“There’s More Than One Way”

There’s more than one way to be a champion. 

There’s more than one way to use your gift. 

There’s more than one way to make a difference. 

There’s more than one way to create change.

His original design for your life may not look like everyone else’s.  For some to stand with their own earthly measuring rods to compare may have not taken into account the uniqueness that makes you, you.  It may look quirky to some, but to God, it looks like you are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” (Psalm 139:14). 

You are not a cookie-cutter fabrication of the rest.  Nor are you a tired remodel of the “best.”  Just the best you is who you are with your offerings to the world.  So go ahead and step out in the way He has planned for you.  Show them what you have to bring to the table matters.  Show them (despite the sometimes judgmental stares) your voice, your calling, and the workmanship He has sown in you with great care. 

There’s more than one way to do a lot of things, but there’s only one way to be – that’s you! Show them you.

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“Be a Promise Accepter!”

“For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him amen, unto the glory of God by us,” 2 Corinthians 1:20

 It’s back to school time around here. Each school year starts out brand new. New backpacks, new supplies, new clothes; along with new hopes and dreams with the anticipation of promise lingering in the air. This is going to be a wonderful year!

By the end of the first month of school, children and sometimes parents too, start looking forward to days off, delayed openings due to weather and such. The reality of the daily grinding and horse race schedules overshadows the promise that was once felt. Instead of realigning oneself to keep hold of the promise that was once felt in the atmosphere, we begin to gripe and complain. Looking forward to the end of the school year, or at least Christmas break for some relief becomes the new goal.

Often times, we treat the promises of God in the same manner also.

He gives us this wonderful volume (the Bible), filled with sixty-six books. And in each of those sixty-six books therein is packed with “more.” God has “more” for you than this. Line upon line and precept upon precept tells us how much He cares for us, loves us, and wants more for us. The Bible starts way back in the book of Genesis with promise. And, it goes all the way through to the end of Revelation. How does it end? With promise! “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen,” (Rev. 22:20-21). That’s a promise!

Unfortunately, as it is with the school year so it is in life. In the beginning, when the promise is fresh we are ecstatic. Then, as the everyday issues begin to settle in it starts to wear on the assurance that once was, leaving one to do nothing but constantly focusing on the end. Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly,” (John 10:10). He doesn’t desire for “life” to be something tolerated. Rather, He wants it filled. And with that, there is the anticipation of something better.

Promise!

Promises only work when one accepts it. You can quote it all that you like, but unless it is internalized as a hopeful thing in the life of each of us, it does absolutely no good. Many people can read of the promises but they can’t believe in them for themselves. Only seeing with the eyes but never touching. They never experience the greatness that God wants to do. That’s not God’s intention for you. “For all the promises of God in Him are yea.”  That means “YES!” Now, it may be just me but when I see the words “all,” and “promises,” and “God,” and “yes,” I get excited! If you are in Christ, God says yes to every promise that comes with that salvation. Yes!

Won’t you accept it today? Yes!

I don’t have enough space or time here to even begin to list what He has in store for us. And, the half has not been told. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him,” (1 Cor. 2:9). The promises are there in His Word. All you have to do is believe it and receive it!

Be a promise accepter today. Go through the Bible, find verses that speak to you right now, highlight them, and write them down or whatever you do to remember a verse, then, lay hold of it as your personal treasure. Let them be your source of strength when life doesn’t feel as “abundant.” Accept what He said anyhow. Step out in faith, holding on to those precious promises for dear life.

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“Lay it all down!”

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” Hebrews 12:1

Lay those burdens down!  Give yourself permission to release it, and let it all go.  Grab hold of the confidence of His Word, and cling to it for dear life.

This world is raging.  Things we’ve never seen before are unfolding at a frightening rate.  Hurts are dissimulating families.  Distresses are speaking despair into lives.  Lay it all down!

Refuse to pick it up today!  That fear; that feeling – refuse it space in your world today.

Who does God say I am?  What does His Word speak over my life?  That’s what I choose to pick up today.  That’s what I am choosing to carry with me.  Not these burdens.  Not these worries.  They are hindrances to my progress.  They’re deflating my steps.

I want to run!  I want to run for You, Jesus!  I want to run my race well and effectively.  But, in order to run, I have to release some things that’s been holding me down.  I must cast disappointment aside.  I have to get rid of any sin that’s stopping me from running full speed ahead for the Lord.  I have to throw away everything that’s not working for my heavenly good and trust in God the Father who is.

Lay it all down, dear friend, lay it down.  The heaviness it holds it’s not worth it.  Don’t coddle it.  Don’t get comfortable with it.  Don’t declare this is how it is now.

No, get rid of it.  By faith, be determined.  By faith, walk in the confidence of the God who has spoken beautiful things over your life.  By faith, don’t just claim His peace – live it, because it’s already yours!

The weight is not yours to carry, but His peace is.  Run your race with Him and be blessed.

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A Message of Peace:

Dear Friends, if you are trying to push through your day today with a troubled heart, I pray that God’s peace would overshadow all the trouble you are feeling. Jesus often spoke of peace; when He calmed the storms and when He appeared after His resurrection. Peace is something that many search for, but it can only truly be found in Him. Peace is something God wants us to experience, so I pray that your sorrows will melt away and dissolve in His peace today. That all your hurts of a troubled heart will disappear into His grace.  I pray for God’s mercy to fill the gaps each of us need filling.  I pray for peace in your home and out.  I pray for peace in your coming and your going.  I pray that in the midst of everything, God would send a revelation of peace just for you.  In the name of Jesus Christ, AMEN!

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

“The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” – Numbers 6:26

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” – Jeremiah 29:11

“For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.” – Ephesians 2:14

“Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:16

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” – Isaiah 26:3

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At Peace in His Presence

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.”  Psalm 23:1-2

David saw that in our relationship with God there is a peace that cannot be found in any other place.  The phrases “lie down” and “still waters” show the sheep, in the very famous psalm exalting the LORD as our Shepherd (Psalm 23:1), being unafraid due to the wonderful care of the Shepherd.

Sheep, who are naturally fearful animals, are at peace in His presence, regardless of what the world may be experiencing.

The Bible gives us many references to the peace that we find in our relationship with God.  Some of my favorites are:

  • Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
  • John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
  • John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
  • Philippians 4:6-7 “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

All of these solidify the type of relationship the sheep have with the shepherd; the type of relationship we experience in Jesus Christ our ultimate Shepherd (John 10:11).  Many are grasping at various things and pursuits to fill their life with peace.  This peace and serenity can only be found under the protection of the Shepherd.

If you cannot find peace today, simply look to Jesus, and there you will find peace in His presence.

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A new attitude for a new day . . .

A new attitude for a new day . . . “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14

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In Christ, we are the possessors of the promise!

In Christ, we are the possessors of the promise! If God promised it, it is yours!  “. . . So whatever the LORD our God takes possession of before us, we will possess.” Judges 10:24

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Take A Stand Against Fear

 

“. . .And so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law:
and if I perish, I perish,” Esther 4:16, KJV

There are a lot of things that act like blockades in our lives, but fear by far has to be one of the hardest to overcome. Fear can render useless the one who entertains it because, unlike physical limitations, fear messes with the mind. It changes one’s perspective on how they view the world, the people around them, and their own lives.

Fear acts like a photographer. It snaps a picture and develops it in the dark recesses of your mind. When the picture is finished being developed it comes out for you to view a new reality, whether it’s true or not. Fear is not based on truth but it wants you to believe in the image it presents to you more than God. That’s why many of us will never tread the courts of the king as Esther did. We can become so focused on that false image (the things that we see that make us afraid) that we fail to step out with courage.

The Bible tells us, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” (Heb. 11:1). Going against fear takes faith. Faith doesn’t concentrate on what is visible to the naked eye. Faith concentrates on the truth of God’s promises. And His promises declare, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness,” (Is. 41:10).

That’s what faith sees!

With Queen Esther’s physical eyes the picture she saw wasn’t pleasant. What she saw was her beloved uncle Mordecai’s life was in danger (Esther 5:14). What she saw was hatred and an evil desire for her people to be destroyed (Esther 3:8-9). What she saw was the anguish of her people, grieving her also (Esther 4:3-4). What she saw was a law that could take her life (Esther 4:11).

A decision had to be made. Esther could look at the circumstances and let the fear of those images stop her from doing what’s right. Or, she could take a stand against the fear that assailed her and go for it, debunking that old image to see something new.

With great resolve and commitment she said, “If I perish, I perish.” She took a stand against the fearful, stepping out into the unknown, not sure if she would find favor with the king. Her people needed her to be brave. Her uncle needed her to be unbending in her determination. She needed to step up to the plate “for such a time as this,” (Esther 4:14).

Being fearless doesn’t mean you aren’t afraid.  It means in spite of it all, I have the courage to take a stand.

In what area of your life do you need more courage? Is there something you are dealing with that is extremely hard, yet you want to be determined to see it through? It takes a resolve such as Queen Esther possessed to stand against the fear of what you see so that you too can walk the King’s court in victory!

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Encourage!

“Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do,” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

The main goal of a cheerleading organization is to raise the spirits of the fans and team members of the sport they are supporting.  As I look at this life, I realize there are others around you and me every day that could use some encouragement.  People who need their spirits raised.  Some whose lives need to be touched with a little something that will help see them through this day.

