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Hydrate — Winning from the inside 37 (Matthew 7:12) The Golden Rule

Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the
law and the prophets.
Matthew 7:12 NLT

Oh, what an easy thing to say, and seemingly impossible to follow through with. Think about it…there were times when Jesus called people names. A good example of this is when Jesus called the Pharisees “sons of vipers” (Matthew 23:33), “brood of snakes” (Matthew 12:34), and “white-washed tombs” (Matthew 23:27). Another time He used a whip that He handmade and used to whip people out of the temple. He must have been okay with others doing the same to Him or He would not have done these things to others. Strange to think that Jesus was called names and also whipped. This makes me think about what Jesus said to Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane: “Peter…put your sword away… Those who use the sword will die by the sword” (Matthew 26:52).

Do to others what you would like them to do to you.
Now as to whether or not Jesus would say it differently today…I don’t want to open the door of someone thinking that I think Jesus made a mistake here. That’s not my point. I am thinking that maybe Jesus, if He were living in today’s culture, wouldn’t use the Golden Rule, as tweeted above, as much as He might have used what I would call The Platinum Rule. I think the Platinum Rule, if spoken by Jesus, would read, “Do to others what I have done and will do for you.”
Out of the mouth of Jesus, this statement is a game changer. The Platinum Rule seems to squelch all possible neglect and abuse from the speaker of the rule.
The Platinum Rule makes the following comment from Jesus pop! “There is no greater love than this…He who lays down his life for another” (John 15:13). He commands us to give, share, reward, encourage, hold accountable, and even die for each other. These would be things that Jesus did for all of us. These are things that fit the Golden Rule also. Do to others as you would have done to yourself.
If Jesus actually tweeted this to you today: “Do to others what you would like others to do to you,” and you knew it was directly from Jesus, how would you live your life today? Think about the free gifts that Jesus gave you: hope, joy, forgiveness, purpose, etc. Would you give these to others today? And then tomorrow as well? And then…

Spend a few moments and meditate on that.Think about what you should do today in regards to the Golden Rule.
Think about your day and what’s coming. Who do you know that you will encounter today? Make a decision right now to treat them like you would like to be treated. Be prepared. Don’t be caught off guard.
I hope as you live your day that you will dwell on this Golden tweet. Do to others what you would like done to you. If that passage makes you feel guilty about selfish decisions in your past…then ask God and the people you have offended for forgiveness, and move on with your life. Do not let the guilt from your past cripple your present and future. Today and tomorrow are more important than your past.
It’s crazy to think that the Golden Rule sums up the Law and Prophets as the tweet says. The law and prophets include way too many things to actually remember. There are 613 Old Laws from the Old Testament and then all the things the prophets said. Jesus gives us the cliff ’s notes to the Law and Prophets! I like how Jesus thinks. “Do to others what I would like to have done to me.” Jesus had a way about Him in keeping things simple.
So, be like Jesus, and keep it simple. When we start treating others the way we don’t want to be treated…things get complicated.
Focus on this tweet today: Do to others what you would like to have done to you.

It will impact and change how you live each moment. How incredible would it be if you could remember this tweet all day, every minute?
Practice makes permanent.

The above post is from my book Retweeting Jesus, Pages 103-105.
You would like to purchase the entire book, it releases publicly on July 2nd, 2013 at Amazon.com or tatepublishing.com. If you don’t want to wait until July 2nd, I have some books at home and will ship them to you. 14.99 plus 2.92 shipping. Contact me via my email… retweetingjesus@gmail.com


If I were an Old Man…

I was up early this morning to spend time with the Lord, abiding in Him and allowing Him to teach, lead, comfort and direct me. God is so good. He always does what is best for us…and that, sometimes, doesn’t feel good. I mentioned in a previous post about how crazy-fast this past year has gone. In fact, time seems to fly like never before. On this day there are only 188 days until Christmas. I’m not trying to be morbid, but If I do the “math of average” and I live to be the average age of a person who dies in the U.S. 87.7 years…then that means I have 45 Christmas’s left before I join the Lord. At first that seems like a lot, but when I begin to think about my kids and grandkids and how many of those future Christmas’s I might or might not spend with them…45 doesn’t seem like very many. I would think that I would be sad about this…I’m not sad, but it does cause me to mourn. God never intended for life to be like it is today. Life can be so very harsh. There is a lot of anger in people. There is a lot of craziness going on in the world. There seems to be a great panic in our culture for something we can’t fully describe or attain. A fight for being on the right team. A fight for the “top.” A fight for self gratification. I don’t want to be all bad news. My goodness, there is a lot of good going on right now too. So many people serving others, opening doors, standing for good, sacrificing so others may be blessed. We live in a world of polar opposites. Good versus evil. It’s all simply called life.

