There will always be people who will tell you that your dream is too big, that you’re not qualified or able to accomplish it, or that you should give up on it. No one thought the Wright brothers would be the ones to get their plane to fly, but they kept at it. They didn’t receive the media attention that others did, nor did they receive a government grant to build their plane. They believed in their dream when almost no one else did. They put in the work, shrugged off the doubters and built the first airplane that flew successfully. They made their dream a reality.
I’ve always heard, “If your dream doesn’t scare you, it’s not big enough.” The dreams that God calls us to do are usually bigger than our ability. I believe He plants these dreams we’re unqualified for in us so that we’ll learn to depend on Him and know that there is no way we could ever do it on our own. There will be people who stand in your way, discourage you or even laugh at you when you tell them what God has called you to do. Be careful who you share your dream with and surround yourself with people who will lift you up in prayer. Most people won’t see the potential in you that God sees.
Think of David as he told the soldiers he would fight Goliath. His brothers laughed at him and mocked him. When David told King Saul in 1 Samuel 17:33 that he would fight and defeat Goliath, Saul replied, “Don’t be ridiculous! There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win!” (NLT) David still stepped onto the battlefield and defeated Goliath. Like David, we need to trust God to accomplish what he put it our heart despite what others say or do. Don’t let fear or intimidation keep you from stepping onto your battlefield. Obey what God tells you and let Him handle your giants.
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I have a friend whose ministry is called Rational Defense Of Faith. His ministry is holding multimedia presentations in churches that give believers the facts they need to defend their faith. He discusses what arguments atheists, evolutionists and others bring up and how to ask questions that doesn’t destroy them, but rather causes them to think differently. Many people have come to the Lord through him and others who have equipped themselves with the truth of God’s Word and scientific facts.
I’m not advocating that we go out and pick fights with people, but each of us should be ready to defend the faith within us. The world is becoming increasingly more bold in its attacks on faith. It’s up to each one of us to understand God’s Word, His world and to get power from prayer. 1 Peter 3:15 tells us that we should always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope in us. We do that by putting on the Belt of Truth each day. Our faith is worth fighting for, but we need to do it in such a way that it leads others to the cross rather than further away.
Here are some Bible Verses on Fighting for your Faith.
1. Fight the good fight of the faith [in the conflict with evil]; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and [for which] you made the good confession [of faith] in the presence of many witnesses.
1 TIMOTHY 6:12 AMP
2. We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NLT
3. Dear friends, I’ve dropped everything to write you about this life of salvation that we have in common. I have to write insisting—begging!—that you fight with everything you have in you for this faith entrusted to us as a gift to guard and cherish.
Jude 1:3 MSG
4. Put on God’s complete set of armor provided for us, so that you will be protected as you fight against the evil strategies of the accuser!
Ephesians 6:11 TPT
5. Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.
1 Corinthians 16:13 NLT
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When you’ve been hurt by someone, you can either forgive them or you can hold a grudge. Holding a grudge makes you look at the chain reaction of what they did to you, and then blame them for how you ended up where you are. It creates “if / then” statements in your mind: “If they hadn’t done that to me, then I wouldn’t have been in this miserable place in life.” Anything bad that happens in your life gets blamed on them. Your mind becomes consumed with how bad things are, and you create a perpetual cycle of a downward spiral.
When you forgive someone for hurting you, you set your mind free. You no longer give that person power over you and the direction of your life. You are no longer consumed by the bitterness that creeps into every area of your life. You no longer dread waking up each day, and your perspective changes. You can look back at that moment and see how God used it to get you where you needed to be. You also quit despising the life you have, and begin to see it as a blessing.
If anyone ever had a reason to hold a grudge, it was Joseph. His brothers beat him, threw him in a cistern, and sold him as a slave. That event took him away from all he had known. His freedom and all he had were taken from him in an instant. He was accused and spent years in prison because of their betrayal. Bitterness could have linked it all together and made him hate his brothers. Instead, he chose forgiveness, and God blessed him for it.
Forgiveness is about remembering we aren’t perfect ourselves. We make mistakes and hurt others too. God wants us to give people room to make mistakes and then to forgive them. Colossians 3:13 says, “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (NLT). If you’ve held onto a grudge towards someone because they’ve hurt you, let it go and forgive them. Quit giving them control of your life and your mind. I’ve found that when we choose to forgive and give it to God, the things that have hurt us the most often become the things God can use the most effectively.
