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Coffee Chats
Coffee Chats Blog

Coffee Chats

  1. I am amused and amazed at how God will speak to us through the simplest of things.  Just this morning, my husband and I tried out a new restaurant's brunch.  And there was a dish on the buffet that particularly caught my eye--Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding.

    I spooned a bit of it on a plate and sat down at our table.  As we began to discuss the November conference, God began giving me revelations from the first bite.  I had been searching for an early morning menu item for a particular part of the event--something unusual, something local.  "Perfect!" I thought.  What could be better than bite-size pieces of glazed Krispy Kreme donuts bathed in sauce?

    On our ride home, we stopped at a gas station to fill up.  And as I sat in the car, I noticed a new coffee shop across the street in a shopping center.  It was called The Coffee Park, and it intrigued me so that I insisted my husband pull over so I could check it out.  Turns out, it's a place where moms can relax with a cup of coffee while their children play in designated areas.  How unique!

    I quickly realized that God used simple donuts and coffee to remind me that He does new things all the time.  Although God's laws never change, His methods do.  There is no limit to His creativity.  And if we will just spend time with Him, He will reveal creative solutions that will bring refreshment and success to our personal and work lives. 

    What's God revealing to you?

  2. Did Jesus come to serve or be served?

    Yesterday morning, I sat in my hotel restaurant in Lakeland, Florida, the place where the "Florida Outpouring" revival continues.

    It was the morning after my two friends and I attended the event, and we were having breakfast.

    As the restaurant server brought us whatever we asked for, my friends asked me about my former job as a flight attendant.  And the issue of manners arose.  I shared with them that I learned a lot about people by the way they treated me.  Some people were very kind and others seemed come aboard with an “all about me” attitude.  Many of the latter even had cross pendants hanging around their necks.

    I believe the manner in which people treat servers or “servants” is a tell-all of our spiritual maturity and love walk toward others.

    Jesus came to serve.  He even washed His disciples feet.

    If we choose to serve lovingly (especially when we don’t feel like it), God will bless us and honor us in public places.  He will trust us with promotion.  We don’t have to expect any person to provide these blessings for us because we will walk in this freedom and truth with great assurance.

    And it all begins in the heart.

    I learned to pray for people who behaved abominably.  And in many cases, I learned that those people had no one else praying for them.  Sometimes, the most difficult personalities around us are the very ones who need the most prayer and love exhibited to them.

    Are we willing to serve them anyway?

    Did the Father not love us enough to send Jesus to serve us and save us from our own abomination?

    Likewise, do we expect to serve or be served?

  3. After a wonderful evening of sharing testimony at a church recently, I was about to depart when a man flagged me and stopped to chat.  He said that he had a different perspective than I, adding that he didn’t even know why he had attended the event.

    I smiled.

    As I listened to this man share his point of view—in a very polite way, I might add—I realized his words made no sense to me.  It was as if they were empty and rambling.

    A couple of days later, I was perplexed and still burdened with this encounter.  So I began to pray.  I then recalled the Lord impressing upon me the word “knowledge” just days before the event.  I strongly sensed at the time that God wanted me to look up this word in the concordance.  Busy with work, however, I delayed.

    So after the event, I researched it.  And what I found awed me.

    The Holy Spirit led me to Colossians 2:2-3, “. . . be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

    Then the Lord led me to 2 Corinthians 2:16, “To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life . . . “

    The Lord then gave me revelation on the NIV note of 2:16, which says, “. . . As the gospel aroma is released in the world through Christian testimony, it is always sweet-smelling, even though it may be differently received.  The two ultimate categories of mankind are ‘those who are being saved and those who are perishing’ (v. 15).  To the latter, testifying Christians are the smell of death, not because the gospel message has become evil-smelling or death-dealing, but because in rejecting the life-giving grace of God, unbelievers choose death for themselves.  To those who welcome the gospel of God’s grace, Christians with their testimony are the fragrance of life.”

    In reading this, I knew God was giving me the complete understanding of my encounter with this man, revealing the mystery of where he was spiritually and urging me to pray for him.  God reminded me that not everyone who sits a church building is truly walking with Jesus and that there are those who are separated from the flock.  Sometimes, all these sheep need is someone to see where they are, meet them where they are and intercede for them privately.

    God loved this man enough to send someone to intervene.  I believe this man will soon experience the awesome revelation of how much God really loves him.  And when he does, he will fall in love with Jesus, and his perspective will change as a result.  Thank God, He loves us first and then brings us into an awareness of His love for us. 

    God always has an answer if we will take time to listen.  And I believe that there are some things that God will reveal only if we take time in the secret, intimate place with Him.  In fact, I believe that sometimes, God uses encounters like this to bring us into the secret place with Him, especially when we're busy.  Even Jesus, who knew no sin and poured out miracles to multitudes, treasured His alone time with the Father and received refreshing in His presence.

    What mysteries does God desire to reveal to you for your sake and the sake of others?



  4. I had the great pleasure of attending a luncheon last week where the Mayor of Atlanta, The Honorable Shirley Franklin, spoke.  It was the 25th anniversary of the Atlanta Airport chaplaincy program, and Mayor Franklin was their keynote speaker.

    The Convention Center ballroom was filled with all kinds of clergy and lay sponsors, including the Salvation Army, a military unit and even airline and other transportation executives who sponsored the event.  I was awed to see this battalion of soldiers who work behind the scenes to enable this marketplace outreach.

    There were some key comments from the mayor that really touched my heart, and I would like to pass them on to you . . .

    Mayor Franklin said her job was grueling and exhausting, and she wasn’t even able to eat her lunch that day or at most other luncheon events.  Because her schedule was so hectic, she spoke first and then had to depart.

    She said that it was in the church as a child in Philadelphia that she first developed her social conscious and that there are times in our lives when we will not make it or get through the day without prayer, physical strength and character.

    Mayor Franklin prays a lot.  She said that there are Sundays when she sits in church through the entire service, even when her aids tell her she doesn’t have to.  She remains in the pew because she derives strength from being in the presence of God in those services.  She said that celebrating and worshiping God all across Atlanta became the most important thing in her Christian walk.

    She said that being in public service has taught her to not take herself too seriously, but to strive to be better and realize she’s not perfect.  She said understanding this has enabled her to extend grace to others.

    She said that she knows that God is with her through all times—the darkest and the most glorious.

    She commended the faith community for confronting her, telling her that her public programs were not enough.  She said that when she was focused on potholes and sewers, they expected more of her, and she rose to the occasion.  Indeed, sometimes, we can get so focused on our immediate work that we need others to interject fresh insight and broaden our perspective.

    She acknowledged how important the chaplaincy program at ATL is because people do not leave their problems at home when they travel.  They come as they are.  This lends a whole new meaning to Dr. Billy Graham’s famous crusade invitation, doesn’t it?

    She said that the airport chaplaincy program spreads the good news to a potential 90 million passengers a year. 

    No wonder she was chosen as one of the top five mayors in the U.S. by Time magazine.  When we humble ourselves before God in our hearts, He exalts us publicly.


  5. While on an extended fast recently, my husband and I visited a couple.  They were kind enough to honor my fast, providing fast-friendly snacks during the Super Bowl.  But toward the end of the evening, I walked into the kitchen to fill my cup with water, and suddenly found myself under attack by a full-force interrogation from one of the hosts.  It was as if her entire demeanor changed very suddenly in a premeditated, deliberate way.  She began to dig, asking me ill-intended questions about another woman, then express her dislike toward a second woman, then hurled false insinuations towards me.  This ambush was completely unexpected, and, frankly, I felt slimed.   

    Fortunately, God was quick to illuminate His truth in this situation, and He bridled my tongue.  He reminded me that He called me to minister to women, not to tear them down.  He also reminded me that my testimonies are for the purpose of bringing conviction and cultivating freedom, not condemnation.  I was reminded that the enemy comes to incite, to tempt and to torment when we fast, just like he did when Jesus was in the desert before he began his ministry. 

    The circumstances before me were extraordinary, and God enabled me to see the enemy in it on a tenacious level.  God showed me that it was a set-up, a snare, a landmine.  I believe the enemy was trying to cause me to trip up so he could steal my rewards from the fast.  He hates our intimacy with God because he knows how powerful it is and, that with God’s power, we can defeat him.   

    What’s particularly interesting about this situation is that one of the purposes of this fast was to seek the Lord for His clarity and direction concerning this year’s Women’s Workplace Conference.  I had already received major breakthroughs of clarity and very specific ideas from God in weeks prior.  I believe the enemy wanted to put a stop to this wonderful flow of revelations by causing me to stumble into the sin of gossip.  And not just gossip about anyone, but gossip about women.  Oh the just cause he would’ve had against me in the heavenly courts! 

    Whether it’s at the kitchen refrigerator water dispenser or the workplace water cooler, we would do well to remember the woman at the well.  Even though Jesus’ own Jewish culture did not usually associate with Samaritans, He went out of His way to reach out to the Samaritan woman, offering her Living Water (John 4).  He didn’t condemn her, even though her past and current choices of circumstance were less than sterling.  He met her with a heart of compassion and salvation.  Are we not to model His love in this way?   

    I love Romans 2:1, which essentially asks us, “Why to you judge others when you yourself commit the same sins?” 

    Does God not forget our sins once they’re forgiven? 

    Are we not to keep our eyes on the Lord, not look to our past?

    Are we not all sinners saved by grace?

    The King James Version of the Bible refers to gossips as talebearers.  Proverbs 11:13 says that they reveal secrets, and Proverbs 18:8 and 26:22 say that “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.  The New Living Translation says rumors sink deep into the heart.  Proverbs 16:28 says, " . . . a gossip separates close friends."

    I believe that gossip can be rooted in fear and various forms of selfishness, including unforgiveness, anger, arrogance, jealousy and feelings of inadequacy.  James 3:16 says that where there’s envy and selfish ambition, there’s every evil practice.  I Peter 2:1 tells us to rid ourselves of all malice, envy and slander.  Galatians 5:19 says that jealousy is an act of sinful nature, and people “who live like this will not inherit the Kingdom of God.”  And Romans 1:29-30 has a few things to say about gossiping, describing it as a form of wickedness.  Proverbs 6:12-15 tells us that disaster will overtake those with a corrupt mouth.  Psalm 34:13 tells us to keep our tongues from evil.  Leviticus 19:16 says, “Do not spread slanderous gossip among your people.”  Let us also remember that slander and defamation are illegal.  Yes, there is power in the tongue.   

    Interesting, how the enemy can use even Christians to do his dirty deeds when we are willing.  The Bible says that we cannot serve two masters.  We choose each day—intentionally or unintentionally—who we will serve.  2 Timothy 2:16 says, “Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.” 

    The day after this kitchen encounter, God revealed to me that a piranha-like spirit lurks behind the tongue of gossip.  This is no small thing.  This spirit bites and devours.  It tears from every angle with a malicious intent to consume.  It first attacks the person who gossips.  Then it pours out from them.  What’s interesting, too, is that gossip is done in hiding places, in darkness.  I could clearly see that this woman was not willing to say such abominations in front of our husbands, who sat in the next room.  Why?   Because she knew it was wrong, and she did not want her condemning words to expose her sin.  If you research the character of piranhas, you’ll see that they prefer darkness.  The darker the better.  And they like to hide behind grasses, or in this case, the kitchen.  If placed in an aquarium in odd numbers, Piranhas will even gobble up the odd one.  Does this not sound like the nature of gossip to you? 

    I have forgiven this woman, blessed her and prayed for her deliverance.  And I have also begun intercession that I believe will initiate a dismantling of that malicious spirit, that familial and cultural stronghold, that hides behind a pretty mask.  I believe God loves all of us and offers us ample opportunity to repent.  But if we do not choose to receive His freedom and remain in covenant with the enemy and his ways, God will release His judgment. 

    Have you ever heard the saying, what goes around, comes around?  There is truth to that statement.  Obadiah 1:15 says, “As you have done, it will be done to you.  Your dealings will return on your own head.”  Frightening, isn’t it?  Remember, too, that Haman was hung on his own gallows (Esther 7:10).  And then there’s the principle of sowing and reaping.  If we sow death and destruction through gossip, so shall we reap. 

    Now I have another powerful testimony that can help someone else.  What the enemy meant for evil, God used for good.  To Him be the glory!



  6. Recently, I delivered a message at a women’s workplace conference.  In answer to my prayer for the Lord to give me a “now” or relevant message for this group, God proved faithful.  His message was full of metaphors.  Here’s what He revealed . . . 
     

    The Holy Spirit illuminated two types of passengers: No-shows and Stand-bys.   

    No-shows, are passengers who have a reservation for a particular flight, but they neglect to show up at the gate for whatever reason.  As a result, their reservation or designated seat is cancelled.  They do not take-off, soar and land in their destination (or destiny) as originally scheduled.  They get left behind. 

    Stand-bys are passengers who wait at the gate, hoping and anticipating being assigned a seat on board.  They appear to be last, even forgotten, but they are not.  God already knows what will happen, and provision has been made.  Stand-bys are Johnny-on-the-spot, and they travel light.  When the gate agent (gatekeeper) affirms that they’ve been chosen for a seat, they run through the gate with a grateful and joyful heart.  They strap in, take off, soar and land in their destination.  Stand-bys have a good attitude.  They are flexible.  They don’t mind if they are assigned the least comfortable seat.  They’re just glad to be on board and on time.  They are content.     

