Friday, August 16, 2013
A million things to do where do I start?
Fri, August 16, 2013 | link
1... 2... 3...
Let’s not move so fast that we try to
change life faster than people can accept. We can’t remain stagnant, but we move based on the priority within our lives
goals ~ anonymous
If a race car driver started to work on his bank balance while negotiating a turn
at 200mph, what would happen?
That activity doesn’t make sense, does it?
Yet, sometimes as the pressure
builds up we start to spasmodically try to do everything, resulting in very little getting done. Rushing from task to task doing bit’s
and peices can be very tiring, and the lack of apparent progress can be depressing.
What should we do instead?
Maybe get our priorities aligned and then
address those that have the highest priority.
We know this, but doing it is not so easy, particularly when everyone seems to be calling for our urgent
help at the same time. Particularly when everyone is tense and ready to explode.
I love those words by Rudyard Kipling in his poem that starts
IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself
when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good,
nor talk too wise: ...
This describes the state we need to identify before we start to put priorities into the tasks at hand.
As a Christian
we then need to remember our next step is to pray for wisdom in building up the list of things we need to do and then writing
the list down (in no particular order).
That list should just be what needs to be done, it should not say how, how hard, or how long
it will take. Just get the items listed.
Now, organize the list into what is needed to do the other things. For example buying dishwashing
soap is needed before we can do the dishes, right?
Now let pray about the list and ask for God’s Holy Spirit to help us finds the first
task that must be done.
Tag that as number one.Now look at the rest. Decide what can be done now without anything changing. Mark those as “READY”,
next, look at how important it is as a Christian to do things and list them is high medium or low importance, i.e. tag them
“CH” (Christian High), “CM” (Christian Medium), “CL” (Christian low).
Now from a life perspective
do the same “LH” life high, “LM” life medium, “LL” life low.
With this as a guide, pray once more and identify
the top three things you need to do after the most important item you have already identified.
Start on these!
Remember, things at the bottom of the list will
get done as time becomes available. When you get to the third of the four items, repeat the process.
When you start doing this it
will take time to get going with the process, but after a while you may not even need to write out the list. Practice at prioritizing
makes it easier.
Now in case you have guilt about not getting everything done remember Jesus didn’t do everything when he was on earth either.
think he did look at this...
30 They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where
they were. 31 That was because he was teaching his disciples.
He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be handed over
to men. They will kill him. After three days he will rise from the dead.”
Jesus prioritized! We should do the same today
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Thank the Lord, I donít have to be perfect...
Love is friendship
that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and
bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.~Ann Landers
Thu, August 15, 2013 | link
Do we worry about how we appear
to others? Do
we think we are perfect?
No-one really does think they are perfect, do they? People often appear to think they are perfect, they may even say it, but none
of us really believe it. We know at some point we have cursed or hurt others with words, or done something less than required
in the circumstances, or perhaps worse.
None of us are perfect! No matter how much our mothers or fathers demand perfection of us, we know we come
under that standard. Some even pick up problems because of having perfection demanded of them. I know of mothers who when
they have their own children pick on them continually to sit straighter, talk better, and be perfect (just like their own
mothers had done to them).
Some people think
that’s how God is with us. They think God is demanding perfection of us, even though it is impossible.
The only perfection demanded
by God is that we love others. That is perfection in his eyes since Jesus covers all other inadequacies we ourselves have.
Some quote the bible
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:48
Sure seems as if Jesus wants perfection right? But read the context...
have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute
you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good,
and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you
get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing
more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Jesus is demanding we
love others, not be perfect in our actions and thoughts. He wants a love that extends past our selfishness. Holy Spirit within
us needs to be released to do the work of love through us. THAT is perfection. Not our own meager fumbling’s!
is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.~ Vince Lombardi
We can aim at perfection ,but when we fall short
we need to realize it is God who picks us up and takes us through to the perfect goal.
God’s whole nature is living in Christ
in human form. 10 Because you belong to Christ, you have everything you need. He is the ruler over every power
and authority Col 2:10
may not be perfect but Jesus through Holy Spirit in our lives makes our wrongs right. Instead of telling us to sit-up straight,
he pulls us into a warm love embrace and protects us from a world that would mock and damage us with its
demands. He says
“Come to me, all of you who are tired and are carrying heavy loads. I will give you rest. 29 Become
my servants and learn from me. I am gentle and free of pride. You will find rest for your souls. 30 Serving
me is easy, and my load is light.” Matt 11:28-30
Let’s go into today knowing even if we fail, Jesus doesn’t. that he loves and forgives us and in some
strange way changes the bad into good.
That’s a wonderful way to be perfect when we aren’t, right?
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Letís react before we get caught out!
Standing in the almost
dry river bed in the hot African sun just outside the small mining town of Palaborwa in South Africa I heard a siren sound
five times, just a few seconds apart.
Wed, August 14, 2013 | link
It was a group of young men that I was with that day.
The day was warm so we had stripped to shorts and waded across about 6inches of
water and through some reeds to get onto a small island in the river.
