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.

20171024 - FAITH AND FOCUS - The Battle of Focus - Header - photo from unsplashaveriewoodard

The Battle of Focus

The battle in our hearts between faith and doubt will be decided by our focus.

FAITH-AND-FOCUS-The-Battle-of-Focus-overwhelming-quote-photo-from-unsplashrolandlarsson.jpgConstantly keeping our focus on the physical world and its hardships will only strengthen our doubt. It will make our life, frustrations and problems seem overwhelming.

Our lives are only overwhelming when we view them through the lens of doubt. Difficulties are only as powerful as we allow them to be. They gain this power through our thoughts and words. When we’re constantly thinking about them and giving voice to our thoughts, we are magnifying our problems. This is a scheme of the devil, and it’s one that people fall for every single day.

The devil didn’t invent this idea, though. He stole a principle from the Word of God and twisted it in order to feed doubt in the sons and daughters of God. In fact, this is always how Satan operates. He’s a counterfeiter. He doesn’t create anything; he lacks the power to do so. Satan turns the promises of God upside down and seeks to use them against us. When we become wise to his strategies, we can successfully stop them. So, he tries to strengthen our doubt by magnifying our problems.

But we are meant to strengthen our faith by magnifying our heavenly Father.

“I will praise the name of God with song and magnify Him with thanksgiving.” Psalm 69:30 (NASB)

Magnifying God doesn’t make Him any stronger or more capable. It increases our ability to see Him as strong and capable. We place a magnifying glass on His infinite ability to handle anything life tries to throw at us.

“The Lord will accomplish what concerns me.” Psalm 138:8 (NASB)

We magnify the Lord when we thank Him for what He’s already done, and what He’s promised to do even though we haven’t seen the manifestation.

Thankfulness will shift our focus and keep us awake and alert to the grace of God working on our behalf. Simply put, the more thankful we are, the stronger our faith will be.

FAITH-AND-FOCUS-The-Battle-of-Focus-thankfulness-quote-photo-from-unsplashantoinebarres.jpg

If we struggle with finding something to be thankful for, we should start with the simple things. Thank God for your family, your house and your health. Then you can move on to deeper things like your salvation, Jesus dying on the Cross for you and God’s perfect plan for your life. Surely if God provided for your salvation He is able to provide for whatever you are facing now.

As we continually thank God and become more conscious of His love for us, our doubts will be sapped of their strength.

They will try to have a voice in our heads and creep back into our thoughts, but the voice of God will drown them out.

Always remember that when your life seems like too much to handle, Jesus Christ has already given you an overwhelming victory.

“But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37(NASB)

FAITH AND FOCUS: Believe and Speak

God is a faith God.

He spoke and things that never existed before were made real. We’ve seen that our faith has the same potential as God’s faith. So, why do we not always see the same results? It’s possible that we do not believe His words the same way He does. God has total confidence in the power of His words.

“The same thing is true of the words I speak. They will not return to me empty. They make the things happen that I want to happen, and they succeed in doing what I send them to do.” Isaiah 55:11 (NCV)

God knows that His Word will not fail. Chances are that when we speak God’s Word over a situation we allow doubt to creep in and knock us off our stance of faith. The smallest thought of doubt can unsettle our faith to the point that it will not work. Doubt can only move in our lives if we’ve left room for it.

This could be discouraging because we know that everyone battles doubt.

Every human being has to deal with weakness in some way. We might think that this means that we can never see our faith work the way God’s works. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth, and Jesus is our proof.

Jesus was all man and all God. This means He faced all the same weaknesses as we do, having victory over all of them, while operating in the fullness of God’s power.

“For we do not have a High Priest (Jesus Christ) who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15 (NKJV)

When we read a verse like this, we should see possibility.

Jesus is our example, our forerunner. He came so that we could have the same kind of life He had, by the same kind of faith He has. It’s the faith He used to create the universe and everything in it. Every time He speaks, it’s released. Every time it’s released, it succeeds. This is how our Father wants our faith to operate. He showed us this desire in the words of His Son, Jesus.

