Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Do you want to win a Wii or iPod?

== Summary == Photo of a fourth-generation App...Image via Wikipedia

Are you interested in winning a Nintendo Wii game system or an iPod? Then check out the information below from my friend Bob Lotich at the blog:

How to enter to win the Nintendo Wii

  1. Mention these giveaways on your website
  2. Come back to this link and leave a comment with the URL of where you mentioned it

How to enter to win the iPod

  1. Just tell your Twitter friends about the giveaway in order to be entered.

Make sure you use @ChristianPF, so I can track your entry. Feel free to just enter the text below as your Tweet…

@ChristianPF *Wii & iPod giveaway!* RT to enter to win the iPod, blog about it to enter to win the Nintendo Wii!!

A few more things

  • Yes you can enter to win both.
  • Winners will be picked using
  • Check back on Friday June 5th. I will announce the winners on that day!
  • Make sure you you make mention of it and comment on this post with the link by Thursday June 4th at 11:59pm CST.

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Intersection Wisdom

SolomonImage by evissa via Flickr

Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed. (Proverbs 3:13-18)

The wisest man to ever live, King Solomon, penned these words over 2500 years ago. Solomon knew firsthand that wisdom was the key to many of the desires of life including long life, wealth, and honor.

After Solomon was anointed king after his father David, God told Solomon in a dream that He would give to Solomon whatever he desired. Here was Solomon's response to God:

"Now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?" (I Kings 3:7-9)

God was very pleased with Solomon's response. He was so pleased in fact, that He told Solomon that He would not only give him wisdom to govern the nation of Israel, but also wealth, honor, and long life.

So God said to him, "Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both riches and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And if you walk in my ways and obey my statutes and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life." (I Kings 3:11 - 14)

Are you praying for God's wisdom, today?
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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The value of counseling

Professional counselors and therapists can add tremendous value to our lives. For my entire life, I have viewed the need to seek the services of a counselor as a sign of weakness, but over the last year as we have dealt with problems in our own family, I now understand the value of seeking the assistance of trained professionals. As a born-again believer, I recommend only Christian counseling for those who claim the name of Christ.

Here is a brief listing of the value of Christian counseling. A trained counselor can:
  1. Take an outside, objective view of what is happening in your life.
  2. Make positive assessments and recommendations to help you.
  3. Give you great book recommendations to read.
  4. Help you develop a plan of attack to solve the problem.
  5. Pray with you and for you.
  6. Encourage you to deepen your faith and walk with the Lord.
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Monday, May 25, 2009

7 Relationship priorities

Silhouette of a family of fiveImage by Robert Crum via Flickr

Relationships should be the most important priority of all of our lives. They enrich us and bring meaning to our lives that money, things, and work cannot. In the life of a believer, there is a hierarchy of relationship priorities, which looks like this:
  1. God. He is our ultimate source of spiritual power and love. He must be the foundation upon which all of our other relationships rest.
  2. Self. We must be spiritually, mentally, and emotionally healthy if we are to relate well with others.
  3. Spouse. For those that are married, you have united yourself with another human being to become "one flesh." You must love your spouse as you love yourself with God's love. Husbands and wives need to guard against placing one another as a higher priority over their personal walk with Christ.
  4. Children. For those that have children, your relationship with them will be richer if you have your first three priorities in the right order. Children will have a deep sense of security within the family if they know that their parents have a deep walk with God and a committed love for each other. Moms and dads need to guard against making their children a higher priority than their marriage or even God Himself.
  5. Parents and extended family. After our priorities are clear in our relationship with God and our own nuclear family, we can then have healthy relationships with our own parents and extended family members. Unfortunately, many husbands and wives sometimes place their parents as higher priorities than their own spouses. For example, we often hear of husbands who praise their mother's cooking over their wife's cooking - not wise.
  6. Friends. Our relationships with our friends should be ones that build up and encourage us and not lead us down the path of self-destruction. Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. (Psalm 1:1)
  7. Professional relationships. In today's high-paced, high octane business world, networking is essential in building professional relationships that will propel you forward at work or in business. Mentors and coaches can be important relationships to develop to take you to the next level. Just remember the old saying, "it's not what you know - it's who you know."
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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Putting God to the test!

