Archives For Faith

Fallen down? Broke your word? Walked in the flesh? Join the club. I feel like Peter this morning after denying Jesus three times. It is so easy to say, “Yes Lord I will stand for you,” and then it’s a whole other ball game when we are actually in the heat of the moment. I told God that I would not put my time with Him below writing, but I did. Slowly but surely they switched places. Frustration began to build until I reached out back to Him and got in my Bible first thing this morning. It is amazing how the word washes us! I feel new and hope has returned. I’m back on my feet and ready to fight for His kingdom and glory. I learned these 3 lessons from Rocky and Peter!

rockyrockcros

1. Retake the test. God is so cool. We don’t fail but just retake the test. In God’s school there is no “F” instead there is a “try again.” There are consequences to our actions, but we will keep taking tests until we pass them. It feels to me like God is saying, “Get back up son and try again.” Just like a child learning to walk, He picks us up and tells us “try again.”

“Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light.”~ Micah 7:8

2. Chance for redemption. I love the Rocky movies. He fails, then trains and redemption comes in the end through the battle. Peter denied Jesus three times and Jesus after His resurrection says three times, “Do you love me?” Then He said, “Feed my sheep.” He asked the same amount of times that Peter rejected Him. I’m sure that this strengthened Peter in the end when he was martyred.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”~ Thomas A. Edison

 

3. We are still a rock. Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter when he was anything but a rock. He does the same for us. You are called out by what you have not attained. He calls you the rock before it is true. We need to accept what He calls us and walk in it as if it is true, not something we are trying to obtain. God calls us righteous so walk in His righteousness. This is not something to gain rather something that has been given by Jesus’ shed blood and resurrection. This is what makes us like a rock; our righteousness in Christ.

We all fail. We all feel some days as if God made a mistake calling us. We all feel anything but righteous. What God says about you is the truth. Hold on to that. Just like Rocky and Peter we need to get back up off the mat. Renew your strength in God and fight on!

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Who struggles with feeling like you are not good enough? I do. I love to work at several things and I have moments of confidence and moments where I feel like I suck at life. Speaking and writing are such vulnerable things because you are putting a little piece of yourself out there each time. Rejection of a piece I wrote often feels like rejection of me. We all long to be accepted, championed and for someone to tell us that we are special. The problem is that every person is going to be rejected and ridiculed. These 4 things keep me confident!

“If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint,” then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”     ~Vincent van Gogh

1. I’m made for a purpose. Sounds cheesy, but it’s true. Every Veggie Tales show ends in, “God made you special and He loves you very much.” We tell our kids this, but have you taken ownership of this for you? You are an intricate part of His plan designed for a special purpose. Hold on to this even when you can’t tell what the heck He made you for.

“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”~ William Shakespeare

2. Delete the bad. Our minds are always deleting things. Have you noticed when you buy a new car all of a sudden you see your car everywhere? How did you not see this before? Because our minds are constantly deleting things. It is important to have an attitude of HOPE for this reason. Let’s continuously delete the bad. I had five comments this past week on how much my writing has impacted different people. How cool is that? I also had one person telling me my advice was terrible. I will choose to delete that one!

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” ~ Aristotle Onassis

Photo By: KCNewman Photography

 

3. Save the good. The Israelites were instructed to build monuments of remembrance at different points in their journey. We should do the same. This will help us remember when we were unsure and it worked out. I’m going to start writing down positive comments, answers to prayer, victories, and hopeless situations that became victories. There is good and bad that happens daily; choose to save the good.

4. Set a timeline. When you are starting something set a timeline. You are going to do the new task until a certain date then check if it is fruitful. If you don’t, a negative comment can derail you especially early on in the process. I have decided to write twice a week for a year and check if there is fruit of the effort by the end of the year. It really helps when I have a blog post that gets two views or a few hundred. Both have happened. The timeline has helped me to keep going when I had two views on a post.

“Our  greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always  to try just one more time.”            ~ Thomas A. Edison

This subject is so important because if we don’t have confidence we are going to hesitate and give a half-hearted approach. This will lead to a less than desirable result, reinforcing the unbelief in ourselves. Restore your hope and faith! Take a note from the Veggie Tales saying, “God made you special, and He loves you very much.” Now act like it!

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Are you lusting after your dream? I do sometimes. Lust is an overwhelming desire or craving. I believe pursuing our dreams turns to lust when we can’t be happy with our life until we achieve what great grandeur is in our minds. I’m trying to put the dream in its proper place but to be honest it is hard to do. I have found certain things to be successful in increasing patience which leads to me putting my dream in its proper place instead of lusting after it. These 3 things help me to chase my dream and not lust after it. 

