Sunday, January 13, 2008

I was stingy!

Stingy! That's what we call a person who has something but will not share. There was a time when I was very stingy, tight, and miserly.

I remember when I was really stingy. I wouldn't share anything with anybody. In fact, inwardly I gloated about my own success at achieving and responded to others in a very condescending way.

I have a sneaky suspicion that others shared my childhood responses:

"You can't have any of my chips."
"You want some cookies? Buy you some, just like I did!"
"Get your own!"

Ironically, while I would not share and told many, "I ain't giving you nothing;" I was quick to say, "Gimme some."

As I got older I learned that God blesses those who share with others. I watched neighbors share food, clothing and anything they had with others. I also noticed that although they were poor they always seemed to have plenty; enough to share.

By the time I became a college student my opinion of sharing had reversed. I learned to share my time, talent and resources with others. I also noticed, that just as my friendly neighbors who shared were blessed, that I too was being blessed in the same way.

I've never had much, but always had enough to share.

So, a good way to be blessed is to share time for good causes; be a volunteer, help someone in need. Loan your talent to ventures that are worthy. Give of your finances to build great works. The blessing comes from sharing not from being stingy.

2 Corinthians 9:8 says when we share God gives us grace abundantly, "that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work."

In other words, if we share, God will see to it that we don't run out and will always have more than we need.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

May the force be with you

I'm a sci-fi fan so I've seen all of the Star Wars movies (and Star Trek too). I saw all four on the first day they were released.

One of the most memorable phrases of the Star Wars triology is, "May the force be with you."

In George Lucas' four Star Wars films the power of good is represented by the "Force." The power of evil is the "Dark Side."

The phrase "May the Force be with you" is often told to Luke Skywalker as he went out to fight.

The force was never really defined clearly in the series. It was an energy presence which existed within each person. This energy force guides, protects, empowers and emboldens those who follow its dictates.

The force has a dark side and a light side. The dark side is evil and sinister. The light side is the epitome of moral correction. The dark and the light side compete for the heart and soul of characters in Lucas' films, most of the times the light side wins, but not without giving up a few life essentials.

As each character departs and begins a new adventure, especially Luke Skywalker, each was told by the Jet Eye warrior, "May the force be with you."

Real life is not a movie but life does have a light side and a dark side.

Also in real life we are guided by the presence or absence of the force, except that the force is the actual presence of God.

Daily, God (the force) speaks to us. We call it our conscience or our first mind. When we ignore that voice, we later say, "I should have listened to my first mind."

God's spirit must go where we go; everyday.

Philippians 4:9 says, "The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:9

As we rise to challenge each new day, let's be guided by the things God has taught us and shown "and the God of peace will be with you."

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

I Don't Feel Like It!

There are times when I just don't feel like it.

It's those days when you say, "I'm not feeling that."

Work. School. Finances. Dealing with other people.

Baby/Mama - Baby/Daddy drama.


"I'm not feeling that."

I wonder if I'm by myself.

I guess there are times even the best of us get dispirited. We know we should go but we stay. We know we should speak but we remain silent. We know we should act, but we take no action. Usually we don't "feel like it" in times of distress, strain or worry. Such circumstances rob us of our enthusiasm and spirit and even at our best we can only offer lackluster appearances.

I have learned that one of the times to be cautious is when I "don't feel like it." Sometimes opportunities come when we don't feel like it and we miss them. A job is offered but we don't feel like going to apply. A chance for success may be missed if it comes when we "don't feel like it."

Issues can stress you out so much that you just don't feel like it. When that happens you don't sing, smile, laugh or find any interest in anything. You want to do absolutely nothing because you don't feel like it. Those are the days that the devil slipped in during the night and stole your joy. We were not on guard and we woke up the next morning "not feeling it" -without knowing why.

When you are not feeling it that's when we read Psalm 51:12, "Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit."

If you don't feel like it today, remember one day Christ carried a cross for you. I'm sure that day he wasn't feeling it either; but he did it anyway.

