Christians Under Quarantine

I miss in-person worship services as much as anyone, but God is not limited to a time and place on Sunday. During this quarantine, I have found most Christians can be put into one of two categories: those who have grown closer to God because of the quarantine, and those who have drifted.

The first group has learned to pray, worship, study, fast, take communion, and exercise their spiritual disciplines in their homes. God has invaded every area of their lives, and they are learning to experience God in places other than a church facility. They are learning to experience God at times other than Sunday mornings. These Christians are learning to worship to an online service; to sense God's presence and touch in their homes. Their faith has been tested and they have prevailed. They are stronger now. They have greater faith. They are better prepared for ministry.

Throughout history, the church has had to learn how to be the church under difficult circumstances. We cannot be the church only if the conditions are just right. We must persevere. We must overcome. We must pursue Christ and His Kingdom purpose with relentless ambition.

If you have been drifting, missing the live-streams services, stopped praying and reading. if you haven't worshiped until the heavens open, if you aren't sharing your faith, then I encourage you to flip the switch. Start living as a child of God in the here and now. Stop waiting for things to get "back to normal." They may never be normal again. Who knows, maybe God won't release us from this time until we are all prepared to be the church under any condition. Maybe, the church is waiting on you to get on board.

I believe the gathering is biblical and important, and that we will being meeting in-person again at some point, but we should be different when we do. We should have grown in our walk with God. We should be less dependent on a sermon to inspire us. We should learn to be as victorious on Monday as we are on Sunday. We should do more than go to church. We should learn to be the church, no matter what conditions we are living in. 
 
-Mylon Avery

God Sent A Mesage To Us, Today.

Did you know that God has many ways to get a message to you? Although He can speak directly, He often uses other ways to communicate. This past year, God has used creation, nature, and animals to show Kathy and me His presence and love. Today, He used birds. In the Bible, birds are often seen as messengers or representations of God. Noah sent a bird out of the ark. The Spirit descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove. Many people have found comfort in the soft presence of a redbird or the beautiful sound of a songbird, and today, Kathy and I received a message from God sent through a vivacious flock of Cedar Waxwings.

This story starts back in 2011 when Kathy became seriously ill and was eventually diagnosed with Scleroderma, an autoimmune disease. The original prognosis was not good, in fact, she was not supposed to live this long, but God is our Great Physician and we have trusted him, no matter what. Well, about 2 weeks ago, Kathy had a scan on her lungs (Scleroderma can affect your lungs) and today the Dr called with the results. This was nothing new. We’ve been receiving Doctors' opinions for a long time, but it’s always nerve-racking, so we prayed ahead of the phone call and decided that we would respond with faith no matter the results.

We sat at the dining room table in front of the window, patiently waiting for the phone to ring. Finally, the phone rang and Kathy answered. We listened to the Doctor as he gave us his diagnosis, “Your test results look fairly good. Your lung capacity is the same as it was 10 years ago, but there is a little scarring on your lungs that wasn’t there before.” Not a bad report but not a perfect report either. Of course, the devil tries to plant fear and lies into your mind, but Kathy and I had decided how we would react to any news and we took it as a good report. We stand on the promises of God. We understand that no one is promised tomorrow, so we must live life to the fullest, today.

I walked out to the backyard to thank the Lord, when I saw a flock of birds flying to the tree on the side of our house. They would fly in, then fly out. There were dozens of them going excitedly back and forth. I went into the house and told Kathy to look out the window. She was still sitting in the same place that we had received the doctor’s news and the tree was right out the window behind her. There were birds everywhere; birds we had never seen before. They were within 8 feet of her, chirping, fluttering, picking berries, and hurriedly flying in and out of the tree. We were both overwhelmed, and at the same time, we realized this was God sending us a message, “I am here. I have you in My hands, and nothing can separate you from my love.” Well, that sealed it for us. We had decided to respond with faith and God had sent us confirmation. He is our strength and hope. We are held by His love. Our lives belong to Him. 

