SOUP OR SALAD

Three friends, whose names I have changed to protect the guiltless and slightly goofy, and myself visited our local IHOP after church one Sunday evening. When our server arrived to take our order we were engaged in conversation about the soon coming of the Lord and the changes we are experiencing here in the States.

Bob’s choice was from the dinner menu. Making note, the server asked him if he preferred the soup or salad with his meal.

“No, thank you,” Bob replied, “that’s a lot of food already.”

“That’s fine, but it comes with the meal if you want it.” The friendly young man was making sure Bob understood there would be no extra charge.

His mother, Naomi, helped talk him into it, “You may as well get it, Bob. If you don’t eat it here you can take it with you and have it later at home.” Bob’s girlfriend Mary seconded the motion.

“Okay, then,” Bob gave in, “I’ll take it.”

“Soup or salad?” The server dared not speculate which it might be.

“Yes.”

Pause for a moment of silence and join four out of five people in this scene who are now looking at Bob through confused expressions, but saying not a word. He doesn’t notice a thing because he’s looking downward across the table as he gathers our menus to return to the server.

“Okay, so you want the soup or salad?” the server tried again.

“I said, ‘yes’, I’ll take it.” Aren’t you paying attention?

“Right, soup or salad?”

Still preoccupied, Bob looks up at the server determined to get through to him, “I’ve already told you to bring it.”

A hushed, but desperate cry for help was evident in the server’s eyes as he looked around the table at the rest of us. “Please, help him understand. I’m a good server. I need a good tip. Pushing him to make a choice isn’t making him happy. Help me.” Yep, I believe all three of us heard the poor guy’s silent plea, the final SOS resounding long and slow in desperation.

Bob obviously noticed the silence and looked up at the rest of us.

Though I instructed my matter-of-fact poker face to expose itself, sheer bewilderment was stronger and pushed out my “are-you-kidding-me?” expression.  After all, this was no dummy here. Bob is intelligent and usually right on top of things, the kind who often catches things others miss. So while I did manage to subdue laughter with a hand over my mouth, I couldn’t help staring at him baffled.

Naomi and Mary could not conceal the fact that they were just as perplexed as I, but their expressions were accompanied by chuckles and giggles they were no longer able to contain. They tried to assist, in unison asking, “Do you want the soup or salad?”

Bob had enough. Frustration demanded, “I said ‘yes, I do,’ so why is everyone giving me such a hard time about a salad?”

Finally Mary was able to dissolve the blockage. “You have to tell him which one. Which one do you want, the soup or the salad?”

The save of a lifetime. Immediately composed, Bob looked nonchalantly up at the server as though the previous minute or two had never taken place. “I’ll have the salad, please, with ranch dressing,” he offered calmly as he handed the menus to the young man.

Anxious to get away from our table, the server expressed his thanks and announced that the salads would be right out. He turned and headed for the kitchen where I’m certain he wiped the sweat from his brow. With him out of earshot, Bob’s exasperation returned.

“I feel like such an idiot,” he confessed as his hands formed a plate sized circle in the air to illustrate. “I thought the whole time he was asking me if I wanted the super salad!”

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Proverbs 4:7

23 Let the person who has ears listen!”
24 He (Jesus) went on to say, “Pay attention to what you’re listening to! Knowledge will be measured out to you by the measure of attention you give. This is the way knowledge increases. Mark 4:23,24 GOD’S WORD Translation

All of us make a lot of mistakes. If someone doesn’t make any mistakes when he speaks, he would be perfect. He would be able to control everything he does. James 3:2 GOD’S WORD Translation

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.   1 Corinthians 14:33

Till next time,

June

Where He Leads?

A beautifully constructed stone retainer wall, roughly four feet tall, kept the higher ground in place. Sets of wide steps built periodically into the bulwark provided passage to the park above where grand old oak trees and well-manicured flower gardens invited people to take some time from their busy schedule to relax and absorb the captivating view of the lake that lay further down at the base of the incline.

Living in the rolling hills of Clermont and Minneola, seeing the park on higher ground with an ornate retainer wall wasn’t in any way foreign to me, nor was the concrete pad poured at its base which served as a level walkway and bike path. There sat I.

Why on earth I chose to sit on concrete leaned up against a stone wall I have no idea. In the natural, that would not have been my seat of choice when soft green grass and picnic benches were plentiful just a few steps above me. But this was not the natural. Again, God chose to teach me something through supernatural vision.

I sat to enjoy the view and the warm sunshine. Birds chirped and playful dogs barked. The air offered the smell of gardenias from nearby blooms. I never cease to be amazed by God’s creative handiwork, and always feel closer to Him outdoors than in.

My peripheral vision soon picked up on someone approaching me from the grassy area above my head. I turned, looking slightly upward, and saw from about the knees down who I instantly knew was Jesus. The white robe and sandaled feet assured me this was no ordinary person on an ordinary stroll in the park. Stopping on my left where but one more step would have been the four foot drop to my level, He knelt and extended His hand outward for me to take hold.

“You want to go with me?”
Quickly I turned, looked up and stretched my hand to reach His as I rose to my feet. “Sure, I do! I want to go with You!” Excitement overtook me as I asked Him, “Where are we going?”

His response another question, “Does it matter?”

Immediately I was back in the here and now. I had envisioned the scene, but with stark imagery that has not left me over these many years. The entire episode lasted probably less than a minute, yet has had life-long impact.

