Blessings for doormats?

Matthew 5:5, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”

Ahhhh! the humble…the meek… the world will run right over them, correct? They are doormats! Wimpy, pitiful folks who cannot take up for themselves much less others.  They probably need the blessings of God, pitiful little creatures. Is that what you are thinking?

Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Is this what Christ is talking about?

There are great and tremendous blessings for those who are meek and humble because their inner strength relies on God and not the world. God wants us to be humble and meek so much, He declares we will inherit the earth!

When our strength comes from our dependence on God and not upon money or power or ability, God blesses us. It is our faithfulness in a God who will right the wrong; heal the sick; judge the wrong-doer; provide; give us direction; give us hope; that brings us to this blessing. Being meek shows the world we know who is in control and we rely on Him.

The word Paul uses for humility is not exactly the word used in Matthew 5:5, but I believe the idea is the same. Humility is defined as “the selfless regard for the needs of others over your own.” Jesus was the ultimate example of humility because He put us above Himself in suffering and dying on the cross for our salvation.

Being meek and humble doesn’t mean we just sit back and let the world pass us by for fearing of stepping in front of someone. It isn’t what we do in our lives; it’s all about how we do it and for whom we do it. God wants us to be active and participate. He wants us to excel in life. He wants us to have victory. It is how we excel and who we give the glory to that counts.

Confidence in God to do in us and through us what we could not do otherwise is the blessing of meekness. Ask God today to work through you. Give Him all honor and glory. Experience God’s blessings when you do.

Running on Empty

Tonight as I left the church I am privileged to serve, I noticed my gas gauge – EMPTY. If you are like me, going to the pump hurts. $3.50 a gallon isn’t fun in anybody’s wallet. As I pulled in to pump number 6, I recognized a face I hadn’t seen in a while. A young man who I used to see quite regularly at church. He tucked his head and hid behind a camouflage ball cap. I called out to him and inquired how he had been.

He smiled and shook his head, “I’m ok.”

“I haven’t seen you at church in a long time. I hope you are attending another church? I’d sure hate it if you missing out on church, ” I responded.

“No, sir. Just taking a break.”

He hurriedly finished pumping his gas and fumbled for his keys. I could tell he didn’t know where they were and he was in a panic.

“Then you are empty, aren’t you?”

He paused for a moment, “No. I just filled up.”

I went around to help him look for the keys. We looked under his truck; rechecked his pockets; in the seat; before finally, I thought, maybe he left them on the counter inside when he went in to pay. His face brighten, “I did. I remember setting them down. ” He thanked me and as I turned to go back to my car he asked, “Pastor, what did you mean by empty?”

There are consequences for ignoring God. He wants to bless us. He has a plan for our lives to prosper us and not to harm us. (Jeremiah 29:11); but some are missing out because they have chosen to ignore God; to be too busy for God; to justify their absence from God; to take for granted His goodness. How tragic to allow one’s heart to become hardened or inattentive toward God.

What about you? Is your God tank running on empty? When is the last time you prayed to God? When is the last time you read His word or worshipped Him in church? Maybe its time for you to check your gauge. You wouldn’t want to run-out.

Cue the Rocky theme song…

It isn’t often that I am able to watch television. The other night, Connie and I were so exhausted from the events of the day, we decided to find a movie to enjoy together. After flipping through channels, we came across the Rocky movie starring Sylvester Stallone. It was at the moment when Rocky determines he is going to try and the infamous song begins to play. My heart started to beat rapidly inspired by the music and his desire to rise above the obstacles, no matter the odds, and try.

Henry Ford experienced financial brokenness five different times before he founded the successful Ford Motor Company. Walt Disney was fired from his job at a newspaper because he lacked imagination. Albert Einstein was considered mentally handicapped because he didn’t speak until between the ages of 3 and 4 years and he didn’t begin to read until after the age of seven. Isaac Newton did not do well in school and under his care, his family’s farm failed. An uncle took over and sent Isaac to Cambridge. Winston Churchill struggled in school and when he entered the political arena, he suffered repeated defeats before he finally was elected Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Harrison Ford was told he lacked the ability to be a star by film directors.

