Co-Parenting With Christ: "For the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you" ~ Deuteronomy 31:5-7


Uplifting, inspiring, and encouraging single mothers to embrace and enjoy the journey of single parenthood.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Beauty Is As Beauty Does

But the LORD told him, "Samuel, don't think Eliab is the one just because he's tall and handsome. He isn't the one I've chosen. People judge others by what they look like, but I judge people by what is in their hearts.” ~ 1 Samuel 16:7 (CEV)

This morning I read a devotional titled, “What We See in Each Other”. The devotional highlighted the parable of the Lord choosing David to be King (1 Samuel 16). It really resonated with me and made me think about something my wise grandmother used to say, “Beauty is as beauty does”. This saying simplifies the reality that beauty should not be determined not by how we look but rather by what we do. What do our actions say about our heart?

As single women, we often wonder, “Where are all the good men”? Statistics say that they are either in jail, dead, homosexual, or they don't meet the criteria; tall, dark, and handsome with a chiseled six-pack. But statistics and often our desires are driven by social norms not spiritual truths. I believe there are available good men out there, but more often than not we tend to look for someone who appeals to our eyes, not someone who appeals to our heart.

We should use the same criteria to choose our King that the Lord used to choose King David. The scripture clearly points out that physical attributes (tall and handsome) weren’t enough to qualify to be chosen as King, it was the heart that mattered most. Samuel assumed that David’s older brother Eliab was the chosen one. Notice in the scripture the Lord says, “He isn’t the one I’ve chosen”. On the contrary, God chose David. David was actually small in stature but had a heart for God and because of that he was destined to accomplish great things.

As a Christian women, we should first examine our heart and our intentions. Then we should examine the heart and intentions of the men that come into our lives and ask the questions, “Do they have a heart for God?” and “Do their actions line up with the Word of God?” If not, that may be a pretty good indication that they are not who God has chosen to be King in our lives.

You see God knew the challenge that was to come for the new King. He knew that out of all of David’s brothers, he was the one who could accomplish what needed to be accomplished. God sees the entire picture. Just like in parable, God knows what we need, when we need it, before we ever know that we need it. So when he chooses our King, His selection will be based on the role that he will need the person play in our lives today, tomorrow, and in the years ahead.

“God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose.” ~ Revelation 17:17 (NIRV)

So don’t believe the hype, there are good men out there that are fit to be King. As Believers, we have to know that there are good men out there, in spite of what the world says. We also have to be open and willing to accept that the man for us may not come in the image that we imagine or the package we prefer. External beauty is one-dimensional, shallow, and limited in its impact; it is what it is. Internal beauty is multi-dimensional, deep, and unlimited in its potential; it is all that you need it to be.

Remember you are not alone.

Embrace and enjoy the journey...

God Bless!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Who Says A Good Man Is Hard To Find?

"Seek your happiness in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” ~ Psalm 37:4 (GNT)

I believe much of what God puts on my heart to write about is universal and can apply to anyone, male or female, married or single. But as a single mother, I am a passionate about helping other single mothers and believe it is part of my purpose to share some of what I have learned on my journey. Dating is something that has taken a back seat to raising my children. But now that they are older I am giving more thought to what being in a relationship is all about. So in today’s post I would like to recommend a book for single women that desire a relationship or someone that may be in a relationship but may not be sure if he is “The One”. The book is titled, “A Good Man is Hard to Find: Unless You Ask God to Be Head of Your Search Committee”, by Jo Lynne Pool.

The author writes about how women often focus on what they want in a man, not what they need. When I read the book, it made me think about the recruitment and hiring process at work. Our Recruiters are the head of the search committee. When searching for candidates, the Recruiters ask the hiring manager what they are looking for in a candidate. More specifically what are the “must haves” and “nice to haves”. It’s a simple strategy of “needs versus wants”. After pulling together a list of qualified candidates, the candidate that possesses most of what the hiring manager needs (must haves) is usually selected because needs typically trump wants. Sometimes they are lucky and get some of what they want (nice to haves) as icing on the cake.