    A great biblical example of this is the story of King Saul and King David.   

    I Samuel 13:13-14 says, “You have acted foolishly.  You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, He would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time.  But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after His own heart, and appointed him leader of His people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”  Notice twice the Word emphasizes Saul loosing his seat due to his disobedience. 

    Later in 2 Samuel 7:15, God says He took His love (special favor, power) away from Saul. 

    Although King Saul was God’s first choice to rule a nation, he ultimately proved to be a “no-show” due to disobedience.  And David was chosen as God’s “stand-by.”   David was God’s just-in-time solution.  He willingly ran through the gate of opportunity, took his seat, soared with God and landed in his appointed destination safely and right on time. 

    Not showing up for what God has planned and reserved for us is no small thing, especially in this season.  We are on His time, and our disobedience affects others as well as our own destiny. 

    God’s bottom line message is one of alert: We are all passengers in life.  We get to choose which type of passenger we will be.  If we are not on time, our seat (position/role) will be given to another passenger who stands by, eager, willing, equipped and obedient.   

    Which passenger will we choose to be?  

    Either way, God’s grace is great.  There are usually more flights (more chances) when we are ready to show up.  God waits for us to return and faithfully forgives us through His Son, Jesus Christ.  But do we really want to pay the consequences? 


  7. In spending quiet time with God yesterday, I looked straight ahead of where I was seated at a silver serving tray on my coffee table.  The tray has been there for about a year, and I've used it once--about a month ago when I hosted a few friends for lunch.  I noticed it was slightly tarnished. 

    As I began to pray and worship the Lord, He spoke to my heart saying that the serving tray is like some of His servants in that it has the potential to function but, instead, it just sits there doing nothing.  He went on to say that there was nothing on the tray because it wasn't filled up with anything to serve.  

    The tray was double-handled.  I believe the Lord spoke to my heart again saying that He has a double portion to give His people if we would just get filled up by spending more time with Him. 

    These revelations convicted my heart.  I wondered what and how much we are missing out on by not increasing our intimate time alone with God.  He so desires to fellowship with us.  But too often we choose to go about our agendas and give Him five or ten minutes here or there.  How sad. 

    One of the qualities of silver is that it tarnishes quicker if not used.  What a metaphor!  How many of us have been purified, like silver, but just set in complacency, not being used for divine purposes? 

    As I began to pray about this, the Lord revealed that repentance is the key.  Repentance will unlock the door for Him to hear our prayers, for us to receive answers to our prayers, to receive His portion, more of His love and all the good things He desires to give us.

    How often do we work and work and work, yet if we would just increase our time with our Lord, He would work on our behalf in ways that we could not.  I have seen Him prove this principle time and again. 

    Why do we toil?  Have we become insensitive?  Do we not trust God enough to help us?  Do we falsely believe that our responsibilities are more important than He?

    As I came to close my prayer of repentence, the Lord led me to Isaiah 55, which is subtitled, "Invitation to the Thirsty."  I gasped!  Do you know what I served on that silver tray when I last had my friends over?  Refreshments!  I was so amazed at God creative way of getting His point across.

    What do you need to repent of?  The Holy Spirit knows the whole of our hearts.  Ask Him to reveal any sins that you are unaware of so that you may be positioned to receive more of Him to serve.


  8. Throughout this past week, the Lord spoke to me about giving.  One evening, I turned on the television, and there was Dave Ramsey talking about giving.  The next day, I turned on a Christian TV show, and their guest was talking about giving.  The next day, I clicked on a Christian web site, and there it was again.  So I prayed, “What is it you want me to get, God?  Christmas has come and gone.”  
     

    It wasn’t until I picked up my Bible, flipped to the back in the concordance, looked up every derivative of “giving” and read almost every scripture before He spoke to me loud and clear.   

    God reminded me of a scenario that occurred last summer while I was driving home from work at a high speed on a major highway.  I had recently purchased new tires for my car, and the sidewall of one of them blew out.  I pulled over and telephoned my husband, our towing service and the local police.  It was rush hour, and the service would take 1½ hours to arrive.   

    As I sat on the shoulder of that highway, cars whizzing by, I prayed that God would provide expeditious help.  The short wait seemed like forever.  But within minutes, my husband arrived.  As he struggled to get a locked bolt off my wheel, it began to rain.  I prayed for God to help him, and for the rain to subside.   

    Then a man in a red pick up, with an industrial-sized toolbox in the bed, pulled up.  He got out, and with an eager step and a nearly toothless smile, he walked back toward us.  I noticed the cap he wore was imprinted with the name of a local auto dealership.  My heart was humbled to see that God sent us an expert auto mechanic to assist us in our time of helplessness.   

    As I watched that man almost effortlessly remove the locked bolt with his special tool, the rain turned to mist, and God spoke to me saying, “Because you helped My humble passengers in their time of need, I sent one to help you.”  My heart broke, and tears poured from my eyes, overwhelmed that God remembered me and loved me so much.   

    Such is the principle of sowing and reaping. 

    Last week, as I sat with His Word in my lap, poring over “giving” scriptures, the Lord spoke to me again through His word and in my heart, instructing me to give to others in new areas and in new ways in this new season.  He wants me to be adventurous in giving, and He reminded me that He will remember the laws He established. 

    God particularly illuminated Matthew 13:11-12, 25:29, Luke 6:38, Acts 20:35, Romans 8:32, 12:8, Galatians 6:9, 2 Corinthians 8:7, 9:6-7, Proverbs 11:24 and NIV note, Ecclesiastes 11:1. 

    Indeed, God’s principles work for all of us who obey.  He has so much for us to give and receive.  And He anticipates blessing us.  It’s exciting to see what God has in store for us on both ends of giving and receiving.  Giving is indeed an adventure.  What is He speaking to you?


  9. Recently, as I finished some work at my desk one day, the Lord spoke to me “out of the blue.”  He said that the process of restoration is like teeth in braces. 
    I was intrigued by His analogy, as the Lord often speaks in riddles and mysteries.  And instantly, He gave me the revelation of what He meant:  

    God revealed that the teeth represent people, including myself, and that the braces are the vice of pressure that He applies to us to cause us to straighten, to turn, to align with us His will, His righteousness.  For those of you who have worn braces, you understand that this process can be painful.

    As “the orthodontist” tightens the braces, a force of pressure creates a reversing and a resetting beneath the surface.  When God deals with our “sore” issues deep beneath the surface, it’s uncomfortable and even painful.  But it is a necessary process to get us straightened out, to return those areas to beauty, to restore us.

    Restoration forges us to confront and overcome issues that prevent us from living out our potential and divine destiny.  The process of overcoming turns our sorrow into joy, which manifests in an inner radiance and in a beautiful smile and hearty laughter.  It brings us out of the crooked place and repositions us to a straight alignment of God's original purpose and intention.  Christ Himself overcame evil in His journey, and we as Christians are to take courage and follow His example.

    The Holy Spirit helps us throughout this process.  Once the restoration is completed in a specific area, the vice (brace) is removed and then a retainer (Holy Spirit) is applied to protect and maintain the work that God so beautifully crafted.

    God revealed to me that although the restoration process is uncomfortable and involves longsuffering for a time, the end result is perfect alignment, one made complete with His splendid radiance of glory.  He reminded me that all of us are in a restoration process, that I am not alone, that this was His will and desire.

    Sometimes when we suffer, we can get caught up in the daily circumstance of pain, forgetting that there really is a master beauty plan and purpose of deliverance, not seeing that things really are changing because they seem as though they are taking forever. 

    I’ve learned to ask the Lord to help me see things from His perspective and to help me to love others as He does.  I have found that if I sincerely do my part, He is quick to respond.  And in this case, God was kind enough to remind me that yes, He really is in control and in the midst of the process. 

    Restoration is a humbling process.  May we all submit to the Lord in the journey so that we may honor Him and receive all that He has for us.


    A Prayer of Restoration . . .

    “Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like streams in the Negev.  Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.  He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.”   Psalm 126:4-6

  10. Recently, I heard Bible teacher David Pawson speak on the topic of the extremist Islamic agenda to take over the world.  Mr. Pawson’s speech was titled, The Challenge of Islam to Christians.  The statistics that Mr. Pawson shared were alarming.  At the time, I was on a fast.  So I began to pray for God to give me more of His perspective on the issue. 

    God impressed upon me that the enemy’s agenda for us to perpetually overwork is to present a form of distraction disguised as productivity.  If the enemy can keep us so busy that we do not see or hear what he is up to, he can quietly gain territory.  If we do not believe, receive or exercise God’s Biblical precepts of rest and divine relationship, we will not have time to listen to God’s perspective on important issues or hear His call to arms.  And if we do not take time to learn about current events from a Christian perspective, we loose vigilance.  Essentially, we get what we choose.  And if our choices are not righteous, we ultimately loose freedoms. 

    One day we may wake up and wonder how it happened that our children are forced to study Islam in American universities in order to graduate.  I understand this is already the case at a major state university located in America’s Bible belt.  And Oil-rich Islamic-run countries are already funding buildings and programs at Oxford and Cambridge Universities. 

    Are any of us Christians noticing?  And if so, what can we do? 

    I encourage you to either listen to David Pawson’s audio series, The Challenge of Islam to Christians or read his book of the same title.

    You can also visit a website by a prominent Christian woman of Lebanese descent who writes and reports frequently on political issues and Islamic take-over agendas.  It is American Congress for Truth.

    Get informed at Pastor John Hagee's Christians Unified for Israel website. 

    You can also visit The Barnabus Fund. 

  11. Last night, I watched a television special on the life of Ruth Bell Graham, wife of the famous evangelist, Dr. Billy Graham. I love a good biography, and this was one of the most touching ones I have ever comprehended. 

    What impressed me most was a sense of sanctuary that Ruth cultivated in her home.  Ruth understood that sanctuary is not just a large room inside a church.  Rather, it’s a safe haven where God’s presence resides.  In Ruth’s case, it was a secret place for her to commune with God, a safe place for her to raise her five children and a retreat for her fatigued husband. 

    Behind this educated woman’s classic, chiseled features and statuesque form was someone who knew sacrifice, the strength of God’s grace and love, profound faith and the beauty of simplicity. 

    God provided her with lots of opportunities to depend upon Him.
     Ruth raised her children mostly as a single mom.  Her husband was gone a lot as he traveled the world to spread the gospel.  And most of that time was during the pre- cell phone, PC, microwave and disposable diaper era.  Imagine that! 

    Ruth was also an outspoken woman.  She understood the character of truth.  Despite her own longings and longsuffering—even as a young married woman—she was quick to lend a helping hand to others. 

    God cultivated His heart within her as is evident in her journal writings, most of which she kept secret between herself and God until her passing into eternity.  Ruth understood what it meant to be alone with her first love, Jesus, to pour out her desires and sorrow and joys to Him secretly. 

    Ruth knew how to celebrate life anyway and receive abundance from her King.  One of her daughters said that her mom "made the most of what came, and the least of what went."  Ruth understood the process of letting go. 

    Today, I am decorating our home for Christmas.  And in my heart lives a deepened love for God’s own heart, inspired and imparted through this amazing woman of God.  Today, I will cultivate our home in this spirit.   

    I hope you will too. 

    For more information on Ruth Bell Graham, visit http://www.billygraham.org/tv. 


  12. Of all the times to speak “rest” to me, God did the day before Thanksgiving.  It’s the day I planned to shop and cook, the day we had book orders to fulfill, and a day to get some business issues shored up before offices shut down.

    But oh how glad I was that I listened to God and spent my first time with Him that day.  Every day, I try to remember to pray, “I surrender my agenda to you, Lord.  Have your way in my day.”  And so often I am convicted when I am tempted to dash ahead and get things done instead of spending more time with Him.  But when I choose time with God over my own agenda, I am reminded that God can do more in a blink of an eye than I can do in hours, days or even years of toil.  

    This month, I’ve spent recovering from battle.  Prayer intercessors know what I mean.  When God assigns us to pray for breakthrough for certain situations in companies, ministries, governments, people’s lives, etc., and the battle feels long and hard, there comes a time, when the breakthrough occurs, and we are relieved and called into a period of rest.  Gratefully and joyfully, we step away into the arms of God and allow Him to minister to us.  This is a very sweet, peaceful and necessary time of intimacy and aloneness with our Heavenly Father, a time of recovery, restoration, protection and reward.  And even though I have chores/tasks to check off my “to do” list, God’s predominant, prevailing portion for me is rest.  And so I gratefully obeyed.

    The day before Thanksgiving, God led me back to the Book of Joshua for more understanding.  

    In chapter 1, He reminded me that “rest” is a directive and gift from God after battle.  Verse 12 says that “The Lord your God is giving you rest . . .”  Verse 15 says, “You are to help your brothers until the Lord gives them rest . . .”  The NIV note for 1:13 tells us that rest is and “important Old Testament concept . . . implying secure borders, peace with neighboring countries and absence of threat to life and well-being within the land . . .” 

