Am I Supposed to Fall?

“What normally takes six months God can do in an instant,” she says. 

The other day my loctician told me about her recent visit to a Valentine’s Day skating party with her 13-year-old daughter. She also brought her 20-month-old son and just casually asked if skates were available for him as well.  Surprisingly, they were and even more surprisingly, he skated with them!  Of course they were the type that fit over the shoes and he and his mom stayed in the slower area of the rink with the beginners, but he was dominating his first time on the rink!

She continued to tell me how he was just trying to keep up with the “big kids” (aka 4-5 yr-olds) and he would even fall when they fell, thinking that this was a part of skating.

This made me think how we are often limited by our first and most apparent examples.  When it comes to life, we tend to think that things have to be done the way we have seen them done.  Thankfully, inventors and other out-of-the-box thinkers are not this way.  If they only moved on what they had seen done before, we would be in a pretty primitive state of being.

You’ve probably heard people say, “Well that’s the way it’s always been done, and we haven’t had any problems yet.” This is fine, except for when it’s time to improve. Cassette players, dial-up internet,  and black and white televisions were just “fine” as well, until CD players, broadband and color TV’s were invented, (and I’m probably still behind in technology).

If you read my last blog, “The Focus Factor,” you know that I am job seeking. Often times I console myself with the statement, “Well you know they say the average time to find a job is about six months.”  I believe we can get so caught up in averages that we limit what God can do.   The Bible says that God can do exceedingly, abundantly above what we can ask or think according to the power that works in us (Ephesians 3:20). We are looking at average, but God wants us to look at His Word.  Now I do understand that there is an appointed time and due season for everything, so we can’t rule that out.  I also know that we can dub things that are supposed to be viewed as guidelines as rules.

Take my last job, for example. It took me about four weeks from search to hire. I stood at my stove one snowy morning, talking to God about my need for a job.  A prior conversation I had with a friend came to mind in which she told me where she worked.  I applied online that day and received a response requesting me to move forward the same week. In about a month, I was hired. No resume, no job boards, nothing.  Just a prayer, a thought and an action. I’m sure that I am not the only one to find a job like that so quickly.

That story reminds me of a wonderful promise from the Bible:

      “Yes indeed, it won’t be long now.” God’s decree. “Things are going to  happen so fast your head will swim, one thing fast on the heels of the other. You won’t be able to keep up. Everything will be happening at once–and everywhere you look, blessings!” (Amos 9:13-14, Message Bible)

In one of her podcasts, Terri Savelle Foy, a cheerleader of dreams and motivator of hope, believes that God is accelerating things.

“What normally takes six months God can do in an instant,” she says.

What is it that you would love to see accelerated in your life? Have you been looking at all the “beginner skaters” instead of what God says in His Word?  Be encouraged that God has a specific plan to manifest His promise to you, and it won’t necessarily happen the way you’ve seen it done in the past.

Thank you for reading. I hope to hear from you soon.

 

 

The Focus Factor

“The person who chases two rabbits catches neither.” – Confucius or Romanian Proverb

About two months ago, I left my job despite the fact that I didn’t have another one lined up. It was a great company, and although many would say it doesn’t make sense to do something like that, I can’t say it was a hard decision because there were so many factors pushing me to do so.  Despite my happiness with my decision, unfortunately, I haven’t found a job yet.

The job search has been interesting and educational, to say the least.  Honestly, the first month I was just glad to sleep at night on a regular basis (I worked the overnight shift) and didn’t focus on much besides subscribing to job boards and updating my age-old resume. The second month I began to realize that I really want to write and decided that any job that afforded me the opportunity to write about interesting topics was a winner.  I purchased a subscription to a jobs website that published writing jobs and a variety of writing gigs every day.  I soon realized that almost all of the jobs required writing samples of which I didn’t have many relevant ones.

I made it a goal to write articles every week, but unfortunately, I didn’t.  I got distracted with reading emails from the multiple job boards I had subscribed to and even applied to a few jobs that I really didn’t like.  I applied to temp agencies and other temporary jobs and if I learned one thing, it is that job searching takes time!

Thankfully, I recently listened to a podcast by Terri Savelle Foy that has changed my whole perspective on job seeking.  During the podcast, Terri talked about focusing on one goal until it is achieved.  As I said earlier, I didn’t have any relevant writing samples with which to apply to any of the writing jobs, so I didn’t.  What I was doing was reading emails from multiple job websites that honestly didn’t even have the types of job I was looking for.  When I realized how much time I was wasting, I unsubscribed to all but one job board. That left me time to do what matters–write.

In that podcast, Terri also referred to a former publisher of “Success” magazine. The publisher said that many people want to know what those who have appeared on the cover of “Success” magazine have done that 7 billion people haven’t done and the answer is in one word—focus!

