Dark clouds seem to loom over your life and you feel hopeless. That job loss, loss of a house, loss of a loved one, or health issues can all be perceived as dark clouds. When children go astray and life completely contradicts that that they have been taught; that too can be perceived as a dark cloud. The bank account being in the red on a continual basis–yes another dark cloud. But are these really dark clouds?

Many have gone through storms in life–literally storms! Thunderstorms where the sky is darkened and they seem to go on forever. It’s during these times that some duck tail and hide. It’s during these storms that many would, like my grandmother would tell us as kids, get real silent “Because the Lord is doing His work”. It is during those storms that some experience loss of electricity for hours and sometimes even days and depending on how long the power outage lasts, loses frozen goods.

It is during these storms that afterwards one breathes a sigh of relief. It is after these storms that many rejoice in the fact that even though it was bad, it could have been worse.

But what about the other storms one endures that causes darkness to loom for what seems like eternity? What about those storms that appear to rob you of your joy, zap you of your energy, steal your excitement, zeal and enthusiasm for life? What about those storms?

Let’s look at the potential silver lining in these times. The job loss may be God redirecting you to start your own business or perhaps He has a better job for you. The loss of a house could be God’s preparation for you for a home; both here on earth and your heavenly home. The loss of a loved one can be an opportunity to thank God for having allowed them to be apart of your life, even if you believe they were taken too soon. The health issue may be God’s nudging that there are some things you need to change in your life to be here for the long haul. It could be His nudging you to take better care of yourself.

The financial issues or the bank account being in the red could be God’s way of leading you to be proactive in the handling of your finances, take classes, develop and maintain a budget.

The bible tells us to train up a child in the way they should go. Once we do that we have fulfilled our God-given assignments as parents. When, or if, they should stray, don’t play the blame game. Instead keep them continually lifted in prayer and trust God to do the turnaround. This can be very hard at times and often requires our letting them go and surrendering them to God over and over and over again BUT never give up on that wayward child. It ain’t over until God says it’s over! Remember that.

While we’re on the subject of wayward children, remember you were most likely one of them and if your parents didn’t give up on you, but rather covered you in prayer, AND God didn’t give up on you, who are you to give up on them?

Behind every dark cloud is a silver lining. Instead of looking at the dark cloud, wallowing and feeling sorry for yourself, look for the silver lining. Look for the blessing in the testing or the blessing in the lesson. Once you’ve found it, implement and see the turnaround that takes place.

Don’t ignore the warning signs. Change and growth takes place when we listen, learn and adhere or take action correcting the issues in our lives we’ve created and trust God to fix the other things. Do your part and trust God to do the rest.

There are some things, no matter how hard we try, that we will be unable to fully comprehend or fix. Let go of those and trust God to mend or fix those issues. Do YOUR part and trust God! Do what you can do and rest in knowing the Creator can and will fix any issues that affect you and yours.

Behind EVERY dark cloud IS a silver lining!

 

2 ladies talking

“Guess what Mary? I have a library full of books on subjects ranging from A to Z. And, girl I have every exercise tape and pieces of equipment I need to lose weight. And girl, I have several different versions of the Bible as with study guides. Girl, I have closets full of clothes, shoes, handbags and accessories to match. No brags, just facts.” Ha!

Well guess what folks, what the speaker isn’t saying is that even though she has all of these items she is barely using any of them. Use it or lose it!

Let’s get real, we take great pleasure in boasting about the newest books or outfits or any of those things mentioned above but what are we honestly doing with them/it?

Having exercise equipment, books, clothing, etc. does absolutely no good if they’re not being utilized. How many of you (don’t raise your hand) can say that you know someone like the speaker talking to Mary? How many of you are that speaker? Be honest with yourself.

Recently discovered that shoes unworn will dry rot. Clothes unused are of no good after awhile to you or anyone else. Books unread will not expand the mind nor help the individual in any way. A Bible and study guides will not help one iota if unread. Exercise equipment and tapes are useless unused.

