Read an Excerpt
Date with Destiny
Find the Love You Need
By Joseph W. Walker III
Abingdon PressCopyright © 2011 Abingdon Press
All rights reserved.
A DATE WITH DESTINY: ANTICIPATE GREATNESS
THE GREATNESS OF GOD
God has placed the promise of greatness inside of you. God has placed greatness inside of you as a couple. God will meet you wherever you are, despite wherever you've been. Seize this promise. Accept your gift. Align yourselves with God's purpose, and begin your date with destiny.
One of the most important lessons that every believer needs to know is that you are not defined by what has happened in your past. You are defined by how you respond. See this in God's word to the prophet Joel.
Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things.
Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength.
Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.
And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.
And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.
And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.
And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed. (Joel 2:21-27)
These people endured incredible persecution and oppression. They had lost much; they had gone through incredible pain. Perhaps this is your story as well.
Stephaine and I recognized early on in our relationship that we had to deal with our losses if we were going to have a healthy relationship. For me, it was the loss of my first wife, Diane. Diane passed away after a battle with cancer at age 37 in 2005. We were married for eleven years, and I had to come to a place of wholeness before I could be all I needed to be for Stephaine. It was important for me to go through personal and group therapy in order to deal with my pain. I had to admit that for three years of my life after Diane's death I was so consumed with preserving her legacy that I had not given myself an opportunity to experience the joy of a new relationship. It was important for Stephaine to know me as Joseph first and not as Diane's husband. Likewise, it was important for me to see myself as Joseph first and not as Diane's husband.
Stephaine had lost her older sister, Wendy, a few years before we met and was still struggling with numerous questions herself. Could she have done more? At the time of her sister's death, Stephaine was a resident physician. And while experiencing the pain of a sister dying unexpectedly at age 40, Stephaine had to be the voice of reason to her family in regard to what was transpiring before all their eyes. Wendy had been a mentor and "big sister," and Stephaine realized how important it was to deal with this pain so that she might be in a better position to move forward after dealing with her grief.
Our pain ended up being a point of connectivity in our relationship. We were able to communicate about it and be transparent about where we were in the process. I believe God brings people together who can identify with the depth of each other's pain. Our stories served as a catalyst for the development of our relationship. We cried together and gave each other permission to vent when necessary. Our relationship became a safe place, and consequently, over time, this created a level of trust between us. We were convinced that God had brought us together to remind us that He is a restorer. No matter how deep and acute the pain, a part of our destiny is working through that pain together.
You may be reading this book and wondering if things are going to turn out right in your situation. You're really wondering if what has happened in your life has already been the defining moment of your destiny. Is it too late? Is it too late for a new beginning? God's answer is "No."
GOD BROUGHT YOU TOGETHER
God has brought you together to work in His purpose, not apart from it. You are not competitors, rather companions. Healthy couples have like vision and passions and are willing to make the necessary sacrifices for the success of the relationship. But, as an individual, if you don't know where you are going, it's hard to expect someone to go with you. To be a couple on a date with destiny means that you have to be in this together. You have to be committed.
Walking through our pain together means that we come out together on the other side. Stephaine and I have lived by this principle and it has blessed our relationship and marriage. You have to make a conscious decision to move forward and not become paralyzed by your pain. When God says in Isaiah 43:19 that "I will do a new thing: now it shall spring forth," He is saying He wants us to position ourselves spiritually, emotionally, and physically so that we can move forward, for it to happen.
I remember watching a young boy who was afraid to jump off the diving board into the deep water. He was comfortable with familiar surroundings; therefore, when he got on the diving board, he clung to it instead of jumping in, releasing himself into the water. I tell people all the time that you cannot "spring" if you "cling." You will never reach your full potential in relationships if you are holding on to things in your past. It's all right to have a history, but don't become a prisoner to your past. God has placed so much in you, and it cannot be eclipsed by your pain. We all come to a place where we have to decide if we are going to move ahead or stay stuck in the past. Will we wallow in the mire of our yesterday or will we pursue the greatness that lies ahead? Stephaine and I chose the latter, and I encourage you to do the same. We dealt with our past but then moved on. If we hadn't, we wouldn't be together today.
