Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Not Just Helping Hands

Last week, in my weekly real estate update, I talked about how thankful I am for Michael, Wendy and Janet who make up our Spot On The Lake team.  They make work feel not that much like work, and I wouldn't  want to be in real estate without them.  I have been trying to focus more on the things that I am thankful for (or should be thankful for).  Of course, Jesus, family, friends, work,  and health all come to mind.  But today, I would like to single out my brother, John.  For the past several years, he has been the primary caretaker for my mom, who is 91 this year.  He prepares her meals, makes sure she gets to and from her bedroom safely, and provides unending moral support and encouragement.  I am so thankful that he has been willing and able to be with her.  She is in excellent hands, and his availability has made my mom's aging easier for me and the rest of my family.  Thank you, John.  We love you.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

The Ultimate Gamer

 


I'm no gamer.  My high score came on Donkey Kong after winning a Nintendo game system in a work raffle in 1983.  It was all down-hill after that.  My kids always had a game system, but never the latest and greatest one, and I don't remember them being overly infatuated with them.  My grandkids all have their pads with limits on screen time, and I recognize that electronics will be a part of kid's lives forever.  I have heard some real horror stories about kids (young and old) being consumed with video games.  I can't understand it directly, but I know it is real.  Others have crafted successful careers and amassed fortunes based on the success of video games.  Maksym Vysochanskiy at SimulaM is one of those people.  After the successful release of hundreds of simulation games, Maksym will be releasing in December, "I am Jesus Christ".  The game is proposed to be an art masterpiece allowing the gamer to explore the world from Jesus' perspective.   Maksym read through the bible four times attempting to make the game as realistic and engaging as possible.  I don't know a lot more about Maksym.  I am assuming he is a believer, but don't even know that for sure.  But I love that he invested himself in trying to help introduce Jesus to a group of people that may not have found Him anywhere else.  For more on Maksym and the "I am Jesus Christ" video game, click here, and for a quick video preview of the game, click here.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Starving Jealousy

I wouldn't have considered myself a jealous person - until this week.  In Andy Stanley's book, Enemies of the  Heart, he claims that jealousy is at the root of every relational conflict.  Jealousy starts with a feeling of not getting what we deserve.  What we deserve is frequently shaped by what we see others have.  "If he acts like that, and has that, then why shouldn't I have that, or more?"  We are actually blaming God for not giving us what we deserve, which when you think about it, is ridiculous.  God gives us everything we have and everything we need.  And then he gave us his son to pay the debt for our sin.  

Jealousy leads to resentment, and resentment needs justification.  Andy offers a very practical response to fight jealousy - celebration.  We should look for every opportunity to celebrate the achievements of others.   And yes, we should do it even when we don't feel like it.  Celebrating other's achievements creates a state of mind where it is ok for others to win, and often win more than we win ourselves.  But in the end, the freedom created by the defeat of jealousy will be good for us all.  To the victor belongs the spoils.  

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Greed Complex

Greed is fueled by fear: fear that we won't have the things our friends and neighbors have, fear that we won't be able to support our families, fear that we won't have enough money to retire on, but worst of all, a fear that God will not provide.  Greed is often masked as saving, or planning for the future, and offers a seemingly innocent reason to hold onto our possessions tightly.  Trusting that God will provide can help us loosen our grip on what we think is ours, but recognizing that we are only stewards of our things, and not owners, is what can help us the most.  Greed is conquered by generosity, and generosity includes planned giving and spontaneous giving.  Over time, I have become pretty good at planned giving, but I have a long way to go with spontaneous giving.  My nature is to try to make a judgment as to whether the recipient is worthy, but that is not my responsibility.  My job is to be generous without judgement.  I want to be generous - not just act generous.  Pray for me.


My thoughts are inspired by Andy Stanley's book, Enemies of the Heart

Thursday, October 27, 2022

A Strong Defense

Most of us get offended by someone else every day.  We might get cut off and traffic, someone may use harsh language with us, a boss may deny us a deserved promotion or a spouse might cheat on us.   Any offense creates a debt of "you owe me".  You may owe me an explanation, some money or an apology.  And if we don't get what we deserve, we become angry.  Unresolved anger can lead to bitterness and resentment making anger one of the most dangerous enemies of the heart.   Anger is dangerous because it not only breaks the relationship between me and the offender, but that bitterness can also seep into relationships with others and our relationship with God.  The Bible directs us to fight anger with forgiveness.  At first glance, we may think forgiveness is for the person who offended us, but forgiveness is for the forgiver.  It frees us and might also free the offender.  But, it might not.  And that's ok.  We have done what we can do.  "Forgive and forget" is a phrase we hear a lot.  It's not likely that a serious offense will be forgotten - probably ever.   But it is possible to forgive.  Forgiving is not a feeling.  We may not feel like doing it.  But, we can choose to forgive, just as our Father in Heaven forgives us undeservedly.  


All of these ideas are from Andy Stanley's book, Enemies of the Heart, and I agree wholeheartedly.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Gone Guilt

Guilt is the first enemy of the heart that Andy Stanley addresses in the book our small group from church is discussing.  Some Christians have grown up believing that all of our sins are covered by the grace of God, and all we need to do is ask God's forgiveness, and the sin will be erased.  God's grace IS big enough to cover all of our sins, but He calls us to go further.  It's not enough to confess to Him.  He also directs us to confess to those that we have hurt by our sin.   Sin, only confessed to God, is still in partial darkness, and has the power to affect our relationships with others, especially those that we are closest to.  Andy challenged us to think hard about any unconfessed sin, and take the first step in defeating this enemy of the heart by confessing that sin to God, and to any that have been harmed by it.  That confession will move us toward living the life that He intended for us.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Hallelujahs



We got some sad news this week.  One of our ConnectGroup members suffered a stroke last Thursday and is still recovering in the hospital.  He is alert, but will be in therapy working on walking again and his speaking skills.  We had a regular group meeting last night, but sorely missed him and his wife.  We spent most of our time together sharing bible verses that would encourage them as they continue with his recovery.  One of our members sang a song for us that she sings when she is facing hard times.  All of us watched this inspiring worship song, I Raise a Hallelujah, and sang along.  We then had the most heart-felt time of corporate prayer that our group has ever had.  We trust God that He will be with all of us through what is sure to be some difficult times.  He certainly showed up last night.  Praise Him!  Hallelujah!