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Don’t Bite the Hook

A couple of weeks ago a lady came up to me, and she was sharing her heart about how she’s been struggling with resentment. And believe me in the natural she had every reason in the world to be resentful based on what has happened to her, what someone has done to her and her family. She’s trying to process and sort through this thing called resentment. In Job 5.2 (HEV), “For resentment kills the foolish man, And jealousy kills the simple.

Wow…resentment, in other words, is a killer according to Job. What is resentment? Resentment is bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly. A lot of people go through life, and they are filled with resentment. They resent their parents, or they resent their church, or they resent a friend, or they resent their spouse, or the resent their former spouse they resent their boss they resent their co-workers. Whenever we bite the hook, and sometimes it feels good in the natural to feel resentment, to feel the inner rage against someone because of what they did, it’s like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies. Resentment does so much damage inside of us, and when we resent someone, we’re allowing that person to live rent free in our heads in our hearts. There’s got to be a better way. There are people in our country today who resent the wealthy. Whatever you resent you resist and repel in your life. If you resent someone that is successful, guess what? You’ll never be successful. If you resent someone that has more than you, then you will repel you will resist allowing God bringing more blessing in your life. For example, if you resent someone that is thin you may never be thin because what you resent and what we resist we repel from our lives. So resentment has a high cost, it has a great price. Oswald Chambers said, “It’s never the big things that disturb us but the trivial things.” many times when we’re dealing with resentment it’s interesting, it’s the little things the trivial things the small things that someone said we take it as a slight. When I was doing some reading and research about this topic on resentment, you know what all world dictators have in common? They’re full of resentment. They remembered every slight that someone did to them, and they internalize that, and it drives them to reach this pinnacle of power so they can pay everyone back that did them wrong. That’s a horrible way to live your life, but it is the little things that can annoy us. “We can sit on a mountain but not on a tack.” You can sit on top of a glorious mountain but not a small little tack, we jump up. See it’s the little things. As the Song of Solomon says, “it’s the little foxes that spoil the vine.” I don’t want your life spoiled. I don’t want your sense of joy interrupted. I don’t want you going through life collecting other peoples grievances, others people’s slights. I don’t want your heart and life filled with resentment. We have to learn to let it go. Don’t bite the hook! Jesus said, “the sins that you retain shall be retained, the sins that you release shall be released.” The power of releasing another human being that has done you wrong, forgiving people forgiving and letting it go isn’t so much about they deserve it but because God deserves it and you deserve it. You deserve to live every day with your heart free from bitterness resentment envy and jealousy. You’ll be healthier. You’ll be happier. You’ll be holier. Don’t bite the hook! When someone’s dangling the hook of resentment, and they baited it well, go the other way. Keep your heart right before God.

Oswald Chambers said, “It’s never the big things that disturb us but the trivial things.” many times when we’re dealing with resentment it’s interesting, it’s the little things the trivial things the small things that someone said we take it as a slight. When I was doing some reading and research about this topic on resentment, you know what all world dictators have in common? They’re full of resentment. They remembered every slight that someone did to them, and they internalize that, and it drives them to reach this pinnacle of power so they can pay everyone back that did them wrong. That’s a horrible way to live your life, but it is the little things that can annoy us. “We can sit on a mountain but not on a tack.” You can sit on top of a glorious mountain but not a small little tack, we jump up. See it’s the little things.

As the Song of Solomon says, “it’s the little foxes that spoil the vine.” I don’t want your life spoiled. I don’t want your sense of joy interrupted. I don’t want you going through life collecting other peoples grievances, others people’s slights. I don’t want your heart and life filled with resentment. We have to learn to let it go. Don’t bite the hook! Jesus said, “the sins that you retain shall be retained, the sins that you release shall be released.” The power of releasing another human being that has done you wrong, forgiving people forgiving and letting it go isn’t so much about they deserve it but because God deserves it and you deserve it. You deserve to live every day with your heart free from bitterness resentment envy and jealousy. You’ll be healthier. You’ll be happier. You’ll be holier. Don’t bite the hook! When someone’s dangling the hook of resentment, and they baited it well, go the other way. Keep your heart right before God.

You’re God’s Best

-Carl

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Stuck in the Middle

I want to talk to you today about being stuck in the middle. When I think of being stuck in the middle, I think of being average. Nobody wants to be average in life and stuck in the middle. For example, if you are stuck on a Southwest Airlines flight or any flight, you don’t want to get stuck in the middle seat. You want an aisle or a window seat but nobody wants the middle seat.

