A Small Stumble May Lead to a Big Fall

I have a busy week coming up by Monday. I will going “Door to door,” visiting all the bookstores in Salem, Oregon. I am diving head first into my marketing for the book, “Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World.”

I did the research, and there are twelve bookstores in Salem. Lots of “Mom and Pop” level bookstores, and one Borders bookstore. My goals to to have a least one of my book, “Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World,” on the shelf of each of these stores.

You have a chance to own the book before it hits the shelves in about 2o days. You can go to www.winepresspub.com right now and save 27% of what the retail price will be when it comes out.

When you get to the site, click on the bookstore at the top, and then when you are there, put in “Signs of Hope,” in the search area. That should get you right to my page. You will see that you will only be paying $14.59 instead of the retail price of $19.99.

When the book comes out you will get the book sent to you that day.

________________________________________________________

What follows is an actual excerpt from the book, “Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World.”

________________________________________________________

Chapter 52

A Small Stumble May Lead to a Big Fall

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

1 Peter 5:8–9

Lydia Moeller was at her recital and ready to play for the audience. The girl before her finished and Lydia walked onto the platform. She sat down and began to play “The Enchanted Stream” by Christopher Goldston. She started out playing a beautiful tune, but about halfway through she stumbled when she forgot her notes. She stopped, tried to start, and stopped again. You could she the emotions building, and tears were coming down her face. Then a wonderful thing happened. She regrouped and played the song without error. So, yes, she stumbled, but she didn’t fall. She kept her balance and finished the race. I said to her afterwards that I was very impressed with her. Not that she stumbled, but that she finished the race.

Do you stumble and fall because you have worries and problems that overtake you? Well, you are not alone my friend. This is an all too common occurrence in our lives.

We let enemies like divorce, abuse, overweight, low self-esteem, depression, fear of failure and bills that are not paid to cause us to stumble, and wonder, Where is God?

Satan loves this kind of doubt. He can plant many thoughts in our heads to cause us to fall even further. Some of these worries may be small by themselves, but put enough of them together and they become as large as Mt. Everest.

That broken-down car isn’t such a horrible thing, but you have already missed some work because of it, and your boss said you are not to miss any more work. The illness that attacked your daughter isn’t life-threatening, but you have no insurance to pay for the doctor’s visit. You want to put that glass of whiskey down, but you can’t.

Each of these issues may be small to some people, but for you it is like taking on Sir Lancelot and his sword with a wet noodle, or trying to swim ten miles and not knowing how to swim.

Some of the most successful people in the Bible have stumbled many times, and still are loved by God.

Abraham lied—not once but twice—to save his skin, but God gave him all the land he could see and promised that he would be the father of a nation.

Moses killed a man, and doubted God many times, but he led the nation of Israel out of Egypt.

Rahab was a prostitute, but her heart was open to God, and she protected three spies for Joshua. God in turn spared her life.

David committed adultery and had a man killed to cover up the first sin. (And both of these sins are biggies in our book.) Yet, God called him “a man after his own heart.”

Jonah tried to run away from what God commanded him to do and was swallowed by a whale. He later followed God’s command to preach to all the people in Nineveh.

Peter denied knowing Jesus three times, but became one of the prominent leaders in the early church.

Each one of us has stumbled many times. We have the choice to lie there flat on our face when we stumble, or we can get back up and continue our walk with God. The longer we lie there, though, the harder it can be to get back up and into the race again.

We wonder sometimes why God would love us. The good news is that He loves us just the way we are. But He doesn’t want us to stay that way. He didn’t want all those people in the Bible to remain they way they were. However, He accepted them the way they were, and transformed them into spiritual leaders.

How can we change? By taking our focus off our failures, fear and worries and turning them over to God.

The mind is like a stream running through our brain and the stream has been polluted. It will tear us down and eventually affect everything if we let it. When we stop the flow of “sewage” (unwholesome input, negative thinking) to the brain, it will take awhile for the creek to clear. We can’t clean up all the sewage at once, but we need to take the first steps.

