Monthly Archives: June 2016

Monday Motivator – June 27

He could be considered the king of cover-ups.

What burden of sin are you carrying that no one else knows about? Once you consider his story, I hope you will find the courage to come back to Jesus for forgiveness, healing, and freedom.

History records what he did as king to be one of the most indefensible, arrogant, and malicious events in leadership. While he was and is seen as a good king, the scandal of his own making has been read and analyzed for a long time. It is a true story that has been used to warn people who pursue power and position of the pitfalls of being in that place of often unobstructed prominence.

He had no one to blame but himself. Although his aide(s) were complicit in the actual events, none appeared to raise opposition to the manipulation the king was pursuing. He had allowed himself to start on a road of sexual imagination and fantasy about a younger woman who lived nearby. He lied to himself even as he contemplated a great sin against his God. He knew better, but he allowed his lust to get loosed. He lied to his leadership team. He fed his old nature with thoughts that were not noble and loving. He ultimately increased people’s distrust in the government by his actions. He brought shame to the office of the king. He dishonored God.

A truism of the best-selling book of all time is that God shall not be mocked. We all reap what we sow. God knows. He sees what we do.

I wonder how often he asked himself why he allowed himself to get into such a tempting situation? He could have stopped the physical and sexual affair from ever happening. As soon as he saw the naked woman bathing nearby, he could have walked away and not contemplated his desire to “have her.” He could have asked his aide(s) to block the view of the bathing area with drapes and even asked the woman to bathe in another area to reduce the possibilities of any man seeing her. When he learned she was a married woman, he could have practiced self-control so as not to break one of the ten commandments. He could have confessed his potential struggle with a trusted friend and asked for prayer and support to walk uprightly before God.

But he didn’t. He used his power as king to command the woman to be brought to him. He slept with a married woman who was not his wife. To add further insult, the woman was married to one of the king’s top military commanders. To add further injury, he then tried to cover up his sin and infidelity by having the soldier killed in battle.

Read Psalm 32:1-5.

David, the second king of Israel, is no different from any of us. No one enjoys having someone else know that what he or she did is wrong (see Nathan in 2 Samuel 12). But to cover up sinful behavior compounds the problem. I think David has to be considered the king of cover-ups for his adultery with Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 11. To his credit, he felt guilty for his actions (verses 3-4). Then he came clean with God about his sin (v 5).

Living with the crushing weight of sin is not what God has in mind for us. We can be freed from that burden through the grace of God. He promises us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins” (1 John 1:9). Think theologically. We can’t cover up from God.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2016 by Mike Olejarz

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Monday Motivator – June 20

I know a lot of former students now in the marketplace who loved college life. Sleep when they wanted. They sat around with friends chatting about their hopes, dreams, and aspirations, eating often, and laughing more than crying. Many went to the gym as long as they wanted to since it was paid for, and they could work on all sorts of exercises and activities. Homework was a reality and a manageable stress. The thing many alumni mention was the freedom to use their time anyway they chose to when scheduled things like classes or work study wasn’t required.

College is really an illusion, or a few years separated from reality. Consider that there is pressure and expectations to get good grades, make professional contacts, and have a career path to embark on. Yet even as young men and women get around to the decision about what they are going to do after graduation, it’s what they also connect with along the way that is interesting. It’s not all a party experience, but it is often unusual and a bit goofy. It’s no wonder many say that college was the best years of their lives.

But after four, five, or gulp, even six years, it has to end. Graduation finally arrives and the time has come to face the end of college and the transition to the real world. The insecurity of trying to avoid what you are going to do the next few years is over. The need to think critically and have a decent plan to head into the marketplace is finally in front of you.

I know it’s not an easy transition to tackle because it raises some hard-to-answer questions. How do I know if I am ready? Am I really qualified for some sort of job in the field of study I chose? But I could have put in much more effort and done better instead of goofing off and sliding by for a few semesters. How should I view the next season of my life? My parents kept suggesting I should think about questions like earning a living and starting a savings account, getting serious about marriage and my own family, and where to live, but I brushed them off. Now, I’m starting to realize I should have paid more attention and given some time and energy to considering those concerns.

Read Hebrews 5:11-6:3.

The writer to the Hebrews says that some people appear to want to avoid growing up to maturity. He continues (it may even come across a bit harshly) to say there are those who stay too long in spiritual immaturity and should have moved on to maturity by now.

The reality is everyone matures at a different rate. Often the four years of college contribute to helping a young person leave behind immature ways. It does take a while to assess who you want to be, the values you want to adhere to, and the path you are ready to take. Parents cross their fingers and toes and pray often that when their children walk across the graduation platform, get their diploma, and toss that tassel to the other side, they are now signaling their readiness to move into adulthood. The party is over and it is time to put away childish habits.

Life is full of transitions into maturity. Taking responsibility for your spiritual, emotional, physical, mental, and financial health are examples of much needed growth markers (see Luke 2:52). You can no longer rely on your parents’ urging to face and handle those areas of life. So what are your growth goals for the next three months? How would you assess your maturity at this time? What is your individual growth plan? Grow devotionally. To get going, get growing.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2016 by Mike Olejarz

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Monday Motivator – June 13

Look up the word “hypocrite” in a dictionary or thesaurus. What other words did you come across that mean the same thing?

