It’s important to consider / take an inventory of the thoughts that we allow to run around in our minds. Such thoughts can have a significant impact on our decisions & behaviors. For example, there have been many occassions where I’ve been in situations that were way beyond my skill set & I was in way over my head (sometimes in various leadership roles, sometimes in athletic competitions & often in my role as a mom). There have also been situations where I’ve felt entirely confident, secure & proficient, to the point of being over-confident, cocky & even arrogant.
What we think in our minds is extremely important & I was reminded of this lesson from reading about the woman with the issue of blood in Matthew 9:21. In this verse it says, “. . . . ‘she said in herself, if I can touch the hem of His garment, I will be healed.'” The outcome of the story is that she was healed, but her mindset was an important ingredient for her healing. Some take aways from her internal conversation:
keep your eyes on Jesus more than fear, inabilty or even talent
It’s my sincere belief that most of us under perform the potential God has put in us. I think we can often settle for mediocre & half hearted for various reasons (lack of effort or commitment, insecurity, unfocused / distractions, unteachable, etc). Here are some helpful thoughts about God’s potential becoming a reality in our lives:
*be teachable – learn from situations & wise people; arrogance will sabotage your potential
*improve – make the commitment to consistently improve, even if it’s only a little bit at a time
*faith in God – believing in ourselves is inherently limiting as opposed to believing in God; make the decision to always say “yes” to God without fail
*encourage others to pursue God’s potential in their lives 🙂
I’ve been thinking about how when God spoke to Moses about leading the Israelites out of slavery, Moses complained about what he lacked: I’m not smart enough, I don’t have favor with the Israelites, I don’t have Pharoah’s ear, etc. In reply, God told Moses to check out his hands & God did some really cool miracles: leprosy on Moses’ hand that God healed & Moses’ staff turned to a snake. While our hands may seem kind of trivial, lets never minimize what God has given us. God’s gifts are always supernatural 🙂
In the Bible, there are all kinds of things that happened because of faith (blind eyes healed, miracle provisions, raising the dead, family restoration, giant killing, etc). Whenever I read Hebrews 11, I’m always really stirred up and motivated in my faith because the chicks & dudes in this chapter are AMAZING!!! But here’s a simple essential to make our faith effective: genuine love.
In Galatians 5:6, Paul says that faith works by love. So whenever I’m not seeing the results of faith in my life, the real question doesn’t always rest on the quality / quantity of my faith, but moreso the reality of my genuine love. Perhaps the evidence of our faith is directly related to the sincerity of our love 🙂
There was a woman in Jesus life whom He treated gruffly, He even called her a “dog”, which isn’t quite in the realm of chivalrous behavior. Here’s what was happening: this chick was harassing Jesus’ disciples because she wanted Him to come & heal her daughter but Jesus was ignoring her. When His disciples got fed up with her efforts, they asked Jesus to do something, to which He replied to His disciples that He wasn’t called to help dogs, i.e. this woman. What a slap in the face! He ignores her & then insults her! I know lots of people, myself included, who would sulk away insulted by this kind of treatment. But this chick held on & wasn’t deflected by how Jesus treated her. Her faith was stronger than her feelings & the goal (her daughter getting healed) was the main goal. Lets learn some great lessons from this chick that our faith stays stronger than our feelings & that we keep our eyes steady on the goals that conform to Jesus’ will 🙂
Have you ever felt like you’re on your last straw? Sometimes we go through challenges, seasons & struggles that are well beyond our natural abilities & wisdom. If you’re like me, I can find myself getting quagmired in these things at the expense of trusting God. There are times when I get stuck in what seems impossible & I can get discouraged. Ever feel this way?
This morning I was having this kind of conversation with God about a few issues & I was reminded of a verse that is really helping me:
2 Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God.
So lets remember that God is more than adequate for the various “last straws” that may be happening in our lives 🙂
Over the last few days, I’ve been reading about Jesus’ mom, Mary and how Gabriel came & announced Jesus’ birth to her. Mary was an AMAZING chick!! She wasn’t married, lived in a male dominated society & became pregnant out of wedlock, overshadowed by the Holy Spirit. According to the religious & traditional norms of her day, she should’ve been killed. But she was brave and courageous. She spent a few months with her elderly cousin, Elizabeth, who was miraculously pregnant in her old age and I think these months helped both women:
Mary – who was young, vulnerable & probably somewhat naive when it came to issues related to pregnancy
Elizabeth – elderly, toward the end of her pregnancy & probably tired, like we get in our third trimester
Mary, the mother of Jesus, a teenage girl, pregnant without being married – carrying in her womb the Savior of the world. Let’s live like Mary: Luke 1:45 “blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.”
I had the honor to speak in our church for Father’s Day & although it was difficult (my 1st Father’s Day without my dad), I’m thinking that God always has good stuff in mind for us, even in challenging situations. Yesterday, I talked about how Abraham was a man of faith & miracles – a father to us in our faith. I also threw in a few stories about my dad with his faith & life.
Here’s a fun story: one time my family took a Christmas vacation to Europe, using a book called, “Europe on $10 a Day”, endeavoring to do the tour thing on a tight budget. During that vacation, we visited Italy & I quickly learned that Italy is a bastion to all things beautiful, high style and fashion. This became uber obvious through my dad who had a unique sense of fashion that could be considered “counter-culture”. He had this bright yellowjumpsuit that he wore with white tube socks and black shoes as he walked through the streets of Florence, Rome and Venice. The best part of these strolls was to watch the Italians get whiplash in their necks as their heads spun to fully take in my dad’s fashion bravado. Even though my dad wasn’t in step with Italian fashion, he sported his yellow jumpsuit with dignity & poise, showing me that being a strong individual isn’t only important in fashion, but moreso in faith. So be encouraged to be strong in your faith and weak in your doubts 🙂
I took my son to the eye doctor today to see what corrections he may need & guess what?! His eyes have changed – ALOT! Basically, his long distance vision is blurry at best & more often non-existent. Thankfully, the eye doctor is extremely good & very patient, as my son can be kind of engergetic. He’ll get some glasses in the next week or so and will probably be really amazed at the significant improvement that he’ll see.
I think that sometimes our walk with God can be a little bit like our natural vision: we can be near-sighted or sometimes far-sighted. But no matter where we focus best, we can be totally certain that God is always with us regardless of what we see or where we focus 🙂
In my mind, working hard & believing strong are an essential winning combination. I have some friends who are hard workers but kind of weak believers & it seems like they just can’t get a break & have some results that exceed their hard work. On the flip side, I have some friends who are strong believers but lame workers – they can be ethereal but impractical. The worst arrangement is when a person is a weak believer & a lame worker – that’s lethal! So my friend lets cheer for each other to be strong believers & hard workers!! 🙂