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Archive for November 2012

4

Ask Donnell - Must I Only Attend My Spouse's Church?

Must I Attend My Spouse's Church?

We received the following question from Melanie;

Hi Donnell,

My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost 4 years now, and we are planning on getting married next year. However, we cannot seem to agree on whose church we will attend once we’re actually married. I heard that couples should attend the same church once they are married and that the tradition is that they go to the man’s church. But! I do not want his church to be the only church that I fellowship at since I do not receive as much as I do from my home church. However, I have no problem with us joining a new church together but his mind is set on not leaving his current church. We are both comfortable with his church being our home church and attending my church as often as well. That way we both get what we want. So is that okay/allowed? (A lot of people say that it isn’t.) Or should we hold back on the wedding plans before we are able to agree on one church?

Genesis 2:23-24(NKJV) - And Adam said: "This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man." 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Great question Melanie. This is definitely an important discussion that both of you should be having before marriage. Not everyone really understands how crucial church attendance is and contrary to what some believe, which church you join is also crucial. It sounds like you came to a decent resolution of sorts that's mutually agreed upon so that's good to start off. Eventually, you will have to settle on a church together and get completely plugged in. In other words you don't want to be attending one church to appease your spouse while your heart is in another. You both want to be "all in" because you will be one!

Funny you should ask about it because it's exactly what my wife and I had to address while we were dating. Fortunately, we had it completely resolved before we got married. I had been a member of one church for 12 years and she was a member of another. Initially, we went our separate ways every Sunday morning and just occasionally met up for lunch after the church services were over. Then, as the relationship progressed we started visiting each other's church occasionally. We then decided to alternate churches each Sunday. We also started visiting a new church together. Do you want to know how we settled the matter?

Isaiah 30:21(NLT) - Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left.

We took it to The Lord in prayer and waited patiently for His response. However, while we awaited His final answer on a long term solution we sought His face each week for a short term one. Each weekend I would trust The Lord and tell her where we would be going. Sometimes the answer came when I woke up on Sunday morning itself and believe me, wherever we went He was there waiting for us. Eventually, He spoke to our hearts and told us to join the new church together. That was the best decision we could have possibly made. It was The Word of The Lord and we are now reaping the benefits.

Proverbs 19:21(NLT) - You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.

Let me give you some of the best advice you will ever get in your life. 🙂 Stop trying to figure things out in your mind and learn to hear from God. Believe me, it will change your life forever. Life is confusing. If you think you're going to figure your way out of every dilemma you will be sorely disappointed. Things are not always black and white. Everyone has an opinion. There are pros and cons to every decision. You'll always have to make difficult decisions. Sometimes, things can get so confusing that you will wish you could just disappear and reappear after things are resolved. However, when you can hear from God you won't waste time making plans that He will eventually override.

In sum, this is a topic that should be brought up in counseling but it should be resolved with a Word from God. Tell your boyfriend that both of you need to seek God's face about this and wait for Him to answer. If the both of you don't know how to hear from The Lord as yet, now is a great time to learn. Go with the short term plan you have right now but both of you need a long term solution where your hearts are completely settled. Find out where The Lord wants you to go so that both of you can agree. Just joining his church because he's the man is great but it's not the best case scenario. You can follow your man all you want but He needs to be following Jesus.

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God Wants Your Heart Above All Else

God Wants Your Heart Above All Else!

Welcome to Part 13 of this blog series on The Will of God. If you don't know God's Will for your life or you're tired of living without direction, this blog series is for you. For Part 12, "Be Patient - Your Life Is on God's Schedule" click here. One by one we will address each of the seven steps outlined in Part 9, "Executing God's Plan For Your Life" . Today, we will focus on Step 4. Get your heart right! When God is pleased with your heart, He’ll promote your vision.

2 Chronicles 16:9(NKJV) - For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.

Psalm 75:6-7(KJV) - For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.

The Bible says in Acts 10:34 that God is no respecter of persons but that doesn't mean He treats everyone equally. He may not respect any person more than another if all else is constant but as you'll discover today, He strongly favors those whose hearts are loyal to Him.

