Category Archives: The Verbs

The Verbs #31 (Disable Fear)

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“The fear of human opinion disables;

trusting in God protects you from that.”

Proverbs 29:25 The Message(MSG)

Have you ever been afraid to step out and do something for God, because you were so afraid of what others may think of you? Have you ever let that fear disable you to the point that you don’t step out and do what you feel the Lord is asking you to do? I have. There have been so many times in my life that I have not done what I felt like the Lord was asking me to do, because I was so afraid of what someone might think of me. There have also been times in my life that I have been afraid of doing something because of what someone might NOT think of me, but that’s a whole other topic for another devotion!

Maybe you are like me, and after reading this verse it gets you thinking about how man’s opinion can so easily disable us. As I reflected on this verse before I began writing this devotion, I was struck by a simple question in my own life. How many blessings has the enemy robbed from me, because I didn’t do what I was asked to do by God due to being disabled by my fear of man’s opinion?

I am reminded of the story of Nehemiah. The news had traveled to him that the recently liberated Jews who had gone back to Jerusalem were not doing very well at all. The walls of Jerusalem had been torn down and the gates had been burned. The Bible says that Nehemiah sat down and wept, mourned, fasted and prayed for days. He then decided he had to do something. The story goes that the king asked Nehemiah, who was the king’s cup-bearer, why he was so long faced. He went on to ask him if he was depressed or sick. Nehemiah explained the situation about his homeland and the king asked what he wanted. Nehemiah then asks if he can go to Judah and rebuild it. The king asks how long will it take to do that and what was the expected date of his return. The king approves the trip and Nehemiah goes on to ask for letters for the governors across the Euphrates to authorize his travel, and letters to help secure the timber he would need to rebuild the Temple fortress, the wall and the house where he would be staying. The king obliged.

Now, there were two men who become very upset about this turn of events. Their names were Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite. We later read in the book of Nehemiah how these two men tried to distract and demean Nehemiah and the work he was doing. I love Nehemiah’s response in Nehemiah 2:20.

“I shot back, “The God-of-Heaven will make sure we succeed. We’re his servants and we’re going to work, rebuilding. You can keep your nose out of it. You got no say in this – Jerusalem’s none of your business!”

Nehemiah 2:20 The Message (MSG)

I would have loved to see the surprise on their faces at this confident, bold, almost arrogant reply! You see, Nehemiah could have been disabled by the fear of their opinions, but instead, he knew that God was backing him up! He was trusting in God, so his mind and his heart were protected by that trust! He could have let fear totally disable him when it came to telling the king what he wanted to do, but he didn’t. Again, he was bold and confident in his replies and in his requests.

Have you ever heard that saying, “Don’t tell your dreams to just anyone”? It is so true! Not everyone will understand what God has called YOU to do! They will not understand your passion level; nor will they understand your Godly dreams and desires that God placed in YOU! If He’s asked you to do something, or if He’s made you passionate about something, then be prepared for the naysayers, the critics and the doubters. But oh, how I love Nehemiah! He just keeps rebuilding the wall and he prays a prayer that can be found in Nehemiah 4:4-5. Can I just stop right here and challenge you to read those verses in The Message Bible? Thank you!

But I love how Nehemiah’s authority, the king, not only said yes to his request, but he also did what he could do to help Nehemiah complete the task! Everyone has someone who they are submitted to. If you don’t, you should. No one is above being accountable! The respect in this relationship is admirable, and most definitely God made a way for Nehemiah in every aspect!

Nehemiah did not let man’s opinion disable, detract or demean his work and neither should you! Tell the devil to back off, and take that leap of faith and do what God has called you to do!  In the words of an old gospel spiritual, “Keep on keepin’ on!” You can do this! How about instead of disabling fear, why don’t you DISABLE fear?!

