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A Common Question

Why do bad things happen to “good” (“Godly”) people?

The answer?

They don’t. Bad things happen to everybody, “good” or “bad.”

“…rain falls on the just and unjust alike.” (Matt. 5:45)

A better question might be, How should “good” (“Godly”) people respond when bad things happen?

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Unresolved Issues

I was shocked by a conversation I overheard between two women. They were talking about a divorce one of them was in the middle of. It was a messy, painful divorce between two people who had been married for over 25 years. (I’m not sure how long exactly, but she kept using the term “25 plus year marriage.”)

The part of this conversation that got my attention was when the women going through the divorce said, “We’ve been arguing about this since we were dating. We just can’t take it anymore.”

WHAT!?! REALLY?!? The reason behind this divorce was an issue that went unresolved for over 25 years! Since before they were married!?! It’s almost hard for me to believe.

This couple, who I’m sure at one point were madly in love, let something negative in their relationship fester for over 25 years, and it eventually ripped their marriage apart.

I’ve been thinking about this conversation and here are a few thoughts that I had…

1) Marriage is NOT the answer.

If you’re single, dating or maybe engaged and planning a wedding, please listen to me. If there is a problem in your relationship, an issue that just won’t get resolved, GETTING MARRIED WON’T MAKE THE PROBLEM GO AWAY. Before going one step further in your plans or your relationship, you need to have the hard conversation. Put everything on the table and work it out. And if you can’t work it out on your own or you can’t find another Godly person to walk and pray you through it. DON’T GET MARRIED! Period.

2) If you’re already married, QUITTING IS NOT THE ANSWER.

I believe marriage is a covenant. A covenant not just between a husband and wife, but between a husband, a wife, and the Lord. Your willpower to stay and fight, backed by God’s divine power, CAN and WILL restore ANYTHING. Get that thing you’re dealing with out in the open. Expose it to the Light. Get people around you who will pray for you and counsel you. FIGHT.

3) YOU CAN’T IGNORE THE PROBLEM! Anything left to itself will fester and DIE.

If I had 100 million dollars and used it to build the most magnificent house anyone had ever seen, but then, when construction was over, I locked the doors and never did a thing with it, eventually that house would rot and fall.

True of a house, true of a marriage.

We can’t allow negative issues to go unresolved in our marriages. God is the redeemer. Not just of our lives, but of everything, including your marriage. A problem ignored will not go away, it will grow, and, over time, it WILL hurt you and possibly destroy you.

These were just a few of the thoughts I had while thinking about this conversation. I’m sad for that couple. I’m praying for them. I hope that God works a miracle in that marriage, and in yours.

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Choose to Forgive

I’m amazed at how many people I meet that are missing great opportunities because they can’t bring themselves to let old things go.
 People that are holding on so tightly to an offense that they don’t have a hand free to grab on to something good that might be coming there way.

Unforgiveness is a prison. It traps you at the moment in time when the offense occurred. I know you know people like this. They talk about hurts they experienced five, ten, twenty years ago like it happened yesterday.

Some people are lucky; when they hold on to unforgiveness, it only affects one area of their life. For other people, unforgiveness takes over.

They become bitter, hurting, mean, and unhappy. They don’t know how it happened. They use to be normal. They use to be happy. They use to be unafraid. They use to not feel so alone.

The offense was real. The pain you felt was real. The pain you might feel right now is real. But the odds are, the only one who is hurt by it now is you.

To hold onto an offense, to not forgive, to live any part of your life in the past only hurts you.

You may be spending so much time looking at the past, that you’re missing a great future.

Don’t let what happened to you in the past affect what could happen to you today.

Your spouse may have cheated and left, that doesn’t mean your next one will. Your parents may have hurt you, we all make mistakes, we all say things we shouldn’t. Your kids may not be speaking to you, call them again. Your old business partner may have stolen from you. Start a new business.

Every day that you wake up is a new day, full of new possibilities and great opportunities.

Don’t hinder yourself.

Choose to let go. Choose to forgive.


