Posts Tagged ‘Life Crisis’

Don’t Lose Your Capacity For Vulnerability

Friday, January 4th, 2013

Walk by FaithI resonated with this presentation by Brene’ Browne. I have and still do wrestle with believing that God is bigger than some of my problems and challenges I know God’s word is very clear that God is sovereign and in complete control. But, when I am facing real big, scary life issues, I can struggle with being patient, trusting God fully, trying to wrestle control away from him, and being content during these times of difficulty. I can struggle seeing and understanding that even in these trials God has a plan; a great and perfect plan to teach me, grow me, care for me, provide for me, protect me, and give me a future with his love, peace, hope, and joy.

“This is God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” (Jeremiah 29:10-11 The Message)

You Can Be a Hope Ambassador!

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Having hope and offering hope to others  is perhaps the single most important key to experiencing true happiness.  I recently found a terrific description of hope written by James Goll of the Encounters Network, and published by the The Converging Zone Network.  I know you will be encouraged, as I was by Mr. Goll’s message of hope…it’s foundations, it’s benefits, and understanding how to obtain it !

Hope Ambassadors…

Theme verse: I Corinthians 13:13a (NASB): ”But now faith, hope, love, abide these three…”

In a time of great uncertainty, it is a necessity that we be people of hope. In recent years, we have had a good deal of teaching on faith and some on love, but the missing commodity in the Church is an understanding of HOPE.

It behooves us to look to the Lord in these days and call forth solutions to life’s problems. We must focus our gaze, not on the revival of evil, but we must set our gaze up higher and be a prophetic people with answers for today’s dilemmas. It is time to be Hope Ambassadors.

In my own life, I tend to be a parabolic prophetic person. As most of you know, I have gone through a severe “Job-like season” in the last decade of my life and ministry. I have been grappling with difficult things and complex questions. This has forced me to go back to the foundational bedrock of my faith. I declare that God is good all the time and that all things work together for good. Because these two foundational truths are laid firm in my life, I believe that the greatest level of purpose and impact is yet to come.

As I have found it necessary in my own life, so I believe it is necessary in many lives. It is time for teaching on good mental health in the Body of Christ! Yes, the world and the Church are both waiting for Ambassadors of Hope!

Definition of Terms:

Webster’s Dictionary states that “hope” means to cherish a desire with expectation of fulfillment.

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Greek Words states that “hope” is a favorable and confident expectation, the happy anticipation of good.

Scriptural Foundations of Hope:

Ephesians 6:17 states as a vital part of the full armor of God, we are to put on the helmet of salvation.

I Thessalonians 5:8 gives us a commentary on this verse and tells us this is the helmet of the “hope of salvation.”

The Roman helmet that Paul the apostle makes reference to covered the ears and even the front of the forehead (or the mind). We are to filter what we hear through a positive expectation of good and thus be able to think on whatsoever things are true, honorable, right, pure, of a good report and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8). As a man thinks so is he (Proverbs 23:7). Therefore, it is imperative that we put on our HELMET OF HOPE.

Two Pictures of Hope:

Hebrews 6:17-20 (NASB) In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before usThis hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfastand one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

Hope therefore is:

1. A place of refuge for mankind likened unto the Old Testament cities of refuge where people could flee and take hold of the “horns of the altar.”

2. An anchor of the soul – the mind, the will and the emotions.

A ship passes its anchor through the unstable element of water to the stable element of the Rock below. The world in which we live is like the water – unstable, impermanent, insecure, ever-changing and tossed around in its form. But hope in Christ Jesus is an anchor that passes out of eternity into time and fastens us to our foundation of bedrock below – to the Rock of Ages.

Hope is a Person!

Colossians 1:27 (NASB) …to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Titus 2:13 (NASB) …looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.

The Benefits of Hope:

Romans 8:24-25 (NASB) For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

We are saved by hope. We do not quit. We persevere because we are convinced by a greater reality than our temporary surroundings!

Romans 15:13 (NASB) Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in the hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Through faith, the power of the Holy Spirit enables us to abound in the amazing power of hope.

