JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Christian Examiner) — "God is always using past experiences to prepare us for future opportunities. But those God-given opportunities often come disguised as man-eating lions. (2 Samuel 23:20-21) How we react when we encounter those lions will determine our destiny. We can cower in fear and run away from our greatest challenges, or we can chase our God-ordained destiny by seizing the God-ordained opportunity. Lion chasers are proactive. They are always on the lookout for God-ordained opportunities." From Mark Batterson's book, "Lion Chaser".
Relying on the power of God, I have been using similiar skills in my life for over 40 years.
1. Defying Odds-
-Gideon defeats 120,000 with 300. Judges 7:2-7, 8:10;
-Moses Red Sea Deliverance. Exodus 14:13-31;
-Elisha And the iron did swim. 2 Kings 6:5-6
2. Facing Fears-
-Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego facing the fiery furnace. Daniel 3:16-30;
-"A prudent man foresees problems and prepares." Proverbs 27:12;
-"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13;
-"14 For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions." Matthew 6:14-15
-Walk in the Spirit as children of God Romans 8
–Biblical Help for Daily Living and Decision Making
3. Reframing Problems into opportunities-
-Paul and Silas beaten & in prison-praying singing hymns of praise to God; Acts 16:22–34;
-"Be thankful in all things for this is the will of God concerning you." 1 Thessalonians 5:18;
-God comforts us in all our problems. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
4. Embracing Uncertainty-
-Joseph (all scripture from Genesis except as noted)
Mother died 35:16-19, hated by brothers 37:8-11, sold into slavery by brothers 37:28-36, falsely accused 39:12-21, forgotten in prison 40:13-23, made 2nd in Egypt 41:38-46, during 7 years of plenty stored food to be used during 7 years of famine 41:47-49,
Josephs brothers came to Egypt for food 42:1-8, Joseph brought his family to Egypt 42:8-47:31, comforted his brothers 45:3-13, 50:15-22, Joseph extracted a promise his bones would be carried from Egypt 50:24-25, Moses fulfilled promise Exodus 13:19 1462 BC, Joshua buried Josephs bones in Israel Joshua 24:32 1422 BC & Faith Hebrews 11:22
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5. Taking Risks-
-Esther said "If I perish, I perish" Esther 4:13-16;
-Peter and John said "We cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard" Acts 4:20;
-Jesus "If you love me, keep my commandments." John 14:15
6. Seizing Opportunities-
-To Love God, Love Others & Make Disciples Matthew 22:37-39; 28:18-20; Ephesians 2:10
-Paul Make the most of every opportunity Colossians 4:5;
-"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us," Eph 3:20
-Shamgar Judges 5:6 & 3:31—from "Success Secrets of Shamgar" by Dr Jay Strack & Pat Williams: a. Start where you are, b. Use what you have, c. Do what you can.
7. Looking Foolish-
-Peter walking on water Matthew 14:22-33;
-Noah building the ark for 120 years when it was not raining Genesis 5:32-9:29;
-David and Goliath 1 Samuel 17:1-50
-Joshua Battle plan for walls of Jericho Joshua 5:13-6:27;
Also referenced: "In A Pit With A Lion–How to survive and thrive when opportunity roars" by Mark Batterson; and "The Circle Maker."
Henry Luke is a popular Bible study leader at First Baptist Church in Jacksonville where he previously served as a deacon chair, and a member of the building commmittee. He is a master city planner and organizer and has served on city boards and been appointed by the Florida governor to key roles in infrastructure planning and development. Luke is an active member of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, and has sought out ways to improve housing and lower crime in the city. His discipleship columns will appear regularly at Christian Examiner. This column first appeared in his blog.