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From Survive To Thrive: Living a Holy, Healed, Healthy, Happy, Humble, Hungry and Honoring Life

From Survive To Thrive: Living a Holy, Healed, Healthy, Happy, Humble, Hungry and Honoring Life

by Samuel Rodriguez


Learn More | Meet Samuel Rodriguez

Chapter 1

SOUL SURVIVOR—SHELTER IN PLACE

When you can’t imagine how you will survive, take shelter where you are and trust God.

He will find you when others overlook you and calamity stands in your way.

Our world changed overnight.

In a matter of days into weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic engulfed the globe, bringing dramatic changes to virtually every area of our lives. Like wildfire spreading from a distant wilderness into our own backyards, the novel coronavirus attacked human bodies regardless of age, gender, race, income, education, or status. While the elderly and infirm seemed most susceptible, the virus defied categories and seemingly attacked arbitrarily. Accurate information on its transmission, incubation, and rate of contagion could not be pinned down.

Because it was a new virus, science reached its limitations quickly and found it difficult to discern accurate patterns of how it spread, who was most susceptible, and what we could do to protect ourselves and our families. Government and civic leaders struggled to know the best course of action to prevent the spread of the disease. Painful divisions fractured into battle lines. We weren’t sure who to trust and what to believe.

As businesses at every level, large and small, adjusted to prohibit and contain the virus, the national and global economies dropped to record historic lows. Millions lost their jobs. International travel ceased as numerous countries closed their borders and airlines suspended flights. Even domestic travel crawled to a standstill as people self-quarantined and those blessed to retain employment worked from home. Schools and universities closed and instead turned to online learning.

Before I could even finish completing this chapter, each day brought dire news of closures, chaos, and confusion as the contagion spread, infecting an unknown number of people and claiming the lives of thousands. We learned what it means to shelter in place, to practice social distancing, and to stock up on toilet paper! The repercussions continue and likely will for years to come.

Even in the bleakest, most overwhelming days of the pandemic, however, we never lost hope. We know the battle belongs to the Lord and that He is the source of all healing. Out of this humbling, crippling experience, followers of Jesus have discovered new opportunities for relying on God’s power to sustain us through unimaginable circumstances even as He uses us to do the impossible. We know that Christ died to heal you and me and everyone suffering—physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, relationally, financially, and beyond. God’s Word could not be clearer: “But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed” (Isa. 53:5, NLT).

Jesus conquered the power of sin and death in our lives once and for all, becoming the perfect sacrifice to pay a debt none of us could fulfill. “He himself carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we would be dead to sin and live for righteousness,” we’re told. “Our instant healing flowed from his wounding” (1 Pet. 2:24, TPT). Even before Christ came to earth in human form, God’s people knew of His healing touch: “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Ps. 147:3).

No matter what you’re going through, no matter how you’re suffering, no matter what you’ve lost, nothing—not even the coronavirus—can prevent you from knowing the healing touch of the Great Physician! God has not brought you this far and sustained you through the worst of the worldwide pandemic so you can merely survive. He has not blessed you and equipped you so that you can merely return to the status quo. Drawing on the promises of God’s Word and the power of His Holy Spirit, you can stop scrambling to survive and experience the divine anointing to thrive!

POINT OF IMPACT

No human being healthy in mind, body, and spirit enjoys pain. By its very definition pain causes distress, disruption, and dysfunction. Whether acute with the sharp intensity of a blade stabbing through your body or chronic with the dull, unbearable ambience of constant paper cuts, pain directs our attention to the location of our wounding. If someone comes up and punches you, then you become aware of the point of impact and the resulting pain on contact. Your jaw receives the force of the fist pummeling your face. Instinctively you turn to avoid the blow to your nose, eyes, or temple in an attempt to protect the most sensitive areas prone to the most damage. Nerve endings transmit pain back to your brain as your body instantly begins to assess the damage and initiate recovery.

