Saturday, January 31, 2009

Opportunity Cost When Focus is Lacking

Time is valuable and misusing it is wasting my life. What is the cost in my failure to focus my all; especially my activity on less than the best? This a series on focus. Join in and help me get to keen focus and thriving life in Christ. Your advise is important and I promise I'll consider any help presented.

22. What does it cost me to skip over items on my to do list? Why do I keep doing this? How I can I get myself to be more diligent?

23. What is the full cost of each activity in my life; not just in money but in time?

24. What is the opportunity cost of doing this activity: this evaluation needs to be done with most of my activies while I work this new plan out....right?

25. Is there anything else I could be doing right now that would have better results?

26. How can I do it faster? What are some principles that will increase my speed in activities without taking away from the excellence in performance?

27. Is all of my reading done with some purpose in mind and some action step resulting?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Fun Friday: So It Is Logical I Can't Lose Weight

Fun Friday: I am struggling with weight that is slowing me down. I truly want to be in fine fighting weight to live out thriving as a Christian.

Here is a most logical explanation for my struggle:

Lady explains, "I have metal fillings in my teeth. My refrigerator magnets keep pulling me into the kitchen. That's why I cannot lose weight."

Enough? What is it; and how to know when I find it.

Enough...what is enough? Contentment is mystifying, but the Bible simplifies that for me: Just give me Jesus! This is the 3rd post in a series on my quest to focus on the main things in my life to live simpler.

15. What is enough and how can I know when I have it?

16. Do I have enough silence built into my life?

17. What does God want me to do right now?

18. What will be the fruit of this activity in 5 years?

19. What will be the fruit of this activity in eternity?

20. What job that I normally do can someone else do 80% as well? Where can I delegate to someone else and life is improved for me and others?

21. If I died today what would I wish I had done that I did not accomplish?
I'm processing my answers to these questions as I embrace new ministry, new job, and discovering the best life to live as new widow. God calls me to live abundanty and I am committed to not wasting a moment of the rest of my life. I've loved your insights and I want more from you. My best ideas will pale in comparison to what I can plan on with your thoughts along with mine taken prayerfully to our Father.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

F words for focus in living

F FOCUS: Fabulous Fantastic Fine Fortifying Fierce Fighting Form LIFE!

Continuing the Focus series of questions that may help me refine my focus for thriving in my life!

8. What are some things my busy life leaves no time for?

9. Is it true that contentment comes from wanting less instead of getting more? Where is my focus- getting more or wanting less?

10. Someone said, “The more we have, the more we are faced with fears of losing what we have.” Is this true in my life?

11. Where do I need to be more ruthless with the clutter in my life?

12. What is the highest maintenance part of my life right now? What would it take to make it low maintenance?

13. Are that 3 things things that require more time and energy than they are worth? Can I eliminate them?

14. If I budgeted time like I budget money where would I budget more time and less time?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Focus = Greater Effectiveness

Focusing on the most important things in life is an issue for me. I have many "have-to's," but I love doing many things with many wonderful people. But I am finding that I prefer to do the few "right" things for me in excellence than spreading myself too broadly with fatigue and less than my best in performance. Most of all I desire to please God and fulfill my purpose in the Kingdom of God.

This is a first in a series of questions I'm using to sharpen my focus and hopefully increase my effectiveness. Jesus used questions to encourage His disciples in discerning God’s will in their lives. I was inspired by "201 Great Questions that Help Simplify Your Life” by Jerry Jones. Navpress. I know some of you can help me; so jump right in with any advice you can offer:

Kay's Life Focus Questions:

1. What is in the way of what I want in my life? I want to trade _________ in my life for ______.

2. What simple inexpensive pleasures bring me the most enjoyment?

3. Are there ways I am sacrificing quality of life or joy to hold onto a higher standard of living or more stuff?

4. How much does TV watching clutter my time and atmosphere?

5. Since the 1950’s our houses have doubled in size, on average, while at the same time our family size has been cut in half. Am I caught up in a culture mindset of thinking about my home: size, furnishings, etc?

6. Do I have any "toys” or hobbies in my life that are complicating rather than simplifying my life? Hint: I love words, books and written information...I've got to do something with all this paper!! Help!!

7. What can I learn from Jesus’ example of simple living?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Procrastinator yells "Lion!"

"There is a lion outside! I will be slain in the streets," says the lazy one. Proverbs 22:13 The Message: "The loafer says, "There's a lion on the loose! If I go out I'll be eaten alive!"

As I read this scripture and think about my stalls I wonder what part of my procrastination is like this sluggard. Could it be my laziness at moments is based on my fears of my imagination?

I've read several commentaries and the wise writers conclude that this proverb is warning us against misusing our imaginations to justify putting off what needs doing now. In this instance this guy tells everyone there "could be" a lion in the street....he doesn't see one except in his own mind. No one will approve of his staying in his "safe place" all day because he's lazy or timid. To mask his laziness he shifts the focus away from the truth to an illusion of lions.

The sooner I just jump into whatever needs to be done I'm always surprised at how simple it is to do. Whatever I thought was legitimate reason for putting it off turns out to be nothing but my own exaggerated mind games. My fears set off my mind games and then the laziness kicks in and the two keep me trapped in the procrastination cycle.

King Solomon further points out , "The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can give a discreet answer."Proverbs 26:16 Judging from the first verse of the vivid imagination of the sluggard I'm believing this shows how the habitual procrastinator resists any truth that will expose their main problem. He must insist that his own answer is better: There is a lion in the street. He must keep his main issue covered up. Self-justification is the enemy of progress in all relationships; but especially in our relationship with God.

I'm giving up "lion" protective mindsets. I am doing the next thing that needs doing and believing whatever I feared is really a friendly house cat!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Alive All Over

Don't we all seek to be "alive all over?" Check out Pastor Charles Spurgeon's words on Ephesians 2:

"I desire….that we may be alive all over. For some who profess faith, appear to be more dead than alive; life has only reached a fraction of their person.

Life is in their hearts, blessed be God for that, but it is only partially in their heads, for they do not study the gospel nor use their brains to understand its truths.

Life has not touched their silent tongues, their idle hands or their frost bitten pockets.

Their house is on fire, but it is only at one corner, and the devil is doing his best to put out the flame.

Alive all over…………Life that is quickened through being rooted in Jesus……being our first love.

Everything I am, everything I do, centered upon my love for Jesus!"

Eph 2:5, "He…..hath quickened us together with Christ…. "

I agree with Spurgeon and I love this King James Version "quickened." The Greek word for quickened means to animate. Imagine Jesus Christ enlivens and inspires us! In this context….anything that does not have Jesus at its source is lifeless; apart from him we can do nothing! "

I so agree with Pastor Spurgeon. Oh, how I desire to be "alive all over" in Christ.

What does "alive all over" mean to you?

Living In Christ

What's the evidence I live in Christ?

In my graduating class I was voted "Most Likely To Succeed." That may seem like a good thing and it beats some other titles, but the quest for acceptance to fill my empty tank made me become a driven person. The rejection I felt due to the issues at home ripped a hole in my soul and the vacuum of emptiness made me an overworking stressed young person. All that tarnished the shine on that trophy.

Jesus Christ has loved me to fulfillment that I'm no longer a driven woman who tries to be the best. Excellence and being a faithful worker is important to me, but needing to be the best and wasting my strength in comparison to others is gone.

Strong Gentleness is a term I came to see many years ago as I was studying Jesus in the New Testament. I was drawn to His courage and His compassion. I realized I'm most gentle when I am not threatened. In fact, bullies always pick on people they are sure they can conquer. Think of the battered women issue: big guy feels threatened at work, etc and he punches his little wife to feel big and bad and in control. So, Jesus knew He never encountered anyone He couldn't manage.....He had all of Heaven at His call. Once I realized I live "in Christ," I calmed down and I felt His strength in me. I sensed His strength and I could bend down and humble myself to anyone in His gentleness whenever there was a need. "In Christ" life in me flows and I'm not on my own mind!!!

Fear still knocks on my door regularly, but I know how to lean into Christ when it does. Doubts and anxieties try their best to rob my joy, but I know now how to quote Scriptures to answer them. In this strength through the Holy Spirit I am coming to know gentleness in ways that are amazing to me.

Here are some new ways of living I am coming to know I'm "in Christ" as I live daily:

I am receiving mercy and I am learning to be merciful as Christ is merciful:
Mercy (Strong 2617/1656). Mercy is mildness and tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries or to treat an offender better than he deserves. There is no word in English precisely synonymous with mercy in its original language. "The Lord is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving inquity and transgression.." Numb 14:18. "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful" Luke 6:36. Again the appeal is for us to reveal mercy because God is merciful. This is the essence of the Christian life, leading us on the journey to the freedom that He promised.

Growing up in an alcoholic's home where there is mental illness I was taught to "put up a good front" for the sake of the family name. Translation: Lie about everything so we don't look so bad to others. So, I had a problem with lying until I came to Jesus and lived in Christ. Knowing that Jesus is truth gave me incredible strength to overcome this character flaw. Some folks wish I would tell some little white lies when they ask for my honest opinion. I usually warn them, "Are you sure? I gave up lying."

Truth: (Strong 571, 225) Truth is conformity with fact or reality; exact accordance with that which is, has been, or shall be. Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me." John 14:6. Truth is a person, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Word of God. "My mouth will utter truth." Proverbs 8:7a. "Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth." John 17:17. Truth is the nature of God because God is reality. The closer we get to reality, the closer we are to God. It was truth, Jesus said, which would make us free (John 8:32).

Loyalty and faithfulness have been my traits all along. My faith in God has shown me that I must hear from God who He wants me aligned with. Now that I live in Christ I must be mindful who I connect myself with. Everyone will not appreciate Jesus in my life. But oh the assurance to have God's faithfulness and know He will never leave or abandon me lets me live in peace.

Faithfulness (Strong #2617/4103) The Greek word is hesed meaning fixed, determined love, to be kept, guarded, watched over, and preserved. This is covenantal faithfulness. Once God gives Himself covenantally it is impossible for Him to desert or abandon the person or the convenant (Heb 13:8). It is firm adherence to truth and duty, true to allegiance, careful to observe all compacts, treaties, contracts, or vows. In other words, true to one's word. God's affection is what makes the covenant. "know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments. (Deut. 7:9).

Bob Mumford in Agape Road, p. 25 : "Christ is the covenant maker...the agreement is between Him and His Father, not between God and us. Hebrews 7:20-22 explains that the covenant between the Father and the Son is forever. This arrangement cannot and will not change. Jesus explains that "no one comes to the Father, but through Me." John 14:6b. In Christ I am joined to Almighty God forever.

Bitterness and unforgivenss ate away at my goodness before Jesus forgave me for all my sins and wrong thinking. Knowing what He paid for my sins has empowered me to seek to forgive all who have hurt or cheated me.

Forgive (Strong's #5375/5746) This word means pardoning, remitting, disposed to forgive, inclined to overlook offense, mild, merciful, and compassionate as a forgiving temperament. "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." (Matt. 6:12)

Jesus pours His life in me and love without end flows:

  • Mercy

  • Truth

  • Faithfulness

  • Forgiveness

  • Unconditional love

His life flows out of me onto others. My life is not my own and I live to glorify Him. Hallelujah.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Manifested Change

How has Jesus changed my life?

Everything that drove me to pursue life has been flipped. Before I exchanged my all for His all I lived to protect, exalt and promote me. The old line, "what about me?" was playing in my mind all the time while I wore a sweet, kind and benevolent mask to be sure I could garner everyone's acceptance. I walked around with big holes in my soul screaming to be filled.

Now, I live in the "knowing" that God loves me; always has loved me and He has "made me alive in Christ." I know I'm not worthy for such extravagant love and mercy but in Ephesians 2..." For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works that no one should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.".

I fellowship with God and I lean into Him to "hear" what pleases Him. When I sense what He has in mind for me to do I work with Him to complete it. I still love it when people are pleased with me, but that is not my driving force. My supreme question in all things is "Lord, does this please You?" When my call in life from God bothers some people, I pray mercifully for them. But I no longer try to prop up my self esteem by being a people pleaser.

Compassion and mercy for others fills me in such ways I am amazed. It is truly not of my nature. When God pours His mercy and compassion in my heart I feel more pain for others than I naturally would. But to be fully alive is worth whatever pain is involved. At my age many of my peers feel life is essentially finished and it's time to settle back in a rocking chair and remember yesteryear. I've never been more alive and excited about what's next.

My life is ordered according to what I see God doing as I pray, worship, meditate on the Bible, and hear the Word of God preached with power.

What has changed since Jesus became Lord of my life? Everything and I thank God that nothing is based on anything that used to ring my bell!!!

Jesus is my Everything.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Fun Friday: Laugh Out Loud, It's Good Medicine

We've been pondering some deep serious subjects at "Thrive Christians" this week. Looking for an abundant balanced life we've decide it's time to take a deep breath, lie back and let the laughs and good times roll!

It's tax time and even the church gets impacted:

Motivation To Give Offering Beyond The Tithe
"Hello, is this Pastor Smith?" asked the caller.

"Yes, this is he."

"This is the IRS. Can you help us?"

"I can."

"Do you know a John Smith?"

