Monthly Archives: September 2017

Guard your Mouth

My greatest desire in life is to teach people the truth in such a way that it makes sense, the hearers are drawn to believe it and motivated to live it resulting in great success in all areas of their life. There are laws of teaching just like there are laws of farming, if you know them and do them you have good crops. One of the most basic laws is that “you don’t get two kinds of fruit off the same tree”, a “spring of water doesn’t produce both fresh water and salt water”, and out of the same mouth you don’t get words that are life giving, motivating, and truth along with words that are bitter, critical, and angry. Some try to be two kinds of people, one kind at work and another at home, or one kind at church and with church people and another at home. Laws of life are created by God, and they are as sure as gravity. They often aren’t as obvious as gravity or the rewards of keeping or the consequence of breaking might be slower in happening, but they always do.

If we want to change our world and change the people that are in it the words that we speak are our greatest power to do so.

Proverbs 6:12. A worthless person, a wicked man, Is the one who walks with a perverse mouth,

Proverbs 10:11. The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,

Proverbs 10:14. But with the mouth of the foolish, ruin is at hand.

Proverbs 13:3. The one who guards his mouth preserves his life; The one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.

Proverbs 18:7. A fool’s mouth is his ruin, And his lips are the snare of his soul.

Every morning I make a commitment to God that every word that I speak will give grace and edify those I speak to. That I will not argue, blame, gossip, be critical, be irritable or cranky, no matter the circumstances or the words that are spoken to me. I then pray and ask God for the strength to represent Him well with the words I speak and write.

I am going to be doing a lot of teaching this winter. I will be teaching about 8 different classes each week, and I desire with all my heart that the words I speak are anointed by God. If I guard my mouth in ordinary conversations all day long every day, God will bless and work, that is His way.

This Sunday morning at 8 am I start a class on “The Greatness of the Kingdom of God” as I teach primarily from Daniel, Ezekiel, and Isaiah. It is a little early to get up on a Sunday morning, but why not come and see what happens.

Grumbling, complaining, blaming, criticizing…

It is a fact that the more grumbling we do about life the less joy we will have. Grumbling has zero positive elements about it. It doesn’t change anything, it doesn’t make anything better, it doesn’t attract sympathy or support or encouragement, it doesn’t attract friends, it doesn’t make us feel better, and it certainly doesn’t foster creative problem solving. Those who grumble destroy their own joy, relationships, future, finances, and health.

The problem is that grumbling is an easily acquired habit that we pick up from those around us. Grumbling has become the national pastime, and almost everyone does it, because almost everyone does it. We tend to do what those around us do without thinking about the benefits or consequences of such conformity.

When I was a kid we had a telephone that 10 families in our area shared so you couldn’t talk long because someone else would be needing it. We got a newspaper once a week that was full of farming information, news on the front page, and a page of sports scores on the back. We got 3 television stations from Portland and we had to cLimb up the tree in the back yard and turn the antenna depending on what station we wanted to watch. We watched the news right before evening milking at 5 pm for 30 minutes, cows were waiting.

Life is so much different now with an endless supply of information about everything under the sun, most of it majoring on the negative. Choosing to be a positive, happy person takes some work now.

Every morning I give my life to the Lord, I commit to Him that I will not grumble or complain about anything, that I will rejoice always, that I will choose to be happy, and I ask Him for the strength to do it. So many people think that their circumstances are controlling their life, they aren’t, our response to our circumstances controls our life.

Interruptions

Life has interruptions. One of the things that needs to be learned is how to respond and deal with them without stressing out. An interruption is a surprise in that it wasn’t on your to do list or your calendar, it just jumps into your life with no warning or introduction. Most of the time there is no option of ignoring it or making it go away. Often when an interruption is responded to with wisdom, patience, and trust it results in some experiences that are wonderful. My brother in law, Mike Bowers died unexpectantly this last week and Patty and I and our daughter Sandee flew down for the funeral service. We are on the airplane flight home from Santa Rosa as I write this. This was definitely an interruption and 3 days were cut out of my week that I had planned for work. But I had 3 days with family most of whom I hadn’t seen in a couple of years, and because of the pain they were going through our time together was intense, eccelerated in that so many emotions were felt together that amplified the experiences and time together and definitely will make it clearly remembered and intimate. Interruptions almost always end up being a good thing if looked at and responded to as if God really is in control and really does know what He is doing. Interruptions tend to make the most important things float to the top.