“So Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Have faith in God’.” Mark 11:22 (NKJV)

Jesus isn’t just telling us to have faith IN God, but to have the God-kind of faith.

Jesus would not say something like this if He knew it could never happen. He wouldn’t lead us on with puffed up words that had no backing. His words were and always will be the Word of God, so He knew they would succeed.

We should notice that Jesus did not speak these words as a suggestion or a good piece of advice. He gave them as an order, showing us that the God-kind of faith was essential to live a victorious life.

For our faith to work the way our Father’s works, we must believe His Word as He does. God knows that His Word will not fail. When we believe in the absolute authority of His Word, we will see it succeed when we speak it out loud.

FAITH AND FOCUS: The Potential of Faith

FAITH-AND-FOCUS-THE-PURPOSE-OF-FAITH-HEBREWS-QuoteBy faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” Hebrews 11:3 (NKJV)

Our heavenly Father is a faith God.

What He sees does not affect Him.  Instead, God speaks into being what He desires.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said…” Genesis 1:1-3 (NKJV)

As soon as God started speaking the darkness dissipated and the world, and everything in it, came into being. He had no doubt that He would see what He spoke. We should notice that there’s no verse in the creation story that speaks of how surprised God was when His words actually worked. This is the kind of faith God has given us. FAITH-AND-FOCUS-THE-PURPOSE-OF-FAITH-Our-Faith-Potential-Quote

“…as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith,” Romans 12:3b (NKJV)

The faith we’ve been given isn’t  lesser, weaker or even faith of a different kind.  Our Father wants us to operate in the same power and assurance as He does. He never desires to see us strain and struggle in confusion just wishing our it would work.

However, it can seem this way when we don’t have a good understanding of what faith is, how to use it and how we can strengthen our faith.  It’s not God, or other people, or circumstances that frustrate us; we haven’t learned that our faith has the same potential as God’s faith.

When this revelation roots itself in our hearts, it will bear the fruit of victory.

The Abundant Life: The Starting Place of Abundance

There’s no question that all of us want to live an abundant life.Abundant-Life-The-Starting-Place-Plant-a-Seed-Quote-photo

Nobody would say no to having a better marriage, a more fulfilling job, the ability to be more generous and feel satisfied with their life. Every person on the planet wants a life like that – an abundant life.

The most difficult step in living the abundant life is the first one. Some people don’t take the first step out of fear, some out of ignorance, but either way the beginning of the journey is what eludes people and leaves them in their current state.

The first step is planting seed.

If we’re going to reap a harvest, or live an abundant life, we have to plant something. No seed means no harvest.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we need to plant a large amount of seed to reap any kind of harvest. However, our Father is more concerned with the state of our hearts when we give, than the amount that we give. A greedy heart giving a lot of time or money will still reap a small harvest. A generous heart giving a small amount can reap a large harvest.

Abundant-Life-The-Starting-Place-Luke-16-10Quote-photo“And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on,” Mark 12:41 – 44 (NASB)

Even though the widow gave a smaller amount she actually gave more because of the state of her heart.

This is the attitude we have to have to start planting. We don’t need to look at the amount we’re giving, no matter how small it may be. We need to have faith that God will cause growth and bring us the harvest He’s promised us.

“He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much.” Luke 16:10a (NKJV)

Abundant Life: An Abundance of Grace

Have you ever wondered if you have enough of God’s grace in your life?

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us,” Ephesians 1:7-8a (NASB)

The word “lavished” in this verse means “in abundance, to exist at hand in abundance, to make abundant or excellent”. God has given us the riches of His grace in abundance. It wasn’t just a limited amount; He gave us more than we could ever imagine.

Stop and think about that for a moment: God gave us more grace than we could ever imagine.

It’s by His grace that we are saved, blessed and favored. So, we aren’t just slightly saved or favored. God has lavished salvation and favor on us, His children.

This means we have the ability to be everything God wants us to be. We have everything we need to accomplish what God has planned for us.

