General Lee, the lady and tree

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” – Matthew 6:14-15.

Shortly after the Civil War, Robert E. Lee visited the home of a Kentucky woman. She bitterly complained to Lee about the damage the Northern Army’s artillery fire had caused to a tree in her front yard. Evidently she was hoping the General would sympathize with her loss. But after a brief silence, Lee said, “Cut it down, my dear Madam, and forget it.”

Wise counsel. Look, life is not fair.

Jesus knows something about unfair treatment. He experienced the greatest injustice when Pontius Pilate declared that He was innocent, then gave the order for Jesus to be whipped and beaten and crucified. In agony, Jesus looked down from the cross at his executioners and said, “Father forgive them, for the know not what they do.” It’s natural to want revenge when you are wronged. it’s supernatural to forgive.

Don’t let past injustices become a root of bitterness that poisons the rest of your life. Forgive and forget just as God has forgiven you.

Written and drawn by Gary Varvel

Be Transformed

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” – Romans 12:2.

What is the will of God for your life?

A missionary friend of mine once said that most people don’t commit their lives to the will of God because they’re afraid that He’ll call them to be a missionary in Africa. “I am a missionary in Africa,” he said, “and there’s no where else I’d rather be.” Then he said this, “God will either give you the desires of your heart or He’ll change your heart so that it becomes your desire.”

That has stuck with me ever since.

So how can we know God’s will for our life?

The Lord doesn’t give us a road map. No, He leads us through a relationship with Him. The closer we get to God, the more we’ll know the heart of God and His will. The context of this verse comes after 11 chapters of instruction about man’s lost condition, Jesus’ sacrifice, salvation by faith and His call for us to be “living sacrifices holy and pleasing to God.” Then we will be able to test and approve what God wants us to do.

This verse gives us 2 steps:

1. Reject the world’s wisdom.

2. Renew your mind through knowing God’s word.

Study it and you’ll learn the heart of God.

Pray and experience the peace of God.

Lastly, notice that God’s will is “good,” “acceptable or pleasing” and “perfect.”

That is a win-win-win.

By Gary Varvel

4:8 Thinking

We’re not going to settle for just positive thinking. We’re going to choose productive thinking by learning to 4:8 our thoughts and by creating goodness grabbers.

How to 4:8 Your Thoughts

We can all spy something “good” or “lovely” or “true” by applying some Philippians 4:8 to whatever we face. Here are eight things from this verse that we can dwell on.

  1. Dwell on what is true. If something is true, it corresponds with ultimate reality. God is the ultimate reality (John 3:33, John 7:18), and His Word is truth. So, first and foremost, we filter everything through the pages of His Word. Is what you’re dwelling on true or false? Is it genuine or fake?
  2. Dwell on what is honorable. The word honorable means “that which inspires reverence or awe; dignified, worthy of respect.” Ask yourself: Are my thoughts honorable? Am I taking the high road here? What is honorable about this? If it’s not honorable, don’t dwell on it.
  3. Dwell on what is right. The word rightis used of God and denotes righteousness. Is what you’re thinking right? Or righteous? Is your focus helping you to think higher and bring out God’s character in you?
  4. Dwell on what is pure. You can’t separate this word from moral purity and sexual purity. So consider: Are my thoughts pure? How can I find something pure to dwell on? When you’re not dwelling on what is pure, it’s like focusing on the spot of dirt rather than the clean around it.
  5. Dwell on what is lovely. Lovely means what is pleasing, agreeable, or attractive. Sometimes a situation isn’t inherently lovely. But, when Christ is with you, you can always focus on Him. You can make your thoughts lovely. So, if it’s a bad day or a bad situation, ask yourself: Are my thoughts lovely? If not, is there something lovely I can think about? Can I dwell on something lovely right now?
  6. Dwell on what is of good repute.Repute means of high esteem. If we can’t think on anything good, then we need to think about something else! There is always something you can think of that is worthy of regard or esteem.
  7. Dwell on what is excellent. This is similar to virtue. Meaning, keep yourself focused on all that is virtuous and promotes virtue. The rest—forget it!
  8. Dwell on what is worthy of praise.This Greek word for praise is used both about God and about people. In Scripture, all God is and does is worthy of praise, so we focus on that. But, it also means that we focus on the strengths of another. We note and notice their good qualities. We are appreciative and affirming to people rather than negative and critical.

Now read this: When you don’t receive the recognition you deserve

ADVERTISEMENT

This post originally appeared onJenniferRothschild.com and was republished with permission.


Jennifer Rothschild has written 14 books, including the bestseller Lessons I Learned in the Dark and Me, Myself, and Lies. She’s been featured on Good Morning America and Dr. Phil and is the founder of Fresh Grounded Faith events. Jennifer became blind at age 15 and now helps others live beyond limits.

Trust and the lack there of

Have you ever considered the cost of trust and the lack there of?

Ronald Reagan was fond of saying, ‘Trust and verify’. As the operator and owner of an electronic security company, I make my living by providing verification and the peace of mind associated with it. One is foolish to fully trust a stranger and ultra taxing to constantly using finite resources to verify. Maintaining balance and appropiate attention takes wisdom.

Nonetheless, no risk, no reward!

If you give one person a lot of rope, they make something useful of it. Another person, they hang themselves with it. Go figure.

Some will, some won’t.

So what are you going to do today to be a leader and winner?

