When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. – 1 Corinthians 13:11
When was the last time you tried to break a habit, an old idea, a negative behavior pattern, or an unhealthy emotional recording from the past? It’s not easy! Even though you know you need to, even though you know it would be a good thing to do and will result in a healthier or happier state, it’s just a pain. And you’d rather live in the comfort of your misery, or so you think.
We often react like two year-olds whose parents are taking the bottle away. Tantrums, meltdowns, and tears always seem to be a part of the process.
What are you holding on to? What from the past are you hanging on to that you need to let go of? You know the things that tear you down and keep you from emotional health, but you just hang on to.
How many times has God given you the opportunity to give those things up because they keep you isolated and stuck, even poisoning your spirits? But it means letting go. There’s that “S” word again . . . surrender.
It takes a willing spirit. But you can walk in the victory that the Lord has already given you, if you choose it. Choose it today!
Faith, as Paul saw it, was a living, flaming thing leading to surrender and obedience to the commandments of Christ. – A.W. Tozer
I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. You asked, “Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?” Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. – Job 42:2, 3, 5
Here’s a paradox for you. Those of you with a healthy sense of self are in the best position to exercise true humility. Why? Because the person with a healthy sense of self has nothing to prove. No agenda to push. No ego to shield. And no need to fret over what others think of you. When you encounter a problem that exceeds your knowledge, you admit without pretense that you don’t know the answer.
Sometimes we Christians can really fool ourselves. We think that since God is all knowledgeable and wise, and since we have His Holy Spirit within us, we should be able to dispense pearls of wisdom like spiritual gumballs. The truth is, the more we come to know God, the more we realize what we don’t know. And that’s O.K.!
The more we experience God’s grandeur and the more we understand our dignity as his sons and daughters, the lower we’ll bow before His throne—with nothing to prove and everything to gain.
My dad used to say, You wouldn’t worry so much about what people thought of you if you knew how seldom they did. – Phillip McGraw
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – Matthew 6:19-21
In his classic novel, The Screw tape Letters, C.S. Lewis writes of the subtle way that prosperity knits a person’s heart to the world. Growing reputations, widening circles of acquaintances, a per¬ceived sense of importance, and the increasing pressure of absorb¬ing and agreeable work, argues Lewis, builds up in a person a sense of really being at home on earth. But while people are finding their place in the world, Lewis concludes that the world is finding its place in them.
The truth is each of us longs for a sense of belonging. It’s the way we’re designed, and it’s a good thing. But what the world has to offer is incapable of producing what we too often seek to find in it, so it can’t help but leave us disappointed.
Don’t become a collector of empty treasures in your search to find belonging. Possessing things that belong to you is no substitute for choosing to belong to God, and possessing eternal security in Christ.
No man can swim ashore and take his baggage with him. – Seneca the Younger
Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him. – Matthew 7:9-11
Are you reluctant to ask for help? You’re definitely not alone. Too many of us are unwilling to admit we need help. We think it’s a sign of weakness. But it’s really a sign of pride and self-sufficiency, both which go against the grain of a healthy dependence upon God and the power of His Holy Spirit in our lives.
God wants to give you good things. He’s hoping you’ll humbly admit that you have needs. Don’t be afraid to ask others for help. Remember, God made us to relate to one another, to love one another. We weren’t made to live life alone. If you’re “the strong” one that is always lending a hand and seeing to it that others are taken care of, it’s hard for you to let someone know you need help, but it’s important that you do. We need more two way streets in our Christian community.
There’s an old saying that goes something like this, be smart enough to know when you need help and brave enough to ask for it.
Refusing to ask for help when you need it is refusing someone the chance to be helpful. – Ric Ocasek
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6
Upon returning from space, the Russian cosmonaut Gherman Titoy said, “Some people say there is a God out there…but in my travels around the earth all day long, I looked around and didn’t see Him…I saw no God nor angels. The rocket was made by our own people. I don’t believe in God. I believe in man, his strength, his possibilities, and his reason.”
Isn’t it amazing that at moments when we’re most vulnerable, and most clearly confronted with God’s majesty, we can be so unaware of His presence?
God is wiser than we can comprehend, more immense than we’re comfortable with, and merciful beyond the reaches of our imaginations.
Yet, He’s also the One through whom everything makes sense. So don’t mistakenly think that faith is the result of understanding. It’s the opposite. Faith is the basis for understanding.
Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want. It is the belief that God will do what is right. – Max Lucado
All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Blessings to each of you!
When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. – Genesis 32:25
There’s a story in the Bible about Jacob wrestling with God, and as a result, God touched Jacob’s hip resulting in Jacob walking the rest of his days with a limp.
Have you wrestled with God? What’s your limp? Do you have a scar or a wound that you have hidden from the world? Note that God gave Jacob a limp. Unlike a scar or a wound, you can’t hide a limp. It shows whenever you get up and move around. I think God wanted Jacob to limp with pride. It was his battle scar.