Originally published at Niles Holsinger.

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Repentance

“Will not He that raised Lazarus, already four days dead and fetid, far more easily raise you? He who poured out his precious blood for us will free us from sin. Let us not despair, brethren; nor give ourselves up for lost. For it is a grievous thing not to believe in the hope of repentance.”

-Cyril, Archbishop of Jerusalem (AD 315–386)

I’ve been thinking a lot about repentance.

Repentance is such a powerful thing. Making a decision, turning your back on the sins of the world and realigning yourself with God.

To me, the picture of repentance is a picture of me in an alley surrounded on both sides. In front the world, and all it offers. Behind God, and all the peace, joy and love He gives.

I can’t have it both ways. A decision has to be made and I’m the only one who can make it.

My natural instinct is to head for the world. That’s what I was born into. That’s what I know. That’s where my nature is calling me. But I choose to REPENT. I turn my back on the world and head straight into the arms of Christ, “The hope of salvation.”

Can I be honest with you? In my life, this is almost a daily decision. Every day I’m presented with an opportunity to follow the world. And some days I do, others I don’t. Thank God for grace. Thank God for the power of repentance. And thank God that I’m not alone.

Even the apostle Paul had this problem:

Romans 7:19–25

“19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. 21 I have discovered this principle of life — that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.”

Paul knew his nature. He was honest with himself, and that drove him to live a life of repentance.

If it’s good enough for Paul, it’s good enough for me.

The daily choice to repent.

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This Is Not The Real World. This Is A Fantasy.

Photo by Ben Weber on Unsplash

Social Media is not the real world. It is a fantasy.

A fantasy built on the pieces of our lives we believe others think are the best parts of us. (Or what we want them to think are the best parts of us*.)

These platforms were created by corporations that spend millions of dollars to manipulate and program our thinking. Companies that then make billions of dollars off of our insecurities and addictions, most of which they created and feed. (I wish this was just my opinion, but it’s not. Look it up.**)

Social media is fun. There are some good things about it. But don’t be deceived into believing these platforms are here for our benefit. We are not the beneficiaries; we are the product. They are selling us and our information to other big companies which again want nothing more than to use and manipulate us.

Our ignorance is their advantage.

* The truth is, the best parts of us are the parts we usually never show on social media. The real you is better than any fantasy.

** I know that this may make me look like a conspiracy theory, paranoid nut, but I’m just a Father/Husband/Human who sees way more negative things happening then positive coming from these platforms. (Did you know that depression and suicide rates among elementary age children are higher than ever and it has been directly connected to the way their brains have become wired for “likes”?)

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Be Generous

True story, a man walked into a Starbucks in Tulsa Oklahoma, ordered his coffee, and then paid for his and the strangers coffee behind him. This one act started a chain reaction of generosity that concluded with 185 people buying coffee for the stranger behind them.

For one afternoon in a Starbucks in Tulsa Oklahoma, the reality of 185 people changed. 185 people began considering the stranger standing behind them before they considered themselves.
One stranger, with one cup of coffee, changed the world for 185 people, for one afternoon.

Be generous. Not just to the people you know, but to everyone you come in contact with. You never know what you may start.

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Respond Don’t React

The difference between the two is time. It’s the ten seconds you take before responding to criticism. It’s stopping to think before you speak. Because sometimes our quickest reactions are the ones we regret the longest.

*This is very rarely easy… at least not for me.


Originally published at Niles Holsinger.

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Stray Words

I’m not sure we understand the power of our words. One negative, hurtful word, said out of hand or without thought, is like a seed that gets stuck deep into a person’s soul. You might think that what I’m saying is extreme but think with me a minute. Go back to the earliest memory you have of someone saying something hurtful to you, and tell me how it STILL feels.

OUR WORDS ARE POWERFUL.

We get angry and strikeout. An off-handed comment, a verbal jab said without thinking. And that word sinks in. It begins to grow. It feeds on self-esteem, and its fruit is insecurity. Over time the person’s spirit grows weak, brittle, then broken.

