Dec 29, 2011

Happy New Years 2012!

“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.” (Isaiah 65:17)  

Wouldn’t that be cool to wake up on New Year’s Day and find out that passage was true? No more sufferings, wars, injustice, or brokenness!  One day that Day will come! All will be made brand new; way cool!

But alas, that Day is for another time; and so for the time being, we work with what we can; namely our own selves. And so, New Year’s is a starting point of new beginnings for many people. But for so many, these new beginnings end as quickly as they start.

 Why? Because we have a hard time really changing ourselves outside the power that comes through Jesus Christ. On our own we try our best to set goals for the next year; some lofty and some attainable, and still we fail to arrive at our destination

The hope is that the Bible tells us:Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Does that mean EVERY area of our lives will be instantly changed in a way that we see it? Unfortunately; no it doesn’t.

But what it does mean is that our spirit man is changed when we surrender our lives to Christ. And He starts the work; our part is to cooperate with what He is doing “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).

In the meantime, one thing that we can all work on is learning to love ourselves and accept who God has made. After all, “God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27)

Some of what we need to work on is simply loving and accepting who we are, as we are. Some parts of who we are make us unique and wonderful and powerful; in spite of how they are different from others.

Let me be clear; I’m not talking about things that are wrong; after all we share this planet together. There are some areas where we NEED to take a deep look at ourselves and STOP doing and SAYING harmful things; PERIOD.

What I am writing about are the things that we don’t like about ourselves. Things that are too big or too small or too short or too tall. So, we tuck, and we cut, and we snip, and we peel, and do ANYTHING so that we don’t have to be who we really are.

Someone once said; “If you're not being treated with the love and respect that you deserve, check your "PRICE TAG". Perhaps you have marked yourself down. It's "YOU" who tells people what you're worth by what you accept. Get off the "CLEARANCE RACK" and get behind the glass case where they keep the "VALUABLES". Bottom line; "VALUE" yourself more.”

So here is my New Year’s Resolution suggestion for you: Work with God and let Him take you through the process; you will find that the results will be eternal. And, embrace who you are! You will never be as good a version of someone else as you are of yourself!

Need some help? Call Toll-Free: 1-877-2GRAHAM (1-877-247-2426)

"Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."

Dec 22, 2011


“For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord”. (Luke 2:11)

Simply put, God so loved the world that He sent His only Son Jesus to be our savior. This implies to me that God, although He loved mankind, didn’t like what man was doing. The Bible calls that sin; which is our faults, offences, and trespasses which includes anything that we do, think, or say that separates man from God. In other words, all of mankind is a sinner in need of a savior; a deliverer, that is, God or Christ.

But, as the angel said to those shepherds on that first Christmas morning; “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11). God in His great love for us (not what we do) sent His Son to be a Savior for us!

And, He did this BEFORE we even knew about it! God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!

“For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” (Romans 5:6-9)

That is why the multitude of the heavenly hosts SUDDENLY was praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:13-14). They saw that God Himself sent One who would save sinful mankind by His death, burial, and resurrection. He would be the Savior of the world; FOR ALL OF US!

This Christmas we celebrate that Jesus came, not so that we would spend more money than we have on others, but to let us know that God really does love us; inspite of how we live. And He came to help us change; each one of us, if we will let Him. He simply wants us to come to Him and agree with what He calls sin and agree to go a different direction with His help.

        “If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator.
        If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist.
        If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist.
        If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer.
But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior.”

                                                                                                         -- Roy Lessin

And when you do that, Christmas takes on a whole new meaning.

Actually, it takes on its original meaning.


"Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."

Dec 15, 2011

Authorized Personnel Only

Have you ever seen a sign on the door stating that you weren’t supposed to go in unless you had authorization? How did you feel; excluded?  

Have you ever gone into a place that you weren’t supposed to go? How did you feel knowing that at any moment you could be caught and told to leave; afraid?

Have you ever gone into a place where you were told that you could come in even though there was a sign on the door stating that you weren’t supposed to go in unless you had authorization? How did you feel; hesitant and anxious?

I have been in many places that required me to have some sort of authorization to be there, which usually include either someone to escort me or a badge or both. Usually at these places there were also checkpoints, and security guards, and cameras. And, I have always been amazed at the power of a plastic badge clipped on a shirt.

