Don’t Throw It Away (Vision 2020)

It’s the second week in February, and it’s time for a vision checkup! We all started the year strong, but where are we now? Are we still going? Has discouragement set in? Have you given up?

What ever point you find yourself at today, I’m writing to encourage you. I’m also writing to encourage myself. It’s with tears that I write, but this Word of God is burning in my heart “do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.”   Hebrews 10:35

The writer of Hebrews wrote this passage to Christians who had become discouraged. They were contemplating giving up their belief in Jesus and going back to Old Covenant methods and customs. But God gave this gentle reminder.

Confidence, in this passage, in its truest translation, indicates bold faith in what God has promised. It is strong confidence that what God promised, He will do. Don’t throw that confidence away, because it is what you need to endure.  Verse 36 explains, “For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.”

Whoa! What I NEED is confidence, bold faith in God’s promises. It keeps us going so we can’t throw it away.

When it looks like you have failed, don’t throw it away.
When friends walk away, don’t throw it away.
When growth is slow or stagnant, don’t throw it away.
When doors close, don’t throw it away.

The second part of Hebrews 10:35 gives us reason to hold on. When you hang on to your confidence, you will be richly rewarded. What has God promised? What vision has He given you? Can you see it in the Spirit? Can you grasp hold to it with your faith? The glorious reward from the Father will be more than you think or even imagine. As verse 38 explains, “the just shall live by faith!” Because we believe God, we should live with confident expectation. When we live By faith, we don’t concern ourselves with what it may look like, but at each step of the way, ask yourself “What has God said?”.

Please, dear friends, don’t throw away your confidence! There is a rich reward awaiting you if you just keep going.

Pray with me,

Father, help me have bold faith to hold on to the promises You have given me. Come what may, help me to keep going until I see the evidence of everything You’ve promised. You are faithful and Your Word will never fail, so Father, help me believe.
In Jesus’ name,

Amen

Confess:
I WILL live by faith.
I WILL stand firm on every promise God has given me.
I WILL not be moved by circumstances that come against me.

Read other posts in this series, Vision 2020

Write the Vision (2020)

The Limits of Your Best

Do Not Despise Small Beginnings

You Were Made For This

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I WILL Wednesday 2/5/2020

I will give You thanks in the great assembly; I will praise You among many people.  Psalm 35:18       

Psalm 35 was written during a difficult time in David’s life. It speaks about an enemy who desires to kill him.  However, this wasn’t an ordinary enemy. This enemy was close to David and was able to hit him harder than any of the other enemies he’d faced before.

Why do I say that? Well, looking at the life of David, he was normally quick about confronting an enemy.  For example, Goliath was a problem for David for less than a day (1 Samuel 17).  Nabal scoffed at David and as soon as David heard the news of how Nabal disrespected him, he immediately jumped into action.  I believe Nabal would have fallen to the sword of David that day if it were not for God moving through Abagail (1 Samuel 25).  This happened to almost all of David’s enemies, with the exception of King Saul and David’s own son Absalom.

Unlike his other enemies, these two were able to cause David serious amounts of pain on all levels; mentally, emotionally, physically, and even spiritually, to the point where he cried out to God for help.  They wanted to see him dead (v.4); they mocked him and plotted evil against him (V. 12, 15-16); they lied on him and desired to discredit him (V. 20-21).

This attack came out of nowhere.  Nothing David did can be attributed to the reason for the attack (V. 7, 12-14, 19).  David finds himself looking over his shoulders constantly trying to protect himself, but this enemy is slowly breaking David down and he needed help that only God could give.

Sometimes we find ourselves in this type of situation where we are attacked on all levels, and sometimes, like David, we don’t know why.  No matter what we do, no matter how hard we try, the attack just doesn’t seem to stop.  Just like David, we find ourselves broken mentally, emotionally, physically, and even spiritually.  But it’s in these situations when we should do as David did and cry out to God, for He is the only one who can help.

