“Finish What You Started”

As we celebrate the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, many people will reflect upon the sacrifice Christ made for mankind. His main purpose in the Earth was to come and die so that we can live. Jesus knew His Purpose, and even though He faced trials, temptations, and ultimately death, in the end, He was able to honestly say, “It is finished,” because it was. He accomplished what He was sent to do. He Finished What He Started.

This should be our goal: When we stand before God, at the end of our (long) life, we are able to say “It is finished;” because we will have fulfilled our purpose here in the Earth.

This week, in honor of our Lord, Jesus Christ, I challenge you to Finish What You Started. After all, we have Christ as the Perfect example.

I recently did an assessment of my progress for the year thus far, based on goals on my vision board. There are a few things that I have not accomplished, and some things I haven’t even started. I asked myself why, and I have no legitimate reason. There is nothing stopping me, except me! I thought about all that our Saviour endured for me to have an opportunity to set, reach, and even exceed goals, and I consider it ungrateful not to give it my all. I want to do everything God has predestined me to do! I want to stand before Him empty.

I sat down and I took stock of what I need to do. Here is my list:

  • Closer Relationship with Him ~ Learning more of His ways
  • Lose Weight ~ Live an overall healthier lifestyle
  • Love ~ Giving genuine love and knowing that it is okay to expect to receive genuine love
  • Fearless ~ Truly give all my fears to God/ taking the limits off/ no more chains
  • Family ~ Salvation for my entire family. Seeing my family blessed, healthy, and prosperous
  • Nations ~ Impact nations just as He said I would

So, That Settles It; I am committed to Finish What I Started. Will you Finish What You Started? I know there will be obstacles, difficult days, and some disappointments, but we cannot stop. In those times that we feel like quitting, let us remember all the hurt and shame our Savior endured on the cross (our light afflictions don’t even come close in comparison), but He didn’t let it stop Him. He Finished What He Started!

After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. John 19:28-30

Thank You Jesus!

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“What is Your Why?”

Anyone ever ask you, “What is Your Why?” Have you ever questioned, why you do what you do? What drives you? What motivates you? What is it that you can do for free, no matter how tired you are, regardless of what type of day you’ve had, even if no one else is as passionate about it as you, what is that thing?

This week I was challenged to reflect upon, “What is Your Why.”

For as long as I can recall, I have felt the need to help, defend, protect, encourage, and empower the “Underdogs:” those who are considered the outcasts, the misfits, those who are afraid, or don’t know how to stand up for themselves, those who don’t believe they deserve better. Even if I don’t know or particularly care for a person, if I learn that someone is bullying him/her or trying to hurt or take advantage of that individual, it is instinctive for me to jump in and try to help the victim.

I remember being the person who was picked on and made fun of when I was younger, but even then, there was this boldness that would arise in me and I would fight back the best I could. This is part of the reason I have such quick wit and often resort to humor without even realizing it. Of course my mother would not hesitate to do whatever she needed to protect me, but oftentimes, in the aftermath, I still found myself defending her from verbal attacks (that she was not aware of).

I’ve been told that people only “tolerate” me. I say, “I am an acquired taste.” Nevertheless, I’ve learned to accept and celebrate myself; and in doing so, I teach others how to do the same.

So, What is My Why?

I’m glad you asked…

As I mature and continue to grow in the knowledge of who I am and my true worth, I find great joy in being able to come alongside people and serve as that much needed support system. This has truly become my Labor of Love! That is my “Why.”

So, That Settles It, I challenge you this week to take an assessment of your life. Ask yourself, “What is Your Why?” When we focus on this important question, it brings perspective. When we face difficult days, we are reminded why we do what we do, and it helps make the day just a little easier.

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:12-17 ESV

 

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“Elevator Pitch”

Elevator Pitch – Very concise presentation of an idea covering all of its critical aspects, and delivered within a few seconds (the approximate duration of an elevator ride).

While preparing for a networking event this week, I had to rehearse my Elevator Pitch. The purpose of this abbreviated presentation is to capture a potential client’s attention in hopes of making the right business connections. The more effective your Elevator Pitch, the more likely you will peak his/her interest and hopefully seal the deal.

How often do we try this same approach with God? Let’s be honest. Think about it for a moment…

We go to God with our bright ideas, our best “Elevator Pitch,” we tell Him what we want and why it’s so important that we get it now. We spend just enough time in His presence to give Him our list of wants and then we’re off to the next item on our agenda. We expect an immediate “Yes,” from God, and if we don’t get it, we think our presentation wasn’t good enough, so He isn’t going to do it. We really want God to be a Silent Partner. We’d prefer if He’d just give us what we want and not provide any input. We want to do it our way without any suggestions from Him. We want Him to open the doors, but will we invite Him in?

We must realize God is the Partner we ALL need. But, we cannot “woo” Him with a short Elevator Pitch (prayer), telling Him everything we want, and just “poof,” expect Him to deliver. No, this partnership, like any other, requires reciprocity. He wants us to spend time with Him. In His presence is where secrets are revealed and destinies unlocked. I mean, let’s be real: God already knows what we want and He knows why we want it. He knows if our ideas will prove successful, He even knows the pitfalls we will face, so we can skip the sales pitch. He wants us to know Him. When we get to know Him, we come into the true knowledge of who we are and what it is we are predestined to do. That’s when we can successfully go forth fulfilling our purpose in the earth.

