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Friday, January 23, 2009


January Theme: New

Old Resolution: James 1:22-24
New Revolution: Philippians 3:13-15

At my church we have a very dear and sweet Deacon who periodically mixes up words. Shortly after the New Year he gave a heart warming testimony to the whole congregation in which he continuously said “New Year’s Revolution” instead of “Resolution”. And trust me, he said it a lot. Of course we all knew what he meant and there were only a few titters and chuckles.

Mostly I took his testimony for what it was worth and dismissed his intention to say resolution because I don’t generally make New Year’s resolutions. But throughout each New Year you tend to hear the phrase a lot. Even in my daily devotionals Christians are talking about New Year’s Resolutions – why you should make them; how to make them stick and what scriptures back that up. The ones I tend to pay closest attention to are the ones that explain why resolutions don’t work.

One particularly good devotional spoke about resetting your preset buttons. Basically he explained that many of us have old habits that we don’t break before making a new resolution and therefore we easily fall back into the old ways. Well that made perfect sense but his great article did not go on to explain how he suggested we should reset our presets. That’s when I got to thinking about the Deacon’s revolutionary slip of the tongue. God may have been speaking through him more than he knows.

James 1:22-24 says, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.”

For many of us, making a New Year’s resolution is really a matter of deceiving our own selves. Even when we make them, we know we really aren’t going to keep them. And trying to follow a New Year’s resolution is like being a hearer and not a doer of the word. We speak about the changes we want to make; we write them down and even make a list of how we want to accomplish them. And then we even try. We start our resolution, we jump in and swear this time we’ll accomplish our goals. But right about this time of the year we have fizzled out already and we’re looking for a good justification for why we couldn’t change or we’ve already begun wallowing in the guilt of not being able to change.

It is as if we see our real selves in the mirror of decision and several weeks later we have already forgotten what we look like.

Webster’s New World Dictionary gives three basic definitions for the word “revolution”. 1: A complete cycle of events. 2: A complete or radical change of any kind or 3: The overthrow of a governing system with another governing system taking its place.

Obviously when we make a resolution and do not follow through, we are not completing the full cycle of events we’ve laid out for ourselves. Obviously there has not been a radical enough change in order for the change to stick. And obviously, we would not so easily fall back into our old ways of doing things if the new goal had taken the place of the old habit.

Philippians 3:13-14 says, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Can you see the three definitions illustrated here?

To complete this full cycle of events we must first forget the things in the past; secondly we much reach for the things in front of us, and finally we must continuously strive for the final goal or prize at the end. So let me interject briefly – Does your goal, resolution or New Year’s Revolution contain a prize waiting for you at the end?

Next, the radical overhaul in this scripture is to forget what has happened in the past. Friends and family often hear this phrase from me: “yeah, but…” I know, forgetting the past results, past events, past circumstances, past failures and past pains is not so easy at all. However, this scripture gives us the instructions on how to make that radical change – by replacing the thoughts of the past with the prize that remains.

When your mind strays back towards “yeah, but…” Tell it, “No, see…” Yeah, but – last time I tried to start a business… No, see if I launch this business I’ll have more security. Yeah, but everyone says I need something to fall back on… No, see if I pursue this dream I will be walking in God’s will for my life. Yeah, but last time I gained all the weight back… No, see if I lose this weight I’ll be happier, healthier and sexier too. Yeah, but I just can’t seem to stick to a budget… No, see if I get a handle on my money, I’ll have more money to spend on me.

If we have to be hearers as well as doers then don’t listen to yourself when you remind yourself of the past. Instead speak positive words of encouragement to yourself, pay attention to yourself and keep pressing on towards the prize of the goal before you.

Revolutions that have been fought and won by countries did not fight one small battle for a few weeks and declare the revolution a success. A true revolution can be a lengthy campaign with many smaller battles won and lost along the way. Often even the battle is not won until the troops regroup, change direction or alter their original plans. Have flexibility, have a bit of forgiveness for yourself and keep doing what you know you must to accomplish your goal.

You see, resolutions are a thing of the past! Forget about them and make a New Year’s Revolution instead! Continuously, consistently, ever seeking, ever stretching, ever reaching – revitalizing, revamping, refreshing, resetting, renewing and redoing whatever you need to in order to press toward the mark until the prize is obtained.

