Friday, November 25, 2016

Giving Thanks 365 Days A Year

We celebrated the holiday of Thanksgiving yesterday with family and friends most of us praying for the blessings we have received.  We then sat down to a great meal which many of us were fortunate to have.  That meal reminded me of a commitment I made  to be less self serving and more of a servant to others.  That commitment is captured eloquently by the following quote from Nelson Mandela:

"We pledge ourselves to liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination."

Thanksgiving is a not simply a day to give thanks, but to a day in which we should all remind ourselves of the hope we have and should continue to have at a time where for many, things may seem hopeless.  As a Christian I believe that faith without works is dead, in other words our actions speak to how committed we are to our faith.  It is what each of us does each and every day to address the poverty within our communities, the suffering many are enduring from the youngest to the oldest, and the discrimination many are facing because of the color of their skin, their particular gender, and even the uniform they wear that helps eliminate hopelessness.  Living this way each and every day is truly an act of Thanksgiving we should all practice.

Imagine the impact we would have on the world if we committed ourselves to doing more for others than ourselves, to loving unconditionally thus approaching others in a spirit of love instead of condemnation.  The Christ in which I believe did not come to condemn the world but to open a door called grace, unmerited favor, through which anyone could enter into the hope of salvation, new beginnings, and an unquenchable desire to love and care for others.

Our faith and love for others can help move them from hopelessness to hopefulness.  In Colossians Chapter 1, verses 3 to 5, we are reminded that faith and love spring up from hope.  It is in the hopefulness each of us have for a tomorrow that is brighter and better for all, that we can then practice a faith and love that touches the lives of those around us helping them to have hope.  Let’s celebrate Thanksgiving every day as a reminder of all we have to be thankful for and how we can inspire hope in others.  Just a little advice to go.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Blending In Versus Standing Out!

As a child my parents always encouraged me to do my best, to make sure I stood out. Throughout my educational and work experiences I've always strived to stand out and be the best I can be. I have received a lot of accolades throughout my professional career having achieved a number of firsts, particularly during my career with the Rochester Police Department. But standing out produced a temporary moment of satisfaction that quickly faded away.

Today, I work at Haven for Hope serving those experiencing homelessness and have come to realize that the greatest challenge is not to stand out, but to blend in. Working to make our 22 acre campus the best it can be, means blending in with each of the staff that help make it a place of excellence. If that means picking up a mop and cleaning a mess, cleaning the bathrooms, picking up garbage, taking time to speak with a client when you don't have the time, addressing the need of a co-worker who simply needs to be heard or any of the many other critical functions necessary to make Haven for Hope a place of excellence, then that is what I need to do.

No longer do I feel the need to stand out, but instead want to blend in with those who work to make Haven a place of excellence. If you are wondering what changed, it was the realization that I was not following the leadership model of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He was a great leader not because he worked to stand out, but rather because he blended in. He blended in with the crowd wearing the same clothes, eating the same foods, sitting at the same table, and living the same simple lifestyle. He loved each individual in spite of who they were or what their sins were. He chose a team that reflected many of the same challenges of those he seeked to serve. His team reflected the shortcomings of those in the crowd and teaching them made it easy for them to teach others. He saw no need to stand out, not even during his crucifixion where he simply asked God to forgive those who in their ignorance crucified him.

I recently read a Pray Fit devotional that spoke about the leader that blends in with the team. It referenced the sport of baseball as one of the few sports where the leader blends in with his team. The coach wears the same exact uniform as the players, he truly blends in with the team. He sits or stands in the same dug out and leads his team by blending in with them and not trying to stand out from them or to stand up above them. While there is nothing wrong with being outstanding in whatever you do, I would suggest it is better to blend in with those you lead and serve then to stand out. Just a little advice to go!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Why I Celebrate My Weakness!

The secular world defines weakness from several perspectives such as only weak people allow someone to insult them without responding, allow someone to shove them without shoving back, cry instead of "taking it like a man",  fail to speak up when they disagree with the boss, etc.  Given this definition you might wonder why anyone would celebrate weakness, the answer is really quite simple, it is all in how you define the word.   

My redefinition of the word weakness means insults don't trigger my ego, instead they draw my concern for the person doing the insulting.  People who get physical in a confrontation are people I need to back away from and do my best to de-escalate rather than engage.  Crying is a method of releasing emotion whether joyful or sorrowful; real men cry and so do real women.  When it is time to speak up, I don't shy away but I also don't let my emotions rule over me.  I speak up when it is appropriate and I do so in a respectful and caring way.  What others see as weakness, I redefine as strength.  

My faith in Christ has taught me that if we let our emotions rule us, we are in the flesh and often that means out of control.  When we are in the spirit, we recognize what God teaches us in his word, specifically that it is in our weakness that we are made strong. Understanding the weaknesses of the flesh, enables us to turn them into strengths.  We can then delight in the midst of the insults, hardships, persecutions and difficulties of life.  For when we are weak, then are we strong.  Just a little advice to go! 

