Showing posts with the label Pressure

Driven toward truth

As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your commands. (Psalm 119:143)  The late Walt Disney said, "It is kind of fun to do the impossible." With God, much of what we see as impossible is really not, but that doesn't minimize the fact that the impossible comes with its own stress and pressure. There is a certain 'stress' within faith - trust requires stepping outside of our comfort zone from time to time. When we do, the pressure that can bear down on us can almost overwhelm us. This is why we must press into our relationship with Jesus even harder during these times.  Someone once told me to enjoy that stress and feel that pressure. Why? It meant I was going to see God work within my life in ways I had never experienced before. So, I took that advice and actually took a different attitude toward all that pressure as the 'impossible' closed in around me. Do you know what happened? Before long, the 'attitude' I had assumed actually beg

Irritants are burdens

Are you being an irritant or surrounded by irritants? A telling question indeed, for many of the things that actually irritate us about others are things that irritate us about ourselves! Mom always used to say, "It takes one to know one" and she was pretty 'spot-on' with that observation. If you are able to see such things as kindness, goodness, and graciousness in others FIRST, above all their other traits, you are likely doing pretty well allowing God to develop those traits deep within your heart, as well. Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will earn a good reputation. (Proverbs 3:3-4) Irritants are burdens none of us want to carry - much less emulate in our lives. I found it amazing that one tiny 'burr' under the saddle blanket could cause a horse to act up so much. They become downright 'agitated' by that t

Sleep well, my friends

The saying is true: Bad dreams come from too much worrying, and too many words come from foolish people. (Ecclesiastes 5:3) Are you a dreamer? I don't have many dreams I can recount when I awaken. Most of the time I simply have a slight memory for a short period of time and then as I fully awaken, those memories fade away as quickly as the day dawns. Yet, I have dreams - mine are just 'daytime dreams'. I think on things at night when I awaken, mulling them over and over in my mind until I find a solution to the thing I am contemplating. If I need to make something out of this or that, I think on the many 'solutions' to the 'making'. I don't create the thing while I am asleep, but rather when I am fully awake, firmly committed to the design I imagine will work, and committed to beginning to put the idea into motion.  Bad dreams - do we have these on occasion? Some people suffer from traumatic circumstances that leave them with haunting 'nightmares'

A pressure cooker of emotions

  Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.  (I Peter 5:8-9) How hard is it to keep a cool head? At times, there are words shared that make it a little more than difficult to keep your cool. Attitudes begin to grate on each other and the emotions we muster are more likely to build up pressures that will eventually need a release. I think this is the most dangerous time in a person's life because we don't always do a great job releasing the pressure in a positive manner. We want to respond well, but we let word

Pressure leaves a mark

“Whenever this happens, my heart stops— I’m stunned, I can’t catch my breath. Listen to it! Listen to his thunder, the rolling, rumbling thunder of his voice. He lets loose his lightnings from horizon to horizon, lighting up the earth from pole to pole. In their wake, the thunder echoes his voice, powerful and majestic. He lets out all the stops, he holds nothing back. No one can mistake that voice— His word thundering so wondrously, his mighty acts staggering our understanding. He orders the snow, ‘Blanket the earth!’ and the rain, ‘Soak the whole countryside!’ No one can escape the weather—it’s there. And no one can escape from God. Wild animals take shelter, crawling into their dens, When blizzards roar out of the north and freezing rain crusts the land. It’s God’s breath that forms the ice, it’s God’s breath that turns lakes and rivers solid. And yes, it’s God who fills clouds with rainwater and hurls lightning from them every which way. He puts them through their paces—first this

Don't steam in it any longer!

"Count yourself lucky." We use this phrase, "I am so lucky", often without realizing what it means to be "lucky". It means that we are "favored" - to find a special space or focus of attention where all is going well. We should count ourselves as specifically favored by God - an object of his special focus! Being the special object of his favor should produce within each of us a sense of awe - tremendous wonder at how the God of the universe could have favor on us. His care for each of us begins with a specific action of his love - he forgives us - giving us a fresh start. The slate has been wiped clean! How many times do we say, "I wish I could get a fresh start"? Well, we can as many times as we need that 'fresh start' - God's footstool is the place of fresh starts. Fresh starts are characterized by being able to leave all the mess of our past exactly where it is and moving on beyond that place of 'messiness'. No

Called into account

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. (James 1:2-4 MSG) Our passage today refers to the process of our "faith-life" being forced into the open by the challenges we face in our daily walk. We don't always like it when our "faith-life" is brought into the open, though. Many times we try to compartmentalize our "faith-life" as something separate from the rest of our 'real life'. Pressure helps to produce evidence of our faith in Christ and brings evidence of Christ-like maturity in our choices - those 'real life' choices. I don't want you to miss the statement that "true colors" are revealed - these are often hidden or need something else to

Then, When, & Now

Then, when, and now - three very insignificant words until you begin to think just how much they affect your lives. Stop for just a moment and consider the word "then".  Then can speak of the past - a point in time at which something happened other than what is happening right now.  Lots of us have a tendency to be limited by our "then".  When often refers to the future - a point in time where we imagine one thing or another actually coming to fulfillment.  Living in the "when" moments all the time can be a little daunting because we are always imagining something "better" than the way it is right now.  Now is the only really "good" way to focus our attention - if we do a good job with the "now", we won't have to worry about the "then" or "when" in life! So do not worry about tomorrow. Let tomorrow worry about itself. Living faithfully is a large enough task for today. (Matthew 6:34 VOICE) Jes

Squeezing a little?

