Saturday, April 30, 2016

Gifts

Give your gifts away. You have plenty.
What do we do when we have gifts for people?

We give them away, right?

We don't hold on to them for ourselves, right?

We bless people, right?

Nope, wrong. Well kind of, because not all of us does that. 

Some of us don't do what we're supposed to do with our gifts. Some of us don't use them. Some of us don't use them to help get people in a better place than they were before. 

I was one of those people. I wasn't doing what I was supposed to be doing with my gifts. 

And I'm the first one with my hand raised high in the air to say I accept full responsibility that I had some gifts and didn't give them to anybody. I kept them hidden. I was too scared to give them away, because I was selfish. Wow, that's the first time I've ever used that word to describe myself. I never thought of myself as selfish. Yet it's true and I'm just now realizing how absolutely selfish I was. You see, in my fear of what others would think about my gifts, I didn't use them fully. I thought people would talk about me and see all my imperfections and flaws once my gifts were magnified. I thought I would be found out. Found out from what I don't know. I just thought people would see that I wasn't all that I was cracked up to be and I would be worse off. I didn't want people judging me. But here's the thing, they judged me anyway, so it didn't matter.

The bottom line is that I didn't use my God given gifts. I stayed quiet. I stayed comfortable. I didn't take chances. 

And I was miserable. 

But not anymore. 

This is what I know: none of those things will ever stop me again, from using my gifts to help people reach the place God sees them. None of those things will ever stop me from telling people how I messed up. Not if it will help others. And God will still allow me to use my gifts to bless others. It's not too late.

Today my stance is, you get a gift! You get a gift! You get a gift! Everybody gets a gift! 

I'm going to bombard you with gifts, because the Lord God never meant for our gifts to be hidden. He wants us to share them and give them to people. He created us to create, recreate and continue for as long as we're on the earth. He created us to have dominion (control) over the earth and to be fruitful and multiply. But how can we do that if we don't know our worth? He gives us so many gifts (and talents) to bless and help others, so they can in turn do the same. He wants us to do our part so people can be set free by our anointing (our gift from God). He wants us to do our part to get people out of dead places. He wants us to do our part to bring light to dark damp areas. He wants us to use all the gifts He's given us. 

Give those gifts away and don't hold them up. 

One of my gifts is writing and now I'm writing. I have more gifts than that and I'm going to use them too. But first things first. At this point I'm unstoppable and untouchable. I don't say that to brag or boast, I say it because that's what the Lord says about me. He protects His flock. You can also say the same, because His word is for everyone. He's given you gifts too. Don't sit on them. I made that mistake for years. Now I'm going to use what I have to bless the people, to bless the world.

And if we will use what God created us for, we can't go wrong. Sometimes it's gets tiring, but I rather get tired of doing what He wants me to do than just do anything with no purpose at all.

Now is a great time to bless the people and give them what the Lord told us to give them. Use those gifts and don't hold back. We can't fail with God.


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Reference:
Psalm 121

Friday, April 29, 2016

Just Picture It

So I'm driving by a new development and I see a building being erected somewhere at the halfway point.

It was really nice.

I thought, how amazing it was that the building looked as if it were there the entire time. I tried to picture what the space looked like before someone got a vision in their minds for a piece of sculpture to fit there. I wonder how long that person had the vision in their thoughts. Did he dream about it? Or how was the concept formed in her mind? How much did she think about it?

They pictured it long before it appeared.

The birth of an idea, a vision, a picture.

They're formed way before anyone sees the evidence. That's how great things are created.

It usually starts as a small thought that finishes in astonishment -- the human mind that could fathom such complex innovation. None of it comes from osmosis or appears out of thin air. I believe such intelligence comes from God. He equips us with everything we do. He's the one who gives us the brains to picture something that He then allows us to bring to fruition. His power never ceases to amaze me. I see the Lord in almost everything. That's why He's the only alpha and the omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. He created us from His spirit and then the dust of the earth. Then He freed us up to recreate in many forms. 

Because of Him we can develop great things that were never here before. He gives us so much creativity that it'll never run out. I'm amazed every day by His magnificence and His majesty. Nothing is too small or too big for Him.

