March 30 Grown Up Conversations

The Road to Recovery

Recovery is an ongoing process for everyone. Sometimes you’ve got to do what you have to do to get you where you want to be. There’s no shame in beginning again. This time you start with the foundation of all the lessons you have learned along the way. Procrastination is not your friend.

To begin the recovery process, we must first accept that when things go wrong is not the end of life but the peak of your story. When things go wrong as they often do it will either force you into survival mode or you may choose to run away and hide.

We fall. We fail. We cry. We rise. We heal. We win. We forgive. We accept heartbreaks. And the struggle daily continues.

We don’t have control over what life throws at us. Everyone’s journey is different. The anxiety of stepping into unplanned situations creates unease but we must remain vigilant depending on God to keep a hedge of protection around us. We are on the road to recovery so no more tit-for-tat stuff. It’s not going to get us anywhere. Forgive those who have wronged you and sincerely pray for them.

As human, we want revenge, and we don’t naturally think about praying for our enemies. However, Jesus commanded us to pray for those who say all manner of evil against us. To be honest, I do not understand all of God’s ways, but I know simple obedience always brings blessings.

When we pray for others, we walk away from fights and the feeling of compassion increases towards the person. We become more at peace with ourselves.

On the road to recovery, it’s funny that we all will say, ‘I got here with tears in my eyes.’

We are all healing from things our hearts can’t explain. We will make our way to Jesus even if we stumble through the tears and the pain. Tears are unspoken words that only Jesus can understand. Don’t allow pain to limit your potential.

Exodus 23 tells us not to repeat malicious gossip. Don’t join the messy conversation and don’t go along with the crowd in doing evil. Don’t mess up your testimony just to please the crowd. If you find your enemy’s ox or donkey loose, take it back to him. If you see the donkey of someone who hates you lying helpless under its load, don’t walk off and leave it. Help it up.

Stay clear of negative chatter. God sends His Angel ahead of you to guard you and to lead you to the place that He has predestined for you. Walk in obedience and God will be an enemy to your enemies and will fight those who fight you.

Live for God and obey Him and He will bless your food and your water. He will get rid of the sickness among you, and you will eat the good of the land. God will make sure you live full and complete lives.

As I close, remember there’s a healing element when we do things God’s way. Walk in obedience and pray for your enemies. Something good is going to happen when you trust and obey.

PRAYER TIME: Father, as we obey you, you promise to bless our bread and water, and take sickness away from us. In Jesus Name, Amen

March 29 Grown Up Conversations

Now is All You Have

Today is all we have. Many times, we are deceived with the concept of time. Dr. Leslie Weatherhead an English Christian minister calculated the average length of a life using the hours of the day to show the importance of accepting the fact that time waits on no one.   

He came up with this simple way of looking at our age vs time.

If your age is 15, the time is 10:25 a.m.

If your age is 20, the time is 11:34 a.m.

If your age is 25, the time is 12:42 p.m

If you’re 30, the time is 1:51p.m.

If you’re 35, the time is 3:00 p.m.

If you’re 40 the time is 4:08 p.m.

At age 45, the time is 5:15 p.m.

If you’re 50, the time is 6:25 p.m.

By age 55, the time is 7:24 p.m.

If you’re 60, the time is 8:42 p.m.

If you’re 65, the time is 9:51 p.m.

And if you’re 70 the time is 11 p.m.

The End

Dr. Leslie Weatherhead was on to something that should make all of us stop and do some internal reflections. Once you have lost time at any age you cannot get it back.

We must make time for what is really important to us. Life is a gift, and we will be held accountable for how we invest in this gift. The age clock doesn’t stop whether you use it or not.

The way we spend our time explains who we are. Tomorrow is never guaranteed so it’s important for all of us to find our purpose for waking up every day. We must relentlessly get to the goalpost within our designated time. Some folks wait until it’s too late and the time for that season has expired leaving them exposed with nothing worthy to show.