I read a verse this morning in my time with God. The verse is found in the Bible at 1 Kings 20:11. I have read the Bible many times and yet I do not ever remember reading this verse in those past journey’s through the Bible. The verse reads, “A warrior putting on his sword for battle should not boast like a warrior who has already won.”

This verse caused me to contemplate many things. The ancient wisdom in that verse is deep and wide. Reading the verse made me feel very young. Then, the creative side of my brain made me think of myself as an old man sitting with a young lad, telling him about how to live his life. I imagined myself sitting and talking about my life’s experience. I imagined myself hoping this young man would listen to what I was saying and hopefully take some of my personal experience and learn from it. The good and the bad. Here are some things I think I would tell him.

Young man…(obviously, ladies, you will have to read this as if it were speaking to you in the feminine.) What I’m about to tell you is what I’ve learned over my life…It’s not everything I’ve learned in life, but what I’m about to share is deeply important. I hope you will listen to it and learn from it. I hope we can meet regularly and that you will allow me to speak with you often about other things I’ve learned that I’m not going to remember today. What I tell you is my experience…it may not be the same for you. The road I paved is not the same road you will travel. But, learn from this old man and then pave your own road.

I heard a really good man say, “Heaven is real, the Bible is true and God loves you more than you’ll ever know.” I love that phrase and it is as true as truth gets. Build your whole life around that phrase.

I know you are hoping that life is going to serve you well, fill you up, and give you great success. It might, but I have found that life won’t think about you, only God can fill you to full, and success must be earned and is never guaranteed.

If you do earn success, it can be gone tomorrow. Don’t count on it to make you happy.

Happiness, by the way, is something you are never entitled to or deserve.

Finding the right woman to marry will make you or break you. When you find her and marry her, her whole family is included in the marriage. Your whole family too.

Sex is great, have it only with your wife.

Every year you live, it will go by faster.

Stuff will never make you happy, but you will be tempted your whole life to think so.

You will never be free from temptation, so don’t pray for protection from it more than you pray for strength to resist it.

Most people in your life will betray/hurt you in some form or another. Be very grateful for the few who do not. And no matter what happens, don’t let bitterness and un-forgiveness reside very long in your heart.

Live your life working very hard to not hurt or betray the people in your life. You will not be perfect in this endeavor.

Resist taking anything for granted. Your family, your church, your job, your success, your money…anything. There is no guarantee that it will be there for you tomorrow. The only person/thing that is guaranteed to be there for you is Jesus Christ.

Do not let fear hold you back from anything.

Every job situation will look great from the interview…you will know the truth once you accept the job and get into the job’s reality.

When you swim in a cesspool long enough you will get used to the smell. So…if you ever notice you are in a cesspool, get out immediately.

There is a lot to think about in the wisdom line I just shared above.

Do not let concern for what people think influence your decisions.

God will ask you to do things that will make no sense at all…do them anyway.

Do not believe for one second that God is interested in your comfort more than your character. God uses pain to refine character. If you don’t like that fact, it won’t do you any good to get mad at God about it.

You are going to hurt people. Do not do it on purpose, ever. When you do hurt people, say you are sorry and mean it.

The phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Is true and it’s a choice. They really are just words.

Hurt people….hurt people. So…when someone hurts you, think about what has hurt them that causes them to now hurt you. It will help you forgive them.

If you promote the progress and purpose of others, you will look back over your life grateful and fulfilled and spent.

When you promote the progress and purpose of someone else, don’t expect them to do the same for you.

The size of the dream you have in life and whether or not you accomplish it, is directly correlated to how much pain and suffering you are willing to endure.

A majority of people will never win the lottery, or have even 15 minutes of fame. Don’t live for that hack dream. Remember, that anything worth having will never comes easy.

If something is worth doing, it is worth doing…even poorly.

If you are not good at something you really should do, keep practicing. You’ll get better. Someday you’ll be an expert at it.

