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Beyond Excuses

We love excuses.
Weve built our culture on them.
Weve become a nation of victims
Licking our wounds...
Obsessing about the impossibility of our
Blaming our irresponsibility
on our parents, teachers, and leaders...
Despising our hardships and handicaps.
Were a nation of Cains decrying injustice...
Not feeling sorry for those weve hurt...
Sorry only for ourselves...
Demanding things we dont deserve...
Jealous of those deserving.
Let's quit following Cain's example...
And look to another Bible example...
Let's be Overcoming Josephs...
holding on, standing firm...
bearing the burden of greatdreams...
waiting and believing.
Gods Kingdom...
Is found beyond excuses...
So let's stop making them.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk
but of power, [so] do not think of yourself
more highly than you oughtBe joyful in
hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Do
not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil
with good. Endure hardship as discipline.
1 Corinthians 4:20; Romans 12:3,12, 21; Hebrews 12:7

Waste or Invest?
In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-28),
a master gives his servants different amounts of
money to invest, according to their ability. When
he returns, he finds one man has buried his
money and two have invested it wisely.
This parable encourages us to make wise and
effective use of the gifts and resources God gives
each of us.
As a writer I need to:
1. Pray about my gift.
2. Use it: write!
3. Develop it: edit, rewrite, learn new skills, get
constructive criticism!
4. Invest it: explore new ways to use it for the
The same is true for any ability or skill we have.
In Matthew 24, the man who hid his money in the
ground didnt understand the purpose, character
and love of the master.
If you arent praying about your gift, using,
developing, and investing it, dont feel guiltyguilt
isnt a good motivator. Instead, ask for a deeper
understanding of the purpose, character and love
of your Master and Gift-giver.

Character is More Important Than

Sometimes we think valuable
Christian work belongs to the
talented people in life, those with
the greatest skills.
But God talks about motive and
character more than talent.
Christ gives us a Biblical motive for
everything we do, and the focus is
not our gifts:
Work willingly at whatever you do,
as though you were working for the
Lord rather than for
people. (Colossians 3:23)
In Exodus 31:1-5, God appoints
Bezalel to do fine crafts in the
temple but God explains his
character before explaining his
skill: "I have filled him with the Spirit
of God, with wisdom, with
understanding, with
knowledgeand with all kinds of
Whenever we judge a man's skill
above his character, we make a
serious mistake.
God can use a man with lots of
character and little talent more
than a man with lots of talent and
little character.
When we seek God first and live righteously, He will use our gifts for His purposes
(Matthew 6:33).

4 Ways To Discover Your GodGiven Purposes

From my vantage point of almost 64
years of life, let me give you some
suggestions for finding your role in
God's kingdom:
1. Try new things!
Don't limit yourself, especially during the
first 40-50 years of your life. Doing a
variety of things, even things out of your
comfort zone, teaches you important
lessons. (How, Not What).
2. Humbly learn from others.
I once edited submissions to a
devotional blog, and I learned that many
mediocre writers refuse suggestions or
edits while most good writers want them
(Proverbs 4:13, Proverbs 23:22, 1 Peter
3. Never stop learning.
There's always something new to learn.
Regularly seek improvement
(Colossians 3:23, Waste or Invest)
4. Set your mind on God's plan.
Despite the popular saying that we can
do whatever we set our minds to do, we
can't and we shouldn't. We need to seek
God's will, not ours (1 Peter 4:1011, You Can't).

Music Appreciation
Did you know that God made us to
enjoy music?

Its part of being human.

Its part of praising God.

Its part of self-expression (bad

and good).
It soothes, calms, excites, enrages,
and compromises us depending on
what type of music we choose.
I recently saw a video called Alive
Insideabout an elderly man living in a
nursing home. As the video starts,
he's barely alive, sitting slumped over
all day, rarely speaking. Then they
hook him up to an ipod with a
collection of Christian music, and he's
He comes alive in ways hes been
dead for years: he speaks with
enthusiasm, sings, and expresses his
feelings and thoughts.
Music is a powerful aspect of our lives,
another way we are finely tuned by our
Creator. Make sure that your music is
full of joy and life. It need not all be
Christian, but be sure to include songs
to the Lord (Psalm 33:3).