This Is The Day

Palm Sunday occurs every year on the Sunday before Easter. Today, we remember Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The account is  in all four of the gospels. Jesus entered the city, knowing that he was going to be tried, and then crucified. But, he also knew he would be raised from the grave to save us from sin. Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week or Passion Week, which is the remembrance of the last days of Jesus..One third of the Gospel writings concern this last week of Jesus’ life on earth. This week, Jesus visited friends in Bethany on Saturday. Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead, held a dinner to honor the One who performed this miracle. During the event, Lazarus’ sister Mary worshiped Jesus, anointing his feet. She worshiped, not caring who was watching or what people thought about what she was doing. This woman was so thrilled with what Jesus had done in her life and for her family, that she took her most prized possession, perfume that was worth a fortune, and poured it all out for him.

The following day was Sunday. This was Palm Sunday, March 30 in the year 33 AD. This date was prophesied in Zechariah 9 and in Daniel 9. The crowd shouted “Hosanna!” which is a phrase directly from Psalm 118. They were crying “Lord save us!” in verse 25. In the previous verse, we find that THIS WAS THE DAY that the Lord has made. This phrase specifically speaks of this day and prophecy is precise, 173,880 days from March 5, 444 BC when the king gave the decree to rebuild Jerusalem. Palm Sunday was not just another day, but was prophesied hundreds of years before to bear witness to King Jesus.Most thought Jesus came to deliver them from the oppressions of Rome. But according to Daniel 9, he was going to come on this appointed day and there would be a celebration, but after that the Messiah  would be cut off. In 33 AD, inattentive of the prophecies of old but fulfilling them nonetheless, the Pharisees saw the popularity he had gained and resolved to destroy him. God’s word reveals such great truths in every part of the story. As we spend time considering these scriptures, they draw us closer toward Christ and remind us that he indeed is King.Many biblical prophecies were fulfilled during this week. Jesus came to earth to save humanity by dying on the cross on Good Friday (Passover) and resurrecting on Easter Sunday. By doing what he did, he swung the gates of heaven open, allowing our sins to be forgiven and ushering in the presence of God. Until then it was impossible for humans to be good enough to be in the presence of God, and be forgiven for our sins. Old Testament sacrifices were used to cover sin by the Jewish people, but Jesus was the perfect sacrifice once and for all, including Gentiles. He went to the cross out of his great love for you and for me so that we could stand in the presence of God.

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Talk About Trust

Today, I want to talk to you about trusting the process. Do you have kids? Things change rapidly with kids. Sometimes it feels like you are in a place where nothing will ever change. You have a two year old that throws a fit about everything. But give it two weeks. Things will change. Maybe you have an eight year old who is so enjoyably pleasant and cooperative. But…give it two weeks! Things WILL change. Life can be crazy. Sometimes we fight the process. We kick against the goads I’ve heard it said. But we need to trust the process.Trust is being able to have a sense of security and confidence when dealing with someone. For instance, I trust the team I work with. We’ve built trust together. We’ve supported each other and helped each other; we’ve prayed for each other and celebrated together. We’ve learned together and we are growing together. Trust is built by having the ability to predict that someone will act in a specific way and be dependable. When you have walked through life together, you learn what to expect from those you are walking through life with. 

As a young father, I have seen my two year old take a flying leap off his changing table, fully confident I will catch him. However, my eight year old has more experience. She is not as trusting. She wants to fly with all abandon like her little brother, but she will ask me to get closer and closer until she can touch my shoulder and then gently shifts her weight into my arms. Do you believe God is aware enough and strong enough to catch you when you leap? Maybe you hesitate to jump. It takes guts. Are you an entrepreneur? I admire you! Do you believe God will catch you? Maybe you will jump when you can feel God’s hand on you, when you feel God is closer. God will catch you, every time. There is a story in Judges 6 about a man named Gideon who began to trust God and then became trustworthy of God. It is a story of Gideon vs the vast army of the Ammonites. Gideon was desperate. The Israelites were on a downward spiral of sin. They would turn their backs on God, begin to sin and would lose the blessings and covering of God. Then they would repent, begin walking again with God, get comfortable in His protection, and then get lax and begin sinning again. In this passage, we find Gideon in this pit, desperate and poverty stricken. An angel shows up and calls him a mighty warrior. He tells Gideon that the Lord is with him! Gideon wasn’t sure he could trust this word because his people were in such dire need. Gideon had to learn to trust the process and do things God’s way. 

