If you ever feel like you’re under pressure, and have almost too many demands on you. I understand how you feel. I have three kids. A wife. A big dog and several tropical fish. Plus a church that reaches people through our weekly services and many who remain in contact by mail. Another constantly changing number of people are involved with our counseling services here at the Worship Center. Half a dozen civic and community organizations have me serving on their boards. Then, I write a monthly column for a magazine. Like you, one thing I have a constant need for is IDEAS. Good ideas. Ideas that work. Ideas that will speedily help people and make their lives work better.
Expectations and demands are almost overwhelming for most teenagers and adults anymore. People expect more out of us, and it seems like in school, in society and on the job, competition is stiffer than ever before.
You can’t bluff your way through life and expect to be taken seriously anymore. Even in church, people are a little more experienced and maybe even jaded after some of the events and crises of the eighties. It takes more than the same old tired ideas and easy answers, clichés and platitudes.
Another problem is that so many of the issues we face aren’t as clear-cut as they used to be a few years ago. And so many of the old solutions aren’t viable any more. The economy is different. So is the job market. And the technology. Not to mention the new diseases and viruses. Then, there’s the changing political balance of the entire world. The problems and challenges that you and I face are new not just to us, but to everybody ELSE on the face of the earth as well.
First of all, we need to realize that the Bible contains laws, wisdom and principles that are so advanced, they NEVER go out of date. They’re eternal. Bible principles always work, in any century, in any political environment and in any economy. It’s because they are based on the permanent, unchanging and universal laws of God.
Like the law of gravity. Wherever you go on the earth, the law of gravity is in effect and it doesn’t change from state to state or from county to county. You can be sure that no matter where you go, if you toss a rock in the air, it’ll fall back to the earth. It’s always been that way and will always BE that way.
It’s good to know that the basic laws of how things work never change. Causes always have effects. Actions always have consequences.
When you know the EFFECT is you want, all you have to do then is to find out what it is that CAUSES it, and then get that cause activated. When you know what CONSEQUENCE you want, then all you have to do is find what ACTION will CAUSE that consequence and then DO it.
Just KNOWING those last two statements helps me in my prayer life and in my day to day life: Knowing that most of our situations really just need to be simplified into “what do I need and how is it brought to pass?”
A few years ago, a particularly effective and successful Christian business man told me that MOST PROBLEMS WE FACE CAN BE SOLVED BY ONE THING AND ONE THING ONLY.
You can imagine how eager I was to learn what that ONE thing is that can solve any problem. I figured he would say the one thing is FAITH, but I was wrong. No, the one thing that can solve any problem isn’t money and it isn’t faith. The ONE thing is an IDEA.
And IDEA that will help you to get along better with your family. An IDEA that will help you think more clearly. An IDEA that will help you to get ahead on the job. An IDEA that will help you pay your bills.
Everything in the world was at first an IDEA. Even the world started out as an IDEA, in the mind of God.
The toughest problem, that most nagging hassle, the most lingering annoyance in your life, can be solved by the right idea.
First, you need an IDEA. Then you need the faith to ACT on that idea. Your ACTIONS in FAITH will in time bring the solution to your problem.
So, HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT GETTING IDEAS?
Sometimes it’s as simple as asking God to lead you to begin ASKING QUESTIONS. Ask other people who have possibly dealt with a similar situation. There are usually two or three people you know who have more experience than you on the job, or at raising children, or at almost anything else you or I do. We can and should take advantage of the wisdom and experience some of the people older than us have. Usually just by telling them a little about what you’re going through and then asking, “What would YOU do if you were me?” can get you two or three good solutions.
Don’t forget BOOKS. Almost any problem you face has been dealt with by somebody else, and they PROBABLY wrote a book about it. Check the bookstores and the libraries. You can buy ideas for just a few dollars each at a bookstore. NEVER buy just a BOOK. Buy IDEAS.
The BEST book to start with is the Bible. For the most concentrated group of ideas that will help us on the job with our friends and in our inner life, check out the book of Proverbs. It’s right after Psalms, about halfway through your Bible. There are thirty one chapters of these little gold nuggets of wisdom and inspired ideas. One easy plan is to read a different chapter of Proverbs each day, and start again with chapter 1 at the end of the month. You’ll be AMAZED at how much you pick up EACH time you read this book.
Then there’s the need for what I call INSPIRED IDEAS. These are ideas that God pours into your spirit. Ideas that come straight to you from Heaven. Inspired, creative solutions. Ideas for inventions, paintings, poems, books. Almost every answer you need from God will come in the form of an idea – an inspired idea.
• When David used a slingshot to kill a giant, he was acting on an inspired idea.
• When Solomon solved the problem of the two ladies who each claimed that the other one had stolen her baby, he used an inspired idea.
• When Gideon’s little army beat an army of thousands, he was acting on an inspired idea.
• Then, there’s Ruth and Naomi’s inspired idea that saved a nation. Or the dozens of other life changing ideas that came to men and women of the Bible REGULARLY.
HOW DO YOU GET INSPIRED IDEAS?
That’s what we’ll be exploring together. You and I NEED inspired and creative ideas. They’re not a luxury. They’re a “must have”, if we’re going to be the kind of parents, teachers, professionals and students we need to be.
Here’s some starters…
1. Clear up any problems between you and God. If there’s ANYTHING that might be blocking communication between you two, deal with it. It might just be the simple matter of telling God you’re sorry and asking for His forgiveness and help.
2. Get your thoughts focused on ANSWERS instead of on your PROBLEMS. Learn to think in terms of SOLUTIONS instead of problems. The best way to do this is to begin reading your New Testament. I’ll give you SPECIFIC verses that will get your faith up and running, so you can receive inspired ideas from God.
3. BELIEVE that God wants to help you. Make this ONE adjustment in your believing and you’ll find that your faith will begin to flow A LOT more effectively.
4. PRAY. Pray several times a day and pray being HAPPY that God is hearing you and that He wants to help you. This is really important. Keep your praying expectant. Prayers of complaint and of lack don’t get the power of God working. So be HAPPY and pray EXPECTING God to answer your prayer.
After these steps, I’ll go into the fifth which is how to be open for inspired ideas and solutions. You’ll learn HOW to hear from God. What to listen for. What to look for and WHERE. I’ll also share some other practical tips that will help you stay filled with inspired fresh ideas from God…so you’ll never run out. The way the world is today, with all its demands and people’s needs and expectations, we can’t afford to run out!