Re-Honor

Good for you! You probably took a moment this past weekend to recall and to give thanks for the sacrifice of someone. If you did, you did a very honorable thing.

I purposely made calls the other day to do just that. I said things like,

  • “I am amazed at the sacrifice you made.”
  • “Thank you for your service.”
  • “Thank you for what you poured out of yourself for me.”
  • “Thank you for being a good mentor and role model.”

Now, I want to re-honor. By re-honor I mean to continue to recognize the valuable assets I have because of someone’s effort or sacrifice. Restoration of honor is needed in our day.

The people or nations who don’t honor the great sacrifices of their predecessors are destined to repeat their predecessors’ greatest errors. Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States said, No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.

Webster’s Dictionary defines honor (in verb form) as to regard or treat (someone) with admiration and respect: to regard or treat with honor. It further defines Honor (in noun form) as the characteristic of a good name and merited respect. Everyone wants to be respected. But, in today’s society giving honor (the verb form) has fallen to all time lows often displaced by self promotion.

First of all, revive honor as a quality of our own character by making necessary sacrifice and by delayed gratification. Revive honor as an act of acknowledging the sacrifice of the others. Whether by a mother, a father, grandparents, a mentor, a soldier, a veteran of war, a teacher; all of us are living in the benefit of someone’s sacrifice.

Honoring, in all forms is an act of deep choice. It is as much about making right choices as it is about dealing with the consequences of wrong choices. It places value, special regard and appreciation for the one who through vision, principle or conviction held to the honorable thing.

Honor affirms relationships. Honor builds trust. Honor opens hearts. Honor is a major theme of heaven. Crowns of achievement and nobility will be thrown down before the throne of the Lamb as the masses will shout,

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power…” (Rev. 4:9-11)

Honor is a reward Jesus receives for his great sacrifice. Worship is the purest form of honoring Him. The presence of God will always show up whenever and wherever Jesus is honored. Under open heavens we see that glory and power is tied to honor!

What we value, we behold; what we behold, we become.

Therefore, choose honor. Choose honor toward the Spirit of God in your worship. Choose honor in your relationships. Choose honor in your business and in your home! With favor, God will honor you in return.

I want to live like that!

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Wage Peace,

The link to this excellent writing by John Paul Jackson was in the original post. Some of you have had difficulty finding the article online, so I have included it in the editing this post. The article is in original form and content. Again, the link to Streams Ministries follows the article below.

If you haven’t yet read this, I trust you will enjoy this article by John Paul Jackson as much as I did. It may change many of our concepts of peace. Thanks to my friend Dave Moe for sharing this with me!

//

Wage Peace

Contrary to modern Western thought, peace is a fairly violent word.

In Greek, peace means to obtain quietness by removing what seeks to distract and destroy you. It is not a compliant serenity but an aggressive taking out, a forceful extraction. 

Peace has a very similar meaning in Hebrew. When we study the Hebrew pictographs that comprise the word peace, we find that it, too, is not merely a state of mind; it means to destroy or remove the chaos and anarchy around you.

So based on this understanding, when Jesus said, “Peace be with you,” He was not simply greeting His disciples. No, He was issuing a command to the chaos and anarchy in their lives. Essentially, He was saying, “May the chaos and anarchy that are trying to keep you from doing what God wants you to do be removed from your life.”

Peace is not a passive word. The peace of God has the strength to root up and demolish every single work of darkness that is meant to keep God’s Kingdom from advancing. When peace comes, it literally destroys the work of the evil one (1 John 3:8). It tears apart the anarchy around us. It dissolves the tumult.

We could say that God’s peace is a weapon, not just our refuge.

Peace and Relationship

How do we go about building peace in our lives? Peace, like authority, is not a spiritual gift that we were born with; it is something we experience and carry more and more the further we venture into God’s heart. The more we get to know Him, the more peace we will have because we trust Him and know His name (Isaiah 26:3).

Peace is directly proportionate to authority, because both are the fruit of relationship with God. The more authority we have, the more peace we have and the more we will be able to speak, “Peace,” to our circumstances.

When Jesus said to the storm, “Peace, be still,” He was rebuking the waves that were responding to the anarchy driving the storm. The peace He carried erased the devil’s plan around Him. It forcibly removed the chaos and anarchy, and therefore, the waves became still.

Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), and He came to bring us the gospel of peace (Romans 10:15). No one does peace the way Jesus does peace. One of the things that marked His life on earth was that nothing hindered His relationship with the Father; there was no sin in His heart. This is important to understand when talking about peace because as long as we have sin in our lives, we have an open door for chaos and anarchy. Sin separates us from God. But the moment we repent, the enemy no longer has a legal right to attack us.

