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Archive for the ‘Adversity’ Category

Thriving In Adversity

bristlecone pineOn a recent hike in Great Basin National Park I came across an extraordinary sight. At about 10,000 feet, just below the tree line were these odd looking, but beautiful pine trees… Bristlecone Pines. I learned these pine trees are the oldest living things on the planet, some as old as 5,000 years.

When you consider they are growing in an area of great adversity, extreme cold and wind, rocky “soil” if you can call it that… it’s really just rock. It’s amazing they can not only survive, but truly thrive.

Many years ago Bristlecone Pines were planted at an elevation of about 5,500 feet where growing conditions are much more friendly. What they found was the trees grew straight, just like most pine trees and they’re lifespan was the same too. Thousands of years less than where they normally grow. This was fascinating to me!

Ok so by now you’re saying what’s this have to do with me. Well, we all enjoy seasons of peace and ease, but what really shapes us, what really makes us who we are, is the adversity we go through. Yet when we are in the middle of adversity we do anything we can to get out of it. What if God is using the adversity you are facing today to help mold you into the man He created you to be? What if you entered the next few days with this perspective? What I’m going through is tough, but I can do hard things. God is with me and this will ultimately be for my good and the good of others.

I think I’m beginning to see a little more clearly what James is talking about. Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

What Men Fear Most

ScaredWe may never admit we worry about anything, but trust me, we do.

Weakness and men don’t mix. With protector/provider ingrained in our DNA, men believe it’s our primal job to be strong. If something threatens our strength or ability to provide and protect, we may experience angst, stress and a desperate desire to regain control. However, since we are unlikely to share our feelings, the silent anxiety affects our relationships in untold ways.

As men we want to solve or dispel our fears, but we don’t want to admit them to others. Somehow we think admitting we’re afraid says we are less than a man, or something is wrong with us. Men walk around comparing the worst of themselves to the best other men are portraying, and this reinforces our decision to keep quiet.

So, what are the top seven things men fear most?

1. Failure
2. Do I make enough money?
3. Have I accomplished/done enough in life?
4. Am I going to lose my job?
5. Am I getting old?
6. Appearing to need help
7. Am I a good dad/will I be a good dad?

Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

2 Timothy 1:7 For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. Read that verse again… When you are afraid you lack power, love and self-control.

Here is the secret: Fear only breads when it’s kept inside. Admitting it releases it and prevents the weight of having to pose. Confession is the key to releasing fear and experiencing peace. Confession eliminates the control of fear. Find someone you trust and give it a go!

The Real You Wants Out!

When I grow upIf you are in your 30’s or older, you’ve asked yourself the question, “How did I get here?“ After high school or college there were all these possibilities and expectations about life. The world was full of opportunity. But that’s not what happened. For a lot of us the responsibilities just piled up while the fun and adventure drained out. Life became heavy, more about responsibility than adventure, more about duty than purpose or meaning.

Have you ever asked yourself, “What is it I’d really love to do or be?” What is the dream you have had since childhood? What is that thing you would do for free because you enjoy it so much? If you have had these thoughts, and you know the answer to the question, you were almost immediately confronted with thoughts like, “I’d have to go back to school.” “I couldn’t make a living at that.” “I don’t have the money.” “My family would think I was crazy”, and on and on. Because of those thoughts we almost immediately leave the question and answer behind and move on with our day.

But, what if right now you allowed those negative thoughts to come, and while some of them might be valid, just give yourself permission to lay them aside for a minute. Give yourself permission to unpack that “thing”, that dream and give it room to breathe. Regardless of all the impossibilities, what does it feel like to see yourself doing or being “that”?

If feels good doesn’t it! Real good! A God that loves you very dearly placed that desire in you, and He put it there for you to discover and dream about and fulfill. You may have given up on it or put it on a shelf, but He hasn’t. You are fearfully and wonderfully made and He plans to prosper you and not to harm you, He plans to give you hope and a future.

Harold Thurman said, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” I double dog dare you!

How about you? Have you faced some of this? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Click the Comments link above the picture and let me know what you think.

God Hurry Help!

God Hurry Help

Everyone has something going on in their lives. There is at least one area of your life where there is some kind of adversity or obstacle or resistance.  If that’s not true, give it a day or two.

