Seeking Sonshine

"Not all who wander are lost" – J.R.R. Tolkien

2016….The Year That Wasn’t. Except it Was.

I use Timehop and I am enjoying a 40 day streak (longest ever for me!) where I remember to check the app to see my social media and IPhone picture past from the last seven years or so. This came up a few days ago. 

Better prices and new beginnings were my hopes capping off a shocking layoff early in the year. Well, now that I am at the end of 2016, I can say that new beginnings definitely happened. I became an art and computers teacher in a junior high school. Better prices didn’t really happen. But my definition on what it meant did. I went through a health issue with my left eye that got worse before it got better over a period of months later on in 2016. I was learning to teach and trying to balance it all out. (I feel sorry for my students for having me my very first time in this field!)  But I learned that my weakness is made perfect in Him. He can sustain me and allow me to grow and learn and cultivate relationships with my students that needed to be there during key moments in both mine and their lives. He can be trusted with my health. He can be trusted with my daughter. He is our Healer. He surrounds me with His loving kindness through an incredibly caring church family. He encourages me through my family and friends. I am blessed and where I am meant to be at this time in my life. None of this was attained without cost or great loss to me in some defined quantity; but the question became what is my measure of value for life going to look like? 

Solomon could have had anything, literally ANYTHING he wanted from God. He picked wisdom. Even God Himself was so impressed with Solomon’s request that He granted it and had to give him more because his answer was just that good! Now, Solomon’s earthly father was King David. King David was no mere mortal among men. He was described in the scriptures as a man after God’s own Heart… so just throwing it out there that Solomon definitely had connections. He had to have heard the incredible stories about his father, both amazing and horrifying. After all, his dad had the ability to magnify mistakes and glories to a magnitude of 50K. Bathsheba was Solomon’s mama. She was beautiful and had lost her first baby with David due to “bad choices on David’s part.” Not really hers. She pretty much had to do what the King commanded. But still, God chose Solomon. No matter what his parents had done, Solomon loved God. And for a brief time, Solomon followed God and was an incredible vessel for His glory on this Earth. He tragically fell later and succumbed to the world. But, for a time, he was a great ruler. There are great lessons to be learned from Solomon, even today.

Loved ones were lost this year, too. It was a year full of trials for many people. We were never promised a trial free existence. We were promised joy and perseverance and that our faith would be made perfect, lacking nothing

“Possessing joy is a choice. We choose whether to value God’s presence, promises, and work in our lives. When we yield to the Spirit, He opens our eyes to God’s grace around us and fills us with joy (Romans 15:13). Joy is not to be found in a fallen world; it is only fellowship with God that can make our joy complete (1 John 1:4).”

We can choose to follow other gods like Solomon or remain in his first choice: Seek God’s wisdom in our lives. Ask for discernment in our choices. Seek and choose joy. It’s part of His yoke and it is the light part. Praise as much as you can. It is good for our souls to do it in any plight. We show the enemy that he cannot stop us from thanking our Jesus and praising His Name, no matter what he tries to throw at us. We will not give up because we believe that the name of Jesus is the most powerful name there is. And He is worth fighting for. ❤️

We are in a season to remember and celebrate His coming to Earth to save us from ourselves. May we remember that when the enemy tempts us to remember things that take our focus off the One who was born to redeem us and changes our future for eternity as well as on Earth. We remember and Rejoice!

May we choose the fullness of joy in all seasons of our lives. May we meet trials and suffering head on with this confidence. That the blood of Jesus is more powerful than any two edged sword and the name of Jesus is to be praised in 2017 and beyond. ❤️

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When It Rains

There are times in this life that test everything you have, everything you know and everything you believe. Spiritual attacks can roll into your everyday life so minor that you don’t even notice them until they build up and beat down relentlessly for a season. I visualize them as Oklahoma thunderstorms in April and May. There is a “season” that we Oklahomans know to be weather aware and smart about severe weather preparation. Supercells can spring up unexpectedly and sometimes all the warnings in the world cannot prepare you for what you are about to endure. The intensity of a situation can change in minutes. High pressure moments crashing into low emotions can create a funnel of destruction across your life in minutes. Tornado sirens are not out of the norm for me, as a native Oklahoman. However, I admit that I do feel much safer now that we have a storm shelter installed. (Except my husband never thinks we need to go down there. Even when the weatherman says to. But that’s another topic for another day! 😂😉❤️)

*Personal Note.