(2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9-10‬ ‭NIV‬‬)

Sunday, October 9, 2016

True Love!

What is true love? Is it the love you have for the person you are most intimate with, for the little ones you have birthed into this world, the parents who in so many ways contributed to who you have become, or the career path which you have traveled overcoming obstacles to achieve success? We can all ponder our many life experiences to come up with our own definition of true love. What is your definition?

In the first book of Corinthians chapter 13 we are provided with a biblical definition exemplifying true love. It describes love as patient, kind, unenvious, unboastful, unwilling to dishonor others, not self seeking, not easily angered, willing to forget wrongdoings, rejoiceful in truth, protectful, trusting, hopeful, perservering, and most importantly, never failing. Wow, how much have I loved and yet not truly loved...

In my Christian walk, I depend on faith; the ability to rest assured in what I believe even when it seems unbelievable. I also depend on hope, which guides my day to day attitude and directs my attention to that which aligns with God's word. Finally, I depend on love which SHOULD engulf every action I take. I say should because people often challenge my ability to demonstrate true love.

Whether at work or home, my failure to practice patience, kindness, humility, forgiveness, and selflessness diminishes my ability to practice true love. If I am not careful, I could find myself becoming bitter, angry, self centered, unfulfilled, condeming, blameful, unforgiving, and unloving. This is not who I want to be and definitely not who God wants me to be. So I am determined to faithfully believe in the unbelievable, approach each day full of hope, and love unconditionally in an effort to practice true love. Because in the end, God's word reminds me that three things will last forever: faith, hope, and love. The greatest of these is Love, because love never fails! That is my definition of true love, what is yours? Just a little advice to go!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Completely Yours!

Completely yours, do we truly understand what that means?  It means making a complete commitment to honor, serve and unconditionally love your family, your spouse, your friends and those you serve each day.  It means sacrificing yourself for those you have committed to even if they fail to keep their commitment to you.

Being completely yours to so many requires balancing those relationships and ensuring that you do not become overly committed to one and under committed to another.  It takes practice, hard work, and a daily effort to honor those to whom you have made this commitment.

As a Christian, I know God has committed to be completely mine and that has been life changing.  My efforts in committing to be completely yours to others aligns with honoring his example of self-sacrifice. Today, I once again commit to be completely yours to God, family, friends, and those I serve each day! Will you make a completely yours commitment?  Just a little advice to go!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Stop Letting Your Emotions Get the Best of You!

At one time or another we have all engaged in a discussion about a person's intelligence quotient; their I.Q.  The score is based on a standardized test that assesses an individual's intelligence as compared to their peers.  A score of 100 means you are of average intelligence and those with scores that are higher have above average intelligence.  IQ is used to determine academic abilities and identify individuals who are extremely smart or who have mental challenges as demonstrated by significantly lower I.Q. scores than their peers.

While I.Q. is important, research indicates that a person's emotional intelligence, EI, is even more important.  A person's inability to control their emotions will compromise their intellect and often lead to poor decision making.  EI is also a better indicator of success in the workplace and helpful in identifying good team players, people who work better independently, and individuals who can perform well as leaders.  

Understanding EI is critical to our Christian walk and how we live our lives each and every day.  There are five elements of EI which I practice on a daily basis and often share with those seeking to improve their lives.  Here they are:

1. Self-awareness-We must be aware of our emotional state and how it is impacted by those around us.  Knowing how we feel enables us to control how those feelings impact our treatment of others.  For leaders it means knowing your strengths and weaknesses so you are in the best position to help lead your team.  

2. Self-regulation-Regulating our emotions means we are in control, able to treat others fairly, to temper our comments, and to ensure we are making good decisions.  It means we are clear on our personal values and committed to living by them even if it costs us.  When all else fail, we can remember God's word assures us we are never alone in our battles.  He stands with us!

3. Motivation-It is critical we stay motivated even in the difficult times.  Our faith motivates us to move forward inspite of the challenges we face.  We set goals, identify objectives, set timelines, and move forward.  Motive checking is critical; we should always be certain that we are being movitvated towards a course of action for the right reasons, with humility and the best interest of the team in mind.  Our motives should always align with the values and principle by which we live.  

4. Empathy-We always need to put ourselves in the other person's shoes if we are truly seeking to understand them.  Perhaps their emotions have gotten the best of them, has that never happened to you?  How then should you respond?  Many will offer the golden rule here, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  I prefer the platinum rule, do unto others better than you would have them do unto you; go above and beyond.  Mean it!

