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#bloglikecrazy: Day 28 – Measure

Can we just chat for a minute? OK. Cool.

I was tickled after reading a devotional last night about not being offended by someone else’s portion of talents and gifts. I mean certified tickled. I was laughing in bed and shook my head in amazement before falling asleep.

Check this out: Matthew 25:15 from The Parable of the Talents

“To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one,
each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey.”

So, if you don’t know the story, a master has to leave town for awhile and gives his workers a portion of his wealth to manage while he’s gone. To one servant, he gave 5 talents. To another, he gave two talents. And to the third one, he gave one talent. Now, one talent is worth about 15 years of labor’s wages, so each man had enough to work with. Totally excuse free.

But this is what got me laughing. We pay so much attention to what someone else has, how many talents they received from the Master, that we forget the part that says “each according to his own ability.” Now, check it – if we just grow what WE were allocated, it can still double which is WAY more than what we had (Matthew 25:16-17)!

Then, if that wasn’t enough, both the 5-talent and 3-talent servants got the same response from the master:

Matthew 25:21 (NLT)
“The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!” 

It didn’t matter how much they started with because he knew what he gave them in the first place. He just needed him to grow what they had. Isn’t that a simple concept. God is sitting there waiting on us to just grow what we’ve been given. Don’t worry about the size and placement; just multiply it! Multiply your measure, your gifts, love, peace, laughter… make it grow! The 1-talent servant was deemed wicked because he didn’t have faith in action to believe what he had was enough. Shame on all of us for thinking that way sometimes. And that’s what made me giggle as I turned on my side and set my alarm for the next day. I’ve been doing this thing all wrong. I just have to grow what’s in my hand because it is enough and the God that gave it to me is enough too.

And not to mention that even the verses of the parable doubled (14+14 = 28). LOL!

Peace & Thanks for listening!

Photo courtesy of YouTube.

 

 

 

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#bloglikecrazy: Day 24 – David?

Generational mercy? I had heard of generational blessings and curses, but mercy though? That blew my mind.

In my recent reading of 1 Kings, Chapter 11, I couldn’t help but notice that generational mercy is a repeated sentiment between God and Solomon. Basically, God said “I won’t punish you as you truly deserve for the sake of your father’s relationship with me.” Now, this is King David we’re talking about here and if you know anything about him, you may see where I’m headed.

The ambitious warrior, the murderer, the adulterer, the lady’s man, the musical genius… sound familiar? In today’s terms, King David would be the last person to receive a humanitarian award or a seat in our pulpits. After all, to see if he would heal faster, his attendants suggested putting a young virgin in bed with him (1 Kings 1:1-4). What a remedy, right? But the difference between David’s and Solomon’s wrongdoing was that David would humble himself enough to acknowledge his struggles, repent before God,  and get up from prayer with best intentions to follow God’s directions again. We have his proof woven throughout the Book of Psalms and even when he is anointed has King.

Acts 13:22 (NIV)
After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him:
‘I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart;
he will do everything I want him to do.
‘” (referencing 1 Samuel 16:7)

Solomon disobeyed God and felt no remorse, even though he was blessed to be the wisest man on Earth simply because he asked for it.

1 Kings 3:9 (MSG)
“Here’s what I want: Give me a God-listening heart so I can lead your people well, discerning the difference between good and evil. For who on their own is capable of leading your glorious people?”

The sinful act of worshipping other gods wasn’t the deciding factor (he was doing that in verse 3 of the same chapter); it was the heart. The comfortability of loving his wives’ gods was the issue, even after David instructed him otherwise in 1 Kings, Chapter 2.

Isn’t that something? Knowing that Solomon profoundly screwed up numerous times after repeated warnings, God says that he will still uphold his covenant and hold back part of Solomon’s consequences for David’s sake. David? Of all people? Yeah, him.

There’s a David in all of us… struggling on the inside to project Christian values on the outside in spite of all that life throws at us. If David could be close to God, why can’t you? In all of his mess, God weighed his motives and even through hardship, he blessed him.

