Sunday, November 29, 2009

Don't drink spoiled milk!

When I was in college I was dating a gentleman that lived right beside me in the dorms. One night I’d gone and purchased several single serve chocolate milks and left them in his refrigerator. The next day I was back in his dorm and suddenly I had the biggest urge for chocolate milk. So I opened the refrigerator and grabbed the first one I saw. Knowing I had just purchased three the night before I didn’t question opening up the small carton. A doubt never crossed my mind as I fixed the cardboard spout to my lips and expected a cool chocolaty refreshing drink. Instead, I got a mouthful of a taste that is beyond description. If foul death could be contained in a small single serving cardboard container I had just tasted it. Sour chocolate milk filled my mouth. I gagged, and ran to the restroom to spit it out. Quickly I searched for a cup to fill with water. When finally I could get the taste out of my mouth, I was able to laugh at this experience. The gentleman had several single serve chocolate milks in his fridge and obviously I hadn’t grabbed the one of the ones I’d purchased hours before.

I began thinking about this story not long ago and how it relates to a lifestyle of faith. There are many people including myself who get very eager to do the things that God wants them to do. Sometimes if one isn’t careful they can become like a runner at a starting line. Eagerness is a great thing, but if one isn’t careful it can cloud ones hearing and vision from the Lord. Often times they step out in what they think sounds like a faith step, when really it’s not. You have to be led by God in order to have great victories in God. What am I trying to say? It would be stupid for me to go outside and find the closest pond and think I’m going to walk on the water. Beside the fact and alligator would probably come out and try to bite me, I’m going to get wet. However if God says to me, “Go walk on the water and you’re not going to get wet.” Then that’s an entirely different matter. I’m being led to do what the Holy Spirit wants me to do. Romans 8:14 Says, “because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”

John 10:4 says, “And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” As God’s children, his sons and daughters, we must know His voice and follow His leading.

Bill Hamon the founder of Christian International made a great statement in one of his books that have always stayed with me. He talked about how often times when God is doing something in the church it becomes like a pendulum on a grandfather clock. That so often there is a group of people who take it clear to the extreme on one side, and then there are those that take it clear to the extreme on the other side and then there are those that got the move of the Spirit in the middle.

I wanted to bring out this blog because I talk about faith a lot. I believe in stepping out when God is leading you to. I believe in doing mighty and radical things for the kingdom. However just like me grabbing the spoilt milk, so many times people we don’t stop to even question “God, is this the way I need to go?” We just grab the carton and hope for the best.

If you’ve been following my blogs for any length of time you’d know one of my favorite scriptures is Isaiah 30:21 “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “ This is the way, walk in it,” Whenever you turn to the right hand Or whenever you turn to the left.”

We must hear or feel that leading and walk in it. We must allow ourselves to be the followers of Christ, not the leading of carnal feelings. We must be that group of people who find themselves in the center of that pendulum. We must find ourselves in the very center of God’s will. Then and only then will we do mighty victories for the kingdom. Then and only then can we speak to the mountains and say they must move, and they do. Philippians 4:6 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God”

People if you want to walk where God has divinely purposed for you to walk, you must remember Isaiah 1:19 says, “If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land” God wants for you to have those victories. He wants you to have good success. Allow Him to lead you.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Facing the music

I started playing the trumpet in the fifth grade. Initially I had a natural talent for it. Of course, I wasn’t perfect. My dad tells stories jokingly of making me practice in the back of our wooded land, but at first I enjoyed it and I seemed to pick it up quickly. At some point in middle school, our band director decided it would be a good idea to have me and another trumpeter do a duet in a score in for a Christmas performance. As the parents, family, and friends piled into the middle school gym the words “stage fright” were an understatement. I freaked out. I tried to put the trumpet to my lips but the only notes that came out were shrill, wrong, and loud. An entire gym full of people witnessed my trumpeting downfall. Because of this particular incident I had an aversion to playing in front of people all throughout the years I played the trumpet. It was a fear that I didn’t care to shake. I lost my interest in the instrument and though I still played it in bands for many years after this, I wasn’t about to perform especially by myself.

