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Guilt And The Lap Of God

January 17, 2013 — 2 Comments

fatherreading

Have you ever had trouble staying awake during your prayer time? Many years ago I had a season in my life where I fell asleep more often than I would like to acknowledge. At first, it didn’t bother me much. I just excused it because I had been working a little more than usual.

However, guilt quickly set in, and it made me feel horrible.  Each time I fell  asleep it just increased the guilt. I was beginning to  feel shame, and I had thoughts of God being seriously disappointed in me. It’s distressing enough, I thought, to fall asleep during prayer but to feel like God was disappointed in me was worse.

No matter how hard I tried to stay awake during this period of my life, I would doze off. No one else knew but me, and of course God, but I was feeling like a spiritual failure. I was feeling like God was mad at me. I was trying hard to stay awake but getting nowhere. I heard the voice of guilt more than the voice of God.

Then it happened! One day I came home from work early, and my daughter who was about four at the time came running up to me and said, “Daddy, can you read me this book in your chair?” I smiled and said, “Of course I will.”

We settled into my favorite chair, and I lifted her up and into my lap. She turned her head slightly back and up and made eye contact with me, accompanied by a smile. I was feeling pretty good. I was having a perfect Father and Daughter moment.

As I was reading, she would look up and back at me asking questions and making comments. I was completely pleased with the moment. We were simply spending time together, and it felt incredible.

As I continued to read, her conversation and questions fell silent. She was getting tired. It wasn’t long until she fell asleep in my arms. I closed the book and just enjoyed the time we were having together. I was thankful she wanted to spend time with me at all.

Then it happened! God spoke and healed my guilt about falling asleep on Him. I could hear Him whisper to my heart. “Are you mad at her for falling asleep?” My heart whisper back to God was, “No Lord, I love just being with her.” His response back was, “I feel the same way about you.”

It was on that day God took my guilt away. His love for me was not based on effort and discipline, even though they are beneficial. His love for me is unconditional, and He is pleased even when I fall asleep in His lap with His arms wrapped around me.

mute button
You were called to be more than just aware of God’s presence in your life. You were called to be awakened to the presence of God in your life.

There was a time in my life when I was just aware of God. I was religious. I attended the church. I knew the praise songs by heart. I liked the preacher. I liked the people I went to church with. I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. I was good at checking the God box in order to feel like my life had balance.

What I really needed was a relationship that was fully awake to God speaking into my life. I had just enough religion to smell Christian. I was aware of God but not awakened to God.

Allow me to Illustrate it for you.

There are times I’ll be watching T.V. and my wife begins to talk with me. I can hear her talking…I’m aware of her presence, but I’m not awakened to her. The T.V. has my full attention, and I can just kind of hear her in the background. It’s not until I mute the T.V, turn and look her in the eyes that she has my full attention. When I mute the T.V., I move from awareness to an awakening.

The bible tells us; we are able to hear God’s voice and we will not follow another. We can only hear Him and follow Him, when we mute the other voices that are competing for our attention.

When you mute the other voices, you move from awareness to an awakening. If you find yourself just being aware of God in your life…then hit the mute button. You would be amazed at how fast you wake up.

grassgreener
Is Sex Greener On The Other Side Of The Fence?

The fastest way to destroy your marriage is to allow yourself to fall into an emotional attachment to someone other than your spouse. Nothing can steal intimacy faster than this first step away from the covenant God has placed you in when you took your vows before God and the world. Now, let me say at this point; if you want to comment adultery, it’s your choice…but know this-it’s going to cost you. It will destroy your home and the lives of many around you. There is simply no way around the fact that it will cause pain forever.

Adultery promises fulfillment and excitement that you feel you are not getting at home. The problem is, it always fails to live up to that promise sooner or later. You must remember, love is not a feeling; love is an action that you continually do and feelings are secondary. The green grass on the other side of the fence has the same sun shining on it as the grass you are thinking about leaving.

