Comparison

“Then they got Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood.” (Genesis 37:31 NIV)

Comparison2For many, comparison is one of the most difficult battles to conquer. In fact, many tymes it is the FINAL battle. When we’re free of comparison we’re truly free! Comparison = Compare + I + Sons. It’s comparing yourself to the other sons (i.e. the story of Joseph). Joseph’s brothers is a perfect illustration that jealous comparison causes you to say things you’d never thought you’d say, do things you never thought you’d do and go places you’d never thought you’d go. Comparison causes you to betray the Father. Joseph’s brothers brutally betrayed their father because of the jealousy they harbored toward Joseph.

Yet, Judah (The oldest) had no idea that the Lion (Jesus) would come from his own family lineage. Jealousy, envy, and comparison blind you to your own promise and potential. Judah’s name means praiseworthy. He had a destiny too but couldn’t see it from the jealousy in his eyes. Our jealousy toward others is because we don’t recognize or believe in the greatness in ourselves. Comparison literally imprisons you. Notice later the brothers ended up in an Egyptian jail and it all started from their jealous rage against Joseph. Envy is dangerous. It is a murdering spirit that exists mostly between brothers with the same dream (I.e. Cain & Abel).

Roter und Grüner ApfelWhen you compare yourself to others successes you question God’s wisdom and accuse Him of unfairness. It causes you to reject the unique and significant thing the Holy Spirit is orchestrating in YOUR life. Your envy of other’s gifts causes you to despise your own gifts and render them inactive. Only when you accept God’s sovereignty in His distribution of gifts, will you be able to fully discover and develop you own (i.e. the parable of the 5, 2 and 1 talents). Refuse to envy other’s success. You have no idea what past hardships or present struggles they’ve had to endure to get there. Envy is a poverty spirit. Don’t fall for the lie that God has run out of favor and there’s none left for you. When you despise the God-given success of others you despise God Himself. Celebrate what God is doing in others.

Your tyme IS coming! Comparison causes you to mar the credibility of others. When you do this you attempt to tear down the reputation that God is building in them. The truth is, when you put someone else’s candle out it doesn’t make yours shine any brighter! Envy also causes you to secretly celebrate someone’s failure. Have you secretly celebrated someone’s failure or even wished it? Repent and believe your season of favor is coming!

Comparison1Finally, comparison stems from a deep insecurity that you are not valuable, beautiful, smart or adequate enough. The power to overcoming comparison is the grace of God. It is to believe that you have been made complete in Christ and that He is your identity. Nothing compares to Jesus and because you are in Him you have all the qualities that make you great. You have HIS qualities. When you fully accept that you are His most loved son or daughter, your life will begin an amazing transformation. By recognizing the greatness within, you can fully rise to your potential and discover the incredible life that God has waiting for you. You have everything you need inside to become all God has made you to be! The power of God’s grace causes you to focus on what Christ has accomplished for you and therefore you are set free from the envy of other’s accomplishments. In fact, embracing grace empowers you to celebrate other’s successes naturally!

*Photo(s)/Resource(s): Tony Sutherland

When We Have Nothing Left But God, We Discover That God Is Enough

We would all come up short if measured by the law. But God’s grace gives us new life and new opportunities.

“And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness…'” 2 Corinthians 12:9a (NASB)

You are a Child of GodPaul relays a message he received from God in this passage. When Paul asked God to take away ‘a thorn in his flesh,’ God lovingly denied his request. Why? Because it made Paul weak. Why would God want this for one of his faithful servants? Because it made him powerful.

How can someone be weak and powerful at the same time? Our passage contains the answer and grace is the key. In fact, grace is all that is needed – grace alone is sufficient. Let’s see how grace makes the weakness/power formula work. As you read on, watch for the key elements below. You’ll see them along the way. 

Grace                                                Weakness
Access                                              Power
Control

 

It all starts with grace. If you look at a bible dictionary, you’ll see grace defined as unmerited benevolence or favor. God offers each of us His gift of grace, His unmerited benevolence and favor in spite of our sins. He can do this because of what Christ did by dying on the cross, paying the penalty for our sins. At the point where God’s offer of grace meets our willful acceptance of it, God gives us a new heart in which His Holy Spirit dwells. We then have access to the very power and nature of God and we don’t even have to go looking for it, it resides in us.

