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3 Practical Activators That Allow Faith to Release Your Blessing

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3 Practical Activators That Allow Faith to Release Your Blessing

By Samuel Lee Bowman

When we think of Abraham we think of faith. The problem is once you define faith a certain way then Abraham’s life is always viewed through that lens, and the problem with that is revelation stops flowing through his story because we cycle round and round the same old points. Pretty soon our eyes gloss over the story, our minds rush through the story, and our faith doesn’t grow because God’s fresh, transforming voice into our hearts goes silent. If faith comes by hearing we need to turn our spiritual hearing aids back on and get a fresh word, right?

So let’s turn the hearing aid up in Genesis chapter twelve through eighteen by looking at three things:

  1. The usual view of Abraham’s life
  2. A new definition of faith
  3. Three outer actions that reveal inner position

We’ll finish by tying the three together to reveal a new, vibrant understanding of what faith is and how to use it to break strongholds and move forward in your vision.

The Usual View of Abraham’s Life

Here’s the usual story points on Abraham:

  • God speaks to Abram
  • He messes up with his handmaiden
  • He has trouble with Lot
  • Sarah laughs at God
  • Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed
  • Names are changed
  • Sara and Abraham finally have a child
  • Abraham’s faith is credited to him as righteousness
  • Faith is the substance of things hoped for

All these points are accurate, but we are cycling through the same old points and we need need God’s fresh voice that breaks the strongholds in your life. So let’s look for a radical, new definition of what faith is.

A New Definition of Faith

Most Christians define faith by quoting the scripture, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1), but have no practical definition.

Let’s define faith in this applicable way: Faith is a position before God, that you take by choice, based on two things: 1) What you think God is really like (which is the substance), and 2) What you are convinced God will actually do (which is the evidence).

Two Positions – One Weakens Faith, One Builds Faith

There are two positions you can take before God and the one you choose determines how powerful and effective your faith works.

Position one is a law position. In this position:

  • God is really big, way beyond me and distant
  • He is approached only by being pleased
  • I must please Him by keeping all His rules
  • I can’t keep all the rules, so He is hard to please
  • Because I am flawed He must judge me
  • I will always be making mistakes
  • His favor comes only after I am perfected by trial
  • What I will get from God is unpredictable

In this position if you do not please God and get in His good favor He won’t cause you to be blessed. As a result the faith of the believer is weakened because they must, like Abram, find their way to blessing through their own effort.

Position two is a grace based position and it looks like this:

  • God is very close and approachable
  • God is approached based on how Jesus pleases God, not how I please God
  • Jesus always keeps all the rules for me, so God is always pleased with me
  • God doesn’t not see my flaws, because Jesus was judged for me in my place
  • None of my mistakes matter because Jesus is perfect for me
  • Trials aren’t necessary because Jesus took all the trials for me, His perfection is my perfection
  • I can safely predict that God will bless me because Jesus’s blessing is my blessing and He is always blessed because He is always perfect before God on my behalf

Which ever position your faith is based in will absolutely effect how you act in your relationship with God and in your life choices, especially when the pressure is on.

Three Outer Actions That Reveal Inner Position

There are three outer actions that reveal whether law or grace is your default inner position:

  • Courage
  • Tenacity
  • Integrity

Now open your Bible, reread Genesis chapter twelve through eighteen and look for these three being put into operation in Abraham. What new insights jump off the page? In Chapter twelve was he a man of courage? Was he tenacious in his belief that God would do what He said He would do? Did he treat the people around him with integrity?

The Pressure That Brings Transformation

Right after God’s first word there came pressure in the form of a famine. This fallen world will always challenge the believer, who has received a promise from God, to persistently stand in the promise. Was faith bounteous in Abraham at this point or was there a famine of faith in his heart? The outer famine of the land revealed the inner famine of Abraham’s heart.

Since Abraham’s world is your world this same pattern will happen to you; promise, pressure and position. How you position yourself before God in the pressure determines how effective your faith will be in moving you toward your promise.

While Jesus has totally provided for your blessing it remains as a legal contract until it is pulled into the real world by the strength of your faith and that grows only as your understanding of your grace contract grows. The process of growth in Abraham’s faith was a process that took twenty five years. You must learn to let the Holy Spirit teach you and transform you from the inside out, however long it takes. Move your faith up faster by increasing your understanding of your grace contract!

The next pressure came when Abraham had to expose his most precious commodity, his beautiful wife, who would be the conduit for his blessing, to powerful and unscrupulous people who could force him to do anything they wanted. Under this pressure was Abraham tenacious in his belief that God would do what He said? That inner condition was revealed in how he failed to treat Pharaoh with integrity. Under pressure Abraham lied.