    In chapter 14:15, God tells us that He even allows the land to rest from war.  

    We all have a portion of battle, and, therefore, we all have a portion of rest.  Sometimes, God’s timing for rest feels unexpected or arrives at a time when our agenda is full.  But we must align ourselves with God’s timing in order to remain in peace and balance and in order to be prepared for the new season and assignments He has just ahead for us.

    So I will choose to indulge in His Holy presence.  I will choose to receive His gift of rest.  And I hope you will too when He gives it to you.

    " . . . He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught."  ~ Isaiah 50:4


  13. Recently one Sunday, I decided to visit a nearby church that I had never attended before.  What piqued my interest was the marquis on the church's front lawn.  It featured a sermon title about our Jewish heritage as Christians.  I knew I had to go because I wanted to hear their perspective on this topic.  What I heard both delighted and surprised me. 

    As my husband and I sat in the back row of the traditional church service, I panned the room and prayed secretly for God to enable me to receive whatever He had for me.

    Soon the music began, and we stood and sang both hymns and contemporary praises.  Then the pastor appeared, not in person but on a very large screen, as he was projected from a sanctuary located elsewhere.  This was a new experience for me, and I was reminded that this was a mega-church.  Atlanta has several.

    As the pastor spoke, what impressed me was that he did not impose his views on us, rather he presented various Christian interpretations--even historic ones--and then informed us which one he personally believed.  I appreciated his style of delivery, which seemed intelligent and respectful of my freedom to choose.  

    But what impressed me most was what God spoke to my heart.  I heard Him say, "Humble reverence."

    Instantly, my spirit understood what He meant.   He was referring to the atmosphere of humble reverence that He established in this house, and He was using it to pervade my spirit and say, "Come to Me in humble reverence." 

    Weeks later, my husband and I traveled on vacation to the northeastern coast of Florida.  As Sunday approached, I sensed that God wanted me to attend the service at the resort's chapel.  All along, I wondered what God had in store.  When Sunday morning arrived, I presumed that not many vacationers would be there and that the service might be a bit generic. 

    But oh was I wrong!  Local residents filled the chapel to capacity.  God was quick to remind me that although the chapel was small, His powerful anointing is great.  Interestingly too, this service was even more traditional than the mega-church's I had attended weeks earlier.  And the presence of God was more profound at this small chapel than I have experience anywhere within the past  year. 

    As the presence of God pervaded that entire place, I sat and wept in a balcony pew.  It was as if everything I saw--every detail of the interior design, the plants outside the windows--and every word I heard transported me to an amazing place of peace and understanding, right into the very presence of God with humble reverence.  

    Moreover, just this week, as I sat reading a newspaper article about Atlanta's governor Sonny Perdue and the current drought, God showed me the word, "reverent" right in the article.  The reporter described Governor Perdue's public prayer and mood as "reverent."  My spirit leapt, and my jaw dropped! 

    After much chaos and busyness in my life over the past five months, God was gently restoring me to humble reverence.   Thank you for your mercy and for reacquainting me, Lord.  You know just what I need.


  14. A funny thing happened this week.  I was at a friend’s home, praying for the Lord to restore her health when I noticed her dog eyeing me in an unusual way.  The dog had been adopted from a pound and was squimish.  But instead of cowering like other mistreated dogs I've seen, this one looked directly at me and then immediately looked away in repeated rapid motion. 

    So we turned our prayers toward the dog.

    After I departed my friend’s home, God gave me a revelation that the dog had an issue of “disconnect.”  By that evening God helped me understand what this meant, revealing that the issue was rooted in abandonment, much like what orphans experience.  Brokenhearted, I again prayed for the dog.

    As I was praying, God revealed to me my own patterns of disconnect and the root causes.  Yikes!  Obviously, He used this dog to demonstrate something within me that He wanted to restore.  Funny how God will use anybody or anything to mirror our stuff!  Whatever it takes, He’ll get through to us.  And in the case of this dog, God was able to capture my heart.  He enabled me to see the dog as He sees me—with compassion.

    Two days later, I visited my friend again.  This time, her dog locked eyes with me and did not look away.  I was amazed!  It was obvious that God had done a work of healing and restoration in the dog’s heart.

    Thank God for loving His creatures so much that He doesn’t leave us where we are. How delightfully compassionate He is!
  15.  

    All week long, the Lord has illuminated the word “intimacy” to me.  And all week long, I’ve been asking Him, “Lord, what are you trying to tell me?”  Just this evening, God led me to a resource that contained a statement saying there is no fear in intimacy. 

    I thought this to be ironic because earlier this week, I had written on the topic of fear.  And at no point did I associate fear and intimacy. 

    What God was trying to communicate to me was that when we come close to God due to any type of threat, the intimacy of His presence pushes the fear out.  It’s another way of saying I John 4:18, “There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear.”

    This makes sense since God is love.  His presence of love, which is the intimacy of His presence, casts out fear.  Amazing how the simple and obvious can be revelation to us.  Sometimes, all it takes is for God to speak a familiar message in a new way. 

    Frequently these days, God has to remind me that He is with me as I journey forth into many new territories.  I recall about a year ago, Him saying to me that He was sending me out on missions that would require me to remain close to Him and that this would be the only way I would get through the journeys. 

    Any of you in the midst of new territories?

  16.            Psalm 71:5 says, “For You have been my hope, O Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth.”  Oh how I can relate!  This scripture leapt out at me last week, and what I realized was that this new hope was also my original hope.  It has never changed.  Only my circumstances have through the decades.

    And although life hasn’t always been easy, verse 21 promises that He “will increase my honor and comfort me on every side once again.”  I have found this to be so reassuring in my darkest hours.  Joy in the midst: Seems impossible yet so true.

                Thankfully, Jesus, our “better hope,” finished the work and enabled us to enter into God’s holy presence directly (Heb.7:19).  So refreshing during these Autumn Holy Days.

  17.  

    Ever feel like the journey is too hard, that the load is too heavy?  Here are few quotes that God gave to me to encourage me to keep stepping forward in pioneering new territory . . .    

    Deuteronomy 31:6 in The Message, “Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated.  Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you.  He’s right there with you.  He won’t let you down; He won’t leave you.”  

    Daniel 11:32 – “but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.” 

    I Chronicles 18:6 - "Thus the Lord preserved David whithersoever he went."  (KJV) 

    “Do all that’s in your heart, and I will be with you.  Our destiny unfolds as we take steps.  God directs our steps if we acknowledge Him,” scripture and dialogue spoken by Joyce Meyer.

    “If the mountain were smooth, you couldn’t climb it!” a quote by Pastor Joyce Simmons.

    Be inspired!  Take courage!  Excellence is about doing our very best with the Lord in us and guiding us.  The extraneous distractions and attempted blocks will fall away if we stay the course and finish the race to the very end.

  18. God’s amazing love has the power to bring new hope.  He loves us too much to leave us in dead places.  Physically, emotionally and spiritually, His love will transform us if we are willing to receive it. 

    As an intercessor, I recently received a specific prayer assignment from God to pray for someone I know who has been paralyzed for 16 years.  Recently, God awakened me early in the morning on three occasions to pray for this person.  He gave me dreams and visions and led me every moment in prayer.  Although many people, including myself, have prayed multiple times over the years for this person’s restoration, this particular prayer assignment was very purposed and, I believe, pierced darkness and entered into God’s Throne Room in a mighty way.  I have no doubt that this person will receive a fulfillment miracle in God’s appointed time because God is the One who delivers us from death of any form.  He does not mock us.  

    I love 2 Corinthians 1:8-10 (NASB) where Paul says that he and Timothy . . .   

    “were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life.  Indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope.  And He will yet deliver us.”

    Paul and Timothy were so desperate for God to show up they declared twice that He would deliver them.  They knew there was no hope otherwise.  They had seen of God’s creative miracles, and they understood and knew how He operated.  Therefore, they “set” their hope on their only escape from death.

    Interestingly, the dictionary* defines the word “set” as . . .

    “to restore to a proper and normal state; to adjust for proper functioning; to arrange properly for use . . . to prescribe or establish . . . to become fixed . . . to begin a journey; to cause to occur; to cause to explode . . . to place in an upright position . . . to invest with power . . . unwilling to change; ready.”

    Indeed, God works tragedy for good.  He uses it to get our wills and hearts in alignment with His through greater dependency.  He uses it for His glory through testimony when He brings us all the way to the other side of restoration.  And He also gives those who are restored an anointing to comfort others who suffer through similar circumstances (2 Cor. 1:3-4, 7). 

    Nothing is wasted in God’s Kingdom.  How can we possibly understand what people go through unless we have gone through similar experiences ourselves? 

    If you are suffering, seek God’s heart with all of your heart.  Ask Him to raise up intercessors in the day and night seasons to pray for your deliverance from death.  Know that God will purpose your pain, and you will soon be a light and a comfort to others who will go through what God brought you through.


    * American Heritage Dictionary, Third Edition.

  19.             As I took a walk last week, I looked up the road and spotted a fluorescent softball rolling down the hill towards me.  In the distance, I saw a man and a dog playing.  The ball rolled right to me, so I picked it up and carried it to them.  The man thanked me, and the words that shot out of my mouth were, “My pleasure.”

                I was a bit shocked by these words because I knew they came straight from the Holy Spirit.  How did I know?  First of all, those aren’t word choices I normally use in my everyday language.  Secondly, the ball had a dog’s teeth marks and saliva on it, which is not something that would normally give me any pleasure.  And thirdly, at the moment I spoke those words, I simultaneously received a revelation that God’s servant heart takes pleasure in giving back to us those things that are dear, even if those things are humbly covered in slobber.

                No doubt God impacted our hearts in that simple act of fulfillment and giving. 

                What I learned is that fulfillment means success of the heart.  What I realized is that it’s not the giving or receiving of the object that marks fulfillment.  Rather, fulfillment comes before the object is given or received. 

    Fulfillment is the completion of an allotted or appointed or due amount of journey time—i.e. seeing the ball, picking it up, walking it to the man and dog—that enables the giving/receiving back through the servant and mercy heart of God.  

                It is in the fulfillment opportunity that God humbles us, touches our hearts and activates the fruits of His spirit (Gal. 5:22).  The actual gift giving/receiving seals the fulfillment journey and opens the door for a new fulfillment journey to begin with an improved heart purposed by God.

                 So the higher success can be seen in the restoration and renewal that God has done in our hearts, and the corresponding physical gift is His reward for journeying through the process.  Amazing!

  20. During the first week of this month, the Lord showed me the word “boundaries.”  He continued to speak this word to me through creative ways in the days that followed.  I knew that He was referring to setting limits on a particular job assignment.  So I began to cut back on the extra hours I had been pouring into my job, even though others around me were pressing me for more.  I also came to understand that I wasn’t working too much.  I was just working too much in one area for what awaited ahead. 
     

    God saw what I did not.  He was about to bring another project into my schedule just days later.  Thankfully, I hearkened to His directive because He required of me an immediate shift of time allotment.

    As I spent time with the Lord this morning, He showed me the word “apportion.”  Instantly, the Holy Spirit enabled me to receive the revelation that He was apportioning my time to accommodate this new project, to accomplish His purpose. 

    In looking back over the week, I realize that I had to let go of the first assignment to God, trusting that He would raise up another to handle that which He called me to let go of.  God reassured me that He doesn’t expect me to do everything and that the work will still get finished in His time.

    He relieved me of a great burden, and He helped me to better understand that I am to do only that which He has appointed and apportioned me to do. 

     I have known for months now, that God has me in an immediate and rapid training season for what’s ahead and that He is causing me to work more efficiently, all of which is a preparation for something even bigger, a higher level that will bring new challenges and require new growth. 

  21. Last week, I attended the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) with a colleague.  This year marked their fiftieth conference anniversary, began by Dr. Martin Luther King.  
     

    My company had a booth that was in a location far from the main flow of traffic.  But I had prayed ahead of time and had sensed God leading me to attend.  So I knew the Lord would make a way.

    We began to do the Jesus thing—meet people where they were.  We handed out our flyers to people as they entered doorways into large and small events.  And all went well, but as God would have it, there was so much more.

    As I stood in the back of a very large ballroom at one point, the President of SCLC began to speak.  Suddenly, I sensed an incredible anointing of the Lord shoot all over my body more than once.  I knew I was in the right place. 

    One of the president’s key points was “Relationships.”  He said that he had taken the SCLC far in a short time due to relationships.  He suggested people get rid of their attitudes and realize that we cannot get anywhere in life without relationship. 

    As he spoke, the Lord began to give me revelation that He had placed us in a sphere of great influence and that His favor was upon us.  Immediately, the manifestation began.  My colleague met the three top officials of the SCLC when they walked off the stage, even though they were surrounded by people.  

    Then the Lord gave me divine appointments with three other prominent people, one of whom was a pastor of a church named, of all things, Mountaintop.  I knew this was a sign.  I had been praying that the Lord would take me to the mountaintop. 

    I knew my time was now to enter into a whole new sphere of influence and favor and that the Lord would take me to the mountaintop via relationships.  The first one being with Him and the others being with key people of great influence. 

