Leaving Behind What’s Good for What’s Best

There’s a saying that is often misquoted, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” This is the person who is said to have many skills but isn’t well versed in any of them.  This quote is incomplete though.  The missing part, changes the meaning of the quote.  The original quote says, “A jack of all trades is a master of none but oftentimes better than a master of one.”  So while the misquote leads us to believe that a person with more than one skill lacks focus, the original quote says that oftentimes, having more than one skill is actually better.

I’m one of those “Jack of all trades” types, except that I must state that what I do, I am able to do well.  I even had a woman say to me that she sensed that I was a jack of all trades but she also sensed that I was also a master of them all.  It’s not something I’m ashamed of at all, but, it definitely presents a unique issue that comes up for me very often- choosing to say no to doing a good thing, in favor of doing the best thing.

One of the things I do is sing.  I am classically trained and was once hired to sing at a Christian Science church each Sunday.  The pay was good.  For once in my life, when my vocal teachers or anyone else asked if I was singing, I could proudly say yes and would not get a lecture about how I should be singing. I was using my gift and that was good, but I was quite unhappy.  The people at the church where I worked were thrilled to have me but while I was ministering there, I had no time to find the church I was to attend for my own growth.  I was doing a good thing, but not the best thing.

I can list countless other good things I’ve done, administrative work, selling Pampered Chef products (which I still absolutely love) and more.  I remember, while doing a Pampered Chef show, someone told me that I did so well with it that it was as if I was made to do Pampered Chef.  I also remember a friend who thought I should have been singing, saying that I’d rather sell pots and pans than sing.  It was the same with so many other things that people wanted me to do and thought I should be doing simply because I did things well. I take very seriously the verse that says to do everything as unto the Lord.  I aim to do all that I do with excellence and put forth my best effort.

Today is not a whole lot different, I am a worship leader, youth group leader, I minister regularly, I write, I make herbal products, I attend births, encapsulate placentas and I am a homeschooling mom.  I’m not lacking for things to do but I must be very mindful when approached about new and exciting opportunities because anything that is not where God would have me, even good things, can be a distraction that can derail my entire destiny.

I’ve been recently approached twice about doing things that are good. One thing was actually of interest to me, but doing those things would take me away from where I need to be, and the thing is, I don’t want to miss the mark with regards to my destiny.  I want to be right where God wants me.

Just to be sure, I aim to have a conversation with Him soon about what I should be doing so that I am not easily distracted by other opportunities that would take me out of His will for my life.  There’s too much riding on my staying on track.  I encourage you to check in with the Lord as well.  Stay the course, and meet your destiny head on.

 

How Much Are You Willing To Allow?

Several verses in the Bible include this phrase about Jesus that say, “And he healed them all” or “And he healed them” (See Matt 12:15, Matt 15:30, Luke 6:19).

Then you have instances where Jesus walked on water, walked through walls, got money from the mouth of a fish, fed multitudes with a minuscule amount of food, and turned water into wine.

Of course, we can’t forget how he also cast out demons and raised the dead.  As if all this wasn’t amazing enough, he said in John 14:12-14, “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. 13. You can ask for anything in my name and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. 14. Yes! Ask me for anything in my name and I will do it!”

Unfortunately in too much of the Body of Christ, this is glazed over or altogether ignored, but look at what Jesus said. He said “anyone who believes in me…”  This is where each of us has to make a decision.  We either believe or we don’t, and, if we do believe, we have an entire world of the supernatural to experience and release on anyone in our path.

One thing God is working on with me these days has to do with how much I am willing to allow to go on in my life and body.  Carrying twins or more is seriously no joke.  While it’s true that every pregnancy is different, carrying multiples is in a class all it’s own and in my experience, is in no way comparable to carrying a singleton.  I am experiencing discomforts and pain that I never imagined possible and the weightiness is nothing short of astounding.

There are times where I am on the brink of tears or full blown ugly crying and the Lord will tap my shoulder and ask me what I am looking at.  In those moments, I realize I am focused on my problem, thus magnifying and empowering it, instead of speaking to it and telling it what to do.

In addition to pain, I am finding myself rejecting a lot of comments people make regarding my experience now or in the near future.  For instance, I mentioned being tired and someone said that I’d better get as much sleep as possible now because soon I won’t be able to.  Here’s the thing, Psalm 4:8 says, I will lie down and sleep in peace for you alone O Lord make me dwell in safety.  That’s my portion, not sleepless days and nights.

