CHORUS OF SUCCESS


God looked at everything he had made. And he saw that everything was very good.” [1]

SUCCESS is the realization of design!

About the “flowers of the field” Jesus observed: “They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it?”[2]  For a few minutes focus “the eyes of your heart[3]” on this collage of color and design! Let their beauty soak into your mind and heart! These flowers, each expressing a unique design, are a vivid demonstration of success!

 

Now turn your attention to this portion of Psalm 148!

Praise God from earth, you sea dragons;
Fire and hail, snow and ice;
Apple orchards and cedar forests;
Wild beasts and herds of cattle,Snakes, and birds in flight;
All of Father’s creation, Praise the Lord!

Rather strange words, wouldn’t you agree – apple orchards and birds in flight praising God? Neither has the capacity to think or speak! Perhaps this is nothing more than poetic license; that is, “the freedom to depart from the facts of a matter or from the conventional rules of language when speaking or writing in order to create an effect.”

I think NOT! Please concentrate on the collage again. In being a flawless expression of what the Creator uniquely designed, each flower is a part of a grand CHORUS OF SUCCESS, rendering to the Creator the most profound praise that can be offered!

1] Genesis 1:31

[2] Matthew 6:28

[3] Ephesians 1:18

EASTER IMPACT 1

Christ is Risen! Hallelujah!

This is the exuberate exclamation of Jesus’ followers during the Easter Season!

 

 

Do you have one of these? Though requiring a lawyer to decipher the legalese, the elementary components of a life insurance are unpretentious. After the policy is purchased the insured remits monthly payments to the insurance company. Though the policy may offer a sense of well-being in the present, the big benefit, a predetermined sum of money, is experienced only upon the death of the insured.

 

 

For most Christ-followers the resurrection is believed as illustrated above. On the cross Jesus purchased a “paid in fullLife Insurance Policy. “God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die.”[1] Certainly the “Jesus Policy” offers a sense of comfort here and now. “In the Father’s great mercy, he has caused us to be born again into a living hope, because Jesus Christ rose from the dead.”[2] But, the full impact of the policy is experienced in the future upon death. So, the historic creed of the Christian church affirms: “I believe in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.”

Paul methodically explains the Life Insurance Policy in 1 Corinthians 15, his opus magnum about the resurrection. Curiously, Paul elsewhere reveals that, whereas this perspective is accurate, it is nonetheless woefully incomplete. So, throughout his writings he almost exclusively focuses on the impact of the resurrection for daily life here and now. This is the subject of our Easter exploration. The roadmap is as follows:

 >   Energy

Ephesians 1:18-19 I pray that God will give you spiritual insight to know how tremendous is the power available to us who believe in God. That power is the same divine power which was demonstrated in Christ when he raised him from the dead.

A   >   Attitude

Philippians 4:13 I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me.

S   >   Success

1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, who keeps giving us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!

  >   Transformation

 2 Corinthians 3:18 All of us, all the time, we are being transformed to look like Jesus, with more and more of His shining-greatness. This change is from the Lord Who is the Spirit.

E   >   Excellence

1 Peter 1:3-4 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.

R   >   Rejoicing

Psalm 30:5 At night we may cry, but when morning comes we will celebrate.

Please join me as we explore the impact of Easter for the present day journey with Jesus!

[1] John 3:16 (CEV)

[2] 1 Peter 1:3 (NCV)

MEASURE OF LIFE – What is Success?

Solomon completed building the Temple of God — the project he had set his heart on doing.
Everything was done—success! Satisfaction!
2 Chronicles 7:11

DATELINE: Sunday, June 19, 2016: 90 degrees, full sun, billowy clouds and a brisk breeze. It’s a perfect day in Traverse City, Michigan! We’re visiting Randy, our oldest son, celebrating both Father’s Day and Spencer’s (grandson) 14th birthday. The celebration has ended so I head for the pool. Lying on an air mattress, totally relaxed, my mind wanders aimlessly. Suddenly, a question that had meandered through my brain for several days’ surfaces again. WHAT’S SUCCESS?

At age 74 the common cultural answers have been rejected: status, degrees, wealth, power, etc. …. In the lives of “the well-known I’ve seen them all demonstrated to be less than adequate to sustain and satisfy the human spirit. EG: Elvis hit the scene when I was in Jr High. I vividly remember his first national gig on the Ed Sullivan Show. Yes, it’s really true: the camera only shot his upper torso. No hip action on TV in those days! Before hard rock and heavy metal took over Elvis was the pop, cultural icon for over a decade. Without exaggeration, he had it all. And yet, well, you know “the rest of the story”! Most recently it was Prince!

 

pine-tree

Back to the pool.  As the breeze effortlessly navigates me around the pool I focus on the surrounding environment. Forty foot pine trees capture my attention. They appear to be giant dancers swaying with the rhythm of the wind. I muse: “What’s success for a pine tree?” A female cone is pollinated by a male cone (I never knew there are female and male pine cones!). Driven by a precise hereditary design, the fertilized cone automatically develops into a mature pine tree over time. SO, success is the realization of the Creator’s design. “It is … what it is!”

