STOP. IT.


STOP. IT.

This phrase, “stop it,” may seem counterintuitive since my previous post was titled “DO. NOT. QUIT.” However, the two ideas work together. In order to say “yes” to the right things, we must be willing to say “no” to the wrong things. In order to keep going, we must be willing to let some things go along the way. 

Take a minute and think about all the things you are saying “yes” to right now? You may even want to write it down so you can see the full impact of where your time is spent. Is your list full of a bunch of things that would be considered good, but maybe not RIGHT for you? You may even feel numb with busyness because you aren’t doing the RIGHT THING that God has specifically for you.

I recently learned there is a rare condition called Congenital insensitivity to pain (CIP), in which a person cannot feel (and has never felt) physical pain. Because feeling physical pain is vital for survival, CIP is an extremely dangerous condition.

It is common for people with the condition to die in childhood due to injuries or illnesses going unnoticed. Burn injuries are among the more common injuries. We need the sensation of pain to let us know when our bodies need extra care. It’s an important signal. 

When we sense pain, we pay attention to our bodies and can take steps to fix what hurts. Pain also may prevent us from injuring a body part even more. The sad truth is just because you don’t feel the heat doesn’t mean you won’t get burned! 

This condition can be the same thing with our spiritual life. If you doing all the wrong things to feel important or fill your time to avoid your feelings, you will not be able to sense the signal your body sends that you need to scale back or take care of yourself or refocus your efforts to what God wants for you.

In the same token, it’s like someone saying the same thing to you so much that you tune them out. You are numb to their direction, you aren’t heeding the warning or correction.  Paul had some strong words of correction to the church in Ephesus. “That is not the way you learned.” – Ephesians 4:20

We are not to live the way we used to live because we are not the people we used to be. The Bible was written to be obeyed and not simply studied. This matters because our new life in Christ affects the way we live life. This explains why we have such deep hurts.

How do we move away from our sin and push toward holiness?

I suggest the answer is found in two little words …

STOP. IT. 

  • Stop walking the way you walked.
  • Stop thinking the way you thought.
  • Stop excluding God the way you tried.
  • Stop desiring more and more just to be unsatisfied.

WHY? Because you and I know better! If we don’t get this, we will keep living a broken life, on auto-pilot doing all the things, that aren’t RIGHT for YOU. Remember, just because you don’t feel the heat doesn’t mean you won’t get burned!

TAKE HEART THESE POWERFUL WORDS FROM Charles Spurgeon: “What settings are you in when you fall? AVOID THEM. What props do you have that support your sin? ELIMINATE THEM. What people are you usually with? AVOID THEM. 

There are two equally damning lies Satan wants us to believe and if we take the bait, we will find ourselves in a compromising position leading to a downward spiral: 

  1. Just once won’t hurt. 
  2. Now that you have ruined your life, you are beyond God’s use and might as well enjoy sinning.

LEARN TO SAY NO! It will be of more use to you than being able to read another language. I invite you to meditate on the following (almost 800 years old) prayer For Ordering a Life Wisely by Thomas Aquinas:

“O merciful God, grant that I may desire ardently, search prudently, recognize truly, and bring to perfect completion whatever is pleasing to You for the praise and glory of Your name. Grant to me, O Lord my God, that I may not falter in times of prosperity or adversity, so that I may not be exalted in the former, nor dejected in the latter. May I not rejoice in anything unless it leads me to You; may I not be saddened by anything unless it turns me from You. May I desire to please no one, nor fear to displease anyone, but You.”

If you didn’t evaluate and make a list at the beginning of this post, you should.  Spend some time in prayer and really ask God to highlight HIS MOST IMPORTANT work for YOU!

GET STARTED NOW

  • Stop one bad habit today.
  • Start one good habit today.
  • Ask one person for support and help.

I am praying for you!


DO. NOT. QUIT.


We all have goals, dreams, and achievements that we meticulously plan out in our lifetime. Each new year, resolutions are made, and we get fired up to do new things.

But how often do we quit, sometimes before we ever get started? How often do we let pushback distract us and diminish our drive or the fire God placed inside us?

My challenge to you today …

DO. NOT. QUIT.

If I asked you, “What are you in danger of quitting,” how would you answer?

“Nothing!” OR

“I already quit.” OR

“I’m just so tired; I can’t keep going.”

This video of Heather Dorniden, now Kampf, is a highly decorated runner with an impressive string of accomplishments.

As you see in this video, what’s most impressive was the moment she won first place 
in the 600-meter dash—after falling flat on her face. Now that is what we call making a comeback.

Often, we can be discouraged because we can’t see the results. We expect things to happen quickly and on our terms, but God doesn’t always move quickly. He’s strategic according to the purpose He has for each of us. Whatever the Lord has put in front of you, don’t back down. Keep moving forward, keeping doing the great work.

DO. NOT. QUIT.

Let’s see how Nehemiah responded.

Nehemiah 6:3 “And I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?”

We see Nehemiah refusing to come down, refusing to give up. He had enemies looking to distract him and cause him harm, but he knew he wouldn’t leave. He was not going to let any pushback get in his way.

In the same way, you and I have a great work, a divine purpose, a God anointing. When we operate under the will God has for our life, we live under the safety and shelter of His wings. He will strengthen us, give us power through Him, and a firm foundation in Him to be able to press in and press on no matter the circumstances.  

