Sunday, February 24, 2008

I'm Debt Free!

Have you ever listened to the Dave Ramsey show on the radio?http://www.daveramsey.com/ Just about every day someone calls in and shouts at the top of their lungs... "I'm Debt FREE!" Well I just got to thinking about my own situation for a moment and I realized that I too am debt free. You see, I've sold my house here in McMinnville TN, and tomorrow I close on our new home in Murfreesboro TN. So officially today I am completely debt free! I didn't have any debt other than our house payment and even that too is gone as of right now... (at least for a few more hours anyway, I'm completely debt free.)

This whole debt free thing got me thinking though. You know the day I gave my life to Jesus Christ... I became debt free, didn't I? Jesus after all paid our debt when he surrendered himself to die for our sins on that cross at Calvary. Makes me wish that I'd shouted at the top of my lungs, "I'm debt FREE!" the night I gave my life to Christ because that's exactly what happened. I became debt free for eternity. Unlike the world we live in today, constantly going in and out of debt, Jesus pays our debt once and for all... FOREVER! In todays society it's hard work to get out of debt and stay out of debt. But the work of getting out of sin's debt is not our work at all. It was Jesus who paid the price for you and I to be debt free! He died for us so we can all shout those words we here so often on Dave's show... "I'm debt freeeeeeeeee!" Freedom is ours with Christ Jesus. How about you? Are you debt free? You can be. Give your life to Christ and accept His free gift of eternal life. Live debt free from now on.

Hebrews 7:27
(27) Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.

I'm Debt Freeeeeeeeee! Thank you Lord Jesus!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Play the hand you're dealt.

Today on the radio I was listening to a talk show host interviewing a woman on the radio. I have no idea who this woman was because when I turned on the radio in my car I was only able to hear the last few minutes of the interview. But what this woman said made a tremendous amount of sense... I wrote this quote down on a piece of paper I had in my pocket at the time.

"You get what you get." You take the cards your dealt, and you make a hand."

They were talking about some people not being able to be successful, while others make the most of their life and become more than they ever dreamed they could be. Her point was, you get what you get, or you have what you have, you just have to make the best of it. I'd like to add on another point to finish her quote and that would be... "Then you bet on the hand you have." Have confidence in yourself, Go for it! Be all that you can be.

Have you ever played poker? If you haven't played poker then you have most likely seen it played on the television. It's become quite popular these days on TV. Each of the players are dealt cards. As they build their hand, they begin to place bets on what they have in their hand. The interesting thing about cards however, is it's not necessarily the cards you have as much as how you play them. I've seen hands with nothing of value take the pot and win the round all because the player played their hand correctly. People are always bluffing, or trying to make you think they have something they don't. But the truth is you never know, so even though your hand may be of more value and could win the round, you might pass or fold because you think the opponent has a better hand. The point here is that you play the hand you're dealt. You do the best you can with what you have.

What's great about being a Christian is this... The hand you were dealt has just improved the day you gave your life to Christ. It's improved in several ways...


  • You are a new creature in Christ. The old things have passed away and all that we are becomes new and fresh. We've been born again!

  • You been given a spiritual gift from the indwelling Holy Spirit. This is something new in your hand of the cards of life you've been dealt. Use it to impact the lives of others and bring glory to God.

  • You always have an ace in the hand. Jesus Christ is your Ace. Even if you lose the round, you'll never lose the game! Eternal life is yours through Christ Jesus.

I say, love life! Have some fun! Live your life to the fullest and allow God to change you and lead you through all that comes your way. There's no need to bluff any more, you already have the best hand. Ultimately you will win in the poker game of life!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Father and Son Time

video

My Mom and Dad came to Tennessee to visit this last summer. They live in Kansas, so we just don't get to see each other very often, maybe once a year is all. This last summer was a great time for my parents and I to spend some quality time together. For me personally, it was the BEST! I borrowed a motorcycle from a friend of mine and Dad and I took of for a couple a days on our bikes riding the beautiful hills of Tennessee. Dad rode my bike and I rode my friends. The weather was perfect, and the ride was great! The best part of it all was getting to spend some fun, quality time, with my Dad. Those days are getting fewer and fewer every year. I thank God for the opportunity we had this last summer to catch up on some father/son time.