(Think about disabling a bomb. You must know which wires to cut! You can’t cut the wrong one or you will be saying, “Houston, we have a major problem!” The same is true in our spiritual life! We have to know which voice to turn off in our head! You can’t listen to the enemy’s voice and expect to have peace! You can’t listen to the enemy’s voice and expect that you will want to forgive that person! You can’t listen to the enemy’s voice and expect that he will give you Godly advice and divine direction! You can’t listen to the enemy’s voice and expect that you will walk out in faith and do what God has called you to do! Cut the wire on that voice! Disable that fear! Disable that pain, hurt, worry, doubt and anger! How about instead of fear disabling you, why don’t you disable fear! Take that devil!)

 

Written By:Melissa McKinnies

http://melissamckinnies.com/blog/

 

 

The Verbs #30 (No Doubt)

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 5–6 The believer replied, “Every promise of God proves true;
he protects everyone who runs to him for help.
So don’t second-guess him;
he might take you to task and show up your lies.”

Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Pr 30:5–6). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.

One of my favorite memories of my dad preaching was from a sermon out of Proverbs 23 verse 23. It simply states to “Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.” The memory from that sermon is simply my father urging the people to never let go of truth. That point in the sermon has never left me. I wondered, how does one go about purchasing the truth? Isn’t it free? We are also told that there is a price for what Jesus did for us that is far above anything that we could ever repay. So how does one go about buying the truth?

The definition of the word buy can mean to get by sacrifice or great effort or to accept the truth of. So often we think of the most commonly used definition when we think of a word. You cannot buy this Truth, because it isn’t for sale. There are many things in Gods word, and about God, that you are going to have to attain by putting some effort into it. We live in a world that confines communication to an emoji, 140 characters or a meme. We take this as gospel ��! Yet, we do not believe this as Gospel:  “First this: God created the Heavens and Earth—all you see, all you don’t see.” (Genesis 1:1)  The one is easy to believe, the other takes faith and the exercise of it. We trust the person that sent us the emoji, because we are in a relationship with them. We communicate regularly, so we know what makes them smile and we know what makes them angry. How? Because we know them, and know them well. In order for the doubt and the second guessing to disappear  between you and God, you are going to have to develop that same kind of relationship. It takes effort and sacrifice to develop a strong, mutually beneficial relationship in the natural. It would then stand to reason that it takes the same things to develop a spiritual relationship!

It is now the cool thing to doubt God. It is also the popular thing to decry that there is no God. How can you believe that there is a God they ask? Well, I decided to dig deep, put some effort into it, believed and then took God at His word. It is not a feeling, as some would think; it was a conscious decision. It is no different then when Melissa tells me she loves me. I could say prove it, but how does one prove that they love? I chose to trust, believe and take her at her word. Over the last seventeen years, that blind trust, that step into uncertainty to trust her with my heart, my love and my future, hasn’t been a wrong decision. It’s been proven over and over again that when she gave me her word, that was truth. Much longer than seventeen years ago, I made a similar decision. It was October 30th, 1985. It was then I read a letter that came in the form of a verbal sermon. When I heard what was written, and I then read it for myself, I chose to believe it and I took God at His word. Over the last thirty two years, that decision to take God at His word, to trust and to accept the truth of what was written, hasn’t been a wrong decision! In the same way that my decision to marry Melissa was a great decision,  the decision to give my life to Christ thirty two years ago, has been an even better one!

It began as a simple choice, to believe and accept. Now that I have bought in, accepted and put some effort into knowing God, I can say, just like the believer in Proverbs 30:5… “Every promise of God proves true;….He protects everyone who runs to Him for help.”  It is hard my friend to argue with a man that has had an experience. I believed and accepted, but now there is experience in this relationship that I have with God. Therefore, I will never doubt God, second guess God; nor will I ever sell out what I have with God. Just because others cannot make the first choice to believe and accept, that doesn’t negate my experience!

 

 

 

The Verbs #26 (Put the Fire Out)

 

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“When you run out of wood, the fire goes out; when the gossip ends, the quarrel dies down.”

Proverbs 26:20 MSG 

Many relationships have been destroyed, by one individual feeling they had to get the last word in. The reality of that notion is often it is the last word. That last word is the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back. By getting the last word in, you not only end the fight, but you also end the relationship.

