Posts Tagged 'devotions'

Embracing the Curiosity of the Christian

A view from the good seats (at the feet of Jesus – Matthew 18).

-jordan

Momentum

My daughter likes to repeat herself. She says the same thing over and over again until she gets our attention. Her most recent appeal has been to push her on the swings. Being that she is so young, she’s unable to swing by herself and therefore needs assistance. She wants a “big push” to gain the proper moment to feel the maximum wind flow through her hair. She will literally sit in the swing yelling, “Daddy, come push me!”

The other day I tried to pass off the responsibility by calling my wife over to give her some momentum. As she neared towards the swing, without reservation, my daughter pushed her away and said with great demand, “No! Daddy has to push me!”

“Daddy has to push me”

Unsure why she wanted me to push her and not my wife was a foreign concept. Therefore, without hesitation I walked over, secured her in the swing, pulled it back as far as it would go, and then let it rip. She shouted with excitement over the exhilaration.  My wife looked at me without pausing,

“You push her a lot harder than I do!”

So it is with Jesus. How many times have we sat longing for God to come give us a push?  To do something great in our lives that no one else can do. We may of had others push the swing at times but for some odd reason they always came up short, leaving us sitting still begging for our father to come to the job the right way.

I’ll never forget the first time our daughter went to the top. She was nervous how high we were climbing.  Fear coursed through her fingers as she clutched the swings chains tighter. We often want the thrill of flying but forget about overcoming the fear to get going or the trust it takes in the one pushing the swing.

“If we call out to Him and trust Him, He give us the greatest encounter we could of ever experience.”

What we must cling to is that when we call upon the Lord in faith, He will not only come to our aid, but He will also help us get over the fear of getting to the top. Even better, if we call out to Him and trust Him, He give us the greatest encounter we could of ever experience. He will “never leave us or forsake us” (Hebrews 13:5) as He is the momentum that keeps us going for eternity.

Where are you?

  • Are you sitting on the swing waiting for that push? “Call upon the name of the Lord” (Romans 10:13). Stop looking for someone else to do the job that only God can through His Son Jesus.
  • Are you terrified because God is bringing you to the top of the pendulum? “Don’t fear” (Isaiah 41:10). The Lord knows what He is doing. Embrace the fact that He is in control.
  • Are you enjoying the ride? Is life going great and you just can’t get enough? Awesome. (John 15:11) Don’t forget that when you lose momentum, ask God to give you another push and don’t be terrified when He takes you to the top to start over.

The best is yet to come! 

-jordan

The Proposal

A friend of mine asked me a month back to let him propose at church. We sat down over dumbbells to plan the scenario. With little interference from his soon to be bride we were ready for action.  Yesterday he popped the question using great form and perfect timing. Not only did she say “yes”, he got a standing ovation.

ovation

The Proposal

Standing ovations are awesome.

The standing “O” makes you feel like you’re doing the right thing. While a human audience’s applause only last a moment, God’s glorious applause for His people lasts an eternity.

As my friend asked his soon to be bride for her hand, the congregation saw an outward action of an internal change. God was on “His feet” because he is in the process of learning what Scripture teaches, living it out realistically, and giving the credit back to God.

Many times we will try and live out what we think we know is best and then go back after a downfall to learn what God’s work teaches on the subject. To make matters worse, if we did consult the scriptures, we will often give ourselves the credit! Double fault! Living out what we think is best and giving credit to ourselves for victories limits God’s favor and silence His applause.

Give Credit and Achieve Impossible

In short, we must learn to give credit where credits due.

As John said, “He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30) That means I learn the truths in the Bible, I live it them out and I give credit to the Lord. In order to truly believe that God will step to help us, His people who believe in Him through faith by the blood of Jesus on the cross, remember that our outward actions are symbolic of what is going on inside, and when we are overcome for Christ, we give God the glory He rightly deserves.

This is how you mature in a relationship with your creator.

Have you ever received a standing ovation? Would you like to get one everyday? Learn God’s Word, live it out and give credit to him for letting you have access to His glorious plan. After all, a heavenly ovation trumps human applause any day of the week!

