Praying For and Adjusting to the Slightly Imperfect

5 03 2018

Our family often had the nations around our table as our children grew up. We loved the cultural examples each one brought to us. I remember in particular a couple from Zimbabwe who we invited from a local college for Thanksgiving. In the middle of the meal the wife told us, “You throw away the best parts of the turkey.” We all had a great laugh because we do not eat the head, liver or the feet of a turkey. But we desired our children to know and understand that every life is valuable to God and His design for them. God’s kingdom is a kingdom of nations and nations represent people.

Proverbs 12 tells us, “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” What does your tongue bring to those around you, your co-workers and your acquaintances?  I am personally challenged by my thoughts (not often spoken, but still thought) that do not think the best of others or those thoughts which do not give those different from me the benefit of the doubt.  To have the privilege of traveling the world and to experience different cultures is enlightening, while at the same time difficult to not think comparatively, i.e., my culture vs. their culture.

I can remember being invited to a wedding in Central America that was to begin at 11:00 AM.  My wife and I were there and ready for the ceremony to begin at ten minutes before eleven o’clock.  The funny thing was, no one else was there other than a few people who were setting up.  I had my wife recheck the invitation and sure enough it said 11:00 AM.  The wedding actually began sometime after noon.  It was our introduction to a significant cultural difference.  It wasn’t wrong, just different.  Our North American mindsets needed to be desensitized so that we could accept the cultural norms of another nation.

How creative of God…warm cultures, cold cultures, on time cultures, fashionably late cultures, brash and bold cultures…all to His honor and glory,  All cultures representing differing characteristics and attributes of the nature of a loving Father. Did you know the word nations is found in the Bible 564 times? In the book of Revelation, chapter 21 reveals, “The glory and the honor of the nations will be brought into it [The New Jerusalem].”  The nations will be represented in that new city.

Thank you, Lord, for Your patience with us, our lack of understanding and proverbial comparisons. How You love the nations!

 

 

 

 

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The Men In Your Life Are Looking For Respect

26 02 2018

Recently while in the nation of New Zealand, a friend pointed to a fellow teacher and said, “See that older gentleman?” I assured him that I did. He went on to explain, “I am younger than him and I am retired from teaching.” I asked why he chooses not to retire figuring the conversation was leading that way. My friend replied, “He tells me he wants to continue teaching because it is far better than going home and living with his critical wife.”

 

Men long for respect. Paul, the Apostle, admonished wives to respect their husbands. (Ephesians 5:33) A man can handle not being loved, but he cannot handle not being respected. I think God knew that about a man. If a man does not feel respected by his wife and family, he will stay at work longer, he will hang out at the bar after work or he’ll go to the fire company and loiter with the guys. Men don’t care if their friends do not express love, but if men feel disrespect it will be the demise of the relationship. Men do not need their supervisors to express any form of love, but they long to hear words of affirmation on a job well done – respect.

 

I read a recent study that indicated 74% of men would choose the preference of feeling unloved in the world around them rather than feeling disrespect. These men indicated they would choose to live with a wife who respected them, but did not love them. Do men need love? Of course, but the need for respect has a higher personal value. Consider this: Even while a sports team is performing poorly, they will still resonate with the female cheerleaders on the sideline pushing them forward with their optimistic, upbeat and affirming cheers.

 

Be a cheerleader in the life of your husband, your son, your brother or your Dad today.





Pursuing Personal Steps to Change and Healing

19 02 2018

 Wholeness is a lifelong pursuit.  Here are a few steps to help:

  1. If God were mean-spirited, angry and going to “get me,” I’d already be “got.” Instead, He placed all of His anger on His Son, on the cross and not on me.
  2. My heavenly Father planned me from eternity (Ephesians 1: 4) and He so much wanted me born that the family I was born into was/is inconsequential. The truth is, He so much desired a relationship with me, that according to Acts 17: 24-28 this is the time, the season and the place of all eternity that I would be on the earth.
  3. I was presented the gospel and I asked for forgiveness of my sin and received the unconditional love of my Savior, Jesus, and became born again.
  4. I stopped blaming my earthly parent; he/she was not perfect. The revelation from God is, “You were never a perfect son.” To this day, I am not a perfect father/mother or son/daughter. I had to let my earthly parent off the hook from perfection and realize he/she carried with him/her lots of generational pain and hurts themselves.
  5. The more of the love of God I received for myself, the more of the love of God I received for my earthly parents and family. I am a child of the King and a vital part of His kingdom and through me He changes culture, even family culture. I am an adopted son in which I now cry, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15)
  6. I was no longer in need of the approval of my earthly father or mother when I knew I had the approval of my heavenly Father. Romans 15:7 says, “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you…”
  7. When my heavenly Father told His Son on the earth He was His beloved Son in whom He was well pleased, He also said that to me. My identity and my esteem were no longer in who I thought I should be, but in who I already was in Christ. I was destined for adoption as a son, according to His will and His purpose. (Ephesians 1: 5-6)
  8. Life is not about me, my stuff, my need for healing or my brokenness. If it were solely about me, I would still be broken and walk in the curses of the generations before me. Christ became a curse for me, so that the curses from my father’s father to my father, to me, and to my children are broken through His death on the cross. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us…” (Galatians 3:13)
  9. There is no longer a need for retribution or justification. What happened to me became a reason to pursue wholeness, maturity, security and sanctification in my God and His truth. I needed to get back at no one. Jesus took this need for human justification by being the only Just One that could actually justify. (Romans 3: 21-31) I am justified by faith.
  10. Today through health and healing, I set the boundaries. I speak the truth in love with respect and a spirit of honor.