Most of the time the only thing left is BITTERNESS.

Now a person who was once full of joy is nothing. Destroyed by a stray thought, a word spoken out of a flash of emotion.

A PERSON IS DESTROYED BECAUSE WE DON’T UNDERSTAND THE POWER OF OUR WORDS.

But all is not lost. If this is what we can do with a thoughtless word spoken, imagine what we could do if we learn to speak words that BUILD. Those kinds of words bring LIFE.


Originally published at nilesholsinger.com on April 11, 2018.

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Simple Advice Before You Post Online

Think of your favorite social media platform as a place you go in real life. Maybe it’s a coffee shop, church, a park. Somewhere you go to spend time with people face to face.

Now, before you post anything online think about this, if you were at that favorite spot, surrounded by people, some you know and some who are strangers, would you say out loud what you were about to post online?

If what you were about to publish was about someone else, if they were in the same place, within earshot, would you say what you were about to post? (Would you say it to there face?)

If the answer is no, you probably shouldn’t post whatever it is you are thinking about posting.

Sidebar: Posting a selfie is like being in that favorite place surrounded my people and yelling out at the top of your lungs, “Hey everybody, look at me!!! Look what I’m doing! Aren’t I amazing!” (No one wants to be that guy.)


Originally published at Niles Holsinger.

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Are You Communicating Value?

When dealing with people, everything you do communicates the value you have for them.

Do you keep your word? Are you on time? Are you early? Do you string them along with promises or commitments that are not in your authority to give?

Your actions always speak louder than your words.


Originally published at nilesholsinger.com on April 5, 2018.

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Disappointments and People

Disappointments will come. People will let you down. Endure.


Originally published at Niles Holsinger.

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Try This Today

Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them.


Originally published at Niles Holsinger.

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Smart Versus Wise

Being SMART does not mean you’re WISE. We can go through life learning all sorts of facts. We can learn all kinds of lessons. We can gather all manner of experiences. But that does not make us WISE, that just makes us SMART.

WISDOM comes when we take all that knowledge that we have accumulated, all those lessons we have learned and APPLY it to our lives.

Learning makes you SMART. Applying what you have learned to your life makes you WISE.


Originally published at nilesholsinger.com on April 2, 2018.

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I’m Not Perfect

Here’s a newsflash, I’m not perfect. I’m far from it.

I make more mistakes in a day then most people make in a week. I’ve stuck my foot in my mouth so many times, I can tell you the brand of shoe you’re wearing by the taste.

Because I’m not perfect, there’s a lot of things I’m not good at. In fact, there are more things I’m NOT good at then there are of things I am good at. There are things that I see other people do that I would love to be able to do. But I can’t.

BUT…

There are some things that I AM good at! There are some things that I can do better than anyone else around me.

It’s not bragging saying this. It’s the truth. There are abilities and gifts that God put inside me that He didn’t put inside anyone else. Things that only I was created for.

It’s the same with you!

You have gifts that NO ONE ELSE HAS! You have a purpose and a destiny written by God that’s unique to you.

So why do we spend so much time comparing ourselves to others? Not just comparing, but selling ourselves short? Why do we (I) always think what others can do, or what gifts or callings they have, are more important than mine?

STOP IT!

THE ONLY THING YOU ACCOMPLISH BY FOCUSING ON THE GIFTS OF OTHERS IS THE NEGLECT OF YOUR OWN.

GOD NEEDS YOUR GIFTS ON THIS EARTH! They’re part of HIS master plan. You’re not here to fill space; you’re here to fulfill a purpose.

God needs your gifts developed, matured and ready.

Focus on YOUR gifts, stop focusing on theirs.

Besides, those people with all those gifts you’re focusing on and wanting might be doing the same thing with yours.


Originally published at nilesholsinger.com on March 29, 2018.

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Taking Responsibility

You may not have packed the bags you are carrying around through life, but at some point, you have to take responsibility and understand that you are the only one who can begin the process of letting them go.


Originally published at nilesholsinger.com on March 28, 2018.