I didn’t think to do it with my first two children, but with my third and fourth, I spoke to them in the womb and told them how things would be for us.  I told them that night time was for sleeping and that we would all sleep well at night and that’s precisely what happened.  They’d wake up to nurse, I’d change them if necessary and right away, we’d be back off to sleep no problem.  I didn’t have any nights of sitting up with them, feeling like a zombie and I refuse to plan on that happening just because it’s “normal or expected”.  No, thank you, not when my Abba says I can have otherwise.  I am set to always expect, believe for and declare the absolute best over my life and that of others just because I am a daughter of the King of Kings.

My suggestion to you is to take a look at what you may be allowing in your life.  Does it align with what the world says is natural or God’s Word?  Which do you prefer, to live the world’s way or God’s?  My prayer is that we all come into full revelation of what we have and can do in Christ and operate out of that.  Let’s incite the world to jealousy!  Let’s show them what living a life with Christ can do in one’s life.

Do You Know Him?

Lately, the thing foremost in my mind has been the area of being in relationship with the Lord.

Many believers, if asked, will proclaim emphatically that they love the Lord and have a relationship with Him.  They may even add some catch phrase about being too blessed to be stressed or how able God is to do this or that but not only do they not necessarily believe it, all too often, these same believers are just as stressed and uncertain about life than one who admits they don’t know God.  These are Christians who say on one hand that they love and know the Father but  will also admit to not knowing if He still speaks at all, let alone whether or not He speaks to them.

With anyone else, we would never say we are close and have an intimate relationship with someone we spend virtually no time with.  That would be very strange.  People do this with God all the time though and think nothing of it. We get that to be in relationship with other human beings, certain factors must be in place but somewhere along the lines, when it comes to God, most think church attendance and reading the Bible in a year equate to a relationship.

I feel strongly that there are people who are truly hungry for something real with the Lord.  People who are tired of dealing with things they don’t have to.  They see verses that say things like, “Be anxious for nothing”, but have no idea how to actually be anxious for nothing.  They see that Jesus said to take his yoke and burden because his is easy and light but they just don’t know how to let go of their own and take his.  Or perhaps, they have come in contact with someone who has attained something with the Lord that they want.  Perhaps it is seeing the relationship others have with Him that makes them say, “I want that!”  I have been asking the Lord how I can help.

I see so many Christians, wandering about life as if they are orphans, being swayed and tossed by whatever comes their way in life and it breaks my heart.  I can only imagine how God feels.  He never wanted this for His children.  If He said He has not given us a spirit of fear, you’d best believe, He hasn’t.

There’s nothing like a real bonafide relationship with the Creator of the universe.  In the beginning, it takes some discipline to remember to acknowledge that He is ever present, always waiting to speak with us as if we are the only person alive, but the outcome of it all is nothing short of astounding. I love how I can be going on about my day and God interjects what I’m doing and speaks to me.  I love how, when I start to drift away, focusing on the newest pain this pregnancy presents me with, He whispers to me, “What are you looking at?”, and brings me back to Him.  I love how, I can go places and see people and He gives me messages for them when I was doing something completely different.  I love how, in the midst of seeing everyone around me in fear and even terror, He gives me a spot right on His lap and has me look at situations and see them as He sees them.  I love hearing His laughter and jokes about various situations that happen throughout my day.  I love how He has and is answering my prayer to become more real to me than anyone or anything I see or experience in front of me.

Because of all this and so much more, I trust Him. I truly trust Him and take Him at His word.  When I see promises in the Bible, I get super excited because I know it’s for me.

So, in asking the Lord how I can help, one idea came to mind that I am putting into practice right away.  I plan to do a one on one mentorship sort of thing over the next few weeks with one or two people.  Once I see how that goes, I will come back with what I have learned and have a more concrete idea on what I can do to help people in my sphere of influence to come to know the Lord in a more intimate way.

In the meantime, it is my prayer that if you have identified at all with not really having a relationship with Him, you won’t stay there and settle for that.  There’s so much more available for those of us who are in Christ.  Let’s get all that has been put here for us to attain.  He’s right there with you, eager to share so much with you, engage and enjoy Him.

