I have a new website! You will be redirected to my brand new blog. Cory Nickols: October 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Dream From God Takes Commitment

Do you aspire for a more rewarding life? Sure we all do, but are you living it out? One ingredient to living a full life has to do with commitment. In a world of broken promises and empty words the word commitment has lost its true meaning. Today the word has come to mean a very watered down level of dedication. As long as it doesn’t cost a person too much time, energy or pain they might think about being involved or going after a goal or dream. According to Webster’s dictionary the word commitment means the state or instance of being obligated or emotionally impelled, or dedication to a long-term course of action; engagement; involvement. In other words, a person is willing to do whatever it takes to see what is in his heart come to pass.

When I think of a person that is committed, I think of an Olympic athlete. He goes into strict training disciplining his body to eat healthy, and practice hard for an extended amount of time…remember the Olympic Games come around once every four years!! He dedicates the regiment life style for years in hopes of winning a gold metal. I am sure there are days he doesn’t feel like practicing or eating correctly, or getting to sleep on time, but the dream of winning the gold sits before his mind. He is compelled to live out his dreams even if it means sacrificing the pleasures of what others are doing.

Just as the Olympic athlete has the desire to win a great accomplishment in life, God has put something great on the inside of you to work towards. But the only way to achieve the dream God has instilled on the inside of you is to learn to be committed to it. It is so easy to start going after the dream in your heart, but it is quite difficult to finish what you started out to do.

The bible says in Luke 9:62 “No one who puts his hand to the plow, and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of God.” 

In this passage, Jesus was challenging a person who up front said: “yes, I will do what it takes to follow you”, but then came up with excuses why he couldn’t fulfill his duty. We all have made excuses at some point in our lives why we shouldn’t continue with a course of action. The key is to overcome those objections with the TRUTH from the Word of God. Take Jesus for example.

Jesus came into the world to seek and save that which was lost. He had a goal in mind, and finished all that God had for Him to do, even though people persecuted him and ultimately tortured him to death. He did it knowing full well the cost involved.

Jesus said in Luke 22:42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 

Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemanes about to be handed over to the Jewish leaders and Roman soldiers to be beaten and scourged beyond recognition before being nailed to a cross. In His prayer to His Heavenly Father, Jesus said in essence, not the easy route, but let me step up to the plate and fulfill the very reason I was sent to earth. How powerful! Now that is commitment!!

Just as Jesus finished what He started out to do, so you can finish all that God has put in your heart! Seek God about what your next step in life looks like and start living out your God given destiny. When the urge to quit and give up starts to rise up on the inside of you, begin to challenge those negative thoughts with the word of God!! I am more than a conqueror, and I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. I will not quit until God has released me from my duty. If you feel that you have not been the committed person that God wants you to be, just confess it and ask him to forgive you. He is the God of MANY CHANCES and He ultimately wants you to pass the test. Be committed and fulfill all that God has for you!! It comes with a price, but with hard work, dedication and Trust in God, you can live out the rewarding life He intended for you!

Get In The Presence Of The Son

I remember when the movie Superman Returns came out!  As I watched it, I couldn’t help but ponder on a particular scene of the movie.  During this scene, Superman was stabbed with a jagged piece of Kryptonite by the evil villan Lex Luther, and then was beat up and left for dead in the cold ocean.  Fortunately, Superman’s secret admirer, Lois Lane and her fiancĂ©e caught a glimpse of  Superman sinking into the ocean depths from a small airplane above.  They managed to land the plane and dive in after Superman to save his life.  By this time, Superman’s strength and energy were depleted from the poisonous affects of the Kryptonite.  While flying back to get Superman medical attention, Lois Lane saw the Kryptonite lodged in his back, and without hesitation, she pulled it out and threw it out of the plane.  It was at this moment that Superman made a remarkable comment.  He said, I must leave and get in the presence of the sun…for it is in the sun’s presence that I get my strength and energy!! (paraphrased)   He then opened the door of the plane and fell out into the thick clouds.  He used his last bit of strength to fly up through the storm into the upper atmosphere.  As the rays of the sun beamed down on him, he was able to regain his strength and energy.     

As Christians we can learn a lot from this scene.  Just as Superman had to get into the presence of the sun to gain his strength and energy, we as Christians need to get into the presence of the Son to gain our strength for everyday life.  It is interesting that Jesus is called the Bread of Life, and Living Water in the scriptures.  These two names give reference to both food and water, which are essential to all living beings.  Without these two basic elements we will die in a very short amount of time.  Well the same is true spiritually.  If we are not spending adequate time with God, then eventually our energy and stamina to face the issues of life, will be depleted and we eventually will lose discernment to know what is best for our lives.  The bible says in

John 15:5
“I am the Vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” NAS

The word abide means to spend time with.  As we neglect to spend time with God we are cutting ourselves off from the source that grows our lives.  Just as fruit develops as it remains on the vine, so our lives develop as we remain connected to God.  This means we need to spend time reading the Bible and praying daily.

The bible also indicates in John 1:8-9 that Jesus is the Light of the world.  Light in this passage represents truth.  One interesting characteristic of light is that it illuminates things.  When it is dark in a room, it is difficult…nearly impossible for a person to navigate without bumping into something.  If he is not careful, he could really get hurt.  Having the lights on exposes all the potential danger spots, and helps the person to maneuver around the obstacles to his desired location. 

