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Tag Archives: Spiritual Help

Let’s Start an “I Love You” Culture!

I grew up in a household where the “I love you’s” were very common. I didn’t realize how important that was until I was all grown up. As a matter of fact, I don’t guess I really came to the stark realization of just how important that was until I began to encounter person after person who didn’t have the same luxury as me. It has been a bit of an eye-opener of how many people my age never heard their dad say, “I love you.”. From experience, I’d say that moms are traditionally a lot better to say it than dads. But, saying it is important……and more important than you might imagine.

In my part of the world, I’ve been in the Texas Panhandle or Western Oklahoma all my life, it seems to have been part of the culture. Not sure if the same would go for other parts of the USA or the rest of the world for that matter but it wouldn’t surprise me. Fact is there are myriads of people out there who didn’t hear “I love you” in their home, from their parents or their people and as a result, they don’t say it either. It makes an incredible difference to hear it. I can’t number the times I’ve sat in my office with people of all ages with one after the other recanting their heartbreak over wondering if they were loved at all. Of course, in most if not nearly all cases they were loved, ……just not told.

I’m free with the term and I’ve found out that if you tell other people you love ’em in a little bit they’ll return the favor. For many who are not free with it, it may feel very awkward and unnatural at first but as time goes by it’ll start to feel like second-nature. My best example is one of my close friends; he grew up in one of those homes where he was loved but it wasn’t said. He caught the significance of what I’m talking about and started the process with his grown sons. It caught on! Now I’ll walk through our offices and hear him on the phone with one of his boys and they’ll finish the call with, “Love Ya”. It blesses me to hear that! It’s doable and you can do it too!

Now, here’s something serious to think about. If we didn’t hear it from our parents and if we believe we weren’t loved, when we start to connect with God, who is a Father, it’s extremely hard for us to believe that He can love us either. It profoundly affects the most important relationship you’ll ever have! The more you trust the Father, …..the more fulfilling your life will be! ………we need to fix this!

Tell me about your own experience. Is it easy for you or not? What difference have you seen with your people upon being told, “I love you”? Let me hear your stories.

So, here’s my proposition. I’m startin’ an “I love you” culture! It might even turn into a revolution. Wouldn’t that be something?!

Who’s with me?

 

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An Often Neglected Part of Prayer

Most everyone’s aware of the importance of prayer. And, the Bible is clear, for those of us who believe….it’s not “if” we pray….but “when”. It’s one of those non-negotiables for us. Like the Nike slogan….we “Just Do It”! It’s how we appropriate that which is already ours’ but which we haven’t attained, as of yet. Interesting thing about prayer….faith is ‘built into’  the activity of prayer. In essence you’re asking Someone you can’t see….to do something you can’t do. And, that right there…..that’s faith!

He must love answering our prayers! In fact the Bible says that before we say it….He’s busy about doing it. He’ll take every opportunity He can to grow and nurture our faith. It’s just more evidence of how good a Father He actually is. We’re encouraged in His Word to  ‘let our requests be made known to God’. My experience has taught me that when I pray in generalities…He answers in generalities. But when I pray in specifics…..He answers specifically!

But, there’s a part of prayer that I hardly ever hear anyone talking about. Simply put, prayer is how we communicate with God. And, if you’ll think about it….genuine communication, productive communication is always a two-way street! Good communication involves a balanced mixture of talking and listening. And, while expressing your heart to Him is important….it just might not be as important as what He has to say to you. I’ve learned that the more time I take to ‘listen’ to the Lord…..the less things I need to ask Him for! It’ll work that way for you, too!

With that in mind it makes all kinds of sense to work on perfecting our ability to hear Him. In doing so there’s a few things that’ll help. 1) Understand that He wants to ‘talk’ to you even more than you think you need to hear from Him! 2) Don’t make it difficult! He’s a Father…you’re His chosen kid!  3) He’s not limited to ‘speaking’ in an audible voice. Learn to notice all the ways in which He speaks. (your circumstances, dreams, visions, through other people, through His Word…and the list could go on and on!)

The Father doesn’t waste words. He always speaks the things we need to hear the most. He always knows just the right thing to say at just the right time!

So, the next time you pray…invest a little time in listening. You’ll be glad you did!

Here’s some more that’ll be helpful:

Listen More …….. Learn More!

You’re Better at Hearing the Lord Than You Think!

“What’s The Lord Telling You?” Part 1

“What’s The Lord Telling You?” Part 2

 

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Shift Happens!

 Well, I bet that got your attention….for all the wrong reasons, too, no doubt! Lol. I’m not talking about the bumper sticker that you’re so familiar with, although there is some common ground between that and what I’m writing about today.