Too many times we sing songs like, “Where He leads me I will follow” or “I’m going with Jesus all the way” only to protest once we realize that might actually mean going or into a career or ministry we didn’t plan for. If it means leaving our home town, family and friends behind, we say, “No, thank you,” and rely on God’s grace to bless us right where we are. (Thank God for mercy and grace.) When the path gets a little rocky or the road too long, we are quick to take a new route. Sometimes we turn completely around and go back to the place He led us away from. Whether that be a location, ministry, career, or lifestyle – simply because we don’t like where He is taking us.

And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. Luke 9:23

This reaction is not only one of self-centeredness, it also reflects our lack of trust in God’s love for us. He has only good plans in mind for us.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11

Psalm 91:16 tells us He will satisfy us with long life – not depress or torment us with it.

We may not like every task or every stop along the way. Sometimes to get to our desired destination means driving through a rough area of town. We might have to travel a desolate highway where, if we let it, fear of what lurks on either side will override the peace of a quiet country drive.

And sometimes following God is the same way. But if we truly surrender our lives to the Lord, He will plant a desire in our hearts for the very place and the very people He leads us to. He will bring us to love it and our joy can be full even in times of sacrifice and difficulty.

God has taken me places that – quite frankly – I did not want to go. But once I got there, I knew it was where I was to be. It just felt (and still feels) right. More often than that, I have looked back several times to realize that a painful experience was what propelled me to a good place in life.

Very recently God has shown me other ventures I am to pursue that I know beyond knowing I did not come up with on my own. They will require long hours and carry, according to human knowledge, high risk of failure. Plus, they are things I just really have never had interest in and know little about.

Yet, the more I envision them, the more excited I become. I am now looking forward to this new journey as a great adventure. As to the risk? The safest place to be is in the will of God. If I follow Him, He will get me there. The only risk is when I set out on my own.

Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law he meditates day and night.  He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season; whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. Psalm 1:1-3 NKJV

But even all that aside, the real question is how much do we really want to be with Jesus and to please Him? Do we love Him to the moon and back? Would we follow Him to the ends of the earth? When He invites to walk with Him every day, does our answer depend upon where He plans to take us? Does it matter?

Think before you answer, because I heard He’s going to church Sunday.

I’ll stand for thee, dear Jesus, though death my come my way
I’ll spread the gospel to the fallen here. But if it be thy will, Lord, to go across the sea,
Lord help me to be willing to say yes.
from Jesus Use Me written by Jack and Billy Campbell.

Till next time,
June

Improv Gone Bad

Though I can’t remember why, my young friend Bobby Reynolds and I decided to act out the often told joke Forrest Gump Goes to Heaven at church one evening. A spur of the moment idea with no rehearsal, but we were both familiar with the joke and both a little on the hammy side (Bobby more so than I) so we knew it would be fine.

Young, handsome, and never without a quick-witted response, Bobby played Forrest and I portrayed the angelic host at the pearly gates. “Fine” sounded like this:

“My name’s Forrest, Forrest Gump. People call me Forrest Gump.”

“Well, hello Forrest Gump. Welcome,” I looked for his name on my imaginary list. “Ah, here you are. Says here that before I can let you into heaven you have to pass a test.”

“Didn’t know nothing about no test.”

Responding to the concern on Bobby’s face, I continue. “Oh, don’t worry. It’s just three simple questions for you to answer. I’m sure you’ll pass with flying colors. Ready?”

“Except colors don’t really fly. Mama always said stay ready for anything, so ready, set, go.”

“Okay then, the first question is, how many days of the week begin with the letter T?

Bobby – oops, I mean Forrest – tilted his head upward, eyes squinted, and rubbed his chin. “Hmm…days of the week that begin with T…hmm.” A huge smile brightened his face, “I’ve got it! Two. The answer is two.”

“Two. That’s corr–”

“Today and Tomorrow,” he quickly interjected with no doubt in his tone.

“Today and Tomorrow? Well, that’s not exactly…oh never mind, let’s just stick with ‘two’,” I said, shaking my head. “After all, I didn’t ask you to name them, just count them. Moving on to the next question.”

Forrest nervously rubbed his hands together and awaited his next question, which I read from the invisible paper on my invisible clip board. “All right, Forrest, now this one is a bit tougher. How many seconds are in a year?”

Seeing his distress, I reassured him, “Just take your time and think about it. We’re not in any hurry here.”

So he did. He paced and mumbled and worked imaginary math problems in the air with his finger. Then he popped his forehead with his hand as though reminding himself he could have a V-8®. “I know the answer. This was a tough question, but I have figured it out in my head. There are twelve seconds in a year.”

Staying in character despite wanting to laugh at the expression on his face, I asked in bewilderment, “Twelve? How on earth did you conclude there are twelve seconds in a year?”

“We’re not on earth, sir. This is Heaven.”

Oh great, I walked into that one. Okay, I’ll play along. “I beg your pardon, Forrest Gump who people call Forrest Gump. Let me rephrase the question. How in Heaven did you conclude that there are only twelve seconds in a year?”

It was becoming more difficult not to snicker along with the congregation as so matter-of-factly Forrest replied, holding up one finger at a time so we could count along, “January second, February second, March second–”

“Enough!” I grabbed his hand before finger number four could release itself from the fist.

“Maybe I need to be more specific when I ask these questions. However, I am going to give you credit for that since I was not specific and your answer is – well, it isn’t wrong. But now Forrest, it is very important that you get this last question right, and it is the most difficult of the three. So be very careful and remember, you can take all the time you need.”

“Okay, sir.”

“For the right of passage through these great pearly gates into the majestic wonder of Heaven…” I asked as though I were auditioning to host a game show, “tell me, Forrest, what is God’s first name?”

Without hesitation Forrest blurts out, “Oh, that’s easy – Howard,” he rocked heel to toe in triumph.

The bewilderment on my face was not part of the act. “Howard? Howard? What are you talking about, ‘Howard’?”

