Solo – What is the Point?

31 03 2009

Ecclesiastes 6:1-9 The Message

Want to read something depressing? Read today’s scripture. The whole scripture revolves around the pointlessness of life. It talks about attaining great amounts and being empty. It talks about having lots of people in your family and being lonely. It asks what is really different between the wise sage and the wretched, fool? In the end, the last verse says, ” All it amounts to anyway is smoke. And spitting into the wind.”

Well, all of this is in the Bible – so God wanted you and I to read it. My devotional thought is same question as the title – What is the point? Should we live with such disparity that we realize the lack of purpose or direction in striving to achieve great results in our life? For me the answer is simple – no. There are two things that jump into my thoughts when I read this. First of all, relationships take the stark reality of this scripture and bring counter balance. Whereas I might not be much different than the wise sage or wretched fool, I am surrounded by people I love and who love me. That makes me one of the “richest, wisest and blessed people I know.” Might not show up in the checkbook, the accolades column or even who has the most toys but I know that the thing that makes my life worth living is the relationships.

Second is the joy of growing. Every day, I want to learn or try something new. It is tough some days because we seem to be busy with routine and expectations. But, I really do try to do this. Many times, I find I can do that by listening way more than I do talking. Trying new things. Or sometimes it means leaving my comfort zone. The list is really endless.

Feeling like what is the point – find the counterbalance. Life is worth it!


Solo – Don’t go it Alone

26 03 2009

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Vs. 12 ” By yourself you unprotected, with a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.”

Great question – if your life is a three strand rope and you represents one of those strands, then who are the other two? I have heard that verse so many times and never asked myself that question. The question asks for people so God is not in the equation. Who are the two other people you have linked up with that brings strength, security, wisdom and the ability to do more than if you were going it alone? This is a tough one – even I am thinking who are these people. I have many friends and people I consider very close confidants. But who are the two people I intertwine my life with – the question carries depth to it.

Solo – Flat on your face

25 03 2009

Proverbs 29:23 The Message

“Pride lands you flat on your face; humility prepares you for honors.”

This one resonates with me for simple reasons. I am a huge fan of honor. I think the “art” of honoring someone has been lost in recent years. Not the extravagent praise and ceremony of lifting someone up. We as a society still do that for athletes, entertainers and dignitaries. I am more excited to see the quiet, deserving hero recognized and acknowledged for all that they do. I love that our church has Night of 1000 Stars where all the volunteers are invited to a special time just for them. Good food, entertainment and a word of thanks. I love that our military people are getting more appreciation from the everyday folks. You hear more about people saying “thank you” for fighting for our country. I get the awesome priviledge of serving with volunteers in the children’s ministry at our church each week. Folks who forego the adult service, so younger children can learn about God.

Humility is not debasing yourself – instead, it is lifting someone else up above yourself. Many times, because they are standing on your shoulders and you are pushing them up.

I know a lot of folks like that. And to you…I honor you today! Thank you!

Solo – Silence is Loud

24 03 2009

Proverbs 28:4-12 The Message

Vs. 9 “God has no use for prayers of the people who won’t listen to him.”

Proverbs 28 is a shotgun chapter. Lots of individual gems that really don’t connect to each other. As I read through the verses, this one jumped out. Have you ever been in a one sided relationship? You know, the type where you seem to do everything – communicate, do, reach out, help, etc. You wonder, “if I stop trying to bridge with this person, we probably would never connect.” Those type of relationships are frustrating and unfulfilling because it is an all or nothing approach. One of the best part of a being in any relationship is the give and take. You and the other person optimizing your strengths and minimizing your weaknesses to achieve high results. Or maybe the other person just has a personality so different than yours that you really can appreciate the freshness of their approach. Whoever that someone in your life is now, it is probably because you share a core value or belief system, but you come at it in two unique styles.

I say all that to say this – How “two way” is your relationship is your relationship with God? I know we can pour it on Him with prayer, worship and even time in His word, but do we take time to listen? In this day, where busyness is so prevelant and a full day is so many things, do we take time to listen to God? You’d be surprised to find out how much He has to say.

Silence is Loud!

Solo – Wisdom with Feet on it

23 03 2009

Proverbs 24:3-29 The Message

Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding. When it comes to the book of Proverbs, these are the big three. They seem to be brought up in scripture at the same time quite often. Reading this passage with each of these as a filter opens up an amazing look into practical, everyday life. If we truly apply all three to our daily walk, we will obey God and impact those around us for the good. Developing a comfort with these filters takes time but in the long run, saves us from misunderstanding, pain and fear.

Solo – Humility

19 03 2009

Proverbs 18:10-15 The Message

Vs 12 – 15
“Pride first, then the crash, but humility is precursor to honor.
Answering before listening is both stupid and rude.
A healthy spirit conquers adversity, but what can you do when the spirit is crushed?
Wise men and women are always learning, always listening for fresh insights.”

Wow ~ this is a rich passage of scripture. The devotional part of the page asks two great questions. “What are the different ways humility is expressed in these passages? What fears do you have about what might happen to you if you were humble?

Humility is the the precursor to honor. This can be approached a couple of ways. You can look at the the cyclical pattern of life and realize to achieve top level honor you will inevitably go through low level humility. That is life. Won’t always stay down or up. The deeper concept is that true honor can only be achieved through true humility. For example, I know a number of professional athletes. They are “honored” and revered by so many because of the their athletic prowess. People want their autograph, pictures with them and will tell them how great they are without really knowing them. I have enjoyed the process of know them because I have talked with them, seen them with their families and heard them share their hearts. I honor them because I see the true humility behind the scenes. Many times, they give of themselves realizing they “serve” the people who honor them.

The second question intrigues me because I don’t really associate fear and humility together. After seeing the question, it jumps off the page to me. What prevents us from humility – many time it is fear. Fear of other getting ahead, fear of others taking advantage of us, fear of being perceived as weak, etc. The bible says that “perfect love casts out all fear.” It is that same perfect love that gives us the “freedom” to walk in humility knowing that the Lord will preserve the outcome and we don’t have to “control” who is ahead, behind, etc. Not an easy lesson but a great one to implement on a daily basis.

Thought for today – Be humble, no fear!

Solo – The Importance of Words

18 03 2009

Proverbs 16:21-32 The Message

vs. 21 -23 “A wise person gets known for insight; gracious words add to one’s reputation. True intelligence is a spring of fresh water, while fools sweat it out the hard way. They make a lot of sense, these wise folks; whenever they speak, their reputation increases.”

Simple thought – When I speak, does this happen? Am I known for insight? Is my reputation increased in a positive way? Are others refreshed by my words? Does it make sense? Is my reputation increased or decreased? Simple question – does this happen? If it does, what am I building toward with this much momentum? Not just in my life, but those who are in my path. How am I building them toward the goals and desires they have for their own life. What addition is my words?

If not, what needs to change? Is it an attitude, a communication style, or even a better understanding of the situation. If my words are not adding, they are subtracting. There is no Switzerland when it comes to words.

There is so much power in words. I have seen so many times in ministry the pain and anguish caused by what is spoken and unspoken. If people knew how much little “side” comments affected people’s lives, you would hope they would not be so flippant. But we don’t and many times leave a wake in our path. This is one soapbox I could stay on for a long time – mainly in talking to myself.

Vs. 25 says it pretty well – “There is a way that looks harmless enough: look again – it leads straight to hell.”