Monday, October 27, 2014

There is a reason I need a Savior...

Week 44:

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

God is holy, I am not.  There is no way I can come into the presence of such a pure and Holy God.  To enter into His presence, I must be clean.

There is a reason I need a Savior…

Because of my sin, I separate myself from God…almost daily.  I forget about God.  I forget about His love.  I go against His commands.  I become selfish and tied up in my own agendas and desires.

There is a reason I need a Savior…

I can become so engulfed by following law that I forget what the law is for.  I make God’s law my god.  I judge others according to this doctrine on a regular basis.  I compare how I follow the law as opposed to how someone else does or does not follow.

There is a reason I need a Savior…

I become materialistic and worried about worldly things.  I let money drive my heart.  I let possessions be my god.  I seek happiness in what I have or through what I don’t have.

There is a reason I need a Savior…

I become judgmental because of my own shortcomings.  I compare myself to others either wishing for what I don’t have or feeling superior over those who have less.  Somehow I this this helps me feel better.

There is a reason I need a Savior…

My wounds drive me and define me.  I become the victim of my world and let it control my thoughts and emotions.  I allow this darkness to drive my actions.

There is a reason I have a Savior…

Since Adam and Eve, humankind has been trying to get back to God.  I search in the wrong places to re-connect with God.  There is a God-hole in my soul that can only be filled by a Savior.

There is a reason I need a Savior…

Sacrifice must be made to atone for our sinful flesh and decisions.  I deserve death for my sinful behavior. 

There is a reason I need a Savior…


1.      What are some reasons you need a Savior?
2.      How does Jesus’ sacrifice apply to you?
3.      What is missing from my list for the need for a Savior?
4.      How has Jesus’ saving grace helped you?
5.      Pay attention this week to places in your life that remind you that you need a Savior.
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Monday, October 20, 2014

The ups and the downs...

Week 43:

Proverbs 12:25 Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.

There are so many ups and downs in life.  There are some who live on that roller coaster of up and down and in some ways thrive in that type of life.  There are others who rarely dip far and seem to ride the smooth track.  Then, there are those of us somewhere in the middle.  For all, whether they admit it or not, anxiety will show up.  This Proverb describes this anxiety well.  It is like a weight that at times seems too heavy to carry.

Many times in my anxious moments I am reminded about another passage:  Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  Sometimes this passage is all I need to kick me out of my anxiety.  Knowing that my requests have been lifted up to God allows me to push through any fear that may be blocking my path.

However, at times, this verse sends me to a place of shame.  I think to myself, “I should not be anxious.  I am sinning because of my fear.”  This, of course, creates a different level of anxiety.  Because of this, I begin to analyze way too much.  When I begin to think too much, I create scenarios that are bigger than life and fear really takes hold.  Then, not wanting to feel afraid, I become angry and begin to act that anger out in unhealthy ways.  Turning it over to God through prayer and petition is sometimes difficult for a control freak like me.  I like to think my way out. 

Most of the time, someone close to me can see into my heart.  He or she can read my countenance and will ask me about it or even skip to just giving a kind word.  Even though I do not accept praise and blessing well (I have a hard time believing what I am hearing), those kind words carry me a long ways.  Furthermore, I believe that in those times, god has sent the right person with the right kindness to help lift my heart.

My challenge is twofold:  First, I need to be the kind word more often in my life.  There are those around me who have an anxious heart.  I have to be careful that I am not playing “hero” and filling a need for myself.  I simply want to be more aware of lifting up another’s anxious heart.

Secondly, I need to seek out those who give kind words when I am in the middle of my anxiety.  Trusted friends who know me well can tell me the truth about who I am.  I can go anywhere to fish for a compliment.  But those compliments and truths about me from friends help me to see and know that I have little to be anxious about.  This allows be to bring it to the Father in prayer in a different way. 

When anxious, bring to the Father and look for those who can help.  When you see someone anxious, give the kind word to lift his/her heart.


1.      What has been your go to place when anxious?
2.      Do you ride the roller coaster of anxiety or do you not even get on?  Explain.
3.      When was the last time you offered a kind word?
4.      How often do you try to work your own anxiety out without the Lord’s help or someone else’s help?
5.      How does that work for you?
6.      This week pay attention to your anxiety.  Seek God and seek friends.  Pay attention to other’s anxiety and offer a kind word.

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Monday, October 13, 2014


Week 42:

1 Timothy 4:16  Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

I can’t stand blind spots in my life.  When something I have been doing, that I was unaware of, gets pointed out, it throws me into a tailspin.  I feel as if I have been exposed and shame sets in.  Eventually, I see the revelation as a gift and become more aware in that area of my life.  I actually become more plugged in with my surroundings.

 Awareness is a key to connecting with others.  The beginning of this awareness starts with watching life and doctrine closely.  I have prided myself on self-discipline and awareness.  However, the self-discipline is currently lacking in the eating a weight department (ouch!).  As I’ve either mentioned or have alluded to in articles past, I became a poser in my young life in order to fit in.  Because of that, I developed an awareness of how I present myself.  To further that training, I hold degrees in Human Communication and speak publically regularly.

This type of awareness however, is not the awareness I needed.  This awareness does help with interaction and presentation but, there is a deeper awareness needed.  In fact, there are different aspects of my awareness that need continual stretching.  Awareness stretches like, emotional awareness, awareness of who I am in God, and awareness of God’s purposes.

