Only Two Things Deliver

John Christian Fjellestad

Photo Credit: John Christian Fjellestad via CC Flickr

“Humility and the fear of the LORD bring wealth and honor and life.” Proverbs 22:4

What things do you always carry with you? My stock answer has always been: my Bible, my ball, and my best playing shoes. 😉 Today’s text introduces two more ‘must adds’. They’re so simple but crucial. They’re small but they don’t always fit so easily. In fact, some think they won’t fit, don’t fit, can’t fit, so they often stay left behind. But without them God says it’s about impossible to experience what we really hope for in life.

God says that there are just two things that bring the big things we all look for: wealth, honor and life. Only one pair can deliver this trifecta. Nothing else can…for very long.

What brings real wealth, honor, and life is humility and the fear of the LORD. Humility keeps our powerful urges for control, approval and comfort from taking over and messing things up. Humility helps us trust the process, trust God. Then ‘Fear of the LORD’ brings us to where our needs for control, approval and comfort are best met. Without humility and the fear of the Lord our pursuit of wealth, honor and life can never bring us the control, approval and comfort we really long for. Only two things, humility and the fear of the Lord can.

LORD, make it very clear to us that the only real, sustainable way to wealth, honor and life is found through humility and the fear of the Lord. Don’t let us look for it any other way. Only two things deliver.

Be strong.
Stand for truth.
Live for eternity.
Coach Mo

Bonus Coverage: 5 extending footnotes
that define this verse’s 5 terms:
WEALTH brings power and control. Thats why we want it. That’s the endgame. True wealth brings freedom from control and freedom to control. True wealth never brings slavery. Wealth = Control
HONOR signals approval, recognition, the feeling of accomplishment we get when others believe we’re great, have value or make a real difference. Audience matters. ‘Audience of One’ matters more. Honor = Approval
LIFE seeks satisfaction, a sense of contentment and fulfillment that a life well lived brings. Life = Satisfaction
HUMILITY brings a correct view of self. It’s not thinking less of yourself; it’s thinking of yourself less. Gotta have this to live on well. Humility = Seeing Self Straight
FEAR OF THE LORD’ simply means a proper view of God, seeing God for who He really is. Fear of the LORD = Seeing God Straight

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The Bookends

Canned Muffins

Photo Credit: Canned Muffins via CC Flickr

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ… The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.” 2 Thessalonians 1:2; 3:18

Let’s talk about winning streaks! When you or your team get on a roll and establish a great winning streak, the first and last wins become the big bookends, usually the most memorable and notable in the string. Can you think of a great personal winning streak…and those bookend games that housed and defined the streak?

Uniquely, The Bible points to 2 words that open 13 straight of its books and 16 of the last 21. Those streaking words are ‘grace’ and ‘peace’. And equally harmonic and powerful, for each of those last 21 books of the Bible, either ‘grace’ or ‘peace’ also becomes the last word or thought mentioned 17 of 21 times (including 14 books in a row). Thus, the Bible bookends so much of its powerful messages around these two words.

The sheer weight of these opening and closing repetitions should command our attention too. Perhaps this is the way we should open and close our conversations also, so that no matter what else is said in between, grace and peace will consistently enter our conversations and close them too.

Do you talk like this? Do you approach others, depositing these kinds of messages, making people feel God’s grace and peace with you? Of all the things you wish for others, is this the pair you package and deliver? Get on a good winning streak of grace and peace in your life…and get others on that streak with you.

LORD, of all the things I talk about each day, help me to speak grace and peace. Help me to experience your grace and peace and then bring it to others. Let me get on a roll and help others to win because they stand tall and confident, bookended by Your grace and peace, too.

Grace and peace to you!!
Coach Mo

The Five Fingers of Prayer

Michael Goghlan

Photo Credit: Michael Goghlan via CC Flickr

I came across this little, fun way to pray many, many years ago that I always thought was a pretty good idea and a terrific way to remember not only who or what to pray for…but HOW to pray.

This is beautiful – and it is surely worth making the 5 finger prayer a part of our lives!

————————

1.Your thumb is nearest you.

So begin your prayers by praying for those closest to you.

They are the easiest to remember.

