Tag Archives: Choices

Letting Go

Letting go is one of the most difficult things ever. You know I’m telling the truth here! It doesn’t matter what “it” is, it is hard to let go.

Letting go means you place 100% trust in whomever you are letting things go to. It means that you have confidence in that person to handle things better than you would handle them yourself.

You relinquish all control and you step away, trusting.

Letting go signifies great faith.

We have so much to let go of don’t we? I’ll list just a few that quickly come to mind:

  • Emotional baggage from the past
  • Fear of failure for the future
  • Fear of success
  • Choices we’ve made and the outcome that is sure to follow
  • Our children and their choices
  • Our health, appearance and physical features
  • Our finances, or lack thereof
  • Our dreams, desires and opportunities that await us
  • Our fear of the unknown – the what if’s, why’s and what was I thinking
  • Our yesterday, so we may enjoy today, while looking towards tomorrow

Many think that letting go is a sign of weakness, but in all actuality, it displays great strength and faith.

I want that kind of faith.

I want to easily let go and let God.

As a Christian we are “letting go” of those things to the Lord. Our Savior! Our heavenly Father! The Kind of Kings, Lord of Lords and name like no other.

We aren’t just letting go to some other person that just halfheartedly cares about us – NO, we are letting go to the ONE who gave HIS Son for us as a sacrifice. We are letting go to the ONE that cares for our desires, hopes and dreams like no other. We are letting go to the one who created us and then planned that everything would work out for us as He planned. We are letting go to the ONE who overcame death, hell and has endured anything we could ever endure.

I pray that you’ll confidently let go of whatever it is that weighs you down, knowing that the One you are trusting your eternity to is the ONE you are letting go of your problems, hopes, dreams and fears to.

Let go and Let God!

What do you need to hand over to God? Many people see this site daily and I’m sure they would be encouraged to see that they “are not alone” in handing over a few things.

Encourage someone in the comments below.

(I’ll start out by leaving mine here)

This comes from a dream that I recently had. In the dream our family is struggling with all that we are currently struggling with. I felt extremely small and overwhelmed at the things we faced. The dream was very chaotic and fear ruled my heart. (I won’t bore you with the gory details, but my daughter’s health, the finances that have hit us due to this, my son spending his first summer so far away – completely in God’s will, but still painful as I miss him much more than anyone could ever imagine and several other things)

I was walking and praying as I so often do and somehow ended up on a bridge. I have a horrid fear of heights and this was really, really high. Immediately my fear kicks in and I’m frozen. I can’t think and can barely breathe when the bridge starts to crumble. It’s foggy and I can’t see below. I’m hanging on for my life and I hear, clearly, God saying… “trust me, let go”

I’d love to say that immediately, I just let go, but I can’t.

I did what most of us do and cried out in fear and anguish, “but Lord, I’m scared just get me off here” He again, said…”trust me, let go.”

At that point, with tears flowing, my heart was thinking ok, it seems I don’t have a choice, but I woke up before I let go, so I don’t actually know if I truly trusted God enough to let go.

When I woke up, I had been crying in my sleep….that is just how fearful I had been.

So, today…right here, right now… as best as I know how, I’m letting it all go to Him.

My family – I prayed for a Christian family, HE gave me one…they belong to Him. Lord, just keep using us for YOU.

My finances – with more appointments, specialists, surgery and such looming, there is no way we can ever afford any of it without the Lord. (When the dr. left the room, the first question Megan asked was….Mom, can we afford this? I told her it is a non-issue, that God will provide.) It belongs to Him.

My dream of a larger home – we’ve lived in a tiny 1100 sq ft home since Megan was born. If I get a bigger home, I get one. If not, I’ll enjoy my mansion in Heaven one day.

Spreading Joy & Helping Others – God allowed me to start this and HE will have to fund it. I won’t borrow money to help people. If we help others, it’s because God will put it on the hearts of others to partner with us. We will do what we can with what we have. It’s His.

I’m going to just trust Him. It’s all I can do. It’s all HIS. I’m letting go.

 

{{hugs}}

 

 

 

Never Let Go – David Crowder

 

Never Once – Matt Redman

 

Overcome – Jeremy Camp

John 16:33
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

1 John 5:4
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

1 John 5:5
Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

Psalms 55:22
Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

1 Peter 5:7
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

 

Marie Wikle the Founder and President of Spreading Joy Corporation wants to empower everyone to make a difference and give without guilt.

Here is a personal Warm Welcome to Spreading Joy. You’ll find links to interviews, no cost ways to make a difference and other things that are guaranteed to bring a smile to your heart.

We want to rise above the discouragement of high prices, the obstacle of dead ends and the disappointment of our comfort zone. We want to be the change that is so desperately needed.

Becoming Animals

It’s interesting living in the culture we do.

