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No Corners Cut, No Pacifying, No Round-About Way

“It’s Your Thang Do Whatcha Wanna Do!”

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

Nelson Mandala said,-“I Am the Master of my Fate and the Captain of my Destiny”… It’s true… The one thing in life which you have complete control over: You’re thinking!

Unfortunately, I have heard parents tell their children they were stupid and would never amount to anything. Ten years later, the child does not work, is on drugs, and is an alcoholic with a wasted life. Those words got into the heart and spirit of that child and directed that life. Everything said, came to pass!

Hear me and hear me good. If someone says to you, “You will never be successful.” “Your dreams will never come to pass” and you dwell on those words then by your own action you have given them life. Things people say about you cannot hurt you UNLESS planted, watered, and nurtured. What do I mean? You plant it by believing it. You water and fertilize it by dwelling upon it. If you do that, it will produce fruit. You must realize that YOU control your own destiny through the power of YOUR WORDS. You cannot control what people say about you, but you can control if those words take root and grow in your life. Don’t you know that WHAT YOU SAY about yourself SUPERSEDES anything that anyone says about you? You need to begin saying about yourself what God says about you. God says, “You are more than a conquer” (Roman 8:37). God says, “You can do all things” (Phil 4:13). God says, “You are the head and not the tail. (Deut. 28:13.) God sees you, “healthy and prospering” (3 John 1:2). You are an overcomer (1 John 4:4). NOTHING CAN STOP YOU! Not even the Devil (1 John 2:14). Your attitude must be, “I don’t care what anyone says about me, I am destined to win. God is on my side. He has a plan to prosper me and give me a hope and a future.” Because if you are going to live a victorious life you must think victorious and not allow negative words to take root in your heart. Refuse them and begin speaking God’s vision for you over your own life. God’s plan for your life is so much larger than you have every imagined.

Remember David? He had a dream to be king of Israel. At every turn, people were negative. His dad left him out of the selection process when Samuel came to anoint the next King. With Goliath, David’s brother Eliab was negative towards him (1 Sam 17:28), but can I tell you what David did? David just turned away and kept pursuing success (1 Sam 17:30). Your family may not understand but don’t let that stop you. People in authority may not understand. David didn’t allow that to take root either. David saw himself as God saw him – Victorious! You got to see yourself as God sees you. It doesn’t matter what people say. I have been criticized in every way you can imagine, but I refuse to allow those words to take root. I refuse to allow those seeds to be planted. I am reminded of Isaiah 54:17 that says, “No weapon formed against thee shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment, thou shall condemn.” Do you hear what I’m saying to you?  We are the ones who are to condemn every tongue that accuses us.  And yes, I know that some of you have had people do nothing but push you down and tell you what you can’t do and what you will be. But I want to encourage and challenge you today. I want you to hear God saying, “You can do all things. You are destined to do great things. You are destined to sit on the throne.” God has seated you in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Break free from every trap set by negative words. Change your way of thinking and see yourself as God sees you. Refute every negative word formed against you.

King Solomon said it best: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23). This is necessary for three reasons.   Your heart is extremely valuable. We don’t guard worthless things. I take my garbage to the street every Wednesday night. It is picked up on Thursday morning. It sits on the sidewalk all night, completely unguarded. Why? It is worthless. Not so with your heart. It is the essence of who you are. It is your authentic self – the core of your being. It is where all your dreams, your desires, and your passions live. It is that part of you that connects with God and other people.  If your heart is unhealthy, it has an impact on everything else. It threatens your family, your friends, and your legacy. I tell you, it is therefore, imperative that you guard it.