I was having a conversation with a young guy about a week ago. He’s a very sharp young guy…and one that I’d consider a ‘son’ in the Lord. He has tons of potential, and for his age displays a lot of character and maturity. I often think about how far ahead of the ‘curve’ he and a bunch of other young ones, are….compared to where I was, spiritually, in my mid to late ’20’s. It’s truly a blessing to see…and to know that I at least have had a little bit of influence with them is extremely rewarding.

He’s at a ‘juncture’ in his life; not a bad place at all but a place where he really doesn’t know exactly what to do. It’s the Lord that has brought him to this place….and it’ll be the Lord that’ll direct him from here. I do appreciate these young guys ‘leaning’ on me at times like this but I’m determined to never take the place of the Lord in their lives. And, while, many times I know exactly what decision they should make….I nearly always think it’s best to let them…and the Lord flesh it out. It seems to work and I really think the Lord likes that scenario a bunch better. But the most important thing that happens is the person learns to put his dependency on the Lord…..and not on me. That’s very, very healthy!

Times like these form and shape young believers (old ones too!) into their true identity. That’s where the title of this blog comes into play. When we’re faced with an issue, a problem or a dilemma and we arrive at the point of decision….there’s a ‘shift’ that takes place. The new understanding brings us into a ‘new’ place, a new point of perspective; we automatically begin to see things different. And in more ways than one….everything changes!

So, roll with it! And, keep in mind that anyone who’s serious about following the Lord is going to face a lot of times like that. It’s just a normal part of ‘the journey’. So the next time you see the ‘other bumper sticker’, let it be a reminder that ‘Shift Really Does Happen’!!

If you’re interested in one of my very favorite topics, “Hearing the Lord”, you really should read these:

“What’s The Lord Telling You?” Part 1

“What’s The Lord Telling You?” Part 2

If God Has Your Heart, He Can Get Your Feet Where They Belong!

You’re Better at Hearing the Lord Than You Think You Are!

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The Fear of the Lord…..Let’s Get It Right!

The “fear of the Lord”; It’s one of the fundamental issues of Scripture. I hear people referring to, or quoting, the phrase fairly often. But I hardly ever hear it communicated the way I think it should be done. Let me say up front that I don’t consider myself a Bible scholar. And, beyond that, it’s not anything I’m shooting for either. I do think, that for me at least, that I need (and do have) what I call a ‘good working knowledge of the Bible’. And, by that, I mean that when I need to know where to go in the Book to find the Truth about a certain issue….I can do it. I’m still learning but I can pretty much find a Scriptural answer for your problems when I need to.

But this issue of the fear of the Lord is one that really needs to be cleared up, once and for all! Nearly every time I hear anyone talking about it, (even some of the Bible scholars get it wrong, by the way!) they always talk about it…or teach it in such a way that we’re supposed to be afraid (frightened, scared of, terror stricken, fearful, petrified; all synonyms of fear) of God. Ticks me off, to say the least! Now, if you look at some of the Old Testament expressions of God…..without having any relationship with Him….it’d be easy to assume the wrong thing. And, I think that’s where a lot of the error originates….with people who know a lot of Biblical facts about Him….but don’t actually know Him relationally. That’ll mess you up in a BIG way!

You may wonder why I think this is so important. Here’s why; From God’s standpoint…it’s always been about Him having a relationship with His children. (Im talking about you and me!!) So, think about it….how good of a relationship could you have with someone that you’re afraid of?? Well, there you go! If you’re a parent do you want your kids to be afraid of you?? Good parents don’t want that!

So, let’s get this right; God is the perfect Father…..and He doesn’t want us to be afraid , or scared of Him. Now, …..reverence, respect, adoration, devotion, loyalty, esteem; these are all *correct responses to Him (*actually they’re ‘natural’ responses to Someone Who loves you like He does!) So, if you’re out there telling everyone they need to be ‘scared’ of God.STOP IT!!

Get to know Him, and you won’t be scared of Him anymore! It’ll make a huge difference in your life!

Here’s a couple more you might like:

The “Only Thing” That Really Works

“Obviously, I’m God’s Favorite!”

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I Was Born Rich!

Not the, born with a silver spoon in your mouth, kind of rich. But rich, nonetheless, in other things that, today, stand out as being much more important. If you consider the things that are really important in life like, …..to name just a few: good health, lots of good friends, a beautiful loving wife, loving parents, healthy kids and grandkids (smart & pretty too!), then I would have to be among the wealthiest people on planet Earth! I realize that those things are not experienced by everyone and there’s not a day that I’ve taken any of them for granted. I’m more grateful for those things today than at any other point in my life.

But, regardless, if maybe you don’t have all those things in abundance now…..there’s an incredible inheritance awaiting you. Jesus said in John’s gospel, “You must be born again”. He said that to an extremely religious man by the name of Nicodemus. He didn’t understand and reasoned out loud, “How can a man enter his mother’s womb and be born again?” (paraphrased) But Jesus was talking about a ‘spiritual’ birth. Jesus went on to say, “unless you’re born again you can’t enter the kingdom of heaven”.

