General

Remember: We are NOT God

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So often we try so hard to help others.  Whether its by giving advice, writing a recommendation letter for a job, letting their kids carpool with yours to school, loaning them money in times of need, letting them sleep on your couch for a night or two, keeping them from literally beating the crap out of someone, taking them to AA meetings, making sure they have a ride to bible study, being an accountability partner to keep them out of trouble, or even bailing them out of jail – these are all great gestures and acts of love and kindness.

Sometimes these gestures are exactly what the recipient needs to keep them from making a bad choice, going off the deep end, ending up in prison or even committing suicide.  But sadly, sometimes, these good gestures only yield temporary results that keep the recipient off the ledge for only a day or so.  Then the next thing you know that same person does the exact opposite of what you advised them to do.  They take your money, spend it on something completely different from what they said it was for and never pay you back.  They start drinking again after 5 years of sobriety.  They stop coming to bible study and church.  They get fired after a week from the job you helped them get.  They bash their neighbor’s head in and end up arrested.

Whatever the outcome may be, I am learning that in either scenario I am NOT God.  My responsibility is to do what God has called me as a Christian to do – show love, in whatever way I can.  So many years, especially in ministry, I used to try to “fix” so many people, solve their problems, answer their prayers, and patch up their lives.  In short, I  tried to be God.  Although, He definitely uses us a vessels to accomplish His will and influence others’ lives, we have to remember that ultimately, He does the “fixing”, the “changing”, and the “problem-solving” in the world around us.  We shouldn’t feel guilt, or pressure for that matter, to try and be God – not even for our family or closest friends.

I’ve even been guilty of changing my own personal goals and dreams just to allow myself to be a “savior” to others.  God has recently taught me, that I should definitely help if and when I can, but that I should continue to walk in His plan for my own life in the process.  The awesome thing about all this is that when we do “step aside” and allow God to work, time actually passes.  Then you look back and see not only how God has worked in your own life but also in the life of the person you were originally trying to help.  Its even more amazing when you realize that God works things out much better than anything you could have done.

As cliche, as it may sound – do what you can to help, pray, and then let go, and let God!

 

 

 

 

 

BEWARE: Distractions that Cost You!

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It’s so important to realize that the moment you decide to accomplish something, especially if its for God, that the enemy will try to do everything he can to distract you, so that he can steer you off course.  It’s even more important to realize that these distractions are not always blatant or obvious, but are often rather subtle.  Distractions can come in the form of person, a thing, a place, a circumstance, thoughts, or temptations.

The moment you decide to go back to school, a good friend you haven’t hung out with in awhile suddenly becomes available to hang out several times a week, distracting you from your studies.  Having gotten drunk 3-4 times a week for the past few months, you get your first semester grades which show you’re failing half of your classes.

The moment you decide to quit your job so you can start your own business, you get a job offer from a company offering you $10K more a year than what you were making, distracting you from the fact that your goal is to work for yourself and eventually earn six figures.  Six months down the line, you’re making more money, but you’re physically burnt out, never see your kids, hate your job, and haven’t thought about your own business at all.

The moment you decide to write a book with the vision that God gave you, negative thoughts rush into your mind with every reason why you shouldn’t do it.  Now its a year later, and you haven’t picked up a pen to write anything since then.

The moment you decide to relocate your family to another state for everyone’s benefit, a gorgeous new home becomes available in the next county over, distracting you from why God told you to relocate in the first place.  Three years later, you’re behind in your mortgage, neighborhood violence has impacted your teenager who now sells drugs, and you just got a notice that your job will be laying you off in three weeks.

The moment you decide to get out of a bad relationship and spend time focusing on your independence and growing in God, a new guy/girl comes along that makes you think its love at first site.  Three months down the line, you find out they are married and have been lying to you the entire time.

The moment you decide to focus on growing your blog community, every technical issue imaginable begins to arise, discouraging you immensely to the point that you give up.  Nine months later, a friend shows you a free online marketing course that you finish in two days that solves all your technical issues.

You see distractions can end up costing us time, happiness, peace, joy, money, and success.  After all, John 10:10 tells us that “the thief comes only to steal, and kill and destroy”.  The good news is that its never too late to get back on track and redirect our focus to our goals.  Even after we let our distractions steer us off course, ruin relationships, set us back months or years with our goals, or costs us money, our jobs, or our peace – God is still there for us, to give us the strength we need to try again and move forward.  As we move forward, let us not repeat the mistakes of the past.  Let us not allow the devil to distract us.  Remember, even the most subtle distraction could cost us!  And its definitely not worth it.

What Stops Your Progress?

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This past week was my first week of getting back into the gym regularly, and Friday was the day I would meet my goal of working out for 5 days.  However, Friday morning I woke up an hour earlier than usual around 5 a.m. with a slight headache and couldn’t get back to sleep.   Because it wasn’t time to get up yet, I decided to login into my banking mobile app from my phone  and check my direct deposit since it was payday for me.  To my utmost surprise – no direct deposit!  Then I nearly fell off the bed trying to get up and stubbed my toe. With mixed emotions – tiredness from lack of sleep, anger from the missing money and pain from the headache and toe – my mind automatically started going with random thoughts:  “I’m not going to the gym this morning”, “I’m not going to work”, “why can’t things just go right”, “OMG, my rent is due, where is my money”, “life sucks”, “I just want to go back to bed”.

