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Overcoming a Lack Mentality

When I was eight years old, I went to a department store with my father where he was buying a suit. The man waiting on us found out that my dad was a minister. He said in a very demeaning, condescending way, "Well, you know. If you can't afford it, we can give you a minister's discount."

Well, my father had been raised in extreme poverty. He came out of the Great Depression. They didn't have enough food to eat. Daddy had to put cardboard in his shoes as a little boy because they had holes in them. When this man said sarcastically, "We can give you this discount," it rubbed my father the wrong way. I could see it in his eyes. Daddy thought to himself, "I am not a beggar. I don't need a handout. I'm a child of the Most High God!" It wasn't out of arrogance but out of a confidence of who he was and Who he represented. He looked that salesman in the eyes and said, "No, sir. I don't need a minister's discount. Do you know who my Father is?" That man stepped back like Daddy came from some kind of influential, well-to-do family. He didn't know Daddy wasn't talking about his earthly father; he was talking about his heavenly Father. He was saying in effect, "This is a new day. I've stepped out of poverty and lack. The God I serve doesn't need a discount. He is well able to take care of me. He is El Shaddai; the God who is more than enough!" 

Today, know that God doesn't want you to be dependent on a handout, a discount or leftover bread. He doesn't want you to live like that is your only option. That's not who you are. Have a bigger vision. God has abundance in front of you. He is the God of more than enough! You may not be there just yet, but I'm asking you not to settle where you are.

It says in Deuteronomy that God gives us the power to get wealth. There are seeds in you right now that can bring abundance: gifts, talents, skills, ideas, creativity, favor. God didn't leave anybody out. You've got to get up every morning and remind yourself, "I am a no lack person." See yourself strong, healthy and accomplishing your dreams. Keep the right image in front of you. You are blessed. You are prosperous. You are well able. And yes, you may need some kind of assistance right now. But if you'll have this attitude and keep pressing forward, before long, instead of taking a handout, you'll be giving a handout. Instead of borrowing, you'll be the lender! Don't settle where you are; don't settle for lack. Press forward past a lack mentality and switch over to a blessing mentality!

"For the LORD your God will bless you as he has promised, and you will lend to many nations but will borrow from none..."
(Deuteronomy 15:6, NIV)



Strength You Didn't Know You Had

One time, I was at home lifting weights by myself. I was lying on a bench doing the bench press using a barbell. I was on my last set of five, using a very heavy weight. I did number one, two and three. Everything was fine. But on rep number four, it got very hard. I could barely lift the barbell. I thought to myself, "Okay, I'm going to go ahead and try number five, but I don't know if I can do it." I started rep number five and got about halfway up and got stuck. I pushed and pushed and pushed. I gave it everything I had, but that weight wouldn't budge. I couldn't do it. I was about to set the weight down on the safety rails so I could get out from under it when I realized that Jonathan was home from college and had moved the safety rails lower to suit him. I forgot to check them before I started. Now I've got all this weight on my chest, and I'm totally out of energy. I couldn't shake it off to one side or the other. There were clamps on the end of the barbells. At times before, I've rolled it down my chest to my stomach, but I couldn't do it with this heavy weight. My first thought was, "How long can I keep this weight off of me before it crushes me?" I thought, "Probably about a minute or two." My next thought was, "I've already wasted 30 seconds!"

As I sat there contemplating what I should do, something rose up in me and said, "Joel, you are not going to let this weight crush you. You are not going to let your family come in here and find you squashed. This is not the end of your story." I pushed on the right side with all of my might. The left side caught the lower safety rail, and I scooted about an inch. I rested a few seconds and pushed again on that right side, scooted another inch. And another. And another. Eventually, I was able to get my shoulder out from the bench, then my chest, and finally, I fell to the ground and that barbell was caught by the lower rail. When I got up, my chest was a little scraped and my back was a little bruised, but at least I was still alive. I looked at that weight and said, "You didn't defeat me. I'm still standing!"

Here's my point: When you're in a tough time, you can't sit around thinking about all the negative things that could happen. You can't think about that bad break and how unfair it was. "I can't believe I got this sickness." "I can't believe they left me." "I can't believe this weight is on me." You can either choose to let that trial crush you, or you can have a warrior mentality and do what you've got to do—push, scoot, stretch, squirm, wiggle, refocus, get your second wind and beat that thing!

Are you letting something defeat you because you don't think you have the strength to overcome? If you'll have this warrior mentality and do what you can do, God will help you do what you cannot do. Remember, God has armed you with strength for every battle. Keep praying, keep believing, keep pressing through because with God, you will tap into strength you didn't know you had!

"You armed me with strength for battle; you humbled my adversaries before me." (Psalm 18:39, NIV)


Always on His Mind

Have you ever wondered what God thinks about or what is on His mind? Well, the Psalms tell us that God is mindful of us. That means He is constantly thinking about you and me. What an amazing thought—the Creator of the universe always has something on His mind, and that something is YOU!

So many people today think God is looking down on them, just waiting for them to mess up. They say things like, "If I walk into a church, the roof will cave in!" But nothing could be further from the truth! When God thinks about you, He's not thinking about your mistakes, failures or shortcomings. No, His thoughts are for your good. He's not thinking about what you did wrong; He's thinking about what you did right. He's not thinking about how far you have to go; He's thinking about how far you've come. 

Know today that God approves of you. He's pleased with you. He may not be pleased with all of your choices or actions all of the time, but when God looks at you, He sees you as His precious and valuable creation. You are His masterpiece. He counts every hair on your head and bottles every tear that you've cried. You are significant, your life is significant, and the things that concern you concern Him. He carefully watches over every detail of your life, and there is nothing too big or too small for His attention. You are the apple of His eye, the center of His world, and He wants you to know Him and His heart of compassion and forgiveness. 

All throughout history, people have said things about God, but I believe that what He says about Himself is what's most important. In Exodus, He says that He is a gracious God. That tells me that He wants YOU to know that He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, and rich in love. Open your heart today and receive that love in a fresh, new way. Ask God to help you understand His unconditional love. Let it build confidence in you. Know that God is for you, that He is madly in love with you, and YOU are always on His mind! 

"How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can't even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!" (Psalm 139:17–18, NLT)


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