Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Law of the Garbage Truck

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Law of the Garbage Truck

Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven …. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?"1

Mike Benson asks, "How often do you let other people's nonsense change your mood?

"Do you let a bad driver, rude waiter, curt boss, or an insensitive employee ruin your day? The mark of a successful [mature] person is how quickly he/she can get back his/her focus on what's important.

"I hopped in a taxi, and we took off for Grand Central Station. We were driving in the right lane when, all of a sudden, a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his breaks, skidded, and missed the other car's back end by just inches! The driver of the other car, the guy who almost caused a big accident, whipped his head around and started yelling bad words at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was friendly.

"So, I said, 'Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital.' And this is when my taxi driver told me what I now call, 'The Law of the Garbage Truck.' He said, 'Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it. And if you let them, they'll dump it on you. When someone wants to dump on you, don't take it personally. You just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on.'

"I started thinking, how often do I let garbage trucks run right over me? And how often do I take their garbage and spread it to other people: at work, at home, on the streets? It was that day I said, 'I'm not going to do it anymore.'"2

However, as many of us know, that's easier said than done. When we overreact to people who "dump their garbage" on us, we need to realize that what the other person does is his or her problem—but to the degree that we overreact that is our problem. To react in a Christ-like manner, it is imperative that we resolve our "garbage." If we don't, we will be forever allowing others to control our moods and trigger our unresolved problems. For help in "Taming Your Anger [garbage]" go to: http://tinyurl.com/b439f

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to recognize whenever I overreact to what others do to me and to resolve my problem so that I will, with Your help, always respond to others (no matter what they do) in a loving and Christ-like manner. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."

1. Matthew 5:43-44; 46-47 (NIV).
2. Mike Benson, KneEmail. To subscribe, send a blank email to: kneemail-subscribe@welovegod.org

<:>< NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon Click HERE http://www.actsweb.org.

submit to reddit

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Search for Truth Part I and II

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Search for Truth Part I

The search for and avoidance of truth is as old as mankind. At the beginning of mankind's history Satan (the devil) distorted God's truth by telling a part-truth—one of the most deceptive form of lies. This resulted in mankind's fall and introduced evil into the world.1 And when Jesus was being tried, Pilate asked, "What is truth?"2

Today, however, in our so-called post-modern secular world, with our political correctness insanity, according to Kenneth D. Boa and Robert M. Bowman Jr., in their book, 20 Compelling Evidences That God Exists, "Tolerance—not truth—is absolute."3 This is an extremely dangerous way to live and a foundation of sinking sand upon which to build a society—especially as we keep moving our roots farther and farther away from God, the author and essence of all truth and life.

At the root of much of the evil (including terrorism) in today's world is the fact that men have exchanged the truth of God for a lie. In speaking about earlier generations God's Word says, "For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged … the truth of God for a lie."4

The end result: "God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them."5

The reality is that without access to the truth there is no reality, no freedom, no sense of direction, and no hope of salvation for mankind. No wonder so much of today's world is floating on a sea of distrust and world-wide turmoil. May we never forget that "blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD."6

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please send a revival of Your Spirit and a revival of truth to our land so that as a nation we will turn back to You and know Your blessing and security—and let Your work begin in me. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."

To be certain your life is right with God read, "How to Be Sure You're a Real Christian—without having to be religious at: http://tinyurl.com/8glq9.

1. See Genesis 3:1-6.
2. John 18:38 (NIV).
3. Kenneth D. Boa and Robert M. Bowman Jr.,
in their book, 20 Compelling Evidences
That God Exists, p.18.
4. Romans 1:21-23 (NIV).
5. Romans 1:28-32 (NASB).
6. Psalm 33:12 (NIV).

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Search for Truth Part II

Jesus gave an eternal principle to all people when He said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."1

While Jesus was primarily sharing a theological principle, the same principle applies to every area of life—not only to propositional truth (factual truth) but also to personal truth.

Personal truth means that we are to be in touch with our inner truth; that is, being aware of and honest about our true feelings and motives. As God's Word says, "Behold, you [God] desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part you will make me know wisdom."2

In reality, the more dishonest we are (repressed and in denial) about our inner truth, the more we will distort all truth—including God's truth—to make it match our distorted perception of reality. The opposite is also true, the more honest we are with our inner truth the clearer we will see all truth.

In other words, we see things not the way they are but the way we are. For example, if I am a negative person, I will see things in a negative light—and be critical about them. If I am a supersensitive person, I will read into what others say or do and overreact—not so much on the basis of what they have said or done, but on the basis of who and what I am. On the other hand, as Thomas Dreier put it, "The world is a great mirror. It reflects back to you what you are. If you are loving, if you are friendly, if you are helpful, the world will prove loving and friendly and helpful to you. The world is what you are."