God’s Saying Something

I am struggling off and on with what comes naturally in a pregnancy.  Almost right away, this pregnancy has been marked with great exaggeration, “morning” sickness, the growth of my belly measuring a whole two and a half months ahead, the back pain, ligament pain, and more, all very exaggerated.  Everything points to this not being a normal, singleton pregnancy.  Even now, at 31 weeks along, I measure as if I was around 43 weeks along, and being 4′ 10″ tall, this all does a job and a half on my frame.

So, I know that as far as pregnancies go, I still have anywhere from at least 6-9 weeks left; and physically, things don’t tend to get easier the closer one gets to giving birth.  This means, here I am, struggling from around 23 weeks on and I still have,  at the very least, 6 weeks to go until I am full term. In the natural, things don’t look very hopeful at all and I hear the song, “One day at a time, sweet Jesus…” playing in the back of my mind.

Here’s the reality that I am choosing though.  I am not from here.  I am God’s very own daughter.  He has given me the ability to do what Jesus did and greater and I don’t recall Jesus telling anyone that whatever ailment they experienced was a natural result of whatever condition they had, so they should just deal with it.  Nope, he healed them all.

So, I started with making declarations over myself one night.  I declared that in spite of my frame, I am strengthened daily, by my Father and I am more than capable of not only getting through this but thriving through it all.  I had a wonderful time declaring over myself and my babies.

Now, I’m starting to notice other things though.  Once, as I was feeling down, super weepy and frustrated with my inability to do things as before, I heard the Lord ask me, “What are you looking at?”  I understood completely and said, “Ok, Abba, I understand.”  I was focused on my problems and my frustrations.  I wasn’t looking to Him at all and I felt absolutely horrible.

Then, there was a time when my body signaled that it was time to lie on my side (I’m not able to remain upright for long periods) and as I did, I talked to God.  I worshiped Him and just thanked Him and focused on Him and just enjoyed being in His presence, and, as I did, all pain just vanished.  This same thing happened twice more today.  Once, as I just focused on the Lord. As I sang to Him during praise and worship, every bit of pain I felt just moments before, went away and I felt great.

We had to stop at a supermarket on the way home, and the pain of walking was such that I had to have my daughter drop me at the front of the store so I could get a cart to lean on as I picked up the few things we came for.  I had to take off my coat and leave it in the car because I felt I would faint from being overheated.  Once in the store, I fought dizziness a few times (I needed to eat) and as I stood and paid for my items, I struggled to stay upright.  My back was on fire.  The guy who checked me out said he would go on and bag my items and I told him, “Hey, as you do that, let me tell you something.”  I went all the way in, no explanation or anything.  I told the guy about himself, his personality and what God wants for Him and prophesied and well, you get it.  He laughed and smiled and thanked me. He said I’d made his night with the great encouragement I’d given him.  I smiled and thanked him and, as I walked away, I noticed that not only was I walking upright effortlessly, but I had no pain at all and walked to the car happily.

All this to say, I think we take far more than we have to in life.  I for one, aim to change that.  I really believe God is trying to tell me something.

How Do You Go Through Trials?

I had one of those nights last night where I wake up around 2am and don’t go back to sleep for 3 or more hours.  Normally, I spend this time talking to God, Spirit to spirit so as not to wake my husband, although, sometimes I end up laughing about something the Lord and I are sharing.  We made some plans together for an event I’m planning.  He gave me some cool ideas on things that are kind of over my head, like centerpieces, lol and then the conversation shifted to mind renewal and mindsets.

He reminded me of my mentioning a plan to someone recently, and immediately the person interjected with an idea of something negative happening that would ruin the whole thing, lol.  Now, I remember, just before our first trip to Africa for a wedding, either me or my husband, I don’t recall which, mentioned it to someone and instead of them saying something like, “Wow!! You’re going to Zimbabwe for a wedding? What a wonderful experience!” the person said, “Are you sure you want to go to Africa?  What if they start the slave trade back up and you get captured?” The person went on to say what type of jobs my husband and I would get based on our complexions and all.  They had all the horrid details worked out.

A person who is dear to me is having a very serious procedure done which could very well be life threatening. Someone we know in common, who is a believer, mentioned how worried they are over the whole thing and that they have been pretty much expecting the worse in the situation.  Now, I’m not at all saying I have never done this before, I’d be lying if I did, but I just see things in such a different light these days that it is astonishing.

As believers, we know we are to put our faith and trust in God. We are to be anxious over nothing.  We know that worry is sin, and more.  Why is it though, that we find it so difficult to really trust God and give our burdens over to Him completely? Why do so many of us jump to negative conclusions and make up negative scenarios for our future or that of others when we really don’t want that for ourselves or others?

