A Look At Ourselves

When was the last time you saw someone do something wrong, or possibly even a wrong against you? How did you feel towards them? How did you answer?

Our usual reaction is often a negative one out of emotion. This is a result of us being human in a fallen world. As Christians striving to become more like Christ, we have read Matthew 7:1-5 (ESV), which says,

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

We also read John 8:7 (ESV)

“Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone…”

Both of these require us to look at ourselves first before we can point fingers at others. We should learn to always look at ourselves before reacting in a negative situation. If we react according to the laws of physics and Newton’s Third Law, which says, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction,” then conflict just escalates, and relationships deteriorate and fail.

Merriam-Webster defines introspection as “a reflective looking inward: an examination of one’s own thoughts and feelings.” As Christians, this should be part of who we are. Before reacting, before pointing fingers, we should ask if we ourselves are innocent of the charge we are putting on someone else. This is just another way the Luke 6:31 (NIV) applies.

Do to others as you would have them do to you.

In 1 Timothy 3:1-4 (NIV), Paul lists a few of the qualifications for leadership as:

Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect.

Shouldn’t these be qualities to which we all aspire? The keywords “above reproach” help us in becoming closer to having that log removed from our own eye as well as being closer to the One who is without sin, and who does not throw stones, but forgives.

So, in our journey to become more like Christ, who lives inside us because we asked Him to come into our heart, we should always have a mindset of introspection, looking at ourselves instead of judging others.

Putting it another way…

We should always look inward to know our heart first.
It is there we will see Jesus and know His love, forgiveness and mercy!

© 2018 Marty Hill – Administered By Quaddot Productions – All Rights Reserved
Author of Professional’s Guide to Technical Ministry, available on Amazon.com.


Share Options:
Photo by Ariel Besagar on Unsplash

Trophies

Trophies are usually deemed precious. If not, why would they be considered special? How many trophies have you received through your life? Perhaps you’ve won a chess tournament, a writing contest, or been a part of a team that won your league title or won a tournament. This day and age, trophies are also given out as participation awards.

Photo by Ariel Besagar on Unsplash

Photo by Ariel Besagar on Unsplash

Trophies come in all shapes and sizes: a cup, on a stand, or a person on the top, or possibly a plaque. Even printed certificates are a type of trophy to be considered. Engraved or printed, they usually display your accomplishment and the year. Others that have more planning will even have your name on them for an added degree of personalization.

As we go through life, we accumulate other things we consider the exact opposite of trophies. Our bodies age and wrinkles set in and joints begin to ache. We experience a lot in our lives and how we deal with those dictates how we grow in our faith and wisdom. These also affect our levels of joy and peace.

 

James 1:1-5,12
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you… Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

 

When my daughter was getting married, I remember telling her that not everything in her wedding would be perfect. She could decide beforehand if everything didn’t go according to the plan that she could turn into Bridezilla. Then her wedding would be ruined for everyone and she would have bad memories of it for the rest of her life. OR she could accept the fact this is how God wanted it to be and roll with it, have fun with it. Make it a happy fun time, and you will create memories for everyone for the rest of their lives. And essentially, she would be turning a negative into a positive.

This is the concept of turning something into a trophy:

TAKING SOMETHING WHICH IS A NEGATIVE
AND TURN IT INTO A POSITIVE. 

Just as yours are to you, my children are unique and very precious and special to me. Why? Because they are my children. No one else in the world or throughout time other than my wife can make this statement. While growing up, children can be mischievous. This was proved the time when mine were little, and they painted my toenails, not knowing I had an appointment at a podiatrist in just a few days. Even if they knew, they would probably assume I would take it off. However, it was special to me, even though I played with them about being upset, I was really smiling greatly inside, and they saw it in the occasional slip of a grin. Their show of affection touched my heart, and I realized these painted toenails were trophies I would not hesitate to keep. I kept the paint on until it naturally wore off. Many chuckles were offered in the doctor’s office when I took my sock off, but upon explaining why they were painted, and trying to convince them it just wasn’t strange, the attendant smiled and seemed to approve. The toenails to me were opportunities to say without saying, “See how much my kids love me… and how much I love them?” I am not totally sure they believed me, but I really didn’t care. My love and pride for my kids was more important than how my toes appeared to make me look to anyone else.