In this post-modern culture, or whatever it’s called now,  there is a wholesale abandonment  of belief in God.  At university level the statistics say that 70% or more of Christian kids will abandon their faith and become agnostic or atheist.

The culture at large is moving away from a belief in God as well.  Around us is a culture proud of its ability to function without God.  They even claim to be moral without God (but that discussion is for another day).

What’s the price for these choices? What does it cost a man to turn his back on God?  Or course you might expect me to say it costs him salvation, and that is true, but there is another price that most don’t realize they pay- they lose their role as image bearers.

The bible says we were made in the image of God, but when we deny him, refuse to believe in him, to follow him, we forsake the very thing we were designed to be- image bearers of God.

As a result we often choose to bear the image of the only thing left, the animal world around us.  I think this is why movies like the Twilight series are so popular.  Men and women becoming vampires and werewolves gives them an image to reflect, an identity….the image of animals.  

This comes out as well in a new TV series titled GRIMM.  In this series a police officer is chasing people who look completely normal, but are really animals under the skin.  When we deny our role as image bearers of God we usually imitate what we see around us.

Romans 1 talks of this, but not in exactly the same way I am here.  It’s clear we were designed to reflect God, to bear his image.  When we refuse our identity we will reflect something, what will that be?

Some wonder why the world around us is becoming so violent, why anger, killing, and war seems to be growing.  In part it’s because we have decided to abandon our calling as image bearers of God and the results are what we see in our world today…men acting like animals.

When you turn your back on God you lose much more than you would imagine.  You lose the God who made you, you lose the promise of life, you lose peace (that’s another post as well) and you lose sight of what you were designed to be, you lose your identity.

The price is much higher than we even know, but when we deny God we also deny being made in his image and choose a lower image. We choose to become men without souls, without a purpose, without a moral compass, without hope.  We become animals.

 

Visit Mike at FinishingWell.
 
 

Desperate Days

My soft-hearted receptionist came back to tell me there was a lady in real need in our reception area and she didn’t want to just send her away empty handed.

I met with Nancy.  It’s hard to know how best to help at times. Is this person just begging for a living or is this a real need?  It’s sad, but I have to deal with these questions and make difficult choices at times.

Nancy had a very sad story.  No place to live, no money, mental illness and a 16 year old daughter. The only way I can imagine it worse is if she had cancer!  She was desperate for help of some kind.  This is happening more often than we want to admit.  These are desperate days.

In case you’re wondering, yes I helped Nancy and her daughter.  It’s what we do as Christ followers, isn’t it?  It’s why people come to us for help because they know that Christians are supposed to help and we are, we should, we must.  In desperate times like these there is nothing more important than showing the love God extends us by extending it to others.

This spirit of caring comes because God has cared for us.  It’s a response to God’s love for us that makes us reach out to others.  Some are selling their homes, moving into smaller homes and using the extra money to help others.  Others are looking for different ways to help those in need. The love of Christ is motivating them to share what God has given them with those in need.

This is how Jesus fed the multitudes.  He gave the bread and fish to the disciples who then gave it to the crowds.  He made them “middle men” for his provision.  He does the same with us in our day.  We are his “middle men and women” sharing what God has given us with those in need, both spiritually and physically.  
In desperate days like these the love of Christ in us is revealed most clearly as we help those who have nowhere else to go.  The love of God moves us to action just as it did God when he gave to us,  “For God so loved the world he gave….”

Giving out of love is the very nature of our Father.  As his children we have this same heart, a heart of love that gives.  Pray for an opportunity to share the love of God with those in need around you.   Desperate days give us opportunities to show how glorious the love of God is for those in need of both food and faith.

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Boxes

I hate to admit it, but I live in a box.  It’s a box created for me by others, by business, family, friends and the world around me. But the really sad truth is that I willingly climbed in the box and taped the lid shut…never asking if it was a box I should be in at all, never thinking about the implications of such a box in my life.  Like everyone around me I was given a box by someone somewhere and willingly made it my own and even wrote my name on it!  It became part of my identity.

Like children playing, making cars, houses and forts out of boxes we adults build invisible boxes for one another.  Boxes of expectation, roles, position, and a hundred other words to describe the box we have come to call our identity, or role, our “place”.  We never stop to think about what that box means, how it might affect us and our choices or the way we think. Our box limits our choices, restricts our vision, and frustrates our gifts.

This morning I had coffee with a good friend who told me I was living in a box.  He didn’t know where I got it, but he described it well.  As he listened to me he made me aware  of how restricted my vision had become because of the box I had accepted many years ago.  It was humbling to realize I had been given a box and had never questioned its role in my life.  Was it right? Should I get into it? Is this the way I should live?  Is this how I should think?

Without any questions I took the boxes handed me and made them my own. They have limited me, identified me, and restricted God’s work in my life.  How did I ever let this happen? Why did I believe this box was what I needed to identify me?

