Saturday, November 3, 2012

Step By Step...When You're Tired of Stepping

Have you ever gotten tired of trying? You keep making steps but the steps seem to be taking you nowhere--or nowhere fast. Yes, we've all been there, but what happens when you've been "there" one too many times?

Tiredness pervades your body like a slow moving malaise, and forget the proverbial "one step forward two steps back". It's more like one step forward and ten steps back. And as far as your eye can see, it seems as if nothing is changing. Nothing's growing, nothing's increasing, and you don't want to admit it but things seem to be declining. The time before your period of change is starting to look better and better...

Right now I'm thinking about the biblical character Joseph. Joseph was known as a dreamer, and to make a long story short, his dreams landed him in captivity as a slave. Despite his unjust captivity, Joseph proved himself to be a worthy and capable individual, and his master made Joseph the head man in charge of his house. Unfortunately Joseph was falsely accused by the master's wife of a wrong, and that accusation landed Joseph in...

JAIL, of all places. He had done nothing wrong and now he was in prison. Due to his relationship with God, Joseph was able to interpret dreams. What relevance does this have with the story? Joseph meets two prisoners that happen to mention their dreams to Joseph. Joseph interpreted one man's dream to have a favorable ending and the other's unfavorable. Both of Joseph's interpretations were correct.

Here's the kicker. The man whose dream ended well was supposed to tell the person in authority (which just so happened to be the king) about Joseph. However, he forgot, and he forgot for three years. But then the king has a dream that those around him cannot interpret, this man remembers Joseph, and Joseph ends up before the king. Joseph interprets the king's dream, and, well, the rest is history.

All of that to say what? Can you imagine being Joseph? Would you want to imagine being him? First he was sold into slavery by his brothers for being a dreamer. Then he catches a break and becomes the head servant of his master's house, only to be thrown in jail because he does not give in to the wife's attempts to seduce him. And when it seems like he may be leaving prison soon because he interpreted the butler's dream, he's forgotten about for three years.

Me, personally, I think I would have gotten discouraged after being thrown in prison. And I probably would have been absolutely broken after three years. But could that be God's purpose all along? To break us of everything that's hindering us from becoming the people we imagine and envision ourselves to be? Do I agree with all of God's Ways? No. Is that a problem? No, because He's the God of all hearts, and He knows how to change our hearts if we will let Him.

So if you're tired of stepping, take a moment and regroup. What around you do you still have? And take inventory of yourself. While your surrounding circumstances may have taken a turn for the worse, what about you and your character has changed or grown? And then, once you've had a small breather, start moving again, because eventually you will step into the dream you've been seeking.

1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
2 Arise , and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.
3 Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.
4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter : so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.
5 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. (Jeremiah 18:1-6, King James Version)

Friday, October 12, 2012

"Transparent Moments Pt. 2" by Broderick Walton

This post is from Broderick Walton's website. To see the post in its original form, click here.
Transparent Moments Pt. 2
Posted on 11 September, 2012

I’m learning daily that God will make the comfortable uncomfortable in your life, just for us to realize that we have a greater purpose than just living & working 9 to 5s. As God starts to stretch me & take away things that I’ve grown to depend on, he’s only making it so that I solely depend on HIM & not a job or my own understanding. Sometimes when I just want to live the NORMAL life w/o encouraging others on the daily, I’m reminded of who saved my life & who is depending on me to lead others to him.

When I accepted the calling on my life, I knew that my life would change, my inner circle, and the blood line with my last name attached to it. Am I in this for the long haul? Yes!! Does it hurt being stretched & learning to trust God rather than my job & own understanding? Yes!! Is it worth it seeing my complete obedience helpings others make it in to heaven? You better believe it!! I’m reminded daily that my last 10 years of sufferings, going thru, and being healed of my past was just for this current season. With all that being said, my season is now hear to trust God in doing what I was born to do. Lord, use EVERY ounce in me to be a blessing to your kingdom.

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28 King James Version)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

It's Never As Bad As It Seems! by George Whitten

This inspirational piece is by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions.

It's Never As Bad As It Seems!

Psalm 27:4-5 One thing I have desired of the Lord, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in His temple. For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.

The world these days is full of bad news, with tensions growing in the Middle East, economies on the brink of collapse, and nature constantly adding to the chaos with one disaster after another. It's a time of trouble all right, and for us believers it may sometimes be hard to believe – but it never is as bad as it seems. Let me illustrate with a joke I like to share with my messages.

Way out west (in America, of course), a cowboy is driving down a road, his dog riding in the back of his pickup truck, his faithful horse in the trailer behind. As he takes a curve on the highway he suddenly loses control of the vehicle and has a terrible accident.

