Be God’s Great Thing

“Now therefore stand and see this great thing, which the LORD will do before your eyes.” 1 Samuel 12:16

God is always doing great things! Even amid the struggle and clamor of daily life, God plants seeds in the seams and cracks and broken places of life and great oaks grow!

Offer grace in the hurt. Offer beauty in the ugly. Offer love in the hate. Offer hope in the despair. These are great things!

Have a blessed day!

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Spiritual Fixed Mindset

“Guess what?! I just got an email! The book I submitted is going to be published!”

Hey! I have great news! I’ve just been asked to speak on a Christian women’s cruise to the Bahamas! I sail January 15th!”

Have you ever been jealous of a brother or sister in Christ? I have too. When I’ve  seen all the fabulous things others have accomplished, I have felt less. I used to think God wouldn’t use a person like me; He’d only use super Christians. You know, those people who got saved at three, baptized at four and went on their first mission trip at five. I was too messed up. Too broken. Too unlovely. I believed in Jesus, but I thought I could never change. Wrong.

What about you?

Do you think you’re too messed up, trapped in your addiction/codependent relationship/shopping habit/food problem/embarrassing sin to ever be transformed?  Do you think you will always be stuck right where you are, battling the same old stuff? Then you are suffering from a Spiritual Fixed Mindset.

Spiritual Fixed Mindset: a belief that basic qualities like intelligence, flaws, sin and talent are fixed traits, therefore a person can never change, grow or overcome challenges or sins. This is the way I was born, This is the way I am, are the mantras of people trapped in a spiritual fixed mindset.

People trapped in a fixed mindset believe God gifted some people and not others.

They spend their time documenting their failures and sins. They believe talent alone creates success—without effort. They believe there is something wrong with them that can never be fixed. They are stuck. People with a fixed spiritual mindset constantly try to prove their worth. They are very sensitive to criticism, always anxious and prone to self doubt.

Spiritual Fixed Mindset is marked by:

  • negative self-talk
  • second guessing decisions (and third and fourth guessing)
  • focusing on self
  • seeing only failures and replaying them in living color over and over
  • condemning self
  • hiding gifts
  • keeping head down and playing it safe
  • walking by sight

The poster child for the fixed spiritual-mindset is the man with one talent.

14 “… a man going on a journey, who called his servants  and entrusted to them his property.15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 1He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ [ …] He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” Matthew 25: 14-21, 24-29

What did the One-Talent Servant do?

He was afraid and he hid his gifts. He did not use them for the benefit of his master or anyone else. The One-Talent Servant was not punished because he tried and failed—but because he did not try. I believe pride was at the bottom of his failure to launch. He didn’t want to look bad in the eyes of the world. He was walking by sight and not by faith.

How about you (and me)? We’ve got gifts. We’ve got talent. We’ve got treasure. We’ve also got calling. Go forth. Make disciples. Whatever your gifts, serving, loving, mercy, cooking, cleaning, fixing, babysitting, acting, blogging, gaming, sewing, doing hair and make-up, fishing, hunting, turning a wrench, there is a need for it in your church/community/housing project/town. Get going!

Action Steps:

  1. Think: What do you love to do? Where is your passion? As long as it isn’t against God’s word, there is a way to use it for His kingdom.
  2. Pray: Ask God to show you how He wants you to be involved and to open doors for you.
  3. Start: Do something today to start using your gifts. Make a call, share your vision, take a class, or join another group.

Tip: You won’t find the will of God apart from the word of God. When I got serious about following Jesus, new giftings and interests seemed to pop up from no where, so did new opportunities.

Let me know your thoughts about Spiritual Fixed Mindset, how you plan to use your gifts and how I can pray for you, by leaving a comment in the comment section below!

God is good!

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Where Am I?

 I used to be so pro at getting lost.