A New Abraham Emerges

By chapter eighteen we see Abraham dealing with Lot in a whole new way than he did with Pharaoh. He gives Lot the choice and leaves his own fate in God’s hands. Abraham has grown! Then we see him talking with God about the sinful cities in a whole new type of conversation, revealing a new understanding of what God was really like, and therefore how he can be interacted with. This reveals a whole new outlook in Abraham about how God treats people; not harshly, but with love, kindness, patience and forgiveness.

It is after Abraham has changed his inner position before God that he then excels in outer action as revealed in the big three of keys to success. He has the courage to let Lot choose. He shows tenacity in his negotiation over the sinful cities. His integrity is revealed in how he deals with the visiting high priest. Now God puts His original promise on a timeline saying Sarah will have a baby “about this time next year.”  All this after twenty five years.

This twenty five year period does not reveal Abraham’s shortcomings, but God’s long suffering. This extended period of time is not about who Abraham isn’t. It’s about who God is. God is kind, patient and very gracious and will never give up on you. He is willing to put in the time, never, ever rejecting you, as you work to act out your faith and falter. Instead He is working with you to mature you until you can face the pressure with courage, stand persistently under pressure with tenacity and challenge the pressure with integrity, God has now created in you someone he can use to redeem a fallen world.

In Hebrews chapter eleven’s list of world changers we consistently see all three: unusual courage, dogged tenacity and uncompromising integrity. He has given you your vision to send you to into the battle and He has set these three as the tools to make transfers from his storehouse into your life. Your understanding of your grace covenant allows you to go for it without reservation, knowing God will always forgive and cause everything, even your mistakes, to work for your good and allow you to break strongholds, move forward in God’s vision for your life and become a world changer.

The Right Encounter

I’m going to give you five reasons why we all want a Divine encounter, four reasons why it ain’t gonna happen anytime soon, and how to experience the kind of God encounter you can have – on demand! Ready for it? Here it is.

Sam In Florida
Sam recently visited Orlando, for a big convention of Florida Fairs where he wrote this post

Genesis chapters twelve to eighteen record for us five encounters Abraham had with God. Can you imagine? We all envy the idea that God would come to us, physically appear in our room, sit down with us and have a conversation. Why is that? Here’s five universal reasons why all humans desire this kind of angelic encounter:

  1. It would solve all our problems
  2. It would transform us into the people we need to be
  3. It would answer all our questions
  4. It would be all warm & wonderful (it would require nothing from us)
  5. It would tell us what we should do
  6. What do you think? ______________________________________

Nice and tidy, right? Very powerful, right? So what’s the problem? If its so good, why doesn’t God make it happen? Here’s my four reasons why it doesn’t happen:

  1. It creates connection to answers, not relationship with Him.
  2. The next day a whole new set of questions would arise from trying to apply the answers from the first encounter. What then? Another encounter to solve all the questions created by the first encounter? Another encounter to fix the encounter? When would it all end?
  3. The answers to our problems are too complex to solve in a one time encounter
  4. After we were transformed we would no longer fit the life we were living the previous day. Think of Moses coming down from the mountain, glowing from God’s presence. What happened? A big giant crash between him and the fleshy life being lived by the Israelites. Not a pretty site.
  5. What do you think? ________________________________________

A Better Plan

So what is the answer? What kind of an encounter can we ask for and expect to be answered? The answer is clearly in what God has given us in the Word. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in angelic encounter and I believe Jesus still shows up on earth, in physical form. (That’s in the Word, too) He did it then, he does it now. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. History is replete with stories of such encounters. However, I believe Jesus gave us a better plan. Here’s four scriptures that reveal God’s best plan for a Divine encounter for you:

  1. Acts 2:8 – You will receive dynamite when the Holy Spirit has come upon you!
  2. John 14:26 – I will send you a helper, the Holy Spirit and He will teach you all things.
  3. Hebrews 12:2 Fix your eyes on Jesus, the one who first gave you faith, for He is the one who will take your faith to full maturity
  4. John 7:37 to 39 – Out of your innermost being will flow rivers of living water

When Jesus spoke these words He was physically in the presence of His followers teaching them, guiding them, having conversation with them, yet He said it was better for them if He went away and the Holy Spirit came. Why? So they would have the best, most productive kind of encounter God can create, one even better than Him being physically present: God in them 24/7.

His Plan For Them Is His Plan For You

What He taught them the night before His betrayal and set in motion with them on the day of Pentecost is the plan He had for them and the plan He has for you. His plan is to give you the kind of encounter Abraham could only dream of; God himself, the Holy Spirit living in you, 24/7, teaching you, guiding you, having a conversation with you.