Please remember, that the decision to cross the fence comes with consequences that are enormous and last for a lifetime. It has been said before, and I agree, “No sex outside of marriage is that good.” That new adventure also has it’s own disappoints of life waiting to show itself soon enough. Those feelings of loneliness, emptiness and boredom that is diving you to pursue someone else…they will soon surface in the next relationship also. The reason why is that those feelings are inside you. In other words, everywhere you go, there you are.

It’s a fact that most people don’t set out to commit adultery. They let down their guard, and they generally drift out to sea until land seems to far to return to. It’s like the frog place in warm water: you turn up the temperature little by little until the frog is cooked. The frog just thinks it’s having a warm bath but the truth is he is being killed.

Allow me to give you three things that will help you to remain faithful and keep you from wreaking you life and others.

1. Keep the marriage bed on fire and purse each other

Take the time to talk with your spouse about your needs, wants and desires. Share with each other what you are looking for in the bedroom. Come to an agreement for the sake of the marriage, your kids and God. Submit to each other the bible teaches us. Cultivate romance in your relationship again. I would encourage you to pursue your spouse the way you did when you first started dating. If you are not still dating your spouse, you need to restart that as fast as you can. Get a baby sitter and leave the kids at home. Go to a movie and a meal. Hold hands and look into each other’s eyes. Talk about the beauty of the past and dream with each other about the beauty of the future.

2. Close the door on your heart to any other except your spouse

Make yourself accountable to a friend that will ask you about your flirting with others. Be open and honest with them and ask them to pray and ask you regularly about it. The bible teaches us that faithful are the wounds of a friend. Trust me, you need someone in your life that will speak truth without watering it down. You eyes are the gateway to the heart. Give your eyes back to your spouse and that feeling of him or her no longer having your heart will return like a flood.

3. Don’t deny you are being tempted

You and your spouse need to make a decision that you can freely and opening talk about your temptations. Temptation is not wrong. Temptation is not a sin. However, once you act on temptation sin is birthed. If you were at the office and someone was flirting with you or you were flirting with them…when you get home sit down and talk about it. You and your spouse need to decide in advance that these kinds of talk can and should take place without judgment. Confession can be risky, but the truth is, they can also save your marriage before it is too late.

Finally, if you are on the other side of adultery and have divorced and maybe even married again, and then grace and mercy from God is there when you repent of your sin. My advice would be this…go to the top of the post and read it again. Don’t commit the same SIN again.

Finding Jesus In Sadness

October 1, 2012 — 2 Comments

Sadness
When you find someone that is sad, you might just be finding Jesus.

There are times I’ve encountered people who seem really unfriendly and indifferent. My first reaction (just being honest here) is to get as far away as possible. After all, I wouldn’t want to come down with a case of unfriendly and indifference myself. However, Jesus was a friend of the brokenhearted and so must I be also; and so must you. Every person has some kind of sorrow that he or she tries to hidden deep inside; and many times, a person that I label a cold person, is only someone that is really sad.

Sadness is everywhere in this world. Sadness is everywhere you will venture today. Look for it in burst of anger from people. Anger is an extension of sadness that is deep inside of a person. They are afraid to share their hurt with anyone, so it’s much easier to be angry at the world and everyone around them. They would prefer to just slip away and be by themselves but they must work. Angry keeps people at a distance.

You see, when a person is sad, they desperately and sometimes just naturally withdraw form others. They rather avoid people altogether. That’s where you come in and allow God to use you for His glory and their benefit. Once you recognize someone is really sad, that just might be God’s invitation to you to help, instead of running away. With all the sadness that is in the world and at our very own doorsteps, it has been said; “we are under obligation to contribute as much joy as lies within our powers.”

The bible tells us in Psalm 34:18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Therefore, if the Lord lives in us through the power of the Holy Spirit, then He is certainly seeking to be near those who are sad by working through your life and mine. The Lord is always leading His followers to the wounded if they will just simply follow and obey and not run away from where He is trying to work.

