Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Lessons for My Son

I see you growing into your man-skin. Growing tall, hair, muscles, attitude. Not quite a man and not still a child.

I want so much for you and who you will become. If I could tell you anything I've learned in my days of dealing with men, it would be this...

1. Respect. Always. Especially when you don't feel like it. Show it to me, your dad, family, boss, teachers, friends, coworkers. Spread it around like confetti. Show respect in all you do and it will come back to you. Show it with what you say, how you say it, your body language (sometimes our face will say what our mouths don't) You will always want respect, learn to give it too.

2. Love. You are loved. You are loved well by your family, but most importantly your Father God. I know you're still figuring out what you believe. And you don't know yet the full love of your heavenly Father. But you will one day. And one day you will love Him. So much so you won't believe it. When you know that you know that you are loved,  you will then love others well. I pray you to know this early in life (it would've saved me a lot of pain).

3. Communicate. Don't ever assume others know what you want or what you are thinking or why you're mad, hurt, happy, etc. In today's world of technology, it's easy to miscommunicate. And it's even easier to be passive-aggressive and not communicate at all. Learn to voice your truth and say your words, even if you're afraid, especially if you're afraid. Learn to speak or write clearly and you will save yourself a lot of problems. (Ask me how I know)

4. Forgive. Oh, my son, this is a big one, so lean down and listen up. You've already experienced the need to forgive, (mainly from your dad and me, we've messed up a lot) and it's a lesson you won't quit learning until the day you die. Forgive when it's unfair and it's the last thing on earth you want to do. One thing I know, forgiveness is about you, not them. The way forward is paved with forgiveness. You will relearn this and relearn this...

5. Work Hard. Don't be lazy and complacent in life. Go after what you want. Chase your dreams. Chase God. Chase life. Don't chase money. I pray your work is a blessing and provides all your needs, but I also pray it doesn't consume you. Put money and work in their proper order and it will be well with your soul.

6. Lead. Many men today struggle in this area. They want to lead but are unsure how. My son, you must learn to lead well. In your home first and with your personal relationships. Learn from God-ask Him how to be a good leader, and then use what you've learned to master the art of leading well. A good leader is worth their weight and a poor one not worth a dime. Study those who have gone before you, follow their lead until you can take the lead.


7. Seek God. First and foremost before anything I tell you. Seek Him, know Him, grow to love Him. You won't regret it. You will get lost in this world if you don't have a solid foundation to stand on. This world will try to shake you and make you fall, and you will do just that if you don't have something (the Holy Spirit) stronger in you that is in this world. Let Him be your Rock.

8. Marry/Date Well. Marrying well begins with dating well. Open the door, call don't text (things get lost in translation when you text- and for the love of Pete! Don't ask her out over text, CALL her) ( Use your God-given wisdom and discernment. If you know in your gut she's not the one, tell her to her face ( I REPEAT DO NOT TEXT THIS), and let her go. It'll be best for both of you down the road. A man of honor and respect is important), pay for her dinner, hold her hand, compliment her, listen when she talks, really listen. Talkback, engage in conversation. Refer back to #3. This is important.

9. Have Good Friends. Oh my goodness, son, your friendships will be some of the most important relationships you will have in your life. Keep good friends. In my opinion the smaller the circle the better. Quality over quantity. You're a lot like me in this regard, so I think you'll agree with me on this one. IF you have good friends they will encourage you to keep pushing and doing better. Bad ones will get you into trouble (the same can be said for girl relationships (which I should've added above) ). When you're doubting yourself, they will lift you up. When you're being a jerk, they will straight up tell you.

Good friends have your back and won't stab you in the back. There's a quote that says, "Show me your friends and I'll show you your future." This is so true. Get you some good ones.

10.  Integrity. You will live and die by this. People will know you by your word. Be honest, man. Don't take shortcuts they lead to dead ends. In all your ways and in all you do be a man of your word. Keep your word. Tell the truth, even when it may get you into trouble. Not doing so will lead to more trouble. If people can't believe what you say, you've set yourself up on sinking sand.

Own your mistakes and don't blame others for them, this shows maturity and growth. People want to know they can trust you, don't give them a reason not to. A man's word is gold and means everything.

11. Keep Learning. Never stop learning how to be a better man, a better husband, a better father, leader, employee, etc. The moment you stop learning and growing you die. You are made for more than complacency and status quo. You are made to be different. And different starts with what's going on inside your heart. Be a leader at home first then you can truly be a man in the world (be careful not to get this backward, many do). Who you are in private means more than the person you show the world. 

*****
That's it. All I can think of for now. I initially only did 10 but then added one more I felt was important, I won't tell you which ;) I'm sure as time goes on I could add more... :)

********
What would you add to this list?




Thursday, January 2, 2020

Choosing to be Sober-Minded

2020 Word: Sober-Minded 

I wasn't sure I would choose a word this year, I haven't in a while. But the words Sober-Minded kept appearing in my mind so I did a little digging in the Bible and I stopped at 1 Peter 5:8 "Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour."



