Unstable Alliances

“41 The feet and toes you saw were a combination of iron and baked clay, showing that this kingdom will be divided. Like iron mixed with clay, it will have some of the strength of iron. 42 But while some parts of it will be as strong as iron, other parts will be as weak as clay. 43 This mixture of iron and clay also shows that these kingdoms will try to strengthen themselves by forming alliances with each other through intermarriage. But they will not hold together, just as iron and clay do not mix.” Daniel 2:41-43″

Partnerships and alliances are important in life, in business, in friendship, in communities, in projects, in games – you name it! It’s very hard to have sustained success without them, and we are not meant to operate alone or in a vacuum. But we should examine them from time to time,because they just may not be working for you.

Think! Have some of your alliances that you thought were strengthening you actually weakened you? This scripture passage in Daniel is eye opening. The feet and toes mentioned are important because they provide the foundation/stability for standing, for mobility, for withstanding a physical challenge also. If there is weakness in the foundation, the entire project, building, enterprise, government or kingdom is unstable.

Check your foundation! Ask yourself, “Is there anything in my foundation that is actually weakening me?” Also, what you may think is mixing well is actually co-mingling, not really joining together or adhering to each other. While there is an appearance of strength, the lack of true cohesion provides a very weak foundation.

Look at your relationships, hobbies, habits, beliefs and you may find that some are weakening and destabilizing your future. Ask God to reveal them to you. Psalms 19:12 says “Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults.”

Like the end of this passage in Daniel 2:44 only the kingdom of God will stand forever. His strength covers our weaknesses. His grace is sufficient and His love never fails. You just can’t go wrong with Jesus, the Chief Cornerstone.

Advertisements

God’s Thoughts & Plans: Hope & Destiny

I first discovered this scripture Jeremiah 29:11 at an all night prayer meeting of my former church when the church was just getting started a few months after I graduated from college. I remember with great clarity when the Lord revealed this great promise to me personally, but it was a word for this new ministry barely a year old. We were mostly in our 20s, in college or just out of it and starting our careers. Our prayer ministry was about 20-25 strong on a Friday night, committed to seek Jesus and strengthen our Christian faith and fellowship.

The Pastor had asked me earlier that day to prepare my heart to speak prophetically that night, and that he would let me know when to share. Well, I prayed and prayed all that day, and nothing came to me before prayer started later that night. I had to completely trust God for what He wanted to say to us.

As with most gatherings, the night of prayer started off with praise and worship. Out of that worship, the prayer points and following exhortations began. In one of the quiet times of prayer I literally heard or had a strong impression to read Jeremiah 29:10-15

The words leapt off the page, and I knew that this was the word of the Lord for the church! As I prayed this scripture and meditated on it, the Pastor called me up about 15 min later to share what God had placed in my heart to share to our church members. It was such a great word with following instructions in the next verses.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.”
Jeremiah 29:11-14 NKJV
http://bible.com/114/jer.29.11-14.nkjv

It was so powerful because we were all ready calling upon Him in prayer and this scripture let us know that He was listening! But God goes further- we seek and find Him when we search for Him with our whole heart! God wants our undivided attention.

Ps 86:11 says “Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name.
http://bible.com/114/psa.86.11.nkjv

God has to “unite our hearts” so that we can worship and seek Him wholly – with our entire beings. We need His help to us stay focused, to reign in our thoughts, needs, desires and “cast down” those things that seek to exalt themselves over His word and plan for our lives.

Every time I read Jeremiah 29:11 now, even 30 years later, I am reminded of my first time seeing it- how comforting and exhilarating it was to know that we are in God’s thoughts and He has specific plans for a hopeful destiny! Even though we might get confused or unfocused, God is not confused.  HE KNOWS what the plan of action is. Wow! What a word for a young Christian in a young ministry. What a word for me today!

As we grow older, we think we may know the plan or we may confuse our plan with God’s plan, and He has to give us course correction. We have demands of careers, family, community and life events that may pull our attention. He unites our heart and refocuses our attention back to Him.

When we seek him with our whole hearts, we find Him and He unfolds His plans for our lives. He gives instructions on next steps. He gives a word of grace to bring healing and hope so that we can walk in truth and in the destiny we are called to fulfill with great excitement and joy.

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.