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Lazy Complainers vs Diligent Pursuers

I’m overweight. Yep, I’m overweight by about 45-50 pounds, and I’m not happy about it. While I do battle a few chronic illnesses that keep me in bed, and I take a medication that is known to add about 10 pounds to a patient, I truly cannot look myself in the eye in the mirror and see a single excuse for my being overweight. Sure, there are several reasons, but no excuses.

The question I pose to myself today is this: am I going to be a Lazy Complainer or a Diligent Pursuer of slimming down my body? As far as I know, I do not have a genetic condition that makes losing weight almost impossible or requires major medical intervention (which some people DO have, and my heart empathizes for them).

If I am going to change from being a Lazy Complainer into a Diligent Pursuer, there are some specific things that I need to purposefully and passionately do:

FIRST: To begin, I’m going to engage in PRAYER, asking for God’s help.

“You desire but do not have… You do not have because you do not ask God.”

~ James‬ ‭4:2‬

SECOND: I am going to begin a deliberate ANTICIPATION of God answering my prayer by helping me.

“But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”

~ James‬ ‭1:6‬

THIRD: I’ll need His help with WISDOM for the “HOW-TO

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, Who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

~ James‬ ‭1:5‬

FOURTH: I’ll need His help with SELF-DISCIPLINE for the “JUST DO IT” aspect.

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

~ Matthew‬ ‭26:41‬

Losing some weight is just one of several areas in my life where I want to become a Diligent Pursuer. It is going to involve prayer (asking of God), faith (anticipation that God WILL help me as I continuously pray and ask Him), and deliberate actions consistent with my goals.

What about you? Do you have some areas of your life that you find yourself being a Lazy Complainer, but you really need and want to become a Diligent Pursuer? Well, your victory at the Finish Line awaits you to run your race! “Run in such a way as to win” (1 Corinthians 9:24) Diligently take EVERY step necessary to reaching the Finish Line. The steps I outlined earlier for my own race with weight loss will be a great starting point for you.

HEALTH & MEDICAL.

Do you have a health challenge that is just waiting for you to “run the race in such a way as to win?” Regardless of how impossible it might be for a human resolution of your health issues, and regardless of how weak your self-discipline has been, cry out to God EVERYDAY! He loves to hear from His children when we have a need or desire, great or small.

Let’s remember the words of Jesus:

“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.’”

~ Mark‬ ‭10:27‬

MARRIAGE & RELATIONSHIP.

Do you have a marriage that you wish was emotionally intimate and supportive? Every marriage requires BOTH spouses to diligently pursue the same goal, but far too often the one who wants it the most (who is complaining the most) is not doing and being everything that is necessary for that rich relationship to become a reality. The Lazy Complainer strategy has been employed instead of their becoming the Diligent Pursuer, and their spouse is blamed for not being a Diligent Pursuer.

Sadly, some individuals will NEVER have their desired emotionally intimate marriage, not because of their spouse’s faults but because of their own actions. Their own actions are incompatible with what they say they want. God Himself is a Diligent Pursuer, He took great sacrificial steps toward us before we ever eventually responded, and we are called upon to do the same for one another:

“This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

~ 1 John‬ ‭4:9-11‬

The most important start to having your prayers heard and answered regarding marriage is to engage today in being considerate and respectful of your spouse, regardless if they are inconsiderate or disrespectful.

“Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”

~ 1 Peter‬ ‭3:7‬

CAREER & WORK.

Do you have a job or career where you wish you would be promoted or assigned a special project, but it’s just not happening? The question to ask yourself is this: “Am I a Lazy Complainer or a Diligent Pursuer?” Rarely can a job be done well without great effort. Early in the book of Genesis, we are instructed that work will require “the sweat of the brow” which speaks of great, continuos effort.

