Monthly Archives: August 2016

Starting the New Year Right

This article was posted a year ago but is still helpful to those heading to school in the next few days.

Starting the New School Year Right

The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.  Proverbs 21:5

You may enjoy this humorous story as much as I did:  “A college freshman was giving her friend a tour of the college she attended. She pointed out the various recreational sights in the area and the numerous places for eating out. When they returned to the dorm, the freshman reminded her visiting friend that they needed to be quiet because her roommates were studying. Before they entered the room she whispered to her friend, “All they do is study. Honestly, I don’t even know why they came to college.””  (Ministry127)

It was Francis Bacon who said: “Crafty men condemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise men use them.”  We must be wise in our approach to the new school year.  Thinking and planning ahead is commended in the Scripture.  The person who is diligent in his thoughts will have results that end in plenty.  Nearly all of us would want not only “passing grades” but “excelling grades” for each class we take!

Apply this truth of diligence to the education department of your life and you can learn how to become successful in your pursuit of learning in this new school year.  Go for more than an “A+.”  These truths can work no matter if you are entering kindergarten or college.

Whether a student or a parent of a student, this list will help you think through the start of the new year to enable you to “Start the New School Year Right.”

  • Have a Good Attitude. Attitude is of paramount importance as you plan for a new school year.  Whether you have 0 or 15 years of schooling, each year is new and different.  There can be some intimidation that comes with new teachers, new subjects, and new classmates.  Speak with enthusiasm about the new school year.  Talk openly of fears, then resolve to have Bible faith to face those fears and move past them.  Avoid those who speak ill of teachers, class, or school.  Don’t listen to them.   Focus on the positives and be consistent to speak often of the great potential for learning and growing.  Good attitudes are reflected in our words and actions.  Your effort in studies is affected by your attitude.  Have a good attitude and purpose to look forward to each school day.
  • Have Personal Discipline. Leave early for class.  If school starts at 8:10 AM.  Plan to arrive at 8:00 AM.  If it takes you 20 minutes to drive to school, leave 30 minutes early.  Much of the hasty, rushing feeling and frustration on the first day can be avoided by being more disciplined with your time and when you actually leave the house or dorm room to make it to class.
  • Have a Healthy Breakfast. You have heard that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”  Not only does it help maintain metabolism and even fights against obesity, breakfast can stimulate the mind and get the “thinking juices” going after a night of sleep and “fasting.”  Breaking the fast is important to the developing mind and body.  Inattentiveness, sleepiness and attitudes are all affected in a positive way when a healthy breakfast has been enjoyed.
  • Have a Devotional Time. Take a few moments to pray for each day to be the best day of this school year.  Read some Scripture and meditate on the Bible verses you have read to help encourage you and to guide your learning ethic and relational skills throughout the school day.  Dedicate your pursuit of learning to the Lord each day.
  • Have a Flexible Spirit. Not everything will go as planned.  That is all right!  God is still in control and He will help you through each day.  Things will come up that delay you, sidetrack you, and even slow you down from reaching your daily goals.  If you stop and focus on the distractions, then you will not achieve the learning that you need for that day.  Be flexible, and then learn how to refocus.

Those who rush thoughtlessly to the classroom may make a passing grade, but they may not learn all that they could have if they do not have these principles guiding them.  Many people come up short in knowledge because they do not think, plan, and execute their plan for success in the classroom.

You can do better than merely get a good grade on paper.  Ask the Lord to help you start the new school year right.  Then go on to have the best year in school that you have ever had!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Place Where Revival Begins

The Place Where Revival Begins

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me….Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.  Psalm 51: 10, 13

I like the following quote concerning revival: “Revival is the church falling in love with Jesus all over again.”  What a fantastic definition!  David had just sinned, committing adultery with one of his soldier’s wife, attempted to cover it up, and then set up Uriah to be killed in battle.  He recognizes the need for the sin in his life to be confessed.  He also sees the importance of experiencing cleansing from his sin.  David confesses his sin, then asks the Lord to clean up his life.  Thank the Lord that we can be forgiven our sin because of Jesus Christ!  David desired to have a clean, right heart, as he lived before the Lord.  We have the same need in our life!

Before David was going to be able to witness and give testimony about his great God, he saw the need to be cleansed.  He is having a personal revival – then he is able to teach transgressors the ways of the Lord.  Before we will see people saved and the baptismal waters flowing in believer’s baptism, we must see personal revival.  We all have loved ones and co-workers or classmates that need the Lord.  Before we can effectively share the gospel, we need to be revived ourselves!  Fall in love with Jesus all over again.  Give up any sin, or uncleanness that is in your life.  Be like David and search your heart.  David had revival in his heart.  The heart is the place where revival begins!

Too Much of a Good Thing

Too Much of a Good Thing

Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.  Proverbs 25:16

Hundreds, perhaps thousands of books have been written about dieting.  Eat this.  Do not eat that.  Stick with Carbs.  Avoid carbs.  Go protein.  No meat.  No bread.  No sugar.  Less starch.  Natural this.  Natural that.

In an effort, not to give medical advice but Bible advice, please note the above verse.  Finding something sweet to eat is ok, but too much of a good thing can cause pain, hurt, and suffering later.  I love Snickers bars, but man cannot live by Snickers bars alone.  It is possible to get too much of a good thing!

The best principle for what and how we eat, what we possess, and how we behave is the word “moderation.”  Having too much of something, even something good, can actually affect the quality of living in a negative way.