It is not without good reason that God's Word teaches: "Don't just pretend to be good! Be done with dishonesty and jealousy … put away all evil, deception, envy, and fraud. Long to grow up into the fullness of your salvation."3

If we want to discover truth it starts with our being truthful and honest with ourselves. As long as there is any area in our life where we haven't found freedom, we can be sure that there is some truth we are not seeing or are in denial about. As Jesus said, "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."1

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to see and get reconnected to any and every area in my life where I might be in denial, so I can bring these issues into the light so they can be dealt with and resolved. Help me always to be truthful with myself, others and with You so that I will find true freedom and not distort the truth in any way. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."

To be certain your life is right with God read, "How to Be Sure You're a Real Christian—without having to be religious at: http://tinyurl.com/8glq9.

1. John 8:31-32 (NIV).
2. Psalm 51:6 (NASB).
3. See 1 Peter 2:1-3 (TLB).

<:))))>< <:>< NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon Click HERE.

Or if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ, please click HERE.

Source: http://www.actsweb.org/.

submit to reddit

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Does God Care?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Does God Care?

"Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you."1

Some time ago when my then twenty-something son came to see me one evening, he was terribly distraught over a broken relationship that triggered a lot of pain from the past. As I hugged him, he sobbed his heart out on my shoulder. I am so thankful that he felt safe enough to do this knowing that it is always okay to share his feelings with me no matter what those feelings are … and no matter what age he is.

At times like these I have little to say—I feel my silence and giving him my presence speaks the loudest. I do, however, assure him of my love and acceptance no matter what. Unfortunately—usually more by men than women—when our kids or anyone else is hurting, we want to fix them and wax eloquent with unsolicited advice—advice that is totally divorced from the need of the moment and totally misses the opportunity to be as Jesus to one who is hurting. What people need when they are troubled is a listening ear, an understanding heart, and a shoulder to cry on.

At a time like this the question is often asked, "Where is God when our heart is breaking … does He care? Strange enough, right while my son was sobbing his heart out, the following gospel song was being sung on my computer. It brought tears to my eyes.

Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
Too deeply for mirth or song,
As the burdens press, and the cares distress,
And the way grows weary and long?

Oh, yes, He cares, I know He cares,
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,
I know my Savior cares.

Does Jesus care when I've tried and failed
To resist some temptation strong;
When for my deep grief there is no relief,
Though my tears flow all the night long?

Does Jesus care when I've said "goodbye"
To the dearest on earth to me,
And my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks –
Is it aught to Him? Does He see?2

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You that You do care when my heart is breaking. Help me to always remember this and sense Your comforting presence, knowing that when I commit and trust my life to You, You will, in time, turn my mourning into rejoicing and I will become a richer, healthier, more caring person. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."

1. 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT).
2. Frank E. Graeff, 1901.

<:>< NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon Click HERE http://www.actsweb.org.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Deadly Disease of Denial

"The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth."1

I've worked with hurting people and taught in divorce recovery groups for a number of years. If you asked me what I thought might be the number one problem in so many of these situations, I would say, "Denial. And the second is like it—playing the blame game."

Over and over I hear people say with variation on the theme: "My husband did this. My wife did that." "And what did you contribute to the breakup of your marriage?" I ask. "Nothing … my spouse did such-and-such. He was such a jerk." "And why were you attracted to such a jerk?" I ask! "Have you ever been attracted to other jerks?" Silence …!

No matter what struggle we are in, we are always contributing something. I've seen husbands berating and blaming their wives for their marriage problems when in reality they were very angry at their mother and were taking it out on their wife. I've seen wives do the same thing when they are really mad at either their father or some other significant male who hurt them deeply in the past.

Many spouses are angry about something in their past. Others are too "nice, weak and/or passive" (codependent). Others are over-dependent and smother their partner. But do they see their problem and their contribution to the situation they are in? Many, if most, don't. Far too many of us are in denial about our own deficiencies. The reason denial is so deadly is because, as a Daily Encounter subscriber exactly described it: "'D'on't 'E'ven k'N'ow 'I' 'A'm 'L'ying."

Deniers are avoiders of personal responsibility. They tend also to be blamers. And as I have said many times, if I play the blame game, I will "b-lame"—and will never get well. Only as we acknowledge the truth and reality of what we are contributing to our problems, will we ever have any hope of recovery and becoming well. The reality is that the only person I can ever change is me, and as I change, others are almost forced to change in relationship to me in one way or another. This is not always for the best, however, as some people simply cannot stand or handle our change. To get well this is the risk we need to take.

