WELCOME!!!!!

WELCOME!!!!!
Hope you enjoy the blog; may it bless and encourage you!

Murphy Geer Toerner

My photo
Austin TX and Baton Rouge, LA, United States
I enjoy helping people. I am an encourager and I can see the good in others. I want people to understand what it means to be an authentic Christian and not just a religious "nut." I believe if Christians lived and loved others as Jesus lived and loved others, we would experience more of heaven on earth than hell on earth. These thoughts and writings are intended to encourage you to be who God originally designed you to be. They are also intended to challenge you and make you think. Also, I want you to know that I'm praying for you every day. Blessings, Murphy Blessings to you, Murphy

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Be Careful; Be Watchful


(Photo by M Toerner; 12/2007)


We observe people day in and day out; people at work, loved ones, friends, people on the street. When we look at a person, we are unaware of the invisible "filters" we use to assess them. Yet, we consistently and persistently use such filters. They probably go hand in hand with the workings of our flesh.

Our assessment filters are like the blinds on a dirty window. The dirt and smudges corrupt and taint the view. We can "see" things, we can make things out, but we don't always see things clearly. Dirt and smudges distort our comprehension. Window blinds restrict light, clarity, and brightness.

We try to see clearly, but we can't; not because we don't want to. It's because we are prevented from doing so. We might look through this window (the above picture) and say, "Is the person on the right my sister? No, ... well, maybe ... I can't be sure." When we draw major conclusions about others because we think we KNOW or SEE pieces of evidence, we still need to be careful. God doesn't want us to make judgments of others. He knows that filters, dirty windows, and partially closed blinds, obstruct our vision. Be careful about judgments you make of others. Our vision is often obstructed.

Be careful; be watchful; reserve judgment.
murphy

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Calcasieu Lake - View from my sister's destroyed house.

(Photo by M. Toerner 12/2008)
My sister's and brother-in-law's home was ruined this year by Hurricane Ike. This is the second time they have had to deal with a house ruined by a major storm. Rita took its toll just a few years ago.
They will be bulldozing their house in the near future. Please pray for Karen and Bubba. They are weary and worn thin. Doing this whole thing twice is beyond belief. Their spirits are still high and they are looking toward the future.
That's why I'm posting this picture. This is what one can see from their front yard. It is Calcasieu Lake in Southwest Louisiana. In this photo, the neighbor's wharf has been restored. It is a hopeful sight. Pray with me that they will be able to keep pressing through. In time, they will have a new home. God is faithful.
I sincerely appreciate your warm wishes and prayers (on their behalf).
Murphy

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Pushing God Out of Our Culture

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary a while back.

My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees.. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees.

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a crèche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period.

I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat. Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him?

I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to. In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking. Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her 'How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding Hurricane Katrina)

Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?'

In light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said OK. Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell.

Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says.

Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing.

Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Tell someone about this article if you think it has merit. If not then just discard it or delete it ... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully, Ben Stein

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Something to Think About

A friend of mine opened his wife's lingerie drawer and picked up a gold box wrapped in silk paper. He commented, "This isn't any ordinary package." He unwrapped the box and stared at the exquisite silk camisole lying in the gold box.

"She got this the first time we went to New York , 8 or 9 years ago. She has never worn it; she was saving it for a special occasion. Well, I guess this is it." He got near the bed and placed the gift box next to the other clothing he was taking to the funeral house, his wife had just died.

He turned to me and said, "One of the things I've learned from my wife's death is, 'Never save something for a special occasion; every day of your life is a special occasion.'

His words literally changed my life. Now I...
* read more and clean less
* sit on the porch without worrying about all the stuff I "should" be doing
* spend more time with my family and less at work
* understand that life should be a wonderful experience; not just something we survive

Now I ...
* don't save all of the good china, crystal glasses, and silver for special occasions
* use the crystal glasses every day
* wear new clothes to go to the supermarket (if I want to)
* don't save special perfume for special occasions, I use it whenever I want to

"The words, 'Someday...' and ' One Day...' are fading away from my vocabulary."

"If it's worth seeing, listening, or doing, I want to see, listen, or do it now."


