Let's Be Inspired Together Blog Articles

 

Sign your Name

In the car this morning I was listening to the song “Life song” by Casting Crowns. At the end of one of the verses the lyric is sung, “I want to sign your name at the end of the day, knowing that my heart was true”.

GPS - God's Protection System

"Caution, Caution, Caution" screamed my GPS system this week as I was doing 80 mph on the 70mph limited I-75.

 

My GPS system has a helpful and annoying feature of letting you know when you are going faster than you should do. It is helpful because it is so easy to cruise to speeds beyond what it is safe too. It is annoying because when you are running late, as I was, it keeps reminding you that not only are you late but that in your efforts to not be late, you are breaking the law. Sin begets sin!

Excuses...

It is the easiest thing in the world to make excuses. We have this bent to do it all the time when challenged to do something we don’t want to do. Unfortunately, this trait can spill out into our lives when we have great opportunities before us as well.

In Luke 14:15-24, Jesus shares a parable about a prominent man who hosts a party. As was customary, a preparatory invitation is delivered, and then a servant is sent to let the guests know that the time has come for the party to begin!

As the servant does his rounds he is faced with a barrage of excuses:

The first excuse – (vs18)

“I’ve just bought a field and must go and see it – please excuse me.” What an odd reason not to go to the party. Two things stand out -1) No one buys a field sight unseen. 2) The field is not going to disappear, and they can view it another day! It’s a bizarre excuse! It would be as if you invited me to your house for dinner. I had initially said I’d come and then just before the party was about to start you called me and reminded me, to which I replied, “I’ve just bought a new shirt, and before I wear it I need to wash it, so I’m going to stay home and wash it.” You would perceive, correctly, that I didn’t want to come to your party and was offering a lame excuse.

The second excuse (vs19)

The servant moves on to house number two only to be greeted with another rather odd excuse. “I have just bought five yokes of oxen, and I’m on my way to try it out.” Another lame excuse! If this person had entertained doubts about the excellence of these animals, he would not have paid out his money for them, and as to trying them out, that could easily be done at a later time, and probably would have been done by one of his servants. Two doors, two secondary reminders… and he’s 0 for 2! Then…

The third excuse (vs20)

He goes to the third house and is greeted with yet another excuse. “I just got married, so I can’t come.” Being married didn’t prevent him from attending the banquet. Scripture, in the Old Testament, esteems the idea that a man should be at home for the first year of his marriage (Duet. 24:5) In fact this scripture says that he is free to stay at home and bring happiness to his wife! But going to a prestigious banquet would have done that! Marriage involves new obligations, but they don’t cancel out previous ones. If Tracie and I were invited for a free meal to the nicest restaurant in town as guests of honor, and I said no because I wanted to stay at home and have pop tarts with her, I don’t think she’d be too pleased!

It’s interesting that the Greek word used at the end of Verse 18 & 19 means shun or reject and this same word is used in other areas of to mean “I refuse.” …as in “I refuse to come to your party.”

Jesus invites us to the party that exists within His kingdom. He says to each one of us, each day, with each thought, with each decision that we have to make. Do you want to come to my party, do you want to become like me? I’m giving you another opportunity to live in me, and to live for me and to live with me… …and the sad thing is so often we offer an excuse, and so often they reveal that our priorities are so upside down. How sad that we…

sacrifice the great for the mundane.
That the trivial instead of the important.
Focus on the temporary rather than the eternal.
Focus on lesser things, rather than the one thing that God calls us to.
We settle for a life of boredom when a party awaits us
.

When Jesus invites, don’t offer an excuse.

Building Internal Integrity

It was brought to my attention at a Bible Study group that I was leading the other Tuesday night that Jesus words that bring peace to interpersonal relationships, also bring internal order to the conflicts that often rage within us.

We were studying together Jesus tender and steady process to deal with the conflict between believers, zeroing in on Matt 18:15 – “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.”

This verse provides for us questions that allow us to examine our response to stressful situations and difficult people. For instance, when in conflict do I…

1) Acknowledge there is a problem or reject that there is?
2) Own the problem or do I blame someone else?
3) Go as a peacemaker or run from the trouble?
4) Talk with the person involved or run and gossip?
5) Keep things private or make them public?
6) Speak candidly or dance around the issue?

But these words also speak to internal concerns and questions we have about the state of our soul – the battles that wage within us, the discrepancies that we tend to hide, the problems that dog us.

Let me walk through this powerful verse, and look at what it tells us about how we can leave integrated internal lives.

  • Define Reality! When we face conflict, we do ourselves a favor when we take time to discover what's happening within us honestly. What’s the source of my questioning, my frustration, and my contradicting desires? What’s the issue within? Once we know the problem, it becomes easier and more evident to deal with it.
  • Take Responsibility! What do I need to own, confess and change? What’s my fault? What’s truth that I believe? What are the lies that I believe? So often when we are facing challenges within us, we want to blame our struggles on external factors, usually caused by others. If we 're going to know peace with God within, we must take responsibility.
  • Take Action! If I don’t take affirmative steps to solve the turmoil inside, it is just going to get worse. What needs to happen for me to bring peace and healing to this battles within. Accountability? Counsel? Whatever action is necessary, take it.

Life happens, problems come, our heart is torn, our affections are divided, and conflict often battles within us. The same principles that Jesus offers to us in solving interpersonal relationships also apply to intrapersonal relationships! Finding peace within ourselves, allows us to have peace outside of ourselves. It is the essence of integrity.

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