1 Timothy 4:16—Pay close attention to your life and your teaching; persevere in these things, for by doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.
The Apostle Paul wrote his protégé Timothy to encourage him but what makes his words so powerful is his own example. He faithfully paid close attention to his life and his teaching. Next to Jesus, the case could be made that he influenced Christianity worldwide through his leadership more than any other man. His epistles continue as vital roots of the worship, theology, and pastoral life in the Catholic and Protestant traditions of the West, and the Orthodox traditions of the East.
What made Saint Paul such a strong leader was that he:
Daniel 1:17—God gave these four young men knowledge and understanding in every kind of literature and wisdom. Daniel also understood visions and dreams of every kind.
Daniel, probably in part because of my given name, has always been my hero. In studying his Old Testament prophetic book that contains his story, there are at least five superb applications that ought to inspire us to be like him.
Psalm 145:1—I exalt You my God the King, and praise Your name forever and ever.
Psalm 145 is one of my favorite psalms in the Bible. Aside from the eleven different verbs or participles used to praise or recognize God, the entire twenty-one verses are a tribute to God’s greatness. The predominant verb is the word praise (used six times). In addition, the words exalt, honor, declare, proclaim, speak, give a testimony, sing, thank, andinforming, are used in the Holman translation. Five times God’s greatness is specifically highlighted.
There is a popular phrase passed along by leaders, “Always praise publically, criticize or correct privately.” Unfortunately, this gets violated all too often in organizations where insecure or unthoughtful people publically criticize employees, family members, or co-workers. I once had a fellow team member complain to the program director over his offense at some of my closing remarks. Rather than just come and tell me, he went “over my head.” When the director mentioned his complaint to me I was surprised and lost respect for a fellow leader who prides himself in leading yet was unprofessional by not speaking directly to me.
Matthew 9:32-34—Just as they were going out, a demon-possessed man who was unable to speak was brought to Him. When the demon had been driven out, the man spoke. And the crowds were amazed, saying, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel!” But the Pharisees said, “He drives out demons by the ruler of the demons!”
Neuroscientists discovered that when people listened to music it was like watching fireworks go off with multiple parts of the brain involved. But when these researchers studied musicians engaged in writing or performing music those fireworks turned into a jubilee—with every part of the brain engaged. What amazed these neuroscientists is that no other activity (sports, art, etc.) came close to matching what happens when we write or perform music.To see and listen to this fascinating study go to: http://omeleto.com/201067/.
Palmer Bailey, “the stars and rocks guy,” shares with us some fascinating information about starlight. By carefully examining stars we can learn some amazing things. Did you know that the color of a star is determined by its surface temperature? The hottest stars are almost blue, less hot are white and even cooler are those that are red. And while stars may look clustered closely together from our vantage, they may in fact be from entirely different galaxies.
Psalm 108:3-5—I will praise You, LORD, among the people; I will sing praises to You among the nations. For Your faithful love is higher than the heavens, and Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. God, be exalted above the heavens, and let Your glory be over the whole earth.
Romans 11:33-36—Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments and untraceable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor? Or who has ever first given to Him, and has to be repaid? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
When it comes to romance, maybe the wise thing for us to remember is that one day cannot offset 364 days. How we love the rest of the year speaks infinitely louder than the most creative gifts given on February 14.
I believe there are four keys to making a marriage prosper and endure and guys if we don’t get this, we are doomed to a lot of hardship. (Apologies to the unmarried and to gals, but this Reveration is for married men or those engaged to be married).
When cadets return to West Point in January, they enter what is called thegloom period. The buildings are gray, the skies are dreary and a feeling of “I wish I could just take a long, extended nap” settles upon the Corps. I lived through four years of that gloom period. Imagine my surprise when I moved to San Diego and discovered that June was called the same thing! The ever-present sun gave way to incessant fog and a chilly air. What were we thinking when we moved to western Oregon, a place famous for what can often be eight months of drizzle and fog?
Psalm 42 and 43 belong together as one work and could aptly be titled “Depressed.” Verses 1-3 in chapter 42 indicate the writer’s distance from God:
As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for You, God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I come and appear before God, the living God. When can I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while all day long people say to me, “Where is your God?”
