By Dr. Tim Clinton
Jesus and His disciples had been invited to a wedding in Cana of Galilee where His mother was also a guest. The story in John chapter 2 begins with the dilemma of “when the wine ran out”
“Procrastination is like a credit card,” someone once said, “it's a lot of fun until you get the bill.” It also may be one of the enemy’s most effective tools in his assault on God’s children. So often we put off today what can be done tomorrow. The enemy uses schemes and tactics to ensnare us and distract us from doing God’s will for our life. He can use good things to distract us from even better things. We can’t afford to loose our focus or spend time on those things that don’t really matter.
“Prayer is self-discipline. The effort to realize the presence and power of God stretches the sinews of the soul and hardens muscles. To pray is to grow in grace. To tarry in the presence of the King leads to new loyalty and devotion on the part of the faithful subjects. Christian character grows in the secret place of prayer.” –Samuel M. Zwemer
Sampson. Powerful and strong. It is interesting that his strength was not really in his hair. His strength was in his heart. He was a Nazirite. The Hebrew word nazir means “consecrated” or “separated”. And it was by choice. His mother Manoah had dedicated him to this Nazirite vow before his birth. However, Hebrew law required that when he was old enough to understand, he recommit his life…permanently…to this vow. His heart belonged solely to his God. Until he gave it up to Delilah.
There’s a big difference between fearing God and being afraid. After receiving the Ten Commandments from God, Moses came down from the mountain and appeared before the Israelites. Witnessing thunder, lightning and the manifest presence of God caused them to tremble with fear that God would destroy them. “Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning’” (Exodus 20:20 NIV). Don’t be afraid but fear God? Sounds like a contradiction but it’s not. God doesn’t want us to be afraid of him; he invites us to approach him yet at the same time he wants us to be obedient to him, respect him and avoid the consequences of sin.
Does that describe your world? Are you discouraged? May be even a little depressed? Has life gotten the best of you? Is there seemingly little or no hope?
The Hebrew word for downcast – shachach – means to be bowed over… weakened …despairing…brought low.
Throwing a chair across the basketball court…Slamming a fist through a wall…The frustration when someone cuts you off in traffic…Those feelings you get when someone tells a trusted secret…How a child feels when dad doesn’t come home. When life isn’t the way we think it should be, it’s easy to get angry. God wired us that way.
A chicken “ain’t no” eagle.
Chickens are always looking down, cackling, while pecking around on the ground eating whatever they can find. It always amazed me that chickens can cackle and stuff their beaks at the same time! When they’re out of chicken feed, they move on to dirt and bugs. They’ll even eat their own—well you get the picture.
Something is going on.
Something good is happening right in the middle of your failure and pain.
The truth is still true, even if you’ve slipped and fallen. “For God is working in you…” You can feel it, can’t you—His power, Him calling your name? “If you leave God’s paths and go astray, you will hear a Voice behind you say, “No, this is the way; walk here” (Isaiah 30:21 TLB). That desire you have deep in your gut to keep returning home despite yet another mess up, that’s the Spirit of God drawing you in. You’re His child and like a loving parent His hands are cupped to his mouth and He’s calling out to you from the front porch of His heart. “Son, it’s time to come home now. Its time to get back in the fight.”
When we read the account of creation in Genesis, we find that at the end of each day God looked over His work and “saw that it was good”
Rarely will you see her in a Christmas play. Out of the four Gospels, only Luke even mentions her story. An eighty-four year old widow. A prophetess who “never left the Temple area, worshipping night and day with her fastings and prayers.” (Luke 2:37 MSG).
Recently, I was struck by the last phrase in verse 38. Anna was praising God and talking about the child to all “who were waiting expectantly for the freeing of Jerusalem” (MSG)
Anna’s words resonated in the ears of every man and woman who, with a “spirit of expectation”, had been waiting for the One who...
A manger. The baby Jesus. Mary. Joseph. A star.
No Christmas play would be complete without the three wise men.
Matthew records the amazing story of the “Magi” who “after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea…arrived in Jerusalem…” (2:1 NASV) They asked, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east, and have come to worship Him.”...
“W-I-I-F-M”. Most really good sales people can immediately tell you what this acronym means. It has been pounded into their psyche. The knowledge of the depth of its meaning will drive them to success. The words? “What’s In It For Me?” The question every person asks every day, about seemingly everything in their lives. Answer this question for the prospective buyer, and you make the sale.
There’s a sin-gouged hole in the heart of every person alive—a deep void that screams to be filled. We attempt to fill that void with everything from adrenalin rushing activities to relationships to careers. But the problem with these attempts is this: none of them will ultimately satisfy. Oh, you may find a certain amount of enjoyment and even contentment in those things for a while, but in the end they will leave you empty, longing for something more...
The front half of the “everything” is easy. Thankful for the birth of a child. For great health. Family. A good job.
The backside of the “everything” is more difficult. The death of a loved one. Cancer. Divorce. A job lost. The empty chair at the head of the table from which dad said the Thanksgiving prayer just last year.
It’s hard to get our hearts and emotions around thanking God for the dark days, for pain, or overwhelming loss.
Not long ago, while preparing to speak to a large group of pastors and counselors, I ran across the following words from Helen Keller:
“I, who cannot see, find hundreds of things to interest me through mere touch.
I feel the delicate symmetry of a leaf...
Jesus was God in the flesh and He talked a lot about Satan. He referred to Satan twenty-five times during His time on earth. He also dealt with demons on a regular basis. When tempted in the desert for forty days, Jesus didn’t engage a mind over matter or positive thinking approach in order to resist the temptation. He instead recognized the source of His temptation. “Then Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve’” (Matthew 4:10 NKJ).
Google the phrase “heart health” and over 49,900,000 sites pop up. That’s 49 million. Read just a few of those articles and the evidence is overwhelming – there is a direct correlation to what we put into our bodies (diet, exercise, rest, supplements etc.), and the health of our heart.
Bickering. Backbiting. Selfishness. Grudges. Disagreements and full-fledged arguments. Fighting over things that don’t matter with family and friends, even (and sometimes especially) in the church. We all experience these realities of being in relationships with others. We are each unique and so too are our opinions and approaches, our personalities and habits.
Cora, an elderly widow, lived alone in a small three-room house down the dirt road from the Pennsylvania farm where I grew up. Her home, a bit run down outside, was full of joy and delight on the inside. Interestingly, Ms. Cora’s favorite treasures were a...
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Connect With Dr. Tim Clinton
Connect with Dr. Tim Clinton at AACC
Tim Clinton, Ed. D., LPC, LMFT (The College of William and Mary) is President of the nearly 50,000-member American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), the largest and most diverse Christian counseling association in the world. He is Professor of Counseling and Pastoral Care, and Executive Director of the Center for Counseling and Family Studies at Liberty University. Licensed in Virginia as both a Professional Counselor and Marriage and Family Therapist, Tim now spends a majority of his time working with Christian leaders and professional athletes. He is recognized as a world leader in faith and mental health issues and has authored over 20 books including Breakthrough: When to Give In, When to Push Back. Most importantly, Tim has been married 36 years to his wife Julie and together they have two children, Megan, who recently married Ben Allison and is practicing medicine in dermatology, and Zach, who plays baseball at Liberty University. In his free time, you’ll find him outdoors or at a game with family and friends.
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