You may think we’re a bit crazy, but it’s not just what we saw in the tree; it’s what we felt in our hearts. God is always with us, but sometimes He wants to make Himself plainly known to you. He will speak softly to your heart, the right song will come on the radio, or a good friend will call at just the right time. I cannot tell you how good God has been to us. He has healed Kathy so many times. We have had expensive medications given to us, bad reports that turned into good reports, and a million other miracles. But it is the presence of God that means the most. We were never promised a life without problems. We were promised that God would be with us through it all. Our God let us know today that He is with us! So, I must praise my God. He is a good God, who loves His children! Our great Savior, Healer, Deliverer, Provider, and soon coming King! Let everything that has breath, PRAISE THE LORD!!!

Kathy just came in the office and told me that Psalms 91 is the message God sent to us, today. WOW!

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked.
Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—the Most High, who is my refuge
no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

-Psalms 91


- Mylon Avery









Happiness vs Purpose

There was once a king named Anthony. Anthony was a good king who ruled over a vast and great
kingdom. His kingdom shared a border with another kingdom ruled by a king named Ivan. Ivan was an evil king who desired to expand His kingdom by force. For years, the two kings fought in bloody skirmishes along the border, and king Anthony always prevailed, for his kingdom was much larger and his army much greater. King Ivan, realizing he could never win a head to head battle, devised a plan to even the odds. It would take a long time to accomplish, but if it worked, if king Anthony fell for it, he could attack and overtake his rival kingdom. King Ivan sent word to Anthony declaring his desire for a truce. He invited him to a mutual location and told him that he had decided to stop all advances against his kingdom. He told the good king that he wanted to live in peace and to share a friendship between the two kingdoms. The two kings shook hands and parted ways. A week later, King Anthony sent an invitation to Ivan inviting him to a feast; a celebration of peace and their new friendship. King Ivan came bearing gifts and smiles. He adorned king Anthony with compliments about the castle, the servants, and the food. “This food is the best I’ve ever tasted!” said the evil king. King Anthony enjoyed the praise. He began to see himself and the pleasures he had surrounding him as a sign of his worth. King Ivan, recognizing his chance said, “You’re only missing one thing. The world’s most unique and wonderful tasting tea. It’s called Engano tea. It is so rare that only a handful of the greatest kings have ever tasted it. If you could serve Engano tea at your banquets, everyone who attended would know that you are the greatest of all kings.” King Anthony was intrigued, and for weeks he couldn’t stop thinking about Engano tea. He thought about how wonderful it must taste. He thought about the prestige it would bring him if he could have it served to his guests. 

So King Anthony commissioned explorers, sailors, and treasure hunters to bring him back this tea. One by one, they would leave excited but return defeated and without the tea. This only made King Anthony desire it even more. So, after many failed expeditions, the king decided to send his army across the world to find the tea and bring it to him at any cost. After years of failed military missions, bloody battles and lost lives, the king still had not tasted the world’s greatest tea. By now he had become obsessed with it. He would do anything to get his hands on that special tea. One day, a traveler came before the king and said, “Your Majesty, I have traveled all across the world and in my travels I was fortunate enough to come across a small amount of Engano tea. I want you to have it.” The king was overwhelmed with excitement. He immediately called for his servants to prepare him some of this world famous tea. The water was heated, the tea was carefully steeped and brought to the king. He took one sip and gasped. It tasted awful. The king hated the tea, and he hated himself. How could he have spent years of his life, vast sums of money, and the lives of explorers and soldiers pursuing something so awful? Suddenly, a messenger came rushing into the court. King Ivan’s army was advancing on the kingdom. They were vast in number, organized, and armed with the best weapons. King Anthony realized that he had been deceived. There was no truce, there was no friendship, and there was no Engano tea. While he had been chasing an illusion, King Ivan had been preparing for war. He looked around and the traveler was gone. His heart raced with fear. His stomach was now convulsing in pain, he began to sweat profusely, and he fell to the ground. The traveler was really a spy, sent to poison him. As King Anothony lay dying on the floor, he realized that his selfish and vain pursuit of Engano tea had drained his kingdom of resources, ravaged his army, and exposed him to a cup of poison. He had spent his life pursuing an illusion, and when he finally found it, it had killed him and destroyed the Kingdom he was born to protect. 