One day, Melissa and I were having an intense moment of fellowship. I couldn’t tell you then, and I cannot tell you now, what it was about. That’s the point. We were going along having a wonderful evening, and then a moment broke out. After just a few moments, Melissa just asked the question, “What in the world are even doing?”  “What is this all about?” Neither of us could answer the question. We were just trying to get the last word in; one last dig. When she asked the question, it gave both of us pause. The pause allowed us to pull the wood off the fire. We could have kept going, chucking log after log onto the fire. It would have created an intense inferno, but ultimately it would have burnt down our house, our marriage and our family.

Whether it is in your marital relationship or in another relationship, my question is this, “Is being right, worth the fight?” You can be right, but be completely wrong in how you set out to prove it.  We get so comfortable with the people that we love the most, that we often hurt them the deepest. We just assume that they will always be there, no matter what. By throwing the proverbial log onto the fire, we are showing them that we value the “fight to be right”, more than we value the relationship.

Specifically, in marriage, husbands are to love their wife as Christ loved the church. Remember that Christ loved us and still loves us despite how wrong we were in the past and even in the present. Could it be, that the answer to your relationship is to overlook, move on or simply forgive a mistake? In other words, take the log off the fire. Stop stirring up the coals to reignite something that was over a long time ago.

I would also caution you that if you are in an intense moment of fellowship and a fire starts, keep the old logs out of the new fire. It is unfair to bring an old issue that has been resolved into this fight. Once you start throwing old logs into the fire along with the new ones, you will get a fire that will be hard to contain.

The right thing to do, is to discuss the situation without hurling log and staring fires. Let me leave you with this little verb…

“A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire.”

Proverbs 15:1 MSG

Use your words to put out the fire, not cause one!

 

The Verbs #27 (Sharpen)

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“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”
Proverbs 27:17 NLT
When reading through the Bible, one cannot help but see that God certainly designed us for community. It’s become a common theme among churches and church communities to state “we are better together”! That’s exactly the goal that God had in mind. In the first book of the Bible God lays that mantra out!
“Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.””
Genesis 2:18 NLT
If you read through the story of creation, after each one God examined it and declared that it was good or very good. However, Adam being created and left in a “single” state, was only the thing God improved on. How did He improve upon it? By creating a help mate, Eve. God believed then and still believes now that we are better together.
When two people are in community, whether that be in a marriage, friendship or business partnership, there is always a little bit of a rub. Two thought processes, different backgrounds, and different life experiences cause this rub to happen. Solomon compares this rub to iron sharpening iron. I don’t know if you’ve ever witnessed iron being sharpened, but there is a whole lot of sparks flying when it happens. The process gets hot, is difficult, but entirely necessary if the iron is going to be effective in its purpose.
A knife that is dull is still a knife. It is just not as effective when it’s dull, as it would be if it were sharp. There is certainly a need for you to be sharp. Often, when we are in community and people get in close quarters including working together, doing ministry together, or being in relationship, sparks can sometimes fly. Usually when that happens, instead of there being a sharpening, there is instead a separation. When we go into community with eyes wide open, we can have a greater understanding about the process. There will be some sparks and some rubs, but it’s all a part of the sharpening, and I believe we would stick together versus falling apart.
When iron sharpens iron, it makes the iron more effective. It also makes the iron that is dull and brightens it. When you are sharpened, you become sharper and you shine brighter.
To be better individually, you must be better about community. Allow iron to sharpen iron, so that you can be more effective and shine brighter for Him!

 

 

The Verbs #29 (undeserved)

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A few years ago, I was having the physical battle of my life! I had never dealt with physical ailments to this degree before, and I was so confused about what was going on in my body. I was scared, afraid and more worried than I ever let on. It came almost without warning. I was beginning to feel the tentacles of depression trying to take hold of me, so I immediately began praying for my mind. I also sought medical help because I had dealt with depression before. My doctor prescribed some medication and after assuring me I wouldn’t need this drug forever, I decided it was the best move for me.

Shortly after that, we went on our annual spring break trip, and the very next week, we headed out for our other annual trip, our honeymoon. We were going on a cruise for the first time in our lives, and we were so excited! It was an awesome time! No phones, no internet and really no issues.

