Seekers Episode 10 – How To Deal with Frustration

Seekers is a podcast focused on answering common life questions through the infinite wisdom of God’s living word – The Holy Bible.

As a new parent of two children under the age of 16 months I’m discovering emotions I never knew existed before. From sensitivities to light and sound, to zombie impersonations during midnight milk runs, to feelings of total failure for not measuring up to what I thought a parent should be. It’s been a time of great joy and great defeat. A time like no other in my life. And in all of the rough feelings and frustrations I find one common denominator – control.

Control feels safe. Control feels familiar. Control leaves less surprises. And when we lose control, negative feelings start to creep in. And yet, so much in life is not in our control at all. We don’t manually pump the heart to beat so many times per minute. We don’t set the air intake for our bodies like we do the thermostat at home. We aren’t driving all the cars around us on the highway on the way to work, or piloting the subway train to ensure it doesn’t hit anything underground. We aren’t in control of so much in life. Maybe that’s why we feel so strongly about what we think we should control, and when things don’t go our way, that’s when frustration emerges.

Take me for example. When I want to sleep all night and the babies have other plans, the expectation of sleep is broken. When I want quiet in the car, and the babies feel inclined to cry in operatic tune, the expectation of quiet is shattered like a glass in front of a chorus of world class sopranos singing in unison. Frustration comes from lack of control and broken expectations as best as I can see.

In this episode of Seekers I look at what the word of God says about frustration, and how we can have peace and serenity always, even in the most chaotic of times.

Let’s pray.

God, if we’re being honest, we turn to You most in times of despair and darkness. Times in the valley. Times where we see no way out. And Your word provides a lamp to our feet, and a light to our path. Lord I pray what we learn in the trying times sticks with us in the victorious seasons of life. I pray that we turn to you always in all ways to ensure we are walking that narrow way of righteousness. In Jesus name I pray, amen.

Our text verse is

Psalm 46:1

1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

In Psalm 40:1 we learn three important points, God is our refuge, our strength, and He’s always present.

Refuge

God wants us to turn to Him. He wants us to know He is our refuge. He is the one we should go to when we’re frustrated, angry, or whatever other emotion you can think of. He is our refuge. What’s a refuge? According to Merriam-Webster refuge is defined as shelter or protection from danger or distress.

Like a boat lost at sea, our bodies send out distress signals in the form of a variety of emotions. From frustration to stress to physical manifestations like sweaty palms and butterfly filled stomachs. When these distress calls go out we need to take shelter in God. How? First by trusting Him, and having faith in Him that He is your personal savior and Lord. Next by reading His word and meditating on it. And finally through prayer and fellowship – as in spending time with Him. If we do these things when frustration comes our way we will be able to find safety. Our sour emotions will fade. And the good Lord will comfort us.

Strength

I have to remind myself from time-to-time that God created everything I see and interact with on a daily basis. He created it all. And by focusing on God’s awesome, unfathomable strength, we realize how much He is in control. How He can handle your battles with the blink of an eye, a flick of the wrist, they are nothing to a God that created the Atlantic Ocean, the Himalayan Mountains, and every other wonder of the world in 6 days. God is mightier than anything we’ll ever face.

He’s a Reassuring Presence

The final part of the verse allows us to see God’s here. He’s present. If I have a problem, and I want someone to help me fix it, what good does it do me if they’re out of town and out of touch? The only true way to fix something broken is to be present to do so. Take comfort in knowing that God is here, right now, and he’s in control of not just now, but eternity. That’s an awesome thought.

By understanding God’s will to be a refuge, His unmatchable power, and his omnipresence, we can beat back frustration ten times out of ten.

 

Seekers Episode 9 – How To Know How Much To Give To Charity

Seekers is a podcast focused on answering common life questions through the infinite wisdom of God’s living word – The Holy Bible.

Charity. It’s not how much you have, but what you are willing to give that makes all the difference.

There are no shortage of places that will gladly take your donation. From billboards telling us to donate our clothes to Goodwill, to public radio asking for our old car, to emails from politicians imploring us to support their campaign, to fundraising letters in the mail from causes dear to our heart, it’s easy to find a place to give. It’s even easier to make the gift with the help of credit cards and online payments. They’re even trucks that’ll show up in your driveway to pick up your donations at no charge to you.

If it’s easy to find a place to give, and easy to make the donation, then why is charity so hard for so many?

Today on Seekers we look at what the word of God says about Charity, and how we can give to please God, not just man.

Let’s pray.

God you are my creator. You are the creator of all of this. From the microphone recording this message, to the seat that I sit in, to the home that houses me, to the ground that it sits on, to the skies that it sits below, to the heavens above them. Father God you are righteous, holy, and the true judge. Lord in Your word You tell us of the judgement, Lord let this message help those listening learn what true charity is, and how to have it. For this I know God will bring You Joy, and thus it will bring us joy. In Jesus name I pray, amen.

Three quick points here, but first we must look at the story of the widow.

Mark 12:41-44

41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.

42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.

43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:

44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

Walking In The Footsteps of the Needy

We see here in the book of Mark that there were several types of givers coming through the treasury that day. There were those that had wealth, and since they were not mentioned as widowed, most likely family to support them as well. Sound familiar? Many listening to this will have at least relative wealth, as in you’re doing better than most in this world, and you’ll have family to back you up if you fall on hard times.