James tells us to consider it pure joy when we face trials… but come on… no one enjoys Resistance and Obstacles and Adversity…

James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Most of you will agree with me that God will use your current circumstances for your good. Regardless of how you got there, God can use it for your good. Whether someone did something to you or you made a bad decision that got you there… whatever the reason, right?! We have all made bad decisions that got us into a pickle… We can look back and say “Yep I did that.”

What I’d like you to consider is this: What if… God is responsible for, or has allowed, your current circumstances… I want to let that sink in for just a minute… What if… What if God has orchestrated events in your life that have directed you into a not so good place…

Some of you right now are beginning to think “God is good… why would He do that?” well stick with me. Would you just consider with me that the adversity you’re facing is God’s doing… for your good.

Here’s what I know to be true, Muscles only grow by experiencing resistance. Faith grows the same way… you can spend years studying, but if you never get to apply your learning your just book smart…

OK So all that to say, there is a strength that comes from adversity.

God has created each and every man to have Impact and Influence. He created you a certain way… He wired you a particular way, and He has created and allowed circumstances and adversity to help mold you, and form you, and mature you into that very thing. AHA! I’m starting to understand James a little better now!

The following is a familiar story but it’s right inline with what we’re talking about.

A man finds a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared, he sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther.

Then the man decided to help the butterfly, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.

Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It was never able to fly.

What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If God allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. And we could never fly.

Here is an interesting thought… If God really IS orchestrating some adversity in your life to help you grow into the man He has created you to be. He has got to be saying “Bless your heart” when He hears you praying prayers that sound like this:

God hurry help
God get me out of this
God make a way
God rescue me
God fix this

So what I want you to consider is this. Take your current situation, your current season, take that thing that you’ve been praying to God for His help to break or release or rescue. Come on… Let’s get real honest for a minute… what is it? is it a financial hardship? is it a heath issue? is it a relational problem? Marriage, children, siblings? Are you going through life lately asking “What the heck is going on?!”
What if… just maybe, this thing you are trying to escape or fix is God’s doing or “allowing” FOR YOUR GOOD!

Jeremiah 29:10-11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

How about Joseph: can anyone relate to Joseph? Genesis 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

Here is the verse about Joseph (Genesis 39:21)… Really a theme throughout his life that just blows me away.

Genesis 39:21 But the LORD was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor… WHAT! If you know Josephs story there are plenty of years in his life that didn’t look very kind or favor filled! Here are four things Joseph knew to be true:
1. God is in control;
2. God is at work even when it doesn’t seem obvious;
3. God’s work in our lives is complex and multifaceted; and
4. Even if everything is against us, God is for us.

Let me give you a personal example. In 2005 my wife and I were separated for 11 months and 14 days. She left for a lot of reasons but most importantly was the fact that I was not providing for my family the way I should have been.

What I was trying to do, and praying for God’s help to do, right up to the time she left was trying to save or prolong what had become a very dysfunctional relationship. We weren’t friends, we had grown apart, etc. I’m praying “God fix us”, “God help this business I’m trying to start to prosper” and He won’t… He didn’t… and today I am so very grateful he didn’t… You see I, and if your honest, most of you; we all want the easiest, quickest way out of painful situations and circumstances. All God had to do was answer a prayer or two I had prayed… Simply allow a few prospects to become customers… to me at that moment that’s what needed to happen… that would have fixed things.

The truth is, that would have prolonged things and the existing relationship… but come on, that’s a whole lot better than separation or divorce right… or so I thought. You see, I had one perspective (God help fix this spot I’m in) and God has His perspective… His is always better by the way. His perspective was this; I don’t just want to prevent separation or divorce, I want your relationship to thrive! I want you and Kirsten to both become more healed and whole so that you can love one another again… so you can like one another again… so you can be a help to each other and foster love to each other, your children and others. In addition to all that I want the Glory! I want you and those around you to have no other explanation… But God.

You want to know the problem with His perspective? To accomplish it, His plan involved almost a year of separation, His plan involved a time out of sorts to do some needed work in our hearts. His plan involved pain. His plan involved me having to learn and grow and change. His plan involved some hard work. His plan involved sacrifice.

All that to say, today looking back, I have proof if you will that God was much more than a bystander or someone to “help me out”. He orchestrated some things… even some hard things… all for my good

God is in this! Remember Genesis 39:21 “But the LORD was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor…” well the Lord is with Michael and He is extending kindness to me, and giving me favor… AND the same is true for every one of you! The Lord is with you, He is extending Kindness to you and showing you favor.

