It’s not your parent’s fault and it’s not your kid’s fault.


Ownership. Accountability. not Blame. not Excuses. You get to choose what you are going to do. You have control of the actions you take and the decisions you make. Leave the past in the past. This morning a post I saw resonates with this as it spoke to keys.

Keys

There things that have happened in the past that have created ideas or viewpoint or memories. We need to learn from it so that it helps us act better and more responsibly. Saying that we did something because of what our parents did or said may work when we are younger, but as we get older and mature, the reality is it is our decision how we will act and respond. The same is true when looking into something, if the parents or the kids are caught doing the wrong thing, it isn’t always the case that you should blame the other. This is brought up in today’s reading when we see how the king responds in regards the murder of their father.

When he had the affairs of the kingdom well in hand, he executed the palace guard who had assassinated his father the king. But he didn’t kill the sons of the assassins—he was mindful of what God commanded in The Revelation of Moses, that parents shouldn’t be executed for their childrens’ sins, nor children for their parents’. We each pay personally for our sins. — 2 Chronicles 25

So as you consider where you are at today, where will you turn for help? Do you have wise council who you can turn to or hear from? Will you try to get it done with human power, or will you turn to God and seek His miraculous power? Let’s not try to get it done in our own power, but let’s allow God to be the key ingredient to what we need to do and get done. I know that I can only succeed if God helps me. He has allowed a large amount to be placed before me, but I know that He is bigger than it all. I know that even before it all showed up, He had a plan for getting it done. Nothing surprises God. Setbacks are just a setup for comeback. Challenges are able to help build our faith by seeing what and how God will work through it. Fear Not, Just Believe! In today’s reading, we hear such advice to the king:

7-8A holy man showed up and said, “No, O King—don’t let those northern Israelite soldiers into your army; God is not on their side, nor with any of the Ephraimites. Instead, you go by yourself and be strong. God and God only has the power to help or hurt your cause.”
9But Amaziah said to the holy man, “But what about all this money—these tons of silver I have already paid out to hire these men?”
“God’s help is worth far more to you than that,” said the holy man.
10So Amaziah fired the soldiers he had hired from the north and sent them home. They were very angry at losing their jobs and went home seething.
11-12But Amaziah was optimistic. He led his troops into the Valley of Salt and killed ten thousand men of Seir. They took another ten thousand as prisoners, led them to the top of the Rock, and pushed them off a cliff. They all died in the fall, smashed on the rocks.  — 2 Chronicles 25:7-12

Others may not respect or respond well to your obedience to God’s wisdom and direction, but keep your hope and trust in God for the battle in the end belongs to Him. Don’t take up parts of your victory and lift it up, give God all the glory. Don’t turn your back on God or you are setting yourself up for a fall – pride comes before the fall. Be a humble servant of God and allow your life to shine for Him. Jesus reminds us of that when He spoke:

“I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him. You’ve even seen him!” — John 14:6

We see how the pride of victory affected the king.

14-15On his return from the destruction of the Edomites, Amaziah brought back the gods of the men of Seir and installed them as his own gods, worshiping them and burning incense to them. That ignited God’s anger; a fiery blast of God’s wrath put into words by a God-sent prophet: “What is this? Why on earth would you pray to inferior gods who couldn’t so much as help their own people from you—gods weaker than Amaziah?”
16Amaziah interrupted him, “Did I ask for your opinion? Shut up or get thrown out!”
The prophet quit speaking, but not before he got in one last word: “I have it on good authority: God has made up his mind to throw you out because of what you’ve done, and because you wouldn’t listen to me.” — 2 Chronicles 25:14-16

I have heard it said that the biggest challenge in life is success. God doesn’t call us to success, but to faithfulness is another nugget I have received in my reading and following of Os Hillman and his TGIF devotional.

What will it take to get your attention? What will it take for you to get real? What will it take for you to see the reality of the situation? Don’t be blinded by pride! Don’t be living the lie.

18-19Jehoash king of Israel replied to Amaziah king of Judah, “One day a thistle in Lebanon sent word to a cedar in Lebanon, ‘Give your daughter to my son in marriage.’ But then a wild animal of Lebanon passed by and stepped on the thistle, crushing it. Just because you’ve defeated Edom in battle, you now think you’re a big shot. Go ahead and be proud, but stay home. Why press your luck? Why bring defeat on yourself and Judah?”
20-22Amaziah wouldn’t take no for an answer—God had already decided to let Jehoash defeat him because he had defected to the gods of Edom. So Jehoash king of Israel came on ahead and confronted Amaziah king of Judah. They met at Beth Shemesh, a town of Judah. Judah was thoroughly beaten by Israel—all the soldiers straggled home in defeat. — 2 Chronicles 25:18-22

It’s important to have good counselors, good mentors, good pastors in your life to speak truth and wisdom into you. Don’t shake off the value of this but pursue God’s wisdom. Don’t forget or turn from the truth, but pursue after God’s will every day. If you turn your back on God, you are walking away from His protection and His purpose. If you walk out from under His covering and plans, you become a target. So today as you consider where you are at, ensure you are under the covering of God and within His will.

 

The biggest challenge in life is success and prosperity.


Consider all the people who appear to be successful based on many popular definitions… rich, famous, popular, … Consider how many of them we see fall or get tripped up in that success. Success isn’t the top, it is part of the journey and once you get to it, the foundation you have built gets tested. Consider those who become famous and how their marriages end up. Consider those who become rich and how their marriages end up. Consider those who become popular and how their marriages end up. Be it marriage, be it drugs, be it alcohol, be it … (pick the thing that stops, pulls down, pulls back people who have success). Some become rich and then within a couple of years are broke again (checkout lottery winners). Some become famous and then within some time their personal lives are shaken. Success isn’t easy. Success isn’t a destination. I remember a few years back going through the TGIF – Today God Is First devotional and there was a devotion on this topic. It calls out the fact that “Pride is the greatest temptation to a successful workplace minister. When we begin accumulating wealth, managing people, and becoming known for our workplace expertise, we are most susceptible to falling to the most devious sin in God’s eyes — pride.” – Os Hillman

God’s Word speaks to this truth and warning in Deuteronomy:

17-18If you start thinking to yourselves, “I did all this. And all by myself. I’m rich. It’s all mine!”—well, think again. Remember that God, your God, gave you the strength to produce all this wealth so as to confirm the covenant that he promised to your ancestors—as it is today.
19-20If you forget, forget God, your God, and start taking up with other gods, serving and worshiping them, I’m on record right now as giving you firm warning: that will be the end of you; I mean it—destruction. You’ll go to your doom—the same as the nations God is destroying before you; doom because you wouldn’t obey the Voice of God, your God. — Deut 8:17-20

My reading this morning that got me started in this blog starts off with the statement “The Money Has Gone to Your Head“. This all comes down to our foundation. What are we standing for? What are we standing on? What is our rock? What is our foundation? What is our cornerstone in life? Do we understand who the source of every good and perfect thing is? Do we understand that we only have it because He gave it to us? Do we? It’s not because we are all that. It’s not because we are so good. It’s not because we are so good looking. It’s not because we are so popular. It’s not because of us and the sooner we see and realize that the sooner we can look to avoid the pitfalls of PRIDE. Pride, the word that comes before the fall. As I was trying to find the link about the challenge of success, I came across some other devotionals that align with some of my statements here too: The Proper FoundationGod’s TestsObedience-Based Decisions Versus Skill and AbilityFinding The Will Of Godand many more… looking for a great devotional, check out http://TodayGodIsFirst.com.

If you have all the wealth in the world, is that really going to be enough? Is earthly wealth really going to be enough to satisfy you? Isn’t life really more than just wealth? Isn’t life really more than just me, me, me? Don’t let success get to your head. Don’t let it rob you of true joy. Don’t let it rob you of the incredible position that God has put you in to be able to be a blessing to others. You have been blessed, so what will you do with it? Will  you use it wisely? Will you it to be a blessing? Will you make it about others? Be wise, invest, multiply it, but it’s not about how much more can you make, but what can you do with what God has given you. Are you willing to walk aligned with God’s will? Are you willing to be obedient to what He asks you to do with what He has given you? Consider the trust it takes to live on 90% of your earnings. Consider how you are showing your trust in God by giving Him the best, the first 10% of what you get. Consider the faith it takes to to really trust God. His Word is filled with wisdom. His Spirit is with us and if we will be walking in relationship with God, the Spirit will guide us and lead us, instruct us and correct us so that we can keep in steps with God’s will and God’s plan for our lives.

So check your pride at the door. Imagine if you “made it” to what you think is the top and then received this message:

“You had everything going for you.
You were in Eden, God’s garden.
You were dressed in splendor,
your robe studded with jewels:
Carnelian, peridot, and moonstone,
beryl, onyx, and jasper,
Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald,
all in settings of engraved gold.
A robe was prepared for you
the same day you were created.
You were the anointed cherub.
I placed you on the mountain of God.
You strolled in magnificence
among the stones of fire.
From the day of your creation
you were sheer perfection . . .
and then imperfection—evil!—was detected in you.
In much buying and selling
you turned violent, you sinned!
I threw you, disgraced, off the mountain of God.
I threw you out—you, the anointed angel-cherub.
No more strolling among the gems of fire for you!
Your beauty went to your head.
You corrupted wisdom
by using it to get worldly fame.
I threw you to the ground,
sent you sprawling before an audience of kings
and let them gloat over your demise.
By sin after sin after sin,
by your corrupt ways of doing business,
you defiled your holy places of worship.
So I set a fire around and within you.
It burned you up. I reduced you to ashes.
All anyone sees now
when they look for you is ashes,
a pitiful mound of ashes.
All who once knew you
now throw up their hands:
‘This can’t have happened!
This has happened!’” — Ezekiel 28:6-19

