Tag Archives: God

Just Be There 

“You don’t have to have a pulpit and a following of hundreds to have a ministry. It can be just as simple as overcoming all the obstacles, heartache and pain, and someone being inspired by your faith through it all.” – Kavis K. Peak (am I allowed to quote myself?)

Everyone doesn’t have the gift of public speaking, small talk, singing or playing an instrument. So that would more than likely rule out being a pastor, usher, praise and worship leader, member of the choir and even a church musician. All of those are positions in the church that are revered, and dare I say highly coveted. I purposely used the word coveted. Look up the definition in the dictionary, and the Tenth Commandment in Exodus 20:17 to know why.

But even if God didn’t give you a gift that is on display on Sunday mornings, or whenever service is being held in the sanctuary you attend, it doesn’t mean what you do have isn’t as valuable.

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” ~ 1 Peter 4:10

I believe you can be blessed with the gift of availability. In sports the saying goes “the best ability is availability.” What I mean is, some people are very good at just doing the simple task of sitting in comforting silence with a person who is grieving so they don’t feel alone, or listen when a person is venting their pain and frustrations. Some are good at organization, which can help a person who feels their life is out of balance, causing them enormous amounts of stress. Others may be good at writing resumes and cover letters, and can take their time to help someone get theirs in proper order to obtain a great job. There are also those who are able to lift a person’s spirits just by saying hello and offering a friendly smile. Many are living examples of just doing the right thing.

I’ll give you a few examples from my life where my availability was used by God to help someone else. In mid 2012 to late 2013 I was in the midst of a lengthy unemployment period after leaving a career I no longer wanted to be apart of. As I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do next, both my maternal grandfather and Dad became very ill. My grandfather was in Georgia, where my mother is from, my Dad in my home state of Ohio. My mom asked me could I go stay with my Grannie while Paw-Paw was in a nursing home waiting for a life saving surgery. Of course I said “yes.” I lived in Thomaston, Georgia for a year, finishing grad school online, while staying with my grandmother and going to the hospital with her when Paw-Paw had a few late night emergency scares. I really didn’t feel like I was doing much, but my Dad told me during those days where I felt useless, that my presence was enough to keep my grandmother at peace, as well as other family members who were concerned about her being alone had I not been there. Eventually my Paw-Paw passed and I stayed with my grandmother for half a year after that before my Dad fell even more ill.

“A generous person will prosper. Whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” ~ Proverbs 11:25

Then I flew back to Cleveland, Ohio where he was being treated by specialists for his condition. I was there everyday for three months, many times ten hours a day, for every surgery, medical test and doctor visit until unfortunately he passed. A couple weeks before he died, my Dad said “thanks for coming to see me everyday.” I replied “no problem, you’d do it for me.” I know being there for him provided some sort of normalcy in a scary situation, even though I couldn’t really help him with what he was going through. But in saying thanks, he assured me I was doing something helpful.

Here’s another less sad example. A while back I was at the gym working out when I saw a lady I see there often. We always speak to each other and extend pleasantries, but we never get too personal. I was walking on the track cooling off at the end of my workout and was going to be leaving in a few minutes, but I didn’t want to leave before at least saying hello. So I went by and softly tapped her on the shoulder and said “hi” while she was on the rowing machine. She smiled, waved and said “hello” in return. When I came back around the next time, she got off the machine and waved me over. She said “this may sound silly, but I was having a rough day with all my health issues and my body isn’t dealing with my mess so well… and it made my day that you would come over and say hello.” A couple days later I saw her again at the gym and she repeated how much it meant that I said hello. All I was trying to do was greet her because I hadn’t seen her in a while. I don’t say this to brag on myself, but to let you know that what you think is a simple act or small gesture, God can use to make a bigger impact.

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” ~ Matthew 25:40

My overall point is, don’t get caught up in believing you must do something grand to have a purpose or make an impact. It really is the little things as they say. Take what you do have and make a difference.

