There is the story of two buckets. One bucket was an optimist and the other bucket was a pessimist. One day the two buckets were walking to the well and the pessimistic bucket said “There has never been a life as disappointing as mine. Even though I always come away from the well full, I always return empty.” The optimistic bucket said “There has never been a life as happy as mine. Even though I come to the well empty, I always go away full again.”
As we look back over the days of our lives, we can look at life as being something positive or as something negative. We can look back with regret or with rejoicing. It all depends on what we focus on. There are those who see the glass half full and others who see it half empty. There are some people who look at their life and see only the negative, while there are others that choose to see the positive. You can look back and see all the trials you experienced and become bitter that your life’s path was so difficult, or you can look back at the trials and be blessed by how the trials strengthened and matured you and were used of God to bring you closer to Him.
Satan likes to make the most of our misery and cause us to doubt God. Our questions of “why” may lead us to distrust the love of God and wonder whether God cares about us at all. In this state you are seeing life as half empty. We will never know all the answers to our questions, but there should be no doubt about God’s love, mercy and compassion for us. In the middle of a tough time you might not always see it or appreciate it, but be assured that God will never leave nor forsake you. There are some things and some situation in life where you are just going to have to trust God. It doesn’t matter how good you are, bad things happen to good people sometimes to enable us to understand that God can make a way out of no way for you. This revelation will cause you to see life as full.
Is your faith in God pessimistic or optimistic? Would you describe your life as disappointing or happy? Do you see only the troubles or the blessings? Have your encounters with God left you empty or is your spirit so full that you can’t help but share the good news of Jesus Christ wherever you go? I pray that you are optimistic, happy, blessed and full of the spirit of God. The world needs your light to shine like never before. Share your testimony. Lift up the name of Jesus and God will do the rest.
Sunday, June 19th is Fathers Day. I want to honor all of our fathers, step-fathers, grandfathers, uncles, teachers and family friends who fill the role of ‘father’ in someone’s life. I salute you. Many of you grew up knowing the love and security of a present father; a father who provided and protected you and was there when you needed him. You have a lot to be thankful for. Yet, there are those who lived with the pain of an absent father or had a father in the home who fell short of being the father they really needed. Hopefully, you were able to find the love, guidance and support from another family member or had someone in your life that filled in the gap and made a difference in your life. Be thankful for that person because children can live without many things but love is not one of them. That is what Father’s Day is all about – giving honor to those who treated us like they were our father.
Nevertheless, every believer has a heavenly Father who loves us unconditionally. God truly is the most wonderful Father of all! The fact that He would love us, save us by His grace, and adopt us into His family proves this. Our adoption was made possible because of the sacrificial blood that was shed by His Son, Jesus Christ, on our behalf. It’s because of Jesus that we became part of His family and that is why when Jesus taught us how to pray He used the words “Our Father.” Our Father is our protector, our provider, our teacher and the one friend who has promised never to leave or forsake us. Almighty God is the only one who can be all things to all people all of the time. Isn’t that wonderful?
If you are a father, my advice to you is – it’s more important for you to allow your children to watch you live a godly life than it is for you to tell them how they should do it. I want my children to see what I believe to be right and true. Proverbs 20:7 says “The righteous man walks in his integrity; his children are blessed after him.” God, our Father in Heaven, is the perfect model of what it means to be a father. Love as He loves. Forgive as He forgives and show compassion to everyone that you meet and your fingerprint will be remarkably like His. Happy Father’s Day!
What do you do after you have done all that you can when facing adversity? First, let me answer that by telling you what you don’t do. You don’t give up. When your back is against the wall you are to ‘fear not.’ The Word of God tells us over and over again to fear not. God repeats this command because He knows that the first thing we will be tempted to do is to become fearful. In other words we are to let the peace of God rule our hearts and this requires faith. Remember, faith without works is dead.
Secondly, after doing all that we can is to be still and let God be God. If you think that ‘fear not’ is difficult, standing still is not an easy command either. You will be able to stand still only if you focus on how big God is and not how big your problem is. Nor are we to focus on our own ability because we are limited in what we can do, but nothing is impossible with God. We are not to allow our emotions to overshadow the promises God has made to us and that is that He will never leave or forsake us. God is with us today and He will be with us even to the end of the earth. Psalms 46:10 says ‘be still and know that I am God.’ Hold onto that promise. If God said it, He will do it!
