Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pleasing Your (Heavenly) Father

Who do you live to please?

There are many people in our lives that want us to live to please them--our parents, our friends-- but they may not be at the top of our lists.

There are other people in our lives that we should live to please--our spouse, our boss, etc.

Some would say you should only live to please yourself.

     Look our for number one, grab the gusto, go for it...that's the emphasis of      our culture.

So what's your answer? Who do YOU live to please?

The answer is pretty important.

The way you answer that is going to determine a lot--how much joy you have in life, how much peace you experience, how much contentment...'s also going to go a long way toward determining your behavior. 

     Will you do whatever your boss says, no matter how unethical it might be,           in order to please him?
     Will you compromise your morals and beliefs in order to please your                     friends and go along with them?
     Will you sabotage your own health and sense of well-being in order to go             placate your spouse?
     Will you use other people in order to please yourself?

The truth is that we all live to please someone, whether we realize it or not!

     How about this idea: Let's live to please GOD!

Seriously, the Word says that we should:

"Present your bodies to God--a living and holy sacrifice, the kind He will find acceptable." (Romans 12:1)

The Apostle Paul told his young apprentice, Timothy, that he should: "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15)

Paul also wrote the the Corinthians that they should remember: "Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body." (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). 

Living to please God, rather than others enables us to follow Him more boldly. 

As Peter said when threatened by the religious leaders: “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19-20)

It's not only our bodies and our actions, but our hearts and minds.

As Jesus said, "You must Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind; this is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it: You must love your neighbor as your self." (Matthew 22:37-39)

Living to please God frees you up from the tyranny of living to please others and the trap of living to please yourself.

Next time you're struggling with a decision, feeling torn about something you're being encouraged to do, or struggling to balance priorities, STOP!

Prayerfully ask this question: "What would please GOD in this situation?"

     Then do it.

Living to please God will be hard at times, but it will result in freedom, consistency, peace and joy...and most importantly, it will result in the Glory of God!

Who are You living to please today?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Watch Your Focus!

"In this world you will have trouble, but take heart; I have overcome this world!" (John 16:33)

There are a LOT of trials in this life!

Finances, relational troubles, work challenges, traffic jams, appliance problems, car trouble...

Add to that the stresses of the geo-political climate, the economy, and so on, and there is no shortage of reasons to lose focus. No shortage of reasons to have bad attitudes and crabby dispositions. That is the 'normal' response in our world.

...but that is NOT what the Lord would want us to do!

Rather, He wants to enable us to rise above those stresses and challenges.

The good news: He doesn't expect us to do it on our own.

Rather, the Holy Spirit exists, among other reasons, to enable us to live out His calling. He enables us to have 'strength beyond belief'! He is the one who enables us to be different from the rest.

He enables us to produce the "Fruit of the Spirit" in our lives, even in a bad situation.

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control..." (Galatians 5:23-24)

To be loving, even to the unlovable.
To have joy, even in the midst of stress.
To have peace in spite of anxiety-producing situations.
To have patience, even when 'that person' has put you to the test.

It is our role to learn to lean on Him, to put our focus on Him--His strength, His glory, and His plan.

...and as we do so, He give us victory!
Not necessarily a 'deliverance' from trouble, but victory over it!

Watch your Focus!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Enjoy Every Day!

Today, my family stepped into another school year.

For Lori, that meant another class of wonderful young fives, who will challenge her, tax her, love her and whom she will love with all her heart.

For Chris, it means a VERY busy class-load as he tries to finish at Grace this year.

Bekah continues her time @ Disney, hoping to be hired on there after her College Program is done.

For Tim, it's another semester at KVCC as he tries to narrow his field of study to exactly what he was 'designed' to do.

For Abby, it's her Senior Year! A lot of 'last times' coming up in this wonderful experience.

Rachel is returning to High School as a sophomore--no longer the new girl/freshman who was intimidated and shy, I'm sure she's going to enjoy this year.

Emily is in her 8th grade year--her Last Year @ Paramount (and our last child there).

LOTS of challenges ahead...LOTS of good, exciting times.

For me, I love the Autumn season in Michigan, and  I look forward to the schedule and the routine.

Yet...there's a bittersweet-ness to the beginning of another school year.

Why is that? Why would I sit here a little melancholy on a day that is this exciting?

I'm sure part of it is because the summer's over, and we didn't get away as much as we would have liked, but I think it's more. I think it's because this reminds me again how quickly life is moving on, and how much is changing.

Chris will graduate this year, and will be seeking employment. Only the Lord knows where that will lead him.
Bekah will stay in Florida, enroll in school, and quite probably will not be back.
Tim is planning on moving out with a friend within the month.
Abby will graduate this year and begin moving on with her life.
Rachel will be another year closer to doing the same, and
Emily will graduate from Paramount and be a High School student!

Even for our family, time is marching onward.

So what should we do--try to slow things down? Try to keep the kids @ home?

No! God has wired them to impact this world in their own way, and we are excited to see where the Lord leads!

Rather, we simply need to enjoy every minute... To LOVE each other in spoken and demonstrated ways every day... To savor the memories and experiences we have together... To thank the Lord and worship Him for who He is and all He's done.

These are the things that give LIFE to our days.

So, let's not simply let the time go by, rather let LOVE give Meaning to this Time!

I keep coming back to Psalm 90:12 "Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom".

Teach us to recognize that our days are limited...we don't know how many we have. So, let's use the Lord's wisdom to live them out for His glory--prioritizing Him 1st, then family, then others.

I intend to squeeze every last drop out of the coming year, and to enjoy it all.

I hope You can do that too!

May God bless you and your family!