Before he became the king of Israel, David was so down and desperate that he had to live in a cave to get away from his pursuer—the king himself. It was there that he realized that all he had to do was to cry out to God, asking Him to protect him and bring him back to where God really wanted him to be.

I myself was so down from my stumbling that I seriously considered suicide. I cried out to God to rescue me, and He did.

We need to not focus on our times of stumbling and need to focus on God instead. Our weeks need to include reading the Bible, praying to God for guidance, going to church to be with other Christians, being part of a Bible study, and reading Christian books (like mine, of course!) We need to take time to be with other Christians.

We can’t afford to dwell on the negative. Instead, we need to seek out the positive. If we have failed in the past (and we all have in one degree or another), we are not doomed to live in the past. God desires that we live for today—and the future.

Others may have turned their backs on us because of our stumbling and seeming inability to “get it together.” But they’re only seeing the outside. Remember that God looks at the heart (1 Sam. 16:7).

Maybe you haven’t stumbled, but you think people look down on you because you don’t have as many of this world’s possessions as they have—or maybe you have more than they do. Or maybe you feel you don’t measure up in other ways—too overweight, too this, too that, or not enough this or enough that.

Remember, please, that God doesn’t care about any of those issues. He is looking at your heart. He is looking for you to follow Him and do great things for Him.

Satan uses our stumbling to tell us we might as well give up. “You won’t succeed no matter how much you try,” he whispers. You want to stop smoking, but you can’t. You want to finish that project your wife has been screaming for you to finish, but you don’t have the desire. You can fill in the blanks because you know what your issues are.

Please don’t give up. Never give up! Find friends you can turn to at times like this. Share your fears and let them be your protectors, coaches and encouragers. A true friend wants only the best for you, will listen and not criticize, and is a person you can feel safe with. A true friend may have to say some hard things to you, but his intention is that you become the best person you can be.

I have friends like that here on earth, but I also have one more—Jesus Himself. He meets all the criteria listed above for a true friend. I am never alone—He is always just a prayer away.

We don’t have to try to make more money—or lose 50 pounds, or climb the ladder at work—to feel worthy in His sight. Our willingness to simply turn all our troubles over to God and let Him love us is the “proof” of our worth. Success in this life can be measured by how much we love God and desire to serve Him.

So you’re not in line to be named as the next Pope. You’ve done some things you’re not proud of? You gave up too early on a dream? Do you feel like Custer and you’re on your last stand? Do bad things keep resurfacing like a cork in a lake?

Well,  join the “Been there and done that” club. Here’s a news flash: Churches are filled with the down-and-out. They may look like the “up-and-in” crowd, but they need someone who’s “been there and done that” to come alongside them for encouragement and fellowship. You may be the one person in your entire church who can honestly say to that person, “I know how you feel.”

I have a hearing problem. I have to wear hearing aids in both ears. I have learned to use selective hearing. (Don’t tell my wife!) I take off my hearing aids when I want a quiet time. I go somewhere that noise cannot find me, where I can really concentrate on reading the Bible or praying.

However, I’ve found there are two types of thoughts I can always hear, and I get to choose which side of the “argument” I’ll listen to:

  1. 1. Yes you can … No you can’t.
  2. 2. God will help you … There is no God.
  3. 3. You have self-worth … You are worthless.

All of us can choose to use selective hearing too. We can turn a deaf ear to those stumbling days and the years of doubts. We can walk the straight path toward the future and listen only to God.

I don’t seem to hear Satan as much anymore—because of the ear-plug effect. I can choose to plug the ears to my thoughts and not allow negative thoughts to penetrate, but open my mind’s ears wide to uplifting, soothing thoughts.

All of us have ears; we just haven’t learned to use them properly. We can turn the volume down on people who want to degrade us and turn up the volume on those who come alongside to help us.

When we’re standing knee deep in a river and dying of thirst from feeling depressed, dejected and beaten down, we can wade ashore and quench our thirst on the love of God. God responds to our sighs, our tears, our fears—even our stumbling and falling—as a prayer to Him.

