How open or deep are you? 

Cup and a Flagon

Does it seem that opportunity comes only just to leap out of your cup? While a little of it remains and you are able to enjoy that, it seems that the bulk of it just seems to disappear. This thought came to me just now as I started to deal with my dreaded domestic duties. 

I was starting to wash dishes and decided to presoak pots and dishes. The stream of water was fairly forceful as I was filling the pots with water. The pots filled rapidly but when I started filling the coffee cups most of the water just spurted out of the cups into the sink because it was not deep or wide enough to handle the flow of water that was coming out. I was immediately struck with the imagery because we often say ‘fill my cup Lord” when we should have a pot or large bowl necessary to handle the flow of opportunity, resources, grace etc that the Lord desires to give to us or flow through us to others around us. Cups are shallow – Flagons (vessels used to pour and store wine) are larger – wide at the bottom and narrower at the top to contain splash and control the flow of liquid to the cups. 

I know that God’s Word often talks about cups with sayings like “my cup runneth over”, or a “cup of salvation” or “take this cup away from me”. But many times when God desires to get something to us for others, He deals in vessels and flagons.  

 But to whom much is given, much is required. Are we afraid of offering a larger vessel to God because of what we think will be required of us? Or is it because we are afraid that we will only get a fraction of what we need. Both mindsets are wrong because fear is the motivation behind each and fear is the opposite of faith. Faith is creative and opportunity driven, while fear is repressive and hinders advancement.   

We so often put a cup out because we only believe God deals in cupfuls, and because we are often so focused on our needs or feel this is what we deserve. But in His word, God deals bountifully with us, so that not only are our needs met but those around us are blessed too. God blessed Egypt in times of famine because of Joseph. God spared Sodom and Gomorrah because Lot was still there. The fishermen’s nets could not hold the bounty that Jesus had had wrought and needed larger nets. The widow was told to borrow many vessels (as many as she could) because once the oil started flowing it would only stop until the last vessel was filled. Another widow’s flour and oil lasted for 3 years when she surrendered it to God.  

Sometime the flow bypasses us because something is broken or not working properly in our lives. Just recently, I was confronted with an astronomical water bill. I had been paying it for months but it when it became too burdensome, I actually looked at the history of usage and realized for about 6 months the usage was double what it should be. I called to complain and the attendant told me that whatever caused it stopped abruptly on Feb 9 because water usage dropped down dramatically. While I was out of town, a chain broke in one of our bathrooms and it had not yet been repaired. That one bathroom was running/leaking water in copious amounts that we were paying for but had no benefit. It was just leaking down the drain. We did remember hearing what sounded like running water but just brushed it off. The inconvenience of it breaking was a blessing in disquise because it was also the cause of a major drain of resources in our pocket and the environment. WE must live more consciously and see how to keep and optimize the flow of what God is bringing into our lives.

God is motivated by His great love for us and richly gives us all things to enjoy. But how are we receiving it? Have you examined your vessels and nets recently? Check them to see if they are adequate for the tasks at hand. Are the large enough or are they damaged in some way? Even if they appear okay to us, sometimes it’s just yielding ourselves to God –He often sees things we can’t, and perfects us. As the psalmist says, “Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Ps 139:22-24. Ps 19: 12 says “. . . cleanse me now from secret faults.” 

God will water proof your life, repairing the leaks and also guide you on what to you need to do. The Lord’s hand is open to us, as our hearts are open to Him and to others. Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, not just a cupful of obedience. Sometimes He wants to use you as a flagon, to pour your life into others. 

Free yourself

Forgiveness: Free yourself- free others! 
11 The discretion of a man deferreth his anger, and it is his glory to pass over a transgression. Prov. 19:11 

Offenses are rooted in the past. When you fail to forgive you are anchored to somebody else’s transgression or personal issue. It is impossible or quite fatiguing to move forward in your future being anchored “think handcuffed” in the past. Faith looks forward. When you overlook an offense, you are jumping over a hurdle meant to slow you down. Indeed, Heb 12:1 says “let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Be free! 

