For the Grace of God

 “For the Grace of God is the power that never fails”

A couple of years ago, I read a book entitled “Destined to Reign” by Joseph Prince. So often, our thoughts and our hearts revolve around our sin and what we have done wrong. Sin means to “miss the mark” which is what we do on a daily basis. If not for the grace of God, we would all be condemned to hell. Now, hang with me because there is a point for us fathers to get on this. I am a pretty straightforward guy. The sky is blue, the grass (when watered) is green, God is love, and etc. My children are learning that pretty quickly as they are getting older and as they see it, what Dad says Dad means. That’s good, I guess until they see that there is no leverage.

In Jonah, God had already prepared to wipe out the whole city and he had just the right man to go tell them. Jonah wanted no part in it. So far, he had heard that these people were the utmost heathens and they could all rot for all he cared. Therefore, Jonah would embark on a journey of running from God. While on this journey, God sent a fierce storm to get Jonah’s attention and attention is what God received. Jonah told the fishermen to cast him overboard and all would be well. Jonah would then be swallowed up by the big fish and then be puked up on the coast leading to the landlocked city of Nineveh.

Soon, Jonah would arrive in the city and proclaim that God would wipe out the entire city if they did not repent. Unbeknownst to Jonah, the city did repent. Jonah went far from the city and sat to watch its impending doom. Something strange had happened… the city of Nineveh did not get flattened. God would spare the people and give them yet another chance. What happened to the God who wanted to squash this great city? The heart of God was compelled to show grace to His children, even though they did not deserve it.

Fathers, I am guilty. I have to admit that I am pretty graceless when it comes to our children. I have to daily remind myself of God’s grace when it comes to teaching our children. How much more does our Father in heaven extend grace and forgiveness to us as His children? In Matthew 18:21, we see a candid reminder of how much of Father extends His grace. Peter had had enough of being stabbed in the back thus he asked: “how many times must I forgive my brother?” Giving a number of 70 times, he lays the ball in Jesus’ court. What is Jesus’ response? “Seventy time seven.” How does this correlate with God’s grace? If God is calling us to forgive others over and over again, would He not then follow His own instructions?

Here is the rest of the story: “Therefore, the kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king to decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. In the process, one of his debtors who was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold-along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned to pay the debt. But the man fell before his master and begged him, ‘please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt.” Take a moment and let that sink in men of God. The king heard the cry of mercy and grace from his servant and forgave the debt. God knew that you and I could not repay the debt that we owed and gave us grace towards the debt.

As we read on, we see that this servant did not appreciate the grace. “But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘ Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full.” The servant of the king did not extend the same grace that the king had given to him. Here’s the irony; we are the same way. How often do you and I get cut off in traffic or have someone being promoted before us or have someone mistakenly bill us for something that we didn’t do yet we have a “how dare you” attitude? Ouch. This was the revelation that I received when reading this book. The revelation was that not only had God given me grace but that He expects me to extend grace. You know the rest of the story of the servant. Someone witnessed it and the king found out bringing him to the ultimate decision to throw him into the prison to be tortured. There’s a sermon in itself but I won’t go there.

If God turned His back on you and I every time we sinned, we would have no relationship because you and I sin on a daily basis. We miss the mark so often that Jesus had to die so that our sins would be cleansed. The ultimate act of grace was that instead of you and I getting the beating, Jesus received it. In order for our children to give grace to those around them, they must first see grace given to them.

I challenge you in this area as God has challenged me. “If Jesus must forgive his ‘brother’ seventy times seventy times, why would our Heavenly Father not do the same for us? Why would He not follow His own example? We as His representatives must do the same. for our wives, our children, our families, and the world around us.”

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He Restores

“I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you.  “You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame. You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God and there is none else. And my people shall never again be put to shame.”
Joel 2:25-27

2017 was a year that I would just assume that I forget. I mean, just to be honest, it was a horrible year in our book. Beginning on January 30, I began a long and painful journey of realizing that the career I had chosen was no longer for me and that my then-employer would let me find a new one on my own. For eight months, I would search and would try to find my new career. I never thought the day would come that I would have to consider settling for a job.

Then God would open a door that no man could shut. Several months into the process, I wondered if the door to my new career would ever be completely opened. With a text, my new life as a Help Desk associate would begin and I would start a career in the IT industry. This career would allow me to learn and to grow into a great profession. I love computers and I love people. With these two, I would find myself with a new passion.

None of this would have been possible if the job that I had at the time not been taken away. God restores what the enemy will take away. At the time of this writing, we are still rebuilding. It was not an easy road. Whoever tells you to become a Christian rids you of all bad things that happen in life and that you will be given all the money in the world at your disposal – run from them because they are full of it.

The new year will be the year of restoration. The new year will be a great year.

What are you believing that will be restored in the new year?

Is Your Grace Sufficient?

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”

I pose a question to you with a heart of understanding; if God’s grace is sufficient enough to forgive you of your sins, is your grace sufficient enough to forgive someone of theirs toward you?  I know that we are not perfect, yet we are to be perfect in Christ.  We, as Christians, are called to a higher level of excellence.  We are reminded of Peter when he asked Christ, “Lord, how many times may my brother sin against me and I forgive him and let it go? [As many as] up to seven times?” Jesus answered him, “I tell you, not up to seven times, but seventy times seven!”( See Matthew 18:21-22) What the world would consider foolish, God sees it as wisdom.  The world would want you to hold a grudge so that you don’t get hurt again.  God wants you to forgive so He can heal the wounded.  As Joyce Meyer says, “Hurting people hurt people.”  Many times, people offend, ridicule, or disrespect us because they are hurting.  But as Christians, we should be able to say that “if God is for us then who can be against us?”  You can take what the enemy meant for harm and turn it around for your good.  Grace is defined as “Unmerited favor.”  This means that you give favor to those who have not earned it and do not deserve it, as Christ did on Calvary.  What power do we have to give favor to people that do not deserve it!