If you have children, they will bring great joy into your heart.
If you have children, they will squeeze your heart with worry and fear.
If you have children, do everything in your power to make them successful. They will be here long after you are gone.
Try to have children. If you cannot, then adopt or foster.

Travel to a 3rd world country as soon as you can and spend no less than 4 days serving those who live there.

Never forget the people who live every day in 3rd world countries where you only visited.

If you become successful, do not let other people write what you should say.
If you become successful, do not purposefully have a public relations spokesman speak on your behalf.
If you become successful, do not prevent all bad news from getting to you…If you only let good news reach you, you will live a life starved of the truth about yourself.

Your wife knows you better than everybody except God. Listen to her unless she tells you different than God.
Do not keep news from your wife. You and your wife are one. You will not be really protecting her when you leave her in the dark about anything.

Do not keep secrets of any kind.
Live your life in such a way that you are not even tempted to keep secrets.

Speak the truth even if it makes your voice shake.

You can raise your voice and get angry without sinning.

Don’t forget the side of love that is loud, hard to give, and delivers pain.

Freedom is always living for and with others. When you only live for yourself, you are not actually free…you are slave to self.

You will never feel like forgiving, but forgive anyway and often if necessary.

Forgiveness does not mean the offender doesn’t face consequences.

You should love everybody. That does not mean you will like everybody.

How you live your life on this earth is your choice to enter Heaven or Hell. Choose wisely because God will honor your choice.

Read the Bible as often as possible. Do what it says, no matter the consequences.

Jesus is the truth and the only way to Heaven. Don’t ever let your doubt about that fact, convince you otherwise.

No matter how unpopular it makes you, never ever disagree in word or action with what Jesus of Nazareth says.

Try to have a sense of humor about yourself. It will be harder on some days than others.

The more you laugh at yourself, the lighter life will be.

You can’t control anything. That’s God’s job.

Who you are is more important than what you do or what you have.

Don’t ever forget how much God loves you.

Life is short. Live in faith, but take risks.

Do not mistake risk with faith. They are very different. Faith is confident assurance. Risk is not.

Always be a learner. The best teachers are those who are always trying to learn something.
The best way to learn is to ask questions and listen.
The next best way to learn is simply by experience.
Learning by experience can be very painful.
The most painful learning experiences may be expensive, but they are still a great education.

When an old man sits and shares with you, it’s always a good idea to have a pen and paper. That’s why I wrote these down for you. Next time, bring your own paper and pen.

When I die…I will be waiting for you in Heaven. Make sure you get there. I’d like to sit with you and have more of these chats.

The next time we sit and chat…I’d like to listen to you tell me about what your life experience has taught you.

See you soon.

Trent


The Encounter

Every day we awaken to the fact that a new journey is awaiting to be traveled. It’s an unwritten personal script. A clean slate. If you are human, that clean slate tends to get dirty earlier than any of us are comfortable with. Our collisions with the world, and the people who meander her paths, are never perfect. The soil, soot and slime thrust upon us might be our own doing, or it is the doing of another upon you. Our response to the collision is our victory or our defeat, and most definitely, our choice. Each encounter is an original collision. The collision could leave us thrilled and impassioned and better. Or, the collision could leave us hurt, wanting, and defeated. Very few collisions leave us neutral.

Some collisions will be with people who TEST us. These tests will be graded and it’s always good to get a passing grade. These people-tests can make us better or bitter. A test is not a bad thing. If we choose to pass the test, it will leave us better. A test will only make us better, if we, out of sheer discipline, choose the path of better-ness. The people who test us, are those we will be very careful to journey across again, but we will not avoid them. Other collisions are with people who collide into us like PAINT being applied to a rusty old automobile. It’s tempting to like this collision and think it is good for us, but it doesn’t make us better. This type of collision only gives us the facade of improvement. Too much time with these types of people and we end up beautifully painted rust. At first glance we will be tempted to think that painters actually love us, but reality eventually shows us that their paint wasn’t love at all. Another type of collision we will encounter is a USER. This collision will leave us thirsty, malnourished, buckled and bent. This collision will leave us needing the jaws of life to free us. The repair bill that arrives after this collision is higher than we will expect it to be. The effort to recover the lost confidence from this collision will take your breath away. After a collision with a user, the only benefits we get from it, are calloused knees, as we beg for it to never—ever happen again.

