Tuesday, March 24, 2009

It's your CHOICE - we can always CHOOSE


Michael is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good moodand always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, hewould reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!" He was a natural motivator. If an employee was havinga bad day, Michaelwas there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation. Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Michaeland asked him, "I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How doyou do it?" Michael replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, 'Mike, youhave two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in abad mood.' I choose to be in a good mood. "Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I canchoose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. "Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept theircomplaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side oflife." "Yeah, right, it isn't that easy," I protested. "Yes, it is," Michael said. Life is all about choices. When you cut awayall the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. Youchoose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood."The bottom line is: It's your choice how you live life." I reflected on what Michael said. Soon thereafter, I left the towerindustry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I madea choice about life instead of reacting to it. Several years later, I heard that Michael was involved in a seriousaccident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower. After 18 hours of surgery andweeks of intensive care, Michael was released from the hospital with rods placed inhis back. I saw Michael about six months after the accident. When I asked him how hewas, he replied, "If I were any better, I'd be twins. Wanna see my scars?" I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through hismind as the accident took place. "The first thing that went through my mind was thewell being of my soon-to-be- born daughter," Michael replied. "Then, as I lay on theground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or I couldchoose to die. I chose to live." "Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked. Michael continued, "The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I wasgoing to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions onthe faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read 'He's adead man.' I knew I needed to take action." "What did you do?" I asked. "Well, there was a big burly nurse shoutingquestions at me," said Michael. "She asked if I was allergic to anything. 'Yes,' I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I tooka deep breath and yelled, 'Gravity.' Over their laughter, I told them, 'I amchoosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead'." Michael lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of hisamazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to livefully. Attitude, after all, is everything.

Operate in FAITH, Not FEAR

FileNote: Easier said than done. But how true - the more we operate and make decisions in faith, we walk in the light of God's counsel and wisdom. If we are not careful, we often will let fear creep in and subtly dictate our decisions, which will surely lead us down the path of ruin and destruction. Let us therefore encourage one another in our FAITH. Read the testimony of Kathi Pelton and heed the warning and the lesson.

Kathi Pelton: "Removing Roots of Fear" By Kathi Pelton
"Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident." Psalm 27:3
I am always amazed at God's dealings with me. I never cease to be surprised at how He can take me places that I would not go apart from His love and leading. God's recent dealings with me began with personal crisis. Like many of you, our family has been hit hard by the trouble in the economy. My husband's sales have dried up, my oldest son was laid off from his construction job last month and I lost my salary at the beginning of January. But, as "mature Christians" our posture was in faith and not fear...or, so I thought.
We handled the first months of our "crisis" as we watched God provide in ways that were unexpected and unique. But as the months have moved by and our bank account has dwindled to nothing (and no prospects for jobs appeared), I began to move into some fear-based actions even though my words continued to be those of faith. Of course, I did not do this overtly, but took a "composed" posture of fear. I began to ever-so-gently pressure my patient husband to get his resume' out to more and more companies. From there I began to drop subtle hints of things that he could do (and in my opinion should do) to get us out of this crisis.
Your Fear Is Not Subtle to God
Last Saturday morning, I woke up to my husband making us a nice breakfast. But rather than allowing myself to enjoy the blessing, I sat down at the table and began to question him about what he had accomplished during the week in regards to my rescue plan. But rather than give me a detailed accounting, my husband looked at me and said, "Maybe we shouldn't talk because we don't seem to be getting along very well right now."
I was shocked! How could he say such a thing? Wasn't I merely asking about a very real issue? I was merely trying to help my family make responsible decisions in the midst of crisis, right?
Right away the Lord began to speak to me about the motivations of my heart in trying to get my husband to do all the things I had suggested (actually, I wanted to demand, not suggest). The Lord asked me if my suggestions were from His leading or from fear. Well, of course they were from fear, or I wouldn't have needed to cloak them in hints. The Lord then said, "Your hints have not been subtle to your husband or to Me. We both know that you have moved into fear."
I had abandoned two values that my husband and I walk in. The first is that we will never initiate for God, but always wait for His initiation before we act. We wait not only for His wisdom but also His timing. The second value is to know each other by the spirit, not only by the flesh. Spirit to spirit is the way we want to connect with others. Due to the fear that had surfaced in my life, I began to initiate out of my knowledge and timetable rather than waiting for God's wisdom and timing.
I also forgot that my husband knows me "by the Spirit," therefore he could feel the fear and control coming from me even though my words sounded right. These subtle hints I was releasing were like the sounding of an alarm to both my husband and God. They screamed: "Do something just in case Jesus doesn't come through for us!"
Learning from My Writings
The irony in all of this is the title of my article last month called "Peace Be Still." I wrote all about peace and trust in the midst of life's storms. One thing that has been consistent in whatever subject I write or teach about is that I must also learn from them. Releasing it does not exempt me from the truth that needs to be lived out. I often find whenever I write, I am about to be tested on, so that it also becomes truth in my life.
As I realized there were still roots of fear deep in my heart, that dictated to me thoughts of abandonment during difficult times, I knew I needed to allow God to deal with them. As I asked the Lord what to do, His first instruction was to fast (abstain) from any actions that were fear-based. This was in all relationships: husband, children, friends and especially, Him. Having five teenagers who are all embarking on adulthood can really challenge this.
I could now see that even some of my "counsel" for my teens was more fear-based rather than faith-based, and I needed to begin to speak only God's counsel. I needed to turn my children over to the One who loves them even more than I do. I cannot always keep them from the hard lessons of life, but sometimes I need to take a posture of prayer that would back them up rather than try to lead them.
I have never viewed myself as a controlling person, but as the root of my actions have become clear to me, I now realize that fear almost always provokes controlling and manipulative actions. Though these may be "subtle" to others, they are not to God, nor are they to the enemy who is not fooled by our religious masks that try to cover them up.
Remember...Don't Light Your Own Torches!
"But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go, walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. This is what you shall receive from my hand: You will lie down in torment." Isaiah 50:11
Ten years ago, I was going through another difficult time. During that time God was walking me through some deep inner-healing from issues in my childhood that were affecting my adult life. As some of the pain and wounds surfaced, I would attempt to find relief from the pain by trying to find my way through it on my own. Though I never made any headway in this effort, it did leave me with a bad case of insomnia that lasted for months.
During one of these sleepless nights, I was searching the Scriptures for some comfort, when I stumbled across the verse in Isaiah 50:11. I immediately realized this was what I had been doing. I was lighting my own torch and trying to find my way apart from His light. As a result, I had lain down each night in torment.
As I repented, things began to improve. Though they didn't change overnight, I began a process of allowing the light of the Lord to lead me through the darkness that I was facing. Now a decade later, though this is a very different circumstance, I am once again facing this truth. I cannot go back to walking in the light of my own torch, but I must wait for the Lord to lead our family through this dark time. Once again I find myself repenting for leaning on my own understanding.
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.
"Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline and do not resent His rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those He loves, as a father the son He delights in." Proverbs 3:5-12
He is Forever Faithful
I have settled it: "I don't understand God's ways!" I have also decided that "God is forever faithful, even when I don't understand!" When He says that He carries me (and you), it is the truth.
"There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place." Deuteronomy 1:31
"He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young." Isaiah 40:11
He is our Father, He is tender, He is gentle, and He does not leave us without help. His children are being prepared to walk without roots of fear ruling in their hearts and lives. We must respond to His love—both the love that carries us and the love that corrects us. Join me in fasting from every action that is based in fear. Let us allow Him to pull up every root of fear that ushers us into controlling, manipulative and frantic behaviors. He truly is our peace and we must trust Him even when we don't see any light at the end of the tunnel. Don't light your own torch even when all you see is darkness. It is not dark to Him.
"If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,' even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you." Psalm 139:11-12
We're in this together!
Kathi PeltonLight Streams Ministries

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Breakthrough or Burnout ?

FileNote:- Certainly worth reflecting where we stand, so we may do what's necessary for us to have more breakthroughs and less burnouts. God bless.
Twelve Signs that Show Whether You Are Headed for Breakthrough or Burnout – Joseph Mattera

Introduction As a pastor for more than 25 years I have seen many people serving in ministry burn out in the name of Christ, then fall away from their purpose. This is even very common among senior leaders but it can be avoided. In the past several years, I have personally experienced my mind being tired, requiring me to pull back for several months lest I burnout! The following are signs that show whether you are on the verge of burnout or breakthrough:

I. When in breakthrough mode you can’t wait to start the day. In burnout you can’t wait for the day to end.

I know from my own life when I have pushed myself too much I have dreaded all the work I saw in front of me. However, when I am living out of the overflow of the life of Christ in me I can’t wait to tackle the greatest challenges in front of me.

II. In breakthrough mode you are ministering out of the overflow of Christ’s life in you. In burnout you are ministering purely out of your natural giftings and spiritual anointing without a fresh infilling from the Holy Spirit.

Those heading for breakthrough are ministering out of a fresh word they receive daily from God (Isaiah 50:1-4). Those headed for burnout are depending only on their natural wisdom and abilities that God anoints, just like the Corinthian Church who operated in the gifts of the Spirit but were moving in the flesh and were not spiritual (1 Corinthians 3:1-4).

III. In breakthrough mode you have passion to serve. In burnout you have passion for pleasure and relaxation.

Those in breakthrough mode have an excitement and exuberance regarding their ministry, while those on the verge of burnout continually attempt to medicate themselves with entertainment, overeating, and are in danger of falling into vices meant to deaden their pain, or have a sense of being trapped.

IV. In breakthrough mode you are living within set boundaries that enable self-renewal. In burnout you constantly feel like you are living outside of the measure of God’s grace for service.

In breakthrough mode you are able to stay within your limitations so there is a proper equilibrium regarding time with your family, self-care, ministry, and time off. Those on the verge of burnout have no set limitations and are often out of sync with their bodies, their families, and with God’s will for their lives. V. In breakthrough mode your mind is constantly being renewed with fresh ideas, creativity, and vision to conquer. In burnout your mind and emotions are worn out and you are in maintenance mode.

