Archive for March, 2016

A young right handed batter swings hard but misses the pitch every time. When they do hit the ball it usually goes foul. A former major league player watches this and offers some advice that makes the kid the envy of every player as they consistently lead the league in averaging a .400 batting average. All they had to do was hold the bat differently.

If we live the same way we always do, the results we experience in relationships, ministry, exercise or whatever will be the same. That’s great if we are on the right track, but tragic if we’re missing it big time.

Jeremiah’s message in Jeremiah 34:17 shows the consequences of not living life as God intended. Proverbs 22:8 adds that we can end up with something we never thought of. 2 Corinthians 9:6 and Galatians 6:7 further illustrate where decisions in how to live or what to give lead in distinctly different directions and destinations.

WHAT THIS MEANS: Set aside some time in your schedule to really look at your life. What are you doing right or wrong? What small or large steps could you take to achieve what you know God would like to see you give your life to? Maybe you need to grip the bat differently.

Many measurements, books and suggestions have contributed to an understanding of what courage looks like. It can be seen in a war in Syria, in the withholding of caustic words in a political debate, with a strong defense of truth or, by someone changing their thought patterns. But perhaps courage has more to do with a resolved determination and demonstration of love with no boundaries.

John 13:34 and 35 offers the proof of whether we are the real deal or we’re just blowing smoke. This may just be the climax off what a courageous life looks life. It’s the commitment that says “there’s nothing anyone can do or say that will change my willingness to demonstrate my commitment to pursuing the best for another.” It’s the choice to never put conditions on whether I will love you.

What usually breaks that commitment? Harshly spoken words against you, a deserved embrace not given, avoiding another person because they said something untrue about you. What would you include on a list of “How I know they really love me?” The harder list could be “How I know I really love them.”

WHAT THIS MEANS: Check out Leviticus 19:18 and 1 Peter 1:22. Think about whether God put any conditions on loving others or whether you are loving people deeply from your heart. What does that mean anyway?

“Let’s go West for our trip. Where are we going? West!” If you were having this conversation, and were the one asking the question, would your anticipation of the trip grow, or would hesitation dominate your thoughts? This might be related to courage.

Even if you know or think you know the outcome of a decision, you still have to take a step. But, courage is really taking the step without knowing the outcome of that step.

For some, courage is most challenging for a trip outside of the country; for others it might be getting married or just asking someone on a date; still for others it might be looking over a cliff at the waves crashing into the rocks. Courage may be harder to exercise when change is involved-change of direction, attitude or thinking.

Mark 10:51-52, Colossians 2:6 and 3 John 4 should be wrestled with as you think about courage. Did the blind guy really want to see what life looked like? What about the step of faith required in Colossians? Or do we really want to know the truth about the hard stuff John implies?

WHAT THIS MEANS: Having a right perspective, correct thinking or a new experience will usually require courage. Getting to know Jesus requires even more courage because I guarantee, it will challenge everything in your life.