Perhaps the old adage, “A good man is hard to find”, is only true because we haven’t executed the right strategy. We haven’t put the right "Recruiter" in charge of finding qualified candidates to fill this critical position in our lives.

An excerpt of the book reads: “God has mandated that he meet your basic needs. Unfortunately, this does not include your whims, fleeting desires, or fantasies. Sure it might be nice if he could be tall, smart, and handsome; buy you a nice big house; and gratify your urge to “shop til you drop”. However these pleasant attributes are not enough to make you happy with him over the long haul because they do not reflect your true needs.” Jo Lynne Pool goes on to write, “God will supply all your needs. When you truly need a husband, not just a sex partner or a friend, then He is faithful and prompt to supply all your needs. But your need, the sincere desire of your heart, must be there first. God answers prayers and meets needs. The need in your life for a husband must never be targeted as a need for a specific man. Instead of targeting a specific guy, leave that part up to the Lord. He already has the right man in mind for you. So let Him handle it.”

Scripture says that God will give us the desires of our heart however it is often misinterpreted that God will give us what we want. What we need tends to be internal (character qualities) while our wants are found externally (physical qualities). Matters of the heart are not external or on the surface level, they are much deeper. What your heart sincerely needs may not be visible, tangible, or easily recognizable, much like God. But as we really get to know God, we will better understand the difference between our needs and our wants. As we learn to follow His lead we will develop a heart like His. Then and only then will we know what we really need to fulfill His purpose for relationship and marriage.

“A Good Man Is Hard To Find: Unless You Ask God to Be Head of Your Search Committee” was a good read and an even better reference guide. I found it to be very insightful. It brought some clarity to what God has in mind for each and every one of us if we just let Him handle it. I kind of like the idea of getting my needs over my wants. I think I would enjoy cake without icing much more than I would icing without cake. I'm just saying...

Remember you are not alone.

Embrace and enjoy the journey...

God Bless!

Monday, November 21, 2011

In Tithing We Trust

“Make an offering of ten percent, a tithe, of all the produce which grows in your fields year after year. Bring this into the Presence of God, your God, at the place he designates for worship.” ~ Deuteronomy 14:22 (MSG)

Throughout my journey to understand what it truly means to be a Christian, I have struggled with the concept of tithing. I have attended many churches of different religions that offer various teaching on tithing and what is required. After reading, studying, and some discussion with other Believers, I can honestly say that today I understand the purpose of tithing better than I ever have before.

Though the concept is clear, like many, I tend to err on the side of caution and try to do all I can with all that I have; the reality is it is still never enough and never will be. It is never enough because I am trying to all that I can instead of allowing God to do all He can. When we tithe, we trust.

Many of us get caught up in skepticism about what the church is doing with our tithe. That is not to be our worry. God will deal with those that have not been good stewards with what He has given them authority over. That includes us. We are also to be good stewards with the resources that we are given authority over. So before judging the man (or woman) in the pulpit, we should look at the man (or woman) in the mirror. How can we be better stewards?

On a side note, if you question what your church is doing with the money they receive from their members, you might want to re-evaluate why you joined that church in the first place? It might be time to find a new storehouse for you to worship and tithe.

I view tithing as part of the supernatural experience of being a Believer that allows us to “give” back to God, what He has already blessed us with. We may not be able to “see” exactly where our money is going; similarly we can’t “see” God, but when we lift our hands and hearts to Him in prayer we trust and believe that He can see us, hear us, and will answer us. Our relationship with God in both prayer and tithing is about trusting and believing in something greater than our human minds can truly comprehend.

Why the first 10 percent of our income? The definition of the word Tithe is: to give a tenth of. So it isn’t a number that unethical church leaders came up with. The theory has been in existence well before the 12th century and is mentioned throughout the bible, beginning with the book of Genesis. Some church leaders may put more emphasis on tithing than others, but our responsibility is to God not the church leaders. We should study the Word for ourselves and know what God expects of us as Believers.