I wonder what my friend's wife would have done if she had known she was about to die? I think she might have ...
* called her relatives and closest friends
* called old friends to make peace over past quarrels
* gone out for Chinese food (her favorite)
* made amends for the hurts she inflicted on those closest to her

Failure to do these small things is what I would (we all would) regret the most.

Each day, each hour, each minute, is special.
Plan for tomorrow, but live for today because tomorrow is promised to no-one.
May you choose to live life wisely today.
May you love others well (your family, friends, and even your enemies.)
May you live in a manner worthy of your calling.

May you live the kind of life that is rewarding and meaningful as you approach death.

With much fondness, Murphy

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Art of Virtue (Part 2)

Benjamin Franklin thought that thirteen virtues were essential for living a meaningful life:

1. TEMPERANCE - Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.

2. SILENCE - Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.

3. ORDER - Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.

4. RESOLUTION - Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.

5. FRUGALITY - Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself, i.e., waste nothing.

6. INDUSTRY - Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary
actions.

7. SINCERITY - Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly; and if you speak, speak accordingly.

8. JUSTICE - Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

9. MODERATION - Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.

10. CLEANLINESS - tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.

11. TRANQUILLITY - Be no disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.

12. CHASTITY - Rarely use venery (sexual intercourse) but for health or offspring, never to dulness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.

13. HUMILITY - Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

Quoted from The Art of Virtue by Benjamin Franklin, pp. 42-43

Meditate on these and ask the Lord how you are doing in each category. Let him speak into your life as to where you need to grow.

Murphy

Hide and Seek

(Photo by M. Henderson)

I grew up in southwest Louisiana. We were the first family on the block, but as time passed, other families came too. Eventually, we had a pack of children and we played together after school and during the summer. We built Christmas tree forts, played softball and football. When we were younger, one game we loved was, "hide & seek."

My favorite places to hide were: the wooded area behind our houses; the dirty clothes hamper in the hall bathroom (it was empty of dirty clothes); under the long built-in vanity; and in my bedroom in the huge closet.

Both of my sons loved playing hide & seek too. When my husband walked down the hallway toward their bedroom, I'd throw a sheet over the boys and pretend I did not know where they were. Walking into their bedroom, Mike would play along and say, "Dorable, have you seen the boys?" At which time, the boys would giggle and scream with glee.

Most people think the goal of "hide & seek" is to hide so well that you'll never be found; but this isn't the case. The real goal is to hide well enough to make the game fun, but not so well that you're never found. The fun really comes in the near misses. It's when you are just about to be found and you dart from your hiding place and make it back to base before the person playing "IT" can catch you. It is just awful to hide so well that "IT" can't find you. In fact, we will give our position away by making some silly noise just to keep the game interesting.

There is an adult form of "hide & seek," but instead of hiding from "IT," we hide from God and others. We hide from God because we assume He is angry, disappointed, and demanding. We hide from others because we feel inferior and ashamed. We wear "masks" so others can't see who we are for fear they will not accept us as we are.

Hiding from God started in the Garden of Eden, but it is truly pointless. We hide from the Person who loves us perfectly and completely. He's the only Person who values and cherishes us. Plus, because He is God, an all-knowing, all-powerful, and ever-present God, do we really think that our puny attempts at hiding will work? I don't think so.
Do you hide from God? Are you afraid of Him? Do you know Him as your good Shepherd and perfect Father? The truth is, God is the only Person we DON'T HAVE TO HIDE FROM. Perhaps we hide because we believe all the false accusations and bad press written about Him. If you knew Him personally, you would never have to hide again. Wouldn't that be a great thing?

Praying for you today,
Murphy

Tough Questions

Do you know someone who struggles with a root of bitterness?

Bitter people are some of the toughest people in the world to love or be around, aren't they? Someone asked me, "Do you think bitter people will go to heaven?" My first thought was, "Wow! Interesting question!" My reflective thought was, "How do I answer a multifaceted question? The only way is by seeking God's heart, His truth, by seeing the hidden dynamics of the situation, and knowing their spiritual condition."