At some events at which I had a leadership role or special authorization, how quickly security people will move out of the way to let me pass. One of my security badges contained neither my photo or my name; just a the name of the event and a one inch sticker that had amazing “power” to get me into any room that I wanted to go to in the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

I even went into some rooms just because I could and because some person or persons had deemed it necessary for me to have this authorization. And so I went in; boldly, and I did what I needed to do and it got done.

One place that I was at I was told that only a small group of people ever earn the right to be at the place where I was standing. I am so glad that this is NOT the case when we approach God!

Do you realize that as a Christian, you have a “security badge” in which you have authorization to come into the very throne room of God? You and I as Christians are able to go past all of the “security guards” and talk to God face to face; whenever we want to! In the Bible, the writer of the book of Hebrews in Chapter 4:14-16 tells us that we not only SHOULD go in, but exhorts us to come in BOLDLY to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

I love the way that Eugene Peterson puts it:  “Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let's not let it slip through our fingers. We don't have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He's been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let's walk right up to Him and get what He is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.” (Hebrews 4:14-16 The Message)
Do you have a need today? Then run in quickly, boldly and you will find mercy and help!

Have you tried to clean up your life with no success? Are you tired of trying to do it your way?
Call 1-888-NEED –HIM; someone is waiting to talk with you.

Dec 8, 2011

Fallon Fell

On Saturday, December 3, 2011, my one-year old granddaughter Fallon fell down a flight of stairs; and I saw her do it. I want to tell you that she is OK and survived (physically) with only a very small bump on her head. 

Several of us were helping Fallon’s parents finish off the lower level of their house, and Fallon wanted to come down the stairs to see us. I heard her coming down the steps but my brain didn’t register what she was doing until she had already begun to fall.

Even now, as I close my eyes, I can still see her falling. And I can still her crying and screaming as she bounced off each step; every “thud” from her body and head hitting echoes in my head. My soul was in anguish and looked to see God in this; and so I seek Him to see how He was there in our moment of need.

The apostle Paul wrote in the Bible in 1Thessalonians 5:16-18 that we are to:Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” In EVERYTHING? Even when Fallon fell?

King David had the perspective that even when things go bad we need to give thanks because they would have been a lot worse had the Lord not been there.

David wrote about this in Psalm 124:
“If it had not been the LORD who was on our side,” Let Israel now say— 2 “If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, When men rose up against us,3 Then they would have swallowed us alive, When their wrath was kindled against us; 4 Then the waters would have overwhelmed us, The stream would have gone over our soul;5 Then the swollen waters Would have gone over our soul.”  6 Blessed be the LORD, Who has not given us as prey to their teeth. 7 Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers The snare is broken, and we have escaped.8 Our help is in the name of the LORD, Who made heaven and earth."

Christian author Phillip Keller writes; “It has been well said that the true measure of any man’s spirituality is the degree to which he can detect God in the most simple events around him.”  As the scriptures say; “so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:27-28b.

When we look to the Lord to get His perspective, often times He will give us the bigger picture. We may never know just how many times God has protected us from harm without us even knowing about it. Just the night before while playing hockey, another player slashed me across the face with his stick. The force was hard enough that it should have broken my nose (again) but it didn’t because I had just installed a face shield on my hockey helmet.  God had been on my side to provide the shield and to give me the sense to put it on and start wearing it.

How was He there when Fallon fell? A friend of mine, Ben, was cognitive enough to reach out and grab Fallon before she went all the way down the steps to the concrete floor below. And, even though there were a variety of tools on the steps, Fallon missed hitting any of them. And Fallon, after throwing up because of the trauma, was able to calm down and rest and return to her happy self. And so were the rest of us; especially my daughter, Fallon’s mom (who is now pregnant with her second child). For that I am so very grateful because God had been on our side.

How about you; do you struggle to see God in the midst of the everyday events or in the trauma that invades your life?  If you are one of His children, it does make a big difference as to how you get through the “falls” in your lives. Don't hold back from Him; He wants you to come just as you are.

Call 1-888-NEED-HIM someone is waiting to talk with you. Or


"Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."



Dec 1, 2011

Seeing Value in EVERYONE

Around our house we have many pieces of art; paintings, photos, quilts, sculptures, wood carvings, photographs, jewelry, and so forth. Although most of the pieces wouldn’t fetch any large sum of money at an auction, they are all very precious to me because they were gifts given by the person who made them.

My father-in-law Gene was a good wood carver and came from a long line of many generations of wood workers; in fact it is one of the things that I really liked about him when we first met because he reminded me of my maternal grandfather who was also a great wood carver. I loved both men very deeply; both men are no longer alive and their absence from my life has left a great void.

