Encouragement, Training

Don’t Believe Half of What You Think

Several weeks ago I was in the state of Oregon and I saw a bumper sticker, which read, “Don’t believe half of what you think.”  I am unclear as to what the driver meant by this sticker, but I was certainly hoping that he was thinking clearly and believing that safe driving is the only option.   I really liked what this particular bumper sticker had to say.  There seems to be some truth to it.  Romans 12: 2 actually tells us to be transformed by a mind that is being renewed.  That word, “renew” in the Greek is, Anakainoisis.  It means to adjust the moral and spiritual vision and thinking toward the mind of God, which is actually designed to have a transforming effect upon one’s life.

There is this old nature in us that seems to be at war with our new nature.  Our old nature likes to get its own way through anger, rage, selfishness, manipulation, impurity, etc.  In actuality we are to starve this nature to death and not feed it…put it off as Colossians three tells us.  I have discovered that it is God’s nature to give us something new (better) instead.  For example, if my grandson picks up a sharp object I will remove and replace it with something that is not dangerous to him.  Salvation is regeneration, all things becoming new.  The process is growing in truth as Christ’s Spirit in our spirit teaches our mind a new reality.  A battle that can be won.  In the movie, First Knight, Lancelot said something about battle that applies to this fight.

  1. Anticipate your enemy’s move – be thinking ahead of him.
  2. In every battle there is a turning point – wait and watch for it.
  3. Don’t be concerned about dying – it’s what we’re called to.
Marriage, Postmarital, Prayer, Premarital

Couples Can Fight and Argue or Pray and Agree

Early in our marriage, Mary and I came to a bit of a revelation, but not without a challenge at first  We could choose to fight and argue or we could pray and agree together.  Disagreement is powerful and even of use at times, but even more powerful is agreement.  The scriptures tell us that if any two persons will agree together in prayer they will receive what they are asking for.  Our major disagreements centered on the fact that Mary was a “spender” and I was a  “saver” when it came to our view of finances.  Those two different priorities would often clash.  Both views had their positives and both had their negatives.  Serving in missions at the time meant that we had very few resources, but truthfully we can fight and argue when we have a lot of money, as well as, very little money.  We had to move beyond who was right or who was wrong to prayer and asking God for His direction, discernment and provision.

At that time, we had lots of needs with two small children and it was necessary to come to the place that regardless of income level, the most important priority was to move forward in agreement.  We discovered that as we sought the Lord first, He enabled us to see our partner’s view more quickly.  He helped us to move toward wanting to bless the other rather than withhold and remain selfish.  He helped us to see that our use of the terms “spender” and “saver” were terms of judgment and became negative to us.  Rather, He gave us new language.  Mary was actually a “giver” and I was a “planner “for future needs.  As we began to pray and agree over our financial needs, we found a place of power.  With fewer arguments or the fear of disagreement, it was much easier to work on a realistic budget and to stick to it.  If you find yourself fighting and arguing more than praying and agreeing, try taking your request to God first and see how He can help you to find the power of agreement.

Encouragement, Leadership

A Listening Challenge

I was talking to a young man recently, maybe 27 or 28 years old.  He had multiple piercings and quite a few visible tattoos that did not represent positive themes.  His cloths were a bit too large, which I did not perceive to be a fashion statement.  Further, he was in need of deodorant.  I went up to him and asked him about his life story and what his dream is.  This young man took off with a plethora of words about a successful music career in Hollywood, CA with many “rock stars,” one of them being him.  He, further into the conversation, said he lived in Nashville, TN where he was a “country music sensation” dropping some well-known names.  At another time in the conversation, he told me he spent two and a half years incarcerated in Florida, on “false charges” of course.

As I was listening, I found myself thinking about what might be truth and what might not be.  I was wondering about his reality.  I was captivated by his incessant desire to be someone of worth and value, someone famous.  When we are attentive in our listening, we are making a statement that the one speaking is important.  It could have been easy to be distracted or simply want to move away from this person, but Jesus would have listened intently.  Jesus would have cared about his personal story even if it were fabricated.  Jesus would have given him every minute he needed without judgment.  And then He would have posed a pointed question like, “Do you know how much I love you with or without worldly success?”  Or, He might have said, “The kingdom of God is not meat or drink, but righteousness, peace and joy.”  How can I be more like Jesus today and who needs my listening ear without my judgement?

Encouragement, Leadership

Being Human and Temptation (Part II)

In part one we said that a temptation is an appeal made upon a weakness within you.  Temptation is not wrong; we all have them.  Temptation is satan’s way of pulling you away from God thoughts, an unhealthy distraction from the focus of obeying your heavenly Father.  Even if it lasts only seconds, you still need to face it scripturally and not simply avoid it or wait until it seems to have passed because you know it will return with a vengeance.  I Corinthians 10: 13 tells us that God makes a way of escape from temptations.  What are those ways?

First, identify the weak area(s).  Acknowledge them, be accountable with them, pray over them and seek healing through the work of the Holy Spirit.  If you take the weakness out of the dark and bring it into the light, you give the enemy less to work with.  Be honest before God about them, confessing to Him your weak areas.  Next, study yourself, listen to your self-talk and discover when you are most susceptible to listening to the enemy’s voice.  For me, I have learned that it is when I am physically and emotionally spent.  Then ask yourself if any life changes are necessary in order to be less susceptible.  I had to discover just how much sleep I actually needed on a daily basis.  Further, I had to recognize and acknowledge personal stress areas rather than be in denial of them.  Lastly, keep inviting Holy Spirit into the process to show you areas of healing still needed within your soul.