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Dig It!

 

What’s the hardest job you’ve done?

For me, one of the hardest jobs I’ve worked would include pouring concrete with my brother-in-law. It was back breaking work for low wages.

When I was 16 I worked for a short time at a car wash – 8 hours straight with no break. But my toughest job was unloading 45 foot trailers for UPS.

Compared to air workers, military servicemen and women, frst responders and law enforcement, along with a host of other occupations, I’ve had it pretty easy.

As a kid, there was a particular job I feared. At the young age of 5 I can remember looking out the window of my mom’s car as I observed men working on the side of the road digging ditches. I can remember thinking to myself, “I hope I don’t ever have to have a job like that.” As I grew older, I came to realize that all of life can be compared to digging ditches.

…and he said, ‘Yahweh says this, “Dig in this valley ditch after ditch,” 2 Kings 3:13-20 (NJB)

In 2 Kings the prophet Elisha told the king of Israel, who desperately needed a miraculous supply of water, to dig some ditches. There is a life lesson in this story for you. The king didn’t need ditches, he needed water! But in order for God to send His supernatural provision of water, the king was going to have to dig a ditch.

The king didn’t need ditches. He needed water; plenty of water. But frst, he would have to dig a ditch.

What ditch is God commanding you to dig before He sends His provision?

IF YOU DIG IT, GOD WILL FILL IT!

Digging a ditch is how we exercise our faith. If we will do the possible, God will do the impossible. James reminds us in his letter, “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26).

We say, “God show me your handiwork!” And God says, “Ok, show me your hand!” Then He places a shovel in it and says, “Start digging!”

God can send the provision but we must frst act in faith and dig a ditch. We are to dig a ditch for the family, dig a ditch for the preservation of marriage, dig a ditch to develop godly character.

If you want a better marriage, then dig some ditches!
- Dig a ditch of kinder communication.
- Dig a ditch of preferring one another.
- Dig a ditch of regular date nights – at least twice a month. – Dig a ditch of practicing a healthy sex life.

IF YOU DIG IT, GOD WILL FILL IT!

If you’re single and desire to get married, then dig a ditch! Faith without works is dead.

- Dig a ditch of godly character.
- Dig a ditch refning your personality.
- Dig a ditch of cultivating your soul.
- Dig a ditch of good personal hygiene.
- Guys: dig a ditch of gainful employment.
- Dig a ditch of getting involved in your church and meeting other single people.

IF YOU DIG IT, GOD WILL FILL IT!

Digging ditches is about moving dirt. We need to move dirt to strike gold. For that one ounce of gold, miners dig up and haul away 30 tons of rock.

Do you want fnancial freedom? If you desire to make more, then spend less, save more and give more: DIG A DITCH!

- Dig a ditch of getting a budget.
- Dig a ditch of getting out of debt.
- Dig a ditch of honoring God with the tithe.

IF YOU DIG IT, GOD WILL FILL IT!

Want a closer walk with God? Dig some ditches.
- Dig the ditch of reading God’s Word daily.
- Dig the ditch of praying more often.
- Dig the ditch of listening to more encouraging uplifting worship music than secular music.
- Dig the ditch of attending church regularly, serving and getting connected in a life group.

IF YOU DIG IT, GOD WILL FILL IT!

Just a Thought, Carl

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Crossing Barriers

Are you standing on the banks of your own Jordan River?

In Scripture the Jordan River represents a barrier that needs to be crossed. Joshua led God’s people through the Jordan in route to the Promise Land. Elisha had to take the fallen mantle of Elijah and strike the Jordan River so he could cross over on dry land. Similarly, we all have Jordan River moments where we have to cross a barrier in order to transition to a new place.

What is your Jordan River that you need to cross?

What barrier is keeping you from God’s best in your life?

There are barriers of fear, regret, procrastination, lack of initiative. You can also have barriers of pain, disappointment, and sin. But barriers are there for a reason. They exist to help us identify how bad we really want something. Barriers prevent others who don’t want it as badly as you do. A barrier exists to reveal God’s power in and through you! Never allow a barrier to stop you from crossing over into God’s best for your life. People who retreat in view of a barrier are focusing on the barrier instead of what the barrier is keeping them from.

Get up now, and go on your journey, crossing over the valley…
go forward to make it yours…” Deuteronomy 2:24

Crossing barriers requires strategy to get through, over, under or around. Crossing barriers requires courage to leave behind what is familiar in order to forge ahead to what is unknown. Finally, crossing barriers requires patience because not everything will be neat and tidy once you get to the other side.

Cross your Jordan today!

To hear Pastor Carl’s entire message, click the link:
http://www.carltoti.com/2015/01/strike-it-unleash/

 

Just a Thought,
Carl

Unleashed…Burn It!

 

 We recently started a new sermon series here at Trinity called “Unleash.” Webster defines it like this: to allow or cause something very powerful to happen suddenly.

I love that definition. I believe that God desires to unleash his blessing and favor over your life in this New Year.

