Friday, March 28, 2014



How do you see yourself? How do you see others?  Sometimes we are self unaware and see ourselves as right when we are wrong or better than we really are at something, and sometimes we go the other extreme and lack self-confidence and think we stink at something or worse than we really are. We also sometimes make the same mistake with others.  We expect more out of them than we should, think more highly of them than we should, or we think lower of them than we should, or we have no confidence in them and we should.

It's a crazy cycle, but I think the problem is our perception.  For man, perception is reality. What we perceive to be true in our minds is true whether it really is or not.  Hence gossip, false witness, hurt feelings, misconceptions, disappoints, and other feelings and emotions because we allowed our perception of a person or situation or ourselves to become reality and truth.

How can we have an accurate perception?  How can we know what is true and not true? How can we be humble without being prideful or arrogant?  How can we form opinions of others that are fair and on point?  I think it begins in our minds.

"As a man thinks so He is" quote says and I think that to be true.  When we have life experiences that have clouded our judgments, caused us to have low-self esteem, insecurities, or unhealthy attraction to fantasy, or just plain full or ourselves, it's tough to be logical, accurate, and realistic of self or others.

We have to change our thinking. If we've got issues in the past such as daddy issues, mommy issues, abusive ex, or abusive childhood, we need to deal with it and not allow it to change our perceptions. Not all people are cheaters, abusive, mean, or demeaning.  It's not fair to put blanket statements on people, but when we get hurt or are inured especially mentally or emotionally it can alter our perceptions.  It can lead us to have trust issues, jealousy, insecurities, we have to be careful to not dwell on the past or negative thinking. We have to change our minds.

I also think we have to a "ruler" or a measuring stick to know what the truth is, and I think that is God and/or His Word. 

Romans 12:3 says....
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.

I think God and HIs Spirit within us(those of us who are saved) and His Word help us be realistic, honest,  and have accurate thinking.  The keys are in this verse. 1. Don't think too highly of yourself. 2. Use sober(clear) judgment in accordance to the faith God has given you.  I think we need to look at everything through this lens of truth.  Remove our ego/self and look at it through a clear objective view through God's help.

It is also true that "hurt people, hurt people" meaning when people are hurt and damaged they tend to push that on others and that pushes people away, isolates you, and gives you really bad perception of things.  We have to be careful that we don't allow the things that have hurt us to go un-dealt with because it truly will effect our lives and relationships and change our perceptions of reality, people, and events.  We all get hurt in different ways, but we must deal with the pain so that we don't hurt others simply because we are hurt.

Perception defined is:
the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses.

But the issue is our ability. It's up to us to see, hear, or become of aware of things we feel accurately, truthfully, and realistically and not because out thinking is wrong/broke, or because we aren't being guided by God but bad feelings or emotions, or because we're hurt or in pain so it changes our thinking and actions.

I pray we all learn to treat people, situations, and ourselves accurately, truthfully, and realistically with God's help and guidance.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Heart Guarding

Heart Guarding
Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)
23 Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it.
What does it mean to Guard your heart?  Well when I think of guarding something, it's about protecting it.  In the military if you guard something, it means you will protect it all costs.  If your playing sports guarding someone is to keep them from scoring.
What I like about the phraseology of this verse of scripture is that it says ABOVE ALL ELSE, which implies to me that the most important thing you can do as a Christian is to "GUARD YOUR HEART" and why?  Well the verse tell us why, "for everything you do flows from it."   What does that mean for the Christian? It means our HEART is the source.  It means our heart is where we decide to hate or love, forgive or be bitter,  sin or overcome temptation, to lose our temper or learn coping skills, to gossip or keep our mouth shut, to be mean or nice, to hurt or help others, you get the point? It all flows from our heart.
We may start thinking thoughts in our minds, but eventually it is our heart that decides between what God wants and what we want.  So, it's our jobs to guard our heart.  We do should keep out and not let anything sinful, hurtful, ugly, or awful into our hearts, and we should protect it at all cost.  We do not want the devil or sin to enter our hearts, because it if does, our heart will flow with all sorts of wrongs, evils, and bad things.  That is why guarding your heart from these types of things is so important.
Feelings, emotions, attitudes, and other things can all tempt us to want to allow our hearts to become hard, calloused, or dark, but if we keep an alert and watchful eye on our heart, we'll be able to guard it from allowing such negative and harmful things to fill our heart and then flow out into our lives and hurt and harm ourselves or others.
I have seen first hand, going to church, calling yourself a Christian, and even doing good deeds doesn't mean you have a good heart. Churches are full of "Christians" who might do good things, but they come with strings attached, baggage, hidden agendas, or behaviors and attitudes that do not reflect a heart like God. What's the issue? It's an unguarded heart, that has been allowed to be filled with envy, bitterness, rage, resentment, jealousy, selfishness, guilt, hate, you name it, whatever it is it does a lot of damage and attending church or doing church things and calling ourselves Christians is not going to keep us from sinning or having a bad heart, it's guarding it that is going to keep us straight so that we go to church for the right reasons and worship with the right heart, serve with the right attitude, wear the name of Christian with honor, and have a good witness and testimony to others.
I give you the plea that the Proverb gives you today, no matter what you do, where you go, what your circumstances, struggles, or problems.  ABOVE ALL ELSE, guard your heart, because it's where everything flows from.


Monday, March 03, 2014



Many times we have expectations for people or things and many times we are left disappointed, upset, or angry because our expectations are not met, but did we ever think maybe the issue is us? We have unrealistic or unfair expectations for others?

I think that's the case many times.  We think our spouse should do this or that, our children should make this decision or that, the preacher should go here and see this person, the church leaders should be spending money on this project or not on this one, our boss should let us do this, or our co-workers should be that, our coach should be running this play, or our friends should be dating this person, or the government should be voting on this issue.  Do you see how easy it is when "we think" we know what everyone should be saying or not saying, doing or not doing, being or not being?

I know sometimes in my life I have unrealistic expectations for my wife or my children. I know professionally church members sometimes have unfair expectations of me as their Preacher.   I know sometimes I see others who have expectations for others that just aren't right.  What has to change? Me and you.

First, we have to realize that we don't have all the answers, our way is not always the right or best way. Secondly, we  have to be humble enough to realize that sometimes others know best or are experts in things and we have to allow them to do their job or fulfill their roles.  Thirdly, we have to be unselfish enough to realize it's not all about us and sometimes it's not our place, our business, or responsibility to have our nose or hand in each and every situation and take a step back and concentrate on what is our job, responsibility, or business.

How much better could our relationships, workplace, churches, or teams be in life if we'd leave to have accurate, fair, and realistic expectations of people and things? So many times we allow our perceptions or thoughts to dictate our attitudes and we base them on emotions, feelings, or no facts and we expect others to line up with that, and it's never going to happen.  I don't like when people treat me that way and I don't want to treat people that way.

What is the answer?  Maturity.  Change.  Growth.  We have to learn to reprogram our thinking so our attitude or actions aren't negative or harsh so we don't have expectations that are selfish, wrong, silly, or not based on facts.  We have to learn to grow as a person, change our thoughts and perceptions to reality, and mature as a person.

Especially for the Christian, it's time we model the life of Christ and develop an attitude of  a servant and treat people with respect, fairly, and not put all our negative or selfish expectations on others, especially in our churches.    Jesus out of all people didn't have to be a humble servant, yet He was.  Make it a practice to regularly evaluate your expectations of others and see if you are being fair, accurate, realistic, and most of all modeling a Christ-like behavior and attitude.  Remember God has expectations for us.

Ephesians 4:2(NIV)
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.