Romans 7:18 “I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.”
There’s no such thing as self-help in God’s kingdom. If self-help was as effective as its promoted to be, we wouldn’t have needed Jesus Christ to die in our place and rise again conquering sin, Satan and death. We all can identify things in our minds, hearts and lives that we’d like to change. Many of us search for answers in the strategies of human reason than the power of the Holy Spirit. The reality is our will is limited in its ability to bring sustainable and permanent change to our hearts. Stop trying to change yourself by your own will and just start following Jesus. When you surrender to Jesus as your Lord, and you start to follow him out of relationship, transformation is a natural byproduct of the work of the Spirit’s power in your life. Paul said to the Romans, “If you live according to the flesh you will die but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons (and daughters) of God.” Selah!
Acts 3:6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”
The context of this event in Scripture is the profound momentum of the early church. Souls are being saved, lives are being changed and miracles are a common occurrence. Two key church leaders, Peter and John are walking to the temple at the hour of prayer when they encounter a lame beggar, asking for money. Peter responds, (paraphrase) “I don’t have any money on me but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ, rise up and walk.” Peter acknowledges what he doesn’t have but simply gives out of the 4 things he does have: 1) A revelation of the name of Jesus Christ; 2) The anointing of the Holy Spirit; 3) Faith for healing; 4) A love for people. Peter possessed something far more valuable than riches, he owned a tangible faith in Jesus Christ. Money would have sustained the beggar temporarily but what Peter passed on transformed this man’s life forever. You can only pass onto others what you own for yourself. Frustration arises when we try to pass on what we haven’t cultivated in our lives. Too often we see needs around us but lack the resource material or spiritual to help the situation. Rather than letting these moments go by passively, we need to adopt a posture of personal growth in God to become a solution to someone else’s problem. You can’t lead others where you haven’t gone and you can’t help bring transformation in others where you haven’t grown in authority to do so. I encourage you to grow in a revelation of who Jesus is and what his name can do in people’s lives. Spend time in prayer and grow in a greater measure of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Increase your faith through hearing God’s Word and be ready and willing to reach out to others through practical demonstrations of God’s love. Explosive Insights!
Proverbs 13:11 Wealth gained hastily will dwindle but whoever gathers little by little will increase it. Many of us want to increase ‘much by much’ but for the majority of us, this isn’t the reality of how we grow. Most of us experience increase in life one increment at a time. It’s the day in and day out of pursuing the basics that brings ultimate increase and fruitfulness to our lives. Little by little may not be sexy but it works. As the old adage says, “you eat an elephant one bite at a time.” Break your big goals down into small steps and tackle them little by little. Whether it be a financial goal, like purchasing your first house or a fitness goal, like running a marathon, you have to begin with the end in mind and then work backwards, tackling your goal, little by little. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish by doing little by little, day in and day out. You will build momentum and what may seem slow at the start will eventually become an avalanche. Don’t be hasty and don’t be impatient. Focus your energy on building your life little by little!
We are a culture enamored with changing the external, thinking if we change our jobs, image and relationships that our lives will be happier. We have TV shows that promote this ideology and the web is saturated with images and stories of people who proclaim to be happier because they lost weight, made a million dollars or bought their dream car. Whilst being healthy, prospering and achieving life goals are admirable and meaningful pursuits by themselves, they might only make you 10% happier at best. Real change happens from the inside out. Romans 12:2 exhorts us to not be conformed to the pattern of this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. As we meditate upon those things that are godly, excellent and life giving, our minds are renewed to think like our creator and our spirits come into alignment with Gods perspective on our lives. If you desire an extreme makeover in 2016, begin with renewing your mind with the truth of Gods Word and you will discover you’ll be happier far beyond anything this world can offer you.
Colossians 3:2 “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
A new year brings with it new hopes and resolutions. The truth is by Feb 1 most people’s new year resolutions are discarded for the onslaught of everyday demands. Don’t let this be you. The bible exhorts us to put off the old self and put on the new self, patterned after Christ. If you are going to embrace the new you in 2015, you need to pay attention to your thoughts. Where the mind goes, the body follows. What is your mind predominately preoccupied with? Faith, hope and love or doubt, fear and hate. The bible exhorts us to focus our minds on the things that are above and not on the things that are below. Millions of people are unhappy and unfulfilled because they only ever look horizontally around them at the things this world is preoccupied with but God is inviting us to get a vertical perspective on life by looking heavenward and seeing life from Gods perspective. Don’t struggle in your strength to put off the old self but ask for Gods help to empower you to be the new you in 2015!