For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5b

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10a

It is so important that we trust and rest completely in God and believe that He truly cares about us even during our most dire situations. David could rest in the knowledge that God would deliver him from his enemies, He would fight his battles, He would give him victory.  We can trust these promises too!  God loves us and protects us.

Where David praised is also important here.  In public, he praised God.  In front of haters, naysayers, enemies, and even friends.  He put the attention on God and not on his problems. His praise became a testimony of the awesomeness of God!  Hallelujah!

We, like David, may find ourselves facing a vicious enemy, a dire situation, or a problem that seems insurmountable.  That is when we should turn our attention from our pain to God’s praise while repeating the words David said, “I WILL give You thanks in the great assembly! I WILL praise You among many people. Psalm 35:18      

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You Were Made For This

It’s the last week in January. I hope you are still pushing and moving forward, doing what God assigned you to do. Don’t let 2020 be like every other year; we start great but quickly fizzle out. This year we want to see what we have been praying for. We want to see the fruit of our hearts burning desire. We want the assurance that we are walking in His will for our lives.

Well, can I tell you something? Yes, you! You need to know that you were made for this!

Ephesians 2:10  tells us “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

In Christ we’ve been made new! A work of art, touched by the Master’s finger of love, made into a masterpiece. He took our messed up lives and made something beautiful, so that we can do the good works that God predestined for us.

Before you knew your name, there was a divine assignment designed just for you. Jeremiah 1:5 recounts God’s Words to the prophet Jeremiah. “Before I even formed you in your mother’s womb, I knew all about you. Before you drew your first breath, I had already chosen you to be My prophet to speak My word to the nations” (The Voice).

Likewise, Paul shared his testimony in Galatians 1. He too, tells how he was chosen from his mother’s womb. Paul wasn’t called because of anything special he had done, but by God’s sovereign election, Paul was made to do the work of the Lord.
You too, were made for this!

Whatever your “this” is, is a divine calling by an all-knowing God. You were created for good work! Before any training, before any degree, before you were born, you were made for this! So you cannot fail! You were created for this!

Read the other posts in this series:

Write the Vision (2020,  

The Limits of Your Best,

Do Not Despise Small Beginnings

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Do Not Despise Small Beginnings

Well, we are three weeks into 2020! The New Year’s excitement is waning and many are settling into their “normal.” Some are still grinding away at their goals, but, for some, discouragement and even disappointment is starting to set in. It’s not for lack of effort, or lack of motivation, but lack of results. Three weeks of advertising and promoting and only a few sales. Three weeks of praying, fasting, and dedication to a reading plan and no apparent breakthrough. Three weeks of diet and exercise and only a few pounds lost. Or worse, only three short weeks and already messed up, or, even worse, given up!

Last week we saw, in Zechariah 4, that Zerubbabel received encouragement to continue the work of rebuilding the temple.  (The Limits of Your Best) Discouragement had set in, and the Lord’s messenger reminded him, that it’s not by his power or might, but only by the Spirit of the Lord would the work be completed  (Zechariah 4:6 ).

A second part of this message speaks volumes to us. The Messenger goes on to pose the question, “Who dares despise the day of small things . . . ?” (Zechariah 4:10). Sadly, I’m guilty. I sometimes look at my meager results and wish things would move along a little—no a lot faster. And because it is not, I feel defeated and deflated. This is a hard one for me. I know that starting small is par for the course, but slow growth can be discouraging and frustrating. It is at these times, that I need this reminder not to despise small beginnings. The passage goes on to tell us why. “. . . for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin” (Zechariah 4:10 NLT). He lovingly looks on to see us start the work He’s assigned to us. Our faithful Father’s eyes watch over the work and sees to it’s completion. Philippians 1:6 admonishes us to be “confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

Don’t resent small beginnings! If God has given you the vision, resist discouragement. It may start out small but hold on.  He may give you a glimpse of the end result.  You may feel ready for that end right now, but you have to walk through each season of growth, preparation, and refining.  Starting small allows you to GROW through the process.