-jordan

The Rewire

Rewiring is not only essential to getting information and power back to the people; it’s vital to us growing in our spiritual walk with the Lord. Internal rewiring is a concept that consists of going back into our memories to see where negative feelings and emotions have caused pain.  If we can see where our emotions stem there can be great change in the future. While rewiring can be painful, if we are willing to open ourselves to identify internal pain, the freedom obtained will change the course of the future. Imagine being free… Imagine healing and restoration. It’s possible.

Identify the problem can take some time and honesty.

STEP 1: Identification – The first step involves identification of what negative emotion you re actually experiencing.  Is it unhealthy anger, pride, resentment, loneliness, guilt? What exactly is the emotion causing the main issues in your life? If you are experiencing anger, then you need to understand the first and foremost you’re angry. When we’re aware of our emotions and willing to accept that these emotions exist, that is exactly where at a place where God can use this the most.

NOTE: Sometimes we can identify negative emotions and sometimes it takes the voice of another. Identification also means that we are honest with ourselves when these emotions are presented. This means that identification could come from our own knowledge or a result from hearing the same thing from various people in different situations and circumstances.

The rewire can be done alone but it’s better to enlist help.

STEP 2: The Rewire – Once the emotion is acknowledged, we can now retrace or rewire back to where these emotions stemmed. This involves starting at the most recent event or occurrence the emotion occurred and then tracing back days, weeks, months, and even years to how long this emotion has been prevalent.

NOTE: Understand that this is the most effective when these timelines are written down in a tangible format (think journal, piece of paper, etc.). To actually be able to visually see an emotion and how it has taken root in the soul is what ultimately helps us become free.

Find out the trigger that fires the gun and you can stop the bullet.

STEP 3: Trigger – To deal with an emotion and properly run another “clean” wire means that we will look openly and honestly at what exactly triggers these emotions and terminate them immediately.

NOTE: Understand that some emotions can be tied to people, some emotions can be tied to places, and some emotions can be tied to things. When one identifies these people, places, or things that cause these emotional triggers they then can see what needs to be released from their life.

Radical transformation takes radical amputation.

STEP 4:  Terminate – The last of the rewiring is extremely challenging, involving a radical amputation of whatever has caused these specific emotions. In situations that are extreme one may need to move from house, eliminate a relationship (not spouses), or throw out/give away material items such as computers, cars, possessions, etc. We see this a lot with people who smoke cigarettes, as they are encouraged to get rid of their vehicle if they have smoked in that specific automobile. Again, one must understand that this takes either great personal dedication or enlisting the help of someone else.

It’s possible to rewire but understand it takes time, patients, an open mind, and lot of help. You were not born to live with negative emotions from scars in the past. That’s what Christ restores to the broken when they identify, rewire, trigger and terminate what is causing unrest. Allow people to hold you accountable and seek the opportunity to do the hard things to make big change.

You can do it. There is no better time than now.

-jordan

Exercises of Implementation

We can have all the knowledge in the world in our mind but without implementation, understanding is useless. Implementation means that we participate in certain exercises to “live out” what we know. Let’s look at four exercises to see how we can implement our internal knowledge.

Workouts are not just limited to the physical.

Exercise #1: Conscious Engagement

Conscious Engagement is the art of visually seeing your surroundings enough to engage the people selectively in your environment. Why engage selectively? Shouldn’t we evaluate the whole? A selective analysis will show that one will get better results if he or she would engage committed people.  Committed people who work hard are worth your time as they not only have a passion for the same things you do but often have perspectives you are unable to see due to leadership demands.

After consciously engaging a selective audience, it is best to then retaliate.  A true leader will then think through all ideas and make a decision regarding what would be best in order to execute properly. Remember, in engaging others you are not asking for specific answers but gauging a temperature in a certain environment.  If we do not engage consciously, we will not execute effectively.

Exercise #2: Devoted Discipline

A true leader loves discipline.  The Bible says in Psalm 94:12 “Blessed is the man you discipline, O Lord, the man you teach from your law.” Proverbs states “fools despise wisdom and discipline.” (Proverbs 1:7) Discipline means that we stay focused on a specific task remembering how committed we are to accomplishing that goal. An individual fully devoted to discipline is one who is willing to eliminate whatever surrounds them at the current moment causing distraction (this involves people just as much as objects).

