So what if you never grew old?

Finding the “Fountain of Youth” has been the topic of many stories over the years.   But think about what would happen if you really could find a spring that would keep you from growing older when you drank from it…truly think about the ramifications of that.    You would never see another wrinkle.  Your body would stay young and strong and healthy.  You wouldn’t lose your hair.  You would be able to run as fast 1000 years from now as you can right now.  You could accomplish all of your dreams because you wouldn’t have a lifetime…you would have until the world ends.  You could try all kinds of dangerous things because you would never die.  Sounds good, doesn’t it?  But what about the other ramifications?   Not everyone could (or would want to) drink from the spring.   The majority of the world would be moving on, while you were staying the same.  You would watch classmates and family members grow older and die.  You would see generations come and go.  And yet there you would be.  Stuck.  You would never mature more than you are right at that moment.  For all the days left on this earth.

You see, this push for youth…the pressure to stay looking and acting young…it all sounds nice, doesn’t it?  But would you REALLY want it?  What would be the point?   I wouldn’t want to stay young while all those around me grew old.   Can you imagine?  You would be stuck in high school…or with toddlers…or with teenagers…forever.  Because your kids would never grow up…if you gave them some water.  Or if you didn’t, they would grow up and you would become younger than them.    You would watch others around you suffer.  Perhaps even you would suffer.  But you would never die.   Does this sound appealing?

Yes, growing old saddens us.   So does change.  But what if it wasn’t there?   What if people never changed?  It is part of life.  It is not always a pleasant part of life…but we need it.

You see, I am at a part of my life where I find myself increasingly nostalgic.  My kids are growing up so quickly.  I miss the days of cuddling babies, toddlers full of wonder, and elementary children full of energy and fun.  But, when I stop and think…would I want to go back?  No, I wouldn’t.  I love my teenagers.  And I enjoy them, too.  And one day, when my teenagers are all adults…well, then I will enjoy that time of my life, too.   As much as I hate change, I wouldn’t want things to stay the same.  Would you?

As I come to a close, I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my excitement about my future, however!  A future which Jesus has promised in the Bible to those who truly believe in Him.  Scripture promises me a place where I will live forever.   I will live forever along with all of the inhabitants of that place.  But it will be a place of perfection.  A place of love, joy, and peace.  A place where no one will get sick.  No one will cry.  (Revelations 21:4) Jesus has promised this place for His followers.  Those who have repented of their sins (Mark 1:15), accepted God’s gift of salvation by faith alone (Ephesians 2:8), and have shown the fruit of that decision by denying themselves, taking up their crosses, and following Him (Luke 9:23, Mark 8:34). I hope as you ponder your own mortality, you know without a shadow of a doubt where you will spend eternity.  If you don’t know where you will spend eternity, please take the time to search the scriptures.   Ask God to open your eyes.  And I will be praying for you, my friend.

 

The Bible

What could possibly be the  best New Year’s resolution?  Lose 20 pounds?  Save “x” amount of money?  I think the best resolution you can possibly have is to take your Bible off the shelf and start reading it.   I came across this sermon of Spurgeon’s.  It is entitled “The Bible” and was written in 1855.  It seems that ours is not the only culture that placed novel-reading ahead of Bible-reading.  Or business ahead of holiness.  Sure, today we could insert a few more things that take precedence over our Christian walk.  I found this quite an indictment.  Don’t read it if you don’t want to feel convicted.  I am only sharing a bit of it here with you.  The rest can be found at the link at the end of this post.