"I do."

"Is he a member of your congregation?"

"He is."

"Did he donate $20,000 to the church?"

"He will."


Red, White and Blue - flag colors
All too true - especially as April 15th approaches!
A Dutchman was explaining the red, white, and blue Netherlands flag to an American.
"Our flag is symbolic of our taxes. We get red when we talk about them, white when we get our tax bills, and blue after we pay them."
The American nodded. "It’s the same in the USA only we see stars too!"


Today we're spotlighting a great writer, humorist, blogger: James Watkins. I read his blogs every time he posts. His books are great and I'm believing funds will come for me to participate in one of his workshops in a writing conference this year. This is not a leg slapping piece, but it's a good one and I'm believing you'll smile a bit.

"The List Irreverent" from Rev. magazine March/April 2005

In China this is the year of the rooster, but for American Christians, it's the year of the list:

In January, The Church Report reader's voted for "The 50 Most Influential Christians in America." Topping the list 1. George Bush, 2. Mel Gibson, 3. Billy Graham, 4. Rick Warren, and 5. Joel Osteen.

Later in January, Christian Retailing Magazine crowed about "The Top 50 People" in Christian publishing: 1. Chuck Colson, 2. James Dobson, 3. T.D. Jakes, 4. Tim LaHaye, and 5. Max Lucado

But the list making the most headlines was February's list in TIME magazine: "The 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America" including 1. Rick Warren 2. Howard and Roberta Ahmanson, 3. David Barton 4. Doug Cole 5. Chuck Colson. Billy Graham wasn't listed until number 1
0. I didn't even recognize twelve of the nominees.

Somehow, though, I don't think God is impressed with "Top" lists. After all, His Son warned, "So the last will be first, and the first will be last" and "Anyone who wants to be the first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else."

And so the Good Book lists . . .
• an unknown inn keeper who took pity on a pregnant couple
• shepherds (the bottom rung of the socio-economic ladder) who were the first ones invited to worship the newborn King
• an unnamed boy (children had little value in the culture) who gives his lunch to Jesus
• a Samaritan (the very bottom of the Jew's list) woman (the bottom of that time and culture's list) who brings an entire village to Jesus
• a widow who gives everything in the temple offering
• a formerly demon-possessed man to evangelizes the ten towns of Decopolis
• an unnamed man who loaned Jesus his donkey on Palm Sunday

The list goes on and on. In modern times, perhaps there's . . .
• a Sunday school teacher somewhere who told a disruptive second-grader, "Ricky, you really need to find a purpose for your life instead of just being driven in every direction."
• a North Carolina farmer, who warned a teen trouble-maker, "Billy, the Buh-ble says, You must be born again . . . right now. If you came on a bus, it will wait for you . . .'"
• a school psychologist telling third-grade Franky, "Perhaps you could deal with the monsters and demons in your mind by writing stories about this present darkness."
• a next-door neighbor saying, "Joyce, could you teach a home Bible study?"
• a nurse who told a young quadriplegic, "Joni, I need you to sign this form. Here, put the pen in your mouth. Wow, nice penmanship. Have you every thought of a career in art?"

God's list rarely includes the "top" "most influential" Christians in "America."
The most influential people in my life include:
• a high school teacher who said, "Jim, you can write."
• the local Youth For Christ leader who convinced me to "give all that you know about yourself to all that you know about God."
• a girlfriend who said, "Jim, you'd make a good minister." (Not exactly what I was hoping to hear on her front porch after a date.)
• a pastor's wife who had a word of knowledge that the first girl I met at Marion College would become my wife. (She was right!)
• and most of all, a
wife who has taught me how to love people unconditionally through her amazing example.

Mrs. Leiter, Dick Wynn, Sandy Uldricks, Mrs. Drummonds, and Lois Watkins won't appear on any "Top" lists, although Dick eventually became president of Youth For Christ.

But I'm sure they're on God's list.
And I hope and pray that after thirty years of ministry, I'm on someone's list as well. And that you are as well.

Jim is a worst-selling author of eleven books who speaks to very small groups of writers about "Taking the Word to the World," and has never appeared on any list, except the Lamb's Book of Life--and that's quite enough.
Copyright © 2005 James N. Watkins


Blessings to you all. Embrace the truth: God loves you and He has planned on you being you: warts and all. He loves to see you full of joy and hope. Thrive, no matter what's going on.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Jesus is Alive, I am Alive in Him

Today is a continuation from yesterday's post: Out of the Graveyard. Who is Jesus Christ to me? I shared how I was the walking dead before I came to know and believe in Jesus Christ. He gave me life with technicolor, surround sound, 3 D, vibrant wonder and adventure.

I've been an ardent Bible student for several decades. I well remember back in the eighties calling my learned senior pastor (a former seminary leader; Bible scholar) with a profound question that I had spent weeks studying for a clear answer, "Pastor, why has God never accepted anything but blood for the remission of sin?" He sighed and asked if I'd been digging in the Old Testament again. "Oh, no sir, I've looked from Genesis to Revelations. I've been studying for three weeks and I cannot find anywhere that states th
at God accepted any sacrifice for sin, but blood."

After a long conversation (don't you know he had a long to do list ? but he patiently talked me through this seeking), he told me I had hit a major truth and with our small minds we cannot fully understand it. But he told me to process through my medical profession knowledge and think how we determine the condition of someone's health...the blood test results. Life is in the blood. So.........first of all as Paul tells us in the Scripture we are dead....dead...dead without the work of Jesus Christ in our lives.

Ephesians 1:7-10
"In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness o
f sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment--to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ."

Yesterday we talked about the natural condition of everyone because when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they sold themselves and all who came after them to Satan. With the shedding of His blood, Jesus nullified that act and bought us back from Satan.

Colossians 1:19,20
"For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him [Jesus], and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross."

No wonder I felt like the walking dead....and of course in Christ I feel alive; because I am!!!

Hebrews 9:14
"How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God." As my pastor showed me I had read correctly that in the Old Testament the blood of goats and bulls were required for the Israelites to be redeemed from their sins. But in this verse I could see that Jesus Christ's blood was the full redemption for my sins, my generational sins from my family and the sins I inherited from Adam and Eve.

So I want to celebrate that I am alive in Christ. I will forever be praising Him, thanking Him, adoring Him, and loving Him for shedding His perfect, clean, life-giving blood on the Cross so that I may live forever.

He's Alive and I am Alive in Him!!! Jesus is my life!

Out of the Graveyard

What does Jesus mean to me?

As a Christian everything in my life is wrapped up in my answer to this one question. I challenged you yesterday in the post: The Main Thing to share what Jesus Christ means to you. I never ask of you what I am unwilling to do myself.