People will achieve greatness because they focus on methods and actions that will ultimately highlight particular activities they are involved in. Find out what is causing distractions and eliminate the problem. This is not something one should apologize for as this action can often be done gracefully. Remember, to be foolish is to live out of control and to be blessed is to welcome restraint.

Exercise #3: See it Through

Seeing something through is about being devoted to accomplishing an objective. Often times we do not succeed because we failed to see something through in being disciplined. While one may not be happy at the current moment because of engaging others in a disciplined way, the outcome has monumental rewards. A great way to see something through is to monitor and measure personal progress.

Personally, I write everything down.  This includes, workouts, to-do lists, schedules, meeting notes, etc. Everything I do has some sort of paper trail, as it is vital to seeing a project to completion. While taking notes is great, one also needs to show up, take action, complete assignments, and be committed.

Exercise #4: Get Help

Getting help means finding someone to hold you accountable.  All execution involves someone behind that individual cheering them on, making sure that person is staying on task. The key to accountability is having the right people in the right place for specific results.

It can take months, even years to get into a trust-based relationship where someone is making sure that we have a clear understanding of responsibilities and objectives. Accountability starts with trust.  Hat means we trust that someone is going to seek out best. In order to find someone whom you trust means that you consciously engage your environment.

seriously…

Now that sounds like a familiar concept.

-jordan

Multitasking Mistakes

In elementary school and much in the junior high school there were various complaints on the pace my completed assignments. The thoughts of rushing to complete a test because someone turned his or hers in before me are still crystal clear. The to-do-list was much too important than the tasks on the paper. Forget the individual items getting completed properly, that list needed to get done.

In my immaturity and years of learning to discipline myself to slow down the pace of learning, there was a realization that rushing to complete the list is not always the most beneficial fixation.

“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” -Anatole France

If the tasks are accomplished properly, to the best of my ability, the satisfaction of completing the list when accomplished will be twice as great.

If we would slow down and focus on executing objectives at a proper place, to the best of our abilities, we would not only be benefiting ourselves, but ultimately bring glory to God because we are taking pride in our work and focusing all our efforts to one centralized place.

We often lose our momentum due to our distraction. Multitasking has replaced fixation. The focus on executing the “get it all done” mentality has declined the overall quality of our work. Listen, what happens if you don’t get all done? What would happen if one task gets completed to the best of your ability? Which one is better? Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to complete an assignment to the best of your ability instead of doing ten other objectives half way?

In honing in on a task to the best of our ability, you need to be aware of the under current of change. Change is the proper route in self-improvement. Think about a professional athlete. Do you think they got to the big game as a 10-year-old? Not even close. They made it to the big stage because they worked on one skill at a time until they mastered it and moved on to the next. They had coaching talking through each step of their weakness and making small adjustments to master their position.

We all need the same.

Life is like a camera. Focus on what’s important and you’ll capture it perfectly.

What are some goals in your life? What are some small items that need completed properly in order to achieve those goals? Who do you need to come help coach you? Who needs to make small adjustments so that you can master one, central skill?

There’s a good chance if you rush the road to success you will eventually find yourself back in the box of doing many wrong items extremely well. In order to be great for the kingdom of God, understanding that changing yourself to avoid multi-tasking, focusing on accomplishing one thing well, and slowing your pace is key.

May you see the value and appreciate the value of learning in continuously improving on who you are, in the proper time, at the proper pace.

-jordan

The Seven in Submission

Submissive. That word never really sat right with me. I always thought the Bible used the word to reference how a woman should conduct herself in a marriage relationship. To me the word never had much weight for a man or even a leader.

Wrong.

Titus Three

Submissive has many implications for the life of the Christian, a leader, and men and women in the kingdom of God. While wives are to indeed be submissive to their husband, Paul gave seven qualities in Titus 3 on how Christians can honor the Lord through submission.

