DO YOU WANT TO EXPERIENCE MORE JOY, MORE PEACE, AND MORE SATISFACTION IN YOUR LIFE?
These tips and strategies will help you Live Remarkably. In following these, you will find yourself experiencing:
More joy and less anxiety.
More hope and less stress.
More purpose fueled by passion and less chaos fueled by distraction.
In the midst of the craziness of life, remarkable people trust that God's promises are true and will sustain them through the storms of life.
Every person that wants to live remarkably must: MAKE TODAY COUNT. Create patterns of humbling oneself and ASKING GOD FOR WISDOM. Start LIVING INTO THE FREEDOM that God gives to us by LIVING UP AND CATCHING UP. Establish habits of CARVING OUT TIME WITH GOD NIGHT AND DAY. DEVELOP AN ACTION PLAN for living remarkably, that changes daily as we LISTEN TO GOD. Remember that GOD USES THE MISFITS AND ODDBALLS of this world. Learn to TRUST GOD EVEN WHEN LIFE DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. Never forget that CONSISTENCY CREATES POWERFUL, LIFE-CHANGING RESULTS. When you start LIVING REMARKABLY, you will experience the wonders of God in new and fresh ways.
#1 Make Today Count!
The day my father died is etched in my mind forever. I was home from a trip for less than 24 hours, when I received a message from my sister, “Call the hospital,” she said. “Phil isn’t doing well.” I called and heard the news that brought tears to my eyes: “Your father has passed.” I entered the hospital to lots of hugs from family members who had gathered together; and I prayed a tearful, broken prayer. Late that night, my wife and I drove back to our home. Three hours later, I would be on a plane to my next event . Where is your life going? Like Phil, all of us will die, and on our tombstone will be our name, the date we were born, and the date we died.
Between those two dates will be a dash. That dash represents your life. What will your dash be about? Will it be about your story or God's story? Will you have lived remarkably by making every day count? Theodore Hesburgh, the former president of Notre Dame University said, You don’t make decisions because the are EASY: You don’t make decisions because the are CHEAP: You don’t make decisions because the are POPULAR: You make decisions because they are RIGHT. You have an incredible opportunity to make today count! It’s the right thing to do. Make your dash count!
Psalm 90:12 “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Ask God to teach you to number your days, to make the most of every opportunity, and to make your moments matter. We desperately need God’s wisdom to guide us. God’s wisdom is what will help you make the right choices, and ensure that when you get to the end of your days, you will have lived remarkably. So how do we get this wisdom?
#2 Ask God for Wisdom
At times all of us end up in unknown circumstances where the outcome looks bleak. Thankfully when we enter the unknown we can seek God who will gladly give us wisdom if we ask. Solomon (the wisest man ever) could have asked for anything, but he said, “Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people” (2 Chronicles 1:10). Had he asked for wealth, God would have given it to him, but because he humbly asked for wisdom, God gave him wisdom and wealth and honor. God loves to give generously to His people, especially people who position themselves humbly at His feet as Solomon did. This concept of asking God seems like such a simple thing, but it’s one the Bible teaches us over and over again. Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).
James reminds us that “if any of you lacks wisdom,”— that’s all of us—“ask our generous God, and he will give it to you” (James 1:5). God is the giver of wisdom and He gives freely to all who ask Him for it. We need to ask and wait patiently as God gives us wisdom from beyond this world. Life is full of trials, troubles, heartache, and sometimes complicated choices. Do you tell the truth and lose your job? Do you tell your best friend “no” because you know it’s wrong, or do you remain silent? How do you know what college you should go to? God’s wisdom will change the course of your life if you, like Solomon, are willing to follow God, give him your best, and ask Him for the discernment you desperately need. Living remarkably is impossible without God’s wisdom.