What’s your battle scar? Have you accepted them for what they are and for the person they have made you? Have you allowed the pain of your wrestling match to grow you into a better, more compassionate person? Let God unfold more of His beauty and grace and love in your life. Would you have it any other way?
God will take the lowest of all and raise him up. He’ll take the weakest one and strengthen him. He’ll take the most insecure and fill him with courage. He’ll take the least and make him the most. All you have to do is let him.
So, whatever your limp is, walk with it and don’t deny it. It is who you are, and He is molding you into a masterpiece. You are who you are because of your painful past. God accepts you right where you are, limp and all. I hope you do, too.
Comfort and prosperity have never enriched the world as much as adversity has.
– Billy Graham
The wound is the place where the Light enters you. – Rumi
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – Hebrews 10:24
The first sentence of Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life is this: “It’s not about you!” Do you believe that? Does your life reflect that? It’s a struggle for me, and I bet it’s a struggle for you.
Consider these situations: You’re in the checkout line and the older gentleman in front of you wants to write a check, but can’t find his checkbook. He locates his checkbook, but now he has no pen. Finally pen in hand, he inquires about the date. The clerk noticing his out-of-state check calls for approval. This short “in-and-out” errand adds additional minutes to your packed schedule. It was probably the most inconvenient experience you’ve gone through. There ought to be a law! Or in the words of my mother, “It’s always something!”
Or what about your restaurant experience with the hamburger and no ketchup because the waitress forgot. She is off talking, ignoring your request, and crying about something. The serving station has ketchup but it is her job. So you sit, tap your fingers on the table, and shoot darts at the lady crying at the back of the restaurant.
Did you think to say a kind word to the gentleman to help settle his nerves, or tell the waitress that you hope things get better. You might even leave a bigger tip or offer to pray for her. It’s not about you! Look outside yourself. It’s what we’re called to do. Try it. See if God doesn’t affirm you for it.
Only God can give us a selfless love for others, as the Holy Spirit changes us from within. This is one reason we must receive Christ, for apart from His Spirit we can never be freed from the chains of selfishness, jealousy, and indifference. Will others see Christ’s love in your life today? – Billy Graham
Let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth. – 1 John 3:18
If you’re like me, you live a life in community, but your community isn’t likely one to include your neighbors. I know people who have lived in their neighborhoods for years and still don’t know their neighbors’ names. Busyness blocks out the world immediately around them.
A friend of mine recently shared a story with me. She said that she’s lived in the same neighborhood for twelve years and never really reached out to any of her neighbors. Having learned that one of her neighbors was battling cancer and leukemia, she thought that the time had come to express care, concern, and love to her.
So, she wrote a note, wrapped up a little stuffed bunny, and approached her neighbor’s house. Her heart was pounding. Was she opening herself to ridicule? She knocked on the door, wondering how this little gift and expression of care would be received. When the neighbor came to the door, she could tell that this hand delivered expression of love really moved her. The whole 10-minute process, doing exactly what God wanted her to do, was a blessing to both and an expression of the love of God to her neighbor.
Do you need to step out of your comfort zone and express love and concern to someone? Just look around you; the opportunities are there. We just close them off in our hurry to have a day without interruptions. Express some care and concern for someone today. Lend someone a helping hand. Spend time (and money if necessary) to be an agent of God’s love. You know you need to do it!
You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes. – A. A. Milne
Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:1
We live in a culture that values things that are large, extravagant, and impossible to miss. For this reason, we’re tempted to look at the struggles in our rather ordinary lives, and consider our victories insignificant if they’re not acknowledged or recognized by others.
But that’s just not true. Victor Hugo, the great French playwright who penned Les Misérables, rightly said our “greatest actions are performed in minor struggles. Life, misfortune, isolation, abandonment and poverty are battlefields which have their heroes, obscure heroes who are at times greater than illustrious heroes.”
It’s not the size of the audience, or the amount of applause, that determines the value of your achievements. Live your life before the one true God. And live it with faith, hope, and love even though you’re not getting accolades for it. Remember, your true character is what you do when no one is looking.
Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip. – Will Rogers
“Trust me in your times of trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory” (Psalm 50:15 NLT).
When I ask people what keeps them from trusting in God, they sometimes say, “Well, I haven’t seen what’s on the other end, so I’m not going to trust it.” Yet they trust all the time in things they can’t see.
We can’t see television or radio waves, but we watch TV and listen to the radio. We can’t see cell phone waves, but we use our phones every day without thinking.
It’s selective trust. We trust what we want to trust.
What about you? Are you willing to trust in the One who is unseen but is more reliable and more dependable than any technology this world could create? Are you willing to commit your life to him?
If you are, I encourage you to pray this prayer:
“Dear God, forgive me for my pride and for thinking that I don’t need you in my life. I’m sorry. I admit that I need rescuing. I need saving. There is no way I can pay for my sins on my own.
“And so I’m asking you, Jesus, as much as I understand it, to rescue me and set me free. I am calling on you because you’ve said that anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
“I want to commit my life to you, and I want to learn to trust you and know you better. Give me the better life and set me free. In your name I pray, Amen