DON'T RE-INVENT YOURSELF!
Be who you were created to be! Be your authentic self in looks, style, and vernacular! Failure to do so, shows a lack of self awareness and the absence of peace and contentment!
STAY IN YOUR LANE!
Know your strengths!! You will never be successful doing anything you weren't created to do! The quote, "Practice Makes Perfect", only rings true when you have the skill or ability. You can't be what you are not. For example, Don't join the choir if you were not given the ability to sing! You want to be spiritually effective!
HANG AROUND PEOPLE WHO ARE WISER AND SMARTER THAN YOU!
There's nothing worse than to get older, yet, remain stagnate in growth. This will result in telling the same stories from yesteryear with no greater insight. Your ability to draw people, and to empower
them will be hindered.
Always be willing to learn and to expand your thinking. Don't be a 'Stick In The Mud'! If you find that you have out grown your social circle, don't be hesitant or afraid to Move On. Don't hinder yourself from growing simply because you don't want to leave others behind.
Remember, people who want you to stick around and follow them, aren't necessarily growing. Pay attention to see if they are. Some won't like it, or feel comfortable when they see that you want to move on.
REMEMBERING THESE 3 THINGS WILL ESSENTIALLY:
1. Improve your life!
2. Open more doors!
It's amazing to see the variety of things men can do! We admire them and enjoy their abilities. Although they weren't born with the level of talent we see, they had enough of what they needed to develop and become successful with it. How much more is expected of us a believers.
I've read about so many skilled individuals in the bible like:
1. David. Before he became a king and leader in Israel, he was an accomplished musician (on the harp).
2. Dorcas was a seamstress who not only met her own needs, but the needs of those who were less fortunate. The widows were provided for by her skill.
3. The Apostle Paul was a tentmaker. Whenever he needed financial help, he would make and sell tents.
4. In the Old Testament, we read about the virtuous woman. She spun fine threads using a spinner, in order to create rich fabrics. She also had a head for business. She used her skills to help her family.
5. In Exodus 35:25, were various women mentioned who spun threads for the making of fabrics. In verses 27-35 are mentioned men who were engravers, weavers, designers in tapestry, jewel inset, etc...
6. In 1Chronicles 25, David assigned Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthan to head up the music ministry. There were 288 musicians with them. There was also Cheneniah who had the expertise in music production.
God has made sure that each of His children possess enough ability and skill to serve Him well! What have you and I done with what we've been given?
It takes discipline to develop your skill. It takes time, energy, and sometimes getting additional training in order to use it well. Practice makes perfect, but only if you have the ability for what you're doing.
We are responsible, before God, to see to it that when He returns, we have not hid and buried that talent He gave us. We have to have something to show for all the years we've had it.
Keep developing and learning how to best use your skill/skills. Surround yourself with those who do what you do on a higher level. Learn from them. Discipline yourself daily and use your God given abilities. If you don't use it, you will certainly loose it, and there's certainly no glory for God in that!
"But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good." Gen. 50:20
Often, our perspective can be a negative one when it comes to 'Open Doors' vs. 'Closed Doors'. There are different reasons for doors not being open to us. This I know, God always opens the right doors!
Sometimes, God doesn't want us involved in certain things and He allows an obstacle to keep us from being a participant. No one has the power or the authority to stand in the way of your God-given gift when it comes to serving the Lord! It may seem as if there are certain individuals standing in the way of an opportunity, but it is allowed by God to reposition you for what He knows will bring Him honor and glory. Then, there are other times when God stops a person from getting in the way of what He has for you.
When a door closes to you, take it as from the Lord! It wasn't for you! You were built for something else. God isn't always involved in what 'men' do. Things may be orchestrated with God in mind, but He isn't always with individuals or in agreement with what they have signed His name to.
A life that is pleasing to God, will always have open doors to serve Him. You will be able to distinguish His voice from all the other voices, including your own. You can tell when He's in something and when He's not.
A closed door isn't a negative thing. It's a good thing the Lord is in control of which doors we walk through! Whether a closed door comes at church, at home, or the job, know that it is usually from the Lord. He has a purpose and a plan. It's always best to leave closed doors, closed.
