Monday, June 22, 2009

Deal or No Deal?

In 2008, a woman on the "Deal or No Deal" TV show had made it down to the last two suitcases. One case contained $1 million, while the other only had $5,000. The banker offered her a deal of $530,000 if she would quit playing. She was guaranteed to take home over a half million dollars, or she could turn down the deal and take a 50-50 chance at winning the $1 million. What would you do?

The crowd yelled for her to go for the million. A family member begged her to take the guaranteed $530,000. She listened to the audience and yelled, "No deal! I KNOW I'm going to win the million dollars!"

They opened the suitcase she had picked. Imagine her anguish when she saw it contained $5,000. She had made the wrong choice and forfeited $530,000!

Everyone on earth is playing "Deal or No Deal" with their souls. Jesus said, "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Mark 8:36-37) Like the woman choosing between the two suitcases, we must choose between two eternal destinies--heaven or hell.

Jesus died for your sins and is offering you a guaranteed deal--eternal life. If you will give your life to Him, He will rescue your soul for all eternity. Or, you can keep living for yourself and take your chances. Which will it be? "Deal" or "No Deal"?
Keep looking up!
Kent

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Understanding Why You Get Angry

Do you understand why you get angry? It's because things aren't going the way you would like. Either a person is doing something that you don't want him to do, or he's not doing something that you want him to do. You're angry because someone or something isn't meeting your expectations.

If you let others determine how you feel, you'll have a miserable life. And it's unlikely that your anger is going to fix whatever problem is bugging you. "For the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God" (James 1:20). Ask yourself a couple of questions.

1."Am I placing unrealistic expectations on others?" If we're honest, much of our anger comes from our own stubborn opinions. The problem isn't with them, but with us. Instead of trying to make the other person change, we need to soften our hearts and stop demanding that he or she performs to our expectations. This alone could solve many marriage problems.

2."Am I angry over something that I can't change?" It's easy to get angry over the government's wasteful spending of our money, but for most of us, we can't do anything about it. Getting angry over things we can't change only steals our joy and makes us miserable. And that's just not worth the trade.
Keep looking up!
Kent

Monday, June 15, 2009

Fulfilling Your Drives in the Right Way

God told Adam and Eve they could eat from all the fruit in the Garden of Eden except for one tree which was off-limits (Gen. 2:16-17). If they had been eating the fruit God had provided for them, they wouldn't have been hungry for the forbidden fruit!

The Lord gave them a hunger drive and then provided legitimate food to fulfill it. We are tempted whenever we try to fulfill our God-given desires in an illegitimate way. If we will fulfill our drives in the right way, it cuts off the urge to fulfill them in the wrong way. That's why the pecan pie looks so tempting before eating the Thanksgiving dinner, but becomes repulsive after we've stuffed ourselves with turkey and dressing. The pie doesn't appeal to you like it did before because you fulfilled your hunger drive.

The opposite is also true. If we've been eating forbidden fruit, we won't be hungry for legitimate fruit. The first bite of the forbidden fruit is always the sweetest, but it becomes less enjoyable with each bite and creates a craving that can't be satisfied. Before long, we're addicted to forbidden fruit. An addition only partially satisfies, so it requires you to keep consuming more and more, while sucking the joy and happiness out of your life.

To be set free from the addiction, we must learn from the prodigal son, who was eating with the pigs when "he came to his senses" (Luke 15:16). He finally realized how miserable he was, and decided to change meal plans by returning to his father. We must get so disgusted that we make the decision to stop eating the off-limits fruit and return to God's provision.

Galatians 5:16 tells us, "Walk in the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh." The only way to overcome lust of any kind is through a genuine work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. We just don't have enough power within ourselves to overcome temptations. However, the Holy Spirit does have the power to change our desires, and if we'll submit to Him, the desires of the Spirit will displace the yearnings of the flesh.

As we grow in our love for God, the love for forbidden fruit dwindles. So the next time you are tempted, instead of saying no to fruit, say yes to Jesus.
Keep looking up!
Kent

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Distance from Your Forbidden Fruit

A boy was lying under a farmer's apple tree, looking up at the apples. The farmer saw him at a distance and yelled, "Hey you! Are you trying to steal my apples?" The boy yelled back, "No sir, I'm trying not to!"

Most of us are "trying not to" yield to temptation. And the more we try not to, the more we give in. Mark Twain once said, "I can resist everything but temptation." So can you! That's why we need to find a better way to deal with our weaknesses.

Like the little boy, Adam and Eve were standing under the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, examining the fruit (Gen. 3:6). If they had kept their distance from the tree, they wouldn't have been swayed by its charm. The magnetic pull of temptation grows stronger the closer we get to the forbidden fruit, but it weakens the further away we get. It's very easy to pick forbidden fruit at an arm's length, but it's impossible at a hundred yards away.

Adam and Even could have broken the attraction if they had immediately turned around and run away from the tree. That's the tactic we must use. Instead of fighting the temptation, we must program our minds ahead of time to flee from it. First Corinthians 6:18 says, "Flee immorality." It doesn't say to resist, but to run.

Rather than "just say no" to your temptation, "just run away" from it. Avoid going to the places where you fall. Stop stocking the fridge with ice cream. If necessary, disconnect the computer or TV. Quit hanging with the people who pull you down. This creates a distance, or a buffer zone, between you and the magnet where it loses its grip on you. But that's not all we should do. We must also "walk in the Spirit" which I'll talk about next time.
Keep looking up!
Kent

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Do You Believe Gossip?

A wise schoolteacher sent a note to all parents on the first day of school: "If you promise not to believe everything your child says happens in school, I'll promise not to believe everything your child says happens at home."

Don't believe everything you hear! Instead, be skeptical when you hear scandalous information about someone. A woman in North Dakota committed suicide because the gossip around town said that her husband was having an affair. The facts came out later that the rumor wasn't true, but the damage had already been done.

Before you believe questionable tidbits about someone, make sure you verify the information with two other sources. Second Corinthians 13:1 says, "Every fact is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses." This is a Scriptural safeguard to keep false accusations from destroying a person's reputation.

The next time someone tries to tell you gossip, just remember that the person who gossips to you, will also gossip about you!
Keep looking up!
Kent

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Being the #1 Fan

When Brett Favre was quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, he didn't have to wonder who was his #1 fan. It was 12 year-old David Witthoft. David wore the same Brett Favre football jersey every day for over 4 years!

For 1,581 straight days, Witthoft put on the Packers shirt to let everyone know the person he admired the most. When fellow students looked at David, they thought of Brett Favre.

When the Scripture tells us to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 13:14), it's not talking about wearing a Christian T-shirt every day. It means that our behavior and attitudes should reflect God's love in such a way that when people observe us, they see Jesus Christ.

Whenever people treat you unfairly, you'll stay calm and pray for them. Instead of requiring others to meet your expectations, you'll joyfully serve them. That's how everyone will know you're His #1 fan.
Keep looking up!
Kent