How To Keep Going When You’re Exhuasted

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This will not be your typical how to post. I don’t plan on having multiple bullet points and a list of ideas. I have one main idea. How to keep going when you’re exhausted is by faith. It is my faith that keeps me going. Or is it family, or is it desire. I guess in a way it is a bit of all of these things that keeps me going.

I want to encourage you to ground your faith in Christ. I think about what he went through around the time of his crucifixion and how tired he had to have been, yet he still managed to keep going. Some people will make the argument that yes, “but he was God.” It is true but he was still also a man, a human being who felt pain and weakness. So think about our savior after being scourged having to walk several miles to the hill where he was to be crucified.

I say to do this by faith, which is no easy task. I struggle with extreme bouts of depression. Even lately as I have been writing trying to be an encouragement I have been struggling with these bouts. No one would ever know unless I say something. Why because I have learned how to just keep moving forward. I put my trust in Jesus knowing there is a greater reason for all of these trials, and like Paul says these are light momentary afflictions.

They may not feel light or even momentary right now, but in the grand scheme of things they really are. I keep looking forward to a home I will one day return to. It is not easy, living this life. It is a struggle most days to get out of bed. Tweet: By faith I get up with the expectation, things will be better today than they were yesterday.

I hope you can see how all of this is meant to be an encouragement for when you’re not sure you can keep going, because you are just plain exhausted.

For those times when your faith isn’t enough focus on the goal(s) you want to achieve, they will help give you the extra little push you need. By looking at your goals you will be able to see why you are working so hard and doing so much.

Sometimes the over extension is not avoidable because it is something you kind of have to do. For example I am doing a lot with school right now, but was doing a little less in the fall. Back in the fall I volunteered to be my sons Cub Scout den leader. Since then things have gotten a little hectic and now there is more on my plate than I expected. This is one time I have to look at it and go this is for my son, and hopefully when he has kids he will appreciate the extra mile I went for him.

Question: How do you keep going when you’re exhausted?

It’s Hard Being All Things to All People

I don’t know if you have ever lived like this but it is hard and rather frustrating at times. I want to be the best at everything in life. I want to be the best husband, father, Bible study leader, and the list goes on. Do you ever feel that way?

I am not sure what has made me this way, but I am here now. One thing comes to mind while not exactly in context are the words of the Apostle Paul, when he tells the Corinthian church in 1 Cor 9:22b I have become all things to all people that I might save some. Paul wanted to be the best example he could be in order to win men to Christ.

To my family I want to be the best example of what a man of God should look like, not only to them but to those I lead. It is hard trying to be Superman. My health is a challenge in and of itself. Somedays it takes all I have just to get out of bed and do the simple things people take for granted like making breakfast. So how can I be all things to someone then.

There are times when depression gets a hold of me so bad I don’t know which way is up and I am supposed to be the light to those around me. It is my hope that by sharing this with you, you will realize life doesn’t have to be perfect to be used of God. He wants us to attempt to do our best for his glory and he will take care of the rest. We are told, to plant and to water but the harvest is up to God.

There are so many ways to live life. I don’t think it is inherently wrong to want to be all things to all people, but there has to come a point where you are who you ultimately are meant to be. The basis of all this is to say before I can be everything I have to be one thing. The one thing for me is a Christian. This is my basis or as some would say my foundation.

Once I know what my foundation is it allows me to build on it. You cannot become what you weren’t meant to be. A dog cannot become a cat or vice-versa. What I can be is the best me God has created me to be and in doing so I become all things to all people. I am a  better father to my children, a good husband to my wife, a devoted friend, and loving son. There is so much more that I am but it comes after all of these things.

Question: What is your foundation? How do you attempt to be all things to everyone?

How to Love Someone Who’s An Addict

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This is not an easy post to write. I am not writing as the person who needs to learn how to love an addict. I am the addict addressing how to be loved. In my life I have been addicted to A LOT of things. Ranging from alcohol and drugs to pornography. By the grace of a loving God through Jesus Christ I have been set free from those addictions.

