Why Am I So Insecure?

29 10 2017

Life is full of insecurities. We all have them. I recently turned 63 and realize that I can still deal with insecurity. You’d think that after six decades of life insecurity would be behind me, a distant memory. It’s not though, and here’s why.

Insecurities can surface when we face something or someone new. Insecurities can be present when we lack assurance or have self-doubt. Sometimes there is instability in our lives and the result is feeling a bit insecure. None of what I’ve described, however, is really the problem. What we do with our insecurities is where the problem lies. If in my insecurity I self-medicate or if in my insecurity I connect with a destructive relationship, I am then actually exposing what I really feel about myself…how I see myself.

In other words, when I am feeling insecure, do I turn to destructive thinking and eventually destructive actions or do I grab the truth in order to counteract my insecurities? If in insecurity I believe a lie, then from my spirit must come the truth. That truth can be from God’s word. For example: I am the righteousness of God (II Corinthians 5:21); I am accepted by Christ (Romans 15:7) or I have the mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2:16).  These truths eventually replace the lies and present God’s thoughts about you.  And who could be more secure than God?

You can find many more of these scriptures in a convenient little tract for study and memorization here.  Use these scriptures to build the life of Christ (Colossians 1: 28) in yourself and others!

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What Happens When The Church Affirms Sin?

23 10 2017

Sin. That is not an often-used word today. Very few desire to be reminded of their sin or have their sin pointed out to them. Have we become soft on sin to the point of straying from the use of the word? Certainly it’s a biblical word – one found in the Old Testament and the New Testament, including the gospels. (Numbers 32: 23; I Kings 8: 46; Romans 3: 23; John 8: 34)

As a professing Christian, is it right to mention this word to others? Is it right to discuss sin issues in public and in sermons or small groups? Has the current generation so shied away from this word that it has, at the same time, caused or created an affirmation of sin? Is sin still sin or is there a nicer, more politically correct and acceptable word to use? (I John 1: 8; 3: 4, 6-8)

I prayed to give my life to Christ in 1971 and sin was pretty black and white back then. Preachers preached on it and friends were bold enough to point it out, taking me to the word of God and speaking to me forthrightly about the need for repentance. I embraced it, even appreciated it. I did not grow up in a religious home and I was not equipped with very many moral guidelines. (I Cor. 5: 12; Gal. 6: 1; James 5: 19-20)

If the church becomes lax on sin, then moral guidelines become more and more difficult to determine. From Genesis chapter three, the evil one has determined to make right wrong and wrong right.   If we can no longer identify the right, we’ll never know the wrong and vice versa. The overall purpose of the law, the Ten Commandments, was to point out sin, boundaries (exposing our sin). God was determined that for society to function together in a normal, healthy way there needed to be rules – guidelines of wrong and right. Why? Because He hated mankind? No, the exact opposite; He loved mankind and wanted us to live a long and prosperous life free of sin and disease. (Psalm 119: 11, 133; Matthew 5: 17-20; Romans 8: 3-8; Gal. 3: 23-25; Hebrews 12: 1-10)

There is a deviation in the church today. It seems we’re fearful of calling sin, sin…afraid to offend. We’re afraid that we’ll hurt someone’s feelings or tramp on someone’s toes. We fear backlash from the younger generation who might be quite ignorant of the word of God and what sin actually is. And we can fear persecution from the world that actively walks in sin and does not want to be reminded of their wrongdoing. We live in a culture that defends its sin and calls it “personal rights” or “my business” that ‘hurts no one.’ Really? Alcoholism hurts no one? Adultery that breaks up a family hurts no one? Selfishness in pursuing pornography hurts no one? (I Cor. 2: 25, 27-28)

If someone stole all the money in your savings account, money you worked a lifetime to gain, would that be sin? Would you confront that person of their sin? Would you desire them to be arrested for their sin of thievery? Why wouldn’t it be correct to acknowledge sinfulness as hurting many?

If you work alongside someone who works harder at getting out of work rather than actually working, does their slothful attitude hurt anyone other than themselves? Guessing you’re getting the point. Sin does hurt others; it does have a direct effect upon others in our life. Sin, according to God’s word, is wrong and it is what Jesus died for. Our wrongdoing affects our relationship with our heavenly Father and the price that His Son paid. The Holy Spirit is grieved by our sin because it separates us from God. (Romans 6: 23)

