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Virtue

Virtue.JPG

On today’s blog I am going to share with you the topic of VIRTUE and the ways to look at virtues in your own life and how you may or may not be incorporating them.  I hope you’ll stick around for the next few minutes and I look forward to hearing back from you after the blog in the comments section of the podcast. We value your input!

Virtue. It’s a small word and a big topic. There are many view points about it and I’d like to share with you some things you may not have considered, didn’t think you needed to consider or I’ll just pump you up and make you feel great since you already know all about it!

Maybe you heard of a guy by the name Aristotle? He was and is one of the most noted teachers about virtue. He is most known for his work entitled Virtue as the Mean Between Two Extreme States.

Before we go there, what is the basic definition of virtue? Well, a virtue is a trait or quality that is deemed to be morally good and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being. Personal virtues are characteristics valued as promoting collective and individual greatness. The opposite of virtue is vice.

 

Pretty easy to see that depending on culture and language, a virtue could mean one thing to someone and something totally different to another.

The opposite, as just heard through the definition of virtue is vice.

Vice is defined as immoral or wicked behavior. Again, pretty easy to think of examples right away, however, it again could mean different things in different cultures.

I think it is very easy to see that we have a decline of good virtue, especially in America than we have prior, and yes, we have many virtue issues in our past and many vices as a country, however, we live in 2018 and we are the ones living in this world today. What are some things we can learn from those that have gone before us? What are some things we can learn from God that have been there, well, since time as we know it began.

I obviously can’t go into a forever blog today, but we can start somewhere. Let’s start with something you may be familiar with. The 7 deadly sins.

If you are wondering, no, there is not a scripture that lists and says this is the list of the 7 deadly sins. There are however, many scriptures that speak of them and even name a few. One of the most popular scriptures that actually has 7 points is found in Proverbs 6: 17-19.. Here it is in The Message for a quick and easy reference:

16-19 Here are six things God hates, and one more that he loathes with a passion: eyes that are arrogant, a tongue that lies, hands that murder the innocent, a heart that hatches evil plots, feet that race down a wicked track, a mouth that lies under oath, a troublemaker in the family.

 

So, now that we have heard scripture, here is the common list of the 7 deadly sins:

 

  • Lust
  • Gluttony
  • Greed
  • Sloth
  • Wrath
  • Envy
  • Pride

 

The “seven deadly sins” were originally based on a list of eight principal vices. The list was developed in the fourth century C.E. by the mystic Evagrius Ponticus, whose work inspired the writings of monk and ascetic John Cassian. In the sixth century, Pope Gregory I changed Cassian’s list of eight vices into the list of seven deadly, or cardinal, sins of Roman Catholic theology: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, anger, and sloth. Gregory viewed these as capital, or principal, sins in that many other sins came from them.

 

Okay, put on your learning caps, I want to share with you a chapter from Aristotle's work Book II of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics as it was translated by W. D. Ross.

 

Chapter 5 [What virtue is: Its Genus]

Next we must consider what virtue is. Since things that are found in the soul are of three kinds--passions, faculties, states of character, virtue must be one of these. By passions I mean appetite, anger, fear, confidence, envy, joy, friendly feeling, hatred, longing, emulation, pity, and in general the feelings that are accompanied by pleasure or pain; by faculties the things in virtue of which we are said to be capable of feeling these, e.g. of becoming angry or being pained or feeling pity; by states of character the things in virtue of which we stand well or badly with reference to the passions, e.g. with reference to anger we stand badly if we feel it violently or too weakly, and well if we feel it moderately; and similarly with reference to the other passions.

Now neither the virtues nor the vices are passions, because we are not called good or bad on the ground of our passions, but are so called on the ground of our virtues and our vices, and because we are neither praised nor blamed for our passions (for the man who feels fear or anger is not praised, nor is the man who simply feels anger blamed, but the man who feels it in a certain way), but for our virtues and our vices we are praised or blamed.

Again, we feel anger and fear without choice, but the virtues are modes of choice or involve choice. Further, in respect of the passions we are said to be moved, but in respect of the virtues and the vices we are said not to be moved but to be disposed in a particular way.

For these reasons also they are not faculties; for we are neither called good nor bad, nor praised nor blamed, for the simple capacity of feeling the passions; again, we have the faculties by nature, but we are not made good or bad by nature; we have spoken of this before. If, then, the virtues are neither passions nor faculties, all that remains is that they should be states of character.

Thus we have stated what virtue is in respect of its genus.

 

Scheeeew, that is not something I say every day, but it sure helps us understand (mostly) where and what we are talking about and going.

I revealed last week that I am a great nephew to Benjamin Franklin. Yes, that Benjamin. My wife hates that I talk about it, and I surely don’t do that to brag at all, I am honored to be considered family with him and do want to honor that legacy in my life as much as I can. As for kites and keys, probably not so much! 🙂

 

I know that my great uncle had many faults in his life and was not completely a perfect example, and I’m able to say, neither am I. I have been researching my uncle a bit more lately and found out some really exciting things about him and feel like some of his passions are mine as well, I guess you can say it might be in my DNA.

 

Uncle Ben was very intent about virtue in his life. I know that because of some of his mistakes he was probably driven to better as a result of his past vices. I can relate with that.  He was so passionate about good virtue, he created what we would call a modern day planner and journal to inventory his life, be accountable for things in it and through observation of certain things in his life, he could make corrections easier.

 

One quote he was noted for saying was:

”By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” — Benjamin Franklin

He was born into a family of seventeen children, the son of a poor candle and soap maker. Benjamin realized early on in his life the importance of self-improvement. Though he only attended one year of grammar school, this young boy would learn on his own how to read and write. To improve and learn, he would study the writings of famous authors and force himself to write in their same style.

 

There is so much I could say about him and his accolades in life, I’ll save that for another time, one thing that really jumped out to me and created this buzz in my spirit to talk about this week was a list of virtues he wrote down. Mind you, when he wrote this and created his personal development plan to accompany them, he was 20 years old. Amazing!  He wrote in his biography about this time in his life: “It was about this time I conceived the bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection. I wished to live without committing any fault at any time; I would conquer all that either natural inclination, custom, or company might lead me into.” Okay, so here they are:

 

  1. Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  2. Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  3. Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  4. Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  5. Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
  6. Industry. Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  7. Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
  8. Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  9. Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  10. Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
  11. Tranquillity. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  12. Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
  13. Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

 

 

The desire to improve and grow is probably one of the top money-making efforts in print, events and the internet. It’s everywhere you look. People like top dog CEOs and successful business people to incredible athletes, artists or anyone else on the planet for that matter have found ways to develop and leverage their instinctive potential and talent. So when my Uncle Ben wrote these things, it wasn’t like he was the only one who ever had the thought, but he did have an opportunity.

 

There is no doubt that some seem to rise to the top while others don’t rise at all, and perhaps even sink to a lower level than expected. I believe that the one thing most vital between both groups of people is the desire to change and how to implement a way to do it.

 

That is why I brought up the personal development planner. What is vital in defining virtue in your life and doing something about it?

 

  1. Write it down. As we discussed the 13 points Benjamin Franklin wrote down, he wrote it, expounded each point and had a plan to personally examine the results.
  2. Shoot for the stars- What I mean by that is, some things can be so big that the only way we can achieve them is by trusting in Christ to get us to and through them. I can’t always see how I can get through a schedule I created to do #GodsGotThis and Hope Revealed ministry 5 days a week, but I was shooting for the stars, or, trusted that the vision came from God and only He could get me through and to it.
  3. Attainable time- Things don’t always have to happen NOW. I’m one of those guys. I like to do it and do it now. But some things just take time. A list of things nowable and laterable are key to success. There is no doubt that Benjamin didn’t claim to be anywhere near Christ, but he wanted to work on getting closer. That is something I am trying to do as well.
  4. Valuable Virtue- Some may jump right into the dollar value of that statement when at 20 and the son of a candle maker trying to figure his life out, dollars were not necessarily the prime focus of these points of virtue. They did, however, have incredible value and meaning to his life and could easily lead him on any path life directed and still hold him challenged and accountable.

 

 

I always feel that the best source of information can always be found in the Bible. The issue for some is not that they don’t want to look there, it is the unsureity of where to even look.

A biblical example is that someone with virtue displays wisdom, courage, kindness, good manners, courtesy, modesty, generosity, and self-control in their life. They treat others fairly and esteem others highly and value the sanctity of life. They treat others better than they are treated. Someone who has virtue has good, moral ethics and makes biblical choices in life.

 

One of my favorite scriptures is Philippians 4:8 Paul (he’s the guy who wrote this chapter and much of the New Testament) really shared with us a glimpse into Godly virtue and a great how to list for ourselves. Here it is:  I want to share it with you again in the version of the Bible called The Message because sometimes it really has a way of hitting you right between the ears with understanding.. I like several versions, so I encourage you to look at a few, here it is Philippians 4:8-9  “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” I love reading that every time! It is like an emotional buzz for me, and sometimes it can feel like a smack in the face when I’m not living into those principles. What are some of those that were just mentioned?  True:  am I living in the truth of God’s word? Noble, am I living in a just and fair way? Pure, how about that holy living part, how is that going? Lovely, we’re not talking about some nice dress or suit and good manners here, it about living love out loud as Christ does. Then there is that things of good report line… That is reports of people doing good things for God and good things done by God that are noticed and notable. Unfortunately, virtues like these and behaviors like these are not as common as once a passion and target in people’s lives used to be. Does that mean that it is over and can’t ever happen again? NO! It means that you can develop your own VIRTUE PLANNER. By living into those virtuous plans and challenging yourself and family, it can seriously create the space and example for people to make a change in their lives as well!

 

On last weeks podcast about contemplation, I asked a question. If you knew that you were about to die, and you were okay with it and had time to think, what 3 words would you use to sum up life? I’m not asking that question again, however, it’s good to reflect on it a bit and start a place where you can develop your own list of things that are virtuous in your life. Here are a couple of questions that can help you develop out that list a bit more and will no doubt take some time and contemplation on your part to answer.