As people get older, other things also become apparent. Gray hair is cursed by many as a sign of old age and looked down

Photo by JD Mason on Unsplash

upon by many. I look at this differently. To me each gray hair is a trophy. It is representative of hard work and a life of accomplishments and successes. Even Proverbs maintains it is a great thing.

Proverbs 16:31 (NIV)
Gray hair is a crown of splendor;
it is attained in the way of righteousness.

I have had conversations about my gray hair and some said I should color it. I say no way! Every gray hair is a trophy. I am proud of it and I want to wear it proudly.

The biggest trophy we have is the one waiting for us a child of the king, our name being in the Book of Life and Jesus standing beside us on the Day of Judgement, telling the Lord God we are His and we are forgiven and therefore to be ushered into the Eternal Kingdom of God!

But by realizing He is part of us now, everything is, by faith, in His hands. We can handle anything that comes our way and we trust anything outside of our control that He does control. Everything we have now and become is according to His perfect plan and we praise His name for it and consider it a trophy.

What do you have in your life that has been a sore spot for you? Things that are relatively minor should not be bringing us down. By working and praying to turn a negative into a positive, you can change a sadness into a joy, and into the newest and brightest addition to your trophy case!

Romans 12:2 (NIV)
Do not conform to the pattern of this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Then you will be able to test and approve
what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

© 2018 Marty Hill – Administered By Quaddot Productions – All Rights Reserved


 

Share Options:

The Preciousness of Life
Part 2

Because we each are unique, our lives our precious.

I was behind a city bus recently and noticed a bumper sticker displayed on its back. While they are seeking to avoid accidents and lawsuits, they show they value your uniqueness. The sticker said:

“DON’T CHASE THE BUS. THERE’S ALWAYS ANOTHER BUS.
THERE’S ONLY ONE YOU.”

Made in the image of God, He created us unique. Every single one of us. Modern genetic research has proven that even identical twins are not identical. We are each special, we are more valuable than the rarest of gems. We are irreplaceable. The thoughts and ideas we have belong solely to us. Our voice is ours and ours alone. Our appearance in its entirety is like no other. And while some the above may similar to others elsewhere, nowhere is there someone who mirrors everything we are. The craftmanship of the creator is beyond the understanding of any man that has or ever will live, except for Jesus Christ, who was God Himself! And his creation is a miracle! His skill for creativity is beyond imagination. Even things that are not living are unique. Not even two snowflakes are identical! Our God is an Amazing God!

Realizing all of this, how can we NOT love and appreciate all life He has created? Every life is one-of-a-kind and once it is gone, it is gone forever. You couldn’t help but love Louis Armstrong because of the happy expressions on his face, his scratchy voice and his great jazz trumpet playing. He shined and brought out his soul when he sang the song, “What A Wonderful World.” The song by George Douglas, George David Weiss & Bob Thiele begins with

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself what a wonderful world

The song continues on to paint pictures that portray the beauty of the world shining in people’s faces and saying I love you. This song personifies God’s creation in such a wonderful way, and love of life warms the soul!

But as we cherish life, we find the Paradox of Christianity.

Matthew 10:39 (NIV)
Whoever finds their life will lose it,
and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.

Yes, we cherish life. And this is the paradox. We must lose something we love in order to truly find it. But the life Jesus was talking about here is a greater life, eternal life. Lose your life here as you know it for eternal life with Him.

John 3:16 (NIV) 
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  

Having given our lives to Him, we then strive to become more like him.

Romans 12:2 (NIV)
Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

As we become more like Jesus, we will see so clearly how Jesus’ life is so precious, and He gave it up for us! As we grow in our faith in Him, and our wisdom grows with the help of the Holy Spirit, we understand this paradox more completely. We give up our lives in many ways and we should give Him ALL of our life!

What in your life were or are you holding onto? Anything that comes between you and Jesus is what needs to be sacrificed. Alcohol, drugs, pornography, or maybe something even simpler, such as not honoring your spouse as Paul laid out in Ephesians 5.

Ephesians 5: 21-33 (NIV)
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Work to give up your WHOLE LIFE to Jesus! Your WHOLE LIFE is precious to Him!

