James 1:8 NKJV
If you’re afraid to make a decision in case it’s wrong, read this Scripture: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally…and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (vv. 5-8 NKJV). President Reagan enjoyed telling the story of how he learned to make firm decisions. When he was a boy, his aunt sent him to a cobbler to have a new pair of shoes made for him. When the shoemaker asked, “Do you want a square toe or a round one?” he hemmed and hawed, so the cobbler said, “Come back in a day or two and tell me what you want.” Later the cobbler saw Reagan on the street and asked what he had decided about the shoes. “I haven’t made up my mind yet,” he answered. “Very well,” the cobbler said, “your shoes will be ready tomorrow.” When Reagan got the shoes, one had a round toe and the other a square toe! Reagan said, “Looking at those shoes every day taught me a lesson. If you don’t make your own decisions, somebody else will make them for you.” Worst case: If you get it wrong, you’ll learn what not to do next time. Bottom line: To succeed in life you must pray for wisdom, and then make a decision.
Soul food: Eze 47:1-12; Rev 21:22-22:5
James 1:6-8 NIV
Have you ever put off making a decision because you didn’t know what to do? It may help take the pressure off for a while, but most decisions can’t be put off forever. And the longer we leave them, the more stress and pressure we can actually feel. When we avoid making decisions it’s usually because we’re afraid to make the wrong one. We don’t want to fail. But the great news is that we can go to God for wisdom. And His wisdom can help us to be decisive. The Bible says: ‘If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do’ (James 1:5-8 NIV). This tells us that we shouldn’t doubt God. We should believe He will give us wisdom. And it will be the exact wisdom we need. Also, when we doubt our own decisions, we become unstable. We wonder whether we should have made another choice. But we often won’t be able to see what it would have been like if we had chosen another path. We have to trust God to bring good out of the decision we made. That doesn’t mean we should just make decisions without thinking. We need to weigh things up, we need to ask others for advice, and we need to pray for God’s wisdom. But let’s not let fear and doubt stop us from making decisions and moving forwards.
Eze 47:1-12; Rev 21:22-22:5
Romans 4:17 NIV
When you dare to dream, God who “calls things that are not as though they were” is at work within you. But there’s a third dream killer you must overcome: Settling for average. A God-given dream will stretch you; you can’t reach for it and remain safely mediocre at the same time. The two are incompatible. When you settle for average, it’s tempting to blame it on others, or on your personal circumstances, or on the system. But the truth is mediocrity is always a personal choice. When you don’t have a compelling dream you are in danger of having your life merely slip away. Author Kenneth Hildebrand puts it this way: “The poorest of all men isn’t the one without a penny to his name. He’s the fellow without a dream…[he is like] a great ship made for the mighty ocean but trying to navigate in a millpond. He has no far port to reach, no lifting horizon, no precious cargo to carry. His hours are absorbed in routine and petty tyrannies. Small wonder he gets dissatisfied, quarrelsome, and ‘fed up.’ One of life’s greatest tragedies is a person with a ten-by-twelve capacity and a two-by-four soul.” If you feel that your life is closer to average than you want, you need to do more dreaming. Nothing will help you break out of your rut like a God-inspired dream. And if you don’t already have one, ask God to give you one. He may give it to you in an instant, or over a period of time, but He will do it.
Soul food: Isa 26-29; Luke 2:1-7; Ps 46; Prov 1:32-33
Genesis 42:9 NKJV
The dream God gave Joseph sustained him through experiences that would crush many of us. He was resented by his family, repeatedly tempted by his boss’s wife, then thrown into prison for thirteen years for a crime he never committed. Yet at his lowest points God was with him, arranging each step he took and positioning him to fulfill his calling as the deliverer of his people. The psalmist talks about the strange way in which God led Joseph: “Then he sent someone to Egypt ahead of them – Joseph, who was sold as a slave. They bruised his feet with fetters and placed his neck in an iron collar. Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph’s character” (Psalm 105:17-19 NLT). Your gender does not limit God, and your age is no problem to Him. Society may glamorize youth and marginalize old age, but your season of life doesn’t limit God. But in order to have confidence that God will fulfill your dream, you must know that it was born of His Spirit: “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:8 NKJV). Your dream cannot be born out of your unmet ego needs, or a selfish desire to have the same level of success as someone else, or your need to “prove” something to someone like your ex, or your family, or your boss, or your peers, etc. Check the source of your dream, because when God is the source, He will provide all the resources necessary to fulfill it. Do you have a dream? No? Ask God to give you one!
Soul food: Rom 13:12-14:19; John 1:1-14
Hebrews 12:2 MSG
Jesus had vision. He kept going, even when it was challenging. The Bible says: ‘Because he never lost sight of where he was headed…he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever…When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again’ (vv.2-3 MSG). It’s our vision that fuels our passion. Ever noticed how God often transforms the worst of sinners into His greatest kingdom-builders? That’s because they’re passionate, and once that passion is harnessed and used for good they become effective in His kingdom. Knowing how vital passion is can help us understand why the enemy often wants to destroy ours. He knows once we line up our passion with God’s plan, there will be no stopping us. Passion is spiritual energy; without it we’re not going to get far in working for God’s kingdom. Jesus said to the church in Laodicea: ‘You are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other!’ (Revelation 3:15 NLT). And those words can sometimes feel like they’re being said to us too. We can just end up going through the motions. We head to church, pray, and read the Bible, because that’s just what we do, not because we’ve got a real passion for growing a relationship with God or for growing His kingdom. So what do we do if we find ourselves lacking passion? We can ask God to increase our passion and spend time with people who are passionate about what God’s called them to do. Whatever God’s called us to do in His kingdom, let’s remember that it’s an incredible privilege and something to really get passionate about.
Gen 20-23; John 14:1-14; Ps 118:10-18; Prov 31:10-13