Filling the Silence

Follower of Jesus, fill the silence with your praise!!!

#SoliDeoGloria – for the glory of God alone!

When the noise around us falls quiet, we are tempted by our flesh to fill the space, the silence with something…we often fixate and obsess over US!

— our insecurities and image

our biased comparisons of our lives to others

— our pain and hurts (physical and emotional)

— our unmet goals and expectations (those we have for ourselves and others)

— the lies we tell about ourselves and others

FEAR NOT!!!! We do not have to contend with the flesh. It does not rule over us…it has already been conquered. We have victory over the enemy, including our own flesh. The Spirit of the Living God resides in us and will be with us forever. When you feel you must sing, sing HIS Praises. When you feel you must speak, speak HIS truth. Know HIS peace.

John 14:16-17,19-20,25-27 NASB

I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, so that He may be with you forever; [17] the Helper is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him; but you know Him because He remains with you and will be in you. [19] After a little while, the world no longer is going to see Me, but you are going to see Me; because I live, you also will live. [20] On that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I in you. [25] “These things I have spoken to you while remaining with you. [26] But the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and remind you of all that I said to you. [27] Peace I leave you, My peace I give you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, nor fearful.

Vague Concern

When a manipulator can no longer control you, they will instead try to control how others see you.

How do they do this?

One major tactic the manipulator will use is what we call the “vague concern tactic.”

This is where the manipulator finds or creates an opportunity to tell someone, generally a mutual acquaintance or friend, that they have some vague concern about you.

The manipulator will keep things vague or unverifiable. They’ll frame it as a concern. It’s a way of posturing love for the individual that they are actually attempting to slander.

This, in time, can create a “cloud of concern” around an individual.

People distance themselves.

This is one way a manipulator diminishes the influence of someone who has fallen out of favor with them and maintains a hold on others.

It’s wicked. It’s cowardly and caddy. It’s gossip.

Beware of talebearers, especially when they are vague tales.

NEVER listen to someone who wants to tell you about someone else UNLESS that someone else is present to answer for themselves AND you know that person has been confronted in PRIVATE first. It is contrary to Biblical counsel and will always be the sin of gossip…even if you only listen, you are participating in that person’s sin. Don’t let your empathy become THE path to gossip. This is the kind of stuff that ruins our churches, ruins culture, ruins relationships, and ruins people. #checkyourselffirst

Matthew 18:15-17 NASB

“Now if your brother sins, go and show him his fault IN PRIVATE; if he listens to you, you have gained your brother. [16] But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that ON THE TESTIMONY OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY MATTER MAY BE CONFIRMED. [17] And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, he is to be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.


We don’t NEED to be happy.

We don’t NEED to be healthy.

We don’t NEED to be comfortable.

We don’t NEED to be understood.

We don’t NEED life to be fair.

We don’t NEED to be loved.

We don’t NEED to be successful.

We don’t NEED to know what tomorrow holds.

Step outside of our western, suburban pocket of privilege and “rights,” and we’ll find that two-thirds of the world doesn’t have most of those things, BUT many still thrive in what really matters.

We NEED Jesus.

We NEED His grace and mercy.

We NEED to know He loves us.

We NEED to know Him and be known by Him.

We NEED His Spirit filling us, transforming us into His image, sanctifying us FROM ALL that is profane, unclean, and impure, and sanctifying us FOR ALL that God designed us for before the creation of the world.

We NEED to understand His precepts for living in unity with His nature, His character, and His will.

We NEED ALL of Christ for ALL of life.


Physical, emotional, and spiritual sickness can debilitate a person for one of three reasons:

1. General sin of mankind in the world…a general depravity and decay that afflicts the whole world due to the rebellion of mankind in general against God.

2. Personal, individual sin…sickness and even death comes upon individuals due to their own direct offense to God’s character and nature. Ex: Acts 5; 1 Corinthians 11

3. Demonic sin…satan and demons afflict people with various kinds of illness as God permits for His purpose. Ex. Job

It is for reason #2 that James pairs confession of sin in context with praying for healing by the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

James 5:13-16 ESV

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. [14] Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. [15] And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. [16] Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

Spiritual healing in your inner health before God is a catalyst God uses to result in physical, external healing.