 

  1. What is your purpose on earth? We all have one, what is yours? It doesn’t matter if your 7 or 70 listening today. We all have a purpose and if you think you missed the boat and it’s too late, the boat just turned around and is coming back to pick you up, start thinking. You’re more than likely going to work this out on your own, so I would encourage you not to lie. You have no one to impress and no reason to lie to yourself. Be honest. Be real. Here is an incredible quote by Rosalynn Carter: "You must accept that you might fail; then, if you do your best and still don't win, at least you can be satisfied that you've tried. If you don't accept failure as a possibility, you don't set high goals, you don't branch out, you don't try - you don't take the risk.” So, as I mentioned earlier, REACH FOR THE STARS. What is your purpose on earth?
  2. What are your values? Another one of those, we all have moments. The serious part in this moment is, do you really know what yours are? Are they written? You have an example I just gave you from Benjamin Franklin, and of course Aristotle, but, what say you? Take time, look at other lists from people and jot down what really sticks out to you the most and develop a list. It doesn’t have to be huge, start with a goal of at least 5 or more. You’ll see that many of the values will come from your purpose. If you have a hard time with the value part, go back to purpose and rethink to see if you have really given that honest answer.
  3. What are your goals? The Bible is a very clear teacher and one thing that is easy to see is that God is the Author of life. We are taught that he knows the beginning from the end. Isaiah 46:10 says: declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ That being said, seeking God for understanding and wisdom about your goals would be the first place I start. That is another reason I say #GodsGotThis, because if anyone knows what up, it’s God. What are your goals? That is both a current and long term question. Use things you come up with from your purpose and values to help guide you on your goals.
  4. Hone in on your habits. There is no doubt we all have habits. Many we know and I’m sure there are several you and I may not be aware of at all. What is interesting about our brains is the simple fact that we can change. We can create new and delete old habits. It’s not always easy, but it is possible. I used the word HONE because it means To improve or perfect, usuallyregarding a skill. What habits will you need to get rid of and what new ones will you have to adopt and adapt to to live into your purpose, values and goals? What are some habits you can begin implementing now in small ways to reach a long term goal or goals? Here are a few scriptures to help you go after goals in your life:  “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.”

~ 1 Chronicles 4:10

But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.

~ 2 Chronicles 15:7

May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.

~ Psalm 20:4

But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.

~ Psalm 33:11

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

~ Psalm 37:4

 

  1. Taylor your time. By being a good steward of your time you are reflecting the most valuable things in life. If a person just nonchalantly goes through the motions it is easily seen by others as what we now call FAKE NEWS. I absolutely loved reading this verse while preparing today’s podcast for you it is in Ecclesiastes 9: 7-9 and again, I’ll read it from The Message it says: Seize life! Eat bread with gusto,

Drink wine with a robust heart. Oh yes—God takes pleasure in your pleasure! Dress festively every morning. Don’t skimp on colors and scarves.

Relish life with the spouse you love Each and every day of your precarious life. Each day is God’s gift. It’s all you get in exchange For the hard work of staying alive. Make the most of each one! Whatever turns up, grab it and do it. And heartily! This is your last and only chance at it,

For there’s neither work to do nor thoughts to think In the company of the dead, where you’re most certainly headed. Wow! That is a great way to look at the value of time in our lives and the simple fact that you have but one to live. Live it well!!

 

 

Okay, I have put a lot of information out there today,  We’ve looked at several examples of virtue, obviously, the best coming from God’s Word is primary and all else is secondary. You will find many incredible resources available to you in defining virtue and values for your life, I would strongly encourage you to find those that honor God and his plan for us all. I am a bit partial to buy old Uncle Ben’s thoughts as it is, they have turned out to be very beneficial for generations of people and I hope they can be of great value to you as you seek to define and develop your own.

 

For those listening at the podcast site or reading along today at the blog who may be struggling with life in general. It may be a matter of health like I am involved with and in, it could be a matter of emotions. Perhaps you are feeling lost, lonely, depressed and just void. I understand those emotions as well. You’re not alone, as much as you may try to convince yourself that you are, I can promise you, you are not. Sometimes a fresh moment of assessment or reassessment is vital and valuable to hone in on those habits we just talked about. Kill the bad ones and give life to new ones. If after listening today you find yourself encouraged or encouraged enough to start, but just have a hard time getting going, please feel free to reach out to us here at #GodsGotThis and Hope Revealed, we would love to process a bit with you and seek God’s direction in your life. You matter, and because you can make all the difference in the world, we’re all in, YOU might just be what the doctor ordered!!

 

If you are not already subscribed to our mailing list and receiving our Monday Magazine and other emails, please visit our site at http://www.godsgotthis.love and click SUBSCRIBE when the little window pops up, or look for the newsletter subscribe button and it will do the same. We are so thankful to be able to provide all that God has given us to do and if there is any way you can be a part financially to help us with the costs, we would be ever so grateful. When you get to the website, you click on the donations link and you will be guided from there. Please consider joining our community by being a monthly supporter and helping us to reach the world with God’s message of Hope Revealed that #GodsGotThis!

 

Dig in this week, go after those values and virtue in your life and in your families life as well. If you would like a kickstart personal planner like my Uncle Ben used, please email us and we’d be happy to send one out to you for FREE!!

 

Remember as Paul said to us from God’s heart in Philippians 4:6-9  6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

 

And that He surely will my friends. Don’t give in, don’t give up and never forget #GodsGotThis!

Contemplation

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On this week's podcast, we are talked about contemplation and find some ways possible to look at the way you look at stuff. I hope you’ll stick around for the next few minutes and I look forward to hearing back from you after the show today. 

 

I DON’T KNOW!

 

 

You see, contemplation (the deep thought of something) is a really wild stage of change.......and ambivalence,(mixed emotions) can make contemplation a forever feeling like an extremely frustrating condition.

It can be something like a college student who doesn’t really know what he or she wants to do with their life, yet they are already in college and have to pick a major. It can be an incredible roller coaster of emotions laced with huge hills and fastly approaching valleys just to come up with one thing, but it’s a huge thing and becomes this major alright, I’ll say it.. a major contemplation.

When dealing with contemplation, it is important to note that interest in change is NOT commitment.   Tweet that! 

Mixed emotions or the fancy word ambivalence are the archenemies of commitment and a prime reason for that non-stop rollercoaster called contemplation.

Some rollercoasters are a blast, but to get on one and not ever know when it will stop and not know when you can finally get off, well, that is no fun at all!

Do you fully understand the range of both extrinsic and intrinsic motivators that brings you to this point of contemplation? 

The honest reflection looks at a situation for the truth that’s present, not just the truth you see. There are some ways to be able to do that and we’ll talk about that over the course of this week.

I’ve asked a question this week…. to begin the journey of contemplation with you. The question was : 

If you had the opportunity to know your life was about to end, you are at peace with it and you could sum up everything you have learned about life into 3 words, what would they be?

 

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life.. My answer:

IT GOES ON and of course, God’s Got This

(Well technically that is about 7 words, but you  get the idea)

 

Contemplating a question like that can be quite hard for some. There are many issues around the answer as well as influence. That brings me to a point I’d like to discuss.

It is called motivators. A recent article written by Kendra Cherry at VERWELLMIND.COM says this Extrinsic Motivation refers to behavior that is driven by external rewards such as money, fame, grades, and praise. This type of motivation arises from outside the individual, as opposed to intrinsic motivation.  Kendra also writes that Intrinsic motivation refers to behavior that is driven by internal rewards. In other words, the motivation to engage in a behavior arises from within the individual because it is naturally satisfying to you. 

(Kendra’s articles can be found here: https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-extrinsic-motivation-2795164 https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-intrinsic-motivation-2795385)


It’s super easy to move through the contemplation stage acknowledging only the extrinsic motivators that push you to change—but what about the intrinsic?

So, let’s say you are listening today to this podcast or reading it on our blog because you really just wanted to look more into contemplation and thought it would be interesting and beneficial to you, that is INTRINSIC MOTIVATION. Let’s say your wife told you that she heard about this article and told you to read it so that you can start learning how to make up your mind or the marriage is over.. well, that is extreme, but you get the idea, that would be more of an  EXTRINSIC MOTIVATOR.

Okay, so here we are at the intersection of CONTEMPLATION and PEACE.  The question I asked, in the beginning, today was, if you had the opportunity to know that your life was about to end, and you’re at peace with it and you could sum up everything you have learned about life into 3 words, what would they be?

That is a hefty question for sure and definitely not one to just launch into a quick 3 words. It may actually take a bit of, dare I say.. CONTEMPLATION.

There is something called the Transtheoretical Model and it was researched/studied back in the 70’s. The long story short of the Transtheoretical Model is it was a study of a bunch of smokers and the studies examed the experiences of smokers who quit on their own with those requiring further treatment to understand why some people were capable of quitting on their own. 

Ready for the powerful result? It was determined that people quit smoking if they were ready to do so. WOW! Really??!! Yes. Basically, if you make up your mind to do something, chances are, you will.

In the book of Daniel, (He’s the famous guy that you may have heard of thrown into a Lion’s den) you can read a very powerful story about a man and contemplation. He had many things to contemplate and the contemplations he made in his life were what built the character and legacy we still talk about today. In the book of Daniel, the first chapter and the 8th verse it says:

8 But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile (taint, dishonor) himself with the [a]king’s finest food or with the wine which the king drank; so he asked the commander of the officials that he might [be excused so that he would] not defile himself.

He made up his mind. That was a massive decision in the midst of a heated situation and several that he encountered. What made the difference in his life. Was he making choices based upon EXTRINSIC MOTIVATION or INTRINSIC MOTIVATION? By disciplining himself to live a certain way and to think a certain way, his responses end up being much different on the fly. Daniel didn’t just have this powerful miracle of a dynamic decision at that moment. He was a man of integrity. He fashioned himself to respond a certain way. He responded with humility.  Daniel also teaches us that, no matter whom we are dealing with, no matter what their status is, we are to treat them with compassion. 