The island was small, maybe thirty feet long and
about ten feet wide,
rising only a foot or two out the water. It was covered with grass and had a few thorn bushes.
Laughing, joking, and discussing good times we walked along
the length only to get surprized as a large crocodile that we had not seen suddenly slithered
off the island into the pools of water that surrounded it.
The reptile with its short stumpy legs and huge tail was comical
as it ran toward the water but once in the water the smiles on our faces disappeared.
This was a creature built for water. One flick of that powerful tail and it sped away with a speed and agility that was awesome to watch.
We looked at each other, suddenly realizing
we had to wade back through water that had crocodiles waiting in it!
The day suddenly looked less pleasant and the
cold murky green water less inviting.
It was around that time that we had heard that siren.
Not being from around
there, we did not know what it meant, and as young men tend to do, we made some ridiculous comment, laughed, and moved on
down the island.
a minute later we understood that the siren was a serious warning.
The water level started to rise. Just a few inches to start with but this was most disconcerting.
The few inches shrunk the island to less than twenty feet long and it was now only eight feet wide.
Laugher disappeared and we all watched the dark waters rising, realizing we had
just over twenty feet between us and the nearest shore.
“We will just wait for it to go down a bit” one of my friends suggested half heartedly.
None of us wanted to enter that water. Trepidation filled our heart! We knew somewhere
in the oily dark green murky water, a crocodile lurked and waited.
The water didn’t stop rising. Soon the island was seven feet wide, then six, then five.
Now we were crowded
together on a tiny piece of island that was not longer than ten feet and the distance to the safety of the sandy river bank was widening minute
The water was no longer capable of being waded through as with the rise in water level we had been forced up the island to the area that had deep water on both
We were in trouble and there was nobody around.
Each of us could mentally see the crocodile’s large open
mouth and the rows of razor sharp yellowed teeth.
Fear sank into us!
There was no option, the island was still getting smaller and now the water was flowing in a torrent past our meager slip of
land. It would all be under water soon.
With a short prayer to God, my friend and I dived into the water, and started to swim.
It was perhaps twenty
five feet to the river bank, but with the speed of the water, we were swept downstream rapidly.
That day I swam faster
than I had ever swum before! I mentally heard every swimming coach in my head as I stroked towards the safety of the river bank at what seemed to
be a crawling pace.
I was swept downstream past the point the crocodile had entered the water.
I could image those horrible teeth closing
around my foot and cutting into my legs before it would pull me under and then twist, rolling around and around to ensure I would not know where
I was, and then I would loose any sense of where the surface was. I was sure I would drown in that green yellow water hell.
Yet I didn’t!
I made it safely
having been washed about fifty feet downstream. My friend did too!
Exhilaration of having escaped then turned to cold fear for my friends who were now standing on a island three feet
by six in the middle of the swift currents flowing downstream.
One by one they dropped in and swam to safety.
We all made it out that day! We rarely talk of the incident!
incident is one that shows our stupidity and lack of common sense.
Yet, in it there are great life lessons!
It reminds me of Jesus words...
54 He said to the crowd: “When you see a
cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. 55 And
when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. 56 Hypocrites! You
know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present
The signs are there to see! Jesus came to this earth as a sign. His words clearly tells us to be careful.
It is true that we as a group of men should have listened
to the warnings of others not to swim, only to fish,...so we as people of Earth should listen to the words of the
bible and take them to heart.
We should have realized on looking up at the huge concrete dam wall, that wading in a river below it was
simply not wise.
Similarly, we should all encourage those rejecting Jesus to take care of the warnings of hell that the
bible has to offer.
We have a life now in which we can make decisions.
Yet soon, the siren will blow and it may not be at an expected time.
Maybe we will have time to react, but maybe death
will be swift.
Jesus warns us with love in his heart. God does not want us damaged. God wants us with him in eternity.
Yet, if we play below the dam, ignoring reality,
it will come in a flood that is unavoidable.
How do we measure up? Do we have Jesus our saviour in our heart. Are we ready to escape at any time,
or will we die to experience the living hell.
That day in the sun taught me we must not ignore the signs.
Jesus speaking to those religious leaders of his time the Pharisees
who knew so much, but understood so little, says...
The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign
from heaven. 12 He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you,
no sign will be given to it.” 13 Then he left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other
Could they not
see what was in front of them? Could they not see what he was doing was foretold?
Can we also not see Jesus who is there for all of us who want
him to run our lives? He is there! His gift of eternal life is free. We need to accept God’s guidance and tell others
the way to escape calamity. Satan prowls around like a giant crocodile waiting to drag us down into his depths. God’s wisdom keeps us safe
and away from his jaws.
I think I prefer God’s options, don’t you?
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Our value, or should we be scared?
Crowds are not only a modern
phenomenon! There is a report of a crowd gathering in the bible that says...
Tue, August 13, 2013 | link
“Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had
gathered, so that they were trampling on one another” Luke 12
Where there is something new to see the crowds follow.