“And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.” Hebrews 6:15

1. Trust God’s timing. Do you believe God’s plan for your life is perfect? Do you believe He knows you better than you know yourself? Don’t give some religious answer. My first reaction is, “Yes I trust God with my life. Well with this part of my life at least. If I give Him access to all of my life I will have to sell everything, have no friends, and do things I hate. No, no, no, I can only put Him in the church box.” Then I wonder why it’s hard to wait. If we truly are allowing God into all areas of our life He will give us the desires of our heart or He will change your heart. Trust God with your whole life, including the timing.

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”   ~Epicurus

2. Gratitude. If I am lusting after my dream, I am ungrateful for everything in my life. All I can focus on is everything God is not giving me. How could He be so unfair and give other people my dream? Oh the humanity! This is no way to live. When I focus on my three beautiful kids who are healthy, the finances I do have, the influence I currently have, I am excited for the day, energized and ready to go out to the world with a smile on my face. Attitudes of gratitude are attractant. Your dream will happen sooner when you are grateful. (tweet it)

3. God of abundance. God’s blessings are not a finite resource. Other people receiving things earlier than you does not negatively affect your dream. If you don’t understand this, it is too easy to covet and lust. Your friend will buy a big house, expensive car, have kids that listen, a spouse that adores them, and you won’t be happy because you’re too busy wishing it was you. Be happy for them! They are your friend so rejoice in their happiness and triumph. God has more than enough for you to get yours.

“Instead, I have an abundance mentality: When people are genuinely happy at the  successes of others, the pie gets larger.” ~Stephen Covey

These 3 things help me and I pray they helped you. Don’t waste valuable time lusting and start taking footsteps toward your dream. Live life the way God designed it. God’s promises are true; hold on to that. Restore your hope and faith. Trust the one that created you!

 

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In October I ran the Portland Marathon. I felt great and wanted to set up my next marathon. I signed up and paid to run the Eugene Marathon that was in April. Rachel said, “Are you sure that’s a good idea? We do have Hope due in February and you will be pretty tired. Are you sure you will have enough energy to train?” Rachel mentioned this right before I finished filling out the entry form online. Well, this was offensive to me. “She doesn’t think I can do it,” I thought. “I will show her and signed up anyway.” Surprise! She was right. I wasn’t even close to ready and didn’t run the race. As I discussed in 5 Steps To An Awesome Marriage, I have a tendency to not follow through and my wife is great at following through. I learned these 3 things from my failure.

Proverbs 31:10-11

10 A wife of noble character who can find?     She is worth far more than rubies. 11 Her husband has full confidence in her     and lacks nothing of value.

1.Truly listen to your spouse. I heard the words that she was saying, but I wasn’t listening. I had made up my mind and that was final. She could “support” me or not, but I was doing it. If I believe Proverbs 31:11, I think it would be a good idea to listen to her. I can be stubborn but when the Bible gives a promise, I try to do what it says. Men listen and weigh what your wife is saying.

2. Rely on those with different strengths. I love that my partner in life is my opposite in a lot of ways. I need to weigh what she says even more. She looks at the world through different glasses than I do which gives me a much better perspective. I was looking through the lens of, “This was great. I want to do it again.” She was thinking, “Hello we will have a newborn.” I needed logic, then to weigh out “Will I run on four hours of sleep?” Find someone you trust that has different strengths. If you are a dreamer, find a realist. If you don’t dream, find a dreamer.

3. Failure does not define me. I got knocked down. I failed in listening to Rachel and at running the marathon. I am back on my feet, apologized and acknowledged her wisdom. Also, Hope is five months old so I’m able to have enough energy to run again. I am not defined by this one time of failure. If I let it eat me up, I wouldn’t be running and I may even have resentment toward Rachel for being right. Get back up off the mat if you have failed. Learn, grow, and don’t look back any longer. (Tweet It)

“My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content  with your failure.” ~Abraham Lincoln

If you have failed to listen, join the club of the stubborn. Let’s learn and grow. Actively listen to those with different strengths. Acknowledge that others may be right. Listen to your spouse and move on when you fail.

What things have you learned from not listening?

