How Do We Measure Success

How Do You Measure Up

It is said of the measure of a man, If there be any truer measure of a man than by what he does, it must be by what he gives.” Robert South

Even more true is what Martin Luther King Jr. stated, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Thing is, are these ways that God measures us? Does God even measure us at all? Is measuring more important than remembering? Success is not truly measured by what we did, it is by how it was accomplished. Accomplishing success through fame and fortune gets us nowhere but being successful as a parent, friend, and a person who lives in his/her faith, that is the measurement of success in God’s eyes.

Today I want to speak about how we want our kids to remember us and be remembered ourselves. When we are remembered do we want to be remembered for our fame and fortune, our accomplishments, or our person as a whole. In a list of 20 Bible Verses about success this one was missing:

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7-9

Sure the other verses (some of which will come up in this and later discussions) are great but why was this one not on the list? Of the twenty verses mentioned only two were even close to mentioning staying in the Word and obedience to the Laws and statutes given by God to His people. To me, staying in the Word, meditating on it daily and teaching the children to stay in the Word and finding comfort there are only part of being a success. Joshua that section above to, ”be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” God is telling Joshua not only to read/meditate and stay in His Word but also to “be” in His Word by acting upon it. That, Brothers and Sisters, is how God measures success.

Teaching children in the way they should go (paraphrased Proverbs 22:6) is our way of showing our youth how God desires of us to live. Scripture tells us these basics, study hard and use what you have learned to become better servants. In this day and age; wealth, power, and fame are a measure of success. Show me that in Scripture and you can have my job. Nowhere in Scripture does it say to make tons of money so you can live a life of luxury and be comfortable in the world.

Having a source of income is necessary for living but too much of it leads to greed and a distortion of the reason for being here. Jesus tells us:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matthew 6:25-27.

And:

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:28-34

So we are not to worry because God will provide us as long as we stay in His Word. For:

Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3

And observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go.” 1Kings 2:3

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

“But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” Deuteronomy 8:18

If we so desire to stay in the world and forget what God has placed in our hearts, Scripture gives us these warnings from Jesus:

“What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.” Matthew 16:26-27

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?”

Luke 16:10-11

Paul reiterates Jesus Teachings by saying:

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

Look at all the wealthy people in the world and see how few actually claim to know God. Some had a relationship with God and lost it when popularity and fame took over their lives (Katy Perry for instance). Some misinterpreted Scripture and have made money from others desire for God (certain televangelists and mega church pastors). We cannot be judgmental, we must carefully consider them as lost Christians who desire money instead of pleasing God.

Worldly wealth truly leads you nowhere especially if that is what you depend on. So many people have gone back to the basics of life while holding on to certain technologies out of necessity for staying in the world. They are building houses on their own using the land and some man made materials to avoid mortgages and staying in debt. Planting their own gardens so that they only have to buy certain meats. Some even make their own clothing. God desires great things for us but in His way not ours of the world.

So where does this all lead. Get back into the Scripture and really see how God is telling us we will be successful. If we open our hearts and mind to His Word (OT Scripture and most of all, Jesus) we can be the people God desires in His creation. Remember the difference between believing in and being in then you will have Spiritual and mortal success which will lead to a better, happier life as will your descendants. Be the caretakers (or better put care givers) of this current home and we will have a seat at the table in the Kingdom. Be blessed this week and bless others with God’s Word as you go about your day living for God.

God Bless you and may your light shine brightly on the earth.

PRAYER:

Father God, Creator Parent, bringer of joy, we thank You for giving us the guidance needed to live on this place and not in it. Thank you Father for giving us guidance so we have the opportunity to shine for You as we do our best to live for You. Teach us, oh Lord, and chide us as needed to stay on the right path that leads to Your loving and compassionate arms. We lift up our arms in Your praise as You have taught us to give to others what You have given us. Continue to guide us, oh Lord, that we may light the world through the darkness and direct those onto Your path. Thank You God for the things You have done, are doing, and will do in our lives and continue to bless us with Your ways. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, AMEN.

God Speaks Through The Scriptures

Life Verse

The Bible is God’s Instruction Manual that teaches us how to live a good and proper life. Yes there is suffering, pain, loss, destruction, and death, but there is also joy, happiness, assurance of God’s Love. In fact, God loves us so much that even though we should read the whole Scripture, God gives us a personal message which may actually be His ultimate plan for our lives. We call these things life verses which really say something about the person and the personal relationship with God that the individual has. Some are Scriptures of encouragement, some duty, some hope, some teach daily reminding us that we are just temporary residents.

