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Showing posts from May, 2014

“Gratitude allows us to disconnect discouragement at the power source by choosing to call God good in spite of our situation.”

A thought by Steven Furtick, (2014-02-11) from his book, Crash the Chatterbox: Hearing God's Voice Above All Others(Kindle Locations 3113-3114). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)


There are so many qualities of God that make such a difference if we focus on them especially in difficult times and I have found focusing on God’s goodness is especially uplifting.I mean everything that happens to the committed Christian must go through God’s love and His goodness.
Let’s say that the Enemy throws something at us to hurt us which is his way of getting back at God whom he hates.Now my kids getting hurt gets at me more than if I am hurt.But when that happens as it goes through God’s love and His goodness the purpose is changed from my harm to my good.  The circumstance may also change, God can do that but He can also change the purpose even if the circumstance doesn’t change.
Every day I strive to start my day wi…

“Believing God means assuming that He is always working even when our faith and prayers and love don’t seem to be working at all.”

A thought by Steven Furtick, (2014-02-11) from his book, Crash the Chatterbox: Hearing God's Voice Above All Others(Kindle Locations 3019-3020). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

That is very hard to do.You are going through it and you have prayed and prayed and you thought you were believing but you are not getting what you are expecting from God. And that can mess up your relationship with God and your belief that He really cares.I mean if He really cared about me He would do something.But “believing means assuming that He is always working” even when we don’t see it.That can be very hard to do.
Where do you get that kind of believing?Well experience is a good place to start.You can read the Bible and see the experiences of people there.You strive to put yourself in the story without knowing the end and you then read the end and see how God was working.That can build your faith.
You can also get it in…

“If God always met our expectations, He’d never be able to exceed them.”

A thought by Steven Furtick, (2014-02-11) from his book, Crash the Chatterbox: Hearing God's Voice Above All Others (Kindle Location 2977). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

What a great uplifting thought.As I was walking back home from the Starbucks where I read this it stayed with me with deep emotion.God has been and is so good to me.
So what is your expectation of God?Has He always met your expectations?  If He did in my life it would still be way better than I deserve but He has taken me way beyond my expectations.
Steven continues, “Sometimes God takes us to another level by building higher. Sometimes He does it by digging deeper. But at all times He is working for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”
And that is where faith and trust come in.Many times people are disappointed in what He gives them but that is where trust comes in.Does He have a plan and do I trust Him in that that plan is good and is for my good. That …

“The key to being free from the stranglehold of past failures and mistakes is to learn the lesson and forget the details.”

A thought by John C Maxwell, (2013-10-08) from his book, Sometimes You Win--Sometimes You Learn: Life's Greatest Lessons Are Gained from Our Losses (p. 199). Center Street. Kindle Edition.

But we usually do the opposite, we remember the details, rehearse, relive the details and don’t learn anything. Those failures, those mistakes take on a life of their own and we become them. And that is such a waist.
I was listening to Mike and Mike on ESPN this morning.And Mike Greenberg was dealing with identity.He was talking about Mike Golic his radio host partner about his identity.He thought that Mike Golic would probably think of himself more as a retired football player but who would be known more for his TV and Radio work.But his identity was as a football player.
What about your identity?Who would you say you are?I am divorced.I am a failure.I am… What you say you are tells me where you are living.Yes those mistakes, those failures are a part of your past but your past is past and it does…

“Disappointment is the gap between what I expect and what I experience.”

A thought by Steven Furtick, (2014-02-11) from his book, Crash the Chatterbox: Hearing God's Voice Above All Others(Kindle Locations 2857-2858). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

And we all have a bunch of those don’t we?And there is real danger in there.
One of the phrases that I have quoted to the point I’m sure of annoyance to my family is the phrase, “too high expectations bring about frustration.”And we all have experienced that haven’t we?
For some it is their mate, to others it could be their occupations, or maybe life itself.But there is real danger in there.
Steven continues, “Disappointed expectations, when full-grown, give birth to chronic discouragement. If you allow this discouragement to run rampant in your life, you’ll lose your hope.”Again this is the follow ground that the Enemy sows his lies.
Now here is the key and I quote Steven, “Giving in to discouragement pacifies your disappointment— at first. Then you realize the pacifier is poisonous, b…

“Discouragement always displaces hope and leaves you feeling something like this: It’s not working, so what’s the point?”

