Are you where you imagined you’d be at this age? And God told them “You have stayed long enough in this mount.”(Deut. 1:6) God wants us to pass through the place we are now to a place He has in mind. Everyone in life has his promised land. Unfortunately, some people will not reach that place but some will reach it. Many people are on a merry-go-round (going nowhere fast) and they are comfortable. Their expectations, or lack thereof, doesn’t seem to be much of a problem for them so they remain exactly where they are. They continue to do what they are currently doing and they are getting the same results.
Some people won’t reach their promised land because they are focused on the obstacles rather than on their goal. Obstacles are the frightening things you see when you take your eyes off of your objective. Your greatest crisis will come because of the fear of the problem and not the presence of the problem. If you focus on the difficulties, you will never take the risks necessary to move forward. Instead of working on a strategy to overcome the difficulties, some people decide that they just can’t do it. They chose to walk by sight and not by faith. When you stop using your spiritual sight you will see only the obstacles in front of you and you will not possess the wisdom to realize that God has a plan. God’s plan is designed to move you from the place you are now into the place He has prepared for you.
God told the children of Israel that they would have to fight for their promised land and that is true for us today. It is not our job to question how God will fight for us. You will never see the blue print of your journey. It is our responsibility to take God at His word and move forward in confidence and not be intimidated by the fiery darts of the enemy. Intimidation sees giants; faith reduces the giants to grasshoppers. Faith pushes you into the realm of the supernatural thus making your battles an uneven fight in your favor. God loves uneven battles because He gets all the glory.
Don’t continue to go around the same mountain any longer. Put your faith to work and enter into your promised land. Your promised land is a place of abundance; a place of prosperity and a place of peace for you.
God takes things we would never dream He could use and He uses them in such a way to mold us into the mature believers He wants us to be. That is why the Bible says that ‘all things work together for our good. (Romans 8:28). The things you wish were most removed from your life are often the very things that God is using to shape and build your character so that you become most like Him.
On earth there will always be opposition of one kind or another. When opposition comes, it’s easy to get your focus off the Lord and onto your problems. That is why Paul told us to “set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” (Col. 3:2). When faced with opposition, you have several options: you can run from it; you can try to avoid the inevitable and pretend that it is not there, or you can meet it head on and work through it. The last option is God’s will for you because God wants you to allow opposition to drive you to a greater dependence on Him. John 10:10 says that ‘Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy.’ Don’t allow Satan to steal the life God has planned for you.
God’s goal is to prepare you for the place He wants to bring you to. You must trust God’s plan for you even if you don’t understand the oppositions in your life right now. Life is not a series of random accidents. There is a purpose and meaning for your life. God knows what’s going on with you. Nothing can come into the life of a child of God without God being aware of it. I am not saying that everything that happens to you in life is God’s perfect will. That’s just not true. There are a lot of things that are not God’s will but God is an expert at bringing good out of bad.
God loves to turn misery into ministry. He wants to use that opposition you have for good in your life. God is in control – never doubt that! Our world is in need of people who have faced opposition head on and rose to the challenge and are now telling others how to do it. Remember, ‘they overcame by….the word of their testimony.” (Rev.12:11).
We all know people who are short-tempered: people who lose patience quickly and blow up in anger. God does not want His children to live in agitation but in peace. God is patient, and His Spirit produces the fruit of patience in us. Patience means the ability to hold one’s temper for a long time. It is the ability that allows us to look at people and not at their circumstances or behavior. A patient person is able to endure much pain and suffering without complaining. Patience has to do with having a fairly long fuse, being able to absorb life’s annoyances without exploding in anger. Proverbs 15: 18 tells us the consequences of being impatient. “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.” An impatient person is annoyed, intolerant, worried and has a desire to seek revenge. Patience shows self-restraint and allows a person to think before he acts. When we are patient, we leave room for God to work in our hearts and we lay down our schedule and trust in God’s. When we’re patient, we can absorb life’s irritations and annoyances. We can absorb them the way a good thick towel absorbs splatters and spills. Being impatient prevent us from seeing, as our Lord wants us to see, that all things will work together for our good. We should always place our trust in the Lord and not let the temporary things of life bother or distract us from our purpose and call.
