Mistrust Discouragement by Gary Ellis

One of the greatest lessons I’ve been learning on my “spiritual/truly realistic” life journey with God is in the area of how to deal with discouragement.  Fact is…”discouragement” is an ugly gremlin that knocks on everyone’s door time and again.  In some cases it seems like it’s camped out on the doorstep.  For some it feels like discouragement has taken out a lease on the property right next door – or – built a room in your house.

The good news:  Mr/Ms Discouragement can be effectively vacated!

First Key: Mistrust It.  Ie: Treat It With Suspicion.  Deeply Doubt It.

The only reason discouragement can get a foothold is that man’s logic has told us that it’s “being realistic.”

Let me add here that the only true form of “realism” is based on God’s perspective…and we find that in these places:

  • His stories of activity and intervention in the Old and New Testament (especially the stories of Jesus).
  • His stories of victory in the timeless testimonies of others.
  • His stories in the events of your personal life that have demonstrated His delivering and restoring grace.

That’s why I opened the first paragraph of this post with the words, “spiritual/truly realistic.”

I used to feel that realism could be judged by whatever my circumstances were dictating.  But, I found that circumstances were, often, only a reflection of happenstances in a sin scared world.

Wisdom dictated by a sin scared world must be mistrusted!

I found that the only “scars” worth trusting are the scars embedded in Jesus!  Those scars dictate the realistic truth!

So…what’s the solution?

MISTRUST DISCOURAGEMENT! Weigh it in the balance of God’s truth through the three points I listed above.  (At least that’s a good place to start.)

When your emotions drone their dismay in your ears with thoughts like…

  • “I can never do anything right!”
  • “Things will never go good for me!”
  • “This situation is hopeless!”
  • “I’m the exception to God’s rule!”

Mistrust it.  Doubt it.  Be very suspicious of how you are feeling.

As “Cooksey’s Blog” points out, “Discouragement Is a Choice”(Interestingly i discovered his inspiring wisdom as I was searching for a good picture to put with this article.) I really enjoyed the simple wisdom and subscribed to it to see what other gems he may post.

Here’s to “Victory Over Discouragement in 2011.” I didn’t say it would be easy.  It depends on how many roots it has set down in your thinking.  But take the axe of God’s truth to the roots.  Start today.

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Gary




Gentle Answers Win

Have you ever said something that was sincere and honest truth but met resistance and an offended response?

Yea, I thought so. 🙂  You’re human like me!

But, you say, “I thought that the Bible said that knowing the truth sets people free?”

It does.  But, it also says in Proverbs 15:1, “A gentle answer turns away wrath.”

A strong personality might now respond, “Yes, well I’m not going to dumb down or weaken my position just to satisfy somebodies tender feelings.  I say it like it is and let the chips fall where they may!”

I understand.  I used to feel the same way, myself (at least sorta although not that “in your face”), but I found I stirred up more hornets nests than was productive….as if stirring hornets nests is ever productive.

A gentle answer is not simply being soft spoken or warm and fuzzy.  It includes the idea of fashioning one’s words in such a way that they are receivable.

A gentle answer is seasoned with grace.  That means the speaker is taking the time to frame his or her words wisely.

Different words or phrases strike very different perceptions depending on the speaker and hearer’s life experiences.  Let me give an example:

It’s my belief that religion has created a lot of problems and has been devoid of the power that God desires for people to experience.  So, I may say, “I’m not about religion.  I’m about relationship.”  That sounds very cool, if you come from my side of the fence.

But what if the person has had many good experiences in the more traditional or ritual church format?  What if they actually found positive life change through Jesus there?  And, what if the word, “relationship” brings up a lot of painful memories?

Then, instead of being able to make any helpful point after that, I’ve stirred up a hornets nest of negative, painful emotions.

So…what’s the bottom line.  With God’s help and our due diligence, let’s learn to frame our words of truth with the wisdom they deserve.  Let’s honor each other in our communication.

That’s work.  That takes more time.  And that’s true Godliness in action.

Please leave your comments, experiences, or observation.

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Gary



Faith That Doesn’t Work

Many people study the subject of faith for the wrong reasons.  Many times these same people – if they are gut honestare discouraged because they don’t know why it isn’t working like promised.  Or, they are defensive of their style of believing.

One of the things you’ll hear them say is…

  • It’s by faith, brother…
  • Therefore, I’m just taking it by faith…

But…the thing is…I don’t believe God expects us to go through life “believing but never receiving.”

Faith is not an escape clause in the covenant.  It’s not “the fine print” that nullifies lack of experiencing the promise.

What if your son or daughter were believing you, as a good father, would provide the next meal.  As their hungry bellies were growling, you kept saying, “Just take it by faith dear son/daughter I dearly love.” “My promise of food doesn’t mean that I will actually give you food.”  “I just want you to believe I can….and take it by faith.”

Or suppose a farmer worked hard all day planting seed in his field.  That night, you say to the farmer, “So, what kind of crop are you going to harvest?”  He says, “Oh, I don’t expect to harvest.  I was just planting seeds by faith because I want God to see I am a faith farmer.”

Ridiculous.

Ignorance, Incorporated.

Foolishness gone to seed.

There are lots of “faith formulas” out there.  Some have some truthful foundation.  But, what I want to suggest is that “failure” is often the result of this reason:

  • The person believes that if they learn the right words, and apply the right formula the circumstances will change.  Once the circumstances change, they will know peace, power, provision…or whatever they are “faithing it” for.

That approach doesn’t work because…

Peace, power, and provision come from the inside out.  Not the outside in.

Jesus taught the “inside out” principle as a key to our understanding of the Spirit filled life.