You know in your own heart if you trust God. There was a battle in Gideon’s life in addition to the battle with the armies of the Ammonites. Gideon had a battle within. He had to learn to trust God. He tested God but then, God tested him. Gideon amassed an army of 32,000 but God told him to send 22,000 home. God tested Gideon again until Gideon was left with 300. Have you ever had a fight, been right, but oh sooooo wrong in the “process”? When we do things on our own, we’re not under the protection of the process. I always have to ask myself two questions when I'm in a fight. Is this worth it? And who will I be at the end of this fight? Gideon’s army won the battle because they did it God’s way. If they had done it in their own strength, they likely would have died, we would not be telling this story, and God would have gotten none of the glory. When you trust the process, God’s power moves. God will take you step by step. The first step is to take the first step. A good friend of mine says, “Just start.” As we step out, God’s word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105). Ask the Lord. He will speak to you. His word is alive and active, working on your behalf. The Word, for those who will work the Word. He will direct you. Confirm things through God and His Word. Trust the process. You know where you are supposed to go. Go to God first. A process is a series of actions or changes and if you want your tomorrow to look different from your today, you are going to have to do something today to make your tomorrow different. Take a step in the process. It’s not easy but it’s fruitful. Enjoy the process and endure the process.  Romans 5:3-5 describes how it will go, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”

I believe many people in the church are here to learn, work on themselves and move past the hurdles that once stopped them from accomplishing all that God has for them. But if you quit the process, you won’t see the end results. Don’t run when things get hard, press in for your future, press in for your breakthrough. Who do you want to be on the other side? God will create you into something new if you trust the process. God is working, speaking and moving. Let His Word work in you. 

Have you ever known someone who transformed themselves physically, began working out and bulked up so they looked like a different person? They have trusted the process. It’s not easy. And it won’t impact everyone the same way. But people who follow the process will get stronger and see their body be able to do things it has not been able to do before. The goal is to be a better version of yourself. The same goes for spiritual growth and strength. As you commit to discipline, to the Word and to relationships with others who can challenge you in your faith, you will become a better version of your spiritual self. In fact, we can use this process of growth and discipline in all we do - marriage, work, parenting, etc.  Gideon would have lost the battle even with 32,000 men. But God said to trust the process. He said to do it His way. Blow the horn. Crack the pots. Watch the flame, the fire of God. The enemy was so distraught that they killed themselves. Start with worship each day. Incorporate prayer & praise. Read, study and meditate on God’s Word. Get in the Presence of God. Life needs God. It’s never going to be easy. But choose to grow in an upward spiral. Take steps toward God. 

You may not be where you want to be, but if you look back, you’re not the same person that you once were. Take a deep breath and smile, God’s not done with you! It was a process for you to read this today. Maybe someone showed you this blog or told you about Motor City Church. Maybe they prayed for you. Trust the process. Are you stuck? Pray for breakthrough and vision. Dreams are Free! Get full of God. Trust the process.

Excellence Now

Today, I will continue my series about habits. I am introducing habits that we don’t often think of and this week I wanted to talk about the habit of excellence. Excellence is doing the best you can with what you’ve got. The key is to treat what you own and live your life with excellence - make it a lifestyle.

You may have noticed, it is very easy to be a mediocre person. All you have to do is make no extra effort of any kind and drift through life making no difference in the world. But if you will dare to form the habit of being excellent in all that you do, you will be a bright light in the darkness, which is exactly what God has called you to be. God is excellent and we were created in His image. So if we are to reach our full potential in Him, then we also must choose to be excellent. 

Excellence is not perfection. I read somewhere that the pursuit of excellence is gratifying and healthy, but the pursuit of perfection is frustrating, neurotic, and a waste of time. There’s a big difference. Striving for perfection can make you feel like a failure and actually, procrastination can result from being a perfectionist. Fear of falling below the expectations of people paralyzes progress. Do your best and trust God to do the rest. God wants us to always grow and make progress, but He is never angry with us because we have not yet arrived. 

