SHHH!

 

2 Thessalonians 3:16

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way.

Sometimes a Bible verse seems to jump out at you and speak to your situation. I love the fact the Paul says; God will give you what He already is. He is what we need, so For Him to offer peace, it means that He is giving of Himself. Peace is not an attribute of God, it’s a part of who He is. In other words, He already is what we need. 

The word peace in this verse means, quietness. It’s bringing a calm or a hush. God operates in that peace because He is peace and wants to give that same quietness to us. You need quietness when something is getting too loud. A noise that is keeping you from focusing. Maybe that sounds like your life right now. Perhaps you’re having a hard time focusing because the stress in your life has gotten way too loud. It could be the noise of your past drowning out the sound of your future. Whatever it is, make your prayer today this simple. God, I need your peace. I need who you are to speak into the chaotic, loud noise of my life and bring calm. Turn down the volume of worry Lord, and let this day be complete with quietness. 

“NO APOLOGIES”

I will never apologize for preaching and showing mercy. Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.” No one will get it all right and live mistake-free. So, the mercy that I show to others is the same mercy that will be shown to me in my shortcomings. Who doesn’t want or need that? Mercy is not denouncing living a Godly life; it’s being honest enough to admit that at our best, our righteousness is as filthy rags. I choose to focus on people’s potential, not their weaknesses.

I personally believe that God’s grace didn’t just save us, but it is still saving us. Grace cannot be applied until mercy is shown. Mercy looks beyond the errors of an individual, so grace can bring salvation and continue to save.

Galatians 6:1
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.

While others may choose to judge and condemn, I’ll be standing on the side of mercy cheering and rooting for those who have messed up to try again!!! NO APOLOGIES!!!

“START THANKING THEM”

Don’t let anyone cause you to doubt who you are. You know you better than anyone does. You’ll always deal with critical opinions about what people think you are, but stay true to yourself. The change in you is the better version of you, and don’t let what others say cause you to revert. The goal is to keep growing, and believe it or not; they’re helping you do that. I know that might sound crazy, but it’s true. If you let it, their words can challenge you to work even harder. It’s not that you’re trying to prove anything to them, it’s just pushing you to keep going.

Do you want to hear something wild? The next time you find out someone is criticizing you, tell them, thank you. Really? Absolutely! Let them know; hey, you helped me work harder, try harder, and climb higher. Your negative view of me let me know that I’m doing something right. You can’t stop me, keep me down, or hold me back. I don’t know what you thought you were doing by spreading false reports, but I want to thank you because it made me work even harder.

Get your head up, stop complaining about who’s talking about you, and start thanking them.

IN TUNE

Day 6

“IN TUNE”

Written by: Denny Livingston

As our 21-day journey continues, I couldn’t help but remember something I saw my dad do for many years. My dad was an amazing minister and musician, but he was also a piano technician and restorer. He could take an old beat up piano and make it look brand new in just a few weeks. Not only could he make it look new, but he could make it sound new. When dad would bring a broken piano into his shop and set it up, you would stand and wonder how this instrument could ever look and sound new again. You might even try and play it, but there would be no way you could make out what you were playing because it would be so out of tune.

You see, when an instrument is out of tune, the melody of a song cannot be established. Also, you’re not able to build harmony parts because harmony is based on melody. In fact, if just one note is either sharp or flat, it throws everything off, even if the other notes are on pitch. Some people might hear how bad it sounds and give up, but not my dad. An out of tune piano is where my dad’s greatest work would begin.

Dad would use a device called a strobe-tuner. He would set it on top of the piano, plug it into the wall and start the tuning process. The standard musical pitch is set at a frequency of 440 hertz. A strobe-tuner is set at that pitch and can detect when a note is not at the correct level. Dad would go string by string on a piano and find out if it was too low or too high. He would then start adjusting the string with an instrument called a tuning hammer. Dad would say, “Now you can’t move the string up too fast or the string might break. Just move it a little at a time and after a while, it will get there.” He was right, because, in a matter of 45 minutes or so, the out of tune piano would sound great and new again.

After thinking about the tuning process, it reminded me of why we are on this 21-day journey. Just like a piano, we are an instrument that over time can get out of tune. It’s nothing we planned on doing, it just happens. We can so easily find ourselves out of tune with God and off pitch from His Will. Just a slight move can cause us to be flat or sharp. God’s Will for our lives is set at 440 hertz and at times we need tuning to get back to that level.

Prayer, fasting and God’s Word are the tuning devices God uses to help us get back to where we should be. When we start to communicate with Him in prayer, He reveals how far we’ve drifted from the level where we once were. Fasting causes us to focus on God and not ourselves. As we overcome physical hunger, our appetite for spiritual things begins to increase, helping us return to a place of perfect harmony with God. The Word of God is like a two-edged sword, cutting out the things in our lives that have caused us to become out of tune.

Be encouraged on day 6, for little by little, we are getting back in tune with God’s Will and His voice. It won’t happen all at once, but over the next 21 days, we are being renewed in the Spirit of the Lord. You will start to feel a difference when you stand in the presence of God. You’re moving closer to Him, which means you’re moving further away from the things that have caused you to slip off pitch. Soon our melody will return and the sounds of sweet harmony will come forth. Dear Lord, help me to be sensitive to your Spirit by being in tune with your voice.

Psalm 51:12 (NKJV)
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.

21 DAYS OF RHYTHM, RESTORATION AND RELEASE (DAY 1)

DAY 1

“BEGIN AGAIN”

As a Christian, a disciple of Christ and minister of the gospel, I find myself in a familiar place. I simply call it, “The Begin Again Place”. This is not a play on words, but rather a personal reminder to me, that when things are getting a little crazy and I’m not exactly sure what to do, I have to go back to where things began with God and me. It’s not that I’m having to start over with the Lord, but sometimes life can cause me to become distracted and I find myself drifting. The closer I am to God, the less worried and stressed I become when difficult things come my way. So, the best way I’ve found to get back where I once was, is to “BEGIN AGAIN”.

I am the lead pastor at Point Of Mercy Church and I have felt led of the Lord to start a 21-day prayer, fasting and Bible study campaign. I’m calling it, “THE BEGIN AGAIN PROCESS” and it starts today. As a church, we are facing several things that we need direction in. As a pastor, I understand that I am the shepherd and I have to lead this flock where God wants us to go. If I’m not where I should be in my relationship with God, then I won’t be able to hear and see where He’s wanting to take us. Also, if the congregation isn’t where they should be, the enemy will be able to hinder their progress.

We are a church in a very trying season. We have faced a lot of adversity, but I understand, that where much is given, much is required. Sometimes, God allows things to happen just to test the strength and endurance of His people. I have said for many years, If God is allowing you to go through something, it’s because He believes you can endure it. He wouldn’t let it come your way if He didn’t believe in you. With that being said, God must really believe in Point Of Mercy, because we are going through a time sifting. When this season is over, we will know and understand two important things.

1. We could have never made it without renewing our relationship with God. (BEGIN AGAIN)

2. Through being tested, we discovered who was really with us.

So, here we go, it’s day one of the “Begin Again” process.

Perhaps, as you’re reading this, you find yourself identifying with us. You’re not lost, but you’ll admit that you’ve been in a drift for some time and you need to get back where you once were. Let me encourage you to “Begin Again”. Go back to where you started with God. Be renewed with 21 days of prayer, fasting and Bible study. As crazy and hectic as life may be, make time for restoration. Get back to the place where God’s voice was louder than the noise.

Day 1 starts with a repented heart.

God, please forgive me for allowing certain things, (you can be more specific) to cause me to become distracted from what Your purpose and plan are for me. Today I’m returning to you for a renewal in my heart, mind, body and soul. Let me be broken in your presence and determined in my environment, to keep you front and center in all I do. Amen.

Hosea 6:1
Come and let us return to the Lord, for He has torn so that He may heal us; He has stricken so that He may bind us up.

MADE UP MIND MONDAY

Overcoming is not something you always feel, but it’s what you believe. You’ll never change your situation until you change how you think. As long as you let your surroundings dictate your decisions, things are going to stay the same. Faith is acting on what you believe can happen through the power of God. This is not always an emotional move, but it has to be a mental move. When you see the mountain moving in your mind, it’s easier to speak to it and command it to disappear. 

So today is not about how you feel, it’s what you believe. Let your determination be greater than your worry and stress. Declare today as, “MADE UP MIND MONDAY”!!!

GO BACK

Sometimes you find yourself in a situation that you are not sure where to go. You want to move forward, but it’s easier said than done. You’re not at a stand still because you want to be, you just feel like you can’t move on. You would love nothing more than to be out of the current situation you are in, but you just don’t feel a release to move forward. How do you move on from where you are?

As strange as it may sound, sometimes the best way to go forward is to go back. I know you might be thinking, to go back means you’re giving up ground that you’ve already traveled, but understand, I’m not talking about going back to live, I’m only suggesting that you visit where you’ve already been. What is ahead of you is unknown, but what is behind you has already been conquered.

Going back means, you want to be reminded of how you got where you are. You’ve made it this far because God has brought you through so many adversities. As you look ahead, you may not know what the road is going to look like, but behind you are steep mountains you’ve crossed and dark valleys that God has brought you out of. There are past healings and miracles you’ve experienced and you will remember them when you go back. There is no way I can write everyone of your blessings that you’ve had, but I’m sure you’re starting to remember them as you’re reading these words. Perhaps you’re on your way back now.

You are going to come out of this trial, but sometimes the strength you need to move forward can only be found in the faith that you have already used in your past. So don’t worry about moving forward today, just take a little time and go visit where you’ve already been.

RELATIONSHIPS

Everything comes down to relationships.

Relationships can take you to highs you’ve never experienced, but they can also bring you to lows you’ve never experienced.

If you have some good relationships, be thankful and make sure you let the one’s you’re close to know how grateful you are to have them in your life.

If you’re in a bad relationship and you’ve done all you can to strengthen it…walk away and stop letting it drain your energy.

Make sure you know the levels of relationships. Being close to someone doesn’t always mean they’re close enough to trust.

If you are in a restored relationship, take it a day at a time and do not get in a hurry. Rebuilding takes a while.

Relationships are vital to our existence and it’s imperative that we strengthen the good ones and end the bad ones.

YOU CAN DO THIS

START THE PROJECT.
KEEP THE PROJECT MOVING.
FINISTH THE PROJECT.

You haven’t started the project, because you’re afraid you may fail.
Believe in yourself and START THE PROJECT.

Your project started awesome, but you’re having a hard time staying motivated and focused.
Commit to being consistent and KEEP THE PROJECT MOVING.

Things were going great with your project, but some unexpected events happened and it’s just lying there. Pick it back up and FINISH THE PROJECT.

What is your project?
What phase of the project are you in?
Imagine how excited you’ll feel when the project is completed.

Be encouraged, inspired and challenged…YOU CAN DO THIS!!!

SOMETHING WORTH FIGHTING FOR (ROUND 3)

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been writing about struggles that all married couples face. I have stated repeatedly, that for a marriage to be successful, you have to fight for it. I believe, next to our relationship with Jesus, there is no relationship more important than marriage. That’s why this blog series is called, “SOMETHING WORTH FIGHTING FOR”!!! With that being said, let’s get ready for round 3.