SHIFT TOWARD GREATNESS
God wants you to stop focusing so much on what has happened in the past. It's time for you as a child of God to make a shift. In other words, God is saying, "I'm moving you out of the season of your past pain, out of that season of destruction and despair. And I'm shifting you into a brand-new season where I'm getting ready to do some great and awesome things."
When God begins to shift you, things around you begin to happen. Sometimes you don't understand why they're happening, but God is literally moving you into the best days of your life.And even though you may have been wounded in your past, it's time to pick yourself up and declare, "What's ahead of me is better than what's been before!"
Something inside of you has to say, "This is my finest hour. So even with tears in my eyes, I have to convince myself that it's gonna get better up the road. Even if people laugh at me, even if you laugh at me, I know too much about God to know that God will not leave me in worse shape than He found me. He's going to take me to another dimension, another level." God wants you to know that your slate is clean; something awesome and fresh is about to happen in your life and in your life together as a couple.
DEVELOP A POSTURE OF ANTICIPATION
One thing we know for sure, God always makes good on His promises. Just like the prophet Joel says to a distressed people, he also says to us, "Fear not. Don't be afraid, but be glad and rejoice because the Lord will do great things. He's going to do great things for you" (adapted from Joel 2:21). Your part is to develop a posture of anticipation. Expect something. You can always tell when people are expecting something, because they receive revelation with anticipation.
I remember hearing a story about a group of folks who traveled down a dusty road each day to church in rural Louisiana. It was a community whose livelihood depended upon the crops coming in. They had been in a drought for several months, so the locals thought it would be a good thing to hold prayer services each night and pray for rain. Each night they passed down this road singing, enlisting others to join them in their pilgrimage to the prayer service at the church. And they were quite successful in enlisting willing participants; however, there was one man who refused to go along.
Mr. Brown would sit on his porch and shake his head, seemingly in agony as he watched them pass by day after day. They would ask him repeatedly to join them, but he refused time and time again. One day they all decided to go up and ask Mr. Brown why he wouldn't join their small town in their prayer meeting. It was their belief that everyone would benefit from the rain. They could not fathom why Mr. Brown was so stubborn. As they approached, a young man in his thirties with Bible in hand asked Mr. Brown on behalf of the group, "Why won't you attend our prayer services? We all need the rain, and if everybody joins in, we will have a better chance of the good Lord hearing us." Mr. Brown stood up from his old orange rocker, rickety and worn, and gazed at the small crowd in his yard. He fixed his eyes on the group and said with resounding conviction, "Because none of you have an umbrella. I watch each of you pass this way every evening going to pray for rain, but nobody ever takes an umbrella. I only pray where there is faith and expectation."
Expectation brings an umbrella. And if you are anticipating God doing something in your life, you have to bring your umbrella. When I pray for a thing, I believe that when I get off my knees it is already done. I've learned how to look like what I am asking God for. Stop looking at what you are going through and start looking like what you are going to.
Our God promises He's going to do great things for you, so live like what you expect to happen, will happen. God does great things, not average things, not things like you and me, but great things. Look around you. Stuff is happening. Even if it's not happening in your life, it's happening all around you. It's just a matter of time before the blessing comes into your life, because if God is blessing your neighbor, He's still in the neighborhood.
BEGIN TO THANK GOD FOR THE LITTLE STUFF
Once you understand that stuff is happening around you, light dawns. This understanding is a revelation that can shine the light on the areas of life that I take for granted, stuff I am overlooking. God says, "I'm tired of you people walking around with your lips stuck out, with your arms folded; you have an attitude, because I'm not doing what you think I ought to do." God says, "If you'll just look, I'm already doing some stuff, but because it isn't big enough for you, you think that the blessing is not going to come." Learn how to thank God for the little stuff first.
Thank God for the stuff He's doing right now, on the way to the blessing. You have an attitude, but you ought to thank God for the car you have; you ought to thank God for the house you have; you ought to thank God for the wife you have. God is for you, so who can be against you?
