Saturday, October 25, 2014

Time Out

by Tim Howard

The passengers could hear the airline pilot over the intercom system as he interrupted the flight to say he had some good news and some bad news. He then went on to say: “The good news is that we are making very good time. The airstreams are on our side, the skies are clear and we are ahead of schedule. The bad news is – we have lost track of our destination.”

I want this item yesterday! Hurry we are late! Go faster, I will miss my appointment! It seems we are always in a rush – How can we speed things up? What lane on the freeway do I choose so I can get to my destination faster?  What line in the grocery store seems to be moving at the quickest pace? I’m always looking for the fastest way because I am the King of hurry! 

Is speed the only factor in our decision making process, however? What would happen is we took a few ‘time outs’ along the way. If it’s possible to accomplish more by doing less – maybe it’s possible to make better time by taking a few time outs!

Time outs happen when you STOP! They are not only designed for children as a means of discipline but prove to be effective in the lives of any adult who finds himself or herself running in circles and are extremely busy yet making little headway toward a designated goal.

I’ve read that the average number of times people check their cell phone is nine times in an hour. I believe that number would increase if we were talking about his or her watch. One of the most frequent questions asked in our culture is: What time is it? I suggest, however, a better question is this: How are we using our time? 

You can always get more money but you can’t get more time. We have all been allotted a certain amount of hours, days, years and you don’t have the privilege of ‘re-do’s.’ You only live life once. How are you using your time?

Moses prayed this prayer:  Psa. 90:12 “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” God answered this prayer by giving him a 7 day ‘Time Management’ plan that’s recorded in Exodus 20:8-10. “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God.”

He says two specific things:  

1. Remember – don’t forget to make room for Time – Outs in your life. Don’t go longer than 6 days without it.  

2. Make sure that day is different than the others. Set it apart for fulfilling God’s desires. If this happens you will be using your time wisely.

The word “Sabbath” comes from the Hebrew word Shabbat, which means “to cease, to desist, to stop, to pause. The Sabbath is a weekly ‘Time Out.’
The religious leaders of that day made three mistakes, which caused them to miss the significance of Jesus’ words when He said: “Man was not made for the Sabbath but the Sabbath was made for man.” They tried to reduce this time of rest to a specific day. They made many rules and regulations to govern that day and they turned this day into a requirement rather than a privilege.

God wants you to take a Sabbath – a Time Out because it’s good for you. It’s the rhythm of life. It’s a privilege afforded to all of us.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Six Promises for You

by Andrew Cromwell

Going through a tough time? Life is full of challenges and life is more about how we respond to them, than what we are faced with.

In difficult times, one of the few places we can turn to find comfort is in the pages of Scripture.  Many times we fail to recognize the great gifts the Bible holds within its pages.  In it, Father God has given us a roadmap for life, a primer on relationships, and a handbook on dealing with downturns and disasters. 

So before you give up, blow up or run away, let me encourage you with six promises from the King who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, knows no lack and wrote the end of the book.   

Promise #1 — to never leave... 
"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'   Hebrews 13:5 NIV 

Promise #2 — to care for you... 
"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?"  Matthew 6:28-30 NLT 

Promise #3 — to provide for you... 
"Don't worry and ask yourselves, 'Will we have anything to eat? Will we have anything to drink? Will we have any clothes to wear?' Only people who don't know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father in heaven knows that you need all of these. But more than anything else, put God's work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well."  Matthew 6:31-33 CEV 

Promise #4 — to give you rest... 
"Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest."  Matthew 11:28 NCV 

Promise #5 — to free you from fear... 
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall in to the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging."  Psalm 46:1-3 NIV 

Promise #6 — to build your faith... 
"Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing."  James 1:2-4 NLT 

These are a just a few of the many promises that God has for His children.  

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Power of Words

by Tim Howard

Proverbs 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death and those who love it will eat its fruit. NIV

Shut Up! You're no good! You're lazy! You're stupid! YEAH I’M TALKING TO YOU! You will never make it! What is wrong with you? You’re too old! No one wants you! You're ugly! Get away from me! I am sorry you were ever born! I should have never married you! You're crazy! You’re a loser!