Children love boxes.  They aren’t so much fun when they define your life, your thinking or your values as an adult.  I can’t believe that I let this happen….happy to look out the hole I had cut in my box and survey the world around me….trying to make boxes like mine for others….only to find I had made prisoners of us all.

I’m taking a different tack today as I look at my thoughts and my life.  I’ve decided it’s time to be done with the boxes of childhood and walk in the freedom of the grace that Christ has provided.

Read Romans 8 as you look at your own life. What boxes have you made your own?  How have you missed God’s grace by accepting the boxes others have given you?

 

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Finish Line For The Flesh

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. -1 John 2:16

I don’t know about you, but I struggle with my flesh constantly.  The battle between what I know God wants in my life and what I want is always being waged.  Sadly my flesh often wins, but the truth is that the finish line for the deeds of my flesh is the dump.  The things I want, the stuff I must have, the accomplishments I think are so important all end up on the trash heap of failed flesh.

All that the world aspires to, all that I aspire to apart from God, is destined for the dump, to be thrown away, abandoned, forgotten.  The great monuments to Stalin…at the dump.  The amazing car I “had to have”…trash.  The titles we must have to find worth and importance…forgotten.  All that the world offers, all that we want in the flesh is destined for the dump.  (I’ve said this several times for emphasis.  Maybe you don’t need to be reminded of it, but I do.)

I have to admit I often set my desires, my passions on things that will not last….things that cannot satisfy….fame that will quickly fade….things destined to be thrown away when we realize they don’t fulfill.  The finish line for the flesh is the dump…..it’s where we take the things we no longer want.  And soon this pile of trash…forgotten passions, failed fame, tarnished desires becomes a mountain and monument to the failures of the flesh.

I so long to make choices that please God.  I want to want what God wants.  I want to desire what he wants in my life, but I must admit I too often fall short.  The monument to the failures of our fleshly desires should remind us that the flesh will never satisfy,  it simply can’t.
I long to follow Paul’s advice as he speaks to the Colossian church and writes,

“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.  And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.”

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

The Big Lie

I watched the beginning of a video a few weeks ago that is haunting. I couldn’t watch it all. I didn’t want to see the end. It was the video of a young lady committing suicide. Someone had filmed it. The beginning of the video was heartbreaking as she just stood there…on the edge of this tall building looking down. I stopped the video before she moved a muscle. The title told me all I needed to know. I can’t imagine the thoughts of someone as they make this kind of life ending decision. It’s a tragic event in the life of someone God has made. It’s a horrible end of the life of someone dear to God. I just couldn’t watch the point of decision…the point where she leans forward and moves beyond her ability to make any other decision. The rest is inevitable.

It made me think about something that I have been dwelling on for a long time. It’s what I call the big lie. It’s a lie that started many centuries ago, but continues to be believed even today. Here’s the lie- I can find happiness disobeying God. It’s a lie that we have believed to our own fall for centuries.
At first, you have a sense that all is well. You might find pleasure for a moment, a little excitement, maybe a thrill; but there will be a moment when you move past your ability to make any further choices and you begin to fall. The outcome is unavoidable. It will happen every time and yet I hear over and over again, as people tell me they want to make a choice that is clearly sin in scripture, “I just want to be happy…” My response is the same each time. It’s a response I have repeated to those on “the edge of their building” over and over again….”You will never find happiness disobeying God.” But what I know is that most people don’t believe me and so they go on that horrible quest that starts with the decision to jump and always ends in death.
Here’s how the book of James describes it,
James 1:15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Look at the way James describes this- conception, birth, full growth and then death. From conception to birth there is a time of growth. The baby is growing in the mother’s womb. For a few months it looks like there were no results from the intimate act that had in fact conceived a new baby, but soon the action begins to show….soon there’s a birth, then growth and finally death. This is the perfect description of disobedience to God. For a moment there is pleasure, no one disputes that, but there will be a birth coming. There will be results from sin, it will come to light, it will grow up and ultimately there will be a death because of the choice. Sin has a price and it’s high!
I’ve seen this so many times in my role as a pastor I could almost predict the outcome when a person decides that it is “ok” to disobey God because….”don’t you know….I just want to be happy.” There are a hundred stories I could tell. They all end the same. The big lie has not changed in centuries, nor have the results. Don’t believe the culture when they tell you that it’s ok, because God would surely want you happy. I must tell you that God is more interested in your obedience than he is in your happiness. If you do things God’s way happiness will be one of the results. If you do things your way happiness will always elude you because…you will never find happiness disobeying God.
Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

We Will Wait Movement

A new movement has begun for those who live…

Psalm 119:9

How can a young person stay on the path of purity?

By living according to your word

It’s is called ‘We Will Wait’ and it has been formed in response to a recent ‘bounty’ on Tim Tebow’s virginity. According to a recent reports from The Christian Post, there is a $1 mil offering to any woman who can prove she has been sexually involved with Tim Tebow.