I can hear you now, “I don’t know about this Holy Spirit thing. Life is confusing enough and I don’t need something else to think about.” I answer you by saying this, this kind of God encounter, receiving and developing relationship with the Holy Spirit, is the best kind of God encounter because it answers the five universal reasons why you need a God encounter, and it gives answer to the four reasons why the encounter probably won’t be happening for you. The Holy-Spirit-in-you-plan is the best because it leads to relationship. It invites you to partnership. It requires a lifetime of seeking and learning. It gives you the best opportunity to grow. It provides the answers you need in the most logical, effective way; one day at a time, one problem at a time, and it does it in a way that provides for you the best hot house for personal transformation. It doesn’t give you all the answers right now, it doesn’t solve all your problems today, but it does give you the very best answer to life and it focuses on the most important aspect of life; close, intimate relationship with your creator: Jesus.

Dream On

You have what Abraham only dreamed of when you accept Jesus and learn about the Holy Spirit and how He works. In doing so you step into the very thing your heart actually desires and needs: intimacy with God, and as a by product all the answers you need come along with that in due time and in the end you get the ultimate gift: eternity in God’s presence, in a new world, full of unending hope and productivity. Who knows what we shall build then! But, until then, build what is best in the here and now, intimate relationship with your earthly partner, the Holy Spirit. That will in turn will make your family, your church, your business prosper as it should, for our God is a God with a prosperous heart and He is a God of prosperous means. As He prospered Abraham so He desires to prosper you.

Here’s nine keys to avoiding Abraham’s mistakes and receiving Abraham’s success:

  1. Be in connection with God, ask Jesus to come and live in you
  2. Put your eyes on Jesus: check your filters about who He is by reading the gospel stories about the kind of person He was and the kind of things He did
  3. Quite yourself down, turn off all other voices: ideas, people, doubts, fears
  4. Tune into the peaceful, spontaneous voice in your deepest, most intuitive heart of hearts
  5. Journal what you hear Him saying
  6. Check that against your growing knowledge of the Word.
  7. Give His voice time to mature it’s answer
  8. Submit your voice answers and leadings to others who are mature and productive in the area you are called to
  9. Then act on your leading, come hell or high water, for you have an enemy who will resist you every step of the way

5 Reasons to Dream Big

When you dream you should dream big. Here’s 5 reasons why.

1 – When you shoot for the stars you’ll get what few people ever experience, a handful of moon dust.

Going big pushes you right past smaller mile posts. If you shoot for the sky you might not get off the ground. If you shoot for the moon you might get the sky.  If you shoot for the stars you might get the moon. If you go big you’ll always get a better return for your investment, and that’s a victory!

2 – A big dream defeats dream killers.

Every dream comes with dream killers. Dream killers are what we all experience when we consider going for our big dream. They are all those ideas, thoughts and emotions inside you that tell you you have to stay with the familiar, the comfortable, the safe.  If you dream of going to the sky you will have to battle for the clouds. If you shoot for the stars the battle will be relegated to the stars and the moon will just be a stop along the way.

3 – The big dream helps your mind dream with you.

What am I saying? Whenever you tell your mind to step out of your comfort zone it’s going to bombard you with a wide range of thoughts and attending emotions all based on your past thinking, all designed to keep you safe. When you step outside your comfort zone alarms are going to go off in the form of thoughts like, “You better think this through.” “You’ve never done it this way before.” “This is not who you are.” “This is more than you can afford.” “You don’t have the skills.” “This is not your personality.” “You’re in way too deep.” “If you fail, what will people think?”  Fill in the blank: ____________________

4 – A big dream tells your emotions to dream big with you.

Your emotions are designed to attach feeling to thoughts in order prioritize them and give them strength. Emotions are designed to protect you, to keep you where you perceive it’s safe. Emotions like; fear, doubt, stress, and worry will be attached to your thoughts. A big dream takes your emotions off the small steps and let’s you move forward.

5 – A big dream tells your body to dream big with you.

Physical symptoms like sleeplessness, cold sweats, upset stomach, nausea, and dizziness can show up in your body. But, if you attach those to the big dream, and then chop that big dream into small steps, you can leave all of the doubt, and stress attached to the big dream and body will accept the small steps that get you off the ground and on your way.

Park your doubt and fear to the big dream and the small steps will come easier. By the time you get through all the small steps when you get to the big dream, it will seem like just another small step.

Leave the past behind. Dream big and bring home the moon dust, one small step at a time.

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Samuel Bowman

Helping men achieve their dreams.

