Invest Time In Doing, More Than Watching!

“Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap. As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things. Sow your seed in the morning and at evening let your hands not be idle for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.” (Ecclesiastes 11:4-6 NIV)

Does anyone remember the old adage, “a watched pot never boils?” It is not entirely true, but what happens is that while a person is watching the water, it seems to take forever to start boiling. The fact of the matter is–when water reaches a specific temperature–usually 212 F or 100 C (depending upon altitude and purity of the water), it will boil–whether we watch it or not, but the principle here is–since we know it will boil, why watch it?

When we plant seeds into the ground–planting anything–will it grow any faster if we watch it or can we tell what is going on beneath the soil when we cannot see it occurring?

Even though we cannot see (without technology) how a body is formed from conception to birth, we know–given time (unless something impedes the growth), a baby will be born. We didn’t have to watch it to make it happen.

Children, once they reach a certain age (puberty), and as long as they are brought up in a nutritionally sound environment, they grow by leaps and bounds and even if we are watching, we miss some of the subtle changes and often, we are amazed when it appears that a child has grown overnight.

The same is true of our obedience to God in order to see the promises fulfilled. When He inspires us to do something, we have no need to “watch” it, but just to do and have faith that what He has put on our hearts will succeed. If He has planted the seed, He will water it and it will grow. However, we must be certain that the seed was planted by Him and not our desires, without consulting Him.

This is what I’ve learned about my own investment of time in writing. I did not understand “why” the Lord spoke to my heart and directed me to write–explaining scripture–and blogging it daily. I did not understand why–at certain intervals in my composition of books–He stops me and has me to write something expounding on His Word–for publication. As long as I do what He is telling me to do, I know He will fulfill every promise made and honor every request I’ve put before Him.

I love watching how many people are reading my books, but sometimes–when the numbers decline (and they do), I tend to get discouraged–momentarily. And then, just like a loving parent–He reminds me that the outcome of my writing–the gift He has given me–is not about me, but it’s all on Him. I don’t have to watch the sales or how many clicks the books are receiving. I just have to write–exercising the gift He has given me. In the fullness of time–whenever that is–His promise will be seen and I don’t have to know how He accomplishes all that He does; I just have to believe it.

The million plus readers we’ve petitioned Him for are coming to past–growing daily. Now, I just have to continue to write, totally trusting Him to speak to the hearts of all He would have to read what I write, and enjoy the efforts of my labor when it’s harvest time. Glory to God! I’ve only seen the beginning of the harvest to come, but I know when it’s time to gather it in–it will be all that He planned from the beginning of time.

So, let’s not waste our time in watching (trying to understand) to see how God will bring things to past (ministry, families, careers, etc.) but trust that He will and keep doing what He’s told us to do. 

When We Fail, Who Do We Blame?

“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord. The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction.” (Proverbs 16:18, 20,21 NIV)

The Word provides us with much insight about wisdom and pride. Not only through the proverbs, but through James who says, “If any lack wisdom, ask of God who gives liberally and won’t upbraid (find fault with) us for asking” (James 1:5 paraphrased) It would appear from this simple statement that James understood all that was said about wisdom through the insight given to Solomon and other sages.

Wisdom is referenced as a  female in several places, but the female reference is also used to warn against adultery and other folly.

A wise person receives correction and instruction from wise counsel. Only a fool rebels against correction and instruction.

But who is wiser than God? No, not one human being is wiser than God. God gave Solomon wisdom and Solomon shared what God had given him, but he never assumed he was wiser than God.

Proverbs 4:5-9 NIV

vs. 5 Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them.

vs. 6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.

vs. 7 The beginning of wisdom is this: “Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

vs. 8 Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you.

vs. 9 She will give you a garland to grace your head and present you with a glorious crown.”

When we ask God for wisdom–insight to solving problems and addressing issues, we must not only hear what He says, but know how to apply what He says. For instance, we can obtain information and not know what to do with it and if we don’t know what to do with the information we have, what good is it?

