Episode 9: How should we as Christians view Instruction

How are we as Christians view Instruction?

When giving instructions, you often see the imperative form in instruction manuals or when someone tells you how to do something.

Often there is  “sequencing” words to show the steps in the process. Like, “firstly”, “secondly” and “finally”.

Many times we are not sure if we are given appropriate instruction or it is not clearly articulated.  This leads to doubt, frustration, anger or the lack of a successful outcome.

So what should be our source of how we give accept and experience the best godly outcome for the instruction we experience?  This can be viewed in 3 simple ways.

  1. Listening
  2. Accepting
  3. Gaining

Let’s dive deeper into these areas :

The first area in instruction is Listening:

Listening is something we are not taught to do, but it is so important in expanding knowledge capacity and having successful conversations.

Proverbs 19:20

“Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.”

This wisdom helps us strengthen and uncover areas of misunderstanding allowing us to improve relationships now and in the future.

Ask yourself:

  • Do you listen more than you talk?
  • Are you allowing yourself to take time to understand instruction in preparation for the future?

The second area of instruction is Accepting:

There is much instruction in our world but how do we know it is Godly instruction?

 1 John 4:1

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

Jeremiah 33:3 

“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”

God give dignifies us with free, the power to make decisions of our own. This free will must be managed by instruction given to us by God.

Ephesians 6:14

“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness.”

This means we are protected by truth and righteousness.  And it also means that we have to use Jesus teaching as our guide and reference to acceptance of good instruction.

Ask yourself:

  • Are you evaluating the source to make sure it aligns with my Godly principles?
  • Are you asking God to be your guide in the instruction you are receiving?
  • How can I do this more often in my daily life?

 The last area of instruction is Gaining

A Harvard business review article once wrote that seeking advice is central to effective leadership and decision making. And that receiving advice is often seen as the passive consumption of wisdom. When the exchange is done on both sides both benefit.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

Proverbs 4:13

“Keep hold of instruction, do not let go, guard her, for she is your life.”

Ask yourself:

  • Are you taking and seeking the advice of other to gain better wisdom?
  • Do you hold on and value the instruction you are getting?
  • How are you going to apply the three areas of listening, accepting, and gaining in your life moving forward?

Estella & Lauren

Episode 8: How to Be Free from Frustrations in Life

Edge God In Podcast Week 8 of 2017: How to Be Free From Frustration in Life

Frustration is an emotion that occurs when you want something to happen and it doesn’t. It can be as simple as driving to work. You want to drive to work without any interruptions and all of the sudden you hit traffic: SHAZAM FRUSTRATION slithers onto the scene and steals your peace. In daily life frustration will usually occur in the presence of the following needs:

  • The need to be right
  • The need to be liked
  • The need to understood
  • The need to get something you want: a promotion; a sale; a relationship; a break from hardship

All of the above fuels for frustration have one thing in common: NEED. I NEED this to happen in order to feel safe, connected, enough, valued, successful, at peace, confident…what is your muse?

What does God say about all of this NEED in life?  What solutions and wisdom does He give us to bring us out of NEED into trust, faith and profound confidence and peace?

  1. The need to be right: Do you need the last word? The EGO screams for the last word and will twist our inner world hunting and gathering information to prove our case in relationships. What is that about? Where does this deep desire to be right come from? Explore the following statements the next time you feel frustration over wanting to be right:
  • If I’m not right then ______________________
  • I need you to know that I am right because _______________________________
  • Being right is important to me because____________________________________

Solution: Proverbs 21:2: “People may think their own ways are right, but the LORD weighs the heart.” Lean into God’s wisdom in situations and practice humility along with speaking the truth in love. Resist the urge to convince from a place of self-satisfaction and leave room for the Lord to weigh the heart. Ask in the face of feeling the other person is wrong and you are right and you need to convince them of your position: “Lord grant me the grace of humility and release to feel your peace in the midst of differing opinions having full confidence that your truth will prevail, that is enough for me.”

  1. The Need to be Liked: Galatians 1:10: “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” I remember one time being spun by the thought that a certain person didn’t like me. In the midst of my imploding moment I heard the Lords gentle voice: “Excuse me? Excuse me? (in a very tender and firm intonation) just so you know, you are not here to be liked you are here to be loved and to love.”

