Tag Archives: forgiveness

ROLES NOT GOALS. PURPOSE.022916

stone faced            “God has a purpose for your life.  All you’ve got to do is figure out what it is.”            [This is from a letter to my ‘young-adult’ kids in 1995]  “I used to wonder what I was doing here.  Sometimes I even wondered what you were doing here.  I finally got the message.  God has a plan for my life.  Actually, I think He has a plan for every person’s life, but some folks never figure out what it is.

“When I was a kid I bought into the idea that goal setting and goal pursuing and goal orientation were the way to achieve everything I wanted in life, and happiness too!  When I was 15 I wanted $1 million by the time I was 30.  I focused a lot of attention on it.  I read the right books and tried to practice what they preached.  But somehow it never worked for me.  I guess I just didn’t want it bad enough.  I just couldn’t get motivated enough.  I had a lot of other things on my mind.  Looking back, maybe God didn’t want me to be a millionaire.

“After I got baptized in the Holy Spirit, I started seeing differently.  I decided that God had a purpose for my life, a destiny.  Somehow, I got the message that God has a role (really a bunch of roles) for me to play in my life.  In fact each of us is given a number of readymade roles to play when we’re born.  Like the role of a son or a daughter, the role of brother or sister.  Then pretty soon you get the role of student, then later employee, then girlfriend or boyfriend, then husband or wife, then father or mother, then maybe employer, or doctor or lawyer, or teacher, or preacher, or seeker or finder.  What fulfills your destiny, and God’s purpose, is for you to be the very best you can at whatever role God has given you for that time.  And what’s really neat is that this will make you happy.  Seems to me that chasing a goal is not very fulfilling, but being best in your role is very fulfilling, and with your role you fit into God’s plan perfectly.  Just remember when you can’t figure out what you’re doing here, or where you’re going, or why; focus on being that person, that character, the very best you possibly can.  You’ll be surprised how happy it will make you.

“The thing that separates the exceptional people in the world, the 2-3%, and the rest of the folks, is that the 2-3% have realized that God has a grand design for their lives.  (Here again, a lot of people call it a lifetime goal, which is OK with me.)  Many people spend all their time just living from day to day, so they never have time to fulfill that grand design.  Eating and sleeping, working and raising kids may be enough for most folks, but it’s not enough for me.  I may never amount to a hill of beans, but it won’t be because I didn’t try.  Oh, and by the way, I still think that grand design is about the role you play in your life with other people; not so much about making a million dollars, or being the President, or climbing the highest mountain, or building the biggest building, even though those are perfectly OK things to aspire to.  (Heck, if you don’t aspire to something, you’ll never amount to anything.)

“But in the end, the best way to help other people is to get in tune with God’s purpose for our lives, and focus our attention on fulfilling His grand design for us. In the meantime we will still have time to eat and sleep and play and have fun and raise kids, just like everybody else. And we may do something truly memorable.”

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TOMORROW [a Kairos Talk].051915

[This is an excerpt from a talk on a Kairos Weekend in a prison]

need helpOn this final day we need to look back to where we were on Thursday, and then look at where we are today.  Might say we’ve come a long way. Think back to the first day and the first talk “Choices”.  We said the choices we make effect where we end up in life.  What do we mean when we say life is a journey?  We’re not really talking about going from one place to another on the earth.  We’re talking about in our hearts.

About being in a new place inside. 1] About realizing we’re different, something has happened, something has changed. 2] Feeling different about others. 3] Finding new experiences and new relationships. 4] What are some new things you have experienced these last 3 days? Continue reading

Kairos-A Christian.051415

[This is an excerpt from the Kairos talk “A Christian”]

the Good SamaritanLOVE is about mercy and forgiveness; Mercy is being nice to someone (cuttin’ them a little slack) even when they deserve to be punished.  That’s what God does for us.

Forgiveness is what love is in practice.  It’s what happens when we love people enough to forgive them, even when they are wrong and we’re right; even when no one is looking and it won’t help us a bit.  Forgiveness is the evidence of mercy in our individual personal relationships.

In 1 Corinthians 13:4, it says ‘Love is patient.’  In the King James version of the Bible, and in the original Greek the verse says, “Love suffers long.”  That means if you really love someone, you put up with them.  I’m thinking about my kids when they were teenagers.  It means that you put up with them, even though you’ve told them 15 times what you expect, and they’re still doing it wrong, very likely on purpose and not accidentally.  That’s what it means when it says love suffers long. Continue reading

WHAT ABOUT WILLFUL SIN? 022815

Domestic abuse shadow play; family and social issueI’m always talking about how God will take care of you if you’ll just trust Him.  But will He really?  Will He still take care of you even if you do something really bad; something you knew was wrong before you did it, and you did it anyway?  I mean like when you were doing it, you looked God in the eye and said, “I don’t care what you think;  I’m going to do this anyway”  Will God take care of you, even then, even after that? Continue reading

Happy are the Persecuted? 010915

Matt 5:10-11: 10 “Blessed (happy) are you who are persecuted for righteousness sake.”  First, what does that mean?  Condemned for being good?  Condemned for being Godly?  I don’t know for sure, but it sounds like God is saying, “You are approved by me if you allow yourself to be talked bad about, without saying anything back; without cursing the people who persecute you; being willing to turn the other cheek, to walk the mile (and the extra mile); to give up your coat and your cape.”   It definitely says something about your attitude if you put up with being persecuted for doing and being good; and that attitude is all about humble, loving and forgiving.