    What God showed me in this experience was that we didn’t need volumes of traffic to flow by our booth.  We only needed a few key people of great influence and divine favor.  This was God’s plan all along.

    Just today, the Lord showed me a book titled, “Yes, Faith Will Move Your Mountain, but Favor Causes Others to Move Your Mountain For You!”  It’s by Dutch Sheets & Larry Randolph.  Yes, another sign.

     I pray that God will get everyone who is willing to the mountaintop.
  22. In this journey of climbing, the Lord provided a clearing. By definition, a clearing is an open space; a tract of woodland without trees; it is a place that is free from anything that dims, obscures or darkens, like impediments, burdens, obligations, doubt or confusion; to clear means to rid obstructions and remove occupants. I’ve learned that whenever I’m involved in anything big that God is doing, the enemy tries to discourage me into giving up by making my way difficult. He tries to throw up obstacles through people and personalities, budget limitations and other circumstances. He tries to tempt me into sinful areas that I know God doesn’t want me to go. He tries to disable equipment, like PCs, air conditioners, cars and telephones. His sole purpose is to try to thwart the plans of God from coming into fruition. And if he cannot do that, he tries to slow the process. Fortunately, the Lord has taught me by staying close to Him, by setting my face like flint and firmly moving forward with my eyes focused on Him, He will go before me and fight the battles and make a way. He will “clear” away every weapon, every hurdle, every obstacle the enemy uses. He will defeat the enemy again and again for us, just as He did for Joshua in the Promised Land. Clearings are like breathes of fresh air. They provide a sense of relief, an exhale from heavy burdens. They are respites of pure joy. They bathe us in light. They invite us to dance, to feel like a kid again. They give us the space to do so. They facilitate life, an infilling, peace and freedom. They are a place of ease. And they occur after an intense battle. We need clearings. We need God to cut clearings for us as we journey, especially when the journey is long. What areas do you need God to cut a clearing for you? Pray that God will cut away every burden, obligation, confusion and personality that tries to obstruct the path He has for you. Then choose to set your face like flint and move forward, keeping your eyes on the Lord and choosing not to fall to temptation. Indeed, God will fight your battles, and you will win the race and receive the prize.
  23. God continues to teach me much about climbing mountains. The most recent lesson was on refreshing. On the climb up, one must stop and be refreshed to continue. Just yesterday, the Lord impressed upon me to ride my bike through a favorite refuge of mine. Unbeknownst to me, God had also spoke to my husband to take me to this sanctuary. We rode 17 miles through acres of pastureland, old oaks, herds of deer and stately old buildings. The peace and presence of God was so profound at this nearby haven, it caused my spirit to soar. I believe the Lord intended to refresh my spirit in the midst of great transition in my workplace because a breakthrough is very near. The intensity has been mounting for weeks, and even today, the Lord showed me a vision of a large crack, which I believe represents the headway that is occurring. Just like Jesus, sometimes we must step away from the crowd to pursue God’s peace, His refreshing, so that we can return with revival.
  24. So many times this summer God has stretched me to what feels like the maximum. There are moments when I envision Silly Putty being pulled slowly in every direction, just one touch away from piercing. In these moments, I am quickly reminded of the purpose of why God has me where He has me, doing what He wants me to do and that, because of His purpose, I remain committed to His cause. Indeed, where there is commitment, there is perseverance. And where there is perseverance, there are challenges. Funny thing, I’ve been praying, “Lord, get us to the mountaintop. Give us a mountaintop experience.” Wouldn’t you know, today I walked into church, and what did I hear my pastor say? That on our way to the mountaintop, there will be a climb. And on that climb, we will be targets, but we will not be victims. So keep climbing, keep reaching because the anointing is up there. There are a few scriptures that profoundly speak to me concerning purpose: Ephesians 1:11-12 – “In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” I believe that God has a predestined plan for all of us, and I don’t want to miss His finest adventure, His finest rewards. So reach and persevere, I will, to accomplish His will.
  25. So often breakthroughs arrive through a forerunner, someone whom Christ sends to help those in need, someone on a divine assignment, someone like John the Baptist. Forerunners usually know who they are because they typically get revelations on particular issues before anyone else, except prophets, of course. They have been gifted with a special anointing that prepares the way and breaks new ground for others. Signs and wonders often follow them. And there are many among us today. In fact, you may be one yourself. God uses these courageous leaders mightily in businesses, churches, on mission fields and also in people’s personal lives to usher in new products, new inventions, new trends, new ministries and new freedoms. Their assignments are challenging, and others often do not understand the forerunner’s mission until it is almost complete, when they receive the revelation. For this reason, forerunners often face opposition and persecution while they move forward in their mission. Forerunners often work alone, like John the Baptist, and they are often “unlikely” choices, also like John the Baptist. They usually have a strong vertical relationship with the Lord, and once they’re finished with their assignments, they look forward to moving on because they get bored quickly. Very recently, a man joined our workforce to lead us to the next level of business breakthrough. I have no doubt God sent him. And, ironically, his name is John. John is a doer, a quick thinker with a sharp mind. He is a quick decision maker, and he has a strong work ethic. He will undoubtedly need all these qualities and more to break through obstacles that lay before him. But forerunners welcome such challenges. They have the gift of faith to forge them through, and God is on their side. If you are in need of a breakthrough in your work life or personal life, ask the Lord to raise up intercessors in the day and night hours to pray for you and your situation. God has many ways of issuing breakthroughs, and yours may arrive in the form of a forerunner. Ask Him to send one to you, praise Him while you wait, and thank Him when your John the Baptist shows up.
  26. God is tactical. Daily, I find myself depending upon His strategies to get me through. Especially when I hit a brick wall and need a quick solution or I stand for a period of time anticipating a “sudden” breakthrough or I persevere through a lengthy trial. I’ve found that God is always there to guide me, to open a door, to provide a solution and a perfect path just when I need it. And who understood God’s strategies better than Joshua? I am awed and so encouraged every time I read about how each battle he fought in the Promised Land was won through a unique strategy from the Lord. Each one was different from the one before. And there were many. This not only demonstrated God’s infinite creativity and totally glorified Him, it kept Joshua totally dependent upon God for his very survival. His obedience had to be “careful,” and he couldn’t rely on his comfort zones or his own knowledge, even if what God instructed him to do didn’t make sense to his natural mind or reasoning. Joshua demonstrated amazing maturity. He was a warrior operating in a new territory, during a new season, and he needed fresh strategies that only God could provide. To say that much was at stake truly is an understatement. Generations depended upon Joshua’s obedience. And when we think about it, history would have been changed for all time if he had not obeyed the Lord. So, too, much is at stake concerning our obedience. Each decision we make not only affects us, it affects others and the Kingdom. It can even affect other nations for generations. Will we build or tear down? When we find ourselves under fire, what will we choose? God’s way? Or the familiar and deadly path of our own understanding? There is no shortage of fresh strategies in God’s Kingdom. I believe He loves it when we ask Him to reveal them to us and then follow through with careful obedience. In this, we honor God. We demonstrate our love for Him. We place Him first on our priority list, first in our heart, and He rewards us accordingly. Someone once said, “If you’re not journeying through a trial right now, you’re either about to go into one, or you’re just coming out of one. Such is life.” Who best to help us navigate through the hills and valleys of office politics, competition, new assignments and business ventures than the Holy Spirit, our divine GPS? Doing so brings life. Often I pray, “Lord, enable me to hear You clearly. Open my ears, my eyes, my heart to receive your message. Please don’t let me miss it.” Sometimes, the smallest detail is the most critical, and I’ve found that whatever is on God’s heart, He will make known to me. He always answers this prayer, even if He has to wake me up at 3 a.m. What a priviledge it is to work for the Lord.
  27. I believe that, sometimes, God gives us fast feet to accomplish His multitude of tasks according to His quick time. He does this to usher in a new order, a shift, to take a project or business or vision into a new dimension, to help us facilitate the leap. I have found that, if I’m not careful, these times—while short—can cause me to feel like I’m running in a quicksand of overwhelm, like the tasks that God has assigned to me are controlling me. But the truth is that God is in control in the midst, and He has an overall plan, even if we do not see His entire plan during the process. Through His grace, however, He leads us through this quick and timely journey of increased dependency. By giving us more simultaneous assignments, and leading us through a mission that is bigger than we, God is actually doing a work of faith and trust in us on a new level and in a new area. He is facilitating increase for the Kingdom, and a promotion for us simultaneously. And although the journey is intense, the rewards are great. I remember what the Lord spoke to me recently, early one morning as I stood at my kitchen counter. He said, “You’re not having a breakdown. You’re having a breakthrough.” In that revelation moment, I received the understanding of what I was going through: Breakthroughs require intensity. It’s like birthing a baby. As chosen vessels to carry and deliver a baby, we women are the Lord’s messengers, His nurturers, His responsible agents to usher heaven to earth for the purpose of building and reproducing His Kingdom on earth. As we women press through the intensity of delivery, our baby (our new assignment) breaks through into the world. I recall a wonderfully intimate time with the Lord last year as I drove from Charlotte to Atlanta, returning from a book promotion event. I felt exhausted from months of media interviews, and now, alone in my car, the Lord had me all to Himself. He spoke to me during the entire five-and-a-half hour trip home about a new assignment that was ahead. One of the key strategies He gave to me was to get up behind Him, remain very close to Him, and He would plow a path for me, and I would ride in His draft. I have begun that new assignment, and whoa was He right! During this time of great focus and intensity in my work schedule, I realize that I cannot consider the distractions around me because of all the immediate deadlines in front of me. I cannot look to the left or to the right. But this too shall pass because, like childbirth, it is but for a very short time. And like childbirth, although the process is intense, it is also joyful, exhilarating, powerful and a privilege to experience. When that baby is birthed, however, and we enter into a new dimension of nurturing, growth and development, the Lord gives us fresh strategies, fresh manna. The promotion awaits on the other side of the finish line. But first we must complete the race. So thank you, Lord, for Your anointed fast feet. No way could I do this without You!
  28. During a church service last Sunday, a scripture popped up on the big screen that took me aback. It was I Corinthians 16:9: “because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me.” I smiled and thanked God because I knew His timing was perfect and that He was speaking a living word to me right at that very moment for such a time as this. God knows of the three-year journey He has just brought me through, a kind of Job/I Peter wilderness in which He enabled me to confront severe persecution, opposition on every side and all kinds of suffering. The Lord’s purpose for having me venture through those trials was to develop me for a higher level of ministry, particularly in the marketplace. He stretched me in the areas of patience, love, grace, faith and humility, and He caused me to understand and appreciate the sufferings of Christ in a way and on a level I never had before. The reward of this labor has been a newfound freedom, a fresh anointing and a promotion into a new job assignment. Now, when spiritual opposition manifests in various ways during my workdays, it’s easier for me to process. I see it more clearly for what it is: an attempt by the enemy to thwart the plans of God from moving forward. And although I am tested daily, I know better which weapons of peace, faith, trust, patience, humility, grace and love to use and how to apply them. When the enemy throws up brick walls now, I watch the Lord provide me with the perfect solution delivered at the perfect time. I see Him open new doors within minutes or hours. I watch Him work fast, and I am awed. I recall weeks ago, the Lord showing me a vision in which He would go before me and “roller derby” opposition out of the way. And He has! I am grateful that, because of Him, I could endure the trials to receive the greater reward He now has for me. And I am grateful that He goes before me to prepare the way and that His yoke is so light. He has blessed me with serendipitous joys and new opportunities to minister to others in new ways. He plans them right into my schedule, and He guides my steps. He is restoring my world, life’s pleasures, and I sense His goodness again. If you are venturing through a wilderness journey, I encourage you to submit to the Lord’s purposes and strategies so that He may use you in greater ways and so that you will receive your prize, your divine rewards. Know that God is good, that He is faithful and that He will bring you through if you abide in Him along the way. Because He loves you, He will restore your world too. Trust Him and believe that it will be even better than before.
