Many of us are familiar with the scripture, “A good name is more to be desired than great riches.” (Proverbs 22:1) But what may be less familiar is the verse that says, “…if you want to lose your reputation, all you have to do is gossip.” (Proverbs 25:9-10) Gossip is defined in a variety of ways, “A person who habitually spreads private rumors or facts. Or, someone who writes or shares trivial talk.” How much gossip fills the airwaves? How many trivial posts are even made by Christ followers? How many reputations are lost or given away every day on social media? A good name is priceless. It should be cherished. Preserved. Guarded. We are better than gossip. Retain your good reputation; don’t gossip or spread private rumors. It’s not just worthless. It’s dangerous. 

Pointless and Purposeful Conversations

Have you ever found yourself in a dead-end conversation with someone who just wanted to argue, and not listen? The Bible talks about how to address foolish conversations with others. It says, “Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools, or you will become as foolish as they are.” (Proverbs 26:4, NLT) But the very next verse says, “Be sure to answer the foolish arguments of fools, or they will become wise in their own estimation.” (Proverbs 26:5, NLT) So, what do these seemingly polar opposite verses mean? On one occasion, you should not entangle yourself in a pointless conversation with someone who has no interest in listening and understanding. On other occasions, if you sense an openness in someone to hear and have a meaningful conversation, then it may be time well spent. 

More Healed Than Hurt

All of us have been hurt by other people. It takes great courage to forgive those who hurt us. It took me many years to forgive the father who hurt me. The only way I can accurately represent God is if I am willing to be more healed than hurt. Like Jesus, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was more healed than hurt. If you and I profess to know Jesus, then like Him, we need to be more compassionate than critical, more courageous than cowardly, more hopeful than hopeless, more selfless than selfish, more lighthearted than heavy hearted, more kind than careless, more peaceful than anxious, and more fearless then fearful. But, the only way for any of these character qualities, that personify the heart of God, to be lived out in my own life is if I am continually dependent upon Jesus. 

One Miraculous Night

When I was a young man, I had so many offenses against people it twisted my perspective. It closed my heart and mind. I was so angry about my past! I became an atheist for seven years. I openly mocked God, the Bible, and Christians. My bitterness and resentments were literally choking out my life. They made me hyper-critical of others. Eventually, after a broken relationship, I thought about killing myself, every day, for six months. On one of those lonely days, I woke up after sleeping on the ground, next to a river. Miraculously, that night, I received Jesus and let His river of life flow into my heart and mind. A half century later, I can hardly believe how blessed I am. I was rescued from certain death and given everlasting life. And for that I am eternally grateful!

The Have’s and Have Nots

There’s a great battle going on today, that’s actually been going on for thousands of years. It’s a conflict in the Spirit realm, between the “Have’s” and “Have Not’s”. Between those who have received what Jesus has done for them and those who have not. Those who are more focused on what Christ’s death accomplished for them, than on the death others have tried to put on them. It’s really between the blind and the sighted. Those blinded by their own hurt and woundings, and those healed by the blood of Jesus, and willing to forgive and live rather than resist the love of God and die. Today, ask God to open your heart to see what He has really given you, and remove the blinders of deception keeping you from living the abundant life Jesus promised.      

Freedom and Truth Come from God Alone

I sincerely value all that public servants do to care for the complexity of needs within our society, but I have as much faith in politics and human governments being able to cure man’s ills as Jesus did. Jesus knew the Kingdom of God was the answer to mankind’s greatest needs, not the efforts of man. Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33, ESV) While there is no shortage of people talking about their version of freedom and truth, may we never forget what freedom and truth really are and from where they come. Freedom and truth come from God alone. Accept no earthly substitutes for truth and freedom. They are only real if they are Heaven sent!

The Solution to Life’s Dilemmas

One of the saddest seductions of all is the obsession to look for the solution to life’s dilemmas in the heart of man. From capitalists to communists, socialists to humanists, no political or economic system can keep self-indulgence and hypocrisy from raising their ugly heads. Excess and deceit are lodged in the human heart. Man playing God only makes it worse. When people grow weary of the greed of unscrupulous capitalists, they naively accept the thievery of socialists. The former system tends to seduce those who want more, which then makes little provision for those who have less. The latter structure penalizes the diligent, which then rewards the indolent. Either path is a ticking time bomb if the inner man is not transformed. Only a commitment to follow the heart of God instills the compassion essential to create the society God intended and man longs for.

Multiplication Comes After Rest and Rejuvenation

Would you believe that the doorway to your fruitfulness in life may actually be through rest and rejuvenation? In the Book of Genesis, the Bible says, “And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.” (Genesis 2:21) I’ve found this to be true as well.I need to be resting in Jesus, and allowing Him to rejuvenate my spirit in order for Him to multiply my efforts and make them fruitful. Actually, the ultimate purpose of fruitfulness is multiplication. No one wants you to be more fruitful than God. So, today, ask Jesus to give you the peace that goes beyond your understanding and the rest that takes away your restlessness and anxiety.

Things I Learned from My Dog 

We all need friends. God knew that. That’s why He created “man’s best friend,” a dog. So, what are some of the qualities in dogs that demonstrate what true friendship is? And what can we learn from them about being a friend? I found these fun but true insights listed under, “Things I Learned from My Dog.” Here they are: When loved ones come home, always run to greet them. Take naps often and stretch before rising. If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it. When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently. Avoid biting when a simple growl will do. And, last but not least… No matter how often you’re scolded, don’t sulk and pout. Run right back and make friends. The Bible says, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly.” (Proverbs 18:24, NKJV)

Knowing God’s Will

As a young Christian, most of my emotional impressions about God’s will were actually not God’s will. Likewise, I found that something may be God’s will, but not God’s time. The call is NOT always the sending. And God is in control of how long a season lasts. I was once asked to pastor a Christian community for six to nine months. It lasted 52 months to the day. I’ve come to believe, if I am walking in God’s will, I’ll never miss my true potential. Ironically, the older I get, and the more I step out, the less confidence I have in my impressions, but the more confidence I have in God leading me. Just because our experience in life is difficult, it doesn’t mean we’ve missed God’s will. And, lastly, if you desperately want God’s will, more than anything else, it’s impossible to miss it.

What’s in Your Hand? 

God has given each of us what we need to see a miracle. It might even be in our hand. Jesus turned water into wine. Moses took a rod, threw it down, and it became a serpent. David grabbed a stone and slew Goliath. Samson took the jawbone of a donkey and killed a thousand Philistines. Esther put on her favorite dress to get the king’s attention. So, what’s in your hand? What’s right in front of you? Your job. Your responsibilities. Your spouse. Your children. Start with what you have. Jesus could have filled the wine pots Himself, but He invites us to participate in His miracles. The servants obeyed without question and filled the empty pots to the brim. Today, take what’s in your hand, obey Jesus without question, and watch a miracle take place.

Jesus Comes in An Unusual Hour

Do you feel rejected? Jesus wants to meet with you. But, it might be at a time you don’t expect. He loves to meet with unusual people at unusual times. A Pharisee named Nicodemus met with Him at night. A criminal had a conversation with Him while they each hung on crosses next to each other. He even had an unusual meeting with a Samaritan woman who was considered to be in a continual state of uncleanness. She probably came at an unusual hour because she was a social outcast, a rejected reject. Just the kind of person Jesus was looking for. It was very unusual for a Jewish person of that time to ask a favor from a Samaritan. But, He wasn’t a self-righteous Jew, He was the Savior of the world, willing to meet with anyone, anywhere, at any time. If you ask Him, He’ll be happy to meet with you today.