Sin Causes Emotional Distress

The third result of sin is the area of your emotions. Sin causes emotional distress and disappointment.

Solomon writes a lot about this in Ecclesiastes: “I observed everything going on under the sun, and really, it is all meaningless — like chasing the wind. What is wrong cannot be made right. What is missing cannot be recovered” (Ecclesiastes 1:14-15 NLT).

Solomon is saying that, as a human being, it seems pointless, because we cannot change the past and we cannot control the future. All the stuff that we’ve done wrong, we can’t undo. All the stuff that was done wrong to us, we can’t undo.

And, we can’t control the future. Most of the important things in your life you have no control over. The world cannot be fixed by human effort alone.

Can we go out and do good in the world? Yes. Should we? Yes. Should we relieve pain? Of course.

But the world is irreparably broken. We serve others to relieve hurt, to heal people, to help them make it through. But we’re not kidding ourselves. We’re not going to bring the Kingdom in on Earth. This is not Heaven. Our ultimate job is to get people into the perfect place, not try to make the world a perfect place. Should we try to make the world better? Yes. Should we expect it to be perfect? No. The damage is too deep for repair.

Because that damage is so deep, we get stressed out — because things don’t work right, we don’t have enough time to get everything done, things get in our way. There are delays and difficulties and dead ends and, of course, disappointments.

Did you ever plan for a big event and think, “This is going to be so great!” Then when it’s over, you think, “That was it?” I know people who’ve spent an entire year planning for a wedding. Then it was all over in an hour.

The fact is, we have the amazing ability to overestimate how happy we’re going to be with a person, an event, or a possession. We’re not just disappointed with events that happen in our lives or with people in our lives. We’re disappointed with ourselves.

Why? Because this is not Heaven. Everything on the planet is broken. Nothing works perfectly because of our sin.

This devotional © 2014 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

FRIDAY AFTER ASH WEDNESDAY

There’s a sense of excitement at the start of the season. The ground is prepared and marked out. The fixture list is printed. Everything is ready. So along you go for the first match.

But imagine what it would be like if, just before the game was due to start, the coach came onto the pitch and began to point to people in the stands — people who had come as spectators! ‘All right: you over there, come on; and you in the blue jacket, you too; and you there hiding near the back, I want you in the team . . .’ You begin to be afraid you might be next. Suddenly the people who’ve been called are hurrying down to the field of play, and the game begins.

Of course no serious sports team today would do it like that — or, if they did, they wouldn’t win many matches. But this is the strange thing. When God came back at last, coming to establish the rule of heaven here on earth, that seems to be exactly how he went about it. Lots of people who thought they were just spectators suddenly found themselves summoned onto the field of play. As the story goes on, we find out that they, like modern spectators dragged from the stands and made to play the game, were not as ready, or as fit, as they might have been. But it seems that that’s how God wanted to work.

There’s something going on there which gets near the heart of the challenge of the gospel for us today. It’s very easy for people to imagine that they can be ‘religious’ — they can say their prayers, they can go to church, they can read the Bible — but basically they are looking on, spectating, while God does what- ever God is going to do. And of course there’s a sense in which that’s true. God is not weak, helpless, waiting for humans to get their act together before he can do anything.

But in another sense part of the point is that God always wanted humans to be part of the action, not just spectators. God made humans to reflect his image — his presence, his love, his plans — into the world. That’s why he himself came into the world as a human being. And that’s why Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James and John, and the others. They weren’t ready. They weren’t expecting it. But that’s how Jesus worked then, and that’s how he works to this day. Perhaps that’s why you’re reading Matthew’s gospel right now. Perhaps Jesus is going to point to you and ask you to help him with some of the work.

Of course, there were still quite a lot of people who remained spectators. As Jesus went about healing people — which was the most dramatic way of showing them that ‘heaven’ really was taking charge on earth — it was natural that great crowds followed him from all over. But here’s another challenge. What should the church be doing today that would make people realize that ‘heaven’ is actually in charge here and now? When we find the answer to that question, there will be lots more spectators — and, we may hope, lots more players too.

TODAY
Gracious Lord, help us to be ready when you call us to work with you.

Lent for all

From YouVersion

THURSDAY AFTER ASH WEDNESDAY

When a couple get married, there is so much to learn. Not so much the immediate and obvious things — favourite foods, musical tastes, good ideas for holidays, and so on. There are deeper things that make each one of us mysterious and deeply special. The rich store of memories and mental associations. The older family history: stories told and retold, sorrows quietly aching in the background, tales of an exotic cousin here, a tragic uncle there, an aunt who wrote books or a great- grandfather who was cheated in business. Such stories shape our imaginations. They condition our reactions to new situations. When you join someone else’s family it takes time to learn how all this works for them. Often you can only make sense of what someone says or does up front if you get in touch with the older, deeper stories that shaped them from their earliest days.

