2. Be willing to exercise your faith by taking calculated risks.
Faith to follow what God wants you to do requires that you be willing to take risk. That lesson is repeated over and over again in scripture. David risked when he stepped out into the valley to face Goliath. Moses risked when he went back to Egypt to stand before Pharaoh. Esther risked when she went before the King to plead for her people. The disciples risked when they left everything to follow after Christ. Paul risked over and again when he preached the gospel fearlessly in the Temple on his church planting journeys. I’m not pleading a case for recklessness in life. However, success always involves a ‘risky’ faith to step out into the uncomfortable and unknown in order to pursue God’s purpose and plan.
So let me ask you? What is it that God is asking you to risk in order to follow His plan? Are you willing to take the risk, step out in faith, and trust HIM?
My favorite is the faith of Peter, who was willing to get out of the boat, risk the waves, sinking, and failure in order to pursue Christ by walking on water.
I hesitate to even talk about the word success sometimes because success is so subjective. What some people consider a loss is a success for others. However, the best definition I have found for success in God’s Kingdom might be: Fulfilling God purpose in the best way possible that brings God the most glory. Taking that definition, I want to blog about 5 Keys to success in God’s kingdom (in random order). These are simply my thoughts and not at all meant to be exhaustive. So here goes…
1. The First is an Iron Will – nothing great ever happens overnight. Therefore, if we are going to be successful in fulfilling all that God intends for us to be and do, we must have the will to keep trying no matter what happens. I’ve been chewing on this throughout my week probably because I’m a church planter. And like most church planters, you wish things were moving faster. You’d like to see things happen overnight – BAM! And it’s done. But for a type A driving personality, that’s also true for me in every area of my life. I don’t like waiting on things to evolve. I like microwaves, high-speed Internet, instant messaging, and instant coffee. But here’s the fact: Some things take time. So you have to be willing to ride the ebb and flow of life and not get discouraged or give up. I have always been inspired by the number of times Abraham Lincoln ran for a political office and was defeated before he ever became president of the Untied States. He had an IRON WILL.
So if you’ve been feeling like you’ll never get there or like it will never happen, I want to encourage you with some words from God to Jeremiah. I pray these over my life: “For see, today I have made you strong like a fortified city that cannot be captured, like an iron pillar or a bronze wall.” Jer 1:18
God give every person that reads this blog an IRON WILL to do what you have purposed for them to do.
Last Thursday I was on a road trip to Oklahoma to visit my dad and be with him through a surgery. As I was traveling back to Texas, I crossed a long river bridge on the Indian Nation Turnpike. I’m not sure if you have ever traveled through Oklahoma, but many of the rivers are shallow and mostly sand with the river running in the middle. To my surprise, I watched 6 beautiful deer, all in a straight line, crossing the river. It was a stunning sight of grace and beauty. In that moment, I felt like God was giving me a word picture of his love for me. I thought I heard Him say, “This is a reminder of how dear you are to me as My son.” Immediately I was enveloped in His presence. And my mind went to Ps. 42:1 that says, “As the deer thirsts for water so my soul thirsts for You…” This was David’s prayer as he longed to be in the presence of God.
If you’re feeling forgotten, abandon, or left out – if you are facing something that you can’t figure out or don’t understand, REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE DEAR TO THE HEART OF GOD. Just look around you and you’ll find that He is reminding you of His love for you in the simplest ways.
Every person I know has a fear of something. Fear stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. Most of the time, our fears are wrapped around things that either will not happen or don’t matter. Fear can bring many emotional responses including worry, insecurity, anger, frustration, and depression. But God did not call us to fear – that’s what Romans 8:15 says, “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” It’s clear by this verse that the goal of fear in our lives is to enslave us into bondage. That sounds just like the devil. So if you have been dealing with fear, here’s how to break it:
1. Ignore your internal emotions. They often lie.
2. Focus on what God says about fear. Here are some verses: Ps. 3:6, Ps. 23:4, 1 Jn. 4:18, Heb. 13:6
3. Confront your fears head on. Most of the time you will find that they are NOT real.
The Bible says in Proverbs that the “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” In other words, if I fear God with a Holy fear, then I don’t have to fear anything else because I know God is watching over me.
Okay, okay. I’ll admit the defeat of the Sooners to the Longhorns. AND I do deserve all the harassment I have endured over the past few days. I think I’m so beat up that I’m bleeding burnt orange. But I am a loyal fan – not a fair weather fan. So I am still wearing my crimson and cream. For all those who gave me a hard time – I would do the same if I were in your shoes. I just hate the taste of feathers.
Can’t wait for the Red River Shoot Out tomorrow. I am a huge SOONERS fan. I guess because I am from Oklahoma and love college football. Tomorrow is a huge match up between #1 and #5 in the polls. I believe one could end up in the BCS National Championship. The good news is that GOD IS ON THE SOONERS SIDE!
Ps. 75:10 says: “All the horns of the wicked I will cut off…” Sounds like a Longhorn! Come on… talk some trash to me all you Texas fans.
Today was a great day. I met a pastor/church planter in McKinney. He really built my faith by telling me an incredible story about how they purchased their building. It was an absolute miracle. Here’s some other thoughts:
1. I love the weather of this season.
2. Can’t wait for the Sooners to crush Baylor this weekend.
3. Thanks Charlie Tuttle for enriching my life this week. You are a true friend.
4. Glad Lori is feeling better.
5. Fridays are my Sonic day with my two girls.
6. Can’t wait until Sunday. Message: Dealing with Temptation.
7. I am leading a prayer team for Elevate’s vision beginning tomorrow.