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Don't Let Distractions Get You Off Course

One day, one of our church leaders was at our house with his young son who was out playing in our back yard. It was a few weeks after Easter, and as he was running around exploring, he found three plastic Easter eggs that were leftover from our family brunch.

He sat down on the back porch and was so excited to open those eggs and find that they were full of candy! I knew he was going home soon and didn't want to send him to his momma full of sugar. I said, "Denver, let's go inside and see what we have in the pantry for snack. "Here's a granola bar, do you want that?" "No," he said. "We have some peanut butter crackers and other snacks." "No."

He was not interested in anything else but those Easter eggs until finally, I pulled a huge bowl off of the top shelf in the pantry that was full of candy and said, "Here Denver, would you like to choose two pieces?" He got wide eyed, dropped those Easter eggs, came running over and started digging in that bowl. About that time his dad, who had been meeting with Joel, came into the kitchen and said, "C'mon, Denver, it's time to go home and have dinner." Denver chose his two pieces, said good bye, and walked right out the door. After they left, I turned around to see those Easter eggs full of candy sitting on the counter. Denver walked away and left more than what he had taken with him. He got distracted because he had too many choices. That's what distractions do. They steal from us and cause us to feel confused and overwhelmed.

There's an old saying, "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." I've never really given much thought to that saying until recently. We have to be careful about letting go of the treasure we have in our hands because we see something that looks like it might be better. We need to be faithful with what God has given us today. If you focus on what you have in your hand, if you tend to it, God will bless it and multiply it. What you have in your hand may seem small, but it has tremendous potential. Don't despise the day of small beginnings. Stay focused, hold on to what God has given you, and don't let distractions get you off course!

"The trustworthy person will get a rich reward, but a person who wants quick riches will get into trouble." (Proverbs 28:20, NLT)


Rename Your Valley

In Scripture, when David was 37 years old, he was about to step into the fullness of his destiny. He had just received his third and final anointing. He found himself at the Valley of Rephaim. Rephaim means giants. Some 20 years earlier, he had killed Goliath in that valley. But now, he not only faced one Goliath, he faced a valley of Goliaths. The principle: the closer you are to your destiny, the greater the opposition. You may overcome one challenge, that's good, but don't be surprised if you face a bigger challenge. That means you're getting closer to your destiny. 

David and his men went out full of faith and courage, and they defeated the Philistines. Scripture says that David renamed the valley. Instead of calling it the valley of giants, the valley of Rephaim, he renamed it Baal-perazim. That means "the God of the breakthrough."

When you face situations that seem impossible, remember David and rename that valley. This is not the valley of debt, struggle or lack. Rename it the valley of abundance, promotion and increase. Don't call it the valley of cancer, heart disease or kidney failure. Rename it the valley of health, wholeness, the valley of victory!

If you'll start renaming your valleys, what was meant to stop you will instead promote you. The reason you're facing the opposition is because just like David, you're about to step into a new level of your destiny. Don't complain about the valley. Have a new perspective: there's a blessing in that valley. Get your passion back, get your fire back because the forces that are for you are greater than the forces that are against you. If you'll do this, I believe and declare that God is going to turn every valley you face in life to a valley of victory, abundance and blessing in Jesus' name!


Purpose in the Valley

A few years after Victoria and I were married, we sold our house and moved into a new one. One day, there was a knock on the door. A policeman was standing there. My heart started beating so fast. He smiled and handed me some papers and said kind of lightly, "Somebody must really not like you." I said, "What do you mean? What is this?" He said, "You've been named in a lawsuit."

Turns out, the people who bought our house were suing over the plumbing. They not only sued us, they sued the builder, the architect, the real estate agent, the plumber, everyone they could think of. We knew we weren't at fault. We didn't build the house, and the plumbing worked fine for us. But for six months, we were dealing with that, and my stomach was in knots! I was so worried. At 26 years old, I thought that was the worst thing that could ever happen to me. 

A few weeks before I was going to have to give my deposition in front of a lawyer to tell them what had happened, I was so nervous. I studied, I prepared, I found all of my documents. I went and gave my deposition. When I was finished, I was so nauseated that I couldn't even drive home. I had to have somebody come and pick me up! That seemed like the biggest waste of time and energy to me; so much unnecessary heartache and stress. I didn't see how anything productive could ever come out of that. But in every valley, you're gaining something. You may not realize it, but there's a purpose.

Thirteen years later, we had just acquired our current building, the former Compaq Center. A company filed a lawsuit to try to keep us from moving in. Now, I wasn't dealing with a small plumbing problem, I was dealing with something that was critical to my destiny. When I went to give my deposition in front of a battery of high-powered attorneys, I wasn't the least bit nervous. I was confident, I was prepared, I had experience. I had been there before. I knew exactly what to expect. There was a purpose for that valley thirteen years earlier. I didn't see it at the time. I let it stress me out, steal my joy, and now I realize it was a valley of blessing.

I've learned nothing happens by accident. God knows what He is doing. Every valley has a blessing, and every valley has a purpose. There's no use getting upset and letting trials sour your life. God promises His people victory! One day, you will look back and see what He was up to. You'll say like I did, "Lord, thank You for preparing me in the valley!"

"For our present troubles are small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!" (2 Corinthians 4:17, NLT)    


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