(LINK) Quotes From David Weiss

i found this blog by david weiss and i wanted to list some of my favorite quotes that are on his blog.

on the subject of learning:

I’m beginning to think that what any given situation can teach you depends largely on the person experiencing the situation and very little on the experience itself. Put another way, there’s a great difference between 50 years of experience and 1 years worth of experience repeated 50 times.

Another reason why some can feel “informed” when in fact they are not is that they have lost the hunger to learn. They’ve lost the desire to learn and grow.

Closely related to the lack of desire to learn is the desire to avoid being wrong. So much in school is focused on being right, knowing the right answer to a test or the correct proof or solution. In sports, no one likes to lose. Everyone likes a winner! But this desire can work into our minds in a limiting way. At work I would say, “We don’t fail half as much as we need to.” I still think this way, but now I’ve found a new reason: Failing keeps our mental muscles and joints from stiffing with pride and forming into the arthritis of the mind.

on the subject of finishing:

Life does not reward us for effort expended. Finishing is required. (my favorite)

[to keep moving forward]…is not always easy. Sometimes I would come home from work so frustrated with how slow things were going and how little progress was being made, I’d tell my wife I just needed some time alone to cool down. I’d go into my room, open my laptop and write a blog post. I’d post it and point to it while saying to my wife, “There, I did it. I produced something today! It may not be much, but at least I produced something tangible!” You’ve got to keep in the habit of producing or finishing. You can’t let those muscles atrophy.

on the subject of change:

A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.

My Dad would say, “Experience is always in the first person,” meaning that it’s a good idea to learn from others, but most of the time we don’t.

Most leaders say, “You need to do this… You need to change… Good luck! See you later.” Instead of, “You can change. I can help.” (ow, that hurt me.)

It’s important to setup an environment that balances building the person and getting the job done. (hmm…sounds like this post i wrote)

if i have to pick one post that i like the best, it would have to be the one about “thoughts about change” from his dad. i encourage you to check out his blog and read some of the posts. he used to be a programmer for microsoft (he quit january 08) so many of his stories are about his job and “tech” stuff…but the principles are great!

what was your favorite quote from his site?

Another Note On Chick-Fil-A

I just wanted to post a quick note about Chick-fil-a. I was down in Orange City today helping out a couple set up a sound system at a school event. I figured I would go there for lunch since they have given me many reasons to.

They were awesome as usual and as the manager was getting me a refill, I noticed a sign that was stuck on the register. It said:

Clocked in? Then in your mind, put your right hand on your heart and say “RIGHT NOW, I VOW, TO WOW

Yeah, that basically says it all. I got better service today at Chick-fil-a than I got at Roadhouse Grill last night (especially since they remembered to give me my debit card back).

Wisdom That Comes From Above

i have been in an inward struggle in my conversations with people for the past few weeks. at times, i have been frustrated, bitter, angry, confused, concerned and even offended. i have tried to battle against all those ungodly emotions, but i haven’t got far. i am constantly remembering the scripture in james 1:20 where it says “let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness God requires”. but how does this apply when you feel your opinion is “from God” or is divine insight? i am realizing that many times, my anger is just frustrated pride (cause i think i now what’s right or i think i know what needs to be done).

recently another scripture in james has been resounding in my head:

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (james 3:13-18)

i long for divine wisdom (the “wisdom that comes from above”). james lists eight things that divine wisdom is:

