Closing The Door?

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:13-14

“Yesterday’s a closing door. You don’t live there anymore. Say goodbye to where you’ve been. And tell your heart to beat again.” – Tell Your Heart To Beat Again (Danny Gokey).

As I am nearing my birthday, I have been thinking about my life, been thinking about people and situations that didn’t work out.

This is the time of year that I reflect and create new goals for the upcoming year. Only my mind kept going back to people, to places, in my past. Things that I cannot change. We have to close the door on the past. If those people are supposed to be in our lives, God will send them back. If those situations need to be revisited, God will cause that to happen.

We have trust that those people, those situations, are in the past for a reason…at least for now. God knows what is best for us. God knows what would happen down the road. God knows better than we do. He sees farther than we do.

We cannot move forward with our foot stuck in the past. We cannot move forward because we are wearing the ball and chain of the past.

No matter what happened in the past, if you are still breathing, God has a plan, a purpose, for your life (Jeremiah 29:11), but, in order to fulfill it, you must move forward.

The past has passed. There is nothing we can do to change it, alter it, in anyway. It is done. Completed. We cannot never go back.

Instead we have to focus on now. What are we going to choose to do now to change our future? What are we going to do differently so that we don’t make the same mistakes? We cannot change the past. We can, however, alter our future by the decisions we make today.

#Christian #past #letgo #future #Jeremiah2911

Accept The Challenge?

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

I am not a still person. Even when I am watching television, I am working on my computer. I am adding photos to my online store, or I am reading articles on how to make more sales.

When I am at work, I am listening to audiobooks or podcasts. I am never still. Even when I am asleep, I move all over the bed.

In Psalm 46:10, though, God tells us to be still. Be still. Cease from work. There is a time for work. There is a time to be still. When we have done all we know to do, then we need to stand (Ephesians 6:13). We need to rest, knowing that God is control, and He will turn our situations around for our good (Romans 8:28).

Too many times we will continue on the course that we have been on, struggling with the same problems we have been dealing with for years. We do the same thing, expecting different results. That is the definition of insanity.

Let’s do something different. Let’s get still. Go out to the lake. Go outside in the backyard. Go inside your closet. Anywhere that is your safe place, that place of serene and calm for you. Then sit, quiet your mind and listen.

Keep doing this for at least five minutes every day. It will become easier as you practice it, but do it consistently. Keep a notebook nearby. The more you do this, the more solutions will come to you.

I challenge you to do this with me for thirty days. When we are done, we will share our results below.

Concerned Much?

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, – Luke 4:18 (NIV)

We are always concerned with our lives.  We are concerned with our work, our goals, our spouse, our kids, but have you ever wondered what God is concerned with?  Have you ever thought about what moves the heart of God?  What your role is?  Why you were put on this Earth?

We think that God must be turning a blind eye to the condition of our world, that God doesn’t care or that He is punishing us for our sins.  Only God was so concerned with the condition of this world that He sent His Son to take our sins, to give us the escape Clause to be in right standing with Himself (II Corinthians 5:21).

God is concerned that people are not hearing about His Son, that they are not receiving Him, that they have turned their back on Him.  He is concerned with the suffering of the world–spiritually, physically, emotionally, mentally and financially.  God is concerned with everything that goes on in this world.

Why doesn’t He intervene then?  He did.  He sent His Son to die for our sins, to pay the price for all mankind’s sin forever.  It has been paid in full, but people don’t accept that they are sinners.  They don’t accept that there is a God who loves them.  They call Him a fairy tale.

A fairy tale can’t heal, save, deliver or protect you.  A fairy tale cannot love you or guide you in times of trouble.  I have experienced God’s miracle-working Power too much to believe He is a fairy tale.

He sent you to Earth to be His hands, to be light in the darkness.   He sent us all to be His hands, to be light. Yet instead of being concerned about our fellow human beings, we have our heads stuck in our phones and are fighting the wrong batttes. We are focusing on what is wrong with this world, being offended by everyone and everything.

We need to focus on solutions and how we can help our fellow human beings, how we can help the single mother with two children instead of condemning her, how we can help those who are going to bed hungry, those who are living in mansions but are heartbroken.

We are called to be the solution, to use our talents and gifts to be the solution to the problems in this dark world.

Ask God how He wants you to help bring light to this dark world today.

#light #solutions #battles #hands

 

 

 

 

Who Has The Final Say?

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” – Revelation 22:13 (KJV).

Six months ago,  I went in for a routine physical.   The doctor did an EKG.  He saw something minor on it, and he decided I needed to see a cardiologist.

I am not denying that he saw something, but I also know my God has the final say.  I know my God says He will quicken my mortal body (Romans 8:11).