If we desire to be a better husband, grace is available. It is available to us when we want a promotion. If we want to increase or improve in any area of our lives, grace is available. It’s in us in a super-abundant amount to make us excellent.

This should lead us to ask the questions: How much do I want?  How excellent do I want to be? How great do I want my life to be?

If God has made all of His grace available to us, then the answers to these questions are entirely up to us.

God will meet us exactly where we are and take us as high as we want to go. He’s not going to kick down the door and force us to live by grace. He has given us the resources we need to excel and grow in every way and He’s waiting for us to use them.

His grace invites us to new levels of life we could never experience on our own. We just have to say “yes”.

Speak Abundant Words

We’ve all had words or phrases “accidentally” slip out of our mouths at the wrong time in a conversation.

Abundant-Life-Speaking-Abundant-Words-words-planted-in-heart-quote-photo-from-unsplashnikmacmillanWe may have been thinking the words, but not had the intention of actually saying them out loud. They just seemed to come out of nowhere. The truth is that they didn’t come out of nowhere; they were planted in our heart at some point and were bound to come out.

What is in us will always find its way out.

For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil,” Matthew 12:34b-35 (NASB)

What’s in our hearts is made up of what we continually see and hear.

It’s the music we listen to and the television shows we watch. However, the greatest impact of words in our lives are those spoken about us and to us and those that we speak about ourselves.  If we aren’t living the abundant life, there’s a high probability that evil words have entered our hearts.  It’s also likely that we’ve allowed them to affect us by agreeing with them. “Evil” may seem like a strong word, but anything that stops us from being who we are in Christ and living in God’s will should be considered evil.

However, if our hearts are filled with evil things and our words are out of line with God’s Word, our Father has given us a simple solution. We just need to change what we allow into our hearts.

“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God,” Colossians 3:16 (NASB) Abundant-Life-Speaking-Abundant-Words-Richly-in-us-quote-photo-from-unsplashtutrinh

Reading and studying the Bible will do more than help us memorize Bible verses and know Bible characters.

Allowing the word of Christ to richly live in our hearts leaves less and less space for evil. God’s Word will push out the painful, degrading words of others and replace them with words of His love and abundance.

As our hearts are filled with God’s abundance, words of abundance will come out of our mouths. Instead of something we don’t want “accidentally” slipping out during conversation, it will be God’s Word. Instead of speaking evil words of fear, doubt and limitation we will speak words of life.

What lives richly inside of us will richly come out of us.

What Is The Abundant Life?

What is the abundant life?

Abundant-Life-What-Is-The-Abundant-Life-superabundant-life-in-quality-quoteThe Bible defines “life” as life as God lives it; or even more literally, God Himself.  The word “ abundant ” means superior in quality and quantity, to be in excess or surplus. So, God wants us to have His life and not just a small piece or sampling of it. He wants us to have a superabundant supply of His life in quality and quantity. The God-kind of life should permeate every part of our lives. He gives us the ability to overflow in our relationships, finances, emotions, bodies and most importantly our spirits.

This abundant life will manifest differently in each of our lives.

For some, abundance may be having a big house, nice material things and a large family to share all this material wealth. For someone else it could be having fewer possessions in order to be more generous in giving to causes that they believe in and to worthy ministries. This list could go on and on. The point is, the abundant life is not about keeping up or comparing ourselves with someone else. It’s about trusting God and allowing His life to flow in and through us.

Comparison is only going to hold us back from enjoying the life God has planned.

Abundant-Life-What-Is-The-Abundant-Life-not-about-comparison-quoteIf He wanted us to live someone else’s life, He would have made us someone else.

However, we do need to know that we can have as much of His life as we want. If we want more, then more is available. This “more” doesn’t come through doing more religious activities like serving in church, giving to the poor or praying with the unsaved to receive Jesus. Although we should be doing all of those things, they don’t grant us access to more of God’s life. We already have all of God’s life in us. If we want more of it to manifest, we simply need a greater understanding, or revelation of that life.