  29. A couple of my relatives work in the Georgia public school system. During each summer break, they catch up on home projects, such as cleaning and organizing. Just the other day, my sister-in-law telephoned me, saying that her living room was a wreck because she was in the midst of reorganizing a closet. She had removed each item from the closet and had categorized them in piles on her living room floor. Just like my sis-in-law’s circumstances, structures, plans and conditions often appear worse before they are “re-stored.” Sometimes, order is about re-order. Transitions are usually messy, and order is a process. But God is always in control in the midst of the work. This truth we must lean to. Otherwise, the physical mess can bring inner distress. To that end, although I work most of the time at home, the company I work for is located in a beautiful, large, old house at a busy intersection in Atlanta. A month after I began this new job, much of the main floor was renovated. Suddenly, things were in disarray and not easily found. Paint fumes and drop cloths filled our space for days and caused us to feel like we were camping out. But there was also an excitement, a synergy as the decorator, the painters and the movers brought renewal with fresh paint, polished furniture and new accessories. Our work environment is now coming into a new arrangement, a new beauty, a new order. Each of us can find every facet of our lives somewhere in the process of re-order. Either we’re coming out of an old order or entering into the fullness of a new one. New order or re-order requires adaptation and familiarization. Like Abraham, we may have to step out into a new territory, a new plan, a new season, a new arena or a new time. And it can happen suddenly. We may feel thrust into it. And in those times, we must cling to God for His security, His strategies, and remember that He is in the midst, guiding us all along the journey. Where there is order, there is authority, power, clarity, safety, freedom, discipline, priority, peace and sanctuary. Jesus, Himself, represents a new order, a better way. Likewise, when the Holy Spirit does a work in us, He restores a higher order of His glory. From these restorations, we pour out more of Him and do higher works that honor God. Hence, re-order is a type of promotion. Consider the Israelites. Whenever God restored their nation, their land, He ordered them from Egypt to the Promised Land, from bondage to freedom, from poverty to abundance, from scattered to unified. He restored them by His authority. God loves order. And just as He expects His house to be in order (I Cor. 14:40, Col. 2:5), we can have order in our homes, workplaces and lives if we submit to His obedience and flow with His plan for newness, no matter how messy it feels. What would God like to re-order in your world? In your house, your business, your soul? Ask the Holy Spirit to show you. Then invite Him to do the work, to usher in a new beauty, a greater glory, His new order.
  30. I’m sure God had His infinite range of beauty in mind when He created our personalities. Each one is like a flower, uniquely different, even if it’s among the same specie. And also like a flower, each one can blossom or fold depending upon circumstances. Just last week, I found myself going between two colleagues at work, each with very different personalities. I soon realized that one of them has a personality like my husband, and the other has a personality like mine. Whoa! I thought, “If I had a child, this is what he/she would feel like.” And then I had the privilege of working very closely at a PC all afternoon with the one who had my personality, a bottom line, quick decision-maker. Oh what an eye opener that was! It caused me to appreciate my husband even more because I realized what a patient man he is. Earlier in the week, I worked with the person who has a personality like my husband: process-minded, ability to retain volumes of information. I was never more grateful that God had put my husband in my life to prepare me for this work environment. It made it a breeze. And I had to laugh with joy at what God had done. I believe it’s a testament to the miracle power of God that any of us ever get along and work in unity to accomplish great things. Although the opportunities to give up are plenty, somehow, if we remain close to the Lord and commit ourselves to the common goal He wants to accomplish, God works it all out. What’s more, while we’re doing His work, He’s working on us—stretching us, taking us further in many areas and on many levels, preparing us for the next glory—and He’s working through us. Amazing! Only God can do this. And He’s had lots of experience. Imagine the motley crew Jesus had to polish into unity and greatness: several rugged fishermen, a political activist, a tax collector and a bean counter, just to name some. Yet they had a common goal and an uncommon God. Some seemed to have stronger leadership qualities than others, like Peter, Philip and James. And they seemed to have varying levels of intimacy with Christ, but nonetheless, they were handpicked, divinely chosen, and they served God’s purpose on earth in doing His work. What more can God do with us? I used to work with mostly women as a flight attendant. Each of us were hired by an airline that used a scientific personality profile questionnaire to identify certain traits in us. Therefore, as a work group, we were similar in many ways. This made bonding easy on trips and especially convenient when challenged daily by hundreds of passengers with varying personalities. Conversely, now, God has slowed my pace, and I work in one place. I’m in a small staff work environment where each personality and job description is very different from the next. Now I can see that God has grown me to a point where I can truly embrace each person’s uniqueness, His beautiful craftwork. And once again, I see that journeying through has paid off for such a time as this, to achieve a common goal for an uncommon God. What more can God do for you, in you and through you?
  31. Recently, I had the pleasure of praying for a friend who struggles with perfectionism. She attended the perfect college, earned perfect grades and is now raising “perfect” kids. The only problem is that she cries. A lot. As it turns out, her issue with perfectionism began in childhood when her father expected nothing less than perfect performance from her. This set her on a treadmill of seeking love and approval through behavior rather than just being the unique, lovable person God made her. Pick up any book on rejection, and we will find that perfectionism is a by-product. It involves idolatry of the self and idolatry of the person whose approval we try to earn. No one should come prior to God. It is His approval with which we are to be concerned. Truly, Jesus Christ was the only perfect person on earth, and He loves us just the way He made us. He doesn’t expect perfection from us, but rather excellence. Yes, there is a difference. Excellence is our best effort through God. It involves commitment, character and integrity. It is seeking God’s best and stepping forward in faith, no matter what anyone else thinks, says or does. Hebrews 12:2 says to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” Indeed, He is the perfecter, and He already knows we are not perfect. If we were, we wouldn’t need Him. We would be Him. Father God wants us to depend upon Him, not on our own strength, knowledge and abilities. (Prov. 3:5) Yet, sometimes we can carry ungodly beliefs and irrational behaviors from childhood into adulthood that control us, even drive us. Surely, this is a form of bondage. We may even thrive for years, not realizing that we’re actually performing via God’s grace, thinking we’re doing it on our own, falsely believing we’re perfect. Is it not only because of God that we live and breathe and work at all? Through life’s circumstances, we become challenged and begin to realize that we are indeed weak and need God. Often a crisis transpires that causes us to hit a brick wall and confront the truth. Imperfection can be a difficult revelation to receive, but a healthy one, and a humble one. It can be an opportunity for deep emotional healing and balance. I used to think that my accomplishments were due to my own work and talents because I was raised to be very responsible. But over the years, God showed me how to rest in Him, how to not strive, rather to work by His grace and how to even commission angels to work on my behalf. Every now and then, God still has to remind me. I believe one of the most honoring prayers we can pray is one of confession: “I cannot do this without You.” I have seen the Lord show up so fast when I have confessed this over the years. God rewards a humble heart. He wants to help us, to fellowship with us, to take us higher through His supernatural power and love for us. He sees all things, knows all things, and He wants us to receive His best. Who has greater vision, wisdom and strength than God? All we have to do is submit to Him and ask. And He will take us to places that are not only higher than we can take ourselves, but higher than we can even imagine. Now, who wouldn’t want to go there? If you struggle with perfectionism, ask the Lord to root out the issues. What He reveals, He heals. Ask Him to lead you to the sources and resources that can teach you the difference between perfectionism and His excellence. And ask Him to enable you to receive His full healing, deliverance and balance and to firmly know your identity in Christ.
  32. For the past few weeks, I’ve been taking a class at my church called, “The Seven Basic Biblical Principles for Success in the Marketplace.” This class has been such a joy to participate in, full of God’s anointing and lively small group interaction. However, one night the instructor wanted to know who among us felt joyful about going to work. The response was shocking. Only four out of 20-plus people raised their hands. What’s more, the light in people’s faces dimmed instantly. It was as if the instructor flipped a switch upon asking his question. Suddenly, the whole spirit and attitude in the room shifted from elation to sorrow. And students began to raise their hands with questions like, “How do you know when it’s time to leave your job, when God’s grace comes off of you?” In sharing their commentary, the Lord revealed that many of them felt stuck and didn’t know what to do. I came home and literally didn’t sleep a wink that night. My heart broke for them. I consulted the Lord about the issue, and what leapt into my spirit was that people were still missing God’s purpose for their work. They were still separating church from work and God from work in their minds and hearts. There was a disconnection. I believe that one reason—and only one reason—the Lord allows us to remain right where we are is that we haven’t embraced His purpose for being there. I believe He’ll let us remain for however long it takes for us to receive His revelation and to walk out His assignments. Take me, for instance. I was a flight attendant for 16 years, a very lateral union job with few incentives for excellence. The first 12 years, I performed my duties to my best ability and thought I did a good job. But I wasn’t joyful about it. In fact, I was downright bored most of the time. And, yes, I was a Christian throughout the duration. It wasn’t until my thirteenth year of flying that God really grabbed hold of me, meeting me where I was and clearly instructed me to step out of the boat and begin to do the work of Jesus in my workplace. When I stepped into God’s assignments, everything changed, including me. Serving others took on a whole new meaning. The Lord gave me divine appointments everywhere I turned. He had me praying for passengers on my knees in the aisles of airplanes. Work became an adventure. It took on a higher purpose. Doing the work of Jesus gave my work new life and significant meaning. It was joyful and exciting. It was dynamic. It was an adventure. It was fun. It was a new dimension. And I looked forward to going to work. Yes, I finally got the revelation. I learned the importance of praising the Lord daily and truly seeking Him daily with urgency, sincerity and wholeheartedness. I learned that intimacy is paramount, that He wants us to depend upon Him alone. I learned that it’s one step to read a five-minute devotion on our way out the door in the morning; but it’s quite a leap to spend hours alone with God. Doing so takes us to a higher dimension in the Lord and His purposes. It honors Him, and He, in turn, rewards us. We say that we want His finest for our lives, but are we willing to spend time with Him to receive it? Do we even value intimacy with God? Do we understand the benefits of intimacy and how it impacts our lives and others? Do we really believe that in our intimate time with God He will give us fresh revelations and strategies that will answer our questions and solve our problems? I have witnessed Him do this for me once I became motivated by love for God. If we’re not wholeheartedly praising and seeking God, we’re more inclined to go about our business our way, toiling to come up with the answers ourselves, leaning upon our own understanding, motivated by anxiety and fear, becoming distant and numb to God’s love and power. If we really believe that God sees and knows all things, we will make the process of tapping into His knowledge, wisdom and vision our top priority. Truly, it’s so much easier than toiling. Jesus tells us His yoke is light. (Matt. 11:28-30) He and His angels are willing to do so much of the work for us if we just get in line with His will and ask. Many of us understand that when we show up at work, the church shows up and Jesus shows up and the Holy Spirit shows up because we, the Christian people, are the church, and Jesus and the Holy Spirit are inside of us. But, as I learned after 12 years of empty toil, there is a higher dimension of God’s presence in the workplace waiting to be revealed. God wants to give it to us. We just have to receive it. It’s just like salvation in that it’s a free gift and a choice. We just receive it by surrendering our will and our hearts and praising and praying accordingly. If we truly spend intimate time with the Lord, truly put Him first in our hearts and on our agendas, and walk mindfully with Him throughout our day, asking Him for divine appointments, to reveal His presence and purpose in profound ways, He will usher us into a higher level of His presence that will astound us. This means greater joy, manifest miracles, adventure, divine peace, promotion and favor unspeakable, all of which are rewards from God. I cannot stress what a profound difference this will make in your life. We may believe we’re already putting Christ first when we go to work, but do we really? Do we ask the Lord to open our eyes to His miracles? Do we ask Him how we can serve Him and His beloved in our workplaces today? Do we ask Him to help us step out with courage and do the work of Jesus in our workplaces? Do we ask Him for divine appointments? To do so is proactive Christianity. Abraham was called out of his comfort zone to step into the unknown. Likewise, the Christian walk is a dynamic one. It challenges us to depend upon God along the journey. If we are not proactive Christians, we stagnate. Extended periods of comfort gives way to boredom, feeling stuck, experiencing lack of joy, depression even and feeling a general sense of numbness. When we choose stagnation, don’t see the Lord pour out torrents of supernatural promotions or favor upon us. We just show up for a paycheck, and then show up at church on Sundays to get charged up. How sad. Truly, there is so much more God wants us to have 24/7. God intended for our work to be joyful. If we want a dynamic journey at work, we must choose God’s dynamic plan and methods. The Lord invites us to explore a higher dimension in our work and in His presence. If you are feeling stuck in your job, ask the Lord to reveal the root cause. If you haven’t been receiving all He has for you, then repent and choose to be proactive. Spend more intimate time with Him. Ask Him to wake you up in the mornings, to search your heart and eliminate all that doesn’t please Him. Then ask Him to open your eyes and heart and mind to receive all He has for you. Ask Him to enable you to receive His courage. Then step forth, and ask Him how He would like for you to serve His beloved today. You’ll be amazed how He’ll spark your soul and wow you. He’ll take you to places greater than you can imagine.
