The Day My Eye Flared Back Up

Thunderstorm_over_Corfu

Not many people know what happened to me the day after Halloween last year.. I had a total flare up again with the front part of my eye. I didn’t even notice that it was getting worse but Yolanda asked me about my eye in a meeting and noticed that it was getting more red. We went to the eye doctor and the most horrifying thing we could hear was said; “Your eye has relapsed and there is inflammation in the front of the eye.” Yolanda started crying, not because she was scared (although we were both nervous at the prospect of going through “eye time” again in life) but because she was so mad at the devil. She said to me , “This won’t last long and is just a distraction.” I heard what she said, but I was too busy sighing and starting to let me mind wander to a very bad place.

 I was placed on topical prednisone eye drops and sent home with a regimen trying to stabilize my eye and body again. As soon as I got home, I had a decision. I could take the same path as before and cuss God out and ask WHY LORD WHY or…I could just get a few scriptures to claim and speak over my life and eye. I decided to take the offensive instead of letting the devil push me around like last time. When I started treating my eye again someone asked me if I was depressed and mad at God again. I said “I tried that last time I got sick and it didn’t go too well for me.” So I decided to try something different this time around.
Below are the scriptures I would speak EVERY TIME I took my eye drops and speak over my life even now.
Isaiah 54 17
no weapon forged against me will prevail,
and i will refute every tongue that accuses me.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the Lord.
 
Isaiah 53 5
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
 
Psalm 91
I dwell in the shelter of the Most High
I will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
 
Surely he will save me
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover me with his feathers,
and under his wings I will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be my shield and rampart.
 
I will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at my side,
ten thousand at my right hand,
but it will not come near me.
 
I will only observe with my eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
If I say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and I make the Most High my dwelling,
no harm will overtake me,
no disaster will come near my tent.
 
For he will command his angels concerning me
to guard me in all my ways;
they will lift me up in their hands,
so that I will not strike my foot against a stone.
I will tread on the lion and the cobra;
I will trample the great lion and the serpent.
 
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation. ”
In my mind I was like, “Ok devil. If you want to mess with me, then it’s high time that you pay for it so enjoy the scriptures coming out of my mouth every time I take these stupid drops. This is not my future but you trying to remind me of my past.”
I started my regular eye drop schedule and the day before Christmas I took my last drop. I have been off all my medication for 18 days as I type this blog and doing well. In the process of taking the drops I also stopped eating ALL processed sugar and cleaning up my food habits which I needed to do anyway. I also have changed my prayer life. I am expecting to see some amazing things change in 2018 and I want to do my part to not get in the way of God bringing those things to pass.
I share my little story for a few reasons. One is to simply encourage you if you are in a place where you are believing for a miracle OR you had a healing happen and the devil is trying to mess with you again. As I say in my book, the Bible is not a magical book of incantations, but it is certainly the authority you and I need to live a life focused on God and not our problems. It is a living text that has the answers for everything we go through in life. I want to encourage you to find some verses that you can stand on and speak over your life no matter how you feel or it looks in life. Speaking the Word is a powerful setting of your mind on higher things and also telling the devil what you are expecting to happen in your life. Again, I can not guarantee an outcome in your situation but I can guarantee that when you seek God that you will find him and that includes his peace that passes all understanding.
Think about your life especially your prayer life. For example, are you praying that God gives you total health in your body but you are eating triple cheeseburgers and milkshakes at midnight all the time? Or are you asking God to bring in finances for something in your family but you spend money like it is going out of style? We can ask God anything we want but I believe that we need to also think practically about habits in life and adjust accordingly. This is not about doing something to MAKE God do anything, but it is cleaning up your life in the physical to make way for blessing in the spiritual.
Lastly, I want to really encourage you to get a copy of my book if you haven’t already done so. This is not a sales pitch (and I don’t even care if people think it is) because I really gained some AMAZING gold from what I went through and feel like it can help people in all walks of life. It is on Amazon.com or you can go to the Buy The Book tab and order a signed copy.
Praying for provision, healing, direction and blessing for your 2018. I am also praying that you take a hard look at your life to make more than a resolution but to make confident changes to prepare the way for blessings in all areas of your life.

