“We know that all things work together for good.” Ro 8:28 NKJV
When you know God’s plan for your life, you won’t permit things that are contrary to it. You won’t be quick to get discouraged when situations bring conflict and disorder. You won’t become frustrated or overwhelmed by those things you can’t pray away, confess away, or speak away. Why? Because you know that if it’s in your life, and it’s not caused by disobedience, God has allowed it and He wants to use it to produce in you the nature of Jesus. “All things,” not some things, work together for good to those who love the Lord. You say, “But I can’t see any real purpose in it.” Hold on, you will! God is building a foundation under you. He’s equipping you to handle a level of success you can’t cope with right now. Out of this pressure will come the power to do what He, not others, desires in your life. He’s teaching you in the wilderness so that when you get to the Promised Land and people become uncooperative, resentful, or jealous, you won’t be afraid to cut those unhealthy ties. He wants you to know that your help comes from the Lord, not people. Do you understand that? If you don’t, you’d better ask somebody! But don’t ask just anybody, ask the Lord. His Word says, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jer 33:3 NKJV). Don’t be afraid to ask God, “Why?” Men and women in the Scripture asked that question often. But be ready when God answers, “It’s for a purpose!”
“By love serve one another.” Gal 5:13
You won’t succeed in life unless you are connected to the right people. And those who enable you to succeed won’t always come to you; usually you must go to them. Why do you think there’s a newspaper machine on every corner and a soft drink machine on every hotel floor? Success won’t come knocking on your door, you’ve got to go and find it. Jesus didn’t set up a throne in the middle of each town and say, “This is the only place you can meet with me.” No, He went to the marketplace, to the boats of fishermen, to the synagogue, to the homes of people. He “went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where” (Lk 9:6).
What is keeping you from reaching out to others? Rejection? Until your dream becomes more important to you than your fear of rejection, you will never succeed. Successful people dread rejection too; the difference is that they believe their goals are worth it. There are two kinds of people in your life: those who already know you have something they need, and those who don’t know it yet. So start a “people list.” The law of relationship says that every person is only four people away from the person they need. This simply means that you know Bill, who knows Judy, who knows Charles, who knows the person you want to get to. You are already networked. Follow the dots and you’ll get to your destiny. Success always begins somewhere, at some moment, with someone. The secret is, you must reach out.
“Search, and you will find.” Mt 7:7 NCV
To hear from God you need: (1) A regular time and place. Some prefer morning. “In the morning my prayer comes before you” (Ps 88:13 NIV). Others prefer evening. “Let my …praise [be] like the evening sacrifice” (Ps 141:2 NCV). Others prefer encounters throughout the day. “Evening, morning and noon I cry out” (Ps 55:17 NIV). Just find a time and place that’s right for you. “How much time should I take?” As much as you need. Your time with God should last long enough for you to say what you want, and for God to say what He wants. (2) An open Bible. Before reading the Bible, pray. Don’t go to Scripture looking for your own idea, go searching for God’s. “Hunt for it like hidden treasure. Then you will understand…and you will find that you know God” (Pr 2:4-5 NCV). God seems to send us messages as He did manna: one day’s portion at a time. He gives us: “A command here, a command there. A rule here, a rule there. A little lesson here, a little lesson there” (Isa 28:10 NCV). Choose depth over length. Read until a verse “hits” you, then stop and meditate on it. Understanding comes a little at a time, over a lifetime. (3) A listening heart. James writes, “The man who looks into the perfect law…and makes a habit of so doing, is not the man who hears and forgets. He puts that law into practice and he wins true happiness” (Jas 1:25 PHPS). We know we are listening to God when what we read in the Bible is what others see in our lives.