Some of you find yourself in failed businesses, marriages, educational pursuits, friendships, and projects. Life seems to be using you as a punching bag and you are tired. Some of you don’t want to fight anymore. What needs to happen is our perception of failure needs to change. We need to see failure as an experiment that didn’t quite work; learn what went wrong; and try something different or try it again. We need to take the discouragement that is weighing us down and get encouraged again. We need to leave the bitterness and hurt behind and move forward in a new direction. We need to cue the Rocky theme song in our lives and get going!

Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”

God is not done with you. His plans for you are good! It isn’t over. What it takes is believing in a Father who loves you and wants what is best for you. Whatever you are facing today, you can rise above it; you can get through it; you can make a way; trust in the power of God.

Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the  power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

And the answer is

I love Jeopardy, America’s Favorite Quiz Show, as it is coined. I particularly like the thinking music, the tune while the contestants write their answers down at the end. Some of you who are fans of the show will know what I am talking about. I call it, “The decision-making tune.”

In life, we are faced with major decisions and often we do not know what we should do. Proverbs 3:5 reads, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. 

There is great comfort in these words; but, this scripture is not meant to be crippling. It is not meant for you or I to sit back and let God do all the work. There are times when God needs us to move a mountain, and He gives us a shovel and a wheelbarrow. Some of us may need a few calluses on our hands.

Proverbs 3:13-14 tells us, “Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, 14 for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.”

So what is the answer when making a decision in life? How do we balance allowing God to direct our path and gaining understanding to make a wise choice? The answer is found in 1 Corinthians 2:15, “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.”

Paul is telling us, when we are in line with Christ; when we walk in accordance with His plan and His purpose, our minds are like His. We have understanding because of our oneness with God. When God is in the driver’s seat, decision-making is much easier because He will give us understanding. Stay in the word. Pray daily. Obey His laws. Live according to His purpose.

And the answer is… You’ll find the major decisions of your life are made simpler because you seek your wisdom and understanding from Him.

What are you sowing?

Galatians 6:8 reads, “The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”

I had a teacher once who told us, “If you plant watermelons, you’ll grow watermelons. If you plant beans, you’ll grow beans.” She often used this analogy while referencing homework. “If you do your homework, you’ll grow in knowledge.” Funny, I never commented to her about it, but I used to think, “Well, if what my teacher says is true, then if I do my homework, I should grow homework. I don’t want that!” Fortunately for my behind, I never made that connection to her apparent.

Recently, I heard a woman as she walked the aisles of the grocery store, “I am getting stronger every day. I can do this!” While her conversation to herself seemed strange, there is a great deal of wisdom in her words. We are what we think. And our actions are a reflection of who we are. Positive affirmation builds confidence. Negative builds destruction.

Have you ever counted the rings on a tree stump? Most of us have. The interesting part about the rings is they represent the year of the tree. Wider rings indicate nourishment; thinner rings indicate drought. The year of the tree is ingrained in the wood of the tree. Our yesterdays are a huge part of who we are today: the choices we’ve made; the attitudes we’ve maintained; the actions we’ve taken; all combined to give us the people we are.

An obvious thought is, if we are today what we are because of our past, then what we are in the future will be about our todays. What we plant today, we will harvest in our futures. Who do you want to be? How do you want to grow? What do you want to sow today to harvest in your tomorrows?

Change doesn’t come over night. Change is a process. When I was a boy, there was a campaign to plant more pine trees. At school we received a tiny pine tree to take home and plant in our yards. The roots were wrapped in a paper towel, and I was careful to bring that tree home in one piece! My mom showed me the best place to dig a small hole; water it; and put some mulch around it. The next day, I jumped out of bed and ran to my tree in the yard – nothing. It looked the same. Day-after-day – nothing. Finally, I asked my mom when it would grow. I was tired of waiting on it. She laughed and told me, “One day, when you least expect it, you will realize the tree has doubled in size, then tripled in size, and before you know it, you won’t even notice it anymore.”

Start today to sow a life grown in the Word of God. Obey His commandments. Make the scriptures ingrain in the wood of your life like the rings on a tree stump. Grow who you are strong and tall in the eyes of God.