You SHALL Inherit the Promise by Clint Byars

Posted in Spiritual Growth, Uncategorized with tags , , on Thursday by jbrichards

The children of Manasseh had a giant problem, literally. They had seen Gods deliverance from Egypts oppression, daily experienced Gods provision, crossed the river into the land promised their father Abraham, but there was still one problemgiants. They were in the Promised Land; it was under their feet, they could see it, but it didnt quite look like what they were expecting. Have you ever felt like you were where God wanted you to be but it was full of problems? Maybe those problems even caused you to question whether youre in the right place. You aren’t alone.

     The nation of Israel had the Promised Land in reach; all that was left was to take the land. We are in a similar position, yet under a New Covenant. We have been translated into the Kingdom of Jesus and delivered from the power of darkness with all spiritual blessings within our grasp, yet our outer world may be full of problems. Lets check back in with the tribe of Manasseh and see how they handled this issue.

     The children of Manasseh came before Joshua and Eleazar, the priest, to remind them they were supposed to get some land. Joshua divided to them ten portions of land. The inheritance had been given and was more than enough for the men, women, and children. I can see it now: the tribe packs up and heads toward their Promised Land full of hope and expectation of a bright future. Maybe theyre even singing the song of Moses and telling tales of having to eat all that quail and manna. They arrive at the borders of their new sanctuary and then they see them: giants.

     They were emboldened by the victories of Joshua and Caleb so they begin to fight for their land. It soon becomes clear they are not strong enough to take care of this problem so they go back to Joshua to ask for help.

     Keep in mind, Joshua is the one called by God to take Israel into the Promised Land. Hes the one who led them to their promise and he has, in fact, gotten them to a place of deliverance and given them the land. Hes a type and shadow of Jesus. Hes Gods representative at this time. The Promised Land is under their feet but now they have to fight for it. What Joshua does next is a clue into how were to fight to see the manifestation of the spiritual promises God has made to all who believe on the name of the Lord Jesus.

     In Joshua 17 we also see the children of Joseph come before Joshua. Their issue is a little different than Manasseh. Josephs children complain about not having enough land and add that the land they do have is also full of giant Canaanites and there are too many trees. Joshua tells them to head up to the land of the Perizzites, cut down the trees, and take that land, too. Then they tell Joshua the giant Canaanites have iron chariots.

     Then Joshua says, Do I have to do everything for you?Not really, but I can imagine he begins to get frustrated with all the excuses. He probably wanted to remind them of all the giants hed killed, how he took Jericho, how he defeated 31 kings, and how God sent hornets to clear the land – but he didnt. Instead he declares the future that Gods favor desires for them.

And Joshua spoke to the house of Josephto Ephraim and Manassehsaying, You are a great people and have great power; you SHALL not have only one lot, but the mountain country SHALL be yours. Although it is wooded, you SHALL cut it down, and its farthest extent SHALL be yours; for you SHALL drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots and are strong. Joshua 17:17-18

     I believe Joshua is prophesying the will of God for these tribes in this moment. He is speaking from a place of confidence and personal trust in the Lord but he is also representing the desire of the Lord for them in his declaration. Notice how many times he says shall. He isn’t playing around; hes very serious about what he’s saying. He knows God is faithful, he has seen it. Joshua knows the Lord is trustworthy and when He makes a promise He does everything He can to empower you to inherit that promise in its fullness.

     I believe this is what God has done over our lives. Through Christ He has declared victory. He has made us righteous. He has sealed those who believe with His eternal spirit of promise. His favor goes before us and His protection follows behind. All that is left is to walk with Him while renewing our minds to see His salvation in its fullness. We become dismayed at the sight of a problem or are afraid of a little work and allow the kingdom seed within our hearts to be choked out. Like were about to see in the destiny of these tribes all it takes to see Gods promises is to remain confident in what He has already declared.

     These tribes must have been inspired and emboldened by Joshua in this exchange because we see a very different story a few chapters later.

