Spend Completely, Then Recharge!

iphone chargeRecently, my wife and I stopped by one of our local Best Buy stores and traded in our iPhone 4’s for the iPhone 5. As many of you know, when you get a new phone or tablet, the battery is already partially charged. Well, the first couple of days after our upgrades, we were busy and every time we charged them completely, the charge would not even last the whole day! Then, I remembered a trick I learned some time ago: In order to get the best battery life from your phone, your tablet, or any electronic device, when you first get it, you need to spend or drain the battery charge completely and then recharge! So, I told my wife not to recharge her phone after she unplugged it in the morning and to use it as much as she could during the day. Later on that evening, when the phones were showing about 30% of battery life left, I started playing some YouTube videos along with some other apps that I knew would quickly use a lot of energy. I played YouTube videos and the other apps on both phones until their batteries were completely spent and the phones died from battery drain. Then, I recharged both phones completely. Every since I did that, the batteries in our phones are lasting all day and even to bedtime without needing to be recharged! In fact at bedtime, after a normal day of use, we still have over 50% of battery charge left!

Well, I was thinking about that and I wonder could that be the reason why many people don’t get the best results in their lives? Could it be that they are constantly recharging without being fully spent first? Let me show you what I’m talking about: Most people are not willing to give anything their all. In other words, most people are always holding back in whatever they do. Whether it’s their job, their hobbies, or even recreation; they expend just enough energy to get by or just enough energy to attain a certain degree of success, but they never give it their all. As a result, they find themselves having to recharge often before the task is completed.

But why don’t people give it all they have? It could be that they are afraid that even after they give it their all; they will still fail! And so, they’re in a catch-22 situation: They don’t give it their all because they fear failure, but in most cases the very reason for failure is the lack of total commitment! So most of the time they end up expending just enough energy to get by and sometimes they don’t put forth any real effort at all! Sometimes it is because of the potential of embarrassment. They don’t spend it all (put forth a 100% effort) because they are afraid of being embarrassed by failure. Therefore, they go through life, playing it safe; only engaging in endeavors that don’t require their best effort or a lot of energy. Because of this, most of the time, life to them is boring; they are the walking dead, living on auto-pilot.

The Preacher says in the Bible (Ecclesiastes 9:10): “Whatever you find to do with your hands, do it with all your might, because there is neither work nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom in the grave, the place where you will eventually go.” (NET)  In other words; spend completely and don’t hold back! Leave it all out on the playing field because when the game of life is over, it’s over! Set high goals! If you reach for the moon and fail, you still might land upon a star! And even if you miss the star, you will still have the satisfaction of knowing that you gave it your best! You don’t want to get to the end of your life and have regrets, thinking about what you could have done or what you should have done.

And remember, after you have given it your all and after you are completely spent; it’s not over! You have within you the potential to recharge and come back more energized than ever because any long distance runner will tell you: “After you have given your best and spent all, there is always a ‘second wind!” So remember, to get the maximum potential out of your life; spend completely and then recharge!

Clark Kent vs Superman

Clark SupermanMost of us are familiar with the DC Comics character: “Superman/Clark Kent!” Clark is the mild-mannered reporter from the Daily Planet, who is somewhat bashful, quiet and unassuming. However in reality, he was also Superman; the man of steel, faster than a speeding bullet and stronger than any locomotive! All who are familiar with the cartoon would probably agree that it doesn’t take too much effort to be “Clark Kent,” but it takes a whole lot of energy to be “Superman!”

Well, like Clark Kent, we can handle most situations we encounter in life. However, because of procrastination and the failure to deal initially with problems in a firm and decisive manner, many times our “Clark Kent” situations will turn into “Superman” situations! Many of us suffer from the tendency to avoid making difficult decisions. We ‘decide’ not to decide, not realizing that our decision not to decide is in fact a decision! And when we decide not to decide, the circumstances of life ultimately make the decisions for us! And as a result of relinquishing control of the situation, we often find ourselves in predicaments where we really need to be “Superman” in order to get back on an even keel!

However, many of the BIG PROBLEMS or the “Superman” situations, can be handled with ease if we deal with them while they are still on the “Clark Kent” level. But, somehow we erroneously believe that if we just ignore difficult situations, they will go away or resolve themselves on their own! Some times this is true! However, it takes wisdom to know the difference. Some times some things do work themselves out, while others need to be dealt with in an aggressive and timely manner. We need to learn when, where and how to correctly concentrate our energy because we wouldn’t want to kill an insect with a shotgun!

Super JesusSo, as you go through life, facing various situations from day to day, take time to weight your options. Is it a situation that Clark Kent can handle or is it a job for Superman? If it is a job for Superman, you don’t have to feel overwhelmed! You can be encouraged because there is someone to help! Just look up in the sky! No! It’s not a bird! It’s not a plane! It’s not even Superman! But there is some one! His name is Jesus! He can help you with your problems! He came that we might have life and that we might have it more abundantly! So, pray to God and ask Him to give you the wisdom to deal with life effectively because if you don’t deal with life, life will deal with you! And whatever course of action you take or decide not to take, always remember; it takes more energy to be Superman than it does to be Clark Kent!