“That’s His name, Howard.”

It’s not Howard, it’s Andy!”

“Andy?” He was not willing to accept that answer.

Unbeknownst to the people occupying the pews, Forrest and the angel left the building at that moment. Bobby and June now stood before them. I’m sure they were all thinking what great actors we were as our confused tones were now loud and genuine. The debate continued with neither of us willing to budge.

“Andy? Are we telling the same joke, here?” He was as muddled as I.

Uh-oh. The people figured it out. Amidst the hilarity we heard a few call out, “Well? Which is it? Do we call Him Howard or Andy?” “Yeah,” another inquired, “does Forrest get to go to Heaven or not?”

I directed my response to Bobby’s question, “Yes, we have to be telling the same joke. You just don’t know the punch line.”

“Yes, I do,” he argued, “it’s Howard. Andy? Where does that come from?”

Time for a song. I burst into the much-loved hymn, “Andy walks with me, Andy talks with me…”

Laughing so hard he had to brace himself on the dais hand rail, Bobby was determined to have the last word, “Oh! I get it.” He composed himself in order to stand his ground, looked me in the face, and assured me I was wrong. Calmly, but firmly, he explained.

“The correct answer is Howard. And not because of some song, but because the Bible says so. Our Father who art in heaven, Howard be thy name.”

Touché Forrest, touché.

I will bow down [in worship] toward Your holy temple And give thanks to Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word together with Your name. Psalm 138:2 AMP

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 KJV

Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. Colossians 4:6 KJV

Robert “Bobby” Reynolds, I am blessed to know you. Thank you for your dedication and service to God, country, family, and friends.

Till next time,

June

 

 

When the Mountain Talks Back

We’ve all stared at a huge mountain wondering what we were going to do about it. As far as we could see the rocky tower had our way blocked, and it reached to the sky.

Maybe there is one standing in front of you now.

Sometimes we create those mountains through sin or unwise choices. Others appear at no fault of our own. Either way, they rise up and stand in our way.

We can’t do a thing about them in our own power, we’ve tried. But there is nothing too hard for God. He assured us, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain? …thou shalt become a plain.” (Zechariah 4:6,7).

Jesus explained just how to get the mighty Spirit of God working on our behalf to bring about victory when our problem seems unbeatable.

The disciples were amazed that the fig tree Jesus cursed earlier now stood dead. Matthew 21:21 shares His response, “Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.”

We convince ourselves that if God spoke to the mountain and Jesus instructed us to speak to ours, that is exactly what we should do.

So we override how foolish it seems to be looking into thin air speaking to inanimate, invisible, foes. You know the kind I’m talking about – depression, addiction, sickness, marital and family problems, oppressive work situations – whatever our mountain may be – and we speak to it.

We may even wait until no one is watching to pick up our check book or point our finger at that stack of unpaid bills and tell poverty and lack to take a hike.

But we do it. We do it because Jesus told us to and He knows best.

By the power and authority given us in Jesus’ name we command that interfering, path-blocking, trouble-making mountain to crumble so we can walk sure footedly on level ground. We stand in confidence knowing our faith is in the all-powerful God, expecting the mountain to disintegrate before our eyes.

Then the unthinkable happens. The mountain opens its ugly mouth and spits back in our face, “And just who’s going to make me move? You? Who are you to be telling me what do to do?”

And instead of things getting better, they get worse. We cover our heads to avoid the blow of the rocks the mountain hurls in our direction.

Satan starts filling our mind with every reason for what appears to be failure on our part. We haven’t fasted enough. We’ve made too many mistakes. We brought this all on ourselves. God isn’t so loving and powerful as we believed him to be.

Lies. All lies.

Instead of running for cover, stand firm. Realize that the mountain (the spirit behind it, that is, which is what we’re really speaking to) is going to test you. Especially if you are new to exercising your God-given authority. Satan turns the heat up a notch and fires back, hoping to scare you off before you destroy his plan to destroy you.

The truth is, if you hadn’t been effective nothing would have changed at all. Things wouldn’t be getting better, but they also likely would not be getting worse. Why would the devil put more energy into a fight he’s already winning?

He is a lot like that child you had to tell not once, not twice, but three times to put their toys away and go to bed. Not until you gave them the “look” and your demand contained more oomph did they realize they pushed you too far. Obey or face the consequences.

Satan will try to intimidate you when in reality he’s the one who is scared. He knows he is defeated. He also knows if you grab ahold of the power of God within you and exercise the authority Jesus gave you, you are going to know it, too.

So he puts on his best poker face and plays all his cards to convince you otherwise.

Stand your ground and speak again. And again and again if necessary. Keep the faith. Every stone that mountain throws at you is one less it has in its stature. Rock by rock it is destroying itself.

The boulders may fall and the ground may shake, but God’s got you. He’ll hold you steady as the mountain crumbles into nothingness. Soon you will walk freely across a grass covered plain.

till next time,

June — jyBInspired.com 

Seven Principles of God to Make Your Dreams Come True, Part 5 (Conclusion)

Wow! Look how far you’ve made it. You’re down to the very last element of making your dreams come true.

Remember, though, you need to apply all of these principles, make them a way of life. I hope you’ve already started with the first six. Keep in mind, they aren’t a lineup that takes turns; they are a team that work together.

“Work” being the key word there, as well as the subject of our finale:

Work Hard

For a dream cometh through the multitude of business, but a fool’s voice is known by a multitude of words. Ecclesiastes 5:3

Most modern translations indicate this verse is simply saying that if we think on something too much it will cause us to drift into daydreaming or have nightmares. Worrying about something will result in sleepless, reckless nights.