Can you just for a minute begin to look at your situation, your circumstance, your dilemma in a new way. In a way that has God in control and responsible, to see you though… to show you kindness and favor? I hope so!

You have questions and doubts, but God doesn’t. You have fears and struggles, but God doesn’t. Walk like that. Talk like that. Lead like that.

Have You Ever Been In A Funk?

In A FunkIf we’re honest, we have all been in a funk from time to time. We’ll I’ve been in one for about 10 months. Some of you are saying “Really?” and others of you are saying it’s about time you admitted it… or got over it. A little while back I told a friend that I felt a million miles away from where I was a year ago. A year ago I had this passion oozing out of me. I was getting ready to pastor a church… to love on and do life with a group of people I had grown to love deeply. And not only was this my hearts desire, it is something God had told me would be so years before. And rather miraculously He was making it so without any pushing or manipulating from me.

Well, all of the momentum God had created to divinely fulfill the desire of my heart and launch me into this new season came to a sudden stop… and I was heartbroken. I’m telling you my eyes leaked for weeks just thinking about it, and then God did something; He healed this hurt place in my heart. He helped me understand this was a good change, one He orchestrated. And while I felt better, I’m telling you I was in a different place. That passion I mentioned before was gone and while I can tell you I don’t believe I was ever bitter, I was different… Empty is the best word I can think of to describe it.

Based on some needs of my family we begin looking for a new church home and we attended some great churches, but I’m telling you this guy who had come to love the Bride of Christ was now wondering at times if She was even relevant. I asked myself questions like, “If my children were all grown… would I go?” I’m telling you I just felt hollow… for the first time since meeting Christ a dozen years ago I wasn’t even sure where I fit in the body of Christ.

I have had a zeal for ministry to men for a dozen years. It is something that just burned in my chest. I’ve blown it in so many ways men can blow it. Absentee father, Unfaithful husband, Workaholic, Horrible provider, Pornography addition and then some… So much so that I can relate to just about every man. And God has redeemed and restored and rescued me. He has given me beauty for ashes in so very many areas of my life. He’s done so not only because He loves me but also for me to be a messenger of hope to others. With that said, I believe the honesty and transparency of these blog posts can be helpful to men, but I haven’t posted a thing for a long while because I didn’t think I had a relevant thing to say…

I had gotten trapped evaluating my past and present trying to determine my future.

Gideon is a great example of this. Check this out; Judges 6:13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

Ever felt like that? “If the Lord is with me… Where is He?” “But now He has abandoned us” Our prayers feel like they are hitting the ceiling… God isn’t speaking to us like He once did… I think we’ve all been there at one time or another.

I don’t have a magic bullet for you today… I wish I did. So I’m just going to outline some of the mistakes I made leading into, and while in this “funk” to communicate what God is teaching me in hopes that I will come to know it more deeply, and that it might be a help to someone else today or in the future.

Mistake Number 1: Isolation

I know, I know, everyone would say that’s a no brainer but I’m telling you I’m more insulated than most men I know from being able to isolate and yet this past year I was able to pull back without any sirens going off. No I didn’t go “dark” but I’m a little afraid oh how easy that might be to do. Long story short; you can be surrounded by people and still be alone.

Mistake Number 2: Filling in the blanks

I believe many of us here have had the pleasure to hear God speak to us personally… In so many different forms. Through His word, a vision or dream, From Him directly, a prophetic word. Through our spouse or children. So many ways. I cherish those times… I write them down and put them in my journal. And while sometimes God’s message is a very specific like No. Yes. Go. Stop. Those may not be easy to obey but they are very very clear. Other times it is a lot more vague like “what I’m about to do is so you may preach My Word to those who don’t know Me”. Which leaves a lot of unanswered questions like “ok what are you about to do, how long does “about” take, and what time does this start?”

Well hearing God speak those words to me was awesome but it was like this big blank canvas and those words were barely enough to paint the sky in this new picture. I held on very tightly to those words and this new picture/vision and as the years progressed some things seemed rather obvious to me and I filled in the blanks. I filled in the blanks and created this beautiful picture and I’d stared at it, I memorized it, I prayed over it. But the problem is I painted in a lot of the blanks and my paint dried and became static. Today I understand that God’s economy is a much more fluid picture that continues to grow and change… It’s much less rigid than the ones I/we create. I have confused some of the things God has said as destinations, instead of what I believe them to be today, which are points along the journey.