God will deliver you from the Red Sea of your situation if you trust Him and obey His commandments. Fear not and stay right where you are. Don’t worry about how things might look. God has a plan of deliverance no matter what position you find yourself in. As believers, we need to put our confidence in God and realize that God positions us where He wants us, not where we want to be. Sometimes the only way we can recognize our own inadequacy is for God to position us to where we have to trust in Him. When opposition comes, it is good to know that God is our refuge and strength … a very present help in the time trouble.
Any time that you are trying to go to a new level in your life, you will find that two things are true: The enemy will fight you for your destiny and you will have to win the battle in your mind. If you are going to get anywhere in reaching your God-given destiny, you must understand that you will encounter some battles. No one gets to where God wants them to be without a fight – nobody! It must be understood that you cannot come out of a battle without a scar. Your scar will be either emotionally, mentally or physically. And after you have lost a battle, you must do everything you can to stir up your faith again so that you have the mind set to charge forward one more time. It will be easy to just give up, but you are a winner, so says the Word of God, and every time you get back up from being knocked down, you have won a major fight – the battle of the mind. Your mind will tell you what can’t be done but if you have the mind of Christ you will know that there is nothing impossible with God.
Are you prepared to keep fighting no matter what? The question is – how bad do you want it? You already know that you are to expect some battles on your journey, but what about fighting the battles that you don’t expect – the ones that just creep up on you just when you think everything is going to be all right again? Better yet, are you prepared to fight a battle that you thought you had won a long time ago but it has somehow showed up once again? The most important thing to remember is we have powerful spiritual weapons that we sometimes forget to use. Prayer, worship and meditating on God’s Word must become a lifestyle. Why? Because they are the bridge over troubled waters. Being in God’s presence will hold you steady until your victory comes.
You must have a pit bull type of mentality that will show Satan you are in it to win it. There is no giving up or turning back no matter what he does to try and stop you. Show Satan what a winner looks like. God has given you everything you need to be the one standing when the last bell has rung. Seeing your dreams come to pass depends on your ability to hold fast to the truth that God is for you and not against you. That great cloud of witnesses is cheering you on. They have already succeeded and so will you!
How is your prayer life?
Prayer is one of God’s greatest gifts to His people yet many believers do not make communicating with God on a daily basis a priority. Sadly, communicating with God is often reduced to when they are dealing with a crisis. However, I recommend that every child of God needs to set aside some time in their schedule to leave the cares of this world behind and find a solitary place where they can be alone and talk to their heavenly Father. Martin Luther King Jr said “to be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” A person gets a totally new outlook on life when they spend time in God’s presence. Your priorities change as well as your desires and goals in life. No believer is going to grow strong and healthy without cultivating a prayer life. Without prayer we are doing life based solely on our own strength and we lack the wisdom and power we must have if we are going to be used by God to further His kingdom on earth.
Jesus understood the value of prayer. Therefore, He arose early – making it a priority to spend time in prayer. Not only did He wake up early for the purpose of prayer, Jesus made it a point to find a place to pray. Why? Because He wanted to avoid any distractions and focus on what was important – alone time with God. When you spend time with the Father you will be able to focus and receive clarity about what is important in your life. Prayer is the only way to find the source of direction, inspiration and courage to do what God wants you to do. You might be a person who makes a daily ‘To Do” list and you prioritize the tasks according to how important they are to you. You list the most important task as number one but prayer isn’t the least you can do, rather it is the most you can do to change your life and to change the world.
It’s time to examine your prayer life. If you are like most people you wish you could be better at communicating with God but the ball is in your court. Make prayer a priority if you want to allow God’s will, power and blessing in your life. Remember that “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16).
As we journey through this life we will encounter a few storms along the way. Things can be fine one moment and the next you find yourself in the middle of a terrible storm. One phone call, one twenty-four hour period of time, one doctor visit and there you are, in the storm of your life. When the storms of life come, they often cause us great anguish and pain. Your life can change so quickly. One storm can devastate us with heartache, heartbreak and turmoil, but the good news is Jesus is an expert at calming storms. I have found that He will either calm the storm we are going through or He will calm you and allow you to experience peace while the waves are coming against you. Storms are not meant to destroy us even though they bring anxiety and pain. Storms are actually meant to develop us and I just want you to know that there is no storm on earth that Jesus cannot calm! There is no problem so great that Jesus cannot fix. Jesus cares about you more than you could ever know and is with you at all times regardless if you are on the mountain top or in the valley.
The disciples of Jesus found themselves in the middle of a storm and they began to panic even though Jesus was in the boat with them fast asleep. The storm was not an issue for Jesus. The difference between Jesus’ response and the response of His disciples were their thoughts. The disciples thought the storm was too much for them and they were going to lose their lives. Fear took over and controlled them. On the other hand, Jesus knew who He was and to whom He belonged and there was no reason to fear. He could sleep because He was in absolute peace. Even though you might not see exactly what Jesus is doing in your storm, don’t question His concern, He really does care! You don’t have to be afraid of a storm when it’s in the hands of one who loves you. There is one who has the power to calm the storms that arise in your life. You and I need not fear the storm when our gracious, loving Heavenly Father is the one in control! Sometimes, He sends the storms to educate us and to teach us to trust. His purpose is not to hurt us, but to grow us. You can always trust the Lord to do the right thing in the storms of life. Do you need to hear Jesus say “Peace, be still” to your storm? He’s only a prayer away. Don’t do life without Him.
Have you ever found yourself in a position where you wanted to accomplish something big but the odds were stacked against you and it looked like an impossible situation? Many people let go of their dreams because they fear that they will never be able to succeed. Those that do succeed took a leap of faith and landed in a place where miracles happened over and over again. God supported and protected them. Its’ been said that the will of God never leads you to where His grace cannot keep you. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from. The ability to succeed begins with you having faith in God as small as a mustard seed.
God will not give you a blue print of His plans for you, and it’s not up to you to figure out how it will happen. Your job is simply to take one step at a time and never lose sight of the vision and let God do the rest. That is faith – faith is not seeing the destination, but trusting that God will show you what you are to do and when to do it every step of the way. If you can see the end from where you are, chances are you are walking by sight. If you stay where you are until you are sure of the end, you will not move at all. Don’t fear difficulties. Choose to look at them with eyes of faith, and not fear. Eyes of faith focus on God; eyes of fear focus on the circumstances, the problems. Eyes of faith see a big God who is able to overcome a big problem. When Satan comes knocking at your door, simply say, “Jesus, could you get that for me?” Faith is the ability to not panic.
We want to learn to see through eyes of faith, and trust God every step of the way. The odds may look like they are against you right now but hold steady. Go after the dream God has given you. Yes, you will encounter problems but don’t become discouraged. When you come to the end of yourself you will find that God lives there and He is only a prayer away. As a child of God, prayer is like calling home every day. God will give you the strength to succeed and it will be all to His glory!
If you want God to do a new thing in your life, you must be willing to do something new because if you keep doing what you have always done, then you will keep getting what you have always gotten. But, if you want to achieve new things or go places where you have never been, then you must be willing to do some things that you have never done. You are going to have to take a step of faith to get to the next level. God honors those who risks shame, frustration and disappointment when they act in faith. It’s easy to stay with what you are use to – there is some security in that, but if God is calling you to a greater place in your life or in your business, don’t be afraid to take a risk. God might be answering your prayers by telling you to cast your net on the other side so that your boat is running over. But are you willing to risk something in order to see God do something new and great in your life? Sometimes we must do things we have never done to get to places where we have never been!