Psalm 75:6-7 says that God promotes whom He wants to promote so it sounds like promotion is completely out of our control, doesn't it? Since it's obvious that everyone won't get promoted, what's God's selection process for choosing people to promote? The answer is in 2 Chronicles 16:9. He scans the earth, skips over everyone else and looks for those whose heart is loyal to Him.

God Wants Your Heart Above All Else

Acts 13:21-23(NKJV) - And afterward they asked for a king; so God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’ From this man’s seed, according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Savior—Jesus—

1 Samuel 16:7(KJV) - But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

A few days ago in Part 11, "Excellence - A Master Key Which Opens Many Doors" we saw how the system works in 1 Samuel 16:17-23. King Saul's servant saw David's excellence and was blown away. He gave a glowing recommendation to the king which propelled David from obscurity to prominence in a matter of days. However, that was a man's evaluation of David. God operates by a higher system.

God had a "one-track" mind when He chose David for prominence. Unlike Saul's servant, God didn't prioritize David's musical skills, courage as a warrior, business prowess or good looks. God put David's heart at the top of His list and we were reminded of that in Acts 13:21-23. Therefore, if you want to be selected by God to represent Him on the earth you better have a genuine heart for Him because that's what matters the most in His Kingdom.

God Wants Your Heart Above All Else

Matthew 15:8(KJV) - This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

God laments that so many people are willing to give Him everything but their hearts. We sometimes forget that we serve a personal God and He has feelings. He cares about us and places more value on how we really feel about Him deep in our hearts than the image we project on the outside.

Psalm 27:8(NLT) - My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.”

The Holy Spirit uses this scripture to convict my heart everytime I get too busy to spend time with Him. If I'm too busy to spend time with The Lord I'm just too busy. It's easy to tell if you're spending enough time with The Lord. What direction is your spiritual development taking? Are you becoming more Christlike in your thoughts and actions or less?

Are more of the fruit of the Spirit showing up in your life or less? Are you picking up old habits you thought you left behind? Spiritual maturity is not a reflection of what you know. The Pharisees were experts in the scripture but were spiritual babies. When a tree is mature it starts to bear fruit. Are you bearing spiritual fruit? Read Ephesians 5:22-23 and evaluate.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18(KJV) - Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

The more time you spend with God the more you'll look like Him.

God Wants Your Heart Above All Else

Luke 10:38-42(KJV) - Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Can you stop what you're doing for a while and just spend time with The Lord? Is that possible or is it a chore? Do you feel more comfortable running around getting stuff done or can you put aside time to sit in silence before Him? That's one test of your heart. God knows if we're using Him to get what we want and He doesn't appreciate it. He wants a personal relationship more than a business partnership.

If my wife notices that I do all I can to avoid just spending time with her she'll begin to question my love for her. I could say I love her all day long or buy as many gifts as she wants but if I can't make the time to be with her she'll know I don't love her. Maybe that's what God has realized about some of us. The bridegroom knows something's wrong if His bride's demanding Him to do things for her but is too busy to spend time with Him. Selah

To find out how to get your heart right before The Lord, here's a teaching video on the topic.

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Be Patient - Your Life Is on God's Schedule

Be Patient - Your Life Is On God's Schedule

Welcome to Part 12 of this blog series on The Will of God. If you don't know God's Will for your life or you don't feel like waiting anymore to find out, this blog series is for you. For Part 11, "Excellence - A Master Key Which Opens Many Doors" click here. One by one we will address each of the seven steps outlined in Part 9, "Executing God's Plan For Your Life" . Today, we will focus on Step 3. Be patient! Big visions need deep foundations so they can stand the test of time.

Habakkuk 2:3(NLT) - This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.

Patience is a virtue that's sometimes challenging to come by. It's easy to be impatient because time is a non-renewable resource. There are only 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, 52 weeks in a year and the number of years we have is finite. When time is past, it's gone forever. So if you're anything like me you probably hate your time being wasted. In contrast, God is not limited by the constraints of time that are placed on humanity because He dwells in eternity. Therefore, His schedule doesn't have to fit into ours.

Galatians 5:22-23(NKJV) - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

In Galatians 5:22, long-suffering or patience is described as one of the fruit of The Spirit. It's external evidence of God's internal work on one's character. It's crucial to develop this fruit in your life because your vision can take a long time to fully materialize. In fact, what God shows you may take generations to complete. Your part is just the beginning. Here's an example from The Bible.

And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. - Genesis 22:15-18 KJV

And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. - Galatians 3:29 KJV

God showed Abraham a vision that was multidimensional. From the moment God first revealed it to him in Genesis 12, a vision was cast which would span generations. Even today, thousands of years later, we are reaping the benefit from that vision through our association with Jesus Christ. Now a vision that started with one man continues to affect the lives of millions.

From having to wait decades for his promised son Isaac to be born to being asked to offer him as a sacrifice to God, Abraham's patience was constantly tested. I sometimes wonder why God didn't ask him for Ishmael? I'm sure it would have been a much easier decision for Abraham. However, God wanted him to offer what was most precious to him.

"And the vision of the evenings and mornings Which was told is true; Therefore seal up the vision, For it refers to many days in the future." - Daniel 8:26 NKJV

You can expect the same for your own vision. If it was easy to watch a vision unfold without any type of resistance everyone would be a smashing success. Since that's absolutely not true you can expect to go through a long process. Even when that process is complete, depending on the size of the vision, you will only see part of it fulfilled during your time on the earth.

Consequently, write the vision and keep it before your eyes. Even when it's long in coming it is your reminder of the future. Since you know what's coming it gives you a competitive edge. I once heard it said that the key to winning in any contact sport that involves quick motion is anticipation. Your success depends not on knowing where the other person is but anticipating where the person will be. Therefore, your success depends not merely on knowing where you are right now but anticipating where you will be.

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Excellence - A Master Key Which Opens Many Doors

Excellence - A Master Key Which Opens Many Doors

Welcome to Part 11 of this blog series on The Will of God. If you don't know God's Will for your life or you don't know where to start in God's plan, this blog series is for you. For Part 10, "Visionaries Are Very Selective With Their Friends" click here. One by one we will address each of the seven steps outlined in Part 9, "Executing God's Plan For Your Life" . Today, we will focus on Step 2. Be excellent! Your reputation will determine which doors open for you.

For several years I've been on a relentless search for the secret to success. I have prayed, studied the scriptures, subscribed to magazines, read books, watched videos, attended seminars, asked people, looked online and what did I find? There is no secret to success. Really, there's none. Promoting the idea that there is a secret to success is actually a very savvy business move which has generated billions of dollars for those who realized that there is no secret. Once enough people believe what they are saying and buy their products that's what makes them successful. 🙂

Therefore, the secret is out. There is no secret. Nonetheless, even though there is no secret to success there are certain principles of success that have been publicly available for thousands of years. These principles have been published in a 66 book collection called The Bible. Over the years, people have discovered these principles, applied them and reaped tremendous rewards. Today, we'll address one of them.

Proverbs 22:29 (NKJV) - Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men.

The Amplified Bible describes an excellent man as one who is diligent and skillful in His business. In other words, excellence according to The Bible is the result of consistency, dedication and a commitment to operating at the highest level. Unless excellence is demonstrated on a consistent basis it is not true excellence. Therefore, true excellence is extremely rare. It's like a rare gem which is so valuable that people are willing to pay a high price for it.

God has offered us a simple master key which opens the door to powerful people. Be excellent. Whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability and keep doing it. One of these days, God will put you before the right people. True excellence cannot be hidden forever. Here's a perfect example.

Excellence - A Master Key Which Opens Many Doors

1 Samuel 16:14-23(NLT) - Now the Spirit of the Lord had left Saul, and the Lord sent a tormenting spirit that filled him with depression and fear. 15 Some of Saul's servants said to him, "A tormenting spirit from God is troubling you. 16 Let us find a good musician to play the harp whenever the tormenting spirit troubles you. He will play soothing music, and you will soon be well again." 17 "All right," Saul said. "Find me someone who plays well, and bring him here." 18 One of the servants said to Saul, "One of Jesse's sons from Bethlehem is a talented harp player. Not only that—he is a brave warrior, a man of war, and has good judgment. He is also a fine-looking young man, and the Lord is with him." 19 So Saul sent messengers to Jesse to say, "Send me your son David, the shepherd." 20 Jesse responded by sending David to Saul, along with a young goat, a donkey loaded with bread, and a wineskin full of wine. 21 So David went to Saul and began serving him. Saul loved David very much, and David became his armor bearer. 22 Then Saul sent word to Jesse asking, "Please let David remain in my service, for I am very pleased with him." 23 And whenever the tormenting spirit from God troubled Saul, David would play the harp. Then Saul would feel better, and the tormenting spirit would go away.

David was an excellent harp player who was also courageous, fearless in battle, wise, good looking and anointed. For many years he remained relatively inconspicuous in the field taking care of his father's sheep. Little did he know that his actions were being observed by a servant of The King. Had he not remained consistent even when he thought nobody was looking or even cared about what he was doing he would have missed his chance. His reputation preceded him and his excellence opened the door to the King's palace.

In sum, what doors have you been waiting for The Lord to open for you? Have you considered the fact that The Lord may have already given you the master key to open these doors? While you're waiting for Him to open the door, He might be waiting for you to use the key He's given you. Why not recommit yourself today to diligence and skillfulness in your business. Excellent people are not "men-pleasers" who act one way around normal people but step it up when important people are around.

Whenever I get tired of doing what I do I remember this principle of excellence. I have to remain outstanding at what I do for a substantial period of time before I could expect The Lord to put my name before powerful people. I also have to remain consistent even when I feel like the people with the power to change my life are not even looking in my direction. Remember, The King never saw David in action. It was his servant. As a result, if David needed the king to be around for him to do his best he would have missed his opportunity to shine. You never know whose eyes are on you. Be excellent! Be skillful at what you do and do it diligently.

Excellence - A Master Key Which Opens Many Doors.

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Visionaries Are Very Selective With Their Friends

Visionaries Are Very Selective With Their Friends

Welcome to Part 10 of this blog series on The Will of God. If you don't know God's Will for your life or you don't know where to start in God's plan, this blog series is for you. For Part 9, "Executing God's Plan For Your Life" click here. One by one we will address each of the seven steps outlined in Part 9. Today, we will focus on Step 1. Write a clear vision! Others can only help you execute what they understand.

When Jesus walked the earth He carefully chose His inner circle. He had at least 70 disciples (Luke 10), 12 Apostles (Luke 9) but only three (Peter, James and John) were in His inner circle. It was only these three who saw Him transfigured in Matthew 17:1-3. It was only these three who were allowed into the house with Him to bring a dead girl back to life in Mark 5:36-43. It was only these three who saw Him in His most vulnerable state, troubled and distressed in Gethsemane in Mark 14:33.

And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. - Habakkuk 2:2-3 KJV

In Habakkuk 2:2, The Bible says “Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.” Hence, a written vision is not just for you but for the people around you. One of the most valuable lessons I learned while growing up is that a vision can be very polarizing. It judges the people in your life and separates them into assets or liabilities.

When your life is directed by a written vision each person you encounter is either part of the solution or part of the problem. The vision itself exposes their motives because it demands a response. In order for it to be accomplished you must invest valuable personal resources like time, finances and emotional energy.

Since these resources are finite, they must be taken away from other areas of your life so that they would be available for the vision. Sacrifices like these challenge the people in your life to become supporters or obstacles. Without sharing sensitive details begin to reveal key aspects of your vision to people in your inner circle. Based on each response, reevaluate your need for the relationship.

