Category Archives: TGIF

It’s not your parent’s fault and it’s not your kid’s fault.


Ownership. Accountability. not Blame. not Excuses. You get to choose what you are going to do. You have control of the actions you take and the decisions you make. Leave the past in the past. This morning a post I saw resonates with this as it spoke to keys.

Keys

There things that have happened in the past that have created ideas or viewpoint or memories. We need to learn from it so that it helps us act better and more responsibly. Saying that we did something because of what our parents did or said may work when we are younger, but as we get older and mature, the reality is it is our decision how we will act and respond. The same is true when looking into something, if the parents or the kids are caught doing the wrong thing, it isn’t always the case that you should blame the other. This is brought up in today’s reading when we see how the king responds in regards the murder of their father.

When he had the affairs of the kingdom well in hand, he executed the palace guard who had assassinated his father the king. But he didn’t kill the sons of the assassins—he was mindful of what God commanded in The Revelation of Moses, that parents shouldn’t be executed for their childrens’ sins, nor children for their parents’. We each pay personally for our sins. — 2 Chronicles 25

So as you consider where you are at today, where will you turn for help? Do you have wise council who you can turn to or hear from? Will you try to get it done with human power, or will you turn to God and seek His miraculous power? Let’s not try to get it done in our own power, but let’s allow God to be the key ingredient to what we need to do and get done. I know that I can only succeed if God helps me. He has allowed a large amount to be placed before me, but I know that He is bigger than it all. I know that even before it all showed up, He had a plan for getting it done. Nothing surprises God. Setbacks are just a setup for comeback. Challenges are able to help build our faith by seeing what and how God will work through it. Fear Not, Just Believe! In today’s reading, we hear such advice to the king:

7-8A holy man showed up and said, “No, O King—don’t let those northern Israelite soldiers into your army; God is not on their side, nor with any of the Ephraimites. Instead, you go by yourself and be strong. God and God only has the power to help or hurt your cause.”
9But Amaziah said to the holy man, “But what about all this money—these tons of silver I have already paid out to hire these men?”
“God’s help is worth far more to you than that,” said the holy man.
10So Amaziah fired the soldiers he had hired from the north and sent them home. They were very angry at losing their jobs and went home seething.
11-12But Amaziah was optimistic. He led his troops into the Valley of Salt and killed ten thousand men of Seir. They took another ten thousand as prisoners, led them to the top of the Rock, and pushed them off a cliff. They all died in the fall, smashed on the rocks.  — 2 Chronicles 25:7-12

Others may not respect or respond well to your obedience to God’s wisdom and direction, but keep your hope and trust in God for the battle in the end belongs to Him. Don’t take up parts of your victory and lift it up, give God all the glory. Don’t turn your back on God or you are setting yourself up for a fall – pride comes before the fall. Be a humble servant of God and allow your life to shine for Him. Jesus reminds us of that when He spoke:

“I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him. You’ve even seen him!” — John 14:6

We see how the pride of victory affected the king.

14-15On his return from the destruction of the Edomites, Amaziah brought back the gods of the men of Seir and installed them as his own gods, worshiping them and burning incense to them. That ignited God’s anger; a fiery blast of God’s wrath put into words by a God-sent prophet: “What is this? Why on earth would you pray to inferior gods who couldn’t so much as help their own people from you—gods weaker than Amaziah?”
16Amaziah interrupted him, “Did I ask for your opinion? Shut up or get thrown out!”
The prophet quit speaking, but not before he got in one last word: “I have it on good authority: God has made up his mind to throw you out because of what you’ve done, and because you wouldn’t listen to me.” — 2 Chronicles 25:14-16

I have heard it said that the biggest challenge in life is success. God doesn’t call us to success, but to faithfulness is another nugget I have received in my reading and following of Os Hillman and his TGIF devotional.

What will it take to get your attention? What will it take for you to get real? What will it take for you to see the reality of the situation? Don’t be blinded by pride! Don’t be living the lie.