I faced a storm a year ago now that involved almost losing my precious then four year old daughter. If you know me very well, you would know that I spent almost all of my pregnancy with her terrified of what may come next. Would I lose her? Would I miscarry again? When is it okay to hope again? Is this my fault somehow? Could I have done more or less or changed the outcome, somehow? The enemy had a heyday with my thought life. I was so focused on the storm, I forgot to keep my eyes on Jesus. 

Until He gently and firmly reminded me to look up and remember who He was. He was the very same Jesus who healed a Roman Centurion’s daughter because of his faith in Him. He was and is the very same One whose cloak healed a very sick woman, simply because of her belief that all she needed to do was just touch His hem and she would receive restoration of life that could be found nowhere else. A timely Word reminded me that I am not in control of what happens in this life, but I know the One who promised me that He would use all things for good if I love and trust Him. 

Funny when the real stress of this life hits and your view on life is never the same as it was before. I will never forget the surrealness of those hours that December 22 or 23. I can’t remember, exactly. They ran together after that midnight, when all hell broke loose. But they couldn’t have her. No, she belonged to Jesus. And Jesus was going to heal her completely. I started thanking Him ahead of the Miracle at St. Francis Children’s Hospital. 
That’s what I refer to it as. We came in so scared and yet so confident that Jesus would meet us there and cleanse her with healing power like only He has. I had heard a sermon about this just beforehand. God is moved by our faith. He wants to know what we are willing to surrender for it. I found my way to the chapel in a beautiful building that housed these beautiful children who were all so very sick from one ailment or another. And I couldn’t help but ache for Someone to heal them. All of them. But especially my little punkin bear. And I laid everything out that I had at His feet, including everything I had been holding back. For a change.

And He gave everything back to me better. Faster. Truer. It was love, a tangible love, that He opened my baby’s eyes again and she got better and better. Jesus healed my daughter. Hallelujah!!! I will never forget how I had never experienced true gratitude or complete brokenness than I did in those moments. But, they completely changed my relationship with Christ forever. It became my faith in those moments. 

I imagine how Peter must have felt when Christ pulled him out from what had to have been a terrifying moment for him, and in an instant, total peace. No more raging waves of fear and anxiety or turmoil. All of it gone, in a heartbeat. Safety achieved, it became an iconic example of how we should navigate storms in our own lives. Whether they fall from the sky or swallow us up in seas of regret and pain, God can use ALL things for good. God is good. All the time. All the time. God is good. ❤

Photo Credits:;thunderstorm

The Cell Phone Waiting Lot of Life

I went to visit a dear friend in Atlanta a year ago today, and I saw something that I had never seen before at the airport. There was a cell phone waiting lot. This intrigued me. (Why? I have no idea) I had to find out more about this cell phone waiting lot. It sounded pretty self explanatory. It is a lot where you can park and wait to pick up a passenger without having to pay. You basically wait until your person says, “Hey, I’m here!” It is a good way to keep the traffic more clear and less congestion. Pretty good idea! I saw this at my own hometown airport and remember thinking, we have arrived! We have a cell phone waiting lot! 😂

Then God showed me that my life should resemble that of a cell phone waiting lot. 

Wait, What? (These are the profound things I hear. A cell phone lot?)

