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Stage

 

You can only think about one thing at a time. Don’t believe me?

Try spelling aloud, “I love Jesus with all my heart” at the same time as you write down your address on paper. (Go ahead and try it; I’ll wait.)

I’m convinced this is a blessing and a gift of God.  There are times in our lives we need to fully immerse ourselves in Him and nothing else. We need to get our minds and hearts refocused on life giving thoughts and directions.

For instance, let’s say someone has broken your heart or wronged you in a particularly profound way. All you seem to be able to do is fixate on them and it’s driving you crazy. It steals your joy, your smile, your happiness, your forward motion and a host of other good emotions that belong to you.

When you have been wronged it brings pain. Pain is a part of life and often the hammer that drives the nail of suffering into your heart. When suffering takes over my emotions I have a choice to make. I can continue to think about it or think about the things Jesus told me to think about.

1 Peter 5:7, instructs us, “7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

You can take your pain and emotional distress and cast them on Him. You can cast them into the sea of His mercy and love and watch them sink away.

Often, we turn to God for help, but we don’t take Him the problem. We manage the problem under lock and key. We open it over and over again and complain about it. Instead, you must take it to Him and cast it upon Him. After all, that’s what He said to do. You want to be obedient, correct? I thought so.

It’s been said, “The human mind is like a stage. Only one performance can play at a time.” Now, let Jesus have the stage by thinking on the things He said to think on. He has given you the power to choose who will play on your stage. It can be the thought of a person that hurt you, or  Jesus who can heal you. It’s your move. God bless you.

Philippians 4:8-9
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

Your Anger Blew Up Again?

January 10, 2013 — 1 Comment

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Anger is an emotion and emotions serve a purpose for good if we submit them to God.  Anger can find solutions to a problem or it can add destruction to a problem. For example, if you are angry at a certain behavior in your child that needs to be corrected, anger is an emotion that is telling you something is not right. Anger is not the problem. How anger is allowed to manifest is the real issue. Anger can be useful or hurtful.

Not long ago, I lost my temper with one of my children. I allowed anger to determine an unhealthy way of handling the problem. I started out calm enough, and my correction seemed to be going okay. Then something happen that caused me to raise my voice.

At that moment, whether I want to admit it or not, I lost my influence for good and turned into the old fallen man that doesn’t reflect the long suffering of God, nor his patient love.  In my heated moment, I forgot that it is the goodness of God that leads us to repentance.

The more I allowed my angry to run out of control the more it consumed all the grace, mercy and reflection of God away from my child. I could see the fire of anger burning but instead of throwing water on the fire, I just threw more gas. The frustrations of my adult world that I should take to God in prayer and leave at His feet found their way out and projected onto my child.

My anger had become harmful instead of constructive and redemptive. I’ve heard it said before, and I believe it to be true, “Anger becomes harmful when you don’t regard it as a signal to fix the cause.” The bible declares in Ephesians 4:26, “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,”

I got the second part of that verses right. Before the sun went down, I had apologized to my child. The next time I want to get the first part of the verse right. In my anger,  I don’t want to sin. When I honestly think about what I did, I concluded I was exceedingly mad at myself more than what my child was doing. I had  some unresolved stress in my own life that I had allowed to come out in the form of anger and onto my child. I had failed to protect my child from me.

If you have ever had a similar experience and need to apologize, here are a few tips.

1. Leave your pride at the door.

2. Just say you were wrong. Don’t include any excuses.

3. Look your child in the eyes and say I’m sorry.

4. Ask for forgiveness. Let them decided if they want to give it. Don’t demand it.

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.

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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

Dealing With Adversity

November 7, 2012 — 2 Comments

adversity

Life has a way of blowing adverse winds across your journey. There will be days that the winds are in your favor, and there will be days the winds are against you. Your forward advancement in life will always have much to contend with.

In times of adversity, you must prepare yourself with a purpose that is steadfast. In fact, adversity is not a terrible thing when navigated properly. When you encounter a loss, or you have suffered a massive defeat, or a serious setback, look deep inside your heart, where God lives, and prompt yourself of His presence in the storm.

When I think back on the trouble I’ve had in my life, I’m reminded how adversity ended up making me stronger. In fact, pain in my life has taught me much about myself. Adversity has shown me my weaknesses and taught me to give them over to God.

The goal of life is not to avoid adversity. Life is discovered more deeply to those who have suffered and then went on to endure their hurts and pain. The strong winds of adversity will blow away what needs to be blown away, and that which should remain, will remain.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 tells us, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; …

 

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.

 

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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.

no-swearing
First, I’ll start with a confession. There are times I use words that I shouldn’t use. There are also times that I say things about people that I shouldn’t say. I must admit, when I’m wronged or feel like I’ve been wronged, it just flat out feels good to GO OFF!

But here is the problem with going off. Ephesians 4:29a tells us, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths…” That’s right my Christian friend, we just can’t go there with our mouths. When it comes to a full house cleaning, it’s hard work; but once it has been cleansed, it just feels and looks right.