We know that our life is precious. We know ours is especially precious because we are His!

Thank you, Lord, for this gift of life!

© 2018 Marty Hill – Administered By Quaddot Productions – All Rights Reserved

Share Options:

The Preciousness of Life
Part 1

Hate. Kidnappings. Murders. Suicides. Wars. I don’t know about you, but I am getting tired of these happening almost every day. It seems that the outlook of how people treat each other as well as themselves just gets worse and worse. If terrorists are not waging war trying to escalate their cause, they are taking it to the streets in car bombings. Mass shootings have been on the increase which usually end in the assailant killing themselves. Domestic murder suicides happen more frequently more couples have relationship issues they don’t seem to be able to resolve and one of them decide this is the only way to fix it. Then kidnappings, many times ending with the victim’s life coming to an end, seem to be on an increase. Too many times, the perpetrators of those crimes are not caught.

As the list goes on and on, it appears that the value placed on human life continues to diminish.

Life should be cherished because it is a gift from God.

Genesis 1:26 (NIV)

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

When God created man with those words, no other part of creation was created with those words. This sets man apart from the rest of creation. Only man was created in God’s image.

Man had intellect, self-awareness and abilities. He was able to learn, change the environment and communicate. Physically, he appeared similar to animals, but there was a difference. He had a soul.

1 Corinthians 2:11 (NIV)

For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them?  

With all of this, there is one more thing that God added in creating man, and that was the ability to multiply and making each person unique. Of all of the most precious gems on earth, you are more precious than diamonds and silver, more precious gold. While these are considered precious gems, you can walk into any jewelry story or pawn shop and find them there. While they are considered precious, they are not considered rare.

Psalm 139: 14 (NIV)

“I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

Life is more precious than any precious gem. Your life is more valuable than any as well. You were created by God in his image. And he only made one of you. As Max Lucado said in his book, Cure for the Common Life: Living in Your Sweet Spot, “You are the only you God made… God made you and broke the mold.”

Matthew 22:37-39

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

  • Love your life. Cherish it.
  • Love the lives of those around you. Their lives are just as precious!
  • Love the life of Jesus Christ that He gave for you! He died on the cross so you would not have to. This means that for all who believe in him as Lord and Savior, He is their intercessor on judgement day.

John 3:16 (NIV)

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Thank you, Lord for the precious gift of life!

© 2018 Marty Hill – Administered By Quaddot Productions – All Rights Reserved


 

Share Options:

The Master Artist

Public Domain Image

Francois-Auguste Rodin, a french sculpturer, once said, “I choose a block of marble and chop off whatever I don’t need.” That is the art of sculpture in a very simple, but astutely wise observation. Anything that does not represent itself as part of the final picture is deemed unnecessary and removed. However, common sense would also dictate that once a chip is removed from the block, it is impossible to replace it. The deed is done. In the case of sculpture, one bad chop and the whole piece can be ruined.

We deal day to day with different stresses in our lives, and not all things go perfect. As we work to navigate the rivers of a successes and trials in our lives, we, as Christians, pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to help us through this. We hope that with the master artist above that our lives will be carved with the beauty that blesses the Lord and the bad, ugly chips are minimal.

However, because we are human, we naturally worry too much about things and the events of the day. Trusting in the Lord in this area of our lives is often one of the most difficult things for Christians to learn, much less put into practice. Moreover, while some people base their level of joy in the lack of catastrophic events in their lives, therefore concluding they must be living right, others base their joy in their possessions. The downside is their lack of joy is stimulated by what they do not have. If they cannot “keep up with the Jones,” they feel inadequate and so their joy wanes.

Joy is an ongoing condition of the soul that does not change with circumstance. It is the sense of contentment in that we have what we need, both in possessions, attitude and spirit, and that if new possessions are deemed necessary by life’s constant changes, then there is peace in the knowledge and acceptance that God will provide, and then not fretting about it. Again, more simply, it is a peace that one can make do with what is at hand, or that God will offer an alternative. It’s this kind of joy that makes James 1:2 truly possible:

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,”

James recognized that people in general learn from not only their mistakes but also from the trials they endure. As we learn, we grow. So, James says to be glad when you encounter these testing moments, for even in failure, you win because as you trust in the Lord through these trials, you will grow stronger in Him. It brings you closer to a true sense of joy and peace. Momentary gladness is not true joy. True joy is the presence of the Holy Spirit in your being that brings about the fruit of the Spirit in your life. Romans 15:13 says,

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Finding complete joy is one of the great secrets of life. Only through seeking Christ can this be accomplished.

