Tag Archives: promise

The Trouble with Words


Have you ever known someone who said they would accomplish a task, but when things got tough they flaked out? Have you ever been this person? Are you this person? 

In our culture today it seems like this is acceptable. People of all ages are in the habit of volunteering for some duty and quitting before the duty is completed, or they volunteer for the duty and merely do enough to scrape by, grumbling the whole time about the job they have to do. When this happens, it affects everyone involved – not just you. 

To say you will accomplish a task and then proceed to do a half-hearted job is dishonest and lacking integrity. To quit on your responsibility before you have completed it is to put others in a bind and show that you are untrustworthy. 

When we behave in such a way we teach our children this is acceptable, and then we wonder why they don’t want to stick with that sport or this instrument or any such optional activity. 

When you make up your mind to take on a responsibility, integrity says you follow through to its completion. 

As a leader in different organizations who delegates so that the workload is lighter for all, I have experienced the flakiness of this generation for years. I have seen people volunteer for a task and never begin to do the work. I have seen people volunteer with gusto but wither away into oblivion before the completion of the job. This reflects on their personality as well as the leadership who trusted them with the responsibility. 

If I seem like this is a soapbox issue for me, it is because it is. 

I was raised to give my word and follow through. I was raised that to do less was dishonest and left lasting impressions on others concerning my integrity. I was taught that this was a reflection on my character as a son of God. 

Imagine if Jesus gave up before the cross. Imagine if Paul quit after the first scourging. Imagine if church leaders stopped leading. Imagine if parents stopped parenting. What would the world be like? It could be that it wouldn’t be much different than it currently is. 

Jesus spoke of the integrity that should be associated with our words when he said “let your yes be yes”. When you make a commitment, your word should be your bond. You should be the type of people others can rely on to follow through with their promises. 

The apostle Paul said this:

Colossians 3:23-24

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Would you quit if Jesus was there in the flesh? Would you halfheartedly work for him? Yet this passage says that’s exactly what we do when we don’t follow through with our word. 

I encourage you to volunteer with many different ministries and organizations – as much as you can juggle. However, be it a church ministry, community organization or relationship, work at it as working for the Lord.  If you realized it was a mistake to volunteer be honest and admit your error so others can finish what you started. But please work with integrity, leaving the job well done for the next person to follow in your steps. 

This is the way of the kingdom. 


Timothy was 5

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Timothy’s sister, Sarah, was very ill and in the hospital. This concerned Timothy very much. He looked up to his big sis, and she was his whole world. Timothy was 5 and Sarah was 8.

As the treatments continued the doctors determined that Sarah needed a blood transfusion in order to save her life. They began the search for who would have the right type of blood to save Sarah’s life. Timothy even had his blood tested. He didn’t like the prick, but it was worth it for his big sister.

After the tests were completed it was determined that Timothy was a perfect match as a blood transfusion donor for his sister. They explained the procedure to Timothy, and after only a little bit of convincing Timothy agreed.

The doctors quickly got everything ready, and before he knew it Timothy was laying on a bed next to his sister. She had all sorts of tubes and machines connected to her. Her eyes were closed, but Timothy smiled as he looked at her. He was saving her life.

Not long after the procedure began Timothy began to silently weep. No one noticed at first. When Timothy’s mom realized he was crying she went to him and asked him what was wrong.

“How long till I die?”

Everyone in the room froze as the impact of the question set in. Timothy agreed to the blood transfusion, but in his mind he was giving all his blood – his very life – to save his sister. This five year old had given the greatest sacrifice so that his sister could live.

What would you give so that others would live?

There are many things that you can give to bring life to others. You can give time, prayer, effort, money, services, etc. Jesus said that the greatest love someone could show is to give their life for their friends. Then Jesus called his disciples friends.

How much do you give so that others can live?

Do you give your time, money, effort, prayers? Many people go to church each week but are merely consumers of all that goes on there. Then, if things aren’t going their way, or if they aren’t being “fed” what they desire to consume, then they are the loudest complainers. Are you one of these consumer Christians?

In 2 Samuel 24:24 David wanted to worship God in sacrifice. The landowner offered to give him the land and the sacrifice. David could have consumed these goods and given little effort to worship God, but he refused. He refused to worship God in a way that cost him nothing.

We are called to make sacrifices every day and in many ways. In our churches we are called to make sacrifices of praise to The Lord. But we are also called to give. It won’t kill you to give, but many people act like it will.

If you are giving pocket change each week I challenge you to dig a little deeper until you feel the pain of sacrifice. If you aren’t giving at all, I challenge you to get started right away. Giving is a blessing when you do it. Even God promises to pour out copious amounts of blessings on those who give in Malachi 3.

So let’s be people who give. And let’s watch together as our giving provides new ways for people to come to life in Christ.


James Taylor and the Bible

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Have you ever had a time in your life when you felt like life just isn’t fair, and you’re discouraged? Have you ever been faced with a decision where you couldn’t see the consequences of any choice? Have you ever felt utterly alone in this world? Have you ever wondered what your purpose is set out to be; where does God want you to go; what does He want you to do?