The only people counselors—and even God—can help are those who willingly admit: "I have a problem. I need help."

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, in every conflict or difficult situation I am in, please give me the courage to see and acknowledge anything that I might be contributing to the situation I am in and lead me to the help I need to overcome. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."

1. Psalm 145:18 (NIV).

<:>< Friday, May 8, 2015

Overcoming Jealousy

"So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech."1 "And 'don't sin by letting anger control you.' Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil."2

A Daily Encounter reader asks, "For some unknown reason I have many times felt jealous over other people receiving things. I always ask Satan to get behind me when this happens but he always returns. I have prayed numerous times for deliverance and forgiveness. How can I overcome this sense of being jealous?"

Hello June (name changed), jealousy is almost always the symptom of a deeper problem; that is, "the fruit of a deeper root." It is almost always the result of our own sense of insecurity and/or feelings of inferiority. As a general rule, the more secure we feel within ourselves, the less likely we are to have a problem with jealousy.

In other words, to overcome jealousy we need to overcome our feelings of insecurity. To help you do this I suggest your read the article, "Developing a Healthy Self-Image" at: http://tinyurl.com/af5hf.

Second, as I often say, it is important to learn how to pray the right prayer. That is, admit to God that you have a problem with jealousy and instead of asking Him to simply deliver you from your jealousy, ask Him to help you see the real cause of your jealousy and help you to find the help you need to overcome this problem. For further help read, "How to Pray Effectively" at: http://tinyurl.com/kb62w.

Third, realize that while Satan always wants to defeat us, he doesn't cause our jealousy. That's our problem and responsibility. However, keep in mind as the Apostle pointed out in Ephesians, when we fail to resolve our anger, we give Satan a foothold. The same is true with jealousy (and other problems). When you resolve the cause of your jealousy, Satan loses his foothold and as such you take away his power to tempt and defeat you in this area.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, with all my problems help me to see the real cause/s behind these, and find the help I need to overcome them so I will take away any and all footholds in my life that leave me open for Satan to tempt me in these areas. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus's name, amen."

1. 1 Peter 2:1 (NLT).
2. Ephesians 4:26-27 (NLT).

 Thursday, May 7, 2015

How to Be Sure You Are Going to Heaven

"As it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment."1

The question has often been asked, "If you knew today was the last day of your life, what would you do?"

Do you have any impaired relationships you would want to resolve before you pass on? Have you left a will so your loved ones will benefit from your life's work? Most important of all, when you come to the end of life's journey and you stand before a holy God at the entrance to Heaven, if God asked you, "Why should I allow you to enter Heaven," what would you say? In other words, if you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would spend eternity in Heaven with God?

If not, I urge you to make that preparation today. Eternity is forever. As I did in younger days, many people think that if they do enough good deeds to outnumber or outweigh the wrongs (sins) they have committed, this will qualify them to enter God's heaven. Wrong.

God's Word makes it very clear that nobody enters heaven because of their good works. It is only by God's grace (unmerited favor) that we are given God's gift of forgiveness and saved for all eternity. His Word says, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast."2

God's Word also says, "For the wages [consequences] of sin is death [spiritual death which is eternal separation from God], but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."3

Because God is a God of infinite holiness no sinner can ever survive in His presence any more than a moth can survive in a flame. Furthermore, because God is also a God of infinite justice, all sin must be judged according to God's standard of holiness and perfection, and His justice calls for death; that is, spiritual death which is eternal separation from God in the place the Bible calls hell.

Fortunately however, God is also a God of infinite love. This is why He gave His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cruel Roman cross 2,000 years ago in your place and mine to meet the demands of God's justice so we can be forgiven of all our sins and receive God's gift of eternal life. This is the expression of His perfect love.

All you need to do is believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died in your place to pay the penalty for all your sins, and to ask God for His forgiveness and accept His gift of eternal life. The following prayer will help you to do this.

Prayer: "Dear God, I confess that I am a sinner and am sorry for all the wrongs/sins I have committed. I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross in my place to pay the penalty for all my sins. Please forgive me. I invite You, Jesus, to come into my heart and life to be my Lord and Savior. I commit and trust my life to You. Please give me the desire to be what You want me to be and to do what You want me to do. Thank You for dying for my sins, for Your free pardon, for Your gift of eternal life, and for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name. Amen."

NOTE: If you prayed this prayer and truly meant it, please be sure to Click HERE (http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php) to let us know you prayed this prayer, and we will send you the URL (web site address) of the free "Ten Steps to Christian Growth" which will help you to grow in your new spiritual life.

1. Hebrews 9:27, (NKJV).
2. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV).
3. Romans 6:23 (NIV).


submit to reddit