Shelves, Selves, and a 2020 Vision

I have a wall-to-wall bookshelf in my study, or more accurately, pieces of one.

For six months I’ve waited, stalled, and “meant to get to” finishing that shelf, and last week I finally started the finishing process…and stopped again.

Maybe I keep stopping because life is just so busy sometimes, but maybe it’s because of something else. Maybe my issue is that it’s so much easier for me to live in the future dream of having the shelf than it is to do the work of actually building the shelf.

How about you? Is there something in your life like that, a project, a dream or an idea that you’ve taken steps to pursue but haven’t followed through with?

If there is, then maybe you need to hear this like I did: “You can’t get to the future without going through today.”

That’s what my wife told me when I complained about feeling stuck, and she’s absolutely right. The truth is that my dreams will never happen without me taking steps towards them today, and neither will yours.

You know what that also means, though? It means even if we only take one tiny, timid step today, that’s a win that we can and should feel good about, and I don’t know about you, but that sounds like good news to me!

So, let’s make a change.

Let’s take a step.

Let’s make this year a year of finishing, of completing, of being done with old things not just so we can put them behind us, but so we can welcome the new things ahead of us with clear minds and open arms and keep moving forward to become the best version of who we were made to be.

You can do it.

I can do it.

Let’s do it together.

–PG
Helping people like you take their next step forward so we can build a better world together.

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p.s. I’m calling 2020 the Year of Vision (I know, original, right?) because if you want to know how you’re doing, you have to know where you’re going. If you have a clear vision of where you’re headed and how to get there, congratulations, you’re one of the fortunate few!

On the other hand, if you’re like most of us and could use a little help achieving clarity, I’d love to help you get there. Drop me a line, and I’ll tell you about some ways I can help you and/or your team or company think, see, and communicate clearly so you can take your next step forward in 2020.

Morning Reflection – Psalm 24:1-2

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”3.22″][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.25″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.27.4″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”]The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,
The world and those who dwell therein.

For He has founded it upon the waters
and established it upon the rivers.

Psalm 24:1-2 (ESV)

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That which God FOUNDS, He also ESTABLISHES.  He is not in the business of ignoring His creation or abandoning things He has begun.

God is a finisher, a strengthener, One who sets things in motion and enables them to withstand the test of time.  Things like the earth.  Things like the Church.  Things like your life.

If you have a new life in Christ, God has founded that life on good promises, and He will establish it for good results in the end.

So, be at peace, follower of Jesus.  God’s got you.
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About that sinking feeling…

You have not been left out.

You have not been left behind.

You have not wasted your life.

You have not failed your calling.

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You still matter to God.

You still have much to offer.

You are still valuable to the world around you.

The best is yet to come.

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Now get to it!

–Phillip


Image creditunsplash-logoPaul Bulai

Is it Really Love?

“Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Love, therefore, is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13:10)

Love is a word our culture loves to throw around without definition. We use it in a way that seems to say the essence of love is “always be nice to me and never tell me anything that I don’t want to hear.”

This is why any talk of sin and conviction and repentance is often instantly branded by some as “unloving” and immediately shut down. But is it? If “love does no wrong to a neighbor,” we must know and think clearly about what “wrong” really is.

Is it wrong to not warn a friend about to drink that the milk has already gone bad? Is it wrong to let a teenager drive the freeway without ever learning how? Is it wrong to let a small child play with a firearm?

Is it wrong to let an alcoholic have “just one more” when you know what it will do to them, and what they will do to their family after that? Is it wrong to do nothing about the sexual harassment of a coworker, when you know the pain it is causing them and the problems it is creating for the whole company?

Is it wrong to say nothing while a friend pursues an affair, when you know what it will do to their spouse and their children not just now, but forever? Is it wrong to embrace and condone lifestyles and patterns of behavior that you know are not only unbiblical, but also scientifically proven to lead to problems, pain, and ruin?

Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Therefore, if your goal is simply to never offend, annoy, or cause pain, even at the cost of your neighbor’s well-being, perhaps by being “nice” you’re not really loving them at all.

Jesus chose you to conquer with Him

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In Revelation chapter 17, ten mysterious kings rule for a short time, then consolidate their power in the hands of a great beast.  They then rally their forces, all their might and power, and make war upon Jesus and His people.