With the analogy of the artist chipping away at the marble block, and the realization that once a chip is chopped off, how can we ever be restored? The given fact that the chip can never be returned to the carving block is not true for believers and is documented in the scriptures. God can restore joy in our lives, long after it has been carved away. Sure, a man can superglue the piece back into place, but the crack of imperfection remains, and many times the piece will fall off again later. God alone is the master artist. Only He can fully undo what has been done, perfectly and permanently. Only He can restore the chipped-off pieces in your life with absolutely no cracks or scars, making new what is old or damaged. Paul presents this in 1st Corinthians 5:17,

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ,
he is a new creature;
the old things passed away;
behold, new things have come.”

Through this spiritual renewal in Christ Jesus, we live each and every day with hope, which generates peace, which generates joy. May the Master Artist continue to bless you as He carves you into His perfect sculpture!

© 2018 Marty Hill – Administered By Quaddot Productions – All Rights Reserved


 

Share Options:

How God Speaks to Us

How does the Lord speak to you? Have you taken notice of how He does?

In the movie Bruce Almighty, there is the funny scene of where Bruce is at his wit’s end. He is finally turning to God, because he figures that he has nothing to lose. So, he asks God to give him a sign, and of course this truck full of street signs keeps getting in his way slowing him down, frustrating him more and more. All he sees is the truck blocking his path. Not the message of the signs in his path.

Many people think God doesn’t speak to people anymore. That was just an Old Testament thing. This John 14 verse explains why this is:

16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. John 14:16-17 (NIV)

People who do not understand Christianity at all really have a hard time with this. That is understandable. With Christianity under attack these days, nothing there should surprise us. But as Christians, we should always be striving become more like Christ EVERY HOUR OF EVERY SINGLE DAY.

12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)

105 Your word is a lamp for my feet
a light on my path.  Psalm 119:105 (NIV)

And in doing so, we WILL hear him.

27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. John 10:27-28 (NIV)

And God’s wisdom is revealed by the Holy Spirit to those who believe.

 9as it is written:

 “What no eye has seen,

what no ear has heard,

and what no human mind has conceived”—

the things God has prepared for those who love him—

10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.
14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for,

 “Who has known the mind of the Lord

so as to instruct him?”

But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:9-16 (NIV)

© 2018 Marty Hill – Administered By Quaddot Productions – All Rights Reserved

Share Options:

Trickle-down Christian Growth

I really do not like to admit that at one time I gave in watched a bit of the movie Final Destination II. Never saw the first one. Haven’t seen any of them since. I have no intention to. I have resolved that if something creates unnecessary stress or anxiety in my life, and is totally optional, such as a movie, then why engage in it?

However, there is one takeaway from it that I cannot escape, and I have noticed it throughout many areas of life. This is where one thing affects another, which affects another, and do on. In the movie, these things were actually causes, not only affects, but the point is still there.  Things happened totally independent of each other, but one affected or caused the next, which did the same to the next. In the movie, unfortunately, this always led to the gruesome early death of our on-screen characters.

There are countless areas of our lives that move to influence other areas or events in our lives, and we are mostly unaware of these. Fortunately, most of them are not of the type from the movie above. But even positive influences can change our lives.

This is known as a Trickle-down affect.

Trickle-down is used in a couple of different ways. In our society, it has become resonant with economics and how taxes of the rich affect the lives of the workforce. But, even more basic, and how we will look at it, this idea is described as water moving downhill until it hits an obstacle. It fills up to the limits of the obstacle. Once full, it gradually overflows it to continue downstream to the next one.

Since water always travels in a downward motion due to gravity, it will continue until it hits an obstacle or finds the final destination of its course.

