Archive | April 2013

Building a Bridge

God invites us to dream big with Him. He actually planted really big dreams in all of us. These dreams are so big that we could never accomplish them on our own. That’s where many of us go wrong, we own our dreams. As a result of owning our dreams, we will become disillusioned when we fail to “make” our dreams come true and we run the risk of achieving a much smaller dream than God intended for us.

This weekend I was given the opportunity to hear Jeff Goins talk about how his dream came true. He talked about risk, which isn’t unusual, but what he revealed next was. He talked about building a bridge to your dreams. He used the illustration of the difference between a trampoline and a bridge. If you jump on a trampoline you may go somewhere, but usually it’s not where you want to go. If you lose control on a trampoline you will crash and injure yourself if you’re not careful. Building a bridge takes time and sustained motivation, but you rarely crash and injure yourself on the other side of the bridge. Once the bridge is built you can go across it as many times as you need and you can invite others on your journey.

The concept of building a bridge to your dreams is not a glamorous concept in our culture. Most of us would simply like to wake up tomorrow and have our dream come true. If we search the scriptures we will see many times where people had to build the bridge to the dream God gave them. Ruth, Joseph and Abraham are just a few. God gives us the big dream to sustain us through the time it takes to build the bridge to get there.

Ruth, Joseph and Abraham all had a time of preparation before they saw the dream that God had given them become a reality. All three of them took advantage of that time by allowing God to work in and through them until they were ready to step into those dreams. God needs to prepare us to be good stewards of the dreams He gives us.

We’ve all heard the stories of countless lottery winners who win millions only to end up broke and bankrupt just a short time after winning. It’s because they weren’t prepared to handle the money they were given. God is far more interested in the journey than the destination. He’s more interested in our character rather than our comfort, because when we learn to trust Him we can live every day to the fullest regardless of our circumstances.

This is the life Jesus talked about in John 10:10 amplified version “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” The enemy would seek to destroy us through our circumstances, but when our eyes are on God, he loses all his power over us!

Are you building a bridge or jumping on a trampoline?


What’s It Like To Be On The Other Side Of Me?

That’s the question our pastor recently challenged us to ask the people in our life. If you’re honest, that’s a pretty scary question to ask others. Why is it so scary?

  1. We assume the worst. – When we hear this question most of us will assume that people are going to tell us what’s wrong with us. The truth is we might just hear something good about ourselves that we didn’t know.
  2. We don’t want to hear anything negative about ourselves. – We think we can’t handle hearing the negative. The truth is that we have the opportunity to change when we face the truth of our shortcomings. It takes someone who truly loves us to tell us the truth! I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be surrounded by people who tell me only what I want to hear!

Why would we want to ask others a question like this?

  1. It will give us the tools to be a more effective leader. – When we begin to understand how we show up in the world, it gives us the power to be more influential.
  2. It will keep us humble. – God can use the humble in more ways than He can use those who are full of pride.
  3. It teaches us how to be relevant to others. – When we start to understand how others experience us, it shows us how to relate to more people. Paul talked about this in I Corinthians. I Corinthians 9:19-23 “19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” Some of the most effective leaders are people that are vulnerable and transparent. Others are able to relate to us on a deeper level when we acknowledge that we don’t have it all together or have all the answers.
  4. We remain teachable. – An effective leader must be teachable. If we think we know it all, we will have very little impact on those around us. Think about someone you know who appears to have all the answers. Do you relate to them? Do you feel encouraged when you’re around them?
  5. The truth will set you free! – In John 8:32 Jesus said, “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Many times we think we know ourselves better than others, but the truth is that many times we are deceived! One way to break out of the deception and become aware of the things that are really holding us back is to ask this question and take the answers to God. When we ask God to show us what’s important then we will be able to work on the things that He would have us change. This will speed up our personal growth by leaps and bounds and allow us to move into what God has for us much more quickly!
  6. It shows others that we value their opinion. When we ask this question we are telling others that we care about their feelings and we want to learn from them. This can go a long way to improving our relationships with others!

Who do you know that would answer this question honestly? What’s stopping you from asking this question?

Where is your focus?