For example, someone cuts you off in traffic and you have to embrace yourself for the worst side of you. Now, you have a choice, are you going to give grace or are you going to have a swift tongue and a hateful attitude towards them?  Talk is cheap, it is plain and simple.  People don’t want another gospel tract or to see a Christian bumper sticker.  They want to see you act what you preach.  People don’t need another Sunday School lesson.  What they need is proof of your love for Christ.  If you get cut off in traffic, the best thing to do is to practice grace.  It’s going to happen anyway, so prepare yourself.  “God, I am not going to get upset at the person.  Protect them wherever they may be going.  If someone is sick, heal them in the name of Jesus.”  You never know when someone who cuts you off may be having a bad day or someone is dying in their life and they are deep in thought or even they may have just lost their job.  It’s so easy to fly off the handle at people who wrong us, but God has a higher level for you to obtain.  Wouldn’t be awesome if someone cut in line in front at the grocery store and you paid for their things.

Or what if someone dropped trash in your yard and you went over and cleaned theirs?  What would the world be if Christians simply acted like Christians?  Grace knows no status, no race, no religion, no popularity, and it does not conform to the wise, to the elect, or to the underprivileged.  God’s grace is available to all people, everywhere, anytime, and anyway.  God does not say to one that His grace is sufficient for sin A, B, but not C.  We must not neglect the fact that we are ambassadors of Jesus Christ.  As we reflect the love of God, we should be ready to embrace for impact.  Many remember the plane crash in the Hudson River.  Many testimonies reflect the pilot’s instructions to his passengers, “embrace for impact.”  Whenever you are flying, your life is not in your own hands.  It is in the hands of a person in the cockpit of the plane.  If the pilot tells you to put your seatbelt on, you are not going to ask for scripture and verse on why you should have your seatbelt on.  The same is true with God.  If God tells you to extend grace to people, you need not ask what scripture it is and the verses to go along with it.  God wants to see you free from bitterness, resentment, and anger.  Those things are harbored up in you when you don’t extend grace to those who offend you.  Be prepared at all times, in season and out of season, know that you will be tested and tried on grace in the next twenty-four hours. Grace is also a heart matter.  If you harbor the unforgiveness in your heart, you will expose it in the world.

In Matthew 12: 33-35, Jesus spoke to the religious leaders of Jerusalem, “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.”

Christ was none too pleased with the religious leaders because of their double-mindedness. But Christ also offered grace to them.  How so?  He offered, through his teaching, many times in many scenarios on how to be truly born again.    The question remains, “if God’s grace is sufficient enough to forgive you of your sins, is your grace sufficient enough to forgive someone of theirs toward you?”  How are you going to extend God’s grace into someone’s life?  When someone commits a sin in your life, are you going to jump all over them and quote verse by verse scripture of why they are wrong and you are right?  Or are you going to say ‘eh, it’s not big deal?  Thank you, God, for taking care them. Give me the grace to forgive them and to move on.  If I need to address the situation, give me wisdom.  Allow me, Father, to be a vessel of your grace.”  I give you this challenge today to simply allow someone to receive God’s grace through you.  Experience the freedom of God’s grace!

Objects May Be Closer Than They Appear

 

I was in church the other day and something hit me.  No, it wasn’t the Bible of my wife waking me up but instead it was a revelation.  I won’t say the scenario nor will I mention names but just in passing, I noticed a few things.  It’s so easy to see things when you are in the center aisle of the sanctuary and notice that certain people are doing certain things at the certain times.  Sometimes you want to just get up and tap the person on the shoulder and tell them, are you here to praise God?  It came to me when I noticed that people weren’t into the praise and worship nor were they into the sermon.

The thought came to mind, “Are you here to praise God or to condemn His people?”  It took me a minute to realize that we react in the same manner.  Often times, we come to church expecting to make friends with the elite and higher class individuals of the church and often pass the lower end of the spectrum.  Have you ever passed someone who says hello and thought a nasty thought about them? Are you living what Christ would have done to the undesirable person that sits in your row at work?  Are you the one that will take up the underdog even when it’s unpopular?  What would have happened if Jesus decided to hang out with just the prestigious and elite?  There would be no Mary or Martha nor would there be Peter, James, John, etc…do you get where I am going with this?  He actually called many of the prestigious people “brood of vipers” which was not a compliment in that time.  He even called a tax collector out of a tree to dine with him at his home.  Would you do that for an IRS agent?  I would hope so, but I think not.

Jesus met a woman at the well who was full of sin and shame. Jesus would have been shunned by Jew and Gentile for His participation in any type of communication with a person of such stature.  But remember, Jesus was not a people pleaser.  He was out to touch them and heal them.  Jesus once said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice. “For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”  Jesus was in the healing ministry.  Many see healing as just physical, but that is not true.  Jesus healed the demon processed, He made the insane become sane, and He even put the holy-art-thou with no fruit spirit out to pasture. Something neat about Christ was that He didn’t tell the leper that he could not come ten feet near him, no.  He told the leper to be healed.  He didn’t allow the cripple to sit and suffer in his own disability.  Jesus touched him and told him to get up and walk.  Paul spoke of Christians as “ambassadors” of Christ.  The word ambassador means “an authorized messenger or representative”.  We are to represent the love of Christ in a fashion that is contagious.

rear-mirror-167581_1920The world is tired of the same old rhetoric and is ready to see action.  The word doesn’t need a W.W.J.D. bracelet; they need the action of love.  If you see someone who needs money, meets the need if you have it.  If you don’t have it, like Joyce Meyer says, get people together and collect it.  It doesn’t take much to impress the world, just watch TV. for five minutes and you can relate to that.  Take a Christian who acts like a Christian and you have won the heart of the world.  Why am I saying this in contrast to “special clubs in the church?”

Because the place people get hurt the most is sad, the church and in ministry.  We find ourselves “hanging out” with each other and failing to see the need.  So, what do we do about it?  In James, it says, “be a doer of the word.” Simple as that, do what Jesus would do.  Is it hard? I am sure it was hard for Jesus’ disciples to allow the sick to touch them but they let them anyway. It doesn’t take an act of God and Congress to act like a Christian.  In Matthew 25: 35-36, Jesus told a parable,  “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ The righteous answered back to Christ when did they see Him.  Christ answered in verse 40, “‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'” Simply put, be a Christian.

