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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 16 – Forever 

Forever is a long time to grow. Are you willing to do it?

I mean it. Are you willing to a make a pact with God that you will grow as long as you live here on Earth? After all, we are the seeds of Adam and Eve and quite frankly, there’s still some growing to do. If plants can do it, why can’t we? Why can’t we do what seeds do – germinate and multiply? 

It seems hard to think about, but we are designed to break free from the shell of innocence and yield a life with more seeds to plant. With our words, deeds, and talents, we were created to expand and produce a harvest for others to courageously do the same. 

So, when I say “Forever is a long time to grow,” I intend to invoke conviction of every intrapersonal and interpersonal interaction you will have for the rest of your life. I want you to think about the seeds your fruit is producing for others to ingest. I want you to think about forever

Peace & Thanks for listening!

#bloglikecrazy: Day 5 – Grit

I have the best creative team in the world. Give us space and time and we do extraordinary things, like create moving water, tumultuous trees, and a visual Bible story in seconds.

On last Sunday afternoon and into late that evening, my performing arts troupe, Workmanship Incorporated, rehearsed for our upcoming performance at the UAB Gospel Choir Reunion Concert to be held at the Alys Stephens Center on Monday, November 13, 2017. I was torn between physical pain and supernatural will, but I made it. One of my teammates lives in another state and she drove into town to join us. Other teammates came from church, work, and family duties to give their sacrifice of dance as well. To check out a short clip of the rehearsal, click here.

At one point in the rehearsal, I stepped back and just marveled at how fantastic they were. Willing and diligent to get it right so God could have complete control on performance day. No one complained. No one was belittled. No one was anxious to leave. We were on one accord. Everyone was pressing toward the mark and it was beautiful. I loved beholding the glory of God working in them behind-the-scenes. 


In a bigger perspective, many will never see what we go through at home in order to produce the fruit on our limbs in life. We have structured areas and danger zones where we get our lives together before heading out into the world. In the performing arts arena, the audience may see 10 minutes of creativity for 10 hours of preparation. It’s a labor of love and a gritty process, but well worth it in the end. That’s the essence of your life, your relationships, your dreams, your responsibilities. If you do it right, grit becomes part of your daily diet. It’s good for you and for those around you. It doesn’t let you quit or whine. It pulls you over the humps and having others with you that chew on the same stuff makes all the difference.

So, there I was… with a front row seat looking at a dream realized from my 14-year-old self. Rehearsing with all of the energy we could muster. Laughing through trials and sharing our victories. And I realized then,the aftertaste of grit tastes good.

Peace & Thanks for listening! 

And to my Troupe, Workmanship Incorporated, thank you for being my muse. I love y’all. Xoxo

#bloglikecrazy: Day 22 – Make Room

A short stop for your Christmas Day and Any Day

Luke’s account of Jesus’ life on Earth is one my favorites. There’s something about his physician perspective that humanizes the experiences I read.
This one in particular instantly opens the camera lens to a new mother that clothes her newborn in rags in unsanitary conditions. All because the inn was full. Why would God give Joseph a heads up that his family was in danger and not direct him to better accommodations? On a journey where it was already uncomfortable, here is a mother having contractions in a stable and having to trust that the feeding trough would be sufficient for the King of Kings. What a humbling and terrifying experience. Talk about faith… whew.

I’m always stuck at the “no room in the inn” part. Certainly there was a better option than an animal shelter, but apparently, Mary and Joseph knew something we didn’t.

No matter where Jesus was birthed, He was destined to fulfill His purpose. They just had to make it work. The hay, the rags, the filth, the trough… she made room. That’s all were required to do.

Whenever you are in life, make room.

Create space for purpose to grow. Stop making excuses for what you don’t have and use what is given. The purpose is in you, not the things. God will provide the necessary items in order to bless the readers of your story.

Whatever you do this week, make the room and prepare for it to be filled.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

#bloglikecrazy: Day 21 – How to be a Bounty Hunter

Quick tips for the holiday weekend via Daily Prompt: Bounty

Today marks Christmas Eve and there are people scrambling to find the perfect gift at the perfect price – or perhaps a gift that will “do” for the last person on their list. The adrenaline rush that comes from finding that jewel in the haystack is an addiction for the last-minute shopper and while that may be attractive to some, I travel on a different route this time of year. I give to people around me all year at very random times because I love surprising people with love. I am not in the rat race of marathon shopping, but I can help. My name is Christina and I am a bounty hunter.

#1: Know what you’re looking for.

The first step in being a bounty hunter is knowing what you’re looking for. I know… that sounds counterproductive. You’re out looking right now because you DON’T know what to look for, but honestly, you do. You know you’re looking for something that will make the person smile, laugh, and/or feel loved and appreciated. You’re looking for a glimpse of them in the item. If you pick it up and you don’t see them smiling or using it with pride, put it down. You’re settling and the receiver will pick up on that.

#2: Bow down to the truth.

You waited until the last minute. Stop being childish and frustrated toward workers and other shoppers for your misuse of time and resources. Be truthful and be patient. You may not can afford that $100 watch, but you can give a thoughtful $25 blanket in their favorite color because you know they always get cold during movie night. You’re not going to find the perfect gift without it costing you time or money, so just be humble, breathe, and go into that store or into that kitchen with the receiver in mind – not your inconvenience.