Is money bad? No, having money isn’t bad and as God’s Word says it is the love of money that is the root of all evil. Is being famous bad? No, being raised up to a high position allows you the opportunity to speak the truth, the love, the hope of God into the lives of those around you. If you build relationships, it opens doors where you can speak the love of Jesus into their lives and be an ambassador for the most High God, the one true God. Is being popular bad? No, it allows you to be able to speak into the lives of others. It draws others to you and if you point others to the way, the truth, and the life for their is no other way to the Father. It’s the intent. It’s what is in you heart. Where are you at today?

Let’s focus on being a light that stands for something. Let’s reflect the light of the Sun. Let’s not be rockets that just fly into the sky and explode. They are nice during celebrations and then they are gone. They are temporary, yes our time on earth is temporary, however, we are eternal beings and as such we have to decide where we will spend eternity. Do you want to spend it with God or apart from God? Do you want to celebrate eternity in Heaven with God? It’s all about choices. God is the God of second chances. You reading this? Then it’s not too late for you. You can still turn back to God. You can take what you have and where you are and turn back to God and align with His plans and purposes for your life. Is today your day? Is today the day you stop walking and trying to do it all on your own and you ask Jesus to come into your heart and help turn your life around? To live for His plans and purposes? He’s given you everything you have. He’s got plans for every talent you have. He’s got plans for every gift He’s given you. What are you going to do? Has it all gone to your head? Is the pride of life getting you off track?

Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity. — 1 John 2:15-17

When people think of you, what do they remember? 

Are you someone who has been pouring into the lives of others? Are you someone who have been taking out of the lives of others? Are you someone who is uplifting? Are you someone who is a drain and pulling them down? Are you some who gives handouts or someone who gives a hand up? One is fire and forget…One is I care enough to get involved, to reach out and help.

I like my daily reading plan. Each day ends with a Psalm. Today being day 192, I read from Psalm 42. Are you feeling down today? Are you feeling sad or depressed? Not sure what to do or where to turn? Psalm speaks right to it as I remember days of doubt and despair, days of betrayal and lies, but this was a reminder to me not to give up.

5Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God—
soon I’ll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face.
He’s my God.
6-8When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse
everything I know of you,
From Jordan depths to Hermon heights,
including Mount Mizar.
Chaos calls to chaos,
to the tune of whitewater rapids.
Your breaking surf, your thundering breakers
crash and crush me.
Then God promises to love me all day,
sing songs all through the night!
My life is God’s prayer.
9-10Sometimes I ask God, my rock-solid God,
“Why did you let me down?
Why am I walking around in tears,
harassed by enemies?”
They’re out for the kill, these
tormentors with their obscenities,
Taunting day after day,
“Where is this God of yours?”
11Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God—
soon I’ll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face.
He’s my God. — Psalm 42:5-11

Greater things are yet to come.


You know where you are now and you have hopes and dreams for the future. Don’t allow fear to keep you from the greater things that God has planned for you. Don’t allow the fears and the cares of this world paralyze you from realizing the incredible things that are yet to come.

Forgiveness is a powerful experience. I remember shortly after having been freed from a period of bitterness and frustration having a conversation with God and He asked me if I had asked for forgiveness around a situation many years earlier. I hadn’t because I didn’t think the other person would even be aware of what took place, but pick up the question and followed through. I setup a meeting to discuss it with this person and when I brought it up they couldn’t remember it but they were cute in their response, “I don’t remember this. So that we can move on, I forgive you”. God is so gracious and able to restore, renew, and build up relationships and friendships when we are willing to step out and do what He asks us to do.

Where are you at today? Are you taking accountability for what you have done? Life’s not supposed to be a he said she said thing. Life’s not supposed to be a tit for tat. Life’s not supposed to be about getting even. Consider the situation you are stewing over today. Is there any part of it where you are at fault? You can always stand up do and what is right. It doesn’t matter what the other person does – whether they take accountability for their part or not – that’s between them and God. All we can do is our part so that we are not only reconciled with them, but also reconciled with God. Similar to when prodigal son said to His day after having messed up thinking his ways were better than what his father had planned,

The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.’ – Luke 15:21

but we see the reconciliation take place as the father receives his lost son.

“But the father wasn’t listening. He was calling to the servants, ‘Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We’re going to feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time! My son is here—given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!’ And they began to have a wonderful time. – Luke 15:22-24

So before you start pointing fingers or allowing bitterness to step in. Consider your part. Consider what God would have you do. And then with God’s wisdom and direction, go and do it and watch how things will change. I know in one my cases the biggest change took place inside of me. God is so good and so faithful in that way.