Your Home Study homework: Describe how the parable found in Luke 11:24-26 is an example of one of Webster’s three definitions of “revolution.”

© 2008 Deidre Campbell-Jones

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Here are my hopes for my family, my friends and indeed all of mankind in the midst of yesterday’s significance:

Whether you voted for “the guy” or not… No matter what your political party… No matter what your ethnicity or economic status or religious beliefs are… There is a particular and extremely significant significance to the events of yesterday: The inauguration of our 44th President, Barack Obama.

And yes, part of it has to do with ethnicity – but only a part. And part of it has to do with economic status – but only a part. And again, some of it does have to do with religious belief – but only a part, and only perhaps for those who believe in God and in His Holy Word. And finally another small part does indeed have to do with our political parties.

I will start at the latter. You see, no matter whether you consider yourself Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, Independent, Moderate or other – there is no way Barack Obama could have been voted into office by just the Democrats alone. And with an 80+% approval rating – or some such thing – there is no way he could reach a number like that through just the Democrats alone. And so it seems his message of unifying the parties has already begun to come to fruition – and that is a fact that is significant. My hope is that it continues.

And you see, no matter what your ethnicity, race or nationality – there is no way Barack Obama could have been voted into office by just the African Americans, Hawaiians and citizens of Illinois all by themselves. And with that 80+% approval rating – or whatever it is – there is now way he could have reached those kinds of numbers with just the African Americans, Hawaiians and Illinois residents. And so it seems as if his message of unifying the American people regardless of ethnicity, race or nationality has already begun to come to fruition – and that is a fact that is extremely significant. My hope is that it continues.

And so, you see, no matter how much money you do or do not make, no matter how affected you are or are not by the current economic crisis, and no matter whether you might or might not be affected by any taxation changes Barack Obama may or may not make; approximately 80+% of Americans (no matter what their economic status is) have a hope that he will make significant changes to the current economy. And there is no way that number of 80+% - or something like that – could have been reached by just poor people with hope better income, unemployed people with hope of a job or people who hope they won’t lose their homes. And since it seems that hope alone is very good for the economy – for example; hope can make the stock market soar and fear can make the stock market plummet – it also seems as if Obama's message of economic hope has already begun to come to fruition (at least if only in the hearts of the American people) – and that is very significant indeed. My hope is that his actions in office match the hope in many of our hearts.

And finally, you see, (for those of us who believe) that God does indeed ordain and/or choose the world's leaders - that would have to include the “good” ones and the “bad” ones. The “bad” ones pave the way for the “good” ones, and the “good” ones provide a foundation for the “bad” ones. One cannot be without the other preceding or following. And so whether you think the former administration was good or bad, and whether you think the new and current administration will be good or bad – the truth of the matter (to those of us who chose to believe) is that “ALL things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28) And that is significantly significant indeed. My hope is that in all things – or at least 80+% (or somewhere around there) – Barack Obama (through the will of God) will succeed in all he hopes to do.

So whether he does or not, the significant significance of today is that I am included in about 80+% of the American people whose hope extends towards all mankind – whether you voted for the guy or not; no matter what your political party; no matter what your economic status; no matter what your ethnicity and no matter what your religious beliefs are or are not.

I wish you all happiness and hope and better days ahead for us all.

God bless you and may God continue to richly bless America.

© 2008 Deidre Campbell-Jones (aka – “Min. Dez”)

Sunday, January 18, 2009


January Theme: New

Old World: Matthew 16:26; Mark 4:19; John 14:27
New World: John 1:1-4 & 9; Matthew 5:14; Philippians 2:15

It seems everything we do and everything we strive for is to be presentable to the world. We get a good education so that we can be ready for the “real world”. We are disciplined at home so we can be ready for the outside world. The kind of adults, the kind of parents and perhaps even especially the kind of Christians we are must all be acceptable to the world around us – and quite often are frequently judged by the world around us.

