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Bible Study

I love what Joseph did in each hard situation that he faced. His positive response transformed each setback into a step forward. He didn't spend much time asking why. His approach was "What shall I do now?"

 

"So Pharaoh asked his officials, " Can we find anyone else like this man so obviously filled with the spirit of God?" (Genesis 41:38, NLT) 

Joseph's story is a familiar one. As a young child, Joseph was a bragger. His natural self-assurance-increased by being Jacob's favorite son and by knowing God's will for his life-was unbearable to his ten older brothers, who eventually plotted against him.  

But this self-assurance, molded by pain and combined with a personal knowledge of God, allowed him to survive and prosper where most would have failed.  God gave him favor and he won the hearts of everyone he came in contact with-Potipher, the prison warden, other prisoners, the pharaoh, and, after many years, even those ten brothers.  

Maybe you can identify with one or more of these hardships Joseph experienced: He was betrayed and deserted by his family, exposed to sexual temptation, and punished for doing the right thing; he endured a long imprisonment and was forgotten by those he helped.  

But the thing that stands out to me in his story is his wait. According to some sources Joseph was around 17 when he was first taken to Egypt and it wasn't until he was 30 that he was placed in charge. He knew God's  plan for his life but he had to hang in there until he saw it come to pass. I'm sure things weren't happening as fast as he would have wanted them to.  

He could have been bitter. He could have given up. He could have used what he had gone through as an excuse for bad behavior but he maintained his integrity through it all.  

When you meet a person like Joseph you can't help but to ask, How were you able to maintain your integrity all of that time and through all of that adversity. I'm sure his answer would be that he had a strong trust in God and His promises. 

When you read Joseph's story it is easy to see that the Lord was in the background working things out for his good. The Lord was teaching Joseph humbleness, patience and increasing his faith.  

Perhaps Joseph had to serve before he could lead.  

God was preparing him for the great task that was ahead. The Lord does not see time the way that we do and in that we have to wait for his promises sometimes. But if we do so with integrity we will receive our reward.  

We will become an example to those around us as our testimonies  encourage others to stay in the race.  

I love what Joseph did in each hard situation that he faced. His positive response transformed each setback into a step forward. He didn't spend much time asking why. His approach was "What shall I do now?"  

Those who met Joseph were aware that wherever he went and whatever he did, God was with him and whatever you face God is with you. 

  

Joseph's Strengths and Accomplishments 

Rose in power from slave to ruler of Egypt.  

Was known for his personal integrity.  

Was a man of spiritual sensitivity. 

Prepared a nation to survive a famine.  

 

Weaknesses and Mistakes 

His youthful pride caused friction with his brothers. 

 

Lessons from his life 

What matters is not so much the events or circumstances of life, but our response to them.  

With God's help, any situation can be used for good, even when other's intend it for evil.

 

 What promise are you waiting for from God? Let's share, encourage and pray for one another. We can connect here in comments or on Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

 

(Partially adapted from The Life Application Study Bible, NLT, 2007)

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Devotional

Love is a universal word. Everyone has their own unique way of showing love. We even have our own unique way of wanting to receive love. But how we give and receive love may not necessarily line up with how God defines love.

Love is a universal word. Everyone has their own unique way of showing love. We even have our own unique way of wanting to receive love. But how we give and receive love may not necessarily line up with how God defines love. 

God is love so there is no one better to teach us.  

Times are changing and unfortunately love can be harder to recognize in our world. I know I have been off a time or two myself. 

Genuine love can be tough. It's easier to take on the ways of the world and just cut people off especially if they mistreat us and then we could concentrate our efforts on loving people that are just like us or people that have something to offer us. But thank God Christian love does not work like that.  

Christians love because Christ first loved us. We love because it draws people to us so that we can direct them to Christ, the lover of our souls.   

We love because people are created in the image of Christ and they are our brothers and sisters.  

Love is very important to the Lord. He spends a lot of time teaching about it. The Bible gives us clear characteristics of what love is and what love is not. We can refer to the Word of God and pray for guidance when love is not clear.  

I believe at some point we have all asked ourselves the question, "Is this Love?' 

 

Love suffers long and is kind. 

Love does not envy. 

Love does not parade itself. 