 

References:

My Prayer:

Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and an incredible Word from You. I thank You Lord for the plans You have for today and so I pray for wisdom and humility in and through it all so that with every word and with every thought and with every word, You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Have you had a life changing moment yet?


Get to a crossroad and having a life changing moment? [Leave country or leave company]

Get an ultimatum, you will be [_______] or you will be nothing, you pick? [President of a homeowners association]

To forgive or allow bitterness to control the situation? [Power of forgiveness to produce freedom]

Get a message and then changing the next step of your career? [Get out of the boat]

Or how about some examples from God’s Word that are called out in today’s devotional from TGIF:

  • Moses and the burning bush – Exodus 3:1-15
  • Joshua parting the Jordan as he was about to lead Israel into the promised land – Joshua 3
  • Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego coming out of the fiery hot furnace unharmed – Daniel 3
  • Daniel untouched in the lions’ den – Daniel 6
  • Peter walking on water – Matthew 14:22-36
  • Paul being blinded on the road to Damascus – Acts 9

There are times in our lives when something big happens and based on our decision, based on our response, based on our faith a new destiny, a new testimony, a new hope raises up in our lives. When we respond in God’s way incredible things happen.

When I was faced with the decision, the crossroad of life of having to leave the company I was working at or leave the country I grew up in, I turned to my parents and my in-laws for wisdom. As I connected with God later in life, I realized that what I had done was an incredible testimony and truth that aligned with God’s Word where in the 10 Commandments, we read:

12Honor your father and mother so that you’ll live a long time in the land that God, your God, is giving you. – Exodus 20:12

When I was faced with the prompting of my spirit to step up but didn’t feel that I was ready, God made sure I knew what was at stake with the ultimatum of “you will be president or you will be nothing”. Not wanting to be nothing, I stepped up and allowed God’s will to happen. With all that took place from that point forward, the Lord not only guided me through the tough road ahead in rebuilding the team who were staffed to support the community, but also in setting up the right infrastructure to help the association grow and move forward.

When I faced a time when it was feeling like everything was going wrong, that people were cheating me, lying to me, setting me up, … I ended up allowing a bitter root to get in me. It took a lot of time but one day when I was concerned about something else, God opened my eyes and spoke me through the song 7×70 on the radio and then the journey to my off-ramp from the highway we walked through me forgiving everyone who had hurt me and then the message that came to me was “as you forgive others so I will forgive you” and so I asked God to forgive me for being stubborn and bitter rather than doing things His way which He kept reminding me of every night on my way home with every song that spoke right to my very day. As I pulled off the highway, I was a changed man. It was all gone. The weight on my shoulders. The bitterness that had been in my heart was uprooted. All of it was gone and I was transformed by God’s grace and mercy which reminds me somewhat of Paul’s story when he was Saul and what it took to get his attention and to transform his heart.

When after nearly 20 years, my morning devotional spoke of Peter getting out of the boat, I asked God (since my morning readings tend to speak about where I am at) if the company I was working for was the boat and if I was supposed to get out and if so, if God could let me know what side. He was clear when a text arrived almost immediately that spoke to my heart “Get out of the boat” so I started my journey to determine which side and on that day when I knew and was going to step out, God encouraged me through His Word again with the message of Job 42:12, that the second half of my life was going to be twice as good as the first.

 

Where are you at today? Have you had a life changing event in your life? Are you at point in the journey where it is a preparation stage? Where ever you are in your journey, the key to getting to experience and live it out is to trust God and walk in a relationship with Him. As you notice above each of mind pointed me to the next turn in my journey and I know from the Job 42:12 that my journey isn’t over yet. With each fork in the road I learned an important lesson and have been able to carry that with me to move forward with God. Honor your parents. Nothing is too big for God. Forgiveness is the key to true freedom. God’s ways are best and His timing is perfect.

References:

My Prayer:

Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for the incredible life You have given me with the incredible blessing of a wife that loves you, with incredible children who are wanting to pursue after you, with friends who are there for me and allow me to be there for them. As I look forward today Lord grant me wisdom for every conversation and situation. Help me Lord to speak love in truth and hope for those around me. Help me to be a light that shines for Your glory I pray. And may every thought, word, and action, bring You praise, honor, and glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

What motivates you?


Is it the past? Is it the future? Is it a need? Is it a desire? Is it a purpose? Is it a plan? Is it a crisis? Is it faith? Is it fear? Is it trust? Is it doubt?

Why do you do what you do? What makes you want to? What holds you back? What makes you stop when you feel you should start?

Do you have someone you turn to? Do you have someone you trust?

There is something inside us that prompts us to step up or to step out. There is a check inside of us that tries to get us to look up to the source of every good and perfect gift. It usually kicks off with a need of some sort and when you have a need, where do you turn? what do you do? I turn to God and ask for help. Help being wisdom. Help being courage. Help being favor. Help being strength. Help being vision. Help being what I need in that moment.