Well, except save for one.

My lymph nodes began swelling all over my body while we were on the ship. I was starting to feel dizzy, fatigued and the sharp pains on the left side of my head would not let up! I disembarked from the ship, went straight to the airport and boarded the plane for home. I thought I was experiencing “sea legs” and motion sickness. The emergency doctor who sat beside me on the plane ride home (we flew Southwest so this was unplanned ~ I am positive he couldn’t wait for the flight to end because I was asking a hundred questions for real) reassured me that the cotton mouth, the dizziness, the fatigue and the swelling of my lymph nodes would disappear quickly now that I was back on land.

They didn’t.

I became extremely worried and five days after arriving home, I found myself at the doctor. So many questions, blood draws, tests and more questions. More doctor’s appointments, more meds and more tests awaited me after this initial appointment. I learned so much during this time and yet nothing they were prescribing or telling me to try, was touching my symptoms. This went on for about three months and finally I decided to seek another opinion. I liked him a lot. He was a Christian and he promised me that with God’s help, we would have a resolution to this soon! It seemed like I had new symptoms popping up each week including headaches, severe shooting pain in my head, hands cramping up and eye twitches to name a few. So many of my symptoms pointed to three major diagnosis’s. I refused to accept any of them, but I was so desperate for answers. I finally had an MRI and I am pretty sure I left every bit of blood I had in my right arm in those vials that day. The call came on Saturday morning from the doctor. My MRI was completely clear! No tumors, or any other signs of any major diagnosis’s! My blood work was “A+” per my doctor. Thankful does not even begin to describe it. But I still had no answers!

Fast forward six months, and I was sitting across from a Neurologist at Washington University in St. Louis, going through more testing, answering more questions, etc. After a few minutes passed, with confidence the doctor declared she had the answer; migraines. Mine had lasted about six months. To my surprise, she prescribed no medication and gave me some vitamin and herb remedies and told me what to avoid when it came to foods and drink. I went straight to Whole Foods, picked up everything she told me about and praised God all the way home that we now had answers!

Move ahead another four months and this is when this scripture came into play. My symptoms were not going away. I prayed, I fasted and I trusted God! I was having a morning where my head was full of pain, my hands were cramping so bad that my fingers were curling inward on their own and my lymph nodes were swelling again. I was scheduled to sing that day and I found myself in my husband’s office, on the floor, in complete agony. I was surrounded by praying people and one gentleman began to quote this scripture:

“Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow,
an undeserved curse will not land on its intended victim.

Proverbs 26:2

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

 

The devil does not want anyone walking around healed, healthy and whole! He will do whatever he wants to, to see that you are never walking around victorious! The last part of this verse really stuck out to me because I felt like I had this really big target on my back, and the enemy was doing everything he could to make sure something “landed” on me! My husband had had a dream about me about one week earlier. In this dream, there were people praying against me, not for me! He wasn’t sure what they were praying exactly, but he knew it wasn’t for my good! So, we began to declare this scripture over our lives, and especially over my health!

 

A year later I was symptom free and going along on my merry way, when bam, out of nowhere, a strong migraine knocked me flat on my back! I was devastated! We started praying this scripture with earnest and God revealed a lot to us both during this time! We trusted Him and He came through! We began to earnestly pray circles over my health, our marriage, our church, our children and our finances! If you haven’t read Mark Batterson’s book on praying circles around your life, you should go get it right now. Well, not right now, because I need to finish this story, but right after I’m done! Go get it! It will change your life! I digress. After we began praying these circles over us, things began to change. God began speaking to us about so many things and one day when I woke up, I realized I hadn’t had a migraine in almost a year! I was thrilled!

 

You see, when you decide that an undeserved curse dispatched by the enemy will not land on you, the atmosphere changes in your life! When you tell the devil, “no way, it ain’t happening”, it’s amazing what happens! Sometimes these curses are generational and sometimes these curses are put on us by those who wish us harm! Generational curses have no place in the life of the believer! Christ came to break every chain on our life and that is a chain that CAN be broken in your life! It doesn’t have to happen to you!  That is an undeserved curse! It doesn’t have to be that way for you!