  33. As I sat in church today, the Lord performed a profound restoration deep within my heart. It didn’t happen during a song or a sermon, during a hymn or a hug. It happened amid, of all things, a fashion show. Yes, a fashion show. The purpose of this show was to take back fashion from the world, to encourage the beauty of God that is within all of us to be reflected in our outer appearance. This fashion show was coordinated by a lady in our church as a fund-raiser for our youth program. And I noticed a very special anointing on one of the show hostesses named Angela. I had noticed Angela from afar during Sunday and Friday night services for quite some time, but I never knew her before today. I always admired her inner grace and her physical beauty and that of her two lovely daughters. But today, I saw a whole new dimension. I witnessed the beauty of God manifest through her grace, kindness, nurturing and physical beauty--all gifts from God--in a profound way. This anointing of God’s beauty was so profound, it moved me to tears. I didn’t understand this at first, but God revealed His truth to me as the show progressed. I watched the small children and young women saunter and sometimes run onto the stage. We were amused and amazed and even dazzled at how beautifully the young ladies and men seemed to wear the confidence of our Lord Jesus Christ. As they stepped up and stepped off, the Lord reminded me of when I was their delicate age and how I enjoyed a bit of modeling, how fun it was exploring fashion, make-up, platform shoes and sophisticated hair-dos during the 1970’s. At the same time, He took me back in time within my heart and revealed a journey that occurred subtly over the decades, one that I hadn’t seen in full until now. When I was growing up, my mother and I would spend our Saturday afternoons shopping in the local mall for our wardrobes. This was such a treat for me because I adored spending time with my mother. And, like any girl, I loved it when she bought me beautiful things because it caused me to feel extra special. In addition to shopping, we would also sew together. My mother taught me how to crochet and embroider when I was ten-years-old, and she bought me my own sewing machine when I was age twelve. We would often spend Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons sewing our own clothes. By the time I became a teen, she and I would make my beauty pageant gowns together. Those are of some of my fondest memories with my mother. As I grew older and graduated from high school, I worked as a secretary. This was when I learned that not everyone appreciated my physical beauty. It was the late 1970’s, and older men in the office would hit on me. This was, of course, before sexual harassment laws were in place. As I moved up the latter a bit, I began to see demonstrations of disdain from some female workers. Due to these events, I began to hide my beauty, to believe a lie that maybe beauty wasn’t such a gift. I found myself dressing down, never talking about myself. Fear and distrust of man crept into my heart. And I began to disengage from people, become withdrawn, even shy. After graduating from college in the 1980’s, I worked in another corporate position, trying to fit into the predominately male work world. The Yuppie trend was all the rage, and women typically wore basic navy and gray suits and sneakers to work. It was then that I felt my femininity drain. Clothes were not fun anymore. When I departed the corporate world to work as a flight attendant and attend graduate school in New York City, I began to wear navy blue uniforms and work with mostly women. I found myself playing down my physical attributes even more as to not provoke female competitiveness among my sisters. So instead of wearing form-fitting skirts and blouses, I’d choose baggy uniform pieces, like the cardigan sweater, pleated pants and lower heals. What’s more, I learned that in the northeast part of the country, beauty pageant winners are sometimes disrespected as bimbos and that intellect, instead, was more highly esteemed. By this time, I had long packed away my tiaras and trophies and decided to never reveal my past accomplishments. Over time, I found myself feeling dowdy, out of shape and unlovely, even though I was only a size six and very athletic. This slow progression of oppression numbed me to the fact that something more important was happening: I was denying God’s beauty. Today at church, while sitting in the presence of the models and hostesses, God awakened me to this truth. He broke my heart with an awareness that I had broken His. He revealed to me that all this suppression was from the enemy, and that it was rooted in fear and lies. God placed the young lady models and Angela, the hostess, in front of me, to make a profound statement of truth and restoration to my heart: “It’s okay to be beautiful. God is beautiful, and He made us beautiful. We must walk in His beauty.” So I confessed suppressing God’s inner and outer beauty and for quenching the Holy Spirit for so many years. Then I chose to step into His courage and confidence and embrace His beauty once again. How freeing is this truth. Isaiah 52:1-2 says, “Awake, awake, put on your strength, O Zion; put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for henceforth there shall no more come into you the uncircumcised and the unclean. Shake yourself from the dust; arise, sit [erect in a dignified place], O Jerusalem; loose yourself from the bonds of your neck. O captive Daughter of Zion.” (Amplified Bible) Note: Two weeks later, during quiet time with God, He revealed more to me. The Lord led me to read Proverbs 4:9 which says, "She will place on your head a garland of grace; She will present you with a crown of beauty." When I read this verse, I heard God's still, small voice say to me, "I placed that crown upon your head. It was My grace, beauty and glory they saw." As soon as the Lord spoke this to me, He reminded me of what my fiance, who sat in the audience, saw that day: a white glow all around me. He said that it was so profound that it shook him up, and he had to leave the room. He didn't know what to make of it. I didn't think much about it at the time because I was a young Christian, but now I realize that the glow was the glory of God and that God was in that pageant with me. And it was because of Him that I won.
  34. Ever experience an inordinate amount of distractions at a particularly inopportune time? I began a new job a few days ago working on a new ministry program. No sooner did I get started when people grappled for my attention in unusual ways. My first thought was Nehemiah. If you recall, when Nehemiah erected Jerusalem’s city wall, political opponent Sanballat, whose very name means “Sin has given life,” called Nehemiah for a meeting five times. Nehemiah knew that Sanballat meant him harm and informed him that he could not meet with him. I love how Nehemiah worded his response, “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” (Neh. 6:3) Nehemiah was not about to be threatened, intimidated or distracted by an insecure, fearful and falsely accusing enemy or neglect God’s mandated project. Sanballat’s urgency was not Nehemiah’s. Though a less secure Nehemiah might have feared a tarnished public reputation as leader and governor, he shined by demonstrating his good character against these malicious attempts by staying the course and praying, “Now strengthen my hands” (Neh. 6:10). He did just the opposite of what the enemy wanted. Whenever we are distracted away from our work, isn’t it wise to turn from temptation and focus all the more on the work God has before us? Whenever something great is happening, the enemy won’t like it. Surely, we must be vigilant to the trick of distraction. I believe some of the finest examples of focus and commitment to work are mothers of small children. I am amazed at how they have successfully multi-tasked for generations with babies on their hips. In most cases, so few things distract them from God’s mandate of raising and loving their children. We often think of distraction simply as being a momentary annoyance, but distraction also means to upset emotionally. The Apostle Paul writes in his letter to the Corinthians, “I am saying this to you for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible” (I Cor. 7:35). Here, he is addressing the topic of marriage versus singleness, earthly responsibilities versus devotion to the Lord. Surely, the enemy has been known to use emotional upsets in marriage or other relationships to create a false urgency and cause us to drop our work for the Lord unless we are on to him and do not fall for his tactics. Let us give him no reason to interfere by choosing obedience and peace. Like Nehemiah, let us just not go there, not stoop to that level. And again like Nehemiah, ask God for His strength to complete the project. Do you struggle with lack of focus or commitment? Is anything distracting you from completing the Lord’s mandated projects He has assigned to you? If so, ask the Lord for His strength and to enable you to receive it. Then get to the work at hand.
  35. Do you ever find yourself feeling like you don’t spend enough time with God? Have you ever put intimate time off until you can find the time, but then the time never comes? Ever feel guilty about putting Jesus last on your list? I have. Little wonder we working women can reach spiritual dryness and even burnout. Why is it so difficult for us to choose Mary’s path and sit at the feet of Jesus? Why do we find ourselves emulating Martha all too often, full of worry, distraction and busyness? Jesus assures us in Luke 10:42 that “ . . . only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better . . . “ How true this is. While preparing a holiday meal recently, I kept whispering to God, “Oh how I just want to spend time with You. There’s no place I’d rather be.” And although I truly felt this longing in my heart, I persisted in the food preparations instead of taking time to sit at His feet. Why? Because I had disciplined myself on a schedule, and things had to get done. Anybody else been there? When will we learn to take time with Jesus as we journey? The truth is that when we choose not to spend time with Him, we deny Him. He longs to spend time with us. So then why do we quench the Holy Spirit and so easily forget that our Father created us to fellowship with Him? I believe the issue is rooted in false priorities and ungodly habits. The enemy likes to lie to us and cause us to believe that accomplishing tasks is more important than spending time with God. Whenever I feel like I don’t have time for Jesus, I am reminded of Heidi Baker, a Christian missionary in Mozambique, Africa who feeds thousands of orphans a day. I listened to her speak after she recovered from a serious illness and exhaustion in trying to feed the children in her own efforts. She said that when she arrived at the end of herself and gave the situation to God, He spoke to her with His divine strategy on how to accomplish the task and maintain her good health. The Lord’s directive was to simply spend more time with Him. How convicting this was. In obeying the Lord’s instructions, Heidi said that she has seen miracles. And she also learned to increase her alone time with the Lord as the number of orphans increase. What a paramount lesson this is for all of us. Zechariah 4:6 says, “ . . . ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” Matthew 12:30 tells us that His yoke is light. So why then do some of us still behave as though great tasks rest on our shoulders? Do we falsely believe that overwork is expected, that it’s even holy? Do we not trust Jesus to provide all that we and others need? It helps me to remember that the Son only did what the Father called Him to do. Even Jesus had to get away from His journey’s pressures and go up to the mount to seek solace and refreshing alone with the Father. Indeed, intimate time with the Lord is as critical as putting action to faith. We must discern when to sit at His feet and when to act, which tasks we are to pick up and which to lay at the foot of the cross. Truly, God can do so much more in one touch than we can do in a lifetime of busyness.
  36. How many times throughout our workdays do we find ourselves needing more patience? Perhaps to deal with edgy clients or to tackle technical issues with our PCs? Or when we’re sleep deprived or overworked, and everything little thing seems to bother us? I remember having lunch with an administrative contractor one afternoon, during which I shared a few of my challenges. She simply looked at me and said, “Stop praying for patience.” I had to grab hold of my self immediately and quell my rising desire to tell her that she just didn’t understand. Once again, I found myself in need of patience. The truth was that I hadn’t prayed for patience in years, or so I thought. I knew better once I received the revelation that praying for patience requires my level of patience to be tested. Ouch! But I did recall having prayed for God’s endurance. Ouch again! The dictionary defines endurance as carrying on despite hardships and suffering patiently without yielding. Too, 1 Peter 2:20 tells us that we must be patient in righteous suffering, even when we are sleep deprived (2 Cor. 6:5). How foolish could I have been? After all, knowing that the journey will be painful, why would anyone want to experience a deep work of patience (or endurance) by God? The answer is simple: Obedience. Because, as Christians, it is part of our expected daily walk of dying to ourselves so that more of our Lord will be glorified through us, our divine reward (Luke 9:23). Paul, who knew great suffering and great patience, informs us that patience is a fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5:22. And we all want more fruit, don’t we? How much of our strife, outbursts of anger and disputes (Gal. 5:20) are preventing us from receiving it? Whoa! Time to look in the mirror. Through it all, God cares how we behave. We are His living examples, especially during trying moments. People watch us. Will we demonstrate the love and grace of God? Or the frustration of our dying flesh? Our choice. Paul continues to instruct us in 2 Timothy 4:2 to rebuke and exhort with great patience. We would be wise to apply this principle whether we are reprimanding employees, disagreeing with colleagues or simply enduring traffic on our way to work. Indeed, patience can be a struggle. Let us remember 2 Corinthians 6:3–6, where Paul urges us to not discredit our ministry by being impatient, but to endure as commendable servants of God in labor and in genuine love. Recently, I received a personal prophecy in which the Lord said, “ . . . the trying of your faith has worked much patience . . . know that patience has had it’s perfect work . . . I’m bringing you out.” Can we say, “Amen, thank you Jesus! The pain is over!” But although I felt relieved, I realize this message is for right now, that this specific deep work, which was purposed to bring my level of patience up higher for ministry, will not be the final test before I go home to be with the Lord. Amen again! Why? Because God loves me too much to let me stagnate. Rather, He wants to shine up this vessel, promote me. He’s all about freedom, and He loves you just the same. If you are in need of patience, I encourage you to pray carefully. And know that when you receive what you have prayed for, you will glorify our Lord, Jesus Christ even more. For this, you will receive His divine favor (1 Peter 2:20). May our focus, and the observation of others, be on Him throughout the journey.
  37. Who doesn’t like to be promoted? Promotion causes us to feel accepted, approved of, honored and rewarded. Promotion encourages us and blesses us, others and God if it’s done in God’s way and in His timing. One of the finest examples of God’s promotion is found in the book of Ruth. Ruth 3:11 tells us that Ruth was a woman of excellence. Desperate and in search of food, Ruth courageously and lovingly journeyed with her mother-in-law, Naomi, to Bethlehem at the beginning of harvest time. Could God’s timing have been more perfect? What’s more, Naomi had contacts, who Ruth was unaware of at the time. Certainly, God led Ruth to linked up with the right person at the outset. Ruth honored her mother-in-law and humbled herself, working to glean grain fields after the reapers. Was there a more lowly position in her workplace? Because of Ruth’s faithful, loving and humble heart and hard work, she found favor with top management: Boaz. He not only sought to make her job easier, he offered her protection and long-term provision when it seemed there was little assurance otherwise. God rewarded Ruth’s godly character and ultimately led her to redemption and great wealth. God took her from the lowliest position to ownership. He promoted her in a very creative way. Ruth’s divine path involved hard work, humility and commitment. Though desperate, she did not stray from God’s precepts. She obeyed the authorities God placed in her path. And when her heart was tested along the journey, she passed. Though the Bible does not say whether she was particularly beautiful or skilled, she was certainly persistent, and she stood out among other workers. Ruth did not have to strive for position. She simply had to do her part, and God placed her there. She was faithful to the call and to her assignment. Do we model our desires after Ruth’s example? Do we humble ourselves and simply follow God’s plan no matter what our desperation? Or do we choose to bow to ungodly methods to attain what we view to be success? When I was a young adult, I worked in sales. Within the same company, I had a very dear friend who also worked in sales. I felt very close to my friend except when the company offered a particular incentive to perform. During those times, I secretly felt competitive with her, not loyal. In my soul, I felt guilty for such selfish materialism and lack of loyalty. I knew my heart was being tested and that I was faced with the question, “How far will you go?” I secretly wanted to be the top performer, the best, better than anyone else, even her. Though I never did anything illegal or unethical to “win,” I still felt guilty for competing against her. Why? Because my heart wasn’t right. I knew that if it came down to the two of us at the finish line, I would overwork to beat her. I relied on my performance to get promoted, not God. Yet during those times, I never sensed that she felt or operated in the same manner. Instead, like Ruth, she persistently moved forward, trusting in the Lord. Amazingly, our friendship survived, and now, 25 years later, we are still friends. But I was not at peace in the friendship until I repented. God used my friend as a testing mechanism and as a model to show me the truth of my heart. The root issue was about my lack of trust in God to provide all that I needed, including self-worth. If you are seeking a promotion, I encourage you to turn to the Lord, rest in Him, obey Him, and allow Him to open doors for you in His perfect timing and way. Then watch Him exalt you from lowliest to highest, like He did for Ruth.
