Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Amazing Love - Romans 5.6-8

Rom. 5:6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

CHRIST DIED FOR THE UNGODLY=ME!!!
CHRIST DIED FOR SINNERS=ME!!!
CHRIST DIED FOR HIS ENEMIES=ME!!!

When I read these words, my heart fills up with the love of God. To realize when I was powerless, ungodly, a sinner and an enemy, my God died for me. Amazing Love!!! How can it be that Thou my God would die for me?
Ohhhhhhh how our God loves us. 
This should get us fired up for a new day eh?







Monday, December 01, 2008

Suffering Produces...Romans 5.3-5

I have been thinking and praying for all of us at our various places and stages in life. I think to myself, " I hope our family and friends do not have to suffer." And then I read the truth of these words...
Rom. 5:3...we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
I cannot think of any better way for perseverance, character, hope and love to be forged into our being than through suffering. I do not like the idea of suffering but it is necessary part of our growth and development.
My hope today is in the Lord as we receive versus resist suffering in our lives.
With persevering and hope-full love,

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Why Worry?

Yesterday Andy finished a 3 part series called, "Why Worry?" He said, “Today’s worries often wipe out God’s past faithfulness.” This statement struck me and I asked myself this question, Where, when and how has God has been faithful to me in the past? It was an amazing exercise that led to great worship.
1. 1954 – The place I was born in Miami, Fl. I love being from Miami.
2. 1954 – The family in which I was born. Glad to be the son of Oscar & Dorothy Woodall
3. 1965 – God led us to London, England
4. 1968 – Became a Christian with Bud Hinkson
5. 1968-1972 – Was discipled by Bud, Charlie Powell and John Riggs.
6. 1968-1972 – Was protected by the Lord from sexual immorality.
7. 1972-1976 – He led me to Florida Bible College.
8. 1975 – I met and married Debbie Farthing
9. 1976-1979 – He led us to Reston Bible Church.
10. 1977,1978,1979,1981 – He gave us David, Michael, Rebekah & Stephen
11. 1979-1980 – He led us to Western Seminary…death of a vision.
12. 1980-1985 – He led and provided for us in business.
13. 1985-1992 – He called us to pastor Circle Community Church.
14. 1990 – He sent Rex Frieze to help in admin.
15. 1992-2001 – He led us into the wilderness to humble us, to test us and to know what was in our hearts. Deut. 8.
16. 1995-2001 – He provided for all of our children’s educations in college.
17. 1996-2001 – He led me to start Training Faithful Men.
18. 1992-2001 – He gave us great and faithful friends.
19. 2001 – He led and invited us to Lanny, Andy & Bill W and NPCC.
20. 2002 – Invited to speak
21. 2001-2004 – He was healing a wounded soul.
22. 2003-2007 – God brings our children great spouses.
23. 2003 – David marries Danae Woodall
24. 2004-2006 – He was transforming me from False Self to True Self
25. 2005 – We celebrate 30 years of marriage and build Carington Way.
26. 2005 – Stephen marries Leann Woodall
27. 2006 – Michael marries Priscilla Woodall
28. 2007 – Rebekah marries Andrej Tichy
29. 2007 – Invited to do Landmines
30. 2008 – Invited to Father’s Day
31. 07.28.08 – Oscar John David is born
32. 11.05.08 – Haden Price is born
33. 1954-2008 – We have never missed a meal…in fact I eat too much. We have more clothes than we need…we are filled to overflowing…so I ask, “Why Worry?” God has been ridiculously faithful in all of our lives. Deeply thankful.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

August-November

Some may wonder...so where have you been these last few months? I have been in 8 chapters of the Bible...Romans 1-8. I typed over 100 pages of thoughts and notes. I hope to post several of the truths the Lord showed me over these last months. They have been incredible. Soooo grateful for the Word of God. You?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Power Phrases - 08.17-30

I have been spending a lot of time in Romans 6-7-8. I have wanted to understand more fully the war that rages inside of every Christian man and woman. These are some phrases from Romans 8
8.1-4 - The law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
8.5-8 - I can live according to the sinful nature or the Spirit. Which will I choose?
8.9-11 - I am controlled by the Spirit who lives in me.
8.12-17 - By the Spirit, put to death the misdeeds of the body.
8.18-21 - Our present sufferings are not worthy to compare to the glory that will revealed in us.
8.22-25 - We groan as we wait for our adoption as sons.
8.26-27 - The Spirit helps me in my weakness.
8.28 - In all things, God works for the good of those who love Him.
8.29-30 - I am being conformed into the likeness of Jesus.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Power Phrases - 08.10-16

I am loving my reading and study of Romans 7. An amazing chapter in the Bible.
7.1-3 - I am released from the law of sin, since I died with Christ.
7.4 - I belong to Another to bear fruit to God.
7.5-6 - I am released from the law to serve in the new way of the Spirit.
7.7-12 - Sin produced in me every kind of evil desire.
7.13 - The law made sin utterly sinful.
7.14-20 - I do not do what I want to do but what I hate I do.
7.21-23 - There is a war waging inside me.
7.24-25 - Who will rescue me? Thanks be to God for Jesus.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Power Phrases - 08.03-09

I have been spending time in Romans 6-7-8. I am thinking deeply about the war between the Spirit and the flesh (Sinful Nature). These are some phrases from Romans 6.
6.1-4 - I died to sin to live a new life.
6.5-7 - My old self was crucified with Christ so that I should no longer be a slave to sin.
6.8-10 - The life Christ lives (in me), He lives to God.
6.11-14 - Count myself dead to sin but alive to God.
6.15-16 - I am a slave to obedience which leads to righteousness.
6.17-18 - Thanks be to God, I am set free from sin.
6.19-20 - Offer my body as a slave to righteousness.
6.21-23 - I am a slave to God reaping the benefit of holiness and eternal life.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Wife of Noble Character-Prov.31.10

I LOVE BEING MARRIED TO A WIFE OF NOBLE CHARACTER.

Prov.31.10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. 
Wow. What a way to end a month of reading Proverbs. To read of all the qualities of a wife of noble character. I love it.
So...I hope you enjoyed your days in Proverbs.
Do you feel you have grown in wisdom & understanding?
What will you read in August? I will spend some time in 1,2,3 John.
Remember to 
1. Read for depth and not distance.
2. Have a notebook or journal to jot down ideas and observations from the Scriptures.
3. Just try to get a "word for the day".
4. Put it into some "power phrase".
5. Carry it with you on a 3x5 card or "Table of Contents" in your journal.
6. Review and remember through out the day.
7. Summarize the week in a "Weekly Focus" time.
So I close with the words with which we started from Prov. 1:1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: 2 for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; 3 for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair; 4 for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young— 
I guarantee that these few practices/habits/disciplines will increase our wisdom, discipline, understanding, prudence, knowledge and discretion little by little over time.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Live As Bold As A Lion - Prov.28.1

Prov. 28:1 The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.
The first time I recognized this verse was from a homeless man who stayed with us for about 10 days. We invited him into our home after he had been stabbed on the streets in Orlando. We were reading Proverbs together when he noticed the truth of this verse. He pointed out how many times he was looking over his shoulder even when no one was pursuing him. I love the thought of living a righteous life and having great peace, confidence and boldness. 
You? Are you fleeing when no one is pursuing or are you as bold as a lion?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Proverbs 27

Soooo many great truths from Prov.27. So hard to get one idea. 
1. DO NOT BOAST ABOUT TOMORROW
Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth. 
2. DO NOT PRAISE MYSELF
Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips. 
3. JEALOUSY IS SOME SERIOUS STUFF 
Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy? 
4. WOUNDS FROM A FRIEND ARE SO IMPORTANT
Better is open rebuke than hidden love. 6 Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. 
5. DO NOT STRAY FROM HOME
Like a bird that strays from its nest is a man who strays from his home. 
6. I LOVE EARNEST COUNSEL FROM FRIENDS
Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of one’s friend springs from his earnest counsel. 
7. DON'T LOUDLY BLESS IN THE MORNING
If a man loudly blesses his neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse. 
8. LOOK AFTER THOSE IN AUTHORITY OVER ME
He who tends a fig tree will eat its fruit, and he who looks after his master will be honored. 
9. ARE MY HEART AND FACE IN ALIGNMENT?
As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man. 
10. I AM TESTED BY PRAISE
The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but man is tested by the praise he receives. 
11. KNOW THE CONDITION OF OUR WEALTH & ASSETS
Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; 24 for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations. 25 When the hay is removed and new growth appears and the grass from the hills is gathered in, 26 the lambs will provide you with clothing, and the goats with the price of a field. 27 You will have plenty of goats’ milk to feed you and your family and to nourish your servant girls. 

