DOES YOUR JOB PROVOKE YOU TO SIN?

Some jobs are tough…really tough.

Tough environments…

Tough circumstances…

Tough cultures…

Tough situations…

Challenging fields and occupations…

They force interactions with…

Tough and sometimes dangerous people…

People whose goal is money rather than morality.

Some organizations have corrupt  cultures…

Some ooccupations exist to secure our safety.

I’m by no means diminishing the demands…challenges or dangers of any occupation, especially those that I don’t fully understand…

But, I don’t have to understand to know that God expects HIS people to remain in His character and integrity.

Psalm 25:21 (NKJV)

Let integrity and uprightness preserve me,
For I wait for You.

The apostles were sent by God to spread the Gospel of our Lord, Jesus Christ and start His church.

It was an extremely dangerous occupation. They were put in the path of violent and ungodly people on a regular basis.

The apostle Paul requested prayer knowing he was going to encounter people at their worst…but God still expected them to remain in His spirit of excellence.

2 Thessalonians 3:1-2 (NKJV)

Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, 2 and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith.


I sometimes hear people on certain jobs excuse profanity…obscenity…and disrespectful behavior by saying…

“Sometimes you have to get down to their level”…

Or

“That’s what it takes to get the best out of people”…

Or even

“I’m trying keep him, her or them from being soft”.

If you feel that your job regularly or sometimes forces you to…
Curse…

Cheat…

Lie..

Steal…

Manipulate…

Deceive…

Disrespect…

Demean…

Fornicate…

Commit adultery…

Facilitate or encourage the sin of others…

Or…

Regularly miss worship…

If you’re a Christian, then maybe it’s not the job for you.


I understand there are jobs that may put someone in the position to take a life to protect others…that’s not sin.

Think about your job…career…occupation.

Think about your tasks…responsibilities…expectations.

Think about what you have to do to be successful.

I hear so many people in my office use profanity, as if it makes them sound strong or confident.

I hear so many people use harsh words and behavior as if it were a necessary part of their job.

Can you think of a profession where profanity and disrespect are expected and even honored?

No matter what your occupation, God expects His people to set the standard of behavior…especially in difficult circumstances.

Colossians 3:23(NKJV)

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,

BE BLESSTIFIED!

THERE’S A THIN LINE BETWEEN GOOD HEALTH AND NARCISSISM…

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There’s thin line between narcissism and good health…between being healthy and vanity.

Between discipline and self worship…

Between keeping your temple healthy for God and provoking others to lust or envy…

Between putting in hard work and eating right and being lazy by wanting a ‘magic’ pill to do all the work.

There’s nothing wrong with exercise and eating right in an effort to be healthy and even look good, but we must be honest with ourselves about our motives.

What are you thinking about while you’re running…lifting weights…at the gym…taking that ‘weight loss’ pill? Are your thinking about how HEALTHY you will be or how SEXY you will be?

Do we put as much effort into making sure our spirit looks good to God as we put into making sure our bodies looks good in our clothes (or out of them)?

Yes, there’s a thin line between narcissism and good health.

Here’s Proof!

Think about the commercials and ads that you see and hear…

Companies spend millions of dollars on research to gain insights advertise on what’s important to consumers. What drives people? What provokes them to make a buying decision.

How many gyms, spas, fitness centers, diet plans, diet pills etc. do you hear advertising about BEING HEALTHY?


Most of the time their pitch is…

Look good!

Be sexy!

Look younger!

Sexy abs.

Sexy bun.

Sculpted arms.


You rarely if ever hear or see ads that say…

Get your blood pressure under control!

Reduce your cholesterol!

Surprise your doctor!

How about this one? How many times have you heard them simply say…

“Feel better!”

Most of the time they are trying to appeal to our sense of vanity.

God wants us to be healthy, as well as look healthy, but we must be very careful that we don’t let our society’s obsession with youth, looking good and being sexy pervert our motives.

We can’t let our workout routines and habits turn into our personal rituals of worshipping ourselves.

Remember what the bible says…

1 Timothy 4:8 (NKJV)

 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

 

 

HOW TO MOVE FORWARD WITHOUT AN APOLOGY ( 8 TIPS)…

It happens to all of us. A situation arises where we feel we deserve an apology…but don’t get it.

Think for a moment about Jesus on the cross. As He was being brutalized and mocked, He still had enough love to say, forgive them…
 Luke 23:34 (NKJV)

34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”[a]

And they divided His garments and cast lots.

Think about the fact that Jesus offered this forgiveness and love, without an apology. It’s one thing that the Romans crucified Him, but His own people…those closest to Him consented to and called for His death.

One of the most difficult things to do is move forward with people that we feel owe us an apology…especially if they’re someone close to us.