Sometime later, a State Police officer comes on the scene. A great lover of animals, the officer's attention is first drawn to the horse. Realizing the serious nature of its injuries, he draws his service revolver and puts the animal out of its misery. Then walking around the accident he finds the dog, also critically wounded, and whining miserably in pain. This grips his heart and he quickly ends the dog's suffering as well.

Finally the police officer locates the cowboy, who has suffered multiple fractures and can barely breathe. “Hey, are you okay?”, he says.

The cowboy takes one look at the smoking gun in the trooper's hand and quickly replies, with unexpected energy, “Never felt better!”

We are pilgrims in this dangerous world, which will wound us at times so badly it will seem unbearable – yet we have this promise from God, “in the time of trouble He will hide me”. It's because my real life, my true life is in Him and with Him no matter what happens to me here. So when the world approaches me with a smoking gun, ready to put me out of my misery, I can find a supernatural strength, and simply say, "I never felt better!"

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Contamination of Pain, Part 1

I know a young author by the name of Donald Quist. He wrote a short novel titled Let Me Make You A Sandwhich. In it is a 1 page short story of someone who experienced a hurt so deep that mentally they became detached from this earth. It caused me to ask what do you do with a pain so deep, so great, that reflecting on reality feels improbable? This is my response to those questions.

God is a healer. But in order to be made whole, you have to face and recognize your pain. You can no longer put it on a shelf in your mind hoping to forget that it's there. You can't hide it in the deep recesses or the darkest corners of your heart.

"Maybe if it doesn't see the light of day, maybe if I place it in the dark it will wither and die," you think to yourself. You hope that by not facing it, the pain--whether it was a superficial surface scratch or one that was so deep it felt as if your internal organs were trying to escape your body--will just go away. And if it doesn't maybe the ebbing and aching will subside to a place where it's bearable numbness that becomes a part of your life.

Sadly, ignoring or hiding the pain doesn't make it better. It makes it worse because things neglected on a shelf begin to deteriorate and stuff hidden in dark areas begins to either mold and mildew or to dry rot.

Then you have a bigger problem. When the pain was one mass, no matter if it was small or a tremendously huge brick of pain, it was a singular pain. The pain was a centralized whole. But now that you've tried to ignore it or you've hidden it away in dark corners, the pain has begun to spread.

A definition of deteriotion is the act or process of disintegrating. The same can be said if your pain is dry rotting. If your pain has been hidden in a dark corner and is molding or mildewy, it's spreading as well. So in your effort to contain the pain, it has begun to slowly seep and spread into other areas of your life.

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). (John 10:10 Amplified Bible Version)

Monday, September 3, 2012

'Loud and Clear' by Lauren Hill

This is another blog post by Lauren Hill, blogger of Champion Your Dreams. (She's a personal favorite blogger of mine.) You can see the post in its original format by clicking here.
Loud and Clear

Well my dear blog friends, for those of you faithfully dropping by here to see if I have gotten going on my intention to make things "loud and clear" here at FAITH FUEL, the answer is No, I am not yet at the point of broadcasting live or vlogging, but I haven't been silenced either. Sometimes when you're trying to break through into doing something new and you haven't completely succeeded, you can at least say you haven't stopped trying.

And you know why I'm trying to make a change in how I get my messages to you? Because certain people in my life are prodding me to do this and I have been resisting as though they were asking me to jump into a pool of alligators. I like writing down my thoughts and my struggles and my "lightbulb moments" of sudden illumination that I share with you all here; and I love speaking at Retreats and Conferences and Bible Studies. But to speak out into the blog world and try bringing you some words of encouragement in that manner- well, I would; I mean I'm not against doing that; but really, is that what I should be doing? (Can you hear the resistance?!)

My husband, Safety Bill, has been telling me that Change is in the Air. He says he can almost smell change coming, that it smells like something fresh and new. I don't smell anything. Well, other than Harry, who is in desperate need of a bath and total mowing- I mean, grooming. The only thing I sense is that I'm used to writing my thoughts and I'm used to posting them quietly. The only way you'd hear my posts is if you read them out loud. And now I've got a bit of prodding to change things, change the way I do things. Change the way I come across to you, how I come across to you.

But the key thing is that we do cross over- from resistance to cooperation, from fear to faith, from old ways of doing things to new ways of doing things. I don't even think you have to know exactly what you are doing when you start to make concrete changes in your life. Nobody would make changes if they waited till they were exactly sure of what they were doing!

I'm never exactly sure of what I'm doing- it's more like I'm sure of what- or Who- is motivating me to make the changes that I will eventually not be sure of. Does that make sense? I'm sure that God is behind the prodding for these changes. And actually, I'm sure God is behind not so much the changes themselves, but the willingness I need to have to make these adjustments and turning points.

God looks for bendable people. Flexible, bendable people are not willy nilly in their convictions- they're just open to how their convictions will be carried out. They know that when all is said and done, things just might look completely different than when they first started out on their new journey to Change.

