Now That’s The Kind Of God I Serve!

I believe we are in a time where God will do unprecedented things if we simply obey His words. But often when we hear Him, our response is not always what it should be. We shrug off His instructions. We delay in following His directions. We lean to our own understanding. I am convinced that even in the simplest matters, God wants us to heed His voice. Allowing Him to be our guide often simplifies a process which likely could take a tumultuous turn if we went our own way.

Recently my husband and I were discussing leading a small group at our church. Actually I kind of nudged him during a Sunday service and said, “I think God wants you to lead a small group.” After some discussion, he hesitantly agreed. We began looking at our schedules to determine a good time. We settled on Sunday afternoons, but the next question was, “Where?” In an effort to show Dale this was God’s prompting, not just me, I called several locations. Every place I contacted was unable to accommodate for one reason or another. I reminded God that He nudged me before I nudged my husband. That’s the only reason I even made the suggestion. I continued to call, but to no avail, the answer was consistently “no.” I began to get a bit discouraged. If God really wanted him to lead a group, He would open a door….wouldn’t He???

One afternoon, Dale asked if I had secured a location for his group meeting. After all, I told him not to worry about it. I reluctantly said no, but told him I would keep trying because I believed this was something God really wanted him to do. I told him to continue preparing because I knew in my heart God wanted to do something very special through this men’s group. Dale looked at me for a moment, but remained silent. I thought he was about to say, “maybe this is not meant to be,” but instead he said, “I know where I am suppose to host the group.” I was completely caught off guard, but I continued to listen. “The bowling alley.” With a big smile, I said, “Ok,” but all the while I was thinking, “Who in the world is going to allow you to host a video-based small group at the bowling alley?”

A couple of days later, Dale stopped by the bowling alley. The manager was busy, but he told the front desk staff he would wait. So he waited and waited and waited. After almost an hour, the manager came out and  ask how he could help. My husband explained his reason for being there. The manager hesitated. He inquired about the church, the material the men would be discussing, and questioned the topic of study. After further discussion, the manager agreed. He and my husband continued to talk. After about half an hour, the manager asked Dale if he had another minute to spare. Dale nodded and the manager proceeded to take him into a private area. It was the VIP room. This room had multiple private lanes, a dining area, private restrooms, and its own personal chef. The manager explained that very few people were aware that this area existed. It was “pretty exclusive,” but he was willing to allow the men’s group to use it on occasion.

Wow! Now that’s the kind of God I serve! When we follow His voice, He will lead us along the path which opens up the “exceedingly abundantly” type of blessings that can only be attained through obedience to His voice. After so many “no’s,” who would have thought a bowling alley would willing host a Christian men’s small group and make their VIP room available???

My message today is simple. Obey God when He speaks. His instructions may be out of the ordinary. They may be contrary to what we believe to be best. BUT…He always knows and He is always right!

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT VISION NOW!

VISION NOW is now full! Registration is closed. For those who were unable to register for this event, you will get a full recap next week right here! I pray God will give me more opportunities to host events and open doors for more speaking engagements. After all, I only do it to bring Him glory!

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Impossible!

How many times have you been asked to make something out of nothing? To take a half and somehow magically make it a whole. I’m sure I am not the only one, but this recently happened to me while working on a project with friends.

I was helping friends develop new strategies for their business: refining their messaging, more effective utilization of their budget dollars, analyzing their competition, among other things. We talked about creative ways to reach a broader audience. I even presented a marketing budget to help them understand what it would take to accomplish their goals by year end. They smiled emphatically which made me smile in return. Being able to help friends who were finally doing what they were created to do was like…well, let’s just say I felt like a proud big sister. Not because of what I presented, but because of their ambition and they seemed fearless.

A couple of weeks went by and I received a call. They finally had the funds to move forward on some of the marketing initiatives I had suggested. I was pumped! I headed to their office, took a seat, and said, “Show me what we’re working with!” (I told you they are friends). As they eagerly shared what they were ready to implement and how much they had allotted to spend, my excitement began to fizzle. What in the world? How could anyone think they could get so much for so little? I love them dearly so I asked, “In case this is not enough, what are you willing to take off the table?” They replied, “Nothing. We believe we can do all these things.” My mouth said, “Let’s do it,” but my mind said, “Impossible!”

I got in my car. As I drove away, I sensed an overwhelming feeling of disappointment building on my insides because as much as I wanted to help, I honestly felt it was impossible. But at that very moment, I heard the still, small voice of my Father say, “Give it to Me.” This time, I did without any hesitation because I knew there was very little I could do with it. I told Jesus I felt as if I had been given two fish and five loaves of bread but was expected to feed the multitudes.

Just then, it was as if a light bulb in my head went off.

I googled “two fish and five loaves.” Scriptures from Matthew, Mark, and John populated but what I found most intriguing was that when the disciples realized they did not have enough to feed all those people, the first thing they did was give it to Jesus. “Hmmmm…. I’ve done that. So what’s next?” I kept reading. Jesus gave thanks, broke it, and had the disciples disperse it among the people.

At that point, my outlook changed. I knew that what my friends were trying to accomplish would bring Him glory. I believed they were just following the divine plan He had set for their lives. And I knew they were counting on me. So you know what I did? I looked toward heaven and just as Jesus did, I thanked God for what was in my hand. In that moment, I understood that it was not what was in my hand that was important but instead my faith was on the line.