If we establish guidelines and protocols to ensure order in all that we do, yet we do not follow the protocol and chaos erupts, what was the point of establishing the guidelines in the beginning?

Many motivational speakers, successful corporations–large and small–understand that without a sound plan and adherence to the plan–success is not possible.

Jesus tells us in another passage of scripture that,”a wise person considers the cost of building anything before they start to build.”(Luke 14:28 paraphrased).

On the flip side of exercising wisdom is the conduct of a fool who allows his pride to rule. And there is much said about fools in Proverbs,

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7 NIV),

“The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.” (Proverbs 15:2 NIV)

“The lips of the wise spread knowledge, but the hearts of fools are not upright.” (Proverbs 15:7 NIV)

“A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.” (Proverbs 15:18 NIV)

What I’m taking from all that is said about wisdom, knowledge and fools, is that if we don’t know God or know how to seek Him when making decisions, we set ourselves for failure because we allow our pride to keep us from seeking Him.

“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” (Proverbs 15:22 NIV)

Herein is the heart of the matter. When we think that our plans can succeed without wise counsel or consideration of all involved in the planning, our plans are doomed to failure. Though they may appear to succeed for a moment; the final outcome tells the whole story.

The difference between success and failure of any entity or individual lies in the ability one has to set aside pride (the “I” mentality) and to seek wisdom from wise counsel. If we do not think we need to heed wise counsel and instruction, then our failure is our own and we must look within to determine how we change the course of events.

Are we wise enough to seek God today for every decision we make or will we allow our pride to cause us to fail? We are the only ones who can make that decision for God does not make anyone do anything.

I pray God’s wisdom will overflow into your hearts today and pride will never be the reason for failure in any area of your lives.

Perseverance–The Factor That Fuels Success!

“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” (Hebrews 10:36 NIV)

The difference between those who succeed at one level than those who barely succeed–doing anything–is the level of commitment to keep going, keep refining, keep fine-tuning, keep revising, and keep believing that success is theirs. We know that true success is not achieved by a level of intelligent, but by a level of determination that no matter what happens, the focus is forward, not backwards.

But can there be success without failures in the interim? No–it is the failures that drive true success. We have but to look at Thomas Edison, Stephen King, Benjamin Franklin and so many more. We tend to believe that the success enjoyed by some occurred overnight because we only focus on the final result–not the journey to get there. So, for those who are weary and feel like giving up, today is not the day.

When God gives us a vision it is because He knows our capabilities beyond our doubts.

When we have obeyed Him in all things to please Him, He promised to give us the desires of our hearts and we must remain focused on the prize in order to receive the promise.

When things don’t go the way we expected, we take a critical look at what happened, analyze the whys and gear up to keep going.

When we think we have reached the end of our rope and all hope is gone, we tie a knot before we get to the end of the rope, and hold on, expecting help because He said He’d never leave us alone.

Every ministry poured into us will succeed as long as we keep our eyes on Him, not people, always seeking His wisdom for direction and guidance.

Every dream we have will come to pass, if we just keep the dream in front of us and are willing to navigate every challenge that confronts us.

Every promise of God will be fulfilled, if we just listen to His still small voice and are willing to do things His way and not our own.

We were not told that we COULD do all things through Him who strengthens us just to fill words on a page.

We were not told that with God all things are possible because those who wrote the words just had a little time on their hands.

We were not told that no weapon formed against us would prosper for us to sit on our duffs, waiting for something to happen, without doing anything.

We were not told that with His going before us, He is more than the world against us for us hide behind shame and embarrassment with our first failure.

We serve an awesome God–One who created the universe from nothing and His arm is not shortened when it comes to the success of His children! Surely, goodness and mercy will follow us from each failed attempt to the promised success, by reminding us–we belong to Him and every good and perfect–those gifts He has poured into us–comes from above and all things–especially the failures–work together for our good!

In Him and through Him, we have what it takes to accomplish all things as long as we are determined to reach the goal and refuse to allow the failures to stop us at the starting gate. We are more than conquerors, victorious in all things, now let’s act like it and get it done–persevering through every obstacle to make it happen!

