"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men freely, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."
We all want success to follow us in everything we do. We want to succeed in the work place, and in our private lives. Most of us are trying to reach the goals that we have set. There's the hard work and the expectation that follows. But what happens when we've done all we can do and still missed the mark? The disappointment can send us reeling the other way. Often, we feel as though we have utterly failed!
As long as I have been alive, I have heard people say over and over again, "Money talks", and "It's all in who you know!" Well, I ain't got no money, at least not to pay what 'under the table' folk want to make something happen for me, and I guess I don't know the people in the 'power seat' or connected to one that could push me to the front of the line. But this I do know, there is truth in "It's all in who you know!"
God personally told me that the world was formed by His wisdom and that He is Wisdom personified! He is the source of it all! Look how fearfully and wonderfully your body and structure was made! Who did that? Who spoke this world into existence? Who holds everything together, the planets, the sun, and the moon? If you agree with me that God has done it all, then He's the person we are in close connection and contact with who can make our lives a true success!
The key to success is to have God's wisdom! He has the divine ability to arrange every area of your life in a way that will make you a winner! The question is, how do you define success? God is not a jeanie in a bottle. He is interested in every detail of our lives from the insignificant to the significant. He knows exactly how we can be successful at everything we do. He knows what it will take to reach that goal and who we need along side us to assist us in the process.
I've always loved this Bible verse because it has brought me comfort and peace on many occasions when I just didn't know what to do, and making a decision on my own was not an option. This verse tells us that wisdom comes when we simply ask God for it! It also tells us that our past mistakes and foolish decisions don't ruin our chances for getting the wisdom we need for the moment. That is such a blessing to hear!
You can know what you need to do, but not know the best way to go about it. You many know what you need, but not know how to get what ever it is. Wisdom is the ability to know how to go about dong what needs to be done. It is knowing how to reach that goal. Wisdom addresses all of the particulars of a situation and carves out the path that leads to success! Success is different for each person.
When we trust God, we let Him decide the path that is best for us. Sometimes He can take you in a direction that seems strange and unorthodox, but believe me, in the end, it works! Not only does His way work, He always throws some perks in there along the way, things you never thought to ask for. That's because He is a detail oriented God! He is anal minded when left to plan our lives.
So, when you just don't know what to do, simply trust God and ask Him for some wisdom!
"Walk in wisdom toward them that are without (unbelievers), redeeming the time."
Unbelievers should not see us wasting time, or wasting our talents. They should see that we value life, and what God has given to us. They should never get the impression that we're lazy. They will speak against our faith if they see these things, or speak well of it for the opposite of these things.
Everything that we engage in, on the daily, should be looked at in terms of 'Time', time that will count for eternity. There's a lot of frivolous stuff out there to do. Even the things that are 'good' for us to do, can occupy too much of our time if we are not wise and careful.
We are ambassadors for Christ. How are we representing Him? We each tell a story of what is going on in our lives by the things we participate in, as well as the amount of time we spend doing them. What impression are others getting from us? Do they see that we are just as caught up in the world's entertainment as they are? Have they ever noticed that you or I choose to separate ourselves from certain activities?
When I think about things that count for eternity, I wonder if my activities, on earth, will be of value in heaven. My talents, and abilities, have to be of value beyond this earthly realm. Using my skills to draw others to God is especially important to me. It can't be all about benefiting me, and me alone. It's not about the money I can make, or the attention it brings. It's really about getting honor and glory for God in the end because that's what counts for all eternity. It must have eternal value!
What are you occupied with each day? How do you carry yourself on the job? Are you consciously aware of what others may see as you perform your duties day in, and day out? Can they even tell that you are a Christian, or do they see you as merely religous?
As things wind down upon the earth, the time is getting closer for our Lord and Savior to break through the clouds and call for His own. How have you and I lived out our Christian lives so far? What do we have to show for the years we've been saved? Will you or I be ashamed at His coming?
Let's get better, and better each week, at redeeming the time. Remember, yesterday has passed and we cannot go back and undo anything. All we have is today, this moment, this second. Don't waste any more time, redeem it instead!
"For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you."
Perhaps the root of contention and strife among Christians is due to 'Pride'. The type of 'Pride' I am speaking about is the one that makes a person conceited. Pride causes strife, arguments, rivalry, jealousy, and along with that comes envy. It's a package deal.