Where’s the Rewind Button?

“Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs.”
Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

Have you ever held a grudge?  Did you ever have someone say or do something to you that you felt that was just unforgivable?  Have you had someone do something totally opposite of what you told them to do and it caused them to fall?  The “I told you so” syndrome has swept this nation like never before.  We find ourselves with our noses in the business of people and yet we really don’t even know their hearts.  We give them advice, we tell them how it is, we tell them “I told you so” when they never even asked us for the advice, and sometimes they even ask for the advice that they rejected.  We have to find that fine line between distance and unforgiveness.  Many of us walk around this world bitter because we don’t get our way in other people’s lives because we think we know it all, or people do things to us that we just can’t explain.  Now, you are probably wondering where this is going.  I am setting a foundation for the title of this message and I hope that it makes you and I really think.  I pose a question for the both of us today that I hope will help you to pause and think before holding a grudge or unforgiveness; where’s the rewind button?  You know, when you miss a point in a movie or a story and you can just flip back or rewind the tape and see it again.

When someone does the things that I have mentioned before that cause us to harbor bitterness, where is the rewind button so they can go back and fix that mistake that they had made?  Do we continue to throw it in their faces each time they do something we disagree with or do we let it go and move on?  In Matthew 18, Jesus told a parable of a master and his servant who owed him a large sum of money.  The servant did not have it and begged the master for leniency.  The master had mercy on him and set him free.  However, the servant went out and found another servant who owed him money and demanded he pays what he owed.  The master caught the wind of what was going on and in verse 32 Jesus reveals his response, “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow-servant just as I had on you?’ In anger, his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured until he should pay back all he owed.”  It is interesting to see that in verse 33 Jesus said, “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”  Now, you are probably pondering, “you mean the same God that has the love, grace, and mercy to send His Son to die for me would not forgive me?”  The answer is clear.  We are so quick to quote the goodie scriptures but when it comes to God’s demands of our lives, we are quick to forget those scriptures.  Can you find the rewind button to delete what was just said here?  Just kidding.  But all jokes aside, we need to let it go. Many would ask, “how many times must I forgive this person for the same thing.  I do it over and over and it’s tiring!”  Peter asked this question “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus spoke to him and said, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”  Are you harboring unforgiveness toward your mate or your child?  Are you upset because your employer treated you unfairly?  Remember, God calls you to forgive them, whether you believe they deserve it or not.  It is so easy to harbor that bitterness.  It so easy to say, “they haven’t forgiven me, then why should I forgive them?”  The enemy loves to use bitterness and unforgiveness to his advantage.  It opens the door for strife and anger to enter.  It’s so easy to let the situation sit on the back burner and fan the flame.  I pose this to you today and to myself, put out the flame, get out of the pot, and move on.  Sitting in your world of bitterness and anger is not going to change the person or the situation.

Your bitterness and anger are not going change the situation.  There is no way that we can go back and make that person, who did wrong, do right.  Bringing it up will not cause it to happen, it only hurts the person and hurts yourself.  I want to say this in closing; what would you do if God came up to you and threw everything you ever did in your face?   Now I am not saying that you can go sin like no one’s business.  I am saying that when you have repented, God has forgiven it as far as the east is to the west. (See Psalm 103:12) Don’t be an instrument of Satan, but be an instrument of God.  So, quit trying to hit the rewind button and hit the pause button and pray on this.  Be blessed!

 

 

 

Opinion | The Shock Wave of Sexual Harassment Allegations

Over the past few weeks, we have been plagued with news stories on famous individuals caught up in a sexual harassment scandal. It is almost a normal occurrence to hear on the morning news that someone has been accused of these awful crimes.  Long have reports shown that our current society is over-sexualized by media such as movies, games, music, etc. Yet we seem surprised when we have sexual crimes on the rise. I am absolutely not condoning it. I have a wife, daughters, sisters, etc.

This is where I have to ask the question; should we be surprised that these events are happening in light of my statement on the media influence? For an example, just the other day, I was watching my Security + course video on YouTube and it went to an Ad of a girl prancing around in her underwear. No exaggeration either! But should we be anymore?

Gone are the days when you can watch a television show without something popping up that is scantily clad. Even during the baseball game, I have to watch what’s going on the whole time because, without warning, someone begins walking across the screen practically nude. Then we preach to people that it is wrong to say or do certain things. Does anyone else not see the issue here? Or am I turning into an old prude?

I can talk about this from a male or female perspective, but because I have lived this long on the male side of the street, I can approach it like this. Men are visual. When we see something, it doesn’t just leave our brain because it is wrong. It doesn’t just leave because of a moral compass that tells us that we shouldn’t be thinking about it.

As a society, the street should go both ways. If you want men to respect women and vice versus, quit pushing the sexualized agenda of the media! On the flip side of it, if you want this type of behavior to stop – quit funding the media that produces it. If you stop feeding the predatory actions of these types of movies, shows, music, etc and bring an end to the endorsement of these activities.

 

Forward Thinking – 8 Keys to Changing Your Way of Thinking

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”

                                                                                                                   Philippians 4:8-9

“I am depressed.”

“I am down.”

“I am worried about…”

“I just can’t shake this….”

I will be the first to tell you that these are just a few of the thoughts that I have had over the past 30+ years of my life. Fear and dread were a part of my everyday life which robbed me much of the joy that I could have had. I can still remember thinking about how the world would just be a better place if I were not a part of it Why am I telling you this?

You’re Not Alone.

Even as a believer in Christ, I struggled with these things. I never would have guessed other people felt this way until I talked to a pastor about it. “You wouldn’t believe the amount of men and women who love God but cannot love themselves. It’s like a cement block tied to their feet and they are being thrown into the lake with no hope of recovering.” Wow. Pretty deep stuff, right? When I began writing again, this was something that I knew that I needed to reach out and address. Why?

You’re Not Alone.