I guess this crowd was rather selfish in nature if they were trampling on one another to get to see. It was probably more
difficult to get to see in that day as it was customary for the speaker to sit when distributing knowledge and wisdom. I guess
that’s why Jesus spent so much time around hills. That was the only way he could speak to these large crowds. He must
have had a good voice to project across thousands in the open. He also couldn’t have spoken quickly or in long sentences
because when people do this in the open their voice is not well understood.
So what is so important that people
wanted to be there to hear what he was saying this day?
Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be
on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 There is nothing concealed that will
not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 3 What you have said in the dark will be heard in
the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.
What did he mean everything will be brought
into the open? DO we have hidden things that if uncovered would embarrass us?
WHAT have we SAID in the dark that if people knew would
have we WHISPERED to someone behind closed doors that would embarrass us?
EVERYTHING WILL BE REVEALED!!!
How do we feel about that?
Most of us would not feel to good. Perhaps we think we can escape this situation
somehow. Jesus continues...
4 “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can
do no more. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has
authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.
Jesus says be afraid!
God of this universe tells us there is something
we need to fear and it isn’t death. It’s worse than death. A good friend of mine said try this...
Turn on the shower hot tap only to full and
let it get as scalding hot as it can, then stand under it for 60 seconds. You will get burned. Step out and then image being
a million times more sore and it continuing forever. That’s worse than death if you can never die. A simple taste of
what God wants us to avoid!
Hell is no joke! No place to meet friends! It’s lonely painful and never stops. Not nice at all! A fearful place!
Yet, God has specifically
made sure we don’t have to go there. Jesus continues...
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them
is forgotten by God. 7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are
worth more than many sparrows.
Notice now he says “don’t be afraid”
Starts with be afraid and then don’t
Is he just incapable of making up his mind?
I doubt it. We need to be afraid of hell if we reject
God, but know God has provided for our safety so that we are safe if we stick with the God of the universe.
Jesus emphasizes this with his next promise...
about someone who says in front of others that he knows me? I tell you, the Son of Man will say that he knows that person in front of God’s angels.
But what about
someone who says in front of others that he doesn’t know me? I, the Son of Man, will say that I don’t know him in front of God’s angels.
Jesus is the key to where
we spend eternity. Our mouths and attitudes unlock the eternal door to heaven by responding by acknowledging him for who he
story gets told next?
“The Story of the Rich Man
13 Someone in the crowd spoke to Jesus. “Teacher,”
he said, “tell my brother to divide the family property with me.”
14 Jesus replied, “Friend, who made me a judge
or umpire between you?”
15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against wanting to have more and more things.
Life is not made up of how much a person has.”
16 Then Jesus told them a story. He said, “A certain rich man’s land produced
a good crop. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have any place to store my crops.’
18 “Then he said, ‘This
is what I’ll do. I will tear down my storerooms and build bigger ones. I will store all my grain and my other things
in them. 19 I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things stored away for many years. Take
life easy. Eat, drink and have a good time.”’
20 “But God said to him, ‘You foolish man! This very night I will take your life
away from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
21 “That is how it will be for anyone who stores
things away for himself but is not rich in God’s eyes.”
Why did Jesus tell it next? What
was he getting across top those crowds straining to hear him?
He wants them to choose wisely. Materials stuff is transient.
Maximum lifespan value is our lifespan. Jesus wants us to have things we can take with us to heaven. That is not things but
the joyful relationships he helps us build and people he helps us set free to be fully free, for eternity.
Can you see that as he tells these stories
people would start to get worried. What if I fail? What if I cannot do this? What if i don’t have
God’s interest in me?
So next he says...
Do Not Worry
22 Then Jesus spoke to his disciples. He said, “I tell you, do not worry. Don’t worry about your
life and what you will eat. And don’t worry about your body and what you will wear. 23 There is more
to life than eating. There are more important things for the body than clothes.
24 “Think about the ravens. They don’t plant
or gather crops. They don’t have any storerooms at all. But God feeds them. You are worth much more than birds!
25 “Can you add even one
hour to your life by worrying? 26 You can’t do that very little thing. So why worry about the rest?
27 “Think about how the
lilies grow. They don’t work or make clothing. But here is what I tell you. Not even Solomon in all of his glory was
dressed like one of those flowers. 28 If that is how God dresses the wild grass, how much better will he dress
you! After all, the grass is here only today. Tomorrow it is thrown into the fire. Your faith is so small!
29 “Don’t spend time
thinking about what you will eat or drink. Don’t worry about it. 30 People who are ungodly run after
all of those things. Your Father knows that you need them.
31 “But put God’s kingdom first. Then those other things will also be given to
Jesus wants us to trust God and have faith.
No matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, he is there with us, Holy Spirit within us!
What is your greatest fear? What
can you actually do other than hand it over to God to deal with?
God can take it away and give you joy in it’s place. No
matter what happens nobody can take you from God.
Now that’s a security I like to have and we can’t even pay for it. It’s free!