Pages

RSS Feed

Friday, March 29, 2019

The Power of a Focused Life

In review of Proverbs 21:5 it says, “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty” (NLT).

Today’s verse is from Proverbs 21. It reminds me to plan carefully so that I will have plenty; hasty actions or acting too quickly on my part, will result in my not having enough.

The faithful completion of my mundane tasks is a great accomplishment. Such work is patiently carried out according to a plan. Diligence takes some work. I’m reminded (just like in the story of the Tortoise and the Hare) that steady plodding brings prosperity; hasty speculation, action or shortcuts brings poverty. Diligence it is a result of strong character. Therefore I should never look for quick and easy answers. I need to strive to be a diligent servant of God.

If I want God to use me in great ways, I need focus. The more focused I am, the more effective I’ll be, and the more God will use me.

There’s awesome power in a focused life. Diffused light doesn’t have much of an effect on what it touches. But when I focus light, such as the rays of the sun through a magnifying glass, I can ignite a piece of paper or grass. If I can focus it even more, it becomes a laser. A laser can cut through steel and destroy cancer.

What I’m learning is that the same is true with my life. If I’m directionless, I’ll just drift through without much impact. But if I focus on a few key goals, then I can make a powerful impact on the world for God.

The Bible says, “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty” (Proverbs 21:5 NLT).

One of the great examples of focus in the Bible is the story in Genesis 24. God had promised to create a great nation through Abraham’s own family. But Abraham was getting old, and his son, Isaac, still didn’t have any kids. He wasn’t even married yet. So Abraham gave his servant a goal of finding a wife for his son. Abraham told his servant, “Don’t get a wife from the Canaanites, who live around here. Go back to my country, to the land of my relatives, and find a wife for Isaac.”

Like all good goals, the servant’s goal was clear. He knew he needed to find Isaac a wife, and he knew exactly what kind of wife to look for. He needed to find a wife from Abraham’s homeland. I’ll never reach a vague goal because I’ll never know if I’ve completed it. Abraham’s servant didn’t have that problem.

For example, if my goal is to be a better grandparent, that’s vague. Even if I set the goal of spending more time with them, I’ll never really know if I’ve completed the goal.

But if I commit to spending an hour every Sunday afternoon, that’s specific. I’ll know whether or not I’ve completed it. Those kinds of goals are the ones that can change my life.

So what specific goal will I set for myself as I pursue a more focused life?

Bottom line:
Steady plodding will bring prosperity; hasty speculation brings poverty.

What this means to me:
If I plan carefully I will have plenty; if I act too quickly, I'll never have enough.

In summary, I need to plan carefully and not be hasty or quick acting. Steady plodding bring prosperity. Diligence is a result of strong character. To be used, I need to focus. Focus will bring power, diffusion will not have much effect. Being directionless, means that I just drift. Focus will have an impact.

Today I need to be intentional and specific about things I want to accomplish, i.e. being a good steward of the financial resources God has entrusted me, taking better care of my body and health, making a difference to those around me. Father I pray this morning for your guidance and wisdom in these areas. Help me to be specific in goal setting. Help me to accomplish some items I have had on the back burner for a while such as getting our “wills” in place. I thank you for today and the day off I have. Help me make the best of it. This I pray in your Son Jesus name, amen!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Training My Mind to Remember God

In review of Galatians 2:20 it says, “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (NLT).

Today’s verse is from Galatians 2. In it Paul confronts Peter. He tells Peter that he has been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

I have Christ's resurrection power as I continue to fight sin. I am no longer alone, for Christ lives in me, his is my power for living and my hope for the future.

As I train my mind to remember God, the Bible reminds me to “pray all the time” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 The Message).

How is it possible to do this? What I’m learning is that one way is to use “breath prayers” throughout the day, as many Christians have done for centuries. I choose a brief sentence or a simple phrase that can be repeated to Jesus in one breath: “You are with me.” “I receive your grace.” “I’m depending on you.” “I want to know you.” “I belong to you.” “Help me trust you.”

I can also use a short phrase of Scripture: “For me, to live is Christ.” “You will never leave me.” “You are my God.”

Pray it as often as possible so it becomes rooted deep in my heart. Just be sure that I’m motivated to honor God, not trying to manipulate him into doing my bidding.

Practicing the presence of God is a skill, a habit I can develop. Just as musicians practice scales every day in order to play beautiful music with ease, I can learn how to think about God at different times in my day. I can train my mind to remember God.

At first I will need to create reminders to regularly bring my thoughts back to the awareness that God is with me in that moment. Begin by placing visual reminders around me. I might post little notes that say, “God is with me and for me right now!”

However, If I’m seeking an experience of his presence through all of this, I would have missed the point. I can’t praise God to feel good but rather to do good. My goal is not a feeling but a continual awareness that God is always present. That is the lifestyle of worship.

Bottom Line:
Our old ways and sin have been crucified with Christ, so now we can live by our faith in him who loved and gave himself for us.

What this means to me:
My sin and old ways were crucified with Christ. Christ now lives in me and I live by faith in him who love me so much that he gave himself for me.

