Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Check Your Attitude


As a leader of any group, your effectiveness will depend upon the people that you call on to assist you. There is only so much that you can do yourself. While in industry, my number one criteria in hiring was the attitude of the candidate. I would always select a candidate with a good attitude over a more competent candidate with a bad attitude. A person with a good attitude is teachable and can learn the product and system.
In ministry, we always try to surround ourselves with people with good attitudes. We need others that can lift us up rather than put us down. John Maxwell says we need to be around fire starters, not firemen who pour water on every new idea. 
A while back the San Francisco School Board selected three teachers for an experiment. They explained to the teachers that they were selected because they were the very best in the district. They would be given the ninety best students and were to take off all restrictions, and pour themselves into the kids. They wanted to see how these students could progress. The results of the class were great: Students scored twenty-eight higher than any other group of students. After the experiment, the truth came out. The students were not the best, they were just average students chosen by drawing names. And the teachers themselves were also average teachers whose names had been drawn randomly. The difference in performance of the students was based on the attitude of the teachers. The teachers thought of themselves as great teachers and thought of their students as the best.

Your attitude at the beginning of a task will directly affect the outcome. If you begin with excitement and enthusiasm you have a greater chance of success than if you start with a “wait and see” or “I don’t want to do this.”

So the LORD said to Solomon, "Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. [1 Kings 11:11 ]

Jesus called twelve to be His apostles. These were all common men without theological training. They were fishermen, tax collectors, and other normal vocations, but they all had right attitude.
Luke 6:12-13 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. 13 When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles:
They were designated apostles for two purposes; that they might be with Him and that He might send them out and have His authority. That is what leaders need - people that fit in relationship, and that can be given authority and represent us. At work, a person's chance of success is thirteen percent product knowledge and eighty-seven percent people knowledge. My attitude toward others often determines their attitude toward me. 
Nordstrom’s Stores did a customer survey to determine why they lose customers. The responses are meaningful; 
1 % died, 3% moved away, 
5% found a better store, 
9% left for competitive reasons, 
14% left because of product dissatisfaction, 
and a whopping 68% quit coming because of the attitude or the indifference of an employee.
Your attitude will affect how you feel - whether you are happy or unhappy. The thoughts in your mind are more important than the events in your life. Our attitude will change when I want it to change - we can control it if we understand the importance of controlling it. It is not what happens to us, but what happens in us. When Clara Barton, Civil War nurse and founder of the Red Cross, was once asked about carrying a grudge, she replied,

I distinctly remember forgetting.


How you know your attitude needs adjustment:
  1. If you lack time for self and for God
  2. Relationships with co-workers is strained
  3. Your spouse tells you your attitude stinks
  4. Your view of people lowers
  5. You become cynical about your life. 

Attitude adjustment techniques:
  1. Say the right word - I am sorry, will you forgive me?
  2. Read the right books.
  3. Listen/Watch the right audios/videos
  4. Hang out with the right people.
  5. Do the right things

Your attitude is contagious

People catch your attitudes just like they catch our colds - by sitting close to us.

How is your attitude today? Share your thoughts or make comment.


Thursday, March 1, 2018

Develop an Ear For God

Which is harder, to hear God’s guidance, or to obey His direction? 

If Jesus were to come into your room at night and give you firm direction, you would probably obey without question. But what if He spoke to you in that still, small voice? (1Kings 19:12) Then you could argue that it may not have been God, it may have been my own thoughts, or it might have been the enemy trying to confuse me.

We must all develop an ear to hear God often and clearly, even when He speaks in that still small voice. That still small voice tends to get drowned out by all of the noise around us.

Learning to listen


How well you listen to your spouse, neighbor or friends is an indicator of how well you listen to God. How you listen to others is exactly how you will listen to God. The key to hearing God clearly is learning to listen. You can begin practicing by listening to others.

One of the most loving and healing human acts is also one of the easiest to accomplish. That is listening - not advising or coaching, but sincerely, silently, and fully listening. If you love your spouse or neighbor as you love yourself, you will listen to them. If you love God with all your, heart, mind, and strength, you will listen to Him. There is no greater expression of love than to listen to somebody else. When you listen, you are laying down your life and your agenda to listen and help them reach their agenda.

Listening creates relationships; it helps us connect with others. It values what they have to say. Listening is one of the clearest signs of deep, genuine spirituality.