Healing may come in one of three ways:

1. Immediate healing through the miracle-working Holy Spirit.

2. Gradual healing through medicine.

3. Eventual complete healing in the resurrected, glorified body.


“I don’t need you to feel anything to do great things for me.” – God

Many people base their worth and effectiveness, their value and significance on “feelings.” “This makes me feel; therefore, it must be ______.”

I’m grateful for the gift of emotion that comes from the Lord our God, King of the universe, Creator, and Savior of our souls. However, because my emotions are part of my flesh, they have been affected by my sin nature and cannot always be trusted.

When I am not in allegiance with the Holy Spirit as He uses the Scriptures to guide me in trust and obedience, my emotions, or lack thereof, can betray the truth of God’s work in me. I do not need to feel in order to know what is true.

Good Exhaustion

A Good Exhaustion

No one wants to feel exhausted, but one type of exhaustion is beautiful. I want to be exhausted in the sense of doing everything God has asked me to do. When I meet Jesus, I hope I have exhausted the plans God had for my life.

I love how Exodus 16:19 describes the manna God sent down from heaven each day for the Israelites wandering the desert. Moses told them, “Do not keep any of it until morning.”

I can’t help but think this is how God fuels our bodies – by giving us enough energy for each day for us to use up completely. Sometimes our lack is not from giving away too much but from clinging to it too much or hoarding it.

I don’t want to miss opportunities because I’m trying to conserve energy for tomorrow. We can trust that if God leads us, he will also provide what we need.

Now, this is not an excuse for us to max ourselves out, but a reminder that the Christian life is not a cakewalk. If we are expecting never to feel tired, I’m not sure I’d call that really living. We will undoubtedly face hardships and different seasons that require a lot from us. But when we stay focused on what God is calling us to do, those feelings of exhaustion can be buoyed by the knowledge that we’re doing what we’re supposed to do.

If you’re exhausted in a good way – meaning you’re living an abundant life for the Lord – rejoice in it! See that good kind of exhaustion as a sign that you love hard and live well.

I experience this type of exhaustion after a full day of doing what God has called me to do-serving my spouse, playing with my kids, meeting a deadline, or pushing myself through the afternoon wall and making it to bedtime with a smile on my face. When I go into my children’s rooms at night and stare at their faces in the dim light, thanking God for them, my body might be dead tired. But I’m energized because I feel like I did what God called me to do that day. As I get rid of the world’s version of tiredness, the exhaustion I feel is a footnote to how full my soul feels.

*adapted from a devotional by Valerie Woerner, whom I do not know or know what else she may or may not believe or stand for.

Then what?

As a pastor and a counselor, you’ll often get variations of these questions from a spouse:

– “How do I get my husband to stop/start doing this?”

– “How do I get my wife to start/stop doing that?”

It could be disrespect, a porn issue, nagging, negligence, etc.

The reality is that your options, as the wounded spouse, are few — if the person doesn’t want to repent, resolve, or restore the conflict, issue, and/or sin.

– You can talk to them about it.

– You can pray to God about it.

– You can change any of YOUR behavior that exacerbates or contributes to the issue.

– You can involve others who can take the same actions.

Those are the main actions you, as the spouse, can take, and they ARE powerful.

But, again, you can’t force a person to change who doesn’t own their fault or want to change.

If these actions don’t yield the desired results (your spouse doing what you think they should be doing), spouses tend to resort to things like…

– Threats/ultimatums

– Using children as pawns

– Physical intimidation

– Sexual withholding

– Various forms of manipulation

– Etc, etc

This is like throwing water on a grease fire. It doesn’t put anything out and spreads the fire elsewhere.

Obviously, there is a time to involve both the civil and church authorities.

I want to focus on the church authorities.

I’ve had many husbands tell me that they appealed to their elders for help with a wayward wife and didn’t get any help whatsoever.

In some cases, they got blamed for the problem. They were told that she wouldn’t be that way if he loved her like Jesus loves the church.