 

 

Four Doors To Abundant Living

Runner’s Prize:  4 Doors to Abundant Living

cropped-run-for-the-prize-photo.jpg        Want to move from cycling through life paycheck to paycheck to living in abundance? Here’s what you do; open your Bible and find people in there who had abundance and see how they did it. Here are four things you do that produce abundance from the life of Peter, who followed Jesus, denied Jesus and then shook the world for Jesus.

It’s based on 2 Peter 1:11 – For in this way the entrance into the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.

Peter was so abundant in what he did that all people had to do was get close enough to him that when his shadow passed over them they would get healed of sickness. (Acts 5:15) Now if you could find a doctor like that, the waiting room, the building and the parking lot would be full. However, Peter’s shadow couldn’t do a thing, but if you got within a shadow’s distance of Peter a transference took place. Now that’s abundance. This same level of abundance can come to any kind of calling and gifting, even in you.

Peter’s calling was leading people to Jesus, teaching them and restoring them and he did it in abundance, so let’s look at what he says about how to do it. Turn in your Bible to the New Testament, to 2 Peter 1:11. It says,

“For in this way [the way to get abundance Peter has just explained in this chapter] the entrance [the way] into the eternal [never ending] kingdom [everything God has for you] of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ [the God of everything] will be abundantly supplied to you. (NASB, brackets are author’s words added for clarity of application).

This says there is a way to abundant living and that way is provided for you – in abundance.  So, when the verse says “For in this way” what way is that? Let’s go back to what is stated before that and see. There are Four Doors that lead to abundance clearly stated in verse one and two of this chapter. Let’s go back and look at them:

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 2 Peter 1:2

Door 1 – It’s Through Jesus our Lord: Abundance is a person. Get in right relationship, or alignment with Jesus and you get in line with abundance because He is everything. He made all things, from Him all things come, so get in line with Him, know who He is, how He does things and you get in line with an abundance. Being with Him teaches you what real abundance is and being with Him transfers abundance. (Verse 1)

Door 2 – It’s Through Grace: For you to walk in abundance you need to know your contract of grace. Under the law you earn abundance. Under grace you receive abundance. In the flesh you work hard, sweat, and toil for abundance. Under grace it comes as a gift from being in right alignment with your Daddy, Abba Father, who is Jesus. Under the covenant of grace even your mistakes are used by God to teach you so that even your shortcomings work in your favor bringing you to abundance. Under the law the way is narrow and few find it (Matthew 7:14), but under the covenant of grace the way is made abundantly clear and readily available.(Verse 2)

Door 3 – It’s Through Peace: When you know and walk in your grace covenant then you begin to be at peace with God, at peace with yourself, at peace with your life and what happens? You rest. When you know your Daddy has your back, when you know your Father is going to provide for you, then what do you do? You rest. You stop striving and earning and you start receiving. Supply then comes as a gift because He loves you. (Verse 2) Knowing you have a God that will supply abundantly for you, is very restful.

Knowing your grace covenant and resting in it is so vital that Peter prayed that his readers be multiplied in these two areas: grace and rest.

Door 4 – It’s Through Knowledge: If you knew how to abound you would really be abounding. Because you are not yet where you want to be you know that you need to learn more. You need to know what you don’t yet know. (verse 2)

Grace multiplies knowledge because it sets you in the best position to receive. When under stress your brain tightens up and doesn’t process well and so new insights and ideas, wisdom about which way to go, is restricted. Dr. Caroline Leaf says in her book, Switch On Your Brain, that stress closes down the brain. Knowledge flows so much better and is retained longer when you are relaxed, than when you are stressed. (Verse 2) Wisdom is directly connected to being relaxed. Do what you love and you will love to learn. Love expands. Revelation knowledge is how to you get to practical, working knowledge. God has to open your heart, then your mind and then He can release new ideas about how to succeed.

To go you need to grow. You grow best in rest. Rest is the fertile soil of knowledge. Nothing brings rest like knowing how much your Daddy, who is going to provide for everything you need, loves you so much that He is going to be giving you gifts of abundance.

Now look at verse three, and you’ll love this: after knowing your grace covenant, resting and increasing knowledge, then you arrive at where He is has given you all things you need in life.

“His [here’s being in right connection and alignment with Jesus] divine power [to get and live in a continual flow of abundance] has granted [there’s your grace covenant] everything pertaining to life [there’s your abundance] and godliness [the only thing better than getting what God has is to actually become like Him] through the true knowledge [it’s not just enough to know stuff, you have to know it’s true] Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. (NASB, author’s words added for clarity added in brackets]

The last line tells you clearly He doesn’t call you to abundance because of something that’s in you, but it’s all about what’s in Him, You don’t have to create it and support it. It comes to you as a flowing gift as you are supplied by:

1) Connecting with Jesus, and being rightly aligned with Him,

2) Knowing your grace covenant, so it’s all coming by gift, not by earning,

3) By being totally at rest, and peace, relaxed, knowing that God can and will show you the way, so that

4) Growing in true knowledge, knowledge that really works can flow into you and show you the way.

