Turning Fear Into Focus

What a few months it’s been, eh? Even putting everything to do with Covid-19 aside, I know people who seem to be going through one thing after another. Everything from finances to health to relationship situations. One thing though that is a commonality between them is fear.

Have you ever been afraid to the point where you’ve been paralyzed? Where that situation or the obstacle or whatever was in front of you becomes the only thing that you could focus on? Fight or flight, adrenaline, the heart rate goes up. Do you know what’s interesting about it? When we feel fear, for the most part, we tend not to be able to focus on anything else. And usually for a good reason.
I was listening to this guy share a story from a time he was out hunting on Kodiak Island, when a grizzle charged him and his friends. He had seconds to react. He didn’t have time to focus on the football game that was happening that weekend or what he was preparing to do the next day. Fear caused him to focus on exactly what was at hand. Now, that’s a healthy fear, one that would cause you to make right decisions like not jumping out in front of a car or not sticking a fork in an electrical outlet. There is wisdom in that fear. However, there is also an unhealthy fear that I wanted to talk about.

Let’s take our very real current situation, Covid-19,. People are taking precautions; for the most part, we’re doing our part. We’re social distancing, the extroverts are off shaking in a corner somewhere, but life is slowly starting to get to a more manageable place. However, there are also those who are fixated, almost in terror of what’s happening right now. Now I don’t want you to get me wrong here, and I’m not saying to not be cautious and follow proper procedures. What I am saying is that when the focus starts to shift from God to fear, we, as believers, set ourselves up for disaster.

There was a man in the bible, King David, one day he famously killed a giant, if you read the story, it’s quite amazing to recognize the pattern with which David talks. Even as he is confronting the giant, he declares, I will kill you. I will cut off your head and feed your flesh to the birds. He’s focused, he’s determined to see the victory for both Isreal and God, most importantly he ends up doing just that. Then years later we find a different David, a man who is still after God’s heart, but a man who takes his eyes off of the prize. 2 Samuel 11 “In the spring of the year, when kings normally go out to war, David sent Joab and the Israelite army to fight the Ammonites. They destroyed the Ammonite army and laid siege to the city of Rabbah. However, David stayed behind in Jerusalem.” The story goes on, and David ends up committing adultery, murder, which leads to rape and unrest in his family, and I’m sure a lot more than the bible does not mention.

What can we learn from these two different stories about the same guy? What we focus on, what we choose to focus on matters. It will end up determining outcomes. As I mentioned before, fear demands attention, so if we walk around in fear always focusing on the negative and what might happen and all the negative possibilities and outcomes, where do you think that road will lead? It’ll lead to a lack of peace, a loss of purpose, and feeling disconnected.

Let me encourage you, in a time where so many different things are trying to rip your focus from you. Focus on God and what He has called you to do, bring your concerns to Him daily even hourly because He cares for you, and has a good plan for your good future. I’ll leave you with 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

Turning Fear Into Focus

Practise Peace, Forget Worry

Practise Peace

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you were unprepared? When I was younger, I used to go to piano competitions. It’s a pretty strange thing to do, especially when you get into your teen years. No matter how good you become, what level you get to, there is always a five-year-old that can outplay you. I remember this one time when I was around 18 years old, sitting in a row of performers looking like I was the babysitter instead of a contestant.

Usually, I did well; however, there were times where I felt like I could have done better. I believe it came down to preparation or a lack thereof. If we have to bring things to the modern-day, I’m not worried about winning a piano competition against a bunch of five-year-olds anymore, but there are real things that pop up every once and awhile.

Recently, I had a non-medical emergency happen in my life that ended up costing a decent amount of money. Not to brag, but I got the invoice, and I paid for it. I didn’t stress or think twice about it. Why? Because I had prepared for an emergency in advance. (Thank you, Dave Ramsey)

The Bible says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He’s done.” The question on my mind is, how well are we practicing not worrying? How often are we practicing praying about everything?