Many people say the Bible does not speak directly to individuals because it is myth, the victor’s view of history. Well, if that is case then I will find out when I meet Him. The Bible talks about defeats, wins, manipulations, corrections, and directions. Gee I don’t think this would be written as the greatest book of fiction if my life has mirrored so much.

Finding a verse that suits you is not that hard. It involves a relationship with God then asking the questions. Yes, it is that simple. God also will guide and direct us to our life verse in our daily walk with Him.

For instance, mine is John 15:13, “Greater Love hath no man than he who would give his life for his friends.” I can tell you that this direction was given to me by God. When growing up I served God every way I could, sacrificing fun times with my friends but knowing that if they needed me I would be right there no matter the cost. I nearly gave up the Ghost in 1997 but God kept me around for our daughter who was just conceived. In 2007/2008 I was in Iraq. After returning from some much needed R&R back in the states I was walking back from eating dinner with my best battle buddy and there was a mortar attack. If I had not told my brother in arms to get behind a barrier, we both would have been lost. Taking that action actually saved both our lives. I know God was there because the shell dropped after we hit the dirt and exploded 75 meters away from us.  The shrapnel missed us by 10 meters. I felt God’s hedge of protection because I was on the side of the barrier that would have been damaged. Even though it did not injure me, I understood from that point on that I need to help people no matter the cost, even my own life.

So, WHAT IS YOUR LIFE VERSE? Please use the comments and we will start a conversation. I want to know you better.

God Bless

Meditate and Delight In His Word

Meditate On His Word

A student of Scripture, while sitting in class one day, asked the professor, “Why, if I read Scripture daily does it still not make much sense to me and I do not feel fulfilled?” The professor, a long tenured and proud scholar of church history quipped, “Son, I’ve been reading Scripture since I was 8 years old and I still am not filled”. What is wrong with this? The professor never truly slowed down and listened to God’s Word.
Reading, studying and meditating on Scripture are three totally different things. Anyone can read the Bible daily and those who want to learn, Study Scriptures. To truly connect with God one must meditate on His Word daily and every chance throughout the day. Joshua learned this from God when he was commanded:
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Joshua 1:8
There is so much more to God’s Word than meets the eye to the common person who reads Scripture daily. Moses had a close personal relationship with God even in his respectful fear. Joshua had the scrolls from the scribes of Moses and the words of the Aaronic priests to guide him through the knowing of the words, but it was when he sat, studied, and meditated on the teachings that helped him delight (live) in the Father’s instruction. Joshua spoke with God ad because he was chosen, God spoke back. When you meditate your total focus is on the Word. He lived his life and ruled the people with the Holy Spirit as his guide because he never lost focus. Joshua’s prosperous success was having a right spirit and Godly wisdom. His total commitment was to God first then his people. Even though mistakes were made he never lost focus.
How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:1-3
Listening and following the words of the unrighteous will make you question your faith and trust in God. Surrounding yourself with those who do not know Christ as their Lord and Savior and even those who claim to know Him yet still live in their sin without remorse is detrimental to our faith. Stand firm in the Word of the Lord and let it be your counsel and guide. David opens the Psalms with these words to remind us that God’s way is the right way and we should live as we were created, in His Image.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8
Paul, in his final exhortations to Philippi, gave them hope and final instruction to righteous living. He engaged them to place their focus on the teachings of Jesus that he brought to them. Paul instructed them to follow his example of living but it was misinterpreted by some to follow Paul instead of Christ. Paul really did his best to get their focus in the right place and for the most part it worked. If you look closely at his whole exhortation, it leads to Jesus.
Meditating on the Word means listening closely to the still quiet voice that is speaking as you read and repeat the Scriptures. Praying while meditating allows you to ask for deeper guidance to fully understand what is being said and how to apply it today. God wishes that relationship with us and when we see, hear, and listen to His written Word we can begin that full conversation. The Bible is God’s Instruction Book for Mankind, if we carefully decipher it we will live a better life. Listen with your heart and head in one accord and the Word will become clear as it speaks volumes. AMEN.