In summary, Peter reminds me that I have been crucified with Christ and no longer live for myself, for Christ lives in me. I now live by faith in the Son of God, who loved and gave himself up for me. I have his power for living and the hope for my future. I can train myself to remember God by praying all the time through breath prayers or short phrases of scripture. I just need to be sure that I'm motivated to honor God and not trying to manipulate him into doing my bidding. I don't praise God to feel good, but rather to do good. My goal should not be a feeling, but a continual awareness that God is always present.

Thank you Father this morning for the reminder that Christ lives in me and my life is not my own but rather doing what he would do to serve and help others. It’s not about me feeling good, but rather an awareness that you are with me. I pray this morning for your wisdom and guidance in my tasks / work items, in leading my team and in my interaction with others. This I pray through your Son Jesus name, amen!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

God’s Goodness Lasts Forever

In review of Psalm 23:6 it says, “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (NIV).

Today’s verse from the last part of Psalm 23. It reminds me of that God’s goodness and unfailing kindness shall be with me all of my life, and afterwards I will live with God forever in his home.

As a believer who has committed his life to God, I will get to dwell with him forever. God is the perfect shepherd who promises to guide and protect me throughout my life and into eternity.

Of all the benefits of God’s goodness, only one lasts beyond my life on Earth. The final verse of Psalm 23 expresses the ultimate example of God’s goodness: “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6 NIV).

That means I don’t have to fear death, because death is not the end. God saves the best for last. Even if I have a tough life here on Earth, if I have asked Jesus Christ to save me, I will dwell forever in the house of the Lord, where there’s no more sorrow, suffering, sin, sickness, sadness, problems, pain, and no more pressure. Heaven is unbelievable. God’s glory is waiting there for me.

It is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:5-7).

Everything I’ve seen in movies about Heaven is probably wrong. First, Heaven is not nirvana, a dream, or a metaphorical attitude. Heaven is a physical place, not a state of being. It’s a permanent place that will last forever. And it is reserved for only God’s family.

Heaven is also not boring! We see a glimpse of Heaven in Revelation 21, where we learn that we won’t just veg out and do nothing for eternity. A lot of the stuff I do here on Earth is what I’ll be able to do in Heaven. I’ll be able to eat in Heaven but not gain weight, I’ll be able to sleep in Heaven, I’ll party in Heaven, talk, fellowship, pray, and sing, just to name a few. Heaven was created for me.

There are only two things that I do on Earth that I won’t do in Heaven. In Heaven, I can’t sin, and I can’t witness to a nonbeliever about Christ’s love and forgiveness, because only God’s children are there. That’s why, once I became a believer, God does not take me instantly to Heaven. He wants me to pass on the Good News of salvation and grace. The only reason I’m going to Heaven is because somebody told me about the Gospel. Now it’s my turn to tell others.

There is so much to look forward to in Heaven. We will worship God forever. We will be reunited with those who love Jesus. We will be rewarded for our faith, hope, and love. We will be assigned work that we enjoy doing.

What an awesome promise. What a good God!

Bottom Line:
He offers goodness and unfailing kindness and gives the opportunity to be with him forever.

What this means to me:
His goodness and unfailing kindness will be present in my life her on earth and in eternity.

In summary, God's goodness and unfailing kindness shall be with me all of my life. I will get to dwell with him forever in heaven. God is the perfect shepherd who promises to guide and protect me throughout my life and into eternity. There are only two things that I do on Earth that I won't be able to do in heaven. One is sin and the other is to witness to non believers.

Father thank you for your kindness, guidance and leadership and your ultimate gift of me being able to live forever with you. Today Father I ask you again for your wisdom and guidance in how I handle what has been entrusted to me, with work, leadership and even how I interact with others. I pray this through your Son Jesus name, amen!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

When God Appoints Me, He Anoints Me

In review of 1 Thessalonians 5:24 it says, “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it” (NIV).

Today’s verse is from 1 Thessalonians 5. In it I’m reminded that the one who is calling me is faithful and will do what is needed.

God never asks me to do something without providing what I need to do it. Anointing is a sign of God’s equipping me to fulfill an assignment he’s given me. When he gives me an assignment, a plan, or a strategy, he is going to empower me.

Just as a lamp won’t shine unless it’s plugged in, my light won’t shine unless I’m plugged into my power source. I cannot fulfill the purpose I was created for apart from the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 NIV).

If I want God’s power to work through my life, I need to understand what it means to have his anointing and keep a few things in mind.

When God says to do it, I can count on his anointing. Jesus’ last assignment to his disciples was impossible. There was no way they could possibly take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. It could only happen through his power. God will often give me an assignment that looks physically impossible, but he will make it possible. “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24 NIV).

God’s anointing makes difficult tasks easier. My resources are limited. My energy is limited. My knowledge is limited. My wisdom is limited. My talent is limited. God’s is not. With God’s anointing, I can handle things better, last longer, and go farther. “I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources [God] will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit” (Ephesians 3:16 NLT).

God’s anointing makes the impossible possible. In my business, marriage, health, and relationships, I’m going to come up against insurmountable problems. God is a competent Father. He can handle any problem I give him. Nothing is beyond his ability or his resources.
What is impossible for people is possible with God” (Luke 18:27 NIV).

