Who Are We to Please?

Have you ever been guilty of being a “people pleaser’? I am sure that we have all struggled with pleasing people at one time or another. The apostle Paul was once a people pleaser.  His desire at one time in his life was to learn all he could of the sect of the Pharisees. He set at the feet of Gamaliel and desired to know the traditions of the Jews so that he could please men. He was totally against Christians. But, God saved him and from that time on, he didn’t care about pleasing people. Many people fight against God, because when God saves people, they can no longer be people pleasers.

As we consider the issue of pleasing people, let’s answer a couple of questions. The first question: “Is it wrong to be a people pleaser?” Answer: Primarily, our goal should be to please God, because He commands us to love Him first and then to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. So, it’s not wrong to please others if God is pleased.

The next question is: “When is it wrong to be a people-pleaser?”

When you act different based on the crowd—this is so easy to do but it is not right. If we are not focused, we will act and speak according to who we are with. We should strive to act the same regardless of those around us. By doing so, we are being true to ourselves.

When it is because of insecurity –people often act different so that others will like them. We need to be true to ourselves, being who we really are. If we act a certain way just for others to like us, most likely the relationship will not last. In other words, don’t compromise the truth in order to score points that really don’t matter.

When you remain silent when you should be speaking up- this is so easy to do as well. Rather than speaking up against something that is not right or standing up for someone who is being bashed, it is easier to keep quiet. However, we should be willing to speak the truth and do so in a spirit of love rather than trying to be a people pleaser. I am convinced that there are times, even when it is uncomfortable, that we need to speak up.

-When it causes you to be ashamed of Jesus- We read in Mark 8:38-“Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” Our desire to please others should never outweigh our love and obedience to Christ.

When it causes others to stumble- we need to remember that others are watching us live out our life. Our lives are not lived in secret. Could it be that in our attempt to please one person, we are actually causing many to stumble?

There are times that we need to do all that we can to please others. Spouses should strive to please one another, children should desire to please their parents, friends should desire to please their friends and employees should work to please their employers. However, our desire to please others should not be at the expense of being a living testimony for Jesus Christ.

Woody

Advertisements

THE GREATEST RESOURCE

He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman, He grew up in another obscure village where he worked in a carpenter shop until he was thirty

He never wrote a book, He never held an office, He never went to college, He never visited a big city, He never travelled more than two hundred miles from the place where he was born. He did none of the things usually associated with greatness. He had no credentials but himself.

He was only thirty three. His friends ran away. One of them denied him. He was turned over to his enemies and went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. While dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing, the only property he had on earth.

When he was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

Nineteen centuries have come and gone and today Jesus is the central figure of the human race and the leader of mankind’s progress. All the armies that have ever marched, all the navies that have ever sailed, all the parliaments that have ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned put together have not affected the life of mankind on earth as powerfully as that one solitary life. (Dr. James Allan Francis, 1926)

We hear a lot about oil reserves, oil fields and gas fields that are all over this great land. And if you will notice as you drive by some of these fields, you will see some capped off. The resource has been tapped into, but capped off, therefore not helping to meet any need at this particular time.

Jesus came, but why? He came to pay a debt that we could not pay. He came so that we might have life, eternal life. So, because of His life, His people are a great resource. Throughout history, God has used His people to accomplish great things for Him. But, what happens if our life is capped? We read in Scripture that God used Peter, Paul, Elijah, Jesus and many others. They were uncapped resources that God used. Uncapped resources have the potential to change the lives of those around them.

Jesus came, not to cap us, but to set us free to be used for Him. It is not about our ability or inability, our power or weakness, but about God and His perfect plan for our life.

Because of Christ, your life is important. As His resource to the world, are you capped or uncapped?

Woody

CHRISTmas is Almost Here

“Christmas is almost here!”  Have you heard that lately or even said those words to yourself? As we celebrate Christmas this year, what do you suppose the celebration will look like in your life? If you are like me, I love the celebration of Christmas, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. However, the Christmas season can bring about many stressors.

In the secular world, Christmas is a celebration that is being attacked on every front. Christmas carols are being changed so that no one’s beliefs will be insulted. Rather than reading the words “Merry Christmas”, we are often confronted with “Happy Holidays”. The celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ is becoming a time to celebrate without Christ.