  1. pure
    james starts off saying that divine wisdom doesn’t have secret motives. it is “FIRST pure” and innocent. many times i find that my “wisdom” is rooted in bitterness or “selfish ambition” (from the verse before) instead of being caring and compassionate.
  2. peaceable
    i am so glad that james puts “peaceable” near the top to the list! he combines “pure” with “peaceable” (“but the wisdom that comes from above is first pure, THEN peaceable…”). i realized that no matter how God-inspired my thoughts or opinions are, if they do not bring or keep the peace, then they are not totally pure and therefore it’s not true “divine wisdom”
  3. gentle
    this is such a tendency in an conversation to make little “stabs” against one another. if someone disagrees with you it’s easy to start making slightly rude remarks or start talking harshly. but divine wisdom always is “as wise as a serpent BUT as harmless as a dove”. it remains like Jesus…gentle as a lamb.
  4. open to reason
    even when God gives us divine wisdom concerning a situation, it does not mean the answer will solve the entirety of the situation. just because God says to be generous with your finances, it does not mean you should give away all your money. there are parts of the solution God gives to many people for a collective purpose (that is why there is “wisdom in a multitude of counselors”). we must remember that our “insight” is not the end all. we must be open to reason and allow others to bring their divine solutions into the conversation to join ours.
  5. full of mercy
    this is where humility is proven. when people resist you or are temporary blinded to the truth, divine wisdom’s response is mercy. it does not lash out. neither does it look at those temporarily blinded any different from those who understand. divine wisdom remembers that without divine revelation, we are all blinded and that there will be times that we will unknowingly be blinded by error until God opens our eyes. the merciful will receive mercy (matthew 5:7).
  6. full of good fruits
    i love this point. james states that divine wisdom bears good fruit. that is in all matter of time, both past, present and future. divine wisdom can be PROVEN as wisdom from glancing at history and one’s present life/example. it can be TRUSTED (because of the past and present) as wisdom in the future.
  7. impartial
    in chapter two, james talks about the evil of showing partiality. this is an important, but overlooked point many times. divine wisdom is impartial. if it applies to the situation or another person, it can be applied to any like situation and most importantly IT APPLIES TO YOU. many times we give others “divine wisdom” with taking it for ourselves. it must strike our hearts as well.
  8. sincere
    i have to admit that this is a hard one for me. i can be very sarcastic and cynical, but james says that divine wisdom is sincere. it’s heartfelt. it’s true to the nature of God. we must remember that God does not take sharing revelation lightly or as a joke. we are told in scripture that we will be held accountable for all we know and for all that has been told to us. divine wisdom realizes that there is a cost to hearing and sharing this wisdom with others (to both parties…the hearer and the speaker) and does not take it lightly.

i am setting my heart in the place of prayer for this “wisdom that comes from above”. i want these things birthed in me, starting with purity and peacefulness. i pray that God gives you (as well as myself) a “spirit (something deeper than carnal mind) of wisdom and revelation” (ephesians 1:17) that we can have, understand and speak forth the wisdom that truly “comes from above”.

what attribute of divine wisdom do you struggle with most? are the attributes of divine wisdom a progression, or are they individual traits that can be obtained separately? what areas do you need divine wisdom in? what keeps us from partaking in divine wisdom?

Thoughts On Grace: Part 2 (Purpose)

in the last post, i talked about how grace is “the divine power and ability given by our loving God to achieve a certain task”. i also mentioned that God not only gives us mercy (freedom from the punishment of sin) but also gives us grace (freedom from sin itself). but what does this look like? i had an experience the other day that was a great example of grace:

the other day i was driving down the road and got a flat tire. i pulled off the road and pulled out my spare tire and star wrench. i tried to unscrew the flat tire but the lug nuts were rusted on. i tried with all my strength to loosen them, but it was no use. so i decided to call the florida highway patrol to see if they would help me. they were great and sent an officer out right away.

when the officer got there, he pulled out his MUCH bigger star wrench. he got down by my tire and with a little effort got the four lug nuts loosened. THEN he stood back up and told me that i could do the rest and he would watch me. at first i was a little offended (normally when officers help, they do it all for you…lol) but then i realized he did what i couldn’t do (loosen the lug nuts) and now i could do the rest and change the tire myself. he was giving me a way to not feel ashamed in calling for help cause i couldn’t change my tire (not due to lack of knowledge).

while i was changing my tire, he stood out in the road making sure no one ran me over. he also started giving me humble pointers on how i could do the job quicker and better. several times he was concerned that i did not do it the best way and wanted me to check. he stayed there until the job was done and then helped me clean up (i had become quite dirty in the process).

i think this story highlights several things that grace does:

  1. grace loosens issues
    many times the issues in our lives are so deeply rooted that they refuse to budge no matter what we do. we seem to do everything possible. we pray, fast, worship, read the Bible and yet nothing changes. but when we cry out to God for help, He works situations and stretches out His hand to help free us from the deeply embedded sins in our lives. it’s like our sin is a ball and chain that we can do nothing about, but then God comes and unlocks the chains, giving us the choice and chance to walk out of the chains that have bound us for years.
  2. grace has and uses the right tools for the job
    like i stated in the last point, God knows what it will take to loosen our chains. He orchestrates events in our lives to bring even hidden things to the surface. grace is a refining process. when gold is put into a furnace, all the deeply embedded and hidden impurities come to the surface where then they can be skimmed off. in the same way, it is grace that allows and controls the fire to bring issues up from hiddenness and allows us (by help of the Holy Spirit) to skim them off and out of our lives.
  3. grace refuses to let us do nothing
    grace is a partnership. when it comes to deliverance and freedom, grace does not do the whole work for us. there are things that grace requires from us. it commands follow through. it calls for choices to be made. this is the love of God in action. God understands that we will better keep our freedom and appreciate it more if something is required from us. the saying “what is received too easily is esteemed too lightly” is true. God also uses these times of “partnership” to teach us and mature us into the image of Jesus. maturing is a process and partnership.
  4. grace protects us in our weaknesses
    even in our weaknesses, God is still there. it is grace that stands between us and evil to protect us. in fact, even when there seems to be an abundance of evil, the Bible says that grace is even more abounding. there are times that we are stuck for a time on the side of the road (of life) while God deals with some of our issues and inner struggles, but during this time while He speaks to us, He also protects us from being totally destroyed or “run-over” by the rampant evil in our lives and of this world. He makes sure that there is no reason to fear these times of “fixing” (deliverance) in our lives. God states in the Bible that “He is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one”.
  5. grace shows us a “better way”
    i had a very significant dream recently and after i woke up from this dream i felt good. for one of the first times in my life, i felt like i got a “b” on a test. i felt God was saying “good job. you can do better (you’re not an “a” in this area yet)…but you aren’t failing. you’re making progress and i’m proud of you”.
    as we are partnering with God to correct the issues in our lives, He is constantly showing us “better ways” to deal with the issue. i remember i was having a problem with tithing a while ago. i use my bank card a lot and my church doesn’t have a machine or a way to pay tithes online. i used to pay my tithe by withdrawing the cash i needed when i deposited my paycheck. the problem was that i kept forgetting to do that. i finally started praying that God would help me remember. that’s when He spoke to me and said “why don’t you keep your check book in your car and write your tithe as a check every week?”. every since, that’s what i have done. that very simple revelation/insight was God’s grace...it gave me the knowledge on how to accomplish that which He called me to do (in this case, tithing).
  6. grace warns us about future problems
    i had a warning dream about my “possible future” about a year ago. when i awoke and talked to God about it, He told me “matt, the events and future you saw is a trap that was set a long time ago. if something does not change now…this can and will happen.”
    as we (and God) are correcting the issues in our lives, grace comes to warn us. it instructs us to do the job completely and as best as it can be done. many times in life we seem to get “short-term freedom”. this is not God’s desire. most of the time when this happens, it is simply because we stopped too early in regards to fixing the problem. like in my example, the officer made me make sure (several times) that i had the tire screwed on tight enough. the officer told me “there would be few things worse than to fix your flat, drive down the road and have your whole wheel come off”. i think what he said sums up what happens to us spiritually all the time. we change the “tire” but never make sure we “fixed the wheel”. grace and the Spirit of God are there to make sure that we don’t “drive off” and become “worse off”.
  7. grace cleans and refreshes us
    whether you are in the middle of fixing an issue in your life or you just came out of one of those times, there’s nothing like getting clean and refreshed. this is a very important role of grace and the Holy Spirit.
    after i changed my tire, i was quite filthy. the fhp officer helped me clean up. i know many people who have warred and taken care of issues in their lives, but they still walk around dirty…feeling shamed and sinful. grace washes our hands of all the evil we have just warred with and makes our conscience clean. for some, the “breakdown” season has been a very dry time in their lives. God also gives us grace to refresh us. He cleans us up and puts us back in our “car” (life) and propels us forward.

in the next post, i will be talking about how a correct view of grace affects our view of salvation.

what other things does grace do for us in regards to personal freedom?