5. Social skills-This one seems simple, but we often fail at it.  Practice great communication which means speaking to people with sincere concern for what they have to say, even if you don't like the message.  Anyone can be positive when the news is good, but it takes a true leader to stay positive when the news is bad.  Rather than become defensive, try being defenseless.  Listen to what others have to say with a commitment to resolving conflicts in a fair and just manner.  Make it a point to celebrate those around you, just as God celebrates his children each and every day.  

Emotional Intelligence is something we can improve by being aware of it, practicing it, and learning as much as we can about it.  The greater your emotional intelligence the less chance you will have of letting your emotions get the best of you.  Just a little advice to go!

(For a more in depth understanding of this topic, read Dr. Travis Bradberry's book-Emotional Intelligence 2.0 or Dr. Daniel Goleman's book-Emotional Intelligence)

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Global Leadership Summit: The Lenses of Leadership

(Resending this one, I cleaned up the errors for those who want to reuse it.  Thanks!)

This past week, I attended the Global Leadership Summit (GLS) which is comprised of two days of leadership talks which are empowering to say the least. For the first time ever, the GLS was held at the Haven for Hope Campus so that 200 clients who are working to overcome homelessness and a 100 staff could be a part of this great event. It is a Christian leadership summit and clearly impacted many of the more than 300 participants.

One of the sessions was presented by Pastor Bill Hybels the founder of the GLS and pastor at Willow Creek Community Church in Barrington, Illinois. He spoke about the four lenses of leadership which I believe are critical to being a good leader.  Here is a synopsis of his Four Lenses of Leadership: 

1. Passion Lens-A good leader must understand the importance of passion and the impact it has on those we lead. It can energize and sustain those on our team when it comes to getting them on board with the vision of the organization. A leader must sustain his or her passion if they are to be effective. Sustaining passion requires overcoming the obstacles that diminish passion, utilizing those obstacles as motivators or ignitors to re-energize one's passion. "A passionate leader + energized followers = an unstoppable force" (Bill Hybels).

2. People Lens-We are all susceptible to having our people lenses clouded by the experiences of the past. Bad people experiences can cloud our judgment thus we must be careful to wipe our lens clean to avoid the improper view of the people that work with us. "Leaders must love what God treasures--People" (Bill Hybels).

3. Performance Lens-Maintaining top performance is a critical responsibility of each leader and requires a sincere commitment to excellence. At Willow Creek Community Church, the focus is placed on three critical areas: Thriving, Healthy, and Performance. You want your people to thrive and grow, to know that they are doing well and to know you see it, and you want to help those who need to improve, do better. Help them know they are thriving and healthy and if underperforming, that they have your support with improving their performance.

4. Legacy Lens-What will people remember about your leadership once you have moved on? When you look back, what do you see and how does it make you feel? As Christian leaders, we want to make sure that people remember we led with love and compassion; that we honored God. This doesn't just apply to our leadership at work, but in our home, marriages, and families. We must ensure that work doesn't overly consume our lives causing us to be poor leaders in the other critical areas. What will your legacy be? Is it too late to change your legacy?

I'll close with Pastor Hybel's example of a biblical character who in an instance changed his entire legacy. Of the two thieves who were crucified with Christ ridiculed him while the other proclaimed that Christ unlike he, was innocent. That second thief even went so far as to own up to his mistakes and to ask for Christ's forgiveness. In that moment Christ forgave him and assured him that soon he would join Christ in heaven before God almighty. The thief's faith in Christ instantly changed his legacy, he is remembered as the repentant thief who in his last moments, believed! Wow, what a legacy transition.

These four lenses provide each of us the opportunity to become the types of leaders that impact people with the grace and love God has shown us. Just a little advice to go!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

What Does Your Judgment Say About You?

Yes we all judge others for one reason or another, let's just put that right out there. Sometimes we do it with good intentions, like when we are interview ing someone for a job and try to judge whether they are a suitable candidate for the positoin. That is not the type of judgment that becomes a problem, it is when we pass judgment for the wrong reasons; like when the person doesn't let you drive into the next lane and you know you have to because you'll miss your exit. What an idiot! Oops there are I go, passing judgment on the moron in the other vehicle. Of course, that person has probably concluded that I'm a bigger moron because I waited until the last minute to switch lanes. Sometimes we judge others by their outer appearance drawing conclusions based on superficial information without truly knowing anything about who they are. Other times, we judge based on the rumors we hear about the person drawing conclusions without any facts. Often we judge based on stereotypes that diminish the humanity of the other person, whether we want to admit it or not.

It is critical that we as believers do our best NOT to judge others unfairly, but rather to practice the same compassion, care and forgiveness that Christ provides each of us. As believers we abide by his word which reminds us that we should not judge, if we don't want to be judged; not condemn, if we don't want to be condemned; and forgive, if we too want to be forgiven. How we judge others speaks to who we are and thus begs the question, what does your judgment say about you? Perhaps we should ask ourselves that question more often. Just a little advice to go!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Don't Worry, Be Happy!