We just have to use what He gave us and picture it. Then it will be done on earth as it is in heaven.


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Reference:
Revelation 22:13

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Associations

We have to watch who we let in our lives.
You've probably heard it before,

'Show me your top 3-5 friends and I'll show you your future.'

It's some truth to that, wouldn't you say?

Birds of a feather...you know the rest. 

We have to be careful who we let in our circles. If the person doesn't have the same value system, then there's going to be conflict. Conflict is defined as "to come into collision or disagreement; be contradictory, at variance, or in opposition; clash."

We can learn from how Jesus picked His followers.
A question we should ask ourselves is who's leading who? If our friends differ so much from us that we find ourselves thinking twice, then that should be a huge red flag. If we're leading and they're not where we're located, are we leading them to positive things? Are we leading them to God? Do we sometimes suggest they go to Christ to get help with their issues? If so, then hang with them for awhile and look for some positive changes. But after some time if they're not interested in changing then it's time to let them go. If we're leading them to negative things, away from Christ, and never give them any Godly advice, then they're more than likely leading us. And more than likely it's not in a good direction or a good place. 

I used to have a friend and almost every time I spoke to her I found myself eating. We could talk on the phone and the conversation always turned to food. I would all of a sudden get something from the pantry, cook something, or order out. One day it dawned on me. I realized I was eating like a pig every time I spoke to her, because she was always eating. Since she didn't stop eating (and we both gained weight), I had to monitor and limit my time with her. Suffice it to say, a good gauge is to figure out if we're better or worse off with certain people in our lives. The answer has to be an objective one. Not the pie-in-the-sky, wish-upon-a-star type answer. In other words, we don't want to gauge how we feel, because some people are fun to be around, but they're not good for our lives. We have to let them go, because unless they change they're no good for us or themselves.

Jesus was careful who He had around Him. He was careful when He picked His 12 Apostles.2   He wanted people who would help advance His kingdom, not tear it down. Jesus is the perfected role model for everyone. 


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Footnotes:
1. Dictionary.com
2. Mark 3:13-20

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Be Still

We can all hear from God
when we stop for a minute.
Did you know you can be still and be moving at the same time?

Yep, being still means you're spending time alone (not lonely) to hear from God. You're meditating on His word as you wait to hear your next move. You're opening yourself up to hear (and recognize) His still small voice, perhaps His whispers, to tell you what direction you are to go in. 

Yet while all this is happening, you are moving. Yes, you're moving in the spirit. You are growing by leaps and bounds. And when God is done for that moment, you are renewed. You've got your marching orders for that time until you need to be still again. It's a process that never ends for us. 

That's another thing that makes God so awesome, right?

He's our Commander in Chief, who tells us what to do in battle and then we win. 

For His glory. 

He says in Psalms 46:10, "be still and know that I am God." That means we have to stop, slow down and be quiet. Otherwise we can miss what's He's telling us.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

You Will Make It

Stay focused even if you're tired.
God will give you great rewards.
You'll be blessed to bless others. 
Give God the glory. He gets the credit.
I believe you will finish.

I believe you will get the rewards.

I believe you will make it.

Especially if you come to blogs or devotions like this everyday. Especially if you read God's word everyday (it doesn't have to be much, even 1 word of the bible is powerful and life changing). Especially if you go to the places God puts before you. Especially if you listen to the people He puts in your life to help you. Especially if you continue the race, no matter how discouraging it sometimes gets. If we do all of the above, we will make it. You know why? Because we are trying to get better. We want to use every resource to tap into what the Lord has for us. We will read whatever we can, go wherever we can go, and listen to whomever we can listen to. 

All, to get to the next level.

God has given us great resources to help us. We have to use them though.

Staring at that treadmill everyday won't get us in shape. We have to use it and keep using it.

When we stay with it, then great things will come. God has so much more for us. I reference Jeremiah 29:11 often in my writing, because 1-it's true (it's God's breathed Word) and 2-it's appropriate scripture that God has all things planned for us. His plans are to prosper us and not to harm us, to give us hope and a future. Yes, He already knows where we were, where we are now, and where we will be. He directs our paths, He makes them straight, when we trust in Him

He's God. He's real. His spirit was, is, and always will be alive. He has always lived, lives now, and will live on into eternity.

He is forever God. 

As long as we continue to do what we're doing and remain focused on going forward, we will achieve   what we dream about. What we believe for. Read the great words God opens up to you. Go to the great places God has for you. Listen to the great people God puts before you. None of it is an accident. 

Use them. 

Stay with them. 

God sees everything you're doing and He knows it's not easy. He's got you. You will make it.


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Reference:
Proverbs 3

Monday, April 25, 2016

No Throwing the Towel

That dreaded towel.

Drenched with blood, sweat, and tears. 

Long ago it was thrown in the boxing ring after a fighter was badly beaten and felt he couldn't go on any longer. To him there was just no way he could win, so he threw that dirty symbol of defeat in.

He was done. 

At least that's what he convinced himself.

I think many of us know what it's like to feel the way a boxer does after he or she has been pummeled, punched, and in some cases, kicked every which a way. It's hard to weather all of that pain. Yet the real fighters do and I'm not even sure giving up ever comes in the neighborhood of their vocabulary. That's why they're the champs. The ones who push through and fight throughout that long bloody war.

People with such will power really do exist. 

Their the ones who end up standing. They may have the torn, ripped, cut, stinking, bloody, sweaty arms raised in the air, but they're standing as the winners. They may look a mess, but they know it's temporary. And when we see them a few days later, they're all cleaned up. We may see some of the scars left over, but nothing like they looked right after the fight. Those scars are necessary because they help them (and us) realize the fight was fought. A struggle was overcome. A mountain was defeated. A storm was weathered.

And they won.

Champions pull from an inner strength through tough times. I must continue to model my thinking from that. Thus, the only place I'm throwing that filthy towel is in the trash can. Why? Because I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength to fight (Phillipians 4:13). 


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Sunday, April 24, 2016

More

We have to help others.
How are you living?

I asked the question, because the answer indicates fulfillment.

If we're not living the way we want to be living, there is much more for us. But...

...it's going to cost us something.

If we want to be blessed, we have to be willing to be a blessing. Why would God give more to a selfish person? That would make God selfish. We know that's impossible. God is the God of abundance and that's how He operates. If He gives us abundance, He expects us to spread that abundance in helping others -- with their natural walk and with their spiritual walk. Then when they get on their feet, they in turn do the same thing.

Helping hands, helping hands.

So how are we living?

If we want to live large, we have to do more. We weren't born to simply exist without making an impact. Nobody was born to just walk the earth and not add anything. That's why God has us pour into what society calls bums or outcasts. That's right, we may be the ones called to help them. They are God's children too and He doesn't play favorites. He loves us all.

So we must not get it twisted.

The people in those high rise buildings with the corner offices overlooking the ocean, be careful and don't believe the hype. CEO's are no more important than the person living under a bridge in the worst part of the world. 

It doesn't matter to God.

The tables can turn in a minute. God can shift anything He wants in an instant.

It's simple really. The more we get from God, the more we have to help people. More is not just for our joy and satisfaction. It doesn't work that way, because to whom much is given, much is required and if we have been entrusted to much, then more is demanded from us.1

Not rocket science.

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Reference:
Luke 2:48


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Positive Self-talk Class



I will begin teaching a class titled, Positive Self-talk, which coincides with my journal book, Positive Self-talk, a little journal book with BIG talk. My journal book is an easy-breezy read, it's very thin, only about 50 pages with large font, and has lots of space to write. It's a journal book of self reflection and goal-setting, which will lead to more positive thinking and help people make better choices.

My target population are high school and college-aged students, but is not limited to them. I will go into high schools, college campuses, churches, etc, to teach the curriculum. Positive Self-talk will get people to start thinking about the things God wants them to do (their purpose in life).

Since becoming a public school teacher years ago, I know there are too many students who do not know what they want to do. As a result they sometimes sabotage themselves based on negative information they've been told by some of the people around them. I want them to know it doesn't have to be that way. God has more for them.

Positive Self-talk will allow students to self-reflect by writing their inner thoughts and goals. It's a useful tool I have used since I was a little girl. I have achieved major milestones in my life as a result of positive self talk. What that has taught me, is how to navigate through life's challenges in order to do the things God wants me to do.

