Thursday, January 14, 2010

Life is about making choices.


On average, an adult spends hours each day just making decisions. We must decide what to wear, what to eat, when to get up, where to drive, what floor we want the elevator to stop at, whether we’ll overlook an insult or not, whether we will consciously love the unlovable. The choices we make range from the important to the mundane—but they all require our time and prayerful concentration.

The most Important choice we will make is not “where we will go” but rather “Who will we become?”

The only true freedom each of us has is the freedom to choose. But once we choose, we become the servant of our choices!

In this Blog we will look at one of the most power-filled choices we can make in life: choosing to withhold revenge.

If we could see the secret history in our enemies, we should find in each life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all our hostility. ~Henry W. Longfellow

When we see everyone (in church) is a part of us, that any criticism we make is self-criticism, we will extend to ourselves an unconditional love that will light the world. ~Henry Palmer

Whether or not you recall the names of the two wealthiest people in the world—or the last few winners of the Heisman Trophy, or Academy Awards----I’ll guarantee you can remember the names of two favorite teachers, a coach, or friends who stood by you when everyone else walked.

We remember the people who “Cared”

And we can become one of those people who are held in others’ hearts and memories long after we have passed from this planet. It is what we are here to do; next to simple acts of kindness & forgiveness, all our personal achievements pale.

Acts of kindness, love, forgiveness and tenderness close the circle of life and connect us to others. What we do for ourselves dies with us, but what we do for others echoes throughout the ages.

We can see and enjoy every sight around the world, experience every luxury and pleasure. But when we look back on our lives and review our memories, none of it will match the delight of bringing a smile to someone’s face, or performing some act of courage, kindness or forgiveness. These “Things” take us beyond ourselves, past our separation; they bring meaning and purpose to life.

We are each angels with only one wing; we fly only by embracing one another. ~Luciano de Crescenzo

A few years ago, at the Seattle Special Olympics, nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100-yard dash. At the gun, they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with a relish to run the race to the finish and win. All, that is, except one little boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a few times, and began to cry. The other eight youngsters heard his cries, slowed down, and looked back. Then every one of them turned around and went back. A girl with Down’s Syndrome bent down and kissed him. Then all nine children linked arms and walked together to the finish line.

Can we learn from these youngsters to compete and collaborate at the same time?

Can we celebrate our journey “Together” as brothers and sisters “In Christ” in a spirit of cooperation and willing forgiveness?

Perhaps we could “Together” discover our greatest Purpose yet!

Let’s Learn To Get Over Ourselves!

Ninety percent of the art of living consists of learning how to get along with people one cannot stand. ~Samuel Goldwin ……… (Rough! But I like it!)

The Lord Needs You…..

Deb & I Need You!

See You in Church!

Check out the attached study tool……

“Our Response”

9 comments:

Shane said...

Great Blog once again Pastor, thanx. First one of 2010. I'm looking forward to what we can discover this year via this forum.

I just finished reading Mitch Alboms' book "Have a Little Faith" (true story and a great read). One of the two main characters in the book, the "Reb", spent his entire life encouraging others, lifting them up, and genuinly caring for people. He died aged 90, a very happy and satisfied man. He spent his life giving of himself to those in his community. While reading, I was reminded of another 91 year old; Sir Winston Churchill. Another man who spent his life giving, obviously in a different arena but Churchill gave decades of his life to the service of his country in many different capacities. He was the Prime Minister (similar to our President) for two terms but served the people of Great Britian for over fifty years. And then I thought of George Burns, a man who gave of himself entertaining us almost until the day he died at 100. His health finally forced him off the stage but right up until then, he was in the business of making people happy. All three of these men had two particualr things in common: They were very happy men, and they all lived long satisfied lives. They made life better for those around them whether that was on the stage, the local synagogue, or leading a nation. Three very different lives but one common thread; making it better for others. I dare say these three men withheld revenge often. I believe who we will become can be shaped in some part by "looking the other way", or "remaining silent" when we 'know'. It would appear that withholding revenge and disarming our hostility has a mortal benefit. Being kind to others, being good to your neighbor, giving (particularly of our time) to someone in need, all help shape our character, a Godly character. If I look at Churchill, The Reb, and Mr. Burns, I have to believe there is some corelation between denying hostility, caring for others, and long life.

1 Peter 3:8-14 says (and I'm paraphrasing) repay wrongs and insults with a blessing, so that we might receive a blessing and live many happy days. Essentially when we withhold revenge and disarm our hostility, God blesses us and adds life.


On a separate note....if you were at Study Hall in Trumbull last night and don't read Spurgeon's Morning and Evening Daily Readings book....get it today!!! Go online and get it. Buy a copy of this little book from the church office. Just get your hands on it somehow. Read this mornings devotional. If you read Spurgeon but attend church elsewhere, get a copy of last nights CD!!!! You'll see what I mean once you read/listen.

A very Happy New Year fellow bloggers. If you're new...just post a comment and withhold any and all hostility that you may have about blogging!!!