Our last point is: The treatment which the poor Bible receives in this world; it is accounted a strange thing. What does that mean—the Bible accounted a strange thing? In the first place, it means that it is very strange to some people, because they never read it. I remember reading, on one occasion, the sacred story of David and Goliath, and there was a person present, positively grown up to years of maturity, who said to me, “Dear me! what an interesting story; what book is that in?” And I recollect a person once coming to me in private; I spoke to her about her soul, she told me how deeply she felt, how she had a desire t serve God, but she found another law in her members. I turned to a passage in Romans, and read to her, “The good that I would I do not; and the evil which I would not that I do!” She said, “Is that in the Bible? I did not know it.” I did not blame her, because she had no interest in the Bible till then; but I did not wonder that there could be found persons who knew nothing about such a passage. Ah! you know more about your ledgers than your Bible; you know more about your day-books than what God has written; many of you will read a novel from beginning to end, and what have you got? A mouthful of froth when you have done. But you cannot read the Bible; that solid, lasting, substantial, and satisfying food goes uneaten, locked up in the cupboard of neglect; while anything that man writes, a catch of the day, is greedily devoured. “I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing.” Ye have never read it. I bring the broad charge against you. Perhaps, ye say, I ought not to charge you with any such thing. I always think it better to have a worse opinion of you than too good an one. I charge you with this: you do not read your Bibles. Some of you have never read it through. I know I speak what your heart must say is honest truth. You are not Bible readers. You say you have the Bible in your houses; do I think you are such heathens as not to have a Bible? But when did you read it last? How do you know that your spectacles, which you have lost, have not been there for the last three years? Many people have not turned over its pages for a long time, and God might say unto them, “I have written unto you the great things of my law, but they have been accounted unto you a strange thing.”
    Others there be who read the Bible; but when they read it, they say it is so horribly dry. That young man over there says it is a “bore;” that is the words he uses. He says, “My mother says to me, when you go up to town, read a chapter every day. Well, I thought I would please her, and I said I would. I am sure I wish I had not. I did not read a chapter yesterday, or the day before. We were so busy, I could not help it.” You do not love the Bible, do you? “No, there is nothing in it which is interesting.” Ah, I thought so. But a little while ago I could not see anything in it. Do you know why? Blind men cannot see, can they? But when the Spirit touches the scales of the eyes, they fall off; and when he puts eye-salves on, the Bible becomes precious. I remember a minister who went to see an old lady, and he thought he would give her some precious promises out of the word of God. Turning to one, he saw written in the margin “P.,” and he asked, “What does this mean?” “That means precious, sir.” Further down, he saw “T. and P.,” and he asked what the letters meant. “That,” she said, “means tried and proved, for I have tried and proved it.” If you have tried God’s word and proved it—if it is precious to your soul. then you are Christians; but those persons who despise the Bible, have “neither part nor lot in the matter.” If it is dry to you, you will be dry at last in hell. If you do not esteem it as better than your necessary food, there is no hope for you; for you lack the greatest evidence of your Christianity.

    I have done. Let us go home and practice what we have heard. I have heard of a woman, who, when she was asked what she remembered of the minister’s sermon, said, “I don’t recollect anything of it. It was about short weights and bad measures, and I didn’t recollect anything but to go home and burn the bushel.” So, if you will remember to go home and burn the bushel, if you will recollect to go home and read your Bibles, I shall have said enough. And may God, in his infinite mercy, when you read your Bibles, pour into your souls the illuminating rays of the Sun of Righteousness, by the agency of the ever-adorable Spirit; then you will read to your profit and to your soul’s salvation.

http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0015.htm

In a Heartbeat

I can’t help but remember that last year at this time my uncle was rushed to the hospital after a tragic accident.  By the end of January, he was with the Lord.  I know of another woman who lost her battle with cancer this year.   And several others who are fighting the battle of their lives against the “C” enemy.   This time each year, I can’t help but look around me and thank the Lord for granting me another year to spend with my family and friends that are still here on earth.  Because life can change.  In a heartbeat.

I think we so often get caught up in the things that irritate us about those we love.   Or maybe we focus on the political or spiritual disagreements we have with others.  But, if  we stop and think for just a moment…we realize that if that person wasn’t with us next year, we would miss them dreadfully.  We need to remember to be thankful for the people in our lives.   Because life can change.  In a heartbeat.

Instead, we so often let things fester.    Ephesians 4:26 says not to let the sun go down upon your wrath.  How many of us obey that command from scripture and never go to bed angry?   How many of us would rather hold on to our pride than heal a relationship?   Or how many of us speak before thinking and say something unkind, not thinking of the hurt we are inflicting?   Why do we make such a big deal out of the little things?  What if that person was no longer here?  Think of how ridiculous you would feel about holding such stupid grudges.

