Leaving Your Comfort Zone

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your fatherʼs household to the land I will show you.”
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭12:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬

God told Abram to leave his country, his people, and his father’s household – probably pretty much everything in Abram’s comfort zone.
God wants us to leave our comfort zone so we can learn to find our contentment and security through Him. Your faith is not in your comfort zone!

If you are ready to answer God’s call, you need to ask yourself these questions:

– What is my comfort zone, and what about it comforts me?
– How can leaving my comfort zone bring me closer to God?
– What can I do to break out of my comfort zone?
– When am I going to start?

The answer to the last one is NOW! Start with prayer!

Dear God, I must confess that I have been holding back. I believe in Your word, and I love You and all that You’ve done for me. I go to church every week and sing Your praise at the top of my lungs. I do my best to honor You by serving others. I’ve been reading my bible and praying every day, and I’m learning so much as I grow closer to You. I thought that all of this meant that my faith was growing stronger, but but now I understand that I haven’t really let go of the things that make me feel safe and comfortable. There are some things that I have held onto because I’m scared to let go. I need Your strength to help me walk away and leave fear behind. I don’t want to be afraid of the unknown anymore!
Amen

Settling For Less

“Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Harran, they settled there.”

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭11:31‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Terah set out to go to Canaan, but settled in Harran.

What made him leave his homeland?

Did the call to go to Canaan originally begin with Abraham’s father, Terah? We know that after Terah dies, God tells Abraham to continue the journey into Canaan…
When He calls us, He allows us to make the choice to follow His plan or not. But God’s plans will be achieved, with or without you. Don’t you want to be a part of His success? If you do, then you have to surrender and let Him work through you.
The journey may be a long one, and it may be difficult at times, but we know that His plans for us are good. We have to move when He calls us into action and we have to keep going, even when it would be easier to stop. We don’t get to decide when we’ve done enough – not if we want to see what He is leading us into.
How many things have I missed because I settled for something less?

How many things have I started and not finished?
Dear God, Thank You for making me a part of Your plan. I don’t want to settle for anything less than where You want to take me. I don’t want to give up, so please give me the strength to follow where You are leading me. 

Amen

Unity

“The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.”
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭11:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Unity is important. In God’s own words, nothing is impossible for us if we work together
as one people,
as one church,
as one community.
With the right motivation and a purpose based on following God’s will, we can accomplish unimaginable feats through collaboration!

“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭12:12‬ ‭NIV‬

Dear God, Please help me overcome my shyness so that I may make connections with others who are serving You. I am ready to boldly step into the plan that You have for me and I know that means living linked to others. Please give me the courage to reach out and make a friend that loves You as much as I do. 

Amen

Pride

As the people began to multiply and spread across the Earth, as God had directed, they came to a plain and decided to settle there. They began to build a city with a tower that “reaches to the heavens” so that they could make a name for themselves. Their pride and arrogance had convinced them that they could be self-sufficient.
If our main goal is a more important title or a big recognition, then we are seeking our own glory. Seeking our own glory leaves no room for seeking the glory of God.

“In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭10:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

When God saw the city and the tower, he dealt with the people in a merciful way – he scattered them across the whole world and confused their language. He didn’t want them working together on a project that glorified themselves. He didn’t want them motivated by their own pride.
When God sees us headed toward self-sufficiency and independence, he will put obstacles in our way, because independence leads to disobedience.

What towers am I building in my life?
What am I doing for me – not God?
What do I want credit for?

“Humble yourselves [with an attitude of repentance and insignificance] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up, He will give you purpose].”
‭‭JAMES‬ ‭4:10‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Lord,
We both know that sometimes I struggle with my ego. I know that it isn’t right to boast. Please help me to accept that it’s okay if others don’t know of my accomplishments, and remind me that I don’t need to make a name for myself – You know my name, and You know my heart. I am working on being humble and thinking more of You and less of me. In the meantime, thank You so much for Your grace.
Amen

Protect the Vulnerable

As Noah’s story comes to a close, we learn of a clash between him and his youngest son. Noah has played the part of a hero in this story – God had mercy on him because of his tremendous faith and blessed him because of his show of respect and gratitude. But here we see a more human side to Noah, that is a little more relatable.
Despite being a righteous man and finding favor in the eyes of The Lord, Noah wasn’t perfect. He had a little too much wine and found himself in an embarrassing situation.
While he was passed out drunk inside his tent, his son, Ham, saw his nakedness. Rather than covering his father and trying to protect him from shame, Ham went to tell his brothers.
Shem and Japheth went into the tent and covered their father, walking backward with their faces turned away, out of love and respect for Noah.
When you love someone, you want to protect them from harm, not expose their faults. You don’t gossip with others about that person’s weakest moments. Gossip is hurtful. No one deserves to have someone taking delight in retelling their misfortunes or to have their faults exposed.

“Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭17:9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

And that’s exactly what happened in Noah’s situation. His relationship with Ham was never the same. He became so angry with him, that he cursed his own grandson.
Our first instinct should be, “How can I help?” – Not, “Who can I tell about this?”

Dear God,
When I see someone in a distressful situation, please give me the courage to step up and protect them, in a respectful way, without hesitation. Remind me that it isn’t any of my business how they got into this mess and it is not my job to determine if their own poor choices led them to their current circumstances. I know that You want me to show them love and respect, and that by doing so, I will honor You. Please surround my daughter with people who have her best interest at heart and will shield her from harm or embarrassment when she makes mistakes.
Amen

Precious

After Noah showed God his respect and gratefulness, God was pleased. In fact, He immediately began blessing Noah and his sons.
He said that He would never again curse the ground because of us, even knowing full well that it is our nature to sin.
His love for us is so great that he wanted to fill the Earth with us again.
He gave us meat to eat. That may seem insignificant to us these days, but this is a gift that He had not offered before.
He made it clear how precious our lives are to Him when he said that he would demand an accounting for the life of a fellow human.
He established a covenant with Noah, and He put a rainbow in the sky, because He wants us to see this symbol of His love. He has the power to take away everything we have, even our very lives, in the blink of an eye, but He chooses to show us His love instead.

Look at how much has changed in God’s view of us, as humans, from the beginning of Noah’s story through to the covenant. He looked at us and regretted that he had ever made us at all. But this one man was so faithful, so full of love, devotion, and gratefulness, that God looked at us as precious again. He wants to give us the world!
He wants us to love Him and honor Him, like Noah did.
He wants us to show that we are devoted and grateful.

Dear God,
I fall on my knees, thanking You for Your love and Your grace that I could never earn. Thank You for never giving up on me, even when I give up on myself. I am so grateful for the relationship that we are building stronger each day, and for everything that You are teaching me as I draw closer to You. Please open my eyes so that I may see every opportunity to honor You and to show my devotion to You.
Amen ❤️

Starting With a Grateful Heart 

Noah had taken on a huge assignment with his construction of the ark. He then cared for all of the animals on the boat, as he watched the world around him overtaken by a flood that raged with death and destruction. His whole life was forever changed. Everyone he had known was dead. He and his family had to start over from square one with building homes, planting crops, and breeding livestock. But before all of those things, Noah had something more important to do. The first thing he did after he and his family came out of the ark, was build an altar to The Lord and sacrifice offerings on it. Noah was not only faithful enough to follow all that God commanded him to do, but he was showing God that he was completely devoted to him.
Even after the hard times he had just endured, Noah focused on the fact that God was the one who had brought him through the storm. God had blessed him by sparing his life and the lives of his family, and by giving them all the chance at a new beginning. Noah couldn’t do another thing before stopping to honor God and show him how thankful he was.

And God was pleased.

In today’s world, we don’t commonly offer sacrifices, but we can respect and honor God, and show him our thankfulness and devotion by praying, praising, and worship.

A lot of times, it is easy to ask God for help before going into an important situation, or to reach out to Him while going through hard times, and even to thank him when things go successfully. But how often do I stop what I am doing, put everything else aside, and have a conversation between him and me, regardless of the outcome, just to say, “Hey, I know you were with me through that and I couldn’t have made it without out. Thank you so much!” How often do I have a grateful heart when I’m not satisfied with how things ended?

I have to admit that I honestly have not had that reaction EVER after going through a time of suffering. In the past, I have been too focused on the things that I’ve lost and the pain that I was experiencing because of it. When in reality, I only survived those events because God was with me every step of the way, giving me the strength and abilities that I needed, and surrounding me with people who loved and supported me. I am not proud of the way that I have dealt with certain situations in my life. And I am sure that God was not pleased with my response. Looking deeper into the story of Noah, and specifically this passage, has truly opened my eyes to this failure on my part, and I’m pretty sure that HE knew this day would come. And maybe THAT pleases Him.
When I feel my life changing beyond my control and I don’t like the end results, I will pray:

Lord, Thank You for staying by my side and guiding me through this situation. I know that I could not have endured it alone. I don’t love these circumstances, but I love You, and I will praise You in the aftermath of this storm. I know that you have a plan for me, even if I can’t understand it right now. I will continue to serve You and try to find the good that can come out of this situation. 

Amen