Visionaries Are Very Selective With Their Friends

Matthew 16:21-24(KJV) - From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Jesus constantly shared important aspects of His purpose with His disciples and gauged how they responded. In Matthew 16:21-24 He took the time to share what was about to happen to Him as He prepared for the cross and Peter responded in the wrong way. Instead of letting it slide, Jesus rebuked Satan who was operating through Peter in an effort to distract Him. He did not allow one of His closest friends to distract Him from God's purpose for His life. He recognized that even within His inner circle it was possible for the devil to infiltrate.

Jesus knew the human heart is vulnerable to the deceptions of the enemy so He kept a close eye on His friends and prayed for them. In Luke 22:30-32 Jesus told Peter that the enemy was after him but Jesus assured him that He had him covered in prayer so that his faith would not fail. He then told Peter that one day he would be able to do the same for his brothers. Additionally, Jesus not only evaluated His friendships based on what they thought about His vision but He also evaluated what they thought about Him personally. This is also very important. People very close to you should be supportive of what God has called you to do and should also know "the real" you.

Matthew 16:13-20(KJV) - When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

Jesus questioned His friends in Matthew 16:13-20 and asked them what people were saying about Him and then asked them what they personally thought about Him. Jesus did not take any of His relationships for granted. It was important for Him to know what they thought about Him as well as His purpose. If Jesus is our perfect example of how to live then we need to do what He did. First, we must carefully choose the people in our inner circle. Second, we need to know what they think about our purpose. Third, we need to know what they think about us. Visionaries are very selective with their friends. Jesus was a visionary.

Amos 3:3(NKJV) - Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?
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Set The Captives Free

Isaiah 61:1(NLT) - The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.
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Executing God's Plan For Your Life

Executing God's Plan For Your Life

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our American readers. To everyone else, Happy Thursday. Welcome to Part 9 of this blog series on The Will of God. If you don't know God's Will for your life or you don't know where you fit into God's plan, this blog series is for you. For Part 8, "Don't Let The World Fool You" click here.

Exodus 14:15-17(NLT) - Then the Lord said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving! Pick up your staff and raise your hand over the sea. Divide the water so the Israelites can walk through the middle of the sea on dry ground.

When it was time to cross the Red Sea, God wanted Moses to participate in the miracle. There was a part God had to play and there was a part Moses had to play. We need to remember that for our own lives.

"Sometimes, we're waiting on God to move when ironically He's waiting on us." - Anonymous

I once heard a prominent speaker say that the grave is full of unfulfilled dreams and untapped ideas. That's so true. Many people live their lives thinking about what they could and should do instead of actually doing it. Sadly, if they do nothing but dream during the very short time given to each human being on earth they will join the other dreamers in the grave.

It's great to finally discover The Will of God for your life but that's just the beginning. Even though we acknowledge that no human being can force The Hand of God to do anything we still have a part to play in the plan. Even with God, nothing just happens. There's a reason why God chose to give man dominion on the earth. Today, we'll start a discussion on executing God's plan for your life.

I once had a friend who raved about this group of guys he would meet with on a regular basis. They were very ambitious and would sit around for hours discussing ideas and concepts. He would talk about them like they were superstars. However, after several years of talking they had accomplished nothing.

One day I told him to stop talking about them because there was nothing to talk about. It offended him but eventually he got the point. Enough talking. It's time for action. If you've done nothing you've done nothing. No more talking about how awesome the plan is. It's time to execute the plan! The world is full of talkers. The world is full of people with potential. There's nothing special about either group.

Here are seven quick points we will be addressing in the coming days or even weeks. Be sure to print these out of write them down for future reference.

Executing God's Plan For Your Life

Executing God's Plan For Your Life

1. Write a clear vision! Others can only help you execute what they understand.

Habakkuk 2:2(NLT) - Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it.

2. Be excellent! Your reputation will determine which doors open for you.

Proverbs 22:29 (NKJV) - Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men.

3. Be patient! Big visions need deep foundations so they can stand the test of time.

Habakkuk 2:3(NLT) - This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.

4. Get your heart right! When God is pleased with your heart, He’ll promote your vision.

2 Chronicles 16:9(NKJV) - For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.

Psalm 75:6-7(KJV) - For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.

5. Ask for help! Don’t try to go solo because you won’t make it alone, no matter how hard you work.

Ecclesiastes 4:7-12(MSG) - I turned my head and saw yet another wisp of smoke on its way to nothingness: a solitary person, completely alone—no children, no family, no friends—yet working obsessively late into the night, compulsively greedy for more and more, never bothering to ask, "Why am I working like a dog, never having any fun? And who cares?" More smoke. A bad business. It's better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps, But if there's no one to help, tough! Two in a bed warm each other. Alone, you shiver all night. By yourself you're unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn't easily snapped.

6. Help someone else! If you don’t extend a helping hand, it won’t happen for you.

Luke 16:12(NKJV) - And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?

7. Put first things first! Take care of God’s business and He’ll take care of your own.

Matthew 6:33(NKJV) - But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
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Don't Let The World Fool You

Don't Let The World Fool You

Welcome to Part 8 of this blog series on The Will of God. If you don't know God's Will for your life or you can't wrap your mind around God's plan, this blog series is for you. For Part 7, "A New Mindset About God's Will" click here.

Have you ever been hustled? When I say hustled I mean hoodwinked, bamboozled, played or simply deceived. I sure have. I used to be a lot more gullible when I was younger because I trusted people easier. I've lost money and time over the years because I was fooled by people I trusted. Some I thought I knew quite well and some I realize I didn't know at all. Well, don't let that happen to you. Don't let the world fool you!

1 John 2:15-17(NLT) - Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.

It's all a big game. It started in The Garden of Eden with the devil deceiving Adam and Eve and it continues to play out right before our eyes. The world presents itself like it's so much fun with so many benefits. They seem to have the most money, the best looking people, the most opportunities, the glitz, the glamour and everything our flesh could dream of. However, once you bite into their fruit they eventually leave you empty, naked and scared. See Genesis 3.

We work tirelessly with the young people at our church in an effort to teach them the truth. The world may satisfy your natural cravings with physical pleasures and feed your ego with an image of success that doesn't last. However, when the lights go off and the cameras are gone there is an entirely different reality behind the scenes. It's all a big game and the devil is the coach.

Mark 8:35-37(NLT) - If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. 36 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? 37 Is anything worth more than your soul?

What the god of this world will never tell you is how the story ends. If you get out of The Will of God for your life and choose to follow the world, everything you gain will be temporary. Walk away from God and at some point you will die, wake up in hell and realize that you gave up your eternity for practically, nothing.

How many men have walked away from their wives for what they thought was the perfect replacement and were sorely disappointed? How many young people have walked away from The Church into the arms of "so-called" unsaved friends only to see their lives take a turn for the worst?

They may look happy but their innocence and dignity are gone after some of the stuff they've done. Now guilt is killing them inside and pride is holding them back from true repentance. They're trapped in the game and the devil is the coach. Walking away from God's Will for your life may look fine at the beginning but it's only the beginning of one big mess.

Don't Let The World Fool You

Matthew 7:13-14 (NKJV) - “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

God's way is never the most popular. It's never the easiest and it's never the most convenient. If it was, then everyone would use it. It's never the most appealing to your flesh and it never promises to satisfy any of your lusts. Sometimes, it's quite challenging and it doesn't always give immediate rewards. However, the end of it is AWESOME! 🙂

Please read Psalm 73 and carefully consider what it says. Don't let the world fool you!

