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.

Through the Valley, Not Much to Say

I’m going through the valley now and don’t have much to say, after trying for so very long to just obey. So much I tried, but no success. I didn’t understand. Everywhere I looked I seemed to see a reprimand. The trials have been torturous, I’m trying to look up. I’ve stared death in the face now and I’ve drunk the bitter cup.

All I really want is to reconnect with God. Everything else is window dressing.

Who cares about popularity or hitting that top spot? It seems to be way overrated. So much uncertainty with the plot.

I had so much to share, but few people seemed to care. But God used my loneliness to lead me to more prayer. How hard must be this valley for people in despair! Now that I have entered it, I have found you there.

You weren’t supposed to be here, confused about your calling, wondering what you’re meant to do, feeling like you’re falling. I was the one who felt as if she had failed to connect with friends and family, but I never did suspect

What happened just this week. It came so sudden, a low blow. When you, my friend, lost everything, I knew that I must go and stay right with you where you were to share the bitter cup.  This simply wasn’t fair to you, why must you drink this up?

I’m the valley with you now and haven’t much to say. I know that we both know It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. But I’m glad I can be here for you right to the very end, because I care about you. On this earth, you’re my best friend. 

I’m in this valley with you. You don’t have to walk alone, as we both seek our Lord Jesus who sits on the throne. Though happier days lie ahead, right now we live in grief. So let’s help one another overcome our belief.


By His Stripes I’m Healed: What This Means to Me


To Survive This Christmas Season: My End of Year Goal

To survive this Christmas season,

Ending the year with a good reason,

Has become my current goal.

Because I want to be made whole.

But December has proven to be a rough month. Get out your snow boots.

Because I feel a drift coming on.

Thanksgiving was nice,

A time to celebrate

Family, friendships, happy times.

Success is a different story though. The lack of books sales says it isn’t ending with a bang.

As for writing, I don’t feel motivated.

Trials have gotten me down.

Encouragement came, followed by false accusation.

It’s all I can do not to drown in it.

I can’t really tell you how or when or who, but when I feel the heaviness pressing down on me,

I know It’s more than winter blues. It’s what others choose,

Not just what I read in the news,

But other worldly views. Can’t lie in bed

Because it’s hard to get the words out of my head.

Then they come back to haunt me, to taunt me. If you’ve ever had an angry finger pointed at you

Then maybe you know how I feel.

But it’s the start of Hanukkah.

I need to light a candle,

Let it shine. Light divine,

It’s Advent Time. Looking forward to Christ’s return. No room to spurn

The memory of His coming.  Much to learn.

He’s coming soon.

Look up, your redemption

Draws near. Have no fear, because this is meant to be a time of good cheer.

To survive this Christmas season

I can’t allow the treason

Of sins past, present, or future

To cloud my way. It’s a good day.

Blessings new every morning, though there come a storm warning.

To survive this Christmas season

Takes more than human reason.

So, lift your eyes. Deny the shame.

It’s time to rejoice. Lift up the name.

Jesus came once. He’ll come again. It’s more than just a season. He’s the reason.

 

https://atomic-temporary-102676306.wpcomstaging.com/wisdom/success-stress-blessed/

 

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.”

 

 

 

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

 

God’s Joy Unspeakable Silences Bullies

God’s joy unspeakable silences bullies

And leaves them with nothing to say,

For, lifting our sadness, it gives us fresh strength

Through Jesus, God’s Word to obey.

 

This gift of God’s grace comes from knowing

We’re forgiven for all of our sins,

Because Jesus died to save us from our pride.

Everyone who believes in Him wins!

 

His blood is enough to atone for our crimes.

To their scourges we need not fall prey.

When we know God is for us, then we cannot lose.

No bully can stand in our way.

 

Goliaths will shrink when we focus on Christ,

Receiving His garment of praise.

His overblown insults will dwindle to zilch

When our hands up to heaven we raise.

 

The giant’s a pipsqueak compared to our LORD,

So let him be small in our eyes.

We’ll pop his balloon by exalting the name

That whittles the bum down to size.

 

Blind rage feeds a bully and makes us his slave

If to its desires we yield.

To magnify problems makes mountains of them,

But Jesus is our hope and shield,

 

Because in His shelter there’s freedom from fear,

So under His shadow let’s hide,

Drawing near to our Savior while scorning the doubt.

Joy unspeakable shall be our guide.

 

Resisting self-pity, depression and hate,

Let’s declare that in Jesus we’re free.

Though tears fall like rain, we can choose to proclaim

“There is no condemnation for me!”

 

As we keep on declaring the greatness of God,

Hurt feelings will be forced to flee.

For when joy unspeakable enters our hearts

We’ll know that in Christ we are free.

