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Unity please.

We inaugurated a new president, Joe Biden, and Vice President Kamala Harris, on January 20.

We’ve just completed the most significant benchmark in our entire democracy–the transfer of power from one presidential administration to another–pageantry we perform and celebrate every four years.

Vice President Kamila Harris
President Joe Biden

The quote that impacted me most in Mr. Biden’s inaugural address, and one I can imagine myself quoting in future blog posts, is what he said about unity. Mr. Biden said, “With unity we can do great things. Without unity, there is no peace.”

Unity please. We so desperately need unity in this country in this day and time, especially since Trump, in his last weeks in office tried to split our country apart even more.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King said, “Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”

Paul urges us in Ephesians 4:31 to “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

We can’t even begin to change our attitudes about being united with our fellow man until we undergo a transforming change of our collective hearts.

And God is the only one who can do that.

Are you prepared for Him to do that in your heart?

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What do you expect

One of the greatest football coaches Alabama has produced was Ralph “Shug” Jordan. He was the head football coach at Auburn for twenty-four years and had an enviable win/loss football record of 176-83-6. He was the National Football Coach of the Year in 1957 and several times Coach of the Year in the SEC. He’s in the Hall of Fame.

He was also head basketball coach at Auburn and Georgia. He was an American patriot and a great military leader. He led four military invasions during World War II. He was wounded at Normandy. He was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. I’ve heard that General Patton had a “War Eagle” sign on the front of his Jeep because he said that Shug Jordan told him to put it there!

A friend in Selma had the personal high school annual of his father who had graduated with Coach Jordan. I held that annual in my hands. I saw that next to his senior picture in the annual, Coach Jordan wrote these words, “Someday I expect to be a major college football coach.” Wow! He set his expectation level when he was a senior in high school – and he accomplished it later!

The old saying is, “What you expect is what you get.” What are your expectations for 2021? Where you will be in December 2021 will be directly related to the expectations you set in January 2021! If you expect something bad, it’s going to be a tough year. If you expect something good – get ready for some huge surprises! I dare you to expect God to turn a tough, turbulent 2020 into a terrific 2021!

2020 was tough, but it was not nearly as tough as what the apostle Paul experienced when he wrote to his friends at Philippi. He was in prison. His expectations were so high about the possibilities of what he could accomplish there. He considered prison to be the perfect place for him to do ministry. He expected the best for his people, and he led by example. He writes, “Because of my imprisonment, many of the Christians seem to have lost their fear of chains.” (Philippians 1:14)

Paul says a few verses later, “I’m going to keep on being glad, for I know that you pray for me, and as the Holy Spirit helps me, this is going to turn out for my good. For I know when I live in eager expectation and hope that I will never do anything that will cause me to be ashamed of myself…and I will always be an honor to Christ.” (Philippians 1:19 ff)

When Louis XVI and his queen were put to death by the people of France, they left behind a little boy who would have been King Louis XVII. They put the boy in prison where he was surrounded by terrible people who were vicious and vile. Their aim was to teach the boy vulgar thoughts and habits of profanity and unholy things.

But these men failed because of the expectations of that little boy. Whenever someone tried to get that boy to say a bad word, he would simply reply, “No, I will not say it. I was born to be a king!”

You were born to be in King Jesus’s family! Live 2021 in the expectation of what God is going to do through you. Make every day a day that God uses you to help Him increase His royal family and define Kingdom values for other people!

We are graduating from 2020. What are you writing by your picture for 2021?

He was also head basketball coach at Auburn and Georgia. He was an American patriot and a great military leader. He led four military invasions during World War II. He was wounded at Normandy. He was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. I’ve heard that General Patton had a “War Eagle” sign on the front of his Jeep because he said that Shug Jordan told him to put it there!

