Success is a Journey

And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans. — Romans 8:28 (TLB)

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. — 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)

Do you feel like a victim or victor over your circumstances today? Perhaps you are discouraged because things don’t appear to be going as you had planned. It may even be the exact opposite of what you had planned. You may be wondering if God sees or cares about what you’re going through. After all, if He is all powerful and all-knowing then why doesn’t He intervene?

Most of the time, we are just a few inches away from success, especially if we are in Christ and surrendered to accomplishing His plan and purpose for our lives. There’s a mindset that rest between our two ears, merely inches apart that can literally change our destiny if we’re not vigilant. If we don’t continuously keep our thoughts in alignment with God’s truth about the meaning of true success then we’re susceptible to derail or delay the process. Success is not found merely in a pivotal point that we reach someday but success is found in every second along the journey.

Ultimate success rests within a pre-determination by God. It is already secure. He has already worked out a victorious plan over everything that you could possibly encounter. Nevertheless, it is not based on how things appear but based on bringing to pass what God has pre-determined. Furthermore, even though God cares immensely about each of us individually, the main focus is less about us and our personal comfort but more about God’s upper story that He is executing here on this earth, all for His glory.

Prayer

Lord, thank You for reminding me that as I surrender and submit to Your plan for my life, I am victorious every step of the way, regardless of how things look to the naked eye. I choose to take every thought captive that tries to breed negativity and derail my victorious path.

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Too Busy Not to Pray

…The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working]. — James 5:16 (AMPC)

Are you too busy to take time to sit before God to pray before embarking on your day? Perhaps your “To Do” list is longer than the available hours. Furthermore, taking time out of your already overcrowded schedule would just delay you that much more and compound the stress. Hence, God knows your need. After all, you expressed it as you exclaimed, Lord, help me! when you ran out the door.

Nevertheless, if you end each day feeling overwhelmed, beat down, discouraged and defeated, it is a good sign that you are too busy not to pray. When we don’t take time to put our agenda before God in the morning and allow Him to strategically shift and remove things that won’t bear fruit, we’re essentially claiming that we’re all knowing and powerful and can make things happen in our own strength.

God is a strategic partner that we can’t afford to avoid before embarking on our day. He looks forward to strategically and supernaturally ordering our steps and opening doors for us that no man can shut. He also looks forward to connecting us with people who have the influence to put us at the front of the line in order to accomplish what He has placed on our agenda.

Prayer

Lord, I recognize that there is too much at stake in my life to not carve out time to spend with You before I embark on my day. I surrender my agenda at the foot of the cross and welcome You to shift and remove things that are not in alignment with what you’ve assigned to me this day. Thank You for favor and all the right connections and open doors to accomplish Your will. Thank You also for the strength to still feel invigorated once all the tasks are complete at the end of the day.

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Moving Past the Pain

I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains [just one grain; it never becomes more but lives] by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces many others and yields a rich harvest.  – John 12:24 (AMPC)                                                                                           

Do you feel that an occurrence in your present or past is causing you to function at less than 100 percent? Perhaps some days you may feel as though this occurrence is causing you to merely survive, instead of thrive. Furthermore, despite the fact that you may have all of your limbs, the pain may be so great that it renders you partially disabled, so to speak.

The truth of the matter is that in this life, we will have trouble. It may not all be God sent but it can all be God used. As that seed, the thing we hold so dearly falls to the ground and dies, we don’t have to, but on the bright side, we get the privilege of choosing how we will respond to the situation. The enemy encamps around the rubble of your painful occurrence, just waiting for a verdict to see how you will choose to move forward. Hence, he waits in joyful expectation that it will render you ineffective while God, on the other hand, is on standby waiting to cheer you on to victory.

Nevertheless, we have a daily decision to make; at times the pain is so great, it becomes a minute by minute decision. If we place the dead seed in the enemy’s hand, he not only gets victory from the initial pain but he scores a touchdown every single day that it renders you ineffective. If you choose to surrender that dead seed into the Lord’s hand in order to impart His resurrection power over it, you are essentially using your painful story for His glory. Whereas, not only are you transformed from a victim to a victor but you position yourself to serve as an instrument to bring life transformation to many people who are enduring a similar situation.

Prayer

Lord, help me to surrender the dead seeds from my painful present and past into Your trustworthy hands. Today I choose victory or victimization, not only for my own benefit but in order that I may be used as an instrument to offer resurrection power over other’s misfortunes in life as well.

