These Campaign Promises Have Been True For Thousands of Years.

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Placing your faith in what a person promises will fail you many times over in this life. This truth is fresh in our minds from presidential elections filled with campaign promises that will fall well short of expectations.

Empty promises can leave us hurt, confused, unprepared and frustrated. They damage relationships and leave us unsure about who to trust.

God knows this is a problem for us.

He even goes as far as telling us not to swear we  will do something.

“All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”‭‭ (Matthew‬ ‭5:37‬)

After all, we are just a bunch of dustballs (Gen. 3:19), who knows if we will even be around to fulfill our promises? “You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (‭‭James‬ ‭4:14‬ ‭NIV‬‬)

How is that for some sobering perspective? This is why we should say, ““If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”” (‭‭James‬ ‭4:15‬)

By contrast, God makes promises that he keeps. His people can count on these promises as truths that will come to pass. It is interesting to note that while grace and forgiveness are a free gift to all accept it, no one can earn their way to heaven, these promises ask for an action before the reward is given. Almost like, “If you do this, then you will get this.”

So what are they? Hint: They’re big! You may want to bookmark the ones listed below. The best news is they are available to anyone who chooses to put God first. (Romans 3:22)

 

PROMISES

1. He will always be there for you

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have,because God has said,

“Never will I leave you;
    never will I forsake you.”

Hebrews 13:5

2. He has a plan specifically for you!

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.

Jeremiah 29:11

3. He will make you stronger

So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41: 10

4. Troubles are guaranteed but through Christ we have peace

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

5. All that is good, is yours.

The lions may grow weak and hungry,
    but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

Psalm 34:10 

6. Evil will run from you

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:7

7. Know peace once and for all (You know you have been searching for it)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Philippians 4:6

8. Promised benefits

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

Galatians 5:22

What is your response to God’s promises?

Why I’m Not Celebrating Halloween

halloween-2013-scary-background1

Every few weeks, sometimes more often, we get together for a large family dinner. I love this. It’s something my wife and I had always wished for when we lived away in our earlier years.  It may just be dinner but we are celebrating something important; Family.

The truth is that when we do just about anything, we are celebrating. When we give someone a high five, we are celebrating success. When we share a hug, we are celebrating friendship and love. When we open presents on the 25th of December, we are celebrating the birth of Jesus.

I’ve never dressed up for Halloween in my life. It has simply been a choice of mine not to participate. While I don’t partake, my wife views it another way. Right, wrong or indifferent, it has always been our preference, not conviction.

I was surprised this year when my oldest son, Evan, told me he didn’t want to dress up for Halloween this year.  When I asked Evan why he didn’t want to go out this year he told me “I don’t want to celebrate it.” That word, ‘celebrate,’ was a very appropriate word to use. In the past, I haven’t communicated it in that way.

See, while it may be true that we are just “putting on costumes and passing out candy,” as many have told me, we are actually celebrating something. All Hallows’ Eve, Halloween, has a very clear history and was seen has a transition of the seasons and a “Bridge to the dead,” (History, 2009).

We are, in fact, celebrating the dead.

American culture has taken this even further with haunted houses in which you can watch people be killed and tortured and we have convinced ourselves it is just for fun. Somehow we are appalled about mass shootings but have dismissed the horrors of death, destruction and chaos so long as they are in an entertainment setting; as if the two had no impact on outcomes of young minds.

Yes, we are indeed celebrating something or someone perhaps. For me, I have chosen to celebrate the One who brings love and life to anyone who wants to accept his grace. It’s something to consider.

This is not a judgment on anyone who chooses to spend the night out and about on October 31. Oddly enough you will see me at the end of the driveway with a bowl of candy. It further proves my historic conflict of beliefs vs. accommodations of other’s beliefs.

I know I will battle this again next year but as for this year,  I am really looking forward to setting out one more chair next to me.

Sources:

History Channel Staff. (2009). History of Halloween. Retrieved October 28, 2016, from http://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween

DesignBolts.com. (n.d.). Halloween Background [Digital image]. Retrieved October 28, 2016, from http://www.designbolts.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Halloween-2013-Scary-Background1.jpg

There is Something Great Ahead of You.

“You have amazing things ahead of you!”

These were the words spoken to me many years ago. Not just from one person but many. They all said it in their own way and they all said at different times. The baseball coach, basketball coach, the English teacher, the history teacher, the mom, the dad, the swim team coach, the pastor and even friends! I can’t get over how many people have spoken into my life and still do to this day.

When is the last time you looked at someone into their eyes and said, “You have amazing things ahead of you!?” Isn’t it up to us to shine a light on their path to make that possible? Shouldn’t we be hopeful for the future by knowing we have a part to play in it?

Hey, the future of our country and children do not rest solely on them. It’s up to us to plant the seed that will one day grow into something more than we could ever ask or imagine.

 

An Open Letter to Mike Rowe. Let’s tear up the white and blue collars and start over.

Dear Mike Rowe,

You don’t know me and I know you. That’s ok, I won’t hold that against you. Nor would you hold that against me. Maybe that is what makes us alike. In fact, when I look at what I do and what you have done, maybe we aren’t far apart as some want us to believe. You see, society wants us to believe that a senior marketing professional and a ‘dirty jobs’ resume represent a great divide possibly as large as the Grand Canyon itself.

I don’t buy it.

mike-rowe

The root of these two tracks may begin differently but the success of those who travel both provide an insight into what makes them successful. Passion, knowledge, poise, swagger, inspiration and humility…to name a few. I have seen these characteristics from my humble upbringing in a small city in Vermont all the way to the financial districts of Tokyo. As a result, I appreciate the man slinging trash from our bin as much as I appreciate the young professional writing the 29th press release of the week when it is just Tuesday.