My wife does mentoring of workers in various settings, and she warns them to guard against becoming “lost to mediocrity.” This wisdom is pure gold. A person who is swallowed up in the quicksand of being a mediocre employee, manager, or executive will also be a Lazy Complainer; they will become distracted during their race and they will never finish their race, much less finish their race well as a winner.

Of course, there are plenty of situations in life where we might already be Diligent Pursuers and we encounter others who are blocking the race track. However, we should avoid the blaming of others for being obstacles. Remember, God is the God of the impossible. We need to be Diligent Pursuers who pray, asking the Lord for His help with the impossible, and listening to Him for His guidance, wisdom, and insights.

THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS

Who knows, God may have arranged your encounter with a certain person who is an obstacle, not so you can run over them or “rebuke” them for being a Lazy Complainer or a purveyor of mediocrity, but so you can help pick them up, mentor them, and run with them for a while. Let’s not forget that God and people are far more important than the immediate achievement of our goals. We CAN finish the race while lovingly helping and mentoring others to finish their race too.

#PastorsTip #Lazy #Complain #Diligent #Pursue #Mediocrity #Mentor #Marriage #Health #Medical #SelfDiscipline #Pray #AskGod #Wisdom #Winner #Champion

A Short Devotional

{ Author’s Note: This short devotional is written for those poor souls whose attention spans have been diminished to the point of being only seconds in duration, due to a chronic social media addiction and consumption. }

 

God is good. God loves you. Be at peace.

… Squirrel!

Amen.

 

{ That’s all. }

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#PastorsTip #Devotional #AttentionSpan #SocialMedia #Addiction #Chronic #Consumption #Squirrel

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Foxholes & The Peace of Christ

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

~ John‬ ‭14:27‬‬‬‬

The Peace that Christ gives to His followers is not situational, it is not as a result of being surrounded by quiet circumstances.

Foxholes are the holes dug by soldiers that they can dive into when the enemy begins firing upon them. To be huddled in the midst of a firestorm of destruction and violence, it rattles and scares the most hardened and experienced warrior.

It is in times like these that the Peace of Christ settles our hearts and minds. The noise on the outside and the explosive forces that send bone shaking shockwaves through our bodies cannot overcome the Peace that calms the waters of our hearts like oil poured upon water.

The world says that your peace is dependent on your surrounding circumstances. Jesus says that your Peace comes from Him regardless of your surroundings. Have a great day, my friends, as you recognize the Peace that Christ is offering you.

#PastorsTip #Foxholes #Peace #PeaceOfChrist

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When We Christians Act Like Jerks

How much of our society’s disgust with Christians is not related to our clear, gracious representation and proclamation of the Words and the Spirit of Christ, but is tied directly to too many of us simply being jerks online and being so in the name of Christ?

Jesus did say that we as His followers would be hated by plenty of non-Christians (John 15:18). However, this hatred would be directly tied to the pure message of Christ that we communicate through word and deed.

Just because we include the topics of Jesus, Sin, and some theology in our online communications does not excuse any inclusion of our own demeaning words, angry tones, and self-centered actions that are not representative of Christ and His message. When we act this way, we are not focused on developing our audience’s understanding of Christ and (hopefully) their subsequent agreement with Him. Instead, we are simply feeding our own un-Christlike desires to be self-righteous, judgmental, and vengeful.

Taking a stand in our society against the progression of sin is a must, it is inevitable. But, when we are jerks in how we go about it, the message of Christ is stripped of its legitimacy and any attractiveness it might have had to others.

“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without [our] holiness no one [else] will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”

~ Hebrews‬ ‭12:14-15‬

#PastorsTip #Christians #Jerks #Grace #Kindness

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For Leaders, Problems Are Not A Problem

To My Fellow Pastors & Leaders,

Great leaders do not consider daily problems to be a distraction. Daily problems are THE terrain in which leaders journey. If there were no problems, most leaders would not be necessary.

When problems arise, displaying the proper can-do and will-do attitude builds confidence in those around us, and it encourages and equips them with a similar can-do and will-do approach to problems.

