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Posts Tagged ‘well done!’

Applause and Acclaim

September 27th, 2018

Appreciation fuels achievement.

Well done, good and faithful servant!” Matthew 25:21 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “Applause and Acclaim.”

Few things are more satisfying than compliments for something that you have done, and done well. Hollywood, Broadway, and Nashville give numerous awards for entertainers in movies, television, videos, stage, and most genres of music. Outside of entertainment, there is the Pulitzer Prize for outstanding public service and achievement in American journalism, letters, and music. The prestigious Nobel Peace Prize is awarded for significant political and international  achievement. As children thrive in the acceptance and approval of others, people of any age respond to sincere recognition of their achievements.

Praise and appreciation fuels achievement for one and all, from children to adults. Parents accomplish that with their approving words, proud smiles, and physical hugs that recognition. Bosses do that with awards, plaques, certificates, bonuses, or raises. Any award seems to mean more when the person or group giving recognition means the most to you. A stranger’s compliment may be flattering, but fleeting. A friend’s praise is a joy forever cherished forever in your heart.

I am not sure there would be any little league teams if Mom and Dad were not in the stands cheering and claiming, “that’s my child.” Children don’t yet play for the love of the game; they play for the cheers and congratulations of their parents and coaches. Some years ago, when our children were young, my stepfather, a wise man, gave me great parenting advice. He said, “To be mentally and emotionally healthy, every child needs a generous number of ‘atta boys’ every day.” If your children don’t hear praise and encouragement from you, they will seek encouragement elsewhere and embrace others’ flattery as an acceptable substitute. Flattery is nothing more than sugar-coated deception.

Let me add a small word of caution. The need for sincere applause and public acclaim can become seductive, even addictive, feeding one’s ego and pride rather than inspiring better efforts and greater accomplishments. Your best work and deepest satisfaction comes when you find abiding joy in knowing you offered your best and God is pleased, whether noticed by others or not.

The Bible offers a warning. Jesus cautioned those who, “loved the praise (and approval) from men more than the praise (and approval) from God.” John 12:43 NIV/NAS.  However great the applause and recognition of others might be, you will find no greater satisfaction than at the moment you finally stand before God and hear the Savior’s words, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful . . enter into the joy of your Lord.” Matthew 25:21 NKJV. May your entrance be grand and may you be welcomed by the applause of Heaven. At that moment, every earthly tribute and trophy will pale in comparison. Always and only, live on earth with Heaven in mind.

When all else is finally said and done, the sole opinion that will ultimately matter is the Lord’s evaluation. Paul gave Godly counsel in all that you do, Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do.” Ephesians 6:7-8 NIV. Don’t accept any distinction between the sacred and the secular. All you do for the cause and name of Christ is holy in God’s eyes.

Today I pray for you to never require the crowd’s faint applause or fading acclaim.

Christian Communications 2018-9299

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The Secret to Success

April 27th, 2018

Jesus is Lord of all or He is not Lord at all.

“I am the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” Revelation 22:13 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today discuss, “The secret to success.”

Someone or something must be first when you have more than one choice or consideration. Who, or what, will be the priority and first consideration in your life? That question is one that every one of us need to answer for life to work as it should. You can try to make life work on your terms, but the Bible consistently declares this eternal principle for success in life, “In everything you do, put God first, and He will direct you and crown your efforts with success.” Proverbs 3:6 TLB.

Each day requires you to ask and answer this all-important question, “Is Jesus Lord of my life in the most practical, everyday ways?” More than any other single factor, your sincere answer determines how you will live your life, and therefore the measure of real and lasting success that you can achieve. Your truthful answer to the single question predisposes your answer to other questions that will arise during your life.

Jesus’ words teach several, simple truths. “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” Read Matthew 6:25-34 NIV. No success is true success until God crowns your efforts. Your best is still inadequate without God’s blessing added to it.

Whatever you achieve, and however many voices loudly acclaim and admire your resulting rewards, there is only voice that matters eternally. God’s estimation of your work is all that matters eternally. At the end of your life, only His “Well done” will be all that matters in eternity.

In this life, success requires your best efforts, consistently and long term. No halfhearted attempt, no working when you feel like it will do. You must give God something deserving of His blessing. To do that, there will be many lesser things for which you will not have time. There will be cost and sacrifice. Success cannot be bought cheaply, nor does it come easily. Most importantly, in every day and in everything, you have to, “put God first!” I learned a simple reality. If Jesus is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all.

