Thursday, February 26, 2009

Better Education: It's Not About Government

I'm tired of hearing about it. The government saying we need better education in this country. We need to provide 21st century education to our kids in a changing world. We need to fund programs to make our schools high tech...all the buzz phrases and talking points...and yada yada yada!

No we don't. We have classrooms. We have teachers. But we need this kind of teacher...the one seen in the video above. One teacher at a time, one classroom at a time, we can rock this world. What makes this teacher so special? Her faith in Jesus Christ.

She has tapped into the transformational power of Jesus...and it has worked in her own life and now she is planting the seed in her students' lives.

This is must-see video!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Accountable To No One?

Economic Recovery, Step 2: 'We came to believe...'

Third in a series.

Sure we live in a great country! But is the U.S. itself our divine power? Can we believe so much in the good ol' US of A that by simply relying on our country for our happiness we can rest with contentment?

What about our patriotism? Our resolve? Our American "spirit"? All those things which some people point to in the time of our economic distress...not only point to, but name as our "solution." Can we rest in those things?

Well, here's a news flash: relying on ourselves can only get us so far. A bailout can only get us so far. A stimulus package can only get us so far. An inspirational "state of the economy" speech can only get us so far.

What can stop this season of insanity?

Let's continue our journey in the Life Recovery Bible.

Step Two:

We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Using the Life Recovery Bible notes and the devotion titled, "Grandiose Thinking," let me substitute some of the words with economic terminology to stay on topic.

When we are caught up in our materialism, our greed, and wrong financial decisions, it's common for us to deny the truth about our economic situation with grandiose thinking.

We may believe that we, and the U.S., are above it all, a god unto ourselves, accountable to no one.

The devotion continues:

In his day, Nebuchadnezzar, king of ancient Babylon, was the most powerful ruler on earth. He believed he was a god and demanded to be worshiped. Through Daniel, God said to him, "This is...what the Most High has declared will happen to you. You will be driven from human society, and you will live in the fields with the wild animals...until you learn that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone he chooses" (Daniel 4:24-25)

This happened just as Daniel had predicted. At the end of the king's time in exile, he said, "I...looked up to heaven. My sanity returned, and I praised and worshiped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever....When my sanity returned to me, so did my honor and glory and kingdom...with even greater honor than before.

Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven. All his acts are just and true, and he is able to humble those who are proud" (Daniel 4:34, 36-37).

Let me take some more literary license with the devotion's conclusion:

America is not God; we are accountable to God -- a higher power. This higher power can remedy our economic madness and restore our life to be even better than it was before our season of "insanity." God will do so if we entrust our lives to him...and that includes entrusting everything, including our finances.

I don't know God's plan in all of this. I don't know how long this season of economic insanity will last. However, I do know that He is in control and His will, not our will be done.

I believe it's time to believe in Him!

1) Economic Recovery, Step 1: ‘We admitted…’

2) Economic Recovery: Change Our Destiny

3) Accountable To No One? Economic Recovery, Step 2: 'We came to believe...'

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Economic Recovery: Change Our Destiny

In recovery terms it's known as "hitting bottom." That moment in life where you awaken to the fact that you've hit such a low point, such despair, that be it personal tragedy through addiction of any sorts, an emotional low like you've never felt before, or mistakes or errors in judgment that led you to bankruptcy, incarceration, or sickness, that you are ready to make a change.

Economic Recovery: Second in a series.

Hitting bottom just may mean it's time to climb out of that hole.

Looking back, I was helped out of that hole by none other than God. However, there were steps, and one of those included attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Then, four years later, accepting Jesus Christ as my savior.

Recently, I began to think about our economic crisis and recovery. Can we apply the principals of a Biblical recovery program to our financial hardships -- individually and as a nation?

I wrote about Step One here and I want to focus on the step a bit more.

We admitted that we were powerless over our dependencies–that our life had become unmanageable.

The Life Recovery Bible states in one of its Step One devotionals:

There are important moments in life that can change our destiny. These are often times when we are confronted with how powerless we are over the events of our life. These moments can either destroy us or forever set the course of our life in a much better direction.