As we begin to understand the depths of the perfect forgiveness God provided through Jesus, the gospel of peace takes our hopelessness and turns it into hope. We go from thinking, Why are all these things happening to me? I can’t control anything in my life! to understanding, The chaos around me can be controlled by what God has done in me. Hidden in the heart of our Father, we can speak, “Peace, be still,” and the “waves” in our lives will grow calm.

With this in mind, we can begin to understand how the peace of God makes us very dangerous in dark places, where the enemy is working. God’s peace does not affect our lives alone; we can carry it with us wherever we go and impact the lives around us as well (Luke 10:5).

The next time you ask God to bring peace into a situation, remember what peace actually means. It means to obtain quietness by removing the chaos and anarchy that seek to distract and destroy you. So when you ask for peace, you are not asking God just to help you trust Him in the midst of a difficult situation — He is His peace. He destroys the works of the devil and completely removes everything that threatens you. // Streams Ministries International Online.

Are you a man or woman of peace?

Blessings, Favor and Peace to you,

Michael L Bachmeyer

A Chinese Yawn

This morning, I had the benefit of meeting a college coed from nearby UW-Whitewater who was traveling with her mother. She was here from Shanghai, China on a visit to see her daughter, a very brilliant student. The student spoke some English so, with her help I had the opportunity to exchange bits and pieces with both of them. I am always intrigued by the diversity of cultures and languages of the many people groups of the world. I wanted to learn so much from them as we sat together. My problem was the language barrier. It created a definite roadblock. I don’t know Chinese or for that matter much of any other foreign language except for, “Un poco de español”. (“A little Spanish”. I used a translation website to help get that.)

So, we persisted a bit in our clumsy attempts to bridge the gap. Then, out of nowhere it happened. She yawned. I saw her yawn. Yes, she yawned in Chinese! And the amazing thing about it was I understood every bit it! You will never guess how I responded? Yes, I yawned too! I think it was pretty good Chinese.

It caused me to wonder, what if we patiently waited to find what we have in common and built on that instead of making judgments and categorizing? Wouldn’t the world, and the church, and our relationships connect in a deeper and profound, mutual and human sort of way?

We live in a world of “non-Christian speaking” peoples. I am confident that there are other similar behaviors of common ground that we can choose to use that will break barriers. Our attitudes and actions can convey a clear message to the non-Christian speaking person just as this Chinese Yawn was to me. Here are a few suggestions on how you can:

  1. Be kind and respectful
  2. Smile a lot, from the heart
  3. Offer a hand of help
  4. Admit your own losses, hurts and shared pain
  5. Acknowledge their value and validate their losses, hurts and pains
  6. Live in the favor of God; it’s contagious!
  7. Watch for their “yawn” and be ready to respond to the connection!
  8. If all else fails, be the first to yawn. It may start something.

I want to live, and yawn, like that!

How have you broken through seeming barriers?

Working Smarter not Harder

I met Wayne today.

Wayne is a 25 year old from Houston, TX. He is a lost and bewildered soul. He arrived in town with the Circus a couple of days ago. After oversleeping from a drunk the night before, he missed his show up time early the next morning. The circus foreman fired him on the spot and left him behind when they left town. No money, no job, no transportation, no family whom he could call. I know this because I took time to ask the questions.

I don’t often meet men in such conditions.

What would you have done to help Wayne?

I met him this morning around 5:00 am while tending to my work. I encouraged him with words. I tried to hook him up with the location of a shelter for men that may help. I also gave him a couple bucks for breakfast. Then, I shared the words of what I felt the Father would say to a lost son. Then, we went our ways.

I have met plenty of poor folks who work the system with a sense of entitlement. Some have an elaborate story of tragedy that is just a story to invoke sympathy. I’ve given money to many over the years out of sympathy to their story. I believe I’ve become wiser to those types, I hope.

I don’t believe Wayne was of that sort. I could be wrong. But, it doesn’t matter if I am. I don’t want to loose the ability to respond with help to the real thing when it comes my way!

Have you met anyone like Wayne lately? How did you respond?

The Thrill of the Hunt

JCPenney, a bellwether of department stores, recently changed its marketing strategy by eliminating coupons and the need for expensive advertising of “special sales events” hoping to improve their bottom line. The good idea, set the 1st and 3rd Fridays of the month as days of extra good buys. the strategy suggests that “Sale Day” would be a thing of the past. But, the good idea unexpectedly whacked off one key success factor that shoppers loved and JCPenney neglected to recognize: the power of the thrill of the hunt!

I think for most “shopping sharks”, the thrill of the hunt is one of the biggest reasons for being out on the prowl. The thrill of the hunt is finding that super deal that others missed and I was smart enough, quick enough and blessed enough to find! Is that true for you?

