June 30, 2017

On a scale of 1 to 10, how happy are you with your life? Breaking this question down into a variety of topics or areas (relationships, vocation, health, spirituality, etc.), how do you score? Does this process help to identify specific areas which if addressed would improve your over all happiness score?

You do realize you are responsible for your score, right? What about those things others have said or did to you which are holding you back and negatively impacting your happiness score? Well, who is in control of you? Who is dictating and allowing your feelings to express themselves as they are?

If you do not like the outcomes in your life, acknowledge your accountability, and then activate the processes to bring the change you want into your reality. Sometimes our process comes down to something as simple as not doing something which produces a negative result in our life. Every once in a while I re-watch a video clip by Bob Newhart to remind me of how significant this concept can be. You can find the clip at https://vimeo.com/10880189.

To what extent do we really believe Jesus came to enhance the quality of our life when we are willing to say YES to the relationship with Him? Are we willing to implement the changes committed relationships require to be healthy and successful? It really is about learning how you can enhance your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health and then taking action on what you know.

As the old saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” You might want to consider the action which says, provide a salt block to make him thirsty and he might chose to drink.

When you demonstrate achievable, beneficial, outcomes there are those who will say, “If you can do it, I can too,” and they will. So how willing are you to enhance the quality of your life and raise your happiness levels? Remember, no one can do this for you. Your choice, your outcome.

June 29,2017

I want to give credit to Alan Gilman for triggering the thoughts found in this article today. I personally enjoy Alan’s insights which he shares on his bog. You can sign up for his email version or read what he has to say at http://torahbytes.org/.

It began when Robert Burns was plowing a field and inadvertently dug up a mouse nest. This began a chain reaction which resulted in his creating a poem in 1786, “To A Mouse.”
“But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane [you aren’t alone]
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft a-gley, [often go awry]
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promised joy.”

The poem then became the source for the title of John Steinbeck’s 1937 novel, “Of Mice and Men.”

No matter how carefully you plan your day, there is still the possibility something may not go as you planned. Life happens, things change, and how we respond will determine not only how we feel about the situation, but also what the outcome may eventually be.

God had rescued His people from slavery in Egypt and was leading them on a journey to the land He promised to them. In the process, He was seeking to teach them some important lessons in preparation for what was yet to come. God was leading His people by means of a pillar of fire and cloud. One of those relationship lessons was about trust. When the pillar moved from above the tabernacle (a place of worship) it was a indication the people were to pack up and follow. If the pillar did not move, the people were to stay where they were.

In Numbers 9:17ff we discover something important. The people never knew how long they would be in one location. It might be a couple of days, or it might be a much longer time. Once they were on the move, they never knew where they were going next. This process was about learning to trust. It was about acknowledging God was in charge of their life both in the present moment and what was yet to be.

There is danger in thinking our plans will always automatically work out the way we think they will. Planning is important, but if we lose the ability to adjust and adapt because of the rigidity of our thinking and plans, we miss out on the benefits of the detours which comes along in life.

Proverbs 27:1 reminds us we should not boast about tomorrow because we do not know what may happen. There was an old saying I remember hearing when I was much younger which declared, “We will see you tomorrow, the Lord willing, and the creek don’t rise.” This statement was not only an acknowledgement of the unknown which may come into our life, but also our dependence on God for what might be.

Solomon said it this way in Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in Yahweh with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and he will guide you on the right paths.”

Remember, “The best laid plans of mice and men can often go awry.” Learn the lesson of trust and allow God to guide you to your destiny while living out a magnificent reality.

June 28, 2017

Your willingness to acknowledge accountability and activate the process necessary to get you to wherever it is you are looking to go is vital. The question before you in this moment is simple and strategic: If not now, when?

Your past is gone, your future is not guaranteed, but your immediate gift is your present. Yet, this present moment transforms into the past and is replaced with a new present with each tick of the clock. Your life is in constant motion. You must therefore decide are you moving towards your goals and dreams or further away from them? Is your present a positive or negative thing in relation to your life’s destiny?

Nanette Mathews wrote, “Give yourself permission to enjoy this present moment. Resist the urge to fill it with I need to’s, I shoulds, I coulds. Trying to fill all your present moments is impeding the natural flow of life.”

Another impediment to the benefits of your present comes as a result of worry, anxiety and fear about tomorrow. Jesus reminds us, as recorded in Matthew 6:25-34, to refrain from allowing these things to interfere with our present. We would be wise to plant positive, faith filled, thoughts about what yet is to be. In doing so we provide the conditions for the harvest we truly desire.

Realize, if you chose to live in an environment dictated by legalistic rules and laws controlling the perception of your reality, you will get what you are creating. Rather, say YES to a relational based environment in which you are loved by One who has your best interests in mind. See your present from this vantage point with a faith that knows whatever is happening in the present will work out for your good, even if you can’t see it right now (Romans 8:28).