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I had one goal when I entered marriage. Make it through the honeymoon without fighting. Lofty I know. Didn’t make it. I didn’t get directions to the spa where I had planned a massage for her. I knew how to get to the town, but not the spa. To make matters worse I stopped to see a waterfall and we were running late. She exclaimed, “My dad would have gotten directions!” To which I said, “WHAT!” Then it started. Who was wrong? Both of us. When we marry someone, it is easy to forget that we have two different personalities, wills, and emotions. I’m a command type personality, spur of the moment, have huge dreams and my follow through has been terrible. My wife is steady, wants most things planned, finishes what she starts, just got to get her to start. We are different, yet we are one. These 5 things will make your marriage awesome!

1. God is at the center. God comes before my wife. Since this changed, the love I show her is limitless. To move her down the totumpole has taken time. There are still parts of my heart that probably put her first, but the more she moves to second the more loving and sacrificial I become.

 “We judge ourselves by our intentions. We judge our spouses by their actions. No wonder we think we’re better.” ~Anne Moodie

2. Honor your spouse. Do you honor your partner? You should not be talking to your buddies guys or your girlfriends ladies about how much your wife or husband sucks. This should be common sense but alas it’s not. It really shows what is in your heart and a lack of control over the mouth. This is a huge problem. Instead talk about God in them. There has to be something that shines through; talk about that.

My beautiful wife!

3. Work at it. Growth doesn’t just happen. We read marriage books now, not when we are struggling. Everything is growing or dying. Growth requires a focus and a priority. Turn off the T.V. and read something about growing together.

“Give your man a break. Let him be who God designed him to be.”~Hot, Holy and Humorous

4. Focus on YOU. What can you do? If you have been reading this thinking, “Oh my husband needs to read this or my wife needs to read this.” Start over and focus on what you don’t do. We all need to come up a little. Do not be your spouse’s Holy Spirit.

“What you do EVERY DAY matters more than what you do ONCE IN A WHILE.”~Simple Marriage

5. You are his or her one shot. I am Rachel’s only shot at having what she desires in a husband. If I love her, I have to give her the best gift she could ask for. A better me. I hope she looks back today and goes, “Wow the man I’m married to is ten times better than the man he was when I married him.” I pray that in the future she will say that of today. Don’t wait until you’re divorced to workout, dress-up, do the dishes, get close to God, read your Bible, etc. Do it now.

Chase your spouse and win them over day after day. If things have gotten rocky it will not change overnight, but you didn’t get here overnight either. Love God, pursue your spouse, see God in them, and be a better you. (Tweet that)

What are things that you do to make your marriage awesome?

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Restoring Hope

Zechariah Newman —  June 20, 2013 — 23 Comments

I remember it like it was yesterday.Tears rolling down my face while sitting in my car six and a half years ago. You see a song was on, “While I’m Waiting” by John Waller. My wife, Rachel and I had been trying for two years to have a baby. The lyrics that struck me were,” I will move ahead bold and confident, taking every step in obedience. While I’m waiting I will serve You. While I’m waiting I will worship. While I’m waiting I will not faint. I’ll be running the race even while I wait.” It felt like all hope was gone. I was angry and confused at why God was not giving me this thing that I desired so much. But, hope was not gone as we now have three kids. We are beyond blessed, but the truth is we were then too. I just couldn’t see it. So renew your faith and hope with these 3 things!

“Hope is the physician of each misery.”  ~Irish Proverb

1. Praise and worship. Hard to do, I know. It is much easier to praise God when He is giving me what I want. I listened to John Waller’s song about 1,000 times because it told me what to do. Man when my little Zoe was born Rachel and I cried like babies. God is so good! Even through the hurt and pain He is still good! Praise His goodness. Praise Him whether He answers your prayers or not.

Zechariah 9:12 “Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.”

2. Talk about what God is going to do. This is not what I was doing most of the time. When we have a problem we like to talk about it and think about it constantly. Then we wonder why our faith and hope are gone. Talk about what God is going to do. Today is the day of change. Today is the day for healing. Today is the day for breakthrough. If I’m going to wait on God, I might as well wait in Hope which is defined as “the confident desire: a feeling that something desirable is likely to happen.” Stand in Hope!

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

3. Help someone. This helped me. When I was helping others, the pain, selfishness, and grumble attitude left me. I was able to refocus on what good things I had and not the one my heart longed for. You see when we have a deep pain in our hearts it feels like all of life is terrible, but it is not. Helping others gets our focus where it should be; outward instead of inward.

When you are walking through the desert of despair, HOPE is water to your soul. (tweet that)

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If you are in pain, I am so sorry. The sun will rise again. It is so easy to say when you are not going through something at the moment, but it’s true. It is too easy to gloss over the Bible and see the stories of great men and women. The fact is they all had to wait! For example, Joseph waited 13 years in prison, Moses 40 years in the desert, Rachel and Hannah waited years for children, and Jesus 30 years to start His ministry. Renew your expectant Hope. As I write this my youngest, Hope, is starting to cry. So I say to you Hope is crying out. Will you pick her up? Rise up and restore your faith because God is good and He is faithful and He does care about your pain.

So let’s help restore each others’ faith and hope. What is a time that looked impossible, but God came through?

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1 Corinthians 13:4 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” It is sad that three words into the verse I struggle. I’m good with love, I’m good with is, then patient. Wham sucker punch! Patient? Come on. Why not love works a lot, or love kills the spiders? Love is patient. You mean love doesn’t sit by the door with his shoes on him-hauing about being late for church. My bad. Patience is one of my biggest struggles. Sometimes I feel about as patient as a 2-year-old when they are denied something they want. I may not flop on the ground on the outside, but inside it kind of looks the same. When I am more patient I have noticed a pattern, so here it is. These 4 things help me with patience so that I show love to my wife.https://www.facebook.com/KCNewmanPhotography?ref=ts&fref=ts

1. Plug into the vine. What I mean by this is submit our will to the spirit of God. I wrote about this more in His Yoke Is Easy. How do we know when we are submitted to Him? We spend time with Him. Reading the Bible, praying, and studying the Word. We need to know what God stands for so we can submit our lives to Him.

2. Proper sleep. I don’t know about you but I’m much more irritable without proper sleep. For me that’s eight hours. Some people will need more and some less. Listen to your body. If you’re like me with three kids ages four and under sometimes sleep doesn’t really happen. My point is make it a priority. We should work out of our rest not rest from our work. Sleep affects so many areas and pretty much every part of physical and mental health.

3. Eat throughout the day. When my blood sugars get low, I have a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type experience. It’s bad enough that if I am cranky my wife knows that I need to eat. She will ask me, “Do you need to eat?” aka code for cool your jets. So do what I struggle with and eat small meals throughout the day. It is good for your health and your temper.

4. Opportunity cost. This means the cost of an alternative that must be forgone in order to pursue certain action. With my example in the beginning, waiting by the door, my opportunity cost for losing my patience is pretty large. I lose the opportunity for a nice drive to church without tension. Also if I’m extra ridiculous it could pour into the rest of the day. Getting on the crazy cycle is pretty easy.

So my challenge is, let’s be intentional with our love by working on our patience. Walk with God and take care of our body so that we can live a life of patience, a life of love.

His Yoke Is Easy

zechariahnewman —  May 29, 2013 — 8 Comments

Mathew 11:30 30 “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I remember the first several times I read this and thought “bull.” Maybe this is not “spiritual,” but it’s the truth. Living the way God wanted me to did not seem easy and light. Still doesn’t sometimes. Out of pure frustration I looked into this more, praying for insight and direction. Nothing I was doing felt light and easy, rather straining. What was I doing wrong? When God are you going to make it easy? Those were my questions then and the following explains what it means to me now.

Yoke is defined as a device for joining together a pair of draft animals.

In John 15:5 it says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” So we need to be joined up and remain into God then our burden is light and His yoke easy.

So how do we remain in God? We submit our will to the spirit of God.

Augustine wrote, “Without God we cannot, without us God will not.”

An illustration of the two verses listed above came to me; it’s like driving a screw into a board with a drill. All we have to do is plug it in and our torque goes way up making it easy. The drill has been there the whole time but it’s true power only exists while it is plugged into an electrical outlet. Have you tried to use a drill without power? Of course not, but that is what I do with my life sometimes which is just as useless while I’m unplugged.

This is what I have done in the past and do not recommend:

I have plugged the power cord into myself. Epic fail! All this leads to is self-condemnation and frustration. I have plugged the power cord into others. Talk about disappointment. Expectations for others are a big way to feel jaded. I most often do the on/off method. Plug-in, unplug, plug-in, unplug. This gets exhausting. I try my own will and effort then give up, plug into God then life’s burdens get easy (well at least the straining stops). Then I slowly place the burdens back on my own shoulders until I have had enough again.

“On our knees we are the most powerful force on earth.” ~Billy Graham

So if you have unplugged, plug into God our source. All else is vanity leading to death. Partner with Him, yoke together with the creator of the universe and He will give you peace, joy, strength, and fulfillment. He does not promise no problems, but a new lightness comes in when you remain in the vine.