Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Flower Fades

“The grass withers and the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” (Isaiah 40:8)

As the days grow shorter in fall it’s not uncommon for the winter blues to start setting in, and many people are affected and react adversely to the decreasing amounts of sunlight and the colder temperatures. We are entering a season of cold and darkness, and will soon awake in the dark, go to work in the dark, come home in the dark, and go to sleep in the dark! As winter settles in, flowers lose their blooms and trees become barren; all the colors fade away and it may seem that the world is void of any life. But even though winter may seem dark and gray, it brings a lot of things we don’t savor and enjoy during the other seasons.

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to a sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I propose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11)

As one season appears and fades into the next, so does our life go through a season of change, and even though winter may not be the easiest season we will experience, the “winter” in our lives cannot be avoided, but rather it should be lived in all its glory! It is often in the winter season that we really come to know God more; that’s when we can experience the “winters” in our lives to guide us, shape us, and refine us. The shorter days that are upon us should be used to get more rest; they are a time of personal growth and a restful break. We are able to reflect on where we have been and where we are going; what we have learned and how we have grown by past experiences. It’s as if we have to become empty and get rid of all the clutter so that God can have more room to work within us.

“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:22)

The coming cold and darkness of winter urges us to slow down, replenish our energy, conserve our strength, and reflect on our spiritual growth. The winter in our life has a beauty different from the other seasons; it has an emptiness just waiting to be filled by God. The period of darkness is where His light can shine more brightly for us, and we can experience His promises in a way we have never known before. When He shines His magnificent light, it is a time for rebirth, renewal, and hope! During the darkest and coldest time of the year, the light and warmth of God is present; it is God in the winter in our life that gives us hope, and draws us close to Him to prepare our hearts for His blessings and amazing grace. 

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Saturday, October 19, 2013

All About Accountability

What is accountability?

“So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God…” (Romans 14:12)

When you behave in a personally accountable way, you take full responsibility for your own tasks and their outcomes…good or bad…

You are…






Accountability is a lot easier to talk about than it is to practice; people avoid accountability for various reasons, including pride, ignorance, fear, and self-reliance. Think about it…how often do we analyze our mistakes unless we are held accountable for them? It’s much easier to just ignore what we are doing wrong…unless of course there is the possibility of being held liable for it. We all love the freedom that we have been blessed with; however with our wonderful rights come important responsibilities. And as Christians we are accountable to God and others for the path we take in life, and we should accept this responsibility as a gift. Not only does it provide us with a system of checks and balances for our own actions, it also gives us the opportunity to share our lives with others and encourage them.   

“And no creature is hidden from His sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13)

We often have this amazing ability to mess up sometimes; thankfully God has given us His presence to help us, but He has also given us each other.

Accountability allows us to be answerable to one another and enables us to share our lives with each other in a deep, reflective way so that it protects us from isolation, pride, temptation and weakness. True accountability involves letting another person into the interior of our lives, and submitting ourselves in an atmosphere of trust when we are weak and struggling, growing and learning, or need prayer and encouragement. We all have “stuff” in our lives that needs encouragement and conviction, and God brings people onto our lives to walk alongside us, to mentor and guide us. To hold ourselves answerable to others is to trust their judgment and to believe that they are devoted to the same truths and values we are, because we really do need each other more than we like to admit!

“Let us think about each other and help each other to show love and do good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24)

Accountability requires mutual respect; and God’s word tells us that we have an obligation to hold each other responsible for our actions. We need relationships with others to maintain our spiritual health and to help them maintain theirs. Holding others accountable is about helping them reach their goals, and building character, patience, and dependence on God’s grace. It is our responsibility to hold others accountable for their actions especially when we observe someone who is acting in a way that doesn't reflect God’s will. It’s important for us to remember that God’s plan is for us to lovingly confront each other with their best interest in mind.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another.” (Hebrews 10:25)

Our attitudes toward accountability eventually reflect our attitude toward our accountability to God and others. Therefore we need to hold on to our responsibility to give an answer for what we do, and understand where we need help or where we can help others reach our/their full potential. Then we will become more aware of our life’s purpose that God has unfolded before us…to grow and produce Godly character and fruit in unity with each other.

Beauty in His Grip Button

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Sunday, October 13, 2013

With All Your Heart

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people.”  (Colossians 3:23)

What do you do with all your heart?

