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SCRIPTURE READING FOR YOUR BEST LIFE NOW -Hebrews 11:8-40
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. -HEBREWS 11:1 NASB
A FAMOUS MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING resort in the Swiss Alps caters to businesses that encourage their employees to hike up the mountain trails together. The goal is to build camaraderie and to teach teamwork. Although it is about an eight-hour trek to the summit, anyone with normal walking ability can ascend to the top. Each morning, the hikers gather at the base of the mountain for a pep talk before starting the climb. Usually, the group is so excited, they can hardly wait to head up the slopes, to have a group picture taken, and to celebrate their victory.
They hike for several hours before taking a break. Approximately halfway up the mountain stands a quaint alpine restaurant. About noon, the weary hikers trudge into the restaurant, peel off their hiking gear, and plop down by the fireplace to have a cup of coffee, or drink some hot chocolate, and eat their lunch. With the mountain as their backdrop, the hikers savor the warm, cozy, picturesque setting.
Interestingly, after they are full and comfortable, less than half the hikers choose to continue climbing to the top of the mountain. It isn't because they aren't able; it isn't because the climb is too difficult. Their reluctance to continue is simply because they are satisfied with where they are. They lose their drive to excel, to explore new horizons, to experience vistas they'd never previously imagined possible. They have tasted a bit of success, and they think, This is good enough.
God has so much more in store.
Many times, we do something similar. We have a goal to break a bad habit, to lose some weight, or to pay off our credit cards. At first, we're so excited. We're fired up and we go after it! But over time, we get lazy; we get complacent. Maybe we see a little improvement, but then we get comfortable right where we are. Where we are may not be a bad place, but we know it's not where we're supposed to be. We're not stretching our faith. We're not pursuing the excellence that God has placed in our hearts.
"Well, Joel, I'm doing pretty well with my goal," one fellow said. "I used to smoke two packs of cigarettes a day, and now I smoke only one." Another person said, "I used to be fifty pounds overweight, but I've lost ten pounds recently."
"I'm happy for you," I told these individuals. "That's a good start, and it took some real effort to get where you are. But don't get comfortable. Don't be satisfied with a little improvement. Begin believing for better progress, and press on to God's best."
Maybe you own a business and you've experienced a bit of success. Lately, however, you've been coasting, thinking that perhaps you've reached your limits. You're not stretching your faith. You aren't believing for an increase in your customer base or your profits. No, don't stop halfway; go on up to the top of that mountain. Believe God for more.
Dare to step out of your comfort zone today. God has so much more in store. Keep pursuing and keep believing. It doesn't take any more effort to believe and stay filled with faith than it takes to develop a negative and defeated attitude. Get up every day and say, "This is going to be a good day! I believe my dreams are coming to pass. God has great things in store." When you have that kind of attitude, you are releasing God's supernatural power in your life, and before long, you will begin experiencing more of God's goodness.
But it doesn't come easily. People who see their dreams come to pass are people who have some resolve, some backbone; people who refuse to settle for somewhere along the way. In the Old Testament, Abraham was one of the heroes of faith, a man with whom God established a covenant that still impacts the world today. Ironically, many years earlier, Abraham's father, Terah, had hoped to move to the place where God later led Abraham. The Scripture says, "Abraham's father left Ur and set out for Canaan" (see Genesis 11:31). Now Canaan was the Promised Land, and Terah had intended to lead his family to that land of abundance. But the Scripture reveals that Terah "stopped along the way and settled in Haran" (see Genesis 11:31). Why did he stop there?
No doubt it was difficult traveling with his flocks, herds, family members, and all of their possessions. You can imagine how stressful that was, not to mention what a big headache moving must have been four thousand years ago. Finally, Terah said, "I can't go any farther. I know this isn't the Promised Land, but let's just settle here; it's good enough. At least we can survive here."
I wonder how many times we do the same thing. We have a big dream in our hearts-we're going to excel in our careers, excel as parents, excel in our walk with God. We get started, but then things get difficult, and achieving our goal doesn't happen as quickly as we had hoped. Perhaps, similar to Abraham's father, we say, "Let's just settle here. It's not really what we wanted, but it's good enough."
Don't fall into that trap. You are made for more than good enough. Look yourself in the mirror and say, "I am not going to settle for mediocrity. Things may be difficult. Nothing may be going my way right now, but I'm going to keep pursuing God. I'm going to trust God to help me expand my horizons and keep believing for all that He has for me. I'm going to make it all the way into my Promised Land."
Maybe like Abraham's father you've already settled halfway, and you've gotten comfortable in that spot where you are. I'm challenging you to pull up your stakes, pack your tents, get your belongings, and start moving forward. Enlarge your vision! You may have had a delay, but that's okay; you can begin again this very day. You simply need to focus on your goal, set your course, and have the attitude, I'm not going to settle for a little love and joy, a bit of peace and contentment, or for a small helping of happiness. No, I'm going to reach my full potential in God. I'm going to start living my best life now!
Today's Prayer for Your Best Life Now
Father, I'm excited to begin this new journey of faith with You. Please help me to develop a fresh vision for my life, to believe You for better days ahead, and to know that You will continually expand my horizons as I trust You to do more in and through my life.
Excerpted from Daily Readings From Your Best Life Now by Joel Osteen Copyright © 2005 by Joel Osteen Publishing . Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted May 6, 2010
Not being a very religious person, I am a fan of Osteen's Sunday sermons on TV. He is not the type of preacher to beat one down with talk of fire and brimstone. Instead his sermons are very motivational and weaves in threads about God.
I bought Daily Readings from Your Best Life Now to be a way to start my day off with positive thoughts and it was a good choice. Each reading starts of with a short quote from the bible, then Osteen connects the quotes to everyday life situations, speaks on what God's purpose is for us in relation to the quote and ends with a short prayer the listener can repeat. Each reading has a precise focus for example- dreaming big, envisioning a better future, overcoming overwhelming obstacles. In Osteen's usual manner - each quote is very insightful and is not "preachy". Christians and Non-Christians will be able to appreciate the messages.
My only criticism is that each reading is 5 minutes or less. I would prefer ten or fifteen minutes.
Posted May 5, 2010
Pastor Joel Osteen has done a great job with these cds. I recommend these shorts cds to everyone. They are easy to understand and to follow. They are short and powerful.
Thank you Pastor Joel Osteen.