  38. In the 1980s, when I was fresh out of college, I pursued a job in advertising sales that I had hoped would bring in enough money to pay off my mount of college loan debt. I quickly landed this job and immediately pursued new accounts. Early on this treadmill, my boss became very pleased with me because I had brought more revenue into the company than any other account rep in its history. Personally, I didn’t care about the accolades. It was the money I was after. And I was motivated by fear of lack. All along this journey, and even before, the Lord spoke to my heart about pursuing a career in writing. I knew that I had enjoyed writing since childhood, but any mention of choosing such a career path was quickly quenched by naysayers who informed me that writers don’t make much money. So I listened to them and decided to adopt a plan B, which included getting a high paying job right out of college, then return to writing once the debt was paid. The problem was, this wasn’t God’s plan. It seemed that the more successful I became in advertising sales, the guiltier I felt about not writing. The fact that my office building was next door to the Washington Post newspaper building was, I believe, a strategy of God’s. I, in my business suits, had to walk past female journalists every morning on my way from the parking garage to my office. And there they would be in their very cool, creative outfits and long hair, the visual seeds that the Lord used to stir my heart’s desire. It didn’t take long before the Lord began to close the doors of advertising sales for me. I soon learned that the company I worked for was in financial trouble, and very soon after, accounts began to dry up, and I lost my job. When I pursued other advertising sales jobs, I found that every door was closed to me. Proverbs 11:28 says, “He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like the green leaf.” I knew God was speaking, and He was serious. I returned to college to study journalism and then began to freelance. God opened door after door for me to a point that blessings chased me down, and I knew that God expected me to step out big. But when National Geographic Traveler telephoned me, asking me to write for them, I became so unnerved that I didn’t return their call for an entire year. And when I finally called them back, would you believe they were still interested? Now, only the Lord could do that! It was only after I answered the call of writing on my life did I understand that writing is a high calling. In fact, whatever call God has on our lives is a high calling. Nobody ever told me that in my youth. Instead, I listened to well meaning but ungodly counsel. 2 Timothy 2:21-23 says, “. . . he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations . . .” Despite the enemy’s attempts to detour me early in my career, God gracefully position me for the destiny He called me to. I came to understand that the Lord truly cares about our career choices and desires for us to seek His kingdom and righteousness first so that He can provide all others things, including finances (Matthew 6:31-34). If you need a career shift, surrender your heart and agenda to the Lord and watch where He’ll take you. Watch what doors He’ll open for you and how He’ll touch people through you. His plan is greater than any plan you could devise for yourself, and He wants you to receive it and move in it because He loves you and wants His very best for you. The question is, will you trust Him for all that you need along the journey?
  39. Years ago, my friend, Debra, began working for a temp agency and landed a job as a receptionist in a law firm in Washington D.C. She noticed an attractive man in the office and hoped he would ask her out, but neither one approached each other for a date. Debra remained at the law office for about six months before moving out of state. No sooner did she arrive in Florida, did she received a phone call from the attractive attorney she had met at the firm. He said that he wanted to get together for a date. Delightedly shocked, Debra met him and learned that he was attracted to her the entire time she had worked at the firm but that he couldn’t ask her out at that time because he conducted himself by a strict, self-imposed no-dating-at-the-office code. It seems the perimeters of dating in the workplace are as unique as each individual. But has it ever been a clearly defined activity? Consider the Bible’s examples: Jacob found his love, Rachel, in his workplace-to-be, but it cost him dearly (Gen. 29). Sampson met up with Delilah as he led Israel to freedom, and he risked his power (Judges 16). Yet, Rebekah, who was working at the well, had to depart her workplace to be led to her divinely arranged match, Isaac (Gen. 24). In today’s society, we have available speed dating and e-dating, which leaves us to ponder, “Do I really need to go out with that guy at work?” On the other hand, we spend more of our waking time at work than any other place, so there’s more opportunity for relationships to form. Plus, we get to see how potential mates conduct themselves on a daily basis, how they process stress, how they dress and even gain a glimpse at their social manners and eating habits. So why not date at work? Pastor Joshua Harris, who wrote the revolutionary book, “I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” speaks of dating as selfish, superficial and potentially risky. Point well taken. Many who do date in their workplaces risk embarrassment, gossip, manipulation or unfair advantages of power, especially if they date their boss or employee. Yet others meet their match. Is the risk really worth it? How will we know? Personally, when I was single, I had to learn to focus on wisdom, not romance. It was a process. But I was a unique case, as is everyone. When I was very young I married the man of my choice—handsome, athletic, smart and yes, Christian. I met him in my workplace. He was a company client, and I was introduced to him by my boss at a company Christmas party. We hit it off immediately and were married over a year later. Three years into the marriage, I learned that my husband committed adultery, and, as a result, I left the marriage. By that time, I was, thankfully, working for a different company. And while in the painful depths of recovery, the Lord visited me and spoke to me saying that He would bring my promised husband in 20 years. Such was God’s grace. During that long wait, I journeyed through cycles of dateless years mingled with occasional interludes with men here or there in my workplace, primarily out of boredom or loneliness. I knew any dating relationship I experienced during this long season would not go beyond a certain point because God had already informed me that my Isaac was down the road a bit. When I did meet my promised husband, right on time, he had nothing to do with my conventional workplace. In fact, he worked in an entirely different field and also lived out of state. However, the Lord united us during a Christian conference for which we both volunteered to work. So in a sense, we did meet in a work environment. This is not to say that God does not pair other couples through other methods or traditional work environments. I believe that God is big, infinitely creative and has a unique path and destiny for each of us. I also believe that if we consult the Lord on the process of finding a mate, He will speak to us and lead us to receive His great promise. The question is, are we willing to wait upon Him and submit to His plan?
  40. Have you ever had to make a decision, but you didn’t know which one to make? Perhaps you’ve been offered a promotion or a new position with another company. Perhaps the pay was more. What did you do? Did you immediately take it to the Lord? Did you receive an answer? Or did you think, “That’s a no brainer,” and leap right away, assuming it had to be from God. Or, conversely, did you become paralyzed by fear? Did you make a decision out of need or desperation? Was it the right choice in God’s eyes? Many have suggested that if we have divine peace, then it’s the righteous choice. And I agree that if we do have divine peace, then it is most definitely God. But what if the place God is calling us to terrifies us? How will we have peace in the midst of irrational fear? When the Lord cornered me and instructed me to step out in my secular workplace to witness in ways I never had before, all I felt was fear of man and inadequacy. There was no peace in this place of bondage that the Lord was about to break. Still, I could hear God’s instructions loud and clear. And as I fearfully stepped out into this territory that was unknown to me (but was known to God), peace met me. Sometimes, God has to do a deliverance. Maybe the problem is that we can’t hear God at all. Therefore, we have no idea what God would have us do. Perhaps this is due to our personal relationship with Him being weak. Instead of consulting God first in all things, maybe we consult our best friends, mentors or parents. Does this really honor God? Did God reveal to them His specific plan and strategies for us? Or is He waiting for us to consult Him? The Bible tells us to seek God’s righteousness first. Then all things will be added unto us, including rewards. Perhaps we fear failure. Maybe we failed in the past, and we’re afraid we’ll fail again. We don’t trust ourselves to make the righteous choice. And if we cannot trust ourselves, how can we trust God? Perhaps we haven’t learned to lean upon God. As a result, we just stir around the mountain, never really making a concrete decision. And as we do so, we create a web of false safety and convince ourselves we cannot possibly fail in this place. The problem with such denial is that we never get anywhere. We become unusable to God, and we don’t receive His very best for our lives. Instead, we settle for a lie, a counterfeit. Perhaps we’re caught in a web of rebellion, the root of which began in childhood, our teen years or as a young adult. Maybe we have unresolved issues with our parents or authority figures, so we do the opposite of what God instructs us. That way, no one else controls us. We are in control, or so we falsely believe. And perhaps we’ve behaved like this for so long, it feels normal, and we have become insensitive to it. We just don’t want to see the truth anymore. Has this turned into secret self-afflicted hatred or self-afflicted punishment? Did we simply pick up where our childhood abusers left off? Some people suggest that if we receive signs of confirmation that appear to be from God then it must be right, especially when it seems to be so directly related to the answer to our prayers. Really? I enjoy signs and wonders as much as anyone. But I remember a situation years ago when a particular man crossed my path, asking me to marry him. After receiving a sign which appeared to be a confirmation, I consulted my pastor, who knew this man well, having discipled him for a year. My pastor leaned over his desk towards me with a strong father’s wisdom and said, “Satan can appear as an angel of light.” That’s when I came to grasp the deceit of man having a form of religion (2 Tim. 3:2-7) and the enemy’s strategy of Ishmael diversion. So is the enemy trying to trick us? Or are we just totally confused and fear man on our own? Consider Gideon whom the Bible says was the slightest in Manasseh and in his family. God chose him, the unlikely one, to rise up against Israel’s oppressors, the Midianites. Gideon had a tough time receiving God’s directive for him to lead a small army that would defeat a big enemy. The instructions God gave him were creatively inconsistent with man’s rationale of battle victory, and Gideon had many fears. Nonetheless, Gideon pressed into the Lord, received confirmations and stepped up to God’s calling. When he did, confusion was reverted back to the enemy, who was ultimately defeated. Like Gideon, will we ultimately defeat the enemy through deciding to choose Yahweh’s strategies and favor? Or will we allow the enemy to defeat us by making decisions to remain in a bondage of fear? The truth is that making no decision is indecision. And indecision is, by default, a passive decision. All of us have made mistakes in life and in our workplaces. It’s how we process them that matters. Are we willing to get honest, humble ourselves and find the courage to confront the root of the ungodly decisions we’ve made? Will we learn from them and be strengthened by this truth and move forward? Or will we play victim, blame everyone else, including God, and walk in unforgiveness, develop a root of bitterness or self-hatred? Or worse yet, will we choose to fearfully stir in passive denial, refusing to see anything? If you struggle with indecisiveness, know that God’s grace and mercy is available to you. Simply confess your part, forgive yourself, and ask the Lord to root out the issue(s), set you on His righteous path and strengthen you to keep you on it. Then choose to willingly submit to His directives, fear or not, and watch what He does and where He takes you. Remember, He is bigger and more creative than we can perceive, and His ways are not ours. Therefore, we must stay close to Him to be able to carefully discern His voice and strategies to move along the supernatural path He has for us. Remember, too, that the path He has for you will be as unique as He made you. One size does not fit all. Just because someone you know received success on a particular path does not mean that’s the same path God has for you to reach your destiny. Consider Joshua’s battles in the Promised Land. Each battle required unique strategies. Each one gloried God. Ask the Lord to reveal His unique strategies of success for you. Then simply follow them no matter what. For only in Our Heavenly Father can we rest peacefully, knowing we have perfect supernatural safety for decision-making.
