Category Archives: Success

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

When we don’t know what to do, Continue reading

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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Remember the Biscuits and Don’t Give Up

Remember the biscuits and don't give up...a story about overcoming life's problems. Remember the Biscuits and Don’t Give Up

This past week my sister, Shawna, shared something with me that she posted on Facebook. It was so insightful and helpful that I got her permission to share it here on my blog as well. I think many of you might find it encouraging and helpful too. God showed her that just because it looks like nothing is going right, that it doesn’t mean there isn’t peace, a place of rest, or a promise still there waiting just past the problem. I hope that you will “remember the biscuits”, and don’t give up the next time you are tempted to throw in the towel.

Shawna’s biscuit story (9/29/16)

So my day started out like this:

Having a rough mental kind of morning, kids fighting, worries building, heart hurting, etc. etc. etc.

I decided that before I get to work, I’ll take some extended time out for me and God. I will enjoy this beautiful fall morning by doing my quiet time on the front porch today in a sweater (cuz today you actually need one!), a cup of coffee (and it’s #nationalcoffeeday), and some hot jellied biscuits.

I cook my biscuits, make my coffee, and grab my sweater.

On my way out the front door to go renew my mind, soul, and spirit, my dog trips me. Jellied biscuits fly out of my hand all over the door and floor, and coffee spilled all over me and soaked my sweater.

At this point I want to cry and give up. I’m on the verge of doing just that when a thought occurred. If I give up then I’m letting the devil win. And I’m letting him steal my plan, purpose, and peace from me.

So as much as I want to do something else, Continue reading

Obeying God Should Come With A Warning Label

Obeying God Should Come With A Warning Label!  Warning: Obeying God may cause serious side effects to occur.  Some people have reported financial trouble, health problems, criticism, false accusations, betrayal, relational trouble, natural disasters, legal trouble, physical assault, and life threatening events.  In some cases death has occurred.  This is not a complete list of possible side effects.

Obeying God Should Come With A Warning Label

I’ve decided that obeying God should really come with a warning label. I mean really, people should be warned to expect opposition and attacks when they start obeying God. Quite honestly the devil doesn’t like our obedience. He knows the good that will come of it. He knows it’s dangerous for him. So, He’s going to fight back. People need to know to expect it.

Warning: Obeying God may cause serious side effects to occur.  Some people have reported financial trouble, health problems, criticism, false accusations, betrayal, relational trouble, natural disasters, legal trouble, physical assault, property damage, life threatening events, and things just going wrong in general.  In some cases death has occurred.  This is not a complete list of possible side effects.

When we step out and start obeying God, we’re going to have some attacks from the devil. It’s inevitable. It doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll experience attack every time, but it is a definite possibility. The more we expect it, the better prepared we can be.

Somebody warned me about obeying God

One of the best things anybody did for me was give me similar advice. When I first started volunteer teaching at Glory House, the director, Susie, told me expect attacks and expect things to go wrong. It kind of actually took me by surprise. At the same time, however, I felt a bit relieved because I had already indeed started to experience exactly that!

I was sitting in her office during my interview Continue reading