Am I done? Nope, I never will be. For, as one goal is achieved I'm always on the next great thing God wants me to create. In this case, the Positive Self-talk class. 

If you are interested in hearing more about Positive Self-talk, The Class, please email me with your desires. 

Sharon
Blogger, Educator, Writer, Speaker (in no special order)

Friday, April 22, 2016

Busting Faith

Even a small act can activate God's power.
I feel like busting loose. 

That's my faith talking.

Real faith.

Mustard seed faith.

This is what I mean: What if you blew up a balloon with tiny little breaths (because that's all you may have had in you at the time) and before you knew it, that balloon blew up so much you couldn't believe your eyes? You looked in wonder at what was happening right before you. That balloon became something big. It got huge simply because you made a move. You did something. Then progress happened. You weren't dreaming. Things were changing.

It was really happening. Finally.

Did you know those small breaths were your breaths of power? They may have been all you had to give, yet you gave them. You blew. You didn't just stand idle. You acted. That's how mustard seed faith works. When you simply trust God with your whole being (even if you think you're starting small), when you raise your hands towards Him, when you lift your voice for Him, when you sing His praises, He will ensure those "small" moves manifest into something magnificent. Why? Because He's the God of defying every single odd that was stacked against you. He will show everyone who He is. He will remind all people that He is the God Almighty. 

The One and Only. 

We just have to come to Him as we are and give whatever it is we have to give at the time. If you can only blow one breath, do it. God can work with that. He will act on your behalf, because you trusted Him. And although you may not have had that much strength in your breath, in your voice, in your body, or in your mind, you still gave what you had to Him. Those moves were steps of faith activation. 

Do them over and over again -- acts of faith -- mustard seed faith. Then God will make those mustard seeds bust wide open.


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Reference:
Luke 17:20

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Lioness

I'm going for it.
One of my favorite animals to watch on those animal shows, is the lioness. 

She's sleek, smart, and will do what it takes to feed her young. 

Yes, she's mainly the hunter. Not the lion. His role is important, but different. The lioness is the one who goes after the prey. She's the queen.

She goes after the enemy in a calculating way. She studies them and waits for the perfect opportunity to pounce.

Game over.

Of course I like that about her, because she fights for survival and although her meal may not come easy, she doesn't abort the mission. She has abnormal persistence to go after what she wants and what she feels she has a right to. One can't help but respect her prowess in the wild. It's something to watch. Mesmerizing. I can watch her forever, because her fortitude is formidable. Her determination, admirable.

I can't help but think God raised us the same way. To have that purposeful way we should go about getting what's ours. Getting what He promised us. Like the lioness going after her prey, it will take a resolute fearlessness that will get us there. We can't stop simply because the territory is unknown. We must go in and demand to get what's coming to us.

God has given us the boldness and courage to do it, so let's go get what's ours. We have the right, because, "the wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion", (Proverbs 28:1).




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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Stuck


Yesterday I wrote an article on goals. In that article I said we need to stay focused by writing down our goals and how God would honor them.

But...we have to do the work.

Nothing valuable comes free.

The scripture I referenced was Habukkuk 2.2. I love that verse, because it reminds me, once again, that God will orchestrate and direct our paths. He will do that when we seek Him. He gives us free will to make our own decisions.

Be smarter than I was when I sat around and waited for manna to fall from the sky. I got nothing waiting for God to work on my behalf when I wasn't willing to get off my duff and start something.
Tire, Wheel, Vintage, Antique, Old
Ask for God to send help and receive it.
Trust Him.
I was stuck.

Stuck in the rut of nothingness. Stuck in the mundane of life. That's not a good place. It's a lonely, sad place. I don't recommend it, because it's a place where we don't ask for help from people who are willing to help us. It's a place of depression even if we're going to work every day, taking care of our family, doing well in school, or  going to church. It's a place of just going through the motions. It's different than being set-aside to hear from God (that's different, because we're not stuck in this case, it's just the opposite).

Being in a rut is when you don't think anybody knows what you're going through. People do know, because they either went through it too or are going through it at the same time. They will help plow you out if you will trust them. God will show you who they are, don't worry.