Equally true, I believe there is no better time than now for you to unleash your dreams, goals and hopes. An unleashing principle that we studied from the life of Elisha is a willingness to “burn the plow” in order to move to a new place in God. The story is found in 1 Kings 19:21 after Elijah the prophet called Elisha to be his successor.

Elisha took the oxen he was plowing with and made an altar upon which he sacrificed it. This act was symbolic of Elisha dying to the old life in recognition of the new life that he was entering into.

It reminds me of an incident that occurred back in 1519. The Spanish Conquistador, Hernando Cortez landed in Mexico on the shores of the Yucatan. He had only one objective: seize the great treasures known to be there, hoarded by the Aztecs.

Cortez was going to win in this endeavor or die trying. There was no turning back. When they landed, he gave the order to his men, “burn the ships.” Total abandonment to one objective and mission is a powerful and attractive concept. When we commit our life to Christ, we burn the ship back to the old life. When someone gets married, they burn the ship back to the single life.

Some of you who are reading this blog may need to burn the past; the good, bad and ugly past. For many people, the past is like an anchor that holds them back. The past cannot be altered. What’s done is done. There is no going back, but your future is a different story. Your future has yet to be determined by the choices you make and the actions you take.

No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,
but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and
looking forward to what lies ahead, Phil. 3:13 (NLT)

My challenge to you today is to BURN THE SHIP AND COMPLETE THE MISSION!
CARPE DIEM!

To hear Pastor Carl’s entire message, click the link:

http://www.carltoti.com/2015/01/burn-it-unleash/

Just a thought,
Carl Continue reading

How to Avoid Choice Fatigue

 

 

As this new year gets underway many find themselves exhausted by the excessive choices that are part and parcel to the holidays, and getting our priorities realigned for this new year.

We love having choices in 21st-century America, but too many options can drain us. Even worse, they can make us unhappy and cause us to flee from making decisions. Researcher Barry Schwartz calls this “choice overload.” For example, going to the supermarket to purchase toothpaste can be challenging when you consider how many different brands of toothpaste you can select from. And it’s not just choosing toothpaste that can overwhelm us. Even worse, consider the deluge of decisions in both our personal and professional lives which can prove to be a daunting task to manage.

Here is how it plays out: according to the experts, the more choices we have the more uncertain we become about making the right choice, resulting in the unintended consequence. Namely, seemingly endless options can lead to uncertainty, anxiety and decision fatigue. As the old saying goes, “A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure.”

So what is the best path forward; one that will help us to be happy and decisive and free of fatigue? Psalm 62, a song of trust in God alone, gives us three words of advice: Wait, pray and obey.

When exhausted by excessive choices, the Lord provides a path to rest and peace.

First, wait.
The writer of Psalm 62 is not in a rush to make big decisions. Instead, he says, “For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him.” (v. 5) So often we feel pressure to make choices quickly, whether we are rushing to declare a major in college, or jumping at the first job that’s offered to us. Or, on a more serious level, rushing into a marriage relationship.

The Bigger the Choice,
The More Important the Wait.

Next, pray.
Waiting in silence is not enough — it’s also important to pray. “Trust in [God] at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” (v.8) We pour out our hearts when we ask for guidance in our decision-making, and when we pray about the various options that lie before us. Taking the time to discern God’s will can help us to eliminate a number of options that will lead us in the wrong direction.

Eliminate choices that don’t line up with your values.

Finally, obey.
After you wait and you pray, it’s time to obey.
Psalm 62:11 (NLT) 11 “God has spoken plainly, and I have heard it many times: Power, O God, belongs to you;”

Make sure that any decision you make includes obedience to the moral commands of God and the teachings of Scripture. In so doing, you secure the full blessing of God and favor of God upon your life. And, when God is for you, nothing can stop you!

To hear the entire message I preached on this topic, click the link below.
http://www.carltoti.com/2014/12/trust/

Just a thought,
Carl

Straightaway!


If we are honest, at times our life resembles a racetrack instead of a straight road. If we are not careful, we can find ourselves walking the same tried and true, endless loops instead of moving in a new direction.

This Advent Season I challenge you to allow yourself to move in a new direction.

“You have circled this mountain long enough…”
Deuteronomy 2:3

We all have mountains that we circle.

We circle the mountain of poor eating habits, preventing us from reaching our weight loss goals. We circle the mountain of debt, which has us constantly living beyond our means and always struggling to get ahead, the mountain of self-doubt, which causes us to second-guess ourselves and preventing us from reaching our goals in life. And we circle the mountain of spiritual mediocrity, never taking the necessary steps to grow in our faith.

The old saying is true, “If we keep doing what we are doing, we are going to keep getting what we are getting. And, if we don’t like what we are getting, we need to change what we are doing.”

If you want to break into a straightaway, consider the following.
(1) Change up your routine. Interrupt the well-beaten path and try something new. (2) Make a promise to yourself that you have to keep. Start that diet. Hire that trainer. Get on a financial budget. (3) Celebrate your new direction. Reward yourself for any progress that you make.

You can listen to, or view my entire message at www.trinitytoday.com/media

Just a thought,
Carl