Listen for God’s Voice…

To-Be-Still-Remember-That-God-Is-in-Control-FtImgI grew up believing in the supernatural. I believe to this day in the literal ability to hear from God.  For many, this sounds weird and probably makes some of you feel that I am some kind of spiritual lunatic. I can assure you that I am not.  Anyway, I will not pretend that I am not super spiritual, because I am.

Over the last several months I have experienced some very rough patches. Like normal, I continued to pray each morning and read my Bible. I was asking God for a release from a burden to only feel that He was ignoring me or trying to teach me something. On the days I was frustrated, I am sure I felt the former. On the days I had hope, I felt the latter—He was teaching me something that would be used to mature me and to glorify Him in the end.

During the time of my challenge, I thought God had sent the answer. I felt excited, hopeful, and a new spark ignited in me.  The other part to the story is I began putting a lot of hope in what I thought was the answer to my prayers. One morning, while out running, I heard (either through a thought or feeling, but it was real because I wrote about it) “Do not look at a person or thing as your savior.”  It was clear what I heard. I remember thinking of that phrase later and putting it out of my mind.  Not long after that, I thought of it again and repeated it to myself, “don’t look to people or things as my savior.” and immediately I heard myself declare, Jesus Christ is my Savior and He is in control of everything.

Not long after I heard that voice tell me not to put my trust in a person or thing, the bomb dropped. The thing I had been praying for and thought had changed my life for the better, collapsed!

You may say, that’s a coincidence. I read somewhere that “Coincidences are God’s way of remaining anonymous.” Therefore, to this super spiritual girl, God had warned me and I should not have been surprised by what had just happened. I was, however.

I share this story to assure you that God does speak; maybe not audibly, but He does if we are listening. He has done so to me many times. Sometimes I stop and listen and others, I ignore and keep on trying to do things my way.

Doing things our way; trusting in other people or relying on things, rather than God, gets us into trouble. We find ourselves shocked, bewildered, and frustrated when things don’t work out. However, if we would listen to that voice deep inside telling us to wait, watch out or simply, trust, we will end up in a better place.

I do not understand what God is doing, but I do trust Him. He gave me fair warning. I believe if I would stop fretting, stop looking to others to save me, and stop complaining, I will be open to what God has up His sleeves.  Remember, “His ways are not our ways, nor are our thoughts His thoughts.” We may do things one way and He is 100,000,000,000+ ahead of us in the way He intends to do it.  I guarantee when it is said and done, what He intends for you and I, will be a lot better.

Do not look to people or things to do what the  Maker of all things can do better. They are not your savior, He is.

God is not Surprised..

God is not suprised 2If you have lived long enough, you have probably experienced rejection and disappointment with people you have trusted. You may recall being on top of the world one minute and deep in the depths of despair another. Because you have been treated so poorly, you may have questioned your own value and worth.  Don’t!

Too many times we turn our attention to people and things. We put too much value into what they are doing to us than into what God is doing in us.  The fact of the matter is, even though you may experience some “great” loss with a person or thing, it was never great; it was necessary. Although you may be going through a tough time because you may feel you have lost something or someone, think of it as a time of renewal because God is doing a new work in you.  The one thing you thought you needed, you will soon find out it was a blessing that you didn’t get it. So, don’t get mad with those who thought they were keeping something from you. No, they were doing exactly as God needed them to do, whether they know it or believe it.  Had whatever you hoped for worked out the way you expected it to, that thing would have kept you from being available for the greater things God has in store for you.

What I have learned through my own disappointments is that when I am disappointed, I question my abilities and I question who I am. Maybe I was trusting my own abilities too much in the beginning. Maybe I had forgotten to let God be first and I had allowed others in His place. Maybe the times I have felt used and alone in the wilderness, was really a time for self-evaluation, not self-criticism. Maybe it was time for God to get my attention so that He could complete a different work in and through me that would take me to the next level.

Remember, disappointments happen to us all. Although we may be surprised by the actions or inactions of others, God is never surprised.  He has my back and He has yours too!

Don’t be Discouraged

I am old enough to know that when I am experiencing difficulties, there is some lesson joshua 1-9God is trying to teach me. I must admit, I hate it when it is my time to learn something. As much as I embrace the tenets of “life-long learning,” the kinds of “activities” we have to do during these assignments can be so hard! The other thing is usually the activities are not fun ones at all.

Think about life for a moment; the activities we experience revolve around waiting, speculating, worrying, second-guessing, and stressing out over things that are happening that we have very little influence or control over. Because we cannot control the things happening to us, we become discouraged, despondent, angry, depressed, withdrawn, and sometimes we will just drop out altogether.

