Changes Remain

Things change.

I’ll never forget the day my dad was taking pictures of us kids during Christmas – and the Polaroid camera he was using was out of film. And one of us just volunteered our cell phone.  He was in awe of the technology shift that had yet again taken place.

Even digital cameras had already become yesterday’s news – now our phones had better technology. You snooze, you loose – is today’s technology mantra. Another way to say it, I guess.

Today, our lives are on a rapid merry-go-round. We get acclimated to a new job, or a new home, new child, new neighborhood, new neighbors, new government leadership… and then – things change.  And next, we are back to the unknown – fear and doubt attack our minds and we once again must face our fears, take a step of faith, and hope it works out.  Well, with God it does work out. We know he is able. The kicker question is this: will we choose to trust and obey?

Our grandparents and great grandparents were probably one of the first generations to face multiple major changes in the world. One could argue that this past century our earth has been through as many changes as all previous centuries put together. It’s amazing to think that before this, “normal” included having the same job until you retire, living in one home, in the same state (if not town) for the duration. Today, changes happen at a rapid pace. Entire families can fly to the other side of the world on whim and start fresh and anew.

Maybe this explains the growing lack of concentration in many people today – a condition that may include various forms of ADHD. Soon change will be so normal, that when some remains for even a period of several months, people won’t be able to handle the boredom. “Give me change now!”

As you wrap your head around “life in 2015” I hope you take time to pray and ask God to give you clear direction on where He wants you to be.  He may bring big changes that you didn’t expect. The good news is He is more than able to help you adapt and embrace the change.  Until next time, Jeff

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Don’t get offended.

“I mean this in love and in no way intend this to come across as negative or critical, but…”

Ever have someone start out a conversation this way? Not the easiest statement to hear someone else say to us. Well, don’t feel too bad, it’s only natural to put up an emotional wall, or get verbally defensive when someone we know well confronts us with an issue.

Whether they say it in love or not, or whether it is even well-intended or meant to hurt us, I think we can learn to glean value from any kind of confrontation, rebuke, even attack.

Granted, some verbal attacks are purely worthless and should be discarded immediately. In fact, I sometimes think the reason many of us get defensive when spoken to this way is actually because of a lack of GOOD DEFENSE.

Now hear me, I am not saying that it is good to “get defensive”… not at all. What I propose to you is this: If we have built healthy boundaries (read any book from the amazing series BOUNDARIES by Henry Cloud and John Townsend) in our Circle of Relationships (ask ME for a copy of this helpful tool ), we won’t have to “get defensive” when bombarded, attacked, or lovingly addressed in a proper way.

You see, if you have built healthy DEFENSES ahead of time, you don’t need to GET DEFENSIVE at the spur of the moment!

You can listen to that person, chew any meat they may have given, and spit out the bones. And if someone gives you ALL BONES, well then you can spit the entire mess out and get a good breath mint later!

Jesus didn’t need to get defensive when verbally attacked by his critics, because he already had healthy defenses built before hand.

Some of these defenses relate more to a healthy view of ourselves and a confidence of who God is in us and the fact that if He is for us, we have nothing to fear.

In fact, if you find yourself getting defensive often, that indicates you probably have not built good DEFENSES up in your inner man. And in fact, you may find inside your soul many conflicting sources pulling and pushing you to really fly off the handle emotionally, psychologically, physically.

God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)

Now I would be a hypocrite to make it sound like I am such a well-adjusted human being that I have never, ever become defensive. The exact opposite scenario is closer to the truth. You see, I found so many unhealthy emotional triggers inside of me when I first started my spiritual journey – I was one of the most defensive people on the planet. I discovered part of the reason had to do with being a very caring person – I was sensitive. But sensitivity without a healthy defense system on the inside will produce a lot of pain. I had to “toughen up” as others say.

But truthfully, it had nothing to do with getting tougher, but with getting fortified with a good set of boundaries and inner foundational truths. It took years and still I am growing in that area even to this day.

I wish I could go into greater detail with this, but if I did, this would not be a blog entry, but a book. And for more detail, you are going to have to wait for THE BOOK – “The Life” ha ha.

So all I can tell you is this – you and I need our source to be God inside of us in order to build healthy defenses on the outside. Then and only then, when the time comes for someone to “share a personal word” with us, we won’t get defensive anymore, but instead, with peace and calmness we can gently listen to the person(s) and filter the information properly with a smile, and even say, “Thank you so much for sharing that with me. I will take it into consideration. Have a great day!”

Sounds easy, of course it is not. But with His Life inside of us, it is more than POSSIBLE!

Until next time,

Jeff Saxton

Tomorrow

“I’ll get to it tomorrow…”

Famous last words.

Some of you out there are habitual go-getters – you are always over-prepared, you were the first one to finish each homework assignment in high school, you always finish everything you start…

Hmm. On second thought, I don’t think I know anybody like that. Oh, there are people I know who come pretty close to the aforementioned description. But alas, none of us are perfect.

I personally think it’s a miracle when any project is completed. Of course, the scope of the assignment makes all the difference.

Your project might be to clean your storage room – but can you imagine Noah having to stay focused on building the ark? This was a century-long process! What patience Noah must have had to must each day as his detractors mocked him.

“Hey Noah! How’s that boat working out for ya?” “Noah I hope your planning to put three-story wheels on that thing!”

They laughed and laughed at him, until it rained. And tomorrow finally became today and it was too late to get on the boat.