I love the way God ministers to me personally because He knows my nature is to find beauty in random things. He has a cool sense of humor. Sometimes. 😄 (Okay all the time but sometimes it isn’t as funny to me… 😉)

I think Joseph would understand living life in a cell phone waiting lot. God showed him a grand vision of his future right before he got sold into slavery by the hand of his own brothers. Waiting lot and the passenger he is waiting for is God, Himself. I want to know if Joseph ever freaked out just once. The Bible isn’t specific, but I envision it sounding like this if I were Joseph:

Jo: Um, God? Are you there God, it’s me, Joseph. (😉) Is this because I bragged about my dream to my brothers? Because they were evidently not nearly as excited as I thought they would be. God? Day 2. What is going on?!?! Seriously? Is this a joke? Day 40. God. I am sorry about the coat thing, too. Day 146. What did I do? My life is over. There is nothing left for me. My whole life is gone. 

Good thing I am not Joseph, right? God would have probably struck me down right then and there for ruining the awesome Bible Story with the cool coat guy.Who went on to become falsely accused of rape. Then, having the ultimate chance at revenge…and choosing live, a chance at family and forgiveness instead. Joseph spent a LOT of time waiting in the cell phone LOT called jail or slavery in his lifetime. Waiting for the moment God promised him in a unique way to Joseph alone. And Joseph believed. And he overcame it ALL through the one who would mirror the same savior to all humanity. 

Sometimes, I wish the Bible elaborated more and let us know how okay with this Joseph was in every moment. Because it is hard to stay humble in the lot. “But, God, I earned this promotion. We both know it.” “God, I beg of you, please get me out of this situation and I swear I will do whatever you want me to forever. Just help me this once!” “God, when is it my time? How long must I wait?” (He heard that last one from me quite a bit.) 

But maybe it is listed in the Bible only as Joseph’s overall theme, or decision, to stick to God’s plan for a reason. That is a clear point in the story. Joseph could have quit and had lots of opportunities to do so. The odds stacked against him in Potifer’s eyes, a man he respected and owed a great deal to. When the lid shut over his head and he could no longer hear the mocking or yelling of his brothers. The Bible doesn’t tell us what he thought but I can only imagine what I had been thinking if I were Joseph. And that humbles me pretty fast. My focus is too often only on what I can see. What I can prove. What my past experiences have shaped my outlook to be. But God is most concerned in our faith. What do we believe, no matter what we complain about or voice fears or concerns or anger toward? What do we believe? Because if it is circumstantial, we will never live in the peace Jesus died for us to have in our daily lives. Who wants us to live in constant worry, defeat, anxiety, live in the WHAT-ifs realm and forget about others and what God wants for us. Not Jesus. Our spiritual enemy.

Armor of God Prayer for Mornings
We must put on our armor DAILY and prepare for attacks on our minds and hearts, especially. 

We may not see the why in our situation. In some, we may never know this side of heaven. Here is what we can know:

How do we hope in the Lord, even when we are in the waiting lot of life?

Janet Eckles Article

Let’s connect to the Lord’s WiFi. #vinebrancheswifi

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The Struggle With Struggling

Today, it gets real here on the blog. I am going to talk about stuff I never talk about because I am too embarrassed to admit that I struggle. I want to be that person that never doubts God in their life. The one who never struggles with her weight or her self esteem because she has her priorities in check. That girl who has her spending under control and never has to worry about how the mortgage will get paid or if the car will be in the driveway tomorrow. I’d like to write this and pretend it’s all true and that I completely trust God and all He has done and will do. 

But I am not that person. Fact is, I do struggle and to be completely honest, I am struggling. I struggle with doubt, with decision making, with lack of discipline and worry. Sometimes on a daily basis. I can see God working in other people’s lives and my own, sometimes. So why do I doubt? Why do I make bad choices when I know better? 

Why do I keep struggling with struggles when I believe in the One who overcame struggling once and for all?

I love this image and these words. They make me stop and think. It’s hard for us to remember that the heroes of our faith never had advanced warning or assurance of the endings to their stories. (Some did, but it took years to manifest. Sarah laughed, remember?)  It is easy to imagine saying, “I would totally walk in that fiery furnace. Jesus shows up so it’s cool.” Three men said yes when the only assurance they could see was their imminent departure from this world. And they went in. The craziest part of the whole story is what they told those Babylonians!  They stated even if their God does NOT come through; even STILL they would praise and trust Him. 

