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!
You and I need triumphant faith.
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.
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!
Are you ready for a reboot? Are you ready to clarify your vision and find the right path?
In the book of Proverbs, there are two paths mentioned – one of them more than once.
The first says There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. (Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25 NIV)
You notice that’s stated twice. It must be important.
So what could this mean?
Look around. Almost everything is negative. The virus, the riots, the political climate. Everything seems negative.
Well, everyone is saying it. It must be right. Right?
No. Just because you are being bombarded with these negative ideas and emotions, doesn’t mean that you have to enter the fray.
That path might seem right to man, but the end of it is death. Death of your dreams. Death of your business. Death of your health, if you allow yourself to stay in that mindset.
I prefer the second path.The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter to the full light of day. (Proverbs 4:18 NIV)
That’s not to say that there won’t be obstacles and down moments.
However, through your faith in God, you can realize that you are an overcomer. You will be strong and courageous. You will choose to let your mind dwell on good things.
Of course, you will be wise and use precautions, and you will keep up with what is going on around you.
However, you won’t have negative news and thoughts pounding your ears and mind. You will think about God’s Word and His faithfulness to you.
This can be your time to rise to new heights.
If you are ready to reboot 2020 and declare it’s a year of promise, take a look at Connie Ragen Green’s free 2020 Vision Quest Challenge. Her challenge will bring boldness and clarity to you help you set your path.
I’ve known Connie for several years now, and have benefited from lots of her training. She is refreshingly authentic, and really smart in her approach to business.
You can get your free 2020 Vision Quest Challenge by clicking HERE.
Take a look.You’ll be glad you did.
Blessings and Keep on Soaring…
On the outskirts of Seoul, South Korea stands what many say is the world’s largest church. David Yonggi Cho (formerly known as Paul Yonggi Cho), is the founder and pastor of Yoido Full Gospel Church. The latest counts have his congregation close to a million!
His story is an awesome one of a poverty-stricken young man who had an encounter with God on what seemed to be his death bed. He was healed as he embraced the new life from God. From this new-found life he has grown into one of the world’s most powerful men of God.
Needless to say, spiritual leaders have swamped him with requests for advice. How did he manage to inspire so many people? What is his formula?
When confronted with these questions, Pastor Cho’s characteristic wisdom and humor converge as he responds with a broad smile… “I pray… And I obey.”
What a formula!
It seems so simple. Pray and then obey. Whatever God says do, do it.
Throughout the Bible we see this concept in action. Someone will be in trouble and they will call upon the Lord. “What should I do?”
One of the most notable examples of this is David at Ziklag. (I Samuel 30).
He and his men had been away from camp, fighting with the Philistines. They returned to Ziklag to discover a horrible scene. Their camp had been raided and burned. All of their wives and children had been captured – and all of their possessions had been stolen.
There was nothing there but a burned-out camp!
Needless to say, David’s men did not take it well. They wanted to stone him!
Distraught, David pulled himself aside and “stirred himself up in the Lord.” He fasted and prayed and asked God for guidance.
“Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?”
God’s answer was certain. “Pursue them. You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue.”
So that’s what David did. He and his men pursued and found the camp where the raiders were gathered and retook all that was stolen.
Just as pastor Cho has done, David prayed and he obeyed.
It seems simple. So why don’t all of us do that? Pray and obey.
The key is knowing what God says. And, of course, what He says starts with His Word.
While you are in prayer, God will impress you with His plans. Then if you continue to listen carefully, He will show you how that lines up with His Word. He will give you scripture which will back up what you are hearing.
Today we have many advantages which David didn’t have. Jesus has come and paid the price for our salvation, and He has given us the Holy Spirit within so that we can hear more clearly.
Also, we now have the Word of God. That’s how you know for sure that God is speaking to you.
We can read the Bible and see what brings life and what brings death. We can see what works and what doesn’t. And we can understand God’s plan more completely.
As we read, the Word will speak to us, and we will have confirmation of what we believe God is saying.
Knowing that God’s plans are perfect and that He always has an answer for our problems, we can count on His direction. And we can be sure that His way is the best way forward.
We pray … and we obey.
That’s the way to the Good Life He has for us. That’s the way to success
My husband loves to photograph Eagles.
We have spent many days packing gear into our car and driving off to unfamiliar territory in order to catch glimpses of these magnificent birds. We join the quiet, respectful group of photographers who have congregated close to the nests. Then patiently we wait to spot the tiny eaglets as their heads pop up.
My favorite part of this excursion is to watch the adult birds. They launch from the nest in pursuit of food. And they soar.
High, higher, higher…
These beautiful, majestic birds spread their wings to their full extent and they soar. The wind currents carry them and they disappear from sight as they head toward the nearest water or higher hills.
Then you watch them dip and swirl as they allow the wind streams to create the lift they desire.
It’s beautiful to watch.
This scenario reminds me of our lives as Christians.
God has plans for us. Our special purpose to further His Kingdom. Our unique part in His big plan.
You may think of yourself as too small or too insignificant to matter very much to God.
If so, you are wrong. You are precious and extremely important to your Father.
Do you consider yourself a “simple person?” Well I have tremendous news for you! That’s who God is looking for.
God isn’t looking for self-sufficient ones. He is looking for those who rely on Him and His Spirit to live their lives and accomplish His will.
To put it another way, the old adage is true: the way up is down. Down on our knees and down in our own eyes.
Then He will lift you up.
When we insist on doing things in our own strength, we mix our own efforts – even our best efforts – with pride, fear, worry, confusion, and every negative emotion.
Our Father wants our lives to be above all of that negativity. He has many things for us to accomplish, but He wants us to accomplish them with joy. And he desires to work with us to fulfill our part.
So when we start with prayer, reading the Word, and listening for our Father’s direction, something beautiful occurs. We get direction as to what to do. We gain confidence that only comes from time with Him.
And He empowers us to accomplish His task.
Even youths shall faint and grow weary.
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.
They shall mount up with wings as eagles.
They shall run and not be weary.
They shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:30-31)
If you have been with me for awhile, you may remember my post concerning “Life’s Greatest Mystery.” Paul talked about it in Colossians 1:27, when he said it’s Christ in you which is the Hope of Glory.
From my perspective, that is a concept which we cannot overemphasize. In essence, it is the very heart of what Christianity is all about. it’s not about rules and regulations – as with other religions. It is about the cleansing we received as believers – through the blood of Jesus – and it’s about the fact that the Holy Spirit now lives within us. We are truly temples of the Living God – right here on earth.
Now as I say these things, I am quickly reminded of two misconceptions which always come up when we discuss these topics. The first misconception is that every human on earth is right now a temple of the Holy Spirit – and that is not true. It is true that every human is created in the image of God, and as such, has the capability of becoming a temple of God’s Spirit, but first they have to be cleansed. They have to receive the forgiving, cleansing gift of Jesus and the price He paid. Then they can become temples of the Holy Spirit. (more…)