  1. Submit to Rulers and Authorities: This is not always easy. Being submissive to authority is to be submissive to God by practicing self-control. It’s easy to sin in avenging an unjust ruler, however, controlling ourselves and living a disciplined life means that we know God is in control. He will gives us His voice when needed to help be a biblical change in the right time and way.
  2. Submit in Obedient: Obedience is tied to being disciplined following the rulers and authorities put in place. While God doesn’t call you to compromise on His Word, He does call you to be obedient to laws in place that are proper for righteous living.
  3. Submit to What is Good: Ephesians 2:10 tells us, “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before hand, that we should walk in them.”  When we do good, we ultimately honor Jesus Christ because of our good works are a response to the acceptance of eternal life. Let us walk in those good deeds! These “works” bring honor and glory to the kingdom of God, as we are obedient and submissive.
  4. Submit to Slander No One: In our day we understand that slander is insecurity. There is no honoring the Lord if you have to cut down another. When we speak against our brothers and sisters in Christ were actually defiling the Lord doing what is false and foolish in the eyes of the kingdom of God.
  5. Submit to be Peaceful: Paul sums up his last couple of points with some really good things to consider. He tells us that we should be “peaceable”, meaning we are to be disposed to piece. In other words, Paul says we are to eliminate drama by acting like Christ. A Christian is marked by the freedom he has in Christ through the gospel, which gives a peace like no other.
  6. Submit to be Considerate: Much like peace, being considerate is another mark of the Christian in regards to being submissive to authority. Being considerate means that we are “given to careful consideration”. To be considerate means that we give thought to the feelings of others and strive to understand where somebody has been.  A Considerate Christian wants to see people become more like Jesus, not stay lost in his or her sin.
  7. Submit to Show True Humility: Paul concludes by telling us that we are to show true humility toward all men. The Christian should be an influence for good in the community that’s around him or her. When you are humble, you’re like Christ. When you are like Christ, you’re maximizing impact for the kingdom of God.

Seven traits of a submissive Christian. This is the hope and strength that we need in order to win our community to Jesus Christ and reach the world near and far for the Gospel.

Seriously.

What are you in submission to?

-jordan

Backyard Battlefield

In my younger years the neighbor kids and I used to play army in the backyards of our neighborhood. We would chase each other around glorious gardens shooting make-believe bad guys with artificial ammunition. We were soldiers. Warriors. We loved every minute of our fairy tale firefight.

Kids playing war outside

While my friends loved hand-to-hand combat, my own internal exhilaration came after moving troops in various directions. In the heat of battle I barked orders in the heat of imaginary firepower. My fellow soldiers would then go out and win the war under my direction. I hated fighting on the front lines. They loved it. I would rather be in the background tactically figuring our how demolish the enemy while they put in the blood and sweat on the battlefield. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I fought but my passion was in the tactical approach.

I’m sure you might be thinking how much of a pansy I was for not going our to
slay the imaginary enemy. Thanks for the confidence. However, the friends on
the frontline loved every minute of being in the battle while I loved being on the back lines. After some time there was a realization that evaluating the situations as a whole gave a better ability to be victorious by attacking the enemy in the right way. They needed me to scout out the enemy. They needed a leader.

People need a leader.

We all do. In life some people want to be on the front lines while others would
rather facilitate victories. There are leaders on the frontlines of hand-to-hand combat and there are leaders who gather various points of view to maximize the potential of the team.

People needs a leader

Remember Jesus? Remember Jesus sending out the twelve disciples? He sends them out, giving them “authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.” (Matthew 10:2). He doesn’t have to be on that front line because the disciples are going to experience a better victory if they are faithful with the orders from their captain. They know the the mission is going to be one of great difficulty. Jesus himself says, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues.” (Matthew 10:17)

What a rush; for both sides!

What am I getting at here? I’m glad you asked.

There are so many implications for these two stories. The question I would ask is, “Who are you?” Do you like being on the front lines or are you more of a background leader who facilitates through stimulating, listening, observing, capturing, promoting, clarifying, and summarizing? How has God gifted you?

If you’re a frontline leader keep fighting and taking direction from your superiors. Your captain is most honored when you follow his directions closely and carry out the mission in precise detail. If you’re a back line leader, don’t lead with your opinions. Draw out conclusions from the people you are leading through listening and learning so that when you do need to summon an attack you can state your position with more conviction and clarity.

War is an art and as such is not susceptible of explanation by fixed formula.” General George Patton Jr

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12

-jordan

Do You Know Where I Stand

The amount of meetings goes up considerably the older we becomes. It doesn’t matter if a meeting is for work, for fun, or over a meal. For whatever reason, people like meetings. We like getting things accomplished with each other.