When Dan and I moved to Freedom, one of the first things I felt God wanted me to do was to play the trumpet on the praise and worship team. I fought God on it. I did not want to ever play the trumpet by myself in public again. Didn’t He know the last calamity? To top that off I soon discovered that at that point the praise and worship team had yet to evolve to having things like sheet music. I was expected to make up the trumpet part. That was crazy. I needed musical notes people! The woman who was the keyboardist at the time was one of those people I consider musical genius’. She would try to turn to me, tell me what key something was in, and then tell me what note would sound right. Many times, I remember God telling me what to play. I would merely play the note and squint hoping I’d been right. The situation stretched me. I played trumpet on the praise and worship team at our church for several months. For me it was like walking through a very public maze and having to listen to God’s voice for direction.

Many times in life the things that terrify you, you’re going to have to face. You’re going to have to look at those things in the eye and know that God is bigger than you’re fear. When the Israelites were to go into the promise land in Numbers 13, all but Caleb and Joshua freaked out about the size of the occupants of the promise land. After not everything God had brought them through they thought they could trust Him to figure this one out so they relied on their own abilities and weren’t going to go in. God for obvious reasons get’s annoyed here. As a result, the Israelites don’t go into the promised land. They have to wander around until a new generation is raised and it’s only Caleb and Joshua from the old that make it into the promised land in Joshua 6. Here is God’s word to Joshua before he faces the promise land again. Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

When David stood before Goliath, he had ever reason in natural thinking to freak out. However, he knew who God was. He was able to look at Goliath in the spirit realm and not just the physical. He was able to boldly go up to the giant and say in 1 Samuel 17:37 “Moreover David said, “The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” David knew who God was and He knew he wasn’t dieing that day!

We must be bold people. This is not a time to freak out at the things we see as giants in our lives this is the time to stand firm and know God is good. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

Face the things you have to face but do it with boldness. Do it knowing that you have the victory in Christ Jesus. If God is for you who can stand against you! You are on the victory side. Wrap your thinking around that fact. You are an overcomer through Christ Jesus. Think about all the things God has done for you, and know that He is not about to let you down now!

I am thankful that I had to face my fear of playing my trumpet in public. It taught me that God is bigger than my silly fears. It taught me how to trust him even for things that seem so small.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the United States. Spend some time being thankful. Tell God for all the things that you are thankful for in this life. Take your eyes off of your fears and shortcomings and put them on the goodness of God. For He is able, to do all the things He said He would do.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Don't loose your shoes!

I took a part time seasonal job this year. About a month ago I went to work deciding that I was going to wear one of my favorite pair of shoes. They were these burgundy wedges that I’d had for probably nine years now, but they were really comfortable. I should have known the shoes had worn out their use when I was in the parking lot going into work and the strap broke. But always trying making the best out of everything I got up to my department and stapled the strap back on thinking that they would at least last me until the end of the evening. We had a customer call in the store and he’d lost something in one of the dressing rooms. I didn’t bother to look in my lost and found log and instead transferred him to the department in which the item was lost. He called back I transferred him again. Long story short eventually while he was holding for this other department I figured out that I’d had his item. I went running through the store trying to find where I’d placed his call. I had no way of getting back in contact with him. Suddenly the insoles of one of my shoes tore off of the wedge. The shoes were flopping around while I went from department to department trying to look for this call. Suddenly my shoes were flopping all over the place. I can only imagine what security must have been thinking at the look of me as I took off the shoes and ran around the store barefoot. Eventually I made it back to my department only to rip off the wedges and wear the insoles like sandals. Strangely it worked for the rest of the night, and eventually the customer got his stuff back. Of course I had to tell him that I cared so much about his items that I was willing to sacrifice my shoes. In the end I had most everyone around me cracking up at this story.

Ephesians 6:15 says, “And having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace” Shoes are often times in the Bible symbolic of your peace. I love what Pastor Greg Squires of Freedom Life Ministries says about peace. He always calls it an aggressive force against the enemy. When I lost my shoes in the physical it would have been really easy for me to loose my peace. It would have been very easy for me to get all frustrated and yelling at everyone around me. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little annoyed with the situation but I did my best to laugh at myself despite of what I looked like and kept going.

Proverbs 24:16a says, “for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again” I’ve come to the conclusion that often times we might fall and loose our shoes but we must just get up and keep going. In the words of Dory from finding Nemo. . . .just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

Romans 14:22 in the Message Bible says, “Cultivate your own relationship with God, but don't impose it on others. You're fortunate if your behavior and your belief are coherent. But if you're not sure, if you notice that you are acting in ways inconsistent with what you believe—some days trying to impose your opinions on others, other days just trying to please them—then you know that you're out of line. If the way you live isn't consistent with what you believe, then it's wrong.”

My point that I’m trying to make people, is stay consistent in life. No matter what happens. If your shoes fall apart and you’re sure someone in security is watching its okay. Just go with it. Enjoy your life. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Remember who you are and who is inside of you. The greater one is in you that He that is in the world! Life is too short to get all worked up and bothered about things that happen. Be at peace!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Do you feel stuck in a window?

When I was in high school my friends and I used to sneak out my parents house by climbing out the top story window and down the TV antennae. Why we didn’t just go out the front door I’ll never figure out, but it made sense at the time. Once a good friend got half way out the window and got scared. She was trying to make it to the TV pole and wasn’t too sure about leaving the house. She started to freak out and yell at us all who were already waiting for her on the ground. To which we were trying to shush her because we were trying to sneak out and be as inconspicuous as possible. Finally after a lot of convincing she made her way down the antennae. I was thinking about this story laughing the other day. We were pretty loud. I’m NOT condoning sneaking out, the story is just a funny memory. :-)

Life can be a lot like feeling like you’re stuck in a window. We go through a series of transitions and sometimes it can feel like your half in the old and half in the new. Having that feeling of being stuck can be scary and frustrating, because you can see the new on the other side, but your feet are still in the old.

There are some important things you must remember in these times.

1) Trust God and don’t get scared! In Exodus God had brought the Israelites out of Egypt to bring them into the Promised Land. After everything God had brought them through they still didn’t really trust God. When they saw that there where giants in the land they freaked out and refused to take their land. All but Caleb and Joshua refused to trust God. As a result God got ticked and the Israelites had to wander in the wilderness for 40 years and the only two people that saw the Promised Land out of that generation was Caleb and Joshua. You have to know that things may come at you. But you have GOT TO step out into the unknown when you know God has called you to. You have to trust that everything God has brought you through is not to bring you to destruction. You have to go forward and trust God! Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

2) Its okay to remember the things of old, and remember what God brought you through, but don’t cling to it so much that you won’t let go. God is a God that likes to bring you into new places and higher levels. All too often people get so comfortable where they were that when it comes time to transition they don’t want to move their feet from the places of old. It’s not easy choice to make. But if you want to move on with God you’ll push forward. You’ll find the grace and the inner strength to move forward. You must continue to declare to yourself, “That you’re not going back; you’re moving ahead, you’re moving forward.” Philippians 3:12-14 in the Message Bible says, “I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running and I'm not turning back.”

3) Rejoice for what you can see. Rejoice because God ordained the times and the seasons for your life. Rejoice and be thankful for the land he’s brought you through and the land He’s bringing you to. Choose to at peace with what you know He is doing. You see yourself on the other side of this. You can see out the window. You know that the tides have changed over your life and you are about to step into destiny that God has prepared you for. You’re years of preserving have gotten you to this place and you know you’re stepping into a divine time. Philippians 4:4 in the (NKJV) says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” Ecclesiastes 3:1 says in the Message, “There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:”

Be excited people. God is doing something in his people in this hour. Be excited that the years you’ve labored for the kingdom have not been in vain. Be excited because the window is open and you can see out the other side. Be encouraged that thought it has felt as if this season would never pass, you will find that suddenly like a bomb are about to explode all over and you will see the promises fulfilled over your life. Don’t quit. Don’t give up! Know that He is God. Encourage yourself and go read Hebrews 11 today! God comes through for His people.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Poop-a-palooza at McDonald's

I had been in desperate need for some hair help. About a month ago, I was finally able to make my appt with Judy. It was to be last Thursday. I was excited. I saved money. I had the perfect morning planned. I figured out that in the hour between taking my oldest daughter to school, and my appointment that I would take my youngest daughter to McDonald’s for the morning. Somehow, in my head I thought I am doing a good parenting deed. I am taking this child for some mommy time, and nothing could possibly go wrong.

I had my time all planned out. It was going to be a perfect morning! Everything was going to work out great. My youngest was very excited to find out that mommy was going to treat her to a McDonald’s breakfast, and let her play on the playground. So we have our breakfasts, and she was playing. I am watching the time, and we were doing well. At about ten minutes before we had to leave, my daughter comes down from the slide telling me she has to go potty. So I take her in the bathroom, and she does not go.

I tell her, “We have ten more minutes and then we’re leaving.” I let her run back up the slide again.

She comes right now and says in her sweet 3-year-old voice, “Mommy I have to go potty.” I take her back into the bathroom. . .she’d pooped. It was all over her underwear, down her jeans, in her socks. I tried to take off her jeans and poop goes flying on the floor. I start panicking. I’m looking around for paper towels. . .evidently this particular McDonald’s bathroom is trying to go eco-friendly because all I can find is hand sanitizer. I started trying to use toilet paper, and freaking out in the process. Then I realize, this kid has been potty trained for months. I have no change of clothes for her or nothing in my purse to put poopy clothes in. Then, I look at the time. My appointment! I’m going to be late! I hate being late. This is not the day I planned! As best as I can I tried to clean her up, get the floor semi-clean, and figure out how to grab her clothes so no poop is exposed. I was very grateful she had a long shirt on so I leave her bare butted and go speed walking out the McDonald’s to my car. I get to my car, try to buckle her in, but there is still poop remnants up her legs. I’m trying not to gag. I get in the car, get home, call Judy to tell her I’d be late and throw my daughter in the bathtub.

“I’m sorry mommy!” My daughter said softly after I calmed down.

In all the day worked out. My hair turned out great and it really wasn’t that big of a deal that I was a few minutes late. Yes, having a kid with a poop-a-pooloza in a McDonald’s is stressful. But I was all frustrated and worked up over the situation when really it all turned out okay. . .

So many times in life, we flip out, flesh out, freak out, and stress out over the small issues. When really they can’t be helped. Things happen.

1 Corinthians 13:4-5 says, “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;” We say we love each other but how do we really treat them when they tick us off? Do we grumble about them or do we suffer long and continue to be kind with them.

Romans 8:5 says, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.”

It is very easy in moments like the one I had to “flesh out” but when you find yourself in the midst of them, take a moment and breath. Remember that you are living according the Spirit. Instead of going into a full-fledged flesh attack we’re you completely panicking remember pray for peace. Remember to show love. Remember to think eternally. In my situation Judy may never remember or care that I was ten minutes late, but my daughter might remember how I reacted to stressful situations her entire life.

I’ll admit that on Thursday I had a bit of a minor freak out. I was reminded of a valuable lesson. I apologized to her, and it all worked out in the end. But I might throw a change of her underwear and a plastic bag in my purse just in case of a repeat.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Honor the Veterans!

About nine years ago I was working selling high-end jewelry. There was a man who came into the store who wasn’t my customer. I happen to overhear him mention to my coworker that he’d been in Vietnam. So I waited until his sale was being taken care of and I went over to shake his hand. We got to talking. Turns out he’d been in Tet Offensive. I studied this Marine before me. He was a large man that looked like he was still pretty tough. But the mere mention of Tet Offensive mixed with me shaking his hand was too much for his emotions. He broke down in tears. He politely took his purchase and left the store. His tears and brokenness have always stayed with me. It’s a reminder to me as to why I do what I do. The Veterans have lived circumstances that only Jesus can heal.

After I wrote my first book “Come, They Told Me” the way I looked at Veterans changed. This yet-to-be published book based on my father’s tour in Vietnam struck me deep to the core of myself. I may never walk in a rice patty or be a grunt soldier but walking “a mile in their shoes” made me realize how amazing the sacrifice men and women make every day in the armed forces. I will never forget when my best friend finished reading the first draft she looked up at me with tears in her eyes and asked me, “Why didn’t they tell us this in school? Why didn’t we ever know?” I didn’t have the answer for her.

Many years ago I felt as if the Lord put it on my heart to go and thank any Veteran I come in contact with. My husband and kids are used to me doing it by now. I always shake their hand and tell them thank you. The words may be simple, the gesture uncomplicated but the impact is lasting. Many veterans have never been thanked. They risk their lives, their comfort, their homes, and their sanity for others. The least we can do is to say “thank you.”

Isaiah 53:12 (NLV) says “I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.”

Today in the United States is Veterans Day. I know these blogs are going all over the world now, but in every country I believe there is some form of a holiday for honoring those who have served their country. I’ll get on the phone and call my dad. “How is my favorite Veteran?” I’ll ask. In his voice will be memories I’ll never truly grasp or understand. He’ll laugh, and ask about his grandkids. I’ll go on about my day. Maybe I’ll see a few Veterans whose hands I can shake. I’ll pray for the old high school acquaintance who is in Iraq realizing he won’t see his family this Christmas. I’ll take a deep breath and sigh. I’ll thank God for the freedom I have that’s been granted to me first by God, and second by the soldiers. Freedom in any form is never free. Go and thank a Veteran today! Their worth it!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

How bad do you want to fulfill your destiny?