 

Sometimes people wish us harm. I don’t like it and I don’t understand it and yet, I can’t say there haven’t been times I’ve silently wished this on others. It’s wrong. We are to forgive and move on, even if they’re in the wrong and you are in the right! That is another undeserved curse. Even if we do “deserve” a curse, Jesus came to bring us life and life more abundantly and to break every chain in our life! That is the power of the blood of Jesus!

 

If you are facing something in your life, trust that God is with you, He is for you and an undeserved curse cannot land on you! You are protected by the blood of Jesus! He has you covered! The devil won’t be able to see the landing pad! Rejoice in that today!

Written By: Melissa McKinnies

http://melissamckinnies.com/blog/

 

The Verbs #25 (Leave something Behind)

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“Don’t jump to conclusions—there may be a perfectly good explanation for what you just saw. In the heat of an argument, don’t betray confidences; Word is sure to get around, and no one will trust you.

The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry, And a wise friend’s timely reprimand is like a gold ring slipped on your finger.

Reliable friends who do what they say are like cool drinks in sweltering heat—refreshing! Like billowing clouds that bring no rain is the person who talks big but never produces. Patient persistence pierces through indifference; gentle speech breaks down rigid defenses.”

Proverbs 25:8-15 MSG

http://bible.com/97/pro.25.8-15.msg

Proverbs 25 thru 29 are chapters written by Solomon but collected by King Hezekiah.

“There are also these proverbs of Solomon, collected by scribes of Hezekiah, king of Judah. (Proverbs 25:1)

Solomon was writing these chapters some two hundred and fifty years prior to Hezekiah beginning his reign as king of Judah! Somewhere along the line some of the men who worked for Hezekiah came across these “Verbs” and read them. Apparently they thought enough of the wisdom found in them to preserve them. They are now being read thousands of years later by you. They still hold great meaning, for the lessons in them remain as powerful as ever.

Lessons learned and then passed on, are incredible sources of wisdom. There are many things that will carry on beyond our lives. Our words, stories, and writings are some of them. To this day, I can recall the many stories of my grandparents. Those stories passed wisdom on to us verbally.

Just a few months ago, my parents sent me some old church magazines from my home church, where my dad now Pastors. These magazines contain articles written by my grandparents. They tell the story of their salvation experiences, their faith in God, and  many of the principles by which they lived. While reading them, I learned somethings I didn’t know and was reminded of a few things I had forgotten. The articles were from the 1950’s. Two of my grandparents have long since went to be with the Lord; however, the meaning and the power of their conversion and faith in God still spoke to me.

I am reminded that when the Prophet Elisha died, they put his body into a cave. Some time later a soldier died. His buddies put his body into the same cave as Elisha’s bones. When the soldier came in contact with the bones of Elisha, he was brought back to life and he came out of the cave. There was still power resting in Elisha long after his life had ended. May the same be true for you.

May your life’s story long out live you. May the experience and wisdom that you have gained in life, be a launching pad for generations to come.

May you strive to build your life, so that your family can start where you finished. In other words, may your children and grandchildren’s floors be your ceiling. Set them up for success. Don’t just talk big and wish you could have; instead, set out and do it. You’ll never know who you will affect!

 

 

 

The Verbs #24 (Don’t Faint)

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If you fall to pieces in a crisis,
there wasn’t much to you in the first place.

Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Pr 24:10). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.

One of the great misnomers about being a Christian is the thought we will not experience any difficulty. This scripture is quite clear we will face difficulty in this life.

When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty.
Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Mt 5:44–45). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.

The KJV renders verse 45 like this…
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Mt 5:45). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

He sends rain on the just and the unjust, the good and the bad. When we hear the word rain, we automatically associate it with storms, especially when we are thinking in spiritual terms. We think like this: rain is bad, sunshine is good. So please, no rain for me, I only want the sunshine.

