Do you respect the …

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Have you ever had the experience where  you say to yourself “boy, I’ve heard that before”.  Well, I have just had that “de ja vu” experience.

I’ve heard someone recently say in regards to them having some guns in their house that they are dangerous, so you need to respect them.

Shortly after that, I heard someone else talk about how dangerous doing electric work was, “so you need to respect it”, he said.  By that,  this person was saying that if you are not very intentional about what you are doing, the danger of being careless poses high risk.

So, as I’ve thought about this issue of respect, I remembered yet another experience.  This past Summer, I had some people come out and trim a tree in my backyard. After seeing one of the guys way up high in the tree, I was so impressed by the way this guy maneuvered and did his job.  When the guy came down, I told him how impressive it was to watch him. I said that I could never see doing what he does because I was scared of heights.  He said that he too is totally scared of heights.

He said that the way he deals with his fear of heights is having respect for it.  So because of this fear he gets extremely focused on every action he makes.  By having this mindset,  he is protected.  His  safety is his highest priority.

I love this important lesson about “respecting” something and responding to it in a very focused way.

Besides the examples listed above regarding guns, or working with electricity, or heights, I have one more topic to respect – sin and the spiritual battle we are in.

“Will not your face be happy if you do well? If you do not do well, sin is waiting to destroy you. Its desire is to rule over you, but you must rule over it”  Genesis 4:7 – NLT

or

“be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour”  1 Peter 5:8 ESV

Wow! Bible verses like this definitely add a sobering perspective to how I live my life each day.  They warn me that there is a very real danger out there and if I’m not vigilant, great harm could happen.

Fortunately, when I do respect the spiritual battle I’m in, I can balance warnings like in the two verse above (and so many more could be mentioned) with the two verses mentioned below (and so many more could be mentioned):

“no temptation  has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability , but with the temptation he will provide the way of escape that you may be able to endure it.   1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV

or

“who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword…no, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Roman 8:35, 7-39 ESV

 

How careful are you about what you do?

How much do you recognize the spiritual conflict we are all in?

Is there anyone you could talk with about these things?  Will you?

 

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“You know, I’ve never been asked that question” !

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Many years ago, I was doing a fair bit of traveling for work and I can vividly remember feeling on one hand that it was so cool seeing some of the sites that I was enjoying. On the other hand, I felt sad because I wasn’t seeing these sites with anyone.

More than ever, I have realized that life is a precious thing in and of itself, but all the more when we are doing it with others. There is truly a preciousness about knowing you have family and close friends around you that you can share the fun times,  as well as experience together some of the most painful struggles, and everything in between.

As I’m writing these words, I think about a brief conversation I had with someone at church some time ago. Please keep in mind this was a leader in the church.  I asked him how he was doing.  The way I asked that question conveyed that I really wanted to know. I wasn’t just saying “how ‘ya doing?” as I was walking past him.  Shocking as it was for me at that time to hear (and still is) , he replied, “you know, no one has ever really asked me that question before.”  How tragic.

If you are like me where there seems to always be something to worry about in the future, as well a never-ending list of things to accomplish today, let me encourage you to pause to appreciate those closest to you who you are doing life with. It is the memories you have with these friends that make life special.

“The things that matter most in our lives are not fantastic or grand. They are the moments when we touch  one another, when we are there in the most attentive or caring way.”  Jack Kornfield

 

How are you doing with taking time to enjoy the people in your life?

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When’s the last time you …?

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If you are like me, it’s easy to have blinders on.  It’s easy for me to focus on my responsibilities at work, at home, at church, etc. and not really pay attention to those around me. But, one thing that I need frequent reminding on is to notice those many, many people who have an influence on what I do.

There are people who have contributed in a mentoring kind of role that have helped me  get to where I am at today.  There are many people today, who assist me at my work, so that really I would not be able to do what I do if it were not for them doing what they do.  My wife has been with me, faithfully for over 30 years of marriage. Without her loyalty, truth-telling, prayers, etc., our family would not be as close as it is today.

These people who I’ve just mentioned are just those who are just top of mind to me.  But then, there are so many others. If it weren’t for the police, our government officials, postal carriers, garbage collectors, etc., our country would not operate as it does. With all of our country’s challenges, there is much to be grateful.

So, with all that mind, this quote from William James has particular meaning for me, ” The deepest principle in human nature  is the craving to be appreciated.”

Here’s where this is going:

I have the opportunity (and so do you) to approach others who often do, what they do and are never thanked for it.  I can be different (and so can you) by just saying “thank you” to them.  As you do, I believe you will blow them away because all the gesture of gratitude is so impactful, it is so rarely done.

Take a chance today on making someone’s day–tell someone you appreciate them and all they do.

Giving your best, but “are you playing for Him?”