The first awareness is emotional awareness.  Before this becomes judged as a “touchy/feely” topic, I want to note that I had for years repressed and numbed negative emotions.  I just did not like the pain associated with those emotions.  What I discovered in doing so was twofold.  One, I was also repressing and numbing positive emotions, mainly joy.  Two, in that suppression/numbing state, I was not hearing from God.  I was not feeling a connection to Him.  Head knowledge of God can only take me so far.  I also discovered that suppressing/numbing did not make those emotions go away.  In fact, they come back with a vengeance and show up in unhealthy ways.  Boom…blind spot!  By owning the emotion I feel, I keep it from owning me.  And…I sense the presence of God more frequently.

The second awareness is who I am in God.  Like many others, I feel unworthy of God’s love, mercy, and grace.  I am faced with my shortcomings and sin daily and will get stuck believing that I have no hope.  Yet, God, created me for His purposes.  He created me and loved me as His.  He even sent Jesus for me.  I have to be aware that I am His, created for a purpose; created in His image. 

Finally, and sometimes seemingly the hardest awareness, is the awareness of God’s purposes.  I have said many times throughout my writings that I/we must pay attention and join God where He is working.  This awareness became clear for me when I worked through Henry Blackabay’s Experiencing God material.  This study coupled with some work I have done through The Crucible Project, has helped me to see God working in His Kingdom.  Paying attention to rambling thoughts, people who enter my life, circumstances that occur, etc. has helped me to become more aware of God and His purposes.

As I journey on in life, I challenge myself and others to continue to become more aware in daily situations.  As I continue to watch my life and doctrine closely, it unlocks my emotional bondage, releases me from self-degradation, and allows me to see God in His world.


1.      What have been some recent blind spots for you?
2.      How did you handle the pointing out of those blind spots?
3.      Where are you currently in terms of being aware of your emotions?
4.      Where are you currently in terms of being aware of whom you are in God?
5.      Where are you currently in terms of seeing God at work around you?
6.      Pay attention this week to how you approach your life from these three aspects.  Ask God to reveal to you what you need from Him in this place in time.
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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

"Let go and let God" because I can't fix this...

Week 41:

John 6:60-65 60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” 61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him.65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”
I have heard, seen on bumper stickers, and/or read on decorative plaques the phrase, “Let go and let God.”  For me, the first time I heard the phrase; it gave me something to think about.  Now that I have seen the phrase many times, it lost its luster like so many phrases like it…the phrase has become cliché.  However, recently, this phrase has new meaning.

Over the past few weeks I have been dealing with several situations where my guidance and mentoring has been requested.  In a lot of those situations, I have found that no matter the suggested guidance; the people requesting did not follow the guidance.  Or, as I probed deeper into the situation, I could see that my guidance was not going to help.  These situations were not going to get better.  I began to feel this burden of sadness come over me and the situations weighed heavy on my heart.  It was then and there I realized that what felt so burdensome to me, was the fact that I could not fix things for these people.

For as far back as I can remember, I have noticed that I like to help people in emotional need.  Some of this has been in order to feel needed.  Some of this has been a general compassion for the hurting.  Sometimes, my helpfulness becomes misguided and I become a “fixer”.  Over the last few years, I have been shown that my “fixing” was driven primarily by my need to fix my own discomfort with the situation at hand.  So, I have been doing work around becoming more helpful and less of a “fixer”.

Another misguided way I would handle those who I could not “fix” was to disengage altogether.  I did not want to “waste” emotional energy or feel rejected so I acted as if I didn’t care.  I thought that in some way this was protecting my heart.  All it ever did was numb pain…this never really made it go away.  In fact, it would drive me to “fix” even more in the next scenario.

In this recent string of situations, I have been offering my helpful side and stopping short of trying to fix.  Even if I were to move back into a “fixer” persona, the situations are beyond my fixing abilities (Of course, I am sure the past situations where I was “fixing” were beyond said abilities as well).  Now as I look at what is going on, I prophetically see that some of these situations have to get worse before they get better.  And, in some cases, the situation will not get better…at least not under its current support system.  In both cases, I am truly powerless. 

As I was carrying this burden of sadness, the above verse came to mind.  The context of this verse is not like the context of my situation.  However, I feel the results have a similar flavor.  Jesus has just finished a strange teaching around eating his flesh and drinking his blood.  He has also raised himself above Moses.  Many of disciples leave their following of him at this point.  Jesus does not try to fix this.  He does not chase after them saying, “Come back!”  I hate to say it this way but, Jesus “cut his losses.”  Instead, Jesus focused on the disciples still with him.  I am not saying that Jesus was non-emotional about the ones who walked away.  I believe that he was praying for them and thinking of them in his last days and even on the Cross. 

How do I go forward when there is no “fix”?  First, I have to recognize that I have done what I could.  Maybe all I am is one plants or waters seed.  And, it is okay for me to feel sadness around this.  This leads into the second step for me.  “Let go and let God.”  This is where it ceases to be cliché for me.  I have no choice but to commit this to prayer and leave any heart changes, etc. to God.  Finally, I need to focus on those I can help and those I am helping.  This does not exempt me from being helpful.  I am not to disengage emotionally.  I also need not seek to “fix” somewhere else.  I am to become aware of where I am needed and pay attention to how long God has me in that scenario.  He will do His work beyond that.


1.      Do you consider yourself a helper, a fixer, or does it matter to you?  Explain.
2.      How have you handled what you have seen as impossible situations?
3.      When you know there has been no way to see a solution, what have you done with your grief and sadness?
4.      What do you see in Jesus from this passage?
5.      What can you learn from His handling of the lost disciples?
6.      Pay attention this week to how you handle those situations that you cannot see a good ending in sight.  Ask God to help you turn it over to Him.

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