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Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.
I Googled, “How do you become a Navy Seal”. One of the first returns was funny to me. Wikihow said, “Visit your local Navy recruiter, rock the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, get your Navy contract, pass the Seal Physical Screening Test, get your Navy Seal contract.” Seems easy enough except passing the Navy Seal Physical Screening Test is one of the most physically and mentally tough tests on the planet. It’s five and a half days of hell week where You get less than four hours sleep, run more than 200 miles, do calisthenics in the freezing rain, fight ocean currents and physical training more than 20 hours a day. Over 75% of people ring the bell and quit.
I bring that up because there are people who go into that test without preparing or training themselves mentally or physically. I think the same could be said of many of us when it comes to preparing for pressure in life. No one is exempt from it, but so many of us are shocked when it hits and then keeps coming. We must have a firm foundation in God’s Word, a solid relationship with Him through prayer and be surrounded by His people if we’re going to survive the high pressure times of life.
Proverbs 24:10 says, “If you fail under pressure, your strength is too small” (NLT). The good news is that we don’t have to fight these pressures in our own strength. Ephesians 6:10 says, “A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” He then encourages us to put on the Armor of God to prepare for battle and pressure. He knew that you and I were going to go through some tough battles where we would want to give up. If we’re properly prepared with our helmet of salvation, shield of faith, breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth of God’s Word, our shoes of peace and the sword of the Spirit, we can withstand whatever comes against us.
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I love those photos where a person holds their hand out flat and the photographer adjusts to make it look like they’re holding the Eiffel Tower in their hand. I’ve seen it done with just about every landmark. The photos take advantage of perspective. The person is close to the camera while the giant object they’re “holding” is further away. Of course, if the two were right next to each other, you’d see just how large the Eiffel Tower is in comparison. While comparison like this in a photo is fun, when we get things in our life out of perspective, it can be dangerous.
Every one of us will go through difficult times. No one is exempt from trouble or the storms of life. What makes the difference is your perspective. When we go through difficult times, it can feel like God is far away and that He doesn’t care, while our troubles are in our face. In those moments, troubles can seem larger than God. We tend to view God Through the lens of our problems instead of viewing our problems through the lens of God. If we’re going to withstand the storms, we have to learn to change the perspective from which we view them.
Proverbs 10:25 says, “When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away, but the godly have a lasting foundation” (NLT). You and I must have a strong foundation of faith to withstand the storms of life. That foundation will help us keep our problems in their proper perspective. God’s desire for each of us is to trust Him no matter what comes. Problems, even when they’re relentless, should build our faith rather than tear it down. Stand firm on the foundation of God’s Word and His character. When you put your problems next to God, you’ll see how big He is in comparison. It’s time to tell your storms how big your God is.
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When I was in high school, we used to sing a song called, “Refiner’s Fire”. The lyrics said, “Purify my heart / let me be as gold and precious silver / purify my heart / let me be as gold pure gold / refiner’s fire/ my heart’s one desire is to be holy / set apart for you, Lord / I choose to be holy / set apart for you my master / ready to do your will.” There’s some more to this powerful song, but this is the part I want us to focus on today. It’s a prayer giving God permission to use fire to get the junk that doesn’t belong out.
I’ve seen a couple of shows where they show how they refine gold. The fire gets so hot that the gold melts. When that happens, the impurities come to the surface. The refiner then takes it off the top so when the gold cools, it’s pure. What a great picture of how God works in our lives. Difficulties often bring the worst in us to the surface. We can choose to have these impurities removed from our lives or we can be bitter. I believe God tries to purify each one of us to help us become the person He created us to be. Don’t run from the Refiner’s Fire. God is doing a work in you through it.
Here are some verses on being purified through the refining process.
1. In the same way that gold and silver are refined by fire, the Lord purifies your heart by the tests and trials of life.
Proverbs 17:3 TPT
2. I will take action against you. I will purify you the way metal is refined, and will remove all your impurity.
Isaiah 1:25 GNT
3. I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure. I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, “These are my people,” and they will say, “The Lord is our God.”
Zechariah 13:9 NLT
4. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
1 Peter 1:7 NLT
5. Lord, you can scrutinize me. Refine my heart and probe my every thought. Put me to the test and you’ll find it’s true.
Psalms 26:2 TPT
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