In my book, Becoming a Pioneer of Success, I featured some men and women who were considered geniuses. Men such as Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, and the slave who became an inventor, George Washington Carver, just to mention a few. These men became masters of creativity and invention because of their ability to constantly operate in the science of success, as Dale Carnegie coined the phrase, the power of insight.
I believe that we all can be masters of creativity and invention, scientists of success and innovation, if we understand that genius, true genius is found within the power of insight and awareness. How does it work? I will take an example from Becoming a Pioneer of Success, King C. Gillette had lost his home and job due to the Chicago fire. He discovered that there was money to be made through invention. Not just invention, but inventing something that was inexpensive and disposable. He submitted the idea of inventing something disposable to his mind hoping that he could come up with something. While he was shaving one day with a straight razor, an image flashed into his mind of a razor which was disposable, safe, and inexpensive. Voila!, the disposable razor was born from an aha moment.
Every genius idea is the same, from Holiday Inn to Disneyland. It’s an aha, insightful moment. What I should tell you is that we all have them, but very few move on them or give their minds the opportunity to unconsciously search for the solution without conscious understanding. The creative subconscious mind and subconscious mind will go to work looking for the solution if we give them the problem or question. Have you ever gone to bed with a problem on your mind to wake up to the solution? Yes, your creative subconscious and subconscious minds went to work while your conscious mind was rejuvenating and resting.
[For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him, By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones), And [so that you can know and understand] what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength, (Ephesians 1:17-19 AMP)
Insight and revelation never manifest before there is a problem. Insight and revelation are God’s inventive forces to find solutions for problems, without being limited by our conscious understanding and reasoning.
There are three elements that come into play when we start to think through problems. Insight, aha moments, and forward thinking, which we also refer to as reflection and meditation. These are all a part of the awareness stage of revelation. The problem or goal awakens these faculties. God has instilled these qualities within our makeup. Lets look at the insight portion of Eph 1, “[For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him”
The first thing that I would like to point out is the word grant. Grant refers to a specific grace and favor gifted to us. God has gifted us with the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. The important bit of news is that we do not just have wisdom and revelation, but we have wisdom and revelation from the Holy Spirit. 1 Cor 2 says in vs. 9 and 10, ““But as it is written, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him.” But God has revealed those things to us by his Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the deep things of God.” The Holy Spirit works within us to give us wisdom and revelation for solving problems our understanding thinks is impossible. The Holy Spirit is equipped to search everything, including the depth of God. We are equipped to receive everything that the Holy Spirit has searched, even the deep things of God. The most important knowledge that we receive by the wisdom and revelation of the Holy Spirit is the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Why Jesus? If we know Jesus, we will also know the Father. If we know the Father, we will know and understand the creator and His will for our lives. We will walk in a level of innovation only known by God Himself.
The mind works on three conscious levels; conscious mind, subconscious mind and creative subconscious mind. Revelation starts at the sub levels of the mind. Most of our wisdom and revelation would come from the creative subconscious mind. It is the part of the mind that goes to work on any problem that we give it, even as we are sleeping. The scripture refers to this faculty in the following passage, “By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones),”.
The best way to activate the creative subconscious is to give it something to work with in the form of a problem and a goal, then pray about it, and sleep on it. Make sure that you keep something near your bed to record solutions. New thoughts will stream in, leaving you with insights, aha revelations, and forward thinking.
Insight becomes fuel for action. Insight empowers us to achieve things that most people refuse to believe would be possible. Eph 1, also gives us the level of power and authority that we can expect from the Holy Spirit’s involvement with our subconscious and creative subconsious minds. “And [so that you can know and understand] what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength,” When I read this portion of scripture I get an overwhelming sense of potential. We often see someone’s insight in the form of innovation. Innovation is the result of the action fueled by inspiration. Once you and I have a solution we must get moving on it.
Eph 1 says, “as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength.” God’s mighty strength must bring to pass dynamic results. If we have the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation we will have insight. If we have insight from God then it will generate action. If we have the fuel of innovation then we will take actions that produce results. Results are a by-product of action. Chop the insight into small achievable goals and go for it. Stack up the wins and celebrate the joys of insight.
Action will develop into velocity and momentum. If you are not satisfied with your level of momentum, I suggest that you spend time reflecting or meditating on a specific issue. Give it to your mind and let your creative subconscious go to work on it with the help of the Holy Spirit; trusting that God has an answer directly from His mind for you. The mind of Christ has been given to you if you are a believer. Tap in and trust God for insight, aha moments, and things to reflect and meditate on, then get moving on it!
There is a story in the bible of a young prophet who was instructed by God to go on a journey to deliver the word of The Lord. Part of God’s instruction to the young prophet was that he couldn’t eat, drink, sleep, or even go the same way that he had been. The prophet was told to focus, concentrate on the task at hand without getting distracted. The definition of concentrate is: to move directly toward one point. In order to move forward towards just one point you and I must set our focus and standards in order to reach that specified objective.
The young prophet was on his way to Bethel when an older prophet heard about the young prophet and invited him to return back to his home and be refreshed. The young prophet remembered the direction of The Lord and refused to return to the old prophet’s house. The older prophet then speaks the following statement:
1 Kings 13
18 And he said to him, “I also am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the LORD, saying, ‘Bring him back with you into your house that he may eat bread and drink water.’” But he lied to him.
19 So he went back with him and ate bread in his house and drank water.
Both prophets were at the dinner table eating when the word of The Lord came to the older prophet saying,
1 Kings 13
21 And he cried to the man of God who came from Judah, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Because you have disobeyed the word of the LORD and have not kept the command that the LORD your God commanded you,
22 but have come back and have eaten bread and drunk water in the place of which he said to you, “Eat no bread and drink no water,” your body shall not come to the tomb of your fathers.’”
23 And after he had eaten bread and drunk, he saddled the donkey for the prophet whom he had brought back.
24 And as he went away a lion met him on the road and killed him. And his body was thrown in the road, and the donkey stood beside it; the lion also stood beside the body.
I have always been completely stumped by the story. You would think that the older prophet would be the one who was eaten up by lions because he lied about an angel of The Lord giving him the word of The Lord. No, it was the young prophet who knew without a shadow of a doubt God’s instruction and standard but lost his focus and concentration. The young prophet had only one thing to focus on and got distracted by the sensibility of someone else’s standards.
The greatest challenges in life come from the enemy trying to distract your concentration. You and I are not a threat until we gain our focus and concentration. The devil will even send an angel of light to claim that they are sent by God to comfort or help, while they challenge you to lower your standards.
Concentration is very important to God. In the garden God told Adam and Eve what they were to focus on and what they should not focus on. They had one destination in mind. Blessing! When the enemy came with a different focus such as, God hasn’t told you everything, they should have recognized that it was God’s set concentration for them. The concentration of the blessed is not what they are missing or what they have been told, but the blessed concentrate on good and not evil. They have one destination to move towards; good things are ahead as long as I stay focused on the one thing that God told me. God doesn’t have Attention Deficit Disorder, but the enemy would want us all to think so.
God gave Israel the Torah and Tanakh and He gave us, as Christians, the Bible including the New Covenant to help us concentrate on the way of success. Read Joshua 1:6-9.
6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them.
7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.
8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Concentration is not a gift as much as it is a discipline. The bible tells us to set our minds. If we don’t purposefully set our minds, we maintain with ease our default mindset. God told the children of Israel how to keep their concentration in the midst of a undisciplined and distracted world. This post modern society has spent the last 20 years labeling a generation as ADHD or ADD, when we should instead teach God’s ways of concentration. Lets take a look at the hidden keys of success through concentration found in Joshua.
Be Strong and Courageous.
I must make a special note on the profession of the statement be strong and courageous. It was said three times, each with even more feeling and requires from us more determination. Be “strong and courageous” in vs. 6 moves to “be strong and very courageous” in vs. 7. This shows us that it doesn’t get easier, but gets more and more challenging to stay focused as you begin to lock into the rhythm. We have seen this pattern at the beginning of the year, as we set new focus and standards in the form of a New Years resolution. We say that we have resolved to do something, but instead we have simply wished that something would change. The final “be strong and courageous” is strict and commanded. At first it seems like a good idea, then it’s a tough choice that must be made and then it’s the commandment of The Lord. The concentration is on being strong and courageous only, but in order to do that you must add a few other ingredients, such as the following list.
Be careful to do the word.
This be careful is not as in be afraid, but as in carrying something fragile, important, and valuable. Of course the word is not breakable, but the covenant that it speaks of is. It’s cause and effect, you pay attention to the word and its covenant will pay attention to you. As we carefully search the word, things jump out at us that we have never seen before. Why? It’s because we have awakened the gift of awareness and observation factor within our brain. Science calls this part of your brain Reticular Activating System (RAS). This system kicks in once a goal or focus is set. It’s design is to remove from your attention any information that is not useful to the goal or focus. God set His people’s goal to focus on being strong and courageous through carefully searching the scriptures for anything that pertained to life and Godliness. This would give the children of Israel the upper hand on the snake for generations to come. If they kept their nose in the word, the word would isolate the use of the RAS to things that were pertinent to the covenant. If it didn’t benefit the covenant blessing, then it should be easily resisted because of the strength and courage possessed.
Don’t turn to the right or the left that you may have good success wherever.
Once you have a clearly defined direction you must not turn off at the right road. Success is a predetermined destination or state. This is only accomplished through keeping the destination or state of mind in focus. The moment the focus is blurry something is wrong and focus must be regained, otherwise a different destination will override the previous determined level of success. Look at the same thing day and night. Keeping looking at the same focal point even if distractions arise. Even thought a prophet says that an angel has a shown up telling him a new route, if that route is not in accordance with your first destination then you shouldn’t change your course until the commander and chief has given new instruction Himself.
The key to never turning to the left or the right is to consistently reflect. I like looking up the definition of words. The definition of reflection is the act of casting back an image, as with a mirror, or the state of being so reflected. We must cast back to look at the original objective and intent in order to stay the course. When you forget what you are doing and why you are doing it, then you will lose heart for what you’re called to do. In success coaching a person is encouraged to chart their course the night before. Set your to-do list and goals the night before. Another strong course of action would be to spend time reflecting on how you managed the current day and make sure that you have kept the agenda. If not, each day will simply be another opportunity for variance. Don’t neglect the gift of reflection. The more you look at the image, the more you will become that image.
