Tag Archives: encouragement

When Opportunity Knocks

When I was in my early twenties, one of my customers told me, “Chris, you need to get some money together and buy these waterfront lots. They’re only $10,000 each. Opportunities like this don’t come around very often.” Today, there are houses on those lots that cost over a half million dollars. I wish I could say I bought some of those lots, but the idea of $10,000 was insurmountable. I missed that opportunity because I thought the initial cost was out of reach. Opportunity knocks on all of our doors throughout our lives, but too often we don’t answer because of the upfront cost.

I believe different types of opportunities come from God. There are opportunities He gives to bless us, to grow our faith, to share our faith and to do the right thing when no ones watching. Faith is about stepping out when God brings opportunity to our door. It’s about recognizing when opportunities are from Him and seizing them. Yes, there is often an upfront cost associated with opportunities, but the reward on the back end is amazing. It’s time to take a leap of faith and to quit passing up opportunities that God gives us.

Here are some Bible Verses on opportunity.

1. So if you know of an opportunity to do the right thing today, yet you refrain from doing it, you’re guilty of sin.

James 4:17 TPT

2. Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don’t miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.

Colossians 4:5-6 MSG

3. Make good use of every opportunity you have, because these are evil days.

Ephesians 5:16 GNT

4. The lazy man does not catch and roast his prey, But the precious possession of a [wise] man is diligence [because he recognizes opportunities and seizes them].

PROVERBS 12:27 AMP

5. Know the importance of the season you’re in and a wise son you will be. But what a waste when an incompetent son sleeps through his day of opportunity!

Proverbs 10:5 TPT

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Standing In The Struggle

On a trip to California, I went to Napa Valley because I had been told that it was beautiful. As I drove through it, I was mesmerized by the straight rows of vines going for miles. I decided to pull into a winery and take a tour to learn of their process. One of the things they shared was how good seasons don’t produce good wine. The good wine comes from the years when the vines struggle. There’s something about the fight for water, the digging into the soil and the struggle to stay alive that produces a complex flavor in the grapes, which in turn, makes for a “good year”.

As they spoke, I couldn’t help but correlate that to life. There are good seasons we go through and there are bad seasons. When we look back on our life, it’s the “bad seasons” that produce the most growth in us. That’s when we learn what we’re made of and how strong our faith is. It reminds me of Romans 8:28 that says how God works together all things for our good. The good that He works is often in our life for the long term even though that season is very painful.

In Genesis 37- 41, we read of a 17 year stretch where Joseph was betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery, falsely accused of rape, thrown into prison and was forgotten. After he was restored, he married and had kids. Genesis 42:52 says, “Joseph named his second son Ephraim, for he said, ‘God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief’”. God is able to make you fruitful in the most painful times and places of your life. You must hold onto to His promises, stand strong in your faith and keep believing that He’s working things out for your good.

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Breaking Free

If you’ve interacted with people in your life, you’ve been hurt by someone at some point. The people closest to us seem to hurt us the most. When we get hurt, the easiest thing to do is let that pain turn into hate and bitterness. We want to hurt them back worse than they hurt us. If we’re not careful, the pain inside of us can consume us. I read a story this week of a 73 year old who found a high school classmate and killed him because of how he hurt him over 50 years ago. He lived his whole life wanting revenge for the pain this person caused him.

In Genesis, Abraham’s son Isaac had twins, Jacob and Esau. Esau was very hungry one day and Jacob had prepared a meal. He asked for some of it, but Jacob made him pay for it with the birthright which meant he would inherit his father’s wealth. Later, when Isaac was about to die, he summoned his firstborn Esau to bless him. He sent him out to kill something wild and cook it first. Jacob found out, and beat him to it. Esau hated Jacob for it and wanted to kill him. He let the anger consume him and the only way to console himself was to plot revenge.

In Genesis 27:40, Isaac told Esau, “You shall live by your sword, And serve your brother; However it shall come to pass when you break loose [from your anger and hatred], That you will tear his yoke off your neck [and you will be free of him]” (AMP). If you’re still carrying the pain from someone hurting you, it’s time to break loose from it. Get their yoke off your neck. Forgiving them is the way to do that. Ask the Lord to help you. I know personally this is easier said than done. It’s a process that starts with you forgiving in your heart first. The pain will go away and a scar will remain, but you will be free.

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Just Do It…Again

Have you ever had to start over at square one? It’s one of the most frustrating things there are. After you’ve done the work and made progress, something happens and you have to start over. I’ve had to do that in life, with dreams God has given me, with work and in relationships. I don’t have many pet peeves, but doing work I’ve already done is one of mine. It’s redundant, but I’ve learned to not look at what I’m having to do over. Instead I focus on the outcome. The work is worth the payoff in the end.

