We All Prefer Addiction to Affliction

Nobody likes affliction, we all prefer addiction.

But in the end, who wins? We end up paying for our sins.

The constant dereliction that oozes from addiction

Exacts a terrible toll on the afflicted soul.

Addiction injures others too – and more than just a few,

Although we claim it isn’t true. And yet the guilt we rue.

We don’t wish to confess lest people in our lives think less

Of us and trample our self-worth so that we rue our day of birth.

You say you can’t take any more because you’re tired of the war,

Temptation you could not ignore has left you feeling battle-sore.

But entering God’s rest requires heeding His behest

To run to Jesus when you’re tired because HE knows how you’re wired.

He felt the thorns of your affliction as he paid for your addiction,

And knows the mind games in your head that have been filling you with dread.

Upon his back he bore the weight of your unwieldy staggering gait

For like a sheep you’ve gone astray. He felt your sin in every way

And He has paid the penalty with grace poured out so full and free,

Redeeming you from your addiction. Although withdrawal brings affliction,

With humility comes grace as Jesus takes His rightful place.

Humbly admit you have a need for which your Savior dared to bleed.

Let others love you through the pain that you’re too battered to explain,

Because in Jesus there’s no shame. Believe the power of His name

To rescue you from your addiction which seems more fun than affliction,

But in the end it bites much worse. Let Jesus free you from that curse!

No matter how great the extent of your “unsolvable” addiction,

It can be cured through Christ who understands all your affliction.


Success Amid Stress Comes From Knowing You’re Blessed























Going on a Short Writing Sabbatical

I’m going on a short writing sabbatical,

Even though I know it may sound radical.

But I’ve got stuff to deal with and if I do not,

Then all it will do is stir up the pot

Of things I must juggle. For me, it’s too much,

And though writing can help me, it’s not the best crutch.

So, please understand if I’m not here as often,

My website is not going into a coffin.

But I cannot be here as much as I’d like.

So please understand. This is not about “Mike.”

And I will be back here as much as I can,

Though for now I’ve my hands full, I’ve too much to plan.



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.”

Once Upon a Rooftop: Four Men and a Mat

Once upon a rooftop

Four men came with a mat

To lay a man at Jesus’ feet.

But what is up with that?

 

What do these rooftop men stand for,

Who lowered him on down?

Because God always has a plan,

But not for man’s renown.

 

Perhaps the first man’s like the Father,

God of light and love,

Who sent His only Son to earth

From heaven’s throne above.

 

Who knows the heartache He endured

To see Christ on the cross

Partaking of such guilt and shame?

Just think how much it cost!

 

Our burdens Jesus gladly bore,

Though He endured much pain.

For our own sins He suffered loss.

Through Him we’ve much to gain

 

Because the Father gave Him

As a sacrifice for sin.

He let His back be mocked and whipped,

Our victory to win.

 

Therefore His wounds bring us true peace.

Our burdens He did bear

Through the power of the Spirit

Who this truth does share.

 

The Father, Spirit, Son, you see,

That blessed Trinity,

Are like an awesome triangle

That brings us liberty.

 

But one more rooftop man gives you

A brand new faith dimension.

For God’s right arm did all the work,

But we are His extension,

 

The reason for the rectangle

We’re privileged to help carry,

A corner of the sinner’s mat

Which once appeared so scary.

 

But Jesus tore apart the roof

That wouldn’t let us near

To come into God’s presence,

And He says, “Be of good cheer!”

 

To Jesus’ left the Father stands.

They each hold up an end.

The Spirit, also, hovering near,

To God’s Word does attend.

 

Invisibly they wait for us

To take the final part,

Because He’s given us a choice:

“Ignore” or “take to heart.”

 

The Father, Spirit, and Son do long

To help us in our task.

They’re always there to meet our needs,

If only we will ask.

 

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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.”

 

 

 

The Christian Writer’s Genesis, First Three Days

  1. To begin with, God made the Christian writer and began to pour through her a creative work – a glimpse of heaven delivered through an earthen vessel.
  2. The foundation of her work had no discernible form, however, and lacked wisdom. Darkness overshadowed the depths of her potential. But God’s Spirit moved upon the living waters of His Word.
  3. God said, “Shine revelation,” and revelation shone.
  4. He saw that the revelation was good, and divided the revelation from the condemnation.
  5. God called the revelation “fresh inspiration,” and he called the darkness “blind inclination.” Joy followed mourning to form the first step of a masterpiece.

 

It Had Begun. This Was Day One!