 

Are you pursuing a lie? Are you pursuing an illusion? Most people spend their lives pursuing happiness. We are told from childhood that our lives belong to us, and that we deserve to be happy. We are taught to choose a career that makes us happy, choose a spouse that makes us happy, choose hobbies that make us happy. All of our life decisions are designed to make us happy. But a happy life is an illusion. Life is full of ups and downs. Everyone experiences times when we feel happy and times when we do not. To be happy all the time means that our circumstances must always be perfect, our emotions must always be perfect, our thinking must always be perfect, and our health must always be perfect, but life is not perfect. Happiness is like Engano tea: it’s an illusion designed to distract you from something much deeper - something much better. King Anthony wasted his time, his treasure, and the lives of his citizens pursuing something he thought would make him happy. The only thing worse than chasing something is when you finally get it and it does not satisfy you. You feel empty and ashamed because you wasted so much of your life pursuing an illusion. 

 “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” -Luke 9:24 

God has given us a better reason to live. God has given us purpose. Purpose is much deeper than happiness and it doesn’t depend on perfect circumstances, emotions, thinking, or health. In fact, having purpose gives your life bedrock consistency; consistency that cannot be found in the roller coaster ride of happiness. If I have money or if I am broke, my purpose does not change. If I feel good or if I feel bad, my purpose doesn’t change. If I am happy or if I am miserable, my purpose does not change. Living with purpose gives you a straight path to follow that actually leads to a real destination. Purpose is steady and real. Purpose is not an illusion but a worthwhile pursuit that brings real results. Jesus did not come to earth to experience happiness. He came for a purpose, and He produced results. 

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” - Mark 10:45 

Jesus came to die in our place that we might have eternal life. His purpose brought Him great pain and suffering, but it also brought eternal life to countless people and changed the course of history. His happiness was irrelevant. Happiness is irrelevant to those who live with a purpose. Yes, I enjoy the happy times, but I don’t chase happiness. I try to live out the purpose God has given me, so that one day I can hear Him say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” 

What is your purpose? Why did God create you and place you in this generation? There are specifics about your life that you must pursue the answers to, but all of God's children have been called to these two purposes: Love God and Love your neighbor as yourself. You and I have been called to love God with our lives and to demonstrate His love for others. You were created to be an expression of the love of God. You have the power to change lives with love. When you realize the power you possess, it becomes frivolous to waste your life selfishly pursuing the fickle feelings of happiness. And what is the final reward for a life lived with God’s purpose? Souls. Your life is the seed planted, and the harvest of your life is the souls of those who will come to know Jesus. Now, that’s a reason to live. Make the decision to pursue God’s purpose for your life and endeavor to live out His purpose. Enjoy the happy times but don’t waste your life pursuing happiness. God has created you for something much greater. God has created you for purpose. 

 By: Mylon Avery

Season's Greetings

As the Christmas season approaches, so too will various well wishes and greetings. Above all else these greetings are meant to spread cheer and love to everyone involved. Whether or not the phrase is religious in nature is irrelevant because the spread of goodwill is a part of the Christian mission. Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and even Merry Xmas are all perfectly allowable and should be received with a smile. 

    As Christians we must understand that we do not own the month of December and there are other religions celebrating holidays around this time. Inclusionary language like "Happy Holidays" is always positive and extremely effective at spreading love. We cannot assume that everyone will be celebrating Christ's birth but we must wish all glad tidings and joy. 