Then there is the widow. Presumably she doesn’t have a lot of family to back her up, at least not a husband any more. The bible calls her poor, so we know she doesn’t have a lot of money. Is this something you can relate to? Are you widowed and poor? If not, the first step in charitable giving is to put yourself in her shoes.

Think about life with little to nothing and nobody. Think about how you would feel, act, live, etc. A few key lessons might emerge.

-You will have to come to terms with depending on God, since you can’t do much for yourself, and you don’t have family to bail you out. You have to learn to rely on God, and as He answers prayer after prayer, your faith is strengthened in Him.

-How you view man changes. If you’re poor even the simplest thing can look like a luxury. My wife tells a story about coming to America from a Thai refugee camp, and peering into a bakery case at the airport, begging her mom and dad to buy her a pastry. Her parents asked the baker how much, and when they saw the price printed on the menu they sadly told my wife that they didn’t have enough money in their savings to buy it for her. A pastry can be a luxury. Now imagine someone buying boxes of them with no regard, and tossing in a few bucks in a box to donate to the Red Cross. Are they really that generous?

So the dependence on God is heavy, and how or what we have as a poor person is not taken for granted, nor is man lifted up on any pedestal for what he has done, because frankly there’s so much he hasn’t.

God loves all, but I believe He has a special place in His heart for the poor. Because for them it’s easy to depend on Him, they have no choice! When I fall on hard times I am comforted by the fact that I’m as close to God then as ever, and for this reason alone it is worth putting yourself in the shoes of the poor widow.

Giving Out of Abundance vs Giving Out of Sacrifice (Sacrificial Giving)

The core principal of this scripture is not about how much you give, but how much you give relative to how much you have. Are you involved in sacrificial giving? Does it pinch to give? Are there sacrifices you’ve had to make to give to others? If not, you are missing out on one of the biggest blessings of your life.

Acts 20:35

35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

The bible doesn’t mince words. It is more blessed to give than to receive. Not give for others to see, or for some benefit to yourself, but give out of a love for the Lord, out of a love for His people, and out of a love for Jesus.

Matthew 25:40

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

We are called to care for the least of these. And not in a way that’s convenient or easy for us, like clicking “like” on Facebook or donating $5 to flood victims via text message, but messy, inconvenient, hard-to-do love. A love that makes you uncomfortable, out of sorts, and totally sold out for the Lord.

The Discipline of Giving

Sacrificial giving is not easy. Walking in the shoes of the poor, meek, and troubled is not fun. This is the mental equivalent of going to the gym each day and doing the exercise you like the least for a sustained period of time. It takes discipline.

Like a muscle, the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. Sacrificial giving is something that bears tremendous spiritual fruit. It’s what God has put us here to do, and when we do it God will show his approval through blessings seen and unseen.

So I challenge you to think about how you can give in a way that hurts. In a way that makes you fidget in your seat. Sit down with your family and read Mark 12, discuss the story, and talk about how as a family you can do something amazing for God. Not just once, but again, and again, and again till Jesus comes back.

Let’s pray.

God, as with so many of these episodes, all of this, love, sacrifice, humility, paying a great price, it all points back to Your son Jesus. It all points back to what He did for us that day on Mt Calvary on the cross. Thank you Father, thank you for giving us life, and thank you for allowing us to see in Your word how You’d have us give. Let us be humble servants Lord, let us please You, and do Your will. In Jesus name, amen.

 

Seekers Episode 7 – How to Make Sure You’re Getting Good Advice

Seekers is a podcast focused on answering common life questions through the infinite wisdom of God’s living word – The Holy Bible.

Life is complicated. We are perpetually living in a world that throws obstacle after obstacle our way. No matter our class in society – rich or poor – we all face battles. Often we’re not sure what to do, or haven’t been through a certain situation. It’s at this time we seek advice.

Think about this for a second. You’re in some critical situation and you don’t know what to do. You realize the consequences of the choice you make are great enough to really think about what to do. And so you go to get advice, but have you ever really thought about the messenger? The person that very well might make the decision for you? How much do you know about them, and their motives? Do they have your best interest in mind?

Today on Seekers I look at what the bible says about advice, and how we can ensure we are getting wise counsel when we seek it.

Let’s pray.

Lord, please let Your will be done here. Take my words and make them Your own. No matter what it is You want to do here today, let it be done. I want those listening to this to come away with the knowledge to make the right choices as they go about their lives, and I know Your word is the ultimate source for wisdom. Please Lord show us the way. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

So what does the bible say about advice? Our text verse today is

Proverbs 12:15

15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.

The Way of the Fool

When we think we know, we might have no idea. The way of the fool is right in his own eyes. We aren’t able to fully understand what to do all the time, yet for some reason it seems time and time again our inner know-it-all starts to rear its head out at us to say we do. To tell us we know exactly what to do, and we don’t need to ask anyone about anything.

I hate asking for directions. A typical guy I suppose. I always like to think I can figure it out on my own, or pop an address into my cell phone map to get my family where we need to go. Truth is many hours could’ve been saved this year alone if I’d stopped and asked the right person.

Proverbs 12:15 is as much about pride as it is about anything else. The proud think they know it all, think they’ve got all the answers. But humbly, we don’t. We’re flawed. We need help.

The Wise

In the second part of Proverbs 12:15 we learn about the wise man. The person that listens and adheres to what others tell them.