Keep the word in your mouth by meditating on it day and night so that you are careful to do, make your way prosperous and have good success.
That objective is a mouth full of goodness. Let’s be very clear here. God said, “keep my words in your mouth”. Why? Why not just read them and keep them in your mind? Why in your mouth? I guess the key is found in the word “meditate” which in the Hebrew vocabulary means to murmur and to ponder. Speak and think on God’s words. The way that God has chosen to apply his blessing and goodness is through words. There is nothing that has ever been made which didn’t come through God’s words. By writing His words down and allowing us to muse on them, God has granted us the power of created speech. He gave us the ability to speak in the garden, but now we also have His ways. We can now create the future that we have always wanted. We can and will make our way prosperous and experience good success through speaking and meditating on God’s words. In our post modern society words are simply to share information, but in the kingdom of God words are for impartation and shaping your world and destiny.
Paul encouraged Timothy to meditate on the prophetic words so that everyone could see how he profited in life.
Don’t be afraid nor be dismayed, God is with you wherever.
The last part of keeping your original consideration is to never allow fear to get a place. After God commanded Israel to be strong, He told them not to be afraid or dismayed. These are two different levels of fear. To be afraid is to have the feeling of fear. To be dismayed means to break down courage completely. Now I can see the pattern of the enemy’s attack. God has given the key to overcoming the enemy, to making a prosperous way, and having good success wherever you go. It’s to focus on being strong and very courageous through musing on and meditation in the word. This will keep you and me from being afraid and becoming dismayed. The devil’s strategy will always be fear and breakdown of your courage. As you decide to stay strong you will stop the enemy’s tactic of making you afraid. As you decide to stay very courageous you will destroy any chance of becoming dismayed. Isn’t this what The Lord has commanded us in Joshua 1? Lets protect our strength and courage as if it’s a commandment. Then we will make our way prosperous and experience good success.
Without hope it is impossible to dream. Without hope there is no value for life. Hope should be something that we know how to put on like a coat anytime we need it. We should know how to keep it on no matter what the circumstances. God placed two trees in the garden. One was called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the other the tree of life. It’s very interesting to think about these trees; because reality, reason, and comparison are products of the knowledge of good and evil. There is no greater thief of hope than reality, reason, and comparison; whereas the re-spawning of desire through hope is the tree of life. The tree of life is associated to hope in Proverbs 13:12, “Hope put off makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” When you and I are able to put our hope back on, then we will have access to the tree of life. The tree of life was given to mankind by God to live in continual and everlasting life. According to Proverbs 13, hope is something that we can put off. If that is the case, we then should be able to put it on just as easily as putting on a coat.
How is that? The same way we put on a shirt, suit, or coat! Before you and I put on our clothes we get a mental picture of what we desire to wear at the moment. We then go to the closet and take out what we desire to be dressed with today. Dressing ourselves always involves seeing the unseen. Have you ever thought, “I am going to wear that red dress or I am going to wear that blue shirt” and then you go to your closet to find that the dress or shirt is missing? The excitement of being absolutely sure of what you are planning on wearing wasn’t in the place that you imagined. You are now puzzled! You say to yourself “where is that dress?” Or “where is that shirt?” You start looking everywhere for it. Why? Because your imagination stimulated an emotional desire to wear that exact item. That is how hope works. Rom 8:24 says, “For we are saved by hope. But hope that is seen is not hope; for what anyone sees, why does he also hope for it? 25 But if we hope for that which we do not see, then we wait for it with patience. Hope helps you and me tap into the unseen through faith. We must have hope that we can be saved from a circumstance. We must then be able to see what it looks like and feels like to be saved. Finally we must wait patiently for the salvation that we are hoping for to save us.
Hope is the key to any salvation. Everyone is saved through hope. If you were somehow stuck on a life raft in the Pacific Ocean, hope is what kicks in to help you come up with ideas of how you might be saved. Hope will give you creative ideas that will help you think of ways to survive. If hope leaves then your imagination will feed you ways that you could die. Hope should never be based upon what is possible or easy. Hope is from God and therefore should be based upon the invisible. The scientist whose hope is to prove God wrong is using his or her God-given ability to hope in what they do not see: finding the missing link, understanding the first element that created the Big Bang, just to prove that what they do not see is not to be seen. I know! It’s an idiotic thought. The search for the unseen is the tree of life. A curious creator has made us and we are his very image of curiosity and creativity. Always seeking something greater, better, bigger, is the product of hope. Mankind kills because they can get what they want without hope and patience. Hope tries to spark value in mankind but mankind only wants it now and refuses the best friend of hope, which is patience. Hope and patience partner up to guarantee that life will stay exciting with new uncharted courses and discoveries. Seeing what you have been hoping for only releases you to hope again for something new. Hope that is seen is not hope at all. Don’t lose the joy of the journey just to see the destination.
Read this next scripture several times before you continue to read on.