I could barely make it to South Bend without taking a three hour tour of Northern Indiana. Then I got a very helpful device … a son with a keen sense of direction. Picture a four year old with a map, in a car seat, directing us down the Ohio Turnpike en-route to Dayton, Ohio (pre-GPS days).

Sorta reminds me of the Israelites.

They started in Egypt, and turned a 9 day trip into a 40 year trek. FINALLY they made it to the Promised Land. The thing is, they had their own GPS. You could say it was in the Cloud—the pillar of Cloud. God.

Sorta reminds me of my life.

I started in “Egypt,” got delivered, and spent the next 20 years wandering around in the messed up wilderness of ME until God sent a deliverer to lead me out. Actually, I think we can all relate. We are in one of four stages: in Egypt, En route, Wandering, or in the Promised Land.

How can you tell? Read the descriptions below and note the hashtags.

You could be:

  • In Egypt: #slavery. So they ruthlessly made the people of Israel work as slaves and made their lives bitter with hard service, in mortar and brick, and in all kinds of work in the field. Exodus 1: 13-14. Both the saved and unsaved can live in “Egypt.” Life here is marked by slavery to sin, fear or pleasing others. If you’re living in Egypt you have no ministry, no fruit, no peace, no joy. You may not even know you are in Egypt, you just know something is very wrong with your life. Thankfully,  you don’t need to stay there. God always sends a deliverer!
  • En Route: #progress. And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. Exodus 13:1                                If you are en route you are definitely saved. You could be a brand new Christian, or saved for years, but you are finally following Jesus. You discover new talents  and interests. Your relationships  shift.  You might find yourself considering a new job. People notice you are changing  and not everyone is happy with you. This stage is usually marked by warfare, but God has given you the victory. It is a exciting/scary/growing/risky time of life, but it is  good!
  • Wandering: #self. The Israelites had moved about in the wilderness forty years until all the men who were of military age when they left Egypt had died, since they had not obeyed the LORD.  Joshua 5:6                                               I hate this place. It’s almost worse than being in Egypt. You know better, but you try it anyway. Wandering is marked by living for self, and following “your heart” (which is deceitful above all things).  The world applauds while God laments and waits. You Rationalize. You disobey. Wandering drains your resources, wastes your gifts, and leaves you empty. Consequences dog your steps.  The waking up is painful as you realize what a fool you’ve been. BUT, you are two words away from getting back on track with God: Repentance. Obedience.
  • Promised Land: #God. And He said to him, “I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess it.” Genesis 15:7.                                                                                                                                           Promised Land living is flowing with purpose. It’s all about God. His will. His way. His plans. If you are living in the Promised Land, He is all over everything you do. You pray different. You want different. You live different. God has you involved in one or two specific ministries where you are using your gifts. You also take advantage of everyday opportunities to be the hands and feet of Jesus to others. Nobody makes it to the Promised Land on their own. You need Jesus, the church and a few good friends who speak truth.  Life in the Promised Land is full and good and hard and challenging and whole and fruitful.

If you don’t like the stage you’re in, you’re only a decision away from making a change.

Pending on where your “living” right now you may need to: Say no. Say yes. Move on. Move out. Start something. Stop something. Give it up.  Give it back. Pick it up. Put it down. Plant some seeds. Pull some weeds. Leave. Stay. Accept. Reject. Speak up. Speak out. Forgive others. Forgive yourself. Try hard. Try harder. Work. Rest. Lead. Follow. Open His word and your heart. Ask God to show you what to do and obey what He says.

Wherever you are, follow God with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

I’d love to pray for you about where you are in life with God. Please leave me a comment in the comment section below!

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Wake up!

Talking. Tasting. Speaking.

The tongue is a tricky little member of the body. While it can be used for good—words of encouragement, salvation and praise—it can also be used for evil. Insults, sarcasm, and lies are right on the tip of the tongue. Left to its natural self, the tongue cannot be trusted. Thankfully God has provided a way.