Proud people are conceited people, and what will always follow them is contention. The atmosphere of conflict (heated disagreements) surrounds them because they want to always be on top, and listened to, and acknowledged, and affirmed. No one else can shine around them. No one else is as important, talented, knowledgable or worthy in their eyes. Imagine the problems that can engulf a church when this is present in the midst.
Proverbs 13:10 tells us that, "Only by pride cometh contention." We cannot thrive healthily together as believers with this permeating the atmosphere.
The detriment of thinking too much of ourselves allows jealousy and envy to take over our hearts. When that happens, all hell brakes loose! Our flesh doesn't just stop there! The devil loves to work with 'Pride'. He uses it to cause division, and strife. He pits us against each other which then can make us speak evil against our brother or sister.
We all need a healthy dose of self esteem. There is nothing wrong with acknowledging our God given skill and potential. We need that in order to step out in faith and accomplish what God has given us to do on His behalf. However, when things get to the point where we can't handle the skill and potential of others, we are now in trouble. Pride has taken over.
It happens to the best of us at times. It creeps in when we least expect it. The negative aspect of pride can also come in when we have achieved certain goals or have gained greater possessions.
There is also a flip side to 'Pride'. Its the 'Woe Is Me' spirit and attitude. A person who has the tendency to draw attention to the helpless situation they're in, places way too much emphasis on 'Self'. It gains them more than the healthy attention they need.
Don't let your head become too heavy to carry! God has a way of deflating it. What He uses to humble us , if need be, will cost us in the end.
Luke 5:4 "Launch out into the deep and cast your nets."
Where does our success lie? We are always being swayed by experts to: "Do these seven things for success", or "You must have these three things in order to accomplish", or "You need these things for this or that to happen." I'll be the first to tell you that in my area of business as an author/artist, rarely has any of that advice worked for me.
What I have found is this; God knows where success lies for each individual! Trust your way to Him! I abandoned all advice from the 'so called' experts and used a little ingenuity, wisdom, and common sense. That has worked for me. My strategy is to commit my way unto the Lord with all that I am doing. I water it with prayer, I seek Him for His wisdom and advice, and making sure that I have done all I was suppose to do, I leave it there. I have been successful using this process!
God knows where we should be casting our 'Nets'! He told these men, the disciples, to launch out into the deep! Now, they were skilled fishermen, however, there was a greater blessing awaiting them that they hadn't even anticipated or even thought about. At that given time, in the deeper waters was where their success lied. They failed to follow the Lord God's directions to the 'T'. They received a blessing, but they were limited because they only casted one 'Net' as oppose to 'Nets'.
We get excited when we experience a blessing from God, but He is able and willing to do exceedingly, and abundantly, beyond anything we could ever imagine when we obey His every word!
Launch out! That's where the incredible blessings lie, always at the deeper end of the ocean! It will take faith to be willing to see the 'Deep' as the place where our bounty comes from. The deep holds challenges, a new approach, a place never traveled before, a new face to hardship, but often, it is where our jewels lie. It will take us out of our comfort zone for sure! The experience may even make you to wonder if you made the right choice or not.
All is well for us when we trust our way to God! He handles the rest! He guides with His meticulous eye, and aligns all things with His will. The greater blessing is all ours!
The question is, "How do you spell success?" Be cautioned, the world spells 'Success' differently from how God holds it! That's all the more reason why we need His guidance and direction. What might seem successful by this world's standards, may not be success for you! Always keep that in mind. God's success is 'Tailor Made' just for you!
So, the next time you are trying to get the most from your business, position on the job, selling goods, or administering aid to those in need, ask God for His wisdom as to where the 'SWEET SPOT' is, and let Him guide your actions and decisions. You will see what I'm talking about. His wisdom will save you time, money, and energy! He knows exactly where the blessings lie! He holds the key to 'Success', So...CAST YOUR NETS!
"And they did eat, and were filled: and there was taken up of fragments that remained to them twelve baskets."
We are living in times of great difficulty. Every generation has had their take on this issue of the last days. We are living in the last days of the last days. The world is empty and cold right along with society's handling of mankind. The local church is failing continually. Spiritual food is scarce within the walls of the religious sector. The local testimony has succumb to the world and its ways of doing things. The people are dumbed down, more and more, insensitive, and ignorant to the ways of the enemy. So what are the 'Spiritual' men and 'Spiritual' women to do ?
The key is in Luke 9:17. At God's table, there is bread enough to spare! Each of us have access to a Bible, right? We are to feed on Christ and His words daily. It is food and nourishment for our souls. He is enough! We can have as much of Him as we desire! God never stops us from feasting on Him. His food pantry is open 24/7 and then some. There are always left overs!