To be excellent means to do a little more than you might have to do to get by. When we compromise, it means that we do less than we know is right or proper. Go the extra mile, but don’t take on more than you should in order to properly do what you’ve committed to. Making the commitment to be habitually excellent and following through on your commitments will be very rewarding. Pursuing excellence won’t be easy at first, but eventually it will become a habit.

Develop a system to pursue excellence. I suggest making five signs that simply say “excellence” and put them in places where you’ll see them several times a day. I also believe strongly in the power of verbal confession to help you form a new image of yourself. Try saying these things out loud daily, even multiple times a day. “I do what I do with excellence.” Then expand your confession. “I am an excellent person. I do my work with excellence. I take excellent care of myself and all that I own. I treat people excellently. I think excellent thoughts and I speak excellent words.”

The confessions that you make, which may be totally by faith in the beginning, will help you to remember to do things with excellence and also change how you see yourself. Once you see yourself as being excellent, it will not be a struggle to do what you do with excellence. Remember, habits are developed through repetition, so when you form the habit of excellence it will help you break the habit of mediocrity.

We know in our hearts if we are truly doing the best that we can do, if we are giving it our all. If we are not, then we should make a decision to adjust and move toward excellence. Let’s always do our best not just for significance or praise from others or for worldly promotion, but let’s do all that we can do to glorify God and live an excellent life for Him. I believe He will reward us for our excellence.

The excellence lifestyle starts small, right where you are. Put things back where you got them. Return the grocery cart to its spot in the parking lot. Pick up the trash on the floor. Excellence is a lifestyle… and I believe it’s part of a godly lifestyle.

Ask yourself…

  • How often do you compromise and take the easy way out?
  • Do you keep your commitments?
  • Do you drift along in life or are you pressing toward the best?
  • Do you always tell the truth?

I could keep adding to that list but I think you get the point that I’m trying to make. We will never get where we want to be unless we truthfully admit where we are right now. Start making the choices and facing the truth and the truth will set you free.

When we are excellent we feel better about ourselves. I found the reward of excellence is peace, peace I receive when I make an effort to do things the way they should be done and don’t compromise to do less than I know is right. 

Actions follow what we think, so we must first become excellent in our thoughts. “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8 NLT). “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7 AMPC). What kind of thoughts do you entertain? When you recognize that your thoughts are not good, do you take action to cast them out of your mind or do you just lazily let them remain? It is impossible to become an excellent person without first developing an excellent mind. Thoughts are the first line of defense and we must deal with them. Our mind and thoughts belong to us and we should not allow the devil to use them as a garbage dump.

Just as we can direct our thoughts, we can also direct our words with God‘s help. The power of life and death are in the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). Our words affect us and the people around us. They also affect what God is able to do for us. We cannot have a negative mouth and end up with a positive life. The apostle Peter teaches us in I Peter 3:10, that if we want to enjoy life and see good days even in the midst of trials we must keep our tongue free from evil. Change your words and you can change your life.

It’s also important that we treat all people excellently. God loves all people and does not take it kindly when we mistreat them. Be polite, respectful, and appreciative. Be encouraging. Everyone in the world wants to feel valuable and many are struggling with feelings of low self-esteem. We are in a position to be used by God to help them by treating each one with excellence. Be an oasis of love. “But earnestly desire and zealously cultivate the greatest and best gifts and graces (the higher gifts and the choicest graces). And yet I will show you a still more excellent way [one that is better by far and the highest of them all–love]” (1 Corinthians 12:31 AMPC).

Love is the most excellent way of all.

Read more: Excellence Now

The Happy Habit

The Happy Habit

We have been in our series called “Make That Break That” talking about habits that we need to develop and habits that we need to get rid of in order to live a year of unlimited possibilities. I would like to consider a habit today that I call “The Happy Habit”. Proverbs 3:13 AMPC says, “Happy (blessed, fortunate, enviable) is the man who finds skillful and godlyWisdom, and the man who gets understanding [drawing it forth fromGod's Word and life's experiences].”

