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Posted by on Apr 18, 2013 in Generational | 0 comments

Confused? One Place You May Not Have Looked For Clarity

Confused? One Place You May Not Have Looked For Clarity

confusedDuring my freshman year of college, I contemplated leaving DC and heading to Bible college. As usual, I tried to make the decision on my own without consulting anyone. I honestly didn’t know what I should do. I knew I had a calling to ministry, and Bible school seemed like the best way to move forward, but I felt unsettled. I prayed and fasted while trying to decide, but couldn’t find peace either way. Everything became foggy in my head.  While praying one afternoon, I felt the Lord impress on my heart to talk to my Pastor and tell him that I wouldn’t leave DC without his blessing. That night, while at the Pastor’s house for a prayer meeting, I did exactly that.

What happened next surprised me.  When I got in the car to drive away, I realized that I had a new clarity about the future. I was certain that God wanted me to stay in DC, and that I would be here for a long time. No more confusion, no lack of peace! I knew without a doubt that I was right where I was supposed to be. The interesting thing about this transformation was that my Pastor had said nothing to me! My seemingly random profession “I won’t leave DC without your blessing” surely warranted no more than his awkward response. Yet that conversation had straightened everything out for me. I went to sleep that night anticipating the future with an unassailable peace. Only months later would I understand what had happened in that moment. By positioning myself to honor my Pastor, I had left a place of isolation and entered what I can only describe as a kind of covering. On my own, I lived in a world of confusion and uncertainty. A lone ranger with no bearings, I was often influenced by passing whims. Through this interchange with my Pastor, I had stumbled into one of the benefits of practicing honor—having a spiritual covering.

John Bevere discusses the concept of spiritual covering in his book, Under Cover. Psalm 91 teaches: “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust.’” Under God’s covering, we’re protected. But Bevere asserts that we’re not truly under God’s covering unless we’re under the cover of His delegated authority. God has appointed certain people, like fathers, mothers, church leaders, and civil authorities, to cover us. When we run from those relationships, we run from God’s covering. (Romans 13:1) When we honor those relationships, we come under His protection.

Some Benefits of Being Undercover [Click to TWEET]

  1. Better Clarity for Decision-making (Proverbs 3:6)
  2. More Power over Temptation (James 4:7 / Psalm 91:3)
  3. Understanding and Empowerment for your Purpose (Ephesians 1:18-22)
  4. Greater Peace (2 Thessalonians 3:16)
  5. Healing (James 5:14-15)
  6. Protection from Danger (Psalm 91)
  7. Greater Insight in to God’s Word (Mark 4:11)

Have you noticed the difference of spiritual covering? What does it look like to you?

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Posted by on Apr 12, 2013 in Generational | 0 comments

But My Parents Don’t Deserve Honor

But My Parents Don’t Deserve Honor

My Parents don't deserve honorCheck out this story from the Book of Genesis. Noah’s son, Ham, finds his father naked and drunk in his tent. Ham dishonored his father by telling his brothers, so that they could all make fun of Noah together. Ham’s brothers chose to honor their father and covered his body. They went so far as to make sure that they didn’t even see him, walking backwards with a blanket toward him.[1] Clearly, this was not Noah’s shining moment. And while his actions that day were not worthy of honor, two of his sons purposed in their hearts to honor their father anyway. They even covered up their father’s moment of weakness and their eyes so they wouldn’t see it.

Scripture encourages you to value your parents, setting them up to be influences in your life, whether they deserve it or not! Seems crazy, right? But, God knows what He’s doing. He knows parents and teachers won’t be perfect, but He wants them valued anyway. With children of my own, I’m beginning to see how important this will be for their future. When I mess up, I’ll need them to be able to overlook it and still look to me for wisdom and guidance along the way. If they don’t, they’ll miss out on the good stuff I actually do have to offer them.

Three Misconceptions About Honor: (CLICK TO TWEET)

1.)   Honor is For Minors: The commandment to honor does not expire with age. Fortunately, neither do the benefits. In fact, they grow richer as you grow older. You can initiate The Honor Cycle at any age by choosing to put value on other people.

2.)   Honor is Earned: You don’t have to wait for a perfect person to earn your honor. Parents can be valued simply for being your parents, with no conditions. Withholding honor, even for legitimate concerns, only isolates you from the blessing that practicing honor brings.

3.)   Honor is an Action: This is an important distinction. Honor is not an action. Honor is a decision of the heart. It will produce action, but at its core honor is simply choosing that someone else is valuable.

You and I aren’t perfect. Do we ever need people to overlook our failures and value us anyway?


[1] Gen 9:21-23

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Posted by on Mar 22, 2013 in Generational | 3 comments

How do I Honor my non-Christian parents?

How do I Honor my non-Christian parents?

Thoughtful man in the living roomI was speaking on honor at an event a few weeks ago when I noticed a young lady quietly weeping during the message.  It was obvious something was heavy on her heart, so I talked to her about it when the event was over.  She really wanted to experience the benefits of an honoring relationship with her parents, but was having a difficult time reconciling that with the fact that they didn’t share her Christian beliefs.