I would say that if you answered yes to any of those questions you are extremely – normal.

We all feel that way at some time or another. Today I want to remind you of some promises from God for you as you journey through life.

First of all, remember Abraham. God told Abraham to go, but He didn’t tell him which way or how far. He just told Abraham to trust God, and He would lead him to the place He would give his descendants.

Abraham left. I don’t know if he walked out his tent and went left or right, but whichever way he went was the right way. Abraham was seeking to follow God, and God did not disappoint Abraham by abandoning him.

God gives us the same promise today. Whatever situation you are in, God wants you to know He is with you, and if you follow Him, then you will be going the right direction and doing the right thing wherever you land. God is trying to bring you peace no matter the circumstances.

Let’s look at a few passages that reflect these ideas:

Isaiah 30:21 “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.'”

God is trying to show you that He is with you wherever you go. You merely need to be listening for his voice. We tend to worry that we made a wrong decision, but God is affirming you. He is telling you that He is still with you and helping you and guiding you even in your decisions – even after your decisions.

Matthew 6:31-34 “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

The secret to finding contentment in Christ comes from a change of focus. If you are focused on all the physical needs you perceive, then you will easily become discouraged when troubling times come. If the answers aren’t clear, then a physical-focused mind becomes muddled. But if the mind is focused on the Kingdom of God and being in His righteousness, then there is peace in knowing that He is in control and will take care of all your needs. It is when we understand this passage that we can more readily trust in the Isaiah passage.

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

This is an amazing passage. God blanketly says here that everything is going to be ok. He wants you to know that even if you make a decision that you don’t think was best He is still working it out for your good. You can go to the bank on that. This is a promise from the God who cannot lie. You have been called, and as you love him (more than a feeling – its an action) he works all things out for your good.

Whew! That’s a load off! That means that even if you chose a job that may not be the best you can still be blessed in that. Maybe you made some bad decisions earlier in life that you now regret. God is working to make all things good for you. He’s awesome like that.

Lastly, in Hebrews 5 the writer quotes God as saying “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Maybe you feel all alone in life. There is disaster on every side. You are not alone, and He will never leave you. Even when you draw away from Him, He never leaves. He is very much like a good parent that, though the child does wrong, He still loves the child and desperately wants the best for that child.

That’s the God we serve. That’s the God I want to serve.

James Taylor sang a song that many of you know, “You’ve Got a Friend”. If you know that song, then think about the lyrics. It’s a song of a friendship that would sacrifice anything to help the other out. That’s a pretty great image of our God, and He has already sacrificed everything to help us out. “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

I hope that this has brought you some encouragement in your life. We all need encouragement from time to time, and the promises of God are true and bring life. Share this with your friends; chances are that they need to hear this message too.

If there’s anything I can do for you, please feel free to contact me at jddobbs@verizon.net or through my blog at http://www.mrdobbs.org. God bless you…wait, He already has.


The Voices Inside My Head

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I’m exhausted. My family and I just got back from a 3,000 mile round-trip excursion to Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, back to Tennessee, then Missouri, back to Arkansas, then finally back to Texas. We got to see family and friends we haven’t gotten to see in a while. We got to visit with a couple of my former students – one of whom got back in January from Afghanistan. I also got to go to a marvelous Youth Ministry Conference while in Louisville. It was a time of refreshing as I gathered with 3,000 other youth ministers from around the country to get refueled for ministry.

As I was there breathing out the stressors and worries of life and breathing in the words of God I recognized just how many voices speak into our lives.

What voices speak to you each day? Someone this weekend said that the four hardest jobs in the world are politicians, coaches, teachers, and ministers. They are the jobs where everyone else thinks they can do a better job than you can, and they frequently tell you so in no uncertain terms. What voices speak to you?

Maybe your voices come from outside influences. Maybe your family tells you something about yourself. Maybe it’s your friends or co-workers. Maybe it’s media that are significant sources of the voices that convince you of certain “truths” about yourself and the world around you.

I heard a news piece just last night talking about how even the continual images of the “perfect” women in all the visible roles in media influence our young women to think that they must also look that way. There was one story of the little girl in the beauty pageant, and when she didn’t win, she asked her mom “does this mean I’m not pretty?”

These outside voices can be brutal. Perhaps they tell you that you aren’t pretty enough or smart enough or that you don’t work hard enough. Maybe they tell you that you don’t fit in.

These voices, however, are not as potent as the voices in our own heads. I’m not talking about the schizophrenic voices where we talk to ourselves out loud. I’m talking about the subtle whispers in our minds that try to define us.

“You’re a failure as a mother or father.” “You may as well give up.” “No one really cares about you.” “You have nothing of value to contribute to society.” “You’ll never be the spouse you need to be.” “It’s ok if you do that; no one will be affected by your actions.”

As we go on in our lives these voices can easily morph from whispers to shouts as we feed in to their influence on our lives. When we start believing these things they cripple our ability for forward momentum.