How to be Great

The definition of great in the Bible is that you do something with your life that matters, really matters. That is you do something that changes the lives of others positively for all eternity. Obviously greatness is relative in that you can do one significant thing with your life or a thousand. We were created by God for greatness, for accomplishment, for significance, to bear much fruit with our life and that God would be pleased and glorified by what we accomplish. Great accomplishments indeed require that we do something, but the major requirement is that God would do something through us. The question is, who does He do that through? Is it random, is it simply God’s sovereign choice, is it our education or that we are super good? Jesus gives us the answer in

Mark 10:42-45. Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

The key to being great is to choose to be a servant and a slave. The definition of a servant and a slave isn’t someone who cleans the toilet, it is someone who voluntarily lays down their personal rights. Jesus was God, creator of everything and every person, yet He allowed men to torture Him, nail Him to a cross, humiliate Him, and kill Him. Everything that was done to Him was a violation of His rights, yet He didn’t open His mouth. Because He chose to do that I get to live with Him in heaven forever, and you do as well if He is your savior by faith.

In our country personal “rights” have become god. It is a woman’s right to choose what she does with her body and unborn child, it is a football players right to dishonor the American flag and our country if he chooses. People think that if we don’t protect our rights we will be walked on, but those who choose to lay down their rights as an act of submission to God will be exalted by Him and He will bless them and use them to accomplish great things with their life.

A fool thinks like the world does, but a wise person thinks like God. A fool thinks he can change things by flaunting his rights, but he doesn’t change anything for the good, only God does and He chooses to do His work through humble people who trust Him and lay down their rights. It is sad for me to see people defending or justifying the actions of fools because it is their right.

Moose Hunting

Our son in law, Philip killed a moose in Alaska this last week. The best part of the picture for me are the cute grandkids. Philip and Shelly, and their 5 kids were all camping together in the wilds of Alaska. A great tool for raising tough kids with grit is camping in difficult settings. They are coming to visit us for Christmas and bringing some moose meat for my Christmas present, I hope!

Funny People

Patty and I along with our daughter Sandee flew to Santa Rosa this morning for the funeral for Patty’s brother in law. The fellow sitting next to me on the plane didn’t know English very well which resulted in some funny conversations. He was playing a game on his phone and the stewardess came by and asked him to be sure it was in airplane mode, she could see that it wasn’t. He thought she had asked him to put it away, so he turned it off and put it in a briefcase. I said to him what she said but he didn’t seem to get it. I was on my iPad and he was quite adamant that I was going to get into trouble if I didn’t turn it off, but I just smiled and kept doing on it what I had been doing. When the stewardess walked by and didn’t say anything to me , he went ahead and took out his phone again, but he still didn’t have it in airplane mode. When the stewardess walked by she could see that it wasn’t and asked him to switch it off or put it to airplane mode. He got pretty upset by what he thought was preferential treatment for me. Between the stewardess and me we finally convinced him and showed him what he needed to do. When he didn’t understand he was upset, when he did understand he was happy. Life is like that. When we don’t understand why things are happening the way they are we are not happy. What fixes that is when we decide to trust the Lord with our life and the details of it even though we don’t understand. It is a decision that we need to make new every morning, otherwise we will go back to being unhappy and grumpy because life doesn’t make sense.

Fools II

I hit the publish button by accident and left out my verses

Proverbs 1:22. How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing. And fools hate knowledge?

Proverbs 1:7. Fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 1:32. the complacency of fools will destroy them.

Proverbs 3:35. But fools display dishonor.

Proverbs 10:8. But a babbling fool will be ruined.

Proverbs 12:15. The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,