Both men could see life in a piece of wood and bring it out as they skillfully carved away all of the unnecessary wood to release the sculpture that was inside. Both men worked with many different mediums and both loved creating objects using wildlife; ducks, birds, etc as their subject matter. Although just hobbies for both men, they could have “quit their day jobs” and worked their careers as carvers.

One of my favorite pieces that I have that was made by Gene is a little duck that is carved from a piece of wood that was rejected and is full of burls and holes. On first appearance, one can see the shape of the duck but may miss the beauty of the carving because of all that is wrong with it. I got the piece after it was passed over by other family members picking out a better piece from Gene’s collection.

I love the duck because it reminds me of how Gene was able to see the value in everyone; no matter of what they looked like on the outside or even how they acted.

Much like his carvings, he could remove all of the parts that didn’t really define who a person was to see what was really inside of them; someone who was made in the image and likeness of God. And, when people spent time with him for awhile, he helped them to see the value as well.

Oh, if we could only begin to see and treat people as my father-in-law Gene treated them; what a difference we all would make in this lost and broken world.

Recently, I read multiple stories about the high suicide rate in South Korea; a problem that doesn’t seem to be going away. The articles all talked about how more than 40 people kill themselves each day in South Korea, which is more than twice the number who did so a decade earlier and five times as many as in 1989. People killing themselves regardless of their how well known they were or were not, and how much money they did or didn’t have and who couldn’t see value in their lives. And my heart was broken.

I realize that we don’t have the ability to stop everyone around the world from taking their lives, but what if we chose to make a difference where we live? What if we chose to start seeing value in everyone; beyond the external manifestation of their brokenness? 

“Impossible”, you say? Not with the love of Christ it isn’t. Oversimplified, I think we justify blowing people off and excuse our indifference and forget that God wants to work through us. We can’t do it on our own.

In fact, if you would have asked Gene when he was alive why and how he was able to see the value in each and every person, I know that he would tell you that it was because the love of Christ compelled him to do so. He did what he did because he knew that God saw value in him.

God already set for us an example when He chose to see value in us. The Bible says;  “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8 NKJV)

Oh, if we could only begin to see and treat people as my Father-in-Heaven treats them; what a difference we all would make in this lost and broken world.

"Now God has us where He wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all His idea, and all His work. All we do is trust Him enough to let Him do it. It's God's gift from start to finish! We don't play the major role. If we did, we'd probably go around bragging that we'd done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join Him in the work He does, the good work He has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.” (Ephesians 2:7-10 The Message)

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Nov 24, 2011

A Beautiful Bowl of Soup

As I write this my stomach is full, I’ve just returned from eating lunch with a friend from church that included good conversation and great Thai food; including a sweet and sour soup. 

I love to cook and I love to eat, to taste, to linger and savor and eat each and every morsel of food that my eyes see. So this season that we are entering into of holidays that include much feasting suits me just fine. Somehow all of the extra exercise that will be required to keep my youthful appearance is worth it to eat extra food.

One of the cookbooks that sits on a shelf in our kitchen is called; “A Beautiful Bowl of Soup”. It is filled with hundreds of recipes of some of the most delicious soups and stews; each and every one brimming with international flavors and unique accompaniments, garnishes, and toppings that add tremendous visual appeal and lead to a beautiful bowl of soup.

This is also the time of year when volunteers come out to serve the less fortunate. Each Thanksgiving Day, local food shelves and some restaurants serve a meal to those less fortunate that meets their need for one day; a single day.

And yet, in Minnesota thousands of people go hungry on daily basis, not just at Thanksgiving. Each and EVERY day they wander as they wonder where their next meal will come from.

EACH and EVERY day they seek out somewhere or someone who will give them a simple bowl of soup to warm their stomachs as well as their soul.

EACH and EVERY day they seek out somewhere or someone who will love them and let them know that they have worth; that their situation need not define who they are and can be.

So today, with my belly full and filled, I am filled with gratefulness that I (for some reason) have not had to search for food today. I am grateful that I (for some reason) was fortunate enough to have a friend who would sit with me and eat and laugh and talk and enjoy a beautiful bowl of soup. And so I offer up thanksgiving to God for His goodness to me.

Psalm 150
1 Praise the LORD! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty firmament!
2 Praise Him for His mighty acts; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!
3 Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp!
4 Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!
5 Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with clashing cymbals!
6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!

"Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."

Nov 17, 2011

Observations from a Potter

I spent some time recently watching some videos of potters on YouTube making pottery using a potter’s wheel. I had been thinking about a passage in the Bible that says; “…as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!” (Jeremiah 18:6b NJKV). Jeremiah had been requested by the Lord to “Arise and go down to the potter’s house” 

I have observed many different potters over the years, both live and on YouTube. One shop that I stopped in the potter was cleaning up for the night. I watched him as he spent 5 minutes scraping the clay off the bottoms of his shoes; something that I hadn’t really thought about as being part of the process of making pottery. Lesson learned: The refuse from the pot is left upon the potter; something that he or she must remove so that they don’t leave it on someone else’s “carpet”. 

As an artist, I have worked with many different types of mediums including clay. I have used all types of clay; from “plastilene” to earthen clay. Plastilene Clay is an oil-based product and does not get baked or get hard. I have used it to create temporary sculptures from which I would make a mold; and then cast some other product into the mold, thus giving me a permanent sculpture of some sort. Earthen clay, on the other hand, needs to be fired in a kiln. 

One of the styles of clay that I haven’t done is working on a potter’s wheel. The idea of watching and observing and learning from a potter intrigues me because I personally have only made pottery without using a wheel. So I sat and watched several YouTube videos on potters to see what I could learn. And here is what I saw:
  • The potter leaves marks on the pottery from his/her hand
  • Water was constantly added or subtracted with hands or a sponge
  • One potter said; “You can only pull it up so many times depending on the clay”
  • It was the “flaws” that made the pot unique and beautiful
  • They weren’t really flaws but planned markings by the potter
  • So much energy was spent keeping the wheel moving at just the right speed
  • The clay needed to be placed exactly in the center of the wheel or else the pot would be off center/oblong/out of shape
  • When the pottery was finished, it was left setting on the wheel at the end and no one picked it up right away
  • I saw the gentleness of hands picking it up off the wheel
  • Wire was used to remove it, cut it away from the wheel
  • Once the pot wass trimmed it was set on the shelf to dry for several days.
  • After the pot is completely dry it is ready to be bisque fired in a kiln to remove the water so that the piece can be glazed without returning to the original clay and cause the pottery to break.  
  • After the piece is fired and cooled down, the pottery is inspected and sandpapered. This is to remove imperfections as well as to provide a smooth surface for the glaze to adhere to.
  • Then paraffin wax is applied on areas of the pottery where the potter doesn’t want the glaze to adhere.
  • Then the glaze, which is uniquely mixed and chosen by the potter him/herself, is applied on the pottery.
  • Then the pottery is set aside until the glaze dries.
  • Once the pottery is glazed, it is returned to the kiln for a second firing, in which the pottery is no longer porous and the glaze achieves a glasslike finish.
  • Then the pots are allowed to slowly cool over the next 24 hours before the kiln is opened and finished pot is seen for the first time.
  • Then the finished pottery is then given a final sanding and dusting.
THEN, and only then can a piece of pottery be used for its intended purpose.

And yet, at any point, including after it has completely gone through all of these stages, the pottery still remains so very vulnerable to being broken.

 The prophet Isaiah wrote; “But now, O LORD, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8 NJKV) 

The Apostle Paul writing to the Church in Rome wrote; “Who in the world do you think you are to second-guess God? Do you for one moment suppose any of us knows enough to call God into question? Clay doesn't talk back to the fingers that mold it, saying, "Why did you shape me like this?" Isn't it obvious that a potter has a perfect right to shape one lump of clay into a vase for holding flowers and another into a pot for cooking beans?” (Romans 9:20-21 The Message version)

The comparison to our lives as “pottery” can easily be applied. The Lord is asking us to let Him as the Master Potter form and fashion us into great vessels fit for His use. And that will require us to go through ALL of the necessary steps from clay to a completed piece of pottery. The Lord calls us to offer up ourselves a living sacrifice. 

“The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying: 2 “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.” 3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. 4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. 5 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: 6 “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the LORD. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!” (Jeremiah 18:1-6 NKJV)

Nov 10, 2011

Motorcycles, Coffee, and the Eye of the Farmer

By Larry Houghton 

The day had started out like most Fall mornings, with frost heavy on the last of the green grass. Lawn chairs now look out of place sitting lonely in the back yard. The vine winding its way through the fence is covered In a silvery coat of what is to come.