Some may believe that God no longer speaks to His people, and if you don’t believe He still speaks the odds of hearing Him are pretty slim. At times we may not want to hear. If we hear God speaking to us, we may be required to respond. If we know it is God we have no wiggle room. If there is a doubt in our mind, then we can make excuses. We may not want Him to get too close. When God had given the Ten Commandments, Moses invited the people to come forth to hear His voice. But the people refused (Exodus 20:19-20). But, God can and will break through our blinders and communicate with us regardless of our reasons.



We Need to Hear

When Jesus was asked which was the greatest commandment in the law, He responded;

“Hear O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one. ‘and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. This is the first commandment” (Mark 12:29-30).

Jesus then adds another commandment not found in the Shema but taken from Leviticus 19:18;
 “And the second, like it is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:31) Jesus responded by citing the Shema and the Vaharta, the main prayers of the Jewish faith, found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9.

In the Old Testament, the word for “Hear” or “listen,” is Shema. Shema includes hearing but has a further understanding of obeying the words heard. Obedient hearing brings blessing (Proverbs 8:34), while judgment comes against the refusal to listen.

Zechariah 7:12-13 (NKJV) Yes, they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the words which the LORD of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Thus great wrath came from the LORD of hosts. Therefore it happened, that just as He proclaimed and they would not hear, so they called out and I would not listen," says the LORD of hosts.

In New Testament usage, the Greek term akouo also refers to the simple hearing and obedience but is often used to denote hearing with faith. (Romans 10:17; Galatians 3:2, 5; 1Thessalonians 2:13). The expectation is that when the gospel is heard it will be responded to in faith and submission. The refusal to listen is considered to be disobedience (John 8:47);

 "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it." Luke 11:28 (NIV)







Thursday, February 8, 2018

Submission

It was Monday, but very different than the rest of my Mondays at work. We had spent the weekend at a men’s retreat and were basking in the afterglow. Monday morning had arrived too early, I arrived at my office late, and only completed a few routine items before lunch. 

I walked a couple of blocks to the salad bar restaurant with the twenty foot long buffet. Grabbing a tray, plate, and soup bowl, I fell in line behind two well-dressed men having a rather animated conversation. They were obviously Christians and were joyfully praising God and sharing.  As they found a table in a corner, I was drawn to them and selected a nearby table.

After the two men sat down and blessed their food, their conversation suddenly changed. The joyful praise turned into an intense, serious discussion. Not wanting to hear their conversation I tried to ignore them and focused on eating, but something strange happened.

It had to be a God thing. What followed was not possible in the natural. My chair was about ten feet away from their table - behind and slightly to to my right. One man was facing toward me, while the other had his back to me. I could not hear any of what the man facing me was saying, but I heard very clearly the words of the man with his back to me. This is not natural.

It became clear that these men were both pastors, and the one whose back was to me was seeking advice from the man facing me. Hearing only one side of the conversation was strange but revealing. To this day, I remember the exact words spoken by the man with his back to me. 

The first thing I heard was, “The problem with my church is that the members do not submit to me as their pastor.”

Later I heard, “The trouble with my family is that my wife does not submit to me as her husband.”

Almost immediately, I sensed a different voice speaking to me - It was the Holy Spirit, “This man is not submitted to Me.”

Basically, I am a shy person. Confrontation is not my bag, but on this day, I was ready to go over and tell this man, “You are having these problems because you are not submitted to God.” 

Fresh from a weekend of fellow-shipping with Jesus and other spirit filled believers, I could be bold. But, the Lord saved me from total embarrassment with His next words, “Sit still, this is a lesson for you.”

That incident was not the end of the lesson. It was the beginning of six months of testing that began that very evening. After gaining a new insight, I wanted to give it away. At a home group meeting that night, a lady began to complain about her financial problems. This was not the first time. She had been having financial issues for years. Armed with my noon time revelation, I told her, “You are having financial problems because you have not submitted your finances to God.”

The woman’s face turned purple with anger and my wife gave me a look that indicated I had committed the unpardonable sin. My statement may have been accurate but that was not the way or place to say it. The meeting ended abruptly. It was a tense and quiet ride home that night – the lady was our neighbor and riding with us.