Matthew, writing his gospel, wants to help his readers to learn the great stories of the family into which they have come through their faith in Jesus Christ. Many of his readers were probably Jewish already. That made some things easier, others harder. He is telling the story of what happened within living memory — here, the story of John the Baptist getting people ready for Jesus — but he is also helping them to get in touch with the older, deeper stories of God’s ancient people. Like all early Christian writers, Matthew is eager to explain how what has happened in and through Jesus is what the ancient stories had been pointing to all along.

He’s already begun to do this in the first two chapters. There’s the great long family tree right at the start, of course. But there are also the times when he has pointed back to the ancient scriptures to explain the meaning of the events he’s describing. Now he takes this to a new level. He picks up one of the most famous prophecies in the Old Testament, and declares that it came true in and through John the Baptist.

The prophecy in question summed up the longing and the praying of Israel over the previous five hundred years. Israel had been overrun by foreign armies. The Temple had been destroyed. God himself, they believed, had abandoned his people because of their wickedness, and had left them to their fate. Even when the Jews returned from Babylon and rebuilt the Temple, there was a lingering, uneasy sense that there was more to come, that all was not yet well. So they told the story like this: one day God will come back to rescue us. He’ll come back and take charge of the whole world, and everything will be right at last. The God in heaven will be king of the earth! That’s what we’re waiting for.

So when John the Baptist suddenly appeared, down near the river Jordan, telling people that ‘heaven’ was going to take charge on earth (that’s what ‘the kingdom of heaven’ means), it’s not surprising that everyone set off to find out what was going on. John was plunging people into the Jordan. He was re-enacting the far-off moment when the ancient Israelites first entered their Promised Land. This is it! This is what we’ve been waiting for! Sharp-eyed people, then and later, said: This is the man the prophet spoke about. He is the ‘voice in the wilderness’, getting people ready for God to come back.

If we grasp nothing more than this, Matthew would have done half his job. But there are two other things going on here which also shape the way he’s going to tell the rest of his story. First, lots of people coming to John have to be warned not to take God for granted. They may be Abraham’s children physically, but God is doing a new thing. He is reshaping Abraham’s family: sharp judgment on the one hand, an open invitation on the other. ‘God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones!’ This isn’t the way many of them had been telling the story. It must have come as a shock.

TODAY
Gracious Lord, as your heavenly rule extends on earth, help us to know your story and live as your family.

From YouVersion Matthew

1, 2, 3,

The Call of the Twelve

“And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach.” (Mark 3:14)

Early in His public ministry, Jesus gathered around Himself those to whom He would eventually entrust the Christian message. Many others had also been attracted to Him and His works, as indicated in the previous verse: “And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would [emphasis in the Greek is on he; the choice was His alone]: and they came unto him” (v. 13). Of those He invited, He “ordained twelve.”

Such a momentous selection could not be taken lightly, and we should not pass over it either. Luke gives us further information: “He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God” (Luke 6:12) before choosing the twelve. As a sidelight, it bears mentioning that if God the Son so relied on the wisdom from God the Father before making an important decision, how can we neglect prayer as we so often do?

Four purposes are listed for these appointees, but the last three flow from the first: “That they should be with him.” They would see Him in action, learn truth from Him, assist Him in His work; but most importantly they would see His character and habits, and would never be the same.

Part of their training included being sent out to put in practice what they had learned, “that he might send them forth to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out devils” (Mark 3:14-15). He gave them a message to preach and the ability to authenticate that message.

A study of these disciples as revealed in the gospels makes one wonder if Jesus made a proper choice. However, in the book of Acts, once He was gone and the Holy Spirit empowered them, we recognize that their training was complete. We are the result of their effective ministry. JDM,

Later,

Pat.

After the beginning…

Sin Has Damaged Everything

Nothing works perfectly. Because the entire human race has made poor choices …

Everything’s broken, and nothing on this planet works perfectly. Sin has damaged everything.

Sin has ruined everything. Sin has destroyed everything. Sin has corrupted and spoiled everything. Sin has injured everything — every relationship, idea, dream, and human body. Everything has been touched by this damage.

In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon describes six dimensions of your life that sin has damaged. Over the next few days, we’ll look at these six dimensions.