When Solomon says to guard your heart, he implies that you are living in a combat zone – one in which there are casualties. Many of us are oblivious to the reality of this war. We have an enemy who is bent on our destruction he not only opposes God, but he opposes everything that is aligned with Him – including us. Satan uses all kinds of weapons to attack our heart, even our on family and friends. For me, these attacks often came in the form of some circumstance that led to disappointment, discouragement, or even disillusionment. In these situations, I was tempted to quit – to walk off the field and surrender. This is why if you and I are going to succeed and survive as individuals, we must guard our hearts. It is more important than we can possibly imagine.  If we lose heart, we have lost everything. Guard your heart. Don’t limit God and don’t limit yourself. God will take you to victory after victory. You will enjoy the abundant life that God has planned for you. Now give the Lord a shout. Amen!

Now to all you “Sanctified Christian, Wholly than Thou.” You need to stop saying things that hurt, offend or are actually untrue. You need to stop engaging in unhelpful gossip, as well as using any put-downs or derogatory language. This behavior not only hurts others, but also corrupts you. You might say that sometimes things just slip out, but is that really any excuse? According to the principles of “guarding your heart”, the answer is firmly “NO!” You need to think in appropriate Heavenly Kingdom ways, so that, as a result, you can speak in helpful and God-honoring ways. Now shout unto the Lord, Yes & Amen! “It’s Your Thang Do Whatcha Wanna Do!”

 

 

“Praise God Anyhow!”

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

I tell you we should all be like Habakkuk… Instead of standing staring in the face of his problem he backed off from the problem and he stood on solid ground. He gave up on what he didn’t know and started remembering what he did know and instead of worrying about why things were going the way they were going, and why in the world God was allowing this and allowing that, he just stood back and said, “Now wait a minute, my God is an eternal God, He’s a righteous God, He hates sin and He never does wrong, He always does right.” Once he had established what he knew about God then it was much easier to cope with what he didn’t know about the events around him.

Habakkuk’s attitude was: God I don’t understand everything; I don’t understand why you let Israel go. I don’t understand why you’re bringing the Chaldeans to judge them. I don’t understand why you’re going to wait to judge the Chaldeans after that. I don’t understand any of the things, but I know one thing God, You’re the God that is righteous. You’re the God that’s eternal. You’re the God that never makes a mistake. You’re the God that hates sin. You’re the God that never does anything wrong and I’ll stand on that and praise you anyhow.

In Chapter 2, Habakkuk is standing in the midst of an absolute dilemma. He is afraid. He is afraid for himself, he’s afraid for Israel. He can’t seem to justify and rectify all the parts of the situation, though he understands that God who allowed the situation is always right. He’s caught in a dilemma, but he does not ask for deliverance, he does not ask for personal escape, he does not ask for ease, he does not pray that God should spare Israel, he doesn’t even pray that there would be no victory for the Chaldeans and that they would lose the battle, he doesn’t pray that Jerusalem wouldn’t be sacked, he doesn’t pray any of these things because he knows in view of the kind of God that God is, God must judge. So he doesn’t even bother with those things. What he does pray is this: that God will do His work and that God will have His way…. What a tremendous prayer. He knows how to pray, contrary to most of us. He knows what to pray for. He’s not praying selfishly, he’s not praying biased in favor of his flesh or his people. He is praying singularly that God’s work come to fulfillment.

I tell you when you can arrive at that kind of position in prayer you have arrived. When you can look at the problems around you and the problems in your life and the problems in your world and say, “God I don’t care about those things, all I care about God, that you be glorified.” What a tremendous, tremendous prayer. Habakkuk had one thought in his mind and that was that God receive the due glory for doing His work. He says, God, if you’ve got to do it that way I want you to do it, revive your work in the midst of the years. His one desire was that things be right according to God’s plan, not comfortable according to his desires. Not peaceful, not easy, not happy, just right like God would have them. He wanted things to be the way God wanted them, and if you want a New Testament equivalent to that kind of a prayer you’ll find it in the prayer commonly called the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy kingdom come.”

