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Archive for the ‘fear’ Category

 

“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”  ~Benjamin Franklin

Exceed expectations. Are you getting any closer to excellence?  Merely meeting expectations is a minimum.  When you exceed those same expectations, you start to enter into excellence.  We are to offer God our best every step of the way.  Excuses do not excuse us from the expectations of our Eternal Father.

We have to go further than we have ever gone before.  We have to take actions that will lead to exploring new territory.  Excuses are just excuses.  They do not excuse us from His expectations.  They can hinder us from doing His will or walking by faith.  They can harm progress in our spiritual maturity.  They may not even help us at all.  We have to see what excuses really do for us.  They offer nothing but trouble because they lead to procrastination, problems and poor performance or pitiful productivity.  That’s what comes forth out of excuses.

Let excellence serve as your trademark.  Lead by example.  Let excuses go.  Let others see the distinct qualities that set you apart from the crowd.  Demonstrate that you are not simply going with the flow.  In fact, if you live for Him, it may even cause you to go against the grain at times.  You begin to discover that God has put more in you than you think, but you won’t discover it until you have been put to the test.  When the tests, trials and troubles come your way, it won’t be time for excuses.  That will be the time you set your heart on excelling beyond expectations.  At that point, you become David facing a giant called GoliathRight then, you become Moses standing before a raging Red SeaIn the midst of  it, you stand out like Paul, writing as a concerned parent to his dear children, addressing believers in Rome with an assurance that every Christian is more than a conqueror.  We overcome with overwhelming strength supplied by the Supreme God, God Almighty.

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13“Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. 14And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” 15But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. 16I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” – Acts 9: 13-16 (NIV)

I like the Lord’s response to Ananias in verse 15.  He does deliver an explanation first.  He delivers His expectation; “Go!” There is no long, drawn-out debate, only a deliberate directive with the Divine saying: “Go!” You get the point and God got to the point.  He simply started out by telling the man in a vision and in response to his questioning of God with an answer from the Almighty.  “Go!”

How many different ways has God told us the same thing to do? How many times has He repackaged or reshaped the same message to reach you for what He wants you to do? If your Christian journey has been anything like mine, I know that God has had to use many ways and many words to simply show me the same simple thing that He has said to me more than once.  Even when I think of the countless people He has used for confirmation, conviction and counsel for me over the years and on some of the same things, I sit back and marvel. 

God goes out of His way to use others to reach us.  He desires that we, too, become willing workers in this kingdom business. He wants us to get so worked up about what He has for us to do as His work that we become willing to go to extremes to get the work done and to get the Word out there.

Let Him work on you.  Let Him work on your willingness.  Pray for Him to work on you.  Once He has worked on you, then watch as He works through you.  You just have to get into a position where you are willing.  Once you are willing, then He can take you anywhere to do anything with you because you are simply willing to go for Him and in His name.

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In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid.

What can mortal man do to me?- Psalm 56:4 (NIV)

 

David offers an inspiring claim in the midst of misery. David was under attack. Yet, his poetic praise states: I will not be afraid. The man was on the run and on the edge, but he stood firm in faith and faced his enemies as he trusted God and His Word.

David expressed that his enemies were after him “all day long” (Ps. 56:1-2, 5). Such a man spoke out about seeking God, even when he became afraid as others sought to slander and slay him daily. David was a hunted and wanted man, even in Gath. He pretended to be mad in 1 Samuel 21:10-15 in order to preserve himself. Look at Psalm 34 to gain more insight into how David was still able to hold on to his faith despite the forces working against him and causing him to flee for his life.

The manhunt of the mad man known as David didn’t cause David to lose his faith. Look closely at the things that push us to the edge and drive us nearly out of our minds. Think clearly about how you handle such matters and situations. Do you trust God in the midst of all of the mess? Do you maintain your faith when your world seems to get weird and go wild? Consider what the world wants you to do and realize that you do not have to react and respond like the world may want you to act. The Lord desires you to trust Him, even if you have to learn while running.

If the world makes you want to run away, be sure to run into the open and loving arms of the Lord our God.

When I am afraid, I will trust in you.- Psalm 56:3 (NIV)

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For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.- Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV)

Satan gets a lot of credit in the church.  Much of what the average Christian gives over to Satan is truly undeserved credit.  Satan is a fallen angel and a created being just like us.  The biblical story of Job demonstrates that he only does what God allows him to do.  He still must work on a limited basis.  He has no real power beyond what God affords him.

However, Satan is real.  He is not lurking behind some shadowy mist that drifts in and out of the atmosphere.  He is present, seeking to destroy all that can bring glory to God and tear down anything that builds the kingdom of heaven.  He is a liar and will stop at no means to kill, steal and destroy.

