Wednesday, April 18, 2018

How Do You Eat An Elephant?

They did it to me again!!!

I cannot believe they did it to me again!!!  Again Lord! Why? What?! HOW? How long am I supposed just take this?  

I know vengeance belongs to you, but are you paying attention to what these enemies of mine are doing?

“But to you who are listening, I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Luke” 6:27-28 NIV

Now that’s COURAGE!  And that is a lot to swallow!

Well, they say the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.  So here we go!

Love your enemy – This is the easiest bite.  Who is my enemy?  The only real enemy I should have is those that are an enemy of my God.  Not an enemy of my church, pastor or leaders… but God.  Simply >>> if one is not an enemy of God, they should not be my enemy either.

Do good to them that hate you – Again, much like our actions towards the enemy, is our action towards someone that hates me.  Someone may hate me, hate you, but that is their heart towards me.  Love can still come easy.

Bless them that curse you – Now we are at a possible pressure point.  To curse me means you may know something about me.  But if it is not true or undeserved, my bible says, “Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest.” Pro. 26:2  The guiltless do not have to fear a curse. 

But what I have to do next, now this takes courage.

Pray for them that despitefully use you – What?

To tackle this one, we must break it down into bite-size pieces!  End piece first.

To use me implies that you had to be close enough to my person and my heart for me to break off a piece of it for you.

To use me means that I gave you the most important commodity I have … my time.  When I gave you my service, my care, my ear, and my helping hand, I gave you a part of me that I can never get back.

To use me means that ultimately, I was compliant.  You could not have “used me” unless I agreed on some level.  Wow. So, who am I really mad at?

Despitefully.  Why is this word here?  Merriam Webster Dictionary defines it as: ‘expressing malice or hate’.  Well, we dealt with how to handle those who hate, but what about malice?  “The desire to cause pain, injury, distress to another.”  Hmm, so the intent was there, but it didn’t work.  The second definition, “intent to commit an unlawful act or cause harm without legal justification or excuse”, back to Pro. 26:2.

Simply put, it was in your heart to bring harm to me without a cause … and it didn’t work, even if I was unintentionally complicit. #POW

So what is there left to do???   Pray for them! 

Yes, yes, yes… Courage’s first breath is always a prayer.  

Arise!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Arise... It's April!




In January we were challenged to Arise in our Outlook! Everything that happened in 2017 really was not that bad, well it was but it was purposeful!   

In February we were challenged to Arise in our Conversations!  Our words frame our world.  In 2017 as situations became more difficult, trying and painful we let everyone and anyone that would listen to our complaints … listen. 

Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Tweets carried direct and subtle expressions of our frustrations.  Yet forgetting the one person listening most attentively to the words spoken … our own inner soul. 

In March, we were challenged to Arise in our Character!  It has been said that a crisis does not build character, it reveals character #True.

What did we learn about ourselves in 2017? For some, the revelations were not very pleasant. What changes are you making in 2018 considering what you have learned?  Remember, it is habits that form character.

Arise … It’s April!  

How is your Courage? 

Not the big courage like conquering 
Mt. Everest or Skydiving courage.  (unless that is on your bucket list).  This courage is the courage to go back and pick up what you sat down in 2017!  

There was something that all of us sat down, put away or gave up in 2017.  And if we are honest, some things, mindsets, and people had to go; and that was part of the 2017 processing.   

NOW.... Arise!  Embrace the courage to say I will try again, love again, invest again, and build again.  Now that is super-charged Courage!

Arise!  Take Courage! Move Forward!  Let’s do it together, step by step, day by day!

Arise.

Monday, January 15, 2018

ARISE in your OUTLOOK

Twelve men were sent out on a strategic fact-finding mission to gather intelligence about this purpose promised place which they were told they would conquer.   

This purpose promised place was truly all that God said it would be!  Look, they even returned with a foretaste of the fruit of the promise.  This was a great report and their Outlook is great!

But, along with the great Outlook came a few facts.  Strong enemies, large obstructions and…. Doubts! 

“We can’t do this … we can’t attack this … they’re bigger and stronger … we’ll be devoured … there are already giants in my promise place … and I seemed like a tiny little grasshopper in my own eyes next to them!”

Doubts! Doubts only see giants, problems, impossibility, and obstacles. Doubts leave God out of the equation and we make us forget, He is the one that set this purpose promised place before us, in us! 

Doubts cause us to look in at ourselves as grasshoppers.  Surely if I see myself as a grasshopper, everyone else does also. 