We spend too much time adding up our problems rather than counting our blessings. It's the little stuff that makes the difference on the way to destiny. I meet so many chronic complainers. These people are always alone. Nothing is ever good enough. They complain about everything. You will never be in a destinydriven relationship if you are not appreciative. If you cannot appreciate the things that God does for you, then you will never be grateful for what your mate does.
I have learned in my relationship with Stephaine that the things that mean the most to her are the little things. I've seen her cry like a baby over little things that I thought were insignificant expressions of love, yet I've learned that they were more valuable than large, tangible things or my attempts at grand gestures.
My parents always told me to stay clear of people who didn't know how to say thank you. Ungrateful people never realize destiny because they go through life with entitlement issues. They feel that everyone owes them something. When you have entitlement issues, you are almost impossible to please. Expressions of kindness are often met with cynicism and criticism. Nobody wants to be in a relationship with this kind of person. It's not the kind of relationship that leads to destiny. It leads to your demise. Take a moment and reflect over the small things God has done in your life and give Him thanks for them. As you learn to do that, you will be more appreciative of the little things your mate does. It's the little things that count.
Think of some things you can do for your mate today. Do them without thought of getting a reward or something back. See what happens. If you don't get the results you want, don't give up. Keep trying.
Once you know stuff is happening, you'll start walking around with a spirit of readiness. Do you know how you can tell someone has that spirit? Just think of the people you know. They are the people who aren't concerned about what you think about them. And they are the people who say, "At any moment, God will do great things."
DELIVER US FROM EVIL
But sometimes we pray for deliverance. "Deliver me from my job." "Deliver me from my enemy." Sometimes we pray, "Lord, get me out of this." But God may say, "This is not the season. I'll keep you right in the mess, but I will give you a breakthrough right there so your enemy gets to see you blessed. I will prepare a table before you in the presence of your enemy."
I don't want to belittle your pain and suffering. Some of you may have been through deep, deep despair, perhaps at the hands of others, but also perhaps by your own hand. Some of you may be scarred by abuse, hatred, guilt, or violence; and you may be justified in feeling anger or hurt at the injustice of it all. I'm not advocating a quick fix and I'm not saying, "Don't worry, be happy." But I am saying that God knows your pain and can help you through it and then move you beyond it.
One of the most amazing stories in the Bible is the story of the three Hebrew boys in the fiery furnace. Their convictions put them there, yet they had faith to believe that God could deliver. Many of you reading this book have your own heated situations, and you are convinced that God can deliver. But if you examine how God delivered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, it might give you some insight into how your deliverance will come. God did not deliver them out of the furnace; He delivered them in the furnace. They were free and unharmed, although the fire had been turned up to seven times its normal heat. They even came out without a scent of smoke.
God may not change your situation, but He will change you in it. So when you come through, you won't even smell like smoke. God uses moments like this to build character and faith. He will protect your destiny at all costs. Although you may experience temporary discomfort or even suffering, you must know that God is pushing you toward destiny.
YOUR TRUE DESTINY IS IN GOD'S HANDS
Once I begin to anticipate that God will do stuff in my life, I'm expecting God to show up, so I don't have to be afraid. I've dealt with the fear. This is true freedom, because it frees me to reach out to live, to love, to be fruitful and accept the blessings God has for me. The knots that have tied me up and bound my spirit are gone, allowing me to run the good race with my eyes on the prize.
Growing up is a process; maturity is a process; faith is a process; growing in love and Christian marriage is a process. God is a process God, especially when it comes to getting the blessing into lives. Blessings come as a process because of what the enemy does. The enemy systematically, categorically comes into your life. He calculates this thing, comes in, and assaults the people of God. The enemy doesn't just come in one time. He sits back, strategizes how he's going to take your family out, how he's going to come at your mind, come at your money, come at your marriage; that's how the enemy does. Sometimes the enemy will wait years before he launches his assault. And God might allow these things to happen. But God also says that there is a process and that your destiny is never defined by what happened in the past. Your destiny, your future, is in God's hands.
IT WAS WORTH IT
We all know that the road is not easy. Our question is, "Is it worth it?"
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call. (Joel 2:28-32)
Excerpted from Date with Destiny by Joseph W. Walker III. Copyright © 2011 Abingdon Press. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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