To say that we are living in an age of rapid, unpredictable change would be somewhat of an understatement. Granted, change has always been a part of the human equation. From the earliest record of man’s existence, he has been improving on previous models and pioneering new discoveries. But the rate at which things change today far exceeds that of previous generations.
In the whirlwinds of 2017, if you’ve ever said to yourself, “I guess I’m just old school,” you may be struggling to process the fast pace at which things are changing. I’ve passed the halfway point in life, and if I am to be honest, there have been moments when I have longed for the good old days; when things were not changing by the day, or by the hour! But longing for the past is not what God wants us to do.
I recently read a statement, which forced me to do a little soul searching about this issue of dealing with change. “In a time of drastic change, it is the learner who inherits the future.” Let’s stipulate that change is inevitable, and that things in our world are changing faster than ever before. So, how do we keep up? How do we remain relevant and engaged when “the world we grew up in” grows less familiar every day? According to this statement, we must continue learning.
I am reluctant to put forth man’s ideas and philosophies unless I can back them up with God’s Word. So check out Proverbs 18:15, which states, “The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.” (KJV).
Let’s read it in a few other versions to be sure we get the point.
You cannot stop the world from turning. You cannot slow the rapid pace of change. But you can control how you deal with progress and how you respond to change. You can sit down on your posterior and lock your arms, much like a stubborn mule when he’s tired of pulling in the cornrow. If you do, the world will simply bypass you. After all, what farmer chooses to lose his crop because of a stubborn mule that refuses to pull? No, he would simply get another mule that is willing to do the job.
The other option is to remain flexible, open-minded, and non-judgmental. In other words, relax, go with the flow, and resist becoming legalistic. This does not mean you forfeit Biblical values, Godly morals, or Spirit-guided convictions. This does not mean you go weak in the knees on non-negotiable aspects of life and faith. But it does mean that you must evolve, grow, and learn. Get knowledge. Seek it out. Be a lifetime learner. Listen for fresh insight. If you can manage this, you’ll survive this current era of change, and you’ll thrive well into the decades yet to come.
Pastor Bryan Grisham is married to Leeann, a proud dad of Riley & Claire, and doesn't mind frequent mission trips. He dwells within Caddo Parish, LA.
I am a creature of habit. I absolutely HATE to admit it, but I am. Those who know me personally would probably vehemently disagree (I may or may not have developed a reputation for being allergic to monotony).
Don't get me wrong, I know that sometimes routine is necessary. I mean, how else are you supposed to create an attachment to anything, right? You see, THAT'S my problem... attachment. My entire existence is all "slight of hand" or better yet, "smoke and mirrors".
Despite the illusion of free spirited independence, I tend to be cemented into ways of thought and emotions more often than I care to admit. Those thoughts and emotions are persistent and relentless, leaving me stuck, and often times holding on to the past.
Why? It's not like I haven't tried. It's not like I want to be caught up in a revolving door of memories, feelings, and attachments that I can't move on from. It actually drives me insane. The memories. The feelings. The ache. So what am I supposed to do?
I've realized recently that I've deceived myself into thinking that my inability to move on from certain things is the fault of my "vivid memory". That somehow, if I wasn't able to remember things so clearly, I could let go. Or that if God wanted me to move on, he would just remove the attachment (and all of the emotions that go along with it) from me. Isaiah 43:18 makes it VERY clear that it doesn't work that way. The scriptures says "Forget about what's happened; don't keep going over old history (MSG)". In this I've realized my disobedience. Not only am I not living by this scripture, but I am displaying a blatant lack of faith. I have behaved as if God can't restore what's been lost. As if he's not able to bless me with exceedingly abundantly above all that I ask or think. It's almost like I don't trust him with what's next. In stagnation I am blocking my own blessings. How dare I?
It has become evident to me that YES, I am creating my own misery. By not allowing myself to move on, I am also not opening myself up to the possibilities of the unimaginable blessings the Lord has in store for me. My record was on "replay" when God wanted to play me a new song. The question is, "how do I break the habit?" It's not as easy as it sounds, even with the best intentions. I guess my first step is THIS, here, acknowledging that sometimes my faith is fragile. My ego would have me believe otherwise. "Thy will, not my will" has to become MORE than just words. I have to put it into action, which requires releasing control. My prayer has shifted to "Lord, I surrender". Reminding myself daily that my thoughts are not his thoughts. If God wants to move, I'll move. Trading my misery for miracles.
Hazelle Gobert does unicorn things! She is a mother who writes and describes herself as being a hippie at heart; a fashion rebel; and a 'giggle gansta'. She is the author of the Blog 'Hazed and Confused' and the owner of @hazeduncensored, an Instagram page where she shares her quirky brand of humor on everyday issues.
