Let God Clear Your Focus

Let God Clear Your Focus

The year was 1985 and our family was visiting my parents on the southeastern coast of Georgia. As my husband and I drove over the causeway to Sea Island, we were overwhelmed with the beauty – the incredible expanse of marsh grass, the huge Live Oaks dripping with Moss, the windswept trees, the sand dunes, and the array of extraordinary vacation homes.

Each home was unique – representing the taste of its owner. There were some resembling ornate French palaces. Others exhibiting more of a rustic look. Some extremely modern. Others traditional.

There were also some common elements.

These homes were very expensive – and well-manicured. They were the vacation homes of well-moneyed families, top executives,  greatest philanthropists, and even international royalty.

The richest of the rich. And many of the leaders of our nation.

I had taken this drive many times over the years and had loved it. It was refreshing and energizing to see the variety of homes and landscapes, and awesome to think of the money required to maintain such a lifestyle. Splendor and more splendor.

But this time it seemed different.

I felt a heaviness coming upon me – a sadness. I couldn’t understand why this could be. Suddenly I realized that God was calling me to pray. But why right now?

As we returned home, I went off alone to talk to God and He began to give me some revelation which has continued unfolding through the years.

Those homes were homes of the most powerful leadership in our country. Since they were the leaders, they also made a statement about the spiritual condition of our country.

Then I was in for a surprise.

The Lord led me to Isaiah 46:1,2: Bel bows down, Nebo stoops over…They bow down together. They cannot save, but are themselves going into captivity.

During this season, my husband and I had been studying about the time when Israel was taken into Babylonian captivity. They were captured and carried away to a foreign land – with foreign gods, and foreign customs. We were studying the underlying conditions of Israel which had caused that to happen, realizing that the natural episode was a type for a spiritual condition.

Then the Lord spoke very clearly, “My church has been taken into Babylonian captivity. No longer am I, the One true God, being worshiped, but the Babylonian gods are being worshiped. Bel (Baal) and Nebo are the idols of my church now.”

I knew who Bel (Baal) was: the god of prosperity. But who was Nebo?

I began to do some research. Nebo was the Babylonian god of handwriting, but by extension he became the god of education and the intellect.

Ah, there you have it. I knew what God was saying. He was saying that the church trusted more in money and in humanistic education than they did in Him, the one true God.

This new revelation took some pondering, because I knew that our God didn’t want us to be poor and ignorant. He wants us to be educated and to be prosperous.

But when we don’t put Him first, when we don’t look to God for our answers then the blessings of education and prosperity can become a curse. They can cause us to worship the creature and not the Creator.

We become humanistic in our approach to life.

I started to see how entrenched these idols have become in our culture, and the results are obvious. When we are worshiping ourselves, there are no standards. We think that whatever we desire is just fine. No restrictions. Lust, greed, perversion: no problem.

For many, the rule has become that whatever you can “get by with” is okay. Much hurt and confusion have come as these idols have caused us to trample God’s truth and to trample each other.

But God…

But God is calling back to Him those who will listen. He is calling us out of Babylon. He wants to cleanse us and show us His true nature. Then He wants to show Himself strong to the world.

So am I coming against education? Am I coming against prosperity?

Of course not! These are gifts from our Father.

But we are called to worship the Gift-giver, not the gift. When our hearts are pure and our perspective is clear, these gifts are true blessings.

They enrich our lives and those of others.

It all comes back to the attitude of the heart. When our hearts are in the right place, then we do have standards: God’s standards. And these standards are the foundation for our knowledge and wisdom. They become a base upon which we build our beliefs.

It seems like it’s time for all of us to do a heart check, and to continue to do these checks as we go forward.

There is much for us to do, and we want to have clear minds. We want to represent God’s truth to the world, not a skewed version of it.

Only pure hearts can do that.

It’s time to bow our knee and let God be God.

Let Him clear our focus.

It’s time to cast aside any Babylonian garment we may have acquired, and represent our father in spirit and in truth.

The Wisdom of Frederick Douglass

The Wisdom of Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass was one of the great movers, shakers, and thinkers of  the 19th century. As a young slave in Maryland, he learned to read – and began to teach his fellow slaves by reading the Bible.

Determined to be free from slavery, young Douglass  escaped and fled to New York to a safe community for freed slaves.

Then his attentions turned to freeing others.

Frederick Douglass established a newspaper, North Star, and became a writer and orator. Douglass traveled the United States and into Europe speaking for the abolition of slavery – and for women’s rights.