As a result of his devotion, Daniel found favor with man and with God :

Daniel 9:20-23 ESV

20 xWhile I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my plea before the Lord my God for ythe holy hill of my God, 21 while I was speaking in prayer, the man zGabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the first, acame to me in swift flight at bthe time of the evening sacrifice. 22 cHe made me understand, speaking with me and saying, “O Daniel, I have now come out to give you dinsight and understanding. 23 eAt the beginning of your pleas for mercy a word went out, fand I have come to tell it to you, for gyou are greatly loved. Therefore consider the word hand understand the vision.   

 

I wonder if Daniel wondered if he would ever hear something back about his plea. If he didn’t think so, why bother the plea. What’s even more awesome is that he was told that AT THE BEGINNING OF HIS PLEAS FOR MERCY…… A WORD WENT OUT.

 

We may not always hear the answer to our pleas immediately, however, we can never give up hope that an answer will come. I would say that the contemplations of Daniel are contemplated upon an assurance of divine intervention. To have that assurance would have to change the posture of contemplation. It’s a contemplation with a strong resolve to hear a word from God.

 

What have you been contemplating lately? Well, let me ask that a different way… How have you been contemplating lately? Even if the situation may seem like it’s not a spiritual one.. so... you’re contemplating what color to paint the living room, contemplating where you want to go eat for dinner, contemplating what fragrance you want in the smell good thing at the house.. whatever… Yes, It may not seem that every contemplation is serious or a high priority, however, the way you do it, is. When I was in the Army, we always had a saying, you will always do in war what you do in practice. I hated hearing that, but, the reality is, that is so true!

Daniel was eventually so good at the way he contemplated things, it managed to get him in and OUT of a lion's den and to me, that’s a pretty big deal. Maybe you will have some time this week to study a bit about Daniel…  Crack open the Bible and take a read and read through the lens that we have been talking about here.

Okay, that’s about as far as we’ll go today, maybe you've left input this week through our Wednesday YouTube show, our Thursday Blog (Right here below) and Friday Devotion on YouTube. 

May today be the gift of excitement in your heart. May you dream the biggest dreams as your reduced to the biggest purpose of all, love. 

I hope that this week has been stirring something up in your heart and hope that the rest of this week’s ministry will continue to speak to your heart as well. When it does, would you take time to comment and share what God is speaking to you? It could change someone’s life forever!

If you are not already subscribed to our Monday Magazine please visit our site at http://www.godsgotthis.love When there you will find a lot of resources available just for you and if you would like to be a part of the #GodsGotThis Movement, please consider joining the community and becoming a monthly supporter. Thank you so much for being with us today and every time you join us here at #GodsGotThis.  Be encouraged, grow small, never give up and never forget

#GodsGotThis! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Words. Reduce Me To Love

PODCAST June 26, 2018.jpg

On this week's podcast, Matt shared a personal and powerful moment about 4 words. Here is that podcast adapted for you to read and if you'd like to hear it and subscribe to the podcast you can subscribe at iTunes by looking for MATT CRUMP or you can also subscribe, download an app and have fun at https://www.godsgotthis.podbean.com

As always, we'd love to hear from you. Please comment here and remember..#GODSGOTTHIS!!

Today I'd like to share with you how to become bigger, by becoming smaller. We’re going to look at 4 words and those are REDUCE ME TO LOVE. If you’ll stick around for the next few minutes I'm sure it will be a blessing to you.  Let’s start in the Bible today in the book of John:


JOHN 3:30 NLT

30 He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.

 

How is it possible to pray without ceasing and how can a non-stop prayer be a prayer of power and one that makes a difference? I’ve wrestled with how to pray always in my first few years as a Christian almost as much as anything I could imagine that was on my question list then, and almost as much as I wanted to hear what God’s voice sounds like when he would say “Hello Matt, I’ve heard you and here are all the answers to what you have been wondering in life.”

 

Although I must say that I still have never heard a voice from the heavens speaking my name and then holding a holy conversation with me, I can say I have heard from God and fortunately, I still do. Contrary to some people’s VIEW on TV lately that hearing the voice of God is like hearing voices in our heads and I might actually just be crazy especially if I answer back, I can say with all assurance, there is a difference. 

I don’t know if it’s the drugs I am on, the stress of the condition I am living with from the damage cancer is doing and has done to my body or, I just get plain wore out, I know there is no doubt I struggle with mood swings. I struggle with issues that I haven’t really talked about to many people. I figured it might be helpful if I talked about it today in hopes that it would help someone listening today to say. WOW.. really? It’s not just me??!!

Struggling with cancer and some unknowns, I also know of some knowns. I know that I wrestle so much with nausea and fevers and sweats and extreme fatigue. I feel trapped in a world that seems like groundhog day. I wake up, I shower, I try to do my ministry works for the day, I fight sleeping while doing it, I take naps, get fevers, have intense dreams, might fix dinner for the family if I’m not too nauseous and then go to bed. Not to go to sleep, but to live in cycles of sleep. I may sleep for 15-20 minutes, it may be an hour but usually not more than that at a time. Lately in those moments when I do fall asleep, I go to these places or dreams if you will that are seeming more real every time, so real that at times, I can’t remember which is which when I wake back up for the next round. I get through those cycles only to find it’s time to take a shower again and start all over.

If you could hear my voice… You'd hear I had another one of those nights..I didn’t get to sleep until almost 6 am!! Not a great way to start your day.

 

Before you start feeling all sorry for me, I must say, it’s not always like that, or at least it wasn’t, it has been more like that lately, enough that I wanted to talk about it with you today.

It is a place where I can easily get swept away into a place called NOTHING. That is a scary place to be and a place I am trying to escape.

So, back to the core of where I wanted to go today, the place of 4 words REDUCE ME TO LOVE. I recently read some of the works of Hannah Brencher and she is absolutely fantastic. She wrote some things that put words to my thoughts and some words I want to share with you.

I started out talking about the social world and the desire to be bigger and my being a student of that training. There is no doubt some of that training is absolutely incredible and life-changing, but if applied the wrong way, it could bring complete devastation into your life. 

John 3:30 says to become greater, we must become less, in other versions, it says He must become greater, I must become less. I have found in my life that the more I point to Christ and the more I focus on what He wants FOR others the better I learn how much he wants FOR me.

Here’s the point. To say the 4 words REDUCE ME TO LOVE is to say I want to be stripped of the pride and desire of life. I want to be stripped of the desire of more in my life. Not that I would say it’s bad to have more or want more from God. We are promised in so many places of what the benefits are to being a child of God, however, when we can come to the simplest of 4 words in our lives embodying the whole of who God is.. LOVE.

Let’s break it down a bit to the first 2 words,

REDUCE ME.

Is that such a horrible place? I am learning what REDUCE ME is meaning. Reduction of self, reduction of gaining things that may actually enslave me. REDUCE ME. It is a powerful prayer. It means I have come to a place where I have either learned, I am learning or I want to learn what it means to be REDUCED. In cooking, reduction leads to the blending of some incredible flavors, in retail REDUCED means a place of incredible value. In weight loss, REDUCED means a great place of personal gain. So, REDUCE ME in itself is and can be a prayer of excitement and value like never before.

 

TO LOVE.

To love means obviously not to hate. To love is a place where someone becomes selfless. When you first fall in love with the person of your dreams, to love is a place of incredible dreams, a place where money means nothing when you can have a few moments with that person. TO LOVE is a place when you have been praying for your child to be healthy and strong and nothing in your life could even matter to see that happen. TO LOVE is a place when you may know you have a limited time left with someone and nothing else in the world matters but those few precious moments.

 

Now, put all those words together, REDUCE ME TO LOVE. When we can pray a prayer like that, with the understanding of the depth of what it really means, JOHN 3:30 becomes one of the most incredible passages of scripture to catapult you into an incredible place of growth in life. 

There is a worship song that was written called "Breathe on Me, Breath of God”  it is an English Christian hymn by Edwin Hatch, a Church of England vicar and the Professor of Classics at the University of Trinity College in Canada. It was first published privately in 1878 and publicly published in 1886.

 

Here are the lyrics to that song:

1 Breathe on me, Breath of God,

fill me with life anew,

that I may love the way you love,

and do what you would do.

2 Breathe on me, Breath of God,

until my heart is pure,

until my will is one with yours,

to do and to endure.

3 Breathe on me, Breath of God,

so shall I never die,

but live with you the perfect life

for all eternity.

 

 

 

 

REDUCE ME TO LOVE. May I be less and you be more Lord. Yes, there is great benefit to working our jobs and working them well and striving to do our best and finding ways to make it to the top, however, the top may be very well be flipped the other way around. 

I want to encourage you this week to pray a breath of God prayer. To pray a REDUCE ME TO LOVE prayer. Just those 4 words, with the understanding of what they mean and a passion to see them fulfilled in your life. 

A place where I wondered what praying always meant, a place wondering what the voice God sounded like. You’ll find it when you can pray to REDUCE ME TO LOVE. May it be less of me and more of you. May others success be my success. May my desire to be less actually be a place I find more and that more never becomes a place where I could be self-centered, but selfless. REDUCE ME TO LOVE LORD. 

May that be a place that transforms the place of wake up, shower, live, sleep do-over to a place of wake up REDUCE ME TO LOVE.

May today be the gift of excitement in your heart. May you dream the biggest dreams as your reduced to the biggest purpose of all, love. 

I hope that today has stirred something up in your heart and hope that it will continue to speak to your heart. When it does, would you take time to comment and share what God is speaking to you? It could change someone’s life forever! Also, we want to share many resources, all FREE for you at our site https://www.godsgothis.love While there subscribe to our Monday Magazine which opens up an entire week of ministry, every week, just for YOU!

Be encouraged, grow small, never give up and never forget #GodsGotThis! 