Power Phrases - 07.20-26

These are phrases that stood out for me from Proverbs this past week.
20.5 - The purposes of a man's heart
20.24 - My steps are directed by the Lord
21.1 - The King's heart is in God's hand
21.9 - A quarrelsome wife is rough
22.1 - A good name is more desirable than gold
22.5 - Guard my soul
23.10 - Do not be led astray or linger over wine
24.13 - By wisdom a house is built
25.6-7 - Do not exalt myself
26.20 - Be very careful with my words

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Be Very Careful With My Words - Prov.26.20

Prov.26.20 - Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down. 21 As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife. 22 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts.
I have known and experienced days when I would "kindle strife". I could feel myself stirring it up with others. As I get older, I want to be very careful with my words. I do not want to be a gossip or kindle strife. You? Would you describe yourself as a gossip? Are you letting quarrels die down or do you keep stirring them up?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Do Not Exalt Myself - Prov.25.6-7

Prov.25.6 - Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence, and do not claim a place among great men; 7 it is better for him to say to you, “Come up here,” than for him to humiliate you before a nobleman."
I have loved this truth and idea since college days. It is so easy to try to "exalt ourselves" before the king and other great men. But the Bible is clear instructing us to wait to be invited. 
How are you approaching life? Are you exalting yourself or waiting for others to say, "Come up here"? I guarantee that waiting to be invited is the way to go in this life. It brings peace, assurance, and joy. 

Thursday, July 24, 2008

By Wisdom A House Is Built - Prov.24.13

Prov.24.13-14 By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.
Before Debbie and I were married in 1975, someone gave us the verse from Psalm 127.1 which says, "Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain..." For the last 33 years we have sought to ask God to build our marriage and our family. We have often said, "Lord, we don't know how to do this but You do." As I look back on these years, I believe the Lord has given us wisdom, understanding and knowledge in building it. As a result, the "rooms" are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.
How are you building your house? Who is building it? Let the Lord give you wisdom and understanding as you build. You will never regret it.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Do Not Be Led Astray Or Linger Over Wine - Prov.23.

Prov. 20:1 Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.
Prov. 21:17 He who loves pleasure will become poor; whoever loves wine and oil will never be rich. 
Prov. 23:20 Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, 
Prov. 23:30 Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine. Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly!
I grew up in home where my parents were "abstainers" from wine and beer,etc. I understand and respect their view and perspective on this. For the first 40 years of my Dad's life he was a really big party-er and drinker. When he became a Christian at 40 he decided that he would put away all the old ways of his former life including drinking any alcohol. The Proverbs are clear in their warnings and consequences of use and abuse. The drinking of wine is a very personal decision for every person based on their story and experiences. We are instructed not to be led astray or to linger over. How are you doing in this? Are you walking in the way of wisdom?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Guard My Soul - Prov.22.5

Prov.22.5 says, In the paths of the wicked lie thorns and snares, but he who guards his soul stays far from them.
I love this idea of guarding my soul. Every day I feel my soul get bombarded by the world, my flesh and the devil. The battle never goes away. It is a daily thing. I want to guard my soul (my mind, my will and my emotions) by exposing it to things that are true, lovely, pure and of good report. I want to guard it by staying far from the paths and people who can take me down. I want to guard my soul by making choices that lead to life and not death.
What are you doing to guard your soul?
Guard it and it will keep you from the thorns and snares of life.

A Good Name Is More Desirable- Prov.22.1

Prov. 22:1 A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.
I love this verse and this idea. I have sometimes thought, when people hear the name, John Woodall, what do they think? What do they feel? Three words that I hope to be associated to my name are, "LOVE, HUMILITY & SERVANT". I have recently added the word, WISE. These are words for which I hope with my name. You? How do you hope to be known or described?

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Quarrelsome Wife - Prov.21.9

Prov. 21:9 Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.
Prov. 21:19 Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife.
I have been doing some thinking on this idea. I have a few questions around this.
1. What is a quarrelsome wife?
2. What makes her this way?
3. If she was loved by her husband as Christ loves the church, would she still be quarrelsome?
I think of Christ who loved me first. I love Him because He first loved me. Does this truth hold up in marriage? I think it does. Would a wife love her husband if he loved her first? I think she would. If I love Debbie as Christ loved me, would she still be quarrelsome? I don't think so. I have seen that as a woman is well loved, then she responds in love. She works hard to be in a partnership and not quarrelsome.
What think ye?

The King's Heart in God's Hand - Prov.21.1

Prov. 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.
The first time I heard this verse was from Chuck Swindoll in 1975 as he was teaching through the book of Nehemiah. It taught me that the Lord is in charge of the authorities in my life. It caused me to pray more for those in authority over us. It helped me trust that God was working out His magnificent plan in all the earth and in my life. How do you view those in authority over you? Do you pray for them? Do you realize that their hearts are in the hand of the Lord? God can and will direct them wherever He pleases. Keep praying. Keep trusting.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

My Steps Are Directed By The Lord - Prov.20.24

I love all the verses that remind me of "my steps".
Prov. 14:15 A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.
Prov. 16:9 In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.
Prov. 20:24 A man’s steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand his own way?
I have seen how I have planned my course but it was the Lord who determined my steps. I have seen my steps directed by the Lord that I have not been able to understand my own way. This has moved me to the place of greater faith, hope and trust in the leadership of the Lord in my life. I love having a great and caring God and Shepherd who is directing not only my steps, but the steps of all our children...and for this I can trust Him.
Do you understand your own way? No worries. The Lord is directing and determining your steps.
Trust Him.

The Purposes of A Man's Heart - Prov.20.5

Prov. 20:5 The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.
I love these kind of verses. I love all verses that talk about "PURPOSE". Go figure. This is soooo true. The purposes of a man's heart are very deep. It takes a person of understanding to draw them out. After I read this verse I thought, " I want to be a man of understanding that will help men draw out the deep purposes of their hearts." For me, I cannot think of a greater work and calling. Do you know the deep purposes of your heart? Are you getting with people of understanding who can help you draw them out? When you do, it will lead to great vision, great passion, great clarity and of course great purpose. Are you a person of understanding helping others draw out the deep purposes of their hearts? It will lead to great satisfaction.
Keep drawing and being drawn.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Power Phrases - 07.14-19

I love going back and seeing all the Lord taught me this past week in Proverbs.
14.8 Be A Prudent Man
15.16 Better A Little With The Fear of The Lord
15.13 Happy, Discerning & Cheerful Heart
16.31 Gray Hair is A Crown of Splendor
17.10 Rebukes Are No Fun But Impressive
18.10 The Lord is SAFE
18.13 Two Sides to Every Story
18.21 The Tongue Can Give or Take Life
18.22 My Wife Debbie. Favor From The Lord
19.1 Lead A Blameless Life
Take time each week, in a "Weekly Focus", to see and remember all the Lord taught you. It will greatly encourage your heart.

Lead A Blameless Life - Prov.19.1

Today I was struck by the word "blameless... Without fault; innocent; guiltless; not meriting censure."
Prov. 19:1 Better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a fool whose lips are perverse.
Prov. 20:7 The righteous man leads a blameless life; blessed are his children after him.
Prov. 28:6 Better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a rich man whose ways are perverse.
Prov. 28:18 He whose walk is blameless is kept safe, but he whose ways are perverse will suddenly fall.
I thought and wondered, is it possible to live a "blameless" life? I think so. I also believe in the importance of following up on any situation in which there could be blame. For example, if I am to blame, then I believe it calls for repentance, confession and forsaking. If others are to blame then it requires forgiveness. These are the ways that I see a man or woman walking in a "blameless" way. This could also be described as walking with a "clear conscience".
I want to be a righteous man who leads a blameless life. You?

Friday, July 18, 2008

My Wife Debbie. Favor From The Lord - Prov.18.22

Prov.18.22 says, "He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD."
I love this. Every time I read this verse I think of Debbie, the wife of my youth. I love that fact that after 33 years of marriage our love and intimacy is only increasing. When the Lord led Debbie and me together in college, I certainly found what is good and have enjoyed the favor from the Lord in an excellent wife. My life, my marriage, my family and ministry is blessed today because of this incredible woman of noble character. She is indeed my crown. (Prov. 12:4 A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown...Prov. 31:10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.)

The Tongue Can Give or Take Life - Prov.18.21

Prov.18.21 says, "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit."
This is such a powerful truth. The first time I really noticed this verse was in counseling with Denise H. back in 1997. She gave sooo many "words of life". Our words can either build up or tear down. They can help others live or we can kill people with our words. I want to be a man who gives LIFE with my words and my actions.
You?

Two Sides to Every Story - Prov.18.13,17

Prov.18.13 says, "He who answers before listening— that is his folly and his shame. And in V.17, "The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him."
I have been working with people in various ministries over the last 33 years since 1975. One thing I have seen and learned is that there are ALWAYS two sides to every story. ALWAYS. These two verses from Proverbs 18 have helped guide me in listening well before I make a "judgment" on any matter or any person. What about you? Do you answer before listening to the whole story? Do you listen to both sides of any story? There is great wisdom and discernment in this truth.