Let’s talk symbolically for a moment. Rain is what brings the nourishment that allows trees to establish or grow roots. Roots are the system beneath the ground that give strength to every part of the tree that is visible above ground. When the rain comes, it travels below the surface, and the tree then uses that moisture to establish or strengthen itself, so it will grow.
They say the best time to plant a tree is in the fall. It is the season when the root system has the most growth. It is in the fall when the root system gets all the attention from the tree. It’s right before the harshest of seasons when the tree grows best. It is almost as if it’s preparing itself for survival through the cold, dark and harsh winter. The tree may not know exactly when winter is coming, but it seems to know that it is coming. It is just the way of our world. Instead of ignoring it, saying it will never happen, the tree goes into preparation mode.

Listen to how the Apostle Paul describes the life of a Christian.

If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken
Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (2 Co 4:7–9). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.

There is something within us that you may not see, but do not be mistaken. It is there. When the storms of life come, I will not only survive, I will thrive. Proverbs 24:10 should be a challenge to us as Christians. When adversity comes, we will not shrink, but rather we will grow. We will not faint; we will stand in the day of adversity.

Many people see adversity, trials and difficulties as the making or breaking of a person. But in reality, adversity, trials and difficulties allow us to see what was already in a person. They are a gauge of your preparation for the day of adversity. We must grow deep in God to have strength to stand in the trials of this life.

In the text in Matthew, many people view the rain as trouble. It is actually about nourishment, giving the necessary ingredients to grow and thrive to every person. It just depends on what you do with it. What will you do with the rain?

The answer is obvious to those who are watching you go through the storm. After every storm, you can drive around town and see the trees that were weak and ill equipped to handle it. They are the ones toppled, crumpled and ripped up by the roots, and by the storm came, it was too late to grow roots. It all depends on what you’ve prepared beforehand. You should know the storm is coming, because our enemy is looking for anyone to devour. The storm will come, but you can be prepared! Not to avoid the storm, but to withstand the storm. Many people pray for an easier life! How about we pray to be a stronger person, so that when the storm comes we will not faint.

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Jas 1:2–4). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.

 

 

The Verbs #23 (Do What I Do)

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Dear child, I want your full attention;

please do what I show you.

Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Pr 23:26). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.

For much of my life, I caught more than I was taught! I mopped up what those around me were dropping. Of course, there is also those that use another line, “don’t do as I do, do as I say”. The problem with that is that actions speak louder than words. Here, the scripture gives us a parenting 101 class. In telling his son to give him his full attention, he then asks the child to do what I show you.

In terms of life, I pray that our lives are worthy of our children watching. My friends, they really are mopping up everything that you are dropping. They may not be hanging onto every word you say, but they are certainly watching every action that you make. For us to be role models to our children, let us lead lives worthy of being followed. Whether you like it or not, someone is following your example.

I have learned over the years with my children, I need to tell them what to do, show them what to do, and then watch them do it. There are some assurances in that process. First, I am practicing on communicating with them, so they understand the expectation. It is very difficult to hold someone accountable to an expectation that was never given nor explained. How do they know if they are succeeding or failing to meet an unspoken standard or expectation? We often assume that someone knows what we are talking about. I hear people say all the time that you should over communicate. I have come to understand that over-communication doesn’t exist. There is simply communication and non-communication. If you properly communicate, they’ll understand the expectation.

Secondly, show them how to do it. Many times, in verbally communicating something that you’ve done a hundred times, you forget a simple step. While that step may be so simple to you, that you even forget to mention it, it is vitally important to the process. So, going beyond the verbal, you show the person exactly how it is done.  Some people are verbal learners; others are visual learners. You have covered both bases. There is also a leadership lesson wrapped up in this, because not only are you asking them to do something, but now you are showing them how to do it and it proves that you are not asking them to do something that you wouldn’t do yourself. Showing them how to do it reinforces everything that was just verbally communicated.

Lastly, watch them do it. This is a great time to not only coach them up, but it is also a time to jump right back in and correct any behaviors, actions or habits that could form early on. So often, we tell them what to do, and then we go on to something else. But remember, they might need your assistance again during the process. Simply go back to point number one. Start over again. Tell them how to do it, show them how to do it, and then watch them do it.