God desires that we experience the righteousness, peace, joy, and power of His Kingdom…and “in part” here on earth.

Jesus demonstrated it when He went sound to sleep in the back of a boat that was rocking and rolling in the middle of a life threatening storm.

Where are you looking for peace?  What do you believe has to change before you can experience the promise of “peace on earth…”

Has this been a “bad” year for you.  What do you believe must change for 2011 to be better?

Is your answer “outside in” or “inside out” as the controlling source?

As your true faith is, be it unto you this next year.

Gary



Don’t Chase The Butterfly

You desire more clear communication with the Lord.  You know that prayer is more than a one sided conversation where you do all of the talking.  You know about “getting quiet” and you try to listen. But it’s such a struggle.  You often give up to try  again another day.

I know how you feel.  I’ve felt the same way, myself.  But, I found a secret!  I discovered something very important that opens the door to better “hearing” the Lord.

Simply put, it’s found in the phrase, “Don’t chase the butterfly!”

In the natural world, if you chase butterflies, they will flutter away from you.  It’s the same in the spiritual world!

There Are Two Major Mistakes

There are two major mistakes that people make when they are seeking the Lord desiring two way communication.

  1. They Chase The Butterfly
  2. Thy Listen For A Loudspeaker In Their Head

Here’s how I learned this.  One morning I sat down in my early morning prayer place. I listened to some scripture (Psalm 27) on my computer.  I then turned my attention to “the center of my being” instead of my head.  (Actually, the turning of my attention inward should start the process.) Then I expressed words of praise and worship.  Next, I asked Jesus to speak whatever He had for me…(and then)…

I pushed my imagination to experience something.  (You see, I know that the sanctified imagination is the doorway to connect with spiritual perception)

Other than a few random scatterings of uninspired pictorial debris…nothing was happening.

Then a hunch hit me, “Don’t chase the butterfly.”  “Be still and wait for it to light on you shoulder.”

I had just learned a vital secret to communication with the Lord.  I’d just discovered an important principle of experiencing the voice of His Spirit.

Don’t Push.  Wait Until He Initiates Something. The discipline of waiting takes practice…but, it’s extremely important if we really want a rich relationship with the Lord.

I’m so grateful for His grace in responding to me – with the thought of not chasing the butterfly – while I was emotionally pushing.  But, it was to instruct me on the issue of getting comfortable with waiting in an illustration I would understand.

  • Don’t listen for a loudspeaker in your head.

The second mistake we make as we are “pushing” for an inner response is expecting to hear words. In other words, we are trying to hear inner speech.

Much of the time He will initiate a response with a vague perception or picture in our “mind.”  As we then focus on that “sense,” it will begin to become clear.  That all happens at different speeds.  Most of the time I do not get the “full meaning” at that time, but instead, as I re-think it during the day.

I’m truly desperate to develop a deep relationship with the Lord.  It is obvious (I hope) that the depth of any relationship is directly linked to the issue of communication.  My desire for you, my blog reader, is to increase the quality of your personal relationship with Him.  May we walk this journey on a path that grows brighter day by day.

Any questions or personal experiences?  Please comment.
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Gary


Your Rear View Mirror

I was listening to a man explain to me how bad he felt about a certain event that had occurred.  It was a story and his expressed emotions of regret I’d heard several times.  Once again, I told him that he was free to let that pain go.  After all, it actually wasn’t something he was responsible for.

That’s just one example of people “driving” through life with their eyes fixed on the rear view mirror.  Problem is…

As in real driving, it’s dangerous to use the rear view mirror for more than “checking” what may be behind you.  Checking what’s behind you can be helpful to making wise choices in your next moves.  But…

When a person’s eyes spend too much time looking to the rear – retelling their past – reviewing painful and frustrating circumstances…even spending too much time on good ones…

they may miss what’s directly in front of them!  At worst, this can be tragic.  At best, a wasted positive opportunity.  In fact…

There’s nothing more damaging to your future potential than wasting a present opportunity!

Jesus promised abundant life, did He not?  Abundant is a good word.  In fact it’s a great word! And, if you’re in His house of faith, it’s an open declaration of His desire for you.  Really, it’s more than that.  It’s a grace gift.  He already paid for that abundant life that lies in front of you.

Jim Rohn teaches, “Let your past be a school master, not a club.”

Check the rear view mirror of your life.  But only give it the amount of time “remembering” was intended for.  Be aware of things and people that are directly in front of you and enjoy the present journey.  It’s His Abundant Life Will!

One more truism:  You don’t own success.  You have to rent it every day.

I love your comments.  Keep ’em coming.  We all learn from your observations and experiences!
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Overcoming Pressure By Pressing…

There’s constant pressure driving people like you and me to the “dark side” in our responses.  The “devil on our shoulder” whispers, “They did you wrong!  Oh, how you hate them!”

On the other shoulder we hear, “Resist that thought!” “You’re a Christian, afterall!”  So, we fight against our slimy thoughts.  We struggle with anger, depression, and revenge.

There’s a better way!

In Philippians 3:14, Paul said, “I press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

Instead of “fighting against” the fleshy pressure and temptation, “press toward” the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.  Instead of focusing on overcoming the crappy thinking, give your best attention “forward and upward” toward the good things of God that are yours in Jesus.  Rivet your attention on His ultimate manifest victory.

Several years ago the Holy Spirit whispered this thought into my heart, “What would it look like if I answered your prayer?” Let me ask you the same question.  What would it look like?

What would it feel like if you were free from the mental anguish of your current struggle?

Overcome the pressure of it all by putting your effort into pressing toward the higher life in Christ Jesus.

Please respond with your questions or comments…

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Gary