However, there is one ugly monster I cannot slay and it’s the addiction of approval. I know when you read this headline you were probably expecting a how to guide since it says “How to love someone that’s an addict.” What I hope you get from this post is exactly what it promises. Just not the step by step variety.

For me I have learned not to put myself in the sin of proximity. It means not allowing myself to be put in situations where I may fall off the wagon. So the first thing you can do is not be a stumbling block for those who struggle with addiction. If they are trying to not do something, don’t bring it around them. This goes for EVERYTHING from food to cigarettes.

Try not to reminisce about the good old days when such and such used to take place. All it does is make the person feel like you don’t love them for who they are, just what they used to be. I was a very crazy guy in my previous lifestyle. Now I am more laid back. I tend to play the background and let others take the center stage.

One of the best things you can do is love the person through all of their struggles. It is not an easy road to travel. I did not walk the road alone and can take no credit for the turn around made in my life. It is all due to the intervention of Jesus Christ into my life. But what I do know is the things mentioned above have helped me to remain clean and sober for almost 13 years.

It is a whole different story about my addiction to approval though. I can tell everyone all day long how we are to find our identity in Jesus and we are fully accepted in him. Knowing these things should be enough, but for me they aren’t. I enjoy hearing I have done a good job, people liked whatever I did or however the acknowledgment may come. I write this as a way to acknowledge my need to overcome this aspect of my life and trust God is enough not only for me but my entire family as well.

There are too many things in life people can become addicted to. Watch for the signs in your own life. Comfort can become a ruling emotion, longing to take over. Eating can easily get out of control (take it from me). I had gastric bypass three years ago because my weight had gotten out of control along with the rest of my health. So I understand the devastating effects of addiction and wanting to be loved.

While being loving make sure you are not also an enabler. You have to know when enough is enough. Tweet: Being an enabler is almost more dangerous to an addict than being the one who tells them no all the time. I’d rather you tell me no to an idea out of love and respect than to enable me out of fear or rejection.

I just need to keep reminding myself there is nothing in this world to hard for God to accomplish. He has brought me this far. From being an ex-thug, addict and thief. To having a B.S. in Religion (Magna Cum Laude) and working toward my Masters of Divinity. These are things I never in a million years would have dreamed of. It is my hope, when i am finished with this degree I will be able to use it well and not just for more accolades.

There you have it. Some practical ways to love an addict, and some more about me you may or may not have wanted to know. Now it’s your turn.

Question:What are some things in your life you may be addicted to?

What type of leadership do you appreciate ?

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It is official. I have started my first ever internship (but that is not what we are calling it). I got to lead a Bible study on 1 John. I will be leading this study in several different forms over the next couple of months. This is an exciting time for me. I have longed to lead in my home church for a while now. This is my chance to either make it or fall flat on my face.

I plan on doing somethings a little differently than they have been done in the past, with this group. We usually meet on Wednesday nights and just do the study, there has been very little of doing life with one another. I intend on keeping in touch with these men through multiple forms of contact.

This is what I mean by leading from the front lines. If I want these guys to have solid relationships with each other they need to see their leader (which is me, for a short while) stepping up and giving a damn about their lives outside of Wednesday nights. If you go back to ancient Israel to the shepherding which took place there the shepherd was in the front, leading his flock. HIs flock knew his voice and would respond.

There are many advantages to leading from the front, you can see what lies ahead. You can view the terrain and plan accordingly, you are proactive instead of reactive. This is the type of leadership I have always admired. I hope to set an example these men will be willing to follow.

I also know leading from the front means I am going to be the one who catches the flack when things go awry. Trust me during these 16 weeks something is bound to go awry, Lord willing it won’t but if it does I am preparing myself for it.

Don’t get me wrong I am not out to criticize my current leaders styles. They have developed what works for them and it is fine. I want to become more involved and invested, than I have been. In the end I think it will develop more respect for me (who wouldn’t want that). It will also strengthen bonds being made amongst Christian brothers.

Christ is the ultimate example of leading from the front.