    The bridge of love is never stronger than this time of year, I say we cross that bridge and walk into other faiths and outlooks with welcoming hearts and open arms. If your coworker is Jewish wish them a Happy Hanukkah and truly pray for their family to enjoy a prosperous season. Accepting the value of another persons religion on their life does not belittle the strength of your Christianity, if anything it strengthens it. By allowing your spirit to communicate freely with another's you touch their life and share the wealth of Christ's touch on their lives. As a Christian you don't have to participate in another person's traditions but you do have to love that person. It is okay to see the beauty in another culture and faith, so when your friend wants to tell you about his Menorah Candles or show you what his childhood Dreidel looked like share in the joy of the moment with them.

    
    This time of year there is also a growing misconception about the use of the word Xmas. Every year I hear about the attack on Christmas and without fail Xmas is always the primary piece of evidence. The only problem with that is that Xmas was never about taking the Christ out of Christmas. One of the many languages key to the Bible and it's translation is Greek. In the Greek language the word Christ is written out as χριστός . We often use as Greek in written and spoken language. One example of this is the Greek word for God, Theos, being used as a part of the word Theology. Even with the information regarding the Greek language you may be wondering how it relates to Xmas. The first thing to notice in the word χριστός is the X at the start of the word, That X is known as a Chi and has been used as a written representation of Christ for centuries. Shortened and abbreviated versions of words have been universally accepted since the dawn of written language and Xmas is no different. The word Christmas is a shortened version of Christ's Mass.

The use of X rose in popularity in large part due to Constantine the Great. One night as a battle approached Constantine prayed and received a vision of victory and in that vision he saw a symbol that would come to be known as a Chi-Rho. The symbol uses the first two letters of the Greek word  χριστός. After the victory Constantine made sure to spread the symbol all over his kingdom. 


    



The popularity of the use of X to represent Christ grew from then on. The first believed use of Xmas instead of Christmas is dated all the way back to 1021, When a Scribe used the written version of Constantine's Chi-Rho to save parchment paper space. During that time parchment paper was expensive and so the space saving XPmas became written commonplace. Over time the P was removed and it became the Xmas we know today. 
    An example of this was written by a poet named Samuel Taylor Coleridge. In a letter to a friend on December 31st 1801 he wrote "On Xmas day I breakfasted with Davy." Xmas also appears in Bernard Ward's History of St. Edmunds College, Old Hall. Explanation of the shortened Xmas is seen in William Perry's Royal Standard English Dictionary, published in Boston all the way back in 1800.

    For centuries X has been a widely accepted and used way to represent Christ and today that truth remains applicable. The war on Christmas is a fallacy and we must not waste our time fighting in it. It seeks to create division and discourse and will only serve to distract us from the true meaning of Christmas. This season can be boiled down to one point CELEBRATE THE LIFE AND LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST BY LOVING OTHERS. If you want to keep Christ in Christmas I am with you but let's do so by loving others unconditionally and not by worrying about literary nonsense. 



By: Joseph Avery










POLITICS: A WOLF IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING

The devil is very clever and if we are not aware of His schemes, we will find ourselves
the victims of them (2 Corinthians 2:11). Satan often creates an obvious attack in front of us so that as we focus on it, He can quietly move around the back. Which is more dangerous, the wolf at the front door or the wolf in sheep's clothing slipping in the back door? In this country we see numerous frontal and obvious attacks to what is biblically moral and right, and it is a natural response to fight against these attacks using any method at our disposal. But the greater danger is not in losing the battle at the front door but losing our identity as God's people and being devoured by the devil we allowed in the back door. Have we been fooled? Has the enemy distracted us with an attack at the front door while sneaking in the back? He is sneaky and I believe many have been fooled with his schemes. What schemes do I mean? 


 1. POLITICS IS OUR GOD

I see many Christians who speak as if what happens in Washington will determine their eternal destiny, as if God is not on the throne. There is Earthly power in politics, which makes it an obvious and tempting choice to wield as a weapon. If our party is in power, we can force the country to be what we think it should be. So, instead of praying we vote. Instead of representing the Kingdom we cover our timelines in political memes. Instead of loving our neighbors we define them as enemies who must be defeated. I’m certainly not against voting or being involved politically, but our true power as Kingdom citizens doesn’t lie in the power structures of this world. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but are mighty through God. If you see politics as our most powerful weapon and the weapon of choice for the church, then the enemy has fooled you. 

