cost

Stop Trying to Fix It

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Image result for lexus 330 undercar cover left right 2004

Underneath my car is this thing called an undercar cover or shield and let’s just say that thing has been through a lot.

One night, I got too close to the parking lot bumper and the cover split in half, but someone from my church came over with their tools and fixed it for me.

Then another night, an animal ran in front of my car as I was going home. Again, it tore the engine cover. I did everything I could to hold on to that cover. I even used duct tape.

Well, some time had passed, but I eventually ordered a new engine cover. The parts and labor was a little over $200.

My car was finally fixed and it looked good.

Then, one day as I was driving to the movie theater with my son, I saw something in the road. It looked like Spanish moss. But, instead of swerving to the right or left, what did I do? I drove over it and apparently it got caught in the cover and pulled it as I was driving. The next thing I heard was the sound of something dragging on the highway.

My new cover was damaged again and that was money that I couldn’t get back.

So, I let the cover drag as long as I could because I wasn’t getting this fixed again. When it was time for my next oil change, a young man (from a different auto shop) looked at the cover for me.

Minutes later, he comes in the waiting area holding the cover over his shoulder. I’m waiting for him to tell me the price of the parts and labor, but he says nothing. So I said, What is it going to cost?

He said, Nothing. You don’t need it. You can drive without it.

And you know what? He was right. I was trying to fix something that really didn’t need to be fixed. I didn’t need the engine cover to drive the car and it didn’t stop me from reaching the places I needed to go.

Why am I telling this story?

Because sometimes we try to fix situations that God can only fix and we try to change people that only God can change. We try to get to certain places in our life, holding on to things or people that was more of a burden than a blessing. And the enemy will use ‘what we think we need’ to get us off course, to keep us going in circles, to pull us away from the voice of God and to lead us in the wrong direction. Such distractions have cost many of us too much time and too much money.

I learned three things from this car as it relates to my life:
1) I can’t fix it.
2) Not everything needs fixing.
3) There are some things that only God can fix.

You Still Win

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It was the enemy’s plan to get you involved in situations and relationships that he knew would leave you broke, brokenhearted, hurt or bitter in the end. Like Eve, you didn’t understand what you had or what God had given you. You took the enemy’s bait because you liked what you saw and you thought you were missing something.  

The devil wants you to see yourself as a loser, but it was he who lost. How do I know? Well, just look at yourself. What the enemy was hoping would happen to you, didn’t happen. It didn’t work.

So, he lost. You didn’t.

Not only did he lose, but he lost you.

Yes, you were down for a moment, but you got up again.

You still win.

Did you want to give up? Yes. Did you want to walk away? Yes, but God didn’t let you. The word of God is so deeply rooted in you that you couldn’t walk away from the Word even if you wanted to.

God brought you through it and He brought you out of it. You’re not in it anymore. It’s behind you. Stop looking back.

No, you didn’t count the cost before you got involved, but don’t waste any more time counting your losses. Stop counting your mistakes.

You may have lost some things, but there is nothing that you have lost that God can’t restore and there is nothing broken that He cannot fix.

You still win.

Finish It

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Finish line painted on asphalt

For which of you, intending to build a tower, sit not down first, and count the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?  (Luke 14:28)

I was 23 when I got married. I think I got married seven or eight months after meeting him. I’m not sure why there was a rush, but we didn’t take the time to get to know each other. We lived in two different states. There was no pre-marital counseling. I can’t speak for him, but I know I didn’t count the cost and before we reached our first wedding anniversary, my vow changed from ‘I do’ to ‘I don’t’. I was ready to pack up my things and move back home. The only reason why I stayed as long as I did was because my dad wouldn’t come and pick me up. (You laugh, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it).

When I said my wedding vows, I was just repeating what the preacher said. I never thought about what I was saying or what those words meant. I made a promise in the moment that I couldn’t keep once I was out of the moment. Preparing the wedding was easy, but I didn’t know what it took to build  a marriage and I didn’t know the work  that was involved in staying married. It’s easy to be faithful and committed for better, but what about for worse?

