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.

Like Pulling a Pet From a Pit: Healing

I. Healing: Like Pulling a Pet From a Pit

 

Have you fallen in a pit?

Well, God wants you out of it!

It’s an awful place to sit.

So, if you’ve taken a hit,

Read the gospels and you’ll see:

It is God’s will to make you free.

He wants you to be whole

(In spirit, body and soul).

Jesus compares healing to saving a life and to pulling a pet from a pit. See the following examples:

I. The Man With the Withered Hand

One time in a synagogue He saw a man with a withered hand. The Pharisees asked him if it was lawful to heal on the sabbath. They wanted to accuse him. (see Matthew 12:10.

Jesus answered by asking what they’d do if their sheep fell into a pit on the sabbath. Wouldn’t he lift it out? He then adds (in verse 12) that a man is better than a sheep and that it is lawful to do well on the sabbath. Jesus then had the man stretch his hand out and it was made whole.

(In Mark 3:4 Jesus knows their thoughts and equates healing with doing good and saving lives.

 

II. The Man With Dropsy (Edema)

The second time where Jesus compares healing a man to pulling an animal from a pit is in Luke 14:1-5

In this case, a chief Pharisee had invited him to his house to eat bread on the sabbath day. There was a man there who had  “the dropsy” (edema). In this case, Jesus asked the lawyers and Pharisees if it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath. They didn’t say anything. Jesus healed the man and let him go. Then he answered his own question concerning the healing by asking what they’d do if their ass or ox fell into a pit on the Sabbath day. Wouldn’t they pull it out right away?

(Methinks the answer be “yes”)

 

So, we see that healing is compared to pulling an animal out of a pit. It is also compared to saving a life, rather than killing it. Jesus is all about saving lives, not killing them.

Do you find yourself in a pit,

(And you know it doesn’t fit)?

Despair may be its name.

Getting out is no game.

But there are steps you can take

To get a faster “break.”

 

To get out of the pit, you must know God wants you out of it. He doesn’t want you depressed, defeated, or gripped with despair. Take a look around and see:

 

I. Recognize That This Pit Does Not Define You

Not much light gets down into the bottom of a pit. You can’t really see much of anything down there. Any reflection bouncing off those bumpy walls is bound to be distorted. This pit is not a magic mirror. It can’t show you who you are. Anything you see in there is bound in misery: a mind set on the flesh and all its failings.

For to be carnally minded (focused on the flesh) is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace (Romans 8:6).

When you focus on yourself, you tend to see the bad stuff. And focusing on the bad just leads you deeper into that pit. How can you climb out if you’re focused on how bad you are?

That attitude, I believe, is what causes talents to get buried. That’s what happens when you let your pit define you. But Jesus wants you out of that pit, which brings us to the next step:

 

II. Know You Can’t Get Out the Same Way You Got In

People fall and/or get thrown into pits. I doubt that few decide to jump in, but those that do cannot get out that way. The force of gravity makes it easy to slide, fall or leap into a pit. Doubt and discouragement do the pushing. Gravity does the pulling. To get out of the pit requires that you resist all those things. Resistance involves work, a true fight of faith. Are you up for the challenge?

The faith you need to wage that sort of resistance comes from God’s promises, as written in His Word. This brings us to the next step:

 

III. Get a Vision for Overcoming

Proverbs 29:18 tells us that “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” The best vision we can have, of course, is that of Jesus. Hebrews 12:2 instructs us to keep our eyes on Him who is the author and finisher of our faith.

“For God so loved the world, He gave His only Son (Jesus), that whosoever believes in him (Jesus) should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

I John 5:4-5 For whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

Our faith in Jesus is the vision that enables us to overcomes the world!

When King Jesus Swoops In

Rejected or Protected From Too Much Popularity?

Protected or rejected? That’s the question.

Once there was a very young prince named Joash (II Kings 11:2). They protected him, but did he feel rejected? After all, he didn’t go out much, if ever. He had zero contact with his peers. In fact, he stayed inside a back room for most of his young life. He had no public voice. As for his activity on social media, who could speak of it?

He wasn’t popular. Few knew about him. For the most part, he got ignored.

Imagine living year after year in the same room, looking at the same four walls, and having to keep very quiet about it.

Every time you want to speak, you hear, “SHHHH!”

Joash stayed hidden in a secret place for six years. Did he understand why? We don’t know. He was a mere babe when the tragedy occurred. What we do know is that popularity has a downside. Fallen leaders becomes targets for attack. So do their children.

Sometimes children shut up inside a room may feel rejected. Have you ever felt isolated or rejected? If you have, perhaps – just perhaps, it’s because God was protecting you.

Who knows how old Josiah was when they told him that his brothers had been killed? Their own grandmother Athaliah had them murdered so that she could rule the land. After her son Ahaziah died, she took over. She must have had a strange mindset to kill her own grandchildren.

Obviously she thought she knew best, but God had other plans.

But wherever she went, silence was sure to follow. All talking must be kept to a whisper, because the moment she found about this king, all would be lost.

Life outside that room was dangerous. Whatever isolation Joash felt inside the bedchamber served to protect him from his wicked grandmother.

Did he ever feel abandoned? If so, he wasn’t alone. He had a caretaker, a nurse who looked after him. We’re never totally in our troubles. Even if everyone else leaves us, God is still there.

“When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.” Psalm 27:10

 

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