Don’t give “haters” or “frenemies” a second thought, accept to bless them as flawed vessels in need of grace. Perhaps by overlooking the offense you are freeing them too. In fact, virtue and grace abound in your own life – you are strengthened, amplified in this process (to your glory).  So overlook that offense!  Be free and be blessed today! 

As we walk in the liberating power of forgiveness, we empower others to do the same. Forgetting the past, looking ahead to embrace the high purpose and call on our lives with excellence. 

Building Trust in Me 


Seven  years ago, this little $9 phone was my lifeline for an entire year.  When I found it this week, a flood of emotions came as memories rushed to greet this old friend. You see, this little phone helped me to start believing in myself again. 

 The 2 1/2 years following my lovely mother’s earthly departure, I lost 8-10 phones.  I lost so many, my phone carrier cancelled my insurance and I started to buy these cheap dealios. During that time I was also leaving my debit and credit cards everywhere: Gas stations, grocery stores, retail, fast foods joints, but God led me to find those cards every single time. My phones were not so lucky. 

A dear friend ( who is ultra neat, careful, together) told me that when her Mom died she found herself uncharacteristically absentminded.  BUT, I was already the absentminded professor, so this new forgetfulness was on steroids.  The vast chasm that my Mom left behind in my heart and mind made me lose my bearing. I was in an altered universe and maintaining sound footing became my constant survival focus.  I was adrift at times and it found hard to make decisions – like my compass was off and needed recalibrating.  I don’t know how I managed looking back , because I was consulting and had 2 small children. But I heard God say, try to keep your phone for a year. 

So I got this little phone-the same brand that I had  bought a few times before and I found that I had kept it for 3 months. Then this extended to 6 months.   Folks were giving me the side-eye  or arched eyebrow, when I pulled out this phone.  My kids begged me to get a new phone. But I  wanted to be faithful with THIS phone as directed.   When  I had finally kept it for a full year, I was euphoric because I realized that a bridge had been built to connect me to normal mindfulness. I could trust “ME” again. (But God’s faith in me was sure) 

I replaced that cheap phone with a better one, and was able to keep it until I upgraded again. I know it may appear slight,  but this small feat leveraged my confidence in a BIG way! As Ben Franklin said “Small strokes fell great oaks.” God truly had delivered me in this area and my trust in me had a sure footing because it was rooted in Christ.  

Lord knows, my confidence has wavered (does waver) and taken some brutal hits many times since then. But seeing this little cell phone was like God sending a message from the past of His great faithfulness and love for me. Just like mustard seed faith can move mountains, in His economy, “my little” becomes much in His hands!   

No connection? Check your hardware. 


I was going over my work emails earlier this morning and took a short coffee break. When I got myself situated again , I then noticed that My Outlook wasn’t working, and neither could I get Explorer working.  I tried to check my wifi and couldn’t even find my network!  Panic and frustration started to rise but it didn’t get too far. 

I checked my phone and other devices which were all okay. So I decided to trouble shoot.  This simple message popped up “Check the switch on front or side of laptop to ensure it is turned on.”  It was off even though I don’t remember touching my laptop just moments before.  In less than 15 seconds all of my connections had been restored. 

My word of encouragement today: Restore your connections 

Things can happen throughout the day to disrupt your flow. Sometimes we are not aware of things we accidentally do to cause the disruption.  When I didn’t know what to do, I searched “troubleshoot” problem and the answer came.   We “troubleshoot” disconnections by praying and asking God for guidance. Proverbs 3:6 tells us that as we acknowledge Him in all our ways He will direct our paths. 

We check our internal hardware by praying Psalms 139: 23-24 which says:  “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

‭‭God is the restorer of the breach. Look to Him today to restore your connections so you can live productively, purposefully, creatively and joyfully!  As we reconnect with Him, He uses us to connect with others to be that conduit of grace, love and mercy that lead them back to Him. 

Examine your connections today! Make sure that you are plugged into God so that receive all that He has for you, so that you can share with others making this world a better place.

The More Excellent Way 


Morning reflections: Happy Wednesday! 