Do you spend time in His presence each and every day? Do you walk away after the appetizer is served, or do you stick around for the main course? You cannot rush in and out of God's presence expecting to get fed! If you are interested in building a relationship with the Lord, it takes time. In ordinary relationships, we invest time with the person with whom we are interested in. There is communication between both individuals. There is the exchange of thoughts and feelings, and the sharing of problems. It's the same in a relationship with the Lord. He speaks, we listen, we speak, and He listens. He instructs, we set out to obey, we tell Him all about our struggles, and He actively steps in to help us in any way help is needed.
Not only is there bread enough for us, as we sit at His feet each day, there is bread left over. We can share with others what we've been feasting on. Scripture doesn't tell us what the disciples did with the fragments that remained after the feeding of the feeding of the 5,000 men, but I can assure you, it didn't go to waste!
The Lord God is more than capable to feed us with all the food and nutrients we need for the days journey! We can have as much of Him as we want. We can get a full, complete meal, as many times a day, as we can handle.
It never runs out!
I have found Him to be enough when the pulpit wasn't! I have found Him to be enough when the fellowship wasn't! I have found Him to be enough when all those around me bailed! I have found Him to be enough when as a 'Black Woman', I got no respect in the church and out of the church! I have found Him to be enough!!
We are in terrible times, times that want nothing to do with Christ. Our nation, and all of the nations, are in trouble. Those who should have the answers, don't know what to do about anything. We have the answers for a sick and dying world. We hold the key to survival, to peace, to joy, and to contentment! Let's, you and I, feast on Him daily and feed the hungry while introducing others to Christ!
We've all worked diligently or hard at something in this life, and we've all received a variety of reactions from on lookers!
Often, on lookers only see the end result of what has been done. All of the stuff in between has been experienced by you while the Lord looked on, taking note of all of the ups and downs, the hindrances, the failed attempts, and the disappointments. God was there, cheering you and I on through it all!
All of the things that the Lord God gave me to do have started with hardships first. Every obstacle lined itself against me, trying to push me toward failure. What kept me pressing on was the conviction deep within that I was doing what God had wired me to do. God gave confirmation along the way, and the set backs were only valuable stepping stones that added the polish and the shine, when all was said and done.
There is no way we can persevere with anything unless we are convinced by God, Himself, that He is in what we're doing. It's a terrible waste of time to keep plugging a way at something, not knowing if it will pan out or meet with success.
First, in my opinion, the Lord gives us a deep desire and passion for a thing, so that we can pursue it. When there is passion, there is grit and determination to see something through. Without passion, you and I are hard pressed to accomplish or succeed at anything. Passion gives the drive that's needed to get over the hurdles while perfecting what ever it is we're trying to do.
A person with passion has daily discipline. A person with passion prioritizes and doesn't waste time. A person with passion is a doer not a talker. A person with passion is focused without distractions. A person with passion keeps their lifestyle uncluttered and free of useless activity. A person with passion says, "NO" to many things in order to reach their goal.
There is nothing more rewarding than to see your dream or aspiration materialize! You look back at what it took to get there and you are exhilarated and gratified with joy, because you hung in there despite all of the nay sayers, the lack of support, the criticism, and the harsh remarks.
So...what does this have to do with spiritual things? Well...the word of God admonishes us to not be mediocre in what we do. We are told that whatever we do, do it to the glory of God, and as unto the Lord. In Scripture, we read that David was skilled in playing the harp. In the old testament we read about the men and women who made great contributions to the building of the temple using their talents. Some were skilled with wood, tapestry and so on. Solomon chose the best of the best to do the work that needed to be done. Only skill persons get the opportunities!
Never settle for second best! Whatever you do, do the best that you can do. Remember, we're not going for perfection, because no one can reach that high. God is pleased when we do our best. It will pay off in ways you wouldn't even realize. Keep doing the hard stuff, the stuff that no one can see, the sweat and tears stuff. You will reach your goal soon enough!
Keep yourself encouraged! Don't become depressed when you look around and see that few are supporting you, if any. It will be disappointing, but hang in there. Most of the men and women in the Bible who accomplished great things were by themselves. It was them, and God alone. The path to success is paved with loneliness, misunderstanding, isolation, and pain, but that's alright. When you begin to get a glimpse into what God is doing with you and the skill He so graciously gave you, you'll catch on and brace yourself, hunkering down for more isolation and loneliness. I know, it sounds like a crazy cycle, but it is how I live daily. I embrace it, because I see what the Lord God is trying to accomplish in me and through me.