This sets up a conflict. A conflict between the world, unavoidably mired in sin, and God. In the world, power is determined by how much control you have. If you have more control over other people than they have over you, you have power. If you control more money than others, you have power. Conversely, if you have given control, voluntarily or involuntarily, to others you are weak. If you control less money than others, you are weak, and so on.

In God’s system, the more you attempt to control things yourself the more you close off access to the Spirit’s power. On the other hand, the more you relinquish control to God’s Holy Spirit, to guide you, to inspire you, to act through you, the more power you have. And not just any power. The power that created the entire universe, that healed the sick through Jesus’ touch, that raised Jesus from the dead, that’s the power we’re talking about here! So, the weaker you become in the world’s eyes, the more power you actually attain.

Now yielding control is something most of us would say is very hard for us. But we fool ourselves! We yield control all the time without even realizing it. When we need to get to the 14th floor of our office building, instead of maintaining control ourselves and trudging up the stairs, we turn over control to an elevator. Instead of walking across the country to visit loved ones living far away, we turn over control to a pilot and a jet aircraft. We are actually quite good at giving up control when it is to our benefit to do so. And what could benefit us more than the very power of God?!

So, is God’s grace sufficient? Yes! Abundantly so! That’s the truth.

When you accept My gift of grace, you will gain access to My power. You will be able to give up control to the My Spirit, for I will dwell in you. As you do this, My power will be perfected in you. You will appear weak to the world, but you will have more power than anything in the world. My grace is all you need to make this happen!

That’s the YouTruth. God’s Grace Is Sufficient For You.

*Photo(s)/Resource(s): Dan Buckhout

Are You Preaching Like a Pharisee and Don’t Know It?

2I have a growing fear for preachers today. I’m afraid that if we’re not careful, we’re going to end up becoming like the Pharisees.

Here’s what I mean. Preaching, when done correctly, should unburden people. As preachers, our job is to challenge people, yes, but not to burden them. When describing the Pharisees and what they did to the people through their teaching, Jesus said: They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders (Matthew 23:4). What’s interesting is that when we read that, we automatically despise the Pharisees and assume they had bad motives. But if you study their history, their motives were actually very good. What they were trying to do by creating all of the rules they are now infamous for was make the Law applicable to people’s lives.

They’d read a command like, “Keep the Sabbath holy,” and their concern was that everyone could actually do it. So they’d create applications like:

Items used for work can’t be touched on the Sabbath.

You shouldn’t take more than 500 steps on the Sabbath.

Their driving motivation really was to help by giving people things to do. But in their desire to make the Bible applicable, they actually created burdens that weighed their people down. Here’s how I think this happens today. We do a sermon series on marriage, which in itself is great. But then we say things like “you need to do these 15 things with your spouse to have a great marriage.” Or we do a series on joy, and we then give them the 7 steps to attaining it. We’re trying to help, but without realizing it, we’ve actually burdened people who were already carrying such a heavy load.

And we’ve become the group we all love to hate on – the Pharisees.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t give our people applications or practical next steps. Of course, we should. Jesus did it many times. But I am saying that we need to be careful. When we stand up to speak to our churches, our goal should be to unburden them. To emulate Jesus’ teaching when He said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

And we do that by simplifying rather than complicating. By pointing to God and all that He has done. Not just at our people and all that they need to do.

 

Photo(s)/Resource(s): Steven Furtick

Jesus and Bad Advertising

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I was on a road trip in Dallas back in April for a conference, I needed to use the bathroom. There was a gas station that said “clean restrooms,” so we pulled in. But the restrooms were filthy. Pee and trash everywhere. It was disgusting. I looked and said, “Why does it say clean restrooms when these aren’t clean?” I said, “I guess they lied to ma.” Not too long after this, I was in a nice hotel, and we went into the restroom, and it was super clean. I thought to myself  that this restroom should have had a sign that says it has clean restrooms?” Why do some restrooms say they’re clean and they’re not, and then other restrooms are clean and they don’t say that they are? I don’t know.

And I also don’t know why this same dynamic continually plays itself out in the Church either. The Church is fond of saying that the world offers everything but has nothing. And that’s true. But from my experience, the Church offers everything but doesn’t know how to really advertise it. Either corporately or individually. People come into our worship experiences and hear us say Jesus is great, but then they see us celebrate Him with mediocrity.

