Who’s Destiny Are You Stopping?

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 8.51.41 PMI have talked to many people lately who are struggling to make serious changes in their lives.  These changes have included such things as; taking a step out to start their own business, giving up their job to launch out into full-time ministry and reaching out to a loved one to heal a broken relationship.  By anyone’s standard, these are all hard decisions and worthy of contemplation and planning.  However, when contemplating and excessive planning coupled with fear, doubters, and basically a faith deficit, prevent you from moving forward to follow closely something God has called you to do, your have possibly entered into sin.

My Pastor, Adam Starling, once said “The time between when God tells you to do something and time you actually do it is the greatest problem for most people’s obedience to God.”  One thing I have learned is that often times, God is waiting on you to obey what He has called you to do, so that someone can fulfill what He has called them to do.  Maybe, someone is believing God for a job and he wants them to take the one you need to give up in order to start your own business.  Perhaps, people’s eternal destiny is waiting on you to completely embrace the ministry call on your life.  Even still, generations coming after you may be forever changed by your willingness to risk being hurt and moving forward to restore that relationship with your family.

I wonder how many people’s lives your decision to quickly obey God will impact?  If you are having trouble making these decisions and taking that step of faith, get some accountability, get some life-coaching, and do the things that put yourself in a place to quickly obey.

Now is the time to shorten the gap between when God speaks and you act.  Faith leaps, while not always easy alway pay BIG.  In the words of NIKE, “Just do it!”

Not Now I’m Busy

Screen Shot 2013-02-05 at 10.14.19 PMWhen it comes to time, we all have 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, and 365 days in a year.  However, I frequently hear many people saying I just need a few more hours to get everything done.  Does this sound like you?  I am the Small Groups Director for Victory Church in Oklahoma City.  At my church, I lead 4 small groups as well as all the ministry required for the Small Groups department.   My husband, Steven and I are the founders of Bridge Builder Marriage Ministry.  We are Marriage and Relationship Life Coaches.  We are authors.    We have three children, 2 daughters-in-law and 3 amazing grandchildren.  Our life is to say the least, very full.  That is both good and bad.  Having many things in your life to be thankful for and having many ways to invest in the lives of others is a great way to impact the world for the Kingdom of God.  However, at the same time, it is important that we don’t get so busy that we don’t have time for the really important people in our lives.

Many times in the past I have worn busyness as a badge of honor.  I am all about accomplishing things.  In fact, my husband knows the best way to speak my love language is to take note and compliment my completion of tasks.  I’m just a “get er done” kind of girl.  In fact, for many years, he referred to me as the “White Tornado.”  This same nickname was also adopted by the girls I worked with prior to coming to work at Victory Church.  I am great at getting things done, the problem is many times I would plow people over and not even recognize it until the wounded and dead were lying all around.  This is an area where I have to be very aware all the time.  We all remember the Biblical story of Mary and Martha.  In Luke 10:38-42 we see Jesus taught Martha that busyness can prevent you from the most important things in your life.

38As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42but only one thing is needed.f Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Have you found yourself in a place where you are beginning to feel like you haven’t had any time alone with your husband that didn’t include snoring.  If you are doing nothing more than sleeping in the same bed together you are in a dangerous place.  If your life is so incredibly busy that you don’t have time to spend with the people your truly love.  It is time to re-evaluate your life.  At the end of the day, what we accomplish pales in comparison to the relationships we build and honor.  I want to encourage you to take some time and evaluate your life.  Eliminate anything that really is not important, be intentional about making time for God and for the people who are the most important in your life.  These choices will be worth more than you know.

Completely Hidden in Christ

Screen Shot 2012-12-30 at 6.17.53 AMAs 2012 comes to an end, I find myself being pushed or maybe better drawn to a recurring theme.  I want to be closer to God than ever before.  In doing that I know I will find the most amazing life with purpose and destiny I could ever imagine.  Having said all that I am confident at the end of 2013 I will find myself with the same desire.  Only at that time it will be said from a place further down the road of intimacy with God.  Many of the Scriptures that I have read lately have all been saying this very thing.  Here are a few of them.

Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me.  John 15:4 AMP

 For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live]. John 2:10 AMP

Seek the Lord [inquire for Him, inquire of Him, and require Him as the foremost necessity of your life], all you humble of the land who have acted in compliance with His revealed will and have kept His commandments; seek righteousness, seek humility [inquire for them, require them as vital]. It may be you will be hidden in the day of the Lord’s anger. Zephaniah 2:3 AMP

This recent journey started when I was listening to Marilyn Hickey speak on TV.  While there may be many of you who do not know who she is, I do.  You see in 1987 during a very hard time in my life financially, I moved to Loveland, Colorado from Clinton, OK.  While I was there I found a church called Resurrection Fellowship.  This was the first time I had ever been in a Non-Denominational Charismatic church.  Having come from a strong Southern Baptist background and being married at that time to a man with a strong Church of Christ background, traditional religion was really all I knew.  This 3 month adventure to Colorado not only brought me to a place of learning about the difference between relationship and religion but it also brought me to the place of seeing and hearing Marilyn Hickey for the first time.  I always say God needed to take me to Colorado for 3 months so I could really find him.  It was in one of the hardest times in my life that I found the most beautiful thing in my life that has endured to this day and that was a REAL RELATIONSHIP with a loving, caring, personal God.  From that day to this my relationship with him has grown and matured as it will continue to do until I find myself with him in eternity.  For that I am completely grateful.

Jump back to the present…..In one of the devotionals I use (given to me by a wonderful friend, Jane Zahasky Screen Shot 2012-12-30 at 5.54.14 AM and yes she is as fun and vivacious as she looks in this picture) Jesus Calling by Sarah Young today’s journal entry said:

“I am leading you along a way that is uniquely right for you.  The closer to Me you grow, the more fully you become your true self-the one I designed you to be.  Because you are one of a kind, the path you are traveling with Me diverges increasingly from that of other people.  However, in My mysterious wisdom and ways, I enable you to follow the solitary path while staying in close contact with others.  In fact, the more completely you devote yourself to Me, the more freely you can love people.

Marvel at the beauty of a life intertwined with My Presence.  Rejoice as we journey together in intimate communion.  Enjoy the adventure of finding yourself through losing yourself in me.”   

I am struck that the more I follow after God, the more I lose myself in Him, the more I will find the greatest adventure of my life.  As I look back over the past 50 years I am struck at how many ways God has directed my steps and led me to places that would not only impact that present moment but would set me up for something even greater down the road.  How what may seem at the moment like the hardest time of my life would later become the secret key to unlock something precious and beautiful many years in the future.

How you ask does this thought process connect to marriage?  Well, when we follow after God when we live a life intertwined in His Presence in our marriages we will find that His path for our marriages will become something beautiful.  Case in point, a few months ago I decided to change the name of my blog to God Adventures in Marriage.  This simple God prompted change perfectly describes what God has planned for all of our marriages if we chose to take His path and Marvel at the beauty of a life intertwined with My Presence.  Rejoice as we journey together in intimate communion.  Enjoy the adventure of finding yourself through losing yourself in Him.”   

  

To Speak or Not to Speak?

For many years I have been a strong proponent of the scripture Proverbs 18:21 It says:

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

This concept is a central theme throughout the Bible.  It starts in Genesis 1 where God speaks and creates the world.  No where in the Bible does it say anything about thinking and creating.  As Christians we have been given the same amazing power just by speaking out the Word of God.

I have been noticing lately that the Christian world has become more and more silent.  Why has this happened?  We have replaced prayer in school with moments of silence.  We have accepted the idea that we can pray silently and be as effective as when we pray out loud.  While I do believe that God knows our thoughts and when we pray in our heads.   He knows our prayers and that is fine, it just has one great drawback, and that is that we give up the creative power of speaking.  Nothing can replace the power of the spoken Word.  It not only affects things in the spiritual realm but it truly affects things in our own lives.  We believe what we say more than anyone else.  When we hear ourselves speaking the Word out loud it moves from our mouth/head to our heart.  It becomes who we are and then begins to really impact what we do.

I am reminded of the Centurion who came to Jesus to ask for healing for his paralyzed servant.  He understood the power of the spoken word and ask Jesus to “just say the word” knowing that there was incredible power in speaking.

And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, imploring Him, and saying, “]Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented.” Jesus *said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion said, “Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed.For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” 10 Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.      Matthew 8:5-10

Speaking the word is an amazing creative power.  Truth is we see it happening in our lives everyday.  We become what we say we are.  Even psychologists agree with this fact.  So my question to you today is, what are you saying?  You are what you have said you are in the past.  Here’s the great part.  If you don’t like who you are and where you are in life you can change that just by being intentional about what you are saying.  I encourage today, get in agreement with what the Word of God says you are.  Begin to use the creative power that God has placed in you by speaking the word.  I promise that as you begin to speak the Word OUT LOUD, your life will change.  I guess it goes without saying but I feel obligated to add this final thought.  You didn’t become who you were overnight.  You became you because of what you have spoken for years.  You probably won’t change over night.  I do promise though, that if you keep speaking the Word of God over your life you WILL see change over time.  Take back the creative power you have been given and begin to become the person God says you are.