With water, as long as it stays in its liquid form, the final destination is always the ocean. While it may get stopped before that and never make it there that is the furthest water can ever go. As water hits those obstacles, and builds up to the top, the earliest overflow can be in small steady streams, or even a small trickle. Add in going down, we have a trickle-down motion, that is, water traveling from one higher source to a lower destination. While the high source enjoys the benefits of the water, the lower place does without until this trickle-down affect begins. Then, as it accumulates the water, it becomes a higher source for the next lower place, and so forth.

So, how does this change our lives?

As Christians, we strive to become more like Christ. We attend and serve at church and give our offerings. While we help in the local missions serving food to the homeless, we also travel abroad taking medicine and Christ to 3rd world nations in order to our part in fulfilling the great commission. We try to be there for our friends.  We do these things and much, much more.

Works are evidence of our faith as we grow, and a necessary part of our daily lives.

Rich Mullins’ song “Screen Door on a Submarine” sums it up nicely.

Faith without works
Is like a song you can’t sing
It’s about as useless as
A screen door on a submarine…

 

But we must also remember that they are not the source of our salvation. Works, while important, are not what being a Christian is about.


For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)


A.W. Tozer said in The Pursuit of God,

“We’re here to be worshippers first and workers only second. We take a convert and immediately make a worker out of him. God never meant it to be so. God meant that a convert should learn to be a worshiper, and after that he can learn to be a worker… The work done by a worshiper will have eternity in it.”

 

So as we worship and show evidence of our life in Christ through works, we also study on the Fruits of the Spirit, to become more humble, more at peace with joy in our lives to pick a few of those. We study passages such as The Beatitudes and The Lord’s Prayer. We spend time in the writings of the New Testament to know the history of the early church and to find a better definition of what a follower of Christ should be.

All of this is important in the life of the body of Christ, very much alive and well in the world we live in today.

But, as far as our personal lives, the Fruits of the Spirit and how we live our lives is directly affected by how we progress in one area. It is this trickle-down affect that comes into play and helps everything else happen.

When we first become Christians, the trickle-down affect can look something like this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our relationship with God hasn’t grown, and so the scopes of the areas of our life that are affected are minimal.

But as we grow in our relationship with him, everything trickles down and grows, as displayed here:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We see many areas of our life grow, and the fruits of the spirit grow even stronger.  But the growing is fully dependent on our relationship with God.

If you have a hard time seeing the trickle-down analogy, then consider a snowball instead of water rolling down a hill. Each one of those virtues is a different snowball. The closer you grow to the Father, the more the snowball rolls. We know that as a snowball rolls, it gathers up more snow and becomes even larger, or in this case, greater. The same is true for the virtues and areas in our lives.

God wants this relationship with us.

It started with creation. It is why He created us in the first place.

“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God created him; male and female He created them.”
Genesis 1:27

“In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God.”
Genesis 5:1

Then later, He said

“I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.”
Leviticus 26:12

1 John reminds us that we are children of God.

“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!… Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
1 John 3:1-3

and Paul reminds us that he wants a relationship with us.

 “God our Savior… desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
1 Timothy 2:3-4

A. W. Tozer, in The Pursuit of God, would add

So, above all else, Father, Son & Holy Spirit wants a growing relationship with us. This aspect of our lives should trump everything else. All other practices and growth of virtues grow from this one point.

One final quote from The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer, which is one of my favorites quotes, says

“We are saved to worship God. All that Christ has done in the past and all that He is doing now leads to this one end.”

Therefore, concentrate on building a greater relationship with Christ. Grow through prayer, Bible study, constantly seeking Him, giving things up in faith. Then watch Him work to see the evidence of His love and presence grow in your life. Without fail, faith, wisdom and humility will naturally grow. Then you will find a new, pure quality of peace and joy that is unsurpassed.

Will problems cease to exist? Absolutely not. We live in a fallen world. But we will be able to endure and look forward to the day when Christ returns and it is not a fallen world anymore! In that day, we will continue our worship and praise and grow in Him to even newer levels, which is what He’s wanted since the creation of man.