Many of us will recall the 1988 Bobby McFerrin hit song, "Don't Worry, Be Happy" which encouraged us not to worry and simply be happy. Long before Bobby McFerrin's use of the phrase, God encouraged us not to worry in Matthew 6: 25-34. His word tells us not to worry about food, clothing, or anything else. He reminds us that in Christ, all these things are provided for and worrying about them is unnecessary. If he provides for the least, he will provide for us.

Worrying worsens the situation and jeopardizes our well being. There are approximately 350,000,000 people globally who suffer from some type of depression indicating that it is more common amongst people in general than we recognize. More than 11% of children in the United States will experience some type of depression before the age of 18 and about 30% of U.S. college students have had their education interrupted because of some episode of depression. For many, that depression stems from fear and worry, two things that God encourages us to resist. His word makes it clear that we need to stop worrying and being afraid; we need to learn to rejoice in the midst of the storm. He provides us Christian professionals and doctors who can help support us if our fear and stress become overwhelming, all resources we should willingly take advantage of.

God's word sets the expectation for us when it states in Philippians 4:4, "Rejoice in the Lord, always; and I again I say rejoice." It goes on to say in Philippians 4:7, "And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." His joy, peace, and understanding enables each of us to say don't worry, be happy! Just a little advice to go!

Monday, July 4, 2016

What is Praise?

Praise can be defined in many ways, but here are a few of my favorites:

Praise is a song to god, not just about God.  It thanks him for his divine nature and focuses our hearts on him.

Praise enables us to thank God for his gift of grace, his unmerited favor; it is a demonstration of our gratitude for the relationship we have with him.

Praise provides us with time to acknowledge him and in turn become better acquainted with him.

Praise is an act of submission in recognition that he is Lord and that it is through him we are forgiven and able to triumph over sin.

Praise is an opportunity to focus your thoughts on God and to remember that your motivation to praise him is not based on the good things or the bad things you are experiencing, but because you love him unconditionally,

Praise is an act of demonstrating that you are rooted in your faith and trust in God, so much so that you will stand firm in your praise regardless of the storms that may come.

Praise is your opportunity to overcome self pity and doubt, to proclaim your willingness to trust God even when you may feel forgotten or forsaken.

Praise is your willingness to surrender your control to God and never take it back, to never steer away from his direction and plan for your life.

Praise is you willingness to surrender your pain and grab hold of joy!

Praise is never ending in our walk towards victory in Christ!

Praise the Lord!  Just a little advice to go!

Friday, June 24, 2016

I Cry!

I CRY today as I think of how we as believers, those called to walk in the ways of Christ, fail to reflect the values and love of Christ.

I CRY when put our personal interests and selfish desires over the needs of another.

I Cry because we are so willing to hurt others without coming to a point of recognizing we are wrong, asking for God’s forgiveness and the forgiveness of the person we have hurt.

I CRY when we are so willing to judge and condemn others, despite God’s call to us to not judge so we will not be judged.  Where is this thing we call unconditional love?

I CRY because we fail to recognize the value of bending our knees before our heavenly father and crying with him; asking for his strength, wisdom, direction, love and forgiveness.

I CRY because God’s awesomeness overwhelms me with the joy of knowing how much he loves us despite of our hurts and flaws.  His grace is sufficient and able to turn our tears of sorrow into tears of joy.  Hallelujah!

I CRY because our God is an Awesome God!  To God Be The Glory! Just a little advice to go!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Everybody Matters!

In God's eyes all people matter and are important to him; he loves everyone unconditionally. In fact, we matter so much that he gave his only begotten son as the ultimate sacrifice so that whomsoever would believe in him would not perish but be saved by His grace. He was intentional about providing us the opportunity to simply repent and be saved. God may hate sin, but he doesn't hate sinners. His son did not come to condemn the world, but so that through his sacrifice the world would be saved. His word acknowledges that we all fall short of God's glory because we are all sinners; believers are simply sinners who have taken hold of God's forgiveness.

Anyone can love the lovable, but it takes a true believer to love the least lovable person. God's word calls on us in 1 Peter 2:17 to Honor all people and love the believers. While God asks us to love those who believe as we do, he does not stop there; he goes on to ask that believers honor all people, regarding them with great respect in spite of who they are or what they believe. We are to love others unconditionally, because everyone matters! Just a little advice to go!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Prove It!

Imagine if someone asked you to prove it; to prove that you truly love Christ. What would your answer be? Perhaps you would respond by stating that you give your tithes, you attend church regularly, you feed the poor, you visit the sick, you visit the prisons, you go on mission trips, and/or you minister on the streets. The potential list of answers goes on and on, but is that truly proof of your love for Christ. We know that we are not saved by our works, but by his grace; but that doesn't preclude our responsibility as believers to do his work.