If we would, No! if we could remind ourselves that things happen to us for a reason and if you are religiously-inclined, you believe that God is trying to teach you something that will mature you in ways you need to be matured, then you can quickly snap out of those discouraging times. I am speaking this as much to myself as I am sharing with you.

When you are going through something that is affecting your mental and emotional state and you are so discouraged that you don’t know what to do or where to turn, turn to God. Ask Him to help you to be patient and to trust Him to teach you what you need to learn. And if one door closes, trust that He has a better door for you to walk through after He is done with your lesson. Also remember EVERYONE experiences ups and downs. When you are down, recall the happier times and tell yourself, God doesn’t change. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. If it is difficult today, just wait, it won’t be tomorrow. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean to your understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.

While you wait, concentrate on these scriptures. I know they will help you. They have helped me!

Joshua 1:9 (the Bible) tells us the following: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Philippians 4:6 tells us this: Be anxious for nothing, but in all things with prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. and the peace of God will keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Lamentations 3:25-26 says: The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”

 

Determine to Live Positive

when-hope-is-gone

Topic: Be Determined to Live Positive
Recently, I’ve watched the most positive people go from 100 % to zero in a short time. I have observed how joy has left them. I have even watched people slip into a state of worry and despair. I have seen people who are generally upbeat, happy, and joyful destroyed by the words and actions of others. Words that anyone would understand as being belittling, denigrating, and disrespectful. I have been left wondering what has happened in a person’s life that causes them to treat people so horribly.
As I have watched these kinds of situations, I have also watched my reactions to bad behavior. What have I learned? To be careful about who I vent and share my deepest feelings. The betrayed becomes the betrayer. Those you think you have something in common with, may not be the ones you can trust. Don’t think for a minute because you are having the same issues as another person that you can share with that person. If you do, be careful. You might end up in a deep dark well trying to crawl your way back up. It is so easy to fall into talking and talking because it seems like you are getting the frustration off your chest.
The positivity you generally feel gets lost in those conversations, and before long, you begin to talk negatively—defeatism sets in—and you will begin to act negatively; no longer experiencing joy and happiness. So, what is the solution? I think I found it in Romans 12:21.
“Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.” This scripture is easier to read than it is to do. I think what I can offer is something I learned from another author who said, “be the best where you are. God is preparing you.” This hit me like a ton of bricks because as a Believer, this should be my daily mantra. Honestly, you can tell if people are out for your best interests. If you pull away from the drama and refuse to allow yourself to get caught up talking and talking, watch how those you confided in react. Don’t get caught up. If you have (I have before) decide to pull away and don’t engage anymore.
Jeremiah 29:11-14 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord…”
Instead of seeking conversations that will keep you depressed, and questioning who you are, seek God’s guidance. Call on Him, go to Him, and pray. His Word says He will listen to you. Who better to talk to than the most excellent Counselor?

All In God’s Timing

Have you ever found yourself praying and praying for a thing and it seems that nothing, absolutely nothing, is happening? It appears that your prayers are not getting through or psalm 43-5-hopeyou feel that God is hearing you, but choosing to ignore you?  Have you experienced a change of some kind? If you sit quietly and think about it, maybe you have felt a shift in your life.  You don’t know why things have changed to your disadvantage when they were always to your advantage?

The only advice I can offer is found in Matthew 5:45, “He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (ESV). When I have read this passage in the past, I took it as God blesses the bad person and the good person equally, but as I read commentaries, the scripture makes a lot more sense.  Jesus was teaching the Disciples that they should be good to their enemies (us too).  His example to them was that God lets the sunshine and the rain fall on both the good person and the bad one. However, God does not give spiritual blessings equally.

A light bulb went off when I thought about what the commentary stated, “if your enemy is hungry, feed them as you would feed yourself.” It takes a specific and rare quality to do that.  I say it takes a person of deep-abiding faith, a person who keeps a positive attitude during pain and struggle, and a person who stays clear of gossip that will inflame their already upset conscious, instead, they seek out God to talk to about their struggles.

This particular person understands the spiritual undertones, and they don’t seek to get revenge, they may want to understand what is happening, but most importantly, they go to God in prayer. This person is filled with the Holy Spirit, and although far from perfect themselves, they know their God is perfect, and He may seem to be far away, but He isn’t. He is sitting high and seeing all things. He may be quiet, but He has not abandoned them.

Yes, God reigns on the unjust as He reigns on the just.  Times change, people change, situations change also. When life shifts from good to bad, you may fret initially, that is understandable. After a little while, ask yourself this: “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior, and my God.” Then begin praising Him no matter what the circumstances because times change, people change, and situations will change again in your favor.