Moderation is a term that is unfamiliar to American culture today.  We live in a day of excess.  Excess food. Excess weight.  Excess games.  Excess work.  Excessive riches.  Excessive expectations.  People act as if they deserve the best, they deserve it now, and not many are willing to pay the true price in the present.  That is why many people file bankruptcy and rack up tremendous amounts of credit card debt trying to live a “good life.”  Most are unfamiliar with moderation and a terrible example of this is the national average of debt for the Federal Government per US taxpayer.  It is and astonishing….. $154,161!  (Forbes.com)

Words related to the term “moderation” include:  restraint, self-control, temperance, and balance.  Do these words characterize your life?  How about your relationship?  Finances?  Or even eating candy bars?  Here are three ways “Moderation” can help you today:

  • Moderation Shows –Dependence upon God. When we are not so focused on amassing “stuff” we demonstrate and evident dependence on God.  When we are able to be balanced and not excessive we show that God is able to provide, meet needs, and solve the issues we face.  Having nice things is terrific, but it is not the goal for living the Christian life.  The goal is to be more like Jesus.
  • Moderation Proves – Contentment in the non-tangibles of life. As humans we tend to place value on rare items such as gold, silver, or precious stones.  Bling and glamour are attractive to the human nature.  A person living in moderation may have gold, silver, or precious stones, but does not find these items inherently valuable in themselves.  Value in God’s economy is rooted in faith, hope, and love.  Things that you cannot touch or even hold can actually have greater value than material things.  I like the old saying : “Some people love things and use people; but we really should use things to love people.”

Peace, joy, and hope are worth more than all the things money can buy.  Contentment, fulfillment, and faith cannot be bought but can be uncovered and enjoyed by the person living with a spirit of moderation.  Fighting, longing, and working to achieve excess can actually cause the intangibles to flee away.  Some people own so much stuff, their stuff actually owns them.  Ie.  Some cannot get away from the 2 boats, 5 cars, or 3 retreat cabins and have to spend their time maintaining their stuff.  Immoderate living can be controlling.

  • Moderation Provides – Satisfaction in Spiritual, Emotional, Relational, and Physical ways. The whole person (body, soul, spirit) benefits from the perspective of moderation.  A sigh of relief, a spirit at ease, and a mind at rest are possible – with contentment.

The solution to moderation is truly finding our very contentment, meaning, purpose, and value in Jesus.  It is Jesus – Who is the cause of true satisfaction in living.

How are you doing with moderation?  Do you see balance in your eating and exercise?  Do you see temperance in how you relate to other people?  Are you restrained in finances for earthly things?  Thank the Lord for “good things” while keeping in mind that it is possible to have too much of a good thing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Friend Who Finally Opened the Door

Prayers of Importunity

I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.  Luke 11:8

I love it when church members describe with excitement that they are seeing God answer prayers in their lives.  We serve a living God who can hear and respond to the prayers of His people!  Perhaps you have a prayer request that the Lord has answered recently.  I rejoice with you!

Speaking about prayer, Jesus used one particular word only one time.  In fact, only one time in the whole Bible is this word used.  This word is illustrated many times in Scripture.  Even though it is seldom used, it is a BIG word when it comes to prayer.

“Importunity” is the word.  Encarta says it means “wearisome persistence and persistently demanding.”  Have you ever kept asking someone for something until you got what you were asking for?  That is what “importunity” is.

The disciples of Jesus have just asked Him to teach them “How to Pray.”  He gives the “Model Prayer” in Luke 11:1-3.  It is better known as the “Model Prayer” than the “Lord’s Prayer.”  This is because in the prayer, Jesus instructs the one praying to confess sin.  Jesus had no sin of His own.  He was sinless, unlike you and me.

After giving the “Model Prayer” Jesus relates several examples or illustrations about the consistency, priority, and value of prayer.  The first example is where we find this word “Importunity.”

Imagine with me for a moment…  Your next door neighbor has a friend travel to visit from a far-away place.  It is getting late in the evening – way past dinner time.  Your lights are out and everyone in the house is asleep.  The doorbell rings, someone is knocking on your door.

It is your neighbor.  You shout out the window in the second floor “leave us alone.”  The window is open already because you do not have air conditioning, so the breeze keeps everyone cool at night.  The neighbor says “I need your help – a friend has come to visit me and we ran out of food!”  He is persistent and asks for only 3 loaves of bread.  “Go away!” you shout.  He keeps knocking.  You have bread in the kitchen – but that is on the first floor.  You were awakened out of a “dead sleep” and do not want to get up out of bed.  The kids are asleep.  If he keeps ringing the bell and knocking on the door he will wake the kids up!

When you do rise up, go down to the first floor, get the bread, and give the bread to your neighbor – it is not because he is your friend (in a sleepless moment, you may not even like him!).  It is not because he is your friend that you open the door – it is because he kept knocking.  The wearisome persistence was in the listener in the house– not the one doing the knocking.  His persistence paid off and demonstrated to the one in the house– “You are my only hope. Only you can help me.”  When we pray with importunity – we express the same thing to God.

God is better than this sleepy neighbor.  In fact, as His children – we are already in the household of faith with Him!  He never sleeps.  He is quick to respond but we must ask and keep on asking!  He does not grow weary of our prayers.

This is the lesson that Jesus connects in relation to prayer – we need to keep asking God.  Keep knocking at Heavens door.  Do you pray with “importunity” seeking the will of God to take place in your life and in the life of others?  Why or why not?

In verses 9 and 10, Jesus instructs further:  “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

Learn to pray with persistence today.  Demonstrate God your complete dependence on Him.  Keep taking the same requests to the Lord each day and see how the Lord responds.

 

 

 

 

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