Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Joy Set Before You

We know the purpose of taking tests and exams but we still don't like them.  We still wish there was another way to pass besides actually taking the test. We know they are necessary if we are going to receive promotions, graduations, diplomas and degrees. But most people could do without them if it were possible.
It's the same way with the seasons of testing we have to endure in our walk with God. We know they are coming. We even know when we are being prepared for them. But when they start, we really want them to stop immediately. But just as we have to submit to the process of testing in order to get whatever certification we want in the natural, we have to submit to God’s way of preparing us, certifying, perfecting us, for the purposes we have to fulfill in our lives and ministries.
We are all called and appointed to do something and like it or not, there are seasons of testing in which we prove what we have been shouting about, what we have told others that God said to us.
Nobody wants to repeat a grade or class.  As uncomfortable as it is, we really would rather just do what we have to do, and learn what we need to learn so we can move on to the greater.  Let’s do the same thing with the seasons of testing that we have to endure as Christians. Even Christ had to have endurance. He despised the cross but He focused on the joy that was set before Him, on the other side of the cross. There is joy on the other side of the cross you are bearing right now.  Hold on. Submit to the process. Joy is coming!

Friday, March 7, 2014


DISTRACTIONS can be deadly in more ways than one. They can get you killed physically, or get you off track and kill your God-given opportunities. They appear so real, and the feelings are often so strong that you believe it's true, even though you can't explain it.  I suppose then that a rule of thumb should be, if you can't explain it, question it whether or not it's coming from God, for He is not the author of confusion.  Even when God is leading you in a path that you can't understand, there is still, always and element of peace working, holding you together.  When you can't sense that peace, you should know that you are dealing with an enemy of distraction and you need to shake yourself loose from it and get back on track. 

Whatever you do, DO NOT walk away from anything you're doing in the kingdom when you're "feeling" this way. You're steps away from forfeiting all God has planned for your very near future. Even if you step out of line for a moment, it can be a moment that will cost you what God has been preparing you for and you for it. As close as some of us are to our next breakthrough, the smallest of decisions can wreck our whole future. I know that you don't want to experience that any more than I do!  I really do want ALL that God has for me and I know you do too.

Spirits of frustration and distraction usually have us focus on all the times we were let down in the past.  We tend to linger in the hurt and return to it because we have not yet found a new place of comfort in God. We revert back to the comfort of the painfully familiar and as soon as or very soon after we revert back, we realize that we've been duped...again!  How and why does this keep happening?!  The same types of relationships, the same bouts of depression, the same feeling of being overwhelmed and feeling helpless. While some of you are reading this, you're recognizing some of the same old same old battles you fight from time to time, aren't you?


Do you struggle with always feeling like you're just outside of everything good that is happening?  Do you find yourself always just a couple of steps behind the blessing?  Do you notice or feel like you're always getting to an open door just as it is closing in your face? Do you feel like you're always right within arm's reach, always within close range, but never quite close enough...only close enough to see others, one by one, grab hold of everything you knew was there, and thought for sure was yours too? Do you constantly find yourself asking the question, "Why does this keep happening to me?" or "Lord, what's wrong with me?"  Do you find yourself having the conversation in your head and saying, "They're no better than I am", or even, "They're not even as good as I am!", but for some reason, they are there, and here you are with your questions?  Do you often find yourself toggling between realizing the greatness inside of you, and feeling inadequate and unnoticed. Do you grapple with commitment and follow through?


It's time to take down this giant.  I will call it a giant bug, when it's upon you, it feels so much larger than you and seems to overwhelm you, and it can do an enormous amount of damage, but in actuality, it is nothing but a bug that should be squashed under your foot.
Think back to the times when you felt so close to something big, good, great...and then what happened next?  The next thing that happened was that you found yourself wondering, "What in the world happened? I was so close, I could feel it, taste it". That's the next thing you remember but it's not the next thing that actually happened. What actually happened next was, you got distracted, and then you found yourself with those questions.

Many of us have lived with so much negativity for so long that it's as normal to us as breathing.  We don't even think about it, and we only really notice it when it is troubled or interrupted in some way. It's the same when we speak negatively or when we fall time after time into the trap of distractions. We must become as passionate about fulfilling our purpose as we are about breathing. We need to become so sensitive to anything that interrupts our chasing of our dreams and visions that we recognize it as soon as it rears it's ugly head, not after the damage is done. If you inhale something that makes you ill, or cuts off your air; if you find yourself in a closed in place that causes you to panic and struggle to breathe, your immediate goal is to get away from it, or out of it, and never go anywhere near it again.  But with distractions, we don't recognize them for what they are so we fall again and again into the same ditches and traps and we continue the cycle of defeat. How pathetic we must look to some people who believe that we have so much more to offer than they do, but unlike them, we lack focus, and the ability to see a distraction for what it really is.