 There were several more opportunities to give away my new insight and each time it failed to receive its intended respect. Then one day, it hit me. Slamming the car dashboard with my right hand, I shouted, “I get it!”  The lesson God had been trying to teach me was now clear. The enemy of our soul is able to attack us in the areas of our lives that we have not totally submitted to God. It is as if we are under God’s umbrella of protection as long as He has control of our lives. But when we tell God that we would rather be in charge, He may back away and say, “Okay, go for it.”  That is where we get in trouble. 

Submission is a difficult concept for most people in our society today. The word itself evokes images
of abuse and the sense of becoming a doormat. Yet both the Old and New Testaments tell us there will be great benefits when we submit to God. The word translated in the New Testament as “submission” means to place or arrange under. It is like products that are arranged on a display table or an army deployed to go into battle. It is also used to accept someone’s admonition or advice. In our lives we often submit to our boss, the government, our spouse, pastor, or spiritual authority. We may also submit to our possessions, pride, and sin.

But the Bible instructs us to submit to God. Jesus Himself submitted to the Father. He did not do it from weakness but from strength. Our submission must be as Jesus modeled.  

Submission is not becoming a doormat. Submission is more like an elevator. An elevator lifts things up. As we submit to God, we elevate Him. When we submit to our spouse we elevate him or her to a higher position. The purpose of submission is elevation or exaltation. As we submit to God, we exalt Him.

We can be obedient in giving our time, presence, and resources to the church without being in submission. Scripture calls us to give to the work of the Lord. Therefore giving is obedience, but joyful giving and giving cheerfully is submission.



Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Called to Follow Jesus


Before there was the “Dog whisperer” on television, there was the Horse whisperer. Monty Roberts was raised in the horse business. He learned that there was one way to train horses - by “breaking” them through domination and force which at times included striking the horse with whips or tying and suspending the horse’s feet and legs. The trainer would impose his will upon the animal until it reached the conclusion that total submission was the only way to survive.

In his early teen years Roberts began to study the behavior and communication patterns of wild mustangs in the badlands of Nevada. He took note of the nonverbal communication among the horses, their body language. He named this kind of horse language "Equus." Drawing on his observation and firsthand experience with horses, Roberts developed a breakthrough training technique that he called “hooking on to” rather than “breaking down” the horse’s will. This new training method was based on a concept he eventually trademarked “Join-Up.”

“Join-Up” not only stopped the “breaking” practice of traditional horse training, but it demonstrated how to cooperate with the horse’s own spirit, ways, and means of communicating as a member of the herd. His techniques laid the platform for a partnership between horse and human rather than a coexistence through domination. The personality and full potential of the horse emerge through a loving freedom and desire rather than domination and infliction. Join-Up relies on invitation rather than imposition.

The Join-Up technique invites an untamed horse that has never been ridden to willingly accept the saddle, bridle, and rider. It is a thing of beauty to watch. Monty Roberts enters a round pen with a wild horse. In as little as half an hour, he’ll be riding the horse. Roberts creates an atmosphere of mutual respect that communicates, “I’m not going to hurt you, and you don’t have to follow me if you don’t want to.”

After a brief period of introducing himself and interacting with the horse comes the moment of truth.
Roberts turns his back to the animal and walks away. At this point the horse trains her eyes on Monty with all-out intensity and attention. She is asking herself, Where is he going? and Do I want to stay by myself? The horse must choose: I want to be with you. I want to join up and follow you on the way. She quickly decides: my safe place is with you. Dropping her head (equine language for “I submit to you”) and trotting to Roberts’ side, the horse says, “I choose to follow. I want to be with you.”

That is the Jesus way. Jesus did not come into this world and command us to submit to Him. He came into this world showing us what true love is all about and inviting us to walk along side Him. The Jesus way is our cooperation with Jesus’ “Follow Me.” This is Jesus’ call to all of us.

What do I want to be when I grow up? I want to follow Jesus, I am working on it, but what does it mean to follow Jesus. The Greek word translated “follow” is most often rooted in the word for “road.” There is an ancient African phrase, “Will you walk with me?” It doesn’t mean a stroll or short jaunt around the corner. It means to enter another person’s world, to join his or her journey. To walk with Jesus does not mean to travel behind or in front of but beside him. To follow Jesus on the way doesn’t mean to fall in behind him in a directional sense but to be caught up in what he is doing. Discipleship is the art of being a pilgrim - the artistry of following Jesus. It is to be caught up in what God is doing in the world today.

