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Archive for the ‘Motivational’ Category

Clear Vision

I have been told by more than one person around this great state of Texas that I am blessed with THE best view of any pastors’ office in the state.  I tend to agree.  For a west Texas boy who grew up on a beach with no water, being able to sit at my desk and see water and watch ships coming and going is like nothing I could have ever imagined.  I am blessed!

Clear Office View

Some days, the view is clear and I can see to the other side of the bay.  The sky is blue and the water is beautiful.  The gulls float and hover and an occasional sail boat glides in and out of my view.  It truly is a picturesque scene!

Then other days, like this morning, the skies are overcast and the haze prevents seeing more than a quarter mile into the bay.  There are ships coming and going but I can’t see them.  There is activity happening on the other side of the bay, but without having those clear days, there would be no concept of life beyond the mist.Overcast Office View

Our lives are like this in many ways.  God blesses us with vision when we are paying attention and we have moments of clarity.  We can see what God has for us and we can set steps in place to help us carry out his call on our lives.

It is that clarity that motivates us on those days when the vision is not as vivid.  There are days in our lives when we reach a point of wondering why we are doing the things we do.  On those days, remember the vision he has given you to be the best Jesus follower you can be.  Hold to the passion that comes from clarity.

God does have a plan for each of us.  He has created you completely and utterly unique – –  just like everyone else!  You are the only you on earth and God has special plans for you.  Pray for profound clarity of his calling for you.

As I finish this post, I turn to the window – – it looks like things are clearing!

Be blessed!

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Who are those souls that will spend an eternity in heaven with the Father because of your example and testimony?  I have been asking myself this question this morning.

One of my readings today was John 4.  At the end of this chapter, an official traveled to Jesus to ask him to make the journey to his home (a day away) in order to heal his son.  Jesus did not make the trip but he did tell the man, Your son will live.

The man headed home from this encounter and while he was still on the way, people from his household came running to tell him his son was alive and well.  When he asked them when this new development occurred they told him the boy got better at 1:00 the day before.  The man realized that was the exact time Jesus had told him that his son would live.

We are told, as this story closes, that the man and all his household believed.  They believed!  They had experienced the touch of Jesus even though only one had actually seen Jesus and they all believed!

As I have pondered this account.  What is most obvious to me is that the family encountered healing.  They rejoiced in a son made well.  But had the father not been there to tell them how it came about, they would have simply been happy about it but oblivious to the one to whom credit was due.

How many people in our lives experience the touch of Jesus but, because they have not met Jesus, don’t even realize what has happened?  It is up to us to point them to the author of faith and the giver of life.

1 Peter 3 15

Will they see Jesus through me – not just in my actions but in my words?

The father in this account believed and because he believed and shared the full story with his household and they all believed as well.

Is that not our calling – to share Jesus?

May heaven be populated by the souls who saw Jesus in you on this earth.

Be a blessing today!

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We find ourselves today living in the wake of Easter.  It is easy for us to celebrate the empty tomb and then get back to our daily lives – our schedules and commitments and all that life brings.  But I want to remind us that the resurrection changed everything.  In one wonderfully cosmic event, life as we know it changed.  Jesus overcame death securing for us the assurance of our own eternal life.

Jesus taught that if we will be first we must become last and if we are to truly live we must die to ourselves.  When we surrender our desires and plans to him, we are, in a very real sense, dying to ourselves and being resurrected to live for Jesus.

Easter should be a reminder for us to live resurrected lives each and every day.  We must seek to encounter Jesus each day not just at Easter.

One of my favorite accounts in scripture is the Emmaus Road encounter.  Two of Jesus’ followers were reeling from the events of his passion.  They had heard of the women who had gone to the tomb earlier that day and found it empty.  They were talking to each other trying to make sense of it all as they walked the road.  As they walked, Jesus joined them on the journey but they did not recognize him.

He spent time with them, instructing them on how the scriptures had foretold what would happen to the messiah but even through his teaching, they did not recognize him – at least not yet.  It wasn’t until they sat down to eat together that their eyes were finally focused on who was sitting there with them.  When they realized this stranger at the table was Jesus, he vanished from their sight.

As the two of them discussed all they had just experienced, they asked each other, “were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened scripture to us?”

There is so much power packed into that simple question!

When we encounter Jesus, our hearts burn within us.

When is the last time you experienced an encounter with Jesus that rekindled your inner flame.  Jesus is in the business of igniting passions within us to make a difference for him.

That is what it means to live a resurrected life.  It is to live a life of passion for the King!

May our hearts burn within us today because we have encountered Jesus!

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In one of my readings this morning, I ran across a reminder that should inform and shape each day of our existence here on Earth.  In Luke 10, Jesus sent out 72 of his followers in pairs to prepare the way for him in the towns he would visit.  He gave each of them authority to heal and cast out demons.

When they returned they were exuberant with excitement over being able to cast out demons.  While Jesus rejoiced with them, he cautioned them and reminded them to keep a proper perspective.  He said to them in verse 20, “do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

His words remind us that what happens here on Earth does not matter nearly as much as our eternal destiny.  We can have great “success” here but it will not matter much if our eternity with the Father is not secure.

