Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with my mind spinning. There are thought of tasks to be done, responsibilities, obligations to others, and meetings to attend for the day ahead. I worry about anything and everything that just so happens to pop into my mind, until I worry that I can’t think of anything to worry about!
We can be in a position where we have so many people depending on us that it can be overwhelming. We do not feel strong enough to do all that needs to be done. We want to stand firm in our faith that God’s got this, but we can become so exhausted we begin to feel powerless. When we begin to feel this way, we must cry out for help and put our hope in the promises of God’s word, as the Psalmist says below.
“I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word.” Psalm 119:147 NIV
When we wake early because our minds and hearts are unsettled, we can rest in the recognition of what our Father has promised us. He is with us and will never abandon us. He is power for us when we feel powerless. He is devoted to our growth so that we can live out our lives for His purpose. Listen, we don’t have to do everything! If we had to complete each day on our own strength, we would continuously fail over and over again.
When people say, “All we can do now is pray.”, it is as if we are placing prayer in the position of our last resort. But prayer should ALWAYS be our very first thought. This is something that must be learned, as the world around us does not see things the way we do. Many do not turn to prayer first when they are worried, tired, or defeated. But we know that prayer is our line of communication to our Savior, so why do we continue to pray last?
For our hope is in God and not in our own efforts. Prayer is powerful, and we should begin using it as our first response to anything – whether good or bad. When we pray, God gives us the strength to move mountains.
“Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered. When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked. Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.'” Matthew 21:18-22 NIV
“Learn to balance your life by managing your heart instead of just your calendar.”
“It is important that we do not ever let our hearts become bitter or jealous toward another’s calling or gifting. If we fall into the trap of comparing our gifts to others, we will fail in becoming the best encouragers for one other. “ ** The above quotes were pulled directly from Pastor Lisa Kai’s devotional (see the link in my first paragraph) **
Our calendars might be overflowing and stressing us out on a constant basis. However, by managing our hearts, we will get our priorities straight and in line with God’s Will for our lives. Therefore, learning to manage our hearts will make our calendars much less of a burden.
Our gifts are simply that, gifts that the Lord has given to us. We must not grow weary in using these gifts and never compare our gifts to others, as this can create envy or jealousy – which in turn hinders our encouragement to others. Focusing on our own gifts, and encouraging others to embrace theirs, allows the Lord move in majestic ways!
You were created to be unique, like no one else on this earth. We all have individual gifts and talents that were given to us for a purpose. That is what makes you “Perfectly You”. Comparing yourself to others can not only tear yourself down, but others as well.
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12 NIV
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” Romans 12:6-8 NIV
I pray this short, yet impactful message will be a blessing to you and others today. Have a wonderful Sunday!
As we all know, having faith in the unknown and unseen can be difficult at times. But that is why we have a Savior that has proven to us time and time again that he will always work things out “…for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28. Scripture is not just words that were made up by someone centuries ago. They are TRUTH, they are testimonies of what people B.C. and A.C. experienced.
So why is it so difficult for us to believe that God has our life in His hands, that He will never leave us nor forsake us? I believe that our struggle with faith began way back in time, in the Garden of Eden. When Eve took that first bite of the forbidden fruit – she was actively showing her lack of faith in what the Lord had told Adam. And then Adam proved even more unbelief by taking the fruit offered by Eve, after He had been told directly from the Lord not to eat it! I’m sure you all know this story, but this simply shows you how far back our unbelief, as humans, goes.
Faith is difficult because we cannot see the future, the outcome of this decision or that. We fear that our income will not meet our needs, our clothes are not “in”, that we won’t have enough food to provide for our loved ones. But inMatthew Chapter 6:25-27, Jesus tells us, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
He then continues inMatthew 6:28-34, “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
We all could use a little more trust in the Lord. Imagine how different the world would be with everyone living their lives, fully trusting and believing in the Word! What a great life that would be! Unfortunately, that will never happen in this lifetime. It can, however, happen in your personal life – which can then spread upon many people when you touch their lives. I encourage you today to step out in faith for a better tomorrow. We can, and we will, impact this world. We must simply follow His instruction and His will for our lives.
In today’s society, the word entrepreneur is thrown around as if it’s a game of catch. Entrepreneurship is presently the most “in” way of describing ourselves. The word itself can be used in many wrong ways that can confuse others into thinking they are entrepreneurs when in reality, they may be just self-employed. I hate to break it to you, but self-employment is not the same as entrepreneurship. You still have to be actively present at your business in order for it to run correctly, while as an entrepreneur, you create your own schedule and do not trade your hours for dollars. You create ongoing, residual income.
Think of Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s. He is no longer living on this earth, yet he had the ability to create an ongoing source of income that his family is still reaping the benefits of. How did he do that without being self-employed? He duplicated himself through mentorship and coaching others. He was a phenomenal leader that always lead by example. Although he began his business putting in hours, he had no intention of continuing to put in long hours. You see, he created a business system, which is is still in place today.
A business system is a program that has rules and regulations, as well as extensive training. You may not know this, but in order to own a McDonald’s (besides the hefty investment upfront), you have to graduate from Hamburger University. While attending this University, you will develop leadership skills, as well as learn all the fundamentals of being a McDonald’s Franchisee. If you are truly an entrepreneur, you have a business system that either you have created, or you have access to. Business systems create financial freedom, as well as time to do the things you love.
Being an entrepreneur is so much more than just stating that you are; it is the steadfast work towards a goal, getting around other entrepreneurs and building teams with them. Consistently increasing your knowledge by reading accredited books and listening to podcasts by other successful entrepreneurs. Always staying confident in the hard times and learning from your mistakes. Keep getting up no matter how many times you fall. Go for as many “No”‘s as possible, because ultimately you are planting seeds that will soon reap a harvest for more than you ever expected. Quick Tip: the book “Go For No!” may be a good starting place. Entrepreneurs know there will not be a life of luxury in the near future. There is no instant gratification, it takes extremely hard work, time, and persistence.
So, are you a true entrepreneur? If so, keep it up! If not, I strongly encourage you to stop using this word so lightly. Read up on entrepreneurship, which I will be posting more about in the near future, and get on the right track. Remember, you can do anything you put your mind to – but you must put your everything into it as well!
This blog is a reflection on Pastor Steven Furticks’ sermon this morning.
Signs point to something deeper, something beneath the surface. Everything that God does for us is always pointing to something deeper. For example, in John Chapter 2, Jesus waited until the wine at the wedding had completely run out to turn water into wine. He did that to teach the disciples to have faith, a much deeper lesson which includes patience and knowing that He will provide. In the same way, God is revealing signs to us, pointing us towards something deeper. But see, not all signs are always miraculously shining so bright, in a way that we can’t miss it. The signs may be right in front of us, but we’ve been so busy looking in places where we expect to find them, instead of allowing God to direct us where He knows we can find them.
We may be struggling with a huge question in our life, such as “Where is my blessing?”, “Why am I going through this?”, or “What is my purpose?”. But the answer may not be in a place we would expect it to be. In fact, more often than not, it’s already available nearby, just waiting for us to notice it. Sometimes we don’t see the things right in front of us because it’s something common in our lives. We can’t see, hear, or experience it because we’ve grown accustomed to it. But if we were to see what God has laid out in front of us, and pour ourselves into what is already available to us, God will move mountains and our questions will become answers. Answers we’ve already had, but didn’t even realize it! Those who serve the Lord are those who already know.
Whatever answers we are looking for in our lives, we must begin looking for them. They’re so close that we will miss it if we aren’t actively looking for them. We must stop waiting for something special to come along that will be “the sign” we’ve been looking for. The sign may likely be something normal, something we see daily and don’t even notice anymore – because it is so common. You see, the Lord already knows what we’ve been praying for and what we’ve been waiting on Him to show us. That’s why lengthy prayers are unneeded. He already knows what we’re going through and what our loved ones are going through. All we need to do is have faith. Faith is a substance of what is hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Faith is what enables God to move mountains in our lives. We must activate faith.