A thought by Steven Furtick, (2014-02-11) from his book, Crash the Chatterbox: Hearing God's Voice Above All Others(Kindle Locations 2799-2800). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

I have had the potential for discouragement a few times this week.We overspent this last weekend and I knew that we were going to be real tight till the next paycheck.I don’t do real well with that.But we set up a plan and we are making it.Many of you understand the discouragement of not have enough money to live on.
My wife, Margaret has been having some real trouble with her shoulder.It even wakes her up in the night.The physical therapy is real painful and doesn’t seem to be working and that can be very discouraging for her.We’re working through that and headed into another plan of attack.But many of you understand the discouragement of pain.
Yesterday I had some trouble in finding the right thought to write on and I was tempted to stop.The hopeless feeling of not knowing what to d…

“The resistance is always fiercest on the borderline of a breakthrough.”

A thought by Steven Furtick, (2014-02-11) from his book, Crash the Chatterbox: Hearing God's Voice Above All Others(Kindle Location 2568). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Have you found that true in your life?You are looking for something and you are still looking and it keeps coming into your mind that you are not going to find it, that the effort is useless and it really isn’t worth finding anyway and there are other more important things to do so why not go on, it is just not worth your time but you keep at it and then you find it.But you were close to quitting. And I was really close to quitting today.I just could not find a thought to share that really clicked.There are some days that I just read a few pages and there it is, the thought.It just falls into place.I just know it is the right thought so I find my computer and I start writing.But that wasn’t true today.I came so very close to stopping over and over today.I’ll just not write a thought today.…

“God calls us out of caves because, in our caves, voices of fear and doubt and dread monopolize our minds.”

A thought by Steven Furtick, (2014-02-11) from his book, Crash the Chatterbox: Hearing God's Voice Above All Others(Kindle Locations 1768-1769). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

It is so easy as a retired person to stay in our caves.To just stay in bed as long as you want to, go to bed when you want to and never go anywhere.I mean you are retired.You don’t have to do anything.But that can be so dangerous.That’s why I have a certain time that I go to bed, a certain time that I get up, get ready, read my Bible and then get out. I know that staying in my cave would drive me to depression and discouragement real fast.
I appreciate my daughter, Stefanie.She is a stay at home mom and what I mean is she doesn’t have to get up to go out to work.She has an 18 month old girl who is her constant companion and responsibility and it would be very easy for her to stay in her cave but she doesn’t.She has a Bible Study at her church she goes to each week, she goes out with …

“It’s not so much ‘Did God really say… ‘ but ‘Did God really say to you?’”

A thought by Steven Furtick, (2014-02-11) from his book, Crash the Chatterbox: Hearing God's Voice Above All Others(Kindle Locations 1081-1082). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
That is one of the lies that Satan throws at us.He didn’t really mean you.
Steven says what we think, “Other people are meant to have joy, hear from God, and be used by Him in ways that are significant and memorable. Other people are equipped to do good works, endowed with spiritual gifts, and blessed in order that they can be a blessing.” Satan wants you to believe the lie that it is for other people, not you.
In my reading in Psalm 20 this morning I wrote these words from the Psalm in my journal, “victory, desires, succeed, answer, rescues, rise up, stand firm”.Those were words of truth that God said through David to me this morning.That is how I started today.Not with lies of Satan but with the truth of God for me.
Steven also says, “The serpent gets nervous when we start challengin…

“When your perspective is preloaded with the Word of God, lies lose their power over your life.”

A thought by Steven Furtick, (2014-02-11) from his book, Crash the Chatterbox: Hearing God's Voice Above All Others(Kindle Location 1065). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

So how is your Monday going?Let me ask you two questions… 1) did you go to church this weekend?And 2) have you read your Bible this morning?
Now that can come across as being superstitious but it doesn’t have to be that way.Why these two activities are so important on your view of today is that as this thought by Steven says, “When your perspective is preloaded with the Word of God, lies lose their power over your life.”
Here is another thought he gives, “…the more of God’s Word we know and the more we’re reminding ourselves of His truths, the less dependent we become on others to snap us out of our self-induced negative spirals. We can begin to rely on God’s Spirit to renew our minds.”
So many people use the excuse of not going to church or of not getting up early and reading the Bible that…

“His objective is to mess with your head until you have forgotten who you are.”

A thought by Steven Furtick, (2014-02-11) from his book, Crash the Chatterbox: Hearing God's Voice Above All Others(Kindle Location 1009). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

And he, Satan does it, doesn’t he?I mean, some person who claims to be a Christian hurts you then Satan starts messing with your head about who God is not the fact that the Christian is imperfect.The same is true with some of the Christian stands on Facebook.Satan can tempt us to use the imperfect Christ-follower to question who God really is.I mean those Christian don’t have any love for their fellow man.Is that what God is like?
But as Steven says, “Before the serpent starts interjecting questions, you must already be preloaded with the Word of God so that whatever he tries to lead you into, you’re taking a stand— not on what he’s suggesting, but on what God has already said in His Word about the issue you’re facing.”
How did Jesus handle imperfect impetuous Peter or doubting Thomas?Again…

“If God has forgiven me for every offense, how can I take offense at someone else’s sin?”