This video was compiled from some of the pictures I took while on our trip. We decided to make a funny video of our trip and the end result... a wonderful video clip of a Father and Son spending the day together doing something they both enjoyed so much. What made it so special for me was... I got to do it with my Dad.

Thanks Dad, I love you!

Steven

Seek Ye First

Well, the day is finally upon us. This week we're moving to Murfreesboro TN. I've been working there for three weeks now and driving back and forth really hasn't been that bad. I don't mind the drive, I just don't like the drive lasting two hours of my day. One hour each way, to and from work.
Where we're moving to will put me only 3 miles from work and I'll be able to go home for lunch and be either at work or home in just minutes rather than hours. I hope to be able to write more than I have lately. My quiet time alone with God has been less lately and my bible study is less than it's been in the past. I'm amazed at how easily I can make excuses for not having my bible study time. I'm too tired, I'm not in the mood, I'd rather read or write or watch TV. Wow, doesn't seem like my priorities are right do they? Which of course they're not at the moment. Lately I've been preoccupied with moving, packing, getting the house ready to sell, working with realtor's and banks and utility companies. My new job takes a lot of my focus and with all that's going on I feel that my time is very limited lately and it's all I can do to make room for God. I say this to share the dangers of what can happen to us when we don't make God our FIRST priority. You see, I've been allowing everything else to take priority over God. I'm ashamed to say that this has happened, but it has. Today, I've finally gotten so far behind in all that I have to get done, that I realized that without God first in my life, all this other stuff just doesn't seem to flow well anymore. It's during times like these, times of change and new beginnings, that you'd think I'd make God first in all I do but lately I haven't.
The good news is that I realize what I've been doing and I can today, begin again, with a new focus. A new focus on my Lord and Savior and when I do that, I can handle all that comes my way. The good and the bad. Today I realized that I needed to stop everything and re-connect with my Lord, ask for forgiveness, and renew my fading relationship with the Lord. I'm amazed at how quickly I've been revived, given strength, and uplifted just by renewing this focus. What an amazing God we serve. One that loves us so much that even when we lose sight of Him, He never loses sight of us.

Matthew 6:33
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

PRAYER: Thank you Lord Jesus for your love and your forgiveness. Keep me close to you as my family and I move forward on this new journey before us. We're excited about the opportunities that await us. May we be willing to go wherever you lead us, and may we never forget to keep you first in all we say, think, and do. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Monday, February 18, 2008

It's hard to stumble when you're on your knees

I saw this saying on a church sign as I was driving home from work today, and I thought to myself just how true of a statement this is! I understand it's a play on words, but as difficult as it may be to physically stumble while you are all ready down on your knees, how much more difficult will it be to stumble spiritually if we are on our knees several times daily in prayer with our heavenly Father. Point well taken!

How I long for the willingness to stay focused on God more than I do. Life is busy, life is hectic, and if were not careful the next thing you know, there's less and less time alone with God. As much as I hate to say it, I've gone throughout my whole day and rarely would think one thought about God. If you're not careful, it won't be long and you won't have a passion or desire to be close to God. If you're not careful the next thing you know you're not going to church anymore. Then all of a sudden, you find yourself miserable. Your whole life seems out of sync. Nothing seems to make sence anymore and it seems that everything is going wrong. Then what do we say to ourselves? "Where are you God?" "Where did you go?"
The answer of course is that God didn't go anywhere... we're the ones that left. That sign I read today reminds me to get back on my knees and seek the Lord through prayer. I know that everytime I go out on my own, giving little if any attention at all to what it is the Lord wants me to do, I stumble, I struggle, and most always I fall flat on my face. If I'd just stay on my knees and seek the Lord's direction in my life rather than standing up and moving without His guidance, I'd have a lot less bruises from those nasty falls that I take so often. 'm reminded of this verse in Psalm's.

