You Hear It Before You See It

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So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. ~ Romans 10:17 NKJV

I find it interesting that in the physical world the speed of light is much faster than the speed of sound. In other words, you see something before you hear it. You see the lightning before you hear the thunder. You see the firework before you here the sound that it makes. You see the baseball player swing the bat before you hear the crack that it makes when it hits the ball.

While on the contrary, in the spiritual realm, we hear the word of God before we see the hand of God. We have to have the faith to believe for something before we actually see it happen. God spoke the world into existence. We hear the sound of a mighty rushing wind. In 1 Kings 18, Elijah told Ahab “there is a sound of abundance of rain” before he actually saw the rain. We are told to walk by faith and not by sight (See 2 Corinthians 5:7).

It’s like when a woman is giving birth to a child. For nine months, she can’t see the baby inside of her but she knows that it is there. She can feel the baby inside of her, she just can’t see it yet. She can hear the baby inside of her, but she can’t see it yet. Even though she can’t yet see the baby inside of her, she believes that it is there.

Sometimes what we see in our lives contradicts what we have heard in God’s word. That’s where faith comes in. The writer of Hebrews tells us “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (See Hebrews 11:1) Just because we don’t see it yet, doesn’t mean that what we heard isn’t going to happen. Don’t lose hope because it hasn’t happened. Hold onto your faith. And don’t stop believing.

If you wan’t to dive deeper into this thought, here is a great message from Steven Furtick, pastor of Elevation Church, on this subject.

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God Is Not A Genie And Unlike Christina You Can’t Rub Him The Right Way

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The church has made God out be be like He is some genie from the movie Aladdin. Like we are able to rub some lamp, like Aladdin, and poof out pops God to grant our wish. We have been taught to believe that if we pray more, spend more quiet time with God, read the Bible more, or even give more time and money; God is going to bless us more. It’s this theology that if you have a greater need, you have to sow a greater seed. In other words if you want more from God, you have to give more to God.

The only problem with this way of thinking is that it just isn’t Biblical. Yes there is the scripture in Galatians where Paul says “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” (See Galatians 6:7 NIV) And even Jesus said in Luke “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (See Luke 6:38 NIV) These verses have been twisted today to make them seem like they are saying the more money you give the more money you will receive. But that just isn’t true. Neither Paul nor Jesus were referring to money when they spoke these words. Just one verse before in Luke, Jesus was talking about forgiving. And Paul follows up verse 7 in Galatians saying that our sowing should be, when we have the opportunity, to do good to all people.

Even Satan himself tried to manipulate Jesus by taking certain scripture verses out of context. (See Matthew 4:1-11 NIV) It rubs me the wrong way, no pun intended, that people use the scripture and the church to push forth their own agenda and to prey on innocent bystanders. Jesus referred to this type of person as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. (See Matthew 7:15 NIV) You know who else was referred to as masquerading about as something he isn’t? You guessed it. The devil himself. (See 1 Peter 5:8 NIV) Not someone who I want to be associated with.

The truth is that God loves you no matter what. And that God blesses us not because of what we do but because of who we are. Giving more money isn’t going to get God’s attention. Jesus already did that for us when He died on the cross. You can’t pray for it. You can’t rub some magic lamp for it. And you can’t work for it. That is a good thing. Because if we could earn God’s love, if we could earn God’s grace, if we could earn God’s blessings then we could also lose them too. Jesus already did the work so we don’t have to, and frankly we couldn’t do it anyway. God isn’t a genie. God is good. God is great. And that is why He blesses us.

 

The Way I Talk


There is a new country song on the radio today called “The Way I Talk” by Morgan Wallen. The whole message behind the song is about being authentic. It’s about being you no matter what others may think. There is a lyric in the song that stood out to me. It says “The man upstairs gets it so I ain’t tryna fix it.”

So many things we do today, we do in an effort to receive the approval of others. We go out of our way in an attempt to gain the praise and adoration of people we don’t even know. We wear clothes that aren’t comfortable in order to receive the comfort of others. We buy cars we can’t afford in order to impress people we haven’t even met. Our decisions in life revolve around capturing the attention of others. We constantly strive in vain to seek satisfaction in the sights of everyone else.

