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The Antidote

Pride leads to a fall.  There is a way to combat pride.  What is it?  Choose humility.  Choose the antidote of pride: the choice to be humble.

Are you a humble person?  If you’re not sure, give yourself this humility test:

1. How much time do you spend in thanksgiving?  When you do, it shows you know your life’s success is dependent on others.

2. How often do you serve others?  Your times is a valuable asset.  Do you use it to help others or is it all about yourself?

3. How much money to you give to help others in need?  Generosity recognizes the world’s resources need to be shared.

4. Do you want to serve or be served?  Which one makes your heart glad?

A self-made person worships his creator.  A humble recognizes everything in life is a gift.

Which one describes you?

The Pit

There is a maxim in the wisdom literature in the Bible that says, “Pride comes before the fall.”  It’s a dire warning to avoid the pit of pride at all costs.

Pride is the belief the world revolves around you.  You believe that your accomplishments are only because of you.  You have an inordinately too important view of yourself.

How might you know if pride is a part of your life?  Give yourself this pride test.  See if pride has consumed your life too much.

1. How often do you give thanks?  To God?  To others?  Thanksgiving shows you know your success has depended on others.

2. Are you easily offended?  If someone comes close to criticizing you, do you immediately become defensive?  If so, it’s a sign of pride.

3. Do you want your friend’s kids to fail and not succeed?  If so, it’s a sign you’re too proud about your own kids’ success and threatened when someone else does.

4. Do you celebrate when a colleague gets a promotion and raise?  That shows you are more concerned for others than yourself.

Pride eventually leads to a fall.  It’s imperative we immediately eliminate it.

Take A Shot

I once interviewed Hersey Hawkins on my weekly radio program. Hersey played in the NBA for a dozen plus years and is one of the professional sport’s good guys. I asked him what is his best memory from his distinguished career. Immediately, he told of his rookie season when his team was playing the Chicago Bulls. Michael Jordan was in his prime. Hersey took shot after shot but nothing was dropping. At the free throw line, Jordan could see Hersey’s discouragement. Jordan leaned over to him and simply said, “Hey, just play basketball.” It was Jordan’s way of telling Hersey to relax and enjoy playing the game he was good at playing. Hersey said he hit his next shot and went on to play well the rest of the game.

A word of hope was given at the right time to a discouraged person; that then gave his heart hope and invited success. Do you know someone today who has missed several shots in a row? Why are you waiting? Pick up the phone!

Worry Wart

One of the hope-drainers in our lives is our incessant worry about what other people are thinking about us. We begin the day trying to please people. Throughout the day, we constantly make decisions based on what they are thinking about us. By the end of the day, we are not only fatigued wondering if we’ve decided correctly, but we’re angry these people control us!

Here’s some practical advice given to me by a wise friend years ago. Quit thinking about what other people are thinking about you. They’re not thinking about you at all. They’re too busy thinking about themselves. It’s the truth. Most people are self-absorbed. They’re spending their day trying to figure out how to get ahead and bring more acclaim for their own glory. You are the last thing on their mind. Kick back today. Decide what you want to do. Enjoy life!

Don’t let others drain your hope. Believe me, most could care less!

Seeing 20/20

Today I want to talk about the value and importance of what I call “procrastinational decision-making.”  What is that?  When confronted with a problem, it’s the ability to wait as long as possible before making a decision.  That way, you can gather as much information as possible before finally having to pull the trigger and move ahead.

Yes, sometimes an immediate decision is necessary.  Sometimes you just can’t wait.  But I’ve discovered through the years that most decisions do have the ability to be put off for awhile.  They aren’t as imperative as you may think.

Therefore, wait as long as you can.  Smoke often clears over time, the fog eventually lifts, and you’ll be able to see more clearly…and decide more ably!

Tested Truth

Andy Rooney could transmit great truths with a few words.  Here are some of his wise sayings:

-I’ve learned….that the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

-I’ve learned….that just one person saying to me, ‘You’ve made my day!’ makes my day!

-I’ve learned….that having your child, or grandchild, fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.

-I’ve learned….that being kind is more important then being right.

-I’ve learned….that I can always pray for someone when I don’t have the strength to help him in any other way.

-I’ve learned….that sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.

Thanks, Andy Rooney, for some wise words today!