He wrote several autobiographies, sharing his stories of slavery, deliverance, and his Christian views.

Douglass was truly a remarkable man. One who stood up before his time. Before it was fashionable.

His quotes are significant nearly 2 centuries later.

One is especially significant today.

I have one great political idea. . . . That idea is an old one. It is widely and generally assented to; nevertheless, it is very generally trampled upon and disregarded.

The best expression of it, I have found in the Bible.

It is in substance, “Righteousness exalteth a nation; sin is a reproach to any people” [Proverbs 14:34].

This constitutes my politics – the negative and positive of my politics, and the whole of my politics. . . .

I feel it my duty to do all in my power to infuse this idea into the public mind, that it may speedily be recognized and practiced upon by our people.

An amazing man. An amazingly accurate outlook.

[Frederick Douglass, The Frederick Douglass Papers, John Blassingame, editor (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982), Vol. 2, p. 397, from a speech delivered at Ithaca, New York, October 14th, 1852.]

Regaining the Hope and Faith of a Child

Regaining the Hope and Faith of a Child

My grandson, Charlie, is in Middle School now, and a very bright guy.

Recently I thought of an episode which happened several years ago. He was about three, sitting on my lap, when with wide eyes, he began to tell me his story.

Spider Man, Batman, Pink Venom, Black Venom, and Green Goblin were having a “spend-the-night party.” He animatedly continued to create this adventure, which eventually led to a gi-normous (that’s bigger than gigantic or enormous alone) box falling on their heads and they had to fight it off.

All of us listening to Charlie’s imagination on steroids, couldn’t help but chuckle. What a creative mind! You could see the wheels turning as he churned out his tale.

Later, in a quieter moment, I began to think how we adults lose that creativity. What happens to us? Why are we always so methodical and logical about any visions or goals we might have?

Why do we always settle for the “norm?”

If everyone “settled for the norm,” we would have none of the cutting edge technology, space travel, or medical wonders of our generation. So some are not settling, but how about you? How about me?

The Bible says that faith is the substance of things “hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen.”(Hebrews 11:1)

The hoped for is the thing I want to talk about today. The hope is like a blueprint in your mind of what you are believing for. If you don’t have a picture in your mind of what you are believing for, then how can you have faith for it? You can’t!

In another blog, I talked about the woman who came to Jesus, pushing through the crowd to receive healing from a hemorrhage. She had been living with the condition for 12 years, and had spent all of her money on doctors, but had not received her healing. Yet she clearly had a vision of herself being healed by Jesus, because she said that she knew if she touched Him she would be made well.

That was creative hope, which didn’t settle for what all of the natural evidence suggested.

Can you imagine what her family might have said to her that day? They probably would have told her that she had been to the best doctors, now just accept this condition and do the best you can with it. They might even have told her that God wanted her to be sick. But she knew better than all of them. She knew that Jesus could accomplish what natural man never could. And she was right!

That creative hope is from God.

He created us in His image, and He always has a special plan in mind about the progression of things. He has special plans for you, but if you are always too busy to spend time with Him, you will never know these plans. You will never develop the Godly hope He wants for us.

Let me encourage you today to spend time with God and His Word. Pray and expect Him to answer.

Ask Him to show you some plans He wants for you. As you continue in this direction, you will begin to see desires drop into your heart…Godly desires. Desires that your faith can then catapult into reality.

In the meantime, enjoy the journey. It’s truly an adventure when we are walking with God!

 

Get More Sales with Amazon Author Page

Get More Sales with Amazon Author Page

Few things demonstrate your expertise on a subject as much as a book. That’s why so many coaches, speakers, marketers and others choose to publish books in their niche.

So what does a book do?

It gives you:

  • Instant credibility—after all, you know enough to fill a book!
  • An unforgettable business card—take a few with you to your next live event.
  • Opportunities to reach a new market—many people will find you first through your book, not your blog.
  • Speaking opportunities—event planners frequently seek out authors to speak at conferences and other gatherings.
  • Bigger paychecks—all that credibility means you can—and should—be charging more.

But your book isn’t the only tool in your author arsenal. If you publish on Amazon, whether as a Kindle author, KDP Paperback author, or with a traditional publishing house, you are entitled to an “Author Page.”

Just like the about page on your website, this is where Amazon browsers go when they want to know more about you. Say for example they’re browsing for information about business branding, and they find your new book. If you’re an unknown to them, it’s hard to know if you have the information they’re looking for. That’s where your author page comes in.

By clicking through to your page, new visitors can learn about:

  • Your experience and expertise
  • Other books you’ve written
  • Your blog and the topics you cover there
  • Upcoming events

They can even ask you a question or two. What better way to decide if that book is worth the investment in time and money than to get to know the author better?

But many authors simply don’t take the time to make the most out of their author page, and they’re missing out—not only on an opportunity to make a great impression, but on the chance to earn more money as well.

Sign up below for a Free PDF with Tips for a Successful Amazon Author Page.

Triumphant Faith Never Quits

Triumphant Faith Never Quits

You and I need triumphant faith.

Why?

All of life is in a state of flux.

Now you may think that I am talking about the current state of affairs. The virus. The discontent. The political divisions.

No. I am talking about all of life.

All of it.

From the time we are born until we die, we are going through changes. As we mature and have families, engage in careers, develop friends, we are continually encountering opportunities – and challenges.

That’s life. Everyone has challenges which need prayer and they need faith to overcome them.

Then we ask, “Is this supposed to be? What’s going on? And if it isn’t God’s will for my life, how can I change it?”

That’s when we go to that miraculous book, the Word of God, the Bible. We find out what His will is and how we can overcome. He gives us instruction.

Then we pray to Him and we speak that word – His word – into the atmosphere.

And continue to do that.

You know that

faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ (Romans 10:17 NASB)

So as we pray and meditate on what God is telling us, our hearts begin to grow in that faith. We continue to speak that word, and we find ourselves believing it more and more as we go along.

Time goes by. It takes time.

Ugh!

We want everything done instantly. We want to snap our fingers or find out a few words which can be spoken for instantaneous reward.

But we all know that life isn’t that way.

Just as Oaks start out as tiny acorns and eventually reach their destiny, so do we, our children, our health, our marriages, and our finances.

And so does our faith within us start as a tiny seed and grow to maturity.

A few year ago I had an experience with the Lord which I’d like to share. I had been fasting, praying, and reading the word.

I was reading in Matthew 13, when my eyes fell on verse 44:

The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field. (Matthew 13:44, NASB)

That verse is very familiar, and there have been many concepts drawn from it. I had always thought of a pot of gold,  or treasure chest, hidden in the middle of the field.

On that special day I saw something different. Quickly a picture flashed across my mind, like a mini-vision.

I saw a plot of land, freshly plowed and planted, with rows and rows of dirt. Since I lived in a farming community, the scene was very familiar. There was no green anywhere; only rows and rows of slightly mounded dirt, signifying that the seed had been put into the ground.

It was planted, but there wasn’t a sprig of green in sight.

Suddenly I knew what the Lord was saying. I had been praying for my children, as they were going through some challenges.

He was showing me that the treasure is the seed – the Word of God. When I was taking the word of God and planting it into the soil of my heart, and then speaking it out in prayer, I was burying treasure in my field – and it was hidden.

As I saw this picture, with no sight of green – only fresh dirt, I knew that the seeds which were planted would eventually spring forth into a luscious, green crop.

In the same way, as I planted and watered the seed of God’s word, there would eventually be a harvest.

So what about the “selling all that he has?” The Lord showed me that when you are in the midst of praying for something which needs to be changed, you will see plenty of evidence which could discourage you.

Until the change comes (the seed begins to produce), the circumstances will scream at you that nothing is happening.  There is no seed; there is only dirt!!

But because of your faith in what your God is doing, you sell those thoughts- totally tossing them aside – and buy the planted field, knowing that the seed of God’s word is producing the desired result.

There is a process which takes time, and that is why patience is so important. If you give up in the middle of the process, you will never see the desired result. You have to hang in there and be patient, knowing that God is at work on your behalf.

Through faith and patience, you inherit the promises.

And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Hebrews 6:11-12 NASB)

So let me challenge you to look at those things for which you are praying.

Are you praying for health, family, finances, a co-worker, the awakening of the church in America and around the world?

Whatever you have on your heart to pray for, you will have many opportunities to give up. You will look around and it will look like nothing is happening. You will feel like you are wasting your time.

But don’t give up! Promise yourself and God that you will not quit, but that you will see this thing through. You will continue to look to Him and His word, and you will continue to pray it back to Him and to speak it into the atmosphere.

So be encouraged. Know that God watches over His word to perform it.

He will bring forth His word in your life as you bring it forth in  your heart and tongue. If many of us will rise up and do the same, we can see great changes come to our families, our communities, our country, and even our world.

Never, never, never quit!