As I have reflected on this thought I realized that the opposite is also just as important – even when things go terribly wrong here and we experience struggles and tragedy, we need to remember that our eternal destiny far outweighs what we endure here.
Blinders

We tend to live with blinders on but we need to expand our perspective.

My reflection moved me to write this note to myself and I share it with you in hopes that it can serve as a reminder for you as well:

We must strive to gaze at the eternal panorama and not allow ourselves to stare at the temporal snapshot.

Remember that today!

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Life Is Good

One of the most popular brands these days is LG.  You find the brand name on televisions, sound equipment and appliances.  Many may not realize that the letters LG stand for Life Is Good.  The brand name speaks to their mission to make life better – to help us see that life is, indeed, good.

Life Is GoodWe often forget that fact, do we not.  It is only a few steps from the top of the world to the lowest valley.  Life is good but it can become a grind if we are not careful.  Without proper perspective, the busyness of life becomes one big obligation and instead of living in the realization of the joy life can bring, we see only responsibilities and feel only pressure.

I have found, over the course of my journey, that the pressures of life are the most stifling when I let the tasks of my day take precedence over my time with the creator.  Something we need to foster within our hearts is a desperate longing for God’s presence.  When we yearn to be present with God we make time to make ourselves available.  As believers, when we are available to God we realize God is always with us.  And if God is with us, what on earth can overcome us?

At the most base level, what we need is love.  If we love God, we will make time to be with him.  And as we spend time with him, we realize that our capacity to love God is monumentally insufficient.  With that realization, our desire should become to learn to love him more.  It is in loving God that we live in the reality that life is good.  It is good because God offers it as a gift.  It is good because God is good!

So here is a simple prayer for us this day:

Holy, and loving Father.  I do love you.  At least I think I do.  At least I try.  Please help me to love you more.  Amen and amen!

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This morning I was up early for a meeting.  I arrived early to have time to reflect on the day and spend a little focused time with God.  One of my readings today took me to the Gospel of Matthew.  In chapter 19, one of the stories we find there concerns a young man who approached Jesus to ask about how he could get to heaven.  In verse 16, the young man asks Jesus a question that at first glance seems like a logical, heartfelt question.

He asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”

Based on Jesus’ response, we know that he was able to see through the question to the heart of the individual.  At first, Jesus played along with the train of thought.  He offered several commandments that should be kept.  But the young man was quick to respond that he did a pretty good job of keeping all those requirements.

So Jesus cut straight to the point and said, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

We are told that the man went away sad because he had great wealth.money

As I have reflected on this passage, I see myself in that man, and I think, if we are real about it, we can all relate to what the man was after.  We all want a simple formula.  We want to cut to the chase and find the quickest, easiest route to heaven.  But Jesus reminds us, it is not like that at all.  There is no secret formula or insider information.  The way to eternal life is stunningly simple and yet overwhelmingly difficult.

The way to eternal life requires following Jesus with our entire being.  We must not allow anything in our lives to rank higher than our relationship with Jesus and our devotion to him.  That is what Jesus was saying when he instructed the man to sell all he had, give it to the poor and follow him.  Jesus could see that what stood in the man’s way – what was more important to him than eternal life – was what he had gathered here on earth.

What stands in the way of eternal life may be different for you and for me.  But the principle is the same for us that it was for the young man standing before Jesus that day.  We must not allow anything to be more important in our lives than Jesus.

What will you need to “sell” today to follow him?

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Honestly Real

This morning, I had the opportunity to speak at our school chapel.  The subject I had been assigned was honesty and the Biblical character I was asked to use as an example was Thomas.

Most associate doubt with Thomas rather than honesty.  When Jesus appeared to the disciples after his resurrection, Thomas was not present.  So later, the disciples were relaying their experience of seeing the risen Jesus but Thomas struggled with trusting what they were telling him.  In fact, John 20 tells us that he went so far as to say, “unless I see him for myself and touch the wounds of his crucifixion, I will not believe.”  Thus he has been dubbed Doubting Thomas.

But I think if we are real with ourselves and God we should ask ourselves how differently would we have responded?  Don’t we have doubts and fears when it comes to circumstances we don’t know how to navigate?

I think we should give Thomas a bit of a break.  He was real and transparent.

In John 14, when Jesus was preparing his disciples for what was to come – his death and resurrection, Jesus made the statement that he would return and take his followers to be with him.  Thomas was the only one to ask a question.  I think he was not the only one with questions and doubts, just the only one willing to be honest about them.  He asked, “Jesus, how can we know how to get to where you are going?  We don’t know the way.”

He was honest.  It was not that he doubted Jesus’ truthfulness, he just wanted to understand and he was willing to show his struggle.  In fact, one of the greatest and concise statements of faith in the New Testament came from the lips of Thomas in John 20:28, “My Lord and my God.”

The reality is that God already knows our thoughts, our fears, our doubts.  Why would we try to hide those from him – – that would just be dishonest!

Today, let Honest Thomas be an example of being real with God – and with each other.

Be blessed today!

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