I remember the last straw for me.  It wasn’t a big deal situation.  I was simply going to have my car inspected in DC, and as I sat in my car, lined up, inching forward when appropriate, I started to get this horrible idea that my car would not pass inspection.  I had it all worked out, I’d fail inspection, have to do some repair that I had no money to pay for, it would be awful, I’d not be able to drive anymore because my car was faulty, etc.  You know what though?  There was absolutely nothing wrong or faulty with my car.  There was no logical reason that I would not pass inspection, and, of course, I passed, but before my turn came, I got angry and forced myself to snap out of what I called, “Stupid mode”.

Even after that, there were definitely times where I still automatically allowed the enemy to have me thinking negatively, but over time, it became less and less.  Now, I more easily pick up on it when I or others do it and it has become more foreign to me and I thank God for that.

Before my 3rd and closest sibling passed on my birthday almost 2 years ago, something dawned on me as I prayed with our other sister.  The enemy was attacking our family in so many ways during that time.  I remember suddenly, my sister and I laughed as we prayed because it dawned on us that our sister, a very strong believer, was being “threatened” with an eternity in Heaven.  Now, before I go on, I must say that this particular sister was both of our closest sister. Her going to Heaven at 40 years old, was no cakewalk for us.  It still isn’t, especially after our brother went the year before at 38 and our oldest sister went several years earlier at an even younger age.  Here’s the thing that dawned on us though, either way, our sister was good.  She’d either be healed here on Earth and have an amazing testimony to share personally, helping others and all, or, she’d go home and be with our Heavenly Father forever.  She’d go and wait for us and pray for us and root for us as we remain here.  There was no losing for her.  The enemy was truly threatening her with eternity with the Lord. Stupid. Philippians 1:21 says, For me, to live is Christ, to die is gain.  We believers win, regardless.  Living, we get to impact the world for God’s Kingdom and glory, to die is the best because we are eternally, physically reunited with our Heavenly Father and so many loved ones.  There is no loss!  The time spent here is so short, so minuscule when considering eternity, a fart in the wind as I always say, lol.

So here’s my position when trials come, “Praise God!! I can’t wait to see how He works this out for the good of all!”  He always does.  So many things that at the time, felt like the end, just wasn’t.  God always came through in bigger ways than I ever expected. His track record is proven and sure- the only sure thing in my life in fact!  I can trust Him with abandon and praise Him even when things are looking funky or shady.

My loved one who is having the procedure is in God’s capable hands.  Instead of moping and expecting the worst, I’m spending my time and energy just worshiping God for all that He is doing.  When bad thoughts come, I take the opportunity to prophesy the opposite.

When I learned that my husband didn’t get the position he went for which would have provided a major pay increase, smiles turned into excited giggles because I know my Abba, He is up to something!!  I can’t wait to see what He does with and for us!!  The job is not our source and praise God for that!!  So, if you don’t already do this, start to ask the Lord to help you renew your mind and change old mindsets of negative thinking.  It will change your life!

Prophetic Ramblings

I hope you had a wonderful time last week celebrating with family and friends.  I took a bit of a break as I really didn’t know what to say in the midst of several pretty monumental moments of revelation I experienced on and the day after Thanksgiving. I think my Abba enjoys dropping revelatory bombs on me that cause me to stop dead in my tracks from time to time. 🙂

This post may be a little weird or out there for some but I’m going to move right along in it anyway.

I feel very strongly like there’s a lot of new things in store within the Body of Christ and then the world at large.  God is God and He being the Creator, is ridiculously creative, always doing something new that we in our finite minds couldn’t have fathomed on our own.

I feel that we are on the brink of another new and different move of the Spirit.  Mysteries that have been kept hidden until now will be released, people who have never before heard will suddenly hear, know and do things they’ve never imagined possible.  I think those of us who have had a taste and more of some of this are about to experience some things that we may find just plain weird but exciting and totally God, nonetheless.

I think it will begin within the Body and move out towards the world at large.  I see big changes ahead, changes that will propel us in the direction that the Father has wanted us to go in all along.  I see minds renewed as eyes are opened to seeing that some things they thought were one way, are actually something completely different.  I see a changing of the guard so to speak and even people who were once adamantly on one side of the fence in one area or another, hopping over to the other side, never to return. Lots of changes.

