Discipleship

Positioning Yourself to Receive all that God has for Your Life

PositioningBlog (WEB)

At the outset of this blog, I want to make it clear that I understand once you receive Jesus into your heart as your personal savior that you are positioning yourself to receive God’s grace, mercy, love & salvation.  If you do or have done an in depth study on the book of Romans, you’ll know exactly what I am talking about. But what these next few blogs are going to be talking about…is receiving God’s blessings for your life.  There are certain things that both you and I have to do to be able to position ourselves to receive all that God has for our lives.

The blessing of the LORD brings wealth, without painful toil for it.” – Proverbs 10:22

The heart of God is to bless you. He wants to increase you.  He wants you to enjoy the abundant life. The more than enough life. He wants you to be able to experience the (Zoe) of God which is his peace, joy & blessings…and like the scripture says ‘without painful toil for it.’

Are you ready to position yourself?

fear-of-the-Lord

#1. Maintain a Holy Fear of God.

The first thing you and I must do is learn how to maintain a holy fear of God.  We must learn to live a life where we answer to an “audience of one.” We can’t get caught up in pleasing people but we must be caught up in pleasing the one that matters most…God.  Pleasing God will bring conviction in our lives and conviction is the compass that guides our lives.  Do you have a holy fear of God? Meaning a reverence, a respect and a love for God?

This idea was foreign to me when I first came to the Lord because I grew up in disobedience and rebellion.  You might be able to relate with me. But over time…and fast forward over three decades later…I have learned how to value my relationship with God.  When he speaks, I listen.  I listen even to the point that if others are against it…I will still obey.  And I want to encourage you to do the same.  At the end of our lives we will have to stand before God and answer for everything He entrusted us to do…I don’t know about you but I take that very serious. And more than pleasing people…I want to be pleasing to Him. Who are you pleasing?

The good life begins in the fear of God—
Do that and you’ll know the blessing of God.
His Hallelujah lasts forever! (Psalm 111:10 – The Message)

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
Good sense is shown by everyone who follows God’s guiding principles.
His praise continues forever. (Psalm 111:10 – Living Bible)

Away-with-this-religion

We usually approach God with one of the following types of fear:

a.  Bad Fear – In the bible this is referred to as “pachad.” This is a person reacting to something sudden or startling to the point of trembling. This type of fear is synonymous with terror, horror or alarm.  This fear can hold you back and paralyze you from doing things you know you should do. This kind of fear will paralyze or damage your faith.

b. Good Fear – I like how Charles Finney put it.  “It’s an affectionate reverence where God’s sons and daughters…they come into his presence and they humbly bow their hearts, their attitudes, their minds and their lives before a loving father.”

Have you been coming to God that way? The problem is that sometimes we have the wrong perspective of ourselves.  Sometimes we feel that people are putting us down when in reality it’s just God dealing with our pride.  We need conviction and when we don’t have it, we begin to become people that are married to compromise.  It fits into our little world so we keep it.  It’s sad too because some people have had the same bent in their lives for years…they get the victory for a season but then go right back to it later like an old familiar friend. Don’t be like those in the following verse:

For the leaders of my people—
    the Lord’s watchmen, his shepherds—
    are blind and ignorant.
They are like silent watchdogs
    that give no warning when danger comes.
They love to lie around, sleeping and dreaming. (Isaiah 56:10)

To fear the Lord is to avoid evil.”

What’s your weakness? I want to encourage you today to do something about it.  We all have something.  It could be a bent towards being negative, lust, gossiping, anger, jealously…believe me this list can get pretty long.  But you can’t just ignore it…you gotta do something about it.  Start today by taking a few moments to evaluate your fear of God.  Do you have an awe of God in your life? When God speaks, do you listen and obey?  Have you been wrestling with God in your mind? Whatever it might be, respond the way David did in Psalm 51. Take time today to read that chapter and let God speak to you.  The first step in positioning yourself to receive all that God has for your life is maintaining a Holy Fear of God!

The Best is Yet to Come

The Best is Yet to Come2“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they might have life and have it to the full.” – John 10:10

Let me start this blog off by saying that this is going to be the best year of your life. I believe that with all of my heart! If you’re breathing as you’re reading this (go ahead and take a deep breath just to make sure that’s you) then God is not finished with you.  There’s still a work that He has for you to accomplish. I love how Jesus says it in this verse, “I have come that they might have life and have it to the full.” He’s talking to YOU & I! He wants you to have a FULL life! Another version puts it like this, “I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” I’m so excited to see what God is going to do in your life this year.  It’s going to be better than you could of dreamed of. Believe me, The Best is Yet to Come!!!

