Acknowledge the Pain of Others

Acknowledge the Pain of Others

1 Peter 4:12 “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:”

The Bible text above tells the reader not to look at trials as though you are the only one experiencing them. It is not a strange thing to have problems. As a matter of fact, trials are an everyday part of life. Troubles and problems aren’t just for a select few.  We all have times that are taxing and troubling. Sometimes the problems are manageable, and other times they are overwhelming. Whether they are large or small, in comparison to other people’s circumstances, they are real to each person going through their particular trial.

In spite of our own trials, we need to be willing to help others as they go through their struggles. When we do this, we may face situations that we have no experience in ourselves and we can’t come up with the words to say. When trying to comfort the brokenhearted, it is important to remember that there are no magic words or special formulas to take away a person’s pain. We can only try to comfort them the best way we can.  Just being a listening ear can be a great help and comfort to someone that is hurting.

Life can change in a moment. A phone call, a diagnosis, a knock at the door, a loss of a loved one, situations that impact our lives in a major way. If life takes it’s “normal” course, we will bury our parents, experience the ill effects of aging, and our bodies will be subject to disease and sickness. There are plenty of challenges to be faced in everyday life.

Proverbs 27:1 “Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”

Our personal trials may be uncommon, compared to most people, but having problems is common to all people. There are times that we can see the storm clouds gathering, so to speak, then there are times that the storm catches us totally off guard.
Matthew 6:34 “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”
Every day offers its own set of trials and problems for each of us, but we need to be aware that there are people all around us that are hurting. The Lord allows certain trials to enter our lives, but He has also called us to have compassion and to care about others as they navigate their difficulties. The Christian life is to be a life of service to others. The old acrostic: Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last, is a good way to remember that we are all to be servants of Christ and others before we serve ourselves. That concept seems to be lost on many of today’s Christians. Many churches make their Christianity about the church organization, some make it about the people in the church, but the life of a disciple of Christ is about Him and others.

When we see people around us go through difficulties, it is invaluable that we acknowledge their pain. People that are hurting appreciate so much when others “get it.” We can encourage someone by simply letting them know, that we are aware that they are struggling and that they are not alone.

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Flee From the Voice of Strangers

Flee From the Voice of Strangers

Recently I heard a man speak of a son that had turned his back on the Lord and all that his parents had taught him as he was growing up.  The man’s voice broke as he explained how his son had once had a close walk with the Lord and is now very far from Him.  My heart was broken for that man and I immediately lifted up a silent prayer for my sons from my heart.  The sad truth is, that this scenario is more common than we might want to believe.

So what happens in the life of a Christian that would cause them to turn from all that they knew growing up?  As parents we will take upon ourselves much of the blame, I mean, we raised the children for the Lord and now they aren’t interested in our God.  We believe we must have done something wrong for our children to reject the Lord.

I believe that we as parents take on way too much of the blame.  None of us are perfect for sure, but if we have attempted to raise our kids in a good, godly, nurturing home; when those children become adults, they are responsible for their own actions.

In my opinion, what many wayward Christians do, is to listen to the voices of those that do not have faith in Christ.  They have grown up with the Word of God as the center of their home, but somewhere down the road have not given the Bible a prominent place in their adult lives.  There are many different voices in the world trying to pull God’s people away from the truths of scripture.

John 10:1-5 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

Jesus’ voice should be very familiar to the child of God.  He knows each of His own and calls us by name.  He leads us and corrects us.  The voice of strangers will attempt to lead us away from the Shepherd.  The voice of a stranger can eventually become familiar to us if we listen for too long.  Jesus said that His sheep will flee from the voice of strangers.

There will always be those that will try to get us to compromise our stands, or get us to back away from our Biblical convictions.  Don’t follow voices that are different than the Shepherd.  Stay in the Word of God!  Get to know The Shepherd’s voice so well that you can identify the impostors immediately!

I hope that none of us will be the subject of a brokenhearted loved one because we have turned from the Lord.  When the strangers speak into our ears, we need to flee!

Plan, Prepare and Pursue Completion

Plan, Prepare and Pursue Completion

I would like to start out this blog post by saying, “I am sorry,” to all those that had been reading my daily posts and haven’t heard from me in a while. I allowed other things to take me away from writing. I am going to do my best to be faithful to post at least twice a week from now on.
Our plans often don’t work out the way we plan. We may have the best of intentions, yet we somehow get sidetracked by other things. Whether it be projects around the house that never get finished, or a promise left unkept to someone; we don’t start out to fail, but we never seem to complete the task.
My plan is to post encouraging and helpful messages twice a week until the Lord stops me. My old goal of posting daily was a bit too aggressive and I couldn’t keep up with the task.  When setting goals we need to realize the costs involved in achieving them.                One of my goals as a Christian is to finish the course God has put me on. It is many times, not the path that I would choose, however it is the best path to be on. Being a person that has been saved by the grace of God and being a disciple of Christ are two different things. You can be saved and not be a disciple. A disciple is one that is following the teachings of Christ and comes with a cost. Our salvation has a high price also, but Jesus paid that price by His death on the cross. Discipleship, on the other hand, has a price that we pay as a follower of the Lord.
Luke 14:26-27 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
Luke 14:33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. (Emphasis added)
The Lord was very clear to those that wanted to follow Him that they would pay a price for being a disciple. If they were unwilling to “Count the cost” then He told them that they could not be a disciple.
The point I am trying to make is, let’s not look at our Christian life as another project that we have on our “to do” list; Something that we may or may not finish, like posting a blog every day. Make following and finishing a top priority! We don’t know when our course will be finished, but let’s do the best we can to plan, prepare and pursue to be a disciple of Christ!