More important than the amount of your tithe, I believe is the order that you place your tithe in relationship to everything else you spend your money on. God wants to be first in every area of our lives; not second, or third to our rent or car payment which you wouldn’t have if it weren’t for His provision.

Setting aside your tithe before you pay anything else demonstrates your obedience and trust in Him. This act of faith shows that you trust Him and believe that you have enough to do what needs to be done. When you rely on God, He will supply what you need. Not your wants, but your needs.

As a single parent, I have always felt like I didn’t have enough money left-over to tithe. That was part of my problem. I was trying to find something to give God after I had already used what He had given me. He really doesn’t want our left-over. He wants us to put Him first. But if I take it from the top, then the question becomes will I have enough to cover my expenses. Well that sounds like doubt and fear. There is no place for doubt and fear if I have faith, they can’t occupy the same space at the same time. So the real question when it comes to tithing is: Do I have faith and trust in God?

So if you are anything like me, always robbing Peter to pay Paul or Priscilla to pay Patty - whatever cliche' you've given to living from paycheck to paycheck, it might be a good idea to re-examine what position we are placing God in our finances. Chances are we are trying to force a dollar out of fifteen cents instead of letting God be God and supernaturally turn our fifteen cents into a dollar. We have to fully surrender to Him. I know this is easier said than done. Like many of you, I am a “Seeking Christian”, learning how to become more like Christ in obedience, trust, and faith. Will you join me on the journey? We can help each other learn along the way!

Remember you are not alone.

Embrace and enjoy the journey.

God Bless!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Simplicity in the Power of Prayer

“…For your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” ~ Matthew 6:8 (NIV)

The subject of prayer is often one of great debate. Should prayers be long or should they be short? Are prayers better if they are scripted or free-styled? Are they better answered if they are specific or left to interpretation? The list of questions could go on. The concept of prayer varies according to religious practices and individual beliefs. After much study, research, and conversation, I have come to realize that the art of prayer is far less complicated than many of us imagine. Once we truly understand that this life we are blessed to live each day really isn’t about us, but ALL about Him, we will begin to recognize the simplicity in the power of prayer.

Why should we pray anyway? God instructs us too.

"Don't worry about anything. Instead, tell God about everything. Ask and pray. And Give thanks to Him." ~ Philiplians 4:6 (NIRV)

“Be full of joy all the time. Never stop praying. In everything give thanks. This is what God wants you to do because of Christ Jesus. Do not try to stop the work of the Holy Spirit.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16 - 19 (NLV)

As I’ve learned more about the work of the Holy Spirit, I have learned that we should be careful not to pray controlling prayers that could ultimately contradict God’s will for our lives. While this may be easier said than done, it is important to realize that God’s will is going to be done no matter how fervently we may pray against it. When we pray for God to remove certain things or people from our lives, or not allow certain things to happen to us or those that we love, we are essentially making an attempt at imposing the outcomes we desire on God. It may be that very person or situation that is part of His divine plan, His will for your life.

When we try to control an outcome through prayer, it is almost like looking through your life through a peep hole, contemplating if you want to open the door and welcome what is on the other side or not. You are operating in the fear of "what if?". When we submit to God's will, we open the door without hesitation to "what is", welcoming the circumstances of your life in faith.

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” ~ I Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV)

Joyce Meyer has said that, “We often pray for God to change our circumstances, when God actually uses are circumstances to change us.” I also believe that God uses our circumstances to change others around us. The people in our lives are often the best teachers, not the just ones we encounter in classrooms. It is through other's circumstances that we are often the most inspired and encouraged.

As believers we are to trust God and not rely on human logic or understanding.

