“Personal or Business” ?

Absorbing God’s Word

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

Applying God’s Word

I have had some incredible accountability partners over the years and still have a handful that keep me in line.

Alex was my good friend, my attorney and one of my accountability partners. We were the same age, married with children and on fire for God. He and I gave Christian in Commerce retreat weekends together until he died of Leukemia at age forty-seven.

Whenever I called his office, his receptionist would put me on hold to tell him I was on the phone. She would come back on the line asking, “Is it personal or business?” If I said it was business, he would call me back. If I said it was personal, he would take my call. Alex always placed someone’s personal issues ahead of business.

A few days before Alex died he told me he was in a win/win situation. If he lived, he would be with Jesus and if he died, he would be with Jesus.

Accounting of God’s Word

Am I too busy to listen to my friend’s personal issues? Do I have friends who hold me accountable?

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“A Love Language”?

Absorbing God’s Word

“Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.” Psalm 111:1

Applying God’s Word

We attend a small church. The congregation is made up of a very diverse group of warm and friendly people.

The church is too small for a large choir or musical group, but the worship leaders are wonderful. They invite and encourage every voice to participate.

One young man outshines all of us. He is challenged and unable to speak clearly, but responds and sings at the top of his voice anyway. He is praising God with his whole heart and in a love language that touches all who are present, including our pastor.

This incredible young man challenges us to praise the Lord with our whole heart and with a lot more enthusiasm.

Accounting of God’s Word

Is my heart fully open, when I praise God in private or with others?

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“Washed In Love”?

Absorbing God’s Word

“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.” Ephesians 5:25-27

Applying God’s Word

I was in my mid-thirties and married ten years, before I realized what this scripture was asking of me. I felt a bit foolish and ashamed that it took so long for me to wake up.

I know now that loving my wife as Christ loved the church is impossible without knowing and loving Jesus. It’s my intimacy with Jesus that produces an anointing for my wife; that washes her in love.

Many times, in the middle of the night, I place my hand on my wife’s hand and pray for her in the “Spirit”. It is very powerful.

Accounting of God’s Word

Is my love for my wife growing out of my intimacy with Jesus? Am I continuously praying with and for my spouse or loved one?

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“Do I Fear Death?”

Absorbing God’s Word

“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26

Applying God’s Word

I recently spoke to two different groups using this scripture as the focus of the talk.

These two Bible verses are part of a dialog between Jesus and Martha, the sister of Lazarus. Martha was telling Jesus that her brother Lazarus would be alive if Jesus would have been there. Jesus’ answer to Martha in John 11:25-26 is the same answer He gives to you and to me whenever we question life after death.

Prior to knowing Jesus, death frightened me. Now that I do know and trust Jesus, I am excited about spending eternity with Him.

Accounting of God’s Word

Do I fear death? Do I love and trust Jesus enough to say goodbye to all that I have come to love on earth?

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“COPD”?

Absorbing God’s Word

“In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” Psalm 5:3

Applying God’s Word

Each morning, I pray that God will bring ministry opportunities my way and empower me to grab hold of them for Him.

Recently, a man and his family shared a table with us at a small outdoor concert. The man had a portable oxygen tank with him. After introducing Louise and I to the members of his family, he talked to me about his COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and his newfound faith in Jesus.

I heard God tell me to place my hand on the man’s chest and cast out the COPD. I looked directly into the man’s eyes and asked him if I could place my hand on his chest and pray for him. He said, “Yes.” I don’t think either one of us blinked. I thanked him for trusting me and he thanked me for the prayer.

Did the man experience a physical healing? Only God knows that answer, but I know for sure that God answered my prayer. I waited for God to create a holy moment and empower me to grab hold of it for Him.

Accounting of God’s Word

Am I preparing myself each morning in prayer for the opportunities God will be sending my way?

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“Recognition”

Absorbing God’s Word

“Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” Matthew 5:15

Applying God’s Word

After checking into our hotel room, we realized that the bathroom fan/light did not work. A short time later, an engineer (Paul) showed up. Paul reminded me of the disciple Paul; committed, driven and a little rough around the edges.

“How’s your day going, Paul?” I asked. “I’m very busy”, he growled. “I’ll be back in a few minutes with a replacement fan/light.”

Before Paul returned, I moved a lamp from the bedroom into the bathroom so Paul would be able to see what he was doing. When he walked in, he turned to me and smiled. “That was thoughtful of you, sir. Thank you.” “You’re welcome. Glad I could help.”

As Paul was leaving, I handed him a nice tip in recognition of his work. He looked right into my eyes as he said, “Thank you.” It was an encounter of the best kind.

Eventually, worldly lamps go out. The light of Christ, though, is something others should always experience in us without failure.

Accounting of God’s Word

Do others see the light of Christ in me, continuously? Is Christ the power that illuminates my life?

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“Retaliation”?

Absorbing God’s Word

“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” Matthew 26:52

Applying God’s Word

Last week, I received a text from my daughter saying that my granddaughter’s school would be closing due to the threat of gang violence.

The school is actually in a nice neighborhood. The problem was at the church next door where the pastor was ask to facilitate a funeral for a suspected gang member. The pastor was concerned for those attending the funeral, and for the K through eight students next door. Knowing about the possibility of rival gang retaliation, the pastor cancelled the service. As an additional precaution, the pastor also asked to have all classes at the school, cancelled.

Drawn guns have replaced drawn swords for acts of violence.

If we use weapons to destroy others, others will use weapons to destroy us.

Accounting of God’s Word

Do I use unkind acts, words or judgements as a form of retaliation to hurt others?

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“In God’s Time”

Absorbing God’s Word

“And the second commandment is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:39

Applying God’s Word

Years ago, I realized it is much easier to go to God about a person than it is to go to the person about God. When we intercede, in love, God finds the right time to capture their heart. I pray for my neighbors.

One of my neighbors and I had talked about our faith before, but on a recent occasion it was different. My neighbor decided to trust me with some past intimate hurts.

This time our talk ended with me praying with and for my neighbor. He was searching for answers and the kind of healing that only God could provide. We prayed that God would bless him with both.

Loving our neighbors as ourselves is not that difficult, when it’s done with tenderness and patience. God does all the work and He does it in His time.

Accounting of God’s Word

Do I love my neighbors as myself? Do I love them enough to share Jesus with them?

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“Compensation”?

Absorbing God’s Word

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Galatians 6:10

Applying God’s Word

The buyout contract between the new owner and myself does not allow me to receive compensation for servicing some of the smaller customers that I have come to love over the last 30-40 years. Therefore, I still service them out of loyalty. These good people have been there for me through thick and thin.

Not all of my customers are believers, but as far as God and I are concerned, they are part of an extended family. There is still an opportunity that, in time, they too will believe.

We should not expect compensation for our service to God, either. Our service to God should come out of our love for Him.

God is asking me to take care of all of His people, when given the opportunity.

Accounting of God’s Word

Do I do good for “All” of God’s people or only when compensation is involved?

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“The Opposite of Love”?

Absorbing God’s Word

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Ephesians 5:25

Applying God’s Word

God not only blessed me with the gift of marriage, but also blessed me with two incredible wives, Joanne and Louise.

This week is the anniversary of Joanne’s death. Hard to believe that she has been gone five years.

It was during my marriage to Joanne that God revealed that love is not a feeling, but rather a decision. Therefore, I started making more decisions to love Joanne. That attitude has accompanied me into my marriage to Louise.

Even though Joanne is gone, keeping her memory alive is a decision that I make and a sign of my love.

The opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is selfishness.

Accounting of God’s Word

Is love a feeling or a decision for me? Am I making decisions to love my family and friends?

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