Some Christians do not seek such things from the Lord when answering tough questions. Instead, they operate with a "shoot from the hip" approach; which is ultimately more foolishness than wisdom. Black and white or polarized thinking is founded on man's pride and the results are criticism, snap judgments, and quick condemnation; all of which is the fodder of disillusionment with Christ and organized religion.

God is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. He sees that which is hidden and brings into the light that which is covered. He knows the facts of every situation; the history of every life. He is fully aware of the lies and misbeliefs we believe; He understands the "why behind the what." He is the sole righteous judge; He alone meters out justice. His character is love and He perpetually extends grace and mercy to His children.

Who is better equipped to make wise decisions and accurate judgments? Whom will you emulate when searching for divine answers and perspectives?

Muchly,
Murphy

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Great Place for Retreat

As a follow-up to Murphy's most recent post regarding taking time for connection and retreat with God, I would wholeheartedly recommend a wonderful spot right here in South Louisiana. If you are looking for a place that offers warm hospitality, skillful therapeutic intervention, anointed spiritual direction, profound silence, and a powerful sense of safe repose, check out http://www.parishhermitage.org/.

My wife and I try to get out there a couple of times a year, if at all possible. Length of stay can range from overnight to two weeks, and can vary in focus from intense therapeutic intervention to spiritual guidance to a simple retreat of silence or solitude. Dr. Eddie Parish and his wife, Judy, have been richly gifted by God to offer this wonderful ministry. Go and be challenged, restored, and refreshed!

Dr. Roger Butner

Don't Forget ...

(Photo by M. Toerner; 3/2008)
It is easy for Christians to forget the importance if spending regular, daily time with the Lord. There are a variety of ways to accomplish this. One can have a personal Quiet Time or they could spend time listening or singing praise songs after dropping the kids off at Mother's Day Out.
A close, personal connection with the Father is accomplished via short (or long periods) of personal prayer time. Meditating on a specific Bible verse while sitting in the car-pool line is a great way to focus your attention of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. This is not a time consuming activity, but it still brings about our needed connection with the triune God.
Why do we fail to connect with God in these ways? Most often, it's because we have over-extended ourselves in the busyness of life, marriage, children, work, family, and friendships. Another part of that is, we get distracted by the multitude of stressors, distractors, and worries of life on earth. During difficult economic times, we are often more concerned with how we are going to pay the rent and buy the groceries than our daily connecting with God. We might be more aware of how we need to connect with our husbands than we are of God.
We don't need to be legalistic about Quiet Times. Legalism can be just as devastating to our walk with God than skipping a Quiet Time. God simply wants us to be intentional and purposeful in our pursuit of Him.
An often forgotten means of connecting with God is going on personal, spiritually directed, silent retreat. This type of retreat can be a real shot in the arm for our spiritual lives. A three day, five day, eight day, or thirty day retreat can be a life-changing experience. It is most often a wonderful way to put aside the worries and woes of this world for a deliberate length of time and focus on the Lord and our personal journey with Him.
If you have never heard of a "silent retreat," try not to nix it before you understand the benefits of it. Just because something is new to you, it doesn't mean that it is not a powerful tool used by God to turn our hearts and our faces back to Himself. If you are a child of God, that means He has called your name and you responded to His call and invitation. The next part of your journey is learning to stay connected and directed by Him each day for the rest of your life.
May today be a great day of connecting with the Father.
Blessings,
Murphy

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Drawn By Beauty

(Photo by M. Toerner, 12/2005)





One day after church, my family went to eat lunch and as we visited, our younger son spoke of how much he loves Louisiana (and the South.) He commented that Louisiana will always be his "home."


We talked about several things that made Louisiana so attractive to us, like: the weather is mild (semi-tropical), the food is out of this world (or not of this world), the people are genuinely warm and caring, and on top of that ... south Louisiana is beautiful because of the lush, green vegetation. It is a beautiful place to live.


There are other beautiful things to be seen and found in Louisiana: the sunsets and beaches, the flowers and fauna, the varieties of terrain, the colors displayed in everything that can be seen. Even the people are interesting and colorful. The traditions are captivating. It is wonderful to behold.