“ For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither your ways my ways, declares the Lord.” ~ Isaiah 55:8 (ESV)

“We know that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are chosen to be a part of His plan.” ~ Romans 8:28 (NLV)

It is often said that prayer changes things, but I believe something even more powerful happens when prayer changes our perception of things.

“Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel.” ~ Phillipians 4:7 (CEV)

How do we pray anway? While there is no one way to pray, it can be as as easy as 1, 2, 3:

1. Praise: praying is more about giving to God than asking God to give.

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!” ~ Psalm 150:6 (ESV)

2. Release: once you let go and let God, do not take it back – leave it at the alter.

“God cares for you so turn all your worries to him” ~ I Peter 5:7 (CEV)

3. Accept: have faith and believe that the outcome is part of God’s plan.

“My Father, if this must happen to me, may whatever You want be done.” ~ Matthew 6:42 (NLV)

Now, that WAS easy. As we seek the Kingdom of God, and learn more about the Word of God we also learn that our prayers should not intend to change things but rather to ask God for help in changing our perception of things by giving us the peace and serenity to accept His will for our lives.

A simple prayer can be as complete as any other as long as it is an expression of appreciation, supplication, surrender, and total submission; asking God for nothing more than a renewed perspective, a sense of peace, and the power to persevere in His purpose.

Remember you are not alone...

Enjoy and embrace the journey!

God Bless!

Friday, November 11, 2011

We Are All Called To Serve

“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” ~ 1 Peter 4:10 (NLT)

Today we observe Veteran’s Day in honor, remembrance, and recognition of the military veterans both living and dead that have served this great country. It is because of their hard work, dedication, and sacrifice that we enjoy and maintain our freedom as citizens of the United States. Though many of us have chosen not to enlist in the armed forces, we are not exempt from service. In fact, God calls each and every one of us to serve one another.

To prepare and equip us for a life of service, God has given each of us gifts. The challenge often times is figuring out what our gift(s) are.

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to 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 12:3 -8 (TNIV)

So how do you discover your spiritual gifts so that you may serve others?

1. Follow your heart: Look for areas which you feel most fulfilled.
2. What are you good at?: Look for areas which you seem to be the most effective.
3. What do people always ask you to do?: Look for those areas in which others affirm your abilities.
4. Pray about it: “Ask, and what you are asking for will be given to you. Look, and what you are looking for you will find. Knock, and the door you are knocking on will be opened to you.” ~ Matthew 7:7 (NLV)

Martin Luther King once said, "Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve.... You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

Reach into your soul. Stir up your gifts. Discover your passion. Find your purpose. Let God use you to be of service. If you are looking for ways to serve or give back visit There is always something we can do to help others. How will you be of service today?

Remember you are not alone.

Embrace and enjoy the journey...

God Bless!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Trusting God With Your Children

"Children, you belong to God…” ~ 1 John 4:4

The day that my young adult son moved out and left the nest, I really began to understand what it means to trust God with your children. For the first time, I no longer had direct influence on his day to day decisions and actions. Someone asked me if I cried the night he moved out, even to my surprise, I did not. I actually had a sense of peace and slept like a baby because I knew, understood, and accepted that this was a necessary part of his journey towards figuring out his purpose in life.

The high school experience definitely had its challenges for both of us. It took a lot of prayer and support from friends and family to get through some really difficult times, but God saw us through. Often times I would pray, and ask God to prevent him from experiencing certain things or from getting close to certain people. But as each year passed, I realized more and more that this was his life and his journey no matter what big plans I envisioned for his future. Who am I to decide what he should or should not experience on his path to self discovery?