Maybe you feel impressed to take a certain path, pursue a certain job, and you're just about to reach out and lay hold of it when- poof- it almost seems to evaporate. The offer is withdrawn; someone else gets the job. Maybe a serious relationship that you thought for sure was going to lead to a proposal of Happily Ever After is now a relationship crumbling into the dust. Maybe the Answer that you fasted and prayed for is now turning out to not exactly be the answer you were looking for. But, hold on! Don't throw the baby out with the bath water!

"Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." (1 Cor. 13:12) Sometimes we only get part of the picture; sometimes we get a partial revelation of what God is doing but then we add to that partial our idea of what's happening. We need to get used to saying "I only know in part, but I can fully obey God." God is after our willingness to pursue Him and His will in all things. He knows we only see in part, but He's got the full picture. He will lead, and keep leading you, into the fullness of His will and His abundance.

Stumble about, if you have to- but at least stumble forward. Stumble into change. Thrash and flail about it, but do it anyway. That's what I'm doing. My techno-son is helping me make this transition with changes coming to my blog and website. My husband is prodding me. My friend Scott who has a ministry going through changes is encouraging me to get going. And most of all, God is calling me to enter into the Transition Time with gusto and excitement for the new things He has ahead. I don't really know what the changes I make now will lead to in the future. But I do know that my willingness to change- to move with God- will definitely keep me hearing Him calling me onward- and I will hear Him loud and clear.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

This is a devotional by Tracie Miles. I think we all can relate to it.
The Invisible Battle
July 30, 2012

"Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." Ephesians 6:17 (NIV)

I was in a field, in the middle of the night. Others were around me, but I could not see them clearly; only moonbeams pierced the dark.

Out of nowhere, unseen forces pressed me to the ground, keeping me from defending myself. Hatred spewed from the invisible evil. Fear and confusion encompassed me. I sensed God whispering to me that His Word was my only hope. I knew His truths held power over this wickedness.

As could only happen in a dream, I shrunk to the size of a pencil. I threw myself onto an open Bible, grabbed a handful of pages and rolled with all my might. The papers tore from the creases as I wrapped myself tightly in God's Word. Instantly, the faceless enemies retreated.

I woke up listening to my rapid heartbeat and staring at the 3 a.m. blackness. My thoughts stumbled over one another, trying to figure out what had just occurred. Although I knew I was safe in my own bed, my heart was ravaged by this battle I'd experienced in the recesses of my mind.

I felt an overwhelming need to pray and spent the next hour talking with Jesus. Fears, hurts and longings of my heart overflowed. Soon a sense of freedom and peace washed over my spirit; one I hadn't experienced in a long time.

My family and I had been engaged in fierce spiritual warfare. The past year had been marked by one harsh blow after another. Instead of giving credit where credit was due, I'd merely attributed it to 'life.'

God showed me, like in the dream, we were under oppression. He helped me see I'd been trudging through life unknowingly carrying the crushing weight of disappointment, resentment and stress.

Negative emotions which stemmed from being hurt by someone I loved, various family concerns, as well as frustration and discouragement regarding circumstances in my life, had all erected a barrier between God and me.

I'd grown weary of praying prayers that seemed to go unnoticed. My feelings overshadowed my faith and I'd been relying on my own advice for handling adversities, rather than seeking God's wisdom.

As a result, I'd given the devil a foothold in my heart. So much time focused on my circumstances and feelings had inadvertently minimized my time focused on God's Word and His truths that would set me free.

Although I was feeling alone, God had never left my side. Deep down I still knew that only He held the power to release me from my oppression.

Through this dream, God opened my spiritual eyes to see I had not been choosing the right weapons to fight this battle. His Sword (His Word) was what I needed to deliver me from the stress and oppression, just as today's key verse explains.

Victory can only be found by spending time with Jesus and choosing His Word as our weapon - not only against life but also against the enemy who wants to steal our hearts.

God never leaves us to fight battles alone. His Word tells us many times that the battle is His, but we must choose to wrap ourselves in His promises and believe that He's our Protector who will fight to the death for His children.

In fact, He already did.

Dear Lord, set me free today from the grip the enemy has on my heart. Forgive me for thinking I could fight this battle on my own and help me to wrap up in Your Word. Intervene in my life and my circumstances, and lead me to victory. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Power Verses:
Ephesians 6:13-18, "Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God's Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out." (MSG)

Proverbs 4:23, "Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life." (NLT)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

'Dare To Be Different' from Joyce Meyer's "Love Out Loud"

I read this devotional in Joyce Meyer's book of devotionals titled Love Out Loud. It's dated for August 9th, and while I will not post it in it's entirety, I thought the following had to deal with our attitude towards life's changes. While geared towards those of the Christian faith, the first line of text is relevant to non-believers and believers alike.
Dare to Be Different
by Joyce Meyer
August 9th

When we struggle to be like others, we lose our distinctiveness and even lose ourselves in the process. We also grieve God's Holy Spirit. God wants us to fit into His plan, not to devise our own plans or try to fit into someone else's design.

