Soul-Care Articles: Christ-centered, Spirit-led, Biblically-based, Clinically-sound, Truth-oriented

Posts tagged ‘wisdom’

Life’s Storms: What Guides You Through Them?

SOURCE:  Adapted from an article by Karl Benzio/Lighthouse Network/Stepping Stones

What Instrument Panel Guides Your Flight?

I have a friend who is a pilot and I’ve flown with him on several occasions. I asked him if he felt flying through storms was dangerous. He said, “No, but as any pilot will tell you, the danger comes in giving into the temptation to fly by your instincts instead of using the instrument panel.” He went on to explain how easy it is to become disoriented if you rely on instincts – thinking the plane is going up when it’s actually going down. Thankfully, the instrument panel is set to magnetic north and can be trusted every time, no matter how bad the conditions might be. He said that letting the instruments guide you … even when it feels wrong … ensures safety in the storm.

We all face storms that not just threaten, but actually confuse and disorient us:

Experiencing an ominous call from the doctor’s office, having a significant conflict with a loved one or friend, enduring a financial setback, coping with an unexpected obstacle in your day, dealing with a shattered dream, or seeing a child struggle are situations that require special care.

When you are blinded by life’s disappointments, don’t trust your instincts.

Flying by the seat of your pants during life’s storms can lead to despair, confusion, wrong words, addiction relapse, or vengeful responses that make matters worse … and this is exactly where Satan wants you to be.

God wants to guide you, and His Word is packed with wisdom and insights for living. The bottom line is this: No matter what, you have to need trust in something to guide you during you stormy times. So, what will be your trusted instrument panel? How will you ground yourself? With the truth, or with lies?

Go to your Bible and trust God. Trust His promises and character. Let His instructions and principles guide you through the storms of your life.  Storms are inevitable, but today, in your next small or major storm, make the decision to use God as your instrument panel.

If you are experiencing a conflict, examine what you are leaning on for instruction. What instrument panel are you using to guide and interpret the situation to determine a course of action? Then compare it to God’s power and track record and His word. You definitely want to follow where His instrument panel guides you. Whether you are being guided by God or you follow the world’s teaching is your decision, so choose well.

Dear Father God, I seem to spend a lot of my life in storms … worse yet, I get disoriented easily. Help me trust in Your sovereignty as these storms come my way. I turn now to You God, to help me know what is up and what is down. I want to rely on You as my instrument panel and my lighthouse … teach me how to develop antennae for Your signals, and how to follow Your tracking signal. I pray in the name of the ultimate instrument panel, Jesus Christ; – AMEN!

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Psalm 32:8

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105

Advertisements

Remembering Zig Ziglar In Quotes

SOURCE:  Adapted from a posting by Keiki Hendrix/Vessel Project

Zig Ziglar, beloved author and motivational speaker died in Plano, Texas on [November 28, 2012]. He was a World War II veteran who founded ‘The Ziglar Way’ and wrote more than 30 books.

All who have read him, knew him or admired him collectively sighed. He brought much to this world and what he left was much more.

As a quote collector, Zig Ziglar is a goldmine. I love to read his quotes. As we all remember Zig Ziglar, here’s a few of my favorite quotes by Zig Ziglar.

1. If God would have wanted us to live in a permissive society He would have given us Ten Suggestions and not Ten Commandments.

2. Building a better you is the first step to building a better America.

3. If you go looking for a friend, you’re going to find they’re very scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.

4. If you treat your wife like a thoroughbred, you’ll never end up with a nag.

5. Money isn’t the most important thing in life, but it’s reasonably close to oxygen on the “gotta have it” scale.

6. Every obnoxious act is a cry for help.

7. People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.

8. Money won’t make you happy… but everybody wants to find out for themselves.

9. You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.

10. The way you see people is the way you treat them.

11. Rich people have small TVs and big libraries, and poor people have small libraries and big TVs.

12. Among the things you can give and still keep are your word, a smile, and a grateful heart.

13. A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could.

14. There are no traffic jams on the extra mile.

15. You never know when a moment and a few sincere words can have an impact on a life.

16. Some people find fault like there is a reward for it.

17. Duty makes us do things well, but love makes us do them beautifully.

18. The most important persuasion tool you have in your entire arsenal is integrity.

19. Don’t become a wandering generality. Be a meaningful specific.

20. When you put faith, hope and love together, you can raise positive kids in a negative world.

21. Confidence is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you.

22. Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember ~ the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.

