Category Archives: Kingdom Life

God’s Open Doors For….

open doorsWe all have faced or are facing closed doors.  These doors are often the one’s we need most to be open.  They are doors to health, to jobs, to friendships, and more.

How do you get these doors of necessity opened?  That’s what I’m going to discuss today.

Let me start with a dream I had just a few days ago:

(Dreams can give us clues.  That’s one reason I’ve been learning to pay attention to mine, even when the ones I remember seem depressing.)

My Dream:

I was attempting to enter a closed door to my bedroom.  When I first turned the knob and began to enter, the door was blocked within a couple of inches like something or someone was on the other side preventing my entrance.

I tried to enter my bedroom (a place of rest in dream symbol), several times.  Each time my attempts would partially open the door but be resisted with a few inches.

Finally, I turned the knob and with all my might I pushed the door open.  This time it opened two thirds of the way, but the force on the other side immediately slammed the door back shut.

I woke up very frustrated.

What Was My Dream Saying?

I initially passed it off as a demonic resistance of some sort.  Frankly, I was just frustrated because I thought that I had been doing all the right things to progress in areas of resistance.  As my wife and I were in our car the next day, I expressed my feelings about the frustrating dream I had had the night before.  I had barely begun to explain the dream to her when I suddenly knew what was being communicated.

“There are closed doors you’ve been struggling with that you can’t open with natural abilities.  You need to be asking me to open the doors.”  Immediately with that thought the scripture came to me, “I open doors no man can close and close doors no man can open.”  (Rev. 3)

Truth be told, I thought I already had been committing the hard places to God and trusting Him with the outcome.  And, in a way, I had been…sort of.

I had been “trusting God” (in a general Christian way) but hadn’t been specific about seeking Him as the Door Opener.

I don’t believe that God plays technical games with us.  But, I believe there are specifics in spiritual life that move us along a more successful path as we learn them.

Faith is a function of specifics.  Without specifics faith doesn’t have a path to walk on and “gets caught in the weeds.”

Don’t stop reading here.  Now is when this becomes very helpful:

1. Trust is about overall non-specific confidence in God.  Faith is about specific “targets.”

2. Trust is about the foundation of sureness in God we walk upon.  Faith takes specific steps on that foundation.

The Process That Works Wonders

It’s actually a combination of work and ease.  It boils down to two (actually four) steps:

1.  Fueling your confidence by searching the scriptures to see God’s logos (logic) concerning your specific need.  In this case we are talking about doors.  Therefore, I googled the words, “doors in scripture.”  I knew there were some but it surprised me how many.

2.  Taking faith steps was not a matter of “confessing” the scriptures 10 times a minute in hopes it would do something.  Although…repeating the words will help fix them in your mind.  God is already aware of them, but we need help remembering and fixing them in our conscious minds.

3.  Forming mental pictures in my imagination of what the scriptures promise is available to me.  One of the most powerful gifts God gave us was the “power” of the imagination.  Ie:  Imaging what we conceptually believe.  That’s where the logic of truth becomes the heart of truth.

4.  I say out-loud to myself the picture I see.  In this case, an open door.  Your inner “door image” will look different than mine.  But it will keep my inner view of truth on the path instead of letting my natural mind pull me off into the weeds.

I hope it goes without saying that it’s understood that this all is saturated with confidence that it’s the power of God that’s doing the opening and that purposeful thanksgiving is the anchor that keeps your soul stable.

Jesus is the earth manifestation of God that’s our specific example to follow.  Fix your eyes on Him helps us focus our hearts.  As you consider what I’ve written here, and as you begin taking fresh steps of trust and faith, I’ve included an audio of “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” below to play:

Quick tip:  Divorce yourself right now from the whining words, “But, it’s so hard!”  They are keeping you from your desired outcome.

The Biggest, Most Important Thing You Need To Open Closed Doors Is Learning to FIX
YOUR EYES upon Jesus as the specific source.  As you look at the open door in the imagination of your heart, you are trusting Him as your “Open Door.” Every time your mind wander into the weeds of worry, intentionally turn them back with confidence and faith to the open door.  The outcome is sure!  In fact, in this kind of faith process, you’ll discover fresh practical ideas and steps coming to your mind to act upon in faith.

Stop gazing in fear and frustration at your lack and start fixing your eyes on the Door Opener!

Play

God Is Not A Cheapskate

sun-earthGod’s creation demonstrates that He is not a miser, skinflint, or cheapskate.  His accessible resources are more than enough.  The Scriptures emphasize the fact that it’s ours for the receiving.

God told Paul one time, “My grace is sufficient for you.”  (2 Cor. 12:9)

Many times we think of the word “sufficient” differently than God means it.

We think He is saying, “The grace that I give you is enough to meet your necessities.  It’s sufficient.  God means something wholly different.  He means “more than enough.”

Think about this:

Enough sunlight reaches the earth’s surface each minute to satisfy the world’s energy demands—for an entire year.

The word that God used with Paul also had the meaning, “to draw up.”  In other words, His grace was more than enough to draw Paul up into a highly place (His Presence.)  Instead of God removing the tormenting circumstances from Paul, God’s grace was more than enough to pull Paul up to a higher place.

If you have been asking God to take away your negative circumstances so that your life would improve, maybe His answer would be the same as it was with Paul.  He would say, “Your circumstances don’t have to change to make your life better.  Look to My grace.  It’s more than enough to lift you up out of the effects the circumstances are having on you into a place of peace in my Presence.

The sun demonstrates the depth of God’s resources.  You have no cause to worry.  Embrace His grace.  It’s more than enough than you and I will ever need.

One last thought:  His provision is best experienced by receiving it in and for the present moment.  Discouragement comes by trying to reason out what He will do in the future.  You don’t live “there.”  You live “here.”  Here is where you embrace His more than enough grace.

Where has He proved “more than enough for you?”  Share in the comments.  It will encourage others in this Blog Family.

Gary

Healthy Kingdom Faith & You

MustardCompAlthough the Bible is not literally intended as a “diet book,” there is much we can learn about healthy spiritual understandings and practice in it’s pages and stories.

Some people like mustard and some don’t.  But would it surprise you to know that mustard, as a condiment, goes back thousands of years?

However, whether or not you are a connoisseur of it’s varied spicy delights, understanding something of the source ingredient will aid you in the development of a healthy life as you journey the fruitful paths of God’s Kingdom.

Matthew 13:31,“Another parable he put before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field; 13.32 it is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

It’s not about big beginnings

Large size churches, and mega ministries shape our opinions of success.  And frankly, many of them are doing wonderful work.  But, we are a “biggest bang for the buck” measurement society in the West, and we can easily use what appears to be successful by society standards and get discouraged if it doesn’t seem you are “measuring up.”

The best antidote I’ve found to the comparison temptation is to examine Kingdom qualities described in the Word of God.

Jesus said, that which has Kingdom impact can be compared to a mustard seed.  He emphasizes the fact that it starts small but the end result is immensely larger than its beginnings by comparison.

Not only churches and ministries

Whatever we do in life must not be divided into sacred/secular.  Too many see things that way, but that’s not a bible concept.  It crept into the mentality of the church, but there is no evidence that God marks that kind of division in life.  In Him it’s ALL spiritual.

So, as we look at our “callings” and  “productivity” in life, we use the same standards as if we were thinking church or ministry matters.  Most people are not called to be “the professionals.”
In fact, I’m not sure any are, really.  Even looking at the supposed “ministry gifts” I think we may well need to do some re-assessing in how we describe and define them.

Daily life seeds are vital

“The little things are the big things.”  That’s a phrase I always use when I officiate weddings.  The “little ideas and actions” that seem so small as to be insignificant may be the very seeds that ultimately have the greatest impact in the long run.

Mustard plants are prone to take over

Just by their nature, a mustard plant will “seek” to spread it’s branches and leaves.  When I was growing up, we had something in our yard that my dad was always fighting.  It was called “creeping charlie.”  If he wasn’t keeping watch, it would take over the whole yard and ruin the good grass.

That’s the negative side of the comparison.  But, there’s a positive take on this.

The Kingdom of God is not made of wimpy stuff.  Give it a chance and it will “take over.”  The devil would like you to think that you are the wimpy one that he can stuff out any time he decides.  Not true…unless you believe it is.

Stick with Kingdom decisions.  I said Kingdom decisions.  I didn’t say Dogma Decisions.  Doctrines are good things.  They come from a systematic approach to the teachings of the scriptures.  Dogma is opinon about what the scriptures teach.  There’s nothing wrong with opinions.  They are like belly buttons.  We all have them.  We simply need to give them only the amount of weight they actually should have.

I personally believe that we need to be regularly visiting our doctrines and see if they’ve become dogmas and adjust their weight accordingly.

Don’t be intimidated or discouraged with the small stuff

The small stuff becomes big stuff.  So, make sure your small stuff carries the Kingdom Seal of Approval.  Then, if it does, be faithful to it and watch God grow it in a way that is most significant to Him.

How are you doing with your “small stuff?”  Be encouraged that mustard seeds have huge power and potential.  Sew them in confidence.  And…

Practice being as excited over the “little things” as you are the things that seem bigger and more important or successful.  God measures by His standards, not Western Culture’s business mindset.

Gary

 

 

 

 

Better Than McMuffins

Better Than McMuffins ThumbnailI like a good McMuffin sandwich for breakfast.  In fact, I often make something similar for myself in our own kitchen.

As much as I like them, I really enjoy things like steak ‘n eggs, a great “kitchen sink” omelets, etc.

 

I’ve discovered that I’ve too often settled for a McMuffin relationship with the Lord, when much more is promised and available. 

Reading the scriptures we see that so much of His life with us has food, tasting, and dining experiences as metaphors.  I’m pressing on for the gourmet relationship in increasing measure this year.  That’s what He wants.  That’s what I want.

Here’s a short video clip that goes a little deeper on the subject:

Before you watch remember to make your comments below. What is your experience like? Do you want to improve it? How are you going to proceed?

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VIDEO CLIP BELOW:

Knowing The Peace Of Contentment

it-is-wellThere is such a rich, sweet inner aroma that comes with the sense of contentment as it wraps it’s warm, protecting blanket around you.

The bitter cold of trying circumstances can chill a person to the bone.  And the stormy atmosphere we live in has led – I fear – most people to believe that true contentment will always remain outside their grasp of experience.

A Bold Faced Promise

The scriptures have laid out many indicators that life can be experienced on a rich, abundant plane.  Jesus was pretty bold faced about it.  The words of John 10:10 weren’t the result of Jesus and the boys collaborating – as copy writers – for an ancient version of Hallmark Cards.

There Is A Place Of Peace

Ease, untroubled, joyful, fulfilled, unworried, peace.  All these are synonyms for contentment and it can be experienced in this life well before our last heartbeat.

I Have Learned Contentment

The apostle Paul put it this way as recorded in Philippians 4, “I have learned in whatever situation I find myself to be content.”

The whole 4th Chapter of Philippians is rich and worth slow cooker meditation.  It’s revolves around financial affairs.  (Frankly, that’s where most of us live as well.)  But, it’s wealth of truth is applicable to far more than economics.

Notice:  Paul said he “learned.”  Contentment is a process of learning.  It doesn’t “fall off the tree” and hit you in the head like a ripe apple if you “have enough faith.”

Btw…do you know how much I hate…I mean capitol “H” hate what some have done to the precious quality of God and made it into a man-made doctrinal dogma? 

Contentment Can’t Be Contained As A Sound-Byte.

We, in the West, attempt to reduce contentment to a 140 character Tweet definition.  But, fortunately it can’t be done.  It’s too rich to be stripped down to our “favorite bits” like that.  So, just for starters, a part of the contentment learning process can be found in the instructions of the whole chapter of Philippians 4.

But, for sake of a blog post, I want to point out just one facet.

What Did Paul Mean When He Used The Word, Content?

Paul was saying that he wasn’t dependent on outside sources.  You see the word he use was composed of two words that mean, “self-sufficient.”

But, this is not a self sufficient independent attitude we too often think of as a virtue, today, in Western culture.  He goes on to make a statement that clarifies his “self-sufficiency.”

Philippians, 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

This isn’t a verse to be quoted as a doctrinal “I’ll be alright” statement while we do everything in our power to figure out how we are going to fix things if God doesn’t come through the way we want Him to.

It’s about getting to taste His personality to the extent that I become increasing confident in the bottomless depth of His care for me. 

It’s not a matter of independence.  It’s an issue of interdependence with Him.  As that learning process takes a deeper and deeper hold on my soul, I am discovering increasing contentment that’s not dependent on anything but Him.  That in turn, as enriched my relationships with those around me.

You see…contentment smells sweet to me, but it also gives off a sweet aroma from me.

Gary

What’s are your thoughts?  Let us know below by LEAVING A REPLY:

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A Simpler Way To A Better Path

Changing PathsStruggling with things that haven’t seem to budge in a long time sucks.  There is a better path, but no amount of New Year’s resolutions have placed you on that path for more than frustratingly short time periods.

I have a suggestion.  Nothing else has worked has it?  You’ve settled into your “new normal” because you’re tired of the disappointment of failure, haven’t you?

No More Resolutions

Instead of making another resolution to “do better,” simply experiment with a whole different game plan.  And here it is…

Let Go of the Inertia

Inertia is momentum that stays the same under it’s own energy until something effects its course.  So, instead of trying to stop doing something that you don’t want to do, start doing something else that is part of the different path you’d prefer to be on.

Then Do It Again

The first time you do something different than “your new normal” it will feel a bit awkward.  That’s just the way it is.  Like they say, “That’s the way the cookie crumbles.”  But, the more you simply act on that thing that’s a part of a better path, it will keep feeling more and more normal.

And Again

As you simply repeat doing the better thing that’s part of the better path, inertia begins to work in your favor.  In fact it become more and more your “new automatic.”

Trying to Stop the Inertia of Bad Choices

Trying to stop the inertia of bad choices is like hand to hand combat with the flesh and the devil.  It doesn’t actually work out very well in the long run.

But, changing the flow of inertia is quite another.  In fact, in a little time you will have the same experience I had the first time I went on vacation in the Rocky Mountains.

My parents and I were driving into the mountains on the highway that the map said led to Pike’s Peek.  I kept looking a long ways away.  But, then I turned around and looked out the back window of our car.  I was shocked at how far “up” we had come from the lower elevation.

The Emphasis of Repentance

Repentance isn’t working hard to stop one action.  It’s replacing the unproductive action with one that looks like the path you prefer to be on.  Inertia takes over.  Now, you’re living…

God’s Normal.

Here’s the thing.  You can’t do more than one thing at a time regardless of how good you think you are at multi-tasking.  Just keep experimenting with better, more pleasurable ways of doing what get’s you where you really want to go.

Now, before you leave this page, go to right, then up to the top right column and subscribe. Thanks!

And thanks for adding to the discussion with your comments.
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The Grinch Can’t Steal My Christmas Joy

Grinch Navity.001This is part 2 of The “Pagan Christmas Witch Hunt” if you may not have seen it.

Peddlers of gloom who stress that Dec. 25 is a pagan holiday and should not be celebrated can’t steal my joy.

Here are a few more (I believe sane and spiritual) responses to the following objections:

1.  Jesus Wouldn’t Condone The Commercialism

I agree.  I don’t think He would.  Our Western style of commercialized prosperity has missed the mark inside and outside the church, His representative Body.

I used to try to sneak things past my father by saying, “But all the kids are doing it.”  He would always respond, “If your best friend jumps off a bridge, will you?”

The point is this:  I can live in a “commercialized society without being a participant in commercialism (whatever that actually means).  I can celebrate the incarnation of Christ at a time when attention is focused there and do so with financial dignity, and honor.

2.  Jesus wasn’t born on December 25, anyway!

I know that.  I wasn’t born on the moon.  Nobody actually knows specifically when He was born with any certainty.  The Biblical account as well as extra-biblical literature is very sparse on the timing issues of His birth.  Those opinions that are extracted from biblical passages are suspect at best because the topics in mention are “spiritual” in nature and not the subject of correct calendar dating.

It is interesting to note that a plausible presentation is given by the scholarly work of E.W. Bullinger’s “Companion Bible.”  Bullinger personally believes with confidence that it’s likely that Jesus was born on our September 29th and that December 25th would have been when Mary conceived of the Holy Spirit.   I find it interesting in that I’m one who believes that life begins at conception.  So, could it be that Jesus actually “entered” the earth 9 months earlier, through supernatural conception, on our calendar December 25?)   Still speculation, but interesting.

The Early Church Attempted To Sanitize A Pagan Holiday

I’m not going to give detail here, because I covered this in part one, however a follow-up question was asked, “Would you celebrate the birth of Christ on an Islamic holiday?

My answer:  Yes, maybe.  It depends.

A question like that assumes a negative answer by an emotionally heated shaming comparison.  However, I would rather think more deeply with my heart than that.  As I’ve stated in part one, I believe it is just as likely that the early church was not doing a cowardly job of sanitizing by turning a heathen holiday into a day to honor Christ.  But, instead, they were taking a “counter-cultural creative stand” in the face of debauchery.  They were saying, “You emphasize the birth of the sun on this day with debauchery and revelry.  We honor the birth of the True Son with our celebration.  I think that would have been a pretty ball-sy stand.

If I felt God was putting it on my heart to counter-culture my Christian beliefs in an Islamic culture, I would.

My Friend Larry De Salvo said it best

 ”You know, I was wondering how so many different people came up with so many “pagan” ideas?  We can ‘witch hunt’ with so many various ideas and “pagan” days and pagan this and pagan that we can pick and choose “Which” crazy ideas we want to embrace and bring to the forefront and sensationalize and cause division within our own ranks… it seems like an excellent way for the enemy to divide and make enemies of our own brothers and sisters in The Body of Christ. It’s very easy to find a rabbit trail to follow if your looking for one and our enemy is a master of giving us something to follow whether partly true, totally true, or totally false just to keep us busy and take our focus off of the matter at hand, loving Jesus and allowing the natural flow that comes from that to our brothers and sisters…”

Larry ends with a verse that has also been on my heart, (I Samuel 16:7), “Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart.”

Final Word:

The religious world is full of voices that have the same spirit the Pharisee’s carried.  The details are different but the spirit is the same.  The motivating force behind the Pharisee was to keep things pure.  They added many “laws” that were not inspired by God, but they carried the spirit that it was their job to keep everything pure for God.

Religion comes from the words, “to re-bind.”  Whom the Son sets free, let him remain free, indeed.

I’m not going to let any Grinch in the robes of a Pharisee steal my joy this season.  I hope you don’t either.

Gary

The “Pagan Christmas” Witch Hunt

Christmas Pagan.001As a Christian Pastor, I take my privilege very seriously!  I stand on the truth, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free.”  And, I would never lead the people in my charge into paganism…or embracing it in any form.

With that in mind, I have been very troubled for the past several years over the celebration of Christmas in my church.  Some may be surprised at this statement, but it’s been an inner turmoil for me….UNTIL NOW!

I’ve read and prayed and read some more.  The internet is replete with strong denunciations of true Christians celebrating Christmas.  My heart has cried out, “What do I do?”  You see, this isn’t simply a matter of intellectual doctrinal dispute or opinion for me.  If it’s observance is anathema to my Heavenly Father is as true as myriads of Anti-Christmas proclaimers declare, then I and the people I am leading are in great danger from the wrath of God in this life, and maybe even hell-fire in the ages to come.

However, with sincere heart I’ve continued to seek His Wisdom on this most important issue!

I’ve come to the position that many sincere worshipers of God are drawing fear-laden, freedom-binding conclusions based on the same spirit as the “witch hunt” mentality.