Imagine you opened your e-mail in-box and discovered you had received an invitation from some superstar - maybe Phil Mickelson - “Come, be with me, and I will teach you everything I know about golf.” Or maybe you would get a call from someone like Bill Gates who wants you to walk with Him and learn how to become successful in business. For those of you who love to sing, what would your reaction be if you received a phone call from Celine Dion, asking, “Will you come and stay with me for a couple of years? I will teach you to sing like me”? For aspiring writers, how incredible would it be to answer a knock at the door and find Maya Angelou inquiring, “Would you like to hang out with me and learn how to write?”

Jesus Himself is calling you to follow Him and learn how to live. There seems to be a natural progression that Jesus proposed: In John 14:6 Jesus said "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. To follow Jesus is to be in the right mission (the way: missional living); to follow Jesus is to be in the right relationships (the truth: relational living.)  To follow Jesus is to be in the right future (the life: incarnational living.) Step 1 is belonging, Step 2 is believing, then step 3 is behaving.

 “When Jesus summoned people into the way, he was inviting them to share a purpose or path (the way), a new set of relationships (the truth), and the beauty of community ( the life). If Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, then His way must be our way, his truth must be our truth, and his life must be our life.” [Leonard Sweet]


“The Jesus way wedded to the Jesus truth brings about the Jesus life.” [Eugene Peterson]


First, we must choose to get on the journey with him—trust him as the “Way.” We realize we want to be with him, to submit to His leadership. The first followers of Jesus were known as those who belonged to “the Way.” They had a way about them. Theirs was not just a shared system of belief that included religious traditions and mystical idiosyncrasies. There were plenty of sects in Jesus’ time like that. But something was different here. These people had a way about how they went about their lives, a way of being that had not been witnessed before. There was something very different about the way these people treated one another, - both insiders and outsiders.

Dictionaries define the word “way” variously—as a habitual manner or characteristic, a method, a direction or vicinity, a passage or path. All of those definitions capture parts of the essence of following Jesus. But followers of Jesus don’t just submit to Jesus’ codes and conduct. They don’t just join him in following a certain path, live in his voice, practice a certain presence from earth to eternity. Most important, the path with Jesus leads to Jesus; the path of life leads to life.

Second, we choose to answer the question, what is truth? This was Pilate’s world-weary question to Jesus, but Pilate was staring in the face of Truth and didn’t know it. Jesus is the Truth, for truth is a Person,not a principle. This relational view of truth contrasts starkly with the world’s way of thinking and demands more than mere intellectual assent. It requires obedience. A follower of the truth is one who follows upon, who trusts and obeys One who is Truth.

Third, we begin to get a life, not a half-life, not term life, but whole life. We learn to re-frame our living based on always pilgriming and always sharing life with Jesus so that “it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” A wayfarer of the life is one who follows so closely that his or her life aligns with the life of the Leader. Note that this template is not only sequential but also simultaneous. We are always on the way, we are always learning more and more about the truth, and we are always gaining more and more of that abundant life Jesus talked about in John 10:10. To follow Jesus is a way - a belonging; is a truth - a believing; is a life - a behaving. It is to have a mission, to be in relationship, to live an incarnate, abundant life.

What does it take to be a Courageous Follower of Jesus:

  • The courage to assume responsibility.
  • The courage to be a servant
  • The courage to challenge.
  • The courage to participate in transformation.
  • The courage to take moral action.

Jesus is summoning you:  “Come, follow me. Come, be with me, and I will do more than teach you the way to live your one and only life. I will give you life.”

Monday, January 15, 2018

2018 Goals for Aslan Ministries

 “Mortals make elaborate plans, but GOD has the last word.”  
[Proverbs 16:1 (MSG)]

In light of Solomon’s wisdom quoted above,  I proceed - with a little trepidation - to set goals for 2018. Psychologists argue the merits of sharing your goals. There is a theory that the mere act of sharing removes the incentive to achieve. It is enough to merely speak it out. Nevertheless, I want to share the vision God has given us for Aslan Ministries, Inc. for the coming year and let you know where we are today.
For the last two years our goals have been modest. Serious health issues and our move to Oklahoma got in the way of accomplishing all that we desired. In December of this year, we completed treatment for the Staph infection which resulted in discitis and osteomyelitus. Getting off the antibiotics - I continue to get stronger, but the back remains weak.
We did publish our latest book, “Pray Like Jesus,” which has received excellent reviews and was in Amazon’s top 10 in its niche, and have improved our website, adding some audio messages and offering free books.
2018, holds some exciting opportunities. We anticipate it being a year that will bear much fruit. In keeping with that positive attitude and improved health, we have set forth an extremely aggressive set of goals. While this may seem ambitious, it is keeping with the scripture the Lord gave me;
Psalm 71:17-18 (NKJV) O God, You have taught me from my youth; And to this day I declare Your wondrous works. 18 Now also when I am old and gray-headed, O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come.