Being born again is the simplest, easiest thing to attain. God has made it that way! It amounts to you and I agreeing with what Jesus completed on the cross….and then ‘receiving’ Him into our lives. When that happens some amazing things begin to transpire. One of those things is that you begin to experience that ‘incredible inheritance’ I mentioned earlier!

His Word declares, “We’ve been given all things that pertain to life and godliness”. Think about that one for a minute! On top of that we now have this awesome opportunity to engage in relationship with the Father. His Spirit ‘lives’ in us! And, Heaven is the ‘icing’ on the cake!

So, even though we may be struggling to make ends meet financially, and we may not know how we’re going to make our next car payment…..when we get this perspective we’ll clearly understand that we’ve been born (again) RICH!

I think you’ll like this one, too:

$$$ – Being a “Thousandaire” Might Just Be Better Than Being a “Millionaire”!

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Just Say, “Yes”!

I know…..that’s not how you first heard it. “Just Say No”, (click highlighted link) was the slogan for the anti-drug campaign initiated in the ’80’s and ’90’s. The whole idea was created and championed by none other than, Nancy Reagan. “Just Say No” is great advice when it comes to drugs. Hopefully hundreds of thousands of both young and old have heeded that advice…and will continue to do so.

I’m suggesting we start another campaign kinda of like the one Nancy started but with the slogan, “Just Say Yes”!! Well, obviously, you can’t say yes to just anything. That would be dumb. I’m saying we, “Just Say Yes”, to the plans of the Father for our lives. I don’t know many people who would reject that line of thinking….but in practice I’m afraid we might be suffering a little! God has an incredible, intricate and very personal plan for our lives. We can only ‘lay hold’ of that plan, and the details of it, by faith. But the good news is that you have adequate faith, and more than enough of it, to get that done!

If you’ve been really sincere and serious about your walk with the Lord you’ve surely inquired of Him about His plan for your life. If not….you could, and should, start now. Nothing difficult about it. In fact it’s so simple that anyone (even a caveman! lol) can do it. If you’ve heard some things from the Lord and said “yes” to them…I’m convinced that you’re already experiencing the blessings that accompany that kind of response. But what about the things that we don’t even know about yet? Well, that’s where this “Just Say Yes” mindset really begins to be beneficial for us. We should “Just Say Yes” to the things we’re aware of….but go into the next realm where we say “Yes” to the things we don’t even know about yet!

I agree, that’s a radical step of faith…but it’s what we’re created for! So, the next time that something comes up in your spirit that you think might be the Lord…..Just Say Yes!! You can’t go wrong!

You should like this one too:

What If I’d Said, No?WordpressSignature2015b

 

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“What’s The Lord Telling You?” Part 1

I put the title in quotation marks for a reason. And the reason is, is that particular quote is one I’ve used at least a hundred times. And if the truth were to be known….actually hundreds of times!

In a Wednesday morning prayer time about 10 years ago I felt I heard the Lord saying to me, “Andy, there’s a shift in how this works; normally people move to an area because of a job and then they find a church….but I’m changing that for ‘here’! I’m going to bring people in here from all over…and I’m going to give them a job; some will come and stay, some will come and go back where they came from, and some will go to other places and start fires!”

*My understanding of that is that they’d start fires like the one He started here; ‘kingdom fires’, fires of something simple yet profound, fires of something real and authentic that would appeal to people of all kinds….especially to those that the ‘religious’ church might have scorned and rejected…and the people that nobody else wants; fires built around relationship with the Father; and eternal fires that are sustained, and kept burning by loving others unconditionally!

When I heard that from the Lord I did what I encourage others to do when they ‘think’ they might have heard Him. “Say it….and pray it!” So, we said it and prayed it and it started to happen. People began moving in here from all over; Idaho, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Mexico, Columbia, Canada…. to name a few. And, true to His word (as He always is!), some came and stayed and some came and went….and the fires are glowing in places all over, now!

Oh, and by the way….those people that the Lord said would come……they’re still coming! 

Part 2 – “What’s The Lord Telling You?”Coming in a day or two

*Don’t forget the “Reflect & Refocus” Series from a year ago!

Here’s one; (click on highlighted link) Find the others in “Archives”:

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Good Ground Grows Good Weeds, Too!

I was having a conversation today with a couple of close friends, who also happen to be on the Beckham County Drug Court Team. *(click on link for one of my most read blogs) They were both ecstatic about a person they both knew who had just been approved to enter the Drug Court process. That’s a big deal, especially for that person, because it means he won’t immediately have to go to prison and will have a chance to redeem himself if he’ll adhere to the DC rules. It’s a great program here in Beckham County, with a lot of amazing success stories. *(click link for a blog you’ll love!) This person has been down the wrong road for a good long while but both agreed that he’ll be one who’ll be a leader in the DC program as he progresses on his journey!