God anoints my life to bless others. Jesus came to comfort the afflicted, the broken-hearted, those who are enslaved to habits, those who don’t know how to get out of debt, and those who are blind. And he anoints me to comfort others as well. “Jesus arrived from Nazareth, anointed by God with the Holy Spirit, ready for action. He went through the country helping people and healing everyone who was beaten down by the Devil. He was able to do all this because God was with him” (Acts 10:38 The Message).

For every new challenge, I’ll need fresh power from God. Anointing by the Holy Spirit cannot be stored up. I cannot handle today’s problems with yesterday’s anointing. I certainly can’t handle the problems I’m going to have tomorrow, next week, and next year with yesterday’s anointing. I need to stay in touch with God so that he can constantly fill me with his grace, love, and power. Ask for God’s anointing again. James 4:2 says, “You do not have, because you do not ask God” (NIV).

Bottom Line:
God is faithful, he will help because he is faithful.

What this means to me:
God who called me to become his child, will provide for me, just as he has promised to.

In summary, the one who me is faithful and will do what is needed. God will never ask me to do something without providing me with what I need to do it. I need the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit to fulfill the purpose I was created for. God anoints my life to bless others. He anoints me to comfort others. I need to stay in touch with God so that he can constantly fill me with his grace, love, and power.

I thank you Father for the reminder that you want to accomplish things through me, things that will be a blessing and a help to others. I pray this morning that I realize these times and opportunities when they arise. I also ask for you to fill me with your wisdom and guidance as I handle my work tasks, lead my team and interact with others. I pray this through your son Jesus name, amen!

Monday, March 25, 2019

Do I Have a Shortage or a Surplus Mindset?

In review of Psalm 23:5-6 it says, “My cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life” (NIV).

Psalm 23:5-6
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

God offers his protection even as enemies surround us. Those who are believers will dwell with him forever. He promises to guide and protect us throughout our lives and will welcome us as guests in his house forever.

Is my life overflowing? Like most people, my life may be overflowing, but not with goodness. I have overbooked my calendar, overspent my money, overloaded my emotions, overworked my body, overcrowded my days, and overvalued the approval of others. As a result, I’ve wound up overstressed, overanxious, and overwhelmed, and I’m over it! As a result I’m far from experiencing the goodness of God.

Why do I let myself get overextended? Often the fear of missing out motivates me to do more. But the truth is I’m not missing out on anything when I rest in the goodness and provision of God.

God wants to move me from being overwhelmed to overflowing. He wants to meet all my needs, and he can! First, I need to recognize two fundamentally different approaches to life that either keep me from or bring me into God’s abundance. I can approach life with a shortage mindset or a surplus mindset.

With a shortage mindset, I constantly think, “I don’t have enough time. I don’t have enough money. I don’t have enough energy. I don’t have enough contacts, opportunities, knowledge, education, or whatever.” It’s the sense that I’m always a day late and a dollar short. A shortage mindset focuses on my limited resources, and the result is an overwhelmed life.

A surplus mindset focuses on God’s limitless resources, and the result is an overflowing life.

Think of God’s provision like this: God doesn’t give me one pie. He’s a pie factory! He’ll never run out. The Bible includes words like abundance, plentiful, abounding, and bountiful to describe what God has to offer me. God has more than enough to meet all my needs and everybody else’s needs at the same time.

Jesus said, “I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of” (John 10:10 The Message).

I don’t have to worry about running short of anything, because God is the source of my life. He can turn on one faucet and turn off another. I can lose one job, and he can provide another. He wants to fill me beyond capacity with an endless supply of his goodness, joy, blessing, hope, and peace.

Bottom Line:
God provides for us when the odds are against us. He fills us with his blessing. He promises goodness and his unfailing love as we follow him.

What this means to me:
God provides for me even in when people and things are against me. He anoints me and fills me full of blessings. Because I follow him, his goodness and unfailing will be part of my life here and in eternity.

In summary, my life overflows with his blessings. His goodness and unfailing love even pursues me. After all, I will get to live in his house forever. He promises to guide and protect me. Currently my life may be overflowing, but with the wrong stuff, its an overbooked calendar, emotions, body, and overvalued approval of others. This bring only stress anxiousness and feelings of being overwhelmed. God wants me to move from being overwhelmed to overflowing. In this life I can approach it with a shortage or surplus mindset. In a shortage mindset, I'm constantly thinking I don't have enough . A shortage mindset focuses on my limited resources, which results in an overwhelmed life. A surplus mindset focuses on God's limitless resources which result in an overflowing life. God wants to fill my beyond capacity with an endless supply of his goodness, joy, blessing, hope and peace.

Father thank you for the reminder of how my mindset and outlook on life is holding me back from truly enjoying your overflowing blessings. Today I pray that I can keep this in mind as I approach my days. I also ask for your wisdom and guidance in handling my work tasks, in leading my team, and in my interactions with others. These things I ask and pray in your Son Jesus name, amen!

Choose Holiness over Happiness

In review of James 1:14-15 it reminds me that “ We are tempted when we are drawn away and trapped by our own evil desires . Then our evil d...