The opposite of sober is drunk. And one doesn't have to be drunk on alcohol in order to be "drunk."

It's anything we use to dull the senses that would knock us off our guard and cause us to be in "sleepiness."

In seasons of extreme stress and suffering it's easy to take comfort in too much food, alcohol, social media, or tv. It seems easier to dull the pain with the world's quick fixes than to turn to God and His Word.

But a quick fix is a band-aid.

Believe me, I know. Vegging out on the couch with a glass of wine and season after season of The Crown is something I'm quite familiar with.

All the stressors hit me and the last thing I want to do is read my Bible. And yet it is the only thing that will lift my soul out of the pit and set it back on level ground. And that's not some holy-line I'm feeding you, it's the truth I've learned from the pit myself.

The enemy -the devil -uses those moments when we are feeling weak and looking for relief from our pain to pounce straight on us. The battle always begins in our minds, his weapons are doubt, fear, accusations, shame, old memories, wounds...the onslaught is relentless and we look to dull the pain. To just not feel anything for a little while.

But it doesn't help. Because the next day we still have the same problems only we've now added more to them. The consequences of living our own way will stare us dead in the face the next morning.

The Bible assures us we are not enduring anything that people before us haven't endured. The enemy has no new tricks because the old ones are still working so well.

This year I'm challenging myself to stay sober-minded and alert. I know my weaknesses and I want the Lord to grow me through them. I don't want to be picked off and I don't want to fall like a house of cards.

We have a real enemy who seeks to devour and destroy us but we also have power from the Holy Spirit to overcome and live in freedom.

God is the only way through hard seasons. I've learned this and relearned this and will probably continue to do so because I have a short memory.

However, I'm tired of quick fixes. I want to do the hard work of healing and persevering under pressure. 

I've begun asking myself when faced with a decision, Is this the easy way or the hard way? If the answer is the easy way, then I push it aside and prepare myself to dig deep for the hard way.

The deep is where God is found and where He does His best work.

May I pray for us?

Prayer for the New Year,

Dear Father,

I give this new year to you. I surrender and lay down at the cross all my fears, failings, shame, and shortcomings. I can't do this without you, I know. I ask for more of your peace and a fresh intaking of your Spirit to renew my heart and mind. When I'm tempted to turn to other things to satisfy my aching soul may my spirit rise up and remember Your goodness and unfailing love and promises never fail.  Nothing can satisfy me like You. Nothing. Forgive me for trying to fill the voids in my life with cheap imitations. Thank you, Father, for your unending mercy, grace, and love.

In Jesus' Name,
Amen



Monday, October 14, 2019

Burn It Down

"I will take action against you, My sinful children, burning off whatever is worthless, purging whatever is impure." (Isaiah 1:25 VOICE)

"But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap." (Malachi 3:2 ESV)


Do you ever feel in your heart and down to your very bones God is doing something new and good in you, but it hurts like hell? My time in the Lord has been this lately. I couldn't keep these words to myself, I had to share them with you. We may be in the fire but we are not alone. And when we know, really know He is with us, we let Him have His way. Because if we trust Him, we know in death there is life. 

Burn it down, The Lord Said.

All will be ash. And from the ash will be your remaking. You will rise from the ashes. Like a warrior after the battle, you will rise. 

All that hindered...fear, worry, doubt...is burned away. No more apart of your story.

The enemy attacked and thought he had destroyed you. Little did he know, the One who is in you is mightier than in this world. You will rise.

You will rise from the ashes. 

You will put your sword in the ground and fight the fight in confidence and good faith. Endurance is rising in you. Courage is rising. The battle is won.

Wipe the sweat from your brow.

Calm your shaking hands.

Slow your breath.

You are rising.

I allowed it.  For your good. 

Now, you know. Declare with a shout, your battle cry, BURN IT DOWN!

God, it hurts. The burning away feels like death. Surrendering to Your will and not my own is letting go of what is familiar.

Through the smoke and ash, I cry:

If it's not for me, let it burn.

If it's not for my good, let it burn.


If it's not Your will, let it burn.


Let it burn, and I will rise.

The battlefield is no place for worry or fear, it must be burned down. If you want to have victory, you must claim your authority in Jesus Christ. And let the rest burn down and be remade in Him.

"God is a refining fire." (Deut 4:24)

Down to ashes but hope rises.

"O that in me the sacred fireMight now begin to glow,Burn up the dross of base desireAnd make the mountains flow
On the aged and the young let it fall,
Thy promise now fulfill,
It will guide us on to Truth—let it fall,
And sanctify the whole.
O that it now from heav’n might fall,
And all my sins consume!
Come, Holy Ghost, for thee I call;
Spirit of burning, come!" (Charles Wesley,
O That in me the Sacred Fire)

What is being burned out in you? May I encourage you today, to not run from the fire but let it do its work. Holy fire meant to purify and set a spark. A spark to set a blaze and set the world on fire for Him.






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