Heartless Solutions Can Lead to Isolation

Heartless solutions can lead to isolation.

Why then do we tend to have so little hesitation

In offering our best advice without reaching the heart.

Is it all about our pride, about how great “we art”?

“We gave her some solutions that we knew were a sure bet.

So, why is she depressed, they wondered? Why is she upset?

We want to solve her problems, help her turn her life around,

But she shunned our great ideas and called our advice unsound.”

Perhaps they didn’t understand her need for real compassion,

That no heartless solutions could bring her true satisfaction

Because they never spoke to issues that concerned her heart.

All they seemed to want was, their opinions to impart

But she grew weary of their heartless views and sayings trite,

Possessing no desire for yet one more unsound sound bite.

Before she dared accept their great advice, she had to know

That these folks cared about her heart – not just where she should go.

“Just listen to me,” she would plead. But no one wanted to.

That left her feeling isolated, nothing more to do.

Their inability to hear her voice made her withdraw,

Because they seemed so set on pointing out her every flaw

Instead of showing thankfulness for good things she had done.

How hard was it for them to see the victories she’d won?

Most of us can use at least a little validation,

Because without such cheer we can remain in isolation.

The point is that heartless solutions don’t do anybody any good

Even though our best intentions tell us that they should.

Yet without love, I’m just a clashing cymbal, clanging gong.

I do believe I’m doing right when I’m entirely wrong.

“Love one another” Jesus told his disciples. So maybe we should pray more before offering solutions, because only God has the perfect love we need to give to others.

Act With Tact to Bring Things Back Intact, Part I

To act with tact can certainly help bring things back intact.

The prophet Daniel knew this. Therefore he did not react

When King Nebuchadnezzar sent his hatchet man to him

With news that did not bode well and in fact was very grim.

“All wise guys in this entire kingdom will be cut to pieces,”

Warned the executioner. “Because they do not please us.”

“I’ll turn their homes to rubble to atone for their abuses,

Because this king has had it with their miserable excuses.”

Now, Daniel could have gotten worried, thrown a great big fit,

Torn out his hair and hopped inside a pit party pit.

However, he refused to stew but acted with great tact,

Asking why the king had been so hasty to react.

“They said they didn’t know his dream but gladly would lay bare

Their own interpretation of it if he cared to share

A clue or two about whatever thoughts had filled his head

While he lay sleeping peacefully upon his comfy bed.”

“Well, don’t blame me,” is how I’d probably answer in that case.

“You never asked what I thought. How ‘bout giving me some grace?”

“If the king does not control his temper, he may go insane.

Sometimes that happens to a guy with vengeance on the brain.”

Despite the sudden notice, though, he didn’t get offended.

Nor did he panic like a guy who’s suddenly rear ended.

Instead of claiming ignorance, he went straight unto the king,

Not waving crazy protest signs but with an “offering.”

“If you will give me time, I soon will have an answer for you,”

He told the king of Babylon. “I surely won’t ignore you.”

Then he went home and told his friends that it was time to pray.

God answered him and he went to the palace the next day.

He had an answer for the king, but first, “Please act with tact.

Don’t shoot the men who let you down. The Lord will pay you back

For pain they caused by failing you, and He will not be slow.

So, please forgive their ignorance. Your dream I’ve come to show.”

Success Amid Stress Comes From Knowing You’re Blessed

Have you felt the stress that comes from seeing no success?

Perhaps you think you’ve blown it and therefore cannot be blessed.

You want someone to let you know there’s meaning to your life,

But all you feel you’ve gotten for your efforts is pure strife.

 

The pressure to succeed in marketing can cause much stress

If people with ten talents needle you for having less.

The devil says, “Where are your sales? Your gift did not succeed.”

That does present a problem in a world immersed in greed.

 

For success is just an end product by which men seek to measure

How well their strategies have worked to snag desired treasure.

But what serves as the best yardstick for measuring success?

Does it consist of what you eat or how you choose to dress?

 

(And in the end who are you really trying to impress?)

 

To try to serve both God and mammon will not get you blessed,

Because the lust for worldly things leads only to distress.

For what good does it do to gain the world but lose your soul?

And what profit do you get unless what’s broken is made whole?

 

Success is like the end point of a well-established goal.

In order to achieve it, you must climb out of the hole

That sunk you in depression over failed sales strategy

And wants to lock you in a trap of negativity.

 

To climb out starts with little steps you may not want to do.