I believe the desire to be happy is the main thing that motivates us in most of what we do. But do we truly know what makes us genuinely happy? And is happiness just a feeling or is it just an emotion that we search for? I think it’s much deeper than that.

Abraham Lincoln said, “People are as happy as they make up their mind to be.” I like that and I would agree. I am convinced that happiness is a choice and a habit that we can develop. When we make the choice, the feelings will then begin to follow.

The Psalmist David said, “This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it”(Psalms 118:24 NLT). Did you notice it said we will. That is the deciding factor in the enjoyment of our day. If I don’t choose to rejoice, there will always be something to steal my joy and poison my happiness.

It has been said that focusing on good things is the first law of happiness, because what we focus on or what we think about determines our feelings. I’ve said it many times, what you look at the longest becomes the strongest. I am not suggesting that we ignore our problems, but there is a big difference between focusing on them and working on them to solve and resolve them.

Our number one goal, the number one habit we need to develop, is a close, intimate, personal relationship with God through Jesus. Put God first. Being in fellowship with God and learning to obey Him in all things will make you happier than you could ever imagine. Since God is life, how can we hope to enjoy life apart from Him.

I’ve discovered in my search for happiness that my joy is fed by doing things for other people. This is a great secondary goal and a commandment! Love God. Love people. No matter what kind of problems I have, if I focus on what I can do to put a smile on someone else’s face, I find it that makes me happy.

Our personal beliefs can greatly affect our level of joy and happiness. Purposeless people are frequently unhappy as well as people who feel unloved. God loves you and He is for you. He has a plan for your life and a purpose.

I have also found that hopeful people are some of the happiest people in the world. Hope is powerful. Trials test us and refine us. As character is developed within us, we gain the joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation. And this hope never disappoints, deludes or shames (Romans 5:3-5 AMPC). People who can remain happy in hope, no matter what their circumstances, are powerful people. 

Are you trusting God in all the areas of your life? Romans 15:13 (AMPC) says, “May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope.” Joy and peace are found in believing. What do you believe about yourself? If you believe you are a failure, unloved, worthless, that it is too late for you to have a good life, then you’ve got to change what you believe about you. Believe what God says about you in His word, not what others have told you, or even how you feel. 

Are you putting off happiness until some other time? I’m personally trying to avoid saying, “I will be happy when…” We fall into the trap of thinking we will be happy when… There can be a million “when’s” that keep us from enjoying now. We have got to learn how to enjoy today. Make a decision not to base your happiness on some future event, but choose happiness today. Today is all you have.

Are you waiting for some other person in your life to change his or her behavior so you can be happy? That is a huge mistake. Why should you let someone else determine your level of joy? Nobody else can make you happy at least not permanently. And people can be rude or hurtful. Take responsibility for your own joy and happiness and make a decision today to never again base it on what someone else does

I would encourage you to develop the habit of laughing more. When we laugh, we momentarily forget all of our concerns and struggles. It energizes us and it’s one of the healthiest things we can do. Sometimes we think too much and try to figure everything out. We become so intense that we forget to laugh at ourselves as well, as well as many other things in life. Laughter can pull a person out of depression and despair, and it can turn an ordinary day into a memorable day. I urge you to find people who make you laugh and spend more time with them. Laughter is more important than you know. Even the Bible tells us it is like a medicine.

I think the root cause of a lot of our unhappiness is simply that we are not happy with ourselves. We’re not happy with the way we look, or our talents or our level of perfection. We may compare ourselves with others, instead of happily being the person that God created us to be. We all make mistakes and yes, we want to be serious about the changes we need to make in our lives, but it’s also good to learn to laugh at ourselves, and not be so intense about every little mistake we make. We all have faults and are likely to have some as long as we’re alive, so lighten up. Don’t take yourself, so seriously. Learn to enjoy yourself.

Trust God to show you what needs to be changed and then work with the Holy Spirit toward those changes. Being unhappy with yourself, won’t make you change any faster. I highly encourage you to enjoy every step of your journey.

Someday your life is going to come to an end so I just want you to be sure to live this one life that you have to the fullest. Your life is a gift, a precious gift from God and it would be tragic if you lived it unhappily. Put the happy habit on your list of good habits to make, and the sad habit or the mad habit on your list of habits to break. Having a life worth living does not happen by accident. It’s something that you have to choose on purpose… It’s your choice to rejoice.