#3 Living into freedom
One of my core beliefs is that God has a better plan for your life than you do. He has higher standards, bigger dreams, and a more abundant life for you than you could ever imagine. To experience the God-sized life that He has in store for you, you have to live free. Free from your old life. Free from old thinking. Free from anything that is holding you back from living remarkably. Recently I returned home from a long trip and my wife was a little overwhelmed with the housework. The next day, while she was out, I decided I was going to clean. I started with the kitchen and made my way into the living room. I noticed that there was dust on some of the furniture. I was going to grab a cloth to wipe things down, but I wanted to do a superb job. That is when a wonderful idea came into my head— I should use a leaf blower. Yes, that’s what I needed to clean all the dust. Now, I don’t know if you have ever turned on a 75-mph leaf blower in your house, but it’s, well, amazing! I’m not sure why, but the first place I pointed my new weapon was under the stove. Not only did I blow dust out, but a Pokemon card and a swirl of other toys evacuated their shelter. Before I knew it, I was pointing this thing under the fridge, on top of the china cabinet and, let me just tell you, I would not have been surprised had a tumbleweed blown by. Huge clouds of dust engulfed me. The power! I “dusted” everything imaginable. Ten minutes later, I turned the blower off to survey my work. While I had successfully “dusted,” it also looked like a hurricane had come through our house. The next hour was spent wiping and cleaning up the mess I had created. The leaf blower brought everything out in the open. For us to be free, we need God’s Spirit to flow through our lives, bringing out those hidden sins and struggles that are weighing us down. I know it’s hard because our lives might be scarred by divorce, abuse, neglect, loss, and death.
Yet God is ready to blow away the spiritual dust and breathe new life into us. It’s His life that frees you to live the life He designed for you. Do not think for a second that God does not have the resources to make your dream a reality. God has designed you for this moment, this space in time, for this day, for this life—do not waste it! This is your time in history to do something that will last for eternity. It is for such a time as this that He created you. You have one moment in time. One life. Your life. Live it for the One who gives lavishly to all who ask. You only have today to make the most of every opportunity. Today is the day that the LORD has made, let us be glad that we have this moment, this life, and this dream. Seize this moment! Seize this day! It’s the only one you have. Live free because it’s the way God designed you. Jesus told us that “If the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.” The Son, Jesus, has set you free (John 8:36). Sometimes you feel chained when there are no chains, drowning when you are above the water, and trapped when you are really free. To live remarkably we must live in the freedom that God gives to us today.
#4 Carve Out Time With God Day And Night
The day I got dropped off for college and hugged my parents goodbye, tears ran down my face. Not cowboy-Eastwood tears, these were pure sobs of homesickness. Nine days later, those tears were gone forever. Yes, I met a girl. She was seventeen years old with an amazing story and heart for God. Before her freshman year, she spent three months in Mexico building houses for the poor. I was a follower of Christ at that time, but I am pretty sure I spent the previous summer playing Donkey Kong or something equally as trivial. Yet this young lady had a passion for Christ that inspired me, and showed me love in action. Everything about her was fascinating to me. I started spending a lot of time with her. We would have breakfast together and sometimes lunch. Before I knew it, we were having all our meals together and probably a few snacks, too. We would talk about family, love, and living for God. I just couldn’t get enough of her. Four short years later, I married that wonderful lady. Our relationship with God is supposed to be like a love relationship. He is supposed to be the one on whom we dwell, daydream about, and love with everything in us. He is supposed to be the One we run to when times are hard. The One we praise. The One we think about, dream about, and hope for. He is our Savior and Rescuer. The One we are to pursue.
Psalm 1 describes it this way: “Blessed is the one...whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.” John Piper has some really remarkable teaching on Psalm 1. Day and night our heart is designed to beat for our God, our King, our Love, and our Life.
Do you lose sleep pondering the greatness of God?
Are you in love with God?
The person that can’t get enough of God ponders His vastness day and night; they think about the depths of His love; they ruminate on His Word constantly.
Carve out time to be with God day and night. Live Remarkably.
#5 Develop An Action Plan
This is your line in the sand to experience the remarkable life that God has for you.
You need a plan of action, like this one, to be successful.
• Wake up early so you will be ready to face the day with God’s grace and strength. Spend time with God in the morning asking Him for help and direction.
• Memorize Scripture. Take a verse or a passage and write it on a note card. Keep it on you throughout the day. Then take time to pray and meditate on that verse every chance you get.
