Psalm 32:8-9 (NLT)
The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”
You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink. (John Heyword) This popular proverb is translated as you can give someone an opportunity to learn or do something but you cannot force them to accept the opportunity. Somewhere around 3AM this old saying began circling in my head. I am not sure that I can see an opportunity in my immediate future, but rather feel like a whole team of wild horses have been dragging us through life the last couple of years. Up one side of the mountain and down the other, feet running to catch up or risk being drug along behind them. I know God has a purpose for the ordeal we have been through. I have seen His Goodness all along the way. His Plan is definitely written for each one of us. I long to see the future and hope that He has promised us there. But for now, I am trying desperately to rein in this chaotic whirlwind of my life. I long to be led to the water’s edge and offered a drink from the fountain that won’t run dry. I am ready to feel the Peace of God wash over me once more. My life is an opportunity to find the Lord and follow Him. He is guiding me along the best pathway for my life. He advises me through His Word and watches over me guiding me by His Spirit. I have all that I need. I just need to learn to drink in the Living Water I am being offered.
It is inevitable that in the morning when I get up, or the moment that I walk in the door that the dog is ready to eat. However, I often find that his water bowl is bone dry which is ridiculous since it is two feet from the refrigerator frequented by my young people throughout the course of a day and that our fridge has a water dispenser right on the door. I find that no matter now thirsty that the little guy is panting and smacking that the minute I fill the water bowl setting it down in front of him – he will turn and walk away. I have gone so far as to pick him up and put him right in front of the bowl but he refuses to drink his water while I am watching him. He is a very stubborn little dog. I wonder how many times in the course of a day that the Lord presents me with opportunities to experience His Goodness and Favor that I am too stubborn or rebellious to take advantage of. Just as I know the dog wants and more importantly needs water, I can do nothing if he refuses to drink from the bowl that I have filled. God gives us new opportunities each day but it is up to us if we will take advantage of them.
Luke 4:17-21 (NLT)
The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written: “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the LORD’s favor has come.” He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. Then he began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”
When Jesus Christ fulfilled the monumental task of salvation on the Cross and came up out of the grave with the keys to death, we were set completely free. His Spirit was then released to each one of us and the “time of the Lord’s Favor” had come. Now you and I have the privilege that as born-again Children of God we can prosper in the Favor of God each and every day. Our life has become opportune thanks to Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit guides us from success to success using God’s Word to make us wise and discerning. He enables us to see God’s Plan and Purpose taking full advantage of it. Opportunity is an appropriate or favorable time or occasion. It is a situation or occasion that is favorable for attainment. It is a good position for success. You are poised on the edge of prosperity the moment that you swing your legs over the side of your bed each morning. You have the God-Given, Spirit-Led right to succeed in all that you do. What is keeping you from successfully securing all that God has for you and Christ died give you? Historically, Children of God and the Body of Christ are hindered by three things: stubbornness, rebelliousness, and unfaithfulness.
Psalm 78:7-8 (NLT)
So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands. Then they will not be like their ancestors—stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God.
The way in which we are raised often defines how we live as adults. Some people will follow in their parent’s footsteps while others will do everything in their power to make a better or just different life depending on their childhood experience. My life is a combination of both. There are things from my childhood that I have embraced as an adult and many things that strive to do differently. Generational curses should be dealt with swiftly. Grace nullifies the excuse that is just the way I was raised or that’s just who I am. When Jesus died for our sins, He gave us a brand new life. It will be only as good as the opportunities we accept to be more like our Heavenly Father as we imitate Him and accept the attitude and actions of His Son as our guide through this life. To imitate someone requires paying strict attention to what they do, how they act and respond in life. To accept the same attitude as Jesus Christ we must know and understand His Thoughts and Way of doing things. In order to make the most of the opportunity called salvation, we must accept Jesus Christ as the Way, the Truth and the Life understanding that no one can be in right standing with God accept through Him. When we accept this as true and valid, we will decide to change the way that we think and act according to our new belief. (John 8:31-32) Once we make this commitment, opportunities are opened up before us. However, without wisdom we may walk right up to them and never take advantage of them or give up just before they arrive.
Psalm 81:11-13 (NLT)
“But no, my people wouldn’t listen. Israel did not want me around. So I let them follow their own stubborn desires, living according to their own ideas. Oh, that my people would listen to me! Oh, that Israel would follow me, walking in my paths!”