You must trust God throughout your life. You will not always know where God is leading you but trust that He has it all planned out. One night a house caught fire and a young boy was forced to climb out his bedroom window onto the roof. His father was on the ground below him and he kept telling his son to ‘jump.’ The boy would not jump because all he could see was smoke – everything was black. The boy yelled out “Daddy, I can’t see you.” His father yelled back “But I can see you and that is all that matters!” You may not be able to see where you are going, but God has you in His sight and He will always be there to catch you. You might be asking yourself “Will God really do this new thing in my life?” The real question is not “can God” rather it is can you? Can you trust and believe, not doubting, but be fully persuaded that God is a faithful God? Every promise in the word of God belongs to each of us but they are dependent upon our level of faith. We must be willing to trust and obey God at all times in all situations. When God speaks to us, we must believe that He is faithful to do what He has promised.
If God has told you to do something, the first step belongs to you. It is a step of faith; it might look like a risk but it is your choice to take it or not. You must have faith and trust in God to survive. Your faith will determine how far you go; it will cause you to remain stagnant or it will take you to a place where you have never been before. Your level of faith will tell God when you are ready. There is always a higher level to reach in your marriage, in your job, in your finances, but whether or not you get there is up to you. Worry and fear do not produce change – only faith does! God has a certain time and place to give you your dream. The question is do you have enough faith that will take you there?
What measure do you use to measure success? Some people measure success from a financial perspective. Others measure success by what you own or by prestige taking into consideration your position on the corporate ladder. The real question is how does God measure success? God measures success by your faithfulness. Faithfulness is not a common virtue in society today. Marriages, relationships between family and friends and the breaking of commitments/contracts all suffer from the lack of faithfulness.
God wants to see our faithfulness. God wants us to be faithful to what He has called us to do. We will not be judged on how much stuff we have accumulated here on earth. Rather we will be judged on our faithfulness or lack thereof on the work God has called us to do. True success is not to be measured in terms of what man can see, but in terms of what God sees. Therefore, it doesn’t matter in what manner we have been called to serve God, we must do so faithfully. We are redeemed of the Lord. We belong to Him. He is our Lord and Master and the only one whose judgment matters. It would be good if God looks upon our work and finds us faithful. From the parable of the talents story in the Bible, it doesn’t matter if God has given us 5, 2 or 1 talent. We don’t have to compare our accomplishments. We only need to be faithful in obeying God and fulfilling our purpose in this life. Look at the disciples. They were persecuted and died horrible deaths. They were successful not because of prosperity and power, not because of prestige or popularity, but only because they chose to remain faithful to the Lord. They were faithful in obeying His Word and doing His work.
Whenever God give us a responsibility, let us accept it and do our best at it and show God that He can depend on us. One day, we are going to hear the Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servants. You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.” Luke 16:10 says “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” Do you want to be successful? Become known as someone who can be depended upon to be faithful to do everything that you are asked to do.
When was the last time you found yourself thinking about the ‘good old days?’ It’s human nature to do so but you must avoid getting stuck there. Many people zero in on a good time in their life but spend their present trying to relive those days. That is not a good way to live life because the past is just that, it’s in the past, and it can never be relived or repeated. The alternative is to dare to be bold and seize every day as a new gift from God. Psalm 118:24 says “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Every new day presents us with new opportunities and it would be wise to see it as such and work on seizing the moment while we have it. Your past contained both good and bad days. You made good choices and you made bad choices but dwelling on the good or bad will do you no good. Today you have a choice. You can live in the past or you can choose to let it go and move on and take advantage of all the possibilities that a new day brings.
Facing the present means that we put our faith in Jesus Christ, and trust Him to be involved in every part of our lives. It also means that we choose to live life as it comes to us day by day; not in the past, not in the future, but right here at this moment. God does not want us to waste our lives away. He wants us to seize the moment and live every day of our lives with a purpose. Your past, whether good or bad, does not predict your future. Your future is what you are determined to make it, so do your best and leave the outcome to God. God is an important factor in what lies ahead for you. Many people forget the God factor and plan for success based solely on what they hope to accomplish and they fail to take into consideration that what is impossible to man is possible with God.
Abraham Lincoln said “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” Live every day on purpose knowing that you can make a difference. There is nothing you can’t do. Believing that you can is the first step. Don’t let what’s behind you keep you from living today. Life is good; life is precious and it should be embraced and enjoyed one day at a time. Don’t dwell on yesterday and what could have or should have been. Look up and see what is in front of you right now. Life is to be enjoyed and not merely endured.