Romans 15:13 And may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
We have fallen so in love with having that we miss what God is trying to fill us up with. The God of hope is trying to fill us up with joy and peace through the process of believing. I have always believed that having is where my joy and peace was going to come from. But believing is where real joy and peace come from because we are no longing believing in circumstances, but believing in the God of hope. God doesn’t even want us to trust in our own ability to hope. The God of hope has sent His Spirit of hope into us so that we have an abundance of hope through the power of the Holy Spirit and not through the power of having. The Holy Spirit sheds His hope and faith abroad in our hearts through love. The Holy Spirit assures us that The Lord Jesus has come to give us life and that life is the most abounding life that mankind could ever live. Look at this word abounding with me from the Greek text, Abound: περισσεύω per-is-syoo’-o from 4053; to superabound (in quantity or quality), be in excess, be superfluous; also (transitively) to cause to superabound or excel:–(make, more) abound, (have, have more) abundance (be more) abundant, be the better, enough and to spare, exceed, excel, increase, be left, redound, remain (over and above). That’s amazing right! You should read every one of those with hope following. Describe the kind of hope you are going to live in through the help of the Holy Spirit. Super-abounding hope! My favorite would have to be “superfluous hope!” Yahoo!
The hope that we are to walk in has nothing to do with this earth. It’s other-worldly! It’s from the unseen, originating in the throne room itself from the God of hope Himself, accessible through Jesus Himself and delivered to us through the Holy Spirit Himself. If we do as Heb 6:
19 instructs us, “which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters into that within the veil,”
We will never be limited by the circumstances of this world. Our hope will be high above everything that this world has to offer and we will keep our hope in eternity. Anchor your soul, thoughts, feelings, and emotions in heaven at the feet of God, trusting that all of your answers come from the Father of Lights from whom all good things come. This will keep us always hoping in a better day and for changed circumstance.
If you and I live in this way, people will want to know how we could be so cool and collected in the face of a famine, like Abraham, or so relaxed like Daniel in the den with lions. We must be ready to answer where our hope comes from. We find this thought in, 1 Peter 3:15 but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to everyone who asks you a reason of the hope in you, with meekness and fear;. When you and I have a good answer to why we are not freaking out when everyone else is, we sanctify The Lord in our hearts and in the hearts of those who hear our report. Meditate on Psalms 27:14 Hope in the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall make your heart strong; yea, hope in the LORD. When problems arise, you and I must immediately stop thinking about our problems and start thinking about God, His promise, and where he has helped in the past. Hopelessness is usually the product of forgetting how God has been good to us already. Hopelessness and ungratefulness function together as partners.
Lam 3:16 He also broke my teeth with gravel; He has covered me in the ashes. 17 And You cast off my soul from peace; I have forgotten blessedness. 18 And I said, My strength and my hope from the LORD are gone. 19 Remember my affliction and my wandering, as wormwood and bitterness. 20 My soul vividly remembers and bows down on me. 21 I recall this to my mind; therefore I hope. 22 It is by the LORD’s kindnesses that we are not destroyed, because His mercies never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. 24 The LORD is my portion, says my soul; therefore I will hope in Him. 25 The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. 26 It is good that one should hope for the salvation of the LORD, even in silence.
It wasn’t until the writer vividly remembered the goodness of the Lord that he humbled himself. Pride keeps us looking to what we don’t have, whereas humility causes us to be thankful for what we do have. His recall of the good things made hope return. Use your imagination to vividly remember the good things and hope will always follow good thoughts. The Lord is your hope and salvation, wait for Him. Wait for Him in rejoicing or wait for Him in silence, He will never forsake you, He will arise from His place and save you.
“Sometimes it is harder to deprive oneself of a pain than of a pleasure.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night US novelist (1896 – 1940)
Everybody experiences pain; it is unavoidable. Pain is a signal that something needs attention. Whenever we feel pain we automatically give attention to the area of pain to try to relieve it. When I was young, I dislocated my wrist. As soon as I felt the pain I immediately drew it close to my heart. I have noticed that reaction many times from knee injuries to shoulder injuries. There is a reaction to pull the limb close and inward towards the heart.
Emotional pain in the same manner causes us to look inward to figure out what is wrong. The purpose of pain is to draw needed attention to a problem. Pain should drive us to a solution, not merely to the knowledge of the fact that there is pain. If the pain is severe enough it will cause attention to the pain, create a desire to be rid of the pain, and activate our imagination to look for a solution. Pain has the ability to capture a person’s attention immediately, causing an interruption of the activity, pattern, system or process, which is at hand. Often pain is introduced through an unplanned event and it has the effect of throwing us into a crisis or some form of turmoil. Instead we should allow pain to bring about a healthy shift. Let pain sponsor change. Ask yourself a simple question. “What will happen if I don’t change this situation?” You know that pain is doing its job when staying in your present state is more painful than making a change.
Rabbi Gans quotes from Radak in his book Success, “the word of Hashem is upright, and all His deeds are with faith” (Tehillim 33:4) (which is Ps 33:4). They [people] praise the bad with joy and delight, as well as the good, because they perceive that bad as a good.” Rabbi Gans follows the quote with this, “Look for the good in everything. When it rains, it is not enough to stand by idly and watch; find the benefit in each and every drop. Similarly, when walking down the street, do not go untouched by the fresh air, the sight of a clear blue sky, the sound of children laughing and birds chirping: rather, fill your lungs and enjoy the fresh air, and open your eyes and ears to the scintillating sights and sounds that surround you.” It’s pretty easy to discover the good in a convenient and desirable moment or event. The precious things in life are not found in those moments only, but we must be able to find the blessing in the uncomfortable, mundane, and unfortunate circumstances.
