Welcome back! Were you able to assess your current situation and come up with a sound lesson from it that will help you as you move forward? Why is it so helpful to you?
Let’s open in prayer: “God, thanks again for this opportunity for us to be together. Give each of us the wisdom we need and guide our conversation. Help________to see, hear and understand this important next step as they desire to grow. In Jesus name, amen.”
Resource #2- Your Contribution: God
You got that right – God is a resource! While a list of how He helps would be virtually endless, we’ll stick to three critical ways that stand out.
First – This is mind-blowing: someone is intentionally present on this earth specifically for you, to teach, to guide, restrain, convince, intercede and direct you in the best ways to go. That’s right, for you. There’s a lot more He does but for today, just try to fathom how cool that is. Really. I’d like to introduce you to Him – meet the Holy Spirit. Jesus left the earth, but then almost immediately sent the Holy Spirit so we wouldn’t be alone without help. Amazing – amazing! You don’t have to breathe His name over a thousand times, you don’t have to meditate in a specific body position, you don’t have to sing the right song or go to the right church, be outside in nature, or journal to connect with God. You just have to pray it and mean it, “Yes, Jesus, I believe you died for my sins, I’m so sorry about them, and I accept your forgiveness and am open to You.” Accept that forgiveness and the Holy Spirit will be faithful to help you always. He’ll never leave you for the rest of your life. You may not feel Him all the time, but He promises you, He’s with you. (Hebrews 13:5)
Second – as you’ve noticed, I think prayer is important. Many people aren’t sure what to say or even if God is listening. However, if you mean it, He’s listening. He wants relationship with you and He wants you in eternity with Him. He’s using everything about your current circumstances to point you to Him. (See Acts 17:24-28) God is at work in you and around you all the time. So, get in relationship with Him by talking to Him about what’s important to you. Tell him about your goals and why they’re important to you. Never minimize how much He cares about the details of your life. As you reach out to Him, you’ll grow to love Him and obey Him more and more. Prayer is the beginning of a most beautiful relationship.
Third – The bestseller of all time. 8 billion copies so far, 100 million copies printed each year and readily available free online – the Bible. The wisdom of the Bible applies to the issues of your heart, my heart and God’s heart. Life, death and eternity are all addressed in detail, truthfully. Wisdom doesn’t get any better from any other book, ever. Read it regularly, (daily!) praying for wisdom and understanding and as you apply it to your life, you’ll see how dark and empty life is without it, how good and full life is with it.
Homework for this week – Schedule a time to regularly pray and read your Bible. Start with finding at least three verses or sets of verses in the Bible that offer some direction, wisdom or encouragement regarding your desired goal. This is quite a simple process, even if you’re not familiar with the Bible. Simply fill in the search field at the link below with key words you think might be helpful. It may take some time to find the right verses, but again, even if you’re reading results that aren’t exactly what you’re looking for, you’re learning and you just might find more nuggets of gold.
A word of caution regarding reading the Bible when you’re in need of direction. For instance, I came across a passage years ago that has encouraged me through many a storm:
Jeremiah 29:- “11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity…”
This set of verses was directed to the Jews taken into captivity for seventy years. God was telling them to build houses and settle into the captivity and He was assuring them that He had a larger plan for their future that would give them hope again. As much as I love this promise, it was written for a specific set of circumstances and I don’t want to apply it incorrectly or “claim” that only good things will happen to me now. No, what I hold on to is the picture of the true nature of God to be wise and purposeful in the lives of His people. I trust that wisdom and purpose in my life. So, as you search, ask God for wisdom and understanding so you’re able to find the truth in verses that are applicable.
Resource #2- My Contribution: God
As I’m encouraging you on your journey, I’m keeping my eye on the bigger picture. I’m keenly aware that wherever you are today, either you or your circumstances will change, likely sooner than later. We can only hope they will change for the better. Accidents alter reality in a millisecond. When illness strikes. losses pile up quickly. Death may come unexpectedly to us or a loved one. I want you to do the most important work now, work that will not only bring you closer to your goal, but ensure that no matter what happens, you’ll be just fine.
That’s why in my mentoring sessions, I ask people the three following questions: 1. How’s your prayer life? 2. How’s your Bible reading? 3. How’s your relationship with Jesus? One of the most surprising elements of mentoring comes when I meet with people who are eager to grow yet aren’t taking the most elemental, basic steps towards growth. They’ve never before made the connection between growth and success and their relationship with God. Success is determined by what’s going on inside of you – not in your circumstances. How on earth can you expect to have the joy, the peace, the deep sense of fulfillment, that comes from true success if you’re running on your own strength all the time? You will run out – sooner or later you or your circumstances will fall short and He’ll be there, I promise you, He’ll be there. But why wait till then? “Begin now!” I’m urging. Seeing that light bulb go on when a mentee makes the connection and begins to see results, now that’s awesome!
And what is the most successful work in the world? Some days it may be using your talents and gifts to the fullest measure possible, some days it may be showing selfless love to someone in need, some days it may be kissing the head of a child or changing a diaper or some days, it may be simply finding the courage through prayer to accept your painful reality with an attitude of hope and perseverance – since your attitude is the only thing you have left to control when everything else around you is out of control. Yes, these are true successes.
God bless you as you persevere here on your journey! Next time we meet we’ll go over some of my best recommendations for specific reading resources.