God has invested in you! Don't be concerned about anyone else but Him!!!! He will provide everything you need when you need it. Keep your eyes on Him, and you will see what great things He will do for you!! With man, some will want to invest in you 'AFTER' they see the outcome, not so with God! He takes us from nothing and works along with us until we reach success! He is our greatest supporter! He is the one who opens doors no man can shut! He is our helper! He gives good success! All we need to do is to walk with Him, faithfully, each and everyday, obeying Him, and following the leading of His Holy Spirit. This is how you spell 'SUCCESS'!
Commit your way unto the Lord, He didn't make a mistake when He wired you the way He did, or gave you the gift and talents He did. God knows exactly what He wants to do with you, in you, and most importantly, through you! Make good on His investment!!
Psalm 46:1 tells us that "God is our refuge and strength and a very present help in trouble." What comforting words those are for the times in which we live! This world is hopeless and of no comfort or help for the people in it.
17 lives were completely changed, in a moment, all of a sudden, without warning, yesterday, when a shooter came to a High School and started shooting students. We have heard this story before on too many occasions. It is more than tragic! There are no words! I don't know if any knew the Lord, but prayer is needed for the families of the victims.
All of the news anchors and commentators all ended up saying the same thing....in so many words, no one knows what to do about the senseless killings of our youth. As I listened, I sensed the hopelessness and confusion in the voices of everyone who had something to say.
God is the only refuge for a dying world. Sin rules, and will continue to rule. When God, in the Garden of Eden, said to Adam and Eve, "What is this that thou hast done?", they could have never entered into the potency, the depth, or even a microcosm of what God was actually saying to them. Their one act of disobedience, plunged all of the world and creation into sin. Sin that has unfolded more and more, down through the ages. The face of sin has a dark, dark, evil, and satanic hold upon the earth. Its victims are leaving this earth and ending up in a Christ-less eternity.
Satan has targeted our youth! It usually starts from within the family structure. Once he has the family, he undoubtedly gets their children. There are many young people who are greatly troubled deep within. They act out and satan fills their hearts with evil and uses them like puppets on a string. But for the grace of God, go I.
As a painter/artist, I am often inspired to paint stories that bring hope or healing or something positive and good. I am presently working on a collage piece that speaks to our need to 'Catch A Child'. Each one of us are in a position to take at least one young person under our wing to mentor them, to encourage them, or to assist them in any way that we can. I strongly suggest we take that ministry up. I'm speaking about sacrificing our own precious time to work with them outside of the church walls!!! Ask God to give you a young person, suited for you, one who can benefit from your testimony, and experiences in your life.
We already know that Jesus is the answer for the world today. We know what He is able to do. Let's be a part of the healing process in a sin sick, and dying world!
Time is winding down, and we are closer and closer to our eternal home. Let's make the mark we are suppose to make on the planet while there is still time, while we yet have breath, while it is still day!
There are always decisions that have to be made. They range from, routine decisions to critical decisions. Sometimes we may decide to do something based on what we think is the best possible option for us, at the time. Whatever process we use to decide a matter, the outcome will always speak to whether it was the better thing to do or not.
As Christians, the Lord God never leaves us to figure things out on our own. He knows that's virtually impossible for us to to do. There are things that we could never anticipate or be prepared to for. Since He knows about everything concerning us, what we will need, and in what way we will need it, He should be the one making the final decision, not us.
It is absolutely necessary, and important to inquire of God on all matters, not some, but all! Don't take anything for granted. Whether it's a big decision or a little decision, they both require the right answer.
David inquires of God, and He gets an answer with direction. Surely, the outcome was victorious! There was another point in time where David didn't inquire of God and assumed that because God answered him a yes before, that He would undoubtedly do the same, and he, David, was wrong! They got slaughtered in battle simply because he thought that God's answer for the same situation would yield the same results as before.
It doesn't matter how God may have answered us in the past, we must go to Him afresh and ask for His mind, His will, and His permission to do or not do something! This is crucial! Never assume anything where God is concerned. He sees the beginning, middle, and the end of a situation, we can't. He is there to protect us from unnecessary problems, and to make sure that we get the blessing.