Osmosis won’t happen by placing books under your pillow girl. It just won’t work. You’d better open that book, use that equipment, wear them doggone clothes and fully utilize all that you have. If you don’t use it you run the risk of definitely losing it.

Those 6 pack abs you’ve worked so hard to get will easily turn to flab if you don’t continue to work aggressively to keep them.

There are some who sang beautifully for years and then they stop. Once they start to sing again, they often find the voice is not what it was and appears to be cracked until they put forth the time and effort into rebuilding it to get it back up to par. Some never do and sound like a hot mess!

Use it or lose it! Don’t take any of it for granted. If not properly, consistently used and maintained on a regular basis, you run the risk of losing it. Don’t let that be you.

And while I’m discussing this, don’t allow the gifts you’ve been given to lie dormant for years. Don’t assume that you can go for years without using those gifts and be as effective as you once were. Use them!”

 

It seems that sometimes we get stuck in a certain geographical area, areas we consider our “safe” or “comfort zones” and have a fear of moving out of or beyond those parameters we’ve set for ourselves. This can be geographical or preconceived limitations in our minds. Last week I had an “aha” moment. Let me elaborate.

Living in the Southern California area, the opportunities to go and grow are endless. I have been invited to numerous events that I’ve declined. The reason may or may not shock some of you but it has been nothing more than FEAR. Yes, FEAR–False Evidence Appearing Real, that has kept me in certain places or in my comfort zones.

A friend recently invited me to a comedy show that takes place at night. My response was that I do not do night driving alone. Her response was “You’ve got to get out of that”. Now it’s not the driving part that has kept me from going places: It is however, the fact that I have been told by some how dangerous it is to travel alone at night and that has stayed with me. I have been constantly told “You don’t want to walk, drive, or go certain places alone as it’s just too dangerous”. There is a certain element of truth to that, however if we don’t get outside of our comfort zones how will we really know what’s on the other side?

One should exercise some wisdom when doing any of these things be it in California, Louisiana, or any other State. That is a fact. One should not allow fear to keep them from doing things that can enhance or expand their view on life and expose them to the wonderful possibilities.

I’ve discussed the paralyzing fear that keeps some from moving geographically or physically but what about the fear that grips our minds that tells us we cannot go beyond a certain point in life? What about the fear that stops some dead in their tracks that says you are not qualified or good enough to go beyond a certain point? What about the fear that tells you if you move beyond a certain point in life people won’t like you? What about that mind-gripping fear that tells one that this is as good as it gets? What about…what about…what about?

This is the time to squarely look that fear in the face and call it what it is–A liar. This is the time to step outside the comfort zone you have locked yourself in and dare to expand. This is the time to move totally and completely out of your comfort zone and stretch. Yes, this is the time.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Do one thing (just one) that has frightened the dickens out of you in the past. Move out and do something that fear has prevented you from doing. Move out of your comfort zone.  You’ll be so glad you did. And, do yet another thing the next week and the week after that and so on until you have conquered the fears in your life. Giants do fall but they don’t if we won’t confront and deal with them. I issue this challenge to you as with myself. Let’s stretch and grow!

FEAR–False Evidence Appearing Real. We’ve got this!

What are you doing to multiply your gifts and talents? You do know that where you are and what you currently have can be multiplied don’t you? I’m sure that you realize that where you are is not your final destination.

So what do I mean by this? First off, when we were each born, we were uniquely and wonderfully made. We had no clue as an infant what we would do or where we would go in life. As we began to age and experience life, we began to see unlimited possibilities: we began to believe that we could be and do a number of things. We began to say as early as elementary school things we would do when we grew up. And many of us began to study in that or those areas.

As we progressed to the teen years or into young adulthood, we learned the necessary skills to help us further our pursuit of our chosen area of interest. We had tunnel vision and focused solely on pursuing that and that alone. But did you know that as you progress and journey towards that particular path you can and should also learn additional things along the way that multiplies your gifts and talents? Yes, it is true.

