Touched by this Poem that was read on Sunday before communion

Before I take the body of my Lord

Before I share his life in bread and wine

I recognize the sorry things within

These I lay down

The words of hope I often fail to give

The prayers of kindness buried by my pride

The signs of care I argued out of sight

These I lay down

The narrowness of vision and of mind

The need of other folk to serve my will

And every word and silence meant to hurt

These I lay down

Of those around in whom I meet my Lord

I ask them pardon and grant them mine

That every contradiction of Christ’s peace

Might be laid down

Lord Jesus, companion at this feast

I empty now my heart and stretch my hands

And ask to meet you here in bread and wine

Which you lay down.

source: Unknown at this time.  I will credit when I find out.

Realignment on Love: More than a decision

Thanks Pastor John Piper for this realignment with truth on love video:

Realignment in my Past – Confession, Mercy, and a New Resolve!

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“Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”   ESV  Proverbs 28:13

I recently watched a photo tribute of the life of my high school cross-country and track coach.  It brought back some wonderful memories. I smiled to myself as I remembered a lesson that Coach Robertson taught me about merciful forgiveness when I owned up to my wrongdoing.

It must have been my junior or senior year during track season that Coach had entrusted to me a key to open and lock the locker room each morning under the stadium stands of the football field.  A big responsibility and one that I took seriously.  I always made sure I arrived early and the door was locked back up when I was the last one to leave.

Well, for a few mornings for several weeks, some of the guys were starting to horse around with the water filled fire extinguishers.  They would grab them and pretend to spray people.  However, one morning things got out of hand.  I joined in and grabbed one myself.  Someone actually sprayed me.  In retaliation I pulled the trigger to spray back when in walked an assistant track coach.  I was caught in the act.  He said, “Put those away!  You guys know better, I’m reporting you to Coach Robertson.”  He then left as fast as he came in.

My heart was smitten.  I had betrayed the trust of my Coach.  What should I d0?   I was guilty.  I had been foolish!  I was caught!

As I dressed for school, I resolved in my heart and mind on what to do.  I must find Coach immediately.

I walked quickly across the field to his office in the men’s locker room.  As I walked, I took the key off my key ring and rubbed it nervously.  I walked into his office and saw his serious eyes meet mine.  Holding up the key, I said in shame, “I am sorry for betraying your trust,  here is the key.”  He gave me a stern look and did not say anything for a moment that seemed like eternity.  He then asked, “Did you learn a good lesson?”   “Yes, Sir!”    He slightly smiled and said, “Keep the key!  Don’t let it happen again.”

Mercifully forgiven! I did not betray his trust again.

However, I know that I probably would not have confessed, if I had not been caught.  Getting caught in that moment of foolishness was the best thing that could have happened to me.  It caused a realignment in my mind and thinking to choose to be responsible and not foolish.

Do you have a story of a lesson you learned when you got caught?

Realigning our thinking on love again. . .

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I don’t know about you, but for me, I need to realign my mind with what true love is all about more often than I do.

It seems that naturally I become self-loving or plain old selfish way to often.

At those times, what helps the most is to read 1 Corinthians 13.  The next time you get in a fight try reading and studying 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a.

The following has helped me and others a lot.  I am confident it will help you too:

Repost from

I Corinthians 13:4-8a -”Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.8  Charity never faileth.”  KJV

For a more detailed study of each description click on the highlighted text:

1. Love is longsuffering – It bears injuries or provocation for a long time; it is patient, not easily provoked – Is there someone you need to continue to be patient with in a loving way?

2. Love is kind – Disposed to do good to others – Is there someone you can show kindness to this week in a loving way?

3. Love does not envy – It desires not to deprive others of what is rightfully theirs, it does not wish that they did not have it or had it to a lesser degree. – Is there someone or something you are envying that is keeping you from being loving?

4. Love is not proud – Is there something that you are proud about that is keeping you from loving God and others?

5. Love is not unseemly – it is not unfit, unbecoming, or indecent. Do you have unloving behavior in your life for which you should receive correction from the Lord, so you can be a more loving person?

6. Love seeketh not her own – Love is not selfish! Are there some selfish thoughts and motives in your heart that are keeping you from loving others?

7. Love is not easily provoked – Is not quick-tempered, touchy, irritable. Have you been irritable with someone today? If so the loving thing to do is to make it right by asking forgiveness.