Why Birding is Just Like Listening To God

Bee Eater
(This pic is of a Bee Eater…eating a Bee that Yolanda took on our trip to Nepal last year)

Yolanda and I went “birding” over the weekend. If you don’t know what “birding” is, it’s finding a place that birds hang out, getting a decent camera and/or binoculars, and walking around trying to see or take pictures of the rarest ones you can find. The key is to go out looking with the realization that you may not see anything or you may hit the jackpot and see a ton of them. Yolanda has gotten some amazing (and I mean AMAZING) pictures from all the places we have been. It is like every bird is just waiting for our car to pull up and then they have a little bird fight to see who gets to fly in front of her camera and get shot (in a good way).

When I go, I am mainly going to support her but I also feel like it is an intentional time of not talking about work (because you are supposed to be quiet and not talk) and for some exercise. I have to admit, I get just about as excited as she does to see an owl or another rare breed. But for me, it is more about just getting out and getting away from the grind of life.

When you are birding it is very important that you remember a simple recipe for success. No matter how far you walk or where you go looking for birds, you need to occasionally stop, look up and listen. You can be out walking around and a great bird can be in the tree next to you but if you don’t stop, look up and listen then you will probably miss a great opportunity.

It is the same with listening to God. I can get so busy in life with my “walk” with Jesus that I can forget sometimes in life to just “stop, look up and listen” for things that God may want to share with me. I am a firm believer that God is always speaking to us and willing to be found but we are the ones who need to learn to slow down in life sometimes and be willing to wait on God and his voice.

Sometimes I can intentionally “stop, look up and listen” with God and I don’t hear a peep (get it? Haha) If I am consistently stopping, looking, and listening for Him I raise my chances of hearing something from God AND I train myself to learn that it is not even always about the grand revelation that God would share with me. I think the peaceable life that God teaches about in the Bible is 20% Spiritual and 80% just learning to shut up and listen. Listening to others. Listening to those who love us and want to bring Godly correction or even God speaking himself to us.

I know that going birding has taught me more than just the importance of not talking, which I still fail at regularly. It has taught me that the world around me will let me “run” in life as fast as I want, even to the point of burnout. If I am not taking time out of life to just BE and not try and DO, I will allow the world to dictate the pace of my life and not God. When I intentionally put the brakes on and take time to enjoy nature AND use that time to listen to what God has to say, I take back control of my life and essentially put myself on God’s time.

I use birding to slow down my life and shut up. What do you use? When trouble hits in life the peace we find in those times of quietness and listening to God will be a foundation to help get you through. Think today about what you do to change pace and “stop, look up and listen.”

What Others Are Saying About “Holy Crap”

testimony-header
I have had some great feedback about the book and how God is using it to help people work through issues in their lives and wanted to share a quick testimony I received today.

If you have not picked up your copy of Holy Crap, I encourage you to do so. It can be an amazing resource as you walk through a difficult situation or to help someone else you know who may need your love and support. I want what I went through to make a difference in the lives of people experiencing pain. It is testimonies like the one below that make all the things I went through, worth while.

“I have been thru what is unquestionably the most challenging 8 months of my life. My son
was killed in a car accident in April. A close friend of the family has been in the hospital, in another state, since July. My wife has been away taking care of him most of that time. And my father just passed away in November after a 9 year battle with Parkinson’s.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Holy Crap just came out. Not that Brian wrote it just for me, but I have found that God has a way of arranging things that go way beyond ‘coincidence’. This book has been awesome. Not that it has made what I’m going thru all that much easier. But it has been a real blessing to know other people walk thru serious challenges and come out on the other side, better for the experience. I may never understand God’s methods, but I can see the difference He makes for those of us who choose to believe.

No matter your current life situation, you should look into what Brian shares in Holy Crap. There is a lot of wisdom shared in a very ‘down-to-earth’, easy to read style that I think can benefit anyone.”

