Archive for the ‘Self-Improvement’ category

Is God Really Good? — Fractured Faith Blog

October 8, 2018

Here’s to tough English teachers, careful use of the English language and God’s direction and formative influences that He allows into our lives. I am reblogging this piece that reminds me of a turning point in my life, and the tough English teacher who met me at he turn.

I was an angry, rebellious youth, living a recklessly self-destructive teenage life, drinking, smoking pot and taking unnecessary risks. I don’t know why I was that way, but that’s how I was.

I think I was desperately searching for something meaningful, trying to fill the voids, unwilling to settle for mediocre. But the things I was using to fill those voids left a deeper void.

An unrelenting, stubbornly idealistic and sternly enthusiastic English teacher is just what I needed. She challenged me, and it turns out I was ready for the challenge. The two papers I wrote that semester, on Joseph Conrad’s, Lord Jim, and Fyodor Dostoevsky’s, Crime and Punishment, were just the rigorous tests of critique and simultaneous self-reflection necessary to jump me off the nihilistic track onto the path to truth and meaning that can only be mined with same kind of relentless, stubbornly idealistic and uncompromising confidence in the effort that my teacher demonstrated for us.

The blog, Is God Really Good?, reminds me of these things, and the gratitude I owe to my “very grumpy English teacher”. Only she, was less grumpy than enthusiastic, but none the less effective in her influence on me.

When I was at school, and Queen Victoria sat upon the throne, I had a very grumpy English teacher called Mrs Hume. I felt sorry for Mr. Hume if she was as grumpy at home. Mrs Hume was a well balanced woman. She had a chip on both shoulders. Life had dealt her a poor […]

via Is God Really Good? — Fractured Faith Blog

In Times of Trouble

December 17, 2014

lightstock_62496_xsmall_user_7997290We have all been there. You have done your best, but your best is not good enough. Maybe you have not done your best, and now your best is not good enough to fix the mess you are in. Maybe your impossible circumstances are totally beyond your control.

The feeling of abject desperation is the same.

In those times, the temptation may be to withdraw, curl up and bury your head. Maybe the temptation is to beat yourself up, hang your head in despair and live in condemnation. Maybe the temptation is to throw up your hands, say it doesn’t matter anyway and drown your woes in alcohol or drugs. The options may seem dismal and dark.

But, this is a critical point! The last place we often want to turn is the first place we should go – down on our knees in prayer to the God who made us and loves us.

There you will find God greeting you, not with judgment, but with open arms. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:17)

You may not be able to see your way out of the predicament you are in, but God stands high above your predicament. He is also with you in your circumstances, and He is bigger than your circumstances

When you are trapped in a hopeless situation, or what seems hopeless to you at the time, when you cannot see your way out of the darkness and the world is caving in all around you, cry out to God. He hears you! (Psalm 18:6) The righteous are those who cry out to God in their distress (Psalm 34:17), and God will deliver you from your troubles!

We are not righteous because we are good; we are righteous because we cry out to God!

He may (or may not) deliver you from your circumstances, but He will deliver you from your troubles. That is the promise of God, and “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind.” (Numbers 23:19)

When we go to God, we go to the Maker of the Heavens and the Earth, of all that is seen and unseen. When He makes a promise, He keeps his promise.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! …. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:4-7)

Rejoice always means to rejoice in every circumstance, good and bad. God is above all of our circumstances! When we are anxious, that is exactly the time for us to go to God in prayer. When we are anxious, we should petition God. With Thanksgiving, we should make our requests known to God. We should appeal to God in all of our troubles…. and the promise of God is peace for our troubled hearts!

In this verse, we are not promised deliverance from our circumstances, but we are promised peace – peace from our troubles!

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

Sometimes God allows us to come to the end of ourselves, to a place where we are powerless (or feel powerless) to help ourselves, and in that place is where God does His most significant work in us. We simply need to turn to Him.

We can choose not to turn to God. We can go it alone. That is always our choice, but in turning to God we not only have ready help, peace that passes understanding and a deliverer from our troubles, we have a Savior – One who delivers us not only from our troubles but from ourselves and the sin that leads to death. When we turn to God, we have Life and, we have life more abundantly.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10) The thief, the robber of our souls, is a condemner, an oppressor and a liar. When we feel desperate and hopeless, the thief is at your door.

Turn to God in your time of trouble; cry out to God, and then rejoice in God and His promises; pray to God – He will meet you where you are. That is His promise!

The Talents You Do Not Have

August 26, 2014

Niño asombrado mirando a la derecha


God will not reward you based on the talent you have or the talent you do not have, but He will reward you based upon what you did with what He gave you. I am not talking about works. We are saved by grace, not by anything that we have done.

I am talking about stewardship. (more…)

The Best and Hardest Things

June 26, 2013

Some of the most important things my father told me I did not want to hear.

That is the nature of the father/son relationship, especially when a son begins to spread his wings as a teenager and begins to separate from his parents emotionally. Whether a son listens to the experienced advice of his father will likely contribute to his successes, failures and relative ease or difficulty with which he handles both.

The attorney/client, doctor/patient and many other relationships involve a similar dynamic. Any time a more experienced or learned person gives advice to a less experienced or learned person, the success of the person taking that advice depends on whether they follow it. As an attorney, I can attest that my clients do not always follow my advice, even when they have paid for it; but that is another subject.

I do not mean to suggest that a father, lawyer or doctor is always right. On the other hand, if Vegas placed bets on the advice of a father, doctor or lawyer, and if the results could be readily gathered and calculated on the degree of success following that advice compared to not following it, I would be willing to bet the odds favor the success of following that advice.

Human beings do not like being told what to do. Human nature is resistant to the control and influence of others. We like our freedom. We tend to trust ourselves more than others, even when we should not trust ourselves – even when our track record suggests we should not trust ourselves.

A wise person recognizes that other more experienced and learned people have value to offer, even if they are not charging for the advice they give. A wise person seeks to learn from those people, even when what they say is difficult to accept, even when it nicks our pride and means that we must change how we see or do things.

The worst thing that can happen is that the advice we follow does not bear the fruit we hoped. At that point, the advice can be abandoned for something else. Taking the advice and following it is still a good risk.

As Albert Einstein famously said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The important thing is that we learn from our own mistakes. We can also learn from others’ mistakes (which often comes in the form of the advice that we receive from those who have made those mistakes) and learn to avoid those same mistakes in the future by changing our ways.

Sometimes the advice we get is hard to accept, but it can be the best thing for us. It can be a game changer.


Malcolm Guite

Blog for poet and singer-songwriter Malcolm Guite

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