Relationship - Misc

Today in school, I got suspended. I was just wondering, if somebody tries to provoke you or get you to fight, how would you have self-control?

That’s a great question. If somebody at school tries to provoke you or get you to fight, how do you have self-control? Well, you have to make up your mind before you get to school that you’re going to have self-control first of all. You’ve got to make up your mind in advance how you’re going to respond.

There are a lot of things that can happen in a normal day at school and what you should do is decide in your heart and in your mind, “Here’s how I’m going to respond if this happens. If someone tries to pick on me, I’m going to forgive them. If someone says something mean to me, I’m going to respond by saying something good to them and something powerful to them. I’m going to pray for them. I’m going to tell them, ‘All I want to know is, what are you going to do about Jesus? Are you going to receive Jesus or what?’”

You know, Larry, who is sitting by me here has a son was confronted by some kids who were teasing him a few months ago. They started teasing him, making fun of him and calling him names and finally, he just responded and said, “Look. Here’s all I want to know; are you going to accept Jesus or aren’t you?” And it totally made these kids shut up because there was nothing else for them to do. What else are you going to do at that point. You know, bring Jesus into the situation. What are you going to do about Him? I mean, this kid was bold. “What are you going to do about Jesus? That’s what I want to know.” That’s how you should respond in a situation like that. You tell them, “Look, man, we’re going to pray and we’re going to get the answer from God.”

And be bold as a Christian. And if they still pick on you, you just need to know that God is your Father, and God will protect you and if you need to have a big brother, get a bunch of Christians that go to your school and say, “Man, we’re going to rally together so that if kids pick on us, we’re going to go and we’re going to teach them the Bible and invite them to our Bible study and we’re going to pray for them.” See, you pray for kids like that and you make up your mind in advance not to respond to them or retaliate. And if someone keeps picking on you, man, just say, “Look, yeah, I could fight you and I could whoop you but instead we’re going to make it together. We’re going to make it by doing the right thing, not by doing the wrong thing.” Be strong in the Lord.

Relationship - Misc

I know as Christians we’re supposed to be meek and humble, but how do you prevent people from taking advantage of you when you do that because shouldn’t you also be assertive at times?

There are people that are going to take advantage of us as Christians but we sometimes need to be willing to be taken advantage of for the propagation of the gospel. We should not be taken advantage of because we’re letting our family be taken advantage of or we’re allowing ourselves to get into a bad business deal and we’re not standing up for ourselves. We shouldn’t be taken advantage of in that way.

This will probably help to give you an understanding. The word “meekness” means controlled strength. When a horse wins a Kentucky Derby, that’s because that horse had meekness. He was strong, but his strength was bridled. His strength was controlled to run the race and to win the race. That’s meekness. There’s a difference between that and having uncontrolled strength; that’s a wild, bucking bronco. But to have controlled strength, that’s meekness.

And that’s how Christians are supposed to be. We’re supposed to have strength, maintain strength, but we’re only supposed to use it in the right way; to take us in the right direction for the glory of God and for the protection of people and the propagation of the gospel.

Relationship - Misc

As a leader in the department that I’m in, I have some staffers that come to me with personal issues. They ask for my opinions and my guidance. As a man of God, I want to be able to guide them with God’s Word, but I don’t want to overstep my boundaries. How do you recommend I go about doing that?

Well, it depends on what the issues are about. If the issues are within your area of expertise, then I think that that’s fine and legitimate. I think that everybody that has basic questions, you can eventually turn that question towards God. There’s got to be an answer that you would be able to take from Scripture. No matter what anybody asks me, I want to be able to find a way to point them back to the Lord, to the Word of God, even if their question has to do with something very unrelated to the Bible. Eventually, it’s going to get related to the Bible unless it is a question that is meaningless because the Bible speaks to every issue of our lives in one way or another.

I think the thing that I would do if I were in your situation, if you are concerned about not stepping beyond your boundaries with them, is that when they ask you a question, you just ask them “Do you want my answer from God’s point of view? How much of an answer or how much information are you looking for?" Sometimes something just as simple as that will create the boundaries for you. I’ve had people come to me and I’ve asked them, “Well do you really want me to address this issue? Do you really want me to go into this area?” Some have said yes and some have said no so I just back away if they’re not interested in going that far.

I would say to you that in general, you ask them how far they want you to go with the questions that they’re asking and with the answers that you give them. Throw the Bible out there, throw the Word of God to them and give them the lifeline to the Bible and show them. If they’re asking something about their marriage or their mind or their finances, there’s always some answer from the Bible that you can give them. Two-thirds of the parables Jesus taught were related to finances. There’s always a way to take things back to the Scripture.

Relationship - Misc

I’ve had a problem for a number of years with worrying about people talking about me. I’ve pretty much withdrawn from people. I’m pretty quiet in my workplace. I try to be kind and treat others as I want to be treated; to live by the Golden Rule. Unfortunately, I still have that paranoia; I still have that feeling of people talking about me constantly and it drains me physically.

Well, let me give you a little encouragement about that. When we’re twenty years old, we think everybody is thinking about us. When we turn forty, we realize, not everybody is thinking about us. When we turn sixty, we don’t care that anybody is thinking about us. And when we turn eighty, we realize that nobody is thinking about us. As you get older, you realize that people are not thinking about you as much as you think they are. I want to encourage you that what matters most is what God thinks about you.