The Lord is SAFE - Prov.18.10

Prov.18.10 says, "The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe."
I love this truth. There are so many "unsafe" people and places in the world. I love how the Lord is strong and safe. I find great comfort in running to Him all the time. I also want to be a man, husband, father, pastor and friend who is safe for others.
You?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Rebukes Are No Fun But Impressive - Prov.17.10

Prov. 9:8 Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you.
Prov. 13:1 A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke.
Prov. 15:31 He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise.
Prov. 17:10 A rebuke impresses a man of discernment more than a hundred lashes a fool.
Prov. 19:25 Flog a mocker, and the simple will learn prudence; rebuke a discerning man, and he will gain knowledge.
Prov. 25:12 Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is a wise man’s rebuke to a listening ear.
Prov. 27:5 Better is open rebuke than hidden love.
I confess, I do not like to be rebuked, but when I look back they have been some of the most important times for growth. Welcome both loving and unloving rebukes. We will gain knowledge.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Gray Hair is A Crown - Prov.16.31

Prov. 16:31 Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life.
Prov. 20:29 The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old.
A lot of guys are coloring their hair to look younger. Debbie has even asked me if I want to color my hair. My response? No way!!! I have worked too hard and paid too many dues to obtain my gray hair. Also, I do believe it is the crown of splendor.
Lovin' my gray crown.
You?

The Lord Determines My Steps- Prov.16.9

Prov. 16: 9 In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.
This was one of my favorite verses in Bible College back in 1976. I am a big planner. I have had the tendency to "plan my course".
When I look back these 32 years, I can see clearly that the Lord indeed "determined my every step". I love the idea to do careful planning but lovingly, willingly and freely surrender my will and plans to the determination of the Lord.
Are you making plans? Trust the Lord as He determines your steps.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Happy, Discerning & Cheerful - Prov.15.13

I love all the verses on the "heart". I think we have yet to see what impact life and circumstances have on our hearts.
Prov. 15:13 A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.
Prov. 15:14 The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.
Prov. 15:15 All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.
Prov. 15:28 The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.
Prov. 15:30 A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.
I really want a happy, discerning and cheerful heart. It will be a continual feast and health to my bones.
You?

Better A Little With...Proverbs 15.16

I remember the first time I noticed all the "Better" verses in Proverbs. It really challenged and shaped my thinking.
Prov. 15:16 Better a little with the fear of the LORD than great wealth with turmoil.
Prov. 15:17 Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred.
Prov. 16:8 Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice.
Prov. 16:19 Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.
Prov. 16:32 Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.
Prov. 17:1 Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.
Prov. 19:1 Better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a fool whose lips are perverse.
Prov. 19:22 What a man desires is unfailing love; better to be poor than a liar.
Prov. 21:9 Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.
Prov. 21:19 Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife.
Prov. 22:1 A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.
Prov. 25:7 it is better for him to say to you, “Come up here,” than for him to humiliate you before a nobleman. What you have seen with your eyes
Prov. 27:5 Better is open rebuke than hidden love.
Prov. 28:6 Better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a rich man whose ways are perverse.
I really do believe that is it better to have little with the love and fear of the Lord than great wealth and feasting with hatred and strife.
You?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Be A Prudent Man - Proverbs 14.8

I am often struck by this word "Prudent." It means to be cautious; circumspect; practically wise; careful of the consequences of enterprises, measures or actions...
Prov. 14:8 The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.
Prov. 14:15 A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.
Prov. 14:18 The simple inherit folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
I am inspired to be a prudent man and be cautious and practically wise. I want to be careful in giving thought to my ways.
You?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Power Phrases - 07.06-12

During my "Weekly Focus" time on Sunday mornings, I love going back and seeing what the Lord taught me from His Word in Proverbs. This is the way I review, reflect and remember.
6.16-19 Hate The 7 Things The Lord Hates
6.24-35 Beware of the Immoral Woman
7.1-5 God's Words and Commands Will Keep Me
7.6-27 The Lustful Youth Who Lacked Judgment
8.10-11 Nothing Can Compare to Wisdom
8.32-36 Blessed in the Way of Wisdom
9.8-9 Rebuke A Wise Man
10.1-32 Be Careful Little Tongue What You Say
11:1-31 I Want To Be a Righteous Man
12.2 A Good Man Obtains Favor From the Lord
It is amazing to see all we have read and learned and considered just in the last 7 days.
Imagine this over a life time?
Wisdom comes little by little.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Favor From the Lord - Proverbs 12.2

Proverbs12.2 says, A good man obtains favor from the LORD, but the LORD condemns a crafty man." I love the thought of FAVOR FROM THE LORD. I first heard this idea from a team mate of mine who said she felt like I was experiencing the "favor of the Lord". I love this truth, this thought, this idea. I want so much to be a good man and to enjoy the favor of the Lord.
I asked, "what does favor look and feel like?" I thought of many things...Forgive the bullets.
1. Love from God and a relationship with Him
2. Jesus Christ
3. The Holy Spirit and His fruit of love, joy, peace, patience etc...
4. The Scriptures
5. Grace & Peace
6. Faith, Hope and Love
7. Oneness with Debbie
8. My children and grandchildren
9. Friends & relationships
10. A good work & ministry to do
11. Influence & Impact
12. Wisdom & understanding
13. Righteousness
14. Purpose
15. Wealth & Riches
16. Honor & Respect
17. Opportunity & Responsibility
18. Authority
19. Truth & True Self
20. A Clear identity
When I consider these things, I deeply feel the favor of the Lord on my life. I am humbled and eternally grateful for His grace and mercy towards me.

Friday, July 11, 2008

I Want To Be A Righteous Man - Proverbs 11

When I read this chapter, I can't help but write: I want to be a righteous man who lives and walks in the way of righteousness.
1. 11:4 Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.
2. 11:5 The righteousness of the blameless makes a straight way for them
3. 11:6 The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the unfaithful are trapped by evil desires.
4. 11:8 The righteous man is rescued from trouble
5. 11:9 With his mouth the godless destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous escape.
6. 11:10 When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices; when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy.
7. 11:18 The wicked man earns deceptive wages, but he who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward.
8. 11:19 The truly righteous man attains life, but he who pursues evil goes to his death.
9. 11:21 Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will go free.
10. 11:23 The desire of the righteous ends only in good, but the hope of the wicked only in wrath.
11. 11:28 Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.
12. 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.
13. 11:31 If the righteous receive their due on earth, how much more the ungodly and the sinner!
I just love how the Lord and His word lift our thoughts, desires and lives to higher, holy ground...and I am aware that I am already righteous through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. I also know that HE is the only ONE who can live this righteous life in and through me. What hope. What promise. What a LIFE.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Way of The Righteous - Prov.10

It just seems to me that the way of the righteous is easier than the way of the wicked. What do you think?
1. 10:3 The LORD does not let the righteous go hungry but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.
2. 10:6 Blessings crown the head of the righteous, but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked.
3. 10:7 The memory of the righteous will be a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot.
4. 10:11 The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked.
5. 10:16 The wages of the righteous bring them life, but the income of the wicked brings them punishment.
6. 10:20 The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value.
7. 10:21 The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of judgment.
8. 10:24 What the wicked dreads will overtake him; what the righteous desire will be granted.
9. 10:25 When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.
10.10:28 The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.
11.10:29 The way of the LORD is a refuge for the righteous, but it is the ruin of those who do evil.
12.10:30 The righteous will never be uprooted, but the wicked will not remain in the land.
13.10:31 The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, but a perverse tongue will be cut out.
14.10:32 The lips of the righteous know what is fitting, but the mouth of the wicked only what is perverse.
So grateful that there is a right and wrong way in life. I really want to go the right/righteous way, all the way to the end.
You?

Be Careful Little Tongue What You Say - Prov.10

It is amazing the amount of instruction on the tongue, mouth and lips in Proverbs 10. So much good teaching, warning and examples for us.
1. 10:11 The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life
2. 10:13 Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning
3. 10:18 He who conceals his hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander is a fool.
4. 10:19 When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.
5. 10:20 The tongue of the righteous is choice silver
6. 10:21 The lips of the righteous nourish many
7. 10:31 The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom
8. 10:32 The lips of the righteous know what is fitting
I want to be a wise man and know when to speak, what to speak, where to speak, how to speak and to whom to speak.
You?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Rebuke A Wise Man - Prov.9.8-9

"Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you. 9 Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning."
I have always been intrigued by these truths. I have wondered, why does a "wise man" even need to be rebuked? But he does. We do need rebukes at various times and places. Wise men are not perfect. We make mistakes and sometimes need a good rebuke. The Scriptures are clear that if we receive versus resist this we will be wiser still and grow in our learning. This is what I want. People who love me enough to rebuke me, to instruct me, to teach me...so that I will be wiser still. You? Had any good rebukes lately? Feel the love. ;-)

Blessed in the Way of Wisdom - Prov.8.32-36

Now then, my sons, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways. 33 Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not ignore it. 34 Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. 35 For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the LORD. 36 But whoever fails to find me harms himself; all who hate me love death.”
As I read these words, I am reminded to:
1. Keep
2. Listen
3. Do not ignore
4. Watch daily
5. Wait
6. Find
As a result, I will find life and receive favor from the Lord. I believe this. You?