Psalm 73(NLT)

1 Truly God is good to Israel, to those whose hearts are pure.
2 But as for me, I almost lost my footing. My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone.
3 For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.
4 They seem to live such painless lives; their bodies are so healthy and strong.
5 They don’t have troubles like other people; they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else.
6 They wear pride like a jeweled necklace and clothe themselves with cruelty.
7 These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for!
8 They scoff and speak only evil; in their pride they seek to crush others.
9 They boast against the very heavens, and their words strut throughout the earth.
10 And so the people are dismayed and confused, drinking in all their words.
11 “What does God know?” they ask. “Does the Most High even know what’s happening?”
12 Look at these wicked people— enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply.
13 Did I keep my heart pure for nothing? Did I keep myself innocent for no reason?
14 I get nothing but trouble all day long; every morning brings me pain.
15 If I had really spoken this way to others, I would have been a traitor to your people.
16 So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper. But what a difficult task it is!
17 Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked.
18 Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction.
19 In an instant they are destroyed, completely swept away by terrors.
20 When you arise, O Lord, you will laugh at their silly ideas as a person laughs at dreams in the morning.
21 Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside.
22 I was so foolish and ignorant— I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.
23 Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth.
26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.
27 Those who desert him will perish, for you destroy those who abandon you.
28 But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.

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A New Mindset About God's Will

You Can Trust God's Will

Welcome to Part 7 of this blog series on The Will of God. If you don't know God's Will for your life or you can't wrap your mind around God's plan, this blog series is for you. For Part 6, "God's Way or The Highway" click here.

Now, let's check out some interesting developments in Genesis 17. Just like we said last week in " Part 3: What's God's Will Anyway?" if you don't renew your mind you'll never understand God's Will. That's why after the disastrous decision to help God along, Abram and Sarai needed a mindset change so God returned to remind them of His covenant.

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16(NKJV) - When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. 2 And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.” 3 Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: 4 “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. 5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. 7 And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.......15 Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.”

Abram became Abraham and Sarai became Sarah because they needed a mindset change. From that moment on, every time their names were called they would hear "Father of Many Nations" and "Mother of Many Nations" respectively. They would be reminded of God's covenant with them and they would remember that they didn't have to do it in their own strength. They could trust God's Will for their lives.

What about you? Do you need a mindset change so you could trust God's Will? Maybe you need to set up something in your life that constantly reminds you of it. Maybe you need to start calling yourself by a new name. Stop calling yourself a victim and start calling yourself a victor. Stop feeling sorry for yourself by always looking at your past and start looking at your future. Stop making excuses for disobedience and motivate yourself to do what's right.

This message is personal for me. The Lord told me where He was taking me so many times and even though I'm on my way I'm not there yet. So I keep reminders around me of where He is taking me. One of my best friends knows what I'm doing so every time we communicate he calls me by the name of where God is taking me and I do the same for him. Our greetings go something like, "Hello Mr Game Changer" or "Hello Mr Culture Shaper" because what we are born to do will change the game and shape culture forever. We know where we're going and it keeps us focused.

It's important to do whatever it takes to keep your faith strong in God's plan for your life. It eventually worked for Abraham and Sarah after all the trouble they went through. It works for me and I believe it will work for you too. I remind myself everyday of God's call on my life regardless of how things look around me. Why not try that yourself?

3

God's Way or The Highway

God's Way or The Highway

Welcome to Part 6 of this blog series on The Will of God. If you don't know God's Will for your life or you're getting impatient with God's plan, this blog series is for you. For Part 5, "You Can Trust God's Will" click here.

Proverbs 14:12(NKJV) - There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

When human beings start coming up with their own ideas that contradict God's plan they end up in serious trouble. Have you ever completely disobeyed God because you thought you knew better? I won't ask you how it ended up. I can just imagine. Even though sometimes we think our own path is right because we think we really know what's best for us we really screw up when we stop trusting God. It's even worse when we know His promises will come to pass but we just don't feel like waiting anymore. Here's a perfect example.