Much Love – Lou

Generosity has to do with HEARTS not HANDS

generous
I was talking to a friend about generosity and what motivates someone to give. I am the kind of person that if I have it I will give it. I can remember praying and having a conversation with God early in my life where I told him the more He gives me the more I will give.

During our conversation I said something that I think really sums up giving and meeting the needs of others.

I said, “Generosity is not what is in your hand, it’s what is in your heart.” Wow. I just sat there and looked at Aaron and said, “That statement is ending up in a blog post or on Facebook in some way.”

I think it is SO important to realize that generosity really has NOTHING to do with whether or not you have lots of money. Even the term “lots of money” is relative because “enough” to one person may be barely any to another.

The heart is the primary factor when it comes to a person giving to others and not what they see in their hand. When we only see what is in our hand we limit giving to simply a physical expression instead of really letting it be an expression from the heart.

God ALWAYS wants us operating from a place of heart and not simply evaluating what we think WE can afford to be without. Giving is not learning to go without because we gave to others. It is being content enough with what we have and being able to trust God for what we need so that we can be a blessing to others in their time of need.

Have a great day and, as always, I am praying for you!

The Change that Pain Causes Can Be for Good or Bad!

pain_in_life

Pain will happen in life no matter who you are or where you come from. The question is not IF pain will happen but what you will do with pain WHEN it happens.

When we stop asking God “why” pain is happening and start asking “what” can we learn from it, we go from a survivor to a THRIVER mentality and attitude. When we only seek to survive in life we lose the ability to gain some wonderful perspective and actually USE the things that happen to us to make us stronger.
Praying for you today to get through the pain you are in and see the great things that can come from change that painful situations can bring.

Going Through Pain is not enough to bring Glory to God

I have had two people I know who were followers of Christ in the past few weeks go home to heaven.  I was considering their lives and the immense testimonies they each were to the people around them in the face of imminent death.  I was thinking about how everyone, at some point in their life, will go through pain.  It really isn’t a question of “if” as much as it is a question of “when” because we live in a world where things don’t seem fair at times.  When I went through my eye challenges a couple of years ago I thought that because I went through the “pains of life” that I brought glory to God just for going through them but I don’t think that is true now that I look back.  I can remember sitting at home when I was out of work and instead of asking God for strength and to use my situation for HIS good I was wondering what it would be like to go blind and considering all the life adjustments I was going to have to make. (I would actually take showers with my eyes closed to see if I could function without being able to see.  That’s how far I had come from faith in God taking care of me.  Not good)  I had a perfect opportunity to give God glory and instead I complained about the condition of my flesh.

Think about it; if everyone goes through hard times and you are just another person who made it through, how is that a reflection of God’s glory in your life?  Maybe you just got lucky and barely survived like everyone else.  The only thing that would set you apart is that your attitude lined up with God’s word and example of focusing on His greatness and not your life’s goofiness.  There were definitely times where I was giving the example of a selfish person who was only thinking of myself and how the pain I was dealing with was affecting me and not thinking of my wife, my parents, my sister and the other people around me who love me and didn’t want to see me sick. 

Appreciating pain leads to being thankful for pain. In other words; if I can appreciate, or value, what God is allowing to happen to me I may not be pleased about it but I can learn to be thankful for it.  The degree that I appreciate pain is the degree that God can use pain for my good and not for destruction.  The key comes from developing that trust relationship with God so that when pain comes I don’t see it as punishment but an opportunity to let Him shine through me and through the circumstances of life.  Pain in life where we don’t see the healing we are expecting are perfect situations for people to watch our lives and see how we deal with pain and be encouraged by it.

So here is the reason for the blog post today: if you are going through pain now in life congratulations! You have the perfect opportunity to give God glory that you could never give him if everything was going well.  If you are not going through something in life right now, you have the chance to develop your relationship and trust in Christ to a point that when your day of testing comes you will have a chance to lead others to Christ by a Godly attitude in middle of your storm.  This stuff is never easy, but that’s why, as a man of God, I want to learn how to deal with pain so that even in the bad times I can give God glory in my life.