The power of invention is discovered when problems arise. In my book, Becoming a Pioneer of Success, I reveal how to unleash the power of invention and problem solving in difficult times. I look at how some of the greatest achievements that have ever been discovered came from problems that needed a solution. It is the very power of creation. We have been made in the image and likeness of God. God looks at the problem and immediately knows how to fix it. We have that very same DNA.
Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may become sons of your Father in Heaven. For He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
In life there is a contrast between life and death, light and dark, love and hate. Love is contrasted by enemies and persecution. The great level of love that you possess will determine the level of enemies and persecution that you experience. If you and I are to become sons of God, we must be able to love at a greater level than our level of pain. God has never been in pain, God has never been in lack, God has never been in want. The more you and I handle our enemies, persecution, darkness, and pain the way that God would handle them, the more we become like Him. Enemies, pain, persecution, worthlessness, and darkness are allowed to perform a greater glory in us. (Rom 8:18-19) “So that you become sons of your Father in Heaven”, so that you will function from above in heavenly standards instead of reacting to earthly, lower level enemies, pain, darkness, etc. None of these things are in heaven. My Father in heaven never abides in these things.
God is not a respecter of persons. When we realize that we will stop trying to figure why our lives may seem more difficult than others. God has a way of making good come out of every circumstance. Divine providence would force us to understand that everything thing will work out for the good because God has set a providential reevaluation, opportunity, grace, or favor that will take this painful circumstance and mold something good from it.
“For He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” The Father is completely in control. He makes His sun rise…. He sends His rain… This is a revelation of how God deals with the good and the evil, the enemies and the persecution. We are being given permission to grow into the ability of operating in the same love that our Father who is in heaven operates in from challenges, trials, and tribulations. Love operates without fear, so it never allows anything to control it. Love makes things happen and has the ability to send things. Love binds and looses. Love operates above the circumstances, just as our Father who causes the sun to rise and the rain to fall. There are no good days and bad days. There are only days to love someone. When we love, we make people into what God has for them to become. When we love, we send people into their destiny. When we know that the Father in heaven loves us we realize that the sun and the rain both have benefits because God allows them.
1 Tim 2:3 Therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No one who wars tangles with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who chose him to be a soldier.
A soldier can endure what other people fold under. We must approach life as a soldier. Having any other mindset will cause us to become entangled by the things that we must walk through. God is not pleased if we get caught up with the pains, problems, or other affairs of this world. God chose us to overcome the world. God has empowered us to overcome the world. God is pleased when we have overcoming faith. The Greek word for pleased in verse 4 means to “be agreeable with”. A soldier must live in a way that the commander is in agreement with. No commander is in agreement with a soldier stepping out of rank. Never allow the cares of this world to cause you to step out of rank.
James 5:11 Behold, we count blessed those who endure. You have heard of the patience of Job, and you have seen the end of the Lord, that the Lord is full of pity and of tender mercy.
Blessed are those who endure. In the world enduring through something is painful. In the kingdom of God endurance is a blessing. The Greek word for blessed is also translated to beatify, pronounce or esteem fortunate, and counted happy. No matter what you and I may believe, the New Testament interpretation of the book of Job is that Job was a blessed man whose end would surely turn out for the good. As it is said in Romans 8, all things work together for the good of those who love God and who are called according to His purpose. We often misunderstand the process of the blessing. Abraham was sent to a famine because he was blessed. Joseph was still happy in the pit and prison because he was blessed. Eutychus fell out of the window while Paul was preaching and was taken up alive. Eutychus means the fortunate, which is also a description of being blessed. The blessed may fall, but they get back up. If the blessing is on your life, no matter what happens you land on your feet. “You have heard of the patience of Job, and you have seen the end of the Lord, that the Lord is full of pity and of tender mercy.” Consider the understanding of this amazing scripture. Job had patience and trust in God, knowing that God would never allow an evil end to trump the revelation that He is a good God. How can we trust that what we are going through is going to turn around for the better if we have faith and patience? Because The Lord is more gracious and tender in mercy than the devil is evil. The Lord is more merciful and gracious than the world is cruel. That’s why the one who can stay under the wings of the almighty will not be afraid because he can trust in The Lord, that The Lord is faithful and true.
I Peter 2:20 For what glory is it if you patiently endure while sinning and being buffeted? But if you suffer while doing good, and patiently endure, this is a grace from God.
Grace is often referenced when there is recognized sin. We must keep in mind that there are many graces given to man, of which the grace to cover sin after salvation is a low level use of grace. Grace is for those who endure. Grace is for those who desire to walk in a stature greater than their own. Grace is for those who would give up and quit to find their nerve again and continue. Grace is not for those who willfully sin and then call on the name of grace. Grace is for the one who is experiencing evil while they are doing good. In doing good they suffer some kind of trial, tribulation, or persecution, yet never give themselves to these circumstances. They are the ones who truly lean into the grace of God, which empowers and emboldens us to stay longer than expected, live longer than expected, run faster than expected, and rise higher than expected. The grace of God is for those who want to endure with patience as they wait for a good God. This comes from recognizing that nothing that we experience is without a reward from God.
Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us-ward.