There are 8 keys that helped me re-frame my way of thinking. Have I arrived? Heavens no. But I am one day closer to that victory. Here they are;

  1. Is it True?
  2. Is it Honorable?
  3. Is it Right?
  4. Is it Pure?
  5. Is it Lovely?
  6. Is it Admirable?
  7. Is it full of Excellence?
  8. Is it Worthy of Praise?

If the answer is no to any of these questions; it is not worth thinking about and it is time to change the subject.

I know that this was really deep, but hear me out on this. If I can redirect what I think about into these eight areas, I can be sure that I will be victorious in whatever I do. I am not talking about some magical potion or cues that you can use. What I am talking about is taking these eight questions and re-framing the process of how you think.

What ways are you re-framing your way of thinking today?

Live at Peace

 

Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
Romans 12:18

We are way too offended in today’s society. Never in my life have I seen so many people get offended by something someone said or did. When I was younger, we were always taught to just walk away and move on. In this politically correct or lack thereof society, I see way too many people getting bent out of shape over certain things people say.

For example, I just glanced at an article headline that read that a man was fired from his job because of a comment he made that made some people feel uneasy. Gone are the days that free speech prevails. I am not saying what he said was right, however, I am saying that some people just need to become adults and grow up. If I got my underwear in a wad for every person who said or wrote something about me, I’d have one solid piece of cotton.

Our veterans have fought for you and me to have a right to think the way we want to think, say what we want to say, and feel the way we want to feel. I know, this is my thoughts and my opinions. But I have to wonder how the other guy felt when he was fired. I have to wonder if he decided that it would be better to be silent than to voice his opinions. I wonder why is it alright for one man to have an offense but the guy who they are offended at had no rights.

I believe that we have to come to a point in our country that we quit living with our feelings on our sleeves and get out there to live a productive life instead of a destructive one. Instead of being offended, live a life of peace as much as you can with your fellow man.

Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.
Hebrews 12:14

Instead of worrying about our neighbor’s issue(s), perhaps it is the time to focus on ours. It may be the perfect time to work on our own things. If we could fix just one thing in our lives, I firmly believe that it would better the world for the greater good.

Dealing with Offense – Special Video Content.

 

Reinvention | Becoming Who I Am

The year 2017 wasn’t just another year in my book. It was a year that would forever change who I am. It was a year where I would once know what it was like to be gainfully employed to becoming a floating vessel in the sea of applications.  I changed. Maybe I should say this, “I finally became who I am.” Let me explain. For nearly 10 years, I had morphed into a people pleasing person who lost his identity on the altar of being something that I could never be… perfect.

What I decided to do is start writing down what I was learning about life, hence my latest book, Unpacked: Life Lessons of an Unemployed Rock Star. Then I began writing on this blog and started becoming me again. Here are just five things that I have learned over the course of this year. Though it is not everything that I have learned, these are crucial steps that I am currently working on to be me.

1- My Core Beliefs Make Me Who Am I. Have you ever had the conversation with someone who tried to change your mind about a topic and you just changed yours to shut them up?  I am guilty!  In all of that, I had relearned what I believed. I know, it’s funny to see that, but it is true.

2- What I Do Is Not Who I Am.  My job (or lack thereof) does not dictate who I am as a person.  The jobs we have aren’t the people we are. If we are not careful, we can typecast ourselves into a role that we never wanted to be a part of.

3- Just because God’s people aren’t good to me doesn’t mean that God isn’t good to me. Let me explain this one. I love God with all of my heart and all of my mind. Every part of me speaks that God is so good to me. With that said, His people aren’t. I have been a Christian for the vast majority of my life and have found that God’s people tend to have their own groups and if you aren’t a part of it, good luck. This hasn’t changed as I have gotten older. I have to learn to forgive, move on, and be okay with being me without trying to be someone they want me to be.

4- Though I May Not Have Many Friends; I Have God, My Wife, and Children. This year probably was the hardest in this area. I had people in my life that I thought were really good friends only to find that they weren’t. Perhaps not of their own doing, but it doesn’t hurt any less. Thought I have lost those friendships, I have God and my amazing family. I have to come to grips with that.  Not in a negative way, but in a way where I can be okay just knowing with God and my family, I am fulfilled.

5- My Past Does Not Decide Who I Am It Only Enhances Who I Am. So often, we put a label on ourselves when it comes to our past. For example, some people believe that once you are an alcoholic, you are always one. Personally, I don’t believe that. I believe that God can redeem and heal a person from anything and to label them with that or any other addiction or disease is basically saying that the blood of Jesus isn’t enough to clear that. Of course, this is my opinion. What I have done in my past can be used for God’s glory and does not negate His power to use it.

There are plenty of ways that I could drone on about how much we have changed over the years.

 

 

3 Things To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do

Every calamity is to be overcome by endurance.
Virgil

I have always seen God’s word to be easy to understand when it comes to the hard things in life that we are going through. Whether it is a divorce, a death of a loved one, bankruptcy, job loss, God has already pre-planned a course of action to help overcome those things. For our minds to comprehend, we tend to believe that God just shouldn’t allow that to happen anyway, right? Unfortunately, we live in a world that has fallen from grace. We witness that in the book of Genesis with the fall of man.

Adam and Eve had taken a bite of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Honestly, I wonder why God put that tree there in the first place if He didn’t want the man to eat of it. Truthfully, I believe that God wanted to have a relationship that was honest, open, and trustworthy. He didn’t want a relationship with His creation that would make them be robots. He wanted a relationship that was a two-way street that allowed them to make decisions on their own. Knowing what God had already told them, they still disobeyed God’s direction. With that, God cursed the ground in which they lived on. Every action has a consequence whether it be good or bad.

The tide turned on the earth when evil prevailed. The man was no longer the sinless creature that was created to roam the earth. Now, sin had entered. But with God, He always has a plan in place for when things unravel. Through the word, He gave us three (3) steps to overcome those troubles;

1. Always be joyful. No matter what we are going through in life, God has called us to be joyful. Like it says in Proverbs 17:2, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Find something that you can laugh at or write a gratitude list. No matter what you are going through, there are things that we can do to make ourselves joyful. For example, while I was going through unemployment, we watched M*A*S*H. I used to not really like this show, but as I have grown in “maturity” I have grown fond of laughing at the antics of these surgeons of the famous 4077.