This is your track to abundance. Connect, covenant, rest, grow, receive. This is the Divine pattern to the life you dream of, to the prize God has shown you.

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Get A New Vision

New Vision Will Turn Your World Upside Down

Back in the early days of the space program, NASA designed an experiment to determine the physical and mental effects spatial disorientation might create in astronauts as they experienced the weightless environment of space. NASA needed to know if the environment of space would have some unexpected negative consequences that would endanger the astronauts or their mission. Would they be unable to function or experience some debilitating reactions that would incapacitate them? So, NASA scientists outfitted astronauts with goggles that flipped everything in their field of vision upside down. The astronauts had to wear the special goggles nonstop, 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, no matter their activity, even when asleep.

An Amazing Change

At first they displayed stress indicated by elevated blood pressure and respiration, but they gradually adapted. On the 26th day of the experiment, something amazing happened for one of the astronauts. His world turned right-side up again even though he continued to wear the goggles. Between days 26-30, the same thing happened to all the other astronauts.

What the scientists discovered is that, after 26-30 days of this continuous stream of new input, the astronauts’ brains actually created neural pathways that “rewired” their brains to see their worlds normally again. Then NASA repeated the experiment with a slight change. This time some of the astronauts took the goggles off for a short period of time partway through the experiment. When they put the goggles back on and left them on until the 30th day, their worlds were still upside down, but when they continued on, at 26-30 consecutive days wearing the goggles, the same thing happened – everything was suddenly right side up again.

Intentional Change 

What can we extract from this NASA experiment concerning having a mission statement? A mission statement will help you see things a new way, and while at first it may be disorienting, later it will enable you, like the astronauts, to soar to new heights! A well crafted vision statement can help you start a new life, take your business to a new level, change your marriage, eliminate old destructive habits, in short; forge a new path.

After 30 days of conscious, intentional, deliberate thought and effort it gets easier and by 90 days the mission statement will become a permanent part of who you are – a new direction, a new habit, only this time it will be one that’s serving you and moving you toward your goals. After a short time of living continually with your mission statement your brain will begin to kick in and create new paths toward your dream.

Lasting Change

Nature abhors a vacuum and releasing a bad habit leaves a void that will be filled with something. So, if you do not consciously replace a habit, and intentionally choose a new direction you will cycle back to old ways of doing things and get the same old results.  A vision statement will supercharge your brain to:

  • Focus on the dream
  • Accept a new direction
  • Set priorities about what will take you your new direction
  • Provide motivation by finding reasons to go the new direction
  • Know what to say yes to
  • Know what to say no to
  • Grow, seek out new knowledge and ideas that fulfill the new mission
  • Measure your progress
  • Keep your heart and mind on the prize

In short, after thirty days of living with a new mission statement the mission will begin to manifest because your brain now accepts it as your path and is helping you go that way.

John Maxwell says, “Movement with intentionality creates possibilities.” A mission statement puts your intentions into a precise destination. It puts your destination into precise words and speaking your dream is the first step in moving toward it.  A mission statement is like giving your internal GPS a precise destination that your mind and body will begin to follow.

To think positively about your possibilities you must be able to imagine yourself in the future. Dr. Caroline Leaf says, “Our brains may have stamps from the past, but they are being led by our expectation of the future.” A car has a bigger front window than a rear view mirror because where you’re going is more important than where you’ve been.

Write a mission statement and live with it for ninety days and you will turn your world upside down.

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Helping men achieve the life they dream of – at home and at work with biblical wisdom and practical strategies that produce endurance and results

 

 

Keep Your Eyes On Jesus and Your Nose On Satan

Powerful One Line Principles That Give You The Inside Track To Victory

Get the inside track by knowing the tactics of the Accuser. Don’t get sidelined by accusation! Our accuser is a master at manipulating the facts. His accusations are subtle, sly and sinister. All of us are accused, but the question is do you receive it? Just because an accusation is based on truth does not mean it is true, for the best accusation begins based on a truth. But the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth is this; an accusation cannot control the outcome of your race, unless you believe it does. When you stay in the race in spite of the enemy’s accusations you give God a chance to take the set back and turn it into a set up – for victory.

Scripture: Revelation 12:10 – The accuser of believers has been cast down! (paraphrase)