© 2018 Marty Hill – Administered By Quaddot Productions – All Rights Reserved

Share Options:

Your GO-TO

We all have things we like to do when various events happen in our lives. When we get a promotion at work, or after we pitched a winning game for our church softball team, perhaps many of us go out to a nice meal and celebrate with friends and loved ones. Or maybe after receiving bad news, we call up a close family member or friend for consolation.

Regardless, circumstance affects us, and how we respond is often a conscious decision we make to handle those circumstances.

Among those responses, as Christians, we have the blessing of turning to the scriptures for the hope, blessings and promises of God that He brings through His Word. As we study the word and grow in our Christian maturity, we find we also become closer to Him. Through all of this, we discover that specific scriptures resonate with soul more than others because they deal directly with emotions and struggles we have endured more deeply than others. These verses, which encourage and give hope and peace, will tend to stick in our minds and hearts.

Therefore, we should recognize these scriptures as a divine gift to each of individually, and hold tight to these. When tense situations arise, these GO-TO VERSES become ingrained in use to help us persevere. We can stay the course with joy because we recognize Paul’s words in James 1:2-4,

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

That James passage above is a favorite of mine, as is Psalm 23, which has calmed my soul more times than I can count. James helps me persevere while Psalms calms my spirit.

What verse speaks to you? Which one or one’s have always jumped out to you?

Maybe they are doing that because they are resonating with your soul. Write them where you can always have them close until you have them memorized as you do your name. Write them on your heart.

Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;

    bind them around your neck;

    write them on the tablet of your heart. 

    Proverbs 3:3-4 (ESV)

Then, when you encounter tough situations, remember them. Thank the Lord for them and for calming your spirit.

As Jesus died on the cross just for you…

your GO-TO VERSE is scripture written…just for you.

 

 

© 2017 Marty Hill – Administered By Quaddot Productions – All Rights Reserved

Share Options:

Pennies from Heaven

I remember growing up we had a good friend of the family named Buck. One side business among several he had at one time was an ice cream truck he would drive around town in the heat of the Texas sun, selling lots of ice cream and snow cones to many hot and famished people, adults and children alike. A few years after this story, I would actually be driving this truck for him as a summer job during college.

At the end of his days, he would count his money and balance it out as any businessman would. For the bank, he would have to roll the change into paper rolls to deposit them, for they would not take it any other way. He found pennies, though, not to be worth it, in his opinion, so he threw them into a bag where they accumulated. As I was graduating high school, he considered those would be a good graduating present for me, plus they would be off his hands and he wouldn’t have to count or roll them. I would have that problem, which I gladly took with thanks. After taking them home and rolling them and counting them, I took them to the bank and exchanged them for paper currency, and headed to the mall to see what I could buy for my graduation present from Buck.

At the mall I purchased a nice digital watch, which was brand new technology in the 1977, I drove up to our family business, where he worked for his main job, and proudly showed him and my mother what he bought me for my graduation. He seemed a little shocked and asked how much the watch cost. He seemed a little beside himself when I told him the pennies totaled over $80 and that more than paid for the new shiny technology on my wrist.

 

At that point it became clear that if he had realized the pennies had added to that much money, he would’ve had it counted and given me a lesser amount, more like $20. I remember asking my mother if I should take the watch back and give him his money back so he can rethink and re-give his gift. There was no doubt Buck loved me almost like a son and his wanting to give me a gift was genuine, but his attitude toward money was always clear.  Mom’s response to me was “No. He should learn from laziness of not wanting to count and roll the pennies he guessed would only add up to about $20.”

Ever since, I’ve always stopped to pick up pennies. I’ve always remembered the phrase, “a penny saved is a penny earned.” At both, I remember this experience with Buck. I have realized how pennies can add up and how they can become a blessing for rainy day when funds elsewhere may be tight. Or how they could be a gift for someone else somewhere down the line, passing a blessing as Buck did for me, only I won’t go into it blind.

Recently, however, a new perspective to stopping and picking up pennies changed everything for me on this. While the result may still end up blessing someone else as mentioned above, I’ve learned that God can still use these little copper tokens to remind me of His blessings for me.

It came to my attention that embossed on every regular U.S. coin are the words, “IN GOD WE TRUST.” I had always seen these words, but now they had meaning. These words beg the question why do we trust God? It all comes down to why do we trust anyone? We trust anyone who is true to their word, who keeps their promises. Somebody much more learned and patient than I (Max Lucado) has determined that there are over 7400 promises of God in the Bible.  And we know He always keeps His promises.