Not only that, but in this endeavor they are guided and overseen by a cryptic character whose description is as disturbing as it is exotic, “She had a gold cup in her hand filled with everything vile…” and she is “drunk on the blood of the saints…and the witnesses to Jesus” (vv 4, 6)

Where is the hope in this chapter filled with blood and chaos and confusion?  It’s found in one little verse with big implications.

These will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will conquer them because He is Lord of lord and King of kings.  Those with Him are called and elect and faithful.  (Revelation 17:14)

You see, if you are in Christ (WITH Jesus) that means you’ve been called by God!  He has desired to draw you to Himself because He wants to show you His love.

Not only that, but you are elect, chosen specifically before you were even born, because God wants to give you His salvation.

Finally, this passage shows that if you’re in Christ, you are faithful, able to stick with Jesus because He is sticking with you, giving you the power to be faithful to Him.

What does this all mean in a practical way?  It means that no matter what your enemy the devil throws at you, you can be confident in the hope of this truth.

Jesus chose you to conquer with Him.

–Pastor Phillip

You can overcome in Christ today

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“Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that He can open the scroll and its seven seals.”  (Revelation 5:5)

What is that unsolvable problem in your life?

What is that question that can’t be answered, that stronghold that can’t be broken, that obstacle that can’t be overcome?

Weep and worry no more: Jesus can overcome it!

Jesus can break it!

Jesus can answer it!

Weep no more today, friend, for the Lion of Judah has already conquered the foe you face, and He is on your side.

–Pastor Phillip

God’s justice is a pathway to His mercy

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So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth, and harmful and painful sores came upon the people who bore the mark of the beast and worshiped its image…  They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues.  They did not repent and give him glory… and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores.  They did not repent of their deeds. (Revelation 16:2, 9, 11)

The escalating judgments of Revelation are pictures of the perfect justice of God and the total depravity of those who refuse to worship Him.

Like swimmers in a flood who refuse to accept life jackets and boats, these people refuse to repent, to turn away from their wickedness and thus be saved from the rising tide.  Like a person who provoked another to violence by repeated assault, then got angry at being hit back in return, these people curse God for allowing them to receive the consequences of their actions, and blame Him for the suffering they brought upon themselves.

Have you ever done the same?

Be very careful not to blame God for the pain caused by your own sinful and foolish choices.  Jesus is full of mercy and love and forgiveness for you, but it makes no difference if you don’t accept responsibility and come to Him humbly to receive.

God does not delight in your suffering, but in your salvation!  (Ezekiel 18:23; 1 Timothy 2:3-4)  Don’t push Him away when you think He’s being unfair.  Draw close to Him in humility, accept the fruit of your actions, and receive His forgiveness and restoration.

It is only when we grasp and accept the rightness of God’s justice that we can truly appreciate the beauty of His mercy.  So, be honest with yourself and let this truth lead you to peace.

God’s justice is a pathway to His mercy.

–Pastor Phillip

God has perfect rest prepared for you

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And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire–and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands.  (Revelation 15:2)

In several places throughout Scripture, heaven is described and images of God’s throne room are given.  A consistent feature in these descriptions is the sea of glass, an expanse before God’s throne that is clear like crystal and perfectly smooth.  (See Exodus 24:10, Ezekiel 1:22, 26)

It is a picture of peace and tranquility.

Contrast this image with how we might visualize the state of our world today, and so often the state of our hearts.  Far from a sea of glass, these things are better described as muddy streams or turbulent oceans.  Over and under, forward and back, murky and uncertain, these are better descriptions of our life here on earth, so is it any wonder that sometimes we feel emotionally exhausted by all the ups and downs?

But if you’re in Christ, God has something better planned for you.

One of the beauties of our future hope is that it is a hope of rest.  For every believer in Christ, once we finish our time on the uncertain seas of earth, we have a glorious reward waiting for us in the harbor of heaven.

So, no matter how stormy your life is at the moment, hang on and take heart as you embrace the hope that comes from this truth.

God has perfect rest prepared for you.

–Pastor Phillip

Fear of Man

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Fear of man is a snare.  (Proverbs 29:25)

The Gospel frees us from the insecurity of needing other people’s opinions to validate our worth.  It frees us, therefore, from needing to manipulate the perceptions and impressions of everyone around us.

This means that when we receive the truth of the Gospel and embrace who God says we are in Christ, we no longer have to use people for their accolades.

Instead, we can love them authentically and serve them for their benefit… rather than using them for ours.

–Pastor Phillip