Are you stubborn? Known for kicking against the goads from time to time? I know I am, or at least that is what I’ve been told. Change is a critical process that we all are going through every day. Sometimes we make it harder than it needs to be while other times we are flat out in denial anything needs to happen at all. Nevertheless, change will come whether we want it to or not.
The Stages of Change
When it comes to change (which we all love so much) there are five stages a person will go through to make a significant modification to their life. Interestingly enough change begins without you even knowing it. You’ve likely heard the metaphor kicking against the goads. Goads were used to prod livestock forward, and they would kick back at them causing more harm than good.
Would you change how you live your life if you were able to look back on your life when you ignored God or a loved one’s well-intentioned attempt at urging you to take a specific path or action (to stop kicking against the goading) only to find out that if you had listened you would have avoided a load of heartache?
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It’s that time of the year, AGAIN, where we either look back on our lives and wonder why things turned out the way they did, or we look forward and begin with a fresh start. If you went through a divorce this past year, or any other traumatic event, you have likely been told that time heals all wounds, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Do you want to know the secret to healing old wounds? It’s the Holy Spirit and letting go of the past! By holding onto the pain, it can hinder the work the Holy Spirit is trying to do. God wants to heal our broken hearts, our wounds from the past, but we need to allow Him to work from the inside out by letting go.
Psalm 34:18 – The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
As humans we often wish life wasn’t full of obstacles, pain, and suffering but when was the last time any of us grew in character, values or conviction when we were prospering? Truth be told, we don’t do much growing in times of prosperity. For some reason, it isn’t until we are faced with trials and temptations that we grow and permit God to mold us more into the likeness of Jesus.
Continue reading “A New Year a New You”
Happiness is one of those emotions that can change in an instant. It can be affected by nearly everything and sometimes nothing (if you are the ultra-sensitive type). A defiant child, a rain storm the day after washing your car, rush hour traffic, waiting in line, not getting the promotion at work, gaining 10 pounds over the holidays, divorce, etc. It seems there is no shortage of obstacles that can test a person’s happiness. This may be true but only if you let your happiness be controlled by your emotions and the countless strings they are attached to.
Tapping into true happiness isn’t about avoiding obstacles or letting your emotions not get the best of your from time-to-time, it is about having a pure heart. Pure heart, there I said it again, and it scares me. What exactly is a pure heart? I think in its simplest form, a pure heart is a heart that desires to please God and place His Kingdom before all other things. It isn’t about perfection but faith. A good test to determine where you are on the pure heart scale is to evaluate the motives behind the things you do. Long ago I used to volunteer several times a week with the idea that I was helping others, but in all actuality, I was looking to meet women. Terrible, I know, but I was so consumed with getting married so four years later I could get divorced. I wasn’t there to serve God. I was there to serve my desires. I had mixed and selfish motives!
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Have you ever felt there are things in your life that you continually fall short on? It seems like you get 7/8th the way there but never able to fully reach the target. This applies to making decisions, taking that first step and sometimes taking that last step to reach your goals. How long have you been telling yourself you need to start eating better and getting physically active? Over the past month, how many times have you told yourself and God that you are going to read your Bible more or get more involved in the community? One of my goals is to be a better father to my little girl, and I often say I am “trying” when in fact I should be doing.
There are two… maybe three primary barriers that can interfere with us reaching our goals. The first of which is faith – more precisely, lack of faith. Let me illustrate with a short story – A man fell off a cliff, and the only thing between him and his unfortunate death was a precarious tree branch from which he was hanging. He cried out “God, please help me!” God answered, “Have faith, and I will protect you. Let go of the branch.” The man, stunned, cried out, “Is there anyone else up there?”
Continue reading “Falling Short”