Love is not puffed up. 

Love does not behave rudely. 

Love does not seek its own. 

Love is not provoked. 

Love thinks not evil.  

Love does not rejoice in iniquity. 

Love does rejoice in the truth. 

Love bears all things.  

Love believes all things.  

Love hopes all things.  

Love endures all things.  

Love never fails.  

                                                                             ( 1 Corinthians 13:4-8) 

 

Love is fervent in spirit and service, strong and intense. 

Love is joyful, patient, prayerful, generous, and hospitable. 

Love blesses persecutors, refusing revenge.  

Love is compassionate and humble.  

Love is peaceable.  

Love overcomes and destroys evil.  

Love hates and abhors what is evil.  

                                                                             (Romans 12: 9-10, 11-21) 

 

(Partially adapted from The Quick Reference Guide to Biblical Counseling, Dr. Tim Clinton and Dr. Ron Hawkins, 2009)

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Bible Study

Easter reminds me of growing up in Florence, South Carolina. Easter was a big thing for us as children. Do you remember the feeling of getting those beautiful, spring colored dresses every year? Guys have to remember sitting in the barbershop all day waiting for a turn for a haircut. Boys wore sharp suits for Easter that sometimes included ties which as I recall most boys hated to wear.

Easter reminds me of growing up in Florence, South Carolina.  Easter was a big thing for us as children. Do you remember the feeling of getting those beautiful, spring colored dresses every year? Some of us got our hair done at salons which was only for special occasions. The rest of us went to a girlfriend or a family member My favorite style was candy girls.  

Guys have to remember sitting in the barbershop all day waiting for a turn for a haircut. Boys wore sharp suits for Easter that sometimes included ties which as I recall most boys hated to wear.   

We also had to prepare to get up in front of everyone at church to say our Easter speeches. My favorite one was, "I just came to say Happy Easter Day." It's obvious that it was my favorite because it was short. I was nervous every year getting up in front of everyone.  

Today many people seem to get the same feeling around Easter time. You see people shopping for spring colored dresses and suits. The hair salons and barber shops are full and parents are now running around to purchase these same things for their own children.  

Easter is also one of the busiest days of the year for churches. The pews are full of people that don't normally attend. This is a wonderful blessing. Pastors exclaim from pulpits all over the world that "Jesus has Risen." Many go and enjoy their Easter dinner afterward and wait for the excitement of next year.  

These are all beautiful traditions but before, during and after all of this is done we have to continue to remember something or even better someone.   

We have to remember the Lord.  

This seems obvious but it isn't always. Let's use this time to re-examine our lives. The Lord overcame the grave and He lives. We can overcome those things in our own lives that are dead and divert our attention to the things that add life.   

I pray that Easter and the scriptures below encourage you to make a decision today to do something new for the Lord. He has probably already put it on your heart. Solomon does a beautiful job in these verses of reminding us to remember the Lord before we are too old to give Him our best years.  

 

(Ecclesiastes 12:1-7, NIV). 

Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, "I find no pleasure in them"--  

before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars grow dark, and the clouds return after the rain;  

when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men stoop, when the grinders cease because they are few, and those looking through the windows grow dim;  

when the doors to the street are closed and the sound of grinding fades; when men rise up at the sound of birds, but all their songs grow faint; 

when men are afraid of heights and of dangers in the streets; when the almond tree blossoms and the grasshopper drags himself along and desire no longer is stirred. Then man goes to his eternal home and mourners go about the streets.  

Remember him--before the silver cord is severed, or the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, or the wheel broken at the well,  

and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

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General

I read a devotional last week where Stormie Omartian talked about the three-word prayer that God loves. She discussed the early years of her marriage and how when there was conflict between her and her husband she would sometimes pray that the Lord would change him. God knows I've been there. Have you?

By: Ann

God Said, I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none. Ezekiel 22:30 (NIV)

I read a devotional last week where Stormie Omartian talked about the three-word prayer that God loves. She discussed the early years of her marriage and how when there was conflict between her and her husband she would sometimes pray that the Lord would change him. God knows I've been there. Have you?

God he won't do this and God he won't do that. Thank God for teaching.

