A Devotional of John 15:8-11

John 15:8-11:

8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

A revelation of God’s love will not occur until we obey what He commands us to do in His word. Sin separates us from the love of God, but if we keep His commands, then we will be free from sin. We will always have sinful desires, but God helps us to remain in his love. It’s what you know about God and the magnitude of his relentless, abundant love that will determine fullness of joy and life. Once we experience that joy, our lives are never the same. It is a joy that is complete; therefore, we can’t help but change habits and things in our lives that interfere with it.

What are we to do to experience such a joy, bear fruit, and remain in God’s love?

  • Abide in scripture. God has already provided us with a written guide for our lives. As Pastor Chris said one Monday night chapel, “Just read it and do it.”
  • Die to your flesh daily and continually have a repentent heart.
  • Ask God to draw you closer to him. Really seek God out in prayer.
  • Do not ignore those times when the Holy Spirit is tugging on your heart.
  • Thank God for his grace and mercy.
  • Meditate on the fact that God is always with you. He is the closer than any friend, he always sees the best in us, and he is always interested in what we have to say.
  • Lastly, we bear fruit when we put your faith into action.

Dear God, I ask that you would remove everything in our lives that is keeping us from growing and bearing fruit. Help us to abide in you and remind us that without you we are nothing. I thank you for your grace, mercy, and patience as I look to you and your will.

May we always be obedient to God and in doing so be intimately connected to his love and joy, amen.

Advertisements

25 annoying communication habits—of other people

The communication habits and styles of other people can be awfully irritating. It’s never you and me. It’s always someone else.

That’s the consensus in my training programs when I ask people about communication hang-ups, quirks, and pet peeves. OK, I admit I’m certainly guilty of a few (not saying which ones). How about you?

Complete this sentence: “I get annoyed with other people and their communication habits when they …”

1. Interrupt me.

2. Finish my sentences.

3. Fail to look at me.

4. Chew gum loudly.

5. Type on the computer while we’re on the phone.

6. Mumble on a voicemail message.

7. Lack clarity in project directions.

8. Write their “out of office” message with spelling errors.

9. Complain, criticize, complain, criticize…

10. Say their phone number so fast on a voice mail that I can’t get it after replaying it seven times.

11. Ask me how I am and their facial expression clearly reveals they aren’t listening and don’t truly care.

12. Keep repeating information and making conversations and correspondence painfully long.

13. Inject nervous giggles or laughter into conversations that simply aren’t funny.

14. Forget to say their name in a voice mail message.

15. Try to impress me by “topping” whatever I say.

16. Get distracted with their gadgets and technology in meetings, conversations, and networking events.

17. Talk too fast or too slow.

18. Give wimpy handshakes.

19. Send a three-page email when one paragraph would suffice.

20. Plan lengthy meetings with no agenda, and then order food.

21. Speak louder to people with accents.

22. Deliver presentations in a monotone voice.

23. Eat while on the phone.

24. Call people out (in social media) in public instead of sending a private message.

25. Forget to update their voice mail to let people know they are on vacation for two weeks.

The red flags are up my friend. What can you do to improve your communication?

Susan Young is editor of Ragan’s HR Communication, where this story first appeared.”

I found “25 annoying communication habits–of other people” on PR Daily and thought it would be helpful to others. It was written by Susan Young.

A Review of “Writing for the Ear”

The News University course “Writing for the Ear” discusses creating quality audio narratives for radio, podcasts, slide shows and video. It is about improving your audio writing. Writing for the ear is something that is completely foreign to me, as are all forms of reporting, so I learned a lot.

What I learned:

  • Audio stories have fewer words than print pieces. They tend to be narrower in focus.
  • When it comes to writing for audio, you must have a ruthless eye for telling detail.
  • Axx stands for a sound that is an actuality; they are snippets of a recorded interview included in a spot or feature. Traxx stands for a voice track. Nat stands for a natural sound.
  • By having a concise pitch, you will more easily be able to narrow down the focus of your reporting and know what you are looking for in an interview.
  • A focus statement is a one-sentenced statement that summarizes your source’s main message and motivation.
  • A question line is the list of questions you want to ask in the approximate order that you want to ask them. It serves as a guide in an interview.
  • The basic building blocks of all radio stories are host intro, axx and traxx.
  • SFX stands for sound effects and it is the way for the reporter to communicate mixing instructions to the sound engineer.
  • By using sound and your words you transport the lister to another place and create scenes. Each scene makes a particular point.