In an ode to dirty professions let us both declare that there are many dirty professionals in which society wants to make a hierarchy of, yet, we know better. Pouring over data can be burdensome and tiring and so can  sifting over hours of unknown recyclables and discarded items forgotten by the many and revisited by the few.

No, I won’t accept that dirty jobs are somehow divided by the color of the collar. White OR Blue. Instead, let’s recognize that the jobs no one else wants to do and the successful measure we weigh them by is about the same common ingredients. Passion, knowledge, poise, swagger, inspiration and humility…again…to name a few.

I love what I do and so should everyone else. I am thankful for the many that help to make my life work in the way it does. There are so many I don’t know; from the person who sprints among the homes reading my electrical meter to the woman who decides that it is time for my taxes to have their audit. These are not people we necessarily hope for, yet, they are people that make our lives turn for the better.

Mike Rowe, thanks for making clarity and purpose out of roles we often dismiss. We appreciate your stories that acknowledge these people. We appreciate you elevating our own, seemingly, meaningless tasks in a world that only reward those on TV. I am glad we acknowledge those who make a difference and serve a purpose.

Keep it up Mike.

~matt gosselin, a purposeful marketing professional

Your Direction, Your Story.

Path

According to Nike+ the life of my current running shoes is just about over. On a recent run along a beautiful bike path in Florida, I noticed a harder-than-usual impact on my feet. Thanks to Steve Jobs and the folks at Nike, this is the first time in my life that I have been able to source my shoes’ mileage. My app showed them clocking in at just under 400 miles.

As I ran, I began thinking about the great number of stories these shoes could tell.  They would speak of half marathons, the Disney Marathon and unforgettable landscapes in Hawaii and Colorado. They would remember the treadmill on the 28th floor overlooking the Miami cityscape. They would reminisce of sand crabs running back into their holes on a dirt-packed trail in Vero Beach, FL.

Yes, shoes tell great stories.

  • The sturdy Keds shoes of Grandma Gatewood are on display at the Appalachian Trail Museum telling the story of her 2,170 journey becoming the first woman to thru-hike the famous trail at the young age of 67.
  • It is estimated that the sandals of Jesus walked over 20,000 miles during his lifetime (from the ages 4-33).
  • A new pair of shoes are crowned king as the smelliest shoes in America in a Rotten Sneakers Contest, a contest that began in 1975 in Montpelier, Vermont. The shoes are owned by kids 13 years-old and younger and the winners often reveal amazing stories about their journeys in their tattered and rotten shoes.
  • The famous red ruby slippers that can be seen at the National Museum of American History of Washington D.C. These shoes represent much more than the Wizard of Oz film. They speak of a journey in search of finding your heart’s desire only to discover that you don’t have to look any further than your own backyard.

What would happen if we envisioned what stories our next shoes would tell next? After all, Jesus knew where his sandals were going and Grandma Gatewood was ready to hit the trail before she laced up her Keds. What if I determined where my shoes would take me instead of strapping them on and seeing where they led?

This is your season. Choose your direction and run.

Plant. Water. Grow.

Grow

We are co-workers in God’s field each with but one purpose.

One plants the seed. One waters it.

God makes it grow. (1 Cor. 3:7)

There is beauty in understanding that we serve a great purpose in God’s kingdom.  As I read through 1 Corinthians I thought of the small garden boxes we built in our backyard. I made each of the 4-foot boxes out of cedar boards, filled them with soil and each season our family decides what we are going to grow. Occasionally our 5-year-old, Emma Grace, uses a small tin can to help me water them. Aiden and Evan will help to pull weeds.

We are still learning. We tried growing corn and cucumbers with minimal results. Our carrots and any herbs we plant not only thrive but we get great use out of them. Since we began doing this four years ago we have both success and loss. Yet, there is still a sense of accomplishment in it. There is a sense of purpose that compels us to plant the following season.

A farmer I am not, but any farmer will tell you that it takes faith to plant, water and wait. It takes spiritual wisdom to understand that while grains of dirt become stuck under the beds of our fingernails, it is our Creator that makes it grow. We are reminded in Genesis 2 that at one time no plant had sprung up on earth because God had not sent rain to the earth. Once he created Adam,  God planted the great Garden of Eden and the great partnership began.

There are times in my career life when I have been planting and watering and have had great joy in doing so. There have been seasons when the planting and watering simply felt like, well,  just work. Then, there is waiting. Waiting for God to make it grow. This is not only the season I am currently in but its characteristics–patience and faith–need the most growth. In this realization, I have joy in knowing that I am exactly where I need to be.

Many are in this same season right now. We are faced with two choices. We can choose to listen to the world and its direction for us. The world will tell us that we aren’t good enough, we are failing, we aren’t loved and supported. The world will give us reasons to doubt and to show anger in place of love and forgiveness. We are not perfect, so we will experience times of doubt, temptation and loss of purpose. However, I don’t serve a god of doubt, temptation and loss of purpose.

I serve a God of love, hope and purpose so that in Him, we do not have to “grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)  I will choose a path of greater spiritual gain. This path produces perseverance, character and hope. Let our purpose and faith in God guide us into our next season.

Lord, let us find purpose and faith as you guide us into our next season.

 

Further Reading:

  • Genesis 2:4
  • Isaiah 61:3
  • 1 Corinthians 3:7
  • Galatians 6:9
  • Romans 5:3

#grow #purpose #purposedrivenlife #donotgrowweary #beautyfromashes #transition #transformation