Personal Growth

Joy Doesn’t Depend On Perfect Behavior

February 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

Though right living enhances joy, no person can attain perfect behavior all the time. Joy must be found in a source other than our behavior. When would you be able to rejoice and have great joy if it depended on perfect behavior? Striving toward perfectionism you cannot attain, keep, control, or manage may push you toward losing your joy. Philippians 4:4 states, “Rejoice in the Lord, always.” Some translations render it as, “Rejoice always.” How many have ever accomplished that? If you are to live Christianity to the fullest, you must rejoice always. This is not a suggestion, it is a command. How can you do that? Can you rejoicing always for seven straight days? Then why are we commanded to rejoice always? “let your gentleness be known to all men, the Lord is at hand, be anxious for [some things-no] nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:5 Joy and Prayer There is a direct connection between rejoicing always and an effective prayer life. Have you ever prayed but […] Read More

Peace and Satisfaction In This World?

February 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

Why are Christians not in the least embarrassed over the absence of peace and rest in their lives? Jesus clearly tells us that it is His intention for us to move through this world peacefully and cheerfully, untroubled and unafraid as long as we look to Him to enable us. With such a resource readily available, I am overwhelmed by the absence of personal peace and by the level of misery under which Christians are willing to live. They don’t seem the least bit embarrassed or hesitant to declare: • “I’m under stress.” • “I’m worried.” • “I’m so unhappy.” • “I’m afraid.” • “I’m pretty anxious.” • “I’m angry!” • “I can’t get along with him (her).” Yet, Jesus gives clear direction when it comes to the issue of peace. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  John 14:27 Christians often accept the word of secular mental health people who tell us that such conditions are socially and culturally caused and relief is to be found in the world. They are correct. Jesus Himself […] Read More

Pouting and Sulking

January 26, 2019 | 0 Comments

Pouting and sulking are people’s attempt to get their own way. Pouting is selfishness. Have you ever been around people who sulk or pout? Most of the people I counsel are adults and many are experts at pouting. If I say something in a counseling situation that they do not like, they show their displeasure by protruding the lips. The Look What does pouting look like? 1. To exhibit displeasure or disappointment; sulk. 2. To protrude the lips in an expression of displeasure or sulkiness. You can recognize it in others. At what age is it acceptable to pout when you don’t get what you want? It is used by children and adults alike. People pout and continue unacceptable behavior because it has worked in the past. The real reason people use this as acceptable behavior is because of their sinful nature. Carnality keeps you from understanding spiritual things. Sighing or sulking is a little different. Have you ever watched and heard someone take a deep breath and release it in a “Woosh?” You tell a kid to do something they don’t want to do and they blow a breath at you. It is not even a word! What does […] Read More

Unnoticed By People But Heard by God!

January 14, 2019 | 2 Comments

Being unnoticed by people is self defeating to many–but it is not so much what others think about you that is important, rather, it is whether you are accepted by God. If thousands of people in this world accept you, but God does not accept you, you are simply not acceptable. I pray this story will strengthen your faith today! The Cotton Farmer *There was a man and his wife, common cotton farmers, whose lives portray a perfect picture of some of God’s choicest but unnoticed people. My dad was in Lovington, New Mexico preaching at the Love Street Baptist Church for a weeklong meeting. The pastor asked dad to stay in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Fisher. Mr. Fisher was a deacon at First Baptist Church and was a cotton farmer. He loved his work of farming cotton. Mr. Fisher also loved God with all of his heart and he loved those who God had called into the ministry. He and his wife built a room connected to their home that had a separate entrance just so visiting preachers would have a comfortable place to reside. The pastor told my dad, “Bro. Skinner, all you need to do […] Read More

God’s Path Is Safe

January 7, 2019 | 2 Comments

My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for He shall pluck my feet out of the net. Psalm 25:15 Imagine walking through the forest along a path that is not well defined. Concern for staying on the path would be your focus, lest you step into a hole or become disoriented and lost. If you knew that there were many animal traps set, it would make you even more alert and cautious. Knowing this, instead of taking a relaxing walk, your concern would be to scope out the area and make sure that you avoid those traps! Learning to scope out and avoid traps can be quite exhausting. Your mind, emotions, and physical skills become highly alert, knowing you can still miss a trap and become ensnared. Satan has set many traps for God’s people. His traps tend to be highly camouflaged. How do we avoid these traps? Do we avoid them by consciously and carefully watching for each trap? If so, then the whole of your Christian life would be on the defensive. This passage reveals that if we keep our eyes always toward the Lord, then we will always be on a path that avoids traps. Our salvation is not […] Read More

What is the Difference Between the Indwelling of the Spirit and Being Filled by the Spirit?

