Monday, January 16, 2017

Preparing For The BLESSings...


So to review,  (1) FAITH was the first concept God revealed that I needed to have in order to prepare for His Blessings.  From Scripture, we can look at another person who struggled with faith.  In Matthew, chapter 14, verses 28- 31, Jesus called Peter (Simon) out of the boat to walk to him.  And while Peter was able to take a few steps onto water, he grew afraid after he focused on the strong wind, and he began to sink.  In other words, because he took his eyes off Jesus, he panicked and began to sink. I did the same exact thing this week!  I panicked when I no longer “saw” (sense/felt) the Holy Spirit and began to sink under the devil’s attacks.  And just like Jesus lovingly chastised Peter for his lack of faith, I received the same loving reprimand this week.  While strengthening my faith, God reminded me not to doubt His presence because He had been there all along.

And so faith called me to trust without seeing:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
                                                                        ~ Hebrews 11:1

The topic of this entry is about preparing for God’s blessings because in this waiting season, God is still preparing me for mine.  Every new level of God’s grace brings forth new blessings, which unfortunately brings forth new devils; it brings forth new attacks.  And in order to persevere, in order to receive the victory Jesus already won for me (John 16:33), I must go deeper in my level of faith in God.  

The bigger the blessings, the more faith we must have in God to accomplish them.

Thus, faith is the foundation of preparation.  Not only are we to exercise this faith by speaking things into existence as if they’re already here, but we’re called to walk in faith as if those blessings have already happened.  Which takes me to the next concept or step needed to prepare for the blessings-

(2) Align yourself with God’s will.  While God wants us to boldly declare our desires and requests and speak life and existence into them, we must make sure those desires are aligned with God’s will for our lives:

Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
                                                            ~ Hebrews 13:20-21

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.  ~Proverbs 3:5-6

In all things, we have to ensure what we desire is also what God desires for us.  We must first submit to His will and pursue His Kingdom in order to be guided towards asking for the blessings that would benefit us most.

3) Focus on the preparation and not the blessing.  You prayed about it, got confirmation that God would answer and deliver.  Now let it go and focus on the work and preparation.

 I’ll be honest- this was something I struggled with on a daily basis until I finally made the conscious decision to focus on the things I needed to learn in order to obtain my blessing.  I realized that whenever I focused on the outcome, I ignored the journey that would get me to those blessings.  In addition, I realized I would miss out on all the lessons I’d learn along the way that would teach me how to maintain those blessings and allow me to receive new ones.

Side Note: Think of this experience as the following description: God is the destination, Jesus is the train and tunnel, and the Holy Spirit is the conductor.  While God doesn’t want us to be Him, He wants us to grow in order to become more like Him.  And so, through Jesus Christ, God wants us to travel through this journey, with the Holy Spirit guiding us and making stops along the way, so we can arrive at our highest, most spiritual version of ourselves.  We were made in God’s image, and before sin, there had been no separation.  And now He wants us to evolve to our truer, Christ-like image so we can be reunited.  

Make no mistake- while God delights in giving us earthly blessings (that also serve to enhance our spiritual form) He wants us to eventually get home.  Heaven is our final destination and that is our biggest blessing.

Now let’s go back concept (3).  Ask yourself the following questions:

What do you need in order to successfully maintain God’s blessing and be a steward of it? 

If you were given the blessing today and were at risk of losing it, what do you think would lead to the actual lost?

What are you lacking (in regards to virtue, personality, and/or wisdom)?

Now, it may also be helpful to remember that the devil wants to curse what God wants to bless.  So look at the things you struggle with.  What are they?  Figuring out your weaknesses could serve as good indications of what you need to focus on while you prepare for your blessing.

In fact, let’s talk about certain blessings.  Oftentimes our blessings are connected to our true callings from God.   For example, part of my calling has to do with my mouth- I exhort; I motivate; I encourage.  I work in God’s Kingdom by uplifting His people.  Because I use my mouth as a gift, I had (and still have) to undergo some extensive work by God in order to be used effectively by Him.  Guess what-

He has to do the same for you!

