Failures = Opportunities

Stop wasting time beating yourself up over past failures.FAILURES-OPPORTUNITIES-shortcomings-quote-photofromcolekeister

We don’t need to waste time looking at the weight we didn’t lose, the money we didn’t save, the books we didn’t read, etc.  We have nothing to gain by only focusing on our shortcomings and failures. Looking back is the best way to miss the new thing God is doing in front of us.

“Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert,” (Isaiah 43:18-19 NASB).

He promises to make rivers in the deserts of our lives. He doesn’t say that He’s going to bring rain because rain is only temporary provision. A river is a consistent supply. He will bring new life to whatever was dead.

“He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers,” (Psalm 1:3 NASB).

FAILURES-OPPORTUNITIES-miss-new-quote-photofromunsplashsonniehiles.Our past failures aren’t just failures.

 

We should look at them as opportunities for God to bring provision and life to those situations. Just because it didn’t work out in the past doesn’t mean we should simply give up. God wants us to improve, receive promotion and enjoy this life. We all face frustration and confusion along the way. Those are the times we choose not to look back to our former ways and trust that God is making a way in our wilderness. He will show us how to navigate change and push through when things get tough.

I encourage you to look forward to the new thing God wants to do in your life.

Allow Him to bring new life to what you feel is lost or dead. You’ll see Him do amazing things not only in your life, but in the lives of those close to you. As He works in your life, it will spill over and bless others.

What Is The Church?

The basic meaning of the word “Church” in the Bible is “Gathering”.

What is the Church - Primary Purpose quote- photofromunsplashchuttersnapIt’s the gathering of God’s children. In Matthew chapter sixteen Jesus explained how He was going to establish His Church.

“He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.  I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it,’” Matthew 16:15-18 (NASB)

The “rock” that Jesus is building His church on is the revelation of Himself and His finished work.

The primary purpose of the Church is to know Jesus and who we are because of Him. Every good work the Church does comes from a revelation of Jesus Christ.

What-is-the-Church-Greater-quote-photofromunsplashjoshuaearle

He fed people, so we feed people. Jesus healed the sick, so we heal the sick by His power. He cared for the poor and so do we. He loved sinners and we love sinners. When we understand who Jesus is, we will do the things He did. We will truly be His Church. We will do the “greater things” that He promised we would do.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father,” John 14:12

How can we do greater things than Jesus?

How can we expand His church so that even hell can’t stand against it?

We can do these things because the same Holy Spirit that lived in Jesus now lives in us. Jesus was all God and all man, but He was one. We are the Gathering of people filled with the Spirit of Christ. We are many people with the same power that Jesus had. This revelation should motivate us to know Jesus even more and do everything He’s called us to do. 

A Room Full of Imperfect People

How does God do such an amazing, supernatural work through imperfect people? 20171212 - A Room Full of Imperfect People - PEOPLE WHO ARE FORGIVEN QUOTE- photofromunsplashneonbrand

One of the most common problems people have with church is the people. They’ll say things like, “That church is full of hypocrites.” They aren’t wrong. Churches all over the world are filled with people who make mistakes.  The Body of Christ, the Church, the House of God is made up of imperfect people: people who fight with their spouse, are recovering from addiction, have been to prison, been divorced, are estranged from their families, and the list could go on and on.

It’s easy to say that churches are filled with hypocrites, but that’s an earthly view of the people that fill the seats on Sundays and Wednesdays.

Our heavenly Father sees us in a much greater way. His Church is not filled with hypocrites, it’s filled with people who are forgiven. It’s filled with people who are perfectly loved by God.

We put our faith in God and His love for us. We accept His forgiveness and He makes us part of the Body.

“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you,” (Colossians 3:12-13 NASB).

A-Room-Full-of-Imperfect-People-Gods-Love-Holds-Us-Together-QUOTE-photofromunsplashtobyhoosThe love of God is what holds the Church together. We receive it by faith and we give it to others.

Churches would fall apart without love and forgiveness. Every failure and sharp word would be remembered and catalogued to use at a later time. Bitterness would build up until we all burst.

We imperfect people are able to live, worship and build the kingdom together because we see each other as God sees us; forgiven. Do we still make mistakes? Of course, but if we have faith that God is working in us, then we have to believe He’s working in others. If we are forgiven of our sins, then other people must be forgiven as well.

When we learn to deal with others in love, forgiving them when they’re wrong and believing in God’s perfecting work in them, we will see the Kingdom grow the way our Father wants it to.

“Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful,” (Colossians 3:14-15 NASB).

The Purpose of The Body

What is the purpose of being a part of the Body of Christ?