Pornography: Q & A — Should I Marry A Man With Porn Struggles?

SOURCE:  Russell Moore

Should I Marry a Man with Pornography Struggles?

A couple of months ago, I posted a question about an ethical dilemma a recently engaged woman is facing. She just found out that her spouse to-be has had “ongoing struggles with pornography.” She isn’t sure what to do, or how to make sure the issue is sufficiently addressed. You gave your thoughts on the issue, and here are mine.

Dear Engaged and Confused,

Far too many women are watching “The Notebook” or “Twilight” for indicators on what kind of man they should marry. Instead, you probably should watch “The Wolf Man.”

Have you ever seen any of those old werewolf movies? You know, those in which the terrified man, dripping with sweat, chains himself in the basement and says to his friends, “Whatever you do, no matter what I say or how I beg, don’t let me out of there.” He sees the full-moon coming and he’s taking action to protect everyone against himself.

In a very real sense, that’s what the Christian life is about. We all have points of vulnerability, areas of susceptibility to sin and self-destruction. There are beings afoot in the universe who watch these points and who know how to collaborate with our biology and our environment to slaughter us.

Wisdom means knowing where those weak points are, recognizing deception for what it is, and warring against ourselves in order to maintain fidelity to Christ and to those God has given us.

What worries me about your situation is not that your potential husband has a weakness for pornography, but that you are just now finding out about it. That tells me he either doesn’t see it as the marriage-engulfing horror that it is, or that he has been too paralyzed with shame.

What you need is not a sinless man. You need a man deeply aware of his sin and of his potential for further sin. You need a man who can see just how capable he is of destroying himself and your family. And you need a man with the wisdom to, as Jesus put it, gouge out whatever is dragging him under to self-destruction.

This means a man who knows how to subvert himself. I’d want to know who in his life knows about the porn and how they, with him, are working to see to it that he can’t transgress without exposure. I’d want to know from him how he plans to see to it that he can’t hide this temptation from you, after the marriage.

It may mean that the nature of his temptation means that you two shouldn’t have computer in the house. It might mean that you have immediate transcription of all his Internet activity. It might be all sorts of obstacles that he’s placing in his way. The point is that, in order to love you,  he must fight (Eph. 5:25; Jn. 10), and part of that fight will be against himself.

Pornography is a universal temptation precisely because it does exactly what the satanic powers wish to do. It lashes out at the Trinitarian nature of reality, a loving communion of persons, replacing it with a masturbatory Unitarianism.

And pornography strikes out against the picture of Christ and his church by disrupting the one-flesh union, leaving couples like our prehistoric ancestors, hiding from one another and from God in the darkness of shame.

And pornography rages, as Satan always does, against Incarnation (1 Jn. 4:2-3), replacing flesh-to-flesh intimacy with the illusion of fleshless intimacy.

There’s not a guarantee that you can keep your marriage from infidelity, either digital or carnal, but you can make sure the man you’re following into it knows the stakes, knows how to repent, and knows the meaning of fighting the world, the flesh, and the devil all the way to a cross.

In short, find a man who knows what his “full moon” is, what it is that drives him to vulnerability to his beastly self. Find a man who knows how to subvert himself, and how to ask others to help.

You won’t find a silver bullet for all of this, but you just might find a gospel-clinging wolf man.

(Image Credit)

Momentary Pleasure: What’s Your “Bowl of Soup?”

SOURCE:  Charles Stanley/In Touch Ministries

The Lure of Momentary Pleasure

You probably read the story of Jacob and Esau today and thought, I can’t believe Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of soup. How foolish! But let’s think beyond birthrights and soup. Is there anything of true value that you are trading for something of lesser worth?

