5 Ways to Keep Good Relationship With People Who Have Opposing Political Views

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We are currently in one of the most toxic post-election cycles I have ever seen. It is a political minefield with friends and family. More than one family asked me to pray with them this weekend at our services as feelings were hurt because of political discussions that had taken place around the table at Thanksgiving.

It reminds me of the joke about the lifelong Democrat supporter who was on his deathbed and suddenly announced that he was switching to the Republicans. “I can’t believe you’re doing this” said his friend. “For your entire life you’ve been a staunch Democrat. Why would you want to become a Republican now?” “Because I’d rather it was one of them that dies than one of us.” LOL. Whoah, it is a polarizing time in the US.

So, how do you navigate these tumultuous waters with friends and family who are adamantly opposed to your vote or your way of thinking:

1. Don’t talk about politics with them if you know they adamantly disagree with you. Stay away from it if you can. There is not much that can help your relationship here.

2. Respect their right to choose for themselves. For some reason we are often focused on persuading people. I know I feel this temptation too. But resist it. I find that people we are trying to convince against their will are of the same opinion still. Often we will be talking to unbelievers and when it comes to the Bible and Jesus, they don’t have the same convictions. Don’t let politics get in the way of your example of a kind and loving follower of Jesus. If they are not believers, don’t expect them to have the same values you do. It is not realistic.

3. Tell them you don’t argue politics because it is a private matter to you. If they insist, and sometimes they do, ask them, “are you really interested in what and why I have my views, or are you just passionate about what you want me to know about your beliefs?” If you sense that they have an open mind and will respectfully allow your thoughts to be expressed, then wade in, but carefully.

4. Try to find points of agreement. There is so much that is good that you have in common with them. Keep it there if you can. It is incredible to see the difference of feelings people will have for us when we show them the things we have in common, i.e. sports, entertainment, etc. Even politically: caring for the poor, respect for others, equality of all human beings, etc. This helps build understanding and trust. Don’t compromise your beliefs, but find as much common ground as you can, and in doing so you are strengthening understanding and relationship with them.

5. Let them know that you prayed for the last president and that you are going to pray for this one too. Followers of Jesus pray for those in authority, as the scriptures tell us to, and we wish for God to lead each one for the good of all Americans.

My final thought: Don’t make your big pursuit to show others that your political thoughts are superior. Make your big goal to show them Jesus with your life.

 

Scriptures For Thought:           

Speaking of Jesus they said:

Luke 4:22 Everyone spoke well of him and was amazed by the gracious words that came from his lips. “How can this be?” they asked. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” (NLT)

Colossians 4:6 Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. (NLT)

1 Peter 2:12 Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world. (NLT)

1 Timothy 2:1-4  1 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. (NLT)

 

 

 

 

One Day to Change the World!

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Horizon Community Church Campuses: This Sunday, November 13, is our One Day to Change the World Miracle Offering. One hundred percent of the offering goes to these three causes:

1. To feed the poor of the world

2. To rescue young people from sex-trafficking

3. To reach out to the Muslim world with the love of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We are asking everyone to consider giving one day’s wage. There are approximately 240 work days in a year. Will you please prayerfully consider what God would have you do? And also pray with me that we might reach our $100,000 goal with this offering on Sunday morning!

We encourage personal giving and sacrifice beyond the local church because we desire to show God’s love to all those in need around the world!

Proverbs 19:17 He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done. (NIV) 

7 Reasons I Cast My Vote For Jesus in 2016!

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It is currently an election year that is more polarizing than any I have ever seen in my life. I am taking this moment to tell everyone within the sound of my voice that the key for our nation is not the right president! I ask you now, what president in the last twenty years has made the positive difference for our nation that they promised? So here is my list of reasons that I am going to concentrate hard on lifting up Jesus much more than any candidate.