We need to find out what God wants us to have, who He wants us to be, and what He wants us to do. That's where we'll discover our gifts and find both success and enjoyment.

Prayer from devotional
Love Yourself Today: "Thank You, Lord, for creating me to be different from everyone else and for making me special on purpose!"

Scripture from devotional
The sun is glorious in one way, the moon is glorious in another way, and the stars are glorious in their own [distinctive] way; for one star differs from and surpasses another in its beauty and brilliance. (1 Corinthians 15:41 Amplified Bible)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

No Room For Judgement

Hi. This blog may take something of a different turn, but I haven't fully decided yet. Anyhow, I was reading one of my personal journal entries from last year and just wanted to share.
I know I've done things to tarnish how people look at/respect me. I've lost value in the eyesight of man and that's something I have to live with. I have to live with the fact that my choices brought me here to this place in my life or I can leave that behind and look upon myself as God does. He knew me before I was formed and I'm the appple of His eye [really don't know if I would be considered as a jewel]. You may be thinking, "You're just saying that to make yourself feel better." No. Loooking at someone as less valuable because they haven't lived up to my standard is easier to do. Seeing them as God see's me is harder because then it doesn't leave room for me to judge.

6 I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me; hear my words.
7 Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand.
8 Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings,
(Psalms 17:6-8 English Standard Version)

Christ was without sin, but for our sake God made him share our sin in order that in union with him we might share the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21 Good News Translation)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dare To Say Yes to Life! by Dr. Diane Hindman

I was searching for a file when I came across this link. The post is 3 years' old but still relevant to today. Admittedly I haven't seen the movie 'Yes, Man' or read the book 'Eat, Pray, Love'; however, without having done either I think something can still be taken from the following. To see the original post, click here.
Dare To Say Yes to Life!

2009 begins for me with a challenge to myself and to you. Dare to say yes to life! How many of us have been sitting on the sidelines watching our lives pass us by and wishing things would change each year. Wishing for more money, a more fulfilling relationship, more time with our family, more satisfaction in our career, better health… the list goes on and on. Well, it's time for a change. After about seven years of reading and studying as many personal development/self-help/business success/positive psychology/energy medicine/spirituality books that I could get my hands on, it has finally sunk in that they all say the same thing. You can wish and visualize for what you want all day long, but to really manifest it - you need to change who you are and what you do on a daily basis. The three requirements for manifestation: desire, belief and expectancy. The steps you need to take every day: 1. know what you want and really want it; 2. discipline your thoughts to remain focused and not be distracted or talked out of it (by yourself or others); 3. bring your dream into full alignment with your soul mission; 4. take action and follow through with growing into the person you need to be in order to manifest that vision. That's why it's time for a change.

So, what does dare to say yes to life mean? It means truly realizing that we have a limited number of days here in this lifetime and it's about time we did something about it. It means creating your future now and taking advantage of all of the amazing opportunities that come your way. So, where is all this mojo-filled momentum coming from you ask? How many of you have seen Jim Carrey's new movie, "Yes Man"? Well, I never thought I'd be basing an article, let alone my life, off of something I saw in Hollywood - let alone a Jim Carrey movie. Generally, I think he's pretty funny, but I like him in little doses and he is the type of actor that most people think is either hilarious or ridiculous. "Yes Man" is one of those movies that you go to see because you're in the mood for a good laugh and this one will have you in hysterics. But beneath the comedy lies an interesting concept to ponder - what if we had to say yes to anything that was asked of us? What opportunities would arise, what experiences would we have, what would be the worst that could happen and what amazing things might happen? I found myself thinking how fitting that this movie was released in a time of deep doom and gloom that's hanging over most of the world's population.

Then I got to thinking… what if we were to practice this even on one tenth the level that he did. How many times do we say no to opportunities that could change our lives because we were too scared, too tired, too worried about what others would think; because we couldn't afford it, didn't have the time or had too many other obligations? Wouldn't it be great to have the ability to say yes more often, even if we were a little unsure about whether we wanted to do it or not? How would our belief systems change if we started saying yes to more opportunities? My challenge to myself and to you this month is to say yes to at least one new thing that could potentially improve the quality of your life. You never know what could be behind the next door. And after all, isn't it about the journey then what's at the end of the road?

I'd love to hear from you, please email me and tell me what you dared to say yes to this month! A great book about a woman who truly said yes to life is "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert - a moving story of her journey to find herself. © 2009 Dr. Diane Speaks

And the LORD answered me: "Write the vision; make it plain upon tablets, so he may run who reads it. (Habakkuk 2:2 Good News Bible)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

What Are You Willing To Change by S. Anthony Iannario

The full title for this post is 'What Are You Willing to Change to be the Best Version of Yourself?' I read it on S. Anthony Iannario's The Sales Blog. If you would like to read the original blog post, click here. While this post is geared towards the skill of selling, the info can be applied to life in general. What changes are we making as we continue on our journey of change?