8. Love thinketh no evil – It does not keep a ledger of the wrongs – it does not store up the memory of any wrong it has received. Do you have a list of someone’s wrongs stored up that you just won’t forgive? If so, do the loving thing and give it to God.

9. Love does not rejoice in iniquity – Love finds no pleasure in the sin of others that brings hardship and judgment into their lives. If you are rejoicing over the downfall of others, repent and pray for God’s mercy to be upon them.

10. Love rejoices in the truth – What truth have you rejoiced in today? Can you think of something true, that you can rejoice about in a loving way with others?

11. Love bears all things – It enduringly protects and covers the beloved in all things. What ever the hardship, difficulty, attack, and trial, the loving person is there to help, not only to back you up but also to be a shield. Are you being a protecting shield in your love for others?

12. Love believeth all things – love is completely trusting, it is not suspicious. Have you failed to give someone the benefit of the doubt lately? The loving thing is to check it out!

13. Love hopeth all things – It does not despair, it keeps on hoping for the best in regard for all men. Love refuses to take failure as final it does not give up on someone. Have you been tempted to give up on someone for whom you care deeply? Love keeps caring!

14. Love endureth all things – Love sustains the assaults of suffering or persecution, in the sense of bearing up under them, and enduring them patiently. Is your love for someone being tested? Let God help you to love them for the long hall.

Conclusion:  Love Never Fails

Phrases that Pop!

IMG_2313When you read the Bible, have you ever had a phrase leap off the page and into your mind and heart?

It happened to me for the first time while sitting on a church bus way back in 1978.  The church youth group had camped-out one night to attend the Oregon State Fair.  I got up early that morning and was enjoying the sun on my back as I sat in the bus to avoid the wind.  I opened my Bible to John chapter 14 and started reading Jesus’ words as He talked with his disciples, foretelling of His pending death.

When I came to verse 27, I knew that God was speaking not only to the disciples but to me:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.  (John 14:27 ESV)

The world did not make any sense to me until I had come to faith in God through Jesus. God had given me a peace that I had never known and one I didn’t fully comprehend.  I did not know what was ahead for me as a new Christ follower. However, according to this promise from Jesus, my heart did not need to be in turmoil and I did not need to fear.

What comfort in my soul as I sat worshiping my Savior while soaking up sunshine as God’s light brightened my day and life.

What was good for me 38 years ago is good for me today.  I can trust in a good God who cares for me.

Is there a verse or passage that has helped sustain you that you need to remember?

I would love to hear about your verse or phrase from the Bible that brought peace and hope to you.

 

 

Put it on him!

At our men’s gathering on Thursday morning, I had the privilege of reading from Luke 15:11-24 about the downfall and up-pull of a son who was loved by his father, commonly known as the prodigal son.

As I read, a phrase evoked some vivid images in my mind. What the Father said to his servants as he welcomed his son home, came home to me!

“Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him . . .”

I envisioned the many time my mom purchased clothing for me as I grew-up.  Her clothing gifts were always the best and made me feel loved.

I reIMG_2307membered how just a few years ago my Mom bought me a red and black plaid vest and how now when I wear it I feel like I am getting a hug from my mom.

I pictured how my little 3-year-old grandson feels when I cover him with his special blanket his mother made for him.

“Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him . . .”

Amazingly, God has done this for me in his gift of Salvation in Jesus Christ.

The gift of covering means I am loved and cared for by my heavenly Father!  God provides a covering of white garments for those who are overcomers in the Lord Jesus Christ:

Jesus said, “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’ ” (Revelations 3:5-6). NKJV
Have you received God’s covering for you? He desires to cloth you in the Righteousness of Christ:

For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”  (Romans 4:3-8 ESV)

And finally, like the father in Jesus’ story, is there a “covering” you could give to someone to help them up?
“Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him . . .”

Words for Focus in the New Year!

IMG_2303If you have read my recent posts, you know that my word for change in 2016 is ALIGNMENT. However, our pastor has been giving the word HOPE to our church for this year:

H = healing – both spiritually, emotionally, and physically – Yes, I need this . . .

O = opportunity -for spiritual growth and  service of God and others . . .

P = prayer/promise – clinging to God’s promises in vigilant prayer  . . .

E = experience – a closer relationship in sensing the presence of God . . .