1. Jesus is full of grace and truth. No one else can find this balance like Jesus. He came to this earth to show us what the amazing balance of a perfectly lived life looks like. The bible says of Jesus in John 1:14, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (NIV)

2. Jesus knows how to help the children, bring peace and the help the poor in the best way. He advocates for each of us to take a personal interest and to be actively involved in caring for other people.

Matthew 18:5-6 “And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (NIV)

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (NIV)

Matthew 25:44-45 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’” (NIV)

3. Jesus knows each of us intimately and cares about every area of our lives.

Luke 12:6-7 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (NIV)

4. Jesus changes lives for the better for everyone who will turn to Him. He promises to help each of us in our individual lives. Whatever area of our lives we need help in, if we will submit that area to Jesus, He will make it better.

Matthew 11:28-29 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (NIV)

 5. Jesus will never fail us. Kings and presidents all have flaws and failures to some degree. King Jesus will never fail you.

The Bible says:

Hebrews 13:5b “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (NIV)

Hebrews 4:15-16 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are- yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (NIV)

6. Jesus is the ultimate source of power and there is no higher authority!

Ephesians 1:19-23 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else; not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself. (NLT)

7. Jesus is the only one who has and will ever exist who can guarantee that our future is wonderful for eternity. This is because:

A. He is God.   

John 10: “I and the Father are one.” (NIV)

B. He is the author of life.   

John 1:1-4 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. (NIV)

C. He is the only one who can give us eternal life.

John 3:16-19 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (NIV)

Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (NIV)

In this election cycle, I will concede that the people who know Jesus best are the ones who will represent Him best. So I encourage you to keep that in mind as you check your ballots in November. But also keep in mind that no candidate can ever bring the peace, covering, blessing and security that you and I need. Only Jesus can do that! So if you really want to make an amazing difference for your family, city, church, nation or even the world, I encourage you to vote for Jesus by the way you speak and the way you live.  Ultimately, He is the only one who you can fully place your trust in!

Grace and Truth,

Pastor Stan Russell

7 Common Traits of Breakout Churches

Here is a great article by Thom Rainer about turnaround churches that are making a difference:

7 Common Traits of Breakout Churches

Great thoughts for all of us who lead churches.

Grace and Truth,

Pastor Stan

3 Simple Steps to Joy in Your Life

2016-07-28 Blog ImageI like joy better than happiness. The root word for happiness is happens. Something good has to happen for us to be happy. Well, we don’t have continual good happening every second of our lives, so we can’t have continual happiness. Joy, on the other hand, is not dependent on circumstances. We can have it in spite of circumstances. It is a deep down contentedness that has, at its core, the thought that everything is going to work out. Here is the way to find joy:

1.  Know that true joy is found only in God. It may be hard to believe for some, but it is totally true. People and life scenarios will eventually let you down, but God never does. The Bible says in Psalm 28:7a (NLT), “The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy…”  And Jesus says in John 10:10b (NIV), “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” The Greek word for “full” in this verse means superabundant. Basically this means the best life possible on this Earth.

Surrendering your life to God through His son Jesus Christ brings peace, fulfillment and joy like nothing else can offer. As a matter of a fact, everything gets better in life because, as we follow Jesus by reading the word and applying it to our lives, our relationships everywhere start to improve. Even in the toughest times you will find Jesus and His word bringing you direction and peace! His ways are best and He will never lead you astray, but the key is deciding that you really do want to follow Him!

2.  Decide you want to have joy in your life. In Galatians 5:22 (NIV), the Bible shows us that one of the gifts God wants to give us is joy, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness…” Joy is in that gift list. Here is a question about gifts: When does a gift become yours? When you reach out to receive it! You can decide you don’t want it, walk away from the gift giver and never open the gift. That sounds terrible doesn’t it? To walk away from a gift giver at Christmas robs the receiver of what they would have had and the giver of the joy of giving. God delights to give you joy, but you have to decide you want it and say, “Okay Lord, I open my heart to this joy you have for me.”

