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Archive for February, 2017

We Want To See

Last night, I had the opportunity to offer a devotion to a group of men who serve as deacons in our church.  The passage I selected was Mark 10:46-52 – the healing of blind Bartimaeus.

Jesus was headed to Jerusalem for what would be his last trip before his crucifixion.  He had already told the disciples a number of times what would happen but they were still not comprehending what was about to take place.

As they passed through the city of Jericho, a man called out for Jesus’ attention.  Jesus was surrounded by a group of people so the man’s cries went unheard at first.  Those nearest the man told him to be quiet but that just made him call out more adamantly and loudly.

When Jesus heard the man, he told him to come near.  At that invitation, Bartimaeus leapt to his feet, through off his cloak and came to Jesus only to be faced with an odd question.

The man’s need was obvious – he was blind.  But Jesus asked him the question anyway, “What do you want me to do for you?”  Bartimaeus did not really need to think about it – his response was, “Rabbi, I want to see.”

There is so much packed into this little episode recorded here.  Jesus asked an obvious question and I think he poses the question to us as well.  Jesus wants us to think about what we need that only he can fulfill.  I don’t see this is as a question of what we want or desire but rather a probing question that causes us to realize our deep and utter dependance on Jesus.

As we each search our own souls today asking ourselves what we need from Jesus, may we, like Bartimaeus, respond – Teacher, we want to see.  

Perhaps our prayer today should be:

Teacher, help us see.  We want to see what you would have us see.  We want to see you and understand you more fully.  We want to become more aware of what you are doing in our lives and in the world around us.  We no longer want to go through the motions, we want to live fully aware of your presence!  Help us to see!

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Are there things you know you want to accomplish or try today but you are hesitant?  What is holding you back?  Is it the fear of what others might think?  Or maybe the fear of failure?woman-in-fear

Yesterday, we continued our series, Plastic People – Being Real In a Fake World.  The topic of the morning was being real about our fears.  So often, we become crippled by our fears.  Unhealthy fear can render us helpless and ultimately useless to God and his kingdom.

Danger is real – fear is not.  Fear is an emotional response to the potential outcome of a situation.  The key word in that statement is potential.  Fear is a response to something that has not happened – a response to something that may not even come to pass.

I would suggest to you that while danger is always present in our fallen world, fear is an emotional choice – we can choose to be afraid or we can choose to trust.  When it comes to living into the life God intended for you, you must always remember two things:

  1.  God loves you implicitly and completely.
  2. God has your best interest at heart – always!

Given those two foundational truths – why should we have any reason to choose fear?  Romans 8:31 says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Live into that promise today.

Attempt great things for God.

Choose trust over fear!

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What keeps you from living out your passions?  When you think of the things that excite you and the things about which you dream – what stands in the way of realizing those things?

There are any number of obstacles that can get in the way – some more formidable than others.  But for most people, I fear it is the wear and tear of the daily grind.  The To Do List is a great tool but sometimes it grows to be such a cloud of pressure that it obscures the goal.

Yesterday, I challenged our church family and myself to live out our passions daily.  Then this morning, I got to the office and all of the sudden I went into mechanical mode trying to check things off.  I looked at all the things that I have to get done today and gradually, the focus on living with passion and keeping the bigger picture in mind faded into the scenery like the Bedouin rug that hangs on my wall.

So how do we live out our passions in the midst of the daily routine?  Here are three suggestions to help you focus today:

  1. Define your passions – What are your big picture goals?  You need to define those things concisely because ultimately, they will define you.
  2. Write your goals down – Passions are what keep us going and the goals we set become the framework by which we work.  We write them down because we normally hit what aim for – and if you are aiming at nothing, unfortunately, you will probably hit it.
  3. Keep those goals in front of you – The key to hitting the target is monitoring trajectory.  Reviewing your goals regularly can ensure that you end up where you want.

God intends life to be full of meaning and fulfillment.  He has wired you live that way.  Don’t let the daily routine dilute your passion.

Be blessed today!

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If you could fast forward to bedtime tonight and then reflect back on the
day – what would make you glad that you were alive today?  What one thing remembered would give you peace to sleep comfortably through the night, thinking-about-a-questionknowing that you made a difference – that you really lived out God’s call on your day?

Think about that this morning.  Begin your day with the end in mind.

Dare to dream about what that might be.

And then go and do it!

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Just Being Real

It is so difficult to be real these days.  Have you noticed how everything has become so political?  I am not talking about the politics we see on the nightly news or Twitter.  I’m referring to the daily activity of life.  With social media, we feel we have to be on our guard all the time – making sure we are keeping that perfect image.

When we are around people, we want them to think we have it all together.  We think we can’t let our guard down or show our weaknesses for fear that we will be overlooked or mistreated.  We have bought into the fear that if we don’t look out for ourselves, then the world will walk all over us.

I am not denying that there is substance to the fear of being mistreated.  But I would call into question the source of the fear.  I believe what drives the fear is that we have bought into the lie that what we see in the world is real – and even worse – that what we see is all there is to be seen.

Stopwoman-putting-on-a-happy-mask and think about this for a second, if you are concerned about presenting the perfect image, don’t you think everyone else is concerned about doing the same?  So if all you are seeing from others is their facade, then you have to agree that none of it is real – or at best, partially real.

Our hope must remain grounded on what we know to be real – God and his truth.  If our foundation is God and the truth that he has given us, then we begin to realize that it is acceptable to be authentic.  In fact, once we have tested the solid ground, we might even realize being real is what God intended all along.

How liberating it would be if everyone was genuine all the time!  Today, focus some of your effort on being real.  Start with being real with God.

Be blessed today!

 

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Prized Possessions

What is your most prized possession?  For some it might be something received for a great achievement.  I am sure those who will receive a Grammy Award in a couple of weeks might say receiving a Grammy is the pinnacle of their career.

For others, it might be something inherited.  Many years ago, my grandmother passed away and one of the things I received was a small paring knife.  I remember watching my grandmother peel potatoes with that knife.  It sits in the drawer of my desk and I use it nearly daily as a letter opener.  I would count that knife as a prized possession.

Each and every one of us has prized possessions – those things we hold dear and would not want to lose.  And there is nothing wrong with having those things in our lives.  The key is remembering that it is fine to have those possessions as long as we don’t allow those possessions to have us.

At the heart of our relationship with God is a healthy understanding of who God is in relation to who we are.  When we give greater importance to things in our lives than we do to God, then what we are really doing is making our own desires for significance and standing more important than God.

It happens subtly and slowly.  Over time, our attitude toward things and acquiring mogripping-a-ropere things, breeds within us a sense of independence and a false sense of security.  Our grip on things becomes so tight we can’t even imagine life any other way.  But the terrifying reality is the grip those things begin to have on us.

We need to remember that our hope is misplaced when it is placed in anything but God and his grace.  When we remember this, we experience sincere liberty and freedom in knowing only God matters.  Our most prized possession becomes our relationship with the everlasting creator.

So today, remember who holds all in his hands and place your trust fully in him!

Be blessed!

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