O Lord, please bring healing to my soul and body, help me see and not shrink back from the opportunities before me in 2016 for personal growth and selfless service,  give me grace to cling to your promises in constant prayer, and help me to experience your presence in my life in a new and thrilling way.  Lord I need you!  Come and fill me with Your Spirit to be all that you want me to be in Christ Jesus my Lord and Savior.

I have hope that my thinking can be aligned with God’s Word and will for my life in 2016.  May He be glorified and magnified in my life.

I would love to hear if God has given you a word for 2016 that brings you HOPE!

Alignment is important!

In relationships, being out of sync, brings unwarranted friction.  It is similar to what happens to your front tires when they are out of alignment, they heat up on one side of the tread and wear out quickly.

So, whatworn-tyre do you do when you see abnormal tread wear on your front tires?  If you’re wise, you take action and go to the alignment specialist.

Who is the alignment specialist in relationships?  The One who created us to be in relationship like He is, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.   If you have spent any time reading the Bible you know that it speak much about relationships.

A relationship alignment passage that has help me is Ephesians 4:31-32:

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. ESV

When I want to hold onto my bitterness and anger, remembering how I am forgiven in Jesus helps most.  He was willing to pay the price of my redemption.  When aligning my thoughts with what Jesus did for me, my unwillingness to pay the cost of forgiveness in other relationships fade. Then I can receive God’s help to be kind and loving instead of bitter and hateful. Thank you Lord for your grace!

Happy New Year of Alignment!

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I sometimes like having key words or themes for periods of time.  When I  had leadership positions in the past I would choose a theme for the year which brought focus and a challenge throughout the year.

So, why haven’t I done this for myself when not in a leadership position?  Not sure. Not going to dwell there! I’m choosing to put the past behind me. I’m moving forward out of my despondency and lethargy.

This year the word alignment has arrested my attention.  The word jumped out at me while working through a course entitled, 5 Days To Your Best Year Ever, by Michael Hyatt.  Oh, and by the way, the course has been a great way to jump start my year with a method of goal setting that taps into my motivations.  Thanks, Michael Hyatt. Thanks to my wife Tammie who encouraged me to take the course.  Ok, back to alignment.

For 2016 and the rest of my life I need to align my mind with truth.  I often believe limiting lies that keep me from needed change or achievements.  My mom tried to raise me with an I can attitude, but the I can’ts are lies that creep in so easily.

Just the other day one of those puzzling math post came up on Facebook. At first glance I accepted a limiting lie, “I could never solve that problem”.  I paused, remembered Michael Hyatt’s talk on limiting beliefs and rejected the lie. I remembered the liberating truth my mom tried to instill in me, ” I can’t, never did anything, but I can, can do anything.”  A liberating truth moment!  Alignment!  I solved the logic of the problem in less then 1 minute. It was easy when my thinking and mind was aligned with truth.  I can!

How about you?  What limiting lies are you believing that need to be discarded in 2016?  Will you replace them with liberating truths and have a break through year with me?

Wishing you a blessed New Year of alignment with liberating truth!

 

Alignment Is my Word for 2016

WebFor years I have been ordering my life with a view toward balance.  I have tried to keep my life goals, activities, responsibilities, and my theology in balance.  Unwittingly this has led to much frustration because I have viewed the varying parts or elements to be in opposition to each other rather then complementing each other.   This week I was introduced to a new way of viewing life by replacing the concept of balance with alignment.  My goals, activities, responsibilities, and yes, even my theology do not have to balance they need to be in alignment.

Webster’s online definitions are as follows:

Alignment: the act of aligning or state of being aligned; especially :  the proper positioning or state of adjustment of parts (as of a mechanical or electronic device) in relation to each other

Align:
– to arrange things so that they form a line or are in proper position
– to change (something) so that it agrees with or matches something else

So, my goals for 2016 need to be in a proper relationship to each other or adjusted to work together like separate gears in synch.

My activities in 2016 must  support or line up with my goals.

My responsibilities can now be viewed as the oil that lubes the gears of my purpose in life which is reflected in my goals and activities.

And my theology must be brought into alignment or agreement with God’s truth revealed in His creation and Word, the Bible.

I am thinking that with the framework of alignment for 2016 rather than balance that I will be able to magnify the Lord for what He will do in my life as I seek Him and allow His Spirit to lead, guide, and support a life that is in alignment with Him.