Slapped or Kissed?

Would you rather be slapped or kissed? That is not a trick question. It is a question about what type of relationships do you want? Do you want people who actually care about you? Or do you want people in your life who are seemingly nice but really do not care about you and are only in it for what they can get? We need to ask ourselves, what kind of person are we? Do we genuinely care for others? Or are we just nice to people for the purpose of what we can get from them? Are our compliments genuine and sincere or are they filled with flattery for the purpose of manipulation? Sometimes the people who feel and sound safe are actually not. Sometimes the people who rub us the wrong way are actually better for us than the feel good flatterer who is really lying to us to try to manipulate us. Remember iron sharpens iron but never without friction. We need more friction and less flattery if we want to be sharp and on point.

“Let the righteous strike me; It shall be a kindness. And let him rebuke me; It shall be as excellent oil; Let my head not refuse it. For still my prayer is against the deeds of the wicked.” (Psalms 141:5 NKJV)

David is welcoming the correction of the righteous. I would rather be slapped by the righteous than stroked by the self seeking. What about you? Do you want real relationships where people love you enough to be honest with you? Learning to respond to correction is essential for our personal growth. People who can’t hear correction position themselves for deception. Someone who is humble has the ability to hear hard things that others would want to avoid, deny or make excuses about.

“Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” (Proverbs 27:5-6 NKJV)

Open rebuke is more beneficial than a deceitful kiss. It’s better to be slapped or wounded by a friend than kissed by an enemy. We need to have courage to develop relationships where there is enough trust for us to be honest. It’s possible to be honest and honorable. The goal is to be able to slap someone with truth and it feel like kindness to them.

Thankful

One day I asked my son, “Justice, what are you thankful for?” When I asked him that he started to name who he is thankful for. He didn’t name things, he named people. He reminded me what really matters. People matter. You matter, I am thankful for you. I am thankful that you stopped by my blog for a quick read. I hope it encourages you. This blog is not about me, it’s for you. I am thankful for the relationships God has allowed me to have. The scriptures teach us that we enter into God’s presence with thanksgiving. The scriptures teach us to live with an attitude of gratitude. We are taught that it’s God’s will that we are always thankful. When we are thankful we live with the correct perspective, we live from God’s presence toward our circumstances.

Jesus was teaching the multitudes for several days. They were hungry and so the disciples wanted to send them away. Jesus commanded the disciples to feed the multitudes. What he commanded them to do was impossible in the natural. They found a boys lunch. The lunch was brought to Jesus, he lifted it to heaven, thanked God for it, blessed it and gave it to his disciples to pass out to the multitudes. There were 5,000 men in attendance not counting women and children. Thankfulness is what opened the door to the impossible and through the obedience of faith the miraculous was manifested. When we are thankful we are inviting God to invade our circumstances with his power and provision. I am thankful that God will finish the work that he began in us. You can be thankful to Jesus and confident in his work in you. What he has began he will complete so don’t quit.

Getting Unstuck 

God is not in control 

Self-awareness 

It is possible to be so self absorbed that we are not self-aware. If we are not self-aware we cannot administer self-control. We cannot control what we are not aware of. Being self-aware is about administering self-control. Self-control is ultimately about us fully assuming responsibility for what is going on inside of us and what is coming out of us, whether that is our words, tone, actions, reactions, body language and even facial expressions. If I am going to take what Jesus said about loving God, loving myself and loving my neighbor seriously I will have to pay attention to my own needs. Loving yourself starts with ascribing the proper value to yourself. You are priceless because of the price Jesus has paid for you. That is the foundation of your value. 

We care for things according to their value or perceived value, so understanding your value is essential. 

Because you are valuable and because Jesus loves you, you should love you. This basic biblical understanding helps to create a new awareness in you that is christian and God honoring not humanistic and narcissistic. This awareness allows you to properly care for yourself. When you understand what you need to thrive in this life you can properly take care of yourself. Then and only then can you help add value to others. It’s hard to add value to others if you feel worthless yourself. It’s hard to practice the art and science of objectivity with others if you are not self-aware. It’s hard to have compassion for others if you are so numb that you can put yourself in their shoes. When you value yourself you can care for yourself and then you can administer self-control and have a good relationship with yourself and others. Understanding self-awareness can be transformational. If you change the way you relate to yourself you can change the way you relate and respond to others. You can start this process by becoming more aware of the way that you speak to yourself. Often we say things to ourselves that we would not say to or about others. So watch what you put in yourself and watch how you speak to and about yourself. In this short Facebook live video below I share some practical metrics to self-awareness. Click here to watch. 

Dealing with disappointment 

Good Under Pressure 

To be a trustworthy person and an effective leader we must be good under pressure. That means we need to have a pressure relief valve. Praying to God through Jesus Christ and talking with a trusted friend are safe ways to relieve pressure without self-medicating in a destructive way. 

Casting our cares on the Lord and confessing our faults to a friend are essential for our spiritual, emotional and physical health.

If we don’t learn to do this consistently we won’t know how to handle pressure properly. Broken people can’t handle pressure; they either blow up or break down. Getting healed and getting healthy is essential if we are going to handle the very real pressures of this life. Below are two short parables to illustrate that often the value of something is determined by how much pressure that something can handle.