I called other business owners I knew to find out how they handled such situations. I started bidding wars between companies. I would not accept “no” for an answer. And you know what? I broke every dollar they gave me into so many pieces I surprised myself. Not only was I able to accomplish more than I imagined, but when they saw how tenacious I was with their resources, they gave me a couple of dollars extra to complete the only thing remaining on their list.

Is your faith being tested? Mine was. What I saw as impossible, God saw as an opportunity to stretch and strengthen my faith. Could this be why you are in the situation you are facing today? Before you dismiss it as impossible, give it to the Father. Remember, nothing is impossible to those who believe.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT VISION  NOW!

Ladies,

Tony Gaskins once said, “If you don’t build your dreams, someone will hire you to help build theirs.” VISION NOW is an event created to help women move from dreaming to doing. Click visionnow.eventbrite.com now more information and get your tickets. Online registration is required for this event and will end Friday, September 23.

Don’t wait. Seats are limited.

Blatantly Obvious

She gave Him the facts. Who? The Samaritan woman. I’m sure you’ve heard the story. You see the Samaritan woman had come to the well to draw water. Jesus was there and asked her for a drink. The problem was it was uncustomary for Jews to talk to Samaritans and the woman made it known. But Jesus continued to talk. He told her, “If you only knew what a wonderful gift God has for you, and who I am, you would ask me for some living water!” But instead of her asking for the living water or even inquiring about it more, she focused on what was “blatantly obvious.”

“But you don’t have a rope or a bucket and this is a very deep well! Where would you get this living water? And besides, are you greater than our ancestor Jacob? How can you offer better water than this which he and his sons and cattle enjoyed?”

How often do we do this? We find ourselves in a situation but instead of asking God, we evaluate it based on what we see. Our thoughts become fixated on past attempts, current conditions, and future fears. But what is “blatantly obvious” to us is minute in the eyes of our God. Notice that Jesus was unmoved. He did not care that she was a Samaritan. He lovingly dismissed her surface-level words. And He did not allow her past or her present mischief to disqualify her. He knew He had something she needed. Something that would change her life forever. Her only responsibility was the same as ours today…Believe and Obey.

I recently came across this quote that says, “The Truth is more important than the facts.” Not sure if Frank Lloyd Wright was referring to Jesus, but it reminded me of John 14:6 when Jesus told us, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”

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Jesus did not need a rope or a bucket. The living water He spoke of was Himself. He was the answer for the Samaritan woman and He is the answer for you and me today. Just as He explained to the Samaritan woman, temporary fulfillment was not His goal. His unconditional love compelled Him to guide her toward the thing that would have long-term effects in her life.

Is this you? Are you the Samaritan woman? Is the “blatantly obvious” more real to you than the words of your Father? What will you do when the facts and the Truth just don’t add up? Stop focusing on temporary things. Align your life with the only One who gave their life for you.

Now that should be “blatantly obvious”!

Sidenote: Did you notice in John 4 the Samaritan woman knew about Jesus? Maybe if she had focused less on religion and more on developing an intimate relationship with Him, she may have better understood who He was when they stood face to face. It’s “blatantly obvious” that without knowing Jesus, the answer could be right in front of you, but you not even know it.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FROM SHARING MY HEART
Not only do I pray this message encouraged you, but I also believe you should be a part of VISION NOW. Hear the stories of two successful women who are now living that which was once only a dream, connect with other women who love God, and create a vision board and road map that will keep you focused and moving in the right direction. It’s time for VISION NOW.

Get your tickets now at visionnow.eventbrite.com….while they last!

VisionNow (1)

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!

The Game Changer!

Easter made me realize something very significant….Change Is In The Air. It’s more than the changing of seasons, the frustration of allergies, and the colorful eggs. When you stop and look at how the truths of the resurrection directly impact where we are on this journey called life, there has to be a sense of excitement. If you can’t sense it in the air, just hold on. By the time you finish reading this post, you’ll be dancing in your seat!

The change I sense relates to things that were once dead or lay dormant. You know…those desires you have never uttered to a soul. The things in your spirit that are exciting yet unexplainable. The recognized revelations where the “how” is still a mystery. Those things!!!! The things you know you are “gooder than good” at but not sure how to let the world know about it. The dream God gave you many years ago that over time you have accepted will only be a dream. Those very things!!!!

THEY ARE NOT DEAD!

Don’t allow anyone to make you think those dreams, desires, or revelations you know God placed in your heart will not happen. Change is in the air! It Will Happen! But you have to believe. You see, Jesus always knew He would not stay in the grave. With that same fervor and tenacity, you must know that within you there is resurrection power. You must believe, “I can get up!” You must declare, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” You’ve got to walk by faith. You must know that “greater is He that is within me than he that is within the world.”

Change In The Air! This change is not a little change. It’s not like that of a budding flower. It’s major! As we continue to walk with Him and declare from our hearts, “Not my will, but Yours be done,” I believe we will experience open doors that we never knew existed. He will begin to put us in places and give us influence we never thought we would have.

Remove impossibility from your vocabulary, because Easter proves that “all things are possible for those who believe.”

Easter/Resurrection Sunday will always be the most defining moment of my life as a Christian. Our salvation was secured when He took His last breath, but when He got up….That Was The Game Changer!

Now it’s your turn. Share your heart with me if you too believe…Change Is In The Air!

SIDEBAR
Over the next couple of weeks, I will be spending an immense amount of time with God so that Sharing My Heart can be all He wants it to be. I’ll post inspirational quotes and images to keep us connected, but my next blog will be released around the beginning of May. Pray for me during this time just  as I am always praying for you.

 

 

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!

 

 

“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!