Joshua 21:43 So the LORD gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they took possession of it and dwelt in it. 44 The LORD gave them rest all around, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers. And not a man of all their enemies stood against them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand. 45 Not a word failed of any good thing which the LORD had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.

     WOW! All came to pass! This is Gods desire for you, that everything He has promised you comes to pass. Jesus said all things were possible to those who believe. Do you believe all of the promises youve stood on will come to pass?

     So why dont we see the manifestation of these promises? Possibly like the children of Israel were complaining in our hearts. Perhaps like Manasseh we think our problems are too strong. Maybe like the children of Joseph we dont want to get to work and cut down the trees that stand in the way. It really doesnt matter why. Thats the wrong question, anyway. The right question is What has God said?

     Gods favor is not magic. Everything God has for us is experienced by grace through faith. The outward manifestation is directly tied to the inward expectation and commitment to be empowered by God. Far too often we complain or remain in our laziness rather than getting up, taking steps forward, and putting our hand to the plow. Weve somehow been lulled into an idealistic stupor where we think God will sovereignly make everything happen in our lives independent from our co-laboring. We can never perform our way into a blessing, but the paradox is well never experience the fullness of what God has promised until we trust Him and move forward to take the land. Faith comes before understanding, plowing comes before harvesting, and foundations are laid before structures are built. Dont let yourself be fooled into thinking your time of inactivity is being spent waiting on the Lord to perform a magic trick on your behalf. When we begin to move we can be led, but being parked at the dock only serves to ensure nothing will happen.

     That may be a little strong, but I want to inspire you to trust God. I want you to take responsibility for what God has promised you and not let it go. His grace is ever-present and more than youll ever need to accomplish what is in your heart; but grace doesnt take the first step for you. God is seeking to bless you, but you might have to kill a few giants to see the manifestation.

     I dare you to take God at His Word and step out in what He has declared over your life. You dont know what God has declared over your life? Pick a promise – any promise, and go for it, for all of His promises are a resounding “YES!”

2 Corinthians 1:20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.

     Either youre going to believe God or youre going to settle and come up with excuses. Which will you do?

     In my series, The City of God: Entering the Promise Land,I discuss how God goes before you and fights for you. Hes the God of the impossible. He can make a way where there is no way. I look at the concept of abiding in Jesus as our place of victory and rest. I firmly establish the fact that God is for you and is, in fact, seeking to bless you every moment of the day. And I discuss the paradox of effortlessly producing fruit while gaining ground by the grace of God. I believe this series will convince you that Gods promises are sure for you and He is relentless in helping you move toward complete manifestation. You can listen online at


The Unseen Advantage by Jim Richards

Posted in Power to Live Life, Spiritual Growth, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on Thursday by jbrichards

Everyone wishes they could just get an advantage in life: someone to speak up for them, put in a good word, or maybe “pull of few strings!” So many times in my life, especially when I was younger, I felt like I just couldn’t catch a break. It seemed that in every situation someone else had the advantage!

Like most people in those situations I felt that life was just not fair. I even wondered at times, “Where is God in this? Why isn’t He here for me? Why aren’t my prayers getting answered?” There were times when I felt like the psalmist who lamented, But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; My steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the boastful, When I saw the prosperity of the wicked… their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men, Nor are they plagued like other men. …They have more than heart could wish (Ps 73:2-7).

I had read God’s promises of favor to the Israelites. In my heart I knew by the witness of the Spirit that the land of milk and honey was supposed to be mine even before I knew the theology of the promises of God. Like most believers, however, my idea of God’s favor was rooted in religious mysticism. I thought favor was a work God was going to do in others toward me.

Like many, I knew everything with God happened by faith. But like too many others I thought faith was when I believed hard enough to get God to act on my behalf. Little did I know that my idea of faith was actually what the Bible calls dead works. I didn’t understand that faith simply believes everything God has said and done.