RESILIENCE AND THE GREAT BOUNCE BACK

Resilience.jpg

On this week's podcast, I continued on from last week speaking on fortitude which, if given the fortitude in your life, will lead to resilience. If you didn't catch this week's podcast here is what I said:

There once was a hard working man that was fired from a variety of jobs throughout his career before he first started cooking in his roadside Shell Service Station in 1930, when he was 40 years old, during the Great Depression. His gas station didn’t actually have a restaurant, so he served diners in his attached personal living quarters.

Over the next 10 years, he perfected his “Secret Recipe” and pressure fryer cooking method for his famous delectables and moved onto bigger locations. His food was even praised in the media by food critic Duncan Hines (yes, that Duncan Hines). However, as the interstate came through the Kentucky town where his restaurant was located in the 1950s, it took away important road traffic, and he was forced to close his business and retire, essentially broke. Worried about how he was going to survive off his meager $105 monthly pension check, he set out to find restaurants who would franchise his secret recipe—he wanted a nickel for each piece of chicken sold. He drove around, sleeping in his car, and was rejected more than 1,000 times before (cue rooster) Colonel Harland Sanders finally found his first partner starting what we now know as Kentucky Fried Chicken.

As much as you don’t want it to happen, and as much as you try to prepare, it is inevitable that something bad is bound to happen to you. This isn’t being pessimistic, this is being realistic. It isn’t all that hard to think about all the crazy things that can possibly happen in life, kind of like what you just heard about Colonel Sanders. You might get laid off from work. You might experience some kind of natural disaster. You might, God forbid, get really sick. You’re more than likely going to experience a bad relationship or have someone around or close to you die.

If there is one thing I have learned, life is always compromised of a bunch of ups and downs, and this is a fact we can’t change that.  What we can change, like we discussed last week is how we react to those times that arise through fortitude and what we’ll talk about today, how we bounce back. That is a place called RESILIENCE. 

Going back one more time to the Colonel… If the only way to success is through failure, Harland Sanders certainly earned his success. Born September 9, 1890, in Henryville, Indiana, Harland had a tough childhood. His father passed away when he was six and his mother had to work several jobs to make ends meet. So, he was tasked with looking after his two younger siblings and taking care of the home, which included cooking. It was said before the age of ten, Harland had mastered several regional dishes.

Needing to help provide for the family, he entered the workforce at the age of ten as a farmhand making two dollars a month (about $55 today). At 15, he was working on a streetcar, taking fares and making change. When he was 16, he went looking for adventure and forged documents saying he was of age to enter the Army.

He did just that and got sent to Cuba, where he was honorably discharged after only three months. He made his way to Alabama and over the next twenty plus years he worked a variety of jobs including railroad worker, insurance salesmen, country lawyer (where he was fired after assaulting his own client), Ohio River steamboat ferry operator, a tire salesmen, and secretary to the Chamber of Commerce in Columbus, Indiana. For six years, he was the operator of a gas station, his longest-tenured job, before it was closed due to the Great Depression.

In 1930, at the age of 40, broke, and having already failed several times in the workforce, he made his way to Corbin, Kentucky where the Shell Oil Company agreed to allow him and his family to live at a recently built gas station. In exchange, a large percentage of sales was to be given back to Shell.

Incidentally, if you’re curious as to how he was called COLONEL: Kentucky Colonel is the highest honor that can be bestowed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. To be named a “Colonel” is to be recognized for “outstanding service to community, state, and nation.” The sitting governor of Kentucky, or the Secretary of State of Kentucky, are the only ones who can bestow such an honor onto an individual. These colonels are “Kentucky’s ambassadors of goodwill and fellowship around the world” and are “people from all walks of life.”

Luminaries such as Muhammad Ali, Jim Beam, Fred Astaire, Betty White, and Winston Churchill are among the eclectic mix of people who have been named a Kentucky Colonel. BACK TO OUR COLONEL….     As Sanders (not yet a Colonel) said himself in his autobiography, “Corbin was the only place I knew I could start again without any money, a place where business would be driving by my door 24 hours a day.” He was proud of his gas station, so proud in fact, that when challenged by a neighboring gas station worker (owned by Standard Oil), a shootout occurred. Sanders “gun blazing, emerged victorious.” Despite the fact that he’d shot the neighboring gas station worker, no charges were filed as the other man had shot first.

Talk about resilience!

 

I mentioned last week that resilience can be defined in these two ways:

  1. the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

  2. the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.

Unlike our beloved Colonel, I’m sure we all may have that person who comes to mind immediately that always sulks or has a whoa is me life... I just don’t know why these things always happen to me!  You know the person, hopefully, that person isn’t you, however, if it is, stick around, you might just find some answers you’ve been looking for! 

 

If you feel like your traveling from job to job like Harland was or in the place of visiting restaurant # 723 and about to quit and reliance is more a dream than a reality, here are a few quick points you may consider adopting into your life or shoring them up to be stronger:

 

  1. Don’t find a silver lining, expect one!  Resilient people are characterized by an ability to experience both negative and positive emotions even in difficult or painful situations. A resilient person can mourn losses and endure frustrations, but they can also find great potential and value in most challenges.  When a not-so-resilient person face difficulties,  all of their emotions turn negative. If things are good, they feel good, but if things are bad and not just bad they are wrecked! Resilient people, on the other hand, tend to find some silver lining in even the worst of circumstances. They definitely see and acknowledge the bad however, the difference is they’ll find a way to also see the good. That is a bounce back position.

  2. It’s not always LIVE AND LEARN, but more LIVE TO LEARN. The more you can leverage challenges as opportunities to grow and evolve, the more resilient you are likely to be. A resilient person looks at an issue and would immediately say WHAT CAN I LEARN FROM THIS instead of CRAP! Here we go again!! Looking at pain as an opportunity to learn and developing the will to build confidence and the habit of moving toward the pain instead of running from it — goes a long way in terms of building resiliency. I would never have expected to be in the situation I am in now in my life, however, I always hoped I would be doing exactly what I am doing in the midst of it. I have found that the posture of Living TO learn instead of live AND learn has become way more productive for myself and for those around me.

  3. Build A Love Bank! Okay, That’s a goofy like, but, it will make sense in a moment. For years, I have had a ministry called S&W (Servants and Witnesses) I have always felt a supernatural need and desire to serve, even when I don’t want to in many cases. Being of service to others is a powerful way of stoking resilience. Studies such as the “Mother Theresa Effect” at Harvard or articles like in Psychology Today titled “What We Get When We Give” (by Christine Carter, Ph.D. say that serotonin [the neurotransmitter associated with feelings of happiness and well-being] is used more efficiently by people who have just engaged in an act of kindness. The more you deposit into your kindness bank the more that is available to you and others when a withdrawal is needed.

  4. Take Care of Yourself! I am definitely not the best spokesperson here, but I’m working on it. Recently I was told I have a couple more spots developing on my brain where I had the tumor removed and radiation done. In the midst of looking to see what we can do, my paleontologist told me to exercise more. I told him, “You do remember I have chronic fatigue, right doc?!” He said yes and mentioned that my brain needs exercise too. Meaning, our brains love oxygen and to walk or jog or something easy like that I feed my brain what it needs and it can actually help to make things better! Good health — and a regular routine of healthy habits — are foundational to both mental and emotional resilience. You don’t have to go to the gym 7 days a week and run marathons, you just have to start, do something. When you start something, you find everything is better than doing nothing. Rest and I don’t mean laziness is vital as well. I have been learning this over the past few years. Mental breaks and relaxation also help keep stress chemicals at bay, reducing the likelihood of feeling or becoming, overwhelmed and reactive.

  5. Laugh a Little. If anyone knows me, they know I like to kid around. Many times, it’s actually gotten me in trouble, however, everyone knows they can count on a laugh or two from me. The Bible (in the New Living Translation) even teaches us in Proverbs 17:22 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. So, yes, laugh a little. Find a friend who’s funny, look for some funny (clean) movies that make you laugh. Look up some of the comic greats from the 30s-60’s, they will have you in tears, however, this time, it is the right kind of tears!

There are so many other points I could share with you, but we just don’t have enough time today. The point of all of this is to help guide and direct you through a place of FORTITUDE like we talked about last week which is a place of strength and courage that leads to a place of RESILIENCE, a place where you can bounce back from things, learn from them and have healthy life practices in place designed to keep you there. 

We all go through tough times, there is just no way around them and some, some are really, really hard. If we take time to develop the discipline of fortitude and resilience in our lives, we won’t only be a better person for it, we can REVEAL HOPE in other’s lives as well.

I hope today was helpful for you, if you’d like more information and resources, please visit our site at http://www.godsgotthis.love You can sign up for our mailing list and receive our MONDAY MAGAZINE each week highlighting our ministry opportunities available every Monday-Friday. 

If you’re in need of hope and help in your situation, please reach out to us, if we can’t help, we will find someone who can. Maybe you are struggling with a disease like mine and have stage 4 cancer or some other horrible life-threatening or life-depleting disease. Maybe you just need a boost. We understand and that is why we are here. Over the next few weeks, we will begin having some guests on our shows that will illuminate hope for you in many different ways. Please stay connected and please find and use other resources we already have available for you to use for FREE!!

If you can help us in another way, we are a non-profit organization and all your monthly or one time gifts are tax deductible. You can visit godsgotthis.love/donations to graciously give and help us in our quest to share hope in this world and we greatly appreciate all of your support!!

So, live a life of Fortitude and live it Resiliently!! And in all of it, whatever circumstance or situation, never, ever give up and never, ever  forget

#GODSGOTTHIS

CREDIT FOR THE SANDERS STORY: TodayIFoundOut.Com. Written by Matt Blitz April 2014

Get the podcast at: http://www.godsgotthis.podbean.com or find me on iTunes

Why You're Failing At Fortitude.

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Romans 15:4 ESV For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

 

Fortitude is at the place where pain is met with courage and adversity is overcome by advantage.

The only thing that separates fortitude from the ability to act on an opportunity is fear. -Matt Crump *Tweet That!

