Opportunity. It is one of the things we have every moment and the choice to say yes or no can make all the difference in the world. We are told in the New Testament
2 Corinthians 12:9-11
9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
In a tough and fast-paced world, many times weakness is a major talking point. It is either mocked or it is examined. I believe that weakness should be one of the first places you look for it in your life because according to the scripture we just read, that is where the power of God works best!.
Our weakest moments are nothing more than opportunities that reveal defining moments. Those moments, those revealed opportunities, they can be what it takes to launch us beyond probability into the land of our dreams, our destiny.
It always seems impossible until it is done. Originally accredited to Nelson Mandella, however, no transcriptions are available or recordings to the fact.. either way.. it’s an incredible statement.
Let’s reflect a moment in verse 9 where it says my grace is all you need. I realize that we all may have a different definition for certain words and grace is no doubt one of those words. One main definition for grace is UNMERITED FAVOR. Another definition is simple elegance or refinement of movement. Those are nouns, there is a verb definition as well which is do honor or credit to (someone or something) by one’s presence.
So the last one is like saying, “Hey, thanks for having me and letting me grace you with my presence” lol
The other two are more what I want to reflect on. The unmerited favor and refinement of movement. The refinement of movement definition is one that means “The way she swam was with such great thought and elegant grace” So to understand that the undeserved and unmerited favor from God is a beautiful and graceful movement designed just for us to appreciate and enjoy. That place of grace reflected in our own lives is the place that makes the power of those moments work the best in our weaknesses. It can also be a great place of freedom and the experience of love from the Father to give you strength through that moment. The last part of today’s main verse in verse 10 is a confession that when I am weak, then I am strong. Developing the discipline to live through identified weak moments in our lives through the lens and practice of grace is a place that opens up opportunity in our lives to see a much clearer picture of the landscape in front of us which provides a confidence as to the direction that the opportunity shall lead.
There is another scripture I’d like to add to this moment with you that you may have heard or possibly not, but it is a great scripture that I have heard spoken of usually in only one way, however, I have found that it all comes with the grammar in which is used that opens up another avenue that scripture is Nehemiah 8:10
10 Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
I think it is fair to say that most people have many moments that they feel God is not happy and even more-so, not happy with them. So, if we have a thought process and understanding that God is not happy, how is it possible at all for us to be?
Another point is happiness is a changing emotion, it moves with our circumstances… You can have a situation where let’s say your car is hit and totaled, you are perfectly fine, but the car is wrecked, not just any car, your dream car. You are not happy at all about that!! However, you have joy due to the fact that you have survived without a scratch and stellar insurance that will pay you to not only fix or repair the car, but enough left over to make a few tweaks you have always wanted to do.. Joy.
Okay, I’m a car guy, maybe not the best example, but I’m sure you get it.
To look at the scripture now as it says, “the joy of the Lord is your strength” means.. WOW..1. He is a God of joy.. full of it. Not only is he joy, YOU can give him joy through worship, praise, grace-filled moments and a loving attitude in all circumstances and situation which makes him very happy and in turn changes the atmosphere in your life because of the choice and opportunity to choose praise over pessimism and joy over jealousy. That gives you strength and releases the joy that is in you which can overcome the emotion of unhappiness with the promise of joy and the ability to proclaim, “Yes, God does have this and he will see me through!”
Now that we have reflected a moment, let us look into how you receive that joy. As I mentioned, we already have it. It is a gift from God for those that call themselves followers of Christ and there is no doubt that the joy inside of us can be clouded up and over by our emotions. It is not always easy and definitely not always immediate, but it is possible. You have the opportunity to receive this unmerited favor and graceful gift of God, you just have to know how to get to it at times. That leads back to the joy of the Lord gives us strength and a posture or choice to accept that gift, not ignoring the things that make us unhappy, that would be lying. Lying to ourselves and to God. Be real with it. You can praise and be thankful while expressing the thing that leads to unhappiness by rejoicing over it to God because you know He is that insurance policy. It won’t just get fixed, it gets an upgrade!!! That is good news!! An opportunity that leads to a defining moment.
