Growth Through Discomfort

Civilization cannot grow and thrive if lies and distortions rule the roost.
And neither can becoming more like Jesus and/or reaching a God-given vision. Let me explain.
I believe the Spirit told me to enter a certain program in order to reach a “Philippian Jailer” type of person. Sound crazy? Yes, but is it a lie?
Naw. This vision passes the truth test as there are just too many biblical stories (Samaritan woman, demoniac man, Ethiopian eunuch, Roman Centurion, etc.) where just such a thing occurred.
This type of vision, though, often requires one to get out of their comfort zone, culturally and sometimes physically. In my case, in order to get into the program, I would have to change my lifestyle and mindset to physically train. Distortion?
Nope. Paul let himself be physically beaten to get close to the jailer. He even let go of his cultural rights (i.e. Roman citizenship) to get it done.
These past eight months of training have caused all kinds of emotional, physical and spiritual pain. I experienced aches and pains, doubts, and fears of being wrong. I’m not proud of it, just being real, I even had less than stellar conversations with Jesus.
Yet, through Spirit powered faith, I kept trying to hold onto the truth that I heard correctly in order to keep training when I certainly didn’t want to do it.
And because my Bible Impact partners and those at my home church shared this journey with me through prayer and encouragement, I experienced a miracle. I literally flew through the physical test. Jesus got me into the program!
You can’t grow in your faith without truth. Why? Change brings discomfort with it. You need it to fight the lies and distortions your enemy will use to get you to stop growing through that discomfort to do what Jesus is asking you to do. Get it and hold onto it.
“Now Lord, where is that jailer?!”

Work the Problem

Expectations can lead to fewer distractions.
I was reminded of an important truth as I read an article on the Yukon Quest – a 1,600km dogsled race from Whitehorse, Yukon to Fairbanks, Alaska.
The author wrote, “The question is not whether bad things will happen during the Yukon. It’s how the mushers (dogsled drivers) will react to those bad things.”
Mushers must physically and mentally prepare for bad things to happen on the trail. This allows them to stay focused on finishing the race by working the problem and moving forward.
We live in a fallen world. Life happens to every single Jesus follower. Why, then, should we be distracted from loving Jesus when bad things happen?
If we’re mentally prepared, we’ll allow the Spirit to use those “bad things” to transform our lives into more Christlike character qualities.
Bad things come from one of three sources: our bad choices, other’s bad choices or the enemy throws the kitchen sink at us (Job 1).
If the problem is self-inflicted, be prepared to ask the Spirit to expose the lies in your thinking and exchange them with truths from God’s word. Then when similar situations arise, ask the Spirit to empower you to obey the newly inputted truth.
This way, you eliminate the bad thing from happening in the first place as the truth set you free from the bad choice that caused the bad thing to occur.
If the problem arises from without, ask the Spirit to show you something about Jesus you need to know. This way you can make a good choice to love Him in the midst of the bad situation.
In so doing, you become more like Jesus despite what others do, which keeps you free from the negative emotions, thoughts, words and actions that others wanted to create in you.
So, don’t be surprise when bad things happen. Work the problem and keep moving toward becoming more like Jesus in the midst of them!

Complaining to Changing

Oh, cool your jets!
One year my family took a vacation to Arizona…in the summer! Yes, it was hot and muggy and we loved it.
While there, we visited a cavern near Williams. It was fantastic! One minute you’re sweating bullets and the next you’re putting on a sweatshirt.
It was funny, though. One minute we heard people complaining about the weather; and then, a mere few minutes later, we could hear praises coming from their lips.
Yes, they were complaining as it was hot. But, they did something about it! They went to a place that was cool, a savior if you will.
Jesus is The Savior. He is the one who can fix our hot challenges through being our refuge – a cool cavern of escape.
Prayer is not a cliché. It’s diving into the cave to cool off. Meditation on the truths the Spirit gives is not Christianeze. It’s the solution that keeps our minds at peace when we’re hot from losing.
If want to stop losing, don’t complain about it. Do something. Go to the cool cavern of Jesus and the Truths He gives you to make you more like Him.
To complain or to get better – that’s the question. Your Savior is the answer.

You’re Known

Look up and see how much He loves you!
On a recent trip to Mammoth Lakes, CA, my wife and I took advantage of God’s pure source of entertainment – the heavens.
We got comfy under warm blankets while getting almost horizontal in our lounge chairs. Drank hot coffee as a cool breeze kissed the tree tops as well as our faces. Listened to Spirit-filled instrumental music as a nearby creek rushed down stream.
We even held hands as we watched stars falling (okay, okay, burning space debris), planets “shinning” and satellites making their way through the night sky.
It was during this very entertaining movie that my wife made a thought provoking statement, “God knows each one of those stars by name.”
This scriptural truth (Ps. 147:4) hung in the air. Our Father had actually given names to each and every one of those stars.
Biblically, names denote knowledge of the subject or person by someone else. Thus, our Father had intimate knowledge of each and every burning ball of gas when He named them!
If He cares enough to name inanimate objects, guess how much He cares about you, His child? He didn’t send Jesus to die for the stars. He did, however, do so for you.
And if He loved you that much, do you think He’ll ever leave you alone? Nope.
You are not and will never be alone! Ever. Allow that to sink in. He knows more about you than you do – yesterday, today and tomorrow; and yet, He will always walk step for step with you.
So, the next time you start feeling alone. Look up. Smile for the camera. Your Father loves you and He’s not going anywhere!