When you choose Jesus and the path He has for you, you are choosing joy, but you must also choose to walk that path. Choosing Jesus means surrendering to His ways, which are best. The Bible is God’s love letter to us. Jesus is God, and the honest to goodness truth is that we must take personal responsibility for our choice. Do I want Him? Will I choose to follow His way? The Bible shows our personal choice in Jeremiah 17:5-8: 5 This is what the Lord says: “A curse is placed on those who trust other people, who depend on humans for strength, who have stopped trusting the Lord. 6 They are like a bush in a desert that grows in a land where no one lives, a hot and dry land with bad soil. They don’t know about the good things God can give. 7 But the person who trusts in the Lord will be blessed. The Lord will show him that he can be trusted. 8 He will be strong, like a tree planted near water that sends its roots by a stream. It is not afraid when the days are hot; its leaves are always green. It does not worry in a year when no rain comes; it always produces fruit. (NCV)

When we choose Jesus, who is God, and choose to follow His ways, our days and our lives are much more joy-filled.

3.  Discipline yourself to speak positive words in life. The biggest part of following Jesus is an obedience to His word, the Bible. God tells us He will help us, but I like to say that it takes willpower: our will and His power. Are you willing to go His way? If so, these things are key:

      A.  Discipline yourself to see the good in life and think good thoughts.                         

Philippians 4:8-9: 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. (NLT)

      B. Be thankful to God and others out loud, not just in your head:

1 Thessalonians 5:18: Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (NLT)

Isaiah 63:7: I will tell of the Lord’s unfailing love. I will praise the Lord for all he has done. I will rejoice in his great goodness to Israel, which he has granted according to his mercy and love. (NLT)

It is true that it takes some work and personal discipline to refocus our thoughts and words in a positive direction, because it is also true that there are hard times in life.  Here is why we can be positive even in those times, because in every difficult circumstance there are many wonderful things around us to be thankful for. And it is also true that we have the hope of good things coming our way again as we trust in the Lord and believe in the hope of heaven where there is no pain, sorrow, death or tears. This is why Jesus said in John 16:33 (NLT), “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

If we choose Jesus and His path, then we are choosing joy because He is the path to the best life possible on this earth and eternal life in heaven. 

How to Measure Success in Our Lives

Tim TebowTim Tebow, former NFL quarterback, current TV sports analyst and sought-after speaker, had this to say about success: “TRUE SUCCESS is not measured in physical possessions, but in the amount of lives that you change.”

Okay, I admit it. I like Tim Tebow! My daughter says I have a man crush on him. Funny, but not what I’m feelin’.  :)  I admire the man not for the outside appearance or even his athletic achievements, but for what is on the inside of him. His character!  He has been brave, honest and courageous in his stand for Jesus. And he has been kind to those who have mistreated him. But more than that, Tim Tebow has made a difference for others with his life.

Here is what the Bible says in Matthew 6:19-21:  19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth where they can erode away or may be stolen.  20 Store them in heaven where they will never lose their value and are safe from thieves. 21 If your profits are in heaven, your heart will be there too.” (TLB)

This means we should do things that really count in this life, and those are the things that help others. We show God’s compassion by giving, serving and helping those in need. When we do this, people are encouraged and their lives are changed for the better. And when we do good deeds for others in some way, God tells us we are laying up treasures in heaven.

Look at Tebow’s actions and see why I appreciate his example as a brother in Christ:

Tim Tebow grew up the son of missionaries, and even after moving to Florida as a child, he returned to the Philippines as a teenager–to spread God’s word, and do the Lord’s work, by serving the needy. He carried that calling with him to the University of Florida, where in addition to leading the Gators to two national championships, and winning the Heisman Trophy in 2007, he also devoted himself to charity–raising money for pediatric cancer patients and disadvantaged children.