But if you’ll take the time for them, your strength you will renew.

The first step: Dare to open up your Bible. Start to read.

Ask God to show you passages to meet your deepest need.

 

And, though it goes against your “grain,” give thanks for little things:

Like God’s abundant mercy and the favor that He brings.

Praise Him for sending His own Son to die upon a cross,

So that nobody who believes in Him will suffer loss.

 

To do this may take every ounce of courage you possess,

Because to set aside that time means saying no to “Bess”

And chores she wants to tie you to which only give you stress.

But once these truths free up your mind, you’ll surely have success.

 

“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” Joshua 1:8

 

“But whoso looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” James 1:25

 

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

 

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

 

 

 

When Parents Don’t Understand a Child’s Promised Land

Those who didn’t understand the Promised Land report

By Joshua and Caleb somehow managed to abort

God’s destiny for them which was an awesome property.

Big guys had done the work and now this land was theirs for free.

 

(see the book of Numbers chapters 13 and 14)

 

But most folks didn’t “get” these guys who spied out God’s good land.

All they saw were giants and they didn’t understand

What the Lord was doing and the great things He had planned,

The gifts He’d placed within their children, like flames to be fanned.

 

Instead, they saw their families as weak – “They won’t survive,

Let alone by some miraculous intervention thrive.” (Numbers 14:3)

“Those who KNOW God will do exploits” was a verse they didn’t know (Daniel 11:32),

And for their children, I believe, it was an awesome blow.

 

Imagine dreaming “milk and honey,” only to be told

It’s not within your grasp. “Don’t try it. All you’ll get is old.”

“You’ll die before you touch the grapes that WE could not obtain.

Best not to tackle it, my dear. You’ll never stand the strain.”

 

These men wanted to help their kids survive the wilderness

Instead of taking foolish risks while trying to impress

The God they THOUGHT they’d heard from, but their parents didn’t know.

For, some who tried to take the land received a heavy blow.

 

God told them not to do it when He saw their unbelief.

Instead they acted out of guilt, which caused the camp much grief. (Numbers 14:39-45)

By trusting their own wisdom to make up for wrongs they’d done,

They acted foolishly. The battle, lost, could not be won.

 

And so, their children suffered. In the wilderness they wandered,

For forty years unable to regain what doubt had squandered.

How do you talk to parents when you know they don’t believe?

They’re just too stressed to listen. Your ideas they can’t receive.

 

It helps to understand that parents don’t always feel blessed

When you share bold ideas with them. For they know that success

Does not come instantly. It has to stand the test of time.

They want you to prove faithful, adding reason to your “rhyme.”

 

Recall: The men who got frustrated missed the Promised Land,

Rebelling against knowledge that they didn’t understand.

They tried to prove themselves to God. “We’ll take the land, we will!”

But what they needed most to do was to relax and “chill.”

 

For faith cannot be conjured up, and though conveyed through speech,

It’s not just about changing things. But what did Jesus teach?

The Father desires worship both in truth and in spirit. (John 4:23)

Before trying to do His Word, you must take time to hear it.

 

To enter in your “Promised Land” requires that you rest (Hebrews 4:9-10),

So that when you bring up “those grapes” your dad does not feel stressed.

You do not want to tempt the man to go off on his own

And try to conquer FOR you what you need to do alone.

 

But yet, you’re not alone, for Jesus walks that road with you.

He’ll never will forsake you and His promises ring true.

The spiritual Rock that followed Israel in the desert knows your name (I Corinthians 10:4),

And when you choose to follow Him, you’ll never be the same.

 

 

Every child has a “Promised Land,” a dream meant just for them, a destiny only they can fulfill. A child that believes in Jesus and commits his/her life to Him may be inspired with a dream that adults don’t see. His/her parents may not understand or promote the dream – perhaps because they themselves have a Promised Land worth of dreams that remain unfulfilled. Perhaps they  tried to take that land before being properly equipped, and it resulted in disaster.

 

For whatever reason, it may be hard for them to fathom how the child’s dream could possibly succeed. If that’s the case, how can a child get the support he or she needs to fulfill that dream?

 

I. See Victory Over Rebellion as a Step Toward the Promised Land

 

Rebelling against parents and/or demanding one’s own way is like the men who tried to take the Promised Land after proving themselves unfaithful – unfaithful as in “they were not full of faith” and therefore could not receive Joshua and Caleb’s good report. Rather than promote rebellion, God’s word teaches children to honor their parents (Ephesians 6:2). Though honoring (respecting) them may be your greatest fight, through Jesus you can do it (if in Him you delight).