1. The first result is natural disasters and deformities.

We’re not living in Eden anymore. As John Milton wrote in a very famous poem, paradise was lost. We live on a broken planet. And, as a result, we have hurricanes, typhoons, wacky weather, earthquakes, droughts, and floods.

It’s amazing to me that insurance calls all these things acts of God but doesn’t call the birth of a baby an act of God. In other words, an act of God is only the negative stuff that happens. God does not want these things happening in the world. And he is as upset by natural disasters as we are. The world was broken when sin damaged everything.

The Bible says in Romans 8:20, “Creation is confused” (CEV). Everything on this planet has lost its original purpose. Everything in the world was damaged including your DNA, your parents’ DNA, and their parents’ DNA. Have you figured out yet that your body doesn’t work right? If everybody’s body worked perfectly, there would be no need for doctors.

2. The second result is physical decay and death.

There was no death on this planet until sin entered the world. Ecclesiastes 8:8 says, “We cannot control the wind or determine the day of our death.” We know that death is inevitable, but we sure try to stop it. We go to great lengths to postpone the decay, too.

But there’s actually good news: God doesn’t want you to live forever on this planet. He wants you to live forever in a perfect place, not on a planet that’s been broken by sin.

 

For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.
Romans 8:22 ESV

This devotional © 2014 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

To the family and Students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

I live 10 minutes away from the Highschool where that terrible shooting took place.

This is a very simple post.

I ask you to pray with me for those families that lost their loved ones. May the Lord comfort them in this terrible trial. Valentine’s day in Florida will never be the same.

The Lord Is My Shepherd

A Psalm of David.

23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.[a]
    He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness[b]
    for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,[c]
    I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely[d] goodness and mercy[e] shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell[f] in the house of the Lord
    forever.[g]

R.I.P.

There Was Still is a friend

I just received the third Picture in 2 weeks from a younger friend of my father. My father will be 80 years old this year. Mom and Dad always had around younger people having in them a capability to grasp young and older people attention and affection. For a few years, I was a happy 7, 8 and 9 years old because of music. These young sixties Italian friends were different from their generation peers. Dad and about a dozen young man in Milan put together the first NewOrleans band in Italy before he met my mom. After they married,  my parents spent many nights playing music in clubs and took me with them.

I loved that smell of beer and wine in the air plus the dusk cloud if smoke even when I was so very tired and would fall asleep anywhere. I would have never changed this new life I thought at that time.

They had a friend, one of the younger ones 18 19  years old my father being 23 at that time.  Giuliano could never stay still.He pretty much saw all corners of the world and loves the orient the most..while, you can see Wild elephants drinking water at the opposite ending of this picture and, he is again on the go and I will wait for the next photograph, in about 40 days he will reach Laos. Giuliano loves the Orient. I met so many interesting people when I was young and a few are coming back around now that we are getting older.another piece of what I would love to write someday if I get a miracle and a true writer would help me. I really need to write the Miracles of God in my life, before I die. I cannot remember everything but it would be sufficient to feel a decent size non-fiction book. Help I scream and wait for a miracle.There is a lot to say about Giuliano and how he believes in Christ and has since he was on a fishing boat in Island. I cannot put all this in order. I remember him. As a usual friend coming and going away in the word with only his guitar and a sleeping bag.He also loved jazz that particular New Orleand Original Jazz. Louis Armstrong is one of them the best next to his mentor King Oliver.

I have no idea when I will continuous this.

I will upload the photo Later and edit.

God bless you,

later,

Pat

Devotional

Know Your Calling

Every Christian has two callings in life: a spiritual one to salvation and also a vocational calling. Life is too short to miss either one. Your two callings are separate but inseparable. The first informs the way you’ll live out your second calling. The realization of what Christ has done for us produces a compulsion to live for Him. When we talk about one’s “calling,” we’re speaking about the vocational kind that answers this question: “I’ve decided to follow God, but how does He want me to use my gifts and passions?”

Asking the right questions is crucial for discerning one’s calling. Oftentimes, we fail to ask the correct questions and then wonder why our answers are so dissatisfying. Seeking God’s will for your life begins by asking yourself, “What keeps me awake when I should be falling asleep at night?” The answer will expose what makes you mad, what makes you cry, what lingers in your mind when the world goes dark. The second question you should ask yourself is, “What wakes me up when I should still be sleeping in the morning?” The answer will uncover what you value, what you’re committed to, and what excites you.