Each of us is a child of God—made in His image. Don’t you think that since He went as far as to make us in His own image that He will do everything He can to love and do what is best for each one of us? Of course He will.

Stop stumbling and start walking with God.

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

James 1:12

Further Adventures

We all fail sometimes. It may be small thing like forgetting where the car keys are. It may be you lost the important papers you boss told you to take are off. It may be a broken marriage. It may even be your own job that you have lost. It is what you do after each of these happens that shows what we are made of. I can’t tell you how many times I have lost my keys. I have had to have Charlotte bail me out often by getting the keys for me, but I am still driving. I didn’t give driving up because I feared I would lose the keys again. I have lost important papers. I had this book all one and was getting ready to go back through and ad some Further Adventures to it like the one you are reading now. I completely finished it one time. But somehow I lost the whole file. I think I must of sent it to a friend and asked them to proof read it and forgot who I sent it to. I haven’t found it to this very day. So this is my second attempt at writing this Further Adventure. I vaguely remember the other one I wrote for this chapter, and I like this one much more. Could it be that it was God that “lost” that file for me?

The point to all of this is that you stumble and you fall. I did. You need to get back up; dust yourself off and start up again. I will get all the Future Adventures done the second time, and now I am convinced that they will be better than the first time I wrote them.

Something to Ponder

Isn’t it funny that we seek happiness from the outside, but true happiness is found on the inside?


If Sin Seperates U From God, Why not Seperate us From Sin?

Why Does God Let Tragedy Happen?

 

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.

Proverbs 29:25

There are some thoughts/questions people have asked me. I have even asked questions myself. It is very hard to see why so many people must be sacrificed, for no apparent reason. Why would God allow this to happen?

It seems like God has forsaken us sometimes when a tragedy happens. The major tragedy that happened in New York City, on September 11, 2001 makes us ask questions.

Terrorists hijacked four airplanes and attempted to crash them into important buildings. Three of the planes succeeded in crashing into the World Trade Center twin towers and the Pentagon building, killing over 3,000 people. The fourth one, because of the heroics of the passengers aboard, crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing all 38 aboard.

Why did God allow this kind of horrible event? Why would He let His children die? Why didn’t He stop the terrorists from carrying out such a horrific deed?

The answer isn’t simple, but we learn in the Bible that God gives us choices. He gives us the freedom to choose what we will be in life. He lets us rise up and be leaders that are admired by millions, but He also allows people the choice of evil. Satan is alive and well, trying to get mankind to choose evil. That is why there was Hitler, former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, and Stalin. God, in His love for us, gives us the choice of our path, and then we become accountable for our choices. Man had to be given a free will, because love is a choice and can only be possible where man is free to choose.

So, if sin can separate me from God, why doesn’t He separate me from sin? Because God chose. He chose to create the heavens and the earth. He chose to create oceans and the mountains, and He chose to create Adam and Eve. He created them in His own image and also gave them the right to choose, just like He does.

He is like a father or mother would be like on earth. Parents tell their children what is wrong and what is right. Then they watch over their offspring, hoping they make the right choices and never disobey. If children make a mistake, they have to face the consequences at a later time from their parents.

God didn’t make us to be robots. We each have our own decision-making process. We can accept God, or reject Him. We can obey God, or obey Satan. We can give up the things of the world, or we can become part of the world. God loves us so much He allows us freedom of choice. He loves us as we are, but He just doesn’t want us to stay that way.

It seems hard to accept death, even though it may be the death of a loved one. God loves us all, and He will comfort us through the hard times of losing someone, even though it hurts so badly.

Try to comprehend why God allows people like terrorist to be on this earth, and then make the right choices in your own life.

 

For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief,he will also show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.

Lamentations 3:31–33

 

Further adventures

Be a help to those who are confused about why God allows things to happen in the world. Try to let them know of His love and how He allows us to make our own choices. This may help many people if you just do this one thing.

 

Something to ponder

Isn’t it funny how we forget God when everything is going well, but cry out to Him when we are hurting?