He could have sent any number of angels or other agents to earth, but he knew none of them could pay the price which had to be paid. He came down out of heaven, from his place of authority and put on flesh in order to restore a right relationship between us and him. He said no greater love have a man than this that he would lay his life down for his friends.

That is a courageous act of leadership. To die for those you love. He died for us while we were separated from him by sin. There is no other person who would do that. My little act of keeping in touch will pale in comparison, it is the best I can offer right now.

Question: How can you step up and lead from the front?

You Took Your Son Where?!

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Now, I have your attention I will happily answer that question. I took my son to a men’s Bible study. Every monday night (well most) for the last four or so years my wife knew where I would be. I was going to be with a group of guys who invest into me and I into them. There is a solidarity which takes place with this group of men I have never experienced anywhere else.

Over the last several months my youngest son Richard has been wanting to go with me to these meetings. At first I was rather hesitant, I mean come on he’s only six. Then I realized he’s only six and he still wants to spend time with his dad. He wants to do things like his dad does them. I am starting to appreciate that fact. There is going to come a time when he may not want to hang out with me as much and I will need to prepare myself for it.

When he first started wanting to go he was around four and he was just way too young. He has ADHD and has a hard time not getting into things. As he has gotten older he has gotten a bit better and I allow him to bring his Kindle Fire to occupy him while we have our study. Sure I would love to go back to when it was just me getting away from the family and having some alone time. But, I would be missing out on so much. This young man loves me dearly and wants to be around me.

He is seeing what male bonding can and should look like. He is getting a picture of brotherhood inside of Christ. As we get together around food and celebrate the Word of God. I will one day have the time to myself again but I will never be able to regain time spent with my son as a chid. By me taking him it is teaching me how to be less selfish and more of a role model.

While I long to take my oldest son, he has not desire to go and I am not going to force it upon him. I will take the opportunities the Lord is placing before me, to grow and nurture my little one the best I can.

Questions: What are somethings you can be doing with your child(ren) you have been avoiding? Is there a special way you spend time with your little ones?

Doing What You Least Want to Do

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There is a section of Scripture that speaks directly to this matter. Just maybe not the way you are thinking. It is dealing with sin, not some job or chore you don’t want to mess with.

In the 7th chapter of Romans, Paul tells us,he ends up doing the things he doesn’t want to do and the things he wants to do he does not do. To be exact this is what he says, “For I know that nothing good dwells ain me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 bFor I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, cit is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. “ (Romans 7:18-20, ESV).

There is no way in our day and age we are any better than the Apostle Paul was. It seems Paul longed to do good things but struggled deep within himself. As a Christian we should all feel in a similar fashion. One of the biggest places I struggle in life is in my home. I long to be a good husband, and father. I feel as though I fail daily.

My boys and I have a hard time relating to one another, at least my oldest son and I. It is a difficulty that brings the struggle of what may be sin. I want to love on them the same way God loves me, but I know for a fact I don’t. There is more yelling going on than I ever imagined would happen in my home. Whether it is between the boys at each other or me telling them to stop.

Something I always thought was oxymoronic was when my parents would say “this hurts me more than it hurts you.” I never understood what they meant until I became a parent myself. The act of disciplining my children can be more psychically challenging to me, than the act of disciplining them physically. However it is required to be a good parent. Hebrews 12:11 tells us”For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

So in reality I am doing the best thing for them even though they cannot see it yet. God in His infinite wisdom disciplines us His children as well. It is an act which we do not find comfortable, but it is for our good in the end. There are many things in life we are going to do which we do not want to do. Not all of them are going to fall in to the category that Paul is talking about. The good news is for those of us in Christ we are no longer slaves to sin, it does not have the right to control us. It merely has a residence in us.

While we cannot fully evict it we no longer have to listen to what it tells us. We are indwelt with the power of the Holy Spirit. With this person residing in us we can achieve much. A question I have for you is, “Is it better to have the Spirit inside of you or Jesus beside you? Where do you derive more strength?” As we grow and mature we grow in humble reliance on the Spirit.

May we all learn to do the things we least want to do, so we can become masters of the things we want to do. It will take a life time to learn this so we better start paying attention now.

