Friday, April 25, 2008

Day 23: Creating a Legacy

Today marks the beginning of the last section of One Month to Live. You are on the home stretch!

Today we look at a number of ways to evaluate the kind of legacy we are leaving behind.

First is the influence test. Our greatest investment in life is in people. So who are the people that you have committed to invest your life in? Who are you influencing for good? To whom are you passing on what has been given to you?

Second is the affluence test. Passing this test is not as dependent on the amount of money you have so much as what you do with it. The only way to pass this test is by giving. We must learn to be givers rather than takers so we can make a difference while we are on this earth. God wants us to be channels of his blessings. As long as we are good channels, he will continue to send affluence to us and through us.

Third is the obedience test. Obedience to God should be your first priority because he gives you just enough time on earth to do everything he's called you to do. Don't waste a second. Listen for his direction so you can walk in his ways.

In regard to these three tests, how are you doing? At which one are you most/least successful? What do you need to do to turn things around?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Day 22: Road Signs

Today Kerry Shook looks at what needs to happen for God to move in your life. He refers to the story of Elisha and the poor widow in 2 Kings chapter 4.

One way signs: The first thing this woman did was admit her need. She was almost broke, only having a little oil. Second, she turned to God (or at least to God's prophet) for help. These are two streets you have to go down to see God move in your life.

Stop sign; Stop and see what you already have that God might want to use. In this case, the woman had a little bit of oil. So, rather than looking at what you don't have, look at what you do have.

U-Turns: The woman didn't see that she had anything at first but then saw the oil. Kerry says this is her U-turn, she went from being negative to being positive...showing a little hope that God might do something.

Yield sign; Elisha told the woman to pour out what little oil she had left into another jar. As she poured, the oil kept coming and coming, filling as many jars as she could find to fill. The point? You need to be willing to give first if you want to receive. You need to be willing to risk pouring out your life if you want to be filled.

What are some ways that you are holding back right now for fear that you won't have enough for yourself? How might God be asking you to step out in faith to bless others rather than just focusing on your own need?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Day 21: Developing Integrity

What's the difference between school and life? In school, you're taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you're given a test that teaches you a lesson. Tom Bodett

In this chapter Kerry Shook looks at integrity. He defines it as living a whole integrated life rather one that is fragmented, fractured and inconsistent. One who lacks integrity acts differently with different people. But a person with integrity is the same person no matter who they are with. You can count on them to be the same. Does that describe you?

Proverbs says that it is better to be a poor person who has integrity than to be rich and double-dealing. 28:6

Some people can be fully honest in one area of their life while being dishonest in another. For example, they might never cheat on their taxes but cheat on their spouse or vice versa. These people lack integrity...wholeness. In what areas of your life are you most likely to cut corners or put aside your values? Relational? Financial? Spiritual? What part of your life is most challenging to integrate with the other parts?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Day 20: Surviving the Storms

Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional. We cannot avoid pain, but we can avoid joy. Tim Hansel

Kerry Shook says that one of the most difficult lessons in life is how to accept loss. He compares it to being shaken by a storm. And so, how do you prepare for the storms of life?

First you need a strong foundation and he said that's God, of course. The Bible says, "In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success." Proverbs 3:6. You can tell if God is your foundation by the amount you worry. Whenever you worry you are revealing that God doesn't have your full trust. God says in Psalm 50:15, "Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you."

What is your life resting on now? Your family? Your job? Make sure that you are resting fully on God.

Second, in order to survive the storms of life you need a strong support system and for that God has given us the church. You need a group of people around you who will walk into your life when everyone else walks out. Do you have those people? If not, what can you do to find those people

Day 19: Antidotes to Soul-Sickness

Kerry Shook says that we all suffer from a dis-ease of the soul and offers four antidotes:

The Sickness: An over busy life.
The Antidote: Silence. The Bible tells us to "Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10. When was the last time you sat before God in silence? When was the last time you spent an evening at home without the television or stereo filling the sound space? When was the last vacation that you didn't check email or bring your cell phone?

The Sickness: A need to control
The Antidote: Solitude. The Bible says, "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength." Isaiah 30:15. If we stop trying to control everything in our life, quietness will fill our soul with strength.

The Sickness: Comparing ourselves to others. This causes us to focus on the outside...our appearance and what we have.
The Antidote: Service. When we focus on what others don't have and how we can meet their needs we find true joy and fulfillment.

The Sickness: A craving for comfort and a continual dissatisfaction with what we have.
The Antidote: Suffering. You don't have to go looking for this. Suffering will find you. But the question is; How do you respond to it? The Bible tells us... "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. " James 1:2-4

Silence, Solitude, Service and Suffering - not exactly what people in the 21st century are crying out for. But if your soul is sick you might want to consider the value that each of these have in your life.