After being handed a broken heart,
The Lord whispered to her, "Is my love enough?"
He wanted to heal her.
He wanted to mend her broken pieces
from the inside out.
Her lips spoke "yes" but her actions didn't match.
He was seeking her, yet she was seeking "it".
She desired a more tangible healing.
A healing that led to more hurt, more pain.
Months later after filling voids with
everything but Him, she began
to realize how desperately she needed His love.
So she made the choice to surrender.
With tear stained cheeks, she cried out,
"Jesus I'm sorry!" she was all His and she meant it.
Again, He softly whispered to her,
"Is MY Love enough?"
This time with a pure heart she smiled
The willingness to be broken. Ahhhhhh, what a glorious place.
During [a] retreat that I [attended] the Lord began to stir some things up inside of me. I recognized that I had been living parts of my life without Him. I realized that I needed to make a choice to be all in.
After the retreat I began to realize that after Kay, my late husband, passed I was healing; but a good portion of my healing was done by my hands and not by God's [hands]. It's as if I entered a hospital in need of heart surgery; consented to allowing the surgeon to do his job; but, when he began to work I sat up and took over. It's as if I told God, "thanks for starting it out, it's cool, I got it from here."
God heals from the inside out. After a while I didn't want my insides touched. I was too afraid that He'd take away things that I grew accustomed to. Too afraid that He'd remove people out of my life; things out of my life. So I became my own pilot. A pilot to a plane that I didn't even know how to fly.
Thank you God for stepping in before I crashed and burned.
My word for this year is "surrender". It wasn't easy at first but 27 days in and I'm no longer bucking. I'm expectant.
I'm His and He is mine.
Eleitta Lorraine is a mother, writer, speaker, hope dealer and Joy Restoration Coach who just so happens to be studying to become a Christian Counselor (2017 Candidate). She is the owner of @eleitta_lorraine, an Instagram page that encourages men, women and children who are grieving the loss of a loved one or suffered any type of traumatic life experience. She is an expert in grief counseling and shares her life with her three sons, family and friends in Delaware.
Five years ago when I walked through these doors I was exhausted. Listening to others share about their exhaustion, experiences and lessons learned made me comfortable enough to exhale. Is this an answer to one of my many prayers? And so I kept going. Weeks turned into months; then a year; two years; and now 5 years today.
My first experience with a 12-Step Program was over 20-years ago when an "angel"-friend invited me to join her in celebrating her 5th Birthday of sobriety. I felt honored that she would share this very personal & private part of her journey with me. I distinctly remember thinking to myself as I listened to the shares of mothers, fathers, spouses, adult children, etc. that the individuals who found themselves in one of these rooms were no different than me. S/he just chose another way to cope with life that did more harm than good. I was both baffled & amazed.
These were every day people from all walks of life. Whatever title one would use to divide people, you will find in these rooms. Some were actively pursuing recovery in full time sober living programs. Some were stay-at-home moms/dads. Some were working professionals like doctors, nurses, teachers, students, entertainers, athletes, executives, religious leaders, politicians, military soldiers, police officers, firemen. These were not the faces I had come to believe were addicts. I was awakened to the reality of addiction & its impact on our society as a whole. Some were unemployed and/or homeless.
This is when The Lord began to develop my compassion and taught me how important it is to meet people wherever they are on their journey. It was simple. It's not about me.
It was ironic that I would find myself in a similar room twenty-something years later listening to parents, spouses, adult children and others share their experiences and encouraging others to learn healthy ways of supporting loved ones who are finding their way. We all were waiting for our loved ones to learn healthy ways of living with their physical and mental illnesses. Illnesses like alcoholism and addictions as well as other types of obsessive behaviors most consider "bad habits" like habitual lying & gossiping; compulsive spending; overeating; shoplifting; narcissism; manipulation; anger; sex; pornography; gambling; prescription/over-the-counter drugs; and, codependency (better known as "I hold the power to fix or save you").
On this day 5 years ago, I put into action what I'd heard & learned in those rooms about how to support someone as they find their way. I made the hard decision to stop doing for others what they are capable of doing for themselves. I no longer felt guilty for not helping, especially when s/he caused their situation and was capable of finding a solution without my help. It became easier to say no to requests for help from repeat offenders.
I put myself first & did the right thing for me. My life changed. I was no longer exhausted. I was once again breathing properly. My health improved. My sleep returned. I was focused. I made better choices. I got my joy back!
But more importantly, I received His peace.
Now, when prompted, I share the blessing & lessons with others who find themselves on a similar journey. Today, I thank those "angel"-friends for trusting me with their journey and for supporting me as I learned healthy ways of accepting, forgiving and encouraging the loved ones in my life as they find their way.
God Will ALWAYS Get All The Glory!