“The Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Col 3:13 NLT
By washing the dirt from His disciples’ feet, Jesus demonstrated His willingness to forgive their sin before they even committed it. This takes love to its highest level. You say, “I am not the guilty party here.” Neither was Jesus. Of the men in that room, only One was worthy of having His feet washed. And He was the One who washed the feet. The genius of Jesus’ example is that the burden of bridge-building falls on the strong one, not the weak one. And do you know what happens? More often than not, if the one in the right volunteers to wash the feet of the one in the wrong, both parties get on their knees. Don’t we all think we are right? Hence we wash each other’s feet. Understand this: relationships don’t thrive because the guilty are punished, but because the innocent are merciful. The mercy of Christ preceded His disciples’ mistakes, and our mercy must precede the mistakes of others too. Those in the circle of Christ had no doubt of His love, and those in our circles should have no doubt about ours either. Paul writes, “Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ” (Eph 4:32 NCV). Because Christ has forgiven us, we can forgive others. Because He has a forgiving heart, we can have a forgiving heart. When Christ truly lives within us, we have no better alternative. There is incredible power in the words, “I forgive you; I love you; let’s move on.” Are there any sitting around your table today who need to be assured of your forgiveness?
“There is one…mediator between God and men…Jesus.” 1Ti 2:5
Michael Spencer writes: “The truth that Jesus is the one mediator between God and human beings knocked me to the floor and suspended me over the truth that God had done all things necessary for my salvation. He had paid the debt and become the necessary sacrifice. He had loved me to the uttermost. He had given all this to me as a gift. I had nothing to do but simply stop ignoring His gift and receive it. I was a drowning man whose rescue depended on stopping all efforts to swim and trusting someone who was not going to make me a better swimmer, but who would drown in my place. This experience…demolished the idea that I could be anything other than what I was: a broken, sinful, wounded, failing, hurting human being…To try to make myself presentable or acceptable made me less capable of receiving the simple gift of Jesus’ mediation on my behalf. Jesus was not clearing the road so that I could ride victoriously through life. He was becoming the road that would carry me through all the garbage, falls, failures and disasters that were the inevitable results of my existence. In trying to make myself lovable, I had been distancing myself from true love. In pretending to be a leading candidate for the religious life, I was abandoning the life of grace. In seeking to be a good Christian, I was deserting the truth that there is no gospel for ‘good’ Christians, because the Lamb of God was nailed to an altar for those who are not good, and who are no good at pretending to be good.”
“Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them.” Ps 119:140 NIV
Can you imagine how honored you’d feel to have a personal audience with a president or prime minister? What are the chances you’d say, “Sorry, I’m too busy. I can’t come”? No, you’d approach them with profound respect, observe every protocol and hang on every word. Well, you can have a personal audience each day with the King of Kings and He will speak to you personally through His Word. When you’re in love with someone, you want to spend every possible moment with them, delighting in what they have to say and responding to them from your heart. David said, “The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold” (Ps 119:72 NIV). Again he said, “Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them.” An unknown poet wrote: “Though the cover is worn and the pages are torn, and though places bear traces of tears. Yet more precious than gold is this book worn and old, that can shatter and scatter my fears. When I prayerfully look in this precious old book, as my eyes scan the pages I see; Many tokens of love from the Father above, Who is nearest and dearest to me. This old book is my guide, ’tis a friend by my side, it will lighten and brighten my way. And each promise I find soothes and gladdens my mind, as I read it and heed it today.” Whatever you have to sacrifice, whatever priorities you have to rearrange, read your Bible every day.
If you’ll spend anytime studying the Old & New Testament, you’ll find that anyone that did anything good for God, had critics. People that didn’t like them. When you allow those who know you the least to define you the most you’ll always be in a state of anxiety and fear.
Here are four simple truths to help you overcome the critics of your life.
01. SURROUND YOUR LIFE WITH GODLY MENTORS: If something in your life needs to be corrected, You need to trust in the fact that you’ve placed yourself in the right environments where Godly people who love and believe in you can speak truth, correction and encouragement to you.
02. MAINTAIN A TEACHABLE HEART: Correction and Coaching is always accepted. Correction is always meant to build up. However criticism is when you’re going after someone, and you’re not trying to resolve anything. You’re simply trying to tear down.
03. LEARN THE ART OF CHANGING YOUR FOCUS: Our feelings follow our focus. – If they’re on the negative things that’s how you’re going to feel. Instead focus on God’s goodness. Turn your eyes on Jesus.
