But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God. Matthew 14:24-33
So, you decided to step off of the boat and do the impossible! All of your friends remain in the boat, watching as you begin your walk. They offer no encouragement and no cheers but your excitement has motivated you to move forward. You are amazed that you are doing the impossible but you are confronted with thoughts; ones that cause you to question your decision. In an instant, you begin to sink; you are consumed and overwhelmed by the weight of your actions. The others’ decision to stay in the safety of the boat is confirmed as you sink. No one comes to your rescue. You are left calling on the Infinite to save you; arms stretched out, surrendering to the One that called you out of the boat. God takes your hand and restores your life. As you rest safely on the boat and see the looks of contempt from your friends, you smile, excited to pursue the impossible once again.
It is amazing how many dreams don’t get realized because we are afraid to pursue them. We would rather take the safe bet, than risk “losing it all.” I believe most of us realize that “playing it safe” won’t get us to where we want to be but somehow, we are okay with that. We don’t want to leave a sure thing for an uncertain thing. There comes a time when you have to make a decision, if you are willing, to do the impossible or to watch others do it. The choice is yours. You own it. We all have things that we want to do but our thoughts and fears stop us from doing them. We get so consumed with trying not to “rock the boat” that we lose sight of what is outside of it.
There are “seeds” of greatness within you and they are watered by your faith and courage. When you decided to pursue your dreams, your “seeds” start to take root in you. The adversity that comes after that does not prevent you from reaching your dreams but it actually expedites the process. Don’t worry about who is watching you, just live. Make choices, make mistakes and surrender them both to God. In the end, it is God that performs in us. God moves in us in a way that shines a light on those who are watching us. We don’t have to convince anyone of our gifts and God’s presence in our lives, we just have to choose to come to God as we are; He will get us to where we need to be.
When we look at the obstacles that surround us, it makes the impossible that must harder to reach. When we surrender to God, we no longer look to reach the impossible in our own strength but in God. You can do the impossible! Trust God by giving your life to Him and watch the waves recede in His presence. This will allow the impossible to be your new reality!
In every course there is a plan. The plan of action is created by the teacher to cultivate learning a subject. You have reading plans that you must follow before you go to class, so that you can understand and discuss certain topics. Every assignment is purposeful, even though the student may not understand why at the moment. It is still purposeful.
"All things work together for the good of them that love God and are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28
When we decide to take the course of God we have no idea what we have gotten ourselves into. In school, success is based on how well you learn a subject and how good your grades are. In the course of God it is about failure. Your success is based on failure. You see, it is not about how well you perform because your performance can never meet God's standard. So it is in your failure you learn of God. You learn of His wisdom and you find your place in Him.
Failure is painful. We would rather have success doing things our way than surrender our way to know the power of God. The course of God is humiliating. It is unbearable to our ego. No matter how hard we try to get a perfect score we always come up short. There is something amazing that happens through this experience of failure, we get one on one time with God. We get special tutoring and mentoring from God that teaches more than any book or class could ever teach us. We learn of ourselves, as our gifts are revealed in the presence of God. The course of God's purpose is to awaken our spirit that has been dormant and put to sleep our ego that has impersonated our spirit.
The spirit does not desire accolades over service. The spirit is not puffed up but is rooted in love. Its aim is not to prove its power but to use its power. When you have spent time with God you learn to be slow to speak and quick to listen. You know that the teacher (God) is not trying to shame you to quit the course but learn to endure adversity. The teacher wants to see you reach your full potential; When we understand the process, which is we must be broken to see the amazing gifts inside of us. We learn to trust God regardless of how painful it may be. When we do, we find a seed within us that if we hold onto will grow into something beyond our imagination.
For scripture references to go along with this blog, Email Me and I will send you some :)
Until next time.
Are you ready to take the Course of God?
The Greatest Teacher was once a student.
In college, it does not take long to know if you are going to enjoy a class or not. Normally it is not based on the topic, it is based on the professor. Professors push you, either towards learning or out the door. A great professor does not just have knowledge, they have experience. They live what they teach. Their dogma and philosophy is not as rigid because they understand from the perspective of imperfection. They don't hold up standards that are impossible to sustain. They push the students towards discovery; they want them to find their way. By empowering the students to look within, they unlock creativity and engagement which makes learning possible. For a great teacher, grades are secondary to learning. What good are excellent grades if you don't know your purpose in life?
