Losers are really winners

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Today’s reading is in Matthew 10:39. “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” This is one of the more radical statements that Jesus ever made. In the church today, there is too much of self. Much of the presentation of the gospel is based on us. If you become a Christian YOU will prosper. If you become a Christian YOU will be happy. If you become a Christian YOU will be healthy. Now these statements do have an element of truth but we need to realize that the road to a better life is found through “dying to self” not exalting self. We need to learn how to die to self if we ever hope to find out what life is about. How do we lose our lives? We lose our by giving of our time to serve others. We only have so much time, especially when you consider how much of our time is wasted on trivial things. Here are a few things we spend our time on:
Time spent:
              sitting at stoplights: almost a year
               opening junk mail: almost a year
               searching for misplaced objects: 1 year
               returning phone calls: 2 years
               doing housework: 4 years
               standing in line: 5 years
               on the internet or watching TV: 7 years
               reading forwarded emails: almost 2 years
     When you add to this list how much time you spend eating and sleeping, about 25 years, and about 25 years working that would be around 72 years. Since the average lifespan is around 73 years, no wonder there really is not much time left to do anything! No wonder people are tight when it comes to giving of their time!
Losing our life is not like losing our car keys or losing your wallet or losing your shoes. Losing our lives does not happen by accident. It has to be a conscious effort on our part. We have to be intentional about “losing our lives.” You don’t lose your life by mistake. It has to become a conscious act. It is a risky act, because we do give up our precious time, but when we ‘lose’ our life, and give our time to serve others, Jesus says something mysterious happens. We gain back, we get something. We get life. We get the time we need. Somehow it works out. Until we realize this truth, we will NEVER have enough time. Do you want to be a winner? Lose your life. What has been your greatest struggle when it comes to ‘losing your life?’

Yank the Plank

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Yank the Plank!

Today’s reading is from Matthew 7:1-5. Jesus warns us not to be critical and judgmental of others. This is a sin we are all very good at. It is important that we distinguish between telling someone that something they are doing is wrong and being judgmental. It is a fine line but there is a difference. There is a lot of confusion about this topic. Here is an illustration that might help.The Lone Ranger and Tonto stopped in the desert for the night. After they got their tent all set up, both men fell sound asleep. Some hours later, Tonto wakes the Lone Ranger and says, “Kemo Sabe, look towards sky, what you see?” The Lone Ranger replies, “I see millions of stars.” “What that tell you?” asked Tonto. The Lone Ranger ponders for a minute then says, “Astronomically speaking, it tells me there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo. Time wise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three in the morning. Theologically, it’s evident the Lord is all-powerful and we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What’s it tell you, Tonto?” Tonto is silent for a moment, and then says, “Kemo Sabe, you are dumber than a box of rocks! It means someone stole tent.” That’s discernment! But when Tonto called the Lone Ranger “dumber than a box of rocks” that’s being judgmental. It is okay to correct people but we need to be careful it is done in a loving and respectful way. On top of that maybe we should be more concerned about correcting ourselves than we are correcting everyone else! Do you struggle with wanting to correct other people’s mistakes, especially your spouse or your children?

Stop making excuses

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Today’s reading is from Matthew 4:19-20. Jesus called Peter and Andrew to follow Him. Then we read that they left all to follow Him. It would appear to be irresponsible for them to give up their jobs. They had a lot going on right then and it would seem like they were throwing all of that away. I think they knew something that so many of us have to learn the hard way. If you succeed at the wrong thing, you fail. All of us know successful failures don’t we; people that are really successful and really unhappy. They succeed at things that just don’t really matter, or there is just no fulfillment at the end of the day. My heart breaks for those kinds of people. It happens to often that people climb the ladder of success and then realize it is leaning against the wrong wall. These guys could have climbed all the way up the ladder of success, and at the top, could have had a huge business with fast food fish sandwich franchises all over Israel, but felt like a total failure, because they really would not have pursued what God had called them to do.
When God stirs something in your heart you need to be careful not to brush it off with good excuses, like, “I can’t right now. I have too many responsibilities. I am too busy, etc.” We never act on the passion that God has put in our heart. We put it off with legitimate excuses. “I have to take care of my family.” Is it possible that we are just hiding behind legitimate excuses?
If we want to be a part of advancing the Kingdom of God and living a spiritual adventure, start saying ‘yes’ when the Holy Spirit is prompting you to do something.