You see, we only live once.  And life is too short to hold grudges and have broken relationships.  The holidays are a time for family.  And lots of times families are the ones who irritate us the most.  But I encourage you to let the annoying things roll right off of your back– don’t hang onto them.  Yes, this can sometimes be hard to do.  But as you practice it more and more it will become easier.  Instead, turn your thoughts towards the good things.  The love that you have.  What you have in common.  The way that person has been a blessing to you.  Because life is short.  And life changes.  In a heartbeat.

Psalm 104:14-16   As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, And its place remembers it no more.

A Christmas Poem

Long, long ago

In a faraway land

to the humans below

the Father reached out His hand

A baby was born

God’s only Son

In humble surroundings

yes, here was the One

The Messiah, the Savior

The plan was in motion

To provide a way of salvation

Most people hadn’t a notion

For He was quietly born

that night long ago

The angels pronounced it

To the shepherds below

And God placed a star

far up in the sky

The wisemen, they followed

Did they truly know why?

Long, long ago

Jesus came to the earth

And the world was never the same

After His holy birth

Your kid won’t die if they don’t get a guinea pig.

Christmas week.  A wonderful time of food, family get-togethers, church activities, and...”Christmas Lists”.  Have you felt the pressure?  The pressure to try and do everything possible to give our kids their hearts’ desire at Christmastime?  We love our children.  It seems a natural outpouring of our love to give our kids what they want for Christmas.  But sometimes, they just do not need the newest, latest gadget.  Or sometimes you can’t afford what they want.

Well, I am here to tell you that they will survive!   Is that good news or what??  (I hope you hear the sarcasm in my voice as I write this!)  I know you already know this.  It just seemed like a good week to mention this in case you forgot…

A few months ago, one of my daughters desired a guinea pig with all of her heart.  She spent HOURS researching guinea pig cages and guinea pig food and anything else that had to do with guinea pigs.  She pestered me for about two weeks straight to let her have a guinea pig.  We have owned rabbits, fish, cats, and birds at various times in our household during the last 20 years.   We currently have two dogs.   I do not feel the need to have more pets at this point in my life.   But she would not leave me alone.  She pleaded.   She cried.  She begged.   I finally came up with what I thought was a pretty ingenious idea.   I told this daughter that if she could keep her room clean for a whole month, we would re-visit the idea of the guinea pig.   I had a pretty good idea that one of two things would happen.  She would A) either forget about the guinea pig or B) grow tired of trying to keep her room clean.

And guess what?  I was right on both counts.  I haven’t heard anything further about a guinea pig for a long time.  She made a decision that a guinea pig just wasn’t worth the work involved.

Sometimes our kids’ make it sound like they NEED to have the latest gadget…or that toy they saw on the commercial…or, in our case, the pet that their cousin has.  And sometimes we can find ourselves believing them.  But my little experiment showed me that, not only do they not need it, but that most kids will forget all about it eventually.

Isn’t parenting fun??

Taking a minute to focus

As humans, we tend to put our focus on the negative things.  The things that are going wrong.  The things we can complain about.  And, yes, lots of things have gotten worse in the years since I was a kid.  But let’s think a moment about some of the things that have improved.

How about TV?  Before you think I am one brick short of a full load, let me explain.  When I was growing up, we had about…let me think…4 channels to watch on TV.  Maybe 5.    There were no DVDs (or even videos) and no DVRs.  If we watched TV, we watched a show that was on one of the main networks:  ABC, NBC, CBS, and PBS.  That was IT.  Now most of us have more options than we know what to do with.  Yes, there are lots of options that aren’t good…but there are also lots of options that are educational and inoffensive.  I know that some of you believe that TV is a big waste of time, and I would tend to agree with you.  But, if people are going to watch TV (and they are!), at least there are some good choices out there.

Let’s take a minute to look at movies.  Yes, movies, as a general rule, continue to push more and more limits and grow more and more offensive.  But try watching a PG movie from the 80s.  I sat down to watch a popular movie from the 80s with my kids.  I was appalled.  I didn’t remember that language!  At least now we have the PG-13 rating.  The PG films of 2010 are much cleaner to watch than the PG films of the 80s.  And what about the Christian film companies?  We have some really talented Christians putting out some great films.   We also have some great channels (Hallmark and Gospel Music Channel to name two) putting out great, family-oriented films with nary an offensive word or deed in them.  Wise creators, directors, and producers who know that beautiful, real stories can be told without all of the offensive language, inappropriate conduct, and abhorrent violence that is Hollywood’s trademark.