Often times the most critical choices are the ones that we’re most passionate about. Ones we don’t really want to have someone else make for us. Yet, these choices, and the consequences of they hold in the balance, are big enough that we absolutely need advice. We need others to shepherd us into making the right choices.

What Type of Counsel?

Godly counsel is the only kind you should listen to.

1 Corinthians 15:33

Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

If you take one thing away from this podcast episode, let it be this. Do not listen to ungodly counsel. When my parents were exploring divorce a Christian counselor told them to stay together, and urged them to work through their differences. Another counselor, that prescribed to worldly wisdom, told them to go ahead and split up. My life was drastically changed by the advice of someone that, according to my mother, wasn’t using the bible as her reference for advice.

The wise of this world are fools in the eyes of the Lord. They will show you many accreditations and worldly accolades, but they won’t have any spiritual fruit to their names. They’ll be popular in a broken world full of sin, where self, pride, and godlessness rule the day, and this type of advice will not behoove you.

The first question to ask when someone tries to give you advice is to ask them if they know Jesus as their personal Lord and savior? The answer is a simple yes or no, and it should be the same guide for you seeking advice from them on any matter.

God counsels us through his word.

Psalm 1:1-2

1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

When I need advice or have a problem I just can’t figure out, I look at the word of God for advice, inspiration, and hope. You can and should too. So much of the obstacles of life are written about in the Word of God, from dealing with debt to family life to finding purpose and fulfillment. Turn to the word of God for advice.

Seek those that have been where you are now, and made it through successfully. Look to people that aren’t afraid to open up their bible and look at the word of God in a way that can help you make the right choice.

Seekers Episode 6 – How To Find True Love

Seekers is a podcast focused on answering common life questions through the infinite wisdom of God’s living word – The Holy Bible.

Who we love says as much about us as it does about them. There are no words stronger than love to describe affection toward another. True love is the one you marry, the one you spend the rest of your life with. True love is reserved for the special person that makes you better, and is always there for you.

True love is the one that’s there for you when nobody else is, the one that cares for you when you’ve failed in the world’s eyes. True love is decent, modest, humble, and amazing. It makes you a better person while keeping you company in bright moments and dark. True love is so special it’s tough to put into words. Most of all true love is rare. It’s an ounce of gold sitting amidst a mountain of rocks.

How do we find true love? What do we look for? And how we will know when it’s true love and not some other emotion that brings us strife like like lust or settling for someone you know isn’t right? In this episode of Seekers I look at what the bible says about love – where true love comes from, what the characteristics of it are, and what it looks like when we find it.

Let’s pray.

God, you are awesome, and I give you all praise. I thank you for allowing us to record another message today. I thank you for the those that will listen to this, and I ask that you bless the message Lord. Let people learn what true love really is, and never settle for less. In Your name I pray, amen.

It All Starts with Love of The Father

If you want to know about the invention it helps to get to know the inventor. BMW automobiles are made for performance more so than nearly any other car on the market. It helps to know that  Karl Rapp, the founder of one of the companies that would merge to become BMW, started as a builder of 12 cylinder aircraft engines. You can understand the performance-mindedness of BMW a great deal more by just knowing that little tidbit about the founder.

If we can understand God, then we will understand ourselves better. God give us His word to tell us about Himself.

1 John 4:8

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

So we know that God is love. That the origin and meaning of love is God. And that God has a plan for us.

John 14:15

If ye love me, keep my commandments.

So here we see love used in the context of us. If we love God, which we should since He made us, then we should keep his commandments. By keeping His commandments we are exhibiting love.

Just in case you need a quick brush up on the 10 commandments, I’ll list them:

Exodus 20: 1-17

20 And God spake all these words, saying,

2 I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

7 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

13 Thou shalt not kill.

14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

15 Thou shalt not steal.

16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

So we have to start by loving God, and by living a life pleasing to Him.

When You Love God, and Live For Him, Good Things Happen

John 15:5

I am the vine, ye [are] the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Can I ask a question? What can of fruit is your life bearing today? What good things are happening from your existence?

If you are abiding in God your life will bear fruit. This can be spiritual fruit, growing in the Lord, it can be blessings, like a growing family, or a new career, or it can simply be an enduring peace in your heart knowing that God is in control. This is the knowledge that will allow you to patiently wait on true love.

See the world wants us to hurry up and get a romance going. The world is obsessed with brokenness when it comes to love. Or as I like to call it, fake love. The world loves fake love. It loves sad love songs, broken hearts, sad goodbyes, messy relationships, premarital sex, hedonism, trans and gay love, and other things the bible calls an abomination.

But God has much more in store for those that abide in Him. For those that wait patiently on the Lord. God doesn’t want you to settle for messy, broken, fake love relationships. God wants to give you the best of the best. But you have to be patient, and you have to abide in Him.

So you can say true love is an act of faith and discipline. Waiting on God to provide you with the one He knows is just right for you.

And Here’s What True Love Looks Like

So what to look for? Here are three traits the bible shows us true love inhibits.

1 – It’s everlasting, not fleeting

Jeremiah 31:3

3 The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

So if the person you are thinking about marrying has the tendency to drop off the map from time-to-time, and be a little sketchy for lack of a better word. This is NOT the true love you’ve been waiting for. You want the one you know will stick through life’s up’s and down’s with you through and through.

