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Guest Blogger Returns

What Will You Headline Read?
What Will You Headline Read?

We don’t think about death often enough. Why? No idea. Fear, maybe. Not socially acceptable, maybe. I’m not really sure.

But I do know that no one I know thinks death should be dinner table talk.

At the end of the day though, people will talk at the dinner table about us after we’re gone. Some for a few seconds, some for a few days, others may never. And some may never stop.

Here’s a fresh perspective…on “legacy”…

Bob Stewart shares an insightful look at life, our Faith, and our responsibility to both. Take it away Bob….

“Mom called me the other day from Tennessee, where I was raised, to read to me a couple of obituaries. I know – that sounds so exciting, doesn’t it? But that’s what my mom does. She does it to let me know who I should know who either died or is related to someone who died.

But on this last call, she read to me about Albert Hamby, who died at the age of 87. Why should that stand out at all to me? I didn’t let this obituary go without a reverent moment of reflection. Albert was my pastor when I was little – when I made Jesus my Savior. That was and is a spiritual “marker” in my life, and an important person in showing me the way was Albert Hamby.

Are you living a legacy, as Dr. Johnny Hunt said in his book Building Your Leadership Résumé, which is going to outlast you? Are you building “markers” in other people’s lives that, after you are gone, are still there to help others along the way? It could be multitudes or your own family, and it is a question I am asking myself as well.

I am reminded of a song from Steve Green back in the 1980s, called “Find Us Faithful.” In the chorus, he stated, “Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful. May the fire of our devotion light their way. May the footprints that we leave lead them to believe, and the lives we live inspire them to obey. Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.”

Again, I ask, “Are you living a legacy?”

Bob Stewart

Guest Blogger Craig Nickoloff

A Blog of a Different Color
A Blog of a Different Color

Ladies and Gentleman, may I present Ohio’s Craig Nickoloff, a man who works hard to help make the world a better place for younger generations. Here is Craig’s contribution to our Spirit entitled:

Coram Deo…

“I’m growing.

Always will be.

Human nature I guess.

I used to pride myself on doing my best.

Had a re-examination though.

Conclusion…

I still pride myself on doing my best.

Peeling away that outer layer, though, reveals a different motivation.

As a school student, I was out to bust stereotypes.
I was a scholar, athlete and musician; and excelled at each. But I wanted to prove that the different castes could get along well with each other. They didn’t have to stick to their circles for comfort’s sake. My target audience was my peers. By peers, I mean not just friends my age, but also family and anyone else who wanted to watch. It was a noble effort, but in the end, I was looking out for myself. I was expending a lot of energy to impress many others.

I got tired.

So, college – a sort of dark time – consisted of me dropping all pretenses and doing what I wanted. Fortunately, I come from a great family and the lessons they have taught me carried me and kept me from going any deeper.

And one key thing here…
God watched over me…
As he does all of us.

And his plan had much, much more in store for me.

God brought a strong, beautiful woman into my life. I don’t say beautiful to brag about her outwardly (which is nonetheless true), but to praise how God has molded her spiritually. He used her to guide me back to Him.

So it is in this state that I sit here, wondering how He’ll use me.

My motivation now is not that of before. I’m not living my life to impress others, not even my wife.
I hate to say it. But, it is possible to do “good” things; be a generally “good” person; live an outwardly respectable, impressive life; but also be a contradictory, no-good liar on the inside.
It’d be exhausting, but it’s possible.

Strip it all down.
Past bare body…
Past bare bones…
Past bare words…
Right down to bare spirit.

me & God.
mano y Omnipotent Creator.

He loves me so much that he’d sent his son, Jesus Christ, to take the entire world’s sins on his shoulders and die.

He knows my heart. He knows my thoughts. He knows my words. He knows my actions.

I get away with nothing.

Is my love for him pure?
Is my faith unwavering?

God gave us free will. It’s so hard to resist human temptations.

There’s a saying, “I’d rather beg forgiveness than ask permission” that helps some to make decisions.
That’s fine and dandy with our peers, as we live out our real-time lives.

