WHAT PEOPLE MEAN TO HARM YOU WITH, GOD WILL USE IT TO BRING YOU TO YOUR DESTINY

Can you imagine…

  • You are promised a leadership role and to be of great influence in your near future, but instead…
  • Your brothers are jealous of your potential and despise you to the point they conspire to take your life.
  • They throw you into a pit, fake your death and tell your father that you are dead.
  • Your brothers sell you as a slave. You are taken to a foreign country.
  • You are working for free and your boss’s wife accuses you that your tried to rape her and you go to prison for something you did not do.
  • You start helping people in prison. You end up helping the right person who can possibly redeem you. This person promises to remember you and get you out of prison. But they end up forgetting you.

Do setbacks sound familiar to you? People trying to hurt you? These events are exactly what happed to Joseph in the Bible.  You can read Joseph’s details in Genesis chapters 39 through 51. Joseph was despised and rejected by family, people lied about his integrity and character, he was overlooked for promotion, he served time for a crime he did not commit, but yet we read how Joseph seemed to have the right perspective and attitude throughout the entire process.

How we adjust our attitude toward people who try to hurt us and toward the setbacks in our life is so important to what comes next in our life.

We can try to get revenge, get even, allow bitterness to rob our joy and destroy our optimism. Or we can learn from Joseph and place priority on our integrity, perspective and attitude.

We may not be able to control what happens to us, but we have the power to control what happens IN us. Attitude and perspective positions us for a better outcome.

Jimmy Dean said, “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”

Adjusting our “sails” toward the wind is adjusting the right attitude toward the wrong that people do against us. It’s adjusting the right perspective when circumstances do not go the way we expect them to. Our attitude and perspective determines which direction our life will sail.

Joseph made a statement that allows us to observe the foundation of his heart. Genesis 50:19-20, “But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” This is the rock solid foundation that allowed him to not crash and burn during those trying times, but rather position him to reach his purpose and destiny.

Like Joseph, we can choose to believe God has allowed us to go through trying times, but better days are coming. “I am in the place of God”. The hurtful things that people do, do not dictate our destiny. Remember, while Joseph was going through this process, God was still watching over Joseph and blessing him along the way. God blessed Joseph while working for free. God caused him to prosper (Genesis 39:3). While Joseph was in prison, God was with him, showed kindness and gave him favor with people (Genesis 39:20-21).

When God wants to favor you, NO ONE has the power to stop it.

  • God can take your destruction and turn it around and place you in your destiny.
  • God will use your setbacks and use them to “set you up” for greater things.
  • God can take the doors that have been slammed shut in your life and cover you with His favor to open greater doors.

What people mean to harm you with, God will use it for your good.

Philippians 4:7 – Peace for a Worried Mind

https://davidshannonwooten.com/philippians-47-peace-for-a-worried-mind/#sthash.SawDjO8E.dpbs

Philippians 4:7 (NIV), “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Everyone desires peace. Especially when we are going through challenging times or need quick solutions. The Apostle Paul gives us instruction on how to gain peace which brings a calmness to our minds and settles our attitude. He makes the statement in Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding…”. Paul’s revealed truth begs the question… how can God’s peace come when we are experiencing racing thoughts of worry or our mind is being consumed to find solutions? These kinds of thoughts do not bring peace, but more anxiety and stress. Paul is incredibly confident that this principle, when practiced, it will bring God’s peace and other added benefits.

We can agree that God’s peace is perfect. Unlike the peace that materialistic items or temporary circumstance bring; God’s peace is not flaky or flighty. God’s peace is rock solid. His peace goes deep to the foundations of our faith and brings them to our soul and spirit so that it is quieted. The question is how do we achieve this kind of peace? The kind that keeps us “still” during the storms of life. The keys to this principle is found within the context of Philippians 4:4-7.

Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV) “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

We observe five instructions in Philippians 4:4-7 that will achieve God’s peace for a worried mind:

  1. A Choice to Rejoice. Don’t miss the fact that Paul emphasized this twice. “Rejoice IN the Lord”. We can choose to either rejoice in who God is and what He brings into our life, or we can choose to be so focused on our challenging situation that we forget that God is with us and He has all the resources to help us. The word “rejoice” literally means to celebrate. It takes appreciation to another level. Appreciate the life that God has given you and act like God is with you. That is a choice, not a feeling. This is something that Paul challenges us to do ALWAYS. Not sometimes or only in certain situations, but always. It is a choice that only we have the power to make. We choose to find one of the many things about God that we can celebrate. Practice every morning celebrating, rejoicing one of God’s many blessings in your life. When a challenging situation arises, rejoice over things you do have, what has been accomplished.
  2. Stay Cool, Calm and Collective. Paul says let your gentleness be seen. It brings God glory when you say you are a Believer who places your trust in God as you are going through troubling circumstances, but you don’t freak out. Rather you are an example to other people in your life, when you “let your gentleness be evident to all” as you go through tough situations. Your example of faith and trust is an incredible draw for other people to want a relationship with Christ like you have. When we acknowledge that the “Lord is near” it calms us. The power of the presence of Christ changes the atmosphere. So we  say it in faith, “the Lord is near”. One of the Hebrew words for God, depicting one of His many attributes, is Jehovah-Shammah, meaning, “the Lord is There” (Ezekiel 48:35). God promised that he would never leave, nor forsake. When we remind ourself that God is there, He is in the midst of our crisis our circumstance, this truth becomes an act of praise.
  3. Take an Ax to Anxiousness. Paul is very straight forward… “Don’t be anxious about anything.” He gives no exceptions about practicing worry or being anxious. Sometimes you will have to simply tell yourself that you refuse to worry. Take an ax to your worries and fears. Don’t play around or coddle them. Paul gives a way to replace anxiousness by creating an action step. The action step is found in point four.
  4. Don’t Pout… Pray. When we are faced with troubling situations, a crisis or a problem, what we do next will determine whether we will bring God’s peace or create anxiety. Creating a void in our mind will create worry and anxiousness. We create a void by failing to pray and by not speaking God’s promises over the situations that arise in our life. When we don’t pray we have a tendency to pout and complain. Paul is trying to get us to God’s peace, therefore he says to pray in EVERY situation. It is a huge mistake to neglect prayer and to avoid God’s Word. For every situation in your life, God has already spoken to it through His Word. Sometimes we may not know what to pray, but if we go to the Scriptures, God has a Word already written. When your words don’t seem to be enough, use God’s Words.
  5. Deliver your Requests with a Heart of Thankfulness. The highest form of faith is to believe with a thankful heart. When you are able to be thankful for something you are asking for, you are saying you already believe you have received it. If I ask you for a favor and thank you for it in advance, then I have already believed in my heart you are going to fulfill that request. Paul is saying to us, bring your request to God with thankfulness. As you are asking, thank Him for providing. Jesus gave us the same teaching in Mark 11:24, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” This disposition will challenge the worry and fear. You will not be able to operate in faith and fear at the same time. One will win. The one that wins, is the one you will feed. Feed your faith by being thankful that God hears you and will answer you.

When we follow these four instructions, Paul says it will bring God’s peace that goes beyond our human understanding. If we try to figure it out with human understanding alone, then we miss the formula to experience God’s peace.

We cannot overlook the other benefits in what God’s peace brings to us as Paul reveals in Philippians 4:7, ““And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. God’s peace will guard your heart and your mind from fear and worry.

Timing is Everything – Wait for the Right Time

Our entire solar system relies on timing. One second off could instantly create an unstable environment. Our stable cosmos could quickly return to chaos. Planets and stars would eventually collide and cause great devastation. All because of bad timing. The earth spins on its axis every 24 hours. The earth orbits the sun exactly 365.26 days. The moon orbits earth 27.3 days. The perfect timing rotation and orbiting set by our Great Creator allowed previous generations to rely on these cycles and times for calendars, agriculture and navigation. If the timing was not reliable, planting and harvesting would be affected, people would be confused and lost while traveling, the seas would not stay within the boundary of the shoreline and weather would devastate our beautiful earth. Centuries ago before spacecraft’s, astronauts, Hubble telescope, and research; David looked up toward the heavens, and realized the details of God’s design and declared…

 “When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—the moon and the stars you set in place—what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them?” (Psalms 8:3-4)

Before science and modern day technology, God gave David wisdom and insight to God’s creativity, His attention to microscopic detail and the ability set things to proper time.

No one likes to wait for the things we desire. When we get impatient we must remember God has perfect timing. Consider these timing issues:

 Most valuable things require a significant amount of time to plan and create.

  • An oak tree takes 40 years to mature.
  • Food prepared in the kitchen and cooked in the conventional oven is a lot better than microwave dinners.
  • It takes 5 to 20 years for a salt water pearl to form. The longer the years; the bigger the pearl, ladies!
  • You can build a barn in a day. It takes months to build a beautiful home.
  • Ferrari’s are a handmade workmanship by tradesmen. They are not made by a robotic assembly line like the common Ford, Chevy or Toyota that is built in a day. Ferrari’s require 3 weeks to be hand built. A common car on average can be purchased around $20,000 to $40,000. The fabulous Ferrari can be purchased for $192,000.

Try to not be impatient. Don’t get ahead of God and don’t get behind God.

