Anytime we open our hands to God, He will fill them with something that is greater than the things we choose to surrender over to Him. If your hands are closed up in fists, and the posture of your heart is that you don't want to give up anything for God because you think you can do good by yourself, God will not bless that or honor that. But when you open your hands to God and the posture of your heart is this: "Lord here I am and here are the things I am surrendering over to You: I surrender my own agenda so I can receive your great plans for my life; I surrender my pride and ego so I can receive the importance of what it means to be humble; I surrender my finances and resources to You so I can receive the grace needed to be a cheerful giver to those who are truly in need, etc" then God will honor that and put in your hands what you need that is way better than whatever you were trying to hold on to that would actually have hurt you in some way in the long run. It's been said, "closed mouths don't get fed and closed hands can't receive." Are your hands closed or open today?
What you say "yes" to when you are young can have an impact on the things you can have and the things you'll have to deal with when you're older. Watch what you say "yes" to. Say "yes" to the right things. Say "yes" to maturity and growth. Say "yes" to learning all you can about a wide range of topics so you will be able to have intelligent conversations with like-minded people. Say "yes" to avoiding foolishness and chaos. Say "yes" to operating in integrity so no one has to worry about what you're doing and not doing when no one is looking. Say "yes" to becoming your best self in Christ. Say "yes" to being kind to others. Say "yes" to forgiveness even when you might feel that "they don't deserve my forgiveness." God forgave you didn't He?
There are plenty of other examples I could use with respect to saying "yes" to the right kinds of things, but the point is this: can you pass the "Say Yes" test?
Religion says, "If you try hard enough to be a good person and obey all the rules, God will accept you."
Grace says, "You can't be good enough on your own and even though you think obeying the rules is enough, it's not, because you can't save yourself, but Jesus can! He saw you while you were in your mess, in your sin, in your struggle, and said 'I will come down to earth, live a perfect life, fulfill the Law in man's place, die the perfect sacrificial death in man's place to pay the debt for sin man could never pay, and since death can never hold Me down, after three days, I am going to resurrect, ascend to the right hand of my Father, and give them the Holy Spirit so whoever receives Me as their Lord and Savior will have My Spirit dwelling in them so they can live a victorious life and be empowered to fulfill their purpose on earth and do the kinds of things that will please God.' God says, 'Come now, and let us reason together... though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.' (Isaiah 1:18)"
Religion says, "But I've messed up soo many times. Why would God forgive me?"
Grace says, "Don't you know that Romans 8:1-2 declares that 'there is...no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made [you] free from the law of sin and death'?"
Religion says, "But I've tried to come to God, and I have struggled and failed."
Grace says, "Jesus came for you! You might have stepped out of the boat and when the Lord said 'come' you started to walk on water just like Jesus did (because when you step out on faith He will give you the ability to do things that you could never do without Him, like walk on water), but then you looked around at the storm and wind around you and you began to sink because fear took over for a moment, but then Jesus pulled you up out of the water, saving you from drowning! What's the difference between being under water while drowning and being under water during a baptism? The former involves fear, and the latter involves faith."
Step out on faith today and trust Jesus.
After hearing Pastor Steven Furtick preach from Mark 6:45-52 and Matthew 14:22-32, I gained a fresh perspective I had not embraced before. I learned that just because the wind is against you in some particular areas of your life, it doesn't mean you are going in the wrong direction. You have Jesus in your life, but it doesn't mean the wind won't try to blow you around a bit when you are trying to get from point A to point B.
Also, as soon as Jesus got into the disciples' boat after He rescued Peter from sinking in the water after he stepped out on faith when Jesus bid him to come to Him after Peter wanted to make sure it was really Jesus who was walking on the water as the disciples were sailing to a place called Bethsaida, THEN the wind died down. For so long I focused on the fact that Peter walked on water like Jesus until he looked around, became afraid because of what he saw, and began to sink. But what I had missed before was that it wasn't until Jesus got into the boat with the disciples that the wind ceased. There was one other occasion where Jesus spoke to the storm and it ceased. In the above passages of Scripture, Jesus did not even have to speak to the wind for it to die down. This shows that Jesus is always in control, no matter what the situation looks like. When you let Jesus get in your boat (invite Him in to get involved with specific situations, because after all, inviting Jesus in is not just a one-time thing for salvation, but it's an everyday-thing), the wind and storms that were raging at you have to cease. Here's another thing, the storms might be raging outside, but don't let the storm get inside of you; your boat does not have to sink!
Let me go back to Peter for a second too. Peter became afraid at what he was seeing around himself WHILE he was temporarily walking on water. Don't let what you SEE going on around you cause you to forget what you have HEARD Jesus say. If Jesus said you can walk on water (walk through your situation), then you can do it! Be encouraged today!
