Enjoy Success and Prosperity When You’re Overwhelmed with Problems

We live in a confusing and challenging world don’t we?  Seems like every day something new pops up.

And when it doesn’t you worry it will.

You go to the doctor for a minor ache and he gives you that concerned look.

The business where you work gets bought out and needs to downsize.

The transmission in your 8 year old Honda starts making a funny noise that you pretend you can’t hear.

You look forward to a great retirement and find out you saved too little and invested poorly.

Yet, in the midst, God gives a promise that at first seems too simplistic.  Yet, I’ve found those are the best kind.  Even I can understand them.

“Meditate on my word continually then you’ll prosper and succeed.”

See sometimes, I think, we make things way more complicated than needed.

God simply says, “Take my word and infuse it into your mind.”

Then you gain confidence.  You look at life through the lens of his promises rather than your challenges.

You gain insight.  You see answers rather than only questions.

And God guides your mind along the path he wants you to take.

Then he promises you will prosper and succeed.

And why not?  God your father delights in blessing you his child.

Sure beats worrying doesn’t it?

 

*Joshua 1:8

How Do You Put on Strength When You Feel So Weak?

It doesn’t take long to find out your weaknesses does it?

As kids we figure it out pretty quick.  Parents and teachers give out participation trophies yet we all know don’t we?

Maybe, like me, you were the last picked for baseball games.  And the team captains kept looking around hoping someone was hiding.

Maybe, like me, you struggled with a learning disability.

Maybe you were always the last one asked to the dance.

And that’s just childhood.  Yikes!   Adulthood brings a whole new train load doesn’t it?

Yet, the good news is that’s not the end of the story.  It’s only the first chapter.

See Paul promised something amazing.

He said, “When I accept I am weak then I become truly strong.”

When you realize and accept you have built in weaknesses.  Then you can start down the road to real power.

Because you come to God and say, “God accept me as I am, change me and fill me with your power.”

And the amazing thing?  He does.

Some of the most successful people I know are ones who are deeply flawed yet took on God’s power.  And in that power they did amazing things.

I’m living proof this works.

I’m even pretty good now at baseball.  Ok, well not so much.

*2 Corinthians 12:10

Feeling Beat Up? Renew Your Self Confidence Again!

It’s pretty easy to feel beat up emotionally isn’t it?

I mean, in your career, you just never seem to measure up to the best.

Others are cuter, more popular, more fun.

Maybe, like me, you were always the last to get picked for the school yard baseball team.

Then maybe you’ve been rejected by someone you love.

It can leave you feeling less than worthy can’t it?

Well, I’ve got good news for you.  And honestly, really good news for me.

As I’ve heard said, “God made you and he doesn’t make junk.”

Or as Psalms says more eloquently.

“I praise you because I am miraculously and perfectly made.  And I know all your creation is perfect.”

See, God made you perfectly.   And he has something great that he created only you for.

So when you look at yourself and think, “Yikes.”

God looks at you and thinks, “Ahh, perfect.”

So the key is to look at yourself through God’s eyes.

When you do you’ll suddenly see yourself in a whole new way.  And you’ll discover the great things God put you here on earth to accomplish.

So go ahead.  Be a little proud.

I promise, if I get the chance, I’ll pick you first for the baseball team.

 

*Psalm 139:13

What Do You Do When Life Throws You a Curve and You Need to Clobber a Home Run?

A friend described her life as feeling like a wildebeest.

She said, “I get up in the morning with a plan and by noon I’m going a completely different direction.  Then by 3 I’ve changed direction again.  Like a wildebeest wandering aimlessly.”

I can relate.  Some days I get to the end and can just recycle my plans because none of them got accomplished.

Yet, life comes at us like that doesn’t it?  I mean we lay out our best plans and then the phone rings.

And if you’re a goal focused person, rather goal obsessed person, like I am?  Yikes, you can grow really frustrated.

That’s why it’s good to pause and remember God’s promise.

“A person plans his course but God guides his steps.”

I’m so glad.  Although, I have to be honest, there are days I wonder if anyone is steering the bus.

But in those times you just relax and trust God is in control because he promised he would be.

Then you get to see where he’s taking you.  You may be surprised.  Yet, often it’s so much better.

God promises he hasn’t lost control even when you have.  And you’ll arrive at your destination though it may change.

Welcome aboard the bus.

Buckle up!

 

*Proverbs 16:9

How to Change Your Life from Frustration to Strength

Do you ever have those times you think, “Wow, I messed up again.  Why do I keep making the same mistakes?  Why can’t I get it right?”

To tell you the truth I do.  A lot.  And there’s probably a few times my wife wonders the same thing about me.

Yet, it often seems the harder I work at trying to change the more frustrated I become.  Then when I feel worn out from trying, I revert back to the old behaviors again.

I think, “Yikes, what can I do?”

Paul wrote, “He who started a good work in you will continue it on until he completes it.”

See God not only forgives your past he changes your future also.

This makes the promises of Jesus unique.

Religion says, “When you’re perfect enough then God will accept you.”

Jesus says, “You won’t ever be perfect enough so I accept you the way you are.  Then I’ll change you from the inside into the person you and I want you to be.”

Now that’s reassuring isn’t it?  Especially to those of us who maybe are just a smidge flawed.

It only comes as you ask and expect God to act.

