Monday, April 30, 2012

Dreaming for God, Part 3

“We are God’s own handiwork, His workmanship, we are created in Christ Jesus, born anew, that we may do those good works which God predestined, planned beforehand, for us, taking the paths, that He prepared ahead of time, that we should walk in them, living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live” (Ephesians 2:10).

We are God’s handiwork, His masterpiece. We are, you are, and I am. We are recreated in Christ in order to do the good works God planned for us before He made us! This is why we have been born again. The really good news according to this Scripture is that Apostle Paul says that God has set paths before us ahead of time. Then it says that we should learn to walk in those paths that He has already prepared. Don’t take for granted that you’re doing it. Like the old song says, “You can go your own way,” and many of God’s people are choosing their own way through their limited thinking. It’s like many in the church are looking for the exact same thing as people in the world . . . things such as comfort and security.  We ought to have that part of it pretty well covered, folks!

Oftentimes, we base our thinking and our decisions on the security level. Unwilling to take a risk, we hold on to our comfort.  Shortly after coming off the mission field and arriving in Fayetteville, NC, I discovered that I don’t like to grow too comfortable. When I start to get too comfortable and secure, look out, Emory, things are about to change. Why? Because for me, God doesn’t want me getting so wrapped up in the security of this world that I’m not able to take the risk of obeying Him. Are you willing to risk, or what are you holding on to? Are we saying, “I’ll give this much, but I gotta hold on to this?" When we hold back, we’re showing God that we don’t really trust Him. We find our security in something else, and usually it’s in the same type of thing in which the world finds their security.

Now, we see that we should learn to walk in those paths that the Lord has already prepared, and this will lead to living the good life that God has prearranged for us to live. Wouldn’t you like to live the good life that God has prearranged? If so, then you’re going to have to follow Him and that is always going to bring an element of apparent risk. And there are those who will say, “Well, God doesn’t really want you to forsake it all. He just wants to know that you’re willing.” I’ve heard many Christians over the years say, “He doesn’t really want you to give it up, it’s an attitude of the heart.” He just wants to know that you’re willing to give it up. No, you aren't willing to give it up! And He knows you aren't willing to give it all up because you're not doing it! We may be trying to play God a fool, but He ain’t no fool; He does see the heart.

What we forget is that everything we need to accomplish that which God has created us to accomplish is already ours. It already exists. Everything already exists in either the seen realm or the unseen realm. If it’s in the unseen realm, we simply need faith in order to bring it into the seen realm. Even those things that are coming from the spiritual into the natural realm are truly already in existence. Everything you need to be whom God created you to be is in you. It’s already in you. You have this supernatural DNA by virtue of the new birth. Do you believe that you even received some sort of blood transfusion when you got “borned” again? Do you believe that you have the very life of God flowing through your veins? I do! We don’t just sing, “I Have a River of Life,” we have a river of life flowing in us and through us.

God is looking for dreamers: those who will be bold and bodacious enough to dream for Him. I am finding that dreamers accomplish very significant things. We don’t read of too many in the Scriptures, but we do read of enough to know that God uses dreamers to accomplish great things. You may think I’m crazy, but it’s okay. Here’s what I believe about each person: I believe that every one of us has the potential within to do something so significant that it could change the world.

While I was reading this weekend, I discovered something very interesting. Have you ever heard of XM radio? We didn’t even know what that was fifteen years ago, did we? You know why? It didn’t exist fifteen years ago. XM Radio was founded by a fellow named Noah Samara who is an African. He didn’t have any money. He had a vision to set up a communication network for the people of Africa because their lack of communication was killing them. He had a desire to help other people! Do you know that in a year and a half Noah raised a billion and a half dollars? He started with nothing except a dream. Wow!