Each and everyone of us has a calling that Christ has placed in the depths of our hearts. It is a calling ignited by our willingness to submit to the direction of the Holy Spirit. All of us have work to perform, not because it gets us to heaven, but as evidence that our faith is founded in the reality of Christ. We need to speak about our faith in Christ whenever the opportunity allows or even when it doesn't. We need to be willing to stand against the crowd, particularly when they are heading in the wrong direction; away from Christ. We need to ensure that we never deny Christ and always proclaim him as our Lord and Savior. We need to make sure others understand our faith and why we believe in the miracle of Christ. We need to take notice of needs others have and provide for them to help sustain them much as Christ would sustain each of us.

The best proof of our faith is living it each and every day. The evidence of God's mercy should resound from each word we speak demonstrating that regardless of the challenges we face, God will prevail. Our every action and every word should testify to the reality that Christ is our Lord and Savior. Just a little advice to go!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Christian Minimalist

Minimalism is a life style choice, one we as believers need to become intimately acquainted with.  If Christ has taught us anything, it is that when he calls we should surrender all and follow him.  This means committing ourselves completely to him without worry of holding on to our worldly possessions.  I'm not suggesting we take to living on the streets but rather that we focus on the "intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that detracts from it."   In other words not living in the culture of consumption, but focusing on doing everything to align with God's commandment that we love our neighbor as ourselves; that we focus our efforts on caring for those in need.  

Reducing our possessions to the things that really matter, the essentials; enables us to be in a position to provide for those who have far less than we do.  Imagine if we stopped purchasing the latest technological gadget (this one applies to me), another article of clothing that will sit in the closet perhaps going unused for some time, another pair of shoes because three brown pairs are never enough, another decoration for the house as if we have any more wall space, and so forth.  As believers, we cannot allow ourselves to fall prey to the culture of consumption that makes shopping fun but limits what we can do for others.  We need to consider how little Christ possessed during his time on earth and how much he willingly gave of himself; the greatest of which was his life on the cross so that we could be blessed today.  Take a look around your home, your apartment, your rooms, your closet, your dressers and consider how much of what you have is more than you truly need.  Be a blessing to your family, friends, neighbors and those who are without by giving your excess to them.  Perhaps you might even make a sacrifice and give beyond your excess, giving to the point of sacrificing your own needs for the benefit of others.

I have started emptying my closets and limiting my possessions, preparing to downsize my home, increasing my contributions to those agencies helping the poorest in our community, and looking for opportunities to love my neighbor as I love myself.  Think about it, being a minimalist just might be more fulfilling than you can imagine.  Just a little advice to go!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Lay Your Burdens Down

Most of you will remember the song we all learned in Sunday school with the verse, "if your happy and you know it, say Amen".  The problem is that often we don't know how to be happy and so we are find ourselves living in misery.  Why is that?  Why can't we simply let go, and let God?  It is a question of surrender, our ability to surrender it all to him without picking it back up. 

God calls on us to lay our burdens down in Matthew 11:28; he makes it clear that if we are sick and tired of the burdens of life all we need to do is come to him and lay them down, and he will give us rest.  He will take those burdens and address them for us; he is able to supply our every need according to his riches and glory.  He wants us to cast our burdens upon him and he will sustain us.  

If you are feeling burdened, weary, and just ready to give up, then go before the Lord in prayer and surrender your burdens to him.  Ask him to take charge of them and to give you rest, believe that he will take care of them.  He will guide you the rest of the way ensuring that each of your burdens is resolved in accordance with his will for your life.  Trust God and lay your burdens down!  Just a little advice to go! 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Stop Chasing the Wind

Throughout life we are taught by our parents, family, and friends that life is all about being successful. We should go to school and learn all we can to pursue a profession worthy of celebration.  Some of us learn early on that these pursuits should be guided by the wisdom of God's word and the vision He implants within our hearts.  Unfortunatley, life's circumstances often result in God's vision becoming distorted and vague.  We forget that pursuing our relationship with him should always supercede our own selfishness.

At some point we all have to address the question regarding whether our pursuits have aligned with God's plan or not. Will we find ourselves thinking all we have accomplished is meaningless? Will we find ourselves alone, unhappy, and separated from our heavenly father, chasing the wind? The scripture warns us not to make this mistake in Ecclesiastes Chapter 2 verse 11 where it states:

"But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere."

Let us not fall into the trap of chasing the wind, that which is meaningless, but instead focus on aligning our decisions and pursuits with God's will. Through his word, prayer, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can discern his will and achieve the success he intended.  Then and only then, can we truly proclaim we are doing the work God has called us to do!  Just a little advice to go!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Let It Go!

In this sinful world where the enemy often prevails and persists in reeking havoc, we must be prepared to prevent the enemy's attacks from become defining moments.  We cannot allow the difficult times to pierce the peace within us which is fostered by the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirt. The Spirit enables us to reject fear, worry, and the preoccupation with what could go wrong.  The fruits of the Spirit remind us to love unconditionally, to rejoice always, to be at peace, to be patient, to be kind, to be good, to be faithful, to be gentle, and to be self-controlled.  These gifts prepare us for difficult times, reminding us we can handle whatever may come our way.  So when you feel the enemy is messing with you, first rejoice in the Lord and then, LET IT GO!  Just a little advice to go!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Waiting and Receiving Your Miracle, What to do!

This week’s devotional is based on a sermon by Dr. Samuel Chand, author of the book Leadership Pain: The Classroom for Growth.  His message was derived from the book of Mark, Chapter 5, Verses 21-43; the account of the synagogue leader Jairus and his 12 year old daughter.  Please read the scriptures first as they give meaning to his message and his six principles for waiting and receiving your miracle.  Here they are:

1. Be Not Afraid-Verse 36
Regardless of the storm you are enduring Jesus tells us, like he told Jairus, be not afraid.  Do not live in a spirit of fear, but in a spirit of courage.  Courage comes through the grace of God and the fortification of the Holy Spirit.

2. Just Believe-Verse 36
When things go drastically wrong as it did in Jairus' case, his daughter having died before Jesus' arrival, you need to Just Believe.  Believe and know that Jesus is a God of miracles and that his is the  same yesterday, today and forever more.  He can make the impossible, possible!

3. Surround Yourself With Positive People-Verse 37
When the challenges come, you need believers, prayers, overcomers, testifiers, witnesses, fortifiers, uplifters, and victors.   Surround yourself with people who know that God is capable of making the miracle happen.

4. Kick Out the Negative People From Your Life-Verses 39-40
Surrounding yourself with positive people is not enough, you also need to kick out the negative naysayers who have nothing good to say.  They will weigh you down and take away from the blessing and miracles God has for your life.  Kick Them Out, in the name of Jesus!

5. Speak Life to Your Situation-Verse 41
Anyone can speak death to a situation, as believers we need to speak life into the situation, remembering that in Christ all things are possible.  Speak it into existence knowing that your heavenly Father hears you and responds.

6. Feed Your Miracle-Verses 42-43
The way to feed your miracle is not just to talk about it or celebrate it, but to make sure that you help someone else with their miracle.  Be the person God uses to make the miracle happen for someone else.  If God blessed you with a job, help them find a job or give them a job.  If you overcame a sickness, help someone else overcome their sickness through prayer, transportation, and any other necessary means.  If you are blessed with extra cash, then use a portion of the cash to bless another person and help them receive their miracle.  Thank God for the miracle he delivered to you and let Him lead you as he works to make other miracles happen!

Just a little advice to go!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Don't Dream Alone!

We all have dreams and aspirations for the future, dreams of blessings and successes we imagine will be part of our future lives.  When we dream alone, those dreams often change or fail to come to fruition for one reason or another.  Dreaming alone without Gods insights presents an unnecessary challenge towards the fulfillment of those dreams.  Stop dreaming alone, and incorporate God into your dreams as you plan for your future.  Take the time to speak to him about your dreams and how they align with the dreams and hopes God has for your life.

Time has taught me to align my dreams with his and to not move forward blindly in pursuit of what I believe is best without first seeking direction from my Heavenly Father.  When I am patient, pray, listen, and wait for certain indicators on which direction to move, I find myself aligned with his will; moving forward in the right direction.  Don't dream alone, dream with the Lord!  Just a little advice to go!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Stepup From That Setback!

Sometimes we encounter setbacks and become discouraged wondering why, despite our efforts to serve the Lord, we have encountered this difficult situation.  We get caught up in the turmoil of the situation and lose sight of the reality of God's plan for our lives.  His plan does not preclude setbacks, but ensures the setbacks we encounter can turn into opportunities to step up to his blessings.

The enemy creates the obstacles that lead to the setbacks we experience; all we need to do is trust God and recognize that today's setback is just an opportunity to for us to step up to his blessings! Just a little advice to go!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Resurrection of Christ

1 Corinthians Chapter 15: 1-10
Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.  By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.  For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance : that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,  that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,  and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve.   After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.   Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles,  and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.  For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.  But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.

How awesome that Christ achieved what is humanly impossible, the resurrection.  In the book of Matthew 20:17-19, he shared this would happen:

Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”

Wow!  What more can I say, Christ came to share the message of God's plan for our salvation, to die a painful death on the cross, and to rise up from death.  His death and resurrection provides each of us the opportunity to repent, accept Him as our Lord and Savior, and live eternally in the presence of our Heavenly Father.  All that is required is faith and a simple prayer, will you pray it with me?