After thinking about that and reflecting on that verse then I usually push myself out of bed and start "feeling" the joy of meeting the challenges of the new day.

With a fresh infusion of inspiration from on high, the devil is defeated and I start "feeling it" again..big time.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

I don't like scary movies anymore

Scary movies are funny, but life can give you a scare.

When I was a child (back when dinosaurs roamed the land) I watched Godzilla, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Dracula. Frankenstein and Dracula were my monsters of choice.

I took a girl to the movie and pretended not to be afraid. I waited for her to grab my arm to show my bravado, but always closed my eyes just before the moment a character was sliced up, chopped up or bitten. I'd opened my eyes and asked, "What happened?"

There are so many scary movies today that those who like them can have their pick: Chuckie the little doll that kills people now has a bride. Monsters get married you know, first there was Frankenstein, then the Bride of Frankenstein. Then there is the Mummy, King Kong and many versions of the Wolfman.

Does Jason ever die? It amuses me how Jason, the star of the Halloween movies, is brought back to life in each new film.

There are always vampires from the old fashion Dracula to the modern Blade played by Wesley Snipes. There are even funny, lovable, if not ugly monsters like Shrek and his foul mouthed donkey friend.

Many youth like scary movies. They like to see the blood from the Texas chain saw splashing against the wall. They like to scream or watch the girls scream.

As we mature and face reality, we realize that death is not funny, humorous or exciting. There is no humor in tragedy.

Life gives us a wake up call, "If you shoot your boyfriend, kill your wife, or commit suicide you don't come back in the next movie."

A recent gallop poll shows that today fewer youth actually believe in: astrology, ESP, witchcraft, ghosts, Big Foot, The Lockness Monster and ghosts. That's what makes the movies attractive; no one really believes they are true.

The same poll revealed that as youth mature they increasingly believe in angels. The more of life they experience, reality soaks in and deep down they start searching for God; they want an angel to help them and protect them when they face the scary things in life.

A bible verse in Number 20:16 says, "And when we cried unto the Lord he heard our voice and sent an angel.."

Life can get scary and it's certainly not funny. The prospect of AIDS, addiction, cancer, suicide, accidental death, and a plethora of other scary things is sobering.

It is good to know that we can turn to God and he will send an angel to correct us and protect us when we face the scary things of life.

Friday, January 04, 2008

You won't like me when I'm angry

What do you do when you get angry?

At work, school, home or in relationships it is easy to become angry.

Sometimes folks can get on your last nerve. Everyone gets angry: preachers, teachers, leaders, spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, siblings; everyone you know has been angry at one time or another.

Some have been angry with each other for years.

Charles Swindol in his book "Three steps forward and two steps back" says there are phases of anger that begin with irritation. The next are: wrath, fury, and rage.

When we get to rage we become the Incredible Hulk. That's when we tear things up, hit, shoot and kill. The Hulk always says, "Don't make me angry, you won't like me when I'm angry."

I get angry sometimes. I can feel myself moving up the scale: irritation, wrath...then I have to do something stop before I become the Hulk. (I have been the Hulk a few times, what about you?)

No one likes that side of us; we are out of control when we get to the point of rage. There is nothing wrong with anger. Even Jesus became angry and ran the money changers out of the temple. The trick is to keep it under control.

First, we should never let anyone know the buttons they can push to send us into a rage. They'll push them for the fun of it.

Second, take Thomas Jefferson's advice, when angry count to 10 before you respond. If you are really angry count to 50 or 100. Slow yourself down.

Third, never go to bed angry with your spouse, friend, teacher, employer, etc.

The Hulk never counts to 10, becomes destructive in a rage and regrets it later. So do we.

There is a bible passage in Ephesians 4:26-27 that says, "Be angry but do not sin.Do not let the sun go down on your anger and do not give the devil an opportunity."

That means that it's OK to be upset about wrong things you see or injustices but not to the point that you go into a rage; and never to the point that you begin to hate.

