What would happen if your mind wasn’t hindered by the things you have been taught directly and indirectly?
Remember when you were younger you thought you could conquer the world and you could do it all? What happened to that mentality? For many of us life and people have taught us to stay inside our cage of comfort with the treat of danger if we venture out just a little bit outside the grasp of our cage.
What would happen if I mind were to shift back to those days when we were unstoppable? When we had unlimited expectations - conquering the world, being rich, accomplishing our dreams.
Ladies and gentlemen I submit to you that you are unstoppable. You can accomplish your dreams. You can be successful, and not moderately successful, really successful. Don’t play down to your surroundings. Dare to dream big, execute well and enjoy great results.
If you don’t at least make an effort to fulfill your mission in this life, you might come across someone who is doing it and you will be jealous of them. Don’t live with any more regrets, you probably already have a bag of “I could haves” and “I should haves”. Turn up the pace, intensify the journey, go passionately after your goals, fulfill your purpose.
Romans 8:31 alerts me that if God be for us then who can be against us? With the Lord on our side and leading the way there is no way we can lose.
We can clear up bad money choices with continued exposure to information that will increase your financial literacy. In this post I want to challenge your understanding and debt.
Some people, professional and otherwise, will tell you that you should pay off all of your debt first before you can grow your money. I believe that this is poor advice for most people. You should develop a strategy where you are reducing debt, saving and investing for growth simultaneously. Work with someone who can help you develop this strategy
This way your money tree has the best chance of growth.
Also please keep in mind these three principles:
1. The fastest way to increase wealth is to invest.
2. There is a significance in making more money and increasing wealth.
3. When you start to invest don't get discouraged if you are not able to be a part of the "big deal". A few "small deals" can put you in a position to be part of the "big deals".
Image courtesy of ddpavumba at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
It always amazes me when I read Luke 4:16-21 when the Bible speaks of Jesus entering the temple and being given Isaiah 61 to read. Needless to say in the 30 plus generations, between the establishment of the temple and this occurrence, Isaiah 61 had to have been read several times in the temple.
What was so different about this reading and this person that was reading? Was it simply his ability to orate in a unique way? Was it the setting of the temple? Had it to do with anything relating to the times? I would say probably not.
The difference between the reading of Isaiah 61 this time is the anointing of Jesus. It had more to do with the time He spent in prayer and less with the times He lived in. This is key for you and I today.
It is just that little extra that separates what we do and how we operate from that of others. The time we spend in God’s presence being changed by Him will reflect to others in the same fashion.
Lord help us to find ourselves on your altar and allow the flames of the Holy Spirit to change us in such a way that the world will notice what you have done in us. Give us that little extra!
This is a great devotional. It is a great way to start your day. Order it from the site today….
Here is what one of the readers said about the book:
“This book is a must have in every household. A Walk Through Proverbs breaks down the wisdom of Solomon and others who added their own. Filled with lessons for young men, and every family member, this book is easy to follow with its day by day selections , and the thought provoking questions that follow at the end of each chapter provide an excellent teaching tool. No question, I rate this book 5 stars.”
Financial literacy is a must for our children in today's society. A few decades ago financial literacy for children meant opening a bank account, showing them how to write a check, balance a checkbook and saving. Today true financial literacy for children must be more robust as the financial health of our nation depends on it. Remember our children will be the next leaders of our nation, which has been in financial turmoil for the past sixty years. If we dont do something soon there might not be a land of opportunity to lead.
The talk about finances with our children is just as important as the "sex talk" although many parents do not see it like that. How do I suggest to handle talking to your children about money? I am glad you asked.
Well we need to start with the basics - teach them how to save, how to give back to help others, how to write a check and balance the checkbook. But let's add topics to our discussions - there can't just be one discussion because the topic of money or finance is just too broad - like retirement (including the benefits and drawbacks of 401Ks and IRAs), credit, creating a budget, insurance, investing, entrepreneurship, taxes and home ownership.
If you need some help to understand how these discussions should go, don't hesitate to contact us.
There is an awesome picture described in Revelation chapter four, John gives a peak at a scene taking place in heaven.
In verses nine through eleven John describes a worship session like none other. Each time the the living creatures give glory and honor to God the Bible says that the twenty four elders fall down before the Lord and they place their crowns before the throne and give glory to God as well.
Why is this so remarkable? Many times we as leaders come into the presence of God and we rend our hearts, but we don’t place our crowns before the Lord. What constitutes our crowns? Good question.
Our crowns, in this life, could represent our authority, our accomplishments, the accomplishments of those we led that we like to take credit for. For the parents reading this your crown could be the accomplishment of your son or daughter which dep down inside you believe you deserve credit for. When was the last time you came into the prescence of the Lord and simply placed your crown before the throne?
This scene, this preview of Heaven which the Lord reveals through John is something we should be practicing here on Earth. We should take time and bring Od our entIre bent, He deserves it!