Ezekiel 12 (NIV) 28
“Therefore say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: None of my words will be delayed any longer; whatever I say will be fulfilled, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”

1 King 8:56 (NIV)
“Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses.”

Romans 4:20, 21 (KJV)
“He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith [believing] giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what he had promised he was able also to perform.”

Malachi 3:6 (KJV)
“I am the Lord. I change not.”

 

pennySo every time I see a penny, nickel,
or other coin on the ground,
I consider now that God
has put it there to remind me
That “IN GOD WE TRUST,”
That He is always there, and
He always keep His promises.

This little token serves as an unexpected special blessing, sometimes at the end of hard day when nothing went right, or to begin a day to get things started on a great note. But regardless of when it happens, I feel a sense of peace rush through my heart and soul, followed by a smile that sneaks out the corners of my face because I am reminded He is there. At that moment. In that place. He knows if I need that blessing whether I do or not. Sometimes maybe it’s just a blessing for no reason at all. I love doing that for those I care about so, since I believe He is much more loving than I can ever be, I think He probably does that for us at times.

In the future, if I give a bag of pennies or coins as a graduation gift, it won’t be because I was too lazy to roll or take them to get them counted and turning it over to someone else to do. I would see it as passing on all the blessings God had given me, day after day after day, to someone else as a huge, single blessing to them. It would be in hoping they will learn to recognize the little tokens of blessings in each day of their lives, being reminded that He is forever there with them, through all of the good and the bad…

and He always keeps His promises.

 

© 2017 Marty Hill – Administered By Quaddot Productions – All Rights Reserved


Share Options:

It’s A Wonderful Life

In the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey is afforded the opportunity to see what the world would like if he had never been born. As he moves about Bedford Falls, he learns how different everything is. His guardian angel, Clarence, points out, “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”

Every day…   every single day, we face choices as to how we treat those around us. Whether we realize those choices or not, and even if we do not even know the people we are affecting, those decisions and actions have impact on others. Whether you are at home with your family, at work with those you share your career with, or just those you pass in public, at the grocery store, at the coffee shop getting your favorite coffee, at the gym, the library, or anywhere else your day may take you. You will interact with others in a variety of ways.

So how do you treat others? And if there is no direct interaction, how do you present yourself?

Jesus said in  Luke 6:31(NIV) that famous verse:

Do to others as you would have them do to you.

It is a simple but profound statement that has permeated the roots of most if not all morals and religions in the world in some form or fashion. No one anywhere debates the wisdom this. It is taught to our children from a very early age and has been given the simple title of The Golden Rule. But, as easy as it sounds, so many of us have a hard time practicing this.

If this was truly practiced, the word revenge would not be in our vocabulary. Wars would be significantly lessened if not extinct. Politician Ron Paul once said, “Maybe we ought to consider a Golden Rule in foreign policy: Don’t do to other nations what we don’t want happening to us. We endlessly bomb these countries and then we wonder why they get upset with us?”

In Romans 12:16 (NIV), we read

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

and in Philippians 2:4 (ESV)

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

and finally we read Philippians 2:3 (ESV)

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

I find it somewhat amazing that we have the Ten Commandments, and Jesus simplifies that down to two in Mark 12:28-31:

…you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

and that this should be all we need to carry out the task of doing unto others as we would have them do unto us. But yet, Paul gives us a number of verses that reinforce how to do that. And to this day, we listen to sermons, Bible Studies, and so forth on the subject because we struggle so much with this. Unfortunately, as long as we are human, we will have this issue! But let us strive to be more like Christ each day and to love our neighbors, and to truly do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Then we exude Christ to those around us.

If we are ever given a chance to what the world would be like without us, may we see a great difference in our world. We should recognize the evidence of what our lives have added by having Christ shine through us to those around us. We, as believers, are all ministers for Christ.  Therefore, live every day… every day… so that your life’s legacy is told in the lives of others around you.

© 2017 Marty Hill – Administered By Quaddot Productions – All Rights Reserved


Share Options: