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Don’t Settle: Pursue God’s Best

We are living in a day where so many Christians have defeated mindsets. We don’t believe God for anything beyond what our eyes can see or our minds can comprehend. So instead of stepping out on faith and reaching for higher ground, we settle for the low hanging fruit and encourage others to do the same.

Whether it be in a relationship, your career or that dream in your heart, if you constantly settle for less, less is all you will ever have.

“It’s not much but at least it’s something” is the biggest statement that keeps us living in defeat. It’s our safety net to default back to when the thought of moving forward seems beyond our reach; but settling for less is not trusting God with your life, it’s allowing fear to control your life. God doesn’t want us to merely exist in this world, he wants us to live – and live to the full. The temporary discomfort that comes from stepping out on faith and stumbling your way through until you take hold of higher ground, pales in comparison to the misery that comes from living in defeat.

God wants more for your life, Jesus declared victory over your life, so all that’s left for you to do is to take hold of your life!

It’s not much but at least it’s something, usually turns out to be nothing at all. If you think about it, we often say that right before we take that low paying job that keeps us living from paycheck to paycheck, or continue on in that unfruitful relationship that keeps us unhappy with low self-esteem. Don’t sell your birthright for a bowl of soup, Esau! Translation…don’t trade in temporary discomfort for a lifetime of misery. Temporary discomfort goes along with the process of pursuing your dreams. It may be tough in the short-term but God will surely bless you in the long-term if you keep the faith and don’t settle for less along the way.


pursue God's purpose

I pray you found this message to be a blessing and encouraging. Feel free to leave a comment and share with a friend. God Bless!

The Path to Destiny

TThere are many paths that we can take in this life, but the path the leads to destiny is often on the road less traveled. Check out my latest video blog post as I share the revelation I received while walking at the park. God Bless!

 

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Hearing the Voice of God

 

There are two types of Christians: those who seek God’s guidance on everything before they make a move, and those who take bold leaps of faith and pray they grow wings on the way down.  When it comes to making major decisions, I find myself on the latter side of the spectrum.

I’m not one of those Christians who thinks I need a word from God on every detail of my life. Somethings really are up to us. If you want to cut your hair, buy a new car or try a new menu item, by all means, do it. Unless it will have an impact on God’s plan for your life, he really does give us free rein to make normal everyday decisions.  We’re not robots after all.

However, it is important to recognize when God’s hand is working in your situation. It is in those times that being able to recognize his voice over your own (or the voice of the enemy) will help you stay on the right path and avoid unnecessary heartache and distress.

So How Do You Hear From God?

There are many ways that God speaks to his children. Sometimes his answer comes from that inner voice of wisdom that wasn’t there before. I’ve had times where I was completely confused about something and then the answer just came to me plain and clear. It used to blow my mind, but as I matured in Christ I began to recognize those sudden moments of clarity as the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit. Basically, it means God has stepped in and provided the answer.

Other times, it comes through ministers or from reading the Bible (the Old Testament provides great insight into the mindset of God). Recently, I was dealing with a tough situation that I didn’t quite understand. I had hit a brick wall in my life and no matter how hard I tried I was not able to move it. Of course, this frustrated me to no end. I had no idea what God was doing. I felt like I was having a Job experience (but not to that extreme, thankfully.)

I didn’t know what to do so I got angry, I cried, I gave up and then I got up and sought God again.  Why are you taking me through this, was my constant cry. It took me going to church one night and hearing one line in a sermon that echoed the words God had placed in my spirit all year-long about something I needed to do, but never got around to doing it.

I would like to say that after that night I realized the answer and then went about fixing the problem, but like the true procrastinator that I am, I pondered on it a little further and as a result stayed stuck in my situation just that much longer. It took me hearing the same one line from two other ministers before I finally realized God was speaking to me about my situation. I can truly say that once I went about fixing the problem, that hard place broke and I was able to move forward.

“God is not nearly as concerned about the place as he is about preparing you for the place.”

That was one of those times where I had to seek God for an answer because I didn’t know how to move forward. Then there are those times where I know how to move forward, but I’m not sure if it’s the right thing to do. Times that call for major moves such as a change in career, location, church home, or relationship scare me to death and although after each one I resolve to never do it again, I always find myself faced with the challenge of once again stepping out into the unknown, because as a child of God we ought to always be moving forward.

God has so much in store for our lives that we do him a disservice when we settle for less out of fear of what’s up ahead. God knows all things and we know God…that’s all the assurance I ever need. Man looks at your seemingly irrational decisions, your confused mind, and your bold moves but God looks at the silent meditations of your heart and at exactly what is the driving force behind those decisions.

Some say when you don’t know what to do, do something. Others say that’s a terrible idea. I say, when you don’t know what to do, seek God’s voice continuously for wisdom and guidance, and if you still don’t know what to do…go with what your heart is telling you and rest in the blessed assurance that when you step out on faith, with the right intentions,  Jesus will never let you fail.  He might reroute you if that was not the way you should go, but he will also give you the wisdom needed to get back on track.

Life’s Disappointments

Recently I posted a quote that stated: “There’s no need to beg and plead with God, he wants to bless you. Lay that problem at his feet and walk in the confidence of knowing that he is working it out on your behalf.” Soon after, I found myself sitting at my desk silently whispering “please God please” about something I was waiting for him to do in my life, and I just had to stop and laugh. Needless to say, it’s often easier to give advice than to follow your own – kind of the do as I say and not as I do syndrome – but the truth of the matter is: In this life, your plans won’t always coincide with God’s will and when this happens feelings of disappointment, frustration and dare I say…anger are soon to follow.

Anger because God had the power to work that thing out in your favor, and didn’t. Frustration because once again you stepped out on faith and fell flat on our face; and disappointment because the scripture says you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you, yet you are left feeling weak and defeated.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.–Proverbs 19:21

It’s a terrible feeling to set your sights on something, go after it with all you got, and have it not work out the way you hoped. Believe me, I have been down that road a time or three. I’ve had job interviews where I fasted and prayed, went to the interview with my stomach growling from hunger…and still didn’t get the job. But somewhere during the process I felt in my spirit that it was not the right job for me, and I proceeded anyway because the alternative, staying where I was, seemed far worse.

Fortunately for us, our heavenly father doesn’t operate in the land of good enough, and he won’t give you every little desire that sweeps across your heart. You can beg and plead with him in prayer but he already knows if that request is the best thing for you, or if it will lead to a dead-end road. Desperate prayers are often the product of fear or impatience. Fear of being trapped in a bad situation, or desperation to get out. Either way, God holds the map and the key, once the lessons have been learned and the purpose has been served, then and only then will he bring you out.

The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. – Isaiah 58:11

Not everyone is guided by his strong hand, but if you have a calling on your life to be more and do more, then expect him to keep a tight rein on your path. It’s the dessert experiences, or as I call them, the Karate Kid “wax on wax off” moments of life that teaches us all those invaluable lessons we wouldn’t have learned otherwise. It has been in the most trying times of my life that I have grown and matured the most.

Life’s Disappointments often lead way to God’s Divine Appointment

Life is about transformation…And yes, it comes with its own set of disappointments and setbacks, heartaches and headaches but rest assured, whenever God takes you through a process not only will he restore you in the end, but he will transform your mind until the desires of your heart begin to match the desires of his. Then there will be less wrong turns and more right decisions; less begging and pleading in prayer and more seeking and thanking, because spiritual maturity takes place at the point where you can trade in your will for his…knowing that his will is best.

Have faith in the process!

 

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Do You Have a Heart of Compassion?

The other day, on my way to the store I noticed a homeless man sitting on the sidewalk. Normally I wouldn’t have paid much attention to him, but this day was different. There was something about the way he sat there – staring at the ground – that grab my heart and moved me in a special way.  When I walked past, he didn’t bother to look up; he just sat there deep in thought with his gaze fixed on the ground. As I entered the store a wave of thoughts went through my mind: What was his story? What was he thinking about, and how did he end up here? Did he have any family; was there anyone that knew him; anyone that truly cared?