Yes we still have to work with and relate to people who aren’t close to you, but how do you avoid the lack of apology turning into resentment and becoming a wall in your close relationships.

You may find yourself thinking…

“How can they be so content acting like nothing happened…acting as if they didn’t hurt me?

You may have said to yourself…

“If they loved me, they would apologize.”

Yes, it’s not easy, but here are 9 tips to help you move forward in your relationships without an apology…

  1. BE READY TO FORGIVE IF AND WHEN THEY APOLOGIZE. Sometimes if we’re honest with ourselves, we don’t want an apology…because it takes away our excuse to be angry. If they apologize and you don’t accept it, the burden has shifted from God to you.
  2. DON’T JUDGE THEIR APOLOGY IF AND WHEN THEY GIVE IT. When they come to you and apologize, don’t judge their apology by saying that they didn’t mean it or it wasn’t sincere. Especially if you didn’t like the tone. Don’t find yourself saying their apology wasn’t good enough. Even if they weren’t sincere…many times when we do what God has told us to do, we ‘don’t feel like it’, but God still honors our faith, effort and obedience. Sometimes when we apologize, we don’t feel like it, but in our heart we want to do what’s right.
  3. DON’T LET THE ENEMY ‘FLIP-THE-SCRIPT’. Realize that when you remain upset because you haven’t gotten an apology, the enemy has tricked you into not forgiving  them for not apologizing to you.
  4. REALIZE THAT THEY MAY NOT BE AS SPIRITUALLY MATURE AS YOU. Apologizing isn’t easy. It takes spiritual maturity to do so. If you feel they ought to be strong enough to apologize, realize that they might not be as spiritually as you. In fact, the bible tells us the strong must bear the failings of the weak (Romans 15:1 NIV).
  5. REALIZE WHEN YOU ‘VE GOTTEN SOMETHING BETTER THAN AN APOLOGY. Even if they haven’t apologized, if they have stopped the behavior that hurt you…if they aren’t doing the same thing anymore…if they have clearly moved on as if nothing happened…if they’ve completely turned around, but not apologized, you’ve gotten something better than an apology – you’ve gotten REPENTANCE. Think of all the people who actually apologize to God, but don’t really change.
  6. FIND A ‘REPLACEMENT THOUGHT’ WHEN YOU THINK OF HOW THEY HURT YOU. Of course you’re going to think of what they did sometimes, which can make you angry all over again, So, when you think of what they did…When they don’t seem to appreciate your kindness…find a replacement thought. Think of the good times…the best times… Think of the sacrifices they’ve made for you…Think of kindness they’ve shown you in the past…Think of the times they made you smile…or, Think of how you’ve hurt someone and regret it. 
  7. REALIZE THAT YOU HAVEN’T APOLOGIZED FOR EVERYTHING THAT YOU’VE DONE TO HURT OTHERS. Have you apologized for everything that you’ve done to hurt others? No! Because there are some people you offended and didn’t know you offended them. You can’t apologize for what you don’t know. Sometimes our words hurt, and we didn’t even know it…Sometimes our tone was not taken as we intended…Sometimes we did something hurtful and we didn’t even realize it. Those people are going on without an apology from you.
  8. PRAY ABOUT IT! Ask the Lord to give you the desire and strength to ‘love through’ the lack of an apology. Ask God to give you a heart that doesn’t NEED an apology to move on. This is another situation where Philippians 4:13 is most powerful…”I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Moving on without an apology isn’t easy, but it is possible. This is another situation where Philippians 4:13 is most powerful…

Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

 

OVERCOMING BAD MEMORIES BY CREATING GOOD ONES…

As my wife and I move closer to our 31th anniversary, we realize that we have to make the most of every day! The bible tells us that as we live, each day can bring trouble and challenges…

Matthew 6:34 (NKJV)

34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.


Our challenge is to never let the day’s trouble define the memory of that day.


My wife and I challenge ourselves to FIND A WAY to enjoy every day. It’s not always easy, but…


The best way to overcome a bad memories is to replace them with good ones.


Today, I created what I hope will be a good memory for my sweet wife as I attempted to sing, “Three Times a Lady”, by the Commodores in French!

No matter what’s going on in your life today…find a way to make a good memory!

Ephesians 5:16  (NKJV)

16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

 

BE BLESSTIFIED!