June 27, 2017

I promised you a story to illustrate the impact of our perceptions on the outcomes in our life. Your beliefs about God determine what you perceive about Him, your connection to Him and your understanding of the Scriptures. Do you perceive God as a Law Enforcer or a Relationship Restorer?

I first heard this story almost 50 years ago when I was a teenager. I do not know its source and I do not know whether it is based in fact or fiction. The truth is its message is still valid either way. This story is about a woman who thought she had found the man of her dreams. She fell in love and got married. Whether she had been blinded by love and did not see what was in front of her eyes at the time, or the man changed after she was married, she found herself in a place she never thought possible.

Each morning before her husband left for work he handed her a “to do list” for the day. This list included both his expectations and his demands to be completed before he returned. If something happened and the list was not completed, there were severe consequences for her failed actions. Even what she did do was often criticized because it did not meet the husband’s requirements.

Needless to say it did not take long for this type of treatment to take its toll on the relationship. Life was a daily chore for this woman where she felt trapped and defeated. This situation lasted for a couple of years when one day word came there had been an accident and the husband had been killed. The upheaval of this experience began to fade as time passed and the woman began to put her life back together. Then she met a wonderful, kind, loving attentive gentleman who adored her. After some time her fears of the passed marriage began to diminish and she finally agreed to marriage.

This time, her husband did not change, but continued to love, respect, and help out at home as much as he could. He was always encouraging, appreciative and supporting of what she did. One day in going through some things from her life in the past, she came across several of the “to do” lists created by her previous husband. As she looked at the lists she realized she was still doing all the things on the list. There was a difference now, they were not chores and did not generate negative responses. She was doing these things not because it was demanded of her, but rather because of her love and the relationship benefits she now was experiencing. The quality of the relationship changed everything.

She saw the things which she had perceived as demands and legalistic assignments producing a sense of bondage and limitation, now as actions leading to joy and satisfaction. The love, acceptance and connection found in the relationship changed everything. When we understand this principle and its impact on our life, in relation to the relationship God offers to us, it changes everything.

We do not follow the rules to escape hell and somehow make it to heaven. We do not obey the demands and laws of God to stay out of trouble and somehow appease our way to eternal life. We are living in love a relationship where God desires the best for us. He goes out of His way to restore and enhance our life, not just down the road at some point, but right now. Jesus identified as part of the reason for His coming His desire that we might live our lives to the full (John 10:10). Saying YES to the relationship with Jesus is not just about obtaining this result some day, but is about the possibility of it happening right now.

My choice is to connect with the One who is the Relationship Restorer, rather than the Law Enforcer, how about you?

June 26, 2017

Yesterday I asked the question, “Why did God create humanity?” At that time I stated, “From my perspective, God’s why in relation to humanity is all about relationships and in a more specific sense, family relationships.” When you begin to truly investigate God’s why, you find it was expressed even before the creation of the world.

Ephesians 1:4-6, the Apostle Paul tells us it was God’s plan from before the creation of the world that we should be holy and blameless in his sight. He also declared because of His love He planned that we would have the opportunity to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.

There are those who argue there was no real personal relationship established between Adam and Eve and God prior to their rebellion and disobedience in the Garden of Eden. The say this period of time was an initial test about the keeping or breaking of the rules and laws of God and Adam and Eve failed the test.

Randy Alcorn, the author of over fifty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries, says this about Genesis 3:18, “There’s no definitive proof that God walked in the Garden of Eden on a regular basis with Adam and Eve, but the passage’s implication seems clear to me. I think it would be odd for God to first come walking in the garden with Adam and Eve only after they had sinned. God walking with people normally suggests closeness and intimacy and fellowship. The natural connotation, to me, is that God often did this, perhaps daily ‘in the cool of the day,’ but what was remarkable this time was that man was afraid, because he had sinned.”

Let me say right up front, your beliefs about God determine what you perceive about Him, your connection to Him and your understanding of the Scriptures. Do you perceive God as a Law Enforcer or a Relationship Restorer?

We do know when God confronted Adam and Eve about their choice of disobedience (Genesis 3:15) His response was not just to kick them out of the Garden of Eden (judgment as a Law Enforcer), but to also speak the words of the promise of reconciliation through “His Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might be adopted as sons” (Galatians 4:4-5) (Relationship Restorer).

The question to be answered is, what was God’s heart and passion in that moment? Was it judgment or relationship? This is a question you should be asking over and over again as you read through God’s Word taking notice of what your response is

I have written a small booklet, which currently is in the editing process and soon to be published in which I demonstrate the core position of The Ten Commandments is all about relationships, and not legalistic rules and demanding regulations. Feel free to email me requesting your free digital copy of my “The Ten Commandments” booklet at mail@bobmclellan.com and I will email it to you when it has been published. This is a limited time offer and your request for the free copy must be received on or before July 4, 2017. Tomorrow I will share with you a story which illustrates this principle for your consideration as you look at God’s why for creating humanity.