I don’t doubt those interpretations, they are true. But that is not the revelation that exploded in me one day as I read it. God spoke to me more in line with the wording found in the Amplified Version, “For a dream comes with much business and painful effort.”

If you want your dreams to come true, you have to work. Success isn’t going to fall into your lap while you sit on the sofa watching television or sleep half your day away. Rest and relaxation are necessary for our wellbeing, but laziness is never found blessed or successful in the word of God.

When laziness is mentioned in Scripture it is accompanied with starvation and ruin. Consider just a few:

For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. 2 Thessalonians 3:10

I passed by a lazy person’s field, the vineyard belonging to a person without sense. I saw that it was all overgrown with thistles. The ground was covered with weeds, and its stone fence was torn down. When I observed this, I took it to heart. I saw it and learned my lesson. “Just a little sleep, just a little slumber, just a little nap.” Then your poverty will come like a drifter, and your need will come like a bandit.  Proverbs 24:30-34 (GW)

And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Hebrews 6:11, 12

Not only does laziness not profit anything, it results in loss. Look again at Hebrews 6:12. Don’t be lazy. Follow those who do just the opposite – who diligently work. The people to be followed were obviously hard workers because they were contrasted to the slothful.

And what happened to the workers? They coupled that labor with faith and patience. They never stopped believing and they persevered with joyful expectation (definition of patience in Greek lexicon) until they inherited the promise.

This is a good place to reiterate that all of the principles discussed in this series have to be working together. We addressed faith and perseverance, continuing to trust God and move forward to the end result even when problems arise and the road seems long. This Scripture now links those two principles to hard work.

The result? The people inherited their promise.

Dreams came true.

How hard and how long you will have to work will depend on several factors. The dream you are pursuing, how many other people affect the outcome, how much support you start off with, and how well you are operating within the principles God established for success – all of these and others will come into play. Regardless, you are going have to exert yourself if you want to succeed.

Some of the spiritual aspects alone will require effort. It’s not always easy to think about what we’re thinking about and renew our minds. Overcoming mindsets of failure and inadequacy can be laborious, especially if they’ve been imbedded us for a long time.

If we’re the emotional, vocal type, we have to work hard at thinking before we speak until our mind has been completely renewed to make sure we are speaking only what God has to say.

If we think our life is supposed to be like the drive-thru at Burger King where we can have everything our way and it better be quick, more effort will be required to learn patience and perseverance.

Those efforts result in a bonus for us, though, because they affect every aspect of our lives from the smallest issue to the greatest. Our lives are immensely better and far less stressful when we trust God and keep our thoughts, words, and attitudes in line with His.

Aside from the spiritual aspects, there is all sorts of work that may be required. You may need to take some classes or pick up a hammer and tie a nail bag around your waist.

Your lifestyle may change as you discipline yourself to achieve goals and reach milestones along the way that cause opposition from friends or family.

Long hours and sacrifice just might be the path to your finish line.

And, you probably won’t enjoy every task along the way. I can attest to that.

A new writer doesn’t get to just write. They have to read, to learn, to promote, to submit, to study the market, to proof and edit and edit and proof. While they’re doing all this they’re usually working a job to support themselves.

When all they really want to do is write.

Over time the work pays off and, in many cases gets lighter. People are brought in to help or the classes are complete and the career underway. The name and reputation of the new company spreads bringing in new clients and easing the financial load.

The work will never end, but in many aspects it will get easier. A lot of effort goes into building a good car. With the laborious and costly work finished, continued maintenance and repair keeps that car operating smoothly and properly.

It’s pretty much like that with anything in our lives.

We can’t afford to get lazy once we see the dream come to pass, and we can’t take for granted that we have arrived so it’s eat, drink, and be merry from now on. But like a proud parent of a new baby, we understand that taking care of that which God brought to life for us is no burden compared to the joy it brings.

 In Conclusion

God engraves dreams in our hearts in different ways. We see a need and long to help meet that need. We realize from an early age we have a flair for a certain art or a giftedness in business. Maybe we have a fascination for architecture or flight or science and know our future is embedded somewhere in that field. Sometimes He just softly speaks, “I want you to do this.”

How He planted that dream in your heart is not the topic of this writing. Nor is what your dream might be.

The dream He has given you may or may not be directly related to ministry as we think ministry. It might be family related or occupational, it might be in the area of sports or government affairs. It may be to see your own family restored in the bond of godliness and love.

If God has given you the dream, it will serve its proper role in ministering to others.

It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you know it’s from God. Forget how big or small it might be in the eyes of man, God doesn’t have any insignificant or unimportant works or plans.

The new church I told you about at the very beginning of this series? Well, to some it would seem as not much at all. It is small in comparison to many. As a matter of fact, it could likely fit in the foyer of many a grand church buildings today, seating only about 150 people. But for us it was huge. He established that vision in the heart of a widowed woman pastor with a small congregation of people, most of which were on lower or fixed incomes.

For us to build a new building at that time was as likely as a finch building a nest to accommodate a family of eagles.

It was our dream, and it came to pass.

Dreams do come true, but it takes effort on our part.

Isn’t your dream worth it?

Please remember, God wants you to succeed. He didn’t create any of us to fail.

On the contrary, He equipped us with the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) and the Holy Spirit within us, more powerful than anything or anyone in this world (1 John 4:4).   Furthermore, we have access to every resource in and from Heaven (Luke 15:31), which is far more than we need to accomplish our God-given goals.

That is not a combination for failure.

Since putting this knowledge to work in my life, a few of my own dreams have come true. Now I am pursuing some greater ones. Little by little they are also coming to pass.

So, my friend, can yours.

What now?