Eventually Stormie said that God revealed to her through her prayers that there were things that needed to change in her. Then she discovered the three-word prayer: Change me, Lord.

This was one of the things that I read that the Lord used to inspire me to look at where I was tearing down my own marriage and ways that I could build it up.

She hit it on the head when she stated that some of us get angry at the thought that it could be us and not someone else that needs to change.

Ironically, Stormie's husband's name is Michael and my husband's name is Michael also. I remember thinking to myself the Lord really went out of His way to let me know that He was talking to me. The statement that really stuck to me was when she wrote, "One of the greatest gifts I could give to Michael was the gift of my own wholeness. One of the most effective tools in seeing transformation in his life was my own transformation."

We have to ask ourselves, "What needs to change in us so that we can start the building process"?

Frankly, my marriage and family is not just about me and what I want or need. I want my marriage to be a Godly example to my sons and daughters. My husband and I did not have an example of a Godly marriage growing up. He was raised by his single grandmother and I was raised by my widowed grandfather.  But we are not letting that be an excuse because we have Christ and he is the one that ordained marriage in the first place. 

As we cast the cares of our marriages on Christ and trust him to fix us and our spouses we can build each other up and not tear each other down. This can apply to all relationships even those outside of marriage.

Some of the ways that I intend to build and not tear down are:

I will be intentional in watching for any behaviors that tear down my relationship in my words and actions.

I will pray and ask the Holy Spirit to bring these things to my attention if they occur.

I will post scriptures that inspire me to build up my house where I can see them.

I will inspire other sisters in Christ with my words and through my Godly example. 

 

Let's Pray:

Father, we thank you that you are our greatest example of what a Godly marriage should be like. We give ourselves to you along with our marriages, families and all other relationships. Help us to build up what you have given us and not tear it down with our own hands. Thank you for the gifts of husbands, children, families and friends. We love you, bless you and will honor you in all that we do. In Jesus Name, Amen.

 

Getting It in our Spirit:

What is the Lord showing you that you need to work on through your relationships? Is it unforgiveness, complaining or impatience?  Like Stormie, let's examine ourselves and ask the Lord to change us. Join the conversation on Facebook where you can share scripture that inspire you to build your house and encourage others.

Scriptures:

Proverbs 31: 10-12, "A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing in value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life." (NIV)

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General

Living your calling requires you to recognize and overcome your own set of obstacles-your personal calling blockers. The extreme adventure of your calling requires courage, resourcefulness, and willingness to confront new and unfamiliar challenges.

You can work toward living on purpose no matter where you are in life with the Lord's help and direction.

In the book, Live Your Calling, by Kevin and Kay Marie Brennfleck, the authors explain that living your calling is possible only if you are willing to hear God's summons and respond in spite of perceived risk.

Living your passion requires you to recognize and overcome your own set of obstacles-your personal calling blockers. The extreme adventure of your calling requires courage, resourcefulness, and willingness to confront new and unfamiliar challenges.

Here are some of the main blockers and strategies to overcome them. 

Conquering the "Calling Blockers"

Fear-Strategies for Overcoming Fear

  1. Stay focused on your personal mission statement.

  2. Practice affirming Biblical truths.

  3. Don't expect perfection from yourself.

  4. Ask for support.

 

Money-Strategies for Developing a Biblical perspective on money.

  1. Exercise an attitude of gratitude.

  2. Practice Biblical stewardship of your money.

  3. Develop a "Kingdom Vision" for your life.

 

Busyness-Strategies for living as called people, and not driven.

  1. Scrutinize and re-create your schedule.

  2. Take a daily vacation.

  3. Commit your activities to God.

 

Negative Thinking-Strategies for taking charge of your attitude.

  1. Change your self-talk.

  2. Share your God-sized callings with Balcony people.

 

Childhood Wounds-Strategies for healing past hurts.

  1. Learn more about the type of trauma you experienced.

  2. Connect with others who understand your experience.

  3. Get to know the one who loves you most.

 

Going it Alone-Strategies for getting connected in Christian community.

  1. Connect with others.

  2. Get involved at church.

 

Adapted from Live Your Calling by Kevin and Kay Marie Brennfleck. 