There is a story found in the word that tells us about the multiplication as with the hiding of talents. A certain nobleman called his servants together and delivered to them a number of pounds when leaving their country. He gave to one ten pounds, to another five pounds and yet to another one pound. I am unsure as to why he did it this way but nevertheless he did. They did know that he would return and the wise ones knew he expected interest or multiplication of that he had given them.

Upon returning to this country, the one who had been given ten had multiplied the ten and now had twenty. The one given five had multiplied the five and now had ten. Sadly, the one who had been given one still only had the one. He did not understand the importance or even the necessity in multiplying his talent. Because of this, the king took the talent from the one and gave it to the one who had ten originally.

What ones does not use, one risks losing it.

It is very crucial to our lives as with the lives of others that we continue to stretch, learn, and grow; that we continue to multiply the gifts and talents given us so that we can be and become all that our Creator intended us to be. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that God has a good plan for us. This only happens when we take what He has given us, study and perfect it and continue to stretch and grow.

What’s some of the benefits of multiplying our gifts and talents?

  1. You will do some things that many sit on the sidelines and only talk about.
  2. You are preparing yourself and your family as with all you come in contact with for generational blessings.
  3. You are leading by example.
  4. You are blessed and really in a position to bless others by sharing your knowledge, wisdom and expertise with others.
  5. You change a generation from those who previously thought “I can’t” to become those who believe “I can” as they have seen it modeled before them not just by a celebrity or a stranger but by someone they know personally.

Philippians 1:6King James Version (KJV)

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

What is confidence? Webster defines confidence as —

a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something

  • : a feeling or belief that someone or something is good or has the ability to succeed at something

  • : the feeling of being certain that something will happen or that something is true

    .

The scripture above states that we can be CONFIDENT of the fact that He that has begun a good work in you WILL perform it. Tying the scriptural reference and Webster’s together lets us know that CONFIDENCE is believing, without a doubt, that what you begin, you can and will achieve. It is the feeling of being CERTAIN that something will happen.

 

Have you lost your confidence? Perhaps some things have taken longer than you anticipated and your confidence has started to wane. Perhaps there have been many detours and bumps in the road that has made you question your decision to tackle a task. Perhaps life has given you more twists and turns than you anticipated and you’re having second thoughts about finishing what you start.

Might I make a suggestion? Think about what you started, why you started it, and if you believe this is something that He has placed inside you; something that is your purpose for being here, regain your confidence today and continue to move forward.

 

You’ve heard the song, well actually there are two: I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired and I Just Can’t Give Up Now. The lyrics to both say that “I’ve come too far from where I started from. Nobody told me the road would be easy and I don’t believe He brought me this far to leave me.”

 

Regain your confidence today!

 

Characteristics of a confident person include but are not limited to–
  • Sees obstacles as opportunities
  • Sees setbacks as setups for greater
  • Sees perceived problems as a means of finding solutions for the greater good
  • Is optimistic
  • Believes that everything will work out as it should
  • Realizes that our times are in our Creator’s hands and trusts the process
  • Falls down but immediately gets back up; is resilient and learns how to bounce back from a setback
Something wonderful is going to happen for you when you regain your confidence and press in spite of–You will get your fire back and move towards your purpose!

 

Get ready! Something good’s gonna happen for you!  You’re confident, resilient, and tenacious. It will work if you work it!

Still I rise! Still I rise! Still I rise!

As we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus; actually the death, burial and resurrection, this should give us hope in our risen Savior but also let us know that in whatever situation we find ourselves, we can rise above and from it.

My life has been far from peachy cream or squeaky clean. I’ve fallen down many times; made innumerable mistakes, but the one thing that causes me to rise each day more determined than the previous one is knowing that falling is apart of the process and I can rise and begin again. And you can as well.