The coronavirus, its devastating economic impact, and all the unrest and turmoil our nation and our world has faced has left all of us reeling in the agony of a comprehensive assault. The uncertainty of its approach, the duration of its attack, and its uncompromising assassination of hope left us gasping in ways few people alive in the world today have ever experienced. Leaders we trusted seemed to know less than we did. Organizations and institutions disintegrated into anarchies and oligarchies. As we wondered how we would pay our bills and provide for our families, we felt orphaned and isolated, left without resources in a world depleted and exhausted.

For all of their crushing destruction and lingering effects, the circumstances of the recent past have an eternally significant silver lining: We have nowhere to run except to God.

When times are good and our families are healthy and our jobs secure, when we’re enjoying an abundance of God’s blessings to the point that we’ve come to feel entitled to them, when we slip into old ways of thinking that we can control our lives, there’s only one way to get our attention. Because when we lose something or someone, when the future we had mapped out suddenly vanishes in a matter of minutes, then we realize just how little control we have over anything in our lives. We recognize our limitations in these mortal bodies and turn back to the omniscient, all-powerful almighty God, Creator of heaven and earth.

The temptation during such trials might be to despair and wonder why we have to suffer while it appears others do not. Like Job, a man whom God allowed to lose everything—his family, his fortune, his health—we cannot fathom what we have done to deserve such anguish and suffer such loss. But when the whole world is suffering alongside us—when we look around at our friends and neighbors, our coworkers and colleagues, our acquaintances and familiar faces, and see the smoldering pain and vacant expressions—it can be even more confusing. When we’re unable to embrace loved ones and forced to endure unbearable distances apart with no end in sight, we feel confined by our loneliness.

We may even be tempted to rage against God and cast blame on Him for allowing us to suffer so harshly for so long. Or we may erroneously assume He caused such devastation in our lives when we know it is in His power to protect us. This is when we must remember that God never promised us a life of safety and comfort but a life of transformation. We often become so committed to avoiding pain of any kind in our lives that we lose sight of its fundamental function: to allow God’s works to be displayed.

PRISM OF PAIN

When we endure trials on the scale of the global pandemic, we must resist the temptation to play the blame game. These lines of thinking are natural and reactive and usually cannot be avoided in the midst of such calamity. Anytime something goes wrong or we suffer a loss, we’re likely to wonder why. Jesus’ disciples even posed this question once when they encountered a man who had been blind since birth:

“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

—John 9:2–7

Our trials can become opportunities for God’s light to shine through the cracks of our brokenness. God’s glory pours forth into the hard, raw places of our lives and provides a poultice to soothe our wounds and restore our hope. Out of the muddy mess of dirt and saliva Jesus reveals the power to heal and cleanse. Rather than blame this man’s sin or his parents or God for making him blind, Jesus gave this man more than just the gift of sight; he became a living testament to the way God turns trials into triumphs.

If we want to transcend our goal to survive in order to thrive, then we must be willing to see by faith rather than by the sensory data viewed by our human eyes. We must allow our gritty circumstances to become the raw material for the masterpiece God wants to shape so that we can serve as His holy vessel. Rather than seeking to escape our pain, we can allow it to redirect our attention to a greater opportunity to trust God with every aspect of our well-being. As C. S. Lewis wrote, “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”1

Right now, you are reading this book for a reason. God wants you to know He has not forgotten you and your needs. Your Creator has carried you through the unimaginable trials of recent times in order to strengthen you, empower you, and redirect your attention to what matters most. Through the power of Christ in you, you are not merely a survivor but a conqueror. In fact, God’s Word tells us we are more than conquerors (Rom. 8:37). Nothing can separate you from the love of God and the power of His Spirit in you! “If God is for us, who can be against us?...For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:31, 38–39).

God wants to use your pain as a prism for His glory.

UNEXPECTED ANOINTING

As insurmountable, overwhelming, and undermining as the pandemic and its collateral damage may seem to us, we are not the first to face impossible life-or-death challenges. We’re not the first to be told by experts and authority figures that there’s no way for us to recover and survive, let alone to endure and thrive. We’re not the only people to place our trust in God while others roll their eyes and pity us for what they consider to be naïve, misplaced hope in the unimaginable. The Bible is filled with champions of the faith who dared to believe rather than despair, who endured trials until they tasted triumph, who walked on water and faced the fire, who parted the sea and survived a flood, who wrestled angels and defeated armies.

