The Cure For a Broken Heart
Do you have a broken heart? There’s a cure. The Bible says, “A merry heart does good like medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22) A joyful heart is the cure for a broken spirit. When our spirit is broken we are discouraged, which literally means to have “shortness of spirit.” The cure for a short or small spirit is JOY! So, where can you find joy? Psalm 16, verse 11 says, “You (God) will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Now the question is, how can someone experience the presence of God? Try these four doorways into God’s presence and His pleasure: anointed worship, agreeing with others in prayer, feasting on God’s Word, and fellowshipping with people who love Jesus.
Let God Kiss You Slowly
Years ago, one of my daughters had a habit of calling me and saying, “Real quick!” As if the conversation had to be rushed. After awhile I connected the dots that I was actually the source of that pattern. Realizing this, I asked her forgiveness, and since then our conversations are not rushed. There are two things your children will remember most about their childhoods: First, how much you loved them, and secondly, how much time you spent with them. A father walked into his little boy’s room late one night. Thinking he was asleep, the Dad quickly kissed his son on the cheek and started to leave the room. As he did, he heard his little boy say, “Why do you kiss me so fast?” Hmm? That’s a great thought! Let God kiss you slowly! He really wants to!
Freedom From Stress
Want to get free from stress? Here are some suggestions. Reestablish control over your life and schedule. Prioritize activities and commitments. Practice saying “No” to good things, in order to say, “Yes” to the best things. Consider doing less, not more. We all need margin in our lives. Margin will give you space to rest, time to heal, room to breathe, freedom to move, and money to spare. Protect open spaces. Periodically prune activities. Limit long-term commitments. Guard the dinner hour. Restore the practice of a Sabbath rest. Remember God is the one who gets things done. Psalm 37, verse seven says, “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him…” At the end of the day, God’s not just the only Person worth waiting for, He’s also the only One who knows what our future should be.
Of Mice and Snakes
A good friend of mine used to raise snakes, in particular pythons to sell. He had some huge snakes. One named “Goliath” that was 16 feet long. My friend would feed one mouse at a time to the young snakes, but would come back after a few hours to make sure each snake had eaten the mouse. If not, a tiny mouse can kill a snake, ten times its size. What’s the principle? God’s given us all that we need to defeat our enemies. With Jesus as our Lord, the devil is truly no match for us. But, if we fail to destroy the works of the enemy during our window of opportunity, the much “weaker” devil can strike first and defeat us. The Bible tells us the truth, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7, ESV)
Living a Low-Stress Life
People substitute busyness for purpose. We figure if we can’t quench our thirst with an eyedropper, why not use a fire hose? We think we need more, and faster, but if we’re chronically exhausted, chronically late, and chronically rushed, we’re probably “breaking the speed limit of life”. For some people stress is the spice of life, but for others, it’s the kiss of death. I’ve found that my “No” is as important as my “Yes”. So, am I recommending a stress- free life? Actually, I’m not! No matter how tempting it may sound, if we didn’t have changes and challenges, we would die of boredom. Ask someone who’s been to prison, or a hospital, or has a boring job. Prisoners only make 20 decisions a day. Outside of prison people make roughly 120 decisions a day. We don’t need a no-stress life! We just need a low-stress life!
An Amish boy and his father were visiting a mall for the first time. They were amazed when they saw two shiny, silver doors that would move apart and then back together again; neither of them had ever seen an elevator. While they were watching, an old lady, limping slightly with a cane, walked up, pressed a button, and walked into the small room. The walls closed as they waited in amazement to see what would happen next. Suddenly, the walls opened again, and a beautiful, 24 year old woman stepped out. The astonished father turned to his son and said, “Son, go get your mother!” It’s a funny story, but I’ve seen miraculous changes like that played out in hundreds of lives. A person comes to Jesus looking old and tired, and God gives them a youthful, fulfilled, brand new life.
Living a Full Life
We all want to live full lives, but there are different degrees of fullness. Think of your life in terms of four saturation possibilities. There are four primary dimensions in our lives that can make us feel saturated: physically, financially, emotionally and within our time schedules. If your life were a sponge, would your sponge be 80% full? If it is, you have a better chance of being open and available for God to direct and even bless your life. If your schedule is 100% full, you will live hesitant and guarded: buried by what is going on, and afraid to add anything to your already overwhelmed life. Finally, if your schedule is 120% full, as many people’s lives are, you will wake up and go to bed feeling overloaded and stressed. Let Jesus be Lord of your schedule!
Do You Know What You Have?
There was a man who wanted to get rid of his home. So, he went to see a friend who was a realtor. He described his house and grounds to the realtor and asked him to write an advertisement for the newspapers. After his friend wrote the ad, he read it to him. The homeowner was overwhelmed with emotion. He said, “All my life I’ve always wanted a place just like the one you described. But I never knew I had it until I heard what you wrote.” Do we know what we already have? I’ve found that the best cure for discouragement is gratitude. Only one of the lepers Jesus healed was grateful. “…he…turned around and came back, shouting his gratitude, glorifying God.” (Luke 17:15-16, The Message) I am that leper, and my prayer is that you will realize you are as well.
Beneath the Surface
I was once watching two fishermen in a boat off shore. It didn’t seen like they were doing much…just sitting there in a boat. After 45 minutes I was suspicious and didn’t understand what was going on, until a scuba diver came up from beneath their boat. I didn’t know he was beneath the surface working. Hmm? Kind of like the Holy Spirit. Most of the time we don’t see what the Holy Spirit is doing. The reason we can’t find rest is because we don’t trust what God is doing beneath the surface of our circumstances. God is always working! Jesus said, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8, ESV) Where is God’s Spirit blowing in your life? Where is He working?
Do you know the difference between praise and worship? It is important that you do. When we praise God, we focus on what He has done. Anyone can praise God for what He does, even non-Christians! While praise focuses on what God has done, worship is a response to who God is. Only people who have a relationship with God can really worship. When I was a young Christian we tried to praise God for long periods of time, but we didn’t have the depth of relationship to sustain it. After awhile it became mechanical! Until I knew God better, I couldn’t worship Him better. As my understanding of God increased, my response to God increased as well. God tells us in the Book of Jeremiah, “…let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me….” (Jeremiah 9:24, ESV)
There’s a legend about an angel who was sent by God to tell Satan that every method he used to defeat God’s people would be taken from him. The devil pleaded to be allowed to keep just one; he begged, “Let me keep depression.” So the angel agreed. “Good!” exclaimed the devil, as he laughed to himself, “Through depression, I can secure all the rest.” There’s a lot of truth to that little story. The Bible says, “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.” (Proverbs 12:25) Anxiety produces fear, heaviness, and sorrow, while depression makes us fall down flat. But the Psalmist gives us the cure, “Why am I discouraged? Why so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again–my Savior and my God! (Psalm 43:5)
Freedom From Debt
Are you struggling with debt? Here are some helpful tips on how to defeat your debt overload. Begin by giving God your first and best when it comes to your time, talents, and treasures. Commit to a budget. Self-control is a fruit of God’s Spirit. Avoid future debt by not giving in to impulse buying. Pay off your debts systematically. Get rid of credit cards. We each get sent many every year. Only spend money on what you need, not on what you want. Simplify your lifestyle. Learn to be content in all and any situations. Eat out less; it’s an expense you don’t need. Enjoy free activities; there are more than you realize. Simplify Christmas and birthdays; special doesn’t have to be expensive. And remember, the best things in life money can’t buy.