In other words, what is your “bowl of soup”?

Have you pursued wealth and a career at the expense of family? Maybe your busy schedule has kept you from spending time with God in His Word each day. Some people become involved in extramarital affairs, trading the well-being of their family for the satisfaction of lustful desires. Others sacrifice their health by consuming harmful or addictive substances, or even by overindulging in food. The list of ways we make foolish, shortsighted choices is endless.

Some of the decisions we make today could rob us of the blessings God wants to give us. When you yield to temptation in a moment of weakness, you’re actually sacrificing your future for momentary pleasure. We can’t afford to live thoughtlessly, basing our decisions on immediate desires or feelings. Since the principle of sowing and reaping cannot be reversed, we need to carefully consider what we are planting. The harvest will come, and we’ll reap what we have sown–and more than we’ve sown.

Are you contemplating anything that could have serious long-term ramifications if you yield to the yearning? A wise person evaluates choices by looking ahead to see what negative consequences could follow a course of action.

Don’t let “a bowl of soup” hinder God’s wonderful plans for you.

Are You Guilty of Being Too Nice?

SOURCE:  Leslie Vernick

Do you ever find yourself saying “yes” when you want to (or should) say “no”? For example, several years back, a graduate student asked me if I thought she would make a good counselor. I knew her gifts weren’t strongest in that area, but I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. She left our conversation believing I thought she was capable.

We all do it. We say “yes” when our honest response should be “no”. But let’s take a look at the cost of being too nice.

We Hurt People

It amazes me how unaware we are of how we injure people by being too nice. Isn’t that why we’re nice to begin with? We don’t want to hurt people? When I wasn’t completely honest with my intern, I unintentionally hurt her. She spent time, energy, and money pursuing a career that didn’t reflect her true calling.

In another example, Lydia worked hard to be a Proverbs 31 wife and mother. But the more she gave, the more her husband and children took, with little concern or even awareness of Lydia’s needs.

Lydia became exhausted caring for everyone with no one giving back to her. Over time, Lydia’s niceness enabled her family to become more and more self-centered, self-absorbed, and selfish. Lydia didn’t mean to, but she weakened her husband and children by not inviting them into a more reciprocal relationship.

Here’s another way we wound people by being too nice. Debbie was a new believer who attended Nancy’s Bible study at church. Debbie began phoning Nancy at home, asking a question or wanting to talk something through.

Debbie always took Nancy’s calls, but soon grew weary. She didn’t want to discourage her new friend, but found her neediness overwhelming. Instead of being more honest with Debbie and setting a better schedule for phone calls, Nancy started using her caller ID to screen her calls. Eventually Debbie caught on and felt hurt and abandoned. Nancy’s niceness gave Debbie the impression that she was always available any time night or day.

When we are too nice and fail to set appropriate boundaries, we may not mean to, but we hurt people. The only person who can be always available without getting crabby or tired is God. Don’t try to do his job. You will fail every time and the other person will get hurt.

We Hurt Ourselves

There is nothing unbiblical about being wise with who you give yourself to. While in college, Sharon took a walk with a young man she wasn’t attracted to, nor was she very comfortable with. She said yes because she didn’t want to hurt his feelings by saying “no thanks”.  During their walk, he sexually assaulted her. Every day she deeply regrets that she was too nice.

It doesn’t have to be a dangerous or suspicious situation for us to learn to simply say “no thank you, I can’t,” or “I don’t want to.” We all have limited resources of time, energy, and money. When we allow others to take from our resources without limits, it’s like giving them unrestricted access to our checking account and then feeling angry when we’re constantly overdrawn.

If giving to someone hurts you, count the cost. Sometimes it’s appropriate to sacrifice yourself for another, and other times it’s foolish. Jesus tells a story about five women who refused to share their lamp oil with five others who did not bring enough for themselves. Instead of rebuking these women for being stingy, Jesus called them wise (Mathew 25:1-13).

