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Archive for February 2015

Be Strong and Courageous!

Why do you read the Bible? Wait a second, maybe you’re a person who doesn’t read the Bible. If that’s the case, maybe the way to phrase my initial question is by asking, “Why do you think you should read the Bible?” Some of you might quote the Apostle Paul and say that the Bible “is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16). This is certainly a good reason to read the Bible.

For me, I read the Bible because of how it cares for my soul with the way its words penetrate every aspect of my life, “even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). I read the Bible because in its words I find strength and encouragement. I read the Bible because it convicts me in those areas of my life that I keep secret. I read the Bible because it comforts me, when I need to be comforted. I read the Bible because it teaches me about my Savior.

This past weekend I went through my Bible and looked at the many verses I have underlined. Chances are that many of you have verses underlined in your Bible as well. We underline these verses because the words in them speak to us. They provide comfort to us. The words give us hope. So, for this week and the weeks to come, I would like to share with you some of the verses I have underlined in my Bible and tell you why I have that particular passage highlighted.

The first verse I ever underlined in a Bible comes from the book of Joshua, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). I love this verse! God commands us to be strong and courageous, to not be frightened or dismayed. In any circumstance of life, we are commanded to be strong and courageous. If it is a health issue – do not be afraid or discouraged. If it is a marital problem – be strong and courageous. If you have financial anxiety – do not be afraid or discouraged. If it is the death of a loved one – be strong and courageous. You see, we can be strong and courageous because as followers of Christ we find our hope, we find our encouragement, we find our strength, we find our courage, we don’t have to be afraid or discouraged, because we fasten our lives to the One who is with us in all circumstances of our lives. We fasten our lives to the One who will not leave us or forsake us (Joshua 1:6).

This week, identify that aspect of your life where you need to be obedient to this command from God to be strong and courageous and do not be frightened or dismayed. Where in your life do you need to find comfort in His promise to be with you wherever you go?

“Bless You”

“Blessing is the projection of good into the life of another.” – Dallas Willard

For many of us, the words “bless you” or “God bless you” are just casual words that we speak to another when they sneeze or when we greet a person. To have such a casual position on these profound words weakens the impact that they can have on another person’s life. As followers of Christ, we are to be points of constant blessings to those with whom we interact. This goes far beyond a phrase that we repeat when someone sneezes.

A blessing is more than just mere words; it is an act of grace. A blessing is putting forth your will for the good of another person. To bless someone means appealing to God on their behalf to support the good that you desire for them, because only God is capable of bringing a true blessing to their life. So we say, “God bless you.” My four year old son asks me all the time to pray a blessing over him. This touches his life in an amazing way. When I’m done with my blessing, he gives me a big hug and says, “thank you, daddy!” Maybe being a blessing in someone’s life is as easy as a phone call or a visit. Perhaps you can bless someone by forgiving them.

A blessing is a profoundly personal and powerful act. My hope is that each of you will be a blessing in the life of another. Imagine being a person who is characterized and identified as a person of blessings. Wouldn’t that be amazing? So, my hope is that you will be a person of great blessing and that blessings will surround your life because of the goodness and the grace of God.

This week, think of someone who is a blessing to you. What makes them a blessing in your life? Send them a note telling them how they have blessed you. Then keep the blessing flowing by becoming a person of blessing to those in your life. You can do this by praying for them. Perhaps you can bless someone by forgiving them. Whatever your blessing to another looks like, take the time to do it and let your life be characterized as a person of blessings.

~ Tim Hall
https://twitter.com/1timothy12
(I encourage feedback, questions & comments – email me at 1timothy46@gmail.com)

Wasting Time With God

Solitude as defined by The American Heritage Dictionary is the state or quality of being alone or remote from others. For the purpose of a spiritual discipline, solitude can be classified as “wasting time” with God. You intentionally withdraw from people, work, and the external stimulation that create all kinds of chaos in your life to just be alone with the Father.

We see this lived out in Jesus’ life. Luke tells us that, “At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, the tried to keep him from leaving them.” Put yourself in Jesus’ place for a moment. People are seeking your help to fix their many problems that you are more than able to help them with. Can you ever feel justified in pulling yourself away to be alone? Jesus did. You see, He knew the importance of disciplining Himself in solitude to be alone with God. Like Jesus, we must also understand the importance of solitude in our lives.

In solitude, you might meditate, pray, or study. What matters most with solitude isn’t what you do; it’s what you don’t do. You don’t do the things you typically do and you don’t allow your mind to be distracted. You enter solitude for spiritual purposes. Henri Nouwen notes that “without solitude it is virtually impossible to lead a spiritual life.” In solitude our senses become open to God and we take this “wasted time” with God and make him a closer friend to us.

Solitude doesn’t just happen in your life. You have to be deliberate with it. This week, schedule a time in your life for solitude. Maybe it’s that moment in bed when you first wake up. Perhaps it’s when you are having your first cup of coffee, or maybe it’s during your drive to work. Your moment of solitude is what works best for you; all you have to do is schedule it.

I love solitude. It is during those moments of solitude that I am recharged. Solitude refreshes my soul! I pray that as you waste time with God this week that it refreshes you and draws you closer to your Friend, Jesus.

~ Tim Hall
https://twitter.com/1timothy12
(I encourage feedback, questions & comments – email me at 1timothy46@gmail.com)

2015 Iron Sharpens Iron Men’s Equipping Conference

Men, it’s not too late to register for the 2015 Iron Sharpens Iron Men’s Equipping Conference on Saturday, February 21st from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at King of Kings Church.

They have arranged a great lineup of National and Regional Speakers including Coach Ron Brown who will have a breakout session for young men ages 13 to 19. Ron will also be speaking to all of the men later in the afternoon. Don’t miss this opportunity to be challenged, encouraged and equipped with hundreds of other men from the Heartland. http://realmomentum.org/omaha-isi-mens-equipping-conference

For more information contact:
Clark Osborn
Midwest Regional Director
c. 402-968-4006
e. clark@realmomentum.org

The Humility of Service

The hallmark of Jesus’ ministry was service and His greatest character trait was humility. This can be clearly seen in Paul’s letter to the Philippians, where he writes that Jesus, “made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:7-8).

True service, the way Jesus did it and the way we are called to do it requires humility. But humility is not our default characteristic. Instead, we all have the tendency to fall into the oldest sin, the sin of pride. Jesus said, we are to love God with all we’ve got and love our neighbor as ourselves, but pride removes our ability to love. It causes us to exclude instead of embrace. Pride moves us to judge instead of serve.

Humility has become confusing in our world today. We know we are to become humble, but we’re not if sure it is all that desirable to be humble. At its very root, humility requires us to be self-forgetful and most of us have a difficult time doing that. Instead, we compare ourselves to others, judge others, and show a lack of love to others.

But, the Apostle Paul tells us that in our relationships we are to have the same “mindset as Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). If we do this, if we make our mindset as that of Jesus, who is the Infinite Servant and the most humble person who ever lived, than service and humility will become the hallmark of who we are.

This week, where and with whom can you have the mindset of Jesus? Maybe it is with a family member or a co-worker. Perhaps it is a neighbor or a stranger. We all have connection points in our lives where we can humbly serve another.

~ Tim Hall
https://twitter.com/1timothy12
(I encourage feedback, questions & comments – email me at 1timothy46@gmail.com)