The retired 4-Star General, Colin Powell, said it well regarding leaders and dealing with problems:

“The day the soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care.”

As leaders in various situations and settings, let us approach problems with graciousness, without complaining or degrading those who have the problem. Let’s approach the problems with a can-do and will-do countenance.

#PastorsTip #Leadership #Problems #Attitude #CanDo #WillDo

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Christians & The 24/7 Newsfeed

Dear Fellow Christians,

Today, another headline of the life-and-death conflict between Islamic terrorists and modern civilization, and between a branch of Islam and those who profess Christ to be The Son of God.

The headlines can get to be very dark and have a massive influence on our emotional health for the day or week. It makes us want to avoid EVERY nuance of news, and to bury ourselves in the humor of funny memes on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

With the easy access to the 24/7 news cycle, we can soon become over-consumers. We can over-feed on the news: our intellect can become shallow, our opinions can become soured, our view of life can become clouded with an unhealthy smog.

Just as unhealthy as chronic news consumption can be for us, so can our deliberate ignorance be very unhealthy. The attitude of burying our head in the sand (like an Ostrich does to hide from danger) leaves us unable to pray for specific trends developing in our world.

Each person is different on how much news they can handle, how much news amounts to over-consumption and taxes their mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health.

Let each of us find the balance that the Lord would indicate is appropriate for us according to how He uses us in prayer, evangelism, and service.

See you at the altar in prayer.

#PastorsTip #News #NewsCycle #News247 #Prayer #Ministry #Service #FairAndBalanced #ABC #CBS #NBC #MSNBC #CNN #CNNinternational #FoxNews #CNBC #BBC

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Lessons From Duffy

We have a West Highland Terrier (aka a “Westie”) that we adopted through the Humane Society in Portland about 2 years ago. His previous owners named him Duffy and they worked with him very well to learn the right things to do, and what not to do. He is now about 7 years old.

Duffy is a spontaneous character, often barking before anything has happened, and dramatically exploding out of a sound sleep into an attack strategy launched upon one of his toys, shaking it to shreds while doing his best lion-with-fresh-prey imitation.

He is a fun dog… most of the time.

He does however have his days where his little heart and mind turn a few shades darker, and he becomes a rebellious little punk. A cute punk, but still a punk.

Here is a lesson from Duffy: when he is scolded and reprimanded for doing what he KNOWS is wrong (but he does it anyway!), he does not run away from us. Instead he walks right up to us, tail down and head down, and getting as close to us as he can, he sits right next to our feet. He leans into us, complete with a look of “sorry” on his face and his tail signaling an “oops, I did it again, didn’t I?” kind of message.

Each time it reminds me of how many times in life I’ve had some days where my heart and mind were a few shades darker, and I became a rebellious little punk in God’s eyes. Sure, He still loved me, He still thought I was cute (just like my Mom always thinks that I am cute too!), but I was also being a punk.

When we have those times in life when God has to scold us and reprimand us for our times of rebellion, how often do we experience the urge to run away and hide? Adam and Eve ran away and hid themselves from God after their rebellious day, and we have the same propensity.

God wants our response to be similar to Duffy’s: He wants us to approach Him, not with excuses (“What’s the big deal?”) or distractions (“Oh look, God, a squirrel!”), but with a contrite heart, leaning into Him, snuggling up close to Him.

Sometimes I wonder if Duffy might be better at this post-rebellion routine than most human beings. We really appreciate his return after the fact. How much more does God appreciate our return in like manner!

#PastorsTip

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Seek Me, Find Me!

Were you at one time so close to the Lord that He consumed your every thought and was the center of every one of your hopes and dreams? Were you so enamored with Him that you knew what Peter must have felt when he told the Lord, “I’ll die before I ever leave Your side”?