11 “Blessed (happy) are you when men shall revile you and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake, . . . .”  I don’t know why, but every time I read this verse I think about the martyrs, who were burned at the stake, or stoned to death, or thrown to the lions, or tortured in the Inquisitions.  In Hebrews 11:37-38, it even talks about people who: “They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them.”  And I always think of that story about the stoning of Stephen, where he is in the middle of being stoned to death, and he says, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” How’s that for an attitude?  It’s nothing if it’s not humble and forgiving.  Whew!  Just a regular man, like me and you, and he thought so little of himself that he could pray for his attackers, at a time like that.  What a witness and a glory to God!

Regular old normal worldly men and women just can’t do what Stephen did.  They just don’t have it in them.  But when you’ve surrendered your whole self to God like Stephen, then God fills you up with Himself, with the Spirit of the Living God.  THEN you can be blessed (happy) when you’re persecuted for doing and being good.  You can be so ‘one with Jesus’ that you are able to be the kind of witness that Stephen was, no matter what is going on around you.

Mercy  092114

A Word about Mercy: In modern versions of the Bible, there are a lot of times when the word mercy in the King James Version is translated ‘love’, or ‘great love’ (or compassion) in the other versions.  And I guess mercy really is a facet of God’s love, but it is such a special facet of God’s love that it deserves some special attention.  In the dictionary, the word ‘mercy’ is defined as follows: 1 kind or compassionate treatment of an offender, adversary, prisoner, etc, in one’s power; compassion where severity is expected or deserved. 2 A disposition to be kind, forgiving, or helpful. 3 The power to show mercy or compassion: ‘to throw myself on his mercy’.  Antonyms of mercy are: harshness, severity, implacability, punishment, chastisement, vengeance.                                                            So you might say ‘mercy’ is love, or just like love,  but it has a depth of meaning that we don’t usually associate with love, certainly not what we humans usually think about when we say love.  Something about, ‘even though we’re worthless and don’t deserve anything but punishment, don’t deserve a thing except judgment and condemnation’, God says, “I don’t care.  Because I love them and I want them to love me, I’m going to be nice to them. It’s more than just regular, human love; it’s MERCY.   Psalms 100:6 (KJV) says, “For the Lord is good,  His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.”  His mercy is everlasting.  To obtain mercy all you’ve got to do is accept it.  He’ll never quit giving it to you.  He likes being merciful because He loves us and He wants us to have a relationship with Him.  Right now, no matter what you’ve done; He’s standing there with His hand out, waiting for you to come and take His hand.  That’s mercy.                                             There’s a soliloquy from ‘The Merchant of Venice’ by William Shakespeare. (Public domain). It says,  “The quality of mercy is not strain’d,                                                                                                               It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven                                                                                                  Upon the place  beneath: it is twice bless’d;                                                                                                It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:                                                                                              ‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes                                                                                                     The throned monarch better than his crown;                                                                                               His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,                                                                                           The attribute to awe and majesty,                                                                                                                 Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;                                                                                               But mercy is above this sceptred sway,                                                                                                       It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,                                                                                                           It is an attribute to God himself,                                                                                                                   And earthly power doth then show likest God’s                                                                                           When mercy seasons justice.”                                                                                                                     That’s mercy.                                                                                                                                            While we’re talking about mercy, we need to talk also about grace.  Grace is the way we act when we’re brought up right; when our mommas actually taught us, actually showed us how people are supposed to act when they act graciously; when they let you see what true manners are all about.  Not so much about which fork to use as it is about how to make people feel comfortable and at ease in your home.  Grace is a sign of how you really are down in your heart, when the Spirit of God is residing there.   Someone said that Grace is ‘unmerited favor’; God being nice to you, even though you didn’t do anything to deserve it; and mercy is God being nice to you, even when you deserve to be punished.  Grace and mercy are just two faces of the same coin, and the coin is God’s love.  Oh, you’ve heard that expression haven’t you?  God is love.  .  (and mercy  .  .  .  and grace).                                                                                                       What do you think . . .What do you do?                                                                                              1] What is mercy to you?                                                                                                                          2] What is it about mercy that makes it so special?                                                                                3] What is the definition of grace?                                                                                                            4] What is it to you?