FEEL FREE TO PRAY

“Lord, teach us to pray,” came the disciples’ plea. Jesus, undoubtedly pleased at their request, lovingly responded in that which has been called for centuries, “The Lord’s Prayer” (Luke 11).

When we desire a deep, personal relationship with our Savior, and to be an effective intercessor, learning to pray becomes a priority of our heart.  We can learn to pray more effectively. We can increase in fervency and knowledge. We can grow in understanding and rise to new spiritual heights of prayer.

However, in our passion to grow closer to Jesus and our eagerness to be of greater service, we often leave behind a most critical element of prayer – freedom. We are free in Jesus Christ to be ourselves; to be open and honest before our Lord. We are free to follow the Holy Spirit’s lead.

We can become overly focused on saying exactly the right words for exactly the right length of time. We can become too concerned with the precise balance of praise and petition, tears and rejoicing, prayers for self and prayers for others.

When this happens, we soon become frustrated with unsatisfactory efforts to get it right. Undue guilt plagues us as we blame ourselves for problems because we didn’t pray enough or according to the guidelines for success. Prayer soon becomes something we reluctantly mark off of an obligatory do list as opposed to what it should be – communion with our heavenly Father induced by love and desire. It’s all part of an awesome, personal relationship of love and grace.

An Irish peddler declaring he had found something equal to salvation was challenged to explain. “The companionship of the One who has saved me,” was the reply.

Anticipation, not of having to pray, but having the privilege to pray, will explode within us only when we fully understand how completely transparent we can be in God’s presence. Liberated from restrictions and rules, we can rejoice at the very idea of a rendezvous with our Lord. Prayer becomes the extraordinary in our ordinary day, the marvelous in the midst of our mundane.

I am a person who talks to God all the time and about everything. I enjoy His company and want to know His thoughts and will. But I also relish the special time that I set aside where my complete focus can on Him.

Every day I look forward to closing myself off from the rest of the world to spend time alone with my Father. It’s my favorite thing to do and I really miss it when life gets in the way and I cannot. My time with Him is part of my daily routine. What happens once I get there is not routine at all.

Some days I have it all together. Thanksgiving and petitions are presented in an almost systematic way and beautifully laced with Scripture. Some days I fall completely apart. I can do nothing but sob uncontrollably and utter a word here and there that, like those of Hannah, are formed on my lips but never escape my vocal chords (1 Samuel 1:10-15).

At times my prayer is offered completely in song and words of praise and rejoicing. Other times fervency, determination, and victory dominate. Occasionally, I simply sit down before Him and we share one with another, discussing matters of great importance as though we were chatting over a cup of tea.

I would be remiss if I didn’t include the days when all of the above decide to manifest themselves in a single sitting!

One hour may pass, or two. On rare occasions, I find I have been there the entire morning. But it might have been twenty minutes, or fifteen. My schedule, although full, does allow me flexibility that you may not have. Still, we’re talking about freedom in our prayer life.

While sacrificial time is most often required, God does not hold you to standards that are impossible to meet. This is part of the freedom. I don’t enter into God’s presence declaring, “OK, God, I’ve got ten minutes to give You today, hope that’s enough.”

Nor does He say to me, “If you don’t pray two hours, you need not pray at all.”

Allowing the Holy Spirit to lead the way, I pray. When I feel in my spirit it is time to go, and when the Spirit releases me to do so, I go (never leaving my spirit of prayer behind). Remorse has come only when I allowed things of lesser importance to rush me out of the room before I felt the complete release of the Spirit.

Liberty in Christ doesn’t invite disrespect or disobedience. It isn’t demanding or self-gratifying. It is, however, an open door through which our hearts can join with His. It is an invitation to come as we are before the King. An opportunity to offer ourselves in as many different layers as form our personalities.

A story is told of a little girl who had just learned the alphabet. A missionary noticed the child on bended knee, and quietly approached only to hear her thoughtfully repeating the ABC’s again and again. God for sure learned the alphabet that day. When at last the little girl rose, the missionary asked why she had kept her repeating her ABC’s. She answered quite unashamed, “I felt that I should pray, and because I did not know how to pray, I repeated the letters of the alphabet, knowing that the great Lord would fit the letters together to make words out of them.”