When Good Ideas Go Bad

When Good Ideas Go Bad

Many years ago some of our family decided to take a trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida.  We went to all the theme parks we could experience in one day.  While visiting the Magic Kingdom, I came up with the brilliant idea to ride Space Mountain.  It seemed like a good idea to me at the time, besides our son Johnny, who had many special needs,  had never experienced anything like that in his life, I bet He would really enjoy it, or so I thought.

My wife was not so sure, and try to talk me out of it.  My other son, Jason agreed with me and so in the line we went!!  As you stand in line waiting for your turn, there are many warning signs, informing you that you should not ride this ride if you have: a bad back, have heart issues…the type of things that Johnny had his share of.  Again, Joann tried to talk me out of my plan.

Undaunted, I pressed forward, assuring her that everything was going to be fine.  Johnny had no idea what this ride was all about, he just followed his Dad with his misplaced trust at that time.  It came time for our turn to board the ride.  I had Johnny in front of me so that I could ensure his safety, with Joann behind me, reluctantly on the ride herself.  Off we went.  It didn’t take long for me to realize, this may not have been one of my best ideas.

The ride is completely in the dark.  Johnny was profoundly deaf, those two situations never mix well.  The noises kind of give you an indication of what was going to happen, Johnny had no warning of what he was about to experience.  Suddenly we were traveling at a very fast rate of speed, turning and twisting, up and down.  In my mind, Johnny is having a blast!!  I was sure he was smiling from ear to ear…well one thing that never entered into my mind was the fact that Johnny was wearing a wig!!!  He had lost most of his hair at a young age through medications and, well, heredity, he was still very young and didn’t want to be bald.

There comes a point in the ride that your picture is taken and later you can by the link to get the picture.  Our picture said a thousand words.  I am holding on to Johnny with a big grin on my face, Johnny has his hand on his head holding on to his wig and his mouth is wide open, Joann is reaching over my shoulder also holding Johnny’s wig on his head.

Needless to say, when the ride was over, Jason and I were the only ones to say, “Wasn’t that great?”  Joann only needed to give me the stare to let me know how she felt, and Johnny said he didn’t enjoy that at all.  The Bible verse came to my mind…

Proverbs 22:3 A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself:
but the simple pass on, and are punished.

When you are about to make a decision, you need to consider all the input from others that will be impacted by your choices.  The only other ride we went on the rest of the day was, It’s a Small World.  Well, I guess the punishment fit the crime.

Who’s Flying This Thing Anyway?

Who’s Flying This Thing Anyway?

We often involve God in our decisions after we have made them.  We come up with a plan, put it into action, then expect God’s blessing and help to fulfill our desires.  There is nothing wrong with having desires and wanting to see them come to pass, however, we need to be sure that we are operating in the will of God.  Often our plans can become derailed in the midst of our efforts, and that is when we call on God to help us in our time of need.  If we are not in alignment with God’s will, we cannot have the expectation of the Lord’s help.

Peter was the Impetuous Apostle, he was a man that like to take charge, many times he would speak or act without thinking about what he was saying or doing.  There was one instance, however, that he sought the Lord before making a move.  The disciples were caught in a storm on the Sea of Galilee, and Jesus came walking to them on the water.  The disciples were all afraid and Jesus calmed them.

Matthew 14:27-31 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

  •  Peter had a dream or a vision.  He wanted to walk on the water to Christ.  Who knows the reason why, other than proving that the one walking on the water was the Lord.
  • He asked for direction from the lord.  In other words, he found out whether it was the will of the Lord to walk to Him.  A good idea considering the conditions and what he desired to do.
  • He failed in his faith.  He almost saw his vision come completely to pass.  He actually walked on the water, but the storm took his focus off the goal.
  • He cried for help.  He knew he was doing the Lord’s will, yet he began to sink, that is when he asked for the Lord to save him.
  • He got an immediate response from the Lord.  He had almost made the walk on the water to his goal.  Jesus was close enough to reach down and save him from going under.

This is a great example for us today.

  • Have a vision of what you want to accomplish for the Lord.  Dream big!!
  • Ask the Lord for direction.  If it is His will, He will show you!
  • There will be times when we will have a lack of faith, storms will be scary.
  • Cry out during our times of doubt with the expectation of the Lord’s help.
  • See the Lord respond to our need.

Friend, let’s not set the agenda and ask God to come along for the ride.  He wants to show Himself powerful in our lives, we can have the expectation of His help as long as we are following and not leading. There used to be an old bumper sticker that said, “God is my Co-Pilot,” I never cared for that idea, because, if God isn’t flying the plane, you’re in trouble.