In small gatherings (two or three individuals) a person will often become open, stating their viewpoints and beliefs on certain issues without reservation.  However, in large gathering, thoughts and viewpoints are rarely communicated from individuals who were vocal in smaller gatherings. Why does the individual that was quiet suddenly become timid, giving little feedback.

While we could blame this lack of communication on personality, a true leader needs to have a point of view.

I’m reminded of reading the gospel accounts of Jesus and the disciples asking questions. The disciples asked Jesus because they wanted to know His thoughts, His reasoning behind His actions, and why He was responding to situations and circumstances a certain way. Jesus, without delay, stated his point of view. He knew he had a responsibility to generate a factual response to lead these men properly. His time was limited so His leadership was communicated.

Jesus leadership.

You’re thinking, “Sure He did… He was God.” Good point. However, if we go further into the biblical text you’ll see that after the ascension Jesus leaves His disciples to act as He acted. The disciples are now charged to respond to people when they asked questions regardless of the group size or people present. They communication was to be on factual points because of the truth they had not only known with their mind but had experienced with their lives.

If you’re passionate at all about helping hurting people, you must start to come to some conclusions about life. There are far to many timid people out there hiding behind the presence of an appearance of humility.  False humility is often panic which becomes silence which can be a hindrance for growth. There may be multiple things you don’t know or even want to know but a knowledge of factual reasoning behind your thoughts is one of the greatest weapons a human you can obtain.

“Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.”

The next time someone ask what you think, be prepared to answer them. Encourage each other to grow by communicating opinions and seeking to build thoughts and ideas off factual truth.

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15).

Executive: A man who can make quick decisions and is sometimes right.” Frank McKinney Hubbard

-jordan

Driven

Friday nights at a Christian Colleges can be interesting. There are two types of activities people embrace when the weekend hits. The first person is a social butterfly. They go hang out with friends leaving homework in the dust. Sunday will come soon enough. It’s time to relax, go to sporting events, laugh, and joke around.  Everything can wait. The other character can be found nestled in a library or dorm room meticulously doing homework or working on a project that “needs finished”. They are trying to get ahead of the game. They want to work. It fuels something driving them within.

Question: What do you do on a Friday night?

While I love people with all my heart and I enjoy their company immensely, if there’s an unfinished agenda on the table that needs completed, I find the time to get it done. This is a sacrificial act. There are times when people are out on the town, embracing fun filled festivities, or even sleeping, while I find myself locked in concentration. At the time it’s brutal to know other people are out having a good time, but in the long run I know that a good time is better when the work is done first.

As my father said, “Work in the beginning, play when it’s over.”

It doesn’t matter what type of personality God gave you, everyone who wants to succeed. The fact of the matter is some want it more than others. Personal development comes in the form of discipline. This discipline starts slowly. When the time put into development increases, a leader immerges. Michael Andrew once said, “the person who consistently stays one step ahead of the issue… demonstrates leadership”.

I don’t waste my life on meaningless endeavors. Getting a virtual character to a imaginary level in a video games that bears no spiritual or eternal significance is pointless. Reading a meaningless book or magazine has never been appealing. My mind is focused on learning what matters and that has come with striving to be disciplined. The goal has always been to take who I am and turn it into who I can be. While there is time to rest and enjoy, the time learning and developing makes us into the people we can become.

It’s amazing to think about what God would find meaningless in our world…

Paul stated that he disciplined his body and kept it under control, so he would not find himself disqualified.  (1 Corinthians 9:27) Paul would not let his body master him. He denied himself rightful privileges and pleasures (1 Corinthians 8:9) for a greater good (1 Corinthians 10:33).

What about you? Are you spending your life simply enjoying what life has to offer? Do you find yourself frustrated because you constantly give into what the world has to offer? God’s yoke may be easy but it takes discipline to truly unlock the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit.

Like Paul we must to be concerned with continuance of running the Christian race well, learning whatever we can along the way. There is nothing worse than a wasted mind. We must be disciplined to do exactly the opposite of what the world does to find ourselves in line with God’s Word.

What would you rather be, ahead with what the world has to offer or one step closer to accessing the kingdom of God.  To walk with the Lord may means that you have to take a Friday night away once and awhile but don’t worry, the joy comes in the morning!

Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, whether you like it or not.” Thomas Henry Huxley

Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.” Deuteronomy 8:5

-jordan


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