Isaiah 48:3-7 (NLT)
“Long ago I told you what was going to happen. Then suddenly I took action and all my predictions came true. For I know how stubborn and obstinate you are. Your necks are as unbending as iron. Your heads are as hard as bronze. That is why I told you what would happen; I told you beforehand what I was going to do. Then you could never say, ‘My idols did it. My wooden image and metal god commanded it to happen!’ You have heard my predictions and seen them fulfilled, but you refuse to admit it. Now I will tell you new things, secrets you have not yet heard. They are brand new, not things from the past. So you cannot say, ‘We knew that all the time!’”
I am a very stubborn person. It is innate. I am tenacious and unyielding to a fault most of the time. God help you if I am right – this just fuels the fire within me. I am not bragging merely confessing my greatest strength that most of the time doubles as my greatest weakness all rolled up in one. When you are stubborn, most of the time you miss the big picture focused on the slightest detail. People are nothing more than collateral damage. Stubborn people want their way all the time. God created me to be this way. He created me to be focused and driven for His Glory. I must use my stubborn nature to pursue God and His Plan for my life which means that I must deal with my prideful and rebellious nature. When a stubborn person humbles their life to the Lord, adopting a yielded, loyal and faithful spirit dedicated to following the Lord at all costs, their faith turns to confident hope that when invested in the pursuit of righteousness makes all things possible. The difference is in the yielding. If I learn to drink from Living Water even when I am thirsty for something else, or it becomes bitter making me choke on my pride and selfishness, I will be blessed. I will experience the Favor of God in every situation that I choose to submit to God through Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:15-20 (NLT)
So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In January of this year when the insurance company denied our son’s cancer treatment, I was mad and confused. The more denials that we received the greater my frustration and anxiety. If they wanted a fight, they were going to get one. But as I prayed about the situation, I could feel God’s Hand in front of my gently holding me back like a loving father waiting for the traffic to pass before allowing their child to cross a busy road. We were denied over and over. It was as though when the money ran out, no one cared if our son lived or died – God cared. But I did not fully focus my faith on the Lord until all other options ran out. Every time my stubborn nature would want to lash out, I found myself apologizing to the receiver of my aggravation. I found myself praying about every step I took in pursing approval for the bone marrow transplant. God pressed in my spirit that it was important not to shoot any messengers but to trust Him more. Just before our son was approved, I remember thinking God have I missed you completely in this, did I take a wrong turn, God anything I will do anything if you will just show me Your Way through this. I have finally decided that the lesson learned through this trial is that this is how the Lord would have us live each and every day – not just in desperate matters. Each day we have a choice to make between blessing or cursing and life or death. This is not a dramatic overstatement but the opportunity in each day given by the Grace and Mercy of God that we receive fresh and new each morning. God has been wonderfully kind, tolerant and patient with us. He promotes our success even when we are being stubborn. God is pressing and pushing so His Glory will fill our life. (Romans 2:4-7) Why? He loves us that much. To force His Passionate Love on us is not love at all but a complete violation. But when we love and trust Him back it leads to fulfillment and completion just as He promised His Beloved long ago. God will not make you take advantage of His Goodness and Favor – He just orders it up for you each day hoping you will decide to take full advantage of His Blessings, Promises and Gifts given just for you!
Revelation 21:5-7 (NLT)
And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.
The Favor of God has been granted to us through the Gift of Life given to us by Jesus Christ. It is a shame to think of all the missed opportunities we experience each time that we choose our way over God’s Way. Ignorance robs us of the benefits and blessings of being Children of the Living God. We allow it to by remaining so. If you are not living in God’s Favor today, it is not His Problem. His Promise for your life remains written in His Plan and Purpose for your life. It is up to us whether or not we take full advantage of the Sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for us. We must learn to reign in the wild horses named Stubborn, Rebellion and Unfaithful yielding our way in this life to His Spirit. Jesus is making everything new in our life but we must give up our old way of doing things to have it. He is trustworthy and true. You will only make that a reality in your life by trusting Him with something – anything is a start and deciding to leave in the Lord’s Hands until He is finished. Just one taste of Living Water working in your life and you will be hooked. You will run to the river that never runs dry and you will be satisfied. Lord, teach me to yield my whole life to you. Holy Spirit, lead me and guide me to the best pathway for my life.
Proverbs 28:14 (NLT)
Blessed are those who fear to do wrong, but the stubborn are headed for serious trouble.