Archives for posts with tag: Single Minded Faith

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I recently had a conversation with a friend who said “I saw so-and-so (a mutual friend of ours) last week and boy are they broken.  Really in bad shape . . . I know this person makes a lot of effort to help others . . . but how can they even think of helping others when they have so many issues themselves?!”

I was so taken aback that all I could say was “I don’t agree!”.

I have not been able to get that statement out of my mind since my friend said it: “. . . how can they even think of helping others when they have so many issues themselves?!”  Consequently I have thought and thought about it and decided to share some thoughts with you.

First of all, unfortunately . . . this is a pervasive perspective that many of us tend to gravitate toward.  When we turn it back on ourselves it says: I won’t attempt to do this or that until I have ______ (you fill in the blank) resolved or worked out in my life.  Not far from the attitude of I’m not good enough (at least until I get my stuff together) to ___________(again . . . fill in the blank).

What a limiting perspective!

I grew up in a large denominational church . . . one with a lot of pomp and ritual . . . lots of responsive readings and ups and downs in the pews.  The minister would parade on to the pulpit with his beautiful robe and collars and a couple of other folks who were clearly his underlings.
The whole setting smacked of the idea that the minister was a holy man . . . a man who had it all together . . . perhaps even less sinless than the rest of us. After all, he would lead us through reciting our Confession of Sins: “Lord, I know that I am lower than a snakes belly in the mud after 10 inches of rain . . .” I can remember leaving that place with the idea that I would never be good enough to _____________ or have it together enough to ________________,

So, this limiting idea has been around in our cultures for eons.

Fast forward a zillion years when Kris and I moved to Southern California and attended great churches like The Crystal Cathedral and Saddleback Community Church for over 20 years. Among a million messages we heard, the over-arching main theme we learned was that Jesus was the only perfect human to ever walk the earth . . . none others before or after Him.   And . . . that God created us to be in relationship with him . . . just as we are . . . warts and all. Translation: Where you are right now in your life . . . God has equipped you perfectly to do whatever He has put in your mind for you to do.

When we decide to wait until we have this or that handled or resolved before we follow through with an idea from God . . . we miss it . . . the amazing blessing that God intends for us to be in other people’s lives!

That’s it . . . end of story!

Here are the “and so’s” to the whole thing:

 

And So . . . “God never wastes a hurt” (Rick Warren). The junk you are going through or have been through makes you perfectly qualified to help others going through similar stuff.

And So . . . When I was in Nicotine Anonymous . . . even though I was still smoking . . . I didn’t have it all together . . . others in the group were still gaining tools from me from watching my struggle!  This is the case in all 12-step programs.

And So . . . We don’t need to be disillusioned with an attitude that we have it all together.  But rather, humble . . . I don’t begin to think that I have it all figured out . . . but here is what I have learned so far . . .

And So . . . Rest in the confidence that you are a work in progress . . . you will never be perfect in all things. The one thing you are perfect for is being the you in God’s plan for your life right now!

 

 

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As we finish this series on being strengthened by God . . . . just a quick review of where this series has taken us:

FIRST – We have to connect to God.

SECOND – Know that there will be barriers to following His direction for us and

THIRD – It Will Take Determination . . . Strong Faith . . . Single Mindedness

Just because you flicked the Devil off your shoulder once doesn’t mean he won’t be back.  As we covered before.  The enemy will be relentless in keeping you from growing closer to God!  It’s that simple!  So it will take determination on your part . . . a single minded determination to stay the course that God sets for you!  When I was preparing this posting  . . . FLICK – HIT THE ROAD! . . . FLICK – HIT THE ROAD! . . . FLICK – HIT THE ROAD! . . . the enemy was everywhere!

A great example of this kind of single-minded faith is a guy named Mauricio.  Mauricio was the son of an itinerate farmer.  He and his family moved from farm to farm with the farming activities throughout the year.  Consequently, Mauricio never attended the same school more that 2 or 3 months at a time.  He was always the new kid and the brunt of jokes and bullies.

