Friday, May 25, 2012

What To Expect When You're Expecting Pt. 2

Mother’s who are preparing to give birth to their newborn babies may experience some discomfort and even pain. But they can assure you that there is nothing like holding a squirming baby that has just emerged from their womb. The joy that prevails from laying eyes for the first time on their newborn baby cannot compare to the previous pain that they’d just experienced. Likewise, when we are expecting to give birth to our visions, dreams, and goals, the pain that we possibly experience while trying to give birth to them cannot not compare to the joy we have once those things come to fruition.

In addition to expecting resistance from barriers and obstacles and rebuttal from onlookers and naysayers, we can expect to have variables that work in our favor as well. For Christians, one of the great advantages to achieving our goals and even our callings is that God is always present with us. Therefore, the first thing we can expect when we’re expecting is the PRESENCE OF GOD. While God’s presence may not always seem present or easily detectable, we can rest assured that God is always there.

Second, if what we are expecting to give birth to is a God-given vision, dream, or goal then we can expect that it will not and CANNOT fail. It may not turn out to be what we thought it should be or look like what we thought it should look like, but it CANNOT fail.

Mother’s who are expecting to give birth have the great responsibility of making sure they carry their pregnancy correctly. While there are other things at work that can cause complications during the pregnancy, the mother understands her role in having a good pregnancy by keeping stress down, eating the right things, and exercising properly, is half the battle. How we carry our God-given visions, dreams, or goals may determine how and what they’ll be when we deliver them. We cannot spend our pregnancy term (metaphorically speaking) carry stress, unhealthy diets (negativity, doubt, anxiety, etc) coupled with a lack of spiritual exercise (prayer and study). We must commit to doing our part to produce a healthy and productive baby.

This is not at all exhaustive of the things you can expect when you’re expecting so feel free to add to the conversation in the comment section below.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What To Expect When You're Expecting, Pt. 1

You can question any mother or pregnant woman and they would probably tell you that that there are some adjustment to life that they are required to make when they are expecting a baby. They are compelled to change their diets, get more rest, buy new clothes, and even endure the pain and discomfort that comes with pregnancy; these are just things that pregnant women expect when they’re expecting. Much like that which a pregnant woman encounters when she is expecting, when we are expecting something new or big to be delivered (metaphorically speaking) in our lives, on our jobs, in our ministries, etc., there are some things we should expect to happen and take place.

The best of us have dreams and goals that we are seeking to achieve. Whether we are dreaming of owning our own business, attaining a new degree, having children, or starting a new career; the best of us are expecting something great to happen in our lifetime. For those of us are expecting great things in our future, for those of us who are dreaming and striving for goals, for those of us who are expecting to deliver something big (be it an idea, a new ministry, a business, or career change) there are some things we should expect when we’re expecting.

First, we should expect some resistance. Nothing great or “worth its salt” is delivered or accomplished without some resistance. Oftentimes we can allow the resistance we experience to make us give up and we often view its presence as a sign that we are headed in the wrong direction. While resistance can be the result of misdirected paths, I wish suggests that resistance of any kind is simply a part of the delivery process. How do you birth a great idea, a life impacting ministry, or flourishing business without some resistance? Resistance is to be expected when you’re expecting.

Second, we should expect the rebuttal of others. Rebuttal is what one does when they are refuting or in disagreement with a statement or an issue. It’s what the Republicans do to President Obama every time he opens his mouth. Anyway…we can’t expect everyone to understand what we are carrying or about to give birth to. Therefore, people talking against your dreams and future aspirations should be expected when you’re expecting. It’s a cliché and we hear it all of the time, but it’s true “you can’t expect everyone to understand your dreams and visions because it’s not theirs.” This is part of what you should expect when you’re expecting.

How have you handled the resistance and rebuttal that can come with expecting to deliver your dreams, business, ministry, etc.? Does it appear to be worth the struggle?      

Friday, May 18, 2012

Never Underestimate the Power of the Seconds: Pt 2

Many times in life we find ourselves struggling and fighting to do everything right and/or perfect the first time. If it doesn't come out the way we planned, somehow we think we've failed. How often do we appreciate those failures, learn lessons from them, or even consider them just a "trial run"?!
The other day we talked about seconds in terms of time. Now let's talk about seconds in terms of order. Nobody likes to be second; first is usually the goal. Nobody really likes to do things a second time. Nobody wants to take the GRE a second time. Nobody wants to take that drivers test a second time. And surely nobody wants to get married a second time! First is always BETTER!!! Or so we think...
I wish to suggest that some very valuable lessons and experiences come when we are presented with second opportunities. We usually know more the second time because we've learned something from the first failed attempt. We know to put the oven on 350 degrees this time instead of 450 degrees in order to keep from burning our food. We know to stop behind the stop sign instead of in front it because stopping in front of it got us a ticket from the policeman last time. We even know to actually separate the whites from the colors so that our white clothes won't come out pink next time!
The point is this: don't underestimate the power of the "seconds". Those second opportunities enhance our knowledge bank, so to speak. They provide us with information that we may not have known before or just didn't pay much attention to. I'm not suggesting that we don't strive for excellence the first time; however, if our efforts fail, it's not the end of the world. Sometimes that second opportunity is just as important as the first. It's up to you to make the most of it by looking on the positive side and finding a lesson in the midst of your failure. Allow those second opportunities to make you better and not bitter.
How have you handled your "seconds" (as in opportunities)? Will you try to be more positive about them the next time?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Never Underestimate the Power of the Seconds: Part I

