Archive for October, 2014

28
Oct
14

know thyself

mirror and womanWho are you? No, I mean really. Not who you wish you were. Not who you try to convince others you are. But who are you when no one is looking? Who are you when fatigue, fear or anger slip in? Who are you when you don’t get your way or when you feel as though you have been taken advantage of? Who is the you that everyone else sees in spite of your efforts to conceal and camouflage?

Although the ancient Greeks held as a maxim, “Know Thyself” it seems that humankind does everything possible to keep that from happening. Instead of spending our time trying figure out what makes us tick, and then making necessary adjustments so that we might function in a healthier way, we busy ourselves doing everything within our power to deceive ourselves so that we never have to come face to face with the truth about ourselves.

I am constantly amazed at how painfully obvious someones dysfunction is to everyone around them and yet they continue in their dysfunction as if they are fooling everyone. But worse than that is when I stop to consider how often I have done the same thing! I tried so desperately to act as if I was completely whole and healthy and the whole time my brokenness was obvious to anyone with the slightest amount of discernment.

David’s petition, in Psalm 51:6, reveals God’s desire for you and I. “You desire truth in the inward parts,” David prayed. In other words, God desires authenticity on our part. His desire is for us to take an honest look at ourselves; our motives, our hangups, our anger, our competitive drive, our distrust, our fear, whatever defines us, and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, ask, ” Is this who God desires me to be?” And then allow him to begin a process of transformation and forgiveness in our life that will produce the wholeness he desires us to walk in.

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21
Oct
14

the magic bank account

sundial-considered-clock-ftrI recently read this story about legendary football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. According to the story, the following note was found in his wallet after his death in 1982.

The Magic Bank Account

Imagine that you had won the following *PRIZE* in a contest: Each morning your bank would deposit $86,400 in your private account for your personal use.

However, this prize has rules. The set of rules are as follow:

1. Everything that you don’t spend each day will be taken away from you.
2. You may not simply transfer money into some other account.
3. You may only spend it.
4. Each morning, upon awakening, the bank opens your account with another $86,400 for the new day.
5. The bank can end the game without warning; at any time it can say,“Game Over!” It can close the account and you will not receive a new one.

What would you personally do with your prize?

You would buy anything and everything you wanted right? Not only for yourself, but for all the people you love and care for. Even for people you don’t know, because you couldn’t possibly spend it all on yourself, right? You would try to spend every penny, and use it all, because you knew money would be replenished in the morning, right?

Actually, THIS GAME IS REAL. Shocked ? Yes! Each of us is already a winner of a much more valuable *PRIZE*. We just don’t seem to realize it.

The prize is *TIME*

1. Each morning we awaken to receive 86,400 seconds as a gift of life.
2. And when we go to sleep at night, any remaining time is NOT credited to us.
3. What we haven’t used up that day is forever lost.
4. Yesterday is forever gone.
5. Each morning the account is refilled, but the bank can dissolve your account at any time WITHOUT WARNING.

So, WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH YOUR 86,400 seconds today?

Those seconds are worth much, much more than the same amount in dollars. Think about it and remember to enjoy every second of your life, because time races by so much quicker than you think.

So take care of yourself, be happy, love deeply and enjoy life! Here’s wishing you a wonderful and beautiful day. Start “spending” your valuable *PRIZE* wisely.

13
Oct
14

where is your current taking you?

cc by-nc-nd Bruno Monginoux www.photo-paysage.com & www.landscape-photo.netWho have you been hanging out with lately? That is a really important question to ask ourselves on a regular basis. Entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn astutely observed that, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” The Sage of Proverbs affirms this principle when he writes, “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm” (Proverbs 13:20). The Apostle Paul adds his endorsement, in 1 Corinthians 15:33, when he says, “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.”

The principle we are talking about here is simply one of current. We all understand that the current of a river carries an object in a very specific direction. The same is true of those who are influencing our life.

So who are the five people who are forming your future? And the follow up question to that is this: Is that the trajectory that you want your life to be on?

More specifically, we need to ask questions about those who are closest to us like these: “Do these individuals share my values? Do they have the same moral standards as I do? Do they encourage me to be my best? Are they achieving the results in their life that I would like to achieve?”

These are all very important questions because, we are influenced by the people we regularly associate with. To be successful in this life we have to be proactive. Jesus set forth this principle in Matthew 7:13-14 when he compared two different ways to live our life. He said there is the popular way to go, which is pretty much effortless, you just go with the flow. Or, there is the more strenuous way that is open to everyone but only a few will take advantage of it because it requires effort and focus. Although he was specifically talking about a spiritual truth here, the principle applies to all of life. There is an easy way that leads, at best, to mediocrity, or there is a more determined way that leads to fulfilling the purpose God has for you. If we are going to achieve that purpose we will need all the help we can get from those around us and so we must choose those who influence us wisely.

06
Oct
14

integrity

integrity1A number of years ago I adopted a family motto for Julie, the kids and I. The motto included the characteristics I consider to be of paramount importance and I have tried to live my life by them. The motto is: Wisdom, Integrity & Courage. I have reminded my family of it often through toasts at weddings and such, as well as regular reminders in conversation and texts.

Wisdom is something I started seeking when I accepted a call to the ministry. I was seventeen years old and knew for me to be able to accomplish anything at all in this life, especially something as important as advancing the Kingdom of God, I would need a supernatural endowment of wisdom in my life. I knew what the Bible said about God giving wisdom to anyone who asks (James 1:5). So I did, and God has repeatedly honored his word in my life.

Courage was instilled in me by the men in my life. My Dad and my Grandfather did a lot to give me the confidence to believe I could do anything if I set my mind to it. I’ve always viewed life as one big adventure. I relish new challenges and jump at the chance to tackle new opportunities. On those occasions when my confidence might not be what I would like it to be, the words of “The Duke” (John Wayne for those who might be culturally deprived) ring in my ear, “Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.”

But then there is that integrity thing. Don’t get me wrong, I seriously don’t like thieves and liars and I will go the extra mile to avoid any appearance of those things in my life. What I have struggled with at times is rule bending for the good of the project I am working on. For me, rules can sometimes come across as simple suggestions to be evaluated and interpreted in light of my own best interest. It can be as simple as going in the “out” door because walking to the other side of the building is a waste of my precious time. Although not a big deal, what I have learned about this is twofold. First, I must keep my arrogance in check. (Man, being transparent is tough sometimes.) I have watched one to many talented people crash and burn because they didn’t think the rules applied to them. Which leads to the second lesson. I must beware of the “slippery slope” syndrome. You know, you violate your conscience once and it just gets easier the next time.

I absolutely do not want my story to become one of what could have been. I want to live my life guided by wisdom, protected by integrity and motivated by courage.