Our purpose for founding Aslan Ministries was and still is to “Encourage and equip churches and their leaders to fulfill their God-Given Purpose. It began with conducting “in-person,” classes with us and members of our board leading. We will continue to offer this as it is important to personally be in contact with churches and their leadership to best aid them. But we then limit our impact based upon our size and schedules. We can service a wider audience and have a bigger impact on leaders, ministries and churches by resourcing the church. Few leaders have the time or patience to sit through a three to five day workshop, but they will read a book, watch a video, listen to an MP3, or take a course on line where they can proceed at their own speed.
This is the direction we are heading; to provide resources; books, video, audios, and on-line courses to declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come.
The following items are our goals for 2018.
Books:
Our next book which will be out in April will be the second in the series of the ministry of Jesus - it will be on healing. A third book in that series will be out in August, and the fourth will be out in time for Christmas.
All seven of our books are now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. We are currently considering making all of them available for I-Pad, I-Phone, Nook, E-Book as well as Kindle, but 
On-Line Courses:
The major advance we will be making this year is to provide on-line courses. The first course - which is the one we hope to get all of the kinks out - will be on spiritual gifts and should be available on line in March. This will be followed by on-line versions of existing classes on Realizing Your God-given Purpose, Developing an Ear for God, Healing, and church renewal.
Videos:
We are in the process of developing video which will be on our website and our YouTube channel:  Aslan Ministries on YouTube
Audio Downloads
Our website, currently has a monthly audio available.
 We thank you all for your love and support and pray that your lives in 2018 will be blessed and fruitful.
If you have not been to our website in a while click here Aslan MinistriesIf you would like to make a financial contribution you can go to our website and click on the “donate’ button.









Thursday, January 4, 2018

Following God



Many of us are looking to the future and what lies ahead in 2018. Some make resolutions, some set goals, while others do what the always do and try to wing it. I do not make resolutions. I tried it for years but after a few weeks - or a few months if I work hard at it - the resolutions are forgotten. For the last few years I have been setting goals rather than making resolutions. This year one of my goals is to follow closer to God. Over the years our Christian walk has continued to grow deeper and stronger, but there is always room for improvement. The other day Psalm 15 provided some insight into how we can grow deeper in our walk with Christ.
Psalm 15:1-5 (NKJV) LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly, And works righteousness, And speaks the truth in his heart; He who does not backbite with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend; In whose eyes a vile person is despised, But he honors those who fear the LORD; He who swears to his own hurt and does not change; He who does not put out his money at usury, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.