04. STAY ON ASSIGNMENT: In the end, our job as Christians is to love God and love people. Don’t let the enemies attack on you distract you from that calling. Have the heart of a teddy bear and the skin of a rhinoceros.
“Let us love one another, for love comes from God.” 1Jn 4:7 NIV
While the Bible clearly teaches self-worth, it also denounces self-interest. When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, He said that we were to love God with all our hearts, and love others with the same concern that we show for ourselves (See Mk 12:30-31). When we obsess over ourselves, we lose the meaning of life, which is to love and serve God, and love and serve our neighbors. In a 2003 report, Hardwired to Connect, thirty-three research scientists discovered that we are biologically primed to find meaning through relationships. Chuck Colson said: “After nearly eight decades of living, I can vouch for this. My single greatest joy is giving myself to others and seeing them grow in return. You cannot discover that without commitment. I first learned it by watching my parents care for my dying grandparents in our home…l later saw it in the Marine Corps. You cannot command forty-five men to go into combat, as I was trained to do, if you aren’t committed to one another. You are going to die if the man next to you does not cover your back…By abandoning commitment, our narcissistic culture has lost the one thing it desperately seeks: happiness. Without commitment, our individual lives will be barren and sterile. Without commitment, our lives will lack meaning and purpose. After all, if nothing is worth dying for, then nothing is worth living for. Jesus taught that the only way to live abundantly is to die to self-interest and give yourself fully to God, and to those who need what God has given you.”
“There are diversities of gifts.” 1Co 12:4 NKJV
Paul writes, “There are diversities of gifts, but the same spirit.” Successful people invest their time, energy and resources into their core strengths. Why? Because that is where they get their highest return! And when they occasionally depart from that approach, as Michael Jordan did when he quit basketball to play baseball, the result is mediocrity. Basketball was Jordan’s sweet spot – the thing that would always give him the highest return – and most people agree that he was one of the best ever to play the game. However, as a baseball player he lasted one year, never progressed higher than AA ball, batted .202, and finished with 11 fielding errors. That’s probably not what he’d like to be remembered for. God gave you gifts that make you unique, gifts that hold great possibilities. But you have to discover them and develop them. A sign on a hardware store says it all: “We’ve got it, if you can find it.” Nobody was ever born without talent, including you, but you’ve got to find it. What keeps us from doing that? (1) The company we keep. The old saying goes, “If you run around with turkeys, you’ll never fly with eagles.” The Scripture says, “He who walks with wise men, will be wise” (Pr 13:20 NKJV). (2) Failing to spend time in prayer and God’s Word. God is not only the giver of your gift, He supplies the strength to function successfully in it. Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” So if you want to succeed, consult God, and operate in your God-given strength.
“If I can just touch [Him], I will be healed.” Mk 5:28 NLT
Mark records the story of a woman who’d hemorrhaged for twelve years and spent every penny she had on doctors, but to no avail. What western culture discreetly refers to as “a female condition” had devastated this Jewish lady’s life. Sexually, she couldn’t touch her husband. Maternally, she couldn’t have children. Domestically, whatever she touched was considered “unclean.” Spiritually, she couldn’t enter the temple. So, physically exhausted, socially ostracized, and spiritually depleted, she thought, “If I can just touch Jesus, I’ll be made whole.” Her miracle started when she thought about Jesus. But first she had to get through the crowd that stood between her and Him. And so will you! The crowd has its arguments and reasons, but not one of them is worth missing Jesus for. When this woman finally got to Him, two wonderful things happened: (1) She discovered that our faith gets Jesus’ attention every time. Many people in the crowd must have brushed up against Jesus that day, yet Mark records, “Knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, [He] turned around in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched My clothes?’” (v. 30 NKJV). Understand this: Jesus can tell the difference between a casual churchgoer and a truly hungry heart that pushes through pain, problems, and pressures, and touches Him by faith. (2) She’s the only woman Jesus ever called “daughter” (See v. 34 NKJV). Imagine how she felt. She probably couldn’t remember when she’d last heard a kind word. You’re not just a face in the crowd, and your problem is not too big for Jesus. Today reach out in faith, touch Him, and be made whole!