A friend in Selma had the personal high school annual of his father who had graduated with Coach Jordan. I held that annual in my hands. I saw that next to his senior picture in the annual, Coach Jordan wrote these words, “Someday I expect to be a major college football coach.” Wow! He set his expectation level when he was a senior in high school – and he accomplished it later!

The old saying is, “What you expect is what you get.” What are your expectations for 2021? Where you will be in December 2021 will be directly related to the expectations you set in January 2021! If you expect something bad, it’s going to be a tough year. If you expect something good – get ready for some huge surprises! I dare you to expect God to turn a tough, turbulent 2020 into a terrific 2021!

2020 was tough, but it was not nearly as tough as what the apostle Paul experienced when he wrote to his friends at Philippi. He was in prison. His expectations were so high about the possibilities of what he could accomplish there. He considered prison to be the perfect place for him to do ministry. He expected the best for his people, and he led by example. He writes, “Because of my imprisonment, many of the Christians seem to have lost their fear of chains.” (Philippians 1:14)

Paul says a few verses later, “I’m going to keep on being glad, for I know that you pray for me, and as the Holy Spirit helps me, this is going to turn out for my good. For I know when I live in eager expectation and hope that I will never do anything that will cause me to be ashamed of myself…and I will always be an honor to Christ.” (Philippians 1:19 ff)

When Louis XVI and his queen were put to death by the people of France, they left behind a little boy who would have been King Louis XVII. They put the boy in prison where he was surrounded by terrible people who were vicious and vile. Their aim was to teach the boy vulgar thoughts and habits of profanity and unholy things.

But these men failed because of the expectations of that little boy. Whenever someone tried to get that boy to say a bad word, he would simply reply, “No, I will not say it. I was born to be a king!”

You were born to be in King Jesus’s family! Live 2021 in the expectation of what God is going to do through you. Make every day a day that God uses you to help Him increase His royal family and define Kingdom values for other people!

We are graduating from 2020. What are you writing by your picture for 2021?

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Does age matter?

COVID-19 has taught us a lot of things about life. One thing we’ve learned is that age is not a factor when we need to reach out and help other people. (Read Job 12:12; 32: 6-10.) Here are four quick examples:

Cavanaugh Bell is a first-grader in Maryland. He heard about the coronavirus, and he started thinking about what he could do. He had $600 in savings. He asked his mom to go shopping with him. He bought cartloads of hand sanitizer, snacks, cleaning supplies, and toilet paper. He made 65 care packages.

Cavanaugh then went to his grandmother’s senior living community and passed them out. He observed all the social distancing guidelines. He wore gloves and a mask and kept his distance. He said, “I like giving back. That’s my passion.”  How passionate are you about giving back?  

10-year-old Chelsea Phaire was quarantined at home when she decided to use her time wisely to find a way to turn a tough situation into a terrific solution. She started Chelsea’s Charity. She sends out art kits to kids in homeless shelters and foster care facilities. In the past three months, this first-grader from Danbury, CT, has shipped more than 1,500 packages containing coloring books, crayons, markers, and other materials.

Chelsea says that she hopes her kits will give other children something creative and fun to do when they’re feeling down. She said, “Whether I’m happy or sad, art is always there for me.” God has something there for you. Are you willing to see it, use it, and make somebody else’s life better?

Meet Anna Adcox and her sister, Francis Trimble. They live in Dadeville, Alabama. They are 95 and 87 years old respectively. They are very productive. They spend their mornings working in their garden, and in the afternoon, they sew dresses and shorts for children around the world. These two ladies have finished about 7,000 dresses!

You’ll never hear Anna and Francis saying, “I’m too old, I can’t do that, I don’t know how.” They are continually learning, serving, and making a difference in the world. Several thousand boys and girls are glad they didn’t know how old they were!

Tom Moore is a 99-year-old World War II veteran who wanted to do something for Britain’s National Health Service. He decided to walk 10 laps around his garden every day and complete 100 laps by his 100th birthday on April 30,2020. His goal was to raise $1,000. Tom’s 16-year-old grandson, Benji, shared his vision on social media. Donations started pouring in. I saw the TV clip of him walking his laps with his walker and several British Military officers saluting him. He raised over $36,000,000!