I leave you with this, one of my favorite scriptures… “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” ~ Galatians 6:2 

Advertisements

We Need to be More Childlike

 
Let me make this clear, this doesn’t mean be immature.

Here is an example of what I mean. When I was a child I never worried about how my parents were going to pay the mortgage, the utilities, put food on the table or clothes on my back. I TRUSTED they would do those things because they had never NOT done them before. Is that a double negative? I don’t know. But, you get what I’m trying to say. I just went to school and did the things they told me to do like obey my teachers, give great effort to make good grades, and enjoy the extra curricular activities I worked hard to be good at like basketball, football and creative writing.

We need to have this same childlike faith in terms of our relationship with the Lord, no matter how old we get biologically.

“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children.” ~ Ephesians 5:1 | NIV

Look at your life and the needs God has met consistently and where He came through, on time, with an answer or help in a situation that looked utterly helpless or bleak. He always delivers, just like my parents did, still do in the case of my mother, and to a degree my father in his death with how he allocated resources to help us in the potential of his passing.

We need to go to work, school or do whatever tasks God has given us, without worrying 24/7—and hampering those efforts by doing things our way—about all the stuff we’ve asked Him to help us with, along with the stuff we haven’t ask help with or even know we’ll need help with. When we don’t use our childlike faith and trust, we start getting our hands involved, ultimately making things messier and compromising the coming blessings.

But also, understand being childlike in this manner I’m speaking of, doesn’t mean we make bad decisions and expect our Heavenly Father to bail us out either. It just means that we go about the business we CAN handle and TRUST, as well as have FAITH, that everything will be just right (taken care of) so that we don’t have to be worried about it.

Just something to think about. I can’t always talk about sports. 

A God Opened Door vs. The Devil’s Trap Door 

How do you discern a God ordained door, from an evil door?

It’s a question I find myself asking daily.

Have you ever heard the saying “when God closes one door he opens another?” Of course you have, it’s one of the most repeated mantras in Christianity next to “trust the Lord with all your heart, mind and soul”, and “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” Even though I feel that last one is widely misused. But that’s a different post for another day.

Photo credit: Artist unknow

But sometimes, God will make you wait in the hallway until He opens said other door. And in that time while you’re waiting for His door to open, you must also be careful of the trap doors the devil may open under the disguise of something better.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” ~ Matthew 7:13-14 | NIV

I reference that scripture because the wide gate is the door the enemy offers us.

So how do you know the difference? Here’s what I’ve learned that may help you.

1.) You’re not confused and you don’t settle. In my experience, a God ordained door has never been settling. It has always been something better than I ever hoped for.

“For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.” ~ 1 Corinthians 14:33 | NIV

It’s also clear that it’s from Him. I don’t have to guess if this is the best option for me, it’s straightforward that it is. I.E. The job that not only helps you comfortably pay bills, but also keep the right balance in your spiritual and personal life is a good indicator. Anything that leaves you in the opposite isn’t from Him.

2.) Opposition. Nothing comes easy. When I’ve walked through a God ordained door I’ve immediately encountered unexplainable challenges. Another example, my move from Columbus, Ohio to Orlando, Florida in April of 2007 for a job as a local news producer, and the issues of my apartment lease.

My lease stated that if I got a job out of state I could terminate it as long as I gave them a month notice. I did just that. But, the new property manager went out of his way not to honor the lease. He went as far as to try and make me pay the monthly rent until they could find a new tenant. I was not going to do that. Long story short, after a few months of negotiating, I did pay a small buyout fee—which I wasn’t happy about—but it was still SIGNIFICANTLY less then paying full rent for two or three months for an apartment I wasn’t using.

This situation was an attack to sour my mood and excitement over my new chapter. At times it did work to stress me out as I was dealing with the issue from 16 hours away, and through phone calls and emails, while trying to adjust to a new city, co-workers and job responsibilities. But like most attacks, it was short lived and resolved in my favor.

3.) Passion. A God ordained door will bring out your passion. If it is not a God ordained door you will constantly be unfulfilled.

4.) Temptation. When you are walking through a God opened door, you will face various temptations to get you to screw up the blessing. I have encountered opportunities meant to make me choose to not walk through God’s door.

Going back to the job example, when I first was offered the job in Orlando I had no other job prospects to keep me from taking it. My only struggle was whether or not I was ready to leave my family and hometown where I loved for 26 years. As soon as the offer was made to me, immediately other options popped up. For two years I couldn’t find a job in Columbus, then all of a sudden the opportunities started flowing in making me question leaving, and confused about what to do. Thankfully I was prayed up and followed what I believed to be God’s plan and went to Orlando. That job opportunity that popped up out of nowhere was out-of-business in a little over a year later, and several people who I knew that worked there never got their final checks.

The temptation will continue since you avoided the wrong door. Sucking you into temptation is the only way devil can attempt to derail this God ordained opportunity you’re taking advantage of. Since you avoided the devil’s door he has to get you to self destruct. That’s his only shot at ruining the anointing.

This is not to say God won’t use your journey through the wrong door to get you to His rightful door.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” ~ Romans 8:28

I’ve also heard that when God does open a door for you it doesn’t close. I take that to mean that even though we make mistakes and may get off course, He will get us back on track and we will get where He always planned for us to be.

5.) It’s not easy, but it comes with ease. Nothing in life is easy really if we want to be honest. But I have noticed that the things God desires for me I can do with a peace and ease that I can’t explain. Learning new tasks for a job or an assignment in class seems daunting on first glance, but as soon as I sit down to do them, it quickly feels as if I’ve been doing them for years. I pick them up rather quickly and before long it becomes second nature. Things also seem to always break my way, instead of breaking against me.

6.) It won’t be rushed, nor will you have to rush. God’s timing is perfect, so when you open what is behind His door, everything will flow rather smoothly. Even when a hiccup comes, you’ll see just how everything gets back on track and you won’t have to scramble to make it happen.

Regardless of the signs and points I’ve laid out, if you stay prayed up and with your nose in The Word, you won’t have a problem discerning between the two. The Lord will make sure you choose the right door to walk through.

There’s Devils All Around You

“And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” ~ 2 Corinthians 11:14-15

Have you ever wondered why someone who seems so nice, charming, giving and peaceful can turn into the opposite so quickly?

You know the girlfriend that appeared to be everything you asked God for; from her relationship with Him, her attractiveness, nurturing nature, to her go-getter independent attitude, only for her to eventually turn into the most abusive, neglectful, distrustful and unfaithful person you’ve ever met. Or that boss that when he hired you was so complimentary of your skills and helpful in advancing you in your career that suddenly turns into a cantankerous and combative person that picks apart your every project. Why does this happen? Sheep become wolves very quickly.

The devil preys on their vulnerability and weaknesses to use them to try and destroy you. The enemy knows you’re prayed up, strong and less likely to fall for his foolishness, so instead he infiltrates those he views as weak and have your trust so he can work through them. It’s no different than the Lord working through you and your great qualities to bring and do good in the world. Except obviously the devil comes to destroy (John 10:10).

Peep this most important example. Judas was one of the twelve and walked beside Jesus daily witnessing His miracles and listening to His teachings, yet Judas still allowed evil to manipulate him and therefore he turned Christ over to those who eventually crucified Him. So what makes you think that friend you’ve loaned money to in their lean days and listened to their sorrows while wiping their tears through dark times is incapable of backstabbing you? Not to be negative, because I don’t want to go around thinking the worst in people, but truth is they most likely will because humans are so flawed.

The best thing for us is that Romans 8:28 tells us God will work all things out for the good of those who love Him. So if that girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse, boss or friends betray, abuse or abandon you, trust and believe that HE will first bless you by turning it into addition by subtraction. Then at some point, in His time, He will restore and replace what was broken and stolen with a better version of what was unjustly stolen from you by the enemy. Just in the meantime don’t be surprised and caught off guard when the devil starts turning folks against you.