In 2010, his vision took shape in the Tim Tebow Foundation. The Tim Tebow Foundation exists to bring faith, hope and love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need. The foundation fulfills this mission every day by making dreams come true for children with life-threatening illnesses, building Timmy’s Playrooms in children’s hospitals, providing life-changing surgeries to children of the Philippines through the Tebow CURE Hospital, sponsoring Night to Shine, a nationwide prom for people with special needs, providing care for orphans in four countries and adoption aid grants for families who choose to adopt an international child with special needs.

The dude is practicing what he preaches. He is changing lives and, as a result, he is “laying up treasures in heaven.” I do think that is the definition of success.

A great question for all of us is: How many lives are we changing? It would be a fantastic goal if we each decided that we were going to look for ways to give to the poor, help those in need, serve those who could use a hand up in life and love people with the love of God.

Matthew 5:15: “Don’t hide your light! Let it shine for all; let your good deeds glow for all to see, so that they will praise your heavenly Father.” (TLB)

Grace and Truth,

Pastor Stan

INVITE A FRIEND TO CHURCH THIS EASTER, SURVEY SHOWS THEY’RE LIKELY TO SAY YES

Friend ImageWe tend to think these days that no one will really come to a church service if invited. Not true according to a recent study by the  North American Mission Board (NAMB) and LifeWay Research which found that:

  • 67 percent of Americans say a personal invitation from a family member would be very or somewhat effective in getting them to visit a church.
  • A personal invitation from a friend or neighbor would effectively reach 63 percent.

Another survey showed that the two most likely times they would attend if invited are Christmas and Easter.

So this week is a great time to invite someone to an Easter church service. Click here for information about Horizon’s Easter Celebration. But, of course, any bible-believing, Jesus-focused church would be a great one to invite your friend, neighbor or family member to. Jesus is waiting to pour His love out on them!

Share this article for others to see too!

Grace and Truth,

Pastor Stan

Did You Know That God is Crazy About You?

It is true. God has a crazy love for you! Look what He says to His people:

Zechariah 2:8b:  …whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye. (NIV)

It reminds me of a story I heard about a little girl sitting on her daddy’s lap. She suddenly said, “Daddy, I know what you’re thinking about right now.”

“You do?” her dad asked. “Then tell me.”

She answered, “You’re thinking of me!”

“That’s exactly right,” he exclaimed. “How did you know that?”

“Easy,” the little girl said. “I can see me in your eyes.”

She could see the reflection of her face as she looked into her daddy’s eyes.

God's LoveThat is the way it is with you too. God says that His children are the “apple of his eye.” This is a term that means that you are His most prized and precious possession. You might say, “Me? No way.” I know it sounds crazy, but it is true. He loves you more than you can ever imagine. See it here in the Bible:

1 John 4:9: God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. (NLT)

 And here again, see how God fills us with love the more we trust in Him:

1 Timothy 1:14: Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus. (NLT)

God is not angry and against you. He has a crazy love for you and He has made a way through His son Jesus to show you His great love. You are His creation and He wants to adopt you as His child. So trust in God through His son Jesus. Go to your loving heavenly Father and tell Him how you feel and what you need. He will meet you and bless you incredibly because He has great love for you.

Galatians 4:6-7: 6 Since you are God’s children, God sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, and the Spirit cries out, “Father.” 7 So now you are not a slave; you are God’s child, and God will give you the blessing he promised, because you are his child. (NCV)

Grace and Truth,

Pastor Stan Russell

Your Place of Business is Your Ministry Too!

workplace imageToo often pastors like myself have unwittingly caused believers to feel that ministry takes place primarily at church services or events. We certainly need people serving and loving others when they come to our church services, but the gospel of Jesus Christ is to be lived out every day, wherever we go.

Obviously, one of the key places where we spend most of our time is at work. Whether a business owner or employee, God wants us to minister to those around us at work too! The Bible shows us that we are to work for God every day in our place of employment.

Colossians 3:23-24  23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (NIV)

There are some really practical ways that we can do this without standing on our desks and saying, “Turn or burn.” Consider these thoughts:

Our attitude toward employees should be:

  • They are God’s creation.
  • I want to bless them.
  • I want to pay them as well as I can. (Benefits)
  • I want to encourage and help them when they are in crisis.