Our culture has led us to believe that we are specially and something is owed to us. But remember before you and I are anything He was and is? Therefore every title, every accomplishment. Or every merit we receive is because of Him and never due to us.
Let us remember to cast our crowns before the throne. It is then when the Lord will have our full hearts!
I have been involved in youth ministry for over fifteen years. During that time I have seen a great deal of success and great deal of failed efforts. But there are two things that I believe are greatest assets and liabilities in youth ministry - that’s right they are both great and at the same time bad as well. These two things are consistency and predictability.
Consistency is some thing that every youth pastor wants. he or she wants the staff to be consistent, the youth services to be consistent, the youth to come consistently and most importantly they want to consistently teach the Word of God. A youth ministry that is not founded on the Word of God is no more than a glorified church day care for teenagers - no matter how you slice it. Of course this is not to say you don’t do other events - concerts, trips, etc - but the foundation must be the Word. Unfortunately sometimes the parents, youth and the staff fight this. So although you want consistency across the board there is sometimes a fight against consistency.
Despite the things that might be said or thrown at us, it is our responsibility as men and women of God, parents and youth ministers to teach the Word of God consistently to the generation coming up. If we fail to do so, we will allow a strain of Christianity to develop that is weak, entertaining and cunning - kind of like the Church of Laodieca (Rev 3:14-22).
We know that the devil is fighting against the consistent teaching of the Word, but we must consistently teach the Word to the next generation. With the things that are coming down the pipeline these days, they will need it.
Predictability is another issue I have noticed in youth ministry. No one wants to be able to predict what is coming next. This I find strange, when you watch a movie and you begin to hear ominous music you know that someone’s life is in danger - predictable. When you watch reality shows on television there are certain times where next move of the person on the screen is predictable. In youth ministry youth will not stay around or engaged if things are predictable.
To some degree we are predictable. We are the church so we will be engaged in things that pertain to living life in the light of God’s glory. When you go to the doctor isn’t he or she predictable - check your weight, blood pressure, maybe take some blood, ask you how you are feeling….that seems pretty predictable doesn’t it?
How do we fight being predictable? One word remix….
Begin to remix some of the things that have worked in youth ministry before. Let’s think about it, most youth ministries begin in junior high and continue through high school. That means from grades 6 through 12 - 7 years. Depending on where the bulk of your kids are you can begin to remix some of those youth ministry ideas every 5 years or so. You will be like the latest hip hop or R&B star.. Did I say that?
Think about it, almost everything our young people listen to musically is a remake of something from ten years ago or more. Why not remix some of your ideas? Also think about sprinkling in some ideas of other youth ministries that have had some success. Remember not everything that works across town will fit exactly into your flow or have the same result. You may have to take an element from across town and add a little flavor of your own to it. Remember boring an idea is legal.
Obviously there are probably some other issues you may face in youth ministry, if so what are they? I never claim to have all the answer or lived through all of the experiences of youth ministry, I am just sharing what I believe are the two root issues in youth ministry.
There have been countless people the above statement applied to but lets focus on these five men for one second:
Shadreck, Meshack and Abindigo – Daniel 3:1, 4-6, 13-30
Daniel – Daniel 6:7, 10-24
Stephen – Acts 7:54-60
In each case each of these men were in a position to take a serious stand for the Lord or back down and allow a mediocre brand of Christianity (or Judaism) to continue to dominate their culture.
These men had the audacity to take a stand for the Lord in a culture that was simply anti-Christ, kind of like today’s culture. The thing that caught my attention about each of these cases is that these men took a stand despite the consequences that were coming due to their decision.
The three Hebrew men had to face a chamber of fire, in that chamber the Lord showed up for them and spared their lives. Daniel was thrown into a den of lions because of his stand, but the lions weren’t hungry that night and all they wanted to do was keep Daniel company - the Lord showed up for Him. Stephen’s stand seems to be a little different. He was stoned to death, but before he closed his eyes on this life, he peered into the Heavens and Stephen sees Jesus in a very awkward position - standing at the right hand of the Father. Stephen’s act of taking a stand got the Lord attention, so much so that He stood up to watch the audacious act of His servant.
Are we living out a mediocre brand of Christianity today or do we have the audacious ability to take a stand for the Lord in this day which is anti-Christ? The fact remains that the God who is the same yesterday, today and forever is still looking for audacious people like Daniel, like Stephen, like the three Hebrew men.
I pray that the Church - the real Church - would take a stand for the Lord. If we do this He will take a stand for each of us.
My wife and I have been sitting here today enjoying one another and she told me about a song she heard today. The song is entitled One Day At A Time by Brian Courtney Wilson (get this song ASAP if you don’t have it). She played the song and began to inspire thought about marriage.
When we a male and female get married they exchange vows with one another. They promise to be loving and faithful to one another despite good times or bad, richer or poorer, sickness or health until death separates the two. But this is the secondary vow.