In that fluidity is the adventure! And every man is wired by God for Adventure

Mistake Number 3: Holding too tightly

God has done some amazing things for me… miraculous things, things I will forever cherish. And in this current season I am just beginning to understand that even holding too tightly to the things of God from the past may restrict His ability to do a new thing in my life today.

Think about that picture I just talked about… what if you have done most of the painting in that picture and God is trying to fulfill His plan for you, and yet you are holding so tightly to that version of your future. It might be grand in your eyes, but I Promise you it is inferior to God’s best. I believe this is the case for me.

And what I’m finding is it takes time to clear away space for a new vision, a new dream, a renewed direction. We can hold so tightly to what God has said that we leave no room for His plan because we have filled in so many of the blanks for Him. Continuing to look at that picture we can get stuck there in a place called “I guess this is as good as it gets” or “I guess maybe I didn’t hear exactly right” or you fill in the blank. But it’s stuck nonetheless.

And in God’s deep love for us He wont let us stay stuck. He repositions us…  and MAN! That’s uncomfortable! When it seems like God is pushing the reset button. When He seems to be doing things that are contrary to what He’s previously said, and not congruent with this beautiful picture we’ve painted.

I am reminding us all today that you were made to be awesome, incredible, and creative… and the enemy’s job is to minimize you. You are suppose to bear fruit… Jesus cursed the fig tree because it was not producing fruit.

Sometimes it’s tempting to back off, resign ourselves to defeat, and live in the shadows when the going gets tough.  Don’t! God has designed an amazing adventure for every one of us. You have potential you have yet to begin to tap, and if your not smack dab in the middle of your adventure today… WHY NOT?

Here’s what it took for me to get some clarity. It took a break with routine – Getting out of the complacency of my day to day. For some that might mean getting away… For some it’s your electronics, you’re so “connected” you’ve forgotten what quiet sounds like. Some of you it could be pushing too hard… Working so hard you are not leaving room for God to move.

If your feeling stuck or a little like me or Gideon. Take a break from your routine; Stop asking the same questions you’ve been asking God and just show up and see what He might say if you give Him a blank canvas. Maybe even inviting Him to push the reset button.

Isaiah 43:18-19 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.

The M*A*S*H Unit

  • As a child and you just endured the first of many verbal assaults from your Dad.
  • The one you’ve been dating, the one your crazy about just crushed you when they broke up with you.  
  • Your best friend of 12 years just stabbed you in the back. 
  • Your partner stole from you.    
  • Your spouse cheated on you. 
  • You look at your face in the mirror and gingerly touch the bruise around your eye from the abuse that has become all too common. 
  • You are away at camp having the time of your life until your innocence is shattered by a counselor who molests you.  
  • You hold your hands tight around your ears so you can’t hear your parents fight the night they tell you they are getting a divorce.
  • Your pillow is soaked with tears as you lay awake trying to understand why Daddy isn’t going to come home anymore. 
  • You are Fat, Tall, Four Eyes, Mommas Boy, Cry Baby, and Sissy, Whatever the name was you endured.

 We have all been wounded. And each time we are, we carry our wounded “selves” deep, deep undercover…Far back behind enemy lines to our own personal M.A.S.H. unit. And as we enter we see two rows of gurneys lining each wall. It has a very familiar look to it, much like the M.A.S.H. TV show. Each gurney has a wounded soldier in it. Each wound is different from the next. As we push our current wounded self between the two rows we notice that every one of the patients is us. There I am from that wound in grade school. In the next bed it’s the wounded me from the break up, in the next bed its me and the wound I took from my dad that I would never be good enough, I’d never really matter. It’s a room full of “you’s”.

We carry our wounded “selves” in but we never go back to bring them out again. We leave them there more out of protection than for healing. Each wounded “us” is now shell-shocked for life. We are gun-shy and we begin to develop a suit of armor that will prevent being wounded in that place again. Pretty soon we’re walking around like robots… “Stiff”

We can go to the M.A.S.H. unit and talk to ourselves for hours. In fact we many times invite others in to show them our scars. We maintain our focus on not becoming more wounded instead of seeking healing. We remain in the gurneys to try and restrict future pain, but by doing so we inadvertently restrict our level of life, our level of love, connection, ministry and relationship.