In July, Queen Elizabeth II used the royal sword to bestow knighthood upon Tom Moore. At 100 years old, he did ask if he could remain standing during the ceremony, saying, “If I kneel down, I may never get up again.”

If your age is between Cavanaugh and Tom – you’re the right age to make a difference!

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Self is a four-letter word

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Three Attitudes

By John Ed Mathison
Executive Director
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries

Every day, we have an opportunity to adopt one of three different attitudes. The attitude we adopt will go a long way in determining how much we accomplish during the day. This is true in sporting contests, work environments, church opportunities, and every relationship we have in life. Your attitude is your choice!!

  1. PRIDEI’m too big to do little things.
    The Bible reminds us that pride goes before the fall. (Proverbs 16:18) Pride is very deceptive and extremely destructive. Paul said, “If you think you’re too important to help someone in need, you are only fooling yourself. You’re really a nobody.” (Galatians 6:3)

    One day General Robert E. Lee was traveling on his horse and met a group of soldiers trying to get a wagon out of a ditch. Four of the soldiers were working at it and a Lieutenant was standing back, watching and giving orders. Lee asked the man why he wasn’t helping. He said that he was a Lieutenant. Lee got off his horse and got his boots and clothes muddy as he helped the other soldiers pull the wagon from the ditch. When he finished, the soldiers who had been helping looked at him and all of a sudden recognized that he was General Robert E. Lee. He was not too big to do a little job. 
  2. PITYI’m too little to do big things.
    This negative attitude is usually the result of dealing ineffectively with some dysfunction in our past and comparing ourselves to other people. What we do in life God doesn’t compare to anyone else. Paul said, “Do what you should, for then you will enjoy the personal satisfaction of having done your work well and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.” (Galatians 6:4)

    We can never be too little to do something big. If God gives us the opportunity, He will supply everything that’s necessary to be successful in it. Pity should never be accepted as reality—it’s something that we have created and accepted. God can change that attitude. 
  3. POTENTIALI’m just right to do all things through Christ.
    This is a great attitude! Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) Our strength to do all things does not come from anything that we generate—it comes from receiving God’s strength. God created us just right to fit us for the purpose He has for us. 

    Part of the problem is that we think we can changedo things in our own strength. Remember—the Potential Attitude is one in which we do everything through Christ.

    If God gives you a vision to do something big, and somebody says to you that it is impossible—remember, they are talking about themselves—not you. The Potential Attitude changes the negative to the positive, brings excitement to life, and becomes a blessing to others.

Paul said, “We are each responsible for our own conduct.” (Gal. 6:5)

What’s your attitude?

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Can you count your spiritual markers?

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Lessons God teaches us

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When God said “No”.

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What is truth?

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3 steps to end hatred

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Free speech costs plenty!

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Do you suffer from selfie pride?

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“I’m sorry”–now a “Christian” cliche

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I deleted a post

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Why forgive?

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Why do you read your Bible?

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My inevitable but necessary 31-day sabbatical has ended. I am home. I will publish my next “For His Glory” post on Wednesday, May 17.

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The other cheek

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Today is National Bipolar Day

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I can do some things through Christ who strengthens me.

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What’s your FQ? your faith quotient?

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Are you a Sea of Galilee or Dead Sea believer?

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The Struggle In Today’s Church

Editor’s Note: I ran across this post on Writinggomer’s  blog and wanted to share it with my readers. Greg has some of the same issues I have expressed on this blog before about the state of the church today.  Is the church more like a harlot or the Bride of Christ?

