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.  

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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.

Satan Starts Working Overtime When you Become a Christian

 

Every Temptation Is an Opportunity to Trust God

 

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

1 Corinthians 10:13

 

When someone becomes a Christian, Satan starts working overtime to try to pull that person away from God. He hates it that one more person has accepted the love of God into their lives. He will do whatever he can to turn the new Christian around, and head him or her back into sin.

We have so much fun each day just trying to make it through the day fighting off temptations. I mean this as a challenge and not as a joke. We face temptations constantly to do what God would not want us to do. He allows a different close encounter to approach us in the form of many temptations going through our mind every day. It could be something small like telling an off-color joke to others in an effort to fit in, or something more serious like deciding to take home a business camera that no one will miss.

Being tempted is part of being human. God does not protect us from temptation. He allows it into our lives so we can learn to depend on Him. The verse above promises that He “will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” It is our chance to build on solid ground for our eternal blessings. We are never free of temptations. It doesn’t matter how long we have been a Christian—Satan will tempt us. When we fall for the temptation, it’s because we have turned our back on the “way out” God has promised.

Jesus was tempted by Satan for forty days. He was offered a great deal of power in the world. He was given a chance to be king over all the kings. He was offered all the land He could see in all directions from the high place He was standing. He was tempted in every way you could think possible. This man called Jesus, who is the embodiment of how we should live on this earth, turned His back on all of the temptations! The way of escape for Him was falling back on the promises of God from Scripture.

We have the same power to not be caught by temptation by calling to mind God’s promises to us.

            We face temptations every day. (I am a sucker for Snickers candy bars, every time I see one in the store.) We need to concentrate on doing what is right each time we face a temptation. There is a very simple way to approach each and every temptation we face. Just ask, “What would Jesus do in this situation?” I mean, we can really ask that question each and every time we are tempted.

Example: Guys, a female friend asks you to help her put up a fence. About halfway through, she invites you into the house for something to drink. When you get inside, you see by what she’s wearing that she has other intentions. She comes close to you, and says that it would be OK to have a little fun. “No one will know,” she promises. What would Jesus do?

There is one thing you should do right away. You should run out of there like Joseph ran from the wife of Potiphar. You should run like you are being chased by a rabid dog looking for someone to bite.

Potiphar’s wife had tried for several days to get Joseph to sleep with her, and he refused. Then when he was close, and no one was around, she grabbed his cloak and ordered him to sleep with her. He broke loose and ran out of the house. He resisted temptation even though Potiphar’s wife tried so hard to seduce him.

Why did he run? Why should you run? It didn’t turn out well for Joseph. Potiphar’s wife became angry because he wouldn’t sleep with her. She accused Joseph of trying to seduce her. Even though he hadn’t touched her, Potiphar put him in prison for several years. Not a good situation for a young man that did everything he could to please God.

But there is a happy ending to the story of Joseph. In Genesis 39–50 we see how God brought Joseph through temptation and made him instrumental in His plan for the nation of Israel, giving him a place of prominence Joseph never could have dreamed would be his. It is one of the most wonderful stories in the Bible and I often wonder if the story would have ended as it did had Joseph not taken the “way out” God provided. Probably not.

Sometimes the “way out” may be simply walking away from temptation. Other times we may have to run as fast as we can.

As a child, I used to go to a movie in the downtown area of Salem, Oregon. It was within walking distance of my home. It was all right going to the movie, because it was still light. But on the way home it was very dark, and bushes lined the sidewalk where I had to walk. I knew there was a monster in those bushes and he was ready to grab me! I think I set some kind of record as I ran by those bushes. I was not about to be caught be some evil demon. I stayed in the middle of the street so a monster couldn’t grab me from either side.

All of us have monsters—real or imagined—in the bushes. Temptations are the real ones that we all face at some time in life. What is important is that each and every time we are faced with some kind of temptation, we ask, “What would Jesus do? What is the ‘way out’ He is providing me?”

 

[God’s grace] teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives.

Titus 2:12

 

Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Hebrews 2:18

 

Further adventures

Think before you leap! Always be on alert. Think of life as a war between God and Satan. You are on the good guy’s side. You need to be careful of the attacks from the guy on the other side. He will do whatever he can to destroy you. He will try to convince you that what you are doing is OK just this one time. No one will know. Stop! That is not the good guy talking. That is the enemy! Trust God, and God only. Everything else is the enemy.

 

Something to ponder

Isn’t it funny how some of us never hear the music before the song is over?

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

Do we Need to go to Church to be Christians?

 

Are You Wrinkled with Burden?

 Come to Church and Get a Faith Lift

                                                 

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Romans 12:10

 

Do we need to go to church to be Christians? Not in the thinking of a many people. Do we need to go to church to grow and be strong Christians? In my thinking, yes—it is a must.

I find this second thought important in my own life. Where else can I sit and share my beliefs in God more than in God’s house. Those people who think the same way need me there to support them—and I need them to support me.

There are many times when we face sickness, sorrow or tragedy. People will pray for us, and we will pray for them. Jesus calls His children to a community where they gather and share together.

We know that we need to be with brothers and sisters in Christ if we are to grow in the Spirit. When we are with other Christians, we begin to feel more like loving one another, and feel free to share without fear. Christians who gather together learn that each member is a special present from God—someone with whom we can share and grow spiritually.

 

As the bumper sticker suggests: We can get a faith lift every time we come to church and share with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Spending each Sunday with people who love us and want to help us grow is one way to have many close encounters with God.

I have developed some close friendships with Christians from my home church and we keep in touch during the week. It helps me to stay on level with God and to be strong.

We can stay strong another way—as part of a Bible study during the week. Most churches have study groups that are a comfortable place to share and grow.

There is also an international Bible study group (Bible Study Fellowship—BSF) that I attend during the week. There are groups for just men and groups for just women. Some women’s groups meet during the day. Many meet on the same weeknight evening so both spouses can attend at the same time while their children are part of program geared to their age group.

There is a different study in each term of the seven-year cycle and you eventually get a great overview of the entire Bible. I have been blessed each year I’ve gone and have developed close friendships there. After the lecture over the passage we study during the week on our own, my small group of ten to twelve men meets. We share our hurts and needs at the end of each session. Some men would not open up in other settings, but they feel safe at BSF.

 

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and the he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Hebrews 11:6

 

Further adventures

  1. Visit your neighbors and talk to them about coming to church. I realize this may be a difficult assignment. It may be uncomfortable to speak up for the Lord, but just think if everyone in your neighborhood was a strong Christian. What if they all went to churches where they were growing in the Lord? What a glorious place to live. What a boost that would be. Isn’t it worth trying to tell your neighbors about your church, and more importantly about your Savior?
  2. Call a fellow Christian from your church and thank him or her for being there for you. Although they may not understand what you mean, they will be grateful for your thoughtfulness and glad they have contributed to your life. Your friendship may even grow stronger.

 

Something to ponder

Isn’t it funny that even every hair on your head is counted by God?


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