I have discovered in that little process, that often what I said to do, doesn’t always line up with what I do. Then there are times when I am watching them do something, I will correct them. My children then say, “Well, that’s how you do it”. I quickly realize, they are watching, and I am glad they are.

In terms of my spiritual life, I desperately desire for my kids to follow after their parents when it comes to their walk with the Lord. I have worked hard over the years at not being melancholy about my kid’s spiritual walk. The main way that I do that is to be passionate about MY walk with the Lord. Sure, I pastor a church. You would think that it would be easy to be passionate about the Lord, church, worship, praise and prayer. However, I believe in this arena, I have an extremely tough assignment. My assignment is to ensure that Jesus, church, worship, praise and prayer, do not become common. My kids attend nearly every service that happens at our church, even the multiple services on Sunday. My oldest daughter usually serves in an area of the church for the first two services and then worships with Melissa and I at the third service. At this point in the day, I have already preached twice, worshipped twice and held numerous meetings. I could take the time off at the third service, hang out in the foyer, relax a little. However, she’s watching me. I want her to learn how to worship from me. So, I go out every service, and yes I worship for myself, but I also go to show my daughter how to worship a King!

In the end, my job is to train up a child by telling them how to live, showing them how to live and then I get to watch them live out a life that is worthy to be followed!

The Verbs #22 (Protect Your Name)

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A sterling reputation is better than striking it rich;

a gracious spirit is better than money in the bank.

Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Pr 22:1). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.

 

The King James Version renders that verse…

good name is rather to be chosen than great riches,

And loving favour rather than silver and gold.

 

The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Pr 22). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

Maybe you’ve heard the old saying “your reputation precedes you.” This phrase is usually spoken when you meet someone, and their reputation is either so good or so bad that you feel as if you already know them. The reality is that you judged them before you ever met them. Now that you are meeting them, every action, thought and word is being filtered through the reputation that you had previously heard.

Early on in my life my parents instilled in me a sense of pride about our family. I understood that my actions, whether good or bad, were a direct reflection on my family. My parents raised me to not only respect myself, but to also respect my family. We were trained to live our lives in such a way that we would never bring shame to our family. I knew then, and I still know today, that I live not just for myself, but I also represent my family. Now that I am a married man with kids of my own, I represent so much more now than I did then. We walked with a respect for each other, for our family name. I was a McKinnies. With that name came responsibility. When I went to school I knew not to disrupt, or cause trouble, because when I came home dad was not going to side with me. Now, before you start judging my parents as harsh or mean, let me explain.  I cannot remember a time when my parents disciplined me physically. I do know that I would have much rather been disciplined physically, than to have speak with my dad. I told my dad one night, “I wish you would just hit me, rather than talk to me.”  I knew that I had let him down and he just kept talking. I was filled with so much guilt; not that I had been caught, but because my dad had to stay up and wait for me. I had let him down. I had failed in upholding the expectations he had set for me.

Early on in my life, I learned that if I made my dad proud, then I would be a success in this life. We were taught to have a strong work ethic. If we were going to do something, then not should we do it, but we should give it all we had! We were taught respect. As a kid when I would spend time with my friends and their families. My parents would instruct me, “Jason, you say yes ma’am and no ma’am, yes sir and no sir.” And then just before they turned to walk away, one final reminder, “Jason, you mind your manners.” Why would they do that? Because my behavior when I was with my friends and their families, was a direct reflection on them. I represented them, so I was instructed on how to behave, function and operate in a manner that would be pleasing to my family.

As I grew older, it wasn’t so much about manners as it was integrity, trust and faithfulness. Consistently, I was reminded to never let my good be spoken evil of, and I needed to keep myself from the very appearances of evil. These were just a few of the reminders on how to be a good person. All of this was the measure my parents took to ensure that when my reputation preceded me, it would be good. That upon meeting someone, I would not have to have my life filtered through innuendos, rumors, etc. They were protecting my name as much as they were protecting their name.

I enjoy history very much. I was excited when I came across this story about Alexander the Great.

Alexander the Great reviewed his troops one day, and one of his soldiers slouched a bit.

“What’s your problem?” Alexander asked him.

