Why Not Try It?

Posted in Attitude, Expectations, Faith, Victorious Living by PCraig on April 19, 2018

Today is a day of incredible potential because of God working in my life.  What if you believed that?

Or, I can be happy today because I’m forgiven, free, filled with the Spirit, redeemed, made ready for heaven, and a child of God.  What if you confessed that each day?

Why not try it today? Move beyond knowing these things are true, to declaring them and living as though they are real and happening.

Could it change today? What might happen if you did this for a week, or 30 days? Why not try it and find out?

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This Changes Everything

Posted in Change, Expectations, Faith, Perspective, Stress by PCraig on March 28, 2018

Do you ever feel the icy fingers of despair on your soul? Maybe you’ve tried to get rid of a habit, but never seem to fully kick it. Perhaps you feel like you take two steps forward in life then three steps back. Or, maybe life has changed for the worse and it just doesn’t seem like it will ever improve.

Jesus’ followers knew exactly what this feels like. They had put their hopes and dreams in a man who taught like one with authority, performed miracles like they had never seen, and made promises for their future. Yet, after being arrested and tried, he was crucified like a criminal and buried in a borrowed tomb.

It seemed like it was over. All hope is gone. There’s nothing left to do. However, they were wrong. It really wasn’t over, hope was alive and the best was yet to come. Life has a way of trying to convince us that we can’t overcome the odds; that this last loss was the final blow and we might as well quit. My friend, what was true for the original disciples of Jesus is true for you. He is still alive and that makes all the difference in the world.

When Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw Jesus, she came back proclaiming to the others, “I have seen the Lord!” In that moment, everything changed. All the despair was exchanged for joy. She went from the agony of defeat to the thrill of victory in a second.

Where have you been discouraged? In the area of your finances? Your family? Victory over an addiction? Maybe you’ve been doubting that you’ll ever change. When Jesus died for your sins and rose from the dead, he solved your biggest problem. He has a solution for all the rest, if you’ll put your trust fully in Him and step out in faith. As you do, you’ll begin to see God work in your life, doing what only he can do.

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In The End

Are you doubting God’s love because you are in a time of crisis? “God! I just found out I have an incurable disease. I thought you loved me!” As we get closer to the time of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, it reminds me of the suffering that led up to Easter.

The Bible is clear that Jesus underwent all kinds of emotional, physical and mental anguish leading up to His trial and conviction. Often, we picture Jesus as perfect, and though He is, it does not negate the fact that He suffered much.

In addition to Jesus, we find that many people that we would call “good” in the Bible went through times of persecution, illness, heartache and trials. Why would we think we are exempt? Where did we get it that if God loves us, He will keep all bad things from touching us?

1 Peter 2:21 “For God call you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.”

Later Peter goes on to say (1 Pet 4:19) “…keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.”

Our job is simply to keep on doing what is right and leave the results up to God. So, today, no matter what may be going on in your life, or not going on, chose to keep doing what is right. Sure, it’s not always easy. Yes, there are others that do wrong, but seem to be doing just fine. The story isn’t over yet friend. Just like it looked as though Jesus was going through trials He didn’t deserve, the people didn’t realize it was part of a bigger plan.

He is still the God of the final word. Don’t give up too soon. Never let the enemy get you to believe a lie about God. Keep on doing the right thing, and in the end, you’ll be glad you did.

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Waiting On A Miracle

Posted in Attitude, Encouragement, Expectations, holiday, Hope, Miracle by PCraig on December 14, 2017

Do you remember how agonizing it was to wait for Christmas as a child? It seemed like forever to get from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Now, as an adult, it seems like Christmas comes too fast.

Does it seem like you are in a waiting period in your life currently? Waiting on a job, or a marriage, healing, direction can seem to take forever to happen. It can even seem like God is late in bringing these things into your life can’t it?

The very first Christmas seemed like God was late to those who were waiting for Messiah to come. It had been hundreds of years and yet each year they were disappointed. But the Scripture teaches that it all happened at the “proper time” (Luke 1:20).