I’ve heard people say stupid and unbiblical things like that. So I don’t doubt they were told that in some of these cases. That’s not to say that the problem may not be that the husband is not loving the wife like Jesus love the church, but it is not always definitively the case. Sometimes spouses just refuse to be Biblical to own their faults and work on themselves…then what?

I tell these husbands—and this applies to wives as well—to ask the “then what” question.

– Let’s say the elders call your wife to a session meeting and rebuke her. If she still doesn’t change, then what?

– Let’s say the elders actually excommunicate your wife. If she still doesn’t change, then what?

– What if she switches churches and that church takes her side? Then what? Now you are married to an excommunicated woman attending a different church.

– Let’s say we totally redo our divorce courts where a spouse can’t divorce without a legit reason. Then what?

– Let’s say they try to divorce you, but the court doesn’t allow them. Then what? You are married to someone who is only remaining in the relationship because they can’t get out of it legally. I think that would be a very unpleasant household.

You can’t force someone to love or respect you.

You can’t force them to love God and respect His authority.

There are clearly times to involve the courts, whether they be civil or ecclesiastical.

My counsel is to patiently give yourself to these three actions for as long as possible:

– Talk to them about it.

– Pray to God about it.

– Change any of your behavior that exacerbates or contributes to the issue.

– Exhaust these actions as much as you can.

– And before you involve the courts, ask the “then what” question and think through it.

Well said and proven true in so so many of my own counseling experiences. I’ve added some of my own adaptations to the above from Michael Foster.

Impactful Leadership

Strong, effective, and impactful leaders are not made by titles, offices, appointments, duties, etc.

Impactful leaders are forged by God, not by men, out of faithful servants. When we faithfully love and serve God by loving and serving His image bearers, God rewards faithfulness with the gift of increased responsibility and audience to those whom He chooses.

If you want to be an impactful leader in your church, community, workplace, organization, team, etc. — follow well, be faithful, be a servant.

– If you don’t know how to follow well, no one in their right mind will release leadership responsibility to you.

– If you’re not faithful to the mission, vision, values, and strategy of the organization, you’ll not be trusted with leadership responsibility.

– If you do not have a servant’s heart, then you do not have the heart of God and will be ineffective as a leader.

Don’t seek the title…don’t seek the position…don’t seek the office…don’t seek to LEAD…seek God’s favor in your obedience to His Spirit and His Word. Seek to SERVE.

Our Identity

Those of us who have been made alive together with Christ Jesus, those of us who have been made the sons/daughters of the King, those of us who are being conformed to the image of Jesus…

Our behavior flows from our identity, not from our feelings.

How we live is determined by who we are.

Our identity, not our circumstances, always drives our behavior.

What we do/how we behave is always going to flow out of who we are.

If you live for yourself, it’s going to reveal itself in your behavior.

If you live for the glory of other people (which is another way of living for yourself), it’s going to be revealed in your behavior.

If you live for the glory of your Creator and Savior, it’s going to reveal itself in your behavior.

A Critical Spirit

A critical spirit often comes from a place of idleness.

In my 30+ years of ministry, nearly every time I’ve seen a critical spirit tamed, God has used a change in station that altered their idleness – they got a job, they got married, they had kids, they started working on an education, they had a crisis, they started caring for others, they had a major move, etc. They no longer had the idle time to ponder the imperfections of others.

None of those things in and of themselves will cure a critical spirit. This only comes by the work of the Holy Spirit in conjunction with a follower of King Jesus who desires to walk in sworn allegiance to His person, in obedience to His Word, and in likeness of His character.

Being critical is simply a manifestation of our arrogance…thinking too highly or too low of ourselves. Humility is the act of thinking of ourselves less.

Humility cares for others…it doesn’t criticize them.

Philippians 2:2-8

make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. [3] Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility consider one another as more important than yourselves; [4] do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. [5] Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, [6] who, as He already existed in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, [7] but emptied Himself by taking the form of a bond-servant and being born in the likeness of men. [8] And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death: death on a cross.