IT AIN’T OVER ‘TILL IT’S OVER

Spring Training In My Town Reminds Me Of Yogi

yogiSpring season baseball is here in my state as half of the teams of Major League Baseball come to the Phoenix area each spring to play Cactus League exhibition games. I’m a big fan of New York Yankees veteran, Yogi Berra.

There are many funny and downright witty quotes of his, like, “The future ain’t what it used to be,” and, “It gets late early out here.” His phrases have become known as “Yogi-isms.”

One of my favorites is, “It ain’t over ‘till it’s over.” While he was referring to a baseball game, I relate that phrase to

FAKE NEWS VS GOOD NEWS

What Is True And What Is Not?

In the political arena, there’s a lot of talk bantered about these days here in the United States regarding the so called mainstream media promoting “fake news.” Stories presented by information outlets, some say are not true, are referred to as “fake news.” Those then hearing the “fake news” are led to believe something is true when it is not. If a story is indeed “fake news,” then simply stated, a lie is being promoted.

On the other hand, in the spiritual arena,

GOD DOESN’T HAVE VOICE MAIL

He's Always Listening!


Have you ever called to talk to someone only to hear their recorded message? When that happens, we often leave a message, a voicemail. Hopefully they’ll return our call so we can talk to them directly.

Wouldn’t it be awful if when we prayed to God, we heard back by way of a recording? “Hi, this is God; sorry I can’t answer your call at this time, but if you leave Me a message, I’ll get back to you.” Imagine how shocking that would be!

People sometimes don’t answer their phones for a variety of reasons. They may be busy and not answering any calls; they may be screening their calls, choosing which ones to answer; they may in fact be on the phone talking to someone else. They might even have their phone turned off.

On the other hand, God has told us in His Word that His ears are always open to our prayers. That clearly tells us two things. First, God has the ability to hear our prayers, even if we all decided to pray at the same time. God is that almighty to be able to do that!

Secondly, He is willing to have His ears open to our prayers. He chooses to always be listening. He’s never too busy. He never “screens” our prayers. We never have to leave a recorded message that He might listen to later, and, He never puts us on hold.  He is always there and always listening.

Keeping those things in mind when you pray can really enrich your time in talking to your heavenly Father. They also serve to remind us to spend some quiet time listening for His answer, expecting to hear back from Him.

So, the next time to pray, aren’t you glad God doesn’t have a cell phone?

WINTER ADVANCE 2017

A Weekend In The PNW

Winter Advance 2017
This past weekend we were in the beautiful PNW (Pacific Northwest) for the annual, Winter Advance. A new location this year: Ross Point Camp and Conference Center, in Post Falls, Idaho, just across the border from Spokane, Washington. A gorgeous location and a refreshing weekend with folks from near and far. dozens and dozens of folks coming in from 6 or 7 states.

The teachings focused on our theme: Reverence for God. Proverbs 1 says, The fear [reverence] of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.”

It is so very right, fitting, proper, and should really go without saying, that the Creator of the heavens and the earth deserves our reverence. Recognition. Praise. Glory. Thanksgiving. Service. Obedience. Love.

I think we all left with a greater understanding, appreciation, reverence, and commitment to and for our wonderful loving God and Father. I know I did!

And by the way, we were all cozy and warm under a blanket of snow!

THE GREATNESS OF GOD

Our Brains Cannot Conceive The Greatness Of God

earthMost people have heard the first verse of the Bible: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

Our earth is enormous, nearly 25,000 miles in equatorial circumference. The resources on this planet are vast. Plants and vegetation, along with fish and animals all abound in variety. Not to mention the billions of human beings all over this world.

But how do you even begin to compare the earth with the heavens? How big are the heavens? God created the HEAVENS, and also this little thing over here called Earth.

How Big And How Far?

Okay, so from our point of view

THE BIGGER PICTURE

Why Some Christians Miss The Bigger Picture About The Election

white houseOn Friday, January 20th, a new president will be inaugurated, the 45th president of the United States of America. Following a long and bitter election cycle, this country doesn’t seem to be very “united” at the moment.

I rarely comment here about political matters. However, because this blog is about “Practical Christian Living,” I offer a perspective I’ve heard very little about from fellow Christians over the past two years.

There have been discussions, debates, speeches, arguments, vicious verbal attacks, physical attacks, hatred, lies, tears, depression, disbelief. None of that really surprises me. But the rhetoric of some Christians has. Perhaps they do not see

WAS 2016 A TOUGH YEAR?

A Great Key In Expecting A Better Year Ahead

new-year
The New Year is upon us.  2017 is here!  Are you hoping for things to be better than they were in 2016?

