Oops: Too Far?

Notice how some of us love to take things to the far edge? When driving the car, we speed along approximately 9.9 miles above the speed limit because we know that is the limit police radars are set. (Unless we drive through Ohio, in which case we set our speed control at .1 above the speed limit.) Or, since we know 3 beers is our limit before we begin to get tipsy, we stop ourselves at 2 3/4 bottles. We watch movies with violence because we know it is all make believe, yet we twitch in pain when the scenes are so graphic that our stomach turns somersaults. Yet do we ever ask ourselves how much violence is ok for the heart to absorb before it becomes numb?

My mother had a very low tolerance for risk in her children’s lives. She didn’t want us to get burn with our hand on the stove, so she would tell us not to get close to the stove. But how far is to close? four feet? two feet? six inches? The closer we came to the stove and nothing happened, the closer we came the next time until that one day when we realized it wasn’t how close, but how close without touching it. However, one day when I realized mother’s instructions weren’t true, that one could get close to the stove without any harm, I began to question her instructions of not touching it. If she lied about being harmed by getting to close to it, maybe she is also lying about touching it. So there was only one way to find out: I touched it. Truth behold, nothing happened. Was everything my mother told me a lie? So everyday thereafter I started each day with the habit of touching the stove. I was invincible. No stove could hurt me. Then one day, I skipped through the kitchen and reached out to touch the top of the stove. However, this time what I didn’t realize was the stove top was turned on. Of course, by this time I didn’t just touch the top of the stove with a finger or two; I would slap my entire hand on the circular outlines. I will spare everyone the emergency details, but it is safe to say I didn’t intentional ever do that again.

Yet isn’t that how we operate within our relationships, business transactions, and life’s decisions? We know life is a bell shape curve with the two extreme ends easily discerning what is good behavior and what is not good behavior. It is the middle 80% that is gray and subject to personal interpretation. It is in the gray areas that we push the limits or simply accept the results in gratitude as a gift from God.

Studying God’s Word though opens the door for us to obtain understanding and wisdom from His perspective. His perspective is an eternal one. We generally view life like a four-year old that must stand on his toes and reach over his head to touch the top of a stove. We don’t see what is up there, but must rely on someone we can trust. Most of the time we learn it is our misunderstanding through poor communications that leads us into trouble.

When the serpent tempted Eve by questioning God’s instructions (Gn.3:1-6), Eve could have taken the issue directly up to God. Instead of dealing with conflicting testimony by bring both parties together to find the truth, Eve made a decision apart from having the total picture. She took it upon herself, having only half the story, to divorce God. In management we call that a poor process of determining the best outcome. In counseling, we call that poor communications. In the Book of Proverbs (18:17) it states that one side seems right until the matter is heard from the other side.

Could Eve have been hanging out more with the serpent than with the Lord or Adam? How far is too far before one slides over the edge within a relationship? How close did she travel by the tree on her daily walks? How far do we push the limits before we go over the edge? Where is the edge? Are we absolutely sure or just guessing? What happens when we lose our balance near the edge? Do we have enough rope in place to pull us to safety? Tough questions that only you can determine the answer. We all have different levels of tolerance for risk in our life. My recommendation though is seek wise counsel from all sides before leaning too far near the edge. Also always remember, when Jesus is the center of our world, it is rare that we say oops: too far. For He keeps us balanced between the edges. That is why the relationship is more important than the rules. Rules will fail us; but He did not, does not, and will not.

OUR PRAYER

PRAYER 1

Our Heavenly Father, Son, and Spirit: thank you for your Word. For sharing yourself with us. For opening our eyes to see our spiritual poverty and your riches. Help us to keep you always the center of our lives. Help us to walk with you. Help us to become more like you each and every day. Lead us away from temptation and risks that cause harm to others. Lead us to glorify you always. You are what we want to become like. Deliver us from our stupidity, temporary brain damage decisions, and insane risks that we take with your truth. Help us to desist and you to increase in our life.

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Consultant, Coach, Encourager
Author of Great Business Emulates A Good God
Portal: EnjoyLifeInChrist.com

If You Are Seeking a Faith-Building Study, Check Out My New Book Be Radical…Follow Christ.

People Who Need People Are the Most Blessed People in the World

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What would your life be like without being involved with other people? As a child, how would it be like without having parents to deal with on a daily basis? As a sibling, what would life really be like with no brother or sister to argue with over petty differences? As a parent with married adult children, and no grandchildren to spoil on those special occasion? As a friend without companions to share those high moments of life? No close intimate relationship with someone that cares for you and you care for them?

Someone once wrote that no man is an island. That whatever success, comfort, or luxury we part take in this life is the by­product of someone’s labor. From the day we are born, until the day we die, our life is molded, shaped, and influenced by other people. Whether we like to admit it or not, isn’t that a fact?

Or do we think all we need is God? That people are a pain to live with and deal with on a regular basis. We all probably felt that way at times until we came to the realization that our concept of God is mostly shaped by relationships with other people. For example, as children don’t we picture God to be like our father or mother, or a grandparent, or maybe even just the opposite?  As a youth, didn’t some of us believe that family slowed us down from accomplishing our hearts desires? But as we mature and see the fruits of a healthy family, don’t our views change? As we age, doesn’t family become very important to our concept of self and of God? In most healthy families, don’t we support, encourage, and provide for the need of the other? Don’t we work to build up our relationships and not destroy them? Don’t we accomplish much together and likewise share in life’s joys and sorrows together? Don’t we anchor one another and hold a candle for each other? Isn’t our success now measured individually and collectively?. Don’t we sacrifice for our family and the family sacrifices for us? Don’t we learn what teamwork means and how cooperation produces greater results than individual selfish efforts?