 

Victory over rebellion is an exploit that takes you closer to the Promised Land

 

II. Draw Near to God

 

The key to getting favor from parents and/or other adults is to draw close to God and find rest in Him. This involves prayer. You can talk to God about anything, but it really helps to praise Him and to pray for understanding while reading His Word (the Bible). Focus on His promises of who you are in Him, such as “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things have passed away. All things have become new.” (II Corinthians 5:17)

 

Drawing near to these truths will enable you to draw near to Him. It also helps to remember that Jesus will never leave or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6). His name Emmanuel means “God with us.” Before ascending into heaven, He empowered his disciples with the knowledge that “I am with you always.” (Matthew 28:20). With that knowledge they were able to reach the world for Him.

 

III. Spy Out Your Own Particular Promised Land

 

The one who can best understand his/her particular “promised land” is the person to whom it belongs. Caleb, for example, spied out the mountain he wanted before asking Joshua for permission to take it. But Promised Land decisions should not be made alone. Solomon declared in Proverbs 15:22 that with many counselors there is wisdom. Godly people can help guide you to your Promised Land.

 

The best plan is to believe. It may take time, but it’s well worth the wait.

 

Ripping up Bad Report Cards: a Freeing Experience

The Bushel Basket of Human Reason

I. The Bushel Basket of Human Reason

 

Has God poured out a revelation?

Yet you’re gripped with hesitation,

One foot in and one foot out,

Beset by darkness, gloom and doubt

 

Beneath a dome of intellect

That won’t permit you to detect

The light of God you hold inside.

It almost feels as if you’ve died.

 

The bushel basket “Human Reason”

Is like salt that cannot season,

Hidden from the light of day

And stranger to the childlike play

 

That shines so brightly on God’s Word

To make sense of the things you’ve heard.

But when it’s veiled by intellect,

It’s so much harder to detect.

 

II. The Bushel Basket of Intellect Hides Truth

 

For, how can anyone suspect

Your faith is real if you reject

Whatever you don’t understand,

As if it’s YOUR truth to command?

 

The word from which you seek to glean,

If it cannot be fully seen,

Is robbed of power to feed your soul.

So then, how can it make you whole?

 

For though the light is shining in,

You feel as if you’ll never win

Because this bushel shrouds your head

With arguments that reek of dread

 

And reasons that explain away

The truths you know are real today.

By asking, “Did God really say?”

Behold, these truths ARE child’s play.

 

Yet bushel baskets have suppressed

And made them feel like nothingness.

 

A friend of mine once connected the idea of placing a light under a bushel to modern worship practices which deliver the light of God’s presence in measured doses (e.g. two worship songs, announcements, more worship songs, then the pastor gives the word). The bushel stops the light before it penetrates too far, thus depriving the listeners of a complete worship experience.

Just as a bushel basket hides light, so does human reasoning limit the light of God’s truth. If we think we know exactly how God wants to work (within a service, for example), then we’ll only allow the Holy Spirit so much room to move. “This far and no farther.” But is that God’s will for His church?

 

“Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel but on a candlestick, and it gives light to all that are in the house.” Matthew 5:15, KJV

 

 

 

 

 

I Need a Children’s Picture Book to Understand This

Please would somebody write a children’s picture book for me that explains the ins and outs of internet technology? Yes, it will be a long book, but that is what I need, because I’m not a techno-geek, a fact that frustrates me. I need a miracle to understand how to link from Amazon, Google, Goodreads, etc to my site. That’s because my brain can’t seem to wrap itself around these written explanations. When I try to do what they explain, confusion hits my head.

If I was Captain Kirk, I’d constantly have to contact Scotty whose expertise could fix my broken “system.” Or maybe I’d need Spock, the super-analytical guy whose guesses are more sure than my noblest attempts to connect these strange threads.

Some people in my life thrive on research. I do not. Though I find it useful at times, the knowledge overload can weigh me down.

I am like a child when it comes to technology. Would someone please paint me a picture book explaining step by step how all this strange computer stuff works? I realize it will soon go out of date before I can put it into practice, but a simple children’s picture book would be so much more fun to read than some technical manual I can’t understand.

Would someone write a children’s picture book for me,

The one who’s not great with technology,

explaining what to do with all these links?