What is your purpose promised place?  Your marriage, the business, financial freedom, the family!  What seemingly impossible situation (your giant) did you face in 2017 that caused you to shrink back?

Question:  In the middle of facing your giant, did God send someone into your life to encourage you, “surely you will conquer and this purpose promised place is in fact still yours!”  Whose report did you believe?  

Arise.  Don’t run away in fear, face your giant head-on.  Refuse to continue wandering that mountain of doubts.

Arise. The impossibilities you faced in 2017 were actually opportunities to trust God. 

To overcome the “grasshopper syndrome”, you must change your OUTLOOK!  No more focusing on the difficulties of that situation, it is time to remember what God said.  Arise.

YOUR marriage, your family, your business, your finances, your health, your PURPOSE PROMISED PLACE, will you fight for it?  It is still yours, you can still conquer, but you must fight.      

Arise, change what you are looking at and fight ….  

Imagine a child who suddenly bumps into the neighborhood bully which he has been avoiding all year long.  The child trembles as he looks downs to avoid the eyes of this bully.  But suddenly he senses something deep within himself which causes the child to look up.  He is not looking up at the bully he is looking past the bully and there is his dad walking up behind the bully.  The child is no longer intimidated by the bully because he has shifted his gaze from the bully to his father.

Change your focus, change your OUTLOOK! That situation may be tough, but you are no grasshopper.

Arise!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Arise from 2017 & Emerge in 2018


“What is the word for the year?” I was asked on New Year’s Eve.  “Hum, not sure” I sheepishly replied.   


How could I not be sure on the last day of the year?  Every year starting with the Jewish new year until the end of our calendar year, I have listened intently within myself for that ONE word, but this year I heard two.  

ARISE… It is time to Arise.  My challenge with this word? Well, the challenges I faced in 2017 should have brought me to a place where I did arise.  To begin 2018 still saying arise felt a little defeating.  Well, then comes the second word…

EMERGE… This is the year to Emerge.  Oh, I liked that!!! Emerge feels so powerful (and the word for 2017 was POWER).  Yes, I liked emerge, but what about arise?  Let’s look at the meaning of each word:

Arise:    
To get up, as from a sitting or prone position; 
To awaken, and get up; 
To move upward; 
To come into being; originate.

Well, there is no big surprise there!  Let’s now look at Emerge:
To come forth into view; 
To come into existence or notice;
Move out from something and become visible. 

Wow...I got it!!!!

2017 brought us many new trials and challenges.  We found ourselves facing situations that we never faced before, and we didn’t really have anyone to walk us through.  These situations were uniquely designed for US!!!  Yes, tailor-made, so stop rebuking the devil.  

Allow me to illustrate:  
It was New Year’s Day and we had a house full of sleeping people.  My alarm went off at 4:30 AM.  Prayer, Devotion, Exercise (yeah right).  As I lay there, my mind said, “get up”!  Eventually, I did after hitting the snooze button three times.  "Oh darn, now I don’t have time to exercise."  What happened?  My hearts intent was to do what I knew would be beneficial for me, but I chose to delay.  Eventually, I did ARISE, and I noticed my night scarf was lying on the bed. I was sure my hair was quite disheveled without even looking in the mirror. I decided I would start breakfast and everyone would be waiting for me with expectation!

Now came the critical decision--Should I fix my hair, brush my teeth, and wipe the sleep from my eyes? OR Should I just EMERGE from my bedroom without doing due diligence! Hmm.

Taking a more personal note, the week of Thanksgiving I spent five days in the hospital.  The last day was the day after Thanksgiving, and I was upset that I missed the holiday with my family.  I was perfectly able to Arise out of my hospital bed, roam the halls and talk with other patients, so why couldn’t I go home. It looked like I was better. It felt like I was better!  But, I had to stay one day longer because the doctors wanted to ensure the medication had done its ‘due diligence’.  I had to wait one more day before I was allowed to Emerge!

So, what is the primary difference between Arise and Emerge? One is to get up, but the other is to come out…. in victory!!!

In 2017, you & your spouse may have endured some of the hardest times in your marriage.  Did you Arise from what you went through, or did you just get through it?  

What did that illness teach you about yourself? About others? About your own mortality? Most of all, what can you now teach others?  

If we begin 2018 only thanking God the year is over, and declaring what this coming year will be, without looking at lessons 2017 taught us, we will have missed it.

You fought many battles in 2017, don’t leave your spoils behind!!!