We live in a physical world that is the setting for a spiritual war between good and evil. We can’t be naive to think there are good forces at work in this world without evil ones trying to oppose them. The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy.

God Doesn’t Give Us Struggles/Troubles….

Whenever I have had difficulties in my life, family and close friends have said to me “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.” I understand their sentiment, but I whole-heartedly believe that statement is wrong in reference to struggles. Why? Because, I don’t believe God is the one who gives us troubles. There are times when He may allow it—see the entire book of Job for example—so He can use it to teach us and those around us something valuable.

If you really think about it, it’s in the moments that we can’t handle, that we HAVE to lean more on Him. As evident by the scripture in Romans 8:28 that tells us God will work everything out for the good of those who love Him. Say He did dole out trouble, and He only gave us “what we could handle”, when would we ever learn to lean and trust in Him?

“I have told you this so that you may have peace because of me, while you are in the world you will suffer, but cheer up I have defeated the world.” ~ John 16:33b

I take the above scripture to mean the evil of this world, that entered when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Life, thus allowing sin into the Earth, is the cause of many of the unfortunate things we encounter and have struggled through. God already knows those things are going to happen, because He knows all. But, He doesn’t cause it. The evildoers of this world are the source of the problem, just like temptations.

Speaking of temptations, many times the trouble, struggles, disappointments and difficult circumstances we face is a consequence to a bad decision or action we’ve made. Can’t blame God for those right?

“You reap what you sow.” ~ Galatians 6:7b

That’s the punishment. So I don’t think you can look at God as the cause of our troubles. A good parent would not purposely hurt you to teach you a lesson (I’m excluding butt whuppins. “Spare the rod spoil the child, spoil the rod spare the child.” ~ Proverbs 13:24) but they’ll definitely use our screws ups to teach us something. I believe God is the same way. We’re all going to make mistakes, we are sinners. Doesn’t mean God doesn’t love us. We are His pride and joy.

I will say that I’ve read many scriptures on God’s wrath and punishment, but that’s a much deeper study than what I’m trying to point out here, or even qualified to breakdown. Therefore I won’t.

So, back to the saying that is the focus of my premise. What I think has happened, is people have confused or misinterpreted the scripture in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that says “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be TEMPTED beyond what you can bear.”

I do believe God won’t give you more than you can handle in terms of blessings. If you can’t handle $100 why would He trust you with $1,000? You don’t show up on time and give your best on your current, yet unfulfilling job, so why would He allow you to get a promotion or a better career only to get fired when you can’t get things done? You’re not a good partner and treat your boyfriend/girlfriend like an option not a priority, why would He allow you to get married and be an even worse spouse? These and others I haven’t mentioned, are things we’ve proven to not handle well, therefore I trust that God won’t give us more of them until we prove we can.

Lastly, and probably more importantly, what people need to understand is we live in a fallen world that is a battleground between good and evil. So some of the obstacles and struggles we face are resistance from the enemy trying to get us to self-destruct, disobey God or quit doing what we’ve been called to do. That is why we must stay reading the Bible to learn how to deal with the evil we face and how God fights our spiritual battles for and with us.

“The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.”  ~ Exodus 14:14

“People who do what is right may have many problems, but the Lord will solve them all.”  ~ Psalms 34:19

I’m not a preacher, or Biblical scholar. Just someone studying the Word for the betterment of my soul, and have absorbed some things that may help someone else. I always pray and ask God that what I’m writing and sharing isn’t leading anyone astray or misinforming them. We’re seeing a lot of vicious, heinous, and unthinkable acts happening in our world. It’s the kingdom of evil making its final push to cause as much pain and destruction as it can in these last of the last days. This topic has been on my heart for a very long while (I actually wrote the first draft of this over 480 days ago) and hopefully it helps someone in these difficult, dark days. I want to do my part. Hey, I can’t always write and talk about sports. There’s more to life.

  • Additional reading, 1 Peter 5:8-9, Ephesians 6:12-14, John 10:10