Living in relationship with God and under His protection does not mean everything will turn out the way we want. There is not one hero of the Bible that led a life without trial and tribulation, but there is a way to live in His will under His covering and have a close personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe.  Psalm 15 asks and answers two questions, “Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill?”
How can we abide in His tabernacle and live in His Holy hill. First I wish to dispel the concept that the psalmist is referring to going to heaven when we die. There is a tendency to spiritualize scripture which actually applies to our everyday lives. At the time the Psalms were written, eternal life and heaven was not universally accepted by the Jewish people. The Hebrew word that is translated as “Tabernacle” refers to the Holy place where God dwelt while the Jews were out in the desert. But the word has a deeper meaning as a tent or covering. While only the priests could enter the tabernacle, you and I have the opportunity to live our lives under the covering and protection of God. The Psalmist is asking the question, “Who can receive this covering and protection?” His next question is worded differently but has a similar meaning, “Who can stay on Your Holy Hill” The Hebrew word “qodesh har” refers to a sacred high place as opposed to a common or profane place. The bible refers to the holiness of God not only to the mystery of his power, but also to his character as totally good and entirely without evil. Holy objects therefore are those with no moral pollution. They are not merely dedicated, but dedicated to what is good and kept from what is evil.
So what does this mean to you and me in twenty first century America? Too many Christians have adopted the Antinomian attitude that they can do anything they want and still live under God’s protection and maintain an intimate relationship with the Lord. Many so-called Christian business people, politicians, and even clergy act in ways which are contrary to God’s will and still believe they are due God’s blessings.
Psalm 15 provides great insight into what it takes to live under God’s umbrella [tent, tabernacle, etc.] of protection and have that close personal relationship.
1.         Walk blamelessly. Whenever we sin we create a hole in the Lord’s umbrella of protection. Be careful of what you do or say so that there would be no cause for others to condemn your actions. There may be times when you are blamed for things over which you have no control, but be careful of the consequences of your actions.
2.         Do right things. It is not enough to not sin nor commit wrong acts, you must to right things. Remember, it is more important to do right than to be right. Be just in all your thoughts and actions.
3.         Speak the truth from the heart. It is easy to stretch the truth to impress someone or to cover up something we do not want others to know, but speak truth from the heart. But what if your wife asks, “Does this dress make me look too fat?” Try to avoid
4.         Do not slander. Do not tell false things about others.
5.         Do not do wrong to your neighbor. Instead always to the next right thing. Actually we are commanded to not do wrong things to others, but especially not our neighbors. Our neighbors may be anyone we know in our community.
6.         Do not make disparaging remarks about others.
7.         Despise evil, but honor those who fear the Lord.
8.         Keep your promises even when it hurts to do so.
9.         Lend money without exorbitant interest. You may collect modest interest on money you loan to others, but do not take advantage of their situation.
10.       Do not take a bribe against the innocent. There are times when it may be to our personal gain to blame someone else for something in which they are innocent. That would be taking a bribe.







Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Ditch that Red Nosed Reindeer!

Christmas is the time of year when we celebrate the love of God who loved us so much that He sent His Son into the world that we might have eternal life. But the world has changed the meaning of Christmas to a celebration of conspicuous consumption.
Lest you think of me as Grinch, out to rob you of that merriest of Christmases, think again. I love a party and giving and receiving gifts as much anyone. I just want to make sure we celebrate the right things.

John 3:16 (NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

It is important to understand what it means to bask in the love of our Creator. It means you have intrinsic value, not as a result of your performance, but because you are you.

The world’s concept of love is often an insatiable craving, conditional upon benefits received. I love chocolate, coffee, the Chicago Cubs and pizza.

Romantic Love is shown in our so-called love songs,
·        You make me feel good
·        I want you, I need You
·        I can't get along without you.

We accept others if they become like us. Love in today’s world is conditional on our performing.

Kids are taught this from a very early age, especially at Christmas. Even the beloved cowboy star, Gene Autry, became an unknowing accomplice when he introduced his song about a strange-looking reindeer:

“Rudolph the red nosed reindeer, had a very funny nose. 
And if you ever saw it you would even say it glows.
All of the other reindeers used to laugh and call him names. 
They never let poor Rudolph play in any reindeer games.”

Then Something Happened!

“Then one foggy Christmas eve, Santa came to say.
 ‘Rudolph with your nose so bright, won't you guide my sleigh tonight.’”

And then!

“Then how the reindeers loved him, and they shouted out with glee. 
Rudolph the red nosed reindeer, You'll go down in history.”


The other reindeer changed how they felt about Rudolph, because he performed a needed function. They loved because of what he did. God’s love for all humanity is unconditional love. You are not loved because you are lovable, but because you are loved you are lovable.

The object of love may have no value, but value is created by the fact that an object is loved. Take as an example a Child's Blanket - dirty, tattered and torn – but try to take it away from the child. That’s how God loves you.

God loved us while we were unlovable. 

After Rudolph saved Christmas, someone might care enough to die for him. But God demonstrates his own love for us - while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6-8

God loved us before we responded to Him.  Like a newborn infant, who cries, eats, sleeps and messes up diapers, our value is not based on what we do for God or others. Our value is based upon the fact that we are loved by God.

I do not want to “dis” Rudolph - I have loved him since childhood - but I want you all to realize how pervasive is our misunderstanding of the awesomeness of God’s love.

Let us all enjoy this season with knowledge that we are loved by the Creator of the universe. It does not matter what others may think about us, we have value.

Feel free to share how you have been affected by God's love.