2 – It’s peaceful, there is no fear

1 John 4:18

18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

If you are afraid of the person you want to marry, or how they will act, then this isn’t the right one for you. Fear is not love. When we fear someone or something we are not endeared to it the way we ought to be, and we are in danger of putting ourselves in a bad situation. Remember, if fear is kicking in then there is some type of reason for it. A reason our minds and bodies are telling us no, keeping going, this is not it.

3- A Powerful Sacrifice

Love is the greatest emotion we can have toward each other.

1 Corinthians 13:13

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.

In this verse charity means love. The type of love we have for each other is often admiration, or affection, but rarely is charitable love. The type of love that is sacrificial.

Ask yourself, is the person you think is your true love the type that would sacrifice for you. Not give you a french fry at dinner, but his or her last dollar if you needed it, or forgo sleeping on the only bed in a house to let you have it, while they took the floor. The type that takes their sweatshirt off on a cold day and gives it to you, even if they aren’t wearing anything but a t-shirt beneath.

Sacrificial love is special, and it’s rare. To find someone that loves you enough to give up something significant to their own wellbeing. That’s when you know it’s true love.

I’m not sure if you noticed or not, but all the examples of true love I’ve given today – everlasting, peaceful, sacrificial – signify Jesus. They are who He is. He offers us everlasting love. He offers us a peace that surpasseth all understanding. And He made the biggest sacrifice of them all, laying down His life to save us from a sin debt that was to send us to hell. Jesus is the perfect picture of true love.

A very familiar verse that exemplifies true love better than anything else – John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

As with so much in the bible. When we study it we see both God’s amazing love for us, and are given practical instructions for living life, like what the traits are of true love. This is what makes the infinite wisdom in the bible so powerful. It’s both a balm to our souls, and a map to our lives. A way to understand how great our God is, and a way to see how He would have us live.

So what are you waiting for? True love starts with God. Fall in love with Him, and His word, and you will have everything you need to find, evaluate, and eventually discover true love forevermore.

Seekers Episode 5 – Coping With, and Getting Rid of, Anxiety

Seekers is a podcast focused on answering common life questions through the infinite wisdom of God’s living word – The Holy Bible.

What makes you nervous? What keeps you up at night? Ever felt like you couldn’t do something, and that it was going to happen, whether you liked it or not?

Anxiety is one of those emotions that can paralyze us. One that can come to rule our lives, and change the way we would normally act. Anxiety can literally make us sick, and keep us from enjoying life the way God intended us to.

What makes anxiety so tricky is how it shows up at seemingly a moment’s notice, and stays for equally unpredictable amounts of time. It’s like a ghost, one that can haunt us if we aren’t vigilant in fighting against it.

I personally have struggled with anxiety mightily since our second child was born some 10 months after his sister. The burden of making sure they are both doing well, along with the rest of life, has at times felt like too much to bare. So this is personal for me, and there’s only thing that’s really helped. Today on Seekers I share what the Holy Bible says about anxiety, and how I’ve personally dealt with the struggle, and give you three simple steps to follow to overcome anxiety in your life.

Let’s pray.

God, please bless this episode. Let the words spoken help the ears listening to conquer this affliction. Lord, help those that struggle with anxiety finally overcome it through Your great wisdom as exemplified in Your word. Let us understand Your will for our lives, and overcome all fear and anxiety in your name Lord. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Step 1 – Turn to Scripture for Comfort

When anxiety knocks on my door I go directly to my King James Bible. I do this because reading the scripture, and thinking about it, calms me. It takes the feelings of anxiety and puts them in a different perspective, from me feeling like things are unfixable, to having a peaceful understanding of what God says about His love for me, how broken the world is, and His unwavering care for me in this life and the next. I know this technique will help you too. Read your bible and it will calm you.

So what does the bible say about scripture? Let’s take a look.

2 Timothy 3:16 – 3:17

16 All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

And God tells us this is how He’d have us live. Listen to Matthew 4:4 – But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Some helpful pieces of scripture I’ve read that’s been a blessing to me in times of heartache-filled anxiety:

Matthew 6:25-26

25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

Psalm 34:19

Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.

Proverbs 3:5-6

5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

If you are like me, you might learn differently than most. I’m a visual learner. So I started creating images to share online of scripture. This helped me both meditate on the word, and see it in front of me, as well as give me an opportunity to share it with others.

Another helpful technique is to memorize the verses so you can repeat them back later when the bible isn’t in arm’s reach.

And yet another one is to repeat the verses to yourself and others in times of great stress. Talk to people about them. What they mean. How they comfort you. What others think about the verses.

Once we understand just how in control God is, and how much He loves us, then we can put our worries away, knowing God is fully in control.

Step 2- Turn to Prayer for Relief

How much should we pray?

1 Thessalonians 5:17

17 Pray without ceasing.

And what happens when we pray?

James 5:16

16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

And two more verses to hammer it home here-

Philippians 4:6

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

John 15:7

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

Man, how good is this? I mean c’mon. No ambiguity, no cloudy murkiness to the words, just plain ole fashion solid as a rock promises. Promises that if you are right with God your prayers will be heard. Promises that if you are right with God your prayers will be answered. Promises that He, the creator of all things, hears you loud and clear. Wow, that’s an awesome thought.