“They are so obsessively focused to doing one thing at a time,” she said.

The former publisher also interviewed Warren Buffet and asked him, “If you could boil your success to one thing, what would it be?” His answer was that for every 100 great opportunities that are brought to him, he says “no” 99 times.

This podcast has helped me tremendously to get focused on what I WANT to do to earn income instead of what I CAN do or what is AVAILABLE to do.  My Father wants to give me these type of opportunities. He asks me what I want to do.  Jesus Himself even asked the blind man, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51)

What do you want God to do in your life? What is the one thing you need to FOCUS on to reach your next goal?  I encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit to direct you and help you to reach it.

Thank you for reading. I’d love to hear from you.

 

The Divine Name Change

“Why did you have your name changed?” I asked Roger.
“I wanted to have the same name as my father,” he replied.

While looking through my safe, I came across a document that belonged to my husband.  It was a name change document that indicated that his last name would be changed from “McNeal” to “Daniels.”

I thought the verbiage on the document  was interesting.  It stated:

“This day Roger Rydell McNeal appeared in open Court, having at least 30 days prior hereto filed his application praying for an order changing his name to Roger Rydell Daniels.”

Praying that his name would be changed? What type of legal document indicates that someone is praying?  I thought that was odd.

“Why did you have your name changed?” I asked Roger.

“I wanted to have the same name as my father,” he replied.

Without going into further details, he wanted the same name as his biological father, and not that of his older siblings’ father.

There is so much power in a name.  Women marry and take on the name of their husbands. Women divorce and regain their old names, not wishing to associate with their ex-husbands.

I still remember when I was a newlywed. At my then workplace, we introduced ourselves to new employees.  For a long time, I identified myself as “Selene Jones” instead of “Selene Daniels.”  It took a while for me to catch on to the fact that I was no longer a Jones.  My DNA did not change, but I had to begin a new way of thinking and acting to carry out the title of Mrs. Selene Daniels.

Several years before I was married, I took on another name change. It was from “unrighteous,” to “righteous.”

Isaiah 62:2b states, “… you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will bestow.”

I’ve had this new name of “righteous” for almost thirty years now, but I still remember when my name was “unrighteous” and I didn’t have hope. I still remember when someone asked me, “If you were to die today, where would you go?” and unfortunately, I knew it wasn’t to heaven. I knew I was not a child of God.

Consequently, I had no self esteem or confidence.  My former name of “unrighteous” didn’t afford me true confidence in myself, or my future, but, my new name brought along with it hope and direction.

In Ephesians 1:4-5, the Lord tells us that the Father in heaven, “… predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ….” Thank God for Jesus who paid the price for my adoption and that of the whole world.

Although my biological father gave me the name “Jones,” I thank God that my spiritual Father in heaven adopted me and gave me a new name in Christ that gives me hope, confidence and direction in life.

My husband changed his name because he knew who his true father was.  On November 13, 1988, my name was changed from “righteous” to “unrighteous” because I discovered who my true Father is as well. My prayer is for you to do the same.

Thank you for reading.

Assurance + Promise: Part II

“Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”–Jesus in John 11:40

“Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”–Jesus in John 11:40

 

As you read last week, my youngest daughter, Shalom, was scheduled to have eye surgery this past week.  I am happy to report that all is well.  The surgery lasted 30 to 40 minutes, just as the doctor said.  There is still some redness in the corner of her eyes, just as the doctor said.  But, she is doing just fine, just as the doctor said.  His constant assurance leading up to the surgery brought me great peace.

Despite his words, every so often I wondered if I would hear a small voice in my spirit telling me not to go through with the surgery, or if an overwhelming feeling of worry or fear would engulf me.  Thankfully, neither ever occurred.

As I reflected on the form I signed freeing the hospital from any liability in the case of several undesirable, but possible outcomes such as blindness, paralysis, or even death, my mind quickly remembered God’s promise to me, “Your expectation shall not be cut off.” 

I am expecting Shalom to emerge from the surgery in peace and wholeness.  I am expecting her eyes to be ten times better than before, 20/50 eyesight, and straight eyes.  This is what I am expecting, and it will not be cut off,” I quoted to myself.

Colossians 3:2, instructs us to, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”  I actually had to SET my mind on God’s promises and TAKE them off those negative possibilities.  Notice that this scripture involves action. Just as we set our alarms or our thermostats, we must set our minds, by recalling God’s words to us.

The day of the surgery was Tuesday, February 21 at 9:00 a.m. and we were instructed to arrive at 8:00.  I still remember when Dr. Wortham walked in completely donned in his surgery gear. He introduced himself to Roger, restated his plan for Shalom’s eyes and left the room saying, “We’ll take good care of her.”