One such champion lived a life of defying the odds and overcoming the impossible. His life provides a field guide for not merely surviving but thriving. One of his greatest challenges in particular fascinates me and serves as the inspiration for this book. Even before he arrived at the moment when he faced a showdown with the insidious force waging war against him and his people, this young man had to overcome the doubts, desperation, and denigration of those he sought to protect and redeem. They were reluctant to allow him to step out in faith without anything other than the will to survive and God’s anointing on him to thrive.

This young man’s name was David, the renowned shepherd boy, harp player, and psalmist and the youngest son of Jesse, with eight older brothers. He first entered the picture when King Saul ruled over Israel, even as Saul began turning away from God and His divine direction for His chosen people. God knew it was time to move on and select the next king even before Saul’s reign had officially ended. So God lit the mortal fuse to ignite young David’s divine destiny:

The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”

But Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.”

The Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.”

Samuel did what the Lord said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, “Do you come in peace?”

Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.”

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”


—1 Samuel 16:1–7

Notice how Samuel, God’s prophet and royal ambassador, immediately thinks of the obstacle to obeying the Lord’s instructions. Apparently Samuel was as human as the rest of us and looked ahead at the possible worst-case scenario, being executed by an angry king who found out the prophet was looking for a royal replacement. Remember, too, that Samuel was not a novice in his relationship with God, which is perhaps a bit reassuring if you have doubts or tend to automatically imagine the worst that can happen.

No matter how long we’ve been walking with God, it’s still tempting to focus on the cost of our obedience and find a reason we can’t pay that price. After all I’ve seen God do in my life and all the walls I’ve walked through where He has opened a door for me, I’m prone to look for landmines in the path I’m called to follow, as if God doesn’t know they’re there and must rely on me to disable them. When God calls us for His purposes, we don’t have to worry about how we’ll get there or what it will take to make a way. We can take shelter in His promises.

In Samuel’s case, God shared His plan for the prophet to drop in on the household of a man named Jesse, who lived in Bethlehem with his eight sons, one of whom was apparently the next king of Israel. As a cover story to circumvent Saul, Samuel was told to make a sacrifice near Jesse’s house and invite the family to join him. This would allow Samuel to anoint the young man God would reveal to him. Following human logic, the prophet noticed the oldest, Eliab, and assumed he must be the one, only to be informed that God’s selection criteria are not based on appearances.

Eliab was a likely candidate and may have looked the part of what Samuel assumed a king should look like. Maybe he was tall and strong, rugged and attractive, asserting confidence and charisma to the people around him. It didn’t matter, though. God made that loud and clear to Samuel, basically saying, “Look, I’m not choosing who you think I will. I don’t use the same basis that people use. They go by how someone looks, and first impressions. But I go much deeper than that—I look at someone’s heart.”

Maybe you’ve made the same mistake Samuel made and assumed something about another person only to be proven wrong. Maybe your first impression, based solely on your five senses, turned out to be an inaccurate indicator of who this person really was and what they were about. Perhaps you’ve even been in this position yourself and had others assume things about you, either positive or negative but more likely something critical, based on how you look, what you’re wearing, your perceived age, the sound of your voice, your accent, your mannerisms, the color of your skin, the smell of your cologne—or lack of!

Thank goodness, though, you and I are more than the details of our appearances. No matter how we think we look or how others see us, God knows what’s inside us, in our hearts, and that’s what matters. If you’ve opened your heart to Him, if you’re willing to follow Jesus and be led by His Holy Spirit, then it doesn’t matter how others see you. You are God’s chosen one! You are a precious daughter or son of the King of kings and a royal heir with Christ. Others often base their conclusions about you on external details, but God peers into who you really are—His holy creation, made in His image, redeemed by His Son, and filled with His Spirit.

