Pull Into The Station

There is a principle TD Jakes teaches in this next-to-the-last chapter, Return to Sender,  that really came alive to me as I taught it in class.  His point is that believers often function at one of two extremes: either we are constantly in the presence of the Lord and doing nothing to fulfill our purpose or we are ever pursuing the next goal, the next accomplishment – in business or even in ministry – and not spending any time in God’s presence. Either extreme is fruitless.  For ease of understanding, I created a chart to describe the cycle Jesus modeled.



Let’s think about this way. Imagine that time spent in God’s presence is like going to an old-fashioned gas station. You pull in, get gas in your tank and have your windshield cleaned. In this first stop, your tank is refilled and your vision is cleared. After this routine maintenance, you GO SOMEWHERE. And because you’ve been replenished and had your vision cleared, you can see more clearly where God wants you to go and you have the necessary energy to go. The whole point of getting gas in a car is so it is able to fulfill its purpose: take you from place to place. You don’t pull into a gas station, get your tank filled and then stay on the parking lot. That’s foolish. Sitting in the parking lot will never get you to your destination. Likewise, sitting in the presence of God may fill your tank but it won’t help you pursue and accomplish your purpose.

After you’ve been out working you will find you need to go back into the presence of God to be refilled. Pursuing your purpose is draining. Accomplishing great things for God take a lot out of you. You may need more than gas. You may need an oil change, tune-up or some other,more extensive maintenance done. After that work has been done, you pull out of the gas station and move back into fulfilling your purpose. This is the cycle we need to get a handle on.

So many of us are running on empty. Just as in the natural world, if you attempt to drive a car without pulling into the gas station to be refilled, you will eventually find yourself sitting on the side of the road – empty. And there seems to be a natural law that you never run out of gas in convenient places.

Some are racing from thing to thing and totally ignoring all of the warning signs on the dashboard. Instead of going in to get the necessary work done, you act like you are in the Sandra Bullock movie. You won’t pull over so you expect God to run alongside you and refill your tank while you keep running from thing to thing. You expect God to do an oil change or tune up while you are still moving. That only works in the movies. Even Jesus knew He had to get away from the hubbub to spend time alone in the presence of God. If Jesus did it, what makes us think we can keep going, nonstop? To continue to do so means a crash is inevitable.

This message is particularly important during the holiday season. Take time to get alone with God. This is the only way you’ll make it through this season with joy.  Be blessed.

Advertisements

Chapter 7: Offspring, Oddities & Obstacles

I was on a trip to Portland and someone else was teaching this particular chapter. I almost skipped it for the moment, thinking I was too busy. Had I done so, I would have missed hearing from God. By that I mean I would have missed the arrow God shot directly through my muddled brain and into my spirit. This is good, yall. Get the book!

Jakes uses unwanted fetuses as a metaphor for the unwanted “spiritual embryos left behind from our previous associations with dead things.” (86) He is careful to say that he is not advocating abortion so please, as you read this do not allow yourselves to get sidetracked on that particular issue.

In the last chapter Jakes taught that we need to stop associating with dead things, people and relationships!  We are called to newness in Christ. Many of us don’t act new because the stench of death is still all around us and in those places that we have not allowed God to clean out.  Jakes teaches that we must seek out AND DESTROY the progeny born in us from our past relationships.  These are “offsprings of another time when we were less spiritually mature” and we cannot allow them to exist in us. (86)  These feed on our fears and insecurities. They suck the life out of moments that should be precious. “If not destroyed, the residue of early traumas will attach itself to your successes and abort your missions and goals.” (87)

This is the critical point; You and I are the source from which these unwanted babies draw nourishment. We are the ones who feed it and we are the only ones who can starve it.  They exist in our minds and feed us wrong thoughts. We’ve already learned many times that wrong thoughts lead to wrong words and wrong words lead to wrong actions. Our thoughts feed our greatness or our insecurities. We have the ability to choose what we think.

Now this was the line that hit me between the eyes; “Every remaining embryo that ties us to a DEAD ISSUE can be and must be aborted.” (92) There are some issues in my life that I KNOW are dead yet, in unguarded moments, I still find myself ruminating about them. I still allow the memories precious time that could be and should be spent in better pursuits. Instead of starving these embryos I feed them and allow them to grow stronger! I appreciated Jakes’ reminder to “Put Christ on the throne and [my] past on the cross!” (93)  You and I can offer all of our dead issues to a living Christ.  We won’t ever forget the hurt that people have caused us. The memories will still exist. However, WE choose HOW to remember what we’ve been through. This is critical and I hope it helps you as much as it helps me. If our hearts are so clouded by unresolved issues, if the mind is so clogged with unwanted memories, if the spirit is not free, how can we truly see God?   If we want a fresh move of God, if we want to see God more clearly we have got to clean out the systems. When we do, we will get a fresh vision and experience a new move of God.