With the thrill gone, shoppers have gone elsewhere to get some satisfaction! With them went their wallets and Penney’s experienced a corporate financial loss for the quarter. What changes are coming?

I wonder how “shopping shark” thinking and behavior is indicative of the way many of us pursue our spiritual life?

Where are they, those spiritual sharks? Those hungry for the thrill of the hunt and the excitement of heavenly grandeur on display; those surprised by the find and those who most desire the real, authentic and genuine, where are they?

Have spiritual sharks died off? Have they found programs and lifeless presentations have become so common that the real thrill of His Glory has been lost? I’m certain that the church and leadership have tried hard to compete for the hearts of spiritual shoppers. But I feel many spiritual sharks have found “no blood in the water”. The scent of heaven’s glory is not released. Lower expectations for their spiritual longings has brought near extinction. They have left the building on the hunt for something that satisfies.

The church would do well to learn from JCPenney’s experience. As a leader, I want to be certain we don’t eliminate the most vital part of spiritual business. That being the very presence of God. The thrill of the Ultimate Find as Philip told Nathaniel (John 1:45). “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and the prophets wrote…”

In difficult financial times, we choose to cut the extras and non-essentials. We accept austerity by eliminating some things we could really do without. Very wise! However, the powerful presence and glory of God is not an extra. It is an essential! Our spiritual health depends on regular encounters with the Holy God.

The reality is not that we found Him, but that He found us. Welcome Him in. Celebrate His love.

I want to live (and lead) like that!

The Profit of Loss

The success of any failure; the profit of any loss; the blessing in any suffering is that it causes us to look where we would have never looked had we not failed, lost or suffered.

Failure and loss are a real part of this broken world. While failure or loss may have been intended by evil to destroy us we are left with a decision. What comes next? How can we by God’s grace turn devastation into victory? One of our first responses should be to pause and consider. Recall the promises of God. He never looses and He is ever faithful. If suffering is part of our lot then what can we make of it? Suffering reveals where we are anchored. It exposes our heart by showing where we go for cover.

Consider this. What I do with my time, effort and resources is not at important as why. If motives were screened at the airport like luggage what would they reveal about me? What I am confident about is not as important as where have I placed my confidence. What have I valued, trusted and believed? Fire and trial have a way of proving things including my inner state.

“Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish…” Isaiah 38:17

While no one gets excited about loss or sets out expecting failure we can find purpose here, even in disappointment. Suffering may not be allowed in your thesaurus of faith, but when it comes around to you and yours what will you do with it? Most things work out. All things work for the good! At least be persuaded to try. Choose to go out with courage.

President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checked by failure…than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

God never wastes a perfectly good failure. He restores a way home for the loss. He settles up on all suffering. Paul framed it like this, “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…” (Phil. 3:8)

He, who himself dared mighty things also suffered painfully. He who suffered won gloriously; and He invites you to dare, trust, and try again.

I want to live like that!

The View from a Sparrow’s Nest

What’s to be learned from a sparrow’s nest?

I like nice things. Not just things, but nice things. To me, nice things are those things that have a simple design with quality and longevity in mind. Usually, but not always, they are made of finer quality materials. Nice things are conceived with usefulness in their design. It’s not just a thing, it has a purpose. I enjoy having nice things in my home, garage and car.

I also like nice places. Places where simplicity, quality and permanence seem to be in the air. You can almost smell it. You can taste it. I’ve been to our nation’s capital and I have witnessed simplicity, quality and permanence there. I have been to Starved Rock Lodge in Northern Illinois and I have seen it there. I have had the opportunity to walk through Westminster Abbey in London and felt the sense of permanence with quality and simplicity. I have been to the Rocky Mountains on numerous occasions and I felt it among the majestic peaks and tall pines.

I’m talking about indulging yourself with that sense of awe that comes from being in splendor. It’s that awareness that I am so small and frail compared to the strength, grandeur and permanence around me. It’s similar to looking into the dark sky and being absorbed into the deepness of space by the wonder of it all. It is overwhelming. Suddenly, your heart and shoes your standing in are not big enough! We can’t get enough of that!

So, what can a bird’s nest teach us? A bird’s nest would hardly be classified among most nice things. Sticks, straw, mud. Yet, the sparrow has found a home herself; a nest where she will lay her young. A sparrow’s nest, built near the altar in the house of God (Psalm 84). David saw that simple sight one day and he was consumed by it. Living in the presence of God with a constant view of His majesty and permanence overwhelmed him.

I pray we never lose the ability to draw close; to wrap ourselves in the awe of worship. To those who believe, he is precious…and is to be welcomed into life and heart. His presence makes even the sparrow’s nest a place of majesty!

Oh, the simplicity, the quality and the longevity of the sparrow’s nest. Now, that’s a nice place!

I want to live like that!