Prayer of Salvation
Father I know that I have sinned and am separated from you.  I am sorry and want to turn away from living in sin, so I can live for you.  Forgive me Father and know that I accept Jesus Christ as your son and my savior, that I recognize He died and rose up from death so my sins would be forgiven and surrender my life to him, now and forever.  Amen

Praise the Lord and welcome to the family; find a good Bible based church, make new friends, and love the Lord!  Just a little advice to go!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Stop Meddling and Trust God!

It is easy to say we trust God and then continue to meddle in His affairs.  When we interfere in the lives of others or continue to disregard his direction for our own lives, we are meddling in his affairs.  Meddlers are people who never seem to be able to leave things alone.  They intrude into other people’s affairs or business; often think they know better than everyone else, rarely listen to a person before offering their input, second guess themselves and jump to the wrong conclusions.

We can all be meddlers at one time or another, meddling most in the plans God has for our lives.  We think we know God's plan and then start to meddle as if he needs our help to make things happen.  We commit to letting him take the lead in our lives, but when it doesn't seem to be going the way we feel it should, we quickly move into the drivers seat and take control.

God's word tells us in Psalm 46:10, be still and know that I am God.  Be still does not simply mean don't move; it means much more.  When God tells us to be still, He is telling us to cease meddling, let him take control, rest easy, rejoice and trust Him.  Why him, because he is God; he is the creator of all things and can make the impossible, possible.  Learn to stop meddling in God's plans, to be still, and trust God!  Just a little advice to go!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Decency of You!

As believers we walk through life in a world full of sin, deception, hate, anger, division, and unbelief. We cannot ignore this world or retreat to some secluded area to practice our faith absent of unbelievers.  We are called to be God's eyes, hands, ears, and mouth, to speak His message to unbelievers so they too can find the path to salvation.

I believe Christians can fulfill God's calling by practicing what I refer to as "the decency of you". Our every day decorum, respectability, dignity, and virtue should reflect Christ regardless of the circumstances in which we find ourselves.  We must not lose sight of the fact that when we speak or act, our words and actions must align with the values of Christ.  We must curtail our anger, practice his unconditional love and look for the best in others.  Remember that God tells us that out of the abundance of the heart speaks the mouth, let us ensure our hearts are in the right place.  The decency of you can make a difference!  Just a little advice to go!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

God's Guidance System

Most of you have heard about various types of guidance systems, most often the kind that help guide missiles to their intended targets.  What you  may not realize is that God's word is our spiritual guidance system, helping to guide us towards God's intended blessings for our lives. Neglecting his word and thus his guidance only leads us to the wrong places and the regrets we often face.  Perhaps we should take more time to read and apply God's word to our every day lives in an effort to better follow His guidance.

When we are aligned with God's will for our lives, we are blessed!  Follow God's guidance system to the blessings he intends for your life!  Just a little advise to go!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

God's Five Protections

God's word outlines five protections in Chapter 18 of the Book of Psalms, verses 2 and 3.  These protections are guaranteed to each of us if we simply believe.  Our heavenly father is a:

1. ROCK that can't be moved by any who would harm us

2. FORTRESS or place of safety where the enemy can't follow

3. SHIELD that comes between us and harm

4. HORN of salvation-a symbol of might and power

5. STRONGHOLD  high above our enemies.

Challenges will come throughout your daily walk and the reaction for many of us, myself included, is sometimes apprehension and fear.  God reminds us that we need not fear the challenges of the day because he is our rock, fortress, shield, horn, and stronghold.  He is more than sufficient to protect and guide us through these daily challenges.  In Him will I trust!  Just a little advise to go!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

God Always Hears You!

Perhaps you feel like God is not hearing your prayers; that you are not worthy of his attention.  Cast these thoughts away and know that whether you are crying out in agony or crying out in silent prayer, He hears you.  Even when you sin and fall short, he hears you just as he did the first time you asked him to come into your life.  

Please do not mistake God's unwillingness to respond in the manner you prefer as an indicator that he cannot hear you.  Instead recognize that while his response may be unrecognizable to you, He is doing all he can to bless and protect you.  You simply need to look at your problems in the light of God's power instead of looking at God in the shadow of your problems to understand that God always hears you!  Just a little advice to go! 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

How Deep Is Your Love?

It is easy to say we love the Lord, but how deep is that love.?  Is the depth of our love such that when persecution and storms come our way, we stand strong in the Lord? 

In the bible there are many accounts outlining how believers were attacked and persecuted.  Some quickly denied they ever knew Christ, others stood strong even when they lost everything they cared about.  Christ provides us an example of what it means to stand fast in faith and love.  Throughout his time of earth he was persecuted and attacked, yet he remained faithful.   Facing death on the cross, he again proved his love lifting his voice to heaven and asking God to forgive his persecutors.  

We are challenged to consider the depth of our love for the Lord and our willingness to love him in spite of the persecution and storms we face.  Our love should be as unconditional as his love is for us.  He was willing to die for us even though we were sinners that we might be justified through his blood.  How deep is your love, deep enough that you would be willing to die for him?  Think about it...  Just a little advice to go! 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Reflections Are A Must!