God is such an amazing teacher that He took His own class. He humbled himself and felt humanity. Jesus take the class and no matter how difficult it got he endured it. His love for His professor caused some in class to hate him. They wanted to see Jesus fail because he was not doing things the way they thought the reference material demanded. Jesus was closer to the professor than they were because they were afraid to talk to the teacher. They did not get understanding because of their fear.
So, Jesus paved a new way; a better way. He took the lessons of the course and made them his own. In the end, Jesus took the test. One that he had to take alone. He could not get any help from the professor and though it was difficult he passed and graduated taking his seat on the right hand of the great teacher. Helping us now as we take the course of life.
Where is your power? What Course are you taking?
Do you hear God? How can you hear God if you don't take his class? How can you take his class when your schedule is filled up already? There are things in our life that need to be dropped. They are not empowering us to know God and learn of our purpose on earth. We are just going through the motions, missing opportunities to engage with God on a personal level. We see promises in the bible and claim them for ourselves yet never ask God for our own. I can relate to the stories of King David or Apostle John but I am not them. I want my own time with God. They were empowered by God to live and so am I. So are we. The power; our faith in God will cause us to change ourselves, homes, communities, cities, states, countries, continents, and the world. The power is in us. It is time to drop the courses that are wasting our time and join the course that will shape our life.
Until yesterday I had been struggling with stress for a long time. No matter where I turned stress met me. Yesterday I was driving and was asking God what is wrong with me. I didn't want to be stressed out but it seemed to have a hold of me. I wanted to be free from it all. What I realized is I was trying to control my life. I was trying to make things happen without asking for help. In my pride I was keeping peace at bay. I was fighting against what I wanted most in my life: love.
Stress caused me to have a negative outlook on life and because of my negative energy I attracted more of what I did not want into my atmosphere. I created a prison cell and locked away my joy, peace and love. Guarding it day and night not allowing them to see the light of day. I wanted things to work so bad that I forgot I took the enjoyment out of my journey. I wanted to get to point B fast and was not willing to stop and enjoy the sunset. My life was in darkness and I was unhappy because I kept bumping into things. Upset because things were in my way, ignorant to the reality that I was in the way. I was blocking anyone in my life from being free to be themselves. I was controlling the light switch and was unwilling to let anyone see the Son.
Thank God for awareness. When God opens the blinders and you see life as it really is, the negativity flees and all that remains is love. That is what God has done for me. He has let me see the light, not to show me how miserable I have been - that was self evident. He just loves, and in that unconditional love, I found hope, peace and passion attached to my purpose. I am excited. Regardless of the adversity that comes, I have peace that God will handle it. I don't have to worry, I don't have to try, I can just be. I can embrace reality with open arms.
The word that stands out in the scripture above is: let. God is willing to rule our hearts with love and peace but will I let Him? Today, I will!
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.....without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Hebrews 11: 1, 6
Faith is the evidence of things not seen. You can not convict someone of a crime without having evidence that they committed the crime. There has to be proof first then comes the trial. Faith is not merely speculation. It is real. It is the power that frames our entire world. We all have faith just sometimes we are ignorant to how to operate it. Like a car without a key we remain stuck until the ignition is turned. Our faith gets us moving. It inspires us to purpose our dreams and live a purposeful life. Having faith does not mean you won't get frustrated or lose your way it just means you are empowered to persevere through the adversity that comes your way because you have evidence that there is more than what you see. Yes, there are obstacles that redirect us but if we just keep moving we will find our way to where we want to be. Detours causes us to evaluate if we truly believe in what we are doing. Will we stop or will we continue?
The scripture says he that comes to God must believe that He is God and that God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. So our pursuit or journey is not one to obtain things but to be aware of the presence of God in our life. When we discover God's presence we have found our reward and there are benefits to being in His presence. Many times I am pursuing things instead of God. I place my trust in what I can do and don't give God the space to reveal Himself in my life. When I get frustrated I want to quit but faith refocuses my attention and gives me the inspiration to turn back to God. When I see God I don't stress the small things and it gives me confidence to do what is purposed in my heart.
Be encouraged, wherever you find yourself now, know God is with you and if you believe God will direct you to your calling and purpose for this moment. Don't give up, just keep moving.