I’m confident that we could brainstorm other types of collisions, and I welcome them in the comments section, but I end this Art of Encounter with this. The best collision to have today is with the POLISHER. The polisher is one whom only brings out the best in us. They will be few and far between, but their encounter gives us the stamina to keep venturing out again and again and again. Taking hit after hit after hit. Who doesn’t love a polisher? They are selfless and they promote other’s progress above their own.

Each encounter is a collision. Each encounter is a teacher.

If you are like me, we thought about specific people we have collided with as each type was read above. Do not dwell too much on them. The most important question to ask ourselves is this…Did anybody reading this… think of my name?


Power, Secrecy and a Lack of Accountability…

I was watching the news over a lunch break just a few moments ago and couldn’t help but notice, through sheer repetition, Jay Carney, President Obama’s Press Secretary saying, “The President believes that the Press should have unfettered & balanced freedom to information so as to honor the first amendment rights of the Constitution, anything else would be inappropriate.”

I’m grateful to know that our constitutional rights are being protected and valued by our leaders of this great country. I do worry about its validity though. Why? Not because I may or may not be a fan of this administration…I pray for it daily, but because I believe deeply, that if you or myself have to keep repeating something publicly, the only persons we may be trying to convince is ourselves.

Does Martha Stewart have to publicly say that she is a great cook?
Does Michael Jordan have to publicly say that he is a great basketball player?
Does Billy Graham have to publicly say that he is a great evangelist?
Does Mother Theresa have to publicly say that she is compassionate?
Does the Miami Heat have to say that they will win the 2013 NBA Championship?

The answer is no, to all the questions above. Why? Because it is obvious. Actions speak louder than words.

In the past I have encountered individuals and groups of people who hungered for their personal agendas to be protected. I have worked through forgiveness for these tragic situations and now have the privilege to be able to write about lessons learned and observations made as I look back now with 20/20 hindsight. I am grateful for you, as you read this, for you have granted me such a privilege of writing, because—well, you are reading this. 🙂

In the multiple accounts I am referring to, I have noticed a similar pattern in each. First, an unspoken and obvious desire to have no accountability or responsibility when something goes wrong. Second, a hunger for power. And third, a hunger to pursue selfish ambition. By the way, ambition is not a sin. The Bible doesn’t warn us against ambition. Jesus was ambitious. What the Bible warns us of, is selfish ambition. Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition.” What is the difference between ambition and selfish ambition? One promotes the progress of self at the apathy towards others. Personal agendas are very dangerous. I might add, personal agendas without accountability grow into forms of devastating evil.

Do a self check right now. This is hard to do when you think you do no wrong. I confess that I have had times in my life where I felt I could do no wrong. The ability to confess that fact is the very act that cleanses that sin. So, I say all that to say, those who need to do a self check the most, won’t…because they don’t think they need it.

Self-Check Time. Is there something in your life that you keep telling yourself or publicly declaring? You will notice it by its sheer repetition. I have repeated to myself in the past, “These people will like me”…and I had to keep telling myself such. Why? Because I really didn’t think people would like me for who I was. It was just a deep insecurity that I grew up thinking. I played on a basketball team in college that was lead by a coach who kept saying that we were a united team, while allowing a couple of players to travel on their own on B-ball trips in their own vehicle. (Not coach Rupe…in case some are wondering) It was clear we had unity problems on and off the court. Yet, the coach kept saying we were a united team? He was only trying to convince himself, we all knew better. I have encountered people who believed the best thing that could happen to their company was simply making sure their presence remained in the company for as long as possible. Who were they trying to convince? I have encountered a group of people who kept telling themselves and me, that they had to have the power. Who were they trying to convince and what was their agenda?

When you hear a preacher, continually harp on an issue…it’s is likely that he/she is struggling with it him/herself.
When you hear a Press Secretary repeat something over and over, it is likely that he is trying to convince himself and/or protect a personal agenda.
When you hear a group of people continually debate about who is in charge, it is likely that they are trying to self-preserve.
I am a student of Church world and have noticed some churches keep repeating how they are the biggest church in their town.(I’m not referring to CCV) Why are they repeating that? When you hear a professional athlete repeat how dominant he is, who is he trying to convince and who is he trying to protect?