Let’s turn our thoughts toward the home.  We know the divorce rate has increased.  More kids are growing up without dads.  But let’s think a moment about how the culture has changed for the better.  I can think of two right off of the top of my head.  First, dads are expected to be more involved in the lives of their kids.  Some of this is the result of so many moms working outside the home.  But I love that dads are now in the hospital room with their wives when babies are born.   I love that dads are helping kids with homework.  And dads are picking up kids from soccer.  Kids need to know that their dads love them.  And I believe this culture encourages dads to be involved more in their kids lives and to express that love in ways beyond simply providing for their family’s material needs.

Second, there was a time when a woman was ridiculed for not going to work outside the home.  A time when it was believed that she was wasting her talents if she was going to choose to stay at home and take care of her family.  But the culture has shifted dramatically since those days.  Doctors, lawyers, and even actresses, are taking breaks from work to spend time raising their precious children.  It is viewed as a wonderful, worthwhile option now.   What a change since the days where it was believed that if you stayed at home, you were lazy and unmotivated (nothing could be further from the truth, of course!)

Let’s turn our thoughts towards education now.  How about the homeschooling movement?  We have the option to keep our children home to educate them.  Not only do we have the option, but if we do decide to homeschool, we have all sorts of wonderful services, dvds, curricula, and classes to assist us.  Homeschool co-ops can be found in almost every part of the country.  Homeschool kids have opportunities to participate in public school sports and concerts.  What a difference from the pioneering homeschoolers of yesteryear.  They were viewed as abnormal (at best) and basically did all of their teaching from scratch, maybe with the help of a cast-off textbook or two.

We have also seen some positive changes in options for our graduating seniors.  Yes, the colleges and universities are teaching many things that go against God’s Word.  Yes, many of the kids attend university to party and have a good time.  But, again, let’s think about some of the alternatives for kids these days.  When I was a kid, you went to college or you worked.  Those were our options.  Now, you can attend a community college, you can go to school on-line…you can even go on an “around the world” missions trip.   We have lots more freedom to choose what we will do after high school and lots less judgment about those choices.

And, finally, I would be remiss, if I did not mention the positive way the internet has affected us.  Yes, it has brought a horrific rise to the pornography industry.  Yes, it has made bullying take on a new light.  But it has also called businesses to a higher standard (who doesn’t check out reviews of hotels, appliances, and books on-line?) and it helps watch-dog companies that would rip people off.   It has put us in touch with our far-flung family members in a way that was unimaginable even a decade ago.  It has allowed us to have contact with missionaries in remote areas.  And, the glory of it all, is that it doesn’t cost that much (have you heard of Skype??)  Gone are the days of letter-writing and expensive, long-distance phone calls.

Of course, I could write at length about cell phones (helping us to keep our kids safe), ipods (making podcasts available to us that help us in our spiritual growth), and DVRs (eradicating the need to watch the inane and endless commercials) but I won’t, because this is long enough.

I guess I just wanted to make the point, that while many aspects of this world are getting worse, there are some things that have improved.  Let’s not spend all of our time focused on the bad things.  Let’s live a life thankful for the good things and yet always doing our part in eliminating the bad.

Matthew 5:16

Titus 2

Important Truths

lies

If we say we are a Christian and believe that God’s Word is inspired and infallible (For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12) then there are some of truths that we need to face.

I have just finished reading Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s book Lies Women Believe.  But wait! Before you say “I am not a woman so this doesn’t affect me”, listen to a few of these truths that she brings to light that affect every Christian, no matter if you are a man or woman, young or old–

1.  God is good (Psalm 119:68) . This is so easy to believe when the sun is shining and everything is going our way. But when the clouds come and life is hard, this is still true. It is so important to remember this at all times.

