The Voices In My Head

Posted in Counsel, Distractions, Dreams, Encouragement, Holy Spirit, Mind by PCraig on November 9, 2017

It happens to me every week. I want to quit. I’ve wanted to quit my run halfway into it. Just last week I completed my first half marathon, but after several miles, I asked myself, “Why can’t we just walk?” Toward the end, the voice got louder with each step.

But if it’s not running, I’ve had other things: my marriage, my job, my writing, my blog, or even God. This is just the nature of life. The temptation to quit is a recurring theme.

And if the voices in our heads were not enough trouble, the voices in our culture also urge us to “throw in the towel,” “make a change,” or “take it easy on yourself.”

What these same voices fail to tell you is there is a price to pay for quitting, just like there is for success. Somehow, the enemy voice doesn’t mention what the cost will be for giving up: poor self-image, weakness, depression, missed opportunities, and far worse.

In my experience, the thing that keeps me going is answering this question, “Why am I doing this?” I then try to remember the dream. “Why I am doing this hard thing that I am doing.” I try to get connected to the original vision, because that keeps me going when the going gets tough.

This is what the apostle Paul did when faced with imprisonment for preaching the good news of Jesus. He would remind himself of who he was in Christ, the great work that he was doing, and the reward that awaited at the end. We can do the same!

Plus, God is faithful to provide encouragement if we are looking for it. Sometimes it comes through a song, a Scripture reading, a friend, a blog, or the whisper of the Spirit’s voice inside our heads. Tune into the right voice today and you can keep on keepin on to the finish line.

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4 Helps To Fight Depression

Posted in Attitude, Counsel, Encouragement, Perspective by PCraig on September 1, 2017

We’re just a matter of weeks before the leaves begin falling from the trees. For me, that can be depressing. I much rather watch the leaves sprout in spring, rather than tumble to the ground in fall. But, there is a time and season for everything, the Bible says, so I can choose to accept what I cannot change.  If we’re not careful, some of us can get depressed over things we can’t change. What good is that? There are countless reasons to get depressed, but can you avoid it? Or, at least minimalize it?

Here are the some things to consider:

  • Stop Hiding It. Until you admit you’re depressed no one can help you.
  • Ask For Help. This may mean joining a Life Group, go to counseling, or visit a doctor.
  • Take Action Today. Delay keeps us down. Quit postponing & procrastinating. You know what you need to do, now go do it! Make the phone call or set up the appointment.
  • Seek The Healer. Jesus wants to help you more than you know. Don’t doubt Him, attempt to hide from Him or run from Him. Instead, we need to run to Him. (Ps. 147:3; Isaiah 61:1-3)

The enemy will try to get you to focus on what’s wrong with your life, on things you don’t have, and the hardships of life that often can’t be avoided. Instead of biting his bait, fix your eyes, mind and senses on what you do have and the promise of God to never leave you or abandon you. It may look dark at the moment, but hope and help is on the way and God can turn things around for you. Don’t give up, instead take action and I believe you’ll begin to come out from under the dark clouds of despair into a new day full of God’s sunshine.

One of the very practical things that lifts me is positive, uplifting music. What helps you? Whatever it is, take time to activate it in your life today.

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The Best Counselor

Posted in Counsel, Decisions, Holy Spirit, Victorious Living, Wisdom by PCraig on May 25, 2017

I don’t think anything is more important in life than from whom you receive your guidance. Proverbs talks about if we want to be wise, then we should hang with the wise. If we take up company with foolish people, it’s no wonder we make foolish decisions. In today’s reading of the One Year Bible in John 14, Jesus talks about “another Counselor” that will be with us. He identifies this “Counselor” as the Holy Spirit. He then goes on to say a couple of things that the Holy Spirit will do.

One benefit the Holy Spirit brings is He will teach us things. I don’t know if you’ve had this happen, but many times when I’m reading the Bible, it’s like it jumps off the page and reads my mail. I mean it is like God is literally talking to me face to face through His Word. Sometimes I learn how to be a better man, husband, father, leader, while other times I understand more of God’s love for me. Powerful things happen as I allow the Spirit to teach me.

He also comes to remind us of Jesus’ words and teaching. Maybe you’re going through your day and feeling discouraged, then the words of Jesus saying, “I will never leave you or forsake you,” come back to you and your built up in faith. You decide that if He is with you, what can be against you? Amen! When this takes place, we are no longer operating in our natural abilities; instead we are plugged into the supernatural abilities of the Spirit.

These are just two of the many ways the Holy Spirit can enable us to live life to the full in Christ. We’ll be exploring these and more during the Breath, Wind & Fire series that begins this weekend. I hope you can join us in person or online via podcast, for what I believe will be a powerful three weeks focus on the Holy Spirit.  He’s the best counselor I know!

BreathWindandFire-FB-link

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Who’s Your Person?

Recently, I’ve been encouraging my staff to seek out a mentor in their lives. Someone they can call, email, text or visit with during the month that can help them process thoughts, ideas and decisions.

This is a great idea for a young married couple as well. I think it would be great if each newlywed could have a seasoned couple in their lives to help them navigate this new adventure of marriage. How many couples could avoid collapse?