Division!

“He knew their thoughts, so he said, “Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A family splintered by feuding will fall apart.” (Luke 11:17 NLT)

Who knew? Jesus knew what those around Him were thinking and He addressed their thoughts. Division results in failure, unity results in success and forward moving.

When there is division in a family and people take sides-one against another–there are bound to be hurt feelings and frustrations that lead to actions some–never forgive or forget.

When there is division in society–one group against another–there are bound to be problems that create gaps so wide they may never be closed.

Where there is division in churches–the deacons against the pastor–or the congregants against the deacons–however the division is made–only chaos and confusion will be the end result, causing fracturing and unforgiveness in the minds of some.

So what happens when there is division in the Body of Christ? More chaos and confusion, widening gaps that negate a desire to understand differing points of view, more refusal to forgive–those things that actually have nothing to do with being a Believer, but more about form and fashion (religiosity).

Division–disagreements that lead to not focusing on what is necessary–leads to a malfunctioning entity–no matter what it is–at home, in society, in churches, and especially in the Body of Christ. We are admonished to come together–in unity–to address the ills of our society and communities–willing to hear one another and find common ground by which problems can be resolved and no one has to be angry over the results–when we allow Holy Spirit to lead us.

A divided house will fall, just as a divided church will not succeed or a divided nation! If we want to see success–in every area of the lives of people, we must unite in Truth and allow Holy Spirit to have His way in our lives so we can live in peace and harmony, united by Love!

The Plan!

“And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago.The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.” (Ephesians 1:10-14 NLT)

Everyone makes plans if they are going to succeed. Someone once said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!” That makes sense to me. No one has really experienced success at doing anything without a plan.

Athletic coaches have a plan to win–sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but when it doesn’t, they revise/modify the plans until they do work.

Inventors have a plan–a plan that sometimes has to be modified to be successful.

Good parents, sometimes, have plans for their children, but they don’t always work because children grow up and exercise their ability to decide for themselves.

Without a plan, people have difficulty not running around in circles–constantly moving and getting nowhere or being stuck in a rut.

And this is what happens to us. God has a plan for our lives–plans for us to have abundant lives, joy, and happiness and to prosper as our souls prosper, but we think we know better than Him and make our own decisions without consulting Him and the Plan has to be modified until He can get us to see His plan is better. So, He waits for us and sometimes we see His plan coming together in our lives (when we obey) and sometimes we don’t (when we refuse to accept His plan).

What is His plan? Salvation–atonement for all mankind for the sins we are capable of committing–Jesus made the sacrifice for all so we wouldn’t have to do it. What a marvelous plan He has for our lives–Jews and Gentiles and anyone else who is willing to accept His plan through His Son.

I’ve lived enough of my life without His plan operating in my life to know that I prefer His Plan! His plan has been thoroughly detailed and He has forgotten absolutely nothing. The modification needed–is a change in my desire to see His plan work as He planned it, not me. Glory to God! Better seeing it late than not at all.

While I understand the tendency of people to blame God for all the bad stuff that happens in their lives, I always raise the question–what could I have done differently or how did I miss what You said? I’m not blaming Him for my missteps in life. Those were my decisions and I have to accept responsibility for them. Had I known earlier in my life that His plan was so much better; I would have listened–sooner.

For those who refuse to believe He is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do–for all who believe–I’m praying that you, too will learn to listen and accept what He has in store for you because His plan–is better than any plan you could ever have.

 

Learning From Mistakes

We must learn from everything we do–especially from mistakes so we won’t repeat them. God does not have a problem with the mistakes we make; He has a problem when we keep making the same mistake over, and over, and over, and over, and over..Stop and think! What should you not do again? Stop and reflect! What lesson did you learn? Stop and ponder! How can you make a failing attempt a success? The power lies within every one of us to be who God wants us to be and because He loves us; He will give us our hearts’ desires when we learn how to please Him! Let’s get moving!