My point is, I lived in that place before and I stopped up my mission. Now, I'm sharing my testimony to tell you that you don't have to go through the same thing. When life happens to you, don't lay around and just wish for things to be different.

Get up and make them different. God is waiting.



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Reference:
Exodus 16

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Goals

God has so much for us. Why not tapped into His vision for us?
Has anyone ever told you there's power in the "pen?"

Yep, there is proof that if a person writes down what they want to achieve, more than likely they will achieve it. In other words, if you can vision yourself doing it, you will probably do it. And if you write it down your chances go up dramatically.

Write the vision.

And after you write it visualize yourself doing it over and over again.

Today I asked a question to a group of students. The question was, 'raise your hand if you visualize yourself successful.' Less than a quarter of the hands went up. That surprised me, because I thought at least half of them would have held their hands up high. I thought many of them would have dreamt big dreams.

I was wrong.

Some people just don't think big enough. And I'm not just talking about young people. There are so many of us not living our dreams, because we have given up. Achieving what God wants for us takes too much work, sacrifice, and giving up sleep, TV, and technology is not a viable option in our minds. So we live in mediocrity.

Even though we don't have to live a meager existence.

We have to get to the point where we force ourselves to work towards our goals. Those goals are the great things we want to do. It's going to take work and it will by no means come easy, because anything valuable will come with elbow grease and giving up something. You heard it before, nothing from nothing leaves nothing. We have to do something.

The moral of the story is that we have to write the vision, push harder, move quicker, and rise higher. Then those goals will manifest themselves one step at a step (or even more steps at a time with God in the picture). I figure if we all shoot high we will hit our target.

God has much more for us, but we have to believe that. 



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Reference:
Habakkuk 2:2

Monday, April 18, 2016

Keep Going

Determined
No matter how hard things get, we must continue to strive for the things God has for us.

I know the grind gets discouraging, because sometimes we work so hard and it seems our time will never come, but it will.

We just must not get weary1 and tired of doing things to the best of our ability. When we work smart, more joy will come. It's a promise of God. We have to push2 throughout it all. It's coming. I will always believe that. I just know God has more for me, for you, for us. Even when I get impatient and wonder when my time will come to do the things I see myself doing to help others see God, my faith kicks in. I know God will continue to bless me to be a blessing. Then I'm reminded of the favor, grace, and mercy of God. Then I'm reminded that He will do what He said He would. For, I know the plans3 He has for my life. I heard a pastor somewhere say that everyone is waiting for God to do something. I took that to mean that no matter a person's position, status, or what's going on in their lives, they have to wait too. God is also the God over their lives. Some people know that and some don't. 

Nevertheless, we must continue to move forward. It's just a matter of time before we go to the next level in what God has for us. Stay with it. 


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Footnotes:
1. Galations 6:9
2. Push, It's Coming, 2/27/16 article
3. Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Be Yourself

Resist being boxed in.
God made you who you are.

Don't change.

Some people will try to box you in because they have control issues. They want you to move when they say move. They want to control you like a puppet. Don't let that happen. They don't want you to think for yourself. When they say something, it's the gospel and you have to fall in line. Don't let that happen. People with control issues try to project their insecurities on others and when their views are rejected, they act like it's the other person who has the problem.

There's nothing wrong with you.

Do you hear me?

Nothing.

Stay who you are, because God accepts you. You were wonderfully made1 by Him. Fight back by staying true to you. Resist the pressure to adapt to negative thinking. Break out of the box anyone tries to force you in. It's limiting to live like that.

But keep "fight" in perspective.

I never mean physically fight. 

I mean resist spiritually, which means seek God2 always. Resist anything coming at you that tries to tear you down. Resist anything coming against you that tries to convince you that you're weird or out of touch. You're not! All you're doing is trying to stay afloat by doing your thing and you're not bothering anybody. Don't line up to crazy thinking. Don't play the game. Don't bow down to nonsense.

You're doing nothing wrong. 

Stay true to who you are. God made you unique. Let Him change anything He wants you to work on. Don't let people change you. Let God help you by bringing in the people who want you to succeed at any cost, not the ones who want to hold you back.


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Footnotes:
1. Matthew 6:33
2. Psalm 139:13-16