In today's hurried pace, we often neglect taking time to reflect on the past.  I mean who really wants to think about the past when you have so much to do given your family, job and other commitments. Unfortunately, failing to reflect on the past often leads to two challenges: 

1. We repeat the mistakes of the past because we use the same poor decision making process
2. We forget to recognize that God is in the picture and can help us make the right decisions

Reflecting on the past provides opportunity for us to recall our failures, not for the purpose of reliving the pain of the past, but to ensure we learn from it.  Failing to do so will result in finding yourself thinking, "I can't believe I did that again!"  The challenges of the past should always serve as learning opportunities to both help us grow and develop into the people God needs us to be.  Reflecting on what led to the mistakes will help develop new decision making processes enabling us to avoid a repeat of past mistakes. 

Reflecting on past also provides us the opportunity to recollect our past successes which remind us we are not alone, but under the watchful eye of our creator.  We are reminded he has brought us great successes, particularly in times where it seemed improbable.  His blessings remind us he loves us and wants to help us develop into the wonderful creation he intended us to be.  Learning to trust him with our descision making will help us align those decisions with His word ensuring we are making good decisions.  It reinforces His promise never to leave us or forsake us! 

Remember to make time to reflect on the past, it can help!  Just a little advice to go!  

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Three Simple Steps to Christ

Sometimes, I feel it is critical to remind everyone of the three simple steps to take to walk with Christ.  They go something like this:

1. Accept Him - Accept him as your personal savior, Christ'a sacrifice provided the path of grace allowing for your sins to be forgiven and reconnecting you to God.  All of his blessings become available to you.

2. Love Him - Love Christ as your personal savior knowing that loving him means honoring him in all you do.  Live a life reflective of the love you have for him and the love he has for you.

3. Obey Him - Obey him by living according to his word.  Learning his word will help you navigate through life with the confidence that you will finish the race in victory.  Always remember his two greatest commandments:
Matthew 22: 37  The greatest commandment is to Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all you mind.  The second is found in verse 38, Love your neighbor as yourself.  

These three basic steps to Christ remind us of how easy it is to obtain salvation, let's remember them and make sure we are sharing them with others.  Just a little advice to go!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Why Not Me!

When we find ourselves going through a difficult time, we often question why it is happening to us.  If we are right with the Lord, we might even question how it could happen given our faithfulness.  If we are not careful, we can begin to formulate a pattern of thinking that focuses on questioning why me, versus proclaiming Lord why not me.  Yes, why not me the one who is faithful and serves a mighty God who can overcome all things.  Why not me, the one who knows that no weapon formed against me can prosper, that greater is he that is in me, than he that is in the world, that if God before me, no one can be against me and that all I have to do is ask and he will respond.

Each difficult time sharpens us and prepares us for the next battle.  It teaches us not to flinch when the problem comes right at us, but to grab on to it and cast it down in the name of our mighty God.  He has already won the battle and we are prepared every day to be like him, a victor who proclaims why not me!  Just a little advice to go! 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Pefect Guidance System

The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.  Yes, this is an idiom many of us are familiar with and can relate to.  A new year means planning ahead but also knowing those plans may go astray.  As believers, our confidence in the future stems from the knowledge of who our creator is.  We have the perfect guidance system as He is all knowing and all powerful.  He is the beginning and the end, the alpha and omega, the I Am who knows all things, and the one who will guide our paths in the new year.

Our heavenly father provides us the gift of his Holy Spirit which provides insight on to how to live.  He also provides His roadmap of wisdom, the holy scriptures.  When we set our hearts on patiently listening for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, read and immerse oursleves in scripture, and seek God's guidance for the future, we never fail. His desire for our success provides the perfect guidance system for living a blessed and fulfilling life.  All we have to do is Believe!  Just a little advice to go! 

Monday, January 4, 2016

God's Protection in 2016

My prayer for each of you is that 2016 be a safe and prosperous year that is full of God’s blessings. God’s love for us is so great that He ensures we are cared for.  In Psalms 18: 2 and 3 he offers us the following protections:

The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.  3  I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.

God is our rock, impenetrable and able to obstruct danger from our path.  He is our fortress providing us with a place of safety surrounded by all the protections of His heavenly force.  He is our buckler, a shield standing between our bodies and any harm.  He is our horn of salvation, a resounding warning to all of the great power we carry within us.  He is our high tower, a stronghold within which we stand high above our enemies protected from their attacks.  

Remember God’s protection extends over each and everyone of his children and it will stand despite the storms and attacks we may face throughout the new year.  We are not exempt from the attacks of the enemies but we are protected by the one who loves us most, our heavenly father.  Happy New Year!  Just a little advice to go!