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Something Out of Nothing

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. Genesis 1:1-3 (ESV)

Does your circumstance in life appear to be dark and gloomy? Perhaps you are waiting on God to create a miracle in your life. Furthermore, no matter how tightly you try to hold on to what you once considered security, things are quickly slipping through your fingers. You may even think that there is no way humanly possible that anything good could come for your situation.

Truth be told, that is correct, there is no way humanly possible for good  to  come from your situation but there is an exceedingly abundant supernatural way that good can come from it. Nevertheless, even in the darkest of nights and gloomiest of days, when it appears that you are all alone and no one cares, the reality is that there are things and people prompted by the Lord who are working in the background on your behalf at all times. Once the outcome is completely complete and perfectly perfect God is sure to bring your breakthrough to the forefront.

Take heart, there is no situation too dark where God is not exceedingly abundantly able to resurrect or call forth new life. Even when the earth was formless, God was working in the background and reached into nothing and brought forth something. God spoke and the void stood at attention and had no choice but to deliver living things. The same is certainly so with your situation.

Prayer

Lord, thank You for showing us in the first few verses of Your Word the dunamis power produced by the spoken Word. I thank you that despite the fact that my circumstance appears hopeless, it is the perfect stage for You to reach into the void in my life and display Your mighty creative power over my situation.

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Create Ongoing Time and Space for God

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. – Revelation 3:20 (NIV)

Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you. ‘I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people. Leviticus 26:11-12 (NIV)

Are you longing to hear God’s voice and feel His presence? Perhaps with your fast paced life and overcrowded schedule, you don’t have time to wait or waste. You may even be puzzled over the fact that God doesn’t understand your time constraints.

Nevertheless, many times our approach with God is similar to going through a drive-thru window at a fast food restaurant. We want to “have it our way” and give Him a small window of time to give us a fresh Word about our situation.

Truth be told, God doesn’t want to be squeezed into a tiny window of time and space. God desires to cohabitate with us. He wants an ongoing relationship where there is a fluid ongoing stream of dialogue.

Prayer

Lord, thank You for even desiring to have an intimate ongoing relationship with me. Help me to see this as a privilege and not as a burden.

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Dare to Believe

So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. – Isaiah 55:11 (NIV)

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28 (NIV)

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:19 (NIV)

With all the devastation taking place around us, do you find yourself feeling extremely discouraged? Perhaps the external turmoil has made a way into your heart and it feels as though a war is now raging inside. Perhaps you or someone you love has experienced great loss and it is consuming your thoughts. Odds are you didn’t mean to lose focus but the magnitude of the issue high-jacked your sense of peace and challenged everything you’ve believed to be true.

One thing is certain; the enemy in all his craftiness is out to destroy your faith. His tactic is to magnify what’s seen with the naked eye to the point that your spiritual eye is in a state of paralysis. Unfortunately, we have our flesh working against us on a constant basis. It goes into deep mourning over the loss of physical comfort and perceived stability to the point that many times we start to doubt God’s love for us when we’re allowed to go through hardship. The enemy knows that if he is able to get us to take on the mindset of a victim then his work is done because once the mindset is adopted, it’s like trying to stay afloat amidst quicksand.

Nevertheless, the external circumstances that we experience in this life should never be used as a thermostat to gage the depth of God’s love for us. Outside forces have absolutely no bearing as to whether we should consider ourselves blessed or cursed. Even still, in the center of what seems to be utter chaos, dare to take God at His Word. Believe that He will work all things out for your good and know that if it doesn’t look good at the moment, it’s only because He’s not done transforming the ashes of your loss into beauty.

Prayer

Lord, despite how things appear at the moment, I chose to believe wholehearted that Your Word is not just strokes of a pen on a paper but as I sprinkle it with a measure of faith, it will come to life, stand at attention and accomplish everything You’ve purposed.

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Revenge

Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD. – Romans 12:19 (NLT)

At times, do you find your thoughts stuck in a replay mode over an offense? Perhaps someone has wronged you and you’re afraid that if you let your guard down enough to forgive the offense, you’ll subject yourself to the vulnerability of being hurt all over again. Better yet, perhaps you’re fixated on it because you want them to pay immensely for what they’ve done. In that, your mind justifies the repetitive thoughts because as you replay the offense, you think of a craftier way to make them pay. In your mind’s eye, you actually have power over them at the moment.

Nevertheless, even though you feel empowered for a moment, it only offers a false sense of retribution because it is technically not yours to attain. Despite the fact that you made them pay in your mind’s eye, in order to reach the empowerment high again, you’ll need to come up with a new and more painful way of getting back at them. It merely represents an insatiable appetite that can’t be quenched.