Colossians 1:27 says when you have “Christ in you” you have the hope of glory – a sure expectation of unending ages of glory in the presence of God.

Ephesians 2:12 (NASB) …remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

The condition of the lost: without God, without Christ, and without hope.

Ephesians 1:17-19 says we can be filled with the hope of His calling in Christ Jesus. You are a person of destiny. Be filled with the positive expectation of good in your life. Something good is just about to happen!

Ways to Obtain Hope:

Romans 15:4 (NASB) For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Yes, through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we have great hope! Learn from our forefathers in the faith, and let hope arise!

Lamentations 3:21-24 (NASB) This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.”

Right now, recall the history of the Lord in your life. Declare the testimony of His goodness over your own life and that of your family. Recall. Remember. Declare the truth that He has never left you or forsaken you. Great is His faithfulness!

Hope Our Anchor Of Life

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” – Hebrews 6:19

When you hear the word anchor, what images and thoughts come to mind? A large heavy object used to secure and hold a boat securely in place, keeping it from drifting off into danger? A large, heavy secure bolt, beam, or brace used to ensure a building is strong, stable, and safe? A strong device, that when fixed, ensures a rock climber is held safely and securely while dangling perilously high above the ground? A key military defensive position critical to protecting an important area, troops and/or citizens?

Another definition offered by dictionary.com is “a person or thing that can be relied on for support, stability, or security; mainstay.”

We have all had times in life when we needed and “anchor”; those times when we feel helpless and seek support, security, and stability in the people, things, and places familiar to us, that have always been there for us, and that we feel we can most trust and rely on to support us and make us feel safe and good. It is great to have these “anchors” in our lives, and they can be very helpful and comforting in dealing with some real rough storms in life or at work, but just as with the physical and mechanical anchors used by sailors or boaters, contractors, rock climbers, and our military the people, things, and places we put our trust in sometimes let us down, disappoint us, and fail us because they just aren’t capable of meeting the need, filling the void, and providing the true hope that our hearts really need and thirst for.

That is exactly what God offers us in his promises; a firm and sure anchor of hope! In The Message a modern translation of the Bible, Hebrews 6:15-20 tells us:

When God made his promise to Abraham, he backed it to the hilt, putting his own reputation on the line. He said, “I promise that I’ll bless you with everything I have—bless and bless and bless!” Abraham stuck it out and got everything that had been promised to him. When people make promises, they guarantee them by appeal to some authority above them so that if there is any question that they’ll make good on the promise, the authority will back them up. When God wanted to guarantee his promises, he gave his word, a rock-solid guarantee—God can’t break his word. And because his word cannot change, the promise is likewise unchangeable.

We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline (anchor), reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us…”

So, the next time you find yourself needing an “anchor” grab hold of the only person, place, or thing that offers us true unshakable security, strength, safety, stability, rest, peace, and comfort. Reach out and grab hold, tightly, to God, your creator and Heavenly Father. He will not disappoint you, fail you, leave you or forsake you. He will be an “anchor” for your soul, and make you more happy in life and at work.

Overcoming Fear and Anxiety

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”   (John 14:1-4)

Picture this scene. You are one of those closest to Jesus. You are gathered with others close to him in an intimate room with Jesus. You are all enjoying good food and drink, sharing stories, and building more memories. You are thinking back almost three years when Jesus approached you and said simply “Follow me!”

You and the others had done exactly that; you left your homes, jobs and families and three years you all placed your hopes in Jesus. Even when many others had given up and turned back because they thought the cost was to high, the group now gathered, including you, had not. You had denied yourself, been through great hardship, and continued to put your faith in Jesus; you loved Jesus and were committed to following after him no matter what!

Then it happens. Jesus tells all those gathered that one of you would betray him. You are stunned. The room becomes quiet. Everyone is looking at each other and saying Lord? One of us? It can’t be!

But wait, it gets worse. Jesus then begins to tell you that he is leaving you, and that you will not be able to go with him!

Can you imagine how you would feel as you began to understand what Jesus was telling you? What would be swirling around inside your mind and heart? You had left everything to follow him, and now he was just going to leave, move on without you! Why was he leaving? Where was he going? Why couldn’t you continue to follow him? What would you do? What would happen to you and the group? How would you survive? You no longer have a home or any money. And what about the promised kingdom? It wasn’t supposed to end this way. In short, what the @#*%?

Would you agree that if there was anyone who had reason to be frightened, worried, and fearful, it was this group…the disciples, who had faithfully follwed Jesus for three years. All their hopes and dreams were being dashed in an instant. They had to be terribly confused and very fearful!

But, in steps Jesus. He knew how fearful and confused they were, for he himself had experienced being deeply troubled. As he contemplated going to the cross, he cried out to God “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.” (John 12:27)

Jesus knew what was required to overcome fear, and knowing that his disciples were about to experience great fear and anxiety, he wanted to let them know what to do and to comfort them.  That is when he says to them:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.”   (John 14:1)

Jesus instructs, even commands the disciples and us to not allow our hearts to be troubled.  This may sound harsh or abrupt at first, but think about it, Jesus would not instruct us in this way (give us this responsibility) if we did not possess the ability to do it.  And he says as much when he says “You believe in God; believe also in me”.  He is saying you can do this; you have what it takes; because you believe in God, you have the power and strength to handle this, it is within you!  He is telling us to take our eyes off of the situation and circumstances, put them on God and then him, call on his Holy Spirit for strength and courage, and to exercise our faith.

If we believe in the truths and promises of Jesus, who overcame the greatest fear, the fear of death, and we exercise our faith in him by knowing and holding onto the his promises, we too can overcome our fears.  We have access to the very same truths, promises, and power that Jesus called on to overcome death!  

But Jesus does not stop there.  After he intructs the disciples on how to overcome their fear, anxiety, and worry, he comforts them by saying I know you are freaking out right now and I know you think that me leaving is the absolute worst thing that could happen, but let me tell you why I am leaving.  He then says:

“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”   (John 14:2-4)

Now just stop and picture what Jesus is saying to his disciples and to you and me.  He is saying there is no real reason to be fearful, but since you are please know this…I am going to heaven where there are many rooms, and in fact, I am going there to prepare a very special room for each of you.  And, in case that is not enough, also know that I am not leaving for good; I will come back to take you to that special room prepared just for you.  Do you think this changed things for the disciples?  Do you think that they might have drawn new strength and courage to overcome their fear knowing this?  Of course, and so can we!

And the last and greatest thing he says to his disciples and to you and me (in this passage) is that because we know him, Jesus, who is the way the life and truth (John 14:6), we know how to follow him there.  So, once again he utters(to his disciples and to you and me) the same words he said when they first met, “Follow me!”

Believe in Jesus, put your faith in and follow Jesus, hold onto the truths and promises of Jesus, do not let your heart be troubled, be courageous, and call on the power that overcame death!  Do this and I believe with all my heart that you will find happiness in life and at work.

Rest For Your Soul

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

I used to race bicycles competitively. From 1990-1997 I raced in over a dozen states. In order to do so, I trained regularly and rigorously. You may be familiar with cycling, if only from watching the Tour de France on TV. In cycling, the riders will form packs or groups to work together and conserve energy. Each rider taking a turn in front then slipping back to take shelter and rest until it is again their turn to “take a pull”. Riders in groups will even share food and water, knowing that they are stronger as a group.  They will watch after each other and work together in hopes that the group will be successful and make it to the finish ahead of the other riders.

In some cases riders who become fatigued get “dropped” from a group and are left alone. They may, for a while, attempt to work very hard to maintain the pace of the group, and even hope to rejoin the group, but invariably the physical and mental demands to maintain such a pace can cause them to “crack”.  At that point the wise tactic is for that single rider to drop back to another group, take shelter from the new group, rest, and recover.  If you race long enough, it happens to everyone. From experience, I can tell you that, when you are “dropped” and left alone, it is an awful feeling. The feeling of being “dropped” and left alone is difficult to overcome. The physical weariness is one thing, but mentally motivating yourself to continue and finish can be a great battle of will.