I will list a few reasons I’ve come to that conclusion here.  But, if you’d like a more in depth examination, I’m posting a link at the end of this post.

Why I Believe You Can Celebrate “Christmas” With Your Church And Family And Not Be Afraid You Are Embracing Paganism:

Here are only a few of the reasons I have come to my conclusion and hope you will have the freedom to do so, as well (In no particular order of importance):

  1. I’m not afraid of the word, “Pagan,” from what it originally meant.  I do NOT embrace doctrines that are common to current “religious” expressions of paganism. (And btw there are as many slices of paganism as there are Christian denominations).
    In it’s earliest usage (the time all anti-Christmas folks refer to), anyone was a “pagan” who was folk-sy, outdoor-sy, and uneducated.  A common contemporary term that is very similar is “red neck.”Another term that has often been used in the same breath is “heretic.”  A heretic was an still is someone who has taken a basic truth to an extreme, and beyond a truthful biblical conclusion.  However, it is also used by many who stand on opposite sides of what they consider to be basic biblical conclusion.  Who’s the heretic?  Well, the one who is on the other side of the line I’ve drawn, of course! <—- (Sarcasm, in case you missed it.)I identify with many Charismatic or Pentecostal beliefs regarding the current practice of God’s gifts.  A very influential religious leader has assigned me to hell-flames.  I have no doubt this leader is a sincere follower of Christ, but he has openly stated that Charismatics and Pentecostals are not true Christians.

    I’ve also been labeled “New Age” because I believe that dreams can still be interpreted, among other things that are contemporary operations of the Holy Spirit’s gifts.  Do I believe the core teaching of “New Age?”  NO.  ABSOLUTELY NOT!  (But, the why is for another article.

    The point is that it’s easy to throw around terms like “new age,” “gnostic,” “mysticism,” and “heretic.”  They illicit strong reactions amongst sincere people.  But, the term easily applied does not mean that well informed truth is being told.   Saying something is so, doesn’t make it so!   And just because it’s found on the internet doesn’t make it so, either! (Internet buyer beware!

  2.  I Believe that “Sunday School” is a good thing for children.  Your church may call it something different like, “Children’s Church,” et al, but the point is the same.One of the common arguments against Christmas is that it isn’t found in the Scriptures.  Well, guess what?  Neither is Sunday School.  It originally came into existence when some churches wanted to educate poor children who were working on the farms and unable to attend school.  These churches taught basic education as well as took the opportunity to also teach the Scriptures.Yet, I have not found one article condemning Sunday School using the “not in Scripture” argument.  Oh, and btw…to be consistent…they should because, you see, Sunday is the title given to that day of the week to honor the Roman Sun God.  In fact all the days of the week are names that honor different “deities.”  Inconsistency Alert!

3. There is a huge amount of speculation to the majority of the claims that are made
about medieval times. 
I’m not denying that some pretty immoral, non God-honoring stuff
went on in that era.  However, much of the “it’s pagan” argument is based on stuff that can’t
be anything but speculation and outright error.  (You can read much greater researched
detail in the link below)

4.  I admire the early church for declaring thier honor to the true Son of God by openly
going “counter culture”
to a major day of cultural debauchery as a worship of the
birthday of their “sun god.” 
I think that probably took good old fashioned guts!  Then
again, I prefer to look at positive potential rather than seeing the “evil” in everything.
Everything that I consider “pagan heresy.”

This is a time when I am honoring the birth of Jesus.  I know it’s not the real date.  I am aware of all the cries and screams that it’s pagan.  It’s not to me, and nobody has proven to me that God is angry.  In fact, I think there’s a better chance of Him being angry with those who have made countless people fearful for celebrating the Christmas season.  I’m focused on making Jesus the reason for the season for my friends, family, and myself!  I hope you will, too!

For The In Depth Discussion,  “Christmas is Not Pagan” Click Here

Blessed Christmas To You!

Gary

 

 

 

A Key To Unlocking Christmas Peace

ChristmasPeaceGod’s peace is a quality of life.  An important part of the “Christmas” message is that peace is pursuing you.

That leaves yours and my part to be letting His peace catch us.