What Are You Willing to Change to be the Best Version of Yourself?

What are you willing to change in order to achieve the results that you want? What would make you the very best version of yourself?

The results that you are producing right now, whether you are happy with them or not, are being produced by the actions that you are taking (or not taking). Those results are also the result of your beliefs. It isn’t enough to want different results or better results. To produce different and better results you have to make changes.

Are You Willing to Change What You Are Doing?

Certain actions lead to certain outcomes. If you want different outcomes, you have to take different actions.

If your pipeline of opportunities isn’t what you want it to be, then you have to change your prospecting. If your deals always end in you being challenged to justify your price then you need to change something about how you sell. You have to make changes.

As you’ve undoubtedly guessed, this isn’t only about sales. This is about making your life rock. If you unhappy with the level of energy you have at work, you have to make the changes to your lifestyle that will allow you to generate more energy.

What result are you getting now that isn’t what you want it to be? What do you need to change in order to get the outcome that you really want?

Are You Willing to Change What You Believe?

The actions you take are the result of your beliefs.

If you believe cold calling makes you to “salesy” or something less than consultative, then you will act in accordance with those beliefs. If you believe that your dream clients will only buy price, you will act in accordance with that belief, and you will work to sell price.

You get to choose what you believe. You can think about what you think about. Rationalizing poor results and justifying them with a poor belief system doesn’t produce better results. Rationalization is resistance to change, and resistance to change kills the possibility of better results.

You could believe that prospecting (in all its many forms) is one of your primary task in sales. That belief would support a different set of actions than some other beliefs. You could believe that your dream clients are willing to pay more where more value is created. That belief would support a very different set of actions than the belief that price is the only thing your dream clients value.

Your beliefs support your actions. They underlie the actions. To believe something and not act in accordance with that belief is the same as not believing it.

Are You Willing to Change Who You Are?

What you believe and the actions you take make you who you are. The actions you need to take to improve your results might not be inspiring. Most of the time it means hard work, dedication, and doing the quiet work that you alone can do. It’s the disciplined actions of making the calls, reading the books, hitting the gym.

What should inspire you is the question: “Who do you have to be to produce a better result?” Would the best version of yourself take the actions that you are taking now? Or would they take a very different set of actions to get the outcomes they need?

Would the best version of you rationalize their present results? Or would they own the responsibility for better results? What would the best version of you believe? How would the best version of you act in accord with those beliefs?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

When Anticipation Is Tough, Hang In There

Waiting.  One definition according to Merriam Webster online is to look forward expectantly.  However looking forward requires patience.  It's fun looking forward but dealing with the opposition of waiting isn't. 

In the same online dictionary patience is defined as steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity.  During our waiting period, "What is taking so long," is a question repeatedly--if not often--asked.  Good things may come to those who wait, but is this much waiting necessary?  If I could hurry up and get 'there', wherever 'there' is for you, life would be better.  Then I could hurry up and do those things that would be so beneficial to me and those around me.

While this seems like a good thought, quick isn't always good and neither is it always the best.  Things created too quickly cannot be built as well as they could have been.  Shortcuts are taken that although fun at the beginning cause major problems in the future.  Quickly processed doesn't always mean ready to handle the pressures of success.  Think about the many one-hit wonder artists or people blessed with fortunes overnight to lose them within 1-5 years' time.

We can't take today's bad habits into tomorrow's successes.  Those habits will either limit or reduce the amount of time we will be able to spend when we reach new found success.  In other words, taking our current bad habits with us into the future will decrease the amount of time we would have to enjoy our new success.

While waiting, patiently endure with yourself (and others!) as you continue to grow and change as a person.  You're not waiting just for your dream to become a reality or for your goal to become a're expectantly looking forward to becoming the person you've envisioned yourself to be.

2 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.  
3 You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.  
4 So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.  
5 If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it. (James 1:2-5, The Message Bible translation)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

I read the following this week and just wanted to share.
A flower starts deep under the dirt and has to fight against gravity in the darkness before finally breaking free and opening its bloom to the sun. You may feel like you're in darkness and everything around you is muddy, but keep pushing toward the light and when the time is right, you will burst into blossom.
Keep pushing forward during your time of change. It would be easy to stop where you are. More than likely you're a different person than you were when you started, so ending the journey of change here wouldn't be so bad. If nothing else, you're wiser and more knowledgable than you were before you began. However, how much greater would be the worth of this journey if you continued to struggle through the darkness towards the light of your goal or dream? Traveler, take a breath, regather yourself, and keep moving forward.