I hope you have the patience to stick with whatever God-given promise you may be waiting on. But don’t get complacent – tomorrow becomes today a lot sooner than you think!

Until next time,

Jeff

Hanging on

I love cats!

“They taste just like chicken.” Ha ha.

You’ve heard that joke too often, no doubt. But seriously, growing up – we had a cat in our household for a time. We loved that fur ball.

My brothers and I, still being barely past puberty, would find the most impossible crevices and death-defying physical scenarios for our cat to try to figure out. Usually triple back flips and last second, spread-eagle reaches were required.

I don’t know, maybe that cat was bored and found our obstacle courses were too easy for him. He always made a perfect landing.

I feel sometimes that my life is similar to my cat in certain ways.

I seem to occasionally come across scenarios that are impossible for me to get out of in my own power. Maybe that’s why Paul said, “I rejoice in my weaknesses.” He went on to explain that God shows his strength in our weakness.

People may blame and accuse you for not being superhuman. Hypocrisy aside, it’s ridiculous to expect perfection in others when God comes to bring His awesome power to the weakest and feeblest of us!

It sounds trite, perhaps. Trials are definitely no fun. And unlike my cat’s experiences, God is always there holding us and even carrying us through the difficult parts of our journey.

So do you really want the way to get God’s power?

Get weaker!

Let yourself be in the impossible positions of life, like my cat, and watch God do something truly supernatural.

Happy landings!

Jeff

Rest

“Hey, you look like you could use some rest!”

How many times have I heard someone say that to me this past year? Too many to count.

Yes, 2012 was very busy for me. A lot going on for a creative person like me who always has too many good ideas. But you know, I would rather be busy than bored.

We’ve all been reminded this year I’m sure, how precious our time on earth is. We never know how long we have to live. And if we suddenly run into health issues, well then life would become quite a different experience.

Having said that, I do believe in resting. After all, God did make an entire day out of the week to remind us how important resting is.

There is a way to get rest and still be about the things God has called us to. I certainly do not have it mastered. I tried to rest over the Christmas holidays.

Have you ever had the thought that Christmas vacation is busier than any other time of the year? We all look forward to this time of “rest and relaxation” even if it is more hectic than usual.

Somehow, God wants us to expereince HIS REST by walking and living in the Spirit. Somehow there is a way to engage in Christmas activities and yet still find time for God to refresh us.

I pray that 2013 is more restful for you than u ever dreamed; even if it is your busiest ever!

Risk

Ever been to Vegas?

I have. I don’t gamble. I really don’t like casinos. The entire scene is a tad bit off-putting for me. I like some of the cheap food and the amazing shows. I wouldn’t say my dislike for Vegas has anything to do with strong moral objections. I mean, in every city in the world there are places that most folks would find morally objectionable. On the other hand, we are living in this world and sometimes we find our calling right in the midst of a sinful environment. Jesus expects us to learn how to live a pure and ethically clean life while simultaneously reaching out and being a light to a dark world.

Kind of a tricky deal.

Vegas has taught many people lessons about risk. Yet when you think about it, choices we make every day have an element of risk. When we vote, send our kids to school, apply for a job, join a church, shop for a new or used car, or purchase a home, we are putting ourselves in a position of risk. Life involves risk taking. Even simple things like drivng our car to work involve a certain amount of risk.

When it comes to our faith, we may face choices that involve risking our comfort, reputation or even friendships. Although I greatly dislike being put in a vulnerable position, I also realize that great success cannot occur without stepping out into the unknown. When Jesus told Peter to walk on the water with him, Peter was afraid. I guess I am more like Peter than I want to admit. At least Peter took that first step or two and walked for a few moments.

Maybe it’s time to walk across the neighbor’s pool.

Baby steps.

Perfect!

Yep, that’s me! Mr. perfect!

Ha – not at all. If you know me, you know… KNOW that I am not perfect.

However, sometimes people accuse me of being a perfectionist. I find there is a slight difference between doing an excellent job and being a perfectionist. I’m truly just trying to do an excellent job. But maybe I’m fooling myself. Okay, so sometimes I do step over the line!

Watching the Olympics, of course many of the gymnastic contests involve trying to get that perfect 10. Others simply have to beat out everyone else, or score one more goal than the other teams. But for some Olympians, they must shoot for the Gold by being PERFECT!

Wow. What a feat to shoot for!

Well it may be possible in some sports, but when it comes to our walk with God, other issues rear their ugly heads. Oh, we can try to live that perfect life of righteousness.

But sooner or later your own abilities and strengths have their obvious limitations. No matter which way you look at it, we all end up being inadequate.

Funny, God really never asks us to be perfectionists. (He does want us to give our best for Him.)

But he DID say we must BE perfect. (Matthew 5:48)

Oh, that’s comforting!

Being perfect is of course impossible in ourselves. In fact, obeying the Law – even the Ten Commandments, is actually impossible to fulfill in all of it’s implications. Truly, it is supposed to be that way.

Christ in us obeys the law. We don’t fully. We cannot completely. So Jesus needs to come inside and obey for us. In reality, their is only one capable of being perfect. Our job is to allow that ONE to live in us so that he can be perfect in us. (Colossians 1:27)

Sounds easy. The hard work is in giving up, handing over and submitting to.

Are you trying to be perfect? Give up. Give in. Submit to God. And let God fulfill the law in you!

Have a great day, fellow imperfect ones!