20171205-The-Purpose-of-the-Body-Called-To-Reach-Quote-photofromunsplashclemonojeghuoJesus clearly shared His purpose in Luke. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” Luke 4:18-19 (NASB)

Jesus spoke these words in the synagogue of His hometown, Nazareth. He was proclaiming His purpose to the people there. Jesus was explaining what He would be doing during His ministry on earth. He was also telling the people what His Church would be doing after His resurrection. This was the proclamation of the beginning of the work of Jesus in the earth. The purpose of the Church, the Body of Christ, is to continue that work today.

The Spirit that was upon and in Jesus now lives in us.

The anointing and gifts we’ve received from the Holy Spirit are for spreading the Kingdom of God. We are called to reach the lost people of the world with everything that God has given us.  This is the point of being in the Body of Christ, because we live in a world full of injured, blind, oppressed people who don’t know that God’s favor is one decision away.

The-Purpose-of-the-Body-Turn-To-Jesus-Quote-photofromunsplashmarkkamalovThe more people who take their place in Jesus’ Church, the quicker we can reach the world.

When we’re all running in the same direction together, doing the work that God created us to do, we will see the world turn to Jesus. We can’t legislate, force or argue people into a relationship with Jesus. We can, however, glorify God with our unique talents and that will draw people to our Father.

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3 (NASB)

The Power of Routine

Doing the same thing every day builds momentum for us and sets us up for either success or failure.

We see this work in our relationships, work and many other areas. If we make a habit out of not communicating with or showing affection to our spouse, eventually our relationship will dry up.  If all we ever do at work is check Facebook, text and give less than half our effort, we’ll end up without a job. These are simple examples of a bad routine.

This most definitely applies in our relationship with our heavenly Father. We can allow ourselves to drift away from God when we don’t renew our minds in His Word, spend time with Him in prayer and neglect worshipping Him. We may not notice at first, but after one month, six months or even a year we’ll see that we haven’t grown and our hearts have turned colder toward Him.

This happens because people have a negative view of a routine.

We hear the word “routine” and automatically think “rut”, “monotony” or “boring”. While a daily routine has the ability to be all of those things, it certainly doesn’t have to be.

A routine that is founded on God’s vision for our lives is anything but boring. The problem we have is we allow our routine to choose us, instead of our choosing our routine. We let our jobs, entertainment and TV shows dictate the pace of our lives. As a result, we are bored because there is no life in our lives.

When the events of our day are shaped around God’s plan for us, He will bring color and light back to our lives.

20171128 - The Power of Routine - Events Shaped quote - photofromunsplashshmiketinnionWe’ll leave behind the dullness of the world and start participating in the building of God’s kingdom.

“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:13-14 (NLT)

It begins by discovering God’s vision for our lives and building our days around vision.

We have to commit to His plan and choose to do the things that move us toward the goal. There will be times when it seems monotonous and boring. We may even go through seasons where it seems like we’re not growing. In these times we only need to be patient and trust that God is working. Our daily walk with Him will always bear fruit. If we will wait to see what it is, we’ll never be disappointed.

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9 (NLT)

Stay Connected To The Vine

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (NLT)

These were some of Jesus’ last words to His disciples before He went to the Cross.

20171121 - Stay Connected To The Vine - stay connected quote - photofromunsplashaaronburdenHe was reminding them that He was their source of strength. If they would stay faithful in their relationship to Him, they would never run out of power or opportunities to use that power.

His promise to His disciples is eternal and applies to us today. When we walk closely with Jesus, we will have open access to everything. Without Jesus we’ll live unfruitful and unfulfilling lives. The key to staying fruitful is staying connected. 

We stay connected to Jesus when we are an active part of His body.

A hand that is disconnected from a body is powerless, and honestly, useless. A hand that is connected and working in unity with the body is a powerful tool.

The lie that so many Christians have told themselves is that they don’t need to be part of a body (church) to be fruitful in the kingdom of God. They attempt to live the Christian life alone, isolated from their brothers and sisters in Christ. This doesn’t mean that they can’t do good works or mature in their relationship with Jesus, but their separation leaves them without a support system.

We should be like branches that connect to a vine, so when we struggle and want to quit, we aren’t alone.

20171121 - Stay Connected To The Vine - find power quote - photofromunsplashtimmossholderWhen we connect, we draw strength from the vine. We can look to our right and our left and see other Christians succeeding and their testimony will encourage us. It’s easy to lose faith when we’re by ourselves, but when we surround ourselves with other believers, they can lift us back up.

“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NLT)

Connection to the Body of Christ gives us support in our time of need and a place to bear much fruit.

Let us never believe or think that we have to make it alone. We’re created to be connected. We find support in connection. We find power in connection. It’s only in Him that we’ll bear much fruit, and that will lead to satisfaction.