Some of those missed opportunities causing a fearfully failing fortitude can be:

 

  1. Not acting on or having any goalsIf you never have anything to look forward to, then you never have anything to look forward to. Goal setting is a primary opportunity to live and lead successfully. The sky is the limit. Start dreaming. Start planning and set some realistic goals. The only one stopping you is you.

  2. Not holding yourself accountable. By not following through with any goals that have been set and personally challenging yourself, pain and adversity will always be the victor in your life. There has been a battle fought and won that even though NONE of us deserve it, we were GIVEN the victory. Given! It is amazing to think about it. Hard to believe it. But available to accept it. Follow through. What are your lines? The lines you won’t cross and the lines you break through. Tell someone, trust someone and go!

  3. Failing to invest in yourself. Be your best and do your best. Your best in personal health as well as mental and spiritual education. Being armed with knowledge is one of the best defensive weapons against the enemies attacks. When we don’t take care of ourselves, we become weak, slow and complacent. People that choose to live with fortitude are willing to invest. Because investing in yourself is investing in others. If here, be here.

  4. Not being a hero that creates a hero. Lone Ranger was called “lone" for a reason. He didn’t have it too good by himself. It wasn’t until Tonto came along in his life when things started really getting good. A hero is never really a hero unless that hero is surrounded by heroes. A true hero is always looking to make a hero out of a zero. Hi-Ho Silver… Away!!!!

  5. Not being decisive. (settling an issue; producing a definite result.) Failing to make a decision in a timely manner is just as bad as making a bad one. “Honey, what do you want to do and where do you want to go for dinner tonight?” “I don’t know, where do you want to go?” “Where do YOU want to go?” “I DON’T CARE. JUST PICK A PLACE!!” Okay.. I’m sure you have either had that conversation (recently) or you have heard that conversation. No one loves  to always be around an indecisive person. Make a decision and stick to it. Even if it’s the wrong one. A wrong decision with innocent intent is always a better decision then nothing at all. DO IT!

     

So a few things to examine in your life are:

Are you making goals? Are you following through with those goals and have a way to ensure you really are doing that? Are you investing in yourself? How is your diet? What are you eating through your mouth and through your eyes and ears? (Yes, sounds silly, but you get it, I know)  Are you making heroes or are you the king of zeros? Are you a person who can make a decision and make it now or just whenever?

If you answered no to any of those questions, that could very well be why you are failing at fortitude. What are some things you can do to build up that muscle in your life?

SELAH

I’d like to thank you for taking the time to read my #GodsGotThis blog today and I hope this and others are helpful to you. I always intentionally try to make them shorter so you will actually read them. We have so many other resources available to and for you at our website http://www.godsgotthis.love  When you get there, if you are not already on our mailing list, please consider signing up. It’s easy and we are the only ones who will send you stuff at Matt Crump Ministries. You’ll get a Monday Magazine that highlights the opportunities of the week that you can read, listen to, watch and be inspired. Thank you for considering being a part of #GodsGotThis. Our biggest desire it to share hope with you and create a moment in your life when you too can proclaim #GodsGotThis!!

Next week I will continue with some answers to that fortitude question in your life and give you a few example options that just might be what it takes. If today was already the fuel to your fire, AWESOME!! Go for it. Be a fortitude magnet, a person of resilience and be the difference. You can do it and you are worth it!! You were worth enough for God to come here, become one of us and die… FOR YOU! The best part. RESURRECTION! The story continues next week…….

 

 

The 2 Choices At The End Of Life on Earth

It's pretty simple actually. Regardless of your spiritual faith (and I'll get to that part in a moment) we can all pretty much agree on one thing. YOU WILL DIE.

Yes, I know, that's a really fun way to start off today's blog, however, it is a true point. I remember a few years ago some neighborhood boys and myself went off on an adventure in the woods behind our home and stumbled across an old graveyard. There weren't just a couple of graves there, there were many graves there. The kids were kind of spooked then they thought it was cool, I quickly got them out and headed back home,

Afterward, I went back out there to look on my own.  The area had grown over with trees and weeds, many of the grave markers had been covered with weeds or black mold or they were broken in pieces on the ground. I was blown away. I was standing in an area that stood for the lives of many people. They lived years and years in town. They had families. They had stories and they had, well, they had been forgotten. 

Could you imagine?! A graveyard of forgotten people. No visitors in decades and decades.  Just gone.

What kind of life do you want to live? I know some people that ascribe to the fact that we just live and die. Nothing more, nothing less. I know of people that think we keep coming back. I know some who just don't know and I know many, as I do myself, who feel this life is the beginning of something that lasts forever.

Back to the life lived now part. The concept of living a life just to die seems so pointless to me. Each person on this planet is a person of value and a person who can contribute to the life of others in a special way. To just do nothing and die is such a waste. But to live a life of legacy, that is an entirely different thing.

A person of legacy is a person of vision. A person of legacy is a person who loves and is loved. A person of legacy thinks more of others and desires to pour out of themselves into another.

Legacy breeds life and inspires generations. Maybe you don't consider yourself that type of person just now, however, I am here to say, that person is YOU.

In an article written by Susan V. Bosak called:

What is Legacy by Susan V. Bosak Legacy Project

Susan shares a great point at the beginning of her article:

Legacy is about life and living. It’s about learning from the past, living in the present, and building for the future.

Where do you think it’s best to plant a young tree: a clearing in an old-growth forest or an open field? Ecologists tell us that a young tree grows better when it’s planted in an area with older trees. The reason, it seems, is that the roots of the young tree are able to follow the pathways created by former trees and implant themselves more deeply. Over time, the roots of many trees may actually graft themselves to one another, creating an intricate, interdependent foundation hidden under the ground. In this way, stronger trees share resources with weaker ones so that the whole forest becomes healthier. That’s legacy: an interconnection across time, with a need for those who have come before us and a responsibility to those who come after us.

An interconnection across time, with a need for those who have come before us and a responsibility to those who come after us. What a great way to define a legacy. And to understand that we are like trees grafted into each other, rooted together, not only makes it seem so much stronger to think of the connection but the way that legacy and tradition and family makes all the difference in the world.

When I saw all those old grave markers and old foliage in the woods surrounding it, my heart broke and I actually cried out there in the woods that day by myself. I mourned the loss of those people and even more for the loss of the people that came after. The emptiness and perhaps even a complacency that a generation must have felt seems overwhelming.

My friend, as I face my mortality in a brutal way some days, I think about legacy. I also appreciate the article we just read that highlights the importance of community. The old with the new, the new with the old and a place where they all grow and are nourished together.


-The emptiness and perhaps even a complacency that a generation must have felt seems overwhelming.


I am hoping that this short blog today can be a reflection for you. A reflection of your own life. Does your life look like that old graveyard with dead trees and broken grave markers, or is it a thriving place of life? As long as you are still breathing, you have a choice to live and lead a legacy and I would hope you would.

Death in itself is hard enough. I feel blessed to have an assurance that when I die, it's not over and there is something great I get to go to. I am so grateful for the life and legacy lived out by the man named Jesus Christ. His life has taught me so much in the short time I have been on this planet and has done so for generations and generations around the globe. THAT is also legacy. If you'd like to know more about this man and what I have found that changed my life, feel free to reach out to me and I'd be happy to share that with you.

You can also visit my main site at http://www.godsgotthis.love and I have many resources available for you there as well.  This week, I am so excited (and wore out) to share with you our new week of ministry. If you have not gotten plugged in yet, please visit the site and simply sign up. Each Monday we send out the MONDAY MAGAZINE that will highlight the featured ministry of the week. Tuesday is the HOPE REVEALED podcast, now online and also available on iTunes, on Wednesday you can tune into our YouTube channel for our new show called REVEALING HOPE, on Thursdays you can read a new blog post here at #GodsGotThis Blog and Fridays I will post a short devotional vlog designed to encourage you in your faith. So, there is a lot available and even more to come!!!

If you are able or feel led at all, we greatly appreciate your support of our ministry and help in covering the expenses of all we do and are preparing even more to do. We value any gift and really hope and pray you consider adding us to your monthly giving, we have the 3:30 A Time For Hope campaign and appreciate any monthly partnership with Matt Crump Ministries Inc. You can find out more at http://www.godsgotthis.love/donations

Thank you again so much for being a part and I hope you choose this week to be Living Your Legacy and never forget... #GODSGOTTHIS!

HOW CAN YOU TOUCH ETERNITY TODAY?

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Psalm 27:13-14 (NLT) 13 Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. 14 Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

I read this scripture with my kids the other day and it turned into an interesting moment for us. We always read through a scripture in the morning and then talk about it. As I was reading in verse 13 I was actually getting the sense of eternity.  Many people talk about eternity. What is eternity. Are you going to eternity? Hey, even Prince wrote a song talking talking about it.. you remember.. right???

Dearly beloved
We are gathered here today
To get through this thing called “life”

Electric word, life
It means forever and that’s a mighty long time
But I’m here to tell you
There’s something else
The afterworld

A world of never ending happiness
You can always see the sun, day or night

Yeah, so now I have that song stuck in your head.. mine too! Okay.. point is, it is mostly something talked about as something we can get to.

I'm suggesting, it's possible to be partly there already!

Okay, before you write me off as completely crazy. Check out the verse. It says "...I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living."

That's a now thing and a here thing, but the wild thing is he's there and yet he's here. So by reaching out to Jesus and him reaching back to us is actually touching eternity today.

My son said something pretty amazing for an almost 11 year old:

When we know Jesus, we have a hand extended and we’re touching, but we have to choose whether we take hold or let go of the hand of God and eternity -Gehrum

That's deep and that's why I'm writing this blog today. We have a choice. We have a hope. We have an opportunity. God's grip is forever and faithful, that's not the grip we should ever be concerned with.

HOW'S YOUR GRIP?

