A Not So Strange Inheritance

100991759-buried-treasure-mezz.1910x1000When I was a small boy I was intrigued by the thought of discovering some buried treasure that had been hidden by Jesse James or some outlaw gang. It never happened; I never found my stash of gold.

My youthful fascination might help explain why I like to watch Strange Inheritance.  It’s a program that tells the stories of some benefactors, their unusual collections, the beneficiaries, and the unique circumstances involving them all.

There seems to be a bit of mystique associated with an inheritance, and the subject easily catches a person’s attention.  Even Joshua knew this, and he spoke of an inheritance about as often as a person orders a hamburger in a fast food joint.

Joshua reminds the people of their inheritance over 50 times. In the first chapter, God told Joshua to, “Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.”

You may not have hopes of inheriting much wealth in this life, but you do have a promised inheritance from God. In Paul’s letter to Titus he said: We are “justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:7).” He also wrote to the church at Ephesus about the riches of our glorious inheritance in Jesus.

Discovering your inheritance isn’t a matter of digging dirt to find a buried treasure, it simply a matter of realizing that your treasure is already in heaven and you are blessed in Christ:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly place

Grumpy or Gracious?

grumpyWhenever I read the opening verses of Psalm 92, the number 1,440 flashes through my mind.  1,440 is the number of minutes in a day, and Psalm 92 is a positive motivator on how to manage these precious moments:

It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and sing praises to Your name, O Most High. It is good to tell of Your loving-kindness in the morning, and of how faithful You are at night, with harps, and with music of praise.  For You have made me glad by what You have done, O Lord. I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands (Psalm 92:1-4).

Think about the words you spoke yesterday; was your vocabulary more grumpy than it was gracious?  How would your life be different if you would spend more time counting your blessings than tallying your slights?  Would you be happier and healthier?

Barbara Fredrickson, a researcher at the University of North Carolina, has examined the power of positive and negative thoughts. She has found that positive emotions enhance your sense of personal potential; opens your mind to new possibilities; and, they allow you to develop new skills and resources that add value to your life.

Fredrickson’s premise is a conformation of a principle from the Proverbs: Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. ~Proverbs 16:24

Over the next week, I encourage you to use some of the 1,440 minutes of each day to put Psalm 92 to practice:

  • Focus on the blessing of God, and give thanks.
  • Whistle a tune, hum a favorite hymn, and sing a song of praise to God.
  • When you get up in the morning, start with a God is Able thought, and end your day by rehearsing the history of God’s faithfulness.
  • Begin and end each day with the following prayer:

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. ~Psalm 19:14

Today I Will

tattly_jen_mussari_today_is_the_day_web_design_01_grandeAs I was thumbing through one of my files, I found a quote from Rabbi Joseph Telushkin.  In September of 1999 Talk Magazine listed him as one of the 50 best speakers in the United States.

During a lecture on the power and often negative impact of words, Rabbi Telushkin said:  “If you cannot go for 24 hours without drinking liquor, you are addicted to alcohol.  If you cannot go 24 hours without smoking, you are addicted to nicotine.  Similarly, if you cannot go for 24 hours without saying unkind words about others, then you’ve lost control of your tongue.”

Have you lost control of your tongue?  Compare your verbal interactions with others to the verses below:

  • James 3:10 “Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.”
  • Proverbs 8:7-8”For my mouth will speak truth; wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth are with righteousness; nothing crooked or perverse is in them.”
  • Psalm 10:7 “His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and oppression; under his tongue is trouble and iniquity.”
  • Psalm 71:8 “Let my mouth be filled with Your praise And with Your glory all the day.”
  • Ephesians 4:29: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

As you think about what the good Rabbi said, and as you consider the Scripture above, I hope you’ll say:  “Today I will . . .

  • Slow down enough to consider how I speak to my precious family.  I will remember to thank God for each one of them. I will not curse them.  I will bless them.
  • Reflect the goodness of God and determine to be a conduit of His grace and love.
  • See the needs of others, and help bear the burden of those who are overloaded with grief, sorrow, or some trial.

Let me suggest that you use the words of the following Psalm as a prayer for today:  “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer (Psalm 19:14).”

Chain-Reaction-Christianity

chain_reactionHave you ever poured yourself a drink and made a mess when you overfilled the glass? Have you been distracted and let the bathtub overflow? It’s safe to say that overflows are usually mistakes?

While this is usually the case, Paul says God purposely overflows us: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).” Look at Paul’s description of God—“the God of hope.” Because He is a God of “hope,” you can be filled with “all joy and peace.”

This verse speaks of chain-reaction-Christianity: It starts with the hope of God, leads to joy and peace, the focus on joy and peace, causes you to “overflow with hope,” and this is the result of the “power of the Holy Spirit” living within you.

Overflows are generally wasteful, but God turns the spigot on and calibrates it so you will overflow. His design and purpose is for you to overflow with hope so you can flow over into the life of another person.

Chain-reaction-Christianity begins when your thoughts are in tune with Christ. Look at the picture at the top left of this page. What is you first assumption? Do you see a sequence of one person knocking down the next person? If so, reorient and refocus. Look at the picture from another perspective. I see a sequence of each person lifting up the person in front of him.

To be a chain-reaction-Christian don’t restrain your hope—unchain it and proclaim it.

Is Your Bottom Right Side Up?

happy-coffee-92313-436Keurig—if you’re not familiar with the word, you may think I’ve started speaking a foreign language. If, however, you recognize the word, you know it’s a handy device for quickly making a fine tasting cup of coffee.

Even though I rarely have any problems with my coffee maker, I do have an “oops” moment from time to time. Because I had one such moment yesterday, I’ll share a tip with you: Make sure your coffee cup is right side up when you place it under the spout of the coffee maker.

If you place the coffee cup under the spout upside down you end up with a rather large mess—coffee everywhere except in the cup. When the cup is inverted it’s impossible to fill it with freshly brewed coffee. You can smell the tantalizing aroma of your favorite blend; however, you there’s no tasting what you’re craving.

A person’s life can, at times, be a mess because he is out of position with God. The blessing is present and ready for you to receive, but you are upside down in your relationship with God.

To get your life headed in the right direction, listen to the words of the Psalmist: “The Lord is good and upright; therefore He shows sinners the way. He leads the humble in what is right and teaches them His way. All the Lord’s ways show faithful love and truth to those who keep His covenant and decrees (Ps. 25:8-10)”

Commit yourself to keeping “his covenants and decrees,” and you’ll be at the right place at the right time to drink from the fountain of His “faithful love and truth.”