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how thick is your skin

yesterday we looked at a scripture that deals with our relationship with God. it speaks of how when we fall away from listening to God we develop a "thick skin" - i got to thinking about how thick my skin is - and how i got to that point. i questioned a great many things, and i was wondering in other thought the samething? when we look at our life, how thick is the skin we developed? take stock in just the past month, or past week, of the times you felt your skin get ticker. what do you think you can do to "thin" out your skin?

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our thick skin

ever wonder why we seem not to get what God is asking of us? i mean, it seems so many miss the boat on what God is doing. churches, people, ministries and more - over time, in the evagelical church, "sucess" was measured in "money and membership" - how much you raised, and how many you brought in. but, with both on a decline, one needs to ask, are we doing what God is blessings?
And then what happened? Well, when Israel tried to be right with God on her own, pursuing her own self-interest, she didn't succeed. The chosen ones of God were those who let God pursue his interest in them, and as a result received his stamp of legitimacy. The "self-interest Israel" became thick-skinned toward God.

irrael did not, they started to move away from what God wanted to do with them, and into what they wanted to do themselves. in that, they became "thick skinned" in how they delt with God. they knew what they needed to do, but they just did not do it. the funny thing is that God never moved - God ws always there. when we look at what we are doing and we ask if it has meaning, all i can say is that we need to be doing what God is blessing and the results will be that we "recieve his stamp of legitimacy"

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Keep the Flame

Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame.
Romans 12:11 The Message

I've come close to burning out. I'm aware of dangers of losing the flame. It's not just overwork or lack of rest. It's also frustration and disappointment. Burnout can be directly linked to the loss of perspective. I appreciate the reminder here that we each have a responsibility to keep ourselves fueled and aflame. Which means focusing on the Source while living out the life of the Source. And maybe blogging less every now and then.

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Second Fiddle

Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.
Romans 12:10 (The Message)
I used to play second flute in a youth orchestra. And third flute. It was good not having to take responsibility for all the solos. When the time came for a bit more volume, it was time to join in.

As a leader it can be tempting to constantly take on roles that involve being up front. However there are times when others are called to work at the coal face, with support from others in the background.

I'm currently working as the chair of a local chaplaincy committee for thigh school chaplains in three state high schools. No glory. Just hard work. And lots of chances to play 'second fiddle'.

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Authentic Love

Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it.
Romans 12:9 The Message

A bit of a challenge that is. Loving genuinely. Being authentic. So what if we're not disposed to loving those around us? What if we're genuinely self centered right now? What if we're in survival mode? It's hard when you're down with the flu. Or at the end of a stressful series of transitions.

Maybe we're called to love vulnerably. Even in the times in which we find it difficult to see the needs of others, we can offer the gift of our experience. "This is what it's like from here."

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why give?

when a person is in need what do you give? if you see a person with their hand out looking for help, what do you think? get a job? they will buy beer with the money? they don't need the money, their just lazy? what do you think when you see someone with their hand out? what do you think when a person in the church needs help? what if the person next-door needed help, what would you think? more to the point, what would you do?

if we read paul's words to the church in corinth we get some insite into how we are to give - [2 cor 8:1-15]

1. you give in response to God's love, not out of what we think they may do with the money.
2. you do not give based on a return - like a tax break, or a thank you.
3. you give according to what you have, not more or less
4. you give based on being a sacrifice, but do so with responsibility
5. you give to help meet needs of others, but you do not determine what those needs are.

while this giving is based on human to human, it is a good guideline for what we give to the church.

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pointing fingers

too many people are pointing fingers. it is easy to find the faults in others, and sometimes it is hard to find the good - but if we all spent time looking for the good and not the faults, we would be so much better. but why you ask? why should we not find the faults of others? if a person is "bad" should we not call that and say, "hey, your a bad person"? well, let's see what paul says in his letter to the roman people:
Those people are on a dark spiral downward. But if you think that leaves you on the high ground where you can point your finger at others, think again. Every time you criticize someone, you condemn yourself. It takes one to know one. Judgmental criticism of others is a well-known way of escaping detection in your own crimes and misdemeanors. But God isn't so easily diverted. He sees right through all such smoke screens and holds you to what you've done. You didn't think, did you, that just by pointing your finger at others you would distract God from seeing all your misdoings and from coming down on you hard? Or did you think that because he's such a nice God, he'd let you off the hook? Better think this one through from the beginning. God is kind, but he's not soft. In kindness he takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change. [2:1-4]
seems straight forward. if you are the kind of person that finds faults in others, it's because you are trying to hide your own faults. it truly that simple.