By Writinggomer
Published on his website: Believing God Today

How would you like your eggs today, over-easy, scrambled, fried, sunny-side up, soft-boiled, hard-boiled, poached, or shirred?? How about your steak; rare, medium rare, medium, medium well, or well done?? Choice of potatoes? This sounds like questions for a meal in a restaurant right?

Can you relate the above questions to today’s Church? Depending on the meal you choose when eating in a restaurant, you, the patron, sometimes have Continue reading

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What is your FQ–focus quotient?

By Dr. John Ed Mathison
Executive Director
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries

One of my good friends in ministry was Dr. Bill Hinson.  We knew each other injohn ed college, and we were in seminary together at Emory. He became the pastor of the largest Methodist Church in America at First Methodist in Houston, Texas.  I had the privilege to work with him on a lot of things for renewal in The United Methodist Church.  He retired early to North Alabama; sadly, he suffered a heart attack and died.

Bill was a great preacher.  I’ll never forget his telling about lion tamers who go into the cage with lions.  They carry a four-legged stool.  They also carry whips, poles, and pistols, but the purpose of the stool is fascinating.

The lion tamer always holds the stool by the back and points the four legs toward the face of the wild animal.  The animal tries to focus on all four legs at once.  When he does this, a kind of paralysis comes over him, and the animal becomes weak and disabled because his attention is fragmented and is unable to focus.

Too often we try to focus on too many things, and we become victims of discouragement and disappointment, and ineffective living.  A lack of focus is destructive.

One of my favorite passages is Hebrews 12:1-2.  The backdrop is an athletic event, the race.  The writer describes that the runner always runs with focus and purpose.  He says, “We must keep our eyes focused on Jesus, who is the Alpha and the Omega of our faith.”

You never see a runner win who is multi-focused while he is running.  You don’t see him waving to people up in the crowd, or “hot-dogging.”  The runner who wins focuses on the finish line and runs straight towards it.  He  doesn’t  look at his competitors!  He doesn’t get distracted.  He is focused!

One of the big differences in success and failure is how well we are able to focus.  Someone has said, “The successful man is the average man – focused.”

When a football team goes out of town for the big game, much of the planning centers on how to keep the team focused.  Play off and championship games carry with them many distractions.  The more focused a team can be, the better it will perform.  Last year a German soccer team immediately changed hotels for its training camp.  They found that a beauty contest was taking place at that resort hotel with 400 Russian models.  Smart coach!

There is a convicting Old Testament story about a guard who was looking after an enemy who had been captured.  His responsibility was to focus on keeping the prisoner secure.

When his leader came to check on him, they discovered the prisoner had escaped.  The leader wondered how that could happen.  Was the guard overpowered by the prisoner, or did some colleagues come and help the man escape?  He asked the guard to explain.  His explanation was, “While I was busy here and there, the prisoner escaped” (1 Kings 20:39-40).  The guard had not stayed focused on his duty!

Stay focused on your purpose.  A huge traffic jam recently occurred in Alabama where a truck driver took his hands off the wheel to pull out a loose tooth.  He crashed his 18-wheeler along Interstate 20.  While he grabbed hold of the troublesome tooth, he lost control, jack-knifed and veered off the road.  He forgot about driving and focused on pulling his tooth.  The highway patrol verified his dilemma when he said, “He had the tooth in his shirt pocket as proof!”  But that did not untangle the traffic jam or fix his truck.

Remember, a lack of focus can paralyze you.  Stay focused!

What is your FQ – Focus Quotient?

John Ed’s blog posts appear in For His Glory each week.1
Contact: JAM Executive Suite 4,4131 Carmichael Road, Montgomery, AL 36106 Phone: 334-270-2149 Email:info@johnedmathison.org

1Listen to John Ed Mathison's one-minute daily devotional on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/johned.mathison/ and click “PLAY" on the audio YouTube in order to listen.  Or you can go to his ministry page at  https://www.facebook.com/JohnEdMathisonLeadershipMinistries/

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2-decades-old prayer still strikes a nerve