When we are in the middle of a crisis it is critical to have our focus on God rather than our circumstances. One of the stories in the Bible that teaches us to seek God in the midst of our circumstances is found in 2 Chronicles 20:1- 25. Judah was invaded by several mighty armies at once. It was during King Jehoshaphat’s reign. 2 Chronicles 20:3 says “Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.” Jehoshaphat assessed the situation and realized that the only way out of their situation was to seek God.

My first reaction when I am afraid is usually to try and figure it out by myself. I ask advice from others on what they think I should do and when all of my efforts fail then I ask God to help. Usually by that time, I have a great big mess on my hands and I end up going down a much more difficult road than if I had simply taken the time to seek God first. If Jehoshaphat had taken this approach things probably would have ended very differently.

God should be the first place we go if we want to know how to have the victory. Usually my pride keeps me from seeking Him because I want my problem to be solved my way. Jehoshaphat didn’t tell God how He should deliver Israel; he simply took the situation to Him and waited for God to reveal His plan. So many times we become discouraged because God doesn’t answer our prayers the way we think He should. We forget that He knows our circumstances and what we need better than we do. He knows the whole picture and we only have a part of the picture.

Jehoshaphat didn’t deny the danger he was facing, but He told God about his fear and finished with reminding God that all eyes were on Him. 2 Chronicles 20:12 “O our God, will You not judge them? For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You.” It’s ok to be afraid, but we cannot dwell on our fear if we want to have the victory. We need to keep our eyes on God.

God answered by having the mighty armies destroy each other from within. His people had only to stand still, praise Him and watch God’s deliverance! They weren’t passive, but they actively believed God for His deliverance and waited until God told them what to do. That is so comforting to me.

Seeking God first will allow us to remain in rest and have fewer consequences to struggle through.

What consequences could you have avoided if you had waited for God’s Plan instead of trying to solve your problem on your own?

Are Your Circumstances Lying to You?

Psalm 27 reminds me that God is always for me and that He has a good plan for this life not just for the next life.

Sometimes our circumstances can be like going out into the ocean and seeing that big wall of water coming at us. I love the ocean; it’s where I feel closest to God. I’ve gone out on days when there are some mighty big waves coming in and then that wave comes in that starts to pull me out farther. Suddenly I realize that the wave is going to crash over me and take control. The panic sets in and then my husband reminds me to duck instead of fight to stay in control on top of the wave. When I remember to duck the wave will wash over me without incident, but on those occasions when I choose to fight the wave, I usually lose. The wave shakes me around and takes me back into shore and I usually have a few bumps and bruises or lungs full of water to show for my effort.

That’s how it can be with my circumstances until I learn to trust that God is in control and He knows what’s best for me. I will waste all of my strength battling my circumstances instead of resting in God and trusting Him to take care of me. Even though I have had some victories in this area, I still need to be reminded from time to time that God knows my circumstances and He knows the answer before I have the problem. The truth is that God never wastes a hurt. If we rest in Him, He will use our circumstances to shape us into who He has created us to be. God wants us to trust Him regardless of what we see.

Again I’m reminded of David, who was anointed as King and spent the next twenty years avoiding death at the hand of King Saul until his circumstances caught up with God’s promise. There are so many examples in the Bible of people that had to stand on the promises of God until they saw His goodness in the land of the living. Joseph, Abraham, Joshua are just a few.

I leave you with Psalm 27. Verses thirteen and fourteen are especially important, because they remind us that we will see God’s goodness in this life, not just in heaven!

Don’t give up! God has a great plan for your life regardless of what your circumstances say! Wait for the Lord! Selah!

Psalm 27

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold
of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?

When evildoers assail me
to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes,
it is they who stumble and fall.

Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
I will be confident.

One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire
in his temple.

For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will lift me high upon a rock.

And now my head shall be lifted up
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud;
be gracious to me and answer me!
You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,
“Your face, Lord, do I seek.”
    Hide not your face from me.
Turn not your servant away in anger,
O you who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not,
O God of my salvation!
10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
but the Lord will take me in.

11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
and lead me on a level path
because of my enemies.
12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
for false witnesses have risen against me,
and they breathe out violence.

13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living!
14 Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!

Are you fighting your circumstances or letting God fight the battle? Please share any scriptures that speak to you when you are struggling with your circumstances.

This entry was posted on April 3, 2013. 2 Comments