If your heart has been stirred with expectancy, don’t let your expectation dwindle. Don’t let small beginnings hinder you.  If God gave it to you, trust Him to bless it, grow it, and cause it to prosper and bear fruit.

Blessing,

EB

**read the other posts in this series Write the Vision (2020)  and The Limits of Your Best.

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I WILL Wednesday 1/15/2020

It’s I WILL Wednesday!

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple. For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at His sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.  Psalm 27:4-6

Sometimes we just feel generally happy. Needs are met, family is well, doggy is wagging his tail. All seems right in your world. We just feel good. This was not the case for David. Yes this Psalm begins with David confessing faith over fear, but he still had enemies! Vicious enemies who desired to utterly destroy him. Wickedness came against him, armies surrounded him, threats of war rose against him. Everything was not good!

In this period in David’s life, he could have asked for anything. Protection, peace, an end to all this turmoil. Instead, the one thing David desired was the presence of God. He names several blessings that he found in God’s presence.

1. In the Lord’s dwelling, David was safe. (Vs. 5). This was not just a position, but also a posture—the presence of the Lord is a safe place. Though danger looms, my heart can rest in the safety of my Savior.

2. In the shelter of the Lord, David was hidden. Concealed from all the noise around him. He was very conscious to the reality of his situation. However, David’s security, as our security, is found in the Lord.

3. David was set high upon a rock. Jesus Christ is the Rock, our foundation that we should build upon. If I am on the Rock, the storms may come but I will not be moved.

4. David was able to lift his head above his enemies. Yes his enemies were still present, but David did not set his focus on them. He set his eyes on the Lord so that he might gaze in His beauty.

With all these blessings that stem from God’s presence, it’s no wonder why David responded, I WILL sing! We should respond that way too! Singing praises to our Lord, for He is worthy, He is faithful, He is constant, and He loves us. It is in Him where we can truly rest in the midst of danger, in the midst of the rain, in it the midst of our enemies. We can rest in Him. He is my safe place. He is my hiding place. He is my rock. So I will shout and offer sacrifices of joy, and I WILL sing a song of praise to My God.

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The Limits of Your Best

Nothing pains me more, as a teacher, then for a student to truly do their best and still end up with a poor score. I know that all students can learn but they all don’t get it at the same time. So, to see one of my kiddos put their all into something and it be a failure is disheartening. It reminds me that there are limits to our best. Our best can take us but so far and sometimes, even at our best, we end up with failure.

As we continue to launch out towards the things of God in 2020, we can run full speed ahead—right into a wall because there are limits to our best. You can be a great speaker, but still struggle with reaching certain people. You may be an outstanding writer, but your words can fall on deaf ears. You might be the most methodical person, but your attention to details and out-of-the-box thinking cannot move the supernatural.

If you go in your own strength, the end will be less than God’s best. Your best pales in comparison to God’s best. There really is no comparison!

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When Zerubbabel set out to rebuild the temple, progress was halted and he became discouraged. A messenger of the Lord came and assured Zerubbabel that the work would be completed, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit”  (Zechariah 4:6 ).   His mission would be accomplished, but it would not be because of Zerubbabel’s skills or abilities, it would not be because of his gifts and talents. Any mission that God ordains can only be accomplished by His Spirit. What begins in the Spirit—that vision, that calling, that God-sized idea— cannot be completed in flesh. Only by the Spirit of God can we walk out the vision and calling He has entrusted into our hands.

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As you run with the vision God has given you, know that your best will only take you so far. Don’t rely on your own strength, skills, or abilities. Trust the supernatural empowerment of the Holy Spirit who can go places you can’t go, who can reach people you can’t reach and who can accomplish what you, even at your best, cannot accomplish.

#2020 #clearvision

(Have you written the vision? Write the Vision (2020)