Most of us really don’t like ourselves. We are too tall or short, too fat or thin, too reserved or too lazy. We don’t like ourselves because we don’t think before we act or we think too much and don’t act at all. We don’t like ourselves because we are not attractive enough or we don’t have enough charisma or we are too lonely or we run away from our problems. Maybe we think we are too forward and forceful or too confrontational or maybe we think we are too analytical, too self-conscious or just plain wimpy! Whatever the case, we seem to be unhappy with ourselves, which brings us to the question – as a Christian aren’t we supposed to not like ourselves so we can be more like Jesus? So, shouldn’t we be happy in our unhappiness? Let’s stop already! Too many questions – let's find some answers!
Life can get heavy sometimes. It can happen for all kinds of reasons – our own poor judgment or mistakes, circumstances beyond our control, accidents or a tragedy. Whatever the reason, the fact is that sometimes life just becomes a heavy burden. When life does get heavy we begin to doubt and to fear, which opens the door to begin down that ever-consuming road of discouragement and even depression. So, how do we fight this? How do we find a formula that will help us to stand up and walk under the weight, to fight through the fear and to persevere through the pain? How can we transform the heaviest experiences of our lives into the best growing experiences of our lives?
…But do you trust me? Such a question pierces right down to the heart of any matter, for true trust is sacred. Any relationship - be it family, friends, business or otherwise - will thrive when trust is intact. With trust, growth, change and the conquering of obstacles are all not only possible but probable. With trust there is security. When trust is broken – and it can be broken in an instant with a single word or action – any relationship is headed for shipwreck upon the rocks of disappointment and despair. Rebuilding after such a shipwreck is a long and difficult process. So, how can we learn to trust the right things in a deep and secure fashion?
Inspiration elevates people. Everyone loves inspiration and wants to be inspired. We love to hear or watch stories that bring us inspiration, and we will go back to those stories again and again to refuel. Even more than going back to those stories, we would love to be inspiring to others – we would love to be that story that people go back to again and gain. Jesus was like that. He was a constant source of inspiration in everything he said and did, and for the last two thousand years, billions have gone back to the accounts of his life to be inspired and directed. Well, what if you could learn how Jesus inspired others and begin to become an inspiration yourself?
Resentment! How dangerous is it? Is there a way to prevent resentment within us? Resentment is a potentially lethal evil that can cause great harm inwardly and toward others. It has the power to enslave us to the past. When we resent people, we give them power over us. Resentment is based on a way of thinking that suggests, I have been wronged or deserve better. It comes from an entitlement or victim-type mentality and it leads to bitterness. How do we avoid this sinful state? How can resentment lead to death?
We live in a time of great contradiction. There are voices that shout, rant and insist for all in our society to embrace and accept everyone no matter what their choices in life are and no matter what their actions in life may be. Their message in many ways is framed as one of love – love for those who are opposite, love for those who are different. Then there are those like myself who say that while I am willing to accept and love people regardless of their choices, I will not embrace anything I believe is not moral or righteous. I will love the person but not the action. For this I have been called a "hater" by those who preach that you should embrace those who are different than you. Jesus told us to love our enemies, but what exactly does that mean? Am I not loving enough? Do I need to change?
Should I take that new job or stay with the old one? Should I get married? What about having children? Am I in a good place in the church where I am or is there a better fit for me elsewhere? Should we buy that house that is a little bigger or buy the one that is more affordable? Questions, questions! Now, if you are a Christian, here is the biggest question about all of the other questions – how do you decide what God would have you to do if the choices before you all have strong positives? Is there some all inclusive formula to figure this entire out dilemma out? Now that is a good question!
Regret can be a killer! We often carry around and dwell on regrets from some of our past experiences. Not only do we dwell on them, but we sometimes build those regrets into shrines of discontent and sorrow that overrun our present and then take hold of and manipulate our future. Pretty nasty, huh? On the other hand, if we know the secrets of managing regret, it can become a tool of peaceful acceptance for our present and a deep personal motivation for our future. How do you change from one result to the other? A few weeks ago, we began unveiling the powerful biblical lessons on managing regret and on this program we get to finish that unveiling!
We all have regrets. We all have times or decisions or moments in our lives that, if we could get a child’s game “do-over” we would take it in a heartbeat and go back with clearer thinking or firmer courage or more patience or deeper conviction or a bridled tongue or solid self-control. But we can’t get a child’s game “do-over.” We can’t change what we have already allowed to happen or what we have already said done or thought. So, what do we do? How do we handle our regrets in a way that keeps them from playing again and again in our heads? This is a good question and we think we have a good answer!