(LINK) Keys To Spiritual Warfare

my friend tim wrote a great post with a few keys regarding spiritual warfare:

1. Pick your battles, pick the battleground. Let the Holy Spirit lead you in this. (I got this rule from studying natural warfare and reading about Lee’s mistake in not choosing the battleground at Gettysburg).

2. He who studies evil is studied by evil. Spock quote. I never study or give myself to too much study of the the spirit or principality. If I know God I will know my enemy and the Holy Spirit teaches all things.

3. Never beam down to the planet when staying on the ship is an option. I never want to intervene in a situation unless expressly told to by the Holy Spirit.

although i am not a die-hard star trek fan, i thought his star trek example (later on in the post) was priceless. good job tim!

i honestly believe that this is 90% of what someone must know regarding spiritual warfare. there are other things to know, but many times we simply do not communicate with God and follow Him where He leads. many times we are found trying to pick a fight…and we wonder why we lose or experience a lot of “backlash”.

what did you think of the post? what other things have you learned regarding spiritual warfare? how often does God take care of the issue without involving you?

Thoughts On Grace: Part 1 (Definitions)

“what is grace?”

most people (especially those raised in church) when asked that question will answer with one of two replies:

grace is “unmerited favor”
grace is “God’s riches at Christ’s expense” (G.R.A.C.E)

sadly, neither of those answers are complete. these answers are treated as though they are direct quotes from scripture and yet the Bible gives a greater definition of grace. when the word “grace” is used in the new testament, the original greek word is translated:

the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.

the root word it comes from literally means “to rejoice exceedingly”. this is much different than the definition of grace that most people give. a simpler definition of grace that i use is:

the divine power and ability given by our loving God to achieve a certain task.

i had a friend explain “grace” a couple weeks ago with this story:

pretend you were speeding down the highway. all of a sudden, you get pulled over. the officer tells you that you have to go to court. you go to court and the judge tells you that because of your actions, you have to go to jail. then all of a sudden a man that you don’t know walks up to the judge and purchases your innocence (how wasn’t quite clear in the story) and you are freed of all charges. that is grace.

the problem (one of many) with that story is that being “freed of all charges” is not grace. it’s called mercy. mercy is all about forgiveness and our debts being paid. one of the things that Jesus accomplished with His death on the cross is the forgiveness of our sins. He gave us mercy…a freedom from all the charges of sin (thank God!) but that’s not all the cross did. while mercy gave us a clean slate…it did NOT change the inward being of a person.

i think about the times that i have received mercy (from government, parents, boss, etc) and i realize that the majority of the time mercy alone did not change the evilness of my heart. i was thankful for the mercy but not thankful enough to deny and change what i enjoyed being…evil. i kept breaking the law when it came to speeding cause i liked speeding and i didn’t like submitting to the government’s demands concerning speed limits (and etc for all the other physical issues).

the same applies to God. most people are grateful for the mercy that Christ gave/gives, but they enjoy sinning too much to change their lives. in fact, for many people, sin is rooted too deep in their lives for them to change. they need help. i would say we ALL need help. none of us can save ourselves or free ourselves from sin.

thank God for grace! God not only gives us mercy (freedom from the punishment of sin) but also gives us grace (freedom from sin itself).

i will talk in the next part about grace’s part in our freedom and what else grace does in our lives.

what definitions of “grace” did you grow up learning? why is it so easy to confuse “mercy” and “grace”? what else does grace do in our lives?

I Heart FHP

i wanted to drop a quick note to say how much i appreciate the florida highway patrol and their officers.

i was stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire the other day, and i could not get this tire off for the life of me. i called fhp and they had an officer there within minutes. it was one of the greatest experiences in my life (since God used that situation to teach me something…more on that here) and i am deeply grateful for the fhp and all they do. this is far from the first time they’ve helped me. they’ve always been there when i’ve need them.

so to everyone who works for the florida highway patrol…thank you for all you do and all your service to the people of florida!