Saturday, October 27, 2007

Finding the Gifts in Everyone

I am struck this morning as to how we as individuals in our society in America look and thus treat others around us. We see some people as 'important', we see others as 'busy', we see yet others as 'worthy'. But how does God see us?

The Bible in so many verses tells us how much God loves us and cares for us as His children. I am a father of two so I can understand that feeling. I love my daughters more than words could possibly ever express. It is a gut thing... nothing that can be placed into words. If God loves each of us in that manner, shouldn't we at least attempt to view others in like manner?

How often do we see someone in a job that we consider menial and say to ourselves 'they probably deserve it'. Other times we get upset with someone and think to ourselves 'wow, how dumb are you... you can't even do that'.

How dare we as followers of the one true God and savior, Jesus... How dare we treat HIS children in that manner. My heart breaks for those whom society sweeps to the gutter. The thing is through... I am guilty of doing the same. God, please forgive me.

I can think of a family where there is a lot of talent except for one. "Why can't you be like your brother or sister?" is the common phrase for that one. He doesn't know why he can't be like them... he only knows that he isn't them... God made him unique with special gifts of his own.

I can think of how upset I got with a checkout clerk at a local store because she needed the bar scan to enter a sale in the cash register. "I told her the price... that should be enough", I thought in my mind. Yet, she is trying to the best of her ability to do her job as she was trained. God also made her unique with special gifts of her own.

Shouldn't we be all about showing the love of Christ to others so that they will want what we have found? Shouldn't that love be shown in acceptance at least of the person (but maybe not their actions if they are contrary to God's Word). God loves them as a child of His. As Christ followers shouldn't we do the same?

God, help me to be more sensitive to those around me. Help me to approach others seeing them through your eyes. Help me to show them your love. God, help me to be the man that you have called me to be.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Today is New Day!

What a crummy week I've had. I've been low on self-esteem all week and my heart has just not been in sync with God and what He has been calling me to do each day. I'm not sure why but I do KNOW that I should no be striving to get my 'self-esteem' from this world. Even my loved ones will let me down on occasion. We are all human... it happens.

My self-esteem should be coming from God and God alone. Luke 13:22 - 28 speaks about the narrow door. There are so many that think that 'being good' will get them into heaven. Others think that church membership or warming a pew seat on Sunday morning will get them into heaven. It is ONLY a personal relationship with Jesus Christ that will lead you through the narrow door.

It is time that I get off my duff and stop having a pity party for myself. People are dying everyday without a relationship in Jesus. They are thus condemned to an eternity in hell... eternal separation from God. I cannot let this day pass without being obedient and sold out to God and being responsive to His leading.

Today is a new day...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Does My Way Always Have to be Right?

Yesterday was a day of expanding my boundaries. You see, I'm a person that tends to do things in a set pattern or fashion and do not venture far from that path. This can be helpful at some times but limiting at others. In the areas of integrity, it helps to set up fences that help guard my integrity (see October 1 post). In these instances, I need to do it the same every time.

Where it is a problem though is in areas where the alternative method of doing something isn't wrong or incorrect... its just different. Truth be known, many times the alternative way of doing something is better!

I had two such instances of this yesterday. I had someone assist me in ushering yesterday in church and she did her job differently than my usual assistant. It was fine and she did very well but I was all torqued out of shape because it was different. (I hear me telling myself to 'Get Over It'!)

Yesterday afternoon was a time of great bonding as a family as my wife, daughter and I worked on a fence in the front yard. I so appreciate their help but felt tension on the inside when something was not done exactly as I would have done it. I'm sure that they felt that tension also. Here they are helping me and I'm not able to bend. How much better would the bonding moments have been if I was flexible on the things that just really don't make a difference in the long run. I'm sure that there would have been more laughter and just plain fun.

Help me God to be flexible and not rigid on the things that ultimately just don't matter in the long run.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Doing things 'Well'

"He has done everything well." This was said by the people of Decapolis when they were speaking about Jesus after seeing a miracle. Decapolis was considered a gentile and pagan city of cultures from ten regions. Yet, many of these people look at the heart of Jesus and see Him for who He truly is.

If I am to use Jesus as my model and since I take on the term 'Christian' (meaning Christ-like), am I doing everything 'well'? Do my actions model my heart or do they model what I want those around me to think?

This is a real struggle for me as I want to please those around me. I want to be steadfast for God and dedicated to Him but my flesh wants to please. If I'm around other Christ Followers there is no problem with this as those around me are the same as my heart.