What surprised me:

  • Other than what is written on a script that will make up the axx and traxx, surrounding sounds and nats should be thoughtfully incorporated to help tell a story.
  • Radio has a high rejection rate; this makes pitching a story well especially important.
  • One piece of advice when it came to pitching a story was to pitch what you know.
  • In order to avoid having too much tape, a preinterview should be conducted in which you create a focus statement and question line for your actual recorded interview.
  • Writing short, punch, effective sentences is especially essential to writing for the ear because every word counts.

What else do I want to know:

  • What kind of writing goes on for talk radio?

Overall, this was a very thorough and detailed course. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about reporting through audio.

The Pursuit of Godliness: 1 Timothy 6

1 Timothy 6:6-11

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Fight the Good Fight of Faith

11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.

When you know who you are in Jesus and what he has truly done for all mankind, then you will find contentment and it is one of the greatest assets of life. It means you do not have to live with fear, doubt, or worry because you know your eternity is secured in Jesus. “Godliness with contentment” is key to spiritual growth and personal fulfillment. We should honor God and center our desires on him, and we should be content with what God is doing in our lives.

Verse 7 tells us that “we brought nothing into this world, and we cannot take anything out of it.” God is ultimately in control of our lives and His ways are a lot better than our own. He’s infinitely wise, he always has known the best way of going about things and always will. It is up to us to decide whether or not we will trust in His sovereignty. This is why God teaches about money. When a person gets so focused on money and develops a love for money, then he or she will be tempted in many different ways. This is why Jesus said that we cannot serve both God and money (Matthew 6:24). We can either put our trust and dependency in God or in money.

Verse 11 tells us that serving God requires lifelong training, effort, and action. What is it here that Paul is telling Timothy to continually go after with all that he has?

  1. Righteousness – living in continual repentance, turning from what we know is wrong and turning to God
  2. Godliness – worshipping God for who he is and allowing Him to make us more like Him.
  3. Faith
  4. Love
  5. Endurance or patience
  6. Gentleness or meekness, which means having controlled strength

From verse 12 we learn that serving God means giving it all that you got because of the way the truth has impacted your life. “Fight the good fight” is used to describe the struggles of the Christian life. When you are fighting you are contending with adversaries. The word used here meant to enter into a contest like the athletic competitions Greeks would hold.  What do you want to do when you enter into games? “If you had fun then you won,” right? Wrong, when you contend you either win or you loose. It doesn’t matter who you are, everyone wants to win because there is a little competitor in each of us.  Ephesians 6:10-12 (NIV) says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

The devil wants to do everything he possibly can to keep you from pursuing God, but God has already won, we just have to believe in him and pursue godly character. Thank God that through Him we have the strength to overcome every temptation and struggle that we face (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called. In the pursuit never loose sight of the cross and never forget that moment when you allowed Jesus into your heart. When we confess our faith, we do what Jesus has already done. When we suffer for our faith, we undergo what Jesus has already undergone.

As Christians we should not be working to satisfy man, but working to satisfy Christ. Pursue God’s approval and not man’s because what you pursue will determine either your shortcomings or your growth in serving God.

A lot of people think Christianity is a passive religion that advocates waiting for God to act. But we must have an active faith, training, working hard, sacrificing, and doing what is right. Is it time for action on your part? Christian service like athletics requires training and sacrifice. Our discipline and obedience largely define whether or not we will be contributors or merely spectators. Don’t waste your life being a spectator. Take the initiative to pursue godliness. God loves you and he wants you to live in His contentment. So be a person who is full of righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance or patience, gentleness or meekness and fight the good fight. Go after God with everything you have and let his love overflow from your life into others. When you do this you become a contender for Christ and the devil doesn’t stand a chance.

Lord, I pray that all of this would be so in each and everyone of us. I thank you that we can depend on you and trust in you. I thank you that you have gone ahead of us and reconciled us. Draw us closer to you each and every day. I pray this in the name of Jesus, amen.