Ecclesiastes 12:1 says, “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of adversity come and the years approach of which you will say, “I find no pleasure in them.”

There are only two times in life – now or when it’s too late. A lack of knowledge makes some folks go to bed thinking that later in their golden years they will make a commitment to do this and that. They will not even bow their head and say a prayer.

It’s risky to assume that God will give anyone the gift of tomorrow. No one is promised good health, long life, sound mind, or freedom of choice.

In the blink of eye at any stage in life everything can change. We may never have the ability to do those things we put on our tomorrow’s list.

James 4:13-15 says, Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business, and make a profit. You do not even know what will happen tomorrow! What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord is willing, we will live and do this or that.”

Discipline is more important than waiting to be motivated to do what is important. Time waits on no one. If you want to live a happy life tie it to something that has eternal life, not people or material stuff.

PRAYER TIME: Father, thank you for today. You did not promise us tomorrow so help us to love you more and more each day. In Jesus Name, Amen.

March 25 Grown Up Conversations

It Will All Work Out in Your Favor

I have come to know more about God in the most challenging chapters of my life than I have learned in my good ones. It’s really difficult to knock out a person who refuses to give up on God. No matter what happens they know God is in control, so nothing intimidates them. They live everyday knowing that the most complicated situation will pass. It may pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass.

Everyone is a target for the devil, it’s an even playing field where no one escapes or finds a short cut. But losing faith in God is never an option for someone who knows their God.

Satan targets our families, and he’s merciless at it, but we do not lose heart. Sickness, financial difficulties and death knocks on everyone’s door but God is our strength, comforter, and hope. Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart but there’s something powerful happening on the inside of those who refuse to give up. God gives an incredible amount of grace to endure where not a day goes by without Him showing kindness.

It’s very human to lose heart. Things sometimes don’t work out the way we plan them. But Jesus told us that we should always pray and not lose heart, so we walk in obedience. The Lord understands that life can get tricky at times, but we take comfort in knowing that He gives power to the faint and increases the strength of the weak.

Keeping hope alive gives you the courage to believe that things would get better with time despite how things look at present because the story never ends without a victory lap as a child of God.

Faith in God is the only thing that makes it exciting to get off your bed and begin to imagine things turning around. Jesus told a story about a wicked judge and a persistent widow. “There was once a judge in some city who never gave God a thought and cared nothing for people. A widow in that city kept after him: ‘My rights are being violated. Protect me!’

The arrogant judge refused to be bothered with the widow. But the persistent widow never gave up even though the judge did not fear God and what people thought about him. Because this widow won’t quit going to him, he decided to give her what she wanted so he can get rid of her.

The lesson Jesus was teaching was to be persistent in prayer. Persistent faith pleases God. Prayer is an opportunity to spend time alone with God. You get to know Him as a friend, and He gets to know you as a friend. Talking with God develops a deeper relationship with Him. Do not give up! You will not be ashamed. God will give you the strength you need to never give up.

If it’s true that our mind will believe everything, we tell it then tell it to believe in God and feed it hope, truth, and love.

PRAYER TIME: Father, let us not lose hope in you. When we at our lowest please remind us that you are with us and will bring us to a good end. In Jesus Name, Amen

March 24 Grown Up Conversations

Psalms Wednesday

Psalms 138

Lord, I will praise you with all my heart. In front of those who think they are gods. I will sing praise to you. I will bow down facing your holy temple. I will praise your name because you are always loving and faithful.

You have honored your holy word even more than your own fame.

When I called out to you, you answered me. You made me strong and brave.

Lord, may all the kings on earth praise you when they hear about what you have decided.

Lord, may they sing about what you have done because your glory is great.

Though the Lord is high above all, he cares for the lowly. Though he is in heaven above, he sees them on earth below.

Trouble is all around me, but you keep me alive.

You reach out your hand to put a stop to the anger of my enemies. With your powerful right hand you save me.

Lord, you will show that I was right to trust you. Lord, your faithful love continues forever.