Chapter 5: …In My Father’s Name

We live in a day when people name children some of the strangest things. There doesn’t seem to be any understanding that names are more than ways to differentiate one person from the next. Names define a person. Many people have been on a lifelong search for the answer to the question ‘who am I?’ They don’t know who they are because people have, so often, called them out of their name. Jacob, whose Mother named him “supplanter” or “trickster,”constantly lived down to that name until one day he wrestled with “the only One who can give lasting answers to hard-hitting questions… God!” (56) Some of us need to spend some time wrestling with God until we can walk away with a new name and a new identity. Jacob walked away from his wrestling match named, Israel or Prince. Throughout the Bible are examples of people who understood their names and whose lives are evidence: Jesus – salvation, Isaac – laughter, Moses-drawn out, Benjamin-son of my right hand etc.

Jakes teaches that we must break the spell of every name that others have attached to us that doesn’t match who God says we are! And, if you’ve been guilty of cultivating a name that doesn’t match, you can appeal to the one who is still in the name-changing business. “A name is an expression of character; it means no more than the character behind it.’ (64) As long as you have breath in your body, you can change your character. You may not have always acted like who you really are but God has always known! And you can know, too.

Remember, that your words have creative power. What you say about yourself, what you say about situations in your life are very important. Seek to line your words up with God! Jakes says “The word of the Lord often stands alone. It has no attorney and it needs no witnesses. It can stand on its own merit. Whatever He says, you are! If you are to fight the challenges of this age, then shake the enemy’s names and insults off your shoulder.” (65)

Chapter 3: Delayed But Not Denied

There were some really great points in this chapter, ones that spoke to me on a number of levels.  Jakes reminds us that it seasons of struggle are necessary.  We learn in Ecclesiastes that there is a season for everything. Likewise, in our lives, there are seasons when things go well, ones where it seems like most areas in our lives are lying fallow and there are inevitable seasons of struggles. The trick is to learn to trust God in every season.  God uses seasons of struggle to purify us, to show us what we need to work on.  Those things that we think are so bad, Paul calls “light afflictions” (2 Cor. 4:17)  Seasons of struggle don’t last always. And with each temporary setback comes “opportunities for fresh commitment and renewal.” (32)

Jakes reminds us that we should not make permanent decisions based on temporary circumstances. This is such good advice. I’ve been personally guilty of rushing into action when times get rough. I see it in marriages all the time. Things get rough and people bail. That’s a permanent decision based on a temporary situation! We see it in our children when they learn that life isn’t always about having a good time so they want to drop out of college instead of staying committed.  God created each of us with a destiny in mind.  And in those seasons of delay it is critical that you remember this. No matter what you are facing, God has already determined the time of your deliverance from the situation IF YOU JUST STAY THE COURSE.  No matter what the enemy throws at you, there is nothing he can do to abort God’s plan for your life. (33)  At the same time, there is nothing you can do to rush God’s timing.  Trust in God’s perfect timing for you. That timing is not the same timing as your friends. God knows you so intimately that he has numbered the hairs on your head – not counted. “He knows which hair is in your comb!” (41)

plane

Sometimes God puts you in a holding pattern in   much the same ways that air traffic controllers periodically do planes. When God has you circling, it might feel as if you are suspended in mid-air with nothing to hold on to. You may feel as if there is no place for you to get a toehold. It may be scary. It can make you anxious if you refuse to acknowledge that God is an ever-present help in the time of trouble. God upholds you with His right hand! God promises never to leave you nor forsake you. God would never send you into a wilderness experience without provision. So, if you’re in a holding pattern, remember that this is just a delay. It’s not denial. There is something that God needs to work out IN you, FOR you and THROUGH you.  Don’t let people who don’t understand your God or that you have an appointment for destiny make you act rashly. Don’t let your own fears get in the way. God always keeps His appointments.  God never forgets you! God would never just leave you hanging!!

While you’re in that holding pattern, pray. Seek God. Double check your GPS system to make sure you haven’t somehow wandered into unmarked territory. And rest in the comfort of the one who is holding you.

Chapter 2: Don’t Count Me Out

Our next study in Insights To Help You Survive Peaks and Valleys leads us to ask ourselves some difficult but critical questions:

1. Are you intentionally getting up when you fall/fail or are you throwing a pity party and inviting everyone you know – including God?  If you choose to stay down when you fall, don’t expect God to show up. Jakes teaches “The Lord doesn’t like pity parties… [and] He seldom attends.” (21)  Failing is never fatal IF you choose to learn what you are being taught and make up in your mind to get back up and PRESS forward.

