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Friday, February 26, 2016

Why We All Need to Travel...
It’s amazing to me how we sat in worship service on Sundays and sing hymns such as: “How Great Thou Art,” or “My God Is Real,” or “My God is an Awesome God.”
However, many of us only believe that God’s width, depth or vastness exists only in your own, narrow perspective of the world.
Cases in Point:
  • I may only believe that God is as big as my small hometown of Lynchburg, TN or maybe as the capital of Nashville TN or but probably no bigger than the State of Tennessee.
  • I remember having the opportunity to go to Phoenix AZ and visit the Grand Canyon. I was in awe! I was taken back by its vastness, its beauty and it richness in color. Then I realized…this wonder of nature was only a 27 mile stretch in the large city of Phoenix in the state of Arizona, as part of the country of the United States, on the planet Earth, part of one galaxy… of what may be beyond our understanding. Creating the Grand Canyon was only a “thumb scratch” to God.
  • When driving to work or just being outdoors, have you taken a moment to see the clouds, the trees, or feel the warmth of the sunshine on your face?
We read in Genesis 1:1 (NKJV) that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” But do we really understand how big God is?
I had the opportunity to go on a cruise to the Bahamas. The ship was spectacular! Other ships just as massive were in the same port. However, as we all left port and went on our way, they eventually disappeared!
As I stood out on deck, I saw the bluest of skies touching the bluest of waters, both extending as far as the eye could see. Tears slowly escaped my eyes. I found myself silently singing words from a hymn titled “Our God, He is Alive”:
There is, beyond the azure blue
A God, concealed from human sight
He tinted skies with heav'nly hue
And framed the worlds with His great might.

We often fall for the subtle lie from Satan that the wonders of nature are somewhat separate from God.
The website answers the question:
Is the idea of mother nature biblical?
The term Mother Nature serves as a kind of umbrella encompassing political and cultural ideologies such as global warming, environmentalism, and climate change. This, in turn, has fostered a negative impact upon our world with its “new discoveries” making the news headlines daily: rising temperatures, rising sea levels, savage wildfires, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, coupled with the emergence of new and even ancient diseases, etc. As a result, many see “Mother Nature” as a kind of capricious goddess who wreaks havoc throughout the earth. The Bible makes it clear that it is God who send the rains on “the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45).
It is God who controls the forces of nature: “But God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding..” (Jeremiah 10:12–13).

Another bizarre idea is that Mother Nature is somehow the wife/consort of God and she rules in heaven alongside Him. The Bible, however, declares that God, in the triune Godhead, rules heaven and earth alone and unaided (Daniel 4:25). Nature is His creation and He alone sustains and protects it and, in doing so, He testifies to His goodness and kindness toward it. “He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy" (Acts 14:17).
I challenge everyone who calls themselves a “Christian,” to travel. When you are flying among the clouds, you know that only God is in control. As you attend sporting events, concerts and venues with a lot of people, you realize that God is operating in each and every life.
The Bible says:
Psalm 97:6 (NIV):
The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all peoples see his glory.
Psalm 19:1 (NIV):
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Genesis 1:31 (NIV):
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good…
Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV):
He has made everything beautiful in its time…

Memorable Quotes:
“If God were small enough for us to understand, He wouldn’t be big enough for us to worship.”
“Why wish upon a star when you can pray to the one who created it?” – Francis Chan
“God’s ART speaks of Himself, reflecting Who He is and What He is like.” – Francis Chan
“As the beauty of nature is constant, so is the God who made it.”
“Never pass up an opportunity to enjoy nature’s beauty – it is the handwriting of God.”
"Our divine nature comes from God." -  Rosemary Wixom
“Next time a sunrise steals your breath or a meadow of flowers leaves you speechless, remain that way, say nothing and listen as Heaven whispers, “Do you like it? I did it all for you.” – Max Lucado
“I thank you God for this amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirit of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything that is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.” – e.e. cummings
“I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we only tune it.” – George Washington Carver

God created the heavens and the earth. All of nature is His creation. If we’d only take a moment out to pay attention and travel, we might grasp how infinite and utterly awesome God is. 

Friday, February 12, 2016

“Well, If I Were You…"

Although people may mean well, they are often guilty of giving others “unsolicited advice.” Typically, it is based on their own background, personalities and experiences.

I am sad to say that I have been guilty of doing this to others in the past.

Cases in Point:
  • I advised a timid, single mother how to aggressively confront her child’s teacher about an unrealistic homework deadline. (Note: I am single, with no children and was an aggressive, strong-willed Account Executive in sales.)
  • I advised someone about managing their health issues. (Note: I do not know their diagnosis nor had I ever been sick.)

This is even applicable regarding your spiritual journey. Each and every one of us has an individual, unique and personal relationship with God. Our prayers, dreams and levels of faith are all different.

Biblical Examples:
  • Eve fell victim to this ploy from the serpent. Although she KNEW the Lord’s command , not to eat from the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the serpent basically said: “Well, if I were you…” Eve and eventually Adam did eat, and were punished by God by being banned from the Garden of Eden. (Genesis 3)
  • Noah was commanded by God to build an ark to save himself and his family. HE was going to destroy the entire world by water because it was so corrupt and evil. But He found favor with Noah. It is probably safe to assume that Noah was levied with tons of opposition from non-believers and “Well, if I were you…” advice. Noah trusted God and remained obedient. HE was true to his word, causing it to rain for 40 days and 40 nights, destroying the earth.  (Genesis 6 & 7)

It’s not that we shouldn’t listen to or take advice. We should just be diligent in only adhering to “wise counsel” and God’s Word. One may want to say, “You may want to consider another perspective.”

The Bible shares:
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV):
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
Proverbs 1:5 (NKJV):
A wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,
Proverbs 12:18 (NIV):
The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Proverbs 22:17 (NIV):
Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach,
Romans 12:2 (NKJV):
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Memorable Quotes:
 “It doesn’t matter what others are doing. It matters what YOU are doing.”
“Stop caring what others think of you and start doing what God has called you to do.”
“Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
“Don’t let anyone who has done nothing tell you anything.”
“Don’t base your decisions on the advice of those who don’t have to deal with the results.”
“Not everyone thinks the way you think, knows the things you know, believes the things you believe, nor acts the way you would act. Remember this and you will go a long way in dealing with people.” – Arthur Forman
“Never waste time trying to explain yourself to people committed to misunderstanding you.”
"Stop letting people who do so little for you control so much of your mind, feelings, and emotions."

When people tell you “Well, if I were you…” kindly reply, “Since you are not me, I will obey God.”  Seek Wisdom…not Random Advice.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Allow GOD to “Control the Narrative”

A narrative is some kind of retelling, often in words of something that happened (a story). The narrative is not the story itself but rather the telling of the story -- which is why it is so often used in phrases such as "written narrative," "oral narrative," etc. While a story just is a sequence of events, a narrative recounts those events, perhaps leaving some occurrences out because they are from some perspective insignificant, and perhaps emphasizing others.

While we strive to “control our own narrative, in many ways this can prove impossible. This is when we need to surrender it to God and allow Him to control it.

The Lord wants that type of relationship with you. He wants us to FROG:  Fully Rely on God.  He tells us that if we Trust Him and Obey Him, He will give you all we need.

The world can posture circumstances to reveal things the way they want them to be perceived.  However, God’s Plan will ultimately prevail. It may not happen in my lifetime, but it will happen.

Ways to Allow GOD to “control the narrative:”
  • Own it
  • Confess it
  • Acknowledge it
  • Surrender it to God
  • TRUST God
  • “You’ve got to plead with God to do what only He can do and then you’ve got to get out of the way and let Him do it.” – quote from movie War Room

The Bible says:
Hebrews 13:8 (NKJV):
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV):
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Matthew 6:33 (NKJV):
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV):
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Romans 12:2 (NKJV):
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Deuteronomy 28:1 (NKJV):
“Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV):
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
Isaiah 55:8-9 (NKJV):
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Memorable Quotes:
“I don’t know what my future holds, but I know who holds my future.” – Tim Tebow
“If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”
“Mirror, Mirror on the Wall.  Do you see Christ in me at all?”
“God is in Control.”
 “Sometimes, not saying anything is the best answer. You see, silence cannot be misquoted.”
“Don’t waste words on people who deserve your silence. Sometimes the most powerful thing you can is nothing at all.” – Mindy Hale
 “Live your life in such a way that if someone spoke badly of you, no one would believe it.”

Since HE is in control, we might find life to be more peaceful if we allow GOD to Control the Narrative. After all, it does belong to Him…