Oftentimes, we fail to ask God for His permission or go ahead on a matter because we lack the faith to believe that He has our best at heart. We want what we want, and we don't want God to step in and possibly halt, stop, or say 'No' to us, so we proceed with what we want to do, and then pray afterwards for His blessing. It doesn't work that way, unfortunately. We cannot deal with God that way and expect to get His best for us.
One of the other things we do, at times, is to run a situation down to someone we trust to see what their take is on it. Now that is okay if the person is spiritual minded, but we still have to consult God. That individual may answer us according to their own prejudices, feelings, desires, or common sense. That's not god enough, because we could still make a bad decision.
The answer God gives is tailor made just for you and me! His answer takes in every facet of our lives, present and future. God knows five years down the line, where that single decision would leave us or our family.
Never trust what seems to be the obvious answer! Only trust God! Inquire of Him, and wait for His response. If it seems as if He is taking a long time, it means that He has the situation under His control and in the fullness of His time, He will answer. Remember, things aren't always what they seem. Our emergency, is usually not God's urgency. He knows exactly how long to let things go for. He knows the situation we're in. Sometimes the most obvious thing to do is the very thing we shouldn't do at the time.
When we are walking in fellowship with God, (spending time in His presence, praying and reading) consistently, we are in tune with God. When we are in tune with Him, we are looking to see where He will lead, and where He will direct. The minute God answers, we will know what to do!
If we are living carnally, (worldly lifestyle), we won't hear from God. We won't have the direction and help we need from Him. The Scripture tells us that when there is sin in our lives, God won't answer us. Our prayers will not reach him at all!
I have seen what one wrong decision can do to a man or woman. The rolling ball affect is a disastrous spill out. One bad choice can lead to 10 bad consequences. There are consequences that run the course of a person's life. There are things that one cannot un-do. Everyone in close proximity of the bad decision maker can suffer as well, especially in a family.
In the Bible, Naomi's husband made a bad decision by taking his family to Moab. Their sons married Moabitish women, and they shouldn't have. Naomi's husband died there and her two sons. All three women became widows in Moab. Did hubby mean his family harm? No! Absolutely not! He took them there to avoid the famine that had hit their land. He figured that if he went there, they would have food and provisions and then he would go back to their land when things got better. They stayed there for years, in Moab. They settled in and didn't go back. Naomi eventually goes back, and because of God's mercy and grace, He blesses her and her daughter-in-law, Ruth. The other daughter-in-law didn't go with them. This was the result of one bad decision. They did the obvious thing which was to avoid the famine, but that was the wrong thing to do. Better they suffered through the famine staying right where God wanted them, than to go to Moab.
Let's make it a practice to Inquire of God for every little and big thing. Let us trust God because He has our best at heart!
Alexander, the coppersmith, did much evil to the Apostle Paul. Paul committed him and the situation to God. He didn't take revenge, neither did he run and tell others.
Barnabas and Paul had a fierce disagreement. It was so bad that they had to cease from traveling together, and go their separate ways. Sometimes, we have to agree to disagree. Some things get settled in time. They eventually came back together.
Hindrances are not all bad. The Apostle Paul was hindered from visiting one of the assemblies. He states that Satan hindered him. Instead, he wrote a letter to them to address what he would have if he had seen them. If God had allowed Paul to make that visit, we would not have the Epistle of Paul, The Apostle To The Thessalonians. God sometimes allows us to be hindered and kept from executing something or going somewhere. Paul's hinderance not only benefitted the saints at that time, but us as well, many years later.
Don't share your ideas and dreams with just anyone! Not everyone will respect it. Not everyone wants to see you succeed. Not everyone is in your corner. Your Dreams and Spiritual Aspirations are from God! Is something gnawing at you that you can't seem to get away from? God plants desires within us for a reason. Joseph had a dream and he shared it with his family members. He was only a teenager at the time. His dream came true 17 years or so later. His brothers had no respect for him or his dreams, but they later realized that Joseph's dream came true, and was to the saving of their lives!
Mary of Bethany sat at the feet of Jesus on three occasions. 1. For learning. 2. For comfort. 3. For worship.
Dorcas used her talents to minister to others in their time of need. In doing so, she helped to relieve the burdens of many.
Lois was a grandmother who capitalized on the teachable moments she had with her grandson, Timothy.
Ruth had a positive influence on her daughter-in-law, Naomi. Ruth's advice to Naomi was well received and followed. It led to a great blessing in the end for them both.
Mary Magdalene knew what she had been saved from! Her affection and attachment to the Lord was steady and strong.
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.