MWM: Vomit

Proverbs 26:11: “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness.”

I never understood why dogs eat their vomit. It is repulsive. It makes me want to vomit just thinking about it! And then I look at the things I do over and over that are disgusting and start to make excuses: “I’ll stop tomorrow,” “Just one more time,” “It isn’t as bad as _____,” and on and on and on. When we are living in sin and engrossed in the affairs of this world, we don’t even know we are eating our own vomit. I thank God every day for awakening my taste buds to the things of heaven and for creating in me a longing and desire for godly living. Now and then, I get a whiff of vomit, and it is nauseating. But then again, sometimes it smells good, and I find myself longing for the sins of the past. It is in this moment that I need reminding about how good life is with Jesus. Stop eating your vomit, stop repeating your foolishness, and turn to God!

#MinuteWithMaxon #MWM

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Making Plans God’s Way (Part 1)

James 4:13-17: “13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”

How many of you are planners?

How many of you get upset when your plans change?

How many of you make goals in life?

How many of you have a five-year plan? Ten year? Lord, just help me make it through the day plan?

Architects are notorious for making detailed plans. From a small bathroom project to a new house, the plans are complicated and must be approved by several organizations.

What would happen if we took the architectural plans and got bids from contractors, and then when they showed up to do the work, they came with their own plans? The architect and the contractor would not be on the same page, and there would be conflict, mistakes, and perhaps even fights!

When a massive building is put up in New York City, Chicago, or Denver, and it changes the skyline, who gets the credit? Yes, the builder may be recognized, but the architect, the designer, is the one who is credited.

Can I tell you something? God’s the ultimate architect, and we are simply contractors. 

He is the one with the master plan. He is the one who controls what should happen.

We are the contractors; we work for Him.

Let me rephrase those questions:

How many of you do your planning after consulting God?

How many of you get upset when God changes your human plans?

How many of you consult God when making goals?

How involved was God in your five-year, ten-year, twenty-year plans?

How much of your day is planned around God’s plan?

The bottom line: planning without God will lead to frustration, misery, bitterness, and ultimately defeat.

Chapter four starts by talking about conflict between people and war with God. Chapter four ends by talking about the will of God. There is a link between the will of God and the amount of conflict in our lives. When we are living inside of God’s will, life seems to work better. There may still be conflict and persecution because we live in a fallen world surrounded by sinners. However, we have more joy, peace, and grace when we are in God’s will. If we are outside of God’s will, there is trouble. Nothing seems to go right, and minor issues become major ones.

Some questions to consider:

-How can you surrender your plans to God’s will?

-What would happen if your plans were abandoned fully to God?

-How should we incorporate God into our planning sessions?

-What happened to your goals for 2020? How did that impact your strategic planning for 2021?

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MWM: Build the Wall!

Proverbs 25:28: “A person without self-control is like a city with broken down walls.”

Walls are a hot-button political topic these days. But walls used to be incredibly important to the protection of a city. When a town didn’t have a wall or the wall was in disrepair, it was an easy target for the enemy. The enemy could infiltrate the city and poison it from within. Similarly, the Christ-follower needs walls to protect itself from the enemies of the world, the flesh, and the devil. One such barrier is self-control. Self-control is one of the believer’s wall of defense against sinful desires that wage war against his soul.  It is probably best defined as the governing of one’s desires.  DG Kehl described it as “the ability to avoid excesses, to stay within reasonable bounds.”  Bethune called it “the healthful regulation of our desires and appetites, preventing their excess.”  Both of these descriptions imply what we all know to be accurate: we tend to overindulge our various appetites and consequently need to restrain them. But self-control involves a much more comprehensive range of watchfulness than mere control of our bodily wants and desires.  We must exercise self-control of thoughts, emotions, and speech.  There is a form of self-control that says yes to what we should do and that which says no to what we shouldn’t do. How are you going to work with the Holy Spirit to exercise greater self-control? 

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MWM: Bookends of Grace

We started our journey through Philippians talking about grace. We should end with it as well. Grace is a theme throughout the Word of God; we should meditate on it more than we should. We often forget or minimize grace. God’s grace saves and sustains the believer. We apply this grace through faith. This grace then works through us to accomplish everything God has planned for us. To the unbeliever, this is nonsense. To a believer, it is a mystery. But through faith, the mystery becomes more evident. It is time to let the grace of God capture your heart. Amen? Amen!

Philippians 4:23: “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”

#MinuteWithMaxon #MWM #Philippians

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MWM: We Will Survive

Throughout history, whenever a country fails that had been opposed to God, we hear stories of Christians that had permeated every level of government and a church that had gone underground and was thriving. It amazes the people that seek to destroy the work of God. But it shouldn’t. Even in a government that was hostile to the things of God, Paul finds believers. And these believers were serving the king! This should give us hope when we see our government continue to run farther and farther away from God. The church has survived 2000+ years of persecution. The church will survive until Christ returns for it. That is why our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. That is why we wholly lean on Jesus’ name. That is why Christ is the solid rock on which we stand. The church wins.