Shane

AB said...

WOW, this was such a powerful message for me, I loved it.
I have had such a struggle, overlooking other's and the inconsiderate comments they can some times make. I struggle with those that hold themselves on a pedestal looking down at others. I fight to ignore and just look away for the fear of saying something I may regret. I sometimes wonder is it all worth it? Or should I just let them have it. I know, I need to pray and zip it. I am holding animosity and anger, lord knows I try not to, but I do. I am constantly praying God show me the way, show me how to be a better person and just let it roll off of my shoulders. I love the lesson taught by these very "Special" needs children or all children in general. They see very little wrong in other's, they love hard and forgive easily. I am not perfect, soooo far from it. I know this to be one of my many down falls. I will continue to pray silently until I can be broken and re-molded to what he wants and needs me to be. I am ever growing and ever grateful for his grace, mercy and love for me. Thank you father.

Bob A said...

AMEN!!
Between the blog about “Choices” and yesterday’s Selah “Lessons from a Bar”, you really can’t get more to the essence of what we are all supposed to be about….and Jesus does prove this with the scripture you sited PM.

John 13:34-35 34"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

How can you get any better than this……I love the way the translators entitled this portion of scripture...The Fellowship of the Believers

Acts 2:42-47
42They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Why wouldn’t the numbers grow!!! My God what a way to worship! How do we get it? How do we receive what the Spirit is trying to tell us? How do we make it happen?

This place we call New Life is a haven from the craziness of the world we live in day to day.

Pastor, none should shoot you for asking these questions in the Selah, they are so true…and real:
“……Now before you shoot me for comparing your church to a bar, ask yourself;
1. If you discovered your spouse had been unfaithful, who could you confide in?
2. If your biopsy confirmed cancer, who would you turn to?
3. If you were lonely, where would you go?”

That’s right….WHERE DO YOU GO? Go somewhere into the “world”…the bar. I think you’re right, it’s like “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”. There is a code with those that commiserate over a pint. But that’s not what we want, we want the code of Christ that says, if I have a problem, something I struggle with, something I need encouragement with I go to my “Brother” or my “Sister” who is in Christ.. When we go through the battles of the day of week, what better place to come to get our batteries charged, our souls lifted up, the feeling of lifting others up and making a difference..…

Judges 20:21-23 “ The Benjamites came out of Gibeah and cut down twenty-two thousand Israelites on the battlefield that day. But the men of Israel encouraged one another and again took up their positions where they had stationed themselves the first day…….”

You are so right PM when you say “…It flourishes not because its patrons are all alcoholics, but because each of us has a God-given desire to know and be known, love and be loved,…”

Romans 13:8-9
Love, for the Day is Near
8Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet,"[a] and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself."

I agree, We gotta do it…..

Ephesians 4:1-3
Unity in the Body of Christ
1As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

This “Unity” in Christ is where we find our peace….our strength.

You can’t beat that !

gerald said...

I would like to just take a moment and say thank you. I was getting ready to go out and seek my revenge, willing to wage war, I was in the process of exposing her for what she really is, in a public forum. Rage , anger, vengence were the fuels in my tank. She had no idea of what was headed her way. For some reason I read this blog and the feelings subsided. I know that we are all a work in progress, thank you for helping me take a step back towards the light. And if I might a quote: "Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife."Proverbs 25:24
Gerald D

Bob A said...

Hey Gerald, God Bless You man! This Blog and the Selahs are great places that can talk to the spirit within you. Way to go. You would have regretted it later and there would have been nothing good to come of it.

You know when the devil gets in your head and starts stirring things up....causing strife and conflict, I actually find myself fighting with him (LOL I hope none is watching me cause sometimes it's under my breath but maybe loud enough to hear...cyco right). I tell him, "you know what satan, go back to hell where you belong!"

Ephesians 4:26-27
26"In your anger do not sin"[a]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold.

Gerald, you didn't give him a foothold at all....Knock-out 1st round....you sent him back to the hole he crawled out of!

God bless you brother.

Praise Him \O/

Anonymous said...

"Suspicion is the companion of mean souls, and the bane of all good society" wrote Thomas Paine.Thus as it is in society, still a reflection in our church and religion.There are those that do,"seek salvation" and do honestly think that, I go to church therefore I am saved. That I will get baptized, or that I have been baptized,in the blood of Christ, and I am good(slang)=(saved). Some think that because I did this, this is all that I have to do.(not) Then, in between Sundays, or right after the service, go back to their evil ways. They say "I am not perfect!, do not judge me!, who are you to judge me?" and on and on, quoting verses that suit their needs.. Where am I going with this? there are some out there whom are not sincere. Do not lean on the fact that "I am not perfect" then conjure up your mischief , then hide behind the LORD. We all need to stride to be perfect, and if we stumble, then my savior will be there to carry me (footprints in the sand).I guess what I am really trying to say, you, or you, or him or her might have to be a mean person, or have a mean soul, because the greatest trick that Satan ever pulled was making people believe that he did not exist. The path is narrow. Stop making excuses, like I did.