When I came out of the store I got back into my car but something wouldn’t allow me to leave. I sat for a while and watched as the wind blew through his hair. I didn’t know if I should go over and offer him money or give him a word of encouragement. All I could really think to do in that moment was pray, so I did:

“God, there is nothing too hard for you. Even at this point in his life you are still able to show up and turn it around for his good. Please show him that you still care.”

While I was praying, a man walked over and offered him some money, but he shook his head no. My heart sank. Not because he didn’t take the money, but because I know what it feels like to be at the point of giving up. To feel so lost and alone that nothing anyone said or did could help.

 “God fill his heart with a peace that surpasses all understanding,” was my silent prayer.

Seconds later, a lady came out of the store and offered him money too. Again, he turned it down. She started off but turned back and offered him her soda – still no deal. She said a few words and walked away with her head down.

Soon after that an elderly lady walked up and gave it another shot…Suddenly I begin to realize that God WAS there! Right in the midst of it all, he was using each one of us to show this lowly guy that he indeed still cared. The homeless guy didn’t know that I was a few feet away interceding on his behalf, but God did.

“Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you.” – Hebrew 13:5

How many times in life do we find ourselves in this type of situation, where we get so caught up in the noise of the storm that we fail to recognize the movement of God in the rain? But water brings forth growth…if you allow it.

That day I was inspired to not only keep lifted in prayer a person whom I have walked past many times but never really seen, but to never lose the heart of compassion that Jesus displayed. This guy is no different from the lame man at the pool of Bethesda, the woman with the issue of blood, or any one of us who once was lost and now has been found by God’s love.

“A new commandment I give you: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must love one another.” – John 13:34

As Christians, let’s be mindful not to just recite the words: what would Jesus do, but actually go out and do what Jesus did. Show loving kindness to those who need it the most, and sow a seed that will take root and spring forth in due season.

God of My Tight Places: Thank You for Setting me Free!

breakingfree  Looking back over my life I can’t help but smile in amazement. I am amazed, not just at the things God has brought me through, but of the many ways he has brought me out. Even those times when I didn’t want to come out, or know how to get out, he reached his loving hands of mercy down into my tight places and pulled me out.

Unhealthy relationships, dead-end jobs, and unfruitful friendships are all tight places we find ourselves stuck in at certain points in our lives, and just as an infant curves to the shape of his mother’s wound, we too bend and curve to conform to the limitations of the world around us. We then pray and cry out to God to fix it, or expand the wound, to meet our growing needs. But the God who sits high and looks low knows that not only has that tight place carried you as far as it can go, but what’s waiting on the other side is so much more.

God has brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” – 2 Samuel 22:20

Do you know that God delights in you? He delights in your growth, your deliverance, and your future happiness, but often times when we are stuck in undesirable situations instead of seeking God for guidance, we seek him for support – we ask him to support us in our dysfunction and some how make it functional again – but he loves us far too much to grant that request. Instead, he intervenes in our lives and begins the painful process of bringing us out.

“For I know the plans I have for you…” Jeremiah 29:11

Once God sets deliverance in motion there’s nothing much we can do to stop it.  If a baby could grab hold of his mother’s wound and stay there for life…he would. Nobody likes being pushed forward in an uncertain direction, but having faith in God means trusting him to lead and guide you. It means knowing that if he brings you to it, he will faithfully see you through it – right into his perfect will.

A baby thinks the wound is great, until he experiences what’s on the other side!

I’m sure when the infant receives that final push that sets him free there is an internal sigh of relief; just as we too are relieved when God brings us out of our uncomfortable situations and into the abundance of life that he has in store for us. And when you look back at it, it’s almost hard to conceive that you once allowed yourself to settle for such a small thing; the feeling of appreciation is so great that you can’t help but say … God of my tight places thank you for setting me free!

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