Our endurance is based upon what we make up in our mind to be reasonable or rewarding. Through reason and reward we base our actions, endurance, and stick-ability. The greatest reward in life in not money, but it is recognition. There is a survey that shows that people would rather receive an award and recognition than get a raise. To be recognized for a great accomplishment is very rewarding to the world. In the world people pursue glory and fame to be important. In the kingdom of God glory only comes from God. In the kingdom of God we go from glory to glory by enduring through things that would make a normal person quit. Glory belongs to those who endure. Every moment that you endure through something while trusting in The Lord, the greater manifestation of glory is found in you. Whenever enduring through something you and I must not allow the pain to be equal or greater than that reward of glory. The glory of God must be our ultimate aim in life. The only way to do this is to be rooted and grounded in love.
1 Cor 13:4 Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not its own, is not provoked, taketh not account of evil; 6 rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth; 7 beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Love is the most powerful force in the universe. Endurance is love in action. When we understand that God loves us we can endure all things because He is our great reward, our shield and buckler. When we love God, we wait patiently, against all odds for Him to make all things to work together for our good. Love is a belief, an emotion, a force, a person; the person of Jesus Christ. Love is massive! Love is invincible! Love is strong! Love makes us stay longer than what’s normal. Love never quits! Love endures all things!
In order to withdraw the precious from the worthless, you will have to remove all of the previous references. Any references of defeat or failure, which have not been properly processed, will leave opportunity for impure thought to cloud your creativity and innovation. The definition of unsubstantiated is “not substantiated; unproved or unverified.” Most thoughts are grounded in a belief of what we call truth. When something is substantiated, we have truth to anchor our belief into. It’s usually our rationalization with previous references of people, places, and things. The strongest form of faith is anchored into the unseen, the unsubstantiated, the spiritual truth. Anchored into the hope to come, instead of being anchored into a reference of what has happened. The Hebrew mind should anchor into the prophetic rather than the testimony of what has happened. Our faith should be linked to faith in God. Our encouragement should be linked to God’s faithfulness in times past. Yet our trust is substantiated in the realization that He is ultimately faithful, truthful, and trustworthy.
In every circumstance there is something pure; but the state of purity must be achieved before the pureness of the precious can been clearly seen in the worthless.
Impurity will corrupt our minds and our consciences according to Titus. But in Romans 8:28, we read that peace of mind and a good conscience are available as we come into the assurance that something good is coming and we understand that God loves us and that we are called according to His purpose. If God has called me to achieve something in His name, through His power, and for His glory, then He would not allow something negative to enter into my life without a plan of escape and ultimate victory.
The love of God and the call of God give us strength to overcome everything that could rise against us. The love and mandate of God are vast enough to produce large strength in our hearts and souls. Proverbs 24:10, If you faint in the day of trial, your strength is small. KJV Trials are something that we cannot avoid. In this world you shall have tribulation… but how we deal with tribulation is another matter. If we faint in the day of trial, it is because we lack the strength to make it through the hardship. The goal is not simply to make it through the trial but to learn how to be better off once it is over. Without strength we will not be able to maximize any opportunities that are hidden amidst the adversity. Staying positive in the midst of it will enable you to overcome every trial. John 16: 33 I have spoken these things to you so that you might have peace in Me. In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.
We cannot stop tribulations and trials, but we can overcome all trials through good cheer. The Greek word for good cheer is courage. Trials and tribulations will challenge your courage. But you and I must broaden our strength in order to make it out of the affliction and gain something valuable through the process. Just the way that Proverbs 24:10 is written gives me the idea that adversity is a normal part of life, but fainting within the trial is not. The Hebrew word used in Proverbs 24:10 for strength is koach ko’-akh from an unused root meaning to be firm; vigor, literally (force, in a good or a bad sense) or figuratively (capacity, means, produce); also (from its hardiness) a large lizard: -ability, able, chameleon, force, fruits, might, power(-ful), strength, substance, wealth. I found the meaning of this word to be exciting. As I thought through each aspect I stopped at chameleon. I thought to myself, “Do I want to become a chameleon during my trial? What could be the benefit of conformity?” A chameleon doesn’t really conform to its environment but it has the ability to blend into its surroundings so that it can avoid the flight reflex that is a form of stress. It can also keep its position, if there is an enemy lurking. The power of not having to freak out is very powerful in and of itself. The chameleon shifts into a pattern that will fit its current situation until it is ready to shift back to its normal pattern. The situation doesn’t change the chameleon long-term; his defense mechanism is his ability to change patterns to seemingly blend in until things have returned to normal. I am sure that you have experienced moments of freaking out because of unforeseen and uncontrollable circumstances. This chameleon-like ability allows us to maintain peace until we have the wisdom necessary to escape danger.
When my wife and I were planning our marriage we had very little money. If you have ever planned a wedding you know that everything comes down at some level to, can we afford it? Due to my inability to conform to the circumstance and believe that there was an answer for everything that needed to happen; I would just lose it. My breakdown sounded like this, “We can’t get married, we can’t afford it, we don’t have enough money!“ I was not the chameleon of the family. My wife was. She would try to calm me down and assure me that everything was going to be ok. But I wasn’t interested in being calmed down. I just continued, “We are just starting a new itinerate ministry and we don’t have any speaking engagements!” Nothing that she did worked until she prayed and asked God how to help me. The wisdom of God was for her to agree with me. The next time I was having a breakdown she simply began to agree with me. I would say, “we don’t have enough money to get married!” and she would say, “you’re right we don’t have enough money to get married, lets call it off!” Then I would all of a sudden become the savior and declare, “ No, we will work it out! I will get the money some how.” My wife was the cool, calm, collected chameleon.