Psalm 119:105
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Just as God's word is written in the bible, it's also sopken to us each time we go to him in Prayer. It's hard to stumble when God is directing our steps.

PRAYER...Lord, help me to stay on my knees more. Help me to seek you and listen to what it is you want me to do. May I be obedient and do your will in my life. Lord keep me from stumbling as I walk with you daily. Lord give me strength. Amen

Saturday, February 9, 2008

We're Americans!


My wife and I were traveling back home after going out to eat and as we listened to radio the news came on. I don't specifically remember what the news was about but my wife heard something that made her respond... "I just don't understand why we can't all simply be called Amercians?" "It seems to me that some of the problems we have in America today with racial tention could be eliminated or lessened if we all would just call ourselves Americans rather than adding our nationalities in front of the word American which causes us to be divided from very the beginning." Why do we have to be called African American, Asian Amercian, Native Amercian, and so on?" She said that her family came from Germany does that make her a German Amercian? Then I recalled that my family comes from Scottland way back in the day. I guess that makes me a Scottish Amercian! Hey, I never looked at myself as a Scottish Amercican before, suddenly I feel like a minority class of people, or maybe I'm not? Surely I'm bound to have some bad history somewhere down the line with those Irish people years ago. I better beware of the Irish Amercians! Gosh, I'm glad I realized all this about myself, now I have good reason to hate my neighbor... After all, many years ago, we were mistreated by the Irish, or maybe it was us who mistreated them? I better dig into the history books so I'll know how to feel about my other fellow Amercians. How nieve and ignorant I've been over the years, and imagine how disappointed my ancesters would be in me for not carrying on with the fight!

As we discussed this more, her point was that we should not differentiate ourselves into classes of Amercians. If we are Amercians from the "United States of Amercia," why don't we unite ourselves as one people, equal, indivisable, with liberty and justice for all? (Kinda sounds familiar... I've heard that somewhere else before). Why do we seperate ourselves and cause this silly division among us? We're Americans... all of us. Imagine how much more we would get along if we would drop the divisive words that put each Amercian into a different classification of people.

She's got a point! I guess we think we'd lose our heritage or something if we all united together as one people? Seems to me though, that this one simple thing, could bring us together as a nation more than anything else right now. Are you thankful that you are an Amercian? Oops! I meant... African Amercian, Asian Amercian, Native Amercian, Irish Amercian, Scottish American, Mexican Amercian, German American, Italian Amercian, Latin Amercian, Jewish Amercian, Greek Amercian, I'm sorry... I know I've forgotten some other groups of Americans. What a mess!

May God bless the "United States of Amercia," and all the Amercian people that live in it. May I add this as well... May God bless all Nations. May we live in peace and harmoney on this planet. But seriously... we don't even do that in our own country, much less the world. Dear Lord... Help us!
Colossians 3:15, Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful

Steve

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

INSANITY

You know what the definition of insanity is don't you? "It's doing the same old thing over and over again but expecting different results." That's insanity! Doing the same old thing over and over again but expecting different results will drive you insane...and it's stupid. Yet many of us do this to ourselves all the time.

Let me give you some examples of INSANITY.
  • "You know, there's this job position I'd like to have, but I never seem to get it. I just don't understand why I can't get a break."
  • "I just can't seem to get ahead with my finances. I hope this year I get ahead for a change."

  • I wish things were different between my spouse and I, maybe things will get better.

  • I sure wish my boss wasn't such a jerk, things would be so much better if only he was nicer and friendlier.

  • My car always breaks down on me and it's preventing me from getting to work, I hope it runs better from now on.

