My friend, Mike Barker, spoke this past weekend at our church Living Water. He defined three areas to sow our lives into this coming year, and the one that captured me was sowing our lives into others/relationships.
I’m convinced there is no such thing as a self-made man. It’s the American myth of our day. The fact is we are all indebted to someone.
Think about it. Most of us were born in America, I didn’t have any part in that decision. I didn’t have any part in the founding of this great nation that you and I live in. I didn’t have anything to do with our nation’s abundance and how it has been bestowed upon my family. None of us just became who we are, none of us.
So, what about the people that helped you along the way: a relative, a teacher, a pastor, a coach, a friend, a mentor? The fact is no one can really call himself or herself self-made. We are all indebted to someone.
I challenge you today, take a few moments to say thanks to someone who has encouraged you along the way through a phone call, a note, or maybe a visit. When you do, let’s not forget our Maker, who has allowed us to be a part of this land we call America, the land of the free and the home of the brave. God has blessed us all in so many ways, may we choose to give back to OTHERS as we embark on this brand new year!
So, who helped you?
Really; Jesus’ words as he prepared his disciples for his exit from this world:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27 ESV)
When Jesus left this earth, He said that He was leaving His peace with us. Now the decision we have to make is, are we going to choose to live in the peace He has given us?
Of course, the devil works overtime to try to get you and I upset. Why? Because he knows that if you don’t remain peaceful, you will wrestle to hear from God what He’s trying to say to you.
As I reflected on this past week I was amazed at how many times within just a week Satan launched an attack for the sole purpose of stealing my peace. When I finally saw that, God spoke to me in my spirit, “Tim, if the devil wants your peace that badly, then there must be something pretty powerful about being peaceful.”
It’s true! So when the devil tries to steal my peace, I enjoy holding on to it, knowing that I’m getting the better of him. That doesn’t mean I don’t feel upset, hurt or frustrated, but I can do something about it that will not just affect my life, but others. I can control myself and be peaceful on purpose.
Being peaceful on purpose is something we have to do for ourselves. Will you choose God’s peace this season, and even this year? Let’s purpose to think what He thinks!
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3 ESV)
How’s your peace today?
I heard this quote the other day on the news from a mom talking about life with 4 kids under the age of 8. “Human beings should come with a label: CONTENTS UNDER PRESSURE.”
On a daily basis, moment by moment, we all experience some level of STRESS. Without question life is hard, challenging, but two things are certain, we will continue to experience some forms of stress/pressure in this life. And secondly, Jesus said, “in this life you will have difficulties; but be of good cheer, for I have overcome them ALL!”
We all need healthy levels of STRESS to survive, but when we are overwhelmed or bombarded by sudden changes or enormous amounts of difficulties or hardship, our STRESS levels rise. It’s these negative types of STRESS, that when they go unattended, are referred to as my family doc quoted, “the silent killer.”
So here are some thoughts on dealing with unhealthy amounts of STRESS.
Strength of mind ~ Mental toughness is so critical in this battle. We all possess the ability to make molehills out of mountains. But we must know that because of who Jesus is, we have the authority to take captive EVERY thought (2Corinthians 10:4,5). But that IS NOT easy, we have to be tough with how we deal with our thoughts.
Communicate ~ Keeping your feelings bottled up only creates more inner turmoil. Talk things out, but do so by speaking the word of God, and using only POSITIVE words. Eliminate all negative self-talk. Call it whatever you want, but for me and my house we are going to speak LIFE/POSITIVE!
Rest ~ Proper amounts are truly REFRESHING. Get it when you need it. I used to feel guilty about resting my body, can I just tell you, if your working hard and living diligently – YOU MUST REST YOUR BODY.
Exercise ~ Maintain consistent exercise weekly…don’t overdue it, that’s not good for you either. By the way, this is great for the brain as well.
Good Company ~ You are not your CIRCUMSTANCES or your PERCEPTIONS. But who we hang out with we eventually become. Go to church, start a Life Group, be with people that are driving on the same freeway you are, or that you desire to be on.
May your STRESS become a gift that God will use to make a difference not only in your life, but also in others.
And never forget…He’s overcome!
So, I have been so blessed by my Life group these last couple of weeks that I had to share it with you. If you’ve been around livingwater for any period of time you know that there just a few simple criteria that make up, or help to form what takes place in a Life group.
Here are just a few:
– Its typically gender specific (ours is), but doesn’t have to be.
– We commit to reading the Word together, and write down what we hear and see.
– We have spiritual conversation concerning what we are receiving from what we’re reading together.
– Learn together how to live a transparent life.
These are just a few, but here’s what I really wanted to share with you that has occurred over the last two weeks as we’ve walked together. Oh and by the way, we meet at Starbucks:
– We’ve been able to walk together with a couple of our brothers who have had some difficult family issues, and seen God show up through prayer and accountability.
– Have had two families that have attended our church in the last two weeks because they’ve been invited by our group. They stopped in for a cup of coffee – walked away with much more.
– A regular of Bucks stopped by our group and shared about his son being in rehab, and asked, “would you guys please pray for my son.” We did!
– Got to pray for a bother who was passing by and struggling in his marriage.