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. (Malachi 3:10)

Have you ever put God to the test?

Giving back to Him is the only area of our spiritual journey where God says we can test Him. If we submit to His directive to tithe, He states that He will pour out so much blessing on our lives that we will not have enough room for it all! He wants us to test Him and see if He is telling us the truth of this verse!

For those of you that are mature believers and have been faithful tithers and givers for a number of years, let me give you an additional challenge: test God further by praying for increased opportunities and blessing so that you can give even more.

Too many believers pray for God's hand of blessing so that they can get more stuff. The mature believer prays for more blessing to be able to give even more back to Him and to His Kingdom.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Giving like no one else

Dave Ramsey has a famous quote "Live like no one else, so later you can live like no one else." Occasionally, he tags the phrase with "...and give like no one else."

Living like no one else and becoming wise money managers enables us to:
  1. Tithe consistently
  2. Get out of debt with a plan
  3. Save money
  4. Invest consistently
  5. Build wealth
  6. Plan your estate - planned giving to your church and other charities
  7. Give like never before!
Christians that give like no one else have a mature, eternal view of their assets and money. They know it's God's money in the first place and that they can send it on ahead into eternity through giving back here on earth.
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Friday, May 15, 2009

9 God relationship questions to ponder

  1. Am I spending quality, daily time with the Lord?
  2. Am I connected to God in prayer throughout the day?
  3. Am I spending time in quiet meditation, listening for the Lord's voice and for direction in my life?
  4. Am I reading other inspirational, faith-based literature and information?
  5. Do I keep a journal of my spiritual journey?
  6. Have I ever set-up a spiritual "marker" in my life and put God to the test?
  7. Do I forsake the assembling of myself with other believers in corporate worship?
  8. Am I using my God-given time, talents, and treasure to further God's Kingdom here on earth?
  9. Am I closely connected into a small group, Bible study class?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The definition of rich (part 2)

17 ways in which God defines wealth for a Christ follower:
  1. Strong relationship with Him (explore the lives of Enoch, Abraham, Moses, and David)
  2. Spirit-controlled life (Ephesians 5:18)
  3. Transformed, renewed mind (Romans 12:2)
  4. Solid, God-centered marriage (Proverbs 18:22)
  5. Children (Psalm 127:4-5)
  6. All needs met by God (Philippians 4:19)
  7. Total reliance on Him (I Peter 5:6-7)
  8. Pursuing God's purpose for our lives (Psalm 20:4; Jeremiah 29:11)
  9. Helping people (Leviticus 25:35; Proverbs 14:21b; Acts 20:35)
  10. Strong relationships with other friends/believers (Proverbs 14:20b)
  11. Giving back to Him (Malachi 3:10)
  12. Talents, abilities (Exodus 31:3)
  13. Wealth and the ability to produce (Deuteronomy 8:18)
  14. Long life (I Chronicles 29:28; Proverbs 3:16)
  15. Commendation from the Lord (Luke 19:17)
  16. Wisdom (I Kings 3:11-12)
  17. Honor (Proverbs 3:16)
True wealth for God's children is so much more than money and things. The true blessing of God comes through solid, Christ-honoring relationships, giving, helping others, and using the talents, abilities, and resources He has given to further His Kingdom.
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Monday, May 11, 2009

The definition of rich (part 1)

12 ways in which the world defines wealth:
  1. Big house
  2. Expensive cars
  3. Thousands of dollars in the bank
  4. Thousands, even millions of dollars in investments
  5. Expensive furniture
  6. The ability to regularly eat at expensive restaurants
  7. Expensive clothes
  8. Fancy jewelry (Bling!)
  9. Vacation homes
  10. The ability to travel the globe as your heart desires
  11. Expensive toys - motorcycles, boats, RVs, etc.
  12. The latest and greatest technology - iPhone, iPod, home theater system, laptops, etc.
In the world's eyes, the accumulation of stuff and indulging in selfish desires becomes the focus of life. In my next post, I'll address the Biblical perspective of wealth.

Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless. (Ecclesiastes 5:10)

Friday, May 8, 2009

The equation for unstoppable momentum

On his radio program, Dave Ramsey often talks about the following equation:

Fi x G = M

Here's how this equation is translated:
Fi = Focused intensity
x = multiplied by
G = God
M = unstoppable Momentum

If you desire unstoppable momentum in any area of your life, whether it's getting your finances under control, getting out of debt, landing a new job, increasing your income, saving your marriage, or raising Godly children, you must have focused intensity.

Once you have established this focused intensity, you then need to multiply the intensity with God's power. He alone can give you the strength, perseverance, and power to create the momentum in your life that you truly desire and that God desires for you as well.

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

How do you handle failure?

Train wreck at Montparnasse Station, at Place ...Image via Wikipedia

All of us will experience failure at various points in our lives. We will fail in our business. We will fail our supervisors in the workplace. We will fail the Lord in our relationship with Him. We will fail our spouses and our children. We will fail our parents. We will fail our friends. We will fail those that we lead. Failure is not a matter of "if" but when. We are all flawed, fallen human beings. There will be train wrecks in all of our lives.

The key to moving past failure is our response. We can do one of 2 things:
  1. Continue living in failure.
  2. Learn from the failure, make necessary life changes, and rise higher.
Leadership guru John Maxwell talks about the need for us to "Fail Forward." It takes a lot of intestinal fortitude to admit we have made a mistake. A person of high moral character not only admits to making a mistake, but also takes the time for introspection, analyzing the problem, and then making the necessary changes that need to take place in order to move to a better place in our lives.

Admitting there's a problem is difficult. Making the necessary corrections in order to fail forward can be even more difficult.

You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great. (Psalm 18:35)

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

5 steps to pass the tests of life

One of my favorite shows on cable TV right now is How it's made on the Science Channel. I was watching the show the other day and the host was explaining the process of how the Cutco Cutlery Company tempers the steel to make kitchen knives strong, flexible, and extremely sharp. The tempering process for these knives involves placing the steel under extreme temperature conditions.

First, the steel blanks are placed in a 2,ooo degree oven. Second, they are placed in a cryogenic deep freeze of -150 degrees. And finally, they are placed in a lower heat oven of 345 degrees. You can check out Cutco's own video of the tempering process here.

You know, the trials of life are similar to the tempering process for steel. If we allow the Lord to use these trials in our life to temper us, to strengthen our walk with Him, we will mature and grow in our walk with Christ.

When trials and problems arise in our lives, we need to do the following:
  1. consider ourselves worthy to be tested by God. "Fire is the test of gold; adversity, of strong men." - Seneca
  2. focus on perseverance.
  3. ask God for wisdom.
  4. have faith in God to carry us through.
  5. look forward to receiving the crown of life!
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:2-12)

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Monday, May 4, 2009

Open lines of communication

In the months of March and April, our church did a prayer emphasis we called "60/60/60." The idea behind 60/60 was to pray for 60 seconds every 60 minutes for 60 days - not too hard or complicated. We even encouraged our members to place alerts or chimes on their cell phones so that at the top of every hour they would have some type of reminder to pause during their day and pray.

The purpose of this emphasis was not to perform some type of ritualistic exercise in order to win God's favor. The true purpose behind it was to help our members learn how to connect with God through prayer on a regular basis throughout their day.

Any strong relationship whether it's your children, parents, spouse, friends, or God is dependent on open lines of communication. We must regularly "check-in" to see how things are going between us and them. The interesting thing that I discovered during the emphasis is that I found myself praying in between the regularly scheduled prayer times. This emphasis helped me spread out my prayer time throughout the day instead of a concentrated, one-time event after reading my Bible. Our walk with God is a continuous relationship, not a one-stop shopping experience.

Friday, May 1, 2009

18 Strategies for an effective quiet time

To feel most beautifully alive means to be rea...Image by Yves. via Flickr

  1. Meet with God on a consistent, daily basis. Strong relationships are based on consistent lines of communication. If you're showing up for quiet time on an irregular basis, consider adding your quiet time on your daily calendar and list of daily priorities.

