Wednesday, January 27, 2010


"There is a loftier ambition than merely to stand high in the world. It is to stoop down and lift mankind a little higher." George Matthew Adams said, "He climbs highest who helps another up." John Lubbock put it this way, "To do something, however small, to make others happier and better is the highest ambition, the most elevating HOPE, which can inspire a human being." – Henry Van Dyke

AMBITION- Good or bad?

Zig Zigler quotes an anonymous writer, “ambition, fueled by compassion, wisdom and integrity, is a powerful force for good. It will turn the wheels of industry and open the door of opportunity for you and countless thousands of other people. Fueled by greed and the lust for power, ambition is a destructive force that ultimately does irreparable damage to the individual in its grasp and to the people within its reach.”

Webster Dictionary defines ambition in this way:
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin ambition-, ambitio, literally, act of soliciting for votes, from ambire
Date: 14th century
1 a : an ardent desire for rank, fame, or power b : desire to achieve a particular end.

The Bible has much to say about ambition – and it isn’t good news. In 2 Chronicles 26:16-21 we see a picture of ambition in the person of King Uzziah. It wasn’t enough that he was King over Israel; he presumptuously desired and took upon himself the rank of High Priest. This selfish act brought judgment upon King Uzziah and he died a leprous outcast.

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust of it; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.”
– 1 John 2:16-17

“From where come wars and fightings among you? Come they not here, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust and have not; ye kill and desire to have, and cannot obtain; ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” – James 4:1-3

Conversely, we see in Colossians 3:12-17 a model for Christian living:

“Put on, therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, tender mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long suffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, also do ye. And above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another, in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

Paul admonishes his young student Timothy to:

“Study [MAKE IT YOUR AMBITION] to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” - 2 Timothy 2:15

So men, is it time to hang up our power ties; trade them in for sackcloth and ashes? Ladies, must you now retreat from aspiring to accomplish great things?


Picture, if you will, looking up at jagged cliffs rising from a tempestuous ocean. At the top of the cliff there appears movement. It is difficult to see at first, but as the clouds pass high overhead you clearly see the image of a muscular black stallion. Its coat glistens in the sun looking as if each tendon, each powerful muscle, strains to burst from its massive body! As you watch in total amazement its splendor, its beauty, its awesome power, the stallion rises upon its hind legs and kicks at the openness before him. And then you see it! It wasn’t noticeable at first. You were so taken by this creature’s beauty, its power, its majesty, that you almost missed it! Lodged within the stallion’s jaws, there is a bit and bridle. Herein is the definition of humility and meekness. It is not the woe-is-me weak-kneed Christians who look as if they had been weaned on a dill pickle. Not the habitual, “pray for me” Christian who fails to claim God’s blessing because it might mean losing the attention so addictively desired and manipulatively received. It is not the “give God the glory” Christian who puts on a cloak of humility as if it were a theater prop, only to accentuate and emphasize SELF. Humility, and Godly ambition, is simply POWER UNDER CONTROL. It is being who God made you to be – but letting Him control the reins.

Today, consider the opportunities before you. What is His will; does your "ambition" conform to it? If so, who controls the reins in your life - TODAY?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What Is Commitment?

Commitment is the consistent pursuit of a specific goal. Commitment is pouring one’s self into a specific task, emptying oneself of all other objectives and focusing, with singleness of purpose, upon one specific endeavor. There is no stopping, slowing or turning. Commitment is the underlying focal point of every moment until its objective has been squarely met, challenged and overcome. Commitment separates common endeavor from driven pursuit. No excuse can attach itself to commitment; commitment is never found, “under the circumstances.”

Commitment is separated from success only by time and effort. There is no uncertainty in commitment. Once committed to, the task is as good as completed. It is relentless.

Commitment is deaf to the cajoling of the jealous, the prayers of the pious, doubts of the defeated. It is blind to danger; there can be no failure. It scorns adversity, embraces risk. There is no obstacle, no natural disaster that can derail true commitment. Commitment faces the impossible and proclaims, “I will not be denied!”

Don’t give me statistics; don’t give me odds; don’t give me history; don’t give me facts; give me commitment! No other endeavor of mankind can yield eternal value!

The great evangelist, D. L. Moody said, “The world has yet to see what God can do with a man [or woman] fully consecrated [committed] to Him.”

excerpt from “Wise Up, O Man of God”; Laurie De Seguirant

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hope Amidst Suffering

WHY GOD? Why do You allow the suffering of innocence? Why do You seem to turn away from thousands who perish? Why the earthquakes? Why the death? Why the famine? Why the wars? Why the sorrow? Why the sickness? Why the pain? Why the fear? Why the hatred? WHY GOD?