Recently, I read a great book by Iris Delgado titled, “Satan, You Can’t Have My Children.” The author writes about the importance of covering our children in prayer but advises that, "Parents should avoid controlling prayers. Controlling prayers start by focusing on the negative and by asking God to change, sever, transform, stop, bind, and remove. They tend to bring upon the person a burden of guild and condemnation. Instead, we should thank God for our children and His awesome plan for their lives." She also notes, "when she sees a relationship develop that she feels in her spirit is not in God’s will for her children, she immediately enters into God’s presence, and thanks Him for his perfect plan for them." She encourages us to, "pray in faith and trust God to intervene in their lives." She challenges us, "Do not be moved by what we see, hear, or feel. Confess and declare all of those good things that we expect to see manifest in our children’s lives. Allow God to be God."

We often try to prevent our children from experiencing certain hurts, failures, and disappointments. But it may be the very experience that we are trying to prevent that is very necessary for our children to become who God has ultimately called them to become. Our children are not our own. They belong to God. As parents, we are on assignment. Our assignment is to raise them according to His word and release them.

“Bring up a child by teaching him the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn away from it” ~ Proverbs 22:6 (NLV)

This doesn’t mean we stop parenting at some point. The parent-child covenant is never-ending. They will always need our support and encouragement. However, once our children become teenagers and begin making decisions for themselves, we begin to lose our starring roles in the story of their lives. It will be their life experiences that determine the theme, the plot, story structure, characters, setting, style, and tone of their story. At some point we will only be in limited scenes in the role of supporting cast. Later, we may even become Extra’s making cameo appearances as needed. Eventually, we might simply take a front row seat in the theater with our popcorn and become mere spectators, watching their story unfold and reveling in the beauty of all that God has done with and through our children.

Learn to truly trust God with your children. Trust that He has a perfect plan for them, just as He has for each and every one of us. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is also your God and your children's God. He is a promise keeper. We just have to trust Him.

Remember you are not alone.

Embrace and enjoy the journey...

God Bless!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Be Released From Financial Bondage

This morning I watched a sermon given by Kerry Shook on TBN about financial bondage. He offered 3 principles to apply that will help us free ourselves from financial bondage. This sermon really ministered to me. As a single mother, money management has always been a source of frustration for me. It seems like I never have enough money to cover all that I am responsible for. So I thought I’d share what I learned, with the hopes that we all can learn how to manage our money and resources better and release the shackles that bind us…one at a time.

Principle #1: Govern your money; do not let your money govern you.

Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it.” ~ Genesis 1:28 (NLT)

God gave us dominion over ALL things in the earth, including our finances and resources and He instructed us to govern them; to control and exercise continuous sovereign authority over them. We establish dominion and control over our money by staying in balance and making constant adjustments to maintain that balance. We also need to consider our income and outgo. If we are always in the red at the end of the month, we either need to increase our earnings or decrease our spending. We can’t be in balance financially if we are spending more than we earn.

Principle #2: Simplify and you’ll be more satisfied.

“He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.” ~ John 15:2 (NLT)

“Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?” ~ Isaiah 55:2 (NIV)

As we work at balancing our budget, we should consider eliminating the things that we spend our money on that does not “produce fruit” or add true value to our lives. Essentially these are the things that offer a low return on investment. Instead we should invest more in or “prune” the areas that are fruit bearing or adding value so that we may experience maximum return on investment.

Principle #3: Honor God in your giving, saving, and spending.

“Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first and best part of all your income. Then your barns will be full, and your vats will overflow with fresh wine” ~ Proverbs 3:9-10 (GW)

“Some people give freely and gain more; others refuse to give and end up with less.” Proverbs 11:24 (ERV)

Kerry Shook advised that we should, “Give God the first 10% back, not the leftovers. If God is not in first place in our finances we are not honoring God. Honor God in everything we do, our spending, saving, giving, budgeting, balancing, and simplifying.”

He went on to say that many of us are possessed by our possessions. If we can’t give something away, then it controls us. We are instructed to hold things loosely.
I know that I have had some expensive consequences as a result of not following the principles outlined above. Life is about sowing seeds and harvesting. By devine design, when you plant one seed today, the harvest will not be immediate, but the harvest will come later and greater. One seed produces plenty. In essence, the consequences from the way we manage our money may not be immediate, but there WILL be consequences eventually and more than likely the implications will be greater than the initial financial decision that we made. A great example of that in financial terms is the concept of principal plus interest.

