Decide to Believe

So often I read things on how I should act or think or believe and it makes perfect sense.  I know that if I just reacted a given way, my thoughts and feelings would move in the direction I should be moving.  Always easier said than done.

I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I don’t do it.  Instead, I do the very thing I hate. -Romans 7:15

As Christians, we need to decide to believe.  We want to understand everything, but God doesn’t always give us understanding, our mind then refuses to believe what it doesn’t understand.  I think that our minds are often bound up by the enemy to keep us from believing what we know to be true.

But God provides us help here too.

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress.  For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray.  But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. -Romans 8:26

I’ve talked about this verse before in one of my Bible Study Minutes.  It’s amazing to think that we have someone praying for us even when we don’t know we need prayed for.  Remember James 1:2-8 where we see we can ask God for  wisdom in trials and he will give it to us and show us what to do.

Things to Do During Challenging Times

Everyone of us will walk through challenging times in our lives…..over and over to be sure.  It may be a temporary challenge that lasts only minutes.  Or it could be a lifelong challenge that plagues us throughout our days here on earth.   No matter what it is, it can seem the most important thing in life at that moment.  It can overwhelm you emotionally and physically if you let it.  How do we cope with those times?  Well here are a few thoughts I have on this.  And trust me, this is a list I need to refer back to over and over again myself.

  1. Count your blessings.  When we look back on what God has given us already we will often see how God has moved before in a similar situation.  We can see that God has not forsaken us and that he is always with us.  Counting your blessings will keep us from becoming discouraged.  When we forget this, we tend to concentrate on the problem and fail to notice the good things we should.  We will put a focus on what needs to be done and forget what God has already done.   I posted a few years ago, my year end recap and the focus was not to look at the negatives that happened the prior year, but to focus on the good things that happened and those that came out of those bad situations.  It’s amazing how much goodness can come of tough times when you take the time to look back and reflect.
  2. Concentrate on the good things.   I like to look at this and see what good God has created out of a bad situation.  This is often easier to do in hindsight than in the moment, but if you take the time to remember times past where God has made good out of bad, you’ll be able to see the potential in your current situation and you’ll trust that God has a plan.

    In 2011, I posted about one of my favorite quotes, “God tears a man down, just to lift him up.”  God doesn’t cause bad things to happen, but he allows us to be put through the fire so to speak, to strengthen us.  In that old post, I give you the story my professional career has gone through over the last 15 years or so.  Looking back on my professional career, there were a few times when a bad situation came upon us as a family, one that we felt at the time was going to be impossible to overcome.  And without fail, God brought us back from the “brink” each time, making us stronger.  I would tend to gravitate back to the edge again, but that is through my own failings, but each time a lesson was learned and we came out stronger in the end.

  3. Believe what your heart tells you.  Develop a habit of letting what is in our heart become more real to us than what we see, think or feel.   We know in our hearts that we can trust God completely, but our heads often tell us to worry.

    We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish.  He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward.  Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God’s throne in heaven.  – Hebrews 12:2

    We know in our hearts that God has a plan and that despite our best efforts to come up with something better, God’s is always the best.  Looking back in hindsight, we know that it is true, we just need to remember that when we are in the midst of the storm.

  4. Choose to think about what God can do instead of what we cannot do.  We can’t fix situations, but God can.  This could be through divine intervention or simply giving us the tools, strength and wisdom to do so ourselves.  But either way, God can do it.

    But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience.   And God is faithful.  He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it.  When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.  – 1 Corinthians 10:13

    God will provide a way out, it may not be the way that we think, but God will provide one.

  5. Turn over your problems to God.  God can solve the problem, he will provide an answer.  He can do what we cannot.  We know in our hearts that it is true….so why not turn over those problems to God.

    Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you.  He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.  – Psalm 55:22

    Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you. – 1 Peter 5:7

    This sounds easy, but it is tough.  Probably one of the toughest things I have had to do.  I felt this article answering the question, How can I turn all my worries and problems over to God, explains this much better than I ever could.