 

 

I hear some rumblings: “That’s too simplistic.” Listen to three persons of distinction.

  1. Isaac Newton (referred to as the Father of Modern Science): “Nature is pleased with simplicity and nature is no dummy!”
  2. Albert Einstein (Father of Atomic Energy): “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.
  3. Henry David Thoreau (famous transcendental author): “Simplicity is the law of nature for men as well as for flowers.”

 

mattress

Half hour of full sun – I’m baking! Time to exit. I paddle to the ladder and flop out of the floating mattress. I look at the mattress. Invented by Frank Masterson in 1961, it was designed to support a person on top of water … even a 185 pounder! It was a success – the realization of Masterson’s design. “It is … what it is!”

God looked at everything he had made. And he saw that everything was very good.”[1] The Creation was the realization of the Creator’s design! Consequently, it was a GREAT SUCCESS … VERY GOOD!

 

[1] Genesis 1:31

Wits’ End Corner

Wits' endAre you standing at “Wits’ End Corner,” 
   Christian, with troubled brow? 
Are you thinking of what is before you, 
   And all you are bearing now?
Does all the world seem against you, 
   And you in the battle alone?
Remember—at “Wits’ End Corner” 
   Is where God’s power is shown.

Are you standing at “Wits’ End Corner” 
   Blinded with wearying pain,
Feeling you cannot endure it, 
   You cannot bear the strain,
Bruised through the constant suffering 
   Dizzy and dazed, and numb?
Remember—at “Wits’ End Corner” 
   Is where Jesus loves to come.

Are you standing at “Wits’ End Corner” 
   Your work before you spread.
Or lying begun, unfinished, 
   And pressing on heart and head,
Longing for strength to do it, 
   Stretching out trembling hands
Remember—at “Wits’ End Corner” 
   The Burden-Bearer stands.

Are you standing at “Wits’ End Corner”? 
   Then you’re just in the very spot
To learn the wondrous resources 
   Of Him who faileth not!
No doubt to a brighter pathway 
   Your footsteps will soon be moved,
But only at “Wits’ End Corner” 
Is the “God who is able” proved. —Antoinette Wilson (hat tip: craigtowens.com)

Let God define you

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10)

All of creation is content to be what it was made to be, except man. Fish flourish in water. Ants are not depressed about their size; they are productive, building massive colonies. We waste time aiming at the bull’s-eye on someone else’s board, pursuing a race we were never equipped to run.

masterpieceLet God, not you or the culture, define you and your distinction. You are His masterpiece. There are more than 7 billion people in the world, but no one exactly like you. Nothing about you is a mistake because God doesn’t make mistakes. He took extreme care in sculpting you with everything you need for accomplishing His purpose. When God created you, it was with a predetermined course in mind, an assignment just for you. “Everything got started in Him and finds its purpose in Him” (Colossians 1:17). Because you are His creation, it’s important that God defines you and no one else. You will be tempted to forget this from time to time because so many competing forces want that opportunity: you, your family, friends, coworkers, enemies, and the media. You must resist them all. If you don’t, you will never become all God intended you to be. I admit it’s easier to adapt to someone else’s concept of you, accept that label (even if it’s negative), or mimic a friend than to spend quality time developing an intimate relationship with the only One who knows why you are here in the first place. Quality relationships always take work.

Before you were born, God selected your parents, your intellect, your looks, your race, your gifts, and your talents. Your mother may have told you that you were a mistake. Maybe for her, but not for God because He doesn’t make mistakes. It doesn’t matter the circumstances of your birth, planned or unplanned. God was not caught sleeping that day. You were in His mind before you were born. God told Jeremiah: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). Notice that Jeremiah did not stop God mid-sentence to tell Him about his dreams or visions for his life. He didn’t ask God to orchestrate his long-held desires. Jeremiah recognized that the sovereign God of the universe, Who created everything, and Who knows everything about everything, was speaking. Jeremiah’s Creator told him, “I knew you before the sexual act occurred that created you. I set you apart because I have a distinct assignment, an appointment for you.”

Those words don’t only apply to Jeremiah. Yes, the assignment was specific, to be a prophet at a particular time to a particular people, but the God of Jeremiah is living today and does not change. He has a specific role for you. It may be in your home, on your job, in your neighborhood, or on the world’s grand stage. It is uniquely crafted for you. He ordained that you would be alive now to accomplish it. What I love about letting God define us is that what He has in mind is usually more massive and exciting than we could ever imagine. Our race, gender, looks, pedigree, intelligence, natural abilities, and age cannot hold us back when we are in sync with His purpose. There is no greater joy than knowing that you are right where God wants you to be, doing exactly what He had in mind for you. —Cheryl Martin, Distinctly You