I was so disappointed with my "good life" before I encountered Jesus Christ and realized Who He truly is. I felt like the walking dead. Jesus is literally LIFE to me. I wasn't just spiritually sick; I was dead.

I tried to resuscitate myself with work, fame and good works. It took a resurrection; being born again, anew, with a new nature for me to live a thriving abundant life. My eternal prospect changed from utter hopelessness, darkness and despair into wonderful hope.

Bob Mumford is one of my favorite speakers and authors, In his book, Agape Road p. 16 he states a truth: "When Adam and Eve transgressed, it caused a separation between God and His creation, and death came upon all men. (Romans 5:12). The death line represents broken relationship between God and His creation, and as a result, sin, shame and guilt came upon all humanity. The death line is the entrance of sin into the world that alienated us from God, from ourselves, and from each other. Our human response, like Adam and Eve's, was to run, hide, and shift blame."
B.C. (before Christ) life of Kay Martin could be summed up as the "walking dead." Oh, I sounded and looked fine, but in quiet times I knew I wasn't truly alive; and hopelessness crept into my spirit even in the good times. Mumford continues, " Paul, many years later, said, You were dead in your trespasses and sins. Ephesians 2:1 God, however, transcended the death line by sending us Jesus who came to take us back home to the Father. Our path to God is Jesus, the Word of God made flesh, the Scriptures, and the Holy Spirit. We cross the death line by way of the new birth or being born again. Because Jesus and the Father are one (John 10:30), and because we are one with Jesus (I Cor 6:17), intimacy is possible. "

Christ came as God Incarnate in order to show us the way home and give us the opportunity to be restored to intimacy with God our Father (see 2 Cor. 5:19).
The journey home is more than salvation; it is His promise (see John 14:21-23). Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me." John 14:6

"Animated dust", is what Spurgeon calls us once we are resurrected to new life in Christ.

Jesus' job description was to bring us to the Father, restoring our relationship of love and intimacy that went astray because of the fall.

Hearing a message on God the Father was not a pleasant one for me B.C (before Christ). My folks divorced when I was four. Times were tough and my little toddler mind held no memories of my dad. He died when I was ten with no contacts in those 6 years. I heard all the problems in our family were his fault and "father, dad, papa, etc." were not trusting worthwhile titles in my mind. I thank God for Bob Mumford who also had an earthly father who was not loving and trustworthy for showing me I can trust God, the Father more than anyone else I know or will ever know.

Again read Paul on how dead I really was....Ephesians 2:"And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. "

Mumford p. 222 "We were created to respond to the grace of God...Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world." The Spirit of God/Jesus Christ is what overcomes everything that is not in line with God." When the old tapes play in my mind, I remember I've been redeemed; I am a new creature in Christ.

So, Jesus Christ "lifed" me from the walking dead...and He brought me "Home to Father destiny."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Main Thing

These days I find I must be focused to concentrate on the "main thing" in my life because time is precious and careless mindless living won't work. On Sunday I wrote: Focus Empowers. I interviewed a minister who shared of his prison experience. He shared what Jesus means to him and I will be forever changed by his testimony.

That has triggered this quest:

What does Jesus mean to you?

How has He changed your life?

How do you live out Christ in your life?

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Power of Presence

Girl's Night at my house. A dear friend spent the night last night and we enjoyed an inexpensive dinner at a nearby restaurant and returned to my house for a dvd movie that was silly and full of laughs. I had just the right snacks including gooey sweet chocolate eclairs. I don't know when I've laughed so much.

This morning we went over some of my writing drafts and God blessed us tremendously with revelation knowledge that tied right in with a magnificent sermon by our pastor. My friend packed up her things after a simple lunch and graciously thanked me for the "life" that was coming into her after our respite that refilled her "battery." She lives a few miles away, but she said she felt as though she had flown to a resort and had a great vacation.

She has some huge issues in her family and the finances are tight. In listening to her in the last few weeks this weekend's girls night came to me. She said her husband and other family member were a bit baffled by the purpose of her sleepover with me just down the road, but they had no objections.

Seeing her renewed and strong to continue her beautiful walk in a tough place as God directs her; I find myself wonderfully "lifed" also. I have a large home and I hope God invites others who can take a break from their hard walks and catch their breaths. I believe we have complicated ministry many times into expensive conferences, programmed events. One on one, spending a little time together being friends; praising the Lord may keep us all going in full strength no matter what we may be going through. My budget is tighter than its been in years, but I'm finding everything I need can be addressed. Earlier I would have looked up a women's conference for my friend and I to attend for our R&R. The girl's night was more fun and opened up God's truth more than any conference I ever attended.

Got any ideas of ministering to one another that we need to consider with the economy down?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Focus Empowers

Strong, bold confidence is coming into me as I honor the focus I sense is pleasing to God. My focus is aligned to my call. All Christians are the sense of Romans 1:6-7. We are called to belong to Jesus Christ and to live holy lives. It is only through experiencing the indwelling Christ and understanding our respective callings, that the Christian will be able to live his or her life with poise and purpose, and confidence.

I am making changes (some are quite painful and feel risky) to write as I answer God's call in my life. This week I received some payback for all that obedience. I interviewed my first Christian ex-offender for an article in our first prison newsletter. I told him I wanted more than an encouragement for the time when the inmate will be released. I am keenly aware that lifers and death row inmates will read these newsletters. Many of them are Christians. He lit up with a light in his eyes as he told me, "Kay, I wasn't saved until I was arrested. I was unchurched and in the county jail I encountered Jesus Christ. I had never known such peace and joy in my life. I spent 7 + years in prison, but every day with Jesus in prison was better than any day free in the world without Him."

As I heard him go on and on about life in Christ compared to the best the world offers, I was convicted of my lack of gratitude daily for my salvation and life in Christ. Have I ever thanked God for salvation ....even if I were to end up in a prison cell? Oh, this narrowing my life to make room to become God's scribe is intense, but I am already blessed beyond compare with the witness of my first subject of my first article.

I'm walking in my gift from God; in the church in the Kingdom of God. I'm focusing on that gift in Christ; praying to be operate in strong gentleness with God's people. Ephesians 2:19b -22 "...members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit."

My focus to please God above all else has led to Holy Spirit leading me to the need in my church that matched the gift working in my spirit for a place to work. Yes, focus means cutting away things that don't line up with the main thing; but oh, what a joy to be concentrating on the main thing: Jesus Christ alive in me in His Body: the dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Focus Frees

“I thrive on spontaneity.”I’m not messy, just creative.” I've used all of these statements to explain myself. Now, I am committed to focus my life on what pleases God. No more excuses; time is valuable and it's focus time. In The Message, I read... 1 Timothy 4:8 says, “Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever.”

