God Desires to Cleanse Us of Shame

by admin in Follow-Up Friday, Session 5 Leave a comment
week_15“One of my teachers made a comment about me in class and since then I have thought I was dumb; school just isn’t for me.”
“When I was in third grade, I made my first speech.  I was so nervous that I began to stutter.  I felt so ashamed that I avoid public speaking.”
The comments above have something in common.  They both describe the affect of shame. Shame is defined as a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.  Shame hurts our self-image and often leaves one feeling like “there is something wrong with me.”
Because of the shame we may experience, we often cover up and hide our issues, disconnecting from others and sometimes even God.  An example of this is discussed in Genesis chapter 3 when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden.
Genesis 3:7-8 says when Adam and Eve had sinned, their eyes were opened realizing they were naked and they did two things: 1) they made covers for themselves out of fig leaves and 2) they hid from the Lord God among the trees in the garden.
We see here that Adam and Eve covered up their shame and hid from God.  Another affect of shame is that it can cause us to eliminate or reduces our participation in life.  This is evident in Numbers 13 when although God had called His choose people to possess the promise land; ten of the twelve spies had a self-image that caused them to shrink as grasshoppers.
God desires to cleanse us of shame.  For this to happen we must choose to partner with Him.   If you are struggling in some areas of your life, I encourage you to do the following.
·      Think about what you are internally avoiding or concealing because of a past event.
·      Decide to run to God with those things that have injured your self-image.
·      Allow God’s Word to minister to you and transform your life

I am not a Grasshopper: Flee from Anxiety and Worry

by admin in Follow-Up Friday, Session 5 Leave a comment

week_14 According to an article in Huffington Post, 85% of what we worry about never actually happens. In fact, of the 15% of the events or circumstances that do happen, we could handle 79% of the circumstances better than expected or they have taught us a valuable lesson. Now, if this isn’t scientific evidence to back up scripture!

In Philippians 4 we are taught what to do when we start to experience anxiety and worry.
Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for 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.

If anything could cause one to shrink as grasshopper, anxiety and worry can. Many of us have shrunk ourselves from courageous giants with amazing visions to small grasshoppers running from our vision and purpose. We start to feel like we don’t have what it takes and believe the lies in our head: “They won’t accept me.” “I don’t have what it takes for that position.” “If I go in and apply for that loan, they will reject me.” “If I show them my business plan, they will rip it to shreds.”

How many lies have we told ourselves out of fear, worry and anxiety? How many promise lands do we miss because we shrink within ourselves and in return shrink in the eyes of other people?

Ralph Waldo Emerson once stated, “Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.”

Make a decision today to not be intimidated by how large the circumstances appear before you. Don’t allow negative voices to paralyze you. In most cases the voice is a lie. Make a decision today to move forward anyway…

When was the last time you had an attitude check?

by admin in Follow-Up Friday, Session 5 Leave a comment

week_13Attitude is defined as a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior.

Our attitude is like our personal fragrance. What fragrance are you carrying around? Is it a beautiful aroma or a bad stench? Our perspective of other people and of our situations are determined by our attitude.

When my brother was younger, he would bathe himself in cologne to impress girls. There would be so much cologne on him that the whole room would smell like his fragrance. It didn’t matter who was in the room, if they were joyful or upset, coming to you with good news or bad news, they still smelled like that cologne.

Our attitudes are like a strong fragrance, it either stinks up our world or turns into a beautiful experience.

In Numbers 13 the children of Israel were sent to explore the land of Canaan but I argue the majority of the spies returned with a bad attitude! Their perspective was that they were like grasshoppers. This attitude prevented them from entering the promise land.

What is your promise land and is your attitude prepared for it?

Some simple things you can do to change your attitude for good:

· Retrain your eyes, what you look for you will see (good or bad)
· Be thankful; reflect each day on what you are thankful for
· Stop and enjoy your environment instead of rushing through it
· Keep guard over your heart

Just like fragrance, our attitude is a choice. It can be the difference between struggle and success. I encourage you today; make a small adjustment in your attitude and it can be the difference between success and failure.

“What If” Scenarios..

by admin in Follow-Up Friday, Session 5 Leave a comment

week_12Often times, we have to keep pressing when life gets challenging. Life often brings stress, pressure, uncertainty and worry. How do we avoid having our buttons pushed under pressure? How do we stay focused and keep the course?

Consider the different ways you think about the challenges you face. Do you sometimes consider a multitude of terrifying “what-if” scenarios? “What if I don’t get the job?” “What if I embarrass myself?” “What if they don’t like me?” “What if I fail?”

If so, consider changing your way of thinking to what you prefer: “I would like to have that job.” “I want to make a good impression.” “I prefer that they like me.” “I would like to be successful.”

Worst-case scenario thinking leaves us vulnerable to having our buttons pushed and can cause us to shrink like grasshoppers!

In Numbers 13, a selected few went to check out the promise land and reported what they saw. A majority of the spies held on to a terrified way of thinking and became like grasshoppers in their own eyes:

Numbers 13:31-32 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.”… “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size.

On the other hand Caleb had another opinion on the matter:

Numbers 13:30 “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”

So as you face challenges in your life consider your mindset:
· Avoid “what-if” perspective or other worst case scenario mindsets
· Maintain a realistic and neutral perspective
o “I want…”
o “I would like…”
o “I prefer…”

What mindset do you maintain when faced with various challenges? Please share your comments.

I Am Not A Grasshopper

by admin in Follow-Up Friday, Session 5 Leave a comment

week_11Last night was game 1 of the NBA finals. Go Golden State! This past Session 5, the theme was “I am not a grasshopper!” The main scripture dealt with the mindset of the children of Israel:

Numbers 13:33
We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”

I mention Golden State not only because they are the best team in the NBA but, because they have the best shooter of all time as their point guard. Ok some may passionately oppose me.

Stephen Curry, is the raining MVP for the last two seasons. But to become the NBA best, he had to become the best Stephen Curry.

When you are at your best, you are a giant in the world!

Becoming a giant is a journey, the journey is to become the best you. When was the last time you invested 110% in yourself? How often do we give 110% to our children, siblings, nieces/nephews, friends or significant others and give ourselves more like 50%?

The journey to becoming the best you is to invest 110% in you. How can this be applied today? With anything worth your time to do, make the conscious decision to give it 110% effort or consider not doing it.

· Be early
· Finish and finish early or on time
· If running late, renegotiate deadlines rather than avoid someone
· Give 110% attention to what you’re doing

Curry is the best 3-point shooter of all time, because he committed to do the little things. Not to show someone else what he could do, but to be a better Stephen Curry. He was often the first to practice and the last to leave the gym. He worked hard, consistently.

Where are you giving 50% effort? What small changes could you make today to be the better you?

We are all on this journey together. Please share your experience, reply back to this blog post.

Remember, you are not a grasshopper!