What I Know for Sure (and Wish Others Knew)
I write, preach and teach because I like to share things I know for sure and wish others knew those things as well. Having lived for over seven decades, I have learned some valuable things. With so much information under my belt that was accumulated over all those years, it is hard to narrow down all the things I know for sure.
Here are some things I wish people knew for sure just as I do.
Everyone Has a Gift to Share
I firmly agree with Peter that God has given everyone a gift. However, the gift is not to be used selfishly for personal gain. According to 1 Peter 4:10, "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms."
Some people think they have no God-given gift. First of all, everyone has a gift from God. Secondly, the gift should be used to serve others and to help build up the Kingdom of God. Third, we should be a faithful steward over that gift. Failure to use the gift God has given us to glorify Him is to be a poor steward over the gift, and it will not fulfill the purpose for which God so freely gave it.
We Signed Up for Our Lives
Of all the things I have ever taught, this is the hardest to convince people to believe. Based on all my studies, research and spiritual enlightenment, I firmly believe that we had a conversation with God before we were born. We agreed with God about the life we would live. Then after we were born, the memory of that encounter was wiped from our mind so we could live freely without constantly thinking about our destiny.
Even though I know I signed up for the life I live, others might not think so. Some people have told me that there is no way they signed up for what happens to them.
Assignment Was Determined Before Our Birth
This one is not so hard to believe because it is based on Jeremiah 1:5 that says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart. I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." Even so, people think it was expressed only for Jeremiah and not for them.
Just as everyone has a unique gift that should be used to glorify God and lift up others, everyone has a unique assignment. You might not be working in your assignment right now. Eventually, you will do so in order to fulfill your purpose.
Jeremiah was born into a family of priests, and he was a priest himself until the age of 17. Then God called him to be a prophet to the nations even though Jeremiah preferred to remain a priest.
You have probably heard of people who were satisfied in their lucrative jobs, but they were called to ministerial work. Money was no longer an issue because God's "yes" was much louder than their "no."
Thoughts, Words, Deeds Will Be Judged
We are the summation of our thoughts, words, and deeds. Therefore, everyone must give an account for every thought, word, and deed they have ever had. Our thoughts shape our words, and our words turn into our actions.
Every word we speak was a thought at first. Usually, after we speak a word, we back it up with an action that is either passive or active. Therefore, we should let our minds be like that of Christ Jesus, according to Philippians 2:5. Check your thoughts before they develop into words and then into bad deeds for which you will be judged.
Words Have Power
Words have so much power. We call forth negative things into our lives by what we speak just as well as we call positive things into our lives. Our words can bless and our words can curse. Therefore, be should be careful what we say.
Solomon, the wisest man who lived during his day, let us know in Proverbs 18:21 that "Death and life are in the power of his tongue." That's why we should be very careful about what we say.
God Moves People in and Out of Your Life
I used to be very concerned when people moved out of my life. Then I discovered that there are reasons that people come into our lives, and there are reasons people disappear from our lives.
God puts people in our lives for us to learn something from them and for them to learn something from us. After that transaction has taken place, people move on to their next assignment. Nothing is gained if we try to keep people in when God wants them to leave.
The Ethiopian eunuch needed someone to help him understand the scriptures. Peter was the one who went to help, according to Acts 8:26-40. After the need was fulfilled, Peter went on to the next place where he was needed.
Know that when people go out of your life, it may not be about anything you have done. Also, know that when someone goes out of your life, there is space for someone else to come in to occupy that space and bring you something new and for you to share something new with that person.
Forgiveness Releases You
Unless we are willing to forgive others, God cannot forgive us, according to Matthew 6:14-15. People need to practice forgiveness because when we don't forgive others, we shouldn't expect God to forgive us. Besides, unforgiveness keeps us from our blessings.
Forgiveness releases us from the prison unforgiveness keeps us in.
We Can Cash in Our Receipts
In Philippians 4:16-18, Paul tells us that we can cash in our receipt. Whenever we make a deposit into the Bank of Heaven, we get a spiritual receipt that we can cash in when we have a personal need.
This is how our spiritual receipts work. Whenever we do something especially for the poor, we shouldn't expect them to do something for us. Instead, God says He will repay which is much better.
Jesus puts it another way in Matthew 5:12 when He said it is better not to get pats on the back for things done on earth for "great is your reward in heaven." If we are paid on earth for what we do, that is all we will get. If we are patient and don't get upset when someone doesn't acknowledge us for the work we have done, God will repay us and He pays in dividends.
Treasure Is Laid Up for Us in Heaven
Some people strive to get everything they can on earth no matter who they have to step on to get it. While it is great to have nice things on earth, know that they will rust, tear, and might get stolen. Our treasure is laid up for us in heaven, according to Matthew 6:19-21.
Don't ever think that you are missing out when you don't get everything you want on earth. Better things are laid up for you in heaven. Before Jesus left this earth, He promised that He would go to prepare a place for us that is better than anything we have ever seen, according to John 14:3. That's because this earth is not our home. We should be homesick for heaven, which is our eternal home.
Practice the Prayer of Relinquishment
People say, "Let go and let God." Do they actually do what they say? Most people say it, but they still hold onto their problems. We should practice the prayer of relinquishment. That means we should relinquish our problems to God and then get out of the way.
Because of free will, God will never push us aside to help us. If you really want God's help than let go of your problem and let God handle the situation in His own way. He doesn't need your help to perform miracles in your life. So, do what you say: "Let go and let God."
Don't Pray for Money
I do not pray for money. Money is never what I want. Money is the secondary thing for what a person wants. Money is spent, recycled, or given away in some form.
It is more effective to pray for the primary thing that you want the money for. If you have a bill and no money to pay the bill, pray for the bill to be settled. Someone might pay the bill for you, or the bill might be waived.
If you want a car, then pray for a car instead of for money to buy a car. That's because someone might give you a car, or you might get one another way without you ever getting money to pay for one.
Don't Bless Certain People
It might sound nice to pray that the sick, homeless and those in prison to be blessed. However, there is a more effective way to pray about those situations.
When you say, "Bless the sick" or "Bless the homeless" you are actually calling forth blessings on them in the unpleasure situation they are in. A better way is to pray the solution instead of the problem. Then when the problem is solved, ask for blessings on the better situation. In other words, pray for those people to be moved over into a better situation before you are quick to pray the generic prayer for God to bless them.
Don't Pray That God Will Take You Out of a Situation
It is more effective to pray that God will come into a bad situation with you than to pray that He will get you out of it. The three Hebrew boys went into the fiery furnace without ever asking God to keep them out of it.
According to Daniel 3:16-20, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego went into the fire with confidence that God would do the best thing for them. They said, "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."
Like Daniel's friends, we should have an "even if" attitude and know that God would rather be in the situation with us than to be so quick to get us out of it.
Death is a Transition
Disciples of Christ should know that death is not the end. It is a transition from this life to a better one. We take our last breath on earth, and the next one goes back to God who gave it to us when we were born.
Most families pray for their very sick relatives to continue suffering in pain without any quality of life because they want the sick person to stay on earth as long as possible no matter what state he or she is in. It is at a time like that when the relatives should pray the "perfect prayer."
The perfect prayer is the one Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane just before His arrest and going to the cross. He prayed, "Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done" (Luke 22:42).
Sound off in the comments section below about something you know for sure. Also, free feel to comment about any of the things I know for sure even if you don't believe them yourself.