Use What is in Your Hands

You may not have what others may consider is a lot to give or even to offer. Even the widow, who had very little to give, gave out of what she had. Even Mary gave out of her riches in the alabaster box.  Even Moses gave his rod, Elijah gave his voice, and the list goes on. The focus on any of these people were not what they didn’t have, but what they did have that they could use in their hands.

Let’s look at Abraham. With the promise that he would be the father of many nations along with the years of infertility, he finally has a son. This son was his pride and joy! Could you imagine Abraham’s heart?  It probably began to swell 10 times large on the day he was born. Then, God would put a wrench in “his plan.”

Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” Genesis 22:2

First, you and I could read this as a heartless act from God Himself. Meaning, God goes so far as to say “you only son, whom you love” indicating that Isaac was Abraham’s universe.  Second, could you imagine what was going through the mind of Isaac?  Here’s the neat thing, as a side note, about Isaac in this story.  He knows what’s going on and obeys anyway.  I am sure he doesn’t know the full extent of the plan, but I do think he had a knowing that something was about to happen. But, that’s another story for another day.

Abraham and Isaac would go up the mountain without any reservation. Upon tying up his son, Abraham had to have full reliance and trust in God. Before he could seal the deal, God would call out to him and stop him because all along, He had a plan.

“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” Genesis 22:12

It was here that God would provide the ram for Abraham to sacrifice in place of his son. Now, you may wonder how this has to do with using what is in your hand. Here we find an example of the perfect use of this idea of using what is in your hands; Abraham offered his only son. I am not suggesting that you take your children to the altar. What I am saying is that Abraham used what he had.

Let us take it a step further, God spoke to the people of Israel about their heart towards giving to the church. in Chapter three, we find that God goes so far as to have them try Him in this.

“Bring the entire tithe into the storehouse that there may be food in my temple. Test me in the matter” says the Lord who rules over all, “to see if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until there is no room for all of it.” Malachi 3:10

Notice that God tells them to bring the entire tithe? He is proving to them that if they use what is in their hands, their needs are still met AND they meet the needs of others. This isn’t a message on tithing or giving, though it stands to be true with the statement; it is a message on using what is in your hands regardless how big or how small it is.

Unpacking Lessons Learned – Failure is an Event Not Your Identity

Have you ever had that feeling? You’ve tried your hardest to do that right thing exactly the way you have been told only to find that you have failed. The door closes for the job, you’re fired, a child goes wayward, your finances plummet- the list could go on. It is easy to have those events come up on us and cause us to find our identity in them.  The key is to remember this one thing –

“Failure is an event, not a person.” – Zig Ziglar

The situation that you had occur isn’t the definition of who you are as a person. It is the direct result of a situation that happened to you. For example, in our current situation, it would be easy for me to take being let go from a job to mean that I could never be employed again. Pretty harsh way to see it, right? I know that’s how I felt at first. However, I know that it is far from the truth. What do you do to get around that monster? I asked myself five questions;

  1. Did I do the best that I could?
  2. Did I have a good attitude?
  3. Did I understand what was asked of me?
  4. What could I do to have changed the outcome, if anything?
  5. What are the takeaways from my employment?

Each of these questions do not define my self-worth. Notice, these questions, when answered, open up the opportunity for only to improve.

 

Unpacking Lessons Learned

Over the past week, we certainly have had a few things change in our lives. I wanted to take some time to unpack those changes and share what we have learned over that time. It is not exactly what we expected in our lives, however, it is definitely giving us a learning experience.

One of the reasons that we decided to launch our site was to be a source of encouragement and to be completely transparent during the good, the bad, and the ugly. Be encouraged that no matter the situation that you are going through that you are not alone in that. God can use it and use it for your good.

One of the things that I have learned during my sort time on this earth is preparedness. Though we can never fully predict when we could lose our job, lose a loved one, etc., we can prepare. Sara and I have spent the past few years preparing in our finances to be able to be self-employed if the case ever arose. The end result is to open our coffee shop in the local town we are from, however, we know that things do not always go according to plan. Though we are not 100% there, we are getting closer by the day. We are debt free with exception of our home, we have an emergency fund, and we have set goals to become more independent financially.

This is important especially in a time like we are going through. If we had not prepared, we would be in a place of hurt beyond understanding. Thankfully, we have been directed in wisdom to prepare. I have personally had a lot of great people behind us and encouraging us through this difficult time. I am eternally grateful that we have had that support.

If you have not already gotten your finances in order, feel free to contact me personally at howellwj@gmail.com or may I suggest daveramsey.com to help you!

Unpacked Lesson Learned #1 – Be Financially Secure and Prepared for the Storms of Life.

 

RElaunch

It is so easy to equate failure as definite. When something comes to an end or the end of a season occurs, we accept it as our defining identity is wrapped up in it – failure. The only problem is that failure is only fatal when you pull the plug on the life support. Sometimes we have our plans that fail only to find that the plan we have is sub-par to what God has in store.

There are many quotes that I love about overcoming failure. But the one I had jump at me is one by the inventor, Thomas Edison;

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is to always try just one more time.”

What are the things that we are going to do to keep moving forward? What are the things that we are going to do to persevere? Now is the time to move forward in victory regardless of our failures.

RE:Vision

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Every year, I attempt to place a word that I would like to identify for the year. Last year was #releasetheboom which is something that we saw in some areas on our lives and not-so-much in other areas. As I was pondering on what 2017 was going to be, I honestly was at a loss for words. Let me start by explaining.

Very few people know that I have been dealing with depression for the past year and under doctor’s care. I am getting better every day and am grateful for the support of my amazing wife and immediate family. When I first approached the thought of reaching out, it honestly felt that I had lost faith. Why? How often do we hear “if you had enough faith…” followed by a statement relating to the situation that we don’t apparently have enough faith about. Personally, I have struggled with this statement because we throw it around flippantly when we don’t really have the answer to what is going on.

What broke this for me was a statement made by author Shelia Walsh; “You don’t walk up to someone who is wearing glasses and ask them, ‘where’s your faith?’” This posed a question for me to evaluate my emotional wellbeing. With that, I sought God’s wisdom and got the help that I needed to be the husband, father, friend, and man of God that I am called to be. I wish that I could tell you that it was overnight and I am completely good to go. For the most part, I am. However, I still struggle.

While I was searching for the word to put on 2017, the word “re” kept coming up. According to Dictionary(.)com, RE is defined as “a prefix, occurring originally in loanwords from Latin, used with the meaning “again” or “again and again” to indicate repetition.” The best way that I can put it is that I pray that 2017 will be is the year of “re” or the year of renewal, rejuvenation, rebirth, restoration, etc.
With that, I’d love to know what your word for 2017 is. I’d love to pray over that for you and believe with you for that word to come to past.

” And the Lord answered me and said, Write the vision and engrave it so plainly upon tablets that everyone who passes may [be able to] read [it easily and quickly] as he hastens by.” Habakkuk 2:2 AMP