Friday, January 10, 2014

What about A.N.A.?

We’re on day ten of our inward journey experience.  Did you find yourself doing a “self-check” like I did all week?  If you did that’s good, because it’s a sign that you are expecting to see some changes in your life this year.

Of course you realize that as soon as the Lord reveals something to your spirit that there is sure to be an opportunity to walk it out.  With permission I’d like to share a few challenges that came into the lives of some people I know.

This is where “what about A.N.A. became part of my thinking as I shared it with others.

Something has to change!
Perhaps you have been trying the same old things and nothing is working.  You’re praying, giving of your tithes and offerings, going to church or fellowshipping with other believers, but you still are stuck in your traditional methods.  Then, you are like all of us who have been there hoping something would change … but it doesn’t.

There is a perfectly good explanation as to why nothing happens.  Our faith isn’t always the issue, but could it be our belief isn’t belief at all?
This week I saw a post that someone wrote on Facebook of a quote I heard a pastor say about twenty years ago.  “Change isn’t change until YOU’VE changed.”  That’s pretty good, but even more it’s true.

Many times we want our circumstances to change without doing something different than we have always done in the past.  Well, if the things you are doing aren’t changing your situation, maybe it’s time you did something differently.
Learning to try new things is difficult for many people.  We like the way we have done things, they are familiar even if they don’t work. We want to do things differently, but can’t find a way to do it. 

Here’s where A.N.A. comes into the picture.

Stepping Back Three Years
In preparation for my sister’s wedding a few years ago I went on a clothes hunt for a new outfit.  Not sure how the outfit would come together I found a few pieces at various stores hoping something would be right. 

Not needing all the things for the outfit I put them in the back of my closet and totally forgot about them, that is until December 28th.  In preparing for the concert I prayed I had something I could wear for this special event without buying anything. 
God heard my prayers and I found a beautiful fancy scarf still with the tag on it.  I snipped it off and put it on a table.  When picking up the tag to throw it away I spotted the word A.N.A., which was no big deal since I’ve worn that designer’s clothing line for some time.  What I never noticed is what those three letters stood for (I always thought it had to do with the person’s name), so I took a closer look.

A.N.A. was just what we are in need of for our journey – A New Approach.  It was there all along, but I didn’t take time to recognize what was in front of my eyes.
If things aren’t working the way we expect or pray, sometimes God gently leads us into taking a new approach in looking at our situations. 

This is exactly what we are trying to achieve in our drawing closer to the Lord in 2014. 

Stepping Somewhere …
Hoping to step in the right direction doesn’t always go as we would like.  Oftentimes we step forward and end up three steps backward without even realizing it.  Then there are times when those of little faith (the lady would say) end up farther along than we give them credit for when moving toward God. 

Perhaps the faith as a grain of mustard seed is what I would call it, even though she might question what that was. (Luke 17:6)

“Eye” Can’t Help It
This is a partial conversation that I had with a woman in her mid-60’s last week as she was trying to “convince” herself that her vision would be restored after having a second surgery on her retina.  Her session was almost an hour.

“But I just can’t help it.  My mind keeps going there.”
“Yes you can. Change the way you are thinking.”

“By thinking about something else.”

“I can’t, what if it doesn’t work this time?  It didn’t last time. My uncle had this and so did my dad.  I live alone and have always been independent.  What about my dog?”
“You know what the Word of God says about healing right? (she agreed)… haven’t you seen healing when you prayed for others? (she kept agreeing).  Well, you have to believe you will be healed also.  Believe what you asked God for and speak what you believe.  You have to change your confession if you want the surgery to work this time.”

She understood and said she would try it.  All I could do was remind her of what she was speaking and not to become anxious or give up on prayer, the rest was up to her.
“We have to stop looking at what we see in the natural, and focus on what God says.”

He Took it Back
Debt Canceled!