The lesson is that God has a “proper time” for everything. He’s never late and He’s always on time. But, it’s His calendar and not ours!   In the meantime what do you do?

  • Don’t lose hope. Things could change tomorrow.
  • Never give up. God can do anything at anytime without restrictions.
  • Do allow this waiting time to be a time of growth spiritually.
  • Keep trusting in the God who still has a plan for the world and you!

It may look like a dark night, but remember, it did in Bethlehem 2000 years ago when hope was born!

We’ll be focusing more on the topic of waiting this weekend in part 3 of A Christmas Miracle in our 9 & 11 a.m. services.

 

 

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Get Excited For Christmas Again

Posted in Attitude, Encouragement, Expectations, holiday, Perspective by PCraig on November 30, 2017

I remember being a kid and being so excited about the Christmas season. It seemed like it took forever between Thanksgiving and Christmas. My heart was full of expectancy about everything that surrounded the holidays. I loved the lights, decorations, songs, parties and of course the gifts. Each year I looked forward to all the potential the season had to offer.

Something happens as we get older. We become the one to fix the lights when they don’t work. We have to put up the decorations, plan the parties and pay for the gifts. All of this can taint the season. If we’re not careful, we can transform from the expectant child to the Grinch.

This is not only a problem with Christmas; it’s a problem in marriages. Two people walk down an aisle to go live life in love, only to discover that there are pressures they never planned to experience. They didn’t anticipate one of them losing their job, or having a special needs child, or finding themselves attracted to someone else at work. When burdens come, it’s all too common for us to begin dreading the very thing we once anticipated.

My challenge to us all this season is to take joy in this time of year. The story is about a Savior who left His throne to be born in a manger, live and teach, then die a sacrificial death for our sins.  So, rejoice in forgiveness!  Also, be careful what comes out of your mouth. Instead of dreading the holidays, your marriage, your job, your family, why not expect the best? Let a spirit of expectancy build in your heart and find it’s way into your mind and mouth. Changing how you view things can go a long way toward how you experience them.  I’m choosing to celebrate the reason for the season.

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Positive Thinking

Posted in Attitude, Encouragement, Expectations, Faith, Hope, Perspective by PCraig on September 14, 2017

I remember growing up and watching Dr. Robert Schuller preach from the Crystal Cathedral. For those who knew him, Schuller was huge on possibility thinking. Each week he would encourage his listeners that they could rise above their circumstances by focusing on the possibilities rather than the difficulties. I know he had his critics, but I think most people could use a good dose of Schuller’s message.  Some a double dose!

How many people do you know that give into the power of negative thinking? They can moan, groan, gripe and complain for endless hours. No matter what your problem is, they have it worse.

What would happen if we began to practice possibility thinking? Not that we can just think good thoughts and everything will be okay. But, what if we stopped thinking of how bad we have it, what more could go wrong, and why isn’t God doing something about it? Instead, we could spend the same amount of time thinking of how well off we really are (especially compared to most of the world), what could go right, and where is God currently trying to direct us if we would just pay attention?

People all around us are looking for hope. What if you became a source of it? Would there be a promotion in your future, better relationships, or greater influence? I think so. Take some time today to think of the possibilities.

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God’s Plan For You

Posted in Expectations, Faith, holiday, Used of God by PCraig on December 22, 2016

I had some really great Christmas experiences growing up, but I realize not everyone did. Some of you may have had good memories from childhood, but adulthood has been rough. The thought of Christmas can be filled with hassles and hurt. Marriages that failed, finances that are a wreck and health that’s deteriorated. What do you do to restore the wonder, joy and happiness of the past?

The original Christmas story wasn’t one without hassle, hurt and confusion. Imagine Joseph being engaged to someone that now claims to be made pregnant by God. Really? I’m supposed to go along with this? Even though it wasn’t easy, Joseph steps into the plan of God for his life and things begin to happen. A manger is available, Wiseman bring gifts, God directs you on where to move and ultimately you realize God has a plan.