• Get an accountability partner someone who knows your struggles and your dreams. Let him or her know your plan and have them keep you accountable.
This is just an idea of what an action plan might look like. The point is that an action plan changes the course of your outcome. This link will give you a bunch of great ideas on goal setting.
Having a plan will help you to live remarkably so that you can experience more peace, joy and freedom.
#6 Live Up and Catch Up
What a curious statement Paul makes in Philippians 3 when he says we need to “live up to what we have already attained.” In God’s Kingdom, being comes first and doing comes second. It’s not that you don’t work hard. It’s not that you aren’t disciplined and it’s not that you don’t train to be godly. It’s that grace is always given first and your actions are to follow out of praise, thankfulness, and joy, not out of seeking approval by what you do and attempting to earn grace. Think of it like a bank account. If you had money saved up, you could go get what you have already attained—your hard-earned cash. That money is yours. You are free to do whatever you want with it. God has been storing up treasures in heaven for us. What has God already attained for us? Read Ephesian 1. Blessing. Hope. Forgiveness. A future. Redemption. Grace. Purpose. Wisdom. Promise. The list goes on and on.
In Philippians 3, when Paul says we need to “live up to what we have already attained.” Paul shifts his focus from living according to our plans to living up to what has already been attained for us. Instead of letting the past define who we are, Paul suggests that the new life, not the old life, gets to define us. Once we start living up to the things that have already been attained for us, we will unlock the remarkable life God designed for us.
#7 Listen To God Daily
Hearing God in the midst of a noisy world is essential for life. Here’s a link to a lot of verses on hearing God’s voice . If you don’t hear His voice, it will be easy for others to steer you off course. God’s speaks in the midst of the storm. We just have to listen. God is constantly reminding us, “I will be with you. I will be with you. I will be with you.” In fact, more than any other promise in the Bible, God promises (this is a link to Pastor Clint Byars favorite promises. He has some incredible resources on real life transformation as well) He will be with us. Why? Because we so easily forget that God is with us. Peter in the midst of the storm kept his eyes on Jesus. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Peter moved toward Jesus. The waves are loud, but they aren’t louder than God’s voice! Yes, God can speak in a whisper, but God can also shout, above any storm in your life, “Come.” Keep moving toward Jesus daily. Spend time in the Bible listening to His voice. Spend time in prayer. Spend time talking with other followers of Christ. As you do these things, you will be moving toward Jesus. You will fail. It’s what you do when you fail that will determine the outcome of your life. Will you call out to Jesus and let Him rescue you? Learning to listen to God’s voice changed the course of my life. I was 18 years old, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime when I met a world-renowned magician at one of my shows. After my performance, he told me he would soon be traveling to Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, then onto New York, and finally on a tour throughout Europe. “I want you to go with me, Danny,” he said. “I will train you, show you the ropes, and show you what it takes to be a world-class magician.” I was so excited. This would be a dream come true. There was just one problem. One year earlier I had started a different pursuit. At the age of 17, I made a decision not just to go to church, but to follow Jesus in every area of my life. So I prayed about the opportunity offered by this magician and felt God nudging me in a different direction. He was gently moving me away from what I thought was a dream come true. I don’t know how to explain it, but I knew God was telling me, “No.” So I called the magician and told him, “Thank you for the amazing offer, but right now I can’t do it.” Trust me. Sometimes embracing God’s mystery is not easy. But even at that time, I knew God’s dream for me was better than my dream. I knew God had a better perspective, that His ways were better than mine. So I trusted Him through the process of letting go of that dream. About six months later, I started volunteering in the youth ministry at my church. Over the next ten years, I volunteered, interned, and upon graduating from seminary, I became the youth pastor. I loved doing youth ministry in the local church, but different people challenged me to step out and combine my ability to do illusions with my passion to preach. At that time, I was far more interested in continuing youth ministry. That is, until I read this one verse that shook me to my core. It changed everything.