I sometimes find it difficult to ignore the whispers of winter yet refuse to accept it as my future. Then one day I awake to find a cold suffocating blanket of white death has conquered the last warriors of warmth and buried them where they will remain until winter moves on. 

Now, I am fully aware that this blanket of depression to me is someone else’s prize of winter bliss. But I must be honest with myself and those reading this and proclaim that I am a southern boy and don’t mind telling you that winter is a struggle for me. So, this particular morning I am thrilled that the forecast tells me that the sun will hold off winter for yet another day and allow me to roll the bike out of the garage and ride.

A few hours pass while a handful of bikers sit in the clubhouse and sip coffee and share stories and struggles while the suns warmth raises the temps to an expectable riding level. Then it’s down the road we go, headed to a small cafe that makes a very good bowl of soup. I find myself looking forward to the warmth of the café as the east wind creeps its way through my jacket and gloves. The leather vest is little protection from the biting sting of cold as it fights to get to the skin hiding under the layers of leather and cloth. Somehow I still find the ride fun and exhilarating. I always feel so alive and free when I am riding the last few rides of the season. As if I have stolen back the day from the would be thief. 

Most of the fields have been harvested leaving the rolling hills lying naked and open. Broken stalks and empty cornhusks litter the ground where just a few weeks ago perfectly planted rows of crop stood tall. The ground seems to be waiting for the cold northern air to bring the blanket that will cover it for the next 4-5 months.

As our motorcycles thunder down the road I consider the sowing and reaping ritual of the farmer who prepared the soil and then carefully placed the seed in the ground. Did he consider the orchestrated effort of the soil and seed fighting the elements to yield a crop? Do I consider the orchestration of sowing and reaping that plays out in my life?

I ponder how I spend little time sowing the love of Jesus and then wonder why the harvest is so spars. What seed am I sowing. Am I sowing a crop worth harvesting or am I actually planting those weeds of doubt and thistles of pain in peoples life?

I think we all go through life planting seed of some kind. I'm afraid however; I too often plant seeds of doubt or fear and then drown them with torrential storms of worry and complaints.
I question whether I keep my eyes open for good soil that God has prepared where I could plant a seed of hope. 

Jesus said we often harvest a crop that we did not labor to sow; what a blessing to share in the harvest. To know that we might play a part in someone finding the love of God in the day is such a blessing. 

So in the future, as I travel life’s road as it twists through the fields of coworkers and neighbors. I pray that God open my eyes to see the fields white with harvest; to know when the time is right to plant and when to reap; to water with words of encouragement and hope.

The sun seems warm on my back now as we roll to a stop in the small cafe parking lot. Just inside the door I can see folks sipping coffee and enjoying a hot bowl of soup. I silently ask God for wisdom and the eye of the farmer. 

Always ride the narrow road and stop in and see us again.
- Larry

© 2011 Larry Houghton     ALL RIGHTS RESERVED USED WITH PERMISSION                               


Nov 3, 2011

“Disappointment or His Appointment”

I love autumn in Minnesota!  Autumn (along with springtime) is a season of changes; radical changes! All around, the trees are changing from green to vibrant colors as a way of distracting us from the fact the temperatures are plummeting from the eighties towards the freezing mark.

Along with these changes come opportunities for disappointment as we ponder how we could have better used our summer and things we never got to instead of being grateful for what we DID do. 

I love autumn in Minnesota because during this time of year we spend our leisure time watching (pro and college) football and hockey, along with the World Series. Rivalries are brought out as we choose our team and make our boasts as to what will be the outcome of a season, a series, or even a single game.  

In a moment, hearts can be broken and lives can be changed forever with the outcome of a single game. Along with these changes come opportunities for disappointment for what could have been as trophies and “pink slips” are handed out; sometimes on the same day.   

Too many people spend their lives stuck on what could have been as they fail to fulfill the expectations or wishes of themselves or others for their lives. Too many live their lives frustrated by the defeat of the fulfillment of their hopes and plans and disappointment becomes the new focus of theirr existence.  

Singer and songwriter Phil Keaggy wrote; "Disappointment - His Appointment. Change one letter and you see that the thwarting of my purpose was His better plan for me." 

The Bible says; “A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.. (Proverbs 16:9 NJKV)” In other words, just because we planned some path for our lives, it may not go that way; God may have a different direction. And grasping this truth will make the difference between disappointment and “His”-appointment.  