 

2. A POLITICIAN WILL SAVE US. 

I remember President Obama being cast as the savior by some and as the antichrist by others. Today, it is President Trump. When I say the name, Obama, some of you feel wonderful and safe, while others are fearful and angry. The same can be said for the name Trump. Opposing political leaders have become ‘christ vs antichrist’ with the fate of our literal lives hanging in the balance. Who will save us? We will know in November. As Christians we have one Savior, Jesus Christ. The Savior has already come and brought the Kingdom of God to Earth. Right now, that Kingdom is spiritual, but it is leaking out of the people of God into the world in preparation for something big that is coming. That great event is His return when He brings the Kingdom of God physically to Earth. Jesus is the rescuing hero that your heart longs for. Your favorite political leader is a fallible human, and if your hope is in a politician, then your hope is not in Jesus and the enemy has fooled you. 

 

3. AMERICA IS EQUAL TO THE KINGDOM OF GOD. 

We enjoy so many wonderful freedoms and blessings, and many are desperately struggling to keep the freedom and blessings alive. I certainly want our country to continue and even improve, but I know the Kingdoms of this world are not God’s ultimate goal. God’s plan is not “SAVE AMERICA.” God’s plan is “LET THE KINGDOM COME.” Our minds should not be set on Earthly things but on things above. It’s not that I want to see America fall, I want to see the Kingdom come. America is not God’s vehicle for justice, righteousness, and peace, it's the Kingdom. Jesus will not sit in the White House He will sit on His throne, and when Jesus returns America will be no more, Washington will have no say, and the republic will be replaced by a Kingdom with a righteous King. If it bothers you as a Christian to imagine the US being replaced by King Jesus, then the enemy has fooled you. 

 

Satan has placed some blatant and aggressive attacks at our front door. His desire is not to win those battles but to get the church to think of these as the defining battles of our lives. He has convinced many to pick up the weapons of politics and power to save our nation while we lose our identity as God’s peculiar people in the process. We’ve forgotten who we are. We’ve forgotten what weapons we should use. We’ve forgotten what battle we should be fighting. 

I realize there are many important battles in our country and that faith in general has been under attack for decades and we should address these, but our goals are not earthly, our weapons are not worldly, and our destination is not America. If we make politics our god and worship at the altar of our party, then we will lose our identity as the peculiar people who are not of this world. If we depend upon a human savior we will lose our identity as those who have already been saved by Christ Jesus. If our hope is in an Earthly nation we will lose our identity as a people who belong to a greater Kingdom. If our goal is Earthly, if a person will save us, if politics is our weapon, then we have been duped. While we spend our time at the front door, Satan is dismantling us from within. He is convincing us to change our goals, our methods, and our identity. We must regain sight of who we are, where we are headed, and how we will get there. I hope these scriptures help us recognize and dismantle the schemes of the devil in 2020. 

 

 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. -Colossians 3:1-4 NASB 

 

 Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” - Mark 12:17 NASB 

 

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. – Ephesians 4:1-6 NASB 

 

 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” – John 18:36-27 NASB 

 

“Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:25-34 NASB 

 

 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. - Ephesians 6:10-17 NASB 

 

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete. – 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 NASB 

 

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. Isaiah 9:6-7 NASB 

 

-Mylon Avery

From a SEED to a MIGHTY OAK - God's plan for your success.


What if you could reach a level of success that you never dreamed possible?  

What if I told you that the seed of great success is already inside you? Well, it's true.

"...seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, ... 2 Peter 1:2-4

I have watched many people with God-given talents who never reach the pinnacle of success. Most people never really discover who they were created to be and never realize their full potential. Are you one of those people? Are you someone who has huge potential but never does much with it? Hopefully, this will inspire you to achieve the success that God intended for you.