After the surgery, they wheeled in my precious 11-year-old and the first thing I noticed was that she was not smiling.  I had never seen her frown the way I saw her frown that day.  Her eyes were still a bit closed and there was a little blood dripping from the corner of her eyes.  I asked her a question, but she did not answer.  Thankfully, my husband, who has had six surgeries of varying degrees in his lifetime, all of which required anesthesia, schooled me on its affects after surgery and gave me insight as to how she was feeling.

She was awake, but drowsy. She mentioned that her tongue hurt.  I called the nurse to inquire as to the cause. A familiar sense of nausea overwhelmed me and I knew I had to leave the room.

“All is well,” I quoted over and over as I left the surgery area and walked into the lobby.  I thought about how nice Shalom’s eyes would eventually look and heard the Lord say that often times we must go through pain or discomfort to receive a reward or even advance to the next level or season in life.

Are you currently going through a time of emotional, physical or relational pain or discomfort? What is your expectation from it all?  Jesus went through great pain, torture, and humiliation so that we could be healed, whole and have eternal life. Never doubt His endless love and the great plans He has for you.

An encouraging quote I read on Facebook said, “God is working on something and its better than you thought it would be.”

Thank you for reading. I’d love to hear from you.

-S.D.

 

 

 

Assurance + Promise: Part I

In less than a week, the youngest member of our family, Shalom, will undergo surgery to straighten her eyes. She has had very poor vision and strabismic amblyopia, a condition which causes her right eye to turn inward, every since her first set of immunizations at 3 months old.  I am amazed at her courage and peace as she faces the fact that she will be put to sleep and a surgeon will use a sharp object to impale her skin and adjust the muscles of her eyes.

When I think about this, I am amazed. Amazed at how far technology has come and amazed at the skill, precision and technique of human surgeons. Only God could produce such wonders.

What is interesting about all of this is, eight years ago, my husband and I started our military journey right here in this very city–Fort Lee,VA.  We visited the very same doctor who is performing the surgery, and he advised the very same surgery for our then 3-year-old. However, at that time, I was not ready.  I had talked with a lady whose daughter had undergone the surgery and had amazing results, but still, I was not ready.

Fast forward five years. I’m listening to my spiritual father speak of how he underwent surgery to correct a situation he was facing.  The light went on.  I heard the Holy Spirit confirm to me that Shalom’s healing will take place through surgery.  Of course we had been praying for healing for her eyes and putting on patches, but God chose to use this surgery and it still took four years to happen.

I think the Lord divinely orchestrated us to have this surgery performed at this time by this doctor.  He has been performing these surgeries for about 29 years, and he said that he performs about 300 of them per year.  I would think that after about 9,000 surgeries, he knows what he’s doing.

He assured Shalom, “You won’t feel any pain, just a little discomfort.”

He also said that her eyes may or not be completely straight,  but he assured us that her peripheral vision would improve greatly. His years of experience, in addition to his wonderful bedside manner, really helped put us at ease.

Shalom and I discussed what the doctor said about her eyes not being perfectly straight.  I told her (and the doctor) that whatever the surgery wouldn’t do, prayer would.  It’s a promise I have from the Father.

Proverbs 23:18 says, “For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.”

I have an expectation for her “eye muscles to be strong, her eyes to be straight and for her to have perfect, 20/10 vision that is perfect and entire, not needing any assistance or aid by eyeglasses or contact lenses.”  I have spoken this expectation through this prayer for years, so it shall not be cut off.  Well, it may be a bit altered, since Shalom says she wants 20/50 vision and she wants to wear contact lenses, so I don’t think the Lord will override her will!

Dr. Wortham gave us assurance, but the Word of God gives me promises.  Another great scripture I love is found in Psalm 62:5.  It reads, “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.”  Thankfully, my ultimate expectation regarding the success of this surgery is from the Lord.

What are you expecting God to do? You know that nothing is impossible with Him, (Luke 1:37) and if we ask Him anything according to His will, He hears us and we have what we are asking for (1 John 5:14-15), right?  Those are pretty awesome promises, if you ask me.

I’ll give you the report on Shalom’s surgery next week. Until then, I’d love to hear what you are expecting God to do in your life.

I hope this finds you well.

 

 

That Salsa Jar Smell

As I reached up to the cabinet to obtain an empty jar in which to pour my newly boiled  bone broth, I opened it and took a whiff. “Yep, still smells like salsa.” I tried again with the sauerkraut jar, same thing.

However, when I smelled another jar with no lid, nothing. No smell whatsoever.  Wow, what happened?