A SACRED SEARCH

Even after God told Samuel not to rely on how Jesse’s sons looked, the old prophet kept going down the line according to age, which reflected the cultural custom of honoring the firstborn male and graduating down from there. Once again, though, God wasn’t relying on cultural customs. Notice that the person God had selected to be His next king of Israel was the one overlooked and disregarded by everyone else:

Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the Lord chosen this one.” Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”

Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”

So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features.

Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”

So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David.


—1 Samuel 16:8–13

You wonder if Samuel was scratching his head here and wondering what was going on! It’s like a holy game of hot potato, with the prophet thinking he must be getting warmer to the person God has chosen, but one after another he couldn’t find the subject of his sacred search. Assuming there had to be another, Samuel had Jesse send for his youngest, his baby boy out tending the sheep in the nearby pastures.

When Jesse overlooked David from his visitor’s consideration, this dad probably wasn’t casting intentional shade or criticism toward his youngest son. As Jesse may have seen it—again, relying on human appearances and logic—David simply seemed irrelevant to Samuel’s quest. The idea of someone so young, so untested, so naïve and inexperienced chosen by God to be king? You must be joking!

While we’re not told how old David was at this time, many Bible scholars and historians speculate he was probably somewhere between ten and fifteen, a tween or young adolescent. It’s curious in the details we’re given here, too, that David was “glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features” (1 Sam. 16:12). In other words, this good-looking young man did look like a future king by human standards, at least objectively. Based on this kind of description, David could be the prince or royal heir in any Disney movie.

Perhaps seeing that young David was such a handsome lad made it easier for Samuel to accept God’s revelation, “This is the one” (1 Sam. 16:12). Regardless, Samuel knew better than to question God’s selection by this point—after all, there were no other candidates left in the household! So the prophet obeyed the Lord’s instruction and anointed David in the presence of his family, “and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David” (1 Sam. 16:13).

There’s no mention of David’s reaction to this news other than accepting what has been asked of him. Based on some of the poetic songs David wrote, both for God and to God, and collected in our Book of Psalms, it seems reasonable to conclude this young shepherd boy enjoyed a remarkable closeness with the Lord. This deduction is confirmed by the fact that David is described not once but twice in the pages of Scripture as “a man after God’s own heart.” (See 1 Samuel 13:14 and Acts 13:22.)

When God sent His prophet Samuel to find and anoint God’s next king of Israel, everyone overlooked David at first. As the youngest, he wasn’t even considered a grown man yet, let alone experienced enough to prove himself worthy of being the leader of God’s chosen people. He was just a kid and knew nothing of palace life or political issues. He had never served in the military because most young men were at least twenty when they joined. He had not been trained by rabbis in the temple about God’s Law and the sacred Scriptures.

Despite his youth and inexperience, though, David had what it takes. God knew David’s heart, that it was open and soft, tender and receptive to the things of God. If you’re willing to open yourself to God, to follow Him, trust Him, serve Him, and be led by Him, then you, too, can be someone after God’s own heart—no matter what others say or when you’ve been overlooked. Despite all that you may have lost or suffered this past year, you still have a choice to trust God, to believe that your soul survival is part of His plan for your life.

A GIANT NO

David didn’t have to wait long to be tested. While the chronology isn’t specified, this giant showdown likely came after David had been anointed by Samuel. We know David was still at home in Bethlehem shepherding sheep for his father and that David’s three oldest brothers—Eliab, Abinadab, and Shammah—were soldiers in Saul’s army (1 Sam. 17:13) because Jesse sends David to the battlefront with food and provisions for them (1 Sam. 17:17–19).

When David arrives at the army encampment, the scene is grim. Saul and his men are basically in a standoff with the Philistines, with their army encamped on one hill and their opponents on the next hill with only a valley between them. It’s not looking good for the home team. In fact, we’re told Saul and all the Israelites were “dismayed and terrified” (1 Sam. 17:11) after being taunted by a rival champion named Goliath who would put any current WWE superstar wrestler to shame. We’re given great detail about Goliath’s height—just under ten feet—the weight of his elaborate bronze armor and weaponry—about 150 pounds—and the fact that he loved being a bully (1 Sam. 17:4–10). This dude loved playing the villain, a lifelong soldier who commanded attention and respect because of his sheer size.