Your distractions may be very different from mine.  We all have to do this soul searching on a personal level.  We all have to take the time to slow down, and open our hearts up to the Spirit of God so that He can begin to point this enemy out to us in our own lives. There is so much empowerment in knowledge. Begin to pray now and ask the Teacher to teach you how to identify the distractions that keep backing you into corners, stopping you in your tracks, beating you to the punch, and down to your knees in defeat.  Ask Him to shine the light of His truth on it and point it out, so that you can see it for what it is, and kick it out once and for all. Ask Him to help you to get your ears unclogged so that you may be able to hear His voice teaching you over the voice of your enemy telling you everything you can't or won't do or be. 

We all know that the devil is a lie. The problem is we don't always recognize his voice when he's talking so we take ownership of his lies, believing them to be the truth. But the cycle can stop and with the help of God, it will stop!  Agree with me that it stops today! Agree with God that it is not your destiny to live your life just outside of all He has promised to you and is preparing your for. Declare that you will possess all and walk in all that you have been called to possess, and walk in. You will become who you really are!  The things you have suffered and endured were not for nothing. There is a reward, a breakthrough, a promotion with your name on it and you will not be distracted into missing out on the fulfillment of God's promise over your life!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Shut Down Before You Shut Down

It's fine when you can run and run and go and go without even thinking about it...but one thing about the body, the heart, the soul of you, when it gets tired, it's going to get the rest it needs one way or the other, with or without your willing participation. Running the streets ain't cute. It's setting you up for a shut-down. Between work, household, family, church, and everything in between, your life can feel so full. But then one day out of the blue, full begins to feel empty. Adrenaline can switch over to exhaustion and fatigue. If what you've done up until that point had nothing much to do with true purpose, you will need some help navigating through what you will experience at that time or you will find yourself battling a different level of depression than you ever imagined. 
I don't care if it's ministry, motherhood, marriage, entrepreneurship or whatever, the most precious commodity in all of it, the most important person, the most valuable asset, is YOU.

There will come a day when your body will send a simple message to you, "Either you lay down, or I'll shut down". That message will ring so loudly and so clearly that you may wonder if someone else hears it. Most people won't notice and even when you make the decision to shut some things down yourself, it will look to others more like a breakdown than a shut down. But if you don't shut down, a breakdown in inevitable. Your gifts won't matter, Money won't matter. As much as you need one, a job won't matter. What people are expecting of you won't matter. All that will matter to you is avoiding what you feel in your soul and body about to happen, that is scaring the crap out of you, not to mention you don't feel you have to tools or ability to stop, change or fix it, but you know you have to do it.

Maybe personality types play a major role in what I'm talking about. They probably do. So for some, these words mean nothing, but for others it can mean saving you a lot of difficulty as you go through the next few seasons, or this season you're in now.

If you are one who knows how to stop everything and take care of YOU, I beg you, don't ever stop. If you are one who has never really done this but have always found yourself trying to please, appease, or live up to others' expectations, this will be a challenge for you. As much as you need it, it won't come easy, but it is absolutely necessary for you to learn. It will be like finally, in the middle of your life, (which is probably more like the last third or quarter of your life depending on when you die, and none of us knows that day) coming into your own.

There are some things that you will have to overcome when you try to get back to yourself.  There is a guilt that emerges at the very thought of you saying, "I'm not going to be able to do that", or "I don't want to do that", or "I've changed my mind about that".  You literally feel like you're committing a sin or treating someone unfairly when you think in the direction of putting yourself first. People have come to depend on your predictability. Yours is one of the faces that they can count on seeing. They may be clueless to the fact that you yearn for so much more than just being there for them or others. But then again, it's your job, not theirs for you to fulfill the true desires of your heart and God's heart for you. It's not their job, but yours to stop breaking promises to yourself about the things you are going to do by this time next year, or next week, or next month or for your next birthday. It's your job to shut it down, before it shuts you down. If you shut it down, you may or may not ruffle a few feathers but if you wait too late, not only will your body begin to shut down, but you will find yourself being shut down, or shut out by others, because you're no good to anybody, like this.

So please, stop everything. Do absolutely nothing or do something that you want to do just for you. If you can't afford a mani/pedi, take an extra long soak in the tub, or soak your feet in a small tub of hot water. Play some relaxing music, or play some of your old favorites and dance like you used to, or like you do now. :-) Find some real fulfillment in doing what your soul is begging you to do, write, paint, draw, sing, pull out the business idea and start working on it again. Many of us are exhausted not from working, but from being drained from working on everything except purpose. This is where you get to be completely selfish, and it's completely okay. Find your life. Find yourself again. You haven't gone anywhere. You're still in there. That cry in your heart, is you crying out, to be allowed to come out. The pain you feel in your soul is birth pains. You are trying to give birth to the real you. Do what you have to do to get you out.