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I’ve written a lot of posts over the years – over a thousand.  But I’m really excited about this one.  There’s a sweetness in my heart as I think about writing this post. (I was holding back the tears before it was all done).

This message is about vision and perspective. It’s about re-looking at the way you live your life and your motivation.

Readers of my blog know that my posts often deal with being intentional about striving for excellence in all seven areas of responsibilities. I believe that if a person does, they will generally be happier and more successful than those who don’t .  My Balance Sheet

In a similar way, I believe any person who is faithful, honest, hard-working, and exercises self-control will tend to have a more orderly life with generally less problems than someone who tends not to be faithful or trustworthy, and is selfish, lazy, irresponsible, and is not self-controlled.  Mind you, everyone has their difficulties, but a person who tries to be kind and think of others first will tend to not bring more troubles upon themselves than a person who only concerns himself with his own needs (and wants).  Wouldn’t you agree?

So, with that said, I believe that anyone will benefit from striving for excellence in all these seven areas of responsibilities.  I believe when you are at your best, you will bring others happiness, as well as yourself. But, hear me out as I go on.  But, even when we are at our very best, in and of ourselves, we are never good enough to come to God on our own merits.  We are just too mired in the stain of our selfish and sinful ways to come into the presence of a holy God.

Thankfully, God solved the problem by amazingly giving us His best.  He gave us His Son, Jesus Christ to live a perfect life on earth, then go to a place of judgement (a cross) to die in our place.  Through His sacrificial death, He has reconciled all who will receive this free gift of His kindness.

Now, as an expression of gratefulness to God for all He has done for us and empowered by His Spirit, we can do good works.  So, just to really make this clear,  as believers in our Savior, Jesus Christ, we now desire to do good things,  not to earn His favor, which we can never do, but as an expression of our gratitude for what He has already done for us.

In a similar way to doing good works, I want to encourage you with this rallying cry to strive for excellence in all seven areas of responsibility, but not so that you can boast about how good of a person you are, but as a gift back to God for His transforming work in your life.

As passionately as I can and out of a humble heart filled with gratitude, I want to come to Him and present my life to Him in hopes I have represented Him well. Like the little drummer boy, I want to be motivated to come to Him and honor Him by “playing my best for Him”.

Let me encourage you  (even dare you)  to find a quiet place this day, and with this post in mind, consider how you are doing in the seven areas of your responsibilities and how you can be better. After all, don’t you want to be your best, so that can present your best to Him?


As a further help to accepting responsibility for all the areas of your responsibilities (and building close relationships as you do), check out this new App I’ve created:

You can visit  either the App Store (for IPhones)     Foundations Life Management app for IPhone devices

https://appsto.re/us/ejC7fb.I

or go to the Google Play Store- https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.FoundationsLifeCoach.Foundations&hl=en

 

 

This mini-movie was riveting

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Riveting!

It was one of those dreams I was having that I wished would not have ended. It was such an engaging story line.
I was a soccer coach coming into a new community coaching young kids. For some reason, we were having practice in a building, something like a big, open library.  I called all the kids to come to a bigger room where we could start doing some drills with a soccer ball. However, the kids came in a very sluggish way, if at all.
I said that was unacceptable and told them to do 4 laps.  We needed to get focused on what we were doing and get more serious about it.
The other thought that I had right then, as I saw another soccer team also practicing in the library, was how much time we were wasting on getting our attitude right, instead of actually developing skills with the ball and working as a team.
Well, from that moment on, every time I tried to get them to do another exercise, I couldn’t find them.  I had to go throughout the library and try to locate them.  At one point, I found the players in a room with their old coaches.  The coaches told me the kids were having troubles dealing with my emphasis on hard work and discipline.
Sadly to say, that’s when I woke up. Ugh!  I was enjoying watching this “movie dream” play out in my head.
As I was beginning to wake up, I couldn’t help but ponder this mini-movie and think about lessons I could learn from it for both, me personally, and for organizations:
– I found it interesting that the kids were having problems with a willingness to put in hard work
– I found it interesting to think about the loss of time dealing with attitude issues that could have been better spent learning skills that would have led the team to a greater chance of success
– I found it interesting to think that in these competitive times we live in, there are “teams” that are firing on all cylinders (they are now practicing) and if we are not careful watching our attitude, we will fall further and further behind in our skill development
– I found it interesting that the team was “hiding in rooms with their old coaches” and thought about how common it is to want to resist change and new ways of doing things
– i found it interesting to think about the lack of progress and success the team was having because of the lack of buy-in from the team to follow the coach (me).
Anyway, I found this an interesting way to start my day, today and has given me an opportunity to think of the many applications for my own life.

What about…? You know it really doesn’t matter, does it?

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Have you ever gotten into an argument with a spouse or friend and as you are telling someone else about it, you say something like “well, I wouldn’t have done ______ if they didn’t do _______?”