I encourage you today to read in the gospels the story of Jesus death, burial and resurrection; to read the stories of those in the bible who considered themselves unworthy of their calling or purpose but decided and became determined to not only start a venture but to finish it; to read of those whom you admire–of their struggles, falls, ups and downs, as with their tenacity and determination to rise daily in spite of those and in doing so are now living very successful lives.

Today I stress, as in all of my messages, that there is power in numbers; collectively WE have unbelievable, unimaginable power. Once WE begin to tap into the powers WE have, WE will rise and shine like never before.

Today, make the promise to yourself, that you too will rise and as you rise, look up to get guidance and direction from your source, look around to see where your true resources lie and make the connections–those who can help you, and look down to see those that you can help lift as you rise.

I will close this with a part of my story and a poem by Dr. Maya Angelou.

There was a time in my life when I was unemployed or rather not gainfully employed; I was pursuing God’s Storehouse Ministries. My family and I suffered like you wouldn’t believe. People I had helped in so many ways turned their backs on us, walked away and when they did find themselves walking in my direction, crossed over to the other side to avoid having any contact with me. There was one person that I actually helped secure employment with the government that I went to when I realized things were not working out and was in desperate need of a job.  I got so many excuses as to why they could not do it, knowing it was not true. But that’s not the end of that story because what one person won’t do God always has someone lined up who will and after four years I did get the job retaining my grade level and seniority.

Actually, if I had just left I could have gone back to the job after only a year: I wasn’t ready to leave, to move from one state to another as the offers continually came from another state. There’s a message in this as well. Sometimes you have to go to grow!

Let me say this, I share my story to benefit someone else; not to put anyone on blast but to let you know, you can still rise from any sufferings, wrongs, or injustices that have come against you. You can rise from being broke, busted and disgusted. You can rise from losing stuff (yes I said stuff!). You can rise from being lied on, lied to, counted out, talked about, broken promises made by others to you that caused you to look plum foolish as you made promises to others based on the word of man: You can rise from the very pits of hell. Unemployed? You can rise! Crazy children and family? You can rise! Homeless? You can rise! No money or low money? You can rise! Health Issues? You can rise!

I am not broken. I hold no grudges against anyone. I love all. I am whole and I RISE! Let this become your testimony.

It’s time to roll away the tomb and RISE!
Still I Rise 3

 

That weight you’ve been carrying is causing you to lag, drag, and you’re totally exhausted!Let me tell you today how you can lose some weight and keep it off. This pertains to both physical weight as with the weight of carrying others and/or trying to handle too much on your own.

“I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus! I cannot bear my burdens alone”. The song’s words rings loudly in the ears of many. We are weighted down with the cares of the world. Sometimes it can seem like you have a noose around your neck choking the very life out of you. The good news is you can drop the weight and live again. That’s something to shout about!

There’s a story in the bible about a man named Moses. Moses tried to do everything in his power to do what God had called him to do. He was chosen by God to rescue the Israelites from the Egyptian king’s Pharaoh’s tyranny. He was chosen as a leader.

Moses grew tired after working day-after-day. It took his father-in-law, Jethro to come to his rescue and shed some light as to how he could lose some weight. Jethro basically told him that what he was carrying was too much for him to handle alone and introduced the idea of effectively delegating tasks to others that they could do while he handled the more serious issues. Read Exodus17:13-27 for yourself. To get the full concept of what took place in Moses life, might I suggest you read the entire book of Exodus?

So, you want to lose weight. First step, stop trying to do everything on your own; fully utilize the people God has given you so that you can be more effective at handling the tasks assigned you. Next, once you put the assigned tasks into the hands of capable individuals fully able and willing to do the job, allow them to do the job. Know that you don’t have to be involved in every aspect or details relating to the job.

As far as losing weight physically, if you’ve had a hard time accomplishing your goal of releasing or losing weight in the past, and know the struggle is real, enlist the help of someone that can help you achieve your goal and set you on a path of developing and maintaining the lifestyle change you desire.