2. Never stop praying. I grew up believing that we should only come to God one time with our request and it is done. Unfortunately, that is far from the truth. We find in the book of Matthew 7:7-8, where Jesus directed His disciples to “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened” This changed my paradigm with how I believe when it comes to prayer. While you are going through the storm, ask…and keep on asking. That is pretty neat to see that God has given us a standard to communicating with Him and wanting to have that deep relationship with Him.

3. Be thankful. There is a change in our heart that occurs when we find ourselves being thankful. When we find something to be thankful for, it opens our heart to receive what God has in store for us regardless the circumstance. The fact of the matter is that when the heart is thankful, it is not hardened to the miracles that could occur.

There are a lot of examples that you can find out there to overcome during a struggle. These three are just a small way to get through the day and overcome the moment. As we get through these things, we are more opened and available to get through those issues.

Why I Cut Ties With Most of My Former Co-Workers

With every job that we have, we create new relationships and friendships with those that we work with. At a certain point, we tend to allow them into our inner circle. Then you have those that you work with that are acquaintances.  There is nothing wrong with them, but you simply don’t mesh as well as you do with those in your inner circle. There are even those that you don’t like. Face it, not everyone gets along even at work. Shocking, right?

When I departed from my last job, I felt guilty. Though it wasn’t my fault that I didn’t get a final goodbye, I felt like there was not an opportunity for closure. What I decided to do was to make a video and put it on social media to express my gratitude and my goodbye to them. All the while, I kept seeing updates from many of these co-workers about how awesome their job was and how amazing this company was. I struggled for a short time with it. Every time I would see it, I would have a heavy feeling hit me. I mean, I had dedicated a long time to this company and was discarded like I didn’t matter. The pain was real.

What I decided to do next was unexpected. I began cutting ties. I began unfriending people. I began removing emails. I began cleaning the plate. I wanted…no I needed to start over. Those that were not part of my inner circle, I made an attempt to clear the plate. Those in my inner circle that I worked with knew the pain I felt and understood what I was going through. I didn’t tell them I was doing this because they were not on my “cut list.” But they understood the pain.

Is it wrong to cut ties? Absolutely not! For me, it was causing feelings that were not healthy and I honestly did not have a close relationship with those I cut ties with. Why put me through the pain of bitterness? That is not to say that I should not forgive and move on. I have done that. But I don’t need to allow myself the opportunity to be bitter.

Should you cut ties with former co-workers? That is up to do you. For me, it was a refreshing opportunity to start over with my professional life.

Have You Forgiven God?

 

        It’s an interesting thought, isn’t it?  We all know that when we ask God to forgive us, we have received His forgiveness.  But what happens when God does something to tick you off?  I know what your spiritual mind is saying, “I would never be mad at God because God is good.”  Let us be honest with ourselves and think about the last time that we were mad at God for doing something that we didn’t like or didn’t do something that wanted Him to do.  Sure, it is all in His will and in His timing. But our flesh cries out in anger when it doesn’t get what it wants.

I was taken to the book of Ruth for this question. Everything in life as they knew it was grand.  Elimelech and Naomi took their family and moved to the land of Moab.  It was there that their children would marry the Moabite women and begin their lives.

Then Elimelech died, and Naomi was left with her two sons. The two sons married Moabite women. One married a woman named Orpah, and the other a woman named Ruth. But about ten years later, both Mahlon and Kilion died. This left Naomi alone, without her two sons or her husband.”
Ruth 1:3-5

Naomi was left with her two daughter-in-laws alone in this place.  All that Naomi had longed for and lived for was snatched from her hands when her husband and children died. So bitter, that she changed her name from Naomi to Mara which means “bitter.” Why was Naomi so bitter? Let’s read.

“So the two of them continued on their journey. When they came to Bethlehem, the entire town was excited by their arrival. “Is it really Naomi?” the women asked. “Don’t call me Naomi,” she responded. “Instead, call me Mara, for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me.  I went away full, but the Lord has brought me home empty. Why call me Naomi when the Lord has caused me to suffer and the Almighty has sent such tragedy upon me? So Naomi returned from Moab, accompanied by her daughter-in-law Ruth, the young Moabite woman. They arrived in Bethlehem in late spring, at the beginning of the barley harvest.”
Ruth 1:19-22

Going through changes always raises the eye brow of the unexpecting passerby.  You know what I mean?  You try to quit smoking and so now, you have decided to have only gum at your desk.  Next thing you know it, you are the Super Bubble King of the world.  That person who used to bum a cigarette off of you now feels awkward and abandoned by your treason.   The past several years for me have been marked and marred with changes.  For you, a change is just something you find in the seat of your car.  For me, it’s a lifestyle.  It’s more like Jon Acuff’s Quitter, I have become a serial changer.  I may have to adapt a Change: Closing the Gap between your Cushion and Your Checkbook. I have discovered the art of frugality.

      Since 2006, I have found myself going from single, broke, confused, and daunted to married, making ends meet, enlightened, and daring. But I have had to make changes in my everyday life to serve the purpose to which God has put into my heart.  In order to do that, I have to change relationships, change jobs, change houses, change lifestyles, etc.  To the average Joe, I am a changer.  I constantly am going through change and probably will do so until the day I go home.

Something that struck me is that without change, my life would be boring and I would be broke.  Change is the essence of the entrepreneurial spirit that lies within me.  Without change, I would find myself wandering alone on a deserted road wondering what to make out of life.  It’s not just me who is addicted to change.  Ask the average Christian and we will tell you that we are addicted to change.  We change churches like we do clothes.  We change music styles to cover the real music we like.  We change our clothes because we would hate to be seen wearing a Camel’s shirt.

This thought was brought on by a book I am reading called Developing the Leader within You by John Maxwell.  In that, I read “to be a leader you must preserve all through your life the attitude of being receptive to new ideas.  The quality of leadership you will give will depend upon your ability to evaluate new ideas, to separate change for the sake of change from change for the sake of me. –William A Hewitt.”