" If everybody in my church was just like me... what kind of church would my church be?" Kenneth Booker
May God Bless and Heaven smile on you

Anonymous said...

Dear Atheist: When was the last time you seriously considered the diversity of nature? Have you ever questioned the instruction you received in the classroom concerning the world you live in? If you are truly open-minded perhaps you will consider the following questions.

Does evolution have direct answers to the following elementary questions: How does a big bang explain the innumerable amount of species of living things? Why is there sound and taste? And how did they evolve? Why do some creatures fly, while others swim, and some slither? Why do some creatures have two legs, while others have four and some eight? Why are some species predators while others are prey? Why do some creatures hibernate year after year while others must continue in motion to survive? Why do birds build nests, beavers construct dams, and spiders spin webs?

Why are there millions of galaxies and trillions of stars? Why are there springs, rivers, and oceans? Why are there four seasons? Why does sand gather along the coastal shores and in the midst of deserts? Why do birds sing, wolves howl, and cats meow? Why is the world so colorful? Why are there a multitude of foreign langauges? Why is the human brain more complex than the most powerful computer? Why do Humans have a conscience while animals have basic instincts? Why does nature possess certain natural laws while humans form laws to govern society? How did all these things come to be and why?

Can evolution adequately explain how colors evolved? How does evolution justify which birds fly, which swim, and which migrate? How does evolution account for so many species of sharks? Why could they not all be great whites? Why are there so many different shapes, sizes, and colors of flowers? Why not all evolve into red roses? Why is there big, small, short, and tall? How does evolution address the complex issue of DNA? How does the theory explain why there are no two fingerprints alike or two snowflakes that are identical?

If evolution is scientific, why does the theory suffer constant inconsistency and contradiction within evolutionary circles? And why do we teach a theory as if it is indeed a fact? Speculation, not science, is at the root of evolution. For science to be science it must be repeatable and observable. And since NO ONE has EVER observed a whale evolve into a cow, a cat into a dog, or a monkey into a man, we have nothing? The evolutionary process we long to embrace, by the very definiteion of science, is not scientific at all.

So why do the masses believe in and propagate an insane idea called evolution? Is it because you refuse to believe in the obvious alternative, a Creator? And not just any Creator, but a holy One, of which we are all accountable to and will someday face.

What is the one thing that God and mankind have in common? Sin, of course. God hates sin and we love it. God gave laws forbidding it and man boasts that laws are meant to be broken. We refuse to be accountable to this God for our transgressions against Him. So what did we do? We exchanged the truth of God for the lie of evolution. Now we can have our cake and eat it too. No longer shall we give an account to the God of the Bible...so it seems. But are you willing to stake your soul on that? The Bible says, "It is appointed for man to die once, and then the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).

Indeed, Charles Darwin and Carl Sagan now know there is a God! And like them, you too will stand before your Creator to give an account for your offenses against Him. There is, however, a wise alternative. The very God that spoke the universe into existence became a man, was crucified, and raised from the dead. He bids you to come. Will you not do the obvious and turn from your sin and follow the Lord Jesus Christ while you have life? Your faith in an evolutionary theory that allows your sin will bring you right to the throne of God one day. He, Jesus, will either be your Savior, or your Judge.

God does not believe in atheists!

Bob A said...

Thank you Pastor Mark.

We had a phenomenal Men's prayer meeting this AM. I am sure the women do a fantastic job at their prayer meetings, because I think God simply made you ladies that way....but the Spirit of God was with us this morning.

The Spurgeon passage was a blessing taken partly from Ps 91:3

Psalm 91:3 (Amplified Bible)
3For [then] He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.

Psalm 91:3 (King James Version)
3Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.

It's a wonderful thing to know that our God wants to prevent us from ever entering the snare of the fowler....the traps of the devil or the things of this world; but for whatever reason we find ourselves in his snare, God will ALWAYS provide His own a way out !!

Praise Him ! \o/

Also thanks so much PM & PDJ for those special prayers and laying on of hands for for those of us in the group who are are still wrestling with finding jobs and activity in our businesses. That was an unexpected blessing of prayer.....led me right back to Jan 15's Selah "Lessons From A Bar".....encouraging and praying for one another is a blessing.

Thank you !!

Guys check out this praise song

WITH ALL I AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rwP1NxcxkU

Anonymous said...

Do not lean on the fact that "I am not perfect" then conjure up your mischief , then hide behind the LORD. We all need to stride to be perfect, and if we stumble, then my savior will be there to carry me (footprints in the sand).

To the other anon that wrote this - I am one that has spent over 50 years striving "to be perfect" - FORGET IT! It ain't gonna happen. I lean only on His mercy. Period. End of story. Quit driving yourself crazy striving for perfection. Jesus, and Jesus alone is perfect. You come from dirt. Don't forget it.