People look at our lives and hear us say we’re Christians, but then they see very little difference in us that would compel them to want the supposed hope and joy that we have. I’m tired of the world selling their product so well when their product can’t do anything for anybody. But I’m equally tired of the Church having something that can do everything for everybody, but we make it look like it can’t do anything for anybody. I believe the most important message in the world deserves the best presentation. That’s why I’m so adamant about the Church being known for excellence. And that’s why I’m also so adamant about people living up to their full potential in Christ. It’s not that we’re trying to impress people with how great we are. It’s that we’re trying to impress into people how great Jesus is.

Some people might respond by saying that Jesus doesn’t need us to make Him look good. In fact, by presenting the gospel with excellence, we’re taking away from it. We’re stealing glory from God. Making people love the messenger rather than the message. They probably should have told that to Moses when he was making an ornate Tabernacle. To Paul when he presented the gospel with skill at Athens. And to Apollos, who was a skilled orator and was used by God powerfully.

Of course, Jesus doesn’t need us to make Him look good. But I also don’t think He wants us to make Him look bad either. Or neglect to reflect how great He is. We’ve got the greatest message in the world. Let’s not make it harder than it has to be for people to realize how great it is.

Photo(s)/Resource(s): Steven Furtick

Learning How To Let Go and Let God

The bible teaches us to “cast all your cares upon me”….

Realistically, how many of us actually do this “without” trying to fix the situation ourselves? I would estimate a very low percentage. Learning to “let go” and “let God” is not as easy as it sounds, however, the bible reassures us to …”Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” Ps 55:22 and “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

For example let’s consider Job’s trials. Job said: “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” Job 13:15 KJV

The taunting, “Worry Syndrome”

I pose the question, if you’re in constant turmoil and worrying, why do you pray? Is it just something you do because it’s tradition? Or, do you truly seek God for peace and understanding? Forming a “real” relationship with God provides a sense of security, revelation knowledge and mostly, “a peace that surpasseth all understanding.” The bible says to delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart (Ps 37:4) What we should understand mostly from this passage is the fact that there is a process of learning just how to “delight yourself in God.”

Are you willing to go through the process? If so, here are a few suggestions to get you started on your blessed journey: Pray and sincerely ask the Holy Spirit to order your footsteps as you prepare to read God’s words.

  1. Clear your mind of all self-thoughts of how you “think” it should be. (As Paul stated to the Corinthians in 1 Corin 14:36; “Do you think that the knowledge of God’s word begins and ends with you Corinthians? Well, you are mistaken!”)
  2. Be prepared to push your way through negative temptations of things like, “I don’t understand what I’m reading” or “this doesn’t make any sense” or “I don’t have time to read” or “every time I try to read the bible, I get sleepy” (well, perhaps you do but, understand that the enemy doesn’t want you to read it, speak boldly and declare the good works of the Lord that you have already conquered the enemy and you’re on your way to a victorious life in Jesus Christ!) and continue to read. (Ref: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” Matt 26:41)
  3. Make it a point to read at least 3 scriptures per day. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to place these readings in your spirit so that when it’s time for you to use them, He will bring them back to remembrance.
  4. Don’t “try” so hard. God knows your heart. A sincere heart towards Him will produce results.
  5. STOP stressing. When you find yourself going to a place of stress, having tantrums or rebellious actions – STOP and ask yourself, “what do I look like to God right now?” Did you know that God knows what our needs are long before we do? Let go and let Him do what He promises all throughout His message. BUT, if you feel you must continue through a tantrum, afterwards, repent (ask for forgiveness), shake the dust and renew your mind to the will of God. Note: “Discouragement, depression, and self-pity are the result of problems and adversity for some. For others, problems are a challenge and help bring about faith, trust and victory.” 1
  6. Be willing to go through your storm! Pick up your cross and humbly carry it to its destination! God is able to use us for His glory when we’re willing to pursue the purpose He intended for us long ago.
  7. Place yourself in environments and with people that are positive and encouraging.
  8. Instead of the “me, oh my” syndrome, with a sincere heart, pray for others.
  9. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not to your own understanding.”

Did you know that doubt and faith cannot exist in the same body? For example, have you ever found yourself in a conversation saying, “I know I should be stronger than this, oh yes I have faith BUT, I’m human too, and sometimes it just gets too hard.”? The mind can sometimes be our worst weapon against self; however, the fact that we can dismiss negativity by adding positives allows us to be over comers! It is unwise (and impossible) to seek the Lord through “worldly” eyes. God is a spirit and the bible informs that we must seek Him in spirit and in truth.