Amazed by Creation - Prov.8.22-31

As I was reading Proverbs 8 about wisdom, I was struck by all the things our God has made.
Prov.8.22 - “The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old; 23 I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning,
1. The World...before the world began.
2. The Oceans...24 When there were no oceans, I was given birth,
3. The Springs...when there were no springs abounding with water;
4. The Mountains...25 before the mountains were settled in place,
5. The Hills...before the hills, I was given birth,
6. The Earth...26 before he made the earth or
7. The Fields...its fields or
8. The Dust...any of the dust of the world.
9. The Heavens...27 I was there when he set the heavens in place,
10. The Horizons...when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,
11. The Clouds...28 when he established the clouds above and
12. The Fountains...fixed securely the fountains of the deep,
13. The Seas...29 when he gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command, and
14. The Foundations...when he marked out the foundations of the earth.
"Then I was the craftsman at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence, 31 rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind."
Wow. What a "Craftsman". No wonder there was great delight day after day. Lots of joy and rejoicing. I hope to rejoice in the Presence of the Lord and delight in all aspects of His creation. You?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Benefits of Wisdom - Prov.8.12-21

“I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion. 13 To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.
1. Counsel and sound judgment are mine;
2. I have understanding and power.
3. By me kings reign and
4. Rulers make laws that are just;
5. By me princes govern, and
6. All nobles who rule on earth.
7. I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.
8. With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity.
9. My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver.
10. I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice,
11. Bestowing wealth on those who love me and making their treasuries full.

Nothing Can Compare To Wisdom - Prov.8.10-11

Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.

Monday, July 07, 2008

The Lustful Youth Who Lacked Judgment - Prov.7.6-27

It has been a long time since I have done "literation". I could not help but see several "L's" in Proverbs 7.6-27

1. The Lustful Youth Who Lacked Judgment V.7-8
"At the window of my house I looked out through the lattice. 7 I saw among the simple, I noticed among the young men, a youth who lacked judgment. 8 He was going down the street near her corner, walking along in the direction of her house

2. The Lowering Sun V.9
..."at twilight, as the day was fading, as the dark of night set in.

3. The Loud, Lurking Woman V.10-12
"Then out came a woman to meet him, dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent. 11 (She is loud and defiant, her feet never stay at home; 12 now in the street, now in the squares, at every corner she lurks.)

4. The Luring Kiss V.13
"She took hold of him and kissed him and with a brazen face she said: 14 “I have fellowship offerings at home; today I fulfilled my vows.

5. The Look of Death V.15-17
"So I came out to meet you; I looked for you and have found you! 16 I have covered my bed with colored linens from Egypt. 17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon.

6. The Lie V.18-21
"Come, let’s drink deep of love till morning; let’s enjoy ourselves with love! 19 My husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey. 20 He took his purse filled with money and will not be home till full moon.” 21 With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk.

7. The Liver Pierced & Loss of Life V.22-23
"All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose 23 till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life.

8. The Leading Down to Chambers of Death. V.24-27
"Now then, my sons, listen to me; pay attention to what I say. 25 Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths. 26 Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng. 27 Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death."
Lots to think about, wouldn't you say?
Loving the Lord and thanking Him for His amazing love for us.

God's Words and Commands Will Keep Me - Prov.7.1-5

Prov. 7:1 My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. 2 Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. 3 Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call understanding your kinsman; 5 they will keep you from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words."
I am very encouraged by these words and truths. I do have a deep belief that if I will delight in, meditate on, keep, store up and guard God's Words in Commands in my heart, that they will keep me from the adulteress and the wayward wife. This is a habit, practice and discipline that I want to do for the rest of my life... delight in and think about and obey the Lord and His Words. It is a very tempting world and I hope to finish the race well. You?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The Immoral Woman. The Wayward Wife - Prov.6.24-35

Proverbs 6.24-26 say that the commands and teachings of God are for, "keeping you from the immoral woman, from the smooth tongue of the wayward wife. Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes, for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very life."
This chapter goes on and gives me several warnings and consequences if I go after the immoral woman, the wayward wife, the prostitute and adulteress.
1. V.26 - She will reduce me to a loaf of bread.
2. V.26 - She will prey upon my very life.
3. V. 27 - I will be burned.
4. V.28 - I will be scorched.
5. V.29 - I will not go unpunished.
6. V.32 - I lack judgment.
7. V.32 - I will destroy myself.
8. V.33 - Blows and disgrace will be my lot.
9. V.33 - My shame will never be wiped away.
10. V.34 - I will face fury, no mercy and revenge
This is such intense and important information for me and all men. I pray by the grace of God that we will be "One Woman" men. I pray that we will never have to face the truth and pain of this passage. You?

The Way To LIFE - Proverbs 6.20-23

"My son, keep your father’s commands and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life..."
I love these kind of verses. They remind me of the blessings and benefits of keeping the Lord's commands and teachings. There are several benefits:
1. They will guide me
2. They will watch over me
3. They will speak to me
4. They are a lamp
5. They are a light
6. They are the way to LIFE
I don't know about you, but I love this. O how I need to be guided, I want to be watched over, I want the Lord to continually speak to me through His Word, I need a lamp and light for my path. But more than all of that, I want to live. I want to experience LIFE in the fullest and most abundant way intended by the Lord. Do you want to live? What is your way to LIFE?

Hate The 7 Things The Lord Hates-Prov.6.16-19

"There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers."
This is such powerful instruction. I want to be a man who hates what the Lord hates and loves what He loves.
1. Haughty Eyes -(Proud and disdainful; having a high opinion of one's self, with some contempt for others; lofty and arrogant) O I have seen haughty/proud eyes. The Lord hates and resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. I want to walk in humility and not have haughty eyes.
2. Lying Tongue - It is so important to tell the truth even to our own hurt.
3. Hands that shed innocent blood. That one is fairly obvious.
4. Heart that devises wicked schemes - This is still amazing to me. The falleness of man to devise wicked plans.
5. Feet quick into evil - I want feet that flee from evil and run quickly to God.
6. A false witness - I have seen and experienced this against me in my life and it was very painful.
7. A man who stirs up dissension - I have done this and have had it done to me. I want no part of it going forward.
These are 7 things that are detestable to God. Are they detestable to you and me? What do you hate? And what and who do you love?

Be Wise Like The Ant - Prov.6.6-8

"Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest."
I have always been intrigued by this instruction. Ever since I read it, I always notice the ants and ant hills in my back yard. While on the one hand I am bothered by the ant hills, on the other, I am impressed by these observations:
1. They have no commander, overseer or ruler. This is amazing to me. How would human beings do if we had no commander, overseer or ruler. It speaks to me of some level of "mutuality" and serving one another.
2. It stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. This speaks to me of preparation, wisdom, and sacrificing the immediate for the future.
May I be a man who will learn from all of God's creation and creatures. And may I be one who is wise who will store and gather at the right time, for the right reason for a future season. You? Seen any ants lately?

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Power Phrases - 07.01-05

OK...so I said that I will summarize my "Power Phrases" for the week. This is a practice, habit, discipline that I have every weekend as part of my "Weekly Focus". I take the time to look back and see all that God taught me from His Word over the week. I usually summarize from Sunday to Saturday. Here are mine for the last 5 days from Proverbs:
1.1-4 The Proverbs Are For Attaining, Understanding, Acquiring, Doing And Giving
2.1-5 The Fear Of The Lord Comes From Intense Searching And Seeking
2.12-16 Wisdom Will Save Me From Wicked Men And The Adulteress
3.1 Keeping God's Commands Will Bring Me Prosperity
3.13-15 Wisdom And Understanding Are Far More Valuable Than Silver And Gold
4.7-8 Wisdom Is Supreme
4.18 The Path Of The Righteous Gets Brighter Over Time
5.7 Stay Far Away From The Adulteress.
5.17 Rejoice In My Wife Of My Youth

Warnings Against Adultery - Proverbs 5

Wow. This was an important and intense chapter eh? ( My Canadian wife's influence on me) Several "Big Ideas" or "Power Phrases" could be used.
1. STAY FAR AWAY FROM THE ADULTERESS.
Prov.5.7 Now then, my sons, listen to me; do not turn aside from what I say. 8 Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house,
2. BE A ONE WOMAN MAN & GIVE MY BEST STRENGTH TO MY WIFE ALONE.
Prov.5.9... lest you give your best strength to others and your years to one who is cruel,
3. REJOICE IN MY WIFE OF MY YOUTH.
Prov.5.17 Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. 18 May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
There are many and regular temptations to be a "multi-women" man. God is clear in His desire and intention for us to be a "one-woman" man. It is in this kind of relationship that we experience the greatest and deepest satisfaction and fulfillment. This is the way God designed it and this is the way life works the best. You? Are you being a "one-woman" man? Rejoice in the Lord and the wife of your youth.