Read more: The Happy Habit

The Habit of Confidence

The Habit of Confidence

Building Confidence in Everyday Life 

I’ve been talking about the habits that will help us make this year a year of unlimited possibilities. I’ve written about the habit of putting God first and the habit of speaking right words by changing our thoughts. My purpose in these messages is to highlight habits we need to make and habits we need to break. We will find as we make better habits, like the habit of faith, that we overcome the bad habits like worry and fear.

So, in that vein, let’s focus on confidence. I believe that we can become habitually confident. Confidence is the belief that you are capable and able to do whatever it is that needs to be done. While the world calls this “self-confidence”, we want to take it to the next level and call it confidence in Christ. I like the term “Godfidence”. If I only place confidence in myself then I’m likely to be disappointed in my ability to perform or to remain stable. But if my confidence is in Christ, I can be assured because He will always remain steady. Philippians 4:13 AMP declares, “I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me. [Ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me.]” You can do whatever you need to do through Christ and not be afraid of failing because of who He is and what He can do. 

We need to be reminded of this truth because there are a lot of people who are ready to tell us what we can’t do and what we don’t have ability or gifts for. I learned a long time ago that what other people think about me is none of my business. Eleanor Roosevelt said no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. Let’s believe what God says about us in His Word. 

  • 1 John 4:16-18 - You are loved perfectly and completely. Perfect love expels fear.
  • Romans 12:6 - You have talents and abilities for doing certain things well
  • Psalm 139:13-16 - God created you uniquely and you should not compare yourself with others. You were born an original. Don’t die as a copy. 

In regard to promises and declarations we find in the Word of God, I have to tell you that just hearing the Scriptures did not initially change me. I had to learn them and I had to speak them over and over to get them in my heart knowing that out of the heart, the mouth speaks. I wrote them out and spoke them outloud, over and over, until these scriptures became a part of me. As a result of this, confidence became a habit for me. We can believe what God says OR we can believe what we think and what others say. I think what God has to say is the best and most reliable choice. When I know whose I am, I will come to know who I am. 

Being confident will ultimately enable us to live a bolder life and to do things that we would not do without that confidence, but the most important thing that it does for us happens on the inside. True life happens on the inside. A confident person is at rest. Jesus promised us that if we would come to Him, He would give us rest, refreshment, recreation, ease (Matthew 11:28-29 AMP). 

Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Rest for our souls is vital. We can lay our body down and get physical rest but not be truly resting because our soul, our mind, will, and emotions, are working all the time. The habit of confidence will give your soul a vacation. Today is a good day to make a change. Rely on what God has done for you rather than on your own human effort. God is with us all the time and He is for us, enabling and strengthening us as we depend on Him. The confidence of knowing that God loves you and accepts you and approves of you, is the best thing that you could ever have.

We can be afraid we’re going to fail OR we can expect to succeed. It is a choice. I have a  chapter in my book, Another Shot, about aggression. I believe there is a true godly aggression and it begins in the inner man. Be bold and aggressive in your approach to each day with confidence, expecting to be successful in whatever you do. If we have a quiet, confident, inner attitude, we will never have any problem doing what we need to do. 

Confidence is not a feeling that we must work up and then go out into the world and talk loud, move fast or be obnoxious. Confidence is a quiet and beautiful thing that begins in the heart and stands firm in the conviction that we are not alone and that we are able. The attitude of a confident person is filled with “I can” instead of “I can’t”. It’s having a firm, steadfast, in-the-Lord approach to every area of life…Godfidence. 

Maybe you’re facing a major change right now in your life. Don’t be afraid of it. You can be  confident that it will be a new season of blessing. Maybe you’ve lost a job. Have confidence that God has something better in store. Maybe you’ve lost a client. Be confident. God has something greater ahead. God has a plan and He will never allow you to take on more than you’re able to bear. He will make a way where there seems to be no way. 

Part of our confidence habit is birthed from a habit of prayer. We need to learn to pray with confidence that God hears us and He wants to meet our needs. Because of Jesus’ work on the cross, we can approach God with confidence. He instructs us to come boldly to His throne to ask for what we need and want. “You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and  I will do it!” 