If you default to behaviors that are opposite of your Father’s voice, do you grieve over disappointing Him? Do you dust yourself off and try to walk forward again? Then, you’re a David and there is room for you at the Father’s table. He already knows your vices, and sees your shame, but He won’t hold it over your head. Just look at how Solomon reaped the benefits of generational mercy through someone that we would deem unworthy in today’s terms.

You are loved. You are valued. You are David. You are His.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

Photo courtesy of selectitaly.com

#bloglikecrazy: Day 19 – Church

Remember that TOGETHER post?

Guess what my pastor preached the following day? ENDURE: Running the Race. I included some of my tweets below. It’s one of the ways I like to take sermon notes. 

(Sidebar: I love it when God layers His Word. Don’t you? 🤗)

11/19/17 @GFCBHM

ENDURE

Hebrews 12:1 (NASB) – Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

http://bible.com/100/heb.12.1.NASB

One of my highlights was Ecclesiastes 4:12 – Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Essentially, we fight better together. That’s what church services are to me. Yes, we are there to collectively worship God, but I also like to think of it as a pit stop where you can pause and regroup with other runners. Knowing that you’re running in the same direction, having similar experiences along the way, and celebrating our different journeys forge our faith. It strengthens the spiritual muscles.

Running together.  What a beautiful, yet simple solution to many of our problems. What do you think?

Peace & Thanks for listening!

 

#bloglikecrazy: Day 17 – Scales

​Thoughts after reading

Proverbs 16:2

When I read this verse, I immediately saw the image of the scales of justice.

While actions can be seen, motives can be stealthy like the cloak of invisibility in Harry Potter. Actions are nice, after all, Love is an action word (isn’t that what we say?); however, motives are the legs upon which actions stand. You can tell if someone gives you a gift from the heart. It doesn’t matter how expensive it is or where it was found. It’s the motive, the undercarriage of intent that makes or breaks the transaction.  That’s what I have found to be true over the years. The heart of the receiver has to match the heart of the giver for the exchange to be simultaneously priceless.

When God looks at us, He doesn’t weigh the ways; He weighs the motives. That means He puts more weights on the side of my intentions than the deed itself. My reasons behind my ways will be heavier than how much it cost me to do it. Every. Single. Time.

My prayer? Thank you, God, for weighing the heart and Lord, please  help my intentions!

Peace & Thanks for listening, Sweethearts.

1, 2, 3…

“You shall do what is right and good in the sight of the LORD, that it may be well with you and that you may go in and possess the good land which the LORD swore to give your fathers,” Deuteronomy 6:18 NASB

I like to read the Bible before bed. It’s like a spiritual palate cleanser for me after a long day. After reading this verse two days ago (and later the chapter), I turned over in the bed and contemplated the directive and the promise. The instructions seemed so simple, yet intimidating. So, I jotted notes to digest. Hope it helps you too!

Step 1: Because God sees everything, do what is right. I know you may not get “credit” for it, but your character counts in the eyes of the Father. You don’t have to wonder if He’s keeping tabs or forgetting to write something down. He is omnipresent and omniscient.

(I truly try to live this out everyday. Challenges come, but this part doesn’t trip me up.)

Step 2: When you do what is right, your actions and the outcome will be well with you… you will be at peace with what was in your control and what was out of your control.

(I believe that peace makes a mighty fine pillow and I enjoy sleeping on it every night. Knowing that you did everything you could to be in right-standing makes you accept the serenity of not being in control of everything. So, this part doesn’t get me either… but let’s look to the last one…)

Step 3: Then, because you have Peace, you can go possess the land… the good land… the promise.

(OK, so this where we need to talk. Why do I have problems possessing the land, or in today’s case, the dreams and promises God gave me? If I’ve done the steps to get to this point, why am I apprehensive about #3? Is it a fear of not being able to live up to the dream? Am I afraid that the promises are ethereal and not obtainable? What causes me to pause when it’s time to take a step into new territory? Apparently, the land is not new to God because He promised it before I was born. So, why can’t I rest in His confidence in me? Honestly, I’m still chewing on this one. I want to get to the bottom of it. Yes, I know bible verses and songs that say otherwise, but there is still trepidation before I put my weight on the leg that extends into unknown territory.)