Many people prepare goals for each new year.  It’s a good idea to have plans and expectations for a better year ahead, especially if the past year was challenging or difficult.

For me personally, 2016 was very challenging.  I could now list a number of difficult things that came up over this past year. Perhaps you could as well.  But the point of this article is not what was unpleasant this past year, but rather the blessings of 2016.

HOLIDAY STRESS – REPOST

Lots Of Folks Need A Little Extra Love This Time Of Year

stressed

(In case you missed it, I posted this last year. This can be a very stressful time of year for some people) 

For some, “‘Tis the season to be jolly,” is more like, “‘Tis the season to be stressed!”  It is a busy time of year: lights, greeting cards, presents, parties and other joyful festive activities. While the “reason for the season” has become much less obvious, there are still many who will endure another year of holiday stress for lots of reasons.

Perhaps the biggest holiday stress comes from money, or the lack of it. Some feel obligated to buy gifts that often totals more than the funds they have. Far too many solve this dilemma by adding to their current debt which in turn causes more stress. Dave Ramsey offers some help with this on his site with a free tool called, “My Christmas Budget.”

DO YOU REALLY NEED TO FORGIVE EVERYONE?

Why Forgiveness Is So Important To Your Life!

It’s the season to think about Jesus’ birth. As a baby there in Bethlehem, he really didn’t do anything for mankind, but years later, he died for the sins of the whole world. And, because of him laying down his life for us, we now have forgiveness from God.

I’m aware the Bible teaches we ought to forgive others, “forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.” But do we really need to forgive everyone? Even if they’re not sorry?

I’m also aware that Peter asked Jesus how many times in a day he needed to forgive someone. He asked if seven times was enough. Jesus’s response was seven times seventy! But what about someone who doesn’t deserve our forgiveness?

I have on many occasions forgiven someone who has done me wrong. I’m sure you have, too. And for all of us, there are times when it takes more effort to forgive. And we both know, remembering what God forgave us for makes it easier to forgive. But…

Do You Really Have To Forgive Everyone?

What about situations where someone hurts our feelings, or worse, who had no intention of hurting us? Someone in fact who has no idea their words or actions caused us any pain? Someone, for whatever reason, just acted like a jerk?

Some would say that person needs to be confronted. They need to be told how their words or actions offended. They in fact need to be sorry for what they did and then we can forgive them. But is that the real issue?

Many times people who choose not to forgive carry anger or resentment for any number of reasons. What was done to them was unloving, unkind; it was downright disrespectful. The person causing the hurt should have known better, and to make matters worse, they don’t even seem to care about the hurt they’ve caused.

The reality is, many times people don’t even realize they’ve hurt someone. If you’ve been married longer than a month or two, I’m sure you can relate. And those married for a long time know forgiveness is a huge key for a happy, long lasting marriage.

But What’s The Real Issue?

Yes, there are times when someone ought to be told their words or actions offended. Maybe they didn’t realize it, or maybe they just don’t really care. But that’s not the real issue.

What is important, very important, is that we forgive, regardless. Regardless of whether the one offending recognizes or cares. Regardless of whether the one offending is even sorry. We just forgive, period.

Small things? Easy, most of the time. Big things? Not so easy. But, for our own benefit, we just forgive, period.

Forgiveness has nothing to do with how much we are hurt. Forgiveness has nothing to do with whether the person who offended is sorry or not. Forgiveness has nothing to do with the person who offended getting away with something.

Forgiving others has everything to do with you.

Forgiveness Is About You

Carrying the resentment, anger, hurt, and disappointment is extremely hard on you. It will take a toll on you emotionally and physically. So, no matter how bad the hurt, forgive.

Those closest to us, family and friends, can hurt us the most. But carrying the hurt, carrying the resentment or anger, allowing the hurt to grow, brings great harm to us physically and mentally.

Proverbs 17:22 says, A merry heart does  good like a medicine: but a broken spirit dries the bones.

According to the Mayo Clinic, forgiveness brings with it plenty of health benefits, including improved relationships, decreased anxiety and stress, lower blood pressure, a lowered risk of depression, and stronger immune system and heart health. Letting go of negative emotions can often have a remarkable impact on the body.

Forgiveness doesn’t justify the hurtful action, nor does it excuse the offender. But it does keep us from being robbed of our peace and joy in living. God, Who created us, offers great help to us when others hurt us: forgive.

And, finally, the words the savior of the world spoke, while in excruciating pain, so horribly and unjustly punished, ought to inspire us to forgive, regardless. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”