As a worker, I am seeking to love God and love people and serve Him in that setting.

Your manner toward customers should be:

  • I will always be fair and honest.
  • I will do my best to do what I say.
  • I will go above and beyond to bless the customer.
  • I will always give my best.

Do a little bit more good than you say; it will bring blessing to the business, the customer and eventually God will get the glory.

In general, our example must be the character of Christ lived out:

1 Peter 2:12 Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.  (NLT)

This means we need to be people of high character, generous, compassionate, humble, honest, caring and concerned about others. After all, this is the way Jesus lived and He is the one we are following. People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

There are also some ways we can create opportunities to share our faith with others in the workplace.

Here are a few potential ways to launch conversations:

1.  In your office area, display conversation launchers like:

  • A Bible.
  • Christian books like, God is My CEO, and Succeeding in Business without Losing Your Faith. Books like these really will start conversations, may lead to questions from visitors and could eventually bring the chance to share the gospel.
  • Quotations from scripture, framed artwork, placards, paper weights etc., on desks, in bookcases, on coffee tables, and even out in the reception area. These artifacts can evoke questions about your faith.

2.  Share your faith by what you wear. Wearing a gold cross is a way to signal your faith.

3.  Insert a scriptural references into one of your talks. Mark Belton, a CEO of General Mills, said that when he talked, “Most of the folks really don’t know it’s a scripture, but the folks who do…love to hear it.”

4.  Don’t be afraid to mention, in everyday conversations, that you read the Bible or go to church. You don’t have to go long and strong here, just say it in passing.

5.  Attend the company Bible study or even start one. Wurzbacher of Coca-Cola says she attends a company Bible study as a way of signaling her allegiances and encouraging other believers at work.

6.  Attend church on Sundays when you are out of town on business trips. Archie Dunham, who led ConocoPhillips for many years, regularly attended church on Sundays, even while traveling.

7.  Don’t do some things. Model great character by, for instance, not getting drunk and chasing after women.

If we live these ways, people who are facing difficulty and challenges in their lives will ask us questions about this Jesus we serve and what the Bible says:

1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect… (NIV)

So love them, live it and be ready to share it at work, because your place of business is your ministry too!

Grace and Truth,

Pastor Stan Russell

 

 

 

Eight Steps to Discovering God’s Will for Important Decisions

walk image1.     Pray and ask God for His wisdom.

“Okay,” you say, “I thought your counsel would be more profound.” What follower of Christ would not pray? You would be surprised how many people do not submit big life decisions to God in prayer. We tend to look at all the circumstances and go with what feels best to us. We need to start with prayer! Remember, God loves you and wants to bless you and put you in the best settings for fruitfulness and blessing.

Jeremiah 29:13-14a: If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. (NLT)

James 1:5-6: If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (NIV)

Whether it is a new home, a new car, a new job, a partnership or a prospective mate, start with prayer and you will have your best opportunity to end up with a great decision.

2.     Ask for counsel from trusted people close to you.

There is wisdom in the thoughts of others who know and love God and know and love you. Talk to two or three people you admire and trust and who know you well. Ask them what they think.

Proverbs 15:22: Plans fail without good advice, but they succeed with the advice of many others. (NCV)

Take note of their thoughts and let those thoughts enter into your journey for the right choice.

3.     Compare your now to the new possibility.

Practically speaking, this just makes good sense. What are the pros and what are the cons? Do the pros outweigh the cons? Please take note here that not all decisions will add up when it comes to the will of God. Sometimes He asks us to take less money or to sacrifice for His kingdom’s sake. However, the pros and cons list will give you some sense of what you are dealing with and sometimes cause you to see that the Lord is creating quite an opportunity that He wants to bless you with.

4.    Ask yourself, “What is best for my family?”

Better money, a better career trajectory, better perks or a warm weather climate do not mean it will be best for the family. Church, friends, timing in the kids’ schooling and their feelings matter!

