Forest Hill Church

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Bursting Bottle

This may seem like a simple piece of advice for you today.  But it could also be profound. Most all of us need to remember it, especially if we’re not practicing it.

What is it?  If you’re having a tough time, don’t keep it all bottled up inside. Find some people you can really trust.  Share your hurts and hang-ups with them.  Talk things through.  Openly sure your feelings.  If you have a close friendship with your spouse, that’s a great place to start.  Or maybe a close friend would work.

Eventually, if things stay bottled up, our hearts pay the price.  The acid emotions of worry and resentment boil over and can affect everything from our moods to our physical health.

And if the problems are just too big for a friend to handle (and they can be!), be willing to seek professional help.  Go to your clergyman or a trained counselor.

Your problems can’t stay bottled up forever!  Talk them through today with someone who cares.

It’s a path to peace for us all.

Firm Foundation

One of my heroes in life is Mahatma Gandhi. He transformed an entire nation by nonviolence. He is a wonderful study in how to live life. He said that seven things will destroy us. Notice that all of them have to do with social and political conditions.

  1. Wealth without work.
  2. Pleasure without conscience.
  3. Knowledge without character.
  4. Commerce without morality.
  5. Science without humanity.
  6. Worship without sacrifice.
  7. Politics without principle.

Gandhi’s seven deadly things may help all of us realize what’s most important in life, loving other people and giving ourselves away. In that and that along will we find life.

God Is Bigger

Worry.  It’s a useless emotion.  It saps today of necessary strength to live.  It saps tomorrow of necessary strength to live!

Corrie ten Boom once said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.”

All of us need must recognize the danger of worry.  The beginning of worry is the end of faith.  And, too often, this is true: Today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday!

Today, to combat worry, you must realize, as Dr. Billy Graham said, “God is bigger than your problems.  Whatever worries press upon you today, put them in God’s hands and leaven them there.”

If you have faith, you realize that true faith is the end of worry.  People of faith understand that worries just don’t matter.  We trust that everything really is in a better hand than ours.

Trust God today.  Put every single worry in his hands.  Trust all will work together for good.

Then watch worry flee!

Eternal Justice

Has someone hurt you?  I mean, really, really hurt you?  Is the ache of their betrayal so great it’s hard to get rid of the memory?  Do you still want retaliation?

If so, here’s a tip I once received from a very wise friend to help me deal with someone who betrayed me: remember that they are hurting their own soul more than you can imagine.

Think about it.  Someone who would purposefully and intentionally hurt you.  Then they never apologize.  You flinch every time someone does something even remotely similar..  You think revenge is the answer.  But no justice ever occurs.

If so, remember the damage they are doing to their eternal soul.  Remember the pain they must be inflicting upon themselves by doing what they did and never feel remorse.  What callousness of heart must have consumed them.  What selfish ambition controls them.

Then give them to God.  Trust his eternal justice.

And I pray health will soon come to your battered soul.

Act of Goodness

I love this quote from John Wesley, a famous theologian and preacher from the 19th century.  He wrote: “Do all the good you can.  By all the means you can.  In all the ways you can.  In all the places you can.  At all the times you can.  To all the people you can.  As long as ever you can.”

It’s a statement we should read over and over again.

If we want to leave this world in a better state than when we entered it, it’s a good quote to ponder.  This world needs good people.  But it needs people who do good, often, whenever possible, wherever possible, to everyone possible, as long as we’re on this planet.

Can you imagine a world where good people regularly practiced good like this?  I daresay we’d live in a world filled with good, where people practice love of God and neighbor as natural as breathing.

What a beautiful world that would be!

Why not all of us begin today, by practicing just one act of goodness to another?

Under Or Above

When someone comes to you today and asks, “How are you doing,” many of us will respond, “Well, under the circumstances, I guess I’m doing fine.

Here’s my question for you today: Why are you living “under the circumstances?”  Why have your life’s circumstances forced you into a position of feeling that life controls you and you don’t control life?

I don’t think any of us were ever created to live “under the circumstances.”  We were created to live over our life’s circumstances.  Though we often can’t control them, we can control how we allow them to affect our lives.

Therefore, today, choose to live above your circumstances!  If you have some lousy ones besetting you, choose to use them for good.  Choose to use them to help you grow, learn more, be a better person.

Choose to turn your scars into stars!  Your hurts to hope!  Your pain to possibilities!

That’s the way not to live under your circumstances.

It’s the path to personal power and freedom.

Investing 101

Hope in a very real way, is like money. To make more you must invest it. That’s why we hire financial experts to direct us toward the places where we can make more money. Now, I consider myself a “Hope expert.” I feel confident you can come to me and receive advice on how to increase hope in your life. However, unlike financial counselors who can point you to doxens of difference quality investments, I can only point you to one.

If you want hope to increase exponentially in your life, the ONLY place to invest it is in other people. That’s right, in other people. I can’t explain it. I don’t understanf it, but it’s true.

Invest your life in someone who needs help and hope will increase in yours. Don’t doubt me until you try it. And, like financial investments, you must do it faithfully over time.

Fork In The Road

Do you want to succeed?  If so, remember this truth: life either succeeds or fails at the place where we meet our obstacles.

Obstacles happen to us all.  They are natural to life.  No one escapes them.  The question then is not if they come to us.  They most certainly do.  The question is how we will handle them when they come.

If we meet them with courage, determined to plow through them, learn from our mistakes and keep moving forward, obstacles become important life lessons.  They are key to success.  But if we cower from them, fearful and paralyzed, the obstacle wins and we fail.

It’s very true: life either succeeds or fails at the place where we meet our obstacles.

Therefore, don’t let your obstacles define you.  Use them as life lessons to make you stronger and more face the next obstacles that will come your way.

Believe me, they will come…over and over again.

Choose Joy

Here’s a phrase I’ve often lived by: “the choice to rejoice.”  Think about it.  If true, it means I have the opportunity, every day, whether to choose joy in my life or live under my circumstances.

Have you made the choice to rejoice?  If you stop and think about it, there are many reasons to choose joy today.  Think about it.  You awoke this morning, therefore there is a new opportunity for a new day.  Most likely, you have food to eat, clothes to wear, work to do, people you love, people who love you!

Sit down today and give thanks for all you have.  Note them in your brain.  If possible, write them down.  I bet your list will grow longer and longer.

If you are discouraged today, slow down and be thankful.  Open the door to your heart to see and understand all the good in your life.  See if the good doesn’t far outweigh the bad.

That’s the choice to rejoice all of us have today.

Choose wisely today!

Unconditional Foundation

There is one final kind of love we need to examine.  It’s called agape.  The Greeks seldom used this word to describe love.  They thought it unattainable.  It was used to describe the gods love for one another, but what human could love with agape?

What is agape?  It is the total, unconditional acceptance of another just the way he or she is.  It’s loving in spite of the feelings or circumstances.  It’s the foundation of a lifelong marriage commitment.  It is being patient and kind, not jealous, selfish or rude.  It doesn’t seek its own way.  It doesn’t store up the memory of wrongs done against it.  It bears all things, endures all things and believes the best in the other, no matter what!

This term “agape” is the word that is used in the Bible to describe God’s love toward his creation.  In fact, one verse in the Bible says, “As God has loved you, now love one another.”  Can you imagine a world where everyone loved one another as God as loved us with agape.

That’s his will.  When it finally happens, it will indeed be heaven on earth!

And it’s what the world needs now, this kind of agape, sweet agape!