Questions for reflection:

  • When have you NEEDED the approval of someone else in order to feel good about yourself?
  • Do you ever check how many likes you have on social media?
  • How much time do you spend checking your connection with human beings during the day (texting, calls, emails?)
  • How much time do you spend during your day checking on your connection with God (pausing and praying in God’s guidance and wisdom before moving forward into your next “to-do” item on your list?)
  1. The Need to be Understood: Romans 15:3: “For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: ‘The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” The next time you feel misunderstood and frustration is occupying your interior world pause and imagine sitting with Jesus and handing over that need to be understood. Ask him to replace that need with his peace and confidence. Too often our need to be understood is fueled by EGO, the place where we edge God out and take the throne. The truth of many situations in life is that we don’t understand so why get frustrated when someone else can’t understand our perspectives? “Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” Proverbs 14:29 

Questions for reflection:

  • How do you respond when someone does not understand you?
  • When you listen and speak is it with the intention to be understood or the curiosity to understand?
  1. The Need to Get Something I Want: “You crave what you do not have. You kill and covet, but are unable to obtain it. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask. And when you do ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may squander it on your pleasures.” James 4:2-3

Self-Reflection:

  • The next time you are frustrated identify what you want in the situation, why you want it and then reflect on how this want glorifies God and supports the person you are committed to being in Christ.

EGI Episode 5: Faith and Conflict Management

Episode 5: Faith and Conflict Management

 Conflict can be good when it brings out feelings and concerns in individuals, groups, and teams leading to a cooperative spirit, but it can be very bad when (a) the source and type of conflict can’t be determined (b) there is no solutions in place to handle it and (c) not knowing where we fit in regards to conflict management quadrants.

Christians should have an understanding in three areas so they can approach conflict with skills talk in scripture.

  1. Understanding the types and sources of conflict

Conflict is stirred up by a hot-tempered heart

“A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel” (Proverbs 15:18).

Conflict is stirred up by a perverse heart

“A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends” (Proverbs 16:28).
Conflict is stirred up by a greedy heart

“The greedy stir up conflict, but those who trust in the Lord will prosper (Proverbs 28:25).

Conflict is stirred up by an angry heart

“An angry person stirs up conflict, and a hot-tempered person commits many sins” (Proverbs 29:2).

  1. Understand solutions to conflict

Conflict can be solved if others get involved

“But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses’” (Matthew 18:16).

Conflict needs to be resolved before leaving a gift to God

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24)

Conflict needs to be dealt with right away

“Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny” (Matthew 5:25-26).

3. Understand where you are in regards to handling conflict and why.

We must understand why we have conflict and how we process it individually.

There is a popular assessment for conflict management, the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument or TKI analysis, shares five areas that individuals gravitate to when involved with conflict.  These areas are Competing, Collaborating, Compromising, Avoiding, and Accommodating.  In order for us to handle conflict we must understand if we are underusing or over using these five areas.  We must do an assessment of our self to see where we sit in these areas and set goals that build a cooperative spirit and balance in them all.

Once we understand how we can stay in balance we also must understand why conflict happens so much especially to use as Christians.

Ephesians 6:12, tells us our battle on earth as Christians “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”.

So in conclusion: Conflict will always be with us as Christians, but by assessing ourselves and knowing the source and solution we can overcome it successfully.

Lauren&Estella

EGI Episode 7: What’s Your “Precious?

Edge God In Podcast Week 7 of 2017: What’s Your “Precious?”

 Scriptures:

 2 Peter 2:19: “A man is enslaved to whatever has mastered him.”

 Luke 5:5: Jesus said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch (Jesus invites us to go past our comfort zone, always beckoning us to trust Him beyond our limits)…“Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I WILL let down my nets.”

 Galatians 5:1: It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened by the yoke of slavery (“the RING”).  

Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings invites us all into a powerful reflection on 4 entrapments in life:

  • Power
  • Possessions
  • Popularity
  • Position

Questions for Reflection:

What’s your precious? The fetish that renders you under its spell? Your “RING” that blinds you to the things of God and catapults you into worldly distraction? 

