We've all worked diligently or hard at something in this life, and we've all received a variety of reactions from on lookers!
Often, on lookers only see the end result of what has been done. All of the stuff in between has been experienced by you while the Lord looked on, taking note of all of the ups and downs, the hindrances, the failed attempts, and the disappointments. God was there, cheering you and I on through it all!
All of the things that the Lord God gave me to do have started with hardships first. Every obstacle lined itself against me, trying to push me toward failure. What kept me pressing on was the conviction deep within that I was doing what God had wired me to do. God gave confirmation along the way, and the set backs were only valuable stepping stones that added the polish and the shine, when all was said and done.
There is no way we can persevere with anything unless we are convinced by God, Himself, that He is in what we're doing. It's a terrible waste of time to keep plugging a way at something, not knowing if it will pan out or meet with success.
First, in my opinion, the Lord gives us a deep desire and passion for a thing, so that we can pursue it. When there is passion, there is grit and determination to see something through. Without passion, you and I are hard pressed to accomplish or succeed at anything. Passion gives the drive that's needed to get over the hurdles while perfecting what ever it is we're trying to do.
A person with passion has daily discipline. A person with passion prioritizes and doesn't waste time. A person with passion is a doer not a talker. A person with passion is focused without distractions. A person with passion keeps their lifestyle uncluttered and free of useless activity. A person with passion says, "NO" to many things in order to reach their goal.
There is nothing more rewarding than to see your dream or aspiration materialize! You look back at what it took to get there and you are exhilarated and gratified with joy, because you hung in there despite all of the nay sayers, the lack of support, the criticism, and the harsh remarks.
So...what does this have to do with spiritual things? Well...the word of God admonishes us to not be mediocre in what we do. We are told that whatever we do, do it to the glory of God, and as unto the Lord. In Scripture, we read that David was skilled in playing the harp. In the old testament we read about the men and women who made great contributions to the building of the temple using their talents. Some were skilled with wood, tapestry and so on. Solomon chose the best of the best to do the work that needed to be done. Only skilled persons get the opportunities!
Never settle for second best! Whatever you do, do the best that you can do. Remember, we're not going for perfection, because no one can reach that high. God is pleased when we do our best. It will pay off in ways you wouldn't even realize. Keep doing the hard stuff, the stuff that no one can see, the sweat and tears stuff. You will reach your goal soon enough!
Keep yourself encouraged! Don't become depressed when you look around and see that few are supporting you, if any. It will be disappointing, but hang in there. Most of the men and women in the Bible who accomplished great things were by themselves. It was them, and God alone. The path to success is paved with loneliness, misunderstanding, isolation, and pain, but that's alright. When you begin to get a glimpse into what God is doing with you and the skill He so graciously gave you, you'll catch on and brace yourself, hunkering down for more isolation and loneliness. I know, it sounds like a crazy cycle, but it is how I live daily. I embrace it, because I see what the Lord God is trying to accomplish in me and through me.
God has invested in you! Don't be concerned about anyone else but Him!!!! He will provide everything you need when you need it. Keep your eyes on Him, and you will see what great things He will do for you!! With man, some will want to invest in you 'AFTER' they see the outcome, not so with God! He takes us from nothing and works along with us until we reach success! He is our greatest supporter! He is the one who opens doors no man can shut! He is our helper! He gives good success! All we need to do is to walk with Him, faithfully, each and everyday, obeying Him, and following the leading of His Holy Spirit. This is how you spell 'SUCCESS'!
Commit your way unto the Lord, He didn't make a mistake when He wired you the way He did, or gave you the gift and talents He did. God knows exactly what He wants to do with you, in you, and most importantly, through you! Make good on His investment!!
Psalm 46:1 tells us that "God is our refuge and strength and a very present help in trouble." What comforting words those are for the times in which we live! This world is hopeless and of no comfort or help for the people in it.
17 lives were completely changed, in a moment, all of a sudden, without warning, yesterday, when a shooter came to a High School and started shooting students. We have heard this story before on too many occasions. It is more than tragic! There are no words! I don't know if any knew the Lord, but prayer is needed for the families of the victims.
All of the news anchors and commentators all ended up saying the same thing....in so many words, no one knows what to do about the senseless killings of our youth. As I listened, I sensed the hopelessness and confusion in the voices of everyone who had something to say.
God is the only refuge for a dying world. Sin rules, and will continue to rule. When God, in the Garden of Eden, said to Adam and Eve, "What is this that thou hast done?", they could have never entered into the potency, the depth, or even a microcosm of what God was actually saying to them. Their one act of disobedience, plunged all of the world and creation into sin. Sin that has unfolded more and more, down through the ages. The face of sin has a dark, dark, evil, and satanic hold upon the earth. Its victims are leaving this earth and ending up in a Christ-less eternity.
