Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Good company or bad company

1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character."

Take a moment to think about your friends, loved ones, coworkers and associates. Think about the people who you interact with daily.  Have you ever found yourself saying a new word?  It doesn't have to be a bad word but just a new word that you've picked up on from someone else?  You've heard the word so many times from this person that it has just become a part of who you are.  I have.  For example, my husband used to say two things ALL the time and I do mean ALL! LOL!  These two things are: "you good?" and "matter of fact."  I would tease him about these words but would find those two phrases slipping out of my mouth from time to time. (Honey I'm not saying that you're bad company--stay with me here)

Have you ever found yourself doing things that you didn't use to do? Have you found yourself in places you didn't use to go? Places that made you uncomfortable have now made you comfortable?  Have you really ever been in a place and thought, "how did I get here?"

One thing to remember is that once you're around something or someone for so long, you become like that thing or person.  Whether good or bad, you're going to change.  I would just like to encourage you today to make sure that you're exposing your mind and spirit to the right things and people...people who are going to encourage you to grow and help you proceed in the right direction.  Do not be fooled to think that their (those you are with most) ways won't become a part of you because they will. See our key verse.

Be encourgaed and continue to strive toward greatness!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Testing of Character

Psalm 105:19 Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph’s character.

Many times when God places dreams in our hearts and we purpose in our heart to fulfill it and seek after it, we encounter many obstacles along the way.  Our scripture today tells us that the Lord is the one who tested Joseph’s character.  Do you remember all of the things that Joseph encountered before Joseph’s dreams had been fulfilled?

Let us first recount Joseph’s dreams.  His first dream (Genesis 37:6) is that he is in a field with his brothers, tying up bundles of grain.  Suddenly his bundle stood up, and his brothers’ bundles all gathered around and bowed low before his.  His second dream (Genesis 37:9) was that the sun, moon, and eleven starts bowed low before him!  These dreams signified that Joseph would be ruler.

Now let us revisit the obstacles he encountered before his dreams came to past.  First, his brothers sold him into Slavery. (Even as a slave to Potiphar, God was with him and still gave him success in everything that he did) Second, Joseph was put in prison because Potiphar’s wife lied on him. (Still the Lord was with Joseph in prison and made him a favorite with the prison warden.)

One day Joseph was called upon to interpret Pharaoh’s dream.  After Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of the entire land of Egypt!! Dream fulfilled!

No matter what obstacles you are facing.  Remember that they are just stepping stones to get you where you need to be.  This is just a testing of your character.  The obstacles will only make you a better person and you will be better equipped when the time comes for the dream(s) to be fulfilled.

I imagine that Joseph became more patient throughout the process and even developed a better relationship with God seeing as how God continued to give him success even when his circumstances weren’t that great!  I imagine that this caused Joseph to give God even more praise and glory!  Joseph gave credit to God for everything that had happened. Genesis 45:5-8 NLT states “But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place.  It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives.  This famine that has ravaged the land for two years will last five more years, and there will be neither plowing nor harvesting.  God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors.  So it was God who sent me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an adviser to Pharaoh-the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all of Egypt!”

So today if you’re encountering difficulties while working toward fulfilling your God-given dream, remember that its only a testing of your character and you will be better for it!  God’s plans are for your good and to give you hope and a future. (Read Jeremiah 29:11)

Prayer:  Father in heaven, we honor and praise your holy name today! You are Most worthy of all of our praise! Sustain us during the times when our character is being tested.  Give us strength and help us to not lose sight of what you have in store for us! Things that we can’t even imagine!  You are so great to us and your faithful love endures forever and ever! In Jesus name, be our strength, Amen.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Who opened the door?

Revelation 3:7b (NIV) What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.

I remember when I first received notice from my current job that I was selected for an interview.  I received this message by e-mail and so for 3 weeks I waited.  I heard nothing. In preparation, I looked up information about the organization on their website and even prepared my questions I would ask for the interviewer. (I did all of this before I received news that I would get an interview).

So after the three weeks passed, I sent an e-mail to the contact person telling her that I was selected and have not received any more correspondence.  Well...she said, "if you haven't heard anything by now. You probably won't.  There were budget issues and they aren't going to hire as many people as they expected."  She told me to apply again next year including the website at the end of her e-mail address.  I was crushed!  But have you ever had a "feeling" that something is going to be yours?  In this case, I did.  So I just prayed about it and left it at that.  Afterall, there was still time.  This was late July and the position didn't start until September!

Well, two days later, I received a phone call to interview the following day!! Praise God!  To make the story short, I was offered the job on the same day as the interview.  It has been a blessing every since.

I said all of that to say, keep pressing (in the words of my friend Rebecca)!  We may not always know what's going to happen in every situation that we encounter.  Many times (I believe) it is the testing of  our faith!  Remember that no man can shut a door that God has already opened!  Just as no one can open a door that God has already shut!  I truly believed that God had opened this door for me.  I didn't even see the announcement for the job online. My friend Erin received it by way of someone who works at her church!  She lives over 400 miles away! 

So friends, remain faithful!  When God opens a door for you, no one can shut it.  One may try to shut it but it won't even close! ;)

Much peace and many blessings!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

How Long Are You Going To Wait?

I've been contemplating writing a book well several books for a few years now.  I have played around with several ideas and even started putting words on paper.  Then I stopped!  Why?  Life happened. I changed jobs, started a new relationship and soon after that, got married and had a baby.

None of those things are an excuse but I let them get in my way. 

Now when I first received the idea to write a book, I wondered if I was qualified. Did I have the right background? Heck, I went to school for accounting. Not writing. Nonetheless, for the past 3 years, I've received confirmation after confirmation.  Within the past several months, the task began to weigh more heavily on my heart.  I've heard pastors say that when your dreams are God-given, they won't go away.  And I tell you that I've had this dream for some time now. 

So, guess what? I'm working on my first book!  Yay!  Throughout the course of the next year, I'll be releasing little snippets to you! So get excited!

Okay so lets revisit the stage of this process where I went back and forth with myself wondering if I should do this.  Each night that I would bring this issue up in my prayers, then study my bible, guess what happened? I'm sure you guessed it.  God gave me confirmation in His Word.  I will share one of the scriptures that God gave me in a moment.  And to think I was still asking questions....

There are two things I want to share with you that finally got me moving after about 3 years:

1.  Joshua 18:3  Then Joshua asked them, "How long are you going to wait before taking possession of the remaining land the Lord, the God of your ancestors has given to you?" NLT 
When I read this scripture, God reminded me that He had already given me everything I needed.  He had already equipped me! Praise God! Here I am thinking that it would be better if I worked in a certain place and had a particular job but I am reminded of WHO GOD IS! None of that matters when God is on your side! If God is for us, then who can be against us? Through Him, we are MORE than conquerors!!!

2.  About 2 weeks ago, I was halfway watching this tv show and playing a game on my phone, when the voice on the screen said something so important!  She (can't remember her name or the show, I just know that it was on the WORD channel) said that if you don't fulfill your assignment, God will raise up someone else who would do it! Whoa!  Stick a fork in me because I'm done!  She then went on to talk about the assignment that God gave her--which was to write a book--and she never completed it.  She had the title and chapters but never finished.  She even received confirmation through someone at her church who actually whispered the title of the book and the chapters to her in her ear (that she never shared with anyone)! 

Wow....so after these two things in particular, I decided it was time for me to get serious and complete the first of many written assignments!

So my question to you today is, how long will you wait to go after what has already been promised to you?