Have you met the one who is able to help in your times of need? Have you met this Jesus who loves you so much that He gave His life on the cross in advance for everyone in an attempt to reconcile us with God from our sinful nature? I learned over time that it wasn’t about rituals or routines, religious habits or speech, but it is about a relationship with Jesus. A deep and intimate relationship with Jesus who goes before us to prepare in advance the good work He has for us to do. He intercedes on our behalf to the Father in Heaven.

What will motivate you? Will it be your hope and trust in God? Will it be wanting to do the right thing so that He can receive the praise, the honor, and the glory? Will it be something bigger than yourself?

Don’t fear, but rather allow faith to build up and allow you to be glorifying to God!

References:

My Prayer:

Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for everything that will be in it. I lift up this day and the entire schedule and ask Lord to help me use the day to best glorify You and bring You the glory. Grant me wisdom I pray for every situation and conversation. Help me Lord to be a good ambassador for You. Help me Lord, I pray to walk in faith trusting and following after Your will and Your plans for my life. You are so awesome Lord and Your Word is alive and speaks life, truth, and hope into my every day. May today be a day where with every thought, word, and action, I may bring You praise, honor, and glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Can you imagine that you have a purpose and it will impact generations for God?


I’ve heard it put in many ways and God’s grace in our lives makes it all possible.

Our lives are a louder sermon than anything we can say.
Joyce Meyer

28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28

1To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven – Ecclesiastes 3:1

Wondering if you have purpose or what your purpose is? Don’t worry for you were create for a purpose. A good book that I found that talks through this is called The Purpose Driven Life.  

Weather you realize it or not, you are being watched. Everything you do is speaking volumes to those around you. They are watching to see how you respond. They are watching to see what you will and won’t do. They are watching to learn what leads you. They are watching to see who you really are when you think nobody is watching. It could be your kids or your kids’ friends. It could be your neighbors. It could be your family. It could be your friends or coworkers. What are they learning about you?

God’s watching too. His grace is enough for everything we will face. His mercies are new every morning. And just as Jesus wants peace over our lives, we should be a light of hope that brings peace into the lives of others. We are to be His ambassadors and with that we need to be shining and sharing love, unconditional love, unmerited favor, hope to those around us. People may fail or in reality at some point we all will. We need to be able to pick ourselves and them up with God’s grace and help learn from the experience and move forward for the glory of God. Grace transforms us. When we share grace with others be it through forgiveness or other means it has the power of transformation in our lives and in the lives of those who have hurt us.

So… Realize that you are a life changer. Realize you have a purpose in this life. Realize that with God on your side nothing is impossible. So, let’s move forward in faith trusting in Him and living lives that will glorify Him.

 

References:

My Prayer:

Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that will be in it. I praise You Lord for the incredible journey that you are bringing me through and have lead me through. Lord, I look to You and trust in Your promises. I Love You Lord and lift up my family and friends to You and ask Lord for Your peace that goes beyond all understanding to cover them so that they will not walk in worry or fear, but will walk in faith trusting and believing in You. Help me today I pray so that with every thought, word, and action that You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

How would things be different if our plans weren’t God’s plans?


When I think back to what I thought I might be or might do I reflect on personality tests they did back in grade 7 or 8 where it pointed to working in a field where I would help and interact with people – suggestions came out as the medical field, the education field, and others. When I think back to things I thought I might do or I might be I reflect on hearing from my parents about being a garbage man, or when I was getting ready to graduate going into pharmacy, or when I was in university considering going into teaching depending on what I thought of my first work term as a programmer. Computers ended up being the way I went with several different roles at Microsoft from tech support (where I acquired a strong bond with the customer and the need to make sure that whatever is being produced shouldn’t cause them pain) and then as a developer where I kept the support knowledge as I wrote and developed software and service, and then I moved into the realm of “internationalization of software” where the goal was to make software relevant and useful around the world. The support learnings never left me, but another powerful learning came in about the fact that if it isn’t done right people can end up in jail. So as my role change and my scope changed, God continued to teach me and stretch me into things that somewhat aligned with my schooling, but a lot of new things that were going to be useful for me into the future. As He got me involved in my community. As He got me involved in my church. As He got me to step up into areas that seemed bigger than where I was, but that worked out because they weren’t bigger than He was.

Learning through some trials the power of forgiveness. Learning through some trials that by putting forgiveness first, God was able to prepare in advance the next phase of what I was going to do. I am still on my journey and I know that God’s got greater plans yet for what is to be. Earlier this year as I left Microsoft after just over 19 years, He spoke Job 42:12 over me and so I know that the second half of my life will be even greater than the first.

12-15God blessed Job’s later life even more than his earlier life. He ended up with fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand teams of oxen, and one thousand donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. He named the first daughter Dove, the second, Cinnamon, and the third, Darkeyes. There was not a woman in that country as beautiful as Job’s daughters. Their father treated them as equals with their brothers, providing the same inheritance. – Job 42:12-15

As we look up and keep our focus on God, even the great trials and challenges that we will face are under His power and His control.

