You Can’t Look Back!

Kathy and I were having breakfast with a man after Street Corner Saturday morning who was recovering from a brutal beating which almost cost him his life.  He was in a coma for several weeks and the doctors were not optimistic about his recovery.  While he was in the coma, the Lord spoke to him and reassured him that He still had work on the earth for him to complete.  He told us that he remembers being separated from his body and looking down on the doctors and his family similar the common near-death experience.  He eventually recovered and has had a dramatic life change as he is convinced he has been given a second chance at life.

0lu4vo5ifpm-greg-rakozy

 

This man had a history of drug and alcohol abuse and was associated with some bad people.  As he continued with his story he began to express self-doubt and a feeling of not fitting in with the other men around him.  He continued to share about his past failures and insecurities and I stopped him mid-sentence and told him-

Stop!  You can’t look back! 

We all have junk in our past.  We have all made mistakes.  You simply cannot dwell on the past.

I told him that he was a new person that has been transformed and forever changed.  The old self is gone.  The voice telling you that you about your past, your previous failures, that your not good enough …is NOT the voice of the Father.  This is the voice of the enemy.  You cannot listen to this.

The enemy uses self-doubt, shame, and guilt to take away our power.  When we turn inside of ourselves we have destroyed our ability to influence others in a positive way.  We cease in our ability to make a difference in the world.

He shook his head yes and thanked me for the reminder.  He viewed many of the other men around him as hypocrites for just “talking and not walking” in their faith.  I reminded him that he can influence them by doing the right thing and walking in the light.  The rest is up to God.  He needn’t carry that burden.

Looking back can bring you down but it can also be an encouragement.  Look how far you have come!  You are not where you used to be.  And you are moving forward.  You are making a difference.  Push that negative voice out of your head.  It is not doing you any good!

Realize that you are here for a purpose much bigger than yourself.  To change lives.  To build up.  To restore and create.  This is the voice from heaven.  Listen for it!

So what do you think?  Don’t be a stealth reader!  Click on “leave a comment” and let me know what you think!  If you like this post press the share button and post it on your Twitter feed or Facebook page!  Yep…I can use some encouragement too! 

Dancing with the King!

I recently lost a friend named Pete to cancer. He fought very hard against the disease and we prayed very hard that the Lord would heal him. Yet, the Lord had other plans. He chose to take Peter home.

CC Public Domain

Pete was known to get up during worship at church and dance a bit as an act of worship to the Father. Not a big flashy dance, but a little two step that was all his own. I loved to watch him dance.  You could see the laser focus on the Lord as he worshiped though his special dance.

Pete understood that worship was about giving and not getting. He chose to leave his seat and dance in his delight to worship the King. Leaving your seat at church is not easy. You may get a bit of an eye roll from the purists and your flesh is telling you to keep your butt in the seat. And I’m sure it wasn’t always easy for Pete who was suffering with strength and pain from the disease. Yet he chose to dance. He couldn’t stay in his seat. He had to give back to the Father. Too many Christians focus on what they get at church instead of what they give.

Was the message or music good for me?

Was I able to catch up with my buddy about the game yesterday?

Did I get the information on all the upcoming church events?

I need to sign up the kids for camp?

We are turning our “worship service” into an intellectually stimulating social hour. Where is the worship part? The worship seems to focus on worldly things like “doing church” with all the events, theology, groups, and pageantry. Have you ever left a church because you weren’t “getting anything out of the service”? Emphasis on getting.  Didn’t agree with the theology or offended by the message? Where is the focus on the King who made heaven and earth?

The glimpse of heaven we get in the Word illustrates a constant adoration and worship to the King. Can you see yourself worshiping 24/7? For me, I get it. I enjoy worship. I love the way it changes me and transports me to a different place. I love the way it can change my attitude and realign my focus. Every Sunday. Without fail.

I am so thankful for Pete and his dance. The dance has caused me to reflect on how I see Sunday mornings. On how I often want to get instead of give. Worship has a way of making you small so he can make Him big. Pete understood this. Pete chose to dance. He chose to give. And now, right now, Pete is dancing with the King!