 

 

 

When People Pull Your Strings, Abide in the Vine

I. Controlling People Know What Strings to Pull

Controllers like to pull people’s strings to make them move. Instead of dangling like strings from a branch, Jesus invites us to live as branches as we draw upon Him, the vine. In so doing, we’ll bear good fruit. Do you see the difference? Strings are flimsy but a vine is strong. But people tend to come with strings attached. The question is, who pulls those strings?

When someone knows what strings to pull to get their way with you, then maybe they have too much control over your life. If they know that pushing certain buttons makes you jump, they’ll just keep pushing them until they drive you mad.

There’s a word for that. It’s called “emotional manipulation,” which is a form of abuse.  Abusers take advantage of needy people who are desperate for affirmation. With a smile for a lure and a hug to reassure, they draw their little “fish” into a cozy little nest.

The “s” inside the nest stands for “security.” If your security is in man, then the “s” will fall out of the nest, leaving you with nothing but a net.

It doesn’t feel like a net, though, until you realizing that you’re gagging. Then you see that the relationship is not as nearly as strong as it first appeared to be. The flimsy threads have become a trap for you, because to please the person you must follow their rules. Like a robot, when they pull your strings you must obey.

 

II. Pulled Strings are Tied to Fear

When people strings get pulled, they often have knee jerk reactions. Such reactions may come in the form of an automatic “I’m sorry” which pops out of one’s mouth before the other can explode. Knee jerk reactions usually cause more harm than good, however. It’s like throwing grease on a fire, because such reactions spring from fear:

Fear of what the person thinks;

Fear of what they’ll do;

Fear of any and all repercussions resulting from their anger (repercussions the Grim Reaper cannot cushion).

Fear attracts more fear and makes anger escalate. People try to placate anger, thinking  they can make it stop. But it simply doesn’t work that way.

 

III. The Fear of Man says “Man Will Save Me,” Breeding Insecurity

The fear of man lays a snare (Proverbs 29:25).  When we look to people to make us feel secure, we put way too much pressure on them to provide for us.

There’s an old country song where a man pleads with a woman, “I’ve got to know if your sweet love is going to save me.”

Is he kidding? God’s word is clear: no mere human love can save us. Salvation comes from God alone, in the form of His only Son Jesus Christ whose blood shed on a cross paid for our sins to be forgiven. He didn’t come to pull our strings or push our buttons. His goal was not to manipulate us into obeying God’s laws in order that we might somehow earn our way into heaven. On the contrary, He became THE bridge that draws us near to God. He didn’t come to take from us but to give us abundant life (John  10:10)

Instead of commanding us to, “Do God’s will or else,” he invites us to abide in Him so we might bear much fruit: the fruit of His grace.  (John 15:1-5; Ephesians 2:1-9;  Galatians 5:22-23).

Isn’t it time we as believers found our identity in Him instead of looking to man to tell us who we are?

The Very Best Miracle Cure for Depression

Oh no, I can’t take one more depression session,

For when I dwell on failures, it’s like a recession.

What good is the power of a positive confession

If dwelling on pain has become an obsession?

 

I once thought it wise my mad feelings to vent

But that never caused my fierce pain to relent.

Nor did vengeance allot me a worthwhile cure,

Though it did feed my anger. Of that I am sure.

Through lava-like tears, all I saw was the blur

 

That my life had become, for I loved misery.

Taking comfort in sorrow, I could never get free.

Too depressed to seek counsel, I just didn’t see

Any way to escape my sad soul’s poverty

 

Because I desired manmade sympathy,

But man condemned me – to the umpteenth degree!

Christians bound to the law threw dirt on my distress.

“It’s your own fault you landed yourself in this mess!”

 

The depression ballooned because I couldn’t share

My heart’s deepest woes with those who did not care.

I beat myself to bring them to grief over their unbelief.

“I’m too hurt to be wounded more. What I need is relief!”

 

But it just made them mad. They looked down on my pain.

“Self-torture is stupid. You’ve nothing to gain.”

I didn’t know why they had zero compassion,

Or why they called me selfish, as if I’d no passion.

 

Like Job, I rubbed my “boils” raw with a shard

In a closet that felt like a cold prison yard.

Like a woman rejected, I lacked needed might

To forgive those in my life who caused the harsh blight

Of soul wounds that I had no more strength to fight.

 

But I cried out to God and the godly said, “Praise!”

Though I didn’t feel like it, I praised anyways,

And somehow that praise to God opened a door,

For next Sunday His presence I couldn’t ignore

 

And when prayer was offered, I rushed to the front,

Brushing past fears that God would say something so blunt

His reproof would condemn me and crush my lost soul.

But to my amazement, my soul was made whole.

 

He replaced my depression with joy that can’t speak.

I found myself laughing, released from the creek

Of despair I had sunk in so loud and so long.

Instead of “Poor Nancy,” I sang a new song.

 

Overcoming depression isn’t easy but giving God a sacrifice of praise can help you rise out of that pity party pit.

“The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

“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.” Ephesians 2:8

 

Feel free to leave a comment on this article.