(John 14:13-14 NLT). Not only is what Jesus says here amazing, but He says it twice, in verse 13 and verse 14. That means He really wants us to get it. Invite God into every aspect of your life. 

It requires confidence to remind God of what He  promised you. He commands, “Put Me in remembrance [remind Me of your merits]; let us plead and argue together. Set forth your case, that you may be justified (proved  right).” (Isaiah 43:26 AMPC). True confidence presses in and doesn’t let go of God. 

Remember, our confidence isn’t in ourselves. It is in Christ. We should always keep in mind that  without Him we are nothing and can do nothing that has merit, but through Him we have a right to go to God boldly in Jesus’ name.

Without confidence we are like a jet airplane with no fuel. We just sit on the runway and do  nothing. But with confidence, we can go places and take people with us. We can enjoy our  journey in life because at all times, we have blessed rest and quiet for our souls knowing God will do all He has promised and knowing we can approach Him in faith. 

Refuse to do without it. Make confidence a habit. Let’s live our life with Godfidence.

Read more: The Habit of Confidence

Secure Your Victory

Secure Your Victory

I have been discussing the topic of habits the past few weeks with a focus on spiritual habits - habits that will change you, such as putting God first in your day, in your service, and in your finances, aligning yourself with God’s purpose for your life, and living a life of faith, a habit of faith that overcomes fear and worry. 

Today I want to focus on our thinking. What we think leads to the words that come out of our mouths so today we want to drill down on the habit of words. Words are powerful. Thoughts and words are really the starting point for the development of good habits and for breaking bad habits. Words precede actions. 

So how do thoughts and words work together? We have to learn to say what we truly want. Where do you want to go? For example: if you want to get out of debt, purposefully think and confess verses that speak to not being in debt. Then take action in order to get out of debt. Above and beyond this, believe God has unlimited possibilities that He will send your way. As we do the difficult, He does the impossible. Stick with doing the difficult until you’re free. Meanwhile, you can talk yourself into victory. God has so many promises for you, things He desires for you and as you speak these things, your mindset and attitudes change. Find out what God’s promises are for you and don't ever settle for less. Spend time in God’s word. God’s word is full of benefits and blessings He has in mind for you.

Matthew 9:29 quotes Jesus as he interacts with blind men who asked for healing. “Then he touched their eyes and said, 'Because of your faith, it will happen.’” Get your mindset geared toward victory. If this is the first time you're hearing this principle, learn it and know that it works. Work God’s word and His word will work.

It's not easy. It takes commitment, but you can change things in your life that are unfruitful. The devil will do anything to keep you in a negative mindset so that you are confessing destructive thoughts. But you can take authority over your thoughts. 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to make our thoughts obey Christ. We don't have to keep those negative, destructive thoughts. We can choose to get rid of them. The tool I have used and seen God move through is verbal affirmation. Say affirmations out loud. Words secure your thoughts. Your words interrupt what you're thinking. Words are the raw material for your actions.

Commit to renew your mind, to change your thoughts. Joshua 1:8 (NLT) says “This book of the Law (God’s word) must not leave your mouth. Think about it day and night (all the time), so you may be careful to do all that is written in it. Then all will go well with you. You will receive many good things.” The NIV version says Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” God’s word must be something that we think about and do. Then we will have good success. God has a good plan for you!

When this was recorded, Joshua had a tremendous opportunity. God told him to be strong and courageous and keep thinking and speaking God's word. Those things you want for your life won't happen unless you learn to think and speak in accordance with God’s word.The power of life and death are in the tongue (Prov 18:21).

Speak life and reap life. You have the choice. Verse 20 in Proverbs 18 says we will be filled with the fruit of our mouth, that they will satisfy like a good meal. I don't think we really understand the power of our words. If we did, we would think more about what we think about - understanding that what we think is what we will speak. 

James 3:8 says no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil. We must ask God to let our  words be acceptable to Him. Our words can help or harm. They are spiritual. They can't be seen but they can reach into the spiritual realm to create. Our words can create a different future for us.

Part of my testimony involves God showing me that I needed to change my thoughts and speech and that my life was not going to change until these changed. I made a list of things I needed to believe for and began to confess things God showed me in scripture. I began to create my future with my words. God has done amazing things in my life and I continue to apply this principle - declaring things even today that I want to see for my life in the future. The Bible is right and God will do what He says!

We don't have to settle for reality. There's a difference between lying and declaring a confession. We don’t lie and pretend our troubles don’t exist but we don't have to settle. I believe in life changing power and that I don’t have to settle for reality. I want hope and faith that all things are possible. With God’s help, commit to change your thoughts, speak and declare what you want to see happen and every other habit will follow.

Read more: Secure Your Victory

The Habit of Reset

The Habit of Reset

If you have ever raised or helped raise children, there comes a point when you realize that much of their tension and frustration are self-inflicted. If you take it a step further, you realize we, having started out as children, often don’t change much over the years. Much of the time, we are the source of our own angst. 

The Bible is brutally honest with us. Scripture promises us that we will have trial and tribulation. Think about that. We will experience things that cause us detours from our purpose and destiny. But we have hope. Take a look at Samson (Judges 13-16). When it comes to detours in our life, Samson’s story provides a lot of examples. He was a miracle child, born to parents who had been barren many years. They knew from angelic visitation that he was destined to be the leader of their nation. He had a promising future. But, Samson was dysfunctional and distracted, rebellious and frustrated. Remarkably, in the midst of his dysfunction, God still used him. No matter your interference, God's purpose for you never changes and he faithfully works to bring it about. But know, obedience leads to blessing. Rebellion leads to burden. 

In Judges 14:10-20, we get a close up of Samson’s life choices. He took the rebellion/burden path. Choice after choice leads Samson from one bad reaction to another - from insisting on a relationship that was not God’s will for him, to killing bystanders to pay off a lost bet; from walking out on his wife who betrayed him to killing more Philistines after they murdered her, his life spiraled down quickly, all because of choices he made. Our bad attitudes create a circuitous pathway that has us making choices that backfire, leaving us rejected and frustrated which brings about a reaction which causes us to make choices that backfire, leaving rejected and frustrated which brings about a reaction… well, you get the idea. We want so much for it to be everyone else’s fault. But our reactions are completely in our control. How do we break out of the cycle of destruction?

As noted, discouragement in life is inevitable. We find this in John 16:33: “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.” We must lean into Jesus, our peace giver, and choose not to focus on our trials and sorrows.

When we don’t deal with discouragement, it becomes an excuse for dysfunction. The catch here is that we often do not ask how we got to the condition of dysfunction. We're frustrated, but we want to blame everybody else for how we feel. Like Samson, we declare ourselves innocent and justified for any reaction we may allow ourselves. But, when we see discouragement and dysfunction, we should ask, “How did I create this?” Samson should never have been in Philistine territory at all. He was meant to be an agent of rescue, but he became an agent of destruction instead. We fall into the same traps - destruction being perpetuated through our reactions.

Compounded discouragement and disappointment foster anger. How many of us have killed things in our lives because of our reactions. Unless we recognize our own wrongdoing and hold ourselves accountable, we will fall into a pit and unmitigated discouragement will bring about delusion where our judgment is skewed and where we stop trusting people in our lives. Finally, we push ourselves away from people who actually care. Depression is dangerous. Isolation is often the apparent solution, however, it leads to sadness, grief, fear and worse. This kind of isolation is a counterfeit to what we really need. 

We do need space when we are discouraged and we can look to Jesus for how to do it. It needs to be healthy isolation. Jesus needed space but he fasted and prayed. He had the habit of reset. He gained energy and steadfastness in his purpose when he got alone because he got alone with Father God. If you are isolating, is it a place where you indulge in self pity or is it a place where you experience the life-giving revival that only comes from God? What happens when you close the doors?

Discouragement will come. But you can overcome it. Live in faith, not in fear. Get into the Word of God. Pray and fast. Ask yourself what you are living for. Are your responses moving you away from your purpose or do they accelerate you toward your purpose? Ask for God to breathe new life into your relationships and into your pursuit of purpose. Take time and reset. 

Read more: The Habit of Reset

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