So if you find yourself in a season of waiting because of your calling, know that God is working on your behalf.  God is always working on your behalf so you can fulfill your calling.  Know that while your circumstances may not be changing, God is changing you.  He is preparing you for your blessings.  And while it’s great that you have faith, be a dear and help Him out!  Do your part!

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?  Can faith save him?                                    ~ James 2:14

Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.   ~ James 2:17

Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?                                    ~ James 2:22

Need I continue? 😉  

Okay, let’s go on to the next concept, and I prefaced this one by saying it may be extremely hard to do-

(4) Offer the sacrifice of joy and praise. 

Now, when things are good, it may be easy to thank and praise God.  I’m sure you, like me, are quick to say, “Thank you!”  or “Hallelujah!” after God blesses you.  But what about those times when things are going wrong?  Note I said offer the sacrifice of joy and praise.  Think about those storms, and darkness, and seasons of waiting.  Could you praise Him then? 

Now, I will be honest and admit this has been challenging because it hasn’t always been easy to offer joy and praise to God during those moments.  I only just recently altered my mentality to embrace this concept.  You see, it’s logical to expect gratitude when God does something in your favor.  Anybody would expect that.  But it takes true worship to praise God in the midst of the storm.  Sometimes you gotta do some reaching on this one.  Sometimes you gotta push yourself on this one.  Sometimes you gotta dig deep on this one.  But it’s called sacrifice for a reason.  You’re giving something up (praise) when you don’t want to….when you don’t feel it….when it doesn’t make sense…when it hurts. 

Let’s head to Scripture and take a look at the book of Psalms, one of the most heartfelt, praise-filled books of the Bible, and it was written in parts by David in the midst of strife and tribulation (y’all, he was being chased and persecuted by his own son!):

O LORD, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens!                                    ~ Psalm 8:1

I WILL praise You, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works.  I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.
                                                                        ~ Psalm, 9:1-2

I WILL love You, O LORD, my strength, The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from enemies.                                    ~ Psalm, 18: 1-3

Are we willing to be like David, offering the sacrifice of joy and praise to God?  I strive to do just that.  In the midst of my waiting season, I strive to thank God for what He has already done and thank Him for what He will do.  I strive to thank Him for my hardships and heartache, knowing that He will work every cry and tear towards my favor and His good will.

Lastly, (5) Be still and allow God to fight your enemy.

Please let it be known- the enemy will come.  For me, it seems the devil comes and attacks the hardest right before I get my blessing.  It’s as if things become extremely hard for me right before my breakthrough.  Regardless, the blessing is ushered in with perfect timing.  In fact, we tend to get resistance when we force or try to push things to happen (trust me and my impatience- I know from personal experience what happens when we attempt to speed things along).  But when we wait on God and His timing, the blessing comes effortlessly; the doors open without resistance.

So when the enemy attacks, be still and let God fight for you.  Stay in scripture and beat the enemy with the best weapon on Earth- God’s Holy Word (Bible).  Fight Satan, the father of all lies, with God’s Truth.

Here are some Truths I rely on:

I already have the victory through Jesus Christ. (John 16:33)

God wants to bless me because I wait on Him.   (Isaiah 30:18)

I belong to God.  He calls me by name and I am His. (Isaiah 43:1)

God already had a purpose for me before I was even created. (Jeremiah 29:11)

God will always be with me.  He will never leave me. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

I want to end this entry with a quote I found from Pinterest; I’ve been in love with it ever since:

“Don’t be discouraged.  You’re almost there.  What God is giving you requires preparation, focus, commitment, and patience.  Discouragement is the enemy’s favorite tool to use against you.  He knows there is greatness inside you….”

And so, if it is God’s will, I will end by saying, “Until next time.”

God bless!

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