In Haiti there are several animals that are used for work and transportation. We will focus on 3 of them: the horse, the donkey and the mule. The horse is a horse. The donkey is a donkey. And the mule is a hybrid between the horse and the donkey. The horse is the best looking and the fastest. The donkey is the smallest and the slowest. The mule is the best of both worlds. We are truly stronger together. The mule can carry the heaviest load. If you go to the market to buy one which one do you think is the most expensive? The horse? Because it’s the fastest and best looking? No! The mule is the most expensive because it can handle the most pressure. 

In the world of watches Rolex makes a Submariner and a Deep Sea, Sea Dweller. They are almost the same watch. The Submariner is smaller and skinnier. Its face is 40mm. The Deep Sea, Sea Dweller is a bit bigger and a bit thicker and its face is 44mm. The Sea Dweller also has a helium escape valve which can relieve it of pressure if need be. The Sea Dweller has been deeper in the Marina Trench than any other watch ever. Meaning although it is similar and it has the same maker, it can handle more pressure. There is more than a $4000 USD difference in price simply because one can handle more pressure. 

Trustworthy people are healed, Trustworthy people are healthy. Therefore trustworthy people are good under pressure. God allows pressure to be put on us to do something in us. Be honest with God and transparent with people and you will become a trustworthy person who is good under pressure.

The Pressure Relief Valve of Prayer

Perspective is Everything 

Our perspective is what we perceive about reality. The cold hard truth about that is either we are correct or we are deceived. Our perspective is where we operate from. Our perspective determines how we relate to others, ourselves and our circumstances.

Jesus of Nazareth, according to the scriptures, was the rightful heir to the throne of King David. Although Jesus was not a citizen of Rome he did pay taxes. Even though he paid taxes he did not receive a fair trial. The Roman guards came to get Jesus at night when he was out of the sight of the masses. There was nothing just about his trial or his sentence. Not only was he the rightful heir to the throne of David, he was completely innocent. While he was hanging on a cross one of the men hanging next to him looked at Jesus and said, “Lord remember me in your kingdom.” (Luke 23:42). The perspective of that man was correct. Although Jesus was in the same circumstances as him, he knew that he was guilty and that Jesus was innocent. He looked at a naked Nazarene and saw a king. This same man knew that he deserved to be on the cross. He assumed responsibility for his actions. He acknowledged Jesus as Lord and that acknowledgement gave him access to paradise.

The other thief did not have the right perspective. He said to Jesus, “If you are the Christ save yourself and us.” (Luke 23:39). This thief looked at Jesus and did not see a savior or a king. This thief failed to understand that he was not a victim of Rome, he failed to take responsibility for his actions, and he failed to see who Jesus really was. Perspective is everything. If we want to see reality correctly we must first assume responsibility for our actions. Second, we must acknowledge our need for Jesus. Third, we must ask him, in prayer, to have mercy on us and remember us in his Kingdom.

Prisoners of Hope

In this blog you will find 8 reasons why you can have hope. If you are a believer in Jesus you are a prisoner of hope. In fact you are possessed by promise that is both now and forever. If you are not yet a believer in Jesus just know, he believed you were worth dying for. You are valuable to Jesus. No matter what you have done, no matter what you haven’t done. No matter what has been done to you, no matter what hasn’t been done for you. Jesus is saying to you, “come to me.” Again it doesn’t matter if you are a believer or a gay atheist, or even a terrorist. Jesus is saying to you, “come to me.” Everyone is invited, there is room in his house, there is food at his table. Your repentance (change of mind) is required, all you have to do is acknowledge your need for Jesus and immediately you have access to hope. If you are breathing there is hope. Hope has a name it’s – Jesus. In this life there are ups and downs, good times and bad times. Just know that in the roller coster of real life there is hope. Hope is an anchor to your soul. It gives you emotional stability. Emotional stability makes life worth living. Hope means you can live above your circumstances, it means your challenges don’t have to control you. 

When you have wept until you can’t weep anymore just remember one day God will wipe every tear from your eyes. When you feel like a square peg in around hole and you’re walking through life trying to find your place, just remember that Jesus himself has prepared a place for you in his Fathers house. When you have dieted, exercised and have tried your hardest and done your best and you can’t lose those last 10 extra pounds just remember that one day you will receive a new body, one that is incorruptible. I think that means no pimples or stretch marks, not sure on that one. When you can’t reconcile why planet earth is so dysfunctional remember God will make all things new. I am not saying this so that you don’t try your best in this life. I am not saying this because I believe that you are a victim who can’t have victory. I am just reminding you that we have ultimate hope that trumps the temporary and is eternal. We also have hope in this life which is the anchor for our soul. Below you will find 8 reasons why you can and should look at tomorrow and forever with hope. 

Hope in this life.

  1. Jesus will never leave you or forsake you. (Matthew 28:20)
  2. Jesus will keep you by his power. (1 Peter 1:5)
  3. Jesus will finish the work he began in you. (Philippians 1:6)

Ultimate hope, hope in the life to come.

  1. You will receive a new body. ( 1 Corinthians 15:52-54)
  2. God will wipe away every tear from your eyes. (Revelation 21:4)
  3. There will be no more pain, no more sorrow and no more death. (Revelation 21:4)
  4. Jesus himself has prepared a place for you in Father God’s house. (John 14:2-3)
  5. There will be a new heaven and a new earth. (Isaiah 65:17)