The problem comes when I'm in the workplace where those, maybe even those I respect, do not have the same heart for Christ as I do. I want to please them with my knowledge of the subject at hand or working through a situation. The problem comes in that I must stand on my foundation in Jesus to work through things and they are using worldly wisdom.

I guess the end-result comes down to this... WHO do I want to please? My answer must always be Jesus... in EVERY situation. Easier said than done. I can only do this by dedicating today to follow Jesus in every instance and every situation. Tomorrow, I will do the same. Continually drawing closer to my agape love of Christ will draw me closer to my wife, my family, my friends and the lost around the world that are hurting and looking for answers.

I want to do things 'well' for God.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Little to Offer But Enough for God

My bounds are being stretched in many directions. I am a person of routine. My wife and family laugh (and sometimes grumble) about my routines. I wake the same time every morning, I go through basically the same process. I try to go to bed at approximately the same time each night. Even my weekends have a set check-off list of things to get done around the farm.

God is stretching me though. Yesterday, as I was in my office (within my home); contractors were busy looking at our house to bid on an addition to our family room. Although there is only several of us in the house, we view all of our possessions as not ours but Gods. Lately, we have had an urgency in our hearts to open our farm up to small groups and others that need to get away from the commotion of the urban setting. We feel that the extra space will help to accommodate these groups.

Then last night we had two new friends join us for dinner to talk about the small group ministry at church and expanding it in our area. By the end of the night, we felt led to begin next month!

This morning I was reading about how Jesus fed 5000+ people with just five loaves of bread and two fish. His disciples were wary and wanted to send the people away because they wanted the people to provide for themselves. Jesus though used the time for a lesson of dependence on Him. The people were fed (they actually gorged themselves) and yet twelve baskets of scraps were left over.

My routines are being challenged as God instructs me to expand my horizons for His work. I'm hesitant but after reading this story, I will allow God to work through me just like He worked through the bread and the fish. I have little to offer God, but I lay at His feet all that I have. He will provide the rest.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Integrity in the Word of God

I have been studying chapters 10 and 11 in Matthew this morning. In these verses Jesus raises a twelve-year-old girl from the dead and gives sight to a blind man. He also sends out His twelve disciples as apostles or literally 'sent out ones'.

He speaks to them about integrity in being true to their word. He tells them to be humble and open to all but at the same time to be wise and to be alert for danger.

That speaks so much to me as a Christ follower because I too am to be an apostle for God. I am to to out into the community that God has placed me and I am to be a light in the sea of darkness that is around me. I am to be bold in my witness to tell everyone that they too can be saved from their sins and that the only way to heaven is by accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

In doing this though, I am to be wise to my surroundings, to be prepared for attacks from satan. If I am making an impact, I will be attacked! Do I have the armour of God on me today? I am praying that I am fully prepared for today.

In turn also as the spiritual leader of my family, pray continually for each of them. I pray that my wife, my daughters, my son (in law) and my son (not 'in law' yet) will be bold but will also be prepared for battle.

Spiritual warfare is not a game, folks; and it is all around us. I believe it. I believe it. I believe it. Look to the Word of God for your marching orders and walk in integrity for God today.

Monday, October 15, 2007

A New Week and A New Focus

A new week is upon me. With this new week is a renewed focus to be solid in my faith and looking for opportunities around every corner to study God's Word and apply it to my life.

My church has daily devotions that are based on the message given on Sunday ( and I will be studying these in detail. Additionally, I have been on and off going chronologically through the Bible and I want to give renewed focus on that time.

What is most important to me is to get this time in early in my day. I get up at 5:30 am to get my day going right and to make sure this study is done before I start my official day. Please give me encouragement so that I do not slack off. Let me know what your doing in the same manner I will encourage you.

OK... Time to study!


Friday, October 12, 2007

Focusing My Heart

I have been attending a conference for work that has placed me out-of-town and in a hotel for the past several days. My schedule (I'm a routine kind of guy) is all out of whack and other than getting up at 5:30 am, everything else is out of kilter. On top of that, I have not walked outside to breath fresh air since the time that I arrived which was 10:30 on Wednesday morning.

With my schedule being different, I also find my focus on my study time in the Bible and my dependence on Christ being different. That should not be the case and I know it. Why does that happen? I so want to be focused solely on Christ and in doing so I know that the world around me will fall into place.