I so appreciate Chatty Kelly commenting here in the last few days on her struggles as a type A person that suffers sometimes from her need to complete plans to the point she injures herself with lack of sleep, etc.

As a Christian I always look in the Bible for my direction. Jesus is the Man I look to as a model and Teacher. In Luke 10:42 I see where two sisters demonstrate the complexity of us Christians deciding on using our time, energy and resources: "...but only a few things are necessary, really only one, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken from her." (LUKE 10:42).

NOW...let me be perfectly clear: I never want to live in a world of only Mary type folk!!! I've heard sermons on this passage for years and early on I thanked God for the industrious "Martha's" and I knew that the responsibility they assume makes the world work. But I sense we all have a bit of both of these bents (Mary and Martha), and we express the extreme of that bent in different areas of our lives.

But I see in this Scripture that the Lord is calling us to focus on
the necessary thing according to Him. The good part which Mary had chosen was to listen to the Lord's teaching.

"The greatest need of our time is to clean out the enormous mass of mental and emotional rubbish that clutters our minds and makes of all political and social life a mass of illness. Without this housecleaning, we cannot begin to see." p. 107

"We can become lost in the hurly-burly of modern life. We can submerge ourselves in a pool of chatter and small talk. We can hide from ourselves and from God by allowing ourselves to become busier and busier. The prayer of attending is about finding moments in the midst of our hectic, noisy existence to connect with God and God's redemptive love." P. 116
Neil Pembroke, Moving Toward Spiritual Maturity: Psychological, Contemplative, and Moral Challenges in Christian Living, Haworth Pastoral Press, 2007

Focus Frees: As I sacrifice to make the time to be quiet with the Lord and listen to Him before I begin my day I am coming to understand this truth of focusing on Jesus: Listening first; then throughout the day choosing to say no to what is good and yes to what is better. Is this not following Mary’s pattern of self-discipline doing what’s better even when it’s not easy? It’s being with Jesus, no matter what.

My focus: invest my all pleasing the Lord — not myself, not others. This means taking time to quiet down so I can hear what He is saying to me. Who day He may tell me that it would please Him if I’d balance my checkbook weekly, clean out my attic, make a list for everything, and memorize a Bible verse a day.

"It is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose" (Phil. 2:13).

God is the one who does the work, but I'm involved. I can resist His work, or I can submit myself to cooperating with it.

Obedience expresses faith in His wisdom and love. Obedience is what He made me for (Eph. 2:10), and life works better if I'm in tune with the way I am made.

Some of you younger readers must be wondering, "Kay's a mature woman in her sixties; why is she still wrestling with these issues?" Oh, I'm convinced we're in process our entire lives on earth. Again I see in Scripture Apostle Paul... "Not that I ... have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me" (Phil. 3:12). Christ has taken hold of us for His purpose, which is that we are to be conformed into His image. So we press onward, confident in Him, striving to do His will.

My Focus Frees me from all other noises, voices or distractions:

"One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus" (vv. 13-14).

Friday, January 16, 2009

Fun Friday Finally

Here at Thrive Christians Blog we believe in the joy of life and the value of laughter in a thriving abundant life. This has been another wild week that hasn't given me much time to write. I am a novice of writing humor and my ignorance shows through.

A promise is a promise and here is a bit to give you a laugh break. I've had car troubles this week so I found this little joke delightful:

Wife: "There's trouble with the car. It has water in the carburetor."
Husband: "Water in the carburetor? That's ridiculous."
Wife: "I tell you the car has water in the carburetor."
Husband: "You don't even know what a carburetor is. Where's the car?"
Wife: "In the swimming pool."

I seem to be so forgetful these days I never did this....
My wife had a nasty accident with the car this morning. She backed it out of the garage, completely forgetting that the night before, she had backed it in.
....but I never backed my car into the garage either!!!

Notice in a field:

The farmer allows walkers to cross the field for free, but the bull charges

Sign on a repair shop door:

We can repair anything.
(Please knock hard on the door - the bell doesn't work)

Bumper sticker: Keep honking, I'm reloading.

When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane and driving against traffic

Now if you have the time I can almost promise this video will bring you to laugh. This was filmed at the Comedy Barn in Pigeon Forge Tennessee a couple audience members are brought on stage to participate.

I know the news is grim and getting more so; I'm sure things are not all going your way; in fact, you may have had some very bad news come into your life: but please choose to bring some things in your life that make you laugh. God gave us this gift and I'm convinced we would thrive more if we looked, hunted, and searched for those things that will bring laughter.

God bless you all.

Blinders May Be In Order

"Kay, when you figure out how to "fire" as a rifle instead of as a shotgun; you will be a strong effective Christian leader," stated a top manufacturing executive that served with me on a pastoral search committee of a large church. As I zone in on my core responsibilities in 2009 I'm reminded of that conversation decades ago.

My problem of over-commitment and failure to eliminate the good to better address the best is not a new situation for me. I sought advice from this man I so admired for the excellence I observed in his life. He honestly recommended I seek the Lord for my purpose and primary call. He said I needed to be ruthless in making the time for the main things and never regret what other tasks were missed.

Today I know God is calling me to write. When I'm not swatting "gnats" from activities I cannot seem to wind up I love writing. As I write these posts this week I am finding myself getting frustrated with the time it is taking to disassociate and disconnect from some "hanging on" projects.

Jack Canfield said,
"Success depends on getting good at saying no without feeling guilty. You cannot get ahead with your own goals if you are always saying yes to someone else’s projects. You can only get ahead with your desired lifestyle if you are focused on the things that will produce that lifestyle."

Blog readers: help. Give your best pointer. How would you trim the fat; decline the invitation; make room for creativity and excellent work?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Power of Focus

Established old methods of doing business probably won't work well in 2009. In this new economy everyone must evaluate everything to see what can work in this environment.

Yesterday I attended a meeting of business people. Starting out this new year we discussed our goals and plans for successful fulfillment of our strategies. From bankers to non-profit helping agency managers I heard an initial "Sigh," before they laid out some of their goals.

Being 65 this year, newly widowed, and believing I am a newly activated fulltime writer I sighed the loudest. But I shared I am commited to changing the way I approach my life this year with a specific focus for the use of my time, energy, money and resources. Key words coming up in my conversations with friends and associates are "No...I must decline... I realize I've been involved with your agency for years, but this year I cannot spare the time for this commitment...No, I can't go on that shopping trip...." Usually folks are kind and so far I'm not aware of losing any friends, but I am zoning in on my target missions and if I lose some friends I will be at peace with that cost for the excellence I am pursuing.