  41. Have you ever had to make a decision, but you didn’t know which one to make? Perhaps you’ve been offered a promotion or a new position with another company. Perhaps the pay was more. What did you do? Did you immediately take it to the Lord? Did you receive an answer? Or did you think, “That’s a no brainer,” and leap right away, assuming it had to be from God. Or, conversely, did you become paralyzed by fear? Did you make a decision out of need or desperation? Was it the right choice in God’s eyes? Many have suggested that if we have divine peace, then it’s the righteous choice. And I agree that if we do have divine peace, then it is most definitely God. But what if the place God is calling us to terrifies us? How will we have peace in the midst of irrational fear? When the Lord cornered me and instructed me to step out in my secular workplace to witness in ways I never had before, all I felt was fear of man and inadequacy. There was no peace in this place of bondage that the Lord was about to break. Still, I could hear God’s instructions loud and clear. And as I fearfully stepped out into this territory that was unknown to me (but was known to God), peace met me. Sometimes, God has to do a deliverance. Maybe the problem is that we can’t hear God at all. Therefore, we have no idea what God would have us do. Perhaps this is due to our personal relationship with Him being weak. Instead of consulting God first in all things, maybe we consult our best friends, mentors or parents. Does this really honor God? Did God reveal to them His specific plan and strategies for us? Or is He waiting for us to consult Him? The Bible tells us to seek God’s righteousness first. Then all things will be added unto us, including rewards. Perhaps we fear failure. Maybe we failed in the past, and we’re afraid we’ll fail again. We don’t trust ourselves to make the righteous choice. And if we cannot trust ourselves, how can we trust God? Perhaps we haven’t learned to lean upon God. As a result, we just stir around the mountain, never really making a concrete decision. And as we do so, we create a web of false safety and convince ourselves we cannot possibly fail in this place. The problem with such denial is that we never get anywhere. We become unusable to God, and we don’t receive His very best for our lives. Instead, we settle for a lie, a counterfeit. Perhaps we’re caught in a web of rebellion, the root of which began in childhood, our teen years or as a young adult. Maybe we have unresolved issues with our parents or authority figures, so we do the opposite of what God instructs us. That way, no one else controls us. We are in control, or so we falsely believe. And perhaps we’ve behaved like this for so long, it feels normal, and we have become insensitive to it. We just don’t want to see the truth anymore. Has this turned into secret self-afflicted hatred or self-afflicted punishment? Did we simply pick up where our childhood abusers left off? Some people suggest that if we receive signs of confirmation that appear to be from God then it must be right, especially when it seems to be so directly related to the answer to our prayers. Really? I enjoy signs and wonders as much as anyone. But I remember a situation years ago when a particular man crossed my path, asking me to marry him. After receiving a sign which appeared to be a confirmation, I consulted my pastor, who knew this man well, having discipled him for a year. My pastor leaned over his desk towards me with a strong father’s wisdom and said, “Satan can appear as an angel of light.” That’s when I came to grasp the deceit of man having a form of religion (2 Tim. 3:2-7) and the enemy’s strategy of Ishmael diversion. So is the enemy trying to trick us? Or are we just totally confused and fear man on our own? Consider Gideon whom the Bible says was the slightest in Manasseh and in his family. God chose him, the unlikely one, to rise up against Israel’s oppressors, the Midianites. Gideon had a tough time receiving God’s directive for him to lead a small army that would defeat a big enemy. The instructions God gave him were creatively inconsistent with man’s rationale of battle victory, and Gideon had many fears. Nonetheless, Gideon pressed into the Lord, received confirmations and stepped up to God’s calling. When he did, confusion was reverted back to the enemy, who was ultimately defeated. Like Gideon, will we ultimately defeat the enemy through deciding to choose Yahweh’s strategies and favor? Or will we allow the enemy to defeat us by making decisions to remain in a bondage of fear? The truth is that making no decision is indecision. And indecision is, by default, a passive decision. All of us have made mistakes in life and in our workplaces. It’s how we process them that matters. Are we willing to get honest, humble ourselves and find the courage to confront the root of the ungodly decisions we’ve made? Will we learn from them and be strengthened by this truth and move forward? Or will we play victim, blame everyone else, including God, and walk in unforgiveness, develop a root of bitterness or self-hatred? Or worse yet, will we choose to fearfully stir in passive denial, refusing to see anything? If you struggle with indecisiveness, know that God’s grace and mercy is available to you. Simply confess your part, forgive yourself, and ask the Lord to root out the issue(s), set you on His righteous path and strengthen you to keep you on it. Then choose to willingly submit to His directives, fear or not, and watch what He does and where He takes you. Remember, He is bigger and more creative than we can perceive, and His ways are not ours. Therefore, we must stay close to Him to be able to carefully discern His voice and strategies to move along the supernatural path He has for us. Remember, too, that the path He has for you will be as unique as He made you. One size does not fit all. Just because someone you know received success on a particular path does not mean that’s the same path God has for you to reach your destiny. Consider Joshua’s battles in the Promised Land. Each battle required unique strategies. Each one gloried God. Ask the Lord to reveal His unique strategies of success for you. Then simply follow them no matter what. For only in Our Heavenly Father can we rest peacefully, knowing we have perfect supernatural safety for decision-making.
  42. Look around. It’s everywhere. Women competing with women, women competing with men and men competing with men for all kinds of jobs, promotions, contracts and recognition. Why? What are the true motives of our hearts behind the madness? Only God knows for sure. Could it be that our identity is not firmly rooted in Christ? Perhaps, deep down we don’t really believe what God says about us in His word, that we are uniquely and wonderfully made, that we are the head and not the tail, that He has a plan to prosper us and not harm us, that we are precious unto Him, that He alone is our first provider. Perhaps we unknowingly or secretly seek man’s approval through deeds or position due to a deep personal injury that caused us to strive for perfection. Or maybe, it’s just plain, old fashioned fear—fear that we will fail or that we won’t have enough money or that others will view us as inadequate. Maybe we falsely believe that there can only be one winner. How did we ever get so off track? Isn’t it time to get real with God? Do we covet job titles like a lifeline? Do we covet the highest paid position? How about the biggest and best office or approval of senior management? Or do we just think we’re better than everyone else, that we deserve to win, and everyone is less than? Again, do we not believe God’s word when He says that He has a plan for everyone, not just us? Do we not see that there is no peace in our own agendas and motives, only anxiety? Where will we draw the line? Will we behave immorally to get what we want and mess up our lives even more? Or will we get honest with God and allow the Holy Spirit to set us right in our souls? Whose race are we running? The Bible has a few things to say about running races. It instructs us to run and not grow weary, to finish the race, the purpose of which is to gain patience, persistence and to reach the destiny God planned for us (Is. 40:31, Heb. 12:1). Nowhere, however, does it mention we should run a race that will cause us to get off track or defeat our neighbors or our family members or friends or colleagues or whomever the competition of the moment happens to be. We are to run a different race. In fact, Exodus 20:17 tells us not to covet what God has given others. But you say, iron sharpens iron. Yes, but not to a point of ungodliness. We are to come up higher in the spirit realm, not go lower. So what’s a God-loving, righteous-seeking, kind-hearted Christian woman to do in this competitive, capitalistic society? I believe the key is to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and run the race that He has placed before us, not the ones man places before us or the detours the enemy lures us onto. And if we truly praise Jesus, trust Him and seek His best for our lives with all our hearts, He will protect us, guide us, promote us and provide for us in His way and in His time. May I share a lesson that God allowed me to learn early in life? When I was twelve-years-old, I was on my middle school’s track team. I was not the fastest girl on the team, but I was a consistent runner. Looking back, I probably would have been better served—and my team too—if I had run long distance instead. But there was no cross-country team for girls at my school at that time. So there I was, disappointed (along with my team and my coach) at every competition. One day, my coach pointed out a critical key that impacted me so deeply that I carry with me to this day. That key was to not look over my shoulder into the other lane to my opponent gaining on me, but to compete against my own best time. She said that looking into the other lane created drag and slowed me down. She assured me that if I would just improve upon the best that I had accomplished, I would be a winner. How true this is concerning God’s plan for our lives! Does He not take us from glory to glory, from strength to strength, new level to new level? Does He not have our best interest at heart? Did He not make us and know our limitations? Just as this coach reached out to me—the weakest link— to teach me, encourage me and fortify me, Jesus reaches out to us. And when He does, if we will choose to go beyond our limitations by receiving the plan of the omnipotent God of the universe for our lives, we will win. After all, God is love, and love never fails (I Cor. 13:8). If competition has been your struggle—and it has been for all of us on some level—ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the motives of your heart so that you may confess them. Then invite Him to bring balance and healing to your soul and to help you walk in His excellence, His plan and His timing to finish His destiny race for your life.
  43. God definately hears our cries and petitions. And He also sees the truth of our hearts. When I've been faced with daily workplace challenges to the point where I've felt like I wanted to flee, I've been quick to ask Jesus to intervene. Primarily because I don't want to dishonor God by walking in sin, making the situation worse and suffering more than necessary. God knows exactly how to rescue us. He knows exactly what we need. And He knows exactly where He wants us to be and for what purpose. The only way I have found relief is to get real with God. I know I have to lean into His courage, and ask the Holy Spirit to examine my heart. Afterall, He sees more than I (Ps. 139). I ask Him to reveal any hidden sin in my heart so that I may confess them. Then I ask Him a series of questions: What is it really that I don't like? Who is it that I don't like? What or who don't I want to confront? And why? What do You want me to learn from this experience? Is it just an attack from the enemy trying to derail me from your plan? Or has Your grace come off of me, releasing me to move on to a new season? Is this a trial purposed to bring me up higher in some way? Do you want me to remain here? Open my eyes, Lord. Reveal your truth! Sometimes, I've found that God has need of me right where I am despite my discomfort. Perhaps He has put a difficult colleague in my midst to test my boundaries or my heart. Or maybe this colleague has no one else to pray for him/her, and God chose me. Perhaps no one else is willing to be a change agent, and I get persecuted in the pursuit. After all, I did pray, "Use me, Lord." Do you feel you've been treated unjustly? Perhaps you've gotten passed over for a promotion? Do you really trust that God has your best interest at heart (Jer. 29:11-13) and that He is in control? Do you sincerely believe He is more powerful than your boss? Do you trust Him to bring change? Or do you feel you're being controlled by circumstances? Ask Him what the real problem is, and then ask Him to help you overcome the issue(s) His way. Only then can we find true peace wherever He places us.
  44. God definately hears our cries and petitions. And He also sees the truth of our hearts. When I've been faced with daily workplace challenges to the point where I've felt like I wanted to flee, I've been quick to ask Jesus to intervene. Primarily because I don't want to dishonor God by walking in sin, making the situation worse and suffering more than necessary. God knows exactly how to rescue us. He knows exactly what we need. And He knows exactly where He wants us to be and for what purpose. The only way I have found relief is to get real with God. I know I have to lean into His courage, and ask the Holy Spirit to examine my heart. Afterall, He sees more than I (Ps. 139). I ask Him to reveal any hidden sin in my heart so that I may confess them. Then I ask Him a series of questions: What is it really that I don't like? Who is it that I don't like? What or who don't I want to confront? And why? What do You want me to learn from this experience? Is it just an attack from the enemy trying to derail me from your plan? Or has Your grace come off of me, releasing me to move on to a new season? Is this a trial purposed to bring me up higher in some way? Do you want me to remain here? Open my eyes, Lord. Reveal your truth! Sometimes, I've found that God has need of me right where I am despite my discomfort. Perhaps He has put a difficult colleague in my midst to test my boundaries or my heart. Or maybe this colleague has no one else to pray for him/her, and God chose me. Perhaps no one else is willing to be a change agent, and I get persecuted in the pursuit. After all, I did pray, "Use me, Lord." Do you feel you've been treated unjustly? Perhaps you've gotten passed over for a promotion? Do you really trust that God has your best interest at heart (Jer. 29:11-13) and that He is in control? Do you sincerely believe He is more powerful than your boss? Do you trust Him to bring change? Or do you feel you're being controlled by circumstances? Ask Him what the real problem is, and then ask Him to help you overcome the issue(s) His way. Only then can we find true peace wherever He places us.
  45. In sharing our Christian faith in our workplaces, employees in public arenas, like school systems, are quick to mention to me that their employer's policy does not allow them to speak the name Jesus or even say "God" in their work environment, especially to schoolchildren. I took this issue before the throne and asked the Lord for a solution. He quickly reminded me that He has many names, and they are listed throughout the Bible. Then He gave me a download of names to call Him and reminded me that He is infinately creative. Indeed if God is creative without limits, and we have the Holy Spirit in us, then all we need to do is tap into His creativity. The Holy Spirit went on to say to me that teachers can call Him Teacher or Rabbi. Just imagine being an educator, sitting in the teacher's lounge, talking about your love relationship with the "Teacher!" Wouldn't that draw attention! But He didn't stop there. He continued to download job positions and corresponding names, such as brick/stone masons can call Him Chief Cornerstone, lawyers can call Him Chief Counselor, judges can call Him Judge, writers can call Him Author and Perfecter, artists can call Him Creator, doctors can call Him the Great Physician, nurses can call Him Healer or Jehovah Rapha, even stay-at-home moms can call Him Helper. There is no limit to His ability to reach and rescue us. Where we are, there is Yahweh: The God Who Always Is, Jehovah-Shammah: God Who Is Present Always, Jehovah-Rohi: God Our Shepard, Jehovah-Shalom: God Our Peace, Jehovah-Mekaddish: God Who Makes Us Holy, Jehovah-Nissi: God Our Banner, Jehovah-Jireh: God Our Provider, Jehovah-Tsidkenu: God Our Righteousness. As the Christians battle to regain our freedom of speech in such public workplaces, consider asking The Lord what He would like for you to call Him. What better way to open the door to greater intimacy with Him? And let us praise Him in our workplaces in His Holy names. I believe God will honor us for doing so. My first cousin, Yvonne Klein, is such an example. She is a Christian and works as a kindergarten aid in Georgia's Fulton County public school system. She has been diligent to hold a Bible study after classroom hours in the school for years. It is open to whomever would like to attend. She has also been careful to honor her employer's policies by speaking wisely during school hours. She just announced to me yesterday that she was chosen by her employer as Professional Employee of the Year. I believe this was due to not only her commitment to excellence in her work, but also because she honored God in her workplace. I believe that God has rewarded her in the public arena for diligently honoring Him privately, by leading the Bible study and sharing God's love as the Holy Spirit leads her. If you have Godly wisdom to add, or if you are struggling in this area, we would like to hear from you.
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And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love.
Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.

1 John 4:16
Margaret D. Mitchell


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