However, when another group comes along and you are able to join them, you become re-energized, refreshed, and recommitted to finishing the race. The new group accepts you,  welcomes and encourages you, provides you the relief and rest you need, they pull you along, they nourish you, and there is exchange of important race information and friendly conversation. They are just what you need to finish the race you started!

Something else I know from experience is that sometimes in life and in our careers, we can get “dropped”; we become both physically and mentally weary and fatigued; the burden becomes so great that we feel as though we just can’t continue or finish; we want to give up. In those times, God wants to be that group that comes along when we most need it. He will always accept us right where we are, there is always a warm comforting spot for us in his arms, he wants to give us the rest we need, he wants to renew our strength, he is “the bread of life and wants to nourish us, he offers the peace we are looking for, and he wants so much for us to talk and share our lives with him. He is the one who can help us, not just continue the race, but to finish it…and finish strong!

Go to him, find rest for your soul, and allow him to help you find happiness in life and at work.

Leave The Stronghold – Enter The Land Of Judah

Monday, January 10th, 2011

 

“Do not stay in the stronghold. Go into the land of Judah” 

David is one of the most colorful and controversial people written about in the bible.  1 Samuel 22:5 is one of my favorite versus about David; I believe it describes why God called David “a man after my own heart”.  You see, David, even though he messed up a lot, had many fears, and was often beat down and troubled never stopped, seeking God, listening to God…following God…moving toward God…pursuing God…chasing after God…and most importantly praising God!

In 1 Samuel, David and his fighting men had been hiding in the cave of Adullam. He was fleeing Saul. Many of life’s down-and-out had come and joined David’s army. David was content to stay in the stronghold of safety. Then, God’s prophet came to David and told him that he must leave the stronghold and go into the land of Judah.

When life beats down on us and we get to the place where we want to hide in a cave, God often places people around us who prod us into moving in the right direction. He does not want us to remain in the place of discouragement. He wants us to move into the land of “praise.” Judah means “praise.”

I recall when I went through a very difficult time. It seemed to drag on and on with no change until finally I wanted to retreat to a cave and forget pressing on. It was a great time of discouragement. A godly man came to me and said, “You must keep moving! There are too many who are depending on you..now and in the future.” I didn’t totally understand what he meant at the time. Now I know he was saying that God is preparing each of us to be the vessel He wants to use in the life of another person, but we will never be that vessel if we give up and hide in our cave of discouragement. Not only must we keep moving, we must move into a new realm. Our attitude must move from discouragement to praise. It is when we move past discouragement to praise that we begin living above our problems. Make a decision today to go into the land of Judah.

Stand By Me, You, Somebody

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

“As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5)

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24)

Take a look at that first verse again; “I will never leave you nor forsake you”. It says “never”. That has been a tough one for me at times; admittedly, there have been times when I have been unhappy, sad, hurt, discouraged, dissapointed, disillusioned, afraid, lonely, or angry, and I have felt like God had foresaken me. But, without fail and at just the right time God always shows up! Oftentimes, he shows up in the form of a friend or family member, who knows just what I need, or don’t need.

Sometimes in life we just need someone to stand by us, not to do anything specifically, but just to know that they beleive in us and are willing to stand by us and with us. Do you have a friend or family member like that? I pray you do, and If so, I hope you recognize and acknowledge how blessed and fortunate you are. If you don’t, I pray God will meet that need; send you that special someone to stand by you, love you, and encourage you. I want you to pray for that too, then have faith and believe that God will help you find that “friend that sticks closer than a brother”.

Secondly, and just as important, I hope you will take the time to be that friend for someone else in their time of need…because no matter who we are or where we go…at some point we all need somebody to standy us. Do this and I know you will be happy in life and at work.

Playing For Change: Song Around the World “Stand By Me” from Playing For Change on Vimeo.

What Are You Unwrapping This Christmas?