God has a plan for each of us as well. It may not involve mangers, moving and wisemen, but it won’t be without its challenges. At the same, it won’t be without God’s provision, because where God guides, He provides.

Instead of asking God to bless our plans this Christmas, let’s seek to join God’s plan for our lives. Read Proverbs 3:5-6 and let the promise excite you with possibilities as you seek to trust and lean on Him. In doing so, you’ll experience God leading you into a plan that only He could put together.

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Principles of Perseverance

Posted in Attitude, Choice, Decisions, Expectations, Faith, Perspective by PCraig on December 1, 2016

Last weekend at Crossroads, we were challenged by Randy Ruiz to not give up. He read from one of my favorite passages, in Galatians 6:9 where Paul says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Here are three main points that Randy made that I would like to remind all of us to put into practice each day:

1) I’m Not Going To Allow What I See – To Affect What I Know! All too often we allow what we see to determine our actions. Instead, what if you acted your way into faith? In other words, don’t see how it is today, begin to, in faith, act as though it is already done.

2) You Never Allow Your Present Situation to Name Your Future! Sometimes we allow what we are going through currently to dictate our future. History is filled with people who had every reason to believe they would never achieve in life, but they did anyway. Why? They didn’t allow their current conditions to forecast their future. (We know things can change as fast as Indiana weather!)

3) Israel Made a Permanent Decision Based on a Temporary Feeling. It’s sad when people act in the moment and quit a job, quit a marriage, or give up on their dream and then regret it later. Don’t allow what is a temporary discouraging season to cause you to make permanent choices in your life. Instead, let this be a mantra, “This too shall pass” during those seasons.

So many of you told me that you were encouraged by the message, so I trust this reminder will keep you running in the race!

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Keep On Keeping On

Posted in Attitude, Choice, Expectations, Hope, Perspective, Victorious Living by PCraig on October 13, 2016

What do you do when you don’t feel like doing anything? You do what you need to be doing anyway. I know it’s hard to keep on keeping on when you don’t feel like your marriage, finances, or career is changing, but you do it anyway. Why? Because nothing much good happens by quitting, or throwing in the towel.

Galatians 6:9 encourages us, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” That doesn’t mean it will come in our timing, or that we won’t be tempted to think it’s never going to happen. But, in those times we remember that God can do anything, anytime, anyplace, so we can keep on keeping on.

Instead of dwelling on how awful things are, how difficult it is, or all the other reasons for why you should give up, dare to believe for victory. It’s scientifically proven that people who expect to win are much more likely to do so. Therefore, dare to believe that you will win in your marriage, finances, scholastics, career or wherever you need a miracle. I’ve found that when I do all I can do and I trust God for what only He can do, that it is often where God shows up the most.

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Step Into The Water

Posted in Expectations, Faith, Faithfulness, Hearing God, Perspective by PCraig on October 6, 2016

How often are we waiting on God, when God is actually waiting on us? It goes like this, “I’m waiting on God to show me what job I should pursue.” Or, “I believe that if God wants me to meet that person, He’ll bring them into my life.” Maybe even, “If God wants me to do that thing, then He’ll make it easy for me to do it.”

Each of these scenarios is assuming that if something’s going to happen it is up to God. However, in studying the Scriptures, we discover that God is often waiting on us. We have been in the book of Joshua recently and when the people came to the river Jordan, rather than sit back on the bank waiting for God, God told them to go ahead and wade into the water. The record says that when the priests feet went into the water that the river dried up for them to cross. (Joshua 3:14-16)

What is God currently asking you to do? He speaks to us through the Bible, people, songs, and an inner voice or promptings. Is there an area that you feel God is speaking, but you’re not moving? When you step forward in obedience, that is where God will meet you and help you to cross over toward His promises.

So, just keep moving until the miracle shows up. Don’t be content, lazy or disobedient by sitting on the bank rather than wading into the water. It could be that the miracle is ready to happen and you’ll discover it as you decide to walk forward in obedience. What step do you need to take?

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