Friday, December 4, 2009


Have you ever faced something really tough and felt all alone? I guess most of us have. The Apostle Paul did many times. He had ministered to many, many people and yet in a lot of instances he had to face extreme difficulty all alone. We all tend to make excuses for our friends and family, sometimes they even make excuses for themselves, but bottom line…alone is alone. To me, this is one of the most glaring examples of a good reason to stay very close to the Lord on a day to day basis. Devotionally, study time, prayer and even extended prayer time, memorization…all are extremely important to “build up” our inner man in order to handle life’s most difficult times. Particularly if we have to face them alone.

My family suffers from a depressive disorder, nothing needing medication but serious enough to disrupt contentment. It is a miserable “feeling”…I have found memorization to be the best tool I can use. I look for portions of the Word that challenge my memory, but as I have grown older, the challenge has become greater and greater. However, it works…time consuming but worth it, definitely. Part of my teaching at the prison emphasizes the need for meditation and memorization. The act of concentration seems to break the negative hold the problem has on my mind, plus I gain a sense of God’s presence with me that is comforting. One thing I prize, contentment…and when it is missing, I know it!!! And, will do anything to get it back. Living alone makes it more difficult, no noise in the house.

But, back to failure…another thing I have learned over the years, most of God’s great servants have suffered from a sense of aloneness and depression both of which seem to build in us a feeling of failure.  I think we that serve the Lord fulltime think we are superpersons! Nothing should get to us, we should be able to handle anything and everything, no exceptions. That in reality, that is way too hi bar to set for ourselves! Then we can add to our own expectations of ourselves the expectations of others. THEY think we are superpersons who can handle anything!!!!! Spiritual giants whose faith can stand up under anything, anything at all!

So, the bottom line becomes what we ourselves hold to be true and realistic. We may indeed have a faith that moves mountains, knowing for sure and from experience that God will always take care of us, is always there for us, our provision is sure. we need human touch, words of encouragement, to have someone tell us we are loved by THEM, and at times, for them to just BE THERE. There are two kinds of friends…runners and standers. At the first sign of trouble, the runners will bolt and abandon you to whatever trouble you are facing. The stander however will stick with you no matter the circumstances. We also need to think about which of these WE are???? Back to the example of Paul…at the end of his life he tells us of the many who deserted him. But, he also tells us of one human who stood…Luke…which must have greatly comforted Paul.

Proverbs tells us that a friend loves at all times. We all need friends we can count on, especially when adversity and aloneness strikes. But equally important, we need to BE that kind of friend. Are you?????

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Many years ago, I think about 1980, I vividly remember the Lord making it clear to me that I was a poor listener…I was a fairly new Christian, still had my business in Pitman, people in and out all the time…many of them needy and wanting someone to show some interest in what was on their mind. The store had a small “sitting “ area, two comfortable chairs, coffee table, it was a warm and inviting area. I found people coming into the store to talk…sharing problems with me, and not always looking for me to miraculously give them an answer. Sometimes I could give them “something to go on”…from Scripture. Most of the time, they only needed someone to listen. God made that abundantly clear to me, as well as making it clear I was to “learn” to listen. It took some doing, but I did it. Amazing how the Holy Spirit can signal to you in your inner man,…”shut up Lynne, just listen!” At times I just felt a “check”…and kept quiet. That learning experience served me well as I began prison ministry, mainly doing counseling. Listening to prisoners stories many times defied any kind of answer I could come up with! Then I realized, I didn’t need to have an answer, just listen and point them to the Scripture after I had made sure they had a relationship with the Lord…couldn’t have them reading someone else’s mail! Most of their stories were incredible, and they weren’t looking for answers, just some understanding and even more important, forgiveness. If I didn’t actually listen, there is no way I could really hear their cry for mercy and forgiveness. And, as God’s worker, that was right up my alley. I knew the One who could meet those needs, and could help us make sense of this man’s life. In reality, most answers are in the Scripture, but it is necessary to KNOW the book, as well as the Author.

Poor listeners range from the impatient type, (“that’s nothing, wait ‘til you hear what I’ve done), to the person who’s so absorbed in their own thoughts, they are not even aware somebody’s spoken. Learning to listen actively and constructively is as important as learning to speak, if your communication is to be effective.


1. A gossip talks about others

2. A  bore talks about himself

3. But…a wise man talks to you, about you, then listens to what you  have to say

When you’re a good listener, not only will people seek you out, you’ll grow wiser and win friends too.