“I pray that the glorious Father, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know Christ better. Then you will have deeper insight. You will know the confidence that he calls you to have and the glorious wealth that God’s people will inherit,” Ephesians 1:17-18 (GW)

The key to living the God-kind of life is understand that all of it is already within you.  Pray and ask your heavenly Father for a greater understanding.  You’ll find that with greater understanding comes greater manifestation.

Fear of Failure

Fear-of-Failure-Stops-us-from-living-quote-photo-from-unsplash-by-mitchellensinkOne of the greatest fears in the world is the fear of failure.

The fear of failure stops us from living life the way God intended. It causes us to settle for jobs that are below our potential.  This fear keeps us from becoming the husband or wife that we know we could be.  It causes us to place our real dreams on the shelf.  We are so certain that we’re going to fail that we never step out at all.

If we are controlled and manipulated by fear, then we are living below God’s standard. Jesus died and rose again to save us and give us an abundant life, a life that overflows.

“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows),” John 10:10 (Amp)

The love of God unlocks this overflowing life.

Love-of-God-Unlocks-quote-photo-from-unsplash-by-gilibenitaWhen we accept the truth that God loves us perfectly and allow that truth to be the foundation of our life, then fear will have no say.

“There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror,” 1 John 4:18 (Amp)

Fear’s voice in our head tells us to be self-seeking, because everyone and everything else is against us.  It will say that we should get all that we can for ourselves and give nothing away, so we aren’t left empty-handed.  When we are controlled by fear we fail.  We are selfish in our jobs and our relationships.  We never give them the chance to be what God wants them to be. Living this way is no life at all and will lead to a lonely and spare existence that falls tragically short of God’s design.

Love will always lead to be self-sacrificing and generous with all that we have.

Love will remind us that what we think is “ours” is actually God’s and is meant to be a blessing to others, not hoarded for ourselves. This will lead to us to flourish at work and at home. We won’t have to worry about failing because we know that God loves us and is on our side.

“Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end],” 1 Corinthians 13:8a (AMP).

Ministry at Angelus Temple, Church of the Dream Center

Angelus Temple Logo

“Thinking Right”

Message at Angelus Temple, church home of the Dream Center in Los Angeles, CA on Thursday, February 9

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Angelus Temple and with Pastors Matthew and Caroline Barnett.  What an incredible church led by amazing Pastors.  The ministry they do in the city of Los Angeles is phenomenal.  I am grateful for my friendship with them and am especially humbled by being asked to speak to their congregation.

While the Live Stream did not work due to technical difficulties, they did record the service.  Here is the message, “Thinking Right”.  Enjoy!

Let me know what you think of the message on either Facebook or Twitter. You can also share your thoughts in the comments below.

Angelus Temple Logo In November 2001, Matthew Barnett took over the leadership of Angelus Temple. Angelus Temple was opened in 1923 by Aimee Semple McPherson, and Matthew continues the legacy of reaching the lost, hurting, and oppressed. The church now reaches thousands weekly and, together, with The Dream Center, is showing how churches and outreach centers can work together to make a huge impact for God’s kingdom.barnett_family1

For more information about Angelus Temple and the Ministry of Pastors Matthew and Caroline Barnett click here.

Dream Center logoRescuing people out of poverty, homelessness, addictions, and human trafficking, The Dream Center seeks to provide hope in addition to providing empowerment to the homeless, at-risk, and underserved communities in the inner cities of Los Angeles.  They do this by providing social services, intervention programs, and most of all, the love of Christ.

 

For more information about the Dream Center click here.

Tommy Barnett PhotoTommy Barnett is an author, the senior pastor of Dream City Church (formerly Phoenix First Assembly of God), and chancellor of Southeastern University. Dream City Church has branded itself as “the church with a heart”, and has over 275 active outreach ministries.  Tommy Barnett and his son Matthew co-pastor the Los Angeles Dream Center, a Pentecostal Christian Church mission in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.

For more information about Tommy Barnett click here

I had the distinct pleasure of sharing a message called “The Real You” at Angelus Temple, church home of the Dream Center, on June 2, 2016. To watch that message click here.