Rich Blessings

Dear friends,

In over thirty years of ministry, I’ve discovered that most often God’s best, richest blessings come when I’m least expecting them.  For example, when I met Marilynn, I was convinced that I would never get married.  Then she came along in a magnificent, sanctified serendipity.  Thirty-six years later, I’m very grateful.

The same has happened recently in our life and ministry together.  I’ve never sought any kind of television opportunity.  Yet recently, two different opportunities have come my way.

First, GEB, a network that will reach into 33 million American homes, has asked Forest Hill to place my messages on air on a weekly basis.  The cost is minimal.  They simply felt like my Gospel-centered, Biblically-based messages were needed on their station!

Second, INSP’s international broadcast offered us a similar opportunity in a prime hour that will go into over 150 nations throughout the world.  It would have been wrong not to accept it!

Therefore, starting September 12th on GEB and September 14th on INSP, Forest Hill will have the opportunity, on a weekly basis, to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ both nationally and internationally.  Practically every nation on the face of the earth will see and hear a Forest Hill witness! It is a fulfillment of Acts 1:8 and Matthew 28:16-20.

I wanted you to know of my commitment to preach to Gospel in season and out of season, whenever God gives me the opportunity.  I want you to know that your tithes and offerings are being used in many different ways to fulfill what Jesus commanded his church to do.

Again, we didn’t seek this out.  It sought us out.  But God’s best blessings are most often surprises, as is this case.

As always, please know I only want the Lord Jesus to receive any and all the glory!

Pursue Purpose

Here is a leadership truth I’ve gleaned in my over three decades of leadership.  More and more, I believe this truth is the key for long, successful leadership.

What is it?  It’s simply this: your job as the leader is not to use people for your glory but to serve people for their purposes.  My job as a leader is not to see people as means to get what I want.  My job as a leader is to serve people to help them get what they want.

In other words, the leader’s job is to serve, not be served.

People are smart.  They sense if you are using them for your own glory.  They may not see it initially, but eventually they will see it.  They will tell others about it.  They will resent the leader.  And, over time, the leader loses his or her effectiveness.

But when people genuinely see a leader caring for his people, giving not getting, serving not being served, they will run through a brick wall for him. They will go to extraordinary lengths to help him succeed.  When this happens, everyone wins!  But it’s only because the leader has set the example.

But what a great example to follow!

Entrusting Treasures

My wife and I are now empty nesters.  For the first time in almost three decades we don’t have children to send to school and look after.

However, this time of year brings remembrances of the times when we had to:

1. Send them off to elementary, middle and high schools.  Each period of life was different. But they all demanded a certain sigh of the heart.

2. Send them off to college.  They were leaving the home forever.  Now they were in different environments, ones where we had no oversight.

Yet in both sendings, Marilynn and I learned certain truths, ones indelibly etched on our hearts as we watched them walk out the door to go to school.  Here they are:

1. We constantly remembered they are God’s children.  They are gifts to us, on loan, from our Creator.  Therefore, it was his job to oversee them.

2. We can and should pray Psalm 91 over them every day.  The angel armies of heaven are at our beckon call to oversee every need here on this side of eternity.  Therefore, God expects us to ask him to send his angel armies to care for, oversee and protect our children.  Pray this every day.  It has great power!

3. We can trust that God is using everything that happens to our kids this day for their good and his glory.  We refuse to fear.  We choose faith. They are God’s kids.  His angels are looking after them.  God is working  in their lives in ways we can¹t see.

These three, simple truths allow us to send our kids out the door, to whatever school to where they may be going, with confidence.  We need not worry.

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Forever Fan

I want to spend one more day looking at what makes a meaningful marriage.  Here are the qualities of a long-term, successful marriage:

1. You are really, really excited when the other succeeds!  There is no competition between you at all.

2. You can hold each other all night, with rapt joy, and a sexual thought doesn’t enter your mind.

3. You want your kids to be like the other.

4. Nothing separates you.  There is a spiritual bond and connection between you that is not seen but deeply known.

5. There’s no other friendship like the one you have with your spouse.

Does this describe your marriage?  I hope so.  And if so, rejoice!  You have a treasure beyond compare, a gift in life like no other!  You have all that’s necessary for a wonderful, long-term marriage!