Have you checked your glasses? The wrong ones will affect your vision!


What filter are you viewing life through?

Let me explain.  Have you ever looked through a pair of glasses with colored lenses?  Maybe they were blue or green or maybe even… rose colored?  Regardless of the lens color, when you wore the glasses everything you viewed was tinted. Blue lenses made yellows look green.  If you wore red ones, things that were green looked brown.  You remember.  

The same thing happens in life.  Whatever we place in the position of highest priority tints our view of the world.

  1. If your family is your priority, the decisions you make will be based on how it affects your family.
  2. If your priority is health, you process much of what you do based on how it will affect your body’s health and fitness.
  3. If your career is most important, your decisions are based mostly on how it will affect your career goals.
  4. If you have an addiction – alcohol, drugs, porn, etc – that’s the filter with which you view the world around you and how it may satisfy your next craving.

Since our filter is such a powerful force doesn’t it make sense to acknowledge what glasses we are wearing? It’s not very hard to do, simply think about what you focus on most throughout the day.  What’s on your mind as you drive home from work or as you lay in bed at night?  The bible says…

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

Colossians 3:2 

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If we can successfully set our minds on “things above” we will find that even worthy things like loving our family, investing into friendships, and reaching out to those in need take on a different perspective.  When our highest focus is on God, He can direct and empower us to do those admirable things in life with purpose.  An upward focus will also spotlight the less-than-admirable things in our life like addictions and selfishness that keep us imprisoned and bound.

As you’re reading this, you’re reading through a filter.  Probably not colored glasses, but a filter none-the-less.  I pray that we will be challenged daily to look at the world through spiritual eyes and allow God to give us vision.

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Proverbs 29:18

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What are some other life-filters that you think of?  Any first hand experience in changing your filter?  Share in the comments area!

Why It’s So Important To Look Past Our Shiny Exterior And Into The Very Core Of Who We Are.


What’s at the very core of who you are?

Imagine the perfect apple.  It has a beautiful, shiny red exterior – free of bruises and dents.  The stem curves slightly from the top, with one green leaf still attached.  As you eat it, it tastes delicious!  It’s not too hard, but not too soft.  There are no hidden rotten areas or worm holes.  As you take the last bites you wish it would’ve lasted a bit longer and you consume any remaining edibles pieces until you’ve whittled it down to the core.

The core of the apple is generally viewed as inedible, but the outer part of the apple that we found so appealing and quite delicious is actually housing the most important part of the apple – it’s ability to reproduce.   Without the core and the seeds it contains, apple trees would cease to exist.  They make the apple what it is.  These seeds are programmed to grow future apple trees which will in turn produce more fruit bearing more seeds.

“Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Luke 6:44-45

Just like the seeds in the core of an apple cause a new apple tree to grow and bear fruit, the seeds at the core of who we are will eventually develop roots, grow, and bear fruit as well.

It’s important to look past the beautiful smiles and shiny exteriors that we  project to the people around us.  We even have to dig past our good intentions and the nice things we do.  We need to whittle our life down to it’s very core and inspect it to see who we really are.  What seeds do we find there?  It’s important because these seeds will ultimately determine who we are – what kind of fruit we will bear.  As we look, do we find seeds of love, of compassion, of patience?  Maybe we find a few seeds of doubt.  Maybe a seed of jealousy.  Maybe even bitterness.

When we take that look into the very core of who we are we may not always like what we find, but it’s a necessary investigation if we want to live a Christ-like life.  God will help us with this process if we ask Him.  Pray that He will illuminate all areas of your life, revealing any tainted seeds that may remain.  Once found, ask God to remove the seeds that would bear bad fruit and replace them with good ones.  Allow Him to plant His seeds in our heart, pray that your life will be fertile soil, then remember that all seeds need moisture to grow…

ask God to saturate you with His Spirit to your very core.

Thank you to little blue hen from Flickr for today’s photo.

How Retreating Was One Of The Best Things I’ve Ever Done.


Retreating?

In most cases, the thought of retreat seems weak and cowardly. When a group retreats it means the battle is lost and the injured survivors gather together, bandage their wounds, and hope for the best. Well let me tell you, the couple’s retreat we attended this past weekend was anything but weak and cowardly! It was filled with great teaching, powerful worship, and valuable time spent alone with the most important person I know on this earth – my wife!  This past weekend has better equipped my wife and I to go forward as a team into whatever or where ever the Lord leads.

Instead of a Couple’s Retreat, it could be called a Couple’s Challenge!

I mentioned Friday that I would review what I learned this past weekend.  The speaker, Dr. Devon Blanton, has an extensive background in counseling and nutrition and was able to shed light on many areas that affect our marriage.  Things as simple as how a poor diet and the lack of sleep affect our mood, to more detailed things like knowing how our spouse processes information helps us be better communicators.

So here are just ten of the things that I learned or was reminded of this weekend…

  1. Time alone with my wife is not just a nice idea, it’s a mandatory requirement for a strong marriage.
  2. Getting rid of distractions makes time with my wife much more enjoyable.
  3. Having Communion with my wife is an awesome experience!
  4. My wife and I process things differently. The more often I can remember that, the better our marriage can be.
  5. I’m reminded how much fun my wife and I have when we are alone together.
  6. Eating a proper diet and getting enough rest has a huge impact on our marriage.
  7. I’m reminded of how important respecting my spouse is. What her and I do, share, and discuss may very well be no one else’s business. Fortunately, we’ve lived by that standard throughout our marriage and I believe it’s one thing that we’ve done well.
  8. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to have a priceless weekend with your spouse.
  9. I’m reminded how much fun it is to have secret jokes with my wife. Things that only her and I know about.
  10. I’m reminded that no matter how good our marriage is, we can always learn more. More about each other, about being a better partner, and more about what God has to say about our marriage.

Again, this couple’s retreat was not for the weak – it was a challenge! We had about 32 couples attend and now that we are armed with the tools for better, stronger marriages, we are responsible for putting it into action!  I hope that the other couples who attended had as much fun as my wife and I did.

If you have never attended a Christian marriage/couple’s  retreat, find one in your area and put it on your schedule!

Did you attend the 2012 SFWC Couple’s Retreat?  If so, share what you learned!