Over time I walked out of that crisis, trusting God as much as I knew how, only to find myself again facing overwhelming adversity. Religious condemnation always says, “Either God is doing this to you, allowing it to test you, or using it to punish you for something you’ve done wrong.”  Yet, the Bible says just the opposite. Let no one say when he is tempted tested, tried, scrutinized or made to strive, “I am tempted, tested, tried, scrutinized or made to strive by God (Ja. 1:13). I knew God was not my problem; I just wasn’t sure, however, what the problem was!

We are in Jesus and God relates to us just as He does Jesus… right now as He sits at the right hand of God! I can’t see God doing anything to me He would not first do to Jesus at this moment. When I want to know the promises and protection of God I look at the death, burial, and resurrection. When I want to see the wisdom of God I look at the life of Christ. The Bible says He is the wisdom of God. He perfectly demonstrated the practical application of God’s truth. He is our Model. I am His disciple! If I can identify anything in His life that I am fully committed to experiencing the grace of God will empower me to live it! I just wasn’t sure why He grew in favor!

One of the most intriguing Scriptures about Jesus’ life says: Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men (Lk. 2:52). God didn’t just wave His hand or speak the word from Heaven and cause Jesus to have favor. He grew in favor! I also recognized this verse had to be balanced against a verse in Isaiah: He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him (Is 53:2). If there was nothing that caused people to be drawn to Him from the outside, then there must be something else that caused Him to grow in favor. I came to realize THE key factor in favor. Favor is not something God does to men outside of me; favor is something God gives through me!

My biggest revelation about favor (or the lack thereof) came when a pastor made all manner of accusations against me. I didn’t know it, but he was having an affair and he thought I knew. So he stirred his elders up against me. I was invited to an elders meeting to give them some suggestions for outreach (or so I was told.) He told the elders that I had criticism of their church and he was going to give me the opportunity to express them. I was told they wanted my suggestions about outreach. Consequently, all of my suggestions came across as attacks! It was emotional bloodshed.

When the meeting was over my head was spinning. I couldn’t understand why they were so reactive and attacking. I went downstairs to my office and wept and prayed.  Fortunately for me, I didn’t ask the wrong questions. In fact, the main question I asked as I prayed was this, “What is it about me that makes it so easy for them to believe the worst about me?” This started me on a journey of learning how I communicated, identifying body language, recognizing sensitivity, and other communication skills that had been severely lacking in my personal and ministerial development.

This is when I did my first study in Proverbs looking for every Scripture about the tongue, words, lips, or any form of communication. I had been taught to just tell the truth. Be honest and other vague expressions of idealism.  After reading and meditating on these Proverbs about communication the one overall realization for me came from Proverbs 18:6 in the Amplified Bible. A fool’s lips bring contention, and his mouth invites a beating. I realized that the way I communicated antagonized people. It caused contention and invited everything except favor!

My religious idealism had taught me that if I was trying to help, if I was sincere, or if I was right people should just understand. This was before I realized that Jesus brought us the truth of God’s Word. He showed us what it would look like if applied in love. That was the time in my life when I decided I was going to make walking in love my highest priority! Another powerful Scripture that rocked my world also came from Proverbs. A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold In settings of silver (Pr. 25:11). Words have to be fitly spoken. NO matter how valuable our communication, it must be presented in a way that is appealing!

As I made this journey I discovered another important reality. Much of my early Christian life had been spent in desperation. I was a street evangelist in the Jesus Movement. The things I did make for wonderful stories of discovering God’s provision. But the truth was I didn’t move from glory to glory, I moved from crisis to crisis. I would get in a car and drive as far as my gas would take me, witness on the streets, win people to Jesus, and then pray for the money to eat and travel back home. I had many weeks of fasting out of necessity! But it didn’t matter; I was sacrificing for Jesus.

When one lives in desperation he or she tends to take shortcuts. Shortcuts aren’t outright dishonesty, but they are things that make you look dishonest. They make it hard for people to trust you. It is actually a message that is sent from your heart to everyone around you. They don’t know why, they just don’t feel comfortable with you. But once again my youth and idealism justified the way I lived because I was doing it for Jesus! Again, I had to go back to God’s Word and allow the Holy Spirit to teach me the wisdom, i.e., practical application of truth about responsibility in finances, sound business practices, and living in peace. I had to allow the grace of God to develop an aspect of character that was severely lacking in my life.