No matter how many times you fall, the obstacles get in your way, or the people intentionally work against you, keep getting back up. Push back is inevitable, but in the words of Winston Churchhill, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

DO. NOT. QUIT.

God placed the dream or purpose in your heart for a reason, which means something to Him. So, it should mean something to you too! Quitting shouldn’t be an option.

I love this quote by William Clubertson, “It is important to start right, but it is imperative to end well.” This Clubertson quote models God’s character in excellence and parallels Colossians 3:23-24 beautifully. God calls us into excellence, working heartily for him and not men. When we push on, even against resistance, we are serving Him in excellence. 

Colossians 3:23-24

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 

God has given us the Holy Spirit, so we have the strength to endure, but we have to access it daily. We are made strong in Him, and as we work in excellence, we bring glory to God.

But the inheritance in Colossians is our reward too. At the end of your life, all the people who pushed back and distracted you, where will they be? Who’s opinion really matters here? Let’s stay focused on what’s important.

DO. NOT. QUIT.

We know that perspective is everything. This picture of a sumo wrestler and a kid can represent both sides of resistance with a slight change of perspective.

Without God, our problems and pushbacks feel as big and robust as the sumo wrestler.  

BUT with God … we are the sumo wrestler, and our pushbacks are feeling the resistance of His power when trying to push against us! 

This is such a great visual as we look at our obstacles and realize we have the power through Christ to stand firm as people and circumstances push against us.

Let’s be inspired today by Nehemiah. Let’s look at everything in our lives God asks us to do as “great work” for Him and settle in our hearts and minds; we won’t be coming down, we won’t give up. NO MATTER WHAT! Be encouraged, get back up, keep fighting and watch our BIG GOD redeem the time lost and make all things excellent when you’re doing it for Him!

DO. NOT. QUIT.

LIFE APPLICATION: If this is something you’ve struggled with, let’s get a pen and paper.
Write down the work God has asked you to do, but you have lost hope or vision before completing it. I encourage you to spend some time in prayer with Him and ask Him to reignite your fire and passion. Ask Him for big God ideas and let Him cast vision in your heart today.


Give It Time



Tough question for you today … do you think you are making a difference?

I am more and more convinced that we overestimate what can be accomplished in five weeks and underestimate what we can complete in five years. We overestimate what can be accomplished in one season of life and underestimate what we can achieve in a lifetime.  

Are you actually measuring your success to see the difference you’re making? If you aren’t measuring, it may seem like you are spinning a web of busyness, but aren’t getting anywhere. It may even feel fruitless…if you are feeling fruitless, give it time.

I heard a pastor once say, “God doesn’t move slow or fast, He moves strategically.” We can learn a valuable lesson from this; that while He does want us to be fruitful, the planting you are doing today must be strategic even if we never see the fruit.

If we don’t get this, we will confuse being planted with being buried.

Many of the best things in life take time. 

In John 15:1-11, Jesus paints such a beautiful word picture of a vine with branches. The vine is Jesus; we are the branches. The vinedresser is the Father, who prunes us with His Word. 

Let’s not be naive, pruning can be painful! Let me encourage you to abide as God prunes. We know that to abide in Christ means to remain in Him. Trust that there is purpose in the pain. Allow yourself time in the surgery room, being still, waiting on God as He performs surgery.

There is promise in the pain, even if the situation doesn’t make sense, even if you are unable to see Him working. Release your expectations and only expect good in the end. Because if God is doing surgery, His purpose is always to bring you healing.

We all know it is hard to stay still when you’re in pain. I’m reminded of when our oldest daughter, Madi, was little, and we pulled her first tooth. It was tough for her to sit still. She kept squirming around as we tied a string around her tooth. She was scared of the pain, but it had to happen. Once the tooth was out, she was ready for the new tooth to grow into place. 

As branches, we are to bear fruit. Fruit is the gift that keeps on giving because of the seeds, which leads to replication. Paul charged Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:2, “what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”

But as we have all experienced, these things take time.

A pastor friend of mine used to say…

“You can’t plant apple seeds in the evening and expect to have apple juice in the morning.”

The truth is, there is no such thing as a fruitless Christian. This is because Christians never work alone. They should never work alone, and in actuality, they can never work alone. If you have been trying to work alone, ask yourself why. 

The reality is, we are never alone because the power of the Holy Spirit is working in us. But we must be willing to submit our lives to His leadership. Submission will be the most humbling experience of your Christian walk, the most necessary act for fruitful ministry, and the only thing that will get you out of what pride trapped you in.

Another reason we can never work alone is the spiritual resistance we experience from the enemy. He is always hanging around waiting to pounce on us when we are down. Jonathan Edwards said, “When the church is revived, so is the devil.” The devil wants nothing more than to steal your hope.

Hal Lindsey, in his best-selling book, The Terminal Generation, observed that “Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope.” 

As the old hymn says, “our hope is found in nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness … I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.” Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life we need in this world and the next. 

Hell has no exit, and Heaven has one door.

Jesus reminded His disciples in John 15:5, “Apart from Me, you can do nothing.” Warren Wiersbe said, “The fear of the Lord conquers every other fear.”

Remember, there is no such thing as a fruitless Christian.

So let me ask you, what are you planting?

Our challenge this week … protect the seeds in your soil. Then, give it some time while you abide in Him.