"Disappointment - His Appointment. Change one letter and you see that the thwarting of my purpose was His better plan for me."  

Grasping this truth can change your perspective and can give an opportunity for anticipation of what God might be up to; rather than disappointment for how things appear to turned out.

The motivational speaker W. Mitchell says; "Before I was paralyzed, there were 10,000 things I could do. Now there are 9,000. I can either dwell on the 1,000 I lost, or focus on the 9,000 I have left. It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do about it”  

My friend, you don’t need to live your life weighed down by disappointment. Flexibility is about bending and adjusting with the changes that come our way. Being rigid can leave things broken (physically, relationally, emotionally…).  

Let’s choose wisely how we respond and stop the mental erosion by asking the Lord to open our eyes to see what He is doing.  

My friend, your story isn’t over yet!  My guess is that His plans are so much better than what you would have ever thought or planned. Let Jesus Christ change your story for HIS-story. The best is yet to come! 

"Disappointment - His Appointment. Change one letter and you see that the thwarting of my purpose was His better plan for me." 

Not sure where to start and need help? Call 1-888-NEED- HIM

Disappointment  By Phil Keaggy

Disappointment - His appointment,
Change one letter, then I see
That the thwarting of my purpose
Is God's better choice for me.

His appointment must be blessing
Though it may come in disguise
For the end from the beginning,
Open to His wisdom lies.

Disappointment - His appointment
Whose? The Lord's who loves best.
Understands and knows me fully,
Who my faith and love would test.

For like loving, earthy parent
He rejoices when He knows
That His child accepts unquestioned
All that from His wisdom flows.

Disappointment - His appointment
No good thing will he withhold
From denials oft we gather
Treasures from His love untold.

Well, He knows each broken purpose
Leads to fuller deeper trust
And the end of all His dealings
Proves our God is wise and just.

Disappointment - His appointment
Lord I take it then as such,
Like the clay in hands of potter
Yielding wholly to Thy touch

All my life's plan is Thy molding
Not one single choice be mine
Let me answer unrepining,
Father not my will but Thine.

Oldie but a good message....

Oct 27, 2011

If Jesus is the answer, what was the question?

Too often in life we answer before we really listen and hear what the other person is asking.  One night at the table, a little boy asked; “Mommy and Daddy what is ‘sex’?” Astonished by his question, the parents grasped at the air to find a answer to the question that they thought that wouldn’t have to answer for several years. Mustering up all the strength they could, they sat the little boy down and spent the next several minutes vaguely explaining where babies come from. 

When they were finished, they asked the little boy if he had any questions, hoping of course that he had none. The little boy said; “I’m not sure what the two of you were trying to explain to me. I asked what sex was because I needed to know if I was an “F” or an “M” so that I could check the correct box for school.”

Too often in life we answer before we really listen and hear what the other person is asking. Let me ask you a question; when someone is going through a struggle, do you really hear what the question is that they are asking? Or are you so quick to give them a “religious answer” that you really don’t listen to what they are really trying to communicate?

In our effort to give something to ‘stop-the-bleeding’, we lose potential ground to really share what we do know. I think that John Maxwell said it best; “People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

If Jesus Is the ANSWER, what was the question that they were asking? We can wear the latest WWJD bracelets and still never take time to actually ask, “What would Jesus do?” BEFORE we give an answer to someone’s question.

I love the following story from the Bible because in it I see Jesus taking the time to stop and perhaps listen to His Heavenly Father as to how He was to answer a moral question from some religious leaders. They had the Law; but what would be the answer that Jesus’ Father would have Him say?

 Now early in the morning He (Jesus) came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. 3 Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, 4 they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” 6 This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.7 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” 8 And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (John 8:2-11)

Jesus only did and said what Father would say or do. And so, He waited until He heard clearly what to do.  

Another time when the religious leaders challenge Jesus the Bible tells us;  “Then Jesus answered and said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.” (John 5:19)

If Jesus Is the ANSWER, what was the question that they were asking?  

I want to be like Jesus; learning to wait and listen when someone is going through a struggle; really hear what the question is that they are asking before I give them some quick answer. How about you?

It will mean giving God your heart, giving up your dreams, giving up your pride and laying down your rights - laying it all down, for the sake of Him and His ways; His answers. It will (once again) mean surrender so that we can truly have the answers to the questions posed to us.

Do you know this Jesus? Call 1-888-NEED HIM. Someone is waiting to talk with you right now.

"Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."