  1. Power? Power over people and circumstances create a block of God’s power in and through us. God has given us His power to overcome: 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God did not give us a Spirit of timidity but of power, love and self-control.” When the need for power overrides our ability to surrender and trust God to act we render ourselves enslaved to that which we want power over: “
  • Power over people’s responses to us
  • Power over circumstances
  • Power of over our future and our past

Solution: Surrender your will to God’s will. Before transitions in your day pause and invite God’s will and power into your situation: Dear God I give you permission to guide what I say and do so that you are glorified in this situation. What do you want me to say? How would you have me respond? What forward action step do you want me to take next? “Now listen you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city…carry on business and make money.’ Why, you don’t even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-17

  1. Possessions? Jesus invites us to guard ourselves against every form of greed, for our lives do not consist in the abundance of our possessions (Luke 12:15). As was the case with Frodo when he possessed the “Ring” his attitude towards people around him flipped from humble, gentle responses to anger, fear and threat. When we attached ourselves to anything but God we become imprisoned by desire and want which fuels selfish ambitions and envy (James 3:13-16). People before things is an indication of aligning ourselves with the wisdom that comes from heaven which is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere (James 3:17-18).

 Questions for reflection:

  • Reflect on the possessions in your life that you have put before people.
  • Invite the Holy Spirit into your attachments. What have you given yourself over to? We can have attachments to different kinds of possessions…what is your “precious” that possesses you? You know you have an attachment when the thought of losing it causes your heart to race and your mind to ruminate with fear of losing that which you possess. When I lost my hair and breasts in the midst of advanced cancer I realized I had formed an attachment to my appearance it had become a possession of mine that I linked my worth and value to…have only 1 attachment and you will be free: Your heart to God. Have only 1 expectation in life: to be loved and adored by God.
  1. Popularity? Jesus was not confined by status or the opinions of other people. Why are we? What should it matter if the whole world should come against you if your heart is in fellowship with the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords? What will you profit if you gain the entire world’s attention and forfeit your soul? As Mother Teresa so brilliantly captured: “God didn’t put me here to be successful, He put me here to be faithful.” Reflect on John 15:18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own.”

Questions for reflection:

  • How often do you check your social media to see how many likes you receive on a post or picture?
  • Do you give more authority to God’s opinion of you or people around you?
  • How do you respond when someone insults you or criticizes you?
  1. Position? Reflect on: “The last will be first and the first will be last.” Matthew 20:16 and Matthew 20:26-28: “Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and t give his life as a ransom for many.”

 Questions for reflection:

  • When has it been difficult for you to be last? Overlooked?
  • What does it feel like for you to serve someone else over your own gain in life?
  • Have you ever prayed for the success of others over your own?
  • How have you responded when someone else has gotten something you wanted? A promotion? A better grade? A position of rank or status? Explore praying for the grace (and it IS A GRACE) to rejoice with other people’s success over your own…when you master this you will reach a new level of internal freedom over the ring of position.

Lauren&Estella 

EGI Episode 6: Setting Christian Norms

We as Christians must have norms and values to do the lords work.  We must understand how to guide each other to effective member behavior, which is not easy because of (1) the flesh and (2) interpersonal problems that get in the way.

So what does this mean for us to have Christian norms and values?

Is it Ethics or Morally Driven? And who gives us this compass to follow?

There are 3 things that will guide you in setting Christian norms for you and your teams

  1. Know your absolute authority is with Christ.

Christians are given God’s grace which places our lives under the absolute lordship of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:21 – “For me to live is Christ” meaning he is the center of our life.

Romans 13:1 – Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

  1. Know where the source of our norms comes from.

What is clear from I Corinthians 11 is that the norms for us do not lie in our culture, but rather in the Word of God., and that God’s Word and God’s Spirit bring with them a new culture. Proverbs 3:5-6  Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

  1. React to other by Gods examples

Jesus says in John 13:15: “…I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you”

Romans 2:14 says that “the Gentiles who have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law.”

So in order for us as Christians to establish norms, we must look beyond the written communicative, respectful and problem-solving aspects in the secular world and dig look deeper in the word of God.

Paul shares that if that was written in man’s conscience at creation, why do we need the Ten Commandments?’ the answer is that our conscience has fallen.

Conscience can only be our guide if our conscience is ruled by the Word of God.

Estella & Lauren

How to Kick In God’s Power…

Are you worn out at Peter was after fishing all night without anything to show for it? Reflect on Luke 5:5 and 2 Peter 2:19. Has your “doing” in life creating an interior prison linking your worth to your achievements? Ask the Lord: where would you have me go today? Who would you have me speak to? What do you want me to spend my time doing with the gifts and talents you have given to me? When Peter stepped away from the enslavement of his own efforts into the Lord’s guidance: “Go out into deep waters and cast your nets” it was then that he came to the end of himself which is when God kicks in. Let Go and Let God Move You into His Will Today.

Let God and Lean Into God. When you get to the end of yourself it is then that God’s mighty power and will begins.

Because of His Love,

Lauren <><