Here are several others I think are helpful for deciphering God ’s invitation to you:

What are your passions and gifts? At the intersection of these two elements, you’ll find your purpose in life.
What would you work on or want to do for free? That is usually a good sign of what God has designed you to do.
What energized you when you were a child? Does it still animate you? Knowing your calling is often directly connected to childhood passions and gifts.
If you could do anything and take a pay cut, what would that be? You may have to blow up your financial goals in order to pursue your true calling.
What barriers are preventing you from pursuing your true calling? Can you begin removing those?
If you aren’t engaging your gifts and talents where you find yourself now, could you make changes in your current role to better engage those? Don’t rule out the possibility that where you are is where you need to be.

God Bless you

Later,

Pat.

Build a Culture of Courage

 

Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the commitment to overcome it. Courage doesn’t mean you’re not afraid; it means you battle against your fear and confront it. Courage push confronts resist the impulse to shy away from the things that stir up your innermost anxieties. Courage is required and must be a constant. It’s tiny pieces of fear all glued together.

The lives of great Christian leaders teach us that those who follow a God-sized calling need God-sized courage. Abraham left his home to journey to a place he wasn’t even sure existed. Moses overcame his speech impediment to lead the people of Israel to freedom. Joshua faced doubters who feared the promised land was too difficult to conquer. Gideon led an army of only three hundred to defeat an army of thousands.

Daniel and Esther displayed tremendous courage in the face of death. Nehemiah overcame fierce opposition to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem in fifty-two days. Jesus faced the cross and triumphed over death. Paul penned parts of the New Testament while nurturing wounds in prison; and nearly every apostle preached the gospel until being martyred.

Here are some helpful tips for building a culture of courage in your organization:

Set scary standards. Your level of excellence and expectation for your product or service or experience should almost be something that is nearly unattainable. Safe goals are set by safe leaders with safe visions. Give your people a goal that scares them, and you’ll produce leaders who know what it means to overcome fear.
Allow for failure. The road to success is many times put together through multiple failures. Allow for and even encourage your team to fail as they attempt to succeed.
Reward innovation. Innovation requires taking risks. And bold risks create bold team members. Rewarding innovation will challenge your team to grow in their roles.
Pursue the right opportunities. Not every risk is a good one. Be disciplined. Aggressively pursue a few things that make sense. Say no often.
Learn to delegate. This is one of the most courageous things a leader can do. Entrusting others with important tasks requires letting go and relinquishing control. Liberally pass responsibility and authority to your team. If you want your team to be courageous, give them the chance to lead.

From YouVersion.

Later,

Pat.

Be Who You Are

 

Many leaders today feel great pressure to succeed, and as a result, create and accept a pseudo self. The pseudo version of them that hides their warts and magnifies their best traits. Unfortunately, those who know us best and even those who simply work with us every day see right through this. They recognize our true self and know we’re not embracing that person. We won’t reach our full potential by investing energy into creating false versions of ourselves.

Here are some best practices I’ve found helpful to cultivate the essential leadership trait of authenticity:

Practice self-awareness. Before you can release your true self you have to recognize your true self. Too many people refuse to accept and even name their weaknesses, struggles, and pitfalls. As a result, they accept a version of themselves they believe others will like better. Understand who you really are.
Question yourself. I encourage leaders to evaluate their self-acceptance with honest questions: Whose attention do you crave? Are you chasing the approval of friends, colleagues, and customers? What is it you don’t like about yourself, and how can that shortcoming also be a strength? Self-diagnosis can lead to self-discovery, which is the only path to authenticity.
Move from self-promotion to storytelling. I can appreciate the effort made by individuals in the public eye to shape their personal brands. But I also worry about the effects this can have on living an authentic life. If you want to be a changemaker, begin to see public outlets as places for sharing your personal story.
Resist the urge to create a digital alter ego. Refuse to hide behind a website or Facebook page. Instead, adopt the mindset of Claire Diaz Ortiz, social innovation director for Twitter: “Social media is not just about being connected. It’s about being transparent, intimate, and honest.”
Learn to laugh at yourself. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Instead, grow comfortable enough with who you are to laugh and laugh often. When you are able to accept and even chuckle at your blunders and mess-ups, others will too. And this common experience will help you bond with them.
Build a support network. Beware of the temptation to surround yourself with flatterers who only tell you what you want to hear. Keep honest people in your life that can help you stay grounded and keep from thinking you’ve arrived.
Be interested over interesting. Be more concerned with listening instead of talking. Focus on others, not yourself

From YouVersion