Tag Archives: quitting

I Want Out but There’s No Bench

I was on the road home from the shop talking to God about my business. The stresses of paperwork and accounting mostly. To some that may be a piece of cake, but for me it takes tremendous effort. “Father can I just give it up? Take a tent into the woods and be a hermit for the rest of my life. To permanently assume the fetal position.” To which He responded with a no and the quintessential affirmation that I am His son. It was in that moment I realized that I had been under spiritual attack. And I was allowing myself to lose. Anytime I have desired to assume the fetal position I have heard God say rise and walk. Most would say when you feel that way you should crawl into the Father’s arms and be loved by Him. Yet we are told to enter boldly into His presence. When we feel this way is when God goes into “tough love” mode. When He pours out identity on you, and you are forced to believe it or drown with what you’re holding onto. The Father’s arms are a place for comfort and rest, but He loves you too much to coddle you through life. He will not keep you from growth. These are also the times when the enemy is most prevalent in pouring out lies. Like “God is not with you through this.” I was reminded of Daniel in the Lion’s Den, and my eyes were opened to the greater application than just a children’s story.

Daniel soon proved himself more capable than all the other administrators and high officers. Because of Daniel’s great ability, the king made plans to place him over the entire empire. Then the other administrators and high officers began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling government affairs, but they couldn’t find anything to criticize or condemn. He was faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy.So they concluded, “Our only chance of finding grounds for accusing Daniel will be in connection with the rules of his religion.”So the administrators and high officers went to the king and said, “Long live King Darius!We are all in agreement—we administrators, officials, high officers, advisers, and governors—that the king should make a law that will be strictly enforced. Give orders that for the next thirty days any person who prays to anyone, divine or human—except to you, Your Majesty—will be thrown into the den of lions. Daniel 6:3-7 NLT

Even though he did he everything right and had incredible character traits, his enemies found reason to hate him. And perverted the law to kill him. There will soon be, if not already, laws like the ones that these administrators and high officials made. Designed solely to find you at fault for your faith. This will not be a time where we need to be coddled in the Father arms, but a time to stand in confidence of who you are. Remember this, Daniel did not search for a way around the law of the land. He continued in the discipline of his relationship with God. Seeking His guidance, while not hiding to appease the law.

But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God. Daniel 6:10 NLT

Why did God not honor Daniel’s faithfulness and not allow him to go to the lions den? We often highlight the end of the story of Daniel surviving the lions den. But we forget that Daniel still was put in a lions den. We believe God will save us from the lions den, yet when we get in it we get devoured. Forgetting the faith we had to be saved from it to get through it. We try to bend God’s will to our circumstance, rather than our circumstance to God’s will. We want to be saved from the very thing that will strengthen our trust in God. A hypothetical faith that has not been tested cannot be proven. A faith that says you will be saved from every storm is no faith at all. But a faith that says that God has complete control through the storm is mighty.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28 NLT

God is not the author of bad things. The administrators and high officers authored the law that put Daniel in the lion’s den. You see Daniel’s purpose was greater than his circumstance. This is how we must face every lion’s den, with the purpose God has set for our lives. You wonder why you keep getting devoured in the den. When you let the den define who you are then the den determines the outcome. But when you let your purpose define who you are then the den has no power. God used Daniel’s den to expedite the purpose He had for him.

Then King Darius sent this message to the people of every race and nation and language throughout the world: “Peace and prosperity to you! “I decree that everyone throughout my kingdom should tremble with fear before the God of Daniel. For he is the living God, and he will endure forever. His kingdom will never be destroyed, and his rule will never end. He rescues and saves his people;he performs miraculous signs and wonders in the heavens and on earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.” So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian. Daniel 6:25-28 NLT

So often we are unwilling to walk through the den to the miracle. As I titled this, there is no bench in this life. You can either walk in such a way that you avoid the lions dens of this world and see very little miracles, or you can charge forward into the dark places and see miracles illuminate your path?

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The Success of Submission

Why are we so afraid to submit? We view submission as being subdued or under someone’s thumb. We are afraid that what we submit will be taken from us. That if we give this new thing in our lives to God, that we really enjoy, He is going to take it away from us. If we give up control of it, it will never turn out to our benefit. We view submission simply as giving something up. The contrary is true, submission is receiving what we could not earn on our own.

Sometimes submission is used as a cop out for what God has for us to do. We simply submit it because it’s to difficult and walk away. God never intended submission to be giving up but coming under. Submit to God, but still do your part. Submission is not being chained but set free. It allows you to walk in what God has intended for you. Submission is not a covering to have God move where your supposed to, but where you can’t. Submission takes action in doing so, as a result giving the authority to take action. Submission takes courage and gives authority, to both the one yielded to and the yielder.

