and love are inseparable; either without the other is incomplete. “When you obey Me, you remain in My love, just as I obey My Father and remain in His love. I have told you this so that you will be filled with My joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” John 15:10-11 NLT.

Here is Jesus’ wise counsel: “Abide in Me . . My words abide in you . . abide in My love . . keep My commandments . . love one another as I have loved you . . your joy will be full.” Read John 15:1-12 NKJV. Do that and your will find where love is! Trust me; God’s way is always the right way. It cannot be otherwise.

My prayer for you today is that your love finds it source in God, and is real and lasts.

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Poison of Bitterness

February 22nd, 2010

“Looking diligently . . lest any root of bitterness spring up.” Hebrews 12:15 NKJV

“Be quick to bring every hurt and disappointment to God’s healing hands.”

My thoughts today are about the “poison of bitterness.”

There are things that may not seem very big at the time, but later can have bigger and further reaching effects than you expected. Some emotions are like that, and bitterness is one of the worst of those that do. It begins innocently enough, with some minor offense that leaves you feeling slighted, overlooked or mistreated. What does it hurt to recount to yourself how that should not have happened, or to seek the comfort of sharing your feelings with an understanding friend? No big deal, you say? But it often is a big deal.

A hurt feeling can readily become the seed of far more serious emotions, which eventually take root and produce fruit you never intended. Contrary to it name, bitterness at first may taste sweet. There is an initial but short-lived satisfaction, but the aftertaste is everything the name implies. The fruit of a tree identifies the nature of that tree. The root of a tree determines the abundance of its fruit. Picking the fruit won’t change the expression of a tree’s nature; killing the root will!

I have observed that the more a person entertains or expresses a negative emotion the more that grows, the stronger it develops, and the larger the circle of people it touches. Hurt feelings easily become settled attitudes. Watch out when your wrong attitude sows the seeds of bitterness. Bitterness destroys happiness, poisons hearts, and separates friends.

It may begin as targeted at a particular person or situation, but will ultimately touch all of your relationships, coloring every interaction and subsequent action. The Bible advises, “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many . . trouble you and defile many.” Hebrews 12:15 NIV/KJV. The insanity of a bitter attitude spreads its poison to any and all.

You can see that in a person’s clouded countenance and tense features, or uncharacteristic reactions and sharpness of words without apparent cause. The Bible says, “watching diligently,” which suggests you alone are finally responsible for your attitudes and reactions. You can’t control what others do or say, but you must guard your own heart and choose your own responses. Guard your heart diligently, choosing your responses wisely. Your own happiness and spiritual well-being is at stake. “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23 NIV.

Beware of any root of bitterness, however subtle or harmless it may at first seem. Let me suggest a better way. “Give all your cares to God, for He cares about  you . . that Christ may be more and more at home in your heart as you trust in Him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love . . remain in Me, and I will remain in you; you cannot be fruitful apart from Me . . that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault . .” 1 Peter 5:7 NLT/Ephesians 3:17 NLT/John 15:4 NLT/Philippians 2:15 NKV. Be careful about your roots; the fruit will then care for itself.

My prayer for you today is: bring every hurt and trust it into God’s healing hands.

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