Even if, still. 

Even if I cannot see a way, still I will go down the path God is leading me down. (And I will try not to be as begrudging along the way. Shadrach, I aim for your faith. Because right, I feel like a hot mess of Peter’s anxiety, Moses’ insecurity, David’s fear, Thomas’ doubt and Saul’s regret.) 

I am learning love and faith are not single decisions or grand gestures. They are daily choices that, contrary to my long held belief, have nothing to do with emotions or feelings. Maybe you need this, too.

One choice at a time. ❤️

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Good Can Turn Around Any Situation – Religious Quote

September 11, A Call to Battle

Many of us can remember exactly where we were and what we were doing on that crisp September morning, fifteen years ago. Time stood still. The unthinkable happened and we had no idea how to process it. We were under attack yet could not move. All we could do was stare at a screen for those of us not in the affected zones and pray. It felt so reactive and shook our core of safety by simply having a zip code in the United States of America. We saw the physical manifestation of the battle that had been raging and continues to rage in the spiritual realm.

No, not in the smoke. Although some believe that see it clearly above, and claim an angel here:

Let’s understand science’s reasoning for this.

“The experience of seeing patterns or connections in random or meaningless data was coined apophenia by the German neurologist, Klaus Conrad. He originally described this phenomenon as a kind of psychotic thought process, though it is now viewed as being a ubiquitous feature of human nature. Science historian Michael Shermer has called the same phenomenon patternicity. Shermer has pointed out that our brains do not include a “baloney-detection network” that would allow us to distinguish between true and false patterns.” – Bruce Poulsen, Ph.D.

“The psychological phenomenon that causes some people to see or hear a vague or random image or sound as something significant is known as pareidolia (par-i-DOH-lee-a). The word is derived from the Greek words para, meaning something faulty, wrong, instead of, and the noun eidōlon, meaning image, form or shape. Pareidolia is a type of apophenia, which is a more generalized term for seeing patterns in random data. Some common examples are seeing a likeness of Jesus in the clouds or an image of a man on the surface of the moon.” – Kim Zimmerman

The Rorschach inkblot test uses pareidolia in an attempt to gain insight into a person’s mental state.

We, as Christians, can acknowledge science’s findings, but do still choose to find a deeper meaning in life through our relationship with Christ. It is because we choose to see life through the lens of a child of God. It is who we believe we are because God’s Word says it’s who we are. 

The book of Daniel has always been one of my favorite ones because it contains so many awesome Bible stories. One lesser known one occurs in Daniel, Chapter 10.

“The prophet Daniel had received a troubling vision concerning a great war (Daniel 10:1). He went into a three-week period of mourning, fasting, and prayer. In response to Daniel’s prayer, God sent a heavenly messenger to explain the vision. However, the messenger was delayed for those same three weeks, as he explains to Daniel: “But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia” (Daniel 10:13). Later, the angel speaking to Daniel predicts further fighting: “Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince)” (verses 20–21).

I really like this article because the author  talks about how the battle is real and is happening even now. Our prayers can help change the tide of the battle.

Queen Esther and Mordecai rose against a physical prince of Persia, named Haman decades after Daniel. This article is a staunch call to prayer if there are Hamans in your life.

We can sum all of this up by recognizing that there has been spiritual warfare at least since Daniel’s time. Strategically enough, the Islamic extremists’ center seems to be located in and around what was Persia in Biblical times. We know that evil has lurked behind rulers in this world like Adolph Hitler, Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden to name a few. We know that Jesus has overcome the world and all its evil empires, plans and destruction. 

“What we KNOW (1. God is good. 2. God is good to us. 3. God is good at being God.) MUST dictate what we see, or what we see will VIOLATE what we know.” -Lysa TerKeurst Uninvited

We know God is on the throne. He knows what is going on and the truth behind why it is happening in the first place. We pray for those who are our enemies, because Jesus commanded us to. We pray for our protection and fight the spiritual battles that we have been called to fight in our lives. We give praise to the One who gives us Victory through His death and resurrection in our battles. And we remember the fallen along the way and their families. 