My wife and I were watching a TV show the other night, and they made mention of some guy named Jay Sorensen. Did you ever think of stupid little things like those wrappers that keep you from burning your fingers on a cup of coffee? I believe they call them “sleeves.” The guy who invented those is now a multi-, multimillionaire. Then they were talking about turkey bones! One Thanksgiving a family was sitting around the table, and you know the tradition of breaking the wishbone? How many wishbones are in each turkey? ONE! Ken Ahroni said, “That’s not enough.” And it’s NOT if you’ve been around kids or grandkids at the holiday table. There’s only one wishbone, and they each want to break one! So you know what Ken did? He invented a synthetic wishbone that would snap and break, so on Thanksgiving, everyone could have one. Do you know how many wishbones they’re making now? His company is producing thirty thousand wishbones a DAY! I’m just sayin’.

You see, some of those “crazy” ideas you get . . . may only be crazy to you. And until they become a reality to you, they will only remain just a dream or some fantastic thing that’s beyond reach or the ability to come into fruition. It’ll just be a fantasy, and you’ll simply live a life restricted by your own thinking until and unless you venture outside the confines of comfort and security. I’d like to encourage each and every believer who is within the reach of this blog to pay very close attention to the ideas that God is placing within your heart and mind. He’s constantly speaking, may we ever be constantly listening. 

~ pg

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Dreaming for God, Part 2

I started writing a manuscript entitled, “You Think Too Small.” I can see the cover page already. You think too small! I think too small. Our thinking both restricts and determines the life we live. You’re living according to the way you think. You may not like to hear that. It isn’t always that we dream too small; we dream big dreams, but we don’t believe those big things. They’re too fantastic; it was only a dream.

I was inspired by something I saw and heard the other night about Tim Tebow. I’ve always thought highly of him from the time he came in and played his first game as a substitute quarterback for the Florida Gators. He was a substitute, and even then at the end of that first game, they wondered if he could really make it . . . as a starter . . . at Florida! The experts questioned his abilities. I looked at the kid and said, “This guy is incredible; he’s fantastic! What do they mean, ‘Can he make it as a starter’? Not only is he great, he’s inspires everything and everyone around him. Are you kidding me?” He went on to win the Heisman Trophy. Should of, could of, probably would have won it two years in a row, if . . . oh anyway . . . two championships . . . he goes on to the NFL . . . can he really make it in the NFL?

When did Tim Tebow first dream about playing football as a quarterback in the NFL? He was six years old when he started dreaming about that. At five years old, he was nearly killed. He was swept away in rip currents with his brother and had to be saved. Nearly drowned. At six he began to dream. How old is he now? I think twenty-three?

He dreamt for seventeen years. Do you think he’s good enough to be a starter in the NFL? I do. I think he’s great enough to be anything he wants to be. He could do anything in the world that he wanted to do. Now some of us older folks are saying, “All of that energy wasted on youth.” Well, I have news for every one of you. There’s still time to do or be whatever you’re capable of dreaming. I will continue to remind you that Moses didn’t really get going until he was eighty! That’s good news for many of us. Abraham was seventy-five.

I was talking with someone this week about Abraham. They said, “Abraham left everything to follow God.” No he didn’t. My Bible says he took it all with him. That’s something to ponder. He took his possessions, his livestock, and his family. You see, sometimes we think we have to leave every single thing behind to follow Jesus. No, we don’t. Abraham left his land. He left his house. God gave him more houses, just like Jesus has promised you and I if we’re willing to give it up. He’ll give you houses, plural.

But see, we restrict ourselves. Our ambition is, “Man, if we can just live in a house long enough to pay it off.” I don’t know. That’s not my dream. I don’t intend for it to take thirty years to pay it off. That just doesn’t fit into my line of thinking. But if it does yours, then that’s fine, or maybe you’ve already paid yours off. The point is that our thinking determines our lives.

Your attitude is determined by your thinking . . . your behavior . . . the atmosphere in which you live. The environment in which you live is determined by your thinking AND by your ability to dream as well.

Let’s look at Ephesians 2:10, a very familiar passage, but it relates to the message on dreaming.

“We are God’s own handiwork, His workmanship, we are created in Christ Jesus, born anew, that we may do those good works which God predestined, planned beforehand, for us, taking the paths, that He prepared ahead of time, that we should walk in them, living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live.”  

We’ll break down the verse written above in the next blog. In the meantime, start pressing in to God and capture HIS heart and mindset regarding your life and your future!