Friday, July 04, 2008

The Path of The Righteous-Proverbs 4.18

THE PATH OF THE RIGHTEOUS GETS BRIGHTER OVER TIME
4.18 - The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
I love this image. I love rising early. I love getting on my front porch before sunrise. I love the first gleams of dawn and sounds of creation waking. But more than that, I love the truth that the path of the righteous gets brighter over time. It gets brighter till the full light of day. I love this idea that as we walk in the Lord and His ways over time the light just gets brighter. You? How have you seen your path?

How Do I Get Wisdom-Proverbs 4.7-8

WISDOM IS SUPREME
4.7-8 - Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
When I read these Scriptures it made me think of 3 questions: What is Wisdom? How do I get Wisdom? What are the benefits of Wisdom?
1. What is Wisdom? The right use or exercise of knowledge; the choice of laudable ends, and of the best means to accomplish them. This is wisdom in act, effect, or practice. If wisdom is to be considered as a faculty of the mind, it is the faculty of discerning or judging what is most just, proper and useful, and if it is to be considered as an acquirement, it is the knowledge and use of what is best, most just, most proper, most conducive to prosperity or happiness.
2. How do I get Wisdom? The very first thought that came to mind is Prov. 9:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. I also thought of James 1.5, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." Secondly, I believe wisdom comes from delighting in, meditating on and applying the Scriptures to our lives. Thirdly, wisdom comes from living and walking with wise people. Fourthly, it comes from all the experiences in LIFE.
3. What are the benefits of Wisdom? Prov.4.5-9 gives some great insight..."Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them. 6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. 7 Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. 8 Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. 9 She will set a garland of grace on your head and present you with a crown of splendor.”

Wisdom is Supreme-Proverbs 4

Ahhhhh...it's not that easy to get "One Big Idea" or "One Power Phrase" is it? Isn't this 4th chapter of Proverbs amazing? I love it. Sooooo many great truths and thoughts. OK. So I'm having a hard time getting just one. Which one should I choose?
1. WISDOM IS SUPREME
4.7-8 - Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you.
2. THE PATH OF THE RIGHTEOUS GETS BRIGHTER OVER TIME
4.18 - The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
3. EYES IN THE BOAT SAILOR
4.25 Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.
( I first heard the idea of "eyes in the boat sailor" from Mike Minter, who went to the Naval Academy. This was part of their training when young sailors were tempted to "look around". I have loved the clarity and image of that phrase from the first day I heard it)
Which one should I choose?
Happy 4th of July and 4th of Proverbs.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Wisdom is More Valuable Than Gold-Proverbs 3.13-15

WISDOM AND UNDERSTANDING ARE FAR MORE VALUABLE THAN SILVER AND GOLD.
PROV.3.13 Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, 14 for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. 15 She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.
I love reading this truth. This one hit me at 54 thinking about my 401K vanishing. ;-) I am seeking to keep my hope in the Lord and my focus right. I always want to keep my pursuit of the Lord, His wisdom and His understanding. This is very encouraging to me. You?

God's Commands & Prosperity-Proverbs 3.1-2

KEEPING GOD'S COMMANDS WILL BRING ME PROSPERITY.
Prov. 3:1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.
I believe we all want to prosper. For many years I thought about prosperity according to the world. But now in my life I want the prosperity that comes from the Lord and His Word. There is a connection with delighting in and meditating on God's Words and prosperity that comes from Him. I am inspired more and more to keep delighting in His Word and keeping God's commands.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Wisdom Will Save Me From...Proverbs 2.12-16

"WISDOM WILL SAVE ME FROM WICKED MEN AND THE ADULTERESS"
Proverbs 2.12-16, "Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, 13 who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways, 14 who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, 15 whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways. 16 It will save you also from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words..."

If You...Then You Will... Proverbs 2.1-5

THE FEAR OF THE LORD COMES FROM INTENSE SEARCHING AND SEEKING
Prov. 2:1 My son, IF you accept my words and store up my commands within you, 2 turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, 3 and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, 4 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, 5 THEN you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.
I have always loved this passage. It reminds me of what is needed to understand the fear of the Lord and what I need to do to find the knowledge of God. It is indeed an intense search. If I will do the following, then I will understand.
1. Accepting His Words
2. Storing up His Commands
3. Turning my ear to wisdom
4. Apply my heart to understanding
5. Call out for insight
6. Cry aloud for understanding
7. Look for it as for silver
8. Search for it as for hidden treasure
Are you willing to make this kind of search to find the knowledge of God? Are you willing to seek to find God Himself?
He is well worth the pursuit.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Proverbs Are For Attaining Wisdom-Prov.1.1

OK. So we are off to the 31 Day challenge in Proverbs. Looking forward to the journey together. So much good stuff just in chapter one. Hard for me to get past the first 7 verses. I may not be writing every day but thought I would get the ball rolling a little. So...hopefully you have 31 3x5 cards. They can have 4 items on them...(Date, Ref. Big Idea, The verse)
07.01.08; Prov.1.1-4

Big Idea: THE PROVERBS ARE FOR ATTAINING, UNDERSTANDING, ACQUIRING, DOING AND GIVING

Prov. 1:1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young—

That's it. Then carry them through out the day to remember and think about what the Lord impressed on you from your time with Him in His Word. Let me be clear if I was not already. My goals/desires for us are very simple:
1. To get daily exposure to the Lord and His Word
2. To renew our minds
3. To restore our souls.
4. To help us make wise decisions
5. To produce great outcomes
6. To establish great habits, practices and a disciplined life.

Excited about July and Q308 with you. ;-)

A 31 Day Challenge From Proverbs

Prov. 1:1-4, "The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair; 4 for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young...
I have a challenge for us as we enter Q308 (Third Quarter 2008 :-)
Over the next 31 days...
1. I will be reading and thinking about one chapter a day from Proverbs.
2. I will also seek to get one "Big Idea" or "Power Phrase" for the day.
3. I will put the date, the reference, the phrase and the one verse on a 3x5 card for 31 days.
4. I will summarize each of the power phrases at the end of each week on 7/5, 7/12. 7/19, 7/26 and 7/31.
I guarantee it will change our thinking, our decisions, our outcomes and our lives. It will increase our wisdom, discipline, insights, knowledge and discretion.
Any one want to join me? Any takers?
Let me know by responding on this blog.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Father's Love For His Son

My old friend, David Schulman, wrote this for his little son, Noah, on 21 February 2008. I love this man's heart and talent.
Little man with sunny smile
Come and sit with me a while
Tell me of your lofty dreams
Shine upon me with your beams
Let us hold onto Today
Before Tomorrow takes you away

Little heart with tender strings
Let me hear the tune it sings
Sing your wishes, they sound so sweet
With every precious thumping beat
Let me hold your heart with mine
Before you sail across the brine

Little mind, what wondrous muses
What fantastic thoughts it chooses
Concepts too grand for grown-up invention
So naively deep, they defy convention
Let us talk and dream some more
Before you fly beyond our door

Little body “complete-ly” small
Let Daddy hold you before you’re tall
Little fingers and little toes
Surround a love that ever grows
Let me gently hold your hand
Before the falling of the sand

Baby Boy, what a blessed treasure
Such a value, none could measure
You’re a tangible gift though briefly so
I see you depart each time you grow
Let us hide within this day
Until the wind blows you away
© David Schulman
All too soon...all too soon...They're Gone!!!
So...TEACH, MODEL PRAY. ;-)

Power Phrases - 06.22-28

Deut.6.4-7 - Teach. Model. Pray.
2 Pet.2.15-18 - Do not go the way of Balaam
Psalm 113 - The Name of the Lord is to be praised
2 Pet.3.11-13 - Live holy and godly lives
2 Pet.3.17-18 - Do not be carried away by lawless men
1 John 1.1-4 - The Word of Life is Eternal Life

Extreme Wealth - 2 Peter 3.17-18

I have been on vacation this past week. While on vacation, I have been exposed to "extreme wealth" in TV shows, magazines and other sights and sounds. This has really "tormented my soul" at various levels. The other morning I got up to watch the sun rise and call out to the Lord to help me think correctly. I opened my Bible and read, 2 Pet. 3:17-18, "Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen."
As I was wrestling with the Lord regarding "extreme wealth", I believe He reminded me of the following:
1. Be on your guard.
2. Do not get carried away by the error of lawless men
3. Do not fall from your secure position
4. Keep growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.
I felt like the Lord helped me see and think and feel correctly as it relates to my relationship with Him and my view of this world.
You? Are you troubled by extreme wealth or the lack of it? Don't get carried away but keep growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus.

