Archive for the ‘Choice’ Category

Augustine of Hippo

Augustine of Hippo

Difficulties put focus in the wrong place — how I feel, what I didn’t get, what they did to me, why God didn’t meet my expectations! The “I”, “My”, and “Me” focus gets nowhere peacefully.

Psalm 37 gives six(6) action steps to getting out of that swirl and moving on to something better. First on the list is letting go of the burn.1 The second act is deciding to trust God by getting up and doing the right thing.2. Third step:

Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart” — Psalm 37:4

This one comes with a lovely promise! Who is going to give me what I really want if I don’t? God.

Doing this means several things. It means relinquishing both the control and the result to God. It means putting focus on him and what he wants, and it means being pliable. The word translated here as “Delight” literally means to be soft, pliable, delicate.

What if my heart’s desires are selfish, vengeful, and ungodly? If we are pliable God can change that and mold our hearts to desire what is good.

The ancient philosopher, St. Augustine, living in the first century discovered this very thing and wrote the famous line, “Love God and do whatever you please: for the soul trained in love to God will do nothing to offend the One who is Beloved.”

Step #3 – Let your heart be pliable in God’s hands.

— fritz
1. Step #1 – Fret not, 02/21/2013
2. Step #2 – Trust and do good, 02/22/2013

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workerKnowing how something is built is not the same as knowing how to build it.

Part owner of a construction company years ago, it was my job to know how walls, ceilings, and floors were constructed and to know when these were built according architectural specifications; but to actually do the building was totally different. Building skills are only learned by building.

Likewise, the Bible tells us how to be godly but learning how to do it comes from experience. As a young preacher I knew a lot about how following Christ was done but I am still learning how to do it.

Jesus said,

“Here’s what I propose: … If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, gift wrap your best coat and make a present of it. And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously… love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer…If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? … You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it.” (Matthew 5:38-48 Message)

There are things we must learn how to do if we expect to be of service to Christ.

How are you going to learn how to “turn the other cheek” unless someone slaps you? How am I going to learn how to love my enemies unless I have enemies? How are you going to learn how to pray for those who spitefully use you unless you have a boss that throws you under the bus or co-workers that spread malicious gossip? How am I going to learn how to trust God to provide unless I sometimes lose my job or go through difficulty?

We say, “God why would you let me get slapped in the face?!”, when all God is doing is teaching how live for Christ instead of just knowing how living for Christ is done.

– fritz

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The person who lives in right relationship with God does it by embracing what God arranges for him. Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into what God does for you” — Galatians 3:11b (The Message)

I sought God for 30 years, requesting a vision or direction concerning some task I could do for him, something I could say, “Here, God, I have done this for you!”, when all along there was (and is) nothing I can do for God but worship him.

It was staring me in the face all along! Life can’t be lived by trying to do something for him but by accepting what he has done and continues to do for us and being grateful. He’s not looking for those who want to do great things, he is looking for those who will choose to love the greatest thing in the universe (Him), letting him express his love in and through us.

I think God doesn’t so much want us to do great things but, instead, do the right thing — to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with him.

— fritz
John 4:23
Micah 6:8

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Recently and close more than 140 cars piled up in an accident. Fog was so thick one could see no more than ten (10) feet ahead but they were traveling at highway speed anyway.

In a sense we are all like that. None of us can see what is in front of us in time yet we can not stop. Like it or not we are careening forward in that fog making decisions only guessing what will happen next and hoping for the best.

But while we have no eyes to see the future we were made to hear. Jesus said,

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” (John 10:27)

We have the capacity to hear God. When we give ourselves to Christ we begin to “hear” his peace in our inner being.

Christ’s sacrifice not only saves us into eternity, it removes the figurative “wax from our ears”. We start learning to “listen” to his peaceful urging how to live, when to act, when to wait, what to do.

As we learn to listen we crash less and discover God sees, he cares, and he speaks.

Prayer: Jesus, like your apostle John leaned on your chest at the last supper to hear your heartbeat, so I desire to “hear” you moment by moment.

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Discovery about Days

The way a day turns out is often different than the way it feels facing it.

And that’s a good thing!

“Instead of worrying, pray… It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” — Philippians 4:6-7 (Message)

– fritz

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Michael Phelps, 2008 Olympic Gold-Medalist

I’ve made thousands of mistakes, but I’ve never made the same mistake twice.

— Michael Phelps, winner of 8 gold metals in the 2008 Olympics1

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So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you. – 1st Peter 5:6-7 (MESSAGE)

Living carefree is a choice

– fritz

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