"Is there anyone here who, planning to build a new house, doesn't first sit down and figure the cost so you'll know if you can complete it?" (Luke 14:28 The Message translation)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The following post is by Michelle Hanisch. The original post can be read on her blog 'Healing. Growth. Transformation' by clicking here. During our time(s) of change, sometimes we need to refocus by not looking at what we're gaining materially but are we improving/growing towards the person we desire to be.

Do You Want Success or Achievement?

By Michelle Hanisch

I have a lot of clients come to see me despondent at their lack of ‘success’.
“I should own my own home by this age.”
“I should have a career and a nice car by now.”
Or even:
“I have the big home, nice car, prestigious career ....and I still feel like something is missing.”
Somewhere along the line these people have mixed up success with achievement.
Easy to do right?
Achievement is so easy to strive for. You can set goals for it. Goals that tell you exactly how to get there and exactly what you’ll get at the other end. Goals that once met you can comfortably say “I did it!”
Success on the other hand is much much harder.
Much harder to define. Much harder to strive for. Much harder to know when you’re there.
And that’s because:
Success is something that we feel.
Success is something that is beyond words.
Success is something that gives us meaning.
Success comes from our WHY.
What if our WHY was not to own the biggest house on the block but to be the best parent we could be? Would buying the biggest house on the block make us feel successful? No way!
What if our WHY was not to own the fastest car but to inspire and help others? Would the Ferrari parked in the garage make us feel successful? Definitely not!
We might feel like we achieved something but we wouldn’t feel successful.
Often we start on the Road to Success only to be distracted and derailed by the Path to Achievement.
We start with our WHY in mind. We don’t just want to make a 6 figure salary at our executive job – we want to steer this company to make a big difference in the world. We want to be a change agent. We want to make the world a better place for our children and for us.
Then we slowly get conditioned to following the Path to Achievement. We start to measure our ‘success’ by the tangibles – the big house, the fast car – the tangibles that represent achievement. The tangibles that most of our colleagues are also focused on. We think “If I could just achieve more then I’d feel successful.” But without our WHY as the rudder steering our ship, the ‘success’ will feel hollow.
Success comes when we wake up every day with our WHY in mind. When our day is filled with reminders of WHY we’re doing what we’re doing then our achievements are indicators that we’re on the right path. Our achievements are the bonuses that accompany our feelings of success.
So if you’re the best parent you can be but you don’t own a house – you’re still a success. You’re just looking in the wrong place for your achievements. Is your child happy, well-adjusted, loved, and healthy? There are your signs of achievement and therefore your signs of success.
If you’re inspiring and helping the people around you but there’s no Ferrari in your garage? Then you’re still a success. You’re just looking in the wrong place for your achievements. Are the people around you taking ownership of their lives, do they light up when they see you, are you surrounded by their love? These are your signs of achievement. And definitely your signs of success!
"Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men" (Colossians 3:23 New American Standard Bible)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Importance of Sharing Your Story by Brook McGlothlin

The following blog post was written by Brook McGlothlin. If you would like to visit her website called 'A Life In Need of Change' click here. And while this post is aimed towards Christians, it is applicable to all.
the importance of sharing your story {or Come See a Man!}

How long has it been since you heard someone shout out what Jesus has done for them? How long has it been since you did the shouting?

The importance of sharing your story

The world loves to hate Christians, don't they? Those who don't share our beliefs love to prey on us, seeking out opportunities to destroy us by our own testimonies. Finding a Christian participating in sin is like finding a shiny $50 bill on the ground. The media takes every opportunity to make us look like nuts on television and in the news. And Christian leaders? Whew! To find one of those guys in sin is like winning the lottery. They'll be newsworthy for years to come, maybe even landing themselves a place in the history books (or Psyc books) so that students for ages to come can know how silly it is to make radical professions of faith about a God Who can't really change people.

What the world doesn't understand, is that failure is a vital part of our testimony. Failure is the very reason we need a Savior. And every single one of us has failed in the arena of life.

Each of us guilty before a holy God. The world sees our failures as proof that there is no redemption, no healing in Christ. But as Christians, we know that our failures are what drive us to the Cross. Our failures are what give us the opportunity to see God working and know His loving kindness. They allow us to feel the depth of His grace, unmerited favor for those of us who believe. Our failures lead us to repentance, and repentance leads us to forgiveness. Forgiveness is worth any amount of public ridicule or unfavorable infamy. Forgiveness is worth our all.

Come See a Man!

The Samaritan woman knew the weight of failure. Much like the weight of the water jug she carried in the heat of the day, her failures hung about her shoulders pulling her down and reminding her of who she was. An adulterer. Married five times and living with a man not her husband. She went to the well at the hottest part of the day to avoid the stares of the people who had watched her fail over and over and over again. She thought that day would be just like any other. Until she met Jesus.