Sometimes in prayer I will recite scripture back to God, because it’s His word, and thus I know it to be true, and right. So what better way to pray than to tell Him you’re reading His word, and you’re hearing it, and you’re believing it, and you’re going to thank Him in advance for what he’s about to do in your life!

Step 3 – Get Out of the House

With scripture at the ready, and constant prayer occurring, you are well on your way to leaving little room for anxiety to creep in. The last thing that’s helped me, and I believe will help you, is to get out of the house. Staying home – wherever that is – can allow feelings of angst to take root, and grow. By getting out of the house and staying busy we are leaving less room for idle thoughts to overcome us. Being around people, having something to do, and allowing yourself to continuously be in prayer and thanksgiving to the Lord will be a huge step in dealing with anxiety.

Of course I don’t mean staying too busy, or ignoring your feelings altogether. But there are times when we are just idle, and we sit and stew on a thought, and that turns into something that makes us anxious. This is the time to get on out of the house.

Finally, the last bit of getting out of the house is getting plenty of sleep before you leave, and being active and eating right each day. Take care of yourself and your body will leave you better prepared to deal with battles, and you will in turn be better prepared to present to God time, thoughtfulness, and thanksgiving for all that He’s done for you.

 

Seekers Episode 4 – Keeping It Together When Moving Away From Home

Seekers is a podcast focused on answering common life questions through the infinite wisdom of God’s living word – The Holy Bible.

Summer precedes one of my favorite seasons, fall. I always look at fall as a time of new beginnings. New year of school, new football season, new set of upcoming holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, all leading up to the new year. Summer is like the calm before the storm. A slow era that turns into a very busy one as time blends one season into another. But for those that are making a big change, like going off to school, enlisting in the military, or moving for work, this new season will be like no other.

Moving away from home can be exhilarating, terrifying, and everything in-between. There are new opportunities to pursue, new friends to be made, and inevitably new challenges to tackle. What if we could be prepared for the good and the bad before we ever left, and thus be able to enjoy the experience that much more?

In this episode of Seekers I look at what the word of God says when it comes to leaving home, and how we can best be prepared for when the struggles of living a new life start to rear their ugly heads at us.

Let’s pray.

God, I pray that those listening to this will receive what they need to not only leave home, but thrive in their new environment. God You are awesome, and Your word is rich with all the wisdom we need to make it in this life and the next. Please Lord, use this message to help those that need it most. In Your name I pray. Amen.

When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Go To God

Psalm 34:19

19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.

I love this verse. I find myself saying that a lot. But look, God’s got you. He’s got you through not one of your battles, or a few of your battles, or most of your battles, but ALL of your battles! He’s got you covered.

When you move away you lose the safety net that you’ve relied on in the past. Whether that be family, friends, a coworker or a teacher. You lose the ability to depend on them to help you out in your time of need. At the same time you are in a new place that looks nothing like the one you’re used to living in. What a great time to go to your Heavenly Father, one that has been, and will always be, with you. When you pray to God you are talking to a living God, one that knows exactly what is going on in your life, and is here to shepherd you through it.

It’s often said that our faith is deepened when we go through struggles. The skeptic in me wondered how that worked? I mean, if things are going so great in my life that I can take my wife and kids on a vacation to the Caribbean, I’d be very thankful to the Lord for it as I dug my toes in the sand and watched my kids play in the glimmering turquoise blue ocean Wouldn’t that deepen my faith? Well, while it might add another thing to be thankful for, it wouldn’t be the same as going through hardship.

Why? Because when we go through trying times, times when we feel like we have no control, like bad things are going to happen, and that we are helpless, that’s when we must depend on God. That dependence on God is what strengthens our faith. And trust me, when you are in a new place you will deal with situations that you can’t solve on your own, and you won’t know anyone that can fix it for you, and that’s when we are given the great opportunity to give it to God. To see His power first hand.

Befriend Believers

2 Corinthians 6:14

14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

It seems to be human nature to want to fit in when we’re in unchartered waters. When we’re surrounded by people we’ve never met, we want to fit in and get along. But who we choose to befriend is more important that how many friends we make, or how everyone gets along.

Befriending those that aren’t believers will bring you down. Let me repeat this, befriending those that aren’t believers will bring you down. Why? Because they will pull you toward living for the world rather than Christ.

Yes, you should be a witness to them, but in order to do that you have to keep your own testimony clean. And going to the bar with Chuck, or the club with Liz, or doing God knows what else with Bob will not win them to Christ, but it very well might push you further away from Him.

Actively seek good Godly friends, and hold them close. Fellowship with them. And make it a priority to spend time with them. If you don’t know where to find them, try church!

When I went to college as a lost young man I hung around others that were lost, and was no good to anyone when it came to the cause of Christ. I can attest that those years were some of the most lonely and difficult of my life. Not because they had to be, not because I was 500 miles from home, but because I made it hard on myself by not seeking God, and His people for my life. No amount of alcohol, drugs, dancing, partying, trash talking, fistfighting and general tomfoolery will ever amount to even the slightest feeling of peace we get from the Lord.

Stand with those that are for God and you’ll be made stronger. Stand with those living for the world and you will be made weaker. Pretty simple choice with incredibly big consequences.

You Have Nothing to Fear

At some point when you leave home you will be afraid. Afraid for what’s ahead, afraid that you’ll fail or not do as good as you can, afraid for being safe, or experience fear and anxiety about nearly anything else in this broken world. God knew it would be this way, and He put in His word that the only fear you should experience is toward Him, and everything else He’s taken care for you.