I had the privilege of going to an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC ) event this past week. They refer to it as Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). It is a full-contact combat sport that allows the use of both striking and grappling techniques, both standing and on the ground, from a variety of other combat sports and martial arts. Because of the variety of different fighting styles, it’s a very exciting and high energy sport. We were sitting very close to the ring and could hear every punch and kick. We could see the intensity on the faces of the fighters when they were on the mat fighting to win. We also witnessed different ones getting cut and bleeding. I wasn’t crazy about that part…lol. Nevertheless, it was an incredible night and one I’ll never forget.

As I was writing today, I couldn’t help but think about that night. Since my blog series is about fighting, I began to notice some interesting comparisons in what I saw then and what I see in some marriages today. I watched several fights for over six hours and honestly, the fighters that stood out to me, were the ones that had the strength to come back and win after being knocked down. It was the ones that were pinned against the cage or pressed against the mat in a hold that seemed impossible to get out of. In the UFC, when a fighter can’t get loose, he will do what’s called, “Tapping Out”. That’s when he takes one of his hands and starts tapping. That signals the referee and says, I’m out and can’t take anymore. The referee can also call the fight if he feels like one fighter isn’t able to fight back.

When you see a fighter down and everyone thinks it’s over, but then he or she somehow gathers enough strength to slip out of a hold and turn around and win…my friend, that’s someone that believes they have something worth fighting for. It doesn’t matter how many punches you can throw, the true test is how many you can take. How well a fighter can recover after making a mistake, says so much about their ability and character. Even the most talented make errors, but what makes them great is their desire to not give up. When a fighter refuses to surrender, they call that, “HAVING HEART”. The great ones have heart. They don’t sit out because of a set back, they actually stand out when it would be easier to give out.

It’s the same in a marriage. You don’t gage it by not making mistakes, but rather by how well you recover after an error is made. It doesn’t matter who you are, you are going to make a mistake. You are not perfect and the day will come when you will make a mistake. Your marriage will be pinned against the cage or pressed against the mat and it will be hard to see your way because of the hold your in. It’s in times like this that will determine if you have a good marriage or a great one. Sure, you could tap out and say I’m done. However, the real fighters don’t quit that easy. The ones with heart assess their situation and figure a way out, not a way to surrender. They’ve saved enough strength for a comeback. They combine strength and will, then make their move. All of a sudden, what seemed impossible starts to change. The one on the mat is now the one in control of the fight. Just seconds ago, what looked to be hopeless is now victorious. All because somebody realized they had “SOMETHING WORTH FIGHTING FOR”!!!

So what about you? Is your marriage on the ropes? Has a mistake been made? Are the financial struggles causing you and your spouse to want to give up? Are you facing something that you thought you would never have to deal with? If you’re not going through a difficult time, then the blog ended at the last paragraph, but if your marriage is in some incredible hold and you can’t seem to get free, you are who I want to encourage. Instead of surrendering and becoming another divorce statistic, why don’t you prepare for a comeback? I’m sure everyone watching thinks it’s about over, so why don’t you shock the crowd and show them how much heart you really have. I think you’ve got enough strength to turn this fight around. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but I am saying that great ones find a way to recover.

Here are some tips for preparing your comeback.

  • Make sure God is first in your life. (You cannot do this without Him).
  • Be faithful to church.
  • Seek council from someone that understands what is trying to defeat you.
  • Prepare for patience. (This problem didn’t happen overnight and it won’t end that soon either).
  • If someone made a mistake, understand that your spouse will need healing even after an apology.
  • Commit to not using words that cause a setback. (Make a list of digressive words and progressive words).
  • If you have children, make them aware that you are fighting for your family. (Don’t think they don’t feel the tension).
  • Make time for each other. (Hiding under a work load will not help the situation).
  • Remind each other daily that you believe your marriage is SOMETHING WORTH FIGHTING FOR!!!

If you have a comeback story, I would love for you to share it with me.

If your marriage is in need of prayer, I would love to hear from you too, so I could help pray for your marriage.

Email me at: denny@dennylivingston.com