21We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God’s purpose prevails. – Proverbs 19:21

It may not make sense in the moment, but it is for our good.

5-12Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life! Honor God with everything you own; give him the first and the best. Your barns will burst, your wine vats will brim over. But don’t, dear friend, resent God’s discipline; don’t sulk under his loving correction. It’s the child he loves that God corrects; a father’s delight is behind all this. – Proverbs 3:5-12

God’s plan is to give us a hope and a future.

10-11This is God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. – Jeremiah 29:10-11

There are many stories of people’s lives ending up in something they never thought of or planned for. There are many stories of how God took people where where they were to where He wanted them to be. What would you do if such a change in direction came your way? What would you do if you got to a place of change? Where will you turn? Who would you call out to for wisdom and insight? How would you respond? When would you give it up to God and when would you decide to go with it?

References:

My Prayer:

Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that is within it. I praise You Lord for the incredible day You have made and I will rejoice and be glad in it. I thank You Lord that You have prepared in advance the work You have for me today and so I lift it up to You and ask for wisdom to help me walk through it in a way that will glorify and magnify Your name. Lord, I thank You for my family and friends. I praise You Lord for everyone You bring into my life for each season of my journey. Help me today I pray so that every thought, every word, and every action will bring You praise, honor, and glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

It’s not too late!


God’s love is so great that He doesn’t want anything to take His place in your life. God’s love is so great that He is a jealous God if we try to replace or insert something that would take His place. God’s love is so great that His plan is one of restoration not condemnation. God’s love is so great that He gives us the chance and the opportunity to turn back to Him and His ways.

16-18“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him. – John 3:16-18

Are you trying to replace God in the things you do? Are there relationships that are being lived out where God should be? Are there things in your life that you have put in the place where God should be? Are there influences in your life that should be removed as those are things that God should be influencing your actions and decisions around?

If we go even further, how about in your neighborhood, your community, your city, your state or province, your country, where are your leaders bring the people? What are their lives speaking to God about where He is in regards to their decisions?

It’s not too late to avoid the consequences or judgment of our bad decisions. He wants us to turn back to Him. He wants us to stop going down the wrong paths and start back to Him. He wants us to be back on the right path. He wants us to have a right heart. He wants us to get to spend eternity with Him not apart from Him.

So what will you decide? What will you do? It’s not too late and it is up to you! Not sure what to do? Ask God! He hears our prayers. A.S.K. with all of your heart, all of your mind, and all of your strength.

References:

My Prayer:

Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that will be in it. I thank You Lord for Your Word that never returns void and speaks into my life daily. I thank You for Your Word that reveals Your presence in my life and that You are near, never leaving me nor forsaking me. Lord, I lift up this day to You and ask for Your wisdom and discernment as I step out. Grant me favor and courage to speak out, step out, and do what You call me to do. Let me be a good ambassador for you that You would say to me “well done my good and faithful servant” one day. Help me Lord to be the husband, the father, the leader, the man of God You created me to me so that with every thought, word, and action that I take You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Leadership Recruiting strategy. What’s your like?


Does it usually start with learning how much they can handle? Does it shake them to their core? Does it test to see where their heart and minds are? Is it to prepare them and set them up for greater things to come? If you were looking for new leaders for your area how would you be able to know if they were the right fit? How do you know how they will do if they aren’t someone you have seen in the specific role you are considering? What is their comfort zone and how would they operate outside of it? How deep do they go? How will they respond in the good and the tough times? Where will they turn for wisdom, for guidance, for strength, for courage?

When I consider life, there have been many trials and challenges. Each one had driven me closer to God and trusting in Him for grace and strength and courage and wisdom. Each one has prepared me and built in me more trust and more hope for the future because I know that He has a plan for me that is good, a plan to give me a hope and a future. When I face trials of great size, I know where to turn. When I face trials of great importance, I know who to trust. He has built faith roots in my life that run to the fount of living water. It may not be easy, but it is always worth it. Through it I have learned that it isn’t all by my strength, but that in my weakness His strength is revealed. I have learned that forgiveness is the key to freedom. I have learned that truth will set you free. I have learned that when we make God’s priorities our priorities, He will take care of the rest (seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness). Don’t give up! Don’t give in! Be confident in the Lord and He will renew your strength.

So what ever you do or however you do it, press forward and persevere so that you can win the prize.