~ pg

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Dreaming for God, Part 1

A short while ago, I was awakened early having just gotten home from the Dominican Republic. I had never gone to the Caribbean and had my days and nights messed up before. For about two days I had been getting up very early in the morning and sleeping at weird times of the day. It was at precisely 3:33 AM on one of those particular mornings of which I'm referring.  

It is so important for us to pay attention to little things. It was 3:33 AM, and I said, "Lord, you're trying to tell me something in this." And the Lord said, "Jeremiah 33:3." The Lord knows that I'm seeking Him for answers, instruction, and direction. He says in His Word, "Call to me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things that you do not know." To this I said, "God, You're just so good and so timely that You would use something like my alarm clock at 3:33 in the morning, wake me from a sound sleep, and say, "Look at Jeremiah 33:3." That word brought such comfort, and I want to share it with you because a lot of times we miss God in the small things. We overlook Him because we're looking for something so fantastic; we're expecting God to put handwriting on the wall, which He did for Nebuchadnezzar. You are not Nebuchadnezzar! To that you ought to say, "Praise the Lord!" God doesn't always put the handwriting on the wall. We wished He would, but He doesn't. It's not necessary. He communicates with us through His Word and by His Spirit.

While I was in the Dominican recently, I felt like God was speaking a word for us, and I believe this is a word for you. God is looking for dreamers. He wants you to be one. Throughout Scripture and various places, we see examples of God's dreamers and the things they did as a result of what I'm going to call, "Dreaming for God."

We have to be careful not to limit ourselves because we seem to dream and live in black and white. My wife and I are both very black and white individuals. What I am referring to is "absolutes," and we believe that God is a "God of Absolutes." I believe that God doesn't always want us to dream in black and white, He wants us to begin to consider the gray area. This will expand our thinking.

Some people like to say the cliché, "You have to think outside of the box." Whoever said that there was a box? Who established the box? Who put your life in the box? God did not. There are some things that need to be established in our hearts, and I'd like to pose some questions for you to answer. They may sound simple, but I'd really like you to think upon them, meditate, and then answer.

Do you believe that God knew you and called you before He formed you in your mother's womb? Now that was a word for Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:5). A lot of people think that that was only for Jeremiah, that it isn't relative for us today. I say, "Well, I believe it's as relevant for me as it was for Jeremiah because if God knew Him before He formed him in the womb, He must have known the rest of us as well. He says, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you." I knew you. God knew you! God knew me before He formed me in my mother's womb. And before I was born, I was sanctified. What does that mean? I was set apart. I was dedicated unto God. Wow!

I've told you this story before that my mother, a young Catholic girl, got married at the very early age of sixteen, became pregnant the first year of marriage, and in short order became the mother of three children. In fact, some of you know that my brother was born on the day my parents were married . . . exactly one year later. And so four years after that, I was born. They didn't know if I was going to live or die for the first six months of my life as I was very sick. My mother, this little Catholic girl, just lifted me up to God and said, "God if you'll save his life, I'll give him to you." Well, that was kind of a prayer of sanctification. Little did she know, I believe, that the Lord had already sanctified me in her womb. Maybe that's why there were such attacks. I don't know, but the devil loves to attack that which God has sanctified in your life. He loves to attack what God has ordained as holy.

So, I believe that if God knew one before He formed him or her, then it stands to reason that He knew each of us, even before we were conceived in our mother's womb. Therefore, even before He formed us, He must have had a purpose and a plan in mind! He didn't just throw a bunch of stuff into a bag in the mother's womb, mix it up, and wait to see how it would come out! The Scripture says that you and I are His workmanship, His craftsmanship. How good can God make something? When God created the earth, how good was it? When He created man, how good was he? It was good! It was exactly the way that God wanted it to be.

Please join me as we look at "Dreaming for God" for the next several blogs; I believe it will bless your life and expand your thinking to accommodate God's big dreams for your life. Today is a great day to remember that He is ALIVE; He has risen, and He is breathing new life into each one of us every moment. We just need to breathe it in! 

~ pg