A Window of Opportunity

If your daily activities were unknowingly being monitored, what would others see? Would they see an unprecedented level of productivity or would they assume you to be a telemarketer due to the many hours you spend on the phone each day? Would they see your ability to multitask and willingness to help others or would they think you were Mark Zuckerberg’s employee of the month?

Some years ago, a dear friend of mine was unknowingly being watched (in a good way). Here’s her story…

She worked for a small business. Because of the values her parent’s instilled in her, there was nothing she was unwilling to do. Her humble spirit led her to do many things others deemed beneath them. She arrived early and willingly stayed late. She was qualified to handle financial matters, but would make coffee and answer phones with just as much passion. Her employer appreciated her and respected her decision to go back to school after working with them for about five years.

Since that day, more than three years have passed.

My friend recently received a phone call. The voice on the other end asked, “Is this ______?” She positively responded. The caller went on to say, “You don’t know me but more than seven years ago, you worked in a building across the street from my office. I often saw you opening the office in the mornings and leaving late in the evenings. There were days I watched you do things that many in my office would have never done. Your demeanor always seemed pleasant. Years ago, I told my boss, ‘We need to hire her. We need people like that at our company. Well today, I am the boss.'” There was silence. My friend asked, “How do you know all these things? How did you see me?” The caller told my friend from one of the windows in his building, he could see directly into the area where she once worked. The call ended with an interview being scheduled to determine if my friend would be a good fit for one of their current openings.

After making sure this person was not stalking my friend, I stood in awe of her story. A window of opportunity. My friend shared a lot of memories from her previous workplace. I marveled at the fact that although every day was not “a bed of roses,” my friend remained focused and sought to be “light” even if she had to shine alone.

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Often we respond to life according to the manner in which it treats us. But my friend’s example of operating in excellence at all times is a great lesson for us all. She never knew anyone was watching, but her dedication created a window of opportunity that she never saw coming.

In the days, week, and months ahead, remember 2 Chronicles 15:7, “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”

We never know when it will come, but make sure the view through your window of opportunity is deserving of a reward.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT VISION NOWRegistration ends this Friday!

Ladies,
If you are anything like me, you grew up watching your parents work hard doing the same job for 20 or 30+ years, whether they enjoyed it or not. They then retired (in their 60’s), breathed a sigh of relief, and said, “Now it’s time to enjoy life.”

But I don’t think that was ever God’s intention when He created us.

One of the reasons I am hosting VISION NOW is because I believe NOW is the time to enjoy life. NOW is the time to do what we have been called to do. NOW is not at the beginning of the year. NOW is not when the kids graduate.

NOW IS NOW!

Registration for VISION NOW ends this Friday. Go to visionnow.eventbrite.com and get your tickets NOW!

Looking forward to seeing you on October 1st!

 

 

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CAST YOUR CARES!

A couple of weeks ago, I took a break from writing my blog. Well, it was actually in April and was only suppose to last a couple of weeks, but instead, my 30-day productive sabbatical turned into multiple weeks where I allowed frustration to overrule productivity. I told God during my break, “I am tired! I can’t do everything!” You see, being a wife, mother of 2 small children, working full time, and blogging part time is a lot, especially when excellence is the goal. Then recently, God presented an opportunity for me to be a Contributing Writer for one of the oldest, most well-respected newspapers in the southeast, The Birmingham Times. I was grateful for the opportunity, but as I looked at my plate, to say it was already full was an understatement. So I did what the ‘ole folks use to do back in the day. I decided to have a little talk with Jesus!

Just as the writer of the old hymn said, “And He will answer by and by”…guess what? He did. I don’t know the time frame as it relates to “by and by,” but He answered me pretty quickly. God simply told me to cast my cares. I knew the scripture “cast your cares on Me, because I care for you” and I felt I was doing just that. After all, I made sure God knew how I felt about each and everything on my plate. And being the perfect gentleman that He is, He let me ramble on and on and on….

