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Archive for the tag “Door of opportunity”

Golden Opportunity

Jesus stopped and called them, “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. This question is found in Matthew 20:32 and Mark 10:51. Jesus was walking out of the city of Jericho when he passed by two blind men who were begging by the side of the road. Mark names one of the men as Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46). The blind men called out to Jesus asking for His mercy. Everyone around the two men rebuked them, but they called out even louder. Then Jesus stopped. He wanted to know what these men really wanted from Him. Was it a few coins? Did they have a pressing need greater than the obvious? They had to verbalize their need to Him. They wanted to see.

Matthew tells us that Jesus had compassion on them. He recognized their faith and touched their eyes. Matthew records the healing as immediately they received their sight. Immediately. Isn’t that one of the best words you could read? Wouldn’t it be great to have an immediate answer? I’m sure the blind men had been begging for years. But the minute that Jesus crossed their path, they saw their opportunity to act on His mercy. And they asked Him for their greatest need to be met. They knew what they wanted from Him. Immediately.

They must have heard stories about Jesus before this day because when He was coming their way, they shouted out “Son of David.” They recognized Jesus for who He was. This wasn’t just any one. This was the Promised One. They may have been physically blind, but they were more able to see than the Pharisees who never recognized Jesus for who He was. Immediately, they were healed because of their faith in the Promised One.

Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem when He came upon these blind beggars. It would be the final time He would travel that way. There would be no more opportunities for these men if they hadn’t acted when they did. Jesus was on the way to the cross. By the end of the week, everything would be different. No more opportunities for Jesus to touch these men or any other. This was it. Did the men know this was their golden opportunity? No. None of the people in the crowd that day knew what waited just a few days away. This was the last week in the life of Jesus – in the flesh.

We just never know when we have that last opportunity or our own golden opportunity; when we should have acted but didn’t. Maybe we don’t know what we really want and failed to see the opportunity when it came along. If Jesus asked us the same question, how would we answer? Do we really understand the implications of not knowing our greatest need? Probably not. It could be the greatest need that could have the greatest impact on this generation for the glory of God.

God often does more than we request – greater than we can imagine – when our hearts are aligned with His. Psalm 37:4 says delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Alignment comes first. If God hasn’t answered our prayers yet, maybe it’s a heart problem that is being corrected before the answer comes. Maybe we have the wrong motivation or the wrong request, or maybe things just haven’t lined up on God’s timetable.

The blind men might have been on that roadside for years, but one day they were at the right place at the right time for a Jesus encounter that changed their lives. They were ready when Jesus came to that place. We need to be ready too. We too will have divine encounters. We need to know what we really want. We need to know it within our souls that this is an encounter we cannot afford to miss. Grab it and let God do something amazing in it. Don’t miss the opportunity. It could be a one shot deal. We may never pass this way again.

Have you heard about this Jesus? Do you know Him for who He really is? The blind men knew Him and received their healing. Once healed, they praised Him; but they also joined Him on the journey. Whatever God is leading you to, don’t waste the opportunity – it could have an immediate effect on you and your world. This is our time to meet Jesus on the road to where He is going. Join Him on the journey. Delight in Him and you will be amazed by what you finally see.

For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall. 2 Peter 1:8-10a

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Pressing In

Several years ago, I realized I needed to make a move before I was in the age of unemployable; but I didn’t make the move. Like the times before when I have made a move, I stayed in the job until I became dissatisfied and restless. When the restlessness settled in, I jumped into something new. I didn’t know how I was going to make it on my own, but I felt that God was with me in it. And He was, just not the way I envisioned it.

It’s been seven years ago this month since I made the move to try this new thing. The new thing is no longer new or deemed feasible for my long-term progress. So here I am in this age of unemployable where I didn’t want to be. Is God doing something in this season? Yes, but it’s going to be different from what I envision – it’s just His way.

Over the last few weeks, I have been pressing more into God. I am learning how to pray more effectively or at least pressing into the desperation more and praying for God to move. At times, the lack of faith is evident with a certain downcast spirit. A feeling of defeat settles on me, which is not from God.

The feeling of defeat is none other than the enemy trying to devouring me. The enemy looks for those types of opportunities when the faith is weak and the opportunity to trust God is great. It’s the perfect set up for God, but also the perfect set up for the enemy to cast us into worry.

Speaking of worry, Dr. Tony Evans had a message on how to reverse anxiety. He said that worry is a sin. Worry means we are “torn into” – it shows we are torn between two masters and we cannot serve both. Worry actually shows our lack of faith in our great God. The passage in Matthew 6:25-34 gives us Jesus’ take on worry. The “worry” teaching comes right after the “money” teaching. Jesus told His disciples that life is more than food and clothes. He said to look at nature and see that nature doesn’t worry about the things we wring our hands over. The birds always get the worms. They always find twigs for nests. The lilies of the field receive sunshine and rain. God gives them exactly what they need to survive.