18-19Jehoash king of Israel replied to Amaziah king of Judah, “One day a thistle in Lebanon sent word to a cedar in Lebanon, ‘Give your daughter to my son in marriage.’ But then a wild animal of Lebanon passed by and stepped on the thistle, crushing it. Just because you’ve defeated Edom in battle, you now think you’re a big shot. Go ahead and be proud, but stay home. Why press your luck? Why bring defeat on yourself and Judah?”
20-22Amaziah wouldn’t take no for an answer—God had already decided to let Jehoash defeat him because he had defected to the gods of Edom. So Jehoash king of Israel came on ahead and confronted Amaziah king of Judah. They met at Beth Shemesh, a town of Judah. Judah was thoroughly beaten by Israel—all the soldiers straggled home in defeat. — 2 Chronicles 25:18-22

It’s important to have good counselors, good mentors, good pastors in your life to speak truth and wisdom into you. Don’t shake off the value of this but pursue God’s wisdom. Don’t forget or turn from the truth, but pursue after God’s will every day. If you turn your back on God, you are walking away from His protection and His purpose. If you walk out from under His covering and plans, you become a target. So today as you consider where you are at, ensure you are under the covering of God and within His will.

 

The biggest challenge in life is success and prosperity.


Consider all the people who appear to be successful based on many popular definitions… rich, famous, popular, … Consider how many of them we see fall or get tripped up in that success. Success isn’t the top, it is part of the journey and once you get to it, the foundation you have built gets tested. Consider those who become famous and how their marriages end up. Consider those who become rich and how their marriages end up. Consider those who become popular and how their marriages end up. Be it marriage, be it drugs, be it alcohol, be it … (pick the thing that stops, pulls down, pulls back people who have success). Some become rich and then within a couple of years are broke again (checkout lottery winners). Some become famous and then within some time their personal lives are shaken. Success isn’t easy. Success isn’t a destination. I remember a few years back going through the TGIF – Today God Is First devotional and there was a devotion on this topic. It calls out the fact that “Pride is the greatest temptation to a successful workplace minister. When we begin accumulating wealth, managing people, and becoming known for our workplace expertise, we are most susceptible to falling to the most devious sin in God’s eyes — pride.” – Os Hillman

God’s Word speaks to this truth and warning in Deuteronomy:

17-18If you start thinking to yourselves, “I did all this. And all by myself. I’m rich. It’s all mine!”—well, think again. Remember that God, your God, gave you the strength to produce all this wealth so as to confirm the covenant that he promised to your ancestors—as it is today.
19-20If you forget, forget God, your God, and start taking up with other gods, serving and worshiping them, I’m on record right now as giving you firm warning: that will be the end of you; I mean it—destruction. You’ll go to your doom—the same as the nations God is destroying before you; doom because you wouldn’t obey the Voice of God, your God. — Deut 8:17-20

My reading this morning that got me started in this blog starts off with the statement “The Money Has Gone to Your Head“. This all comes down to our foundation. What are we standing for? What are we standing on? What is our rock? What is our foundation? What is our cornerstone in life? Do we understand who the source of every good and perfect thing is? Do we understand that we only have it because He gave it to us? Do we? It’s not because we are all that. It’s not because we are so good. It’s not because we are so good looking. It’s not because we are so popular. It’s not because of us and the sooner we see and realize that the sooner we can look to avoid the pitfalls of PRIDE. Pride, the word that comes before the fall. As I was trying to find the link about the challenge of success, I came across some other devotionals that align with some of my statements here too: The Proper FoundationGod’s TestsObedience-Based Decisions Versus Skill and AbilityFinding The Will Of Godand many more… looking for a great devotional, check out http://TodayGodIsFirst.com.

If you have all the wealth in the world, is that really going to be enough? Is earthly wealth really going to be enough to satisfy you? Isn’t life really more than just wealth? Isn’t life really more than just me, me, me? Don’t let success get to your head. Don’t let it rob you of true joy. Don’t let it rob you of the incredible position that God has put you in to be able to be a blessing to others. You have been blessed, so what will you do with it? Will  you use it wisely? Will you it to be a blessing? Will you make it about others? Be wise, invest, multiply it, but it’s not about how much more can you make, but what can you do with what God has given you. Are you willing to walk aligned with God’s will? Are you willing to be obedient to what He asks you to do with what He has given you? Consider the trust it takes to live on 90% of your earnings. Consider how you are showing your trust in God by giving Him the best, the first 10% of what you get. Consider the faith it takes to to really trust God. His Word is filled with wisdom. His Spirit is with us and if we will be walking in relationship with God, the Spirit will guide us and lead us, instruct us and correct us so that we can keep in steps with God’s will and God’s plan for our lives.

