Sunday, November 25, 2012

Promise Less Deliver More

Someone introduced me to a business principle recently that I had not heard before—“Promise less and deliver more.”  As I understand it, operating with this motto keeps the public from being constantly disappointed.  As you are well aware our lives are inundated with magazine articles and television commercials advertising programs that do not produce.  It is no wonder people feel like they are forever being cheated or scammed. How refreshing it is when you experience getting more than you expected. This happened to me just a few days ago.  My wife and I pulled into Arby’s to get the daily special, a couple of Beef and Cheddar sandwiches.  We placed our order and proceeded in line.  While on the way I thought “man I love their curly fries I wish I had ordered some.” To my surprise when we reached the window to pay the employee handed us our order and said, “I’m sorry you had to wait longer than usual, I’ve included a large order of fries for your inconvenience.”  Arby’s was only responsible to deliver what the sign had posted but this worker decided to deliver more.  The truth is I didn’t feel like we had to wait any longer than normal.  However, I drove away pulling those battered munchies out of the bag thinking, “what a blessing!” When it comes to God, He refuses to be restricted by the same guidelines as the business world, that’s why His motto is “Promise more and deliver more!” Isn’t that what Paul stated in Ephesians 3:20, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.”  Isn’t he saying that God does what He promises and much more? This sounds to me like a good reason to give thanks! What do you think?         

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Reason to be Thankful

The fictional story is told that during the time the church was being persecuted in Rome, a Christian was thrown to the lions.  As he waited to be eaten, he knelt down and prayed.  Looking up he was surprised to see the lion also kneeling in prayer.  Seeing the look of bewilderment on the Christian’s face, the lion said to him, “I don’t know what you’re doing, but I’m giving thanks.” I guess you could say that being thankful is often a matter of perspective. That’s certainly true for me. On some occasions I feel it more than others.  This past week was one of those times when I felt more thankful than usual.  First, while washing dishes I dropped my cell phone in the water. That was a dumb mistake on my part, but I was thankful it was insured.  Just a quick call and an overnight shipment put me right back in business. Then I was at the Lexus dealership getting some service done when another dumb thing occurred.  Upon being notified that the work was completed I headed to get in my car. Right at the time I started to open the door my phone rang. Since my hands were full I laid my newly purchased iPad on top of the car with the thought “I do not want to forget that.” Becoming engrossed in the conversation I jumped in started the engine and headed up the highway.  After travelling only a short distance I was startled with the sounds of a thud.  I thought “what was that?” Then I looked over to the passenger’s seat and realized “IT” was missing. Stopping the car immediately I looked down the highway expecting to find a pile technological mess. There was nothing in the road so my attention was drawn to the top of the car and there the iPad was safe and sound.  The wind had blown the magnetic flap open that covers the screen allowing it to make the loud noise. Needless to say I was overwhelmed with thanks. However, blessings like these are minimal in comparison to those we should really be thankful for.  Gadgets can be replaced, but things like our families, our health, our salvation, cannot.  During this season let us remember to “bless the Lord and forget not all His benefits” for we have so many reasons to be thankful.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Ready for Anything

R.T. Kendall in his book “God meant it for Good” tells a story about the great D.L. Moody. He was seated on a platform when he heard the man preaching make this statement: “The world has yet to see what God can do with one man who is utterly committed to Him.” Mr. Moody said in his heart, “I propose to be that person.”  Kendall continues, “We might think anybody who would want to be used of God like that would get the applause of the angels—that everything would start going right.  Within days his church burned down, and his own house burned down.  It is through much tribulation that we enter the kingdom of God.” Commitment never comes without its opportunities. While we think being sold out equal’s unlimited favor we forget that it says to God “I’m ready for anything.” With the door left wide open God responds by saying, “I have a little trial for you.” And how we answer that call determines whether we can be trusted or not. Joseph had the attitude and received the call.  It started with a dream and ended up with a dungeon.  However, throughout the whole process God was giving this young dreamer the chance of a lifetime. If he could pass the test he would move to the throne. If you have any question as to how it all turned out just cite the closing chapters of Genesis. Stamped within the pages you will find one success story after another. Joseph’s calling card if he had one would have read, “Trial accepted—Test completed—Ready for anything.”  The question that remains to be answered is “Are we ready?”      

Sunday, November 4, 2012

What Are You Capable Of?

What are you capable of? Questions like this make us nervous and a bit uncomfortable.  Given the history of humanity, in the negative sense we all know that apart from the sustaining grace of God man is capable of almost any sin. However, from the positive that same grace empowers us to exceed all of our expectations of greatness. Parker Palmer, a Quaker and author writes “Everything in the universe has a nature, which means limits as well as potential.”  The problem is most of us find it easy to define our limits but difficult to discover our potential. That’s why we need God’s assistance. John Ortberg says, “One of the competencies of artistry and craftsmanship is knowing how to discern the nature of the material you are working with.  Great sculptors spend much time studying a piece of marble before they ever take a chisel to it; they describe what they do not so much as imposing a shape on the marble as in releasing what it has always contained.  Skilled potters know that as they knead and press clay, it presses back, telling them what it can and cannot become.”  He goes on to say amateurs lack this discernment, seeing every lump of clay as a potential ashtray. In contrast, the consolation for Christians is held in the truth that God knows what that clay is really destined for. Given the chance and the time God will reveal to each of us what we are really capable of.