  6. Release the weight of worry.  Again often easier said than done, but we can rest in the great promise of Jesus himself:

    Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you.  Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke fits perfectly and the burden I give you is light.”  -Matthew 11:28-30

    The rest that Jesus promises is love, healing and peace with God.  He doesn’t promise the end of all problems or labor, but with a relationship with God changes the meaningless, wearisome work and problems into spiritual purpose and productivity.

 

Recap of 2013 – Faith, Family, Self

Usually I do my yearly recap early in the day, January 1; but for numerous reasons, I’ve been unable to up until now.  Each year, I like to recap my year, looking back on my triumphs and failures and look forward to the upcoming year.

So what did 2013 bring to us this year?   As is a common theme in life, change.  Life changes constantly, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, but we can be guaranteed it will change.  So what change stands out to me this year?

Family

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAProbably the biggest change is having my son Trey graduate high school.  I couldn’t have been prouder of what he had accomplished throughout his life and was excited to see him move on to the next phase of his life, but I was saddened as well, because my little boy was all grown up.  We all grow and change as much as we often want things to stay the same, they don’t.  I look at Trey now as a young man finding his way through life and I’m happy to be there for support when he needs some.

Every day I look at him and remember the young boy that used to climb up on my lap or ride on my shoulders, yet I see the man he has become.  Ready to start life with vigor and lead his own way.  I hope I did my job well, as my father did with me, and he remembers he always has a place with us.  2014 will be a great year for him.

 

Faith

Another change that I’ve made for myself, is a renewing of my vigor for God.  I realize that I am nothing without God.  I have become excited once more to learn more, grow more and share more.  Hence my renewal of this blog.  When I was active on this blog before, I actually stressed over posting articles.  I would stress over getting the article just right and worrying over how many people read it and if the message was right.  Thus the longer I wrote, the more stressful and less fun it became.  I didn’t want to write anymore because it was too much work.  And eventually, it faded away and the writing stopped.

When I renewed this blog, I still want to make sure the message is right and that as many people read it as possible, but my main goal has become to just put on “paper” so to speak, my feelings and thoughts.  I want to share my studies and what I’ve learned and even if no one else reads it, it has become therapeutic for me.  So my posts have become less predictable, less regular, but I hope they show the are more from the heart than they were before.

I have some ideas on ways to expand this blog in 2014 and have it reach more people, but everything I do is prefaced with the thought, is this coming from my heart and does it give glory to God and therapy for me.

Self

This is where perhaps the most change needs to take place and I’m hoping that 2014 will bring much needed change.  Of course I hope that my faith has been changed and continues to grow to be more like that faith Jesus talks about.  I pray that our family is healthy and happy throughout the year.

I need to stop stressing over small situations until I blow them up in my own mind into major issues.  I need to daily count my blessings and remember where they come from.  A favorite thought of mine has been “What if God only provided us with the blessings that we thanked him for?

I need to study my Bible more and read better commentary on scripture.  I need to make sure I make the Word of God a priority in my life, not just an afterthought after a busy day.  I hope hope that by sharing my studies on this blog, not only will it encourage me to do more and make them a priority (make me feel the guilt if I fall behind), but perhaps if even one person reads it and God speaks to them in some way through my post, then it was all worth it.

Favorite posts from the past

Many blogs will post the most popular or their favorite posts from the past year.  Well I don’t have many posts from 2013 since I just started it back up again in the late fall, so let me link to some of the posts over the history of this blog that even I like to return to and reread.

These are just some of my favorites, I hope you enjoy and perhaps can find some use in your own life.

2014 – Here we go

So off we go into 2014.  One of the things that is always consistent is that time moves forward.  2014 is here whether we want it to be or not.  I plan on making the most of the year and I hope you can resolve to as well.  I’m always happy to hear from any readers I may have and if something resonates with you that I’ve written please let me know.  God is great and he has great plans for us in 2014.