And don’t call me a “dummy” because that stinks,

 

For I’m a healer, not a techno-geek.

Come to me if healing is what you seek.

I’ll lead you straight to Jesus. He’s the key

To getting unstuck from the insecurity

 

I feel while trying to untangle that big web,

The Internet sea that tends to flow and ebb.

It’s yoke is heavy and it’s burden isn’t light.

So give a book in which I can delight!

 

For creating links involves technology

That has little to do with theology.

Though it seems to need a doctoral degree,

Because to me it lacks simplicity.

 

We all have different gifts and talents, and marketing books can be hard.

That said, I wonder how many adults like me would appreciate a simple book on internet jargon, how to make websites, etc that doesn’t take a PhD to understand?

 

 

 

 

The Hardest Part of Ask, Seek, Knock

 I. Ask, Seek, Knock – First Ask

“Do you want to make your mountain move? Then before you start commanding, ask for understanding to lay aside all doubt. That’s what asking is about.” – original quote

“Ask, seek, knock. That’s what the Bible says. “Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door will be opened.”

Who has never heard this verse before? Perhaps a better question is, what is the hardest part about asking, seeking and knocking?

Let’s discuss the first part, asking.

To some of us, asking can be a hard thing, especially when those close to us reject our requests for information. Despite the saying “There’s no such thing as a dumb question,” people tend to treat questions like dirt. They make the other person feel as if he or she has asked a stupid question. That’s what makes asking hard.

Nevertheless, Jesus instructs us to ask. For if we ask, then we’ll receive an answer. Of course, the best person to ask is God Himself, because He is all powerful. He knows what you need before you even ask Him. Sometimes people don’t ask God anything until they’e desperate. That’s okay, because a question is a question. A request is a request. And if you don’t know what to ask God for, a simple “Help!” will do.

If you’ve ever asked God for something and received an answer, then you know the power of asking.

If not, then maybe you need to seek it.

II. Ask, Seek, Knock – Second, Seek

A. Seek Wisdom

“If you don’t seek, you’re up a creek because you need direction” – original quote

Do you know it’s possible to receive an answer but not recognize it when it comes? Perhaps it’s because you forgot you asked the question. Or maybe you didn’t completely like His answer or got distracted by something else you wanted more. If so, then maybe you’ve been asking the wrong question. Is it possible that God wants something better for you – something you’re not smart enough to think of asking?

If you think God is a know-it-all, you’re right. That’s why you should ask Him for wisdom, because He is more than happy to supply it.

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all men liberally, and upbraids not; and it shall be given him.” (James 1:5)

In other words, God will never fault you if you ask Him for wisdom.

B. Seek Faith

“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. for he that wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord.” (James 1:6-7)

Whoa, what’s this? It seems that asking for wisdom isn’t enough. We need to have faith too. How do we get that?

“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)

There’s something about hearing God’s word that gives us faith to receive what we ask from Him.

“And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us: and if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petition that we desired of Him.”

That said, the best way to know God’s will is to know His word. That involves seeking.

After all, how can you know the wisdom contained in God’s word  – the wisdom that shows you His perfect will – unless you seek it?

“My son, if you will receive my words, and hide my commands within you; so that you incline your ear unto wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; yes, if you cry after knowledge, and lift up your voice for understanding; if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hid treasures; then you shall understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.” (Proverbs 2:1-5)

 

III. Ask, Seek, Knock – Third, Knock (The hardest part)

“You search the scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they (the scriptures)…testify of me. And you will not come to me that you might have life.” (John 5:39)

Jesus spoke these words to people who were really into reading the Old Testament but who found fault with Him, the Messiah to whom those scriptures pointed so many years before.

They might have had the asking and seeking down pat, but they didn’t seem to know much about knocking.

To knock involves taking a step of faith toward God, reaching out your hand and tapping on His door.

“I am the door,” Jesus said. “By me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture.” (John 10:9)

To “enter in’ involves more than merely asking and seeking. It involves friendship and a willingness to share life together. This is the kind of relationship Jesus spoke of in Revelation 3:20, to quote His words, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him and sup with him and he with me.”

It is this relationship, this close knowledge of God, that allows you to come boldly before His throne of grace, in order to find grace and mercy to help you in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

Knocking on God’s door involves submitting to his will, which is perhaps the hardest part of asking, seeking, and knocking. After all, don’t we all like to get our own way? To “ask, seek, knock,” you must surrender all.

Speed of Sight Book Release