It was Romans 11:29, which says, “God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable.” It was the first time I saw calling and gifting intertwined and inseparable from one another. I knew I had to combine these two loves into one ministry. About a month after reading that passage, I was at the local gym and in desperate need of something to distract me from the rigors of my workout. So I picked up a magazine I don’t normally read and started leafing haphazardly through the pages. Soon I saw the smiling picture of the magician I had met ten years earlier. Even though I hadn’t seen him or even thought about that day for years, I recognized him right away. As I read through the article, I found out he was on trial for multiple counts of fraud. He had been a great magician and had used his skills to get bookings all over the world. However, he would invite college students to go on tour with him and then have them use their credit cards for his traveling expenses. He explained to them that he would take care of their credit card debt in the next city, but what really happened was that as soon as the students’ credit cards had been maxed out, he would leave them stranded in some foreign land. He had literally abandoned these young adults all over the world! I realized with one hundred percent certainty that this would have been me if I had gone with him. If I had not listened to God’s voice guiding me, I would have been stranded, penniless, knowing no one, in a country where English probably wasn’t spoken, and wondering how I would get home to my family. Back at the gym, I realized just how much listening to God’s voice mattered. For me, age 18 wasn’t the right time to start doing magic full time. Becoming a magician at this point would have been far more about me and less about glorifying God. It would have been about me trying to fit into the world’s plan for me and not waiting on God’s plan for me. God had to shape me, teach me, and prepare me for a world-wide ministry. God had laid the foundation for me to start a new ministry of sharing God’s life-changing message through captivating illusions. God has great plans for you, but you need to listen carefully to His voice.
#8 God Uses The Misfits and Oddballs
It doesn’t matter how awkward, odd, or weird you might think you are. God designed you for a purpose and has a plan to do amazing things with you. When we surrender our all to Him, He will do the impossible in and through us. God uses the misfits, the quirky, and the oddballs of this world to share His powerful message with the world. Never doubt who He has designed you to be. Forget the haters that are going to try to get you off course and instead get laser focused on God, and He will direct your footsteps. His dream for you will always stretch you, and by his power, He will enable you to accomplish the things you know you “must” do. I have old looking hands and they’ve looked about 100 years old since I was five. I am not joking. When I was a kid, other kids would make fun of my hands. I would see them snickering and pointing, “Look at that kid’s old man hands!” In the same way, people made fun of my voice. So growing up, I always felt self-conscious about my hands and voice. Here is the crazy part: those are the two key aspects of my life God is using to share His love with people around the world! The two things others looked at and used to tear me down by saying, “you don’t fit in,” have become instruments for His kingdom. The two things that were awkward, strange, and what I thought were my weaknesses, God turned into strengths. The things I perceived to be worthless, God is using for His glory. My hands and voice were never meant to fit in, they were always meant to stand out—that’s the way God made me! God never made you to be like everyone else. So stop trying to be and just be you! God will use you! To live remarkably we must surrender our weakness and trust in His greatness.
#9 Trust God Even When Life Doesn’t Make Sense
God also sees who we are today and who we could be if we live for Him daily.
There is a beautiful story in 2 Kings chapter 4 that unlocks some powerful principles about trusting in God even when it doesn’t make sense. A woman, distraught from the recent loss of her husband and burdened financially because her husband had died in debt, approached Elisha for help. Elisha was a man of God, a prophet, and counselor. She reminded Elisha of her husband’s passion and love for God, but she feared her children might be taken from her because of the money she owed. She was that broke. She couldn’t even take care of her family. In the midst of her suffering, Elisha asked her what she had that was of any value. Initially she said, “Nothing.” Then, she remembered something that had so little value she hadn’t even thought about it: “A small jar of olive oil,” she replied. It’s as if she said, “I guess I have a small jar of olive oil. I mean, it’s tiny. It’s hardly worth anything.” Elisha got excited about this little amount because he knew that God could use little things and make them great. He knew that God works out of the barren womb, out of a widow’s two mites and that out of nothing, God created the world. He told her to go knock on doors, go to the market, go talk to every neighbor, and ask them for empty jars. And, listen closely to this next part, he said, “Don’t ask for just a few!” Elisha knew God was going to do something amazing, but it was going to be in direct proportion to the widow’s faith. So he told her not to get just a few jars. Then he explained the miracle God was about to do. He told her that all of the jars she got would be filled with oil from her one small jar. That doesn’t make sense. She had never seen something like this before. BUT SHE TRUSTED THAT GOD WOULD PROVIDE. The woman’s family then went on a mission to collect as many jars as they could. When they went back to her house, each jar was filled one at a time until her sons brought her the last jar; only then did the oil stop flowing. Elisha told her that she could use the oil to pay off all of her debts and live on what was left. Her trust in God to do the impossible led to a remarkable life for her and her family.