Today is a great day to examine our finances. Are we are governing our money or allowing our money to govern us?
Click here to download a free Personal Monthly Budget template that we can use to help us balance our finances and make the necessary adjustments. Jesus came that we may have life more abundantly, but we must do our part. Let's exercise our God-given authority and be mindful of the seeds we plant so we harvest more of what really want and need and less of what we don't.

Remember you are not alone.

Embrace and enjoy the journey…

God Bless!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Golden Rule Should Never Be Broken

" So then, whatever you desire that others would do to and for you, even so do also to and for them, for this is (sums up) the Law..” ~ Matthew 7:12 (AMP)

The Golden Rule is a maxim or philosophy that many people use primarily to express how they would like to be treated. How often do we consider The Golden Rule when deciding how we treat others? It is important that this rule not be exercised as a double standard and only applied in certain situations.

I find it interesting that the notion of treating others as you would like to be treated is not only a spiritual principle, it is also scientific. It is a universal law and natural law that will be enforced whether we like it or not. Sir Issac Newton’s Third Law of Motion states that, “To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction”.

Oprah gave a good illustration of this on one of her shows. She recalled a line that Miss Celie said to Mister in the movie The Color Purple – “Everything you done to me already done to you.” When I saw that movie for the first time at 10 years-old, I could not comprehend the magnitude of reciprocity, even as a young adult I did not completely understand and apply it to my life, but thankfully now I fully get it.

After the show aired, a friend and I examined Newton’s Third Law of Motion; and attempted to break it down as it applied to Miss Celie’s line. Here is what we came up with. The exact (equal) energy (negative or positive) that we put out into the universe (thoughts, words, and actions) will come back to us (opposite - of it's intended direction). Imagine the motion of a boomerang.

The two most powerful words in Miss Celie’s line are, “already done”. You see, it is never a matter of if but when. The Law of Motion or reciprocity is already in progress the minute you have a thought, say a word, or take an action.

For those of us that have been mistreated it is human nature to want to see the person that mistreated you suffer. Because of the just God we serve we don't even have to think, say, or do anything to repay someone for what they have done to us. It is already done. Read what God says about revenge and retaliation.

“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”
says the Lord. ~ Romans 12:19 (TNIV)

Scripture does not say it might be written, it has already has been written. His Word is the Truth, so justice will be done, it will just be a matter of time. That, my friend you can take to the bank!

To go a step further, we should consistently abide by The Golden Rule, regardless to how others may be treating us. This doesn’t mean be a doormat and allow people to mistreat you. Sometimes because of reasons beyond our own understanding and control, people may not have a clue how to treat others so we have to teach people how to treat us.

“Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them.” ~ Matthew 7:12 (MSG)

For me, this means do not wait for others to treat you the way you want them to treat you before you decide to do right by them. Take initiative. Lead by example. Often in our relationships we apply The Golden Rule conditionally. God commands us to love one another unconditionally. No excuses. No exceptions.

The Golden Rule should never be broken simply because our future depends upon it. We must always be mindful of our thoughts, words, and actions.

“…You will always harvest what you plant” ~ Galations 6:7 (NLT)

As we go about each and every day in this garden of life, let’s make a conscious effort to plant seeds of love, kindness, patience, consideration, and compassion for others, in return we will harvest the same.

Remember you are not alone.

Enjoy and embrace the journey…

God Bless!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Welcome The Strangers Among Us

“Don’t forget to welcome strangers. By doing that some people have welcomed angels without knowing it.” ~ Hebrews 13:2 (NIRV)

Yesterday my youngest son and stopped by a convenience store to pick up a few things after his basketball game. While walking the aisles we were analyzing the game; what he did well and what he could improve the next game. During the conversation, we were interrupted by an older gentleman whose appearance was a little unkempt. He looked like he could have been a transient and perhaps may have been on drugs at some point in his life. But out of simple courtesy and respect for another human being; regardless of his appearance, I welcomed the interruption.