Our circumstances may indicate that we are going down or that our situation is impossible, but our God has the final say.

He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End (Revelation 22:13).  He has the final say on everything in our lives.

Sick?  Believe what He says about healing in the Bible, that by Jesus’ stripes, you are healed (Isaiah 53:4-5, I Peter 2:24),  that you are healed in this body, your mortal body (Romans 8:11).

In debt?  Believe that He supplies all your need (Philippians 4:19).

Need more business?  Believe that He has pleasure in prospering His servants (Psalm 35:27), that He will teach you to profit (Isaiah 48:17).

Child ran away?  Marriage crumbling?  Need a miracle?  Believe that nothing is impossible for God (Luke 1:37, Matthew 19:26) and that He is turning everything around for your good (Romans 8:28).

The moment you are hit with the reality of your situation, you have to decide who you are going to believe.   Are you going to believe what you see and what you hear from experts, or are you going to believe God’s Word?

I am not suggesting you deny the facts or not to seek earthly help.  Just make sure that you are believing God and what His Word says as well.

Whose report are you going to believe?  Humans who are fallible, or God who isn’t?

Let God’s Word have the final say in your circumstances today.

#circumstances #miracles #believe

Why Not?

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. – James 1:5-6

This is my year of “Why Not?” At the beginning of the year, I vowed whenever an opportunity came my way to say “Why Not?”

Put together a course on painting? Why not?

Paint on Facebook Live? Why not?

Apply for a promotion? Uh wait! What? No way! I can’t do that. I am not qualified for that.

We cannot be inconsistent in our faith. We have to be steady, steadfast, knowing that it is not us but Jesus.

Jesus promotes us (Psalm 75:6). Jesus qualifies us (Romans 8:30). Jesus gives us everything we need (Philippians 4:19).

We somehow think we have to do everything in our own strength, that we have to do everything ourselves.

When we think that way, we leave God out of the equation. We are going to fail. It might not seem like it at first, but God will give us just enough rope to hang ourselves with, to make us realize our need for Him.

Only some of us are too dense to see it. We blame bad luck. We blame the economy. We blame the Powers That Be.

We need to turn back to God, to let Him help us. Without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). Nothing. We cannot do anything apart from Him.

He is the One who gives us strength, health, mobility. He is the One who gives us ideas, creativity and ability.

Just as we would take on an expert when we have a plumbing problem or an issue with our businesses, we should take on the Expert on our lives and everything involved with them and the people around us. There is no answer, big or small, that He doesn’t know the solution to.

If we need wisdom, it is free of charge. All we have to do is ask Him for it. When was the last time you ask Him for wisdom?

Make today the day you include God in everything you do, every decision you make. Ask Him for wisdom on that problem that is worrying you today.

#wisdom #God #solutions #answers #trust

 

Are You Connecting?

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5 (NIV).

Let’s take a closer look at the vine. Inside the vine, nutrients are feeding it so that it will survive. Those nutrients are flowing to the branches as well so they may bear fruit.

What happens if the branch is cut off from the vine? It dies. It cannot bear fruit apart from the vine. It must be connected to the vine to bear fruit.

The branch itself cannot bear fruit on its own. It is the vine that bears fruit through the branch.

So what does this mean? How can we apply it to our lives?

This verse says that Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches. As we have already established, branches cannot bear fruit without the vine. The vine produces fruit through the branches. The branches cannot do it on their own.

We cannot produce fruit on our own. Christ does it through us, but we have to be connected to Christ, our Power Source.

Accepting Christ is a start, but what are we doing every day to connect to Christ?

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” – Matthew 6:33 (NIV).

I stopped doing the normal prayer and devotions thing. You know where you set aside time everyday to be with God.

Instead I read a handful of Scriptures in the morning before getting out of bed from devotions I subscribed to via email. I have an ongoing conversation with God throughout my day.

Norman Vincent Peale called this “Taking God as your Partner.”

Sometimes I am angry, frustrated or just venting, but I am continually asking for His advice and help.

To connect to our Vine, Christ, it is all about connection. It is not enough to just be a Christian. We must draw on Him…on His Strength, His Mercy, His Peace, His Resources, His Love.

We need to take our eyes off us and our resources. Instead we must put our eyes on Jesus and what He did on the Cross for us, on all He died to give us.

Salvation, yes, but He took stripes on His back to heal us here on Earth (I Peter 2:24, Romans 8:11), a crown on thorns (Matthew 27:29) pierced His head to heal our mental issues, He hung on a tree to relief us of the Curse (Galatians 3:13).

Become Christ-conscious. Look to Christ as your Source. Draw on His Resources instead of yours.