Go back through the posts. Read the principles. Digest them. Put them into practice. Here they are again as a simple list:

  1. Dream. Your dream can’t come true until you have one. It’s in there…seek God to find out what it is then set it free regardless of what anyone else says or does.
  2. Have faith in God. All things are possible to them that believe (Mark 9:23)
  3. Persevere. Remember the age old adage, “Quitters never win and winners never quit.”
  4. Be led by the Spirit. There is no problem God doesn’t have a creative solution for. It may seem totally ridiculous in the natural, just the opposite of what a wise person would do. But remember, the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God (1 Corinthians 3:19). Trust God to know what He’s doing, and follow His lead.
  5. Guard your mind. In so doing, we guard our heart, and as we think in our heart so are we (Proverbs 23:7). Change the way you think. Replace every negative, hindering thought with promises and counsel and encouragement from the Word of God. Your thought life is vital to your success.
  6. Speak only Life and Victory. The power of death and life is in the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). Hold fast the confession of your hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23).
  7. Work Hard. Dreams come true through much business and painful effort (Ecclesiastes 5:3).

Add more knowledge as you journey. And never, ever quit.

If you have any questions or comments, by all means contact me. I certainly don’t know everything, but I know the One who does.  I would love to hear from you.

June  jyBInspired.com

 

Unless otherwise noted, Scripture references are from the Authorized King James Version.

Scripture marked AMP is from the Amplified Bible. Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture marked GW is taken from GOD’S WORD®, © 1995 God’s Word to the Nations. Used by permission of Baker Publishing Group.

Seven Principles of God to Make Your Dreams Come True, Part 4

It’s been too long since Part 3, so let’s bring everybody back up to speed. The entire purpose of this post is to point out that God created everyone for success. He plants a desire in our heart, a dream to pursue, then He helps us bring it to pass.

The key word there is “helps” – He doesn’t do it for us, He does it with us. We have to do our part. My intent is to give you a starting point with seven Biblical principles that must be in play if you are indeed going to see your dreams come true.

As said before, there is much to learn and practice about each of these seven principles, but this post provides you a great starting place. The fundamentals are here, and actually if you took to heart just what you’ve read in this series and put it into practice, it would be enough. But the Bible has so much to say about each of them that I cannot possibly include it all. Continue to seek God, learn all you can and apply what you learn. Then you will remain enthused and hopeful. Your faith will abound more and more.

We have addressed five of the seven principles:

  1. Dream. Your dream can’t come true until you have one. It’s in there…seek God to find out what it is then set it free regardless of what anyone else says or does.
  2. Have faith in God. All things are possible to them that believe (Mark 9:23)
  3. Persevere. Remember the age old adage, “Quitters never win and winners never quit.”
  4. Be led by the Spirit. There is no problem God doesn’t have a creative solution for. It may seem totally ridiculous in the natural, just the opposite of what a wise person would do. But remember, the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God (1 Corinthians 3:19). Trust God to know what He’s doing, and follow His lead.
  5. Guard your mind. In so doing, you guard your heart, and as you think in your heart so are you (Proverbs 23:7). Change the way you think. Replace every negative, hindering thought with promises and counsel and encouragement from the Word of God. Your thought life is vital to your success.

Now we continue with the sixth principle:

Speak Only Life and Victory

An evangelist friend of mine often makes this statement, “Your tomorrow is waiting to hear what you say today.”

That is a truth of God’s word.

Because of erroneous teachings the power of our confession has developed into a controversial issue among Christians. So much that I spent four consecutive weeks at my own church teaching in detail what Scripture does and does not say about it and combatting some of the common notions that are verbalized when the topic arises. I can’t do that here, but what I can do here is try to get through to you the validity of the power in our words.

And well, the only way to do that is be blunt. Do you take God at His word or don’t you? If so, you cannot ignore Scriptures such as these:

Death and life are in the power of the tongue. (Proverbs 18:21)

For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Mark 11:23

And those are only two of several. Remember, God created this universe with His word. When the Holy Spirit came to live in you, with Him came that power to create through your words. What we experience in this life is highly dependent upon what we let come out of our mouth.

We can be working hard and making wise decisions and doing everything right, but if all we are saying is, “I just can’t see this happening for me,” then it won’t. If we keep saying we can’t afford to pursue our dream, we’ll not be able to fund it. Or, that we just don’t have time (my big downfall which I really have to work at), then a myriad of seemingly more important things will flood our lives.   If we speak failure, we create it.

On the flip side, if we speak God’s words of success, health, provision, and possibilities, we will begin to see doors open and ways made where it seemed in the natural there was no way.

The thing is, just mouthing empty words does us no good. It’s the words spoken in faith that move mountains. So what if you’re not convinced? What if in your heart you still don’t think your dream can come true? What then?

First of all, be slow to speak (James 1:19), which will be easier to do if you have started thinking about what you’re thinking about (5th principle).

You see, it is out of the abundance of our heart that we speak (Luke 6:45). In other words, whatever is settled most in our hearts is what will flow naturally out of our mouths. You don’t want words of defeat coming out and empowering failure (death) in your future, so don’t react or respond without first stopping to think about what you are about to say.

Then speak only life. Speak the promises of God. His words are spirit and life, so speak them (John 6:63). Speak in confidence the fulfillment of the hope God has planted within you.

“God has given me a vision. He wants me to be nurse. I don’t know exactly how I’m going to work that out yet, but He is making a way and I am going to walk in it. I will not be just a nurse, but a great one He can use to help and influence people.”

All the while you may be wondering where the money for school is going to come from, how you are going to manage job, school and parenthood. You may be thinking about the difficulty you had in science class.