Watch this video about this ‘offer’ and decide if you would like to make your choice whether or not to join the movement, “We Will Wait,” by making a stand to wait until you are married to have sex. Regardless of your past choices, you can choose make the decision today to put your future first.

 Visit their website or on Facebook to post your video statement of support!

 

 

Waiting….

Waiting. It’s one of the hardest things we do. Waiting for answers, waiting for the phone to ring, waiting for someone to arrive. Waiting is loaded with expectations and anticipations. We are waiting for something, someone and things will change when the waiting is over.

Waiting is a pause in our lives, as if the picture is frozen on the screen and we wait for someone to once more push the play button. Waiting is hard.

Waiting involves the passing of time as we anticipate the thing, the one we wait for. Anticipation. Expectation. Frustration at times are all part of this thing called waiting. As I read Psalm 37 this morning, one of my favorite Psalms, it’s clear that God invites us to wait….to wait for Him. Several times in this chapter the invitation is given to wait for the Lord. There are good reasons for this. We conclude God is late, has gotten busy somewhere else, has forgotten us, but the truth is that we have simply missed God’s ways and timing and so we find we wait for the one who is never late.

“Wait for the Lord and keep his way” David writes. In this short phrase are the instructions for those of us waiting, while you wait walk with God until he arrives. The truth is he is always with us, never leaves us, but waiting involves a patience with God’s timing, God’s plans, God’s ways. It involves my choices to walk well while I wait.

“But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.” There is a reward for waiting. The reward is God’s business, but the waiting is ours.

There is a reason for the waiting. We may not always know what that is, but wait we must and trust God to work while we wait.

There is a rest in waiting. It means I have someone I’m trusting for what’s ahead and I dare not proceed until he arrives. It’s an awareness that I must not walk alone the road ahead, but wait for God to walk with me, to lead me and guide me.

 

There is a peace in waiting. It’s the realization that I wait for one who will accomplish all I wait for. The God who made heaven and earth asks me to wait for him. Why wouldn’t I? How would I dare proceed without him? Waiting for God is the most logical decision of all!

What are you waiting for? Direction? Answers to prayer? A job? Healing? Peace? God’s response to your waiting? “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret….” In other words, don’t worry. God’s coming. He will sort it all out for you. Rest in him, relax, don’t worry, he’s coming….he’s never late.

Wait for the Lord.

 

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Choices

Choices. We make them every day. The results of those choices affect the course of our lives and all the choices ahead. Once we make a choice we can no longer make the other choice. Our course is set. Now a multitude of other choices on the other path are no longer ours. Now we must take the path of our choice with all that follows. We find new decisions to make, but the choice of the other path is no longer ours.
Often, as I talk with people at their crossroads struggling with the choice of which way to go I find they are already regretting the choice they plan to make. They know their choice is the wrong one and the path will not end well, but they don’t want to take the other path. What they don’t realize is that one choice eliminates the choices the other path might offer. Suddenly, once they start walking down one road the choices possible on the other road are gone.
I watch as they struggle at the crossroads, struggle with the decisions they face. Often they tell me they want what lies down both paths, but only one choice can be made. What none of us know is what other choices might be ours if we choose the right path. (Of course this last statement implies that one choice is right and the other wrong.) There are a hundred choices down each path, but none are known to us until we choose one and start the adventure.
It strikes me that the struggle at the crossroads is the choice of my way or God’s way. That is the core decision at each crossroad we face, isn’t it? At each point of decision I must decide to submit my will to God’s way or choose my own way and hope for the best. It’s a choice that should be obvious and simple, but it’s really not. We live with fantasy and fear dominating our minds and thoughts. The fantasy of what could have been and the fear of what might be cause us to doubt that God’s way will be for our good so we choose our own path, our own way.
This morning I faced those crossroads with another friend. I watched as he languished over his choices. As best I could I told him what lay down each road. I watched as he turned this way, then that. From years of standing at the crossroads with others I already know he has chosen the wrong path, but I know too that I can’t force anyone to submit to God’s will in their lives. That’s a decision of the heart. Once they trust God with the results the decision of course is easy. Until that submission of heart and will is given to God the battle rages on.
As you face your own crossroads pray this simple prayer, “Lord, I want your way, your will in my life and not my own. Show me which way to go.” In that simple prayer you have made the most important choice anyone will ever make when they come to the crossroads.
There are a number of verses in the Bible that deal with this very idea, but let me simply offer this one as I finish my thoughts, Proverbs 14:12-13 “There’s a way of life that looks harmless enough; look again—it leads straight to hell. Sure, those people appear to be having a good time, but all that laughter will end in heartbreak.” THE MESSAGE
Visit Mike at Finishing Well.