To pray for our loved ones is,

as C. S. Lewis once said, a “sweet duty.”

2. The next finger is the pointing finger.

Pray for those who teach, instruct and heal.

This includes teachers, doctors, and ministers.

They need support and wisdom in pointing others in the right direction.

Keep them in your prayers.

3. The next finger is the tallest finger.

It reminds us of our leaders.

Pray for the president, leaders in business and industry, and administrators.

These people shape our nation and guide public opinion.

They need God’s guidance.

4. The fourth finger is our ring finger.

Surprising to many is the fact that is our weakest finger,

as any piano teacher will testify.

It should remind us to pray for those who are weak,

trouble or in pain.

They need prayers day and night.

You cannot pray too much for them.

5. And lastly comes our little finger

– the smallest finger of all which is where we should place ourselves

in relation to God and others.

As the Bible says, “The least shall be the greatest among you.”

Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself.

By the time you have prayed for the other four groups,

your own needs will be put into proper perspective

and you will be able to pray for yourself more effectively.

New Body Parts

Coach Rose

An X-Ray of Coach Rose’s Knee!!

As some of you know, I recently had a hip and double knee replacement surgery. These were the first surgery’s I have had since my appendix was removed in 5th grade! These 3 joints had become more and more a source of pain and anguish to me. They were inhibiting movement to the point where all the activities of my life (vocation, family time, exercise, house projects and simple daily chores) revolved around what my injured joints would  and would not allow me to do. These new joints (the hip is perfect but the knees are still coming along) I am hoping will increase the activity I can do and take away the pain these injured body parts were causing.
However, there are other parts of my body that often inhibit me and affect my relationship to others and to God that surgery (unfortunately) cannot repair or replace. There have been many times in my life I needed eye, tongue, ear, heart, feet and even partial brain (my thoughts) replacement surgery…

My eyes: watching things on TV or movies or the internet that cause impure thoughts
My tongue: which forms my words, certainly has shown it is damaged many times with mean, angry or sarcastic comments  “But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” – James 3:8.
My ears have certainly shown they need replacing as well when I have allowed myself to listen to inappropriate stories of friends, gossip or movies, music or whatever that were not “for the use of edifying”
My heart which has often failed God or given its loyalties to other things (idols of sorts)
My feet: which have taken me to wrong and inappropriate places or NOT taken me to places where I should have gone.
My brain (thoughts) which far too many times have been not been spirit controlled. I could go on and on. I suppose some of these body parts could be replaced too.
Jesus was pretty clear about misused or sinful body parts in Matthew 18: 8+9. FORTUNATELY, Christ’s death on the cross took care of our sin and our imperfect body parts! Yes, science has “fixed” 3 of my joints but it is Christ’s propitiation for my sin that really heals these imperfections in my body and he forgives my sin with my imperfect humanness as far as the East is from the West! May we all trust his faithfulness to us and have peace and comfort by it.

Colossians 3:23, “Do everything heartily as unto The Lord, not as unto men.”

Why Would God Want Me?

creative ignition

Photo Credit: Creative Ignition via CC Flickr

I’m not perfect. I have all kinds of problems. I have no ability. I have no gifts. I’m just not worthy. Why would God want me?

Well, did you know that?…..

Moses stuttered.
David’s armor didn’t fit.
John Mark deserted Paul.
Timothy had ulcers.
Hosea’s wife was a prostitute.
Amos’ only training was in the school of fig-tree pruning.
Jacob was a liar.
David had an affair.
Solomon was too rich.
Jesus was too poor.
Abraham was too old.
David was too young.
Peter was afraid of death.
Lazarus was dead.
John was self-righteous.
Naomi was a widow.
Paul was a persecutor of the church.
Moses was a murderer.
Jonah ran from God’s will.
Miriam was a gossip.
Gideon and Thomas both doubted.
Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal.
Elijah was burned out.
John the Baptist was a loudmouth.
Martha was a worry-wart.
Noah got drunk.
Did I mention that Moses had a short fuse?
So did Peter, Paul – well, lots of folks did.

