Having Conversations With Yourself

Why are you cast down, O my soul…? (Psalm 42:5, 11). 

There can be no healing if there isn’t first an admission of need. 

This psalmist recognizes: 

  • the dryness of his soul
  • his depression
  • the taunts of his enemies
  • the ‘good ol’ days’ 

He not only questions his soul, but he admits to himself and to God, “My soul is cast down within me.” But each time he has this conversation with himself, he reminds himself of the same conclusion—“God is worthy of praise and I can put my hope in Him!” 

We have to stop listening to crippling self-pity and begin talking to ourselves about our well-placed confidence in God. He is worthy of our praise! He will satisfy me like nothing else can. He is the only One in whom I can put my hope. 

As Augustine reminded himself, “Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee.”

A mark of a godly leader is one who has honest conversations with himself. 

Don’t listen to your downcast thoughts; talk back to your downcast thoughts and tell yourself the only place where real hope can be found. 

This is part 23 in my series on godly leadership. You can check out all of my posts on this topic by clicking here.

11 More Quotes From “Cherish”

Gary Thomas calls on husbands to not just love their wives, but to cherish them. It’s an admirable goal for all married men! Please check out my review of Cherish by clicking here. Below are a few more quotes I especially liked.

“Never forget: You married a spouse with natural weaknesses. You married a spouse with a history of hurt. We can be agents of healing redemption and acceptance in our marriage, or we can do further harm, perhaps unintentionally.”

“Of course, there’s no promise that if you persevere, you’ll get just what you’re hoping for. But the one certainty is that if you give up, you definitely won’t get it.”

“Every conversation—every one!—takes you closer to or farther away from a cherishing marriage. The Bible declares this truth: ‘The tongue has the power of life and death’ (Proverbs 18:21).”

“If we want our spouses to feel cherished, we may have to work at a few things we’re not so good at by nature.”

“Pam Farrel writes in several of her books that a wife often feels most loved when her husband is simply more curious about her. … It’s not enough to simply listen. We have to take the next step, engage, and go even further to say, ‘I want more. Tell me more.’ We have to maintain our curiosity. … Husbands, cherishing often isn’t about what your wife is saying; it’s about who is saying it.”

“Silence is often unintentionally malicious, so try to verbalize every positive thing you can think of.”

“A joyful person walking in grace and hope can cherish much more than one who is tangled up in the guilt that Christ died to remove. Our guilt serves no one. In Christ, our self-condemnation offends God; it doesn’t please Him. To walk in condemnation is to call God a liar and Christ’s work insufficient. One of the worst sins you can commit as a Christian is to define yourself by your sin. In the same way, one of the worst sins you can commit against your spouse is to always define them by their sin. Biblical marriage is about defining each other as Christ defines us—saved.”

“Your spouse has a unique history, so cherish your spouse by treating them according to their reality: They are living a life that has never been lived before. They have a personality that has never existed before. They have a unique blend of strengths and weaknesses, temptations and gifts, as well as a once-in-the-universe calling. Your role is to help them complete their one-of-a-kind story.”

“Never, ever, get to the point that you expect your spouse to never stumble. Otherwise, you won’t cherish them; you’ll resent them.”

“Stop comparing your spiritual maturity with your spouse’s; instead, start comparing your spiritual maturity with Ephesians 4:1–3. If you do that, you will change the climate of your marriage.”

“When someone pledges to be your spouse, that commitment alone should earn him or her the benefit of the doubt. Even when things may not look the best, seek understanding before you even think about censure. Cherishing our spouses doesn’t mean living in Fantasyland, but it does mean giving our spouses the benefit of the doubt instead of jumping immediately to accusation.”

To read the first set of quotes I shared from Cherish, click here.

How Do You Start A Conversation With God?

pray-through-the-bibleLast week I asked you to imagine how your relationship grew with your best friend. You probably found that this special friendship was formed during hours and hours of talking.

I’m going to guess that at first your conversation was a little on the superficial side. You talked about “tame” topics like sports teams, or your job, or the city you lived in. But at some point you took a huge riskyou became vulnerable by sharing something really personal. Perhaps you shared a time that you got hurt, or something that makes you anxious, or maybe a big dream you carry around in your heart. But if that friend is still your friend, that means they treated what you shared reverently. They didn’t laugh at you, belittle your hurts or dreams, nor did they share with others what you said.

The relationships became deeper and more special because you now knew each other on a more intimate level.

Prayer is a conversation with a Friend. Of course that Friend is God, so some people wonder, “What do I talk to God about?” The simple answer is anything and everything!

Time and time again God calls us to come closer to Him (see Isaiah 55:1-3), to discuss with Him things we don’t understand (Jeremiah 33:3), or to be assured that He is intimately tuned in to what’s happening in our life (Psalm 139:17; 1 Peter 3:12).

How do we get there? A good place to start is with our Bible. Dwight Moody said:

“The two first and essential means of grace are the Word of God and Prayer. … If we read the Word and do not pray, we may become puffed up with knowledge, without the love that buildeth up. If we pray without reading the Word, we shall be ignorant of the mind and will of God, and become mystical and fanatical, and liable to be blown about by every wind of doctrine.”

Scripture was written to point us to Jesus. So we don’t read the Bible just to read it; we read it to get to know God.

We don’t want to know the Word of God; we want to know the God of the Word. 

A great place to start is in the book of the Psalms. Many of these were written as prayers, so it’s a good way to start our conversation with God. You can also search in the New Testament for all the places that biblical writers said, “I pray…” or “This is my prayer….”

I share a personal example of this in this video, especially if you want to fast forward to the 36:00 minute mark.

Don’t just read through the Bible this week—pray through the Bible. Use it as a means to have a conversation with the very Best Friend you could ever know!

I encourage you this week, as you think about this topic, to get together with an earthly friend and discuss these questions:

  1. How can I use my Bible as a “conversation starter” with God?
  2. How can I get into the regular practice of talking to God as a Friend?

3 Quotes About Bible Studies

New Bible study toolsYesterday I shared 7 must-have Bible study tools. Here are three powerful quotes on how and why we should make studying our Bibles an ongoing, lifelong pursuit.

“Search the Scriptures. Do not merely read them—search them; look up the parallel passages; collate them; try to get the meaning of the Spirit upon any one truth by looking to all the texts which refer to it. Read the Bible consecutively: do not merely read a verse here and there—that is not fair.” —Charles Spurgeon

“One cannot simply read the Bible, like other books. One must be prepared really to enquire of it. Only thus will it reveal itself. Only if we expect from it the ultimate answer, shall we receive it.” —Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“Let us resolve to read the Bible more and more every year we live. Let us try to get it rooted in our memories, and engraved into our hearts. … Let us resolve to be more watchful over our Bible reading every year that we live. Let us be jealously careful about the time we give to it, and the manner that time is spent. Let us be aware of omitting our daily reading without sufficient cause. Let us not be gaping, and yawning and dozing over our book, while we read. … Let us be very careful that we never exalt any minister, or sermon, or book, or tract, or friend above the Word. Cursed be that book, or tract, or human counsel, which creeps in between us and the Bible, and hides the Bible from our eyes! … Let us resolve to talk more to believers about the Bible when we meet them. Sorry to say, the conversation of Christians, when they do meet, is often sadly unprofitable! How many frivolous, and trifling, and uncharitable things are said! Let us bring out the Bible more, and it will help to drive the devil away, and keep our hearts in tune.” —J.C. Ryle

8 More Powerful Relationship Quotes

Keep Your Love OnI have shared a couple of sets of quotes from Danny Silk’s book Keep Your Love On! (which you can read here and here). I have also posted a review on this book here.

This book is a must-read for pastors or counselors who do marriage or family counseling. This is also an excellent book to read if you have a relationship in your life that you would like to see healed or strengthened. Check out a few more quotes below.

“If you cannot communicate your needs to another person clearly, it is obviously going to be very difficult for that person to meet them. That’s why one of the primary tasks of reaching maturity is learning how to express thoughts, feelings, and needs. Those who never learn this skill, however, expect relationships to function without it. They say things like, ‘Well, if you love me, then you will just know what I need. Didn’t you notice that that bothered me? Haven’t you been paying attention? I can’t believe you don’t know that about me.’ Where does this desire or expectation that loved ones have a telepathic ability to know our feelings and needs come from? It comes from powerlessness and fear. It comes from dreaming that everything will turn out magically without actually having to communicate. Powerless people want to win the lottery, get their dream girl/guy with minimal effort, lose weight without exercise, and get their needs met without ever having to say a word.”

“The reason we can’t get our needs met without expressing them is that we were designed to have our needs met through a relational exchange. God made us this way. … Think about it. God, the one Person in the universe Who knows all things, and knows us incomparably better than we know ourselves, never says, ‘Well, obviously I know your needs, so you don’t need to tell Me about them.’ Instead, He repeatedly tells us to ask Him for what we need, and gives us some of the most profound, beautiful, and honest language for doing so—like the Lord’s Prayer, and most of the Psalms. He won’t meet our needs outside of a connection where we have to show up and crack our hearts open to Him, because that very connection is what we need to have our needs met in the first place.”

“If you want to protect your connection and build trust by always communicating respectfully, then your guiding rule must be, ‘It’s my job to tell you about me, and your job to tell me about you.’ The best tool for telling another person about you is an ‘I message.’ The basic structure of the ‘I message’ is: ‘I feel [emotion] when [described experience] and I need to feel [emotion].’” 

“As you construct an ‘I message,’ make sure that you are really expressing a feeling, not an opinion. … If you start to say, ‘I feel like…’ you should stop and check yourself—because what is most likely going to follow is not a feeling, but a judgment. And a judgment statement is actually an expression of mistrust, not trust.”

“Intimacy—‘into-me-see’—is created between two people who can say, ‘We can be ourselves together because you can see into me and I can see into you.’ The experience of intimacy—of being completely known and accepted, and completely knowing and accepting in return—is the most satisfying experience we can have as humans. Intimacy in a safe place brings euphoria. Remember the Garden of Eden? Paradise was the place where a man and a woman were unafraid to be vulnerable and intimate with each other in every way. The problem is that most of us are scared to death to be vulnerable in relationships. The reason is simple: In being vulnerable, we reach for our greatest need while risking our greatest pain.”

“Fear of rejection and shame sets us up to fall for the enemy’s counterfeits. Ever since sin entered the world and humanity became disconnected from God, we have been looking for ways to get our needs met outside of relationship or any scenario where we are required to be vulnerable and risk our hearts. We have always desperately sought the benefits of intimacy without wanting to pay the price. And the enemy continues to offer us the euphoric experiences we think we can control—things like alcohol, drugs, sex, Internet pornography, shopping, carbohydrates, adrenaline, or cash. We use these things to give ourselves a euphoric release and take care of our needs. But the counterfeits always have ugly repercussions, like drunk drivers killing innocent people, young kids destroying their brains, men ignoring the beautiful real women beside them in favor of the images, serious debt, morbid obesity and the host of diseases that accompany it, thrill seekers slowly becoming numb to reality, and selfish jerks not caring who they step on to get what they want. Counterfeits never come through.”

“Every respectful conversation needs one speaker and one listener at all times. … The listening role is the true servant role in a respectful conversation. The listener affirms, ‘Right now, this conversation is about you and your needs. I am here to help you figure them out and find a way to help you get them met.’ But in the end, the listener is really the winner. If I listen well, I will have two vital pieces of information—what you need and what I need to do. With these two pieces of information, I start to identify and take ownership of the problem and create an effective solution.”

“A skilled listener with a servant’s heart is the deadliest weapon against the fear-bombs that threaten connection.”

Links & Quotes

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“Parents! I do hope you are all endeavoring to bring your children to Christ by teaching them the things of God. Let them not be strangers to the plan of salvation. Never let it be said that a child of yours reached years in which his conscience could act, and he could judge between good and evil, without knowing the doctrine of the atonement, without understanding the great substitutionary work of Christ. Set before your child life and death, hell and heaven, judgment and mercy, his own sin, and Christ’s most precious blood; and as you set these before him, labor with him, persuade him, as the apostle did his congregation, with tears and weeping, to turn unto the Lord.” —Charles Spurgeon

“The role of God’s Word is to feed faith’s appetite for God. And, in doing this, it weans my heart away from the deceptive taste of lust. … As I pray for my faith to be satisfied with God’s life and peace, the sword of the Spirit carves the sugar coating off the poison of lust. I see it for what it is. And by the grace of God, its alluring power is broken.” —John Piper

“This triangle of truisms, of father, mother and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.” —G.K. Chesterton

“Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them, but they start talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking … yourself is talking to you!” —Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Planned Parenthood updates:

Ultrasounds = good for saving babies, bad for Planned Parenthood’s business.

Earlier this week I shared a list of companies who support Planned Parenthood (at least PP had listed them as supporters on its website). Here’s what these companies said when they were contacted by The Daily Signal. Good news: It appears that many of them are not supporting PP financially.

PP cartoonHopefully this cartoon doesn’t describe you… (click the link or the picture to see the rest of it).

Links & Quotes

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“How much foolish talking and jesting would at once end if we said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place.’ … Let your recreation be free from sin; let your amusements be such that you can enjoy them while God looks on. If, too, we felt that God was in this place, how much oftener should we talk of Him and of Christ.” —Charles Spurgeon

“David celebrates God as the sovereign, ‘with-us’ God Who is absolutely for His people and determined to do them good. He is Father to the fatherless, Defender of widows, the One Who gives homes to the homeless and release to captives (Psalm 68:5-6). He gives them gifts, blessings, and salvation (vv. 18-20), and He calls them into His presence to celebrate His magnificence in worship (vv. 24-28). He gives strength for His people to do all His bidding (v. 28) and to know Him in His glory in the heavens (v. 33). Over His people Israel, God is strong, excellent, awesome, and powerful.” —T.M. Moore (emphasis added)

Fast Company published an article from Dr. Tim Elmore on how to bridge the gap between potential and performance. As always, his stuff is spot-on!

“Kids are getting turned on by watching video, but physiologically they are less aroused. We call it P.I.E.D.—Porn Induced Erectile Dysfunction.” —Dr. Philip Zimbardo. Check out this really fast-moving TEDx talk Dr. Zimbardo gave…

Links & Quotes

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“In Biblical parlance anyone is a fool who denies the existence or relevance of God and who thus becomes a law unto himself in trying to make his way in life (cf. Psalm 14:1; Ephesians 5:15-17). The fool, as opposed to the wise person, is the one who has no use for God in any area of his life (cf. Proverbs 3:5-6). The Hebrew word for ‘fool’ appears to mean something like living within one’s own little world—like naïve or silly or idiotic people do, or those who make decisions and choices from the gut rather than from careful consideration of all the facts.” —T.M. Moore

“I say to every suffering parent: You must lay hold of spiritual authority yourself. Even if your child shuts you out, you still can attain power in your secret closet of prayer.” —David Wilkerson

Dads, check this out: 5 Ways Dads Can Be A Good Example Of A Great Man.

J. Warner Wallace writes, “As Christians, we need to consider the entire counsel of God before we determine whether or not God’s Word approves or condemns a particular behavior.” Read more in his post If This Is Such Grievous Sin, Jesus Would Have Mentioned It, where he discusses hot-button topics like homosexuality and abortion.

Elisabeth Elliot passed away yesterday. What a godly woman she was! Check out this eulogy from John Piper.

[VIDEO] John Maxwell says cooperation is more of an attitude issue than anything else. Check this out—

Links & Quotes

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“One profound biblical insight we need to know is that our heart exploits our mind to justify what the heart wants. That is, our deepest desires precede the rational functioning of our minds and incline the mind to perceive and think in a way that will make the desires look right.” —John Piper

“‘No hope’ is a cry which no human tongue should utter, which no human heart should heed. May God grant us grace whenever we get an opportunity to go and tell all we meet with that are bowed down, ‘There is lifting up.’ And tell them where it is likewise. Tell them it is only at the Cross. Tell them it is through the precious blood. Tell them it is to be had for nothing, through simply trusting Christ. Tell them it is of free grace, that no merits of theirs are wanted, that no good things are they to bring, but that they may come just as they are, and find lifting up in Christ.” —Charles Spurgeon

“We must not be naïve about the power of reason. Reason can only do so much. No one can be reasoned into believing the Gospel. That requires a work of the Spirit of God, a work of faith. Reason can clear the way for faith, but it cannot engender it. Only God can do that. … So, even as we reason with our unbelieving friends, we must remember that only if God the Spirit works with our words—and if our words are faithful to the Word of God—will are friends come to faith in Jesus Christ. Reason is a tool, but the Holy Spirit is the power for faith and eternal life.” —T.M. Moore

“The best reason to brand someone with a pejorative label is to push them away, to forestall useful conversation, to turn them into the other. Much more useful: Identify the behavior that’s counter-productive. When we talk about the behavior, we have a chance to make change happen. What would happen if the behavior stopped? When we call someone misogynist or racist or sexist or a capitalist, a socialist or an abstract expressionist, what are we hoping for? Every one of us is on the ‘ist’ spectrum, so the label becomes meaningless. Meaningless labels are noise, noise that lasts. If that person stopped acting like a _____ist, what would change? Because if there’s nothing we want to change, the labeling is useless. And if there’s a change that needs to be made, let’s talk about what it is.” —Seth Godin

Does anyone else find this statement ironic? “Christ, what does this mean?” says Greger Larson, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Oxford, UK. Let me contrast two words: Christ (as in Jesus, the Son of God) and evolutionary (as in, don’t believe in God). Even the supposed God-deniers cannot help but evoke His name!

For anyone who works with students, Tim Elmore shares three balancing acts we all need to keep in mind.

Nancy Pearcey has an eye-opening post about the transgender fascination in our culture. In part, she writes: “The worldview implicit in the transgender movement is that our physical bodies have no particular value—that our biology is irrelevant to who we are as persons…. It is a worldview that drives a wedge between one’s body and one’s sense of self, which exerts a self-alienating, fragmenting effect on the human personality….” Please read Transgender Politics Vs. The Facts Of Life.

Links & Quotes

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All married couples should check out this post from Mark Merrill: How To Have Healthy Conversations With Your Spouse.

Dr. Tim Elmore says, “Millions of parents need to hover less and train more. Millions of students need to learn to self-regulate.” Read more in his post One Way To Motivate Students To Go To Class.

“Now, my brethren, if you and I desire to walk among the sons of men without pride, but yet with a bearing that is worthy of our calling and adoption as princes of the blood royal of heaven, we must be trained by the Holy Spirit.” ―Charles Spurgeon

[VIDEO] J. Warner Wallace explains how we can verify the validity of the Gospels―

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