While I face the same challenges as others, I have found that place where life works… it’s easy and light. I have incredible favor around the world in ministry, with government, and in business. I get better than I deserve. Things work out better than I am smart enough to make happen. I want to share the New Covenant promise of Divine Favor: The Unseen Advantage that is available to all of us.

It all starts with your basic concept of God. Do you believe He is good – all the time? Do you believe He always wants you to have better than you deserve, even when you are not experiencing it? Is your New Covenant foundation the Gospel of Peace? How you answer these questions is paramount in your capacity to make this journey of favor because all that God desires to do He will do in, through, and from your heart.

The word for favor in the Greek New Testament comes from the word for “grace” and means “a divine influence on the heart that reflects in our life.” The early Church had favor with all the people… the very people who watched Jesus be crucified, the very mobs that accused Him, and the innocent people who were afraid of the religious power brokers. Did God just speak a word that caused people to like them? No! It’s this type of ultra-sovereignty doctrine that causes people to blame God for everything that doesn’t work in their lives.

When we yield to the Holy Spirit God’s grace works in us. When we walk in love, mercy, and kindness it compels others to reciprocate! God explained to the children of Israel that walking in His statutes, His justice, and all of His directives would be the very factor that would cause the nations to respect and fear them. It was not God imposing Himself on the other people; it was God’s people reflecting His character that would give them favor making it possible for them to live long and prosper in the land.   

In Luke 6:35-38 Jesus gives us an understanding of favor based on the immutable law of sowing and reaping…love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. This is how He relates to man. If we are His children and desire to be like Him this is how we should relate to others. Then He explains how this brings favor back to us from others: Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you. Whatever we give to others they give it back… and more!

When we commit to a godly life His grace makes us able and the true law of attraction kicks in. People want to help us. They want us to prosper and succeed. They want to give back to us what we have given to them. They are attracted to us because our heart literally sends out a signal that says, “I am trustworthy. I am safe. I want to benefit you. I’m not just a taker; I’m a giver!”

Are there exceptions to this rule? Of course! Will everyone like us? No! Will everything go our way? Obviously not! But we will discover we can always win without anyone else losing. We can be a blessing to everyone around us on our way to living our dreams. We will follow the Great Shepherd who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us (Eph. 3:20). We will eat the fat of the land, live in houses we didn’t build, and eat from vineyards we didn’t plant. WE will attract those who seek to bless us and repel those who seek to harm us.

God didn’t tell us how to treat people just so we would have rules to obey. We are not earning His righteousness. He wants us to walk in love first, because that is His nature. Second, He wants the world to see and experience Him through us. And finally, this is the key to the Unseen Advantage… Divine Favor!

Creating a Happy New Year

Posted in Uncategorized on Wednesday by jbrichards

Today millions of people will send and receive wishes for a Happy New Year. The senders and receivers are sincere in their desire to experience a year better than before.  Regrettably, for most it is just a wish that will never materialize. Too many wishful thinkers will unnecessarily see 2014 end with the same negative issues as 2013.

It is an accepted saying: Insanity is continuing to do the same thing expecting a different outcome. You see, so many who sincerely want change will keep doing what they have always done, they’ll keep believing what they have always believed, they’ll keep listening to the same people that have always influenced them, nothing will change and with each passing year their life’s dreams will dissipate, leaving them in despair and hopeless.

Prov. 17:24 says, Wisdom is in the sight of him who has understanding, But the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth. Wisdom is practical application. The person who will see the changes they desire, and more, is the person who is willing to seek God’s wisdom for application of truth. Everyone else is just looking to the ends of the earth expecting things to mysteriously get better somewhere down the road, just because the want it bad enough.