I think of Joseph in Potiphar’s house. Joseph could have submitted to his circumstances and sucked at everything he did. Instead he chose to stay submitted to God, leaving his dream in the Fathers hands. Because of this the Lord was with him and he succeeded at all that he did. This caused him to be promoted at a rapid pace. Joseph’s dream wasn’t his calling, pleasing the Lord was. It pleased the Lord to bring success to Potiphar’s house through Joseph, so he submitted to the house and allowed his success to profit from it.

Side note: Christians shouldn’t suck at their jobs but should be easy to promote.

Submission breeds a invulnerability to seduction. Because of Joseph’s submission to pleasing God, he was able to run away from the seduction of Potiphar’s wife. Because of his submission to the house he gained favor with Potiphar. In ancient Egypt, the punishment for adultery was death. The fact that he was sent to prison instead implies he was believed over Potiphar’s wife. I find it interesting that Potiphar’s wife is never named in this story. She was submitted to her impulse and remained unsuccessful at reaching her goal. She must have been really pretty, for she was definitely not submitted to her husband. You will never make a name for yourself without submission. She will always be known as the wife that tried to cheat. I’d rather remain unmentioned than poorly viewed or be a stumbling block. Who’s story are you trying force yourself into? Instead of trying to make a name for yourself, submit yourself to the Lord and allow Him to make your name.

Submission empowers. Joseph was given complete authority over the house he submitted to. He was successful at all that he did. His desire to please God produced an excellence in his work. When you are submitted to God, others will see that God is with you. If you focus on pleasing God, those in authority over you will be pleased and promote you. Your promotion will only go as far as your submission, complete submission equals complete authority.

Submission saves. Joseph was saved by his submission to Potiphar. Because he had gained the trust of his master his life was spared. Not only that, he achieved the same success in the prison he was sent to. His demotion was redeemed by his submission. In the same way we are saved by submitting ourselves to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Instead of gaining trust, we are learning to trust. Though we deserve hell, because we submit, we are given eternal life.

I actually did submit these thoughts to an authority in my life, this is what he said. There are two types of submission, willful and forced. Willful is like, a cop asking you to get on your knees and put your hands up, then you doing so. Forced is like, you refusing the request of the cop and him putting his knee on your neck and twisting your arms into submission. Are you putting yourself under authority or are you being put under authority? All authority is from God and all authority is submitted to. It is our choice to how we submit. How we do so will determine our success.

Genesis 39

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My Last Hope

Have you ever wanted to kill yourself? I must admit I have to answer yes to this question. Though those thoughts were very brief for me, they still went through my mind. I can clearly remember the thought of ending my life, but not the reason why. I can say for a fact that the situation I was up against passed and I lived through it. I say this not to gain the sympathy of the reader, but to bring to light an attack that has been forged against our generation. I never went through a period of depression or did anything to cause concern among friends and family. I only have a minute understanding of what someone being oppressed with suicidal thoughts goes through. If only your battle was as easy as I make it sound. I say all this to share who helped me though this small battle and my big battles as well.

“A single thread of hope is a very powerful thing” – Author unknown

I saw this quote and immediately thought of Rehab on the wall of Jericho. The only hope she had, was in the faithfulness of God, when she put the scarlet rope out of her window that her house would be protected. The rope itself was not what saved her, but the belief that in doing so God would see her faith. I’m sure she had her doubts. How is a rope going to save my house? This seemingly small act proved to be exactly what God needed to see and to move on her behalf. She had a small glimmer of hope that she would be seen. She believed that if God was big enough to tear down the walls around her, He is big enough to keep her house intact. She knew that even though everything around her fell apart she would be kept intact. This was the security of an entire nation. In putting the rope out there she not only said God would protect her but acknowledged He was going to tear down the walls. She moved her hope from the walls that had been put up to a God that could tear them down.

“No, my hope will go down with me to the grave. We will rest together in the dust!” Job 17:16 (NLT)

Rehab had the same mentality of Job. If the world falls apart or I even die, I will die with Hope in my heart. When everything I have has turned to dust, when my hearts desires seem to slip from my fingers, when the world tells me the darkness is light, it is Hope that I hold on to. When we have nothing to hold on to and we think all is lost hold on to Hope! Not in the hope that my situation will change but in who Hope is, the Hope that conquered the grave. The Hope that gives you a reason to live! Job is not professing that suicide is his only hope, he is saying I will lie down with Hope. I will rest is in knowing that Hope has me in His hands. That until the day I do die I will rest in the confidence of who Hope is. I will rest in Him until the dust settles. Who cares if all is lost? A life without the desires of my heart is livable, but a life without Hope is no life worth living. Find your value in who Hope is not in what you long for. Here’s the deal though, Hope cannot be contained and walls cannot come down without Hope. If we will open the door to Hope’s knock, we can allow Him to knock down our walls and be seen. Asking someone to bring their walls down without Hope is like asking a building be demolished with a pack of toothpicks. No matter how much you poke at it every toothpick will break before the building does. You have to be exposed to Hope before you can be seen. Allow God to see you and He will know your desires, allow yourself to see God and you will know His desires, allow yourself to see you how God sees you and you’ll desire what He desires for you.

