Are You Gritty?

My daughter saw a t-shirt the other day that said. "If ballet were easy it would be called football."

The guy who inspects our fire extinguishers every year at the church noted that his son has developed a strong self-confidence since joining Tae Kwon Do.

I recently read a book by Angela Duckworth entitled, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance which noted that successful people have more "Grit."  She defines it as, "perseverance and passion for long-term goals."

Romans 5:3 - 5 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Seeing long-term challenges through requires endurance.  That means that you have to keep your eye on your goals and work every day towards them.  "But Pastor, when will it come through?"  That depends on you.  Can you move your faith 1% closer to God today?  

Are you gritty enough to endure something that will produce the character you need to see you through?  If you do, you will have hope.  Or if you prefer to say it this way, you will see the light at the end of the tunnel.  

FYI - This can apply to your life, your marriage, your business, your church - whatever!  Moving yourself or a team of people 1% a day will help you realize the vision that God has placed on your heart.  Be patient and keep moving. 

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, help me to be gritty enough to move 1% closer to you today.  Then let's do it again tomorrow!  AMEN  

New Level - New Devil

Have you ever heard that before?  New Level - New Devil.  It was a saying that some pastors used to communicate truth.  That truth being, as you excel in your relationship with Jesus, new challenges will appear.

If you have been a follower of Jesus for any amount of time, you know the truth of this statement.  But allow me to expand on this for a moment.  As you grow your business, your family, your future, and your life - you're going to have to face new challenges and temptations.

I like the lyrics that Toby Mac raps in "Til the Day I Die."

You say you doin' work, but you're asking where the couch at
How you doin' work when you asking where the couch at?
God is not a crutch, you can use Him when you wanna
You only look to heaven when you goin' through some drama
And when they goin' through some problems and that's the only time they call Him

We can be tempted to, "take it easy" or to, "coast along."  
We can be tempted to manipulate relationships and "fudge" the number.  
We can be tempted to assume that everything is "ok" and never give ourselves a reality check. 
We can be tempted . . .  (insert your temptation here) 

Jesus tells us in John 10:10 that, The thief (The Devil) comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.  

So what is your plan?  Achieve your new level and beat a new devil! 

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, help me to experience your abundance while overcoming the temptation that the Devil would throw my way.  AMEN  

When You Run Out If Time

Someone said to me the other day.  "If I have enough money, I don't have enough time.  But if I have enough time, I don't have enough money."  

Our culture considers time and money to be valuable resources.  I agree, but I believe that there is a greater resource than these.  Faith.  

I believe that God has given what I have. That time and money are a gift from Him.  I also believe that I am to be an excellent manager of these resources.  That this responsibility of managership is a matter of faith.  

Ephesians 5:15-17 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Paul writes, but understand what the will of the Lord is.   When you know what God wants you to do then you know how to spend your time and money. 

... making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.  CNN, NBC, ABC prove this every day.  Your job is to steer clear of what the world would have you waste your time and money on.  You can only do this if you let faith lead you.  

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,  If you have money, then you need a budget.  If you have a schedule, then you need to budget your time.  Learning how to do these things is an act of wisdom.  Putting them into action is an act of faith.  

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, increase my faith so I will be a great manager of your time and money.  AMEN 

When you feel like a pinball.

Ever played one of those pinball machines?  If you haven't, try it some time.  It can be frustratingly fun!

But have you ever felt like the pinball?  Do you feel like you are getting bounced from problem to problem at the speed of light?  You're not alone.

This morning we visited our tax preparer.  Ding!

The cat refuses to eat, we have to go to the vet.  Ping!

The cat has pancreatitis.  Ping!  Ding!

Important unscheduled phone call.  Thump!

Transmission slipping in the car.  Ding! Thump!

Some people would come home after a day like this and growl at their family and complain about their life.  Then they would determine that they must have done something very, very wrong for their life to be the way it is.

Here's the deal.  Jesus said in  John 14:1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me."

My schedule is in Jesus' hands.  Before I ever got up, He knew what I was going to be up against.  He made provision for those things.  Even though I didn't have any idea what was going to happen, He met me at every stage of my day, and I thank Him for it.

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, life may try to knock me around like a pinball, but my schedule is in your hands.  AMEN.

WRITERS NOTE:  The above list is the "short" list of things that started this weekend.  It appears that a couple of my entries got dinged pretty bad.  Sorry about that.

When Vision Is Frustrating

Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

How long have you waited for God to answer a prayer?  How long are you willing to wait? 

There will be times in your life when you have waited so long for something to happen that even the thought of it is painful.  But . . . 

... the greater the wait, the greater the reward. 
When vision becomes a reality the joy of experiencing it can be overwhelming and humbling. 

... when waiting is painful.  
The process of waiting is a process of patience and faith.  People have told me for years, "I will never pay for patience."  My response is simple.  You don't have to wait for it, it's going to happen anyway. Don't focus on the pain, focus on your faith.  God hasn't forgotten you, and He isn't going to abandon you.  

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, I know that you are going to teach me patience, give me the faith to see it through.  AMEN

Seeing What You Can't See

Heb 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

How did you start your week?  With vision and hope for the days to come or with dread and sorrow for each hour that passes?  It's your choice.  But what do you choose with?  Facts or Faith?  

When we look at our world through our facts we are limited by only what we see.  But when we look at that same world through our faith, we can see so much more.  You can see what God sees.  You can see what His purpose is for your life.  You can see your life with new hope.  

Now, is your faith convinced what your future looks like? 

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, I want my faith to see more.  AMEN