Paul the apostle struggled with people and trying to please people and trying to be approved by people and worrying about what they thought of him until he finally got free from people. It’s written about him in Acts 26:17 where God said to him, "I’ve delivered you from the people so I can deliver you to the people.” In other words, once he was free from the fear of people and what they thought about him, he was now empowered to truly be a blessing in other people’s lives.

The most selfish thing we can do in our lives is to think about how people think of us and how people view us rather than think about how God views us. When we’re worried and self-conscious about what other people think about us, then we no longer are of any good to them and then we can’t bless them; we can’t serve them or help them.

I want to encourage you to start meditating on what God thinks about you. Read Psalm 139 and Psalm 40. That’s my assignment for you. It will really encourage you about the way that God thinks about you. It will set you free from peoples’ thoughts toward you.

I know what you’re going through and I know how easy it is to withdraw and you lose all your energy because of all the effort that it takes to worry about what people think about you. You need to stop. You need to realize that they don’t think about you as much as you think they do. And furthermore, they don’t think about you the way you deserve to be thought about but God does think about you the way you deserve to be thought about.

We have to accept the fact that we don’t fit into people’s drama sometimes. People are going to try to make you the villain of their drama and they need to be the star of their drama. They need to be their own villain; we don’t need to be their villain. "Don’t be the mama in somebody else’s drama" as we like to say around here. Stay out of people’s drama. Don’t engage in that. Don’t allow yourself to put yourself under their thinking and under their view of you and their opinion of you.

You do your best to be pleasing to God because when you stand before Him, your boss, your employers, your employees, your friends, your family, your relatives, your neighbors, none of those people are going to be standing there when you’re standing before God. It’s only going to be Him. And that is eternal. That is forever. What we do in this life will echo into eternity.

Let us be pleasing to God on this earth, in this life, so that when we stand before Him, we can hear Him say, “Well done good and faithful servant.” Everybody else’s opinion of you is going to pale in comparison; it’s going to wither up and disappear on that day. So let it disappear now and focus your life on being pleasing to God. Pursue being pleasing to God and receiving His love and walking in His love towards other people.

I would say, “Be the person that God created you to be.” Let your thoughts meditate on His love for you and His attitude towards you and then that attitude of love and kindness is going to be reflected in your attitude towards other people. No matter what they do for you or think about you, you just think about them the way that God thinks about them and you’re going to have a great life.

Relationship - Misc

When I was 17 years old, I started getting involved with homosexuality. I dealt with that for 3 years and then I moved away, not knowing that the homosexual spirit was following me everywhere. I fought it and fought it. I would get delivered from it and then it would come back and I’d get delivered and it would come back. I know I’m delivered from it and I can feel in my spirit that I’m delivered from it, but the thing is, the old friends keep coming around, being persistent. It’s like the enemy is trying to pull me back. So, what do I do about these people?

First of all, let me congratulate you on being honest, number one. Number two, on being a fighter. You’ve done great. I’m proud of you. You’ve fought and you didn’t give up. God’s proud of you.

So, how do you deal with old friends? In two ways. Number one, you don’t be deceived by the thoughts that keep coming to you because even though the thoughts come, that doesn’t mean that you’ve given in to them. That doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with you just because you’ve had thoughts. We’ve all had thoughts. We all have had millions of thoughts. That is why the Bible says we need to take thoughts captive.

The difference between your life now and what you were before is that now you’re dealing with it. In the past, the thoughts would grow and then they would become an imagination, something that you’d think about all the time, and then it would become a stronghold. It would have a strong hold on you and it would control your actions and behavior. That’s how it was in the past.

But now, you’re dealing with it in the thought level. Now it gets to the thoughts and you don’t let it go to the imaginations and you don’t let it become a stronghold so now it can’t control you. So keep taking those thoughts captive. Realize that even though the thoughts come, that’s not who you really are. Even though the thoughts come, the real you is a woman of God, a child of God, a woman who can control herself and can avoid sexual sin.

You need to continue to deal with things at your thought level. Intensify that even more and fill yourself up with the Word of God because you need to replace bad thoughts with God’s Word in your mind and coming out of your mouth.

The second thing you must do is you must sever relationships with those people. You must not call them. You must not let them call you. You must not answer their calls. You must not respond to them. You have to cut off those relationships.

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:33-34, “Bad company corrupts good morals.” So, it’s being with the wrong people that will corrupt you and it’s not you. You are a new creature in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature. The old things have passed away.” You’re a brand-new person. But your new person can still be corrupted and act like the old person if you hang around that crowd still.

So you’ve got to avoid those environments and avoid those people. Run from them. Flee. The Bible says flee from them. If you’ve said everything that you can say to them, then just stay away from them.

Really, for me, it wasn’t me running away from my friends. It was that I began preaching to them and they ended up running away from me. Some got saved and then the others ran away. They didn’t want anything to do with me. So attack them with the Word and start preaching to them if they keep coming. Remember God told Lot to separate himself from those that were in Sodom and Gomorrah that were homosexuals and lesbians.

And I’m not judging homosexuals and lesbians. We know that the act of homosexuality is wrong but the people are just as loved by God as I’m loved by God; as my newborn baby is loved by God. God loves the person who is in homosexuality as much as He loves my baby.

God told Lot, “Get out of the city and run from Sodom and Gomorrah.” But he didn’t do it at first. The people there kept pressing against him, pressing against him, pressing against him and it ended up costing him his wife and some of his children because he did not really take it seriously the first time. And then the angel had to really to pull him out of there and it was too late for some of the rest of his relatives.

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