God has been incredibly patient with us. 2 Peter 3:9b says “ He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” Since patience is a fruit of the Spirit, we can only possess patience through the power and work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We must “put on” Christ, meaning we must conduct our lives in the same way Christ would if He were in our position. That is how we please God. There are several reasons why we should practice patience. First, patience acknowledges that you realize that you are not perfect. Matthew 7: 1,2 says “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” No one in the Bible was perfect except Jesus himself, and you and I will never be perfect. So how can we judge and be impatient with others? Secondly, being patient shows that you have inner peace because impatience reflects an inner turmoil which should not be so if you have faith. God gives us the power through the Spirit to have great endurance and patience and in light of all that God has done for us, we have a peace and joy not found in the world.
We can only have patience with others if we have faith in God. Our faith assures us that we know that God is in control of every situation we might find ourselves in. If you believe the Word of God, you will not let stress or doubt enter your mind. Allow the fruit of patience to be evident in your life and be patient as God is patient. God wants us all to be like Him and He has given us His Spirit to make it possible.
There is one fact in life that we all know to be true and that is everything must change; nothing stays the same. From the moment we are born we are changing. Our mind and bodies grow and develop as we mature into an adult. We move to different places, the school year ends, we take a job or we change jobs until the day we retire which is a long anticipated change for many. Seasons change; winter turns into spring, spring into summer and summer into fall. The people around us also change. We watch our children grow and become adults on their own. Our friends, come and go and while all of these changes are going on, the world we know is constantly changing. We wish things would stay the same but change will come, whether we want it to or not.
The question becomes how do we cope with change? Just because we are living in a changing environment, we must not become overwhelmed by change. Change per se is neither good nor bad; it’s what we make of it. Change brings opportunities for growth, for learning, for real happiness. We should not fear change but attempt to find out the greater purpose that can come about through it. Maybe a change is necessary to keep you from doing things your way to doing things the way God would have you do them. So, why not meet change with a positive attitude and an open mind?
It’s not what happens to you in life that determines your future. It is how you respond to what happens that determines your future. Analyze what your thoughts, plans, and goals are. Do they line up with the vision and destiny God has planned for your life? If not, renew your mind. Allow God’s vision to become your vision. If handling change is difficult for you, pray the Serenity Prayer and ask God to “grant you the serenity to accept the things you cannot change; the courage to change the things you can and the wisdom to know the difference.” When you change what you believe from I can’t to I can, you open the door for God to cover your weakness with His strength. Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Remember, the life God has planned for you is bigger and better than the one you are living now!
You will have spiritual success in this life only if you have the ability to endure. If there is one character strength that all Christians should have it should be the fact that they persevere. A Christian should never quit. We are admonished, over and over again to endure, to stay in the fight to the very end but perseverance is so rare today because it focuses on the future rather than the immediate present. Perseverance is patient. It keeps waiting, and believing and trusting, even when things take longer than expected. It keeps working, and seeking and striving, even when things turn out to be more difficult than anticipated. It remains faithful, even when there are ample opportunities to throw in the towel, to give up and move on. Perseverance means sticking with something for as long as God calls you to do so, no matter how long it takes, no matter how difficult or painful it becomes, no matter how many discouragements and disappointments and obstacles you encounter along the way.
Why is perseverance so important? Because the Bible shows us over and over again that God brings victory out of what looks to be failure and defeat. God likes to demonstrate His power by turning around seemingly hopeless situations and if we give up too soon, we may miss the blessing of seeing the power of God at work in our lives. The only way to know God’s grace is to persevere in a situation in which we need His grace. If we run away, we may avoid the pain, but we will also be avoiding the chance to know God. Galatians 6:9 tells us not to become weary in doing good and that we will reap our harvest if we don’t give up. It is when we persevere that we find that God’s grace is sufficient and it also reveals to us who God really is.
Is perseverance easy? Of course not. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be perseverance. We don’t need God’s grace to persevere in the things we enjoy. the Bible exhorts us to persevere because God knows there will be times when we will want to quit. Perseverance implies difficulty but it is difficulty that has a purpose, and that purpose is to bring about a godly character that glorifies Almighty God.
A football recruiter asked a coach what type of player he wanted him to find to add to his team for the upcoming season. The coach said ‘I don’t want the kind of guy who gets knocked down and stays down.’ ‘Ok’ the recruiter said – ‘that makes sense.’ The coach said ‘then there is the guy who gets knocked down, gets back up, gets knocked down, gets back up.’ The recruiter said ‘Ok, I know what you want – you want the guy who gets back up when he is knocked down, right?’ “No” replied the coach. “I want that guy who is knocking everybody down!”
To be successful in life we must be able to bounce back after going through a difficult situation. Giving up is always easier than standing up. Giving in is always easier than digging in. You can allow circumstances in your life to become set backs or opportunities to bounce back. God wants us to know that we can come back from a setback –we can bounce back. Setbacks are normal in life. The devil tries his best to take advantage of setbacks because he knows people are vulnerable when things don’t turn out as they had planned. You’ll find that every successful person has had a setback or two and the reason they became successful was because they knew how to bounce back. Remember, Joseph had several dreams that he would become a man of great authority but he was sold into slavery by his brothers. That wasn’t a part of his dream- that was a setback. And then he was falsely accused and put in prison about 13 years. That wasn’t part of the dream – that was a setback. Despite all of those setbacks, Joseph made a comeback.
God is letting us know that even when we suffer setbacks, we can bounce back. Like Joseph, we must remain true to our integrity and honor God in everything we do and say no matter what happens to us. We are not to become bitter but trust that God is working out everything for our good. Things turn out for the best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out. We must be careful when we are in the midst of a setback not to allow it to stop us from reaching our destiny. I believe God made us like a rubber ball. The harder you slam a rubber ball to the ground the higher it bounces up. So we have to picture ourselves as rubber balls. We have to bounce when we hit rock bottom; we have to pull ourselves together and bounce back from a setback. God is the power that will help you to bounce back. So rely on God’s wisdom, His strength and His grace. Proverbs 24:16 says “”For a just man falls seven times, and rises up again.” This verse implies that falling down is not the end nor is it necessarily a onetime event. We will have highs and lows throughout life, but God always expects us to rise up again.
Is Goliath taunting you today?
Goliath represents all of the obstacles in our lives that seem unbeatable and impossible to defeat. It is that one huge problem that you think just might be your undoing. It is a difficulty so great that it has you close to throwing in the towel. Most of us have a Goliath or two in our lives but we must defeat them because they will prevent us from inheriting our inheritance and rob us of hope and joy in our lives. You may not want to face your giants. You may want to run from them in fear but fear has two meanings – forget everything and run or face everything and win. The choice is yours. You may want to avoid your giants and hope that they will just go away. You need to know that your giants will not just go away. They must be faced and they can be defeated. If you are a child of God, then God has given you everything you need to overcome your fear of fighting your giants. Romans 8:31,37 says “If God is for us, who can be against us? … Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
When David went to fight Goliath, it was not the armor of Saul or the strength of the whole Israelite army that he was trusting in, but it was God. David believed that God would defeat Goliath. If David had been trusting in himself, he would have been killed. God was his strength and the battle was the Lord’s — not his. When it becomes time to confront Goliath, our defense is our relationship with God. We must trust in His strength no matter what others may consider to be the best way out of our difficulties. No matter what type of Goliath you may be facing, you must first believe that God is bigger than your problem. Attack your giant in faith, knowing that God always gives the victory. God did not save you to let you fall at the hand of your giant. God is not interested in your defeat. He is interested in your victory!
Giants are placed in our lives to grow us in the Lord. You may not see your giants fall the instant you exercise faith in God. Don’t let that cause you to lose hope. You see, you cannot always believe what the eyes of flesh see! But, you can always believe what the eyes of faith see. Remember, we are to walk by faith and not by sight. It may look like you are outgunned, outnumbered and in an impossible situation. It looked that way for David and that is why his Goliath laughed at him. Goliath had a false sense of superiority. I would just like to remind you that we serve a God who specializes in doing the impossible. If you will bring that hopeless, impossible situation to God and then go and face it in faith, you will see that you can do all things in Christ who gives you the strength. (Philippians 4:13).
Does your problem seem bigger than life, bigger than God himself? It isn’t! God is bigger than any problem you will ever have and if you believe that God isn’t infinitely bigger than your circumstances, then your fear is bigger than your faith. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.”(Hebrews 11:1). “But without faith it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6).
God appeared to Sarah when she was ninety years old and told her she was going to have a baby. The thought was so ridiculous to her that she laughed. Then God rebuked her when He asked “is anything too hard for the Lord?”(Genesis 18:14). A year later she gave birth to a son, whom she named Isaac, which in Hebrew means “laughter”. Every time Sarah called his name, she reminded herself of the day she laughed in God’s face at the thought of an impossible situation.
When you are facing problems and difficulties in your life, don’t focus on how big your problems are, but focus on God who is much bigger than your problems. Ask yourself if there is anything too hard for God? Nothing is impossible with God and He has the power to help you get through. Even when the situation seems impossible, God will always show you the way out. He cares for you and all you need to do is trust Him. Remember that all problems can be solved, circumstances can change but God will never change because He is the same yesterday, today and forever and He will cause you to laugh in amazement at all that He has in store for you.
No one likes to lose. It feels so much better to win. Your battles in life are real and I am sure you have gone through times when you just wanted to surrender but Romans 8:37 says that “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” I challenge you to change your perspective when you find your back is up against a wall. I believe that every problem has a solution and you must find that solution no matter what it takes.
All of us have untapped ideas and solutions that are just waiting for us to lock into. Don’t think that just because you find yourself in a difficult situation, that it is God’s will for you. God wants you to succeed; He wants you to be a winner but it will require something that is not easy to do and that is to ‘think.’ Most people don’t think. If they don’t see the answer immediately they give up and tell themselves “I guess it wasn’t meant to be.” Allow the Holy Spirit to become your business partner, your counselor and your guide. Ask Him for wisdom and He will lead you to not just any answer, but to the one answer that will turn out for your good. Psalm 107:6 says “then they cried to the Lord in their troubles and He delivered them from their distress.”
Even when you are being led by God to accomplish His purposes, you will run into obstacles that will make you ask yourself ‘did I really hear from God?’ You must trust God and lean not unto your own understanding. Nothing or no one can change God’s plan for you. Remember, no situation is ever hopeless or impossible. Every problem has a solution – you just haven’t found it yet. We must not allow ourselves to feel hopeless. People who don’t know God have a reason to feel hopeless but not the children of the Most High God! The Holy Spirit is there to guide you to the solution that will cause you to win, but many times we forget that we have this advocate sent by the Father to help us. When Jesus departed He told us about the Comforter, the One who would take His place here on earth. Think about Him and you will find that you really don’t have to lean on your own understanding.
Live with hope. No solution is ever hopeless or impossible to achieve. The Spirit of God will give you the wisdom to think outside of the box. We must press into God if we want to win. A person with a winning attitude will always find a way to win and not even consider failure as an option. You were created with the God given ability to also create. You were created to win. May God’s will be done in you and through you so that the world will be blessed.
Do you know that God has given us over 3000 promises in His Word? Do you also know that God wants to make these promises a reality in your life? Why, then, don’t we have those things that God has promised? The answer is simple; we don’t ask. Matthew 7:7 says “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” It is our responsibility to ask and that is why many of us are missing out on our blessings because we have failed to ask. James 4:2 warns us “that we have not because we ask not.”
Asking God is the solution to all of our problems. Asking God acknowledges that we have a problem and we believe that God is the solution. You must ask. If we want something from God, we must ask. If we ask, we receive. If we do not ask, we do not receive. Knowing this, I wonder how many of us apply it consistently in our lives. Many of us have a wish list when we need to have a ‘ask list.’ We wish for that a situation to get better, or that we might be able to do this or that, but too often we fail to turn our wish into a prayer. Jesus wants us to receive the desires of our hearts but the only way to receive from the Father is to ask.
Don’t let your mind jump to the “what if’s” and try to figure out whether or not you will receive what you have asked for. Just take a moment to believe God and take Him at His word. He will amaze you at His goodness. Whatever you desire, ask God for it. You will never have what you never ask for.