Dave Ramsey, radio talk show host, said it best. He says, "The only one that can help you, is you." He says, "Take a mirrior and look into it and there you'll find the answer or solution to your problems." He also adds, "You'll also find the reason for your problems." "It's time to take charge of your life and do something about it to make it different." Of course Dave Ramsey was talking in terms of getting rid of the debt that you may have created. Many people get themselves into serious financial trouble, then wonder why they can't get out of it. They feel they just never gain any ground, it's like they take one step forward and two steps back. Dave's just saying out loud what you already know. It won't get better unless you do something different than what you have been doing all along. It sounds simple but it happens all the time. We wish things were different, we dream of a better day. We hope that things can improve. But to do any of that without a change of plans or direction, and then acting on it, will acheive nothing more than the same old problems, and you'll go just a little more nuttty because of it. Along with that insane feeling you have, what's worse is you begin to lose confidence in yourself, your self esteme begins to go away. We sulk, we pout, we digress, and sit back and make things worse by wishing things were dfferent rather than making things different.

Here's a very simple illistration of doing the same old thing but expecting different results. This ilistration sounds silly when you read it, but if your honest with yourself, you see similarities in this and the way we wish things were different sometimes. Here's the illustration...

I have a picket fence that is painted white, I wish it was a light green color instead. So I go to the shed and get my paint and brush and I paint the fence. When I'm done, I look back at the fence and it's still white. So I paint some more, hoping to see a green fence when I'm done. But sure enough it's still white. So I throw up my hands in disgust and go back inside the house and sulk because my fence is white and I wanted it to be green. I put all this work into this project and it didn't improve. The results I wanted never happened. So what happened? Why did the fence stay white, even after all my hard work? Well, you know the answer... I never changed the color of the paint. If only I would have changed that one thing, I would have had some new and different results. But because I used the same old tools I have always used and the same old paint I've always had, I got the same old results I've always gotten. Now before you say something like... "Man Steve, That was a pretty lame example." I want you to reflect on times that you want things to be different but they never changed. Why didn't they? Well the answer is because you didn't do anything different, you didn't change something so the end result didn't change either.

It's amazing to me how often I hear people say they'd like to be in a different job position at work, but never do anything different to prepare them for that move. It's like they expect it to just happen to them, and then they're disappointed when it doesn't just happen. MAKE it Happen! Study for it, Learn new things, and show yourself ready for it. We can't change the job unless we change ourself first.

It's amazing how many times I hear of people wishing the other person in their relationship was nicer, friendlier, and different in some way, but what have we done differently to be nicer, freindlier, and different towards that person. We can't change the relationship unless we change ourself first.

It's amazing to me how often my car breaks down, yet I don't plan on doing anything different to make it better. Maybe it needs a tune up? Maybe I just need to begin saving for a better car with less problems? Whatever it is,I need to do something different or I should expect to be walking to work some more this year. The situation with my car is not going to change unless I do something differently.

You get the point don't you. It really is simple to acheive different results... just do something different and the outcome will change. Try it on the little things and watch how easy it is. Tomorrow when you go to work, smile at your co workers and offer friendly converstaion. See what impact or change you see in them because of the way you changed. You'll be amazed at the results.

STOP going insane, do something different and change the results of your life.

Steve

Friday, February 1, 2008

Attitudes

Charles R. Swindoll
Two passions have directed the life and ministry of Chuck Swindoll: an unwavering commitment to the practical communication and application of God’s Word and an untiring devotion to seeing lives transformed by God’s grace. Chuck has devoted more than four decades to these goals, and he models the contagious joy that springs from enthusiastically following Jesus Christ.
I came across an email about Attitudes that was written by Charles Swindoll. Our attitude is one thing we have control over. We may not have control over the things that happen to us, but we do have control over how we react to what happens to us. Sometimes we just need to see it written down. We already know it's true, but we forget, we feel hopeless, yet the ablity to still have a good attitude is a choice, our choice. I hope you will take to heart the the message in what Charles Swindoll says about attitudes:

Attitudes

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts, it's more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than success, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We can not change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you...

We are in charge of our attitudes


Charles Swindoll

So the next time you find yourself down and out from circumstances of life. Take charge of your attitude about the situation.

How's your attitude when people act in a way you have no control over? How's your attitude when things don't go the way you had planned or hoped they would? How you act and how you feel is up to you. Embrace a good attitude and you'll have a better chance of pressing on through the adversity along the way.

Steve