Archive for the ‘Christianity’ Tag

In the Name of Jesus, Shut Up! Battling Those Pesky Internal Voices   Leave a comment

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Sometimes I sit and wonder who my enemies are. Usually I find that the primary ones I face today are the demons within. They love telling me how I’m not good enough, talented enough, popular enough, skilled enough, worthy enough, known enough to do all of this writing for God’s kingdom work. They also say all of the above about me thinking I can make it as writer and an entrepreneur, running a business of my own that is off to a painstakingly slow start.

My #1 enemy today is within, and it is the voice of self-doubt, lack of self-confidence, and poor self-esteem. These voices have their moments with me as I still trudge on to get better, do more, and hone my skills. They interrupt me when I’m writing and even coaching. They look over my shoulder when I take time to dream of what is still to come. They get agitated when I have those moments of thankful connectedness with God who trusts me, cares for me, inspires me, energizes me, loves me and believes in me.

This war within is more prominent than I desire. It is easy to become upset with myself when those voices of dissent speak because they bring with them their friend “guilt” who tells me I should feel even worse because I’m allowing them to hurt me so badly. It becomes layers of negative pressure that are difficult to overcome. This weight can be burdensome enough to stop me in my tracks at times, winning the day by overwhelming my willpower.

Thank God this is not the end of my story. This is never the end of my season. Feelings like that can sometimes last a moment, a few hours, and at their worst a few days. But they don’t last. God is always faithful in reminding me just how worthy I really am. It is because of him that I can stand up in the middle of the storm and declare to all of those voices, “In the name of Jesus, shut up!” When this happens I sit up straighter, smile while I’m working, walk taller, write faster, coach better, study and learn feverishly, and always, always feel more blessed than I know how to handle. It is the confidence that comes when you know beyond doubt that God is with you. You can feel it!

It is God who has called me into this new arena of ministry. It is God who has gifted me with the heart and passion for this work. It is God who has given me the opportunities to advance my skills to serve people in specific ways to help them in the areas of their lives where they are stuck, especially spiritually. It is God who receives all of my praise and thanksgiving. All of this is because it is God who reminds me frequently that I really can do all things in his name!

It is God who lifts me up out of the darkness where those voices reign, and conquers them with compassion, confidence, and care. Those voices are a part of me that still need work. But with God’s help, I know they will be overcome and that they will become voices that cheer me on as I move forward, deeper into God’s call. This is where victory is found. The Holy Spirit resides within me and wins every time when I avert my eyes away from my self-defeating mirror to the Lord of love.

Today, I’m praising God from whom all blessings really do flow.

Lonely, or Perfect?   Leave a comment

Mark’s first chapter indicates a couple of times that Jesus went to lonely or secluded places.

The first reference is that Jesus got up early and went to the wilderness, arid, a lonely place where he could pray. Morning quiet time is what works best for me. What about you? Any other time of day is far too difficult because my mind has already hit overdrive later and is challenging at best to bring to a crawl for a sound, fulfilling time alone with God. It isn’t impossible, just hard to achieve for me.

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The other reference is when Jesus was simply trapped in place by large crowds. Of course he had the compassion to heal them all and cast out all of their evil spirits, so he would do so (and I’d say) with great joy. But this was overwhelming for his human capacity, so for any kind of rest or opportunity to spend time in prayer, he had to go to secluded places. Seclusion is an intentional separation where you are either running from something or being forced somewhere not of your own will.

Seclusion has negative connotations. Loneliness can be similar, but in this case, it is an intentional choice. For me it would be to say that each morning when I get up and around and have my cup of coffee that I have my quiet time because it is mandated, a command, an order. If it is something I have to do, my motivation is decreased greatly. If it is something that I want to do, desire comes easily.

Where I go for my quiet time is in the peaceful setting of my home office. I say peaceful simply because early in the morning it is very quiet. I’m literally surrounded by work opportunities but ignore them for this sacred moment. I’m up long before my wife and can read and meditate, using candles to set the mood if I like or low lighting. I’ll read Scripture and poetry and then open my laptop and write in this journal. Often, my prayer itself comes through these moments without the traditional-formal closing of the eyes and bowing of the head. In here, in this time, I am in the arms of God, sipping coffee and enjoying the presence.

It is a lonely place, but I’m anything but alone. That makes it perfect!

Wheelhouse   1 comment

How does God best use you?  I could go on forever about spiritual gifts, their uses and abuses, and how many folks get lost in search of theirs because they won’t accept assistance.  What I am talking about now is your “wheelhouse.”  A wheelhouse is to a baseball batter that one sweet spot where a pitch comes in and you can knock it out of the park every time.  In your experience, what would you call your wheelhouse? Read the rest of this entry »

Positive Encouragement   1 comment

Would you rather be told what is wrong or shown how to make something right?  Most people prefer positive feedback over demeaning discourses, especially when a word of correction is being delivered.  In a world filled with negativity and harsh realities of just how rough life can sometimes be, we should give encouraging words instead of negative lectures.  Read the rest of this entry »

A Prayer for Leaders   3 comments

I belong to seemingly countless email groups that keep me informed in the world of religion, culture, and ministry.  One of those groups (smart ministry and preaching unleashed) sent an email yesterday with a prayer for all of their subscribers who are mostly ministers and church leaders.  I was moved to hear such a prayer for me and simply want to pass this along to all who dare to read it.

My challenge to those of you who are not in ministry or church leadership positions is to pray this prayer for your pastor and other leaders.  It isn’t very often we ministers hear of such prayers being offered for us. Read the rest of this entry »