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Top ten life lessons #8

#08 top ten
#8 Learn to listen

Teachable people get to their dreams ten times faster than unteachable people. Everyone can teach you something, if you are willing to humble yourself and listen. Wisdom is like an Easter Egg hunt; God hides it in unexpected places. Listen to people that the world shoves aside. Listen to people who disagree with you. Listen to people who are too old and too young, too rich and too poor, and, yes, too clueless. If you do, you will walk away a wiser person.

Remember, you are designed to make a difference!

Dwight

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Top ten life lessons #9

#09 top ten
#9 Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care

Drink deep from the love of God so that you will have the power to see others through His eyes. You and I have great ideas that will make our world a better place. Those ideas get unleashed as we learn to care.

Remember, you are designed to make a difference!

Dwight

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Top Ten Life Lessons #10

#10 top ten
#10 Today, by your actions, you will demonstrate whether you are ready for a promotion in life or not

You may not be in the circumstances you want to be in, but the key to moving forward is to be faithful where you are. You may not like the task that has been given to you, but how you perform it reveals your character. Do you accept it as an opportunity to show your love for God?

From the Bible:
Whatever task you’ve been given, give it your best, because you’re not working for men; you’re working for God. Colossians 3:23 The Easy Bible

Remember, you are designed to make a difference!

Dwight

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God cares for you

60 05 07 God cares for you
Some parents work to form a relationship with their children. They listen to them. They care about their feelings. They validate them. They understand that their children are also human beings who are learning to interpret their experiences and make responsible decisions. They gain their leadership role in a child’s life primarily from the relational investment.

Other parents want to control their children. The child’s feelings and experiences are irrelevant; what matters is the child’s attitude and behavior. They don’t want to “spoil” their child. They gravitate quickly to the “spare the rod and spoil the child” passages, but don’t imagine that the love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13, might have anything to do with parenting. Their authority in a child’s life comes from their power and their position as parents.

I’m oversimplifying here to make a point: For many years I didn’t understand that God is a relational Father. I just thought He was busy managing behavior; it didn’t occur to me that He might deeply care about how you and I feel and what we are experiencing. Once I began understanding that, then prayer stopped being a spiritual discipline and became an opportunity to hang out with Someone who loves me.

I have listened to Christian leaders who believe that our feelings are inconvenient nuisances that we should try to ignore as much as possible—especially our hurt feelings. I’m glad God doesn’t feel that way. He cares about you—and by receiving His care for us we will find a wellspring of love with which to care for others.

From the Bible:
…He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Remember, you are designed to make a difference!

Dwight

Photo credit: Adapted from a photo by Randy Heinitz, Flickr, Creative Commons License

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Our home

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There’s something very comforting about having a home.

In the late 1970s, I worked as a parole officer for the state of Ohio. My job involved a great deal of driving as I served two or three rural counties. At the time, I was coming to terms with my own feelings of isolation born partly of being an Air Force brat and moving over 25 times by the time I was 25. I remember well the lonely feeling of wanting to drive and drive and drive, and then step out of my car and be home.

In 1992, we were homeless—staying here or there wherever someone would put us up for a few nights. One cold night, I remember driving down the highway and suddenly feeling overwhelmed and disoriented. Which exit was ours? My car passed under one green sign after another, but none of them pointed home.

To have a place in God’s heart, at His table, in His family—to know that Jesus has gone ahead to prepare a place for you and for me—how can we put a value on gifts like these?

Thank You, God, that You have given us a home.

From the Bible:
…my destiny is to live in God’s home forever. Psalm 23:6 The Easy Bible

Remember, you are designed to make a difference!

Dwight

Photo credit: Adapted from a photo by Dale, Flickr, Creative Commons License

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Seventy-five bags

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God is not stingy.

For me, my children’s clothing has been a metaphor of God’s provision. We have four children. The oldest is now twenty-three. When they were growing up, we spent very little on children’s clothing. In fact, often when we did spend money, the next day someone (without knowing what we bought), went out and purchased the very same thing for us. So does this mean our children were clothed in rags, that they shivered through the winter in threadbare clothes? Not at all! In fact, one year we gave away seventy-five large (lawn & garden size) plastic bags full of children’s clothing.

We all have needs. When I originally wrote this post in 2003, we had no income. One promising business or job opportunity after another fell through leaving us with nothing. Yet, despite these setbacks, we always had enough to eat, clothes to wear and a place to live. God has supplied our needs in many different ways.

And He will supply yours.

From the Bible:
I cannot contain all the good God pours out on me. God’s love is all around me, filling my life with goodness… Psalm 23:5-6 The Easy Bible

Remember, you are designed to make a difference!

Dwight

Photo credit: Adapted from a photo by Rocco Lucia, Flickr, Creative Commons License

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Your unique place

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In the movie, Forrest Gump, Forrest’s mother is dying, and he asks her, “What is my destiny, Mama?”

She shakes her head. “You’re going to have to figure that out for yourself,” she says.

His question grabs me. I don’t know about you, but I want to know my name. I want to know who I am and why I’m here. I know why people are here; I read Rick Warren’s Purpose-Driven Life, and, of course, I’ve read the Bible. But why am I here? What unique place do I have in this universe?

What identity, what destiny, what character, power and authority has God imparted to you?

Jacob wrestled with God and gained the name Israel. May you also find your identity in Him.

From the Bible:
Then He puts a sign on me that I am His treasured possession. Psalm 23:5 The Easy Bible

Remember, you are designed to make a difference!

Dwight

Photo credit: Adapted from a photo by gianni, Flickr, Creative Commons License

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4 reasons for sexual purity

Silhouette of Couple at Sunset
#1 Sexual purity creates a high-trust marriage. God’s plan eliminates betrayal, competition, second guessing and places a high value on your life’s partner.

#2 Sexual purity creates a safe, stable two-parent family for children to grow up in. No judgment if you’re a single parent—you have a tough job, and we’re with you. God wants the most vulnerable people—little children—to be safe, secure and loved. Vast segments of our culture have been devastated because fathers are not fully present in the lives of their children.

#3 Sexual purity prevents the spread of sexually-transmitted disease. Every additional partner exponentially increases the risk of infection.

#4 Sexual purity models the relationship of God and His people. This recurring analogy throughout the Bible points to God’s desire to share His place in our lives with no one else.

Of course, none of these reasons will make any sense especially in the heat of the moment if you don’t have a meaningful, transformational relationship with God through Jesus. The more you welcome God into your life, the more His ways make sense.

From the Bible:
Honor your marriage and its vows, and be pure; for God will surely punish all those who are immoral or commit adultery. Hebrews 13:4 TLB

Remember, you are designed to make a difference!

Dwight

Photo credit: Adapted from a photo by Damian Gadal, Creative Commons License

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What we all have in common

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This is what we all have in common. We all have a line in our hearts. On one side, we’ve said “yes” to Jesus. On the other, we have not yet said “yes.”

Christians love to camp out on the yes side, and we’d like to pretend the no side doesn’t exist. We sometimes hope that if we ignore the no side long enough, it will just go away.

But it doesn’t work that way. God and our enemy are allied in this one thing: they both take us over to the no side. The enemy takes us over there to destroy us. God takes us over there to transform us.

The only way we grow is to move the line so a bigger portion of our heart says “yes.” That means we need to come out of denial, face the next “no,” and figure out why we can’t say “yes.”

Why can’t we say yes? What are the reasons?

Those reasons matter. They are lies. When we hold those reasons up to Jesus, He gives us the truth that sets us free (John 8:32). When the why gets fixed, turning a no to a yes is easy.

Remember, you are designed to make a difference!

Dwight

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