  1. Then God spoke to the Christian writer, “Your story needs a firm plot structure to divide the creative truths inside this work from one another, as each one has been designed with a unique purpose in mind.”
  2. And God designed a detailed plot structure for the Christian writer to follow, to separate lesser elements from her work’s highest goal. It was so happening!
  3. God called the plot structure “writer’s heaven” – hard work well worth celebrating. For, though difficult to write, this outline led to a new dawn. The second step toward a masterpiece had begun.

 

WOOHOO!

  1. And God said, “Put the work’s most refreshing elements into one spot, so we can see the parts that are more “down-to-earth.”
  2. God called the down-to-earth elements a “reality check” (drama) and called the refreshing elements “pure enjoyment” comedy. And God saw that the story was easier to follow.
  3. And God said, “Let down-to-earth readers produce constructive feedback, yielding seeds of inspiration to sow into the work. May these ideas grow into trees that bear great fruit – inspiring seeds for brand new stories. (Believe me, it was happening!)
  4. So, the Christian writer went for feedback, and down-to-earth readers provided it. It started with “grass-roots” – people that she knew. Writing became more than a hobby as ideas matured and in turn inspired more ideas. God saw that it was good.
  5. Enthusiasm overcame writer’s block, the third step toward publication.

Hence Day Three, Start of a Victory!

And thirteen became a blessed number because God created it! It’s not a jinx, but it can be pivotal. For with the information given, you have a choice: to give up writing (jinx it) or continue in the process and receive the many blessings that come from persevering to the end.

 

Blazing Trails Through Jungles of Writing Rejection

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

Surprise: When Jesus Sneaks up on You

When Jesus sneaks up on you, what a surprise!

Death is upended, with all of its lies.

When He takes the worst of your fears by surprise.

Discouragement shatters, and all compromise.

 

God’s elect have been crying out all through the night,

Longing to see dreams and visions take flight,

The things they’ve been hoping for so many years.

“Lord, save us from bondage. We’ve so many fears.”

 

Prayer warriors knocking upon heaven’s door

Cry, “God, grant us justice we’ve not seen before.

The enemy’s raging. We cannot hold back

These poisonous darts of his latest attack.

 

“We stick to your Word and your promises claim,

Yet satan’s been getting the glory and fame.

We’re weary of battling the spirit of death.

Silence rules while we fight with our last dying breath.”

 

Then, behold! Jesus enters the temple: Surprise!

He conquers all fear with one look from His eyes.

“Treason!” shouts Athaliah, the wicked old queen,

As the brightness of His sudden coming is seen.

 

The thief sent the whirlwind that shattered Job’s house,

And made the poor sufferer feel like a louse.

His heart had been broken, success stripped away,

Disease gripped his body, he cursed his birthday.

 

His friends sought for reasons. Why did this occur?

But their words held no comfort. Their words could not cure.

Then, surprise! God showed up. Through a whirlwind He spoke,

And by His appearing, fresh faith He awoke

 

Restoring the joy that those old guys had lost

(And reminding a few of the lines they had crossed,

In not speaking right of the life-giving One

Who endured greater loss but the victory has won.

 

For, many years later, upon a long road

That led to Emmaus, two sad people strode.

Then a stranger snuck up, someone they did not know.

Where did this man come from and where would he go?

 

They spoke of their sorrow and all of their strife.

“We’re so disappointed right now with this life.

We thought we had found our Messiah at last.

But now He has died and our hopes are all past.”

 

 

Then, how their hearts burned as he opened God’s Word

To understand scriptures they knew they had heard.

They begged him to stay, and with them he shared bread

Which opened their eyes to great truths they had read.

 

 

When Jesus sneaks up on you, what a surprise!

Death is upended, and all of its lies.

Watch HIM take the worst of your fears by surprise

Revealing the truth behind your greatest “why’s.”

 

https://atomic-temporary-102676306.wpcomstaging.com/faith/seeing-believing/

 

Ripping up Bad Report Cards: a Freeing Experience

Fearful spies brought God’s people a bad report of the Promised Land (see Numbers 14:32).

Most people got discouraged when they heard it.

“Oh, how we wish we’d died,” they cried,

“In the land of Egypt (where they had been gypped).”

 

To enter a land of milk and honey

With an outlook bright and sunny

seemed like an impossible task to them.

 

That’s how I used to feel: like I could never reach that promised land. Then one day recently I was looking through some bad report cards former teachers had written about me.

These were bad reports, I realized,

Telling me I was the wrong size

To tackle all those giants in the Promised Land.

 

Rip, shred, tear!

One bad report card hit the trash, then another.

With great joy I threw them all away.