The bible gives us a key understanding of how God strengthens us. God is able to give us joy no matter what the circumstance. This reference is found in Nehemiah 8:10, Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Sorrow can be overcome by maintaining good cheer and a joyful heart.
I have often heard people ask the question, “Why am I going through this?” or “why has this happened to me?” There are many reasons why certain things are allowed to happen. Yet they all should produce in us tried, tested, and proven faith. I Peter1: 7 encourages us that troubles are to test our faith and to prove its sincerity and value. “The purpose of these troubles is to test your faith as fire tests how genuine gold is. Your faith is more precious than gold, and by passing the test, it gives praise, glory, and honor to God. This will happen when Jesus Christ appears again. (God’s word) This scripture lets me know that God gets glory from how I walk through trials and that God doesn’t necessarily get glory from saving us from unfortunate circumstances. My wife recently heard in her spirit, “people complain about things that are designed to save them.” I have done this many times. I am in a hurry to an appointment, but I am stopped at every red light. The traffic is moving slowly. A train comes just at the wrong time. As I look at my clock, I realize that I am now late. But further down the road I notice red, yellow, and blue lights flashing. Police officers have just arrived at the scene of an accident. If I had been just a few minutes earlier I could have been involved in that accident. Sometimes God is slowing us down in order to save us from something.
7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. 1 Peter 5:7-9
One of the mandates of being a Christian is to live with other people’s afflictions and victories in mind. I can withstand what others are withstanding and vice versa. Fight to win because others are counting on it. Your victory will become the substantiation of their victory. One of the dynamics that we must reintroduce into the body of Christ is the teaching that other people’s faith displayed through tough times actually builds faith in those who are watching.
7 Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith:I Thessalonians 3:7
The development and display of your faith is precious to brothers and sisters around the world who are dealing with problems similar to yours. Never under estimate the power of your faith in the life of others. Be someone’s hope, someone’s encouragement, someone’s reason not to quit because they find comfort from your persistence.
Jer 15:18-19 18 Why has my pain been perpetual and my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? Will You indeed be to me like a deceptive stream with water that is unreliable?19 Therefore, thus says the LORD,” If you return, then I will restore you – before Me you will stand; And if you extract the precious from the worthless, you will become My spokesman. They for their part may turn to you, but as for you, you must not turn to them. NASU
There is an old saying beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Another saying is one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Some business acquisitions happen because sometimes one man’s worthless situation is another man’s profitability. The word worthless is an adjective that means lacking worth; of no use or value or low; despicable.
Over the last few decades recycling has become a way of life. No longer is it an option. In communities all around the world people are separating their trash in order to find another use for it or to make the same product over and over again. Recently as I was watching one of my favorite television shows on the BBC, a show called the Dragons Den, there was an inspiring entrepreneur who created furniture from what others would call trash. Discarded shopping carts became chairs and other items also became furniture.
We have progressed as a society that has learned to make something of the worthless or at least obey the rules of recycling in some cases.
Moments and circumstances are also recyclable. It doesn’t matter if these moments are past, present or future. All moments in time and space are real estate, which need to be used. Napoleon Hill has often said, “in every problem there is also an equivalent seed of benefit”. It is vitally important to see beyond the problems and circumstance in order to find that certain seed that will generate a benefit that exceeds or equals the past or current pain.
Pain is unavoidable, so we might as well get all that we can out of the situation. Millions of dollars are made each year, month, even day by people who can look past the problem to see the solution. Acquisitions and mergers are solutions to problems.
Everything can be recycled. I grew up without the knowledge of who my biological father is. To this day I still don’t know who he is. Self-pity could have consumed me and caused this fact to damage my future. Instead I simply learned to thank God that I was born and that I have a chance to make something of what many would call a problem, mistake, or even an accident. In my mind I realized that everything happens for a reason. I chose to make sure that I was the best father that I could be. I made up my mind to do life with my kids. As I am writing this chapter I am on a plane on a Monday morning with my wife, two sons, and daughter headed to California to preach faith, work with a local church staff to ramp up for their next level, and finish the week coaching a meeting with a CEO and his team. Our family values are being together and doing life together so every year our children choose to be home schooled in order for them to be able accompany me on the work that I do. I made a decision to see my children every day of their lives as they are growing and maturing. I don’t want them to miss their father and I don’t want to miss them. I am not talking about just being absent. I am talking about me missing them grow up, because I am too busy with life. Well, everyone does not share this conviction and I don’t want to force my conviction on anyone. My conviction comes from a personal pain that I needed to give a reason to. I love it! I get to raise my kids even though my chosen vocation demands that I travel.
I believe that because I didn’t have the benefits of having a father around I had to learn to push just a little bit harder. I had to start everything from scratch; I had to learn many things on my own. When your life starts as a problem you learn that problems do not define you.
Problems are opportunities in disguise. If you look deeply into the eyes of the problem you will de-mask it and reveal its real face. Inside of each mess there is a message, inside each test there is a testimony. Inside each day there is a problem and if you are brave enough to look that problem dead in the eye you will discover your dream. There lies a huge amount of energy within each problem. It will either become worry and fear or boldness and power.
