Posts Tagged ‘ordinary’

Being Extraordinary

September 20th, 2016

Extraordinary is all about who God is rather than who you are.


We are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us.” Romans 8:37 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are about “being extraordinary.”

Whether it’s a sports competition or a friendly, family game at the kitchen table, it feels good to win. But winning does not seem to come so easily in the area that matters most, everyday life. The world, as the Bible describes this daily arena of the spiritual conflict of culture and values, can be a formidable adversary. But do not be anxious; victory is possible, even assured for the true child of God.

John affirmed, “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that overcomes the world, even your faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” 1 John 5:4-5 NIV. Obviously, it is very important that you establish that you are born of God, therefore empowered to overcome. “Loving God means keeping His commandments, and really, that isn’t difficult.” 1 John 5:3 NLT. Conviction and obedience are the evidences of the person who is born of God.

Jesus said this in the most plain and simple way, “If you love Me, you will obey what I command.” John 14:15 NIV. When just a teen, my heart was pierced by a question Jesus asked, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not the things I say?” Luke 6:47 NIV. Jesus equates love with obedience. Aren’t we all capable of accurately acknowledging who God is, yet doing things inconsistent with our proclamation of faith? That inconsistency will allow the world to overcome you, rather than your overcoming the world.

Ordinary is a good word to describe any of us, but not God; extraordinary describes and defines our God. Extraordinary is all about who He is, not who you are. See Ephesians 3:20-21 NKJV. The good news is this: the most ordinary person convinced of the authority and ability of their extraordinary God can successfully overcome a world system that would otherwise confront, confuse, and seduce them. We miss the point when we try to do extraordinary things when we just have to be ordinary people who allow God to be extraordinary in us. If ordinary is all that’s required, I would say that most of us are prime candidates to be extraordinary in Christ. Hebrews 11 is a litany of ordinary people accomplishing extraordinary things. See Philippians 2:13 NLT.

Ordinary is not so bad when you believe extraordinary accomplishments are within the reach of your faith, a faith that is safe and secure in His love so that nothing can defeat you. Paul was certain, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us.” See Romans 8:35-39 NIV. I am not sure what “more than a conqueror” is, but it is surely enough to make you victorious over all, and with some to spare. Now that’s extraordinary.

Today, I pray for you to be confident that you and Jesus will always be more than enough.

Christian Communications 2016


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Being Exemplary

January 27th, 2014

“Christ . . is your example. Follow in His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21 NLT.

Personal example far outweighs impersonal instruction.

My thoughts and comments today are about “being exemplary.”

Maybe you have heard it said, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Such instruction doesn’t work so well in parenting, or relationships of any kind. The problem with such advice is this: personal example far outweighs impersonal instruction. Words take little time, minimal cost, and marginal effort to tell someone what to do. The most accurate instruction is not nearly as effective as modeling. The best teaching, and therefore most enduring learning, includes example and demonstration.

In previous comments last week, I wrote, “As God came into His world by the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, God works today in our world to bring lost people from unbelief to faith as His Word is incarnated in the very lives that have been forever changed.” But how does that work? Paul wrote to Christ-followers, “[You are] known and read by everybody, you show that you are a letter from Christ . . written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God.” 2 Corinthians 3:3-4 NKJV. (See “Living Letters,” EDL, Friday, January 24, 2014). I want to further develop how God achieves that incarnation of truth through the lives of those who know and trust Him as Savior.

Jesus’ expectation and your assignment are clear, “Be an example to all believers in what you teach, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” 1 Tim 4:12-13 NLT. Now, that’s a holy mission requiring devotion and sacrifice. How can you and I bring a living word to a world where the plethora of inauthentic words and paucity of worthy examples devalue efforts?

In humility, Jesus understood, “The Son can do nothing of Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son also does [in like manner]. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all He does . . I don’t speak on My own authority. The Father who sent Me gave Me His own instructions as to what I should say. And I know that His instructions lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.” John 5:19-20 NIV/12:49-50 NLT.

The Father modeled for Jesus what He should say and do and the Son wisely followed His Father’s example with His disciples, and with us. As Jesus learned from His Father, He taught by example and modeling all the Father taught Him. To His disciples, Jesus said, “I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done.” John 13:15 NLT. In your strength alone, success is impossible. You need the indwelling Word of God and anointing of the Spirit. See Colossians 3:16-17 NIV.

The calling is daunting but the solution is this simple. Christ . . is your example. Follow in His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21 NLT. If you will walk as He directs, speak what He says, and do the will of the Father as He did, you are following His example and your life will be extraordinary. “Live as children of God in a dark world . . Let your lives shine brightly before them.” Philippians 2:15-16 NLT. Being ordinary is nothing special; being exemplary is.

My prayer for you today is that you are a shining example of all that is good and holy.

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Christmas is Amazing!