This child wanted to pray. She hadn’t learned the rules. She hadn’t been taught Jesus’ pattern or the importance of praying the Word. But she understood freedom in the presence of her Father. If only she approached Him with what she had—herself—He would fill in the blanks. No fear. No shame. Just freedom to pray in whatever way her spirit told her was best.

Have you spent such special times with Jesus, led by the Spirit into a no-holds-barred arena of love where you expressed yourself openly, and in return received life-changing counsel? Where you offered yourself for service and were not rejected? Where you laughed or cried—or both? Have you unashamedly emptied your heart, even if it did sound like an over-achieving auctioneer with more merchandise than time to sell it? Have you bowed in silent awe to gaze upon the Father?

Continue your pursuit of effective prayer. In so doing, you will learn to pray the Word of God, you will learn keys to praying unselfishly and by the leading of the Spirit. You will learn to pray prayers of faith, not of fear or self-pity. And you will find excellent examples of prayers throughout the Bible for most every situation.

Use what you learn with a sincere heart, but don’t let it inhibit you. After a while, you will realize that what you learned has become evident in your prayer life.

Approach God always with love and reverence. After all, He is our creator and our God. Remember though, He is also our Father and our friend.

So by all means, feel free to pray.

till next time —

June   jyB Inspired.com

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 2

Part 1 of this post addressed but the first aspect of making your dream come true – dream. You’ve got to have a dream in order for it to come true. So I trust if you weren’t already aware of the dream or dreams God has instilled in your heart, you have spent some time since that post seeking God for a vision and have given birth to the hope of something great in your life.

With that done you are ready to move on into what it takes to see those dreams become a reality in this life. Still I refer to my mother/pastor’s dream of a new church building. While her story is but one of many I personally know, all of which will testify to these same necessary elements, hers is a good example and – well – I just like it. Hope you do, too.

What do you have to do to make your dream come true? Read on.

Have Faith in God.  

With money gone and the building yet unfinished, Pastor realized the largest remaining expense was the roof. She had two options. She could abandon the project, close the church and sell the property. Or, she could trust the very same God who told her to build to make a way.

Hearing a ruckus one morning, she looked out her window toward the church grounds to see a long flatbed trailer loaded with trusses. The trusses were being lifted from the truck by a huge mechanical arm and placed in an almost perfect stack on the ground.

Approaching the driver/operator, Pastor asked him where the trusses came from. She knew the church hadn’t ordered them, and didn’t know if she was about to have a gigantic invoice placed her hand.

“I don’t know who sent them, ma’am,” he explained. I was told to bring this load of trusses here and drop them off today because the crew will be here in a few days to set them on the building. But no ma’am, I’m not leaving you any bill to pay or expecting to collect any money from you.”

The crew arrived, but no bill ever came.

If God has given us a dream, He has blessed it. He has provided for it, planned and prepared for it, and He is protecting it. He is already calling it done. We have to believe that with all our heart because things will happen that, if we’re not careful, will cause unbelief to set in.

Faith is a must if you want your dreams to come true. And that faith needs to be in God, not in a worldly system, not in man, and certainly not in our own gifts, talents, or abilities.

All of those things might play a role in bringing your dream to pass, but putting your confidence in them instead of God will set you up for failure. God alone can handle those things we are not aware of and those things that are beyond our ability.

An evangelist friend of mine often says something like this, “If your vision is not bigger than you are, it didn’t come from God.”

With that in mind I ask if you, like me before God helped me digest these principles, have let dreams die because in your mind they were too far beyond your reach.

They were beyond your educational or skill level, they would require way more money than you could ever earn or way more time than you could ever give. If our faith is in our own abilities or in a worldly system, our dream will seldom, if ever, come true.

On the flip side, if our confidence is in God the way has already been made. We need only follow our Leader and put our trust in Him.

Jesus said it Himself.

“If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes.” Mark 9:23 NKJV

He later puts it so simply, yet with profound impact if we are really listening, when He says,

“Have faith in God.” Mark 11:23

Dreams come true.

Persevere.

Obstacles will arise. You will be challenged. Don’t quit.

Several who committed to see the project through left, and in that group were most of the men who originally offered themselves to help with labor. Permits sometimes had to be renewed because the tasks were not yet completed by their expiration date. Even in the then sparsely populated small town, there were some who did not think it could or should be done.

So people talked. It was not difficult to overhear conversations about biting off more than we could chew or about the eyesore a partially completed building was going to be when the construction stopped and the project was abandoned.