 

I love verse 14 as well and if you catch something about it, you'll see there is something mentioned twice in one little scripture. TWICE. So, if it's in a short little spot like that two times, it must be important:

Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

Friends, when the waiting seems like forever. HOLD ON. When your grip seems to be slipping. HOLD ON. When you're just not sure and you begin to doubt. HOLD ON. When someone tells you something like "You could very well die from this Mr. Crump." HOLD ON. When you feel weak, frail and tired. HOLD ON.

I think you get the point. My friend, today you can be touching eternity. Not just to "get through this thing called life." But to actively live a life of hope and peace and abundance EVEN THOUGH!

HOW'S YOUR GRIP?

HOLD ON!

If you haven't already signed up for our weekly newsletter to stay connected to the movement of #GodsGotThis, would you please consider doing that today and then share it with some friends. We have a ton of resources providing hope and more to come. My new book, Lord willing and the creek don't rise! Should be available soon. It has been a battle as well. But anything worth having is worth fighting for and that's what we are doing. Please sign up and also consider becoming a part of the #GodsGotThis community helping to share that message with the world. You can subscribe here:

Thank you and remember, you're touching eternity today when you're touching the hand of God. If you don't know Jesus Christ and would like to learn more, please reach out to me and I'll be happy to share with you how easy it is. Until the next time, no matter what circumstance or situation, always remember:

#GODSGOTTHIS

 

DOORS

Matt has a short video to share with you this week below about doors. Doors of opportunity that we each face, open or closed.

Isaiah 22:22 (NLT) I will give him the key to the house of David—the highest position in the royal court. When he opens doors, no one will be able to close them; when he closes doors, no one will be able to open them.

We'd love to hear from you this week. Please post below what doors have you come to over the past week or month. Doors that have been opened or closed and can you share with us how that experience shows you that

#GodsGotThis

Hope, Health, Life, #GodsGotThis, Cancer

8 Weeks to Heaven

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I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT I WAS REALLY FACING....

I was at one of the toughest times in my life as decisions are concerned. I was going out of business, fighting with a company that was supposed to be helping me, dealing with the fact that stage 4 cancer had returned and unaware of a ticking timebomb inside my body. 

We all have our issues and we all fight things in our lives, some seemingly worse than others, nevertheless, all personally important without  a doubt! 

Back to my moments at the store closing. I wrestled so much with closing. I loved it. Loved the business, loved the people and loved doing what I was doing. The reality was, my health and of course the economy that had a stranglehold on my business. Shortly after I closed and even though I was already having treatment at Duke for my cancer issues, about 8 weeks after closing, I  was out eating dinner with my family one evening, came home after for our normal evening routines,  part of which was gathering as a family to talk a bit and then prayed before bed.  The biggest issue was I don’t remember any of it. The next day I started what we now know was seizures. After a couple days of this and talking to Duke, I drove myself to the emergency department. It was then and there they saw a spot on my brain and I was rushed by ambulance to Duke. 

I had a bleeding brain tumor and had brain surgery to remove it and shortly thereafter had radiation treatment as well. This all was within 8 weeks from closing the store. 

Fortunately I had symptoms that alarmed something and fortunately I was able to close the business before this bomb exploded. 

It was a difficult time, I hated closing the store, but in God’s great grace and divine timing, I was in a position to heal in ways I might not have been. You see, I’m stubborn. I know that may hard for some of you to believe reading this ;-) but I am.  

If I had not done things the way I did, if I did not listen to the quiet alarms and still small voice from God, I no doubt, very easily could have died.  

This whole story today is pointing to a bigger picture I want to encourage you to see.  

What alarm or still small voice may be speaking to you that will enable you, through grace and mercy, to avoid the explosion of a ticking time bomb in your life? 

For me, it was literally life or death. That serious and for you it may not be a tumor, but it may be just as important.

I  was experiencing a #GodsGotThis  moment in my life… A place where God was trying to show me something and had plenty of illustrations and opportunities in my life to make it clear.  

 As passionate as you may be about where you’re at or what you are doing, and as much as you may think things are where they should be, I want to encourage you today to really look and see if that is the case.  

 “The wise counsel GOD gives when I’m awake is confirmed by my sleeping heart. Day and night I’ll stick with GOD; I’ve got a good thing going and I’m not letting go.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭16:7-8 MSG

It is vital to listen, and although if I would have died, I would have gone to heaven, as a matter of fact, I was about 8 weeks from heaven in this timeline. However, God had bigger plans and a great opportunity.  

 I don’t know what decisions you may be facing or where you’re at in that timeline with listening to the Lord, but I do know he has an incredible plan for you and how important it is to listen.  

 I want to encourage you today to dig deep and look hard to see and hear what God may be speaking to you, you may be surprised what he says. 

No matter what you face and what you may feel, there is one major fact and hope to remember and hold close to heart:

#GodsGotThis  

 

 

 

The 4 Faith Letters of Hope

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Over the past few months I have really been seeking areas of personal growth as well as defining more of what I feel God requires of me. In one area of my life I have been pressed to define my passions. One of the main passions of my heart is hope. I wanted to dig into hope a bit more to see what it is that drives me to want to share it so much. Obviously, I am in need of this gift operating in my life. It is one of the 3 things Jesus talks about specifically needed here on earth:

1 Corinthians 13:13 ESV So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

I not only need hope in my life, I want to share it. The what of hope is something I wanted to look at a bit more today, breaking it down into 4 parts:

HEALING'S

OBJECTIVE

POSTULATES

ENDURANCE

I always associate hope with healing because anytime a person needs hope, it usually implies a healing is needed for something i.e. physical healing, mental healing, situational healing, it is a strong human desire for something to change or be different. So, looking through that lens, I could see clearly hope defined as healing's objective postulates endurance. I also learned a new word this week and it is POSTULATE:

verb (used with object), postulated, postulating.
1.
to ask, demand, or claim.
2.
to claim or assume the existence or truth of, especially as a basis for reasoning or arguing.
3.
to assume without proof, or as self-evident; take for granted.

So, if you are going to get what you are hoping for:

It's birthplace is in the confident claim of that in which is being hoped for and the sticktoitiveness to hold on to that hope regardless of circumstance or situations. (My blog, my definition) :-)


An obvious scripture about hope is another of the 3 words from Jesus, FAITH and that is:

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
Hebrews 11:1 NLT

See how we're postulating now? So, if we are requiring hope or going to impart hope, that particular hope is healing's objective and that objective is to postulate endurance so that the healing actually occurs and that takes faith and that faith comes only because of and through the the love of God for us to have it. That's awesome there! You should tweet that! Better even, remember it.

I HOPE now that you understand my passion a bit more and that hope means a bit more to you now than it did a few moments ago in your life.


 
Here are some more scriptures I put together about hope you may find useful:

 

Now that you are empowered with more, whenever you need hope, don't forget...

#GODSGOTTHIS

 

3 Ways To Get Moving When Your Wheel Is Spinning

3 Ways To Get It Moving

3 Ways To Get It Moving

Ever felt like you just keep on running around and around and around and around and around.. okay.. that's making me dizzy just thinking about it!

1 Corinthians 9:24 (NLT) Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!

The only way to win a race is to get on the field. When you keep spinning on the big wheel of life you are just going around and around the same old way you always go and never get anywhere.

Here are 3 ways to get moving when you feel like your wheel is just spinning:

1. Get Brutally Honest About Your Weaknesses

Most people are being trained and taught to focus on their best strengths. Chances are you are where you're at because you have exceeded your experience and talents. Instead of looking at how good you are at something, what about where you are lacking? Make an super tough but honest list of all the things you are not doing well. Take a few minutes with them one by one, and create a list of three actions steps you can take to resolve each weakness. Get out your calendar or schedule, make a plan for each of those action steps and knock them out one by one. Find an accountability partner to review with you.

2. Find Some Simon Cowells

All those kind words and ego strokes are not much more than another revolution of the wheel turning. If you want to really get going, have someone tell you what it's really like. I'm not saying find someone to trash talk you and treat you like a jerk, I am saying find someone who loves you enough to tell you the truth and desires to see you be the best you can be.

LIST AND RESIST

Let them see your list and resist the urge to defend yourself. Stay teachable. Stay open. Stay humble and ready to learn. It may hurt, but trusting in someone you say you love and trust... That you know won't just tell you what you want to hear, will most definitely get you off the wheel and running in the field.

3. How's That Approach Coming Along? Objective Enough?

Whenever I find myself going 110MPH and can start to feel my heart in my throat, I will either keep going on the road to burnout watching the flames in front of my own eyes OR I can take a breath and realize I have an opportunity to flex my entrepreneurial muscles and do it differently. It's a chance to have a fresh outlook on things while really getting a break I need to be even better later. The proportion of how high you set your sights for achievement is how complexly focused the solutions are to obstacles in your path. As the challenges get bigger, hard work and perseverance may not be enough to overcome and move forward. There is a reason not everyone can win the race. Your willingness and ability to attack the tough issues, to stay focused on those brutally honest places in your life and to have the accountability that doesn't let you continue to spin on the wheel will determine whether your growth is limited to the same spin or a robust and energetic path on the playing fields of life. Each field uniquely designed with hills and valleys as well as smooth and straight places all of which develop you better and get you moving instead of spinning.

Through it all, as you persevere, no matter what you face, never give up and never ever forget...

#GODSGOTTHIS

 

 

Opt Out?

TRIBULATION HAS NO OPT OUT BUTTON

TRIBULATION HAS NO OPT OUT BUTTON

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
-John 16:33 ESV

 

If there is one thing I can say I experience on a regular basis in life it is tribulation. God himself has told us it will happen. Interestingly enough, I found that there are over 20 times the bible actually mentions tribulation and I also saw that it mentions over 400 times peace.

In a world of OPT IN or OPT OUT, whether you choose a life following Christ and the things taught to us in the Bible or you choose to live life another way, there is and never will be a way to opt out of tribulation. We all face it. We all experience it. We're all affected by it. We all have to learn how to live through it.

THE DIFFERENCE

I can say I have never been able to experience, endure and overcome tribulation the way I have been able to since I have been a follower of Christ. The teachings available, the examples to be learned and seen and the people living through it with Christ as well are proof enough to OPT IN as a follower of Christ.