The soldier explained that he had been out on the town the night before.

“What’s your name?” Alexander asked.

“Alexander,” the soldier answered.

The general said, “Either change your conduct or change your name.”

When I entered the corporate world, the company I worked for reinforced the principles that I was raised with. Consistently we were reminded that we were in the image business. Your conduct, as a partner in this company, is not only a direct reflection of your character, but also a reflection of our company. Therefore, they established three questions we were to ask ourselves when we were in doubt.  These were the three primary guidelines we were to abide by in regards to our integrity.

1. Is what I am doing moral, ethical and legal?

2. Would I want what I am doing to be published in the newspaper?

3. How would I feel, if my family were to find out?

What were they doing as a company? Protecting their name, and I was the representative.

Now that I am the Senior Pastor of the Worship Center, I think about those guidelines nearly every day! I now represent so much more than a corporation. I represent each of you. I have a responsibility to protect the Name that we carry, the Name that I preach, the Name that I wholeheartedly believe is the answer for the world. The Name of Jesus!

By protecting my name, I in turn, protect His Name!

The Verbs #21 (Be Honest)

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The Verbs #21 (Be Honest)

A lying witness is unconvincing; a person who speaks truth is respected.”

Proverbs 21:28 MSG

http://bible.us/97/pro.21.28.msg

To protect the guilty, a few identities in this devotional have been changed.

Maybe you have encountered a person, or maybe more than one, like what I’m about to describe. This is the person that is only telling the truth when their mouth is closed. Quite literally, I have watched people lie about lying. Everything that is stated, typed or conveyed by this person must be sorted through a filter. You’re not sure what is truth and what is a lie. It is hard to have emotion about much of what this person is saying to you. I have encountered more than my share of people that are unconvincing.  Once you’ve lied to my face, I go to one of the unlisted gifts of the spirit. The gift of suspicion, which means everything that person tells me, or that I hear from them, is suspect. It is false until proven otherwise. That is a sad state, because what happens if they are telling the truth.

“Watch your words and hold your tongue; you’ll save yourself a lot of grief.”

Proverbs 21:23 MSG

Truly, one of the main themes of Proverbs is literally one of the old adages that our parents would tell us as kids. God gave you two ears and one mouth. Listen more and talk less. I could also add that our mouth was designed and created by God with the ability to be closed, our ears were not. The book of Proverbs is reminding us that if we listen more and talk less, we bring peace into our lives; however, if we talk more than we listen, we often bring more trouble into our lives.

We are going to speak, but when we speak it should be with honesty. The scripture states that a person who speaks truth is respected! I may not enjoy, or like what a person is telling me, but I’d much rather have them tell me the truth. I may not like it but I will respect it. But I also believe when we speak truth, we should do it in love. Especially when using the Word of God to state that truth! The word of God is a sharp sword. Using anything as powerful as God’s word without love will destroy a person. Many people have weaponized the word of God. The purpose of the sword of the word is to cut away things that are harmful to us. That is love.

If you were in a burning car, strapped to a seat, unable to free yourself from the carnage and flames, I would use a knife to cut away what was keeping you in danger, so that you could free yourself or I could pull you through to safety. I may not know you, but I am operating out of love for you.

Truth does the same thing. Jesus declared that He was the way, the truth and the life. He has come to cut away the things that are endangering us, so that we can be free. Truth will set you free. We are the ones that God uses to introduce people to truth, so we need to make sure that we represent Him well. Introduce Him in love, but speak truth. We use the sword, the Word of God, to cut away things in our lives that have kept us trapped, locked up and hindered.

A beautiful thing about truth is that it never changes, it remains constant. It never runs with the crowds, is never exaggerated, and it is never a different version based on who you are. It is just truth.

I never want my testimony, or my experience with truth, to ever be suspect because my life, my mind or my story has changed for the worse! I want my words and my life to be respected, so I must operate truthfully.

In the King James Version, Proverbs 21:28 says, “A false witness shall perish: but the man that heareth speaketh constantly.”

It doesn’t mean that He speaks constantly but rather consistently.

Let us be consistent in speaking truth in a lovingly manner!