Archives For Feeling

stop_complaining

Complaining feels like the right thing to do, when my world is falling apart. Complaining makes me feel like I’m fighting against injustice in my life. Complaining is something I falsely think I can control and direct in any direction that makes me feel a little better.

What about you? How do you view complaining? Do you like it? Does it feel good to complain when your world is not lining up the way you expected?

We like to complain because it seems to get the discontentment that is on the inside of us out. However, complaining is just downright wrong to do, and it changes nothing.

Complaining will never change the problem or problems you are facing. In fact, complaining most often causes more problems. Complaining spreads discontentment through your spirit faster than anything else I know.

The most devastating fruit of complaining is it keeps me from obeying God’s word and trusting Him with all of my life. When you complain, you reach into the hand of God and take little bits and pieces that you think should be changed the way you see it and not the way God see’s it.

In Philippians 2:14 we are instructed to “Do all things without grumbling…”

Notice the two words, ‘all things.’ That certainly sums it up! We are not to complain because God is in control of our lives. When we complain it is a form of non-trust in God’s working in and through our lives. When we complain, it is disobedience and unbelief. Worst of all, Complaining  gives place to the enemy to work stronger in your life.

So, what is the answer? What must we do?

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 gives us the answer and what to do. It tells us, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

For more on Complaining and some practical steps, see this post.

You are fired!

Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

No one wakes up in the morning and says, “I hope I get criticized today.” None of us pursues criticism, but criticism has a way of finding each of us.  We each love positive feedback that lifts us up and encourages us. However, along with positive feedback, there is a place for criticism in our lives.

As a pastor, I get my share of uplifting feedback, and I’m grateful when it happens. It’s nice to know you are loved, cared for and that something you have said or written has touched someone’s life in a positive way. Nevertheless, criticism finds it way to my doorstep also. I don’t have  a criticism shield that protects me from hard words, but I do have a way of navigating strong and sometime hash words.

1. Fast answers mostly make it worse

When I first hear or receive criticism, I tend to get defensive. I can feel hurt and anger start to gain a foothold on my heart. Therefore, I don’t answer the criticism fast. I take time to hear it again, read it again, and think through it. I want to first find any truth in the criticism that I can grow from. You can’t find the truth in criticism fast. You must find it slow.

2. I write what my flesh would like to say

I have fun with this one. I defuse my anger and hurt by GOING OFF in writing. I write strong in your face stuff. I respond like I’m in a war. I keep writing until I begin to laugh with just how silly my words of defense are. Once I’m done with writing, I delete it or throw it away.

3. I try and give the other person grace and pray

Often we only see criticism as all about us. However, that is just not the case. The other person might be condemning me because they are just hurt and needed to deflect their angry and pain toward another person. Therefore, I read the criticism again and look for pain that might be in their life. Then I pray for them. It’s hard to stay mad at someone you pray for.

4. I respond until its time not to respond anymore

If I respond I ask them question of clarification. I ask them question that help me to see their side. I can’t fully turn a situation around unless I really have a handle on what they are truly trying to say. If they answer back in a calm and mature manner, then I keep the conversation going. If they take it to a more ugly level…I stop responding and move on with my life.

potters-wheel

Isaiah 64:8
8 But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.

God is not finished with you yet. His position in your life is set. He is your Father and your potter. Your position in Him is set. You are His clay and the work of His hand. One day the wheel will stop spinning. What will you be?

God excels in taking clay and transforming it by His grace into a vessel of honor and glory for His namesake.

In Philippians 1:6 we read, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

It is God that has begun the good work in you and he will complete it. On the Day of Jesus Christ, when Heaven and Earth are joined forever, and there is no more death, sin, pain or injustice…you will stand complete in Him.

That day in the future, God wants to bring to bear on your life in the now. You are clay He is shaping to feed the hungry. You are clay He is shaping to give drink to the thirsty. You are the clay He is shaping to welcome the stranger. You are the clay He is shaping to put clothing on the naked. You are the clay He is shaping to visit the sick, and you are also the clay He is shaping to go to those who are in prison.