 

 

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Personal Growth

Did you know that you can start over? I guess I always knew that I could but I lost sight of it. I forgot that "another chance" is really what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about. As the Christian cliché states we are not just afforded a second chance but another chance.

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone now; a new life has begun! (2 Cor, 5:17 NLT)

Did you know that you can start over?  I guess I always knew that I could but I lost sight of it. I forgot that "another chance" is really what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about. As the Christian cliché states we are not just afforded a second chance but another chance.

Recently I had given up on some of my dreams or maybe I didn't really give up but I did stop. These are things that I love to do and some of them are even gifts from the Lord.  These dreams include things like school, singing and even this blog.

Why did I stop? Because they are harder to achieve than I thought, because I failed at some of them once and I failed at some of them multiple times, because I started comparing where I am with other people, and because I felt like too much time has passed already and things are just taking too long.

While I was spending time feeling sorry for myself instead of praying the enemy slipped in with some suggestions like failure means give up, failure means this is not for me and failure means these dreams are for those that are better qualified.

What was he trying to accomplish? He wanted to kill, steal and destroy what the Lord has placed in me.

The truth is I could give up and let go but my desire to do something great for God is as Jeremiah stated, like fire in my bones.

  -  But if I say I'll never mention the Lord or speak His name, his word burns in my heart like a fire. It is like fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in! I can't do it! (Jer. 20:9, NLT).

Even as I think about Easter, I think of Christ dying and how He rose again, and for what? So that we can have another chance and I have been one that has needed many, many chances.

So again I have asked for forgiveness and I am starting again.

You can start over again too. If you have had a setback or if some of your opportunities have expired, be open to new opportunities. God will open doors for you as you follow His will.

Don't lose patience in the process. As Joyce Meyer writes in her book, You Can Begin Again, "Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever you've been through, it's never too late to begin again."

Some of the biblical examples of what she calls, "fresh starts" include:

-Far from his potential, wandering on the back side of the desert, Moses is called to lead a nation. Fresh Start!

-A victim of her reputation, known only as a harlot, Rahab is rescued and given a noble name in the lineage of Christ. Fresh Start!

-Stuck in a dead end job tending sheep, David is anointed to be King of Israel. Fresh Start!

-Widowed, alone, and with nowhere to go, Ruth is given a brand-new, better-than-imagined life. Fresh Start!

-Ashamed, having given in to fear and denied the Lord, Peter is forgiven and inspired to preach at the Pentecost. Fresh Start!

-Caught in a trap of dead religion, persecuting the early Christians, Paul is transformed and called to write much of the New Testament. Fresh Start!

What gifts we have as Christians-grace, mercy, forgiveness, love and the chance to start again.

 

Prayer

Father, we say thank you that we are afforded another chance. You have given us gifts that are worth more than anything we will ever be given in this lifetime. Help us to remember not to give up on the gifts that you have placed within us and Father if we fall remind us to get back up and start again. We love you.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

 

Scripture

Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up. (2 Cor. 4:1, NLT)

 

Reflection

Consider the wonderful gifts, talents and skills that Christ has given you. Thank Him and find a way to use them for His Glory. 

 

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General

Have you ever had one of those days at work where it seemed that everything you touch goes wrong? Maybe it has been more than a day, maybe a week even or God forbid it seems to happen all of the time.
As an entrepreneur when I fall short at work there is no one to blame but me. For now I am a one woman show. One of the hardest things I have found in being a business owner is separating what I do from who I am.

                                                                                                                                                                                            

By Ann Gant

You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. (Isaiah 26:3, NKJV)

Have you ever had one of those days at work where it seemed that everything you touch goes wrong? Maybe it has been more than a day, maybe a week even or God forbid it seems to happen all of the time.

It hurts doesn't it? To feel like you have done your best but still somehow you have missed the mark. Even worse is when other people know that you have been messing up at work. What will they think? What are they saying?  What are you saying or thinking about yourself?

As an entrepreneur when I fall short at work there is no one to blame but me. For now I am a one woman show. One of the hardest things I have found in being a business owner is separating what I do from who I am.

What makes this even harder is when I run into an issue at work and the enemy of my soul comes shouting negatives sometimes by way of other people and sometimes by way of me.

