Daily Devotions

Brutal Truths

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"The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all this, and they ridiculed him. So he said to them, 'You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of others; but God knows your hearts; for what is prized by human beings is an abomination in the sight of God.'" (Luke 16:14-15)

 

Matthew Jones, a contributor for inc.com, caught my eye, with the following article. It certainly speaks to the issue raised by Jesus, who chastises the Pharisees for being lovers of money. Like Mr. Jones' article describes, there is a lot more to life than money:

 

It's much easier to talk about the weather, sports, and celebrities than your fear of mortality.

Unfortunately, the more time you spend pretending that ultimate truths don't exist, the more time you waste not being your authentic self and getting the most out of every precious second.

Time, not money, is your most valuable asset. Allow the list below to ignite the spark of motivation you need to make better use of the time you have on this planet.

Sometimes we need to head into the storm to appreciate the light and have a renewed passion for the beauty of life.

 

Here are Twenty brutal truths that every single person needs to hear.

 

1. You're going to die and you have no idea when.
Stop pretending that you're invincible. Acknowledge the fact of your own mortality, and then start structuring your life in a more meaningful way.
 
2. Everyone you love is going to die, and you don't know when.
This truth may be saddening at first, but it also gives you permission to make amends with past difficulties and re-establish meaningful relationships with important figures in your life.
 
3.Your material wealth won't make you a better or happier person.
Even if you're one of the lucky ones who achieves his or her materialistic dreams, money only amplifies that which was already present.
 
4. Your obsession with finding happiness is what prevents its attainment.
Happiness is always present in your life--it's just a matter of connecting to it and allowing it to flow through you that's challenging.
 
5. Donating money does less than donating time.
Giving your time is a way to change your perception and create a memory for yourself and others that will last forever.
 
6. You can't make everyone happy, and if you try, you'll lose yourself.
Stop trying to please, and start respecting your values, principles, and autonomy.
 
7. You can't be perfect, and holding yourself to unrealistic standards creates suffering.
Many perfectionists have unrelenting inner critics that are full of so much rage and self-hate that it tears them apart inside. Fight back against that negative voice, amplify your intuition, and start challenging your unrealistic standards.
 
8. Your thoughts are less important than your feelings and your feelings need acknowledgment.
Intellectually thinking through your problems isn't as helpful as expressing the feelings that create your difficulties in the first place.
 
9. Your actions speak louder than your words, so you need to hold yourself accountable.
Be responsible and take actions that increase positivity and love.
 
10. Your achievements and successes won't matter on your death bed.
When your time has come to transition from this reality, you won't be thinking about that raise; you'll be thinking about the relationships you've made--so start acting accordingly.
 
11. Your talent means nothing without consistent effort and practice.
Some of the most talented people in the world never move out from their parent's basement.
 
12. Now is the only time that matters, so stop wasting it by ruminating on the past or planning the future.
You can't control the past, and you can't predict the future, and trying to do so only removes you from the one thing you can control--the present.
 
13. Nobody cares how difficult your life is, and you are the author of your life's story.
Stop looking for people to give you sympathy and start creating the life story you want to read.
 
14.Your words are more important than your thoughts, so start inspiring people.
Words have the power to oppress, hurt, and shame, but they also have the power to liberate and inspire--start using them more wisely.
 
15. Investing in yourself isn't selfish. It's the most worthwhile thing you can do.
You have to put on your own gas mask to save the person sitting right next to you.
 
16. It's not what happens, it's how you react that matters.
Train yourself to respond in a way that leads to better outcomes.
 
17. You need to improve your relationships to have lasting happiness.
Relationships have a greater impact on your wellbeing and happiness than your income or your occupation, so make sure you give your relationship the attention and work it deserves.
 
18. Pleasure is temporary and fleeting, so stop chasing fireworks and start building a constellation.
Don't settle for an ego boost right now when you can delay gratification and experience deeper fulfillment.
 
19. Your ambition means nothing without execution--it's time to put in the work.
If you want to change the world, then go out there and do it!
 
20. Time is your most valuable asset--you need to prioritize how you spend it.
You have the power and responsibility to decide what you do with the time you have, so choose wisely.

 

Good Thing I'm Not God

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"So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him." (Luke 15:20)

 

As a father, I am not sure how I would respond. Part of me would run up, hug and kiss him. He is alive, and wants to come home. But another part of me would want to chew him up and spit him out. "How dare you put me through the pain and worry. Do you have any idea the humiliation..." I would want to keep on my tirade until I was too worn out to continue. But lashing out wouldn't be beneficial. I might even want to hear him out, waiting for an apology before I decided what to do next. Not this father, he didn't care about apologies, he just cared about the son brought safely back to him.

 

I often joke, "It is a good thing I am not God!" I am not forgiving enough, loving enough, or wise enough in any given situation. God has the short and long term view of every situation and always has the appropriate response. That is why we are not our own gods. We read the Bible not simply for information, history, or theological accuracy. We read it to learn who God is and how we can respond living in a very challenging world.

 

Today, think about the people who have disappointed you. If they faced you today, would you run up and hug and kiss them, or have a different response. This father's response isn't appropriate in every situation. For instance, if a woman is being abused by her husband over and over again, seeing him, she should not  run to him and provide a hug and kiss. But in other situations we are unwilling to follow the father's example when it is the best example. Pray for God to give you the wisdom to respond appropriately in the challenging situations in your life. God will direct you if you will only give God the chance.

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