Question: What are things you don’t want to do, but need to learn to do?

The Importance of Developing a Schedule for Your Life.

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Over the past few weeks I have been muling over what to do with this up coming semester. I was not sure as to how I am going to handle it. What I decided to do was sit down and try and schedule out my days in a general format on how I would like them to look if possible. My day will look like this

Wake up- 7-7:30 except for Thursdays be up by 5:15-5:30 for Bible study
Eat Breakfast by 8:30
Pray and read the Bible before 9am
Study for classes from 9am-12pm
Eat lunch anytime between 12-1pm
Possibly resume study or take a break from 1-3
Kids return home 3:30ish
Cook dinner anywhere between 4-5:30pm
Eat dinner between 5-6pm
Monday and Weds (Men’s Bible studies) 6-9pm
Help with Boys as necessary 6-8:30
Put Boys to bed 8:30
Spend time either studying more or with Lory as possible.
Go to bed no later than 11:30 most nights.
Do laundry on Wednesday mornings.

It is not an exact science on how my days are going to always look, because I did not include Drs. appointments and other things which may arise. I have come to realize the importance of having a more detailed schedule for my life. If I don’t try to put order to things, certain projects will not be completed.

I need to make God a priority so it is the main reason why I have time for Bible reading and prayer scheduled in, it may go longer than the 30 minutes I have allotted for it, it may not. At least I have it down. Like Michael Hyatt has said, and I have quoted before “If it gets on the calendar it gets done.”

So I needed a daily calendar to keep track of what I should be doing when. The reason I am not getting straight to being with God in the morning is because my boys can be a bit rambunctious in the mornings so it is better for me to wait until they are at school. That’s time I can use on email and social media stuff which is not important and doesn’t require my full attention.

I wish I was able to schedule every minute of my day so I knew who everything was going to turn out. The truth is none of us can. We can only attempt to set up our days and hope God will allow us to follow the path we have laid out.

The Lord has his own plans for how our lives are going to turn out. We just have to trust in his sovereignty. I think it is prudent of us to make a schedule and try and keep it. It shows how we are trying to be good stewards of our time. Instead of letting time manage us we control it.

This is just an overview of what my days look like not in full detail.

Why do you think you may need to create a schedule for your life? It doesn’t have to be similar to mine, in fact it probably won’t be. But the question is can you create a schedule to make some positive changes in your life so that way you are mastering time and not the other way around.

I am not sharing this with you to show how I have it all together. I am sharing this with you to encourage you to think of ways you can make your life more efficient. So you can get more accomplished with the time we have been given. I want to be faithful with what I have been given so when the time comes I can be given more. How about you?

Question: What can you do to make your life more well managed?

Why Is Prayer Such a Challenge?

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Have you ever felt prayer is hard to do? If yes, then you aren’t alone. I can name a ton of benefits of the reasons to pray. I bet you can too. So why is it so challenging to take the time to pray? I have one professor who would argue, we don’t trust God to be God.

He would go on to say our faith is to small. Not saying it in a condescending way, but in a matter of fact type of way. We don’t trust God so we don’t grow our faith. We feel that when we pray God doesn’t hear us. And to be completely honest there are times I wonder “God, are you really there?” I would love for Him to respond in some majestical way.

I think we don’t make prayer the priority in life it should be. We don’t put it on our schedule. Michael Hyatt has said, “What gets on the schedule is what gets done.” in several different things I have seen/heard him do. I have to agree with this point. If it is important enough to make the schedule than it means it needs to be taken care of.

The sad thing for me is I have and app on my phone for prayer it even alerts me to when its time to pray. There are many times lately I have just blown it off to keep doing what I am doing. I need to be better about it, maybe change the timer he app wants my attention.

There is another aspect we need to consider also, spiritual warfare. Satan does not want you and I to pray. He would much rather us to stay unconnected from God. It is easier for him to pull us away from the things of God when we are not connected to him. Satan knows that when we are in real relationship with the Father, life for him is much more difficult.