Since we’re talking about happiness there is a man named Thomas Aquinas. Thomas was born in 1224 dying in 1274 and is one of the most regarded figures in Western philosophy and theology, so great that he is even called the “Angelic Doctor” by the Roman Catholic Church. Within a twenty year span, he wrote over forty books, including his masterpiece The Summa Theologica, in which he constructs a vast system integrating Greek philosophy with the Christian faith. Interestingly, in 1274 he had some kind of a vision that made him stop writing and within 6 months he died. His last moment and words reportedly were to have pointed to all of his books and said: “After what I have experienced, all that is just straw.” That in itself is most ironic when considering Aquinas’ views on happiness since in the Summa one of his main conclusions is that true happiness consists in a mystical (beatific) vision of God that is only possible in the afterlife. Well, his writings are still incredible thoughts and surely he knows the truth now. Hopefully, some of the things I am sharing will help reveal that truth to you as well.
Here are a few great quotes I wanted to share with you from AQUINAS:
Man’s ultimate happiness consists in the contemplation of truth, for this operation is specific to man and is shared with no other animals. Also, it is not directed to any other end since the contemplation of truth is sought for its own sake. In addition, in this operation man is united to higher beings (substances) since this is the only human operation that is carried out both by God and by the separate substances (angels). (Summa Contra Gentiles, book 3, chapter 37)
“God is happiness by his essence: for he is happy not by acquisition or participation of something else, but by his essence. On the other hand, men are happy by participation.”
It is impossible for any created good to constitute man’s happiness. For happiness is that perfect good which entirely satisfies one’s desire; otherwise, it would not be the ultimate end, if something yet remained to be desired. Now the object of the will, i.e., of man’s desire, is what is universally good; just as the object of the intellect is what is universally true. Hence it is evident that nothing can satisfy man’s will, except what is universally good. This is to be found, not in any creature, but in God alone, because every creature has only participated goodness. Therefore, God alone can satisfy the will of man, according to the words of the Psalms (102:5): “Who alone satisfies your desire with good things.” Therefore, God alone constitutes man’s happiness.” (Summa Theologica Part 2. Q.1. Article
I wanted to share some of this with you to help paint a picture of happiness and where it comes from and our choice to go after it. Understanding joy and happiness and understanding the power behind them are sure to free you in any choice or decision involved with opportunities in your life.
I’m not saying it’s possible to never be unhappy, even Jesus wept. I am saying there are ways to get there when you find that you are not.
Back to that “my power works best through your weakness” part and opportunity. When we can understand The Who and the What behind happiness, when we can understand the joy of the Lord, when we can understand happiness and joy in our own lives….they all point to a place of opportunity to hear from God and an opportunity to experience our defining moments.
Opportunities are available to all of us every day in many ways. Perhaps you are struggling with how to find new opportunities or wondering if the ones you have before you are the right ones.
Do you know that old saying that goes “You’ll never find an atheist in a foxhole?”
I’ve been in war and I’ve been with people in war and I’ve been in foxholes.. trust me.. there are all kinds of people in a foxhole and not always ones that want to help you in your walk with Christ if you already are walking there.. basically, not everyone has your best interest at heart and some will actually use you to get something for themselves. I know, you’ve never heard that before.
In the war of life, we may find ourselves in foxholes many times and it’s important to know what you are listening to. I love metaphors, if you didn’t notice yet.. so, I’m talking about close relationships here.
Understand this vital nugget of info. . .your speech, attitude and behavior are in part directly affected by your friends.
Just watch others with their good friends. There are many times they will say the same thing, sometimes at the same time. Certain phrases or slang or pronunciation of words, and yes, even decisions about life and opportunities.
I Corinthians 15:33 says:
“Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.”
In football, there is a penalty for those players that grab another player when the ball is in motion when they grab and don’t let go it’s called holding. Here’s the thing, God has such great plans for you and for your friends, however, if you have company corrupting good character and company holding you back from where God wants you to be… eject them from the game, find a different foxhole. I’m not saying to never speak to someone again (unless it’s necessary) I am saying things that hold you back will hold you back from the opportunity or opportunities that God has set before you.
If you’re not maximizing your opportunities. . .there are a couple of chances it is because
You don’t know something or
You’re not willing to do something with what you know.
Romans 1:13 says:
“I do not want you to be unaware, [a]brothers and sisters, that many times I have planned to come to you, (and have been prevented so far) so that I may have some fruit [of my labors] among you, even as I have among the rest of the Gentiles.” Amplified Version
According to Strong’s Concordance the word Agnoeō (Ahg-Nah-A-OH) is used there in that verse for unaware or ignorance and it means: “to be ignorant or not to know.”
Simply said, ignorance is not knowing the facts.
Ignorance is not knowing the facts but choosing not to do anything with or about that information and insight…..that is just plain stupid!