No matter what it is that we are doing; work or play, fellowship or stewardship, entertaining or having quiet time, no matter how ordinary, boring, or unimportant it may seem, we have to work at it wholeheartedly.  There are just some things in life that we don’t get to choose, and situations that we simply can’t control; some work we will like doing, but some won’t be as attractive. Nonetheless, we should have a certain pride in the way we do things, because the true test of our character is when we fulfill all of our responsibilities and commitments with all our heart. What this means is…we must be genuine and sincere and give it everything we have got!

“Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flows the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)

God does not accept grudging service from anyone; everything we do is an opportunity to glorify God. But what about when we are called to do something that we absolutely dread? Do we let out a loud sigh and put on a fake smile, roll our eyes when no one is looking, and perform the task with just enough effort to get us through it? How often do we live complaining, murmuring, demanding, and only doing what is necessary to meet our obligations? Wouldn't it be more beneficial to everyone if only we would cheerfully perform any act of obedience wholeheartedly? God gives us everything we need to have, and lots of things we want to have, and yet we still complain when we…

…are called to serve in an area that is uncomfortable to us

…perform a task that we feel is beneath us

…feel that we don’t have the time or energy for another obligation

…or simply dislike the assignment or situation…

…but If we only give or perform out of duty with a grumbling approach, our heart attitude is all wrong!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

With all our hearts we can do anything; even something we are not really good or well equipped for. We should never let anything stop us from reaching for higher goals and expectations, because if we put our heart and our mind into everything we do, nothing can stop us. To be good at whatever God has called us to do requires our faith and endurance to accomplish the task. It doesn’t mean the absence of mistakes, but it means conviction and determination with a faithful heart. So right or wrong, good or bad, every item on our agenda should be done with joy, confidence, and a heart that is sincere and grateful. Everything we think, everything we say, and everything we do, is to be God-centered. Regardless of the task or circumstance, it becomes worship when we dedicate it to God and perform it with an open and authentic heart, and we should thank God for the gift of being a part of everything we do in life…the gift of making everything matter. 
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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Follow The Leader

“Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ”. (1 Corinthians 11:1)

Are you a leader or a follower?

History has proven that if you want to be a great leader, you must first become a great follower. It is just as important to know how to follow (with a passion and commitment) as it is how to lead (with a desire and determination). We are all born leaders in many areas of life, but I am pretty sure that a good leader is one that remembers that without followers he has no one to lead! As long as there have been leaders, there have also been followers, and great leaders could never accomplish what they do without devoted followers.


Then Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross.” (Matthew 16:24)

Did you know that most people spend more time following than leading? Followers are defined as someone who supports and is guided by another person; someone who is one in the service of another; someone who imitates another. But following is not all about carrying out any task that is asked of us, it’s about being active individuals who contribute not only through our actions but also through our ideas. It’s about cheerfully supporting who we have chosen to believe in and demonstrating passion to daily live out faith in every area of life through consistent obedience. We have a specific goal while at the same time respecting our leader with a positive attitude and showing integrity. Effective followers recognize the importance of making an active decision to contribute towards the achievement of a goal with enthusiasm and to work with others in the pursuit of the goal. Our attitude for following the leader should always follow along the lines of humility, seeking unity, while giving our leader support and love. Jesus built into every one of us the desire to be led and taken care of; never are we at a point in our lives where we no longer need guidance and help.


“I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” (John 3:15)

When it comes to leadership traits, passion is a vital characteristic to engage the hearts and minds of followers. A fervent leader has the ability to create and share their love and enthusiasm to achieve a specific goal. A leader with passion and sincerity has the ability to motivate their followers in a well-intentioned direction because they are committed to something more important than their own individual glory. Most important; a good leader leads by example, and to lead by example, leaders must follow the model of Christ. Jesus led by being a servant and serving alongside of His followers. To be an effective leader we must follow His example in serving with an impassioned heart, regardless of the time and effort it takes. Our attitude toward the people we lead should be with a humble heart rather than of importance and influence over others. Spiritual leadership can have powerful results when we understand the importance of praying to God for wisdom and relying on Him to give us the strength. Our personal relationship with Him is the most important basis to become an effective leader.

“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.” (Mark 10:43)

Followers are just as important to leaders as leaders are to followers; the skills that make for good followers also make for good leaders. Whether we are following the leader or leading the followers, we have to do it with an undivided heart toward God, with integrity, passion, and humbleness. When our spirit is one of true humility and love in either role, we are able to bless and to be blessed! 

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