Search
Follow UPGRADE

   Member of AWSA

  Info about AWSA

 

[See their Bios on the Partners Page by clicking on the Blogger box, above]

     PARTNERS:

Lina AbuJamra

Sue Badeau

Dianne Barker

Twila Belk

Gail Bones

Harriet Bouchillon

Mary Carver

Jeanne Cesena

Pamela Christian

Lisa Copen

Erin Davis

Diane Dean

Deb DeArmond

Kelly DeChant

Danna Demetre

Melissa Edgington

Debbi Eggleston

Pat Ennis

Morgan Farr

Pam Farrel

Sally Ferguson

Liz Cowen Furman

Gail Goolsby

Sheila Gregoire

Kate Hagen

Doreen Hanna

Holly Hanson

Becky Harling

Debbie Harris

Nali Hilderman

Cathy Horning

Kathy Howard

Mary James

Priscilla Jenson

Lane P. Jordan

Rebecca Jordan

Ellie Kay

Maria Keckler

Sylvia Lange

Debby Lennick

Peggy Leslie

Kathi Lipp

Kolleen Lucariello

Kathi Macias

Paula Marsteller

Melissa Mashburn

Dianne Matthews

Cindi McMenamin

Elaine W. Miller

Kathy Collard Miller

Lynn Mosher

Karen O'Connor

Yvonne Ortega

Arlene Pellicane

Ava Pennington

Laura Petherbridge

Gail Purath

Marcia Ramsland

Kaley Rhea

Rhonda Rhea

Vonda Rhodes

Cynthia Ruchti

Julie Sanders

Judy Scharfenberg

Deedra Scherm

Laurel Shaler

Joanie Shawhan

Stephanie Shott

Poppy Smith

Susan K. Stewart

Stacie Stoelting

Letitia "Tish" Suk

Jill Swanson

Janet Thompson

Janice Thompson

Teri Thompson

Brittany Van Ryn

Elizabeth Van Tassel

Leslie Vernick

Laurie Wallin

Julie Watson

Joan C. Webb

Shonda Savage Whitworth

Cherri Williamson

Kathy C. Willis

Debbie W. Wilson

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Jamie Wood

And UPGRADE'S Founder

   Dawn Wilson

 

Entries in Do the Next Right Thing (2)

Thursday
Jun062019

Overcomer or Overwhelmed?

Bible teacher and speaker Ava Pennington is gifted in being able to distill practical truth from scripture, and in this Biblical Thinking UPGRADE, she gives sound advice for those times when circumstances threaten to overwhelm us.

"My husband was determined to use his final months to remind Christians to look up in the midst of their difficulties," Ava says, "But that’s easier said than done."

I (Dawn) so identify with Ava's words, and this article is timely for me as Ava shares her very personal story. The enemy wants us to live overwhelmed, but that is not what the Lord has for us.

Ava continues . . .

Three months after the oncologist pronounced Russ in remission, we learned the pancreatic cancer had returned with a vengeance, metastasizing to other organs.

Twelve weeks of rejoicing evaporated in an instant.

But his response shocked me almost as much as the prognosis:

“Don’t pray for healing. Of course, I want that and I know God can do it. But this time I believe He has a different purpose for me. I need to share, as much as possible, what it means to know Jesus Christ even in the darkest times. And that has to be my focus during my remaining time.”

For the final eight months of his life, Russ shared his testimony about a different kind of healing. He reminded Christians to look beyond their trials and suffering.

How do we do that?

  • How do we find the strength to see beyond our circumstances? To not be defeated by a diagnosis. Or beaten by a broken relationship.
  • How do we become conquerors instead of conquered? Overcomers instead of overwhelmed? Victorious instead of vanquished?

This is what I saw in my husband in those final eight months.

1. Remember who we belong to

"In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory" (Ephesians 1:13-14 ESV).

Living in a sin-sick world can make it easy to forget who we belong to. Our situation may cause us to think God has forgotten us or doesn’t care, leading us to lose faith.

We can let our circumstances define our relationship with God or we can let our relationship with God define how we view our circumstances.

As Elisabeth Elliot once said, “Faith's most severe tests come not when we see nothing, but when we see a stunning array of evidence that seems to prove our faith vain.”

2. Maintain an eternal focus

"For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal" (II Corinthians 4:17-18 ESV).

We’re often consumed with making this life easier. More comfortable.

While those goals are not bad in themselves, they often become obstacles to what God is accomplishing in and through us.

We become focused on making this life our best life ever, rather than remembering the best is yet to come.

3. Stop trying so hard

"Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16 ESV).

"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6 ESV).

Living a victorious Christian life is not about willpower. It’s not about trying harder, working smarter, and doing better. It’s about drawing on the strength of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us.

Our job is surrender to the Holy Spirit. He is the one who will bring the results.

4. Pray about the advice we receive

Russ’s mission reminded me of the apostle Paul’s experience:

"A prophet named Agabus … took Paul's belt and bound his own feet and hands and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘This is how the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’” When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 21:10-13 ESV).

When life gets hard—harder than we think we can bear—our loved ones don’t want to see us suffer. But their desire to spare us pain can give rise to misguided counsel, such as:

  •  “Work off the books. You can’t afford to pay taxes right now.”
  • “You’re still in school. Abortion is your only option.”
  • “You’ve fallen out of love? Divorce him because God wants you to be happy.”