The gentleman said, “I’m sorry to interrupt, but I couldn’t help hearing your conversation. Do you mind if I give him some advice?” I said, “Sure.” He started by asking my son a question. He said, “What do you think you could have done better in your game today?” My son said, “I should have made my lay-ups, but I thought I was fouled and the referee didn’t call it.” The gentleman said, “That is where you went wrong, he said your main focus should be to make the basket, don’t worry about what other people are doing or not doing.” He asked my son, “What do you want to do when you grow-up?” My son said, “Play professional basketball.” The gentleman said, “When my son was 8 years old, he told me he was going to play in the NBA. Guess what he is doing now? He is number 54 on the Detroit Pistons, Jason Maxiell.” My son’s eyes got bigger than they already are…totally surprised by his comment. The man went on to say, “I always told him to focus on what he needed to be doing at all times and never worry about what the next person is or isn’t doing.” He took his items to the check out and he was gone.

What a great lesson for an 11 year old; what a great lesson for us grown folks as well. Don’t be quick to judge. You never know who God’s messengers are. We should welcome those we don’t know because were are one in God's eyes and they might have a word for us from our Heavenly Father. One things I took away from the strangers message to my son was that we need to mind our own business and stay focused on accomplishing our goals whatever they are, regardless of what the next man or woman may or may not be doing. When we spend unnecessary energy focusing on others we lose momentum and slow down our own progress.

If a total stranger takes time out of their day to share a word of encouragement or wisdom and insight with someone they don’t even know and may never see again they could be an angel in disguise. When we welcome the strangers among us we may be welcoming a blessing from above.

Remember you are not alone.

Embrace and enjoy the journey...

God Bless!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Learn the Lesson or Repeat the Class

“You all have a single teacher, and you are all classmates.” ~ Matthew 23:8 (MSG)

Have you ever wondered why you find yourself repeating the exact same life drama perhaps just with a different cast of characters? You seem to attract the same situations or the same type of people no matter how you try to avoid it. I have had recurring life experiences and often wonder why I keep having the experience. Finally, I had a revelation and realized that even though I managed to get through the experiences, I never actually learned the lesson God had intended for me to learn. And until I get it, really get it, I will keep being held back and forced to repeat the class.

“The Lord is trying to teach the people a lesson; he is trying to make them understand his teachings.” ~ Isaiah 28:9 (NCV)

As Christians, we are called to be Disciples but before we can teach we first need to learn. I believe God uses our life experiences as opportunities to challenge us to seek Him for wisdom, understanding, and instruction so that we can apply it to our lives and then share what we have learned with others.

“By now you should be teachers, but you need someone to teach you again the first lesson…” ~ (NCV)

Unfortunately, as human beings we are so driven by our Ego and what we want that we miss the lesson that God has for us. We have to first learn how to take ourselves out of it and realize that it is not about us. Every day that we are given the gift of life, it is not for our benefit but rather it is another opportunity for us to honor God with the life experiences we are been given. Contrary to what it may seem, even the most challenging situation with the most challenging person is a gift from God. These challenging situations ultimately press us to seek God first. When we finally learn the lesson, with God’s help and pass the class we will receive peace and a passing grade!

“But later, after we have learned our lesson from it, we will enjoy the peace that comes from doing what is right.” ~ Hebrews 12:11 (ERV)

“Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything that we can understand.” ~ Phillipians 4:7 (NLT)

So if it feels like Déjà vu it probably is. More than likely we have been down that same road before. When it feels like we keep passing the same landmarks over and over again, that means it’s time to ask God for help. We need to constantly ask Him what we need to learn so we can move on to the next course.

Remember you are not alone.

Enjoy and embrace the journey...

God Bless!