Definite Chief Purpose (DCP)

As exhorted by Napolean Hill in his wonderful work, Laws of Success,  reports that every successful person as a burning Definite Chief Purpose that propels him to greatness.

dcp-definite-chief-purposes

I submit we need to focus our skills in seasons of life to one or two while at the same time we need to distribute our time and energy to keep a sense of balance in all the key areas of our life as have defined in the Circle of Success.

Our DCP should be our primary focus and be congruent with our Personal Mission Statement. Our goals are then derivatives our DCP.

laws of success

 

 

 

#1 COMMAND

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

Deuteronomy 6:5 NKJV

ACTION WORDS

Love

Dt6

SUPPORTING SCRIPTURE

 

Matthew 22:37

Jesus declared, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’

 

Mark 12:30

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

 

Mark 12:33

and to love Him with all your heart and with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself, which is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

 

Deuteronomy 4:29

But if from there you will seek the LORD your God, you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.

 

Deuteronomy 10:12

“And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God by walking in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,

 

Deuteronomy 11:1

You shall therefore love the LORD your God and always keep His charge, His statutes, His ordinances, and His commandments.

 

Deuteronomy 13:3

you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. For the LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love Him with all your heart and with all your soul.

 

Deuteronomy 19:9

and if you carefully observe all these commandments I am giving you today, loving the LORD your God and walking in His ways at all times, then you are to add three more cities to these three.

 

Deuteronomy 30:16

For I am commanding you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, statutes, and ordinances, so that you may live and increase, and the LORD your God may bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

 

Deuteronomy 30:20

and that you may love the LORD your God, obey Him, and hold fast to Him. For He is your life, and He will prolong your life in the land the LORD swore to give to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

 

Psalm 119:2

Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, and seek Him with all their heart.

 

SELECT COMMENTARY

 

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 5. – To the one indivisible Jehovah undivided devotion and love are due. Hence the injunction, Thou shalt love Jehovah thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. The “heart” is the inner nature of the man, including his intellectual, emotional, and cognitive futurities; the “soul” is the personality, the entire self-consciousness; and the” might” is the sum of the energies, bodily and mental. Not by profession merely is Jehovah to be loved; the whole man, body, soul, and spirit, is to be yielded to him in holy and devout affection (cf. Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:33; Luke 10:27; Romans 12:1). The last letter Of the first word, and the last letter of the last word in this verse are larger than the ordinary size (majuscula), and as these two form the word for witness (עד), the Jews say that they are written thus “that every one may know, when he professes the unity of God, that his heart ought to be intent and devoid of every other thought, because God is a witness, and knoweth everything” (R. Bechai, fol. 195, quoted by Michaelis, ‘Bib. Heb,’ in loc.).

 

Matthew Henry Commentary

6:4,5 Here is a brief summary of religion, containing the first principles of faith and obedience. Jehovah our God is the only living and true God; he only is God, and he is but One God. Let us not desire to have any other. The three-fold mention of the Divine names, and the plural number of the word translated God, seem plainly to intimate a Trinity of persons, even in this express declaration of the unity of the Godhead. Happy those who have this one Lord for their God. It is better to have one fountain than a thousand cisterns; one all-sufficient God than a thousand insufficient friends. This is the first and great commandment of God’s law, that we love him; and that we do all parts of our duty to him from a principle of love; My son, give me thine heart. We are to love God with all our heart, and soul, and might. That is, 1. With a sincere love; not in word and tongue only, but inwardly in truth. 2. With a strong love. He that is our All, must have our all, and none but he. 3. With a superlative love; we must love God above any creature whatever, and love nothing but what we love for him. 4. With an intelligent love. To love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, we must see good cause to love him. 5. With an entire love; he is ONE, our hearts must be united in his love. Oh that this love of God may be shed abroad in our hearts!

 

KIRK’S COMMENTARY

 

What is love?

Who is God?

They are One and the same.

To know God is to love God. To love God is to know God.

 

We are made in the image of God. We are made to know God. We are made to worship God. We are made to love God and have a relationship with Him.  The summation of all this is to love God.

 

Our hearts have a God need. But we must choose and commit fully. If we do not choose to make God #1 then false idols, false stuff fills ours hearts that lead to unfulfillment and certain disappointment.  Just as as most internal engines in our automobiles are made to run on gasoline. If we put something else in there, even if good will have problems. The further away from the God the worse the closer but not it may seem okay temporary but are not the same and ultimately flawed. For example, if you put kerosene, alcohol or diesel fuel in the car, it might run for a while but there is going to be a problem. We need 100% straight God in our hearts to hum along. We need God’s power to push through and accomplish our best.

 

So let’s not confuse and replace something good (or worse bad) for the best. Some people run their hearts on things that aren’t bad per se on the surface but nothing should get in the way of our ultimate relationship and purpose.

 

Common substitutes and diversions include: Parenting vicariousness, Career compulsion, Work over need,  Success selfishness, Sex perversion, Drug misuse, Food gluttony or deprivation, Sports fanaticism, Gaming or working out obsession, Beauty adornment, etc.

 

None of the above first words are bad per se (Parenting, Career, Work, Success, Sex, Drugs, Food, Sports, Gaming, Beauty) but when and if they supplant God’s role as our essence and mission by becoming misguided lusts, passions, obsessions, and idols we find ourselves in a very dangerous place. It’s good to be excellent in these things, in the right context at the right time, but the motivation behind them must be to glorify God. The Bible speaks to all of this. These things should assist us in loving, knowing and fulfilling His calling and will.

 

KIRK’S PRAYER

 

LORD God, help me to love You. Guide me to where I need to be. Holy Spirit, I need Your assistance because it is clear to me without Your assistance, I have no hope.

 

Love

afbeelding

Image