Remember Philippians 4:19 (NIV): ” And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”. His Resources. Not ours.

Practice being Christ-conscious today.

 

 

What Is Your Story?

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

What stories are you telling yourself? What are those tales you tell yourself to keep you from taking the leap? From stepping out of your comfort zone?

Our stories, for the most part, are based on lies. I told myself that I wasn’t an artist because I can’t draw and my water color paintings as a child looked awful. Now I paint acrylic pour paintings. I told myself I wasn’t good at math because I struggled with algebra. Now I am a pharmacy technician where I do calculations every day.

We tell ourselves lies to keep us safe, to keep us sheltered in our cocoon. Only there is a great big world out there. A world that is waiting for what we have to offer, for our gifts and talents.

We were put on this Earth for a reason (Jeremiah 1:5, 29:11). We were given the exact gifts, talents, personality and abilities to help our fellow human beings. It is our job to go into all the world and preach the Gospel (Mark 16:15) through those gifts God bestowed us with, to let our lights shine before men (Matthew 5:16).

Only the lies we tell ourselves, those imagined fabrications, are preventing us from stepping out of our cocoon and touching our neighbors. Let alone our towns, cities and countries.

It is time for us to see those stories for what they are–lies. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). He protects us (Psalm 91), provides for us (Philippians 4:19) and helps us (Psalm 46:1) every step of the way. With Him on our side (Romans 8:31), we have nothing to fear (Psalm 112:8).

Are you going to allow your fears, those fabricated lies you tell yourself, to prevent you from doing what God called you to do? Are you going to allow them to prevent you from being who God created you to be? The choice is yours.

#challenge #lies #comfortzone #motivation #choiceisyours #destiny

What Do You Choose?

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live – Deuteronomy 30:19 (NIV).

How many decisions do you make in a day? How many do you labor over? How many do you choose without thinking about them?

Look at your life for a moment: do you like where you are? Your residence? Your source of income? Your family? Your friends? The car you drive?

Subconsciously or consciously, you made the decisions that got you to this point in your life.

I know that is a hard pill to swallow because we want to blame our parents, spouses, children, bosses, even God. Yet the responsibility for your life lies squarely in your hands.

Yes, bad things happen to you, but what you do, how you react, is totally up to you. You get to decide how events are going to affect you. Are you going to allow them to make you stronger or bitter?

Instead of blaming God, why not use your power of choice to choose to trust God to help you and to turn your tragedy into triumph, your mess into a message?

There is power in choosing. Nothing in the Christian walk is about our feelings. You walk by faith not by feelings (2 Corinthians 5:7) .

Everything from love to forgiveness is a choice. Trust is no different. Choose to trust. Choose to love. Choose to forgive. Your feelings will eventually catch up with that decision.

What is going on in your life? What parts do you want to change? Make better choices, and watch your circumstances turn around.

#choices #mind #thoughts #reactions #powerinchoice #choosegood

What Do You See?

How do we see ourselves?  Do we see ourselves as strong and confident?  Or do we see ourselves as losers, as not good enough?

How we see ourselves determines how far we will go in life.  If we see ourselves as unworthy, as failures, then we will approach life with this attitude.  Everything we touch will fail–our relationships, our businesses, our work, everything.

Why? Because we are never going to rise above the picture we have of ourselves.

How do we change that picture?

By meditating on the good about us and not the bad.  If we continue to play the same record in our head about how bad we are, about how we never get the breaks in life, about how unfair life has been to us, we are going to get more of the same.

What we focus on is going to happen in our lives.

Let’s instead focus on the good about us in Christ:

We are in right standing with God through Jesus (II Corinthians 5:21).  As long as Christ’s Sacrifice is acceptable, we will remain righteous through Christ.

We are accepted (Ephesians 1:6).

We are justified (Romans 5:1-2).

We are loved by God (John 3:16, Romans 5:8).

We were created for a purpose (Jeremiah 29:11).

We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).

Everything our hands touch prospers (Deuteronomy 28:8).

When we focus on who we are in Christ, the more we will see ourselves being the people God created us to be.  We will see what God says about us happening in our lives.

This won’t happen overnight.  It won’t happen in a day or week.  We have to continually meditate on what God says about us.  We can store those Scriptures in our phones, so we rehearse them while waiting at the grocery store, while on hold, in the morning, before bed.  We could also put them in places around our home and office where we will see them.  We need to make meditating on them throughout the day a habit.

We can choose to think negatively about ourselves, thus feeding that negative image.  Or we can meditate on who we are in Christ and change that image, causing us to see positive changes happen in our lives.   Which will you choose?

#image #positiveimage #negativeimage #Christsimageofyou #thoughts