I know I have personally benefited from many different people in my life. One of those that has impacted me greatly, is my pastor, Tom Paino. I only had one pastor my whole life of growing up in the church! He dedicated me, baptized me, performed our wedding, ordained me, and dedicated our daughter. The most important thing he did was lead by example. His steady leadership taught me the value of perseverance, continuity, and strength. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked his opinion, sought his counsel and asked, “What would Pastor Tom do?”

Who do you have in your life that you can trust to have wise advice? What person can you reach out to that is further down the road and knows where the potholes are located? Let me encourage you to find that person. If you don’t have someone today, then get busy thinking through your contacts, acquaintances and friends. Get them in your life and you’ll be the better for it.

Today’s reading of the One Year Bible affirms this when it says, “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure.” This principle is not only true for a nation; it’s true for you.

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Whose Report Will You Believe?

Posted in Attitude, Counsel, Faith, Friendship, Perspective, Relationships by PCraig on March 9, 2017

It really matters who you take advice from and listen to most. You may think that the negative comments and poor advice doesn’t affect you, but it does.

One of my favorite stories to illustrate this in all of God’s Word is in today’s reading of the One Year Bible. It comes from Numbers 13 where Moses sends a delegation of 12 spies to scout the Promised Land and come back and report. The Scripture says that after 40 days of sampling its produce and examining the land, they returned with news. Ten of the spies scared the people by reporting briefly about the abundance and fruitfulness of the land, then sharing how powerful, invincible and fortified the cities and people were. They went so far as to say, “We can’t attack these people; they are stronger than we are.”

Can you imagine that the same people who have seen their God deliver them from Egypt, split a sea and dry up the land, feed them daily with manna and quail, now don’t have faith to conquer the land God has already promised? That’s exactly what was going on.

However, two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, believed that even though the enemy looked strong, that God is stronger. They said, “We can certainly do it.” Not, “We hope, might or it’s possible”, but we can do it. These two saw all the same things the other ten did, but they had a different outlook. I wonder how many of your friends have a different outlook on life? Do you have friends that tend to see things from God’s perspective over man? How many faith-filled, positive speaking, God-trusting friends do you have?

Are there people you need to spend less time with? Or, can you think of some you need to be around more often?

The sad thing in this story is that bad news travels fast. It seems to be easier to get people to go negative than it is to get them to step out in faith. That’s why you have to be very choosy about who’s reporting to you. When you get around people of faith, then your going to be impacted positively. Stop allowing negative reports to plague your life and keep you from the report God has for you.

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Up or Down?

Posted in Counsel, Decisions, Hearing God, Will of God, Wisdom by PCraig on April 24, 2014

Be very careful whom you listen to or get advice from day to day.  The reason is that people can hear from God one day and then be listening to themselves the next.  Shoot, they can have an impression from the Spirit of God one moment and then minutes later share with selfish motivations.

A great illustration of this comes from the life of Peter in Matthew 16:13, when Jesus asks the disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”  In a couple verses He then asks them, “Who do YOU say that I am?”  Peter steps up and answers, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  Jesus then blesses Peter with this answer and tells everyone that Peter got it direct from the Father in heaven.  Wow!  It’s not a bad day when Jesus tells you and everyone around you that you hear from God.

However, as you keep reading, you find Jesus telling the disciples how He is going to suffer, be killed and then raised.  Peter evidently, still feeling good about hearing from the Father, takes the Lord aside and begins to “rebuke him.”  He says, “Never Lord!  This shall never happen to you!”  Jesus recognizes that Peter is now listening to the Satan himself and tells him that he’s saying these things because of a wrong perspective.

Now, how can you get that off in such a short amount of time?  Because we’re all human and have the ability to get off track.  That’s why you need to be praying on your own when you are taking advice from people.  A well-meaning person can be influenced by selfish motivation that skews their words.  The danger for you and I is to not know the difference.

Jesus shows that you have to be careful who you listen to each day and do your own praying so you can have discernment.  By doing so, you will be able to know what direction their advice to you may be coming – up or down.

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Who Do You Listen To?

Posted in Counsel, Hearing God, Wisdom by PCraig on July 26, 2010

Who you listen to is crucial in the decisions you make which leads to the outcomes you experience.  With that in mind, you better be careful where you get your advice.  The Bible is full of illustrations of this, for example: 2 Chronicles 18 tells the story of Jehoshaphat (King of Judah) aligning himself with Ahab (King of Israel) for battle.  Jehoshaphat wisely suggests that before they march into battle to “first seek the counsel of the Lord.”  However, Ahab invites 400 prophets to come who only tell the king what he wants to hear.  So, they all give the thumbs up!

Instead of being satisfied with this, Jehoshaphat suggests hearing from a “prophet of the LORD” for a second opinion.  Ahab reluctantly calls for a prophet that he despises because he never prophesies “anything good” about him.  Sure enough, this prophet tells that calamity awaits and sure defeat, and Ahab says “I told you he never prophesies good about me.” 

Rather than listen to this one godly prophet, they take their advice from the crowd and go into battle only to suffer great defeat.  The same thing will happen to us when we take our advice from a crowd.  I would rather listen to one wise person than a crowd of fools! 

Just because a number of people are saying the same thing doesn’t make it right.  We will only bring trouble into our lives if we surround ourselves with advisers whose only thought is to tell us what we want to hear.

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