Intentional

7 Things to Remember…

“They spotted him off in the distance. By the time he got to them they had cooked up a plot to kill him. The brothers were saying, “Here comes that dreamer. Let’s kill him and throw him into one of these old cisterns [pit]; we can say that a vicious animal ate him up. We’ll see what his dreams amount to.”” – Genesis 37: 18-20

Have you ever had a pit experience in your life?  Maybe it wasn’t like Joseph where he was thrown into a pit by his own brothers (they actually wanted to kill him).  But maybe it was a different pit.  It could be a financial pit, maybe a relational pit where things just aren’t the same anymore with your spouse or it could be some kind of storm or trial.  One thing I have learned over the years…is that you can’t bypass the pits in life.  They’re going to happen to all of us.  The question isn’t whether pits will come into our life or not…but what are you going to do when you find yourself in a pit? Over the next few blogs, I want to share with you Seven Things to Remember When You Have a Pit Experience.  I pray that these will help you overcome the pits that might be coming your way or possibly that you’re in right now.

1.  Are You Ready for Change Yet?

This is always the first thing we have to ask ourselves when we find ourselves in a pit.  I’m pretty sure Joseph even asked himself this question too.  It’s a question I think will come to our minds: how is God trying to change me? God is always trying to change us. If you’re married, I’m sure you can say an AMEN to that. Why? Cause as soon as you get married, you’re going to go through changes.  But these are good changes.  I can testify that marriage has made me more gentle, kind, etc.  I’ll never forget the day when God told me, “be careful how you talk to my daughter.” That got my attention right away. We have to be willing to change.  Sometimes we hold back the blessings of God cause we refuse to change.

 2.  Attacks Will Come

The rain falls on the just and the unjust alike.  We can’t sit around and complain about what we’re going through.  I’m sure you probably knew someone like that when you were younger.  And chances are, some of them might still be like that today.  Instead of letting life beat you up, you have to begin to speak things into existence. I do this all the time.  You have to begin to say things like, “Favor is coming, provision is coming, blessings are coming, healing is coming, salvation for my kids is coming, finances for these bills are coming, doors are going to open, my husband is changing for the better, my wife is changing for the better…” or even things like “I have great potential, I can change, I can get a degree, I can become a great parent, I can get a better job…” I guarantee that things will begin to change because you first changed. Joseph was a great example of this! He found himself in a pit, he was sold as a slave, his family turned on him and he found himself in jail.  If anyone had a reason to get bitter…it was him.  But he actually changed things around and God began to promote him.

In the next blog, we’ll continue our journey through the Seven Things to Remember When You Have a Pit Experience…

 

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You’re So Full of It

On the past few blogs, we’ve been going back and forth on the subject of “About My Father’s Business.” In the next few blogs, we’ll pick back up on that subject…there’s so much more to share.  But I want to shift gears for a moment and tell you something that I really think you should hear.  I don’t know if you realize what I’m about to tell you and how it can change your life. I think even other people have been wanting to tell you this for awhile now and hopefully by the time you’re done reading this blog, you’ll feel provoked to tell someone else the same thing. Are you you ready? Now don’t rush through this…you could miss it.  Ok, here it goes: your so full of it. You really are! YOU’RE FULL OF POTENTIAL!

Potential – “something that can develop or become actual, existing in possibility, untapped energy, etc.”

I love what Paul writes in the passage above.  He was a man full of potential and he KNEW it! He knew that God wasn’t done with him yet.  He knew that God still had a future ahead of him to do great things.  It’s the same for you reading this blog right now.  I want to let you know that there is still a future ahead of you.  Your best days and most blessed days are still in front of you.  As long as you’re breathing, God has great things ahead of you.  He still wants to use you to reach more people than you ever had.  He still wants to help you become a better spouse, better musician, better minister and so many other things that might pertain to your situation right now.  He hasn’t forgotten about you.  And he hasn’t forgotten about your dream.

As I reflect on potential, I think about the famous artist Michelangelo.  He touched the world through his creativity, his talent and imagination.  One thing that really caught my attention was the fact that he had so many unfinished works (paintings, sculptures, etc.).  There’s actually a museum full of all the unfinished works that he did.  I’m sure there’s a story behind each piece but the sad thing is that museum resembles so many people out there today who live their life with wasted potential.  Don’t be that person.  Choose to go against the grain.  Make a stand that you will be different.  You might be in a time where God is using things to bring out hidden potential.  He could be chiseling away areas that will slow you down…so it might hurt.  But it’s to make you into his masterpiece.  And unlike Michelangelo, God wants to finish his masterpiece in your life.