Then he does.

Sounds like a darn good trade to me.

*Philippians 1:6

Do You Face the Impossible? Would You Like to See a Miracle?

What mountain do you face?  What obstacle seems so huge that you can’t imagine life the other side?

You’ve tried to overcome it.  You’ve given it your best shot.  Followed all the five step plans you know.  Yet, the mountain still remains.

So you’re ready to throw in the towel.  But you don’t know where to throw it or what you’ll do afterwards.

Believe me I’ve been there.  And I’ve prayed with a lot of people who were there.

I’ve found sometimes this is just the place God wants us to get to.  Because we stop digging and start looking up.

Then God can work his greatest miracles.  And I’ve seen some amazing ones.

Now before you call me, I’ve also seen some answers that were, shall we say, not exactly what we prayed for.  Yet, even in those often something better came out.

It’s what Jesus promised, “If anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go throw yourself into the sea,’ and doesn’t doubt but believes it will happen, it will be done for him.”

Doesn’t leave a lot out does it?  Pretty bold promise.

What would happen if you actually took God up on it?

How big is your mountain?

Good news.  We know the one who made the mountains.

*Mark 11:23

Worn Out From Your Struggles? Be Encouraged!

Do you ever go through those times where problems seem to pile up?  I mean, you get one challenge solved only to have two more waiting in the wings.

You’re running to keep the other shoe from falling only to see a bus heading at you?

And no matter how fast you run the behinder you get?

Well I have good news and bad news.

The bad news is, well, welcome to life.

The good news is you can find encouragement in the midst.

Jesus never sugar coated the struggles of this life.  Yet, he offers an antidote.

He said, “In this world you will have trouble.  But take confidence!  I have overcome this world.”

He doesn’t say struggle on until you get to Heaven.

No he says, “Right now, in this world, in the midst of the struggle, be encouraged.”

Wait, what?  Why?

Because no matter what you face Jesus’ power is greater.  No matter the challenges that seem impossible Jesus has the power to overcome them.

No matter the discouragement you feel, Jesus sees your circumstances and loves you.

So he says, “Put on confidence.”

Look at his power rather than the world’s.

And then you’ll overcome this world in that power.

But I’d still watch out for the bus.

 

*John 16:33

Supersize Your Confidence and See Your Dreams

I’ve sat through way too many sermons where the preacher said, “We all need to suffer for Jesus.”

I remember a whole series on “Fox’s Book of Martyrs”.  Talk about looking forward to Sunday.

And how many times have I heard some church saint say about her problems, “Well, it’s just my cross to bear.”

Then Christians wonder why new people don’t crowd in their doors yelling, “Wow, supersize me with a helping of that misery.”

Yet, I see something completely different.  Yeah I know, not the first time someone noticed that about me.

A promise that says exactly the opposite and fills me with confidence.

“‘For these are the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord.  ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.'”

Wait, what?  You mean God isn’t spending his days snoozing and then wakes up looking for opportunities to swat you?

Rather he has plans for you to prosper.  He has plans to give you success and abundance beyond what you can imagine.

Nowhere does he say, “I plan to make you miserable.”

What do you think would happen to your confidence and happiness if you truly focused on that promise?

And what do you think would happen in your life out of that confidence?

Supersize me with that!

 

*Jeremiah 29:11

How to Walk Clearly in the Darkness

Life is challenging isn’t it?  It seems like half the time you have no idea where you’re going.  And the other half, you don’t want to go.

I mean between financial, career, relationship and health challenges you sometimes feel like the ball in a pin ball machine.

You struggle to make it through one challenge only to find two more waiting.

Do you ever find yourself thinking, “Can I get off this merry-go-round for a while?”  I sure have.

That’s what I love about this promise David writes.

“If the Lord delights in a person he makes his steps firm; though he stumbles, he won’t fall for the Lord holds him up.”

That gives me so much comfort.  It seems like I’ve spent a lot of time stumbling in the dark.

Yet, God knows the path.  He sees in the darkness.  He guides you step by step even when you’re lost.

And when you catch your toe on a tree root in the trail and stumble he grasps your hand to keep you from falling.

I’ve seen this so many times.  God led us through the darkness into the light again.  And in the darkness I felt his steadying hand.

I’m glad.

Now, where’s that light switch?

 

*Psalm 37:23-24

What To Do When You’re Striving for Your Goals and Failing

Do you ever have those times it feels like you’re dancing?  You know the old two steps forward, three back routine?

It might be your career or a business you’re building.  Or maybe a ministry you’re struggling to get traction with.

You’re focused on a great goal that would help people and your family but you just can’t break through.  You’ve stretched to reach it and now you feel exhausted.

I’ve had those times, a lot of them.   Yet, I’ve also learned a reverse truth.  See that’s how my brain works which is sometimes scary .

Often the harder I try the behinder I get.  Yeah, I know, pretty profound.

See, when I finally give in to God and say, “Ok Lord, I give.  If you want me to be successful you need to act.  I’ve got nothing left.”

Then surprisingly I see a sliver of light through a door that cracks open.

I cling to a promise that so often is my anchor.

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Wow, how can I miss?

Why am I stressing and striving?

I’m not sure.  I’m taking a break.  We’ll talk tomorrow.

 

*Philippians 1:6 (NIV)