The word second is often used in reference to time and/or order. A second is a part of a minute or the next after the first. For the purpose of this blog, let’s start with the expression of a second used in time.

Boston Celtics-78… Atlanta Hawks-79… 34.7 seconds left in Game 6 of the first round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs. To the person that’s not a sports fanatic (ME!), it seems that this game is about to be over, and the Hawks are going to win. But by 30.4 seconds, the Celtics score and regain the lead over the Hawks. A difference of only 4.3 seconds causes the benediction to be given on the Hawks’ playoffs journey!

Much like this basketball game, the events of our lives can shift in a matter of seconds, literally and figuratively. We can pour a glass of water and drop the glass by the time the glass is full. We can go to visit a person in the hospital, and they can die by the time we reach the lobby. We can begin college, and the next thing we know, we’re graduating. Seconds can shift our lives for the good or bad. It’s what we do in and with the seconds in life that count.

The Celtics could have given up at 34.7 seconds, but they made the next 4.3 seconds of the game count. Choose today to make every second of your life count for something positive, something meaningful. That basketball game between the Celtics and Hawks was comprised of 60 minutes, but what really counted the most were those final seconds. Don’t wait for the “minutes” to matter. The seconds will help the minutes to matter IF you make them count!

What can you do with your “seconds” to make your “minutes” matter?

~Posted By: Shun Davenport

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Social Justice Person In Me Says…

How long will we face injustice? How long will the “authorities” be allowed to throw their weight around? How long will they (the police and government officials) demand respect and never give it. I struggle with people who are in power and always operate on a “do as I say and not as I do” trip. The police demand respect, but when they disrespect the civilians they are called to protect, we’re supposed to remain silent about it. Well, NO! Wrong is Wrong. You are wrong for shooting down our children and people in innocent blood. You are wrong for planting weapons in our homes and drugs in our neighborhoods. You are wrong for soliciting government funds to build up the poor black neighborhoods in the city only to use it for the upkeep and expansion of the already thriving suburban neighborhoods. You are wrong for stopping us at traffic lights when we’ve done no wrong and demanding to search our vehicles. You are wrong for your racial profiling. You are wrong.

I will never forget the day I was coming home from Bible Study and a police officer pulled my sister and me over because he smelled marijuana in the area. First, let me say sir we were in a black on black car and you trailed us for at least 3 blocks before you pulled us over. So…you smelled marijuana for at least 3 blocks and decided that the culprits were us, PLEASE! But, when we let down the darkly tinted windows and you saw two black girls with Bibles in their laps and strawberry slushes in their hands you decided that you’d move on. But, you were hoping to find “ray ray” and his friends, who already have records, driving this car so you can take them in because you suspected they were smoking an illegal substance…well you, sir, were wrong.

The unfortunate thing about all of this is that the police protect their own. It seems that no matter how wrong the police can be at times, their protected by rules that no one knows about until a situation happens that demands the rule be in effect. So you can kick a woman in the stomach and be protected by your own laws because apparently you’ve always had the right to do that. You can shoot down a teenager in innocent blood and be protected by your own rules because apparently you’ve always had the right to do that. You can plant drugs and drug dealers in poor black neighborhoods then raid their homes for drugs and pin a charge against them because apparently you’ve always had the right to do that. Well, when your rights mister (ßinclusively used) police officer harms, tears down, and destroys the rights of the people (African Americans in particular) then your rights need to be re-evaluated. What about our rights? I don’t know what happened to the theme of protect and serve, but…

Please note this is not an attack on all police because there are some good ones, rather this is a stand against the systemic evil that pervades the governmental structure knows as the Police Department.  

Also, note that this is not to say that everyone who is engaged by the police is innocent.

What have been some of your thoughts as you have watched issues surrounding the police departments in America come and go on your local and national news channels?  