A Distressed and Tormented Soul - 2 Peter 2.7-8

There have been times that my soul has been distressed and tormented. These verses from 2 Peter 2.7-8 reveal some of the causes... "and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard...
Peter reveals that the filthy lives of lawless men and deeds can torment a soul. I believe this is true. I have found at different times that my soul gets distressed and tormented by lawless men and deeds. I have also found rest and relief in God alone during those times.
You? What distresses and torments your soul?
Where do you go to find rest for your soul?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Remembering To Forget

This is another poem from a very dear friend, David Schulman, written back in 1997 when we lived in Reston, VA.

I often walk this dreary path
Where mire stews and brambles grab
Leaving me with shortened steps and unforgiving scars

Its never ending winding route
Chokes the light that would lead out
Instead I’m stuck to see my sin from behind its imprisoning bars

And down this road where no one goes
I’m trapped among the prickly rows
That point to me and what I’ve done to hasten my demise

The pointed vines sink to my veins
And Sin bequeaths its crimson stains
That pierce the heart and brow alike
And burn into my eyes

But as I clutch this cursed weight
It’s revealed as part of Another’s fate
Who bore my guilt and took my shame
And transgressions I have yet

This path that led to death before
Can now lead to the open Door
To peace and Life and “Sonny” days
If I remember to forget

Don't Forget To Remember - Deut.8.2

I have been intrigued with two ideas from Scripture. In one place we are told to FORGET, Phil. 3:13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead..."
And in another place we are told to REMEMBER, Deut. 8:2 Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.
One of the ways that I REMEMBER is to summarize the good things that have happened in our lives over the last 30 days. I take time at the end of each month for reflection, review and remembering. When Debbie and I go away for our anniversary in June, we take time to REMEMBER all the good things the Lord has done in our lives the last 6 months. We also do this at the end of the year. I believe this simple practice, habit, discipline helps us to fulfill the command to REMEMBER.
What about you? What are you doing to REMEMBER the goodness of the Lord in your life?

My View of "The Last Days" - 2 Peter 3.10-13

For many years of my Christian life, people have debated "Eschatology-the doctrine of the last days or end/final times" (From the Greek, eskhatos/last and logia/discourse) People have debated "Pre-Trib, Mid-Trib, Post-Trib, Pre-Mill, A-Mill, Post-Mill...ad nauseum...and all it has ever resulted in is debate and division.
2Pet. 3:10-13 says, "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness"
While reading this passage, I came to the following view of the last days:
1. Jesus is coming back.
2. Be holy.
3. Be ready.
That is what I believe and am "looking forward" to. You?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

From The Rising of The Sun - Psalm 113

We are on vacation in Daytona Beach. Debbie and I are celebrating our 33rd anniversary. I love rising early to catch the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean. 6:24AM. Right on time. Every day. It makes me think of Psalm 113:1 "Praise the LORD. Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD. 2 Let the name of the LORD be praised, both now and forevermore. 3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised."
When I see the sun rise every day, it screams to me of the precision and faithfulness of our God. He is the One holding all things together. What an amazing and mighty God. Father, thank you for being such a great and mighty God and for holding all things together, not only in my life but in the universe. I praise Your Name. Thank you.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Today We Celebrate 33 Years

Wow. 33 years. June 21, 1975. I remember it like it was yesterday. How blessed I am to be married to this incredible woman, wife, mother, artist, business woman and friend. Debbie has fulfilled so many of the traits of the woman in Proverbs 31."10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life."
One question I have asked Debbie every year is, "When you look back, is there anytime in our marriage that was better than it is now? Was there any year or anytime that we were closer, more connected, or more one?" Thankfully, once again she said no. I love the idea that over time our marriage is getting deeper, richer, sweeter and closer. What about you? Is your marriage moving toward greater one-ness or further apart? Never stop working on it. It is well worth the time and investment.

Power Phrases - 06.15-21

1 Pet.4.11 - Father's Day - Speak the very words of God
2 Pet.1.12-15 - I will soon put the tent of this body aside
2 Pet.1.16-18 - This is My Son Whom I love
2 Pet.1.21 - I am carried along by the Holy Spirit
2 Pet.2.1-4 - Sinning angels will be judged
2 Pet.2.7-8 - Righteous souls are distressed and tormented by lawless men and deeds
Prov.31.10-12 - My wife Debbie is of noble character

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Words from Larry The Cable Guy

1. A day without sunshine is like night.
2. On the other hand, you have different fingers.
3. 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.
4. 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.
5. Remember, half the people you know are below average.
6. He who laughs last, thinks slowest.
7. Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.
8. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese in the trap.
9. Support bacteria. They're the only culture some people have.
10. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
11. Change is inevitable, except from vending machines.
12. If you think nobody cares, try missing a couple of payments.
13. How many of you believe in psycho-kinesis? Raise my hand.
14. OK, so what's the speed of dark?
15. When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.
16. Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.
17. How much deeper would the ocean be without sponges?
18. Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
19. What happens if you get scared half to death, twice?
20. Why do psychics have to ask you your name?
21. Inside every older person is a younger person wondering, 'What the heck happened?'
22. Just remember...if the world didn't suck, we would all fall off.
23. Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear bright unti l you hear them speak.
24. Life isn't like a box of chocolates. It's more like a jar of jalapenos. What you do today, might burn your butt tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

This is my Son - 2 Peter 1.17

I love this verse from 2 Pet. 1:17 For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."
I love that honor and glory come from God the Father. We seek it from many different people, places or things but the best glory is from God our Father.
I love this phrase...this is my Son, whom I love. I just love it. I feel this way about my sons. I can't even begin to describe the love I have for all four of them.
I love..."with Him I am well pleased. I feel this way for my sons and daughters. With them I am well pleased. O that men and fathers would say to their sons and daughters...You are my son, I love you and I am soooooo pleased with you. This would be such great fuel to the hearts of all men and women.
When was the last time you told your son and daughter how much you love them? Do it today.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day - TEACH, MODEL, PRAY

Today I had the privilege of speaking at North Point Community Church to the men and fathers. I shared with the church the words that were given to me 27 years ago from Jay Whitaker, Sr. in Orlando FL. He told me, "You can only do so much", in raising my family.
1. LOVE UNCONDITIONALLY
2. TEACH CONSISTENTLY
3. MODEL AUTHENTICALLY
4. PRAY UNCEASINGLY
5. TRUST IMPLICITLY
At the end of the message we showed and played, Cinderella, by Steven Curtis Chapman.
http://www.stevencurtischapman.com/cinderella
These words and concepts have served Debbie and me well over all the years in raising our family. What are you doing to raise the next generation?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Weekly Power Phrases - 06.08-14

I love getting a "Word for the day" from the Scriptures. I love getting a phrase that will carry me through the day.
Deut.4.6 - God's Word leads to wisdom and understanding
Deut.4.7 - My God is near me and in me.
Eph.1.16-17 - Prayer for men and fathers to know God better
Eph.1.18-19 - Prayer for eyes to be enlightened to know hope
2 Peter 1.1-2 - Grace and peace in abundance
2 Peter 1.3-4 - I have everything I need for life
2 Peter 1.5-8 - How to be effective and productive
Wisdom grows little by little. What are you learning from the Lord and His Word?