The devotional continues:

Saul of Tarsus (later called Paul) had such a moment. After Jesus' ascension, Saul took it upon himself to rid the world of Christians. As he headed to Damascus on this mission, "a brilliant light from heaven suddenly beamed down upon him! He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, 'Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?...I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you are to do.'...As Saul picked himself up off the ground, he found that he was blind. So his companions led him by the hand to Damascus. He remained blind for three days. And all that time he went without food and water" (Acts 9:3-6, 8-9).

Saul was suddenly confronted with the fact that his life wasn't perfect as he had thought. Self-righteousness had been his trademark. By letting go of his illusions of power, however, he became one of the most powerful men ever--the apostle Paul.

When we are confronted with the knowledge that our life isn't under our control, we have a choice. We can continue in denial and self-righteousness, or we can face the fact that we have been blind to some important issues. If we become willing to be led into recovery and into a whole new way of life, we will find true power.

Economically speaking -- aren't we confronted with the fact that the U.S. isn't perfect? Can the U.S. continue in denial and self-righteousness? Or should we face the fact that we have been blind to some important issues?

Yes, there are some important moments in life that can change our destiny -- individually and as a country. Some of us might believe we have not hit bottom. Others don't want to find out if we have or not. They want to change now.

Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God...
--Psalm 146:5

Economic recovery? My hope is in the Lord!

Economic Recovery, Step 1: ‘We admitted…’


Twelve-step devotions run along side many of the pages of the Life Recovery Bible, New Living Translation. When I was first reading this version of the Bible with its side notes, I had a total awakening. I view this Bible as the power of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous mulitplied by 1,000 times! You can get a copy here!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Top Five

I've featured Friday Top Five at "TheScroogeReport" twice so far and wanted to import my third list here today.

Through Peter P's "Rediscovering the Church" blog I found Kevin Martineau's "Friday Top Five - What where your favorite posts from last week?" This "Shooting the Breeze" feature is one you can join as well. You'll be able to link up your Friday Top Five in his.

In no particular order:

1. "The key thought for this series is going to be this: a lie believed as truth will affect you as if it were true." -- Shooting the Breeze: The Lies We Believe

2. "The presence of Christ in you makes all that He is available to others." -- Blackaby: devotional series, Experiencing God Day by Day, You Are Salt (Feb. 20, 2009)

3. "Contrary to what many popular books, movies, and seminars tell you, you won’t discover your life’s meaning by looking within yourself." -- Purpose Driven Life: What On Earth Am I Here For?

4. "The Bible is the oldest collection of wisdom...the church's stimulus package." -- Baptist Press: Financial turmoil can yield revival, Johnny Hunt says

5. "People involved in top-quality relationships do not seek happiness. Instead, they seek growth. Growth, in turn, creates happiness." -- Cloud-Townsend: The Relationships Channel

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Note To Self

I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. -- Philippians 3:13

Did you know that the first seven chapters of Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life can be found online for free? I went to the site today in order to bolster my comments at BlogCatalog regarding "religion" and happiness. I put religion in quotes because it's often such a point of contention in regards to its definition.

My point is that salvation is not about religion. And unless you are concerned about where you will spend eternity and what kind of life you are leading here on earth, you might just care less about how much more important establishing faith in Christ is than religion. One more reason to might be in just enough pain to surrender.

Back to my "note to self." So, as I was browsing those first few chapters I found Philippians 3:13 within the text. What a blessing! I'm not in the best sorts right now. I'm physically and emotionally spent. However, my joy remains in Christ and this little verse was a definite pick-me-up.

Prune and "mantra" in the coming days. I want more of Him and less of me!


Sunday, February 8, 2009

What are your priorities?

A friend of mine who doesn't spam me at all and sends only must-read emails sent me one I've filed for about two weeks's on time management.

Go figure. I haven't read it yet.

Shuffling priorities has become increasingly difficult in this multi-task world. I heard on the radio last night that talking on your cell phone, hands-free or not, while driving has the equivalent effect as driving intoxicated.

Blogging can add another layer of tasks that can get out of hand. Priorities can fall by the way side...simply by blogging for what was supposed to be 15 minutes and turning into an hour or so.

Although my focus in posting has been mainly in my WordPress blog, TheScroogeReport, I am still drawn here. And by here, I mean focused on God's word...learning, praying, meditating, on what brings hope, comfort, and strength.

Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you. -- Psalm 9:10

What are your priorities?