Dream-Big

Over the next few blogs, we’re going to dream. And if I were you, I’d dream big.  I don’t know about you, but I serve a big God.  He has given me some big dreams.  Dreams that are so big that I need His help to see them come to pass.  Are those the kind of dreams you have?  I believe God has a special dream he has already given you.  I’d dare to go as far as saying that some of you already know what that dream is.  Maybe there was a dream you had last year but weren’t able to see it come to pass.  I want to encourage you to get up, dust yourself off and get back to it.  I remember the first time God told me I was going to be a pastor.  Something inside of me thought that it was going to happen the very next year.  Well…was I wrong. It actually took 17 years to see it come to pass.  Should I repeat that? 17 years! There’s going to be a little thing called “The Process” for all of us.  But God is with you & here’s a little secret between you and I…God’s promises don’t have an expiration date attached to them!  I know that’s good news to someone.  Be encouraged today.  God still has greater things for you.  He has a dream he wants you to accomplish.  It might seem a little far fetched…but that’s the God we serve.  He’s in the business of working out the impossible.

So what’s your dream? What’s your passion? What do you have a strong desire for this year? Maybe you want to see God do something new in your family, your marriage, your career, your finances, your spiritual life or some other area in your life.  This could even be the year that you start to give back to those around you in a brand new way.  Maybe God’s been putting it in your heart to open up your house to host a bible study (life group), helping people who might of came from a similar background as yourself or maybe just by being more available with the gifts and talents God has given you.  The possibilities are endless.  If you don’t know, I’d like to encourage you to make some time this week to get alone with God.  Quiet yourself in His presence and ask God to begin to speak to you.  Ask him to show you what He wants you to do this year.

if_you_can_dream_it_you_can_do_it_walt_disney_quote_wallpaper__yvt2

In Genesis 37:5-11, the Bible talks about how “Joseph had a dream.” I want you to go ahead and put your name there. “Wilber had a dream” or “Matilda had a dream.” You see where I’m going with this?  God has a dream for you! Our dreams are like a sharp double edged sword by which we cut through disappointments, discouragements, adversity and evil opposition.  Like we read in the beginning…it’s the thief that comes to steal, kill and destroy.  Maybe the enemy tried to come and do that to your dream this year.  But I want to encourage you to start dreaming again.  It’s a brand new year. God wants the best for you and your entire family.

I remember when I first came to know Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior that my dreams were small.  I just wanted to be a different person.  If you’re there, start there.  Once you begin to dream, God will exceed your expectations time and time again.  I encourage you to begin dreaming today. The Bible is full of people who had dreams. So, what’s yours? This is your year and The Best is Yet to Come!!!

“If you can dream it, you can it.” – Walt Disney

About My Father’s Business (Total Commitment)

So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it. – Philippians 3:15-16

Commitment: an agreement or pledge to do something in the future; something pledged; the state or an instance of being obligated or emotionally impelled

As we continue in our discussion of “About My Father’s Business,” I want to take a look at the word ‘commitment.’ Paul was definitely a man that exemplified commitment during his ministry here on earth.  Even while he was writing these very words, he was also modeling this to the people he was speaking to.  One thing Paul realized during his ministry…was that there was a price to pay.  And that price was total commitment.  In the previous scripture, Paul talks about wanting everything that God had for him.

Now let me shift to you…I know that if you’re taking the time to read this, you want everything that God has for your life.  So let me ask you another question…and this might hurt a little bit. Are you totally committed to God?  Let me ask you that one more time…and please take some time to think about this…”are you totally committed to God?”  Are there areas that have caused your vision to be a little blurred? Are there sideshow attractions that have been taking away your time, energy and focus from that plan that God has for you?  Maybe you felt this was the year for you to focus on your marriage…have you been doing that?  Or maybe you felt you really wanted to work on being a better parent, student or employee…have you been doing that?  When you’re totally committed to God and the plan that he has for you…He’ll help you stay on the right track.

It’s never too late to get on the right track.  That’s one thing I love about God, He’s always ready when you’re ready for change.  You’re not alone.  If you’re on the right track, I want to encourage you to not grow weary in well doing.  And if you’re not, start today.  One step in the right direction can make a big difference.  I’m routing for you, you can do it!

In the next blog, we’ll talk about how Nehemiah put action to the vision that God gave him.  And that despite the opposition that came his way, God was right there to help him overcome every obstacle that tried to stop the work that was being done.

Here Today & Gone Tomorrow?

Thank you for taking the time to read this  blog today.  With all the many things that you could be doing right now…it’s a blessing to know that you are taking time to invest in your spiritual life.  I share this next statement with people every chance I get…and I hope you catch what I’m about to say…”The Greatest Win is Within.”