1 More Day - Col.1.9-14

Tomorrow I get to speak to the men and fathers of North Point Community Church. I am so excited. I have been praying non stop. Today I am praying according to Col. 1:9, "For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God...
1. To fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order
2. That you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way:
3. Bearing fruit in every good work,
4. Growing in the knowledge of God,
5. Being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and
6. Joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
I love this prayer. I love it for me, for Debbie, for my family and for the men. Thanks for praying with me in this very fun season.
Happy Day Before Father's Day

Friday, June 13, 2008

2 More Days - Deut.32.1-3

I continue to think and pray for the men and fathers on Father's Day. Today my prayer comes from Deut. 32:1 Listen, O heavens, and I will speak; hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. 2 Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants. 3 I will proclaim the name of the LORD. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! I am asking God to let my teaching be very refreshing and helpful to men. I am asking God to give us a vision for the next generation. Thanks for joining me in the journey.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

3 More Days - 1 Cor.2.1-5

I am praying non stop for men and fathers leading up to Father's Day this weekend. Today I have focused my prayers for me and the message. I love these verses from 1 Cor. 2:1, "When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power".
I want my message to be with a demonstration of the Spirit's power. I do not know what that will look or feel like but I certainly want it in my life and message. Walking by faith in God's power today. You?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

4 More Days - Eph.3.14-19

I continue to pray for the men and fathers on Father's Day from Eph. 3:14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
I pray...
1. That we would be strengthened with the Spirit's power
2. That Christ may dwell in our hearts
3. That we will be rooted and grounded in love
4. That we would have power to grasp how deep is the love of God.
5. That we would be filled with all the fullness of God
Can you imagine if this was happening in the hearts of men? Little by little, over time, lives, marriages, families, marketplaces, churches and the nation would be changed. What a great vision and prayer. Keep praying.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

5 More Days - Eph.1.16-18

I can't stop praying for the men and fathers for Father's Day.
My prayer for men and fathers today is...Eph. 1:15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints,  16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.  17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.  18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,  19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe...
Can you imagine if we as men would have a spirit of wisdom and revelation to know God and Jesus Christ better? Can you imagine if our eyes could see our hope, His inheritance in us and His great power? I think we as men would be changed. You? For what are you praying?

Monday, June 09, 2008

"Power Phrases" - 4/13-06/07/2008

I have been enjoying a very simple practice of putting my daily times in the Word into a "Power Phrase". I got this idea in November of 2001 from Andy Stanley who does it for his weekly message. I thought, if he does it for his weekly messages, why wouldn't I try it in my daily times in the Scriptures? It has been a "life changing" practice. These are some from 1 Peter.
04.13-19
1.1 - I have been elected and chosen by God to obey
1.8 - I am filled with inexpressible and glorious joy
1.11 - There is suffering now and glory to follow
1.12 - Do not serve myself but the generations to come
1.14 - Prepare my mind for action
1.17 - I call on a heavenly Father
04.20-26
2 Cor.2.14 - The fragrance of Christ...what do I smell like?
1.17 - My Father is my Judge
1.17 - Live as a stranger on the earth
1.18 - I have been redeemed from the empty way of life
1.22 - I have been purified to love
1.23 - I am born again of imperishable seed
1.24 - All men are like grass withering away
05.04-10
2.1 - Rid myself of myself and crave pure spiritual food
2.9 - I am chosen, royal, holy & belonging to God
2.11 - As strangers abstain from sinful desires
2.12 - Live a good life with Christ in me
2.21 - Entrust myself to Him who judges justly
2.24 - Christ died for me so that I might die to sins
2.25 - Jesus is the Shepherd and Overseer of my soul
05.11-17
3.1 - Wives, put your hope in God. Do not give way to fear
3.7 - Husbands, be considerate, respectful, prayerful
3.8 - Do not return evil for evil but with blessing
3.10 - Love life and see good days
3.15 - Jesus is the reason for my HOPE
3.16 - Always keep a clear conscience
3.18 - Christ died to bring me to God
05.21-28
4.2 - Live the rest of my earthly life for God
4.5 - I will give an account of my life
4.6 - The end of all things is near
4.10 - Use my gifts to serve others
4.12 - Don't be surprised. Rejoice. Be overjoyed.
4.19 - Commit myself to my faithful Creator in suffering
06.01-07
5.1 - Be shepherds of God's flock
5.5 - Humility invites grace
5.8 - Resist the devil by faith
5.10 - My God restores me
I have discovered that as I think on these things, these truths, my mind is renewed, my soul is restored and my decisions are redirected. I love it. You?

Sunday, June 08, 2008

"That's My Glory" - Psalm 8.4-5

Recently I sat with Larry Bolden, who used this phrase, "That's my glory." I have never heard that before. He said it in response to a comment I made to him about how good he is in listening and asking thoughtful questions. This thought and phrase has really captured my attention. I was very impressed by Larry's clarity and confidence on this subject.
I am familiar with a "general glory"...the kind from Psalm 8.4, "what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? 5 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with GLORY and honor." But what I am less familiar with is this concept of a "specific glory". The specific glory of each man and woman. The unique DESIGN and calling of God on every person's life. I am aware that each man and woman has had an assignment but I have not thought enough about mine. This comment has sent me on a very good journey to discover my specific glory and purpose on the earth. As of this writing, I can say that I think it is encouraging, exhorting and developing men to live LIFE on purpose and in balance.
What about you? Do you know your specific glory? Do you know your unique calling and assignment from the Lord? It will bring a lot of great thoughts and emotions.

Why So Long? Deut.1.2-3

I am reading Deuteronomy to prepare for my Father's Day talk in 7 days on 06.15.08.
Deut.1.2 says (It takes eleven days to go from Horeb to Kadesh Barnea by the Mount Seir road.) In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses proclaimed to the Israelites all that the LORD had commanded him concerning them.
I remember reading these two verses many years ago. I thought and wondered why does it take 40 years to do an 11 day journey? Deut.8.2 gives us some insight to this question... "Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands."
We are led by the Lord into a wilderness to humble us, to test us and to know what is in our hearts.
Debbie and I have definitely experienced "the wilderness". It was a very hard and painful time from 1992-2001. We were in a hard personal time with two prodigal sons and a hard ministry assignment. Looking back on those years, we see how the Lord was leading us and humbling us and testing us to see what was in our hearts. I think the wilderness is part of God's school in developing His children. You? Have you experienced the wilderness yet? What has the Lord taught you in and through it?

Monday, June 02, 2008

Questions from 1 Peter 5.2-4

1Pet. 5:2 Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve;  3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.  4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
This is such a great passage of Scripture to me and for me. It caused me to do some serious reflection on the following questions.
1. Do I see myself as a shepherd?
2. Do I see my team, leaders and members as God's flock?
3. Do I see them under my care?
4. Am I serving as an overseer?
5. Do I do this willingly or out of "duty"?
6. Am I in this for the money?
7. Am I eager to serve?
8. Am I lording over God's flock?
9. Am I being an example/model to follow?
10. Do I believe I will receive the crown of glory when Jesus returns?
I love the instruction from these 3 verses. They cause me to be a better servant, shepherd and overseer of God's flock. What an honor and privilege.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Practicing Greatness - Part 2

Practicing Greatness: 7 Disciplines of Extraordinary Spiritual Leaders
Still thinking of these disciplines. I have added some questions under each one.
1. The discipline of self-awareness—the single most important body of information a leader possesses.
How aware are you of you?
Do you know from where you have come? Do you know your story?
Do you know your D-E-S-I-G-N (Drives, Experiences, Spiritual Gifts, Impact, Genius and Nature)
2. The discipline of self-management—handling difficult emotions, expectations, temptations, mental vibrancy, and physical well-being.
How well are you handling your emotions? Anger, greed, jealousy, lust, rage, other?
What are your expectations?
In what areas and ways are you most tempted?
How are you growing in mental vibrancy?
Are you managing your diet and exercise on a daily and weekly basis?
3. The discipline of self-development—a life-long commitment to learning and growing and building on one's strengths.
Would you say you are growing?
What are you learning in your spirit, in your mind, in your emotions, in your choices, in your body, in your marriage, in your finances, in your parenting and in your vocation?
4. The discipline of mission—enjoying the permissions of maintaining the sense of God's purpose for your life and leadership.
Are you clear on God's purposes?
Are you clear on His purpose and mission for your life?
Are you saying no enough to stay laser focused?
5. The discipline of decision-making—knowing the elements of good decisions and learning from failure.
Are you making good and wise decisions?
Is there a bad decision you must clear up and make right?
Are you daily choosing decisions that lead to life instead of death?
6. The discipline of belonging—the determination to nurture relationships and to live in community with others, including family, followers, mentors, and friends.
Are you enjoying deep, open, honest, safe friendships?
Do you have relationships ahead of, beside and behind you?
Do you have a deep sense of belonging to God and others?
7. The discipline of aloneness—the intentional practice of soul-making solitude and contemplation.
Do you make time alone a priority?
How much time do you get alone?
Are you reflecting daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually?
Are you living slow enough to think deep and noble thoughts?
I love these disciplines and good questions. Let's keep practicing greatness.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Practicing Greatness - 7 Disciplines

Prov. 1:1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: 2
for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of
insight; 3 for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what
is right and just and fair...
Practicing Greatness: 7 Disciplines of Extraordinary Spiritual Leaders
Based on his extensive experience as coach and mentor to many
thousands of Christian leaders across a broad spectrum of ministry
settings, Reggie McNeal helps spiritual leaders understand that they
will self-select into or out of greatness. In this important book,
McNeal shows how great spiritual leaders are committed consciously
and intentionally to seven spiritual disciplines, habits of heart and
mind that shape both their character and competence:
1. The discipline of self-awareness—the single most important body of
information a leader possesses.
2. The discipline of self-management—handling difficult emotions,
expectations, temptations, mental vibrancy, and physical well-being.
3. The discipline of self-development—a life-long commitment to
learning and growing and building on one's strengths.
4. The discipline of mission—enjoying the permissions of maintaining
the sense of God's purpose for your life and leadership.
5. The discipline of decision-making—knowing the elements of good
decisions and learning from failure.
6. The discipline of belonging—the determination to nurture
relationships and to live in community with others, including family,
followers, mentors, and friends.
7. The discipline of aloneness—the intentional practice of soul-
making solitude and contemplation.
I love these ideas. Would you say that these "disciplines, habits or
practices" are in your life?
Which one do you need to pay a little more attention?