Prayer For Healing

Dear Heavenly Father, out of my personal brokenness I have allowed things into my life known and unknown that do not honor You. I confess to You my need for ongoing healing and restoration. I give freedom to You or Your representative to help me step down into and expose my own sewers. I give permission for You, the One who was broken for me to reveal, to bring to light rebellion, deception, independence, insecurity, comparison, compulsions, guardedness, self-justification, pride, critical judgment of myself and others and any and all ungodly beliefs. I repent for any and all of these and trust You to do the work of healing that only You can do so thoroughly.

 I now come to renounce the beliefs, the thoughts, the emotions and the reactions that the evil one has perpetrated in my life from these beliefs. This is not who I am in You. For by Your grace I am a son/daughter, forgiven, regenerated, redeemed, restored and filled with the Holy Spirit of God no longer to be afflicted or harassed in these areas again. In Jesus’ name, Amen.





Where Did You Develop Your Beliefs?

5 02 2018

Where did your beliefs come from? Have you ever thought about that question or do you just assume your beliefs are mostly correct? It’s a simple question that takes a fair amount of reflection.

Your family raised you with certain beliefs. Influential persons, while you were growing up, infected you with certain beliefs about yourself both good and not so good. You faced difficult times and such seasons of life challenges reinforced undeniable beliefs. Pain and sorrow had its effect. Rejection or being bullied also exposed firm beliefs about you.

Life has its way of forced training, mind manipulation and soul-searching encounters that have helped to craft your personal beliefs over your lifetime. Those beliefs can move you forward in a healthy fashion or stunt your growth by limiting the identification of truth.

There is a Biblical process called renewing the mind and the origination of that phrase is taken from a scripture found in Romans 12:2. From the point of your rebirth until your last breath on this earth, your mind is in the process of renewal. Why? Because your heavenly Father longs to bring you truth. And why is that? The truth… it sets us free. (John 8:32)





How Important Is It To Take a Sabbatical?

18 12 2017

Should we wait until our leaders are experiencing physical, emotional and spiritual exhaustion in their lives before we develop a sabbatical policy for our local church or ministry? In a New York Times article titled, “Taking a Break from the Lord’s Work” (Aug. 1, 2010), Paul Vitello wrote, “Members of the clergy now suffer from obesity, hypertension and depression at rates higher than most Americans. In the last decade, their use of antidepressants has risen, while their life expectancy has fallen.”

Leaders are failing and quitting at alarming rates. Do they need proper financial support? Yes. Do they need vacations? Yes. Do they need time with their families? Yes. But, is this enough? Could these failures be a direct result of depleted spirits, drained emotions and not enough rest? Could the lack of healthy recharging today have something to do with those untimely failures affecting so many lives?

Leaders burn out and leaders need intervention. Leaders get into unhealthy life patterns in order to serve others and miss out or set aside certain godly disciplines that will help to maintain their personal health. A two to three-month sabbatical can change that when the right plan is attached.

For Biblical insights into a plan, how to take a sabbatical and the four-step process of a healthy sabbatical, see or recommend the book, The Value Of A Sabbatical, Refocusing Your Life for a Healthy Future. You can order it here.





Helping You Help Others

27 11 2017

I’ve dedicated and spent most of my adult life in some form of counseling profession, e.g., foster parent, group home leader, social worker, marriage and family counselor and overseer. My foundational basis of counsel has always been the word of God. The truths found in this book have radically changed my life from the inside out, so why wouldn’t these same truths change the lives of others? And it is on that basis that a number of years ago I put together a book that lists those scriptures and connects them to specific areas of need.

We called it, Counseling Basics, Helping You Help Others. In it we look at the roots of issues in our lives. We consider the counseling process – the process of change. Then we cover specific areas like: depression, stress, co-dependency, anger and emotional wounds. Chapter after chapter lists scriptural responses to more than a dozen areas that affect most of our lives or the lives of those we love and care about.

The truths of the scriptures never grow old, never loses their power and are never outdated. You can trust these truths for yourself and in helping others. I love God’s word and I trust that you do as well. It is more current than tomorrow’s newspaper. After all, The Counselor authored these words of counsel.

You can find and order this book here.





Is Judge Roy Moore Guilty?

20 11 2017

Is Judge Roy Moore guilty? Yes, he is. But then, so are you and I because we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. I do not know about any current accusations against him, but I pray he tells the truth for his sake and for the sake of the women who are accusing him.

I bring this topic up because this blog is less about the currently accused and more about how we are living our daily lives. There are accusations being leveled against so many presently in the US and it seems that almost daily a new story spreads to the nation through the press. It’s difficult to imagine, but in each report the accusations could be decades old.

Time doesn’t change sin or misconduct, it only delays the inevitable — it will surface. So here is the first warning: How we live our life today will affect our integrity tomorrow. Someone once said that it takes years to build a reputation of integrity and only minutes to destroy it. Sin always has a way of surfacing. “The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.” (Proverbs 10:9)

Secondly, know that the ungodly in this world do not like your integrity and will desire to destroy it. Why? Your righteousness reminds them they may not be walking in truth and righteousness. Proverbs 29 says this, “Bloodthirsty men hate a man of integrity and seek to kill the upright.” (V. 10)

One more Proverb worth mentioning, “ The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.“ (Proverbs 11:3)

It seems wrong to be guilty until proven innocent, but innocence is a very rare commodity today.








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