So check your pride at the door. Imagine if you “made it” to what you think is the top and then received this message:

“You had everything going for you.
You were in Eden, God’s garden.
You were dressed in splendor,
your robe studded with jewels:
Carnelian, peridot, and moonstone,
beryl, onyx, and jasper,
Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald,
all in settings of engraved gold.
A robe was prepared for you
the same day you were created.
You were the anointed cherub.
I placed you on the mountain of God.
You strolled in magnificence
among the stones of fire.
From the day of your creation
you were sheer perfection . . .
and then imperfection—evil!—was detected in you.
In much buying and selling
you turned violent, you sinned!
I threw you, disgraced, off the mountain of God.
I threw you out—you, the anointed angel-cherub.
No more strolling among the gems of fire for you!
Your beauty went to your head.
You corrupted wisdom
by using it to get worldly fame.
I threw you to the ground,
sent you sprawling before an audience of kings
and let them gloat over your demise.
By sin after sin after sin,
by your corrupt ways of doing business,
you defiled your holy places of worship.
So I set a fire around and within you.
It burned you up. I reduced you to ashes.
All anyone sees now
when they look for you is ashes,
a pitiful mound of ashes.
All who once knew you
now throw up their hands:
‘This can’t have happened!
This has happened!’” — Ezekiel 28:6-19

Is money bad? No, having money isn’t bad and as God’s Word says it is the love of money that is the root of all evil. Is being famous bad? No, being raised up to a high position allows you the opportunity to speak the truth, the love, the hope of God into the lives of those around you. If you build relationships, it opens doors where you can speak the love of Jesus into their lives and be an ambassador for the most High God, the one true God. Is being popular bad? No, it allows you to be able to speak into the lives of others. It draws others to you and if you point others to the way, the truth, and the life for their is no other way to the Father. It’s the intent. It’s what is in you heart. Where are you at today?

Let’s focus on being a light that stands for something. Let’s reflect the light of the Sun. Let’s not be rockets that just fly into the sky and explode. They are nice during celebrations and then they are gone. They are temporary, yes our time on earth is temporary, however, we are eternal beings and as such we have to decide where we will spend eternity. Do you want to spend it with God or apart from God? Do you want to celebrate eternity in Heaven with God? It’s all about choices. God is the God of second chances. You reading this? Then it’s not too late for you. You can still turn back to God. You can take what you have and where you are and turn back to God and align with His plans and purposes for your life. Is today your day? Is today the day you stop walking and trying to do it all on your own and you ask Jesus to come into your heart and help turn your life around? To live for His plans and purposes? He’s given you everything you have. He’s got plans for every talent you have. He’s got plans for every gift He’s given you. What are you going to do? Has it all gone to your head? Is the pride of life getting you off track?

Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity. — 1 John 2:15-17

When people think of you, what do they remember? 

Are you someone who has been pouring into the lives of others? Are you someone who have been taking out of the lives of others? Are you someone who is uplifting? Are you someone who is a drain and pulling them down? Are you some who gives handouts or someone who gives a hand up? One is fire and forget…One is I care enough to get involved, to reach out and help.

I like my daily reading plan. Each day ends with a Psalm. Today being day 192, I read from Psalm 42. Are you feeling down today? Are you feeling sad or depressed? Not sure what to do or where to turn? Psalm speaks right to it as I remember days of doubt and despair, days of betrayal and lies, but this was a reminder to me not to give up.

5Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God—
soon I’ll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face.
He’s my God.
6-8When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse
everything I know of you,
From Jordan depths to Hermon heights,
including Mount Mizar.
Chaos calls to chaos,
to the tune of whitewater rapids.
Your breaking surf, your thundering breakers
crash and crush me.
Then God promises to love me all day,
sing songs all through the night!
My life is God’s prayer.
9-10Sometimes I ask God, my rock-solid God,
“Why did you let me down?
Why am I walking around in tears,
harassed by enemies?”
They’re out for the kill, these
tormentors with their obscenities,
Taunting day after day,
“Where is this God of yours?”
11Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God—
soon I’ll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face.
He’s my God. — Psalm 42:5-11

Greater things are yet to come.


You know where you are now and you have hopes and dreams for the future. Don’t allow fear to keep you from the greater things that God has planned for you. Don’t allow the fears and the cares of this world paralyze you from realizing the incredible things that are yet to come.

Forgiveness is a powerful experience. I remember shortly after having been freed from a period of bitterness and frustration having a conversation with God and He asked me if I had asked for forgiveness around a situation many years earlier. I hadn’t because I didn’t think the other person would even be aware of what took place, but pick up the question and followed through. I setup a meeting to discuss it with this person and when I brought it up they couldn’t remember it but they were cute in their response, “I don’t remember this. So that we can move on, I forgive you”. God is so gracious and able to restore, renew, and build up relationships and friendships when we are willing to step out and do what He asks us to do.

Where are you at today? Are you taking accountability for what you have done? Life’s not supposed to be a he said she said thing. Life’s not supposed to be a tit for tat. Life’s not supposed to be about getting even. Consider the situation you are stewing over today. Is there any part of it where you are at fault? You can always stand up do and what is right. It doesn’t matter what the other person does – whether they take accountability for their part or not – that’s between them and God. All we can do is our part so that we are not only reconciled with them, but also reconciled with God. Similar to when prodigal son said to His day after having messed up thinking his ways were better than what his father had planned,

The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.’ – Luke 15:21

but we see the reconciliation take place as the father receives his lost son.

“But the father wasn’t listening. He was calling to the servants, ‘Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We’re going to feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time! My son is here—given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!’ And they began to have a wonderful time. – Luke 15:22-24

So before you start pointing fingers or allowing bitterness to step in. Consider your part. Consider what God would have you do. And then with God’s wisdom and direction, go and do it and watch how things will change. I know in one my cases the biggest change took place inside of me. God is so good and so faithful in that way.

 

References:

My Prayer:

Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and an incredible Word from You. I thank You Lord for the plans You have for today and so I pray for wisdom and humility in and through it all so that with every word and with every thought and with every word, You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Have you had a life changing moment yet?


Get to a crossroad and having a life changing moment? [Leave country or leave company]

Get an ultimatum, you will be [_______] or you will be nothing, you pick? [President of a homeowners association]

To forgive or allow bitterness to control the situation? [Power of forgiveness to produce freedom]

Get a message and then changing the next step of your career? [Get out of the boat]

Or how about some examples from God’s Word that are called out in today’s devotional from TGIF:

  • Moses and the burning bush – Exodus 3:1-15
  • Joshua parting the Jordan as he was about to lead Israel into the promised land – Joshua 3
  • Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego coming out of the fiery hot furnace unharmed – Daniel 3
  • Daniel untouched in the lions’ den – Daniel 6
  • Peter walking on water – Matthew 14:22-36
  • Paul being blinded on the road to Damascus – Acts 9

There are times in our lives when something big happens and based on our decision, based on our response, based on our faith a new destiny, a new testimony, a new hope raises up in our lives. When we respond in God’s way incredible things happen.

When I was faced with the decision, the crossroad of life of having to leave the company I was working at or leave the country I grew up in, I turned to my parents and my in-laws for wisdom. As I connected with God later in life, I realized that what I had done was an incredible testimony and truth that aligned with God’s Word where in the 10 Commandments, we read:

12Honor your father and mother so that you’ll live a long time in the land that God, your God, is giving you. – Exodus 20:12

When I was faced with the prompting of my spirit to step up but didn’t feel that I was ready, God made sure I knew what was at stake with the ultimatum of “you will be president or you will be nothing”. Not wanting to be nothing, I stepped up and allowed God’s will to happen. With all that took place from that point forward, the Lord not only guided me through the tough road ahead in rebuilding the team who were staffed to support the community, but also in setting up the right infrastructure to help the association grow and move forward.