This week is a real important milestone in my family’s life. Nine years ago, Dan and I put everything we could fit in our car to move across country from family and everything we held dear. I was only a few weeks pregnant with our oldest daughter, and I puked part of the way here. Why do you ask we left? It was because I heard God tell me where we needed to move. So we did. Next to asking Jesus in my heart and marrying my husband, this choice still stands as one of the more defining moments in my life.

In those nine years, we have been through a battle to stay where we know God has wanted us. For four years we lived an hour from our church and most Sunday afternoons you would find myself, my husband and oldest daughter picnicking in the back building of church and napping there because it was too far to travel twice in one day. For about a year and a half my husband had several jobs, the work would run out, and he would have to find another. I have testimony after testimony of our time here. Repeatedly we faced struggles to get us outside of where we knew God wanted us, and time and time again, we had to choose to stay planted in the will of God. I do not say all these things to puff ourselves up. We have not been perfect, but we chose to step out of the boat and God has met us on the water over and over again. He has been faithful.

I heard TD Jakes preach a while ago about getting olive oil out of an olive. That olive has to be pressed and squeezed. That in order for the olive oil to come out that olive has to give up everything. Any successful person will tell you that you do not get to success overnight. But it takes time, and patience. It takes persistence. In order for a solider to get decorated as a soldier he/she must first got through warfare.

Prior to that fateful decision nine years ago, I just kind of thought that things were going to happen right away. I never thought of the cost involved. Luke 14:28 says, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—” I was that person. But after beginning the “tower”, numerous times I have had to ask myself what am I doing? Is this all worth it? The answer is yes it is. Luke 18:1-3 talks about a persistent widow. Her persistence pays off. And the judge in that story is not even a just judge. How much more is God going to bless you because He is just and He loves you! He sees your tears. He sees your heartache. He sees the cost you have paid to fulfill what He has for you. It is so worth it folks. Psalm 30:5b says, “Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.”

People we must start thinking eternally, and not just what we can see in the moment. We must stop making or thinking that our circumstance right now will last a lifetime. Take your eyes off your circumstance and put them on Jesus. Realize that God moves in times and seasons, and He knows what He is doing. Daniel 2:21 says, “And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding.” Understand today that God is a good God, who wants you to get to your destiny more than you do. He desires for you to fulfill the very thing He created for you. The idea of Him seeing you do just that, makes him giddily excited.

As I enter this week as the official beginning of my ninth year here, I am excited. It has not been easy, but God has been faithful! Psalm 126:5 says, “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.” I have not arrived completely yet, but God is faithful. I believe there is some reaping in joy that is about to wash over the church as a whole, and God is about to do such a great thing. Whatever your going through, whatever the circumstance figure out what God wants, and stay firmly planted there. Be excited saints, God is not done yet. He is on the throne.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

But what if I fall on my butt?

I was speaking to someone the other day. This girl had just recently made a recommitment to live her life for God and she was struggling with doing what she knew God wanted her to do. It was the age old struggle of “What if I just can’t do it? What if I look like an idiot? What if I fail?” The internal turmoil she was facing is nothing new. I’ve heard these excuses a lot in the kingdom. We think if we wave the fear flag that it will excuse us from doing what we know God wants. Sorry to tell you it doesn’t work that way.

Let me tell you a story: When I was a cheerleader in high school, I experienced first hand an embarrassment that taught me a lot. The one part of cheering that I worked very hard in was my jumps. Toe-touches, pikes, double-nine’s, etc I had a lot of power in those jumps. I had heard in years past it had earned me the nick name of the ‘jump queen’. However, I didn’t know what to do with that power. My toe-touches got to the point where I had so much power in them that several times I hadn’t yet learned how to get my feet under me stable and when I landed inertia wasn’t my friend and gravity took over. I landed on my behind. You might think, “Well big deal.” The big deal was that I did it several times in front of stadiums of people. We had a cinder track that we cheered on and the black cinders would leave marks on my tush. In a time in most everyone’s live when socially awkward might as well be tattooed on their forehead I experienced first hand the kind of embarrassment that would make most people crawl in a barrel and hide. When the jokes and taunting from my peers stopped I figured I could cry and give up, or learn how to not fall. So the next week I went out on that field to cheer and fell on my butt again. Eventually I learned how to handle the height on my jumps but it took me time to retrain myself on how to land.

What is the point I’m trying to get to? Who do you fear more? God or man? I assure you that I got through the embarrassment of falling on my butt in front of so many leaving a black mark on my rump. I got through it and I lived to tell about it. So what if you mess up and fall! Get up and keep trying.

Joshua 1:7-9 says “Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Matthew 12:30 says, “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.”

If God is telling you to do something then so what if you mess up and get embarrassed. God knows what he’s doing when He tells you to do it. God knows what is inside of you and what He’s trying to get out. IF you fall on your butt then get back up again and keep going forward.

Many people keep using this excuse and they never actually take the steps of faith they need in order to fulfill what God is saying, but yet they go around secretly blaming God for not moving them forward the way they think He should.

Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

Matthew 8:26 says, “But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.”

When people are afraid in the Bible Jesus always questions where their faith is. If the fear of man stops you from doing what you know He’s told you to do, then where is your faith? If the fear of failure stops you, then where is your faith? God wants desperately for you to step out in faith and trust him beyond what you can see. He will meet you there. If you fall on your butt, so what. Get back up and keep walking toward Him. You’ll be glad you did. You’ll be stepping into the plans and purposes of God and He’ll get you to where you need to go. But you have to start stepping toward Him. You have to start trusting Him beyond what you know. You must take the steps of faith, and trust Him.

Proverbs 24:16a (New International Version) says, “for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again”

So, get back up and keep going!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Do you feel like you are stuck in current pinned to a log?

When I was in high school, I went canoeing with a youth group I used to attend. (If you have not figured out by now I really like to canoe and kayak and if I did not have to deal with the pesky wildlife of FL, I would go more often) We were canoeing along in the water. The person that was with me and I got in a bit more speed than the rest of the bunch and we had pulled away from the group. Somehow, we got caught on a log, and the boat flipped and followed the current and left us there. I immediately went down under the water. The boat was gone, and fear struck deep inside of me. I have always been a very strong swimmer but in that moment, I was scared. I looked at myself struggling under the water and thought of a million movie scenes I had seen of people drowning. I finally got myself wedged between the current and a nearby log. I did not know what to do other than to wait until someone came boating down the river. Fear held me to that log. I was not about to let go of it. It seemed like hours I waited for help to come, but really, it was only a few minutes. When someone did finally come by and assess the scene their response was a quick, “Why don’t you try to let go of the log and swim. It can’t be too deep.” If I could have smacked the person, I would. Didn’t they realize I was scared here? Finally, I mustered all the courage I had. I was going to try to swim. Once my friend and I released our grip to the log we found out the water was only as deep as our chest. As anticlimactic as it was, it was kind of comical at the time. We struggled and fought in the current to find out the water wasn’t that deep. Once we made our way down the river and found our boat I realized I’d been taught a valuable lesson. People we freak out too quick over things and jump to worse case scenario’s.

Most people have heard the story of Peter stepping out of the boat to meet Jesus. If you haven’t read it then here it is. Matthew 14:22-33 reads, “Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." "Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."

Notice that Peter is only one of 12 disciples. So out of 12 of them only Peter is gutsy enough to get out of the boat and walk on the water. I’m sure all of them could have walked on that water that day. But fear kept them all bound fast to that boat. Fear will stop you from going forward to your destiny in God. Fear will keep you bound to the place where you’re at. Fear will paralyze you in the kingdom. The “what if’s” can dance in your head like a marching band to their own cadence. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

So often times I’ve heard this story preached about how Peter takes his eyes off Jesus and begins to sink. That is a very valid point. But Peter got out of the boat!! That’s faith! Now when he saw the storm and circumstance he began to question that faith and that’s where he lost it, but he got out of the boat!!

I want to encourage you today. Get out of the boat of fear in your life, and step into firm faith. Step into the things God has for you! Step into your destiny! Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” You want to know what makes God excited? It’s when you trust Him. It’s when you believe Him above you think. It’s when you trust Him above what you think you know. Yes, even Peter began to fail, but God was right there to catch Him. He didn’t let him sink. Once you know that you know something is God’s will, and you’ve talked to your pastor and everyone knows its God then step out. Walk boldly out in faith. Joshua 1:8 says, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

I have always said that I want to do what ever I can to live my life in such a way that I have no regrets. I want to be able to look at God one day, and be able to say that I did what you called me to do. I may not always be perfect but I stepped out and trusted you. Live your life in that same way. You have a destiny and a purpose on this earth and God yearns that you step out and fulfill it. To quote Kim Clement a mighty prophet of God, “You’re never going to know unless you step out of the boat.”