Those few things that happened all within minutes of each other had already started impacting my entire day and it was only 5:15 in the morning!  It’s so easy to get angry, frustrated, discouraged, depressed and lose motivation when things start to spiral downhill in our lives.  It may start with something minor, then it may turn into something major that you may or may not have control over.

Either way, God’s Word tells us how to handle those situations, and no part of the resolution involves giving up, running away, or crawling back into bed for the day.  All those reactions are exactly the way the devil wants us to handle all bad things that come are way – by retreating, quitting and getting frustrated.  God created us with a ball of emotions, but He also equipped us with His Word and access to Him personally to talk to in moments just like these. We can find encouragement to push through in Scripture and we can talk to Him about anything at anytime.

So today I ask, what stops your progress on a daily or weekly basis?  Is it your circumstances? Something someone says? A situation going on at work? A personal relationship or lack thereof?  A negative friend? Financial struggles? Your health? Whatever the case is, remember that everyday life is going to happen to all of us.  As Christians, God did not promise we wouldn’t have any troubles.  However, He promised that we would be equipped with the tools to handle our troubles.  We have everything we need in Him to face any of life’s challenges.  The problem is, our most valuable resources are often under utilized.

In fact, the moment you start to set goals or set your mind to accomplish something, there will be several things that come your way that will try to distract you, kill your motivation, or hinder you from progress.  If we prepare our minds for this by spending time in God’s Word and prayer, nothing should hinder our progress.

 

My New Online Course!

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Today is an awesome day!  After 2 years of hard work in my free time, I was finally able to complete my first of many online courses!  It was published today by Udemy and is now available to the public online.

One thing I’m learning is that anything you do for God and the promotion of His Word is never time that is wasted.   If there is a project, goal, simple task or anything that God called you start, that seems to be taking forever to finish, or that you’ve tossed aside for a while – remember why you started in the first place, pray for focus, and get back at it!  Whatever you do, don’t quit!  No matter how long it takes, it will be well worth it in the end.  Doing what He calls us to do always is.

My prayer is that he will use me through this course to educate, encourage, motivate and inspire others through His Word.  See the course information below along with a promo video and a 50% discount link for yourself or anyone you believe may be interested:

“Learning the Bible 101:  Benefits, Methods and Hindrances”

 

*Be one of the first 25 students to sign up for a 50% discount utilizing the link below:

https://www.udemy.com/learning-the-bible-101-benefits-methods-and-hindrances/?couponCode=LTB101ITM

No Microwaved Blessings

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Sometimes the hardest thing to accept is that God is NOT always going to answer our prayers in the exact way that we want Him to.

So often we submit our “microwaved prayers” to God, expecting our “microwaved blessings” as a result.  Listing every detail of what we want or think we need.  We want it ‘made to order’ and ready in the exact timing that we select.  

We pray for a new relationship, asking for a specific type man/woman and then the person He brings us is the exact opposite of the image we crafted in our dreams.

We pray for a new job, and the job He blesses us with is something we never thought we would end up doing.

We pray for an opportunity to excel and He blesses us with an opportunity that is less than ideal but comes with a raise.  Yet, we’re still mad because its not as big of a raise that we wanted.

We pray for a new car and someone literally blesses us with one – free of charge – but its not the exact make and model we hoped for.

We send our prayers up like microwaved suggestions to God, telling him how we want it, when we want it, and dictating the specifics of our blessing. 

But He’s been teaching me that His blessings are sometimes going to come in ways I don’t expect, through people I least expect, and at times I’m not even expecting it.  At the end of the day, a blessing is a blessing.  How dare we be ungrateful, impatient and even complain when it comes.  Remember God ALWAYS knows best!  And sometimes He even has jokes lol.

38

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Thanking God today because I’m alive, have an awesome relationship with God, and am at a place in my life where I can truly say I have found peace.  The storms still rage on in everyday life all around me, but in the midst of it all, I am blessed to be able to enjoy the peace that only God can bring.  There are so many things I can complain about, worry about, stress about, get frustrated about and even cry about…..but today I’m a peace.  At peace because l know that I’m a part of God’s plan; that he destined me for a purpose; that He chose me before I was born; that He will never leave me; that He protects and watches over me; that He comforts me; that He guides me; that He listens and actually cares.

So yes, today I’m at peace, celebrating my birthday, because for 38 years my God has carried me through and loves me!

Past Sins Can’t Hold Me Back

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Don’t let Satan trick you into thinking that God can’t use you because of your past sins.  If and when God calls you to speak, encourage, advise, write, pray, teach, act or minister in accordance to His Word – do it!  Remember the great heroes of the Bible that God used in spite of their past sins:

Abraham – the liar

Moses – the murderer

Jacob – the deceiver

Rahab – the prostitute

David – the adulterer

Peter – denied knowing Christ

Paul – the persecutor

Sounds to me like we all pass the eligibility test!