Over the past 30 plus years I have seen people here today and gone tomorrow (they’ve come from all walks and levels of life). What’s separates those who will be here tomorrow from those who won’t is one simple word that I want to focus today’s blog on…FAITHFULNESS! I pray that it will add value to you as a christian, a minister or even a student of God’s beautiful word.

Let’s jump right into it…are you faithful?  If you take a moment to look at your life, can you answer that question truthfully?  Now this is between you and God…I really want you to take the time to think about your life and your relationship with God. So, let me ask you again because repetition is the mother of all learning…Are You Faithful?  Are you faithful to God? Are you faithful to your spouse? Are you faithful to your career? If you take the time to really answer those questions…you’ll see that we could all grow in our faithfulness.

Now why do I take the time to ask these questions? Because I want you to be the kind of person that will be here today and also here tomorrow.  And sometimes that means we have to ask ourselves the hard questions…sometimes that means we have to make some adjustments…sometimes we have to take the time to build our character today so we’ll be here tomorrow…sometimes we have to have the mindset that “I ain’t giving up!” Hopefully that’s you today. I don’t just want to give you a feel good message and send you on your way.  I want to challenge you, provoke you and get you to be better than you were yesterday so you’ll be a man or woman that will stand the test of time.

Before we close today, I want to give you three quick stories of faithfulness:

  1. Richard Hooker.  He was a writer who endured 21 different rejections.  Finally, after 17 years a publisher took a chance on him.  From those writings came the hit TV Show “MASH” which ran for many years.
  2. Theodor Geisel was an American writer who underwent 23 different rejections.  He got creative by changing his name but still submitted his writings.  Today he is best known as “Dr. Seuss” and his stories continue to touch lives to this very day.
  3. God. “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.” – Deuteronomy 7:9
I’ve learned that God is pleased by what he does and does what he pleases. If we can learn from someone what it truly means to be faithful…it is God.  Don’t give up! You might be going through a tough time at the moment…but you’re going to come out as gold if you hang on.  It’s all part of the character that God is forming in you.  You’re stronger today than you were yesterday and if you take the time today to make the necessary adjustments…you’ll be someone who’s here today and here tomorrow too! I know you can do it.  God has been faithful in my life for over 30 years…and I know he can do the same in your life as well! He is faithful!

Are You Fruitful?

“”I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:1-6

As you take time to read through this blog today, please take time to examine your own life.  I really feel that Jesus was communicating a very important lesson to his disciples with the portion of scripture we just read.  It was important because this was his last intentional moment he was going to have before heading to the garden of gethsemane and ultimately the cross.

Have you ever wondered why God has a pruning process?  I mean why can’t we just receive the promises of God without having to go through a process?  I asked myself this question one day when my pomegranate tree was pruned (Side Note: I love me some good fruit).  Well, one day when I went outside to grab me a nice piece of fruit…to my surprise…my entire tree was pruned!  After i gathered myself (just joking)…my good friend explained to me that this tree needed to be pruned so it could produce sweeter fruit.  And guess what? He was right!  That’s exactly what God does in our life.  You might not be enjoying the process…but believe me without that pruning, we will never enjoy the prize.

Before closing up today, I would like to leave you with a few thoughts.

  1. Are you Fruitful? When you look at your life, are you producing fruit? We’ll get into what fruit is a little bit more in my next blogs but there are Four Levels of Fruit that are brought out in this passage: No Fruit, Fruit, More Fruit & Much Fruit.  Which level are you at?
  2. Is Anything Severing Your Relationship with God? Severed means “pulled, cut, broken or severely damaged.” “In the world, we’ll have relationships/friendships that are damaged…but we can’t let our relationship with God get pulled, cut, broken or severely damaged. We can’t let hardships or trials affect us.
  3. Are There Air Bubbles in Your Life? A very important part of processing clay is when the Potter takes a mallet and methodically pounds the clay layer by layer.  He’ll pound it over and over again until he feels that all the air bubbles are gone.  Air bubbles can’t be seen with the naked eye. The air bubbles could be anger, jealousy, lust, etc. And if clay goes into the fire with air bubbles…the clay will pop.  When God allows us to go through the fire, he wants us to come out as gold…not to pop.  We’re not worthy of the promise if we can’t handle the process.
So where do you stand today in your life? Are you fruitful? Are you allowing anything to severe your relationship with God? Are there any air bubbles in your life? Jesus continually says “Remain in me.” The real question is “Are you with me?” He’s continually saying, “I’m not going anywhere”…but are you?