A Time to Cry

crying at casketRecently, I attended a funeral service where a speaker got up and said: “This is not a time to be sad or a time to cry, but rather a time to rejoice! This is a time to celebrate!” Now, I know their intention was to uplift the mourners and to encourage us to praise and worship God.  And just like everybody else, after he said it, I said “Amen!” But later on, I started to do some thinking. We were at a funeral, but the speaker said it was not the time or the place to cry! Well, why not? Someone had died and we all were suffering from the loss of their company; why not cry? We were at a funeral! What better time and place is there to cry and be sad than at a funeral?

One of the trends in much of the preaching and teaching of today is the tendency to say or to imply that one should be happy ALL of the time! From what I am hearing, it seems as if there is no legitimate place for pain and sorrow in life and if a person does experience pain and sorrow it is an indication that something is amiss with their faith. I would like to suggest that such preaching and teaching is not only unrealistic, it is also unbiblical! It is unrealistic because it is a denial of reality to expect people not to cry when they have suffered a loss! Crying is part of the human emotional make-up! As Betty Everett used to sing back in the day: “The rich have to cry! The poor have to cry! You’ll have to cry and I’ll have to cry!” The funny thing about it is that many times the very people who are always telling others not to cry will often try to jump in the casket when one of their loved-one dies! I think we should quit trying to get people to suppress their expressions of bereavement, but rather “allow” them to mourn, allow them to grieve and grant them the freedom to cry! After all, it was their momma, their daddy, their son, or their daughter who died, not ours!  And if grief is not expressed at the funeral, it will be expressed at some other time and in some other form that is usually not productive or healthy.

Not only is it unrealistic, it is also unbiblical to deny them or us the freedom to express grief, bereavement and sorrow because the Bible says: “There is . . . a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” (Ecc 3:4 KJV) So if the funeral is not the time or place to cry then when and where is it? One of the first Bible verses I ever learned as a child was John 11:35. It is the shortest verse in the Bible. It says: “Jesus wept.” Ironically, I learned this verse as a saying for grace over meals. I still haven’t figured out what Jesus crying had to do with me eating! But when we look at this verse in context, we discover that Jesus cried at the grave of Lazarus, his friend. Now, I’m not going into the theological discussion as to why he cried, I just want to point out the fact that Jesus was at a funeral and he cried! Now, if Jesus cried at a funeral, what’s wrong with us crying at a funeral? Paul wrote, in I Thessalonians 4:13, that we are not to grieve as others who have no hope. He didn’t say that we are not to grieve; he said we are not to grieve as others who have no hope!

So the next time you are grieving over the loss of a loved-one and someone tells you at the funeral not to cry or that you shouldn’t cry; don’t listen to them! Crying is a normal and natural expression of grief and loss! If it doesn’t come out that way, which is normal, it will come out another way that is abnormal and unhealthy! And if you feel like you must give them a reply, just tell them in the words of an old song I heard some time ago: “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to!”

Are You Settling for Good?

This post is a re-blog from www.soulpreaching.com 

Thomas Merton said, “The biggest human temptation is to settle for too little.” This reminds me of something that one of my seminary professors said in a sermon. He argued that the greatest temptation for most of us is not to do that which is wrong. Many of us have that temptation, but it is not the greatest one. He said, the greatest temptation is to do that which is “good” rather than that which is “great.”

Here the temptation is to stop because what you have accomplished is “good” or “good enough.” how many preachers do you know are stagnant in their preaching ministry. They are “good” but never go through the effort and pain to push on towards the fullness of God’s purpose. I am sure we all have fallen into that trap more than once in our lives. God may have given us a vision, but we stop for whatever reason. We then rationalize that what we are accomplishing is “good enough.”

Flickr_-_Official_U.S._Navy_Imagery_-_Runners_at_the_2012_Washington_D.C._Special_Olympics_represent_the_U.S._Navy_and_Army_during_a_4x100_meter_relay_race_at_the_2012_Washington_D.C._Special_Olympics.God has called us all to some particular work. Like Jeremiah, God knew us before we were born and apointed us for a particular work. (Jeremiah 1:5)

Now this work is not always easy. It may not be the work where you will make the most money. It may not be the work where you will gain the most noteriety. It may not be the work that grandma, momma, and daddy want you to do. It may not even be the work that you think you want to do, but many of us know that work and that calling.