Philippians 4:22: “And all the rest of God’s people send you greetings, too, especially those in Caesar’s household.”

#MinuteWithMaxon #MWM #Philippians 

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MWM: Be Holy

Christian-you are holy; you are set apart; you belong to Christ. Don’t ever forget that. In this unholy world, we are surrounded by activities and attention-seeking demands that want to pull us away from Christ. I know it is a cliché, but we are to be IN the world, not OF the world. When we said “yes” to the free gift of forgiveness through faith in Christ, we were set apart. If you’ve been set apart, you are different. This means we don’t participate in the ugly, divisive, demonic ways of the world. We engage in this world with people and ideas so that God gets the glory, and the light of Christ shines brightly. Don’t get pulled down in the dung of unholiness. It is time to be wholly different and live up to the calling we have been given. Fight for God’s truth, God’s way, and God’s priorities. Stop the nonsense.

Philippians 4:21: “Give my greetings to each of God’s holy people—all who belong to Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me send you their greetings.”

#MinuteWithMaxon #MWM #Philippians

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MWM: Ultimate Glory

Why are you here? Why are you still breathing? Why do you have a pulse? Simple answer: God isn’t done with you! Whether you believe in Him or not, He is real, and He knows you. You still exist because your mission of giving all glory to God isn’t done yet. Whether you’ve been walking with the Lord for fifty years, five minutes, or are waiting to take that step of faith, your goal is to give God all the glory He is due. Stop trying to promote your ideas and your plan. Seek God’s will, plan, and purpose for your life, and then live for HIM! That’s the real adventure in life. What are you waiting for?

Philippians 4:20: “Now all glory to God our Father forever and ever! Amen.”

#MinuteWithMaxon #MWM #Philippians

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MWM: I Need, I Want

I love my daughters and look forward to the challenge of raising kingdom princesses. They are gifted in different areas. One similarity they have, though, is the confusion of needs and wants. C is always saying how she “needs” candy, soda, or anything with sugar. E is always grunting and pointing at whatever toy C has, indicating she “needs” it more than her sister. As much fun as it is teaching them what a genuine “need” is, we do the same thing as adults, don’t we? In our self-focused minds, we turn our wants and desires into needs. If we see something that someone else has, and we want it, we get it. Today’s verse is often misunderstood to mean that God will give us our wants and desires of the heart. But it says God will supply our need. Often, we don’t even know what we need, and our wishes get in the way of what we truly need. Our greatest need isn’t even material. No amount of money or possessions can meet the need we have for the salvation of our souls. Fortunately, this need is met by God in the most glorious and perfect way: the sacrifice of His son, Jesus! All we have to do is open this free gift through faith, and our most profound need, the longing of our heart, is met. What grace! What mercy! Thank you, Jesus.

Philippians 4:19: “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.”

#MinuteWithMaxon #MWM #Philippians

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MWM: Sweet-smelling Sacrifices

Imagine being in prison or on house arrest and still having to provide your meals. You aren’t given three square meals a day, you don’t have utilities paid for, no free gym membership, and you have to pay rent even though you have no means of generating income. I’m not trying to make today’s prison’s sound like a cakewalk, they aren’t, but the prisons in Paul’s day were different. He had to rely on the kindness of others for survival. He depended on others for meals, utilities, and company. Paul’s network more than provided for his physical needs; they sent people to help him emotionally and spiritually. In every letter, Paul mentions people who are with him, visiting him, and sending him gifts. What an encouragement to Paul! You never know when your words or actions will lift another person. Who do you know or think might be in need? How can you meet that need? Be obedient to the promptings of the Spirit and send help! Your sacrifice may be what they need to get to tomorrow.

Philippians 4:18: “At the moment I have all I need—and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God.”

#MinuteWithMaxon #MWM #Philippians

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MWM: Send it Ahead

Perhaps you have heard, “You can’t take it with you” or “You don’t ever see a hearse pulling a trailer.” These are common sayings to help you focus on what matters. You are not able to take anything you own into the afterlife. This is partially true. You can send things ahead! When you give stuff away, whether it is a material good, money, or time, you are investing in future heavenly rewards. I don’t understand all of the details, but the Bible does teach reward theology. We don’t give to get, that is improper motivation, but we trust that we will be rewarded for kindness and generosity. Sometimes those rewards come our way this side of eternity, often they don’t. What are you sending ahead? How will you be rewarded for your giving?

Philippians 4:17: “I don’t say this because I want a gift from you. Rather, I want you to receive a reward for your kindness.”

#MinuteWithMaxon #MWM #Philippians 

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