Every day for forty days Goliath sneered at the Israelites and baited them. He loved messing with their minds and preparing for what he assumed would be the blood sport of decimating any and all of them. The giant had them exactly where he wanted them: afraid and desperate, and probably a little ashamed as well that none of them had the courage to accept the Philistine’s challenge and go face to face with him.

Then David showed up and annoyed everybody he encountered—his brothers, Saul, and especially Goliath—with his faith-fueled confidence. David’s big brother Eliab told him, “I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle” (1 Sam. 17:28). Ouch—talk about sibling rivalry!

Eliab made the same mistake many people make when they see the holy confidence and bold faith within you: he interpreted David’s courage as conceit and his obedience as ego. When you are chosen, anointed, and empowered by God, you will make other people uncomfortable. They may not know what to do with you and so assume you have a self-serving agenda. They can’t grasp what it means to be filled with God’s Spirit to the point where you banish fear and step out in faith no matter how great the odds against you. They had rather believe you are arrogant instead of anointed, cocky rather than chosen, and self-serving instead of sold out to your Savior!

David didn’t let his big bro’s harsh, accusatory words deter his drive to defeat the disgrace of allowing their enemy to mock them—and worse still, mock the living God. Word of David’s intention to square off with Goliath and redeem Israel and honor God made its way back to Saul, who sent for this young man who was either incredibly brave or incredibly foolish. The simple purity of David’s determination must have seemed absurd if not pathetic when David told Saul, “Don’t worry about this Philistine…I’ll go fight him!” (1 Sam. 17:32, NLT).

The king wasted no time responding to David’s offer: “Don’t be ridiculous! There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth” (1 Sam. 17:33, NLT).

In no uncertain terms, David was told no.

TAKE SHELTER IN GOD’S YES

David was explicitly told it would not happen. He was denied even the opportunity to fulfill his offer. He would not be given his shot.

When have you been told no? When have you been told that it was impossible? When have you been told not to waste your time trying? When has your shot been denied? When have you experienced the same incredulous ridicule that mighty King Saul expressed to a young shepherd boy centuries ago? When have others mocked you for trusting God to provide for all your needs during the pandemic?

From my experience, this kind of friction happens every day. We offer to serve and do what we can for others only to be denied the opportunity, dismissed, and shamed for daring to try. I can relate to that sense of astonishment of being denied an opportunity. I can identify with the righteous outrage David may have felt momentarily when he heard his courageous, faith-fueled offer trampled by the one able to authorize it.

At an early age I was told by a school guidance counselor that I could not pursue my educational dreams. Although I was just as American as any other US citizen born in Pennsylvania, I faced assumptions based on appearances. Seeing I was of Puerto Rican descent, my guidance counselor gave me her most patronizing expression and said, “Have you thought about gardening? Or a service job? Are you taking advantage of our school’s vocational training courses?”

When I pointed out that I was taking advanced classes for college-bound students, her expression conveyed the same weight as Saul’s words to David: “Don’t be ridiculous!” She told me my aspirations were “unrealistic,” but her message was unmistakable: Who did I think I was, talking about my high grade-point average, college-prep courses, and applications for scholarships? Didn’t I know my place? Didn’t I know that people like me aren’t allowed to dream and seize the opportunities given to them?

By the grace of God and my loving, supportive family I persevered, continued working hard, and let my testimony reveal God’s desire for me to thrive. When I was told no, I took shelter in God’s yes.

That was the first of many times I’ve been told no. The Sauls of my generation told me as often as possible, “Don’t be ridiculous, Samuel!” At best they viewed my dreams of starting an organization that reconciled Billy Graham’s gospel message with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s march for justice as naïve. Yet here we are, twenty years later, by the grace of God and for the glory of His name, as I lead an organization with more than 42,000 certified member churches, making it one of the largest Christian organizations on the planet!

I haven’t merely survived—by the power of God and for His glory, I have thrived!