I love the message of this song by Morgan Wallen because it’s the message of our Heavenly Father. We see this in the life of Jesus. Before Jesus performed any miracles. Before Jesus died on the cross. Even before Jesus rose from the dead. God was proud of him. (See Matthew 3:17) Even Jesus couldn’t do anything to win over God’s approval. So why do we think it would be any different for us? 

God isn’t proud of us because of what we do, but because of who we are. Any parent out there can attest to this. You want to see your kids be successful. But whether they succeed or fail in life doesn’t change the fact that they are still your kid and that you still love them and are still proud of them. God is a perfect father and he loves you and is proud of you not because of your status in society but because of your position as His child.

Quit striving after the praise of others. Rest in the satisfaction of knowing God is already proud of you. Quit seeking the recognition of people. You already have the attention of God. Quit trying to look good for everyone else. You already have the approval in the sight of the only One who matters.

The Company You Keep

I have heard it said that you can tell a lot about a person by looking at the people they hold close to in their life. When you go through tough times in life you find out who your friends are, but you can also find out a lot about who you are by looking at who your friends are. In other words, we tend to hang out with people who we share commonalities with.

This morning tragic news broke of former New England Patriots tight end, Aaron Hernandez, being found dead after presumably hanging himself in his prison cell. The story of Aaron Hernandez is a tragic one because Hernandez was a very talented athlete that never reached his full potential because he wasn’t able to leave his past in the past. Hernandez wasn’t able to separate himself from his past and eventually it ended up destroying his future. It’s sad to see someone who had everything get it all taken away because they weren’t able to let go of the people and lifestyle in their past that were pulling them down. 

The apostle Paul knew all about this. That is why he wrote “Bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33) You are the company you keep. If you want to be successful then surround yourself with successful people. If you want to get out of debt then surround yourself with people who are debt free. And the opposite holds true as well. The people you associate yourself with can either lift you up or tear you down. 

So take a look around. Who are your friends? Are you surrounding yourself with the right people? Are they pointing you toward your future or are they pulling you back to your past? Are they positioning you toward who you want to become? Are they leading you toward where you want to be going? Choose your company wisely because ultimately they help you choose who you will become.

You Can’t Always Get What You Want


Two of the most known and famous scripture verses are often vastly taken out of context. The first being from probably the most famous psalm written by David saying “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” And the second being a well known verse in Philippians written by the apostle Paul that says “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” 

Both verses referring to God as our protector and our provider. But if we are not careful, when taken out of context, these verses can seem like God is going to give us whatever we want. On the contrary, when we take a closer look at these verses, we will see a quite different meaning. God is not a genie that is going to grant our every wish and want at our beckon call, but He is a loving father that is going to make sure we have everything that we need in life.

Louie Giglio, the pastor of Passion City Church and the founder of the Passion conferences, made an interesting observation when talking about the first verse of Psalm 23 in his message at the Code Orange Revival at Elevation Church last year. He said that when David says “I shall not want” it’s not because God is going to grant his every wish and therefore he won’t want for anything but it’s because he trusts that God knows better than him on what is best for David. David knew that God being a good shepherd would know what David would need in his life and therefore he would lack nothing. He knew if God didn’t give it to him than he must not have needed it.

Just like David, Jesus tells us that He is the Good Shepherd (See John 10:11). When our desires align with His, we will have everything we need. When we trust that He knows best for our lives, we will lack nothing. When we believe that if He didn’t give it to us than we don’t need it, we will be content. 

When we think like that we might not get what we want, but we will have what we need.

Don’t Miss The Moment 


Ernie Johnson, from TBS, has a new book out call “Unscripted.” In his new book, he presents this metaphor he calls “blackberry moments.” The idea stems from a little league game where there was a break in the action because of the outfielders looking for the ball and being distracted by these blackberries. The outfielders quest to find the ball got sidetracked because they stopped to pick and eat the blackberries. Johnson’s takeaway from this story was a reminder to not get so caught up in the rat race of life and what you’re doing that you miss those sweet moments that you can never get back.


So often we get trapped in doing that we forget to take a step back and take in those precious moments in life. We get so preoccupied in schedules that we miss out on those unscheduled spontaneous moments in time. By the time we are able to realize it and hit the pause button, life has already passed us by.

