Monday, April 27, 2009

Do Over

Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.
Lam 3:23 (NLT)

Last weekend in our video Dave Ramsey talked about getting a “do over” in life. Remember playing baseball in the backyard as a kid and when something went wrong you called for a “do over.” God’s grace allows for “do overs” even in our adult lives.

Dave also talked about taking care of the four main areas of our lives. Turning 40 last week got me thinking about a “do over” in every area of my life. Here are some questions to ask yourself when analyzing your personal “do over.”

Physical. Am I taking care of the one body God has given me? What can I do to increase my energy and better my health?

Mental. Am I continually learning? What am I reading? Should I take a class? Should I develop a relationship with a mentor?

Emotional. Am I being completely honest with my feelings? What are my motivations? Should I join a small group or develop an accountability relationship? Should I visit a counselor or life coach?

Spiritual. Do I live my life according to what I know the Bible says? Am I active in the family of God? Am I practicing the spiritual disciplines? Am I close enough to God to hear His whisper?

It’s never too late for a “do over” in any or every area of your life. Don’t let anybody tell you different. God’s Word promises, His mercies begin afresh each morning.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Turning 40

Seventy years are given to us. Some even live to eighty. But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we fly away.
Psalms 90:10 (NLT)

I’m turning 40 this week. I know it’s not the biggest deal in the world, but I don’t do well with big birthdays. I have a tendency to think too much about the brevity of life. I understand that for some in our congregation I’m still young and to others I am ancient. I guess it’s all a matter of perspective.

But when you look at what the Bible says, along with the average lifespan these days, when you hit 40, even with good health, your life is about half over. I can’t believe how fast the first 40 years went and my dad amusingly mentioned that the second 40 go even faster. How is it that even a long life can seem short?

I believe it’s because we were made for more. Much more. We were created for an eternity with God. So while we have breath in these mortal bodies we are preparing for eternity. I have to keep an eternal perspective remembering to live for the glory of God. It’s only what I do for Him that will matter for eternity.

The Bible says, “Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.” 1 Cor. 3:12-15 (NLT)

So how have I used my first 40 years? If the Lord tarries, how will I use the next 40? It’s important to think about. I want it said of me what was said of David, “David had done the will of God in his own generation.” Acts 13:36 (NLT)

Monday, April 06, 2009

Love Your Enemies

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
Luke 6:27, 28

Last week someone broke into our minivan. Apparently, it’s not wise to leave your GPS in the window overnight. I apologize for the sarcasm but it was a chintzy GPS and I thought I lived in a pretty safe neighborhood. I should have left the doors unlocked so they could have just taken it. Instead they threw a brick through the window doing even more damage to the interior of the car.

The next morning when I discovered what happened I felt violated and angry. How dare they! I didn’t care that much about the GPS I was resenting the time and money it would cost getting the van back into working order.

I had busy day waiting for me. After the police came I began cleaning up the mess. The more I cleaned, the angrier I became. I began thinking about what I would like to do to the person or people who did this. I was hoping that the police would catch them so I could let them have it in court. Maybe the judge would let me throw a brick through the window of their car!

As I was kneeling on the ground sweeping up glass I felt the Holy Spirit say, “Pray for them.” I quickly ignored the Spirit’s leading and continued to sweep and fume. As the prompting grew I finally relented and said a prayer as I swept and almost came to tears on my knees in my driveway.

I share this story with you because I needed to be reminded that I can’t pray for someone and hate them at the same time. We all need to be reminded to pray for our enemies. When we pray God’s love replaces our hate. Who do you need to pray for today?