Does questioning God make you feel uncomfortable? Do you recoil at the thought of questioning God; fearing that in His thirst for vengeance He may take umbrage and retaliate? Is THIS the God we worship?

Some would question whether God exists. They angrily conclude that if there was a “loving God” such calamities would never take place. To those I would inquire, “with whom then are you angry?”

We tend to be influenced by today’s headline news and our personal afflictions. Have you ever considered despair’s history?

The enormity of despair in the coffers of time overflows. There have been unimaginable tragedies since the very beginning of recorded history. Some are the result of natural disaster; others come by the very hand of mankind. The suffering of innocence, the indiscriminant peril by earthquake, weather, famine and sickness befalls every generation. Mankind’s sadistic thirst for power has resulted in fear, hatred and death since the beginning of time. It is easy to forget the trials of life in ages past. There are no emotional scars left from the plagues of the Middle Age; no fear from the torturous Inquisitions. Conquest, pillage, unimaginably brutality are no longer common place. The common cold is no longer a death warrant and obituaries are no longer filled with names of those dying from natural causes at 36.

The world’s saga of pain is not uncommon. It is a story repeated since the fall of man. It is a story authored by the great deceiver himself. It is vile; it is relentless, seeking to devour every vestige of hope. No one escapes its touch. Sadness and death passes upon all mankind.

“For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”
– Romans 8:20-22

This present world system is not as God originally intended. When it becomes clear to us that except for His grace and mercy intervening throughout history mankind would already have faced cruel annihilation, when we acknowledge His provision of HOPE during history’s darkest moments - THEN we more accurately recognize God’s wondrous unmerited love.

God continues to make provision for a world desperately in need. John 3:16 states clearly:

“For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life!”

And God provides this message of love through His children. This fact alters the responsibility.

“Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” - 2 Corinthians 5:20

It is so easy to judge. It is convenient to conclude that individuals suffering are experiencing the judgement of God. I would submit that this is not always so.

“And as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from his birth. And His disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, neither had this man sinned, nor his parents, but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” – John 9:1-3

Yes, God has provided for a world desperately in need and He continues to provide love and service through His ambassadors. What is He calling you to do – TODAY?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What Is The Most You Can Hope For?

Well? Do you face disappointment because you hope for too much? What IS the most you can hope for? In our previous BLOG we stated that HOPE is assurance, comfort and peace. It is FACT, not feeling. It is the “yet-to-be-fulfilled” certainty of the grace and mercy God has already planned planned for the believer.

What is the most you can hope for? Let me ask this in another way, what are the promises of God you can most depend upon?

It is often easy to take emotional inventory of our needs but how often do we review the vast inventory of promises from God? If we are unaware of them we cannot depend upon them. Yet, they are absolute unwavering certainties for THIS LIFE, TODAY!

I am not speaking of some health/wealth gospel. This is holding God to His promise and witnessing the fulfillment in our lives by committing to His will and trusting in His provision.

Today, right this moment, what is the promise or, “HOPE” that you are most dependent upon? Isn’t it wonderful to know that whatever the need, He has made provision – just for you? Let’s look at a few; the results are overwhelmingly exciting!

When you are:

Afraid – Psalms 27; Matthew 6:25-34; 11:28-30; John 11,17,20; Romans 8; 2 Corinthians 4, 5; 2 Corinthians12:9
Anxious – Psalms107; Philippians 4:6; 1 Peter 5:6; Hebrews 13:5
Bereaved – Luke 6:21; 1 Corinthians 15; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Feeling Blue – Psalms 91; Matthew 5:4; 10:12; 10:29-31; 11:28; John 14:1, 16, 18, 27; Romans 8:28, 35-39
Need Comfort – Job 5:19, 11:16; Psalms 25:5; 30:5; 42:5; 101:13; 119:50
Disaster Threatens – Psalms 20:6-9, 34; 118:5-9, 121, 126
Discouraged – Psalms 23; 37:1-17; 55:22; 90:12-17; Philippians 4:4-7; 1 John 3:1-3
Facing Crisis – 2 Timothy 1:7; Hebrews 4:16
Friends Fail – Psalms 35, 41:9-13; Luke 17:3, 4; Romans 12:14, 17, 19
Leaving Home – Matthew 10:16-20; Luke 15:11-32; Hebrews 11:8-16
Needing Peace – Psalms 1:1, 2; 4:8; 85:8, 46, 107; Romans 5:1-5; Colossians 3:15; 2 Corinthians 4:8-10, 16, 17
Needing Prayer – Psalms 4, 6, 25, 42, 51; Matthew 6:5-15; Luke 18:1-14; John 17; 1 John 5:15, 15
Sick Or In Pain – Matthew 26:39; 2 Timothy 2:3; Hebrews 12:1-11; James 5:11-15; 1 Peter 4:12, 13, 19
Facing Temptation – Psalms 1:1-6; Matthew 6:24; Luke 21:33-36; Mark 13:33-37; Romans 13:13, 14; 1 Corinthians 10:13; James 1:12-25; Philippians 4:8
When In Trouble – Psalms 16, 31, 38, 40; 2 Peter 2:9
When Weary – Deuteronomy 33:27; Psalms 55:22; 73:26; Isaiah 40:31; Jonah 2:7;Matthew 11:28; 2 Corinthians 4:16

