How can you tell how badly someone wants something? There seem to be two primary indicators. First, how hard are they trying to get what they want? Second, how long are they willing to keep trying? How much someone wants something is often a function of both factors – intensity and perseverance.
Once, when I arrived at Logan airport late for my flight, the passion with which I pleaded for mercy and help from the airline administrator indicated that I wanted very badly to be placed on that plane immediately. Passion, intensity and the exertion of energy often indicate deep desire. Sometimes, however, shear hard work is not enough to get what you want; it requires sustained effort over a long period of time. Lincoln demonstrated, through his unwillingness to give up after repeated political losses and failures, that he really wanted to become president of the United States. From time to time a wall must be struck repeatedly, over a long period of...
Do you ever feel out of sorts, like something isn’t right within you and you need some form of comfort? Where do you look and what do you do for comfort in times like this?
We all have different things that bring us some level of relief. Some are benign and some may be toxic. Some help us draw near to God, and some are false comforts that produce guilt and shame within us. It is important to remember that on the deepest level God is our great comfort in Jesus Christ, and He willingly comforts us in all our troubles. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
What about your family, or your neighborhood, or city – Who/what can console on these larger levels? You can probably think of some families that participate in particular false comforts from generation to generation; some neighborhoods are known for their false comforts; and even some cities are known this way. But Jesus Christ alone is the real consolation for people!
The angels declared at the birth of Jesus, ...
Sometimes the things that seem like they will make our lives easier and more efficient are the very things that can steal our purpose and passion right out from under us.
God’s desire has always been to draw people from all nations into His eternal household. But, “doing church” (or, in this case, "doing temple") got in the way of that purpose in the lives and practice of the people of God. Addressing the people in Jerusalem, Jesus quoted from the book of Isaiah and said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.’” (Mark 11:17) When the people came to make sacrifices at the temple they had to bring animals, or grain or whatever was needed. This proved to be quite an inconvenience for those who had a long way to travel, so they developed a system of exchange right at the temple. People could simply bring money and “buy” what they needed for...
I can remember it very clearly, as if it were yesterday. I was seated in a room with nearly 500 elderly people, listening to a presentation of the significance of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. The man speaking was also drawing an elaborate picture with chalk pastels. I had heard many of the “facts” before, I had even heard some of the stories, but I had never really understood the significance of Jesus ascending into heaven.
Recently, on May 26th, was the celebration of what western church historians call Ascension Day; the celebration of Jesus being carried or taken up into heaven. (The story is recorded in the books of Mark, Luke and Acts.) I am reminded how on that evening many years ago I came to realize that when Jesus ascended into heaven, it opened the way for me to have a relationship with Him, the living God-man – and nothing has been the same ever since.
Do you believe that Jesus ascended into heaven 40 days after He was crucified and...
Many people want to be healthier and in better shape. Today the number of popular diet program options is mind boggling. Keto. Paleo. Intermittent Fasting. Cleanses. Mediterranean, just to name a few.
Do you, too, want to get in better shape? If so, I have one question that I must ask; do you want a short-term or a long-term solution?
Many people want to look nice for an upcoming event or reunion, but fewer seek to sustain a life change that will make a difference for the long haul. Do you want to cut excess sugar for the next 10-20 years, or is this a short-term fancy? Are you willing to keep at your exercise plan for years and years, or is it related to some short-term goal?
Sometimes people address their faith-life in a similar way. They want to get in “spiritual shape;” they are hoping it will happen by magic, and they put their hope in a “crash-diet” of Sunday sermons and crisis prayers. Many of us hope that we...
Is there anyone who really knows you, who has experienced the big events of your life with you, who knows your feelings and perspectives? You may have a few people who have shared in some (or even most) of the significant happenings of your life, but no one has really been there with you through them all. Even the people who have been with you haven’t really seen and experienced what you have. They have seen things from their own unique perspective. They may have experienced many things with you, but not inside you. Only God knows you like that! Every memory that you have can be shared with God. He was there, not just with you but WITH you. He is the only One with whom you will ever really, really, really be able to share your life. He knows you inside out (literally and figuratively), and He wants to share your life with you.
So, why do we so often keep God at a distance, only sharing “our religious lives” with Him? Is it because we think that if...
Many people in our country believe that faith is a personal thing – that it’s not something to talk about or share with others. To believe this, however, is to believe that there is no real, solid, true faith that we must all consider.
The Bible uses the expression “the faith” to describe a solid belief in Jesus Christ that impacts and informs all aspects of life. People are to be strengthened in the faith, encouraged to stand strong in the faith, to examine themselves to make sure they are in the faith, to grow in the unity of the faith and to experience joy in the faith together. Faith is personal. Faith is also corporate. We need to be discuss it so we can grow and progress in our understanding, application and practice of “the faith.”
In Ephesians 4:15 we are instructed to “speak the truth in love” to each other. This is what we all need spiritually and relationally. We need to receive both...
When you consider your future, what do you think will happen?
Do you picture good things coming your way, or does the future feel somewhat bleak?
No one really knows the future. God rarely gives detailed insights into what is coming next. It seems that He wants us to rely on Him and not to become fixated on what will or won’t happen. This can feel disconcerting – and some become so concerned with knowing the future that they involve themselves in the occult, seeking dark powers for information about their future as if that will bring them security and comfort.
God’s Kingdom approach is quite different. He promises to be with us always; to never leave us or forsake us. His character is such that He can be trusted with our future, even though we don’t know what that future will hold.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV)
When Jesus walked the earth, He declared that the Kingdom of God was at hand. He could do this because He was living under the rule and reign of His Father in Heaven. He said,
“I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (John 5:19)
Jesus lived, died, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. He purchased for us the same kind of relationship He had with His Father in heaven. He opened the door to life in the Holy Spirit in a way that had never been understood or experienced before. So now, wherever you go, you can also declare that the Kingdom is at hand – if you know Jesus. His rule, resources and insights are with you – God Himself is with you!
The next time you go to work, you can declare, “The Kingdom of God has arrived, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against its advance through me.” ...
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It was a delight to sit with Joe Fornear, a long-time friend of mine from high school days. I KNOW that you, too, will be encouraged to hear what he has to share.
In this podcast, you will hear some of Joe's honest reflections on
Really...You do not want to miss this one!
~ Coach Tom