What about you today? Are you struggling to be conformed to all that God wants to do in your life? Is there an area that you have kept uncommitted to the hand of the potter? Here, is the good news- God does not abandon you. You just maybe need to be reshaped, reworked, reformed a bit more.

You are the clay that God picks up and works into the image of His son. He shapes you as He wants you. Yes, there are times the shaping really hurts, but when He is finished you will be fully human.

Are you open to being reworked by God’s hands? Ephesians 2:10 tells us, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

Think on this today- If you don’t allow the potter to come into complete contact with you, you will remain an unrealized masterpiece. He has a plan for you life. He wants to use you, but you must remain on the wheel of the potter.

Allow me to remind you once more. One day the wheel will stop spinning. What will you be?

Loneliness Runs Deep

November 19, 2012 — 2 Comments

loneliness1

Psalm 142:4 (ESV)

4 Look to the right and see: there is none who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me; no one cares for my soul.

David felt invisible. He felt like he had no safe place. He felt like no one cared for his well being. David was lonely.

Loneliness is when a person experiences a powerful feeling of emptiness and isolation. That was David. How about you? Have you been feeling lonely lately? If so, God cares for the lonely and God knows what loneliness feels like.

God created Adam. Adam lived in a perfect Garden. However, one thing was missing! He had an aching deep inside that the Garden could not take away.  Adam was lonely. The poet John Milton once wrote, “Loneliness is the first thing which God’s eye named, not good”

In Genesis 2:18 God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone…

We were created for relationships. That’s why loneliness is so ugly and God calls it not good. God didn’t intend for people to be lonely or to live alone. God created us to be in relationship with Him and others.  Mother Teresa once said, ‘The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.

The Pain of loneliness runs deep, but God’s healing runs deeper. I want you to believe that today. I want you to hold on to that truth.

I have 2 questions I would like to raise and answer

1. Does God Care About the Lonely?

2. Does God understand what loneliness feels like?

In Mark 1, we have the story of a leper.

1. Does God Care About The Lonely?

In Christ’s day, when someone approached a leper, they had to cry aloud, “Unclean!” Their lives were a living hell. They were shunned and isolated. They couldn’t even enter the temple to pray. They couldn’t hug their children, or spend time with their family. They were cast outside with others who were unclean. THEY WERE LONELY.

Mark 1:40-42

40 And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him,  “If you will, you can make me clean.”

People are not the source; God is the source. God did not create us to be lonely. We have an intrinsic need for relationships.

41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” 42 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.

Jesus could have healed without touching this man. However, he was lonely and needed a touch. When Jesus healed the leper, He did more than cure a disease. He took the leper from a life of loneliness and isolation, into a life of relationships and community.

2. Does God understand what loneliness feels like?

John 16:32(ESV)

32 Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me

Jesus knows what loneliness feels like. Peter said to Jesus he would never deny him and so did the rest of the disciples. Of course, we know the rest of the story. In the Garden, they couldn’t even stay awake with Christ. The disciples ended up scattering. On the cross Jesus experienced the Father pulling away, when He cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me!”

I remind you once more; the pain of loneliness runs deep, but God’s healing runs deeper. He cares for the lonely and He knows what loneliness feels like. My prayer is that you will find comfort in this truth.

god-is-in-control_t_nv

Image Credit

God’s sovereignty is found from the opening pages of scripture. When you read Genesis 1:1 it teaches that in the beginning, God created all things. God’s authority and power are found in creation.

All the way through the Old Testament and the New Testament, God’s sovereignty is proved. The Bible even ends with God as the Omnipotent judge of all creation. There simply is no debating the sovereignty of God. He is sovereign.

The reason I’m bringing up God’s sovereignty is because it’s important to your life. How do you feel about God’s sovereignty? Do you believe in His sovereignty? A Christ follower will agree with God’s sovereignty when all things are running smooth. However, if things are out of control, and life seems to be completely falling apart, the Christ follower may begin to doubt the sovereignty of God.