32-39Remember those early days after you first saw the light? Those were the hard times! Kicked around in public, targets of every kind of abuse—some days it was you, other days your friends. If some friends went to prison, you stuck by them. If some enemies broke in and seized your goods, you let them go with a smile, knowing they couldn’t touch your real treasure. Nothing they did bothered you, nothing set you back. So don’t throw it all away now. You were sure of yourselves then. It’s still a sure thing! But you need to stick it out, staying with God’s plan so you’ll be there for the promised completion. It won’t be long now, he’s on the way; he’ll show up most any minute. But anyone who is right with me thrives on loyal trust; if he cuts and runs, I won’t be very happy. But we’re not quitters who lose out. Oh, no! We’ll stay with it and survive, trusting all the way. – Hebrews 10:32-39

 

6-7He said, “Don’t be afraid. I know you’re looking for Jesus the Nazarene, the One they nailed on the cross. He’s been raised up; he’s here no longer. You can see for yourselves that the place is empty. Now—on your way. Tell his disciples and Peter that he is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You’ll see him there, exactly as he said.” – Mark 16:6-7

Don’t get stuck in the past. Don’t get stuck in a pity party. Trust in God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your strength. Rejoice in what is ahead. God is going before you to prepare in advance the things He has for you to complete.

 

References:

My Prayer:

Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that will be in it. I praise You Lord for my wife and family. I lift up my co-workers and friends. I look to You Lord as I start this day and ask for wisdom and discernment to help me to accomplish all that You have planned for me today. Grant me the courage to step out and do what You grant me the wisdom to do. As You prepare me to become a leader, a better leader, a leader for Your purpose and plan, grant me the perseverance to not give up but to press on and complete all that You have for me to do. I ask Lord that with every thought, word, and action You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Wait for it… Wait for it…Go!


God promises that He will never leave us nor forsake us. God promises that He will guide us as we follow Him with wisdom and discernment.

As I consider this topic, I reflect on my testimony of the past 6-9 months. I think about the message of “get out of the boat” in about February and the message of “the second half of my life will be twice as good as the first” in April when God opened the door for me to move into my current job at a new company after what ended up to be 19 years and 1 day. I got the message to get out of the boat, but I wasn’t sure where to go. I started to wait upon the Lord in terms of where to go. I felt He was going to direct me opening only the right door for me to step out of the or as I had put it in my prayer “God if you want me to get out of the boat, can you tell me what side”. The tweet respond I got as I finished the question made it clear I was to start looking. And as I kept looking and kept emailing and kept applying and kept interviewing, I had to wait on God for the door to open. With every conversation and interview, I kept lifting it up to God because I didn’t want to just take the first thing but rather wanted to go and do what He wanted me to go and do. The incredible message on the day I was going to give my 2 weeks notice from Job 42:12 sealed the confirmations I had been feeling and was definitely the message that it was “Go Time”. It is amazing how God can speak to us through His Word that is alive (sure it may look like a book that was printed many years ago and the words written a really long time ago, but it can speak into your every day). I know to make this decision required not only faith and listening to what God was speaking to me through His Word and the Holy Spirit, but confirmation from my wife, my brothers in Christ (including my pastors and church family), my parents, and my friends. And it was unanimous. I definitely had the green light to step out and step in to what God was calling me into. It took patience. It took not trying to get my own way because of my environment and situation. It took seeking God daily and being obedient to continuing to A.S.K. (Ask, Seek, Knock).

Today’s devotional from TGIF speaks to us about this very topic. Os gives us three points to consider and do before making the decision.

  1. you should gather facts. Fact gathering allows you to determine all the realities of a given situation. However, this does not ultimately drive your decision, but it can put a stop to it.
  2. is the Holy Spirit guiding you in your decision? “If the Lord delights in a man’s way, He makes his steps firm” (Ps. 37:23).
  3. “has your decision been confirmed? God has placed others around us to be used as instruments in our lives to confirm decisions and keep us from the deceit of our own heart. “Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses” (2 Cor. 13:1b). This is God’s way of keeping us within the hedge of His protection.”

So where are you at today? Have you gotten the message to wait or to go? Have you gathered up all the facts? Have you been listening to what the Holy Spirit has to say? Have you been lifting this up for prayer with others? Don’t be a bull in a china shop, you know how well that can go. God is trying to protect you and guide you into the place He wants you to be. He has great plans for you. His plans are to give you a hope and a future. His ways are better than our ways and His ways are higher than our ways.

If He is saying wait, then “wait for it… wait for it…”

If He gives you the green light, then “GO!!”

I want to close this with Os’ closing statement:

Write your plans in pencil and give God the eraser.”  — Os Hillman 

References:

My Prayer:

Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that will be in it. I lift up this day to You trusting and believing in You as my Lord and my Savior. Grant me wisdom I pray to see what is going on and to be able to speak hope, life, and truth, all in love to those around me. Help me to be an encouragement to others so that in and through every thought, every word, and every action, You will receive all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Don’t give up! Remember where your security comes from.


Does it seem like or feel like your world is crumbling around you?