#10 Consistency Creates Powerful, Life-Changing Results
A dear friend of mine, Joe Castaneda, founder of Overboard Ministries. gave me a book called The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. It was a simple book with a profound message: consistency creates powerful, life-transforming results. It’s like the old story about a Chinese man who went to the Emperor and asked him for some rice. When the Emperor asked the man how much he desired, the man looked around and saw a chessboard. Pointing to one of the squares, he replied, “One grain of rice on this square, two on the next square, and four on the next.” He continued, “Just double the number of grains on each square from the previous square.” The Emperor didn’t understand the power of doubling a grain of rice, not just once, but 64 times (the number of squares on the chessboard). Do you realize how much rice the man asked for? He asked for 18,446,744,073,709,551,615 grains of rice. If you were to take the largest aircraft carrier in the world, the U.S.S. Nimitz, weighing about 100,000 tons, you would need to have one million Nimitz carriers on one side of a scale in order to balance out the amount of rice this Chinese man would have teeming on the other side of the scale. That’s a lot of rice! And that’s the power of the compound effect in our lives. More important than gaining a boatload of rice, the compound effect illustrates how consistently trusting in God’s promises radically changes the outcome of our lives.
In 2 Peter, Peter writes, “[God] has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” This verse is amazing! God has given us His “great and precious promises” so that we can “participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world.” When we live out His promises, we get to “participate in the divine nature.” Getting to participate in the divine nature is like having 100,000 tons of rice to feed millions of people. It’s like drinking out of a fire hose. It’s like playing a video game in God-mode. We get to participate in what the infinite, immeasurable God is doing in and through us. Not only that, but by His promises we escape the corruption in the world that could tear us apart. Consistently participating in what God is doing and escaping what the world is doing creates a compound-like effect in our lives. When we are consistent with forgiving, it creates incredible hope and inspiration for those around us. When we are consistent with giving grace, it changes families and it empowers people. Grace is contagious. When we are consistent with empowering others, a new generation of leaders rises up. When we are consistent in trusting in God’s promises, it is going to impact our lives and God’s kingdom in a major way. Joshua 21:45 reminds us that “not one of all the Lord’s good promises to the house of Israel failed; everyone was fulfilled.” God’s promises never fail. It’s hard for us to wrap our minds around something that never fails. Our cars fail. Our appliances fail. Our relationships fail. Our leaders fail. Trust issues are inevitable because everything we know fails, but God doesn’t fail. God’s promises have never failed. To become the person God has designed us to be, we need to consistently trust in God’s unfailing promises. Living out His promises unleashes the power of God in our lives so that we can live remarkably.
Living remarkably is a daily option. We choose to MAKE TODAY COUNT. We create patterns of humbling ourselves and ASKING GOD FOR WISDOM. We don’t wait ’til tomorrow, we start LIVING INTO THE FREEDOM that God gives to us today. We do this by LIVING UP AND CATCHING UP (more about this above). We consistently establish habits of CARVING OUT TIME WITH GOD NIGHT AND DAY. We find people we can journey with and have them help us DEVELOP AN ACTION PLAN for living remarkably. That action plan can change daily so we practice LISTENING TO GOD. It’s hard for us to imagine but GOD USES THE MISFITS AND ODDBALLS of this world. Life is full of storms so we learn to TRUST GOD EVEN WHEN LIFE DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. Finally, never forget that CONSISTENCY CREATES POWERFUL, LIFE-CHANGING RESULTS. What are some other ways you can Live Remarkably?