He tells me that I should give up and throw in the towel. After all if I'll do this all of my stress will go away instantly. Ah, no fear, no stress, no insecurity, no worries about what the clients think about my work, no worries about if they will keep sending me work or not.

I can almost feel the phony peace the enemy offers.

But then I come to myself and hear that there is another voice speaking, my Heavenly Father and His message acknowledges that I fall short sometimes and more than sometimes on occasion. But He doesn't condemn. He says don't be discouraged or give up but pay attention to the lessons.

He is trying to teach me something but I'll miss it if I spend all my time sobbing or beating myself up.

The lesson at work this week for me was a simple remedy. I am creating a checklist that will enable me to double check each package that I send to my clients with all of the things that I have missed and could possibly miss.

So as a liar does the enemy lied to me and would have liked me to believe that giving up was the only option. He has tried to tell me this in other areas of my life including my children and my marriage. If it were left up to him I would just give up on everything God has blessed me with because ultimately he wants me to give up on God.

Overall, I am learning to trust God in and with my business even through my mistakes. In the past it has been easier for me to offer forgiveness to others in areas where they fall short while offering none for myself.

The mistakes remind me that I am human and need God always and in everything I do. They also get my attention to the point that I learn how to tighten things up so I can get ready for the next phase.

The peace the enemy offered wasn't real peace at all. To give up and let go would be a phony, cowardly way out.

The peace of God allows me to work through failures or issues and to come out wiser and stronger.

You will hear me say over and over again that only God can meet our deepest need. We can't find our worth in businesses, marriages, kids, material things or wealth. People and things will fail us at some point but who we are in Christ and His love for us lives forever.

PRAYER

Father, we thank you for giving us real peace through our circumstances. We thank you that we can find our worth in you. Help us to look to you always whether in failure or triumphs. In Jesus Name, Amen.

SCRIPTURES

Isaiah 26:12 NKJV

Lord, You will establish peace for us, For You have also done all our works in us.

John 8:44 NKJV

You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

 

 

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General

The wise woman builds her house; a foolish woman tears hers down with her own hands. Proverbs 14:1 (NLT). The first woman is described as wise because she builds her house but the second woman is called foolish because she tears down her house with her own hands. Wow, she tears down her own house with her own hands. I wonder does she realize. I didn't.


By: Ann

The wise woman builds her house; a foolish woman tears hers down with her own hands. Proverbs 14:1 (NLT)

Have you ever heard the phrase, "cutting off your nose to spite your face" I heard this phrase often as I child. It was used mostly by older people when they wanted to describe someone acting against themselves.

The latter part of the verse in Proverbs 14:1 reminded me of this saying. The first woman is described as wise because she builds her house but the second woman is called foolish because she tears down her house with her own hands. Wow, she tears down her own house with her own hands. I wonder does she realize. I didn't.

Mathew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible gives this description of Proverbs 14:1:

A good wife is a great blessing to a family. By a fruitful wife a family is multiplied and replenished with children, and so built up. But by a prudent wife, one that is pious, industrious, and considerate, the affairs of the family are made to prosper, debts are paid, portions raised, provision made, the children well educated and maintained, and the family has comfort within doors and credit without; thus is the house built. She looks upon it as her own to take care of, though she knows it is her husband's to bear rule in, Esth. 1:22 . Many a family is brought to ruin by ill housewifery, as well as by ill husbandry. A foolish woman, that has no fear of God nor regard to her business, that is wilful, and wasteful, and humoursome, that indulges her ease and appetite, and is all for jaunting and feasting, cards and the play-house, though she come to a plentiful estate, and to a family beforehand, she will impoverish and waste it, and will as certainly be the ruin of her house as if she plucked it down with her hands; and the husband himself, with all his care, can scarcely prevent it.

As I have been seeking God on how to be a better wife He helped me to realize through studying scripture that I have been guilty at times of being the foolish wife.  I have been guilty of tearing down my house with my own hands (Ouch Lord!).

Sometimes I tear down my own house by doing my own thing therein going against what my husband and I agreed upon.

Sometimes I tear it down by spending too much money.

Sometimes I tear it down by letting my emotions control my actions and the words that I speak are negative and they do not build or uplift my family.

Sometimes I tear it down by constantly complaining instead of speaking life into my husband, children my family circumstances, those around me and even myself.