Jesus never told anyone who made the decision to follow Him that it would be easy.

And a certain scribe came and said unto Him, “Master, I will follow You wherever You go”. And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head (Matthew 8:19-20).

And He said unto another, Follow Me, but he said, Lord, let me first go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God (Luke 9:59-60).

In Luke 14, Jesus was teaching great multitudes about discipleship. The number of people following Him increased, but Jesus wasn’t impressed by the numbers. Not everyone following Him wanted to be discipled. To become a disciple, you had to be made a disciple and not everyone wants to go through what it takes to be made. Jesus tells them three things that will keep them from being true disciples:

1)  If your relationship with others (parent, spouse, children, etc) can easily affect your relationship with Him and if you can’t love Him more than you love your own life, you can’t be His disciple (Luke 14:26).

2)  If you are not willing to endure whatever may come, you can’t be His disciple (Luke 14:27).

3)  If you don’t forsake or give up all, you can’t be His disciple (Luke 14:33).

To explain it further, Jesus used three examples: building a tower, a king making war against another king and salt. Let’s address the builder. First of all, you must save your money because it takes money to build a tower, but this is not the only cost you must consider. Building a tower also takes time. How long will it take?  It requires a lot of work. How many hours a day will you invest in this project?  Also, you can’t do this alone. You will need the help of others (architects, contractors, landscapers, etc). Can you be trusted with this task? People are depending on you. You can’t just quit on them. Yes, the enemy will tell you that it’s too hard. He will even send people to discourage you – to get you to focus on what you see (or don’t see yet).Things may go wrong in the building process and things may not go as smoothly as you thought it would, but that doesn’t mean you should ‘pack your bags and go back home’. This is not the time to quit! Preparing the site and laying down the foundation is the easy part, but will you be able to finish what you started?

You got saved through faith. If it took faith to start, it is going to take faith to finish. Count the cost. You will have to invest time in reading your bible and in much prayer. You will need the support and help of other believers (Hebrews 10:25). It will not always be easy. In this world, you will have tribulation, the world will hate you, you will be persecuted for righteousness’ sake, you will be betrayed, men will say all manner of evil against you falsely (for Christ’s sake), but you will have to learn how to endure some things. Endure means that you don’t let anything or anyone stop you. What you go through may seem difficult, but don’t stop. Go through it patiently. If you decided to believe God yesterday, then decide to believe Him today and believe Him tomorrow. Do not quit. Stand firm in the faith so that you can say what Jesus said – It is finished.

There was a time when many of Jesus’ disciples went back and walked no more with Him (John 6:6). Some of us are thinking about going back because someone offended us at church or your marriage failed or you lost your job or because God’s way seems too difficult. He has already promised that He will never leave you. Don’t leave Him just because it feels like He left you. He never left.  God is telling us the same thing that Elijah told the prophets of Baal – Make up your minds! If the Lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him  (1 Kings 18:21).

Are you ready to fully commit yourself to Him? Are you ready to present your whole body as a living sacrifice? If you are going to follow God, follow Him all the way. He doesn’t want you to put your hand to the plow in the beginning only to look back in the middle. Anyone who does this is not fit (useful or qualified) for the kingdom of God. Last month, I was sad and disappointed about something and the Lord said to me, Just because you haven’t received what you prayed for yet, doesn’t mean that I don’t care. I cared enough to spare you. He had a very good point. If you don’t get the things you want or if things don’t go the way you think they should go, will you still love Him? Will you still trust Him? Will you still obey Him? Or will you leave Him also?

You may not understand the price Jesus paid, but what He endured was worth it and when you count the cost of following Him, you will realize that it is worth it also. To follow Christ will cost you something, but the cost of following Him is much better than the cost of not following Him.

Be encouraged…and finish it!

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith ~ 2 Timothy 4:7