But God doesn’t require a job interview for salvation. He’s our Heavenly Father. He doesn’t look at financial gain or loss. He’s not prejudiced or partial, not judging, grudging, sassy, or brassy, not deaf to our cry, not blind to our need. He know who we are and what we are and loves us in spite of ourselves

SATAN SAYS, “YOU’RE NOT WORTHY.”
JESUS SAYS, “SO WHAT? I AM.”
SATAN LOOKS BACK AND SEES OUR MISTAKES.
GOD LOOKS BACK AND SEES THE CROSS.

He doesn’t calculate how you failed in ’99. It’s not even on the record.

Sure, there are lots of reasons why God shouldn’t call us. But if we are in love with Him, if we hunger for Him, He’ll use us in spite of who we are, where we’ve been, what we have done, or the fact that we are not perfect!

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Source: http://gatewaytojesus.com/

How Is Your Vision?

National Eye Institue

Photo Credit: National Eye Institute via CC Flickr

We have all gone to the doctor’s office and have had our eye sight tested. We stand back at a certain distance, cover one eye, then report to the physician the letter that they are pointing to. At the end of the test, the doctor can determine how good or bad our vision is.

Well today, I have a “Vision Test” for you.

As we approach the end of the year, it is a good time evaluate how we did as increasingly devoted followers of Christ in 2015. Below is a “Vision Test” to see how you are doing in looking beyond yourself towards others. Take the test by answering yes or no to the questions and then add up your scores at the bottom.

_____ I am involved in serving the Lord in at least one ministry of the church

_____ I have at least three non-Christian friends.

_____ This past year, I invited at least one new person to church.

_____ I prayed for my non-Christian friends this week.

_____ In the past two weeks, I have shown love to someone outside my family.

_____ I regularly correspond with at least one of our missionaries.

_____I introduced myself to one new visitor at church this past month.

_____ In the past three months, I have shared the Gospel with another person.

_____ I am acquainted with at least one local outreach ministry.

_____ I regularly support one of our ministries.

———————

Total Number of yeses: _______________

9-10: Congratulations! You have great outward vision!

7-8: You are doing great!!

4-6: You are making a good effort.

2-3: You need to take it up a notch.

0-1: You have been diagnosed with nearsightedness!

How did you do?

 

 

The Heart of A Champion

US Department of Agriculture

Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture via CC Flickr

In 1990, the Colorado Buffaloes football team was on the road to the national championship. Before half the season was over the Buffaloes had already defeated ranked teams Texas, Oklahoma, Washington, and tied #6 Tennessee. They also faced the toughest schedule in the nation. But even throughout all this success, Colorado coach Bill McCartney still had a huge RED problem. You see, his next game was against the highly ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers. To make matters worse, going into the game Colorado had lost 23 straight times to Nebraska when playing at Nebraska’s home field in Lincoln. What could he do to motivate his players?

McCartney knew that teams always play best when they have a sense of team, that selfless attitude that takes his players out of the mind set of playing for themselves and into the mind set of playing for the team. With this attitude, when the team gets glory. the player gets glory. Outstanding individual performance means little if the team does not perform well as a whole. Bill McCartney is also an outspoken Christian and he always sought to demonstrate the principles of Christianity to his team even while motivating them. So with that in mind he came up with a plan to motivate his players. In the last meeting before leaving for Lincoln, he called his players together and said this.

“At the end of the game each one of you is going to receive a $70 game ball with the score printed on the football. Before we leave tomorrow I want you to call up somebody close to you and tell them to watch you play. I want you to play your heart out, and play each and every down for that person. Tell them that you are dedicating your game to THEM.”

Well, the plan worked. On a soggy, cold, rain swept Nebraska field, Colorado overcame a 12 point 4th quarter deficit to defeat the Cornhuskers 28-12. Coach McCartney to this day attributes the win to the selfless play of his team even when they were losing. It allowed them to muster up every bit of strength and courage to come back and win. Their strength came from an attitude of selflessness.

Being a Christian is all about being a team player and submitting to one another out of love. The attitude is, “Give the other person the glory,” and “Let the other person go first.” So today, your game plan is to pick someone else on the field and play each and every down for them. Play selflessly. Play without trash talk. Play with humility. Play with dignity. Play with class.

At the end of the game you’ll want to be able to say, “I played a great game for You today, and I played with the heart of a champion.”

~ Author: Nathan Naversen