All of the outcomes in our life are the results of behavior. All behavior is an expression of beliefs, which means the only way to change our outcome is to change our beliefs. What do you believe about you as a person? What do you believe you are worthy or unworthy to experience? What do you believe about love and happiness for your life? What do you believe about your success and prosperity?  When you honestly answer these questions you will see that your life is a physical manifestation of your beliefs!

    The majority of believers I have known and ministered to over these past 40 years have had no conscious connection between how they answered these questions and what the Word of God says about them in relation to these questions. In other words, they have never considered if their beliefs were based on God’s word or their own opinions. The answer to every question about life should be based on who we are and what we have now that we are in Jesus! Otherwise we have received Christ in vain. We may be on our way to heaven but we’re not experiencing much heaven here on earth.

If you choose to create a Happy New Year maybe you want to ask yourself these questions in relation to any area you want change. What do I need to change in my behavior for this area of my life to be better? What belief do I need to change to influence my behavior? If you are truly seeking God’s wisdom the Holy Spirit will lead you down the path of righteousness (how it should be), based on who you are and what you have in Jesus!

So my New Year’s greeting for you is: Create a happy new year… in Christ! I invite you to join me every week as I share practical truth about who we are and what we have in Jesus.

Charting A New Course (Part 3) by Dr. James B. Richards

Posted in Power to Live Life, Self Help, Spiritual Growth on Tuesday by jbrichards

God gave man authority to function on planet earth. Through the propitiation of the Lord Jesus, He freed man from wrath (1 John 2:2). It is as if He created a level playing field for all men and said, Now you choose life, you choose blessings, you choose to live according to the promises I have given. If you believe what I have done, you will make choices based on my word. If you do not, you will make excuses!

It is simultaneously terribly intimidating and incredibly freeing to realize that we have the authority (right) to choose the life we desire. To accept this responsibility means we have no one to blame, it means we cannot create mystical blame-shifting doctrines. Most of all it means we can make changes in our lives today! Really think about that. What if this is true? What if it is within your power to change the quality of your life? If this is true, what will you do?

Everyone who has ever lived has struggled with the question, “Why does it go well for some and badly for others?” Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, pondered that very question. “For I considered all this in my heart, so that I could declare it all: that the righteous and the wise and their works are in the hand of God. People know neither love nor hatred by anything they see before them.

All things come alike to all: One event happens to the righteous and the wicked; To the good, the clean, and the unclean; To him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. I returned and saw under the sun that The race is not to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong, Nor bread to the wise, Nor riches to men of understanding, Nor favor to men of skill; But time and chance happen to them all” (Ecclesiastes 9:1,2,11, NKJV). If this concept was a challenge for Solomon, it is understandable that we would struggle with the same issue. But we have the mind of Christ! We have the promises of God. We have His Word as a light and His Spirit as a teacher. We don’t have to live in such archaic confusion!

We have been delivered from the curse and qualified for the promises (Galatians 3:13, 2 Corinthians 1:20). We should be able to understand this clearly. The same opportunities come to all men. Some will see and seize the opportunities while others will not. The consequential outcome is not evidence of the favor or disfavor of God, but of the choices of man. I was recently pondering some unfavorable situations in my life. In the end I had to ask only one question: Are these consequences worth the decision I made that got me here? I can’t solve my problem if I will not accept responsibility for my choices.

Yes, there were other people involved. Yes, other people created and contributed to the problem but I chose how I would respond to the problem. These are situations where I made godly decisions that had some negative repercussions. And yes, I can live with this outcome better than I could live with a more comfortable circumstance and a hardened heart! The point is this: God is not arbitrarily determining my circumstance. I am!

Favor is not an abstract blessing that comes upon men because they do enough religious duty to earn God’s benevolence. Some people seem to think that we can live irresponsibly, make bad decisions, and God will cause people to like us. We have twisted the word of God to all manner of complicated formulas and rituals. But the ultimate question is, “Do I believe God’s Word enough to put it into practice?”

Reconnecting to Jesus by Dr. James B. Richards

Posted in Self Help, Spiritual Growth on Tuesday by jbrichards

There is a natural tendency in everyone to think about goals and new beginnings at the first of the year. But what we may not realize is Christmas can be a time of refocusing before we begin goal setting.