Remember, no one can control your spiritual gifting by simply keeping you out of activities, or opportunities. It is God who gave you the gift, He has every date and opportunity on His calendar for it to be used!
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."
1 Thess. 5:11
How would you characterize your relationships? Have you grown spiritually over the past years as a result of them? Have you drawn closer to God as a result?
This is an important question to ask yourself because we need our relationships with others to motivate us to live in a way that pleases God. We are affected emotionally, and spiritually, by the company we keep.
Although we may have our own bibles to read, God has instituted a thing called 'Fellowship'. It is simply engaging with others who share your belief system, and who agree with your lifestyle. As a result, you are able to share the truths and vital conversation that will strengthen your faith in God. If you have ever experienced 'True' fellowship, and the benefits of if, you wouldn't accept anything less.
There is a difference between 'Socializing' and 'Fellowship'. Socializing consists of people getting together and having conversations and exchanges, generally speaking. With Fellowship, there's a different element that takes place that merely socializing can't achieve. Fellowship involves exchange about what's important to God. That type of exchange is powerful, and it can have a life changing affect on those involved.
It is so important that we get from one rung of the ladder to the other. Just imagine, if two or more persons fellowshipped with you during the week, how much momentum you could achieve spiritually. The challenges you're facing or the trials of your faith would be easier to bear up under when you are being edified or built up in the faith. This was God's whole idea. Besides reading our own bibles and praying, we need the additional exchange that brings us into the spotlight with one another in a personal and informal way. Fellowship provides the support and encouragement we need to persevere. It helps to reinforce God's word. It strengthens and lifts us up when we're discouraged.
It is easier to remain in a comfort zone when it comes to relationships and easier to just simply socialize and hang out enjoying the laughter and the fun and ease of it all, but your spiritual life needs and deserves so much more!
So...question your relationships and interactions with others! Don't be afraid to face the truth about where they rank because it's your own well being at stake. You want to be steadily growing and learning and flourishing as a Christian. Without the proper spiritual growth and expansion, you will become stagnate and you won't have anything to offer to others.
"As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he;" Proverbs 23:7
"Our thoughts dictate what we end up with! It is so hard to change one's way of thinking! It's not impossible, but change comes with great difficulty.
I have run into so many people with potential that it isn't funny. They dreamt about doing great things and wished to accomplish them, but the problem came in when the opportunity came to do just that, they gave excuses and reasons why it wasn't the time, or they just weren't ready.
Feelings of inadequacy is natural and normal within the best of us. There is a healthy dose of apprehension allowed, but never settle for what's mediocre, so so, or anything that suggests that you haven't worked hard enough or lacked training and development.
For the person who thinks they can't, absolutely, they can't! For the person who says they won't, undoubtedly, they won't. We are what we think!
There are people who are lonely, by choice, because they think that if they let others into their life and heart, they will get burned or hurt, yet again. The Bible clearly states that he who is friendly, will have many friends! Our doubts and fears will dictate for us what the outcome of our lives will be.
God gives confidence to all who stand in need of it! If we would simply go to Him with our fears, doubts, bad experiences and our lack of wisdom, He will handle the rest for us. He can be trusted. God has a way of changing our way of thinking. That's why it is important to spend time in His written word, the Bible, because it teaches the best way to judge and assess everything within us and around us. The Holy Spirit joins in to teach and to guide us into the real 'Truth' of things.
Does your way of thinking shape and control the outcome of events in your life for the positive or the negative? The way you and I think will certainly impact our lives!
"Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the Lord's house should be built." Haggai 1:2
In the previous blog, I shared that during King Cyrus' reign, he gave permission for the Jews to go back to Jerusalem to rebuild the house of God. Some went back, but many chose to remain in Babylon. Here was the perfect opportunity to return to their home land. It had been 70 years of captivity.