Why do we worry? God knows what we need. If He provides in nature, why don’t we think He will provide for us, who He loves more than the birds and the flowers? Jesus said to seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.

Dr. Evans said that trouble in our lives is our opportunity for God to show up. This is the season to press harder into God’s loving embrace. Dr. Evans said that God doesn’t give us tomorrow’s mercy today. There are new mercies every day. God is faithful in today. We are not guaranteed tomorrow. So for today, this is the day to remember God’s faithfulness. He has been faithful in the past, so why would He change today? He doesn’t. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is never late. Nothing is a surprise either. I may have not seen this season coming, but He did.

I usually do not worry. I usually have more faith. Sometimes though, worry creeps in until I can get a hold of God’s promises. Once I get with God, He will reassure me and I find peace once again. This season will be a defining season for me – it will be a faith building exercise. It’s not the end of my story. God’s pen is still poised to write a greater testimony for me. I can’t wait to see how He will show up and show off. I can’t wait to sit down and write what He is doing. Right now, I am praising Him for the opportunity and for the provision for today. I am rejoicing that God is still on His throne and He still has His eyes on me.

Dr. Evans stated: God is in His rightful place; He is not reacting to us, but we need to react to Him. If God is moving, then we need to move with Him. We need to see the opportunities as they come. It means we keep our faith in Him but also do our part. God has me in the right place to learn a new lesson and I will write the testimony of God’s greatness. However, I wouldn’t mind if the prayer warriors reading this would help me pray about these matters.

In Mark Batterson’s Draw the Circle 40 day prayer challenge he wrote that we need to share our testimonies of how God moves in our lives during our rough spots. We need to share it because others need to hear it. Mark wrote that if God did it for them, He might just do it for me. So testimonies are fuel for our faith. Let’s spark some fire in our souls; watch God work through us and give Him a shout of praise! Amen!

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7

What are you doing?

Several weeks ago, I read a couple of Andy Andrew’s books. I love his writings. He has great insight. He said in one of his earlier books that his mentor, Jones, gave him biographies to read. Jones said biographies give perspective. Andy went on to write in the Traveler’s Gift about what he discovered in those biographies.

In the book The Noticer, Andy writes about Jones. In one of his meetings with Jones, they were sharing a meal on a beach. Jones asked Andy what he was doing right then. Andy responded eating fish and chips on the beach. Jones said that was the problem with people today, they lacked perspective. Andy asked what he meant. Jones replied – “you’re eating fish and chips on a beach; I am eating surf and turf with an ocean view!” It’s all about perspective. We all need a new perspective.

Several years ago, I mentioned to my aunt I would love to quit my job and just write. Guess what I am doing today? I quit my job five years ago; and I write blogs, I write a monthly newsletter on health and wellness, and I wrote two books. I never told my aunt how I could afford to do it because there was no way I saw myself doing it. It was insane to even contemplate such a thing. But somehow, I took that step of faith; and God has sustained me throughout this time. Sometimes I get down and out because I can’t afford to do the things I want to do – like travel or buy things I want instead of things I need. I see the things I lack instead of the things I can do. I have a very flexible schedule. I love to be able to talk with my neighbors in the yard on a sunny afternoon. I go to the gym when I want. I can sleep in when I have had a bad night, etc.

Before I left my job in 2011, I had a dream or a vision. The only thing I remember about this dream was a sliding glass door that I tried to close. The door popped back open when I attempted to close it. When the door popped open, I immediately woke up and was very afraid that someone was in the room with me. But God gave me peace, and I went right back to sleep. So, what was that vision all about? Was it about leaving the job? I hadn’t thought about it for years until this week when Christine Caine spoke about the “moving past the past.” She also spoke about perspective.

In her talk, she said we all have a gate (or door) of opportunity right before us. The past is on one side, and the future is on the other. Many times we are stuck at the gate. The gate is not to keep us in but to let us out. If there was no gate, then it would be a prison. But Jesus gave us a gate. He said He is the gate (John 10:7, 9). He is the one who opens the door of the opportunity to go out and help other prisoners be set free. With freedom comes responsibility. Our current circumstance is not a prison. It’s just a training ground for what we need in the future. The season we’re in currently will pass one day. It’s what we learn in the current circumstances that can bring a blessing from it and benefit someone else.

Christine said (commenting on 2 Kings 7:1-6) there’s power in the question “Why stay here until we die?” We sit at the gate waiting on something to fall from the sky – like the supernatural manna from heaven. The gate is not the end point. God could provide manna from heaven while we wait at the gate, but what if the best thing lay just beyond the door? It may take a risky step or three to get out of the comfortable, complacency where we sit today. When God says move, it’s time to move. We can go forward in the confidence that God goes with us. We might be afraid, but we still need to move forward. The future is out there, not behind our prison walls. It just takes a new perspective to see the possibilities. So, what are you doing? Are you eating fish and chips or surf and turf with an ocean view?

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. You, my brothers (and sisters), were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. Galatians 5: 1-2, 13

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