When I was young, God spoke to me through other people as well as through His Spirit and told me to be prepared because one day I would have access to the White House, that I would be leading and serving alongside some of the most powerful and influential people in the world for the purpose of advancing the Lamb’s agenda. Whenever I shared this prophetic awareness, I was scorned, derided, and rebuked. I was asked, “Why would anyone grant you access to the corridors of national and international power?” Yet here for the glory of Jesus I have been advising three presidents of the United States of America in addition to influential leaders from around the globe.

Approximately a decade ago God gave me a word regarding Hollywood. I wondered what He was up to but obediently followed His direction toward the film industry. Anytime others noticed this direction I was taking, they would respond, “Really? You? This Hispanic American Evangelical leader producing movies—real movies released in theaters across the country and around the world—in Hollywood? Never! Don’t make me laugh!” As I write this book, I am filled with praise to God for the privilege of serving as executive producer of the hit film Breakthrough. Along with 20th Century Fox, I partnered to bring Breakthrough 's uplifting inspirational message to countless viewers, and it has now emerged as Inspirational Film of the Year at the Dove Awards and received an Oscar nomination for best original song.

I’m humbled, astounded, and exhilarated by all that God has done and continues to do through my efforts to serve Him and His kingdom. By His grace alone and for the glory of His name I am the first Hispanic American Evangelical to advise three US presidents, the first Latino Evangelical producer of a major motion picture, and the first person in my ethnic group as well as my denomination to ever participate in a presidential inauguration before hundreds of millions of people watching around the world. I can express with the fear of God in a humble spirit that in Christ all things are possible.

By the grace of God I have continually moved from survive to thrive!

I completely understand that absolutely everything that I have that is good comes from above. I am wholeheartedly aware that all my blessings flow from the throne room of grace. I am not naïve to the fact that every door, every opportunity, every breakthrough emerges out of the grace-filled vicarious atoning work of Jesus in me, with me, and through me. I am living proof that by the grace of God I am what I am (1 Cor. 15:10).

Yet even as I share with you these unprecedented victories in my life, I am filled with hope and faith that as you read this book, you can push back on every single naysayer, detractor, hater, obstacle, hindrance, impediment, obstruction, lie of the enemy, doubt, shame, condemnation, toxic trial, self-pity party, and victimization mindset. No matter what or where or who is the source attempting to deny you the unlimited adventure of what it means to thrive, they are mistaken. Whether kindly intended, spitefully said, or onerously offered, they know nothing of who you are and what God has for you.

I have full confidence that this is your season to slay your giant. This is your season, your hour, your moment to rise up and by faith in the name of Jesus, empowered by His precious Holy Spirit with unprecedented humility and grace, declare, “I will survive in order to thrive!”

ALIVE TO THRIVE

Closing out each chapter, you will find a few questions to help you reflect on my message and apply it to your own life. This isn’t homework, and you don’t have to write down your responses, but you might be surprised to discover how helpful it can be to keep a record of how God speaks to you through these pages. After you’ve spent a few moments thinking about your answers to these questions, I encourage you to go to the Lord in prayer and share with Him what’s going on in your heart. To help you get started, you’ll find a short prayer to begin your conversation with Him, the One who loves you most, your Father who delights in empowering you when you’re willing to step out in faith and thrive!

  1. When has God selected you to carry out His purposes despite your lack of qualifications, experience, or human abilities? How did you feel as you answered His call? How did others respond as you stepped forward in obedient faith?
  2. What does the word hero mean to you? Who are some heroes of the faith or role models you admire or aspire to be like? What is it about them you want to emulate? Why?
  3. What obstacles stand in the way of the limitless life God has for you? Which ones have been removed by God already? What’s the biggest barrier as you transition from surviving to thriving?
Dear God, I sometimes give in to doubt when others put me down or tell me why I can’t do what I know You’ve called me to do. Bolster my faith in You and Your goodness. Give me the strength to respond to them with the same strength, acceptance, and grace that David displayed when even the king told him that he could never defeat Goliath. Help me to be resourceful, resilient, and reliant on Your power alone to do what appears impossible by human standards. I trust You, Lord, and surrender my pride, my feelings, my fear, and any resistance within me. My confidence comes from You and You alone! Amen.

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