I could go on, but here the point, a few guys decided to show up read the word together,, hear what it was saying to us – and then ask Jesus to use us – He said go, we said YES!
That’s Why LIFE group…
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)</em This was the first verse I memorized as a new Christian, and it came from my Old King James bible, the new versions today typically say, “creation” but I loved back then thinking – “I was a NEW CREATURE!”
This verse says you’re a brand-new creature if you are in Christ Jesus. This means when Jesus Christ came into your life, you were made brand new! The new you is superior to the old you! In fact, you are so new that this verse calls you a new “creature.”
The word “creature” is the same word used to describe the creation of the world. When God created the universe, he used no existing materials or old elements to make it. Everything in creation was brand spanking new. That same word is used to describe what happened to you and I the day we got saved. Everything about us is new! You are an absolutely brand-new creation! You are completely separated from the person you once were before Christ.
Psalm 103:12 tells us how far our old ways have been removed from us: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” When Jesus Christ came into your life, He created you to be free from the past, free from the negative effects of your family, and liberated you from all former hang-ups – a brand-new creature!
So stop laying claim to your old man, or any other negative thing that was a part of your life before Christ. That old person no longer exists. He is dead.
You are a brand new creature.
Remember when Jesus visited Mary and Martha after their brother Lazarus
had been dead for four days? When He finally arrived, Martha said,
“Master, if You had been here, my brother would not have died” (John
Martha was clearly in a state of desperation. Then, “Jesus said to her, ‘Your
brother shall rise again.’ Martha replied, ‘I know that he will rise
again in the resurrection at the last day'” (vv. 23-24). I don’t think
she really understood what Jesus was saying. She was looking toward a
future possibility, not a present reality. She didn’t really expect
things to change.
A lot of us I think can relate to Martha, stuck in our troubles, not realizing that
God can turn things around because it seems to insurmountable. But, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, and He can raise the ‘Lazaruses’ in your life.
Never give up. You might be hurting now, but out of every disaster, out of every difficulty, God
can bring a resurrection moment in our lives. Remember, Martha was thinking that her miracle was only in the future, but Jesus knew that this was her day!
Expectant for today!
So here we go, our fourth son is leaving home and off to this next exciting chapter of his life, as he arrives this next week for football camp at Eastern University (pray for us, I mean HIM, ok all involved).
One of the things that Dhana and I have done for each one of our boys as they’ve prepared to leave home, is given them a book entitled “Just in case I can’t be there” by Ron Muehl (the book is out of print but click the link and you can search for it) . This has proven to be something that has benefited us more, even though I know it’s blessed them as well, it just brings a little extra measure of comfort knowing that they have this little handbook close by. The title says it all, and for many who might not know, Pastor Ron wrote this to his two sons while he was battling Leukemia, and struggling with near death experiences, thus his writings to his boys. I had an opportunity to meet Ron and speak at a Youth Pastors conference with him where he gave me a copy while we were together. Needless to say, it has had an impact on my life as well as I know countless others. He passed away several years ago, but his LEGACY lives on through his sons!
As we prepare to let you go Zach, I want to say this to you, you’re an amazing son, mom and I believe that this time that has lead us to this point of your life has prepared you for this MOMENT. We want you to know we bare witness with the Holy Spirit, and your confident passion to take this next step on your journey. I know you know this, but I want you to know that your life is a book, and now you have the opportunity to give it away so others can read it!
I want to leave you with a quote from Ron’s book, and a passage from scripture that we’ve declared over you and your brothers for years.
“I am not concerned about whether a book is ever written about me. I wouldn’t want to waste the paper and ink. Do you know why? Because you are my book, Son.”<;/em>; The Apostle Paul said it this way, You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. (2 Corinthians 3:2, 3 NIV)
There’s no one like you Zachary David Wimberly, your sonship has, and continues to bless our lives beyond words. This next chapter of your life has the potential of being your best ever, and we want you to know we will be in the stands of life cheering you on!
We Love YOU,
Mom & Dad
This is a question I believe is good to be asking our selves regularly. I was reminded this week of a moment when I felt the Lord really challenged me.
This occurred a number of years ago when we dropped off our oldest son as he was leaving home for college. As we were driving away trying to see through the tears, this thought came to me during the long ride home. “If I’m not praying for my own kids, then who is?” I believe that one of the greatest gifts that we can give to our children is faithful prayer as often as we can.
As my wife and I prepare to drive another one of our sons to college (and no this doesn’t get any easier) this coming week, I am reminded, and moved to my core about the responsibility that we posses as parents to believe for their futures as we pray.
Here are a couple ideas of how we can do this:
1. Pray for them everyday. Be specific (future, future spouse, hunger for God, wise decisions).
2. Use objects to remind you of them, and let it motivate you to pray for them at that moment, and as often as you can.
3. Ask them how you can pray for them, and then pray for them NOW.
4. Speak their language, text them a prayer, write them a card with a prayer or a word, call them and pray with them over the phone.
Our kids, whether small children or adults, live in a very difficult world. How important and encouraging for mom and dad to lift them up in prayer every single day of their lives.
May we be encouraged today and declare His word over our kids that God has promised us,
All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children (Isaiah 54:13 ESV).