Say “Amen”

When God promises to bless us, we must be on guard for things that hinder our ability to receive.  One of the things we must monitor closely is our mouth.  Our words can cancel, delay, and even redirect our blessings.

Just consider the king of Israel’s officer.  Elisha told him that God was about to reverse their economic hardship.  The feat seemed so unlikely that he said it couldn’t happen.  Because of his words, he couldn’t enjoy the blessing he longingly desired.

If given the chance to talk to the officer, i would tell him what I’m about to tell you.  Instead of canceling your blessing with words that reflect disbelief, just say “Amen,” which means “it is so.”  This word will give God permission to give you the mind-blowing blessings He’s already prepared for you.

Thought to Consider:
When in doubt, just say “Amen!”

Get Ready for Extra

Although the economy may hinder some businesses, one remains unblemished – God’s!  He’s still in the blessing business.

While we may realize this, we often struggle to process how awesome God’s blessings are.  He is not just the God of enough.  He is the God of extra.  No wonder Paul wrote, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20, NLT).

What kind of people does God bless like this?  If we consider Solomon, we can answer this question.  First, He’s not looking for perfect people, for Solomon, like all of us, made his share of mistakes.  He prioritizes people who are persistent.  Solomon’s life is the product of the persistence of David and Bathsheba.  Finally, He blesses people who pray and ask Him for things only He can do.  Solomon asked for wisdom, which James confirms, comes from God (see James 1:5).

This email is just a reminder – God provides overwhelming blessings!  If you’re praying for Him to move, get ready for extra, above and beyond what you asked Him for!  If you haven’t asked for anything lately, then what are you waiting for?  Ask, and watch God provide a mind-blowing blessing for you.

Thought to Consider: God always gives overwhelming blessings!

Good vs. Good

In the verse cited above, Joshua compels the Israelites to make a choice.  The options are clear – choose the Lord, or choose something different.  Looking at the conclusion of his statement, the choice for Joshua was clear – he and his family would serve the Lord.

This verse features a classic decision – choosing between right and wrong.  I’ve discovered, however, that the choices we face are often more complex.  It’s not simply right versus wrong; sometimes, it’s good versus good.  What do you do when faced with this kind of choice?  How do you decide between two competitive job offers?  How do you choose between several great educational opportunities?

I’ve been asked this question a lot recently, and my answer is simple: choose the option that yields the greatest long-term benefit.  That’s what Joshua did in the verse cited above.  He realized that choosing something other than God would lead to short-lived, if any, success.  None of the other options offered greater long-term benefit than serving the Lord!

If you’re facing two good choices, I challenge to you choose the option that yields the greatest long-term benefit.  Think about who you are and where you’re headed, long-term.  Then, choose the option that gets you closest to where you’re headed.

Thought to Consider:
Here are some questions to consider as you determine which decision is the best between two good options:

  1. Who are you?  Which opportunity aligns best with who you are?
  2. Where are you ultimately trying to go?  Which opportunity will get you closer to your destiny?
  3. Which option is God leading you to take?
  4. Which option will you regret most if you don’t take it?

Yield … Don’t Stop

Have you ever been excited about something, only to experience something that lets the “air out of your balloon”?  Maybe you set a financial savings goal, and just as you built momentum toward it, an unexpected expense occurred.  Maybe you were positioning yourself to advance professionally, when all of sudden, a rumor circulated that sabotaged your integrity.  Or, maybe you were in a situation like Hezekiah.  He had resolved to be all God desired, and the enemy (King Sennacherib) showed up to suspend his progress.

These moments, especially when we’re moving toward the destiny God has decreed, are intentional.  Our adversary, Satan, meddles in our affairs to make us stop pursuing God.  He wants us to be so discouraged that we stop believing that we can achieve what God has revealed.

So, how should you respond to the attacks designed to stop you?  The answer is simple: yield, don’t stop.  Yield to the Spirit long enough to get instructions, and keep moving forward.  Don’t let obstacles stop you.  Yield to God, and like Hezekiah, you’ll be victorious!

Thought to Consider:
For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long.  yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever (2 Corinthians 4:17, NLT)

You’re Ready!

One of my favorite sayings is as follows: opportunities of a lifetime must be seized in the lifetime of the opportunity.  While we desire to seize every golden opportunity, often, the opposite is true.  When presented with the opportunity of a lifetime, we tend to convince ourselves that we’re unworthy, unqualified, or unready.  When these opportunities have been decreed by God, our hesitation can have destiny-altering consequences.

Contrary to our self-defeating thoughts, God embraces our potential when providing great opportunities.  Just think about all of the people He used in the Bible, including His twelve disciples mentioned in this excerpt from Mark.  None of them were “ready,” per se, for the task He revealed.  Most, in fact, had no formal training in the task He called them to.  Still, He called them, because they had the potential to be all that He desired.

If you’re at the crossroads of an awesome opportunity with God, let me encourage you: you’re ready!  God doesn’t look for perfect people; He looks for people with the potential to be transformed while He uses them.  If you’re not all that you think you should be, then you have left just enough room for God to be all that He is through you.  You’re ready!

Thought to Consider:
God is too wise to make a mistake.  If He’s calling you, then He already knows you will succeed!

It’s Your Time

If you’ve seen the latest Superman movie, Man of Steel, then you may recall this scene.  Superman and his earthly family were stuck in a traffic jam because of an incoming tornado.  As people were rushing to safety, someone left his or her dog behind.  Superman’s dad rescued the dog, but he got trapped in the vehicle.  As Superman prepared to save the day, his dad discouraged him, as if to say the time to reveal his power had not arrived.  Needless to say, Superman was frustrated, because he knew he had the power to make a difference.

Sometimes we feel like Superman.  We know we’re gifted, but something seems to hinder us from releasing our full potential.  In the verse cited above, however, Jesus assures us that our time will come.  The Scripture to which Jesus was referring (see Luke 4:18-19) had been declared many years earlier.  But, in the moment the passage featured with this email occurred, Jesus’ words are certain: now is the time!

I want to encourage you – now, it’s your time.  Now is the time for you to manifest all of the gifts, dreams, and ideas that God has given to you.  Use what God has given you to make a difference in the world.  It’s your time!

Thought to Consider:
Are you ready to be all that God wants you to be?

One Day At A Time

Have you ever felt overwhelmed or under pressure because of things you needed to complete?  You can be so consumed by your task list that life literally passes you by.  Worst, you can have so much on your mind that you lose sleep.

By nature, we’re all a little ambitious; if we’re presented with a challenge, we try to conquer it.  But, who said you have to conquer all of your challenges in a day?  Reading the creation story again made me reconsider how quickly I need to get things done.  Think about it.  God could have created the entire world in a day, yet, He took six days to do it.  If God, the pinnacle of wisdom, spread His tasks out over several days, then why shouldn’t we?

Sometimes, it’s OK to take things one day at a time.  When you slow down a little, you can complete things more thoroughly.  And, at the end of each day, you can look back on what you did and appreciate your progress.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you may need to follow God’s lead.  Enjoy life one day at a time.  Break large tasks down into small projects.  And, as you complete the small projects, take a little time and appreciate your progress.
Thought to Consider:
Do you need to slow down?

Break My Heart

The title of this email may seem odd, especially since Valentine’s Day was last week.  There’s never a good time to break someone’s heart, right?  Or, is there?  According to Mark 3, there just may be.

The heart is often referenced in terms of our receptiveness to God’s Word.  The verse listed above contrasts two heart conditions – hard and soft.  The Pharisees had heart hearts.  They knew the Word, but they didn’t let it change them.  Because of the hardness of their hearts, they missed a precious opportunity.

The man with the withered hand, however, had a soft heart.  When Jesus spoke, He listened.  Because of his receptiveness, he received a miracle.

After I read this passage, I thought about how many times I had resisted God’s voice.  I thought about how many times I refused to implement what I read in His Word.  I’ve had a hard heart, and maybe I’ve missed some miracles because of it.  This gave me a new perspective – I want God to break my heart.  I want Him to break down every wall that I’ve put up that hinders the flow of His miraculous power.

In the parable of the sower, Jesus explains that people who hear and receive God’s Word (soft heart) are more productive.  I hope you’ll let Him break your heart, so you’ll see His power at work in your life.

Thought to Consider:
Do you have a soft or hard heart?

Unsung Hero

Mark 5:27 notes that the woman with the issue of blood came to Jesus after she heard about Him.  When I read that, I thought, “Who told the woman about Jesus?”  To speak to this woman required a great sacrifice.  At this time, anyone who went around a woman who was bleeding risked becoming ceremonially unclean, and consequently, unable to worship and fellowship with family and friends.  In spite of the inherent risks, a messenger told the woman about Jesus.

Ironically, the messenger’s name is not mentioned.  He or she remains anonymous.  That also made me think.  How often do we fail to recognize those who help us?  All of us are the beneficiaries of someone else’s advice, listening ear, support, or resources.  Although we reap benefits from others, we seldom pause to acknowledge the impact they have on us.

The woman with the issue of blood did not thank the messenger who directed her to Jesus (at least not in Mark 5).  I hope you’ll choose otherwise.  Make time to thank the unsung hero who has helped you along the way.  Your thankfulness can work wonders!

Thought to Consider:
Who’s your unsung hero?  Have you thanked him or her lately?

You’re God’s V.I.P.

One of my best friends shared his mantra for the New Year with me.  Each day, he strives to go above and beyond for someone else.  A few days ago, an older woman was the beneficiary of his kindness.  He offered to carry her luggage from a flight they shared.  In other words, he treated her like a V.I.P. (very important person), sacrificing himself to make her feel special.

My friend’s gesture of kindness made me think about how Jesus treats us.  He’s never too busy or preoccupied to stop and help us.  The woman with the issue of blood is a witness.  Jesus treated her so special that He stopped what He was doing to help her.  He could have kept moving toward Jairus’ house, but He paused to show her how much He cared.

I’m thankful that God gives us the V.I.P. treatment.  Every morning when you open your eyes, every breath you take, and every heartbeat you enjoy is a sign of how special He thinks you are.  So, live each day like a V.I.P.  If no one else thinks you are, God certainly does!

Thought to Consider:
How does God treat you like a V.I.P.?