Christmas is a time for giving, but it seems that is has become a time for consumers to lose all senses of financial responsibility. While being a time of celebrating, spending time with family and friends, sharing gifts, we often wake up after the Christmas season to realize that we now have bills added to our other bills, and they must be paid. Could it be that the evils of consumerism and materialism have stolen the truths of celebrating the birth of our Savior?

Another stressor is simply the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Most likely, your calendar is being adjusted every day, with the addition of another party or gathering. Maybe it’s a school party for your children, a party at your place of business, a Sunday School party, an extended family gathering, and all of this is piled on top of your regular schedule. Just to think about it can make you stressful!

Rather than allowing secularism, consumerism, materialism and busy schedules to steal our celebration of Jesus Christ, why don‘t we make some adjustments? Maybe we should buy gifts with intentionality rather than just buying gifts for the sake of buying gifts. Maybe we should make the time that we spend with family and friends special, rather than a time of forced togetherness. Give more attention to the toddlers, spend time with the teenagers, give appreciation for your parents, and be concerned for your friends. Be mindful that we may be spending time with someone who is lonely due to the death of their spouse or family member. We may be spending time with someone whose health is failing, someone who has lost their job or may be going through a hard time in life.

Jesus Christ is God’s gift to us. In John 14:6, we read these words, “I am the way, the truth and the life: no man can cometh to the Father, but by me”. Remember, Christmas is almost here! Don’t be like the innkeeper who was too busy with the mundane issues, or like the guests who were more concerned with their comforts, or like King Herod who was too absorbed with his dreams of glory.

Guard your hearts and lives so that Christ will be the focus of your celebration!

Woody

Are You Listening?

A man tells of two horses that are in a field just up the road from where he lives. From a distance, each looks like every other horse. But if you stop your car, or are walking by, you will notice something quite amazing.

Looking into the eyes of one horse will disclose that he is blind. His owner has chosen not to have him put down, but has made a good home for him.This alone is amazing. If nearby and listening, you will hear the sound of a bell. Looking around for the source of the sound, you will see that it comes from the smaller horse in the field.

Attached to her halter is a small bell. It lets her blind friend know
where she is, so he can follow her. As you stand and watch these two friends, you’ll see how she is always checking on him, and that he will listen for her bell and then slowly walk to where she is, trusting that she will not lead him astray. When she returns to the shelter of the barn each evening, she stops occasionally and looks back, making sure her friend isn’t too far behind to hear the bell.

Listening for the bell was very important for the well-being of the blind horse. Just like the blind horse, we must listen to God for our well-being. John 8:47 tells us that, “He that is of God hears Gods words”. This tells us that God does speak. As Christians, we have faith in God, but we don’t know every circumstance and every situation that lies before us. God has a plan and purpose for our lives, but we need to be listening to Him so that we make the right decisions.

Do you struggle listening to God? Why do you think it is such a struggle? I think for most of us, it is the normal routine of life, which includes making a living, parenting, school, hobbies, schedules, and the list goes on. We get so busy with life that our ability to “listen” to God takes second place. Or, it could be because we think we have it all together and really don’t need any help.

Today, God is speaking. What will it take for God to get your attention? We know that He spoke to Paul on the Damascus road, to Josiah through reading Scripture, to thousands as Peter preached at Pentecost, to Balaam through a donkey, to Jacob in a dream, to Mary through an Angel and to Timothy through a godly mother and grandmother.

Do you think God has a word for you today? I want to encourage you to listen for God’s “bell”. Position yourself to listen with wonder, reverence and with your undivided attention. Like the horse, your way through life and to your shelter will depend on your “listening” to His voice and obeying what He says.

Woody

Half Hour

I recently read a book entitled, “The Power of a Half Hour” by Tommy Barnett. Barnett offers various insights on the importance of how we use our time. Have you ever considered what you can do if you will break down your life into half hour segments and give focus to them? Think about the half hour that you might spend thinking about your life and purpose. What about the half hour that you could spend each day improving your gifts and abilities. I guess you could call it your daily half hour “Tune Up”.

Barnett shared the importance of spending half hours with God in reading the Bible, praying and worshipping. He tells the story of how a lady was struggling spending time with God. Her life like many of ours was packed with time restraints. However, one day she realized that every day she spent a half hour in her car going to work. She started the discipline of turning off the radio and spending that half hour talking and listening to God. The discipline was hard to start and keep, but soon became a very important half hour in her day.

Another important half hour of our day could be spent working on our attitude. Our attitude is not just to be seen as a negative or positive part of our life, but is the very central part of who we are. Oh, by the way, people will define you by your attitude.

As you encounter your half hours today, I would encourage you to realize the power in that half hour. Harvey Mackey said, “Time is free, but it’s priceless”. Take a half hour today to be still, listen to God, listen to others, write a thank you note, share with your spouse, play with your children, dream about where you are and where you want to be, examine your daily disciplines, do something unexpected—and the list goes on and on.

We read in Psalm 90:12, “So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart”.

Today, you have 48 half hours—what will you do with them?

Woody

Where Did You Get That?

I recently had a conversation with a school principal. We discussed life in general, the culture and challenges that students are faced with each day. The principal made an interesting statement that has stuck with me. He said, “the schools are a reflection of the homes.” As I have thought about that statement, I think that our schools are not only a reflection of our homes, but our entire culture is a reflection of our homes. Think about this for a moment…

Children learn more from their parents than from all other teachers combined. They learn the language from their par­ents. They learn to walk, eat, work, and think as their fathers and mothers do.

Our children watch us as we live out our marriages and our parenting. Our little boys are hoping to grow and be just like dad and our little girls will be focused on finding a husband just like dad. Our little girls will have the same desires concerning their mom. In our homes, we also teach them how to deal with the daily challenges of life. Parents will also be the ones to teach the importance of seeking and following Christ and living a life that pleases Him.

Once there were two little fish, according to a delightful little tale, and these two little fish noticed that a little crawfish playmate of theirs always swam backward. They tried to teach him to swim as they swam and soon he began to learn. By evening each day he was able to swim almost as well for­ward as the two little fish. But every morning when he re­turned from a night at home, he swam backward again.

This worried the little fish and so they went home with the crawfish. They learned there that their little playmate’s par­ents swam backward.

We learn from our parents and we do as they do. Parents, let us be faithful to teach how to receive, to give unconditional love, how to discipline and leaving our children with good memories.

That is why the Bible teaches us that since parents are the best teachers in the world, they must also teach the first of the commandments, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”

DEUTERONOMY 6:4-9

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (vv. 6-7)

Are You Leaking?

Have you ever counted the items around your house that use air? Yes, air. Tires on your vehicles, lawnmower, utility trailer, tractor; air mattresses, tools, blow-up swimming pools, rafts, etc. When I stop to consider, I have several items that need air. Interestingly, without air, none of these items are of any use. Air is not costly, but it is a great necessity. Have you ever gotten ready to go somewhere in your vehicle and realized that you had a flat tire? Or, wanted to mow your lawn only to realize a lawnmower tire was flat. Flat tires, mattresses, swimming pools, etc. can change our entire agenda for the day.

The same is true when our “joy” leaks out. In John 15:11, we read “I have told you these things so that you will be filled with joy. Yes your joy will overflow”.  Joy is a quality or attitude of delight and happiness grounded in what God has done and is doing in our life. Joy can be identified by our rejoicing and our gladness. I recently read that “Joy is like the hidden note in the glass. Joy is tuning in to what God is doing around you, seeing the world through his eyes, picking up on his delight in us as his children. Anyone can find happiness for a while… Happiness depends on what is happening to you. Joy is different; joy goes deeper. Joy is when your whole being sings because you have caught a glimpse of God at work. Joy can creep up on you and surprise you in unexpected places.”

Our joy is dependent upon what God is doing in our life. Once we have the joy of the Lord, it should remain because the love of God never changes. Jesus tells us that our joy is full. That means there is no room for any more joy and there is no room for sorrow.

Are you experiencing a leak in your joy today? Spend time with God and ask Him to seal you with His love and joy. Just as tires, rafts and air mattresses are flat without air, our life is flat without the joy of the Lord.

Woody