As I wrapped up telling God what I could not possibly handle, I sensed that He agreed with me. At that moment, God so gently reminded me of a fond childhood memory. It was fishing with my dad. I remembered standing on the shore and casting my fishing line as far as I could into the water. As I reminisced, God said, “I need you to do the same thing with everything that concerns you. Don’t just tell me about it. Give it to me. Cast it.” God continued. “My child, the reason you think you are tired is because you are trying to do everything in your own power, in your own strength. Apart from Me, you can do nothing, but with Me, all things are possible. Trust Me with your cares. Give Me all your worries. I really do care for you.”

As I thought back to those days of casting my fishing line into the water, my thoughts were dominated by the serenity of the environment. Even in the waiting, my dad and I knew if we were patient, what we were waiting for would come to us, almost effortlessly. The key was to relinquish control.

Today, I challenge you to “cast your cares on Him.” I did and believe it or not, God sent people to help me…some I knew, some I didn’t know. The things I once thought were burdensome and impossible, seemingly overnight, were resolved. Now, I chuckle when things are thrown my way. The tension is significantly lessened when the solution seems nonexistent. With each occurrence, I simply respond by saying, “God, here you go! I’m casting my cares!”

Now It’s Your Turn:
1 Peter 5:7 says, “Let him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.” If you are willing to trust God and give Him your anxieties, worries, and concerns, type here in the comments or on social media, CASTING MY CARES!

Y is for Yes!!!

ARE YOU READY TO SAY YES??????????

Before you answer, let me tell you what God told me as I headed to the rooftop because I wanted to shout my “YES” to the world.

He said, “You are correct. Y stands for yes, but sing the childhood tune once again.” So I did. A, E, I, O, U, and sometimes Y.  God then asked, “Do you understand?” I hesitated because I had a feeling He had something up His holy sleeve. Then He said, “My child, this is where the problem lies. Your yes is not consistent. “And sometimes yes” is not sufficient for where I am taking you. Your yes must be constant like Joshua’s.

Throughout the book of Joshua, Joshua trusted God. I could only find one instance where uncertainty crept in but God quickly gave Joshua instructions as to how he should handle the situation. After following God’s instructions, again his faith was strong. Joshua’s humility was grounded in the confident expectation that God would do just what He promised. Did it always make sense? No. Were God’s instructions always easy? No. But Joshua understood that Truth begets truth. God’s promises were “yes and amen” to Joshua and they are still “yes and amen” today.

But what about us???

Our yes is often dependent on a number of variables. We want to say yes:

When it’s convenient
When it adds to our comfort
When the odds are in our favor
When the opposition is a molehill instead of a mountain
When we can see the ram in the bush
When we can go across but someone else raises the rod or gets their feet wet first
When His instructions make sense
When the unwillingness to change is external not internal
When He answers all our questions

As I took another look at the book of Joshua, I realized something even greater. Joshua spoke very seldom. Yes, he gave the people instructions from God, but Joshua was not a man of chatter. Even during his last days on earth, his words were pertinent and purposeful. Could that have been how he remained in harmony with God? He listened more than he talked. I believe Joshua understood Proverbs 18:21: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Could it be that he was so committed to speaking life that he only regurgitated that which the Father said? Could this explain his recurring yes? Joshua gave the enemy nothing to work with. Words of doubt and death he did not utter. His yes could not be coerced because even his words were grounded in God’s promise.

But what about us???

Could this be why our yes is so erratic? Is our inconsistent yes the by-product of the prophetic poison spoken from our lips instead of the prophetic promise? Is our own godless chatter muting the voice of our Father and filling our minds with toxic venom that yields a fickled yes?

God is looking for those who will be like Joshua: Focused, Faithful, and Futuristic.

Does that describe you? Are You Ready To Say YES??? If you are ready, type YES here in the comment section or on social media. I’m ready to say yes and I hope you are too!

 

 

“O” is for Opposition

What is your “this”?

I know you are wondering what in the world is she talking about??? But all of us have one. Some of us admit and deal with our “this”. Some of us tip toe around our “this”. Some of us act as if our “this” does not even exist. “This” is simply your greatest opposition. What keeps you from successfully moving forward? When you take one step forward, what is the opposing force that causes you to take two steps back? Your “this” may be internal or external, but if “this” has hindered you from trying, achieving, or succeeding, then “this” has got to go! It’s a new year and we are taking over new territory! But the only way we will continue to thrive is to handle our “this” like….Joshua.