For the sake of you; change is vital.  We must change to better ourselves as a society, as a people, and as a person.  God did not develop the human mind to stay the same but to change.  How so?  In Galatians 6:15, we read “It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. God doesn’t so much care about your denomination, your cross, your Jesus Juke, etc.  What they want to see is that change in you.

With that said, have you forgiven God for allowing the doors of these difficulties to be opened instead of closed? Have you changed your name from Naomi to Mara? Or have you taken that sorrow and made the change of heart towards something greater?

3 Ways to Effectively Train Your Team

 

Over the years, I have found myself in a position of teaching and leading others. One of the things that I have learned quickly is that training is not a one size fits all. I would see people leaving these training seasons that we would have to go to with glazed over eyes. After a few of these training events, I began to ask the question – what is the big disconnect?

The major connection that I found about these courses is that they are geared to teach all people one way. The problem with this is that not every person learns the same way. Some learn by visual. Some learn by doing. Some learn by both, Some learn by different methods. I believe that we are doing a disservice in how we train our employees.

After seeing these souls go through the wringer with the way we were trained, I was determined to find a way to help resolve this issue. I was given an opportunity to lead 40+ co-workers into a training program regarding a new software system that our company was launching. This would be no easy feat. Not only do you have the different learning styles, you have the generational gap that we were embracing in our culture. From ages 20 to 80, there had to be a way to connect each of them with this new system in a methodical way.

First, as a team, we would conduct a group training which is standard for these types of events. As I mentioned earlier, there were a lot of glazed over looks. There were comments on how this was counter-productive and a waste of time. There were even comments from those who trained, “Less is Better.” You know the drill, right? I approached our team with a new method to add; the three-step program.

  1. Team Building. Cliche, right? Listen to this one. Our department was set up with rows that had between 5-9 people in them. I would take each row for 60 minutes at a time and go over the steps to the new system (There were multiple components to this new system which means we took an hour for each of these components). I would break the ice with a joke (I know – not professional but very effective) and proceed with the things that we had to cover. This time was split into half; 30 minutes of talking, 30 minutes of doing.
  2. Smaller Group Training. We would take groups of 3 people in 30-45 minute increments. I would find out what their learning styles were, write them down, and we would talk over the blockages that they were having. Each group was from the initial Team Building exercises that were still struggling with the concepts before the main launch. They were given time for hands-on for 30 minutes to an hour following our time together.
  3. One-on-One. These were sessions that were requested by individuals that were still struggling. The team member had to specifically request for this time and they were allotted one hour at a time to ask any question without fear of being made to look stupid. They were allowed to voice their frustration without fear of retaliation. They were able to walk through with me, hands-on, with the issues that they were running into. I was able to give them techniques for remembering how to work through the system and encouraged them through the process.

This all sounds like it takes a lot of time, right? It wasn’t. As a matter of fact, this process took three weeks total before the release. Yes, you read that right. In addition to this three-step program, we split the trainers up to walk each aisle for an hour a day during this training session to give the users time to have hands-on experience in a test environment. This allowed them to make mistakes, find bugs, ask questions, and feel comfortable with the system. If the user felt comfortable, we would require them to attend the smaller group training sessions.

At the end of this training session, we had a high success rate of understanding. Only a hand full of users were lacking confidence and the ability to use the system which was not at the fault of the training but the user’s level of confidence. Did I give up on that hand full group of people? Nope. I gave them additional One-on-One training in a test environment at their desk, made arrangements for them to ask more questions, to be able to vent their concerns and fears, and began to help them grow confidence in themselves that they could do this.

Today, there are still high accolades on this method of training from many of the employees who went through it. What would you add to make it better or change?

Creating a Culture That is Consistent with Reality

Long have we heard in the marketplace that great culture leads to profits. We have gone so far to say in our employment ads and recruitment efforts that “we are the best because we only hire the best” only to find out…this simply is not true. It begs to question; “Is your organization’s culture consistent with reality?” Let me explain.

In reality, we write out our mission statements and offer incentives on making it happen throughout our workplaces. However, studies show us that most employees…do not believe that the mantra of their workplace culture is accurately portrayed. According to Vital Smarts,

” Overall, the study, which surveyed more than 1,200 employees, managers and executives, found that employees have a much more negative view of their corporate culture than their bosses. And, the more senior a person is in the organization, the more positive their perception of their company culture.” – vitalsmarts.com*

What is the big disconnect? Honestly, I believe that it that, in reality, management isn’t in the seat of the employee on a regular basis. It is easy to make decisions and implement change when you aren’t the one being affected by it. Furthermore, it is easier to make the decision when you do not have to face the people that you make the decision about. Let’s face it, it is easy to make a “great culture” on paper, but far different than making a “great culture” in the actual workplace.

The truth be known, until management of any organization sits down and does the job of the person that they are trying to make happy, the creation of the perfect culture will fall flat. Here are few tips that I believe will help management of any organization to create a great culture;

  1. Don’t fill your team with bull. Pretty strong right out of the gate, right? There’s nothing worse to an employee than hear how amazing they are with your words and in the same breath show you with their actions…you don’t really care. John Maxwell may have said it best – “People won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Don’t just tell someone you think that they are awesome, prove it!
  2. Don’t talk with your mouth if you aren’t willing to act with your wallet. Yep. If you want a great culture, you have to prove it by the almighty dollar on how much you care about people. Anyone who tells you that they aren’t in it for the money, take their paycheck for a month and suddenly their tune will change.
  3. Don’t expect much if you don’t give much power. There is a very fine line to walk on this. You cannot give your team all of the power. But they need more than what you are willing to give them. They need to know that you trust their judgement when they give you 40 hours a week. They are not your children (see the next point.)
  4. Don’t expect your employees to act like adults if they are treated like children. I have long thought this was true. Why? Who wants to go to work 40 hours a week and let someone treat them like a child? They don’t need you to micromanage them. Let your employees act like adults. No, seriously, stop it.
  5. Do their job. Yep. You read that right. Don’t sit in your office and make decisions for the employee if you don’t even know what they do. Even if you used to do what they do, you need to get out on the floor and experience it again. I don’t mean to sound rude but, get off of your high horse and get in the dirt with them. I love how Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart, was known to go on the road with his truck drivers, work in the stock room, walk the floors of the store, and so much more. Why did he do that?

