Overcome One Step at a Time

overcome obstacles“Every obstacle you make it through is one more obstacle closer to your destination,” was written by a guy who descended the summit of Mt. Everest alone and blind when a sudden bout of snow blindness hit him. To reach Camp III alive, he kept his mind and emotions under control by focusing on getting through each obstacle that came his way.
He couldn’t ignore his situation. He could only choose to ignore what he wanted to do, ask Jesus for help and then follow Him down the mountain peak, which is exactly what he did.
Jesus said to deny yourself and take up your cross and follow Him. To deny yourself doesn’t mean to ignore your challenges, problems and/or drugs of choice. It simply means that you don’t deal with them your way, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. This is not quitting! It’s the start of the process of turning to someone greater than yourself to get through the obstacle – Jesus.
This guy’s Jesus story is a perfect example of the principle: when we’re weak, He can be strong for us. Jesus became his strength to get down the mountain safely, even though he was literally blind! You must learn what this climber learned: you are not alone in the midst of your challenges. The question is, “Who will you turn to for help in the midst of them – yourself or Jesus?” Ask Jesus to be your help, today, as you face your challenges head on.
Set Free No“W”ww

Too Much Stimulation?

too much stimulationI read a wonderful book entitled, Blind Descent, about a gentleman who climbed Mount Everest. The author made a statement that got me thinking. As he was climbing up a certain section by himself, all he could see was white and hear was occasional wind gusts. It was too quiet, which by the way, could be a dangerous situation for a solo climber.
It got me thinking about all sources of stimulation that bombard our senses all day long. When do we have to think about rather than just react to life? In 1775 90% of Americans lived in rural areas, as compared to only 16% today. Life was not only slower, but much quieter back then as well. What did they do with that time? One was to think, as they had less sensory bombardment to wade through.
I was talking with a guy in his early 20’s who doesn’t even read his emails. He said there were simply too many of them and that avoids group texts as well! He’s already learning what many of us need to understand: we just have too much data to filter through and filter out today. We all face a tad too much stimulation. No wonder most Americans are tired! Our brains are always working and storing all the stuff it hears, sees and smells, let alone touches and tastes.
Am I afraid of what I might hear inside me? Am I playing music, watching a show and playing a game on the Internet whiled eating snacks all at the same time because I’m afraid of what I might hear if I slowed my pace and turned down the volume?
Too much stimulation is not good if we want to renew our minds (aka rewire our brains) and be remade in Christ’s image. Gives new meaning “to be still and know that I am God” doesn’t it?
Set Free Now“W”w

An Ouch That Feels Good

prunning nectarineI just spent the last hour-an-a-half pruning our nectarine tree. As I was cutting off non-producing branches and trimming back fruit bearing ones, I was thinking, “The tree must be screaming it’s head off.”
I know trees don’t feel, but it made me think about you and me as believers in Christ. The Spirit wants to cut off areas in our lives that are unproductive and trim back others to produce even greater amounts of fruit (see John 15).
Pruning is painful! Yet done by the hands of a skillful gardener, it’s very fruitful…for the next growing season. Pruning done in the winter is not for tree control; but to make the tree more productive during the next season. I’ll get a very low fruit yield come summer without it.
Trees can’t resist the pruning process. We can. When the Spirit points out an area of your life that needs to be removed, will you fight or yield to His skillful hands? Once you do, will you continually yield to Him throughout the process of change to see even more fruit in your life month after month, year after year?
I encourage you to take a walk with the Spirit and yield. It makes what the Psalmist wrote make even more sense, “Taste and see that the LORD is good.” How about tasting Him yourself?
Set Free Now“W”w

Be Careful What You Pick

selective hearingI was watching a movie, of course with my filter on, when I heard a lead character say something quite provocative. “I am listening to you, but I’m choosing what I want to hear.” Honest and raw, isn’t it?
There were many times Jesus said, “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” We can hear Jesus and not follow. We can read the Word and not do what it says. In other words, we’re choosing what we want to hear.
All Scripture (not just the parts we want to hear) is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
The great exchange of our worn out, temporary character with Christ’s life-giving and eternal character comes from actually listening to and following Him, not ourselves. Are you picking and choosing what to follow?
Se“T” Free Nowww

Has God Ever Hurt You?

controlI was reading a rather good book into the wee hours of Sunday morning, when an extraordinary thought hit me. You can’t give up and be in control at the same time as it results in being out of control.
I’ve been wrestling with God for several months now over a certain area of my life that He wants total control. Control is not a half-way thing. You can’t have two sets of hands on the steering wheel of your life. It only leads to disaster. Either God has control or you do, never both as it only results in being out of control (i.e. other areas of your life start going downhill).
Then another thought hit me, Why can’t I trust you, Lord, even though You’ve never hurt me? I have no answer to that question. He’s definitely disciplined me; hurt me never, though I’ve certainly hurt myself. Please pray for me as I pray for you to give control to the only One who can keep your life from spinning out of control.
Set Free Noww“W”