Those on the verge of breakthrough are filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual knowledge and wisdom (Colossians 1) and are continually being fed fresh strategy from the Holy Spirit. Those on the verge of burnout not only lack fresh ideas but they don’t even want to receive them! Their minds are set on survival; they are happy if they merely maintain what God has already given them to do in ministry and life.

V. In breakthrough mode you are walking in the fruit of the Spirit; in burnout the fruit of the flesh.

One of the symptoms of walking in breakthrough mode is that you are enjoying the present, enjoying life, and are walking in the joy of the Lord in the midst of your weakness and trials. Those on the verge of burnout find themselves constantly complaining, grumbling about their responsibilities, and are often in a bad mood or grumpy.

VI. In breakthrough mode you have time for soul care. In burnout you only have time for serving others.

Those in breakthrough mode make time to care for themselves because they have a good feeling about who they are. Those on the verge of burnout often neglect exercise, proper diet, and sleep because they lack the motivation for self-care.

VII. In breakthrough mode you envision great expansion of ministry. In burnout you dream of retirement and contemplate leaving the ministry.

Those in breakthrough mode are constantly dwelling on the vision God has given them, while those on the verge of burnout are constantly dreaming about what it would be like not to have all these responsibilities and live a normal life without the pressures of ministry and community service. When a person lives for retirement or vacation they are either slothful or on the verge of burnout.

VIII. In breakthrough mode you proactively spend time with key relationships. In burnout your time is spent reacting to relational problems.

Those in breakthrough mode proactively prioritize and spend time with those people who mean the most to them and their ministries, while those on the verge of burnout often find themselves busy dealing with putting out fires because of troubled relationships.

IX. In breakthrough mode you are in faith; in burnout you are living in fear.

Those on the verge of breakthrough have entered into the rest of God through faith according to Hebrews 3 and 4. That is to say, they are believing God to control their situations and order their steps because they are flowing in the will of God. Those on the verge of burnout are not sure if what they are doing is God’s will, and are anxious about the future.

X. In breakthrough mode you are refreshed in spite of your stress. In burnout mode you are depressed because of the stress.

Both those in breakthrough and burnout mode will experience great stress in their lives; this is par for the course for all leaders. The difference between the two is that those in breakthrough mode are walking in the power of God’s Spirit in the midst of stressful situations, even as Paul did when he ministered out of his weakness so that God’s grace could be sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:1-7). Those on the verge of burnout can’t handle the pressure and are depressed because of the stress.

XI. In breakthrough mode you sense clarity of vision and purpose. In burnout you experience confusion regarding your purpose.

I have seen folks on the verge of breakthrough; one common denominator with all of them is they have a strong sense that what they are doing is significant and based on the will of God. Those on the verge of burnout have lost their way and are questioning whether or not they are doing what God has called them to do, even if they are generally in the will of God. (The enemy takes advantage of us and puts seeds of doubt in our minds that make our attitudes worse when we are worn out and on the path to burnout.)

In summary, if any of the signs of burnout fit your situation, it is not too late to begin to change course and avoid a complete collapse. You can start with something simple like forcing yourself to meditate 15 minutes a day on the word of God, worship God every morning, doing aerobic exercises a few days per week, and getting enough sleep. The word will renew your mind and impart faith, worship will fill you with a renewed sense of hope in your spirit, exercise will release chemicals into your body that will give you a better sense of self, and getting enough sleep is absolutely necessary for your mind and emotions to function on an optimum level.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


Taken at face value, what Rick Warren did was a great reminder for us to live our life with our eyes fix heavenward. What we experience on earth is but temporary. If you go to a foreign land and live in a hotel, your perspective is not the same as living in your home in your land of birth. Think where really is your true spiritual home. If we are too at home here on earth or wants to make it so, then indeed we will have much sorrow and pain when reality confronts us when we have to depart to meet our God and account for what we did while on earth. Think about what Rick Warren reminds us of: WHAT'S YOUR PURPOSE ON EARTH? WHAT ARE YOU LIVING FOR? HOW DIFFERENT ARE YOU FROM THOSE WHO DO NOT BELIEVE IN YOUR GOD?
You will enjoy the new insights that Rick Warren has, with his wife now having cancer and him having 'wealth' from the book sales. 'Purpose Driven Life ' author and pastor of Saddleback Church in California In the interview by Paul Bradshaw with Rick Warren, Rick said: People ask me, What is the purpose of life? And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were not made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven. One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body-- but not the end of me. I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act - the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity. We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense. Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one. The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort; God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy. We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ li ken ess. This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer. I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don't believe that anymore. Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life. No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on. And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.. You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems: If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness, which is my problem, my issues, my pain.' But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others. We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her- It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people. You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life. Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy. It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with before. I don't think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or for you to live a life of ease.. So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence. He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72. First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our lifestyle one bit.. We made no major purchases. Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church. Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation. Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free. We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity? Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)? When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better. God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do. That's why we're called human beings, not human doings. Happy moments, PRAISE GOD. Difficult moments, SEEK GOD. Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD. Painful moments, TRUST GOD. Every moment, THANK GOD. If you do not pass it on, nothing will happen. But it will just be nice to pass it on to a friend....just like I have done... God's Blessings…