Thursday, May 7, 2009

How do you measure success?

How do you measure success? Do you look at success from the "World" view? Do you look at success from God's view? The "World" view is the here and now. Its what we can touch, taste, wear, smell, and drive. The "World" view is what advertisers want us to see, feel, need, and crave. Its keeping up with the Jones's. Its what we ought to have or what we owe ourselves. Is that the right way to measure success? I know we all have desires in our hearts. We all want the American dream. We all want to live in big houses, drive nice cars, have wallets stuffed with cash, eat great food until we are sick, be popular, have great kids, have great looking spouse's, and incredible careers. Is that you? Is that me? The answer is yes. Its me and its you, whether you want to admit it or not. We all want those things and much much more. God's view on the other hand is laid out for us in His Word. Joshua 1:8, says, "Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful." God is telling Joshua that I am all you need. God is saying remember My Words, My commands, keep your eyes fixed on Me, your trust wholly in Me and you will succeed. All we need to know about success is clearly spelled out for us in God's Word. God has given us the key to success. It's right here. Paul tells Timothy in 1Timothy 6: 6-10,"Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows." I used to live under the most ridiculous delusion. I lived by the credo that I HAD to make and keep the line share of $20 million dollars before I was 40 year old. (Please don't laugh at the absurdity of this.). I reflect on this now and get sick to my stomach. I have now through the Lord's help rid myself of this horrible goal or whatever you want to call it. I am now living comfortably inside God's contentment mentioned in Timothy. I know now that its about spending time with my healthy children, snuggling up with my beautiful wife, and enjoying my family and friends. Its about having food in the pantry, gas in the cars, clothes on our back. Its about taking time every single day and thanking God for all of these things and many more. It boils down to being content and thankful for where you are and what you have versus what you don't have. I realized I was focusing on the wrong things. I was looking for satisfaction in things that were temporary. I mentioned in an earlier post that I was building a business. In a short time I was making more money than I had ever made. It was at this point that things began to spin out of control. God was teaching me something that I did not realize at the time. After much prayer, reading, council, and getting quiet before God it started to make sense. I was measuring success with the wrong glasses on. I was living for the wrong reasons. I was living only to engage my fleshy desires and not living out the purpose with which God had given me to do. We should be focused on doing the tasks that God has called each of us to do. I was living my life with the"Worlds View" driving me. I recall feeling pressure that was choking at times. The drive to compete with the Jones's was and is way to much. Our real work is helping our brothers and sisters in need. Its witnessing to the lost, and providing for the orphans and widows. Its all of this and more, much more. Paul continues telling Timothy "Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life. Trusting in money is temporary at best, but Trusting in God is everlasting. So, do want to put your trust in something that is here today and gone tomorrow, or do you want to put your TRUST in the ONE who is eternal? I want to encourage you to let this resonate in your hearts and minds. It has opened the eyes of my heart. I hope it will open the eyes of you heart as well. Jesus tells us in the Gospel of Matthew "Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. So how do you measure success? I measure it by the completion of the good work God is doing in, for me, and through me. When that job is done then I will have lived a successful life. I am confident if we will wholly submit our lives to Christ, He will take care of our every need more so than we could ever ask. I trust Jesus to supply all my needs. Do you???

I hope this message today encourages you to look up into the heavens and not here on earth. My prayer today, is that we would get our priorities straight and rely on Christ the Rock. If you enjoyed this message please pass it on to someone else.

Until Next Time!!!

God Bless!!!


Monday, May 4, 2009

Additional thoughts on afflictions

I want to share additional thoughts on the topic of afflictions. Taking another look at the verse:
Psalm 119:67 " Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word". The psalmist is saying that Everything God says is Right. God is right 100% of the time, in all things, and in all ways. We may not like that statement b/c it cuts us to the core. We like to think we are in charge of our lives. The fact of the matter is we were never in control in the first place. Its interesting to listen to the Tony Robbins of the world say "Take control now!" "Its up to you to seize the day". The only thing that I am in control of is my attitude, and that's it. I choose to respond positively or negatively to all the circumstances and events that occur in my life, and so do you, period the END! God tells us in Jeremiah 29:11 "I know the plans I have for you says the Lord. Plans for your welfare and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope" This is one of my favorite verses in the whole Bible. God, is saying to me "Alan, I have a plan for you that is right and perfect in My will. This plan has inside it a future and a hope just for you. MY plan has nothing but MY best in mind for you." He had my plan and your plan laid out long before the beginning of the world. We chose to get off that plan by engaging in our fleshy desires. We choose to not listen to His wise teaching. We choose to sin. There is a intersecting point where the right path and the wrong path reconnect. It's at this point where we transfer from our "worldly" path to the HIS path. God is working in and through our points of affliction by helping us realize He is all we need. I know this goes against the grain and its the opposite to what we think we need. You and I could agree that when we pray sometimes we pray for God to change a circumstance, a issue, or whatever we desire, but the reality is God doesn't always move when we ask. For example, we could say " Lord, change my spouse", "Change my financial situation so I can pay my bills", or "Change my health so I can feel better". I am confident what we should be praying is "Lord, Teach me your Word." Its seems to me that if we would let Him teach us and if we will hide His word in our hearts like He tells us we would be far better off than doing things our way. Have you ever thought that maybe God is looking down on us saying Why don't they trust Me? I have given them so many blessings. I have been there for them so many times. If they could just see what I see they would understand. We could all be living lives of victory and doing the work He intended us to do. One reason you may not have seen the change in your life just yet is because HE FIRST WANTS TO CHANGE YOU! He changes us by using our afflictions as a means to get our eyes off of ourselves and onto HIM. I believe this is very reason the Lord told Joshua to keep His commandments. God said to Joshua to carefully observe the whole instruction My servant Moses gave to you. This book of instruction MUST not depart from your mouth; and you are to recite it day and night, so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do. (Joshua 1:8). Here is the only key to true success, HIS WORD. God tells us exactly what we need to do in order to become successful. Forget success measured by worldly terms.

I hope this posting encourages you. My prayer today is that we learn to look through our trials, afflictions, and circumstances to see the hand of our King working. We can trust He is right 100% of the time regardless if we understand it or not. I appreciate you all. May God bless you and keep you and your families.

Until Next Time!!!

God Bless You All!!!!