Satan attacks on a spiritual level.  If you leave him room, he will get between you and your spouse, you and your children, and even you and fellow believers.  His methods are divisive and destructive.  His aim is to keep us from growing closer to God.  He wants us to turn our backs on God.  He hopes that we will give up hope and seek help from anywhere but God.

He attacks at some critical times.  Check out these two examples for starters.  Later, after you have thought about it, check out the Lord’s words to him through prophecy (Isaiah 14:12-17).  It may help you understand some more about how he goes about things and why he is so persistent in attacking us.

Offering: Satan subtly seeks to convince us that the church doesn’t need our money.  After all, you hear yourself rationalizing, they’ll only waste it away with poor stewardship anyway.  That’s the type of thinking that can invade one’s heart and mind.  It’s a spiritual attack.  He wants to separate us from God.  He doesn’t mind starting with a small seed of doubt.  He’ll keep on us and at us until he reaches us somehow.  Be on guard.  Be in prayer.  Don’t give him a foothold.  Faithfully seek God out.  It’s the type of battle that can only be won by His spiritual might, not our own.

Invitation: Angels jump for joy and sing praises over one soul coming to the Lord for salvation.  Satan is a fallen angel.  He doesn’t rejoice over souls being saved in the name of the Lord.  He wants to get into the heart and mind of the unbeliever and show them how unworthy they are and why they don’t belong in church to begin with.  He attacks the unbeliever as the pastor prays and offers the invitation.  He seeks to embarrass the unbeliever and make the unbeliever fear the rejection of all of those people who seem to be staring and gawking.  He uses whatever he can to keep that person from even considering that now is the right time.  He even says that they can take care of it another day and in another way but not here and not now.  That’s junk. 

Be careful what you let get into your head and your heart at such a time.  He wants to keep you from the freedom that you will have in Christ.  He wants you to continue to be burdened by what has been bothering you for the longest.  He doesn’t want you to experience anything that is remotely close to salvation and all that it offers you.  He wants to keep you away from the church and out of God’s family. 

Don’t allow him to even start.  Learn what he is about and how he attacks believers and unbelievers alike.  Know that he will continue until he is utterly destroyed.  Meanwhile, he will seek to destroy as many as he is able to get a hold of as often as he can.  He has nothing that he can offer you that will last for an eternity.

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And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.  Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

You’re getting nowhere with your plans.  Yes, God gave you the vision.  You have prayed and sought counsel on the matter.  You have even shared the vision with others. And, alas, nothing has transpired.  You have put forth a lot of effort and energy.  You have exhausted all of your resources and you still appear to be getting nowhere.

The problem may not exist with the action plan and the timeline.  It may not be related to the multimedia presentations of PowerPoint after PowerPoint and message after message. It may simply boil down to fundamental flaw.  There may be an issue of faith.

The Word shares that it is impossible to please God without faith.  Is God pleased? Are you remaining faithful? Is it still on your prayer list? Have you checked back in with God… and heard from Him?

We are to walk by faith.  That is how we are to approach all matters- in, by and with faith.  Yet, discouragement feeds into doubt, and then doubt leads us to becoming dispondent and we eventually start forgetting to hold on with faith.  Don’t let that become your story’s ending.  Remain faithful and stay patient.  There is an unspeakable joy awaiting those who wait upon the Lord.

But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.- Isaiah 40:31 (NLT)

  • But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength: Waiting and trusting the Lord will find “new strength.” The lord can strengthen you for what it is to come.  Let your waiting lead to your preparation as the Lord strengthens you.
  • They will soar high on wings like eagles: Let God take you to new heights and expand your horizons.  Perhaps, if you think about it deeply, God wants you to do more than what you initially set out to do.  This may be another phase to what God wants you to do His name and among His people.  Go where He takes you and extend the limits of your imagination above the haters and critics.
  • They will run and not grow weary: Focus on staying the course and picking up the pace, not dropping out of the race.  God’s promise is that you “will run and not grow weary.” Weariness leads to becoming worn out and wiped out.  Keep going in faith.
  • They will walk and not faint: Walk in faith.  Do not get faint, especially faint-hearted.  Step out in faith, taking every step on the promises of God.  When you can’t run, walk.  Just keep progressing towards what God has for you.  Every step, even the smallest and the slightest step, gets you closer to the goal.

Whether it is a building campaign or launching a new ministry or business that can’t seem to get off the ground or pick up momentum, wait on the Lord in faith.  Trust Him today.  Try to recall times when he provided and protected.  Most of all, recall and reclaim His promises.

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.- Psalm 27:14 (KJV)

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Worries and woes are my soul’s bitter foes.
They tend to leave me dreary.
Or, is it weary?
Either way you say it,
They wear on me.
They wear me down.
My ups never seem to outweigh my downs.
One day my weight will be lighter.
One day I will no longer worry
And my woes will take flight.
For now it is day by day
Until my burdens become light.

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