More Text Messages to Myself

From a recent newsletter. With a bonus at the end.

I’ve been called a strange one. Yes, I text myself. Things that stand out or things I want to remember. Often it’s at church when the pastor shares something profound in his message. Or sometimes, I’m sitting in my glider or driving down the road, and a thought rolls through my brain.

With apologies to some pastors to whom I can’t attribute these quotes, here are a few that showed up on my new iPhone. Enjoy.

“It cannot mean to us what it did not mean to them.” Pastor Greg Johnson was talking about the Bible to say that God’s Word means what it says. But isn’t this true of our everyday lives as well? Too often, we want to add our interpretation or try to tell everyone what they really mean. What would happen if we took people — and God — at their word?

“You’ve survived 100% of your bad days.”  You have heard one rendition of this or another. But what pastor Christian Aranza says is true. You’re still here. God’s still on the throne, and you’re still breathing and plugging right along. I’m guessing you’ve had more good days than bad, and you’ve learned a few things along the way. Celebrate the good days, learn from the bad ones but keep moving.

“The message of your life is not preached and taught. It’s always lived.” Ouch! Indeed, what we do speaks — sometimes screams — louder than what we say. That’s why Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.” Do your actions line up with your words? Do a review and be honest with yourself.

“You can say no. In fact, you should be saying no.” This one is mine, on a short drive one day. It’s okay to say no. In fact, it’s imperative. The hardest person to tell “no” is yourself. We often — speaking to me here — want to help someone or stretch ourselves and even tell ourselves that it won’t take long or we can “fix it”. After all, humans are problem solvers. The big question: If you say “yes” to this, what will you have to say “no” to? You have a choice.

“You are a cog in the wheel. You are not the wheel.” This should be a great relief. Whether it’s your personal life or your business, you aren’t the wheel, and you don’t have to make the wheel turn. If the earth is the Lord’s and all it contains (Psalm 24:1), He owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10), and He feeds the sparrows (Matt. 6:26), we’re only the caretakers. You are part of the story with God as the main character, so take the pressure off yourself. As Rick Warren says in the opening line of The Purpose Driven Life: “It’s not about you.”

A lot of us are drinking things that will never quench our thirst.” Now, ain’t that the truth. The tragedy is many don’t know the difference between sand in the desert and water in an oasis. They drink the sand, believing it’s the water. It begs the question: What well are you drinking from? CNN or Fox? The latest and greatest Netflix series? The gossip on Facebook? Indeed, the overwhelming numbers in society today are parched and searching for something that will quench their thirst.

Ah, bet you jumped straight to the end. That’s cool. Just remember to check out the nuggets above.

When you run alone, you can run fast, but when you run together, you can run far. That’s some truth right there from pastor Dusty Dean in Carrollton, Texas. This is how The Message says it:

By yourself you’re unprotected.
With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third?
A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.
Ecclesiastes 4:12

Are you trying to run the race by yourself? Sure, you can make progress, and you may hold your own day-to-day, but you’ll be more fulfilled and more powerful when you run the race with a companion or a friend. Think about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Or Peter, James and John. David had his mighty men.

Run the race with someone. You may be surprised at the outcome.

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