I am thankful. I am thankful for the good days and yes I am thankful for the bad days too. God has never failed me. Though I have lost my way countless times. God has kept me. Not only has God kept me, I have thrived. How can I thrive even when I am not where I should be? It is the grace of God. God's love is not rooted on my compliance, it is rooted in the finished work of Jesus Christ. Here is the thing I am not trying to convert you to a religion. I am not trying to make you believe in a higher power. I am just sharing my experience. An experience filled with doubt and fear. The path has been dark more than light. I have felt alone more than I have felt God's presence but through it all I have discovered peace. An unexplained peace that in spite of the adversity I face, everything is alright.
You see as a writer I spend a lot of time alone. When you are alone that is when you lose connection with the world. You think things that are not true. You see things that are not true. Meaning you can perceive things that are not how they really are. Jesus was alone in the wilderness and was tempted by Satan to lose sight of who Jesus was. To question his purpose and identity. When you are alone and you have to face the person in the mirror you can begin to question if your purpose is truly your purpose. You question if you are just wasting your time and even the existence of a relationship with God. You see, you may believe in God but that does not mean you believe you have a relationship with God. When you are surrounded in darkness God does something in the midst of stillness that will cease the questions. God shows you the light within. When you see the light all ignorance fades away and all that remains is the overwhelming truth. The truth that you are purpose and more importantly you are loved by God. NOTHING ELSE MATTERS. Your weaknesses don't matter. Your insecurities don't matter. Because they don't matter you don't have to own them anymore. You can give all of your being to God. Allowing God to use you. You see, when I want use my new lawnmower I don't use it right out of the box. I have to put oil in it. I have to put fuel in it and I have to set the levels to my preference. Everything I needed was in the box but I have to set it up to be properly used.
We look at our life and feel out place and purposeless. We try to make things work but we have not given our life to the One that created us. We don't know how to set ourselves we need God. When we surrender to God. God puts us in position to be used the right way and our lives line up with our purpose. Guess what? We are happy. We are relieved and we are thankful. When you see someone doing what they love, you see God's beauty. In awe, the tool and the canvas are thankful to be used.
You are more than the labels you live under and you're not who people say you are. You are not a weed, you are a flower; clothed in the beauty of God. Your life is purposeful. You are powerful and uniquely made. You are a masterpiece. Say it! Mean it! Believe it!
We are programmed every day of our life to live on this earth as "weeds": an eyesore to the beauty of nature. We are told that we are no good and that we must do things to show our worth and justify our existence. We have the freedom to prove who we are but not the freedom to be. Oftentimes, who we are is not good enough so we try to be like someone else. We try to fit in with the "flowers" but we feel we don't belong - we feel out of place and the world agrees with us. We fight for a seat at the table but we don't even know what they're serving for dinner. We just want to be in and not out, included and not excluded. We want it so bad that we don't see who we truly are. We "sit" in the dark and complain about the darkness, yet, we refuse to find the light. We look for darkness to tell us who we are, when the darkness is actually longing for our light to shine on it.
When my oldest daughter was about four years old, we went on a walk in our neighborhood. As I was appreciating the sun and the nice weather, my daughter said, "Look at the flowers, Dada." I looked around but all I saw were weeds. I said, "Those are weeds, I don't see flowers." She said, "No Dada, those are flowers." She picked one up and had the biggest smile; she was in awe of its beauty. As I looked at her, I didn't see weeds anymore, I saw love. The label of "weeds" was lifted and I saw the beauty of God's creation.
We may not look like "flowers," but we are God's creation; uniquely made with a purpose that is designed for just us. When we realize that we are created in love, we don't have to compare ourselves to anyone else. We are who we are and in God's eyes, we are beautiful. God's love lights our path and overtakes any limitation that we thought existed.
You are created powerful and purposeful but most importantly, you are loved. When you understand that, you will not accept a cheap imitation of love when you can have the real thing. No more lying to ourselves! We have a place in the world and we don't have to prove anything. Be encouraged to be you.
The Thief comes to steal, kill and destroy but Jesus came that we would have life and life more abundantly.
Satan is not a one-trick pony; he has many ways of distracting and keeping us from living an abundant life. One is being a thief. A thief doesn’t come into your house while you are there; they watch and wait for the perfect opportunity to take your possessions without you knowing. Thieves don’t just use the front door; they use a cracked window, a backdoor, a spare key, whatever advantage they can get to, they use. Thieves are at their best when you are distracted. They take what you have while you are focused and busy doing something. Your prized possession, your treasure, is taken and you suffer a loss.
Satan wants to steal your promise. He acts like he has your best intentions in mind, all the while, planting seeds of doubt and fear in you. You begin to think about the “what ifs” and worry starts to set in. You lose trust that God is leading you and you begin to take matters – your life – into your own hands. Satan wants you believe that God is speaking to you but the whole time you are not hearing God, you are hearing him. Jesus said, "My sheep know my voice." Your thoughts are becoming simultaneous with the thoughts of the enemy and you begin to destroy yourself. Satan plants the “seeds” and we water them. We feed into those negative thoughts, ignorant to the fact that we are enslaved to them. We believe the negativity, we believe the lies and when things start to fall apart, we blame God because He didn’t help us.
We have been fooled. The bible says to bring every thought to the obedience of Christ. Jesus simplifies the process for us. Every thought must be filtered through the voice of love; if our thoughts do not feed us love and peace, it is not meant to be apart of us. We must lock our “doors,” shut our “windows” and turn the “alarm system” on. Shut down every negative thought of inadequacy, fear, hate and doubt. When we do, the life Jesus has promised us will manifest right before us.
I used to think that something was wrong with me. I have always struggled with following the crowd – I need a reason to follow, while it seems most just follow because someone is leading. I don’t accept reality as is; I question it. I question everything. I want more than surface level understanding. I want to know things at its root and that’s where I tend to find trouble. Because I go against the grain, many people have a problem with me. They don’t understand how I “tick.” They think I’m being insubordinate but I ask, to whom am I supposed to be subordinate to – God?
We were created to have our own relationship with the Spirit. If you look at the examples in the bible, you can see that God worked through the contrarians. Jesus was a contrarian; so were David and Abraham. A true believer usually goes against the grain – fighting what’s comfortable and “normal.” Do you really believe that Jesus would have been satisfied with just sitting in church every Sunday morning? I don’t. Not with so many people ignorant of their purpose.
Our kids are being pressured to be on social media and keep up with the latest fashion trends and we feed into it, giving them expensive phones and shoes thinking that we’re helping them “fit in” and make friends. We don’t empower them to be who they are because we are not being who we are. We are just being who we are supposed to be. It hurts me that we can’t just be honest with each other. We can’t just live the way we feel in our hearts because we don’t want to be an outsider. We don’t want to be rejected and hated. We would rather be loved by others than love ourselves unconditionally.
The path of least resistance is what we take. We don’t want to rock the boat. We know what needs to be done but too afraid to do it. We must understand that our kids imitate us. The only way to break the cycle is for you and me to be who we truly are. We have to confront the humiliation of being different and be willing to lose friends; go a different way.
Jesus’ family was not supportive of His purpose. His city was not supportive either but as He went, He found people willing to help Him get his message of love to others. The heart of a contrarian leads even when no one is willing to follow. They show the world there is another way and those who are willing to take the path of resistance find fulfillment and love as they go. So what will it be? Are you willing to be a contrarian?
Do I really want God's help?
The obvious answer is yes, yet my actions don't always align with my beliefs. I act alone, not even considering God in my plans. God is an afterthought until things fall apart. Then God gets the blame for my faith not being validated. It is like getting mad at a friend because you got in a car accident but they didn't even ride with you.
It is so easy to get caught up in what you do that you don't realize that you are ignoring the One that gave you the inspiration. We can make the excuse that we are too busy but we make time take "selfies". We have plenty of time for what we view as important yet we say God is the most important thing in our life. We don't want to miss out on anything but having a deeper more intimate relationship with God. Our "selfies" become our idol that keep us from seeing God's presence working through our life. God is with us but we don't know it and because of our ignorance we can't appreciate Him.
I don't want to be ashamed of God. I don't want to live with God out of the picture. I don't just want God's help, I want His presence. I want to walk with God. I want to talk to God. I want to be a part of God's life. I don't have all the answers and that is okay; God does. I don't know how my life will turn out but God does. I want to be fully integrated in God's plan. Honestly I don't know how I can change how I have been without God's help. I need God every step of the way.
God I just want to be a part of your picture.