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

I want to use the greatest story ever told, the Christmas story, the story of the birth of Jesus, to illustrate how anyone who is fearful, lonely, or desperate can find real hope, comfort, peace, healing, joy and satisfaction in life.

Can you imagine being Mary? If there was ever anyone who had reason to be fearful, lonely and desperate, it was Mary.  Think about it; she found herself in the middle of some very tough circumstances she did not plan on (unplanned pregnancy), she was very young, very poor, and she was unwed.  She was truly an outcast, wanted and loved only by Joeseph (and he himself was unsure about sticking around); from Maty’s perspective, the future looked very bleak and dark.  Luke 1:29 tells us that she was “greatly troubled”. 

But, everything changed for Mary, didn’t it?  Why did things change for Mary?  This is what is important for us to understand.

Things changed for Mary when God sent the angel Gabriel to visit her.  Gabriel “went to her and said, “Greetings you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”  He then comforted her and set her at ease when he compassionatley said, “Do not be afraid Mary, you have found favor with God.” 

Gabriel then went on to explain to her that she was going to be the mother of Jesus, “the Son of the Most High”.  At this point Mary was still uncertain about all this.  Although Gabriel had her attention and she was pleased to hear that, even in her condition and circumstances, God valued and favored her, she knew she was a virgin, and in her human understanding she wasn’t quite ready to believe what she was hearing.

So she did what any of us would do, she asked Gabriel “How will this be?”.  Gabriel responded by saying, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.”  He also told her that “nothing is impossible with God.”

It was then that it happened; Mary made the decsion to submit to God’s plan for her life.  She boldly says to Gabriel, “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said.”  Mary responded to the love and power of God.  She repsonded to the “gift” that was the miracle of Christmas; the one miracle that all other miracles flow from.  Mary decided to unwrap the gift of God for her Christams.  Mary beleived and trusted God in the midst of what seemed like an impossible set of circumstances. She trusted God to move her from uncertainty and darkness to life and light, and boy did God deliver.  Look what Mary says about God her savior:

 “My soul glorifies the Lord 
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful 
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed, 
for the Mighty One has done great things for me— 
holy is his name.”   (Luke 1:46-49)

So, the questions for us this Christmas are:

  • Will we decide to open the gift of God for our Christmas?  How will we respond to God?
  • What are we trusting God for…what miracle do we need?
  • Will we trust him to move us from a future of uncertainty and darkness to a future of life and light, a future of real hope, peace, healing, joy and happiness in life and at work.

Let me know what you decide, and God bless you and your family this Christmas!

He Throws His Arms Around You

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Have you ever lost your way; I know I have. Sometimes it is difficult to see and understand who your real friends are and who truly loves you. We can easily become depressed, discouraged, disillusioned, and not know how to find our way back to center. If this is where you are or if you ever get there, just remember that our heavenly father is always there waiting for us to turn our hearts back toward him and return home.

“So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20 from the story of the prodigal son)

You see God knows the world can be a tough place, he sees us struggling to live on our own with out him, he knows we are “only human” and has great compassion for us.  He wants and has so much more in store for us! His love is amazing, and he will never leave us nor forsake us. We just need to recognize our need for him, turn, and run into his arms.   When we do, we will be happy in life and at work because only he satisfies!

Refuge When The Storm Comes

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

I love the sunshine! Who doesn’t? But, the reality is sometimes it rains…on all of us; But unlike the weather, we seldom receive a forecast for the the rain and storms of life. We can basking in the sunshine of life and wham, next thing we know we are in the middle of a raging storm complete with torrential rain, strong winds, booming thunder, and frieghtening bolts of lightening. We can go from feeling happy and safe to being lost, confused, sad, hurt, angry, or bitter. The storms of life can really knock us off course, and in some cases make us fear that we will never be able to find our way back home.

When this happens, how do we weather the storm? How do we maintain our bearings? How do we make it back home safely? I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I hope this video will provide you with a better understanding of the storms in your life and offer you encouragement that, even in the worst of storms, there is a way to get back home safely.