December 17, 2018 | 3 Comments

Truly it is impossible to live the Christian life in your own human strength. The Christian life depends upon the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. With that in mind, what is the difference between the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and being filled with the Spirit? What Does Indwelling Mean? This indwelling occurs when we first believe. It does not occur twenty years later but rather when you are born again. (Rom. 5:5, 2 Tim. 2:4) The indwelling of the Holy Spirit occurs one time. It is once for all. When Jesus Christ comes into your life as your Lord and Savior, His Spirit takes up permanent residence in you. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is for all believers. Simply claiming to be a Christian does not necessarily mean you are a Christian (Matt. 7:21). Believers are not commanded to be indwelt or possessed by the Holy Spirit, born-again people are possessed by the Holy Spirit. The indwelling does not indicate direction in life but position in life. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and […] Read More

Pressure!

December 10, 2018 | 1 Comment

Feeling the pressure of the moment? Is your job bringing an over abundance of pressure? What about your health, children, or other relationships? Pressure comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Sometimes the pressure comes over you like a dark cloud surprising you in such a way that you can’t determine the source of the problem. Physical Pressure A few years ago, my wife Elaine began to feel pressure around her neck, across her shoulders, and then in her chest. Where did it come from? Many suggested to her that it was panic or stress that caused the problem. Friends gathered around us with focused prayer and care. As we examined what was going on in our lives, we knew that our work in ministry was at a wonderful level, our family was fine, and our marriage had never been better. We ruled out panic and stress and realized that she had a physical problem. Elaine’s family history of heart problems was our first thought. Elaine went to her doctor, a wonderful friend, who said we must get aggressive with finding the source of the problem. First an EKG, then a nuclear stress test, and then the process finished […] Read More

Joy Requires God’s Reservoir

November 26, 2018 | 3 Comments

Joy does not come from a discouraged soul. Joy requires God’s reservoir of help. Our world needs needs a good dose of these virtues: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Most mental-health workers would agree with that statement. We would, however, sharply disagree on how to generate such virtues. If you were an atheist, your only option would be to find a way to create an environment that will either produce these qualities inside a person or release them from within a person, assuming something is blocking their release. I spoke with a man who wished that he had love, joy, and peace in his home. While the man had great wealth, he realized that he could not find a doctor, counselor, or a retail store where he could buy love, joy, and peace. He admitted that everything he had tried in this world–money, fame, and power–had not brought happiness. These virtues are not available “over the counter.” Qualities such as love, joy, and peace are only available as a result of a relationship with Jesus Christ. It is a shame that many people in our world today will not accept this fact. The Bible says […] Read More

Protect Yourself!

November 19, 2018 | 0 Comments

Protect yourself today with God’s power to carry you through a negative experience! My wife, Elaine, had a negative event become a positive affirmation of God’s power to protect her life. I pray as you read Elaine’s Testimony (Taken from the book, The Joy of Repentance), that you will be encouraged and strengthened in your faith. Elaine’s Testimony: I had just gone through major surgery and had been home from the hospital for a week. Up until that time I had not been alone. In fact, I was feeling smothered by everyone’s attention. My husband asked me if I would be all right while he and our little boy went to the Fair Grounds. Once a year, there was a large celebration called Dairy Day in this small Texas town. They wanted to go see what was taking place at Dairy Day so they left the house and I was left on my own. The first thing I did was read my Bible and pour my heart out to God over some sin that He had shown me earlier that day. I received God’s cleansing that day. It was so good to be alone and have that uninterrupted time with my Lord. A man […] Read More

Encouragement for the Discouraged

November 12, 2018 | 0 Comments

Is there anyone who doesn’t need encouragement? Encouragement helps to bring the discouraged out of despair. The Scripture states, My soul melts from heaviness; strengthen me according to Your word. Psalm 119:28 One writer said, “Flatter me and I may not believe you. Criticize me and I may not like you. Ignore me and I may not forgive you. Encourage me and I may not forget you.” Encouragement really is the spice of life. A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more that an hour of praise after success. Three Key Truths About Encouragement 1. Spend time with the right people! Maybe you are going through a discouraging time in your life and need strong encouragement from your friends. To be encouraged you must spend time with people who are like-minded; who have the same beliefs, goals, and concerns on their hearts. Don’t avoid the very people who can help you! Many years ago, during a discouraging time in my life, I read a book by Chuck Swindoll entitled, Encourage Me. I discovered personally what Swindoll explained in his book. When you are discouraged, the weight of discouragement can literally drop your shoulders and your smile. The entire day […] Read More

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