There has been easy money to be made for people who can fake it a bit and appear to be more than they actually are. Newspapers report now and then about an increasing number of men and women being paid to pretend to be somebody other than who they are. I remember a man who was discovered by TV reporters in Boston, MA, that appeared to be homeless. In actuality, he was man bringing in a six figure salary, but was bored and came up with the homeless ploy to raise money to help send his kids to college. He told the reporter that he made enough to pay for his daughter’s first year in college in six months of sitting, unshaven and smelly, and holding his hand out. It sounds like an episode of The Twilight Zone.

Some of these pretenders are paid to sit up as credible looking jurors to help aspiring lawyers practice their presentations. Some appear as customers in restaurants to assess waiters and bartenders. Some are even paid to sit at a desk and pretend to work on a computer, so it makes the office looks busy and full when management is interviewing potential hires.

On one hand, you have to respect someone for doing something out of the ordinary to make a few bucks. Begging to pay for college tuition when you have the means is minimally odd and even disingenuous.

If you asked most people in your network of influence, I bet you would find that all of them despise hypocrites in any fashion, shape, or size. Even King Jesus said there is no room or reward for pretending in the kingdom of God.

Read Matthew 6:1-18.

Jesus directed some of the sternest warnings you’d hear at people who put on a good outward show, but had very little spiritual substance inside. Jesus Himself had no trouble calling these sorts of people, “hypocrites.” He was apparently the only one in the New Testament records to use that word when he recognized the behavior. He was quick to discern that their words and their walk did not match, and that was a problem for King Jesus.

For example, in Matthew chapter six, Jesus says, “Do not be like the hypocrites…” In your giving (verses 1-4); In your praying (verses 5-8); In your fasting (verses 16-18).

The Lord approved of unseen actions that emanated from the heart more than good deeds done for the outward acknowledgement and commendation of others. Jesus said when your motive is to please God, “Your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (verses 4,6,18).

If you are convinced that God “sees what is done in secret,” what do you think is the key for being a real, authentic Christian? How can you avoid the trap of doing things just for show?

Serve globally. I hope you would consider working for a “well done” from God, as opposed to trying to just gain the praise of others. Pray and work to align your words and deeds in a life that brings glory to the real Judge. God knows what is done for show. You do too, so knock it off.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2016 by Mike Olejarz

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Monday Motivator – June 6

I became a follower of Jesus because I came to a realization in college that there was One True God, and I was not it. Even though I thought of myself as being in charge of my life, I discovered that the Creator had authority and a sovereign claim on me. I came face to face with the Living God as revealed in holy Scripture through several varsity baseball teammates. The first was named James and the second was Smitty, i.e., Doug Smith. They were the first to share the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with me.

The word “Gospel” comes from a Greek word (evangelion), meaning, “good news.” The gospel is the incredibly good news that God in Christ Jesus has fulfilled His promises to Israel (Matthew 11:2-5) and provided a way of salvation for all. Jesus taught that the prophecies of Isaiah were a foreshadowing of himself (Luke 4:16-21).

Mark 1:14-15 says, “After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”

The advent (arrival) of Jesus is the actual gospel event, even though Jesus said the gospel came with him.  The Hebrews (and later the first Christians) believed that God’s promise of salvation (Genesis 3:15), reiterated to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3 and Galatians 3:8) was trustworthy, and further supported in Scripture (Acts 4:12, Romans 1:2, Hebrews 1:1-4).

Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-8.

The writers of the New Testament declare that to believe in Jesus means salvation (John 20:31, Romans 1:16-17). To reject Jesus means being damned (Mark 16:15-16, John 3:18). The gospel is the power of God (Romans 1:16), according to Paul. He further says it comes in power (1 Thessalonians 1:5), and he is obligated to preach it and pass it on to others (Romans 1:14-15, 1 Corinthians 9:16). He considers it a sacred trust (1 Timothy 1:11), believes the gospel is truth for eternal life (Ephesians 1:13), asks for prayer to disburse it accordingly (Ephesians 6:19), and says that its reality is hidden from unbelieving people (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). It is by faith that people come to know the saving power of God (Romans 10:5-10, Hebrews 4:2, 11:6). Paul adds in Romans 10:14-15 the call to Christian responsibility to continue to preach the gospel of Jesus.

I look back and am humbled at the way God got my attention. Through His sovereign dealings, and ultimately sending James and Smitty into my life, I was confronted with the claims and person of Jesus. I am grateful for their persistent and loving attempts to ask me about my spiritual background and listen to what I thought about God.

In spite of my resistance and lack of coherent answers to my own questions and doubts, they patiently listened to my objections and suggested ideas and responses to my concerns. Even when I was not looking for God and my eventual spiritual home, James and Smitty (and many others) prayed for me and trusted the Lord to show Himself to me in ways that I could understand. My life changed practically and eternally when I met the Author of good news.

Walk wisely. Ask God for divine openings in order to have the privilege of sharing the gospel this week. You and I are called by Jesus to communicate the gospel to others.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2016 by Mike Olejarz

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