How do you choose?
We all have decisions to make and choices to choose from. With all the options that are out there how do you decide what to do about anything. Many times culture and our friends sway us to think this way or that way, and we have to decide is that a good thing? It depends on the culture and the friend that is influencing you. How do we decide what is right and what is wrong for us? How do you know that you decide something because it is what you would decide verse other influences helping you to make the decision that you thought was your own? That is a lot to wrap your mind around. Everywhere you look there are things that are seeking to influence you. You can’t get away from it if you are going to live in the world with the rest of us. So what has to happen is you must decide what is the best influence that you should allow into your life?
How you make decisions defines you, and your character. When you make decisions you say a lot about who you are and how you process the world around you. As an individual if you can make decisions for yourself and from the core of your beliefs then you are living a live based on you and not on the current trends of the world. If you are a follower of Jesus then your decisions should look like the decisions that Jesus would make. It is still you but you tend to think in the terms of Jesus you react like Jesus. He is the influence in your life. He is the one you seek to please at the end of the day. Now this is on the radical side of things because many people claim to be followers of Jesus but do not allow Him to fully influence the decisions that they make in life. If you are on the extreme side then you live out of the deep belief that God longs to guide you in the decisions that you make. Check out Proverbs 19:2121 Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. What this verse is saying is this. We all have ideas and plans for our lives, but they never stand and last if they are not in line with God’s plan and purpose for our lives. God’s purpose and plan is the best. Have you ever thought about what your dream car is? Think about it if you could have any car out there what would you get! Now lets say you got that car, but for some reason you traded it for a Yugo.
See the picture above and to the right. When we do what we want without seeking out Gods help in our decisions in the end we trade our dream car for a Yugo. God wants the best for us, so we must follow Him in our decisions. His way is the Best!
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How has prayer shaped you?
We love to ask the question, who are you? We know that’s a difficult question to answer. But it is a very important question. When you know who you are then you know what is shaping you! Tonight we are focusing on prayer and how it shapes you. If your life is shaped by prayer than you are on your way to knowing who you are and who you were made to be! Prayer is one of the greatest things we have the privilege to participate in. We all can talk to God! We all have the ability to impact the world and our surroundings with prayer. When you pray you are being shaped and you are also seeing the world around you shaped. When you pray you are standing in front of your God, and He hears you and He loves you.
Have you ever seen direct answers to your prayers? When we see our prayers answered we are shaped and changed. Our faith increases and grows in us. Yes there are times when we don’t see our prayers answered in the way that we wanted them to be answered we may fell like our prayer was not answered at all. But believe me your prayer was heard and answered. You were shaped because of that experience. Our prayer life is so important, it shapes us from the inside out. What do we receive because we pray? We receive and learn God’s will for our life. It allows God to have an avenue into our herts. It grows our relationship with Him. It grows us and increases our faith. Check out this verse, it lets us see how God wants us to respond to life. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Wow how in the world are we able to do that? Prayer, when we pray and go before God with everything we are given hope that He is with us in everything that we face. If he is with us what in the world would we every be afraid of. What trouble would we ever have that we can’t face! If we were to live this way then we could say that prayer is shaping us and growing us in awesome ways. I really like this verse because it does not give us any room to wiggle. There is no either or we are just to follow this verse and live this way! We are to follow this despite how we feel or what emotions are leading us to do. We are to be shaped by this verse and our prayers are to be continuous. Think how your life would be different if you lived by this verse? Just give a thought and keep reading…
How Does God Impact Your Life?
What really impresses you? What makes you go wow that is awesome! For me well if you know me that would be my wife, my kids and technology. I am wowed at the things that I can do and create with technology, and I am just so in love with each of the members of my family that at times it overwhelms me. But what about you? What impresses you and makes you go Wow! I started to think about the wow factor in my life after I read tonight’s unfinished sentence. I had to ask myself if God wow’s me and sends me over the top because I know Him personally or have I become so accustomed to His being in my life. I mean He is God and all things flow through Him. Does that wow me? The fact that I have a personal relationship with the creator of all things does that wow me? It’s tough because I know that when I think about it I know that I am wowed, and impacted. The problem is I just don’t think about it enough. Why I would have to say that I lack in making a connection with Him and my everyday life. My family is so real to me and they are in my life every minute and well technology is how I achieve almost all of the things that I do. That at times if I am not careful these things can become more real to me than the fact that I have a personal relationship with God. So lets think about it, and lets look to see what God’s word has to say about it. Check out this verse: John 1:12
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. This is a wow verse to me because it tells me that I have a right to be called a son of God. That is an impacting verse in so many ways because it really changes who I am and what I am about. I am a son of the most high God. The only God that there ever was and ever will be. This gets me thinking, when I look around at the things that wow me I should know that God is a big wow in my life because being His son should develop and change my identity. It should shape the way I am and who I am becoming each day. When I think about something having the power to shape me and change me I must admit that is a wow for me! What about you what wows you and what make you think about God and causes you to be wowed by Him? Give it some thought take a look at the verse again and know that you are a son or daughter of the most high God!
How you handle it
Life it just happens around us and sometimes we are involved in the decisions that are going on around us, other times life just happens to us. So how do you handle the stress of life? What do you do when everything just falls apart? It happens to all of us, we think that we have everything under control and then blame everything falls apart. Now don’t get me wrong we all know those people who well are in panic mode all the time because life just never ever is in a good place. Then there are the other people who well never ever seem to lose control of life. Everything is always just fine and perfect! (Of course they are just really good at covering up the fact that life gets out of control for them.) Then in the middle of this is us we have a grip on life and things are going good and then other times life seems to fall apart. That is where most of us are at! So how do you handle life when things just fall out of control? What do you turn to so that you feel better and in control agin? There are stresses in life that is part of life but how you handle the stress is key. Some of us just hide and run away, others get angry and take it out on others, and some of us jump in and seek to take control back. God has many things to say about stress. He knew that we would face many things and that we would need His guidance and help to get through life. Take a look at this Philippians 4:6-9 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. That is a lot to take in so read it a couple of times. In this edition of the Extreme Faith Mag. we are going to break it down and make it something that you can use to manage stress and life. Life it happens and well we need to be ready for whatever it throws at us. Did you read it again? If not read it again it is life changing when you allow it to soak in. Keep reading the articles and learn about life and how to manage it.
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Written and Posted by The XGT Experience Team of leaders