Sunday, January 02, 2011



One of the most familiar quotes about results is credited to Albert Einstein. It is "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Results are rarely neutral. Either you have great expectations for certain positive results or you have great dread about the possibility of certain negative results.

Results seem to come in three versions-good, bad or none at all. Sometimes it's the "none at all" that can be most difficult. I really like the t-shirt that says: "For every door that closes there is another one that always opens, but the hallways can be hell."

Results are everywhere. They cannot be avoided. Results are the consequences of life, whether we cause them or they just happen to us. Results do happen!

Not only do we all have life results that we feel we must negotiate, the bible is filled with the good, the bad and the non-results in the lives of the many characters. Ananias and Sapphira had some very good results. They sold a piece of property and made a lot of money. However, these good results were made into bad results when they acted as if they were giving the entire amount they gained into the local treasure, yet were holding out on God. They lied in an attempt to gain some praise and affirmation. Daniel was being faithful to God by praying daily and through the conniving of some jealous men in the kingdom ended up in the lions' den. Bad results for sure, yet God was at work in the midst of these bad results and saved Daniel's life.

Then in Hebrews 11 there is an interesting paragraph regarding a great men of faith who experienced a lifetime of non-results: 13 All these people (Enoch, Noah, Moses, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country-a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

There are two basic problems with results. The first problem is that there is a tendency to wallow in the bad results which ends in depression. The second is to rely on the good results, relishing in them as if they were produced by us, resulting in pride. So, we end up trusting and hoping in our results, gambling on them to be the answer to our problems.

If you focus on your results, you will never be free from the stresses of it all. Here are some thoughts on how to handle your results: FIRST-Do the best you can do. This is your primary responsibility and nothing more.

SECOND-Leave the results entirely in the hands of God. You can't control your results anyway. In fact, results are none of your business. I am convinced God is personally at work in the midst of your results.

With Jesus it's always personal. This is why He continually makes it clear to those who are listening who He is. His many I AM statements and claims about Himself place Him into the middle of your life results.

Jesus uses results in your life to do the following: 1. To teach you something through it. 2. To work together with something else for God's glory and your good. 3. To get you through the worst of it all. He delights in getting you through it.

So, there are three cautions: 1. Don't allow yourself to be slammed by the bad results. 2. Don't allow yourself to take credit for the good results. 3. Don't allow yourself to be discouraged by the lack of results.

Jesus is the only result worth your time and energy!



2 GATES, 2 GUIDES, Now, 2 foundations. 24 ``Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 ``And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 ``Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 ``The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell-and great was its fall.''

NOTE similar things about each one: 1. Each person hears the words of Jesus. 2. Each person faces the same rain, floods, and blowing winds slamming against them.

NOTE the differences between the two: 1. Each person responds differently to the words he has heard-one by acting upon the words of Jesus & the other by not acting upon them. 2. Each person experiences a different result-one does not fall down and the other falls flat!

I am now convinced that most of us most of our lives have lived our lives founded upon the sand. It's what I call the "sandcastle lifestyle". What Jesus is saying is so simple and so profound. Jesus wants only two things from us:

1. He wants each of us to listen to His words. Instead of talking all of the time when you pray, try sitting still and waiting for Jesus to speak to you. You'll know what He wants from you. You'll know what His will is for you.

I regret to say that I have spent most of my life talking and not listening. Therefore, I have missed out on what Jesus is attempting to say to me. It's as simple and as tragic as that!

2, He wants each of us to act upon what He says to do. Listen to Jesus and do what He says to do, no more and no less. This is why we have included the 3rd habit for our lives-waiting on Jesus to lead out.

NOTE THE RESULTS: 1. If you hear His words and are careful to do them, no matter what comes in against you, your house will not collapse!

2. If you hear His words and don't do them (the very same rain, floods, and winds), then your house will fall flat, dramatically!


28 When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; 29 for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.

Jesus spoke so powerfully that it amazed all those who heard Him. This Jesus is for real! Jesus is so attractive! Jesus is the most irresistible One ever!



In the last paragraph Jesus spoke about 2 gates and now He opens up 2 different kinds of guides. 15 ``Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 ``You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 ``So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 ``A good tree cannot produce bad fruit nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 ``Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 ``So then, you will know them by their fruits.

Unfortunately, false prophets don't wear an FP on their sleeve or on their forehead. Jesus warns that there will be false prophets who seem harmless, but are out to destroy. He says that you can decipher them by their fruits. But even this may be difficult to judge (conclusively judge) whether or not a prophet is false or genuine, because many false prophets show a certain kind of fruitfulness in what they do. That's what makes them so attractive!

But NOTE what the test here really is. The term fruit is the operative word here. In order to check out a prophet's fruit (not their show or outward demonstration), you need to observe the person and ministry over a prolonged period of time. It takes time to produce fruit. There is no instant fruit. So watch for the fruit over a long period of time and you'll know.

Now NOTE what these false prophets actually do. This is amazing! 21 ``Not everyone who says to Me, `Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 ``Many will say to Me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' 23 ``And then I will declare to them, `I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'

Jesus says that there will be people who come before Him in the last days, calling Him Lord, but will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Just using the right language will not get a person into the kingdom of heaven. HOWEVER, the one who does the will of the Father will enter-the person who not only talks a good game, but walks it and proves it out by his actions.

These people, Jesus says, will do 3 things that will make it all the more difficult to discern whether or not a person is a false prophet. They speak in the name of Jesus-- "did we not prophesy in your name?" They cast out demons in the name of Jesus. They perform many miracles in the name of Jesus.

WOW! These are some powerful things that the false prophets do. So how can you tell the difference between the false and the genuine. The only answer Jesus gives here is that you will know them by their fruits, so watch what they do.

The deceptiveness of these false prophets is another good reason why it's necessary to keep: 1-Walking with Jesus 2-Walking with others




13 Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 ``For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

2 GATES: 1. Narrow gate 2. Wide gate

2 RESULTS: 1. Narrow gate leads to life! 2. Wide gate leads to destruction!

2 CHOICES 1. Narrow gate that leads to life will be found by a few! 2. Wide gate that leads to destruction will be entered by many!

NOTE the narrow gate is small and therefore difficult to go through. NOTE the wide gate is wide and therefore easy to go through.

NOTE also that Jesus begins with the command urging us to enter in through the narrow gate. Remember, the entire Sermon on the Mount is answering the question, "How does your teaching differ from what we've been taught, Jesus?" His answer here is that to follow Him and His teaching will be difficult, but will lead to life. To choose not to follow Him and His teaching will be the easiest thing to do, because the masses are going in that direction. Don't follow the crowd. Follow Jesus!

This passage reminds me of living JUST FOR TODAY:

Just for today I will live through the next 12 hours and not tackle my whole life problem at once.

Just for today I will improve my mind. I will learn something useful. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.

Just for today I will be agreeable. I will look my best, speak in a well-modulated voice, be courteous and considerate.

Just for today I will not find fault with anyone. I will not try to change or improve anyone but myself.

Just for today I will have a program. I might not follow it exactly, but I will have it. It will save me from two enemies-hurry and indecision.

Just for today I will exercise my character in two ways. I will do a good deed and will keep it a secret. If anyone finds out, it won't count.

Just for today I will do two things I don't want to do, just for exercise.

Just for today I will be unafraid. Especially will I be unafraid to enjoy what is beautiful, to love and to believe that those I love, love me. I will remember that as I give my best to the world, the world will give back to me.