But you’re also remembering that God said He will provide. He will lead you. He will strengthen you. He will be strong in the areas you are weak.

Why should you speak it anyway when you’re not fully convinced? Isn’t that just a way of getting your hopes up? Yes. And that’s exactly what you want to do.

Faith is the evidence of things hoped for (Hebrews 11:1). If you don’t start with hope, your faith has nothing to form in your life. And here’s where it gets great and shows yet again just how awesome God is and how much He loves us.

He established His principles of success in our lives so they help one another develop for our benefit.

All you need is this starting point: You must have it established it in your heart that God cannot lie. It is impossible for Him to lie (Numbers 23:19 and Hebrews 6:18).

Even if He could, He wouldn’t. He loves us too much. However, knowing it is impossible for Him gives us the priceless reassurance that we can stake our lives and our futures on His word.

If you’re not fully convinced of that fact you will never abound in faith. So make sure this is your starting point: God cannot lie.

Now, you’re ready to put His word to work for you, like this:

Regardless as to what your mind is telling you, speak the desired end result as though it is a done deal. We are to be imitators of God:

Therefore be imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]. Ephesians 5:1 AMP

God calls things that are not as though they already were (Romans 4:17). We must do the same. This is why you must be fully persuaded in your heart that God cannot lie. If you’re not, your heart will convince you that you are talking like a crazy person or a liar.

At the very least, say things like, “This is God’s will and plan for me. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Everything I set my hands to do is blessed.”

As you speak – out loud – positive words of victory (the promises of God), you will hear yourself. And guess what? Faith comes by hearing! (Romans 10:17). Instead of hearing negative words of failure and defeat and letting your faith build on that, now your faith will be fed words of triumph and promise and those seeds will begin to grow.

The cycle begins. As your faith grows, it will become easier and easier to speak the positive words of success because faith is connected to speaking:

We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak. 2 Corinthians 4:13

The more we speak, the more we hear, the more we hear, the more our faith abounds, the more our faith abounds, the more we speak… see? Isn’t that great?

Pretty soon, we are speaking words to create a future based on God’s will for our lives to walk in health and prosperity as our soul prospers; to enjoy the plans He has for us.

And we’re doing it naturally, without having to stop and force the words out of our mouth. The words we’re hearing are settling into our hearts, filling it up, and out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

The doubt leaves, and we have whatsoever we say.

To take this a step further – remember last time we talked about guarding our thoughts because then we guard our hearts? The important principle then being that as we think in our heart so are we.

The cycle of speaking building faith and faith making it easier to speak also feeds your mind.

Thoughts of failure get pushed to the background if not completely out (which is the desired result), and the man in your heart transforms from the defeated to the victor. Soon you will think yourself a winner, successful, effective, healthy, and happy.

That’s who you will see when you look in the mirror, the person living out God’s plan for their life. Then because that’s who you believe in your heart you are, it will be.

Knowing that we have to learn to walk by faith and renew our minds, God made these principles to work together for our benefit. When used according to His will and based on His word, they join forces to create within us an unstoppable power source.

Dreams come true.

Guard your words. Speak life. If you must make a statement concerning the natural reality, hook on an addendum of faith. “I don’t have the cash on hand to open today, it’s still in the planning stages. I am seeking God and He’s helping me work out the details. It will happen.”

As a result, your heart is motivated to start pursuing the person it believes it is and you start to believe more and more the words you have spoken. They are settling in your heart and pretty soon they are coming naturally out of your mouth, creating good things for the days ahead.

There’s one more part to this series, which hopefully will post soon. In the meantime, start paying close attention to the words you speak. Make sure you choose words of life and promise.

Keep your relationship with God the most important thing in your life, and speak over your dream just as He does.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23 NKJV

Till next time,

June  jyBInspired.com

Unless otherwise noted, Scripture references are from the Authorized King James Version.

Scripture marked AMP is from the Amplified Bible. Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture marked NKJB taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Seven Principles of God to Make Your Dreams Come True, Part 3

Through Parts 1 and 2, you recognized the need to dream and seek God for His inspiration. You allowed Him to plant a desire in your heart that is in line with His good will and plan for your life.

You starting building yourself up in your faith in God, learning to combat doubt and unbelief. Your hope is being renewed as you search His Word and stand on His covenant promises.

You determined in your heart to persevere. Whether this first dream is located just down the block in the unseen realm, or whether it requires a journey around the world, you made up your mind that nothing and no one will stand in your way and stop you from bringing it to fruition.

And, you are now seeking God more and quieting yourself before Him so you can become more sensitive to His voice. Knowing He has the route laid out and the solution for every challenging situation, you’ve recognized the need to hear and heed His advice.

You are well on your way to taking back what the enemy has stolen from you for so long, and to seeing your dream come to pass in this life. And just think – then you’ll have the faith and confidence to dream even bigger.

It was my intent to conclude this series with this post. Well, that’s not going to happen. There is so much I want to say on this next principle that it took several rewrites just to keep this post at a doable length.

My plan all along has not been to provide a lot of detail in each area. This series is meant as an ignition switch to get the motor running, with needed fuel and maintenance to follow as you travel further down the road. That is especially true in the next few areas because there are so many supporting Scriptures that explain their necessity and help us put them into practice.

I did my best to keep it brief while stressing the importance, but brevity is not my strong point. That being said, let’s move on to the fifth of seven principles God established to help our dreams come true.

Guard Your Mind

If you want to see your dream come true you cannot afford to let your heart be governed by the negativity, discouragement, and defeat that come from the natural world or from the lies of the devil, who comes to steal your hope and deplete your faith in God.

We are taught in the word that as we think in our heart, so are we (Proverbs 23:7).