In a world where Jews and Samaritans didn't mix, the man Jesus saw into her heart and gave her a drink of living water. With a few words from the One Who changes everything, the Samaritan woman went from hiding her failures to bursting forth into praise and shouting, "Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?" (John 4:25). Shedding the weight of her shame she came out of hiding that day. She no longer cared to hide her sin. No, now she was proclaiming it! Giving glory to the One who knew her, loved her, changed her, redeemed her. And in her excitement she ran to tell everyone else.

Can't you just see her? Free from that heavy water jug. Free from caring what others thought of her. Free to dance. I picture her skipping, jumping, dancing in that freedom into the town...right into it shouting, "Come, see a man!" Like a little girl dancing carelessly in a field of flowers...

When was the last time you danced in the freedom of your forgiveness? When was the last time the joy of your salvation overwhelmed you such that you shouted to anyone who would listen, "Come see a man!"

Come see a man! (Who has saved me from my sin!)

Come see a man! (Who has saved my marriage!)

Come see a man! (Who has provided for my needs!)

Come see a man! (Who pays my bills!)

Come see a man! (Who has brought back my prodigal child!)

Come see a man! (Who has healed my sickness!)

Come see a man! (Who loves me and gives me favor!)

Come see a man! (Who shed His blood to give me righteousness!)

Come see a man! (Who gives me peace in the storm!)

Come see the man Jesus! The One Who changes everything. Who has changed everything for me, and can for you.

So what's your story? What has God done for you? Of what have you been forgiven? Of what have you been redeemed? Share it now, so that others can come see a man, the man Jesus, Who can do the same for them.

What's your story?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

It's Time to Forgive Yourself

Have you ever been through or are you going through a period of change? I am. I haven't been updating this blog because the reason for writing had left me. Change isn't easy, and admittedly I allowed it to wear me down. Instead of standing resilient and firm I gave in to the pressure. I say that I gave in because we always have a choice in life. For example, we can go left or we can go right. We can give up or we can keep going. We can determine we're not going to do something or we can give into the temptation. The choices go on and on.

I write this not as a catharsis, but maybe to help someone else. In giving up I made some mistakes. There are issues that come with making a mistake, and one of them is unforgiveness. The unforgiveness of yourself weighs heavy on your heart and mind. It reminds a person of their wrongdoing constantly. Like a scratched CD, by repeating it over and over in your mind, unforgiveness keeps the guilt from the mistake alive and well. You want to move past the mistake but you can't seem to let it die because unforgiveness keeps etching its sad song into your brain with its constant repetitions of, "Why did I quit? Why did I give in? Why did I make that bad choice? Why did I have to make that mistake?"

Guess what? Unforgiveness is not our friend. It is not a humble form of penitence. Instead, unforgiveness blocks progress. It hinders you and me from moving forward in life. For those who read the Bible and believe in the words written therein, recall the story of Judas. (For those who do not believe in the Bible, you may want to skip to the next paragraph.) Judas gave up Jesus for 20 pieces of silver. After understanding his wrong, Judas had a choice: forgive himself or die to the crushing weight of guilt. Judas chose death by hanging himself. Jesus is willing to forgive us our wrongdoing (i.e. sin). If He wasn't, the cross wouldn't be the pivotal point of salvation. Yet, despite Jesus' willingness to forgive us, are we willing to forgive ourselves?

How truthful the following is I do not know, but it is an example of how an unwillingness to forgive yourself works. It is an illustration on how to capture a monkey. First, a hole is made in a coconut or a gourd and the object is attached to a tree with a string. Then peanuts are placed inside of it. Monkeys like peanuts, so the monkey will reach in the coconut or gourd to get them. However, the hole isn't big enough for the monkey to pull the peanuts out with its hand. Not wanting to let the peanuts go, the monkey will hold on to them--sometimes for days. By the time the captors come for the monkey, it is too weak to fight back. It has given up its strength and freedom for a handful of peanuts.

That is how we are when we are unwilling to forgive ourselves. We become so focused on our mistake until we lose our freedom. Our freedom is in the knowledge that even though we made a bad choice, we still have the ability to make a good one. We don't have to continue making bad choices, and it is not required to constantly rehearse a bad choice. An unwillingness to forgive yourself decreases your freedom in life. When you're focused on your mistake, opportunities for progression pass you by. They pass you by because you're stuck thinking, "I made a bad choice once, and the cost for that choice was high. Will I do it again?" Hence, as you continue to replay and relive that mistake due to unforgiveness, your freedom in life is passing you by.

So go ahead. Forgive yourself. Continue to move forward during this time of change. Progress lies ahead, but holding onto unforgiveness will only leave you where you are.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:12, 14-15 KJV)

Friday, February 10, 2012

"Releasing the Old" inspired by Adrian Rogers' devotional

The title of this devotional by Adrian Rogers caught my attention. The devotional is listed below, but you can find it online by clicking here.