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too much to do

ever feel overwhelmed by a task? i mean, have you ever looked at a situation in life and felt that the possibility of correcting that problem were just too far out of your abilities? think about world hunger, homelessness, civil wars, wars, violence - all problems we find overwhelming - they are much to big for us to solve. but are they? how do we as christians react to this? historicly we have ignored the problem, of formed committees to study the problem, but we have done little to truly solve the problem.

i remember not too long ago talking at a gathering of mission types - they ones who collect money so others can do the work. in our conversation i said it would be great if all the problems of this would could be solved, and one in the group said, "gosh, i hope not; we would all be out of work" - and the rest laughed. i sometimes wonder if we are doing mission work because we see a need, or because we see a job opportunity? are we collecting money to help others, or keep our jobs?

some say the words of jesus about the poor always being with us means we can never truly solve the problems facing our world - at best we can simply help comfort - well, notice what i wrote about comforting :) but let's see what else jesus told us:
"Because you're not yet taking God seriously," said Jesus. "The simple truth is that if you had a mere kernel of faith, a poppy seed, say, you would tell this mountain, "Move!' and it would move. There is nothing you wouldn't be able to tackle."

matthew records jesus (17:20) talking about faith, and how with faith we can do anything. when we think a problem can not be solved, it can not - but if we have faith everything is possible.

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why are we comforted?

ever hear people preach about how God will comfort you in a time of need? and have you every wondered why? over my time in churches i hear preachers preach of God comfort in our times of need, and they always leave it at that. the idea is, if you are hurt, God will comfort that hurt - and all that is cool, but again, why? why does God comfort us? well, paul shares some insite into that when he writes to the church in corinth:
He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.
so, the "why" is so that we can comfort others who have the same pains. the idea is that we are to help others and help them find comfort. we are to give as we recieve - as God gives to us we are to give to others.

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being co-dependant

one of the "problems" with the modern age is the rejection of being "co-dependant." i like being co-dependant. i think it is a foundation of our faith. who do you depend on? your wife? your husband? your friends? being co-dependant is something jesus desires of us. in his letter to the romans paul brings out this point when he says:
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. [12:3-5]

how can we be a body if we are not dependant on each other?

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world impact

how does one impact the world? i think we do it one person at a time, starting with ouselves. if jesus made an impact on us, then we are changed and we can share that impact with others.

in john's experience with jesus, john writes [17:9-19] that jesus wants us to make that world impact - to "change things" one person at a time. the message of jesus is not designed to change goverments or companies, but it is designed to change people - at a core, at a center - and then for us to impact other people. it is only be impacting a person that the world will change.

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what is the good news?

i guess it depends on who you talk with. but for jesus, what was "the good news?" let me think off the cuff here; it could not have been his dying on the cross, because in the writings of mark (16:15) jesus sends out the disciples to "go into the world. go everywhere and announce the message of God's good news to one and all." so, because jesus was alive at the time, it could not be his death. what was the "good news?"

i think it was that God loves us and wants a relationship with us.

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i am back :)

it seems like life takes as long as life needs to do the living we need to live :) well, we made it across country (3100 miles with three kids and a dog); can someome tell me how i missed "wally world?"

well, i am her in north carolina and ready to get back into the swing - i would like to thank duncan for doing far and above what we agreed to, you are the man and i owe you big time. well, if duncan is still talking to to me, we will be moving back and forth between us both [as it was supose to be before this move]. so, for the next week or so - if duncan would like to take a longer break i am so very cool with that - i will be posting the daily devos :) so, i will post in the morning - God bless to all.

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