Before you go back to the hustle and bustle of your day, I want to leave you with one thought: DREAM BIG again! What’s your dream? Do you still dream? Are you still reaching for things that at one time you thought were impossible?  For instance, if you want a new car…I hope you’re not taking time and picturing yourself in a pinto! Who does that? But see yourself in that car that you’ve always wanted.  Maybe it’s not a car, but maybe for God to renew your marriage. Or maybe you’re believing God to come through in a different situation.  But whatever it is, don’t give up.  God’s dream will come true if you let it.  There are so many examples of dreamers in the Bible with Daniel, Joseph, Peter and Paul (just to name a few).

Start living your dream today!  Don’t get caught up with living an illusion.  That’d be like me retiring from pastoring and trying to become the starting pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers or trying to be a center for the Los Angeles Lakers…it’s not going to happen.  I’ll never forget years ago when a man of God prophesied over my life that i was going to be a pastor one day.  When he was done praying, I couldn’t believe what I had just heard. The thing was…it didn’t happen right away.  It actually took 16 years for that dream to unfold. Your dream might still be unfolding in your life.  Don’t give up.  Nobody can keep you from your destiny. Not a friend, not a family member, not the enemy….only you! God’s plan has no expiration date on it.  He hasn’t given up on you so don’t give up on Him!

 

About My Father’s Business (A Fighting Spirit)

“Nehemiah prayed, “Oh listen to us, dear God. We’re so despised: Boomerang their ridicule on their heads; have their enemies cart them off as war trophies to a land of no return; don’t forgive their iniquity, don’t wipe away their sin—they’ve insulted the builders!”

We kept at it, repairing and rebuilding the wall. The whole wall was soon joined together and halfway to its intended height because the people had a heart for the work.” – Nehemiah 4:4-6

In the past few blogs, we have been talking “About My Father’s Business.” Today I want to talk about a man that was sold out to His Father’s Business.  His name is Nehemiah.  If you know his story, you know where I’m going with this.  In the beginning of the book of Nehemiah, he receives some really big news.  I don’t really want to focus on the news…but on his reaction.  He responded to this news in a way I hope we all can one day respond to things that God is telling us.  He really took it to heart, he digested it, he thought intensely about it…but ultimately, he prayed about it.

There was an action behind it.  Let me ask you a question, “are you putting action behind the news (vision, purpose, etc.) that God has given you?” Has God been sending people your way to deliver some important news? Maybe a loved one? A spouse? A friend? God sent Hanani (his brother) to tell Nehemiah some important news.  Nehemiah could of thought, “What does that have to do with me? That’s in another city, why would I care? What am I going to get out of this?” and many other thoughts.  But the key here is that he took it to prayer.  And it was in prayer, where God birthed a vision for him to rebuild the walls.  Could it be possible that God has been trying to birth a vision in your prayer time?

Not only did Nehemiah begin this journey in prayer…but throughout his ENTIRE journey we see him often return to prayer.  The scripture above (half the journey later), we see him talking to God about his enemies.  Let me throw this thought in for free: whenever you are doing something great for God, you’re going to have a few enemies along the way.  But one thing I want to tell you, is that they are not fighting against you, they’re fighting against God! God could be calling you to start a business, restore your marriage, step out into ministry or many other things.  Those are all great things, and when God is behind it…even birthing that into your heart…he’ll help you achieve those goals.  I’ve always believed that where God guides, He provides.

Just recently, God birthed a big vision into my heart.  People told us to “go away.” Our response was very similar to Nehemiah…”WE KEPT AT IT.” People told us “can’t you find somewhere else?” You know how we responded? WE KEPT AT IT.  They even said, “it’ll never happen.” You know how we responded? I think you’ve caught on by now.  And it’s the same in your life.  If God has been the one pushing you, tugging at your heart or whispering in your ear…just keep at it.  He’ll help you see that vision come to pass! It was after 52 days, when Nehemiah was able to step back and say, “Look at what the Lord has done!” Stay encouraged today, He’s on your side! And greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world!

 

 

 

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!

The Proof is in the Pudding

The Proof is in the Pudding.” Have you ever heard that phrase before?  If you do a little research, you’ll see that the meaning of this phrase is often summed up as “results are what count.”  Results! Results! Results! I love results. I don’t just do things just to do them.  I don’t wake up with aimless efforts.  I’m very intentional with my time…even to the point of where I know where I want my life to be in 5 years, 10 years and even beyond.  I love to see results in my personal life, in my family, in my ministry and every other area of my life.  You know who else loves to see results? Jesus.  He loves to see results.  In John 15, Jesus was trying to prepare the disciples for what was about to come. Another word for results is fruit.  Let me ask you a question…is there fruit in your life?

I’m sure there is plenty of fruit in your life. If you have a job…fruit would be your paycheck.  If you’re a student…fruit would be your GPA and ultimately your degree.  If you’re taking the time to read this…fruit would be what you do with this after you’re done.  You like fruit too.  Wouldn’t it be a waste of your time to work 40 hours a week just for someone to give you a pat on the back and thank you for a job well done?  While that might feel good…what keeps you coming back day in and day out is that paycheck to provide for the needs that you have.  We love fruit…especially in the areas that we care about.  We’ll make adjustments: if we need more money, we’ll cut spending…if our health is at risk, we’ll go on a strict diet…if we want to further our education, we’ll take the required classes…if we want to be better parents, we’ll seek advice.  You get the picture. There are a few areas that Jesus cared about…and he even calls them fruit.  Before we close up today…I want to share six things that were labeled fruit in the New Testament.  Take some time to evaluate your own life today…is there spiritual fruit in your life?

Six Things the New Testament Calls Fruit:

  1. Winning Souls [Romans 1:13/John 4:35-38]
  2. Holiness & Obedience [Romans 6:22]
  3. Financial Giving [Romans 15:26-29]
  4. Good Works [Colossians 1:10]
  5. The Praise that comes from our Lips [Hebrews 13:5]
  6. Love [Galatians 5:22-23]
As you take time to study each on your own…i pray that you’ll not only be able to see what fruit you have or don’t have at this moment…but also feel the desire to bear more fruit…fruit that will last.

The Most Important Lesson in Life

Good morning, good afternoon or good evening.  I pray that as you are taking the time to read this devotion…that you are blessed.  What I’m about to share with you is something so important that Jesus took the time to put this in scripture for you and I to read.  It’s something that will keep you and I in the days to come.  It’s something so simple that we sometimes take it for granted. Yet it’s so important that it could make the biggest difference in our lives.  Are you ready? It’s one word. You’ve probably figured it out by now because the word is pictured above.  That word is “ABIDE.” Let me ask you a question. Are you abiding in Christ today? Think about that for a second while you read the scripture below:

Go ahead and read it one more time. Let it sink in for a second.  I pray that you begin to examine your own life at this moment.  Let me ask that question one more time, “are you abiding in Christ?” Let me put it another way…is Jesus your lifeline? Is he the True Vine in your life? If he is, then praise God. If anything this devotion will just be a refreshing to you…because you my friend are someone that loves to soak in the presence of God.  But if this is not you, then this is a reminder to you.  Jesus took the last opportunity he had with his disciples to remind them about this very important principle that would keep them for the rest of their lives.

Before we end our heart to heart today, I want to leave you with 4 ways that you can tell if someone is abiding in Christ:

  1. They’re going to produce fruit. [Is there fruit in your life?]
  2. They’re going to experience the Father’s pruning in order to bear more fruit. [Sometimes it would take 3 years to produce sweeter fruit.  That might even be the case in your life today.]
  3. They’re going to have their prayers answered. [Some prayers might be under ‘wait’ status…but you’ll be able to look back and see a track record of answered prayer.]
  4. They’re going to experience a deepening love for Christ and for others. [Our relationship with God will connect us to others and we’ll have a deeper desire to do more for Him.]
If that’s you today, then I just want to continue you cheer you on in the race that you’re running today. And if you’re lacking in an area, then it is my prayer that you shake of the dust, get back up and continue on the race that God has for you as well.  Take the challenge to abide in Christ today. As a matter of fact, I encourage you to take the next few moments to ask God where you can grow in your walk with him. I believe that not only will God answer you, but he will guide you as well.  Remember, “People that are broken know that everything we do is about and for God.”