#3: Focus on the Bounty.

Christmastime is when the world gives presents and spend significant amounts of time with friends and family. It’s imperative to remember why people travel great distances to sit and drink hot chocolate, watch football, enjoy a movie, sing hymns, and share pictures. The real bounty is the time, not the gift. If anyone makes you feel the opposite of that truth, accept that whatever you give will not be “good” enough. You could spend all of your savings and that person will still think of something else you could have bought. I don’t suggest cutting off your cousin, but you may need to check your heart at the door of the department store. Give what you can and let it fall as it may. Focus on the real Bounty, the generous gift, the true compensation – YOU.

You are the gift of premium price. No one can replace you or cover up your existence. Your birth was trumpeted in heaven and has since made a mark on this earth that can never be erased or validated by dollar sign. You are the wealth. You are the opulence. Every person in your life should see you as the prize, not just what you have in your hands. That applies both ways, too. See people as bountiful blessings and you’ll always find the perfect gift.

Now go out there and smash that to-do list, my fellow Bounty hunter. *wink*

Peace & Thanks for listening!

#bloglikecrazy: Day 6 – What If I Don’t Want It

Photo courtesy of clarityfitnessnj.com

If I gave you a gift, you could turn it away. It is your right not to accept it. My hope is that you would delight in the gesture and the spirit in which it was given. After all, it’s the thought that counts, right?

The gift God has placed inside of you, however, doesn’t quite work that way. You have valuable gifts that were customized for you. Even if you choose not to use them for His glory, you still have them and they are just as potent. Packaged perfectly in your skin tone, vocal pitch, intellect, and shoe size is an infallible you that is amazingly designed to give gifts to others.

Let’s say that you hate cooking, but everyone loves to eat your food because it tastes delicious. You have a gift that others enjoy even if you never own a restaurant. Let’s go deeper, shall we? A drug dealer has numerous skills that could be used in corporate America. Inventory, personnel, and time management are gifts everyone can’t claim. To be successful in the streets, one must possess certain skills. Those entrepreneurial gifts could be easily  transposed to owning and operating a legal business. Even if the person never leaves her/his criminal lifestyle, the gifts are still there and are still potent.

God has placed awesome presents within a package called YOU.

As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 

1 Peter 4:10 NASB

God knew what He was doing by fashioning you with His magnificence. Your gifts are yours to give, but they can’t be voided. If that were so, then His seed would not yield a harvest and everything God planted has continued to grow.

So, the next time you think your gifts aren’t great or that you don’t want to walk in your purpose, remember that you came to this earth customized to give. Your gifts are divinely inevitable, so pour them out. That’s what they were made for.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

Open, Mopin’, Chopin

Hong-Yi-food-art-6-1kos0lg
Photo Credit: 31 Days of Food Creativity by Hong Yi

In response to The Daily Post’s One Word Prompt: Open

When we leave food uncovered, it becomes susceptible to anything surrounding it.

Gnats. Fruit flies. Ants. Bacteria. Grubby little hands. Grown man fingers. Just to name a few.

I’ve noticed that when hearts and minds are open, we experience the same challenges. Good things can come out of us when the walls of our hearts are open enough to let them out. Sometimes a crack is all it takes for a beam of light to shine on a dark situation. Also, the mind can be exposed to great intellectual seeds just waiting to burrow into our soul’s innermost concerns and germinate into solutions for our problems. When our being is open, fruitful results flow out of us and attract others. Like a beautiful cuisine on display, it is pretty to behold and smells deliciously divine, so it draws in the likes of those who wish to partake in its expected excellence.

On the other hand, this can pose an issue when it comes to matters of the heart and the fragility of the mind. Whenever the opportunity arises to expose greatness, there is also opportunity for disgrace and contamination.

We shine in hopes of receiving confirmation that we are authentically exceptional in our strengths and talents.

We spill our gifts and let them run freely to open hands in the audience; however, it comes with a price. The ants come to feast. The hands seek to devour and the bacteria is just along for the ride. Suddenly, the greatness becomes emptiness. The shine is dulled. The once beautiful cuisine appears in the imagination as the eyes see the crumbs. Being open sucks sometimes, and there’s not much we can do to prevent this ravishing to be brave in our openness.

Polish-French Pianist Chopin (Szopen in Polish) had his share of this phenomenon. In addition to his musical brilliance, his performance style wasn’t well received at larger concert spaces in the earlier stages of his career; nevertheless, he continued to pour his passion into his composition and flourished as a well-known as an artist. One fact most do not know about Chopin is that his body is buried in France (his creative home), but his heart was interred in Poland (his birthplace).  Interesting.

There’s something to be said about the emphasis we place upon our giving. We can’t afford to mope around, focusing on the empty vessel we could become over time. Somehow the more we give, the more we obtain to give. The mere fact that we’re a vessel at all should be a graceful honor.

The world depends on our open door to greatness, but there’s nothing wrong with a gate to maintain its luster.

We have the opportunity each day to affect the lives of others in a positive magnitude that could send shockwaves into their future. Could you be abused and misused? Possibly… but those boundaries are up to you to uphold. Do what it takes to continue the flow.

No more moping. No more loathing.

Be open. Live open. Live free.

Peace & Thanks for listening.

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