If we profess faith in Jesus, then we must deal with the sin in our life and not whitewash it. It doesn’t matter what we feel about it or if we think it hurts no one else. Sin separates us from our Savior and it can do so eternally. (II Peter 2: 4-10) So, yes, sex outside of marriage is still sin. Drunkenness is sin. Gluttony is sin. Gossip is sin. Stealing is still sin. Coveting what others possess is sin and profaning the name of the Lord is sin. Paul wrote to “flee” from sin because as believers our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit and we were bought with a price. (Romans 1: 18-23; I Cor. 5: 9-11; 6: 9-11; 6: 18-20)

If we’re not serious about this thing the scripture calls sin, then we’re not serious about truly following Jesus. Never do we desire to hear one day that Jesus did not know us, even if we claim to know Him. (Matthew 7: 21-23)

Here’s the good news, Jesus gave His life for our sin, not to keep on sinning, but to receive His redemption and His forgiveness. We need to receive His truth today and begin to deal with the sin in our life, allowing His love to cleanse us of all unrighteousness. (II Cor. 5: 21)





10 Reasons Why We Need a Local Church in Our Lives

16 10 2017

I recently returned from serving a local church in Chicago, IL and was reminded in so many different ways of why we each need a local church in our lives and the lives of our family. To me it is imperative to be in close relationship with those persons who care about you and your family. It is essential to have that connection for not just receiving, but giving as well.

So, here are 10 reasons for being intentionally connected to a local church.

 

  1. Support – A local church connection provides support to family and/or us as individuals. It is a vehicle that God has chosen to provide spiritual and emotional support for personal growth. It is a spiritual family with fathers and mothers who will care about you and your future. (I Cor. 4:5; Heb. 12:9; I John 2:13, 14)
  2. Fellowship (koinonia) – The local church is a place of relational connection and belonging. It is a place of family with common life values. We are not alone in this world when we have a local church connection. We have people around us who personally care about our welfare. Wholesome and positive friendships can develop with our younger children, our teenagers and ourselves. An active, involved, dedicated and serious youth group can save a teen’s life. (Acts 2:42; I John 1:7)
  3. Service – The local church is a place where we can work toward and support a vision outside of ourselves. We all need something bigger than ourselves and a local church with vision can provide that. We can connect with the vision and find valuable ways to serve others. (Acts 12:24, 25)
  4. Gifts – It is a place for us to learn, practice and use our spiritual gifts. The body of Christ needs one another and the gifts that we each bring. Those gifts given us by God are not to be hidden, but made use of to serve others. The local church is the perfect place to use your teaching, serving, hospitality, prayer or mission gifts. (I Cor. 12: 12-27; I Peter 4:10)
  5. Resources – A local church is extremely important to a family. There are resources available at every age level to participate in. There are ongoing trainings and seminars for raising children, budgeting, marriage and the like. Often there are even counseling, coaching and mentoring resources. Families who attend church together have a clear advantage over those who do not – they have resources above and beyond themselves. There is far less isolation and far more family interaction with spiritual connections and challenges. (II Timothy 2:2)
  6. Outreach – A local church is often the vehicle for local community outreach. Local churches are involved with the homeless in their community, the after school tutoring and the missionaries serving overseas. Your family can have a direct effect and impact in the world by participating with these worthy causes. (II Timothy 4:5)
  7. Education – The local church is a place of education in the Bible and in practical Christian living. It is a place where our whole family can grow through sermons, Sunday school classes, seminars, video classes and so much more. (II Timothy 3:16, 17)
  8. Groups – Small groups provide accountability and discipleship for each of our lives. The small group setting is a place of greater relational intimacy while it provides room for open discussion and opportunities for praying together. (Acts 5:42; 16:34; 20:20; Romans 16:5; I Cor. 16:19)
  9. Giving – The local church is the place to give our tithe and sow financial seed into something that we know and trust. We can give elsewhere to a lot of really good causes, but it’s difficult to know where our money is going. Not so with the local church and the built-in responsibility that is offered. (Malachi 3:10; Matthew 6: 3,4; Romans 12:8)
  10. Accountability – When we are part of a local church, there is a provision aspect of someone watching over our soul, someone(s) caring about our daily life and our future. There is the possibility of others who we can look up to that are inspiring models in integrity, marriage, spiritual gifts, etc. There are positive peer relationships that help us to keep moving forward in our faith, growing, being challenged and calling us to a higher level of faith. There are businesspersons and homemakers that can help us walk out our daily lives. (Psalm 119:26; Hebrews 13: 17)

I have experienced all of these and more in many local churches and I appreciate the body of Christ so much. God is not angry at His church as so many speak today, but rather, He loves His church, He died for His church and longs for His church to be with Him one day. Until then, be a vital part of a growing, Bible believing and faith-filled local church body. You and your family will grow and help to grow others.





