Our second series of lessons… I need your help…

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Very shortly, our second series of lessons, which will be entitled, “Real Issues in Christian Living” will begin. I’m really excited about this series because it will tackle some of the real issues we face as we attempt to live our lives for God. I have already planned lessons which will deal with: the things that hold us back, having a Christian conscience, dealing with our anger, the Christian and alcohol, marriage and divorce issues, etc. Some of the lessons will surely spark some debate and discussion.

To date, we have approximately 3,000 visitors to our site each month!! Hundreds of people have signed up to receive our lessons in their email inbox on a regular basis!!

One of the biggest commands God has given us is to spread His Word (that’s the main reason I started this site… He commanded us to spread the Gospel and I know that His Word can help people as they try to live their life and as they try to get to heaven). I want to challenge the BLC community!  For everyone who reads this blog, go to the GET CONNECTED space on our homepage and invite TWO (2) people that you care about to join our study. It would be great if they join this week just as we are beginning our new series of lessons. Expose someone you love to the Word of God.  I promise that if they are diligent in their study of His Word that it will change their life for the better!! Just click on “Get Connected” from the homepage…you will need the person’s name and their email address. Thanks. I’m really looking forward to the new study, which will begin soon.

Carl

Real Friendship

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I once heard a preacher say that if you’ve got 5 true friends that you should consider yourself blessed.  When he spoke of “true friends,” he was talking about a very special relationship between two people.  A true friend is someone that you can laugh with, cry with, yell at and tell your innermost thoughts to without fear of being judged.  Most importantly, you can count on your real friend to celebrate with you when things are good in your life…and you can count on their support when you face life’s obstacles and challenges.

One of the true hallmarks of friendship is to be able to tell that person when they are headed down the wrong path.  No one likes to hear that…even from someone they know loves them.  The responsibility of a true friend, however, is to speak up!  If you don’t say anything to them, who will?  Should you just watch your loved one be hit by bus without warning them?  While it may be a little uncomfortable, the best course of action—if you truly love somebody—is to tell them what you see that could harm them…to tell them what you see that they are doing wrong.  If they can accept it from anybody…they can accept it from a true friend.  They are counting on your counsel and guidance—even if they don’t want to hear it.  The other day, I thought about the fact that I would be upset if one of my true friends saw me headed in the wrong direction and just watched without saying a word!  While we try to give people their space and allow them to live their own lives, we still have a responsibility to correct and rebuke.  The Bible gives us that example.  One passage that comes to mind is when Samuel confronts David about his affair with Bathsheba.  Samuel was very stern with David.  David needed his friend to be real with him and set him back on the right path.  I’m sure David was grateful for Samuel’s intervention.

Don’t just watch a friend make a big mistake or a bad decision.  Speak up!  If you are really true friends, your friendship can handle it…and later…your friend will thank you!

Count your blessings…

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During this Holiday, I had a moment to reflect on my blessings.  I looked at my wife and my two young daughters and I felt the Hand of God on my life.  I thanked Him for what He gave to me.  As you reflect, in a moment of silence, just look around you.  Surely, you can see something that God has blessed you with.  My life isn’t perfect, but I am blessed.  Your life may not be perfect either, but God has given you something.  It might take a quiet moment to actually see how wonderful and giving God has been to you.  Be safe…and keep studying the Word of God.

Carl

Deciding to take action!

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I have the opportunity to talk to a number of people who are dissatisfied with some aspect of their life.  Often times, it’s a financial situation, a challenging marriage, job burnout or loneliness.  There are things that happen in our lives that we have no control over.  If we had control over our lives we would make sure that everything was bed of roses all the time…but the reality is that we often have to play with the hand we are dealt. 

One of the unfortunate things I see is when a person really does have some control, but fails to utilize the control they have.  Instead, they remain depressed about their situation instead of doing what they can do!  Let’s say that a person is experiencing job burnout and they hate getting up going to work.  For them, it’s not just a phase, they are simply unhappy with where they work.  Rather than remain unhappy on a daily basis, start looking for another job!  What if you look in the mirror and are unhappy with the fact that you aren’t in shape and it’s making you unhappy day after day.  Instead of being depressed…join a gym and start working out.  If you are lonely, you don’t necessairly control whether you will find a mate, but you can certainly develop new friendships and get involved in various activities rather than sitting at home…looking at the four walls and complaining about your situation.  Again, do what you can do!

There are some things that you will have to accept that you cannot change.  You must pray and ask God to help you with those life issues.  For the things that you do have some control over, don’t just sit there…take action!!

Carl

We must always be ready…

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Yesterday, I was in the air on a small airplane headed home when suddenly the captain informed me that we needed to go back to the airport we left from because something was wrong with the plane.  This is the second time in a two year period that I have experienced this type of situation.  In both cases, I just started praying—Lord, your servant is on this plane…please allow us to land safely.  I text messaged my wife while in the air telling her that I loved her and my daughters and I also gave her some instructions about what to do just in case I didn’t make it back (I was surprised that she actually received the text message since I was in the air)… I asked the Lord to forgive me for my shortcomings.  In those 20 minutes…4000 feet in the air…I was trying to get things in order.  I was making sure that I was ready. 

As Christians, we must prepare ourselves to meet the Lord.  The Bible tells us that He will come like a thief in the night…at the time when we least expect Him.  Evaluate your life.  Would you be ready if today was your last day?  It’s a tough, but serious question.  We should constantly try to improve the way we are living our lives.  We never know when our time will come or when the Lord will return to Earth to claim His children.  While we aren’t designed to be perfect people, we must try our best to live in a way that pleases God.  We must always be ready to meet Him!