Dealing with anger is a life-long struggle.

Nobody likes us when we become the Hulk.

In fact, we don't even like ourselves.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

X-Rated Life Movies

Have you ever watched an X-Rated movie?

The X-Ray movies are generally considered ponographic because they appeal to the prurient interests of the viewer and exhibit little or no artistic value.

They are hard-core, raw, and go beyond the boundaries of decency. Yet, most of us have taken a peek at least once.

Some are still peeking.

If our lives were rated in heaven, I wonder what the rating would be?

X-Unsaved sinner who sins, loves it and plans to continue.
R-Church members who feel they are old enough to sample the world. They sin a little, feel bad, then come back to church.
PG-Youth who believe in God but are fascinated by and attracted to the sinful life.
G-the Godly person who chooses to live for God, without peeking, pandering or having any interest in the life of sin.

What rating describes you right now. I never never made it to X but I can remember being "PG" and "R." What about you?

Some say the godly life is no fun; is that true? What I've discovered is that the godly don't need to get drunk, use drugs, engage in illicit sex or wild parties to have a great time.

The godly enjoy their families, lead successful lives, love their spouses, enjoy sports, art, music, and recreation. They fly airplanes, play basketball and are romantic, too.

In fact, the truly godly are having so much fun leading G-Rated lives that they have no interest in peeking, sneaking or venturing into the world of those who can't have fun unless everything around them appeals to their prurient interest.

The godly life is a blast.

The bible says in Psalm 1, "Psalms 1:1-2 (TLB) "Oh, the joys of those who do not follow evil men’s advice, who do not hang around with sinners, scoffing at the things of God. But they delight in doing everything God wants them to, and day and night are always meditating on his laws and thinking about ways to follow him more closely."

Sounds pretty good to me, especially since only lives rated "G-godly" are blessed by God.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Try God's Way this year

Did you fail last year? Did you give up? Try it again, but do it a different way.

There are two ways to approach life goals. One is the way popularized by a song written by the late Frank Sinatra called "My Way."

In that song Sinatra boasts that he lived his life, "My Way."

He is not alone. There are many who are trying the "my way" approach: living, loving and dying according to their own rules. To do it "my way" is to do it alone without any divine assistance. It is also a formula for unhappiness and often failure.

That's what happened to many people last year.

Some used or sold drugs or became addicted to something or someone.
Some lived so wild that they slipped way off course.
Some never got started; they proscratinated
Some nearly died.

Things work out a little better on the Godside of life. That's when you decide to do it "God's way." The difference is that God's way gets us godly support and favor for our efforts because what we do is according to his plan. It also points us away from destructive activity and points us to things that build us up.

When we do it God's way we may fall down..but we picks us up and we try again.

The bible says in Proverbs 14:12 "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."

Many saw their dreams die last year. They did it their way.
When we do it God's way we may fall down..but we picks us up and we try again.

This year, try God's way.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Appreciate the little things this year

Don't underestimate the power of the little things.

We are moving at a quick pace; in fact it is so quick that we often look for the big picture and overlook the the small things.

When we think about it, it's the little things that bring us the most lasting pleasure.

That may explain why sometimes a child gets a big present but instead of playing with the present he plays with the box and pops the little plastic bubbles in the packaging.

We look for the big superstar experiences and relationships and overlook the fact that only a few of them stay married or even have the pleasure of doing the little things, such as sitting on a porch and watching the cars go by without a frenzy of photographers.

Howard Thurman once wrote that "Little things make big differences."

A little thank you is big when someone feels unappreciated.
A little kindness can soften an angry response.
A little time can bring more lasting please than a lot of gifts without the giver. Little things can make the difference.

That applies to our relationship with God, too.

There is a bible verse in Numbers 16:9 that says, "Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD.."

Time to pray, worship and think about God in this world of MySpace, Facebook, cell phones and the internet, may seem like a little thing, but it goes a long ways with God.

While we talk to God about the big things..don't underestimate the little things.