Because one day, the last person who remembers 9/11 will pass away. What have we left the future generations to remember and memorialize what happened that crisp September day? 

How about a winning strategy and a God who overcomes all struggles and all battles?  I don’t know what battles you are fighting today, but our enemy is the same. Let us never forget this. We can join together and fight on our knees to reclaim our circumstances, decisions, lives, towns, cities, countries and world for Jesus Christ. 

Photo Credits:

Angel and Devil on 9-11

Livin’ On A Prayer

A few weeks ago, I began my teaching career at a junior high near my hometown. It has been a roller coaster of a few weeks! 😄😁 How do veteran teachers do it? I don’t know. It is so different than the world I always knew. Corporate was safe and I was good at what I did. Then, the industry tanked, taking my office and job with it. A new chapter in my life opened up and I finally chose what I (and my awesome family and friends) prayed for and sought after for a little over a year. Yay! Thank you, Jesus! Now, how exactly am I supposed to do this and be an example and mentor to students? God, You still equip the called…right? Because…I kind of have a lot riding on that verse… 😉

It’s HARD. Hard because I am SO outside my comfort zone and doing nothing like I am accustomed to. I am not used to relying on God to show up so heavily. There, I admit it. If you looked at my choices in my life, you would probably see the pattern of a tendency to depend on myself to get things done. I know what I am capable of doing, pretty much. I recently, in the past 10 months or so, have realized for the first time (sadly) on a soul changing level that Jesus handles things better than I do. I am hard headed, okay? He has been there all this time and doing it anyway on my behalf. (Again, thank you awesome family and friends for your prayers) And here I was thinking I was so awesome and then there goes the rug right out from under me. 😁

I can get such tunnel vision consumed with whatever projects I am trying to complete at a time. It is maddening. My schedule is ridiculous. Satan’s trick is keeping me snowed under with opportunities that seem amazing all the time. Key word…seem. Not that all things are bad, they could be volunteering for a wonderful cause. However, added to a full plate already can make me feel stretched and ineffective at everything I am doing. And I forget the why behind what I am doing. Oh, and during this time, Satan also likes to help me not get enough sleep and usually throw a virus or two my way after it hits the kids. Yes. It has to be him.  Pure evil. 😈

I am more like Martha than Mary. I get worried about the details and what people might think about me so much, that it influences my actions more than connecting with people.  And seeking/following my purpose and calling. Instead, I ask for approval and favor from those that I hold in high esteem. But that is not what the heart of Jesus looks like. We are supposed to love people. Regardless of where they are in life or where we are in life. That means even when we are exhausted and weary. And when the other person is rude and clearly in the wrong (and needs Jesus in their lives, right? 😂). We need to refuel on God’s Word to help us. Approval from others, promotions and good intentions don’t even come close to finding the verse you needed right then to calm your soul at a pivotal moment. Those other things are good, but they are not sustaining. They have a shelf life that frequently expires. No matter what we do, the greatest thing we can do is love.  

Jesus said it and it is in red, so that means it’s legit. 😇 Then Paul said it, so you KNOW it’s the real deal. 🙌🏻

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” (1 Corinthians 1:1–3)

If I teach these kids everything I know, it would not be enough without love. The love and patience is there supernaturally. Because I teach 7th and 8th graders, ya’ll. Enough said. (I would NEVER want to be that age again, especially in this day and age of recording and sending EVERYTHING!)

So…we look to God and ask Him for wisdom. Solomon is a man in the Bible that didn’t always make the best decisions (much like his dad, King David). But one thing he got right that made him realize what life was truly worth was asking for God’s wisdom to speak to him. 

Solomon. He completed the temple and brought Israel to the world as a powerful nation as a wise leader who had favor with God.  And then, he broke the very same kingdom because of his inability to resist temptation. His mom was Bathsheba and his dad was David. So, maybe it is not 100% his bad??

