Living in a World of Broken Dreams

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Why is it as a child we are told we can become anything we want to be, but as we get older and start to solidify certain things we are told to grow up and think about something we could really do? When we say we want to be in a creative field like an artist or the like we are told to find a job with some security. Pretty much we are told “I wanted to do something like that also and had to do something different.”

I am not saying everyone is like this just some. Those are the ones we need to stay away from.Tweet: If you have a dream inside of you to do something and it keeps nagging you, chances are you are supposed to be doing it. I have two passions in life, they are preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, and writing. I am in the process of trying to get them to take care of each other so I can make a living of doing what I love.

There are just so many people out there who once had a dream to be something different in life and the circumstances of life chocked those dreams right out of you. I want to encourage you to find your voice again and let God guide you to what he has for you. Don’t settle for the life someone else wants you to live. This is where most people would pull a verse outta context and offer some encouragement. I can’t do that I love HIs Word too much to mistreat it.

What are you longing to do? What keeps you awake at night other than worry and anxiety (we’ll leave it for a different post)? If there was something you could do in this world for the rest of your life and money wasn’t an issue. Once you can identify what you want to do, you need to identify your why?

What do I mean by your why? It is the reason behind everything you do? If you cannot identify your why you are going to have a hard time chasing your dreams. I long to be a pastor, in order to be one I needed to go back to school. The question I have to ask myself is why do I want to be a pastor?

Sometimes the answer is hard to remember, most days its not. I want to be a pastor to help people grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. And to do it effectively I needed to have a certain amount of education.

If we allow people to continue to dictate how we are to live our lives we will be in a constant state of upheaval. We need to determine what our dream/goals are and the whys behind them. So we can become the people we were created to be. Life is not meant to be some ho-hum experience we meander through. it is to be a glorious event we get to enjoy. Now everyday will not feel like a celebratory time, but its okay. As long as you can find time to realize who you are.

Don’t live in the world as another person with a broken dream. Step up and step out in faith proving you trust God to provide. It may not come in ways everyone else thinks it should, but God’s provision is his provision none the less. The best thing you can do is start to make an action plan and implement it.

Question: What dream do you need to work on?

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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?

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?

For the Love of Money

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I’m going to assume most of know how the song goes. For the love of money people will steal from their brother. The Bible says the love of money is the root of many kinds of evils. I had a friend ask a question about selling the gospel to make a fortune. Do you think it is okay to make money off of the Gospel?

What a loaded question. If it were evil to make money off of the gospel no pastor would be able to receive a paycheck. I do believe there is another section of Scripture that says the worker is worthy of his wage. I think it depends on the context of how money is being made off the Gospel. Meaning that is it coming from an honest stream of income that seeks to glorify the Lord, or is it something that just seeks to build up that singular person?

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus speaks about seeking first the kingdom of God and everything will be added to you. Meaning that if you make the gospel a priority the things you need for life will be taken care of. Why do we allow money to get such a hold on our hearts? What is it about money that entangles us so easily?

It seems to be the promises it makes but cannot fulfill. Promises to make you happy, to make you enjoy life, to meet all of your needs and expectations. Yet we fall victim to it every time it comes around flaunting itself in the newest form. Some of us (myself included) are in debt and my never see the light of day. By choosing to be a student and better myself I have brought this upon myself.

We do have something that will meet those promises, or should I say someone. Jesus Christ will fulfill our deepest needs and desires, by taking the selfish ones we once had and replacing them with new ones. Ones based on Him, HIs kingdom and glory.

I’d much rather be serving God with a little bit than living an exhorbant lifestyle displeasing to Him. The reason being is he has changed my heart. I no longer long to live solely for myself, I live for him (or at least try to) and want to see his kingdom expanded. We have a choice to be made in lives. We can either choose to live and build our kingdom. Or we can live lives centered on building His kingdom and in the process reap due rewards.

Question: Who’s kingdom are you going to work on building today?

Fight For Your Joy!

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Today is supposed to be a day full of joy (12-25-14). And for the most part it has been. The pain and fatigue have been rough today. I have had to take a nap two separate times just from being so tired. Life has been good today and I am thankful. I have been blessed on so many fronts. I got things I was expecting and things I wasn’t. The biggest surprise today was the joy I saw in my boys as they got gifts they are really going to enjoy.