I shared this with the group and then they each began to share how their companies are examining all projects, activities and evaluating if they will continue long established programs; eliminate them or alter the way they operate them. 2009 can be that great impetus to push us all to trim the fat; eliminate distractions that have spead us too thin, and we could become more than we could have ever imagined.

Thrive Christians is on a quest for ways to focus on the call of God in our lives.

What works for you to stay on task and get the job done?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Hear, Heed, Heal Part 3 George Mueller

Hearing God and heeding Him immediately will heal all your ills. Concluding this series is a glorious example of an ordinary man, Geroge Muller, living out an extraordinary life of prayer and miraculous provision of a Holy God.

George Muller (September 27, 1805March 10, 1898), a Christian evangelist and coordinator of orphanages in Bristol, England, cared for 10,024 orphans in his life. He was well-known for providing an education to the children under his care,and giving them a good life.

George had a tough beginning in a dysfunctional home. I can relate to this part of the story. His father was an unbeliever and George grew up a liar and a thief, by his own testimony. His mother died when he was 14, and he records no impact that this loss had on him except that while she was dying he was roving the streets with his friends “half intoxicated.” He went on living a bawdy life, and then found himself in prison for stealing when he was 16 years old. His father paid to get him out, beat him, and took him to live in another town (Schoenbeck).

Mueller used his academic skills to make money by tutoring in Latin, French, and mathematics. Finally his father sent him to the University of Halle to study divinity and prepare for the ministry because that would be a good living. Neither he nor George had any spiritual aspirations. Of the 900 divinity students in Halle, Mueller later estimated that maybe nine feared the Lord.

Then on a Saturday afternoon in the middle of November, 1825, when Mueller was 20 years old, he was invited to a Bible study and, by the grace of God, felt the desire to go. “It was to me as if I had found something after which I had been seeking all my life long. I immediately wished to go.” “They read the Bible, sang, prayed, and read a printed sermon.”To his amazement Mueller said, “The whole made a deep impression on me. I was happy; though, if I had been asked, why I was happy I could not have clearly explained it. “I have not the least doubt, that on that evening, [God] began a work of grace in me. . . . That evening was the turning point in my life.”

Mueller pastored churches but finally came into his main destiny to build orphanages for the thousands of orphans after the wars. He said, “All believers are called upon, in the simple confidence of faith, to cast all their burdens upon Him, to trust in him for every thing, and not only to make every thing a subject of prayer, but to expect answers to their petitions which they have asked according to His will, and in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

One estimate is that Mueller collected about $150 million in today's currency. Thanks to Coty Pinckney for the reference and calculations, using John J. McCusker, “Comparing the Purchasing Power of Money in Great Britain from 1264 to Any Other Year Including the Present,” Economic History Services, 2001 (

Mueller never campaigned or asked for funds. He prayed and God supplied millions. He said, “In the greatest difficulties, in the heaviest trials, in the deepest poverty and necessities, He has never failed me; but because I was enabled by His grace to trust Him He has always appeared for my help. I delight in speaking well of His name.”- George Muller

Here's how George Müller set out to ascertain the will of God on a daily basis:

  • · I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter. Nine-tenths of the trouble with people generally is just here. Nine-tenths of the difficulties are over come when our hearts are ready to do the Lord's will, whatever it may be. When one is truly in this state, it is usually but a little way to the knowledge of what His will is.
  • · Having done this, I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impression. If so, I make myself liable to great delusions.
  • · I seek the Will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions also. If the Holy Ghost guides us at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them.
  • · Next I take into account providential circumstances. These often plainly indicate God's Will in connection with His Word and Spirit.
  • · I ask God in prayer to reveal His Will to me aright.
  • · Thus, through prayer to God, the study of the Word, and reflection, I come to a deliberate judgment according to the best of my ability and knowledge, and if my mind is thus at peace, and continues so after two or three more petitions, I proceed accordingly. In trivial matters, and in transactions involving most important issues, I have found this method always effective.

Knowing God's Will - The Key to Everything!

Christ taught us that knowing God's will and living in obedience to that will is the key to it all!

God is the potter; we are the clay. God keeps us spinning on His potter's wheel, shaping and reshaping us as He bathes our lives in tears to make us more Christ-like so He can use us for His will. Surrender daily. Keep your clay moist through daily prayer - prayer that's in accordance to His will.

Prayer *Kay Martin:


Thank You for writers who give us this witness of a great man saved by grace living in total submission to You. Lord, teach us how to position ourselves to hear You daily; rest in Your mercy and grace; empower us to dare to live out...heed, what we hear You call us to do. Father God, heal us and make us whole and may our lives shine with Your glory in thanksgiving and praise for you with all that is in us.

In Jesus Christ holy name, AMEN

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hear, Heed, Heal Part 2 Know God's Voice

How do people know God is speaking to them? The Bible tells us that Jesus said His sheep know His voice. Yesterday we explored hearing and knowing the Voice of our Shepherd.

Daring to write that God speaks to us Christians today is somewhat controversial. I understand the dilemma since I realize mentally ill people do unbelievable things and say God told them to do the most bizarre actions. I also know folks who run up to me every time I encounter them breathless with "God told me......" But, for me, the Bible is my standard and my own experiences show me truth about hearing from God. My pastor preaches a solid explanation of hearing God in my life. I read classic books written by saints that have held their integrity for years sharing of hearing from God with guidance to live holy lives. Praying and believing that God and I have relationship that communication goes both ways is core to my thriving abundant life in Christ.

The disciples and followers of Jesus Christ lived in a functioning communication with Him. Jesus was alive among them, in them, speaking to them. By His Spirit He led them and directed them in living the Kingdom of God here on earth.

When I think of "knowing" you've heard from God I think of Ananias in Damascus. Imagine the most ruthless Christian slayer, Saul, comes to Ananias' spirit and he hears the LORD telling him to go to the house of Judas on Straight Street. There he will find Saul of Tarsus
. I notice that I do not find Ananias amazed that the Lord is speaking to him. No, he was astonished at what the LORD said. It was the content of what He said that shocked Ananias, not hearing Him.

May we think about that for a moment. Here is Ananias living in New Testament times after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension. He is spoken to by God, the occasion is mentioned in Acts 9, but we aren’t told how Ananias heard Him. We just know he did hear and responded. He heeded what God told him to do. Through the obedience of Ananias, Saul learned what God had in store for him, and through Paul’s response, we are given a plumb line to measure what we believe the LORD is saying to us.

Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of God rule in your heart.

When I study the Bible, I pour out my heart to the Lord in prayer, and I dwell on His goodness in stillness; I sense the Lord in my thoughts. There is always peace when I sense what God is calling me to in that moment. The peace of God acts as an umpire in my heart. This is how I know what I'm hearing is from Him; there is a peace that accompanies it.