What better way to prepare for setting new goals than refocusing on life’s true purposes? If we allow Christmas to be a time of reconnection to our Lord and King, the resolutions we make at the first of the year will be far more meaningful.

For some, December is a time, however, that takes them even farther off course, away from our divine destiny. When Christmas and holidays are focused in the wrong direction they can become a time of frustration, destructive financial management and depression. What should be a celebration of the birth of our Lord can become a massive effort at carnal indulgence. It can rob us of everything godly about this season we celebrate.

By making some good choices it can, however, be a time of refocusing on eternal priorities that prepare us to make New Year’s resolutions that honor the spirit of the season. If Christmas is a time of refocusing on what our life is really about, it can prepare us to make resolutions that truly add to the quality of our life.

Why do we celebrate Christmas? It doesn’t matter that this is not really the time Christ was born. What matters is why we celebrate! This is the time that God’s ultimate destiny began to take shape. He chose us in him before the creation of the world, to be holy and blameless in his sight (Eph 1:4, NIV). This was God’s eternal plan taking shape before the eyes of mankind.

God has always desired an intimate relationship with his family. He has always desired that Jesus be the focal point of that relationship. In Him all things are reconciled to God. God’s secret plan has now been revealed to us; it is a plan centered on Christ, designed long ago according to his good pleasure. And this is his plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ; everything in heaven and on earth (Eph 1:9-10, NLT).

The birth of Jesus was the place where man’s relationship to God could be recovered. Jesus’ birth was announced by a host of angels singing and proclaiming, “Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace good will toward men” (Luke 2:14). This was not an announcement of peace between men. This was an announcement of peace and goodwill from God toward men. His birth, which would lead to his death, burial and resurrection, would do away with the enmity between man and God.

This season is the celebration of the Christ becoming a man so He could open the way for all men to know God. This is when God gave the unspeakable, most incredible gift to mankind. If this is what we celebrate this will be a time of reconnection. In fact if that is what we celebrate we will be focused, reconnected and have our priorities set for making new and more godly decisions at the celebration of New Year!

The way I have learned to benefit from Christmas is by using it as a time to refocus on the fact that I am celebrating the birth of my Lord and Savior, and the purposes for which He came.  Jesus came to establish a Kingdom! Saving us was just a part of that process. Becoming a steward of the Kingdom, resulting in managing my new life for His purposes is the fulfillment of His purpose for coming to planet earth!

Christmas can be an incredible time of reconnection to ultimate purpose! Look for ways to turn this season into a time of reconnection. Discuss it among your family members. Just find your own answer to the question, “what can we do to reconnect to God’s purpose for Jesus coming?” And then, “what can we do to help reconnect others to the purpose of the season?” Is there a way to get your family focused on Jesus and connected to a higher purpose? My daughter, Christy, has her son give toys to children that are less fortunate. I have heard of families that have their children buy presents for other families. Many times our church members will adopt families in the community and find ways to help them have a Merry Christmas. One musical family takes their children to banks, department stores and malls to sing Christmas songs and play their instruments. There are a million things you can do to reconnect to the purpose of God!

As stewards of the Kingdom, we are called to manage all of our life, time and resources for a Kingdom purpose. In fact, these things are not ours at all. The Bible says we were bought with a price, our life is not our own. Now that we, and all we own are His, we are called to manage these resources for His eternal purposes. But at the time that we should be honoring God, and the incredible gift He gave us in Jesus, this is when we stop giving to our local church. Too often we ignore our missions pledges and special commitments.

Churches and ministries around the worlds suffer financially at the time of the year that is set aside to celebrate the very reason for these ministries! Several years ago I was contacted by one of the national ministries we support. He had a team of missionaries trapped on a Muslim island that was violently hostile to the Gospel. The people who had pledged to support the evangelistic project stopped sending support at Christmas and left the team stranded with no resources to come home. They were sleeping on a bus, with limited food and no money for travel. They were not only in danger for their lives but they would be away from their own families for Christmas. Through our Partners we were able to send the funds they needed to deliver them safely to their families.

