Preparing for Opportunity: Be Ready when God Opens Doors

Preparing for Opportunity: Be Ready when God Opens Doors

You’ve been told that God has a purpose for you, but it doesn’t seem to be happening. Where are those “open doors” promised in Revelation 3:8? Could God be overlooking you?

Your part in this cosmic drama may not seem very important right now. But that doesn’t mean right now is not important. Successes, big opportunities, don’t just happen – even in God’s economy. They come to those who are prepared.

Louis Pasteur, who discovered penicillin, said “Fortune favors the prepared mind.”

Winston Churchill, who led Great Britain during – and out of – the darkest days of World War II, said, “To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour.”

That same idea comes straight from the Bible. Joseph was used to interpreting dreams long before Pharaoh called him from the dungeon to the palace. David was used to slinging stones at lions and bears long before he approached Goliath. Daniel was used to praying daily long before the Persian king passed a decree that landed Daniel in the den of lions. Jesus spent 30 years learning to hear His Father’s voice perfectly before He embarked on His public mission to save the human race.

God sovereignly opens doors, and He will do so for you!

But the much bigger question is,

Will you be ready to walk through those doors when God opens them?

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Does Your Spouse Feel Safe With You?

Does Your Spouse Feel Safe With You?

Connected. Loving. Engaged. Invigorating. Happy. Isn’t that the kind of marriage you want?

If you answered yes, then keep reading. I’ll share with you an important key that will help you get there.

On the other hand, if you would rather have a spouse who you can manipulate and control, who walks on eggshells around you, feel free to click away from this page. This will not help you put your spouse in a box and keep them there for your own individual pleasure.

If you find yourself complaining about what your spouse is or isn’t doing, I want to shake up your perspective. Yes, they’re failing in many ways. But for right now, imagine yourself in your spouse’s shoes. And then ask yourself this question:

How safe does my spouse feel with me?

You may feel justified in behaving badly toward your spouse because of the ways they have failed – and are failing – you. Put those thoughts aside for now. From your spouse’s perspective, are you creating a space where they feel safe?

If you’re a husband, that might look like this:

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Necessary or Unnecessary Suffering

Necessary or Unnecessary Suffering

Is suffering a good thing? Is suffering to be embraced? Or avoided?

Suffering never feels good. That’s why it’s called suffering. Some Christian believers seem to embrace suffering and grow from it personally and spiritually. Other believers seem to avoid it at all costs, wonder why God doesn’t always relieve their suffering, and wonder what’s wrong when suffering continues.

Much of that confusion, I believe, comes from a failure to understand the difference between necessary and unnecessary suffering.

Unnecessary Suffering

There are countless ways in which we suffer – physically, emotionally, spiritually. But not all of that suffering is necessary or inevitable. It’s not a pleasant thought, but sometimes you cause the suffering yourself.

What about the suffering of material lack – poverty? Have you invested your time and energy well, refusing to blame others for where you are in life? Have you learned good money management skills, staying away from debt? Have you learned to be a wise steward of any physical resources you have?

What about the suffering from the breakup of a marriage? Did you give up too soon when your marriage might have been saved with hard work? Did you neglect your spouse too long in too many ways? Did you compromise your boundaries, or refuse to deal with damaging things in your own character?

What about physical suffering? Are you experiencing the consequences of a lifestyle of unhealthy eating, no exercise, or substance abuse? Have you cared for your body well, with appropriate rest and medical care?

Wallowing in shame and guilt about any of this is not useful. But it is sobering to realize that some of our suffering was caused or at least made worse by the decisions we made and actions we took.

That’s actually good news! Because it also means we can now reduce our suffering in those areas by making new decisions and taking different actions.

Necessary Suffering

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How to Have a Spiritual Conversation with Your Spouse

How to Have a Spiritual Conversation with Your Spouse

You know you need God in your marriage for it to grow and remain strong and healthy. But you may feel as though you and your spouse are on very different pages when it comes to your spiritual life. Having a deep spiritual conversation may feel intimidating or downright scary. Perhaps you’ve tried in the past and things didn’t go well. You ended up frustrated, more isolated, and feeling like a failure.

Here are steps that will help you get started having those conversations. Don’t make the mistake of trying to talk about all these questions in one sitting. Choose one to three to begin with, and see where the conversation goes.

There is no greater intimacy than that which can develop between a husband and wife who commit to regularly bringing God into their relationship. Having these kinds of conversations will help you do that.

Before You Begin

For this kind of conversation to work well, you’ll need to be intentional. Before you begin, these points will help you set yourself up for success.

Choose the Setting

Don’t use these questions to ambush your spouse as they’re rushing to leave for work or dropping into bed with exhaustion. Find a time when you will both be free from distractions and able to focus on each other. It might be date night, Saturday morning coffee, or some other setting when you are both relatively well rested and able to listen well.

Listen to Your Spouse

Talking about these questions won’t get you very far if you use them purely as an intellectual exercise. Look for what your spouse is trying to communicate underneath the words. Reflect what you hear them saying, and then share from your own heart. See yourself as investing from your heart in the spiritual foundation of your marriage.

Listen to God

Above all else, be looking for what God is doing – in your own heart, in your spouse’s heart, and in your marriage. Look for where He is already at work, and see how you might cooperate with that. It’s best to begin with prayer – short and simple: “God, we are here seeking You in our marriage. Please show up and minister to us where we need it most. Thank You. Amen.”

20 Questions

Now for the questions – the conversation starters that can help you explore your spiritual lives together and nurture what God wants to do in, through, and for you.

  1. What is your picture of God? Who is He to you?

Biblical phrases and images are great, and it’s wonderful to start there. But go deeper. Who is God to you experientially, emotionally? What kind of feelings or thoughts come up when you think or talk about God?

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Heavenly Perfume: How to Smell Good as a Christian

Heavenly Perfume: How to Smell Good as a Christian

Jesus smelled good. Do you?

I don’t mean Jesus showered every day; He didn’t. People used various methods to try to smell nice, but cologne as we know it wasn’t available 2000 years ago. But no one could come near Him without feeling an almost irresistible attraction. The heavenly perfume of Jesus’ goodness and holiness was undeniable.

The attraction to Jesus was not some sappy happiness or momentary feel-good “love”. It had nothing to do with religious stuff. Yes, He healed people and gave them hope for a better life. But everything about Him – not only but including His words – radiated fierce courage, jealous love, and a call to a deeper, fuller, wilder, and more purposeful life than anyone had previously imagined.

You couldn’t meet Jesus and not be changed. Not everyone who sensed the fragrance of Jesus responded positively. But no one could leave His presence or His life without facing a choice – to either follow Him on a journey to goodness and holiness and purpose themselves, or to reject His offer and follow evil instead.

You Have an Aroma Too

Everything about you has an effect on others. You can’t keep that from happening any more than you can keep your body odor or perfume to yourself.

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