I see an end to church branding that seeks to exalt, market and promote that brand or sect instead of exalting and promoting the pure and unadulterated gospel of Jesus Christ. (see 1 Corinthians 1;12-17 and 1 Corinthians 3:4-6)

I see a lot of exciting, new and very different things happening in the coming year.  Now is not the time to turn away from the Father.  It’s not a time to allow anything or anyone in your life to command and keep your focus and distract you from Him.  Keep your gaze set on His glorious face.  Allow every circumstance to draw you into a greater intimacy with Him and watch what happens. You will never be the same.

What Has Your Attention?

When I am tempted to get down and head towards depression, I now tend to get this really cool check in my spirit.  I believe it is the Lord speaking to me, asking, “What are you looking at? Where is your focus right now?”

Of the multitude of things one could be focused on in such moments, it is a sure bet that the focus is not on God and resting in His presence or Jesus’ finished work.

On Facebook, Rob Coscia said something very poignant, If you’re living in fear of people, circumstances and the future, you haven’t been listening to what God says about them.” Rob also noted 3 verses of Scripture:  Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” ( Matthew 11:28)  God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7) Lastly, he mentioned 1 John 4:18a Perfect love displaces all fear. I add to this short list, Jeremiah 29:11 in which the Lord states, “For I know the thoughts I think toward you, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  This verse is very familiar to most but we need to realize that we can actually ask Him what those thoughts and plans are and get a reply.  He is eager to speak to and be in relationship with His people, it’s the whole reason we were created. He wanted a family.  He wanted you.

I have been thinking about this a bit and why it is that Christians allow themselves to sink as deeply as anyone else who doesn’t know God. One thought that came up was that perhaps we don’t all truly value or understand the value of prayer and being aware of and intentionally focusing on His presence.

It isn’t easy to be in His presence and still feel sorry for oneself.  I don’t know that it is even possible to shift one’s thinking and focus, be engulfed in Him, and still be depressed.

I think, all too often people feel they have to be doing something to fix their problems.  They have to help God, after all, a lot of Christians believe that “God helps those who help themselves”.  The faulty part of this is that if we could fix all of our problems ourselves, what did Jesus die for?  Why do we need a Savior?  What do we need God for at all if we can do it all ourselves?  Now, I’m not saying just sit around and wait for everyone else to do for you or expect things to just fall into your lap.  There’s most certainly a time and place for doing things, but not to the complete dismissal of prayer and just basking in His presence.

Psalms 16:11 (NKJV) says, “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your hand are pleasures forevermore.”  Do we really believe that when we allow what we see and experience to overthrow what the Word of God says?  Jesus said his yoke is easy and his burden is light but do we really believe that when life presents us with an opportunity to take on a burden that God never intended us to bare?

A game changer for me has been this consistent and constant (and simple) awareness that I carry the fullness of the Godhead in me and with me 24/7 (John1:16). Because of this, I can engage with Him at any time.  What a wonderful reality!!!

I am one who can take empathy to heights and depths unknown, and last week, I started to really feel down as I witnessed so much pain around me.  I felt myself sinking deeper and deeper, praying and crying.  Eventually, I realized, I need to let it go because it was affecting me more than just a little.  I knew that in my own strength, I couldn’t handle it so I sat still and told the Lord that I didn’t want to keep feeling so awful.  I’d prayed in faith and believe wholeheartedly that He has already provided healing for the hearts, bodies and minds of all that I prayed for, but I didn’t have to stay there. I could have my joy restored and keep it.  So, I focused on Him and just worshiped Him and soon, everything changed. Now when I think of the people I am praying for, I simply thank God for their healing and move on with my own joy intact as I know I have constant access to rivers of living waters flowing inside of me.

I love how, when I decide to trust God and don’t try to have a back up plan to fix things myself in my own strength, it leaves room for Him to do some crazy, creative and mighty things in my life.  I have seen it so much in the last few years that for me, there is no other way.  It’s live by faith, the end.  If He said it in His Word, I have settled it in my heart to trust and believe it no matter what I see in front of me.  Just as Psalms 121 starts out, “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains.  Where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth…”  So, my question to you is, what are you looking at?  Where is your focus planted?  If it isn’t on Him, no worries, make that shift, focus on Him.  Allow Him to love you through rough times and fill you with that peace that surpasses all understanding.  Joy unspeakable is yours for the taking. Get what’s yours and keep it!