“I’d still say that visiting the stores and listening to our folks was one of the most valuable uses of my time as an executive. But really, our best ideas usually do come from the folks in the stores. Period.” -Sam Walton**

These are just a few things that we can do to help fix the culture in our organizations. There a lot more ways to make it better, but this is just a few thoughts from experience. When you have employees that are engaged, loving their company and their jobs sincerely, and a management team that produces rock stars, there are no ceilings to hinder you from great success.

*Retrieved 28OCT2017 – “https://www.vitalsmarts.com/press/2016/07/corporate-culture-chasm-employees-view-their-culture-much-more-negatively-than-management/”

** Retrieved 28OCT2017- “Sam Walton- Made in America.” Sam Walton- pp 230. Bantam; Reissue edition (June 1, 1993). ISBN 978-0553562835

Finding Peace in a Chaotic World

“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love.” Francis of Assisi

At the time of writing this, major terrorist attacks have been flooding our news headlines, North Korea is aiming their aggression towards the United States, the Democratic Party of the United States is at odds with the President, and the list could go on. Jesus would warn His disciples that there are things in this world that would go on to cause them to be in fear. Jesus would respond with a gift;

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”
John 14:27 NLT

I love this version of John 14:27. It shows the humanity of Christ knowing that His disciples were concerned and worried about the future. However, Jesus puts those fears and worries to rest.

  1. A peace that is not conditional. The peace that the world offers is this – if you will, I will. When two countries sign a peace treaty, they have conditions that apply in order for the peace to continue. There’s a contingency clause that tells them that they must do the following in order for there to be peace. God’s peace does not come with those conditions.
  2. A peace that is not based upon your beliefs. The peace that the world offers is this- if you are a certain sect or belief system, we will give you peace. If you believe the same way we do, we will not wage war or wage conflict upon you. However, if you believe otherwise, you will be attacked and you will be considered the enemy.
  3. A peace that is not transactional. The peace that the world offers is if you pay us enough in money, in services, in whatever it takes transaction wise, we will give you peace. God’s peace is a free gift that does not come with a bill at the end. It was paid for.

Jesus would follow this gift with reassurance which was that they don’t have to worry. As these things happen in our lives whether they are with friends, family, co-workers, and people we don’t know, we can walk in that peace and know that we don’t have to be afraid. Thankfully, God’s peace comes with that assurance guaranteed. When we see the things in life that happen around us, we can trust Him to bring recompense for it.

I am not discounting the horrible tragedies around the world and at home. What I am saying is that we can find solace to know that He has the key to peace that passes all understanding.

Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

 

Are You Hardened to the Miracles of God?

Sara and I have been witnessing miracle after miracle in these past few months.  There for a while, we were really getting slammed with the enemy’s attack but we stood strong.  In Ephesians 6, Paul wrote, “Having done all that the crisis requires…stand.” I believe that we have stood and now God is rewarding us.  I have to be attentive to what I felt in my spirit when I wrote this and try not to get too hyper-spiritual. In Mark 6:30-44, Jesus had needed some time to rest and had commissioned His disciples to go to a place of solitude so that they could rest awhile. However, the crowd had taken notice of them and followed.  Jesus, being filled with compassion, began to teach them and to minister to them. It had begun to get late and the disciples told Jesus to send the people away so that they could eat.  Jesus said, “you feed them.” In disbelief that the King of Kings would make them do such a feat and it cost a high price, they persisted. Jesus would then pray to the Father and the multitude would be fed.  The miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 had taken place and the disciples had walked away with 12 baskets full of food.  Jesus sent them away while he dismissed the crowd and then went to pray alone.

Many commentators will give their opinion and that is fine but I don’t think that the disciples were stupid. Follow me on this.  I believe that they had become so accustomed to Jesus doing these miracles that their heart had formed a familiar spirit around them.  Their hearts had become hardened to the miracles of God.  When your heart is hardened to the miracles of God, you get used to them and you miss them.  The Spirit of God is pouring into the churches of today but we are missing them because our hearts have become hardened to the miracles of God.  We have become so familiar with it that we miss the miraculous and call it normal.  Nothing about God is normal.

One of the things that have been a consistent metaphor throughout the Word of God is when the king gets a hardened heart.  When the heart is hardened, it doesn’t receive anything that is being offered by the other party.  As people, it is easy to harden our hearts when we get hurt or when someone stabs us in the back.  The phrase “I will never get hurt again” comes out of our heart and causes us to be hardened to the miracles that are being performed all around us.

We must never become so familiar that we miss God. For the disciples, the miracles of God became “business as usual” and they missed something spectacular.  Jesus fed 5,000 people! God gave you a beautiful life!  God allowed you to have internet access to read this blog!  Let us know not grow hardened to the miracles of God!

 

From Inside These Walls

I have been a Christian for nearly 25 years. The church was my way of life growing up. If the doors were open, we were there in our seat in the sanctuary. We were the family that spent time serving and giving in the church. With that, my opinion is simply an observation of what I have seen over the past few years.

I have grave concerns for the current status of the church. In recent years, I have witnessed this huge shift on getting people in the doors and build up attendance. Maybe it isn’t intentional. Perhaps it starts with the hope to get more people in to help them have a relationship with Christ. We build up a production to woo the non-churchgoer into the church with hopes that they will meet Jesus there. Unfortunate as it may seem, the church brings these people in but can’t seem to keep them. Why? What is the biggest disconnect?

From the experience that I have had is that though it may not be intentional, the church does not take care of its own people. How many people do you see that suddenly decide not to come to church anymore? How often do you wonder where those very people went? I have heard some believers use the term “backslidden” to describe the ones who left. I tend to disagree with this term. The term “I have had enough” or “what’s the point” may describe it better. So often, we as churchgoers tend to draw to people that we know. We don’t want to branch out of our own group and create a clique that only certain people can be a part of.