At times, confusion concerning God’s sovereignty sets in, and your world becomes unstable. So, what is the Christ follower to do when this happens?

1. Don’t leave your foundation

Belief that God is in control is a faith fundamental. There is no other foundation to build on. It’s imperative to remain on the foundation. The world will rock and shake around you, but God’s foundation is unshakable.

2. Keep trusting

When you keep trusting, it is an act of pure worship back to God. You are saying to God that no matter what, you will keep moving forward with Him. It is showing that you will serve Him no matter how rough the road may become.

3. Problems are no problem for Him

Whatever you are facing is not a problem for God. It’s a problem for you, but not for God. He works all things out according to His perfect purpose. It’s not about you; it’s all about His glory.

4. You will not understand it all

You will never understand all that happens to you this side of the second coming, but one day it will all make perfect sense. Live with that thought in your heart and mind and it will keep you in perfect peace.

I leave you with this quote.

“If there is one single molecule in this universe running around loose, totally free of God’s sovereignty, then we have no guarantee that a single promise of God will ever be fulfilled.” ~R.C. Sproul

 

election-dayToday we vote. Millions of eager citizens of our great nation will go to the polls and cast their vote for the candidate they most feel will move our country forward in the right direction. I thank God for the right to vote and I believe you should also.

As a pastor and leader myself, I only ask you that you vote. In America, we have been blessed to do so, and I feel we should exercise that right with absolute joy and thankfulness.

I come today, not to endorse a candidate, but to share a few ways to pray for those in authority. After all, that is what is commanded in scripture. Scripture teaches that we should pray for those in authority.

1 Timothy 2: 1-5 teaches us, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,”

1. We need to pray our leaders recognize their decision will be weighed in eternity.

2. We need to pray for our leaders to have wisdom beyond themselves

3. We need to pray their lives are peaceful, quiet and godly

4. We need to pray for healing through out our land

5. We need to pray our leaders truly seek the heart of God

6. We need to pray that God’s will becomes the will of our leaders

We must remember, Those in authority are there by the will of God and God will use them to accomplish His ultimate plan.

Therefore, we pray for our leaders.

NO MATTER WHAT

1. We pray no matter if they are Democrat, Independent or Republican

2. We pray no matter if the leader is liberal or conservative

3. We pray no matter how immoral or how moral they are

4. We pray no matter how just or unjust their decisions might be.

We pray NO MATTER WHAT! We are Christ followers and our prayers and what we do truly matters. I leave you with a quote from N.T. Wright

 

“Our task as image-bearing, God-loving, Christ-shaped, Spirit-filled Christians, following Christ and shaping our world, is to announce redemption to a world that has discovered its fallenness, to announce healing to a world that has discovered its brokenness, to proclaim love and trust to a world that knows only exploitation, fear and suspicion…The gospel of Jesus points us and indeed urges us to be at the leading edge of the whole culture, articulating in story and music and art and philosophy and education and poetry and politics and theology and even–heaven help us–Biblical studies, a worldview that will mount the historically-rooted Christian challenge to both modernity and postmodernity, leading the way…with joy and humor and gentleness and good judgment and true wisdom. I believe if we face the question, “if not now, then when?” if we are grasped by this vision we may also hear the question, “if not us, then who?” And if the gospel of Jesus is not the key to this task, then what is?” ― N.T. Wright, The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is

Miracles Happen

What an incredible moment in Luke 18! The God of the universe, the creator of everything, asked Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?”

What a miracle! What a God opportunity! Bartimaeus was a blind man that saw his opportunity (no pun intended) MIRACLES HAPPEN…sometimes they are housed in an opportunity.

Bartimaeus is a model to imitate, and no, I’m not promoting NAME IT and CLAIM IT. God is not Burger King, where you can have it your way. I’m speaking of imitating the way he acts on his God given moment of opportunity, in spite of everyone around him telling him to keep quiet. He simply keeps calling for Jesus to have mercy and that opportunity leads to the miracle  that he needed.