 

My teachers’ wrong assessments went sailing into the can. Along with those false assessments went the insecurity that stems from trying to please other people rather than pleasing God.

Because teachers have expectations

Based on whatever evaluations

Someone else expects them to complete

In order to prove they’ve done their job

And done it well.

 

If a teacher is mostly negative, however,

It can affect a child’s self esteem

(And make it hard for them to reach their dream).

 

Rip, shred, tear!

 

For many years those bad report cards

Stared me in the face.

One of them especially lacked very little grace:

 

Tons of minuses from a teacher who must have hated me.

She couldn’t find one quality in which this shy child excelled.

 

NOT A SINGLE ONE.

 

Despite the fact that I never caused trouble in the classroom. I got zero points for being well-behaved.

 

ZERO POINTS WHATSOEVER: as in, one entire column showed straights N’s (N meaning Negative).

 

So, what do you think I did with that report card?

 

Rip, shred, tear!

Throw out the bad report card and free the child from discouraging expectations she could never meet.

For I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).

True, like everyone else I have fallen short of God’s glory, but that DOES NOT make me inferior to other human beings. Because Jesus cared enough to die for me, which is what those failing teachers failed to see.

Do I hate them for it? No, but I do give the worst grader an F minus when it comes to understanding children. Yet, at the same time I do believe that she, too, can change. In fact, perhaps she has already changed for the better. If not, I pray she comes to know God’s love in a most amazing way.

Meanwhile, do I accept her bad report?

NO WAY!!!!!

Throw out the bad report card and free the inner child,

And in the end there shall be peace and harmony for all.

 

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When You’re Born Different: Identity Crisis

I. When You’re Born Different

When you’re born different, people look at you funny – like you’ll never measure up to their perfect standards. I should know. From a young age I struggled with self-worth. At school I had to wear a “pirate’s” patch to correct my lazy eye and plates in my shoes to help flat feet develop arches. Shorter than most of my peers, I had a painful shyness that kept me from telling the so-called “beautician” not to crop my locks to match my height. No other girl in my kindergarten class had a pixie cut. I hated that boyish look and the way my teachers tried to fix me.

“Why don’t you keep a tidy desk like other girls?” they asked.

“What TV programs keep you from getting your homework done?”

“Don’t be afraid. I won’t bite. Why won’t you talk?”

Maybe I clammed up because I felt so messed up inside – identity crisis city. My hair could not grow fast enough to hide the shame I felt. Why didn’t this late bloomer fit in with everybody else? I tried to please them but all I got was frustration. That’s where all this garbled chicken scratch came from: multiple ideas bottled up inside, exploding like warm soda once the cork is popped. Piles of unorganized papers strewn everywhere litter my office space. This makes no sense.

CRINKLE, RIP, SHRED!

II. Identity Crises Caused By Peer Pressure

Tears roll down my cheeks as hours of exhaustive research get flushed down the drain. At least, that’s how it feels sometimes. But perhaps I can salvage this mess. Meanwhile, this is what it feels like:

Pearls before swine. Fruit rotting on the vine plops into a sinkhole for creativity. What a waste of time and ink and trees! Identity crisis. Who am I? Help!

Living to meet others’ expectations is like the Israelites gathering stubble to make bricks. It doesn’t blunt the crack of Pharaoh’s whip. After you’ve been under it a while, you start to wonder, “Who am I anymore?”

Aaron tried to please people, and look what happened. Caving to peer pressure, he cast aside faith more precious than gold in favor or worldly gold. He took wealth plundered from Egyptians – God’s favor so richly poured out on His people – and from it formed a killer calf which caused three thousand deaths – all because they had their eyes fixed on absent Moses. Tired of waiting for his promised return, they sought an excuse to reconnect with old bondages.

Like Esau, they squandered their birthright on temporary feel-good pleasures. Then there’s Samson who was born different – meaning, he had a special purpose. Yet he yielded to Delilah’s badgering. Close-up and personal peer pressure foisted upon him an identity crisis of major proportions.

Snip, snip! There went his locks.

Back to the hair thing again.

I wear it the way I want to know, rather than how others want it styled.

III. Free to Be Different

Because I’m different. I don’t need to wear my hair the way they say I should. Instead of giving in to others, I’ll fight to keep it long. I’m not changing it to fit their mold, or other aspects of my personal appearance for that matter. And when it comes to personality, I’m free to be myself – which means, I’ll gladly be the person God wants me to be. Because that’s what’s it’s all about for the Bible believer – believing who God says you are in Christ.

“For if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. All things have become new.” (II Corinthians 5:17)

So, don’t let your identity crisis define you.

I pray that this article blesses someone.

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