“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you.”Luke‬ ‭6:27‬ ‭NLT‬‬ http://bible.com/116/luk.6.27.nlt

I read this verse in Luke 6, and it really hit me that God’s love is unconditional so He commands us to love the same way. The whole chapter is compelling but this verses stood out to me this morning because of my recent posts about presidential candidate, DT. His remarks were (are) so offensive to me, and yet God loves him so unconditionally and therefore I should too. As I stepped off my high horse, I realized that as a beneficiary of God’s grace and love, I should be a conduit of God’s grace and love to EVERYONE. We all need God’s grace.  

Politics/ Social Justice has always been a concern of mine – especially given the hateful dark rhetoric that perpetuates the Political climate today. But as MLK said “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” 

Love is the winning strategy that assures certain victory because it NEVER FAILS! I Cor 13:7-8 says Love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. It is the more excellent way (I Cor 12:31) 

My snide remarks about DT on FB did NOT reflect the character or desire of God, who reminded me this morning that I am His child first! So while I may post about issues I am passionate about I can do so with grace and love that God has so graciously extended to me. 

Come NOW, Let’s Settle this! 

  
Last night my husband brought to my attention that our tree in the backyard is falling slowing. The picture featured is from this morning, and you can see it leaning further away to the right. You can also see that our telephone lines are mingling in the branches. I confess that in this very busy time, I had not really paid attention to our backyard… AT.ALL! 

I was reminded that as chaotic as our family schedules are, my husband notices the details and the big picture. We cannot live this life on our own.I was irritated that he wanted my input into the matter and just wanted him to take care of it. However, when I thought about it I was able to offer a few ways to address it that he had not thought of. He detected what could be a major disruption to our family life and is even now making arrangements to take care of it. 

 This is how God works too–often through other people- bringing attention to fall-ING trees and issues that we need to address. God says “Come now, let us reason together..” (Isaiah 1:18)   In the NIV it says, “Come Now, let’s settle this!” When God brings things to our attention, He wants our immediate focus and He works with and through us to bring resolution!  

I thank Him now, for the resolution (resources, connections,) of this current problem, but mostly because He is working through me and others to bring lasting change in our lives!  

Nee and New

 
For some reason every time I would try to type “new”, “nee” would come up and not auto correct to new. This was happening since late yesterday, as I was wishing everyone a Happy New Year. So after about the 20th time I got fed up changing it and something said look up the word “Nee”. This word I’ve seen many times!  it is actually used as a French term née often used to denote a former or original (maiden) name. So I would be Sharon Zimmerman, née Bryant.  The former me.

I immediately heard the Spirit of the Lord say there are things trying to pull you back to your former ways, your former self.  You have been born again! 2 Cor 5:17 states, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

Isaiah 42: 9 says“Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.”

God is saying something new! Have ears to hear/ He is telling us before the come to pass. 

Isaiah 43: 18-19 “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”

Don’t dwell on the past because God is doing a new thing! Don’t you sense it?! It is new territory no matter where  you are standing. Even  in hopeless places, He is carving a path and bringing life in dry barren places. 

The old is passed away! We do not have to reject the past, because God has done great things! The past is a part of me (us)  but it’s over- A new chapter has begun. 

 But I/we must act- take the first step! I must willfully make the corrections, because (like my phone keyboard) auto correct does not apply here. As we mature, God gives us (demands that we activate) our gift of choice! Choose life! Choose ye this day whom you will serve! Lay aside every weight AND the sin that besets us. (Heb 12:1) Forget! 

In Phil 3:13 “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.”‭‭Philippians‬ ‭3:13-15‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Paul says to forget those things that are behind and reach for those things before. 

God will not take it away, I (we) have to choose to lay aside, forget, leave the former things and reach for the new things before, the PRIZE of high calling. This is the mindset we should have and Phil 3:15 says that if we are “otherwise minded” or have a competing mindset,  God will reveal it to us. God is so faithful! 

Like a good trainer, God reminds us the things we have to stop doing and the things we must start doing. 

Keep declaring and reaching for the New things! Keep making those corrections to forget, let go and lay aside those former, old past habits, situations, relationships etc that hinder us from reaching that high mark in 2016. As we seek God and acknowledge Him in all our ways He will direct our path – and will reveal anything in us that competes with His plan in our lives or may slow us down. 

Happy NEW Year – the Year of Our Lord 2016!