During his (King Solomon’s) reign he made Israel a world power and great wealth flowed into the kingdom. He had such great wisdom from God that people came from distant lands to here him. He taught many proverbs and wrote Ecclesiastes and Songs. Yet Solomon did more than any other king to break down the kingdom and to destroy its true foundations. His biggest mistake was in disobeying God by taking many wives, and marrying the daughters of foreign kings. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines. He allowed them to build altars to “Astarte” (Ishtar in Babylonia and Astoreth in Phoenicia) the fertility goddess and other pagan gods.

Let’s embrace this today, or at least take one step in that direction. Keep going when it’s hard. Trust in Jesus and His calling for our lives. Embrace our gifts and use them for the kingdom. Solomon inspires us to seek wisdom and continue seeking it, especially when we have temptation to quit. We are modern day Esthers and we are meant for a time such as this. ❤️

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Heavenly Shades of Grey

I met Amanda at SheSpeaks 2016. Her writing is so beautiful and from the heart. ❤️ Love this!

Miss Amanda K

Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

“Are you wearing THAT?!”

My mom grimaced as she took in the image of my not so modest hemline.

“Isn’t it cute?!”

I ignored her and redirected her focus to the beautiful blue and purple floral design adorning my body.

“Yes, I love the flowers but there’s just not much to it honey”.

She was right. It was mid-August and I used the southern summer heat as an excuse to wear a romper that was a couple flowers too short.

Even though I knew this particular outfit wasn’t something a Christian woman should strut around town in, there were other times when the answer didn’t seem so clear. Modesty is a matter of opinion after all. Why wasn’t there a sidebar to the Ten Commandments that said “Thou shalt not wear rompers…

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Happily Ever After – Part 3 of 3

“Happily Ever After” were three of my most favorite words growing up. Back then, it meant that everything worked out in the end and everyone was happy! ❤️ The story that was being told was over, and this was closure for us kids. Somehow, this Disney ending worked its way into my brain as an achievable goal at some point in time. It began to set itself up as a standard for me to achieve or a destination to arrive upon. Our enemy loves to distort our lives with pictures from his deadly arsenal of comparison. 

Comparing with others is an absolute guarantee for failure. Someone who understood the importance of comparing with a “God Lens” instead of a worldly one makes all the difference in the world. 

I love this particularly great article that features Gideon in detail.
It really spoke to me where I am at right now. 

“…fear doesn’t make you a weak leader, but it’s what you do in spite of fear that makes you a great leader!” – Debbie Kitterman

It is hard to step out into the unknown. So many voices of doubt and fear. If only getting rid of fear was a one time forever deal, am I right? It is a myriad of choice after choice trying to hear God’s footsteps and follow in the right direction. Every step we can. (I am pretty sure He accounts for us running back the other direction sometimes!) 

It’s all about our heart. Not our feelings. Not our emotions. Not even logic, sometimes. God defies all human expectations. We have to accept that to some degree and stop trying to treat Him like a genie who grants wishes or a punching bag when we need one. (I am definitely including myself in the “we” referenced above. 😄)

Gideon sought the Lord prior to battle. Not as a last resort that all you have left is prayer… When you look at what you have to conquer and you forget Who is in you to help out, it makes any task seem impossible. Overwhelming. Unachievable. But, when we remember who is in us, we realize we only need 300 soldiers with God instead of 32,000.

“Gideon begins his leadership with religious reform in his own household by destroying idols worshipped by his own family and the local community. A brave act at the time, requiring the cover of darkness. The most memorable part of Gideon’s story is his “putting out the fleece,” seeking validation of God’s direction prior to proceeding into battle. Once Gideon is assured, God pares his army down from 32,000 to a mere 300. God again gives Gideon confidence by allowing him to overhear a conversation expressing fear in the Midianite camp. The attack ensues with a victory for God through Gideon’s leadership. Gideon leads many more successful battles, freeing Israel from the nomad invasion. The Israelites desire to give Gideon and his family a royal appointment over the nation. Gideon refuses saying, “the Lord will rule over you” (Judges 8:23). Now if the story had ended here, Gideon would go down in history as a flawless leader. However, truth prevails in God’s Word and the rest of Gideon’s story is less praiseworthy.

Here are the business lessons I take away from this story:
Ordinary people can do extraordinary things when we follow God’s lead.

We need to enter the battlefield with a pure heart.

God gives us assurance and encouragement when we need and ask for them.

Power corrupts.

Our legacy is not dependent on battles won today, but rather living life with integrity and going the distance with God.” – Jim Mullaney

Sometimes, actually doing the tasks and being obedient is so much easier than we told ourselves it would be when we put it off over and over. (Not speaking from experience or anything…😉)

It’s time. Let’s do this. Let’s step out into our calling with JOY and a heart of gratitude for giving us the gift of another day to make a difference where we are. ❤️
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The Dangers of Comparison | Four Tips to Overcome the Trap

The Plot Twists – Part 2 of 3

There is something comforting about knowing that great heroes of faith dealt with some pretty epic plot twists of their own. We, the reader, know these stories from beginning to the end. Sometimes, we forget or neglect that the individuals living the story out in real time are not privy to the end of the story. Their decisions were not based on the outcome. They  don’t know about the twists in their life that are yet to be unfolded. 

We, on the other hand,  base their choices on knowing the end result. The people living it only had the information in their own here and now for them to rely on. When the whale swallowed Jonah, I’ll bet he never saw himself sitting in a dark, smelly, unheard of place one day. I’ll bet Job never forgot the last kiss he gave his daughter before she died. I’ll bet Mary and Martha felt enormous grief as all their hope slipped away just like Lazarus’ fingers had just done from their grasp. He was gone. They mourned that Jesus had not shown up in time. 
But what does God do if He knows we are going to choose something that is not the way He imagined? Pretty sure He already knows and based on Him seeing the main plot line in my life, works it for His good.  He knew I would fail my test. He knows that I will soon pass it when I choose to retake it. (Hopefully it will only take one more time.) Problem. Disappointment. Failure. Not Enough. Did not pass.

These moments come now and will continue to come in the future, sometimes unexpectedly. How we react and recover are up to us.

First, we must ask for discernment to discover what we are experiencing this for: Is it something I brought on myself (consequence of choices), is it unfair and unreasonable? What is the determined root cause of this problem? 

Sometimes we require these moments because we need to listen, comprehend and apply what God is trying to tell us. He has to reach us at a level that will change us forever if we choose to let ourselves be used to change the world. 

Sometimes, it may be because we are on the  wrong  path and we need to turn around and make an exit. 

Sometimes, it is to build patience, obedience, perseverance and authenticity in our own each individual faith journey. This should be out goal:

2 Timothy 4:7 International Children’s Bible (ICB)

7 I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.

We must be diligent in prayer and praise. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Hard to make that verse personal to you when you only operate in the realm of your comfort zone. Why would you need Jesus if you got this, man? 

We must discern if the difficulties we encounter are worth the calling or the investment. Because they could be a sign that we are about to make big mistakes, or they could be spiritual opposition attacks on your calling. Here is a sample checklist to run through for your consideration)

1. What kind of problem am I experiencing? Can I identify the source? (Consequences of choices I made, deserved, undeserved, the motivation behind this problem is bigger than me) Or, is it a spiritual attack on someone’s calling?

2. Have I done something or opened a door to become vulnerable to anything unholy or unacceptable? 

3. What lessons are God implementing in my life through the plot twists that appear? 

4. Do I truly believe He can do this? Really? Do you?

Pray. Ask for whatever you need in His Father’s Name. (He already knows you need it, anyways.) Lord, is this mountain climbable for me? Are You going to move it, or should I go around it? What is your plan and what is my role? 

Then, we wait until we get our answers. We may not ever get them. (Positivity, right!) Seek wisdom out. Be wise. Don’t let a good mistake get away without learning something valuable. 
Define your opposition and recognize the strategy. 

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