So don’t get so caught up in doing that you miss the moments and don’t realize how precious they were until they become a memory. Every now and then, take a step back to savor those “blackberry moments.” Don’t get trapped trying so hard to make things happen that when you finally take an inventory of your life you are asking yourself what just happened. Don’t miss the moment.

A Model Of Consistency 


Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come. ~ Dwayne Johnson

In the book Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell says that it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. That is a lot of times of constant repetition of the same thing over and over again. That’s why it’s fascinating and mind boggling to me that people show up to the gym for a week, maybe even a month, and are disappointed because they haven’t yet seen the results that they expected. You can’t show up to the gym for a few months and expect to look like the guy who has been showing up for years. Olympic Gold medalist, Apolo Ohno, said it this way “One thing guys have to remember is consistency… You can’t make up for three years of eating poorly in just one workout.” In other words it took years being a model of consistency to get you in the shape you’re in, why would it take any less to get you out of it?

I probably won’t get many likes or shares or comments on this post because this language of consistency isn’t very sexy. Everyone today wants to see results instantly. They want to become successful overnight. That’s why there is Instagram. And instant messaging. And even instant coffee. Because we’ve reached a day and age where waiting for a fresh pot of coffee to brew is too long. Today, being labeled a model of consistency is almost like putting a black mark on your record.


The truth is success in life comes from being consistent. Yes there are people who become overnight sensations, but the overwhelming majority of successful people are persistently consistent. Only 8% of American millionaires inherited their wealth. Compared to 67% of high-net-worth Americans who are self-made. 

You see whether you like it or not, the main ingredient to being successful in any area of life is being consistent. So if you want to accomplish something, don’t just pick it up and put it back down. Stick with it! Become a model of consistency.

Walk A Mile In My Shoes


It is very easy to look at someone else and be highly critical of them. We have no problem in our world today to sit in our high and lofty judge’s seat and wave our mighty gavel. It’s easy to give an opinion on what someone should do from afar.

You’ve heard the saying “Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes.” Jesus said it this way “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1-2) He goes on to say that before you try to fix other people’s problems, you should first focus on your own issues. In other words, take that finger and point it right back at yourself.


You never know what people have been through that have led them to where they are now. Nobody has it easy. Everyone of us has issues. So take a step back before you start criticizing and judging others. Everybody is fighting their own unique war. 

Instead of fighting against one another, we should come along side each other and fight with them. Instead of judging one another, we should defend each other. Instead of looking down on one another, we should lift each other up. Instead of being critical of one another, we should commend each other for getting this far. 

Get to know the other person before you take a look at them and think that you know them. Let’s get down from our high horses and get on each other’s level so we can begin to see one another differently. Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes and see if your perspective doesn’t change.

Do You Have An Umbrella?



 A wise man thinks ahead; a fool doesn’t, and even brags about it! ~Proverbs 13:16

My wife is a huge planner. She has plans for us 10 years down the road while I am only focusing on the here and now. She has already picked out names for our kids, planned vacations, and has even mentioned about doing a living will. 
You’ve probably heard the saying “Save up for a rainy day.” In other words, make sure you are prepared for what life may throw at you. In more practical terms, if you know that the weather forecast is calling for rain, it would be smart to bring an umbrella with you. You wouldn’t want to be caught in the rain without an umbrella, especially when you knew that it was going to rain.

Jesus told us in John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jesus warns us that we are going to face some hard times in this life. Not everything is going to be peaches and creame. There are going to be some stretches of rocky road. So it would be wise of us to be prepared for those times.

Now I don’t want to be a “Debbie Downer” or be all doom and gloom, that is not the point of this blog post. The take away from this is, just like you wouldn’t want to be caught in the rain not holding an umbrella, you wouldn’t want to be blindsided by hardship in life without being prepared for it.

There is a story in Genesis where the king of Egypt, Pharoah, had a dream that warned him there was going to be 7 years of abundance followed by 7 years of famine. Now Pharoah’s initial reaction was like ours and he only focused on the famine. But one of his advisers, Joseph, quickly diverted that attention and came up with a plan to save during the time of abundance in order for there to be more than enough to get them through the years of famine. The morale here being that when you prepare during the feast you will be able to outlast the famine.

So I leave you with this question: Do you have an umbrella?

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