When Abraham left all he had known to follow God to a place he did not know, he was putting God first. See Genesis 12: 1-8 NKJV. When Joseph fled from the seductress without regard to the consequences, he was putting God first. See Genesis 39:7-21 NKJV. When Moses stood before Pharaoh demanding the release of Israel, he was putting God first. See Exodus 5:1-3 NKJV.

When David placed his faith in God when facing the defiant Goliath, he was putting God first. See 1 Samuel 17:40-51 NKJV. When the three Hebrew slaves would not compromise and bow to worship the King’s image, they were putting God first. See Daniel 3:1-18 NKJV. When Daniel could not obey the King’s command, he was putting God first. See Daniel 6:3-23 NKJV. When Jesus embraced the cross to die for yours and my sins, He was putting God first. See John 12:23-28 NKJV. True to His Word, God crowned their obedience and faith with success, as He will yours.

The secret to success is found in knowing and obeying God’s Word and always doing what’s right, even when success may appear to be found in a different direction. “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Joshua 1:8 NIV.

Again, I pose the question with which I began, “Who, or what, will be the priority and first consideration in your life?” The only One that can ever be first and foremost is Jesus, your Lord and Savior. Triumphantly, Jesus declares, “I am the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” Revelation 22:13 NIV. He reigns, and He is Lord of all!

Today I pray for you to seek the success that God alone can provide.

Christian Communications 2018-708

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Unashamed

January 13th, 2016

“Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God.” Hebrews 11:16 NIV.

Live so your family and friends have no cause for embarrassment.

My thoughts and comments today are about “unashamed.”

As a teen, I recall occasions when my father wisely reminded me, “Allen, remember; you are a Randolph.” His words were not of distrust, but of his trust and expectation of me. From his words, I understood that my conduct and conversation should reflect positively or would reflect negatively on others as well as myself.

Shame is a negative, but healthy, emotion you feel when you behave in a less worthy manner than you or others should expect. I am ashamed of some things I have said and done across the course of my life, and thankful to God and others who have shown me love and grace in spite of that. Along the way, I hope I have learned to do better. Though admittedly as human as the next person, my aspiration is to live so my family and friends have no cause for embarrassment.

Though not an exhaustive list, the twelfth chapter of Hebrews describes multiple people of exemplary faith in these words, “They were longing for a better country – a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God.” Read Hebrews 11:13-16 NIV. To me, that is the most incredible description of grace and the confident power of God.Grace includes you in that noble company of saints. Read Ephesians 2: 4-10 NIV.

I know that  my name is linked to His in grace. Imagine the power of that and personalize the Bible’s affirmation; read it aloud right now; “God is not ashamed to be called my God.” It is neither pretentious nor presumptuous to affirm that as true. Let its transforming truth sink deeply into your heart and spirit.

Dare you and I believe, that in Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can live in a manner that God is not ashamed to be called our God. How dare we not believe what God has said to be true? Paul had every expectation of that truth, “According to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.” Philippians 1:20 NKJV. “Both the One who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.” Read Hebrews 2:10-12 NIV.

It reassures and comforts me that God chose to identify Himself to Moses affirming, “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Exodus 3:15 NKJV. The record of each was less than sterling. But God was not ashamed to be called their God. At the end of my life, it will be satisfaction enough to hear my Savior say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” I want to live in the strength of my Dad’s belief in me and my Heavenly Father’s grace toward me. Read 2 Timothy 1:12-14 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to live as honors Jesus, with neither shame nor regret.

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Failures and Sorrows

September 4th, 2015

“Simon, when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:32 NKJV.

Momentary failure need not produce consequences for a lifetime.

My thoughts and comments today are about “failures and sorrows.”

Failure comes in many forms and sizes, but inevitably comes to all. May yours be insignificant and easily redeemable. Learning from your own and others’ failures is essential. The prolific inventor, Thomas Edison, 1847-1931, held 1093 patents but failed hundreds of times before successfully inventing the electric light bulb because he didn’t stop trying until he succeeded. Edison is quoted as saying, “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.” Turning failure to success is possible.