D-E-S-I-G-N: Who Am I? Part 3

I have arranged and asked some questions to help you think through your DESIGN:
1. Drives
What gets your heart beating fast? What really excites you?
What makes you cry? What breaks your heart?
What do you think is your passion? What burden do you have?
2. Experiences
What are some unique experiences that have happened in your life?
What have been "defining moments" or spiritual markers along the way?
Who are your heroes?
What have been your high points? Your low points?
Have you experienced a "dark night of the soul"? Have you gone through the wilderness or brokenness? How?
3. Spiritual Gifts
What is your spiritual gift? Romans 12 lists 7 gifts.
What is your spiritual pathway? Gary Thomas writes of different spiritual pathways… Intellectual, contemplative, worship, nature, relational, activist, other?
How do you best connect with God?
4. Impact
What arena do you feel most compelled to impact? Politics, business, the church, economics or other?
Are you inclined to work with children, teens, singles, couples, young adults, men, single parents other?
If time, money or education were not an issue, what would you do?
5. Genius
What natural gifts has God given you?
What can you do "effortlessly"? What do you do repeatedly, successfully and happily?
What do you do extremely well?
What is your leadership style? Visionary, strategic, shepherd, manager, directional or motivational?
Do you prefer to work with things, people or projects?
6. Nature
What is your personality?
Extrovert vs. Introvert
Sensing or Intuitive
Thinking or Feeling
Structured or Spontaneous
People or Task oriented

D-E-S-I-G-N: Who Am I? Part 2

Last time we looked at the first 10 areas that make all of us unique. Here are some additional areas.
11. Our Natural Gifts
Am I an artistic, athletic, academic?
12. Our Spiritual Gifts:
Romans 12:6-8 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. [7] If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; [8] if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
13. Our education
14. Our experiences
This is our LifeMap. It is important to remember that God has been with us and leading all the time.
Deut. 8:2-3 Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. [3] He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
15. Our spiritual pathway
There are many different ways to draw near to God. Some are intellectual, relational, worship, nature, contemplative, serving, and activist. (See Gary Thomas, Sacred Pathways)
Spiritual Pathways
16.     Our style of leadership
There are many different styles of leadership: Visionary, entrepreneurial, strategic, motivational, shepherding, role model and managerial
Finding Your Leadership Style
17.     Our style of ministry
Someone has suggested that there are different styles of ministry based on the offices of Christ.
a.    Prophetic disruptions
b.    Kingly leadership
c.    Priestly connection
18.    Our passion for ministry
19.    Our genius, highest and best use or our core competencies
20.    Our weaknesses
I believe that when we take the time to see how fearfully and wonderfully we are made, we come alive. We experience a peace and joy that is so fulfilling. Our hearts are at rest and we fulfill the purposes of God for our lives in our generation. How well do you know who you are and who you aren't? Take some time to discover.

Friday, May 30, 2008

D-E-S-I-G-N: Who Am I? Part 1

I have been thinking a lot about that question, "Who Am I?" and this subject of DESIGN. I have often thought, "God, why did you make me like this?" For so long I have wanted to be like so many other people. I am not sure why or from where this has come. Wounded ness? Pride? The world, flesh or devil? I don't really know.
I sensed the Lord say to me one day, "John, you are growing in self awareness". As my soul has been healing and restoring, I have not looked out so much to others. I am seeing more clearly how and why God made me. There are so many levels to a human being. It is so true that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. I have thought of at least 21 levels.
1.    We were thought of and designed before the foundation of the world.
Jeremiah 1:4-5 The word of the Lord came to me, saying, [5] "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."
2.    We were seen and formed uniquely in our mother's womb.
Psalm 139:13-16 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. [14] I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  [15] My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, [16] your eyes saw my unformed body. 
3.    Our parents were assigned to us
4.    Our gender was established
5.    Our race and nationality was set
Acts 17:26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.
6.    Our time in history
Acts 13:36 "For when David had served God's purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed.
7.    Our number of days and time of death
Psalm 139:16 All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
8.    Our brothers and sisters
9.    Our birth order
10.  Our temperament
There are many assessments to help us understand the way God made us and understand other…DISC; MBTI; Rightpath; Strength Finder
Understanding your MBTI (Myers-Briggs)
http://www.personalitypathways.com/type_inventory.html
We will look at the next 11 in Part 2.
What about you? Do you know who you are and who you aren't? It is a great place to be when you accept your God given DESIGN.

LIFEMAP: What's Your Story? Part 3

In November 2001, just 4 years later, at the age of 47, Debbie and I attended L.E.A.D. (Leadership Evaluation And Development) at Dallas Seminary.  In preparation for that week we had to prepare our "Life Map."
This map considered our heritage, our high points, our low points, our heroes, and our defining moments. We did this exercise to seek to get a handle on our past and prepare for the next steps in our journey. It was an extremely helpful exercise.
1. Heritage
2. High Points
3. Low Points
4. Heroes
5. Defining moments
Start from 0 to current age in 5 year increments. Then list all the +5 and +10 events above the line and the -5 and -10 events below the line.
Another thing you will discover through this exercise. Your low points, your (-10) experiences were caused by one of three things. First, either foolish decisions that you made. Secondly, or things that were done to you. Thirdly, God was permitting what He could have prevented. (Like the loss of a parent etc.) Either way, there are things that you must forgive and other things for which you must repent and ask forgiveness. When you take care of these past things, it will free us up for a desirable and fruitful future.
Take time to do your Lifemap. It will be a very revealing and helpful exercise to move forward.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

LIFEMAP: What's Your Story? Part 2

J. Robert Clinton's book, "The Making of a Leader",  expanded my thinking about the seasons of life by using different labels and descriptions. He introduced me to the idea of a "Generalized Time Line" and I put mine together in October of 1997.
I. Sovereign Foundations
This is the part of life over which you have very little control.  It deals with:
•    Your heritage
•    Your parents and grandparents
•    Your gender
•    Your race
•    Your birth order
•    Your temperament
•    Your education
•    Your experience
•    Your spiritual life
These are the early parts of our lives that God formed, fashioned, directed or permitted for His glory and Name's sake.
II.    Inner Life Growth
This is the season where God is developing the interior part of the person; developing character to match assignment.  He is more interested in the root system than the fruit that is manifested publicly.
III.    Ministry Maturity
This is the season where a number of things are initiated.  A number of ministries are started and experimented.  This is where we begin to see the things at which we are good and not so good.
IV.    Life Maturing
This is an important but painful season.  This is a time when the Lord leads or allows us to go into seasons of isolation, conflict or crisis.  One of the primary purposes of this is to get our lives and ministries to come from being (who we are) instead of doing (what we do).  It is a season to develop a deep, abiding, personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  He continues to prune, purge and crush us so that we may bear much fruit.  He assumes through this season that our life is about His kingdom, His glory, His image and His strength.  He knows that we have been prepared as a vessel fit for His use, then He leads us into convergence.
V.    Convergence
Convergence is a season of alignment.  Alignment according to our D-E-S-I-G-N:
•    Drives
•    Experiences
•    Spiritual Gifts
•    Impact
•    Genius
•    Nature
It is a season that results from time of prayerful examination, reflection and processing of life.  We are able to see the sovereign, loving hand of our Heavenly Father who has been leading and shaping all the way.  Convergence is a season that unfolds, more in response to invitations versus personal initiations.  This season is displayed with grace, peace, rest, life, hope, wisdom and the fruit of the spirit. Only God knows the number of days and years this season will last.  It is a time to be fully enjoyed but not held on to.  Any and all fruit is for the glory of God and to be produced by Him. 
VI.    Afterglow
After a full season and life of walking with the Savior, a man or woman moves into a season of "Afterglow."  This is a time of remembrance and reflection on the goodness of our God; of a life well spent with the Savior.  It is a season of great anticipation of eternity with the Savior for whom they surrendered their life, will and ways.
In what season are you? Do you see the Hand of God at work shaping you to be the man and leader He is calling you to be?