Warning: the most negative voices are often the loudest.

One even went to City Hall and demanded we be fined and forced to stop using the grounds because we were running our electricity via an extension cord from Pastor’s house next door.

We would not have known about that incident had the Mayor not stopped by one day just to check on our progress and visit a while. Without disclosing the name of the complainant, he shared the story and explained he had simply told the person, “I may not be a Christian, but I have too much respect for that woman and too much fear of God to mess with them. Leave them alone.”

Had my mother let every obstacle throw her into a ditch of defeat or every criticism and word of doubt cause her to give up, her dream would have devolved into failure, disappointment, and regret. So she did what we all must learn to do, she determined in her heart that God would never leave her nor forsake her. With that confidence she endured the bad she encountered along the way because she could see the good just ahead.

1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1, 2 NKJV

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. Galatians 6:9

Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13 NKJV

I know your [record of] works and what you are doing. See! I have set before you a door wide open which no one is able to shut; I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept My Word and guarded My message and have not renounced or denied My name. Revelation 3:8, AMP

Persevere, see your dream through to the end. The same God who helped you take the first step will escort you all the way to the last.

Be Led by the Spirit

A little ingenuity doesn’t hurt, either. Part 1 began with this memory:

The bare block walls rose up around us as though to offer security in an insecure time. The gaps where one day glass panes would be installed this night allowed the cool spring breeze and the sweet smell of Orange Blossoms to grace us with their presence.

Those bare block walls that rose up around us? Well, they went up before anything else.

You see, we were in a tiny frame building at the time that was not only far too small, it was also very old and weak. I don’t remember whose idea it was or why we started the way we did, but I do know that our first step in the actual construction was to build the walls of the new building, which we did around the still standing old one.

We continued to have service in the old building and were encouraged when we would look out the windows to see the blocks of the new walls several feet away.

Eventually, the old building was torn down and removed through the openings that were left to later house windows and doors.

Even later, through those same openings, we poured the floor.

Sometimes we just have to see things and be willing to do things that don’t make sense in the natural world. If your thinking is limited to what the world perceives as normal, you will limit or at the very least slow down your progress. Discouragement will come easy.

Whether it be to overcome obstacles, find a better way to accomplish a task or goal, or develop a new product or service – creativity is a must. And who can think more creatively than the Holy Spirit who dwells within you?

Commit the dream to God and let the Holy Spirit guide your spirit and mind. You might just be amazed at the ideas and solutions you’ll come up with. Pursuit of your dream will become more fun and adventurous.

Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed. Proverbs 16:3, AMP

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5,6

Remember – You serve the God of the impossible. It doesn’t matter what people say, it doesn’t matter what circumstances say, it doesn’t matter what common sense or human logic says. It matters what God says.

Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee: Jeremiah 32:17

By the way, you’re bound to make some mistakes along the way. I remember saying to God on more than one occasion, “Lord, I know you order my footsteps, but I seem to be having problems following orders again.”

I’m sure I’m not the only one. But God still loves us, He doesn’t get angry when we don’t get it right. If we just put our trust in Him and recognize Him as our Father and friend and number one supporter we will feel Him lift us up, brush the dust off our knees, and steady our stance.

“It’s okay,” He’ll say, “Just get back up and do it again. Don’t quit. I’m right here with you.”

Dreams come true.

That is enough for this week.

You’ve got your dream or dreams set before your eyes. Until we meet again, spend some time in the Word because that is how you will build up your faith in God.

Determine in your heart that you will not quit regardless of challenges that may arise or mistakes you may make along the way. Commune with the Lord often. Meditate on Him and discuss your dream with Him so you can become ever aware of His still small voice. Then He can bring your thoughts in line with His will and lead you by the Spirit.

If you take this to heart, you are going to feel hope and expectation growing inside of you. You’ll start looking forward to what God is going to do for and through you each and every day.

Be sure not to miss the next post because the final three acts of accomplishment are crucial to seeing your dreams become a reality.

If you want a reminder send me your email address. If you have any questions or comments, contact me. I would love to hear from you.

June  http://jybinspired.com

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

Scripture 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 1

 

The bare block walls rose up around us as though to offer security in an insecure time. The gaps where one day glass panes would be installed this night allowed the cool spring breeze and the sweet smell of Orange Blossoms to grace us with their presence. A bright orange cord strung from Pastor’s house next door and elevated by a pole held the single, bare light bulb. Orange crates served as pews, dirt as the floor, and the starry sky overhead as the most beautiful of ceilings for a worship service.