That Scripture is primarily addressing the moral condition of our hearts. Regardless as to how we might act, if our hearts are evil so are we. If our hearts are pure so are we. Even if we try to pretend otherwise, eventually our true colors are going to show because that’s who we are.

By that same token, if there is an image of defeat in our hearts we will be defeated. If we see ourselves as a nobody, that’s who we will remain. If, however, we can accept in our hearts that we are successful, victorious, happy, blessed and free, that’s who we will become.

This is why we are cautioned about the condition of our hearts:

Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23 AMP

So if I’m stressing the need to guard our heart, why is the instruction on guarding our mind? Because the mind, what we think, is the primary gateway to our heart. If we learn to control the mind, guarding the heart will just about take care of itself.

With every thought we make a choice. We choose whether to accept it or reject it. If we accept it, it settles into our heart and sooner or later we are going to act on it.

It is our responsibility to guard our minds and make sure our thought life is one of love and hope and promise and success. Protecting our minds is vital to living the abundant life Jesus provided for us because it affects every single aspect of our wellbeing.

This law of God does require some effort, but I trust if you’re reading this you have a dream worth putting some effort into. So let’s talk about this for just a bit.

First of all, stop saying things like, “I can’t help how I think or what I think about.”

Yes, you can.

God never, ever, ever tells us to do anything we can’t do, yet in His word we are instructed several times concerning ways we should and should not think. This often referenced verse found in Philippians needs to become a way of life for us:

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8

Did you pay attention to the last four words? Think on these things. You can learn to control your thinking and bring it to a place where your heart is nourished with the food of peace, health, prosperity, and success.

Let me give you just a few examples from Scripture of people who were controlling their thoughts in a positive way.

The prophet Jeremiah penned these words:

This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:21-23

He said, “This I recall to my mind…” Jeremiah made himself recall the goodness of God. He trained his mind to think on the mercy and compassion of our heavenly Father and how through them God keeps us from being eaten alive by the sin, corruption, abuse, and standards of this world.

And what was the result? Hope! “…therefore I have hope,” he declared. He refused to allow negative and fearful thoughts enter his mind and feed his heart. He remained a man of strength and faith, accomplishing that which God had for him to do, often in terrible circumstances, because he controlled his thinking.

Then there is the Apostle Paul.

I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews: Acts 26:2

Paul was actually saying he considered myself fortunate to defend himself to Agrippa concerning the allegations made against him. Paul had confidence in Agrippa as far as his knowledge and understanding of Jewish ways. Most Bible translations word that verse accordingly.

In a difficult situation Paul’s focus was not on why God allowed it, on fear of the outcome, or on how unfair the whole situation was toward him. He wasn’t focused on failure or revenge. He directed His thoughts to how God was making a way out and putting him in just the right place at the right time.

But it goes even beyond that to a place that causes me to just love this verse as it reads in the King James. You see, this war against rampant, destructive thoughts has not been an easy one for me. One day in the heat of a battle, I just happened to be reading in Acts and came across this account.

It stood out to me more vividly than white patent leather shoes against black slacks: I think myself happy.

Paul was thinking himself happy and so could I.

And so can you.

We can think ourselves happy and healthy and successful and prosperous because as we think in our hearts so are we. I am not saying that we can sit down on the sofa and think ourselves into a whole new life or think our dreams true.

But this is a spiritual principle set in place by our Creator and it has been proven true time and again. You see, what we think about will begin to govern our lives. Thoughts we retain eventually become automatic. They settle into our hearts and we act on them.

The more we think about our sore throat or headache, the more we convince ourselves we should stay in bed and nurse ourselves back to health. We can imagine our spouse having an affair to the point we accuse and act on jealousy and suspicion, even when they are absolutely innocent. We can focus on our mistakes to the point that we will never try again, having convinced ourselves we won’t ever get it right.

Such negative and damaging thought patterns are far too common in our lives today. We have to get that garbage out and the Word of God in so we will begin to act on thoughts of love, joy, health, success, and the overall goodness of our Father.

Procedurally, this is a simple principle:

Stop thinking negatively. Stop worrying about mistakes, failures, what might or might not happen. Stop dwelling on things as they are now. Stop emphasizing your inadequacies.

Start thinking in line with God’s promises and His will. Start thinking success, blessing, and victory. Focus your imagination on the outcome you desire and go to your happy place, to cite a cliché.

Sounds simple enough. However, the mechanics may not be so easy. Many of us have allowed ourselves to be hindered by fear, failures, disappointments, and the standards of the natural world to the extent that our thoughts (thus our actions) are dominated by those things. We don’t even realize how often we think that way or the adverse effect it is having in our lives.

So while understanding the process is simple, actually working through it may take some real effort. I know from experience the result is worth far more than the labor. Here are the basic steps to help you get started:

1. Think about what you are thinking about.

Thoughts are always scurrying around inside our heads. Very often, our active thoughts are pushed to the background and we don’t realize they’re working back there because work or television or driving or whatever else has our attention. But they’re there.

Have you ever said something “out of the blue”, or, without a defined reminder suddenly thought of a long ago memory? It really wasn’t out of the blue or suddenly, it’s just that the thoughts lining up one after the other to that point weren’t at the forefront of your mind.

Make some effort to pay attention to the thoughts wandering around behind the scenes. Force them stand front and center so you can size them up. Force them to show themselves.

Another way of thinking about what you are thinking about is to question why you respond to certain things or people the way you do. Why did I give him that answer? Why did I open the refrigerator to see what’s in there when I already know? What was I thinking?

And yet another, ask yourself why you believe what you believe or why do you feel so strongly about one matter or another.

Become of aware of your thoughts.