They faced opposition when trying to rebuild. The work ceased for 15-16 years or so, before it resumes. Not all of that time was because of opposition. The remnant of Jews had become complacent and apathetic. Under King Ahasuerus, the work had to cease because he made it law, but when he died, why didn't they resume building? God accused them of being more concerned with fixing their own houses than His house. They continued to offer sacrifices on the altar which supposedly spoke to their 'Holy' position before God, but their heart was unaffected concerning the building of God's house. As a result, God held back His hand of blessing upon them. God tells them, through the Prophet Haggai, to consider their ways!
Opposition will always come to the people of God, but we must be vigilant, always looking for the first minute and opportunity to continue what God has for us to do! The problem comes in when we become apathetic and indifferent.
You and I can call ourselves going to church week after week, and praising God by offering up the sacrifice of praise from our lips, yet not honor Him in what He has called us to do. This is unacceptable to God. There is no blessing in this.
We too, are like Israel. We go through the motions, but our hearts are still not right before God. We serve in all capacities in the church, out of the church, yet we hate our brother, we lack love, and we refuse to be unified in our hearts towards the other. We lie and deceive, and feel no conviction, duty, or responsibility for the words we hurl at each other. We fail to be accountable when approached to correct a fault. We often justify our position when it comes to our flesh and the things we 'Want' to engage in. So, yes, we are like Israel.
Let us take it to heart, seriously, God is watching us constantly to see if we truly want to please Him. We're flawed creatures, and He knows that, yet, He expects better from His people. He has given us guidelines to follow and many stories and situations in His word for our example.
Stay up on that wall just like Nehemiah, and finish the work God has given you to do! Honor Him in word and in deed!
"Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia." Ezra 4:24
There were those who came along to hinder the work of the rebuilding of the house of God in Jerusalem. King Cyrus gave a call for those who wanted to go back to rebuild. Not everyone chose to go back, but those who did, were now being hindered by their adversaries. First, these adversaries tried to be a part of what they were doing, but they said no! Then, their opposers decided to contact the king and tell lies on them stating that they had evil intentions and would refuse to pay taxes and keep the king from having any control.
The king went along with these adversaries and stopped the work. This lasted for 15 years! It would seem as if they wouldn't accomplish what they came back to Jerusalem to accomplish.
Nothing hinders God! Not all hindrances are bad! God allowed the 15 year wait for His own purposes! As we know, the house of God was rebuilt and its glory was to be greater than the glory of the one Solomon built.
How do you and I view hinderances? Often, we feel discouraged and become frustrated when we are hindered from serving God. I can tell you from personal experience that hinderances are allowed by God!
Sometimes, we are hindered from freely serving the Lord. The enemy, our adversary, uses people to stand in our way to stop us from being used of God. This is sad, but God allows it for His purposes. We may never know why He does, but He does. It can be situations that stand against us, allowing doors that were once opened to us to be now shut. Again, allowed by God.
If you and I are not walking in obedience to God, we hinder ourselves from being used. We are solely responsible for that outcome, but God is never hindered!
After 15 long years, the work resumed! If God has us waiting, we must wait in patience knowing that He knows what is best. While waiting, there are things that He is perfecting in us. This isn't 'Dead Time'. God is always working within us. I'm sure that the people were working on other things during the wait. They were cultivating other important stuff that needed their attention.
There are benefits to hindrances. The Apostle Paul was hindered from making a trip to the saints at Thessolonica. As a result, he wrote letters to them. He states that Satan hindered him. Had Paul made that trip as planned, we wouldn’t have the Epistles to the Thessalonians. Not only did those letters help those saints back then, it continues to empower and help us now. Hindrances are not necessarily bad. It’s all in how you look at it.
If God has you waiting or on hold, trust His timing for in the fullness of His time, it will come to past!
In Times Past...
Church offered a place to belong to. A place where true fellowship existed and when it was over, you walked away encouraged and glad to have been there because you got a glimpse of Christ and you felt His loving touch of care and concern. The tint and shade of many gatherings have changed.
In Times Past...
A brother or sister going through a rough time could count on getting support. There were fellow Christians who cared enough to call and check on you, especially if you were absent. They kept what you shared to themselves and only took it to the Lord.