We were few in number and low in finances. But God instructed Pastor to build, and build she did. Piece by piece, task by task, day by day, God provided. Almost four years later we dedicated our completed, fully furnished, church to its rightful owner—Jesus Christ. He alone had taken a woman and a handful of people in a then tiny community, and built a church to completion without a penny owing.

Dreams do come true.  DSC00185

We serve the Almighty Dream Giver. And when God instills a dream in our heart, He has every intention of that dream becoming in a reality in our life. He doesn’t give us dreams just to watch them be shattered.

But here’s the deal, it takes effort on our part.

As much as I truly adore the story of Cinderella because of its overwhelming message that all things are possible, I am also well aware that God is not going to send the Fairy Godmother to wave her wand and instantaneously change my pumpkin into a golden carriage.

We have to do our part if we want to see our dreams come true.

The good news is that throughout God’s word He tells us over and again just what we need to do to see every dream He instills in our heart become a reality in this life.

There are so many dynamic Scriptures on this subject I cannot include them all, but if you will prayerfully grab hold of the ones here and apply them, there is nothing that can be held back from you.

Because I have not yet mastered the concept that BLOG posts and magazine articles are not to be the length of an entire book, I have broken this particular writing into a series. Even in so doing I cannot say everything I would like to say, but there will be enough to get you well on your way to seeing your dreams come true.

Throughout the series I am going to address seven principles from the word of God that we must apply if we want to fulfill our dreams. Some posts, this one for example, will cover but one. Other posts will cover more than that dependent upon length.

If you take them to heart and apply them properly, your life is going to change.

Dream

Okay, that should be obvious.

Yet, there are multitudes of Christians who just live day to day taking things as they come, never imagining more or different for their lives. The first thing we need to do is open ourselves up to God’s love and His plans for us, let Him plant a desire in our heart.

Far too many people are just content with things as they are. Because this is to many a strong mindset, we are going to spend a little time here.

Some don’t dream from sheer laziness or unconcern (certainly that’s not you). Others because they have actually been convinced it’s a sin, citing New Testament Scriptures that remind us we are to be content.

And Scripture does tell us to do just that. 1 Timothy 6:8, And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. Hebrews 13:5, …and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

The most favored among those satisfied with the status quo seems to be Philippians 4:11, Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

But this admonition to be content is not a commandment not to desire and dream for more. It is a reminder that while we are where we are, we are to remain grateful to God. And that is so very important, because one of the initial steps in walking away from the Lord is becoming ungrateful or unthankful (Romans 1:21).

Murmuring and complaining cost the Israelites forty years of their lives and kept many of them from entering into the promised land. We should always be thankful for what God has blessed us with and be content with what we have — while we are pursuing more.

We were thankful for the tiny frame building. We started out in a living room. From there we went to a tent. Then God made a way for a building to be moved from Orlando onto the property.

Though I was far too young to remember most of those very early days, I know my parents and the congregation were grateful to God for preparing a meeting place.

But their dream was to do more for God, to reach more people and see lives changed through His word. That dream led to the dream for a larger, more stable building. There was not complaint and ungratefulness about the existing building. It was a gift of God while the vision of a new one was being brought to pass.

Paul and Silas praised God in prison because they truly loved Him and were grateful for every blessing and opportunity afforded them. They were content because they had God and He was caring for them. Still, they didn’t want to stay there. There were other places to go, other people to be ministered to. They had a dream.

As a matter of fact, if you are one who is just okay with everything as is – especially if things are not positive or are hindering you from moving forward – and you are there based on Scripture that tells us to be content, then I ask you this question:

Are you content with your wages? Do you think you make enough money for the work you are doing? (Come on now, be honest.)

Because you see, when asked by some soldiers what they needed to do in repentance, John the Baptist instructed them to not be violent to people or accuse them falsely, and to be content with their wages.

Does that word mean we are never to dream of being promoted or given a raise in pay or growing a business to a higher level? Of course not. What that does mean is that we are to be thankful we have an income and not complain about how much it is or what we have to do to earn it while we are pursuing better.

But if you’re using the contentment card to excuse complacency or if the devil is using it against you by making you feel guilty if you desire more, then you have to also never desire to receive more from your employment or business. We can’t pick and choose when and where we apply the word of God.

Another reason people don’t dream is that they have achieved their goals.

Maybe you are successful in the career of your choice. Maybe you are comfortably retired and not at a place in your life where you want to pursue anything new. You have no desire to go back to school to earn a degree or learn a new skill. Maybe all is well at home.

You have arrived. Your life is fulfilled. There is nothing you care to dream about.

There is always a star in the sky; always something to aim for.

What about a dream to have more time or ability to dedicate to a worthy cause? Wouldn’t it be nice to have more money to give into ministries and to the needy?

What about a dream to walk in perfect health? Are you happy with the constant pain and frequent doctor’s visits? Do you cringe when the pharmacist takes even more of your money? Do you really enjoy having to divide your pills into three sets just to swallow them all?

Jesus bore all that sickness and by His stripes we were healed. But you will never experience physical health until you first envision yourself being well. It begins with hope and a dream.

Maybe you’ve said something like this, “I would just love to wake up one day and not have to fight the urge to smoke (or drink or whatever).”

Or it could have been, “I just want my marriage and my family restored. I want us to love each other and live in peace like a family should.”

See, you do have a dream.

And here’s one for you. A dream of leading at least 100 people to the Lord in your lifetime – 500, 1,000! Maybe you can start with a dream to lead just one person to salvation and see that dream come true first. Then you’ll be encouraged to dream bigger.

The main point I’m trying to make is this,

Where there is no vision, the people perish. Proverbs 28:18

You need a dream, a dream instilled by God and backed by His word. Regardless as to whether it’s career based, family based, ministry based — whatever — if you don’t realize God loves you enough to want more for you and through you – then the only way to say this is to say it: You’re killing yourself.

You have no purpose and we are created with purpose.

Why do you suppose so many people (especially those who don’t know the Lord) die within a year of retirement? And those who retire early have a 39% higher risk of dying early than those who don’t?

These are statistics I don’t have space or time to go into, but you can search them out. You will find the number one reason given for this phenomena is that these people have nothing to drive them, no purpose.

They have no vision! No dreams to pursue.

So dream!

Ask God to instill in your heart His desire for you and dream big. Dream about those things we know by His word are His will such as outreach, soul winning, walking in perfect health and being prosperous.

And when one dream comes true, dream another.

Never stop dreaming.

That’s your starting point.  Your dream can’t come true if you don’t have one.  Don’t miss the next part next week.  Send me your email address and I’ll send you a reminder.

Till then…

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

Hello World!

Hello everybody!  Since this is my very first of what I plan to be many BLOG posts, I’d like to tell you a little about me and what you can expect from them.  Hopefully we will become good friends.

I tried to choose just a few words to describe my intent and plans for this BLOG.  Because it is difficult for me to answer a yes/no question in less than 500 words, that was not an easy task.  So then I simply asked myself this question, “Why are you writing?”

That answer was easier.

The reason I have so much to say and the reason I choose to write is to help change people’s lives for the better.

I can only do that if I write about the one thing and person that has done that for me – Jesus Christ and the Word of God; and then only if I do so effectively.

And just how I will do that highly depends on a lot of factors:

  • What’s on my mind today.
  • What Scripture spoke to me in a special way.
  • Questions or comments from others.
  • Something that happened in my life – whether it be an embarrassing moment or a long term struggle.
  • How God used creation to illustrate His word to me.
  • Something caught my attention for a specific reason.

You see, I am a person with a huge array of interests and methods.  I have way too many favorite animals, favorite colors, favorite foods, favorite everything – especially Scriptures.   My writings are not about the same thing or presented in the same way every time.  I am not real brandable, I guess, except to say that I just try to keep it real.

Sometimes I tell stories (I have included one at the end of this post, so keep reading), sometimes I speak and write in a more studious and methodical way.  Sometimes my message is wrapped around a laugh-out-loud memory, other times a heartwarming display, and at times even around difficulties.  And there are those times when a simple observation sets my sharing gears in motion.

So, I won’t tell you that you will find a laugh-a-day here, though I hope you find many.  I won’t tell you that you will always be challenged by this BLOG, though at times you will.  I won’t promise you by any means that I have all the answers, but I can promise you this – I know the One who does.