Bottom line: advice that seems good isn’t always from God.

5. Do the next right thing

“Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9 ESV).

Painful circumstances often cause us to feel overwhelmed.

  • What will the cancer diagnosis mean for me in six months?
  • Will I be able to manage my life without my spouse?
  • How will I pay the bills if I’ve lost my job?

But the Lord promised to care for His children’s needs.

Our job is not to worry about the future, but to obey, one day at a time.

And when that seems too difficult, then one hour at a time or even the next five minutes at a time. Don’t ask what will happen a year from now. Rather, ask what has the Lord placed in front of me today? Then do the next right thing.

We live in a broken world. It can overwhelm us or we can be overcomers.

The answer is not found in our circumstances, it’s found in our relationship with Jesus Christ. We’re victorious when we remember our circumstances are temporary, but our life in Christ is eternal.

As you face your difficult situation, how can you maintain an eternal focus? What is the next right thing your heavenly Father has placed in front of you to do?

Ava Pennington is a writer, Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) teacher, and speaker. She is the author of the adult devotional, Daily Reflections on the Names of God, and has co-authored two children’s picture books. Ava has written numerous articles for magazines such as Today’s Christian Woman and Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse, and contributed to more than 30 anthologies. Visit her at: www.AvaWrites.com.

Graphic, courtesy of Geralt at Pixabay.

Thursday
Oct252018

Your Next Right Thing

Pam Farrel wrote earlier on this blog about a decision-making skill—making the obvious choice—and now, in this Choices UPGRADE, she's adding another decision-making skill: Do Your Next Right Thing.

Pam says, "Since college, more than four decades ago, I have made it my daily prayer: 'Lord, show me the next right thing. Then, as I see the next right thing, I do it!

"God has been faithful to upgrade my life as I have been faithful to do the next right thing."

I (Dawn) attest that God is faithful when we are faithful; and when His children struggle, He still is faithful! I appreciate Pam's wisdom here!

Pam continues . . . 

Elizabeth Elliot, a woman whose husband, Jim, was murdered as a martyr in the jungles, leaving her with an infant daughter, adopted the simple decision-making method ofDo the next thing”—love the next person; care for the next need; answer the next call.

She moved from a life that was unraveling to a strong vibrant ministry and personal life by simply doing the next thing.

I adapted her statement to “Do the next RIGHT thing.”

Moving from “right thing” to “right thing” moves your life forward, step by step.

Let me give you a series of simple examples/

When I was in college, my parents were going through a divorce, so I helped my mother move she and my siblings back to the safety and serenity of her parent’s family farm.

That was the next right thing.

I was already registered for college, so I moved into the dorms when my parent’s marriage dissolved and they each moved away from the city we had been living in. I worked hard to get A’s in my classes because no one: not my mother, my father or me, needed any more drama from any cause, especially from me.

That was the next right thing.

To guarantee I would have money to live on in this unstable time, I also applied and was hired for two part-time jobs.

That was the next right thing.

I was a competitive gymnast, so I enrolled in a PE class for gymnastics, and a coach noticed my skill, and invited me to try out for the diving team—which had potential for a scholarship. I made the team.

That was the next right thing.

A friend I made on that swim/dive team invited me to a Bible study. I went and during the prayer at the end of the meeting, the leader gave those attending the opportunity to commit or recommit his or her life to Jesus. I prayed and recommitted my life to Jesus.

That was the next right thing.

The leader invited me to return the next week and bring friends. So the next Sunday, I went through the dorm and invited everyone, and 20 people came with me.

That was the next right thing.

It was obvious to the leaders that I had the seeds of leadership in me, even though I was new to walking in the faith. So one of the women leaders, invited me to attend a one-on-one mentoring discipleship appointment with her. I said, “Yes!”

That was the next right thing.

I committed to coming each week to both the large meeting and the one-on-one meeting. Then she challenged me to read the Bible, every day. So I did.

That was the next right thing.

She then upped the challenge to share my faith on campus. So I did it—everyday!

That was the next right thing

This created a track record of trust, so she invited me on to the leadership team. I said, “Yes!”

That was the next right thing.

The leaders were all invited to a leadership conference for more training. I said “Yes!” .

That was the next right thing.

At that conference the speaker challenged us to consider the call to fulltime ministry. I prayed, “Not my will but Yours, God.” 

That was the next right thing.

At that same conference, after that extended quiet time with God, I walked in the lobby, and a handsome young man, asked me, “What did God teach you?” I shared all God had taught me that day.

That was the next right thing.

That young man was Bill Farrel. We began dating, and asked God to lead our relationship

That was the next right thing.

On December 14, 1979, I married Bill.

That was DEFINITELY the next right thing!

See how a series of smaller wise choices grew into a series of more important right choices?

Then those more important choices grew into a few very vital life choices—all by doing “the next right thing”. 

Do the Next Right Thing is the principle reflected in this verse:

They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion (Psalm 84:7 NIV).

When you move from right thing to right thing, you progress forward from strength to strength.

Doing the next right thing propels your goals, your character and your life forward.

What is the next right thing God is calling YOU to do?

Pam Farrel is an international speaker, author of 46 books including bestselling, Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experience and 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman: Success in Keeping It All Together—which this blog post was adapted from. Find out more about Pam and Bill Farrel at Love-Wise.  

Graphic adapted, courtesy of MabelAmber at Pixabay.