In Times Past...
We enjoyed fellowshipping at our homes. Those were informal times where we not only caught up with each other, but we were able to see where we could meet the practical needs of one another. The food was good and the laughter too.
In Times Past...
The women were there for one another. They assisted, and supported you with your endeavors. They encouraged your talent and skill, and some even found ways where you could be useful in the body of Christ. They were there to give you a helping hand.
We Are In A Race Together!
What we fail to do for others impacts how each of us will finish! We can either help or hinder the progress each are trying to make.
We Push, Shove, And Assault With:
Our Words...Our Attitudes... Our Unwillingness To Be Held Accountable...We ostracize, We Show Hatred, We Speak Evil of One Another, and Sow Discord, and refuse to apologize!
In Times Past...
We had godly mediators who saw or heard of negative behavior and stepped in to help set things right. They helped to bring each up on their responsibility to God and to bring about healing. Those results benefitted the whole church!
Yes, Those Were The Good Ole' Days...In Times Past...
"Yes, each of us will give a personal account of ourselves to God." Romans 14:12
It has been said that the thing we spend the most time thinking about, will ultimately be the thing we end up doing. Often, the last thing we thought about before we fell asleep is the first thing we will wake up thinking about.
We all have the same amount of hours in every day; these days, the average work day is not all about 'work'. With the innovative cell phone technology, we can work from our desk, or office, and keep up with people half way across the world. We can communicate with people all day long. There use to be a point in time when there was down time that had empty quiet space for thinking. Not anymore! Whether we are in the bathroom, on the toilet, or lying in bed at night, our minds are bombarded with activity, much of which we invite in ourselves. I wonder if we can even get a good night sleep.
Since I only use technology for important purposes, I still find that I have a good amount of down time for thinking and reflecting. I have time to just listen quietly. I choose to shut out a lot of the world around me.
If you travel on the train, bus, or car to get to work, or to run errands, there's time to just be quiet and listen for the voice of God. He speaks, or tries to speak to us all day long. Do you crowd out His voice with other things?
You can use this time to pray for a few minutes. In the busyness of our day, we have the time to pray without ceasing (prayer throughout the day in intervals).
As I mentioned earlier, technology has afforded us the opportunity to use cell phones all day long. Many take mini breaks to keep up with the outside world via social media. The beauty about 'Prayer' is that we don't ever have to leave from where we are to speak with the Lord. He is everywhere all day long. We can find ourselves in His presence as often as we desire.
There will always be stuff to do that keeps us chronically busy. Believe it or not, you and I can control the amount of busyness we engage in. Life is a rat race that never seems to end. Don't let it control you! The days are moving faster, the weeks and months are speeding on and the years are flying by. Before we know it, we will be old and tired with lots of regrets as to how much time we spent on frivolous things. If you go to the nursing home and speak to the older folk there, they would give you good advice on how to spend your time. There are tons of regrets from people who have just about run out of time. Their youth is now gone and their middle-age too.
Last, but certainly not least, is this thing called 'Socializing'! Do we know when we've had enough? Are we constantly hearing the voices of people around us? Do we run from one busy thing to another without stopping long enough to be quiet? Don't misunderstand what I'm saying. We were created to be social beings. God did that on purpose! We need others, and we need to communicate verbally with other people. We wouldn't be healthy without that component in our lives. When we don't allow ourselves to be alone with ourselves, that's a problem. If we don't make the time or take the time each day to be alone with our thoughts, it might suggest that we are afraid to be alone. The thing with God is this, He wants to get us alone so that He can talk to us about what's important and needful. He enjoys our company and wants us to enjoy His. There are things that God wants to tell us, but He will not and cannot compete with anything or anyone else. We'll be the ones to lose out!
So....WHAT OCCUPIES YOUR BRAIN SPACE ALL DAY LONG?
As a writer, I enjoy giving you the honest side of truth! As an artist, I create what doesn't exist. Each day I look for new and creative ways to use every ability God has so graciously given me.