16 And What?

This one is for Dads…

This is a guest post from a friend of mine- David Dusek.  David leads a ministry called Rough Cut Men (www.roughcutmen.org) that focuses on getting men to begin engaging with one another in an authentic and transparent way.  Using major motion picture clips, men come away realizing that they are not the only ones going through lifes challenges. David using the illustrations to equip men to deal with these challenges and encourage them to “walk through life” with other men.  A native of Florida, David resides in Sarasota with his wife and their five children.  You can contact David through the link to his website above. 

Being the father of about 412 teenagers (okay, only 5, but it sometimes seems like 412), I occasionally get blindsided by stuff, often after-the-fact.  You dads know what I’m talking about:   “I can’t go check the mail, Dad.  I forgot to tell you that I backed over the mailbox this morning”, or “I spent the entire day with [insert the name of the person you can barely stand here] watching [insert the title of your choice of inappropriate movies here]. 

Princess

You would think that, after enough years and enough kids, I would have heard it all.  But today just really set me off.  As a disclaimer, I wasn’t upset at one of the kids.  I was inflamed by the entire circumstance and I guess you get to read my tirade.  And if you aren’t just as twisted over this as I am after you read it, then you may want to read it again!

Apparently it was a wedding day, and a friend-of-a-friend of one of our girls was taking her vows.  It did strike me as a little odd that the wedding was at 5 PM on a Wednesday, but maybe it was the only time that the church was free?  Our daughter got dressed up and headed out the door, not in what I would classify as typical wedding attire.  But times have changed, right?

I guess I had no idea how much times have changed until I found out more details about the wedding, after the fact.  First, the girl is pregnant, as in “shotgun wedding”.  And she is sixteen.  As in, “I can officially get my license now” sixteen.  Or even  “Four years ago, I was twelve” sixteen.

For a while now, I have been slowing coming to a rolling boil over the garbage that has become popular television for the aforementioned age demographic.  Shows like “Pretty Little Liars” and “Liars Club” program our youth to think that it’s okay to lie.  Period. There’s no overarching theme other than “Speaking mistruth is okay”.   My parents wouldn’t let me watch the “Brady Bunch” if Bobby stole a cookie from Jan, for crying out loud!

The shows that really illustrate how failed we are as a society are “Sixteen and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom”.  These shows glamorize being pregnant, or being a mother, while in high school, and they are just the worst kind of crap.  Both pregnancy and motherhood are reserved for women at least five or ten years older, and only as an integrated part of marriage to a husband.  The shows depict young ladies, living at home, gleefully preparing baby bedrooms under the roof of their respective parents.  And it’s just wrong!

You know what else is missing, in large part, from the expecting teenagers homes?  One word:  DAD.

Here’s the deal, men.  We are morally, financially, spiritually and legally responsible for our girls.  When they turn 18, the government says that they can vote, die for our country and even pay their own consequences for bad decisions as an adult.  But guess what? Even when they turn 18, we are STILL morally, spiritually and usually financially responsible for them. 

I don’t know about you, but I am all for averting disaster.  We must do our job as dad to ensure the greatest odds of success for our girls.  By “do our job”, I am not talking about providing for them.  That’s just part of the deal when you have a kid.  Providing would be the ‘minimum acceptable standard’ of being their father.

Here are a few guidelines to follow if you are bringing up girls (and yeah, it’s a lot different from raising boys):

  1. Tell her how beautiful she is.  There is a strong probability that she feels ugly today…just sayin’
  2. Tell her that you love her.  A lot!
  3. Hug her.  A lot!
  4. Take her out on a date every few weeks, or every week if you can.  Show her what a “normal” evening should look like.
  5. Model love, respect and service towards your wife.  Remember, more is caught than taught.  She is going to look for someone just like you, like it or not.

Here’s a thought to remember, guys.  If we aren’t loving on our daughters, somebody else will be.  Some guys prey on girls, and EVERY girl needs to feel loved, appreciated and beautiful. That’s YOUR job!

Guard your princess!

Do you have some other good guidelines to share for raising daughters?  Click on comment below and share your ideas!