Our Chat Room Facilitators are blessed with the Spiritual Gift of "Encouragement".
They always have words of wisdom and inspiring scriptures to share.
Enjoy these "Tidbits" and visit often for new blessings.
"Shame. It whispers and hisses that no matter what you do, you will always be defined by what you did or what was done to you. It mocks you. Shame wants you desperately performing for acceptance you don't believe you deserve." - The Cure, Bruce McNicol, Bill Thrall & John Lynch
"Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions. Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention. Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes. Keep seeking God. Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution. Stop repeating the past and start creating the future. Stop playing it safe and start taking risks. Expand your horizons. Accumulate experiences. Consider the lilies. Enjoy the journey. Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can. Live like today is the first day and last day of your life. Don't let what's wrong with you keep you from worshipping what's right with God. Burn sinful bridges. Blaze a new trail. Criticize by creating. Worry less about what people think and more about what God thinks. Don't try to be who you're not. Be yourself. Laugh at yourself. Quit holding out. Quit holding back. Quit running away. Chase the lion!"
— Mark Batterson 'In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day'
"I'm discovering that a spiritual journey is a lot like a poem. You don't merely recite a poem or analyze it intellectually. You dance it, sing it, cry it, feel it on your skin and in your bones. You move with it and feel its caress. It falls on you like a teardrop or wraps around you like a smile. It lives in the heart and the body as well as the spirit and the head. "
-- Sue Monk Kidd
Think of the many disappointments and troubles that beset us. Look at them more closely, and you will realize that the most agonizing of them have to do with our own "Isaacs." (Genesis 22: 9-10) In our lives there are always some things that we invest in to get a level of joy and fulfillment that only God can give. The most painful times in our lives are times in which our “Isaacs”, our idols, are being threatened or removed. When that happens we can respond in two ways. We can opt for bitterness and despair. We will feel entitled to wallow in those feelings, saying, "I've worked all my life to get to this place in my career, and now it's all gone!" or "I've slaved my whole life to give that girl a good life, and this is how she repays me!" We may feel at liberty to lie, cheat, take revenge, or throw away our principles in order to get some relief. Or we may simply live in a permanent despondency.
Or, like Abraham, you could take a walk up into the mountains. You could say, "I see that you may be calling me to live my life without something I never thought I could live without. But if I have you, I have the only wealth, health, love, honor, and security I really need and cannot lose." As many have learned and later taught, you don't realize Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have.
Many, if not most, of these counterfeit gods can remain in our lives once we have "demoted" them below God. Then they won't control us and bedevil us with anxiety, pride, anger, and drivenness. Nevertheless, we must not make the mistake of thinking that this story means all we have to do is be willing to part with our idols rather than actually leave them behind. If Abraham had gone up the mountain thinking, "All I'll have to do is put Isaac on the altar, not really give him up" - he would have failed the test! Something is safe for us to maintain in our lives only if it has really stopped being an idol. That can happen only when we are truly willing to live without it, when we truly say from the heart, "Because I have God, I can live without you."
- Timothy Keller, â€˜Counterfeit Gods’
Unmanly men live to get what they think they need. Unmanly men driven by the passion of neediness try to get it from others.
One woman said to me, “When I hear my husband’s car pull in the driveway after work, my heart just sinks. I immediately feel even more tired than I felt before. I’m a housewife with three little kids to take care of all day. And now here comes a fourth.”
“What does he do that makes you feel that way?” I asked. He was sitting next to her, managing to scowl and look hurt at the same time.
“A thousand things,” she replied. It could be a sigh when he walks in the door or a comment about traffic on the way home. Sometimes he tells me how tired he feels. It could be anything. But it’s always about him, about something that’s wrong, like I’m supposed to do something. Even when he asks about me, I feel set up to ask about him. If he helps with dinner, I get that look that tells me I’m supposed to tell him how wonderful he is. And if I do something special for him, even something little, like a really affectionate greeting, he’s TOO appreciative. It makes me feel like he really needed it, that I better keep on giving it to him, or he’ll be really hurt. Sometimes when he’s extra thoughtful, I think he’s telling me I better be available for sex, but most of time it’s not that. I don’t know how else to put it — everything he does makes me feel that I’m supposed to come through for him.”
Many needy men hide their neediness better than this woman’s husband. They may be far more subtle and “manly” in their expression of need. And every one of us follows the pattern of tough men (pattern 2) or needy men (pattern 1) at various points in our lives.
The man who typically follows the first pattern lives his life thinking others should come through for him. His sense of neediness is so real, so deep, so compelling, that asking for understanding or attention seems entirely reasonable to him. So too with men whose neediness feels core to their being. They feel most comfortable and alive when someone is taking care of them. More than anything else, they see themselves as needy. And someone should be doing something about it.
When they feel let down, when someone does not come through as required, men who define themselves by their needs feel they have been profoundly failed. Justice has miscarried. Rights have been denied. The human community has been inhumane.
The effect, of course, is anger. Resentment boils up, and it feels justified. And with justified resentment comes justified revenge. Think how easily sarcastic comments pour through our lips. We lash out with remarks that cut. Perhaps we inflict only small wounds, like paper cuts — but the hurt. That, of course, is the intent. To hurt the one who failed to come through.
Men ruled by the passion of neediness get even; if not with sarcasm and cuts, then with irritability or grumpiness or indifference. Wives who fail need-driven men are made to pay. So are the friends of these men.
But needy men don’t see the damage they inflict. A needy man confronted with his cruelty reacts often like a starving beggar caught stealing a loaf of bread. “Look, maybe what I did was wrong. I’m sure it was. But you’ve got to understand what I’ve been through. Given how hungry I am, I’m really not asking for much.”
Only when the Spirit of God, through his Word, exposes the heart’s thoughts and attitudes will any of us see clearly. Only then will the ruling passion of neediness be recognized for what it is: a sinful basis for relating to others that is not worthy of men.
When we are ruled by the passion of neediness and believe that our deepest joy lies in others coming through for us, we destroy life and tarnish beauty. At that point, we are not manly men.
Taken from “The Silence of Adam” by Dr. Larry Crabb
If you center your life and identity on your spouse or partner, you will be emotionally dependent, jealous, and controlling. The other person’s problems will be overwhelming to you.
If you center your life and identity on your family and children, you will try to live your life through your children until they resent you or have no self of their own. At worst, you may abuse them when they displease you.
If you center your life and identity on your work and career, you will be a driven workaholic and a boring, shallow person. At worst you will lose family and friends and, if your career goes poorly, develop deep depression.
If you center your life and identity on money and possessions, you’ll be eaten up by worry or jealousy about money. You’ll be willing to do unethical things to maintain your lifestyle, which will eventually blow up your life.
If you center your life and identity on pleasure, gratification, and comfort, you will find yourself getting addicted to something. You will become chained to the “escape strategies” by which you avoid the hardness of life.
If you center your life and identity on relationships and approval, you will be constantly overly hurt by criticism and thus always losing friends. You will fear confronting others and therefore will be a useless friend.
If you center your life and identity on a “noble cause,” you will divide the world into “good” and “bad” and demonize your opponents. Ironically, you will be controlled by your enemies. Without them, you have no purpose.
If you center your life and identity on religion and morality, you will, if you are living up to your moral standards, be proud, self-righteous, and cruel. If you don’t live up to your moral standards, your guilt will be utterly devastating.
So, what happens when we center our life around God? Something to ponder for todayâ€¦what’s God’s position in your life?
(Tim Keller, The Reason for God (Dutton, 2008), pp. 275-276)
Something to remember is that midlife crisis is an illness. It changes the man we fell in love with and creates an angry self centered stranger. There are many here who have restored marriages and say their spouses are even better than before the midlife crisis. I know others who gave up, and then remarried only to find that they settled and were at very least not happy. Some settle to avoid being alone -- where if only they had waited, worked on themselves, and trusted the Lord, they could have restored their marriage and have the man they fell in love with back.
I can tell you that I have learned to be thankful for this journey. I would never have grown and done the things I have done, except for my husband’s journey. I was too busy trying to be what I thought was the perfect wife and I lost myself. In this journey, I have really worked on myself and done many things I would never have given myself the opportunity to do.
When someone told me that she was “thankful for the journey”, I thought she was crazy. I just wanted to close my eyes and have it all be over. Now I have to admit she was right. God had much work to do and I wouldn't have let Him otherwise.
I heard a pastor on the radio this morning say the difference in taking a ride with God and the Devil, is that God sits in the passenger seat and gives guidance, the Devil throws us in the back seat and takes the wheel.
There was a man who had four sons. He wanted his sons to learn not to judge things too quickly. So he sent them each on a quest, in turn, to go and look at a pear tree that was a great distance away.
The first son went in the winter, the second in the spring, the third n summer, and the youngest son in the fall. When they had all gone and come back, he called them together to describe what they had seen.
The first son said that the tree was ugly, bent, and twisted. The second son said no, it was covered with green buds and full of promise. The third son disagreed; he said it was laden with blossoms that smelled so sweet and looked so beautiful, it was the most graceful thing he had ever seen. The last son disagreed with all of them; he said it was ripe and drooping with fruit, full of life and fulfillment.
The man then explained to his sons that they were all right because they had each seen but only one season in the tree’s life. He told them that you cannot judge a tree, or a person, by only one season, and that the essence of who they are and the pleasure, joy, and love that come from that life can only be measured at the end, when all the seasons are up.
If you give up when it’s winter, you will miss the promise of your spring, the beauty of your summer, the fulfillment of your fall.
Don’t let the pain of one season destroy the joy of all the rest.
Don’t judge life by one difficult season.
Faith Sees the Invisible,
Believes the Incredible,
and Receives the Impossible.