Science teaches us that when molecules move from a high concentration area to an area with low concentration of those molecules that process is diffusion. In open space, molecules move randomly at very high speed. They collide with each other, move in other directions and after sometime they reach the state of equilibrium. At this stage the diffusion stops. The molecules get distributed equally everywhere in the space (room). But even at this stage they do not stop colliding with each other. They are moving and colliding even at equilibrium. They are just spread uniformly now. (quora.com)

In the salsa and sauerkraut jars, the concentration of the salsa and sauerkraut molecules was high since the molecules were not allowed to escape, consequently causing the jars to still be fragrant.  Not so with the lidless jar. Whatever molecules that were once there had escaped and become diffused with the air around it.  Therefore, the jar had no smell.

I often think about the things that dilute or diffuse our fragrance of the Lord.  Truly, residing in the presence of the Holy Spirit will make us more like Him.  And, its important to keep the aroma strong by not diffusing it with ways, words and influences that are not of Him.   They weaken you and make it hard for you to “…spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere,” (2 Corinthians 2:14). Surely we don’t want to be without the fragrance of Jesus.

In Mark Batterson’s book,  “The Circle Maker,” he says, “Our minds are subconsciously primed by everything that is happening all the time.” That’s why I believe we should watch out for those “spirit diffusers.”

Spending time in the presence of God–praying, singing, reading the scriptures–leaves behind the “presence of God” fragrance. Similar to the capped salsa jar, when prayer, worship, and heartfelt repentance is consistently practiced, I believe that the fruit of the spirit of love, joy,  peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control remain in high concentration.  When they are not, diffusion easily takes place.

The salsa jar I used to store my chicken bone broth still smelled like salsa long after the contents were removed.  The scriptures tell us that when the rulers and elders of Jerusalem “…saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus,” (Acts 4:13).

Do you believe they could sense the aroma of the Lord?  Many say presence, but whatever it is, it is almost tangible.  The miracle the disciples performed indicated with whom they had been. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful testimony to carry? If those who don’t know Jesus could tell that we had been with and belonged to Jesus simply by our fragrance? I think one’s eternal life is well worth it.

One of my Facebook friends wrote, “You ever get that feeling where you just want to be in God’s presence, just to sit there and not say a word, just sit there?” That, my friend, is one of the keys to getting and keeping that salsa jar, Jesus kind of smell.

 

 

Your Gift is My Gift

“My goal is to help you understand something you’ve never understood before.”–Dan Celia, founder of Financial Issues

Who doesn’t love a good rags to riches story? There is something wonderful that happens to our psyche when we hear about the humble beginnings of the wealthy and accomplished people we admire. Their stories of vision and determination give us great hope.

This morning I attended a town hall meeting as a guest of my friend.  She was familiar with the speaker, Dan Celia, but I had never heard of him.  I did my due diligence and determined that this man was someone from whom I could receive good information. A financial entrepreneur and business man, Celia started a radio ministry, Financial Issues, back in 1997 as a part-time ministry. The Lord has since blessed it to be his current full-time ministry and the show is heard in every state in America and throughout the internet globally.

The interesting thing is what transpired in those early days of the ministry.  At the meeting, Celia shared that initially, he hated the radio ministry.  He thought that it was boring, so after about two years, he wanted to stop the program. The man with whom he was working discouraged him from doing so since the show was now being heard on more stations and by more people than he thought.

“What? You didn’t tell me that the show was on all these stations!” Celia said.

Not wanting to disappoint the people who were faithfully listening to his program, he decided to continue.  The show is now featured on over 600 stations.  I began thinking about how much of a blessing he was to me in those three hours and wondered about all the other people he has blessed through his down-to-earth, simplistic style of teaching about finances and how it relates to government and the moral fiber of our nation.  He had such great insight that he encouraged me to want to learn more about how to be morally and biblically responsible with my money.

In the quote above, Celia stated at the meeting that he wants to help his listeners understand something they’ve never understood before.  He surely succeeded in that goal. I gained understanding about many things, including charitable annuities, diversification, and even about the Italian dictator Mussolini.  Overall, he helped me in my goal of gaining greater financial literacy.

He also said in the meeting that soon after he and his wife were born again, they prayed about what they would do to serve the Lord. He thought that he might be a missionary somewhere, but certainly not a pastor.

“At the end of the day, I couldn’t even remember the scripture that I had read that morning,” he shared.

But, he could, however, remember stats about the Dow Jones, workforce statistics, and a host of other financial facts.  The Lord revealed to him that that was what He wanted Celia to serve Him with.

I’m in awe and certainly thankful for how the Lord places gifts inside of all of us which He uses to bless others.  God certainly has provided us with everything we need whether it is on the earth, in the earth, or above the earth.  If we need it, God has provided it.

The Bible says in Genesis 28:14b, “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.”  Thank God for all the offspring who have blessed me. I’m so thankful that although I still don’t completely understand all the differences between mutual funds and CD’s and term and whole insurance, I can simply refer to the teachings of Dan Celia and other financial teachers like him to help me along the way.