Archive for Relationship

Submitting Our Thoughts to the Lord of Pleasantness

There is plenty of unpleasantness in our world.  Well, there is also plenty of pleasantness.

On a cloudy Monday morning, Delores and I sat down to breakfast in a bayside hotel restaurant.  While sipping coffee and waiting for our meals to arrive, we excitedly chattered about the beautiful morning.  Although a blanket of clouds hid the blue sky, small gaps in the cloud cover permitted shafts of brilliant sunlight to shine upon the bay’s rough surface.  Seagulls soared overhead, fishing pelicans crashed into the water and shrimp boats puttered about.  What marvelous displays of Father’s splendor! Read More→

Attached to the Blessed One

Potiphar worshipped the crocodile god, prayed to the sun god and trusted in all the gods of his Egyptian forefathers.  He knew nothing about the one true God, who created the universe.

Potiphar had one thing going for him: he attached himself to a young Hebrew slave named Joseph.  Joseph trusted in the one true God, the God of his forefathers: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  The true God loaded Joseph down with divine blessings which spilled over into Potiphar’s life.  From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph,” Genesis 39:5. Read More→

Uncle Charlie’s Purple Poodle

 

“My uncle Charlie took his black poodle to the veterinarian the other day.”

“No, Hon, uncle Charlie’s poodle is brown not black.”

“He’s my uncle; I know his poodle is black!”

“I distinctly recall its color!”

Pettiness.  That’s right.  This couple is involved in pure pettiness.  Who cares if the poodle is black, brown or purple?  We still don’t know why uncle Charlie took his poodle to the vet.  But we do know that these two people are very small.  Self-interest occupies their attention; selflessness never enters their mind.

Friends, God put us on earth so we could contribute to one another’s welfare.  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others,” Philippians 2:3-4. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others, 1 Corinthians 10:24.

Arguments over petty issues reveal that we remain self-centered.  God plainly wants us to be others-centered.  Why is it so easy to be self-centered?  Because we aren’t God-centered.

You see, God-centered people trust God to meet their needs.  This trust frees us from depending only upon humans.  When people fail us, we remain confident in God.  We don’t use petty arguments to force others to meet our needs.  God is going to take care of us even when humans fail us.  We give ourselves to blessing those who fail us.  God-centeredness always keeps us selfless.

Incidentally, I still don’t know why uncle Charlie took his poodle to the vet, LOL.

Doing Good When It Isn’t Easy

It’s fun to do good when doing good is easy.  When rewards for well-doing abound, we rejoice in our labor.  We gladly look forward to carrying out our responsibilities and finishing “to do” lists.  Work seems like recreation. Read More→

When You Don’t Feel Blessed

Two thousand years ago God’s people felt unblessed.  Sure, they repeatedly read the promises God pronounced upon their ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but where were the blessings?  A foreign government manipulated their lives and ruthlessly repressed all yearnings for independence.  Poverty afflicted almost everyone and religious leaders used their influence for self-gratification. Read More→

Keeping God Company

God likes company.  In fact, he likes lots and lots and lots of company.

There was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb,” Revelation 7:9. I don’t know why God likes human companions so much.  I guess it’s just his gregarious nature. Read More→

When It’s Polite to Stare

Our electric-powered Japanese passenger train approached Shinjuku Station.  Sliding doors quickly sprang open, and hundreds of passengers disembarked.  Surrounded by this sea of Japanese business people, housewives and school children, Delores and I stood out like sore thumbs.  I noticed two young children staring at us.  The embarrassed mother quickly pulled them away and probably told them a Japanese equivalent of “It’s not polite to stare.”

Like the little Japanese children, we Americans quickly learn that staring is very impolite.  However, there’s one exception to this rule:  It’s alright to stare at the Lord.

During my private fellowship time with the Lord, his Spirit often enfolds me in his presence.  My imagination envisions him seated upon an exalted throne.  His ornate, royal garments fill the temple; angelic creatures shout his praise.  Vivid colors fill my imagination as I gaze upon our Lord’s dwelling place.  Sights and Sounds exceed anything we have seen or heard upon earth.

His love glues my attention upon his person.  It flows around me, enters into me, soothes me, encourages me, and comforts me.  And I gaze, I stare!  I can’t take my spirit’s eyes off him. I dare not allow any thought to distract me from him.

You know what?  It’s polite to stare at Jesus.  In fact, when in his presence, you have no choice.  His unsurpassed beauty grips your attention.  “One thing I ask of the Lord…that I may…gaze upon the beauty of the Lord,” Psalm 27:4.

In the Lord’s culture, staring is totally polite.  Let his Spirit enrapture your attention.  No one will complain.

 

Your Other Atmosphere

Our Creator chose to envelop earth in an atmosphere we call “air.” Air surrounds and sustains us, refreshes us and protects us from harmful sun rays.  Air makes life possible.  Two gases comprise the bulk of our atmosphere: nitrogen, about 79% and oxygen, a little more than 20%. Read More→

Vivifying Your Relationship with Jesus

“One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon,” Acts 3:1.

Peter and John made an appointment with God. We call their appointment prayer. For these Christian brothers prayer time wasn’t a vague religious idea. Prayer time occupied an appointment in their daily schedule. They didn’t purpose to spend time with God when they got around to it. They set aside a definite portion of their day for prayer.

Why pray? Because our relationship with God grows dull and inactive when we don’t spend time with him. On the other hand, when his Spirit touches our human spirit during prayer time, our relationship becomes vivified. He rekindles our love for him, our confidence in him soars, a new determination to seek him fills every particle of our person, his nearness floods our thoughts with peace and joy.

People who pursue a vivified relationship with Jesus live victorious lives in the last days.

Becoming Everything God Needs

Couple Praying TogetherYour spouse is a gift from God to you.  Genesis Chapter 2 illustrates God’s original design for marriage.  He created two humans and put them together: Adam, God’s gift to Eve and Eve, God’s gift to Adam.  Nothing’s changed—your spouse is God’s gift to you. Read More→