I thought of something the Lord said in John 10:10 he says, “That I have come to give them life more abundantly.” Now life is not really in the abundance of things. Where I saw abundance today was time spent with family  can never be taken away. It was the look of a child getting a gift  he desperately wanted.
This is not so easy to remember during this season of year. People myself in particular tend to get more depressed. Mine stems from the loss of my father 20 years ago right before Thanksgiving. It has made me dread the holidays more and more. But now, having children of my own and to see them enjoying not only the gifts, but the presence of the family makes it better.

It is a fight though to see things this way. I have to preach the gospel to myself daily. I have to remember  Christ died so  I could live a life pleasing to him. And not seeking to please and honor myself. When I do live that way, joy is abundant. He gives me a joy that surpass all human understanding.For which I am grateful.

Teaching my boys how to view Christmas is not an easy thing to do when one still believes in Santa Claus. Ethan (the oldest) doesn’t. He does however claim to know Jesus and says he’s the reason  why we celebrate Christmas. Ricard (the youngest) goes along with that, even though he still likes the idea of Santa.  Life has been good these last few days. It has still been tough but it has been good. If we are not willing to fight for something in our lives, then do we really desire to have it? This is why we must fight for joy and not just expect it to show up at our doorways. Like any fight you are probably going to take some blows, but the goal is to handle them well and win the battle.
Just because we are Christians doesn’t mean we are supposed to have life easy. Actually we can expect to have the opposite. We are told by Jesus and Paul to expect to fight. Why do you think in Ephesians 6 Paul tells us to put on the whole armor of God. So we can stand around and look pretty? NO! We are in battle and have to be ready at all times. So suit up and get ready for a bumpy ride. I can make you two promises.
Life is going to be hard (especially if you want to follow Jesus biblically). And in the end it will all be worth it. Our reward is temporary hear on the earth. We get just a foretaste of what true joy is every time we experience joy here. So I encourage you, don’t give up because it is hard. FIGHT BACK! With God on your side. I have heard it said me plus God is a majority. Meaning this “With God on my side I can do anything.”

What can you do to fight back and take hold of your joy?

Holiday Time: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

 

 Is it just me or is the most wonderful time of the year one of the most stressful times of year also? I have noticed that over the last seven years of marriage that the holidays tend to be more anwry than any other time of the year. When we were first married we had a huge fight our first Christmas because of something our son did to his cousin, it didn’t help that my wife was pregnant at the time. Then going back 20 years my father passed away just before the holiday season really got started on November 4, 1994. So that makes this a tough time of year for me. I do however remember one of the last presents that I ever got from my dad and i still have it to this day.  It was a stuffed teddy bear that was brown with a bow tie on we named it “Brownie” I know not super creative but it was the best I could do I was eleven at the time. This makes me sad thinking about it,  but it also makes me happy because I can still recall that last Christmas with my dad. 

     However, the holidays are not all bad. I have two sons who love Christmas and I know that one of them loves Jesus still not sure about the other. While one believes in Santa Claus and the other does not. That makes things a challenge around here trying to keep the oldest from spilling the beans. But each year we all get a new ornament from someone, usually the boys are getting the ornament from their grandparents along with my wife who gets one from her grandmother, and my wife buys me a new National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation ornament (that is my favorite Christmas movie). During Christmas break we will make cookies and generally watch a  lot of Christmas movies. The last several years we have gone caroling with members of our church through different neighborhoods. We are trying to instill in the boys the true meaning of Christmas that it is to celebrate the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. While I personally don’t believe this is the day he was born on, it is the day we choose to celebrate it with the rest of the Christians around the globe. 
     The sad thing is not every Christian gets to celebrate Christmas like those of us here in the United States, there are countries that being a Christian is agains the law and you could go to jail or even die for your faith. I hope that my boys will never have to experience that kind of persecution in their lives, but if they do I pray they stand up for what they believe in.  This is also a hard season because not everyone can afford to do for their families like others can and it makes people feel less than. While it is not intentional it still happens. What we have to hope and hold on to is the day when the New Heaven and New Earth will appear and we no longer have to worry about this type of celebration because we will be enjoying the presence of Christ. I now that this post was a little more personal than some of my others and I hope you don’t mind. If you enjoyed this post will you comment and let me know. Because my goal is to create content you enjoy not just for me to be spewing words on the screen. 
I leave you with this: What are some fond memories you have of the holiday season?