2. Recognize thoughts that need to be replaced.

These are the thoughts that argue with you when you see yourself successful and move in that direction. They are thoughts of death, suffering, failure, unworthiness, inadequacies and so on. They say words like “can’t”, “never”, and “just accept it.”

They come from our environment, from past experiences, from other people, and even from the devil who will plant lies in our minds to steal from us and destroy our dreams.

There is nothing lovely about them.  They don’t bring a good report or praise.  So they have to go.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 NLT

This process is known as renewing your mind. And though it is our responsibility to do so, God has provided the means.

3. Use the weapons God has given us to destroy those arguments.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; Romans 10:3-5

The weapons He refers to? There are more than these, but some dominant ones are:

(a) Free will. We can choose how we will think. We make the choice which thoughts to discard and which to keep and nourish. Nobody can force us to think against our will;

(b) Grace. Ask God for grace to conquer the negative thoughts. He is more than willing to help us in our time of need; and

(c) His word, which is full of hope and promise. It is His word we use to replace the thoughts we are removing. If we don’t replace them, I assure you, they will return.

The ungodly thought pattern that had the most effect in my life was that of failure. I couldn’t get anything right. I didn’t meet the standards or requirements for what I wanted to do, and likely never would. I had made too many mistakes that would forever haunt me. Who would listen to me anyway? There were little or no results from past efforts.

On and on and on reasons why I would never succeed bombarded me every single time I dreamt of doing something meaningful. They ran wild in my mind and overpowered every accomplishment, every triumph, and every good thing I am through Jesus.

But then I learned to capture them. I hunted them down, lured them out into the open, and then destroyed them. And in the territory they once occupied, I planted guards such as these (as paraphrased by my mind for me):

I am the workmanship of God, created in Christ to do the good works God preplanned for me to do so I can live the good life He prearranged for me (Ephesians 2:10)

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

Because I have committed my life and my works to Him, He brings my thoughts in line with His will so I can succeed (Proverbs 16:3).

Because I trust the Lord with all my heart and don’t lean to my own understanding, and because I make Him a part of everything I do, He directs my paths. (Proverbs 3:5, 6)

I am remarkably and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)

I am more than a conqueror through Jesus. (Romans 8;37)

Everything I set my hands to do is blessed; it prospers. (Deuteronomy 28:8)

With my new thoughts, I started making myself imagine myself where I want to be, not where my toxic mind was showing me I was headed.

Anticipation and expectation have replaced fear of disappointment. Confidence has replaced insecurities. Hope and faith have replaced hopelessness and unbelief. What a wonderful change God has wrought in my life.

He will do the same for you.

4. Repeat steps 1-3.

5. Repeat step 4.

6. Repeat step 5.

7. Repeat…okay, you get my point. A lifelong mindset is not likely to go away at the first attempt. Some will take more effort and resist eviction more than others.

As a matter of fact, I still have to fight the feelings of failure and impending disappointment. It’s just that now the battles are fewer and farther between, and won much more quickly than they used to be.

Don’t give up. Remain aware of those thoughts and mindsets, choose to oust them, replace them with the Word. If you don’t already, you will eventually have positive experiences and memories to accompany Scripture in taking the place of destructive thoughts.

Finally (don’t stop now, you’re almost to the end!)…

As far as back as I can remember, I have heard this said: You might not stop a bird from flying overhead, but you can stop it from building a nest in your hair.

In other words, you can’t stop a thought from entering your mind, but you can reject it (if you are thinking about what you’re thinking about) and keep it from taking root in your heart.

While there is much truth to that, I believe we sell ourselves a little short by clinging to that counsel in its fullness. We can indeed stop a lot of the thoughts from coming in, in the first place. When it comes to guarding our minds offensive moves are much easier and more effective than defensive ones.

King David wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “I will set no wicked thing before my eyes…it shall not cleave unto me.”

David was speaking primarily of things that would tempt him to sin. He wouldn’t even look at things that would bring thoughts of evil doing into his life. He determined to guard his mind in order that his heart remained pure. (He learned that lesson the hard way.)

That same principle should be applied to not allowing thoughts of defeat, disappointment, failure, or giving up enter into our minds. We can prevent negative thoughts from entering our minds by simply not exposing ourselves to them.

I’m not implying you should live in a silent world all alone. But you can greatly reduce negative influence by separating yourselves from dream killers – people who respond with words like, “Aren’t you a little old to be trying such a thing?” “You just need to make a living and stop worrying about all this other stuff.”

Things like, “You can’t do that.” And, “Do you realize how many businesses fail every year?”

Or the dreaded laugh, “Yeah right,” followed by the sarcasm, “Good luck with that.”

Don’t share your dream with people who have poison in their mouth unless you want your dream to suffer.

And turn off the television more often. Stories of doom and defeat dominate the air waves in both news broadcasts and fictional programming. If you have to watch, find stories of those who overcame the odds to march triumphantly down Winner’s Circle.

You can stop some birds from flying overhead. There are going to be plenty that you can’t, so stop the ones you can.

To sum it up –

We become as we think in our heart. Our hearts are fed by our minds, our thought life. So by all means guard your mind. Let your thoughts and imagination work for you, not against you. If you are a born again believer you have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), but it’s up to you to let it work (Philippians 2:5).

I will try my best to make Part 4 the final part of this series, but no promises. Until then I hope you will remind yourself of God’s principles for making your dreams come true that we have addressed so far and start putting them into practice.

There are great things waiting with your name on them.

June

See more at http://jybinspired.com

Unless otherwise noted, Scripture references are from the Authorized King James Version.

Scripture marked AMP is from the Amplified Bible. Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture marked NLT is from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.