One must be healthy in order to go the distance in pursuit of their assignments. Let go of the emotional baggage. Let go and release some physical weight, if needed and run your race.

In each case, the enlistment of capable, qualified, and willing individuals is an absolute necessity.

Moses carried too much emotional weight and it cost him

We can carry too much emotional and physical weight that ends up costing us in so many negative ways.

It’s time to lose some weight and now is as good of time as any to start.

This article still ties in with team building concepts given in the prior two articles. Build your team! Let them do the job! Get out of your own way! And let the weight loss begin!

Be inspired! You can do it!

 

Team

Your team can and should be the catalyst that helps you take your vision to reality. It’s crucial you make sure you have the right players with you as you embark upon your venture into the unknown. Having said that, I now provide you with a few practical steps in selecting your team players.

  1. Look for and connect with people who want to see you succeed. That’s right! There are some that truly would love to see you fall and will do any and every thing to see to that happening. There may be an enemy in the camp.
  2. Look for and connect with people that have strengths and weaknesses different from your own. Yes, you can draw from their strengths and work with their weaknesses. The partnership between you and your team member should be mutually satisfying meaning they should be able to draw from your strength and you should be able to do the same with theirs.
  3. Look for and connect with people with different skillsets and abilities than you have. Diversity in skills and abilities brings completion to the tasks. You will free yourself to focus on your areas of expertise.
  4. Look for and connect with people who are passionate about what they do. You cannot fail when you find someone who loves what they are already doing becoming a part of your team.
  5. Look for and connect with people who can mentor you along the way. Mentorship is very important! You will never know it all. Remain teachable and look for those that have gone before you and learn from them. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel.
  6. Look for and connect with those you can mentor–mentees. Yes, as you remain teachable, learn, and grow, you should find someone or several perhaps that you can help to mold and shape and help their visions manifest.
  7. Lastly, look for and connect with those that recognize although this is a vision, it is the start of a business/ministry/home purchase/return to school/etc., and often require not only physical support but financial support as well. Look for those that can help and assist you financially as you pursue your endeavors.

I’ve given you a few tips or reminders that can help you as you are selecting your team players. It goes without saying that you never want to choose anyone that you know is against you as a part of your team. Grab your cheerleaders, sound the horn, and head for the finishing line!

Teamwork 2

Philippians 4:15 “Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.”

Journeying through life, pursuing your God-given and God-assigned purpose often leads to loneliness, isolation, and being completely misunderstood. We all know that is a part of the process. My question to you causes you to take a deep look inward and reflect on who has really fed into you during this journey; who has communicated with you, not judged you, assisted you, prayed for and with you? Who has fed you when you were hungry, clothed you when you were naked, visited you when you were imprisoned, even if it was only a mental imprisonment? Who?

Verse 3 of the same chapter in Philippians states: “I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. 4 And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.”

As God begins to elevate each of you on this journey of life, know that many will come in the end but also think about who walked with you, fought with you, prayed with you, stood with you, believed with you, provided for you in the lean times, defended you, assisted you, and know that these are the people who you want to be a blessing to and as a part of your team.

There is a very familiar story called “The Little Red Hen”. I’m sure you’re familiar with it but to refresh your memory I will give you my version of it. You’re starting a career, school, a business, a ministry, excited and eager to do what you set out to do. The questions posed to many are—Who will help me by teaching me what I need to know? Who will help me by temporarily housing me as I pursue? Who will or has sown financially into my life? Who will help me by providing words of encouragement when I get weak, feel defeated, and want to give up? Who, when the funds are low and the debts are high and you feel like you want to just crawl in a hole somewhere, will help you? Who will introduce me to others who can help lighten my load? And the response is—Not I! Oh yes, emphatically and proudly stated—Not I!

So you trudge along year after year after year after year, falling down, getting back up, brushing yourself off, and starting over again. Often feeling dejected, rejected, and thoughts of quitting run through your mind on a daily or regular basis. You know that quitting is never optional. You realized at the beginning why you were doing what you were doing and that it was not going to be instantaneous or happen at a microwave speed but rather require some deep digging, lots of studying, putting in a lot of elbow grease but the end result would be well worth it. You saw it first in the spiritual realm and you know it will manifest in the natural realm with hard work, persistence, tenacity, being fully committed…you just know it will pay off…eventually. You begin with the end in mind.

Back to the story, so there are those that say “Not I” but that’s not the end of the story. In the conclusion of the story when the corn was planted, picked, pulled, and made ready for eating, the question became—Who will help me eat the bread? Everyone’s hands went up. Can you imagine that? After saying very proudly to you and any and everyone else within earshot, “I’m not going to help her/him” “Oh well she started it let her finish it” or better yet “Who do they think they are?” they then are ready to eat the bread with you. Go figure!

My message to you is twofold;  first do not harbor any ill-feelings against this group of people. The bible says for us to bless those who curse us and to pray for those who despitefully use us. My message secondly is when selecting people to be on your team, look at the ones that are tried and true and stick with those first and foremost.

Do not ignore those that come back and are ready to go the distance though. Realize that perhaps they too have been going through a period of preparation, although different from yours, God may have been preparing them for such a time as this. His ways are not our ways. Stay open to the possibilities that the person(s) may not have been ready yet to step up to the plate. Be open and receptive to embracing them and welcoming them back into the family unit. Yes, even those that initially said “Not I”! Is this a contradiction from the earlier writings? Not at all! Stay with those that are tried and true; just be receptive to others that may come back repentant and now willing to go the distance. Team work does make the dream work and contrary to the belief that we are totally independent and need no one; we are interdependent and need the village!

Parting words: In order to fully impact the kingdom and to reach many lost souls, to help those that are hurting, to achieve anything in life, more people, of the same mind in the Lord, can positively impact the lives of many not just in our small city/state/town but globally. Isn’t that what it’s all about for we who profess to be Christians? Not ego (Edging God Out), not pride, not possessions or material things (No one can take them with them when we each go home), not fame or fortune (people will build you up one day and tear you down the next) but rather changing, reaching, preparing and assisting the next generation to become warriors…to pursue their God-given purpose (whatever it may be) with passion.

Can I tell you something? It’s not about you or me, or any one of us, it’s about God! Remember that.

Next week I will provide practical steps to use in choosing your team members.

Everyone goes through a period of depression, worry, anxieties & fears at some point in their lives. This should not be your norm. There are some things that we can do to help us get through this stage.

  • Pray. Prayer is extremely vital as you are going through any or all of these things.
  • Turn off the negativity. Shut the news off. The main thing reported in the news is bad news. Be careful what you listen to.
  • Get away from destructive or negative relationships. Connect with and stay with people who will help you get out of the slump you’re in. Whatever one spends the most of their time around is what the individual later becomes. Get with positive people; people who inspire and uplift you; people of faith; people that can feed you and you do the same for them.
  • Read. Reading of something inspirational, motivational, educational, uplifting, empowering helps to change your perspective on whatever situation you are currently dealing with.
  • Get you off your mind. Look for ways you can do something each day for someone else. Happiness and joy comes from being a blessing to others. When you get you off of your mind, and look for ways to bless others, your joy will begin to return.
  • Deal with it. Whatever is making you depressed, worried, anxious or fearful—deal with it. I know some of us may have many things that’s the cause of these emotions. May I make a suggestion? Deal with one issue at a time and then progress to the next one. As you do your part, trust that God will do his part.
  • Praise. Praise God for what you have. Be thankful for what you have and not focused on what you don’t have. Keep a daily gratitude journal. List just 4-5 things daily you are grateful for and praise God for those.

Doing these things on a regular basis will help one get over or rather through depression, worries, anxieties, and fears. Try them! You won’t be disappointed but see your life turn around.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 967 other followers