Isn’t the Christian life a familial relationship where walking the journey alone is almost impossible? Doesn’t our faith require us to reach out and care for others? Isn’t it a selfless way of life?.A way of life that gives? And don’t we need recipients to receive what we give? Doesn’t that means then that there needs to be other people involved in our life?

God did not intend man to live alone; otherwise why create Eve? If there was no Eve, then to this day there would only be one person still on the earth, Adam (if God would allow one person to live that long all alone). But God doesn’t live in a vacuum. He enjoys sharing life with others. He created animals. He created angels. He also created us. We can choose to have a relationship with Him or choose otherwise. The choice is ours to make.

Remember Jesus Himself didn’t have a people-less ministry. He spent time with people. He surrounded Himself with others. His vision was that others continue to reach out. That the cycle will continue until He returns. Isn’t Jesus Himself only a part of the church? Yes, He is the cornerstone, the head of the body, our Chief. Yet, isn’t He only one of many? We each have been called and assigned a part in the family of God for the sake of others. Doesn’t our elder Brother want all of us to be a part of something larger than just ourselves? He has made it possible. We only have to choose. For truly, as that old melody slightly revised states “People Who Need People Are the Most Blessed People in the World.

OUR PRAYER

PRAY 9

Our Heavenly Dad, we thank you for your love and concern for us each and every day. We thank you for giving us the gift of life and to share that gift with others. We especially thank you for the people in our life. Help us to appreciate them for who they are; your children. And more so, help us to serve them as you serve us. Help us to buildup each person in the Body of Christ. To be available always to lend a helping hand for a brother or sister in need. We thank you for the privilege of your calling and coming to know you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you Jesus.  Amen.

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Consultant,Coach, and Encourager

Author of Great Business Emulates a Good God

 

A Mirror Image of Jesus

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In Jesus’ time, people knew you were a Jew because you kept the law.  A visible part of that law was the keeping of the seventh day Sabbath.  As a Christ-follower, our sign to the world is not how well we keep the law but how well is Christ formed in us.

What advertises us to the world is a way of life rooted and built on the foundation of Jesus Christ and expressed through the power and love of the Holy Spirit.  When people see something different in us, that difference is the heart, mind, and soul of God.  In our relationship with our Heavenly Dad, iron sharpens iron. Our Triune God’s influence in our life is changing us to reflect His glory, love, and nature before others.  If we are an authentic disciple of Jesus, than isn’t Jesus living in us and expressing Himself through us?

When Jesus sees us, isn’t our hope and vision that He sees a mirror image of Himself?  Though most of us would have to admit that is not always true of us.  Aren’t there many times a day when the mirror becomes gray, cloudy, and difficult to see?  Like many of the saints before us, isn’t it a daily discipline to keep the mirror clean?  What we find though that works best for many of us is simply to keep our focus on strengthening the relationship between the Triune God and ourselves.

One of the best analogies is the relationship with our spouse.  From the day we were infatuated with her to the day we married, and from the day we married till today, our love has grown deeper and our relationship stronger.  It didn’t happen via fiat.  It has happen because we both focused on exercising the necessary disciplines in our relationship to make it happen.  It is important for us and we therefore invest the time in nurturing and enjoying each other’s companionship.

Isn’t it likewise with God?  Ever since our Heavenly Dad grabbed our attention, led us to our Lord Jesus, and introduced us to the Holy Spirit, life has been one infatuated, passionate journey of discovery and relationship-building.  Just like we will not do anything deliberately to harm our relationship with our spouse, don’t we likewise not want to harm the relationship that has been built with our Eternal Partners?  In fact, just like we work to strengthen our marriage relationship, don’t we likewise work to improve our relationship with our Eternal Partners?  Just like it takes time and priority to build a strong marriage, it likewise takes time and priority (even more so) to build a strong relationship with our Invisible God.

Our daily goal is that nothing comes before or between our relationship with each other. When Jesus returns, doesn’t our heart, mind, and ears deeply desire to hear His words, “Well done my faithful servant?”  Until then, we gladly lift our banner as high as we are capable each and every day.  For our banner is Jesus Christ fully expressing Himself in us each and every day.  Like Paul wrote in the book of Galatians, ”I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”  And with that we say Amen.

OUR PRAYER

PRAYER 1

Our Heavenly, Awesome Dad,  thank you for everything you are and everything you represent and everything you do for us.

Now we only ask that you continue to create and complete within us your divine nature.  That you bestow upon us your great favor and compassion.  That you always shower upon us your mercy and love.  In return, help us to live a life that glorifies you.

We have tried everything that this life has to offer.  You know our heart.  The only passion that we have left is living the spirit led life rooted in Jesus for your glory.

Help us to live it with your honor and glory always first.  Thank you for making everything possible.  Thank you, Jesus. As we always pray in your name and authority. Amen.

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Consultant, Coach, and Encourager

Author of Great Business Emulates a Good God