The running theory on the fall of Jericho is that there was an earthquake that caused the foundations to give out. To the skeptics, earthquakes are considered an act of God. If we will simply allow God in to shake our foundations, strongholds will fall and the enemy will be defeated. Wait, isn’t Jesus supposed to be my strong foundation? Well I’m glad you asked. Yes. Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:10-11 (NLT) The foundation of Jesus is laid by Grace, by Hope, not by our works. We have all laid foundations of our own, that is what the Father wants shake. So that when the dust settles we are left holding onto Hope. Build your foundation on Hope and others will be able to build on that same foundation; there are others that depend on the foundation of Hope that you build.

The greatest story of Hope is when God shook the foundation of Jesus Himself. The night that Jesus put all of His hope in the human race. I say this in the sense that He went to the cross with no guarantee that anyone would accept Him, that the plan of God would even work. This is the real beauty in salvation, we get to choose it. God took everything from Jesus even though He did not deserve it. If anyone, Jesus had the right to curse God. He was betrayed by a friend, deserted by the rest and wanted for a crime He did not commit. On top of all that He was rejected by His Father. In the end all Jesus wanted was to be seen by His Father and accepted by His friends. Knowing all this would happen He still submitted to the will of God. He became the foundation of sin and allowed God to shake it till all that was left was Hope. Jesus could not become the Hope of the world until He answered the knock of sin. The knock of sin is not the act of sin but the consequence, to answer that knock is to open death’s door. He answered so we would not have to, He now waits knocking instead. To answer the knock of Hope is to open Life’s door.

Your Father is knocking
Faithfully knocking
Waiting knocking
He knocks again
This time will you let Him in?

If are having suicidal thoughts please put out your scarlet rope! Call a friend, a family member or a pastor. At the very least call the suicide hotline 1-800-273-8255. Talk to someone, find Hope!!

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Mountaintopper

Almost two years ago to the day I was in California doing fabrication for a design studio. I was living with the guy who was directly over me. It just so happened that this was the time of the year that the men in his family go on an adventure trip. He was kind enough to ask me to join them, and I was naive enough to say yes.

This years adventure was to climb Mt. Langley. We drove up to 10,000 ft. and hiked in 6 miles to make camp, with a 90 lb. pack. The next day we took the summit with a day pack. It was a 4 mile trek to the summit which was 14,042 ft. Once we made the peak, we signed the book at the top and immediately turned around and went back to camp for the night. I did play Imagine Dragons: On Top of the World before I made the decent. It was 8 miles, up 4,042 ft. and down 4,042 ft. in one day. As daunting as it was at the time, I wasn’t going to turn down the chance to go. It was worth the experience and the lessons learned.

  • Sometimes God will keep you valley because you are not ready for the mountain. Just because you look fit for the task ahead of you does not mean you’re ready for the task ahead. Knowing you’ll look good on the mountain top doesn’t mean you’re ready for the journey. Having the charisma of mountaintopper means nothing if you don’t have the integrity of a journeyer. I was not ready for the trip up. I would have to stop every 2O paces or so to catch my breath. This slowed the whole group down. Eventually they all went ahead, I slowly made the summit…45 minutes behind the group. Thank God for their patience and the graciousness of the guy I was living with to come back down to guide me up.
  • There is something new around every corner. No matter what corner I turned I never found what I expected. Even though it was rocks at every turn it was always a different rock. We may face things that are the same at face value, but they are an entirely new set of circumstances. Instead of going up the mountain saying “Great! More rocks”, we can say “Great! New rocks”. We have to understand that no matter how we look at it our perspective has changed. We are further along than we were yesterday. If we don’t allow our perspective to change according to where God is taking us then we are living in the past.
  • Keep eye on the trail in front of you. Sometimes you have to put your head down and just watch the trail. Sometimes you have to look up to the goal to remind yourself why you are going the direction you’re going. We can get so focused on the summit that it seems impossible to get to, no matter how long we walk it is still so far up there. Likewise we can get so focused on the trail that it seems wherever we’re going we’re never getting there, no matter how long we walk the trail never ends. We have to keep the balance of keeping our eye on the goal and on the trail. That we are on this trail for a reason not just to be walking. Remember why you’re on the trail, while keeping in mind that you have not arrived.

These are the few that I wrote down. If we just keep in mind that the journey is just as important and the destination, I think we’ll make it there without killing ourselves. I learned so much that day. There was a point where I faced the decision to continue or to turn around, I decided not to quit and will never regret it.. Even though its was one of the most physically difficult things I’ve done, it is something I long to do again. Though next time I will prepare myself.

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