Only the Lord can customize the retaliation tactic. He and only he knows exactly what it will take to make that person recognize the error of their ways. You, on the other hand, do have a part in the process but it’s not to render a collection notice for the offense. Your part is to issue a warrant to your thoughts and give it a life sentence without parole.

Prayer

Lord, help me to surrender my pain at the foot of the cross. I trade in the painful memories for a complete sense of peace and healing that only You can give.

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Faith Makes Hope Float

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. – Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

Do you feel as though you’re in a perpetual holding pattern at this time in life? Perhaps God has placed a promise in your heart but when you peer into the reality of your situation, everything is quite the contrary. Perhaps the things that have offered a sense of security and peace of mind in the past are no longer offering stability. Even still, everything around you looks like utter chaos and you reason that it will take a divine intervention to turn things around.

As we look to God’s Word, truth be told, people and things were never meant to produce a sense of security. Although God may use people and things as instruments to deliver stability and security, He is the Ultimate Source. Many times He allows things around us to be shaken and uses it as a weeding process to show us, one by one, the things that can’t be trusted as our source, so that we will readjust our faith and hope on the one and only True Source.

Nevertheless, the enemy hopes that the chaos around you will produce doubt and defeat but God uses the uncertain times to get us to lean in closer, listen intently and rise up from the rubble in victory. As you’re firmly anchored by faith in God’s promise, hope will keep you afloat during the transition period as you’re persevering until the promise becomes a reality. Hope sees through the invisible, looks beyond the perceived intangible and achieves the impossible.

Prayer

Lord, thanks for tucking a promise deep within my heart and providing hope which keeps me afloat and transforms my “hope so” into my “know so” as I live out the “dash” until the promise comes to pass.

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Heeding God’s Still Small Voice

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.” – Joshua 6:2-5 (NIV)

Have you ever felt a prompting to do something but quickly dismissed it because it seemed so unconventional? You may have chalked it up to a faulty connection. Even still, you may be so busy and bombarded with life that you throw plans out there aimlessly and merely do whatever sticks. Hence, instead of doing life on purpose, life is doing you, so to speak. You may even feel as though you’re being tossed around and getting bumps and bruises along the way.

All too often we don’t achieve much success in our day because we hear from the Lord but don’t listen, better yet, we don’t heed His instructions. Despite the fact that His instructions are typically unconventional, they are indeed very strategic and if heeded, will render us victorious. That is, victorious by the Lord’s standards and definition. Nevertheless, even if our circumstance doesn’t appear victorious at the moment, God’s perspective encompasses every aspect, from start to finish. As we continue to put one foot in front of the other in obedience, we will witness all the victory that He has in store for us.

Contrary to the world, which yells commands and mixed messages as though speaking through a megaphone, God speaks with a still small voice, not because He wants to see us frantically searching for the right answers to life situations but because He wants us to lean in closer and nurture the relationship along the journey. We must fine tune our spiritual ear which comes by turning down the volume of life long enough to pray and take in His Word. As a matter of fact, He would love to give to us freely but many times, the Word remains as lifeless ink on a page and powerless in our own lives until we activate it by receiving it, believing in it and speaking it as though we have already received it.

Prayer

Lord, how I long to receive all the victory that You have in store for me. May I take the time to fine tune my spiritual ear and heed your voice. May I never let the noise of the world overpower Your still small voice.

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Letting Go of Old Wounds

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. – Isaiah 53:4-5 (NIV)

and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. – Isaiah 61:3 (NIV)

Do you ever have emotions that surface out of the blue that leave you wondering, “where did that come from”? Perhaps without much thought you unleash those emotions on those around you and reason that their actions provoked your response. After all, someone has to pay for the emotional pain that you’ve experienced.

Truth be told, many times we carry around the residue of old wounds and it taints our “perception meter”. As our perception is clouded and our emotions are demanding justice for the pain, we tend to throw daggers loosely at targets that were never meant to receive them. What could have potentially proven to be a healthy relationship is now tainted by those old wounds.

Nevertheless, it is important to come to the realization that enough damage has already been done by what we’ve experienced in the past. The enemy has gotten far too much satisfaction by the pain that has been caused. Furthermore, Jesus has already paid the price. It is past time that we receive the healing balm that He gives so freely and allow our current relationships to flourish and bloom as they were intended to do so.

Prayer

Lord, I thank You for helping me to recognize that enough damage has been done by the painful experiences in my past. I receive the clean slate that you’re providing. I chose to let go of the ashes and receive the beauty that you have to offer.

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