What is it in your life that you have been vocally repeating? Who are you trying to convince? You don’t have to convince the people who are watching you. We know you by your actions. Jesus said in Matthew 7:16 (NASB), “You will know them by their fruit.” When my words do not back up my actions, everybody knows it but me, and how I look foolish. When your words do not back up your actions, everybody knows it and how foolish you look. Once, there was an elder who told me in front of a bunch of other people that I have two ears and one mouth for a reason. That reason is to talk less and listen more. That was great advice that cut to my core. I learned from that elder. I appreciated the accountability, even though it hurt at the time, it made me sit back and shut up and listen. I am still working on getting better at such. What shocked me, is that specific elder was one who wouldn’t shut up in our private meetings. LOL. Crazy isn’t it? We are imperfect people and the only time that gets us in trouble is when we actually try to make other people live better than we do ourselves. I call that behavioral modification and control. It’s everywhere, but it is at its stinkiest in the church. It is crazy how Christians get very angry at other people for sinning differently than they do themselves.

Bottom line…We all need accountability. We need it of any kind. If someone tells you they don’t need accountability…that is the very person who needs it most. Why? Because they said it! Who are they trying to convince?

As far as the Top of the News is going right now….

We are seeing what happens when power seeking more power goes “unfettered” by a lack of accountability through biased-non-reporting from the press. The press is crying foul at something they actually empowered to happen. I pray it is a lesson learned. This lesson should soak into every fragment of our individual lives, corporate lives, committee lives, elder’s in church’s lives, marriage lives, and friendship lives. Hunger for power and living for self leads to secrecy, and secrecy is the beginning of sin/evil…let it go unchecked by covering up the truth and the truth will build such power that it will eventually blow forth in such a mighty way that it will reveal the culprit in a very naked way.

If you are a Christian and in a healthy Church, you should be able to come forward, confess your sin and be embraced by the loving arms of the body of Jesus Christ. There will still be consequences to covering up the truth and sin, but you will be loved not judged. That is the Church behaving its best.

If you are not in the Church, and are, like in today’s top news stories, the U.S. Government…well… your role, and the hot water that seems to be coming to a boil. I’m afraid more judgment is coming than love. The Government is not like the Church. The Government works for the people, and hell hath no fury than a people scorned, lied to and tricked. Its different for the Church, nobody answers to people, we answer to Jesus. There’s a big difference. I would rather answer to Jesus than to people. People are scary. Jesus is not. People are unpredictable, Jesus is not.

I like to say, “Time tells all things.”
Jesus said it better. “You will be known by your fruit.”
Jesus said it best, when He said, “The truth shall set you free.”
Be truthful now and there is nothing to hide and nothing to blow up in our face and leave us naked before our judges.

Power, Secrecy and a Lack of Accountability are very dangerous things.
I’ve never seen a single soul, in all of world history, be able to safely play with power, secrecy, lack of accountability, and not get burnt and thus be left naked and exposed before the whole world.
If you hunger for power, have secrets and a lack of accountability I’ll bet you keep secretly telling yourself that it will all be okay.
Who are you trying to convince?
My advice, if you will accept it, is to take up 1 John 1:9. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness.”

God is the Power. God knows all secrets. God is the ultimate accountability. AND…God is love. That makes me stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene. He is the one and only true King.

In 1905, Charles Gabriel wrote a great Hymn called ‘I stand Amazed in the Presence.” It’s one of my favorite songs. I think when you read the lyrics below, the notes will play in your head. I dare you sing it right from where you sit…who cares who hears you…sing it! 🙂

I stand amazed in the presence
of Jesus the Nazarene,
and wonder how he could love me,
a sinner, condemned, unclean.

Refrain:
How marvelous! How wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:
How marvelous! How wonderful
is my Savior’s love for me!

He took my sins and my sorrows,
he made them his very own;
he bore the burden to Calvary,
and suffered and died alone.
(Refrain)

When with the ransomed in glory
his face I at last shall see,
twill be my joy through the ages
to sing of his love for me.
(Refrain)


What Is The Motivation?

Jesus’s teachings, life and death are common. Many others have taught, lived and died. These common things didn’t motivate the apostles to begin The Church. It is Jesus’s resurrection that charged His followers to boldly give everything for Him.

The resurrection is what set Christianity apart. The resurrection is what makes Christianity right. The resurrection, not your personal preferences, is what should cause deep passion in you. THE RESURRECTION OVERRULES your need to be right, your music preference, what you wear, your leadership style, your insecurity, your ignorance, your sin, your attitude, your control, your dominance, your flesh, and your last breath. They all have been overruled! What else could it mean to be titled, “Lord of Lords and King of Kings?!”