When I committed to write on "Hear, Heed, Heal" I had a little reservation. When I write or speak on a topic a couple of things usually occur:

  • I have a present experience to remind me of the times I have experienced God in the way I'm communicating about Him.
  • I usually have a test to try to distract me from whatever truth I'm writing or speaking on.

Yesterday as I finished writing the first post I realized I hadn't spent time being still and listening to the Lord. I shut everything down and waited on the Lord. I felt like putting my arms over my head and peeking out toward heaven and saying, "O.K. Lord, I'm sure You have something to say to me as I write on hearing You. What do I need today Father?" I am going through a good bit these days finishing up things from my husband's office in this last year since his death. I was tentative to hear a "call from God." Suddenly the word "relax" fell into my thoughts. I have heeded that word ever since.

Wouldn't you know I got a call right after that from a business associate. She invited me to an exciting but busy busy activity for the day. I initially told her I'd be there, and then that word "relaxed" fell into my mind. I laughed and dialed her up and said I could not make it today; I had other critical matters to see to. I didn't bother to tell her I knew I had to relax today; she is not a believer and it was not anything I needed to explain.

I heard....I heeded....I believe I am being healed.
Deuteronomy 13:4 "You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Hear, Heed, Heal

Have you heard God today? Honestly I don't know how I could get out of bed unless I sensed I had "heard" Him this morning. Some of my proteges have honestly told me lately they doubt they "hear" God often. I so understand. I've only lived experiencing this verse for 20+ years.

"When He brings out His own sheep He goes before them; and the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice."
John 10:4

How do sheep learn to follow their shepherd's voice? In the beginning, little lambs follow the other older sheep. They haven't yet learned to hear the shepherd's voice for themselves, so they follow the more mature sheep. But, in time, they learn how to recognize the shepherd's voice for themselves. When they hear His voice, they obey it or they will lose His distinctive sound

I well recall stumbling forward doing what seemed right at the present moment. I'd have done as well with a dart board as I did in my Christan walk. I came to a spiritual crisis and I learned to discipline myself to spend quiet time alone with God. Now, I know through Bible study, meditation and prayer to "hear" God's voice. When I stall in obedience my "hearing" fails; so through failure I have learned the value of immediate obedience to what I hear from God.

This begins a series of posts titled "Hear, Heed, Heal." This is God's pattern with His children. Throughout the Bible from Genesis to Revelations we can read of God working through the lives of His "sheep" who know the Shepherd (God) by spending time in His presence so much that they distinguish His voice when He speaks.

I did not come gently to hear God daily to know the direction of my day. No, trouble....big trouble...trouble so terrifying I came to God because nothing else was working; and in laying before Him for hours I learned to "know" His voice. But when God walked me through that trouble; I never wanted to live without His voice guiding my life; even in happy easy times. So, thank God trouble interrupted my life.

How do you hear God? How did you come to know His voice? What scriptures bless you to help you hear Him?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Starting & Finishing

"Starting is easy...finishing is hard." This is the framed quote over my work area. I love starting new things. I'm an innovative idea person with a fast start mentality full of enthusiasm, but I bore easily at keeping on with a project to completion. In my hobbies of knitting and crafting I have overcome this by starting several projects and moving from one to the next when the boredom creeps in. I've actually completed more projects than most people I know.

But...ummm.... in 2009 this a huge conjunction for me; But God has opened significant doors of opportunity for me to join Him in work that could be significant eternally in His Kingdom here on earth. I am so awed that I am humbly crying out to Him to move me beyond my "bent," my likes and preferences and prove me excellent in staying on task as Holy Spirit leads. I want to finish in ways that please Him.

You great finishers: got any tips or ideas?

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Christmas morning my 30 year old handsome son gave me my Christmas card. I lit up and said, "Well, this blesses my soul. I didn't know you noticed, Son." He sauntered over with a question all over his face. Then he chuckled and grabbed me around the shoulders and said, "Yes, are a WOW, but you'll notice as you open the envelope that I wrote it: M ... O... M and you are reading it WOW!!!" Ain't that just like life: upside down perspectives give such a different message than the one intended by the writer!

I choose to hold onto that envelope and display it is actually one of my favorite "encouraging" tools for bum days. But I have begun to suspect communication issues may well be summed up in me holding that message upside down and getting a totally different message from the one my son innocently wrote on the envelope.

Your turn: got any ideas on communication perspectives?


Friday, January 9, 2009

Computer Purgatory

2009 is a year I have committed to understanding "I can do nothing of myself...." and maybe my computer saga is showing me some insight. I had a power cord issue last week, but I thought it might be something else. I sat in a computer lab with others waiting my turn to work with the technician in the free work area. Since my computer is under warranty I got the new cord...lost a day of my life but it was working. So this showed me what a joke a computer is with no power source. A saved saint without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit may be just as limited.

I have had a cold and felt terrible and I'm sure I was half alert from that virus when I was deceived by a logo so similar to my antivirus AVG....that I let AV9 virus come onto my computer that corrupted and contaminated everything. So, back to the computer lab and for 2 days we tried to save my files and concluded it was hopeless and I wiped all off and reloaded all my software etc. The Bible calls me to have the mind of Christ. I am diligently seeing to it that I put in my mind that which is true and lovely in line with the Bible as well as the Word itself. But if I don't stay alert I can easily be deceived as I was with that "nearly" same logo of my antivirus. My mind can become corrupted by not paying attention to what I put in it.

But I didn't do such a great job of reloading .... I spent the morning today getting everything in place for me to use this computer. The computer technician and I took 2 hours loading all the drivers I failed to get on my computer. In living, ministry and work diligence in paying attention to the details matters. Resilience, focus and discipline to finish well is critical to being a Christ-like servant of the Lord.

Frustrated doesn't even begin to describe my feelings, but if I'm honest I have to say some amazing things occurred in that computer clinic during these long days waiting my turn. I met an amazing pastor's wife and we know we will be doing some work together in ministry .....I never could have met her any other way. Four young men in conversation and looking over my shoulder at the book I was reading asked me deep questions about the Lord. One beautiful 19 year old talked at length to me about how he loved the Lord but just couldn't get organized church. I took him to Ephesians 2 and told him about the difference in household salvation and being a part of God's dwelling place...His habitation ... as a living stone in place with Jesus Christ the cornerstone. I asked him if he wanted to live in this world with a little knowing of Jesus Christ or did he want the thriving powerful life that comes when we are in place to hold His Presence? He smiled and said "You have me thinking."