I have recently seen this as a huge problem in the church. There are certain groups that only certain people are allowed to be a part of. Though it may not be intentional, no matter how hard we have tried to be a part of their group, we are simply not genuinely welcome. We aren’t invited to do life with any of those people. This birthed this thought in my spirit’

“Before you reach the world, you must reach from within your own four walls.”

We must love those in our midst before we can even attempt to reach out to the world. There are people all over our churches that are hurting and lonely, yet we spend the least amount of time reaching out to them. Our goal, as the church, is to show people the love of Christ. Once we begin the show the love of Christ to people within our own four walls, we will see an explosion of growth in our churches.

ACTION QUESTION: What am I going to do to reach someone in my four walls?

Broken Toys

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
1 Peter 5:7

I can remember as a child that I loved to take apart my toys. Whether it be something simple like a Hot Wheel or something complicated like the remote control car. Never knowing if I would ever get it back to what it was created for, I would look inside and be inquisitive. I guess all boys are that way. We like to find out for ourselves how something works or how something is built. We desire to be a creator of something or an inventor of something, it is a right of passage for us. It’s the same thing with life. We try to take apart our finances to see what is being done incorrectly or we separate our marriages from deciding who really is at fault. We find ourselves so often wanting these miracles and yet we are not willing to work for it or even trust God for it. We have all these needs and desires but you refuse to ask. Instead, you complain and whine about what you don’t have.

Sounds pretty harsh but we end up treating God like a genie instead of God. You don’t rub a bottle and out pops God with three wishes for you. He’s not into wishing. In Matthew, Jesus said to ask and you shall receive not beg and you shall get. There is always balance to the Word of God. This is not a name it or claim it gospel nor is it a prosperity gospel. You can’t call out into the heavens that you have a million dollars and a Rolls Royce. However, you can’t walk through this life with the mentality of if I don’t expect it then I won’t be disappointed if I don’t get it. So many of us, myself included, want deliverance but we won’t let the shackles fall off of us. We won’t let the ball and chain break and I don’t mean your wives men. You have to leave the problem; you have to leave the situation to God. He says to “cast your whole cares” not some of them. Many of us decide to carry around the ball and chain and wonder why we are so tired all the time. We carry the burden of our lives around like bricks on our backs and we wonder why we are always in pain and always sick. We want to rest but we don’t trust God to give us that rest. We want wisdom and yet we aren’t quiet enough to receive it and when we are, we ignore it and call it the devil. We give the devil way too much credit. Many times, our worst enemy is ourselves. We think way too much, we talk way too much; sometimes we just need to chill and see what God is going to do. When you have a bill that is sitting there that you don’t have the money to pay for, worrying about it will not pay it off. Sometimes we just need to sit and wait on God. There again is the balance. If you are unwilling to work, then you don’t eat (see 2 Thessalonians 3:10).

God’s not going to bless you if you are blatantly dishonest and lazy. I was reminded of a story of a father and his son. The son brought his toy that was broken to his father to fix. The father took the toy and began to work on it. While he was working on it, the boy climbed up and tried to help. The father would place a tool on the toy and the boy would put his hands in the middle trying to help him fix it. Soon, the father sat the boy down and handed him the toy. “It’s still broken” the boy exclaimed. The father looked at him and said, “You seem to know how to fix it better than I so I will let you work on it now.” The son was confused about the whole scenario. “But Dad, I don’t know how to fix it.” The father took the toy back and said, “Then let me fix it.” What is the moral of this story? The Father wants to fix your problems. But He can’t fix them if your little hands keep getting in the way. In short, let God be God. Don’t try to fix what God is trying to fix.

Finally, cast your whole care on Him. God wants you to rest and not carry the burden of it all. Jesus died so that your life would be full of abundance and blessings. We often over analyze our situations when God is simply calling us to “be still” and know that He is God. God wants you to trust in Him for your rest. Trust in God for that rest, let Him be your peace, and your life will never be the same. I thank God that He has placed that desire in me to rest in His care and not worry about the trials around me.

Sometimes Being Alone Has Its Perks

A tree does not rely on other trees to flourish. They rely on their own root system, the rain, the sun, and the soil. Other trees would just get into the way of this tree from growing.

A co-worker of mine was going through a moment where they felt that they were invisible to others except God. This thought came to me;

“Sometimes – invisibility is known as a superpower. Does that make you a superhero? If it does, make sure you don’t flip any desks over and get upset over your stapler being moved. I don’t have the energy to explain it all to those around you.
But seriously – On days like that, I have to constantly remind myself the purpose behind what God has in store for the life of a believer is that He is the center of it all, therefore, I cannot be truly alone. Man, I wish that we could always feel that way, you know? I often wonder how the Psalmist David felt when he was out in the wilderness tending sheep while his brothers were invited to be anointed as king. Did he feel alone? Or did he simply go about his father’s business?”

Think about it for a moment; David’s father, Jessie, invited all of his brothers to the opportunity to be anointed king while David had to tend sheep. The rejection from his own father had to be painful. Instead, God would use this opportunity through David to show off.

 

 “In the same way all seven of Jesse’s sons were presented to Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.”  Then Samuel asked, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse replied. “But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats.” “Send for him at once,” Samuel said. “We will not sit down to eat until he arrives.”
1 Samuel 16:10-11 NLT

God not only showed off…He showed up! Samuel took God at His word that this king would not be like others because men would have looked at the exterior where God was looking at the heart.  Can you imagine what was going through the minds of his brothers, of his father, or of Samuel? The field wasn’t exactly across the street or down the block. Most who had sheep had large fields. These men had to wait a long time. Talk about waiting for an eternity!

In the 2nd part of verse 12, something exciting happened;

“And the Lord said, “This is the one; anoint him.”

What? David didn’t have to say one word. He didn’t have to plead his own case (notice none of the others spoke up for him.) David would be chosen regardless of what others thought of him. If you think that David would only encounter rejection for the first and only time in his life, you would be wrong. All throughout scripture, we read how David escaped Saul’s temper, the rejection of his own wife and children, the loneliness of being abandoned by his men, and so much more!

Are you like David? Do you feel like you have been abandoned? Let me share the secret that David shares;

Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.
Psalms 27:10