Staying Together Chapter Thirteen: The Six Most Important Words

9 10 2017

This completes a thirteen-week blog series that has shared a snippet from each chapter of our new book, Staying Together, Marriage: A Lifelong Affair by Steve & Mary Prokopchak. This book is available through House to House Publications.

We are settled. We do not have to always agree, but rarely do we disagree. Steve is Mary and Mary is Steve and we desire the very best and the highest goodwill for each other. We are not competing with one another and we are not jealous of each other. We will not settle for mediocre in our relationship and we will not allow a spirit of discontentment to show its ugly head. We both know that through the grace of God and His goodness to us, we gained something…or someone in marriage. When we said “yes” to one another, we said “no” to every other possible partner out there. We have no regrets.

What are the six most important words in marriage? Are you ready to hear them? Once you hear them, you will be accountable for knowing the right thing to say and to do.

You’ll find those six words, maybe nine, in chapter thirteen, the final chapter of Staying Together, Marriage: A Lifelong Affair. I hope you have enjoyed this thirteen-week series introducing you to our new book. Please order a copy for yourself today and one to give away to a couple you know. Please consider running a “Staying Together” small group to encourage other marriages.

Other ordering options:

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/staying-together-steve-mary-prokopchak/1125534926?ean=9780768414905

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Staying-Together-Marriage-Life-Affair/dp/0768414903/ref=sr_1_2?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1499959168&sr=8-2&keywords=steve+prokopchak

CBD (Christianbooks.com): https://www.christianbook.com/staying-together-marriage-a-lifelong-affair/steve-prokopchak/9780768414905/pd/414905?event=ESRCG





Perhaps Our Nation Needs a Perpetual Crisis

6 10 2017

When your neighbor’s house is flooded, the roof is blown away from a hurricane or gutted from a devastating fire, are you inclined to help them? Are you moved with compassion to serve them and pour all the effort you can into assisting them toward recovery?

If your answer to those questions is “yes,” then please consider the next set of seriously posed questions. Before reaching out a hand, would you first ask them their political persuasion or would you first consider their race or nationality? Perhaps you might contemplate their religion or sexual orientation…?

I doubt it. I think you would roll up your sleeves and get busy. Why? At the point of crisis these things do not divide us, rather we are united by the need in their lives. We are drawn by compassion with a desire to help alleviate their personal disaster or discomfort.

United by the need in their lives… That perceived need causes you and I to respond differently. That need reflects our heart to benevolently care for others, even though they may be radically different from us in numerous persuasions.

If it takes a crisis to unite the nation we live in, then perhaps what we need are ongoing, deliberate and strategically placed crises. But that just sounds heretical and down right awful doesn’t it?

How about this instead?

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’   Jesus





Staying Together Chapter Twelve: Intimate Conversations

2 10 2017

Note: This thirteen-week blog series will share a snippet from each chapter of our new book, Staying Together, Marriage: A Lifelong Affair by Steve & Mary Prokopchak. This book is now available through House to House Publications.

Before you were married, did anyone advise you that your marriage would need room for failure, forgiveness, loss, brokenness, disagreement, or even sin? If not, a full and honest disclosure was missed, and you may have entered into marriage a bit naïve or ill-advised. Marriages fail because we fail God, each other, and ourselves. We fail to love, we fail to honor, we fail to forgive, and we fail in keeping at bay our own personal struggles with selfishness. And that’s where prayer can come in.

You can be sexually intimate with almost anyone, but you cannot pray with just anyone. In order to really open up our hearts and pray together, we must know we are in a safe place. We must know we are not being judged for our heartfelt prayer. And we must know that the one to whom we divulge our heart will maintain confidentiality and that we can trust them with our deepest, most secret sins and needs. Praying together within marriage is so intimate that if these factors are not present, we will almost always divert ourselves to a same-sex prayer partner for that level of prayer.

Can we not have a conversation with Him together about our marriage, family, business, or life questions? Would we be amiss to entertain for one moment that God has stopped caring for those He created to bear His image after Genesis 3? It is this discussion that takes us to the most intimate act of marriage—prayer.

In chapter twelve of Staying Together, we also discuss growing our friendship and a marriage evaluation retreat.

 

Other ordering options:

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/staying-together-steve-mary-prokopchak/1125534926?ean=9780768414905

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Staying-Together-Marriage-Life-Affair/dp/0768414903/ref=sr_1_2?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1499959168&sr=8-2&keywords=steve+prokopchak

CBD (Christianbooks.com): https://www.christianbook.com/staying-together-marriage-a-lifelong-affair/steve-prokopchak/9780768414905/pd/414905?event=ESRCG

 

 

 








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