In the book, Jakes likens falling down or adversity to yeast in dough. When dough is put into a warm environment, the yeast is activated and it causes the dough to rise. Likewise, when you are in a situation that makes you feel as if you are being pressed on every side, the yeast (the power of God in you) is activated and you CAN rise. If you’ve ever made rolls with bad yeast (or forgot to put the yeast in) you know that what you end up with is not decent for eating.  These hard rolls started out with of the necessary ingredients to taste good. However, because there was no catalyst for growth, they never reached their full potential /purpose. If you’re trying to face tough times without the power of God working inside you, forget it. You’ll end up hard, dry and about as effective as a paperweight.

2. Are you pursuing a goal; are you totally committed to the pursuit of excellence; are you relentless in this pursuit OR do you dabble in a little of this and a little of that, never really knowing what it is that you were created to be and do?

According to Jakes, most people have things out of order. We spend many hours “trying to convince God that He should bless what we are trying to accomplish (ideas often born out of the womb of our minds and not God’s” Instead, we need to “spend hours in prayer for God to reveal His purpose.” (27) When we do what God created us to do, blessing is a natural by-product.   Jakes makes a distinction between talents and purpose.  God has given each of you gifts that you are supposed to use. However, the way those gifts are used should be directly related to your purpose.

Bread

Romans 8:28 says “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.”  Before you were born God established a purpose for your gifts and talents. It is your job to seek God and then pursue your purpose. Stop today and check your location. Are you in the will of God? Are you on the road to fulfilling your purpose? This is crucial because God protects where God directs!

Think of this as using a GPS system. When you put in your destination (your purpose), the GPS tells you where you are right now. The GPS system doesn’t start you at the destination. It locates where you currently sit and then instructs you on ways to get to the destination.

gps

Some people will find that they are already on the road to their purpose. Others will discover that they are on an unmarked road. The system will warn you about the potential danger of being in unmarked territory.  And it will tell you to move to a place where you are out of danger of being lost!  No matter where you find yourself, the important thing to remember is that God IS THERE. God IS your GPS system. And as long as you listen to the directions of the GPS system you WILL end up moving towards your purpose.

Pursue your purpose with excellence!

New Study: TD Jakes – Insights To Help You Survive Peaks & Valleys

Hello friends,

Grab a copy of Insights to Help You Survive Peaks & Valleys by TD Jakes and join me on a journey to being blessed! insights

Each week I will post a brief summary (or summaries as necessary) of the lessons. I invite you to COMMENT or QUESTION. Let’s get a dialogue going.

You are also invited to join me on Sunday mornings at Omega Church at 10:00 for the study.

Be blessed!

Lesson One : The Transformers

God created the first transformer when, out of the dust of the ground, He created Adam. From this one man, God transformed “the man into a marriage. Then He transformed the marriage into a family, the family into a society, etc.” (10)  The power to transform was intrinsically placed into the man from the beginning. Likewise, when you were born, God placed into you bountiful potential to become what God created you to be.

As an illustration let me draw your attention to the caterpillar and the butterfly. God created each of you to be beautiful butterflies, able to soar above the problems that weigh you down. And though some caterpillars are attractive creatures (if you like this kind of thing) they still should not remain in this state!  This was not how they were intended to live.

MonarchCaterpillarWithFrass

monarch-butterfly_large

God did not create you to crawl around like a caterpillar!  You were created to SOAR Just as the beautiful form & all of the characteristics of the butterfly are hidden within the caterpillar, so is it with you!  “Life has chiseled many of us into mere fragments of who we were meant to be.” (11)  Just remember that the one who works in you is greater than any of your trials, any of your situations and any of the things that have weighed you down in the past. You have the POWER to TRANSFORM and with God’s help it is TOTALLY POSSIBLE.

Change, Bishop Jakes reminds us, is a gift of God. No matter what has occurred in the past, if you are willing, God is able to help you make the necessary changes. But, just as the caterpillar does not change into a butterfly overnight, just as there is struggle in the metamorphosis, change in your life will require struggle and prayer. Becoming a butterfly means casting off some of the wrong labels people have put on you. It might mean throwing away some that you’ve put on yourself!

I used to love the theme song from the original transformer cartoon series. Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye.  That describes me. And it describes you! When people look at you, they cannot see all that God has created you to be. They see your outer shell. They see your actions (which admittedly might not always line up with the transformation that’s taking place inside). They see what they want to see. BUT, you are more than meets the eye. Scripture teaches that eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it entered into the imagination of onlookers all that God has already ordained you to be, the seeds of which were deposited into you before the foundation of the world. And God, through your repentance and struggles, will PRESS it out of you!

Come on, transformers! Begin the metamorphosis today!


%d bloggers like this: