Archives For Christian Growth

frustrated boy

My wife woke up early Monday morning to listen to Charles Stanley preach on frustration and on how God can use our frustration.

I woke up a little later after her, slowly trying to wake up and brew a cup of coffee in the kitchen while my wife took notes on Charles Stanley’s sermon that I heard in passing.

As Charles Stanley talked, he made a point that struck me…a point that I will paraphrase…that frustration comes from when you want something to be but it is not. Frustration comes from when you can’t get to where you want or get what you want for some reason.

My wife and I spent over an hour talking about our greatest frustrations thanks to that sermon.

Fortunately neither one of us were frustrated with each other.

You can laugh..Rachel and I are doing awesome!

But, we talked about the frustration of getting to our dreams…our hopes….our goals…our wants…for a life that was what we imagined.

Frustration settles in when you have to pay the bills in one place while pursuing your dream on the other side of it when you really want to pursue the dream job.

Frustration can settle in when you are struggling with an issue of the past and it seems like the more you pray the more difficult things get.

Frustration can settle in when you’re sick but you can’t seem to get well.

But, God can use the frustration you have. And often, that’s exactly what He’s trying to do.

What are you trying to escape from? What are you REALLY trying not to deal with? What do you really think of God? Do you truly believe in Him?

Rather than medicate or busy myself or try to escape in some way, I allow the frustration to be used by the Lord. This starts in prayer. This starts in “diligently” seeking him (Hebrews 11:6) and trusting and believing that He has a reason…a plan…a purpose… for why you’re not healed yet, not in that new opportunity you want yet, not accepted yet, not received yet, not where you want or what you want yet.

We miss it when we medicate the pain. We miss the opportunity for God to show us His love for us in the midst of the frustration — and to in fact relief and free us of the frustration and give us peace in the middle of all of the “frustrating” times.

I’m learning to stay faithful in prayer, seeking the Lord, trusting Him with all of the circumstances and in every circumstance AND living in the peace the Lord gives me when things are not favorable.

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This past week, I have found myself taking time to first read the scriptures and pray first before I even think of turning the TV on or looking through social media sites.

I love reading and analyzing news and information during the day. I love blogs. I love reading articles that hit home with me.

But, it was getting me into a bit of trouble in my faith walk. I was enjoying the journ

For a few days, I fasted from the hustle and bustle of news and social media postings on specific sites and the results are remarkable.

Not a surprise there!

I needed this break and the Lord knew I needed it. I was feeling a great deal of disappointment and frustration with what was happening in our community and across America. And if you sit around and watch this stuff unfolding for 24/7 you’re bound to get a little disappointed and even feel hopeless about it all.

I would love for people to understand the plight of citizens of color. I would love for people to get past their insecurities, selfishness, doubt and pride. I would love for people to drop their walls instead of supporting the ideas of building them. I want that so, so bad for people.

I came to the conclusion that I don’t have the power to change people’s hearts. The Lord will do that and the best thing for me to do is to ask the Lord to use me to help others draw closer to Him.

But, in order to be that agent of change, it starts with me. It starts with sitting down in prayer and making Jesus first.

This is a challenge. Daily we have to die to ourselves and to our wants and desires. And, after all, God already knows what’s up.

As H. Wayne House and Kenneth M. Durham of the book, “Living Wisely In A Foolish World” quoted “…nobody is getting away with anything. A lifestyle without consequences simply does not exist! To fall for that deceit is naive.” 

Colossians 2:6-7 says this:

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.

Instead of wallowing in disappointment and discouragement, I’ve made up my mind to walk in Christ and draw closer to Him. By doing this, I’m empowered in the following way….”rooted and built up in Him…established in the faith…abounding in it with thanksgiving.”

This text in Colossians is a part of a much larger movement in the scripture that cautions believers to “philosophies” or the love of wisdom as Dr. Warren Wiersbe calls it.

This conviction from Jesus settled in me over the last few days…and I’m still learning to do this:

Seek Me, not just the books and blogs that talk about me.

So, I’m fasting for a little bit from the world of politics, hard news, 24/7 news analysis, blogs and commentaries, and learning to seek Jesus directly.

This is just part of the faith walk. And this period of my life is worth every moment that I get to spend with Jesus.

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I just posted a book review that I think you’ll appreciate and that will be very helpful.

I’ve been reading the book “Growth Into Manhoood: Resuming the Journey” by the late Alan Medinger.

His writing has really challenged my walk into Biblical Manhood and I believe will do the same for you!

You can find the article by clicking here! 

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Usually when people ask me what I do, I answer with a generic “I work at XYZ” or “I do XYZ.”

But, my background is way more extensive than this.

I’m a writer. I’m an artist. I’m a licensed and ordained minister.

I also have a background in Broadcast Journalism and have spent a lot of time in videography and photography.

As my interests and passions changed, I learned to give more simple answers to what I do versus who I am. I’ll never forget the time I mentioned what I did when someone asked me only to berate me for having such an extensive line of things to mention from my previous career experiences.

Haters gonna hate, right?

So, over the years, I have given my answer a 3 word response as far my background:  Author, Minister and Cartoonist.

Boom! Done!

I say “author” because I’ve been published and am publishing. But, I suppose the more accurate title would be “storyteller.” In fact, storytelling is something that has fit my overall experiences as a Journalist as well as a writer and media guy.

And, between you and me, the term “storyteller” is something that the Lord kept bringing up to me over and over again to this day.

While all of this is well and good, I’m actually desiring to make a point here.

Sometimes we get everything in our lives confused as it relates to what we do and who we are. While yes, you are a writer, a cook, a minister, a doctor, a lawyer, a construction worker or whatever.

But that’s just right now!

You’re not your job!

Your job or career is what you DO right now! That could change at anytime!

And for some people, that is horrifying! For others, it is a welcome opportunity to embrace and experience the other many activities that you might not have known you’re good at.

This is a scary reality for many.

A lot of people base their whole lives on a job or a way of life and are left devastated because they have centered their whole identity around said career choice.

So many people try to chase after a career or a pathway to success but forget that they should focus on what kind of person they should become or are becoming.

My personal faith in God and my relationship with Christ keeps all of this in perspective for me.

I’m first, a Christian, before anything else. I’m a follower of Christ before I’m a doctor so-and-so or reverend whomever or lead whatever. From that relationship, my identity is shaped. And, I learn of my greatest strengths and my greatest weaknesses from that.

What I do is what I do today. It could change. In fact, I anticipate their to be some change.  And it is okay!