Bartimaeus would have remained blind, had he not seized the opportunity of His God moment. Most often, miracles are found in obeying the opportunity God has placed right in front of you.

I like to say it this way: Miracles Are Often Wearing The Clothing Of Opportunity

My wife and I moved to San Francisco many years ago to start a new church.(We were there for 13 plus years) She and I appeared before the state council for our denomination and shared our calling. After pouring out our hearts, we were expecting 100% of the men to give us the green light and their blessing. It was just the opposite. They turned us down and thanked us for our time, and we walked out the door.

As we were walking down the hallway to leave, my wife was visibly upset. I asked her, “What’s wrong?” She responded, “What are we going to do?” My reply was simply, “Start a church.”

Seeing she was not satisfied with my answer, we returned to the board room. I knocked, and then pushed the door open. I apologized for the interruption, but shared with them that I had a few more things I would like  to say. I proceeded to tell them that we meant no disrespect, but we would be starting a church for our denomination, or an independent work because we had to obey God.

After a few moments of silence, a man at the end of the table (who is a dear friend of mine) began to clap and stand up. It was one a man standing ovation. I believe that is the way God does us. He gives us a standing ovation, when we obey the opportunity He has called us to obey, even when  everyone else is telling us, we can’t.

Allow me to share a passage with you with some comments.

Luke 18:35-43

35 As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging.

  • Miracle Opportunities shows up often in everyday life if you have faith to see it.
  • The text say Jesus was drawing near Jericho, but in the case of Bartimaeus, Jesus was drawing near him.

36 And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. 37 They told him,  “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”

  • He was listening to what was going on around him.
  • He was listening for his opportunity.
  •  Open your ears! You might just be surprised at what God is trying to set up for you.

38 And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

  • Psalm 23 tells us that goodness and mercy shall follow you all the days of your life.
  • God has your life surrounded with goodness and mercy.

39 And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

  • He had a desire to move passed the one’s that were just curious about Jesus
  • “You may delay, but time will not.” –Benjamin Franklin
  • He opened every widow of his heart to the opportunity

40 And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, 41  “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.”

  • Isn’t that really the miracle we all need, to recover our sight?
  • To see what God see’s; to see how God see’s things?
  • If we did, and acted on it more often, we would change our lives and those around us.

42 And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.” 43 And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

  • The miricle for Bartimaeus was found in the opportunity of Jesus passing by. Once he was rescued, he followed and glorified God and everyone saw. I just love that. His life became a witness. You life can also.

Today, many will open their eyes to the miracle opportunities that surround them. Why not you?

shy

You are not alone in your walk with Christ if you have difficulty sharing your faith because of shyness. There are many other Christians that get nervous when they even think about witnessing. Do you struggle with sharing your faith because you have no clue as to how to witness in spite of your shyness? If so, I’ve got a few things that will help you.

 

1. Understand that witnessing isn’t always about words.

St. Francis of Assizi once said, “Witness at all times; if necessary use words.” The first thing that will reduce the pressure of shyness in your life is to know that you don’t have to use words to witness. You can use actions, and many times they speak louder than words. You can send letters to nonbelievers in Christ and let them know you are thinking about them. You can get them a gift and take it by their house to let them know how valuable they are. Doing these kind of things will be sure to open up a conversation, and they will end up, most likely,  asking you about your faith. When they do, just tell them what Christ has done in your life. No need at all to give them a bible study. Just share your life, and how Christ has changed it for the better.

2. Witness at home

Witnessing at home is easy because you already feel safe. Live before your family a changed life. Living for Christi in front of your family is the loudest witness you will ever do. Each family member is watching, and learning from you. They, in turn, will hopefully live the same way. That is making disciples without words.