2 Timothy 1:7

7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

There are two kinds of fear in the bible, one good and one bad.

The fear of God is good. This is the awesome realization that God is the creator of us and everything we see around us. Realizing this fully is a powerful step to worshipping God, and living your life for Him. After all, if you really believe God made you, then you’d want to read the operating manual (the Holy Bible) and make Him happy each day by living a life pleasing to Him.

Bad fear is the kind that leaves us frightened and anxious. It too is often mentioned in the bible, but for the believer it is noted as something that has been overcome by Jesus on the cross.

Romans 8:38-39

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Jesus loves you. He cares for you. And He doesn’t want you to be afraid.

Picture this message like a first aid kit. This is something you bring with you in preparation for bad things happening. My thinking is that if you understand, abide by, and grow in these principals I’ve shared, then you will be delivered from your problems, have plenty of good Christian friends, and without fear or anxiety. This sounds like a great recipe for enjoying your time away from home, and making the most of it!

There’s only one catch here. One thing that unlocks all these powerful tools to help you thrive in your new life. You have to first know Jesus as your savior, and then earnestly live for Him.

If you don’t know Him then you fall into the unbeliever category. This category doesn’t allow you to experience all that I’ve mentioned today. So let’s get that out of the way now. If you don’t know Him, you can ask Him into your heart right now. Pray this prayer with me.

“Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me, and help me avoid sinning again. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey You, and to do Your will for the rest of my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”

Amen, if you just prayed that prayer and meant it, then you’ve been saved! There are angels rejoicing in heaven over this fact, and if you tell me I will be too! This is the best decision you’ve ever made in your life, one with eternal consequences that will allow you to live forever in Heaven.

Now, it’s time for all of us believers to lock up the final part of this equation. To live for Him. This means trying very hard not to sin, and confessing our sin to Him when we do. It means reading our bible and meditating on His word. It means loving our neighbor, and forgiving all that have done us wrong. It means depending on God instead of man. It means seeking His will for our lives, and then going and doing what He has called us to. If you can do these things, then you will be able to have the type of relationship with God that gives you freedom from fear, and the power to go anywhere and do anything!

Let’ pray.

God, thank you for your word Lord. Thank you for the living word. The word that delivers us from a life of uncertainty and angst, and puts us in a perfect place of peace. The peace you say in your word surpasses all understanding. Thank you Lord. I pray for all those listening that are starting their new journeys soon. God be with them. Protect them. Comfort them. And use them for Your will Lord, to show others the great power of all that You are. In Jesus name I pray, amen.

 

Seekers Episode 3 – How To Be Happy

Seekers is a podcast focused on answering common life questions through the infinite wisdom of God’s living word – The Holy Bible.

 

With the fourth of July around the corner I thought it apt to look at one of the core principles our country was founded on. You’ll find the popular phrase “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” in the United States Declaration of Independence. According to the document these three unalienable rights have been given to all human beings by their Creator, and which governments are created to protect. That’s a lot to jam into a short podcast, so let’s keep the focus on the last one, the pursuit of happiness.

Many have made the pursuit and attainment of happiness a complicated matter. Just look at some recent magazine titles.

Time:

Americans are free to pursue happiness, but there’s no guarantee we’ll achieve it. The secret is knowing how — and where — to look

And a headline from the Atlantic reads:

There’s More to Life Than Being Happy
Meaning comes from the pursuit of more complex things than happiness

Ummm, no. Wrong. Not even close to being right.

Here’s the thing, finding happiness, and staying happy isn’t hard at all. It’s right in front of our noses. The editors at Time and the Atlantic might want to dust off their bibles and learn a thing or two when it comes to happiness.

In this episode of Seekers I look at what the word of God says about happiness, where to find it, and how to keep it forevermore.

Let’s pray.

Lord this world tells us that being happy isn’t easy, but your word shines the light of truth on the darkness of this world. Let those that are struggling with feeling happy and content take this message to heart, seek your Will for their lives, and live in the abundance you have for them. In Jesus name I pray, amen.

Are you ready to be happy? Great, let’s get to it. Here’s three steps to ensure you are happy each and everyday.

Step 1 – Ask – Where’s Your Treasure?

Matthew 6:21

21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

This verse changed my life in the way I view each day. I used to be concerned with material things like making money, or having a nice car or house. But I realized that my treasure was not where it was supposed to be, and it was making me miserable.
If you treasure the things of this world (material fleeting things that will be worthless in eternity) you become a slave to them. You can’t be happy, because what you treasure isn’t happy. You will always be let down.

However, if you treasure God, and His son Jesus, who died for your sins and mine, and was risen again on the third day, and is sitting at the right hand of God, then you can start to be happy.

Think about this for a minute. If your treasure is Jesus, truly in your heart, then what would you do each day? How would you act toward others? It changes your entire life when you make the conscious choice to treasure Jesus ABOVE all other things.
This is an active pursuit. You don’t just say it and forget it. You have to live it. So, where’s your treasure?

Step 2 – Ask Daily – Where’s Your Mind?