But their conversation reminded me of an incident at least a decade before. We were having a big youth event at church and a great pastor friend of mine, Lynn Schaal, from Idaho was staying with us at the time. The teens were showing up for the event by the dozens. There was a small group of about 5 kids who came in the door. Most of them were dressed in black and one particular little teenage girl had several piercings and was wearing a dog collar type thing around her neck with huge silver spikes on it. She was obviously a leader among her little small, rebellious looking/acting group. My friend, Lynn, immediately went to talk to her as soon as she came in the door. They had a short visit and when he returned I’ll never forget what he had to say! “I love kids like that!”, he said. “Anytime I get the chance to talk to them, I do!” …..and here’s what he said that really stuck with me, “You know, good ground grows good weeds too!”  I’d never thought about it that way but it’s true. Everyone knows that good ground grows good fruit. That’s a no-brainer. But his point was that oftentimes when you see people who display some of these bizarre and extreme characteristics with dress, behavior, attitudes, etc., that many times ‘underneath’ it all is a person with incredible potential….if it were just pointed in the right direction.

 

Since that day I’ve never forgotten what Lynn said….and as I’ve observed people…I really believe he’s onto something! It’s helped me to look beyond what’s on the surface and to try and see the untapped potential that might lie just beyond what’s seen!

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If He Can Fix My Life…..I Know He Can Fix Yours!

I’ve been blessed in my life to have a lot of good friends. Wasn’t long after my life had ‘made the turn’, so to speak, that a steady stream of my friends started coming to see me. That may not seem like a big deal to you but it really was. For one reason, where I lived at the time wasn’t on the way to anywhere! I mean it was way off the beaten path. So, it was no accident that they were coming to see me. In fact, looking back, it seems pretty obvious to me that the Lord, Himself, was somehow sending them across my path. 

I knew something was very different for me and that for once my life was ‘working’ but I had no idea how to communicate it or put it into words….especially to somebody else. These friends would pour out their hearts to me telling me their problems….all kinds of problems! I had no idea what to tell them….and to be honest some of their problems were pretty intimidating. But I knew one thing…..my life, just a short time before, was pretty messed up! In fact it was so messed up that no one but the Lord could fix it. And even though their problems looked extremely difficult,….and in some cases impossible, I had a profound sense of confidence that they were going to make it. I just knew that if God could fix my life…..He could fix their’s!

Now, more than 30 years later, I still get faced with people’s problems…and just like then, most of the time they look nearly impossible but I still have that same confidence. So, if you’re reading this and you’re in a jam….and maybe, just maybe, it looks as if there’s absolutely no possible solution, run to Him! ‘Cause….I‘m convinced that, “if He can fix my life….He can fix yours”!!

You’ll like this one too!*(click on highlighted link):

There’s Grace For That!

“God, If You’re Out There,  You Gotta Help Me!”WordpressSignature2015b

 

 

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You Ever Get Tired of People Dumping All Their Problems On You?!?

I know! ….it can get old….and it’ll wear you plumb out if you’re not careful. I mean, a person can only hear just so much bad news until it starts to really take a toll on you! Besides, we’ve all got our issues and most everyone I know is carrying some kind of burden, themselves. You know, life’s tough….it ain’t for the weakhearted!  And to have to listen to everyone else’s garbage just seems like a little too much sometimes! But I think if you’ll back up a step or two and take a closer look there’s a whole lot more at stake here, and something profoundly more important, than meets the casual eye.

I kind of overstated the above paragraph….on purpose, actually, to make a point. Don’t get me wrong, a constant barrage of bad news is hard to deal with, I don’t care who you are. But there are a couple of things at work here that, if you’ll just consider them, might totally and forever alter the way you see these things.

For starters, one thing to consider is that when someone comes to you telling you their problems….in most cases what they’re actually doing is crying out for ‘help’! And, often, what they need most is just a ‘listening’ ear. You know yourself how when you are able to communicate your dilemma to someone how it can help your perspective by just ‘voicing’ it out. And secondly, and I think maybe even more important, when someone is opening up their life to you (telling you their problems), they are extending a great degree of trust in you as a friend or confidant. That’s pretty important if you ask me. When someone trusts you to that degree it seems to me that we should make a gallant effort to honor that trust by, 1) listening, and 2) giving the best godly counsel that we’re capable of. And, a little perk of helping someone else is that it can, sometimes, really help to put our own problems into better perspective, and focus.

So, the next time someone comes to you telling you their problems stop and think a minute and consider what might really be happening!

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