Habakkuk had made a fantastic transformation from fear to fate. He started out shaking like a leaf in Chapter 1, but he come to the consciousness of faith in a God that he knows is doing right. Our prayer ought to sound something like Habakkuk’s. We ought to be praying daily God be glorified in my life. God be glorified in my church. God be glorified in this world. That should be the cry and the prayer on the heart of every believer. Habakkuk had the right perspective. He had first things first. What really mattered to him were not the circumstances in the world around him, or his problems, although there were unbelievably bleak. The thing that really mattered to him was that God receive the glory. And that ought to be the thing that matters number one to us. Our concern should be the things of God that God’s work is coming to its fulfillment. What a tremendous lesson here. What can a person do in a state of human weakness? What can you do when you’re faced with all sorts of problems? Habakkuk said,” I’m going to stand here and love God and just keep on loving Him and praising Him no matter what happens.” Job said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”

Unless we see the big picture of what God is doing through the difficulties of life, the suffering, the pain, the iniquities, the injustices of life, we will miss the profound and foundational truth that God is using all of it for our ultimate good and His glory. So when all hell breaks loose in your world; when the worst comes to the worst; when everything is lost, step back from your problem, remember your God and start to rejoice with a holy joy based on love and adoration that nothing will ever touch. That you’re His and He’s yours and He cares for you and nothing will ever affect that in anyway. The sweetness of the spirit of Habakkuk. His problems were solved, not because he understood everything, but because he knew his God and he put his trust in Him. His circumstances caused him to shake, but his relationship to God was absolutely unshakeable. “Praise God Anyhow!”

 

“Guilty as Charged!”

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

It is amazing how many people have little or no convictions. They are ruled by the flesh instead of the Spirit. They think, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else and it gives them a sense of pleasure it must be okay. Living for the moment is their rule of life. Boy, how wrong could they be. This kind of living always leads to regrets.

Let me tell you something. To live a life for eternity means you live with certain convictions. It means your life is guided by something greater than your earthly desires and momentary pleasures. READ 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 Convictions are more than personal preference. It goes deeper than that. A conviction is a basic scriptural principal which we purpose to follow, whatever the cost. There are things we feel are worth fighting for and maybe even dying for. Convictions are the center core of our faith. Convictions produce an inner strength and provide protection from wrong influences, desires and deceptions. These core convictions guide me and help me live my life. I refuse to compromise the name of Jesus to be politically correct. I live my life with purpose. I take seriously the issue of holiness in my life. I set boundaries for myself. I am motivated to live up to my new identity in Christ. I work at living a balanced life. These core convictions and values help me navigate life. Does it mean I have no regrets? Of course not. There are times I live selfishly and complacently and let the pressures around me dictate my time and actions instead of my convictions. There are times I over commit and lose focus. I have regrets like everyone else. We all have regrets in life. My goal is to minimize my future regrets and help others just starting out to understand what is truly important as we learn to live with eternity in our hearts.

Don’t wait for a crisis to take the steps you need to take now. You can’t recapture this moment, so live it boldly with conviction and with a view of eternity. Listen, we all sin and fall short of the glory of God in our lives. We all have regrets, but when we bring them to Jesus, He forgives them completely. I don’t want you walking around with guilt and condemnation. If you do, you missed the whole purpose of what I’m saying. Let me make it plain. We can’t rewind our lives. This message is about the future. It is about learning some lessons from the past so we live differently. It is about developing some core convictions to guide us in making wise choices as we go forward. The message is about hope. It is about living for eternity now. So shake off any sense of shame or condemnation and lift up your heads. We are all part of the company of the redeemed, and God will continue to redeem our past regrets. Hallelujah!

Well, I don’t know about you, but from this day forward, I want to live without regrets. There is no rewind button on this life. Once this day is over it is forever gone. I want to live with the end in mind, with eternity in my heart. I want you to know that you can live a life of significance. You can become the person God wants you to be (Matt. 7:24-27). But you must know that living a life of few regrets begins with having a set of convictions that we live by. Let’s move forward. James 4:14 ask, “What is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” Life is short. Do not wait until tomorrow. You need to obey now.