Benjamin Franklin said,
“We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.”
So, if we are to agree that stupid choices and options are off the table and we want to find a way to not be ignorant about a choice or opportunity we must realize then that the way around ignorance is knowledge.
If you lack knowledge… leave the lack and ignorance attack. Seek knowledge which is a destroyer of ignorance.
Psalm 119:66 in the New Living Translation says:
“I believe in your commands; now teach me good judgment and knowledge.”
It’s been said that if you don’t like where you are in life. . .chances are. . .there’s something you don’t know yet.
The best way to find knowledge is to seek it and seek it in a place that is designed just for you in a way that makes you more like God and his plan for your life. It is a desire for understanding a fire in your heart to just know!
“Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.” — Napoleon Hill
A defining moment is a point in your life when you’re urged to make a pivotal decision, or when you experience something that fundamentally changes you. Not only do these moments define us, but they have a transformative effect on our perceptions and behaviors. -Sydney Evans
An opportunity that is truly from the Lord will always increase your faith—not weaken it. You will also find that it will stretch you spiritually and tax you physically and emotionally. Even though you experience both levels, you will find great joy in doing God’s work.
Here is another way to test if the opportunity is from God:
Does it violate the “golden rule”? If you follow after this particular opportunity, will you be “doing to others as you would have them to do to you”? If the answer is no, then this is no opportunity from God. God won’t send you on a mission that doesn’t in some way bless, encourage or uplift others.
About 14 years ago or so, I was at a crossroads in my life about some job choices. What was so hard was that I had 4 incredible options available to me and every one of them appeared that they could be from God. Talk about having a hard time. I mean, saying yes to any of them could seem like it was a huge blessing from God. I realized that I could not choose 4 options, only 1. For me, the only thing I really did then was pray about it and I asked a few Godly people what they thought and asked their advice. That was about it. I wish I could tell you I made a great decision and everything ended happily ever after. I did not and it did not. As a matter of fact, it almost brought me to ruin. The stress in our home, the loss financially, it was awful! There eventually was good that came out of it. That Romans 8:28 moment did occur. It just took over a year. The blessing of that time between the two opportunities for us was vital to our lives. There were moments that prepared us for the what’s next in our lives. Could it have happened differently, was there an alternate destiny, maybe and perhaps? Coulda, shoulda and woulda are just not a good enough reason to fret. Learn and move on. I probably, no, not probably, I know I would have benefitted from some other tools in my life at the time and wish I had them then when trying to identify those opportunities that are good. So, I thought I would share a few of those with you and hope they are helpful for you to identify those in your life as well.
HERE ARE SOME WAYS TO IDENTIFY WHAT MAY BE THE POSSIBILITY
1. WHAT ARE YOUR DESIRES? MAKE A LIST OF THEM. It is okay to list all your desires and then you have a chance to come
Behind them and make some cuts. You may say a desire is to be a millionaire so you can have the best shoe collection on
The planet. Or you can say you want to be a millionaire so you can be debt free to not only fund your work and life dream
But to help others reach their potential as well. I would say the shoe idea is one to be cut from the list. Doesn’t mean it is not
A desire, it is just that in the grand scheme of your life, it doesn’t make the most logical sense.
HERE ARE SOME WAYS TO PROCESS THE DESIRE(S) TO HEAR FROM GOD FOR AN OPPORTUNITY
A. ACCESS MY LIFE – Where is your ability to reach that desire? GO From A-B not A-Z. Take your time in the process.
B. WHAT IS YOUR YOUR TIME, TALENT AND TREASURE CURRENTLY AND HOW DOES THAT FIT OR NEED TO FIT THE
OPPORTUNITY? Do you have adequate time to invest in the opportunity and will the time invested be a benefit or a distraction?
Are you already gifted with the talent to knock it out of the park? Most of the times God equips us for the work at hand, now I will
Say there are times that God can provide someone to come alongside and train you in a new opportunity, however, the majority
Of the time, the Bible teaches that God equips us for every good work 2 Timothy 3:17 that the man of God may be complete,
Equipped for every good work. Lastly is a treasure. The first thought process when we hear treasure is money, however, I say it is
More than just money, treasure means things of worth. So the things of worth in your life. If you are married, a top priority for
Treasure is your family. My wife and children are the top priority in my life. Treasure also means collected value. So things like
Your home for example and then yes, of course, your wallet. Does what you have fit or not fit with the opportunity. God will NOT
Call you to leave your wife and children to be a rockstar. God will not call you to abandon your family home to chase a dream
God will not call you to frivolously squander those things previously considered a blessing for a pipe dream. Can there be a
Place of agreement between you and your spouse about what to do with what you have and what sacrifices you are willing
To make to pursue the dream, yes. Is it God to just abandon what he calls us to steward, no! So, how does your time, talent
And treasure fit or need to fit the opportunity. A very important set of questions to consider to see if it is the right opportunity
For you and your family if you are a married person. If single, the principles still apply from a stewardship perspective and a
Future perspective and legacy.