Cleaning up your language is like a full house cleaning. It simply must be done. We are even told in the book of James (James 1:26) to keep a tight rein on our tongues. So, if you are like me, and have problems from time to time with your mouth throwing gossip, or unwholesome words out, (which is actually a heart issue) then here are a few things you can do.

1. Many verses in the bible give you the answer in the second part

For instance, Ephesians 4:29 (motioned earlier) says, Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but in the second part, it says, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. The answer is build right into the verse. Now that leads to the next step.

2. When someone has slammed a door on your feelings, don’t cuss them

Instead, bless them. When you do, you will then see the open door God has for you. God always gives an open door to bless others. Even when they have wronged you, God has a better way.

3. Picture Jesus on the cross

It’s impossible to look at the cross and at the same time, cuss and talk careless about others. You simply can’t look up at the cross and look down on others at the same time.

4. Picture the future and then behave like it in the now

Picture when heaven and earth will come together (Rev 21). In that day, God will dwell with us, and there will be no more tears or death, or mourning, or pain. In other words, sin is forever gone and the world is as it was intended to be. With that picture in mind…live like that in the now. Don’t cause any of that kind of pain to another person. Show them the future inside of you. When you do, they will see Jesus, and that is way better than cussing and gossip.

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment.

GUYS-Bon-Qui-Qui--Don-t-Interrupt,-Rude--teeProverbs 18:13 teaches us, “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.”

Do you have a habit of interrupting people when they’re talking? Do you jump into their conversation, and splash their face with selfishness more often than you want to admit? I must admit I use to be downright crummy at these many years ago. I wasn’t terrible, but I interrupted frequently. How about you? Could you use a little more work in this area?

I’m continuously astonished at how nonchalant some people can be about interrupting others. It seems some have lost the grace of listening to the other person and waiting their turn. Don’t get me wrong, not interrupting is difficult, especially when you have a point you want to make, and you’re afraid you’re going to forget it. I would venture to say, that may be one of the main reasons people interrupt others. They simple have a point they want to make before they forget. However, that’s still no excuse for being rude and interrupting the other person.

Interrupting is often just downright disrespectful and needs to be removed from our lives as much as possible. When you interrupt someone, you are sending them a message that your words are more valuable than their words. You can tell when you have interrupted because you usually will do it mid-sentence. Interrupting is more than an etiquette no-no, it can also hinder your testimony for Christ.

1 Corinthians 13:5 says of love that, “It is not rude, it is not self-seeking…” It is easy to forget, that love is tied to our testimony, and when we interrupt another person, we can be in danger of diminishing the love of Christ.

Let me give you a few tips on how not to interrupt others.

1. Become aware

You need to be aware that you might just be an interrupter. We all know what it feels like when others interrupt us, but many of us are never aware that we also might be the one interrupting.

2. Make a note in your mind

If you have something you need to say, make a note in your mind, and say it when it’s your turn. If you have a hard time remembering things, then write down a one word reminder on a piece of paper. (Don’t have a pen and paper? Carry them with you. You won’t regret it.)

3. Give permission for someone to interrupt you
Ask your spouse, or a close friend to interrupt you, when you interrupt them, by calling you out on it. Tell them you are trying to improve your conversation skills, and your witness for Christ.

Closing thoughts: Yes there are times you may need to interrupt others; however, it’s rare and I’ll save my thoughts on that for another post.

P.S. Sorry to interrupt your busy day with this post. 🙂

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decision-making-processes1
Decisions sometimes are easy but lets fact it, that’s a rarity. Decisions, most of the times are difficult. The process of deciding what to do can become overwhelming if you don’t have a way to walk through the decision-making responsibility. Trying to figure out what the will of God is on a decision can be life altering for you and your family. So, what are you to do? Below are some things that have helped me over the years. I hope they will help you also.

1. Identify All The Options

I know this sounds elementary but try and think through all the different choices you can make and write them down. Write down what the likely outcome of each of them might be. If they pop into your head and heart, then they just might be worth writing them down. This list will help you with the next step.

2. Talk With A Friend

Run your thoughts by someone who is your friend and that you respect. They might have a few more thoughts that you can write down and might shed some new light on the problem. After, making your list and talking with a friend, take it to God in prayer.

3. Prayer Is Your Connection To God

Take your list, your heart, and your thoughts to the Lord. I know He might have a different plan when it’s all said and done, but God loves to hear your ideas. He loves you and gave you a brain to think with. Pray has a way of removing fear from the decision making process. Prayer gives birth to faith, joy and the power of God’s love connecting with you on a very personal level. Pray you list and thoughts out loud to the Lord…they can become clearer that way.

4. Communication With God Filters Out Moral Issues

As you pray, God will reveal to you, and show you, the moral or non-moral areas of your thoughts. Be prepared to get rid of anything He reveals to you that doesn’t line up with His heart or His Word. If any of your thoughts go against a biblical command, then the decision is an easy one…OBEY His Word.

5. Embrace God’s Decision As You Decision

God will show you and speak to you the right thing to do when it’s the right time. It is essential that your will is submitted to God’s. In order to be submitted, you must be humble enough to accept His decision as your own. Sometimes it will be a combination of your thoughts and His, but more often, it will be different and even better. He is the author and the finisher of your faith. Trust that fact.