Who does not identify with Simon Peter? His record was not flawless. When he failed, he failed publicly and on a grand scale. Despite Peter’s earlier protestations of allegiance and after Jesus’ arrest, Peter denied three times to even have known Jesus. As the day dawned, Peter heard the crow of the rooster, remembered Jesus’ words and, “went out and wept bitterly.” See Luke 22:60-62 NKJV. Failure is not final; mistakes are not fatal.

Earlier, Jesus had spoken words of warning to Peter, but also reassurance, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32 NKJV. Momentary failure need not produce consequences for a lifetime. “My salvation will last forever; My righteousness will never fail.” Isaiah 51:6 NIV.

Regret is a natural reaction; repentance is a spiritual response. Though the emotions feel similar, the resultant remorse is not to be confused. Paul explains the difference in these terms, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this Godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done.” 2 Corinthians 7:10-11 NIV. Regret is a natural, emotional sorrow that you are less holy than you thought you were. Repentance is a spiritual sorrow that you loved God less than you thought you did.

May your failures be from human judgement, not lack of spiritual character. You will not always get everything right the first time, but the first time should not become your last effort. And don’t give up on yourself; Jesus doesn’t. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.” Lamentations 3:22 NIV. Bring every failure to Jesus quickly, Who alone can give you a fresh start. “Jesus appeared so that He might take away our sins. And in Him is no sin.” 1 John 3:5-6 NIV. Jesus appraisal and commendation of your life can be, “Well done, good and faithful servant . . Enter into the joys of the Lord forever.” Matthew 25:21 NKJV.

Today, I pray for you that your failures will be few and your successes many.

Christian Communications 11216

EDL PIX remorse

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Success and Satisfaction

April 24th, 2015

“God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well.” Romans 12:6 NLT.

Nothing is more satisfying than a job well done
and for which you are well suited.

My thoughts and comments today are about “success and satisfaction.”EDL pix satisfaction

Imagine an orchestra with all the chairs empty, except for one lone instrumentalist. However skilled the musician, a single musician and musical instrument is not an orchestra. Their individual talent and best effort would be inadequate and the composer’s arrangement unrealized. Nor would any musician attempt to play all the instruments singlehandedly. Such an intent and effort may be commendable but their ambition and ability would be questionable.

My application is this: no one can do everything equally well; you’re neither equipped to do so nor expected. You will do some things better than other things and some things not well at all. Best that you learn the difference. But everyone can do something well; that you ought to do as your stewardship of God’s grace and contribution to others’ benefit. A few words have often guided and strengthened my resolve, “I can’t do everything, but I can do something. And what I can do, I ought to do. And what I ought to do, by the grace of God, I will do.”

The Apostle Paul reminded Christians in Rome, “God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well.” Romans 12:6 NLT. Scripture is best read in the context of what precedes and follows. Paul introduced this verse with a profound understanding, “We belong to one another, and each of us needs all the others. God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well. So if God has given you the ability . . do it!” Read Romans 12:5-8 NLT.

God’s intent is clear. The abilities, skills, and experience God has provided you are for His purposes – serving Him, and serving others in His Name. “We belong to each other and each of us needs all the others.” Romans 12:5 NLT. Neither you nor I are complete separately, but together we are completed and sufficient in Christ. Read 2 Corinthians 3:4-5 NLT. You are needed even as you need others. You need the practical blessing from the giftedness of others, and they need yours.

The opportunities, abilities, and interests you possess are from the Lord and for His purpose and glory – not your pleasure or profit alone, nor to use as you will or withhold as you choose. “So if God has given you the ability . . do it gladly.” Romans 12:6/8 NLT. Don’t tout what you can do or have done, nor apologize for what you can’t do or have not done. Serve others graciously, thereby glorifying God. “For God loves the person who gives cheerfully. God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” Read 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 NLT.

Nothing is more satisfying than a job well done and one for which you are well suited. Your preeminent satisfaction and success are when you offer what you do well, knowing you are serving as God created and gifted you, seeing others strengthened, and knowing God receives the glory. The preeminent benediction of God will be these simple words, “Well done, good and faithful servant . . enter into the joy of your Lord.” Matthew 25:11. Miss that and you miss everything that matters.

Today, my prayer for you is to experience and express joy-filled contentment each day of your life.

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