Posts Tagged ‘Psalm 16:5-6’

Limits and Liberties

July 25th, 2014

“Our goal is to stay within the boundaries of God’s plan for us.”  2 Corinthians 10:13 NLT.

True success and happiness in life is to know and fulfill God’s boundaries.

Lauren, my thoughts and comments today are about “limits and liberties.”

“Fences make good neighbors.” (Mending Wall/ Robert Frost). Fences clarify both a person’s liberties as well as their limits, designating where you have free access and where others do not. In relationships, such fences are called boundaries. Some are determined by you; others are determined for you. People have boundaries that distinguish the public from the private, or should have.

Yours as well as others’ boundaries should be respected, but that doesn’t always happen. When someone pushes too closely into your personal space, or either shares or inquires about matters more personal than you prefer to discuss, their presumption of liberty intrudes beyond your limits. When that happens, you feel a measure of discomfort.

Almost twenty years ago, our family bought rural acreage where we would build our homes. Until then, I had been content to have my home nestled among others. But those acres soon gave me a sense of security and liberty I had not anticipated. The precisely measured survey and the visible fence line marked exactly where our boundaries were. This place was ours. Gayle named it “Heritage Place,” because we believe God provided it for our family.

God’s plan for your life is your “Heritage Place.” God said, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans to prosper and not harm you, to give you a future and a hope.’” Jeremiah 29:11 NLT. True happiness, contentment, and even success is to know and fulfill the boundaries of God’s plan for your life. Accept nothing less than the liberties God provides; require nothing more than the limits God sets. See Galatians 5:13 NKJV. Your appreciation of Godly boundaries has everything to do with your knowledge and trust of the One who sets them. Your joyful acceptance depends on understanding their purpose is for your good not harm.

Inside God’s limits and liberties, life is expansive; outside of those, the consequence can be expensive. From painful experience, David learned the limits within God’s plan were better than the ill-conceived liberties of his own plans. David learned God’s ways are always best, “The boundary lines have fallen to me in pleasant places. Surely I have a delightful inheritance.” Psalm 16:5-6 NIV. To that, I say a hearty, “Amen!”

Paul’s objective should be ours, Our goal is to stay within the boundaries [proper limits] of God’s plan for us.2 Corinthians 10:13 NLT/NIV. Paul was committed to fulfill all God intended, while content not to reach beyond. Paul discovered that within God’s “proper limits,” he found confidence instead of confusion, fruitfulness rather than frustration, and anointing beyond his abilities and efforts. And so will you.

Today, my prayer for you is to rejoice in liberties God affords and respect limits He requires.



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Inheritance and Heritage

July 10th, 2013

“An inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you.” 1 Peter 1:3-4 NIV

Whatever your net worth, live that your Godly influence blesses generations.

My thoughts and comments today are about “inheritance and heritage.”

Inheritance first suggests the transfer of property and wealth from one generation to the next, yet it can be so much more. My Dad died in a highway accident just forty-four years old. My Dad, a pastor, had married Gayle and me just three weeks earlier. I was twenty-one, a senior in college. He left a modest home with a mortgage, a negligible bank balance, and a $4,000 life insurance policy.

Yet, the heritage he left me is of incalculable worth, even though not in property and wealth. Those are certainly desirable, a beneficial boost to a new generation when given wisely to them and used wisely by them. But there are less tangible things as important as property and wealth seem to be – such as personal example, core beliefs, priority of family and friendships, character, convictions, gratitude, Godly faith, moral values, fidelity, work ethic, family priorities, wise money management, generosity, and integrity.

Still today, my Dad’s words, wisdom, and example shape my personal, marital, relational, and ministry life. My friend, Carlos, often reminds me how frequently I quote my Dad’s words about practical areas of life and faith, even fifty years after his death.

The Bible says, “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.” Proverbs 13:22 NKJV. One’s lifetime should be viewed through the lens of Godly generations. With six grandchildren and our first great-granddaughter, Kaylee Grace, Solomon’s words are meaningful to Gayle and me. When Solomon referenced, “a good man,” I think the inheritance he would leave included values and convictions more intrinsic to the man himself than his material wealth. I think I might distinguish the first as, “heritage,” differentiating the latter as, “inheritance.” Whatever your final net worth, substantial or minimal, live that your Godly influence extends to and blesses generations.

Ahab, a wicked king, envied a vineyard adjoining his palace, which belonged to Naboth. Ahab offered Naboth a even better vineyard or a just price. Read 1 Kings 21. There is something noble and Godly about Naboth’s response, “The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers.” 1 Kings 21:3 NIV. Property and price were not the issue for him; honoring a sacred trust was. Naboth had received more than property; his vineyard was both an inheritance to enjoy and a heritage to protect. Protect the heritage you’ve been given and the one you will leave for those who follow. Every compromise of convictions steals something from the next generation.

What your “children and children’s children” value will reflect what you have consistently lived before them.I learned from my Dad this truth, “In his great mercy [Christ] has given us new birth . . into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you.” 1 Peter 1:3-4 NIV. I agree with King David; “Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance . . The [boundary] lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; [Surely], I have a good inheritance.” Psalms 16:5-6 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that you have the courage of your convictions.

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Exploring Margins

July 13th, 2012

“I must work . . while it is day.” John 9:4 NKJV

Success results from learning to allocate what you have, to accomplish what you must.

My thoughts and comments today are about “exploring margins.”

“Margin” is defined as “a limit in condition or capacity.” Life, as you know it now, has limits. In eternity that will not be true, but for now it is. The Bible refers to such limits as “boundaries” or “measure.” David, the Psalmist, rejoiced, “Lord, You have assigned me my portion and my cup; You have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” Psalm 16:5-6 NIV. He found sufficiency and safety in God’s providence. You will as well. In the New Testament, Paul wrote similarly, “We will not boast beyond [our] measure, but within the sphere which God appointed us . .” 2 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV. Paul found confidence and certainty in God’s assignment. Conviction of truth breeds confidence.

You have a measure of years that only God knows, a measure of strength, resources, energy, endurance, and number of friendships, among other things – but unimagined possibilities within those. This reality we have in common, though there are differing measures unique to individuals. By effort and discipline, you might expand your boundaries to some extent, but you cannot remove limits altogether. But know this; life is not about what you don’t have or can’t do. Life is about what you learn to do within the margins you are given. How wisely you live and how hard you work determines your achievement.

Failing to plan is planning to fail. Life requires a plan. Many people do not realize that simple reality until they have too little of life left. Some never do. Limits are somewhat fixed, but what you do within those is discretionary. Explore your margins to the full capacity; accept no artificial limits. Decide what you will do with your life and what has been given you. “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like ignorant people, but like wise people. Make good use of every opportunity you have, because these are evil days. Don’t be fools, then, but try to find out what the Lord wants you to do.” Ephesians 5:15-17 TEV.

Success results from learning to allocate what you have, to accomplish what you must. Jesus understood the primacy of doing the will of God and ordered His life within the boundaries of that. “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is yet day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” John 9:4-5 NKJV. Even Jesus recognized limits and used His time and opportunities to serve the Father’s eternal purposes. As long as you have life, you can be a light in the world. See Philippians 2:15-18 NKJV.

In God’s will, you find God’s plan for your life and the fullest experience of success and satisfaction. I particularly love the promise God spoke through Jeremiah, “’For I know the plans that I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good . . to give you a future and a hope.’” Jeremiah 29:11 NLT. A future without hope is discouraging; hope without a future in which to achieve it would be disheartening. God offers you both “a future and a hope!” Your future rests in what you do within each day.

My prayer for you today is that you use wisely what you have been given generously.

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