“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25 (NLT)

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Comparison: The Thief of Joy

“Comparison is the thief of joy,” Teddy Roosevelt.20171114 - Camparision - the Thief of Joy - negative light quote - photofromunsplashmariopurisic

It’s easier now to compare ourselves to others than it’s ever been before. All we have to do to see how we stack up against the rest of the world is pick up our phone and look at social media. We’ll see pictures and videos of the best and funniest moments of other people’s lives. If we don’t know who we are in Christ, looking into someone else’s life can lead to jealousy.  This simple act can lead to our feeling like we’re not good enough. 

Seeing how we measure up to everyone else only causes us to look at ourselves in a negative light.

We think that everyone else has it all together.  On the outside, it looks like their finances are in order, they never fight with their spouse, their children are on the “A” honor roll and they work out every day. We stop looking at God’s grace in our lives and start magnifying everything we believe is wrong with us.

Our Father did not make us to compare ourselves to others.

“We wouldn’t put ourselves in the same class with or compare ourselves to those who are bold enough to make their own recommendations. Certainly, when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves to themselves, they show how foolish they are.” 2 Corinthians 10:12 (GWT)
We are created to find our worth and purpose in Him, not in trying to be someone else.
20171114 - Camparision - the Thief of Joy - unique and reflect quote - photofromunsplashjohannesplenioWe are made to be a certain part of the body of Christ. If we were all the same, we wouldn’t be a whole body, making it very difficult to fulfill God’s calling here on the earth.
“How could it be a body if it only had one part? So there are many parts but one body.” 1 Corinthians 12:19-20 (GWT)

We’ll stop suffering the pains of comparison when we choose instead to look at God’s grace in our lives.

The Bible defines grace as God’s unearned, unmerited favor. We can’t do anything to buy it. He gave it to us freely in His Son, Jesus Christ. Grace is also defined as our source for joy and the power of God that brings the believer into the Body of Christ without destroying that believer’s individuality.  That confirms that we are to be unique and reflect God’s love in a way that’s different from anyone else. When we make that truth part of our identity, comparison will become a thing of the past.

Made To Be Unique

20171107 - Made To Be Unique - desire to be unique quote -We all have an innate desire to be unique.

Nobody truly desires to blend in; we want to stand out from the crowd. God placed this desire to be unique in us. He created each of us to different from one another. He rejoices in our individuality because He put it there.

God does not just rejoice in our differences, He is glorified by them. We are made to let His grace shine through us in our own unique way. We each fulfill a different role in Him, and when this happens, we give the world a full picture of our heavenly Father. This is what it means to be the Body of Christ.

“So God put each and every part of the body together as he wanted it. How could it be a body if it only had one part? So there are many parts but one body. You are Christ’s body and each of you is an individual part of it.” I Corinthians 12:18-20, 27 (God’s Word Translation)

20171107 - Made To Be Unique - complete in christ quote -We find our highest calling and the fullest expression of our gifts when we discover our place in the Body of Christ.

It is the purpose that we are created for and where we will find the greatest satisfaction.

People lead lives of discontentment because they search for fulfillment and individuality in a salary, relationship or material things. When they do not find it there, they move on to the next pursuit; this process will go on and on until they come to the end of themselves.

Everyone has to have the realization that only their heavenly Father can truly fulfill their heart’s desires because He is the only one that knows how.

“All of God lives in Christ’s body, and God has made you complete in Christ.” Colossians 2:9-10 (God’s Word Translation)

Life: A Product of What We Believe and Speak

II Corinthians 4 shows us that faith isn’t just what we believe, but also what we speak.

FAITH-AND-FOCUS-LIFE-A-Product-of-What-We-Believe-and-Speak-Steer-Quote-photo-from-unsplashmaximilianweisbeckerThe words we say are the product of what we believe in our hearts. The thoughts we consistently hold in our hearts will become what we talk about every day. What we choose to speak will eventually become the life we live.

“Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well.  Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires.  So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.” James 3:3-5 (NASB)

Our words will steer our life one direction or another.

If the foundation of our words is our thoughts, then we need to take control of what we’re thinking.

One of the best ways to master what we think is to confess God’s Word over our lives, even when we don’t believe it yet.  This practice is a confession UNTO faith.  That means we may not believe what the Bible says about our healing, marriage, work, etc., but we want to see it work.  So, what we do is find a scripture that speaks to our situation and we continually say it out loud.  The more we speak it, the more we hear it; the more we hear it, the more we believe it.

This is the true version of meditation.

-FAITH-AND-FOCUS-LIFE-A-Product-of-What-We-Believe-and-Speak-Say-It-Quote-photo-from-unsplashcassidykelley“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” Joshua 1:8 (NASB)

As our spoken confession gets into our hearts, it will change what we think and believe. Our confession UNTO faith will transform into a confession OF faith. Now we are ready to speak to our mountain and believe that what we say will come to pass.

Speak the Word over your life!

I encourage you to start speaking the Word over your life, your family, your job or any area you know you need to see God’s power operate. Even if your faith does not equal your confession right now, it will soon.  Then you will see powerful things manifest.