If honor means to place value on another person, how do you value the input and ideas of people who don’t share your beliefs or system of values?

The Bible doesn’t put any qualifications on the commandment to honor parents.  It doesn’t say you’re exempt if your parents are imperfect, unbelievers or even abusive.  All it says is that if you will practice honor, it will go well with you.  In fact, Peter shows us that honor (in marriage) can actually help win people over to your system of values:

Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 1 Peter 3:1

I’m not saying it’s easy.  But, here are some suggestions to help you honor people who don’t share your values:

1.) Seek out advice.  It’s true – you may not be able to use everything they say, but it doesn’t have to stop you from asking.  Just taking the time to ask for input on decisions you’re making communicates a lot of value to the person you want to honor.

2.) Really try to understand that advice.  Even if you disagree, don’t just assume their advice is coming from a poor system of values.  Dig a little deeper.  Try to understand their perspective.  The goal isn’t to agree.  The goal is to understand.

3.) Compare and contrast points of view in open dialogue.  After taking time to truly understand their point of view, talk about how your view of the situation is different.  Take time and care with this step.  Give them a chance to understand you and offer critique of your perspective.

4.) Leave an open door for further input.  In many cases it’s OK not to act on the advice of people who offer a different set of values.  If you want to honor that person, though, don’t slam the door on them.  Purpose to value and weigh their input in future decisions.  It’s not the easy road…but it will add so much value to your life.

If this post has interested you, you may also enjoy “My parents are controlling. What should I do?” which gives more perspective on how to honor when not obeying.

How about you.  Have you ever faced a parent or someone with opposing values that you wanted to honor?  How did you handle it?

 

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Posted by on Mar 12, 2013 in Communication | 2 comments

Perspective on Sex

Perspective on Sex

SexThere’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, “The two become one.” Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever – the kind of sex that can never “become one.”

There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another. Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.

Now, getting down to the questions you asked in your letter to me. First, Is it a good thing to have sexual relations? Certainly – but only within a certain context. It’s good for a man to have a wife, and for a woman to have a husband. Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong enough to contain them and provide for a balanced and fulfilling sexual life in a world of sexual disorder. The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality – the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to “stand up for your rights.” Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out.

1 Corinthians 6:16 – 7:4

What do you think?

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Posted by on Nov 9, 2012 in Communication | 6 comments

Love is Overrated

Love is Overrated

First off, I’m a hopeless romantic, so put down the stones and let me explain myself!

I haven’t been single for over a decade, so feel free to dismiss my opinions, but I don’t think the problem in the dating world is a lack of qualified suitors.  In fact, the problem is too many options!  Not too many decades ago, it was very unlikely that you were going to meet someone who would come in from a distant land and sweep you off your feet.  Pickins’ were slim.  Look around you…what you see…those are your options!

Contrast that with today.  Mr. or Miss Wonderful may just stumble into your world at any minute.  The possibilities are endless.  You can even go online and build the perfect suitor profile and bring them to you!  With so many potential options, it’s hard to commit.  You know the people around you aren’t perfect, so why settle? …especially when someone better may show up any day.

So how do you navigate the new world?  How do you avoid ending up with the wrong person but also make sure that fear of commitment won’t keep you single forever?

Here are some ideas to help:

1.) Narrow your options: Believe it or not, who you marry is not the only important choice in your life.  You can narrow your options simply by deciding what else is important to you.  For me, faith in Jesus and resolve to help build His church are primary values for my life.  Eileen (my wife) stood out to me as someone who shared those values from the very beginning of our relationship.  Without that, it would have been a non-starter.  What values are important to you?  Can that help narrow your options?

2.) Forget perfection: You’re not perfect.  No one else is either.  Besides, the real awesomeness of relationships is that they force us to deal with our imperfections.  Don’t look for someone who is perfect.  Look for someone who is willing to grow.  If you’ll be willing as well, together you can help each other become so much more than either of you could be on your own.

3.) Love is overrated: OK, here it is.  I think the “in love” feeling is hype.  The truth is that feelings come and go.  There are days you’re gonna be so passionately love-struck that you can’t separate from each other.  Other days you’ll hope they don’t even call because you can’t bear the thought of talking to them.  To make long-term decisions on feelings, no matter how deep, is to build your future on a very shaky foundation.

True love is born of commitment, not feelings.  Jesus said that there is no greater love than this, that a man lay down his life.  True love is the result of someone committing to lay down their individual life (desires, plans, feelings) for another person.  That’s why two people in an arranged marriage can find love.  Love came out of their commitment, not the other way around.  So don’t freak out if you don’t feel enraptured with passion every second of every day.  True love is much bigger than that.

4.) Try Someone On.  I used to believe in a strict dating guideline, that you shouldn’t date unless you felt the relationship was headed toward marriage.  Now, though, it seems like that puts too much pressure on relationships in the early stages.  I think the goal should be to learn as much as possible about someone’s values, strengths, weaknesses and willingness to grow with as little wounding as possible.  Perhaps my next post will be how to avoid wounds in dating relationships.  For more direction on “trying someone on”, though, see my previous post: Not Married – Just Sleeping Together.

What about you?  What ideas do you have about navigating today’s dating world?

 

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