2. My past does not have to plague me (I Corinthians 6: 9-11). We are new creatures. We are not a victim of our “yesterday”. Yes, we need to suffer with the consequences of some of our choices. But the good news is that we can make good choices today. We can live for Jesus today. We can react and respond in a way that pleases God. We can’t go back and change how we were treated as a child or make a different decision. But we can choose to forgive today. We can make the right choice today.

“The Truth is that our past-our upbringing, the ways we have been wronged, and the ways we have wronged others-these things do not have to be hindrances.  In fact, by God’s grace, they can actually become stepping stones to greater victory and fruitfulness.” p. 258

3. I can do anything God asks of me, through the power of the Holy Spirit (I Thessalonians 5:23-24). As Nancy puts it on p. 259 There is no one we cannot forgive. There is no one we cannot love. We can give thanks in all things. We can be content in every circumstance. Those are pretty convicting words, aren’t they? Because it means that if I am struggling with any of those things, it has been my choice to struggle. I have chosen not to forgive. I have chosen to live a life of complaining, instead of the better way of gratitude.  God has provided the Holy Spirit to comfort and strengthen us. Why are we struggling so hard to live on our own power?

4. I will reap what I sow (Galatians 6:7-8). In this day of “instant everything”, we have a hard time thinking past the present moment. We fail to reflect on what consequences the choices we make today will have on our lives– and on the lives of those we love–tomorrow, or a week from now, or 5 years from now. Sometimes we focus on only the big “life” choices (who we marry, our careers, etc), but every choice we make–from failing to eat correctly to what entertainment we choose to spend our time on to the friends we choose to hang with–all have consequences.

5. The pathway to true joy is to relinquish control (I Peter 5:7) Oh, this is a tough one.  Especially for mothers! But how true. We can only control one thing. Ourselves. We can control our responses and reactions. We can control what we say and what we think. But we need to put the rest into God’s hands and rest in Him. Sometimes I find myself relinquishing control of the same situation multiple times a day. For some reason, I keep going back and picking up the burden!

6. Personal holiness is more important than temporal happiness (Ephesians 5:26-27).  This certainly flies in the face of a culture that says personal fulfillment is the ultimate goal, doesn’t it? My happiness is not all that important. God wants to mold and shape me into the likeness of His son. As I grow older, I should be more like Jesus. Does this mean I will be happy? Not necessarily by the world’s standards, although I will have more of the real joy and peace that comes when we follow Christ whole-heartedly. Happiness-that feeling that is so temporal and relies on shallow, external circumstances– is over-rated, anyway.

Those are just a few of the truths that challenged me when reading Nancy’s book. I know most of you will never read the book and so, I thought it might be helpful and challenging to highlight a few of these truths.

The other day, one of my kids asked me how I know this Christian stuff is real. And, while I don’t espouse relying on experience to prove my faith, it is amazing how, as we get older, we have seen God work in our hearts and lives, so that we can’t help but remember the marvelous ways He has worked through many of the truths listed above and dramatically brought about forgiveness in our hearts, or changed our thought processes, so that we knew that it was not us but the Holy Spirit working through us. God IS real. I feel humbled and blessed to be part of His family.

 

My Personal Battle

I am at war.  With food.  This battle has raged for most of my adult life but has taken on extra intensity as I have approached middle age.   TVs, movies, magazines, and websites are filled with gorgeous, shapely women who are without an extra pound of fat anywhere on their bodies.   We are bombarded by articles and commercials on how to lose weight.  There is an unspoken rule in our culture that to be beautiful you must be thin.   This time of year we are bombarded with a variety of mixed message because food plays such an important role in our holiday celebrations.  We see tons of TV shows and articles with recipes and directions for making delicious, high calorie food and then are told how not to eat it.

In the recent years, there has been much more of an emphasis on healthy living versus dieting, and I think that is a great trend.  Because, after all, isn’t that so much more important?  Can we truly live our best if we are out of breath when we climb the stairs?  Or if we have to spend our money on medications that treat diseases we could avoid by being at a healthy weight?

