Sunday, October 30, 2011

There’s a cartoon that shows a woman telling her husband, “Your trouble is that you’re living in the past.” He responds, “At least it’s cheap!” Are you living in the past? Are you holding on to something that you need to let go?

What do people have a hard time letting go of?
· Relationships
· Friend or loved one who’s passed away
· Old ways of viewing people
· Labeling, categorizing people
· Children
· Viewing self as parent of a child instead of an adult
· Old ways of viewing self
· Hurts
· Guilt
· Sin
· Bad memories

There is a saying: “Let Go, Let God.” Letting go is a surrender of the things that have a tight grip on us. We need to surrender the past to God.

Too many of us are trying to keep a tight grip on things that are out of our control. This is like trying to grip the water flowing in a stream. Reach your hand into the water and try to grab the water. What happens? The water goes out of your hand. Relax and cup your hands. The water flows into your palms. By relaxing, opening, and trusting, we can hold onto more of what is precious to us. By letting go, we actually allow more of the water to come to us. The same is true in life. When we loosen our own control and open our hands and hearts to God, we’ll receive his precious flow.

I surrender all!

Short Stories

Monday, October 17, 2011

Think of your life as a story – one you have been writing since birth. Some of us have filled more pages than others. Some are good – some are not. There may be blank pages – those periods when we just can’t remember our story! Is there space for a new story? Are you tired of the same old story covering all your pages? Do you want to write a new story? Is there a desire to have new adventures?

God is present and involved in every page of our story. He wants us to let him guide the writing of our story.

For many years I taught high school students the elements of short stories. See if you can identify these elements in your own story. Is God leading the story line?
The setting describes the “where” and “when” of the story. How often has your setting changed in your life story?
The characters are the people in the story. Stories are filled with heroes and villains. Looking back over your story, what roles have heroes and villains played in your life?
Every story is made up of a sequence of events. The way these events appear in a story is called the plot. The plot lines for most of us are filled with highs and lows. Our back stories are the circumstances of your life up to this day. Has your back-story affected your thinking about today? Have you asked God to move within the plot of our story?
Each interesting story has the element of conflict, or problem faced by a character. The conflict is the most important part of a story. Sometimes characters face internal conflict and sometimes they face external conflict caused by other people or events. Can you identify the conflicts in your story? Have you allowed God to be in the middles of these messes?
Another part of the plot is climax. This is the part of the story when the conflict of the plot is resolved. It’s often the most exciting part of the story. The hero saves the princess; someone finds a buried treasure, or the dragon is slayed. The climax is the mountain peak. It’s sometimes called the turning point of the story when the plot changes for better or worse for the hero. Have the conflicts in your story reached a climax? Have you reached a turning point? Have the turning points drawn you closer to Christ or moved you further away?
The resolution is the end of the story. It occurs at the end of the story when you find out what happens to the characters after the conflict is resolved. What is the resolution to your story? Where are you in your story? Is the resolution going to be the one God would desire?

Today you are writing a page in your story. We want to learn ways to deal with our plot lines, the sequence of events, the characters, the back stories, and the conflicts. We’re learning to deal with the turning points and looking to find God’s resolution in all of our story lines.

Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth. Psalm 86:11

Promises, Promises

Monday, October 3, 2011

The lyrics to Burt Bacharach’s Promises, Promises from his Broadway musical of the same name reveal some truths about making promises.

Oh, promises, their kind of promises can just destroy a life
Oh, promises, those kind of promises take all the joy from life
Oh, promises, promises, my kind of promises
Can lead to joy and hope and love

Often promises people make us are broken and can “take all the joy from life.” It’s common to hear of broken promises in marriages, in politics, in the workplace and in friendships. We all search for the promises that will give us “joy and hope and love.” Let’s assume that the word “my” in the third line refers to Christ. It is truly his promises that lead to “joy and hope and love.” His are the promises we can “stand” on as the old hymn says.

I’m standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
By the living Word of God I shall prevail,
Standing on the promises of God.

Standing, standing,
Standing on the promises of God my Savior;
Standing, standing.
I’m standing on the promises of God.

But what does it mean to “stand” on God’s promise? It means to live - to act, to speak, and to think - based on God’s promises. Let’s ponder these five promises this week.
1. He promises never to leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).
2. He promises to instruct us and teach us in the way that we should go (Psalm 32:8).
3. He promises that he has plans to prosper us and not to harm us but to give us hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).
4. We have a promise that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
5. If we confess our sins to him, he promises that he will be faithful and just and will forgive us (I John 1:9).

Is there anything in your life that needs to “stand” on God’s promises? Promises, Promises, God’s promises lead to “joy and hope and love.”

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