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September 19, 2016

To Be Light

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand.

Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”

Matthew 5: 14-16 (The Message)

As I sit here this morning, I know that the air outside is getting cooler and crisper but it doesn’t seem to be helping my perspective. As I sit here reading and re-reading those words above from Eugene Peterson’s The Message translation—I want to believe the message those words of Christ convey and I want to do it.

I mean being a light to the world.

Being a light to others. Helping others. Giving them a lift up.

But here’s the truth—it seems to be too much to do, and way too often if Christ means always. That’s a lot. Most days I am exhausted even before I get out of bed, and stay that way during the day and right up to the time when I pass out on my pillow whenever I do finally get to go to bed. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

September 12, 2016

God Always Loved Her

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?…

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 35, 37-39 (NLT)

Despite the reality that God clearly gifted Whitney Houston with a voice as none other. Despite a voice that lifted and inspired most of us who were blessed to hear it, to dream, to reach, and to hope in our own lives.

Despite that, at some point in her earth-bound journey, which ended on February 11, 2012, you might wonder if Whitney Houston lost sight of those promises of God in Romans which were recorded by the Apostle Paul.

Maintaining status, celebrity, an image of any kind, is a path filled with peril. We can find that kind of pressure most anywhere we look—politics, entertainment, sports, business, and even within our families. Living up to the expectations of others. In the sports world it’s about victories, championships, money, stardom. And after those, in the world of expectations, it’s about “what’s next?” (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

September 5, 2016

A Faith that Believes

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead.”

Hebrews 11:1 (TLB)

The morning sunshine is still coming, yet as I sit here I can see only darkness outside. Experience tells me, though, that I can believe that the morning light is about to break over the horizon.

How about you, do you believe that?

I didn’t see a lot of that “belief” the other day, as I ran some errands in town which Lynda had asked me to do. As I drove around and wandered through stores and the mall, it became eerily apparent to me that I seemed to see fewer smiles and heard less laughter among those I walked by or met on that journey than I had remembered from times in the recent past.

It was a bit like sitting in the darkness this morning. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

August 29, 2016

On Course—His Course

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it.

Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you….

Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you.

You take over. —God’s applause!”

Romans 12: 2-3 (The Message)

I wonder why we originally felt the need for a mirror. I suppose it’s because from the beginning of creation our focus was often on ourselves. Think back to Adam and Eve—doing what they thought best versus what God advised. Their focus was themselves, and probably looked for a reflection to see what they looked like in the nearest pond.

Of course a mirror is a handy tool, using it as it reflects back our image—at least on the outside—so we can arrange a shirt collar, get a tie on properly, put makeup on in the right places and amounts, brush our hair, and deal with many other personal matters.

But a mirror also allows us to take a moment to look at ourselves, and perhaps look within a bit, consider our uniqueness, and to meet ourselves fresh and new each day. To spend a moment to look at ourselves. Deeper. To look and think about what’s within us.

To take a moment to honestly evaluate where we are in our journey toward becoming all God created us to be. To be reminded of what we need to change and to begin to move in that direction, so the next time we take a look—that the needed change is no longer on the list of things to do.

There’s a great quote attributed by some to Socrates and others to Ralph Waldo Emerson, which says—

An unexamined life is not worth living.” (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

August 22, 2016

25,000,000 Absent

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Attributed-Edmund Burke, British House of Commons

If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust swarms to eat up all of your crops, or if I send an epidemic among you,

then if my people will humble themselves and pray, and search for me, and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear them from heaven and forgive their sins and heal their land.”

II Chronicles 7:13-14 (TLB)

I shared that quote by Edmund Burke with you before. But taking a look around—beginning at home, our communities, state, nation and out to the countries around the world, it’s clear to me that I need to share it again.

Never has the truth contained there been more applicable than today, and the passing of another day has done nothing to minimize the haunting truth resonating in those words.

I wondered as I posted our American flag this morning if simply hanging our nation’s symbol of all we stand for, and can be in the world, was enough to move me past the point of “doing nothing.” Hanging the flag was, after all, a statement of what I believed. I wonder if just identifying and commenting—or in some cases, criticizing—what should be different in our world, our nation, communities and individual lives was enough. I wonder whether it would be enough, if we all hung our flag. I suspect not.

Think about this for a moment with me.

In the last Presidential election, held in 2012, in the United States of America, approximately 25,000,000 Christians did not vote. Let me share that again—Twenty-five million Christians chose not to vote in a Presidential election in the United States of America! (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts
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