So many times we can get caught up in seeking advice from others instead of God. Sometimes it is good to reach out to the people in your community, but there are also times when the only one we need to reach out to is The One. The Almighty. The Savior. The Prince of Peace. THE LORD. You see, everyone is running low on something. We may not realize this while we are in the midst of it, but when we are continually going to someone with our issues, we are unknowingly draining them of what little they have. It is impossible for us to know when someone is running low, because so many of us tend to cover up our low or empty cups. That is why it is so important to take our requests to the Lord first. He will fill our cup so that we can have in abundance, which we can then pour into others! Flip the flow – instead of taking from others, let’s GIVE to others. The only way we can do that is to let the Lord overflow our cups with His knowledge, peace, patience, understanding, and so on…
Every need in our lives is pointing us to a deeper place of _______ (love, contentment, peace, joy, etc.)! Some of us need God to do something right now. The good news is, HE WILL! All we need to do is start moving in faith. In turn, He will make moves in our lives. We will begin to see the signs, the blessings, the answered prayers. His timing is based on our faith in Him! You can live for God wherever you are,right now! Flip the flow – if you would do what you know, you would know what to do!
We are so addicted to knowledge, but the funny thing is – we already know! However, it is not in the knowing, it is in the doing that provides results. Put your knowledge into action. We need to stop piling knowledge on top of knowledge, because it will do no good if we aren’t using the knowledge we already have! Make time for what is important. Stop saying “yes” to everything else and start saying “yes” to what God has told us to do! You see, we spend so much time pointing to what is not there, that we miss what is there! Flip the flow. God didn’t let it run out because we aren’t worth it, He let it run out because He has something greater for us! What is against you is not greater than what is in you. God already knows what is against you and what is in you. He knows everything. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28
In closing, I wanted to let you know the most important take away from this message from Pastor Steven Furtick. “You may not run out of wine, but if you know The One who provided the wine in the first place, you will never be without.” He will always provide. All we need is to have faith and leave the rest up to Him. It is impossible to run out of anything good when we fill ourselves with faith in The One who created good. “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14
Someone I don’t even know randomly sent this to me on LinkedIn as a congratulations on my new career.
Clinging to this promise has gotten me through one of the toughest seasons of my life, and this is confirmation the Lord has been listening to my prayers. I am grateful for my struggles. I am grateful for my trials, because they give me the strength to bounce back so much quicker than before. I am grateful for life. I am grateful for happiness, and the discovery that the outcome of my life is solely my choice. Nobody else’s. Mine. I am grateful that I’m choosing life, and life in abundance.
Have you ever had a narrative in your mind, you know, the one you tell yourself about how your life should turn out? The one that’s full of a sense of just getting by, passing through, and essentially keeping everything as normal as possible. Your safe place, where nothing is difficult and everything is perfectly aligned. A place you created in your mind to keep it at ease, where you’re allowed to dictate everything and make decisions that always have the best possible outcome. You can avoid all situations that don’t appear or feel good, as if they were never there in the first place.
Everyone you encounter welcomes you with a heartwarming smile. Each person keeps their promises. Life is captivating. The winning cards are in your hands at all times. There is peace everywhere you go. A blissful soundtrack plays in the background of your never-ending happy medium.
Okay, so maybe your version is a little different, but you get the picture. No one really wants to have their lives already written out for them. Yes, of course, I want to have a sense of assurance that what I’m doing and the route I’m taking is right. But we live in a world full of inconsistency, where we have no control over what is to be or not to be. I constantly find myself frantically trying to meet normal halfway in the middle. Reaching out to grasp the story I’ve played on repeat in my mind – you know, the Instagram feed of someone else’s happily ever after – only to find it’s just out of my reach.
Well, first of all, this is real life – not a fairy tale. And most of the pictures you see on social media are only the highlights of other broken people’s lives. Don’t get me wrong, we all have fairy tale moments and a happy ending here and there, but everything of this world is fleeting – it will not last. So why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to make everything perfect? I mean, I take photos on repeat until one is taken that I actually like the way I look in it. I bet you already knew that, though. When I look at myself, all I can see are my flaws. But God sees his fearfully and wonderfully made daughter. His precious diamond in the rough.
