Being Thankful is a Choice

2014 is now 38 days away from being history.

Time flies whether you’re having fun or not…

Maybe you’ll look back on the year with a smile on your face.

Or, maybe you’ll never look back…

Either way, chances are 2014 was filled with highs and lows for you.

And, 2015 will be too.

So, you have a choice to make.

Be thankful, or…

Be thankless.

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Two very different choices with two very different outcomes.

Because perspective is reality, right?

So, if you choose to be thankful no matter what life throws at you, you’re perspective on life is going to be way different than if you choose to be thankless.

Thankful people are grateful, content, patient, kind, selfless, peaceful, full of joy no matter what…

Thankless people are ungrateful, discontent, impatient, thoughtless, selfish, lack peace, happy when life is good…

See the difference?

No one wants to be around thankless people.

They suck the life right out of you.

But, a thankful person is different.

They bring life and joy with them, because they have the Source of life and joy in them.

So, what’s your reality?

Are you choosing to be thankful?

Or, are you stuck in an endless quest to find peace and joy in a world that will never satisfy your cravings?

Choosing to be thankful doesn’t mean your life will all of a sudden be perfect or easy.

But, when you make that choice your perspective changes.

And, the reality is…

God is the source of the peace and hope and joy you are looking for.

13 I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.  (Romans 15:13)

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Stereotypes, Prejudices, & Bullying: how we can stop them by doing one thing

Stereotypes…

Prejudices…

Bullying…

What do they all have in common?

Judgement.

When we stereotype a person and put them in a “category,” we judge them.

When we show prejudice toward a person and treat them differently, we judge them.

When we bully a person and make them feel small, we judge them.

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Judging others is nothing new, we’ve just gotten better at it.

The rise of social media and technology has made it easy to “throw stones” from a distance.

We can hide behind our screens.

We can post, tweet, & snapchat anything our stereotypes and prejudices desire.

We can judge others all over the world from the comfort of our own homes.

And, we wonder why we see more brokenness, more anger, more unrest, more violence in our world…

It’s time to do some major surgery on ourselves before we choose to cut another person open with our words.

It’s time to put an end to the stereotypes and prejudices that we’ve grown comfortable with and stop judging others.

It’s time to look in the mirror and see the plank…

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“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, 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?”  (Jesus in Matthew 7)

 

What Your Clothes Say About You

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Chances are good you got dressed this morning…

I hope.

And, today, you’re making some kind of statement with your clothes.

“Look at me…”

“I could care less if you look at me or not…”

Or whatever.

Okay, now stop thinking about what shirt you picked to wear today for a second and think about other clothes that all Jesus followers should have put on this morning.

Yes, there is such a thing as spiritual clothes…

Mercy.

Kindness.

Humility.

Gentleness.

Patience

Forgiveness.

Love.

Have you put on all that today?

What do your spiritual clothes say about you?  What statement are you making?

Are you reflecting God’s holiness or are you just imitating the culture around you?

The world is looking for authenticity…people who act and look like Jesus.

So, dress carefully, and think about what you’re wearing today.

12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.  (Colossians 3:12-14)  (NLT)

Does God Care When You Suffer?

Does God care?

That’s a big question with a whole bunch of other questions that build up to it.

Like…

Is God strong enough to do anything about suffering?

Is God even paying attention to what’s going on down here?

Is God fair?

Why does God let bad things happen to good people?

Why does God allow suffering?

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We could go on, but let’s stop right there and answer that last question.

Way back in Eden, suffering didn’t exist.

But then, Adam and Eve made a choice and rebelled against God.

That’s when sin came into the world…and suffering came with it.

So, as long as sin exists, suffering will exist too.

It’s the simple principle of cause and effect.

Maybe the better question to ask is…

Why did God provide a solution for suffering?

We sinned.  God didn’t.

But, His solution for suffering was to send His Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer for our sin.

God actually solved the problem of suffering by suffering Himself.

And, He did that because He cares when you suffer.

He loves you enough that He sent His Son to suffer and die so that we wouldn’t have to suffer forever.

Does God care when you suffer?

Yes…and He’s already proved it.

Question is…

Are you willing to trust Him when you suffer?

9 Yes, by God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone. 10 God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation.  (Hebrews 2:9b-10)

I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”  (Revelation 21:3-4)