But, Mauricio had a dream.  He was going to work hard (he was certainly no stranger to hard work) and save his money and buy some ranch land.  With more work and more savings, he would buy some horses and be a horse rancher and trainer.  Mauricio had had this dream for as long as he could remember . . . it was going to happen.

One day in school, Mauricio’s teacher gave the class a writing assignment; write two paragraphs about what you want to be when you grow us.  “You have 30 minutes to complete this and turn it back in to me at my desk.” She told them.

Mauricio couldn’t believe it!  This is great!  Not only do I know what I want to be, I have the vision in my mind.  All I have to do is put that vision on paper!  He thought.  He started writing and the words just flowed from his # 2 pencil. If Mauricio had any difficulty with this assignment, it was keeping it to two paragraphs . . . very long paragraphs and  . . . containing his passion for his dream!  He was the first to turn his completed assignment in.

Later in the day, the teacher had graded all the papers and handed them back to the class.  As she walked down his aisle, Mauricio thought he saw something on the next paper in her hand.  And as the teacher handed it to him, he could see the large bold red “F” with a circle around it!  As he looked at the paper he also saw a note below the large red “F”  See me after class! it read.

From that time until the end of class Mauricio couldn’t keep from thinking about the “F”.  Maybe she doesn’t like me . . . why an “F” and not a “D” . . . I actually thought it should have been an “A” or “B” . . . I think it was pretty good grammatically . . . after all, I did complete the assignment . . . maybe my paragraphs were too long.  It clouded his thinking until the end of class when he could finally talk to his teacher about it.

“I’m sure your are wondering why I asked to see you after class.”  Mauricio’s teacher asked him after he approached her desk.  She continued, “and why I gave you an “F” on that assignment”.  “Well Mauricio, I’ll tell you.  You see you are only the son of an itinerate farmer and while I am sure that your father is a fine man he is after all, an itinerate farmer.  And Mauricio, you cannot ever amount to any more than what your father is!”  To write about owning a horse ranch and being a horse rancher and trainer makes for a nice story.  But you remember I asked you to write about what YOU want to be when you grow up.  This paper you handed in is pure fiction . . . a pipe-dream . . . there is no reality about it at all!”

“I will make you a deal Mauricio.” She said, “If you will go home and re-write this paper and base in on something in our realm of reality and turn it in again tomorrow, I will invest my time in grading it again.  Is that fair?”  Mauricio agreed, took his paper back from her and dejectedly started his long walk home.

Once he was home Mauricio worked and worked on that paper.  After several hours and many crunched-up papers from his writing tablet later he was finally done.  He went to be in a much more peaceful state.

Awakened by the excitement of his new perspective, he showered, got dressed and headed off to school early that morning stuffing a pop tart in his mouth as he walked.

He got to school well before the starting bell was to ring and his teacher was at her desk getting ready for her day.  She heard Mauricio step into the room and looked up from her desk and said “Good morning Mauricio!  Did you think about our little conversation yesterday?”  Yes, Ma’am he answered and he pulled his paper out of his back pack and handed it to her.  Just has Mauricio had experienced the day before, she could see the same big red “F” with the red circle around it on the paper before it even reached her hand.  She took it reluctantly and said in a very curt tone “why this is the same paper that you turned in yesterday.  I thought you were going to re-write it.  Does this mean you don’t care about your grade?!”

Maurico sat pensively and said, “you know, I thought about re-writing it but this is my dream and I made a decision last night.” And what would that be Mauricio” she asked him.  His volume increased a bit under his determination and he replied, “That you can keep that “F” and I . . . I’m gong to keep my dream!” and turned and said down at his desk.

That, is the kind of single-minded faith I am talking about!  The enemy is going to employ every kind of deterrent he can to discourage you from following the direction God has given you for your life.  It might be a direction for the next short segment or it may be a life-long dream and passion like that of Mauricio’s.  But we all have to have the tenacity to FLICK the guy in the little red suit and horns off of our shoulder and continue to look to God and follow His direction and don’t give up!

I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME!

Amen and Amen!

Thank you for reading and following!

Blessings!

Pat