But then… I say I trust God, all the while working my fingers to the bone until I find myself in a puddle of emotions – usually because I’m still trying to control every outcome of my life. I tend to praise God when my normal looks how I thought it would and question Him when it doesn’t. I have even blamed him for the dismantled life I have laid out in front of me right now. Do you know why? Because I consistently have premeditated expectations of what God should do, only to find myself let down over and over again when things turn out completely opposite than I had anticipated. Then He whispers to me that I was not meant to control my life, I was simply meant to live it.
Over the last few years, I’ve ran from heartbreak after heartbreak in my marriage, my career, my family, my health, my friends, my faith… My life is not at all how I pictured it would be right now. You may be in a similar situation, where you were expecting to be somewhere completely different than you currently are. But God has a bigger plan then we can see, a bigger plan than we could ever imagine.
So I continue to hold on. Because I still have hope in the fact that although I can’t predict my future, I can have faith that I will be okay. Better than okay, and always better than normal. I know this because we were never meant to settle for normal. We were meant to be loved, whole, and free!
Whether we like to admit it or not, everyone wants their heart to be full. Well, the Author of the story of our hearts wants to live within the core of our souls just as much as we want it to be full. That is how I know there is far more to all of this than anything normal could ever bring. Plus, normal is boring, frustrating, and full of heartache and pain. Normal is not real, it is simply a story. A story so many of us have conjured up in our minds. A story of perfection and normality intertwined together as one. A story that could never be anything more than fiction. So I’ve chosen to let go of my stories and let God finish this one out.
So, what does your ‘normal’ look like? Is it helping you grow closer to God and live a peaceful life, or is it hindering all that is planned for you? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.
Have you ever felt as if nothing ever goes right, like someone follows you around all day making sure nothing good happens? I’ve spent several years feeling inadequate, unworthy, unloved… you know, any bad feeling I could have towards myself and others. Well, since I was never good enough, nothing else was good enough for me.
My poor husband has put up with a bitter, hostile, and negative wife for way longer than anyone should ever have to. But being the amazing man that he is, he chose to never give up on me. You see, he knows the real Tricia. The Tricia that would travel across the world to help the people she loves. The Tricia that brightened up the room anytime she walked in. The Tricia that chose to see the positive in the most negative situations. But somewhere along the line, I began choosing to see the darkness instead of the light.
I can’t tell you exactly why, nor when I took a turn down the wrong road. But it was that same road I’ve travelled down time and time again. The road that has deep, dark potholes that I always fall into. I’m talking about the potholes that seem nearly impossible to climb out of, even if you have the strength to try.
I was defeated. Lost inside a nightmare that I couldn’t seem to wake up from. There were many days that I would waste, sleeping for 14-20 hours straight. All of this simply because I did not want to continue doing life. I was extremely unhappy, and my therapist couldn’t seem to fix it this time.
Then God stepped in and pointed out that I am choosing to feel this way. It is literally my decision to be hiding in a miserably dark place, or brilliantly lighting up the room. I’ve heard this, or something similar, many times before. I mean, I’ve even said something like this to someone else! And I’m sure you’ve heard it too. But I haven’t actually heard it and wanted to make a change until recently.
As you may have read in my past blogs, there have been many changes in my life over the past several months. I have taken these life changing events and turned them away from the negativity and shed light on them to be resolved. I have accepted them for what they are, instead of shoving them away until I am wallowing in self-pity because that’s seems easier. Yes, I just admitted that I am weak. But where I am weak, He is strong. He can and will bring me out of my dispair and everything will be good. I will feel good. I will walk higher and talk better. I will look good. All the good things will become reality, for anyone. If it is spoken, it will be.
2019 is right around the corner. Can you believe it? Another year gone. Did you accomplish everything, or at least anything, you had planned to? I, personally, accomplished a few things I wanted to, but there are a lot of things I did not.
Instead of being bitter about this, I have decided to reflect on the things I did and did not start or complete in 2018. After reflecting on those things, I will begin planning my goals for 2019. This objective will not be a “new year, new me”, or a New Years resolution. This will be a conscious decision to look over 2018 and how to move forward in 2019.
Have you made time to reflect on the past year and set any goals? If so, please share them in the comments section!