Almost without exception, our eyes are drawn to that which is beautiful; whether it is a beautiful painting, a beautiful person, or a beautiful pastoral scene. Human beings love to gaze upon God's amazing and awe inspiring creation.
Everything we take in through our senses, is mesmerizing. Man enjoys beauty, God is captivated by it. Think of places like the Grand Canyon, California, Louisiana, Colorado, Maine, and the Gulf Coast. Think of watching a renown ballet or a well-rehearsed symphony. Think of all the plays and musicals on Broadway in NYC. Each one has a unique beauty of its own.


In heaven, when we finally see God face to face, we will be overwhelmed by His beauty and glory. If most people fall down to the ground on their faces when an angel appears, what will it be like to be in the presence of God Almighty. Surely, it will be more exhilarating than we can think or imagine. The cool thing about God is that even His graciousness if beautiful. When we fall on our faces in worship, He will surely lift our heads and welcome us into His presence.


Take a moment and think about what you consider beautiful. It might be a person, place, or thing. It might be your spouse or your children. It might be a job well done or dearly loved piece of terrain. Perhaps you love a piece of music or watching a sport played well. A person's voice might be beautiful because it is melodic and warm. A sunrise or a sunset, a painting, or a poster could catch your attention. The craftsmanship of a beautiful church, a hand-carved alter, or a piece of stain glass might fulfill your definition of beauty. Beauty can literally be found in anything. It is all around us.


Whatever you think is beautiful, take a few moments and thank God for it. Thank God for that beautiful sight, scene, person, or moment. Thank God for the opportunity to appreciate His creativity. Thank God for instilling within you a distinct sense of beauty. Tell Him that you are waiting to see the ultimate expression of His beauty ... His face.


Praise the Lord.

Let Go and Let God


First of all, I want to say THANK YOU to Murphy for welcoming me so graciously to the family of Murphy Toerner and Associates, Inc. in so many ways. Inviting me to contribute on her blog is just one of the many examples I could list, and I am grateful for the invitation and the warm hospitality. For my first offering, I will share a recent post from my own blog, but in the future, I will be posting unique writings here:

You may have heard this little saying before - "Let go, and let God." I suppose it has been made most popular through 12-step based recovery programs. It is also very wise.

I'm a problem solver. It's what I do for a living. Well, there's more to being a therapist than solving problems, but it is a big part. And I've always been a whiz at working jigsaw puzzles. I'd like to say I was the outstanding puzzle worker from a great puzzle-working family, but my Dad and my two sisters would probably quickly call me on that stretch. Anyway...

I was in my empty new office on Friday, looking at the desk that happened to be available, and envisioning the rest of the furniture I will be bringing during the coming week. And I was frustrated. No matter how I arranged and rearranged the puzzle pieces, I couldn't make them fit together into a pleasing big picture. If you know me at all, you know how locked into a problem or project I can get until I get it solved. And I was getting nowhere, except more frustrated and agitated. And here I was in my new office at Murphy Toerner and Associates, where I am so excited to be moving. Something was definitely wrong with this picture.

So, by the grace of God, I was able to put into practice some of the growth and insight He has provided me over the last year or two, and realized that what was wrong with this picture must have been my attitude. "Pause. Deep breath. Just walk away, Rog. No, I have to solve this all right now! Just walk away. Okay, okay. I guess I am just making things worse. Let it go, man. Just let it go. Wait - don't just let it go. Let go, and let God! Father, I am tired and frustrated, but this office and move really means a great deal to me, and I want to have the right attitude, as well as setting up the best office for my self and my clients. Please help me! Thanks."

Well, I strolled outside for a slow leisurely meander around the pond at CK Office Park, and finally settled on a stump overlooking the landscape. I could feel God stilling and refreshing me. My Father was reaching down, patting my back, and telling me He is with me, He is proud of me, and it will all be okay. He will take care of everthing. And then the beautiful gift of grace. "Hey son...what about using a sofa table, instead of a desk? ;)" Now, this may not sound like much as you read it in the context of my little blog post. But it hit me with thunderously calming joy. That was it! Aaaahhhh! The pieces came together in one glorious motion, and God gets all the glory. He is so good!