Oh! That Again???

I just wanted to take a few minutes and share with you the conversation I had with my super, amazing husband, Steven this morning.  I am in the process of reading through the Bible in year.  Each day I read a portion from the old testament, new testament, Psalm, and Proverbs.  Also, Steven and I are studying the book of Acts in the Bible Study we do each morning together.  I came to the realization this morning that there is a recurring theme throughout the entire Bible.  I am amazed at how many times, as Christians, we are warned, encouraged, and admonished by God to stay faithful, follow God’s commands, and to not let anything in our lives take the place of God. In spite of all these warnings and encouragement, generation after generation we continue to do the things God has told us not to do.

A few years ago I was visiting a church in Hinton with my parents on Easter.  The sermon that day was from Matthew 7:13-14

 13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

After the sermon, I was very surprised that the pastor had chosen such a “discouraging” sermon topic for the day of the largest crowds in the Christian community.  After all, wouldn’t it have been better to tell the members/visitors of the church that day all about how good God is and how coming to Christ is such a blessing, both of which are true.  I must confess that in the years that followed, Steven and I have often joked about the poor choice of sermon topics.  Well, today I really began to be convicted about all the times we has joked about the sermon choice, and how arrogant we had been in second guessing the pastors ability to prepare an appropriate sermon.  In light of the recurring theme throughout the Bible, I feel like I must repent.  You see too often I think we have watered down the Bible to make people feel better about their low commitment level to the a very committed God.  God thinks that our very committed life is so important that He continue time and time again to remind us to maintain a high level of commitment.  So why then do we walk away from that commitment so easily?  A review of my life bears witness to the fact that during the times I have been diligent to maintain my strong commitment to God’s commands and way of living my life (choosing the narrow path) has indeed been much better than the times that I have chosen to go it on my own (choosing the wide path).  So my question to you today is, which path are you choosing and what are the results of that choice?  If you have been choosing the wide path let me join the many people God spoke through.  Choose to follow God’s commands and don’t allow anything to come between you and a loving, committed, faithful God.  Your life will be much better on the narrow path.  Be one of the “few”.

Lord Versus Lordship

While having coffee with my super amazing husband this morning we were talking about people we know who do and do not know Jesus as their Lord.  He made this comment about our daughter, Mariah’s friend “She knows who her Lord is, she just doesn’t know how to live under his Lordship.”   This was in my opinion, a brilliant thought.  Might I just add here, that he has tons of brilliant ideas and I get to be there recipient of many of them.  It’s the beauty of being married to a really smart guy.  Anyway, back to the topic at hand.  There are many people who understand the concept that they are a sinner in need of a savior.  They even understand that Jesus is that savior.  What they are lacking is the understanding that when you make Jesus the Lord of your life you should also give Him lordship of your life.  This is really two different things.  Lordship is a position of authority.  When we submit ourselves to God’s Lordship (authority) we begin to live our lives in the way that He has set forth for us.  We use His word to be the guidelines/parameters for our lives.  We submit our will to His will for our life.  We seek His plan and purpose for our life over our own plan and purpose for our life.  Unlike many of the modern-day rulers, God is a loving, caring and gracious Lord.  He wants what is best for us.  Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm, you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  God is a good God and great Lord.  So often people don’t know enough what the Bible says about the life that Jesus died for us to have.  Lack of this knowledge keeps them from walking in everything that is provided to us as believers in Christ.  In the last part of 1 John 1:9 it says “I have come that you might have and enjoy your life to full until it overflows.” (Amplified Version)  So I ask you, have you made Him lord of your life?  If the answer is yes then it beckons the next question, are you living under his Lordship? Are you walking in all the Jesus died for you to have?  If you haven’t made him Lord of you life then start there.  The Bible says “all who call upon the Lord will be saved.”  Romans 10:13.  Call on the name of Jesus and make him the Lord of your life.  Then begin to learn how to live under the Lordship of a loving savior.  I promise you won’t ever be sorry you did.  Lord or Lordship, which is it for you?  If you have further questions about accepting Christ as  your Savior, leave a comment or go to your local church.  It can change your life forever.