A thought by Mark Batterson, (2013-09-24) from his book,All In: You Are One Decision Away From a Totally Different Life(Kindle Location 1888). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

I was standing in the Express Line at Whole Foods a couple of hours ago and I was really frustrated to the point that I wanted to say something to the guy in front of me who had more than 12 items.The sign said that the line was for people who had 12 items or less.But as I was walking out having a conversation in my mind with that guy God broke in with something that I had asked Him to forgive me for and that put me right in my place.
If God had forgiven me for the offense I had done how could I take offense at this nonsensical action this guy had done?But we do it I think because we don’t really realize that He has forgiven us.It’s probably because we haven’t forgiven our self or even because we haven’t accepted what He has already done for us.“If God has forgiven me for every offense, how can I take offense at someone…

“In Christ, who you are matters infinitely more than anything you do or cannot do.”

A thought by Steven Furtick, (2014-02-11) from his book, Crash the Chatterbox: Hearing God's Voice Above All Others(Kindle Location 528). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

And that is totally different from ourselves and what we perceive of others in relationship to us.We feel too many times we are what we do or cannot do.And none of us can do everything and we try to hide what we know about us.
I like how Steven says it, “This is one of the main reasons we struggle with insecurity: we’re comparing our behind-the-scenes with everybody else’s highlight reel.”
We see us from the inside out and others just from the outside.We see us in the mirror right after we get out of bed but we see them when they are all put together.Wow, they look good but I have bad breath.
Steven says, “We know all too well the stuff in our lives that should disqualify us from God’s love and keep us from fulfilling His purpose. We know that we’re disorganized, irritable, and easily distra…

“Bad decisions usually lead to worse decisions.”

A thought by Mark Batterson, (2013-09-24) from his book, All In: You Are One Decision Away From a Totally Different Life(Kindle Location 2021). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
That is so true.I made one bad financial decision many years ago that lead to other bad decisions until finally I took my head out of the sand and started made a good decision.We still lived with the consequences of my bad decisions but we are now starting to see the benefits of the good decision.
Do you understand what Mark is saying?Have you made a bad decision that lead to worse decisions?
He uses Judas as an example.He made the bad decision to betray Jesus and then when he realized what he had done, he made a worse decision and he went out and hung himself.But it didn’t have to be that way.
Mark continues, “The good news is that God can forgive our bad decisions. And one good decision can totally change the trajectory of our lives. And that one good decision will lead to better decisions. But it starts by making the …

“When God doesn’t conform to our expectations, we’re tempted to betray what we believe in.”

A thought by Mark Batterson, (2013-09-24) from his book, All In: You Are One Decision Away From a Totally Different Life(Kindle Locations 1999-2000). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

That is so easy to do even after a Sunday and all that spiritual focus and encouragement.I mean Monday is the real world and we come back to what life is really all about.
Somehow we do that.We separate Sunday from the rest of the week.When in reality God is also God of Sunday and Monday and Tuesday.The problem is our focus.I mean when we hear that message and sing those songs we believe that God can do anything but then comes Monday and that problem at work or those kids or my husband/wife and then my finances.It sounds good on Sunday but Monday is the real world.
And that is the problem too many times in our relationship with God.We have this level of expectation but when life through God doesn’t fit in that then we tend to compartmentalize and put God in church not to be lived out on Monday.
But God is also the …

“We’ll never know all the great deeds that remain undone as a result of the undetected and unchecked lies in our lives.”

A thought by Steven Furtick, (2014-02-11) from his book,Crash the Chatterbox: Hearing God's Voice Above All Others (Kindle Locations 292-293). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

It is sometimes so difficult to choose the voice inside that we need to hear and need to experience.Steven said earlier is this book that “God has given us the ability to choose the dialogue we believe and respond to.”
Now if we spend time in His Word, The Bible that will help us in not choosing the unchecked and undetected lies in our lives. He says that, “When our minds and hearts are being assaulted by the suggestions and lies of the Enemy, we often don’t even know what’s causing our funk or what’s behind our frustration. We just know we’re stuck in a cycle of spiritual self-sabotage.” 
Do understand what he's talking about?Maybe you are in that cycle right now and if you stay there then the great deeds that God has prepared for you to do will remain undone.  And that is such a w…

“Nothing takes longer to build than a godly reputation.”