"I think recovery from anything is honestly the most badass thing a person can do."
This subject is so close to my heart on so many levels. I created [my Instagram] page for [prison wives] to share our struggles. And this is at the root of so many issues. But nobody seems to want to address or admit it. I don't mind being raw and honest. My marriage isn't perfect.
I didn't lose my husband to prison, I lost him to addiction. I have never personally walked the path of addiction. But, I have lived it as a loved one completely helpless as I watched my loved ones slip away; ultimately coming full circle and facing it head on with the love of my life, my husband.
I was blind to so many things. I know now He wasn't using at first, he was about the money. But the enemy is sly. Don't be fooled--he will take you out. I heard a sermon in church one Sunday about how the gifts of God are not to be coveted. When God delivers you from any kind of addiction, it is not your story to keep. It is a testimony that is to be shared. It is encouragement and healing for others. It's your gift to reach out and share the mercy and grace of God!
Have you ever truly been in the presence of someone that has been saved from the pits of HELL? They are so full of love, compassion, and the eagerness to reach anyone within their grasp! I have watched God transform my husband. I can't tell you the countless nights I spent crying myself to sleep begging God to save my husband, to bring him home and to protect him.
I know God allowed this sentence and saved his life. There is nothing more powerful than a God-fearing, praying wife and/or mother! To have this mighty man of God stand before me completely changed is worth every sleepless, gut retching night.
What the enemy used for evil, to destroy this marriage and family, to take his very life, God is using to His glory!! He was able to sign for 10 years (after fighting the 40 years they kept coming at him with), which he is dedicated to using to reach anybody God sends his way.
Addiction is a beast; pure evil, straight from the pits of hell. BUT GOD is bigger than any addiction, any situation, any circumstance!!
Jennifer Mayo is the proud wife of Chris Mayo who is currently serving time in a Texas Correctional Facility. She is a mother and grandmother who also serves as a surgical scrub. She is the owner of @texas_prison_wife, an Instagram page for prison wives who are waiting for their men. She encourages wives to come together to share their struggles and celebrate their joys while waiting for the release of their spouses.
Christmas is often called “The Season of Giving.” I love giving gifts as much as anyone, and want to give to those I love the very best that I possibly can. I also enjoy receiving gifts – who doesn’t? But I recently read a short story that reminded me of the right perspective on giving and receiving. I hope this speaks to your heart, too.
A rich man’s son was graduating from college. For months, the son asked his father for a new car, knowing that his father had more than enough money. When graduation day came, the young man’s father called him into the study. The father handed him a wrapped gift and congratulated him on his achievement.
Looking disappointed, the son opened the gift to find a lovely, leather-bound journal, with his name embossed on the cover. Feeling as if he had received a less than adequate gift, he angrily raised his voice, threw down the journal, and stormed out.
Many years passed. The young man had not seen his father since graduation day. In time, he became successful and was wealthy like his father, with a beautiful home and family. He came to realize that his father was aging, and that it may be time to put the past behind them.
Just then, he received a message that his father had passed away, and that he had to return home to take care of the estate. As the mourning son regretfully returned home, he began searching through his father’s important paper. He found that journal, still brand new, just as he had left it.
He picked it up, and as he flipped through the pages, a car key dropped from inside the back pages of the journal. A dealer tag was attached to the key that read, “Paid in full. Wherever this car takes you, write about it so you can remember it forever. Love, Dad.”
Imagine the regret this man felt in this moment; realizing he had squandered years of relationship with his father on the basis of not getting what he wanted. No matter what you expect, be grateful for what you are given. It may end up being more of a blessing than you think. Let this little tale be a reminder of Luke 11:11-13, which puts a Biblical perspective on the issue of giving and receiving.
“If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If then, being evil, you know how to give good gift unto your children; how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask.”
At one time or another, all of us have been disappointed or irritated at a decision our parents made that THEY felt was best for us. This happens often during the teenage years, and is usually accompanied by exasperated eye rolling, dramatic door slamming, and a lot of pouting. But in most cases, in time, we come to see how our parent’s wisdom and experience was indeed looking out for our best interest.
James 1:7 states, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” Our earthly parents, and to an even greater degree, our Heavenly Father, want to give us good gifts. But they know that just giving us what we want is not always the best.
If you find yourself wanting something specific from others, or from life, and if it does not turn out like you expected, be careful to not make the mistake the young man made. Recognize that what we want is not always what is best for us. And in light of the fact that we can only now see “through a glass dimly” (see 1 Cor 13:12), it may be wise to allow God to decide what you need and not expect Him to give you what you want.
Pastor Bryan Grisham is married to Leeann, a proud dad of Riley & Claire, and doesn't mind frequent mission trips. He dwells within Caddo Parish, LA.
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