Be An Example

And don’t let anyone put you down because you’re young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity. Stay at your post reading Scripture, giving counsel, teaching. And that special gift of ministry you were given when the leaders of the church laid hands on you and prayed—keep that dusted off and in use.

Cultivate these things. Immerse yourself in them. The people will all see you mature right before their eyes! Keep a firm grasp on both your character and your teaching. Don’t be diverted. Just keep at it. Both you and those who hear you will experience salvation. – 1 Timothy 4:12-16 (The Message)

I had the opportunity this past weekend to spend some time with my spiritual sons.  I love when I get the chance to impart into the next generation.  And even though the following was targeted towards young men, I believe that we can all apply these powerful principles into our lives.  Timothy was being challenged to be an example.  I think the same is true for anyone that is taking the time to read this as well.  If you have people that look to you or follow you…then you know the responsibility of being an example!

God never gives someone great ministry unless you have great destiny!” Timothy was that man! God had a huge calling in store for this man.  God knew it and Paul knew it too! That’s why Paul took the time to write this letter.  Timothy was pastoring the largest church at this time.  While that might be pressure enough to handle, add to it the fact that he actually had people in his congregation who had seen Jesus (one example being the Apostle John).  Talk about pressure! Most scholars believe that Timothy was 19 or in his early 20’s. History even tells us that there was a group of elders at the time that said they should make it a rule that someone shouldn’t be a pastor until they were 30 years old! Seemed like Timothy was definitely going through a lot at that time!

Paul challenged Timothy in the following areas: [Basically he was saying…this is how you shut their mouths, Be An Example!]

  • Speech-What’s coming out of your mouth? Get rid of the stuff that leads to nowhere.
  • Life-Set a covenant with your eyes. Don’t waste time! You’ll be a lot further if you don’t waste time.
  • Love-Have a love that is different from that of the world.
  • Faith-Trust God even when it’s hard.  God will fashion us through pain!
  • Purity-There’s a story of a man who was cleaning a huge window.  When he was almost done, everything was clean except for one spot.  He added more soap, scrubbed harder and did all he could to get ride of that spot.  A man a little ways away came up to the man and said, “the spots on the inside.” That’s exactly what God might be telling you today…”the spots on the inside.” There are some things that man can’t see but God can see everything.

I think Timothy had to be challenged after hearing this from his spiritual father.  I know I’m challenged every time I get around my spiritual father.  I really take the time to think about what he tells me.  I meditate on it, I pray about it and I even try to put it to action.  That’s the same thing that Paul was doing with Timothy. He was provoking him to make him do something about it.  The only way he was going to be able to silence his critics, was to be an example! Most scholars believe that Timothy was single at this time too.  So if you’re reading this…it doesn’t matter your age, your relationship status, whether people see you as a leader or not…if you take the time to apply these truths to your life you’ll be an example worth following.

The choices you make will determine what you’ll be and what you’ll have!

Jesus Loves the Church

“So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.”Hebrews 10: 22-25 (The Message)

If you’ve ever stepped foot into a church service, you know it can be a battle! For every reason you can think of to go to church, you’ll probably think of just as many to keep you home or even go somewhere else.  It could be you’re sick, you’re not feeling well, maybe a relative needs your support, or you need to do something for work, not to mention the possibility that you have a hectic week ahead of you and you could use the extra rest…you following?  Hey, I feel like that sometimes…and I’m the pastor! I’ll tell you right now and listen carefully, there will ALWAYS be something in the way of you coming to church! It’s those who come to God in the good, bad and ugly that continue to find strength, discover their gifts and learn to trust in God’s promises.

The same was true for a young man by the name of Simon.  He was just a fisherman in the eyes of man but he was a rock in the eyes of God! And you know what, he sees you the same way! You can be someone who was emotionally shattered…God wants to make you into a rock! You can be someone who didn’t make all the right decisions..God wants to make you into a whole person.  You might just be a fisherman…but God will use you to be a fisher of men!

I have a question for you though…Are you using the keys that God has given to you? This is what Jesus is telling you and I today: “Why are you asking me for the keys? I’ve already given them to you. Speak to your mountain and yes it will be done.  You have to do something about it.  You have the power and the authority. I gave you the keys.  Open the door and walk through it.  You’re MY church. You’re MY prized possession.  The battle’s not yours, it’s MINE!”

Before I go, I just want to share a few things with you:

  1. Jesus intimately loves His Church – He sees your Potential, He sees you Prophetically and He sees you Positionally!
  2. Jesus wins over the kingdom of darkness through His church
  3. We provide protection by His church

If you’re taking the time to read this, I just want you to know that you’re apart of His church and that He loves you very much! He is going to make you into that rock that’s going to help build His kingdom! Keep going forward!