THE GOAL
Before we go on, let me define success for you. Success is becoming the person God created you to be and accomplishing the mission He created you to accomplish. As you follow Christ and His plan for your life there will be times when what God desires for you and what you desire for yourself are at odds with each other. This is when you must come back to this definition of success. If you believe that your true success comes from fulfilling the life that your Creator designed for you, you'll be willing to let go of your own desires in exchange for His perfect plan.

THE SEED
Everything you need is already inside you. When you were created God designed you for success. When you are born again your spirit is in union with Christ. You have the spirit of an overcomer, victor, a champion. When you are baptized in the Holy Spirit your life is empowered to grow and execute the purpose of your life. The giftings become supernaturally empowered, the divine goals become clearer, and your tenacity to accomplish things increases. However, there are still some things you need to do to help turn the seed inside you into a mighty oak standing tall before the world.

FROM SEED TO OAK TREE
The seed inside you resides in your perfected spirit which is united with Christ. Everything in your born again spirit is great, victorious, successful, and designed to be used to bring God's plan into the world, but the seed must be channeled through your imperfect mind, emotions, and body (2 Cor.. 4:7). This is where the work comes in to play. This is where growth occurs. If your vessel is not shaped for use you will not be very useful, and the seed will never grow.  This is why Peter doesn't stop at verse 4 but continues on with instructions on how to turn your seed into your harvest.

"Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you." 2 Peter 1:5-11 

GOD'S PLAN FOR SUCCESS
1. Diligence - Diligence is careful and persistent work or effort. So many people only give an effort when they feel like it, which guarantees failure. They climb up the ladder only to get tired, discouraged, or lazy and slide back down to the first step. God's plan for success requires you to give careful effort. Make sure you are working on the right things. God's plan requires you to give persistent effort. Don't try for a while then quit when you don't see instant results. Great things are built over time. 

2. Moral Excellence - be godly in your dealings and give your best at all times. God and people deserve your best. Don't do things in a half-hearted manner but strive for excellence in your character and your effort. 

3. Knowledge - Make a continuous effort to grown in your knowledge of God, your knowledge of self, and the knowledge of your calling. God is always unveiling new revelations to those who are seeking Him. 

4. Self Control - This is a huge problem today. Everyone seems to be doing what they feel like doing. There is little self-discipline. It's interesting that the Bible refers to us as Disciples and yet many Christians have no self- discipline. They think that doing what you feel like doing is the way to follow the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not your emotions. If you really want to know the difference between the Holy Spirit and your emotions you need to read and re-read the Bible. The Word of God will help you distinguish between your feelings and the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 4:12). God has given us instructions to control our emotions, our minds, and our bodies, and He has given us the Holy Spirit to empower our decisions to obey Him. 

5. Perseverance - This one is pretty simple. Don't quit, finish. Once you know the direction God is leading you and the purpose of your life becomes clearer, don't stop pressing until your finished. 

6. Godliness - Conduct your self in a manner that Jesus would. Be honest, be real, don't quit, sacrifice, love others, get back up, etc. 

7. Brotherly kindness - Remember that you were saved for the purpose of good works. Those good works always include other people. Everything we do is about helping other people find the life and love that Jesus has for them. Think about it, if God only wanted to give us comfortable lives and take in our praise He would just take us all to heaven, but there are still people down here who don't know Him and our lives are living portals to the kingdom of God. Through us, God is loving and reaching the world. Make sure your success is about helping others.

8. Love - love is the greatest power of all. Love has the power to literally change someone's life and we have the power to love. In all your efforts and striving for success don't lose sight of why succeeding matters. In the end, loving others is the greatest success, and your success can be a tool to show and share the love of God with those who need it. 

It breaks my heart to see seeds of greatness everywhere that are lying dormant in lives that have given no effort to grow them. It bothers me to hear people blame God because they haven't accomplished anything great. It's a shame that so many people never discover how incredible they really are. It's a tragedy when someone knows they have a gift but refuses to do the work to make it grow. You're not just depriving yourself of success but you're depriving the world of a mighty oak.

The seed is in you. Start working it. 

Mylon Avery