What’s wrong with this picture?  For one, you are not accepting any responsibility for what you did.  Sure, may be the other person did something that was totally out of line, but none the less, no one can force you to do anything.   The bottom line is you are responsible for what you do.

Recently, I came across an amazing Bible verse (Deuteronomy 29:29 – NLT) that says, ” The Lord our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey  all the terms of these instructions (the 10 commandments and other teachings, italics added).”

I love that verse.

There is soooooo much I don’t understand about God and why He does what He does.

-why do people who do wicked things seem to prosper?

– why do evil practices such as the drug trade, the sex trafficking trade, racism, corruption in high places, corporate greed, etc. seem to be escalating?

-why would anyone choose to neglect the love of God as evidenced by Jesus Christ dying on a cross for them?

-how will people in unknown villages in the jungles be judged?

On and on, I could go with God-sized questions.  However,  what the verse in Deuteronomy 29:29 tells me is that I am free to let these questions go and focus on what has been revealed to me.  I am responsible for what I have been shown (and you are too).

Friends, concern yourself today with all the areas of your responsibilities.  Strive for excellence.  Don’t worry about your big, God-sized questions or even for that matter, what your neighbor is doing.    From a practical standpoint, all the time you spend thinking about what others are doing or not doing (including God), you are taking away from not only thinking through how to fulfill your responsibilities, but also from enjoying those responsibilities.

Focus your energies today on those things you are responsible for.

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As a further help to accepting responsibility for all the areas of your responsibilities (and building close relationships as you do), check out this new App I’ve created:

You can visit  either the App Store (for IPhones)     Foundations Life Management app for IPhone devices

https://appsto.re/us/ejC7fb.I

or go to the Google Play Store- https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.FoundationsLifeCoach.Foundations&hl=en

Are men supposed to be soft?

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First of all, let me expand the question up above by asking, “should all people be soft?  You can answer that in many ways, but what I’m getting at has to do with the condition of the heart.

Check out these verses from Hebrews 3:12-12 (esv):  ” 12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”   

Where I’m going with my question about being soft is to give us a vision for what should be when it comes to be sensitive to the things of God, that is having a soft heart.

I say this in light of the Bible verses mentioned above (and many others that I could mention) that warn us that the deceitfulness of sin can actually harden our heart.  Who wants that? Who would want to be in a state of mind where God lovingly wants to direct your life, but like a rubber ball being thrown against a wall, His efforts have no impact on us,  but just bounce right back to Him.

Having a soft heart to the things of God is a sobering thing.  Why do I say it like that?  Because although all of us, I would think, would want to enjoy the blessings of God and be   led by Him–the reality is that maintaining  a soft heart is a battle. It is a difficult thing.  It almost sounds like a paradox, huh?  Fight for a sensitive heart.

But fighting is what it will take.  Think of it like this.  Think of mud.  Mud is soft. If you step in mud, it will leave a footprint.   Having a soft heart is moving in the direction of having a heart like mud. Not in the sense of dirtiness but that its impressionable.

If we see violence on the news or in the movie, we can be disturbed by what we see.  The depravity, injustice, the lack of love, the hatred, etc. can and should leave an impression on our soft hearts and we will have to deal with that.

If we see the hurt that an unfaithful spouse has on their partner when they are addicted to gambling, alcohol, pornography, etc.,   we can and should be disturbed by what we see.  The selfishness, lack of consideration, deception, etc. all can leave an impression on our soft hearts and we will have to deal with that.

If we become aware of the utter travesties of sex trafficking and slave labor (in whatever its form),   we can and should be disturbed by that.   The evil, the greed, the depravity, can and should  leave an impression on our soft hearts and we will have to deal with that.

If we see the neglect of family responsibilities by a father who is a workaholic, that compassion and concern can and should leave an impression on our soft hearts and we will have to deal with that.

If we see the violence and the absolute evil that was displayed against Jesus Christ on the Cross, as well as the unimaginable love that the Father demonstrated by sending His Son to leave His Heavenly habitation to live perfectly among sinful humanity and to brutally die as a substitute for your sin and mine, so that we could be forgiven and reconciled back to God can and should leave an impression on our soft hearts and we will have to deal with that.

 

My point is what is the state of your heart. Are you touched by what is taking place around you?  Do you care?

Do you see the value of a soft heart?

Are you investing the time to cultivate a soft heart (reading the Bible, spending time talking with those who are struggling in some way)

Because of the impressions made on your heart, are you willing to respond?   In what specific ways?

If so, I’m grateful for your attention to those promptings.  You can make a difference.

If you are not willing to respond to those things that can and should make an impression on your heart, I am concerned for you.  If things like what I mentioned don’t somehow affect you, well… what does?