"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me." - Galatians 2:20

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Friday, April 29, 2011

OBSTACLES OR OPPORTUNITY

Philippians 1:12 (NIV) "Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel."


There was a justified list of reasons to shy away. Bullet points to show I was inadequate to even try to navigate such a task. Personal weaknesses were obvious. A lack of understanding and knowledge piled higher than my laundry. Insecurity crept into my 'behind-the-times' life.

"Lord, are you sure this is the direction you're leading? Is this really what you are asking of me?" Determined to be obedient and not give up, I pressed forward, trusting in His plan. At times the Lord would gently tell me, "Will you trust Me for the unknown? Will you have faith in My provision? Don't see these as obstacles Hester, see them as opportunity."

Here's the breakdown: I haven't even had email for three years. As a mom with young ones I couldn't see how I could add one more thing. Email? Why not just call people? (yeah, I know, stop laughing). I finally learned how to cut and paste. I'm still learning how to transfer one file to another. I can barely operate our printer. I still don't know how to download pictures. And, I just got a cell phone exactly one year ago. (Don't get me started on that one). Get the idea?

Let's just say, that the author who wrote, "Technology & Computer For Dummies" had me in mind. Honestly, both intimidate me. So, when the Lord decided to put me on the roster for having my own website/blog to write devotions, I did a double take. You talkin' to me? Like Moses I recoiled at the thought. Lord you know my love/hate relationship with the computer. Are you sure on this one?

Many times we can allow our obstacles to get in the way of what the Lord wants from us. We allow our fears to control our forward progress. Our limited knowledge and understanding paralyze us.

It seems easier to shrink back and maintain the status quo.  The result is that we avoid what God wants for us. In our effort to dodge what we cannot control we miss untold joys. We never step out to see the sunshine over the mountain.

Paul saw his circumstances as opportunity. Despite being in prison he insists to the Philippians in chapter 1:12-14 that it has furthered the Gospel. What some would call obstacles, Paul called opportunity. His perspective was focused and godly. Paul knew what he was about. His purpose was to spread the Gospel of Jesus in any way, shape or form. Prison was an avenue to do that very thing. It was a pit stop on his missionary journeys, an "obstacle" permitted by God and used by Paul to reach people for Christ.

Like Paul, I want to share in the furtherance of the Gospel. I can do this when I embrace my circumstances as opportunities.
Viewing our obstacles as opportunities becomes possible when we possess a godly perspective. They can be blessings if we see them as catalysts for spiritual growth.

What is faith if we don't put it into practice? When God asks something of us that seems impossible we have a choice to make: rely on self or rely on God. Our decision to rely on God reveals our utter dependence upon Him to see His plan come to fruition. This reliance allows us to experience Him in new ways. He stretches us beyond our safe zone, and then, we get to witness His glorious will unfold.

I am amazed at what God has done in my life this past year. The personal growth I have experienced would not have happened had I not been stretched. These steps of faith have grown my confidence in God's work. I entrust to Him what I don't understand and believe in His provision to carry me through.

Last Saturday marked the one year anniversary of Hester's Heart. 44 devotions later, I continue to write. I also have a personal Facebook account, Facebook fan page for Hester's Heart, and as of three days ago I'm now officially on Twitter. Careful now, don't choke on your latte.

This may seem crazy for a girl like me. I haven't always embraced the latest technological advances, mostly out of fear. The Lord has shown me He can use technology for His glory. These advances are merely tools for me (not toys) in spreading the message God has put in my heart.

Of course, my gracious friend set up many of these accounts for me, but I tell you, managing and maintaining them is work. Tears come, arguments with my computer occur frequently, and giving up seems like a viable option at times. But, my desire to please God runs deeper than my intimidation, frustration and fears.
I choose to persevere.

God has shown me how important it is to rely on Him to carry to completion what He wants to accomplish through my life. He has taught me to view my obstacles as opportunities for spiritual growth.



Heart Work:
Pray for opportunities that will grow you spiritually.

What decision are you facing that the Lord has asked of you? Ask Him to help you be obedient.

Heart Exam:
What obstacles in your life are pressing in on you? How can you change your perspective to see them as opportunities for growth?

How can you rely on God to carry you through trying times?


Heart Changing Word:
John 16:33 (NIV) "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

Romans 8:37 "No, in all things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us."

2 Corinthians 12:9 " 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so Christ's power may rest on me."

Philippians 1:6 "Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

Philippians 4:13 "I can do everything through him who gives me strength."

1 John 4:4 "The One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world."



Copyright 2011 by Hester Christensen. All rights reserved.