Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Small Beginnings Are the Best Beginnings!

Sometimes we can be guilty of looking so far into the future, dreaming about what we’ll become or what we can do, that we miss what’s right in front of us (Yes, guilty party speaking here). In a recent conversation I had with someone, we were talking about trying to make the most of our opportunities. We mentioned how you can’t overlook what is in front of you seeking to get to what you presume is better. How often do we allow our future thoughts to hold captive our present opportunities? By this I mean we often spend time trying to get to “our future” and become what we have set out to be, that we miss the small and seemingly insignificant opportunities that prepare us for our much anticipated future.

            The Bible asks this question, “Who despises the day of small things?” (Zech 4:10) And so I simply come to remind us today not to take for granted the day of small beginnings. While you are rushing to be the CEO/President of your brand new business or organization, remember to be faithful where you are and learn all that you can learn there. When you are planning your next big move thinking it will get you to the place you’ve been dreaming of, remember to thank God for the path that you are already on and thank God for the lessons you’ve already learned. One thing I am certain of: you will need the lessons in your future that you will learn from your small beginnings. So despise not the day of small beginnings because YOUR SMALL BEGINNING COULD BE YOUR BEST BEGINNING.    

Monday, June 18, 2012

Your Morale Can Dictate Your Momentum

Anybody that has ever played on a sports team will tell you that individual and team morale makes a difference. If there is negative energy surrounding the team or the team’s goal, it can have a negative impact on the team’s momentum or outcome. If there is a negative component or obstacle that the team is facing, the team will make every effort to find the problem and get rid of it because they know that in sports momentum is everything. They also understand that morale can, and sometimes will dictate their momentum.

Morale by definition is the emotional or mental condition of a person with respect to their cheerfulness, confidence, or zeal in the face of opposition, hardship, and trials. For the culture we currently live in, it is easy to see how morale dictates the outcome of many. Since morale is heavily based on emotions and feelings, it becomes more apparent as to why many people have no momentum in their endeavors.

For instance, those who are searching for new jobs, careers, or other future ventures must maintain good morale during the process. If their morale is low often times their momentum and sticktoitiveness is diminished as well. Those who are waiting on certain prayers to be answered by God must remain emotionally stable and consistently in prayer lest they lose momentum and grow discouraged. The Apostle Paul put it this way to the Corinthians, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Cor. 4:18).     

There is no doubting that life has a way of impacting our morale and attempting to dictate our momentum. But, Paul’s words to the Corinthians are indicative of how necessary it is to keep our eyes on God and not on our situations. What we see can often be misleading and if we are not careful we will end up being led by our feelings and morale and ultimately losing our momentum. Fix your eyes on what is unseen (God) today and keep your morale positive and your positive morale will yield positive momentum.  
How have you seen morale dictate momentum or the outcome of a situation in your life or in the lives of others?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Your Valley, and Their Bones!

For the last week or so I have been reading and mediating on Ezekiel 37. I’ve read this chapter several times before, but lately when I read it I have a hard time getting past the first verse. It reads, “The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones.” However, I recommend that you read the entire chapter when you get a chance. But, the first verse, at least for me, is indicative of seasons that I’ve been in as I’ve walked with God; and I simply want to share some encouraging words that I have gleaned from this text.   

One of the reasons I write, or attempt to write so many encouraging blogs is because people are going through some tough seasons in their lives and honestly writing encouraging things helps me get through my own rough seasons. The Christian journey with God is not linear; rather it goes up and down and as we walk with God we will find ourselves on top of some mountains (seasons where things in our lives tend to prosper) at one point and nestled in some valleys (seasons where we encounter trials) at another, it is simply a part of walking with God. But let’s be clear about one thing, the valleys that God allow us to be in are never intended to destroy us, but only to grow us and strengthen our relationship with God. Likewise, the mountain tops that we experience are not moments for us to relax in our relationship with God, but they are moments to be used to draw others to the foot of the cross. Having said that, for those of us who have been in or are currently in a valley experience I believe we’re in good company.

The prophet Ezekiel is in a valley when God speaks to him and commands him to make the dry bones live. The interesting thing about God’s command to Ezekiel is not that God wants him to speak life to the dry bones, but God wants him to speak life to the dry bones while he’s in the valley. What’s even more interesting is that these bones don’t belong to Ezekiel, they represent the house of Israel (a stubborn people). So not only does God tell Ezekiel to command the dry bones to live in the midst of a valley, but the bones don’t even belong to Ezekiel.

How often have you had to speak life into others in the midst of your own valleys? How many times has God commanded you to do something in the midst of your valley that didn’t make sense, wouldn’t benefit you, and was causing you to be stretched? Truthfully speaking, our valleys can become so dark and dismal that any command from God that is not centered on getting us out of our valleys can seem ridiculous. But, I wish to suggest that these commands from God to tend to someone else’s dry bones are used to minister to us in the midst of our valleys. Sometimes God is simply trying to grow us up. Sometimes our valley experiences are not about us, but about the God we can glorify and the people we can help while we’re in the midst of our valleys. I’ll say to you what my Pastor told me once, “You may want to give up because you’re hurt, but somebody else may be on the verge of dying…so you have to play while you’re hurt.” Keep speaking and tending to someone else’s dry bones in the midst of your valley, and watch God bring you both back to life.

What are some ways you can see your valley experience glorifying God?