Dr. Craig L. Oliver
“If we want God to teach us His ways, we must first stand in total submission to His holy will.”
- Nicky Cruz
One of the most powerful things that we can do as sons and daughters of God is to get into agreement with the Word of God. To agree with the Word of God means that we walk in step with its directions, ordinances, and trajectory. It means that we choose His will over our own even when our emotions would lead us elsewhere. Children of God recognize the utter futility in trying to live a life contrary to God’s Word and conversely understand the power involved in aligning oneself congruent with it.
“The best way to succeed is to have a specific intent, a clear vision, a plan of action, and the ability to maintain clarity.”
— Steve Maraboli
One does not happen upon success haphazardly. Success that lasts is achieved with deliberate purpose and vision is the deciding factor between arriving at your place of destination intentionally rather than stumbling into it. Those who are most successful in life understand the value of having clear vision!
“You are not fighting for a victory…You are fighting from victory! Victory is already yours.”
- Priscilla Shirer
The audacious and tenacious faith we possess to declare victory in all circumstances and over all adversity is founded in our connection to the ULTIMATE WINNER’s victory. We triumph because Jesus Christ emerged victorious over Death, Hell, and the Grave and by virtue of His victory, righteousness and justification have been imputed to us. Moreover, our justification through faith in Him has given us access to His efficacious grace whereby we are empowered to stand victoriously! We WIN because He WON!
In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins; not through strength, but through perseverance.
- H. Jackson Brown
We have a choice that has been set before us. We can either be victims who are overwhelmed by the circumstances of our lives or we can be victors who triumphantly overcome in every context of life. Regardless of the hand that you were forced to play I want you to emphatically proclaim “Better is Before Me” and allow that to serve as the impetus behind your perception of yourself.
The new paradigm and concept for effective living centers on collaboration. The Lone Ranger mode of life is no longer relevant. Collaboration is the new normal. If we are going to successfully navigate the demands of life we must renovate our attitudes concerning collective engagement. Simply put…we are BETTER together!
Nehemiah represents an excellent example of life in a collaborative context. The story of Nehemiah begins with many of the Jews having returned from Babylonian captivity. God had been faithful to His promise to return them to Jerusalem but the city was still a far cry from its former glory. A group of returning Jews had rebuilt the temple 12 years prior to Nehemiah’s involvement but the walls of the city had not been rebuilt leaving Jerusalem vulnerable to enemy raiders. When word of the condition of Jerusalem and its inhabitants came to Nehemiah, who was still serving as the cupbearer to King Artaxerxes of Persia, he was greatly burdened to see the walls of the city of Jerusalem rebuilt. Through Divine Providence he received permission to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem from the King of Persia and set out to Jerusalem to oversee the rebuilding effort.
“If you’re not a full-time missionary with a missionary badge pinned on your coat, now is the time to paint one on your heart.”
- Neil Anderson
Did you know that we are all called to be missionaries every day? The average person has a mental construct of missionary work being abroad in the jungles of some third-world country replete with sleeping on dirt floors, eating little to no food, and keeping an eye out for wild animals with whom you may temporarily share living quarters. Let me challenge you, however, to actively renovate your paradigm concerning the work of the missionary. The work of the missionary, in the life of the believer, can occur in everyday circumstances. This is what I call being an “Everyday Missionary”.
As human beings we were created with the innate need for connection. There is an inherent interdependency that is wired into our DNA that makes connection essential. It is critically important that we connect with the right people. This is especially true for those of us who are seeking a BETTER life because those to whom we connect can either further our vision or hinder it. Practically, the DOT has the premise in place where the requirement for riding in the HOV lane means you must have a person in the car with you. You can’t have access to the HOV lane without another person in the car. In some scenarios in order to have access to BETTER you must be strategically aligned with another person. One of the main paths that we take toward a BETTER life is through our strategic connections!
“Perhaps you are where you are because you haven’t planned to be somewhere different.”
- Dr. Craig L. Oliver, Sr.
Successful individuals capitalize on the strategic moments when preparation and opportunity intersect in order to achieve high success. The mistake that many of us make while traversing the terrain between great ideas and successful execution is lack of preparation. Success is not an incidental or accidental occurrence, but rather, it is the result of intentional preparation.
“True prayer is neither a mere exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that – it is a spiritual transaction with the Creator of Heaven and Earth.”
- Charles Spurgeon
There are times within our individual contexts of life that we encounter extraordinary circumstances that require the intervention of the Good Hand of the Lord in our lives. There are moments in life that demand influence, fortitude, or strength that exceed our capacity. I firmly believe, however, that in these moments of our most exhaustive extremity that the conditions are perfect to engage the power wrought from fasting and praying. More than merely going without food, fasting and prayer reflect a humbled and submitted posture of the heart as illustrated in the story of Nehemiah.
“High expectations are the key to everything.”
- Sam Walton
Last week we covered mental enslavement to the past as one of the barriers to realizing a BETTER life. This week we will highlight another barrier that tends to be a bit more psychologically insidious. Minimal expectations of the future can mask itself in the persona of being a “realist”. We can identify ourselves as one who analyzes the empirical data of our situation and based on hard facts we strategically move or remain in position. This may be true in some situations, but in many cases we will find that it is a fearful minimalistic expectation of what lies ahead that keeps us tethered to our past. Such faulty thinking and reasoning precludes us embracing the BETTER life that lies before us.