Let’s go back to Joshua 7.

Joshua had to make a decision.  His men had just been defeated in a battle that should have been unproblematic. Several lost their lives, while others fled in fear. The opposition was real. The opposition had gained the upper hand. The opposition was now experiencing the victory which had been promised to Joshua. And Joshua wanted to know why!

When he went to God for an answer, God was straight with him. Not only did God tell him why he and his men had been defeated, God also made this profound statement, “I will not stay with you any longer unless you completely rid yourselves of ‘this’ sin.” Yes, God made it very clear. Joshua’s choices were “this” or God. So how did Joshua respond? Scripture says, “Early the next morning…” Joshua wasted no time in identifying or calling out his opposition. He was not going to rest until he figured out what “this” was. Nothing was going to separate Joshua from the God whom he knew as faithful, provider, sustainer, deliverer, and way maker.

So we already know how the situation ended. It was Achan.  Achan was Joshua’s “this”. Achan’s inability to follow God’s instructions positioned him as Joshua’s opposition. Two who once walked together were no longer in agreement and “this” was an issue.

Joshua was relentless until he pinpointed his “this”, but what about you? Who or what is your opposition? Let me be very clear. Contrary to Joshua’s “this” being external, often our opposition is internal. The opposition may be fear, the need for approval, the past, pride, lack of focus, even ineffective communication. The list could go on and on, but the point is…Whatever your opposition or your “this”, be like Joshua and call it out. Don’t allow “this” to stifle your drive and determination. Don’t allow “this” to keep you in a place of mediocrity. And definitely don’t let “this” separate you from your Father. I love the fact that Joshua actually took it a step further. After calling “this” out, Joshua made sure it was destroyed!

A wise woman once told me confession is good for the soul. So today, I choose to be like Joshua. I am calling out my “this”. My greatest opposition in moving forward has been my “sight”, until today! This year, I willing choose to walk by faith and not by sight. No longer will I wait until all conditions are right, until I have it all together, or until I can see how to make it happen. The very thing that has been an opposition much of my life, I release “this” today!

What is your “this”? Call it out! I challenge you to be brave enough to destroy it. When you do, the opposition is defeated and we stand victorious! Be like Joshua because when it comes down to God or “this”, “this” must lose every time!

 

 

“I” is for Instructions

We want more! More money, more recognition, more opportunities, more open doors, more chances, more favor. We simply want more! I’m not saying that more is always a bad thing, but how far will you go to get more? Where do you prioritize integrity when it comes to attaining more? Would you go after more if it meant less time with your spouse and children? Is gaining more worth your life or is your life worth more?

Achan sacrificed all he had for more.

I know, I know. By now you are probably wondering how the vowel “I” relates to all this talk about more. But Achan’s greed for more caused him to negate God’s instructions. His thirst for more took a turn that no one, but God, saw coming.

Joshua 6 wastes no time in telling “whodunit’! It was Achan.

When the wall of Jericho was destroyed and Joshua and the Israelites entered the city of Jericho, they knew exacted what they were to do. God had already given very specific instructions. Rahab and the members of her family who were in her home were the only ones to be spared along with items made with silver, gold, bronze, or iron. These were to be brought to the treasury of the Lord’s house. God was also very intentional by telling them what would happen if His instructions were not adhered to. Complete destruction and trouble for the entire camp was His promise.

Even though, God was providing everything the Israelites needed, Achan still wanted more. His greed trumped the instructions of the One who kept him while in the wilderness, safely led him across the Jordan River, and provided nourishment beyond the manna to which Achan had become accustomed. Achan’s desire for more led him to steal and bury many of the devoted items God explicitly told them not to keep for themselves.

And what happened?

Just what God promised. During the next battle, which should have been a simple victory, the Israelites were defeated and no one understood why. But God knew. Achan’s failure to follow instructions brought a victorious nation to a stumbling halt. His noncompliance not only affected him, but led to the death of more than 36 of his fellow soldiers, placed fear in the hearts of men who were walking by faith and obeying God without hesitation, caused his leader to question God’s faithfulness, and ultimately brought death to his children, his livestock, and himself. Achan allowed his desire for material things to overshadow the instructions of the One who had always been faithful.