That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. 1 Corinthians 2:9-12 NLT

So, That Settles It. Ditch the Elevator Pitch. Remember, we don’t have to convince God to give us a chance, He already has. He has invested so much in us, now it’s time for us to invest in ourselves. When we solicit His guidance, it’s less stressful and more successful. Learn of His ways. Let’s work smarter, not harder. After all, He is the All Wise, Ultimate Creator.

I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Psalm 32:8 KJV

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“Losing Wait”

The definition of Wait is:

~To stay in place in expectation of.

~To remain stationary in readiness or expectation.

How many of us are still waiting for our “Time to Shine?” Maybe we are waiting the wrong way. We have the expectation part right, but there’s more that is required of us. We can’t remain stationary and expect to achieve the greatness that has been predestined for us. We must work and ready ourselves for greatness, it doesn’t just magically appear.

It’s time to start Losing Wait. I wholeheartedly believe we have not progressed further simply because we are waiting for God, the right people, the right timing, etc.; but the opportunities are awaiting us. We have to get busy!

That’s what Losing Wait is all about. Doing what we can to prepare for the opportunities God has promised us. When we get busy contributing to our future, it accelerates the process, hence minimizing the wait. The worst thing we can do is sit around waiting and do nothing; then be found totally unprepared if/when an opportunity is presented.

Example 1: A young lady believes she will one day perform on stage at the Grammy Awards. She cannot just sit around and wait. She has to practice, take voice lessons, and perfect her gift; so when the opportunity presents itself, she isn’t getting ready, but she is ready. She won’t blow it because this is the moment she has been preparing for all her life.

Example 2: A man who desires to be married doesn’t just sit around daydreaming about the perfect marriage he hopes to one day have. While he’s waiting, he is allowing God to work in Him and build character. He is doing his part by working or finishing school, growing His relationship with God, establishing himself in his own place, own car, savings, etc. So, when he meets Mrs. Right, he is ready to pursue her. He doesn’t have to try to get himself together (and expect her to wait while he does) because he took care of all of that before their paths ever crossed.

There have been some erroneous teachings floating around the church for years that all you have to do is “Wait on God.” But, (I think) God is shaking His head saying, “That’s not how any of this works!” Our works exhibit our faith. We are working in expectation.

So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. James 2:17 ESV

The work is not because God needs our help. No, the work is for character building. The character building chips away at the things that could hinder us and sharpens the things that will strengthen us. The character building is designed to sustain us in the places God is taking us.

This is why I do not believe in “Overnight Success.” It may seem overnight to those of us who are witnessing this person’s talents for the first time, but I seriously doubt this talent, especially real talent, was developed overnight. In the rare case that it was, it is highly unlikely that individual will be able to maintain that level of success if he/she has not been groomed for such.

So, That Settles It. Let’s do our part so we can start Losing Wait. There are many Promises of God concerning our future and destiny; but God isn’t going to do all the work; they are predicated upon our cooperation and works too. Sure, there may be some doors that we will only be able to go through once God opens them, but once He does, it is still up to us to walk through the open doors. Let’s not stand knocking on a door that God has swung open for us. Seize every opportunity!

But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. James 2:18 ESV

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“Did You Wash Your Neck?”

I remember my first boyfriend in high school. I will never forget the first time we kissed. The first time he kissed me on my neck I was absolutely terrified! Why, you ask? Because suddenly I remembered all those times my mother asked me, “Did You Wash Your Neck,” to which I always lied and said “Yes.” At the time, I didn’t really see the importance of washing my neck, so I didn’t. In that brief moment of teenage passion, I realized because I didn’t listen to my mother, he may never speak to me again, thanks to all the “neck dirt.”

It’s okay to laugh. I am…Now!

But, in all seriousness, I learned some valuable lessons from that awkward experience…

1. Wash my neck because it too is a part of my body.

Let’s think about personal insecurities. We must give as much attention to the small things as we do the big things; that’s if we want to see growth. Instead of ignoring or trying to mask insecurities, confront and deal with them. We pay lots of money to dress up the outside and make it look pretty, but many of us are dying on the inside. Something that may start as a small wound, if we don’t clean it and allow it to heal properly; but we choose to try and hide it, if we aren’t careful, it can become infected. Let’s stop covering up the issue and instead deal with it. Initially, there may be a sting when we try to clean it, but that’s the only way healing can take place.

2. When someone who loves us offers helpful advice, take heed!

Perhaps, my mother saw something that I didn’t. Maybe she wasn’t just being bossy, but she wanted to make sure my entire body was clean; which would have prevented the embarrassment. We should surround ourselves with people who not only cheer us on in the good times, but who will also keep us accountable and correct us in love when we need it.

Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.     Proverbs 19:20 ESV

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.         Proverbs 27:6 ESV

3. Don’t let your boyfriend walk away with a mouth full of “neck dirt.”

Don’t wait until your Big Moment to realize you should have better prepared. It’s likened to a person who only cleans his/her  house when guests are coming over. Why not clean your home because it needs cleaning? I know some argue they don’t have a problem with the way their home looks; but if that were so, then why scurry to clean when guests are coming? It’s because they are concerned about what others may think or say about them.

So, That Settles It. Let’s live our lives like a dress rehearsal, always preparing for the real thing. That way, when our Big Moment arrives, we aren’t getting ready. If someone asks us, “Did You Wash Your Neck?” We can boldly and honestly say, “Yes,” knowing this is the moment we’ve been preparing for!

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