3. Witness on vacation

Next time you are on vacation, witness to those who clean your room. Leave a great tip each day, and a hand written note of encouragement to them. Then sign it with a bible verse. Pray over the note, and let the Spirit of God do the rest.

4. Take advantage of birthdays

Collect as many birthday dates as you can and send them a card or an email. In the same way, you would write a note while on vacation, do something similar with a birthday card or email. To make this step automatic, do a Google search of free sites that remind you by email when a birthday is near.

I could give you many more, but I think you get the idea. What are some ways you have found that work? Leave a comment and share with others.

 

Like This Blog? Sign up by email to the right of this post. Never miss a post.

Screen Shot 2012-10-29 at 10.45.25 AM

I love getting the mail from the mailbox. In fact, it’s an obsession of mine. I have to be the one that gets the mail and looks at it first. I’m not entirely certain as to why I have such a fixation over the mail, but it goes all the way back to when I was a little boy.

I would get letters from my grandparents or a friend, and I loved it. I would be so excited and would open them and read them again and again. There is just something unique about a letter. Letters arrive and spend time with you. They took thought to write and send. Facebook, text, and skype just don’t hold the same special place as a letter. I become sad when I think how today in our day and age; letters are considered obsolete and antiquated.

So, why all the talk about letters? Well, because the Bible declares that we are letters of God to a broken world. We are letters of the right way. We are letters of the Good news of the Gospel. We are letters of eternal life.We are letters from the future, read in the now, of how it will one day be.

Have you ever thought of yourself as a letter? Have you ever thought of yourself as a living communication? We live in a fast world of sound bites, emails and text. Written letter are rare today. I’m not anti sound bites; I’m not anti emails or text. But God never called us to be that small. He called us to be big beautiful letters to the world. You and I declare to the world the greatest news of all times. If your life is a declaration, what are you declaring? You need to give it some serious thought.

Your life is God’s letter of hope and mercy, to a world that is broken and fallen. He writes a letter through your life as you submit to the blessing of being used to witness daily to the world around you. We are His epistles written for all men to see, and read.

2 Cor 3:2-3

You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. 3 And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

You are a letter that is to be known. Your faith was never intended to be isolated. Your faith is a letter to be read by all, not tucked away in a private place. I want you to picture yourself as a blank letter just before every conversation, or interaction with a person, or a group of people. Then, just allow God to work through you. Let God do the writing of the letter to the other person.

How is your letter reading to the world around you? How is your letter reading to your friends? How is your letter reading to strangers and even your enemies? Only you can truly answer those questions, and only you can make changes were the changes need to be. You are a letter of God and having a consistent walk with Christ is the best letter the world will ever read.

 

 

clocksad

Every now and again, I wake up in a bad mood, not wanting to face the day at all. I’m sure you have experienced the same thing in your life as well. I guess we all have those kinds of mornings. It is the human experience.

I’ve noticed if I don’t quickly turn my attitude around, it will be the filter for the whole day ahead of me, and that’s not a healthy thing.

We are blasted with news that is negative at almost every turn. There are times I take that negative to bed with me and sleep with it on my heart and mind. Not only does the night become a wrestling match, but I’m convinced that is part of the problem of waking up feeling bad, or in a bad mood.

All hope is not gone. You can turn your day around before you get to far down your daily walk.

Below are a few things I’ve found that help me.

1. Give it to God

If something negative is on my mind before going to bed, I take it to God. I give it to God before closes my eyes to sleep. The sunny day ahead is tied to going to bed with all my troubles placed into the hands of God.

2. See the sunrise of tomorrow

As I’m drifting off to sleep, I visualize the hope of the sunrise in the morning. It is going to be a new day and a good day. His mercies are new every morning. I speak that into my soul.

3. Pause before I start

When I first wake up, I sit on the edge of the bed for 5 minutes and think positive about my day. I think on good things. I focus my life and thoughts on Philippians 4:8, “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

4. Stand up after the pause with a positive attitude

Now my first steps are positive steps. I can now fully walk in the promise of Proverbs 3:6, “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.