The primary vow is to God. What do I mean? The primary vow in marriage is to God to be faithful to Him and then to be faithful to your spouse as well. It is God who calls a man and woman to be together in marriage to carry out a particular purpose for His glory on the Earth.
So if the marriage vow is to God as well as our spouse, divorce should never been a option - unless the act of adultery or some type of abuse is present in the relationship. If we get divorce or even separated we are inferring one of more things:
1. That God made a mistake. If it is God who calls us to marry our spouse to accomplish something for His glory then we should be faithful to that task. If we abort the marriage then we are basically saying that God made a mostake in brining the two of us together.
2. We didn’t hear correctly. Because God can’t make a mistake, we must have heard something wrong. Maybe we heard wrong at the beginning and we should have never committed to marriage. Maybe we heard wrong recently - are we really supposed to separate.
3. Let’s get an abortion! Because a man and woman are called by God to enter into marriage for His glory, when we consider divorce, we are considering aborting the plan of God for our lives.
4. We don’t care who gets hurt. There are so many people and relationships attached to our marriages. Some of these connections we know about but there are countless others who we don;t. Many are looking on our marriages and drawing the strength to continue on with theirs.
If your marriage is coming to a point where it seems to be coming apart at the threads please try this:
1. Pray and ask God to assist you and show you the right thing to do.
2. Limit the outside voices. Many times family and close friends who “mean the best for us” will attempt to guide us and give advice, but many times the are in a place where it might not be wise to take advice from them.
3. Start writing. Take a sheet of paper, fold it in half. In the left column right down all the good things that you like and admire about your spouse since you’ve been married. On the right side list the things you don’t like about your spouse. Be honest with both sides of the paper. More than likely you will see - if you are honest - that the left column will be much longer than the right.
4. Write some more. Take another sheet of paper, fold it half as well. Ask yourself the following question - and be very honest - what are some of the critiques I have heard from friends, family and co-workers? Write these critiques in the left column of the page. Review the list, crossing out everything that is totally not true. you can’t cross off ore then half the list - because whether you want to admit it or not, a lot of the critiques are true. In the right column list some things you can do to improve on the critiques.
In conclusion, marriage like anything in life will not be perfect, Marriage will face challenges, but the vow made to God and to your spouse is stronger then those challenges. Trust God to work things out, don’t make any rash decisions that will be damaging long term and I pray that all the voices pushing for seperation and divorce would cease in the name of the Lord Jesus.
It is our responsibility to be an example of God’s love through our marriages.
Remember the Vow………………
Something we are working on coming soon…..
Don’t you find it interesting as we crack open the last chapter of the Scriptures - the book of Revelation - that there is a specific attention to detail as the end of the age as we know it approaches. Why do you think that is the case? Could it be that this is Christ’s final loving attempt to reconcile mankind to Himself before the end of the age as we know it?
Let take a look, starting at Revelation 2. There are seven churches that are admonished to get some things together before they are cut off.
They were admonished for their hard work, perserverance, no tolerance for wicked men, astitue enough in the Word to detect false teaching, suffered for the name of Christ. The one issue they had is that they have forsaken your first love.
Told to prepare for the coming hardships
They were diligent and faithful but they have some people that are holding on to, believing and governing their lives by, maybe even trying to pass along to others, teachings that are contrary to the Word of God.
They are admonished for their faith, love, service and perseverance but they have allowed people to teach things that are misleading the people of God, causing them to commit sexual immortality and disregard the things of God.
Something seems to be inconsistent. They are accussed of being alive but actually they are dead - hypocritical. They are warned to strengthen what remains and to remember what they received and heard. With that they are told to do two things: remember what they received and repent.
They seem to have faced a lot of adversity and there seems to be more to come. They have little strength but were persistent to keep the Lord’s word and to honor His name.
They are accused of being lukewarm - neither hot nor cold - because of this they will be dealt with severely. They had becoeme proud that they were rich, wealthy and not in need of anything. In fact they are are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. Although this is the case, the Lord has provided a solution for their poverty, nakedness and blindness. If they follow the counsel of the Lord and repent they will be fine, if not they will suffer the consequences.
Although we are in the age of grace we must be careful to pay attention to the word of God. We must live our lives in a way that is careful and pleasing to the Lord.
Walk in with a plan, stick to the plan and walk out of the retailer with what you planned to walk out with at the right price and nothing more. No need to layaway what you have planned for. There is no need to finance the purchase you have planned for. There is no need to spend more than you planned.
I was recently asked a question that made me dig in the Scriptures. The question was how many days did Noah and his family stay in the ark? On the outset of the question I was shocked because I didn’t know the answer.
After reviewing Genesis 7 and 8 it was determined that Noah and his family were on the ark for a year and ten days. Don’t you think that was a very long time to be that close to animals and the people in your family? Yes I think so. But it also says something else.
God will go through great lengths to protect us from the elements outside the ark of safety. That is something to think about. We will explore the ark from another angle in the next blog post.
For today know that God might have you in that tight and uncomfortable place in order to protect you from the elements outside.