Category Archives: Success

Put On Christ: Jesus is Like a Stylish Outfit

Put On Christ....Learn How Jesus is Like a Stylish Outfit

Put On Christ: Jesus is Like a Stylish Outfit

“And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.” Galatians 3:27 (NLT)

I read Galatians 3:27 this week in one of my morning bible readings. You know me and analogies! So of course my mind went reeling with the different ways we “put on Christ like putting on new clothes”.

What we wear and how we look in it tends to be a pressing topic this time of year. With summer approaching people are concerned about summer clothing…swimsuits, shorts, tank tops, dresses, etc. However, what we put on spiritually will have a significantly larger impact. In fact the bible uses clothing and “putting on” things as an analogy throughout different parts of the Bible. Today though, we’ll focus on how when we put on Christ, it’s like we’re putting on new clothes.

Jesus is like a fashionable and stylish outfit. I thought of how when we put on Christ, it’s like finding and wearing a new, classy outfit in a lot of ways…

When we put on Christ and look like Jesus, it flatters us.

Do you have that outfit that just makes you look good? You can probably picture one of your favorite outfits in your head right now, right? Jesus can make us look our best like that outfit. His character displayed in us paints us in a flattering light. We look our best when we act like Jesus.

“Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.” 1 Corinthians 15:49 (NASB)

“Then you will look and be radiant…” Isaiah 60:5a (NIV)

Like a great pair of clothes, Jesus emphasizes, highlights, and accentuates our best parts. 

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Pruning: Cutting Out Things to Become Stronger and More Productive

Pruning: Cutting Out Things to Become Stronger and More Productive

Pruning: Cutting Out Things to Become Stronger and More Productive

I love being and working outside, especially this time of year with planting and gardening. Plants make me happy. I might even describe myself as an amateur gardener. However, I use this “gardener” term very loosely! Over the years I’ve learned a lot about God through the planting process. In fact, the bible is full of gardening and agricultural analogies, being they were so prevalent in that culture.

Because I love gardening so much, it’s easy for God to talk to me and for me to understand in gardening terms. For that reason, it happens a lot. Just this past week in fact I was reading John 15 where Jesus is describing himself and the vine, us as the branches, and God (the Father) as the gardener.

During this particular reading, the pruning process stood out to me. I think this was because of what God has been speaking to me about lately. Specifically, this made sense with regard to removing distractions when spending time with and listening to God. I mentioned last week that I was being “corrected” in this area! Therefore, pruning distractions fit right in the theme of what I was already learning.

John 15:1-8 (NIV)

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

Bearing Fruit=Being Successful

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Baptism: The Reason For and Meanings Of Being Baptized

Baptism: The Reason For and Meanings Of Being Baptized…

Baptism: The Reason For and Meanings Of Being Baptized…

I’ve received several questions about being baptized on my post “How to Lead Someone to Christ”. Unfortunately, I think some readers may have inadvertently skipped the part that stated “Being saved or receiving salvation is only the first step. Click here to read more about the next steps that a person needs to take after being led to Christ” where the readers are then directed to the “1st Steps to Ultimate Success” page that instructs on the need for baptism, finding a church home, establishing/growing a relationship with God by daily quiet times/bible reading, finding a good Christian support system, etc. So, to remedy this problem I decided to write a more specific post about being baptized and then put a direct link on those pages as well.

We need to be baptized to follow Jesus’ example

Jesus commanded in Matthew 28:19 (NLT), “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”  Even Jesus was baptized. We need to follow His example.  This serves as a public example and expression of our decision to follow Christ.

“Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. But John tried to talk him out of it. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?” But Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.” So John agreed to baptize him.” Matthew 3:13-15 (NLT)

““I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit!” One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River.” Mark 1:8-9 (NLT)

“One day when the crowds were being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized…” Luke 3:21 (NLT)

Being baptized is an integral part of our faith

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The Puzzle of Life

The puzzle of life...How life is like a complicated puzzle that you sometimes can't seem to figure out...

The Puzzle of Life

My family and I like to work on jigsaw puzzles from time to time. Typically it turns out to be an ongoing project. As a matter of fact, sometimes they even go unfinished for quite some time…if we give up because it got a little tough. In fact, there’s an unfinished puzzle on a piece of plywood sitting inside our extra room right now!

Unfinished puzzle...kinda like the puzzle of life

Our unfinished puzzle…it’s been there quite a while!

A thought crossed my mind this past week. Trying to run our own lives and figure everything out on our own is like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle. It’s a puzzle of life. Additionally, it’s not just any puzzle. It’s a very intricate one where it’s hard to determine where things fit together. Not only that, we don’t even have the picture off of the box to look at to see what the finished product is supposed to look like.

Sure, we may be able to do all of the outside edges. The outsides are fairly easy to put together and find. Likewise, in our own lives we may be able to fix our outsides to look fine. On the surface we may look all put together, but then the middle or the insides are a jumbled mess with things missing everywhere.

Until God steps in

That is…it’s only a jumbled mess until we let God step in. You see, He’s got the box, the full picture. Furthermore, He’s the one who created this puzzle of life in the first place. So He knows exactly what it’s supposed to look like and how all the pieces fit together. With His help and direction we can put the pieces where they go and make sure everything fits where it’s supposed to.

“Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish.” Isaiah 46:10 (NLT) 

The thing is though, Continue reading

Who is on Your “Cabinet” of Advisers?

Who is on Your Cabinet of Advisers? Do you have people you go to for advice, counsel, prayer, etc.? We all need reliable, honest people on our team to call on when we need.

Who is on Your “Cabinet” of Advisers?

We are starting a new era with a new President this week in the United States. The role of President is a pretty powerful role. However, to think that one possesses all of the knowledge, wisdom and power in oneself to live and make decisions without relying on the wisdom and help of others is foolish. This is one of the reasons why the U.S. President uses a Cabinet, a special group of advisers.

Article II, Section 2 of the U. S. Constitution states that the President “may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices” (https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/articleii). To build the Cabinet, the President nominates heads of federal executive departments such as Secretary of State, Secretary of Treasury, Secretary of Defense, Attorney General, etc. Nominees are approved or confirmed by the Senate.

We need a Cabinet too

Just like it would be unwise for the President to think he needs no one, it would be foolish for us to try to do life alone. Especially when making big decisions, it’s always a good idea to consult others. Therefore, similar to the President, we too need a Cabinet of advisers. We need people in our lives that we can go to for their opinion on certain matters.

It’s not good to do life alone

God designed us as relational beings—we were NOT meant to do life alone!

The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. (Genesis 2:18 NIV)

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NLT)

Jesus was led alone to the wilderness to be tempted (Matthew 4:1). We are tempted more when alone. 

It’s wise to seek advice

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What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do

What to do when you don’t know what to do

What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do

I recently received a question from a sweet reader on a previous post I had written, How To Use the Correct GPS–God Positioning System. This person felt like they might be on the wrong track and may have made a wrong decision about attending a design school. They were starting to doubt their original decision to attend. The essence of this reader’s question was basically, “What do you do when you don’t know what to do?”

I think that many people could relate to this question. So today I wanted to share my advice to this reader for when you don’t know what to do, in hopes that it may help others too. There are 3 simple steps that I find helpful in any decision-making process, large or small. I’ll jump right into your practical steps…

Take Some Practical Steps When You Don’t Know What To Do:

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A 5 Day Lesson in Generosity

A 5 Day Lesson in Generosity... a start in my journey to overcome greed

“Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.” 1 Timothy 6:18 (NIV)

A 5 Day Lesson in Generosity

There are many, many things that I need to work on and improve upon in my life. Thankfully God doesn’t convict us or work on too many of our flaws all at once! He doesn’t want to overwhelm us, and he meets us where we are. This week I thought I would share with you something that God has been teaching me the last few weeks. It’s the concept of generosity.

Recently, in my church small group we’ve been doing a book study on Andy Stanley’s Enemies of the Heart. It’s been a very convicting study. I started the book thinking that I didn’t really struggle with some of the “heart issues” he discusses. However after further study, I found myself saying, “Crap. I totally struggle with that.”

Greed

Unfortunately, greed was one of those heart issues. I never really considered myself a greedy person. After reading the book, however, I discovered that greed and selfishness are issues that I still need to conquer. Tithing has never been an issue for me since I was taught that growing up. Also, I’ve always been giving with my time and gifts. Sometimes though, I have a harder time letting go of money, material things or even my desire for superficial things in life. Sometimes I struggle with contentment.

NOTE: God wants us to be blessed, prosperous, and have good things. However He does not want those things to become idols or lord over us. Nor does He want them (or the desire for them) to pollute our hearts with greed and selfishness, causing us to become less effective in loving Him and our neighbors.

With each heart issue Andy Stanley covered a practical step to overcome that issue. (You know how I love practical steps! 😉 ) According to the book, the best way to overcome greed is by practicing generosity.

He listed a few examples in the book of ways to apply generosity. First and foremost though, he suggested that we pray and ask God to show us how HE would have us carry out acts of generosity. For after all, we are just managing His assets/money anyway. I also remember hearing another pastor give similar advice many years ago. He suggested that you pray each day and ask God to show you how you can be more generous that day. 

My lesson in conquering greed started with 5 days of generosity.

Day 1: Giving 2% of my paycheck

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God Is Our Rock

God is our rock. Learn the characteristics of rocks that God displays and how they are helpful to us in times of need.

God Is Our Rock

“No one is holy like the LORD! There is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.” 1 Samuel 2:2 (NLT)

We are living in a time where so much is going on around us. It’s a world of change, unsettling events and circumstances, and things going awry all around. We face disturbing political conditions, natural disasters, crime, death, racial tensions, unstable economies, moral corruption and breakdown, and the list could go on and on. Quite honestly it’s pretty depressing. We need something steady and calm to ground us in times like these. We need a firm foundation in a shifty world.

Quite honestly the same could probably be said for many generations. I’m sure they felt much the same in biblical times as well. So, we can lean on the same principles that gave them rest and peace in unsettling times. One such principle is that God is our rock. He is strong, dependable, never shifting or changing, always there to protect and shield us from the storms of this world. 

Here are some of the characteristics of rocks that help us understand how God is our rock:

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