When I went on stage as a kid to perform a piece of music, if I suddenly decided to take a few moments to memorize the piece and practice it right then and there, it would have done me no good. It was the practice ahead of time that prepared me for the moments I was on stage.

Let me encourage you; you don’t have a different access level to peace than other people who seem peaceful do. You simply may not have practiced handing your circumstances and stresses over to God.

In the coming weeks and months, even today, stop and breathe, take a moment and bring the things that are on your mind before God. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He’s done. If you do, the Bible goes on to say, “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ, Jesus.”

Practice peace, practice putting it into your life today, and it will guard your tomorrows.

Practise Peace, Forget Worry

Your Power Is In Your Authentic

I wanted to send out some encouragement tonight. You are a threat, a threat to the plans of the enemy. Not just in your life, but in the lives of the people that are connected and close to you.

There’s a lie going around that would try and convince people that if they are not living a quote-unquote perfect Christian life if they aren’t a person with a title of pastor or reverend (or whatever other man-made title) they have a less than calling on their lives. What a lie that is.

Can I encourage you, by being authentically you, authentically who God has called you to be, you are a massive force of destruction that the enemy can not silence. The Holy Spirit isn’t looking for perfection; He’s looking for you and me to be willing, when we are, the most amazing things can happen. 

Recently I spoke with someone who was discouraged and unsure, then someone else came into my path, and I was able to encourage them with the truth. The bible says it is the truth that will set people free, not a title or a fancy phrase that you speak or religious practices; it’s when you and I look into someone’s eyes and speak the truth of Jesus Christ to them that real change occurs. 

Let me encourage you, don’t allow the enemy who, hello, is called the father of lies, to tell you that you are not capable or enough. Don’t let anything keep you living life small; you have people that need what only you can authentically bring. 

Your Power Is In Your Authentic

You’ve come too far to quit now.

We do a disservice to ourselves when we quit.

I’ll never forget a story that a friend of mine shared. He was in a line at the grocery store, there was a woman in front of him. You know those people that make the check out such a complicated thing? She probably had coupons and savings cards, maybe she struck up a conversation with the lady at the cash. Whatever she was doing, it was taking an extremely long time. My friend waited and waited until finally he couldn’t take it anymore and he left to go to another line. When he did, though, something interesting happened. The lady paid and left, and now he had to wait again.

That story made me think long and hard about a lot of things. See, we have no idea how close we are from a breakthrough, we have no idea how close we are from God’s promises coming to pass over our lives. Some of us, though, get tired, we get impatient and try to solve things for ourselves, therefore, taking ourselves out of what God has for us. What if everything you ever wanted, all that God has for you, is on the other side of the situation that you are going through right now? What a disservice it would be to our past selves to throw in the towel and quit. Let me encourage you, if one thing is for sure, it’s that God’s promises will always, without exception, come to pass. All we have to do is be still, remember that He is God, know that He is in control and do all that we can do in the meantime. Do not be a person that throws in the towel, you’ve come this far! Your breakthrough could be on the other side of this next hardship, but you’ll never realize it if you quit now. Seek God, get the wisdom you need, and then continue to stand, believing that His word will come to pass over your life at the perfect time!

You’ve come too far to quit now.

Getting it done in 2020

Getting Stuff Done

What’s happening friends! One thing that I have been seeing pretty clearly recently is that we set the bar too low in our lives (for the most part). I think we can all accomplish a lot, but will we put in the effort. That seems to be the determining question.

Let me share a story with you from my past. I remember when I was younger, I was maybe 16 years old, I was really big into soccer, like the FIFA world cup, Italy beating France, Cristiano Ronaldo fresh on the scene, I loved everything soccer. I’d be out playing soccer all the time and I remember seeing Cristiano Ronaldo and how great of shape he was in and wanted to be like that too, I’m not going to lie this had nothing to do with health I was just like, “dang I need me some biceps and abs”. I remember talking with God about fitness and He said something that I will never forget. He said something along the lines of, “You can achieve that level of fitness, you just won’t put in the work to get there”.

He was absolutely right (obviously He’s God), I wasn’t willing to put in the effort to get those results. Now it’s a different story, I’m consistent, I go to the gym on specific times on specific days every week. When I feel like it, I go to the gym, when I don’t feel like it, I go to the gym. Here’s what I’ve been thinking recently, what if God had something for you that would change your children’s children’s lives? But because the new call of duty came out you rather waste away in front of a t.v? There is time for leisure, hear what I’m saying, but there are times where we need to get up and say, I can’t live beneath what God has called me to, let’s get things done! 

Getting it done in 2020

God Thoughts

God Thoughts

Isn’t it easy sometimes to think to ourselves, “God doesn’t see what’s happening to me, He doesn’t understand what it’s like. He doesn’t know.”

Those are some really big statements and even accusations to make. When we go about our days, it can really seem like God is far removed from our situations, can’t it? Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve seen someone who legitimately did something wrong get off barely being punished or slip under the radar and go completely unnoticed. While in a similar situation someone who may very well be innocent get’s all the blame and punishment. I’d say that’s pretty unfair. Odds are though, if you breathe air, these things happen around you all the time.

Have you ever worked for someone and thought, “I could do that better” or “If I was running the company I’d do this like that?” I bet that thought has crossed a lot of our minds. The thing is, we are operating from a place of limited information. Sure we can look at a CEO or President or Prime Minister and think that we could and would do better; yet until we are in that seat we don’t really know, because we are seeing things from a different level and vantage point with limited information.

Isaiah 55:8-9 is very interesting when it comes to thoughts like these: It says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

We have a limited ability to see things for how they really are. Our thoughts are not the thoughts of God, and our ways are not His ways. He sees situations from a different place altogether. 

I was reading the other day about a time in the Bible where there was a person who saw the injustice going on around him. He went to God (which is the right thing to do) and basically said to God, “I’m confused, I’m seeing people prosper that are wicked while at the same time seeing the righteous be abused…” God was gracious to this person and responded but His response was from a higher place of thought. God told him that He does see, that He is raising up another nation to take care of their enemies. Just because this person could not see justice, it did not mean that God was not acting completely consistent with his favour for those who honour Him.

In this though, remember to see the heart of God. He sent His son to die for everyone, not just for a select few, not just for you and I but everyone. His will is for everyone to turn from sin.

Honestly, I don’t know why there is so much intense suffering in this world, I don’t know why there must be martyrs and why wild things are happening all around us but I know God’s character (at least what my small human mind can understand of it). Let me encourage you, God is 100% just. If someone has wronged you, if things have come against you, He sees and He knows. Never loose sight of the fact that God will not let these things go unanswered. We will all give an account one day for the things we did, the thoughts we thought and the words we said. God is just, have faith and continue to walk in peace as you remember that He is actively working the circumstances of your situation out for good.

 

God Thoughts

The discipline, but not the heart

Blog Cover_The Discipline

Do you ever feel like there’s just not enough of you to go around? It’s an interesting thing to find yourself in a place where you feel like you have done all that you can do but still can’t come up with enough. I was getting into devotions this morning, praying, asking God for help with a few things and while it may be a bit out of context I think it still applies, I felt God saying, “You’ve built up great discipline, but you haven’t built the heart within you to be set free.” Now seeing as that message was for me it makes sense when applied to my specific circumstances, but I think that can also offer up encouragement.

Sometimes we think it’s for lack of trying, so we go to God and we get angry, “God I’m doing all I can do over here, I’m trying to balance raising the kids with work, I’m trying to be nice to that person or trying to be a good provider”. We try and try and try, but maybe it’s what’s in our hearts that is really holding us back. I say this all the time, if you’ve hit a wall, don’t just stop there, find a way over it, find a way around it,  you are not a victim. If God has given you something to do, believe that it can be done, we just may have to look at the situation in a different way.

The discipline, but not the heart