So what does the scripture say about food?  Are cookies and cake evil?  Are we commanded to spend an inordinate amount of time on working out and eating right?  What is the balance?  I found a few verses and I want to be very careful not to take them out of context.  But I think there are a few basic principles we can glean from these verses:

1.)  Overeating is sinful.  To eat more than we need is not only unhealthy but it is sinful.  When we eat more than our bodies require, we are gluttons.  I only give one example below, but God uses drunkards and gluttons in the same sentence more than once in Proverbs.  I don’t know about you, but I find this very convicting.  Often is the time I have reached for that extra cookie or snack when I wasn’t the least bit hungry.  That is a sin??  I believe the Bible says it is.

Do not mix with winebibbers, or with gluttonous eaters of meat; For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags. (Proverbs 23:20-21)

2)   There are not “good” foods or “bad” foods.  I know this will be a huge source of contention with some of you who read this.  But, I think there are several scripture passages that confirm this.  It is not so much about what we eat, as it is about how much we eat of it.   Now, to clarify, there is an over-consumption of highly processed, high-sugar, refined products in our culture that render little, if any, nutritional benefits.  Perhaps if there are any foods that could be labeled “bad”, it would be these.  Partaking of these occasionally is not going to ruin your health.  Partaking of these on a daily basis will.  We are required to be good stewards of our body.  We need to take responsibility and not live in default mode.  We need to eat a variety of all kinds of food.  And, yes, contrary to what may be popular belief, God did create sugar cane.  And He knew that a woman somewhere in history would create a pie…cookies…cake.   These things aren’t wrong in and of themselves.  It is in the over-consumption of them that we move into the realm of sin.

But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse. (I Corinthians 8:8)

3)  The battle I wage with food distracts me from my spiritual walk.  When I focus too much on food–which is shown when I am gluttonous and spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about what I will eat OR when I count every single calorie and obsess about everything I put in my mouth and spend hours working out– I am not able to focus on the things that really matter.  The bottom line is that God put food on this earth to sustain us and for us to enjoy in the proper balance.  When that balance is tipped one way or the other, I move into an area where it distracts me from my true purpose on this earth.

Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. (Luke 12:22-23)

This battle has raged on inside my head for many years.  Most women (and men, too) naturally gain some weight around their middles during middle age.  Is this sinful?  Or is this how God created our bodies to be?  I don’t really know the answer to this.  I do know, however, that I have a responsibility to keep my body in tip-top shape to the best of my ability…not so I can meet worldly standards, but so I can maximize the amount of time I have on the earth to glorify God and spread the Gospel.   But I have to admit…I look forward to not having to worry about it in Heaven!  While here on earth, I know I will always find food a source of temptation.   But I also know that in this weakness, God can show HIS strength.

A Parallel

castle

A very long time ago, in a faraway land, there lived a young man. He was strong and brave and ready to take on the world. He lived in a forest with his sick, old mother. Every day he would go in to the forest to hunt for food. One very sad day his mother died. He had nothing left to live for and despondently wandered through the forest. He went further than he had ever been before. He was in the darkest part of the forest.  Things turned almost black under the dense cover and then–suddenly–he was in the sunlight. He found himself in a meadow full of blue sky and green grass. As his eyes adjusted to the bright sunlight, he saw little blue and white flowers in abundance and over to his left was a family of rabbits cavorting in the tall grass. As he looked out towards the horizon, he caught his breath. For there, far off into the distance, was a huge castle with dozens of turrets and towers gleaming white in the sunshine. The young man found himself embraced by a new sense of purpose.

He would go to that castle.

The young man was warmly welcomed at the castle and immediately accepted into the King’s army. He proved himself such an intelligent and diligent worker that within a few months he found himself one of the King’s personal servants. He was fully dedicated to the King and would do anything the King requested.

Now in this kingdom there was a Wicked Usurper. This usurper had been away for a long time doing his evil and dastardly deeds in other parts of the world. But a few months after the young man had become the King’s personal servant, the Wicked Usurper returned.

When the young man talked with the Wicked Usurper, he was captured by his charisma and his wonderful promises. Gradually, his fascination with the Wicked Usurper changed to allegiance and the young man left the Good King’s service to become the personal servant of the Wicked Usurper. He forgot about all that the Good King had done for him and decided to join the band of wicked thieves and robbers that served the Wicked Usurper.