  2. Meet with God early in the morning. Even if you are not a morning person, there is something about the calm and peace of the early morning hours that allows prayerful, meditative reading of God's Word. As we move throughout a busy day, our minds become cluttered with the cares of this life, but in the early morning hours we are usually not as consumed with these thoughts.

  3. Meet with God in a quiet, private space. Whatever place you choose, be sure to be in a space that is free from as many distractions as possible.

  4. Consider meeting with God in a natural setting. God's Word says that "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." There is something powerful about reading the Word and spending time in prayer in the great outdoors. We can experience first-hand God's creative power.

  5. Open your time with prayer. Before you begin, ask the Lord to open your heart and mind to being receptive to what He wants to teach you from His Word.

  6. Have a plan. In the great information age in which we live, there are so many devotional resources available to us that it can be extremely overwhelming. I highly recommend The Daily Bible as a great way to keep you in the Word on a consistent basis.

  7. Read Scripture with a purpose. Don't just read for informational purposes. Attempt to discern what the Lord is trying to teach you today through His Word.

  8. Meditate on what you have read. Meditation on God's Word is simply reflecting on or pondering over what we have just read. As you read, underline especially meaningful portions of Scripture, then go back and reflect upon those specific verses.

  9. Pray Scripture back to God. Similar to #8, as we meditate on God's Word, we can pray back to Him specific promises given in His Word. We can also take the written prayers in the Bible and make them personal by inserting our name. For example, take Psalm 51:10-13:

    God, create a clean heart for Larry and renew a steadfast spirit within him.
    Do not banish him from Your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from him.
    Restore the joy of Your salvation to Larry, and give him a willing spirit.
    Then he will teach the rebellious Your way, and sinners will return to You.

  10. Memorize Scripture. Bible verse memorization is rarely emphasized anymore, especially in adult circles. When I was younger, I memorized a great quantity of verses and even entire chapters of the Bible due to our Sunday School and Awana programs. To this day, those verses often come to my mind in specific situations. You might also consider writing down meaningful verses on 3x5 cards and reading over them on a regular basis. If you do this enough, you will eventually have them memorized.

  11. Pray. Once you have read and meditated on God's Word, then spend an extended time in prayer, offering up to God adoration, confession of sin, thanksgiving, and finally specific requests.

  12. Keep a devotional journal. Buy yourself a notebook or journal and write about what God is teaching you through His Word as well as specific prayer requests and God's answers to those prayers.

  13. Supplement your Bible reading with additional faith-based books. Please note that I am not encouraging you to replace your reading of Scripture with Christian literature, but faith-based books can be a great "in addition to" way to learn more about our Lord through an author's perspective.

  14. Sing to the Lord. You may have a great singing voice or you may sing monotone. God doesn't care. Sing songs and hymns that are especially meaningful to you and your walk with Christ.

  15. Play an instrument unto the Lord. If you play a musical instrument, this is a wonderful way to use your God-given talents to worship Him. In my own personal practice time or quiet time, I occasionally will pull out a hymn book or other worship music and play my trumpet unto the Lord. I also reflect on the text as a play. If you have no formal training, beat on a drum or shake a tambourine - get creative!

  16. Listen to your favorite worship music. This is somewhat related to #14 and #15. You can have soft worship music playing in the background as you read Scripture and pray. You can sing along with the music or even play along on the musical instrument of your choice.

  17. Dance before the Lord. In 2 Samuel chapter 6, we read that King David danced before the Lord as the Ark of the Covenant was moved to the City of Jerusalem. Hey, if it's OK for the "man after God's own heart to dance" why not you? Put on your favorite worship songs and leap for joy!

  18. Consider going on a prayer walk. Somewhat related to #4, nothing refreshes the soul like taking a walk in the great outdoors and praying to God. You can also use prayer walking for specific events that need prayer such as a special event or service taking place at your church. You could walk through your worship center, aisles, lobby, and parking lots praying for church members and visitors to be moved by the power of the Holy Spirit.

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