Consider it Pure Joy…

Hand lettering Count it all Joy, James 1:2. Biblical background. Text from the Bible Old Testament. Christian verse, Vector illustration isolated on white background

I was sitting in the early morning hours reading my Bible. I do this every day no matter what.  Anyhow, I was beginning to read, yet again, the Book of James.  I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have read my Bible in its entirety, and as many times as I have read the Bible, I am certain I have read James much more. This time I got stuck reflecting on the first couple of verses—

  “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of 

                    many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces 

                    perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature

                    and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should

                    ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given

                    to you.”

As I was reading these verses, I had an epiphany and I thought to myself, the reason some people do not succeed in life is because they have not learned how to look at their challenges as learning and growing experiences. They allow their circumstances to define whether they will live joyful and victorious lives. God wants us to be joyful and content regardless of our circumstances because there will always be a lesson we can learn from them.

Let me explain what I mean.  Every time I have faced something in my personal or professional life, in hindsight, I can see where God was maturing me.  Not only did I learn how to cope with a person or situation, I learned how to rely on Him more and less on myself. When I learned to trust Him and not turn to others (who will only gossip or cause you to doubt yourself) He provided me with the insight I needed to not only survive, but to thrive.  Also, when I turned to Him, He allowed me to see that I was growing in some skillset that I would later leverage in my personal or professional life.

“Consider it pure joy…” means not to worry or get stressed over a situation that you cannot control. It means to rest in the Lord and to be still and allow His work to be done in and through you. It means to trust Him and do so with a joyful heart. If you trust Him, you will probably be a lot more positive and relaxed.

During those times when you become frustrated, short with others, and impatient with the situation, know you won’t remain in that condition for long. Why? The Holy Spirit will remind you that faith tested builds perseverance and perseverance causes you to completely mature in all that you do.  If you don’t know how to face your challenges with joy, ask God. He will give you the answers you need.

A Leadership Reality

reality-check-roadI have studied Leadership for a very long time.  Not only have I studied it, I’ve been in leadership since my early twenties.  When I was a young adult, I can recall thinking that I could do the job of those who were in charge. When I was a lower-level manager, I thought I could do the middle manager’s job.  When I was a middle manager, I couldn’t wait to be the senior level manager.  I remember climbing the leadership ladder as if it were yesterday.  Here I am today, with the same enthusiasm for leadership but a whole lot wiser than I was as a young manager.

I started this by saying that I have “studied” leadership for a very long time. I want to emphasize the word “studied.”  You see, what experience teaches you is that there is a big, big difference between studying leadership and actually “doing” it.  I mean leadership in real life can be a lot more than challenging. Leadership can be thrilling, but many days it is crazy! It is especially crazy at the top.

You may one of those people whose goal is to make it to the top of the organization.    There are two tops, however, and all organizations have them. One of the “tops” is where you are a senior leader like the other senior leaders and you deal with the daily grind of your division. The other “top” is where you are a senior leader who is an insider. That’s where all the wheeling and dealing really happens. When you are an insider, you are exposed to the true character and values of the organization. In fact, this is where your character will be exposed (if only to you) and your values will be tested.  It is here where you have to make a decision about what you will or will not do.  I know, you say you will never compromise your values, right?

When you are an insider, you are exposed to the true character and values of the organization. In fact, this is where your character will be exposed (if only to you) and your values will be tested.  It is here where you have to make a decision about what you will or will not do.  I know, you say you will never compromise your values, right?

Those who survive in the real world of leadership and maintain a positive attitude, as well as hold true to their values, are those who are grounded in the ONE who is greater than themselves.  Positive Faith comes from having an intimate relationship with your Maker.  When I get overwhelmed and feel that I am just about at the end of the rope, I turn to scripture.  Here are a few that may help you when you feel the pressures of compromise or when you all of a sudden look up and wonder what have you gotten yourself into.

Positive Faith comes from having an intimate relationship with your Maker.  When I get overwhelmed and feel that I am just about at the end of my rope, I turn to scripture.  I find that scripture helps me when I feel the pressures of compromise or when I, all of a sudden, look up and wonder what have I gotten myself into. These are a few scriptures that I would like to share with you:

  • Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. …
  • Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe.
  • Nehemiah 8:10 Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength

I love leadership and I love being a leader. I have a lot of experience in it.  I want you to love it too and I want you to know how to prepare for days that may test your core. You can be the leader God has called you to be in your organization where being a leader may equal compromise. How? Be grounded in your faith and let that faith inform your values and ultimately your behaviors.