I’ve seen the skits where a person stands in front of the mirror and says out loud to him or herself “Because I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!” In every skit they say it with enthusiasm, but their eyes reveal the truth that they don’t really believe what they are saying.

Many of these voices keep the dark places of our lives close by so that we don’t allow God to take over those places and eradicate the darkness. The voices keep us captive. They cripple us in our potential.

God is desperately desiring to speak a different message into your life. He wants to remind you that you are His MASTERPIECE (Ephesians 2:10). He wants you to know that when you listen to Him he will help you have the best life possible (Jeremiah 29:11; Romans 8:28). He wants you to know that you are totally worth it.

Worth what? Worth His sacrifice on the cross. God thought and still thinks that you are totally worth sacrificing Himself so that you can live eternally with Him.

We listen to these voices because we desperately want to be accepted and liked by society around us. We are constantly trying to impress the world – the created world – while the whole time the God who created that world, the Master of all existence, is trying to tell us that we are His favorite, and he already likes us. He even loves us. I once heard Jon Acuff say that “God follows our Facebook, and he likes, likes, likes!”

That’s pretty good news isn’t it? Let me challenge you. Spend more time listening to what God says about you in His word than what society said about you or even than what Satan whispers in your head. If you do this it will be much easier to combat those voices. I propose that you will even have a much brighter outlook on life. “You are more than a conqueror through Christ.” “You have been given a spirit of power, love, and self discipline.” “God will never leave you nor forsake you.” These and so many other promises are found in scripture. And when we read these promises, we also need to remember that God cannot lie.

You are awesome! God made you the way you are, and he doesn’t make junk. Satan has been trying to remold you into his likeness since you were born. It’s time to allow God to reshape you back into the masterpiece he created you to be. That reshaping can only happen when we let the voice of God be more influential than the voices of this world.

I’m on this journey with you. External voices are constantly trying to tear me down. Join with me in becoming more dependent on the voice of God than the voices of all the “haters” – even the ones inside our heads. And may our lives change for the greater because of it.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to call me at 245-1611 or via email at jddobbs@verizon.net. God bless you!


There is Hope in the Midst of Sorrow

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To be honest with you, I haven’t had time to sit and process all the events of the past week. When I heard the news, I was shocked, and when I heard the ages of the children I was horrified. However, with the candlelight vigil to plan and the countless other people who we’re there to check on, I haven’t spent much time being able to process this myself.

What I do know in the midst of this is that God is still here. He is still active. And He works all things out for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

My children have been very inquisitive about this event. Imagine my three year old and five year old trying to process that other children their age were shot by their own dad. When I think of some of the stories of how this went down it literally stops me in my tracks, and I have to pause for a moment to regain myself.

I cannot imagine being the mother. There are too many “what if’s” to be able to ever be completely healthy after last week. But God still works things out for the good, but your dedication to him is the key.

Look at what it says in Jeremiah:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity.” Jeremiah 29:11-14

God is not the one who orchestrated the events of last week. Even though Christians live their lives daily in dedication to the One True God they still die all over the world. The reason is that Satan is still at work as well, and mankind has free will choice on which of the two they will serve.

What helps me in times like this is not the idea that God will protect me from everything, but that He is guiding me to a better path. He will not necessarily keep me from death or harm, but He will not harm me himself.

He is the only father who will never fail you. He will always love and cherish you. He always protects, but sometimes the protection comes through helping you heal through a difficult time so that you can help others heal and be prepared for tougher times to come. In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, the scripture says that God is the God of all comfort, and He comforts us in times of trouble so that we can comfort others when their times come.

We don’t know all the ins and outs of how God protects. We don’t know the extent to which He is continuously working in our lives, but we can trust that as we dedicate our lives to Him, He will work everything out for His good. We just need to seek Him, pray to Him, and call upon Him, and He will deliver us from the captivity of the sin of our lives (see Jeremiah 29).

In John 9, the disciples asked Jesus who was being punished by this particular man being blind. Did he sin or did his parents? Jesus’ reply was neither. This man was blind so that God may be glorified, and as Jesus healed him, God was glorified.

I do not believe that God orchestrated the events of last week. However, I am confident that He is working out everything involved with each person so that if they are seeking Him and praying to Him and calling out to him, then He is working out everything for their good and to His glory.

I know that trusting in this promise is often hard, but we are promised hope, and as we learn to live in that hope, then we will have confidence and peace even in times of intense sorrow.

I hope that you have had a chance to process what our whole community experienced last week with the shooting that occurred. If not, I’d like to encourage you to find a minister in town that you can talk to. Any of our members here at Nichols St. Church of Christ would be honored to speak with you, and I know that the ministers from the various other churches in town feel the same. Please take time and find comfort and peace through talking this out and seeking God. In Acts 17 He promises that He is not far from you. He’s just waiting for you to seek him.

If there’s anything I can do for you in this or the coming weeks, please let me know. You can contact me although the church office at 979-245-1611 or via email at jddobbs@verizon.net.

God bless you, and may God bless our city as we all continue to seek Him through tough as well as easy times.


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