Isaiah 26:3

3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Sometimes the bible hits us over the head with a big ball of common sense. This is one of those verses. If you keep your mind on the Lord it won’t be able to go to the negative places that it often does. If you’re focused on God you won’t have room in that noodle of yours to stew on the person that did you wrong, or the test you have coming up, or the coworker you can’t stand. Your mind will be filled with Jesus, and what He’s done for you, and what He’s coming back to do!

Life gets hectic. The speed of life seems to constantly increase. And the enemy will use this to confuse you into thinking you have to focus on something other than the risen Lord. I have news for you, that’s a losing game! Matter of fact, I can prove it.

Chances are you’ve been focusing on all the other stuff for most of your life, and how’s that worked out? If you aren’t happy, and if you are struggling, then you need a rework when it comes to focus, and keeping your mind stayed on Jesus is the ONLY way to go.
Now how can you do that? Well through reading and meditating on the scripture. I keep a King James Bible with me in my bookbag nearly wherever I go. Apps now have daily verse push notifications you can enable. Bible studies are good. Fellowship with other believers. Testifying to what Christ has done in your life. Praying before that big test, praying before every meal, getting up early and spending 30 minutes with the Lord in quiet prayer and bible reading. The list could go on, and on. But the point is the same, keep your mind stayed on thee, and you will have perfect peace.

Step 3 – Serve Others

Acts 20:35

I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Matthew 5:16

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

If our treasure is in the Lord, and our mind is stayed on Jesus, then we are in spirit – to borrow a tech term – fully optimized to be happy. But we aren’t sitting around all day in a bubble. No, we are living in a world full of lost and broken people that need God as much as we do. So we must act out our faith each day to truly be happy.

How? By serving others. This starts with a servant mentality. Are you putting others before yourself? You should. Jesus put you before His own life when He died on the cross – and He is the manifest son of God. How much more should you put others before yourself? Let’s try all the time.

Instead of waiting for someone to knock on your door and ask you to serve, make it a priority to go out and do it on your own. There are so many opportunities to serve others. From giving a cold bottle of water to a beggar on the side of the road, to praying with family and friends for their needs, to stopping by a nursing home to spend time with the residents, you should never run out of things that you can do when it comes to serving others.

Again, this is how awesome service is for our minds. We take the negative thoughts and burdens of our own life and put them aside to carry those of another. This allows your mind to focus on being a blessing, rather than whatever it was concerned about in your own life.

This is how happiness works. Humility through service. Getting joy out of helping others as God has so amazingly helped us.

There you have it. Happiness in a nutshell. It’s really not that complicated at all. It’s not something you need a lot of money to have, or status, or anything else other than the word of God, a pure heart toward Him, and a willingness to serve others. These are all things you can do TODAY, and they will make you happy. I can testify to that. And so does Jesus:

Philippians 4:7

7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Seekers Episode 2 – How to Forgive and Let Go

Seekers is a podcast focused on answering common life questions through the infinite wisdom of God’s living word – The Holy Bible.

With pain and hurt filled eyes a friend of mine recently confided in me that she felt wronged by her neighbor. I asked for an explanation, and was told a story that certainly left an opening for a misunderstanding to have occurred. I asked my friend to call her neighbor and forgive them. She said she couldn’t do that. She told me she was right, and her neighbor was wrong. I urged her to forgive her neighbor anyways. She said she wouldn’t. I asked why? Her answer was simply, I can’t.

Can you relate? Have you ever been so hurt that the simple thought of forgiving someone makes your stomach turn? I know I’ve been there. Sometimes I was clearly in the wrong, sometimes it wasn’t clear who was in the wrong, and sometimes it seemed like I was totally right. And I didn’t want to forgive on any account, just like I’m sure many of you have felt in the past.

But we’re told forgiveness will set us free. That forgiveness will stop the bitterness from eating us alive. Yet it can seem so hard to do.

In this episode of Seekers we look at what the bible says about forgiveness, and why we have to forgive to achieve the life God has intended for us.

First and foremost we must forgive unequivocally.

Colossians 3:13

13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

The scripture doesn’t mince words. It doesn’t say sort of forgive, but secretly hold a grudge. Forgive a little, but stay mad for life. Forgive to look like you are the bigger person, but keep a massive grudge from now till Jesus comes back. No, it says if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. We are given a clear command to forgive ALL who we hold issue with. Remember that, because it can seem easy to forgive some, and very hard to forgive others. But God calls us to forgive all.

So what does forgiveness look like? How do we know we’ve fully forgiven someone?

Are you able to earnestly pray for their wellbeing? Are you able to think of the person without getting upset, angry, jealous, bitter, etc.? In other words, have you really let it go?

Forgiveness is neat because it’s completely in our own control. So much in life is not, and that can send someone that likes to have a firm grip on what’s going on like me into a tizzy. But this thing, forgiveness, it’s all in our control. And that’s why we have to intentionally forgive others.

But why? Why can’t we stay mad like the person I mentioned earlier? Because God calls us to act as He acted. And oh yeah, like all God’s commands for our life, they are in our own best interest. This is no different.

Matthew 6:14-15

14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Mark 11:25

25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

We have to forgive, the scripture tells us, before we can expect forgiveness from God. We are called to forgive others so that we may be forgiven.

The world says be true to who you are and be yourself. The world likes to use grudges and the like as motivational tools. Look at me now haters. To all that did me wrong, look how good I am doing. The world wants you prideful, boastful, and completely reliant on self. But the world holds nothing of value for us (1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him).