When I faced a time when it was feeling like everything was going wrong, that people were cheating me, lying to me, setting me up, … I ended up allowing a bitter root to get in me. It took a lot of time but one day when I was concerned about something else, God opened my eyes and spoke me through the song 7×70 on the radio and then the journey to my off-ramp from the highway we walked through me forgiving everyone who had hurt me and then the message that came to me was “as you forgive others so I will forgive you” and so I asked God to forgive me for being stubborn and bitter rather than doing things His way which He kept reminding me of every night on my way home with every song that spoke right to my very day. As I pulled off the highway, I was a changed man. It was all gone. The weight on my shoulders. The bitterness that had been in my heart was uprooted. All of it was gone and I was transformed by God’s grace and mercy which reminds me somewhat of Paul’s story when he was Saul and what it took to get his attention and to transform his heart.

When after nearly 20 years, my morning devotional spoke of Peter getting out of the boat, I asked God (since my morning readings tend to speak about where I am at) if the company I was working for was the boat and if I was supposed to get out and if so, if God could let me know what side. He was clear when a text arrived almost immediately that spoke to my heart “Get out of the boat” so I started my journey to determine which side and on that day when I knew and was going to step out, God encouraged me through His Word again with the message of Job 42:12, that the second half of my life was going to be twice as good as the first.

 

Where are you at today? Have you had a life changing event in your life? Are you at point in the journey where it is a preparation stage? Where ever you are in your journey, the key to getting to experience and live it out is to trust God and walk in a relationship with Him. As you notice above each of mind pointed me to the next turn in my journey and I know from the Job 42:12 that my journey isn’t over yet. With each fork in the road I learned an important lesson and have been able to carry that with me to move forward with God. Honor your parents. Nothing is too big for God. Forgiveness is the key to true freedom. God’s ways are best and His timing is perfect.

References:

My Prayer:

Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for the incredible life You have given me with the incredible blessing of a wife that loves you, with incredible children who are wanting to pursue after you, with friends who are there for me and allow me to be there for them. As I look forward today Lord grant me wisdom for every conversation and situation. Help me Lord to speak love in truth and hope for those around me. Help me to be a light that shines for Your glory I pray. And may every thought, word, and action, bring You praise, honor, and glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

What motivates you?


Is it the past? Is it the future? Is it a need? Is it a desire? Is it a purpose? Is it a plan? Is it a crisis? Is it faith? Is it fear? Is it trust? Is it doubt?

Why do you do what you do? What makes you want to? What holds you back? What makes you stop when you feel you should start?

Do you have someone you turn to? Do you have someone you trust?

There is something inside us that prompts us to step up or to step out. There is a check inside of us that tries to get us to look up to the source of every good and perfect gift. It usually kicks off with a need of some sort and when you have a need, where do you turn? what do you do? I turn to God and ask for help. Help being wisdom. Help being courage. Help being favor. Help being strength. Help being vision. Help being what I need in that moment.

Have you met the one who is able to help in your times of need? Have you met this Jesus who loves you so much that He gave His life on the cross in advance for everyone in an attempt to reconcile us with God from our sinful nature? I learned over time that it wasn’t about rituals or routines, religious habits or speech, but it is about a relationship with Jesus. A deep and intimate relationship with Jesus who goes before us to prepare in advance the good work He has for us to do. He intercedes on our behalf to the Father in Heaven.

What will motivate you? Will it be your hope and trust in God? Will it be wanting to do the right thing so that He can receive the praise, the honor, and the glory? Will it be something bigger than yourself?

Don’t fear, but rather allow faith to build up and allow you to be glorifying to God!

References:

My Prayer:

Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for everything that will be in it. I lift up this day and the entire schedule and ask Lord to help me use the day to best glorify You and bring You the glory. Grant me wisdom I pray for every situation and conversation. Help me Lord to be a good ambassador for You. Help me Lord, I pray to walk in faith trusting and following after Your will and Your plans for my life. You are so awesome Lord and Your Word is alive and speaks life, truth, and hope into my every day. May today be a day where with every thought, word, and action, I may bring You praise, honor, and glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.