We spend our time preparing ourselves, repairing and renewing what we have to offer – to our bosses, to our clients, to our instructors, to our students, to our children, to our parents and even to our family, friends and neighbors. Often we even clean our own homes based upon the perspectives of potential visitors. And many times even our self-help and Christian growth is based upon or at least influenced by what the world deems necessary. The world is always watching and subconsciously we constantly ask ourselves “am I ready for the world?” And so our every activity then also subconsciously becomes an answer, “I am trying to be ready for the world.”

According to the guidelines, examples and expectations of this world – that may indeed be working. Spiritually, I ask, is it also working? Matthew 16:26 says: “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” And so every Sunday we attend church; we read the word of God, and we attend Bible study in order not to lose our own soul. But Mark 4:19 explains: “And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.”

Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel as if I lust after other things. I try not to let the cares of the world get the best of me. And I don’t feel as if I’ve been deceived by riches – how could I when I don’t have any? Still and yet, I have to admit there has been a bit of “unfruitfulness” in my life. And I remember when my old boss’ treatment of me used to consume my every thought. And admittedly I now spend a fair amount of time concerned about my finances and how I will get them in order to pay my bills… You see, “cares, deceitfulness and lusts” translate as such harsh words that we automatically reject them as things we are not doing. But when we truly look at the basic aspects of our lives, there is a fair amount of things of this world that enter in and perhaps choke out the word – making our worlds a bit unfruitful.

Do not be dismayed – there is hope – and it exists in the word of God. John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

In the midst of this world and all its cares and distractions, lusts and things – there is peace, not as the world gives it or perceives it, but as the Lord gives it. And it comes in a gentle reminder: John1: 1-4 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” And verse 9: “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” Matthew 5:14 “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.” Also, Philippians 2:15: “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;”

Because of your profession or your vocation you may not realize that much of what we accomplish in this world is based upon someone else’s approval, permission or acceptance. Other types of jobs or career paths exemplify this blatantly and openly such as careers in writing, politics and the entertainment industry. My husband is an Actor. And in one particular conversation he casually made a comment that he knew “all odds were against him.” It made me stop and ponder that statement for a while before I asked him – “who told you that?”

Yes, Acting is a tough profession to crack into and do so successfully. But realistically he’s not doing badly at all. And in an industry that is governed by the choices of various, diverse people, who really sets the odds? And even if there was someone who had a precise mathematical equation they could run through a super computer and determine that the odds of my husband becoming even more successful in the industry are 1,000,000 to 1 – if God told him, yes, he would be even more successful, then those odds are in his favor because he would be that “1”.

Presidential candidate Barack Obama was giving one of his pre-election interviews in which the program’s reporter asked him, “Is the world ready for an African American president of the United States of America?” Without hesitation, Barack Obama said “yes.” And so now it is after the election and not only have we discovered that the majority of the world within the US is indeed ready, but that currently much of the world is waiting with excited – if not curious – anticipation.

How in the world could Barack Obama have been so sure? Because I believe Barack Obama knew many things beforehand – primarily I believe he was confident of his success. He was probably confident of how his light would shine throughout this world.

We easily sing “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.” And we traverse the ways of this world as if indeed it is a little light. But a fantastic and anointed new Minister I know once said that our light is not little at all – even though we act like it is. Our light comes from Christ Himself and if we truly let it shine as big as a lamp in the darkness, perhaps the world would not even be able to look directly at us.

Say you have an old lamp that has been hooked up to a light switch every since it was new and you never knew it was a three-way. But your eyes got adjusted to the low level of light even though deep down you wished it was brighter. If someone suddenly turned up that light to its brightest setting, would your eyes be ready?

When I brought up Barack Obama’s interview response to my husband I asked him to consider thinking about his career differently and instead of meeting each audition wondering if this was his time or if he was ready for the part or if he was truly ready for this industry; to go into it boldly asking “Is the industry ready for me?” and confidently answering, “yes it is!”

And even as I said it, admittedly I had a hard time considering the same for myself. Yes, I "think" I can. But I too have to put away old perspectives of the world and the light I shine in it, for a new perspective of this world and a brighter, more confident, Christ-magnified light!

So instead of “are you ready for the world,” ask yourself is the world ready for you? Imagine what this world could be like if we all said “yes” – boldly and confidently through Christ.

© 2008 Deidre Campbell-Jones