Doing Right (#mondayswithMike)

Do you know anyone who likes to be wrong? They simply embrace being wrong for some strange reason? Probably not. Most people prefer to be right. They like to be right in knowing things and they like to do right things. Often, when trying to be and do right, we find ourselves in a battle. We ask this question, “What’s the right thing?”

Well, if you are a follower of Jesus, here’s some great news. The Bible teaches us about right and wrong. It is full of dos & don’ts, precepts, principles and guiding wisdom. Followed closely, you can learn what the right things are and then do those right things. Conversely, you can also learn what not to do.

However, does doing the right things make you right? Is there more to it?

Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices  righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.

1 John 3:7

Does this verse in 1 John say that whomever does the right thing is thereby right, just like Jesus is right? It seems to, but there is more to it. The right actions do point to a person being right, like Jesus. However, being like Jesus means doing the right thing for the right reasons.

This is an important, because without this distinction we could all just point to our actions (the right ones) and say, “See. I’m living rightly” (or righteously). “See, I’m like Jesus.”

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.

Proverbs 21:2

The why of our actions determines our righteousness. It’s not just doing all the right things. It’s about so much more. Doing right things like Jesus means doing those things for the right reason.

Not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart

Ephesians 6:6

So, let us do the right things for the right reasons. Not so we can tell others to witness our good, right actions, but so God will see the purity of our hearts. Thus, the effectiveness of those right actions will be multiplied in God’s service. Again, not for our glory, but for the honor and glory of God!

29 and counting (#mondayswithMike)

Yesterday we celebrated 29 years of marriage. My wife and I have known each other since 1989 when we met at college and started our friendship. She is the best! It’s truly been amazing to have her in my life for three decades plus.

So, today means we are kicking off year number 30! I contemplated just what lessons learned do I need to heed and continue working on in the coming years.

Honestly, there are way too many. Our years together have brought life lessons by the truckload. We have learned how to stick together during some tough times and we have rejoiced together during great, mountain top times. Whether we felt like we were on the bottom or flying high on the top, we did it together.

Here is one of the biggest lessons I have learned when it comes to sustaining our marriage.

“Take NOTHING for granted!”

That might seem elementary, but in a long life together it is increasingly easy to take your spouse and the things you’ve already accomplished for granted. Life can become mundane as you both go through similar motions of the everyday schedules and routines.

Twenty-nine years is a long time. In today’s marriage climate it is a real accomplishment. Not an accomplishment we attribute to ourselves, but one we owe to the grace of God on our marriage. We are truly thankful and blessed.

Nothing is guaranteed. Nothing is promised. To keep adding years to our marriage count we will strive to live in the moment and prefer one another over ourselves. We will continue to work hard on our marriage and keep learning. We trust that as we stay committed to God and to each other, his blessings will show up in the form of many more years of marriage.

Starting Today? (#mondayswithMike)

If you’re a starter of things, today is maybe one of your key days. It’s the first Monday of the New Year and many have enjoyed the weekend and put off their “fresh start” objectives until today. That’s cool. You do you. My hope is you had a great weekend and worked through the details of whatever it is you’re getting ready to start.

Some of us have had too many “I’m starting Monday” times in our lives that inevitably ended in failure. Sometimes we started strong, but just lost focus and then energy to continue. Other times we don’t ever get going very strongly and end up bailing on our plan. Whatever the reason, I want to share a couple of thoughts that I am using to get this year started in the right direction.

The Bible teaches us that we should be mindful of time.

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time” -Ephesians 5:15

I have found that many of us have a difficult time being consistent when it comes to “making the best use of the time”. There are lots of fun things I like to do that take me away, get me off track from using my time to do those things that are best. Sadly, those more important things simply fall through the cracks and end up not being addressed or accomplished.

My verse for this year has been chosen to help me in this specific area.

“The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance” -Proverbs 21:5

Choosing to make the best use of the time means I have to practice diligence. Left up to feeling or mood will end up with me haphazardly walking through my days, months, even years.

Whatever it is you want to do differently or better this year, ask God to help you do so with diligence. Making the decisions of life, deciding about the different opportunities that come your way with diligent thought and planning. You will find that you make better choices and end up accomplishing more of the things that matter more to you. Fewer important things will fall through the cracks and be left undone.

By God’s grace, you and I can do better and bring more honor and glory to God!