The Bible says in Deuteronomy 6:6-7:  6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. (NLT)

Notice that this is a young family (they have children). They are hanging out together, doing life together, talking and interacting about important things in life, including the most important aspect of our lives: spiritual growth. Consider which setting will be a better situation for these things to happen for your family; the one you’re currently in or the one you’re considering going to.

Ecclesiastes 9:9: Live happily with the woman you love through all the meaningless days of life that God has given you under the sun. The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthly toil. (NLT)

Don’t forget that you have a spouse to do life with for a reason. Your spouse is God’s gift to you and a companion you are to enjoy life with. Will the new situation help or hurt this relationship? You don’t want to put your spouse in a situation where their life is negatively impacted by the decision. And you don’t want resentment to develop in your relationship with your spouse or children. So check it with them and get them praying too.

5.     Look for confirming circumstances.

If you are praying and seeking God, it only makes sense that He will confirm it along the way with some obvious direction. So don’t overlook the ways God is showing you. Write them down and discuss them with your loved ones and spiritual leaders.

In the Bible, when Peter and His friends were praying for His deliverance from an unjust imprisonment, the angel of God came and opened the prison door. It was an obvious sign that He was to walk through the door and into his freedom.

Acts 5:19: But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. (NIV)

When you pray sincerely and fervently, God sometimes opens doors. When you pray, take note of these things and move accordingly.

6.     Consult the Holy Scriptures.

Too often today many followers of Jesus are making big decisions that are contrary to the Word of God. This is often because they don’t know or ignore what the scriptures have to say about the specifics of their situations. For example, if someone was praying about divorcing their spouse, but did not have scriptural grounds, meaning their spouse had committed adultery against them, then they should stop praying and be obedient to the will of God and stay in their marriage and pray that God would help them work things out.

Matthew 19:9: “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman is guilty of adultery. The only reason for a man to divorce his wife is if his wife has sexual relations with another man.” (NCV)

1 Peter 3:1-2: The same goes for you wives: Be good wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs. There are husbands who, indifferent as they are to any words about God, will be captivated by your life of holy beauty. (MSG)

God doesn’t want us to be hurt further, so He shows us the path to healing, and at times He says, “Don’t go there.” So don’t do anything contrary to the already revealed Word of God in the Bible. Remember that God is all about protecting you and bringing blessing to your future. Trust Him. If you don’t, you can find yourself in a big mess and alienated from the ones you love the most.

7.     Get other people to pray with and for you.

Ask your friends, family and pastors to pray with you about this key decision for your life. There were a lot of people praying for Peter to be delivered from being jailed when he had done no wrong. Peter was miraculously set free by God’s angel and He went right to the prayer meeting and thanked his friends and family for praying for Him and thus helping bring about his deliverance (Acts 12:11-17). Prayer works and the more people who are praying for you and your situation, the better!

8.    Fast when you pray.

One final thought on prayer. My wife, Karen, and I like to fast and pray when it comes to these big decisions in life. Fasting – not eating food – is coupled with prayer many places in the bible. Here are a couple:

Esther 4:16: “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” (NIV)  

Acts 10:30: So Cornelius said, “Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing…” (NKJV)

There are different ways to fast, but the most common one in the bible is to forego food and drink only water. This may seem a little weird to some of you, but I believe that when we subdue the physical in our life, the spiritual things are easier to discern. We can hear from God easier. Also, He sees that we are sincere and He will meet us because we are seeking Him with all of our hearts.

So there you have it: eight steps to the right decision. I hope you will trust the Lord and follow His ways, because His ways for you are always best and will bless your life. This passage explains God’s heart for you:

Deuteronomy 4:40: “Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the Lord your God gives you for all time.” (NIV)

God isn’t bullying you, He is showing you the best path in life because He wants it to “go well with you and your children.”

Grace and Truth,

Pastor Stan Russell

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