After Isaac inherited all of Abraham’s wealth and land, people became jealous and didn’t like him. They poured dirt into the wells that Abraham had dug and forced him to leave that area. Genesis 26:17-18 says, “So Isaac left. He camped in the valley of Gerar and settled down there. Isaac dug again the wells which were dug in the days of his father Abraham but had been clogged up by the Philistines after Abraham’s death. And he renamed them, using the original names his father had given them” (MSG).

I’m sure Isaac was frustrated, but he did the work anyway. I believe that’s what you and I need to think about today. You may be frustrated at how clogged up life is at the moment. You may feel like you’re at square one with the dreams God planted in you. Don’t quit or give up. Do the work with gladness and push forward. There is a reward and times of refreshing coming, but you’re going to have to do the work. It may require sacrificing other things, spending more time in prayer, reading the Bible or fasting, but God’s rewards for you are on the other side of your obedience. Pick up a shovel and start digging.

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God’s Rewards For You

Years ago I owned a childcare center. There were times when the classes would get chaotic (keeping 20 two year olds behaving all day is hard work). The most effective way to quiet them and get them todo what you wanted was through positive reinforcement. The teacher would find someone doing what they wanted and say, “Oh I love how Tarissa is sitting!” Suddenly another kid would do what she was doing in order to be recognized. If you really wanted results, you’d praise her with words and give her a reward for obeying. In no time flat, all the kids would start mimicking her behavior so they could be recognized and receive a reward.

So many times, we think of God as someone who is up there waiting to punish us for doing wrong. I believe He’s more like a patient teacher who uses positive reinforcement to help us down the paths He has for us. There are rewards and blessings that He has for those who obey His Word. Yes, there are consequences for disobedience, but God motivates us through rewards. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t appreciate being rewarded for doing what’s expected.

Here are some Bible verses on the rewards God has for us.

1. And without faith living within us it would be impossible to please God. For we come to God in faith knowing that he is real and that he rewards the faith of those who passionately seek him.

Hebrews 11:6 TPT

2. For God will reward each of us according to what we have done.

Romans 2:6 GNT

3. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.

1 Peter 1:9 NLT

4. Watch yourselves, so that you do not lose what we have accomplished together, but that you may receive a full and perfect reward [when He grants rewards to faithful believers].

2 JOHN 1:8 AMP

5. Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.

James 1:12 MSG

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New Years Prayer 2019

Lord,

I thank you for this new year and all the blessings you will bring into my life during it. Give me the wisdom to make the best decisions for my life this year so that I follow your plan for my life. I know that this year will have moments where I can’t see your hand at work where I don’t understand what you’re doing in my life. Help my unbelief in those moments and strengthen my resolve to trust in you no matter what. I know that you see the bigger picture for my life and that you have a plan that is for my good.

As Hebrews 12:14 says, help me to be swift to choose peace over competition in every relationship. I also want to run towards holiness in my life. I want to reflect your Son in the things I say and do this year. Let your light shine brightly through me so that I point others to you instead of to me. Help me to achieve the potential you see in me and to fulfill all that you have for me to do in this coming year. I know there are greater things in store for my life. Give me the courage to follow where you lead me.

As Hebrews 12:15 says, help me to make sure that no one I come into contact with misses the revelation of your grace. Protect me from any root of bitterness that may try to spring up in my life. I want to live in your peace and have your compassion flowing through my life. Whatever you are dreaming of doing this year, I want to be a part of making that happen. I submit my will, and the plans I have, to yours. Let 2019 be the year where I do more for you than I ever have. Put people in my life to help me accomplish all you have for me to do, and people that I can strengthen and help as well. Open my eyes to see others the way you do and help me to love them with your love.

I ask all these things in Jesus’ name.

Amen

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Spiritual Resolutions

As we close the door on one year and open the door to another, I think it’s good to have a spiritual resolution for the new year as well. I believe Philippians 4:4-8 provides us with some great things we should resolve to do not just in the coming year, but throughout our life. Verse 4 says, “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” (NLT) In 2019, don’t let anything steal your joy. Joy shouldn’t be based on your circumstances, and it’s where you get your strength from. Trust in what God is doing and stay joyful.

Verse 6 says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Refuse to let worry have a foothold in your life. It uses today’s strength for tomorrow’s problems. Turn your worry into prayer. Let the The things you can’t control push you closer to the One who can control them. Prayer changes our perspective and helps us to let go of the burdens that are too heavy for us to bear. Put them in God’s hands and take His burden which is light.

Verse 7 says, “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.” Having peace in your heart, your mind and in your life is a wonderful thing. We were not created to live in turmoil. When we learn to trust a God with our decisions and with the things in our life that we can’t control, we can have God’s peace. Let His peace guide you in the coming year so that you operate in His will for your life.

Finally verse 8 says, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Choose what to think about. Your thoughts are powerful and determine the direction of your life. Don’t dwell on what could be, but focus on what is true. One true thing I focus on is that God is in control, and nothing that happens in my life is a surprise to Him. 2019 is already history to God. Resolve to make it the year that you trust Him completely and you will experience joy, peace and faith.

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