Natural Ability Is Not EnoughNow you may have a natural ability for this work, but remember we are not talking about being “good” at his work, we are talking about doing a God-given “great” work. It will not be easy to move from Good to Great. This requires more ability than you have. In addition, it requires more power and endurance than you have. In short, your God given task is something that requires your faith so that you can grasp ahold of the One who is mighty and desires above all things to bless us. We will literally not be able to see where God is taking us unless we look by faith. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

You will be tempted to only do that which you could have done without the Spirit of God empowering you. But God has enough of the “good,” God needs someone willing to follow God into “greatness.” Some Christians use their own power and end up coming short of where God wants to take them.

Doing What Is Easy For You Is Not EnoughGod needs someone to speak to Pharoah to let my people go (Exodus 5:1), but many would instead speak to their friends and collegues abouth where they wish they could go. God has placed in someone’s heart to start agencies to feed thousands when there are not enough funds to accomplish this, but instead they settle for giving a dollar to the man on the side of the street. I don’t mean to belittle the one on one helping of others. that is important and needed. but if God has called you to something else, you might be using these “good” works to keep you from your God given mission.

Let me put it this way, if you can fully see the way of the road you are walking on. If you understand fully where you are going. If the path you are following doesn’t require faith to accomplish. If the path you are on doesn’t require more of you than you think you can do. Then you might be contemplating a path that is “good” rather than pushing to “great.”

Move Forward To GreatGood may get you accolades, good may cause someone to pat you on the back, Good may cause you to wreck the house. But great will unsettle the “present evil world.” (Galatians 1:4) Great will throw the evil one’s kingdom off its foundation (Acts 17:6). “Great” will do what “good” can’t even attempt.

Stop settling for good, God has called you to great. Be like Abraham. God found him in a good situation. He was comfortable living in the land of his parents in Ur. (Genesis 12:1) But God had other plans for Abraham, and God has other plans for you. God called him to go to a land that Abraham didn’t know of, the promised land. In leaving, Abraham was making that long trek from “good” to “great.

God has called you to greatness, stop settling for good.

Forgiveness is for YOU!

forgiveness handcuffsI don’t know why or how we came to think this way, but there are many people who just can’t seem to let go of an unforgiving spirit! For some strange, sick and demented reason, they think that not forgiving another person actually has a detrimental effect on that person. They think that, by not forgiving that person, they exercise some sort of power or control over them. But the truth of the matter is this: Forgiveness is not really for the other person; forgiveness is for you! Let me show you what I’m talking about:

There are some people who use unforgiveness as a weapon. They actually think that by not forgiving the other person, they are actually hurting the other person! (If the other person is indeed hurt, it really not because of the un-forgiver’s unforgiveness, but rather because of how the unforgiven processes the situation in their mind. The only real power the un-forgiver has over the unforgiven is the power the unforgiven gives the un-forgiver!) Some people use unforgiveness as a means to attempt to keep the other person locked in a certain position or mental location. But think about this for a minute: The only way for a guard to guard a prisoner is for the guard to be constantly vigilant and diligent in watching the prisoner. Now in order to do this, the guard has to be, to a certain extent, locked up himself! Think about it for a moment! The prisoner can’t come and go as he pleases, but neither can the guard! Now this comparison does not stand on all fours, simply because when we are unforgiving toward another person, we only “think” we have them locked up; they are actually really free! We are the only ones in prison! They are free because the only place they are really imprisoned is within our minds! Did you know that there are some people who have not forgiven another person, but that other person is not even bothered by that fact! In some cases, they don’t even know about it! This is a twisted scene: You may be angry with your spouse or whoever, because of something they may have done. They have asked for your forgiveness but you refuse to forgive them! But your anger and your unforgiveness really hurts you more than it hurts them! Un-forgiveness and holding a grudge is like holding hot coals! You may be holding them against someone else, but the truth is; you are the only one getting burnt!

So it really doesn’t make sense to hold grudges and to have an unforgiving spirit! It’s really a form of suicide! Holding grudges and having an unforgiving spirit causes mental stress in your mind, spiritual stress in your soul and physical stress in your body! The medical field has confirmed it with numerous studies! Doctors say that many ulcers come, not from what we are eating, but rather from what is eating us! Aside from the religious and spiritual fact that we are commanded to forgive in order to be forgiven, doctors now confirm that holding grudges and being unforgiving for a prolonged period of time often lead to such maladies as high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, and even cancer!

Therefore, you ought to forgive because forgiveness is really not for the other person; forgiveness is for you! The next time you are in a situation where you are tempted to hold a grudge and be unforgiving, ask yourself the question: Is it really worth it? Is not forgiving this person worth a heart attack or a stroke? It is really worth injuring my relationship and fellowship with the God who has forgiven me? I don’t care what they did; let it go! When you let it go, it doesn’t mean you are weak, it just means you are wise! It means you have come to understand that at the root of the matter having an unforgiving spirit is not really worth it because forgiveness is really not for the other person; forgiveness is for you!