There is no way I can give you a quick fix today for the tribulation you may be experiencing, it just isn't there. However, I did mention a word smaller than tribulation but larger than it's reach.
 

PEACE

Living with that peace the way Jesus provides and teaches allows the experience of traveling through that journey with him so much better. I didn't say easier, I said better. There is no doubt what I am going through and what tribulation you are experiencing absolutely sucks, but I have a hope, a peace, that whatever happens and however it happens, somehow, someway, God will work it out for my good.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. -Romans 8:28 NLT

My friends, you can't OPT OUT of bad things, but you don't have to go through it alone. If you are not already a follower of Christ and even if you are, I'd love to share with you the how. The how to get through what you are facing and the how of not doing it alone... EVER.

If this is you today, email me. If you know someone who needs help now, send them this blog today. As long as I still have life in me (I do, it's called abundant) I'll do the best I can to help. I don't know a lot, but what I do know, I can passionately share.

There is a way. There is a hope. There is a peace. Although you can't OPT OUT of tribulation, you can stand strong and proclaim a hope and assurance that through it all...

 

#GodsGotThis

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Tribulation Exists

But there is a hope, a healing and a help.. #GodsGotThis

-Matt Crump- Founder Matt Crump Ministries Inc and the movement #GodsGotThis

Visit our site, email us, call us, we've made it easy to contact us, the hard part is doing it. We trust you will and that you will find as I have how #GodsGotThis.

 

How Plugging Yourself Into A Transformer Won't Kill You.

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Isaiah 61:3 (NLT)

To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.

If you're not familiar with some of the traditions of Jewish culture and old testament practices, there was a time that when people were in mourning or in a state of repentance etc they would lay on the ground in what we would see similarly as burlap, (it was a course goat hair type of garment) and a person would be covered in ashes. Pretty easy to spot someone in those days with an issue of mourning or repentance. So what is so great about that today? Today we can see that one of the things Jesus did for us was to totally wash away the sackcloth and ashes with a crown of beauty. In some versions it talks about oil being poured over a person. Just to note, that the oil of the day could have been very expensive. In one scripture a lady poured fragrant oil on Jesus' feet and people were freaked out!! Why? It was worth like a whole years wage! Could you imagine if your kids got a hold of a $20-100,000+ item and just gave it away at some friends house??!!

Yeah, it was intense. You see, Jesus is a transformer. He takes things and transforms them. That is a huge benefit for us. We are the ones walking around in burlap and smelly campfire ashes and easily seen (and smelled) by all. What they can now see because of the redemptive work of Christ is we are no longer covered in all the muck and junk of our lives. All the brokenness and disease and pain of our day to day living. We can be and have been afforded the opportunity to plug into a transformer that won't kill you, but gives you life forever!!!

That is amazing news!!! A new look. A new song in your heart, a skip in your step and a strength like a mighty oak planted by God himself!!!!!

It's real easy to miss getting plugged into that when the ashes are so thick they cover your eyes up from being able to see. I love how this beautiful passage of scripture starts from the top down. It means that God starts by opening our eyes and the opportunity to say yes.

transformers.jpg

Could you imagine

plugging yourself into this?!

Yes to life. Yes to transformation, Yes to blessing. Yes to hope. Yes to more and NO to anything less.

My friend, if you haven't been able to see past the ashes of your life lately, I PROMISE YOU, when you ask to be transformed and plug into the transformer, things will change and here's the best part of plugging into a transformer like Jesus.... POWER!! Power to say yes! Power to live!

It is that very same power that gives me the ability to say #GodsGotThis. The hope to live a life, even though I'm infected with Stage 4 cancer, that He is my healer and help and hope. I would be nothing but a sack of ashes if it weren't for the Transformer of life changing me. He can do the same for you! Now, it's no magic trick or potion and I won't promise everything goes from crap to perfect in one prayer... Our junk usually didn't happen overnight and usually won't change overnight. The difference is the transformer and transformation. It is a powerful process of getting what you need during the process of changing. We are changed, the Bible says, from glory to glory (from incredible moment to incredible moment) and I CAN promise that if you seriously want to plug into this Transformer, a change is coming!! So whatever you are facing, regardless of circumstance or situation, never give up and never ever forget and plug into the transformer and always proclaim....

#GodsGotThis

 

 

1 STEP TO RESURRECTION LIFE

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The best news of the Christian faith is that death has no hold through the resurrection power of Jesus Christ. However, there is really only one step to get there.

1. DEATH

We must be willing to die. To die to ourselves. Our desires. Our selfish ambitions. Jesus did it by suffering a gruesome and bloody death experience. Thankfully most of us will never have to take it that far, some will, but most won't. The death experience we face is death to self. That is not easy and not something everyone is willing to do.

Throughout scripture we can see many illustrations of people dying of themselves and it always took guts, passion and perseverance.

There is no doubt here in the Easter season we will see bunny ads, kids having fun looking for eggs and candy, retail sales opportunities and more. Obviously, that isn't the point. Funny that a time of death is a celebration for most of us to enjoy.. OURSELVES.

Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with having a good time or finding a great deal on the new "thing", however, if a person wants to experience a true resurrection life we must do as Paul taught when he said:

1 Corinthians 15:30-33 The Message (MSG)

30-33 And why do you think I keep risking my neck in this dangerous work? I look death in the face practically every day I live. Do you think I’d do this if I wasn’t convinced of your resurrection and mine as guaranteed by the resurrected Messiah Jesus? Do you think I was just trying to act heroic when I fought the wild beasts at Ephesus, hoping it wouldn’t be the end of me? Not on your life! It’s resurrection, resurrection, always resurrection, that undergirds what I do and say, the way I live. If there’s no resurrection, “We eat, we drink, the next day we die,” and that’s all there is to it. But don’t fool yourselves. Don’t let yourselves be poisoned by this anti-resurrection loose talk. “Bad company ruins good manners.”

There but for the grace of God go I.

If it weren't for Christ, I wouldn't even have a chance to try this resurrection life. I have nothing in me that can obtain it. I can only get there through Christ and following his example.  Paul taught it well, yes, we will have issues, we will fail and we will fall.

GET BACK UP AND DIE AGAIN!

Sounds awful. It is. But it is necessary. My friend, in this season of our time called spring and Easter, it is a perfect opportunity to reflect on life and how it is being lived. There are so many promises on the other side of resurrection. Once you have tasted and seen, it's so hard to seek anything else.

I am no where near perfect, but I have gotten on this road to perfection. I may walk it, run it and crawl on it, but I will keep going on it.

You can too. Regardless of this life on our big planet, there is more and there is more NOW.

Choose Christ. Receive his grace, his love and his death and resurrection for YOU.

You will face opposition, pain and hard times, you will also face hope, life, joy and abundance like never before, so in whatever you do, and whatever you face, always remember....

#GodsGotThis

 

3 Ways To Confirm You Don't Really Care

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Philippians 2:4-5 NLT

4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. 5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

1. No Interest

I know this can be a hard read today, however, so much of what is happening in the world's culture that we are living in can easily invade the life of a Christian. So much so that it is real easy to be passionate about things personally, however it translates into nothing publicly. Oh, on the surface it may appear that a person cares, you know what that means it is an occasional:

thumbs up.png

LIKE

Like what?

But a "like" alone doesn't mean much. It mostly means a polite nod and you keep moving on. I'm not referring to being some loud mouth, political ranter or religious boaster. I'm talking about being a person of conviction. So the first question to honestly ask yourself is:

AM I A PERSON WHO TRULY SHOWS AN INTEREST?

2. No Compassion

Compassion is defined as:

a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.

There is a big difference between feeling sorry for someone or about something and actually showing compassion. As I troll Facebook and other social media sites, more and more I see less about compassion and more about emotion. I'm not saying that emotion is a bad thing. It can be a bridge to the action of compassion. It can also be the explosive that blows up that same bridge. What is not happening so much in our culture/world is/are people of compassion and action.  It's real easy to post one of these:

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That is always nice, and many time meant from the heart, but not always followed through, I am guilty of this myself. Can you honestly look at your life and see if you are a person of compassion? Look at the definition and see if it fully applies to you.

HOW ARE YOU WORKING TO ALLEVIATE THE SUFFERING?

3. No Action

A few comments or a couple of posts does not an action make. Our scripture today in Philippians literally points to the fact of not being so consumed by just what is important to you, but to that which is important to others. One HUGE and small scripture that really speaks loud is verse 5 an action verse which says:

#GGT ACTION VERSE.png

You must

have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

Philippians 2:5

I think it is easy to see and say that Jesus was a man of action. It also doesn't take much of an education to look at verse 4 and 5 and see that it is more than just a suggestion.

ARE YOU A PERSON OF ACTION?

 

It's pretty simple through this little blog today to see if you qualify as a person who cares or who doesn't.

Now before anyone gets all upset thinking I am calling you out, that was not the point, the point is to provide a place of self examination to determine a person's level of "care". The word care in itself can be used as a verb or a noun. As a verb it fits the shoes of compassion. As a noun it can be a heavy coat of worry or anxiety.

This weeks thought is designed to ignite a compassion in you and me. A compassion that can DO something in our world around us. An action that is more than an emoji or quick quote. It is coming to someone's aid. It's about crying for someone else. It is finding a way to fix something for someone else. It is having an attitude like Christ about serving others rather than ourselves.

I am hoping that this is actually

3 Ways To Confirm You Actually Do Care

I'm so thankful for each of you and for so many who have reached out to me and my family in the past and now even supporting our ministry and for what is to come.

The only way to make a difference is to make a difference.

I hope that through it all, each day, you are reminded that you are not alone, you can do it and for sure:

#GodsGotThis

Train Of Death

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ROMANS 8:20-39 The Message

You're in for a long passage of scriputre if you keep reading... hold on, it will only take about 30 seconds and I'll meet you on the other side of it.. Here we go....

20 Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in

21 until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.

