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Monday, April 23, 2012

Proverbs as a Daily Bible Reading

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. - Proverbs 9:10 (NIV)

Start your day in devotion with the Lord.  Pray and seek God's face earnestly, seeking to hear from Him before you dare venture out beyond your abode.  Take in His Holy Word, the Scriptures.  Let the words from the Most High sink into your heart and ponder them as you go about your day.

Read from the Book of Proverbs daily.  Soak in the wisdom and knowledge that God has to offer us through these words written by Solomon.  Let them guide you through daily activities and interactions.  See how they speak of the things of this life.  Use them as daily meditations as you deal with the things that happen at work and home, even on the highways and byways.

Seek to take them in daily.  Read a chapter for each day of the month.  Study them and reflect on them.  Jot down your thoughts and reflections day by day.  When trouble comes, revisit them.  When you feel down, take a moment to see what God has already shared with you.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom;
teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and
hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your
hearts to the Lord.
- Colossians 3:16 (KJV)


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Inspired to Impact

At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.  All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?”
- Acts 9:20-21 (NIV)

When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. - Acts 9:26-27 (NIV)



Look at Paul during his transition from persecutor to preacher.  He was constantly met with opposition to his change.  People repeatedly questioned him.  After all, he had been on his way to persecute the church more than what he had already done.  In their opinions, he was still "the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem."  From where they stood, he was still a persecutor of the church.

Thank God that Paul didn't fall for it.  If he had wimped out and succumbed to their views, he would have never accepted going forth with the message as a missionary.  He would have wallowed in self-absorbed pity and kept to himself.  He would never have raised his voice beyond his original detractors.


God inspires us to go beyond the thoughts and ideas of the very people around us.  He inspires us to impact others beyond our family and friends.  He offers us fuel to fortify us against the negative perceptions of the people that we may very well be trying to help and who act like we are not worthy of offering such help.

Think for a minute back to 1992 and the riots in Los Angeles that immediately followed the verdict of the Rodney King trial.  Many will recall the looting and burning of many parts of the city of Los Angeles.  There was Reginald Denny, the white man pulled from his truck and beaten in the streets.  The media made that gruesome footage part of our daily diet as it replayed it again and again. 

However, few will recall the name of the man who stepped in to help Denny.  Bobby Green was his name.  He witnessed the mayhem and decided that enough was enough.  He made the trek about a half a mile from his home to where Denny was being beaten on live television and saved the man's life.  It is a shame that we cannot recall such a man as Bobby Green, but we surely must understand that we, too, must impact this very world where evil gets splashed on the front page and scandal makes the eleven o'clock news broadcast
Imagine what breaking news it would be if we all started impacting our world because we were inspired to do so.  Don't simply go with the flow.  At times, God will direct you to simply go against the grain.  Bobby Green did so in our times.  Paul did so in his times.  John the Baptist did so.  Jesus did so. 

Let yourself become inspired to impact others.  Let God use you for you to do so.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Grab Your Audiences Attention from the Beginning

We all have heard it before, but it needs to be said again.  It requires repeating.  It must be reiterated.

In the words of Rachel Blom,"Make your point and get out." It's just about that simple.  Get your audience's attention and keep hold of it like a precious jewel.

Whether you preach or present, you want to grab your audience's attention from the beginning. No matter who you are speaking before, you need to speak with such a command and confidence that you win the audience over with your opening. You will need more than the bells and whistles of PowerPoint slides and audio-visual gadgets to get their attention. They need to hear from you in order to listen to what you have to say to them.


Look at Classic Literature.  Opening lines stick to our memories like glue.  I love Charles Dickens' poetic phrasings that begin his classic story A Tale of Two Cities, stating: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Or, perhaps, Herman Melville's Moby Dick was more to your liking with what Wikipedia calls "one of the most recognizable opening lines in Western literature": "Call me Ismael."

Think Comedy.  Some of the greatest stand-up comics can take the stage and win the crowd over with a whirlwind of comedic routines from impersonations to improvisation.  They do so by reading the crowd.  I used to watch "A Night at the Improv"  back in the early '90s.  The best comedians got a feel for the crowd and worked the crowd with a constant barrage of comedic flair.

Make a Connection.  Know who you are standing before as a speaker or presenter.  Make a connection with them.  I recall a television evangelist speaking of a blunder he made when speaking to a group of prison inmates by stating that he wanted to start by thanking them for being there.  Make a connection by having some idea of who is in audience and why they might be there.

Use a Conceptual Approach.  Incorporate concepts like engineering or gardening.  These convey mental images that can help the audience wrap their brains around the conceptual theme of your sermon or presentation.  Use a conceptual approach and work in imagery through clip art and photographs that can reinforce the theme of your speech.

Offer a Challenge.  Challenge your audience to pay attention to what you have to say.  Offer a challenge for the audience to open their minds to new concepts and ideas.  Allow the audience to rethink the status quo and challenge its validity.  That will start them to thinking and keep them thinking throughout the time that you speak and present.

Use these to grab your audience's attention and win them over throughout your speaking.  They may also be incorporated in teaching and training.  Take them on one by one.  Try them out and make them work for you.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Live Wisely Day by Day

Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.
-Psalm 1:1-3 (NIV)



Look into God's Word daily.  Look in it and learn from it.  Let it lead you through your daily activities.  Let it nurture you throughout your day. 

Meditate on the Word.  Memorize a verse or two.  Let it sink into your soul and take root.



Gain from the Word daily. 

Get into a daily routine of reading God's Word.  Take your Bible with you on your lunch break and read on a bench for half an hour.  Listen to the Bible on CD or your iPod on your daily commute to and from work.  Read a daily dose of the Scriptures through an email or text message service.



Let the Word speak to you and guide you through your day.  Let the Scriptures set the tone for your day.  Let the Bible teach you daily.

*Daily Bible Reading Resources: