Hindsight: Add Value

 
I’m older today. Though not exactly old. This last year has brought a few unexpected, yet God-ordained, transitions that have been wonderful blessings in their own right. I’ve learned a lot of stuff in my life. But it all boils down to this.

Learn how to add value to people’s lives and you will never be without friends, job, cause to live for, something that matters, purpose that wakes you up in the morning, and a reason to keep on breathing.

Life is about more than just yourself. Life is about more than having the latest things, wearing the latest things, driving the latest things, knowing the latest things. Life—and the only thing that really matters right when you boil it all down to the bare essentials—is all about connecting to others, and helping others connect to God. The best, broadest, purest, and the simplest way is to learn to live, love, and add value to another person’s life.

Life lived for yourself is a roller coaster, up one day and down the next—good and bad, great and worse. But life lived for others is never about you. It keeps the eye on the prize. It keeps the main thing the main thing.

You can never go wrong not living for yourself. You can never go wrong putting others first.

Another word we use for that sometimes is humility. Sometimes people think humility is about thinking less of yourself. That’s not true. Humility is about thinking of yourself less.

What could be more humbling than a life lived in pursuit of adding value to the lives of others. Agree?
Thanks for reading. God bless.

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Living Water

  Man, there are few things more difficult than being thirsty for a prolonged period of time. Probably many of us have never really had to face true thirst. Especially dangerous life threatening thirst. 

When I think I’m thirsty my first craving is for a Dr. Pepper or good old southern sweet tea. When I was a kid working in the hay field or watermelon patch with my dad there was nothing more satisfying than a tall cold glass of water.

Have you ever found yourself thirsty inside? That’s thirst on an entirely different level. It’s life threatening all the same. At the core of our soul. 

Maybe you didn’t articulate it that way—but the acknowledgement for something more was present like an inexplicable craving or yearning. 

Do you believe in Jesus? He told us he was that kind of satisfaction. 

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” ‭‭(John‬ ‭7:37-38‬ ‭ESV‬‬)

He made it really simple too. If you’re thirsty go to him. How? Believe.

He is living water. (Check out the fourth chapter in John’s Gospel for some more on that). 

He also said, that when we believe in him that same kind of living giving spirit would flow through us. We’re not just receptacles. We’re channels. 

Jesus himself saves, quenches, and supplies us with life inside—and desires that we might share it with all. 

That should impact is in the day to day stuff. Make us love bigger and better. Help us to speak with a kindness that is uplifting, work hard, and give selflessly. Basically, we should be refreshing to anyone and everyone we’re around. 

How’s that working out for you?

Thanks for reading! We’re always interested in hearing from you in the comments. ~ Nate

The 3rd Lament: Hold On To Hope

When I think of Lamentations it’s not usually a go-to source for encouraging scripture. But Lamentations 3:19-24 paints an incredible word picture of the beauty of God’s love for us. I want to visit this wonderful passage over the next few days in hopes that it will encourage you as much as it has encouraged me.

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… there’s one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope… (‭Lamentations‬ ‭3‬:‭19‬ MSG)

Remember this, there is one constant, God loves you. It helped Jeremiah, the Old Testament prophet credited for penning the Book of Laments. He went through some really crazy stuff. But he held on to hope.

We go through some crazy stuff too sometimes. To others it might not seem so bad, but for the person experiencing the turmoil it’s never a fun to place to be. The wildness of the ride this life throws our way can catch us off guard. It can blast the wind from our lungs, the strength from our hearts, and the opportunity from our fingertips—but it can not change the way God feels about us.

Even our own reckless personal choices can cause tremendous pain and heartache, but they don’t affect the way God feels about us. He loves us deeply. And for those of us who choose to recognize that love for what it is, and abide in it, it is our constant.

When life gets shaky we can hold onto Him. We can hold on to hope.

September 20 – What Is Your Judgement?

Matthew 26: 57-68

“What is your judgment?” They answered, “He deserves death.” (Matthew 26:66 ESV)

Jesus received an unfair judgement. Arrested in secret. Tried in the middle of the night. He faced a sham trial, with false witnesses, shady-power-hungry adjudicators, and a corrupted militant mob like police force. Jesus was judged guilty. He was declared deserving of death.

Ironic seems like such a pitifully inadequate word to describe the scenario. He was wrongly accused. Wrongly judged. Wrongly killed. All so that he might bring an opportunity for eternal life to the very men who were killing him.

“What is your judgement?” They asked. Well, thanks to Jesus all that have entered into salvation have entered into a judgement of life.

August 21 – These Will Go

Matthew 25:31-46

“And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:46 ESV)

Jesus stated very plainly that in the life to come there would only be two possible destinations for the soul. Heaven or hell. Eternal life or eternal death.

The thought of hell can be pretty crazy. Most literal interpretations or beliefs are rooted in the idea of a place of fiery torment that burns but does not consume. I don’t know what hell will be, but I do know what my capacity for understanding the Scriptures leads me to believe. I believe that hell will indeed be a place of unending torment. It will be so horrible that it will be as if the most anguishing kinds of physical, emotional, and spiritual pain were all rolled into one.

Those who live under the grace and Lordship of Jesus will be spared that agony. They will find eternal life, joy, and peace. Everyone will wind up in one location or the other. There will be no in-between. There will be no other options. All will go somewhere in the life to come.

August 5 – Wrong

Matthew 22:23-33

But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.” (Matthew 22:29 ESV)

“You are wrong,” is not a phrase that I have heard many times in my life. I was that kid in school that usually seemed to know the answers. Today, I still get looked to for answers. And a lot of the time I either know the answer, or know how to go about finding it. But the reason why that is important is because all of the answers that matter are the ones that come from my knowledge of God.

Jesus hit that nail on the head repeatedly. To the point that the religious leaders did not know how to deal with him. He was always right. He always had the answer. And when they concocted their crazy tests to trip him up he turned it around on them as a way to point out their shortcomings.

Intellectually I am right a lot of the time. Spiritually I am definitely a work-in-progress. I am hoping that one day my family and friends will be able to look back over the course of my life and say that I was right. Not about intellectual facts or acquired knowledge, but about the things in life that truly matter.

I don’t always succeed, but my hope as my feet hit the floor every morning is that I will grow in my knowledge of the Scriptures, I would serve God diligently, and love people genuinely. Because a person can life their whole life and seldom be wrong only to stand before Christ one day and find out that without him they were always wrong.

August 4 – God of Life

Luke 20:27-40

Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him. (Luke 20:38 ESV)

The Sadducees were a group of religious leaders that did not believe in the after life. One day in a bid to discount and humiliate Christ they put him to question. Like their contemporaries, the Pharisees, they concocted a strange rhetorical situation as an attempt to determine Jesus’ traditional affiliation and political leaning. Par for the course he proved that the people did not have their mind or hearts set on the things of God.

Those who belief on Jesus for their salvation are brought into a new life. They have rejected death. They have left behind sin. Not because they are perfect but because Jesus has taken sin from them based on their faith in his sacrificial power and blameless life.

God created men for life, love, and relationship with Him. To be in union with Him is to enjoy eternal life. God is the God of life. That all sounds perfectly strange and seemingly beyond comprehension, but in a way that is what makes the majesty of it that much more wonderful.