Carl

The Importance of Faith

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The Bible tells us that without faith, it is impossible to please God.  That is one of the strongest statements in the Word of God.  To say that we cannot please God unless we have faith says alot about how important it is for us to strengthen our belief.  There is a man in the bible whose daughter is dying and he knows that his lack of faith could prevent her from being healed.  He asks Jesus to help him with his unbelief.  When we are in a state where our faith isn’t strong, we, too, should ask the Lord for help to be stronger.

Even the most dedicated Christians have trouble with their faith from time to time.  Because we don’t want our prayers hindered, we must re-examine our belief whenever we start to feel a lack of confidence that our prayers will be answered.  The Bible says that when our faith is strong that we have the power to move mountains!  Allow God to be all that He can be in your life.  Don’t limit what He will do for you by having a lack of faith in Him…

Dealing with swift life changes…

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The wildfires in California have dominated the news this past week.  As I have watched the coverage, I have tried my best to sympathize with those who have lost everything.  Somehow, though, it is difficult to relate.  I can’t imagine driving down my street and not seeing my house.  I can’t imagine everything that I’ve worked hard to build being wiped away in a matter of minutes.  The people who have been affected by the wildfires are certainly experiencing something that the rest of us hope that we never have to face.  In a different sense, life has the power to bring all of us swift changes when we least expect it.  A tragic accident, the death of a loved one, a significant financial crisis, an unexpected betrayal—all of these are things that could happen without warning.  Happy one minute…devastated the next.  The only way we can deal with swift life changes is to have the consistent and constant Hand of God to depend on as we walk through our life experience.  We don’t know what’s around the corner…but if we know we have a relationship with God…we can be confident that with Him we can face anything…

Carl

Spread the Word of God…

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One of our biggest responsibilities as Christians is to spread the Word of God to others.  Often times, the best thing you can do to help someone is to give them an inspiring word from God’s Word.  This website aims to present bible lessons in a format that is relevant to what people are going through and experiencing in their daily lives.  Reach out to a co-worker, relative, friend or neighbor by inviting them to this online bible class.  It is as simple as clicking Get Connected from the homepage of this site and entering their email address.  Within seconds, they will receive an email invite with a link to this website.  Invite a friend to receive God’s Word—it’s the best gift you could possibly give to them…

What I’ve learned about Appreciating God’s Will…

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Our second bible lesson is called “Appreciating God’s Will“. I learned this critical life lesson just a few years ago. Upon graduating from college, I was offered a position with a great company. The salary was solid, I was going to receive a company car and corporate expense account. It was the job I had worked so hard for during those 4 and a half years of school. At the last minute, I was told that the person I was to replace in the company decided to stay and therefore they could not hire me. I was devasted. I had stopped pursuing other potential offers because I had been led to believe that I already had a job! There I was 23 years old with a college education and unemployed. Bill collectors were calling me. I felt like a failure. I had no choice but to work odd jobs in the interim and I hated every minute of it. I couldn’t help but to say to myself, “I didn’t go to college for this!” After 9 months of difficulty, the University I graduated from offered me a job. It didn’t pay well, but it was a full-time job with benefits. After working for the University, I realized that helping young people trying to further their education was my calling. I decided to earn a Master’s degree so that I could climb the ladder as a university administrator. After earning my Master’s, I decided that I wanted even more. I earned a Ph.D. so that one day I could be a university vice president or dean. While working on my Ph.D., I worked with college athletes to make sure that they achieved academically and got their education. This opportunity led me to start a small business advising college athletes on their transition to professional sports. Let’s just say that the Lord has blessed me tremendously in this endeavor and that what I do now is far better than what I would have been doing for that company that took back their job offer!! I have more education, more money and more fulfillment than what I would have had if I had been hired by that company. Eventhough I was devastated then and couldn’t see it, God had a different plan for my life that was far better than what I could have imagined. I am so glad that His plan for my life reigned supreme over my own plan. Not to mention, if I had been given the first job, I would have had to move to a different state (Oklahoma) and would not have met my wife and wouldn’t have the great children I currently have. Who knows what would have become of me. God had a different and better plan… Now that I have witnessed His will in my own life, I just yield to what He wants. When a door is closed in my life now, I just figure that it is the Lord’s will that it is closed and I appreciate Him for closing that door and I try to open another one. I know that He wants what’s best for me…and I would much rather that His will rule over my life than my own will…

Carl

What I’ve learned about prayer…

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This week’s bible lesson is on the power of prayer.  The lesson looks at how several bible characters had their prayers successfully answered.  By examining their prayers, maybe it will help us have effective prayers too!!

In my own prayer life, I have realized that I don’t always know what’s best for me.  I have certainly prayed for things that turned out differently than what I had hoped and prayed for.  Several life situations have showed me that sometimes I am praying for things that the Lord has decided to resolve for me, but He resolves them differently than the way I asked him to.  We must allow God to be God.  Leave room in your prayer for Him to intervene in the way that He sees fit.  Rather than praying for Him to do certain things a certain way, now I just pray that He will intervene in the way that He knows is ultimately best for me and for my life.  This type of prayer involves knowing and trusting that God knows best.  Though we may not understand it, His way is the best way.   As I have changed my prayers, God has shown me that He has truly answered all of my requests… He has just answered them in His own way… 

Carl

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