You have done so much for us, so don’t stop now.

I call out to you, Lord. Come quickly to help me.

Listen to me when I call out to you.

Psalms 141

I call out to you, Lord. Come quickly to help me. Listen to me when I call out to you.

May my prayer come to you like the sweet smell of incense. When I lift up my hands in prayer, may it be like the evening sacrifice.

Lord, guard my mouth. Keep watch over the door of my lips. Don’t let my heart be drawn to what is evil.

 Don’t let me join with people who do evil. Don’t let me eat their fancy food.

If a godly person hit me, it would be an act of kindness. If they would correct me, it would be like pouring olive oil on my head. I wouldn’t say no to it. I will always pray against the things that sinful people do.

When their rulers are thrown down from the rocky cliffs, those evil people will realize that my words were true.

They will say, “As clumps of dirt are left from plowing up the ground, so our bones will be scattered near an open grave.”

But Lord and King, I keep looking to you for help. I go to you for safety. Don’t let me die.

Keep me from the traps of those who do evil. Save me from the traps they have set for me.

Let evil people fall into their own nets. But let me go safely on my way.

March 23 Grown Up Conversations

Wisdom Builds a House

Have you seen people struggling with habits and compulsive behavior because their understanding has been darkened? They give no serious consideration to their actions. The Word of God says that the god of this world has blinded the minds of people who do not believe lest they see the light and turn from their ways.

Do you remember the nursey rhyme the three blind mice? Three blind mice, three blind mice. See how they run, see how they run. They all ran after the farmer’s wife, who cut off their tails with a carving knife. Did you ever see such a thing in your life, as three blind mice? Someone said, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” What a horrible tragedy?

Just like the three blind mice, we have our own blind spots. We wander off into LaLa Land chasing the wind and the butterflies until the music stops and our potential has been cut off by someone’s carving knife. It’s the naïve to assume we have no blind spots. Only the simpleminded person goes on and be punished.

Proverbs 9:17-18 says, “Stolen waters are sweet, and food eaten in secret is delicious.” But he does not realize that the dead wait there, and her invited guests end up in the depths of Hell.”

Our eyes hurt when we wake up with a bright light shining in our eyes. We want to look away from the light because it is uncomfortable to look at it. Truth hurts and it becomes uncomfortable to deal with, so we look away from it and keep on walking in the dark. Spiritual blindness is worse than physical blindness.

I did some research on the internet about physical blindness and here’s an eyeopener: Let the person who is blind or have low vision take your arm as described in the sighted guide fact sheet. Do not relocate objects or furniture without telling the person who is blind or has low vision. Do not fill glasses or cups to the brim. Use ordinary language when directing or describing and be specific.

WOW!!!

Anxiety is a killer, and it is amplified as we walk around in spiritual blindness. People who close their eyes and understanding to any and everything about God usually are the most unhappy people with themselves and others. If the guide to the visually impaired person has a guide fact sheet designed to make their life easier why would anyone with spiritual blindness chose not to walk in the wisdom of God’s Word?

Proverbs 9:7-9 “Whoever corrects a mocker invites only insult, and whoever rebukes the wicked will himself become stained. Don’t rebuke a mocker or he will hate you. Rebuke a wise person, and he will love you. Counsel a wise man, and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man, and he will add to his learning.”

When we follow God’s guidelines, we live in a village with wise people. Our homes will have no lack. Our pathway will be blessed. We will have great success. He makes us rich in every area of life, nothing missing and everything to gain. Is it time to accept responsibility and be willing to make the switch?

PRAYER TIME: Father, teach us to be wise and add to our learning that we may see good all the days we are on earth. In Jesus Name, Amen

March 22 Grown Up Conversations

Amazing Grace!

God’s amazing grace continues to amaze me each and every day. I trust we never mistake God’s silence as though He cannot see or know our thoughts before they even come to us. It’s plain arrogance to assume that we will not be held accountable for our actions because God is a gracious God. God’s grace should humble us and cause us to reverence His presence in our lives.