The End.

WAIT!  What?!?  That is not how the story is supposed to go.  What happened to “happily ever after”?

If you call yourself a Christian, think with me for a moment. Have we turned away from serving The All-Powerful, Loving God, to instead serving–

Entertainment? Sports? Career? Personal Goals? Money? Beauty?

Have we left the safety, security, and peace of God’s Kingdom and instead turned to serving Satan’s dark and perilous Kingdom?

I am not talking about who we SAY we serve. Talk means nothing. What do our actions show? What do we spend our precious hours doing with our time? What do we think about?

We need to ask ourselves this very important question: Am I serving my King or am I serving something or someone else?

Exodus 20:1-4; Mark 12:30

Life Lessons I Learned from a Business Conference

conferencephoto

Yesterday I was at a Business Conference.  I learned a lot about the topic I was there to learn.  I also learned a few other things.  Like:

1.  Laughing and giggling and generally acting like an 8 year old while a speaker is speaking is not only rude, but quite distracting. Seriously, the ladies behind me in one session never stopped talking and giggling. I was made aware afresh of how rude that is. I will try to remember that when I am tempted to do that. It is not nice for the speaker or for those around you.

2. In one session, the topic of references for terminated employees came up. The advice given was that, as representatives of our companies, it is in the best interest of our companies not to say anything negative about a former employee. In essence, give no information. And yet, the session speaker went on to tell of a case where a man with a very bad record in his past jobs, went on to get a job at a nursing home and murder several of the patients there. The former employers had never let that nursing home know this man’s true history. Even after telling that story, she still stuck to her guns and said you shouldn’t say anything because of a potential slander lawsuit.  One guy raised his hand and challenged her on that.  He said that if he were in the other employer’s shoes, he would want to know. All kinds of discussion got going–most of it saying we need to protect our companies, etc. I wanted to raise my hand and quote Jesus’s  words “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  And I might have, too, if she didn’t stop the conversation before it got too out of hand. But, in that conversation, I learned that the world’s thought on this is that you worry about your own interests and not about the interests of others.  I guess my question would be: Can a negative reference really be labeled as “slander” if you have everything fully documented, anyway?  The whole discussion made me quite sad. But it tells me where the world really is on even the most basic of Christian principles.

3. It was a dreary day and I was tired. I was sure I would struggle with falling asleep during the sessions. Thankfully, all but one were extremely interesting and informative.  One thing I found disappointing, though, was the occasional use of expletives while speaking. Another tell tale sign of where our country is morally, in my opinion. 25 years ago, no one would have ever used bad language while speaking to a large group of business professionals. No one. Yes, that language was used–in bars, on the streets, and by school students who thought they were cool. But never at a professional event by a speaker. I think it says a little about the class of this nation. The country we knew is disappearing–quite rapidly. I was sad about that, too (even though I was pretty much aware of this one).

4. I learned about GOMOs yesterday, which stands for “Get Out of My Office” people. The same thing can be applied in life. We all have people who suck the energy out of us. The ones who demand a lot of our time, so that they can complain about THEIR lives, talk about THEIR activities, cry about THEIR misfortunes. The advice was to gently and kindly set boundaries for GOMOs. I think that is good advice.

5. And, last, but certainly not least, I got to talking with a very sweet lady at lunch. She is a lawyer who is very knowledgeable in labor law. She could not have been nicer and invited me to call her with any questions. In the course of conversation, we figured out that I had graduated from high school with her husband (now that is a small world!). Both of us had moved away and somehow, on a dreary day in November, I had run into his wife. Anyway, what so impressed me with this woman was how she was so friendly and gracious, while remaining professional. There are so many lawyers (of course, not all) who are arrogant and give the impression that they are doing you a favor if they even deem to talk to you. I found her so refreshing. And I guess the lesson I learned from her is that no matter what surroundings you find yourself, no matter what your profession, no matter who you are with, there is always a call for friendliness and kindness and consideration of others. What kind of impression am I giving people?  What kind of impression are you giving people?

So there you have it. No Bible verses to back the lessons up (although I could find some). Life lessons can be found everywhere. Just open your eyes and  look around you today.

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