We Miss God’s Best

Each day there are endless things and people that clamor for our attention. Oswald Chambers reminds us that “the great enemy of the life of faith is the good that is not good enough.” Don’t allow other people to set your values, your schedule, or your priorities.

Many people asked Jesus to do things for them, but Jesus always looked for what God wanted first–even if it meant disappointing people. (See Mark 1:29-38 or John 11:1-6.) When we are too nice and passively accommodate others, we could very well miss God’s best.

Finally, here are some steps to help you stop being too nice:

1.  Understand that nice isn’t one of the fruits of the Spirit. Being kind doesn’t mean you always say “yes.” It means that you learn to say “no” kindly.

2.  Before you say “yes,” stop and say, “Let me think about that. I’ll get back to you.” This will give you time to think through whether you’re being too nice or if you really feel led to do it.

3.  Let go of guilt. You can’t be all things to all people nor do everything people want.

Jesus was perfect, and he still disappointed people.

Am I Wise or Foolish? What’s The Difference?

SOURCE:  Michael Hyatt

THE PRIMARY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE WISE AND FOOLISH

A few weeks ago, a business acquaintance called to discuss a challenge he was facing at work. As usual, I began with a few questions, trying to understand the context and the issues involved.

It quickly became apparent that he didn’t want to change. In fact, the entire conversation was about why he couldn’t change, why he didn’t need to change, and why he wasn’t responsible for the results he was getting.

Ten minutes into the discussion, I realized I was dealing with a fool. There was no point in continuing the conversation. More talk would not change anything.

In Chapter 7 of his book, Necessary Endings, Dr. Henry Cloud deals with the difference between wise people and fools. It has given me clarity about something I have struggled with for years.

The difference between a wise person and a fool is not about:

  • Position. Plenty of business leaders, pastors, and politicians are fools. Conversely, I have met wise executive assistants, gardeners, and even one shoe shine man.
  • Intelligence. I know fools with masters degrees and Ph.Ds. Some of them teach in universities and have written books. Conversely, I know wise people who never graduated from high school and a few who can’t read.
  • Talent. I know fools who are successful entrepreneurs, worship leaders, and television pundits. I know wise people with average talent and modest income.

According to King Solomon, there is one major thing that differentiates a wise person from a fool: how he or she receives instruction and correction.

(See, for example, Proverbs 1:5; 9:8–9; 10:8; 12:15; 15:12; 17:10; and 19:20.)

A wise person:

  1. Listens without being defensive.
  2. Accepts responsibility without blame.
  3. Changes without delay.

If you are dealing with a wise person, talking is helpful. They soak up feedback and use it to adjust their lives for the better. Your input can truly make a difference.

If you are dealing with a fool, however, talking is a waste of your time. They resist change. The problem is never “in the room.” It’s always out there somewhere—something you can neither access nor address.

I have always wondered why some conversations never seem to go any where. Instead, I am left confused and frustrated. Now I know. This inevitably happens when you are talking with a fool.

By the way, this doesn’t mean that you have to write fools off. Instead, you have to change strategies. More talk won’t help a fool. Instead, you must:

  1. Stop talking.
  2. Provide limits.
  3. Give consequences.

If this topic interests you, I recommend you read Necessary Endings. Honestly, it is one of the best books I have read in the last year.

God’s Wise Ways: End The Misery — or — Strengthen Me In It?

SOURCE:  Charles Spurgeon

If He strengthens me

It may not please God to lessen the burden, but it comes to the same thing if he strengthens the back.

He may not recall the soldier from the battle, but if he gives him a greater stomach for the fight, and increased strength for its toils, it may be better still for him.

“The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity, but a wounded spirit who can bear?” Give a man health in his countenance, and he laughs at that which would have crushed him had he been in another mood.

There are times when the grasshopper becomes a burden, and there are other seasons when with undaunted spirit we can say, “Who art thou, O great mountain? Before Zerubabel thou shalt become a plain.”

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled “The Secret Of Health,” delivered March 25, 1875.

Tag Cloud