God gives us a sense of right and wrong and even though the battle remains a constant struggle of will power it’s up to us to always make the right choice. Impulses come dressed in everything that we secretly desire but the end often leads to a lifetime of regrets.

It’s better to look ahead and prepare, than to look back and regret. Every day our life is about making choices.

The hidden secret about God giving us a manual in the form of the Bible is to give us guidance to a victorious life protecting us from our own choices that will eventually harm us. We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past but because of God’s grace we are not our mistakes, we are not our struggles, but who we choose to become after all the hard knocks in life.

The Bible isn’t a Book about dos and don’ts but giving us guidelines to keep us blessed, safe and happy as we battle with impulses.

The thoughts we feed the most usually win. When you lie in bed awake and replay all those things you didn’t do right remind yourself that you can build on failure. Close the door on everything that wants to shackle you to the mistakes of the past.

Don’t forget the lessons you have learned but don’t live with the pain. The truth is – it’s not the end of your story. It’s only the start of your next chapter.

“Amazing Grace” by John Newton is one of the most recognizable songs in today’s world:

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound. That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fears relieved. How precious did that grace appear. The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come; ‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me His word my hope secures; He will my shield and portion be. As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail, and mortal life shall cease, I shall possess within the veil, a life of joy and peace.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years. Bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we’ve first begun.

Finally, God did not come to save those who think they have it all together but for those like you and me who know that they need forgiveness. My friends, that is Amazing Grace.

PRAYER TIME: Father, teach us to let go of the regrets in our lives and help us to make choices that will honor you as we daily battle with impulses. Heal our emotional pain as we work through our next chapters. In Jesus Name, Amen

March 18 Grown Up Conversations

The Big Gulf is Set in Place

Do you have any idea how powerful God is? No one since the world was created ever had to tell God what to do. When the rain falls some people walk in the rain while others complain about it, but we all know that eventually the rain stops. We don’t have the slightest idea how this happens as it’s God who fills the clouds and sends the thunder.

The lightning in itself is a spectacular show as it flashes across the sky into the deep sea. The weather varies from coast to coast and no one can miss the awesomeness of God’s varied seasons. God holds nothing back from us. No one can deny they have not seen God’s handwork or His kindness towards us.

Whether God disciplines us or shows grace or extravagant love, He makes sure it cannot be mistaken for anything else other than His commitment to love us beyond our imperfections.

Stay with me now – John 3:16 says that this is how much God loved the world His wonderful human creations. He gave his Son, His one and only Son to come in human form to live among us so He can free us from our sin-filled life. Anyone who believes in Jesus has eternal life. God is unperturbed by our mistakes and failures because He’s got us covered.

Jesus came to help reset our lives while daily experiencing His grace and mercy. Rick Warren says, “To make the best use of your life, you must never forget two truths: First, compared with eternity, life is extremely brief. Second, earth is only a temporary residence. You won’t be here long, so don’t get too attached.”

There’s a story in the Bible of a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus. The time came when the beggar died, and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. He was carried into Hell where he came face to face being harassed by the devil. He looked up and saw Abraham with Lazarus the beggar by his side.

The rich man cried out to Abraham to have pity on him and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water to cool his tongue. Abraham answered back, “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.”

The truth in this story is heaven and hell are not fiction stories. They are permanent places set for the big judgement day.

The Bible describes Hell as, weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth, darkness, flames, burning, torments, and everlasting punishment.

The story went on that the rich man begged Abraham to warn his family so that they will not also come to the place of torment.

Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.” The rich man said, “No, Father Abraham but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent” (Luke 16:30).

Friends, the hardness of our heart concerning the things of God leads to dire consequences. And besides all this, between heaven and hell is a great gulf that has been set in place, so that those who want to go from one place to other cannot, nor can anyone cross over.

PRAYER TIME: Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I walk away from the things that had me blinded from living for you and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.