Satan has targeted our youth! It usually starts from within the family structure. Once he has the family, he undoubtedly gets their children. There are many young people who are greatly troubled deep within. They act out and satan fills their hearts with evil and uses them like puppets on a string. But for the grace of God, go I.
As a painter/artist, I am often inspired to paint stories that bring hope or healing or something positive and good. I am presently working on a collage piece that speaks to our need to 'Catch A Child'. Each one of us are in a position to take at least one young person under our wing to mentor them, to encourage them, or to assist them in any way that we can. I strongly suggest we take that ministry up. I'm speaking about sacrificing our own precious time to work with them outside of the church walls!!! Ask God to give you a young person, suited for you, one who can benefit from your testimony, and experiences in your life.
We already know that Jesus is the answer for the world today. We know what He is able to do. Let's be a part of the healing process in a sin sick, and dying world!
Time is winding down, and we are closer and closer to our eternal home. Let's make the mark we are suppose to make on the planet while there is still time, while we yet have breath, while it is still day!
There are always decisions that have to be made. They range from, routine decisions to critical decisions. Sometimes we may decide to do something based on what we think is the best possible option for us, at the time. Whatever process we use to decide a matter, the outcome will always speak to whether it was the better thing to do or not.
As Christians, the Lord God never leaves us to figure things out on our own. He knows that's virtually impossible for us to to do. There are things that we could never anticipate or be prepared to for. Since He knows about everything concerning us, what we will need, and in what way we will need it, He should be the one making the final decision, not us.
It is absolutely necessary, and important to inquire of God on all matters, not some, but all! Don't take anything for granted. Whether it's a big decision or a little decision, they both require the right answer.
David inquires of God, and He gets an answer with direction. Surely, the outcome was victorious! There was another point in time where David didn't inquire of God and assumed that because God answered him a yes before, that He would undoubtedly do the same, and he, David, was wrong! They got slaughtered in battle simply because he thought that God's answer for the same situation would yield the same results as before.
It doesn't matter how God may have answered us in the past, we must go to Him afresh and ask for His mind, His will, and His permission to do or not do something! This is crucial! Never assume anything where God is concerned. He sees the beginning, middle, and the end of a situation, we can't. He is there to protect us from unnecessary problems, and to make sure that we get the blessing.
Oftentimes, we fail to ask God for His permission or go ahead on a matter because we lack the faith to believe that He has our best at heart. We want what we want, and we don't want God to step in and possibly halt, stop, or say 'No' to us, so we proceed with what we want to do, and then pray afterwards for His blessing. It doesn't work that way, unfortunately. We cannot deal with God that way and expect to get His best for us.
One of the other things we do, at times, is to run a situation down to someone we trust to see what their take is on it. Now that is okay if the person is spiritual minded, but we still have to consult God. That individual may answer us according to their own prejudices, feelings, desires, or common sense. That's not god enough, because we could still make a bad decision.
The answer God gives is tailor made just for you and me! His answer takes in every facet of our lives, present and future. God knows five years down the line, where that single decision would leave us or our family.
Never trust what seems to be the obvious answer! Only trust God! Inquire of Him, and wait for His response. If it seems as if He is taking a long time, it means that He has the situation under His control and in the fullness of His time, He will answer. Remember, things aren't always what they seem. Our emergency, is usually not God's urgency. He knows exactly how long to let things go for. He knows the situation we're in. Sometimes the most obvious thing to do is the very thing we shouldn't do at the time.
When we are walking in fellowship with God, (spending time in His presence, praying and reading) consistently, we are in tune with God. When we are in tune with Him, we are looking to see where He will lead, and where He will direct. The minute God answers, we will know what to do!
If we are living carnally, (worldly lifestyle), we won't hear from God. We won't have the direction and help we need from Him. The Scripture tells us that when there is sin in our lives, God won't answer us. Our prayers will not reach him at all!
I have seen what one wrong decision can do to a man or woman. The rolling ball affect is a disastrous spill out. One bad choice can lead to 10 bad consequences. There are consequences that run the course of a person's life. There are things that one cannot un-do. Everyone in close proximity of the bad decision maker can suffer as well, especially in a family.
