All Posts Tagged: success

Easter Impact – Part 4

But thanks be to God, who keeps giving us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ!

1 Corinthians 15:57


The impact of EASTER is Energy.

The impact of EASTER is Attitude.

The impact of EASTER is Success!


SUCCESS
! Millions of books have been sold on this subject. For example, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill has sold over 70 million copies since 1928. Peter Kreeft once made a humorous comment about the plethora of books on sex. “
The fact that there are thousands of ‘how to do it’ books on the subject does not mean that we know how; in fact, it means the opposite. It’s when everybody’s pipes are leaking that people buy books on plumbing!” This, I believe, is the reality about topic of success.

Everybody wants to know how to do success‘. However, success is not primarily about DOING! According to Jesus it’s about BEING!” “Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way to your true self. What good would it DO to get everything you want and lose YOU, the real you?” (Mark 8:34-37) In other words, in the process of doing the secrets of success one can lose one’s real self. Elvis Presley, Whitney Houstin, Prince, Robin Williams, Cobain, Eastman, Van Gogh, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Virginia Woolf, and my friend – the list is endless …  creatively successful people who “cashed it in”! I shall attempt no commentary except to say this: in all their DOING they didn’t find peace with their BEING. If that seems simplistic to you, take it from one who knows.

John Calvin described this world as a theatrum gloriae, a “dazzling theater” displaying God’s glorious works. Viewing the following exhibits in the Creator’s theater, ask yourself: how are these successful? If this is below your “pay grade”, you have my sympathy.


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Of course, I know they are JUST fish! That’s the point. Though they are subhuman, each in their extravagant BEING-NESS is a display of God’s handiwork. As such, each is victorious. Each is a SUCCESS! They ARE what the Creator intended them TO BE in his theater. 

Research has shown exactly what Jesus said. You can gain the whole world and lose YOUR-SELF! Merely DOING is a DEAD-end! Success (victory) is only found in uncovering who you ARE according to the Creator’s design. There is no greater expression of this than in Michelangelo’s graphic representation of the creation of Adam.

Easter means that the Creator is severely intent on resurrecting a new you built upon His original design. Short of that everything is but “smoke and fire” or, as Solomon said, “Emptiness!”

Look at the fish again. I’m absolutely serious! Have you discovered that YOU, not what you DO, are a masterpiece in the Creator’s theater? Easter success (victory) is to be discovered by uncovering the YOU that is available by virtue of Jesus’ resurrection.

Have you experienced the touch of the Creator’s finger on your life? It’s nothing less than the power of the resurrection? “The gospel is absurd and the life of Jesus is meaningless unless we believe that He lived, died, and rose again with but one purpose in mind: to make a brand-new creation.” (Brennan Manning, The Furious Longing of God )

OK, a point of transparency! This is THE struggle of my 74 year old life! 

Easter Impact – 3

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

(NOTE: as compared with English, Greek is a profoundly rich language.)

Easter means Energy!

This power produces an ATTITUDE. “I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me.” Herein Paul employs two Greek words for power, the first of which is ισχυω. The root of this word envisions military action: a combative, confrontive force that faces resistance to bring about victory (success). Notes three elements: 1) resistance 2) combative force and 3) success. The second Greek word is ἐνδυναμόω, meaning to be empowered to face resistance, the result of which is success.

OK, enough Greek. Here’s an illustration. In World War II the goal (success) was to overthrow Hitler in Berlin. Starting on the shores of Normandy, the allied troops encountered German resistance, requiring a fierce force of military action. Though history tends to emphasize the “Big Battles”: Bulge, Midway, Stalingrad, Iwo Jima, Bataan and Caen to name but a few, there was constant resistance all the way to Berlin. Finally, throughout the campaign the allied forces were empowered with equipment, both old and new. However, the primary weapon was the will of the human spirit!

In following Jesus we will encounter resistance. In Ephesians 6 Paul succinctly delineates our situation. “Finally, receive your power from the Lord and from his mighty strength. Put on all the armor that God supplies. In this way, you will be able to successfully stand against the devil’s strategies.” This is the subject of Paul Bunyan’s classic work, Pilgrim’s Progress.

 

So, here’s the picture. Your Enemy resists God’s purposes for your life. Via various methods the Monster of Life intends your failure as a disciple of Jesus. Though the resistance is intense, possibly involving grave wounds, your success (the Creator’s design for YOU) is guaranteed IF you will recognize and draw upon the power that’s in you. Remember! This inherent power is nothing less than that which the Father released in raising Jesus from the dead.

So, Paul writes: “I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me.” Now, that’s ATTITUDE!

MEASURE OF LIFE – 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

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

Easter NOW! – Part 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)