A thought by Mark Batterson (2013-09-24) from his book, All In: You Are One Decision Away From a Totally Different Life (Kindle Location 1940). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

I was a Youth Minister for a bunch of years.When I got too old to handle the all-nighters I headed into Adult Ministry.One main difference between the two was you had a honeymoon period working with adults but you had to earn the respect of youth.
I used to work and work to earn their respect and confidence and then loose it all with overreacting to something they did.I then had to start over.
But the truth is it takes a long time to earn the respect of both adults and youth. Someone said that a church doesn’t really get to the point that they believe in you as a Pastor until about seven years.At that point they get to thinking that maybe you’re going to stay so they let down their guard and start following and trusting you.
Mark then said, “And nothing is destroyed more quickly by one stroke of sin.”And that has been sh…

“An opportunity isn’t an opportunity if you have to compromise your integrity.”

A thought by Mark Batterson, (2013-09-24) from his book, All In: You Are One Decision Away From a Totally Different Life (Kindle Location 1828). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
You might say, “Wow, there is this woman at work who seems to really like me and she seems to really understand me and what I’m going through.Yes, I’m married and so is she but God made us for each other.”But “An opportunity isn’t an opportunity if you have to compromise your integrity.”
You might say, “There is this tremendous opportunity that God has brought into my life.I will be paid in cash so I don’t have to pay income taxes.That is exactly what I need right at this time in my life.I need to think about when I retire.”But “An opportunity isn’t an opportunity if you have to compromise your integrity.”
You might say, “There is this job that is exactly what I want and I am qualified to do it but one of the requirements is a Masters.I have more experience than most people who have a Masters and I’m real close to gett…

“It’s the worst of circumstances that often brings out the best in us.”

A thought by Mark Batterson, (2013-09-24) from his book, All In: You Are One Decision Away From a Totally Different Life (Kindle Locations 1541-1542). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
It is in those times that we really turn to God.Chuck Milhuff said, “The difference between Christ and us is that He was totally dependent upon God all the time.”And that is when we are at our best.When we can’t do anything about our circumstance that is usually when we turn to God and we are totally dependent upon Him.
Mark said right before this, “Our prayers tend to focus on external circumstances more than internal attitudes because we’d rather have God change our circumstances than change us. It’s a lot easier that way.”But doing what is easiest is not us at our best is it?
Those difficult times have a way of building something in us that can’t be taken away from us.It can build character.It can build confidence.It can build faith.It can build trust.All of those are what is best in us.
He then said, “And if i…

“His expertise is taking into his masterful care ordinary people who have lived broken lives, and turning our lives into nothing less than masterpieces.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2014-02-25) from his book, The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art (p. 178). Harper Collins. Kindle Edition.
There are two words in this thought that caught my attention.The first was broken.There are so many in this world have and are living broken lives.They have no hope.

I’m looking at this in my other blog, Bill’s Front Porch.There are so many areas in our life that we need to recover from.Areas such as: Overeating * Overworking * Alcohol/Drugs * Overspending * Grief * Guilt * Anger/Rage * Fear/Anxiety * Divorce * Abuse * Insecurity * Sexual Addictions * Codependency * Habit * Perfectionism * Lying * Hypochondria * Hurtful Relationships * Procrastination * Gambling * The Need To Control.There are so many areas of brokenness and helplessness in people’s lives. One of these could be yours and you see your world through your area of brokenness and you see no way out.Life can be very hopeless can’t it?
The other word that caught my …

“It’s hard to escape the voices that let us know we are nothing but water…”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus, (2014-02-25) from his book,The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art(p. 178). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
I don’t know what voices in your life seem to control who you believe you are.In so many people there is a chain reaction of families who don’t believe in the potential of each other but have the desire to protect them from too high expectation.To some you are just water, just common water and you don’t need to worry, you just aren’t going to amount to much of anything.
And I wonder if that is why the first miracle that John writes about Jesus is of His being at Wedding and of their running out of wine and His mother asking Him to do something about it?  She know who He was. So He took some common water and turned it into wine.He took nothing but water and solved the problem.
That is what happens when something common is placed in the hands of a master.Erwin says, “It’s hard to escape the voices that let us know we are nothing but …

“When you have a setback, you do not take a step back, because God is already preparing your comeback.”

A thought by Mark Batterson, (2013-09-24) from his book, All In: You Are One Decision Away From a Totally Different Life (Kindle Location 1609). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
I look five days a week in books by varied authors for thoughts that will inform, challenge and encourage.I realize that for many life is tough.We have been going through some difficult days and there are thoughts that have a way of fortifying us in our journey.
I have determined to read through the Bible this year. I am right now in the middle of reading the book of Job in the Old Testament of the Bible.It is a story of a man who lost everything.It was a very difficult time.He even lost his whole family and he even lost his health.And this story is a classic example of this thought by Mark.The story not only tells what is happening to Job on the surface but also it pulls back the curtain and shows us what is happening in the spiritual dimension. It shows Satan’s hand in all that happened to Job but also it shows how …