22 All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it's not only around us; it's within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We're also feeling the birth pangs.

23 These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance.

24 That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don't see what is enlarging us.

25 But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.

26 Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.

27 He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God.

28 That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

29 God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him.

30 After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.

31 So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose?

32 If God didn't hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn't gladly and freely do for us?

33 And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God's chosen?

34 Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us - who was raised to life for us! - is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us.

35 Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ's love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:

36 They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We're sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.

37 None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us.

38 I'm absolutely convinced that nothing - nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow,

39 high or low, thinkable or unthinkable - absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

That was a lot to read, I know. As I careful navigate what is on my heart today, I say, without any political interest or care; We in America have it much better than most of us realize. We live in a period of time that generations craved and desired. The passion and desire to create a computer so large it was contained in huge buildings on many floors, now what you have in your hand reading this or at your lap or desk is more powerful than anyone then could ever have imagined. We are now complacent in our success. So much so we miss what is going on around us. The image I show at the top of this message today is a one of the comfortable pictures to see on a train called the TRAIN OF DEATH I found. This train is boarded by desperate and hopeful people to find freedom. So desperate, they would leave everything they know behind for a chance. A chance for freedom.

In the midst of that journey, people are met with evil beyond your comprehension. Things that a human would willing do to another for personal gain. Things I shake to even consider writing today.

We live in a fallen world. Confused. Drunk on ourselves. It doesn't seem the soberness comes into our lives fully until they are violently disrupted. I know.

Jesus knew that about us. Yet, He willingly boarded a train much worse for YOU.

Yeah, I know, in America that is easy to write, a quick moment to agree and off we go to our regular lives. Meanwhile, around the corner from you, perhaps even next door, someone is dying.

I know this is hard today. I am compelled. I am overwhelmed at thought of what more we can be and what more we can do. Over 75% of America claims to be a Christian. 75%!! I can't shake that thought the past few weeks.

It that is so, why are we so lost and broken as a country? Why does evil spread so easily in our communities and our schools? How can thousands of young boys and girls.. think of that??!! I am a dad... I have a teenager and one headed there shortly,

A report from Ark Of Hope recently reported:

4.5 Million of trafficked persons are sexually exploited. Up to 300,000 Americans under 18 are lured into the commercial sex trade every year. From 14,500 - 17,500 of those victims are trafficked into the United States each year. Jul 30, 2017

I could write for days about this. The point. We have a real problem in our land friends. It is called sin. Separation from God. Missing the mark. Watching out for number 1. A lot went into our freedom. A lot went into our rescue. Now that we are rescued.. How do we live?

I made a promise to myself when I had brain surgery that I would never forget. Forget what? What I felt. The reality of life and my own train of death.

Friends, we are going to see an increase in evil. Evil will be called good. It already is and will get worse before it gets "normal".

DON'T FORGET. Live for Him. You have been rescued!! So have I. We have a hope better than any hope on this planet. We have a way of freedom that can never be given like it was given through Christ. I can’t express how much I burn inside to share that hope. 

If you have made it this far, I pray that you and I both press closer. Closer to truth and farther from what is being expressed in a lost and dying world. Reveal Hope! Share Christ. Live like you mean it, never forget and never give up!!!! You have a hope, and Christ revealed it:

#GODSGOTTHIS

 

Ritual or Relationship?

a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order.

a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order.

Over the past decade or two, something quite interesting has happened in the culture of America. (Clarifying statement: Now, I'm not here to force a belief on anyone, I would hope that would never happen to me or my family and love the freedom that this country has provided to choose.)

Back to the opening sentence. :-)

We still claim to be 75% Christian as a nation according to the latest polls of Americans. So if 75% of America claims to be Christians, why is it that the America we live in falls so short to live into the life of a Christian.

One thing is real easy to see: Ritual Christianity supersedes Relationship Christianity.  We live in a self-seeking, self-preserving culture now that has existed before, been wiped out and creeps back into existence again. The problem? We're infected with a disease called sin.

S.I.N.
SELF
INFLICTED
NONSENSE

It's not that we don't have information on how to do what is right, it is that we choose not to. We dictate our own truths. We label freedom as bondage and now bondage is the new freedom.

This is nothing new in the human race and nothing we haven't been warned of. What is important to consider in this short check up from the neck up is this: are you a RITUAL Christian or RELATIONSHIP Christian?

It's easy to go to church, there is one on just about every corner in America. It's easy to say you believe in God and Jesus. No problem, even the devil and demons themselves have been quoted as saying the same thing.

So, what is the difference? I submit the difference is gauging yourself against a proven standard and truth bigger than any of us. That in so submitting comes an obedience, not out of a forced and tortured life, but out of a passion and love in life.

I recently met with one of my long time war heroes. He’s an older man now. But a man of great stature and integrity. A man with a past and a passion. A man who witnessed senseless murders, much in his own family and friends. A man who traveled and hid under cover and fear of being found, fighting disease, hunger, pain and loneliness. When I look at the life he has lived and the battles he has faced, my life pales in comparison. I have struggles, but not the same. I have pain, but not the same. For him to forge through life and wake up everyday to live, that is impressive and that is an inspiration and that is NOT ritual.

Many reading this are of "the faith" and may feel this doesn't apply. I think it is highly possible that if you're reading this, it DOES apply.

How does one transition from a life of ritual to relationship? Imagine a boyfriend or girlfriend, a husband or wife. To have a relationship, to say you even have one, but only visit this person on a specific occasion to have a moment of contact and then leave is not a matter of love, but a matter of lust. Not a commitment but a convenience.

You get the idea, I can paint all kinds of pictures here. The reality is that relationship involves much more than what I just described.

I want to encourage you today to look deep and look hard 75 percenters. What are you doing and how are you shaping those after you? Your walk, your example and your life, if it were the only example of a Christian and upon leaving this world, what kind of Christian would be left here to continue following your lead?

If you don't like the thought or the answer, today is the only day to do something about it.

In my life, I don't claim perfection, I’m far from it. I do strive to be like Him and live the life he would have lived if he were me. I live passionately and passionately believe #GodsGotThis.

Ritual or relationship? Your choice.

Choose wisely.

R3

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The new year is fast underway and many people are thinking of things they can do differently. The internet, TV and radio and full of ads trying to entice us all into spending money to make ourselves better.

Many people will spend the cash, make a partial effort and stay firmly planted into the life they have been living.

One way to look at things is to adopt the R3 life. This is a life of revival, renewal and reclamation.

1. Revive

Restore to life or consciousness. That is the definition of revive. Life is vibrant. Life is abundant and life is to be lived! The first step is to agree to revive your current life and dive into the life God paid a huge price for you to live.  Do you feel you are living into the life Jesus died for on the cross? Are you living a "well done my faithful servant" kind of life? The first step is the choice to revive and thrive!!!

2. Renew

Resume (an activity) after an interruption. That is the definition of renew. Resume! We all face interruptions in our lives and many of them are just plain horrible! After you've been revived the renewal is the obvious next step. Time to shake of the interruption. This could have been years of time. It won't happen easily, but it can happen! If you put your mind to it, trust in God completely and push forward... THIS WILL HAPPEN!!!

3. Reclaim

Retrieve or recover (something previously lost, given, or paid); obtain the return of.  It's your turn now!! I don't know if you ever have experienced being robbed (I hope not) but I have. I'm here to tell you, when something you have had is stolen, it is a gut awful feeling, but the feeling of when it is returned... AMAZING!!! It's like getting it back for the first time, only better! Now that you have made the choice of personal revival, have pushed the play button and renewed your drive and life, it is time to reclaim, retrieve, recover the life you have been made to live!!!!!

It's an R3 life baby and it's your time to live it!!!! I hope this little nugget is enough to get your juices flowing and get you going!!! I'm always willing to chat or you can message me if you want to process and I want to remind you that through it all and in your pursuit of an R3 2018.......

#GODSGOTTHIS

Damaged For Life?

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"Mr. Crump... You have cancer."

These aren't just words that echo through the halls of my life, it is an everyday event. I wake up in pain, I lay down in pain and in many areas of my body, I am damaged for life. I'm not writing this for a pity party, but clarification.

I've loved cars as long as I can remember. When I was a small child I was painting and remodeling Matchbox cars, building models and putting my own twist on them and as an adult, I just love trading them out once in a while because, well, I just like it.

Another thing I have a passion for when it comes to cars is renovation. I've been sanding on, painting on and building on cars (and really just about anything) as long as I can remember. When some people see an old car, they just see an old car ready to head to the junkyard... excuse me, the "automotive recycling center" :-) I see an opportunity. When I see a car sitting in a junkyard, I see a missed opportunity and potential joy.

I have had some permanent damage to my body as a result of drugs and radiation treatment that no drug or miracle pill can fix and many days I flat out accept it. When I do that, it's almost like a person as myself driving by a sun scorched roached out old 1930-50 car and saying "oh well".

The Bible teaches us that God promised to take things falling apart, things that are damaged for life, and give them new life.

Ephesians 2:4-5
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
John 6:63
”It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.

LIFE. Life is not sitting in some field rotting away. Life is not standing by while the world passes you. It is about living and living well. As much as I like old cars, I love restoration. I love the art of putting my hands on something, feeling it's history and sharing it's story.

Isaiah 64:8 says: And yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand.

I guess I know where my love for restoration comes from. It comes from the Father's heart. God has been making and molding because of His passion for us.

To say #GodsGotThis is to say, He is the potter and I'm just clay. Yes, I might not be working so well right now, BUT GOD is at work, molding, making and shaping. Taking joy in my story, His story and making something awesome.

Every time I go to a car show, whether I'm showing or just there to observe, people always swarm around a beautiful restoration and admire all the work. That is you and that is me! I will also say, there are some "works in progress" that get just as much attention, not because they are as awesome in beauty as the finished work, but for the potential!

I want to encourage you today that although you may consider yourself damaged for life, God sees you in a much different way and so does and will everyone else around you. Don't give up, don't give in and never, never forget....

#GODSGOTTHIS