Releasing the Old—Taking Hold of the Best
February 10

“I will love Thee, O Lord, my strength.” Psalm 18:1

Have you ever tried to get a bone away from a dog? It’s not too easy, unless you have something better for him. Try offering a T-bone steak, and that dog will drop his bone like a bad habit.

In the same way, the writer of Hebrews tried to encourage the Jewish Christians, new believers who had a tendency to cling to the old customs of the Old Testament, to leave the dry bones of ceremonies and feast upon the delights of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It’s a lesson we all must appropriate in our lives. It can become comfortable for us to hold to our traditions, rather than try something new. But friend, there is no one and nothing that can compare with Jesus. You may learn to love Jesus better, but you can never love anything better than Jesus. Ask God to begin showing you the delights of a close relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
My aim is to encourage both those who do and those who doin't believe in Christ. Let's take these words a step further and apply it to our lives--that is, our daily interactons. How have we viewed this time of change? Have you arrived where you expected to be? If so, congratulations! Your time of change was worth it and now you are at a place in life where you can handle the duties before you responsibly and without damaging the lives of those around you that look up to you.

But for those of us who aren't where we expected to be yet, have you gotten stuck where you are? I mean, you know that you're a different person than when you started, but have you gotten rid of those actios and habits that keep you from moving forward? You know, like procrastination, laziness, an easily frustrated personality, etc. Where we're headed, where we think we want to go, will not permit us to bring these mannerisms along. Living in our dream and maintaining that dream is going to take more than we've ever given before, and bringing these mannerisms along will only help to quickly shatter dreams we've envisioned for so long.

"Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved." (Matthew 9:17 KJV)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

"If You Plant" by Anonymous

I received this story as an email forward last year but I don't know the author. It has a great message, and I may create a blog post or two using this story in the future...

If You Plant

A successful business man was growing old and knew it was time
to choose a successor to take over the business.
Instead of choosing one of his Directors or his children, he
decided to do something different. He called all the young
executives in his company together.

He said, "It is time for me to step down and choose the next
CEO. I have decided to choose one of you. "The young executives
were Shocked, but the boss continued. "I am going to give each
one of you a SEED today - one very special SEED. I want you to
plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from
today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you.
I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one
I choose will be the next CEO."

One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the
others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly, told his
wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and
he planted the seed. Everyday, he would water it and watch to see
if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other
executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that
were beginning to grow.

Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew.

Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still

By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn't
have a plant and he felt like a failure.

Six months went by -- still nothing in Jim's pot. He just knew
he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants,
but he had nothing. Jim didn't say anything to his colleagues,
however, he just kept watering and fertilizing the soil - He so
wanted the seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the young executives of the
company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection.

Jim told his wife that he wasn't going to take an empty pot. But
she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick to
his stomach, it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of
his life, but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot
to the board room. When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety
of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful --
in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor
and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him!

When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his
young executives.

Jim just tried to hide in the back. "My, what great plants, trees
and flowers you have grown," said the CEO. "Today one of you will
be appointed the next CEO!"

All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with
his empty pot. He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to
the front. Jim was terrified. He thought, "The CEO knows I'm a
failure! Maybe he will have me fired!"

When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened
to his seed - Jim told him the story.

The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim,
and then announced to the young executives, "Behold your next
Chief Executive Officer! His name is Jim!" Jim couldn't believe
it. Jim couldn't even grow his seed.

"How could he be the new CEO?" the others said.

Then the CEO said, "One year ago today, I gave everyone in this
room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it,
and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds;
they were dead - it was not possible for them to grow.

All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants
and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you
substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the
only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my
seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief
Executive Officer!"

* If you plant honesty, you will reap trust

* If you plant goodness, you will reap friends

* If you plant humility, you will reap greatness

* If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment

* If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective

* If you plant hard work, you will reap success

* If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation

So, be careful what you plant now; it will determine what you will reap later.

"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." (Galations 6:6 KJV)

Friday, January 27, 2012

An Expounding on the Word 'New' from Guy Finley

The following is from author Guy Finley's blog post "Soul-Transforming Prayer" on To see the post in its entirety click here.
We’re looking to our own best ideas, to those well-preserved images from our own past experiences to guide us to something new, but the word new means nothing was before it...almost all of what we now think of as being “new” is little more than an unconscious continuation of some reconfigured past experience. What we’re looking for, unconsciously, is that familiar sense of self-renewal that comes with finding something similar to what we already knew, even though it has never fulfilled us before.

Before something genuinely new can appear in our lives, something old must pass...

...the wish for something new to occur [is]...born from knowing that being wrapped up in the old can only produce more of the old.

"Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (2Cr 5:17 KJV)