December 23rd, 2011

“They spread the word . . about this Child, and all who heard it were amazed.” Luke 2:17 NKJV

“No matter what else has been ordinary in your life, Christmas is amazing!

My thoughts today are that “Christmas is amazing.”

An amazing life is exactly what I think every person is looking for amazing relationships and friends, an amazing job, an amazing marriage and family, and an amazing faith experience. People yearn for life out of the ordinary, somehow beyond the routine and predictable, that’s stimulating and invigorating, an exciting adventure that makes one’s heart beat faster, your eyes sparkle with expectation, and your dreams feel closer.

A lot of things are described as amazing, some sincerely, others not so much. Steve Jobs and Apple Corporation amazed an industry industry with the IPod and IPhone, and more recently, the IPad. Too many advertised gadgets fall far short of that overused adjective. Really, there aren’t many times or places where such a description is true. Maybe your experience of something or some place seems amazing at first, but seldom remains so.

Each year, you find many things you hope to be spectacular can’t quite live up to their promise or your expectations. The NBA advertises itself as “where amazing happens!” That’s probably a promise bigger than the NBA can achieve – entertaining, yes; amazing, not really. But I know where amazing really does happen; that happens in your heart when you invite Jesus there.

I want you to hear God whisper into your heart, “No matter where else things have been ordinary in your life, Christmas is where amazing happens!” Here’s what the Bible says about Jesus’ birth, “When they had seen Him, the shepherds spread the word concerning what had been told them (by the Angel) about this Child, and all who heard it were amazed.” Luke 2:17-18 NKJV. All who heard the shepherds’ testimony were amazed. Christmas is amazing because a child, conceived supernaturally and born miraculously, was God’s one and only Son who became your Savior, dying on a cross to express God’s astonishing love and grace in order to give you an amazing life you long for, abundantly now and eternally forever. An amazing life is your choice.

“When the right time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman . . so He could adopt us as His very own children.” Galatians 4:4-7 NLT. Now that’s truly amazing! Deep in the heart of every person is the yearning in one’s soul that you need a Savior. Every effort of your own fails to provide that needed forgiveness, cleansing, and newness. Christmas is all about a Savior! Jesus can make amazing happen in your heart. John 3:16-17.

Christmas is God’s promise that the deepest longing of your heart can be realized. If Christmas is less than amazing to you, it is because you are missing Jesus at the center of your celebration. You alone cannot repair the damage to the soul that sin has done; you cannot just start over and do better. To be redeemed; you need a Redeemer. Romans 8:32-39 NIV. Now that’s when and where amazing really happens, not just at Christmas but any and every day.

My prayer this Christmas is that you will spread the word about this amazing Child.

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The First and Best

March 21st, 2011

“I will require your . . firstfruits and choicest of contributions.” Ezekiel 20:40 Amplified

“What would otherwise be ordinary is sacred when your best is first dedicated to God.”

My thoughts today are about the “first and best.”

The most liberating thing you will ever do is the decision to always give your first and best to God, and others. That single principle is counter-intuitive – going against everything that comes naturally to you. Self-centeredness inclines any person to reserve the first and best for themselves, and then give some portion to God and others out of what’s left. Second best is never good enough for a proper recognition of a life that is devoted to God, and thankful for His gifts and blessings.

The Bible teaches the principle of firstfruits as His command, not your option. “I will require your first . . and choicest of contributions . . the best of all firstfruits and of all your special gifts . . so that a blessing may rest on your household.” Ezekiel 20:40 Amplified/44:30 NIV. Without exception, the firstfruits were more than just the first; God asks for the first of the first, and the best of the first. Life never  works as it should until you decide to put God first and give Him your best. No matter how good, giving second best is never good enough.

God knows what you must learn: put God first in your life, and you will experience the best that He wants you to receive. “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything your land produces (firstfruits of all your increase/NKJV). Then He will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with the finest wine.” Proverbs 3:9-10 NLT. Simply stated, you will have enough today and reserves (barns) and satisfaction (wine va ts) for tomorrow. What would otherwise be ordinary is sacred when your best is first dedicated to God.

When God is not given the first, or you withhold your best from Him, then God is not first in your heart nor the center of your life. When your calendar is first submitted to God, you will always have enough time to do what you want and should. Abilities joyfully offered in service to God and others will result in the reward they are meant to bring you. Days you begin with God are more productive than they would have been. Choices that are submitted to God for direction will be more wise than they might have been without His counsel. Your life can be all that God intends; put God first in all you do, with all you have. Here’s the secret to Jesus’ life: “I do always the things that please (the Father).” John 8:29 NKJV.

Imagine your joy at the end of a day when you know you have truly pleased the Father. Don’t you think that would be the grandest of days and height of your satisfaction? Is it possible? Most certainly! “Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead . . make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21 NKJV. God alone makes such a life possible, when you put Him first in everything.

My prayer for you today is that you give God your best always.

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