Genesis 29:35--And she conceived again, gave birth to a son, and said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” Therefore she named him Judah. Then Leah stopped having children.
Leah was not the favored wife of Jacob. He was in love with Rachel and only married Leah through her father’s deception. Imagine how it must have felt for this woman to compete with her sister for her spouse’s affection. Yet, when God saw the plight of this unloved woman, He opened her womb. She bore Jacob six sons! The fourth son she named Judah, which is derived from the Hebrew word yadah,meaning praise.
Did you know that God designed a formula that no one has ever replicated? Dr. Marianne Neifert writes, “Human milk is nature's perfect design for helping your baby’s body and brain grow and develop. No formula can be made exactly the same as human milk because we do not know all the ingredients of human milk.” Of course we know it is God and not nature Who designed the perfect beverage! He also created a formula that has hidden benefits. Nursing causes the body to release a hormone called oxytocin which enables the uterus to return to its normal size after delivery. Nursing burns calories which help moms shed the extra pounds gained during pregnancy. Best of all, nursing creates a strong psychological bond which emotionally strengthens both the mother and her infant.
I often notice when I meet people for the first time they look at my chest. Now that sounds weird doesn’t it! What I mean is that when I am wearing a uniform I often feel like I am being sized up or evaluated for the cloth patches sewn on my shirt. Whether it is the military, Girl Scouts, AWANA, varsity jackets, etc., patches, medals ribbons and pins tell a story of what kind of training or accomplishments a person achieved.
In March of 1992, Captain David Knecht learned he was passed over for promotion to Major. Despite the setback, he determined to press on with his career. Weeks later, on April 8th, he was out on a field exercise conducting a routine night live fire defense. When it ended he looked forward to traveling to Russia for a short gospel mission trip. That night an M2 Bradley platoon was positioned about one kilometer to the right of the spot Dave selected for his Command M113 vehicle. Apparently the platoon leader or his gunner was scanning for targets out of sector to their left because when Dave’s M113 showed up in their thermals sights, “they lit me up with eight 25mm rounds.” One training round glanced off the hatch next to his head and penetrated the soft CVC helmet he was wearing, exploding fragments into his brain and right eye. Dave was flown by two helicopters, a UH-60 Blackhawk and later a CH-47 Chinook to a civilian medical center for emergency brain surgery.
All around the planet somewhere, someplace, someone is worshiping God—24/7! Heaven is the final destination of praise, prayers, confession, thanksgiving and the place where songs, dance, shouting, offerings and communion unfold before an adored Father. If you asked me to pick the single most important thing I could do in life I would unhesitatingly answer, WORSHIP!
Turn on the television these days and you’re likely to see a “reality” program. Spawned by the show Survivor, Hollywood churns out Fear Factor, Temptation Island, the Bachelor, etc., in ever-increasing bizarreness to titillate our senses. But these shows have little to do with reality, they are all about the pursuit of thrills. A bored nation craves standing on the edge of immoral precipices. It’s not enough to know someone is inebriated, now viewers must see vomiting—as if such disgusting behavior will in some way rivet more eyes to the box of shame.
The air is heavy in John’s study. His youngest son is not happy with his tennis racquet. He wants a new one or to use his dad’s oversized racquet for his upcoming tennis class. John presses David repeatedly on why the racquet he has is not good enough. Tears began to form and tumble down his son’s cheeks. David wrestles with an inward battle John struggles to comprehend. “Son, if you won’t tell me what is wrong, how can I meet your request?” David, with a quivering voice tells him that kids would make fun of his old racquet just like they make fun of him for being short. And then his father, also a short man, understands.
It’s not hard to feel inadequate. In the middle of an intersection I zeroed in on what John was asking me. I didn’t see the silver Nissan approaching from the right. He couldn’t swerve in time or stop to avoid me. Bang!!! In one unceremonious crunch our Plymouth Voyager was totaled. With one lapse of attention I joined the other side—the team of drivers in accidents because they were talking on cell phones. The best intentions don’t erase crumpled metal. Fortunately, no one was hurt and the other car suffered only minor damage.