“The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of the learned, that I may know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as the learned.” Isaiah 50:4

Why has God given us the tongue of the learned?

So we will know how to speak a word of encouragement to those who are tired.

Tired of the circumstances.

Tired of dealing with marriage problems (It wasn’t supposed to be this hard was it?).

Tired of that nagging sin problem.

Tired of getting kicked when down.

Just plain old tired.

But there is a catch:

We gotta show up to hear from Him so we can speak His words. Every morning. Why every morning? Because everyday we are going to run into people who need the kind of help that only comes from the Creator of the universe. Someone who doesn’t know Jesus is depending on you today for the help they need. Our words don’t change hearts, lives or souls. Only God’s word has that kind of power.

The connection.

There’s a connections from the ear to the tongue. We meet. He speaks. We hear. We speak.

. We miss out and so do those we do life with.

Read this same verse in the NASB:

“The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of disciples, That I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple.”

Wow. I want a tongue of a disciple.

What would the tongue of a disciple say? Words of faith. Words of truth. Words of love. How does a person listen as a disciple? They seek sound teaching, laying aside lesser things in order to choose better things. They pick out their Master’s voice over the babble of a thousand voices, leaning in to catch every word.  What do disciples listen for? Opportunities to share the gospel, commands from their teacher, and occasions to learn.

Next Steps:

  1. Wake up! Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier than usual and open God’s word.
  2. Pick out! Pick a few verses that speak to you, write them on note cards and memorize them!
  3. Listen in! Go to and subscribe  to a few podcasts that interest you. Listen on your way to work or when you are running errands.

Have a blessed day!

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Measure Up

Ok, so where’s this verse been all of my young life?

In my 40 plus years of Bible reading, I’ve NEVER read this Scripture before. I am just saying.  Is God just funny like that, or have I been blind all these years (ever seeing, but never perceiving)?

12 For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” 2 Corinthians 10:12

Guilty as charged for longer than I care to admit. I have wasted time, talent, brain cells, resources and decades of my life comparing and measuring myself to others and ALWAYS coming up short. Coveting their talents, gifts, clothes, businesses. For crying out loud, even jealously envying the ministries of other brothers and sisters in Christ. Never smart enough, talented enough, wise enough, quick enough, fun enough, popular enough,

just never enough

Blessed is she who believes what God has said is true.

What has He said to us? Read these next words slowly—Out Loud:

I am called, I am chosen,  I am gifted,  I am forgiven,  (oh, say that one again) I AM FORGIVEN!  I am loved, I am redeemed, I am restored, I am anointed I am adopted, I am released, I am protected, I am equipped, I am powerful in Christ, I am a warrior, and my enemies will be defeated before me. I am His beloved child.

That’s who you are. That’s who I am. God says it in His Word, so it’s the truth. Let’s stop listening to the lies of the enemy and trying to measure up against the world.

Nothing but the truth.

, and ONLY THEN will we become all we were created to be.

Knowing God’s truth is the key that opens the door to abundant life.

We must  keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith.

But measuring ourselves against Jesus… isn’t that a tall order? Yes, and it reminds me of my sons. When they were young they constantly measured themselves against the grownups of our family. Charting their progress at each family event by measuring themselves.  The first benchmark was my itty-bitty five-foot-nothing mother. The kids were thrilled when they passed-up Grandma, but they weren’t willing to stop there. They locked eyes on their 6’2′ grandpa. He was a worthy measure! Same thing with Jesus. Why stop short by comparing ourselves to our friends, our fav sports persona or rock star? Let’s aim higher and lock eyes on the Most High.

We compare ourselves to Him, and take hope in the fact that if we are in His word and His word is in us, we are being transformed into the image of Christ. Day by day, piece by piece, chunk by chunk, blow by blow, from glory to glory until we look like, talk like, sound like, act like, love like, live like Jesus.  Amen.

That’s how we measure up. By the Book.


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