But with God, while he is a forgiving God, he knows that that saying went through your head in the first place.
So, the whole procedural “beg for forgiveness” later thing doesn’t work so well.

I recently started a Bible study, published in Tabletalk magazine, with my wife. At the end of each page is an exercise entitled “Coram Deo.” In Latin, it literally means “before the face of God.”

So, going through the actions, through the motions, through the works is a nice thing. But what is it that really serves as the motivation?

I believe that the true calling of a Christian is to live one’s life Coram Deo.

And if I live my life before the face of God and glory in his grace and mercy, then all of the other “good” things will fall into place as I obey his commands.

Those actions won’t be done to prove, they’ll be done to demonstrate.

I’m praying everyday for strength and wisdom to do my best at living my life…

…Coram Deo.”

Guest Blogger This Sunday

It's Cold In Ohio
It's Cold In Ohio

Craig Nickoloff, from Ohio, will be jeffnoel.org’s Guest Blogger this Sunday.

Craig is a young man with a wife and two children. He’s a Christian, self-proclaimed Disney freak and a man who inspires me by his will and determination to become a better man, a better person.

We all struggle with it.

Can’t wait to introduce you to Craig on Sunday.

Have an AWESOME Friday today.

Paradox

Pair of Boxes
Pair of Boxes

The joy of having two Guest bloggers this week pales in comparison to the pain of the Haiti earthquake victims.

Last night, after my son and I walked Carter, we hurriedly returned to our house.

Told our son we needed to watch the evening news at 6:30PM.

Our lifestyle doesn’t make much time to watch TV. And this week has been exceptionally busy (see today’s Lane 8 challenge).

We watched Diane Sawyer on ABC Evening news describe the tragedy in Haiti. I wanted our son to understand the magnitude.

Yes, he’s only nine. But he’s smart. He’s compassionate. He has a caring heart.

It’s my sacred responsibility to teach him Life’s Big Four.

And it was the day prior to yesterday that he became my first Guest Blogger.

Paradox?

Guest Blogger Bob Stewart

Where Will This Rainbow Lead?
Where Will This Rainbow Lead?

Dear readers, today it’s with great pleasure I introduce Bob Stewart, a Husband, Father, Man of God, and writer. Today’s post is courtesy of Bob and is entitled:

“Who’s Not Capable?”

Have you ever felt you didn’t have the skills, background, character, or even physical traits to be a leader? Have people assumed you don’t have what it takes to lead without even giving you a chance to see what you can do?

God oftentimes in the Bible used the least likely character to be a leader. One leader in particular was one of the judges – Ehud. God would bring up “judges” or military leaders every time the Children of Israel needed a leader.


So one time God brought up a leader to deliver the Israelites from the Moabites. He brought up Ehud – a left-handed man from the tribe of Benjamin (Judges 3:12-30).


Being left-handed meant one of three things in the Middle East during that time. You were either: 1) slow or stupid, 2) unclean, as left was considered the “restroom cleaning” hand, or 3) evil-minded. Either way, it wasn’t positive.


And the tribe of Benjamin was considered the “low man on the totem pole,” as Benjamin was the youngest son of Jacob. The tribe of Benjamin also had a strong occurrence of left-handed members.


So all was against him going into this opportunity. However, God chose Ehud for a purpose. He was to kill the mighty King Eglon and lead Israel out of the Moabite control.


Ehud’s sword was strapped to the opposite side of his body, so the Moabite King didn’t notice the sword. He thought Ehud was a safe person to meet with him. But Ehud was able to kill King Eglon with the sword in his left hand and free the Israelites.


What does that have to do with us today? Many a time we believe we don’t have what it takes to be a leader when given an opportunity. We have traits that may be perceived as weaknesses, but God can use them as strengths!


I have shared that story over and over with my younger son, as he is smaller than everyone else in his class and is left-handed. Kids used to make fun of him for writing differently in school. I told him this story, and he was so amazed!


Now he considers being left-handed a bonus – a gift from God. And he connects more with me, because I am left-handed as well.