True worth – self and otherwise – comes from God. And He calls us to humbly forgive those that have done us wrong – no matter who/what/when/where or why.

See the difference in what the world is telling us and what God is telling us? See how the enemy can use the world to confuse you into a life lacking peace and joy? You know the goodness of God by the feeling of peace He offers His followers that do as He has commanded.

So we need to forgive others in order for God to forgive us. Makes sense. But, what if we don’t know God?

How To Get Forgiveness From The Father

Daniel 9:9

9 To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him;

1 John 1:9

9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Romans 10:13

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Daniel 9 tells us we rebelled against God as sinners, first John 1 tells us he is faithful (as in willing) to forgive ALL our sins if we confess them to Him, and Romans 10 tells us that by calling on Jesus we will have salvation.

In other words, we can be forgiven by the maker of heavens and earth by simply asking Jesus to come into our hearts, admit that we are sinners in need of a savior, and that we believe Jesus died and was raised from the dead three days later as the atoning lamb for our sin debt. A change in your life is a prayer away if you choose to make it today.

 

Seekers Episode 1 – How to Spot a True Friend

Seekers is a podcast focused on answering common life questions through the infinite wisdom of God’s living word – The Holy Bible.

The word friend is used often to describe a whole host of people. From someone you barely know from work or school, to the person you’ve seen daily for decades. There’s the friend you tell little about your life to for fear of embarrassment or judgement, and then there’s the friend you’ve completely come undone in front of time and time again.

Sometimes old friends let you down, and new friends surprise you with a selfless loving gesture. Time can’t accurately reflect the character of a friend. But maybe space can?

One of the best litmus tests for a friend I’ve heard is this – would you spend a full day with the person in a compact car on a cross country road trip? I’ve got great friends that I’m not sure would pass that test, and sadly I’m sure the feeling would be mutual among them as well!

So how do we figure out who’s a true friend and who is not? What characteristics make up a true friend? The bible offers clear direction on the topic, and in this episode of Seekers we’re going to find out what the word of God says on the matter. Let’s pray.

God, you are holy and your Word is powerful. Your word is true. And we know it is the living word Father, one that is applicable to our everyday life. God please use this podcast to reach someone dealing with this today, and shape their lives as you’d have them to be. In Jesus name. Amen.

A True Friend Makes The Other Better

Proverbs 27:17

17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

This is doubly inspiring. First, and the obviously, a true friend will make you a better person. When I think of sharpening iron I think of the crispness of the object taking shape as one piece of iron sharpens another.

No two people are exactly alike, so it is safe to assume a true friend will impart their unique God-given wisdom and gifts to the other as the friendship grows.

Finally, and maybe most importantly, a true friend won’t bring you down. The friend won’t make you a worse person, or even less exciting, after all it doesn’t say iron dulleth iron!

A True Friend Petitions For The Other

In the bible King Saul wanted to kill David out of jealousy. Saul’s son Jonathan, a good friend of David’s, petitioned for him to his father.

1 Samuel 19:4-7

4 And Jonathan spake good of David unto Saul his father, and said unto him, Let not the king sin against his servant, against David; because he hath not sinned against thee, and because his works have been to thee-ward very good:

5 For he did put his life in his hand, and slew the Philistine, and the Lord wrought a great salvation for all Israel: thou sawest it, and didst rejoice: wherefore then wilt thou sin against innocent blood, to slay David without a cause?

6 And Saul hearkened unto the voice of Jonathan: and Saul sware, As the Lord liveth, he shall not be slain.

7 And Jonathan called David, and Jonathan shewed him all those things. And Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence, as in times past.

Anyone that’s had to arduous task of trying to change their parent’s mind on something they’re well set on knows this is not easy.

True Friends are Likeminded

Amos 3:3

Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

While opposites may attract, and our differences do make us who we are, our core beliefs have to be aligned to have a true friend. If friendship is based upon some level of trust – and if you don’t agree with that assumption than ask yourself how much time you’d want to spend around someone you don’t trust? Like Mindedness comes from a shared set of values. A shared belief system.  And yes, a trust in one and other. If I believe it is morally unacceptable to lie, and you don’t, then how can we agree on much of anything? You’ve already told me you are OK with lying, and thus what can I understand to be true from you?

A true friend is like minded in a fashion that you can trust them. No they aren’t carbon copies of ourselves, they’re unique in many ways, but deep down they believe in the same things we believe. This allows for friendship to deepen.

So in the bible we are taught that true friends make us better, petition for us, and are like minded when it comes to core values. Take your best friends, and put them through this test. How do they come out? Are they the type that would petition on your behalf, even when it’s uncomfortable for them? Are they the type that make you a better person instead of bringing you down to a lower level? And are they likeminded in their values, are they the type of person that you can trust?

It’s great to have good Godly friends. And it’s best to have the most true friend of all, Jesus. He makes us better people for spending time with Him. He petitions for us before the Father for our need, and he is the source of our good values and the good in our minds.

But it doesn’t stop there. Jesus offered what the bible calls the greatest love of all.

John 15:13

13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

And here we see Jesus doing just that.

Romans 5:7-8

7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Let’s pray

God help us have true friends, and help us value them as You would want us to. And above all else Lord, let us come to know, serve, and love our truest friend of all, Jesus Christ. In His name we pray, amen.