We go and visit one of our wounded selves and we sit and talk and talk and talk. It’s easy to do because we have so much in common. We strategize and develop a mask to show the rest of the world so we will be able to stay in pain. COME ON! How much sense does that make? We’ve been hurt, let’s say for example the person we were dating, (and had fallen in love with) just broke up with us. We’re shattered and instead of getting help and healing we figure out a way not to get hurt that way again. We carry our wounded self back to the M.A.S.H. unit and leave our self there for good. Please follow this. We have dropped our wounded self off at the “hospital” not to get fixed or repaired or healed but for PROTECTION. We have no intention of ever coming back and bringing that person or part of our heart out ever again, (that stupid person [Me] who just got us hurt so badly. We decide to never let anyone get that close to us ever again. But the fact remains, that person is still a part of us. We are still wounded, just because we try not to let the rest of the world see the wound, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. All we have done is devised a plan of how not to get worse! (This is craziness!)

Wounds are fertile soil for hate, bitterness, jealousy, envy and so much more ugliness. I once read that bitterness corrodes the container it’s carried in. That is so true. Are there some places in your heart that need to be healed by the Great Physician?

Turn and be healed
…They will turn to the LORD, and he will respond to their pleas and heal them.
Isaiah 19:22

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ Matthew 13:15

Baby Elephant Syndrome

Earlier this year dataBridge began a series of process improvement meetings with the goal of identifying issues and problems, and come up with solutions to become more productive and efficient. At the same time I’m aiming to remove some self-imposed restraints that will keep us from reaching our true potential.  So many times we plan for the future with lenses colored and shaped by the past and in doing so we restrict our actual capabilities. Very subtly we can become a prisoner, unaware we’re stuck in a place called mediocre.  This is true for businesses and individuals. Here is a popular story about elephants that describes it very well.

Look at an adult elephant; it can easily uproot huge trees with its trunk; it can knock down a house without much trouble. When an elephant living in captivity is still a baby, it is tied to a tree with a strong rope or a chain every night. Because it is the nature of elephants to roam free, the baby elephant instinctively tries with all its might to break the rope. But it isn’t yet strong enough to do so. Realizing its efforts are of no use, it finally gives up and stops struggling. The baby elephant tries and fails many times and eventually it will never try again for the rest of its life. Later, when the elephant is fully grown, it can be tied to a small tree with a thin rope. It could then easily free itself by uprooting the tree or breaking the rope but because its mind has been conditioned by its prior experiences, it doesn’t make the slightest attempt to break free. The powerfully gigantic elephant has limited its present abilities by the limitations of the past… hence, the Baby Elephant Syndrome. Human beings are exactly like the elephant except for one thing. We can CHOOSE not to accept the false boundaries and limitations created by the past.

After reading about Paul’s ‘past’ in the Bible I believe he’s someone I’d take advice from.  Paul says …But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead Philippians 3:13

What past experiences are limiting you from believing BIG this year… from breaking free… from trying again?

Conditioned To Quit

My daughter just got a job as a hostess for the summer at the Pisgah Inn on top of Mt. Pisgah (say hello to Haley if you go). We drove up to see her Saturday and take a look around, and as we are leaving I think, it would be challenging and fun to ride my bike up here, so we push the odometer and find out that it’s 25 miles from there to our house. Sunday afternoon I head out on what will be my farthest ride, not to mention more climbing than I’ve ever done (5,300 feet!). 
 
So I’m off… and at the 15 mile mark I’m feeling pretty good. At mile 20 I’m hurting, and I tell myself only five more miles to the top! At 23 miles I’m telling myself, “You can do this! Only 2 more miles.” Then at 24.5 miles (a half mile from my destination) I expect to see the Pisgah Inn in the distance, at the very least a sign… And there’s nothing. The only thing in front of me is the road, and it’s getting steeper. 25 miles in, There is still nothing and I hit a wall, my legs ach, my lungs ache and my mind says quit. I start having thoughts like, “the odometer from yesterday was obviously wrong, it could be another mile or it could be 6 more miles, you can’t make it that far, QUIT!” For two and a half hours I’ve been conditioning myself to make it 25 miles. My expectation was at 25 miles I would have reached the top and could take a short break before the fun ride down.