Make this Christmas a time of celebrating the real reason for the season! Reconnect to your Savior and His eternal purposes. Seize the season as a time to minister to others. Make Christmas about Christ and you’ll be ready to make next year a true time of renewal.

Charting A New Course (Part 2) by Dr. James B. Richards

Posted in Uncategorized on Monday by jbrichards

Since the beginning, religious thinkers have looked at those who face hardship and those who succeed, and have mistakenly assumed their plight to be the favor or disfavor of God. Jesus’ disciples were shocked when He announced how difficult it was for those who had wealth to enter the Kingdom (Matthew 19:23). The main reason for their shock lay in their faulty idea that wealth was a sign of God’s favor, while poverty was an expression of God’s personal rejection.

Recall the situation with the boy who was born blind. The disciples were so deeply entrenched in this faulty concept that they asked what possibly became the most ludicrous question in the New Testament, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? (John 9:2, NKJV) How could the boy have sinned before he was born? And why would his parents’ sin cause him to be under the curse of blindness?

Jesus answered the question in a way that brings clarity to every problem we encounter, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. I must work the works of Him who sent me…”(John 9:3-4, NKJV) God is not glorified in figuring out why the problem came. God is glorified in the prob-lem’s solution. Pessimists, legalists, and other negative thinkers are more concerned with who to blame than who to heal!

The search for blame is false nobility that has the appearance of seeking truth and righteousness. As often as not, though, it is a mask for unbelief. If we can make the solu-tions complicated, if we can focus on the problem instead of the cure, we can avoid accepting our respon-sibility to make good choices.

If all else fails, we can follow in Job’s footsteps and blame God for our circumstances, thereby maintaining the illusion of our righteousness. But as God asked Job, “Would
you indeed annul My judgment? Would you condemn Me that you may be justified ?” (Job 40:8, NKJV)

Charting A New Course by Dr. James B. Richards

Posted in Power to Live Life, Self Help on Monday by jbrichards

Almost everyone who has heard me speak knows that one of my favorite stories is about a young Asian boy who stood on the seashore watching the boats as they sailed to and fro across the horizon. After a time, he asked his grandfather, “How is it that the wind only blows in one direction but the boats sail in every direction?” The grandfather answered, “It’s not the direction of the wind, but the setting of the sail that determines your direction!”

Nothing is more appropriate for this time. This is your chance to chart a new course. No matter how the winds of life are blowing, you can set your sail for the destination of your choice. You can move toward your goals and dreams or you can do nothing and be blown by every wind of circumstance and be whisked to some unknown, undesirable destination. Today more than ever, I want to help you choose your destination and set your sail.

The universe is filled with laws that work. Whether we do or do not understand them, they work. I know there is a law called gravity. I really do not understand it, but it works independent of my belief, understanding, choices, or approval.

In Heart Physics, we teach that all of the natural laws of the universe mirror and help us to understand spiritual laws. This is one of the first things I realized about the laws of the universe. They work regardless of how good, bad, spiritual, or carnal you are. If a good person slips from the roof of a building, he will plummet to the ground as surely as an evil man.

These laws are no “respecter of persons!” Likewise, the laws of the heart work irrespective of character and spirituality. They work without arbitrary decisions on the part of God! He said, and this is my paraphrase; Here are the way things work. If you trust me, you will make this work for your good. If not, they will work against you!

Do you ever look at people who seem to have it all and wonder, “Why does life work so well for them?” Or what about those people who seem to always triumph over every situation? Do you ever wonder, “What’s their secret?” We know that God loves all people equally. We know that He makes the sun to shine on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45).

No matter how much it may seem that God is favoring one person over another, it simply cannot be the case! Some people learn to make the immutable laws of God work for them. They make the decisions trusting these laws while others mistakenly wait for God to make the decisions and languish in lack and defeat!