Gumption is a Sacred Family Value

Gumption is the character to commit and complete. It’s the essence of self-leadership in requiring something of yourself without excuse.

Everything worthwhile is an uphill battle. Luckily, God has given us the necessary gifts, talents, and abilities to win. We only need to exercise gumption to get the better life God has invited us to.

And when we succeed, we celebrate!

Striving to be Authentic

In our families, we’re never going to be perfect, but we can strive to be authentic.

Being authentic means to have consistency between what we say we value and what we practice.

For example, when we say, “God is our sovereign source of life, and the one on whom we depend,” we need to live it. We can do this by finding our significance and security from God and not in others. When we trust others to fill the void, they will eventually fail. We need to look to God and lean on Him for emotional wholeness.

Valuing Family Togetherness

God designed families to stick together.

In marriage, we die to our single life in order to look forward to being together. This means that time together becomes the default, rather than time apart.

When Kevin and Marcia got married, their single lives had to die. They made “together” a sacred value in their family. Every effort has been made to form their family to be together as a default habit.

How Families Can Withstand Pressure

Two different families may come from the same mold, but we won’t know the difference between the two until pressure is applied; job, finance, emotional, psychological. Once the pressure comes there is no amount of skill or training that can compensate for being hollow – it all falls apart.

If families are built from the inside out, they can sustain pressure from the outside in.

The Truth About Peace with God

Using the parable of the Prodigal Son, Jesus separates the tradition about God from the truth about God.

In the middle eastern culture of Jesus’ day, if a son returned home after messing up life, he would be kept at arms length peace. He’s kept at a distance. This was tradition.

But here’s what true about our Heavenly Father, when we return to Him, he gives us arms around peace. God offers us complete forgiveness of sin through Jesus. When we get this idea that we are a second class citizen held at arms length from God, that’s a tradition that is not true. In fact – it’s an outright lie.

What is Actually True About the Nativity Scene

What are some of the traditions of the Nativity scene versus what actually happened at the Nativity?

What we know to be true is Jesus was born of the virgin Mary. He was God in human flesh. God left Heaven, took on human flesh, and lived with us. He lived a sinless life and then volunteered to be crucified for all of our sins.

This is the point of Christmas, so that we may have peace here on Earth.

Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth PEACE to those on whom his favor rests.

Luke 2:14 (NIV)

 

 

How Many Souls are “Good Enough” for God?

Sometimes we get distracted in the activity of life and get wrapped up in a material world. This causes us to lose sight of the greatest good.

As Christians we should always re-engage our passion. Our true purpose is to continually reach out into the community of spiritually lost people.

God Changes Our Minds About The World

If we’re going to really reach out for good, God has to change our minds about how we see the world.

We are raised to believe that we live in a material world – that Earth is the beginning and the end. God teaches us that we are also in a spiritual world, a supernatural world. It’s a bigger world with a bigger purpose. We’re a part of something much bigger!

Keep Battling What Beats You

Humble yourself, get past your pride.

There are places we are vulnerable to peer pressure and signature sins. It’s only when we let God transform those innermost places that we can be defeat what beats us.

A temporary “feel good” fix (like alcoholism, addiction, drugs, pornography, etc…) only starts to make us loathe who we are. Beyond getting over our pride, we have to keep battling what breaks and beats us. This is only done by letting God battle with us.

Get Past Your Pride

Learn to live good in secret.

We need the power of the Holy Spirit down deep in our secret places because The Holy Spirit by the power of Christ will make us good form the bottom up.

When we become good in the secret hidden places, instead of trying to act good on the outside, we become good on the inside at the core, and good blossoms up!

This is how pride is beaten at the innermost core of ourselves.

God Will Pull With You

Jesus says to “Take my Yoke upon you and learn from me…” – Matthew 11:29-30

What does “Yoke” even mean?

A yoke pulls together two oxen so that they can share the load plowing a field. Jesus is saying for us to “yoke up” with Him, so that we can partner with Him and be transformed, and made good (Holy) at the core of our being.

When we join up with Jesus, he’ll plow our lives for us. He’ll pull with us and for us.

Letting God Into Your Secret Life

Public and private good can be achieved out of religion. What God offers into our hearts is a relationship with Him.

True good needs to break into our private, secret, and hidden places where it’s just Him and us.

If you stiff arm God & He never gets into the real mess of your life, then you never become good deep down. Then you’ll never get the truly good life God has for you!

 

God Applauds Doing Good for One Another

It matters that we do good to one another.

When someone blesses a child, it blesses their parents! That’s how God feels with us. When we do good to one another, He (God) feels good.

  • Love one another (John 13:35)
  • Honor one another above yourselves (Romans 12:10)
  • Forgive one another (Ephesians 4:32)
  • Serve one another (Galatians 5:13)
  • Build each other up (I Thessalonians 5:11)
  • Pray for each other (James 5:16)
  • Spur one another on toward love & good deeds (Hebrews 10:24)

An Overview of The Beatitudes

The Beatitudes are like a ladder, designed to help us climb closer and closer to Christ likeness.

7 Beatitudes – Perfect Character:

  • Poor in Spirit
  • Mourn
  • Meek
  • Hunger & Thirst For Righteousness
  • Merciful
  • Pure in Heart
  • Peacemakers

1 Perfect Benediction:

  • Persecuted Because of Righteousness

Insights:

  • Each one rises above those that precede it.
  • They spring out of each other.
  • They depend on each other.
  • Each one is a paradox.
  • The blessing is in the present tense.
  • They are parallel to the Ten Commandments.

The Importance of Perspective

David knew that before He could really access joy, He had to return to a right view of God and himself.

Discontentment is not an issue of the value of the things in your life, but the perspective you have of your life. If you don’t get “discontent” settled in your soul, you’ll never be content.

The next, and the new, turns into the old and the mundane really fast if the issue is discontentment on the inside.

Thanksgiving renews the perspective of our lives and helps us see blessings again.

The Difference Between Happiness and Joy

We get the feeling of happiness confused as the presence of joy.

The Bible uses the word “joy”, but culture uses happiness. Happiness is emotional and fleeting, while joy is steady and sure.

But, Joy is NOT in the emotions first, it is first in the spirit. Happiness is circumstantial. Joy is in identity. Joy is higher than happiness. It can exist whether you are happy or not.

And when we get the two of these confused, we will find ourselves trying to force the feeling of happiness into the place meant for joy, but happy can not replace joy.

The strength of your walk with God is that you can sustain a life of joy, and it is connected to your ability to be thankful.

Thanksgiving Is the Gatekeeper to Joy

There is something about giving thanks that helps us unlock joy in our lives. Joy cannot be gained by external additions, but happens as an internal transformation. The more we understand discontentment, the more we begin to see the freedom of thanksgiving.

Discontentment leads to joyless (robs joy).

Thanksgiving leads to joy (fuels joy).

 

Discontentment Robs Joy From Our Lives

Discontentment on any level undoes relationships, friendships, careers, marriages, and families.

As we feel joy slip away, we start clamoring through life, frantically searching for the next thing, or some change in relationship or circumstance, that will satisfy this discontentment.

But no amount of MORE (no money, promotion, stuff, change in circumstances), can give breath in life like thanksgiving can.

Growing thankfulness and thanksgiving in your life would be central to a breakthrough in discontentment.

Trying to Control Grows Anxiety

Anxiety grows when we try to be in control. It pushes us to have neatly compartmentalized worlds. We want to control when we are anxious or afraid.

  • We cannot control our circumstances.
  • We cannot control the stock market.
  • We cannot control our children.
  • We cannot control our spouses.
  • We cannot control our bosses.
  • We cannot control our teachers/professors.
  • We cannot control our guilt from the past.

We have to REST in God. The last and deepest place of praise is giving ownership and control over to God. Not just recognizing Him, not just relying on Him, but giving over control.

The good news is praise and anxiety cannot share the same heart! When we live a life of praise, rest comes naturally.