"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, September 20, 2013

* OBSTACLES OR OPPORTUNITY ?

Philippians 1:12 (NIV 1984) "Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel."

A justified list of reasons to shy away was obvious. Bullet points to show my inadequacy were numerous. Personal weaknesses shined like a spotlight.  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?"  I pressed forward, trusting in His plan, without having all the details.  At times the Lord would gently whisper, "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've only had email for a few 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, don't get me started on my cel phone.  Get the idea?

Let's just say, that the author who wrote, "Technology and 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?

It's easy to allow obstacles to get in the way of what the Lord wants from us.  We allow fears to control any forward progress.  Limited knowledge or understanding may paralyze us.  It appears plausible to shrink back and maintain the status quo.  But, the disappointing 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 furthered the Gospel.  What some would call obstacles, Paul called opportunity.  His perspective was Kingdom focused, not self-focused.  Paul knew what he was about.  His purpose was to spread the Gospel of Jesus, and prison was just another avenue to do that.  Jail was a pit stop on his missionary journeys, an "obstacle" permitted by God and used by Paul to reach people for Christ.  

Like Paul, Christ followers are expected to share in the furtherance of the Gospel.  We can do this when we embrace our circumstances as opportunities.  Viewing 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 as he stretches us beyond our safe zone.  Then, we get to witness His glorious will unfold.

Maintainig a website/blog may seem crazy for a girl like me because I haven't always embraced the latest technological advances, mostly out of fear.  God can use technology for His glory.  These advances are merely tools, not toys, in spreading the message God puts in my heart.  Tears come, arguments with my computer occur periodically and giving up seems like a viable option at times. But, I am reminded that growth does not come without pain, so I choose to persevere.

God desires growth and a godly perspective from His followers.  Wherever He is leading and whatever He wants to teach us can be accomplished when we surrender our fears and salute our faith.  Then, we can embrace obstacles as opportunity.  This propels us to rely on Him, entrust to Him what we don't understand and believe in His provision to sustain us, so He can bring to completion what He wants to accomplish through our lives, for His glory.

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 Transforming Word:
John 16:33 (NIV 1984) "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.  Edited 2013.  All rights reserved.