" I've heard there are troubles of more than one kind; some come from ahead, and some come from behind. But I've brought a big bat. I'm all ready, you see; now my troubles are going to have troubles with me !" (Dr. Seuss) Could it be that maybe some of us just need a bigger bat?  I pose that question because it seems like there are some in our lives who just don't ever seem to get past or away from those problems which "come from ahead" or "come from behind".  It could even be one of us who just doesn't ever get truly "free" of the things which have come as "troubles of more than one kind". I challenge us not to think about those troubles, but the size of the bat we have been given to help us deal with them once and for all! When the upright need help and cry to the Eternal, He hears their cries and rescues them from all of their troubles. (Psalm 34:17 VOICE) Peter Marshall had a great perspective on the

Softening or hardening - all in the same water

Have you ever seen that little saying posted on someone's timeline or maybe in a little sign in someone's office which simply reminds you the same boiling water which can soften a hard potato is also responsible for making a runny egg hard? The idea is our circumstances can change us - it depends on how we view them, what we allow to happen to us "through" them, and if we are even willing to get into them in the first place! I don't know about you, but there are just some "boiling water" circumstances I don't want to face sometimes! I would rather not be in the pot of water at all, let's just be honest here! I honestly don't think I am alone on this one - there are just times we'd rather skip the "boiling" process and get whatever results will come without it! Ever try eating a raw potato? It is okay, but I prefer mine mashed, with a little milk, and rich butter! I know there are health advisories about under-cooked or r


In the midst of some of the toughest places we could be in, there are moments when we just need to stop to take time to refocus.  In this moment of refocus, we are really re-centering our eyes of Jesus - his greatness, his graciousness, and his gentleness.  In the midst of chaos and terror, he becomes our settling peace.  In the moments of uncertainty and wavering, he becomes our strong foundation.  In the mountains of hardship and despair, he becomes our strong deliverer.  Some of us need to refocus more than we recognize.  On the surface, we might appear calm, cool and collected.  On the inside, we are falling apart, failing to pass the tests, and frantically trying to avoid the mess we are in.  As we face these tough places in life, we aren't alone.  Not only does the guy or gal next to you feel the pressures of life, but so do you - if you were honest enough to admit it.   But let me run loose and free,   celebrating  God ’s great work, e very bone in my body laughing, singin

Sign me up!

Okay, I have asked this question before, but it begs asking again - how many of you actually enjoy waiting?  In this whole wide world, I don't think there are very many people who would respond, "Oh, sign me up for that one!  I love to wait!"  Most of us struggle with the wait - it starts in our infancy and continues into our adulthood.  Diapers demanded changing - not on Mom's schedule, but on ours.  Tummies needed filling - not always in the timeframe others were "hungry".  As we got a little older, boys weren't attracted to girls or girls to boys as fast as we'd have liked.  Blemishes seemed to take an eternity to disappear, but appeared totally without warning seemingly overnight!  As we moved into adulthood, there was this concept of "putting in our time" before anything like an advancement came.  All this hurry up and wait business just lends to the frustration we feel with waiting.  When our waiting involves what God has to do for us

Bountiful beauty beheld

Crush:  To press or squeeze with a force that destroys or deforms; to force out by pressing; to break.  Sometimes people don't see my fascination in the study of words, but when we take a little time to explore the various meanings of a word, we often begin to ponder things we might have missed before.  This is especially true when it comes to understanding the Word of God.  The "words" God chose to share with us in the pages of our Bible are not by chance - they are selected for their meaning.  Therefore, getting the most out of the Word of God often requires us to be open to considering the meaning of the words chosen to express a certain matter of thought or instruction. A healthy spirit conquers adversity,   but what can you do when the spirit is crushed? (Proverbs 18:14 MSG) I have some friends who have been through tremendous pressures this past year, and others who are beginning this year with some of the most terrifying decisions they will have to make in thei

I'm taking flight!

Consider:  to think carefully about; contemplate; reflect upon.  We all spend time "contemplating" certain things.  Some of us spend more time contemplating than others.  At times, we act only after very careful contemplation, but at others, we may find ourselves just jumping out there without any kind of consideration.  We probably know that doesn't work well.  We can neither spend all our time in contemplation, nor can we constantly just be jumping in with both feet without any real consideration of the consequences of our actions.  I think this is why God gave man the ability to "reason" - to reflect upon a matter and to some to conclusions.  Sometimes, no matter how much "contemplation" we do on a matter, it still just amazes us and catches us a little off-guard! Three things amaze me, no, four things I’ll never understand—how an eagle flies so high in the sky, how a snake glides over a rock, how a ship navigates the ocean, why adolescents act

Antagonize me!

 "Salvation" is only gibberish to the wicked  because they've never looked it up in your dictionary.   Your mercies,  God , run into the billions;  following your guidelines, revive me.  My antagonists are too many to count,  but I don't swerve from the directions you gave.  (Psalm 119:155-157 The Message) In nursing, there are certain medications administered for the very purpose of acting as "antagonists" to some other medication in the body.  The purpose is to "bind" something of harm to your body, such as too much narcotic, an over-abundance of a particular electrolyte, or a blood-level of medication that is harmful at a particularly high level.  The antagonistic effect of the medication actually ends up saving your life!   Sometimes we view people and things in our lives who function as "antagonists" in a very negative sense.  I challenge you this morning to consider if perhaps the "challenging" thing or per