5-8Jesus began, “Watch out for doomsday deceivers. Many leaders are going to show up with forged identities claiming, ‘I’m the One.’ They will deceive a lot of people. When you hear of wars and rumored wars, keep your head and don’t panic. This is routine history, and no sign of the end. Nation will fight nation and ruler fight ruler, over and over. Earthquakes will occur in various places. There will be famines. But these things are nothing compared to what’s coming. – Mark 13:5-8 (MSG)

Put your hope and trust in God! Remember that Jesus has paid the price and your decision to follow after Him and to receive Him in your heart as your Lord and Savior has put your name in the book of life and eternity with God is yours.

Just because there is darkness in front of you doesn’t mean you shouldn’t walk through it to get to where God is calling you. If God is calling you, then don’t be afraid step out in faith and start walking towards Him. Keep your eyes on Him for He is greater than anything we will ever face. God wants to show you what He has for you, so don’t allow fear to get in the way or hold you back from your destiny. Trust God as you step forward in faith as you overcome the fear of the unknown, the fear of what might happen, the fear that God might not like what He sees, the fear of the dark, the fear of what’s on the other side of the darkness. God knows everything about you and is calling you. He knows what He is doing and loves you so much. He wants you to know more than about Him, He wants to have a relationship with you. He wants you to step into His presence. God is a god of love. He knows what He is doing. Even though there may seem like there is a hard time in front of you or some type of darkness, put your hope and trust in Him. Don’t let the enemy deceive or distract you from the facts that God has a plan for you and the pan is good. The plan gives you a hope and a future. As we stand here looking at where He is calling us don’t give up and don’t give in, step up and step through the darkness, the challenge, the struggle that is before you so that in and through it all You will enter into the presence of God and get to celebrate the incredible love and relationship with Jesus. God want to fellowship with us.

As I stand and look at what I have walked through to get where I am today. As I stand and look at what I have before me and need to walk through. I look to God for wisdom and discernment. I look to God for courage and obedience that will bring me through it. He called me to so I need to walk through.

References:

My Prayer:

Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that is within it. I know that You are greater and stronger than anything that will try to get in my way today. Grant me wisdom and courage to know what to be a part of and to do so that I know what to do as well as have the courage to do it. Grant me Lord not only the knowledge to know what to do, but the courage to do it. Help me to be more than a hearer of the Word, but a doer of the Word today. You know where I am at and what I am facing. Help me today Lord so that with every thought, word, and action You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Are you trying to do it all in your own strength?


Not only are you not supposed to go it alone, but you aren’t supposed to try and get it all done in your own strength. Turn to God for wisdom. Turn to God so that you can do it His way. Assuming you can just do it the same way as the last time leads you into a situation that is different, but you are trying to do the same thing as the last time. We need to make sure there isn’t anything that would keep God’s blessing from touching our lives.

When or if you do that and fail, we try to analyze what went wrong. What we could have done better. What about our performance missed the mark. We may need to look deeper into making sure we are prepared. We may need to look deeper into the state of the hearts of those we have joined with to get it done. If there is anything that would keep God’s hand from blessing you, you need to take care of it and get it done. How can you know? You have to turn to God and ask. God’s Word tells us that we have not because we ask not. So we need to stop and ask God for wisdom. We need to check the team or the group to make sure there is no sin that is keeping us from the blessings of God. If there is sin, it causes a chink in our armor which by definition creates a narrow opening and vulnerable area in one’s armor that the opponent will usually aim for and in this case it would be the devil who is trying to get an advantage and keep you from accomplishing God’s will and glorifying God.

As Os says in TGIF today:

“Sin makes our armor vulnerable to attack from satan, who then gains permission from God to attack us in the area where we have failed to uphold righteousness. If we break down in moral purity, satan comes in and establishes a stronghold. If we give place to bitterness and unforgiveness, we will break fellowship with God and others. If we become money-focused, we will fall into greed and deception. It is a vicious cycle.

Examine your armor today. Make sure you are not susceptible to attack. Begin from a solid spiritual foundation and your chances of success will be great. “

I learned through some challenging times the power of forgiveness to get out of the foothold or stronghold of the devil. I learned that not only unforgiveness not a word, but it is also not something that God desires as He loves us so much that Jesus died on the cross that we could be forgiven by receiving and accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior and asking for forgiveness. The bitterness is like taking poison and expecting the other person to get sick or die. It will eat you up from the inside out. Don’t allow greed or bitterness keep you from being and becoming everything that God desires for you in your life.

Let’s live lives that glorify God. More concerned with what God thinks of what we are doing and more aligned with what He speaks to us to do.

 

References:

My Prayer:

Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that is within it. I praise You Lord for the incredible opportunities before me and for Your hand in it, for I know that You will never leave me nor forsake me. Grant me wisdom for today. Help me I pray to complete the work You have planned for me and grant me the wisdom and discernment and courage to complete it. Lord, I look to You for guidance that You will speak to me and through me so that with every thought, word, and action You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.