Just one more little reminder for me and you why it is ALWAYS so good to let go, and let God.

Peacefully,

Roger

p.s. - Upon returning to my new office with my wife and new furniture (the sofa table looks great, by the way!) to meet the resident handyman to help me get moved in, I got a surprise. I discovered my unbridled zeal regarding how to arrange my new office had led to scuff marks on the new carpet. One more lesson learned.

The Power of Touch

(Photo by M. Toerner, 12/2007)
Thank you, Karen and Jon.

Never underestimate the power of touch, whether physically, emotionally, spiritually, or intellectually.

When someone holds your hand when you are sick, it communicates a sense of commitment and companionship.

When someone hugs you or lays hands on you in prayer, it communicates value, warmth, and community.

When someone shares a spiritual idea or insight with you or when they share what God is doing in their life, it creates a greater longing for God and the fellowship of the saints.

When someone asks you to help solve a problem or brainstorm about an idea, the intellectual capacity in the room is increased exponentially.

God created us to live connected to one another and in community with one another. Stay alert today, God is calling you to connect and encourage those around you.

Blessings to you,
Murphy

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Art of Virtue

(Photo by M. Toerner, 2007)


Recently, I discovered a book about the art of virtuous living. The book is a compilation of excerpts from Benjamin Franklin's journals. The following is Franklin's first formula for successful living:


"If our desires are to the things of this world," wrote Franklin, "they are never to be satisfied."


Pleasure,
position,
popularity,
wealth,
and appearance are among those whistles (possessions) in life
which cannot satisfy, and for which many people pay too much.


Happiness is so common a desire that all the world is in pursuit of it;
but, since the happiness of man lies in correct action, and correct action flows only from correct opinion (thinking), many never fully experience the happiness that could be theirs if they were more careful of their opinions (thoughts).


To be happy,
it is necessary to possess an indifference to things of this world,
to be willing to submit to the will of Providence (God), and to have a well-grounded expectation of life hereafter.


To be happy,
it is necessary to learn how to govern one's passions and appetites,
to be just in one's dealings with others,
to be temperate in one's pleasures,
to support oneself with fortitude in difficulties, and to be prudent in one's affairs.


Because those things external to man
have little to do with happiness, Franklin believed that happiness
can only be found in a virtuous and self-approving conduct.

And because, in old age the only solid satisfaction
is the reflection of a long life spent in meaning well,
Franklin believed that, in this life, the only constant and durable source of happiness,
is in acts of humanity,
friendship,
generosity,
and benevolence.


The Art of Virtue: His Formula for Successful Living
Benjamin Franklin, pp. 36-37
Edited by George L. Rogers

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Expectations

(photo by M Toerner, 12/2008)
Romans 4:2-5 -- "2. For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about; but not before God. 3. For what does the Scripture say? "AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED (CREDITED) TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS." 4. Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. 5. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness, ..."

This passage says that Abraham was justified by faith (trust in God and what He says); not by works (simply obeying the Law.) God is always intentional and purposeful. He does not operate by happenstance and His work, intentions, or kind acts are not random.

It is crucial that all of God's children understand this foundational principle. If we believe we are justified by our works (our obedience to the Law), it always leads to some type of boasting. The boasting may or may not be expressed verbally and whether it is or isn't is insignificant.

Human beings operate by an on-going, stealth-like formula. We inherently believe when we do something right; achieve some imaginary standard of righteousness; obey the Law; or follow Him faithfully, we will be rewarded. We EXPECT God to give us the desires of our hearts. If we are single, we expect a spouse is forthcoming. If we are childless, we expect fruitfulness and parenthood. If we are sick, have complete faith He will heal us. We discount death as a form of perfect health. Just the opposite, we believe God has to heal us because we've asked in His name. We develop an insidious form of pride, self-aggrandizement, self-promotion, or boasting because of human effort. Although we are not conscious of our reasoning, we believe we are due the things we want, in the same way a person expects to be paid for a day's work. Why is this insidious? Because it is invisible and undetectable; we are unaware of how we are operating.