John 15:2 “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes.”
This is a challenging statement from Jesus. His words are a call to be proactive about our personal growth. A dead branch doesn’t produce anything worthwhile to anyone and will be removed. A fruitful branch will be cut back and pruned in its season in order for more fruitfulness to come. Either way, we’re going to get cut. We may as well get cut for bring fruitful and not for being fruitless.
I refuse to be fruitless. Refusing fruitlessness means I intentionally position myself to grow. Someone once said, you only grow according to the books you read, the places you visit and the people you meet. I think there are other ways for growth to occur but these three are a great starting place. What books are you reading? Which new places are you visiting and studying? And who are the people you are posturing yourself in front of to receive from? God is committed to your fruitfulness and the extension of his kingdom. Be intentional, be prepared for pruning and be ready for greater fruitfulness in your life.
The condition of your heart will determine the content of your mouth. You can only keep quiet on what you really think and feel for so long until the volcano erupts and someone eavesdrop’s in on what is really going on in your personal world. If you want to change the content of your talk, you must allow God to change the theme of your heart. When God changes your heart, his desires become your desires, his thoughts become your thoughts, his ways become your ways and his words become your words.
Charles Spurgeon once said, “The burning heart will soon find for itself a flaming tongue.” When your heart burns for God, your words will ignite and inspire passion in others.
As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. (Proverbs 23:7)
You might have heard the saying, “You are what you eat”. Helpful advice but not as helpful as “You are what you think”. Your thoughts determine the outcome of your life. Thoughts lead to words, words lead to actions, actions lead to habits, habits form character and character informs your destiny. Your destiny is shaped by where your thoughts are taking you. If you don’t like where your thoughts are taking you, it’s time to think another thought. True but not easy. There’s so much cultural noise around us that reforming our thought life is no easy task. We must enter into Gods exchange program, old thoughts need to be replaced with new thoughts. Take stock of the most consistent and dominant thoughts in your mind and if they aren’t promoting God and his purpose for you, replace them with promises from Gods Word. When doubt enters your mind, replace that thought with, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. When fear enters your mind, replace it with, “I have not been given a spirit of fear, but power, love and self-control”. The most important discipline you can develop is the renewal of your mind because your thoughts control your life.
“That which we have seen and heard we proclaim.” (1 John 1:3)
John the Apostle speaks and tells us that he doesn’t borrow someone else’s testimony to inform his proclamation but he preaches from a first-hand eyewitness account of encounter with God. John, along with the other disciples were ministering out of their personal experience of Jesus and we should do so as well. I can’t be effective in someone else’s revelation but I can be authentic and effective if I am speaking out of something that I have personally encountered along the journey of my relationship with Jesus. Power is imparted to people when it flows from a first hand revelation, not second or third hand. Hearing other’s stories is inspirational and helpful but living an adventure and telling others your story is powerful. First hand revelation requires us to grow in awareness of what God’s saying to us and what we are learning along the way. We are called to be a witness of what God has worked into our lives so that others may come into their own personal encounter with God!
And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place and there he prayed. Mark 1:35
What do you do first thing in the morning? This is a question I’ve often asked different people over the years. I’ve been very interested in how people answer this question because I’ve been a long term believer in what you do in the morning hours sets up your entire day. I want to encourage you to rethink your morning routine. Too often I see, one of two extremes, either chaos or lethargy define people’s morning routines but there is a third option = A sustainable rhythm that invigorates you and makes you feel like whatever else you do today, you’ve already accomplished so much. Jesus modeled to all of us a healthy morning routine that set him and his ministry up for the day. He spent time in his Fathers presence before allowing the busyness of life overtake him. I encourage you to focus on 1 of 3 things in the morning hours. One is developing yourself, another is developing your relationships and the third is developing your career.
Developing yourself can look like exercise, prayer, bible reading, book reading, meditation or anything else that centers you and gets you a healthy body, mind and spirit.
Developing your relationships can look like making family breakfast time an opportunity to chat and get closer to family members. It can also look like meeting up with a close friend or work colleague for a coffee at a cool cafe and just chatting.
Developing your career can look like reading in your field, writing a blog or book, scanning news and reports, formal study or anything that will help you improve in your field.
It’s time to seize the day by seizing your morning hours. What you do from 6am-9am everyday can make or break your day. Don’t just settle to be a night owl. Body rhythms and sleep cycles will all benefit from making the shift to a morning routine. This is what successful people do to set up their day.