In the Bible, Naomi's husband made a bad decision by taking his family to Moab. Their sons married Moabitish women, and they shouldn't have. Naomi's husband died there and her two sons. All three women became widows in Moab. Did hubby mean his family harm? No! Absolutely not! He took them there to avoid the famine that had hit their land. He figured that if he went there, they would have food and provisions and then he would go back to their land when things got better. They stayed there for years, in Moab. They settled in and didn't go back. Naomi eventually goes back, and because of God's mercy and grace, He blesses her and her daughter-in-law, Ruth. The other daughter-in-law didn't go with them. This was the result of one bad decision. They did the obvious thing which was to avoid the famine, but that was the wrong thing to do. Better they suffered through the famine staying right where God wanted them, than to go to Moab.
Let's make it a practice to Inquire of God for every little and big thing. Let us trust God because He has our best at heart!
Alexander, the coppersmith, did much evil to the Apostle Paul. Paul committed him and the situation to God. He didn't take revenge, neither did he run and tell others.
Barnabas and Paul had a fierce disagreement. It was so bad that they had to cease from traveling together, and go their separate ways. Sometimes, we have to agree to disagree. Some things get settled in time. They eventually came back together.
Hindrances are not all bad. The Apostle Paul was hindered from visiting one of the assemblies. He states that Satan hindered him. Instead, he wrote a letter to them to address what he would have if he had seen them. If God had allowed Paul to make that visit, we would not have the Epistle of Paul, The Apostle To The Thessalonians. God sometimes allows us to be hindered and kept from executing something or going somewhere. Paul's hinderance not only benefitted the saints at that time, but us as well, many years later.
Don't share your ideas and dreams with just anyone! Not everyone will respect it. Not everyone wants to see you succeed. Not everyone is in your corner. Your Dreams and Spiritual Aspirations are from God! Is something gnawing at you that you can't seem to get away from? God plants desires within us for a reason. Joseph had a dream and he shared it with his family members. He was only a teenager at the time. His dream came true 17 years or so later. His brothers had no respect for him or his dreams, but they later realized that Joseph's dream came true, and was to the saving of their lives!
Mary of Bethany sat at the feet of Jesus on three occasions. 1. For learning. 2. For comfort. 3. For worship.
Dorcas used her talents to minister to others in their time of need. In doing so, she helped to relieve the burdens of many.
Lois was a grandmother who capitalized on the teachable moments she had with her grandson, Timothy.
Ruth had a positive influence on her daughter-in-law, Naomi. Ruth's advice to Naomi was well received and followed. It led to a great blessing in the end for them both.
Mary Magdalene knew what she had been saved from! Her affection and attachment to the Lord was steady and strong.
"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your heart and all your soul." Ecc. 9:10
There is so much that competes for our time and attention. Sometimes we are fooled into thinking that we need to attach ourselves to certain things or activities because on the surface, they appear to be necessary. The question we should always ask ourselves is this; will these things deter or hinder me from the goal I'm trying to reach?
It takes conscientious effort to achieve anything in life! It takes vision, hard work, rising early each day, with determination. This requires discipline and knowing when to say, "NO" to a lot of other things that would divide your attention and get you off track.
When I think about the men and women who have managed to achieve great things, there is one thing they all had in common; they were focused individuals. They met every obstacle with courage, not wavering or giving up. There were lots of situations they encountered that threatened everything they were trying to do, but they endured as they remained focused.
There will be times when you will have to bypass what's seemingly, a 'good' opportunity, in order to succeed and accomplish your goal. Not every opportunity, or offer that comes your way is necessary to get involved in, unless it will enhance, enrich, or advance your vision. Some things are just a waste of time!
Know when to graciously bow out of an invitation. Keep your focus! Don't get side tracked or bamboozled into thinking that you will gain anything valuable from getting involved with stuff that cannot grow you, develop you or increase your chances for upward mobility. Always remember, distractions come in nice little packages!
Keeping your focus may also involve a cost! You may loose a few people along the way, be talked about, negatively, while gaining a few enemies. Keep your focus regardless! Anyone worth a seat in the front row of your life will earn it by being supportive during your journey! The rest, you don't need!
Focused individuals are meticulous, and careful. Whatever they are working on, or working towards, shows the amount of time and attention they gave it. They are not sloppy, neither careless, or mediocre. They have high standards for themselves. They are always looking for ways to improve, and they are constantly learning and growing in their purpose. They take on challenges and tackle things that are difficult. They surround themselves with people who know more than they do, who have also achieved their goals in spite of obstacles.
God expects that His children will produce nothing less than their best! He has given us all of the resources we need to be successful. There is absolutely no reason why we should fall beneath His expectations or leave this world without making the mark we were born to make.
Whatever you put your hands to do, work it as if God, Himself, will put His stamp of approval on it before it even gets a chance to be seen by others. Work for His approval and His approval only! Set aside, or toss anything that will slow you down, keeping you from accomplishing your goal. By any means necessary, KEEP YOUR FOCUS!