Isn't this why we get so angry and disappointed, and even enraged, with God? Isn't it because we expect to be "paid" in wages of: comfort, ease, success, fulfilled desires and dreams? We expect such things as payment for our choices.

When we serve God well or obey His law, a spirit of expectation and/or entitlement arises. We have well thought out ideas of how He SHOULD respond to us. When our expectations and entitlements are not fulfilled, we react with devastating disappointment with Him.


Two things can help us:

1. Anytime we are angry or enraged with God, we need to stop in our tracks and question our response. We need to examine why we feel the way we do. Is it because we expected to be "paid" for our obedience? Expecting and deserving go hand in hand and they lead to extreme reacting.


2. The supreme reason we obey God is because HE IS GOD (and we aren't.)

Beside you in Christ, Murphy


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Learn the Lesson

Something to think about:

We are going to mess up. It is inevitable because of our humanity. It is impossible for any human being to be perfect. Don't get me wrong, there are times when we excel and our performances are good, consistent, and sublime. Yet, in time, we will mess up because we can't sustain perfect levels of performance or excellence.

Have you "messed up" lately? Have you done something that you are ashamed of or deeply regret? Most of us, if not all of us, could answer in the affirmative. Are you stuck in beating yourself up because of your mistakes? Are you stuck in feeling overwhelming guilt about some legal or moral failure? If you are, I want to give you some hope.

God expects you to fail; in the same way that a parent knows that their one year old baby will fall and hit his/her chin on the living room coffee table as they learn to walk. All parents KNOW the "fall" is going to happen. They just don't know the exact time. God accepts our failures because He remembers we are dust; we are frail (Psalm 103). He is not angry when we fail. He cares more about what we do after we fail. He cares about us learning the lessons from our failures.

He wants you to learn from your mistakes.
He wants you to yield to the conviction of His Holy Spirit.
He wants you to realize that the CONSEQUENCES that befall you will get bigger and badder as you grow older; so learn early and learn quickly.

He wants you to learn from your mistakes.
Learn to turn to Him.
Learn to trust Him.
Learn that the fun you were pursuing is not worth the consequences you will pay for your sin.
He wants you to take sin seriously.
Again, He wants you to learn the lessons from your failures.

If you recently failed in any way; please, please please humble yourself under the mighty hand of God; and He will exalt you in the proper time (I Peter 5:8).

When you get caught, don't get mad ... That only leads to wasted energy.
When you get caught, choose to change. Choose to follow God. Choose to pursue virtue. You will never regret doing the right thing. Never!

Much love,
Murphy

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Beginnings

It's January, 2009. Can you believe it? I don't know about you but it seems like time is flying by.

I love January. December is my favorite month because of Christmas, family get-togethers, plus my birthday is at the beginning of the month. So, I love December; but I equally love January because it is a time of new beginnings. All of us benefit from emotional, spiritual, relational "do-overs."

Beginnings are full of energy and hope. They give us the opportunity to reflect on our lives and make needed or necessary changes. Sure sometimes our efforts are not successful; but think of what your life would be like if you NEVER experienced turning points along the way.

The beginning of a new year lends itself for moments of personal reflection. Usually when we stop our frenetic life-styles and reflect, God is very faithful to gently and gingerly reveal areas in our lives that don't line up with His will. God is not a screamer. He is a gentleman. He speaks to us. He convicts us. He guides us and leads us into all truth. He is faithful to conform His children into the image of His Son, Jesus.

As you reflect, is God showing you something that He wants you to change through the power of His Holy Spirit? Is there a character issue that He wants you to bring to Him so He'll help you change? Is there a way you speak that is not pleasing to Him? Does your will supersede His will?

It is a new year! It is time for reflection, renewal, restoration, and transformation. The work is not totally up to you. You can not make yourself holy. Only God is able to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. It is a time for you to choose to reflect and ask God to do His "God-thing" in your life. He will help you succeed. He will change you little by little into the person you were always meant to be.

Please don't let this season pass you by.

Much love,
Murphy