Is there anyone else out there that is shaky on the 3rd step? It’s OK to be human enough to answer YES! 

So, I have to remind myself that the promises of God are secure and that even Jesus had to take a step back to get ready for the cross. It was His mission and He knew it was coming, but it didn’t make the step easier to take. So, He prayed… more than once (Matthew 26). I have to believe that His multiple prayers validate my questions and fears just as much as his humanity colliding with his Deity.

Follow the steps according to HIS plan, put your foot down, and walk across the bridge into the unknown. I’m stretching to do the same.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

Photo courtesy of www.earnthis.net

The Plan

​Perfect timing.

Just when I was questioning the blueprint and the Architect’s design, He gives me this beautiful reminder. He knows the Plan. I just need to keep walking in His direction.

I mean, really… who argues with the Architect? Especially years after the Masterpiece is built. Who questions the plan after perfection is proven? Certainly not me. An architect knows the pressure that each beam can hold. She knows which materials are best for the purpose of the house. He calculates the foundation and its ability to host the vision. There’s wisdom and care that materializes into a physical plan… a plan for a future and hope.

Because I trust the Architect, I put my faith in the blueprint. It just seems like the journey is dysfunctional and pieces won’t fit, but the Builder used a wooden cross as the Architect instructed so I have no need to worry about the structural integrity of my life. It has an expected end, a hope, not some aimless steps that happened to host good things along the way. He knows the Plan. I just have to keep walking.

Jeremiah 29:11 was a good dose of medicine for my aching soul. Take some for yourself.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

In the Moment

Good Day, Good People!

I had a great conversation with a girlfriend of mine on March 14, 2017. We established that fear of the good is real. What do I mean by the good? You know, the good stuff in life. That moment when you have a smile on your face so bright that it could burn the sun. The moment when all feels right with your world. The instant you close your eyes and tilt your head back. When the good happens, you know it. You feel it. Everywhere.

Unfortunately, you can have so many scars from the not-good (because there are some that feel the bad are just “life lessons”) that you expect it to come around the corner at any moment. Lurking like a burglar, the not-good appears to be ready to stand in your sunny spot on the concrete and steal your shine. Fear of the not-good coupled with a fear of the good can cripple the strongest of souls. You can be scared of success and fulfillment and the responsibility they could bring to your current and future statuses. You could also be terrified of the good holding hands with an invisible evil twin that could devastate your life in a single breath. Both fears are real. That’s what she and I discovered that night. That’s what we share. What a beautiful moment of transparency.

Fear has the capacity to suck in all the hope you had in your hands and leave you cold and isolated. It’s a sad transaction. The exchange of wanting more out of life and being anxious of the deficit of despair in return. Who doesn’t want to take a month long vacation? Or sail on a cruise ship more than twice in a lifetime? Or sit still in a cabin in the mountains and drink hot chocolate while gazing at God’s Handiwork? What would actually happen if in the moment, we absorbed the good? Not anticipating the bad news, the hiccups in the plan, or the no-show of the crowd, but soaking in the goodness of expectation? It can actually be sweet, you know. I’ve tasted it once or twice or three. Somewhere along the continuum of God’s favor, grace, and purpose lies me… scared of both ends. Then, there comes a time when you are simply sick of being afraid. You want to drink the sunshine with the biggest cup you can find in your heart. You want to dance the street (with or without rhythm) because you got the best news of your life. You want to walk into the interview like a victor, expecting to get the call back. It doesn’t matter if 5 minutes from that moment you get a phone call that’s nerve wracking. Maybe the sunshine in which you chose to stand can grow your tree of hope a little taller and set the roots a little deeper to withstand the winds of the storm ahead. You won’t know until you stand in the moment and the take the good and all she has to offer.

2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.

I’m convinced that the power, love, and discipline (also called “sound mind” in some versions) come from standing strong in the good and soaking it well beyond your pores and into your soul. Beyond that polarized fear, there’s all Three waiting to secure our hope, to anchor it down deeply in His omnipotence. That’s the power of the good. It serves as a reminder when the not-good comes.

So, what’s stopping me from hugging the good with both arms? Absolutely nothing.

What about you?