The condition of your heart determines the condition of your sight according to Titus 1:15, To the pure all things are pure. But to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure, but even their mind and conscience is defiled. How does a person become defiled and unbelieving? What are signs that you may be defiled and unbelieving? It is important that we understand how a person can become defiled and unbelieving, the effects of being defiled and unbelieving, and how to be free from living as a defiled and unbelieving person. Not only does the defiled and unbelieving person not see the pure when things are pure, but they would not be able to see the pure in the midst of any circumstances. To the pure all things are pure. But to the defiled and unbelieving even their mind and conscience is defiled.
I believe that fear is defiling, worry is defiling, and doubt is defiling. To defile something means to make it impure. Intelligence has a huge part in success. If a person lacks the aptitude to carry out a specific task then they will not succeed in that given task. The way we think is based upon our intelligence and aptitude. A person who has been hurt in the past may develop a victim’s mentality, which may affect the way they think regarding their performance on a team.
Unprocessed pain will become punishment, intellectually pain will become a victim mindset, and emotionally pain will develop a seared conscience and become blind to our faults.
Computers need to be de-fragged sometimes. This is also true with our minds. The ability to think will be limited because our current and future process capacity is based upon past references.
Our conscience enables us to know when we are wrong and when we are not thinking right about the pain. If we never know that we are wrong then we will never know when to ask for forgiveness or possibly even receive forgiveness. The meaning for conscience: “possessing the faculty of knowing one’s own thoughts or mental operations.” This definition helps me understand why having a clear conscience is so important. The bible makes it clear that the blood of Jesus has cleaned our conscience. (Heb. 9:14) We have been set free from sin consciousness. We have been made clean. We have been made new. (Heb. 10:2)
This blog is about the ‘courage to stand out’. The power of God in our lives must cause us to stand out in the crowd. The followers of Jesus were recognized because they developed the characteristics of Jesus the more time they spent with Him.
God wants you and me to live a full and rewarding life. In order for us to do this we must have courage. Nothing in life comes easy. Everything that we desire comes with effort, energy, and most of all courage. It is easy to fit in. Yet fitting in doesn’t pay high dividends. Jesus couldn’t fit in because of His belief system. The disciples couldn’t fit in because of Jesus’ belief system. We can’t fit in because of Jesus’ belief system.
Acts4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.
The disciples grew more and more bold, the more time they spent with Jesus. The more time that they devoted to Jesus, the more their belief developed into the same cause that possessed Jesus.
As Christians we have the responsibility to live courageously. One thing that people should notice about you and me is our courage. I fear that something has been lost in our modern Christianity. It seems that we are not nearly as bold as the early disciples of Christ. How can I say this? It is because people see Christianity as a religion for weaklings and/or socialization. Nowadays people don’t notice our boldness. Some refer to us as “freaks” or “out of touch conservatives”. I would say that the main thing that is missing in our modern Christianity is boldness and courage. The courage to stand out, the courage to live boldly for Christ, or the courage to be all that God has called us to be.
The lack of courage in a Christian is from lacking a belief system, and the lack of a strong belief system stems from the lack of intimacy with Christ. It seems that the early church majored on intimacy while the western church is beginning to major on strategy. Of course we need to have strategy, but the possession of strategy without intimacy is just as deformed as Christianity without Christ or a Bible. Intimacy was the reason for the early church’s boldness. No matter how much strategy or knowledge they lacked, they still excelled in intimacy. Intimacy transformed early Christians into men who deserved to be noticed. The apostles were called unlearned and ignorant, yet they were bold, courageous, and close to God. The disciples’ boldness caused the Pharisees to take note of their unique courage and associated the boldness of the disciples with the fact that they spent time with Jesus.
The Pharisees couldn’t help but recognize that the disciples’ conduct and mannerisms resembled Jesus’ conduct and mannerisms. When you see people who spend a lot of time together you will notice that they pick up some of each other’s mannerisms, speech style, and beliefs. It would be abnormal if this didn’t happen. The more time we spend with Jesus, the more our mannerisms will change, the more our speech will change, the more our beliefs will change, and the more courage we will have.
This year the word ‘resurgence’ has been on my mind. Resurgence means ‘to continue what has been interrupted’, it also means ‘resurrection’. I feel challenged that as modern Christians we need to resurrect the boldness of the original church and continue in it. In order for us to do this we must resurrect our thirst for intimacy with God. We must urgently desire a closer walk with God. In simple terms we must get back to reading the Bible everyday, praying everyday, inviting God into our lives to help us with our every day things, and finally to obey everything that we know that God desires from us. Returning to intimacy demands that we return to the basics: prayer, reading, and obeying. As you read this issue, may it instill in you a thirst for a closer walk with God and may you be built up, strengthened, and encouraged.
To many Christians, being successful and prosperous in the world means forsaking the purposes of God. In Becoming a Pioneer of Success, Tracey Armstrong shows that success isn’t just a godly calling– it’s a destiny that God desires for every Christian! This book will teach you how to draw upon the wellspring of divine creativity within you to fulfill the destiny of success and happiness that God has waiting for you. You will learn how to win at the game of business without sacrificing your morals or “selling out.” Are you looking for success but don’t want to lose sight of the Lord? Then you are ready to become a pioneer of success!