Before you stop reading this article and think I’m a jerk – Please know, there are a lot of people whose relationship with God and relationship with others is highly affected for the worst because they have listened to and believed the wrong words.

Your life right now is the composite of words spoken to you or by you. The words you have listened to and believed – and the words you have spoken to others with conviction have set the direction of your life.

The nursery rhyme “Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never harm me” may sound cute but it’s simply not true. Words affect the mind, the emotions the attitude and alter a person’s behavior.

Psalms 33:6 "By the Word of the Lord the heavens were made and all the host of them by the breadth of His mouth."

He spoke light, darkness, the moon, the sun, the trees and all we see into being by a spoken word. God demonstrates the power of words through His creation and the same power is revealed through the words you choose to declare to others.

The way you speak and the words you use, creates an atmosphere that brings life or death to those who hear. If you change the words you listen to – change the words you speak to others – you can change the world you live in.

Words carry an unseen power that brings about seen results! You can literally see a person’s behavior and countenance brighten up when you speak edifying and complimentary words to them. The opposite can be seen when negative and derogatory words are spoken.

Your words set the course of your life towards destiny or destruction.
Listen to James 3:5-10 “A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it. It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell. This is scary: You can tame a tiger but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth! My friends, this can’t go on. MSG

The Israelites grumbled, complained, murmured, blamed and accused others for their problems, which led to their destruction. Their words caused them to be stuck in the wilderness for 40 years. They couldn’t hear the words coming from their own mouths.  It was their negative words, fueled by a hardened heart that restricted them from experiencing life to its fullness.
David had good reason to give this command: Psa. 34:13 “…Guard your tongue.”

Saturday, October 4, 2014

You're Still Learning Too

You’re Still Learning Too

If you have kids, you know they are wonderful. When they’re still small, there’s nothing quite like their smiles and giggles, their hugs and their handmade little drawings. And as they grow older it is such a joy to watch their unique personality and humor develop and see them grow into adulthood. 

If you have kids, you know they are wonderful. You know they are also incredibly frustrating. They challenge you. They test you. They push your buttons. They can be ungrateful. And on top of that, they eat all your food and spend all your money!

Parenting is a joy, but it is also one of the greatest challenges that we experience in life. Far too often, we get stuck in a parenting style that many learned from their parents—the old ‘stand there and listen to me lecture’ (and maybe even yell a little) ‘and tell you about the realities of life.’ And if the child doesn’t seem like they are paying attention, we just lecture a little longer so as to drive our point home. 

Apart from the fact that this style of parenting is mostly ineffective (remember how well it worked with you?), it does little more than to put us in a position of superiority where we end up portraying to our children that we learned this very lesson long ago and “why can’t they hurry up and learn it too?” 

The other day I was, yet again, frustrated with one of my kids because they gave up too soon (like they tried once and quit when they ran into a little difficulty) on a task I had assigned to them. Now, there is no doubt that one of the things that all of our children need to learn is how to solve problems. Resourcefulness and problem solving is an incredibly important skill in life. 

But I had a moment of revelation as I was telling them how they needed to problem solve before they quit next time. And as I droned on and on, I realized (perhaps God speaks to me too) that I was still dealing with that exact same tendency to give up too soon in my own life. Sure, I was a little further along then my kid, but, wasn’t it just last week that I gave up when that challenge took me longer than I thought it should? Didn’t I get frustrated and walk away? And here I am lecturing as if I’ve got this one down pat.

This changed my whole perspective. Maybe the very things I was teaching my kids, were the same things I was still learning? Maybe the way I needed to talk with them was not like a general commanding, but rather a friend encouraging? Of course, I will still hold them accountable and all that, but I am seeking to change the tone I use from resident expert, to friendly guide.

Romans 12:10 says, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” I believe this applies to our kids as much as it does to anyone else.