My expectations, more than my conditioning got me to the 25 mile mark. There was a driving force behind it. It was motivating; but every inch I travel after 25 miles was painful, uncertain and filled with negative thoughts and doubt. I can’t tell you how many times I thought about turning back. Long story short, I reached the top after 27.5 miles. The last 2.5 miles were the most grueling I’ve ever ridden.

Here’s what I learned. My expectations conditioned my mind and body to go a certain distance. I’m a very positive person but this conditioning drowned out any positivity that was trying to get to the surface. If I had set out with the correct expectations, (that the top of the mountain was 28 miles away) I would have made it, and would have done so without the uncertainty, negativity and doubt.

Your expectations are conditioning you. If they are not set properly they lead to disappointment and resentment. Take a quick personal inventory; are your expectations conditioning you to continue or to quit?

What are you expecting to happen in the next 90 days?

  • In your business
  • In your marriage
  • In your relationships

Adversity

Adversity = You’re either in it or rest assured it’s on the way. (You don’t have a choice…. Deal with it! Accept it! Embrace it!) 

How to recognize it = It blindsides you, it is the worst possible time for “it” to happen, it’s unjust, undeserved, unreasonable, excessive and in most cases it is bought on or imposed by someone or their actions. (Occasionally we do it to ourselves) 

What it does to you = It takes your breath away. It brings all the momentum you have to an immediate stop. It activates a steady compression on our internal spring. 

What your flesh tells you = react immediately, retaliate, “walls up”, strike back, get even, defend, destroy, battle stations, stand your ground. “Release the spring!” 

What the Bible tells you = Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4 

Who is able to immediately act this way? = Very few.
In time? = Everyone. …How much time? = It’s up to you.  

What’s always hidden in it = Opportunity, growth, liberty, freedom and love.
How do we know
= The Bible says so.
When do these things come out of hiding
= Always in the future, in a place called hindsight.

The only choice you have… How you will react to it when it comes.
The one thing you have control of…
How you will react to it when it comes.
The most important decision you can make…
How you will react to it when it comes.

Your decision has a lasting effect = It WILL cause bitterness or perseverance to remain a part of you and will have a profound effect on your decision the next time adversity visits.

Making the right decisions is an important part of life. The best decisions are the one’s we know are right and never have to contemplate again.

Make a decision today you will never have to make again. Decide ahead of time how you will react when adversity comes.

I Wish You Were Never Born!

I recently talked with a man, who at 13 years old was at home one day, a day not much different than any other day until his mother came home from an extremely stressful day at work. After a few words were exchanged she let out with, “I wish you were never born!” The boy received those words like a shotgun blasts to the chest at close range. He said to me, “parents should know better.” Parents should know not to use those words; they should know that those words especially have the potential to kill a child. They ought to know better. In the last 14 years that man has carried around this hurt, this wound; a wound that began to grow hate, anger and bitterness and 14 years have produced an abundant harvest of each.

He now has a three-year-old boy and for his son’s protection he wants to forgive his mother; he wants to get rid of the angry feelings inside him. Every now and then when he loses his temper he knows that it’s really these feelings that are the source of it. And just as his mother blasted him with both barrels that day, the anger and bitterness he’s carrying from it has been formed into a weapon. A virtual loaded 357 with the safety off that he carries in a shoulder harness. This weapon has become a part of him, it is very comfortable, and in fact he’s worn it for so long he can’t even tell it’s there. Now his weapon will never fire the same bullets that his mom fired that day, “I wish you were never born!” He will never use those exact words because he knows those words can kill. However, see how the enemy has used his mom’s words to generate the anger and bitterness and developed it into a weapon ready to be unleashed in the heat of a bad day, in the heat of a stressful week. Although he is sure he will never use those words when talking to his son, what scares him is until he is able to forgive his mother and receive healing of that wound, he has the potential to wound his friends and family just as effectively as his mother wounded him.

Our words have the power of life and death!

Acts 5:16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.

NOTE – Even after Jesus had been crucified, rose back to life again, and ascended into heaven, we see the very same work that Jesus performed, while on the earth, still taking place through the hands of His disciples, and with the very same intensity – all being healed. And why not? Hebrews 13:8 tells us that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever!

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