I have justified my behavior by expecting understanding because it is that time of the month or because I should be easier to put up with since people know this is just the way that I am and I don't mean any harm

Or I believe if he would just…or if they would just…

I believe we even  tear down our houses and marriages when we hold out on making love to our husbands to get them to do what we want them to do or to punish them.

Are you a builder of your house or do you tear down? As wives we have to build up our homes. We are responsible for standing in the gap for our husbands and families by being women of prayer and by being Godly examples in our homes.

I know that this is hard sometimes because we feel like our needs are not being met and so much is expected of us, but we can find strength in our relationship with Christ and by encouraging each other. Remember we cannot expect any one in this life to fill our every need. They can't do it for us and we can't do it for them. Only God can satisfy our souls.

Let's Pray:

Father, please help us to be women and wives that build up our homes and not tear them down. Help us to remember to look to you for the deepest needs of our souls. We love and honor you. In Jesus Name, Amen.

 

Getting It in Your Spirit:

Let's ask the Lord to search our hearts and reveal to us any things that we may be doing that tears down our homes. Write these things in your journal and ask the Lord for forgiveness. Then listen as he speaks to your heart with ways to be wise and build up your family. Join the conversation on Facebook where you can share ways that you build your house.

Scriptures:

Read Proverbs 31. Use this woman's description as an example and to inspire. 

I Corinthians 10:24, "Let no one seek his own, but each one the other's well-being." (NKJV)

Psalm 139:23, "Search me, O God, and know my heart, try me, and know my anxieties." (NKJV)

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General

But Lots wife looked back and she became a pillar of salt. Genesis 19:26 (NIV, 1984)
What are you leaving behind in 2013? Are you excited about the things that God is going to do through you in 2014? I pray that you are. Letting go of something that is familiar can be pretty hard.


By: Ann

But Lots wife looked back and she became a pillar of salt. Genesis 19:26 (NIV, 1984)

What are you leaving behind in 2013? Are you excited about the things that God is going to do through you in 2014? I pray that you are. Letting go of something that is familiar can be pretty hard. Some people experienced big changes in their lives on many levels last year. Loved ones were lost and some people walk into the New Year not feeling completely whole. Many people lost their jobs and are asking themselves what they should do now. Things use to be so familiar and comfortable.

One of the hardest things I'm letting go of is comfort. You may be thinking that comfort does not necessarily sound like a bad thing. Well in my case it is. I am addicted to comfort. 

The problem that I am having is in order to follow my dreams and walk in the calling I believe God has for me in this season of my life I have to step out and get a little uncomfortable. You see the Lord is calling me to a higher purpose. At one point I was struggling to get there because I was caught up in fear. I have always been a dreamer but I was always reluctant to take actions on my dreams.

One of my biggest dreams includes having my own business. I whispered a prayer to God when I was still working at my old job and when I got laid off He allowed it to come to pass. I don't even remember the day that I realized that I was actually walking in my dream but when I did for some reason it scared me to death.

I started looking for my comfort zone. God knows me so well that I am sure that he blocked all of my efforts to go back. He did this with Lots wife also. All she knew was destroyed so she would never be able to go back. He commanded her and all that were with her not to look back but she did and the result was she was turned to a pillar of salt.

 I thank God that the Lord did not turn me into a pillar of salt but He did understand where I was then so He used the situation as a teaching moment. He knew that if things got difficult I would look for the easier route. I would try to go back to what was familiar.

 I am not sure if I was afraid of success or more afraid of failure but I might have well have been turned into a pillar of salt because like Lot's wife I was becoming paralyzed by own fear, doubt and insecurity. I stopped moving forward.

How did I know that God was trying to teach me something in this situation? Before I lost my job at the end of 2012 and I whispered the prayer to have my own business to God employers were calling often. I had gone on several interviews and all of a sudden it all stopped.

I started working my business directly after I left my old position but then when I started getting clients fear and doubt set in. I allowed the voices of doubt to become louder in my mind than the Lord's voice. I traded in truth like, God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind for lies like, "you're not smart enough to do this so give it up now before your clients find out that you are not competent."

Like Lots' wife I began to look for what I knew. I remembered that when I worked corporate it was the supervisor's responsibility if someone had a complaint. I always knew how much my check was going to be based on a 40 hour work week.  My employer provided work for me, now I have to go out and look for work myself. What if I messed up so bad that I lost all of my clients? What if I failed?

But the Lord has blessed me to know that my reluctance to chase after my calling was not just about not wanting to get out of my comfort zone but it was more so about fear and a lack of trust in God and His love for me. It was like saying that I thought the Lord would give me gifts but not give me what I needed to operate in them.

For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Romans 11:29 (NKJV)

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.  I John 4:18 (NKJV)

My fears and doubts were tormenting me and keeping me from the blessings that God had for me.

So going into 2014 I can't look back. I am leaving behind fear, past failures, doubt and anything else that keeps me from following my dreams and operating in my gifts. I pray that you will join me.

 

Prayer:

Father, we thank you so much that you have not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. Help us to walk in the power that you have given us. Help us to depend on your love that will help us keep a sound mind when things become challenging as we pursue our callings. We will not run away from our gifts but we will work toward them giving you glory in everything we do. In Jesus Name, Amen.

 

Reflection:

So what about you? What are you leaving behind in 2013? What dreams and purpose has the Lord given you to focus on in 2014? Say a prayer asking God for direction for your purpose and the courage to pursue them. I would love to hear what dreams the Lord has placed in your heart for 2014 or if you have already realized your dream you can leave a comment to encourage others. You can also join the conversation on Facebook.

Scriptures:

Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Ephesians 4:1 (NLT)

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General

I wish that my words could express all that the Lord has been to me. He has shown up as each of the names that He is called in His Word and then so much more.
I affectionally call Him Father because the Bible told me that even though I have never known or seen even a picture of my earthly father, He is a father to the fatherless.

 

I wish that my words could express all that the Lord has been to me. He has shown up as each of the names that He is called in His Word and then so much more.

I call Him Father because the Bible told me that even though I have never known or seen even a picture of my earthly father, He is a father to the fatherless.

Some have called Him...

Elohim - which means God- refers to God's power and might. He is the only supreme and true God. (Genesis 1.1; Numbers 23:19; Psalm 19:1)

Yahweh- The Lord -The proper name of the divine person. (Genesis 2:4, Exodus 6:2, 3)

El Elyon- God Most High-He is above all gods; nothing in life is more sacred. (Genesis 14:17-20, Numbers 24:16; Psalm 7:17; Isaiah 14:13, 14)

El Roi- God Who Sees- God oversees all creation and the affairs of people. (Genesis 16:13)

El Shaddai- God Almighty- God is all-powerful. (Genesis 17:1; Psalm 91:1)

Yahweh Yireh- The Lord Will Provide-God will provide our real needs. (Genesis 22:13, 14)

Yahweh Nissi- The Lord is My Banner- We should remember God for helping us. (Exodus 17:15)

Adonai- Lord- God alone is the head over all. (Deuteronomy 6:4)

Yahweh Elohe Yisrael- Lord God of Israel- He is the God of the nation. (Judges 5:3; Psalm 59:5; Isaiah 17:6; Zephaniah 2:9)

Yahweh Shalom- The Lord of Peace- God gives us peace so we need not fear. (Judges 6:24)

Qedosh Yisrael- Holy One of Israel- God is morally perfect. (Isaiah 1:4)

Yahweh Sabaoth- Lord of Hosts (Hosts refers to armies but also to all the heavenly powers.) God is our Savior and protector. (1 Samuel 1:3; Isaiah 6:1-3)

El Olam- The Everlasting God- God is eternal. He will never die. (Isaiah 40: 28-31)

Yahweh Tsidkenu- The Lord is our Righteousness- God is our standard for right behavior. He alone can make us righteous. (Jeremiah 23:6; 33:16)

Yahweh Shammah- The Lord is There- God is always present with us. (Ezekiel 48:35)

Attiq Yomin- Ancient of Days- God is the ultimate authority. He will one day judge all nations. (Daniel 7: 9, 13)

These names capture some of what the Bible says the Lord is but what has the Lord been to you or  what name do you most identify with ?

 

(Partially adapted from the Life Application Study Bible NLT)

 

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