"For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

May God shed his richest blessings upon you today!

Friday, January 8, 2010

HOPE - 101

HOPE; confident expectation. The Bible is unequivocal – every moment in the believer’s life is a moment of HOPE. The Old Testament declares HOPE to be the fundamental component in the life of the righteous while the New Testament declares Christ to be the absolute fulfillment of Old Testament promises.

HOPE is assurance, comfort and peace. It is fact, not feeling.

The individual who has yet to make a commitment to Jesus has no alternative but to depend upon statistical analysis and probability. A well known motivational speaker and consultant gave the following definition of hope:

"Hope happens when someone sees something, decides that it is desirable, realizes that they may not get it, but believes that there is still a chance of getting it. To put it tersely, though perhaps in a complex way, hope is expectation moderated by probabilistic estimation of a desired event. For hope to be a strong force for tension, the person's estimation that the desired event will occur must be both high enough for them to consider there to be a reasonable chance of it happening, yet not so high that they become complacent. Charles Revson, founder of the famous Revlon cosmetics empire famously said that what he sold was 'hope'".

Without passing judgment might I suggest that true HOPE is more than an exterior cosmetic? True HOPE, HOPE that reigns eternal, that is absolute and sure, that can be depended upon and anticipated, that is not bound by statistical analysis – probability or circumstance, is available to all who believe. It is INTERNAL; it is ETERNAL.

In Colossians 1:27 the Apostle Paul writes:

“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ IN YOU, the HOPE of glory!”

Christ is not in the business of selling HOPE. His HOPE is freely given to all who will call upon and surrender to Him.

God bless!

Monday, January 4, 2010

No Sand-bagging Allowed

Growing up I was involved in just about every possible business endeavor you can imagine. Most people saw me as an extravert and directed me into “sales”. I was counseled to, “UNDER promise, OVER achieve”. Later I realized that what I was being instructed to do is, “SAND-BAG”. It’s a deceptive means of appearing to accomplish more than what circumstances should allow. The actual, “sales job” is to determine what is achievable while at the same time convincing everyone that because of insurmountable odds it is just about impossible. At this point, anything accomplished is considered by the crowds to be success – even though it is only a small measure of what would have been possible IF I had been dedicated to the task. What’s more, I lose. I never grow from the struggle, I never experience true success, and I shroud myself in my own deceit. I am continually fooling myself and ultimately face the haunting question, “I wonder what if?”

It is tempting to do the same with our Christian service. Outwardly doing the “dos” and not doing the “don’ts” can bring recognition from the crowd and satisfy the ego - for a time. But it is only a small measure of what would have been possible IF we had been dedicated to the will of God. What’s more, WE lose. We never grow from the struggle, we never experience God’s working through us and the blessing of service, we shroud ourselves in guilt and look back on our life asking, “I wonder what if”.

"...He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6

I like the way the Amplified Bible translates the verse:

“And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.”

His, “GOOD WORK” is that miracle of salvation. It is only “GOOD” because God initiates it! Notice it is not our good work – it is not “from you” it is a work that is done “in you”. And God does not “sand-bag”. He will continue to perfect this salvation until the day of Jesus Christ.

What, therefore, is our responsibility?

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” - Philippians 2:12-13

Many people struggle in a vain attempt to work “FOR” their salvation. The Bible clearly states that salvation is from God. There is nothing we can do to be saved; NOTHING. Paul clearly states that once God has saved us, we are admonished to work “OUT” our salvation. It is all part of that proper balance, the spiritual exercise, the “WORK-OUT” that we have been referring to in our blog. It is BECAUSE of our salvation that we work to grow, to learn, to serve, to be used to bless and to be blessed. Herein are happiness, fulfillment, confidence, contentment, security, comfort and peace.

So, a new year and the spiritual “work-out” continue! Muscles are a little sore, perhaps there are some new areas on which to concentrate. We will be doing that together as we continue to discuss, “HOPE”.