The story of Jesus birth was accompanied by a message from heaven,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14)

The Key Is A Two Letter Word

Very often the “big things” are the “little things.”  In this case it’s the two letter word, “on.”  The angels announced, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace…”

Every place this word is used in the New Testament, it’s always contained within an action.  It is not stationary or passive.  In Luke 2:14 it indicates action from heaven toward the mankind.

Peace is pursuing you right now!  Stop and let it catch you!

More Little Things Of Peace

The Prince of Peace (The Pursuer) was born into the earth as a baby (a little thing).  As we allow peace to catch us, we begin recognizing it in the little things.  These little things will expand.  It’s like the mustard seed.  There is no end in the increase of God’s Kingdom…(in your life).

We begin experiencing and enjoying His Peace as we open our eyes to appreciate the little pieces of peace.  When Elijah was praying for the rain to begin, it began as a cloud the size of a man’s hand.  It then grew to a huge rain storm.

Prayer:  “Jesus, you are my Prince of Peace.  May Your Spirit open the eyes of my heart to see the tiny seeds of peace that are pursuing me.”

Peace (moving toward you from heaven) to you, my friend.  Right here.  Right now.  In this moment.

While you’re here, enjoy this peaceful video:

The First Step To Winning Anything

GIANTSThis post is not about football.  It is simply a good image to introduce the first step to winning over any obstacle in life.

Just one reference:  The issues of life never allow anyone to freely, unhindered, walk over the goal line of victory.  It just doesn’t happen.

Tough stuff happens…sometimes tragic stuff.

Remember these basic realities:

1.  Whether or not the “goal line” resistance is made up of little aggravations or seemingly immovable objects, you can be the irresistible force.

2.  Winning starts with a three word command to yourself – each and every time – as you take a deep breath.  And that command is…

Deal With It!

Let me clarify that I am emphasizing these words to mean, “I’m headed for the goal line and I’m not going to be stopped. So, I’m going to deal with it!”

Do God’s Best!

I didn’t say, “Do your best.”  That’s the default that can spell disaster.  Anytime we attempt to reach into the strength of our own abilities, we are reaching into a shallow pool.

Many of the obstacles we face are pretty intimidating.  In all likelihood they resemble Goliath against David.  But, the outcome can be the same victory as David notched on his belt if handled the way David handled Goliath.  He said, “You come to me with all of your natural strengths and abilities [my paraphrase] but I come to you in the name of the Lord God of Israel.”

A.  Reach into the power that is at work within you.  Speak His Word to yourself and your obstacle.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” (Ephesians 3:20)

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Quick Tip:  Strengthens me in Greek means, “Who has infused His strength within me.”

B.  Remember the victories (little and big) He has previously given you

Too many times we remember, but our “remembering” is rehashing all of our pain, sorrow, and seeming defeat.  All that does is re-enforce the present obstacle.

C.  Ask God for wisdom

James tells us in the first chapter that if we ask Him for wisdom, He will give it.  So, ask with confidence and then expect “hunches” to “poke” you.  Sometimes we get big, game changing wisdom.  Normally, for me, it’s a lot of little things I act on that come together.

D.  Act On It!

Sometimes the “hunch” will seem so insignificant that you could easily dismiss it.  At times it’s something that you’ll respond to by saying, “Oh, that’s stupid.  That won’t make any difference.”

Many times, for me, it’s following through with the things I didn’t think would make any difference that caused the first crack to show in the obstacle.

Too many times we “deal with it” by getting fearful, or further discouraged.  If you’re pretty discouraged and tired right now, I encourage you to “deal with it” like King David did in 1 Samuel 30:6 (Read the whole story for even greater impact)

“David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the LORD his God.”

Remember…hard stuff happens.  And, it’s going to keep happening as long as you draw breath on this earth.  So, choose to take a “Deal with it” attitude.  God’s strength, God’s wisdom, and God’s creativity will take you across the goal line with a smile on your face.

If this has helped, I’d love to hear even a brief comment from you or an example from your life.  Your stories encourage us!

Gary