Larry Burkett once said, “as Christians we are admonished to be over comers, all you need to do is ask the Lord to help you.” Scripture reference: 1 John 5:5; “Who is the one that overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”

Photo(s)/Respirce(s): Regina Baker

Charisma vs. Character: Which is More Important for Leaders?

All leadership is built on two things—character and competence. Those are the twin values of leadership. Charisma is optional.

Some of the most charismatic people of the 20th century were also the worst. Hitler, Mao, and Marx and Mussolini were all charismatic. Charisma has absolutely nothing to do with leadership. If you possess it, it’s merely a bonus and, if you allow it, it can actually get you into a lot of trouble. Real leadership is built on character and competence.

The Bible says in 1 Timothy 3:8-10 (GN), “Church leaders must be of good character and sincere. They should be tested first and then if they pass the test they should serve.”

One of the realities that has burdened me is the number of young leaders I see starting or moving into established churches who have tremendous talent and charisma, but who often lack the grounding of character. So in the last few years, I’ve been mentoring and teaching young leaders and addressing the need to put down roots and grow deep in the soil of God’s Word and in the history of the church.

And for 30-plus years now, we’ve been addressing the issue of competence by repeatedly teaching pastors and church leaders how to plant and lead healthy churches that have a great commitment to the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.

You really need both character and skills to be a good leader. If you have character without competence what you have is sincere ineffectiveness. But far worse is when you have competence without character. If you have competence without character you become a menace—a menace to a church, a menace to a small group, and a menace to society.

To gain greater competence, read. Then read some more. I often tell Pastors that 25 percent of their reading should be among contemporary authors. Another 25 percent should be among authors from the immediate past generation of great leaders who are now in heaven—men like D. Martin Lloyd-Jones, Adrian Rogers, and W. A. Criswell. Another 25 percent should be among authors from the Reformation period up until the modern missionary age—from Luther, Calvin, and Wesley up to D. L. Moody’s age. And a final 25% should be from the early church fathers up to the Reformation—from Athanasius who penned the Nicene Creed to Balthasar Hubmaier, the great Anabaptist contemporary of Zwingli.

If all you ever read is books written by your contemporaries, you’re no smarter than anyone else around you. But if you see how history repeats itself and how you can learn from it, you’ll be a huge step ahead. You also gain competence by getting trained and there are plenty of great conferences to choose from.

But remember, the maturity you need for ministry is not about skills alone. It’s also about character. And the maturity of your character is not about age, it’s not about your appearance, it’s not about your achievements, and it’s not about mere academics. It’s about your attitude. That is the determining factor of spiritual maturity. Character is the habitual ways you respond to the situations of life.

Character is not your reputation. Reputation is what other people think you are, but character is what you really are. D. L. Moody said, “Character is who you are in the dark.” Character is who you are when nobody’s looking. Character is who you are when you’re not on stage. Character is the real you. And God knows your character.

Charisma doesn’t impress me, and it doesn’t impress God. And if charisma impresses you, be careful. Re-train your heart to long for deeper character and greater competence. Those are the two rails on which great leadership runs.

I am the Hulk! So what? I am a Son of GOD!!

#cSo…Yesterday I hit a breaking point in life it sucked but I feel it was necessary, but probably could of been handled better then it was. I saw this picture and I think this is important to remember ALL the tyme because THIS is who i am.  I am a Son of God and nothing that happens will ever take me from that.

I just want to say that I have some of the greatest friends, I say this because the people who stand by me In my tyme of need and those who put up with my crap. I tend to forget how important friends and how valuable they are especially the ones who will stand with you.

So I found this picture and it really made me think about the truth of the things we face every day.  Be it physical challenges or Mental battles or just anything, So this makes sence we look at our problems like the hulk and anybody knows how hard or impossible it is to kill this monster of a beast. So we look at our problems like they were an unstoppable force, I my self do it from tyme to tyme.

But we forget that we serve a God that is bigger and stronger then any hulk and that our problems are not any bigger then an ant to God.

Philippians 4:6  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.”

So how big is your hulk, how strong is your hulk? Now ask your self HOW big is the God you server?

For me it will just have to refocus and get my thoughts on Jesus and Not worry about the hulk that tries to put fear in me.

Romans 8:31 ” if god is with us, then who is against us”   NO ONE!

*Photo(s)/Resource(s):  myjournyandadventures & Jericho Babael