I should not be looking for excuses though but should instead be looking for opportunities to do the things that I do better. My wife often comments about my routines and I know that I put too much emphasis on them. God doesn't call me to a routine life but to a challenging and exciting life. I need to look for the opportunities that He places before me and then TAKE them.

Am I preaching to myself? Sounds like it. Charlie, take this opportunity where God has placed you (me) and use it for His glory. Yes, it is different. OK, show Him how you will take that challenge and run with it.

OK, God. I think that I get the picture but I need your strength. Thanks for being there for me. I want to glorify You today.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I Just Got An Integrity 'Check' From My Wife!

I got a call yesterday that lifted my spirits. The leader of the Men's Minsitry at my church has asked me to be a group leader on a men's retreat that will be held in November. I immediately said 'sure, I'd love too' to the offer.

Excited to spread the news to my wife, I told her of the conversation when she got home from running some errands. Her response was not what I was looking for BUT her response was a conduit from God. She replied, "Great. Did you tell him that you would pray about it?"

Oh man... caught in making a rash decision without God's input again. I have learned that the offer may be Godly, it may be an opportunity to help His kingdom. The offer ALSO may not be God's direction for me. I know it, I know it, I know it.

During these next few days, I will be praying about this offer and will try to be open to God's leading. Please also include this in your prayers. I WANT TO DO THE RIGHT THING! I WANT TO BE ALWAYS IN THE WILL OF GOD. We need to always keep our pride in check with God's will and purpose for us. Just because it is a 'good thing to do', that doesn't mean that it is God's will for me. He will use the mistakes in judgement for His glory but how much better is it when my decision is in keeping with His will to begin with!

1 Kings 22:5 '... first seek the counsel of the Lord.'

Monday, October 1, 2007

Fences to Protect Your Integrity

As I strive toward the integrity that God intends me to have, I have found that I must place in my life fences to protect this integrity. These are Moral Fences to guard my heart. I am taking part in a Leadership Class at church and one of the Character Traits of a godly leader is that they are sexually pure. This is an area that our society in America scoffs at and belittles constantly.

So, what are the moral fences that I have placed around my heart? Here is a list that I have developed over the past year.
  1. I will not turn on the TV in a motel room when staying alone. Sound silly? Well, tough beanies. I am serious about my integrity and I want my bride to be completely at ease when I am out-of-town on business.
  2. I will not drink any alcohol when I am away from my wife. I only have an occasional beer anyway but I see to much happen when people 'loosen up' after a drink or two.
  3. I will not ride in a car alone with any other women except my wife or my daughters. Is it that I'm some pervert? NO, it is just a faith issue to me to have these fences in place.
  4. I will not watch any movies or TV shows that show sex scenes. This is difficult as some happen without much warning and when that does happen, I will leave the room momentarily or even close my eyes. Again, I do not want ANYTHING to tug at my heart in that way but my bride.
  5. I use a technique that is know as 'bouncing of the eyes'. I live in Florida and women here sometimes dress pretty scantily. When someone dressed like that comes into my view, I quickly 'bounce my eyes' away from her. Its not the first glance that would get me in trouble; it is the second. I will not allow that to happen.
  6. I compliment my wife constantly to others. I also have an 'I Love My Wife' bumper sticker on my car which I have found to be a great tool that starts conversations. People constantly ask me if my wife 'made' me put the sticker on my car.

Do you have any additional moral fences that you use? Tell me about them. Maybe it is something that I can incorporate in my life as well.

Two Shall Become One

I went to a marriage conference this weekend with my bride of 26 years. What a wonderful time we had and learned so much that can make our marriage even better. I want our marriage to last a lifetime as God intended when He created it. For that to happen, we must take the time necessary to look inward as well as outward to see what we can to to better meet each others needs.

God brought to light an area that I need to make a lot of change. I have taken the role as 'spiritual leader' of my family very, very seriously and in doing so, I seem to have crossed some lines toward dictatorship (not really that extreme ... still, read on).

We live on a farm whose income comes primarily from citrus. There is some unused acreage that we want to develop in some way to help with the income of the farm but we have not come to any conclusions. Kay has often come up with ideas but I have squashed them quickly thinking that I'm the know-it-all. This weekend, I have come to the realization that on many, many subjects; I'm in fact the 'know-it-little'. I have not honored Kay's ideas as I should have. For that my precious love... I am sorry. I will try harder in this area.