Remember when you were in Middle School? You didn’t want to be in Middle School; you wanted to be in High School. Nobody wants to be stuck in the middle. No one wants to be stuck in the middle of two friends who are in a disagreement.  Or, when we talk about it being the middle of the day, that’s the hottest part of the day. We like early morning or late evening but we don’t want to be stuck in the middle.  

In human history, we talk about the Middle Ages. Those were some bad times for humanity. Or, we talk about a Mid-Life Crisis. See, nobody wants to be stuck in the middle or to be average. Nobody wants to be “middle of the road.” You wouldn’t go to a “middle of the road” restaurant or church, would you? You don’t want to follow a “middle of the road” professional team. Nobody wants to be stuck in the middle because the middle is average.

Nobody wants to be an average worker. It is said that the average worker reads less than one book a year. I was shocked when I read that recently. The average worker works less than 37.5 hours per week and reads only one book per year. A CEO earns 319 times as much as an average worker makes and yet the average CEO claims to read 60 books a year.  See, in life, you don’t want to get stuck in the middle.

You don’t want to be in the middle of the pack; you want to be leading the pack. If you want to be leading the pack, then you’ve got to be doing more than what the average person is willing to do. Think about this; at best, you can only be average by being average. In other words, nobody wants to be average because at best you can only be average.

God designed and created you to be great. God created you to do something extraordinary with your life. If you don’t believe me, just ask God. Read what Scripture says about how God made you – fearfully and wonderfully made, setting you apart for a special calling inside your mother’s womb.

I love the quote by Eleanor Roosevelt ” Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” Your conversation, your lifestyle, your habits and behavior, the appointments you make; how are they adding to you living an average life vs living an above average life?    

What’s the difference between an average person and an achieving person?  I believe you want to be a high achieving person. An average person is average and will only do average things on an average day and achieve average results but a high achieving person isn’t content with being average and they have a bias on intentional action to do things that cause them to go the extra mile and to go above and beyond what is expected by others.  

Once again, no one wants to be stuck in the middle. You were destined for something more.   In Gen 3:3, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil that caused the mess that we are in today because Adam and Eve sinned, that tree was stuck in the middle of the garden. No one wants to be stuck in the middle, you want to always be advancing.    I hope you are always advancing for greatness!

Have a great week!  

God Bless,

Carl

Be Content, Not Complacent

Contentment is a spiritual state. Apostle Paul said in Phil 4 “I’ve learned to be content.” Being content in who we are, what we are and where we are is critical. It’s a spiritual state, that on the inside, you’re content. That isn’t an excuse to be complacent or an excuse for laziness. We should always be hungering for more of what God has for us. We are to be content but not satisfied. There should be a divine dissatisfaction, a holy hunger, a sacred ambition that is driving us to be the best we can for God’s glory.  

Let me show you the difference between two different characters in the Bible. The first one is named, Agur, and is talked about in Proverbs 31. It says this in Prov 31:1 “The sayings of Agur, the son of Jacob, contains this message ‘ I am weary Oh God. I am weary and worn out Oh God.” This is how he is introduced to us in the Bible. He’s worn out, tired and burnt out. Then, he says this in verses 7-9 ” Oh God, I beg two favors from you. Let me have them before I die. First, help me to never tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches. Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say who is the Lord. And if I’m too poor I may still ask who is the Lord.”  There is a section in that scripture where he asked for just enough to satisfy his needs.  See, that is being complacent. It’s not being content. We shouldn’t ask God to bless us just enough for us kind of mentality. We have a moral, spiritual obligation to be a blessing to others. God wants to bless you to where His blessings are overflowing in your life so you can be a blessing to others.  As a matter of fact, in the Old Testament, God mandated that his people would create wealth and would create a service or product that would benefit others and God would bless them if they did this in a way that honored him.   We should be content. Paul said “Whatever state I’m in I’ve learned to be content.” but not complacent and never satisfied. There’s a difference between contentment and satisfaction.  