X-TREME X-AMLES IN THE OLD TESTAMTENT…

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 1 Corinthians 10:1-11

10 Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, 2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. 5 But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

6 NOW THESE THINGS BECAME OUR EXAMPLES, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. 7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.”8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; 9 nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; 10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now all[b] these things HAPPENED TO THEM as examples, and they were WRITTEN FOR OUR ADMONITION, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

The Old Testament introduced us to God… through Israel. We learn who He is, and since we’re made in His image we learn who we are. We learn His expectations. We learn how He reacts when we sin. We learn through what I like to call EXTREME EXAMPLES what He loves and what He hates through His interactions with Isreal. We learn that when we sin, before He gets angry – He’s hurt….as implied in Judges 2:1-2…

“Then the Angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said: “I led you up from Egypt and brought you to the land of which I swore to your fathers; and I said, ‘I will never break My covenant with you. 2 And you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed My voice. WHY HAVE  YOU  DONE THIS?”

Here God asks, “Why have you done this?”

Have you ever asked that to a loved one that hurt you?

Have you ever said that to a child before you punished them?

We learn God’s heart through His interactions with Israel. Through EXTREME examples of judgement we learn how much He hates some behaviors. We also learn through EXTREME acts of mercy and miracles what behaviors He loves.

Those extreme judgements are much like a police officer pulling over ONE speeding driver, when many are speeding. Every now and then they will have to remind drivers of the law by making an example of some drivers and not all.

Some say we don’t have those EXTREME judgements as in the Old Testament anymore…but don’t be too quick to assume so. Many of the natural disasters and calamities of TODAY could be God getting our attention and reminding us of His expectations.

As you read the history of the Old Testament, from now on as you read an EXTREME judgement  (such as the earth opening up and swallowing people in Numbers 26:10, or the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19) pay particular attention to the reasons God did it.

Pay attention to the behaviors that He was responding to.

Pay particular attention to what He calls abominations.

God doesn’t change, if He hated it then, He hates it now.

Let’s LEARN FROM OUR EXTREME EXAMPLES

BE BLESSTIFIED!

FOR THOSE WHO ARE NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO TOMORROW…

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Don’t worry about tomorrow if you don’t trust God with today. maj

There may be some reason that you aren’t looking forward to or may even be dreading tomorrow. It could be because of challenges in your relationship(s), on your job, your health. It could be that your paycheck will not be enough to take care of your obligations. It may be a promise you made that you already know you can’t fulfill. You may have robbed Peter and still don’t have enough to pay Paul. You may be separated from loved ones and support.


It may be the expected or the unexpected.


I’m not here to promise a miracle if you share this post.

I’m not even promising tomorrow will be better or even arrive.

God hasn’t promised us tomorrow…but He has given us today.

That’s why He said…

Matthew 6:34 (NKJV)

 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

If you have the strength or means to read this post or have it read to you, then God has abundantly blessed you.

In fact, no matter how much or how little money, food, clothing, strength or hope you have, He’s given you more than enough for today.

Those days in your past that you have dreaded, even if they were as ‘bad’ as you expected…you’re still here.


The truth is that God is sovereign to do what He pleases with each day and each person He made.


He loves us, and no matter how bad it may seem, He’s working all things together for our good…

Romans 8:28 (NKJV)

 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.


The fact is either we trust Him or we don’t. Don’t worry about tomorrow if you don’t trust God with today.


Reach down inside and praise God and tell Him you love Him and trust Him with today.

If you don’t know what to say, I suggest…

Psalm 118:24 (NKJV)

This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

EVEN THE MOST EFFECTIVE LEADERS DON’T ‘HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER’…

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Leaders, especially spiritual leaders , are very highly scrutinized and often criticized if they ‘don’t have it all together’. We can find ourselves expecting them to be near perfect. But, when we read our bibles, we find that many of God’s most anointed…those whom He gave great responsibility were lacking in many areas.

Moses and the Apostle Paul weren’t the greatest speakers.

Exodus 4:10 (NKJV)

10 Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”

2 Corinthians 11:6 (NKJV)

Even though I am untrained in speech, yet I am not in knowledge. But we have been thoroughly manifested among you in all things.

Eli the anointed High Priest and Judge had corrupt, disobedient sons (1 Samuel 3).

1 Samuel 3:13  (NKJV)

13 For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them.

Peter was quick to speak before he thought, and was even rebuked by Paul for being a hypocrite to the point that it influenced other leaders.

Galatians 2:11-13(NKJV)

11 Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; 12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. 13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.

Just because one is anointed by God doesn’t mean that he or she doesn’t need any help. Every great leader needs a strong support system. They need to be surrounded by gifted, anointed people they can trust to delegate responsibility and help with their weaknesses. I think that’s God’s system of checks and balances.

We sometimes see charismatic, polished and sometimes affluent leaders and assume they have ‘it all together’ and that we could never qualify for leadership in God’s Kingdom because of our personal issues and weaknesses.

But, let me assure you that all leaders…

ARE NOT CHARISMATIC

It’s easy to confuse charisma for anointing or confidence. Many great leaders are soft-spoken and reserved. There are many of charismatic leaders who can motivate a crowd but have absolutely no vision. There are others who have the WRONG vision and can motivate millions to do the wrong thing. Never confuse charisma with anointing. Check out this post for more on that… 4 WAYS TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PREACHING & A PERFORMANCE….