I want to remind you that Jesus was a ‘man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.’ He knew what sadness felt like. He experienced sadness all the way to the cross. He endured the cross for you and me…and the world of sadness.

We are told in Hebrews 12:2, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

I want you to remember today, that when you take time to bring a little joy to someone who is sad, you are allow them to look at Jesus through the reflection of your eyes fixed on Him. Scripture makes it clear that when we minster to the hurting of the world, we are in fact ministering to Jesus. You are finding Jesus in sadness. God bless you today and you do your part to stamp out sadness and replace it with the joy of Jesus.

perfect-storm

Sometimes it’s God’s wisdom that moves you away from the crowd and into the perfect storm- it’s His perfect will and protection for your life and ministry. One voice should hold your attention…not the many voices of the crowd. When the crowd wanted to make Jesus King after the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus sent the disciples out into a storm to protect them. He wanted to get them away from the crowd that had it all wrong. His Kingdom was not of this world. The crowd wanted to make Jesus an earthly King, but that was not His purpose or will.  Jesus wanted to move the disciples away from that kind of Kingdom to teach them about the true eternal Kingdom.

If He didn’t move them away, they would  run the danger of allowing the crowd to replace the voice of God. Often, Jesus will take the course of the storm to protect us…not destroy us. He will get you to the other side, He will calm the storm. You will learn much in the storm about what it takes to bring the true Kingdom of God into your life.

After the feeding of the 5000, Jesus goes to pray alone. The disciple take the boat out and a storm comes. Jesus watches from the mountain as they struggle. He then comes to them WALKING ON THE STORM. Peter then declares in a step of bold faith, “Lord, if it be you, tell me come unto you on the water.” Jesus then said, “Come.’ Of course we know what happened. Peter started to sink when he took his eyes off Jesus. Nevertheless, Jesus saves Peter as he calls out for help, and once they step back into the boat, the storm runs away!

When it was all said and done the lesson was simple to see…JESUS WALKS ON STORMS…HE IS THE SON OF GOD…HE WILL GET YOU TO THE OTHER SIDE. Once you are on the other side of your storm His voice is sweeter and strong than if there hadn’t been a storm at all. NEVER FEAR THE PERFECT STORM OF GOD FOR YOUR LIFE.

eye_contact_2

Good eye contact can and should be part of glorifying God to the world. Eyes are a great attribute to use for witnessing because they can show a million emotions. Eyes tell the other person a story. Eyes speak of the confidence God has called you to show to a world that is desperately looking for something to believe it. If you have trouble with good eye contact, it’s probably because you are really shy. However, God can help you to overcome those shy moments when you realize that good eye contact can be a great witnessing tool for Him. (Special Note: Western countries view eye contact differently than some Eastern countries. In Eastern countries strong eye contact might be viewed as rude.)

Why is eye contact a great witness of Christ at work in your life?

1. It shows great esteem to the person you are speaking with

When you lean in just a little, and make great eye contact, you are showing the other person respect. You are saying to them they are valuable. You are sending the same message to them that God sends to us. God loves us and gives us His full attention at all times. When we do the same for others, it’s showing them the respect of God in us and through us.

2. It shows the other person is significant

You are sending a message, (HIS MESSAGE) that they are worthy of undivided time. We live in a fast paced world where people are overlooked all the time. Good eye contact that is undivided, says to the other person, “You are more valuable than time.” Once again…that’s a God thing. God always has time for us and gives us all that we need.

3. It shows Godly concern

You are sending a hug with your eyes that you are concerned with every detail of their lives. Again, this is how God is toward us. He is concerned about all that is going on in our lives…even the boring parts. Good eye contact shows the concern of God is always there waiting and listening.

Eye contact is something you may have never thought of as a way of witnessing for Christ but it’s more important than you can ever imagine. We would do well for the Kingdom of God if we used our eyes to project a positive image of Christ through us to others.

Need some tips for better eye contact skills? Start here and explore their other links.

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