  • When we get ahead of God we usually make decisions that cause us trouble down the road. Impatience can cause bad debt, bad decisions and a partial plan that leaves out crucial details.
  • Marrying someone too soon can position you for heartache in the future. Take time to really get to know someone. Ask a lot of questions and observe how they react under pressure.
  • Wait for God to give you His “YES” on the decision. God’s “yes” will probably look like…
    • You will have peace in your heart. No anxiousness. No peer pressure.
    • You will not have to hide the decision from your friends and family.
    • You will not have to cheat anyone.
    • It will not put your future or family in jeopardy.
    • It will not require you to break your values or cause you to sin.
    • It will align with God’s Word.

Remember, when God is creating something for you… it will be worth the wait. He creates PERFECT things.

  • Psalms 18:30 “God’s way is perfect. All the LORD’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.”
  • God doesn’t create junk. God is classy. God has expensive taste. Just read what Heavens gates and roads are made of. (Revelation 21:21)
  • God has perfect blessings in store for you. No one can take your blessing from you.

Waiting on God’s timing will require you to exercise trust. When we trust God, He promises to show us the right way.

  • Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORDwith all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
  • Trust God that there’s a reason why it’s not happening on your time.
  • Trust God that He is aligning everything behind the scenes.

 

As far as I know, David did not have formal training in medical school, but God gave him the understanding that our bodies are detailed; therefore, David understood that God was concerned about the details of his life. David trusted God with the details of his life. He knew that God was had the knowledge and the ability with timing.

Psalms 139:13-18, “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!”

If we can trust God to keep the planets spinning in perfect time, then friend, I believe we can trust God’s timing to open the right doors and bring the right blessings into our life. Wait for God’s timing, it will be perfect.

Signs You May be STUCK in Your Past

1. You are consistently talking about your past.

We can get stuck rehearsing who hurt us, how we have failed, what we are lacking, how we are rejected, who is not supporting us, how we don’t have the right skills, talent or education.

Rehearsing the “curse” will not reverse the “curse”. It just keeps it connected and alive.

2. You refuse to formulate a good plan for your great future. 

God states that He has a good plan for our future in Jeremiah 29:11. Why do we delay in formulating a good plan to move forward? If God has a great plan for our future, then shouldn’t we be planning with God?

Don’t plan on failing, plan on succeeding. That’s what God is planning for you.

3. Your passion has died for your future.

Do you have more stories about your past than dreams for your future?

When you have passion for your future, you dream. God wants you to dream about your future. In fact, your expectation and thoughts give God something to work with. Your expectations and thoughts fuel your faith for your future. Look at Ephesians 3:20, Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, God says, “Whatever you think or dream about for your future, I will exceed your expectations.”

God does not want us stuck in our past. Spending more energy, thoughts and passion on your past means less energy and passion toward your future.

“You can’t have great success in your future if you stay stuck thinking about a failed past.”

It is HIGHLY important for your relationships that you do not get stuck in your past failures.

“How you see yourself will be how you see others.”

Judges 6:12-16 shares with us that God was trying to call Gideon for a greater purpose, but Gideon was stuck about his past. He was very upset about how things were going the last several years. Gideon’s perspective was that things was so bad in his past, he basically called God out and said that God had abandoned him. Gideon had low self-esteem, he seen himself as the weakest and least person in his family and nation. But that’s not what God seen.

God said…  “Gideon, you are a mighty warrior.”

Gideon said…  “I am the least in my family and nation.”

 God said… “Go in the STRENGTH you have.”

Gideon said… “I come from a weak family.”

 God said… “I am sending you.”

Gideon said… “God has abandoned me.”

Arguing with God about what your past and what you don’t have will not bring the breakthrough sooner. It only delays what God is desiring to bring into your life.

Four things God taught Gideon that will help us get UNSTUCK:

  1. Your family history is not your destiny.
  2. Stop thinking like a victim, and start believing you are a victor.
  3. Speak at a higher level of faith when it comes to your future. God doesn’t address Gideon’s low perspective by arguing. God simply declares a higher Truth over Gideon.
  4. Don’t let anyone else hold the pen while writing your story. (A quote by Harley Davidson.)

You may not feel hope for your future but God does. God wants to do something new in you. Remember God specializes in CREATING. He is a God who saves us from disaster, delivers us from evil, opens closed doors, transforms us into a new creation.

Consider His word which declares we are not captive or bound to our past…

Isaiah 43:18-19, ““Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Philippians 3:13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,

I declare your God is bigger than your past. You are not stuck, but are free to reach forward to the greater things God has prepared for you!

It’s Time for a Change

We desire certain areas of our life to change. We want certain circumstances to change. We want more joy. Be able to forgive more. Operate at a higher level of love or faith. We want to be out of debt or desire more money. Perform better at a skillset or in our career. We want a better job or stronger relationships within our marriage, or with our children.

