Weakness In The Way

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Understanding how to manage your weaknesses will help you to learn how to manage and elevate your strengths. We all have strengths and we all have weaknesses, they come as a unique package, you cannot have one without the other. Which means we must not focus on only one but have an understanding of both.

The interviewer asks, “What are your strength and what are your weaknesses?” Not, “do you have any weaknesses…?” It is already assumed that every person has them. The question is then, how can I help you in achieving your strength’s despite your weaknesses in this job role? It is inevitable that you are going to have weak areas about you that hold you back from being your best. What are they so I can be of best assistance to you?

Imagine for a moment that God is the interviewer, except instead of asking you, “what are your weaknesses?” He tells you what they are.

Not to discourage you but to encourage you that even with your weaknesses He can be of best assistance for and through you. But first you must know what they are.

Benefits of knowing your weakness is so you can avoid the element of surprise when they arise. For example, the element of surprise may come in a form of anxiety, and without knowledge or time to process why that feeling arose it can spiral to a panic attack. The goal is to not let the weaknesses hold you back from moving forward. The goal is to acknowledge their existence to better manage their feelings.

I want to encourage you that you are not defined by your weakness, but by your ability to manage them for strength. Seek God in question: “What are my weaknesses that keep me from elevating my strengths?” “Show me how YOU can assist me in my weakness.”

2 Corinthians 12:9-11 NIV

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

This is how we manage our weakness; we replace its power with God’s grace through prayer and submission. The focus does not shift on your own power but on the power of the cross. Your weakness is not a set back – it’s a breakthrough; an opportunity to glorify God.

 

 

Routine Interrupted

Having the same bedtime routine every night can assist in a good night’s rest. Routines help us in creating order and structure in our life. It’s the predicable things we do each day to get us out the door to work, to the gym and back to bed. Routines are good, we like routines.

But routines don’t always work, nor do they always last the same way, same time, and every day. Interruptions occur, more than we would probably like. An interruption to our day could be as simple as the car doesn’t start in the morning, or as severe as someone in the family got sick… Interruptions can be stressful and most often we are never prepared for them.

Being a new mother comes with a lot of FEAR and unexpected interruptions that occur with raising a baby. What gives me comfort is having a routine specifically around my baby’s sleep schedule. I gain confidence in having our daily routine. However, it can change in a moment and when it does it can create a stormy period for us. To gain back control, in midst of the storm, I find it’s in the researching. By gaining understanding and learning about the developmental stages of my baby, it helps me to know how to navigate the stormy period. I learn more about her, myself, and I gain encouragement through receiving messages from other mama friends who have gone before me and experienced this same storm.

The more I study about my baby’s developmental stages the more I am ready for our next storm. As Christians we need to apply the same study to our spiritual life. The Bible is our guidance to living life. I don’t have answers as to why certain things happen to you and I, but God knows and I’m writing to encourage you to seek him in His Word, to understand His character through it.

Jesus, who commands the wind and the waves to be still, will also command the fears in your life to be still. We learn this through Mark 4:35-41: Jesus Calms the Storm:

35That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

IVP Bible Background Commentary by: Kenner says: “Storms often rose suddenly on the lake called the Sea of Galilee; these fishermen had usually stayed closer to Capernaum and are unprepared for a squall this far from shore.” Key note, from this detail it assumes that to avoid a storm in their journey, routine had them stay closer to shore. But in this passage Jesus commands they go to the other side, far from shore. An interruption to their routine occurs when they sail far form shore encountering a vicious storm. Riddled with fear they ask Jesus, “teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

So often we get put in these unprepared territories far from our “normal” shoreline and its fearful. It seems like if it’s not in our daily routine, it’s “out of our control”. When Jesus calms the storm He proves that we don’t have control in our human strength, but the control is found in our spiritual strength, our faith in Him. “He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” As Christians we know that Jesus has already gone before us, being the ultimate replacement to our fear, anxieties, loneliness’, and death by His death on the cross. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish by have eternal life.”

Where in your life have you been experiencing a storm or an unexpected interruption? How are you letting it lead your life? Don’t let the next interruption to your routine defeat you. Beat it by learning about the character of Jesus Christ because faith in Jesus has more power than any storm.

The Opinion Of Prayer

Prayer might mean the same thing to you as it does to the majority of the rest of the western world. Or if you are a Christian it may only be a shared vocabulary. Often when some sayings or common nomenclature are said, your worldview interprets what is heard to what is understood. Quite often this can take meaning out of what someone says, or may even make an individual prejudicial towards another person, even though there is no shared worldview between the two parties. Take for instance; someone says “I will pray for you”. The word pray or prayer has a varied definition from person to person depending on their worldview. This is especially confusing when it becomes a widely adopted way of speaking, by the public in North America. It’s not only “I will pray for you”, but also “thoughts and prayers” and its many variations. It seems people want to convey some sort of condolence, but with a word that gives the illusion of action.

Prayer is an illusion to most people, to those people who say the words and leave it at that, rather than say the words and then pray. The power and meaning have been widely taken out of the word itself and no longer describes the appealing to God, but to convey a sense of emotion. There was a “thoughts and prayers” fad, that has only recently been busted up by countless memes and twitter posts. This fad has not been called out because of its lack of truth and intention, thought on the surface that is what would seem to be the case, but rather to the large amount of people seemingly praying for events and people and the evil in the world, yet these prayers are seen as going unanswered. It is as if saying the words “thoughts and prayers” to someone, are perceived as to be an appeal to God that somehow we are expecting God to answer and eliminate any reason that precipitated the thoughts and the prayers to begin with. Though many will overlook the obvious case, that saying the word praying or stating the intention to pray is really just words and not a prayer in and of themselves. This seemingly obvious fact can be overlooked because people need something to blame, a reason why evil keeps on occurring shooting after shooting, disaster after disaster, despite the entire western world sending out thoughts and prayers! The subject of evil and the impact prayer would have is a different subject. But this example just stands to show how the idea of prayer in the western world is not being held by any sort of universal definition nor is it precipitating action necessarily.

Prayer is a word of action, and not only the appeal to God to act for us, but to appeal to God to provide for us opportunities to act. Or to give us strength to act in a way we already know we need to, but lack the confidence to do so. Nothing about prayer is passive, even when praying for thanksgiving it is to give thanks for everything God has given us, and action he has taken for us. Saying you will pray for someone has no power. Praying for them, and I would say praying out loud with them carries divine power, and we are appealing to the creator himself. Praying with someone also does not leave the person needing prayer wondering or questioning if prayer is actually going to occur. There is a peace of mind with the Christian when prayer is said and heard out loud between each other.

And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. -Luke 22:43-44

Jesus engaged with the world in prayer. He himself prayed to his Father several times, and I must mention that not all responses from the Father were what Jesus wanted. Such as the praying in the garden of Gethsemane described in Luke 22:43–44. Praying was not a new thing in the time of Jesus, people prayed to all sorts of pagan gods and idols. The need for instruction for prayer is illustrated by his disciples asking Jesus how to pray in Luke 11:1. With these verses in mind we should take a second and think about how we are instructed to pray every time we hear the word prayer mentioned in passing or to us in our day-to-day lives. Prayer has taken on false meaning and illusions in the western world, so it is important to remember why we pray and the act upon the word and partner with God through prayer.

News Feed War

     The belief of the majority is that science and religion are at war.  I would say this is partly correct, but in reality, incorrect. In your news feed today, more frequently than not, there is this science vs. Religion argument. This argument is typically conveyed by a funny picture with a tag line that would seem irrefutable. As Christians, are we to take sides in this “war” or rather discover for ourselves the truth.
     People are always searching for truths. Some people who do not believe in God use science as a means to refute the claims of the Bible. Science can be a tool people use in order to contradict and debate religion itself. It enraged religious radicals into taking an anti-science stance.
     I think the primary reason for this “war” has mostly been due to the small percentage of these religious radicals.  For example, those who teach on false or fabricated scientific evidence are mistranslating their own Bible thus creating their own theology based on winning an argument instead of finding the real God ordained truth. The religious radical defeats themselves, by not using common logic, where their scientific counterpart uses a system that easily discredits claims based on false teaching.
     This constant battle between the two parties creates a realm of ridiculousness and chaos.  The matter of fact is, ridiculousness gets published. It creates buzz and fodder for large people groups who are more than eager to jump all over blatant unscientific claims. These stories travel, just like a celebrity blunders. Waiting on the other end of the line are people that crave these confirmations of facts and truths to which science has supplied. It feels good to have your own beliefs confirmed.
     My thoughts are, science and Religion are in fact not at war. More often, as science progresses, it also progresses our understanding of a creator or the theory that a creator is a reasonable argument. The studies concerning the beginning of the universe point more and more to intelligent design. It is not just the questions of the universe, but even that which concerns our human make up, our DNA. Even Richard Dawkins, a renown atheist said that, “The machine code of the genes is uncannily computer-like. Apart from differences in jargon, the pages of a molecular biology journal might be interchanged with those of a computer engineering journal.” The case for intelligent design is building day by day, and I think with future findings due to science we will also find ourselves without a case at all.

     In a world where we are given the option of either science or God, we need not decide at all for we have both science, and God.

For a better glimpse into the support of science and religion, I recommend the book The Case For A Creator by Lee Strobel.

Universal Ambience

     The existence of God is a topic of mystery for many people today. For myself, I was brought up believing that this was not a mystery. However, as I got older, this mystery raised questions for me and I realized in order for my faith to be alive I must find it’s meaning through the questions I ask.
     We all need to solve this worldly mystery for ourselves, or at least attempt to ask ourselves the hard questions. So, to further understand my own belief in God, in relation to my upbringing, I interviewed my brothers, Arlin and Dave with the question of, “why do you believe in God”.
     The responses my brothers gave me were both similar. Arlin said, “ I believe in God because of my beautiful experience of how real he has been to me, through his creation, through my hardships and through other people’s hardships as well.” Dave in similar fashion responded by saying, “I have had too many experiences in my life to know that there is a higher power. I can feel the holy spirit move within myself, and others.”
     They both spoke with a common theme of revelation. Somehow they have realized God’s hand in their life, or the in the lives of others around them. This is a feeling I have as well. John Coe gives a definition of natural revelation in the YouTube video The Psychology of Unbelief. Natural revelation is, “a universal knowledge or awareness of Gods existence. That is a given to their consciousness.” He then describes natural revelation as God being like an ambient background music to life that you do not necessarily realize is there. However, when you take time to listen, you can clearly hear the music in the background, which is in fact God’s hand guiding you in your life. Then it is on you to choose whether to follow His guiding hand or not.
     This background music he talks about, I believe is the guiding of the Holy Spirit in my life. Where it gets most observed is when I tune into my questions about God’s existence. These times are usually not in my happiest of days. However, whatever gets you to think about God will become the beginning of realizing his existence. The war lies between the choice of listening to the music of His voice or the constant noises of this world. Happy or sad, feelings led to discovering God will always end with positive purpose. For this reason, it is no surprise that my passion lies within his creation; a love for the outdoors creates a peaceful atmosphere for me to hear God speak.
     There are endless amounts of questions to ask when referring to the mystery of the existence of God. My hope then, is to not answer this question for you, but to share one clue of how God can be currently, already present in your life. Just take a moment and tune in to the right sound…