So often we too ignore the instructions of God. Our reason may have nothing to do with greed; nevertheless, it is still disobedience. But we must always remember, God knows best. For if Achan had just been patient and followed God’s instructions, he would have been privy to an even greater plunder that was given to them in the very next city they conquered.

Today, if you know someone who is tired of waiting, about to give up on God, or feel His instructions are just not working for them, please share this post. We can save lives or deter people from making bad decisions with a couple of taps on a smart device or the click of a mouse. Don’t allow someone to give up or settle for good, when God wants to give them His best. More, so much more, is available to us when we follow God’s instructions.

Next week, “O” is the vowel of choice. Follow my blog so that you’ll never miss a word that will surely empower or uplift!

 

“A” is for Across

For those of you who started this blogging journey with me, if you remember, our journey began with the vowels. Well, as another year begins, I am compelled to go back to the beginning. Even though I still consider myself a virgin blogger (been blogging for a little less than a year), I think the vowels will be my annual blogging tradition.

So here we go!

I believe this year is the beginning of promotion, elevation, increase, and supernatural favor for those who are willing to go after it! Last year was a year of preparation for many. We chartered into territory that was new and for some, unexpected. Others went through unforeseen struggles, publicly and privately, but I believe each struggle made us stronger and wiser and was just to get us ready for what’s to come. So I began asking (as always), “What’s next God” and He took me back to my post on October 28, 2015, Ready To Get Your Feet Wet. Knowing the first blog of the year would begin with the vowel “A”, I pondered over what God was saying. I read Ready To Get Your Feet Wet again and again and I re-read every response posted on the blog, social media, even those sent via text, and finally, I heard God say…

 “A” is for ACROSS

Although a very familiar and elementary word, I went straight to dictionary.com. I understood across to signify movement from one place to another, but I was curious to see if there was something else I was missing and as always, there was more. Not only did the term mean on or to the other side of, it also yielded these meanings: (1) into a desired or successful state and (2) beyond.

To say I got excited is truly an understatement!

So I went back to the book of Joshua where the Israelites made the decision to get their feet wet and God showed me three things. There was a plan, a promise, and then promotion.

THE PLAN

Joshua 3:6 (NLT), “Lift up the Ark of the Covenant and lead the people across the river!”

The Israelite officers laid out a plan (verses 2-4). Joshua’s words, here, were in response to the plan. As I read chapter 3, I could feel their excitement. There was no hesitation. It was almost as if they knew without a doubt the victory was guaranteed.

THE PROMISE

Joshua 3: 9, 11 (NLT), “So Joshua told the Israelites, ‘Come and listen to what the Lord your God says.'” “Look, the Ark of the Covenant, who is the Lord of the whole earth, will lead you across the river.”

The plan was solidified by a promise from God himself. God spoke these words to Joshua who in turn used them to encourage the Israelites.

THE PROMOTION

Joshua 4:1 (TLB), “When all the people were safely across, the Lord said to Joshua…..”

The priest led the way carrying the Ark while the others followed. The result of their obedience was promotion. Finally, the Promised Land! They made it safely to the land flowing with milk and honey which had been promised over 40 years before.

I believe, today, God is ready to take us across. Many of us have a plan and a promise, but promotion will only come once we are willing to follow God, even if it means getting our feet wet. And there’s no need to worry. Our victory is guaranteed just like the Israelites. “How do I know,” you may ask? Just as God told me “A” is for across, He also reminded me that our victory was secured over 2000 years ago on A CROSS.

I hope you are running and shouting with me!!! I believe this year will be one of the best we have ever had! I’m ready to go across and I believe you are too! If you know someone who needs to activate their plan and stand on His promise in order to receive the promotion, please share. Let’s go across together!

OK, even though I am still running and shouting, I’m ready for the vowel “E”, but let’s have some fun. What do you think “E” will stand for? What about I, O, U, and Y? I think I know what “E” is, but I am always listening for His still, small voice.

Next week, same time, same place!