But here is the deal about change…

“We cannot change the way we feel, until we begin to change what we think. And we cannot begin to see ourselves in a new place, if we don’t begin to take our mind to a new place.”

Someone once said, “The state of your life is nothing more than the state of your mind.”

The way we are thinking may be keeping us stuck. If you have tried responding to a problem the same way over and over again, then it may be time to try a different way. If your spouse, children, boss, friend or co-worker is not responding to what you are trying to say to them; then it would be worth your effort to try to communicate in a different way. Whatever the situation is, try something new.

  • Try different words
  • Try a different tone or attitude
  • Try a different time of day
  • Try a different perspective
  • Try a different route
  • Try talking to a different person
  • Try reading a new book
  • Try having a different conversation, a new topic

Albert Einstein said it like this, “You cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it.”

Misinformation, misbeliefs, wrong routines and habits can cause a lot of issues in our life. They can also leave us stuck in a rut. You can be passionate about YOUR way of doing it; but if its not producing the right results, you are probably passionately wrong for that current situation.

It is possible to change our circumstances and even our life by changing the way we think. Don’t get stuck in the same ruts or patterns of thinking. If thinking the same thoughts and beliefs are not improving your life, then its time to change your mind.

We can renew our mind. God tells us we can.

Romans 12:2 – “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

  • Don’t copy old routines that don’t work or produce the right results.
  • Change the way you are thinking.

Philippians 4:8-9 – “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me–everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”

  • Fix your thoughts on what is true, right.
  • Keep putting this into practice.

If we lack wisdom, which is the ability to apply knowledge, God says ASK and He will GIVE. James 1:5, “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.”

You must renew your mind; God’s not going to do it for you.

Look at what God has given us in 2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”

  • God will do his part, but we must do our part.
  • God has given us a spirit of power, a spirit of love & the ability to exercise self-discipline. We have to activate and engage in what God has given us.

Self-discipline in our thoughts helps us renew our minds. This is how transformation and change takes place. It begins by disciplining our thoughts.

Practical steps to renew our mind:

  1. Ask yourself this question, “which fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) will I intentionally display today?” Pick one and do your best to take action to display that fruit of the spirit. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
  2. Check up on yourself throughout the day… What is dominated your thoughts? Is it good or bad? Is it producing the right or wrong feeling?
  3. Exchange your thoughts. If it is the wrong thought, what is the opposite thought? Go there. Exchange resentment with love, sadness with joy, worry with peace, anxiousness with patience, rudeness/snippy with kindness, destructive attitudes with ones that will produce goodness, quitting and checking out with faithfulness, being pushy and hard-nosed with gentleness, laziness and procrastination with self-control.

Norman Vincent Peale was brilliant in teaching, writing and exemplified how having the right thoughts and mindset would impact our life in an incredible way. He simply said it this way, “Change Your Thoughts and Your World will Change.”

Your next word will cause a Reaction or a Response

Our attempt to resolve problems, deal with differences of opinions, desiring to express where we have been offended or trying to correct bad behavior in a relationship; can either cause more negative reactions or cause a response. Reactions are usually quick and immediate. They are normally more based from how we feel. Like the natural reflex of a muscle. However, a response is more thoughtful. A response considers, “What I am about ready to say, how will it impact the rest of this conversation and will it help to bring resolve?” A response usually has a thought out plan with the end goal in mind to… understand and resolve. Reactions could be more, “I just want to express how I feel” or “I want to get this off my chest”.

We have the ability to trigger a response that could bring resolution, reconciliation and healing. Choosing the right words have tremendous power. Words can provoke, stir up, push buttons. Words can start wars; or bring people to the table to sign Peace Treaties. Words have the power to close the deal on a multi-million dollar contract. Words also have the power to destroy relationships, and create tension and division. Wise words have incredible power to bring peace in a home or in the work place. Words can gain a friend or bridge differences. Being purposeful with our words that cause more response can bring a healthy environment to our relationships.

Consider these Scriptures from God’s Word that bring light to triggering a response or a reaction.

  • Ephesians 3:4, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.
  • Hebrews 10:24, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,”
  • Galatians 5:26, “Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.”
  • Proverbs 15:1, “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.”

What we say, how we react or how we respond will CREATE an environment. We have the ability to raise the level of our relationships to be more purposeful, intentional; to cultivate an environment that will be conducive for encouragment, learning from one another, resolving problems and lifting each other to greatness. Weeds don’t need help to grow. Weeds can grow in any crude environment. Plants and trees that produce healthy fruits and vegetables, need an intentional environment. This requires someone that cares to give the effort to create.

Let’s create an environment that triggers a response so great things can grow.

Bonnie and I had a conversation about causing reactions and responses on our last podcast. You can listen by clicking here… Episode #002 Linked: Are You Causing a Reaction or a Response?