Now, look at this other guy in the Bible named Jabez. He said in 1 Chron 4:10 ” Oh that you would bless me and expand my territory, Please, be with me in all that I do. Keep me from all trouble and pain.” It said in the Bible that God granted his request.  So Agur was praying to get just enough to satisfy my needs but Jabez wanted God to bless him and expand his boundaries.  I hope that is your outlook on life, that God wants to bless you. He wants to expand your influence and expand your territory.  You need to be content but never become complacent. Never allow your contentment to be your excuse for laziness. We should always be striving to be more and do more for God’s glory, not because we are trying to earn anything because that is the wrong motive.

We should strive to do our best and be our best. For example, if contentment is your inner life; satisfaction in your outer life.

Here are some examples:

  1. I’m content with my current health but I’m not satisfied. Why? Because I could probably lose 10-15 pounds.
  2. I’m content with my marriage. I have a loving and committed marriage to my wife Gloria of 27 years but I’m not satisfied. There’s a greater lever of commitment and intimacy that my wife and I can continue to grow and enjoy from each other. We are content, yes, but not satisfied.
  3. I’m content with a church of several thousand but I’m not satisfied. I won’t be satisfied until every unchurched person in our community is in a good church and is growing in their faith.

So, you can be content but not satisfied. I hope you are content with your life right now but you shouldn’t be satisfied. I hope you are content with your job right now but you shouldn’t be satisfied because like Jabez, God always has more for us all.  

Have a great week!

God Bless!

Carl

Don’t Fear Big, Fear Small

I think far too many times we aren’t fearing the big things but we fear the small things. In other words, we need to go big with our lives. Too many people fear greatness when in reality, we should fear mediocrity. We should fear playing it small in life. We shouldn’t fear big but fear small.      

In the Bible, there were individuals that prayed big audacious prayers.  Joshua prayed that the sun would stand still so that he could continue to defeat God’s enemies. That’s a big prayer. He didn’t go small, he went big.    

Think of this, what is the greatest life you could imagine for yourself? In the process of embracing that great life, you’re able to glorify God and you’re able to be a good steward of these gifts God has given you. What would that life be? This would be your greatest life, that in the process of achieving it, you can glorify God and tap into his potential that He’s placed inside of you.  Once you’ve discovered it, you need to seize it and go after it! You need to set aside all fears and all excuses and begin to move towards it.  

So many people in life sell themselves short. They settle for second best and mediocrity.  I heard once, there are two types of people in the world that the world will reject. One is those who succeed and the other is those who fail. But if you’re mediocre, like the rest of the people in the world, then they will applaud and accept you.    

If we aren’t guilty of thinking too big, then we are guilty of thinking too small. I want to challenge you – Are you thinking small about your future? You know God is anything but small right? God is big! He’s glorious, he’s all powerful. So don’t fear big, fear mediocrity. Fear falling short of the grace of God for your life. Fear of going to the grave one day with the wind still left in your sails or never reaching your full potential.  

The Apostle Paul said, ” I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” What a statement! You know that is more than a cute memory verse and more than just a verse we commit to memory; we should commit that verse to life and to living it.  If Paul said he could do all things through Christ who strengthens him, where are you falling short of that promise in your life? Do your prayers reflect that you can do all things through Christ? Does your planning reflect that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you?  What about your To-Do list? Do you have a Life To-Do- List – by the time your life ends, you will have accomplished this list of things for the glory of God? You can do all of those things according to His power that is at work within you.    

So, if you knew, you couldn’t fail at anything, what would you attempt for the glory of God? This is if you knew that failure wasn’t an option. I want to challenge you today – Get busy doing it! Don’t fear big, fear small. Fear going far too small in regards to what you’ve been placed on this planet to do.

Each of us has been given an assignment. Let’s get busy and let’s do it! Let’s do big things. William Carey stated, “Expect great things from God and attempt great things for God.”  I try to live my life that way and I hope you’re busy doing the same.

God Bless!

Carl 

Success or Perfection

In life, we have to make a decision sometimes – Do you want to be successful or do you want to be perfect? Do you want to pursue success in your life – your relationships, your marriage, your career or your walk with the Lord? Some people commit themselves to the pursuit of perfection and then they miss being successful. Some people over-invest in a project, a task or a goal and do it wanting it to be perfect. They work on it until it is perfect and they end up forfeiting a successful outcome due to their perfectionist tendencies. We all want to be successful and to be successful means that we don’t always have to be perfect.   The closest to perfection a person ever comes is when they fill out a job application. Sometimes it makes the employer wonder why they are even applying for the job they are applying for. So, in life, there really is no such thing as perfection.   How many perfect spouses are out there today? How many perfect parents? There are no perfect Christians. There’s this false concept that in order for it to be blessed by God it has to be perfect. Now, granted, there are some things in life that you are striving for perfection whether you’re designing a car or performing a surgical procedure or you’re on a military mission. These are situations when people’s lives are depending on things being flawless. But, in all true successes, there is a measure of perfection.  The opera singer has to hit every note perfectly. If you’re a gymnast, you want to get close to a 10 as possible. In life, we want to get to 10, the best of our ability, who wants to be a one or a two? I love what A. J. Gordon said, ” I would rather aim at perfection and fall short of it than aim at imperfection.” We are striving to be the very best we can be at home, at work, at church, and in life. Remember, God calls us to be faithful more than he calls us to be successful.  If you are faithful, ultimately in God’s eyes and in time, you will be successful.   John Hayward said, ” He who is faultless is lifeless.” When I read scripture I find that real people are talked about in the Bible. These are real people that had real lives with real challenges and they made real mistakes. The truly successful ones in the Bible weren’t people who never made mistakes. Moses killed an innocent man. David killed an innocent man. Paul, when he was Saul, was responsible for the deaths of Christian men, women, and children.  These are some of the most respected men in the Bible and they committed some horrible sins. Yet, their faith and lack of perfection didn’t stop them, it propelled them later when they realized what they had done and repented of it. They became powerhouses for God. He who is faultless is lifeless. If you are going to strive to be your best in life, you are goin to come up short from time to time. You will experience failure and setbacks. What separates the winners from the losers is that the losers never try again but the winners pick themselves back up, with God’s help, and go at it again until they get it done. I was watching tv and saw someone say, “You’re living but you’re not alive.” That’s a powerful thought.  So many people are living but they’re not alive. I hope you are not simply existing but you are “alive”! That you are alive to the hopes, dreams, and the vision God has for your life and you are alive to all the opportunities you have in life when we are seeking His kingdom and righteousness. Go out and have a great week! You are God’s best!  Carl

The closest to perfection a person ever comes is when they fill out a job application. Sometimes it makes the employer wonder why they are even applying for the job they are applying for. So, in life, there really is no such thing as perfection.  

How many perfect spouses are out there today? How many perfect parents? There are no perfect Christians. There’s this false concept that in order for it to be blessed by God it has to be perfect. Now, granted, there are some things in life that you are striving for perfection whether you’re designing a car or performing a surgical procedure or you’re on a military mission. These are situations when people’s lives are depending on things being flawless. But, in all true successes, there is a measure of perfection.  The opera singer has to hit every note perfectly. If you’re a gymnast, you want to get close to a 10 as possible. In life, we want to get to 10, the best of our ability, I mean, who wants to be a one or a two?

I love what A. J. Gordon said, ” I would rather aim at perfection and fall short of it than aim at imperfection.” We are striving to be the very best we can be at home, at work, at church, and in life. Remember, God calls us to be faithful more than he calls us to be successful.  If you are faithful, ultimately, in God’s eyes and in time, you will be successful. John Hayward said, “He who is faultless is lifeless.”

When I read scripture I find that real people are talked about in the Bible. These are real people that had real lives with real challenges and they made real mistakes. The truly successful ones in the Bible weren’t people who never made mistakes. Moses killed an innocent man. David killed an innocent man. Paul, when he was Saul, was responsible for the deaths of Christian men, women, and children.  These are some of the most respected men in the Bible and they committed some horrible sins. Yet, their faith and lack of perfection didn’t stop them, it propelled them later when they realized what they had done and repented of it. They became powerhouses for God.

He who is faultless is lifeless. If you are going to strive to be your best in life, you are going to come up short from time to time. You will experience failure and setbacks. What separates the winners from the losers are that the losers never try again but the winners pick themselves back up, with God’s help, and go at it again until they get it done.

I was watching tv and saw someone say, “You’re living but you’re not alive.” That’s a powerful thought.  So many people are living but they’re not alive. I hope you are not simply existing but you are “alive”! That you are alive to the hopes, dreams, and the vision God has for your life and you are alive to all the opportunities you have in life when seeking His kingdom and righteousness.

Go out and have a great week!

You are God’s best!  

Carl