* Excerpt from: Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World

Someone Degrading you? Time for Selective Hearing

                 There is Hope for Those Who Seek

 I would like tro share with you an actual excerpt from my book: “Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World.” It will be coming out in about sixty days. You can pre-order it at: www.winepresspub.com. If you do, you will save 27% of what the retail price will be when it comes out at Barnes & Noble, Borders, or Amazon.com.

It is for those of us who suffer the many afflictions that are going around now because of the economy.  

_________________________________________________  

Don’t Despair—Mighty Mouse Will Save the Day

 

I used to love the cartoon “Mighty Mouse.” The song always got me pumped: “Mighty Mouse is on the way. Mighty Mouse will save the day!”

Are you feeling like you are alone, and unwanted? I have been there.

I have some mighty answers for you. It is the Doug Bolton “Top 20 Countdown” that will help you save the day and love God. With apologies to David Letterman.

20. Do you have trouble getting to know someone? Is it hard for you to make friends? Remember: Strangers are family once you get to know them.

19. The world is divided into two categories: the ones who will accomplish a great deal, and those who won’t accomplish anything. You will be the one who will accomplish much, if you allow God to help you.

18. No one is going to love you more if you are fat or skinny. They will love you because of the person you are.

17. When you hate someone and want them to hurt, you hurt yourself. Spend more time trying to help others feel good about themselves, and you will feel good about yourself too.

16. You do not need to let stress control you. You do not need to be a workaholic. It is OK to rest. Jesus takes over when you can’t cope. 

15. When you feel depressed because of losing a loved one, remember God knows your pain. He saw His only Son buried.

16. When someone is trying to degrade you, it is time for selective hearing.

13. You just took another breath while you read this. Thank God for it.

12. When you marry, you need to stay together even when the skin starts to wrinkle and the excitement fades.

11. God’s goal is not to make us happy; it is to make us His. It is not to give us what we want; it is to give us what we need.

10. If God doesn’t come to your rescue right away, maybe He is waiting until you give away your pride.

9. Don’t apply labels to people until you have examined the contents.

8. Everyone is unique even down to the fingerprints and DNA. God has a plan just for you and wants you to use the talent He gave you. Yes, you!

7. The greater the future you have, the greater the attack will be from the prince of darkness. Pray for God’s protection, and Satan will be fish bait!

6. While you can’t control someone else’s heart, you can control yours.

5. Don’t say, “Thanks, God, I can take it from here,” and then not check in with God until the next crisis. Pray without ceasing.

4. All the great hitters in baseball fail two out of three times.

3. The most common command in the Bible? “Fear not.”

2. Practice makes perfect. Study God’s Word each day and learn more of His love for you.

AND the number one reason you will conquer depression is … (Drum roll please)

1. God made you in His own image. Shouldn’t that make you think He wants everything to go well for you? Trust Him to provide all your needs—emotionally, physically and spiritually.

The teacher blood left in me now has an assignment. Start your own positive list of thoughts to help you fight off depression.

Read it every day and add to it.

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

You can make it through a life that is a swamp full of alligators and horrible storms!  Move on to more sunny days.  Move on to where there is hope. Move on to the light at the end of the tunnel. Move away from those alligators that will be made into shoes if they don’t leave you alone.

Depression and the many other mental afflictions do not go away in a flash. I still have bouts with them from time to time, but I quickly concentrate on the positive. I concentrate on God and all His love He has to share with me. I concentrate on my family, my children, my grandchildren. I concentrate on the good things that have happened in my life.

Because I do all that, I see that the pluses far outweigh the negatives every time. It is like the song says: “Count your blessings; name them one by one. Count your many blessings; see what God has done.”

If you can’t think of enough blessings, know that I love you with all my heart, and so do millions of other people who suffer with the many afflictions in their lives. We know your pain, and we are praying for you daily.

We are many, and Satan is only one stupid misguided angel. We can defeat him if we all work together. We are an unbeatable team when we have one goal. That goal is to live productive Christian lives in which we stand on solid ground, not on the shifting sands of our emotions.