Thursday, May 10, 2012

For Such a Time as This! Pt. 2

This morning when I woke up, I was thinking about God’s timing. I don’t know if this is a stage that you go through in your mid-20’s or if this is just life, but I do know that every day I am asking God ‘Why am I here?’, ‘What is my purpose?’, ‘And when do I move in it?’ I find myself spending a lot of time trying to discern the Will of God and very little time resting in the Will of God. I think there is a time for discerning. I believe that some seasons of our lives warrant periods of perpetual discernment. But, I also believe that there are times when we need to simply rest in the Will of God. I've found that when I’m busy seeking God’s Will for my life, I almost turn it into a game of “Hide and Seek.” I get so caught up in looking behind every tree and searching around every corner that if I’m not careful I miss God’s presence that’s right in front of me.

God is not interested in playing ‘Hide and Seek’ with us. God wants us to know His Will for our lives, but timing is important. If we consider the things God has called us to do and we think about the persons we are today, can we say that we are ready to possess it? If God put in your lap today, the thing you’ve been waiting on, how would you respond? Would God be glorified or would you? Would you be a conduit with your gift or would you hoard it for yourself? These questions are ones we must ask ourselves and consider when we’re waiting on God. Don’t rush God’s timing; allow yourself to rest in His Will and remember sometimes arriving early is just as bad as arriving late. God’s timing is PERFECT!   

If God put in your lap today, the thing you’ve been waiting on, how would you respond? Feel free to share in the comment section below.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

It's Not What It Looks Like!

Sometimes it's not working against you, but for you. Just keeping doing what you are doing. Unbroken "GOOD" habits lead to unbroken SUCCESS.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

For Such a Time as This!

For my morning devotion I read Esther chapter 4. You know the familiar text where Esther says, “If I perish, let me perish because I’m going to see the King.” You know, that one. As I was reading Esther 4 I began to read the chapters surrounding it just to get a feel for the context. I’ve read this story and heard it preached countless times, but this morning it reminded me of an encounter that I had a few days ago. Last week I had an unexpected conversation with my mentor about God’s timing. She was sharing with me her reflections from a devotional she had read earlier in the week. She talked to me about trusting God’s timing and learning to actively wait on God. These were things she had mentioned to me before and things that I’d learned just by watching her and how she operates in ministry. But, as the conversation went on she said something to me that I’d honestly never given thought to. She said, “You know it’s about more than being gifted and anointed, but there are other variables that come in to play.” She mentioned a couple of the variables that work in unison with God’s anointing, but the major component she talked about was God’s timing.

As I read the Esther story again, I realized that Esther had plenty of opportunities to approach the king about saving the Jews from extermination. After all she lived in the place. However, Queen Esther was extremely strategic in how she went about completing her task. She knew she possibly had a measure of influence because of her position in the palace, she knew that her assignment was from God, and she personally knew the person (the king) who could do something about her situation. But, in spite of all of this, I believe that Esther understood something about God’s timing that my mentor was seeking to teach me that day we talked. Esther knew that although she had position (or maybe even influence) in the palace, had a God-given purpose (to save the Jews), and knew the King, none of those variables would have mattered had she not acted at the right time. It was not until chapter 7 that Esther was able to bring her request to the king and he granted it. Who knows what the outcome could have been if she’d acted on the revelation to soon.

The point is this…Trust God’s timing. When gifts, anointing, skill, and the right time work together, then the purpose God has called you to will begin to come to fruition.     

How has your experience been with waiting on God? Please share in the commet section below...(it can be anonymous)


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Hunger Games: No Poverty Mentality!

Many of the citizens of District 12 were starving in safety. Instead of defying the odds and seeking a way out, they (the citizens) were comfortable, or at least appeared to be, with starving within the margins of comfort. However, the main character, Katniss Everdeen, knew something about poverty that the others apparently did not know. She understood that although she was in poverty she did not have to have a poverty mentality. Therefore, she trained herself to become a well skilled hunter (a skill that ultimately helped her in the future). Even if she never caught anything to feed her family for the day, she continuously went back to the field everyday to try again. Although she was in an impoverished situation in District 12, she did not allow it to affect her state of mind. She knew that her skills as hunter would eventually pay off and place her family in a better position.

The citizens of District 12 were not the only ones who suffer from a poverty mentality, but some of us do too. You don’t have to be in poverty to have a poverty mindset. A person with a poverty mindset is one who sees no future and expects nothing greater than what they already possess. I am not talking about those who are in oppressive situations and are in poverty because of systemic evils; rather, I am referring to people who have accepted their impoverished situation and though they have the power to change them, they won’t. Persons who function well in society, have degrees, got nice jobs, but still possess poverty mentalities (seeing nothing greater for themselves in the future). One thing that being comfortable where you are can do is keep you from dreaming of better and possessing it. Don’t allow your places of comfort to develop a mentality of poverty within you. What I am trying to say here is…NEVER STOP DREAMING, AND NEVER STOP WORKING TOWARDS A GREATER GOAL. Never become so comfortable with where you are because one day you may look up and realize that you have been starving in that place of safety you are in.