In the same way, Jesus is our light and He guides us to where we need to go in life.  He wants to lead us down a road that will fulfill us completely and leave us standing in awe of the plan He has marked out for us.  Will it be challenging?  Will it be sometimes scary?  The answer is yes, but as we learn to trust His guidance, we can rest assured that He has good things in store for us.  The problem comes when we stop trusting Him to guide us or we stop spending time with Him to know what direction to take.  Do you find yourself in the midst of a great storm in life and don’t know where to turn?  Do you have to make a decision that will ultimately affect your future?  Are you trying to decide if the person you are dating is the right person for you?  Are you trying to overcome the same sin over and over again without any victory.  Then I want to encourage you to begin spending time with God and let Him begin to guide your steps.  Remember, He is the Light of the world, the Beginning and the End.  He knows exactly what you need in your life and can help prevent costly mistakes.  He also wants to give you strength that will help you to endure the various tests life brings. As God begins to prick at your heart or shows His light on a certain thing you are facing, be quick to obey him.  Maybe its unforgiveness toward someone and God has asked you to forgive him.  Learn to obey God and forgive the person.  It might be hard, but as we sit in the presence of the Son we can have the strength to face the challeges God has asked us to walk through.  You can do it.  You can live a great life!!  Just remember get in the Presence of the Son!

The Battle Within

In every believer’s life there is a battle going on: the battle of the carnal nature (our nature that is opposed to God) verses our new nature that is being renewed in the image of Christ (the nature that pleases God).  These two natures within us are in complete opposition to each other and will always be in opposition. 

The Bible says in Romans 8:6-8  The mind controlled by the sinful nature (carnal nature) is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit (our renewed nature in Christ) is life and peace.  The sinful mind is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.  Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. 

As a follower of Christ, our highest priority should be to know Christ (His character) and to grow to be more like Him...to live a life that pleases Him.  A person that pleases God is someone who obeys God and pursues Him faithfully.  Most of us from the moment we are born are consumed with pleasing ourselves and not God.  This was the case with me for many years.  I remember several years ago in college there was a season that God was refining me.  He took me through a very difficult questioning time which eventually revealed to me just how self-centered I was.  One day during this difficult time I was thinking to myself:  I need to do this…I am sick of that…and I don’t want to do this. Just then the Holy Spirit made me aware that I was consumed with pleasing my carnal nature.  I was dissatisfied with life, but I didn’t know what was wrong.  Remember, living according to the carnal nature brings death, frustration, and sense of dissatisfaction.  Here is an illustration that will help explain my dilemma.     

There once was a man who had a field and one day he decided to use his field to produce a crop.  As he began to survey the land he noticed that the field was covered in weeds.  The weeds were so prevalent that nothing good could grow in it.  The man decided to start pulling the weeds, but the more he pulled them the more they came up.  He was frustrated and tired of working so hard with little results.  Then one day his father called him up to talk.  During the course of their conversation the son asked, “What must I do to keep the weeds from coming up in my field?”  The father told him, “You need to get some weed killer and fertilizer and spread it out on the field.”  The son took his fathers advice, and over a period of time the weeds started to die and eventually the field was ready to plant good seed.  The man continued to fertilize and apply weed killer and preventative and eventually the weeds were eliminated completely.  To the man’s amazement, a great harvest was reaped. 

In a sense, our lives are just like the man trying to get a great harvest with little or no results.  I had a desire to live a rewarding life, but the more I lived the more frustrated I became with no positive outcome.  I produced little godly fruit because I was being controlled by my sinful nature.  I was continually sowing seeds that were reaping a harvest of WEEDS.  It wasn’t until the Holy Spirit made me aware that I was selfish that real change began to take place in my life.  The father in the parable represents the Holy Spirit who offers wise council to our lives.  He showed me where I need to come up higher and with His help, I began to change. 

The bible says in Romans 12:2  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- His good, pleasing and perfect will.

Again the bible says in I Timothy 4:7b-8   …; rather, train yourself to be godly.  For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 

We must learn to train our minds to think on things that are pleasing to God and take captive every thought that is in opposition to Him.  The man who owned the field listened to his father’s advice and went out and bought some fertilizer and weed killer and began applying it to his field.  The weeds began to die, and in time, the man planted good seed that produced a rewarding harvest.  In the same way, God brought it to my attention that there were weeds in the field of my life that needed dealt with.  As I disciplined my mind to think on being other’s centered, in a sense, I was putting weed killer on my carnal nature…I was choking it out of my life. 
You too can be changed by God.  It will take discipline on your part to think on right thoughts, but with God’s help you can overcome.  Remember, thinking on wrong things is like planting weeds in a field.  Nothing good can come up because the weeds choke out the good vegetation.  But as you think on what is pleasing to God, little by little you are putting weed killer on the weeds in your life.  Then over time a good harvest can grow.  To find out what is pleasing to God you must be willing to spend time with God by reading the Bible and praying.  Ask the Holy Spirit to help you.  He will begin to teach you the truths about who Christ is and how you can become more like Him.  Maybe you feel like you have made too many mistakes for God to love and accept you, or maybe you feel like nothing good will come your way.  Those negative thoughts are sowing bad seed into your life.  Begin to agree with God that He has a good plan for your life, that you are highly esteemed by God, and that you are forgiven for your past mistakes.  The battle within you is over your carnal thinking and the Truth of who God is and what He says about you.  You can fulfill your God given Destiny.  Be determined not to quite if and when you don’t see results right away…over time the results will come and you will be amazed at what God has done in and through you!