I have known Jesus for a long time and I have spent many, many hours in His presence and His Word.  My hope is to share the awesomeness of our loving and supernatural God with you that you may be inspired and encouraged and grow closer to and stronger in Him every day.

Over  the years I have learned far too much through poor choices and failures.  That is not God’s preferred way for His children to learn.  I didn’t set out to be a problem child, but He never stopped loving me or working with me when I turned into one.   If through my own experiences I can help someone else avoid them, then all those mistakes can be put to good use.

And if I can help open your understanding to God’s word and help you develop a deeper personal relationship with Him, then my work will not be in vain.

Now, for the story I told you I was going to share.  It’s the story about why I call my site JYB Inspired, and about one of my favorite Scriptures.

Not too awful long ago I was finishing a very taxing and studious work on the Book of Revelation. I had fallen seriously behind my completion goal. The finished project was awaited by a Christian school in the Philippines where it was to be added to their curriculum.

I was at last nearing the final chapters when it happened: I couldn’t get a clear and set belief in my heart over a topic. Although one of the attributes of the work is that it presents different viewpoints on interpretation of the prophecy, I was always able to prayerfully study to draw from Scripture and from the Holy Spirit and know what I believed, or at least how to present the subject at hand in such a way that it could be understood.

But not this time. I studied. I paced. I prayed. I paced. I knelt. I paced. I reasoned. Then, I paced.

Confusion the only result.

Now this particular issue is not by any means a matter of salvation. It dealt with some of the attributes of eternity in heaven – not anything that would stop someone from entering in. In essence, it is interesting, but not vital to our eternal souls.

Still, I wanted to present it accurately from both angles.  I just could not seem to gain enough insight to  do that without confusion to the reader because I was confused.

When I could stand it no more, I got down on my knees and almost in desperation, I cried out for help – which I rarely, if ever, do without my Bible in hand or at my side.

Turn to the book of Job.

The voice in my heart was too profound and seemingly too off the wall for me to question that it was the Lord, but I did question what He said.

“Job?” I asked, “What on earth does Job have to do with this?”

Of course, when hearing “Job”, my mind went to the account of his tragic plight of losing everyone and everything, his patience and refusal to discard His faith in God, and his ultimate double restoration.

I wasn’t experiencing any of that, I just needed some understanding.

Turn to the book of Job.

So I did. I flipped the pages to the book and then let them fall open. I didn’t know where I was going so I didn’t worry that I wasn’t at the beginning of Job, just that I was there somewhere.

“Okay, I’m in Job. Now where?”

Right there.

“Right there?  Right where?”

Right there, look.

With that, my eyes fell onto the page and there, illuminated before me was this verse:

But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. Job 32:8

Immediately, I was at peace. I just needed to relax and let God be God in me. He would help me understand and then He would inspire me to write it in an understandable way.

I was so thrilled that I took just a minute before going back to work to read this verse in another translation. I am so glad I did because – wow! That’s all I could say at the moment, “Wow!”

Listen to this:

But there is [a vital force] a spirit [of intelligence] in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives men understanding. (Job 32:8, The Amplified Bible)

The breath of the Almighty! He breathes on us and gives us understanding. Incredible.

And the thing is, we have it even better than Job had it, because now the Spirit of Understanding lives inside of us. If you are a born-again believer, He dwells in you to help you, to teach you, to inspire you.

The Holy Spirit will teach us and lead us into all truth. All we have to do is relax and listen. We just need to stop fighting against Him in our own understanding, and let Him enlighten us with His.

I very soon finished that work and knew it had been done just the way God wanted me to do it. And this verse became my ministry “motto” if you will.

God has called me to impart His word, and I want to do that only as inspired by Him because only then will I be able to share His life changing word in a  life changing way.

And even though I know His inspiration now comes from within me where the Spirit dwells, I just like the idea of Almighty inspiration that comes from Him breathing on me.

So while my heart is saying, “Holy Spirit, enlighten me and inspire me today. I want the Spirit of Revelation within to quicken me and help me in every decision I have to make, in understanding your Word and Your will for my life, and effectively getting it across to others…”

While my heart is saying that, my mouth is saying simply, “Breathe on me, Almighty God. Inspire me. Give me understanding.”

And sometimes I wonder if I’m imagining it when I feel that faint wisp of air on the back of my neck.

Visit me at jybinspired.com to read more.