We are in a battle let us never forget that and the only way to win is to be in constant communication with the leader of the troops. The man who has oversight and can see the whole battlefield. He may not give us all the details,but he will let us know our next move. I’m not saying he will show us everything, he does reveal things a piece at a time sometimes.

If we feel our prayers are not being heard we have to ask ourselves what are we doing to keep them from being heard. Are we asking for the wrong things? Are we being selfish? Husbands, Are you loving your wife well? The book of James speaks about several of these issues. I would suggest you check it out.

I know writing this post has been more for me than you. I hope it has been a blessing to you and encouragement to you to more than a discouragement.

Question: Do you struggle with prayer? How do you get back into the habit when you fall out of it?

Wasted Time!

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Naps are wasted on the young. Like many other things. But one of the worst things is the waste of time. As I have gotten older I have come to realize time is a priceless commodity. It is the one thing you can use and never regain. You can spend money and make more of it. Not so with time once it is gone it’s gone.

There are a few young people that may be willing to hear what you have to tell them about life and actually listen to what you are saying. Those young people will far and in between and very wise beyond their years. Those are the young people you invest into. They are the ones you know are going to make it (hopefully).

I don’t say all of that to mean we shouldn’t invest in the hard headed kids, or the like. I believe if we are able to help mold the next generation to be wiser than ourselves we are making a wise investment. Otherwise, we are doing ourselves and them a disservice.

Dealing with My Boys
We can start with them young teaching them principles about time management, finances, and many other valuable life skills. I have been trying to teach my boys the importance of saving money. Its hard to do right now they are still rather young and impulsive. Heck, I still struggle with saving money.

Like any good Christian dad I’m trying to bring my boys up in the admonition of the Lord (Eph 6). It is not easy trying to teach my kids how to be good men. One thing I do know is it’s not a waste of time like watching TV, or playing video games (without the kids) can be. I want them to be better men than I am and that takes a lot of hard work and effort.

While they cannot understand why I push them now, they will one day. Like the day they get a job and their boss has them do something they really don’t want to do. Or when life lands a blow they weren’t expecting, like the loss of a loved one. I want them to know how to handle their emotions (I feel like I fail at this daily). I still keep trying though.

To some people it may seem like a waste of time to try and instill certain values and morals into my kids. I know better, it is not a nuisance or a waste of time, but it is an investment that will pay dividends in the long run.

Questioin: What is something you do that the world may consider a waste of time?

Some Help for Doing Family Devotions

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What can I say about family devotions? Depends really, on what you are looking for. Are you looking for a how to guide? I can offer you that. Or maybe you want to hear the truth about family devotions. They aren’t always easy or glamorous like TV, movies and books can make them out to be.

For instance in our house trying to get our boys to sit down for a quick (supposed to take 10minutes) study, turns into a 45 minute ordeal. But when these boys are into it, it is a sight to behold. They start asking questions and giving answers to other questions. It really is quite marvelous.

We have chosen to use a book called Old Story New it is a family devotional book that lays everything out there for you so you are not having to just read the Bible and try and explain everything. It gives you things to ask the kids. It also suggest things to pray for after you have done the study. I would recommend this book or its sibling Long Story Short; if you are like me pressed for time or just want the help to lead family devotions.

There are plenty of places in the Bible where we are told to instruct our children in the ways of the Lord. I am thinking right now of the proverb “Train up a child in the ways in which he should go and when he gets older he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

There are countless OT passages speaking to the same thing, about teaching your children as you go and as you come. Teach them while you walk in the day. The list goes on and on. So there has to be some importance to what is being said for it to be repeated. So if you are not doing it which we have not been the best at. Give it try. They offer both of these books on kindle, and you don’t have to buy the book you can get a sample before you buy it to see if it’s a fit.

Just start something with your family, especially dad, get involved show the kids your faith it will pay dividends in the end. I am not perfect we have tried in the past and given up. One of our goals this year is to have family devotions 4x a week. We will strive to meet that goal, even if we fall short at least we are spending time in God’s word as a family.

Question: What do you do for family devotions?