C. WHAT ARE YOU ABLE TO DO TO REACH THAT DESIRE AND WHAT ELSE IS LEFT UP TO GOD TO SEE IT HAPPEN?
We all have abilities to do something and something well. I can write fairly well and I’m learning how to do a better job lately. I
Would love to write a book and travel the world today. I can’t do all of that. I can keep being faithful to better myself studying
And writing and through that, I can just trust God for the other parts I can’t do. I can’t fund a trip to Africa. I’ve been invited
Already, I don’t have the money and means. God does. So what are some of those things you are gifted to do already and then
Some of those big places that you just have to trust God with?
D. APPRECIATE PAST FAILURES: Failed attempts at an idea are better looked at as the value of the idea rather than a black eye. In fact, most great opportunities aren’t realized on the first attempt of an idea’s execution but rather as the perfected evolution of previous failures. Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Michael Jordan…. I don’t know if the first two guys played
Basketball as well, but you get the idea 🙂
E. GREAT OPPORTUNITIES CARRY MOMENTUM: Great opportunities almost have a life of their own. When a serious opportunity comes along, test it by lightly engaging. If it requires more effort than you’re willing to risk, then it will likely die out. In that case, it likely wasn’t worth the energy in the first place. But if it seems to move forward with just little taps of effort, then it shows promise and it may be worth considering. This isn’t necessarily the way all great opportunities will require great work, however, some serious ones up for consideration in my lifetime experience just seem to flow and go without me beating my head against the wall. After all, wouldn’t you consider a great opportunity one that just seems to work and is fun and a blessing? YES!!! Why not.. it doesn’t all have to suck.. that’s why people look to leave what mess they might currently be in!
HERE IS A CLARITY MOMENT:
When your excitement and hesitation are both equal and there is no way to do it on your own. When there is nothing else that would make you happy but to do really just dig in and do it. Is the opportunity bigger than you and when you see and feel the energy of I can’t, he can, I could, I will, we can (God) does it just overwhelm you with excitement and passion to dig in?
Then you have found a way to identify a doorway to opportunity and a defining moment in your life.
There is no doubt we all have opportunity. There is no doubt YOU have opportunity. What those defining moments really come to in our lives are, are we solid enough and disciplined enough to do what it takes to get there and follow through? As you may know, I have written a book and it is not out yet. It is coming soon and I’m excited to say, closer than ever before! If writing the book was all it took to be a best seller I HAVE IT MADE!!!! The reality is, there are thousands and thousands of authors and books out there all the time, many you have never and will never hear of. For me, I am investing in myself with classes, seminars/webinars, meeting people, working on my platform, creating the movement that is to be the movement. It takes a lot of time and a lot of personal investment to learn and be productive. It rarely happens overnight. If this book does as well as we hope and the merchandise and speaking engagements and all the other things that go along with it as we hope… it will only happen if I am willing to take the time to do all the dirty work, all the long days and late nights that most of you have no idea I do just to do what I do and what I want to do. If it is worth it, then it’s worth it! They say opportunity only knocks once… I say opportunity is always knocking and if once is good enough for you, you don’t have your heights set high enough.
You are valuable. God paid such a high price for you. If you were not worth it, he wasted his blood, suffered incredible pain all on a wooden stick for nothing. No, you are very valuable and that being the case, it is worth the effort on your part to give God some happy days and see the Joy of the Lord as your strength by surpassing the normal and living into the supernatural. You have an opportunity now to achieve defining moments in your life that will not only benefit you, but could very well benefit generations to come. Are you willing to pay the price? He did.
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Dig in this week, go after those values and virtue in your life and in your families life as well. If you would like a kickstart personal planner like my Uncle Ben used, please email us and we’d be happy to send one out to you for FREE!!
Remember as Paul said to us from God’s heart in Philippians
4:6-9 6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
And that He surely will my friends.
Don’t give in, don’t give up and never forget