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“WHAT ARE YOU FOCUSING ON?”

1 Corinthians 16:9
For a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.

Paul knew that it was the right time to walk through this door that God had opened. He also understood that he would face adversity, but for him, he focused more on what God had opened not what the enemy was trying to shut. In his eyes, the door was bigger than the opposition.

Perhaps that’s what you need to do today. Are you focusing more on what God has opened or on what the enemy is trying to shut? It’s all about your perspective. What’s bigger, the open door or the adversity?

“LET’S GO TO CHURCH”

What a blessing it is to live in a country where we are free to worship God and attend church. With joy and enthusiasm, I’m getting myself mentally, and spiritually ready join my church family, serve with them, and receive God’s Word in a united community setting.

For those reasons and many more, we should not only be faithful but on time. Going to church doesn’t save you, but it does show God how grateful you are that He saved you. It is also a place where you can bring others to so they can experience the Grace of God. More than ever before, our world needs a place of hope they can attend and feel the strength of something this world cannot offer.

Let’s get ready to heal the hurting, bind up the broken, speak encouragement to the downhearted, create an atmosphere that is irresistible by lifting up the name that is above every name; JESUS!!!

It’s Sunday…LET’S GO TO CHURCH!!!

“FOUR THINGS TO CONSIDER ABOUT YOUR DREAMS”

4. DREAM BEYOND YOURSELF

As I began writing this blog series, I based everything off of two things.

1. The dreamers in the Bible

2. Personal Experiences

There are such amazing people in the Bible who achieved great things in God by dreaming and keeping their dreams alive. Once they realized that it came from God, they became passionate and committed to the responsibility of seeing it come to pass. In addition to that, there is one more thing I see in them. Without fail, they all dreamed beyond themselves. In other words, they knew what their limit was, and they made sure their dream extended beyond what they could achieve. They understood that if it started with God, then it needed to end with Him too. Their job was to use their ability to work in between the start and finish.

For you and I to be successful in the Kingdom of God, we must follow that same pattern. For me, I’ve had to learn how to dream beyond myself. Is it scary? You better believe it is, but for it to become what God intended for it to be, I have to connect my dream to my faith. When my dream and my faith team up, it then moves from what I can’t see to what I’m hoping for. If what I’m trying to accomplish never requires faith, then I’ve never given back to God what He entrusted to me in the first place. It’s our job to receive the dream He has given, use our passion and responsibility to make sure it’s in operation, then with faith, give it back to Him and watch it grow beyond what we could ever imagine.

What is the current status of your dream? Are you still passionate and responsible, or have you given up on it? Perhaps you’ve replaced it with your pursuit of education and career. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with going after those things, but if it cost you what God gave you, was it worth it? My encouragement to you would be to start over again. Ask God to revive that dream in you. Think about how you felt when you first had the dream and all the things you wanted to achieve. Instead of giving up on it, dream beyond yourself and let God work out the details that you have no control of. Stop stressing over what it will take faith to accomplish.

Remember, it came from God, so give it back to Him. That’s how you dream beyond yourself.

“FOUR THINGS TO CONSIDER ABOUT YOUR DREAMS”

I started a blog series last week entitled, “FOUR THINGS TO CONSIDER ABOUT YOUR DREAMS.” I’m a little behind in getting this finished and I apologize. We are currently on number three, and I hope this will be be an encouragement to you.

3. RESPONSIBLE

Once you know that your dream is from God and you are passionate about it, the next important thing is to be responsible. Being responsible means, you can be entrusted with something that has been given to you. If you are thankful for what God has blessed you with, then show your appreciation by being trustworthy and accountable for something that is so precious.

As a pastor, when I ask people to lead in different areas of the church, I love to see them take responsibility. Another word that goes along with that is ownership. In other words, they have been handed something that wasn’t theirs in the beginning, but now that it has been given to them, they must treat it like they are the new owner. I don’t enjoy giving something to someone, and them not accepting responsibility for it. If it’s yours, then whatever happens in the future is up to you. It isn’t fair to place blame on others for something that you control.

God has given you a dream, but are you responsible? Are you acting like the owner? Maybe your dream started great but isn’t going so well now. Who’s fault is it? Where do you place the blame? I’m sure you could look around and come up with several reasons why youre dream isn’t coming to pass, but the truth is, you own it and you have to be responsible for it.

The comparison that comes to mind is the difference between a home-owner and someone that rents a home. Sure, renting is more comfortable because if something goes wrong, you can call the owner to repair it. You don’t have to accept responsibility for anything because you are only there temporarily. The renter doesn’t care about the future of the house or the value of the property. They’re just there for a certain amount of time, and then they will move to another location. However, an owner feels completely different. They understand it is their responsibility to make sure everything is in proper working order. They want it to look nice on the inside and out because everything they do or don’t do is a reflection of how responsible they genuinely are.

Are you treating your dream like an owner or a renter? Do you accept responsibility for the things that must be maintained and repaired? Do you move from one dream to the next leaving the last one incomplete? God doesn’t need dream renters; He needs dream owners that are responsible. He believes in your ability and potential, so take ownership and show Him that you can be trusted with what He has given to you.

Take some time and evaluate where are your dream is currently. If you have fallen short, take responsibility for it. Don’t blame people, your job, or not having enough time; just make up in your mind that from now on, you are a responsible owner of an amazing dream that was given to you by the Lord.

“FOUR THINGS TO CONSIDER ABOUT YOUR DREAMS”

(PART 2)

2. PASSION

Once you know that a specific dream has come from the Lord, you have to move it to the next level, and that is passion. One definition of passion is; strong and barely controllable emotion. 

Passion is what drives your dreams, and without it, all you will have is talk and no action. 

  • Passion will move you from making plans to embracing reality.   
  • Passion will never be satisfied with status-quo. 
  • Passion will conquer contentment. 

Perhaps you are struggling and trying to figure out why you do not see your dreams come to pass. You’ve even begun doubting yourself and the validity of what you thought you were supposed to do. Your dream isn’t the problem, your lack of passion is. You probably thought, as long as you dream it and tell it, that it will just happen, but that is false. You have to add passion to whatever it is you feel like you’re supposed to do. 

You might ask, how much passion do I need to have? My answer would be; however big your dream is, that’s how much passion you should provide. If it’s a little dream and easily obtained, then it won’t take much of it to help you reach your goal. However, if you had a big dream and you are talking a lot about it, then you need to make sure you match it with passion. If you’re worth receiving the dream, then the dream is worthing providing the passion for seeing it become a reality. 

Maybe there was a time when you had passion, but you got busy, things got in the way, and after a while, it was all gone. My encouragement to you would be, remove everything in your life that is draining your passion. You might need to cut ties with someone if they are distracting you from your dream. Nothing or no one is worth losing what you have been destined to achieve. Make the necessary adjustments and ask God to help revive the passion that once burned so strong in you. 

“FOUR THINGS TO CONSIDER ABOUT YOUR DREAMS”

Has anyone ever told you; make sure you chase your dreams? You’ve probably not only heard it but also said it to someone. This is especially true when encouraging a younger person about their future. If they can connect their education with their dreams, then they will most likely have a prosperous future. So what is it about dreaming something that we feel like is so important to go after? If you dream it, you should pursue it, or should you?

I have given some time to this subject, and I would like to offer four simple things to consider when pursuing your dreams. I plan on taking the next few days and writing about this.

1. WHERE DID IT COME FROM?

Before you pursue a dream, you need to make sure of where it came from and who sent it. Just because it’s been one of your dreams, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s one that should be pursued. The Bible tells us that the steps of a good person are ordered of the Lord, and we should only go after those things that we are sure He is leading us in. If our steps are not aligning with our dreams, what should be adjusted?

In my opinion, several variables can produce dreams. Our upbringing, culture, and ego are a few things that can cause us to dream. I also want you to understand that even if God doesn’t send one of these dreams, that doesn’t mean it’s bad. There are things we can pursue that are not wrong, but if they take us away from His will in our lives, what is more, important to us? I guess the question we should ask ourselves is; are we pursuing God or our dreams? Do we want to dream first, then fit God in our lives afterward, or do we want to seek Him first and make sure He is in every move we make?

I want you to go after your dreams with everything you’ve got. I want you to be blessed and prosperous because of what you chased. I want you to be able to stand and declare the importance of going after your dreams. However, there is only one thing I want you to do before your pursuit;

MAKE SURE YOU’RE PURSUING THE DREAM GOD GAVE YOU.

“GOD’S WILL IS IN HIS WORK”

Do you ever wonder what you’re supposed to do? You’re uncomfortable in your current condition, but you don’t feel a release to make a move. More than anything, you want to be in God’s Will, but His Will is hard to see much less find. A combination of frustration and excitement is steadily going over and over in your mind, and the unbalanced weight of both is causing unavoidable discontent. Do you continue asking yourself, WHAT AT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO???

As crazy as it might sound, sometimes the best decision is to do nothing. Remember this; if you are doing the work of God, then you are in the Will of God. Just because He’s getting you ready for the next level of your ministry doesn’t always mean it’s time to make that move. It’s alright to know a change is coming; it’s not alright to abruptly stop the work you are currently doing. God will never call you to start a new project without being confident that you will finish the one you’re on.

The Will of God is always doing the work of God, and as long as you’re doing that, then you’re in His Will. Let God take care of where you’re supposed to be, and you just take care of what you need to do. If you dedicate yourself to His work, I can promise that you will always be in His Will.

“THE TOUCH”

I read a familiar story in the Bible this morning about the woman that had the issue of blood for twelve years. I noticed a few interesting things as I looked at the story again. The scripture says that many pressed Him, or touched Jesus as He was walking through the crowd. Have you ever wondered who all the people were that had touched Him and what their needs might have been? I don’t think the women the issue of blood was the only one in the mix that was looking for a miracle. One by one, hands began to touch the Master as He walked gracefully through the crowd with a variety of sicknesses and diseases that day. He felt the touch of everyone but continued to progress on His journey.

However, something different happened when this woman with the issue of blood touched Him.

Luke 8:45-48 (ESV)
45 And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!”
46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.”
47 And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed.
48 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

So many were there that day needing Jesus to touch them, but only one really knew how to make contact with Him. The crowd reached for Him, but just this woman moved Him and caused Him to stop and respond. It’s very plain why her touch was different than the others. Jesus said, “YOUR FAITH HAS MADE YOU WELL.” I don’t know what the others were thinking that day when they reached out to Jesus, but I know when this woman touched Him with faith, He felt it and reacted.

There are all kinds of needs today and a lot of people reaching out to Him. If you’re one that is in need of a miracle, my question to you is this; I know you want to feel His touch, but can He feel your faith touching Him?

“WHERE HOPE LIES”

In my family, I’m the designated Santa, with the exception that everyone is old enough to know the truth about his identity. If I just ruined that for you, I’m sorry. As I fight the crowds and sit in traffic, I listened to a lot of Christmas music. We have our favorites, and for me, I still love the classics. Not just because they’re so well written and produced, but it takes me back to when I was a kid. I can turn on “East Tennessee Christmas” by Chet Atkins, or “The Twelve Songs Of Christmas” by Jim Reeves and go right back to being a child again and remembering some great times.

As you get a little older, those songs become bittersweet, especially when some of the faces start to disappear from the family portrait. I’m certainly not trying to make anyone sad, but if you’ve lost someone in your life, Christmas starts to become a little harder to get through. I tend to get melancholy listening to those songs; Maybe that’s why I do a lot of Christmas shopping by myself. To fight it off, I turn my attention to my kids and how important it is to make great memories for them. I can’t let the pain of the past mess up their excitement in the present.

The truth is, Christmas is about a baby born in a manger, delivered by Mary and called Jesus. He was Emmanuel, which means, “God With Us.” He’s the reason for this amazing season, and most importantly why we have salvation. In the long list of what that baby means to us, mine would have to be the word “HOPE.” Because of Jesus, we have hope. Hope is that lighthouse that stands in the night, shining a beacon to those who are in danger. Hope is the shelter where you can run to and find safety in the storm. Hope is the pillar, the rock, and the foundation you can trust in. It is defined as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. For me, that’s what was lying in the manger that glorious night.

As this life starts to fade and the world daily becomes a more fearful place to live, we must go back to where it all started; the manger, where hope lies. That’s all I have when I seeing it raining on the just and the unjust. When I look at unfair things happening to good people, I have to go back to the manger. For the unanswered situations that so many are in right now, all I can do is return to where it all started. As I long to see and embrace precious family members that have already gone, my hope is that I will see them again one day, so I go back to the manger.

No matter what any of us are facing today, our hope is not in the doctor, the politician, or even money; our hope is still in the same place it was nearly two-thousand years ago.

Luke 2:12 (ESV)
And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”