Are You Failing Today?

Living a life with Jesus doesn’t mean a life void of difficulty. Man, this is so true! In fact, at times it can feel as if it actually invites catastrophe. Of course, we know this is not the case. At the point that we step over into Christianity our eyes became opened. God’s light (truthilluminates our world around us. We are now simply aware of the spiritual battles going on all around us that we were blind to before this new life.

So, how are we to journey through the multiple valleys, difficulties, and dark seasons of life as a person of faith? 

failure

Paul, the author of a significant portion of the New Testament, shared with us very authentically his own struggle in the faith.

But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?  Romans 7:17-24 (MSG) 

Can you relate? I know I can. You’re not alone! Every one of us struggle. And still, God used Paul as a major catalyst in the early Church. Paul’s last questions here are a bit poetic. He’s not completely hopeless as it appears. Let’s continue reading.

The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different. Romans 7:25 (MSG)

The power of Jesus resides within us. When we stay closely connected to him he gives us the strength, direction, fortitude, and endurance to do the good we desire to do, and turn from the distractions of the enemy.

I’d love to hear what you think and how I can pray for you. Leave a comment below.

You can also connect with me on Twitter and Instagram!

 

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How To Choose Joy In The Tough Things

Jethani

Last week I had the privilege to hear Skye Jethani speak at our District Pastors’  Conference.

This is a quote from his talk that really grabbed my attention. Let me provide a little context.

Examples of some things we DO NOT choose: medical diagnosis, unemployment, depression, ministry calling, where we are born, divorce, changes in social behavior, our parents, etc.

Some of these can be GOOD, and we all know that some can equally be UNFAVORABLE.

Now, it’s easy for us to choose JOY in the things we actually choose; things we had a say in. But it’s another issue when a life circumstance makes its way into our lives that we have little to no control over.

The REAL QUESTION to ask, then, is this. Does God have a purpose for me in this particular situation? And even though I DON’T LIKE IT, can I embrace it as my current reality and TRUST GOD to work through me?

So you see, making a conscious decision to choose (own) what we didn’t actually choose in the first place can be a real game changer.

What UNCHOSEN circumstance are you in today? What might it look like if you chose to OWN IT?

I’d love to hear what you think. Leave a comment below. You can also connect with me on Twitter and Instagram!

 

3 Hours On The Road With God In Wyoming

Have you ever experienced God in a completely opposite way than you were expecting?

Recently, my wife, daughter and I were relocating to Yakima, WA from Colorado Springs. As with any significant road trip involving three full days of travel and a 26 ft. moving truck, day 1 plagued me with anxiousness. I prefer not to travel after dark (which we were), and once we crossed over into Wyoming the weather turned on us. Not with snow and ice as you might assume in this region in November. No, mother nature decided to expose us to a bit of WIND. Specifically, 65+ MPH sustained winds!

Here’s a picture of the exact message we encountered as we approached the first town in Wyoming…

wyoming wind

At first, I was drawn to the ’65+MPH wind’ part of the sign. Soon thereafter, I experienced the frightening reality that I was indeed traveling in a ‘light high profile vehicle.’ I wanted to stop for the night, but the forecast for the next day predicted even worse winds. I had no real choice in the situation. We had to just push through. So, I continued on…one mile at a time at just 45 MPH. Any faster and the wind would have flipped the truck on it’s side!

Needless to say, we managed to get through Wyoming safely. But not on our own ability. During the worst 3 hours of the trip I prayed. It started off with me pleading with God to protect myself, all of our belongings, and my wife and daughter traveling behind me in the car.

What happened next was simply incredible! 

God transformed my heart. I was still white-knuckled and concerned the whole way, but He gave me the ability and heart to start praying for others. That’s right, I was praying over dozens of other people I know in the midst of my own fearful moments. Let me clarify, this is NOT a pat on the back for me. This was entirely a supernatural intervention.

This quote sums up my time with God nicely.

Yancey.001

More specifically, God was keeping company with me on this journey. As we neared our stopping point that night I felt as if God was saying to me “This was good. Let’s do this more often.” Personally, I have come a long way in my practice of prayer and general pursuit of God in the past 5 years. But I have so much more to learn and grow toward.

“Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.” – 1 Chronicles 16:11 

 

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Manage your life, or your life will manage you!

photo by: www.southernfriedscience.com
photo by: http://www.southernfriedscience.com

Are you tired, stressed, or in any other way overloaded by the pressures of this life?  Well, I have good news and bad news.

Bad news:  Join the crowd!  All of us experience this from time to time.  In our busy society, this is not going away.  (I know, encouraging, right?)
Good news:  These pressures of life can be limited to short seasons and not the daily ‘norm’ that most Americans have come to believe.
Let me suggest 3 methods that I have personally begun to implement over the past year.  Don’t get me wrong on this.  I’ve still got some improving to do here, but I’ve come a long way in this area.  I hope and pray for you to experience the same.
#1  Take a real day off:  Everyone needs rest…both mental and physical.  You are not super human.  Seriously, there’s no law that says you cannot take care of you.  And let me say this loud and clear.  If you happen to be employed at a company/business that expects you to work 10-12 hours a day seven days a week (and even working from home), you need to find a different job!  You can read more on how to take a day off effectively here.
#2  Set healthy priorities:  I’m not talking about writing a productive task list for work.  Try spending a couple of hours contemplating your current life while sitting in your favorite coffee-house.  Take a notepad (or notes app) with you to jot down your thoughts.  List 2-3 lifestyle changes you would like to make.  Maybe its reading a good book for half and hour each night before bed.  How about not responding to email or phonecalls (texts) after 6 or 7pm?  Perhaps its doing some intentional grocery shopping on the weekends so you’re prepared to eat healthier during the busy work week.  I think you get the picture.
#3  Plan ahead:  To make the prior two points a reality you must schedule them as if they are actual appointments.  Before my daily morning quiet time  and trips to the gym became routine I actually put them on my iCloud calendar.  Place all your work and personal items on the same calendar!  This way they won’t overlap.  And we all know what happens when they overlap…….our personal time gets bumped every time.  Plan your entire week before your work week starts.  If your job is a difficult one to do this with, plan for each day on the evening before.  Trust me, mastering this practice will greatly decrease your stress levels.  It has for me.
Whether you are an executive in corporate America, fast-food worker, pastor, parent, or student…these are all possible for you.  Make them a reality, both for your sanity and for your future (not to mention for those around you).
Pray and meditate on this Psalm each day.  Give your life focus.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.  Psalm 51:10 (ESV)
Prioritize your life, or life will make your priorities for you!  

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Comments, prayer requests, and questions are welcome below.

You can also connect with me on Twitter and Instagram!