Genesis 16:1-12(NLT) - Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not been able to bear children for him. But she had an Egyptian servant named Hagar. 2 So Sarai said to Abram, “The Lord has prevented me from having children. Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her.” And Abram agreed with Sarai’s proposal. 3 So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian servant and gave her to Abram as a wife. (This happened ten years after Abram had settled in the land of Canaan.) 4 So Abram had sexual relations with Hagar, and she became pregnant. But when Hagar knew she was pregnant, she began to treat her mistress, Sarai, with contempt. 5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “This is all your fault! I put my servant into your arms, but now that she’s pregnant she treats me with contempt. The Lord will show who’s wrong—you or me!” 6 Abram replied, “Look, she is your servant, so deal with her as you see fit.” Then Sarai treated Hagar so harshly that she finally ran away. 7 The angel of the Lord found Hagar beside a spring of water in the wilderness, along the road to Shur. 8 The angel said to her, “Hagar, Sarai’s servant, where have you come from, and where are you going?” “I’m running away from my mistress, Sarai,” she replied. 9 The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit to her authority.” 10 Then he added, “I will give you more descendants than you can count.” 11 And the angel also said, “You are now pregnant and will give birth to a son. You are to name him Ishmael (which means ‘God hears’), for the Lord has heard your cry of distress. 12 This son of yours will be a wild man, as untamed as a wild donkey! He will raise his fist against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live in open hostility against all his relatives.”

As we discussed last week, God spoke to Abram in Genesis 12 and gave him a big picture idea of where his life would end up. Therefore, both Abram and his wife Sarai knew the destination. However, they did not know the plan. Since they could not understand how God planned to get them to their final outcome they devised a plan of their own in Genesis 16.

God had promised them a son but they decided to trust their understanding of Biology instead of trusting God's Word. They were both very old and naturally they could no longer have children. Maybe Abram had a chance but definitely not with Sarai. So Sarai told Abram to sleep with her servant, Hagar. The plan "looked" good at the time but it started to unravel the moment Hagar had her son, Ishmael. As human beings they lived with one glaring disadvantage and that's the inability to see the future.

Hagar got an attitude because she became the mother of Abram's son while Sarai remained barren. However, that was nothing in comparison to the future stress and heartache their decision caused. Eventually, they had to kick Hagar and Ishmael out the house in Genesis 21. Had they known the full price of that one attempt to force God's hand maybe they would have reconsidered. Ishmael would not just go away even after Isaac came. Ishmael grew up to become everyone's enemy and his descendants today are no different. He was the gift that kept on giving and will continue to give until Jesus returns. 🙂

You Can Trust God's Will

Genesis 17:18-22(NLT) - So Abraham said to God, “May Ishmael live under your special blessing!” 19 But God replied, “No—Sarah, your wife, will give birth to a son for you. You will name him Isaac, and I will confirm my covenant with him and his descendants as an everlasting covenant. 20 As for Ishmael, I will bless him also, just as you have asked. I will make him extremely fruitful and multiply his descendants. He will become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 21 But my covenant will be confirmed with Isaac, who will be born to you and Sarah about this time next year.” 22 When God had finished speaking, he left Abraham.

In Genesis 17:18, Abram tried to get God to accept their bad decision by asking Him to choose Ishmael for the special blessing but God refused. He didn't choose Ishmael so they still had to wait for Isaac. You can't disobey God and then ask Him to accept your disobedience. How many times have you seen people do that? Does it ever work? If you are out of the Will of God your best move is not to try to get God to accept you there because He won't. You just need to find out how you can return to the Will of God because that's where The Blessing is located. I'll say it one more time. God will not accept disobedience.

What's the moral of that story? When you try to force God's hand you end up with an Ishmael even though God promised you an Isaac. Ishmael might look like a terrific plan at the beginning but on the tail end you will suffer so much that you will wish you had waited on God. Don't be the impatient Christian woman who marries an Ishmael instead of waiting for God to give you Isaac. Don't be the impatient businessman who signs a contract that's an Ishmael when God intended an Isaac for you. Don't be the impatient consumer who buys an Ishmael instead of waiting for Isaac to go on sale.

Say no to creating Ishmael when Isaac is God's promise. The biggest problem with creating an Ishmael is that you have to pay the consequences for the rest of your life. In Abraham and Sarah's case the rest of the world continues to pay for their Ishmael. His descendants still create havoc all over the world and refuse to go away. Don't follow their example. It's God's way or The Highway.

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