The old saying is true that you cannot judge a book by its cover.  People are like that also.  Day by day we walk through our normal routines.  Sometimes we come across different people.  Sometimes we see the same people each and every time.  In meeting people there’s one thing I have come to realize, you don’t have a clue of what one may be facing on the other side of that facade.

The face that is smiling at you may be at the point of giving up.  The one who is engaging you in polite conversation may have just suffered a hard blow financially.  Or, any others we may see or come across on a daily basis.  All we can do is look at what they show us.  Sometimes, what they don’t show is there are deeper issues they are dealing with.  While in the middle of those deep issues, what if they receive a word that renews, that makes them feel that everything is going to be okay in spite of what they are facing?  What if one act of kindness done for them helps to ensure them they are important too, no matter what the situation is telling them, and raises their spirits?

How would we order our day, our regular routines, if we treated everyone as if they were a mission field to receive kindness?  You could be the one that will help somebody else to make the decision that they will not throw in the towel.  They will not give up.  You and I can be that deciding factor!  You can be that spiritual cheerleader that brightens the heart and lift the spirits of those who may be having a hard time in life right now.

Oh, what joy!  We don’t have to know the total story of another.  All we have to do is try to treat everyone who crosses our path with respect and a willingness to radiate the goodness of God onto them.  Perhaps all we have to have is a kind word ready on the tongue to bless the life of another.  After all, the Bible does tell us, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue . . .” (Pro. 18:21).  There is power in the words we speak to others and in any encouragement we can give.

1 Thessalonians commands us to “edify one another.”  That word “edify” means to build up.  Or, as I like to say, to cheer on!  The things we do and say in life should make people feel encouraged.  It should inspire them to go on and not give up.  It should show them to Whom we belong.  “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and the things wherewith one may edify another,” (Rom. 14:19).  It’s looking for ways to touch the life of another through encouragement.

Lift someone else today.  Send out a ray of sunshine from you to them.  Let them feel the warmth of the love of God in you.  Let them know that there is something special in them.  And, yes, make them feel that they matter.  Be an encourager today!  Be a spirit lifter!

Photo Source: Pixabay

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Your Amazing IF

Image by Pixabay

IF has been around since the beginning of humanity.  IF usually comes with choice, consequence, and question.  But, what if the word IF can be a statement of faith?  What if the word IF can be a declaration of what you believe God can do in your life.

One of my favorite IF questions in the Bible led to a miracle occurring and the constraints of what is normally not possible being removed.  IF unlocks something amazing in one man’s life, never to be repeated by another human being except for Jesus Christ.  Tossed about in the waves of contrary winds, Jesus’ disciples are struggling in a boat in the middle of the sea when Jesus came to them walking on the water (see Matthew 14:22-33).  After Jesus greeted the men in the boat and calmed them, Peter asked, “Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water,” (Matthew 14:28; italics added mine).

I believe Peter knew wholeheartedly it was Jesus since some Bible studies use the word IF as SINCE.  Thus, I believe Peter’s IF is a statement of faith, even if it appeared to be an immature faith at the onset.  He believed in Jesus.  He believed if Jesus allowed him to, he would be able to do what is naturally impossible.  He, under the direction of the Lord, could do the amazing, and walk on water.

Now, many of us are very familiar with how Peter’s story here ends.  Seeing the waves his faith falters and Jesus is there to pull him up from his sinking condition and bring him back to the boat.  Yet, that isn’t the part I want to focus on here.  I want to focus on the power of the IF that drew him out of the boat in the first place.  Where other men stayed hidden, he literally threw it all to the wind, and with the chance of a lifetime, stepped out to experience the amazing.

We can laugh at Peter and put him down, but how many of us can honestly answer that we would have gotten out of the boat also?  You see, IF can be a hindrance that causes over questioning and actually act as a stumbling block for not moving forward into something wonderful.  But, IF can also be the catalyst to open a door of opportunity if it is approached with the idea that something amazing can come out of taking a chance with Jesus; to move on to the waters of the unknown with my eyes on Him.

The phrase “What if?” has birthed a lot of good quotes and with good reason.  In that two-worded question, we are daring to ask ourselves the question: “Do I stay in the boat or do I choose to walk on water?”  We are daring to see potential in ourselves to do more than the ordinary, to do something amazing with my IF.

Where is your “IF” calling you today or even this week?  What extraordinary thing may unlock for you if you take a chance with your amazing IF?  I believe God gives us dreams to pursue, but it’s our faith in active pursuit of that IF that will allow the amazing to happen for us, just like it did for Peter.  Jesus most certainly could have gotten to the boat without walking on water, but then Peter or any one of the other disciples would have never had the opportunity to ask and pursue something more.

Is Jesus calling you to walk on water?  Is He calling you to take steps of faith in pursuit of a particular IF?  If He is, keep your eyes on Him and allow Him to lead you to your amazing IF.

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