A few weeks before Christmas a gentleman shared his delight when a person he owed money to called him into his work office.  After discussing an outstanding bill he had of almost $5,000, the owner of the business took the paper and held it in up for the man to see.
With a big smile the businessman proclaimed, “Balance …ZERO!  I zeroed out your account.”  The man had been faithfully working at paying down the balance and believed for it to be paid in full. Glory to God, the debt had been canceled and he couldn’t wait to share the good news with his wife.
Last week the gentleman was telephoned at home and beckoned to the businessman’s home.  There had been a snow storm and freezing weather caused the pipes in his wall to burst, resulting in his house being flooded.  In a panic he pleaded with the man to come and help him.
While he was sopping up water and using his expertise in building to fix the pipes, the businessman made this statement, “This will take a big chunk off your bill.”
“What happened to the canceled balance, the zeroed bill that you forgave?” …the man thought.  He didn’t say anything else to the businessman, but explained the situation to his wife when he got home.  By this time it was almost 10:30 pm and he hadn’t even eaten dinner yet.
Stepping Forward
Last week we talked about 5 steps we can do in the beginning phases of our inward journey. 
Our inward journey focused on these things: A spirit of calmness; Avoid contention; Positive confessions; say I won’t quit; Pray to receive transformation.
With the examples that I gave, how do you think they played out for the individuals? 
“Eye can’t see” began with baby steps in her faith.
I can do it.  I can believe!
Each day for a week she would catch herself falling back into the same pattern. She even laughed recognizing she was doing it.  The difference was that when she started saying how bad the situation was, she changed her confession and focused on something else. 
Most of the time when this lady started thinking on how things didn’t work out in the past, she turned to thinking about her dog and his current needs.
A few days later when she saw my husband she kidded him on how I wouldn’t let up on her positive confession over the situation.  It helped her redirect her usual thought pattern and transformed her confession into one that believed God.
When she went in for her examination a week later, the doctor’s diagnosis matched her confession.  The surgery worked and she was full of joy.  Her situation changed from the previous one, because she believed God would do what she asked.  Things changed when her confession and belief changed. Inward change caused an outward change.  She took a new approach and it worked.
I will trust God.  This too will change!
 “He took it back” came home with distressing news that he knew would set his wife’s emotions on edge.  That’s exactly what happened, at first.  When she learned that the bill was no longer canceled, tears welled up and immediately fear started to creep into her thoughts.
Even though the debt was reinstated, something happened.  The man was sitting in the kitchen when he gave this information to his wife.  He noticed that she was about to cry, and instead of giving in to her tears he made this statement:
“It’s alright.  God will work it out.  He is our source. Don’t get upset by this.  He (meaning the businessman) will have to answer for what he did.”
As soon as her husband made that comment she responded with a passage from the Bible that came to her mind.  It was from Matthew 18, where the King had forgiven an enormous debt to a man.  He was elated and rejoiced about not having to pay the bill, but wasn’t as eager to forgive someone who owed him around $20.00 or less. 
When the King found out about it, he threw him in debtor’s jail for not showing mercy to the man that owed him a few dollars.  (Matthew 18:23-34 KJV)
Mind, you will not go there ...
It looked like they were right back where they were in the first place, owing that businessman money, but they weren’t.  This time they changed their confession and began believing God.  Normally the man would have gotten angry or contentious and his wife be-lined into an anxiety tale-spin of worry.  They both took a new approach.
The couple didn’t quit on God even though man changed his mind. They remained in a spirit of calmness and their attitude was transformed, while their confession focused on God’s word and not their situation.
“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You (God), all whose thoughts are fixed on You.” (Isaiah 26:3 NLT) (Reference)
Yesterday the gentleman told me how he now had lots of work to do on the businessman’s home due to the storms.  I know God didn’t cause the problem, but He is sure making a way for the debt to be canceled for good this time … with the man’s own money! 
Would you say that God bestowed His favor on these people even though they had completely different cases?
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT) (Reference)


Required Walking
Until we believe and trust God nothing will change and we know where that leads – nowhere.
If our new approach on the inward journey is to make a lasting effect, we have to trust God by faith along the way.  In other words, we have to walk by faith and not by sight in order to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord.  (2 Corinthians 5:7)
My inward journey this week has been much like the two I’ve mentioned here.  Some things were easier to believe God for, while other’s I’m still making positive confessions over waiting for manifestation of what I’ve prayed.
I can attest to this, the more I confess God’s Word over a situation, the faster I have seen results.  My anxiety levels have been in check and I’m trying new approaches to some things on my “faith bucket list.” 
“I sought the Lord and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4
Knowing that there are hundreds of people (so far) that have taken on this challenge facilitates my focus.  Giving God first moments of the day, praying for others that have taken on this journey with me and spending time in the Word is another aspect that has invigorated my faith walk.
“O LORD, hear me as I pray; pay attention to my meditation (groaning). Listen to my cry for help, my KING and my God, for I pray to no one but You. Listen to my voice in the morning, LORD.  Each morning I bring my requests to You and wait expectantly. (Psalm 5:1-3 NLT) (Reference)
If you’re having a bit of difficulty over something, simply pray, “Holy Spirit, show me A.N.A.”
Part of our inward journey back to God may necessitate our taking a new approach to the way we used to handle a situation.  This includes trusting Him completely by faith and believing He won’t let us down.
As God leads He will also equip us to make the necessary changes so that we will be transformed from the inside out.  (Isaiah 58:11)
God’s mercy, grace, blessings and favor are upon us.  The Lord keeps His promises, so hold fast to your confession without wavering. (Hebrews 10:23)
It’s time to get excited.  A new approach has been given to each of us with fresh ideas, concepts and ways to do things.

I've taped this to my computer!

Until next time, favor a new approach.

What's New this week: What Are You Afraid Of?
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Scripture reference was taken from the New King James Bible Version provide by GatewayBible
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