My fellow believers in Christ what happens between getting from one point to another point in life is the process. Trust God in the process bro. Trust God in the process sis. It might not look good and it most likely will not feel good, but I promise you, there is something good about the process. Whatever you are going through now is making you sharper, wiser, and stronger. Proverbs 27:17 (NIV) says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." As you go through your process of growth, you are going to have to deal with at least one person who God will use in His own special way to challenge you and not make you feel comfortable with where you are. They will question you and do certain things and it might seem like they are trying to try your patience, but it's for your good. You don't have to like it, just take it for what it is.
As for getting wiser, Proverbs 9:10 says, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." This is not saying to cower in fear as if you are terrified of the Lord, because you are one of His children. What it is saying is that we need to have a healthy reverence for who He is because He is totally sovereign and as our Creator He has the right to do with us as He pleases to reveal to us the riches of His glory (see Romans 9:20-24). Until we truly reverence God and learn to worship Him in spirit and in truth as we go through our various life processes we will walk around confused and frustrated because it means we have yet to seek His ultimate wisdom we need for righteous living.
For strength, the Apostle Paul writes in Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Christ gives us the strength we need to be well while dealing with the kinds of things Paul mentioned like being content while being in need or having plenty, while being hungry or fed, and while dealing with any other scenarios that could come up. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV), "... He (God) said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." We won't make it very far if we think we can rely on only our own strength to get by. That is nothing but pride talking then.
Some people might call you crazy for taking the long route and the hard way while others are taking short-cuts and the easy ways out of situations, but since you are a person of integrity, you are going to stick it out and allow God to transform you and take you higher than you've ever been before because you decided to trust Him through the process. Job declared in Job 23:10, ".... He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold." When you come out the other side of what you are going through now, you will see it was all worth it.
The thing about growth I keep finding out is this: you don't really see it/feel it while it's actually happening. But it is happening! I know you don't see it now, but there is a reason why they let you go from that job, there is a reason why that person left you, there is a reason why you are having to learn the hard way about how finances really work. God has greater opportunities for you! He has a better person in mind for you so you are not unequally yoked to a crazy person. He is showing you the importance of tithing, giving to others and getting your resources in order so you can have enough to be able to be a blessing to someone in need one day. The process of people misunderstanding you is there so you learn to lean into Jesus more and more since He knows every single thing about you. Trust God in the process bro. Trust God in the process sis. Let God have His perfect way as He reveals to you the riches of His glory.
After all I have been through in my life, after all I have witnessed, after all I have learned, no one can tell me that God's love is not real! I know the world seems to be in constant chaos, and a lot of times, it is indeed facing all sorts of trouble, but it doesn't mean God isn't there behind the scenes and in front of the scenes, working everything out for good. The Lord said in Jeremiah 29:13, "You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart." Are we searching for God with ALL of our hearts? Or are we making up excuses for why God couldn't possibly exist, "because after all, if He did, then why does all this bad stuff keep happening?" Yeah, I've heard it all before. The truth is that God's love is there whether you believe it or not. Please put your faith and trust in Jesus today, and everyday afterwards. Man can and oftentimes does let you down, but He, the One who died on the cross for our sins, resurrected in three days, and ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father and makes intercession for us without ceasing, won't ever let you down. Trusting in Jesus is the best decision you will ever make. I'm not saying it will always be easy, but you can make it if you make the decision to abide in Him and invite Him in to abide in you.
Rejection is not the end!
My fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, people might have rejected you for one reason or another, but it's okay. God will never reject you, nor will He cast you out when you come to Him in faith (John 6:37). Yes, rejection hurts; that's true. But if someone rejects you as you are trying to live right, that's their loss, and your gain. How is it your gain? You have gained more space to do what God needs you to do for Him. You don't need a negative person, a hater, crowding your space. But yes, rejection can make you feel low as your feelings get crushed by someone who, at one point in time, might have said that they would have your back no matter what. But whenever you feel like you're in a low place, remember that you are pressing towards the mark for the prize of the HIGH calling of God in Christ Jesus! Don't worry about those who rejected you. They couldn't love you properly because they don't even know how to love themselves properly. Hopefully they will come to the light sooner than later, but even if they don't, you've got to keep pressing forward! Jesus is the Author and Finisher of your faith (Hebrews 12:2). As long as there is breath in your body, your story is not over! You might have started out in a new season struggling with rejection as people didn't understand why you were beginning to do what you are doing for God now, but you don't have to stay where you started! You don't have to stay struggling with the question, "Why did they reject me?" Instead, you can ask some new questions, such as, "What has God been teaching me and revealing to me about being rejected that will help me in the next season I am stepping into soon enough?" and "Now that I've experienced rejection and have grown from my experience, who can I help that is now facing rejection from people the way I did?" The experience of your rejection did not occur in vain; it will serve a purpose. .... Rejection is not the end!
Ever since I was a kid, I have loved looking at tall buildings. I used to tell people I wanted to be an architect when I was little, but I clearly did not go in that direction. Now I have never been involved in the plans for the building up of physical structures in different places, but I do love to get involved in the building up of people. I love to help build up others as I encourage them to seek God concerning their purpose and to go after what is truly important in life to glorify Him.
I just want to encourage and inspire as many people as I can for Jesus Christ.