However, today as you ponder your life with Christ, do you wonder how such a wide canyon has developed that separates you from the blessing of experiencing His presence every moment of every day? Do you feel numb in your heart, knowing you should be feeling something, but it’s just not there? Do you know in your mind that your first love has become distant, but you are concerned with how you allowed this to happen?

You are not alone, my friend. Scripture is filled with the stories of people who have experienced the same wilderness. Thankfully, God understands our humanity and our imperfections, and He offers us a road map back to Him for our hearts.

God told Israel ahead of time, before they had grown distant from Him, that if they ever become distant from Him and find themselves in a wilderness of separation from Him that there is a way back:

“But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

~ Deuteronomy‬ ‭4:29‬

Today, heed the moment of clarity that you are experiencing. Take some deliberate, heart-felt steps to draw close to God. The journey may be short or it may be long, but God has promised that in times like these IF we will seek Him with ALL of our heart, we WILL find Him again!

If you are in a wilderness today, may today be the first day of your new season and new journey toward the heart of God. You WILL find Him, and you WILL become even closer to Him than before. Just keep seeking, stay on the path, and fuel your journey with the passion of your heart.

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Giving Our Worst Attitudes To Our Family?

Perhaps you have heard someone say (or maybe you have said it yourself), “My spouse is great at church, but at home they are a beast to live with!”

Or maybe, “My parents are thought of by their friends as fun-loving and very good people, but at home they yell, curse, and swear at each other and at us kids!”

Or yet another one, “My spouse is outstanding in their co-worker and professional relationships at work, but at home with the family they are short-tempered, verbally cruel, and physically abusive of all of us.”

Why is it that we as humans have a propensity to give strangers and friends the best of our attitudes, but we give our families the worst of our attitudes? This should not be!

“Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.”

~ James 3:10-13

I dare say, we will be evaluated by God not by the best that we give to others, but by the WORST that we give to others. Our good attitudes do not counter-balance our bad attitudes in the scales of Heaven. We hope that God will reward us for how kind we are to fellow church goers, co-workers, neighbors, and strangers. However, our insensitive or cruel treatment of our own family destroys whatever merit we think we might have gained with God.

“Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

~ 1 Timothy 5:8

That which we provide for our families is not just financial and material. We also provide kindness, grace, sincerity, self-control, and genuine love to the core! We provide an atmosphere for the home that is peaceful with a sense of emotional security and unconditional love.

I doubt anyone is perfect in this, and I certainly am not. But, over the years I have learned and changed enough to feel that I can sound this call without my being a hypocrite in God’s eyes. Let us bring into our homes and into our families the very best attitudes that our lives can generate. Let’s stay on our knees in daily prayer, pleading with God for His grace to continue to flow into us so that we can continue to be transformed, and continue to ALWAYS have our best flow freely to ALL of those around us.

My family deserves my best. My wife deserves my best. Not because of their perfection (anymore than their imperfection deserves my imperfection in return), but because of God’s call for each of us to love each other with His kind of love.

May our home be where our absolute best is provided to every family member. This will certainly please them, and it will definitely please God!

(Thanks for reading. I know this subject can be a real toe stomper.)

#PastorsTip

 

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How To Pray For Your Pastor

If there is one prayer that you can pray for your pastor, what would it be?

When that prayer is answered, it should result in them becoming: closer to God; a better person; a better spouse; a better pastor; an influential person in the lives of others; effective in teaching and preaching the Word of God, etc. You know, things like that.

So what would that one prayer be that you would pray regularly, frequently, passionately on their behalf? What one prayer is it God is always delighted to hear, and is always delighted to answer?

That one prayer is this: Pray for your pastor to become a Praying Person!

For each of us as believers, when we become a praying person, it is through that single avenue that God can and does work most powerfully. He works transformationally within us and influentially through us.

Of all things, each of us are called to become praying people:

“The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.”

‭‭~ 1 Peter‬ ‭4:7

See you at the altar as we pray for our pastors to be praying people.

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