Monday, May 31, 2010

Giving Your Problems to God

Joe was about to go camping and strapped a backpack on his back. Just then he ran into Lou, who started talking about all the problems in his life.
Joe said, "Why don't you pray and give your problems to God?"

"I already did that," Lou responded, "but I'm still worried and burdened down. How will I know when I've given them to Him?"

Immediately Joe released the backpack off his back. "How do I know if the pack is not on my back anymore? I haven't turned around to see if it's off my back."
"Because it isn't weighing you down any more," Lou answered.
"And that's how you'll know when you've transferred your problems to God," Joe replied. "They won't be weighing you down any more."

When we pray correctly, we transfer our problems into God's hands. If you are still burdened down after you have prayed, then you never let go of your problems to begin with.

Have you turned your problems over to the Lord? Phil. 4:6-7 says, "Don't worry about anything, but pray about everything . . . and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." You'll know that you've given your problems over to God when His peace fills your heart and mind. You're not worried anymore because you're trusting God to take care of them.
Keep looking up!

Monday, May 24, 2010

The God of Another Chance

In golf there's an unwritten rule called a Mulligan. If you hit a bad shot off the tee, you can take a Mulligan, which says the first shot doesn't count and you get another chance to hit a new ball. It's a picture of grace because you don't deserve a second chance. There's no rule in golf that says you can forget about the first shot and get another chance to hit the ball. So where did the Mulligan come from?

It came from a man named David Mulligan, who was a manager of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. While playing golf one day in the 1920's, he hit a bad shot off the tee and decided to hit a "correction shot." His friends liked the idea so much they named the correction shot after him. Other golfers decided they needed another chance too when they messed up, so they also started taking Mulligans. And so have golfers for the next nine decades!

Did you know that God is offering you a Mulligan? If you've messed up your life, He wants to give you another chance to get it right this time. No, you don't deserve it. It's only by God's grace. He wants you to get your life back on track again.

But here's the deal. God will give you another chance, but you must do it differently than the first time. If you hit the ball the same way, you'll get the same result as the first time. This time, by God grace, you must do it His way. And then you'll wind up on the green rather than in the rough.
Keep looking up!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Making Decisions--Open & Closed Doors

Proverbs 16:9 says, "The mind of the man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps." One of the ways God directs our steps is through opening and closing doors. A Sunday school teacher asked her class if she had ever seen God miraculously open a door. One little boy raised his hand and said, "I see God open doors every week." She replied, "Every week?" He said, "Yes, every week when Mommy takes me to the grocery store, I see God open the doors!"

Just as God can open the doors at the grocery store at just the right time, He can open a door for you at just the right time. An open door is an opportunity. Sometimes we must knock on the door before it will open. Jesus said, "Keep on knocking and the door will be opened for you" (Matt. 7:7). If you've lost your job, "knocking on doors" means filling out job applications and sending out your resume. You might need to apply to 100 businesses, not because you need 100 jobs, but because you don't know which door He will open.

Rev. 3:7 tells us that God can open doors that no one can shut, and can shut doors that no one can open. The Lord will close doors to protect us from make a mistake and to divert us in a new direction. Sometimes the door will be closed until the timing is right, and then it will open.

As you seek God's direction for your life look for the open doors, and don't get mad at Him if a door closes. He's just trying to protect you.
Keep looking up!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Making Decisions--Choosing Your Advisors

Two men, who were broke and destitute, were sitting on a park bench. One guy bragged, "No one is going to tell me what to do! I've never followed anyone's advice." The other man stuck out his hand and said, "Shake, old buddy. I'm a man who followed everyone's advice."

The two biggest mistakes people make are 1) not following anyone's advice and 2) following everyone's advice. Both extremes will lead to failure. Instead, we must be selective in the advice we listen to. Proverbs 24:6 says, "In the abundance of counselors there is victory." That doesn't mean we must take a poll and ask everyone's opinion. Before making a major decision, we must first qualify our counselors and then we let them advise us.

1. Choose godly counselors. Ps. 1:1 says, "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly." The first qualification is that the person must love God and have the track record in their lifestyle to prove it.

2. Choose experienced counselors. Prov. 24:6 says, "For by wise guidance you will wage war." If you are going to war, you need to gain wisdom from someone in the military who has already fought battles and has won. Choose someone who is experienced in the area where you need advice and has been successful. If it didn't work for them, it won't work for you. If someone doesn't know how to swim, they can't teach you how to swim.

3. Choose caring counselors. Prov. 27:6 says, "Faithful are the wounds of a friend but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy." Some people are envious and don't want others to succeed, so they will deceptively give you bad advice, hoping you will fail. Your counselor should genuinely care about what will happen to you.

4. Choose several counselors. Prov. 24:6 says, "In the abundance of counselors there is victory." Select a group of counselors after they have been qualified. They will be able to point out things concerning the decision that you hadn't thought about. After listening to their counsel, remember that the final decision is your responsibility, not theirs.
Keep looking up!