ARE NOT GOOD AT MANAGING MONEY

The ability to manage money can either be a gift or an acquired discipline. For those of whom that it doesn’t come so naturally, they can struggle with the discipline, detail and organization it takes to be a great money manager. Remember how one of the devoted prophets in the Old Testament died in poverty leaving his sons to be sold into slavery…

2 Kings 4:1 (NIV)

4 The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.

ARE NOT ORGANIZED

Here again some people are more naturally inclined to be organized. They pay great attention to detail. They are uneasy when things aren’t in place. They even organize things in their minds as they observe them, while others struggle to be organized. They make a sincere effort, but slowly find themselves slipping into their old habits. Notice how the rich nobleman in Luke 16:1-13 had a shrewd manager hired to manage his affairs.

DON’T HAVE THE BEST BEHAVED CHILDREN

Yes, I know what the bible says…

1 Timothy 3:4-5 (NKJV)

one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?)

…and this is not a contradiction. I had a friend tell me that his dad, a very sincere, devout man of God resigned as a deacon because his son, (my friends brother) was addicted to  drugs and in and out of jail. Well, the devil found out how to move a great leader out of the way. We are all God’s children and we don’t always behave as He commands us, does that mean that He’s not a good Father? Does that mean that God is not a good leader? No! God set’s the standard of behavior and doesn’t waver. He tells us, “NO!” to certain things. It’s up to us to love and respect Him enough to obey. That’s what God expects us to do…set the rules and boundaries in the home. To say, “No!” and don’t waver. As mentioned earlier, Eli, a great man of God, didn’t restrain his sons in 1 Samuel Chapters 2 and 3. But, he was still highly respected and used by God.

DON’T HAVE THE PERFECT MARRIAGE

Any stromg leader will tell you that leadership itself is a challenge to marriage. Responsibilities sometimes force the leader to choose between his or her spouse and duties. Leadership cuts into quality time, occupies the leaders mind during personal time, and even sometimes affects the desire for intimacy. It was obvious that ministry took some apostles a way from their wives, which is sure to put a strain on marriage…

1 Corinthians 9:5 (NKJV)

 Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas? 

DON’T HAVE A GREAT CREDIT SCORE

Of course God expects leaders to honor their commitments and responsibilities…

Psalm 37:21 (NKJV)

21 The wicked borrows and does not repay,
But the righteous shows mercy and gives.

But, when responsibilities aren’t met, it not always due to intentional carelessness. It’s not necessarily because of over extending, but sometimes life happens. Sometimes illness, job loss, an unwanted divorce and other things beyond the leaders control can happen damaging his or her credit.

 

ARE SOMETIMES TROUBLED BY DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES

Jesus Himself was troubled in the garden the night before He went to the cross.

John 12:27 (NKJV)

27 “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.

 

Sometimes we don’t expect our leaders to be visibly troubled by circumstances. But, that only shows their humanity. If Jesus Himself was troubled, the greatest leader of them all, then surely we will be too.

These are only a few of the reasons is why good leaders should be honest with themselves and aware of their natural weaknesses, so they can surround themselves with the right support to carry out their vision. They must also be confident enough in themselves to not be threatened by their support, but have the discernment to know who may actually be a threat to their leadership.

And, those whom they lead must be humble enough to follow in spite of their weaknesses, offering help towards the vision where possible. They must also realize that some weaknesses don’t disqualify the leader from leading. For example, the prophet Nathan didn’t tell David that he wasn’t qualified to be king after murder and adultery. (1 Samuel 12)

 Leaders are only human, and they will all have lapses in character, but overall they must be…

Trustworthy.

Integrity…

Calm in Crisis…

One who unites rather than divides…

One who resolves conflict…

And, most of all led by God and a student of His word.

Remember, God uses imperfect people to carry out His perfect will. All good leaders need good help.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

 

DID JESUS DREAM?

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DID THE LIVING WORD DREAM?

When Jesus’ eyelids grew heavy

From carrying the weight of the world…

Did He dream…

…of returning to His heavenly home?

…that everyone would accept His precious gift?

Did He fantasize about the joys of a wife and family?

Did He dream of salvation without the cross?

Or, were His nightmares that He would be left down here in this mess?

If we felt it…He felt it.

As we were tempted…He was tempted.

If we endured it…The Lord endured it.

When He submitted Himself to the weakness of our flesh…

He had to hunger.

He had to thirst.

He had to hurt.

He had to hope.

He had to dream…

What do you think the Son of God dreamed about?

You? Me? Eternity?

 Hebrews 4:15 (NKJV)

15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

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