I have now started the real work of the "Razor Wire" newsletter for the inmates in SC. Hopefully my web based backup service has what I've been writing for six months. If they don't I will begin again. But I now have hardware and protective systems in place that should prevent what happened to me this week from occurring again. I am thanking God for this whole mess!!! I was placed with hurting and seeking people who asked me for some spiritual help while we sat and waited our turn......amazing!!! Before the deadlines begin I had a computer failure and learned what wasn't in place early. Oh, looking to the Lord to guide all my steps and show me how to walk where He leads me is off to a wild, wild beginning. But oh, how wonderful to have Him showing me early what I need to do for this awesome assignment.

This week here at Thrive Christians has been focused on hope. Jesus Christ is my hope in all things, at all times and in all ways. I shudder to think what I have missed when my hope was ever in anything less than Him. My time in the company of many folks of all ages sitting and waiting; I conclude that these uncertain times give us believers privilege of offering sure hope for seekers: Jesus!!!

I'm so happy to back on the web!!! May you all be blessed and have a beautiful weekend. Next Friday I promise Fun Friday will begin again and I'm praying for a great funny mood lifter!!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Hope is Confident Expectancy.

Now is the hour for Christians to know their hope is in Christ. Others are looking for answers in impossible situations. When they see us hopeful no matter what; they will want to know what makes us tick.

Hopelessness is a sad word. There are others:
Poet T. S. Eliot: “The saddest word in the English language is, of course, ‘saddest.’”
Lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II: “But.”
Writer John Dos Passos quoted John Keats: “Forlorn! the very word is like a bell.” Psychiatrist Karl Menninger: “Unloved.”
Statesman Bernard M. Baruch: “Hopeless.”
President Harry Truman quoted John Greenleaf Whittier: “For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: ‘It might have been!’”

John MacArthur explains hope writing that...True hope can be based only on a true promise, on confidence in someone who can perform what he promises. Hope is a profound blessing that gives meaning and security to life. Living without hope of future joy and enrichment reduces man to a piece of meaningless protoplasm. Hope is the consummation of life, the confident assurance that we have a blessed future in the plan of God.

Hughes writes that...The first century was an age of suicide. There was no Messiah, no hope. That is the way it is today also, apart from Christ.. (Hughes, R. K.: Ephesians: The Mystery of the Body of Christ. Crossway Books)

Spurgeon said regarding "Ye were without Christ ... aliens ... strangers ... having no hope . . . without God. Savior, Christ Jesus."

Hope is the looking forward to something with some reason for confidence respecting fulfillment. All of these aspects of Biblical "hope" were something the pagan Gentiles sorely lack.

If there is no hope, all is lost. Without hope there is nothing. The promise of God is the only foundation of hope, and therefore those to whom there is no promise have no hope. (Hodge, C. A Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians. London : Banner of Truth Trust, 1964)

If your only identity is in your career and you're handed a pink slip; or you lose your home because of escalating mortgage interest and you can't imagine foreclosure; and if you are faced with your spouse saying they don't love you anymore you can feel hopeless. These are some of the pains in those areound us.

Those apart from Christ typically wrap their lives around things and refuse to think about ultimate reality. The escape can be very intellectual on one hand, or on the other an eternal Nintendo game. As a believer who has found hope, I cannot imagine living without God. The word which describes all of this is alienation.

How will you encourage someone based on your hope in Christ?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Hope in The Hard Times

Working in medical offices and ministry to the poor has taught me that hopeless people are careless people. Whenever you can show anyone one grain of hope they will tighten up the disciplines of their lives and live more cautiously. As we begin this New Year I want to encourage all Christians to realize we have true hope for anyone who can hear "The Word of God."

I haven't fallen into hopelessness; but I have known times of feeling overwhelmed and without any sure answers. Thank God, loving saints were nearby to squelch my "Who cares...including me?"

Jesus' Messianic Name: The Hope of Israel shows us we are never without hope. In Jeremiah 14:8 "Thou Hope of Israel, its Savior in time of distress. Why art Thou like a stranger in the land Or like a traveler who has pitched his tent for the night?" (Jer 14:8)

I'm studying Ephesians 2 for an undetermined amount of time (I have so many questions in this one chapter I don't know if I'll live long enough to dig all the gold out of this mine) and in the 4th -6th verses I see a truth that gives me hope always:

"But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved--and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus."

Hope is defined as a desire for some future good with the expectation of obtaining it.

Hope is confident expectancy.

Hope is the looking forward to something with some reason for confidence respecting fulfillment.
If there is no hope, all is lost. Without hope there is nothing.

Hopeless is surely one of the most dreadful words in the English language.

My goal today is to fire up your hope in Christ. I want to hear from you on how will you encourage others if these challenges days send them into hopelessness?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Hear the Banner Whipping in the Wind?

This famous picture depicts the marines in World War II struggling after a long battle pushing a flag of the USA to show that they won the fierce battle.

BANNERS SHOW VICTORIES WON Psalm 20:5-9-"We will rejoice in your salvation, And in the name of our God we will set up our banners!"

I recall when I first learned this name of God: Jehovah Nissi. I looked back on tough times and saw how the Lord had worked through every tough battle and won it for ultimate good. In my mind I see banners set on top of those mountains and I see a white banner with a red cross and I "hear" those banners popping in the wind. No matter what struggle is before me (or all around me), I hold onto the vision of those victorious banners and I hear them pop in the wind.

I know 2009 is unknown in many ways for many of us. Yesterday I cautioned on looking back while you proceed forward, but there is merit in looking back and seeing the goodness of God in your life. King David encouraged himself recalling all the ways God blessed him. No matter what lies ahead God is with us. The battle is His and we need to be encouraged by that truth.

As soon as the banner is lifted up and unfurled in the face of the enemy, it seems to say, "Come on, do the worst you can. We do not fear your power. We defy you!" I hope that the sincerity of my heart comes through this post. I am empowered to fight when I see this image of a banner whipping in the wind. I consider this as one of my greatest spiritual warfare weapons.

When Jesus Christ is lifted up, we give defiance to the enemies of our Lord. I know I have no power over satan in myself, but his power has been forever destroyed by the cross of Christ. And we must defiantly hurl the Banner of his defeat in his face. Yet, the Lord Jesus, Jehovah-Nissi, the Lord our Banner, will assuredly draw sinners to himself (John 12:32).

I've said it before and I say it now: Just Give me Jesus: Jehovah-Nissi, the Lord my Banner!!!
© 2008 Kay Martin

Thrive In Christ

Who I Am In Christ by Neil Anderson

For several months we will center on this book to pursue Thriving in our Christian journey.

Neil challenges us with: "Do you know who you are in God's eyes? We are no longer products of our past. We are primarily products of Christ's work on the cross. Who we are determines what we do.

You are not who you are in Christ because of the things you have done, you are in Christ because of what He has done. He died and rose again so that you and I could live in the FREEDOM of His love."

That's just the introduction. More to follow.