Peace & Thanks for listening!

Photo courtesy of The Chicago Now

Gear Up

After reading 1 Samuel, Chapter 17 –

Lately, I keep being reminded that the battles I’ve won before are preparing me for what’s to come. When God gives me repeated messages, I spiritually sit up. My YouVersion devotional “The Most Excellent Way to Lead” by Pastor Perry Noble of NewSpring Church dropped another bass note on the track to get my attention this week and I just had to share it with you.

In 1 Samuel 17, David is obeying his father by going to check on his brothers on the battle field and he grows offended by Goliath’s proclamations to annihilate the Israelites. For 40 days, the Philistine stood morning and evening talking trash and by the looks of his stature alone, he could back it up.

David was the youngest son of Jesse the Bethlehemite and yet had the strongest passion to silence Goliath. His intentions were in question by his oldest brother, but the accusation didn’t stop him. When Saul misjudged his ability to slay the giant, David went down his list of victories. There was no second thought, no “Maybe you’re right. I just came to give my brothers some cheese, so let me go back home.” No, he recalled his past battles and that he was only standing there ready to fight because he was already a winner. A lion, a bear, and a rescued lamb served as the proof. I was encouraged just visualizing it. Besides being in the lineage of Jesus, David is also known as an archetype or foreshadowing of Him. That got me excited again by the time I finished the chapter although I have read it numerous times. Apparently, there was a different purpose for this passage in my life.

Have you ever felt like this? That you were training for the next fight, and it’s scheduled in a bigger boxing ring than the last time?

I have…and I’m here now, looking ahead like Rocky Balboa getting ready for Apollo, the second time. I remember this feeling of anticipation training and I have learned not to ignore it. There’s always a purpose for it, so I take it seriously; however, for some reason, I keep forgetting that this isn’t my first fight. This isn’t my first bout in the ring. I’ve survived many opportunities to die. I’ve overcome many obstacles with the strength of God. My heart has been stepped on more times than I can count, but it keeps bouncing back, ready to love and live. It’s resilient because God is my Father and Jesus is my Champion. I’m already a winner. My rescued life is the proof.

So whatever battle is coming over the horizon, it is no match for my testimony and my training. It may have looked like I was just tending sheep, but in actuality, I’ve been gearing up. I am not afraid… I will be ready when it comes.

Peace & Thanks for listening.

To learn more about the devotional I’m reading, visit www.mostexcellentwaytolead.com.

Photo: Mickey training Rocky

#bloglikecrazy: Day 25 – Opposite Day

After reading Genesis 41:41-57 –

What if we did the opposite of what is expected? In times of opulence where more is more, what if we exercised the wisdom of restraint? Instead of gluttony and racing toward a fabricated finish line, what if our actions were governed by the Truth?

Joseph envisioned a day when years of plenty would run out, so he stored accordingly. Isn’t it interesting that the famine still occurred (it was predicated on his preparation), but Egypt wasn’t affected (which was predicated upon preparation)? The world was in the middle of the same timeline, but not experiencing the same thing. They were having opposite day because wisdom had her way for seven years. Then, to top everything else that was “a-plenty”, he was blessed with two sons. God must have known they would not lack as well because of Joseph’s track record of obedience. The truth was, if you read Joseph’s story, he had a lifetime of opposites and lived with flying colors (pun intended).

I love that last part – verse 54 – “but in all the land of Egypt, there was bread.” Even though times were shiny and bountiful, Joseph acted upon what He was shown… and stayed true to it. This resulted in a series of events that affected others positively. There was harvest in famine and all benefited…the economy, the families, and the leadership.

God keeps walking me down this “we’re all connected” trip. One act, one word, one person affects another. What we do now has a trickle down effect on the present and the future. Our obedience and disobedience makes pathways before us and others. I pray that I make a positive road as my obedience grows stronger. Then, I can be well on opposite day. When things aren’t lovely and plentiful, I can still smile.

What about you? Have you experienced moments of plenty and didn’t prepare for opposite day? What do you do differently now?

Peace & Thanks for listening!

Photo Courtesy of Bigstockphoto.com/Orla via timeanddate.com

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